#reusetues – Clothes (TED edition)

21 Jun

I’m a huge fan of TED talks and all things community-driven (whether it’s ideas, projects, sourcing, whatever). Naturally, I gravitated to Jessi Arrington’s talk, titled “Wearing Nothing New”.

Sounds like a hell of a challenge, eh? See how she does it.

Side note – you’ll also notice #reusetues went on an elongated hiatus these past few weeks or so. Good news is I have a new career home that I’m absolutely in love with, doing a job I adore and working toward a mission I really stand behind. Check out my new work fam here.

#reusetues: Jars, Cans, Jugs

31 May

Today’s post comes from the only other person I’ve ever heard of using the hashtag #reusetues — Tonia of  IttyBittyImpact (fittingly @ittybittyimpact on Twitter). Naturally, we wanted to compose a guest post for each other. Thank you Tonia for your patience while falling victim to WordPress glitches, my travel schedule AND new job — y’all should have been reading this a few weeks ago. On with it…

How many times have you thrown out or recycled a mason jar {we buy jams and preserves from a local farm and they use mason jars for the packaging, so we have a plethora of empty jars in our house}, an aluminum soup or coffee can, or a plastic milk jug? Probably many, many times. But next time you’re about to, think twice! These common containers can be turned into cute and useful NEW THINGS!

Mason jars make excellent food storage containers. The bigger the mason jar, the better. I store all our leftovers in half-gallon jars. The lid closes nice and tight, so the leftovers last longer in the fridge. They’re easy to clean out afterward, and there’s no nasty toxins from plastic seeping into your food! I squirm at the thought of storing food in plastic Ziplock containers…after those things have been washed so many times, the plastic starts to break down. 😦 But there’s nothing to worry about with glass containers! The Decorated Cookie has a nifty blog post about packing lunches/picnics in mason jars.

 Aluminum soup and coffee cans make adorable planters for your herbs, veggies, and flowers. You could paint them cheery colors, or let them rust for an industrial-chic look. Gardening with Mo Gilmer has a post with examples here.











And last but not least, this clever tutorial shows you how to turn an old milk jug into a nifty reusable lunch sack! So easy!

Get out there are start reusing, folks! There is just no end to the ways we can create less waste around the house by being creative, resourceful and thoughtful.

-Tonia of Itty Bitty Impact {Check out her other ReuseTues posts here}


#reusetues – bottle caps

26 Apr

Apparently the cool thing to do in my apartment is take a beer bottle cap and pop it into my pretty potpourri in a vase in the kitchen. Now there’s this awkward metal layer on top of my attempt of domestic goodiness, so I figured I might as well see if there’s another use for these cramping-my-style bottle caps.

All my domestic goddess attempts trumped by bottle caps


  • Maybe Miller (or another read: better beer) will pull through with another promotion like the 2008 summer bottle cap drive. Every Miller Lite bottle cap mailed in during its “Better. Bolder. Summer.” promotion turned into a ten-cent donation for MDA. A summer’s worth of beer caps could be a small fortune, but Miller donated its max amount of $100,000.
  • One of my favorite skin & hair care lines (AVEDA) acknowledged the number of plastic caps filling landfills, in turn creating an ongoing nationwide bottle cap drive with schools. Rumor has it you can donate at any retail location as well.
  • Drop off your caps (yogurt & hummus, too!) at Whole Foods before restocking your place. In partnership with Preserve (which is underwrote by some eco-smart companies like Brita, Stonyfield Yogurt, Seventh Generation and Tom’s of Maine),thee recycled plastic is turned into goods for your home, kitchen and personal needs (shop away!)

Inspired yet? (via theawesomer)


  • According to every major retailer, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holiday season. It’s always too early for me, but if it’s your cup of tea, fulfill your Christmas spirit by making these bottle cap Christmas tree decorations. I think they’re tacky, but that goes for most of December in my book…
  • Make your fridge wear its heart (errr… insides) in its sleeve by making up some bottle cap magnets.
  • Give your jewelry family a more eclectic cousin with these bottle cap pendants.
  • If you won the mock elections for “most patient” and “most artistic”, well do I have the project for you. The extravagant bottle cap art in this WebUrbanist piece will blow your flipping mind. We’re talking full-on recreating of Starry Night using the cap to your last drink.
  • Apparently some artists are already taking to the streets with their bottle cap art. Find something you fancy via Nanchez Bottle Cap Art (and they’ll take your mailed in caps too!)
Any other uses, beverage-swigging friends?

