I am a big fan of the Conscious Box and I have reviewed their monthly boxes several times over the last year or so. It’s fun to get a mystery box each month and dig into random products that you have never tried…all of which are good for you (or the planet) in some way. I have found soap brands, green cleaners, nut butters, toothpaste, and many other products that I now buy regularly because I fell in love with them via the subscription box. Who has the time or money to try all the new eco brands that come out on the market? Not me. I appreciate getting to sample so many products and see how they stack up against what I am currently buying.
Well, Conscious Box just went through a site redesign and overhaul. One of the biggest changes they have made is that they are now offering points to you for rating the samples in your box and you can use those points to snag some great discounts on your favorite products, right from their web site. Also, as you earn more points you’ll level up to different characters, starting at “Seedling”. If you happen to be very picky about what products you will use…say vegan only, well they have a vegan box as well as a gluten free box. That way you don’t end up with snacks you can’t eat. The boxes are 100% recycled, wind powered, made with veggie based inks, and have no BPA labels or GMOs.
To celebrate the relaunch, the company is allowing me to give away a 3-month subscription to one of my readers – that’s a $59 value! If you have yet to try this service I know you will LOVE it. To win just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. A winner will be chosen at random on March 17th! For everyone else, get 50% OFF using discount code GOCONSCIOUS. Good luck!
It is amazing how often we can let life’s little problems blind us to all the wonderful things we have. In general I am a pretty thankful and optimist in my thinking about life but I think everyone can be guilty of getting caught up in all the things that stress us and cause anxiety and we forget to relish in the all the things that are good and right. On the eve of Thanksgiving I write out my annual list of all the things I am most grateful for this year…
I am THANKFUL to be 6 years cancer free.
I am THANKFUL for my family. It was a rough year this last one, with illness in the extended family but things are looking up.
I am THANKFUL for my husband…15 years married and 20 years together as of 2013. I love him more than ever.
I am THANKFUL that our journey with autism is not the struggle it has been in years past.
I am THANKFUL for the paleo diet. It has shown me a way to thrive like nothing else I have experienced.
I am THANKFUL for CrossFit. It has changed my life and given me a something really fun to look forward to each morning.
I am THANKFUL for my online friends, eco warriors, and green sisterhood and for getting to meet so many of these wonderful ladies this year IRL.
I am THANKFUL I was able to travel several times this year and have so many great experiences with friends old and new.
I am THANKFUL that we have good jobs and we do not struggle financially.
I am THANKFUL that I mostly love what I do for a living.
I am THANKFUL for the readers of this blog. You really are wonderful.
Have a joyous Thanksgiving!!!
Have a great weekend all! I will be taking it very easy myself because I was knocked onto my tush this week by a cold. I haven’t been sick in quite a long while and my good streak was abruptly ended by a week and a half of bad eating. I had it coming. Life got busy with school graduation parties, a visit from an out of country relative, and a local blogger event. I ended up eating only 50-60% paleo and had grain based meals several times, plus a dessert here and there. All the grains and sugar did me no favors and I will remember this next time I think that having that bread is no big deal. I only managed to get to CrossFit one day this week and that is a big freakin deal! I just feel totally off when I can’t exercise. :(
On the plus side though my baby graduated from preschool and will enter Kindergarten next year. He won a box of Whoppers (the candy) and a Whopper Award for being the biggest story teller. His teacher (whom he loves) also told us how devastated she is by the idea that he won’t be in her class anymore. We get that a lot actually. His future school already has two therapists vying for who gets to work with him. Even with all his issues (autism) he is just the sweetest and most fun child ever. It makes it hard to instruct him because you don’t want to make him focus when he is telling these grand and ridiculously funny stories. I hope and pray he will continue to get teachers who find him so endearing and fun and not get some old grouch who thinks he needs to have that stomped out of him.
