Primele Calligaphy Stamps

  1. Primele’s Calligraphy. These Calligraphy return-address stamps are amazing! I’m not sure how long I’ll be living in my current place, but you’d better believe once I’m living in a more permanent residence, I’ll be ordering one of these stamps.
  2. Hands down the best fresh juice available: Evolution “Incredible Vegetable” or “Organic V”. It’s a beet and carrot vegetable juice that’s better than any ‘juice bar’ juice. I won’t even insult the juice by comparing it to that awful, salt-laden V8.
  3. As I mentioned in my previous post, the book “Eating Animals” has been a life-changing read for me. So much so, that it deserves another mention.
  4. Trendenser. I have absolutley no idea what’s written in this blog because it’s Swedish, but the pictures are enough to keep you mesmerized. It’s the perfect recipe: white floors, white walls, Eames chairs.
  5. Letter from Steve Martin.

I watched the chilling undercover footage recorded during an investigation exposing Conklin Dairy Farms workers sadistically abusing cows and young calves. The owner, Gary Conklin, isn’t taking responsibility as he himself is shown 1:25 minutes in the video taking part in the abuse, but one worker has been fired and is currently in jail awaiting trial. As horrific and disturbing as the video footage is, I think it’s important to watch– at least whatever you can stomach– because turning a blind eye doesn’t help the situation. More disturbing are the varied abuses running rampant in factory farms across the country.

The video combined with the book that i’m reading called ‘Eating Animals’ are changing my life. Although, I eat meat rarely– always teetering on vegetarianism– this is officially my last day as a “meat-eater”. Two generations ago, our food came from family farms. Today, upwards of 99% of the meat consumed in this country is from factory farming– it’s a corrupt, inhumane, sad, disgusting industry that deserves absolutley *NONE* of our support.

Choose wisely.

My Top 5 focuses on humane choices for your pantry. I’ve done a bit of research and whether or not you choose to go vegetarian, you can still make better choices and support the less than 1% of farmers who are working hard to do the right thing. Although, this list is fairly San Francisco-centric, I found all the resources through Google, so use this as a stepping stone to find similar farms and establishments in your area:

  1. The Cornucopia Institute, a nonprofit small farm advocacy group, showcases ethical family farm producers and exposes factory farm producers and brands that threaten to take over organic dairying. The dairy report, a web-based rating tool, includes a scorecard that rates 68 different organic dairy brands against a set of criteria to true organic standards.
  2. Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco focuses on local, organic, and non-genetically modified food.
  3. Truly Free-Range Eggs: Pasture-Raised.

    The author of Eating Animals, Jonathan Safron Foer, states that if there’s one thing you can do to get started in the right direction of not allowing these corporate factory farms and the abuses to proliferate– it’s to not eat chicken or eggs. Chickens are the most abused of all farmed animals, and yet they are completely unprotected under US federal law. Confined to live in areas no larger than a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 printing paper; no food in the nation produces more suffering than poultry.

  4. The Institute for Fisheries Resources has started a Web site called Local and Seasonal Seafood Program that lists local fishermen by region. IFR acts as a conduit to connect the seafood eating public with local commercial fishermen who can provide fresh, high quality, healthy, sustainable seafood.
  5. Visit Farmers markets. Get to know the farmers in your community and support them.

+1 Resistance to the destructive trend in modern meat, dairy, egg, and seafood production is mounting. Factory farms may once again become farms.

Incorporated in 2007, Farm Forward is a nonprofit advocacy group at the forefront of pragmatic efforts to transform and implement innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farm animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture. Confused as to what type of meat to buy? The Farm Forward website has plenty of information to get you started in making informed food choices.

san francisco

I’m baaaaack in San Francisco! Phew! The move from Los Angeles to San Francisco was such a haul of belongings, emotion, and anticipation. We made it in one piece and I’ve used the last few weeks to unpack and become reacquainted with the city I once called “home”. It feels so good to be back here. I’ve hit all my favorite restaurants like Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack and Pakwan. Next on my list is Ethiopian food at Axum Cafe.

