Subscribe to Clean HippieGet an email once a week when I write something new! (I love you too.) Thanks!
Clean Hippie’s Pinterest
Archives by Month
- Around the Web
- Bring it to NYC
- Cool sites
- Failure of the Day
- Going Too Far
- Green Angst
- Moments of Hilarity
- New York
- Places to go
Category Archives: Tips
emailed me personally sent out a mass email with instructions on preparing for the hurricane. But with all due respect, Guvner, I am not going out to buy a case of bottled water. So, how does a sustainable chick prepare for the frankenstorm? Here’s your shopping list:
1 Rechargeable Flashlight
You know how you collect old batteries, totally meaning to take them to the proper recycling facility but never actually do? Yep, that’s me too. I don’t want any more batteries in my life.
Solution: rechargeable gadgets. I’m guessing it won’t be sunny enough to use the solar panel on this thing while it’s ahurricanin’ outside, but that’s OK, because you can charge it by winding it, too.
Unfortunately, the nearest L.L. Bean is in New Jersey and this might not arrive in time. But don’t worry–Rite Aid and Duane Reade carry a Duracell wind-to-charge portable LED flashlights for ten bucks.
5+ Locally-Made Unscented Beeswax Candles
Here’s the thing about black-outs: You don’t want to rely on ten scented candles to create that romantic glow, because then your little apartment will smell like a Yankee Candle Shop. Sound like hurricane hell.
So go with unscented beeswax or soy candles that are non-toxic. (Because certain candles can pollute the air in your apartment.) You can get the ones pictured above at a farmers market, or just pop in your local natural foods store or Whole Foods to grab a few there.
Don’t waste your money on bottled water, please. That’s silly. Instead, get a large water filter–like this 1.3 gallon, BPA-free Ultramax filter from Brita–and fill it up to the brim. Now you’re ready. If you’re really nervous, you can fill the bathtub as well, and for good measure make sure all your Siggs are topped off.
FYI: Ready.gov recommends having three gallons per person on hand. But water only stops working in Manhattan if you live in a high rise above a certain level, where water has to be electrically pumped up.
1 Package Seventh Generation Baby Wipes
Ready.gov says you need baby wipes and garbage bags for “sanitation.” I don’t really think we need to go into detail on this one.
Non-Perishable Food That Doesn’t Require Cooking
You might not be able to cook, so think about how gross cold canned soup would be. (Unless you like gaspacho, I guess.) You might not have electricity for your freezer, so frozen dinners are out too.
Try individually packaged snacks, like applesauce and granola bars, plus bread and some fruit that will keep on the counter for a couple days, like apples and bananas. Make sure you have enough to eat for three days . And if the electricity really does go out? Run to the nearest ice cream shop, because they’ll probably be giving out some free samples!
I like this first aid kit because it comes packaged up neatly into a BPA-free water bottle.
Honestly? You probably won’t need any of this. But there’s no harm in stocking up on candles and organic food, right?
I am obsessed with purging.
No, I don’t mean I’m bulimic, but thank you for your concern.
Actually, I love purging stuff. I have since I was a five years old, when my mom discovered if she casually said, “Wow, that cabinet is so disorganized!” within earshot, I would chirp, “I’ll clean it!” and immediately start emptying its contents so I could put it back together in neat little rows.
When I’m feeling unhappy or bored or out of control, a good clean-out always lifts my spirits. Doesn’t matter what: jewelry box, clothing closet, box of ribbons, seeing everything neatly folded and knowing that I’ve banished some meaningless clutter from my life makes me feel good. I don’t mind, this must be the most productive addiction ever, without tipping into full-blown OCD land.
I’ve even considered, out loud, signing up for Task Rabbit just for the pleasure of getting to clean out other people’s stuff. I don’t really need the money. OK, my addiction to designer green clothing can get expensive. But really, I just like purging!
So believe me when I say I’ve got getting rid of stuff down to an art. And when you combine fifteen practice rounds of purging in the last three years alone, with an obsession with all things sustainable, you know that nothing is going in the dumpster.
