Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas: 6 Ways to Go Green This Christmas

Source: Inhabitat

It’s the time of year to celebrate life, to help bring peace on earth and goodwill to everyone. But just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean we should completely disregard the planet, even though we often do during this time.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, Americans throw away 25% more trash. We can try to reduce that while reducing our own holiday stress! Check out these ways to help the earth feel peace during this time of year too.

1. Homemade decorations and gifts

One fun and green way to celebrate the season is making your own decorations. Particularly for kids, homemade decorations can become a lifelong memory. Feel free to use popsicle sticks and other odds and ends, but you go more sophisticated if you want. Winter foliage is gorgeous and can be cleaned and assembled easily for centerpieces and the mantel top.

Source: Domestic Superhero
Not only can you make holiday decorations, you can also make homemade gifts. Now give it a chance. Not all homemade gifts look cheap or like a three-year-old created them. Pinterest and Instagram have thousands of examples and links to instructions for amazing, easy-to-make gifts.

2. Reusable wrapping

Did you know that wrapping paper is not recyclable?

One of the greatest sources of trash during this time is wrapping paper. According to the CDC, just 3 gifts wrapped in reused materials would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. We all can spare at least 3 gifts using more sustainable wrapping, don’t you think?

It’s actually pretty easy to reuse wrapping because you have so many options. Save the gift bags and tissue paper you receive and reuse them for the gifts you give. Use old newspapers or paper that you’d otherwise recycle for unique and interesting wrapping. I love using the comics section of the newspaper.
Source: Pinterest
At craft or fabric stores, you can find holiday-themed fabric. Cut the fabric for various sizes of gifts, and use safety pins to secure the wrapping. No, fabric isn’t as fun to tear open as paper, but it gets the job done with no waste.

You can find more ideas here as well.

3. Shopping

A huge holiday stressor is shopping. Your blood pressure and the environment will thank you if you shop online or try to combine multiple stops in your shopping trips to save gas, time, and money.

Source: Bustle
Also consider buying from local businesses and shops or high-quality secondhand and consignment stores to save some green in your pocket and going green in your carbon footprint.

As unpopular as it might be with kids initially, you could also try giving fewer gifts and focusing on quality time together doing fun holiday activities. Time with loved ones is the whole point of the season anyway, right?

4. Experience gifts

About 35% of Americans have never used a Christmas present they have received. In addition, studies have found that spending money on experiences brings more happiness than spending money on physical possessions.

Source: Getty Images
Instead of cluttering up your house and your life with more stuff, give your loved ones the gift of experiences. Memberships to museums, concert tickets, gift cards for movies or activities are all amazing gifts that your loved ones can enjoy long after the holidays end. As a bonus, experiences you do together can bring you closer.

5. Energy efficiency

However beautiful Christmas lights are, they are sometimes inefficient. To save on energy costs and usage, use LED lights and set them on a timer. Make sure you turn off lights when you're not around  or awake to enjoy them. While you’re inside, you could consider burning candles for the same holiday feeling. Just make sure your house and choices are fire safe.

Or you could skip putting up your own lights, and go on walks around neighborhoods that participate in lighting contests. It’s a great holiday activity, and you can spare yourself the hassle and cost of your own lights.

Source: Good Housekeeping
6. Eco-friendly cards
Instead of buying new cards or ordering them online, you could send electronic holiday cards or make your own. Your kids can draw or make cards for family members. Use the front of old cards, your children’s artwork, or gift tags for unique, adorable holiday cards.
Source: Itabox

Even if everyone incorporated just one or two of these tips into your holiday this year, we could have a profound impact. Let's all feel a little more peace about the future this holiday season by including the earth in our goodwill.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

8 Reasons to Love Gilmore Girls

Even an entire month after the Gilmore Girls revival, I'm still thinking about this series! Since seeing the original 10 years ago, I've still listed it as one my favorite TV shows, despite the fact that it was no longer releasing new episodes.

I'm not alone in my love of the series. The show's loyal fan following essentially made the revival happen. Fans pleaded for the revival and finally got their wish. All this devotion from fans begs the question: what about the show motivates such deeply attached fans?

