Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

christmas eve then and now

I remember how, as a child, Christmas Eve felt like the longest day of the year. Too excited to sleep in even though there was no school, and too antsy to be useful before the festivities started. When I was young, I remember my father taking me to the mall on Christmas Eve morning. Not to buy anything, as the presents were all wrapped and under the tree, but simply to walk around and spend time together.

On Christmas Eve, after Mass and dinner, my parents would always let us open one present each, to tide us over until the morning. We would watch part of a Christmas movie, then set out milk and cookies for Santa, and try to go to sleep, even though we wanted to hear the sounds of reindeer on the roof.

The fact that we had no chimney stressed me out every year as a child.

I think that giddiness is one of the best parts of being a child, when the magic of Christmas is still overflowing.


Now as a grown-up who still holds on to preserving that magical Christmas feeling, I see how the holiday changes. Instead of being so giddy I don't know what to do with myself, I get up early to come to work for half a day, and worry that I'll have enough time to put on my nice dress and go to Christmas Eve mass with my family. From there, I worry if I'll have time to eat a bowl of gumbo before heading to the boyfriend's annual family party. I just tell myself there's no need to worry. Everything will go off smoothly, and if not, that's what the wine is for.

And I'm already a little wistful that Christmas is actually here. I love the weeks leading up to the holiday, where I listen to holiday music like a crazy person, and watch all the movies I can. What will I do next week!? I won't even imagine what it will be like with no Christmas tree in our living room.

Although shopping did manage to stress me out a little, I loved getting all my gifts in and wrapping them for display under the tree. I got some of that giddy feeling last night, as I sat on the couch watching Love, Actually with only the light from 400 cool white LED bulbs, and as I went to bed. That feeling of knowing everything you've been prepping for is about to happen. That excitement of seeing family and opening gifts. Knowing there was only one more sleep til Santa.


Yes, as an adult, Christmas is stressful and expensive. And we don't even have children, so we still have it pretty easy. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's all worth it. For the cheer in the air, for the comfort of being with family, for that extra magic that Christmas lights give to every house. 


The marathon is about to begin, and the weather has finally cooperated. It may have taken a deluge yesterday, but the colder weather is here, and we won't have to wear short sleeves on Christmas. I'll bide my time in the morning, and once I leave my desk, the fun begins.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas! Thank you for reading along this year! Y'all are the gift that keep on giving.


And don't forget to check your shitters...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

how to be green during christmas week

It's almost Christmas go time! Are you ready? Code word is "Santa's got a brand new bag."


With three days until Christmas, chances are, you've finished your shopping and most of your wrapping. But there are still plenty of ways you can be green during this holiday week.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

i'll have a green christmas

Holy baby Jesus, Christmas is in eight days. I am happy to report that I have made progress on my shopping, but there's still lots to do. Next year, I'm setting an early deadline for all loved ones to submit Christmas lists, or I pick for them. This traffic-on-December-16 is for the birds. I have tried to shop local as much as possible, and chosen a few eco-friendly companies online and it's been great!

I can also check Christmas cards off the holiday to-do list! This year I went with Paperless Post, and spent entirely too much time customizing my cards for family and friends. I love how it's a classier alternative to sending an e-card, but you can still go green and save paper.


But at least the tree has been decorated for over a week now. I love the collection of ornaments I've built over the past few years, and I've loved incorporating my boyfriend's ornaments to the mix. Our tree has some ornaments from our childhoods (a ceramic Santa with my name on it from when I was born and a napkin Santa he made in grade school), some ornaments from local stores (that awesome Aww Yeah! lasercut wood from Red Arrow), some using recycled material (a few wine corks I picked up at the Omelette Festival last year), and a bunch picked up from travels all over. Shoot. I probably should've gotten an ornament from Hawaii this summer. Maybe I can repurpose one of our magnets??


One of my favorite things about the holiday season is spending evenings in a room lit only by the Christmas tree. There's something so serenely magical about the glow of the tiny lights. And the faint, piney aroma of a fresh tree? Oh, hold me now.

