Thursday, November 20, 2008

Goodwill Hunting

So, I was inspired by my own blog yesterday, because I'm just that kind of nerd. So... I rushed off to Goodwill to see what kind of cool fabrics I could use to make gift bags, etc. Well, it turns out that it doesn't even require that level of effort. First, they have tons of new stuff with tags on it for Christmas and its like 75 - 80% off. It's like an after Christmas clearance, with none of the fighting over scraps. I bought lots of cute Christmas stockings that I can put gifts in (instead of wrapping paper). It's almost like a gift in itself; just think, if we all started doing this, no one would ever have to buy wrapping paper or bags again! Save money on the wrapping that everyone tosses into the garbage (or hopefully recycling bin at a minimum) and spend it on the gift..what a novel idea!?! I then looked around and found lots of cute Christmas, and non-Christmas baskets, and finally I got an idea. I bought lots of cute mugs and plates (its cheaper than the dollar store) and decided to give the gift of baked goods and chai tea. When you don't have a lot of money to spend on friends and coworkers, I say don't buy the cheap trinkets, give them something tasty! This way I can present the baked treats on something pretty that they can keep. Who knows, maybe they'll return the favor next year! Third, I found at least 25 new books at 3 for $6.00! Wow, I'm beginning to see a theme, books, mugs and warm drinks, plates and baked goods... what a great way to give a thoughtful and environmentally-friendly gift that will warm the heart and the tummy :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Greening up the holidays

Every year I pout around like scrooge and eschew the holidays grumbling about rampant commercialism. However, my daughter and I always love making gifts for friends and family, like soap, decorations, or baked goods. This year as I begin thinking about how I can do something inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and fun for the family I have come up with two good ideas on my own, and borrowed one from someone else. Here we are:

1. Homemade wrapping paper and gift bags

This year I plan to use clothes that have been handed down, and I will search the thrift stores for holiday prints to make gift bags. They are fun, reusable, and a gift in themselves. Next, I plan to use boxes and paper grocery bags to make wrapping supplies. I'll be purchasing a cool Christmas themed rubber stamp to do the decorations and jazz it up a bit.

2. I learned of Global Goods Partners, an online retailer of sorts, who is "Dedicated to alleviating poverty and promoting social justice by strenghtening women-led development initiatives and creating access to the US market for marginalized communities in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. If you are going to buy a gift, get something cute and include the story about where the gift came from in your packaging.

My pick from the website:

7 Turns Bracelet
Available in brown or green, this coiled bracelet from southern India combines a rich combination of glass, bone, metal, and wood beads in a creative swirling design. The vibrant colors derive from a unique and age-old technique of using natural vegetable dyes. Look beautiful while knowing that your purchase supports the Shambhal and Amroha communities, and is vital to preserving traditional Indian artistry.
Fully adjustable. Fits all Wrists.1 ¾" high

3. Recycle Christmas cards from last year by cutting out the pictures and making gift bag tags, or making a collage on recycled paper for a new card. This is such a cute way to personalize your gifts and its inexpensive!
So, enjoy the holidays and feel good about the gifts that you give, without getting yourself into hock.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Flu Shot and Yogi Tea

Today I had my very first flu shot.  I've always been wary of unnecessary vaccinations and have avoided getting my yearly free shot.  However, last January I go the flu.  I've had it twice in my lifetime and pray that it will never happen again each time.  So today, as my coworkers began lining up I thought, "Why not"?  First, I was surprised at the amount of pain one little shot could cause when injected into your shoulder.  (Why don't they put it in a meatier spot I wondered to myself).  Then within hours I began to develop a headache, sore throat, fever, and aches.  My body appears to be reacting to something, hopefully my immune system will win.  To combat the virus I made a very healthy dinner including citrus glazed carrots and wild rice.  That'll show 'em who's boss.  I did a little research on the flu shot and it turns out that I was right to avoid it after all. Only three strains are used, which were guessed at my researches many, many moons ago.  It's level of effecitiveness isn't great even if you do get the exact strain covered by the immunization. So in short, its a lot of discomfort for no reward.  Not to mention that they put all kinds of bad things in those shots and I'm not talking about the virus either.  So to ease my achiness and fight off whatever is bearing down on my immune system I stopped at the store and picked up some yogi tea.  Their immunity tea has everything except the kitchen sink (including echniacea) and is quite tasty.  It was not very expensive, readily available, and full of good things.  I'll keep you posted on my battle with the bug. 

Here is some information on the tea I am drinking (on the website you can click the links to learn more about the herbs and their uses:
Echinacea Immune Support 
Tea for your body – Defense

Our blend of astragalus, elderberry and several species of echinacea can strengthen your defenses by stimulating production of immune system proteins. We complement this wellness formula with lively lemongrass and peppermint to help promote clear breathing while adding a fragrant essence and exquisite taste. It is sure to become an all-season favorite!*

When your immune system needs support, drink 2 to 3 cups per day. For a stronger effect, use 2 tea bags. For increased immune stimulation, drink up to 5 cups per day.*


Organic Peppermint LeafOrganic LemongrassOrganic Echinacea Root (Angustifolia, Purpurea, Pallida), Organic Cinnamon BarkOrganic Licorice RootOrganic Spearmint Leaf,Organic Fennel SeedOrganic Lemon FlavorOrganic Cardamom SeedEchinacea Purpurea Root Extract (Phenols 12%), Organic Rose HipOrganic Ginger RootOrganic 
Burdock Root
Organic Clove BudOrganic Mullein LeafStevia LeafOrganic Black PepperAstragalus Root ExtractEuropean Elderberry Extract (Anthocyanins 30%), Natural Cinnamon Oil,Natural Cardamom OilNatural Ginger Oil

Chronicling my adventures in proving that less is more. I'll learn to refashion/recycle clothes, prepare gourmet meals using as many natural/basic/raw ingredients as possible. I'll learn to spend less, live more, and reclaim those things that are truly valuable in my life.


Below are feeds from websites that I find to be interesting and from a similar vein.


craigslist | free stuff in baltimore

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