neuf

today was rough,
not even worth capitalization or
grammar-tization.
relaxation came but it’s almost over.
i want to sit in my chair
thoughtless
stressless
without indigestion over a missing document,
where i can look over and see my
rabbit’s eyes watching me sweetly,
hoping for a nibble of fruit as my next distraction.
not sure if freeform poetry
is your thing, but i’m not well-versed in poetry–
pun magnificently intended.
probably need sleep,
eyes closed for 7 hours straight
steady breathing
no stiff neck in the morning.
maybe i’ll have time for a coffee before work.
(we’ll see how it goes)

baby tree

This post is part of a series! Check out the collection here.

Going Green 🌱

I started something new once I’d moved into my apartment, about three months ago. I’ve always recycled, but now I have to drive my huge bag of recyclables to my mother’s house for it to be picked up. The effort is more than worth it, as recycling even a plastic water bottle is 1) a chance for it to be reused in the construction of a new product and 2) might actually save one animal’s life. If you haven’t seen footage of the pilot whale  (whose body was filled with plastic waste) or the unfortunate sea turtle with a 4-inch straw stuck in its nasal canal, follow the respective links.

Seeing Earth’s beloved creatures in peril through first-hand accounts really illuminates the horrors of plastic waste. So many days do we think of our hectic schedules with work, school, extracurriculars, volunteer efforts, and household duties, that we forget that life is so much grander than ourselves. We live in such a minute speck on Earth, and the way we live as individuals does affect our fellow living creatures. We even affect  our future selves in return. Animals, such as fish, eat plastic by mistake. But…think about what happens after we catch and eat them… Scary, huh?

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Image by National Geographic

Recycling should be made easily available to everyone in any area. If the department of waste in one area isn’t close by, do you think that many people would make the trip? “Just to throw garbage away in a different place?” It is hard with our incredibly busy lives (that we mold for ourselves) to make time for “trivial” matters. But when you think of how much you, special reader, can recycle from your every day garbage, you will see how quickly all of that waste can add up. All of those recyclable items won’t end up in our oceans. Crabs will be able to find only shells to make their home in. Whales and turtles won’t eat plastic bags because they look like jellyfish. Animals can survive and thrive without manmade garbage in their habitat. How selfish of us to use Walmart plastic bags when we all have a green bag or two in our house, holding laundry supplies or kids’ toys. They’re only $1 in most places today, unless you prefer a more expensive canvas tote to do your shopping.

Replacing our plastic straws from fast food places with hard plastic or metal reusable straws will prevent so many animals from choking, suffocating, and ending up with a torn up nostril.

All of these steps make our lives a little bit more difficult, but when you think of that little squirrel who won’t get its head stuck in a plastic six-pack ring or a tummy so full of trash a whale can no longer eat, a readjusted lifestyle can become a little easier to swallow.


What I’m Doing
  1. Deconstructing K-Cups to Recycle – I put a basket next to our Keurig coffeemaker at the office in which everyone can toss their single-use K-Cup. I found this tool that allows me to cut open a K-Cup to pour out the coffee grounds and separate the 3 recyclable materials it consists of: aluminum top, plastic cup, and paper filter. All of these are recyclable and can be thrown separately from each other. The sorters at the recycling facilities will NOT deconstruct these themselves. Can you imagine how much waste they have to sift through?
  2. Replacing Single-Use Plastic Straws with Reusable Straws – I know…this one is tough for me, too. I received these hard, plastic straws as a gift, and I love them. I don’t mind washing these at all. It’s difficult not to grab one when handed a drink at a fast food restaurant, and Starbucks always hands me that iconic green straw with my iced tea or frappuccino. Reusable straws are not hard to come across. You can also use paper straws, which are biodegradable. Check your local superstore, or order some online from Walmart or Amazon. If you frequent Starbucks, they also sell that famous green straw in a reusable form. Look out for those by the mug wall. (P.S. I’m currently saving up plastic straws to reuse them in some fashion…I’ll keep you posted.)
  3. Avoiding Plastic Coffee Stirrers – At work, our bosses provide us with miniature plastic straws with which to stir our coffee. In my effort to reduce my straw usage, I developed a new method to my coffee brewing when I’m away from home. I first pour in my creamer and then let the coffee brew over it. At a local coffee and gelato shop, they have provided customers with pieces of dried pasta with which to mix their honey or cream into their beverage. It was so innovative, and I’m thinking about buying cheap pasta and doing the same at work…but one can only spend so much extra money!
  4. Struggling with Plastic Bags – As well as with the straw dilemma (just the sheer number of them), I’m struggling with this lifestyle change. I just discovered this wonderful thing called Walmart Pick-Up. I buy my whole shopping list online; someone shops for me; then I drive there so someone else can load it into my car. I don’t even have to get out of my vehicle. Unfortunately, each item in my cart gets its own bag. If I get one pack of butter, one bag of tortillas, and one yogurt, I’ll have three plastic bags for which I now have to find a use. Usually I reuse them as trashcan liners, but I collect so many that I’ll never be able to use them. There is a plastic bag recycling box at the entrance of most Walmarts, so I will soon make use of those. If there is a Target nearby, I believe they also do plastic bag recycling. Keep in mind your department of waste will not recycle plastic bags. It’s sad…but true.

