House Hunting is No “Small” Feat

For the past several weeks I’ve been occupied with finding a new place to stay; my lease is up and it’s time to move to the city – exciting, I know.  My roommates and I aren’t looking for anything too fancy, although it’s got to be near a subway station, it needs to be clean, and on-site laundry is a must.  So far, the hunt for housing has been promising, but recently I stumbled across the perfect home: the M-CH.

The M-CH stands for Micro Compact Home – it is an ergonomically designed, 2.2 tonne, solar paneled cube.  It measures 2.6m x 2.6m x 2.6m, and comes with everything I need – shower, toilet, microwave, fridge, stove top, sink, and bed.  With space set aside for a flatscreen TV, and a slide-out table, the M-CH is the perfect bachelor pad.  Check it out for yourself at microcompacthome.com!

In all seriousness, I won’t be moving into a micro compact home anytime soon, although I won’t rule it out for the future – it would especially make a great lakeside pad for summer weekends.  However, I don’t just think the M-CH is cool because of the novelty of the idea, but for several other reasons as well.  I really dig the idea of efficiency, and the compact home is definitely that.  Its solar panels are especially handy in that regard, but imagine how little heating or air conditioning it would require for a space so small? Not very much, as you can imagine.  There are even models of the home that are made to have even lower carbon emissions than the current model.

The environmental friendliness factors aside, the M-CH also forces the inhabitant to do something that is becoming less and less common – take a hike, literally. In a decent sized apartment, condo, or house, it’s harder to feel cramped up – especially with our iPads, laptops, and video games easily at hand.  With such a small space, however, we’re forced to consider: Hmmm, I could probably go for some fresh air right now…   I don’t know about you, but anything that forces me to get some fresh air can not be a bad thing.

So the apartment hunting continues for now, and I cross my fingers I’ll come across a place I even get half as excited for as the micro compact home. Come to think of it though, I’m sure my roommates will be happy about the extra space a normal apartment provides.

-Phil

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Kaitlyn’s adorable new puppy Arial from Toronto knows all about wasting-not! Image

Kids Parties: Loot Bags


*Photo Credit: Ayla87

If you’re a parent no doubt at some point or another you’ve received or given a loot bag for a kids party. Loot bags can easily become the biggest form of after party waste along with some concerning toxins in cheap toys.

A typical loot bag will contain tons of little candies as well as small plastic toys. When it comes to small candies you are often left with a pile of wrappers. Sometimes unwanted candies end up in the garbage as well.

On top of the garbage left behind by candy, the toys that come in the loot bags often become clutter and the garbage. Usually they are so cheap they break within an hour. If they don’t break, the toys are so simple your child may abandon it after two hours. Even worse still, cheap toys made of plastic often run the risk of being filled with chemicals from dye and plastic.

So what are you to do when your kids next birthday roles around? It’s so customary to give a loot bag it’s not only disappointing for the kids, some parents even fear judgment from other parents. While you want to make it as waste free you probably also want to keep the cost down.

Working at a party store I have heard many suggestions for loot bags and have seen many choices.
Some parents are opting to give small gift cards of $5 to Malls or even local toy shops like Mastermind.
You could even consider giving one good quality toy.

If you are at the party store and can’t be bothered with shopping around and don’t like the 1 gift idea here are some other tips:
-Skip the candy. With chocolate there are peanut scares, and what kid needs even more candy?
-Consider the usefulness of the toys. Pencils, pencil crayons, notebooks, and pencil sharpeners are all things for school.
-Instead of filling plastic bags, consider using sand pails or lunch boxes which make great gifts on their own.

Drowning in a Sea… of Litter?


*Picture Credit: GlennPeb

Walking down a sidewalk, you’ll lose count of the pieces of garbage you’ll see strewn about. If there happens to be a ditch lining the sidewalk, well, let’s just say I hope you don’t fall in – you’d drown in a swamp of soft drink cups, grocery bags, cigarette butts and lighters, chocolate bar wrappers, and plastic bottles.

