Archive | January 2012

Non-profit of the month: Kiva

As you probably know, Brown Paper Tickets is a ticketing company. We sell tickets all over the world to events and have an unbelievable list (in my opinion) of free services and tools for event producers to put their events together. What you may not be fully aware of is this whole other branch of the company that is very involved in giving back to our communities. This is the realm I am fortunate enough to be immersed in.

One of the most recent additions to our companies giving came from the Marketing and Communications team. The VP of Marketing and Communications, Kelsye Nelson, was given a budget of $25 a month to take her staff out to lunches or coffee, so instead, in the spirit of Brown Paper Tickets, she and her team decided to vote on one person a month who they feel has been rocking their job and exhibits the essence of Brown Paper Tickets. This month I was honoured with their votes, and the grand prize, I get to choose who the money goes to this month at Kiva. Read More…

Week 5: Take time, notice what is around you

The theme of the next four weeks is all about AWARENESS. How many times do you find yourself walking along the sidewalk, thinking about the issues in your life, walking by each person without so much of a glance, a smile, or a hello? I’m going to make a big leap and guess the majority of the time we walk this way. This happens when we’re out at a bar, walking on the street, driving in a car, and even while you’re home watching TV. If we all continue to be so absorbed and comfortable in our own lives, it will be very difficult for communities to grow and positively change because we aren’t aware of what surrounds us. We just float around as one unit communities, bouncing off one another every so often. It’s time to shrink your personal space and start to become more aware.

For week 5 of the 52 Weeks of Good campaign, we will be looking at taking the time to notice what is around us. Here are 5 easy ways to start altering your focus off of yourself and your bubble, and start paying attention to what surrounds you everyday.

  1. Walk around your neighborhood. What better place to start creating more awareness of your surroundings than in your own back yard? How often do you find yourself taking a walk to notice what is around your home? What is going on three blocks down and two block right? Have you ever tried to get lost by winding around your streets? Potentially ridiculous, I know, but I have! Didn’t work too well because I was able to find my way back pretty easily, however I discovered quite a few streets I had never walked on, saw some happy pups out for a walk, smelled beautiful flowers, and received some inspiration from the architecture of other houses. Now, even on my normal walks, I am able to find something new every where I go!
  2. Take a different route. It is easy for all of us to fall into a routine when we are trying to go from point A to point B. Home to work or school, dropping the kids off, route to the gym. The main goal is to get to your destination in the safest and most time efficient route. This aids us to stay in our comfort zones and not step outside of what we are used to. Once a week, try taking a different route to work, school or the gym. It might take you a couple more minutes, but can turn into a little bit of an adventure! This helps you to take in what else is around you, can be a little fun, and could change your outlook on the whole day. Try it! Read More…

Week 4: Recycle (Part II: Donating what you don’t need)

As an extension to Monday’s post, there are more ways to look at recycling than just what you separate from the garbage pile that goes in the recycle bin. Introducing – Part II: Donating what you don’t need:

As you will soon learn, I am a sucker for deals. I get the biggest high when I find something I like that I pay way less than what it originally started out as and I pretty much have a break down when I have to buy something not on sale. So, I am guilty for purchasing items I did not need or already had. However, every month or so I take an afternoon to go through my closet, to go through the storage room, to go through the kitchen, and take out what I don’t really need and donate it. Places like the Salvation Army, Value Village, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity are great places to take things you don’t need anymore. Also, finding charities and non-profits who need items, but don’t have the budget to purchase them, are another great find. Not only are you pairing down on your life, but you are also improving the lives of those around you.

Here are 10 items that you may have plenty of, that others could use:

  1. Old towels – Ask your local animal shelter if they are running low and could use some. Same goes for washable dog beds, cat beds, and toys! They will be so grateful for your donation!
  2. Extra dishes and general kitchen and cooking supplies – Second hand donation stores (like Salvation Army, Goodwill, Value Village).
  3. Boxed or canned food – Go through your pantry, find sealed containers that have been sitting there for months, gather them up and donate them to a local food bank.
  4. Office, school, sport, or art supplies – see if there is a low income school nearby that doesn’t have the budget to buy all the supplies they need and could really use your extra items. Or check out what is on the wish lists of non-profits, like The Ladybug Project! View their wish list here.
  5. Jeans – An organization called Do Something has a Teens for Jeans campaign where they collect gently worn jeans and donate them to those one need. Read More…

Week 4: Recycle (Part I)

Last week we talked about reusing, so this week (if you didn’t guess already) is about Recycling. There are a few different ways to look at recycling. The most common, taking the time to separate your waste into yard waste, recycle, and what truly is trash that will be added to the landfill. It may be surprising to you how many things can actually be recycled that are thrown away every day.

