Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shop Local

So I live in a town with a less than booming downtown, which is unfortunate because those are the small businesses that are independently owned. However, the other day I was able to run all my errands downtown which made me very happy to be able to my downtown. I went to the local baker to buy engagement goodies for a co-worker; stopped by a thrift store that supports veterans (but didn't find anything this time); went to Ace to duplicate keys and pick up a few things; and picked up dry cleaning at a small family owned place. (Side note on Ace: while it is a national brand, each store is owned out right be a small business owner, usually local owner).
I would like to continue to think of ways to utilize the local businesses that my town DOES have. Sometimes it's easier to go to mega center, but not better. Here's a few reasons to shop local when YOU can: 

Top Ten reasons to Think Local - Buy Local - Be Local

  1. Buy Local -- Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms -- continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.
  2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
  3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun -- all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit.  “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
  4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
  5. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
  6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers. 
  7. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
  8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
  9. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
  10. Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

3 Major Goals before 30

So I will be 30 in nearly 2 months. I am not really happy about it. I don't feel like I should be 30. I don't feel like my life is in the right order to be in my 30's. And I know, I is a journey, perfection is boring, a watched pot never boils, live life to the fullest. I understand, and agree with, these cliches. But I think I've been living my late 20's in a sleepy existence--unhappy with my job, my environment, my self. I am hoping that my 30's can usher in a new more conscience life.

Here's a few things I want to do or get started in the next two months:

1) Get on the grid, and get my finances and stuff in order.
-Meet with a financial advisor about my money market, 401K, and retirement...I mean if I'm 30, that's only a little over 30 years in the workforce (that thought literally makes me want to vomit).
-Change my name legally, including reapplying for a passport.

2) Get a healthy schedule going.
-In general, I don't like being over scheduled, but a followed schedule for working out and grocery shopping would be a good step.
-Take vitamins and up the fiber!

3) Be a good person.
-Start volunteering.,
-Follow the "Treat people like you'd like to be treated" rule to the letter. I want to "be the change you'd like to see in the world."
-Reconnect with friends I've lost touch with along the way. Sometimes you lose touch with friends and it's okay, you just move in different directions...but sometimes, as is the case for me, you lose touch with people you care about very much for no good reason. That makes me sad.

I have more goals than that, believe me, I do...but we're talking two months! I will do my best!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

More Doggy Fun

So this past weekend, the hubby, pup and I went to two more dog parks; on Saturday we went to Independence Grove Dog Park and on Sunday we went to Duck Farm Dog Park. Nola Belle is loving all this activity, I feel bad we didn't explore these dog parks all summer. All three parks are great. The pond at Independence Grove is awesome and the pup was all about swimming despite the cooler weather. We always thought she'd enjoy swimming, but she was too distracted at Prairie Wolf last weekend. The dog park is mostly wooded with trails all around the pond. Duck Farm was also very nice; mostly open fields with low grasses and mowed paths. We brought our tennis racket and some tennis balls and bopped them all over the park with Nola bounding along after them.

After going to the three closest parks, personally, I would rank them 1) Prairie Wolf 2) Independence Grove 3) Duck Farm. I love the prairie grasses and flowers at Prairie Wolf, along with the large open areas and nice swimming spot. Independence Grove is awesome for Nola to go swimming and has some great trails, it does not however have a doggy drinking fountain. The largest negative to Duck Farm is the lack of water (though there was a fair amount of mud), but for us it is the most conveniently located so I am sure it will get a lot of use by us! My hubby ranks them 1) Independence Grove 2) Prairie Wolf 3) Duck Farm. I think he really liked the wooded shady paths at IG.

If by some stretch someone from the Lake Country Forest Preserve reads this, please know I love your dog parks, so please please please consider making on in Northern Lake maybe by Van Patten Woods, just a suggestion. I would use it all the time!! Thanks!