Invitation to a Recycling

October 27, 2009

I’m not going to dwell, but I apologize for already not sticking to my Thursday schedule.  I’ll do my best this week.

But I realized I promised in a post awhile ago to write about our invitations.  We kept things pretty simple; we wanted the invites to be fairly cheap, made of recycled paper with as high a post-consumer percentage as possible, and without all the many inserts called for by tradition and paper companies.

First, my dream invites: Earthly Affair Fresh.  I actually love all of the Earthly Affair creations, and their commitment to making the entire process (from production to shipping) as eco-friendly as possible.  Beautiful and thoughtful!  And founder Jennifer Stambolsky runs my absolute favorite wedding blog, full of gorgeous pictures and ideas and products that are often useful no matter where you are in life .  Unfortunately, while they are by no means expensive in the world of wedding invitations, they were outside our budget for the number we needed to buy.  But I’m definitely keeping them in the back of my mind!

What we decided to go with: Invitations by Dawn Delicate Beauty.  These invitations are made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and fit the budget and our color scheme.  And we could order exactly what we wanted: invitations, envelopes, RSVP cards, response envelopes, and thank yous, sent in recycled packaging in a well-packed box.  We got exactly what we wanted as far as requirements go (a girl can still dream of soy-based ink and carbon-offset shipping!).  I also did an online coupon search (can’t stress how often you save quite a bit of money doing this!), making it even cheaper.

So I suggest, as you attempt to find the invitations were meant for you, to just keep your eyes out.  Almost all of the large invitation sellers we looked at had some recycled paper options.  Consumer demand is a powerful thing!  And you can always do a little homework, looking at reviews (you’d probably do that any way) and “about” pages to make sure everything, as in company policies and philosophies, matches with what you want.  And if it doesn’t, keep looking!   There’s an awful lot of options out there.

And you’ve probably already heard the advice that’s in every green wedding planner book/blog/whatever to keep the paper to an absolute minimum; don’t bother with all the inserts.  Use e-mail and websites (and phone calls to grandparents) to send out directions, no need to print those.  We also let people know that RSVPing by e-mail or phone was completely acceptable (just be sure to recycle the cards!), in a tiny effort to reduce stamp waste (both stamps and the paper backing) and transportation.

Bonus link: my friend Alison’s save the dates, which were absolutely stunning (so much so that I just spent 45 minutes trying to find them again because IT’S WORTH IT).

p.s. today’s post title (perhaps obviously) comes from Nabokov’s “Invitation to a Beheading.”  Which I read right before my wedding.  Whoo, happy thoughts?  I never did find an appropriate wedding reading in Nabokov’s work…

Step 1: Decide you want to compost your wedding scraps.

Step 2: Also decide to use compostable serviceware (plates, utensils, etc.).  This is only a benefit if you decide to actually compost; throwing compostable stuff into the garbage is basically as bad as throwing away the regular stuff; it releases methane (one of the top greenhouse gases) in landfills and is no good to anyone.  There are many cool options; I haven’t decided what we’re going to use yet.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Right now I’m looking at Worldcentric (made of bagasse, or leftover sugarcane fibers), BiodegradableStore.com (various materials), Branch (mostly bagasse), etc.  More or less comparison shopping.  I also love Verterra, but it’s a little out of our budget.

Step 3: Search Google for your location and composting; i.e. “chestertown maryland composting.”

Step 4: Find results for the Warrington Foundation or similar composting organization.  Use contact info to e-mail wedding situation.

Step 5: They e-mail back and let me know that they work with agricultural compost, and can’t do regular food scraps.  But they suggest  contacting the local college, Washington College.

Step 6: Procrastinate, and maybe do other important things like order invitations (next post!).

Step 7: Caterer e-mails me with list of supplies he’ll need…oh, and by the way, his parents (living in Chestertown), would be happy to compost the non-meat scraps and serveware!

Step 8: Celebrate and write blog entry!

So I kind of lucked out.  But seriously, don’t give up if composting is something you want to do!  Contact local schools and state departments, or if you happen to live in an awesome city like Seattle that has composting programs, take advantage of it!  But first, ask your caterer if he/she has any advice.  🙂

p.s. I’m also hoarding yogurt containers (the big ones) and the like that I’ll provide to my guests in case they want to take leftovers home.  No need to buy specialized carry-out containers!  (They’ll be washed, I promise.)

Exercise: your options!

