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Earth Week Giveaway!!

16 Apr

It’s Earth Week – the week leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd.

Do you have anything fun for planned to help your local community?

Start composting
Commit to recycling
Pick up trash in your neighborhood
Plant a tree
Bike or walk instead of drive
Talk to people about climate change
Conserve energy – use cold water to do your laundry, hang clothing to dry, shut off lights!
Use cloth diapers
Reuse instead of create refuse
Campaign for green initiatives

You don’t have to save the world, you just have to do one or two things. If everyone does one or two things, that DOES add up to change. And when people start seeing change, it makes them want to see MORE change.

One of the biggest changes that I’ve made in the last year is embracing the idea of “reuse.” After starting a cloth diaper service with my family, it helped me put things into perspective. Disposable diapers are the perfect example of planned obsolescence: this describes a product which was produced and manufactured with the intention of it having limited use. It is produced so that you have to throw it away and buy a new one. Disposable diapers are used one time and then dumped into a landfill with BILLIONS of other diapers. The millions and millions of resources and dollars that go into producing disposables each year is literally a waste. Reusable diapers (aka cloth diapers) are produced so that they can be washed and reused over and over again. They use less resources. The contain fewer harmful materials. They lessen a family’s carbon footprint with every reuse.

So that got me thinking about what other stuff I throw away. If you look through your garbage can right now, I can guarantee the majority of what’s in there is packaging. Packaging from stuff you buy, stuff you eat, stuff that comes with your clothes and shoes, just stuff. Just packaging. In 2011, I was buying ziplock baggies almost every time I went to the grocery store. They were the easiest thing to dump snacks and lunches into. I used them to organize things: paperclips, change, nuts and bolts, nails, nail polish, hair ties, etc. In 2012, I really started thinking about how much stuff we throw away, where it comes from, and how we can cut down. It occurred to me that our main issue is packaging.

I started collecting containers of all shapes and sizes. I knew I wanted all of my food to be stored in BPA-free containers. I washed out glass jars from pasta sauces and apple sauces and pickles, boiled them all, and stuck them in my pantry. I invested in some BPA-free glass Snapware containers and I recycled all the Gladware and miscellaneous containers I had collected which weren’t BPA-free. I cringe every time I see someone heat up leftovers in one of those plastic containers that Chinese food comes in. That low grade of plastic is full of chemicals which break down before we even use them. It leaches into our food, ESPECIALLY when its heated in a microwave. Not for me.

So here’s a chance for you to make a positive change in your food storage.

BPA-FREE CONTAINER GIVEAWAY (courtesy of Mira Brands)

Mira2

Mira Brands has given me the opportunity to test out their new line of stainless steel, food-grade, BPA-free containers.  I used them all week long for my lunches and for storing some yummy fruit at home.  Both of these thumbs are pointing to the sky, people.  They kept out the smells, kept my food fresh, were conveniently sized, and durable.  I dropped one which was full of strawberries and cottage cheese, and that lid stayed put!   If you’re looking for something larger, there are also larger ones, which are available through their Amazon store) Just knowing that they are free of toxic materials like BPA, phthalates, PVC, and lead made me feel confident in my container.

Mira is giving one lucky Sole For The Soul (SFTS) reader their own set of stainless steel containers!  The giveaway begins right now and runs until Sunday at 5:00 p.m. EST.  Then, a winner will be chosen by random draw.

Here’s how to enter:

1.  Leave a comment on this post about something awesome you are going to do for Earth Day/Earth Week.

2.  Like SOLE For The Soul on Facebook by clicking here.  If you all ready like SFTS on Facebook, leave a separate comment telling me you are all ready a fan.

The winner will be announced on Monday.  Good luck!!  🙂

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

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Operation Diaper Wagon: Day One

27 May

Well, on Friday we left for Chicago by way of Michigan to pick up the new official vehicle for Changin’ Time!

Me, my love♥, and the MIL had to leave Pittsburgh around 7 p.m., so for the most part we drove through storming darkness.

I mean, there are some per-requisities for a long-distance road trip.

