Gradually greener

I’m getting better, guys. I’m really trying! Trying to be less wasteful and more intentional with my consumption. I’m not by ANY means a perfect example of living a greener, more environmentally conscientious life (so so so far from it!), but I do think I am taking steps in the right direction and wanted to share some of the simpler solutions I’ve incorporated into my world and some places I get inspiration.

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My favorite birthday freebies

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Guys. I love my birthday. I love that Roger Federer is my twin and that JC Chasez and Clay Aiken’s son and my friend Paper Raven share our day too. And also, I really really love the free stuff. Join me as we venture beyond the Starbucks freebie. I’m going to open a whole new world of birthday celebratory treats for you.

My disclaimer - all of these establishments I’m sharing are businesses I frequent (with the exception of one, but in my defense, I’ve received many freebie coupons from them and never once taken advantage and I will definitely be back to spend money there so it all works out and I have no guilt). I’m not taking advantage of freebies for the sake of freebies (though no judgment if you do). Disclaimer number two - some require joining a loyalty or reward program, which isn’t really an issue when you stick to retailers and restaurants you love and are loyal to anyway.

I also recommend not attempting this on your own. Get yourselves some loved ones or friends to share (some of it) with. There is a lot of food involved, and I can’t be held responsible for any negative impact on your health.

Birthday DAY OF must-dos

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Starbucks. If you’re part of their Star Rewards program, you’ll get a coupon for a free drink or food item automatically loaded onto your card. You used to have a few day range in which to use it, but now it’s only day of. Do not waste it! You’ve only got one shot to, well, get all the extra shots. Make it a venti!

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. If you only opt for one birthday treat, THIS is the one you do. A free trio! Just show your ID. It’s a Columbus-based shop, but they now have scoop shops around the country. Hopefully you’re fortunate enough to have one near you.

More sweet treats

Graeter’s Ice Cream. Join their Sweet Rewards program and you get yourself a coupon for a massive free birthday sundae. Three of us worked through this monstrosity (we edited the brownie sundae, going with double chocolate chip ice cream and sprinkles instead of pecans) and all were in a coco-coma by the time we reached the bottom. The coupon is valid for a week and is loaded on to your app a couple days before your birthday. (Graeter’s in Cincinnati-based, and their pints are available around the country but the coupon is only good at the store locations).

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Nothing Bundt Cake. You get an email coupon for a free Bundtlet when you sign up for their email list. My coupon came the day before my birthday and was good for a couple weeks.

First Watch. Free breakfast, brunch or lunch entree if you’re part of their Sun eClub AND you get more than a month to cash that one in!

Panera. You can pick a free pastry or treat. It’s available on your MyPanera card for a week starting the day of your birthday.

Inedible options

Ann Taylor & Loft. With their new All Rewards program, you get a $10 off $10+ purchase coupon good at Ann Taylor, Loft, Lou & Grey or their outlet counterparts. It’s good for about a month online or in store.

DSW. $5 reward coupon good for a purchase of $5 or more during your birthday month if you’re a VIP member.

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Ulta. Ultamate Rewards members get a free birthday gift. I don’t think it’s always the same thing, but I got a Benefit Cosmetics mini bronzing powder. You have to go in to the store with your coupon (on your phone is fine) to pick it up; they’re kept behind the register.

I think that’s all I have for now. I hope I’ve been able to bring a bit more birthday excitement into your life!

All together now

I have deadlines for three projects looming, so naturally here I am working on my latest unnecessary blog post. And what inspired this latest prose? That would be school starting in a week and the fact that I’m just now cleaning out the bin of papers we compiled from the previous school year.

Some people have somehow been led to believe that I have my act together. Make no mistake - I absolutely do not. Never have and fairly confident I never will. Nonetheless, I have evidently fooled the aforementioned “some people” and so now I shall share with you how you, too, can fool folks into believing you have your act together.

These are just a few tips - and, hey, some of them MAY actually help your life! I make no guarantees, though, and offer no refunds.

So first. Carry a planner. All the organized people have old-school, write it down planners. And I whole-heartedly believe that the act of writing down an appointment or practice or event will help me remember it better than putting it in my phone. However, one needs to remember to write it down in the first place. But if you merely carry the calendar around with the intention of filling it in, you can at least look like one of those people. BONUS - if you buy a planner like my favorite Minted ones that don’t have the dates filled it, this just became a money-saving tip because you don’t have to buy a new one every year. The plaid one shown above can be found here, and the entire Minted collection is here (they’re listed as journals, but you can customize it into a planner).


Second. I’m not a tidy person on the daily. I cannot for the life of me keep a place cleaned up, but I do a mean clean out event. This does create for some paper chaos during the school year, but I have it somewhat tamed. I have a bin on the counter with a folder for each kid. Anything that seems like we might need to reference later or want to keep goes in there. Ideally we clean it out on the regular, but realistically it happens on the annual. The papers we want and need to keep go into a file folder for that year in a big bin that I found on Amazon. You may be able to get by with one bin. A file cabinet would work too. BONUS - these bins ship in really big cardboard boxes that are great for collecting clothing and toys to donate (I prefer a local free store… more on that another time).

Thank You Outlines by Alethea & Ruth

Thank You Outlines by Alethea & Ruth

And for number three, well, this feels a little more random and unrelated, but also feels like one of those really big “oh wow she totally has her life together” things that actually takes very little time and effort. Send the thank-you note. Get a stash - Target, Minted, homemade - to have on-hand when you need one. Keep some stamps around too, and fire one off when the need arises. Any time I get one, I think “Dang. She’s a legit grown-up with her act together.” These are my favorite to keep around for end-of-the-year teacher notes from our family (my kids think it’s funny that it looks like “HANK YO” when you put them in the envelope).

So that’s what I’ve got for now, but who knows - this could be a continuing series as I continue to think of things that help me fake my way through life.

And as will always always always be the case, anything I post here are things I have actually bought (or at the very least plan or hope to) and use. A few of the links are affiliate links which earn me a small commission when you shop through them.

And so much more

Well, I guess I’m blogging again. Sort of. Low-pressure, low stakes. But sometimes I just need to share! An outlet! And so here I am.

My background isn’t just in design - I had a focus on journalism too, so I guess that’s where this urge to write and share comes from. After college, when I worked at my hometown newspaper, I wrote a weekly column, and then when I worked at The Columbus Dispatch, I wound up with a blog. After a few years running my own business from home, I found myself a contributor to the Columbus Moms Blog. So why fight it? I’m gonna blog. Some.

So what is this blog about? Dunno. Whatever strikes, I guess. We’ll find out together!