Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lotsa Links!

I still haven't figured out what my blogging topic schedule is going to be, but I figured I'd post some timely links that you might find helpful.

Living in Staten Island, home of the world's largest manmade object, which can be seen from space (no lie!) a/k/a The Fresh Kills Landfill, I've been a practitioner of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle since they first started doing it in NYC.  Now we have OROE and GrowNYC, and the Council on the Environment in NYC, which are agencies involved in recycling and reusing items that would otherwise be headed for the trash.  Even though the Fresh Kills Landfill has been closed, disposal of trash remains a concern (if you've ever gone for a week without your trash or recycling being picked up, you know what I'm talking about!), and the more items we can keep out of the landfills, or off those barges that tote trash all over the world, or out of our oceans and waterways, the better it is for all of us.

So here's the link for GrowNYC, the center for recycling, etc., in NYC:  GrowNYC.

Here's the link to the Environmental Protection Agency's recycling page:  EPA.

You can find out from the EPA how to compost, where to dispose of your electronics, and where there are recycling drop-off centers in your area, if you do not have a municipal recycling program.  If you do have a municipal recycling program, contact your local hotline (in NYC it's 311) or the agency that handles the recycling to find out about recycling events in your area.  They may have an e-mail list or a Facebook page that allows you to receive updates about events and practices underway in your community.

To continue the environmental theme, Missus Smarty Pants, Leslie Gonzales, recommended this website a few weeks ago to her readers, and I'm reposting it here.  You need to register your e-mail and get a password to login to derive the full benefit of the website, but you can use it without it.  They do have a neat function where you can build your own database of products.

It's the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

They have a database of over 74,000 personal care, hygiene and cosmetic products for women, men and children that you can research for safety.  It's a very detailed database, with lots of information.

Another great website with information on cosmetic products for women and men is Beautypedia, Paula Begoun's database of products, from drugstore items to high-end products, and specialty store brands, like The Body Shop and Kiehl's.  Paula Begoun and her team are known as The Cosmetics Cops, and they work tirelessly, researching whether products do what they are advertised to do, how well they live up to the hype, and what you can actually expect from your beauty products.  Beautypedia is an encyclopedia of cosmetic products listed by brand, with ratings from Paula and her team.  You can look up your favorite products on the website and find out whether they performed in research tests up to a high standard, and whether they are worth the money you spend on them.

Used in tandem with the above-mentioned Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, you should be able to find products that are worth the money, that will do what they say they will, and that will meet your expectations, while using safe and effective ingredients.

In keeping with my focus on finances, and also because she has a lot of ways you can DIY and make your own products on the cheap at home, I recommend The Budget Fashionista.  She has comprehensive articles on budgeting, finances, credit cards, debit cards, secured credit cards and my personal favorite, "How the Budget Fashionista Got Out of Debt."  She also has articles about shopping sales, including sample sales, and she keeps tabs on the hot trends, and how to get them for less.  Great website, can't say enough good things about it!

While reading "How the Budget Fashionista Got Out of Debt," one of the comments mentioned Out of the Dark, a budgeting website.  I had been using LearnVest, which I acknowledge is all kinds of hip and cool, but it didn't do what I wanted it to, what it was, I can't even remember, I'm sure it seemed important at the time.  Anyway, I don't have LearnVest anymore, I'm using Out of the Dark, but I'm still getting the hang of it.  It's a little more DIY than LearnVest, but it does certain things better, simply because you're the one who has control over the information.  So, as long as you're honest about where your money is going, and how often it's going there (late-night runs to the corner deli or the nearest hip coffee bar, anyone?), you should be able to keep track of your finances pretty well.  I'll be reporting on my financial progress from time to time, so look for updates.  That reminds me, I have to do an OOTD update ... but first things first ... it's dinner-time!

Before I go, though, here are two really great websites that deserve a mention, having to do with household organization (a favorite topic of mine):

My niece Rose introduced me to this website, via her Pinterest board:  Home Storage Solutions.  They have a great challenge, you can jump in wherever you want, and it's called the "52-Week Challenge to a More Organized Home."  They come up with some handy tips and good practices to get into.

Another favorite website of mine is FlyLady.  Through FlyLady I found the awesome, afore-mentioned, Missus Smarty Pants, a phenomenal cyber-stylist who features great articles every week.  She also has a blog on Blogger (see my Followers, she's missusmsp, click, and you're there!) and she's also on Facebook.  FlyLady is also on Facebook, and through her website, you can sign up for free daily e-mails on household organization.  Full disclosure:  I purchased a Control Journal through the FlyLady's website, and I'm also a member of MissusSmartyPants online style service.  But I also really think they're worth your time to investigate.

And now I really must make dinner!  Au revoir, mes amies!

I guess this will be my first Lotsa Links Thursday.