Oh, how I wish there was a fourth recycling bin called, “Shit other people could use.” But there is not. So behold: Where to take every single thing you could possible get rid of, and avoid the dumpster completely:
(Oh, and a note: I don’t sell on eBay. Yeah, I know, you can make so much money. But I find the whole process of communicating with buyers and taking stuff to the post office annoying. Therefore I’m not an expert and can’t speak to that, and will stick to NYC-centric solutions here.)
1. Preppy and Designer Clothing
I remember clearly the day I first went shopping in SoHo, and I chose to wear a lavender Milly sundress. It quickly became clear that I was I was wearing the wrong exact thing. I was so mortified that I marched into an edgy boutique and chose the nuclear option: “I’m completely lost. What should I wear?” I walked away with a lot of stuff, including my favorite leather jacket that I still wear. And I realized then that I needed to purge my closet of fifteen sundresses, three pastel polos, two khakis, one quilted jacket, three sunhats and one Ralph Lauren braid knit sweater. Bye bye Virginia, hello, Manhattan.
What to know: Call and make an appointment ahead of time. Bring as many items as possible at once. They don’t want hangers, so iron/steam everything and then carefully fold it into a bag right before you leave the apartment. Once you’re there, a haughty shop keeper will look through everything. She will give you the option of coming back later, but I’ve found it’s best to be there so you can call out helpful tidbits like, “That’s real rabbit fur!” and “I got that one from a designer boutique in Paris. It’s one of a kind.”
Once she decides what she wants, she’ll write it all down and give you a date when you should come back and pick up whatever didn’t sell and the payment for what did. If you have a higher-end item that doesn’t start with Lily and end with Pulitzer, you can also consider some of the high-end consignment shops downtown, like INA or What Goes Around Comes Around.
The payoff: Cash, one to three months later. And you’ll get good money for nice items.
The drawback: You have to make an appointment ahead of time, you have to remember to go back to collect your cash, and they take a hefty commission–up to 50% of the selling price.
2. Wearable but Un-Fancy Clothing
What to know: You don’t need an appointment, just an hour or two free. The clerks will rummage through your items, decide how much everything is worth, and then give you cash or store credit on the spot. If you take cash, you’ll get a lower value than store credit. If you don’t feel like dealing with whatever they don’t take, they will kindly donate it for you.
The payoff: Immediate cash.
The drawback: Lower prices, especially for designer or more uptown-girl items ($20 for a Brooks Brothers Coat? Yes, that happened.), and the sinking feeling of realizing the clothing they don’t take isn’t even cool enough to sell for $5.
3. Wearable but Worthless Clothing and Accessories
If you’re not going to one of the above consignment stores and have clothing that you can’t imagine anyone paying more than $3 for, take it to Salvation Army or Goodwill.
What to know: It takes only two minutes to fling a bag of what-was-I-thinking clothing and accessories into a pile in the back.
The payoff: Good karma and jobs for the those who need them.
The drawback: They are usually not open before or after work or on Sundays and discourage you from leaving stuff at the front door. I’ve done it anyway, because I have better things to do then wait around for the privilege of giving my stuff away. (Are you listening Goodwill and Salvation Army? Get a drop off bin.)
4. Unwearable Clothing
Paint and sweat-stained wife beaters, shredded sweaters, unmatched socks and anything else made of cloth that no one would even take for free will find a home at the textile collections held by Greenmarket, where it is sent to textile recycling programs. You can also drop off wearable clothing–it will be donated.
What to know: Just stuff your bag of grody old clothing in the hamper in front of the textile table while you’re picking up organic apples. Find a list of Greenmarkets that collect textiles here.
The payoff: Good karma and the knowledge that you’re doing your part to reduce the 5.7% of NYC’s waste stream that is clothing.
The drawback: As you might know, farmer’s markets don’t keep the most convenient hours or locations ever.