January 31, 2009

So, it’s pretty much the end of January.  We’ve had a month to make and break various resolutions.  Except maybe you haven’t broken them!  And maybe you haven’t made them.  Both work for me.  This year I do actually have 2, though, and I haven’t broken either of them:

  1. Run the Charlottesville 10 miler
  2. Get married to my best friend.

Yep.  Short and sweet.  One I’m looking forward to a little more than the other; take a guess.  🙂

But in all seriousness, when I moved out in September, I did kind of resolve to get my butt back into shape and in January I realized that I had actually been successful so far.  And I felt like having a reason to get in better shape would be extra motivating as I continued, hence the race.  Obviously, good health is the best and really only reason you need, but that extra toning isn’t really a minus when you’re wearing a wedding dress in a few months.  I also happen to really like distance running (I know, I know), and rediscovered that love after leaving the flat golf course 5ks in the midwest and the ridiculously hilly, rainy, and very urban Seattle runs I tried a few times.  I’m lucky in that I live right in between Rock Creek and Sligo Creek Parks.  Both have gorgeous running trails.  And I figure all this prep will help when I try out for Maryland ultimate club teams.

But what does this all have to do with green weddings?  Well, I decided that there are probably others for whom getting married is a pretty good motivator for getting in shape, and that some of you out there may be doing just that.  Also, I will be married in several months, and I plan on keeping this blog going to document how I’m working towards greening my life.  So I thought that this would be a good overlapping post: staying in shape is something I’m planning on  doing even after I’m no longer a green bride, but in the meantime, it’s also something I’m doing for my wedding.

My thoughts on greening an excercise routine begin the same way greening everything in life does: use less.  Really, you don’t need a whole lot of fancy equipment (well, at least this thing isn’t electric) that take resources to build and use and ship and will eventually get thrown in a dump.  All you need is your own body and some proper footwear and clothing.  And if you already have those things (body, check!), then you’re good to go!  Break out those high school gym shorts!  They’re in again!  Well, maybe… And then, go for a run, pace and length up to you.  Easy, right?  Um, yeah.  Well, here are a few free interweb tools to help you out that I’ve found useful:

  • www.dailymile.com for tracking distances and seeing how well you’re doing and for keeping track of races and such!  It’s actually pretty fun; if you join, you should friend me, and we can keep each other motivated.
  • mapmyrun.com lets you map your own route, and you don’t have to stick to streets.  I haven’t used it that much yet, but it seems really helpful for trail runs and the like, when you can’t measure mileage on GoogleMaps (my usual go-to for quick mileages).  Who needs expensive pedometers that use batteries?
  • there’s lots of exercise calorie counters out there, but here’s one that apparently has lots of different types of exercises, in case you want to track all those shopping for wedding dress calories or something…from BodyBuilding.com.

But I should also admit that I’m far from perfect.  I have kind of wussy excuses (the cold, dry air totally exacerbates my asthma!  It’s dark when I get out of work!), but I don’t always get to do the outdoors thing.  I do use the gym at my apartment building and the gym at work.  And I run on the treadmills, which uses a whole lot of electricity.  Whenever I can, though, I get outside, which is better for the environment and just a lot more enjoyable.  I also participate in classes at my work, ’cause not only am I not using that energy on the ‘mill, but I get to hang out with awesome old broads at Dance ‘n Tone!  But there is at least one “green” gym” (Portland’s Green Microgym) out there, and maybe you could convince your gym to get greener treadmills when replacing old machines for a happy compromise.  And if you decide to get your own machine, look on (get ready for my familiar refrain) freecycle and craigslist first.  But again, you can’t do better than using your own body to get someplace or do something, and by doing so, you’re ensuring that both you and the planet can keep doing just that for a long time.

And now I’ll share my last secrets.

  1. I joined Sparkpeople.com.  It’s totally cheesy, and there’s lots of ads, but there’s also lots and lots of tools, groups, and people to motivate you.  And I really like earning points.  It’s kept me on track for a whole lot longer than any other self-motivation I’ve tried (team sports are the only other thing that works for me, and the only team sport I play is ultimate, so there you go).  There’s even an environmentalist SparkTeam.
  2. I watch The Biggest Loser on Hulu.  I don’t really get into reality tv that much usually, but for whatever reason, this show is GOOD.  I’ve cried.  And it’s my dirty secret, so don’t tell, kay?  Well, Jason already knows and he still loves me, so I’m okay with it, actually.  But health is such a big part of my life, between my medical profession relatives, having a loved one with cancer, and my own choice to go into a medical field, and this show just hits the nail on the head as far as the right way to live your life for the right reasons.  That’s my justification, anyway.

As always, thanks for reading!  And don’t you love how I posted this just in time for Superbowl snacking?  ❤