Light Green

I have to admit, buying my new recycled stainless steel kitchen utensils, responsibly manufactured from countries around the world, and providing a safe and healthy (it’s really healthful folks) environment, fair labor practices, and environmental protection for those who want to live sustainably (no kidding, this was all on the label) all tied up in those cute little pieces of hemp twine looped through the utensil hanger holes, felt good. I like the little twine especially.  images

Truthfully, I don’t think much about being green, living sustainably and making sure everything I buy is tied to fair labor practices. I mean, it’s not that I’m into destroying the planet or littering, or not supporting farmers or anything.

I just use common sense. And, as we’ve already established, I’m a conservative, in most senses of the word, and especially re-using things, and not wanting to overspend, and getting as much out of a purchase as possible.

But, I guess I am kind of light green when it comes to being militant about this green, saving the planet stuff. I do not think there is anything we can do about any sort of planet warming, and I believe the so-called “research” has been research by press release, mostly for the gain of certain politicians who have hugely profited over the scare.   Unknown-1

It is Biblically prophesied that our planet will someday burn up. So, sorry guys, but there you have it. I seriously doubt you can stop that merely by discarding your plastic in the right bin. And, again, I’m not against doing that. I do it. But, it won’t SAVE the planet. Only God can do that, and He has actually given us the blueprint for that, which I don’t believe included recycling. I don’t think He’s against recycling either. He just doesn’t save us like that.  (The Great Day of the Lord
1″For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” 2″But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.…) Mal 4:1.

On the other hand, why not get into “natural” fibers, instead of manufactured synthetics?

It just feels better. Who wouldn’t rather untie a very attractive hemp cord from new utensils than some plastic wirey tie thingy!!

So, I’m not lobbying for anything here. Just use your own common sense, enjoy the earth, while it lasts, and if it makes you feel better to swing your dollars toward helping farmers in Central America or something, or, hey, even farmers in North America–do it! We all live here, and we can all benefit from anything that makes life prettier, cleaner, and longer lasting.

Old person, new world

It’s amazing how huge changes in our behavior sneak up in small steps. When I look at even the vocabulary I use today, I realize that even as recent as a couple of decades ago words like mouse, desktop, icons, footprint, kindle, application, tablet, and so many more, meant something completely different than they do now.

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I no longer have a home phone. I don’t subscribe to cable TV. I have no print. I rarely buy a hard copy or paperback book. I don’t collect coupons, or print coupons and loyalty cards are now on my keychain.

I do not have a GPS device on my windshield and rarely use paper maps. Why would I when that helpful woman’s voice, sometimes irritating, tells me where to turn and gets me, usually, to my destination.  Unknown-7 pge.jpg

I listen to news on a tablet in the morning or on the Internet radio station available on my Apple TV, and I don’t have to be sitting in front of a TV to do this. A tablet is quite portable.

In the early ‘60s I read a TV guide article about the future. I was excited about tall tales of being able to get any movie you want on demand through some touch screen. I couldn’t wait to have an audio greeting telling me I have messages, or reminding me to shop or call someone. Now I am frustrated if the movie I want isn’t yet available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. If it isn’t there now, though, it will be soon, I am confident.

Jeff Bezos stated in an interview that it is his intention to have (almost) every book ever published available on Kindle. That is quite an ambition. I expect he will soon say the same thing about movies on Amazon Prime.  Unknown-8 Unknown-9

So modern life is ever changing, and APPLE, Amazon and Netflix have truly changed our behavior on a large scale. How many people have PC’s but still have the Apple products for phones, tablets and Apple TV?  Right?

It’s getting as though you have to think twice before you purchase almost anything—DVD’s of TV series that are free online make purchasing DVD series so unnecessary. And at this point, if the season I want on a series I am following isn’t out yet, I switch to a different series until it is. The selection is so vast, I wouldn’t have time to see everything anyway. And, unless I need to watch a live sports game, I have no idea why I would pay $100 a month for cable or Dish.