5. Home Goods That Still Have Value
Got a printer that still prints or an IKEA table that can still support dancing on top? Sell it on Craigslist.
What to know: Bring all your writing skillz, because you need to be a salesman. Put your item’s condition in the title, along with how much you would like for it (You can choose to add OBO, which means “Or Best Offer.”) Include a cute story of why you’re getting rid of said item, to inspire confidence that you’re not purging because of bedbugs. Include pictures of the item, preferably taken with natural light coming through the window with a real digital camera–Instagram is not cute when it comes to the condition of your couch.
The payoff: Cash.
The drawbacks: People will haggle with you no matter what price you set, and you will feel dumb that you ever paid full price. (Next time you are totally using Craigslist to buy your furniture, right?) People will flake out at the last second when you actually blocked out a perfectly beautiful Saturday afternoon for them to come get the stupid IKEA shelf.
6. Random Stuff That No One Would Pay For
Half a roll of carpet tape? Plastic cups from old Broadway shows? Broken computer tower? I’ve not only gotten rid of these things, but had people show up to take them off my hands. It’s called Freecycle.
What to know: You’ll need a Yahoo account so you can join the Freecycle group. When you are offering, make the subject line, “OFFER: Item, neighborhood.” So for example, “OFFER: Zebra print shower curtain, Lower East Side.” It helps to ask them to prove they are not spammers by requesting a haiku on the merits of shower curtains, or asking their favorite flavor of cupcake. If not, you might get emails like, “I’ll take it. Thanks.” That is most likely spam. Plus, people love composing haikus. I’ve gotten haikus from people who don’t even want my stuff.
If you have a whole lot of random crap, tell people you’re more likely to give it to them if they take the whole lot. Let them figure out what to do with the carpet tape, it is no longer your problem.
The payoff: Warm fuzzies from knowing the hot Norwegian dude is enjoying your ex-boyfriend’s artwork more than you ever would, and an apartment free of random crap.
The drawback: Again, people will flake out at the last minute, though I find this happens more rarely than with Craigslist. Also, some people are a little bit crazy. I suggest avoiding anyone with bad spelling or who likes to format their emails in pink, cursive font.
PS. In case you’re wondering, that is a CD rack in the picture. Seriously, people will take anything.
6. Broken Electronics
So you can’t sell your printer on Craiglist because it doesn’t work. No big deal. That’s what e-waste events are for.
No before you get lazy and decide to just chuck your stuff in the trashcan, I would like to take this moment to point out how ridiculously bad for our water supply that is. I’ll let the NRDC do the talking:
Some of the materials in personal electronics, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, are hazardous and can release dangerous toxins into our air and water when burned or deposited in landfills improperly. And throwing away metal components, like the copper, gold, silver and palladium in cell phones and other electronics, leads to needless mining for new metals.
What to know: The Lower East Side Ecology Center, bless their hearts, holds a couple e-waste events every weekend. Chances are there will be one convenient to you in the next month or so. See a schedule on their website.
The payoff: Knowing you haven’t poisoned some 7-year-old in a developing country with your old smart phone.
The drawback: You’ll have to plan a couple weeks in advance, and it’s not fun schlepping a printer or other heavy electronics across town.
I ran this story last year, but wanted to repost it in honor of everyone’s favorite sporting event involving white skirts and extremely hot men that is happening this week. Enjoy!
As a New York sports-goer, you’ve probably been continually exasperated by the waste you see at sporting events. Yankee games leave behind masses of crushed cups and greasy fry baskets. Everything is served in disposable and/or plastic containers. The food consists of processed junk, including Perdue chicken nuggets which–when I made the mistake of deciding to just go ahead and eat some–gave me food poisoning. And of course there’s the kind of energy required to light and power a stadium of that size. It feels like a betrayal just attending a sports match. Should I give up and skip all sports events together?
