June 15, 2016

Extending the Life of Your Shoes

"When you look good you feel good"

That is the motto that is hanging above the desk of Alex, my shoe guy. He has been repairing my shoes for three years now.

When I bring him my shoes they typically look like straight trash. I procrastinate so much before taking them to him, they are basically at the point of falling apart. They look like they should just be thrown away. But then Alex performs some type of magic and fixes them to the point where they look brand new and I remember, oh yeah, people make shoes, they can fix them too.

... a DUH moment, but it is so easy to buy a new pair of shoes that we forget that it can be simple to forget we can fix the ones we have.

I love these two pairs of shoes so much and found them both secondhand for practically nothing, wore them until they were dead, and don't think I could find them again. I am SO grateful that people like Alex exist so that I can keep wearing the shoes that I love, and not have to spend lots of money on new shoes or spend lots of time finding ones I like again.

It is so much better to fix what is broken then buy something new and in the process stimulate your local economy, support skilled jobs, and get to know new people in your community.

Here's a shoe tip: If you buy a new pair of shoes, bring them to a cobbler to have a bottom put on to protect them - it will exponentially increase the life of your shoes! 

Check out these before and after pictures!
BEFORE

AFTER
PS - if you live in Williamsburg and need shoes repaired...
Alex
Broadway Shoes
236 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211
... otherwise I suggest finding your local repair person and going to them and if you like them, tell your friends!

May 2, 2016

Documentaries That Changed My Life

I've watched basically every environmental documentary out there, and I recommend educating yourself as much as possible, but this shortlist is all of the documentaries that changed my mindset massively and helped to inform my opinion on many things.

Gasland directed by Josh Fox was the documentary that got me to start using my voice as a tool to inspire environmental change. After seeing it I became very involved in anti-fracking activism which helped me to become trash free! A must see.
King Corn follows Ian and Curt as they try to learn where their food comes from. To do this they end up planting a hectare of corn. The process of doing this and what they end up with was one of my main motivators for becoming a vegetarian.
Food Inc.  - must see.
No Impact Man - This documentary follows Colin as he lives without making an impact (this isn't totally true as he still uses fossil fuels) but it's a pretty cool doc.
An Inconvenient Truth -  The climate is changing.
Check them out, let me know what you think!!

April 8, 2016

Kiss the Dry Cleaner Goodbye

Dry cleaning. Let's talk about it.
First of all, I stopped going to the dry cleaner years ago. Not for environmental reasons, but because they are SO expensive! Paying $8 in NYC to have a shirt cleaned? No. 

Besides the cost of getting my clothes "professionally cleaned", I began to learn about what they were actually being cleaned with. The truth is that the chemicals used by most dry cleaners can cause harm to air quality and to you. 

When I started making my own laundry detergent, I tested it out on my delicates and to my complete surprise, it totally worked. I now wash wool, cashmere, soft cotton, silk, linen and other delicates by hand in my sink using my laundry detergent from The Simply Co.

Many dry cleaners use perchloroethylene aka perc. Perc is a volatile organic compound aka VOC. When you get a dry-cleaning bag, most likely when you open it up it will smell a bit sweet. That is perc. The gasses from perc can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat and gasses have been said to exacerbate asthma. 

My advice... stay away from the dry cleaners except for professional repairs, steams, and pressing (if they are all chemical free) and wash your own clothing by hand. For me I hand wash and let the item dry flat on a towel and then iron or steam as necessary.