And lots of farwell kisses…

This went on for some time while we got she♥ got our fur-babies set up at Amanada‘s

After much ado, we were off!

We all drove together on the way to Michigan/Chicago.

Anywhoo…I’m living the life of a fabulous grad student on the go, so I packed light.

It wasn’t long before we realized leaving so late in the evening, we needed some serious fuel for the road:

Since most of the trip that first day was at night, it was pretty hard to snap pictures (obvi!), but thankfully I have the smallest bladder in the world and we stopped at plenty a rest stop.

Finally we arrived at our first destination:  Hillsdale, Michigan, promptly thanked our hosts and hit the sack!

Earth Market 2012 Recap

28 Apr

I must say – I’m a little disappointed with the lack of media coverage of Earth Day/Earth Week this year.  I have barely heard anything on Twitter and if the news sources ain’t tweeting it – they ain’t writing it.  This is the ONLY thing I saw regarding it:

Changin’ Time and delaCueva Soap Company teamed up this week and attended Earth Market 2012, which was sponsored by Mayor Luke’s Office of Sustainability.  Mayor Luke failed to make an appearance though, which was disappointing as well.  I remember him giving a great speech years ago when ZipCar was kicking off in Pittsburgh (I even signed up!)  The Zip Car girls were repping it anyway, despite Luke’s absence:

Anyway, in Market Square (which is beautiful – pictures really can’t communicate the vibe or urban beauty of the place), we sold our natural, locally handmade soaps and cremes and talking people up about cloth diapering.

Even though it had been cancelled 3/5 days it had been planned due to “rain,” I felt that it was a success and look forward to the Market Square farmer’s market this summer.  Only Wednesday was nice weather, so on Friday I was too bundled up to get many photos…but here’s a quick little slideshow:

Lil' Red hanging out

There was a guy talking about converting vehicles to run off of vegetable oil and gTech’s program of reclaiming lands to fuel sustainable development – very cool stuff.

This woman was weaving bags out of plastic shopping bags on a loom.  She even let me try it, which was my 1st experience weaving!  I don’t think I’d be a very good weaver…but her bags are beautiful.

They were giving away trees to plant, for Arbor Day, but mine went directly into the compost pile because I HATE pine trees.  Sorry Western PA, but I think we have enough to last us.

Anything that involved a person in a giant costume – Red was there.

If you’re interested in learning more about CFL light bulbs and why they are a good option for your family – here is a good resource.

On Friday – there were more vendors/exhibitors/nonprofits, which you’d think would be a good thing.  But the weather was crappy and there was a worker’s union going on that reminded me of a Vietnam protest, so it kind of sucked.

This made me happy though, its the PRC Litterbug who was having a dance party in the middle of Mkt Square:

Oh, and just as a WTF Friday kind of moment – why was the Pennsylvania Resource Council handing out free bottles of Dasani bottled water?  I really don’t care that they are made with a higher percentage of plant materials and less plastic.  They still go into landfills because PEOPLE DON’T RECYCLE CONSISTENTLY.  I can’t even tell you how many bottles I saw in garbage cans, not recycling bins (located directly next to the garbage can).  HELLO – hand out reusable BPA-free bottles and teach people to REUSE items instead of OVER-CONSUMING.  You would think that a progressive organization like the PRC (which I attend their workshops and usually support) would have rethought that strategy a little bit.

Whatever, I took the free reusable shopping bag and gave them a smug smile while lecturing the poor girl manning the table.

It was an exhausting day for some, obviously…but fun and it was nice talking to pro-cloth or questioning-cloth peeps.

venturesingreen.wordpress.com

Great Cloth Diaper Change 2012

22 Apr

I don’t know how many of my readers are into cloth diapers, but I AM.  I actually own a cloth diaper service with three of my closest family members/friends.

Well yesterday, was a big day in cloth diapers – the Great Cloth Diaper Change.  Its an event that people participate in around the world – at 12:30 p.m. on April 21st (this year, anyway) – millions of moms around the world changed a reusable diaper.  Its in the Guinness Book of World Records, look it up baby.

