Posts Tagged ‘opportunity green’

Mass buying

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , ,

I went on a bunch of shopping outings today and bought way more than your usual amount.

First, it was at Costco, with 14 gallons of milk, 7 gallons of creamer, 9 lbs of sugar, 3000 packs of Splenda, and 3 gallons of soy milk.

shopping cart filled with cases of milk, creamer, sugar, sandwiches, and veggies

trunk filled with cases of creamer, milk, and other food

Then at Home Depot we took the entire display of buckets and then tracked down 4 more for a total of 30. Countless zip ties, nails, tape, and cords later, it was time to check out. Thankfully it all fit in my car ok.

two huge stacks of orange 5-gallon buckets


laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

Original Gangsters or Opportunity Green? 😛

Well, it’s that time of year again and I took a few days off from work to volunteer for Opportunity Green! Here’s a peek at what we were up to tonight…

bright clumps of yellow, red, and orange lanyards

We put plastic sleeves into the lanyard key rings.

small plastic pieces that fell from the plastic sleeves

We soon had a pile of plastic pieces that fell from the hole cutouts on the sleeves. Kind of a cool look, but don't worry, we cleaned it up. 🙂

ribbons for badges

The various ribbons we have to stick on the badges.

a cool speckled pattern with rainbow colors

It's kind of like confetti static noise...

box of advinylize bags

Would you have guessed it was a pattern on an AdVinylize bag? The lucky attendees get these lovely swag bags filled with goodies!


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

When I was up in Ojai for a lovely weekend away, my boss from the internship with Opportunity Green called me “Technolo-Mary” during dinner, which struck something in me.  He had been referring to how I seem to know all the newest gadgets and services out there.  It made me realize that I really am a great resource for many new technologies that have come about in the past couple of years.  I liked that someone as techy as he (he got a degree in engineering and is awesome at all things related to building and maintaining websites) found my knowledge useful enough to consider me a valuable go-to person.

I do like to stay on top of things, whether it’s things like Google Voice, Dropbox, and reQall or more of things like new social media forums, mobile technologies, and many more.  I’ve always loved to learn more about technology, so anything new captures my attention and I like to spend time learning more about it.  If I like what I see, I’ll usually go on to become an adopter and even spread the word.  That’s what I’ve been doing with CauseWorld, which is a great app for your smartphone that allows you to choose where sponsors’ money is donated.

I really enjoy troubleshooting (for the most part) and solving problems through logic and trial and error.  Also, it’s rewarding to discover the best technical solutions for everyday issues, like streamlining processes.  Whether it’s organization, documentation, or retrieval, there’s probably a better way to do it than the one you’re doing now.  I’m all about efficiency and effectiveness, which is probably also why technology fascinates me so much – it solves a lot of our problems and saves us a lot of time and effort!

Perhaps I should start a help line called “Technomary” – not “techno Mary,” but “tech-nom-ary.”  A play on technology and Mary AND -ary as a suffix that means “having to do with.”  It’d be a fun name for a tech blog, if I were to ever write one.  It could be a cool place to get answers for your “Dear Abby” type tech questions like how to convert a scanned JPEG into a PDF or what type of free phone services there are.  Hmm, now there’s a thought…

A spin on dental hygiene

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

recycline's preserve toothbrush

How often do you replace your toothbrushes?  If you listen to your dentist, you probably do every three months or so, which means you go through three or four a year.  At that rate, Americans would be producing far more than the 50 million pounds of waste per year we already do from throwing those little guys away.  Since toothbrushes are inherently in need of replacing periodically, how do you avoid the waste issue?

Well, why not try Recycline’s Preserve toothbrush?

First of all, their handles are entirely made from recycled yogurt cups saved from ending up in landfills.  It’s free of BPA and the bristles are brand new, so you can rest assured it is safe to put in your mouth.  They consulted dentists to come up with the curved handle to help you reach those tricky places at just the right angles.  The tiered bristles are designed to fit around your teeth and gently massage your gums.  You have a choice of Ultra Soft, Soft, and Medium stiffness for the bristles, depending on your sensitivity.  Preserve toothbrushes also come in delicious colors such as Berry Red, Eggplant, and Pear Green.