I also enjoyed a visit from my big brother who is in the States visiting from his home in Indonesia. He is with the State Department and is in DC for a spell before he moves to Islamabad, Pakistan. It is always nice to catch up with him since I so rarely see him. I adore both of my brothers and am actually taking my younger brother with me to BlogHer 12 in New York City (August).
Which reminds of how excited I am getting about attending my first BlogHer!! Woot! Though lately the #Blogher12 hashtag on Twitter has been making me anxious because its a lot of women trying to sell themselves to brands, begging to get into private parties, and throwing tantrums when they don’t get in. I would say it feels like highschool but wouldn’t know since I didn’t attend highschool personally. I skipped two years, earned my diploma, and went right into college and the first two years I did at home since I had a full time job at 14. At any rate I think I just need to focus on all the lovely ladies I am dying to see (and there are many) and not worry so much about the circus that I feel Blogher 12 will almost certainly be.
In other blogging news I went to a local blogger event this past weekend here in Columbus, Ohio for the new Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It was an amazing place. Much of it was designed by folks who also design children’s museums so it was kinda like Disneyland in many aspects. Beautiful!
I hope my kids never have to go there but I also really respect this organization since they treated my oldest at 5 years old and they were the ones who finally diagnosed him with epilepsy. It was also refreshing to be able to actually have your sick child stay at the best hospital system in the state with the required specialists. In Arizona my son was hospitalized twice and BOTH times Phoenix Children’s was full and not able to take him.
I must also confess that I kinda love hospitals. Sounds weird, I know but I was pre-med before I got pregnant with my first and decided I needed to aim lower with my career goals. I used to read books like this, about interns and medical residencies, just for fun. I find it all fascinating and exciting. I was also impressed with how eco friendly they are. Recycling bins in the patient rooms, LED lights, LEED certified power station and research facilities. They are also a sugar free beverage facility which means you cannot buy sugary soda or juice in that hospital anywhere (even vending machines) and they have better choices for food too. In addition to their cafeteria where every single item has the nutritional info and allergy info (gluten, nuts, etc.) on large overhead screens there is also a whole foods chinese place. I think this is pretty awesome because the OSU heart hospital downtown actually has a McDonalds inside of it. Epic fail.
Anyway it was nice to tour the hospital, meet some local bloggers, and do a Q&A with some of their doctors, one of whom was an autism expert. We also got lunch and a bag of hospital branded swag… a reusable cup, mouse pad, band-aid dispenser, journal, etc. It was nice, practical stuff. You can see the Flickr photos of the event here. I am in a few of them. And yes, that is a car inside the hospital. It is for teens and young adults who need to learn or re-learn how to drive after being disabled in some way.
So that was my week…
What I am Reading:
For fiction I read BitterBlue, the sequel to Graceling and the companion to Fire. Amazing! All three of these books should be on everyone’s must read list.
I also read Insurgent the sequel to Divergent. Very, very good book and series though the end confused me. I feel like it went right over my head so if anyone has read it and can explain the significance I would much appreciate it.
For non-fiction I read Plastic Free by my bloggy friend Beth. It is beyond awesome! It really makes you take a hard look at all the plastic in your life and what you can do to reduce that. This is one area I plan to concentrate on more in 2013 and this book will be a huge help.
I am also uber excited by the announcement that a new MaryJane Butters book is coming out about Glamping which is Glamour+Camping. I am the type who likes to eat lobster and crab legs by the campfire and sleep in a tent trailer so I totally get “Glamping”.
Have a great weekend!
Just had to share this amazing Eversave deal. You pay $20 for $40 to use at Abe’s Market. They sell lots of natural and organic foods as well as all kinds of natural green products from beauty items to toys. It is very much like a Whole Foods store and I have shopped there several times. When I saw this deal I immediately bought it up and knew exactly what I would buy. I got two bags of my fave grain free cereal Nutcase Crunch, and since they are $19 a bag (yeah pricey!) I ended up getting one free with this deal. Woot! I also had $2 extra cash to spare so I got one of their sample packages that cost exactly $2. Awesome!