#reusetues – banana peels

19 Apr

Maybe I was eating a banana, or dreaming of chocolate-covered bananas from Trader Joe’s. It might have been the awkward monkey-like atmosphere along Hollywood & Highland I got to experience today. Or maybe it was a recent post by Apartment Therapy about cleaning silver with banana peels that caught my attention.

Either way, I am now determined to find ways to use banana peels (outside of Mario Kart). Donating? Not so much. Let’s just focus on the DIY and reusable aspect of this week’s hot topic.

An IRL Mario Kart banana peel for your car, via Etsy.

  • Got a green thumb? Even if you’re not the best gardener, make your garden blossom by chopping up banana peel and planting in the soil. It’s a bio-degradable potassium booster for your to-be luscious plants.
  • Maybe you’re more of an indoor plant owner instead. Rub the inside of the peel on your plant leaves to wipe away dust and shine them up.
  • Get your body in tip-top shape. Remove warts or reduce bug bite swelling by taping the inside of a peel to it until it’s gone, remove splinters with the same taping trick (supposedly, the splinter will fall out) and wipe the inside of a banana peel along your teeth for a few weeks for a brighter (and whiter) smile.
  • Shine your shoes with the inside of a peel for instant spiffiness.
  • Foodies, let the gift of yums keep on giving. Make your own banana peel vinegar or use the peels like you would leaves for meat tenderization.
Any other crazy uses for banana peels out there? Share them!

#reusetues – billboards

12 Apr

I’m sure not many of my readers have instant access to billboards, but a recent article on GOOD highlighting a company that repurposes billboard signage into place mats as the inspiration to see how else they’re being reused.


#reusetues – Tennis Balls

29 Mar

Spring is in the air (literally – my allergies have never been worse!), so lots of people will be taking to their outdoor hobbies or getting into some spring cleaning. Tennis balls seem to be that one item that you can find by the dozens during a hearty garage cleaning. At my family’s house, we could never have enough tennis balls, seeing as we had a dog and a brother/dad who’d use them for batting drills. But you and yours might not be strange like my family, so let’s get cracking to some solutions for those neon green fuzzballs.


  • Dogs + tennis balls = natural pair. See if your local shelter/rescue will accept tennis ball donations. It’ll keep the pups happily occupied until they find their forever home.
  • A senior citizen or nursing home. Why, you ask? Haven’t you seen the folks rolling dirty with their tennis ball-adjusted walkers?  It’s the best hack ever created for walkers – slice & put tennis balls on the bottom of the walker feet so it will slide better (for those who aren’t strong enough to lift).

Rolling dirty with a tennis ball walker

  • Local schools. Because of the same hacking concept as the walkers, but with desks & chairs. The sound of chairs scraping the floor is only worse than nails on a chalkboard (cringing now).
  • After-school programs, summer camp and sports programs. Chances are, the tennis pros-in-training have lots of tennis balls that go missing daily. Keep them stocked.
  • There are a few national and international nonprofits that will take product donations, including Sports Gift.


  • Massage, anyone? Put a tennis ball under your foot and roll it around to relieve foot pain. Or give yourself a back massage (this one’s a little more tricky).
  • If you have trouble opening jars, cut a tennis ball in half and use to pry open those stubborn lids.
  • Keep your laundry fluffy by using a few (clean) balls in the dryer, especially if it’s a down feather coat/comforter.
  • Tie one to a string in the garage to help with pulling your ride in without taking out the wall.
  • Keep your camera steady with this tennis ball tripod.
  • Check out these other lists of uses for tennis balls (10 uses, 21 usesand 50 uses), that include a cell phone case, puppets, water guns and headphones.

What alternative or philanthropic uses have you found for tennis balls?


