Ready, Set, Walk!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I can't believe how fast the year is going! Last year when I was getting ready for the 3 day, I felt like I had all the time in the world to prepare. I was so wrong. November will be here before I know it. I'm heading out for my first walk of the year. I've set my goal today for four miles. My ankle isn't 100% but I went to see my foot guy again and now I have supports in my shoes. I can't train in the pair I have for too much longer since they (literally) have a lot of miles on them. New ones are definitely in order. 

I don't want to make the same mistakes I did last year; namely not training enough and not training on the same streets as the walk route (ie lots of hills and curbs, I may have to do a whole post on curbs!). I also didn't train with my fanny pack last year (BTW I hate the term fanny pack. Is there something better? Butt bag? I think I'll use that).

I used a small backpack last year and hardly carried anything in it. As a result, I wasn't prepared for the weight of all the stuff I lugged around during the walk. Having all of that weight on my lower back definitely changed my stride so this year I'm wearing my butt bag from the start. Mine is from Eddie Bauer and I love it because it holds A LOT. It has adjustable rubber bands on the sides to hold the water bottles in place. That doesn't seem important until the third time you bend over to tie your shoes and they fall out, rolling in everyone's way. Not that I'd know about that from experience. Ahem. This is what I'll be taking with me on training walks:

Two water bottles
Snacks (as the walk gets closer I carry a lot more food)
Lip balm with sunscreen
Wet wipes
Hand sanitizer
Camera (I'll start carrying the video camera too)
Hair ties
Cell phone
Nike Plus pedometer (for the iPod)
Business card case with debit card, ID and a little cash
Not pictured: toilet seat covers (for emergency porta potty stops)
Hat (either my wide brimmed straw or a ball cap)

I carry a lot more during the actual walk. My suggestion to first time walkers is to decide early on whether you want to use a backpack or butt bag and carry it from the get go.

I'm excited to be an online ambassador again this year. I'm happy to help newbie walkers any way I can. If you're in San Diego and want to train with me, let me know! There are other ambassadors all across the country.* We'll all be posting our progress and tips. We're here to help, support and encourage. If you have questions, please ask!

*Links to @the3day's profile on Twitter with all the other ambassadors.

Earth Day 2010: International Housewares Show Finds

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"The Earth is what we all have in common" - Wendell Berry

I've got a long way to go towards living a truly green lifestyle. I may not ever get there since there are things I can't see myself giving up (public transportation in my area stinks), and some things I can't see doing (composting) but I'm being more aware. I read labels more than I have before. I combine errands. I've added a few organics to our diet. I'm sure my next car will be even more fuel efficient than my current one. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless. 

I saw several things at the International Housewares Show that have stuck with me because I know they would be easy for me to work into my family and our lifestyle.

I like this because I dryclean a lot of my dresses, shirts and my nice jeans. We also take Phil's uniforms in once a month for reserves. I try to remember to take the hangers and plastic bags back but more often than not they end up in the trash. I think it's great that their site offers carbon offsetting from the shipping of their products.

They had the cutest booth. I think that's what really caught my attention. That and the woman doing the demos in a bathrobe and slippers. Sign me up for that job, please! I've seen Nellie's products at my Crate and Barrel outlet. The dryer ball interested me the most. I've heard they do a good job in speeding up drying time.

Sometimes I have to run the dryer twice and I don't know if it's better to divide one washed load into two smaller ones and dry them; or run the dryer once, take out the items that dry the fastest and then finish the cycle. I'm not sure I'd switch to their laundry powder because of the eczema in our house and the limited availability, but I'd be curious to know if it's more cost effective than liquid laundry soap. Have you used Nellie's?

I already use Simple Green, especially after we make bacon or use the George Foreman. It's awesome for breaking down all that fat. I think the Naturals are a good addition to the product line. They smelled good, which is key for me (I tried Simple Green Green Apple. Bad. Really bad.). One change I hope they make is to offer those little concentrated refill canisters across all their product lines so we don't have to buy the big plastic bottle each time.

Pic from the site, I forgot to take one at the show
I'd also glanced at these in Crate and Barrel before the trip to Chicago. I'm a bit skeptical about their effectiveness. Most of their line is made with peach pits, walnut shells, pumice stone and corn cobs. They're designed to replace cleaning agents but can be used with a small amount of product. I see myself using one for my cast iron pan since they're not supposed to be washed, only rinsed with hot water, but sometimes stuff gets stuck and I end up scrubbing. If the Spaghetti Scrub won't ruin my cookware I'd give them a try. Sponges are definitely on my 'things I feel guilty while using them' list.

I'd seen the hot drink cups at Bed, Bath and Beyond before the show. I was going to buy one of hot cups but the people at the booth were giving them out. Yay! I've used it almost every day since I got back. It holds a Grande at Starbucks or the 20 ounce from 7-11 (my new recessionista obsession). It's dishwasher safe but ours is broken so I can't vouch for how it holds up in there. I have re-heated coffee in the microwave though. Once I get the cold cup (above) for smoothies I'll be all set. Copco is a division of Wilton, the bakeware company. I didn't know that before the show.

These last two aren't from Housewares, the companies are local to me.
Samples for Mom's Nite Out swag bags
Also on my guilt list are paper towels. I make a conscious decision to buy recycled but if I don't have a coupon I buy whatever is priced best. I really like these because they come from a local, mom owned company. Michelle and Karen live just a few minutes from me! These cloths are biodegradable and can be sanitized in the dishwasher or microwave. I didn't see these at the Housewares Show. I got a cloth in the swag bag at women's expo I went to last weekend. I wrote to them, asked if they'd be willing to donate to my Mom's Nite Out party and they said yes!

Pic from the site
Another local business and Mom's Nite Out supporter. I met Julie at another women's networking event. I was looking for her business card to ask about Mom's Nite Out and then I got an email from her. It was meant to be! If the back of your car looks like mine, this is will definitely help. The Tote Buddy holds up to 10 reusable bags. It helps with 'forgetting them in the car' and fits well under the shopping cart. Julie has offered code 'earthday' until 4/30 for a $2 discount.

In some ways I think we, as a society, will never completely be able to undo the damage we've done to the planet. Cell phones, computers and cars are here to stay. I do think there's a lot more we could and should be doing to protect the ocean and other precious habitats. I don't think global warming is a made-up phenomenon.

Watching shows like Discovery's Planet Earth and Life have started great discussions in our house. I may not be able to make big changes but I can make the effort and pass those habits on to Tyler. I guess that's the best way we can all start healing the planet, by educating our kids and having them learn from our mistakes.

What changes have you made since last Earth Day? Do you think the 'green movement' is overblown?

*This is not a sponsored post. None of these companies asked me to post about them and I didn't tell them I was going to. Other than the product donations for Mom's Nite Out, I'm not benefiting from posting. These are things I'm genuinely interested in and feel comfortable supporting, especially the mom owned businesses.
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