Tag Archives: tips

Rags to Riches

What to do with those old, worn-out gym clothes? You don’t want to toss them, but they’ve reached the point where they definitely aren’t cute enough to wear to your favorite kickboxing or AntiGravity Yoga (yes, that’s a real class offered at my gym!) class? And you certainly can’t donate them to Goodwill – let’s be honest, no one wants your pit-stained tees.

I recently found myself with a stack of politically incorrect tank tops that had seen way, way better days. Instead of tossing them in the garbage where they’d be sure to make their way to Landfill Access Road*, I decided to throw them under the sink and use ’em to clean my always slightly dingy kitchen floor. Seriously, who puts white tile in a kitchen? This might not be breaking news to those of you whose moms did the same with their dad’s old t-shirts, but I was pretty excited when this repurposing idea crossed my mind. Just wash your clothes-turned-rags first (obviously!), add a little soapy water, put on your cleanin’ clothes and your favorite Pandora station, and start scrubbin’ away. Sometimes I even go barefoot, throw a shirt under each foot and slip-slide my way to clean. I’m loving this method – my floor ends up way cleaner than when I use a mop. Besides, is it just me, or are mops totally bs? I feel like I’m just pushing wet dirty puddles around. I think I might be missing the cleaning gene.

*My sister and I, who drive by this freeway exit often, have a long-standing joke that this would be the worst street address ever.

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Top 10 Eco-Friendly Ways to Spend $10 Instead of Seeing Leap Year

Over the weekend, I saw Leap Year. Don’t ask my why. It was easily one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, an actually painful experience. Terribly written, poorly acted, and without one single likable character. Predictable to the point of ridiculousness – and I love a good, silly chick flick. Hell, I even like The Sweetest Thing and thought Aquamarine was cute. I am clearly no movie snob, but this was simply bad, bad, bad. I think the NY Times said it best: Leap Year is “so singularly dispiriting … bad without distinction — so witless, charmless and unimaginative that it can be described as a movie only in a strictly technical sense.”

In my pretty green opinion, Leap Year wasn’t worth the energy used to project the movie on the big screen, to print your movie ticket, or to manufacture Amy Adams’ ridiculous and annoyingly impractical “even-Carrie-Bradshaw-wouldn’t-wear-those” shoes. I’d say you’d be better off throwing away or burning your money, but that wouldn’t be so green, now would it? Instead, I present you with 10 eco-friendly alternatives to wasting your money on this truly terrible film. With $10, you could:

1. Buy a spare Envirosax or Baggu so you always have a reusable bag in your purse. I recommend always having two with you!

2. Get a set of stainless steel straws. I love straws, hate plastic. These will keep your whites pearly, no plastic required!

3. Buy an actually watchable chick flick or two on half.com. Used DVDs at amazing prices (as low as 75 cents for the less popular flicks), shipped cheaply via Media Mail. I have a rule that I’m only allowed to purchase ones coming from CA, and the closer the better. There are usually multiple sellers and states available per movie, so you should hopefully be able to find one close by. My picks: Clueless, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Troop Beverly Hills, See Jane Date, In Her Shoes, Waitress, John Tucker Must Die, and, yes, The Sweetest Thing*

4. Order some natural, non-GMO popcorn to eat while watching chosen watchable chick flick. Yes, you can make it on the stove.

5. Buy a local artisan food product you’ve been hesitant to shell out for. I have my eye on several at my local farmers market!

6. Upgrade a beauty product . Yes, eco-friendly beauty products can be a bit pricey, but you and your skin are worth it. Take that $10 and upgrade your usual to something organic or local or sulfate- and paraben-free.

7. See Up in the Air instead. That George Clooney sure is dreamy.

8. Surprise a friend with cupcakes for no reason. Splurge on organic ingredients and bake ‘em yourself, or find a great local bakery. Everyone likes cupcakes. If you don’t, I don’t think we can be friends.

9. Buy some 100% post-consumer recycled toilet paper. Yes, buying toilet paper is infinitely more fun, and probably less embarrassing, than seeing this movie. I like the Seventh Generation brand. But don’t buy the Trader Joe’s kind. It’s terrible.

10. Have a drink. You can probably afford two if you don’t live in San Francisco. In a real glass, no straw (or bring your own stainless – see Point 2). Hold the cocktail napkin. Preferably made with local-to-you spirits, hops or grapes. You won’t need one as badly as I did after seeing this movie, but please, have one for me.

*I apologize in advance. I don’t know why I like this movie, but I do.

What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen? What would you spend $10 on instead – something on this list, or something else?

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Put a Cork in It

It being your compost bin.

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I moved a few weeks ago, and as I was cleaning out my drawers, I found a ton of corks. Not sure what I was saving them for, but after a little research, I realized they are totally compostable! Since cork is made of tree bark, it’s perfectly ok to throw it in your green bin (if you have one – man, I love San Francisco!) or compost pile. Pretty cool, right?

While you’re at it, check out this list 11 Unusual Things You Can Compost. While recycling is much better than throwing things in the garbage, most of what we recycle gets sent overseas. Composting your paper towels, egg cartons and cotton swabs is a great solution. If you don’t want to start your own compost pile (totally understandable!), check with your city to see if they have a municipal composting program, or contact your local officials and say you want one!

I heart wine.
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Do you compost? Would you like to if you could? Do you have any questions about composting for my sister, a gardening/composting expert?

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Pretty Green Tip: Plastic Bag Rehab

No, I’m not talking about these super cute bags (though, yes, super cute). I’m talking about what to do when somehow, against your wishes, a plastic bag makes its way into your life.

