Ahh the joys of summer. Here in the good ole mitten, most of us Michiganders are cannonballing or bellyflopping into every open pool in sight due to the 85+ degree weather this week.  Not only did I get the memo that it’s time to get out and enjoy the sunshine but I’m pretty positive my clothes dryer thought my jeans and shirts should also enjoy it. Not quite following?

Well, in a much more pessimistic and less cutesie way…my clothes dryer decided to stop working. Even better, I found this out after I put in a giant load of jeans and t-shirts (caught me, I don’t usually separate my colors or types of clothing for that matter) and then saw that my dryer made that decision without my input. So now what’s a girl to do? Let them enjoy the sunshine and lay them out to air dry.

I have to admit, I’m not one who usually lays my clothes out to dry nor have I grown up with a clothes line so I haven’t exactly given it a second thought until now. I was intrigued. After doing some research, mainly from this site, this might have to be something I do more often. It’s free and it’s better for the environment. This is even beneficial for those who live in apartments or dorms because you could easily purchase an indoor line which folds up for easy storage in small places.

A nifty tid bit I stole from the linked article about benefits:

Benefits of line drying

The benefits of a solar clothes dryer, aka a clothes line are many; here’s just a few:

– Initial outlay is cheaper than a clothes dryer
– No ongoing energy costs
– No greenhouse gas emissions from usage
– The sun helps to kill bacteria
– A fresh smell for your clothes without the use of chemicals

I would even recommend reading the comments that the readers left behind. They have some great tips and opinions on the topic.

So where does this leave me? Well, it left me with some fresh smelling clothes and a believer in air drying. Where does that leave you (the college student or the young professional who lives in an extremely overpriced apartment no bigger than a refrigerator box)? With a lot more quarters…and hopefully a believer as well.

As a recent college graduate, I understand how important it is to save every pretty penny possible (try saying that three times fast) and because of that, I give you a post about easy/cheap/neat gadgety things from one of my new favorite companies, Amron Experimental Inc.

Re-Juicer

The people from Amron Experimental Inc. would like you to meet the Re-Juicer. Simple yet semi-brilliant idea. This juicer is made from reused Poland Spring water bottle bottoms and because the plastic is flexible, there is a good chance you’re going to be able to get more juice inside of your glass than on the table. Plus at $6.50 each, it’s a good and eco-friendly (not to mention reasonable) investment.

And my personal favorite, Brush and Rinse toothbrush


Finding yourself spending a ton of money on those tiny little Dixie cups simply because you find it gross to drink out of the faucet when brushing your teeth? Or heck, maybe you don’t buy the cups and think it’s gross to drink out of the faucet but do it anyways (guilty). For the small germaphobe in all of us: Brush and Rinse toothbrush. The water actually travels through the handle of the brush and spouts out, much like a drinking fountain. If you have a public bathroom in the dorms or even share a bathroom in your apartment, think about how much more sanitary this would be than the mouth-to-faucet routine AND cost wise, you’re most likely saving.

Their website boasts the fantastic features of this product including: No disposable rinsing cups, no glass to wash, reducing sink clutter, and wonderful on vacations when you never know what went on in that Days Inn bathroom.

For more innovative products that make you think, “why didn’t I think of that?” check out their site.

Caught me. Those aren’t the lyrics that Blackstreet sang BUT come on, that’s kind of creative on my part…right?

Anyways, this past weekend I took a much needed R&R vacation to Canada and while there are numerous differences between there and the US, I took a particular liking to the fact that they charge 5 cents per plastic bag in some major grocery stores. I personally feel that if I were to shop there, this would be an incentive to whip out my cloth bag rather than to be lazy and leave it at home. I even try to use my cloth bag for a purse so that if I go somewhere to pick up something out of the blue, I can skip the plastic bags because I have my own carrier with me. It isn’t that difficult to do and if you are saving the environment (and in Canada, saving money), why wouldn’t you?

To play devils advocate, I did a little research to find some info and I found out why some people don’t agree with me and I have to admit, they brought up some pretty great points. One in particular that stood out was the opinion that consumers shouldn’t be paying for the plastic bags when they weren’t really given a choice in the first place. It was the stores idea to bring them in and use them. Valid point.

You can go on for days and days and days and even a few more days about the pros and cons of plastic bags, paper bags, cloth bags, etc. However, I do know that less junk and garbage in the landfills, the better which is why I choose not to contribute to more useless waste.  I bring my own bag with me and I reuse it like you would not even believe.

My bag is from Kenneth Cole and while my exact bag isn’t on the site anymore, the shape and size of it are identical to this. Some other fun sites I found are: Green Girl World (a little expensive but cute if you want to spend a few more dollars), Project GreenBag, and if you want to buy in bulk for when you do pick up multiple things Envirosax.

If you’re still a tad unsure about what you want to do and if it’s worth it (and it is) look up some information on the plastic bag dilemma, there are a plethora of articles floating around the world wide web. Need to wait until your next paycheck before you make the purchase? In the mean time, ask for paper…not plastic🙂

Oh yeah. I was a proud owner of some inflatable furniture in my prime (and yes, by prime I mean in elementary school when I thought it was awesome) and my blue chair went right next to my green lava lamp (which I was also mistaken for thinking that was awesome as well). When I became an undergrad, I would occasionally think back to those marshmellow-y …things… and reminisce. However, the days of inflatable chairs were long gone and my generation matured to bigger and better things…the bean bag chair. Now, if you would, please join me on the path called memory lane and let’s now think back to the days when you could slide off of your chair (not sink into it) and think about how cool it would be to own a more sophisticated and illuminating version. Now, you’re thinking about Via Lattea by Mario Bellini.

According to Meritalia, the furniture is made of a “lightweight stainless steel mesh of the industrial filters, and the materials in recycled fibres used in construction or for the transportation of sugar, grains or stones are extremely low-cost and high-pressure technical materials.”

I’m not entirely sure of the cost because apparently after graduating, I have lost some of my vital researching skills but these pieces seem pretty priceless to me. They’re eco-friendly. They’re light weight and so they are easier to move around the room if you get bored with your current rooms feng shui. They have little low wattage lights inside so that they emit different colors which would be fantastic if you throw parties or just want to pretend you’re at a VIP night club. And last but certainly not least, it looks as though you could play a pretty great game of real world Tetris with the pieces if you were bored. Jackpot.

Practical? I’m not too sure

Snazzy? Absolutely


Along with reading blogs upon blogs, I also enjoy reading actual physical books that can be held in your hands. Weird right? I almost forgot what those were myself.

Currently, I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I, personally, like this book MUCH more than his other work, In the Defense of Food. I’m only about halfway done with it so far but I highly recommend it, especially the section labeled “Big Organic”. It really has opened my eyes to some of the myths and issues with the labels “organic”, “ultra pasteurized” and “cage-free”…

I decided to read this book at my local coffee shop with a cup of brew and that is when I found that I am a victim (perhaps you could call me a sucker…I just prefer the term victim). I’m one of “those” people who believe packaging without doing the sufficient amount of research (yeah yeah, I have my degree in advertising and I fell for it) and I was taken. I was a victim of was the whole idea of buying eggs from “Cage-free hens”.

On pg. 140, Pollan explains that when he went to visit “Rosie the organic chicken” aside from being fed certified organic feed, she isn’t raised much differently than any other chicken. In fact, the free-range lifestyle which is promised on the label, is pretty much rubbish to me. “There’s a little door in the shed leading out to a narrow grassy yard. But the free-range story seems a bit of a stretch when you discover that the door remains firmly shut until the birds are at least five or six weeks old – for fear they’ll catch something outside – and the chickens are slaughtered only two weeks later”

Seriously? Seriously…

Now, I’m not telling you that these companies are not making steps towards changing the way products are handled/grown/raised but I have learned that it certainly pays to do your research. I highly suggest this book to anyone who is interested in finding out more about the meat you are eating, just what products contain corn (you’d be surprised), or merely about the growth and change of the organic companies.

Since I’m only about halfway done, I can almost guarantee another post about the topics Pollan poses. I’ll keep you updated and you can go on this wonderful literary journey with me.

Something to leave you with to ponder: “Artificial manures lead inevitably to artificial nutrition, artificial food, artificial animals and finally to artificial men and women” (pg. 148)

Book Review

Hi everyone

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to post lately. I have been super busy with finals, graduation, moving, etc. I promise there will be a new post up in a few days and please check back then🙂

In the mean time, I would like to share a few of my favorite quotes to you

Ponder them. Love them. Steal them. Make fun of them. Enjoy however you wish.

Talk to you soon!

“We don’t need stuff. We need ideas and energy and subjects and motivation and time and lots of other things that can’t be bought and are not sold at Wal-Mart. Happiness is not under the Christmas tree but somewhere in the air above it. It doesn’t stick to traditional dates or statutory holidays. It can sometimes be found on the most ordinary of Thursdays. Sometimes it just blows in like a swallow in December. Sometimes when you want it most, you can’t have it. And sometimes you’re up to your elbows. That’s why we don’t need regular stuff. We’re into bigger stuff. – Robert Genn

“We humans have existed in our present form for about a hundred thousand years. I believe that if during this time the human mind had been primarily controlled by anger and hatred, our overall population would have decreased. But today, despite all our wars, we find that the human population is greater than ever. This clearly indicates to me that love and compassion predominate in the world. And this is why unpleasant events are “news”; compassionate activities are so much a part of daily life that they are taken for granted and, therefore, largely ignored” -Dalai lama

“Because I trust in the ever-changing climate of the heart. I think it is necessary to have many experiences for the sake of feeling something; for the sake of being challenged, and for the sake of being expressive, to offer something to someone else, to learn what we are capable of.” -Jason mraz

With the increasing amount of green gadgets and designs that are around, it seems only fair that they get a spot on Reclaim Simplicity as well. I’ve put off homework all morning just to search the internet to find the coolest and most innovative ones around…well, at least ones that I found pretty neat.

These “lamps” shine onto your wall from a small solar powered light that actually attaches to the inside of your shades. During the day, it collects the sunlight and at night BAM changes into fuel for your “lamp”.

While the guys over at Dornob weren’t sure whether they liked or hated this design…I absolutely love it. I mean this is coming from the girl who loves ultra modern designs but I think it’s fun and it’s certainly a new idea. It’s something I would actually purchase and if anything, it is a conversation starter.

Straight from the Sang-Kyun Park site for the umbrella, he explains, “As water pours over the surface, potential energy from raindrops slamming onto the conductive membrane called PDVF transforms into electrical energy powering embedded LEDs sending your umbrella ablaze with light. The heavier the rain, the brighter the light to help you see your way.”

While, I try not to walk at night when it’s raining, I could see this coming in handy for those who live in cities. It would really help drivers see you and let’s be serious…by using this, you would look cool AND you could avoid getting hit by a speeding car. Sounds good to me.

I’m pretty positive this one is just a concept right now but how cool would this be?  You would wear this Kinetic Energy band around your ankle (or wrist I suppose if you really wanted to) and it gathers up the electricity you exude from walking,running,biking, whatever you do and stores it.  Then when you want to charge your iPod or cellphone, you pop open that little pod looking thing and plug it in.

I would LOVE this because I am constantly walking around with my iPod on campus and it always gives me sad message that it’s slowly dying and needs to be plugged in. For those of us who are students, wouldn’t it be great to wear this while you’re on campus then just plug your mp3 player in during class for a little more juice? It would be just enough to make sure you had sweet jams all day then could plug it in for a full recharge at night when you arrived home.

Being sustainable isn’t just about turning off lights when you leave a room or shutting off your water when you’re brushing your teeth. It’s about working with the environment to lessen your impact on the world and gadgets like this provide a fun way to do just that.

“There is no such thing as an ‘Eco’ clothing brand” explains designer Volkova.

This is definitely an interesting concept and something I haven’t exactly thought of before. Chances are you might not have either…

In an article on TreeHugger, she brings up a great point that more clothing lines means more trucks running, more factories producing, and since companies burn what they don’t sell…ultimately more waste. Volkova is offering something new and intriguing to society. Drum roll please… Patterns. If you’re like myself, you’re thinking “okay, there is NO way I can sew…this would look like a heap of cloth with random stitches in it” Well, I have news for you…the woman is a mind reader and one step ahead of us.

You can download the patterns then take them to your local tailor or seamstress to create if you’re not too handy with the needle and thread. This is beneficial for everyone. You can pick the cloth you want and even change the exact style that Volkova created. Whatever you want to do, you can. Plus, you start a relationship with your local tailor and by giving them business in an economy like the one we’re in, I’m sure they would appreciate the business.

You might be saying, “Alright Kate, in theory this is awesome and I’d like to high five you but this is going to be expensive!” Not so my dear friend. The patterns run from $6-25 and then it depends on cloth and what your tailor charges…that is it. In relation to the $60-300 items that are online from “eco” companies, this is pocket change.

I’m not suggesting you make your own clothes (unless you can and in that case, I’m impressed and a little jealous) but it is an idea for those of you who are interested. I don’t necessarily want to look like one of Volkova’s models and I think if I wore some of that to my sociology class, I might get a few strange looks but think of the possibilities. If more designers adopted this idea (especially with the use of technology on the rise) the local economy would be booming and we would all just look a little more exciting while helping the environment.