1. Hilarious, smart allusions

Gilmore Girls is not a brainless, just-on-for-background-noise type of TV show. If you're not paying attention, yes, you will probably still know what's going on, but you're missing out! Lorelai and Rory talk fast, and they are hilariously witty. You use your brain while watching, but that extra work pays off with extra laughs.

If you're paying attention and you know the references, you can catch allusions to books, movies, rock bands, obscure pop culture, and political figures. I admit that some, okay sometimes many, of their references went over my head, specifically the rock and pop culture references. But the references I get make me love the script writers for having seen or read what I have.

Here are some allusions just from season 5. Seeing all of them at once gives me a little bit of a headache.

2. Books, books, books

Any bookworm loves and relates to Rory. She reads voraciously. She plans everything out and makes lists, she is organized, and she reads and reads and reads. The early Rory is a kindred spirit for sure.

3. Girls' night every episode

What are girls' nights like? Talking about boys, sometimes deep conversations, stupid movies, and food. Lots and lots of food. That's pretty much every episode of Gilmore Girls.

Lorelai and Rory feel like my close friends, although they are fictional. I love their sense of humor, their idea of fun, and their relationship.

I feel like I'm having a girls' night every episode I watch.

4. Stars Hollow

Lorelai lives in the cutest town in America. I wish this town actually existed. Not only is the town physically charming in their seasonal decor, this town's citizens are involved and participate in nearly all events. Stars Hollow goes all out for the winter festival, festival of living art, dance marathon, knit-a-thon, Revolutionary War reenactments, and so many more.

Everyone even participates regularly in town meetings. Who does that? Well, maybe if town meetings everywhere were as entertaining as the ones in Stars Hollow, more people would go.

In one early episode, the town names an official town troubadour, the guy who randomly plays and sings in the town.

5. Awesome secondary characters

Nearly every character has his or her own charm. Everyone has clever lines. Everyone has a unique personality. 

It is so hard to pick my favorite secondary characters, because they are all so funny and lovable in their own way. But with my arm twisted behind my back, I'd have to pick Kirk, Sookie, Paris, and TJ as my favorites.

One character epitomizes the ridiculous, quirky, nonsensically hilarious personality and charm of the characters in Stars Hollow: Kirk. He is the Jack of all trades, he takes things literally to a hilarious extent, and he is awkwardly innocent.

Lorelai's best friend, Sookie, is a sweet but demanding chef. Played by Melissa McCarthy, Sookie has shining moments that deserve to be rewound and watched over and over as you wipe away tears of laughter. Here are some of my favorite funny Sookie moments.

Although Paris is often neurotic, demanding, and difficult to work with or be friends with, I can appreciate how candidly she shares her opinions about everything. I would probably join the ranks of those who hate and fear her if I knew a real version of Paris, but I love her as a fictional character.

TJ only appears in a few episodes, but he cracks me up in every scene he is in, especially the renaissance wedding episode. Those tights were obviously very comfortable, and he wanted to make sure everyone knew it. I am right there with Luke and Lorelai cracking up.

Even the annoying characters, like Taylor and Lorelai's parents, have their moments of truly charming, clever, and funny comments. They have an undeniable appeal of their own, just like every single character on this show. 

6. Sweet romantic moments

The men of Gilmore Girls know how to pull at the heartstrings.

7. What not to do in a relationship

As much as we see them succeed in relationships, we see what not to do in relationships. For example, I don't recommend sleeping with a married man or stealing a boat, or rebounding from your fiance with an ex who is also the father of your child. Not your greatest moments, girls.

8. Writer like me

Although Rory goes into newspaper journalism and I'm doing freelance, blogging, magazine, and other writing, during my high school and college years, it was nice a role model like her aspire to write, just as I did. I am  just grateful that no one has told me that I don't have what it takes to be a good writer though. Luckily I don't know anyone like Mitchem Huntsberger.

I love this show. Do I agree with every plot twist or character choice? Not really, but I love how unique, fun, smart, and amazing show. Although my name isn't Gilmore, can I be considered a Gilmore Girl too?