Tuesday, January 25, 2011

a generation lost inside of technology advancement

Not too long ago in our history families lived together. If not together in the same house, they most often lived close by one another. They relied on each other to survive and to thrive as a unit. Children knew their grandparents as more than someone they saw a few times a year {or once every few years}. They knew to respect their elders. They understood that with age comes wisdom and with that wisdom should come respect. With age comes more responsibility until a certain age and then age meant enjoying time with family.

I am always aware of my surroundings. I notice who is near me, behind me, in front of me, etc. If i notice an elderly person looking at an item that is on the top shelf of the store, i will go up to them and ask them if they need help getting an item down. Most of the time they are gracious and will make a joke about not being as young as they use to be. I always hold the door open for someone who is older than me {younger than me too}. Ok, i pretty much hold the door for anyone i see walking in behind me.

Whenever i help an elderly person my kid will ask me, "do you know that person?" to which i will say, "nope." and then she will respond, "oh. then why did you help them?" and i will explain to her that it is polite to help those who are elderly.

We have engrained in our children "Stranger Danger!" and they have taken it to the extreme. There is a valuable lesson in explaining to them to not talk to or trust strangers, but it also means they will never communicate with pretty much anyone they do not know. They will never help anyone, or take a chance to be overly nice to people they do not know. They are, for lack of a better word, afraid.

On a whole, most children of this generation have minor relationships with their grandparents. There are a few lucky ones who will spend time making lasting memories with their grandparents on a simpler level doing things that mean more than just seeing them for a few minutes at a time during the holidays. Unfortunately most children will come to know their grandparents through the use of technology. And admittedly i am glad for the technologies that we have now, but i think that it does harm family relationships...

People do not get together like they use to because they see every second of someone's life on Facebook and/or Twitter. If you know every detail of your families life, what is the point in getting together with them to "catch up" all the time? When you do get together it isn't very exciting to share news, because they already know the news. And yes, there are pros and cons to letting people keep up with you online. They are able to be more in your life then perhaps they were before. Families are busy and the use of online communications is a big help for making sure everyone knows everything at the same time. My main issue is the grandparents keeping up with the grandkids with the use of FB. It just seems un-natural to me on certain levels.

Kids should communicate with their grandparents, this is true, but the way they communicate has changed to a way that i do not agree with. I appreciate that grandparents are trying to keep up with the younger generation, but i do not recall my grandparents calling me up on the phone to "chat" when i was growing up. On a birthday or holiday we might have passed the phone around for a few seconds at a time to say hello to the ones that lived out of state... but on a whole we communicated during visits. We would sit down and have a long talk to catch up. It was laid back, it was fun and it was memorable. Now that the grandparents know every detail of the grandkids lives from online social communities.... what's to talk about come visit time?

nothing. there is nothing left to really talk about. which makes the visits less interesting for the kids, less memorable, and they feel less of a close relationship with their grandparents.

This is one of the main reasons i gave up Facebook. Everyone knew my entire life, my daily life, my minute-by-minute life, and all the news i had to share. There was no joy in telling people things anymore. And it turned visits with people into kind of boring trips of just sitting around. The same goes for photos. i use to print out my photos and take albums and sit and talk about what things were in my albums. Now people just go online and see everyones photos and it just isn't the same.

times are changing, and although i enjoy these changes for myself, i think it is changing the dynamics of the family... and not at all for the better. The generation of our children being born today - the last 15 years are being lost in the online world. And the generation of their grandparents are being lost because of a lack of real, and lasting communications with their children and grandchildren.

Hilary Walker photography

it is always nice to stumble upon wonderful photography. i always have to stop and look around websites that have pretty images of homes. There is a lot to say for blogs & websites with good solid content to read... but i happily admit to being a visual girl! The more beautiful photos, the longer i will stick around and read what you have to offer. Photography websites are not exactly full of text to read, but boy do they sure drag me in with their pretty pictures! LOVE!

The above images were taken by and these and more can be found on Hilary Walker's website.