Besides that, they come in a reusable travel case, complete with ventilation holes!  The case is made from wood-based plastic from renewable forests so you can feel good about using them too.  Once your toothbrush has reached the end of its effectiveness, you can send it back to Recycline in a postage-paid envelope.  Their partner company will recycle it for you and make plastic lumber for park benches, picnic tables, and boardwalks.  Rest assured that your environmental impact is minimized and every effort is made to keep plastic out of landfills!  If you like, you can even purchase a subscription to their toothbrushes and get a new one sent to you every three months, along with an envelope to send back your used one.

So, the next time you’re looking for a replacement toothbrush, think Preserve.  You’ll responsibly minimize your environmental impact associated with dental hygiene and even enjoy a better clean!  It’s truly “Nothing wasted.  Everything gained.™”  What’s not to love?

[written for OppGreen Insights]


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A few nights ago, I went to a screening of HOME, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.  It’s a film that brings to light many environmental issues surrounding the planet.  It has such spectacular graphics that sometimes it doesn’t feel real.  Plus, you’re seeing things from a bird’s eye view (or, more accurately, a hot air balloon’s eye view), which is rather unique in itself.  Such images are striking possibly purely because of the difference in perspective you get.  Whatever the case, the beauty of the film is undeniable and the message it spreads is powerful.  In fact, you should go see it yourself – it’s free to the world!

The bit that struck me the most was when it said that Dubai has just about as much sunlight as you can ever hope for, yet not a single solar panel.  It’s not really something that I had thought of before, but it’s ironic, isn’t it?  The great thing about films like these is that they not only inform you and teach you, they make you think.  They don’t always have the answers for you, but they bring about certain issues that are important to consider.  Just by starting conversations and getting people aware of things they should consider, they’re making a vital contribution towards the betterment of this world.  In addition to learning that tidbit, the film also showed me an area (I believe it was in Germany) that has solar panels covering the rooftops.  If a place like that with less sunlight can take advantage of the energy provided by the sun, why aren’t the countries closer to the equator and with far stronger sunshine following suit?

It’s truly a fantastic film that should be shared with the world.  By making it free, what better way to spread it far and wide?  That is his goal, and he has been traveling all over the planet to promote the film, answer questions at screenings, and generate the sort of momentum we must gather to turn the environmental movement into something that will truly change the world.  We are changing for the better, but not fast enough.  It’s not too late to right some of the many wrongs that have happened, but all too soon it could be.  Hence, it’s important that we take action now, in a way that we haven’t been.  Copenhagen was disappointing in the lack of unity between countries and that NEEDS to change.  We’re the first and only species that has ever done so much harm to the very environment we live in.  Are we set on self-destruction?!

I hope not.  Which is why I appreciate efforts like these to get people to take charge of the future and make this world better, not worse.  And for those who laugh and make fun of the environmentalists out there… well, you can be the ones to blame when our progeny no longer have a safe planet to live on.  That’s just a lose-lose situation for us all.  It’d be pitiful for a “great” population such as ours to contribute to our own undoing.  So much for being superior.  Ultimately, the film ended by saying that “it’s too late not to be optimistic” and I think that’s true.  If we give up hope, all is lost and we destroy so much beauty and wonder.  So, we have no choice but to put our hearts and souls into saving the future of the planet and believe that we can.  I certainly believe we can.  Now, will we?

A rejuvenating experience

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The past week has been really hard on me, as the pressure to get a job grew and my parents and I had a tiff over my sleeping pattern and job search, among other things.  So, it was an absolute blessing that Opportunity Green was holding a retreat over the weekend.  One of the Board Members owns Casa Barranca, a fabulous estate out in Ojai.  People who had contributed to the Opportunity Green Conference back in November were invited to either stay the weekend or swing by on Saturday or Sunday to hang out.  Tucked in the hills of Ventura County, in a gorgeously maintained house from the early 1900s, I got to spend my weekend relaxing, enjoying nature, and chatting with some really amazing people.

pasta, salad, and schnitzel for dinner

Delicious potluck to start off the weekend.

