Sunday, August 31, 2008

using your local resources to get "new" items

I've just moved into a new place. And most people, when moving into a new abode, think about getting, and usually do get, new furniture. Well, I have to admit the place I moved into is fully furnished so there are no wild purchases of furniture this time. But I hope to be moving into another place in another four months or so. And when this move happens I shall be purchasing some new items.

But it would be foolish, and hypocritical, on my part to actually buy "new" things. So what I plan on doing is checking out my various "once used" stores and seeing what they have in store. Stores and places on the list are:
1 Goodwill.

2 Salvation Army.
3 Habitat for Humanity.
4 Thrift Stores.
5 Antique Stores.
6 Craigslist.
7 Freecycle.
8 Yard Sales.

When I do find something worthy of decorating my home with, I plan on doing whatever I need to do to it to restore the furniture to its best condition and to my specific visions. By spending barely any money on once used furniture and making it look its best, I will be achieving many positives objectives: saving trees by not having anything new made for me, saving the emissions of greenhouse gases by not having anything new made for me, saving money by buying
something used, and flexing my creative muscles by redecorating a piece of furniture.

You've probably already seen posts on here where Lu did exactly what I'm talking about. She found sweet little deals on furniture in thrift stores and then revamped the pieces into cool and useful items for the home.

And speaking of freecycle, here's another online community/store you should check out that is based solely around "swapping" clothes. It's a new interest of mine!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crafting a Green World

This is a particularly exciting find, it is THE eco-website of the day. Today, just minutes ago, I discovered Crafting a Green World blog. I am a true lover of crafting and while I think that crafting is innately a "green activity" I am always asking how I be more green in my arts and crafts time.

(A sweet, sweet idea from the site.)

Crafting a Green World is a blog centered around people who love to craft and who love the environment. Most of the blogs talk about ways in which to craft a whole world of objects from already-used objects. You know the saying: "One person's trash is another person's treasure." Well these are the people that turn that trash into treasure! This site is by far my new favorite blog to frequent. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

designing from the pieces

One nifty thing I've learned about saving money while trying to design something is that there are many ways to do this by recycling objects or using objects that are free or very, very cheap.

(A fabric sample from weareslip.)

Recycling objects and reusing finds is a favorite around here but something that I'm currently experimenting in is to order free samples of swatches of fabric from designers. Many designers and home decor companies will send you free samples of fabric if you tell them you are interested in purchasing something. Some of my favorites are anthropologie and weareslip.

The plan is when I receive the swatches I will try making some decor from them. Maybe some wall art? Or maybe a funky rug. Or how about a quilt or a skirt. There are really lots of things to be made from these little samples. So go searching around and you'll find lots of free samples to play around with.

Friday, August 22, 2008

stop that junk mail now!

Who doesn't despise junk mail? Junk mail is not only annoying and virtually pointless, but it also creates an excessive amount of destruction to our planet's forests.

Thankfully, there are ways to stop any unwanted mail from coming to your mailbox. There are various sites where you can enter your mailing information and they will block your address from certain mailing lists.

(Courtesy of flickr.)

Another way to save the forests is to change many of your paper-based payments (electricity bill, phone bill, etc.) to the electronic method. Most, and nearly all, companies now give their customers the option to pay their bills over the internet. So this is another way to reduce the amount of paper mail you are getting.

Lastly, another suggestion to save paper is to change your newspaper and magazine subscriptions to the online versions only. I have to say that I'm guilty of not doing this. There is just something so satisfying about flipping through a new magazine. But I hope to accomplish this paper and tree saving goal one day. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Do I really need this???"

(Image from Pouletsue-

Shopping....dun. dun. dun.
We are massive consumers when it comes to shopping. We are all guilty of it, we love it, and we will not stop.
Unfortunately ...we spend a lot of money doing it...and sometimes (if not most of the time) waste a lot of money. but most importantly this high consumption habit of ours has a great impact on our environment...and thus we should be more concerned with finding ways of being smarter about this little love of ours.