Not so fast. Tennis seems to have bucked this trend. I was treated to a behind-the-scenes look at what the US Open is doing to green the tournament this Thursday, and after touring the facilities, meeting some of the people making this possible, and even watching a little bit of excellent tennis from Nadal, I’m happy to report that you can attend today’s–or next year’s–matches with a mind free of green cares. Allow me to present to you the green Dos and Dont’s of your trip to the US Open in Flushing, Queens, New York:
Do Give Bina a High Five if You See Her
Picture 1 of 10
A environmental engineer consultant, Bina Indelicato is the one heading up the US Open Green Initiatives. From getting to know all the chefs working around the stadium, to lecturing dishwashers on the importance of recycling containers, to coordinating a bajillion different vendors, to inventing new ways to green an intense two-week event, Bina has her hands full. But she's been tackling this initiative with gusto since she came on in 2008, and the results are amazing. She's also had the support of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and GreenSlam.
Sometimes I wonder if the only people reading my stuff are my friends. And that makes me feel kind of sad.
And then someone I’ve never met before tells me they’ve read it frequently. Or someone says, “Oh yeah, my roommate/coworker/friend is obsessed with your blog.” I love those moments.
So, if it really only were my friends and sister reading my blog, I wouldn’t feel the need to create a Facebook page. But I know I’ve got fans as far away as South Carolina and California reading up on my exploits, events and opinons.
So if you’re someone who enjoys my blog but I’ve never met (and hence don’t see when I post to my timeline), this Facebook page is for you. I’ll put up my own posts, as well as other posts I think you’ll find interesting and relevant about living sustainably, without compromising your style.
Then, comment and say hi, and tell me who you are and what you want to read about. I’m always evolving my content mix!
It was Friday at 3pm. The office was emptying since it was a summer Friday. The apocalyptic thunder and lightning has ceased, the sun was out and save for a few stray puddles and drippy awnings, you couldn’t even tell it had rained. Fumes were flowing out of one of the conference rooms, since the tech guys though it was a good idea to paint a white board on one of the walls and then use a fan to blow the air out into the main room, even though the directions clearly called for respirator use while applying. It was time for me to get out of there and start my weekend.
And I had nothing to do.
I had zero plans. No brunch, dinner, drinks, parties, outings, walks, bike rides, visitors, dates or anything. It was almost like I was back in middle school, when the summer meant lying around and trying to find a way to occupy yourself. Remember that?
(OK, not entirely true. I had been invited to a birthday party, but none of my mutual friends could go and I didn’t want to go by myself to what would amount to an alma mater reunion. Bleh.)
Anyway, I decided it was do-everything-I’ve-been-meaning-to-do-and-have-been-complaining-about-not-doing weekend.
First up: Sewing!
Look, sewing is not for everyone. People who shouldn’t sew include:
- Busy executives who have lots of money to throw at tailors and expensive home boutiques
- Tall, thin girls who look good in anything they wear, right off the racks
- Somebody who thinks used clothing is for schmucks and likes to pay a lot for well-made items
I am neither. I am also:
- Very short. 5’2″ girls either need to shop in the petite section (Like Anne Taylor and Talbots. Ick.) or get things shortened
- Very into thrifting. You come across stuff that isn’t quite right. But with a little tweak here and there …
- Creative. That old beaded dress would look smashing as a throw pillow!
I also have juicy thighs. Or “bow legs” as a security guy once told me. He told me it means your feet don’t touch. Actually, my feet do touch, thanks. But my thighs are thick enough that I like buying things that should be dresses, cutting off the too-tight bottoms and tucking the raw hem into a skirt and calling it a top.
I finally decided I needed a sewing machine the day I took a new maxi skirt by eco L.A. brand Lavuk to the tailors and they told me it would cost $35. I’m sorry, $35? It’s a hem. It’s stupidly easy to do. I snatched it back and when I got to work immediately looked up “sewing machine” on Craigslist.
I few days later I was the proud owner of a Singer sewing machine. I had negotiated the former owner–a busy news reporter who lives in the West Village and obviously has money to throw at tailors–down to $100, which is pretty sweet.