Although littering is incredibly common, seeing someone actually do it right in front of me is painful to watch. Just the other day I was waiting for the bus with an acquaintance who was sipping from a soft drink cup. As the bus pulled up, he set his half finished cup on the sidewalk and hopped on. Speechless, I stared at the cup until I realized I had to get on the bus before the doors shut. I just couldn’t believe that even sensible, intelligent people would litter. I thought about it, and I’ve concluded it’s not because they want to litter, it’s because it just doesn’t cross their mind that they are, to say it politely, “pooping” in their own bed.

Not only does litter look plain old disgusting, it can be dangerous to people, animals, and nature as well. Respect and pride for the city one lives in – as well as for nature and the environment – is a factor in littering as well, but that’s a whole other blog post.

Oftentimes I’ve been a pack mule of sorts for friends, lugging around their garbage or recyclables until I find a proper bin; it would otherwise just end up on the ground. According to curelitter.ca, most litter occurs within 5m of a waste receptacle – apparently ten steps or so is just too far for most people to carry that cigarette butt or foam cup. I think it’s up to the people who take notice (and offense), then, to speak up and let people know what’s what.

I hear the weather’s looking good this weekend; care to join me for a warm spring stroll? I’ll bring the bags and litter grabbers.

-Phil

Free Your Mane Review


*Image from Glymm.com

It’s not often I fall in love with a product, but I’d love to take the time to review the shampoo and conditioner I received in my Glymm box from Free Your Mane.

Their website boasts no:
-Parabens
-Sulfate
-Mineral Oil
-Phthalates

Now it isn’t perfect as it still contains the omnious “Fragrance”. Otherwise compared to my regular shampoo this product is amazing.

I have thin hair and was surprised how light and fluffy my hair was without the frizz. It felt so silky and I couldn’t help running my hands through it.

My absolute favourite part about this product though has to be the scent. It’s musky like a wood. I’m not very good at explaining scents but it smells amazing. I was literally sitting with my hair in my face as I was studying, completely enamoured with the scent. And the smell lasts. The next day when I let my hair out of a bun the scent was still there. Very nice!

I guess the main downside to this product is the price. The shampoo and the conditioner cost $16 each. A little much but I personally feel it is worth it. The scent has me hooked, which rarely happens.

Free Your Mane also has a hair masque, hair oil, reviving spray, and conditioning pomade. All without the above chemicals present in most hair products.

Extra Plus! If you visit their blog here: http://www.freeyourmane.com/blog/ the creator gives great tips and warnings on products and services that may be ruining your hair/health with chemicals. (Brazilian Blowout anyone?)

Interested in buying a bottle? Head to their website here: http://www.freeyourmane.com/

Making the Playoffs Green


Photo Credit: Aklepsteen

The NHL Playoffs are finally here and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m prepared for two months of eyeing TV schedules, forcing myself to stay up late, cursing my bandwidth when attempting to stream games, and moaning over the lack of success of my hockey pool.

As wild as all that sounds, I know that I’ve got a responsibility to celebrate the most joyous time of the year in a safe and healthy way.

First of all, if I’m going to be drinking refreshments and eating snacks with most of the games I watch, I better make sure what I’m putting into my body is as harmless as a Toronto Maple Leafs powerplay (I say that with endearing bitterness of fan, of course). Popcorn can be a very healthy snack – if I lay off the salt and butter, of course – and so can carrot and celery sticks. I’m not going to name any names, but there are a few goaltenders who could probably benefit from eating carrots this off-season, if you know what I mean.

As for my beer consumption – I think that with every new playoff round, I’ll introduce myself to a new local beer; heck, for the Stanley Cup Finals I’ll try two. So for those bars showing hockey and carrying a variety of local beer… You shall have my patronage!

When it comes to travling to these jam-packed-with-fans bars, I’ll be forgoing the car ride and taking good ol’ public transportation. Not only is this reducing my own carbon emissions, this way I don’t have to worry about finding and paying for parking. And, if my team manages to win a game in overtime, say, I can safely indulge in that celebratory extra beer.

All in all, I have a feeling these playoffs are going to be a good time – health-, environmental-, and hockey-wise. If everyone does their part, maybe we can even manage to cancel out the riots from last year. In any case… Go Leafs go!

-Phil

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Thanks to Shanna, Matt and Colin for submitting a photo of their goldfish all the way from Costa Rica!