Dec 11, 2011

taking a leave of absence

hi all,

as you may have noticed, i'm not really posting anything these days. for awhile, i was thinking about completing closing up shop on all of my interwebs ventures, but i think i will be back in the new year. i need to take some time to think about what i want this blog to be, what i want my etsy shop to be, etc., etc.

have a lovely, lovely holiday, and i will see you sometime in the new year!


Nov 23, 2011

a change of pace

image via fossil

i feel like i only just barely survived, but i finally made it to thanksgiving break. you may have noticed that i haven't posted a new week's worth of goals for project yoga. i've come to the end of the yogic do's, and i think i'm going to take a break and let that stuff germinate for a bit before i move on to the yoga don'ts. especially with the holidays around the corner, i think i'd like to take a break from emotionally-heavy projects and do something a bit more festive and frivolous.

image via fossil

and so i am pleased to announce that i am going to take another stab at the 30-for-30 challenge from kendi everyday. my interest in personal style blogs had been waning, until i saw kendi's 30-for-30 lookbook for fossil. i love fossil enough as it is, but pair their gorgeous clothes and accessories with kendi's cute style, and you have a match made in my kind of sartorial heaven. my favorite looks are pictured here.

image via fossil

i will officially start the challenge on black friday. seems like a good day to start a challenge that focuses on doing more with less, right? kendi has broadened the challenge to be more of a start-whenever-you-want, play-by-your-own-rules kind of thing, so here's how i will structure my challenge:

  1. my 30 pieces are clothing only--they do not include shoes, socks, tights, or accessories of any kind. i can wear as many of those as i want.
  2. during the 30 days of the challenge, i will not buy anything new (clothing or accessories).
  3. the challenge will start black friday and end on christmas eve.
  4. yoga clothes don't count, as long as i actually do yoga at some point while i am wearing them.
  5. my list doesn't include outerwear, so i can wear whichever coat is most appropriate for the weather.

image via fossil

Nov 15, 2011

project yoga: surrender

this week is going to be light on posting... i'm in survival mode until thanksgiving break. luckily, this week is all about surrendering to the things you cannot change. it's nice to be able to challenge yourself with letting go when you're too exhausted to hold on to much :)

Nov 7, 2011

project yoga: self-study

image via

this week is all about reflection. in a way, this is kind of a tough one to force into a week of intensive study, especially since i've been pretty reflective and introspective throughout this whole endeavor. i'm pretty aware of my particular suite of neuroses, and i've been doing some journaling as other aspects of this project have brought them out. frankly, i feel like this week is more personal than the others so far, and i don't really want to splash my deeply personal business all over my blog. that said, my to-do list for this week will just be to keep doing what i've been doing and get caught up on unfinished goals from previous weeks.

Oct 31, 2011

project yoga: austerity

image via ill seen and said

remember how a couple weeks ago i said i was totally disgusted by the volume of stuff cluttering up my apartment? well, i couldn't have set this week up any better if i had tried. this week is all about austerity, which, to me, first and foremost means not being materialistic. since i do have an interest in design, style, fashion, etc., i tend to interpret this more as only keeping things around that are 'just right,' and letting go of the 'so-so.' nothing exemplifies that idea of having one perfect sweater, perfume, coffee mug than ill seen, ill said's sunday best posts. jane just nails it right on the head every week, and her posts will definitely be a source of inspiration as i declutter this week.

image via ill seen, ill said

according to 'hip tranquil chick,' austerity also means maintaining self-discipline to achieve personal goals. the obvious thing to do first is analyze what i have laying around my apartment and purge, purge, purge. i'm also going to pick a couple goals to focus on to practice a little self-discipline. the end is in sight for paying off my debt, but i will have to stay the course in order to do it as soon as possible. that will be goal #1. lately, i've been thinking more and more about getting things going again with my etsy shop, so reentering the world of crafty e-commerce will be goal #2.

image via ill seen, ill said

austere 'to do's':
  • go through all areas of my apartment, keep what i need and/or love, and let go of the rest. for inspiration and guidance, keep the following quote from the shakers in mind: 'don't make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don't hesitate to make it beautiful.'
  • stay the course with the spending hiatus. freeing up money to put to those last few payments is the easiest way to be debt-free.
  • re-list items i haven't yet sold in my etsy shop.
  • brainstorm and/or make new items for my etsy shop.
  • boost motivation by giving the shop a fresh look with a new banner and avatar.
  • actually do some on-the-mat yoga. that's what kicked off this whole project, and yet it went onto the back burner basically the minute i started this project.

what are your thoughts on austerity? any goals that could use a little more focused self-discipline? considering doing some 'fall cleaning' yourself?

p.s. happy halloween!

