Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone! Luckily I have a beautiful day outside to watch from my office window to observe (I'm trying to be positive here).

Although I know its a little late in the day, there have been some awesome giveaways today that I thought I would share with you in case you still have some time. Reusable totebags seem to the popular giveaway, and I think you will find them quite useful. This information has been gathered from other websites, like, and

  • All Disney Stores are handing out free Mickey Mouse totebags today. Bring in three plastic bottles to any location to get yours.
  • Head here to get a mail-in rebate form for Reynolds Wrap’s recycled foil wrap. Then, you can go buy a roll of it and get your money back (up to $3.99).
  • Walgreen’s is giving out free recyclable tote bags today. All you have to do is print out the coupon here and buy anything in the store to get yours. The coupon will also give you 15 percent off most items in the store.
  • You can get a free reusable tote bag from The Body Shop, too. No coupon needed — you just have to spend at least $30 and they’ll give it to you. The store will also donate $2 from all purchases today to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Target stores are offering $2 coupons for GE Energy Smart compact fluorescent light bulbs for the first 1 million guests to check out in each store. They’ll also hand out free reusable tote bags.
  • Check with your local Subaru dealer or Whole Foods store, but the two have been putting on a "eco-tour" for Earth day, where if you test drive a Suburu, you will receive a $20 gift certificate to Whole Foods, and a potential tote bag.
  • Earthbound Farms is also giving away a free tote bag if you are the first 10,000 people every week in the month of April to request for it. You just have to read and do a little pledge.
  • For our Canadian friends, Starbucks in Canada is offering free coffee on April 22, 2009 if you bring in a travel mug. They will fill it up with a complimentary brewed Pike Place Roast!
  • Not to vote for more consumerism, however, Old Navy is one of my favorite places to shop due to moderately low prices and nicer clothes. They are currently running a special when you buy a $1 tote you will receive 10% off your purchase and may find more on ways to save (i.e. coupons) on their website.
There are more awesome deals for you out there, so be sure to look around at what is in your area!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Enjoying the Great Outdoors...

My apologies for the tardiness of this post...its getting to be that point of the semester when many large papers are due, so the next month may be more sparse for new posts. I'll let you blame my teachers too.

A couple of months ago I created a post on checking out gyms before buying membership. Well, here would be the first place to go - outdoors! Not only is it free, its also a great way to utilize nature's (or your city's) beautiful scenery. The money that can be spent on a year gym membership can be quite extravagant, and the machines also use a lot of energy to help you do something people can do out in the real world - walk, run, or bicycling. Now I understand gyms have many other uses, like strength training and other valuable equipment, but many people do go to gyms to simply use the treadmill or exercise bike. I personally found myself at gyms for a few reasons: a) cold weather/time of day, b) the ability to control pace and distance with a machine, and c) the personal safety of a gym. For me, a and b have been resolved, but the security of a gym environment in comparison to running outdoors can be a challenge, especially for women. I think the key is to be smart about it - Don't run in the dark, stay on routes with heavier "traffic" (i.e. more publicly used areas), and don't run the same route all of the time. [However, as a side note, I also think this is an illusion that can be created in our mind. A gym can be just as a dangerous place as running routes in your city or town, don't be fooled.]

Anyways, about a month ago, I was planning to start doing some marathon training outside, but I was left very frustrated with methods of measuring the distance of runs. I didn't have the money to afford a fancy GPS running watch, which can track your routes, and I was finding difficulty calibrating my iPod Touch with Nike+ program (i.e. a type of accelerometer mechanism). After much time spent on the internet scoping out potential tools to help me figure out the distance of my runs, I came across a website that utilizes Google Maps to help you figure out your mileage. All you have to do is click points that follow your route on the map to start. Using the satellite view, I was even able to calculate off road routes, like my local dog park. Its available at, and its been an absolute god-send for me to keep me running outside. If you are looking for a better way to document your routes rather than just driving them with your car to use the odometer first, please give this website a try, a great resource to getting more runners outside. You can also see routes people have documented doing in your area!

Even if you aren't into the whole exercise thing - now is the time to start getting outside to absorb some vitamin D from the sun! Enjoy what the outdoors can bring to you or your family.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Recyclable Style

My mother-in-law is very much into Diet Coke. She has the shirts, memorabilia, but first and foremost, keeps gallons of it at her house. Over this past Christmas I had really wanted to make her a very cool hand-made project by using Diet Coke wrappers, in particular, a purse. She had loved the afghan I crocheted for her during the previous year, and lets face it, its much cheaper (and more personal) than buying a gift. However, I failed to realize that collecting these wrappers can take a long time. I have been meaning to try to collect these over the year, but I thought it would be cool to share this project's instructions with you, in case you might know of someone who would like this as a gift.

I found instructions for this project from another blog, on the candy wrapper purse blog by Mylinda Agler. Once you learn this folding technique, you can pretty much use any type of wrappers, from potato chip bags to candy wrappers. The colors, the style of the bag, the material, and any other editions provide you with an awesome amount of creativity to work with.

If you aren't into the arts and crafts scene but would still like to get one of these bags for you or someone you know, check out Ecoist bags. With over 50 styles of bags in tons of colors, they provide a great eye catching bag while saving the Earth. Even if you know you wouldn't buy any of these, they can be a great source of ideas on what kind of bag you might like to make.

Finally, if you are more of a visual learner, there are a couple of good videos on You Tube showing the methods of candy wrapper folding. Some of the better ones (in my opinion) can be found here or here.

Who would have thought you could make an awesome gift out of garbage?