Friday, June 17, 2011

Water Conservation

When temperatures soar, so does most people's water consumption. You know what we do - we fill the pool in the back yard, water the lawn, take longer, colder showers etc. Right now, many areas of our country are trying to survive drought conditions which requires mandatory water conservation. Of course, conserving water is not something that should be limited to times of drought. Conserving our most valuable and life sustaining resource is vital at all times (plus, it can save you some money!).

Here are a few helpful and easy tips for conserving water:

  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill up one sink with dish water and the other with rinse water.
  • Don't leave your faucet running while you brush your teeth.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher when FULL. This can save you several hundreds of gallons a MONTH. Yes, you read that right - PER MONTH.
  • When landscaping, use drought-tolerant native plants instead of plants that may require excessive watering.
  • Switch your shower-head to a low-flow version especially if your shower fills up a gallon bucket in under 20 seconds.
  • When doing laundry, always match the water level to the size of the load you are washing.
  • Avoid watering your lawn on windy days. The water will just blow away and evaporate which doesn't benefit your lawn at all and wastes water.
  • If you NEED to wash your car, try to find a car wash that RECYCLES the wash water.
  • Washing dark colored clothes in cold water saves on energy and water PLUS it helps maintain your dark colors (a win-win situation!).
  • When washing your hands, don't let the water run while you lather your hands.
  • Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge instead of letting the water run cold from the tap.
  • Shorten the length of your shower by a couple of minutes and save about 5 gallons of water per shower!
  • When washing fruits and veggies, use a pan of water to wash them instead of letting the water run over them.
  • Check your home inside and out for any water leaks. Sometimes sprinkler heads leak and waste LOTS of water.
See? Pretty easy, huh? Maybe you can think of ways to save water that aren't on this list and you can share them with friends and family. If we all pitch in, we can save a ton (literally) of water. When you consider that the average American home uses about 260 gallons of water per day (during peak season the average household can use about 1,000 gallons of water in a day), a little conservation can go a LONG way!

Until next time, keep it clean (but save water while doing it!).

Friday, June 10, 2011


As you can tell by the subject this morning, I'm a little hungry! I violated the cardinal rule of mornings - don't skip breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day! I'm sure you can relate - you get into a hurry, didn't prepare the night before and don't have time to pick something up on the way to work (or you will be late and who wants that?).

Here are a few reasons why breakfast is so important:
  • Eating breakfast gives you better focus, attention span and productivity
  • Helps you to maintain a healthy, consistent weight
  • Eating breakfast has been linked to better learning and cognitive ability
  • It increases your metabolism
  • Gives you more energy for your day
  • It helps your body take in all of the nutrients it needs
Those are all pretty good reasons to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast! And it doesn't have to be something that's crazy complicated to make in the morning. A healthy breakfast can be some oatmeal with some fruit thrown in or an English muffin sandwich with an egg white, a little cheese and maybe a slice of tomato (I personally put spinach and mushrooms on mine...when I am good and make myself breakfast!). A few other easy options for a quick, nutritious breakfast are:
  • A high fiber, low sugar cereal with fruit
  • A pita pocket filled with lean ham, cheese and veggies (yes, it's perfectly okay to have veggies for breakfast!)
  • A cup of Greek yogurt with fresh berries and granola
  • A fresh, fruity smoothie
  • An apple, cheese stick and a handful of walnuts
  • A whole grain waffle with peanut or almond butter and a banana (seriously - try it!)
  • And if you absolutely MUST stop off for breakfast in the morning, an Egg McMuffin is a good way to go! Yep, you read that right. Tell them to make it with no cheese and it's an even better deal.
Hope all of this gives you a few ideas on how to get your morning off on the right foot. Take the weekend to stop at the grocery store so you can be prepared for next week. I betcha that eating breakfast will make your days a lot better!!

Until next time, keep it clean!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Gotta Get Away!

Deadlines. Schedules. Activities. Finances. Meetings. Do these sound like a few things that permeate your world on a weekly or even daily basis? Sometimes you just gotta get away and take a vacation! A few days off to decompress, relax and do things that aren't tied to a schedule can do wonders for one's psyche. Times are hard and budgets are limited so trying to vacation on limited funds can be challenging.

One very important ways to maximize your traveling bucks is to be flexible. Most people leave on vacations during the weekend but did you know that you can save some money by leaving during the week instead? Yep! You can easily save some serious cash on airline tickets if you adjust your departure date. Another thing that can help with saving is to plan your trip for the off-season. That can give a substantial savings on hotel rooms and car rentals. Do some research on various destinations. For example, if you have your heart set on a beach vacation, compare prices. You could save a lot by being flexible and choosing Puerto Escondido over Cancun or Puerto Vallarta. And I don't know about you but I have ALWAYS enjoyed traveling with my family and friends. Why not get together and split a rental house on the beach or a cabin near a lake? Taking family and/or friends along will not only defray the cost of lodging but some great memories you can be made together! Nothing like quality time with those nearest and dearest to you. Camping at a national park can be a wonderful budget-friendly experience. There are countless outdoors activities to take part in such as hiking, canoeing and swimming.

Ya know, you can also use your vacation time as an opportunity to volunteer. Giving back can be very rewarding. arranges volunteer vacations for individuals, couples and families. During your vacation, you will live with locals and work on various community development projects. It's very rewarding and benefits a community of people. also has volunteer vacations where trails across the country are maintained, created or improved. It's a good way to get out in nature and enjoy some fresh air!

There ya have it - a few ideas to get you started on your summer vacation ideas! Until next time, keep it clean!