#weboughtahouse and #committed to #teamfayetteville

If you already follow me on the insta, then you know that my boyfriend and I bought a house this month. We’ve been busy making all of the little changes that turn the house into home, and recovering from the stress that is housebuying turned homeownership. We’re super pleased not to be renters any more, and mostly, it’s been super fun.

house

Part of what’s so exciting about buying a house is the commitment. And I’m not just talking about the big deal that is buying a house with my boyfriend. I’m talking about committing to my community. I’m on #teamfayetteville in a whole new super hardcore way. I bought a little piece of the city that I’ve called home for all these years. We’re committing to living here, and caring about what happens here, and I think that’s super cool and super important. Don’t you?

What team are you on? Do you own your home? Did you feel like you were marrying your city when you bought a chunk of it like I did? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

Homegrown Music Festival Bound This Weekend

Homegrown Music Festival was basically made for me, well – not really – but it sure feels that way. It’s all about all of the things that I’m all about; cycling, sustainability, music, camping, etc. Every new detail that I see pop up about the festival is another super exciting moment of anticipation building for me! If you don’t have your tickets yet, now’s a good time to grab them and make your plans to head down to the Mulberry this weekend.

The coolest way to get there is to join Phat Tire’s Pedal to Homegrown. The ride leaves from their Fayetteville bike shop and arrives at the festival tomorrow. They’ll tote your gear for you while you ride your bike down. It’s pretty much the coolest reason to ride that I can think of. So get pumped, get signed up, get your bike prepped, and I’ll see you there!

Even if you can’t get on your bike and head that way early tomorrow morning, there’s lots to see and do all weekend. There’s the amazing main stage schedule:

13450241_300091906995753_1540642873211589871_n

The pickin’ stage schedule:
13631384_305953693076241_1586547407879660459_n

The diggin’ in schedule full of fun things to do:

13592343_306885532983057_9173486275891302430_n

And tons more that you can find info about on the website or facebook page for Homegrown.

The thing that I’m most excited about is experiencing a super sustainable festival with festival-goers who are down with sustainability and opportunities to do all of the usual festival activities in a sustainable way. There will be reusable mess kits for everyone, a dish washing station, mobile bicycles with recycling bins toted behind them, and I almost don’t want to tell you about this one because I want to win: a most sustainable campsite competition!

I know it’s a lot of cool, almost too much to handle – but I think you can manage. See you at Homegrown this weekend!

Fayetteville Little Free Library Bike Tour – Recap

Paige'sBikeTrailerReady

In case you missed it, here’s some pictures and a few notes from our Fayetteville Little Free Library Bike Tour! We had so much fun toting the books all in our little bike trailer!

 

Talya’s Little Free Library (Washington St.)

Talya's

Talya is a member of a blogger group that meets in my area. She also just published her first novel. Her library is especially neat because it has a seed exchange drawer in it! (There also might be a geocache hidden in/around it!) It’s multipurpose and super cute. We just had to stop by this one first!

 

Alison’s Little Free Library (Sutton St.)

alison's

I met Alison working at the Fayetteville Public Library where she is a super page extraordinaire. She also has a super cute library in her own front yard that just had to be on our list.

 

Arsaga’s Depot Little Free Library (Frisco Trail)

arsaga's

This library has been the drop off point for all of my donations prior to this tour and is something I peek at from my bike on my commute to work and back. It’s sponsored by Adventure Subaru, which is why it’s made out of car bits.

 

Little Free Library by the Library (Frisco Trail)

IMG_1628

We weren’t able to find this library! Someone more enlightened about it’s location, help me out. Where exactly is it?

 

Pequeña Biblioteca (S. School Ave.)

pequena

I stumbled on this beautiful Little Free Library one afternoon when this tour was just a little idea I was having and knew it had to be on the tour. It was designed and built by Matthew Turner and Esteban Ayala in association with Harrison French & Associates, and is sponsored by Dick and Margaret Rutherford. Despite it’s name, it actually had TONS of room in it, so we dropped off the biggest chunk of our books in it.

