Archive | December, 2008

Eco-Friendly Ways To Wrap Your Gifts

23 Dec

 

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We hope you are enjoying the holidays! I finally finished my Christmas shopping today. I was relieved and excited until about 20 minutes ago when I sat down to wrap and realized my second least favorite part of the holidays (my first being shopping in Union Square): wrapping! I always feel guilty around Christmas, wrapping presents with paper that I know will be thrown away within 10 seconds of opening the gift. Every year, 5 billion dollars worth of gift wrap ends up in the landfills. So instead of reaching for the wrapping paper this year, I reached for something even easier- the newspaper. Here’s some alternative ways to wrap up that special gift that won’t harm the environment (and may even save you some money!)

1. Newspaper bag: I was pleasantly surprised when I shopped at Global Exchange in San Francisco and my purchase was put in a cute little bag made of recycled newspaper. I was so impressed that I looked it up when I went home, and made it myself in 10 minutes. It’s great for small gifts, and you can even tailor it for large ones. Check out this site to find out how to make it. They even have a demonstration video for those of you who are creatively challenged like me. http://www.newspaperbagproject.com/

2. Scarves: My good friend Emma, told me about a creative and beautiful way to wrap gifts that her parents did for her last year. Instead of using paper, they wrapped each present in a scarf so it was not only better for the environment, but a double gift! 

3. Last year’s bags and wrapping paper: I always laughed when my Grandma would take ten minutes to open up her presents to make sure not to rip the paper or bag. Little did I know, she was just saving the planet! This year, get a big bin and save all of your paper and bags. It may seem like a pain at the time, but you’ll be thankful when you have everything ready next year (and trust me your brother making fun of you will be very jealous). 

4. Newspaper, paper bags and magazines: Most of us have these lying around the house, so why not put them to good use! Check out this video to see how to beautifully wrap a present using the comics (after you read them of course): http://www.ehow.com/video_2369423_gift-wrapping-ideas-newspaper.html 

5. Cereal boxes: My friend gave me my birthday present last year in a Chex box, and I thought it was funny, creative and pretty darn smart. And it’s another great excuse to buy those Fruity Pebbles at the grocery store. This site has instructions for how to make a box using cereal boxes, or any cardboard or posterboard at your house: http://greenupgrader.com/4772/diy-cereal-gift-box-for-the-holidays/

6. Reusable shopping bag: These can be found pretty much everywhere and cost as little as one dollar. It’s a double gift as well, because they can use the bag for shopping after (and no one can have enough reusable bags). 

7. Pillowcases: These come in all shapes, sizes and patterns. After you place the present in the case, gather the opening and tie with a fabric ribbon. 

If you are really crafty, you can even try to make your own ribbon out of old magazines. I gave this a try, and it took me awhile, but the end product was well worth it (and after a couple you get the hang of it) Here is the tutorial http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=247280.0

Now off to wrapping!

Tis the Season for Giving

10 Dec

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It is officially the holiday season, the trees are decorated and the streets are lined with twinkly lights. No matter what tradition you celebrate it is a wonderful time that brings friends and family from all over the world together. It is easy so get caught up in making cookies and buying presents and to forget about the true spirit for the holidays.

Now more than ever people need each other more than anything else. For many this holiday season will be a difficult one, many have lost their homes, their jobs and are running only on faith and support from others. There are many things we can do this year to keep the holiday spirit alive and remind people that we are in this together and they are not forgotten.

Adopt A Family– There are many different chapters and organizations that are involved in this program. You adopt a family that doesn’t have any resources to create a Christmas for their family. You find out their sizes and wish list and send them presents and cards.

Volunteer Your Time– Hands on Bay Area is an example of a wonderful organization that offers many different types of volunteer activities and times so that is is convenient for your life. They offer everything from reading books to little kids, to wrapping donated presents for those less fortunate.

Providing Food– Project Open Hand is a joint volunteer effort that provides food to seniors that need it people suffering from HIV and AIDS and critically ill people that are bound to their bed. The program also helps educate them about important nutrition that help will lengthen their life.

Getting your office involved– There are numerous places and organizations that you can get involved with over the holidays. There are also lots of resources like Volunteer Match where you can find the right project and location. Strength and success always come in numbers so why not get your office involved. Send out a friendly email or post a note in a common area and ask people to ban with you to volunteer.

Most importantly don’t forget how lucky you are and all that you have to be thankful for. “Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.” Albert Einstein

More Holiday Office Party Etiquette…

9 Dec

Do’s and Don’ts of Holiday Office Parties

9 Dec

 

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Take a moment to answer this equation:

Music+ endless wine and open bar+ dance floor+ holidays=…

If you guessed “fun time”  you’re correct, but if you add coworkers and boss to the equation, it can get pretty messy. It’s fun to go out on weekends after a hard week at work and tear up the dance floor with your friends. It’s not fun, however to get crazy at your holiday party and jeopardize your career. Here’s some tips to make sure you have a great time ringing in the new year with your company… while keeping your job: 

Don’t hook up with coworkers. Sure, the dark handsome guy in sales has a striking resemblance to Johnny Depp (even more so after a couple glasses of wine), but it’s still not worth the repercussions. First, it will make for an awkward Monday, when you have to see them every second at the office. Also, when word gets to the water cooler (which it will), coworkers may lose respect for you and see you in a different light. 

Do eat: I know this year’s pay cut may force you to wear your dress from last year’s party that fits a little more snug thanks to the secretary’s candy bowl. However, drinking on an empty stomach never leads to a good night (or memory) no matter how tight your dress is. Make sure to eat before the event, so you can focus on conversing with the people at your table, rather than your plate. And dig in (with manners of course) to your meal. After all, it’s free and probably a lot better than the mac n cheese you normally make. 