Then I called up my grandmother and sweet talked her into sending me sewing supplies. My grandmother was an excellent seamstress back in the day. She made my sister and I the fluffiest, cutest bridesmaid dresses ever, along with other gorgeous gowns and Halloween costumes. But her eyesight isn’t what it used to be, so she said she would send me some things.
Boy, did she. Her haul arrived complete with a rainbow of threads–a lot of them vintage–two pinking shears, scissors, pins, measuring tape, an Asian pin cushion, and even some thimbles! Aw, thanks Nana!
I’m lucky that my mom took the time to teach me to sew when I was young. I even had a mini business of making recorder bags for my friends when I was in grade school, and worked at a monogram shop in high school. But I still benefited from a touch-up class at Third Ward last year.
My first project was hemming the maxi skirt. And it was a hot mess. It looked like I had done it drunkenly, while trying out every setting on the sewing machine. It zigzagged and then didn’t and the thread kept breaking. Plus I had made the hem way too wide, which meant the skirt was awkwardly short. Then I realized the woman who sold me the machine sold it to me with a roll stitch foot, which is like for silk scarves or something. So I had my mom send me a regular foot. Much better.
I tried again. This time, I pulled a vintage dress I got at Goodwill out of the closet. I’ve only worn it at really hipster-y events, and it’s not bad. A guy told me I looked sexy dancing in it then asked for my number. (We have our third date next week!) That’s a big compliment to the dress. But I really thought it could use a mullet hem. (Party in the front …)
Be aware that you can’t sew everything. Some things a plain old sewing machine can’t handle: Anything stretchy, netting, heavy denims like designer jeans or anything too delicate. But the great thing about this project is that it’s a cotton dress. All I had to do was cut the mullet hem and re-sew it. No patterns or fancy stuff required.
If you’ve never sewed, this is not a tutorial. Go take a class. But basically, sewing something goes like this:
2. Fold and iron the hem
3. Choose a matching thread and thread the machine
4. Sew it
5. Cuss at the machine until you realize you had the tension on too high
6. Fix the tension, finish sewing it
7. Feel really awesome that you actually sewed something!
I actually did end up doing something on Friday night. I grabbed dinner with a friend, and so I wore my new creation out. “Wow, that dress is so bright!” she said. It’s one of those compliments you’re not sure is a compliment. But I’m pretty happy with it. I even ripped out the seam on the maxi skirt and did it again, and now my maxi skirt is the right length and looks almost professional. I know, I know, I’m a freakin’ genius.
Maybe I’ll try canning next …
You are about to be jealous in t-minus 3…2…1….
I’m in London!!
Yup! I hopped a flight (carbon offset at a price of $22.66, naturally) to the old continent to visit my dear friend D. in Paris–of the going away party and recycled champagne glasses—and I’m on layover in the land of bad food, class divide, mean tabloids and royalty obsession.
The first thing I saw disembarking my flight? A hunky British dude making direct eye contact. I think I like it here.
D. is living the dream in Paris. On the one hand, I don’t like that my best friend is thousand of miles away. On the other hand, now I have an excuse to go to mother f’n Paris! (She keeps trying to get me to move there, but how could I leave NYC behind?
After we tear it up in the city of lights for a week, we’ll be back in London for a weekend. I’ve spent a whole summer in Paris before, but as the Audrey Hepburn character Sabrina said, “Paris is always a good idea.” But I’ve never been to London. “We must go,” I emailed D. emphatically. “It’s a huge hole in my experience that needs filling.”
So please, if you have recommendations, comment below or tweet them my way! I’ve already gotten a short list of museums, plus un-missable street food and competing recos for the best place to get high tea. (National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, Bosphorus Kebabs, The Ritz or Dukes Hotel, respectively).
