So long and thanks for all the fish


My dear friends, thank you for reading Simple Savvy; I’ve loved writing this blog for the past three and a half years.

I’ve decided to stop blogging and simplify, simplify while Mr. Savvy and I continue on the path to building a farm of our own. Part of it is the time factor: I drive a two hour commute. Coupled with the blogging schedule, this means that I am churning out posts in what amounts to all of my free time.

I don’t mind the writing. I mean, I love the writing. It has sustained me for a long time. Now I’m ready to do more, and elsewhere — focus on different subjects, write in depth pieces, and pursue other avenues of getting published. Blogging has been a lovely learning experience.  I want to roll up my sleeves and really get to work.

If you go through the archives, you’ll notice that I’ve taken down many old posts; the ones that remain are some of my favorites. I’ve also closed comments so that I can spend more time living in each moment, snuggling my sweet Lily. But I’ll be around on Twitter, and you can also reach me at savvychristine (at)

Many thanks to each and every one of you for making this blog a fun endeavor! With crafty, decluttering thoughts,


A day at Comstock Ferre


I was drawn in by the lure of the seed catalog this winter.  About six weeks ago, my mother handed me one from a Connecticut seed company: Comstock, Ferre & Co. based in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  The glamour shots of heirloom vegetables coupled with old timey drawings were enough to live in, never mind the descriptions that made me want to place an order for 14 types of tomatoes despite my lack of garden space.  I read the magazine cover to cover.

“I have to talk to these people,” I said to myself later as I idly flipped the pages.  I poked around on their website and contacted Randel Agrella, the store manager to see if he would be up for giving me a guided tour.  And he was!  I waited several weeks for their busy season to pass, but through the magic of the internet, you get the benefit of Randel’s expertise right now.

And expert he is.  Randel came up to Connecticut to manage the store from Mansfield, Missouri where Comstock’s parent company Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is located.  Baker Creek bought Comstock two years ago, though as Randel put it, “Someone has been selling seeds on this spot since 1811.”  Talk about a local company.

When I walked into Comstock, I felt that history wash over me.  The building is a big old house and barn converted into a store, with space for meeting rooms, New England artisan-crafted wares, hundreds and hundreds of kinds of seeds, an attached greenhouse, and even a funny little room full of old farm machinery that Randel told me they’re hoping to expand into a kind of living history museum.  Sounds good to me!

Randel gave me a quick tour, stopping off at the at the counter where they package the seed shipments using old seed scoops, at the greenhouse where his own personal business Abundant Acres rents space to grow seedlings to ship out across the country, and at the outdoor demonstration gardens next to the Belden House, also owned by the company.

Randel told me that the demonstration gardens are laid out in raised beds over existing an parking lot.  “You literally can’t get worse soil than this,” he said, “so if we can grow here, anyone can grow in any soil.”  He also let me in on company owner Jere Gettle’s plans: to turn Comstock into a destination for heirloom and historic farming and gardening information in conjunction with creating a nonprofit organization.  Big ideas for a seed company that specializes in region-appropriate plant varieties!

This was all enough to get me interested in Comstock, but the real reason I knocked on their door was to find out about the legal action Comstock Ferre, Baker Creek, and Abundant Acres (in addition to 80 other companies, individuals, and family farms) are taking against Monsanto.  If you don’t know, Monsanto is the GMO giant that is putting pesticides into our food without telling us, and suing the farmers whose crops are cross-pollinated with genetically modified seeds when they didn’t purchase the GM seeds in the first place.  Monsanto is not your friend.

The lawsuit would prevent Monsanto from suing farmers who accidentally grow genetically modified food thanks to crop seeds’ persistent habit of spreading via wind.  (Darn those seeds!  If only they would behave…).  Unfortunately, a judge dismissed the case but our friendly neighborhood farms are filing an appeal to have the judge’s ruling overturned.

What does this mean for us?  It means that someone is standing up to Monsanto, which gives me hope that maybe they can be stopped from contaminating all of our food supplies with genetically modified foods.  In the meantime, the idea that we should be labeling GMO foods is gaining support in Connecticut, thanks in part to Comstock Ferre.

