Happiness Has a New Address – Tagged "Life without plastic" – Dulse & Rugosa
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    My Galentine/Palentine/Valentine Shopping Spree

    My Galentine/Palentine/Valentine Shopping Spree

    I've been a grinch about holidays in general and Valentine's Day in particular.  I signed the first of my divorce papers on Valentine's Day.  Remembering that cold, winter morning still gives my heart a crack but  lately I've been thinking about heart opening exercises beyond yoga poses.  Traveling and walking the beach has given me lots of time to think.  I remember a small town in Oklahoma that had the coolest building- all deserted except for a pizza joint.  It was sad.  One way to be sure this doesn't happen is to shop small and local.  To vote with your dollars.  I decided to go on a shopping spree for a few Valentine/Galentine/Palentine gifts in downtown Apalachicola, Florida.

    Tips to shop small and local

    I've been on a solo travel, escape the snow road trip.  My temporary home is an Airstream trailer- an Air B n B in a local's backyard.   It's a teeny trailer community where I feel  completely safe.   Populated by women and dogs.  The owner and her big dog Zeek as well as two fellow travelers and their not so big dog, Apunne.  I decided a few small treats from downtown Apalachicola would be a sweet treat.  I also had the goal of shopping as plastic free as possible. 

    I set a budget for myself, which was between $20 and $30, which is an important holiday consideration.  Its counter productive to work on opening your heart without paying attention to your budget.  It's not going to feel good if you over spend.  My list was a small treat for each women, a treat for 3 dogs, some cards to mail and a good cup of coffee.   I went with cash because small businesses love cash and it also helps me keep to my budget.  Spending twenty or thirty dollars in a downtown isn't going to keep any business in afloat but ten people spending that amount will.  Where you spend your money matters.  It's a simple way to spread some love.

    tips for shopping small and local

    I started with a cup of coffee- so YUM!  One thing I've been missing is my morning coffee routine and my delicious cuppa.  I'm not a fan of coffee machine coffee or store brand beans.  I had my reusable cup, the service was great and I ended up treating myself to a sandwich. 

    I wandered into quite a few different stores with an open mind.  I knew there was a dog shop which made biscuits so that was my first stop.  Oysterbones is part of the Dixie Theatre Company as its one way the theatre raises money.  Talk about keeping it in the community and how your dollars go to support a town- this is about as real as it gets.  I bought 3 biscuits packed in a paper bag.  

    tips for shopping small and local

    I decided chocolates were the best gift for the three gals since I really now very little about them.  Just that they are nice and love dogs.  The coffee store is also a chocolate shop.  I went for dark chocolate with tupelo honey, a speciality honey in the area.  I asked for a little packaging as possible but also each chocolate was for a separate person.  the chocolate maker packed each one in a small cardboard box.  Not zero waste but plastic free.

    Tips for shopping small and local.

    Cards were the hardest thing to buy plastic free.  I went into quite a few stores, many with lovely selections of card pre packaged in plastic.  I get why this happens, part of the appeal of plastic is how it keeps items "clean and fresh" before purchase.  I still love to buy and mail cards.  It's a treat to get something besides junk mail and I wanted to send some love to special pals.  I finally found not local cards but a company that package plastic free and they were very reasonably priced.  I would have preferred to purchase local cards from area artists but the cards from Positively Green were cute, plastic free and reasonably priced- all factors important to consider. 

    Tips for shopping small and local

     

    Voting with your money sends a message about the world and economies you want.  You still have to make decisions to fit your values, budget and beliefs but it's such an important step in supporting small, local and sustainable businesses that supoort communities and our environment.

     

     

    Halloween- Celebrating Sustainably

    Halloween- Celebrating Sustainably

    Going Zero Waste during any holiday is tricky but Halloween is especially challenging.  The fun quickly turns into trash.

    Here are some simple tricks to help reduce waste but don't procrastinate, DIY takes time.

    Thrift stores are a great resource for DIY and Zero Waste Halloween.

    COSTUMES-

    • Organize a costume swap.   Costumes are typically worn just a few times and not made of sturdy material.  Extending the life of a costume keeps it out of the landfill.
    • Use your imagination and the recycle bin for any cardboard based costumes.  
    • Visit a thrift store for inspiration.  A prom dress can become a princess gown.  A bathrobe a super hero cape.
    • A glue gun will become your new BFF.
    Natural or well made items make the best Halloween decorations.

      DECORATIONS

      This is the easy part.  Fall is the harvest season filled with natural beauty.  Pumpkins, corn stalks, gourds.  If you want a bit more, invest in quality items including wreaths, bunting and treat bags that can be used for years.  My best advice is to have a Halloween box filled with reusable decorations, favorite books and most importantly memories.  

      Zero Waste treats include shells, polished rocks and glass

      TRICK OR TREATS

      It's helpful to limit the number of houses you visit.  Planning an after party can help with the transition.  The after event can be a special video or family game with a big bowl of popcorn and fresh cider.  Instead of playing "Old Maid" switch it up to a Halloween theme.  Have your family make the cards together.  A fun memory is to use old Halloween photos for the pairs.  Yes, this takes time but if you have your Halloween box it's worth it and your deck can grow each year.  

      REFUSE

      Simply refuse some items including all cheap plastic ones that have an interest span of seconds but a life span of centuries.  

      Pass out natural items.  A bowl of polished stones, rocks or shells is exciting.  Coloring sheets, puzzles or candy packaged in cardboard including Dots or boxes of raisins.

      Plan ahead.  Celebrating Zero Waste takes time.

      You need to start early for your DIY Zero Waste Halloween celebration.  It takes time to collect materials and craft.  You might also need time to set and manage your children's expectations.  

      Let's take the truly scary out of Halloween- the trash and still have fun.

      Sustainable Gifts for Super Moms

      Sustainable Gifts for Super Moms

      When you're thinking about zero waste gifts for mom, it's important to think about what your mom likes, enjoys and considers a special treat.  If at all possible, give the gift of you. It's important to VOTE with your dollars and support the types of businesses that you value.  Shop small, indie, farm and eco friendly.

      Read more

      Use Good Soap and Make It Last

      Use Good Soap and Make It Last

      What's in your bathroom?  If you have bottles of liquid soap, we want you to switch.  Bars might be "old fashioned" but they are also sustainable.  Find out more on our Good Soap Blog.

      Read more

      Ideas for #OptOutside & Buy Nothing Day

      Ideas for #OptOutside & Buy Nothing Day

      Many years ago, when my family was the only year round family on remote Gotts Island I actually did "Black Friday."  Black Friday is literally going to a mall after Thanksgiving and buying stuff.  I believe it came about because I listened to a talk radio station out of Boston.  This is long before talk radio was so political, of course the station talked national and local politics but also covered many human interest stories, food, psychology.  For me, it was background conversation while I worked alone in my log cabin.  I'm sure I was influenced by all the ads for Black Friday- it seemed the thing to do.

       

      So we headed ashore- no easy task- involving boats and our car.  I have no idea what we bought.  Probably broccoli and other fresh vegetables.  It was crowded, we ate at a fast food joint and by the time we got home we were all cross and grumpy.  That's my one and only Black Friday adventure.

      This year, celebrate sustainably and slow down.  There is no need to pile the family in the car, deal with hordes of people to buy cheap stuff made in China.  There are so many other things to do.  

      #OptOutside was started by the outdoor gear company REI a few years ago.  They are closed for business the Friday after Thanksgiving.  REI's mission is to connect people with each other and nature instead of spending time shopping for bargains.  

      Another alternative to Black Friday is Buy Nothing Day.  This began in Canada to highlight overconsumption.  Instead of shopping the idea is to slow down and participate in a community event, get outside or even spend a bit of time doing what you love.  It's a perfect day for some self care. 

      Both #OptOutside and Buy Nothing Day are movements and philosophies.  We're a small business which depends on sales to survive.  We understand how complex the world and economies are.  We also knowing making choices about your purchases is a way to vote for the kind of economies and world you want. 

      9 Ideas for #OptOutside & Buy Nothing Day

      1.   Take a walk no matter what the weather is.  Bundle up, put on rain boots or rub in the sunscreen- just get outside.

      2.   While outside pick up trash.  There's nothing like picking up lots od single use plastic to help you make better buying choices.

      3.   Clean out a closet, cupboard or room and donate useable items to your local charity shop.

      4.   Write letters, postcards or call family and friends far away.

      5.   Make holiday cookies or gifts.

      6.   Read a book, play cards or do a puzzle.

      7.   Get some ART and visit a museum or gallery.

      8.   Dedicate some time to self care, give your self a facial, a hot soak in the tub or simply a bit of time doing whatever you love most.  

      9.   No matter how you spend the day- do an activity that nourishes you and helps your community and environment.