Also, what does a modern green girl pack for her adventure in world travel? It’s all revealed:
From top left: iPhone charger, compact faux crocodile wallet, John Masters Organics lip balm, Korres non-toxic lipstick in coral, Sigg water bottle (empty for security), apartment keys (stripped of superfluities), laptop charger, Clean Hippie blog business cards and card holder, ChicoBag reusable bag, birth control, handkerchiefs from the Brooklyn Flea (2), pen, sleep mask, iPhone in Anicase endangered species cover, headphones, passport (!), flight reservation, sunglasses gotten for free from advertising partner at work with logo rubbed off with soy nail polish remover (couldn’t find my Kayu sunglasses—darn!). Not pictured: Zebra striped travel pillow made with post-consumer recycled content, laptop, magazines (coming up).
What to Wear for an Overnight Flight
Clearly, the goal is to get as close as to pajamas as possible without looking like a typical American ass. I chose my Degree Six top in soft organic cotton, organic Deborah Lindquist leggings, and a stack of Green Sewn vintage sari bracelets. You can’t see them, but on my feet are fuzzy socks—a Christmas present from my dear sister.
Mags Go Green for Earth Day
I have been busy unsubscribing from catalogues left and right, but I just can’t give up on my print editions of magazines. After all, they don’t put everything on line. And many magazines I get through my work. Piles of magazines have been eating my apartment like kudzu, but flights are a fabulous time to catch up.
Check out this bundle that has probably given me permanent back problems from hauling them to work and then through the subway system to the airport. (No black car for this lady.)
I absolutely loved diving into the April editions, since magazines from inStyle to Self are doing their darndest to pay lip service to Earth day with lots and lots of toxin-free and eco-friendly products—some old friends, some new to me. I also love that InStyle is educating consumers about one of my favorite websites, Skin Deep.
On my to try list: aluminum-free Weleda citrus deodorant, Yes to Tomatoes acne spot stick, USDA-certified organic essential oils by Tsi-La, Mali Organics Koke’e organics sugar body polish, DairyFace Eye Caramba Nourishing Facial Refresher, Butter London non-toxic nail polish, Dairy Kai vegetable base skylight candle, Bracketron’s Mushroom Green Zero wall charger, (all rated high by inStyle) and NY-based Anjolie Ayurveda moisturizers and soaps (thanks Oprah mag!). I even found some goodies in the ads: non-toxic Zoya nail polish and EOS lip balm (the ones you’ve no doubt seen in those little egg-shaped containers).
Of course, when I say “To try,” I do’t mean “Run out and immediately buy everything.” I just mean it’s on my radar if I happen to find myself in need of body polish. Truly being green means being judicious about purchases, yo.
Stay tuned for lots of lovely pictures! I have my big fancy Canon D7, my little canon for nights out and of course Instagram on my iPhone. Meanwhile, enjoy one of my favorite songs about Paris. (Hopefully we will make it to club Showcase! I had to cull my going out options down from three sequined dresses to one.)
Gotta run! My gate just got posted for Pearee.
In fact, it had been a long weekend. A long week. A loooong month. I felt emotionally and physically … drained isn’t the right word. Because I didn’t feel empty. It was like my brain was a muddy puddle where all the silt has been kicked up, and my thoughts were swirling slowly around my brain. Ew.
I was thinking this as I lay in bed at two in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day, but I had missed 60% of it after a big night out. I decided I need a mind cleanse. So I dragged myself out of bed and formulated a plan for how I would feel better by the time I went to bed. Here’s what I did:
8 oz Organic Juice Drink
I know this is in the physical cleanse area, but it helps get you in the right frame of mind. My favorite place to get juice drinks is Liquiteria. After pulling on some yoga pants and a top in order to look somewhat productive, I walked the seven blocks south to 11th Street and 2nd Ave to get a bottle of “the killer x,” with apple, lemon, ginger and immunity booster.
42 Minutes Rooftop meditation
You could do this in the park, but I prefer my roof because it’s the closest thing I have to a backyard in that it’s quiet and private-ish. I can only imagine what Sheep’s Meadow looked and sounded like on a nice day like Sunday. Probably like a music festival.