#reusetues – Your typical purchases for Japanese relief efforts

22 Mar

I was going to blog about a typical item you could DIY/donate, but there’s a need to consolidate all of the socially-charged consumer efforts for Japanese tsunami & earthquake relief. I know I’m a little late to the game, but momentum seems to be fading out but there is still a major need for resources. I encourage you to add any offers to the comments section below – they can be local or worldwide, one-day only or ongoing.

I’m going to continue to add to this list as more stuff comes my way. Here’s what I’ve heard of thus far:


Rue La La and Tory Burch are teaming up for Japan and opening a special online boutique, with 100 percent of net proceeds go to the American Red Cross. You’ll need to be a member of Rue La La to shop; you can use my new patron link to join. Starts 3 p.m. EST, March 22.

Kate Spade created a great custom tote at an unheard of price ($18). All proceeds from the tote will go to the Japanese Red Cross. According to the company’s Twitter feed, the tote isn’t on pre-sale yet, so keep an eye on their page to be the first to know. Sale TBD.

Sample sales for Japan! Philip Lim 3.1 is hosting a rare public sale at the Philip Lim Showroom in NYC, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. March 24 & 25, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Ralph Lauren also turned what he does best – polos – into a humanitarian effort. Buy the Japan Hope Polo ($98-110) and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Central Community Chest of Japan (part of the United Way Worldwide network). Ongoing.

The Salvation Army has a $20 graphic tee called “Army For Japan” that’s currently on pre-order. The $20 shirt will fully benefit the organization’s relief efforts in Japan. Pre-order through March 30.

Love.Care.Japan sums up this woman’s shirt. $20 going straight to Japan with your purchase.

Feeling mighty? Mighty Detroit created a special Mighty Japan shirt, with all $28 going to recovery efforts overseas. Ongoing.

Love.Care.Japan - $20

FOOD and other goods

Sprinkles Cupcakes (with locations across the US, and one conveniently down the street from me in Beverly Hills) will donate 100 percent of Red Cross Velvet Cupcake sales to the American Red Cross, all day March 22.

A New Jersey concert venue has turned sold-out shows into a fundraising opportunity. Tickets & a meet and greet with artists of upcoming sold out shows at Starland Ballroom (Coheed & Cambria and My Chemical Romance are two of the half dozen offered) are up for grabs in an online auction, and all proceeds going to Nippon. Auction ends March 24 at 3 p.m. EST.

A Supercross or FMX fan? Bid on this autographed BikeBandit.com jersey. You guessed it – the money goes to disaster relief. Auction ends March 31.

Get your geek on? Purchase one of O’Reilly Media’s “Deal of the Day” at a discount and all proceeds (minus author royalities) will go to the Japanese Red Cross. March 22, all day.

Help the animals of Japan too. Boogie Wonderland (an etsy store) is donating all proceeds from select magnet sales to various animal-related causes in Japan. Ongoing.

Lots of other etsy sellers are donating a portion or all proceeds from sales to Japanese relief efforts. Feed though the items and see if something is a fit for you.

Lots of etsy merchants dedicate proceeds to Japan


Social good takeaways from SXSWi

20 Mar

After an unbelievelable amount of time either a) driving b) churning out digital content while our brains were half-sleeping or c) driving, the SXSWAngels made it to Austin in one piece, ready to take on SXSWi. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, read my blog post HERE to get you up to speed with what I’ve done with my life these past two weeks.

For those unfamiliar with SXSWi, it’s the mackdaddy of all digital conferences. The girls and I could “get our geek on” and it was the norm. Yes, a teammate even tweeted about breathing the same air as the founders of mint.com and somehow walked out of the Austin Convention Center without being arrested for creeping.

After loads of time dedicated to sorting through all the different discussions offered during the five days of geekdom, I naturally gravitated to social good topics. From a panel on the Pepsi Refresh Project to a keynote with Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes, one prevalent trend during the course of the week was for-profit organizations’ innovation in the social good world. Blake made a case for incorporating strong social awareness and cause-related business practices into a for-profit endeavor (and apparently is the perfect case study with Toms). Essentially, giving is easier if it’s already incorporated into your business model. Amen.