I asked Randel where they get their seeds (answer: the open market and independent growers) and how they know they are not genetically modified seeds.  He said that they test all of their corn varieties, which is the main one to worry about, though he thinks they should be testing the beets too because beets are a widely-used sugar crop.  Other than that, all 255 of Comstock’s seeds and the 1400+ from Baker Creek are heirloom and non-GMO varieties.

Although I didn’t receive anything in return for this blog post, I didn’t leave empty handed.  I picked up a few seed packets to attempt to grow something in the dirt around my apartment, and the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog.  Fun fact: Baker Creek has a full time vegetable photographer on staff.  What a dream job!

And so concludes this epic post on my local seed company, an awesome small business that is putting the fun back in farming.  Why don’t you go drool awhile over the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog, or peruse the Comstock Ferre website to see if you can attend their 2nd annual heirloom seed festival this June?  I’ll be puttering around outside, shooing the dogs from my growing kale and parsley, and daydreaming of those 14 tomato varieties.  Sigh.  Some day.


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where I had a blast fondling the local yarn they sell at Comstock Ferre, and though I took a picture of it for you, I figured maybe I should leave it out of the blog post.  Oh hell, I can’t.  Here it is:

You’re welcome!

Obama loves you back


A few weeks ago on Twitter, I followed a link to the Obama Loves You Back website and watched the numerous videos of President Obama giving speeches, interrupted by fans screaming, “WE LOVE YOUUUU!” Each time Obama responded, “I love you back!” without pause. There are maybe 20 videos that stream one after another and then it ends; it’s a fun website in its simplicity.

The first time I watched the President say “I love you back,” I was aghast. How could he love those people if he didn’t even know them? That’s a hefty thing to say — you don’t just go around saying “I love you” to any Joe Schmoe.

Then my reaction turned to skepticism. It’s a political gimmick, I thought — a smart one to keep the crowds enamored with this charismatic young president. Well played, Mr. Obama, but I see right through you.

Then I watched more and more videos, all of them on the site with Obama saying, “I love you” as though it’s the easiest and most natural thing in the world. “I love you back, thank you. I love you back but listen to me for a minute because this is important. I love YOU back.”

Then it hit me like a sea breeze in November: What if it was real? What if Mr. Obama goes through life practicing love towards everyone, and that’s why he can say “I love you back!” without a moment’s hesitation to people he doesn’t know?

I’m not gonna lie, I’m boggled. I’ve been planning a post about generosity for the past few months, chewing it over in my head; this encompasses it better. Obama loves you back because Obama walks around with his heart full of lurve.

I’ll be the first to admit that it sounds twee. And yet I’ve been doing this too! Not all the time because I am not trying to get elected, and I haven’t been calling it love. But we moved to a new apartment in a new state last year, with a new housemate and new neighbors who moved in around the same time as us. I made a conscious effort to practice generosity, to open my heart and care for these people as though they are family. Then they became family.  All of them.

I don’t mean to pat my own back here, but maybe you’ll see what I mean if I tell you that growing up, whenever I let someone borrow something, I begrudged them whatever item it was. Go ahead and picture me, the little grump with a sullen face and mussed up hair, worrying about lending my Babysitter’s Club books or my favorite pencil.

I had to make myself change this behavior over the last six months as I loaned clothes, books, cleaning supplies, cooking supplies, my car, my bike, my ear, my time. At first I felt twinges of nervousness (What if they damage my stuff? When do I expect in return?) but after a while it become second nature as we shared items back and forth, and I received more generously than I gave. This was unexpected, but it allows me to care very little about what I’m owed. No one owes me anything because the comfort and friendship I get more than repays the inconvenience of not possessing my sauerkraut jar for a few days.

This progressed to inviting these near strangers to share in our dog walks/movie nights/board game nights/holiday dinners — usually impromptu, (kind of like the time Mr. Savvy and I went hiking with strangers for five hours and came out friends). I would read about these types of situations on blogs by travelers, like Tara and Tyler from Going Slowly, or on the other side of the coin, Renee and Damien from FIMBY. Weary wanderers meet loving, generous strangers who open their homes and larders. How could this happen? I used to think. Now I know: It’s much easier to embrace the world with its uncertainties than it is to hold tight onto fear and selfishness all the time.

