Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"if it's yellow: let it mellow; if it's brown: let it drown"

Ok, so we're going to get dirty here at Lu n' Am. I want to talk about some bathroom etiquette, or rather - bathroom preferences.

You've probably heard this saying before: if it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, let it drown. It's a saying that started in 60s, a product of the hippies and that mind set. It basically is encouraging the conservation of water and discouraging wasting water as much as possible. But I feel that this doesn't set really set too well for many people.

(Yumz...courtesy of jablife.)

Many people would find this disgusting. This motto was something I followed quite closely in my freshman year of college. I went to what some people would call a "hippie" college and signs with this motto could be found in many restrooms. I followed this until I heard of something called "backsplash." It's reminds me of backwash - the spit that is found in your drinks from getting your spit mixed in with your beverage while drinking. But backsplash sounds so much grosser - it's the pee splashing back onto your bottom. And not only is it pee...but it's someone else's pee if you are following this lovely motto. Ew, right?

So this conservation motto is really just a personal choice. For me, I will not flush if I am using a public restroom or in my own home. But for me the thing is, I don't really care if my own pee is "backsplashing." And in a public restroom, chances are the next person is going to flush the toilet and if they don't, well, that's their own personal choice.

Friday, September 26, 2008

southeast gas crisis

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about something that is affecting me, my friends and family, and much of the Southeastern U.S. And this is the gas crisis that has been happening recently.

Fellow blogger SensibleKitty has also been blogging about the situation in Asheville. She has a unique position on this crisis because her housemate WordPlaySam actually works at a gas station. I think everyone should take a visit to her blog and read about her housemate's first-hand account of the situation.

(Photo from Mother Jones article.)

This gas shortage just really makes me more encouraged to start riding a bike, to take public transportation more often, to walk more often and to do carpooling. It also really emphasizes the need for our country and government to take charge of looking into more alternative energies and fuels. This complete reliance of oil is hurting all of us.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oh, Etsy!

How about some reusing & reinventing-
So here is the item:Clothespin. Not only are these great for hanging your laundry to dry (previous post by Am), but you can use them to hang cuteness in your home. Cuteness, as in photos, post cards, fabrics....you name it.

Wanna have the coolest clothespin in your neighborhood? You know you do.
Paint them, collage the outside, add wallpaper on the edges....these little objects have the potential to look super cute. And this etsy user...well she knows! (StellaBean)-

These could make cute gifts don't you think?


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

local beauty product!

A friend of mine knows that I'm writing on this blog, and she is a big makeup lover. While her passion is for animals and cruelty-free products, she knows my passion is for the environment. So when she found this local makeup line that is both vegan and paraben-free, she emailed me about it!

Stript - Vegan - Paraben Free

The line is Stript Makeup. The creator, Gina Austin, is an Asheville native and that always makes us proud. The makeup products are all plant-derived. The website also has neat "how-to" tips, which is always helpful for the makeup lover. Not to mention, they've got really cute designs and packaging. So if you are looking for a pretty, safe alternative to your regular makeup - check out Stript.

Monday, September 22, 2008

a new journal

I was reading through the Gorgeously Green book this week and while reading I found some tips to talk about. The one I shall share with you right now is an idea for keeping your ideas in order AND keeping your daily environmental, sustainable and "green" habits documented.

One thing I started doing this year was keeping a small notebook with me at all times. I decided to do this so I could keep a record of all my thoughts and ideas down. I'll write down things I hear that make an impression on me, things I want to remember, lists, drawings of creative ventures I want to pursue, etc. It's something that I really enjoy and that I have found to be really helpful and relaxing for me.

(A mosaic of notebooks. Found here.)

Something I think I'm going to add to this documentation of thoughts is my consumption intake, my waste output, and other little notes on my environmental impact. You could start this documentation by making your own notebook, which you can find more information on here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I say whoa! because look who is updating for a change ;) Lu here, sorry for the lack of posts on my part, I have been a busy and diligent little student preparing for an art show in October and taking 18hours of classes. But enough excuses...cause non of them should count.

I've come to write about these lovely notebooks...that not only are cute, creative, and unique...but Recycled! and oh so easy to make.

My sweet mother (Martha Stewart of France) has made me several of them, and I have used them for study notes, journals, and even sketch books.
All you need is...
Paper scraps...and we can find those everywhere...just look around a printer- discarded printer paper is perfect, just use the clean side! take your old notes from last semester, who needs to remember about that geography chapter on soil...(my mother has now turned this chapter into a cute recycled notebook)
Some staples ( if you want to sew yours with cute string...go for it! the quick way is staples.
One sheet of prettier paper for the cover. (you could use a collage, some of your old art, patterned paper, old calendar photos...be creative this will be your cover.)
and last of all some clear duct tape to reinforce the side.
and voila!

