Monday, November 30, 2015

Tis the Season to Be Giving!

For the fourth year, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving is celebrated as Giving Tuesday, a movement that focuses on philanthropy and giving, instead of celebrating holiday consumerism. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday encourages you to think about others in the community during this holiday season.

Whether it's the less fortunate, homeless animals, or dedicated nonprofits, consider giving goods, money or your time this season!
Graphic: Giving Tuesday

It's easy to participate in Giving Tuesday!

Give While You Shop

  • If you're still working on checking off your shopping list, and you're hitting up Amazon, the easiest way to donate is with Amazon Smile. You use your same Amazon account, shop the same products, and do everything exactly as you would normally. The difference is, when you visit Amazon Smile, you find and designate a charity or nonprofit. Anytime you make a purchase through the Smile portal, Amazon donates a portion of cost to your chosen organization. Right now, there are almost one million eligible 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations.

    You can search for an organization by name or location. To make it easy for you, here is a list of local organizations who would appreciate any donations you make during the holiday season and throughout the year. I do wish you could also search by type of organization, to make it easier to find environmental nonprofits.

    And with today being Cyber Monday, I can only hope that many shoppers use Amazon Smile to do good while they order away!
  • Founded in 2006, TOMS started off making shoes with a one-for-one model, where they would donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every shoe sold. Since then, they've expanded to include eyewear, bags and coffee, which provide restored sight, safe births and safe water to people in need.
  • When you're shopping, look to see if the company does good work, from planting trees like PaperCulture or work in impoverished communities like Cotopaxi, or follows the buy-one-donate-one model like any of these 23 companies.

    The awesome part of shopping with companies like these is that you can find unique gifts for those on your shopping list at the same time you're helping the company pay it forward!
Image: BuzzFeed


Devote a little of your time tomorrow to make a donation to an organization you love. Whether you do it online, swing by to drop off a check, or do a little shopping to drop off physical items, you'll make an impact to your organization.

These are just a few ideas of long-running or local organizations, but there are literally thousands of organizations who would appreciate your donation.
  • New Orleans-based The Green Project
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore has moved to a new location in Lafayette, on Johnston Street near The Grand Theatre, and while they are not open for shopping on Tuesdays, they are open to accepting donations.
  • FoodNet of Acadiana helps feed the hungry all year long. This year, the annual KLFY Food for Families drive is happening next Tuesday, December 8. They accept canned goods, non-perishable food and other necessities like paper towels and toilet paper.
  • St. Joseph's Diner provides food for the homeless.
  • Operation Warm/Coats for Kids
  • Lafayette Central Park is working to build Lafayette's Horse Farm into an amazing park that families can enjoy for generations to come. 
  • When I wrote about Giving Tuesday last year, I shared a long list of environmental organizations that focus on things from clean water to bicycle advocacy to nature preservation. Check it out to see how you can help the environment this Giving Tuesday!

My Food for Families donation from last year.


Maybe you aren't able to actually get out and volunteer on a Tuesday, but you CAN make the resolve or commitment to volunteering at a future time. Nonprofits are always looking for volunteer assistance, and you can have fun while doing good! (Says the girl who actually enjoys cleaning up litter and painting park railings as a volunteer.)

Working with Keep Lafayette Beautiful to oversee a group of college students for this year's UL Big Event.

This holiday season, don't get so swept up in shopping and 'getting'...focus on 'giving' to your loved ones AND those in need!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Photo Friday | Doing Good

I am loving this inspirational photo I came across this week.

Even if you only make a few changes to live a more sustainable life, it makes a difference. Even on Black Friday, you can do some good!

Photo: 1 Million Women

Hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Wishes from Eco Cajun

Wherever you are, and whoever you're spending the day with, I hope you all have a fulfilling and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Wreath: Star Studios

I'm thankful for my fiance, our families, my job, our kitties, having a new car, and all of y'all! It's been quite an eventful year, and I'm proud of how I've kicked off my 30s!

What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

Who's finished their holiday shopping already? Who hasn't even started? Who plans to hit Black Friday sales?

I'll cop to not having started yet!

It's possible to be sustainable while doing your holiday shopping, even if you participate in Black Friday!

Level 1

Focus on reducing your waste as much as possible by planning ahead and going reusable.
  • Plan your route so you don't end up driving around in circles.
  • Bring your reusable shopping bags.
  • Pack your coffee in an insulated mug. It'll stay hotter longer, anyway!
  • Skip the gift-wrap service. (Come back next week for tips on how to wrap gifts the eco-friendly way!)
  • Only buy what you really need, not just anything you see that happens to be 50% off.
  • Stopping for a lunch break? Bring your own drink bottle and go inside instead of hitting the drive-thru.

Level 2

Instead of waiting in line for most of Thanksgiving afternoon and fighting big crowds this year, do your shopping at local stores and participate in Small Business Saturday. It still counts if you visit local shops on Friday! Just about anything you need can be found at a local and small business.

When you support local shops and businesses, you know exactly who you're supporting, and you know your money is staying in the local economy. You can find unique items and get personal customer service. While it's a great one-day event, it's important to make shopping at local businesses a priority all year long.

Lafayette small businesses Bengals & Bandits | Parish Ink | The Backpacker | Red Arrow Workshop | Caroline & Company

Many of the same shopping tips still apply:
  • Plan your route to be the most fuel-efficient.
  • Bring your reusable shopping bags.
  • Pack your coffee in an insulated mug or bring your mug to a local coffee shop for an extra treat.
  • Skip the gift-wrap service if offered.
  • Only buy what you really need.
  • Choose a local restaurant for lunch! Especially in Lafayette, we have tons of great local options. Just try to skip the styrofoam.