Monday, January 24, 2011

bring on the rain of today, it's what i've been saving for, right?

saving for a rainy day use to be a term used a lot when i was a kid. We had a "swear jar" and we had piggy banks and everything. i have been saving for a new camera for over a year now, but that money keeps moving into other funds {like putting food on the table} and i'm just waiting for the rain {needs} to stop so i can save up for that new shiny camera. While i'm waiting, i do enjoy a rain photo, so here are a few for you to enjoy too!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vintage has never lost it's style in Americana

You know how they say, "everything comes back into style..." well, that is very true. Check out the fashion magazines each year and your mom and/or grandmother will say that they wore that when they were younger. The world of Vintage has been very much alive for many years now. Some people are new to the trend, others have been doing it their entire lives, and some are just going with what they think is popular at the moment.

There are many amazing blogs and articles out there that help you figure out vintage and how to buy it, but the truth is, most of the people who buy vintage and sell it online... they do not truly want you knowing their secrets because they want you to buy items from their shops online {and some have real actual shops too}. And it makes sense to hide their secrets to a point; you don't expect people who run shops to tell you the wholesale shop they purchase their items from to give you such amazing prices. If they did that, it might put them out of business. Luckily for us regular people who do not run our own vintage stores, we do not need an "in" or any "secret codes" to shop for Vintage. It really is as simple as going out there and doing it! If you are shopping for yourself, and not to sell online, then there is no trick. If you see it and you like it, buy it! It is pretty much the same thing you would do when you went shopping in a regular store. You wouldn't need any major tips or tricks to shop at Target. The same is true for Vintage shopping. If your town has a Goodwill, a Salvation Army, a Flea Market, or any store that sells "gently used items" then you are on your way to shopping for Vintage items!

There are no set rules unless you are a hard core Vintage shopper. Anything over 10 years old can be considered "one of a kind" because chances are there are not too many of its kind around. the older the item, the less chance you have to walk down the street and bump into someone wearing the same thing you are, which is a huge draw for people to shop Vintage. Same thing with furniture... the older the item, the more rare it is that you will have the same thing in your house as your neighbor.

Do not forget about the Eco Friendliness of buying Vintage. If you buy something pre-owned and pre-loved, you will not need to buy something brand new. Reducing the need to produce more waste in the world by making new items.

I've put together a list of a few websites that give some tips on Vintage shopping that might help those who enjoy shopping and want to branch out into the Vintage shopping world, but are not sure how to do it.

1. A Beautiful Mess is a wonderful blog to follow even if you are not a fan of buying Vintage items. The blog owner runs her own shop selling Vintage items online and in another store in the real world. A while back they described how to shop for Vintage clothing.

2. Frecklewonder is another great blogger. She has listed out some tips on how to thrift while you have little ones with you.

3. Bleubird {aka Miss James} did a guest blog spot on Candimandi's blog giving some wonderful vintage tips.

4. A big concern of mine is cleaning Vintage clothing. someone who wore it before could have just been a nasty person, not to mention the item was probably sitting in a box or attic for awhile, then it was hung amongst other clothes in a thrift shop before you purchased it. Here is a nice article explaining cleaning Vintage clothes.

5. Maybe you aren't hip to buying used clothes, but you would love to get your hands on some Vintage pyrex dishes that you loved when you were a kid? You need to know how to clean it properly! Most recommend that you DO NOT put vintage pyrex into the dishwasher for fear of removing the pretty details on the outside of the dish. Here is an article explaining how to clean up your pyrex before you use it.

6. Maybe the thought of using old dishes is beyond your thought process, as is wearing old clothes. fear not, there are still many things you can buy at a Thrift store that you won't use in a personal way. Like vases, old jars to hold beautiful items to display, art sculptures/statues, and etc. But you'll still want to clean up your newly purchased item. Here is an article explaining how to clean vintage glassware's.

7. And lastly there is purchasing furniture. Thrift stores, as my kid puts it, "smell like old attics that are dusty and stinky..." so you will want to clean up your items. Unless you enjoy that vintage smell... then you are welcome to skip cleaning it for the smell part, but you might want to consider it just for sanitary reasons. Here are a couple of articles that explain how to clean thrifted furniture items: article 1, article 2, article 3 {articles 3 & 4 help explain the bed bug effect that took over NY, and still takes over areas every year!}, article 4.

Basically when you thrift, you need to take into account many things. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort... you will find many amazing deals out there!

If you think you are just too freaked out by buying used items, not to worry... there are many, many, many places out there who specialize in selling throwback items that are made brand new, but I'll tell you all about those another time!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

you have a blog? me too! oh, but you have no idea who i am, do you?