Oct 30, 2011

project yoga: end of week report

the past couple weeks have been a total killer work-wise (hence the lack of posting), but i think i did manage to luck my way into feeling more content. the key, it turns out is not constructively venting and strategizing about the sources of my discontent, it's just doing stuff that makes me forget all the crap and feel content in the moment: sitting in a coffee shop reading a craft magazine and drinking tea. wandering through the natural foods co-op and/or the farmers' market. spending an afternoon crafting. another key seems to be doing stuff that i might not enjoy per se, but that is critical for feeling sane: getting a chunk of work for school done. cleaning my apartment.

so anyway, i am feeling much better. i am going to assume that another part of my success this week was sticking reasonably closely to a spending hiatus, and maybe that will help me keep it going past this week.

pictured are some of my halloween decorations. how are you decorating? are you doing anything special tomorrow night?

p.s. for those keeping track, my halloween projects are numbers 20-22. two months left, and i have 30 more projects to post to complete my 52 weeks, 52 projects challenge.

Oct 19, 2011

midweek check-in

image via words imagined

if anything, i am feeling less content at work than ever, and some interesting things are coming out of it. whenever i am really unhappy at work, i always get the urge to make my home life as comfortable, enjoyable, and unlike work as possible. this often leads toward making positive changes, like doing a better job of keeping my space clutter-free, taking yoga classes, and taking some time every day to relax and do nothing. this time around, it has manifested itself as an urge to purge. suddenly my full closet and piles of books and magazines are anathema to me. at my heart, i don't feel like someone who values possessions so very highly, but walk through my apartment and you'll find all of the trappings of conspicuous consumerism.

so here's a thought: is living authentically the key to true contentment? if you determine what you value most and use those values to drive your decisions, will you become more satisfied with your life than someone not as self-aware? as always, i'd love to hear your thoughts.

Oct 17, 2011

project yoga: contentment

image via

this is a pretty timely one for me: i've been feeling the opposite of content with some issues at work, and i've always been someone who looks ahead to the next thing. i read about a study awhile ago that suggests that democrats tend to have high attraction to novelty, and republicans have a high attraction to what they know. don't worry; i'm not about to launch into a political rant here, but i do happen to be quite liberal, and i do happen to have a strong taste for novelty. unfortunately, that strong taste for novelty can sometimes lead to never really feeling satisfied. this is definitely something for me to work on.

image via

'to do's' for feeling more content at work:
  • accept what i can and cannot change.
  • instead of venting, ask for advice or write the venting down. a lot of times, writing about issues in a journal makes things much more clear for me than trying to talk them out.
  • look for yoga sequences designed to help increase feelings of contentment, stability, or rootedness. it will be easier to feel content at work if i don't feel like every little thing going on outside my classroom rocks what goes on inside my classroom.

'to do's' for feeling more content with my stuff:
  • do laundry more often. sometimes i forget what i have when clothes start piling up in the laundry bag.
  • hem pants and do other repairs so that i can actually wear everything that's hanging in my closet.
  • use the things i have: cook a meal with a piece of cookware i don't frequently use. read a book that's been collecting dust on my bookshelf. start a new craft project using materials i already have.
  • do a mini spending hiatus. don't buy anything this week unless it is a true necessity.
  • avoid things that make me want new stuff: some magazines, online shops, some blogs.

image via

why all the pictures of sleeping kittens? because i can't think of anything that better symbolizes contentment.

what makes you feel content? do you have any tips for dealing with people who actively spread discontent?