Other interesting takeaways from the weekend:

  • During a panel on being a free agent in the nonprofit world, Mark of InvisiblePeople.tv pointed out some agencies suffer from executive director disease, which is a breeding ground of micromanagement and control from fear of letting the brand get in the hands of free agents (aka outside help). At the end of the day, look to work toward the cause, not for the people running the show.
  • On the topic of good business, Blake spoke about the enriching environment TOMS Shoes invests in. This includes working with genuinely good and passionate people and giving back as a team. This also is my dream job situation (so hire me?)
  • While sitting in on a panel on a social hackathon for donorschoose.org, the group of for-profits businesspeople took two days to focus their energies on applying business practices to a need in the nonprofit world. I haven’t completely absorbed it yet, but they produced a free e-book from their hours locked up for the greater good and want other NPOs and social good orgs to put the digital practices to good use.
  • I’m sure many of you have either applied for or fell victim to the constant badgering for votes from a grantee hopeful in the Pepsi Refresh Project. The project continues to evolve, including the expansion to European countries and alterations to the application process and second chances. Two grantees were also on the panel, providing a decent inside look to the work put in on a nonprofit’s end (check out Selfless Tees – a grant recipient preparing to launch – if you want to see a project funded on Pespi’s dime).
  • A final awesome note: TOMS Shoes unveiled that the business is evolving from a shoe company to a one-for-one company. There’s a need for more than shoes in the communities being helped, so the company is expanding their line. I’m OBSESSED with one-for-one and socially-conscious consumerism, so I’m stoked to see what is unveiled on June 7. Speculation is behind a blue button-up polo, but I’m stuck on the idea of a backpack or satchel of sorts. Think about it – how many people in undeserved areas need to transport basic supplies for miles without any means of carrying? What do you think TOMS will unveil or what would you hope to see another organization provide in the one-for-one sphere?

While scouring the online world, I found some very in-depth notes from other panel attendees I thought were worth sharing. This includes the notes on “A Global Conversation: Free Agents & Nonprofits in a Networked World” (hashtag: #netnon) by @askdebra and tweets curated and translated from the same panel, the full video from the Pepsi Refresh Project panel and some graphic whiteboards and videos from the inside of the social hackathon (aka #goodengine).

#reusetues – plastic bags

15 Mar

Being on the #chevysxsw Road Trip Challenge was my focus last Tuesday, so I’ve already missed one #reusetues. Being tired, delusional and slightly unsure of what day (or month) it is, I didn’t want to go two for two on this one.

Flaking out on your own blog back-to-back isn’t a good record to have.

Something I always enjoyed were the ten tips on the plastic bags at Target for reuse inspiration. Staring at the one Target bag we have in our hotel room right now, they cut it down to only five points. I guess providing advice on redneck water balloons was no longer up the store’s alley.

Naturally, there’s a lot more reusable tips for plastic bags than the ten provided. Share them if you have them. My tip? Don’t use them. If I have time to bore everyone later, we have some funny stories about plastic bags from our trip out to SXSW. Until then, share your reuse or recycle tips.

#reusetues – Books

1 Mar

I cringe writing this post. Books should be books, right? A recent tweet from a friend back in Detroit slapped me with the reality that Kindles and Nooks really are starting to make people second guess why they have a monster bookcase taking up space when everything fits into that little magical tablet.

So today, I begrudgingly accept the fact that books might need a second life, whether through donating or DIYing. Here goes…

Make the pages come to life!


  • SO MANY PLACES take book donations. We’re talking hospitals, prisons, libraries, local nonprofit resale stores, schools (assuming the material is audience-appropriate), homeless shelters, womens’ shelters and even to the troops overseas. If you need help finding a place to donate, let me help you out.
  • If you have lots of books about a specific topic or genre, hone in on what audiences would benefit from your collection and ask if they’d like it. Chances are, if you’re toting around a stellar collection on plants, a local nature center or science group would be interested in taking those off your hands.


Edit: Maybe it’s sheer coincidence, but the same guy who inspired today’s post also just became a daddy. Congrats Henry & Angela! Check out the Lion King-style photo of him with Baby Charlotte.