The only bummer is that the staircase that leads from our front door to our flat has a narrow, 70-degree turn and our couch and queen-sized box spring mattress didn’t fit up to our apartment. Our couch *almost* fit; it was only a few inches too wide. Ugh, so frustrating. We’ll be donating our couch and mattress. I guess the bright side is that we ordered a beautiful sectional sofa from Room and Board that’s so versatile that we’ll have it for years and years. I guess when one “sofa” door closes, another opens. And we bought a split box spring for our queen bed. Who knew they made such a thing? But they do and it works perfectly. Seriously, we move so often that if I knew they made a split queen box spring, I would have bought that when I purchased the set long ago.

Well, with all the unpacking and finding places for everything in my new apartment I have storage systems on my mind and I was so excited when I came across these furniture storage pieces on Yatzer. The Jose Collection by Mauricio Arruda is produced out of plastic containers and (Forest Stewardship Council) wood sheets to create beautiful credenzas and side tables. I remember my college days of using milk crates for end tables and this furniture really takes that idea to a whole other level.

Jose Furniture Collection

Love, Love!

I’m moving back to San Francisco this month (expect a URL and business name change soon) and since my life is full of packing and sorting and organizing boxes, my Top 5 this week is devoted to the same.

Dingbat Press Printable Moving Announcement

  1. These darling printable moving announcements almost make me happy to move. Head over to ‘Love. Obsess. Inspire.’ and click on “Free Printable Goodie” to download and print.
  2. Real Simple’s Moving Checklist saves my sanity when I start freaking out about EVERYTHING I NEED TO DO.
  3. Tapeswell, the purveyors of decorative packing tape, help make moving less…. blah.
  4. Plastic Loose Fill Council. Visit their site or call 800-828-2214 for the nearest packing-peanut drop spot.
  5. How to pack everything you own in one bag. I wish!

In 2007, activist Annie Leonard wrote and narrated the animated mini-documentary called “The Story of Stuff” about the life-cycle of material goods. The documentary explains the environmental and social issues surrounding our over-consumption of “stuff” and how this cycle of consumption and disposal can’t be sustained indefinitely.

The documentary covers issues that I think about both as an environmentalist and a professional organizer, the film helped raise my sensitivity to the disposable nature of my belongings. I remember my grandfather wore the same sweaters for years, and my grandparents watched a television that was over 15-years old. The film made me wonder why we don’t buy things to last for YEARS anymore? Why aren’t things made to last? Today, it seems that we buy things to fulfill whatever our need is for that particular moment. Once the moment passes, the item is disposed and nobody thinks about where it goes. Only to be hit by the next moment and our need to consume more. Again and again, the cycle continues.

What’s most concerning is electronic waste. Nobody wants an old-generation iPod and who cares where it goes anyway? With our amazing technological advances in the last decade, we have more electronic waste now than ever before, and the number of recyclers of discarded computers, monitors, printers and cell phones has exploded in North America. Unfortunately, many of these “recyclers” are hiding under the “recycling” name and illegally shipping e-waste to developing countries.

The dirty secret is that our electronic waste (e-waste) is exported to China, India or Africa. Developing countries have become the junk yard for the United States. The 20-minute PBS Frontline Documentary “Digital Dumping Ground”, documents the rampant dumping of toxic waste.

Luckily there are groups such as the Basel Action Network (BAN). Created in 1994, BAN has a list of “e-Steward” qualified electronics recyclers— a group of industry leaders that have 4 key principles:

  1. No dumping of toxic e-waste in developing countries

  2. No dumping in local landfills or incinerators (including waste-to-energy operations)

  3. No use of prison labor to process e-waste

  4. No unauthorized release of private data

From bottled water to computer monitors, it’s important to think about the life-span of your belongings. It’s important to purchase things that serve a purpose in your life; buy items that are going to last longer than a moment; and be conscious of how your “stuff” is disposed. Ask yourself: Can someone else benefit from your unwanted items? If so, donate your unused electronics to a local charity, school, or shelter. The idea is to flow your unused items back into the community. Ten years ago, the average lifespan of a computer was six years. Today it’s two years. Is “being on the cutting edge of technology” worth it?