There are so many amazing blogs out there. It is always hard for me to focus on a favorite blog, they each offer a wide variety of facets. I have party decorating blogs, fashion blogs, cooking/recipe blogs, interior design blogs, family blogs, friends blogs, and too many to sum up! I have been known to blog hop around. You might wonder what this means.... you start on a blog and wonder around, while on there they either have a sponsor or an entry about another blog, so you end up on another blog and then it happens again and again and again! Before you know it you are off task, off topic and 20 blogs down the line. It's truly a maze of blogs in the blogosphere.

But oddly enough, it is very common for me to come upon a blog that is linked in one way or another to a blog i am already familiar with and love. It is a close knit community of bloggers out there. I often feel like quite the outsider over here in my own little blog. I talk with many bloggers on twitter, but i do not broadcast my blog to the world. I kind of like being in my own little corner of the blog world... just me and my thoughts. No worries {or not a lot anyway} of people attacking what i say because they do not agree with me.

That being said, i'd love to one day be a part of the blog world. Go to a conference and meet some of the amazing people that i love in the blog world.

*** beauty found online ***
{Click image for source}
{ah! jumping photos, we love doing jumping photos in our house!}

happy blog viewing!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

having an eco friendly kid, and let them have their toys too?

Pokemon Toys on the kids dresser

The other day i was wandering the house trying to pick up the things that the kid left out, mostly hair accessories and jewelry. And the past few weeks i have been trying to make my closet a CLOSET and not a storage for boxes left over from the move. You are probably wondering what these two things have in common... my kid. All of the boxes are full of her things. Things she has collected and saved during her 11 years on this planet {there were 10 boxes when i started, i am down to 7 and still going through them all}

My kid is a collector of everything. And rightfully so, i should have put a stop to it years ago, but i did not. She started collecting Pokemon when she was 2. First it was cards, then the little plastic figures, then the stuffed animals, and then there are a few posters and coins and strange nic-nacks that go with her collection. She collects keychains as a trinket from all of our vacations. She collects pins that say funny things. She collects rocks {no joke. any rock in her life that she found to be "pretty" she kept it}. She collects coins from around the world. She also collects rare American coins. She collects/saves every card anyone gives her... heck it doesn't even have to be a card, write a note on a piece of paper and she will keep it. She has a hoarder side for sure! And it isn't so much that she keeps things. I'm ok with keeping things that you treasure and that will stand the test of time. She takes it a step further... once she starts, she doesn't want to stop. It is now part of a "collection" which is truly a collection of junk... for the most part.

A few years ago a friend of mine Karyn wrote a blog entry that i couldn't get out of my head these past few days. She wrote about how not having kids made her more eco conscious. And i remember reading that back in Feb 2009 and thinking, "my kid can't consume that much, she's just a tiny kid." But now that i am sitting her trying to figure out the Trash pile, the Goodwill pile, and the "oh my God are you kidding me, why the hell are you seriously keeping this crap" pile... i think Kayrn was spot on in her thinking!

Now, i would not trade my kid for anything in the world. I love her to pieces. But kids are a major contributor of the current eco system we find ourselves in. Take ANY kid under the age of 10 to a store and the first thing they say, "can we go to the toy isle?" And sure enough, that kid will complain their way into a new junk, er, i mean toy. It's bombarded into their brain on a daily basis.... BUY BUY BUY. The breakfast cereal has a junk toy inside of it, so they want the cereal that has a toy in it. The cartoons they watch before school have commercials telling them about how cool the newest toys are. Then all day at school they have Billy and Janie telling them all about their toys and how cool they are, and if you kid doesn't have what the other kids have... they now want what the other kids have!

I'm not sure what, if anything, we as parents can do to break the wants and desires of the children. I do know that by the time Claire was 7 i had her convinced of being more ECO friendly when it came to toys. It also helped that all of her Barbie toys were tainted with LEAD {thank you China!} and she had to throw them all away. She isn't exactly the best eco kid on the planet, but she hasn't asked for the toy isle since age 7.

Yesterday i turned my kid onto thrift stores. At first i took her to Goodwill a few weeks ago and her reaction was "ICK! can we leave? it SMELLS really bad in here!!!" but yesterday i took her to a thrift store and she was like a kid in a candy store looking at all of the old, previously used, still perfectly good, already manufactured, made to last things. She only bought 1 thing with her own money, a painting. But it is a start in the right direction.

