Living Green and Saving Money

Most of us would love to do more to protect our environment and add a touch of green living to our daily grind. I know a lot of us are a little intimidated by this notion, however, because organic and environmentally friendly products can be costly and efforts can prove to be time consuming. Here’s some easy ways you can incorporate green living into yours and your family’s routine and save money.

  • Your Thermostat – Heating and cooling your home or office uses a lot of energy. Try turning the thermostat up or down a couple of degrees from your normal hang spot. You probably won’t notice too much difference in the temperature and you’ll not only be saving energy but saving money!
  • Your DishwasherRunning your dishwasher essentially uses as much water as when you hand-wash, but you can save more water and energy by running your dishwasher only when it’s full and setting it to use cold water instead of hot (your dishes will still be sanitized after the dishwasher runs it’s “dry” cycle). There is also an easy way to make your own eco-friendly dish detergent by combining 1 part baking soda and 1 part borax. Then add white vinegar as a rinsing agent separately. Voila! Clean dishes in the same amount of time, and you went easier on your environment!
  • Your CarYou don’t have to rush out and buy a new Prius to keep your car green. Sure, hybrid cars are great and very eco-friendly, but keeping your current car in shape will prove to be very green as well! Change the tires before warranty expires and get regular tune-ups to make sure everything is working properly and your car isn’t emitting something it shouldn’t be or using too much energy due to a faulty mechanism. Down the road, when you are not having to call for a tow or rush out to buy a new car, your wallet will thank you too.
  • Your SelfPerhaps the easiest way to green-up your life and save money – get out of the house more! Go for walks with your family, take the dog to the park, go for a hike, lay out and look at the stars. What’s happening at your house when you’re gone? Nothing. Your lights are off, your water isn’t running, your TV isn’t blaring. Nothing = Green.

What are your easy tips for staying green? I would especially like to hear thoughts/recipes for green cleaning.


More to Come and A View From the Inside Looking Out

So I haven’t posted since April 22nd, my apologies. Work proved to be a bit challenging the past few weeks whilst adjusting to a new schedule, and of course there’s my child and husband and various obligations and responsibilities. I promise I will try to keep my posts regular though amongst all the chaos.

I do have something great in store for you, however, which I will have posted in a few days. Here’s a hint on what it is: I conducted an interview recently with a woman I admire in which we discussed her experience being in an interracial marriage. A view from the inside looking out, if you will. I have to say I am rather excited to be sharing this.

Until then!

The Clean Water Project

April 22, 2011 1 comment

If you’re seeking a way to help our brothers and sisters in need, The Water Project is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to bringing worldwide relief to communities that do not have access to clean water.

The Water Project was started in August of 2006 by an inspired group of teenagers and adults in Canada, and is now headquartered in Charlotte, NC. They began working tirelessly to bring clean water to  communities in Kenya, Sudan, Sierra Leone and India. To date, they have over 60,000 people gain access to clean water.

We often take for granted the clean water which we have easy access to, and the hardships we dodge by having this access. Countless men, women, and children in the countries The Water Project works in encounter death, disease, and dehydration from lack of clean water. Not to mention, the time spent traveling by many people simply to obtain water that is often tainted. Instead of tending their crops, attending school, and going to work, the residents of these areas are forced to spend hours every day collecting water to survive.

A donation of only $20 builds 1 well for a community in need. Give today. Together we can make a difference.

The New Age Etiquette Guide

April 14, 2011 4 comments

Let’s face it – we simply don’t interact with each other in the same manner which we used to. Emily Post’s book “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home”? How many of you actually know what I am referring to? Granted, it was written in 1922, but it provided the guidelines for which any man, woman, or child who considered themselves proper, socially acceptable, and well-mannered followed. If this book was updated to correlate with today’s socially accepted mannerisms, I think it would go a little something like this :

Introductions – Introducing yourself or your guest is not necessary or expected. You or your guest may simply introduce themselves if they feel it pertinent or necessary

Example of an acceptable introduction in any situation : “Whats up, I’m (Insert name, nickname, or gamer tag here).”

On the Street and in Public – Always, no matter what, attract as much attention to yourself whilst in public situations as possible. Remember, you are only worth the quantity of people paying attention to you at any given time. The best time to conduct an argument via cell phone with your significant other is in the office. Disciplinary action that your children require is best proceeded with in grocery store lines. And always remember to, and this part is important, use as much profanity as possible as it is the best way to convey the emotion you are feeling at the present time. Be as indiscreet as possible.

Words, Phrases, and Pronunciation – It is important in these times to use as little of the English language as possible, insert appropriate slang, make up your own words, and pronounce words with as little effort as possible.