I just heard that the stats on people giving up a home phone have risen dramatically. We gave ours up ten years ago. The only people who ever called it were telemarketers and long, lost relatives, who if we wanted to talk to, would know our cell numbers.  Unknown-10 Unknown-11

Technology is so amazing that it connects over generations, gender, and even people with vastly different interests. Where but on Facebook, for instance, can you instantly find out which of your friends has a new grandchild, or a birthday, or needs prayer, or wants you to Like some cause they believe in–even if they are thousands of miles away. I don’t always act on everything there, but I am glad it is there.

The down side of all this is obvious. Privacy and quiet time are rare. I was unnerved to see my photos are waiting to upload to Twitter and Google Circles. I don’t remembering setting that up and don’t want to.

But, when I want to share photos, like asking my contractor friend to look at an inspection report on a house, it was amazing to be able to discuss that with him, having instant pictures and the report and being able to go over it line by line. No down time.   At Christmas, I wanted to give my son-in-law a picture of a train that my daughter took. It took my son and his girlfriend about a half hour to help me get it to CVS in Los Angeles, so it would be awaiting me at the store by the time we arrived there the next day. Then I could buy a frame and have it ready for Christmas, rather than the old days of film, developing, waiting, printing, paying for copies, etc. This was amazing to me.   Unknown-12       1003147_4894137400773_1868205741_n

For all its downside, I love technology, and am so happy to have the efficiency of  digital copy and paste, scanning, digital bank deposits, Amazon grocery delivery and countless other conveniences I never realized have crept into my life as normal, everyday activities. They say a million dollar idea is one that changes behavior. I can’t wait to see which one I can come up with. But for now, I will enjoy paying for or accepting for free the myriad of ideas that have changed mine–mostly for the better.

 

 

Shootout at the Ware Groupon Lesson

I promised you the full story of my very first shooting lesson, which hubby dear was very excited about. As previously mentioned, he grew up on a very large cattle ranch in South Dakota, where guns, shooting, and generally keeping “critters” in categories of pests, profit-makers, pets, and wildlife are just a part of life. 

 “Popping” prairie dogs, as they call ridding the ranch of these pests, is not considered to be cruel. In fact, not “popping” prairie dogs and letting those sweet cows break their legs in the holes left by the pests, would be considered cruel.  

I might want to add here my disclaimer, that this is a perspective of a city girl who has only visited the ranch a dozen plus times, and the opinions expressed here have not been approved by the ranch owners or their relatives, or their South Dakota, non-city-people neighbors. I heard a nasty rumor that the ranch folks think I actually hate the ranch, being a city girl and all, which is absolutely untrue. I love the ranch. I just need to learn how to do ranch life, which no one seems to think I am ready for.

That said, I found it somewhat amusing that when hubby dear, who loves guns, “popping” prairie dogs, hunting, and eating deer, bear, pheasant, and the like, discovered that he had sired a daughter who would say things like, “Aw, look at that poor (whatever the present roadkill was) creature. Can’t we take her to the vet to maybe save her?” hubby would look at me and wonder how in the world to answer such a strange question.

Her compassion for animals has since shifted a bit, mostly to cats, and she loves the ranch, and has learned to enjoy shooting–so her father is proud.

But, I have steered clear of the gun thing for our 33 years together, until I received a Groupon for a shooting lesson. 

This seemed to be a sign, and I decided it was time, in light of all the fuss over second amendments and rights and such, to at least pick up a gun, figure out how to hold it, and maybe take a shot or too.   

Arriving at the Ware Gun Shop, the outside was extremely different than I had imagined. This was a little house-like place, very rural, and not at all looking like a school for shooting lessons. Not that I really know what that would look like. Of course, we ventured in, Groupon in hand.

The owner, Mike, refused to introduce himself, or confirm that I had talked to him on the phone, and seemed to want to hurry us out of the main retail area, if you want to call it that (the place didn’t have a shiny, clean appearance).

I was fine with being escorted down the stairs to the basement area where there was a lot of open space with targets all around.  

But when Mike began to do his lesson thing, I found him rather fascinating in a grumpy kind of way. He started with a casual interview on why we wanted to have a lesson. Of course I told him I hate guns, but sweetie loves ‘em and I was doing my wifely duty learning a little. I pointed out that my cowboy husband probably didn’t need a lesson but was there to support me. Mike look dubious.