Maybe Obama’s not sincere about loving us back, but he’s sure as shooting setting a good example.  At any rate, it’s hard to say something like that over and over without believing it.  Fake it ’til you make it!  Who says wearing your heart on your sleeve is a bad thing?


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where this is a mushy gushy blog and I like it.

Running barefoot, or now I know how the dog feels


SavvyRoomie and two neighbors stared at me in disbelief.  “You… went for a run this morning?” one neighbor asked.

It’s true.  My dislike of running is well documented.  And yet out of the blue on Monday morning I asked Mr. Savvy if he’d like to go for a barefoot run with me.

Mr. Savvy is always game for a round of exercise, and within ten minutes we had tied our feet into our LEMing footwear (the irony of wearing “barefoot” shoes is not lost on me) and were out the door.

I ran The Mile too many times in high school to enjoy the thought of jogging — The Mile was hot and sticky and I always wanted to puke afterwards, even the year I had a paper route and was strong from riding my bike up and down the Connecticut Valley’s hills.  These memories creep up despite SavvyRoomie’s and the neighbors’ constant praise of running.  But Monday morning was different.  I wanted to move.

It was shaping up to be a beautiful mild day and we both felt it as we breathed in the sunshine.  With no set time limit, a g00d posture, and Mr. Savvy’s jokes and giggles, our run was gorgeous.  It wasn’t perfect or fast or long, but it felt good and left my calves tingling.

Later in the day, we took Lily to the park with the neighbors and their two dogs, and we humans settled down on the grass to kick off our shoes and turn our faces to the sun.  Several other neighbors appeared with their dogs and we all let them loose so they could run in one joyous pack.

And then Luna showed up.  Luna is a mixed breed dog, wild, bouncy and excitable with no manners on leash or off.  She’s about the size of a Cocker Spaniel, yet she pulls her timid owner around the park, lunging and jumping at the end of her leash.

On this day, Luna’s owner chanced letting Luna run free to see if that would take out some of Luna’s energy.  Bad move.

Luna danced across the field at the lead of the flock of dogs.  She pranced and leaped, circled the trees, circled the owners, and dashed for the far corner of the field.  The other dogs followed, galloping full of exuberance on this most beautiful day of the year.

Cornered, Luna stopped.  The other dogs paused at some distance away waiting for Luna’s next move.  Luna’s owner began trotting towards the dog, who (we could all see it) suddenly contemplated the open park gate five feet away.

“If she takes off –” Mr. Savvy began, but he was too late.  Luna did.  She darted through the gate and into the street.

One of the neighbors bolted for the corner, following Luna’s owner who was older and a little unsteady on her feet.  One neighbor ran to the fence and called to an oncoming driver to stop.  I ran too, toward a second opening in the fenceline.

Part of my brain was occupied with hoping I could intercept Luna if she headed this way down the street.  The rest of me was unexpectedly suffused with joy; I had left my shoes back in the park and I was running — really running — barefoot.

I was a kid again.  My summer sundress bounced and twisted around my knees as I left the grass underfoot and sprinted onto sidewalk, then road, my feet giving me sudden sensory memories from childhood.  The wind was in my ears, the sun at my back, and I was running.  This wasn’t exercise any more.  This was easy.

I reached the corner.  “Did you see her?” I called to one of the neighbors.

She pointed up the street and there, not thirty feet away, was Luna, crouched behind a tree.  Traffic stopped as all eyes were on Luna and I moved to the middle of the street.

“C’mere Luna,” I said, crouching down and clapping my hands.

Luna came to me with her ears back, tail lowered, perhaps glad to see a friendly face.  I scooped up the dog.  Then her owner appeared, clipped on Luna’s leash, and crushed us both in a hug before I could set Luna earthside.

“Thank you, thank you thank you!” Luna’s owner said with her hand over her heart.  “I don’t know what I would have done.”

“No problem,” I answered.  And it wasn’t, because I was still flush with the thrill of running as fast as I could on my strong feet, feeling sturdy and straight and proud.

The neighbors and I walked back to where Mr. Savvy had kept the rest of the dogs from chasing after us.  “Running again?  How are you feeling?” someone teased.

My calves no longer tingled pleasantly but contracted and throbbed as the adrenaline wore off.  I was sore.  I knew I’d be in trouble later.  “My legs feel like jell-o,” I said.