Friday night I arrived thinking I was late for dinner, but it turns out the days drag out so peacefully and slowly there that dinner hadn’t even been thought of yet.  I hung around the kitchen, talking to some of the people I hadn’t really gotten to know prior to the conference – we were all so busy, after all!  It was already completely dark outside when I pulled up around 6:30, so it felt like 11 when we eventually got around to preparing the food.  I think it was more like 7:30-8.  But that’s the thing about being far away from the city and its lights and noise; time stretches itself to its very limits and you discover how much can be done in just a few minutes, a few hours.  There’s a serenity about Casa Barranca that relaxes you and lets you forget that you have an inbox full of e-mails or that your favorite TV show is on.  In fact, there isn’t a television in the entire place, which I found to be one of the best choices they could have made.

yoga studio at casa barranca, detached from main house

That yoga studio was to die for!

The house itself is absolutely lovely and you should definitely check out the virtual tour on the Casa Barranca website.  Besides that, there are a bunch of little bungalows or “teahouses” sitting around the property and small cabins as well.  You can easily fit 30-40 people without ever feeling overcrowded.  When I got a chance to first see the grounds during the day, it was even better than I imagined.  The yoga studio sits perched at the top of a hill overlooking part of the valley below.  There’s no better location to get in touch with your inner spirit and truly experience some Zen.  Between that and the house lies a little orchard, teeming with citrus trees of all sorts!  Since part of the grounds is an organic winery, I think it’s safe to assume those fruits were organic too.  I meant to pick one to try, but was so distracted by the beauty that I forgot to.  There’s also a chlorine-free pool and hot tub, small field to frolic in, a koi pond, a hammock, and so many great vantage points!

casa barranca wine tasting & gallery

A cute little shop in the middle of town!

The town is also a delight, with a main street that is lined up with little shops.  The Casa Barranca tasting room is right next to the ice cream shop (and thank goodness, because I got hungry pretty quickly and needed something to fill me!).  I felt slightly out of my comfort zone in their downtown, which didn’t have lights illuminating every inch of street.  When I was directed to the nearest ATM, I turned around too early because the lights stopped.  It seems that their town is so safe and quiet that they don’t need lights all over the place.  It was strange to be back in that type of place again, after years in the city.  At night when I went to sleep, I was struck by how absolutely silent it was out there.  It was completely dark as well, and laying there was such a tranquil experience.  The rest of the people had long since called it a day and were no doubt happily dreaming away in their respective beds.  I’m glad I had a roommate to share the space with, otherwise everything might have seemed too still.  But with another person in the room, I fell asleep easily as a long day caught up with me.

cool (and difficult) yoga pose

Can you believe it was only her first time teaching? She did a fantastic job and should totally be a yogi.

I slept in until 10:30 on Saturday, but was still able to enjoy a full day, complete with yoga, sitting out in the sun, chatting in front of the fireplace, going down into town to watch the Casa Barranca wine tasting (mentioned above), playing Spoons and BS, lots of opportunities to experiment with the ISO settings on my camera, an intense game of Jenga, and some hot tubbing.  It was really nice for the day to go on forever, since it allowed me to have a multitude of quality conversations with some remarkable people.  We talked about all kinds of random things, from what they do to what I want to do to what drives us and how we came to get involved with Opportunity Green.  In the mix was also random talk about crazy cat ladies and women who obsess over fake babies.  Sharing some of my ideas really helped me think about what it is I want from life and the like.

people walking along a hiking trail

We came across some great vantage points and learned to be grateful for every bit of shade we got.

On the final day, I got up at 9:30 when I was told we were leaving for the hike.  About a dozen of us headed out along the trail, making our way up the path in the morning sun.  After awhile, those of us with long sleeves began to regret the decision and the few who brought water found themselves sharing with the group.  We met some wonderful people along the way and got to play a bit with their adorable dogs!  Two of the people staying at the retreat had brought their dogs, one of which came along for our hike (even though she’s 13!).  The trip was absolutely worth the huffing and beads of sweat that began to form, as we were rewarded with views of so much greenery it was hard to imagine life back in the city.  It was a great way to spend the morning before heading out in the afternoon.  Though physically I was tired from more physical exertion than I had done in months, it was a great feeling and my spirit was lifted after being there.

