When I was thirteen, I became a vegetarian. When I was twenty, I transitioned to veganism. In the meantime, I developed a lot of ideals that revolved around ethical consumerism — something discussed a lot on Offbeat Home. I chose not to shop at certain big box store chains, and tried to either thrift clothing or buy items that were sweatshop-free. I had a lot of time to fantasize about my future and prospective living situations, and the idea of a vegan, eco-friendly, ethical household was appealing to me. So when I met my now-fiancée and the topic of moving in together came up, it was apparent that some compromises were going to have to be made on someone's end.
She loved shopping at stores that marketed affordable merchandise, she was used to certain brands of cleaning products, and she loved her bacon and steak. And while not feeling like a vegan guest in my own home was important to me, I also didn't want to infringe on my fiancée's enjoyment of the foods she craved.
The compromises didn't come without some heated discussions. I reneged on a lot of my personal, ethically-based shopping rules while she cut down on the amount of meat she ate, and what she did eat she cooked herself so I wouldn't have to touch raw meat. We chose to buy cleaning products that don't test on animals while I loosened up on the list of chemical ingredients that made a product off-limits to my vegan sensibilities. I stopped supporting certain popular animal rights organizations that have questionable advertising and protesting strategies in exchange for smaller organizations that did more to rescue animals rather than just focusing on a person's diet. I want to make it clear, though, that I don't feel like my personal values were compromised — I've simply decided that there are better ways to go about supporting causes I believe in.
While having these conversations with my fiancée, it occurred to me that a lot of my choices that tried to incorporate ethical consumerism were a lot about boycotting. And if boycotting certain products, stores, or services works for you and your value system, then I'm all about doing that. Certainly, I still boycott meat, dairy, eggs, and products that test on animals. But boycotting isn't the only way to support your ethics and value system.
We all know the routine. You somehow managed to feed yourself a decent meal at a decent time, but that was hours ago and now it's dark and you're watching something on Hulu and the gaping maw opens inside you and YOU ARE STARVING FOR SNACKS. Growing up, my macrobiotic uber-healthy hippie parents would turn to a bowl of granola and raisins, which they called "The Goddess," based on some sort of idealized imagery of grains and honey and milk being offered as a divine offering to The Goddess etc etc etc.
As for myself, my late night snacks always leaned towards the darkest sides of stoner food: quesadillas, cracker dipped in cream cheese, during more desperate moments, cheese melted on a plate scraped off with my own fingernails. On a whim last winter, I bought my husband a gift: a Whirlypop, which is a stovetop popcorn popper.
Photo by John P. Campbell
By the time we had our child, going on the road to perform had become a natural part of our lives. I'd been hopping on the road spinning around the country since I was old enough to drive, and my partner Hawk was always touring with his band. We met playing music, traveled together soon thereafter, and quickly set the pace for a life of future adventuring.
Long before our son Amilio ever saw the world, we dreamt of traveling the country in a motor home, playing shows and finding that special somewhere to call home. We moved in together knowing we'd save some money and soon hit the road. A week later, we found out we were going to have a baby.
Our immediate states of mind had us thinking we'd better buy a house and settle down, post-haste. For a few days in August we stared at each other with serious faces and discussed making down payments, finding a house in the country, or taking over the family business. Little by little, the initial shock wore off, we thawed out, woke up, came to, and realized our vision could adapt.
When we upgraded Offbeat Home to Offbeat Home & Life last year, we started focusing on more than just awesome decor, food, and DIY. We started talking a whole lot more about real meaty life issues like self improvement, married life, and even death. We also started to notice that our site's navigation didn't really reflect our content shift. So, Megan spent this past weekend sprucing up the ol' categories…
- We gave budget its own category, separate from career.
- "Career" is now called "work," because not everyone has a career, and work can encompass school work as well!
- We changed "Style and Beauty" to "Style and Grooming" which hopefully will help in not making y'all dislike that category so much.
- We created a category devoted to issues of renting, and one devoted to the pain in the ass that is moving.
- We added a Pop Culture category for TV, movies, music, and books — it immediately became one of our largest categories!
- Offbeat Decor Porn became "Decor and Decorating," where you can find all the posts about decor items, as well as tips on how to decorate your space.
- We merged the much-beloved-by-very-few Real Estate Porn category with the home tours, so now you can take peeks into offbeat homes all over the globe in the Homes & Tours section.
- Finally we upgraded "recipes" from a tag to its own category, mostly because Megan was sick of clicking so many tabs trying to find a Megan-simple recipe to tackle, while wandering around aimlessly in her grocery store.
Now recipes, work issues, pop-culture, and all the rest are right up there in our navigation bar, ready to transport you to whatever home or life issue you want to peruse. Oh! And if you spot something wonky (broken links, missing links, etc.) PLEASE shoot us an email and let us know so we can make Home & Life even spiffier.
Ooh now wait, one more thing
There are a lot of articles and blogs out there about making money from home. Most of these are targeted at stay-at-home moms and include things like, "Get a job as a virtual assistant" or, "Sell your handmade goods through an Etsy shop." These are great ideas, and I am sure they work for a lot of people, but in my experience with this a lot more time is spent scouring the interwebs for opportunities than actually generating any income.
There are lots of online opportunities out there, but what I have found works best for me is low tech and old fashioned. I wash clothes and I bake bread.
Let me introduce you to, quite possibly, the easiest at-home business you can have… Wash and Fold laundry services! It isn't glamorous and at some point you will feel like Divine in Hairspray, but it generates a decent bit of cash and is most likely something you already know how to do.
Remember a few weeks ago when we showed off an organized bathroom with shower caddy storage? This week, check out how costume designer JoEllen not only uses, but decorates, her caddy for makeup storage.
I've been searching the web for a cute wall-mounted makeup storage unit, but could not find anything. So, I just made one! Here's how…
Throwing a party, have a team you're part of, or a big work event coming up? Our sponsor Promovizion is happy to help outfit your party or pull your team together with their custom goodies. Previously, Promovizion offered custom printed glasses to Offbeat Brides, and it got lots of Pinterest love. The big news is that now it's not just awesome glasses, Promovizion now lets you create custom printed t-shirts.
In celebration, Promovizion is not only giving you a 10% discount, but they're also doing a big-ol' giveaway…
For some of us, Daylight Savings Time is this Sunday. I hate losing an hour, but I love when we gain it back! So to celebrate my favorite way to have my body's internal clock totally fucked with, I thought I'd round up some awesome clocks.
We've got wall clocks that are decorative and some that pull double-duty. We've got water-powered alarm clocks. And clocks that are art, or art that is a clock. Either way, all of these made me go "Oh COOL!" So if you're looking for a new way to tell time, check out these guys…