Posts tagged ‘freecycle’

Big City Pioneers Are: Employed!

Welcome to my new weekly feature! Every week I will attempt to explain what being a Big City Pioneer means to me.

This week, though is special, because finally, this Big City Pioneer is employed! I feel totally blessed because I was only unemployed for a month, and I know there are many people out there who have been looking for work for much longer than that. I also feel blessed because I am working at one of my all-time favorite stores – Half Price Books. Not to go all advertisement on you, but have you ever been to Half Price Books? It’s amazing. I now work at a store who’s motto is: “Waste Not, Read A Lot.” Really, that might as well be my personal motto.

That brings me to the real “Big City Pioneers Are:” Part of the post. Here it is. You ready?

Big City Pioneers Are: Used Stuff Purchasers

Big City Pioneers try to reduce their waste. Can you imagine how much paper is used yearly to print new books? I looked it up and couldn’t find a statistic, but I can tell you this – it’s a lot. According to The EPA, more than 2 billion books and 350 million magazines are published each year. The “greenest” way to read is definitely the library – but the second most sustainable way to read is to buy and sell used books.

This philosophy of buying used extends into many other aspects of your life. The Boyfriend and I rarely buy new clothes. Instead we shop at places like Buffalo Exchange, The Goodwill, and other used clothing stores. Buying used clothes can be fun and exciting, like being on your own personal treasure hunt. Brooklyn-based designer Jessi Arrington gave a TED talk on this great idea – check it out:

I also buy most of my housewares, furniture, and kitchen supplies used – again, at The Goodwill, and a few other local thrift stores. Last fall I bought a TV stand from Ikea and my friend joked that it was the first piece of new furniture I had ever bought – except once I thought about it, I realized she was right, and it wasn’t a joke. Every other piece of furniture I own was given to me by a friend or family member, found on freecycle, or bought secondhand.

In addition to reducing the amount of waste we create, buying used items saves us a lot of money. If you, like me and The Boyfriend, are affected by the current economic recession, or if you just want to save money, buying used is the way to go. Ma Ingalls would agree.


Big Changes in the Little Apartment

It’s been a busy… let’s see… two weeks(!) since my last entry.

A few things that have happened over here in the Little Apartment in the Big City:

1. My lovely roommate left our little apartment for another, moving in with our lovely friend Kristina. I am sad that she isn’t here anymore, but she had to move to make room for….

2. The Boyfriend has moved in. This is both a huge deal (first time co-habitating for both of us) and an exciting deal (first time co-habitating for both of us!). Furniture has been moved and acquired, we set up a “Library/Den” in the second bedroom, and so far, so good. We are both so busy we probably wouldn’t see each other much if we didn’t live together – as it is we barely see each other. He works and is in rehearsal for a show, and I work and go to school.

3. The zucchini, tomato, and pea plants all have teeny tiny vegetables growing! I am fighting an epic battle with slugs and snails, but am winning enough that things are growing, growing, growing. I can’t wait for things to ripen so I can start eating them!

4. We had a 4th of July party to celebrate, well, the 4th of July, but also the fact that The Boyfriend moved in. I made jell-o shooters. I think Ma Ingalls would approve. What’s more Midwestern than Jell-O? We also grilled on my fabulous new-to-me grill that I got for FREE.*

5. Last night, I got to meet my food hero, Shauna James Ahern, aka The Gluten-Free Girl, and her husband Danny, aka “The Chef.” They taught a cooking class at a Whole Foods here in Seattle, and I was one of the few lucky people who got to attend. I discovered Shauna’s first book a few weeks after discovering that I could not, in fact, eat wheat. These few weeks were spent largely feeling sorry for myself, so the book was the light in the proverbial tunnel. I discovered that my love affair with cooking and eating was not over, and it had in fact just begun.

There were only a few people signed up for the class – apparently it was put together at the last minute – so it was a quiet, intimate dinner. It felt like we were having a dinner party with new friends (something this Big City Pioneer loves to do). It was thrilling, a little overwhelming, and altogether wonderful. I sat next to my food hero while we ate and talked about food. It’s a lot like an aspiring blues guitarist talking to Buddy Guy about guitars, I would imagine.

Shauna and some other food bloggers are starting to have internet-wide cooking parties once a month. They just did a pie party, and next month will be a pickle party. I think it will be a great way to kick off the pickling season here in the Little Apartment. Stay tuned for pickles! In the past I’ve made both bread and butter and dill pickles. This year I’m going to try spicy green beans, spicy cucumber pickles, and maybe some other pickled vegetables.


I am at work right now (yes, blogging at work…. wouldn’t it be cool if blogging WAS my job?) So I can’t share the wonderful photos I have with you just yet, but I will update tonight so you can see my tiny vegetables, my awesome grill, and some pictures from the gluten-free cooking class.


*And yes, my grill – it was free. FREE. Ma Ingalls always knew that you don’t throw things away if they still work. There are websites for that. Craigslist’s Free section is fun to check out, but FreeCycle is high on the list of my favorite websites. People post things they have to offer, and things they are looking for. I simply posted that I was looking for a grill, and quickly got a response. All I had to do was pick it up, clean it up, and get it started. Freecycling is a great way to clean out your garage, or fill a new house. Go to to find a freecycle group in your area.

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