And for more pictures of the weekend… I’m quite proud that some came out looking nearly like a DSLR took them, or so I think!

standing at the end of diving board looking down into pool

I went to have some fun on the springy surface.

landing after a short jump on the diving board

They tried to get a shot of me in the air, but the timing just wasn’t right. I had a blast anyway!

decorations inside yoga studio

Artistic pieces sit by the doors that open out to the view over the hillside.

view from yoga studio, looking out over hills and valley

The view that we saw as we did yoga in the studio.

buddha statue sitting outside yoga studio

The statue that sits to the left of the yoga studio entrance.

fire pit with log seats

The fire pit situated right outside the yoga studio doors.

a sitting log full of holes

I wonder if the tree was shot at or got infected with bugs?

a side path leading up to the house

This pathway led up to one end of the house, where the kitchen is located.

orchard full of orange, lemon, and lime trees

Looking the other way down the path, you see more fruits that you could possibly eat!

lone pomegranate on tree

Hidden amongst the green, orange, and yellow is this little gem, just barely clinging on.

sunburst-looking green plant

These plants grew in a patch just outside the kitchen.

bird of paradise flower

I love the colors of the Bird of Paradise.

plant with spider-like legs

It kind of looks like those 8-prong head massagers.

closeup of orange

Take a look at that freshness!

closeup of lemon with little white flower visible

There’s something really fun about the dimpled texture of citrus fruits.

purple iris flower

What a beautiful shade of purple! Absolutely gorgeous.

a dog laying on brick area

Jack, one of the dogs with us for the weekend.

a dog laying on brick

Jazzy, the other dog hanging out with us.

outdoor bungalow/teahouses for guests to stay in

One of the bungalows/teahouses scattered around the property.

looking inside bungalow/teahouse to see bed and fan

Inside each were two single beds, a little desk, a fan, and heater.

hammock overlooking view of mountains in distance

A hammock was put at the edge of the hill, with a great view of the land below.

sun setting through haze

It was a hazy day and the sun began to sink slowly.

setting sun casting hills in red

It soon became a brilliantly beautiful sunset. I love the details of the rocks in the distance.

festive display in window of casa barranca tasting room

It was so cozy, warm, and welcoming.

people getting ready to taste some wines

Everyone squeezed in to the bar for their share of the wine being sampled.

line of wine bottles in a row for display

Many of these were tasted that night, as Casa Barranca generously shared their products.

square coasters made from colored paper

Check out these awesome coasters recycling paper into a great new use! I think I remember reading they were from Vietman or Thailand or something.

funky-shaped leaves

Along the trail path were these funky leaves, complete with curling tendrils.

fence made of wood pieces

The kind of fence you used to hand make with an axe and nails.

a house perched on top of a hill with great views

Now that house is situated in a place with views in nearly every angle!

green metal crane sculpture in alcove along trail

A random sculpture tucked away along the trail.

cute white half-Chihuahua

Such a pretty little puppy!

muddy paw print on black leggings

I was trying to capture how there was a perfect little paw print on her leggings, but the angle isn’t quite right.

hill after hill in the distance

So many layers of hills!

a clearing area on the hill, perfect for sheep

We seriously expected some sheep to be grazing here. I thought we were continuing over this hill, but thankfully we cut down the mountain before then.

view that shows part of the town of ojai

You can see part of downtown Ojai now.

tall pines lining either side of a driveway

Now that’s an imposing wall to have for your driveway.

large pile of avocados

Back inside and we are made some fresh guacamole! I learned that putting bananas and avocados together makes them ripen faster.

fresh-made bowl of guacamole

There’s nothing quite like freshly-made, is there?

lounge chairs on rooftop area

There was this cool rooftop patio complete with lounge chairs for resting in!

view of backyard from rooftop

The view of part of the backyard from the rooftop.

outdoor room with screens

You can sleep here and feel like you’re outdoors without the bugs!

wine grapes in winter

Lines of vines of wine grapes! That’s just too fun to say.