Next was the laser gun with the red dot thingy, that as he was about to hand to me, I asked, “Um, have you germicided that?” He didn’t answer, and you could feel the humorless countenance beginning to boil behind the eyes. “I mean, how many people have touched that?” I clarified.

Mike looked at Jay and said, “Is she serious?” Jay of course smiled and explained I was sort of “pulling his chain.”

Later Jay, also a pretty non-sarcastic sense of humor guy, tried to explain to me the irony of asking about germs while holding a lethal weapon, to which I, of course, replied, “That’s why it’s funny.” I guess not to everyone.

In any case, Mike had threatened to return our Groupon investment and tell us to leave if I proceeded with any more questions like that. I think he had real people coming in after our lesson, and there would be no more silly questions to waste his time.

Just so you know, when I get anxious, which happens when holding a gun for the first time, I get funny (or try to be). Since this was lost on Mike, and somewhat on Jay, I figured since I had no audience, I would shape up. I was, after all, here to do something sweet for hub.

I used the practice laser gun and didn’t feel a whole lot more confident, but cowgirled on.

When it came time to move on to the big guns–well in my case a .22 or something like that, I started getting serious, especially when Mike began to lecture us on muscle memory, and the three important areas to train.That reminded me of Jack Reacher, and having read the first four books, this lesson began to take on some challenge for me. Jack won’t even shoot until he gets his heartbeat under control. I thought I would try that, if I could remember to while training my muscles to shoot.

I am, as you regular readers know, extremely audio and Mike is such a clear teacher that the input into my audio file was really very thorough. 

So, my first ever attempt to shoot a real gun resulted in the cluster you see here. I think both Mike and Jay nearly fell over that this nutty city girl, obviously nervous, scared and worried about germs, actually did quite well. 

 Jay was ecstatic to a point where even annihilating his virtual rat wasn’t quite as exciting as seeing his wife take seriously the thing he enjoys the most–except for motorcycles.

I was a bit proud of the old gal myself.

Mike seemed somewhat tamed after that, and after realizing we shared the same eye problem–only seeing out of one eye at a time–he told me that on another occasion he would show me how to compensate so I would move slightly to the right and cluster right in that target area. I think that was a compliment. And did I detect an open invitation in that “next time” comment?

I read the Google reviews for Mike and his gun shop and most people found him rude, not customer-oriented, and not even in favor of the second amendment (which I doubt). My guess is that he just doesn’t prefer to converse with the public. Not sure why he is in business, but the bottom line for me is that his teaching style was perfect for my learning style, and I learned what I had come to learn. And I did well–especially in the eyes of the one for whom I was there picking up my first .22.

Jane Jetson has come to life

After the initial euphoria of using a video phone on my computer, and now Skype, the reality of what this entails has begun to set in.  Unknown-1

Yes, I can call my grandchildren–which I still haven’t done. And, I can call clients, without the complication and expense of air travel, and yes, there is always the real advantage of free calls to Europe, Canada, and the U.S. among fellow Skypers.  Unknown

But, the actual usage of Skype comes with it the realization that: they can SEE me.

 Now that kind of crashes through the whole working at home in your lounging garb advantage, doesn’t it!  

I mean, there is a reason why Jane Jetson donned her mask for video calls prior to her donning her full face make-up. (This isn’t something I thought of. A friend pointed it out.) 

I don’t wear make-up at home. And, I usually don’t attire myself as though ready for public eye. Jane Jetson at least seemed fully clothed in all of the cartoons I remember. But that was the ‘60s, and the early ‘60s at that. (It re-aired in the ‘80s)   Unknown-2

So I have to get used to the idea that using my video phone means: getting dressed, putting on make-up, caring about how my hair looks, and checking the mirror, if not the camera to see what the final appearance will be. And, that is when I am “making” the call. I haven’t even addressed the horror of having to “answer” a video call I wasn’t expecting. That would mean being “ready” all the time!! 

That is a LOT of trouble to talk someone for ten minutes or less. Almost as much trouble as flying to Chicago from Hartford. Okay, Okay. Maybe a slight exaggeration. But, it is almost as stressful, for me.