Jell-o doesn’t cover it.  Later, I read LEMing Footwear founder Andrew Rademacher’s personal story which it explains things perfectly:

My strides were shorter and “springier”.  I was propelling forward with thrust coming from my calves and achilles tendon.  The incredible thing was that no one had to coach me, it just came naturally with minimalist shoes instead of running shoes

That night and the next day my lower calves were incredibility sore, but it made sense.  For the first time I had done an entire run the way the human body was meant to run.  My calves had simply been underdeveloped my entire life.  I came to the realization that even with all my strength training throughout my entire track career, I had never developed my calves and achilles up to the level that they were meant to be.  They were my weakest link.

Yup, that’s it right there.  It is several days later now and my calves still hurt.  Underdeveloped?  Sure.  Rademacher didn’t describe the dog-like exhilaration from running barefoot, but he’s got the pain part down.  And yet it’s this happy-go-lucky feeling that I’ll be chasing from now on.  I think I’m a running convert.


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where I live in my sundresses all summer and I can’t believe it’s starting this early.  What happened to the winter?

Skin Lover’s Roasted Chicken


I hope you’ll believe me when I say I am a master of the roast chicken.  I don’t make that claim lightly; on the first day of my first year at university, our freshman composition teacher had us each interview a classmate with the question “What are you an expert in?” and introduce our partners to the class.  Most people claimed mastery of a certain sport or artistic endeavor: football, skateboarding, sketching, guitar.

Frozen with existential angst and the idea that I’d never be a master of anything because there is so much to perfect and learn, I said I had an expertise in smiling.  Yes, smiling.  Why not?  I do it all the time.  I’ve been doing it for years.  People tell me I have a great smile, and I usually get a smile back in response.

It was an awkward few minutes.  My classmate wouldn’t look at me and recited my answers with disdain wishing, I’m sure, that I’d claimed an expertise at skiing like her because she taught the subject to 10-year-olds the winter previous.  This is when I knew I was different from my fellow students.

Nine years later, I have another subject to add to my repertoire: smiling and roasted chicken.  I’m set for life.

I am unapologetic in my love for chicken skin.  I have a friend who dislikes the stuff — it’s rubbery and chewy and gross according to him, and he happily passes it on to the next person who wants it.  But then again my friend has never been over for one of my chicken dinners.  I’m bragging.  As a Master Chicken Roaster it’s allowed, because this chicken skin is never anything but crispy, salty, fall-off-the-chicken good.

The rest of the chicken is first rate too, juicy and hot and tasting like chicken.  In my experience, roasted, unbrined chicken tastes mostly the same.  A free range, hormone free chicken will taste more gamy while a conventional factory farmed chicken will be bland.  For this recipe, I buy antibiotic and hormone free chicken from Stop and Shop’s Nature’s Promise brand.  It poses a nice taste compromise without beating up my budget.

I know a lot of people who stay away from roasted chicken because they are intimidated by it.  Don’t worry; It’s a simple recipe that’s difficult to mess up, even if you put the chicken upside down.  The bird comes out of the oven tasting great and with what amounts to junk food on the outside. The only danger is in overcooking the chicken, so make sure to watch its progress toward the end of the cooking time.

With a little care you can get chicken skin, roasted chicken, chicken stock, and (depending on how many people you’re feeding) leftovers for chicken salad out of one measly bird.  The cleanup process can be annoying, I’ll admit.  But even then, with a dextrous fork and knife you can get most of the meat off the bones and leave the rest on for “flavoring the stock.”  That’s your excuse.  Run with it.

Skin Lover’s Roasted Chicken

  • one 4-5 lb. (~2kg) whole chicken for roasting
  • metal roasting pan
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder

Turn on the oven to 400°F (204°C).  Put the chicken in the roasting pan, breast side up.  If you can’t tell which side is breast side up, the pointy ends of the wings will be pointing upwards like in the photo above and if you press on the skin on either side of the center, you won’t be able to feel any bones.  Those meaty parts are the breasts.  Point those babies to the sky.

Remove any innards that are tucked into the body cavity.  Some companies will put the innards in a wax paper bag, some will toss them in there without any covering.  I take out all the organ meats but the liver and roast them in the pan.  The liver (the purpley, blobby, squishy one) goes into the freezer raw for use in chicken liver pate.  Feel free to throw the insides away, roast them, or save them for your own nefarious purposes.