 

Plot Twist (Walker Park Trail)

plottwist

 

Books Rock (Lake Fayetteville Trail)
The unique structure at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks was designed and built by Stuart Fulbright and is sponsored by Northside Rotary Club and Downtown Fayetteville Rotary Club. Unfortunately, we cut that stop from the ride because our trailer hitch hadn’t come in time and the trailer was sort of jimmied on the bike.

Thanks all for cheering this project along on the blog, facebook, twitter, and instagram. It was a blast (a sweaty, exhausting blast).

Little Free Library Delivery: Visioning

visioning

Since I ride my bicycle by the Little Free Library in front of Arsaga’s at the Depot several times a week on my way to and from work, it’s easy for me to keep up with the little library’s stock. It’s clear plexiglass front door means I don’t even have to stop to check out whether there’s room to drop off some books or not. Luckily, this collection doesn’t need much space though, as it’s just three books. If you happen to want any of these three books, just follow me on twitter and look for a tweet that says, “The drop has been made.” Then you can roll on over to the little library and pick them up!

This trio includes:

coloringyourprayers

  • Coloring Your Prayers: An Inspirational Coloring Book for Making Dreams Come True is a partially colored copy of a fun book that’s part coloring book part spiritual workbook.

theseedhandbook

  • The Seed Handbook: The Feminine Way to Create Business is an inspirational guide for ladies who want to start a business.

dreamvisioning

  • Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams is a super thorough guide to creating a vision board that will make all of your dreams come true, maybe.

In case you’re just stumbling upon this and you’re wondering why I’ve got a little stack of books on my blog, check out my intro to this series. And in case you’re super in the know, I’m still doing my Fayetteville Little Free Library Bike Tour with the rest of my books. I just had this one last carefully curated collection to share.

Fayetteville Little Free Library Bike Tour

Remember my big stack of books that I’m slowly donating to a nearby Little Free Library? (If not, no worries, this post is still full of exciting news for you!) Well, the big stack is still big, and the donating is about to get a hell of a lot faster.

IMG_1565

My boyfriend and I are buying a house, and that means we’re moving, and that means I am going to donate ALL 70 of the remaining books on ONE day! I know! It’s SO exciting! I wanted folks to have a little heads up in case you are vying for something in the stack. So, see the snap above of all of the books loaded up in my bike trailer that will carry all of the books (I can’t believe they all fit so perfectly!) to the little libraries. I’ll be on twitter during the tour taking a quick snapshot of the books that land in each library. So you’ll be able to find out where a book you might have wanted has landed if you follow me there.

Tour Map
I’ve picked seven exceptional Little Free Libraries in Fayetteville to visit on the tour. I’ll leave approximately 10 books in each (depending on available space). And hopefully by the time we’re climbing northward to the final stop, the trailer will be nice and light! The libraries on the tour, in order of the ride, are:

List of Libraries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to join me on this ride, and you have your own bike, you’re more than welcome to! It’s going to be long/slow because of the super heavy trailer full of books! You can RSVP here, and catch up with us with our tweets along the way! Feel free to jump in for little bits of the ride or do the whole thing! (You must wear a helmet if you plan to ride, and be self sustained with water and any other things you may need.)

If you want to get your hands on any of the books on your own, just check twitter for a tweet that says “The drop has been made” on Sunday June 26th. There will be other details in the tweet like the location and a picture of the books that were placed in that library!