My goal is to put her on a path to keep things OUT of the landfills by donating her gently used toys + not buying so many toys to begin with. We've always been big on recycling and reusing anything that we can. We donate and only trash things that are truly trash. But i think when it comes to a life with kids... it really is hard to live a truly eco conscious life style.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Drive thru mentality

It seems that everyone is too busy in life. No one wants to slow down and enjoy the things that are meant to be enjoyed. I know only a handful of people {myself included} who would rather drive to a vacation destination than fly. Everyone wants to just get there and skip over the places that are along the way, and then get right home by skipping over the places once again. No one cares to get out into the world and see the world much anymore.

The people of Europe have it right. For the most part, each person can speak their native language along with English and several other languages of the area around their country. The reason for this learning is simple; they travel, they explore, and they are aware of their entire continent that they live upon. Only 7% of American's have a passport. Which for the most part we do not require one for any reason at all other than to travel to Canada and Mexico while driving and seeing things, so this is just a random point to make. European's however can get to almost any other country from where they live in just a few hours. And i could not find any hard numbers, but most online sources said ALL Europeans had passports.

You do not need to live in a place like Europe to immerse yourself in a culture rich environment. Inside of each town, each state, and each section of our country you can find culture. There is so much to see in America. I'm proud to say that i have driven from one coast of this country to the other coast of this country. I've driven North to South and places in between. And honestly, i've barely scratched the surface of what there is to see in America. But i can tell you this, i've seen some truly amazing things driving around this country of ours. Middle of nowhere Utah/Nevada border area... the great salt flats! amazing! Middle of nowhere Wyoming... Tree Rock! Middle of nowhere New Mexico... Billy "the kid" history! Places you can not just take a plane and you are there. You have to get out and take an adventure. I could list off so many amazing things that i've seen over the years because i took the time to get to where i was going and noticed all of the things along the way.

This isn't just about knowing your country and seeing it, but on a whole people prefer to just have a drive thru style of life. Maybe it is because it is COLD out in the mid-west but the drive thru's are always packed and the parking lots and inside the places are empty. I prefer to go inside, sit down, and enjoy speaking to people face-to-face. {I admit to getting drive thru meals when we are painting or doing a task that requires fast food.} There is just something about the concept of everything going drive thru, it bugs me a bit. Drive thru pharmacies are popping up at even the larger chain stores that do not even specialize in pharmacies. I saw in the news a few months back that they have a drive thru "Adult" store opening up in Texas. I've seen articles on drive thru cigarette and alcohol stores. It's just strange that people can drive thru to get almost anything these days.

I get that people are busy. I get that everyone thinks that their time is more precious than parking, getting out of their car and actually walking around a store to get what they need... but is it any wonder that the Obesity rate in America climbs higher and higher every year? People are getting lazier by the minute. Soon it will be like in the movie Wall-e. People will have zero need to even get up for any reason and they will turn into the people in that movie. FAT and LAZY people just wondering through life with no attention span for reality. it is a sad thought to think of the future of the human race when everything is going to a lazier way of doing things.

This sort of turned into a mini-rant there at the end. Sorry. Basically i wonder when the drive thru lifestyle will end in America? When will people realize that they NEED to get out and DO things. Explore, Enjoy, and Appreciate the life that is all around us all. There is plenty of time to walk your happy bottoms into Taco Bell and get your food for lunch. Not only are you getting a bit of exercise that will help save your life one day... you are also shutting off your car, which in turn helps reduce CO2 and less pollution also helps save your life and the life of others!

Friday, January 14, 2011

what we write today, our grandchildren might read tomorrow.

Left to right: Unknown relatives Dell, Larry and Susie.
My great-grandfather {holding unknown baby} my great grandmother & my great aunt Markita

what will be left of what we say online in 100 years? 1,000 years? will our great-great-great-grandchildren read our tweets on whatever hand held device is out there. will there be an app for that? will they download photos we took today and wonder what we were like?