Oct 16, 2011

project yoga: end of week report

i started writing a post about how i didn't really achieve many of my goals for this week, but then i looked back at my list, and i didn't do so badly after all. i did do some cleaning, i did bits and pieces of yoga journal's fall detox, and i drank a lot of green juice. i avoiding plastic and styrofoam, i culled some of products from my bathroom, and i drank an herbal detox tea instead of my usual caffeinated green tea. i (mostly) ate good foods, and, when i went to floyd with my mom yesterday, i came back with things that are either local, sustainable, or both.

i have today to finish up my week of increasing purity and plan next week's focus and goals. i plan to finish cleaning my apartment and clear the decks for week 2. week 2 of project yoga is all about contentment, which i'll talk more about tomorrow. for now, i will share what i got out of a week of purity:

  • less irritation: it's nice to come home to an apartment where there are clean glasses and spoons.
  • less severe allergy symptoms: i pretty much had a headache all day every day, but i think using my neti pot made the headaches a bearable level instead of a debilitating level. living in texas made me forget that i am apparently allergic to everything in virginia.
  • ideas of where to go next: the new magical heartburn medicine i'd been trying totally lost its luster this week, and i feel like i'm back to square one on the GERD front. i keep seeing articles that mention the alkalizing properties of green juice, and it's true that it's one of the few things i can stomach when the acid is out of control. i should probably have a portion of my paychecks deducted and sent directly to naked juice in exchange for cases of green machine. i've seen some books floating around at places like whole foods about the alkaline diet, and i know that it's totally unscientifically supported, but i'm going to learn more about it. i'm not trying to lose weight or cure allergies, and i'm not at all concerned about the pH of my blood. promising to cure all of your ills and scaring you about the pH of your blood and what it means are the things that have given the alkaline diet the label of quackery. i'm not interested in any of those things. what i am interested in is the pH in my stomach. if i am constantly churning out excess amounts of acid naturally, i really don't need to contribute to that with what i'm eating. if traditional medicine isn't going to do much for me, maybe changing my diet will.

pictured above, some tools for detox and purity: squirt-bottle-style neti pot and salt packets, multivitamins, calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, fish oil, fiber, badger yoga and meditation balm, yogi berry detox tea, lavender soy candle to light while practicing yoga or meditating, naked juice green machine

Oct 10, 2011

project yoga: purity

image via kelleher international

it is week 1 of project yoga, and i am feeling good. i read about yoga journal's 21-day challenge way back in january or february, and, since then, i've been very curious about how spending weeks focused on yoga might alter my perspective. 10 weeks is quite a bit longer than 3, but that's just more reason to believe that this experience will stick with me for awhile.

image via whole living

let's get started! the first of the niyamas, or yogic do's, is purity. purity means a few major things: clutter-free, tranquil space to live and work in, being mindful of what you put on or in your body, and making choices and taking actions ethically. it's hard to retain purity of spirit if most of your actions are of the self-serving, back-stabbing variety or if you spend your days chugging coffee and your nights downing alcohol.

image via whole living

here is my 'to do' list for this week:
  • declutter and clean my apartment.
  • buy healthy foods to eat through the week that reduce chemical exposure, environmental impact, and human impact.
  • avoid excess caffeine, excess sugar, and fake, processed foods.
  • avoid plastic and styrofoam.
  • take my vitamins.
  • do some restorative and/or detoxifying yoga sequences.
  • go through my toiletries and makeup, and determine ways to lesson chemical exposure, environmental impact, and human impact.

image via whole living

i hope to check in with you guys on my progress throughout the week. in the meantime, what are you going to do to add purity to your life?