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

The Most Important Part of a Music Festival Is…

Often times at music festivals I attend as a Work Exchange Team volunteer. That usually means spending 15 hours of my time at the festival working. Sometimes I have parked cars, sometimes I was a human arrow, once I handed out beer tickets to VIP attendees; the tasks were easy, and broken into short 5 hour shifts. But sometimes I missed a set I wanted to see, or had to stand in the sun so long I got sunburned. There were sacrifices. So when I got into a conversation with a reporter from our state newspaper during one of my shifts, his final question for me was, “Why do this?” My answer, “For the music, duh!” So, if you ask me, the music is by far the most important part of a music festival. There are people who attend for other reasons, but the music is the glue holding the whole beautiful thing together. So ask me why I want to spend three long hot summer days and nights in the middle of the Ozark National Forest camped out in a field? It’s for the music. This music to be precise:

This playlist is a sampling of the bands playing at Homegrown Music Festival July 21st-23rd at Byrds Adventure Center in Ozark Arkansas. Give it a listen, but be warned – you’ll find yourself buying tickets to the festival as soon as you do!

Need more reasons to love Homegrown? Check out this post with three more amazing things about the festival, beyond the music!

Homegrown Music Festival has compensated me for my posts on the festival in the form of tickets to the event. However, all opinions and enthusiasm are most definitely my own.

Three Reasons You’ll Love Homegrown Music Festival

If attending Homegrown Music Festival isn’t on your list of super cool things to do this summer, now’s the time to add it! In all of my waka-less-woes I have struggled to pinpoint the festival that’s right for me. Homegrown has more than fulfilled my summertime music festival anticipation quota and it’s sure to fill yours too! Here’s three reasons to buy tickets right now!

  1. Sustainability! Homegrown is Arkansas’ first sustainability focused music festival. They have come up with all kinds of super cool ways to keep the festival’s footprint clean and green throughout the weekend. From things like a Clean Campsite Competition to an easy way to Pedal to Homegrown on your bike, the festival is bound to accomplish it’s sustainability goals!
  2. Fresh Pickin! There will be a second stage at the festival where Adam Cox, musician and host of KUAF’s Singled Out, will curate workshops, interviews, and jam sessions. There is sure to be some totally cool stuff coming out of this stage that you’ll only be able to hear on this weekend.
  3. Family Time! There are tons of activities planned just for kids to participate in! Even as a 20 something who has no kids, this is something I’m stoked on. I’ve had my share of #CreepyFestivalVibes and I am SO down to be going to a festival that’s all about the kiddos.

Stay tuned here for more of my super stoked-ness on this festival! See you at Homegrown!

Homegrown Music Festival has compensated me for my posts on the festival in the form of tickets to the event. However, all opinions and enthusiasm are most definitely my own.

Zero Waste To Go Kit

I’ve been making baby steps toward a more “zero waste” lifestyle. I am not keeping my trash in a mason jar, and honestly don’t plan on it. But I did buy a smaller trash can and bigger recycling bins recently. All of that is pretty straight forward. I compost and recycle what I can, but what’s tricky is what happens outside of my home. I’ve been trying to shop more consciously, and choose items that come in bulk or in minimal packaging – and that takes planning and thought, but it’s also not the hardest part. What’s hardest is going about my day outside of my home – eating out, using public restrooms, and being in a world filled with disposables for the sake of convenience. And damn it those straws and paper towels are convenient! My answer? Carry my own everything. My purse houses the following zero wast essentials:

zerowastepackables

  1. A water bottle. I carry one everywhere. In colder months when I might get coffee somewhere it’s usually something that can hold hot stuff like a mason jar with a cuppow or my new yeti rambler.
  2. Sporks! Yeah, multiple sporks! Mostly because often times I’m with my boyfriend and he’ll put one to use too. I started with the little bamboo one which is a great thing for someone starting out and unwilling to carry a bigger purse in the name of zero waste supplies.
  3. Stainless steel straw. This is one I haven’t been brave enough to use yet. I just put it in my purse like, today, because yesterday I ate out for lunch and used the plastic straw that came to the table and felt guilty.
  4. Handkerchief. When it’s cold out this is more important. As soon as I get off of my bicycle in cold weather I’m totally snot faced. But keeping a smaller one in my purse is good for any little sniffles I may have.
  5. Microfiber towel. This one’s been hard for me to put to use. I put it in my bag to dry my hands after I wash them, but by the time I get my hands washed it’s been deep in my bag and I go for the paper. Why oh why can’t every bathroom have that cool dyson hand dryer?
  6. Cloth napkin. I use this constantly. This is a must.
  7. Lunch bag. I often carry a meal with me, but I also carry much of these in this bag to keep my purse less cluttered.
  8. Not pictured – a shopping bag that folds into itself and is tiny and amazing. I am forever buying things and forgetting to bring a reusable bag. Another must.

Questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment!

Backpacking Spy Rock Loop

Last week my mom and I went on our very first backpacking adventure! We’ve wanted to go for a long time now, but weren’t sure where to begin. Everything online told us we need hundreds of dollars worth of gear before we would be ready to embark on a hike that lasted more than one day. We rebelled! We didn’t buy anything (except food) for our trip. We took the gear we had. I carried my things in an old jansport backpack. And guess what? We had a great time!

The trail we chose was the Spy Rock Loop which connects to the Ozark Highland’s Trail from Redding Recreation Area (a super nice campground with access to the Mulberry river). Spy Rock is an incredible view that’s definitely worth the climb. The hike could be done in a day if you left early in the morning, but we headed out around 2:00pm and got to the top with plenty of daylight left. There are two little campsites with fire rings at the top of Spy Rock, but it was pretty gusty so we headed back down to make camp somewhere lower. The info we had read ahead (linked above) told us there was a campsite near a waterfall on the East side where we would be coming down, but we couldn’t find it (it is probably just overgrown). We finally decided to step down from the trail and camp in the trees. After we ate some dinner (luckily we didn’t bring anything we had to cook) we hung our trash and food up near the trail and settled into our hammocks. In the morning we ate overnight oats and broke camp. When we got back to the trail from where we had camped there was a big fresh pile of poop which we decided not to try to look up until we got back to the car. The hike down was short and easy. Charging my phone in the car I googled “animal poop” and discovered that the scat we had seen was most likely from a bear! Luckily it passed on by, but next time we will definitely buy one piece of gear: bear spray.

Have you hiked this loop? How did you do it? Got backpacking tips? Let’s hear them!

#NWARKcares about the Environment

12936768_964683960217_2047106109083326821_n
Photo By: Paige Ray

Do you think about your personal impact on the environment? It’s something I think about almost every day. I was a kid in the 90’s, which means that I grew up in the era of the invention of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and had a childhood centered around being highly conscious of our environment. Between that and parents who made sure I had a broad world view – beyond myself, and beyond convenience – I can get pretty hippy-dippy about environmental stuff. So, if it’s not your thing to eat kale chips or whatever, bear with me. I’m going to give you six really easy things that I do to help the environment that you can do too.

