America’s next top model

I am not a regular viewer of America’s Next Top Model because the phony world of modeling isn’t something I identify with much. I did just watch the show though on replay because it was the best available option on Sunday night. ABC has gone with an all drama lineup that promises to take things to such extremes that it is a soap opera, NBC is all Football (ewww), I don’t get CBS here and PBS is all war all the time now. So that left shopping at Old Navy with ANTM. I thought that the anti smoking initiative was a positive step for these models who usually smoke like chimneys. And I have always thought that Old Navy was a great place for basics like jeans, t-shirts and tanks. (although all of their clothing are made overseas and a lot are made in China) It was nice to see the models embrace it even though it was not a high fashion designer. I end up mixing old navy pieces with all kinds of stuff and it always works out. Anyway I just wanted to say that I wasn’t as turned off by watching models catfight as I thought I would be, but then again this week was low on catfights.

Recycle your old cell phone

I think everyone is aware of the fact that a lot of the modern convieniences we enjoy today are really bad for the planet. I don’t think anyone had any idea what we were destroying when industrialization took hold and we kept finding better ways to live and do things through technology. We just accepted that cars made it easy to get places quickly, plastic bottles kept things fresh without breaking when dropped and cell phones allowed you to call someone from anywhere. It was progress right? And we all enjoyed the dawn of the new technology era not knowing what we would leave behind or how it would affect the planet.

Cell phones for example. You might not think this is a problem because you don’t buy a ton of them and they’re really small right? The cell phone companies sell about 33 Million phones in the US per QUARTER. This leds us to a total of 132 Million cell phones every year. (And this grows every year) And every time they sell a new one an old one goes out of use. Where do they go? Because many are outdated or broken the majority end up in the garbage. This is bad news for our landfills. Cell phones are not biodegradeable in any way since they are made from plastic and metal. They just sit there for an eternity. Wouldn’t it be better to collect them and recycle them? Maybe at the store when you are buying a new one? To trade it in for 5 bucks off and then they make sure they are sent to a recycler? I think that would be a great idea and far more sustainable.

Wirefly offers cell phone recycling and they are the only cell phone selling company I have seen that does this. I have personally have had 4 cell phones since 1999. 3 Nokias and 1 Treo. I am still using the treo but when it wears out someday I will send it in to be recycled. It is far better than it laying around in my home or piling up in a landfill that is overflowing already.

Best New Salads I’ve had in a while…

potbelly sandwich works saladI just wanted to say that Pot Belly Sandwich Works has great salads. I tried the Chicken Salad Salad this monday and it was so amazing I got it again today. It’s really great because of 2 things. 1 is the fat free balsalmic vinagrette salad dressing. It’s got that sweet vinegar punch I like a lot. The second thing is the croutons. They are seasoned really well and with that dressing the combination is fantastic. Go check them out it’s only like 6 bucks. It’s a totally reasonable price for lunch.

Car Shopping? Why do people buy?

Why do people choose the cars that they do? I always wondered how people came to completley different conclusions about what car to buy than I did. And how some people value different brands completley differently. There is a new report out today that sheds some light on why people make those decisions that they do. Why they buy foregin vs domestic cars.

It states that once someone has decided if they will buy Import or Domestic they are not likley to change their mind. I wonder if this is because they have such different images and perceptions or because their cars are very different? Is there such a gap between the two types?

They also state that 50% of new vehicles bought are imports and 80% of people limit their pool of car candidates to only imports or only domestics. (I was one that considered both for a while but I’m back in the Domestic only camp now) It is also dismaying that it states that within that 20% that shop both, they only pick the domestic car as a second choice when the import doesn’t work out. It’s never because of the domestic being the best choice from the get go. Ouch.

They also say that these decisions are mostly based on “perceived” deficiencies, such as concerns about reliability, gas mileage or poor resale value. The reliability thing is always percieved because no one knows how a car will perform or stand up to the test of time until they drive it for a while or unless they have driven that model or maker before. Gas mileage is a number based on data, so if you percieve that rather than look it up, you’re an idiot. Poor resale value is not percieved either. It is easy to see that Toyotas and Lexuses are in high demand as used cars and keep more of their value by picking up an issue of auto trader or any cars.com flyer. So if you percieve that and don’t look it up you’re also an idiot.

I wish more people bought cars based on data and less on commercials, perceptions and what the idiot sales person says. In fact I never go into a dealer without knowing what car I want excactly and what price I want for it. You don’t have to accept any deal that you don’t want and you can always walk away because there are always more cars out there.

But if you are an import buyer and think Domestics suck, you should check out Buick. They match Lexus in quality and reliabaility and I think they are less gaudy and overdone as well. A more tastefully elegant car. Give Buick a new look.

Puerto Rico Trip

One of my good friends is from Puerto Rico and travels there every year. He has always told great stories about going back to meet family and relatives and how interesting and different their life is there. Another one of my friends likes to get away to Puerto Rico for a little R&R every summer. She has written about how laid back and beautiful it is on her blog many times. I have seen their ads for years ion TV and online. It seems like a place you could go to experience a tropical place without needing a passport or spending a ton of money. I think they might do well to promote getting away durring the winter and plan an ad campaign for January – February. That way people who want to be snow birds but can’t afford the big deal places abroad could find a more affordable tropical warm vacation stateside.

Big Shots

I watched Big Shots on TV last night (ABC) and I was pleasantly suprised. I thought it was a funny way to turn the tables on men in the same relationship type drama that women usually have. I don’t know who the 4th guy is, the blonde one I don’t recognize from anywhere before. It is really good to see Michael Vartan back again and to see the guy from west wing. The 3rd guy I have seen somewhere before but I can’t remember where. There was also obviously some casting not set yet with the napoleons girl always showing the back of her head. I wonder who they will get for that role as the show moves on. All in all though I hope people watch because I  thought it was a great show.

Save money around your home

save moneyI got this in an email today and wanted to share it with all of you. I think these are some good tips. I previously blogged about saving money and spending wiser a few months ago. It is a topic I am paying more attention to since I am trying to build up some more savings so I can buy a better place in a few years. 

There are many simple ways to save money around your home. And some even help you save the environment, too. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Replacing an old dryer with a new, energy-saving model equipped with a moisture sensor can save you cash, up to 15% per load (after the cost of the dryer. this is only good if you already need one)

2. Use warm or cold water instead of hot when washing your clothes.

3. Turn the thermostat on your water heater down a few degrees, and add some insulation to the tank itself, to help it retain its heat. Insulating the tank costs about $20 and can save you $25 a year.

4. When the fireplace is not in use, don’t forget to close the flue damper. Chimneys are designed to let smoke escape, which means heated or conditioned air escapes, too.

5. Use linear fluorescent and energy-efficient fluorescent compact lamps. They last many times longer than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs and use much less energy.

6. Use solar pathway lights outside your home to eliminate the use of electricity for exterior lights.

7. If purchasing a new refrigerator, consider one with the freezer on the top—they’re more efficient

8. Cut out expensive directory assistance calls by using 1-800-free-411. This new service is made possible by thousands of national and local businesses whose brief audio advertisements are played to callers who request businesses in their yellow pages category.

9. Clean inexpensively, and with common household products. For kitchen counters, add four tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of warm water. It cleans and deodorizes. Add equal parts sudsy ammonia and water for another all-around cleaner. Use vinegar (white or apple cider) mixed with water to remove soap and hard-water buildup.

conserve energy, save the planet, use less oilFor more information, check out The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s website, and ENERGY STAR’s website.