Oct 9, 2011

a new plan

image via yoga austin

last week, i found myself doing a lot of yoga, feeling like i needed to do a lot of yoga, and feeling way less stressed as a result of all the yoga. whenever i find myself on a big yoga kick, there are a couple things that happen: i get the urge to buy new yoga clothes (which i have so far squelched), and i re-read my yoga books. hardcore yogis and yoginis might cringe at this, but my favorite yoga book is 'hip tranquil chick' by kimberly wilson. it's pink and very cutesy, but if you can look past all of the fluff and gratuitous use of french words, there's a lot of good stuff at the heart of the book. the book seems a little silly on the surface, but i think it really delivers on the promise held in its subtitle, 'a guide to life on and off the mat.' wilson goes through critical sections of the yoga sutra, and she explains how ancient teachings are directly applicable to the average 20- or 30-something woman's life. kimberly wilson's average woman happens to be analogous to glamour magazine's average woman (emphasis on girly stuff like shopping, mani-pedis, etc.), but i think any woman looking to live a more intentional and meaningful life can relate.

image via

one of the first things in 'hip tranquil chick' is a list of the 5 niyamas (do's) and the 5 yamas (don'ts). as i was reading them for the other day, i started thinking, 'hm... i could focus on one of the niyamas or yamas each week, and make a list of related tasks to accomplish to better align my life with those ideals. i want to get back into blogging... maybe this would be a good thing to blog about...' if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that i'm not great at following through with the great, grandiose plans that i hatch. however, i think that, in this case, falling short of my lofty goals will just mean that i spent a little bit less time doing something positive than i would have liked. meeting any of my goals at all will be a step in a positive direction.

image via

anyone want to follow along with me? i'll be posting my intentions and actions for the week each monday. if you're interested, let me know! i would love to have some 'project yoga' buddies!

Sep 30, 2011

a kellymagelli retraction

so it seems that ron clark is most definitely still in the classroom. he teaches, shockingly enough, at the ron clark academy in atlanta. "the end of molasses classes" is good enough and inspiring enough that i teared up multiple times while reading and waiting for my highlights to process at my salon. yes, this book made me cry in public, which is a pretty serious endorsement. i got all fired up about the possibility of going to an RCA training, but they are hella expensive. i'll just to stick with the books for now.

Sep 23, 2011

ron clark, richard dawkins, and a wake-up call.

image via

i went to the mall after school today as a treat for not only surviving the week, but also writing lesson plans through october for my regular bio class. i popped into barnes & noble for ron clark's new book "the end of molasses classes" and i also snagged the paperback release of richard dawkins's most recent work "the greatest show on earth." i have a love-hate relationship with both authors, but i'm excited to read both books. i think that ron clark has some great ideas about teaching, but i don't buy into the "55 rules" thing. that's in-freakin'-sane. i also don't like the implication that teachers should give their entire lives over to their school, especially when it's coming from someone who doesn't actually teach in the classroom any longer. all people, even teachers, need balance in their lives. letting your class consume your life is only going to make you burn out, and i don't think the public school system needs all of their good, caring teachers to burn out and quit teaching for something more lucrative. that said, i like some of what ron clark has to say. i guess i must. i've read/will read all of his books. i do think it's worth reinforcing etiquette with your students and teaching them skills like organization. i like the emphasis on positivity and rewarding students for a job well done. i basically just steal his ideas that might work for me and chuck the rest.

image via

that brings me to mr. dawkins. i don't really have a beef with him per se, but i do think it's unfortunate that he seems to be the most prominent evolutionary biologist in the world of pop culture and he is simultaneously an extremely outspoken atheist. i have no problem with the atheism, but i think the association of atheism with evolutionary biology is unfortunate. i feel like it makes evolutionary biologists seem like a bunch of guys/girls pushing an atheist agenda, not scientists doing work to reinforce a thoroughly supported and accepted body of work. that said, i think richard dawkins really has a way with a scientific story. i enjoy reading his writing, even if i have some reservations about him as the de facto spokesperson for evolution.

ok, now for the wake-up call: so i was flipping through the picture sections of dawkins's book, and i was struck by how beautiful and amazing the natural world is. egyptian fruit bats! lemurs! the courtship dance of the blue-footed booby! lizards with tails that look just like leaves! it got me thinking a bit about how to balance my enjoyment of shopping with my desire to help keep all those wonderful creatures on the earth for generations to come. i know i've said it before here, but i'm going to say it again: the only sure-fire way to help the environment is to consume less. using what you have, not buying stuff just to buy stuff. i feel like i've really been slipping in my commitment to green living over the past few months, and i really want to get back to where i should be. consider this a renewing of vows. i know what i need to do; i just need to get on with it already. i'll keep you posted. (pun not intended.) help me out: what's the most green thing about you?

