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Green Living

My #1 favorite kind of blog and topic to read about is green living. I have ideas in my head of chucking it all away, moving to the country, planting a garden, and being a full fledged hippie. My Army man husband probably would never agree to that, and in all honesty I don't know if I would even really want it if it was an option (as my husband says, "you're not really that hippie..." thanks honey), but I do like to daydream and read blogs. :) Lately I've been reading about all kinds of things that people do that are "green" that have never even crossed my mind. From using cloth toilet paper (!?) to moisturizing with olive oil (an interesting idea...) to not washing their hair in order to avoid chemicals in shampoo, I've realized that I am really, at the end of the day, not that green. Maybe I am more so than the average American, but in terms of being a full fledged hippie, I'm not even anywhere close. Here's my list of things I'd like to improve, things I'm already doing pretty well with, and things that I'm thinking about doing.

What I think I'm doing pretty well with

*I try to eat organically when I can - as I've (maybe?) mentioned before, we shop at the Commissary for the most part for groceries, and although they have improved immensely even just in the past two years in terms of the organics that they carry, they still don't have the selection of say, Whole Foods (or the prices either, thank goodness).
*I recycle. Thankfully we have a pretty good city service that comes to pick up the recycling once a week and I don't even have to sort it. I've definitely noticed a reduction in our trash. This week we only had one bag of trash for the whole week. Our recycling bin, however, is overflowing.
*I keep my heat turned down. I lived through the Colorado winter with my heat set at 60 and going down to 58 during the night. Part of it is because of energy consciousness, part of it is because I am cheap. We have gas heat, and even with it being set at 60, there were months that our bill was over $150. I'm glad winter is over, and we don't have air conditioning, so the summer is a much cheaper time for us! :)
* We try to eat in season - this is a great tip for energy consciousness and also for cost effectiveness. For example, last week I bought strawberries for $1/lb. A few months ago, those same strawberries were $5/lb. It isn't really strawberry season in Colorado yet, but they are traveling less far to get to my mouth than they were in December. More on that in my "what I need to work on" category.
* I drive a Prius - well, actually now my husband drives her, since we live 25 minutes away from his work, and I work from home.

What I Need to Work On
*Although we have a Prius, our other car is a Jeep that gets 15 miles to the gallon. It's not really my fault, as my husband bought it before we were together, but I want to throw up every time I put gas into it, which is about every 5 seconds.
*I don't do a great job of eating locally. I've heard that Colorado has more organic farming acres than any state in the US, but I swear you wouldn't know it in my town. Although I think that my town is probably the anomaly for the state, I don't really have great access to local farms or farmer's markets. I have to drive about an hour for a really great farmer's markets (although I'm going to give my local ones another shot this summer), and I'm not sure if driving an hour to go to the farmers market really counts as being energy efficient...although in the Prius it might!
*I really like to work out on the treadmill. I've heard that the treadmill is the most energy sucking of all the gym equipment. I can't really help myself. I just really like it. I'm going to try to work out outside a little more, once it's not so frigid.
*We eat a lot of smaller portioned items. I've recently started buying larger portions of fruit and meat, but we still have individually packaged yogurt, applesauce, etc. I pack my husband's lunch everyday for work (so maybe that balances out the small packaging?) so it is easier to have individual servings. However, I pack his lunch in tupperware every day, so we aren't using baggies that are getting thrown away. Maybe this one is a wash.

Things I Want To Try Out

*Making more homemade items. I've already started making homemade breads, and I batch cook some to freeze things before the produce goes bad, but I would really like to venture into the world of homemade yogurt, condiments, etc. Maybe if I get really gutsy I might try laundry detergent, but I have allergies with detergents, so that's up in the air.
*I am going to try the olive oil moisturizing thing. It really sounds like an interesting idea to me, and I do worry about putting on all this lotion (it is very dry in CO) with chemicals and fragrances and everything else, and then it just seeps into my skin. Olive oil has its praises sung all the time, so I'd like to try it out and see what kind of results I get with my skin.
*I'm buying more things secondhand. I've long been a lover of used books on Amazon, but now we're even trying to take it a step further and just get books from the library (free and green!) I also recently bought some clothes from the Salvation Army, although I've been told before that if you really can afford to buy from other places, you shouldn't take the things from people who really need them. Not sure how I feel about that. I am really looking forward to garage sale season though, since I want to get some new things for my house. I am going for a cottage look, and really love having kind of a funky (not TOO funky though) and unconventional style, but I am the worst decorator you have ever met in your life, so it is a constant challenge for me.

Well, that's all for now. Has this made you think of anything you could do better? What about the things you are already doing. So many of the things that we've made an effort to change have really not been major changes, and were so easy to make (like using tupperware instead of ziploc bags for lunches). I would love to hear more suggestions about what changes you made that you feel like are making a small difference, one person at a time!

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