I see the Jane Jetson video phone mask as the next great marketing idea. I know I will regret telling you this, because the enterprising among you will rush right out and start the assembly line. I mean, it should at least be as popular as the Pet Rock. Right? And, that made that marketing genius a millionaire. And, I don’t think we need any environmental permits or special regulatory compliance forms, so a few patterns, the right materials, and we should have the next cottage industry–hopefully here in the good old U.S. of A. Any partners out there who want to share this?

I am sure I will adjust to the idea that on certain days and times, I do have to get ready to talk via Skype. Maybe I can make phone calls on the days I am ready to go shopping, which isn’t most days. I keep wondering why my daughter can go through six lipsticks a year and I am still using ones that are ten years old. (I know, I’m going to get bacterial infections!) Now I realize that she uses hers daily, and I only about two times a week. That shouldn’t add up to ten years of life for the little sticks of goo, but they really do last a long time. And that translates also to lipstick removers, cleansing cremes, toners, moisturizers, etc. lasting a long, long time.
Am I giving you T.M.I. here?

Really, combined with my intention to exercise and get healthy, this new thought of being “ready” for a video call may become a plus. No more sitting at the computer, blinds closed, succumbing to the inertia of doing only what is necessary. Because when  you’re dressed, made up and presentable, you think differently. You’re less dour. That is a good thing.

Come to think of it, Skype may just change my life. Who knows? I may end up getting dressed and putting on make up more days than just going out ones. June Cleaver comes to mind. I had an aunt like that. Aunt Hilda was dressed, with modest make up, and had on her high heels every single day. 

 

So, if I do this it may mean being ready for a call any time, any day, any hour. I will become like my favorite Aunt Hilda.  

I will have to think about this. It may mean my life will take on a readiness I do not presently enjoy. It may mean my mind will engage more often than it does. It may mean a longer life. It may mean things I can’t even think of.

I am dying to know what you think!

Loft Life: The ugly truth about soft drinks

In ongoing commitment to preserving the life and health of children, I must make a protest about an ugly truth that prevails in America—I don’t know enough about other countries to comment about them.  Unknown

We talk so much about choices, especially encouraging parents and children to make them healthful choices. We talk about obesity, and its growing peril to our nation, our budgets and ourselves. And. We have connected the dots on how choosing daily consumption of soft drinks adds calories at a level that simply skipping them could dramatically change the statistics on weight gain. We even have school changing their vending machine options to encourage better beverage choices, i.e. fruit drinks and water vs. soft drinks.

But, with all of these facts being true, I continue to be amazed at the number of venues where soft drinks are the only beverage being offered to children. I have observed this at picnics, church suppers, sporting events and family gatherings—and now hotel social hours.

Tell me why, when we offer adults alcohol and soft drinks as their two beverage choices, we cannot find a way to serve milk or apple juice, or even water to the children? For that matter, why wouldn’t that be an option for the adults also?

We seem to have become a nation who considers soft drinks a beverage Really it is not. Yes. They are drinkable. But, do we really want to classify a zero nutrition liquid a beverage in the same category as milk, juice, and water (which by the way does have minerals and health benefits), especially when we are talking about growing children? And, do we really want to send the message to children that this is an acceptable part of eating a daily meal? And, do we really want to have growing children become synonymous with increasingly obese children?

And, beyond obesity soda pop has a pathway you might want to consider before handing a can of the bubbly to your kids. John Tesh’s website reports the research on this:

In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. That’s 100% of your recommended daily intake. And the only reason you don’t vomit from the sweetness is because the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor – so you’re able to keep it down.

After 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver reacts to this by turning any sugar it can grab into fat. And at this particular moment – there’s a LOT of sugar in your system.

After 40 minutes: All caffeine is absorbed. Your pupils dilate, blood pressure rises and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. 
The “adenosine” receptors in your brain are now blocked – preventing you from getting drowsy. You also start producing more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works.

And 60 minutes after you drink a soda: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc that was on its way to your bones – to your lower intestine instead. You also have a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, so you end up flushing all of those nutrients OUT of your body, as well as sodium, electrolytes and water. Then as your body quiets down, a sugar crash kicks in – causing you to feel irritable and sluggish. Not to mention you’ve emptied your system of the nutrients it needs to hydrate itself, and build strong bones and teeth. And all this’ll be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours.

So, John and I ask you: Is drinking soda worth all that!