Occasionally my CSA will give me produce in the dreaded plastic bags (though I hear they are switching to biodegradable ones!), and though I try to never, ever use them myself at the grocery store, I make one exception: spicy foods. When I’m buying something capsaicin-ful (heh), like the jalapenos I picked up for a mango-cucumber salsa last week, I will admit to dropping it in a plastic bag instead of my usual mesh and canvas ones. But instead of grabbing a new bag at the store, I bring a used one from home – and you can, too!

Here’s what I do: turn the bag inside out and scrub it with a sponge and some eco-friendly dish soap. Rinse, and set it to dry on a little plastic bag drying station made of a yogurt tub or big bowl, and a set of tongs. Simple as can be! Most bags can get at least a few uses out of them, provided there’s no mold or anything like that. Keep bags out of the landfils – reduce and reuse!

Side note: Does it drive anyone else crazy when you see someone bagging bananas or a single apple? They’ll be fine on the conveyor belt, people, I promise!

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Do you reuse plastic bags? What have you creatively repurposed?

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Bright & Thrifty

Despite the fact that this Maggy London dress I bought to wear to my friend’s wedding last weekend cost only $30 at Crossroads, had a bad stitch that caused it to bunch all funny and not hang right, the fact that the zipper broke between the ceremony and reception, and several other corset-related mishaps that I don’t really need to go into on this blog, I have never gotten so many compliments on a dress, ever. People actually stopped me on the street to compliment me. So, if you’re looking for a fun dress to wear to an upcoming event, I say keep it simple and cheap with a fun, brightly-colored, previously-been-owned (that sounds a lot cuter than used, no?) dress. I guarantee you’ll get lots of compliments on your bold frock! By the way, the bride’s cousin introduced me to my new favorite phrase at the wedding – we’re frocked up! Love it.

If you don’t have a great thrift shop near you, eBay is the place to shop! True, it’s not quite like trying something on in the store, but if you generally know what size you wear, shopping online is a great way to find gorgeous, cheap pre-owned clothes. Plus, you might save so much that a little tailoring wouldn’t be out of the question if your item isn’t quite a perfect fit when it shows up. Or you could just hope that no one notices a few imperfections – hey, it worked for me!

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When searching on eBay for fun party dresses, I enter terms like “BGBG dress,” “Anthropologie dress,” or “Maggy London dress” and then refine my search with the sizes I’m looking for. You can also enter just the brand name, like “FCUK” or “Tracy Reese” and then click on women’s clothing, then dresses. Next, I specify (on the menus on the left-hand side of the screen) that I’m looking for something “pre-owned” or “used.” “New” and “new w/o tags” may also bring up what you’re looking for, but there are a lot of resellers on eBay, which I feel kind of defeats the purpose of buying used. I always check seller’s other items to see if they are clearly a reseller before deciding on a purchase. You can refine your search by color, if you’re looking for something specific, like a fun bright yellow dress or a pretty blue one, like I’m seeking for my roommate’s upcoming wedding, length and more. I prefer to search by brand name as opposed to just “blue dresses,” because I find a lot of strange things come up with more general searches, like “club wear” and floral denim dresses. Not quite the look I’m going for!

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I bet this cost a lot more than $30 at Nordstrom!

Happy shopping!

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Whole Savings

I love shopping at Whole Foods, but they don’t call it Whole Paycheck for nothing. While I totally believe that you get what you pay for, and think it’s worth paying more for SOLE foods (sustainable, oganic, local, ethical – just heard that term and I love it!), shopping for these kinds of groceries can definitely add up!

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Enter the Whole Deal, the Whole Foods newsletter, filled with discounts on some of the great products that Whole Foods carries. I just picked up the June/July issue which has tons of great coupons, including $1 off Barbara’s Bakery Puffins, 50 cents off Zbars, 50 cents off MOJO bars, 50 cents of Luna Cookies, $1 off Rice Dream/Soy Dream, $1 off Kashi GoLean Crunch, $1 off any Green & Blacks product, $1 off Kashi TLC crackers (a KERF favorite!), and more! Sure, many of these products are packaged, but they’re mostly healthy and organic, and you might as well save a few bucks if you’re going to buy them anyway!

I’ll ignore the coupon for $1 off Fiji Water. You don’t need bottled water from Fiji, people! I don’t care how cute the bottle is. Siggs are cuter. 😉

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the Whole Deal is also filled with recipes, meal plans, tips for discounts in the store and more. I definitely recommend you pick one up next time you’re at Whole Foods, so you don’t spend your whole paycheck! Just make sure you recycle it or reuse the paper when you’re done!

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This Is What Happens…

When you already used the Baggu you keep in your purse earlier in the day.

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No, sir, I would NOT like a bag! I’ll shove everything in my super cute Bungalow 360 purse, thank you very much! It’s easy to say no to a bag when you get in the habit – so make it a habit!

I actually was trying to avoid the grocery store this week, as I’m going to San Diego tomorrow – woo! – but all the Whole Foods in SF are donating 5% of profits today to La Cocina, an incubator kitchen that provides commercial space to low-income entrepreneurs. How cool is that!? I heard about it via Twitter, and was especially excited because earlier this week I won the Neo Cocoa contest through eating/sf and Foodzie, and it turns out that Christine of Neo Cocoa works out of La Cocina. It’s a small world! Actually, it gets even smaller – turns out my good friend Paige is friends with Kasey of eating/sf and we’ve actually met before. I love San Francisco, and the blog world! Anyway, I’m so excited to have won the contest and to be able to support La Cocina. I’m picking up the truffles next week (no need to ship – yay for local products and smaller carboon footprints!) and can’t wait to get them and blog about them – how amazing do these look? I’m drooling in anticipation!

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