To Reduce: to diminish in size, amount, extent, or number
I am beginning my series on Greening Your life today, in honor of what I think is a profoundly dumb idea: Earth Hour. According to the official website, today "hundreds of millions of people around the world will come together to call for action on climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour."
Now, I'll leave it up to you to debate the merits of climate change and sitting in the dark for an hour. I want to share 3 things you can reduce that will have a positive impact on your life and help you be a better steward of your time, talents, and our precious resources.
These are things I am actually trying to do in my life. Hopefully you can find one or two ideas that you can use!
Reduce Paper Clutter
4 ideas from housekeeping.about.com
(for more ideas, click on the link)
- Automate - Set up online bill pay or automatic payments. Turn off your paper statements.
- Contain the Memories - Give each family member a container for storing artwork, birthday cards, etc. When the container is full, they have to decide which stuff to keep and which stuff to give away.
- Evaluate Your Subscriptions - In addition to cutting down on unnecessary catalogs and magazines, you can have your name removed from junk mailing lists. For more information, visit newdream.org.
- Get Rid of Receipt Mania - You don't need a receipt for everything. If you have the option and the purchase doesn't need to be documented for tax purposes, opt for no receipt.
Reduce Unnecessary Debt
There are many blogs dedicated exclusively to this topic and considering that I still have much progress to make in this area, I'll keep my comments brief.
I know from personal experience the freedom that comes from being debt free. If you have a desire to change your financial future, a great place to start would be with Dave Ramsey. I listen to his free podcasts. His book, The Total Money Makeover, is also excellent.
Tips from helpguide.org
- Learn to say "no"
- Take control of your environment
- Limit your to do list
- Express your feelings instead of bottling them up
- Be willing to compromise
- Be more assertive about things that are important to you
- Manage your time better
- Look at the big picture
- Focus on the positive
- Learn to forgive
- Indigo - Read: "denim." Maybe this will be my excuse to get that cute denim jacket I've always wanted.
- Sophisticated Tie-Dye - This one definitely takes me out of my comfort zone, but I'm excited to try it.
- Safari Inspired
- Military Coat
- Polka Dot - I'm thinking of something simple and classy, like this dress from Ralph Lauren.
- Yellow - I must have subconsciously picked up this trend, because my recent Plato's Closet haul includes two really cute yellow pieces. A major development, because I have yet to wear this color successfully!
- Hot Pants - Um, do I have to explain?
- Feather Skirts - "Hello gorgeous! Ten bucks says you'll hear that greeting every time you walk into a room with a kicky little number like this on." - Stylelist.com. Really? On what planet?
- Silver and Gold - I just can't do these in fabric.
- Sequined Tops - If you want to look like you're clubbing, that's fine. My inner librarian rebels!
- Nude - No, this trend doesn't involve walking around naked. Beige, light pink, and caramel are the 'colors' of the season. Let's also include other "neutral" trend colors: grey and khaki. Now, I can't pull off this color, but some can.
- Fold over Neckline - Cute, but I don't think I'll dare
- Monotone Look - Ditto
- Boyfriend Blazer - I try to stay away from anything that looks like my mom wore it in the 90s. Kim wears it well in the pic below, though.
- Novelty Prints - If you were born within a decade of me, think of something you wore in grade school with a shooting star motif
- Sign up and pay for the Utah Valley 5k
- Enlist my sister and as many people as possible to run with me
- Tell you all about it so I can't back out.
"Amaranth was used in several Aztec ceremonies, where images of their gods (notably Huitzilopochtli) were made with amaranth mixed with honey. The images were cut to be eaten by the people."
Eating Amaranth and Quinoa
I've been seeing a lot of these appliqued onesies lately and can't wait to get my hands on some for Ethan before he's too big.
This adorable little book is about an owl who wants to go to bed, but his parents make him stay up late like a good little owl. Cute twist on the regular goodnight book.
Dan and I feel very strongly about plastic toys. For several reasons, we don't like them and we don't want our children to have them. The idea of my sweet little baby playing with unnatural objects just doesn't sit right with me. That said, Ethan has plastic toys, most of which were given to us. In an ideal world, we would be rich enough to buy a few beautiful wooden and cloth toys. (We also feel strongly about kids having too much stuff) As I look forward to that day, here are some beautifully crafted toys from one of the most delightful websites, Bella Luna Toys.
I love decorating even though I've never really done it in real life. In my imagination I have a house I call my "Someday House," and I have it decorated just the way I like things. Simple, cozy, and warm. When I saw these pictures on one of my favorite blogs, Tutus and Turtles, I instantly fell in love. How perfect for a little boys room! Who wouldn't want a tent in their room? If you want to see the rest of the house, click here.
Last week while visiting our local ritzy supermarket, (Cleverly named "The Store") I found a line of red teas boasting different health properties. Now, I love tea. I especially love Rooibos (Red Tea) which is from South Africa, is naturally caffeine, and full of antioxidants. Plus, the cool cans these teas come in totally win me over. I am a sucker for slick packaging.
Anyway, I picked this tea, "Get Gorgeous," which boasts to help improve your skin's appearance by virtue of the antioxidants. After I bought it I went on line and looked up some reviews on this amazing tea blog, The Tea Scoop. The author didn't like the taste because it was too fruity (good for me, that's the way I like my tea!), but there were multiple comments posted that verified the company's claims. So, I am looking forward to this little experiment and I'll let you know how it goes. So far I think this is a delicious tea that I would drink even if it does nothing for my poor skin.
The company that makes this, The Republic of Tea, is truly amazing with a vast array of different flavors. You should check them out!
If you read my previous post, you will know I recently found a lot of cool new things from my friends.
One of Dacia's favorite things she shared was the CUTEST sock monkeys that she makes for friends. Dacia made one for Ethan and it was the only stuffed animal he liked for the longest time and is still his favorite. The above monkey is not one of hers, but is similar.
So, after a little web research and tons of cuter than cute ideas, I am just itching to make my own. Of course, being Michelle, I would need to buy a book. Because there is a book for everything. This is the book I want:
Oh, my gosh! Doesn't that little dog just kill you?!
But, I must hold my breath on this one. You see, dear reader, I already have enough crafty projects for one little Michelle to handle at the moment. For now I will just dream in socks!
If you are interested in making your very own adorable creation, you can see a step by step tutorial by visiting THIS WEBSITE or a simple overview on THIS WEBSITE.
For those of my dear readers who have never had the privilege of attending a Favorite Things Party, let me enlighten you. Here is my recipe for a delightful event:
- Select the perfect night, preferably in January or February.
- Invite 14 of your most favorite girl friends in the whole wide world. (Keep in mind that 10 of them will say they are coming, and 7 will show up)
- Instruct each friend to make a list of at least 10 of their favorite things from the previous year. These things should be specific (like a favorite movie, restaurant, store, book, game, website, health/beauty product, etc). The point is to share things you love and learn about cool things that your friends like. Your friends should bring as many items as possible and practical for show and tell.
- Each friend should bring one item that they can share with everyone. (Like bringing everyone a copy of the menu for your favorite restaurant or a piece of your favorite candy) These things should be small and inexpensive - just cute little treasures to take home.
- Each friend should bring a favorite food along with a copy of the recipe for each guest. (Yum ... this is always a highlight!)
- Welcome your friends to your home and bask in the excitement and camaraderie of sharing favorite things! Each guest should take time to explain their list and hand out their goodies.
We have found that this party works best for groups that either know each other well (our little military community, or a family, for instance) or are very outgoing.
Stay tuned for future posts in which I share some of the favorite things I discovered!