Small Business Saturday 2014: Lunch and a local soda by the fire and Christmas tree at Joey's

Acadiana has a wide variety of local businesses, and you can go from great Christmas gifts to everyday necessities like groceries. Any day of the year, supporting a local business has a big impact on your community. Share your love and shop small!

Lafayette small business E's Kitchen

Some local crafty people and entrepreneurs don't have a physical shop, but sell their goods on their websites, sites like Etsy, and even Instagram. These can be great places to score handmade, upcycled or vintage finds, especially jewelry! This year during the holiday season, I'll be sharing some of my favorites on Facebook and Instagram.

Level 3

Save your shopping for a day other than Black Friday and get outside to enjoy nature! Or stay home and decorate, it's up to you! Lafayette business Pack & Paddle is hosting their second annual Black Friday protest paddle over on Bayou Teche. While registration is closed, it's a great inspiration for other outdoor shenanigans. You can also stop by their store to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

What are your plans for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Photo Friday | Still Lafayette Strong

In honor of The Grand Theatre reopening this week.

For the ladies we lost, the ones who are still recovering, and a proud community.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What's On My Bookshelf

I haven't seemed to find the time to read in the past...oh, forever, but I like to lovingly stare at my bookshelf with the plans of, "Oh, I'm totally going to read you next!" For a little while, I was good about reading before bed each night, but it's totally been replaced with my adult coloring books. (Um, so much fun, and now I need more colored pencils. And yes, they are on my Christmas list.)

My main genres are humor and chick lit, but when I'm looking for inspiration or new ideas, I lean toward my selection of green books. One is literally called The Green Book.

These books are some of my favorites and my need-to-reads.

And while I do love holding a physical book, I have come around to the idea of reading books through my Kindle app on my tablet. Paperless and portable! I've loaded up my Amazon wish list with titles to purchase after I figure out how to add hours to the day.

I'm also tremendously overdue for a trip to the Lafayette Public Library to find a new read. Maybe I shall find one to read over Thanksgiving Break.

All these links go to Amazon, but you can also check your local library for a free hard copy!

On My Shelf

  • The Imperfect Environmentalist, Sara Gilbert. AKA Darlene from one of my beloved shows, Roseanne, Sara wrote this informational and tip-laden book with a hilarious, snarky flair. I'm like the heart-eyed emoji just thinking about it. It's broken down into plain English, and into levels of how green you want to go.
  • 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, The EarthWorks Group. Y'all. This lil book is what started it all for me. Blame my 6th grade teacher for me being like this now. Back in the day, I found my own copy of the book at a used bookstore, which makes it awesomely green. Full disclosure, this copy, and the accompanying 50 Things You Can Do to Save the Earth, came from Amazon a couple years ago. I probably sold that first copy at a family garage sale. Grrr. However, the NEW Kids version has been updated with newfangled web references that weren't around in 1996 when I had big glasses and denim overalls.
  • The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard. I've had this book for awhile, and am really pumped to read it. But I haven't yet. I do follow The Story of Stuff Project on Facebook, so that counts for something, right? But this book focus a lot on our society's obsession with material things and how it's trashing the planet.
  • The Green Book, Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Kostigen. This was a great book for practical, every day tips. Plus, lots o celebrities get their green moment.
  • The Eco Chick Guide to Life, Starre Vartan. I followed Starre's blog, Eco Chick, for years when I first started this blog, and picked up her book for inspiration. Do I want to be fabulously green? Damn right, I do! This book is also in the queue.

In My Kindle

And one bonus non-treehugger book, because I love it something fierce.
  • The Royal We, Jessica Cocks and Heather Morgan. The girls behind Go Fug Yourself wrote this amazingly hilarious and addicting Royal Family novel that was $3.99 for the Kindle a few months ago. Although it's not that cheap anymore, it's still worth it. It might be 450 pages, but I read that effer in about two weeks. One night I couldn't sleep and ended up staying up an extra couple hours just to finish it. Oh mah gah, it's such a good book. My friend Michelle even agrees. And not just because she's holding out for Prince Harry.

What's your favorite way to read a book? 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Photo Friday | A New Life from Existing Materials

We emphasize recycling as an alternative to sending materials to landfills. But, do we stop to think about the next part of the cycle?

Recycling keeps goods that can be used again out of landfills. But, if we aren't choosing to buy products made with recycled materials, then the loop isn't getting closed.

Continuing to buy 'virgin' paper doesn't help the mountains of paper in a recycling pile. Buying recycled paper keeps that chain going.

Many items come with cardboard or plastic packaging or cans that contain some percentage of recycled content.

But not all materials are recycled into the same thing. Did you know plastic bottles can be recycled to make a legitimate fabric? And not just a plastic-y wannabe fabric!

Check out this gorgeous reversible-printed rug from World Market that now gives my desk space some color. It's made with recycled plastic bottles.

This Chico bag with the Bayou Vermilion District logo is made with recycled plastic bottles.

My umbrella is made with recycled plastic bottles.

Choose items made with recycled materials and close the loop! We recycle so that items like these don't require brand new materials, instead, using what already exists.
eco cajun [the earth just wants to be loved ba-you!]. All posts, content, graphics and photographs copyright 2009- Eco Cajun, unless otherwise credited. BLOG DESIGN BY Blogdessert.