Photos and examples from our beloved Etsy. Don't feel like making your own, Subu's handmade recycled notebooks, journals, books, and notepads are awfully cute.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

let's make some rags!

Here's a D-I-Y tip: instead of purchasing new cleaning rags and sponges when your old ones get too gross and torn up make some of your own cleaning rags from old pieces of fabric and clothing!

If you have a stack of clothes that you want to throw away then use those. Or when you are going through your clothes again and find those pieces of clothing that you know you will never wear again, (come on, let's be honest, there's plenty of that in all of our closets!) take out that clothing and start snipping it up!

(No, no...this isn't dope...these are actually rags! Wouldn't making you are own be so much nicer!)

No matter the clothing - be it shirts, dresses, skirts, jeans - you can easily turn something old and used up into something with a new purpose in life! You might even consider using old underwear - no one else is every going to use it!

I know it's a crazy idea, but really it's not. Instead of throwing things way, reuse them. It's good for everyone!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

working at the car wash [oh, oh ,oh]

This blog post idea is actually courtesy of Lu, but I thought I'd run with it since she hasn't been posting too much lately.

Washing cars...sigh. I wouldn't know anything about this since I don't own or even drive a car. But it seems that some people really, really like to have nice, clean, shiny cars.

(From Dave Gorman, via flickr.)

Washing cars requires lots of water. Big duh. But did you know that washing your car at home is actually a bigger environmental hazard than washing it at a car wash? Laser washes are actually required by law to recycle and reuse their water. So that water you use goes into a drain which then cycles the water again in the laser washes' system.

Washing it at home is bad because if you are using nasty products to wash your car then the run off from your washing can (and most likely will) seep into the ground. This will then travel to our water (streams, rivers, etc.). And this, in turn, pollutes our last remaining fresh water and pollutes the water that comes back to us in our homes.

The moral of this story: If you want to wash your car, do it a laser wash! But if you really have a hankering to do it at home then consider switching your cleaning products. There are, thankfully, green cleaning products out there. For instance - the Simple Green Car Wash.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

oh yes, i'm writing a book!

For inspiration, I've been checking out other "green" books and guides. The following are the ones I'm looking at currently:

Gorgeously Green (borrowing it from Lu and browsing through it to get some ideas.)
The Lazy Environmentalist (bull-crud writing but has really, really good list of companies and resources.)
The Green Book (have barely peeked at it, but it seems to be a really rudimentary guide.)

Other than the pure fact that I love writing and I love the idea of writing books, my points in writing a book about being green and doing it yourself are many. I really find it irritating that many of the "green-touting" books out there present their ways to helping the earth by emphasizing the purchase of new products. Let's get this straight folks - buying NEW things (i.e. being consumers) will in NO way help the earth. You are helping the economy; not the environment. So for this book I'm writing I want to emphasize a green life where you do not have to sacrifice your good style and taste to achieve a better and sustainable life. You can do this while consuming less. You can do this and remain fashionable and aesthetically pleasing. It's the D-I-Y life; it's the turning "trash into treasure" life; AND it's the green and sustainable life. Make book will show everyone how to do all of these things. I want to make this book, this information and this kind of life accessible and affordable to ALL. This book will:

1. Show you how to do it yourself for household cleaning products.
2. Show you how to do it yourself for beauty and health products.
3. Show you how to do it yourself for clothing and other cloth items.
4. Show you how to do it yourself for gardening and making dishes from your garden.
5. Show you how to do it yourself when decorating your home and apersonal spaces.
6. List the things to buy that are affordable and that make a significant difference.

Some ideas for titles of the book:
Living a Green Life: Consume less! Create more!
Becoming Green: Without Being a Consumerist and Remaining Stylish
Sustainable Living & DIY Living: Fellow Bedmates


Monday, September 15, 2008

a christmas list - yes!

I've been on a creative/drawing tirade this week. And it has felt good! Part of this tirade has included me drawing things that I want to make for my loved ones for this upcoming seasonal holiday (i.e. Christmas!). I know it's kind of ridiculous to think about Christmas already but I know I'm not the only one who thinks ahead so far in advance! Trust me, I know there are plenty of you who would love to get things done at least a month in advance. And so would I, but the thing is that I usually never take the steps to get this business done in time. And now that I've gone off on some random rant...I'll get back to the point of this entry: the Christmas list. Here is what I have been doodling (if I had a camera I would have totally taken a picture of my thoughts):

Making a headband and embellishing it for the friend who loves...what else - headbands!
Making a wallet for someone who is in serious need of a new one. I think I want it to look something like this one.
Making a painting for someone who has requested this a looong time ago.
Making a to-do list that is handmade and hand-designed.