Since I'm awesome and can't find our watering can, I came up with a great way to reuse a wine bottle - Christmas tree waterer! The long, narrow bottleneck fits under the tree into our large, Milo-proof tree stand. And hey! For you brave crafty fools, if you cut the bottom off the wine glass, you have a great upcycled Christmas tree watering funnel! Just place it neck-end into the tree stand and pour your water into the bottom. (I promise, I did not get the tree drunk. It was a CLEAN, DRY bottle.)


Milo has made himself right at home under my parents' tree.




Since I live in Louisiana and we can't have appropriate seasonal weather, it hasn't been perfect bonfire weather...but it doesn't stop us from lighting the backyard pit. We collect all the sticks from the yard and burn them instead of purchasing fire wood. Cleans the yard and saves us money!



Another newer holiday tradition is the Christmas light bike ride. I can't help but decorate my bike basket with battery-operated LED lights before we set off on a ride through neighborhoods filled with houses covered in Christmas lights. It seems as if not as many people decorate their houses anymore, but it's worth riding around just to see the houses that are lit up.


And when all else may fail, I've got my overly large collection of Christmas movies and music to see me through. Walk by my cubicle at just about any given moment this month, and you'll hear one Christmas jam or another. Because I love you so, I made an early Christmas present for you, in the form of a Holiday Spotify mix! I edited down my 300-song mix (not kidding) to a delightful 20-song selection. Put a few extra marshmallows in your hot chocolate, light the fire on YouTube, press play and snuggle up with your loved ones!
 
 
Relax while you can, because you've probably still got some wrapping to do. Or if you're me, ALL the wrapping to do. I better get crackin' on putting some gifts under our tree. It's probably a good thing I got a new job earlier this year, because at this rate, Santa NEVER would have hired me to work in his workshop. At least I've still got plenty of recyclable wrapping paper, and new festive paper tape from Red Arrow to use!

How have you gone green so far this holiday season?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

shopping guide: parc lafayette

Christmas is officially less than two weeks away. Are you finished with your shopping yet? Typically, I am about 75% done with shopping and 40% done with wrapping by this point...buuuuuuut not this year. Oof. I'd say I'm about 3% done with shopping and -30% done with wrapping. (On the other hand, I'm 100% immersed in decorations, holiday music and unhealthy treats left in the copy room at work.)

So, there's gonna be some trips to local shops coming up this weekend and next week, and I'll catch up just in time for some fa la la la la and some family gatherings.

If you've also still got some shopping to do, then let this week's shopping guide point you in the right direction! Parc Lafayette is located just outside River Ranch and is on the higher end of shopping centers in Lafayette. I don't frequent many of the stores in the center, but it is home to some of my favorite local businesses.
http://parclafayette.com/
E's Kitchen features all kinds of fun kitchen gadgets, and who doesn't love a fun kitchen gadget!? They've also got bamboo cutting boards and kitchen towels made of bamboo (super soft). Sky Blue Clothing Studio is a great boutique with tons of vintage and new clothing and jewelry. They also have very cute burlap shopping bags. And for when you need a snack break, or you know someone with a huge sweet spot, check out Indulge. The desserts are killer and there are tons of custom gift ideas.

Parc Lafayette also has jewelry, home furnishings, lingerie, children's clothing and pampering, so you can check off gifts for all the different people on your list!



Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

small space, big impact

There may not be a lot to love about apartment living, but it does have perks! It's possible to be eco-friendly in a temporary space.

Before moving into a house earlier this year, I spent almost five years living in apartments, both with a roommate and by myself. I found it pretty easy to be efficient and eco-conscious.

Check out a tour of my former living room and all its green qualities!

http://www.ecocajun.com/2013/02/green-around-house-living-room.html


How can you go green in your own rental space?

Switch out light bulbs with energy efficient CFLs or LEDs. Chances are, your apartment's lighting will come with incandescent bulbs - a drain on utilities and your wallet. Invest in enough energy efficient light bulbs for all your fixtures and switch them out - but keep the old ones stored away. When you later move out, you can switch them back (unless you want to pay it forward for the next renter!) And use energy efficient bulbs in your own lighting.