Visit Eversave for the deal, while they last any way…
To understand what the slow movement is and what it could mean in our lives, we first need to take a look at what life is currently like for most of us today. We have schedules that are generally jam-packed full of things to do ranging from work, to errands, to chauffeuring kids to after school activities. Often times our schedules are so full during the week that it is often hard for some of us to plan meals and cook a decent dinner… which of course can mean purchasing take-out foods several times a week. Proper nutrition and the connection we have with family at meal times should be one of our biggest priorities and yet we are so busy that they get sidelined for faster and easier.
The slow movement is a completely opposite lifestyle. Instead of cramming as much as can be crammed into the schedule, slow movement advocates are purposely slowing things down so they can pause and enjoy life. The slow movement is a cultural shift that touches on a number of areas in life, including:
• Food – As mentioned above, a lot of folks are eating fast-food several times throughout the week. I used to be one of them. The slow movement though emphasizes mindful eating, which is not compatible with the fast-food culture prevalent today. Advocates of slow food believe in eating the right foods, carefully picked, at a slower rate so they are thoroughly able to enjoy their food and relish in the nutrients that are bringing health and wellness to their bodies. This is why many slow food fans enjoy artisan fare, local markets, and foods celebrating various cultures and heritages.
• Travel – Even our vacations seem rushed and not relaxing enough. We try to pack in as much adventure as we can and end up feeling anything but refreshed and relaxed by the end of our “vacation”. Slow travel advocates focus on slowing down when they travel. Instead of rushing from location to location while on vacation, slow travelers often choose destinations where they are able to mingle with the local residents and connect with the community there in a meaningful way.
• City Life – Believe it or not, entire cities are considered “slow.” The concept of “slow cities” originated in Italy. These communities generally have no more than 50,000 people who all agree on meeting certain principles and “slow criteria.” Often, these cities have a slower feel to them as they have less noise and traffic. I actually love to read about living in countries that value this slower lifestyle so I can see how to incorporate some of that into my day to day life. Good books that come to mind are Go Slow Italy, Under the Tuscan Sun, and The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France. I have an entire shelf in my bedroom of books like these.
• Education – Advocates of slow schooling place more emphasis on teaching children how to connect with the world than the information found in text books and test scores. Slow educational practices focus more on discovering how individual children learn best, finding out what they love, and combining these with real life experiences and adventures to enhance learning.
• Investing – Advocates of the slow movement believe in shopping local and investing their money in the communities where they live, work, and play. They believe that by investing in small enterprises and businesses within the local community, they will be able to better stimulate the local economy, which helps everyone. It also makes them more mindful of where their money goes and what it goes to support.
• Reading – Yes, believe it or not, the slow movement even touches literacy. Today, there are a number of reading aids available to people… tablets, e-books, e-readers, blogs, etc., which is making the traditional book rare. The world is becoming so wrapped up in the “do-it-now, do-it-fast” mentality that we are losing the simple pleasures in life… such as reading physical books. There is nothing wrong with reading e-books on your tablet or e-reader, but it is helpful to unplug and pick up a real book on a regular basis. Reading helps reduce stress, improve motivation, and start inspiration.
Even though I am always taking steps to go slower I frequently have moments where I know I could be doing more. This past weekend I went to see a new release movie and I ended up taking my seat 35 minutes before the start time. I brought a book but it was too dark to read so I played on my smart phone until it went dead. The realization that I was uncomfortable to just sit and do nothing for 15 minutes without something to occupy me and entertain me, really bothered me. I made a conscious decision to embrace that time and be content with having nothing better to do than people watch and be with my own thoughts. It was refreshing. Why is it so hard to be mindful of this all the time?
Now it’s your turn. What steps have you taken to “go slow”? Do you struggle with it?
Recommended: In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed