28 March 2010

Granola Tendencies has moved

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to annouce the launch of www.SheenaLaShay.com. A one stop place for ALL of my blogs to live. Granola Tendencies has been moved there as well and that is where all future updates will go.

26 March 2010

Earth Hour

Have you ever heard of Earth Hour? Tomorrow will mark the third anniversary.

On the official Earth Hour website, it says

On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people around the world will come together to call for action on climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations. Learn more about how Earth Hour began, what we’ve accomplished, and what is in store for 2010.

It's a very simple collaborative project being done around the world and I will take part as well. I've spoken before about wanting to take "Elective Blackouts" and I'm going to use Earth Hour as my first official one.

31 US cities have signed on at this time to participate and New York is one of them.

While the event only last an hour, I'm assuming what I have planned will take a little longer. First, I will be unplugging everything in the house, except the fridge and stove. I will turn everything off; my laptop, my cell phones, my ipod. I will light candles. I have so many, you have no idea. And I will be doing a few creative things. I plan on finishing up the current book I'm reading, "Food Inc." Have you seen the movie or read the book? I plan on writing my book review for So Long a Letter and starting book four of the African Dispora Challenge that I am currently a part of. BrownGirl Speaks is a very cool woman and if you have a moment to spare you should roam around her website. I have a number of journal entries that I need to write and create in my collage art journals. I also want to take this time to purge many out dates files and projects in the various boxes in my home.

I'm not sure if I'm going to take pictures of the whole process because I really just want to be completely unplugged.

This reminds me of two weekends ago when New York had that horrible storm. I was with Mr. Officer at the time and while we were home relaxing, Mother Nature threw a big temper tantrum. The entire fence in his backyard came crashing down. A number of trees were knocked over and leaning dangerously over the house. An electrical wire snapped and was live and sparking just waiting to start a fire and then he lost power.

And when I say he lost power, it was if the earth stopped spinning on its axis and a MAJOR jerking motion happened as the earth came to screeching halt. If you've read before about Mr. Officer and I, you will know our practices are very different. Therefore, the power shutting off in his house could actually be felt. At any moment there are multiple tvs on, multiple radios on, a number of phones beeping and chiming, a billion lights are on and EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS plugged in. You just have no idea. (Perhaps I should see if he can rise to the challenge and turn his lights off for an hour)

I burst out laughing. It was the first time in four years there had been stillness and quiet and darkness in his house. And I loved it. I think he was almost short of a panic attack. Just what would he do without his music. "You know," I said, "If the power went off in my apartment, I might not even notice for a week or so." He remained silent. "It's just that I so rarely have things on and I probably wouldn't know something was wrong until the food started to smell." He refused to say anything. I took it as my cue to be quiet as well.

When he did visit my apartment for the first time he immediately said, "Its too dark in here. Turn the lights on. It's too quiet, where is the music, the tv. Oh this isn't going to work. I'm bringing in a flatscreen tv and its going right here." I just rolled my eyes.

Are you planning on participating in Earth Hour? Will you be a part of an Earth Hour event? I'm looking for one in New York. Know of any?

25 March 2010

World Water Week

Did you know it was world water week? Tapped has been sending me daily emails this week and I find them very refreshing. (No pun intended.) I first mentioned Tapped back in October of 2009.

This commercial always gets me every time.

  • Instead of using bottled water...buy a brita pitcher or brita faucet.

(Actually I have an extra brita pitcher that I friend gave to me because my other one was in storage for three months. Does anyone want a free brita pitcher that's been gently used? You'll have to buy another filter though. First person to email me their address at SheenaLaShay at gmail dot com will have one sent to their home!)

  • Use a reusable water bottle. My favorite one is my (RED) one from starbucks. By using it I'm supporting (RED) and discontinuing my use of bottle water or plastic cups.

24 March 2010

Mobile Boarding Pass

In select US airports you can now board your United Airlines flight via your smartphone instead of the traditional printed boarding pass. How cool is that? One less thing to print off.

Should you have to print,
  • print on 100% post consumer recycled paper.
  • print on scrap paper.
  • print double sided.
  • print with a eco-font.
  • print with GreenPrint.
  • print after you have done a thorough spell check.

21 March 2010

Homemade Fruit Dip

I love eating strawberries with fruit dip cream cheese. Yum Yum. The picture below is from Cafe Lashay where I wax about my love affair. (Side note...Sly, how many freaking blogs do you have?, you may wonder. No worries. In the next week, my new website will premier where you will be able to find all five of my blogs plus more in one location. I can not wait. I've already seen drafts from my friend and the amazing designer and its looking great!)