Sprinkle the chicken skin evenly with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  I use kosher salt but I’ve had good results with regular table salt too.  You don’t need to rub it in and you don’t any oil or anything, just sprinkle the spices on.

Put the chicken in the oven.  Leave it there for about 75-90 minutes.  This equals out to a little more than 15 minutes per pound at a higher temperature, which goes against conventional chicken roasting guidelines.  I do it this way because I don’t preheat the oven, and also because it makes the chicken skin super crispy while allowing for juicy white meat.

The chicken is done when the skin is a nice caramel brown with blackened tips.  If that doesn’t help you, try rotating a chicken leg.  It should move easily.  If the bone falls out in your hand, it’s definitely done and take the chicken out of the oven right now or risk dry chicken.  If you still can’t tell, cut open the breast lengthwise down next to the bone and see if the juices run clear or slightly golden, which are both good signs.  Pink juices mean uncooked meat.

Sometimes you’ll see a small red stripe in the chicken breast meat.  This is okay!  It’s discolored red where it’s touching the bone.  If the juices are clear, you’re good to go, and if it really skeeves you out, cut around it.  It’s your chicken dinner!  Do what makes you full and cozy feeling.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to double your crispy skin, cut the chicken into parts before roasting: breasts, back, whole legs, wings.  Roast for slightly less time and enjoy.  Happy eating!


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where Mr. Savvy and I divide the chicken skin evenly… or so Mr. Savvy thinks.  As always, blah blah blah brand mention blah blah blah no affiliate links.



This winter has hardly been bleak here in the northeastern U.S.  Temperatures fluctuate into spring weather every few days, and I spied some green shoots (crocuses?  daffodils?) poking up by the side of the house a month and a half early.  I heard the weather woman say we’ve had a mere 7.5 inches (19.05cm) of snow this winter — down from last year’s abundant 60+ inches (1.5+ m).

It’s not glum here, not really.  It’s the dearth of growing things that makes the winter gray.  And this teasing, unseasonable warmth!  I can’t bear to think that planting season won’t start for another two months.

Then I remembered my compost last week, that glorious bin of kitchen waste that is turning into black gold over rotations of earth and sky.  It is superb.

I had forgotten it because, with three of us in the house and occasional contributions from the neighbors, my bin became too wet.  I added leaves and shredded brown paper when I could, but couldn’t keep up with the amount of kitchen scraps we add daily.  The compost was rotting.  I didn’t want to look at another lifeless object, especially one under my care that should have been growing and changing into beautiful dirt.

And then one golden day, a kind soul on Craigslist posted free sawdust from his furniture making shop, unadulterated and in large quantities.  It was just what I needed.  I emailed him immediately, and then tricked Mr. Savvy into driving out and carrying three enormous trash barrel sized bags of sawdust back to the car.  Three!  I couldn’t stop giggling.  Moving each bag was like trying to carry a slippery, unruly chub of a dog.

We came home.  My eyes may have been bigger than my stomach because one bag of sawdust filled the compost bin to the brim.  Don’t tell Mr. Savvy.

Over the next month, the compost bin grew alive.  It was no longer a pile of wet, stinking vegetables that froze every night as temperatures dipped.  It became something warm and sweet smelling.  The sawdust settled as we mixed in more banana peels and eggshells and coffee grounds and onion skins.  The pile is doing what it promised: changing from garbage to earth before my eyes.  It is beautiful.

My compost’s life cycle is slow.  As I watch and wait for it with the patience of a tender young plant, I realize it satisfies my yearning for growth and life — yes, even in the dead of winter.


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where my neighbor caught just as I was photographing the compost bin, but luckily he knows me too well to think anything strange about it.

Wayland Winter Market


With a hearty hat tip to Peg of the Wayland Winter Market twitter feed, I rounded up a few friends and went adventuring last weekend.  Peg gave me the scoop that last Saturday’s farmer’s market was going to be a fiber day.  Yarn aplenty!

In an effort to knit down my existing stash, I didn’t purchase a skein (though I fondled quite a bit of fiber and had a serious conversation with myself for ten minutes about buying a ball of roving).  But these earth tone yarns from Windy Hamlet Farm were oh so tempting.