Jul 25, 2011

on punk rock and spunk rock

while i continue transitioning between texas and virginia, i bring you a post that does not require me to take any pictures: a post about music!

i don't think it's any secret that punk rock makes my little heart sing, but i'm not sure it's actually ever come up on this blog. don't worry. this is not where i claim to be a punk. i like color, i like cuteness, and punk rock makes me very, very happy. what can i say? i am a complicated girl.

let's add to the complication with another one of my loves. this one is much more of a guilty pleasure. i also love what i've heard termed 'spunk rock.' specifically, there's something i really like about avril lavigne. if you are thinking, "wait... spunk rock? avril lavigne is totally punk!", i'm sorry, but you should refer to the choreographed dance number in the 'girlfriend' video immediately, before you embarrass yourself.

today i'm sharing with you some of my very favorite punk rock and spunk rock songs, featuring propagandhi and avril. both of my propagandhi choices come from their album 'how to clean everything,' which is my favorite album of all time hands-down, the-end, period. why canadian anarchist anger makes me so happy i don't know (sheer awesomeness, perhaps?), but just the opening bars of the first song 'anti-manesto' immediately put me in a great mood. as for avril, sometimes you have one of those days that you just need to dance out, and, when those days strike, i know avril's always got my back.

what are your go-to happy songs?

Jun 22, 2011

the upside of a long layover

have i officially announced that i am moving? well, I AM MOVING in about a week and a half. i am excited about the move, but, at the moment anyway, i mostly feel totally panicked. i am in great shape packing-wise, i'm checking off certification reciprocity requirements like it's my job (because it kind of is), but i just feel an underlying anxiety about the whole thing. i'll be glad when it's all over.

anyway, to the main idea of this post: i was recently in roanoke to find an apartment, and i ended up with a 4-hour layover in atlanta on my way back. i have historically really disliked the atlanta airport. it's crowded, it seems like all the seats are always taken, and it seems like there's always a delay on my flight out of there, so i was really dismayed when i realized that i was going to have to be there for so long. but then i remembered that i had read a magazine article (in whole living, i think?) about gourmet/healthy/organic restaurants tucked into airport terminals, and i remembered that the dreaded atlanta airport has one. i looked it up, and decided to make one flew south a must-stop for my exceedingly long layover.

the scallops were excellent, and i really enjoyed the fish miso chowder as well, but, i must say, i think the best bite of the whole meal might have been the sour cherry garnish on my cocktail. the cherries were perfectly ripe, and they tasted just like summer. one flew south is located in the E concourse, which i gathered is the international concourse. it is incredibly different from the other concourses: there was a mini-museum exhibit about martin luther king, jr., a man playing jazz standards on a baby grand, and clean, beautiful book shops and a massive duty-free. it is still very crowded, but it just feels so much nicer than the other concourses. if you find yourself with a couple hours to kill waiting for a flight in atlanta, you should definitely, definitely head down to the E concourse, pick up a new book, and treat yourself to a cocktail.

Jun 5, 2011

todd oldham + charley harper for fishs eddy

as soon as i have money that isn't tied up in moving or new apartments, i will be buying some of this. probably the sunset glasses and a couple sauce bowls. the question is, do i get all puffer fish sauce bowls, all angel fish, or a combination of both? and i do love the really big fish tray...


May 29, 2011


i am not normally one to get too personal on this space, but i'm going through a tough time at the moment, and i think i just need to let this out into the universe. i don't think i've ever mentioned it, but last summer my boyfriend moved from austin to virginia. well, on wednesday, i got a job offer at a school there, and i'm pretty sure i'm going to take it.

the thing is, i am totally terrified. while all things with this job look really promising (and, frankly, better than my current one), i won't really know until i get there. i had a pretty rough school year this year, but it might turn out that devil i know is better than the devil i don't. there's no real reason to think that things will fall apart with eric, but they might.

when i moved to austin, i had nothing to lose, but that is no longer the case. i have some work friends i love, and i had some really, really wonderful students, and i feel terrible that i didn't give them a proper goodbye. i just hate the idea of them going to my room next year to say hi and seeing a stranger in there instead. austin hasn't felt like home since eric left, but it's still hard to think about leaving.

i think moving is a risk that i need to take, but right now it is just terrifying. do you have any advice for me? i'd love to hear it.

