be my accountabilibuddy

Help! I have three big health goals for August and I need your help holding me accountable. Well, you don’t really have to DO anything. I just believe that sharing your goals keeps you more accountable. I’ll check back in here at the end of August to let you all know how my goals were through the month, and that ought to be enough.

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Each of my goals are pretty health related, though not eating out is also a financial goal. I aim to do these things for the month of August in hopes that the actions will help me build better habits and be able to use moderation more in the coming months.

What kinds of goals do you have for yourself? Comment here with them and check back in at the end of the month. I can be your accountabilibuddy too, see?

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.

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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.

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.

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

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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.

Commuting By Bike: Rain Pants or Your Bottom Half

I commuted to work by bike every day this week (and I work on Sundays – so that’s 6 days of bike commuting!) Unfortunately, it also rained every day this week. My ride to work is only about 2.5 miles and takes me around 15-20 minutes, but rain is rain and whether you’re riding in it for 10 minutes or an hour you’re going to get wet.

It’s especially important to have the right kind of gear for riding your bike to work because when you arrive you have to look presentable. I have a coworker who’s just starting to build his bike commuting gear collection, and he asked me for advice on riding in the rain and commuting in general. I got so excited! Other people wanted to know about this crazy bike commuting thing I do! That’s why this week I’m doing a mini series on commuting by bike centered mostly around riding in the rain.

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The way I see it, there are two options for dealing with your bottom half when riding to work in the rain. To start we’ll be talking about an important piece of gear for riding in the rain, and option one: rain pants! Rain pants are awesome, and if you are someone who likes being outside you should probably just go ahead and buy a pair. They are nice to have for hiking and camping and any other situation where you might be out in the rain for a long time. I bought my pair before heading to a football game where I’d be sitting in the stands in the rain. When it comes to biking in the rain, you’re going to get a lot more wet than standing around or walking (especially on your legs) because you’re moving into the rain drops and your bike is going to splash a lot of rain from the ground up onto you, so they can be especially nice. Keep in mind that even if it’s not actually raining, a wet road can be the perfect time for rain pants. Ex: My boyfriend splashed wet-tar-speckles all over his brand new khakis last week.

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I got my packable rain pants at academy sports. (They were out of women’s ones in my size, so I snagged a men’s small and they fit fine.)

All of that said, I actually have a love hate relationship with rain pants. They are really great for biking, but only in super specific weather. If it’s not cold out, I get super sweaty riding in my rain pants, which kind of defeats their purpose. So, I’d say that if you’re biking to work somewhere where it gets cold, you absolutely need a pair of rain pants. But if it’s warm, there are better ways to deal with your bottom half in rainy weather. That brings us to option two:

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When it’s warm but rainy I ride in small cycling shorts (or just simple spandex shorts) and change into more appropriate-for-work bottoms when I arrive. I bring a small microfiber towel with me to dry off before I put my dry work pants on. And, I carry my towel, spare pants, and a snack in a dry bag that I throw in my basket or bungee to my rear rack.

I feel like I should say that I’m lucky enough to work in a building that has a pretty accommodating restroom. In fact, we have lockers available and a shower in our main staff restroom (spoiler alert: I’ve never actually used either and don’t really plan to – so if you don’t have lockers and/or showers available to you, don’t fret – all of the tips to come will still be super helpful.) But what rocks about that whole environment is that it encourages being able to change into work clothes after I arrive.

 

mudroom madness

Why do all of the mudrooms in magazines have those big cabinets with hooks and drawers and stuff? My mudroom is all windows and I am grateful that it’s just a lot of empty space. It’s a nice place to walk into instead of a place full of everyone’s clutter. I’m sure over time it will grow to more cluttered, but for now this is it.

my yellow rose bush has a name!

I had a really great twitter moment this week! Brooke and I moved into a new house (in case you didn’t see the bazillion tweets and instagrams of our #newhouse already). The house has this AMAZING yellow rosebush in the side yard that has been in full bloom since we moved in. On twitter the other night I stumbled across a tweet from @RedneckRosarian with a picture of a yellow rose bush attached.

 

Super perfect because it’s planted right outside the back door from the kitchen and by our little kitchen garden.

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Do you have roses? Do you know what they’re called? Ask the redneck rosarian!

tent love

My dad and I made my tent last summer for me to take to Wakarusa. It held up and stayed dry through tornadic storms, heavy rain and wind, and mud galore.

tentAnd now, as seen above, it managed to be the coziest of tents during our camping trip at the beginning of this month. With lows around 40 degrees I stayed safe and warm in the little thing and love it just as much as ever.

Wish you had one of your own? Just request a custom order and I’ll get busy framing and sewing you the tent of your dreams!