Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Green Black Friday (Without the Preachiness)

Since Black Friday is approaching, I've been kicking around a few suggestions about how to "green" Black Friday shopping without sounding preachy. Yes, many love to shop on Black Friday. I get it - I've done it too and got some great bargains. Here are some things to think about before you venture out:

  • Treat your home to Energy Star appliances
    If you can get them at a locally owned appliance store, that's even better.

  • Bring reusable bags
    Check out the huge and convenient IKEA shopping bags for 59 cents and use them during your shopping spree. I've got 3 of these and have used them over and over again.

  • Shop locally
    If you usually shop at big box stores, try at least one stop at a locally owned store. You will likely be amazed at the selection that you can't get in any big box location.

    Some of my Twin Cities local favorites are: Patina, Nokomis Shoes, Bibelot, Electric Fetus, Cooks of Crocus Hill and Creative Kids Stuff. Be sure to check their sites - some have online deals if you can't shop in person.

  • Look for local discounts
    Check out sprout.mn for Twin Cities local merchant & green money-saving deals before you head out.

  • Buy consignment & reused
    Turn Style and Half Price Books are great places to browse and pick up something for yourself too.

  • Skip the drive-through
    Eat at at a locally owned restaurant after you've shopped. Buy some gift certificates for your friends and family if you like the place.

  • Buy original art as gifts
    Artists will appreciate your business and you'll give something unique to the person who has everything.

  • Give the gift of a cultural experience
    A gift certificate to a world cuisine restaurant or tickets to a cultural event that heightens your interest. If you don't know where to start, check out event schedules from local colleges and universities.

  • Invest in rechargable batteries
    We haven't done this yet...it might be the right year!

  • Order online
    My favorite way to shop - saves gas and time. FedEx & UPS know the most fuel efficient routes - much better than we do.

  • Think about last year
    How did you handle Black Friday last year? Did you like your choices? Or did it make you want to cringe? Remember what you liked and didn't like and set some green improvement goals. Here are some thoughts from last year's shopping.
Last and most importantly - if you dare to go shopping this Friday:
  • Be kind to others
  • Be polite to the store staff, and
  • Give a smile to those around you.
All those sappy things. A little kindness goes a long way.

And hopefully that last bit of advice wasn't too preachy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Two Simple Foods

I got to try 2 simple foods I've never had before until this weekend:
  • Urban Eggs (straight from the hen - no middle man)
  • Juice with Pomegranate & Acai
Urban Eggs:
Now THIS is local food. My co-worker raises hens - in the city. Lucky for me and other fortunate office-mates , she brought some eggs from her backyard hens.

The eggs were delicious - bright orange yolks and very fresh. Plus - such pretty colors!

Interested in raising hens? There are lots of on-line resources for raising hens, and co-ops hold seminars to get more in-depth urban chicken information. Did you know? Martha Stewart has been raising hens for a long time!

Juice with Pomegranate & Acai
I've had pomegranate juice before, but never with the much touted acai berry. The Lakewood Pomegranate with Acai juice was an impulse buy from my local co-op. Positioned on the end cap, ripe for impulse buying. It's organic, lots of vitamin C, has anti-oxidants, and it's 100% juice. It even has Omega oils. That's a lot for one modest size bottle of juice. The taste is sweet and a little tart. The texture - full bodied and thick. A great impulse buy. Amazon sells a 6 pack case if you're really into it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Free Font: Ecofont

I love free fonts. Luckily, I recently ran across this free font called Ecofont. A Dutch design firm called SPRANQ designed it and claim it uses up to 20% less ink than typical fonts.

Per the example above, you can see the holes in a larger font. But when it's reduced, you can't see the holes. It has the same effect when you print. Most people print at a 9 or 10 point font; when you use Ecofont you won't notice a difference in legibility.

Some technical notes for those that are curious- the site says:
The Ecofont works best in OpenOffice, AppleWorks and MS Office 2007. Printing with a laser printer will give the best printing results.

And if you combine Ecofont with printing on both sides of the paper, woah! It's blowing my mind how you can make necessary printing more eco-friendly!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hair Donation Update

It's hair donation check in time! Yep - these kinds of self-portraits-in-the-bathroom-mirror are pretty ridiculous. I completely agree.

I'm still growing out my hair for donation (Pantene Beautiful Lengths or Locks of Love) and recording the progress. But it seems like the growth has stalled - thus the dismayed look (hmm....)

It doesn't look much longer than this one in July 2009. But longer than this one in November 2008. So - almost 1 year. Not quite there.

Maybe the colder weather is causing the slow down? I'll keep going. It has to start growing again at some point!

I admire all of you that have attempted and succeeded in a hair donation!