Part I: Common household items that can, in fact, be recycled:

  1. Single use batteries – Seattle has many places to dispose. Find out where you can drop off your batteries, here.
  2. Large appliances – Many transfer stations will take these, but usually for a fee. Many times they have will take your items for free. Click here to find out your nearest drop off.
  3. Tennis shoes – Nike has a program called Reuse-A-Shoe. Send in your old tennis shoes and they will break them down and reuse the materials! Check out how they do that, here! Read More…

Birthday Present to Myself

I got one for my friend's birthday, too. (Shhh... don't tell!)

Today is my birthday (yay!) and with working on lives focus to be kind and give back to others, I think it is important to not forget to take care of yourself, too. In light of this weeks theme: REUSE, I decided to purchased myself a reusable lunch bag to carry all of my reusable containers in instead of using plastic or paper bags. In my recent discovery of reusit.com, I was able to find this great bag with a good reminder on it.

Unfortunately for my wallet, but fortunate for the environment, I also found some other great items that made it into my shopping cart. Just a few more things I am able to reuse and transition out of using and tossing items.

Reusable napkins to go with my reusable lunch bag!

Kleenex replacement. Don't worry... I'll wash it!

Reusable veggie bags to use at the grocery store! Good bye plastic!

Looking for a present for yourself or for someone else? There are some great ideas, here!

Week 3: Reuse

The next step in helping the environment is to reuse what it is we already have. When you think about what it is you really need to survive, next time you go to the store to purchase yet another pair of shoes, or a new set of dishes, or the latest gadget, really think if this is something you need. Ask yourself, “Is this something I already own that could work just as well?” If the answer is yes, then you probably don’t need it. I know, this is a hard concept because we live in such a consumer run society that we are constantly being bombarded with newer and better. I am victim to this sometimes, too.

Cute, right? But, alas, I didn't need them.

The other day I actually ran into this situation. When I moved into my apartment with my boyfriend, most items we were given as hand-me-downs. Which, at the time was amazing as moving is expensive. A year later, Cost Plus World Market had a sale on dishes and there was a pattern I was in love with (nerd alert, I know). I bought a whole new set of dishes, even though I had a whole set at home that work perfectly fine. After two weeks of leaving them in the box I brought them home in, I decided this was something I really didn’t need and I returned them. I will continue to reuse the plates we have that work just fine and I feel much better about the whole situation.

Here are some great ideas to reuse some items you may already have around the house that you may be ready to throw in the trash, but could be re-purposed (thanks Earth911.com for the ideas!):

  1. Old game boards missing pieces anyone? Turn the pieces  into jewelry, coasters and DIY invitations! Read how, here. Read More…

Week 2: Reduce (Part II)

As a follow-up on how to reduce in our daily lives, Part II will focus on our daily lives during the lunch hour. Here you will read the cold hard fact, along with an easy solution. Enjoy!

Fact 1: Plastic disposable utensils: Plastic cutlery is non-biodegradable, can leach toxic chemicals when handled improperly, and is widely used. Worldcentric.org estimates 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in just the United States. The majority of these are thrown out after just one use.

Solution: Don’t use the plastic one-time-use utensils. They may be convenient, but they’re not doing the environment any good. Instead, find ones that are biodegradable that you can compost after using or find a set that can be reused over and over again. Here is a large selection to choose from.

Fact 2: The Container Recycling Institute claims that 2.81 million juice boxes were sold in the U.S. in 2006, most of which cannot be recycled due to the inseparability of the cardboard, plastic, and aluminum foil used in the product. Also, an independent study done in June of 2010 by the Environmental Law Foundation found toxic levels of lead in more than 40 different juices and juice boxes.

Solution: Buying juice boxes is an easy solution to sending your kids something to drink in their lunch, but have you every really looking into what is in it? Sugar. So much sugar and after all of the processing that juice has been through, there are barley any nutrients left. Look into investing a juicer at home. You can make fresh juice (even add some vegetables without them knowing) and send it in a reusable container. Not only are you improving the environment, but you are also improving your families health. Win win.

Read More…