    TrashDebrisManagement - vermillionville
    Image via Vermillionville.org

The first thing I want to improve is using reusable bags when I do shop in-store, and I also want to get some reusable produce bags when I buy my fruit or my rabbit’s veggies. There’s no need for single-use bags anymore. We can shop without being wasteful. When I can, I will also recycle my excess bags in the store.


Are you making steps toward a greener life? Are you sharing your inspiration with others? It’s hard to change your whole lifestyle, but isn’t saving our future family’s planet worth the extra effort?

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Photograph by David Doubilet, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE | Read the linked story to find out what plastic did to a little seal pup like this one.

What about saving the innocent animals? How can you turn down this face?

❤ Michelle

 

DIY: Spooky Flower Arrangement

Autumn Lovin' Series Banner

Hey, friends! Happy Friday. I stayed home from work today (much to my dismay) nursing a migraine. Alas, I hope your Friday was much more enjoyable!

One of the best parts of Halloween fun is decorating the house. Halloween is one of my absolute favorite holidays, and it is also fun to cook and munch on festive snacks amidst the ghouls and vampires haunting every corner of the house. A dining room table, whether or not you are entertaining, is a great place to spook up the room! Everyone seems to meet at the dinner table for food/snacks at my house.

Flower arranging is also one of my favorite hobbies, so why not combine flowers and Halloween? Not the usual combination, but I’ve seen some arrangements that are to die for! In this segment of the Autumn Lovin’ Series, I’m giving you some easy ways to spook up your bouquet.

If you’ve missed any stops on our autumn adventure, visit the series page!


For your basic arrangement, you can buy your own flowers to arrange, or purchase one from a florist. I used fresh flowers because I just prefer them. It is helpful to put your greenery first, if you have lots of it, but because most of what I was adding were flowers, I just accented with a few pieces of greenery from the yard.

Also, when adding your flower or greenery, point the stem toward the opposite side of the vase, and stick it in the vase at an angle.

1 spooky flowers

I found long, spindly stems of fake vines and branches, two of which were orange and black–perfect for that Halloween-spooks vibe! After trimming them a bit, I poked them in sort of haphazardly to give the arrangement a whimsical, uneven appearance. These stems will provide an excellent space for cobwebs.

Yes, you read that right—cobwebs! I learned this next trick from a demonstrator at a florists’ convention (sorry…Halloween jokes…I just can’t help myself. #corny).

First, you’ll want to heat up your hot glue gun and get an extra stick of glue just in case (I used a lot). I used two pieces of floral foam for silk flowers. Then squirt the hot glue all over the styrofoam and quickly rub them together. When you pull them apart, you’ll see delicate tendrils of glue that resemble nasty spiders’ webs!

Next, you’ll just wrap these sticky strings around your arrangement, however you want them to look. Some will clump up and be uneven, but that is perfect. Cobwebs are clumpy and weird-looking. This is nasty and full of Halloween spirit, okay?! Make it creepy! Make your arrangement in a skull like I wanted to! Cobwebs are just the perfect touch.


Do you enjoy decorating for Halloween, too? We used to deck-out our old garage to be one of the scariest in the neighborhood! I’ll be decorating my beau’s apartment door next week for a contest, so I’m psyched for that.

I’ve also been up to a Write 31 Days challenge. See my Instagram account in the sidebar to catch up on everything Coffee Thoughts!

And if you’d like some more hauntingly great inspiration, visit my Pinterest board, Autumn Lovin’!

‘Til next time,

❤ Michelle

12 spooky flowers

Fit for the Future

Good evening, all!

I’ll start this update honestly, by saying that today was rough at work. Naturally, writing will help to ease that anxiety and remind me that “it is just a job”. So I came to you guys! This fall will be an extremely exciting one for this blog and I hope it will be for you as well. Currently I am sitting outside listening to the squawky bluejay and the buzz and sweet chirping of hummingbirds at the feeder—that’s a good start to fall, if I must say!

Part of this excitement is a new series I’ll be starting Friday! I hope all of my readers will return (after my long hiatus) to join me on an Autumn Lovin’ adventure, because I just can’t resist its charms! There will be 7 installments, or so I have planned, and will be posted once-a-week on Fridays. Ponder all of these wonderful things that fall brings: color changes, pumpkin recipes, feelings of the ever-encroaching holidays, sweaters, boot socks, costumes, camping, new crop to harvest… The list goes on!