I've spent the last 9 months {off and on} researching my heritage. it doesn't give me much. a photo here, and a photo there... but no stories on the people who i am looking at in the photo. there are no letters, no journals, no tweets, no blogs, no e-mails. just bits and pieces of information about people in my families past.

wouldn't it be great to know what they were really like. I have my grandfather's eyes, but do I share his sense of humor or his work ethic? was he an adventurous person with a love of travel? was he worried as a father, as a grandfather or even as a child? Did my grandmother regret leaving her kids behind to be raised by another woman? Did she wear her heart on her sleeve or have the world on her shoulders or perhaps she was just a gypsy like personality and brushed everything off and moved onto the next adventure without pause or regret.

there are so many questions that will go un-answered in my quest for knowing who my relatives of the past were in their life. but as I sit here wondering... I can't help but think that perhaps one day there will be someone looking at a photo of me wondering who I was in life. And perhaps that person will have something more to go on... like this blog or my flickr or some trace of my online life will be there for them to see.

so, as I always tell my daughter... do not say or post something online you wouldn't want your grandmother... or one day, your grandchildren to see!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the food we ate and the food we eat today

Dick Van Dyke show {circa 1961}

I positively adore this show from the 60's. I've spoken about it before. It's a wholesome reminder of a time when things were just... simple. They were perfectly simple.

But this isn't truly about this show and my love for all things vintage... not really anyway.

There are several times in this show where Rob will come into the kitchen where Laura is cooking, and he'll grab a carrot or a piece of celery out of the grocery bag and eat it. Seems innocent enough. But he does this without washing it or peeling it or preparing it in anyway at all. In this day of people becoming sick from things like e coli or salmonella almost every month of the year because they didn't properly wash their veggies, well... you should wash any and all vegetables you purchase from the store in today's crazy world of people tainting food and not storing/shipping/making things properly.

As a vegetarian {since the age of 11} i know what ingredients are inside of a number of products that i ate as a child that i wouldn't even let my enemies eat today because i know what is truly inside of it. Jello is made from boiled and ground up animal bones. I remember eating a lot of Jello as a child. Twinkies are made from beef fat {that cream filling isn't made from milk/cream!} And i could go on with several other foods that i use to enjoy. Not to go all Vegan on this entry, but the things that are in the foods we ate and still eat are kind of nasty!

The entire point of this entry is this... times use to be more simple. People back then thought in simple terms. Food was just that, Food. They bought it, ate it... and didn't think much about where it came from or how it was processed or much of anything. The people of that generation happily bought into the happy ad's selling the items as wholesome and healthy. They didn't worry too much about the bad stuff that was in foods.

With that being said, when i was a kid we got our Milk from local farmers. We bought our eggs from the farmers down the street. We had a garden and my mom canned a LOT of our foods that we ate all winter long. I do not recall having soup from a store can that often, but made from vegetables from a glass jar off the shelf in the basement. Now you might think that i was a kid in the 50's with my talking like this, but i was born in the mid 70's. This all took place in the 80's. We were somewhat poor, this is how we ate to survive. But we did eat things like jello and twinkies and hot dogs and even Spaghetti O's.

Each week i go to the store and i purchase foods that nourish us, while they poison us. Whatever your belief or stance on being a vegan, a vegetarian, or even a full blown meat eater... the plain and simple fact is this - most of the foods we eat are BAD for us. They are full of added sodium's, added fats, and added junk that the human body doesn't need.

I don't mean for this to come off as a complaint, because i am happy to know what is in the foods we eat today. I like reading the labels and figuring out if it is something i would feed my family or not. Back then, they didn't have the kinds of labels we have today. They blindly just ate their food and either liked it and bought it again, or hated it and didn't purchase it again. But there are times when i feel like my personal supply of food is dwindling to only RAW, organic, farmers market purchased food.  There are times when it might be nice to just not know what is really in the foods that i use to love to eat. To just forget that the yummy onion soup i use to LOVE to eat is made of beef broth. Forget about the jello that i use to love is made from animal bones, and so on...

but i can't forget. somethings are just to nasty to ignore and put into my body.

Edited to add: i just made rice crispy treats with my daughter last night. And somehow i never {ever} read the package of marshmallows. Perhaps i just adored them too much and was afraid to learn what was inside of them? Or maybe deep down i knew that i shouldn't be eating them. Nothing that sugary/yummy can be good for you or made from anything natural found on this earth.

Sure enough, ingredient # 3 is Gelatin. One of the main ingredients in Marshmallow's is Gelatin? {made from boiled, ground up animal bones} yuck! i will never fully enjoy another cup of hot chocolate again.