Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Bow On Top

My boyfriend and I both had birthdays in May. Along with our gifts, we also received gift bags and tissue paper.

Rather than toss them into the trash, I've started a gifting collection. There's nothing wrong with reusing bags (just check for hangtags and make sure there aren't any names already on the bag).

You can reuse unsoiled tissue paper, for that matter. I smoothed out the wrinkled paper, and neatly folded it into a box.

Now we're ready to go for upcoming celebrations!

Monday, June 28, 2010

What are you wearing on your face?

These days, most women wear makeup of some sort. Unlike the foods we eat, many of us do not pay attention to the ingredients of products we use on our skin. So how do you know what you're putting on your skin?

Skin Deep is a cosmetic database where you can look up specific products and find out what is in them and how dangerous these ingredients might be.

For instance, CoverGirl Classic Color Blush, Natural Glow has a hazard score of 8 (out of 10). According to Skin Deep, this is one of the worst blushes on the market. It claims ingredients have been linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity and allergies, aside from just plain ol' irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs.

Like I said when I wrote about ingredients in shampoo, I am no scientist and I don't have a lot of knowledge about what some of these ingredients can do. But I do know my skin and health are not anything to take for granted.

Last month, I took a trip to Sephora with my friend Shannon. She is a recent convert to "real" makeup (which you can read about here), and I decided to investigate my options for more healthy/eco-friendly makeup.

I ended up buying a Bare Escentuals bareMinerals foundation starter kit. For $60, it included a sample of foundation primer, three brushes, two shades of mineral foundation, warmth face color, a mineral veil and an instructional DVD.

Although, this makeup probably isn't perfect either, it has less of the "bad stuff." I also have noticed an improvement in the texture of my skin since switching, and that works for me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What's Cookin'?

Tonight, many people (myself included) will go out to eat rather than slave over a stove after a long week at the office. But when it comes to selecting a restaurant, what factors do you take into account?
  • Proximity? (to your home or whatever activities your evening holds)
  • Cost?
  • Type of food?
  • Vegetarian-friendly?
But what about corporation? Are you more likely to choose a chain or a local restaurant?

Not too long ago, it really didn't make a difference to me. These days I'm frequently pulled toward independent restaurants. These tend to be more locally supportive and less uniform.

For example, Leon's in Decatur, Ga., has signs inside the restaurant boasting from which local farms its ingredients originate.

Why does this matter? When you eat locally-grown foods, you are supporting your local economy. These foods also required fewer resources to get to you.

Think globally, act locally, as they say.

(Don't worry Chili's, you're probably my favorite chain.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Good To The Last Drop

Are you a roller? Do you squeeze from the top or the bottom?

No matter how you extract your toothpaste, it is in your best interest to get as much out of it as possible. Same goes for other products. I know it can be difficult to get that last little bit out of those containers. But you’ll save yourself money over time as well as reduce waste.

I’ve been “out” of toothpaste for two weeks, yet I’m still able to get enough out to brush my teeth twice per day. Just because something is almost gone doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced right away. Though it never hurts to have your next one ready to avoid running out when your current product finally bites the dust!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Used > New

Since moving into the apartment two months ago, we hadn’t had a dining room table. Furnishing even a small apartment is expensive!

However, that was the last major item on the list, so I’d been searching Craigslist for an attractive, yet cheap table to no avail. (Side note: Some people think their junk is worth way too much.)

Turns out one of our friends who is about to move was planning on trashing her table with seating for six (the sixth is being used as a desk chair). What luck!

I love the current color, but I’m planning to paint the teal areas black so it will better match our other furniture. The apartment is now fully furnished with plenty of seating all around. And I feel good about reusing something that would have ended up in the trash!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When To Buy Organic

As someone committed to living more environmentally-friendly, organic foods are a natural step. I didn’t think I’d be one of those people unless I suddenly had lots of extra disposable income.

Well, I don’t have spare funds lying around, but I am making an effort to buy more organic.

Here are my determining factors when deciding between regular vs. organic:
1)      Not a huge cost difference. I don’t mind to pay a little extra (say less than $1), but I cannot afford to pay too much more than usual.
2)      Organic produce seems more authentic. These are crops you know are directly from the earth, so the less tampered with, the better.
3)      It could just be my imagination, but organic fruits (at least the bananas and strawberries I’ve tried) seem to have MUCH more flavor.
4)      Trader Joe’s and most farmers markets offer many organic products at nearly the same price as non-organic alternatives. Plus, at a farmers market, you’re supporting local farmers.

I may not be able to make sweeping changes, but I can do my part to support quality produce.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Grab A Cold One

On Saturday, we had some friends over to kick off the first day of USA's involvement in the World Cup. Rather than buying a bunch of six-packs and producing lots of glass and aluminum waste, we opted for a keg — Sunray Wheat Beer from Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, Ga.

Not only did we eliminate packaging waste, our guests used actual glasses rather than Solo cups (we aren't in college anymore, after all). Sure this means a few more dishes, but far less trash went out the door.

Next time you're having a significant-sized gather, consider a keg, preferably from a local brewery.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I'm a little embarrassed to admit I generally use a hair dryer every day. Even knowing what energy suckers they are.

When I shower before work, my hair usually has not had time to dry before I'm out the door. Hair dryers are also extremely helpful for styling.

Not this week.

I am on vacation at the beach, and I'm also taking a vacation from my hair dryer. It's so great not having to be anywhere at any specific time. So I'm enjoying letting my hair dry on its own.

Now if only there was something I could do about the humidity.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

BYOC — Bring Your Own Cup

It's summer, which means I nearly always prefer iced coffee to the regular brew. Problem is, making iced coffee myself is complicated and requires planning ahead. So it's usually something I pick up from a coffee shop — meaning disposable cups.

Not anymore!

Starbucks now sells reusable iced coffee cups (they also work for frappuccinos), and they look just like the original! Plus Starbucks offers 10¢ discounts when you bring your own cup (this includes travel mugs for warm beverages).

Let's just say I bought my cup ($12) a week ago and have used it four times since. My bank account may not be too happy, but I'm sure Starbucks is. And at least I'm not using a new cup each time!