I took up the ladder outside my apartment door to my humble little blacktop roof. I laid a big, fluffy towel out on the side that looks over the pretty gardens in the back (which, unfortunately I don’t have access to or else I would be down there), and laid on my back for a while, just looking at the blue sky above me. An unseen windchime tinged on someone’s fire escape, and birds chirped in the trees in the garden. In other words: bliss.
Then I assumed a prone position on my stomach much like Wile E. Coyote after he falls off a cliff and splats on the ground. I know you’re supposed to sit up, but that just wasn’t happening and I wanted to be gentle on myself.
I used MyMeditation Lite. This is a simple little app that will guide you through breathing exercises and then will ping you into the main meditation for three, 12 or 30 minutes. I set it to the longest setting of 12 minutes of breathing plus 30 minutes of meditation. I meditated casually. My thoughts wandered often. I would let them for a bit, and then gently shoo them away and empty my head again. When my phone chimed, I already felt a little better.
In a separate bowl mix:
1 Clean Apartment
Really, nothing refreshes like a neat and tidy apartment. I just can’t feel on top of my game when there’s crap scattered everywhere. So I did my dishes, stacked all my unread magazines and recycled the rest, swept the floor and hung up my clothing. I threw open a window to let fresh air in, and just for good measure turned on my ionizer.
Then I chose one space to reorganize–my jewelry box. It’s small and simple, but it’s such a nice feeling to see everything neatly lined up. You could do this with your denim drawer or desk drawer or bookshelf. Anything that makes you feel like you’ve tidied a corner of your life.
Something Simple for Dinner
Grab a simple vegetable, drizzle it in olive oil and shove it in the oven to roast. The act of cubing the vegetable, the simple seasonings and the fresh taste cleansed my palate of any vestiges of last night’s alcohol and set my mind at ease.
1-2 Pieces Edifying Piece of Writing
This could be almost anything: an issue of The Atlantic or The New Yorker, some non-fiction about new discoveries in psychology, modern buddhist writing, or even just a celebrated piece of literature from from the past few years. I chose Poser, by Claire Dederer, for my reading.
Saltwater has wonderful properties, or so I hear. Feng Shui consultants use it to cleanse themselves before doing an apartment energy cleanse, it’s recommended as a remedy for all sorts of maladies, and it just feels nice.
You can order delicious-smelling organic infused salts off of Etsy, but I still have salt left over from my trip to Iceland, so I liberally poured that into a warm bath and soaked, reading my book and drinking a cup of green tea.
1 Call to a Family Member
I owed my grandmother a call, so I rang her up and we discussed the nice, clean, happy things grandmothers and granddaughters discuss: my career, where I had gone out to dinner, the weather in New York versus Arizona, etc. There’s nothing like discussing what you’re making for dinner and singing a round of “You Are My Sunshine,” to feel happy and productive.
Combine and bake for at least 8 hours in:
A Nice Deep Sleep
Whew, that’s a lot of mind cleanse. By the time I was done with all these mind-health activities, it was time for bed. So I climbed into bed, feeling clarified and (almost) looking forward to Monday morning.
I wanted to paint myself an accent wall.
That’s just a designer-y way of saying that you’re too lazy to do the whole room so let’s just pick a wall and call it a day.
I have a little wall space in the far corner of my studio that was just calling out for a color. I had a Feng Shui consultant come visit for an hour about a month ago (I’ll post on that later) and she suggested a nice pink to “activate” my spirituality corner. If the Feng Shui business works, the pink color–along with a little Buddha, my Tibetan prayer flags and my Tibetan singing bowl–will bring more spirituality and mindfullness into my life. (Something I really need.)
There’s really no better place to go for eco-friendly painting supplies than Green Depot on the Lower East Side. They’ll mix up some zero-VOC paint for you in whatever color you need, provide you with a biodegradable drop cloth and sustainably made paint tray, paint brushes and a paint roller, all wrapped up into one convenient kit. It’s important to get zero-VOC paint, because that stuff will give you cancer, seriously. Not only on the day you paint it on, but for years after as it continues to off-gas into your home.