May 22, 2011

52 weeks, 52 projects: finished objects #17-19

do you ever stuck in a rut of almost-but-not-quite finishing projects, followed by a huge binge adding those finishing touches to several projects? i definitely do, hence the 3 finished knitting projects in one day. i started the magenta lace tank ages and ages ago. seriously, it's been sitting around, waiting for me to weave the ends in for months. i still need to block it, but lord only knows how much longer it will take before i get around to that. the blue tank top is the only for which i used an actual pattern (kind of), and i finished it maybe a couple weeks ago. i love the josephine knot detail on the back. finally, the ivory tank top is an improvised design that i actually knit and finished without a weeks- or months-long pause in the middle.

star trek tank top: the stats
  • pattern:improvised, but heavily inspired by this pattern
  • materials:2 skeins lion brand cotton-ease in azalea, size 9 circular needles, crochet hook
  • cost:$0, all materials from my stash

wondering about the name? the boy has we watching enough star trek episodes that i've started to see things that remind me of it. don't the "horseshoes" look more like the star trek insignia?

seaspray revisited tank top: the stats
  • pattern:the cricket tank with some modifications
  • materials:2 skeins lion brand cotton-ease in seaspray, size 7 circular needles
  • cost:$0, used up leftover yarn from a previous cotton-ease project

ivory tank top: the stats
  • pattern:improvised, but inspired by this tank top
  • materials:3 skeins sugar 'n cream in soft ecru, size 7 circular needles
  • cost: $6 for yarn

May 15, 2011

52 weeks, 52 projects: finished objects #15 and 16 and a GIVEAWAY!

i'm slowly getting back into the swing of this whole blogging thing with a button brooch and the baby doll top from "chic & simple sewing" by christine haynes. i chose a black cotton eyelet for my top, and i think i'm going to make a modified one in a red and white plaid next weekend. i was going to sew my bow button onto the top, but then i decided to just glue it onto a pinback for greater versatility. the pattern for the top as is is a little too wide and a little too short for how i like to wear things, so i had to take it in a bit on the sides, and i added an extra band of fabric to the bottom to get the length i wanted.

the stats:
  • materials: black cotton eyelet, elastic for sleeves, button brooch, pinback, jewelry glue
  • cost: $30 for pinking shears to replace the ones i apparently lost. everything else was in my stash.

do you like my bow brooch? i'm making another one to give away. for a chance to win, leave a comment with the one thing you can't live without for summer before this friday (may 20) at midnight (central time). i have 2 weeks of school left, and summer is most definitely on my mind. please be sure that you leave your comment in a way such that i will know how to get in touch with you should you win. a winner will be selected by random number generator saturday morning. good luck!

May 1, 2011


i'm back, at least for this weekend, with a springtime salad for you. it's strawberry time, and, for a twist on last summer's highly successful tomato-and-peach summer salad, i decided to pair up my strawberries with some mango. to create your own springtime salad, assemble your ingredients and follow along:

ingredients: carton of strawberries, 1 especially large mango or 2 smaller mangoes, small bunch of cilantro, lime juice, honey, salt

  • chop your strawberries, mango, and cilantro and put in salad bowl.
  • sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the fruit.
  • drizzle honey and lime juice over fruit.
  • mix thoroughly.
  • enjoy.

Apr 19, 2011

taking a breather

while i had lots of great ideas for earth month and more projects for 52 weeks, 52 projects, april has been a killer, and i think it's in my best interest to throw in the towel, let myself off the hook, and use any other applicable cliches that you can think of until i get a chance to recoup. april at school means TAKS review and TAKS testing, which is extra-high stakes for me this year, since, if enough of my students pass, i will get a bonus that more than covers the tremendous vet bills i've accrued over the past month. i blog 100% for fun, and, lately, it's just been a source of guilt and stress. i don't even have the energy to look at other people's blogs. it will be nice to make things just for the sake of making things for awhile. sometimes the blogging/creating cycle makes it feel like i never really finish anything.

to sum it up: i'm taking a break, but i'll be back soon. or maybe i'll be back this summer. whatever. in the meantime, enjoy spring!