Well, we, the Changin’ Time staff + Lil’ Red of course because if we left her behind whose diaper would get changed…

So, off we went through the Laurel Highlands

And through the windy-whispery woods (I’m channeling Buddy the Eflt here people)…near Idlewild Park…

It was actually a pretty scenic drive.  My business-partner, future sister-in-law, and sustainabilabuddy Amanda @ Ventures in Green just went camping nearby with her son’s boyscout troop.  I’m not really into sleeping outside with bears, but if you are – then this place got two thumbs up from the scouts!

Ligonier, PA, where I had never been, was VERY old-town, very scenic, very small-town western PA.

It seemed very quaint, bustling, and safe…I pretty much loved it but wish it was in the middle of the city!

Very scenic and beautiful, but I’ll take my skyscrapers and bridges anyday!

So we finally arrived at Mommy Gear – this amazing breastfeeding and women’s boutique which hosted the Great Cloth Diaper Change in Westmoreland County.  Their store is so cute!!  Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to really take pics in the store area, their website is great.

They hosted the GCDC in their lower room, which is basically a big open space.

Notice the man putting change into the meter, because parking is no joke in Ligonier.

We weren’t able to see too much of the store, but

I did snap a pic of Lil’ Red for the 5 seconds I could get her to keep this hippo hat on her…

So, back to the GCDC2012…

I was an EXPERT witness, if you can believe that. And it being my first year, I had no idea what to expect.

People came in, they were given door bags as they entered:

& were able to check out and the door prizes and the display tables (like ours).

Then, there were just a lot of babies!  But it was nice to see that a lot of the cloth parents already knew each other, and were open to networking with one another, and just lots of babies being babies!

People were coming up to our table and asking about our service; several expectant moms were considering a diaper service because cloth diapering one kid can be hard enough (let along two or three).

It wasn’t surprising, considering we had amazing free advertising…

As time wound down to 12:30, Dawn, owner of Mommy Gear and coordinator of the event, explained the rules to everybody and people got situated in their diaper changing squares.

And then it was time!

All the parents held their reusable (cloth) diaper in the air for a before picture:

And after the Mayor of Ligonier counted down, the Great Cloth Diaper Change happened!  Just like that…

Here are the charming, expecting couple who chose our door prize:

It was an amazing day for us!  Lots of positive energy, lots of networking, and lots of sustainable-minded families, just like ours!!

On the way home, we had to stop at Ligonier Town Hall…

To pay a parking ticket.  Unlike the guy feeding the meter in the beginning of this post – we city folk should have know they took this parking issue very seriously.  Ligonier: $5  Us: $0

The car ride home was pretty much what I expected…

♥ I’d say for us as a family, as a business, as a family-owned business, as a circle of tight knit friends,

it was a pretty good day all around. ♥

I Don’t Even Know…

2 Apr

Oh my gosh, I have been an emotion wreck lately people!!  I feel like I can’t catch my balance between trying to launch this business, basically jumping into my grad school research much later than I should have, along with managing my daily life and relationship.  I’m exhausted from just typing that.

I have really been in need of some R&R since my birthday over the weekend!

Have you ever just been so stressed out you want to hold one of these guys for hours and hours?  Well I feel like that , but there are no more puppies.  Booooo.  Although that being thrown into my already hectic mix would send me over the edge in hours.

Some pretty cool stuff has been happening…

Like I turned 28, which baffles me.  When did this happen?  I feel like I was just 23 thinking: “I’m going to be like this forever!” Ha ha.  Ha.    Ha.

I know that’s right.

Being a business owner is hard, especially when you are in the process of launching.  It’s emotionally taxing, mentally exhausting, physically draining and basically just a big fun-sucker.  Just have to keep reminding myself that all this Changin’ Time stuff will all be worth it someday…

Pssh…Okay so I’ll never be as cool as the Biebs.

But I would like to get this business growing and growing.  I’m so impatient!!!

I hope none of you were anybody’s April Fool.  I made it through that particular holiday without one prank being pulled on me, which is unexpected because I live with a prankster.  Now I am on edge…

His teeth literally frighten me.

I don’t even remember what this post was supposed to be about…

If you find my brain, please send it back home.

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