I am currently reading the "Shopping Chapter" in the Gorgeously Green book by Sophie Uliano, and this section is filled with tons of useful information on indulging in guilt-free shopping. After having read this section, the most important information I retained and practice on a daily basis is to ask myself a very important question before I pick up my next buy in a store. I ask myself...

"Do I really need this???" or better yet...." Can I live without it?"

So next time you are ready to pull out that wallet on your next purchase...ask yourself those two questions...chances are you don't. be honest with yourself ;)

But more importantly, just how much does our consumption have an affect on our environment? I rarely take the time to think how something was made, or who made it (and in what conditions) and where. What materials were used...what about the packaging? how much plastic or non-recyclable material is used to make this item...what chemicals are involved & do these harm our planet. Can this be reused? How much energy was consumed through the shipping process? Is this a fair-trade product?
Enough questions right...but the problem is we rarely ask ourselves these questions, and much of our society is apathetic to the answers. I think if we all took the time to think about some of these issues, we would have second thoughts on the answers to the two questions listed above.

More on this topic soon. Again, I do recomend the Goregeously Green is wonderful. ;)

Important Links:
Find out if your favorite brand is unethical. =
Learn more about the fair-trade products in larger stores=
-Information on Buying Green


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

good lists & tips

I am huge fan of lists. And I especially love to read a new list of "ways to be live sustainably." There are so many of these kind of lists out there in this big world. These lists almost always consist of overlapping information that I've read 100 times already, but I usually find little new nuggets of wisdom every time in these lists.

A good website for tips and lists galore of ways to live more sustainably, more energy efficiently, more green, etc. is Co-Op America. I think I somehow got on their mailing list a while ago, and they've been sending me random information and tips on how live in these ways. These tips have been sitting magnetically attached to my fridge for months now and I just today decided to read over them. After being educated a little bit more by these tips, I went to the organization's website.

I particularly like these three lists. Read up on these tips when you get a minute - because that's all it takes to read each of them!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Hiya! It's Kimberly here - the newest addition to the Lu 'n Am blog.

I am chuffed to have been asked to be a regular contributor to the blog dedicated to living an affordable, sustainable, green lifestyle. As I said in my personal blog, I am not sure how I can add to this incredible site. However, I will do my best to live up to the high standards these fine women have created.

Since I am the "new kid on the block", I thought I'd briefly introduce myself...
Unlike the beautifully youthful Lu 'n Am, I am a thirty-something mother of two. My interest in helping the environment was born in the early 1990s when one of my closet friends was obtaining her Environmental Studies degree. She would share information with me about the state of our fragile planet. As they say, "knowledge is power" and once I was faced with the facts, I couldn't help but act and act I did. I reused all those worthless flyers as notebook paper, I cleaned up nature trails, I participated in protests - you name it!

As I entered adulthood and departed from the safe cocoon of university life, I saw that living green was a bit harder. During those darker years, I admit I wasn't always so "green". Now as I have entered the latest stage of my life, motherhood, I have rededicated myself to protecting the planet and reducing my family's footprint.

So I do what I can. I am not perfect and am probably, at times, a bit hypocritical but I do try. I haven't become cynical in my "old age" - I still believe that one person can make a difference. When I discover something, I share it. I hope you find it helpful!

That's me in a nutshell but before I sign off on my first post, I thought I would leave you with this little nugget. It's a film that I can not wait to get my hands on... Fields of Fuel. Fields of Fuel was this year's audience award winner at the Sundance Film Festival. This documentary follows one man's quest (Josh Tickell) to change the world over to alternative energy sources. (Think of it as An Inconvenient Truth for the petrol guzzling world!)

The film was originally scheduled for a May US release but has yet to make its way to mainstream audiences. While we wait on its release, check out Jost Tickell's two books on the subject entitled Biodiesel America: How to Achieve Energy Security, Free America from Middle-east Oil Dependence And Make Money Growing Fuel and From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank: The Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oil as an Alternative Fuel. In the meantime, enjoy this trailer.