I’m an excellent wall painter, the by-product of having a interior designer mother who likes to move frequently. But painting a wall is actually really simple:
- Tape the corners and edges with paint tape
- Throw down a drop cloth. Tape it down to be safe.
- Put on some paint clothes, including a head wrap. (Don’t want to get paint in your hair!)
- Mix up your paint. Paint tends to separate in the can. I had just a quart, so I used a pair of chopsticks to do so.
- Use a paint brush to do the corners and edges.
- Use a roller dipped in paint poured into a paint tray to do the rest.
I was done in less than an hour. I touched it up a couple places after it dried, and had my furniture back in place a few hours later. It’s a great way to feel productive on a Sunday.
But it wasn’t until long after I was done that I realized that my apartment didn’t smell anything like paint. It smelled just as fresh as when I woke up that morning, and I didn’t even have the window open. Thank you no-VOC paint!
So what do you think, is it cute?
One of the biggest source of angst for urban greenies? The do-I-recycle-this problem.
Confronted with an odd item whose recyclability is questioned, a responsible citizen will do one of three things:
- Err on the side of sending less to the landfill, and put it in the recycling
- Err on the side of not messing up the recycling process, and put it in the trash
- Know, either from a quick look up on her phone/laptop, or from memorization, where it goes, and treat it appropriately
Do you do the third option? I know I don’t. And I hardly feel guilty about it. I mean, come on, the system is too damn complicated. But I’m going to try to break it down a bit.
This guide I’m about to put up is blatantly lifted from the little paper pamphlets the city distributes. However, having it online is twice as nice, right? I’ve simplified it here for easy memorization, but you can find more details at the NYC.gov website.
Recyclables in NYC come in two categories:
1. Paper and cardboard
2. Containers, metal, glass, plastic, and beverage cartons (Take note! That milk/orange juice carton goes HERE, not in the paper/cardboard pile! Misconception #1 cleared up.)
How to Put it Out
Rinse your containers before you put them in the recycling.
Paper/cardboard goes in green bins
Containers, etc. go in blue bins
If you are not lucky enough to live in a building where your super or maintenance crew take care of it for you, you need to put it all out in clear bags. I still haven’t figured out where to buy those. If you do, could you let me know? (@PoppyNYC says Costco. I know that I couldn’t find them at Duane Reade.)
You can totally crush up anything you want to save space. It doesn’t matter.
What’s OK, and What is Not
OK: White paper, colored paper, glossy paper, staples that are in that paper, mail and envelopes, wrapping paper (Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!), boxes, tubes from paper towel and toilet paper rolls, cardboard from product packaging, paper bags, cardboard egg cartons, newspapers, magazines and catalogs, phone books and softcover books
Not OK: Spiral binding on paper notebooks (annoying, but true), soiled paper (including your greasy pizza boxes), waxed or plastic-coated paper, hardcover books, napkins, paper towels, tissues
OK: Cans, pet food, empty aerosol cans, dried out paint cans, aluminum foil and aluminum trays, metal furniture, bottles, jars, jugs, milk and juice cartons, appliances with more than 50% metal
Not OK: Deli and yogurt containers, plastic toys, cups (I’m going to say, “Oops” on all those), plastic bags, plastic wrap, styrofoam, mirrors, lightbulbs ceramics, glassware, anything that is not a bottle or jug, batteries, caps and lids
Bonus: What to Do With Stuff
This can include books, clothing, computers, electronics, furniture, housewares and kitchen items. Go to nyc.gov/stuffexchange and look it up. Or just stick it on Freecycle and watch it get claimed in a matter of five seconds. Seriously, those people will take anything.
There! I know that cleared some things up for me, and I hope it did for you too.
But guess what? If you don’t live in NYC, this is all useless for you, because it’s different everywhere! Oh, don’t you love our modern recycling system?