Okay, maybe a cola at a special occasion. Maybe one at a baseball game. Maybe at a picnic, now and then. But, really, I implore you, let’s get good stuff into our kids for the daily fare. Let’s not make a treat into a daily beverage. Let’s all think about our choices—especially beverages at meals.

Loft Life – Taking pHun to a new level

You all know I am into green smoothies, organics, antioxidants and the like. But when I began reading about how to do the  pH thing, I was overwhelmed. Learning all about the balance of alkaline and acid for the body  seemed foreign to think about.    51doKJVk1vL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

I dabbled with the idea, but really had no idea what to actually eat. The whole idea of it reminded me of the chemicals we used to clean our swimming pool (when we lived in California).

But, I began to do more than dabble when my “California girl” daughter texted me a picture of her sore throat, gross as it was, and told me she thought she was getting strep. Rather than rush to the urgent care center, she decided to completely change her food for a couple of days to alkaline foods. The throat redness left, her fever left, and she was well in three days. Wow!  This got my attention, big time.

So when I started to feel some flu-like symptoms, I did the same thing and it all went away. Health.

I read up on what foods are alkaline. I started making sure my daily 8 to 10 glasses of water all had a squeeze of lemon. My daughter was buying alkaline bottled waters and was concerned with the expense. I told her to go to Costco for a bag of lemons, and make her own. Much cheaper, tasty and easy to do. You can get 8 wedges from one large lemon, which does the daily dosage for both alkaline food and water. I mean, really. If drinking lemon water can give me a flu-free season, why wouldn’t I do this.  Unknown

The research tells me that, although lemons and other citrus are acidic, they become alkaline when ingested.

On the other hand, animal protein becomes acidic to the body, So, next I cut down dramatically on how much animal protein I consume.

Greens, ala green smoothies, are also alkaline.

I have to say, that barring having all the overwhelming reading to do, these three simple steps–lemon water, less animal protein, more greens–have gotten me through flu season with no symptoms of flu and a really robust health, even with our extreme winter.

The pH people claim that it is the acidic diet that most Americans eat that increases inflammation in the body and they say inflammation is what leads to disease–and not just flu, but disease like cancer and other gnarly stuff. The toxins and waste that accumulate in our bodies because of our high-acid producing diets are also the culprits in decreasing energy and even speeding up the effects of aging.

Getting myself to learn how to maintain the ideal pH of 7.4 is more of a challenge, since it requires me to learn way more. But, the benefits claimed seem to warrant at least considering doing this.

If it is this simple, why not try it? It is easier and cheaper than medication, and has the benefit of not only warding off disease, but creating health. Rather than a cure, why not go for the preventive?

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The answer for why most of us don’t attempt this seems to be tied to the whole idea of the modern American eater. I am sure our grandparents weren’t dealing with the problem of trusting food companies and restaurants, because they didn’t eat packaged foods and seldom went “out” to eat. They didn’t have the soft drinks daily, if at all, and they weren’t eating snacks we think of as normal (donuts, candy bars, giant sugary drinks). They had gardens, they canned veggies and fruits for winter. So when this seems like going to a lot of trouble to eat more like they did, it is true. It is a lot of trouble changing over to the former ways. But, did they have the health problems we think of as normal? Were they generally obese?

I am still in process on this, still reading, thinking, changing my diet. But, I will now hunker down and really read the book that claims miracle powers of a balanced pH eating plan, and I will begin to make permanent changes where it just makes sense to do so.

Let me know what you think about this, please.

 

 

Loft Life: Coffee, Starbucks and did I just fall for a marketing trick?

I drink Starbucks coffee at home because I buy the Kirkland version of their breakfast brew. I drink Starbucks coffee at their stores mostly because I have a loyalty card with dollars on it that, for some reason, I advance them money for. What a great marketing game!   

When we had the whole Year 2000 scare that life as we know it would end when the computers and clocks of the world came to a halt, my son said: “You need to stock up on guns and coffee. Coffee, because many people can’t live normally without it, and guns to protect your coffee.”

The marketing gimmick at Starbucks is a curious human behavior psychology though. There is other coffee. There is other coffee I like, and even prefer to Starbucks–Panera Bread’s coffee, for instance. 