Check out the article on TreeHugger and Watch the video. I’m loving the jacket at 3:40 but I probably wouldn’t carry a plant in that pouch…good to know you could though.🙂

Ch-check it out

I was perusing TreeHugger today and came across this little contraption. As a college student who loves procrastinating, coffee and I have developed quite the loving relationship; however, I can’t help but to have a few qualms about this.

#1) The price: $65. Yikes. I don’t quite understand why in the world this cuff is worth that much. I did a little bit of research and the best reason I can find is, “Only an exceptionally large, high-quality, urban-grown walnut or group of walnut trees would interest a timber or veneer buyer”. Well okay, fantastic…but is it really necessary that I’m wearing an exceptionally large urban grown walnut on my wrist?

I love the idea of this product but would love it so much more if it was affordable. If more people can purchase it and more of those cardboard sleeves can be eliminated, then it will truly serve its purpose.

#2) One size fits all. It says that it is 2 1/4 inches wide and on my wrist, that would be huge. Looking at the picture, it seems as though they could cut the cuff almost in half width wise and still keep my hand burn free (maybe it would even be a tad bit cheaper?). Style aside, I am assuming the cuff, since it is wood, does not bend to fit a small cup or stretch to fit a large. Would this item really be practical?

However, if you still want to purchase this cuff you can go here

Otherwise, there are also a lot of other sites that are selling cloth ones that slip onto your drink but they don’t double as a bracelet if you just type in Coffee Cuffs in yahoo or google. The ones on coffeecuff.com have clips you can clip onto your purse or your keychain so that it is always with you.

What do you think?

Okay, I’ll admit…cheesy post name but moving past that… *cough cough*

I was just about to write about a fantastic article I found on Inhabitat when I realized that I needed a quick refreshment break before I began. In a split second about a thousand (okay well in reality about 3) different choices came to mind but my eyes found my Sigg bottle and the idea of cold water sounded perfect. In an instant, I was able to run to my faucet and fill it up before I sat back down at my computer. Cold and refreshing water all packaged in a pretty and reusable container? Yes please.

Sigg, Gaiam, and other aluminum bottles are popping up everywhere on campus and I can’t help but smile when I see one sticking out of a students backpack or when someone has theirs propped up against a machine at the gym. People are catching on but if you still don’t see the benefits, I found some quick facts on Treehugger that just might change your mind.

– Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil—enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year—are used to make plastic water bottles, while transporting these bottles burns even more oil.

– Nearly 90 percent of water bottles are not recycled and wind up in landfills where it takes thousands of years for the plastic to decompose.

And while some say it’s easy to grab one and go, is there really a difference of grabbing either from your desk or fridge and putting it into your bag? Additionally, both can be re-filled at a drinking fountain/faucet/outlet of choice but this is where your aluminum bottle wins the battle. The plastic bottle will not keep the water cold like your aluminum one will; therefore, optimum deliciousness would be delivered via aluminum bottle. Sigg (or insert other brand) is victorious!

Plus as a college student, I like to save my money rather than essentially letting it sit and (not) waste away in a landfill. That’s why I did some research then purchased my Sigg this past summer. Environmental and marine life benefits aside, financially the benefits have been great considering I haven’t bought bottled water in almost a year now. For example, lets say that I was still buying bottled water and I bought two 12 packs a month. That would be equivalent to approximately one bottle a day which is pretty average, I’d say. According to Meijer tonight, Ice Mountain’s 12 pack is $8.53. In one month, that would only be saving $17.06. Not too shabby but let’s look at a year. $102. 36. This isn’t even counting the random bottles I would buy from the vending machine in between classes or if I bought more than 2 packages a month. This also isn’t calculating gas to get to and from Meijer and so on. My Sigg bottle was about $20 so what I spent in one month ultimately is saving me about $80-100 for the year.

So what now? Have I convinced you of the benefits yet?

If not, do a little more research on your own. I don’t have any complaints about my Sigg bottle and I have heard great things about Gaiam, plus there are numerous other brands out there just waiting to come home with you. The great thing about these bottles is that while they are environmentally friendly, they’re also quite sassy. Sigg has some bottles with gorillas, some with phrases such as “Make Love Not Landfill”, and a ton of others. Just check out the 73 different styles in the Lifestyle Bottle category alone. There are a ton of different styles and sizes to fit your personality and your needs. What a great way to show others who you are and what you believe in without a word. Besides, it might encourage some conversation between you and that cutie who is eying your bottle from across the room.

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