Conserve energy by adjusting your thermostat. Stay conservative with your heating and cooling so your unit doesn't run as often, and you'll notice a big savings on your utility bill. Even adjusting a couple degrees makes a difference, so you don't have to be uncomfortable. Most apartments are probably a bit better off than homes, if there's only one wall that has windows. How low can you get your utility bill?? I think one of my lowest was $23!

Invest in thermal curtains. You can always take curtains with you, and thermal curtains will always be beneficial, no matter where you live. They make such a difference on heat from the sun coming in through windows, and they help block out light, whether from the sun or those parking lot lights.

Maintain a container garden. Small pots with herbs or vegetables fit well on small patios, provide what you need and make your outside space look way better than your neighbor's.

Be water smart. Run the dishwasher only when it's full. Don't leave the faucet running while you hand wash dishes or brush your teeth. Take efficient showers or baths. Whether you've got your own washer and dryer or you use the complex's facilities, wash full loads in cold water and dry when it's not peak energy hours (especially during the summer).

Pick up secondhand furnishings. You can find great used furniture or decorations online or at local shops, for much cheaper than buying new. Use them while you're renting, and sell or donate when you move to a house if you don't want to take them with you.

Use green cleaners. From brands like Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyer's to homemade cleaners, you'll avoid harsh chemicals, which is especially great if you have children or pets in your apartment.

Get a recycling bin. Not all apartments have their own recycling service, but you can still collect your recyclables. It may take more dedication if you have to drive your collection somewhere to drop off, but it's worth it. I'll be doing a post in January that focuses on recycling at Lafayette apartment complexes!

So you may not be able to install solar panels or boost your home's insulation, but there are many ways you can go green in your temporary home!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

six month countdown

Six months from today, I turn 30. I've never been big on making bucket lists but I figure I should make these last six months of my twenties count for something.


Buy a new car. I've been driving the same car since my senior year of high school. While it's pretty eco-friendly to keep what you have, and the car is fuel efficient, I need an upgrade. I've had my eye on a hybrid for a few years, so I've got six months to make one mine.

Travel somewhere new. Where? I have no idea. My boyfriend and I regularly dream of places we want to see, from the attainable to the LOL Yeah Right.

Clean out, donate and start fresh. Especially after moving in with my boyfriend, I've got a ton of stuff I just don't need any more. I would love to kick off my thirties with a more minimalistic approach and send my old things off to new homes. 

Learn how to sew better. I can fix a hem or minor holes, but it's probably time I learn how to do those better and do a few more complicated things. Bonus challenge, learn how to use a sewing machine, and maybe even invest in one.

As I think of more items for my #Countdownto30 bucket list, I will update this. Here's to holding myself accountable for making things happen!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

shopping guide: oil center

Continuing with the Friday local shopping guide, today we're going to the Oil Center!

Not coincidentally, tonight is the Oil Center's annual Festival of Light, where Santa and his sleigh are lit up for the season and many of the shops stay open later. There's also a train ride, live music, pictures with Santa and a large gingerbread house. (Just ignore the fact that the low tonight will be 63!)

http://theoilcenter.com/

Most of the shops in the Oil Center are locally owned, and they offer a huge variety of items, from running gear to interior gifts to flowers to kitchen gadgets to vintage kitsch, and tons more.

There's also a grocery store and lots of restaurants to keep you full for your shopping trip.

Bring your cloth bags and enjoy a morning or afternoon walking around checking out the different shops.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

Food for Families food drive

Every year, FoodNet, the Greater Acadiana Food Bank, hosts the Food for Families food drive. And this year, it coincides with Giving Tuesday...how perfect is that!?

http://www.foodnetacadiana.org/foodnet.php


While a lot of my focus on a green lifestyle talks about having less stuff and less waste and making do with what you have, some people don't have anything, including food for their families. The holidays can be especially hard for families in need, but the need lasts all year long. By helping FoodNet replenish their stock, we can all ensure that families get the food they need to live.

Get more information on the Food for Families drive - click through!

Giving Tuesday, giving meaning to the holiday season


Finished with your Christmas shopping, after hitting those Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales? Yeah, me neither.

But what I AM ready for is Giving Tuesday, a day focused on giving back.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

shopping guide: south college center

Welp, it's officially Christmas season. Have you recovered from your turkey and wine hangover?

It's time for the Eco Cajun Holiday Shopping Guide! Each Friday, I'll share a group of Lafayette businesses that can help you get your Christmas list checked off.

http://www.southcollegecenterlaf.com/

The South College Center is located on Johnston Street next to the Horse Farm. This weekend is a big one, with their 60th birthday celebration holiday event (3pm-6pm) coinciding with Small Business Saturday. Bring the family out for the holiday event, and the children can go on a sleigh ride, mail their Christmas lists to Santa, and drink hot chocolate! I promise I won't tell if you mail your own list to Santa...

There's a great variety of shops that can help you find gifts for multiple friends and family members, from running and exercise gear to religious gifts to furniture and jewelry. Take an afternoon to visit the shopping center, bring your pet to be pampered and grab a bite for lunch.

Bonus! There's brand new bike parking throughout the shopping center parking lot. Ride your bike and save your gas, but make sure you have a large basket for your gifts!





Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

giving thanks

As we barrel full-steam ahead into the holiday season, it's important to stop and properly celebrate Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for this year, besides Black Friday doorbuster sales? Because there's nothing like reenacting the Hunger Games for a cheap TV hours after giving thanks for what we already have!


I love the Thanksgiving holiday, from the annual Thanksgiving Day parade (and terrible lip syncing) to a day off work to post-lunch movie traditions with my family (post-lunch Christmas Vacation...every year!). I love green bean casserole and sweet potatoes and eating entirely too much food. I love the last bit of autumn colors before they give way to red and green. I love spending the evening rewatching Thanksgiving episodes of my favorite TV series (The OC's The Homecoming and Gilmore Girls' A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving).

This year, I'm particularly thankful. For my new job and everything good it has brought. For my family. For my boyfriend and our life together, with all our adventures. For our kitties, who are great cuddle buddies, especially on cold nights.

And for you all - the readers and friends of this blog. In the times when I get discouraged, something always keeps me coming back to write. I hope to make a difference, no matter how small. I'm so thankful for everything this site has brought me, especially in the past year. I've got a renewed sense of purpose, and I'm ready to keep going!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

annual small business saturday

After all the pandemonium associated with Black Friday (Black Thursday night now?), Small Business Saturday focuses on holiday shopping at local businesses. Rest up Friday night and head out on the Saturday after Thanksgiving!

When you support local businesses, you know exactly who you're supporting, and you know your money is staying in the local economy. You can find unique gift items, and most times, you'll get personal customer service. While Small Business Saturday is a great one-day event, it's important to consider shopping at local businesses as much as you can throughout the year.

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 to promote shopping at locally owned businesses, and support local economies in the holiday season. It was intentionally set to be the day after Black Friday to serve as a contrast to big box stores that have changed business for local stores.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

#BringYourOwn

It's no secret that I'm a big supporter of the Klean Kanteen brand of reusable bottles. We own six of them. I take one to work, they come to every Festival International, they get in the spirit of Mardi Gras, and I've toted them along on vacations in San Francisco and Hawaii.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

bringing recycling to your workplace

Because we all love it so much, our workplaces are where we spend basically the second largest chunk of our time. And Lord knows, we can go through some paper and plastic during our days at work.

So, you might be wondering, how do you bring recycling and conservation to work? Start small.

At my former workplace, I started by hoarding my waste paper and soft drink cans in a desk drawer during the week, then bringing them home to put in our curbside bin. It worked for awhile, and then I acquired a business curbside bin from the recycling company for our office. Over the years, I always assumed the responsibility for getting the recyclables from inside the office to the bin, and the bin to the curb.



Do you have a lot of scrap paper that's still usable? Three-hole punch the sheets and stick them in a spare binder to create a salvaged notebook!

In my current workplace, I've gone back to keeping a small recycling bin under my desk, and take turns bringing home the larger bin in our department's copy room. And of course, I regularly have more recyclables than actual trash. (My trash basically consists of a green tea bag every morning.) I love that I'm not the only one collecting paper, water bottles and cardboard boxes!


But after working on the beginner level, I'm already dreaming up ways to go bigger. My company is pretty large, and recycling on a larger scale would really make an impact. Small bins throughout offices, larger bins for each department and weekly collection...it's what a girl dreams of! (Or, okay, just the weird compulsive litter-picker upper writing this.)

The key to getting your company on board with recycling is to do your research, figure out who to talk to and create a plan. Start with yourself, make recycling a habit and become the spokesperson, if you will.


Find out who does your trash collection and find out if they also do recycling. A good strategy in creating your recycling plan is to figure out the feasibility of adding recycling collection to the existing trash collection - what are the costs? Can you score recycling bins for your office at a good price? Are you willing to educate everyone on what's recyclable and what's not? What about confidential documents - should they just be trashed, or do you have a shredder? Draft your plan (then read over it and edit! Writer tips. You're welcome.)

Once you have your plan, figure out who to talk to within your company that can make a decision. Meet with them and show them your plan and make your case. Because recycling is a good idea for all companies, you should get a Yes!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

cold weather, hot chocolate

If you haven't noticed yet, it's cold outside. Perfect excuse for scarves, boots and gumbo overloading!


Business first...make sure your home is also bundled up and winterized with these tips from last year.

Fun next...throw another log on the bonfire, grab a blanket and some hot chocolate and fire up this Eco Cajun Spotify playlist, Cold Weather, Hot Chocolate!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

rain barrel art with project front yard + local high schools

In an effort to promote a more beautiful Lafayette, Project Front Yard partnered with Lafayette Utilities System and asked local high schools to participate in public art contest using rain barrels. The barrels are on display at City Hall on St. Landry Street until this Friday, November 14.



https://www.facebook.com/projectfrontyard

If you can't make it by City Hall, you can see photos of each barrel on the voting page! You have until Friday, November 14 at noon to cast your vote. And let's face it, this vote is way more fun than most!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

november 15 is america recycles day!

Put down your trash and mark your calendars for this Saturday, November 15: America Recycles Day! In the same way I like to say I act as if every day were Earth Day, I also tend to act as if every day were America Recycles Day.


Organized by Keep America Beautiful in partnership with Waste Management, AMCOR, Johnson & Johnson, Northrop Grumman, Pilot and the American Chemistry Council, America Recycles Day aims to bring recycling education and action to the country in fun ways.

This year, America Recycles Day focuses on what can be recycled. With the national recycling rate slightly above 34 percent, Americans have the opportunity to capture more material for recycling by recycling correctly. Confusion about what can be recycled curbside is among the common barriers to recycling more.

http://iwanttoberecycled.org

Visit the America Recycles Day website to learn more and find local events.

Another fun way to get involved on a personal level is to enter the ARD #recyclingselfie contest. You've got 10 days left to enter the contest, simply by posting a recycling selfie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr and tagging it with #recyclingselfie.

Visit IWantToBeRecycled.org to find your nearest recycling center, and learn the facts about what materials can be recycled and what they can become in their new lives.

How do you plan to take part in America Recycles Day on Saturday?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

a little about landfills

The purpose of recycling is to keep as much still-usable trash out of landfills as possible. With landfills being large, smelly waste sites around the world, understanding them can help put the importance of recycling into perspective.

Thanks to lots of regulation, landfills these days are not simply holes in the ground filled with trash, as they were for many years. Solid waste landfills must be designed to protect the environment from contaminants that can be present in the solid waste stream.

Today's landfills are technologically advanced and have even become a reliable source for alternative energy as landfill gases are tapped and sold to businesses and municipalities (which is the case with New York's Freshkills Park.) Over time, the trash in the landfills produces and emits methane gas. By harvesting the methane emitting from Fresh Kills, the Sanitation Department is producing enough energy to heat approximately 22,000 homes.

Municipal solid waste landfills receive household waste, non-hazardous sludge, industrial solid waste and construction and demolition debris. All MSWLFs must comply with the federal or equivalent state regulations. Federal standards include location restrictions, composite liners requirements, leachate collection and removal systems, operating practices, groundwater monitoring requirements, closure and post-closure care requirements, corrective action provisions and financial assurance.

The composite liners requirements involve a flexible membrane overlaying two feet of compacted clay soil lining the bottom and sides of the landfill, protect groundwater and the underlying soil from leachate (chemicals or other harmful materials) releases.

Nearly all municipal landfills are required to monitor the underlying groundwater for contamination during their active life and post-closure care period. The groundwater monitoring system consists of a series of wells placed upgradient and downgradient of the landfill.

Special waste items include household appliances, including ones that use refrigerants, which are harmful to the environment. Municipal landfills must follow special procedures when disposing of these items.

The EPA keeps their regulations posted online. They also discuss the effects of landfills on public health, including subsurface migration, surface emissions/air pollution and odor nuisance. Since landfill gases contain approximately 50 percent methane, it is possible for the gases to travel underground, accumulate in enclosed structures and ignite. Incidences of subsurface migration have caused fires and explosions on both landfill property and private property.

Possibly the biggest health and environmental concerns are related to the uncontrolled surface emissions of landfill gases into the air. Carbon dioxide, methane, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants and odorous compounds can negatively affect public health and the environment. For example, carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. 

Beyond household or commercial solid waste, construction waste is a very large component of trash. One of the local waste companies, Angco Disposal, handles construction site waste with large dumpsters and manages proper disposal.

Materials that cannot go into solid waste landfills include common household items such as paints, cleaners/chemicals, motor oil, batteries and pesticides. These hazardous waste items can be dangerous to our health and the environment. This is why saving hazardous materials for Lafayette's Household Chemical Collection Day is so important! Don't throw it into your regular trash.

You may think that throwing something away is easier than recycling it, but just as much care should go into proper disposal whether it's thrown away or recycled. Even though they are strictly regulated, iIt's important to keep harmful chemicals and materials out of landfills. With the popularity of single-stream recycling, it takes the same amount of effort to place the proper items in a recycling bin. It's important to know what can be accepted in your trashcan or recycling bin, and what is not accepted that must be specially collected.



As a reminder that there's only so much land we have to work with, lots of famous sites are built on top of landfills. San Francisco's Marina District; Boston's Millennium Park (championed by the late former mayor Thomas Menino), Logan Airport and parts of Beacon Hill; Cleveland Municipal Stadium; and New York's Freshkills Park are just a few landmarks making their home on top of former landfills.


Do we really want to live so much among our trash? By keeping our waste down, we can avoid the need for expanding landfills.

Curious where Louisiana's landfills are located? There are 26 Type I and Type II landfills around the state, with Type I classified for industrial solid waste and Type II classified for residential or commercial solid waste.

One final fun fact: According to the University of Southern Indiana, the U.S. is the number one trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

bye chemicals!

I hope that you were able to bring your chemicals to Cajun Field last week, but if not, I hope you're preparing for the spring collection!


We saw tons of cars in line, waiting to drop off their paint and other household chemicals. LCG Environmental Quality Manager Mark Pope says that the household collection day has been going on for about 22 years now. This year, he says he saw 700 cars come through the line, more than on previous collection days.


All workers are properly trained in chemical disposal, to ensure that no spills or accidents happen.


About 28.5 tons of waste were collected, free of charge to residents. As much of the waste as possible is recycled or repurposed in various ways, so it can be spared from landfills. "For example, latex paint that is still potent is collected and goes to cement manufacturers to be used as a stabilizer in concrete mix," says Pope. "Mercury is recycled. And chemicals that have a “BTU value” (i.e., British Thermal Unit, meaning they contain energy potential) are sent to be stabilized and properly mixed (“fuel blending”) to be sold as an energy source for things such as cement kilns."