The market wasn’t all about the fiber, which comprised only a half the stalls.  There were vegetables and meats, eggs, fish, wines, spices, marinades, drinks, and lunch booths enough to make our mouths water.  “Its like wonderland,” I said to my fellow adventurers.  My friend who had never been to a farmer’s market laughed at the sight of my unfocused eyes and feverish smile.

We arrived ten minutes after the market started and already people clogged the aisles between stalls.  One of the worst traffic jams surrounded a bakery booth — and I didn’t blame anyone for stopping.

The sun cast a suffused golden light over everything through Russell’s Garden Center’s greenhouse windows.  Once again I was agog at the thought of all these people buying local, at the interactions that occur over a table lined with one farmer’s crops.

Visiting the farmer’s market makes me long for a farm of our own.  But until we get there, I’ll keep my spirits up and support local farmers at these markets — as well as soak in the goodwill that comes from hundreds of people doing the same.


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where my purchases worked out to be eggs, greens, and sweet potatoes.  The line for cabbage was too long or I would have ended up with one of those as well.

Spoons up!


Hello Spoons up! Here’s a free knitting pattern just for you my friends.  This is the pattern I began last summer only, to bid farewell at the start of present knitting season.  It’s been on my mind, and now that it’s off the needles and hot off the presses, I can finally share with you.

Spoons up! is a pattern for knitted fingerless gloves, adorned with spoons with a twisted chain motif between each.  They are the same on the front and back, and I had a blast knitting them.

The pattern keeps track of itself with those little chains and then the spoon heads.  I also included a gusset thumb with another spoon on it, for the sake of going as far as I could.  After all, I own a retro thermos decorated with spoons — why not fingerless gloves too?

I thought the idea of spoons was cute, but the more I wear these gloves, the more appropriate I think they are: retro inspiration, a love of egg drop soup and Shakesville and the Spoon Theory.  Hurray!

The pattern itself is three pages long plus a title page with photos — although I recommend that you don’t bother printing out the title page.  I called for a rather hard to find sport weight Shetland yarn made by a farm in New England, and for that reason you may want to use your favorite sport weight yarn when knitting.  Although Shetland, of course, will mean that you don’t have to catch your stitches across the spoon heads.  That’s the beauty of using a sticky yarn.

I’ve been wearing these gloves at work where historically I’ve had to drape my jacket over my lap in order to stay warm.  These do the trick!  It makes me wonder why I haven’t knitted myself some sooner.

Anyway, let me know what you think!  And here’s the Ravelry link.  Hey, that rhymed… er… stink.


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where someone said the spoons also look like tulips.  My favorite!  These wristers must be my good luck charms.

I made an impulse purchase because the moon hit my eye like a big pizza pie.


I made an impulse purchase this week of a real silk shawl from the thrift store.  It was $3.00.  (For some reason, I can’t talk about thrift store buys without mentioning the price too.)  I have taken to wearing it around my neck like a cowboy — a cowboy in a jelly bean shirt.

Why?  It says Napoli on it.

Not that I’ve ever been to Napoli.  But look at the scenery!  The paisley border!  The little people all tucked up in places I’ve never heard of!

What is that guy in front there doing, digging a ditch?

Well, it doesn’t matter.  I made an impulse purchase of a silk shawl because it made me want to sing the Dean Martin song That’s AMORE at the top of my lungs in a nearly empty thrift store — you know, the song that starts, In Napoli, where love is kiiiiiiing, when boy meets giiiiiiirl here’s what they saaaaaaay….

I took it as a sign from Mother Earth that if I owned this shawl, the world would not end.  In fact, in addition to not ending the world, it would expand my world because now I don’t have to buy so many new clothes.  I can use this lovely bit of probably-70s-era silk to spice up my wardrobe a notch (which works out well since half my clothes are falling apart.)(I’m allergic to buying new clothes).

And instead of me gushing about the scarf and ending the post, let’s direct my attention to how much thrifting rocks.  This scarf came with one tiny piece of plastic — the bit that attached the tag to the shawl.  It’s just my style, and I’m unlikely to see other people wearing it.  It was inexpensive.  This last one is less of an issue except that I got a better quality shawl for less money than I would have spent at the mall or any big box store.  Thrifting rocks!