Panera Bread doesn’t make me jump through hoops to get a free refill. They offer me as many free refills as I can drink on a visit. I don’t need to advance them money, or get stars, or any of that. And their coffee isn’t bitter. But there aren’t many Panera Bread’s at airports, which gets me back to the fact that the Starbucks loyalty card is really convenient.

I do like Starbucks’ new Refreshers, especially the lime one. These are the ones with green coffee, which I think don’t really have any nutritional benefits, as I understand it, because the green beans are roasted. *sigh*

Recently I read that Starbucks is granting a star for any Starbucks product purchase, whether in their stores, or somewhere else–like Costco–where their products are available, and that all you have to do is follow directions to get the credit.

I bought two pounds of coffee at Costco, and then discovered that I was five days too early for the launch of that program. No stars. Then I purchased a case of refreshers at the Costco near my daughter’s home in California, kept the receipt and tried to put in the receipt code on my Starbucks account. Nope. I need the code from some special STAR on the package–which, of course, I didn’t realize then, so it is back in Los Angeles, probably in some trash heap by now.

I tried to purchase another case of Starbuck’s Refreshers here in Connecticut, ‘cause I like ‘em, but guess what. Connecticut people didn’t buy enough for Costco to carry these here. So,  still no stars. That’s three starless Costco purchases so far. And, the other downside of the Starbucks retail store refreshers is that they don’t come in the two flavors offered at the Starbuck’s stores.

So really, why am I so hep to get more stars, to get from the Green to Gold Starbucks level? Ummm. they give you a free cup of coffee if you are gold. At least I think they do. Not totally sure. 

And, oh, and I had 24 stars toward the 30 I needed to get to gold, and somehow they all disappeared recently and I had to start over. Something about an expiration date.

This seems like a lot of work and complication just to get a free cup of coffee that I don’t even prefer. But, still I keep that card on automatic reload. 

Do you think I should just wait until I see a Panera Bread at the airport and chuck the whole Starbucks prepaid card thing?

Oh the power of marketing.

 

Loft Life: Women are natural shoppers

Maybe learning life lessons from Hollywood isn’t a reliable standard, but, I have to say, I really have learned a lot from the movies.    

For instance, Judy Benjamin, the lead character in the 1980 Goldie Hawn film, Private Benjamin, had to decide on what her Army career duty choice would be, and it just seemed obvious to her that women are natural purchasing agents.

So when I told my sister-in-law, Lisa, that I do not like to shop, it started me thinking about whether this is an accurate statement.

Really, what I mean by not liking to shop, is that I am not one to browse, hang out at Walmart, or run around to bricks and mortar stores to find bargains–which today seem to be all made in China, so not really bargains in my opinion.

But, I do enjoy being the family purchasing agent. I think much more like a purchasing agent than just a consumer. I mostly shop online

Purchasing agents look at the big picture more than whether they save a dollar on one item. This becomes very interesting when the economy is bad, prices are skyrocketing, and quality is suffering. 

What does this look like in my real life?

I shop in bulk for many food items that I use regularly. I do this not only at Costco, but more and more at Amazon. I have used their subscribe & save grocery store, and not only do I have regular shipments of things like oats, coconut oil, raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and nuts for my granola, cultures for my yogurt making, soup blends, veggie stock, almond milk, coconut water, and dried beans, free trade coffee, cocoa, chia seeds, hemp hearts, hawthorne tea, and more, but these things arrive at our apartment so that hubby gets to carry in the heavy boxes, rather than me straining to get things from the car to the door. 

I also get a 15% discount and because I am a Prime Member, free shipping! I don’t have to hunt these things down, and they are always in stock. Awesome. Saves on gasoline too.

Also, I no longer make the $180 milk trip to Costco. I now have everything in stock, so I only need to go to the store for fresh produce and the occasional item I know I need. I get in, and get out. Simple now.

Amazon is great also for some clothing and household stuff. I recently found a Tommy Hilfiger hooded, down coat ($400 retail) for $79.00, free shipping. I did look at many stores for this, and nothing even compared in style or value to what I got online at Amazon.