The next household chemical collection day will be held next spring at Cajun Field.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#YARDWORK

This past Saturday was a big day for Lafayette. Over 3,000 students and volunteers came together under the organization of United Way of Acadiana for a Day of Action, also known as the UL Big Event. One of the many volunteer projects was Community Releaf, where 200 trees will be planted at parks around the city.

Another project was a massive litter cleanup and visual display. 1,000 students worked in teams of 25 to pick up litter around the city, and it was collected and brought to the grassy field across from Cajun Field. There, eight-foot tall chicken-coop letters spelling #YARDWORK were on display, and all the collected litter filled up the letters. It is incredible to see.


Each letter was made up of specific types of trash. The # and Y were composed of trash from the Vermilion River. If only I could convey to you how fragrant it was out in that open, sunny field in front of those letters. Every so often, the wind would blow a little and the smell would fill our noses.

Also of note, our river is not the place for you to dump a CPAP machine. JUST SAYIN'.


The A, R, R and K were all filled with miscellaneous litter.


The D was dedicated to water bottles and other plastic bottles.

The W ended up holding trashed auto parts. Nothing like wrecked bumpers left on our roadways.

The O was full of illegal road signs. These are one of the biggest eyesores in the city, so it's nice to see them get cleaned up. If you insist on using yard signs, make sure to follow local sign ordinances first (page 26, you're welcome.)


I pitched in by taking a walk around my neighborhood Saturday morning and collected a bag full of trash - mainly drink bottles and cigarette butts. My boyfriend and I hopped on our bikes to head to the litter letters, me with a basket full of trash. I also couldn't help myself from picking up some litter on our bike ride. Thank you, whoever left half a cardboard box that used to hold maxipads. It's now in the R.

I've never felt so eco-nerdy as I did when riding my bicycle with a basket full of trash. It was like Treehugger ET Phone Home. I kept waiting for my bike to levitate, but it never did.


If you haven't checked out the giant #YARDWORK yet, make your way past Cajun Field soon, where the letters will remain at least through Homecoming on Saturday. (And if that doesn't inspire you to recycle while tailgating, then I'm just going to have to go stronger on the persuasion!)

Awesome job to everyone who spent their Saturday (and even Friday) hard at work and elbow-deep in trash!

The Litter Letter Project created this awesome time lapse video of the letters getting filled up. This was seriously all trash in our waterways and on our roads - our front yard. CLEAN. IT. UP.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Green Travel | Boston, MA


I place a lot of Eco Cajun's focus on a green life at home, because that’s simply where each of us can make the biggest impact on our footprint. But it’s important to look beyond home sometimes. Anytime I travel, I inevitably take notes on what other cities or areas are doing in terms of recycling, conservation, alternative transportation and public outreach.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I am really not cool enough to win awards

As part of a series of Project Front Yard events this month, Lafayette Consolidated Government held the first annual Project Front Yard awards this week. The ceremony was held at IBERIABANK, and opening remarks were made by Acadiana IBERIABANK President Jerry Vascou. He recalled the time when he and his wife first moved to Lafayette, and his first impression of the city was not a positive one. The city's gateways were not presentable or indicative of the kind of city Lafayette is. He's since changed his tune, and has become dedicated to beautification initiatives, such as Project Front Yard.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gather All Your Chemicals! It's Time for Disposal!

If you've got a garage full of hazardous waste, it's time to clean out, because this Saturday is Household Chemical Day at Cajun Field!

http://lafayettela.gov/PublicWorks/EQ/Pages/Household-Chemical-Day.aspx

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Introducing Project Front Yard!

I tend to write about ways you can go greener as an individual, because action always starts with one person. But it feels empowering when larger initiatives come about that echo your own mission. Then you feel a little less like a small fish in a very large pond.

I'm so thrilled and inspired by the formation of Project Front Yard, Lafayette's newest beautification initiative. Projects under the iniative include the revitalization of gateways into the area, improved streetscapes, litter removal and prevention, public art and Vermilion River cleanup. The goal is to clean up and beautify all these aspects, as they are Lafayette's collective "front yard." We have a great community, and now we are cleaning up the physical curb appeal to match our personality!

