My Ten Favorite Posts from 2016

by - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

beach heart made of stones

I know the end of year posts have bled into the New Year, but alas, life happens, and the blog has to wait. This blog grew a lot last year, and I think we are on to some real positive momentum. This is important to me, because I think it is saying something worth hearing. Not only that, but I think the shift in paradigm around shopping- to simply buy fewer things, to fall in love with used shopping, and to buy locally and American made stuff- has radical potential to make our lives better, our country better, and our world better. So, yeah, I am pretty excited about it.

These are a few of my favorite things we talked about in 2016. Check them out if you missed them the first time around!

Green Valentine's Made in America Chocolates- I worked so hard on this list, and it is still incomplete! Perfect if you are looking to support some local candy. If you notice a beloved candy company didn't make the list, be sure to tell me so I can add it!

9. Five Steps to an Eco-Friendly Easter Basket- I hate when companies try to co-opt Easter. Just yesterday, I saw a meme for Easter baskets made of umbrellas, so you can give an umbrella-full of toys. Really!?!? What about Jesus's resurrection says minion toys to you? Capitalism has been creeping hard on Christians most sacred holiday, so here are my ideas for keeping it simple (and environmentally-conscientious), so the focus is where it should be. I gave some ideas of how to reconsider Lent to have a positive impact around you as well. 

8. Letter to Get Better- Seattle Aquarium- I wrote a lot of these this year, and shockingly, lots of the companies did write me back. The aquarium did too, and I was so excited. I am most pleased with this letter, because the aquarium really is working against it's own ideals the second you walk into the gift shop. It's time for institutions like this to practice what they preach, even if they make less money. 

7. 10 Tips for an Environmentally-Friendly Apartment- My cousin Paige pointed out some blind spots to me, and I really tried to think through how you would change your approach to living in an environmentally-friendly space if you didn't own it. The truth is the survival of our planet is everyone's problem. The best part of that truth is that we all have power to do something good all the time, everyday. That includes apartment-dwellers! 

6. The 2016 Wedding and Baby Registries- Even in their second year, these registries are a lot of work, so I will always feel proud of them. I think they are overflowing with great information and that everyone can use the housewares info from the Wedding Registry. If you are getting hitched, making babies, or just gifting for people in 2017, you should check these two series out. 

5. Ten Ideas for Raising Minimalist Kids- You don't have to want to be a real minimalist to simplify your life and help your kids have a healthy relationship with stuff and with spending. This is one of the most useful things I think I have written, even though I feel like I am still constantly learning on this issue as well.  My other favorite parenting tip this year? Stay away from those horrible babyfood pouches!

4. How to Pick Bridesmaids Dresses they will Actually Wear Again- I was in another wedding later this year that actually did some of what I talk about here and it was AWESOME. I am really excited about my wedding posts, like this one on engagement rings, this one on using green disposables, or this one to be the Best Shower Guest, because you don't have to get married barefoot in the woods to have a green wedding or just have green elements in your wedding. Just like your home or general life, just switching a few things can really step up your positive impact. Plus, writing about wedding stuff is so fun! 

3. Green Christmas- Toddlers and their Mommy's Wishlists- These lists were actually written the year before, and I never made it to them. But damn they are good. This momma's ideas are so smart and they really underline the fact that the mom you know does not want more stuff in her house for Christmas. Experiences make the best gifts!

My other favorite Christmas blog was about Eco-Friendly Christmas cards, and I hope people try using some of these ideas next year! I used Paper Culture for our cards this Christmas, and I loved them. 

2. Yes I am Judging You- If I had a nickel for every time someone got sassy with me about their own shopping or shared their excuses for why they don't use reusable bags or still drink out of water bottles. It's ok. If you feel defensive, it isn't coming from me. I totally forgot about this blog I wrote so long ago, but I do love it, because the sentiment still stands. 

When you make a change, I couldn't be more excited about it. Please, even if you don't know me, feel free to brag on yourself. I will be genuinely psyched. On the other hand, I am not waiting around to judge you when you don't make the choices I talk about here. It's about making small sustainable changes that work for you, not beating yourself up (or imagining I am beating you up) because you aren't doing every little thing. I do love to hear what you are doing and what local things you love, so some of my favorite posts this year are Local Love Lists, like this gem from Murfreesboro, TN!

1. Don't Buy Melissa and Doug, Instead Try- Melissa and Doug rile me up so much, because they seem like the kind of company that is doing the right thing, but they are actually just awful for the environment and small American toy companies that ARE doing right. It makes me sad that people think they are taking a positive step that is really a step backward, and I want to get the word out that there are better options out there. 

 This post really took off, and I hope it has more juice, because there are so many better options than these Shisters. 

There you have it! I am proud that I am figuring this whole thing out, and I am hopeful we have even more great information to put out in 2017. If you just haven't had enough yet, be sure to check out the Mega List of Shopping Lists for easy eco-friendly switches. 

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