Example : When sending an email, instead of typing out “I cannot wait to see you at the party tonight!” shorten it to “ICWTSYATPT!”. This way the recipient does not have to  waste valuable time reading an entire sentence, and instead can more wisely use said time to deconstruct and understand your acronym or initialism. Please use similar format in all emails, texts, blogs, and social networking.

The Well-Appointed House – In order for others to have an appreciation for you maintaining a home that is safe from being condemned, you must strictly adhere to the following steps :

  1. Make sure you keep everything, i.e. receipts, cans, old toys, cat feces, used toilet paper, empty wrappers, shower drain hair – EVERYTHING
  2. Don’t clean. Not even the slightest broom stroke.
  3. Let said mess build up until it forms mountains within your home
  4. Call A&E and request to be on the show “Hoarders” so that someone else can clean up said mess
  5. Maintain a semi-orderly mess whilst knowing that the rest of America is applauding your hard work

Etiquette in Business and Politics – For the most part business and politics are still the same game. He/She who plays the game (and knows the appropriate cheat codes) wins. He who can lie the best through the whitest smile wins majority. He/She who has more funding maintains better odds. There is an addendum, however :

  • He/She who tweets most often, most accurately or inaccurately, and most humorously wins the most followers.

Dress – Anything goes. This includes miniature club attire donned by underage civilians. Please note also that an occasional “vag flash” is also acceptable, and is guaranteed to gain you popularity.

Mother Nature 1, Me 0

Okay, so within hours of my post berating Mother Nature, apparently she has exacted her revenge. Sick. As. A. Dog. Coincidence? I think not.

Categories: April 2011 Posts

Addendum to “Heat!” Post

April 11, 2011 1 comment

I started to think about the topic some more after posting “Heat!” , and we really are bullied by Mother Nature during this time of year. I’m sure our brothers and sisters in the North, East, and West have their struggles as well, but I can only attest to the trials and tribulations in the southern region which I call home.

Not only are we assaulted by the continuous and unforgiving heat, there are numerous other mini battles we wage daily as well. Let me tell you about them.

First, our world literally turns a solitary color – YELLOW. I speak of course of the pollen so graciously bestowed upon us by our surrounding greenery. Our cars take on a thick yellow coating of this stuff. It is tracked in every house by our shoes. It covers our front porches. It makes our eyes itch, our noses run, and our throats scratch. Rain is never so much wished for and prayed for as during this time. When the rain comes, it washes the powdery pollen off of our cars, and homes, and selves and instead sits in yellow, cloudy pools on our streets and driveways. Alas, we are covered in it again in a matter of hours.

Then there’s the insects. Ohhhhh, the insects. At any time of day on any given day you are met with an endless parade of mosquitoes, and ants, and bees, and ladybugs, and spiders. The majority of the just listed just WAITING IN ANTICIPATION of sinking their stingers and teeth into your supple human flesh. But, it’s okay right? You’ll just stay indoors as much as possible, cooled by your air conditioning and lemonade. WRONG. They follow you. Stalk you, if you will. They silently make their way into your home through any unnoticeable crack or draft, probably just trying to stay cool as well. Your floor corners become littered with creepy crawly creatures. Your counters and any spillage, a haven for ants. Your skin arms and legs boasting mosquito bites. And anyone coming to visit you, hears a crunch as they step on the beetles that have flown into your front door and knocked themselves out, creating a beetle bone-yard on your welcome mat. There is a fun side to all this bug infestation, however – lightening bugs. Maybe not so fun for the lightening bugs though..

Then there is the constant and demanding outside maintenance. Your grass seems to grow a foot an hour (I am greeted by the hum of lawn mowers every morning, it seems). I’m sure most husbands absolutely love this time of year. Not only does the grass demand your constant attention. Your bushes, though freshly trimmed, by morning will appear to have a bad case of bed-head.And your flower garden is infiltrated by massive troops of weeds.

I’m waving the white flag, oh brutal season.




April 11, 2011 3 comments

The heat is setting in in Georgia. The sticky, smothering, soupy, wave of temperature assault. You haven’t truly experienced heat until you have experienced a southern Spring or Summer. Where you step outside and immediately lose some breathing capacity because the air is so thick with humidity. Everyday becomes a bad hair day as your hair retains more moisture than your entire body. You creatively try to get away with wearing as little as possible without getting charged with indecent exposure. And you stick like a slug to everything you touch.

