Paper Towels

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It didn’t occur to me that being paper towel-less is something to be smug about. Actually, being paper towel-less didn’t occur to me, it just kind of happened. My mother-in-law gave us a ton of old towels for the dogs including smaller, paper towel sized ones and we also have a stack of worn-out facecloths we keep for kitchen spills. After that, we just kind of stopped buying them.

A lot of people have told me that I can’t have kids without paper towels, but I think they’re wrong. I don’t like using flimsy pieces of paper to clean up messes, and I don’t mind washing a load of dirty rags once a week.

A few commenters in this article on Re-Nest mentioned that being paper towel-less is an eco-holier-than-thou kind of thing to do, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it to me (my bio-degradable laundry soap, however, makes me way better than you.)

Check it out and tell me what you think. And am I going to have to succumb to the paper towels once I’m living without a washer and dryer?

photo from re-nest

Night Owl Paper Goods – Now With Discount Code!

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Night Owl Paper Goods is a stationary company based in Birmingham “Owlbama” (their pun, not mine… I love puns!) They use the phrase “modern yet folksy” to describe their company, and I’ll add “sustainable” to that list, too. They make two kinds of greeting cards: paper and wood. The paper letterpress designs are printed on “100% reclaimed & recycled cotton from the garment industry” which have a luxurious feeling to them that you normally associate with fancy but eco-UNfriendly paper.

Their unique wood cards are printed on thinly sliced, sustainability harvested yellow birch. The birch slices are also turned into business cards, journal covers and custom wedding invitations. They’re pretty cool!  My favorite product was the wood postcards which you can buy with one of their cute designs or blank so you can DIY.  They go right in the mail with a postcard stamp, and are just as easy to write on as paper.

nightowlcollage

I met Jennifer and Alan at the National Stationary Show this year, and they were kind enough to give a Night Owl Paper Goods discount code to The Amber Show readers good now until June 30, 2009. So go shopping! (The wood cars are especially rad for Father’s Day!) Use the discount code Amber* to receive 20% off.

*(dude. How cool am I? )

Allow Myself to Introduce… Myself

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“…you’ve always tried to make choices that are right for you and the people you love. Give it some more time and a little more thought, and I’m sure the right thing for you to do will present itself without question.” – Jen

I’ve been thinking a lot about my “name” issue and reached a conclusion. But I gotta ‘splain, so check it, yo.

There were a lot of you all in favor of me switching to Rob’s last name. I like the concept in a vacuum, but my point of hesitation is the one where everyone thinks: “Oh, she just took his name because she’s the woman and he’s the man.”

Also, I’m 27, and this is my third name. That’s an average of being named less than once a decade. Enough already, you know! In each case, the name was given to me because of a man handing it down, and that makes my feminist sensibilities twitch. I’ve never had my “own” name, and while that’s not the biggest deal in the world, it bothers me a tiny bit.

Najla pointed out that I could take this opportunity to switch my last name to whatever I wanted, even though I’m married. It had occurred to me, too, but I dismissed the idea as being too… something. Maybe the word is just plain “lonely”. I realized that the end of the day, I not only want a new name, I really do want to share a name with Rob, no matter how clunky the end result is. There are three options for that: he changes his name to mine, I change my name to his, or we both pick something new. Because of his family ties, he isn’t willing to change his name, and I respect that.

So that’s part one.

Part two.

This is not a photo of me.  Duh.

We do have the same name, though.  Amber Lynn came (hehe!) onto the porn scene in 1984 (I was born in ’82), and is one of the better known porn stars, even today (partly because of her charity work). As you can imagine, my middle name doesn’t see the light of day much.

It was chosen for me because it’s my mother’s middle name, and Amber Lynn is pretty enough I suppose, porn connotation aside, but as long as I’m shedding old names, I figured, why not get rid of the moniker of this porn star and make a new name for myself? It will also be nice not to have the middle name of someone who told me I was worthless and stupid, and left scars on my body from the physical assaults.  You know?

So that’s part two.

Part three, of course, was picking a new middle name, which I narrowed down to two requirements:

1. It had to sound plausible as a last name. This clears up the whole “I’ve never had my own last name” issue, at least to my satisfaction. To get a good list to choose from I went to babynames.com and looked at the names considered gender neutral. This worked well; virtually all made great sounding family names.

I wanted it to sound like a surname so that it reads as a maiden name, sort of like Hillary Rodham Clinton (no hyphen). I like that; you can call her Hilary Clinton, but if you’re being proper, you use all three names, and that’s how I’m treating the middle name for me, too. Holly inadvertently gave me this idea, and I’m giving that my own twist.

2. The second requirement is that it just had to start with M. Here’s the part you start wondering what I’m smoking, but bear with me. The M is a sturdy letter, visually. It has two strong, wide-set feet. You pronounce it only one way as far as I know; the M knows what she’s all about. By using a lot of them, you can say “yes” in a sassy way, as in “Mmmmmhmmm!”, and the “Me and My M” song was always my favorite Sesame Street cartoon. (If you think this last bit, a one and a half minute song from Sesame Street, could not possibly have factored into my picking a name for myself, you are so wrong.)

So there it is. I go to probate court in my official hometown of Trumbull, Connecticut, turn in the papers, swear I’m not trying to commit fraud, write a check and I am newly, legally christened. (And yes, I’m a libertarian and think that having to file with the court to “officially” do ANYTHING is ridiculous, but that’s the way it is.)

The hardest part about all this is You.

