Green Living, Peace, and My Next Step

Love, Protest, Sign

 

To some, peace and eco-friendliness are an obvious pair – I would be one of those people. To me, it makes sense that we cannot truly live in a healthy, green environment when major authoritative powers still hold nuclear weapons, and I feel like I can’t fight for the rights of Americans to eat non-GMO’s without fighting for the rights of children in third-world countries to just have food. Peace and environmentalism are all a part of my bigger picture and dream – a global community in which we all love and support all living beings as well as the planet on which we live.

As a peace activist working towards a Peace Studies minor to go with my Political and Social Philosophy degree, peace has taken over what was left of my life after The Vagabond Studio and my Etsy shop. I spent last weekend at a protest against racism and hate, and found myself face-to-face with the KKK and NSM (Nazi party) in the center of Atlanta, holding a colorful sign that said ‘Free Hugs – No Race Check’. I spend my time writing papers and reading books about peace leadership, globalization, and the psychological destruction of war.

While The Vagabond Studio blog is a huge, huge part of my life and I only hope for it to continue to grow and develop, the peace activism part of my life has grown to such a giant portion of my being. I also realize that many of my readers are more interested in my latest vegan recipe or eco-friendly upcycling tutorial than they are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So, I’ve decided to do a few things to make my readers happy, and to also make my life a bit easier. First, I now have a self-named domain where you can find all information about me. Now that I’ve started doing public speaking, all of my events will be located here as well as links to The Vagabond Studio, my Etsy Shop, and everything else in which I am involved. It’s like a central hub of Shai, and can be found at ShaiSmith.com. It’s very bare-bones right now, but there are posts up, if you’re interested. I will also post the majority of my motivational, inspiring, ‘If I did this, so can you’ type stuff there as well. Second, I am working on an incredible peace organization, which will need a website. This means I am pulling my peace-related posts, for the most part, off of The Vagabond Studio, and putting them into this website/blog/organization that I am hoping will be a wonderful resource for peace activists.

Don’t worry, though! I will still update here and there on my goals and achievements in the world of peace, and will absolutely have links between the sites so those of you who love those posts can find them easily. <3

Thanks SO much for all of your support as I come even closer to reaching my goals! Just as a reminder, I am on the list for Top 25 Eco-Friendly Mom Blogs via Circle of Moms, for the second year in a row! Last year I placed 7th and, as of this post, I am in 1st. I would love if my wonderful readers could head over and vote for me. It’s just two easy clicks!

 

 

7 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Morning

Breakfast, eco-friendly, tips

 

Morning routines and I just do not get along. I hate mornings, rarely wake up on time, am never hungry enough for breakfast (or, am so hungry that I’m nauseous)….and, have I mentioned I’m not a morning person?

I’ve made it a goal, however, to eco-friendly-ify my mornings, and thought I’d share a few tips with you on how I plan to do so. This also means I need to establish a real morning routine. We’ll see how that goes!

1. This may seem obvious and redundant, but get some rest! As I type, it’s 1:46 am EST. This is almost an early bedtime for me. On days I have school, I have to get up to get the kids ready by 6:40. Insanity, right? It’s the norm, though – especially for a lot of bloggers, writers, artists, and creatives. Try to get at least six hours a night. That’s six hours straight, by the way – periodic dozing at the computer does not count. If you’re like me and are used to very late nights, just move that bedtime back by half an hour every few days. When we’re well rested, we’re more awake and less rushed – less rushed means we have time to make sure we can follow the rest of these tips.

2. Eat breakfast at home! If you’re one of millions who gets up and heads off to work in the morning, it can be tempting to just grab breakfast to-go on the way. However, the pit stop wastes time and gas, and I’m sure you can imagine the waste that can go on inside of a fast-food place (not to mention unhealthy additives to the food) just to get you a breakfast. That delicious looking egg wrap from the chain coffee shop up the street? It’s microwaveable, people. There’s no telling how long it’s actually existed, or of what it’s really made. Delicious tasting? Yes. Green? Not so much. Instead, grab some fresh fruit at your local farmers market and start your morning with a banana and bagels, or something of the sort. Or, you can go all out and pre-mix smoothies for a quick and easy breakfast shake!

By eating a healthy breakfast, you’re less likely to snack out of vending machines and fast-food restaurants throughout the day.

3. Carpool! I carpool to campus twice a week, and even rearrange class schedules to do so. My university has a partnership with ZimRide, and I used it for nearly a year when I worked on campus, as well. This past weekend, I had to go into Atlanta for an event. Know what I did? I parked at the first MARTA station off of my interstate and took public transit the rest of the way with a couple hundred other people. I kept my emissions out of the environment, and even managed to get to the center of Atlanta in less than 10 minutes. The drive would have easily taken 30, plus parking. Also, school systems purchase buses for a reason.

4. Gas up! Gas up on your way to work instead of on the way home. This may take some planning on your part for those extra few minutes, but gas expands with heat as the day proceeds. You’ll get more for your money, and you won’t have to idle in a crowded gas-station parking lot trying to get home to cook dinner. Also, go ahead and fill up all the way while you’re there – you use less gas in the first half of the tank than you do the second.

6.  Paper-less Billing! Most of us take care of our big-time to-do’s first thing in the morning. Often, this includes taking care of invoices, bills, etc., whether it’s for our home or our business. Try to do as much of this online and over the phone as possible, removing the need for paper billing and delivery.

7.  Make a routine, and stick to it. I’m gonna call myself a hypocrite on this one, because I don’t have a routine unless you count ‘hit snooze repeatedly’. This is me calling myself out, though, so that means my negative trait is now public and I’ll have to change it. Right?