Jealous much?  😉

Shorty Awards

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: ,

Please take a moment to vote for Shorty Awards, particularly Opportunity Green in the Green category!  Pass this on to all your Twitter friends and followers too!  🙂

Vote OppGreen for the Green Shorty Award!

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: ,

Opportunity Green is entered in the Twitter Shorty Awards in the Green category and I want you to support them in taking first place by voting!

Here’s what to do:

#1 Go to

#2 See the box with “I nominate @oppgreen for a Shorty Award in #green because…” filled out for you?  Well, add in your own reason, or choose one below!

#3 Click “Tweet your vote!” and follow the instructions.

#4 After you have voted, you should be able to see your tweet listed on the page.

I nominate @oppgreen for a Shorty Award in #green because…

they always keeps us informed about what’s going out there!

they are so passionate about building the green community!

they share great content, from clean tech to eco-fashion!

they facilitate the movement to transform business!

they’re the best at starting green conversations!

they get what “going green” is all about!

they just plain ROCK sustainability!

their green conference leads the way towards change!

they’re paving the green path and not looking back!

they know what’s up in the green space!

And see what else the voters have been saying.  🙂  They truly are tech-savvy and used Twitter for their OG25 competition, streamed tweets live at the conference, and put out so much great content all the time.  So what are you waiting for?  GO VOTE!


laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

Some of the cool things that were at the 2009 Opportunity Green Conference!  (Images linked to the website of the maker, if known.)

brown opportunity green t-shirt with logo

Made from 100% certified organic cotton by Topo Ranch. They're so soft!

bags made from repurposed billboards

AdVinylize saves billboards from the dumps by making useful bags out of them! Plus you can get straps made of seat belts, which is oh so comfortable.

green KOR water bottle seen from top, with lid open

KOR "hydration vessel" made from BPA-free plastic and designed to make drinking water a better experience.

table of organic cookies and snacks

Organic cookies in a very zen display.

serene scene of mini buddha statue in candlelight

So peaceful.

bamboo leaves in water used as decorative centerpiece

A very green type of centerpiece.

mini e electric vehicle

The MINI E electric car, ready for its test drives!

lawn chair made from cornboard

A cornboard chair... you really can do anything with corn!

wooden benches

Beautiful wooden bench and playful tree stumps.

eastman innovation lab's plastic samples

Eastman is the company that produces the type of plastic that KOR and Y Water are made of.

multi-purpose pizza boxes

With Greenbox, when you get a pizza you can take the lid, split it into four plates, then take the bottom and fold it in half to create a smaller box to store leftovers! Just follow the dotted lines.

ergonomic office chairs

Veeery comfortable, ergonomically-designed office chairs.

Carpet charge

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

Last week, the battery in my car key was dying and it chose to give out when I needed to unlock my car to get to a lecture.  Though I could open the car manually, it would set off the car alarm time and time again, which did me no good.  I tried to get in and just start my car, but it didn’t work and the engine wouldn’t react.  I called up Panda to try to figure out a solution and eventually decided to go back to my internship to see if the guys there had suggestions (or could possibly take me to a local shop to buy a battery).

I got a screwdriver to open up the casing and at least see what size the battery was.  One of the guys took it and decided he’d try something radical – he started to rub it vigorously on the carpet!  Trying to work on the static electricity generated to create a charge strong enough for it to work for just one more push, he went on for a few seconds, then quickly replaced the battery.  I pressed a button and the red light lit to indicate it was working, so he and the other intern started to yell at me to run to my car to unlock it.  Nervous and anticipatory, I ran out as fast as I could and cautiously pressed it when I felt close enough for it to work.

Miraculously, I heard the double-beeping that indicated my car was unlocked!  What a genius move!  I was really excited about it, since it was such a great application of the physical sciences!  It’s like when you take a potato to power something and it’s a really cool science experiment because it works and it’s so simple too.  In this day and age of technology, it’s great to see that there are still some less high-tech ways of solving problems.  It took a certain creativity to even consider the idea (which was borne of desperation).  As my tagline says, “because inspiration doesn’t wait,” after all.  Crazy, huh?  🙂

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