Cheers, Kimberly

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New addition to Lu n' Am

I would like to introduce the newest addition to our blog, and what a good one it is.
Kimberly will now be joining Lu n' Am on the quest to finding more ways of living affordable, sustainable, greener, and more creative lives.
Am and I look forward to blogging with her, and we strongly recommend a trip to her other blog, Tree Huggin' Mummy.
thanks for joining our "team". ;)
-Lu and Am

Thursday, August 14, 2008

more about packaging

One great thing about living in Asheville is that I'm always finding something new related to sustainability/green-living. Lately, it's been the surge of green-packaging products I've been discovering throughout many Asheville restaurants and coffee shops.

I've always loved that most places in Asheville will give you the option on how you want things packaged. Don't want a plastic bag? Ok, we won't give you one. Work nearby and don't want to use styrofoam to carry your bagel? Ok, you can take the plate, but please bring it back afterwards. But now I've been seeing places use recyclable boxes and biodegradable cups for their carryout containers.

My favorite coffee shop and bookstore by far, Malaprops, uses biodegradeable and recyclable cups for their iced and cold beverages. Two of my new favorite places to eat in downtown are Chorizo and this cute soda fountain in the Woolworth Walk gallery. Having eaten at both of these places recently and taken left-overs/to-go boxes, I discovered that both restos use 100% post-consumer and recyclable boxes. I looked into this, I found out the boxes are made by fold-pak and the biodegradable cups are made by fabri-kal.

So the next time you go to a restaurant see what kind of products they use. You could even suggest to them to carry these products. Or, if you're even more hard-core about saving the environment, d-i-y initiatives and reusing, then you could bring you own tupperware/storage container to restaurants. It's something that I still haven't done, but would definitely like to start doing. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

pacman, the 21st c. edition

While reading Mother Jones today, I found this new version of pacman. The makers have revamped pacman and put it in an enviromentally-friendly mood. The graphics aren't that great, but the intro is pretty nifty. Retitled, "Packaging Man" this new pacman has very few differences from the original.

(Eep, he's gonna eat ya!)

The story line of the game: evil corporations are destroying are Southern United States forests for their non-sustainable packaging. But have no fear Packaging Man is here to take down the evil corporations (who they specifically name as McDonald's, Wal-Mart and Taco Bell, among others). Packaging Man looks like your local UPS driver, but in green. He is recharged and able to "destroy"/eat the corporations when he eats the recycle symbols. I really suck at pacman, always have, so I was no contender for the game, but it was an interesting one to try out. At the end of the game, you can click on "take action" where the game leads you to a pre-written message you can attach your name to that is sent to the major packaging and enviroment offenders. It's interesting concept and one that seems to be catching on lately.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back to School...but this time come back Green.

(Robert Doisneau Photograph - School Kids)

I was in Wally world the other day...yes Am would disapprove :/, but I was there as I am too often...and it was unbelievable the number of people that were crammed into the school supplies aisle... as well as the entire store. I mean I was thinking that maybe big stores should think about having shopping road rules, you know...
one way aisles
4-way stop signs at the end of the aisles
maybe on the wider aisles they could even have a passing lane if you're feeling speedy & adventurous.

anyhoo, so it was crowded, and people were buying all the school supplies for their kids (that they most likely already have sitting at home).
it's back to school yes, but back to school doesn't have to mean...go to the store and make sure you become high consumers while spending ridiculous amounts of money on supplies you already have.
and if you do need paper, why not buy recycled paper for a change?

So don't venture into those high traffic aisles just yet...
make a list of the things you REALLY need.
Reuse= sharpen those pencils you have, test those pens, reuse the lunchboxes you bought last year...dig out those old boxes of crayons and pick out the best in each making yourself an "almost new" box. sharpen your coloring pencils, share some supplies with a friend...

here are some helpful websites to help you make your Back to School experience a greener and smarter one.