The solution is three-fold:

Thoughtful consumption; reuse; and eco-friendly recycling.

These are the simple mantras we CAN and SHOULD be religiously practicing in our daily lives.

top 5: knitting

Spratters And Jayne Design

I started knitting six years ago after taking a class in San Francisco at the Urban Knitting Studio. It was great to learn after talking about it for close to a decade. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and I haven’t knitted in two years! With this lengthy hiatus, I’m really excited about getting back into it. As my previous post talked about “BALANCE”, I believe it’s important to replace the daily grind with a creative interest. I’ve been totally awe-inspired by a few projects and I wanted to share them as my Top 5. They’ve whole-heartedly inspired me and hopefully they’ll inspire you to break out the knitting needles again– or pick up the craft for the first time.

  1. Spratters & Jayne. The cowls and lapels are to die for! This is my next project; a beautiful chunky knit lapel.
  2. Wool and the Gang. The Wool and the Gang site was recommended to me by a friend of mind in Los Angeles, and the instructional videos are the best I’ve ever seen. Her accent and the music are so charming.
  3. Who would have thought to knit your own cleaning tools? Pretty dang brilliant, if I do say so myself. Using scrap yarn to knit a Swiffer cover. Or if crocheting is your thing, this blogger created Swiffer sock covers and dish scrubbers (Japanese Tawashi). According to the site, the Swiffer covers work better than the cloth covers you can buy and they’re totally washable/reusable. Anything that involves less waste is always a good idea.
  4. Knit graffiti. The world can always be a prettier place.
  5. Another beautifully amazing inspiration are the big, chunky knits from Gile Deacon’s AW07 line. Where can I get yarn like that?!

Plus 1: Of course, you have to keep all your knitting supplies and needles organized and ready to go when inspiration strikes you.

daily routines

Organization is something I’ve been doing since I was young. Over the years, I’ve had close friends poke fun at me when I decide to stay home and organize my filing cabinet rather than going out to dinner with them. For the most part, I try not to let my organization obsession take over my life, but organization is such a part of my psyche that I have to be reeled in by loved ones and reminded to go out and enjoy a movie every now and then. The key to anything is balance. The balance of work/play/life/relaxation. Balance is a challenge and keeping everything in your life moving forward and interesting is what I strive to achieve day in and day out. I always find it fascinating how other people organize their days and their time. If you’re interested in how Stephen King spends his mornings then you’ll love the web site, Daily Routines as much as I do.

Some of my favorites from the site include:

My routine varies slightly from day-to-day depending on if I’m organizing clients or doing business work from home. For the most part I wake up between 7:30-8am and make coffee in the french press with lots of sugar and milk. Coffee is a new thing for me. I just started drinking it this past year and I gotta say it’s been a life changing addition to my schedule. I’m surprised I never understood the powers of coffee before, but… NOW I UNDERSTAND COFFEE PEOPLE! While I’m drinking coffee I check my calendar, email, twitter, and teuxdeux for the days tasks. Around 9am, I get ready and start the day. Lots of work happens. In the late afternoon, I take my dog for a long walk around the neighborhood. At 5pm, I’m back on the computer. I’m enamored with web sites, so I probably spend way too much time researching and seeking out new things to obsess over, so that’s pretty much how I end my day, by spending an hour or so back on the web. At 7pm, it’s time with my husband whether we’re watching our favorite television shows– Lost and The Office– or experimenting with some random recipe I’ve found online. The day ends around 11pm, which is my favorite part of the evening, being in my pajamas and laying in the most comfortable bed in the universe. *sigh*