The fruit dip cream cheese that use for my strawberries has an average cost of $4 to $5 dollars. Is that expensive? Maybe. Seeing as to how I eat every drop and never waste an ounce compared to other food that I waste, perhaps its not as expensive as it seems. Still, if I can find a way to save a dollar so that it can be invested into something else, I'd love it!

I decided to make my own fruit dip since Wholefoods did not have the store bought brand I'm used to buying. Keep in mind this recipe isn't "organically sound." The ingredients are not all natural. I suppose what's sustainable about this recipe is the economics of it all.

  • Fluff
  • Whipped Cream Cheese
  • French Vanilla Yogurt (I did use stoneyfield since I believe in his all natural business)

  • Spoon two large dollops of fluff into a small mixing bowl.
  • Spook one large dollop of whipped cream cheese into the same mixing bowl.
  • Spoon two(ish) sort of spoonfuls of yogurt into the same bowl.
  • Stir until its all blended together.
  • Dip fruit and enjoy.
This dip tasted the same as my store bought brand and it was much cheaper.

Does anyone know a more organic way that I can create this dip because "Fluff" isn't going to help my body any time soon?

17 March 2010

Soy Veggie Bacon...Um, No.

“Yes, I’ll have a non-fat, decaf latte, please. Oh, what the hell? Look, make it a full-fat mocha with extra whipped cream. What the hell, put a slice of bacon on it!” ~ Dr. Frasier Crane,  Frasier

The absolutely hardest part about being a vegetarian is foregoing BACON. I love bacon. Real bacon. Not turkey bacon. But the artificially infused apple hardwood smoked thick cut bacon. YUM freaking YUM. I am not a huge meat eater by any means necessary. I could go weeks without any meat and not even realize it. But I love bacon. In the past I've gotten veggie burgers with bacon! They waiter always looks at me funny when I request it. "You know the bacon isn't vegetarian," they say. "I know," I say licking my lips.

And listen...the tofu or whatever fake version there is, it just does not compare. AT ALL! 

Yesterday when I ordered a veggie burger for lunch, I had to force myself NOT to add bacon on it. And today while ordering a salad, I had to catch myself when listing the ingredients to add. "Cucumbers, Carrots, Onions, Tomatoes, Bac... I mean...um...well...just nevermind."

Some things are easy to give up. Other things take practice until they form into a habit. And then there are still some things that you will never get used to but willingly make the sacrifice for a cause bigger than you.

I just read the mini chapter in Food, Inc titled, "The Dirty Six; The Worse Animal Practices in Agribusiness" and if my own will isn't enough to stop me from eating bacon, all I have to do is remember that mini chapter. A separate post will come soon in regards to this book. Watching the movie is a must but then reading the book gives even more depth to the movie.

What is or was the hardest thing for you to give up in order to live a more sustainable life?

16 March 2010

Fourth Floor Walk Ups

Now that I live on the fourth floor in a New York walkup, I am more inclined to SIGNIFICANTLY decrease the trash that I generate. I have never been this inspired before! Just saying. What ever needs to be your motivation, let it be. 

These four flights of stairs also make me questions EVERY purchase. I mean seriously! I've been purchasing a few things for my new apartment and in every store, I ask myself, "Do I really want to carry this up the stairs?" And while I live by a budget and am an eco-conscious shopper, this reasoning has given me about 5% more pull towards eco-conscious shopping. :)
I ask myself how I can creatively grocery shop so that I only have one bag and it contains all that I need.I think about the fact that everything I bring up those stairs, will eventually have to come back down. And you just have no idea the decrease in products and things going into my home and the decrease in the waste that i generate. I mean, every container, every piece of paper...I just keep thinking, "But I'll have to carry it downstairs if I throw it away."

What are you random motivations that also line up with sustainable lifestyle choices? For example, I hate artificial light. It makes me sick. It sucks my soul away and drains my energy. UGH! Therefore I rarely turn my lights on. Hardly ever during the day and only sometimes in the evenings. I work with as minimal artificial lighting as possible. I'd rather light five candles than flip a light switch on. That's just my natural inclination. What's great is that without even trying I'm consuming less energy and keeping my electrical bill low. There are many steps each person has to take towards living a sustainable life. Its nice when some of your everyday habits don't even need to be changed.