...A lot of "making," no?

Also, I have some friends/associates birthdays coming up and I have a few projects in mind for those peeps:

Making some paper, on my own, and stamping w/this excellent stamp I've created in my head.
Making two cards: one w/a big ole heart and one w/a kitty representing the birthday person's much-loved kitty.
Making some earrings for a friend who can never have enough jewelry.

(Some inspiration via Your Impact Matters.)

I intend on having a sustainable and green Christmas this year and by doing a whole lotta "making," I hope to achieve a Christmas where I keep away from plastic containers and generic presents.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

zip cars

Don't have a car? Well, I don't. Although I know it helps me maintain a smaller footprint on this Earth, it makes it incredibly inconvenient for me now that I don't live in the city. Having no car doesn't mean you're stranded though. There are lots of options! (Especially if you live in a public transportation-friendly city!) Here is what I have available to me in Asheville:

-City Bus (Not the best in Asheville; needs more routes and more frequent routes.)
-Greyhound Bus (...For when I need to go to another city, although it can be a bit on the sketchy side sometimes.)
-Bicycle (Yay for bicycles; unfortunately, I really can't ride one.)
-Renting a Car (...For when you are going on that road trip!)

(A Zip Car!)

There are many more options then these, of course, for others, but one option I recently found was the Zip Car. Zip Car is technically rental cars but there's a twist to these. Zip Car is actually a "car sharing" company. Zip Car's mission is to make it where people use cars less often and, therefore, so that less cars will be bought.

To find out more about Zip Car and to see if they are available in your area, visit zipcar.com.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

how can i recycle this?

I love when I discover new eco-minded websites! One of the latest finds today is the How Can I Recycle This? Blog. This is such a great idea for a blog! Every day I try to think about what I am using and what I am throwing away. I am always thinking...can I recycle this? And if not, how can I reuse it? And if not, what can I possibly do with this that won't contribute to the miles of waste that is climbing higher everyday?

This U.K.-based website attempts to answer all of these questions. Readers and other concerned citizens email recycling questions to the authors of the site. The authors then answer, to the best of their abilities, these concerns and questions. The questioned products range from high heels to chapstick to baby wipe containers.

(Ugh. What. an. eyesore. Pic from Editor B, on Flickr.)

It's a great site, and I love reading about how to recycle things most people wouldn't even consider recycling. So check it out, email the authors a question, and good luck on your journey to recycling and reusing everything in your life! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

let's get ready for November!

Hey everyone! I know we haven't been very regular on posting entries on here, but there have just been so many things going on in all three of our lives that the blog has gone somewhat on the back burner.

Lu is in college right now, working her butt off in her art and education classes. She also has first art show coming up in October so she's been working extra hard preparing for that.

Kimberly is preggers and has a planned c-section on - get this - Friday! So, wow, yes, she has A LOT going on right now preparing for the birth of her new one in her and her family's lives.

I (Am) have been going through some personal issues and have been hopping along every day to a different location, trying to see what is most comfortable. During this time, I am re-reevaluating my goals and plans in life.

So these are just some of the reasons the posts have been a little choppy and inconsistent. We are trying our best to correct this. But one thing to look forward to is the month of November. For those of you new to the blogging world, November is (other than the month to celebrate everything we are thankful for) National Blog Posting Month! So I will be spending the next month and a half (ahhh, how time flies!) collecting and taking inventory on sustainability and green facts everywhere so that for at least one month our viewers will get daily information on how to live green, creative, affordable and sustainable lives!

(The ultimate blogger kit, apparently. Source: m-c, from Flickr.)

While you are waiting on our next post, feel free to check out more info on NaBloPoMo. Happy reading!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

old skool recycling tip

It's been a while since I've been "back to school". Lucie did a fabulous blog (scroll down) covering school supplies but I thought I would pass along a related tip.

When I attended JMU back in the mid-90s, I belong to a very progressive environmental club, EARTH. One of the targets of our "green our campus" campaign was to get the university to use 100% post consumer paper in all of its offices. Paper, as we all know, is consumed in mass quantities daily on college campuses all over the United States. Fortunately, technology has led many students to use laptops instead of notebooks. However, if you have the need for notebook paper, why not try this tip I used back in my college days - make your own notebooks!

I found that in my day to day life, I came across oodles of paper that was only printed or used on one side. Flyers for bands, pizza advertisements, old syllabi, and notices can find new life in a notebook. All you have to do is get a three hole binder, a hole punch, a voila! a colorful and environmentally responsible notebook! Or if you would like an even fancier version, learn how to bind your creation here. Place a collection box in your common room area of your dorm or in your class area and an endless supply of notebook paper will appear! It worked all those years ago - I was able to get through my college days without purchasing a single sheet of paper! I hope you find this "old skool" recycling tip useful!
~Cheers, Kimberly

Thursday, September 4, 2008

living sustainable, tip

Ok, class, I'd like to take a survey. Raise your hand if you like to house clean. Hm, yes. Just as I thought. Not a single person likes to house clean. Well, I have to admit, neither do I. Housecleaning might as well be a sport, with all the work and trials that are involved in it.

There's the nasty, powerful, noxious smells. There's the bending and the pushing. There's the scraping and the pulling. Fortunately, there are ways now to get rid of some of these problems. The physical labor part will always be a necessary evil in the process, but one thing you can forget about is the overwhelming smells that usually go along with housecleaning.

(Method. One alternative to your bad-smelling cleaning encounters.)

There are many products on the market now that contain safe and good-smelling (nor overwhelming) ingredients. Some of these include:

1. Method. Very trendy. Very aesthetically pleasing. Very good smelling. Method is all these things. Plus, the products are naturally-derived and bio-degradable.
2. Seventh Generation. One of the first "environmentally-friendly" cleaning products I had ever heard of, this one is a regular on the green scene. Their products are always a safe bet.
3. Simple Green. Just discovered this kid. They've been making "safer" cleaning products for over 30 years. The products are made of bio-degradable, non-toxic, non-flammable and non-abrasive ingredients.
4. Mrs. Myers. Super cute packaging and design. Their products are biodegradable, natural, cruelty-free and free of any ingredients that would make you faint from one sniff.

But if you'd rather make your own products, then are many basic household products you can find that make excellent household cleaners. Below, are the most common products that will leave your home smelling fresh and looking clean:

1. White Vinegar
2. Baking Soda
3. Toothpaste
4. Lemon
5. Liquid Dish Soap
6. H2O

The mixture of some of these products also create good household cleaning products. You can find these household recipes all over the web. Martha Stewart and this blog are just two of places where you can find these awesome d-i-y concoctions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Skinny B*tch

Hiya! Tis Kimberly here! I realized I haven't been pulling my weight by posting lately so I thought I would share. Whilst on bedrest due to the impending delivery of my 2nd child, I was watching the Ellen Denegeres show and came across a provocative book called Skinny B*tch.

Now one may ask why am I bringing up a book like this on the lu 'n am site? Well, despite it's "chick lit" cartoon cover and "fly in your face" title, this book is about healthy organic eating. (Yes, can you believe it?!?). According to the Vegetarian's Paradise website, "beneath the irreverence and the salty language sprinkled throughout, is a thoughtful argument for adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle".

Once readers get over the rough writing style, it seems that s/he will walk away enlightened for the book discusses artificial sweeteners and other chemicals in our food supply and the horrific conditions of animals that are the stable of most meat producing factory farms. The book discourages the use of caffeine, cigarettes and other unhealthy choices whilst also demanding a respect for the environment and our own bodies.

Critics of the book have apparently purported that the book shouldn't promote "skinniness" over health and that it is hard to take two former models (the authors) seriously when the modeling community constantly promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. Other criticisms say their diet plan contains no scientific proof that their plan works. Then, of course, there is the language used - the "b word" and the gaunt fashionista cover - which only seem to promote a misogynist competitiveness amongst our fellow women.

I haven't had the chance to read the book but plan on exploring it soon. Perhaps if nothing else, Skinny B*tch will foster debate and conversation about some very important issues. Let us know if you have read it and what you think! We would love to hear from you! ~Cheers, Kimberly

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome to the Museum of Nature.

Welcome to the Museum of Nature.
Your entry fee will be...
Why not get a season pass! Enjoy the true beauty of nature...it will take your breath away.
Fun for the whole family.

Introducing Finnish artist, IIkka Halso...

His work does indeed take your breath away doesn't it? Could this be our future.


Monday, September 1, 2008


Ok, this is seemingly unrelated to being "green," but I had to put it on here. I mean it does relate to being green because it's about the blog and the blog is about being green, so it is about being green, right?

Here's a question for you all to contemplate - what would the lu-n-am blog look like in a visually- appealing arrangement of words? Answer: just like this:
Go to wordle to create your own version of this poster. Enjoy.
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