Monday, June 14, 2010

Abundant Living #2: More on Conscious Consumption (or Non-Consumption) - Five Non-Vestments + Five Potentials

As a conscious consumer, I'm also mindful of NOT spending money on things that I really don't need. Here's five things that we often "think" we need, but really don't. 

1. Cable/TV - we don't have any type of TV service. This is great, primarily because it means the "one-eyed baby-sitter" is not just always on, but also because it makes me really consider more deliberately the media I consume. Between and, I typically catch the few TV-related things I might be interested in and avoid the rest.

2. Baby "gear/toys" -- I'm not really into crowding our house with baby stuff. We've been blessed to be given a lot of stuff from friends (hand me-downs and new). Plus, babies are innovative. Sky doesn't really need a lot of toys. The box that my Toms shoes came is very entertaining, as are diapers (clean ones of course), measuring cups, an old remote control, etc.

3. Morning coffee -- I make it at home, instead of getting elsewhere. It saves money and is, usually, just the way I like it.

4. In that same vein - "grab-it-on-the-way breakfast" (AKA take out breakfast) -- which typically means a bagel or muffin (I used to do this). Now, I make breakfast at home. It's healthier, less caloric and sugary, gives me a much better start to my day and saves money.

5. Accessories and excess clothes -- I'm very basic when it comes to fashion -- always have been, always will be. I prefer good finds at a thrift store -- better for my wallet, better for the environment, better (typically) for the cause the thrift store supports (in most cases), and (at times) more unique. Also, regarding accessories, now that I have a baby, I really am glad because the few "nice" things I did have, Sky has broken, spit up on, etc.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Abundant Living: A Commitment to Conscious Consumption

In my commitment to the good long road, I strive to be a conscientious consumer and to consume as little as possible (sometimes successfully, other times, not so successfully), to reuse as much as possible, and to be generous and giving, even with a limited income. Here's my Top Ten "Investments."

10. Toms Shoes - Pregnancy did a number on my feet and shoes, so after I had Sky I invested in a new pair of shoes. This time, Toms Shoes, which I have found to be quite comfortable (physically and mentally - knowing that my purchase meant that a child would also now have a pair of shoes). I also purchased a hoodie from Tom Shoes, since pregnancy had broken the zipper and several seams of my previous hoodie. (I now have my second pair of Toms Shoes).

9. Books - Two specifically that I want to mention: Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby by Jyoth Larson and Ken Howard, which I purchased at the local thrift store and True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh. I didn't purchase True Love for myself. It was a gift from my brother, Kyle, but I have purchased it for 2 friends, so far. You can buy it at amazon or Barnes & Noble, or straight from Parallex Press. Here's a review.

8. Abundant Harvest Organics (a weekly box of locally-grown, organic produce - I typically only need to buy it once or twice a month. I"m supporting locally farmers and getting organic food at a great price). You can read about my recent cooking experiments with this produce on my other blog, Cooking With Love.

7. American Red Cross Donation for Haiti, Donation to a Birthing Center in Palestine, Food Purchase for items to give to the local food pantry, etc.

6. Train Fare - to meet a friend Downtown rather than guzzling gas and adding to LA's notorious traffic problem.

5. Plane Tickets - to Boston just after Christmas (the reason was unfortunate, Ramon's father's funeral), but the trip (with Sky) was a beautiful opportunity for reconnections with family and friends and also (for my grandmother's funeral) to Kansas in April. This weekend I'm going to Chicago to be with my family for my mom's 65th birthday.

4. Compost Bin -- will save money, improve our soil at home and reduce our waste.

3. Sustainable kitchen items - Pyrex glass food containers, a reusable coffee filter, wood cutting board and reusable water bottle.

2. Reusable baby items - G Diapers, cloth nursing pads and such.

1. Fabric - for a sling my mom made for Sky (see below); extra fabric was used for pillowcases (that double as bassinet sheets) and for a boppy case.