Apr 10, 2011

52 weeks, 52 projects: finished objects #12-14

i told you a couple weeks ago that my ears have decided to make peace with earrings (for now), so i have been on the hunt for new pairs. they had some really nice beaded ones at whole foods, and i was about to take the plunge on a pair when i stopped myself and thought, "wait... i make beaded jewelry. i could make my own beaded earrings!" i selected some sterling silver, rose gold plated, and yellow gold plated findings at michaels and raided my stash of beads to whip up 3 pairs. sorry the pictures aren't exactly my finest work. i've had a lot going on lately, and the weather hasn't always been cooperative when i actually have time to take pictures.

Apr 3, 2011

earth month challenge 2011

about a week ago, i told you guys about my plan to reduce my consumption in honor of earth month. today i'm going to flesh out the details of my challenge a bit, and confess to already breaking the rules of the challenge just a teeny bit. the challenge is really quite simple: do not consume unless it is strictly necessary. mostly this means not buying things i don't need, like clothes, craft supplies, books, things like that. it also means not driving if i can walk or bike, and not buying food if i have food that's fit to eat already in the apartment. if i have to buy something, i will try to choose something with minimal impact on the environment.

that brings me to the slip-up. earlier this week, i became aware that sarah vowell would be doing a book reading and signing of her newest book at book people. i freaking love sarah vowell. i hate history, but i will read anything she writes. obviously i had to go to the reading, and it was also pretty obvious that i needed to go ahead and spring for the hardcover edition of her newest book, unfamiliar fishes, so i could get into the signing line. i'm currently reading the happiness project by gretchen rubin, and this is what she would call a "modest splurge." a modest splurge can provide a boost in cheer both in the short-term (the rush of acquisition) and the long-term (enjoying reading the book and treasuring the autograph).

image via

i told sarah that she and the american girl books are the sum total of my knowledge of history, which she either found amusing or sad or both. she's so dry, it's hard to tell, but sarah vowell can think i'm an idiot, and i will still love her. i will love reading this book and having a signed copy from one of my very favorite authors, so i don't think this is a bad kind of consumption. it's just all the other less meaningful consumption that needs to stop and is the focus of my challenge.

to sum up the earth month challenge:

in the month of april, i will:
  • eliminate unnecessary shopping.
  • use what i have.
  • give things i have but do not use or treasure to charity.
  • cut down on food waste.
  • avoid excess packaging.

interested in joining me? it's not too late! april has barely started. if earth month sounds too long, how about an earth fortnight? an earth week? even just taking an afternoon to do a "green audit" can make a big difference. it takes a village, people!

Mar 29, 2011

on greenness

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it’s that time of year again when magazines and TV shows taut the benefits of going green. i like to consider myself to be environmentally conscious, and i always gobble up new ideas and tips for how to live a greener life. however, my efforts to go green have not always been successful, and right now i feel somewhat stagnated in my current level of greenness.

when “green guides” first started appearing on the market, i think i read every one and took their words as gospel. if a book said that sodium lauryl sulfate is the devil (it actually does make me break out into a painful, itchy mess), then i threw away every product i had with the evil SLS and bought new, natural stuff ASAP. i bought as many biodegradable cleaners and beauty products as i could find on the market, and, if i couldn’t find something biodegradable, then i would settle for anything labeled “natural.” but then something happened--sometimes the new natural products just didn’t work. natural shampoos are almost impossible to wash out of my super-thick hair if the water is hard. sometimes even the most natural and pure facial cleanser made me break out. i found myself with a new green dilemma: the unnatural, possibly carcinogenic products worked, and the natural, healthy products didn’t. plus, just because something is natural does not mean that you want it in the water supply. i had thrown away the “bad” products to switch to the “good,” and found myself either suffering my way through a “good” product only to go back to the “bad” or tossing yet another product into the trash or recycling bin. in the process of trying to be green, i ended up being more wasteful than if i had just been blissfully ignorant of the whole issue.