It's important for us to take a little pride in our community and keep things tidy, for both ourselves and for visitors. You remember how you always had to clean up the house before visitors came, so they wouldn't see the little bits of mess here and there...this is practically the same thing! We always have visitors, so it's important to keep Lafayette clean all the time.


http://www.lafayettela.gov/Presidents/Pages/Project-FrontYard.aspx


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

local midweek farmer's market

Farmer's markets are a great way to get fresh produce and support local farms, but if you are like me, you find there's just one problem: 8:00 on a Saturday morning is too early!

Getting up and out the door for a 9:00 gym class is usually about the earliest I can manage, if I'm not just sleeping in. And of course most of the good stuff is gone by 10:00. So what am I, and the other lazy people, to do?

https://www.facebook.com/LafayetteFarmersAndArtisansMarketAtTheHorseFarm

Ohhh snap! Wednesday afternoons - the farmer's market for us non-morning people! Every Wednesday in October and November, head on out to the Horse Farm and check out the offerings from local vendors.

It's a festivus for the rest of -- oh, wait, that doesn't quite work.

So, grab your cloth bags and stop by the Horse Farm on Wednesday afternoons in November and December, and pick you up some great local produce! And on Saturday mornings, I won't tell anyone how late you sleep.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

gettin' crafty with it

It's been a minute since I've completed a good eco-friendly craft project. Between multitasking on five different things at any given time, my track record of craft execution and just not needing to make anything, my project roster has suffered.

But! I've made a few things over the past couple years that I'm pretty proud of, so let's recap my Eco Cajun craft history, shall we?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

celebrating jolie's louisiana bistro's moment of fame

One of my favorite things about Lafayette is the sheer number of local restaurants serving regional dishes. And it's become a little something we are known for, having been named one of the 2013 Top 10 Foodie Cities and the 2012 Southern Living Tastiest Town. Let's just say, we live to eat.

The Cooking Channel's Chuck's Eat the Street recently joined in the epicurean recognition and filmed an episode highlighting four of Pinhook Road's unique restaurants, Jolie's Louisiana Bistro, Bread & Circus Provisions, Cafe Vermilionville and Krazy Klaws.

Jolie's held a small viewing party for the episode premiere, and treated us to a sample of some of their dishes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

the essential arsenal of green items

Going green starts with making a few small changes here and there. I always tend to tell people that it doesn't require you to immediate stop shaving your pits and quit washing your hair. I mean, you can choose to do that if you want...but don't point the finger at me when people might ask why!

So, what if you're starting your green journey? Where do you begin? It can be a little confusing to figure out what to do or have, so I'm doing a series of posts on just how to start! First up was Recycling 101. Now, we'll move on to which items to pack in your green arsenal!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

pumpkin display: photo friday


I got to celebrate the first day of fall in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it was beautifully appropriate! Crisp weather, a Saints win (finally!), outdoor farmer's markets and pumpkin displays!

Can I go back now?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

autumn lust

Autumn, it's about time you showed up. Although this summer has been more rainy than others, keeping the temperatures from reaching a billion degrees, I'm ready to transition to fall colors. It's almost October, my favorite month!

I'm enchanted with crisp evenings, adding a scarf to every single outfit, wearing my dipped leaf necklaces, wearing tights and seeing the few leaves in Louisiana that change color. What's always even better is getting to see the New England trees full of shades of red, orange, yellow and purple.  

I want to brew pumpkin coffee, and decorate the house with orange and maroon leaf-adorned items, and wear boots and scarves, and ride bikes more often, and go to more football games.
 


I couldn't wait until the official start of the season to decorate my desk.


Don't judge if I make Thanksgiving-style dinner a month or two early. It's my favorite, you see. And, there will be more slow-cooker dinners in our future.


Summer, you brought good times and an unforgettable Hawaii vacation, and I'll look back fondly. And after many good things coming our way, I'm excited to see what autumn holds.
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