◊◊◊Have an idea that you’d like to share, or is there a favorite thing that you look forward to all year that comes in autumn? Do you even care for the season? Get in touch with me in the comments below!


Business #2:

Heard of Write 31 Days before? I actually did it last year! If you don’t know what this is and want to participate, here’s a link to the website that will be most helpful in informing you.

Last year, I did 31 Days of Five-Minute Free Writes, which was just a more specific version. Basically, you join thousands of writers around the globe writing every day of the month in October. This event happens every year, so it is definitely something I look forward to!

I will be changing it up a bit this year, since I am running the Autumn Lovin’ series during the month of October as well. I read on that same website that they are also hosting a micro-blogging for 31 days on Instagram. I haven’t fully researched their explanation of what it is, but I am significantly intrigued. I have my Instagram account linked in the sidebar, so if I do decide to micro-blog for 31 days, you can keep up with me there!

Well, that’s the skinny of it. Lots of new stuff coming! I hope you stick around for tons of fall goodies and photos. For me, it’s the best time of the year!

❤ Michelle

Wind and the Coming Storm

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Click on this caption to listen to the sound of the wind while you read.

Windy

The wind comes before the storm. It’s feelings are always conveyed honestly, and today with a force like tidal waves.

The clouds rush by, unveiling small patches of blue sky. Surely there are foreign objects floating in my coffee, put there by this monstrous wind.

Stormy

As I sip the coffee from one of my most coveted mugs, I feel the air is anxious and heavy. There is much worry on its breath. The sun shows its garish face for but a moment because clouds dominate the sky. Frogs beneath the grass sense it, too—the coming of a storm. Mittens the cat paces back and forth, wondering why the sun is hiding (or perhaps why I’d forgotten to bring treats).

I filled the birds’ feeder with sunflower seeds a few minutes ago, but I am sure most of them are nestled in their leafy homes in preparation of the squall. The wind is picking up again. It reminds me of rain storms at the beach, when the waves get greater and stronger. The trees mimic the sound of the ocean.

The temperature is too warm for pants, so when the rain begins, my legs will be the first to know of it. The taste of gingerbread coffee on my tongue, thoughts of the gray beach in my mind, the sound of waves and frogs in my ears, and the restless feeling in the air make me wonder if I should return to the confines of my kitchen to see how the stormy day broods on.

The wind’s power-show finally coerces me back inside, a black and white Mittens at my heels.

-7 février 2017, 12:15 pm-

A Season of Thanks and Giving

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After the Halloween excitement dies away, and the last leaves are painted orange and brown, we enter the season of Thanks. As winter draws ever near—Christmas, too—we begin to finally think of how ungrateful we’ve been all year long. At least, I do. Christmas and giving tie their knots way back, but as Thanksgiving approaches we are reminded that giving is only a piece of this shivering holiday season.

My mother taught me to thank God everyday for what He has given us. We don’t thank Him for our possessions only, but, most importantly, we should thank Him for our family and friends, a job and a car if we have them, a home, food, water, love… The list of blessings He provides us with is endless.

Today I got rid of mounds of clothes that have been cluttering up my closet. I’m not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t fit another hanger in there. It was a monster—I didn’t stop for hours! When I found that some of my winter coats didn’t fit anymore, I looked up how to donate them. I remember a year or two ago when a charity was hosting a coat donation drive called One Warm Coat. (You can click there to find their website and a donation center near you!) Tomorrow I will be off to several donation centers to drop off my gigantic trash bags filled with clothes I no longer wear.

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I honestly have no idea how all of this fit into my closet with everything else.

Giving is another part of this special time of the year that just makes my heart flutter with delight! Gift shopping is my favorite—choosing a store and finding creative gifts for family and friends, even roommates and co-workers. Seeing the gratitude in someone’s eyes when you hand them a gift, picked out especially for them, brings the most fulfilling feeling in the world. (Say that five times fast.)

I realized today how thankful I am to have a full closet, even after giving away so many. I have all kinds of supplies for my baking and crafting hobbies, video game consoles to entertain me, and enough underwear to last me a few weeks without putting them in the wash! #TMI But really. My family and I have a home to live in and food to fill our bellies, air conditioning and heating systems, and running water and electricity. How much more can I ask for? (Other than a job.)

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Not the most flattering of pictures, but this is a victory here, friends!

I want to challenge  you to come up with a list of things you are thankful for, whether or not you choose to thank God for them. Search your mind, search your heart; there are little things that become so important to us, and we don’t know they are so important until they leave us. Do you have any out-of-the-box things to be thankful for? Are you a gift-giver, too? How does giving make you feel? What do you think of this season of Thanks and Giving?


P.S. Thank you, Reader, for stopping by and hanging out for a while. 🙂