Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Have You Been Doing Lately?

September has been a happy, busy month for me. The hot days have gradually turned into cool nights, and I am keeping plenty busy between two jobs, writing, job searching, and experiencing all the neat things Cincinnati has to offer. 


The RecycleBank bins have finally arrived on my street!! I have signed up and can't wait until I start cashing in my recyclables for sweet stuff. It's awesome to have the huge bins, and I really like that everybody keeps them outside. Being the recycle nerd I am, I'll sometimes pick recyclables up off the street and now instead of carrying it home, I can toss it in someone else's bin. 

PARK(ing) Day 2010 came and went, and I got to spend a day hanging outside with the good peeps of downtown. This year we included real sod, and people were surprised and excited that I was chilling out on real grass! 

Many of my friends have moved away from Cincinnati since graduation, but the few of us that remain still get together occasionally for Sunday Night Dinners. I got to host one in my new apartment - complete  with a kitchen table! - and made crazy awesome Oktoberfest inspired food.

 A dear friend from high school moved away after graduation to Portland Oregon, and now 5 years later she's back, got married and moving with her beloved to Pittsburgh. A beautiful wedding for a beautiful bride!

Lastly but not leastly I got to volunteer with ArtsWave's Paint the Street event this past Sunday. Over a thousand people showed up to beautify a section of Over the Rhine, and it made me bubble over with joy... I was seriously smiling all day! I carried paint, made sandwiches, and took lots and lots of pictures of this sweet experience. I couldn't believe how many people came together and how awesome it all looked when it was finished. Not only did this act of beauty affect the people who were working on it, but the entire neighborhood swelled with excitement and energy. Just another sign of the heartbeat of my fantastic neighborhood. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I am gradually getting settled in to my own little apartment, but after having lived with 6 girls for three years, I did not start out with much in the way of apartment furnishings.

I got super lucky with my social network, and managed to collect several furniture pieces (futon, chairs, tables, bookcase, kitchen cart) for very little cost through my friends on Twitter. 

A few weeks ago, I even got a free cooking pan! Savor the Thyme gave away a free ScanPan, which is a Danish cookware company. They have invented a new type of non-stick cookware that is completely PFOA free - aka no nonstick/Teflon gross chemicals trickling into your food and raising your cholesterol. 

I'm an aspiring cook - my roomie once told me she didn't think I could make anything to eat with less than 3 ingredients (she's pretty much right) and so I was STOKED to get an awesome new pan to use. 2 weeks later, and let me tell you what, this is a great pan. It's made out of recycled cast aluminum, which heats evenly and is hey, recycled! Double win.

I initiated the pan with a simple enough task - caramelizing some veggies for a fancy grilled cheese (see, more than three ingredients!) and the pan did a great job. It's also stood up to eggs, gravy, and several other tasks. Check it out!

ready for action!

onions and shrooms are looking good.


transferred veggies to a sandwich...

finished product!

SuperYUM, FTW!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So You Want to Create A recycleDbin...

Today is your lucky day!

I am teaching a demonstration at the makerspace Hive13 tonight. Located at 2929 Spring Grove Avenue in the Anchor Building, Hive13 is a workspace that allows for creativity and creation in 3500 square feet of work room. Take things apart, put them back together, mash them up, see what happens... it's a great opportunity to get your hands dirty and come away with something awesome.

Myself and my plastic bags will be headed there to demonstrate the awesomeness of ironing plastic together to make something new. If you want to come by, bring an iron and some bags, and you can learn the joy... and maybe help contribute to Park+Vine's new space!

7pm. 2929 Spring Grove Avenue. Be there!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Energy Game

I started a new position at the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance at the beginning of August, and since then, energy efficiency has been on my mind quite a bit. This new job coupled with my new apartment (and subsequent new Duke Energy bill) has really given me pause as to how I use energy in my new abode.

For me right now energy efficiency is mostly about saving money, but in the long run, it's also about reducing my carbon footprint. The majority of electricity in Ohio is generated by burning coal, which is not so great.

I was super lucky to have moved at the end of August, and with the exception of a few warm days last week the climate inside the apartment has been really pleasant for myself and the kittens. I leave the windows open all the time (with screens in, so my kamikaze kittens don't fall to their deaths) and use the ceiling fans.

(image from - shows how much energy devices use in standby mode/plugged in)

Right now, I have a grand total of 4 items in my place plugged in: the fridge, my bedside clock, and two surge protectors (one that is always plugged in that houses the internet connection, the other housing a lamp and my laptop charger that will be turned off after I'm done for the evening.)

My challenge to myself (and to you!) - how cognicent can I be about my energy usage? It's so easy to leave stuff plugged in, but even if a gadget (even a cell phone charger!) isn't being used, if it's plugged in it will still draw energy out. Which blows, both for my wallet and for the planet.

There are some things (like my desktop computer setup) that I really don't want to unplug, so I've connected all those outlets to a surge protector, and when the protector is turned off it doesn't draw energy. Voila.

I'm going to start this month and see how low I can keep my energy bill. Of course, the course may change once winter comes along!