  1. Choose my bike over my car when possible. Luckily, Northwest Arkansas is a really bicycle friendly region. We have extensive trail systems, lots of “share” lanes, and a community that supports cycling. You don’t need me to tell you about the negative environmental impacts of driving your car.
    Your challenge: bike (or walk) somewhere you normally drive. Just try it once, you’ll feel amazing! Let me know how it goes!
  2. Recycle! I live in Fayetteville and have two of the small recycling bins the city provides, so I’m really lucky to be able to stick my recyclables on the curb each week. We also have a set of blue bins in our kitchen and a bin in our bathroom for recycling. I’ve found that if there’s a place (or three) in the house for recycling to go, it doesn’t stray into the trash can. Lots of folks have to go the extra mile and tote their recycling to the nearest drop-off center. Fayetteville has plenty of these scattered around though – so no excuses!
    Your challenge: set up a recycling bin in your home. Already have one? Add another!
  3. Compost! I have a little bin for compost in my kitchen that sits by the sink. Having the bin in sight is important, especially if you’re just starting to compost, because it’s a reminder to put things in the bin (and also to empty it!) Lately I’ve been branching out our composting into more paper goods. I even put a compost bin in our bathroom for tissues, cotton balls, and q-tips. We have a big metal trash can with holes drilled in all sides in our backyard for the compost to go when it leaves the house.
    Your challenge: compost something! No excuses. Figure out where you can start or contribute to a compost pile or bin and put something in it! (When I lived in an apartment I worked with my church to set up a compost bin in their garden and brought my bucket of scraps to the pile weekly.)
  4. Donate what I don’t use. This goes for all things, but when I think about it I usually think most about clothes. We don’t have textile recycling in Fayetteville, so a lot of times a stained t-shirt is a big bulk of our trash for the week. If things are still usable though, it’s important to donate them to a thrift store where they can await their next home! I have a bag in my home office that is marked “give away”. And that bag is always there. That way, as I’m trying something on – if I’m not into it – it has a place. It’s not like, oh I should donate this one day when I go through my closet. I actually never go through my closet in one big day of purging. I just have the bag, and fill it up over the course of a month or so, and take it to the thrift store when it’s full.
    Your Challenge: create an out-box in your home for things to donate. Make it somewhere permanent. Don’t worry about filling it up, just know that it’s there and when you come across that chipped tea cup that’s still too pretty to throw away or a dress that doesn’t fit any more, you’ll know where to put them.
  5. Choose to Buy things with less packaging, or recyclable packaging. This is something I’m working on a lot lately. It’s really challenging to do since our city only recycles plastic numbers 1 and 2. And worse, the plastic containers have to have an opening smaller than their base (aka be bottle shaped). Choosing a recyclable cardboard egg carton over plastic or styrofoam is easy, but buying spinach that’s not in a plastic clam shell container can be hard. This week I’m making a grocery list that is broken up by which store I will buy each thing at, and I’m going to do it with where I can buy things in bulk and bring my own container in mind.
    Your Challenge: Shop consciously. Next time you’re at the store think about the packaging around your food. Make choices that are environmentally friendly when possible. And if you find yogurt in a container that Fayetteville recycles, I will be your best friend.
  6. Share the knowledge. Lately I haven’t been able to shut up about composting toilets. We had a plumbing problem at my house, and I was all – “See! See! If we had a composting toilet, these roots wouldn’t be an issue!” And what I’ve learned is that there are a lot of people who are also super into composting toilets (automatic friend people!) But also, there are people who don’t know a thing about them, or don’t totally get it. I am excited that I get to share and make some normalcy out of environmentalism for those people just by having a chat.
    Your Challenge: Talk to someone about something you do to help the environment or something you wish you could do. Who knows, they might be able to help you do it or do it better!

I want to know, what’s on your list? What things do you do to help the environment? What things do you wish you could do? Let’s figure out how to make them possible! What things do you have questions about? Let’s find the answers! Leave a comment below.

Some Links:

Northwest Arkansas Land Trust – The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust came up at my dinner table last night thanks to a couple of inspiringly environmentalist friends of mine. They kindly explained how the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust works to preserve the natural beauty of the Ozarks. Definitely worth checking out.

Ozark Natural Science Center – A local organization the strives to enhance our understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the Ozark natural environment through school programs. Really powerful stuff.

Beaver Watershed Alliance – Northwest Arkansas has one water source: Beaver Lake. We need to keep it clean! Check out the Beaver Watershed Alliance to find out more.

Carbon Footprint Calculator – An eye opening and fun way to discover the things you use every day and their impact on our environment.

What’s this all about?

The Northwest Arkansas Bloggers have launched #NWArkCares to share social issues and raise awareness for local causes. Each month we are focusing on a different issue/cause. To play along, follow the hashtag #NWArkCares on twitter, instagram, and facebook or check us out on Facebook.

April’s #NWARKcares cause was the environment. Through my blogger friends’ posts and conversations this month, I learned a lot about the important factors in preserving the natural beauty of this place, the Ozarks.