Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quick tip: wash those reusable bags

The August issue of Better Homes and Gardens published the statistic that 85% of people don't regularly launder their reusable grocery bags. They recommend cleaning bags in hot soapy water at least once a week. Upon reading that, I promptly threw mine in the wash and in the future will look out for bags that are easy to clean. Some of my plastic-y ones aren't easy to just throw in the washing machine.

Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by PedalFreak

Monday, August 27, 2012

Greener light bulbs

Have you switched out incandescent bulbs in your home for LEDs or CFLs? There was an interesting piece in the LA Times, which says most people who use the newer, greener types of bulbs prefer CFLs to LEDs mainly because of price even though LEDs have better light quality. I have some CFLs in my home, mostly in lamps as there are some sockets in my old apartment that don't work with CFLs, unfortunately.

I've been kicking around the idea of have a one-word theme to my year next year, a la Gretchen Rubin. I think that word might be green.

Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by Joe Goldberg

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Amazon Prime tips

**This post was originally published in my monthly e-newsletter, Lelah's News. Don't subscribe? Sign up here!

Amazon Prime* is a service offered through It costs $79 per year. The primary benefit is free two-day shipping on most products purchased through Amazon. I like this service because it takes the guesswork out of shipping - no more buying just one extra thing so you can reach the $25 free standard shipping threshold. Here are some other benefits and tips.
  • Amazon users can get a one month free trial every 13 months. Try to time yours during the holiday shopping season and take advantage of free two-day shipping. But if you don't want to pay for the service, be sure to cancel before your month is up and they charge you!
  • Watch streaming video for free on your computer or Internet connected TV.
  • If you have a Kindle, you can borrow one free ebook a month through their lending library program.
  • The two-day shipping can come in handy for regular purchases like groceries, paper goods and baby needs like diapers so you don't have to plan too far ahead.
  • If you pre-order regular books, expect them to arrive on their release date instead of some time after with free standard shipping.
*This is in an affiliate link, so if you click on it and make a purchase, I will get a small commission.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Birthday reflections

**This post was originally published in my monthly e-newsletter, Lelah's News. Don't subscribe? Sign up here!

August is my birthday month, and this is year is a big one. I turn 30, and leave my twenties behind forever. While it feels like a big change, I know it will likely come as a relief to start a new decade of life. For many people, the twenties are a jumbled rush of momentous events as one transitions from academic life to adult life, often including major changes to jobs, relationships and living situations. Now that I'm married, have a child and a career, it feels like the coming years couldn't possibly hold as many unknowns. Of course, they probably will.

They say happier people think more about the present and the future than the past, but I think it's occasionally worth reflecting on the accomplishments and experiences of one's life. Thinking about all the stuff I managed to pack into the last ten years alone makes me a bit dizzy, but it gives me the strength to look forward and know I'll be able to thrive whatever comes my way. Birthdays are a time to celebrate simply being alive, and I'm looking forward to this one more than usual!

Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by Jessica Diamond

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Burning House

In Parade magazine of all places I saw a mention of a book coming out called The Burning House by Foster Huntington. It is also a blog, and it documents through photographs of beautifully arranged objects what a person would take if they could only grab a few things and escape from their burning house. It's a powerful question and the images are also powerful, able to communicate what a person values above all else at a single glance. I find the blog fascinating and I'm sure the book is interesting as well.

What would you take?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Evernote tips

You all know how much I love Evernote. I use it all day every day to corral ideas, lists, scanned documents and web pages. There are some advanced features that can really enhance your use of the service. A few of my favorites are listed below.

  • Use the command key on your keyboard to select multiple notes, then merge them together, email them all at once, or move notebooks or add tags in batches.
  • Create a saved search (Enter your search term, click on File, click on New Saved Search) to make a virtual smart notebook that will automatically update when you add a new note with that tag or keyword.
  • Create a checklist by selecting the check box icon in the formatting toolbar of your note. Makes for a simple, interactive to-do list!