Green Earth Office Supply Stores.

Green Field Paper

and what about Lunchboxes?
(100% recycled cotton lunch bag from
try buying a reusable water bottle, you will save yourself some money while being enviromentally friendly.
include more organic nutrition with less packaging...give them leftovers in these
-use cloth napkins and reusable utensils
-Laptop Lunchboxes
-Other Lunchbox options at

other helpful articles:
School Supplies for the Stingy
Saving Advice
and this entire website is excellent for any mom. dad
Nature Mom

Monday, August 4, 2008

the solaleya

Another sensiblekitty source today...and this time it's for the Solaleya Homes.

These green circular homes rotate. They rotate according to your own specifications of whether you want more or less sunlight in the home. These homes kind of just boggle my mind. The modern world has become quite used to living in a linear fashion, but these Solaleya homes prove that living circularly is living better.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


This week has been full of new finds, and most of them I have discovered through the always inventive and ahead-of-the-crowd sensiblekitty. This time, it's a neat little green giveaway site called Ecobunga.

(The Enertia Motorcycle, an electric bike being given away.)

Ecobunga is a source for all these awesome green giveaways and savings (coupons and discounts). The giveaways range from relatively cheap canvas bags to the always eco-envy inducing hybrid cars. The ways to win the giveaways vary, ranging from simple postings on blogs to the more complicated knowledge of a computer-animated creation related to the said giveaway object. So far, I've entered to win a free Toyota Yaris, some super echinacea extract, and a copy of the book "Easy Green Living"! So you should definitely check out Ecobunga if you are at all interested in winning some free green goodies. :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My good & green deed...

(view from our deck)

I have just returned from a brilliant trip to Cape San Blas....the forgotten coast of Florida. And when they say forgotten, they mean forgotten...and it's unfortunate more land isn't "forgotten" in the United States, cause this place was beautiful and at its natural best.

Being there on this forgotten coast away from any tourists traps and giant hotels swallowing this beautiful beach and its dunes...made me really appreciate the earth's beauty all over again. yes that sounds ultra corny...but it was just so beautiful there. and to think that we are constantly building more & building bigger...i pray that this coast will remain forgotten as well as the rest of America's "forgotten" areas.
Mitchell and I did a good deed while there, that took little effort but felt wonderful to do. We decided to go on a long walk picking up any trash we saw. We ended up filling an entire trash can bag to the top...and hopefully saving some little fishies and turtles, as well as helping to keep this beach clean ;) Now Cape San Blas, I would consider to be a very clean beach, so I can't began to imagine the trash one could find and a more populated beach.
so next time you're at the beach, take a trash can bag, fill it with the nasties on zee beach, and enjoy a nice walk on clean sand, and think of the little turtle you may have just saved :)
seriously, if all visitors did this on their vacation trip at least once in a week, I think it would show for we obviously can't pick up after ourselves as a whole.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer, and if you are thinking of your next trip to the beach, you may want to think about Cape San Blas. I give it a thumbs up. :)
ps. check out mitchell's sand castle, he was so proud of it!

-Mitchell's 1st Sand Castle, Cape San Blas July 2008

pps. mitchell is 25 .

Friday, August 1, 2008

target=growing awesomeness

I'm not one to promote the big box stores, but I have to admit that my fondness for Target is growing. Not only do they stock almost the entirety of the Method products and other natural cleaning products, but, to my surprise, they are also starting to carry a fine selection of natural beauty products.

(Courtasy of flickr.)

Some of the beauty products I found there were the usual Jason, Burt's Bee's (who i found has a really neat interactive ingredient guide), Kiss My Face and Dr. Bronner's. Some others I saw there that I didn't recognize were Giovanni, Alba, and Weleda, among others.

So if you must go and save money (who doesn't want to save money?) by buying products at a big box store, I suggest Target. And while you're at it stock up on all your organic and natural products!
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