Coincidentally, this is just what I said in Beth Terry’s new book Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.  That’s right — I have an interview in Beth Terry’s book.  Okay, it’s more like a cameo.  All right!  It’s really two lines.  Which means there are 499,998 other lines in the book worth reading.  So if you like my shawl, consider pre-ordering Beth Terry’s new book about living plastic free.  I haven’t read the book yet, but I know it will be good because the thought of a book on life without plastic is making the world shine like I’ve  had too much wine.  Now that, my friends, is amore.


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where I didn’t mean to write an impromptu propaganda post about living plastic free, but I guess this is what thrifting does to me.


The Clean Bin Project: Documentary Film and Butt Kicker


My friend Jen emailed me a few weeks ago asking for help finding green organizations in my area that she could contact about her upcoming documentary screening. Because in case being a non-consumer for a year and generating no trash wasn’t treehuggery enough, Jen and her partner-in-crime Grant made a documentary about their year long experiment, firmly placing the two of them into the category of Eco Rockstars.

So I did what any loudmouth know-it-all would do and emailed her back with a few organizations to try as well as a link to Idealist.  In return, Jen gave me free tickets to the screening closest to me.  To be frank, she went above and beyond any helpfulness on my part.  Tickets to a movie screening from the filmmaker herself in exchange for a few links?  I hit the green lottery, my friends.

I skidded into the darkened movie theater just as The Clean Bin Project: Documentary Film began rolling last weekend, and sat down among the 20 or so other moviegoers who were eating their popcorn and sipping their sodas and murmuring to their friends.  Over the course of the movie, we watched Jen and Grant explain the project.  We watched them struggle to find retailers who would give them rubbish free groceries.  We watched Jen grow a garden and compost and make personal care products, and the two of them research ways of reducing trash and learn about what garbage is doing to the environment.

If you thought the Clean Bin Project blog was comprehensive, you should check out the movie.  Not only do you feel the desire to do something good for the planet, but you gain the kick in the pants that you otherwise wouldn’t get when you’re sitting home alone in your pajamas reading the blog to yourself and eating cheese (not that I have ever done that).  Because what’s better than realizing you’re killing the planet with your plastic soda cup than realizing you’re killing the planet with your plastic soda cup while in a roomful of people?

Seriously.  There came a point in the movie when Jen and Grant showed the work of artist Chris Jordan, who uses everyday disposable objects in art.  It was a piece showing 1 million plastic cups, the number of cups used on airline flights in the US every six hours.  What look like pipes snake across the image, but then we zoom in and see that they are not pipes at all, but a horrifying number of plastic cups stacked one inside another .  Every six hours?  We saw that and people in the audience began murmuring.  They fiddled with their drinks and rustled their now-empty popcorn bags, and I knew they were feeling guilty.  I even pulled out my trusty notebook and wrote it down in the middle of the film:

“Looking at the artwork and people are gasping, about half have popcorn and soda cups and water bottles.  Wonder how many people will stop using disposables or think twice in the future.”

(Yes, I bring my notebook to movies.  I’d show you, but it’s in reporter chicken scratch.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.)

I felt a moment of smug-awesome for having brought my water bottle, but it lasted only a moment.  Because while I am a bit green, Jen and Grant take it to a whole new level.  They do public speaking.  They started a garden.  They competed to see who could produce less garbage and made a documentary, for pete’s sake.

The whole thing was eco friendly and intense in that fun sort of “OH MY GOD I’M EATING POPCORN FROM A DISPOSABLE BAG,” sort of way.  Like you realize you could do so much more than you ever thought.

I recommend The Clean Bin Project Documentary for anyone who has ever had a squidgy feeling about plastic forks and knives, for anyone who has thought that the plastic packaging in grocery stores is getting ridiculous.  For anyone who has ever wanted to do more.  Go for it.  If you have the time and mental energy to think about reducing trash, go for it, because the rewards go beyond what you can do for yourself.  What’s the harm in doing it for the planet too?


©2011 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where I got my rear in gear this weekend and I’m doing more, gosh darnit.  It’s such a privilege to be able to think about reducing my waste.  All images courtesy of the Clean Bin Project’s press page.