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similarly, the more i learned about sustainable and responsible products, the more confused i became. a couple years ago, i needed some towels. this lead to following thought process: should i buy bamboo towels? bamboo is really easy to harvest without a ton of water or pesticides, but the manufacturing produces a lot of toxic chemicals. should i buy organic cotton? the lack of fertilizers and pesticides is obviously positive, but i heard that organic cotton requires way more water to grow than conventional. the more i learned, the more i realized that there aren’t any clear winners in this game. to everything that had an upside, it seemed that there was also some sort of downside. it became confusing and frustrating to make any sort of purchase.

fast-forward to today: i recycle, i try to minimize packaging and other waste, and i use 4 or less (recycled) rolls of paper towels a year. i only buy toilet paper made from recycled paper. none of my cleaning products are toxic. i haven’t bought a conventional light bulb in years. i do most of the things on any list of ways to be greener that you will see this month, but i know that there’s room for improvement. specifically, there is one very green thing that i do not do: consume less. yup, i’m a consumer. i love to get new clothes for the new seasons, and i hoard craft supplies like nobody’s business. this is unfortunate, since i have come to the conclusion that the most green thing a person can do is to consume and do less.

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so this year i will honor the earth by doing less. i (unfortunately) cannot reduce my commute at this point in time, but i can run all my errands in one fell swoop over the weekend and then stay in. i can certainly buy less. i have enough clothes to have something to wear for weeks at a time, and i have enough books and craft supplies to keep me busy for months. i do not need to buy more stuff. my challenge to myself for earth month (didn’t you hear? earth day has expanded out to an entire month!) will be to buy as little as possible. knit up the yarn, read the books, eat the food in the pantry and freezer, and spend the very minimum amount of time shopping.

are you doing anything for earth month? what do you do year-round to keep things green? anyone else want to do this challenge with me?

Mar 27, 2011

52 weeks, 52 projects: finished object #10 and #11

slowly, slowly getting back on track with 52 weeks, 52 projects. this pink cowl is something i actually started two or three years ago, and, in taking inventory of my stash, i found it and finished it up in roughly 20 minutes. isn't it funny how sometimes you get so close to end of a project, but you're so sick of it that you can't bring yourself to finish it? i think this is actually the first knitted item i ever designed myself, so i fully intend to get a free pattern up for you guys someday. it's a really easy knit; i just need to take some measurements and actually write down my stitch pattern before i can write the super-simple pattern.

the stats:
  • pattern: my own
  • materials: lion brand cotton-ease yarn in berry (2 skeins), size 6 needles
  • cost: rescued from the stash = $0

my other project is something that i cast on and finished yesterday. i saw jaykayknits's knitted jewelry frame on ravelry, and thought "i have to make that." my ears would not tolerate earrings for a couple years, and, mysteriously, the tides have changed and now earrings are okay. since it was literally years since i was last able to wear earrings, i had given all of my old ones away, and now i am slowly replenishing my stock. since i have so few pairs, losing one would be a much bigger disappointment than it was in the old days when earrings were plentiful, so when i saw this i knew i needed one. i bought this silly frame from target around halloween. if you don't know this already, i love bats, so anything batty in the dollar spot is a must-get, even if it is months before i know what to do with it. the yarn is leftover from a shawl that is completely finished, but i haven't yet gotten around to blocking it, so it will be an FO for another day.

the stats:

speaking of tragedies, part of the reason why i've been even worse than anticipated about posting is that my cat, dolly llama, hurt her leg and had to have surgery this week. poor girl has a cast from the top of her leg all the way down past her toes, but she's been a trooper. she came home yesterday and is already able to stand up and take a few steps. she still seems to be sleeping plenty and eating with a healthy appetite. i wish i could say the same for myself, but things are coming back together for me now that the surgery is over and she's less angry about the cast. i have big blog plans for april (earth month), but we'll see how well they actually play themselves out...

ever had a pet crisis? how did you cope with it? any ideas on what to name my cowl design? what crafty goodness are you working on right now? show me your FOs!