For 40 years I have been an Amway distributor, and I buy all my household products, beauty supplies, nutritional supplements, and various other things, from my own store, at wholesale prices, and am assured they are high quality and “green.” I really miss things like Scrub Buds, SA8, LOC and other essentials when I am traveling, because there is nothing like them on the shelves. And, really, this is how I learned to think like a purchasing agent rather than just a consumer.

Recently, since my hair stylist had surgery, I have switched to having my color and cut done at a beauty school. I was a little apprehensive at first, but both the color and cut were very well done, and the cost is one quarter of my usual salon. That means I can get my hair done, have manicures, a monthly massage, and even have hubby’s haircut for the same cost as just my hair cut and color. That is pretty irresistible. And, they have late hours so hub doesn’t get all frustrated rushing home from work for his monthly cut. 

I hardly ever go out to eat anymore unless I have a Groupon or Living Social discount. With restaurant dining becoming way more expensive (we don’t do fast food), we can still enjoy lovely meals at half price. We also use these companies for weekend getaways, and I have bought Egyptian cotton sheets, a Sherpa blanket, and other items with extreme discounts. 

 

 

So I am not just looking for cheaper stuff or services. These are the same quality products and services I used to pay much more for, with much more convenience and less stress.

 

For most shopping, it has to be something I really need, really have wanted for a long time, or something I am giving as a gift. I don’t look for ways to spend. I look for ways to get what I need at savings without too much effort. And, yes, I think Private Benjamin was correct. For most women, this attitude comes pretty naturally. Yes, some women do like to browse and shop recreationally. But, I don’t know any women who don’t make smart purchasing decisions. They seem to have it in their DNA to ferret out the good prices.

 

The whole coupon idea is big business, and probably because women see the value. I have never been big on clipping coupons for three reasons: usually it takes a lot of time and planning to be of value, most items are processed food, which we don’t eat much, and storing and remembering which coupons are where is a big deal and often involves going physically to many stores to find brands. But, I understand those who do this. I used to pay my kids 10% on weekly savings to do the clipping and match coupons to our menu. That was fun, and they enjoyed the income when they were too young to earn other ways.  

 

 

So, no, I don’t usually love shopping. But, yes, I do enjoy the art of purchasing. 

    Would love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Loft Life: Angel update

Thanks so much to my readers for all of your wonderful Angel suggestions. I decided to start with making my Christmas angel into a Valentine angel.

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This wasn’t as easy for me as for you very creative types, but I took my All Recipes friend Pam B.’s suggestion to visit the Dollar Store, which she advised the toy department, and that was very helpful.

Of course, upon entering the store mid-January, all of the Valentine stuff met me at the door, so I did not need to proceed to toys yet.

I purchased $6 worth of hearts, ribbons, and, for some reason (probably the fact that I didn’t have my glasses on), rose petals.

Returning to my loft, I made a pattern for a “heart dress” by tracing the wooden angel shape and cutting it out of the red heart of swirls and flowers. I, all by myself, created a paper-doll dress for Angel dear.

Now when I was a young girl, I really didn’t get into playing with dolls much, but I did like dressing them, and my mom made beautiful clothing for my Mary Hoyer. But, I was more comfortable with paper dolls, I guess because I could mess them up and not be out the price of an expensive doll.

So this exercise brought back that memory, and I think I may be able to keep that going for other seasons and holidays.

I found out, after I got home, that some of my hearts, little pink ones, had two-sided sticky stuff on their backs. You know folks, to most of you this probably seems very elementary, but to me it is an entirely new adventure on which I would never have embarked without the encouragement of Pam.

So I stuck the pink hearts on the wire frame to cover up where Christmas balls had been, and presto, a Valentine angel was born.

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I used the same patterned red heart (the package had two) that I had cut the dress from, and stuck it on my door. That took a bit more work, since there was no two-sided sticky tape on that. I created my own double-sided tape, but it didn’t stick well. I used some Scotch tape, finally, out of desperation and also made a hole in the top of the heart, inserted Valentine ribbon, and hung it over the door. That worked better, although because the heart is edged in black, the Scotch tape shows. Do they make a clear red tape? photo

Anyway, this should serve until St. Paddy’s Day, for which I will return to Dollar Store to get green stuff.

Thanks Pam. Thought you all might want to see my solution.

Let me know how you like it, and please don’t laugh too hard (at me).