Really, though, you’re much more likely to do all of the above things, or anything, if you have a routine. You’ll eat better if the foods are prepared the night before. You’ll dress better and be less rushed in the morning if you pick out your clothes before you go to bed. You won’t find yourself with an ‘E’ light on the interstate at 5:15 on a Friday if you have a set day (or days, for some of you poor souls) to fill up. Routine makes it happen!

 

What are your eco-friendly morning tips?

Facing Your Fears

Microphone, speaking, singing

I have had one of those crazy impossible weeks and realized, just today, that I haven’t blogged! So, I’m jumping back on the Green Moms Media April Writing Challenge, and couldn’t have done so with more perfect timing! Today’s topic just so happens to be our biggest fear, and I also just so happened to face mine head-on this week!

I’ve mentioned several times before how terrified I am of public speaking. When I say ‘terrified’, I mean I used to be reduced to tears, puking, and/or fainting. I wouldn’t even raise my hand in class, even if I could easily answer the question or had something great to add to the discussion. My favorite professor knows I have this fear, so when he asks a question and no one raises their hand, he’ll give me this epic ‘Raise your hand!’ look…but it never works.

This semester though, I’ve given numerous presentations in class, and I did so voluntarily. I presented on topics like ‘sustainability’ and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I’ve also started presenting outside of class, as well, and even gave a talk on blogging and social media to a group of college communications students.

I’m not afraid of death, really. Death before my children are grown, maybe, but not death itself. No, I’m afraid of public speaking. The irony? I want to speak publicly for a living.

Guess I still have some work to do!

April Blog Writing Challenge

 

Just Smile (Smile!) Smile and Be Happy!

Today’s prompt for the Green Mom’s Network April Blog Writing Challenge is ’100 Things That Make Me Smile or Laugh’. This one should be ridiculously easy!

  1. Flowers
  2. A really good pita bread
  3. The kids laughing
  4. Ninja’s ‘crazy face’ (seriously, you have to see this face…)
  5. Cooking something and having it turn out right (rare, rare occasion for me)
  6. The smell of salt water
  7. Being naked
  8. Being naked in the woods, particularly if I’m in a bathtub.
  9. Moss under my bare feet
  10. Peace
  11. A really good classic novel
  12. Learning something new
  13. A bouquet turning out stunning
  14. Clouds
  15. The sound of running/rushing water in nature
  16. Chanting monks
  17. Wind chimes
  18. Thunderstorms
  19. The X-Men movies
  20. Documentaries
  21. Across the Universe
  22. Waterfalls
  23. Cutting quilt squares
  24. Reading in a hammock
  25. Lights that turn green right as I start to downshift
  26. Waking up every morning (though, I’m normally in a bad mood…)
  27. Walking into a classroom
  28. Helping people
  29. Teaching people
  30. My Meggers, Crystal, Robin, and Jessica
  31. VH <3 (laugh, more than smile…belly laugh, generally)
  32. Bean soup
  33. Rice Pudding
  34. Indian food
  35. The smell of burning leaves and fresh cut grass
  36. The smell of dirt (I even have a dirt perfume. True story.)
  37. Birds
  38. Anything related to pandas
  39. Silence
  40. Bubble baths
  41. Being told that someone is proud of me
  42. Sweet talk (hey. At least I’m honest)
  43. Sea salt hair spray
  44. My new vacuum cleaner
  45. Walking around the local town square
  46. Ice cream dates
  47. Driving around and talking dates (I know, I know…not eco-friendly at all)
  48. Spring/Summer weather, with the AC off and windows open
  49. Clothes lines
  50. Gardens (though, I can’t grow a damn thing myself)
  51. Fresh picked cucumbers, sliced, sprinkled with sea salt
  52. Networking and supporting handmade sellers and small businesses
  53. Photography (though, I’m not a photographer!)
  54. Coconut anything
  55. Candles and fresh air
  56. Breezy curtains
  57. Fog (NOT smog!)
  58. Homemade apple jelly
  59. Daisies, daffodils, and buttercups
  60. Jackson Browne – especially acoustic
  61. Concerts on the lawn
  62. The sound of a piano, or any string instrument…and most woodwinds <3
  63. The World Cup
  64. Roasted chickpeas
  65. A fresh glass of warm sweet tea
  66. Turning something old into something new. Or, newer.
  67. Writing papers (until I have to write one, then I hate it)
  68. Poetry
  69. Being read to (yes, outloud. It’s sexy.)
  70. Side braids
  71. Yoga.Yoga.Yoga.
  72. Laying under a tree with a paint brush or book in my hand
  73. Laying under a tree on a quilt, napping
  74. Airshows. I know, not eco-friendly in the least. /sigh
  75. Painting
  76. Drawing
  77. Shel Silverstein
  78. Cuddling under a light-weight lap quilt
  79. Shirley Temple
  80. Pippi Longstocking books
  81. Actually, any children’s books from my time (Ramona, anyone? The Class Clown? Nancy Drew?)
  82. Pictures of places I’ve never been
  83. Acai berries covered in dark chocolate. <– uber weakness right there.
  84. Massages (hints, to no one in particular >ahem<)
  85. New opportunities
  86. The smell and taste of organic, local honey
  87. Hot tea
  88. Coconut Coffee
  89. Moccasins and bare feet
  90. Long-sleeved t-shirts
  91. Wrap-dresses
  92. Making horse faces
  93. Fireflies
  94. Firefly the series (!!!)
  95. Museums, especially if they contain art
  96. Good grades
  97. Forgiving professors
  98. Outings with friends
  99. Surprise visits with people I love
  100. Hotel rooms and vacation rentals – if only my home was that….empty. lol!

 

April Blog Writing Challenge

India, Sweet India

Today’s prompt for the Green Moms Network Blog Writing Challenge is ‘If I could live anywhere…’, so I’m just going to leave these right here:

q91 varanasi 2

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