Don’t over-drink! No one wants to be “that person” at the party that’s doing the funky chicken on the dance floor and trying to make-out with everyone in sight. You want to be remembered at the party, but for the great way you carried yourself, not for drinking too much alcohol and slurring. Have lots of water with dinner, and don’t mix! Pick a drink of choice and stick with it for the entire night. (and try you avoid the shots)

Do network: Let’s be honest, some bosses, managers, and coworkers can be intimidating. In a relaxed environment away from work, it’s an excellent opportunity to talk with them. Most companies do random seating, so you sit with people you may not see everyday. Sure, it can be tempting to stick with the people you already know, but use this opportunity to branch out and meet new people. You don’t have to stick with boring office talk either- you are outside of the office so let them know that side of you. 

Don’t dress inappropriately: Of course you want to look good, and dress differently than you do at work. However the little black dress you wore in Vegas is probably not the best choice. Make sure to keep it classy, and wear something you’d deem appropriate enough for a family party. 

Do choose your date wisely: Your spouse, loved one, or good friend is a reflection of you as well. Bring someone that is friendly, well behaved, and can be on their own while you socialize with coworkers. 

Do research who’s who ahead of time: If you work in a big company, it can be hard to keep everyone straight. Knowing names, and which positions people hold will make conversation flow easier and impress them with your knowledge.  (And you don’t want to make a joke about your boss’s moves on the dance floor to his partner.) 

Do have a great time! Holiday parties are a blast. It’s a time to celebrate the accomplishments that have been made over the past year, recognize valuable employees, and meet close family members of coworkers. And this year, if you are not part of the 20% of companies that have been forced to axe the holiday party because of the economy, that’s even more of a reason to celebrate. Just watch your alcohol intake and save the craziness for work-free events.

What We’re Mad About This Week

5 Dec

Four Seasons Design Group: Using metals and other recyclable material, Four Seasons Design Group has many collections from jewelery to housewares. These unique pieces are beautiful and sustainable and are earth friendly Christmas gifts.

ohjoy1Oh Joy!: Looking for some inspiration? One of my favorite design blogs is Oh Joy! Her style is simplistic and she always finds organic and original art, jewelry, stationary, fashion and much much more! Her taste reminds me very much of one of my favorite shops Anthropologie.

wrapping-papper1Reminisce Recycled Gift Wrap: Every year the stores are bombarded with holiday gift wrap. In an effort to stand out and be different while still remaining eco- friendly, Radiant Ideas has a variety of gift wrap that is more like art than your average snowman wrapping paper that you toss in the garbage. This paper might be worth saving!

071016-facebook-predsFacebook Connect: I am sure most have you already heard but our favorite and frankly genius social network site, Facebook has finally rolled out Facebook connect, announcing it Wednesday on TechCrunch . It basically allows you to use your facebook login and if your life doesn’t already revolve enough around facebook you can now connect facebook to everything else you are doing on the web making life a whole lot easier.

Mashable’s 101+ more ways to organize your life: If you are like me and are constantly misplacing everything, it never hurts to have some tools to make your life easier by organizing the major stuff for you. Mashable has come out with this great list of applications to help you organize everything- from shopping, lists, information, school life, events, trips, career searching and more. (be sure to check out ucareer.net)

Quote of the Day

3 Dec

Thanks to Love In Spades blog, for this inspiring quote:

If you do not feel yourself growing in your work and your life broadening and deepening, if your task is not perpetual tonic to you, you have not found your place.
-einstein

Are We There Yet?

3 Dec

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Remember when you were younger, and would ask your parents over and over during road trips “Are we there yet? How much farther do I have to go?” This would repeat over and over until they pulled over, screamed or started some game of i-spy to distract you (sorry parents). As a young professional, I often find myself asking the same question, “Am I there yet? How many more years of internships, filing and copying until I get to be a big time CEO!” (in my head of course). Lucky for me, there’s many people out there, established in their careers, that will share what it took to get where they are today. One such example, is Ron Culp from the PR blog culpwrit.

I’ve blogged before about culprwrit, and if you haven’t yet read it you must check it out. Besides the loads of great advice it has for young professionals, I think the reason I love it so much is why it was started. Ron Culp, Director and Midwest Managing Director at Ketchum (one of the largest public relations agencies) launched the blog to help millennials develop their careers in public relations. He could have been satisfied with his personal success with his 35 years in the industry, and turned his back on us millennials, but instead he chose to share his experiences and advice with us so we could succeed as well.

The coolest part of the blog (in my personal opinion) is the Career Capsules. I can’t count how many time a day I read or meet someone who has my dream job, and spend hours searching and guessing how they got there. What internships did they have? What was their previous position? How many years were they with the company? This section profiles the backgrounds of Ron, and other veteran PR practitioners, giving a brief intro and career summary so we don’t have to guess. They have some great advice and it’s interesting to see the roads they took to get to the top of their careers.

Of course, every situation is different and only we will know when we are “there.” But taking the advice of those who have been in our shoes, can help us get there a little faster and introduce us to opportunities and paths that we weren’t aware of. The next time you find someone (online or in person) that has your dream job, don’t be afraid to ask them how they got there.

World AIDS Day

1 Dec

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Today is World Aids Awareness Day. The theme this year is Leadership, to encourage people of all countries to take the lead and step up to continue the fight against this disease. There are currently, 33.2 million people in the world living with HIV, with nearly half of those infected before the age of 25. For us millennials, we have seen this disease emerge in our lifetime, and need to make sure we do whatever it takes to end it in our lifetime as well.

There are many ways you can help, from getting involved in local campaigns and centers in your community, writing letters to community leaders, and participating in any fundraising events in your city. For those of you in the Bay Area, the largest event will be held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park at noon today. Check out the World Aids Day website here, to find a list of events in all countries.