Well, maybe not YOU, but someone.  Someone isn’t going to “get it”.  Someone is going to hear what I’ve done, and they’re going to roll their eyes.  Someone is going to call me silly, stupid, and over-dramatic.  Someone is going to make fun.  And I get it, because as much as I believe in this, I am fully aware that it is “weird”.  It doesn’t feel weird to me, it feels wonderful!  But it IS weird, and I’m self-conscious of that. I’m blessed with a pretty thick skin and the full knowledge that not everyone needs to approve before I do something, but it is still going to be really hard to break this news to the more judgmental people in my life who will need to know. (Though I called my grandmother and told her, and she’s pretty happy, and Rob is happy, so haters be damned!)

So! WHAT THE HELL IS IT ALREADY?! Ready?

Amber Marlow Blatt

OMG! I typed that and now I’m crying! I’m happy! Please be happy with me!

It’s a big name, I know.  A mouthful.  The name equivalent of unbuttoning my pants and letting my big old belly hang out, standing in the middle of the room with my feet planted in a wide stance (just like the letter M), stopping up the flow of traffic at the house party, I’m-in-your-way-and-I-like-it kind of name. The Marlow softens it, I think, kind of a cushion to your forehead after the Amber, and right before the Blatt knocks you, twack! like a two-by-four. It’s quiet, and warm and solid.

Everyone has to make their own path in life, I just wish that mine wasn’t so strange, sometimes. In the end, though, if I get to be here, it was worth it. Plus, hey! It’s the Amber show. I can do whatever I want.

Rock.

Molly Mutts Dog Beds

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“i have three dogs. this translates into three very dirty dog beds.” – molly

This is a woman after my own heart.

Molly decided she’d had enough with the dog laundry. (I hear you!) She longed for a dog bed with a cover, like her own duvet cover, that would be easy to keep clean. From this thought, Molly Mutt dog beds were born. This is how it works:

Step one: You stuff the inner liner, or Stuff Sack, with old clothes and cloths, and maybe the stuffing from a few old stuffed animals that have seen better days. Basically whatever you have laying around that you don’t need anymore. It’s recycling! (Actually, the cool kids call it “upcycling”, but whatev).

Step two: You slide on one of the Molly Mutt covers, which come in a handful of cute patterns.

And then, step three – snoozeville!:

Kits that contain one Stuff Sack and two duvet covers are available, too.

discovered via Mighty Goods

April 22nd, 2009 | posted in environmental,good things | tagged

Earth Day 2009

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Happy Earth Day!

This is my earth friendly tip for you: Save your plastic bags. The bags that dry cereal and noodles come in are my favorites. They are much sturdier than the plastic bags you buy, and work well for housing leftovers.

Some examples: I used the last of some Rice Krispies and a bag of marshmallows to make Rice Krispie treats. Then I put the treats, when they were cooled, into the empty cereal bag and the empty marshmallow bag.

Our onions are in an empty cereal bag so they stay fresher longer (we hardly ever use up onions before they go bad; I’m hoping this will help).

We bought some lox and I used only part of the package. Instead of wrapping the extra in plastic wrap, it’s in an empty noodle bag.

I keep the bags in an old cereal box put aside for this purpose, and it sits on top of my refrigerator. If I was more ambitious I’d decorate the box.

P.S. Stu! told me she hoped I wouldn’t become “one of those freaky ‘freegan’ people” when she saw what I was up to, but this is just a matter of common sesne.  I have no plans to rummage through a dumpster for my clothes anytime soon (although I’m a terrible dresser and sometimes I look like I might…)

April 22nd, 2009 | posted in environmental | tagged

How Do You Say, “AWESOME!” in Dutch?

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Beelden Bouwers is a Dutch design company that makes these lamp covers out of repurposed, surplus industry wool. I have zero idea how to order from them (and, I don’t speak Dutch) but I don’t think they’d be too hard to replicate with an old sweater and an IKEA lampshade. When I was seventeen working at movie theater, someone found a large man’s sweater and put it in the back room. I asked whose it was, and was told it was being held as a “lost and found” item. “If no one claims it,” I said, “I want it.” (When I showed Jen my new threads she said, “Of course you wanted it.” I was pretty well known for my fondness of odd clothing choices. Hey, I was frugal!)

I still have that sweater, although I don’t wear it, and I think it would make a cozy lampshade for my house. Time to dig it up.

ps – I want to go to Europe. I think I’d like it there. Goals for 2010: save up enough to visit Holland.

February 6th, 2009 | posted in environmental,good things | tagged

Smeg!

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My perfect kitchen has a Smeg refrigerator. There’s a showroom in Manhattan, and every time I walk by I stop to admire them.

This two minute Wallace and Gromit cartoon features a yellow one. I think I’d like a yellow one myself. Or maybe red, or orange. Or pink!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Simple Shoes Rock!

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Post number 900!

Simpleshoes.com is one of my favorite companies because they make cute shoes and have a very strong commitment to making sustainable, super cute kicks. I have a pair of their toe foo flip flops; they aren’t the best for walking more than half a mile at a time, but they’re perfect for when you’re going out to a not super-fancy but still nice dinner.

They invited bloggers/myspacers/facebookers/etc. to post one of the two youtube videos they made talking about their company. All who do are entered into six separate drawings, to win a free pair of shoes!

Here’s my entry. I hope you enjoy (it’s a little long) and are inspired to check out a pair of earth-friendly, totally cute shoes of your own.

P.S. they’re having a killer sale on summer shoes right now: if you buy them today they should be good until there’s snow on the ground, and then you’ll have them for the spring.

Happy weekend!