The heat seems to effect us all on a deeper level as well. We all seem to have less patience for each other and are much quicker to lose our cool. Pun intended. I’ll bet if you check the crime and arrest rates at this time of year they are significantly higher. I’m also willing to bet there are more spousal disagreements, and we don’t have nearly as much patience for our children.

So, my fellow heat oppressed, it’s time to join together in our battle against mother nature. Be kind to your neighbor. Sip sweet tea on the front porch. Hide in your air conditioned home. Dive into your local swimming hole. Move as little as possible. And dream of fall.


April 8, 2011 3 comments

We experience a full moon once every 29.5 days. When I say ‘experience’ I use the term loosely and figuratively, but do we actually ‘experience’ the full moon literally?

Many names have been assigned to this apparatus in the night sky, mostly based on the month the full moon is making it’s appearance: Wolf Moon (January), Snow Moon (February), Crow Moon (March), Grass Moon (April), Planting Moon (May), and so on. Truly a moon of many names.

Throughout my life, and I’m sure yours as well, I’ve been witness to (and perhaps partook in) faulting the moon for negative events and moods. When having a bad day or in a foul mood, I am often asked “Is it a full moon?” or hear the statement “It must be a full moon because everyone is having a rough time right now.”. I’m also asked if it’s “that time of the month”, but I digress.

Of course everyone is well aware of the classic man-turns-werewolf only under a full moon scenario as well. I’m sure other various ghouls have been assigned presence under the full moon light as well. Indeed, even our term “lunatic” derives from the Latin word “Luna”, which was the Roman name given to the goddess of the moon.

I have also heard from the mouths of several nurses and one doctor that they staff the hospital particularly well on evenings when a full moon is present. They stated that more injuries are seen, and more mothers go into labor than any other time of the month.

This habit of blaming the full moon for our troubles gives me pause.

Are our moods and daily lives really so effected by the change of the moon? I find it hard to wrap my brain around the idea that in any given time zone we all synonymously experience emotional, mental, or physical nuisances. One explanation given by Greek philosopher, Aristotle, proposed that the brain was the moistest organ contained within the human body, therefore susceptible to the same gravitational influences of the moon as the tides. If this really is the case, I’m thinking regional support groups are in order? We’ll call them “Lunar Oppressed Anonymous”.

What are your thoughts or experiences?

Tunnel Vision

April 7, 2011 2 comments

I am not a big fan of labeling ourselves as one thing or another. When we attach labels to our personas, i.e. Republican, Democrat, Feminist, we essentially draw a line between ourselves and others.

I understand the draw towards classifying ourselves – It gives us a feeling of identity and common interest with those who share our viewpoints. However, when we allocate ourselves we tend to focus on only certain ideals and beliefs, and disregard anything that doesn’t “ring true”. In essence we inflict upon ourselves a sort of tunnel vision. No one drives well when they only look straight ahead, right?

Don’t typecast yourself. Be bold with your opinions, but also allow yourself to celebrate the opinions of others! When we attach labels, we often cause ourselves to be unapproachable by anyone outside our group, thus limiting the potential of our personal growth.

Categories: April 2011 Posts

Getting Schooled

April 7, 2011 5 comments

My son is only seven months old, so my worry is not imminently present yet, but I have to say that the thought of him attending school in a few years is not a subject I am particularly fond of. My concerns are not unfounded, I promise.

I had fleeting concerns before, but I didn’t really start thinking about the matter until my husband and I engaged in a random conversation about our years in grade school. I recalled my years attending school in Atlanta, and how I was grateful that I had a wide variety of teachers from different backgrounds and cultures. This allowed my young mind to learn and grow in many different directions.

When I was twelve, however, my parents made the decision to move our family of four to the suburbs. This was a decision made after several “non family friendly” events occurred – one being a prophylactic found mixed in with our laundry after using our apartment’s shared laundry facilities. That was the last straw for my parents when making the decision to leave our beloved city.

We moved a rough thirty minutes outside of Atlanta, but it might as well have been a different country. Everyone lived in a subdivision with regurgitated cookie cutter houses, was god fearing, and worshipped Sunday football. Of course, not everyone fit into this mold, but I’m pretty certain the preceding comprised the majority. The schools were not exempt from this trend.

Now, I had some pretty great teachers while residing in suburbia. Of this, there is no doubt. However, there lacked variation. I cannot recall a single teacher throughout my 6 years of education in two greater Atlanta area schools that did not appear to hail from similar backgrounds – white European ancestry, Christian, middle class. My husband had a comparable experience.

I ask, where is the fun in this? I am a firm believer that our children’s world education should not only be taught via text books, but from the mouths and guidance of the people of the world.

Categories: April 2011 Posts