Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Girl's Guide to Saving Green

Every once in a while I get the urge to depart the wisdom I have learned from being stuck homebound, in isolation, reading everything I can get my hands on and obsorbing the countless messages I can from the media.
I love media, all of it. It's like a playground for my mind.Then, while I do this, I write, but these musings neer make it to my blog, because they're really superficial twitter.
It's how I distract myself from the seriousness of life.
I really want to depart some wisdom and make sure you all know, not only do i think while stuck inside, I really LOOK with a whole new perception and priorities, and lucky you, I am looking out for you.
Here's one writing I may have never get around to posting, but would like you all to have


Generation Y, what?! Try Generation DIY. Do-It-Yourselfers, unite for luxury living on less.
Living on less does not necessarily mean living without. You can still be a “have” in the world of “haves” and “have-nots” on a budget, and right now, looking like a miliion bucks is more important that actually BEING a million bucks.

You can look expensive and not BE expensive, here is how:

Prioritize: Know what is important and what isn’t. You don’t have to go without everything to budget. This goes back to the basic needs vs. wants lesson. If you have to have it, get it, but know where you don’t need it.
Highlights, for instance. I have placed them on my "out list," a funky hair cut and some cintage accessories will do fine or try your hand at doing it yourself.

You don’t have to live like a hippie hobo these days to be eco-conscious.
In fact, recessionista fashionista has been said to be the new vogue and green is the new black, whether it is in your living practices or just trying to save your wallet.
Here are some tips for saving some green, while saving the world:

Unplug everything. This isn’t just to prevent a fire, but that always helps too. When appliances are plugged in (your coffee maker, toaster, or cell phone charger) they are still taking as much energy as when they are actually in use. Unplug them after you’re done using them, and you’ll save on those bills. Just say no to energy suckers.
Change your lightbulbs, all of them to energy efficient versions. When you buy the new bulbs, use the rebate coupons that range from $1-2 a bulb. This makes changing affordable and you’ll see the real change at electric bill time, all while reducing energy comsumption.

Make friends with a farmer. Believe it or not, buying local is not only healthier, and better for the environment, but cheaper. You are cutting out the middle man who gets a piece of the profits between the chickens, the grocer and you. You’re also cutting time and getting fresh eggs or produce to your table.
Try out your green thumb: no mater where you are, there are great gadgets available to help you grow your own food (think tops-turvy tomatoes), not only do you get some fresh ingredients, but you improve the air quality within your living environment. Hang your goods in a sunny window or on the fire escape outside. Patio gardens can look and taste good.

I love big glass vases with rocks , pebbles, or glass pieces at the bottom (for drainage) with your potting soil and a variety of herbs for table center pieces. This is multifunctional, you'll never be without fresh herbs for your health, you'll be adding an aerating source better than any oxidizer, and it looks fresh and clean. Pick up varieties of big glass vases in different shapes in sizes at thrift stores or flea markets or just rummaging around your house.

Don’t buy what you don’t need. My trick to accomplish this, I know it’s hard, shop with a list, EVERYWHERE. Go to a store knowing what you are looking for, or at least having an idea. Think, “I need a pair of skinny leg dress pants for an upcoming meeting to look like a super-power business woman” then go to the store.
Maybe, Oprah is right, and The Secret really knows what it is talking about, and if you really think about needing something, the universe will bring it to you. To be honest, and not sound like a fruit, I have experienced receiving something I really wanted/needed after thinking about it for a period of time, at a huge discount, of course.

Organize, organize, organize. Knowing what you have will save you from buying duplicates. It will also save you from clutter, messiness, and disorganization. You will be amazed what you find hiding in the back of that closet, under the piles of clothes, or hidden in the bottom of that truck.

Organizing and ready to give something up? It’s a huge step, but it also has benefits. Selling your items at a yard sale, flea market, or consignment store will bring cash in hand. Ebay is also an option for the tech savvy.
You could always “swap” items with friends.
“Naked Lady Parties” haven’t become all the rage yet (maybe it’s the name?), but the idea is good. Everybody cleans out their homes of unwanted items, clothing, décor, costume jewelry and then the ladies throw a party, each bringing their unwanted goodies.
Organize the goods and after some food and cocktails have at the piles.
If there is
a dispute, the two disputers must try the clothes on for size and the party-goers vote. If it’s jewelry, the same could be done. With home décor, I guess the woman will just have to battle to the death, but voting could work to. Also, you could have the “best brain storm wins” contest whereby the people describe exactly where and what they plan on doing with the item.
Best idea wins!

There are more options than just these crazy, “Naked Lady Parties” for parting with your goods, join up on internet sites in your community like
This site allows you to post what you don’t want and people will come, pick it up and take it away. It’s the reuse portion of the three Rs: reduce, reuse recycle. Best thing is, you are now joined up to get other people’s free goods (I recommend signing up in a upscale neighborhood).
I have gotten great goods in just the month I have been signed up: a set of IKEA shelves for a friend's new classroom, a loveseat that turns into a twin bed with a brand new slip cover and pillow for my brothers new apartment, and loads of flowers, which alone may have cost me upward of $100.
If money is what you are after, get familiar with or, your items will go from old to sold.
On the going green party note, why not use the hard times to get back to the basics, like eating in with friends. Now is a good time to learn to cook, but it could serve you better if your group of friends designated a “cooking day,” where every single member cooks a large portion of something delicious and splits that fine meal into servable portions for the other memebers.
If the dinner swap group contains five members, then each would cook up a dish to serve all five and their partners or families.
Yes, this will be a big meal.
After the cooking is done, separate the meal into the five portions and meet with your friends that evening to swap homecooked meals.
The trick is to make the meals something that can be cooked in quantity and frozen if needed. Think chili, jumbalyaya, roast beef, stews, spaghetti and meatballs, casseroles, chicken dinners, your imagination is the limit for good home cooked meals.
Then each and everyone will have meals for the workweek at the cost of one giant meal.
I would designate a Sunday to do this. This also is a good excuse to get some “away time” in before the week begins.
Just say, “Bye, Honey, I have to pick up our meals.” And then go off to see the girlfriends.

Here is another money saving green tip: Shop for food that is in season and shop for clothes when they are out of season (or just going out). Prices are lowest when following this motto.

Never pay full sticker retail price, unless you are IN LOVE and MUST HAVE a piece for a specific occasion to live in your wardrobe forever. You are not doing yourself or your closet any justice by splurging on something you will wear once.

But if you do (and we will) Shop cheap for trendy items and pay for classic quality.
Who knows where the trends will go in the future. If you must have “this season’s look,” find it, buy it, but not at Prada, try Payless or check Marshall’s over Macy’s.

Learn to love coupons. Yes, learn to love them.
I do. I think searching through the P&G or Pennysaver is relaxing. It eases my anxiety to cut and clip, but don’t fall prey to the coupon tricks, only clip what you all ready buy or need. Coupons are made to entice you to try new, expensive items from name brands.
If you don’t all ready use it, you probably don’t need it.
Also, even with coupons for name brands, it’s a good idea to price check against generics. Sometimes, they are still cheaper and just as good.
Nobody is peaking in you cupboards to check if you are buying name brand foods. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Jones here, but do make a time to go to the grocery store, when your tummy is full and you are not rushing, to check price difference between staple items.

Know your “bang for your buck” supermarket items. I love yogurt, rice and beans. You can survive off these.

Also, and this is KEY, LOOK AT THE UNIT PRICE WHEN PURCHASING! This is the price in orange next to the sticker price. It is the price that compares to other similar items using the same unit. For example: if that package of 8 Brawnie paper towels are $8.00 and the package of 10 Sparkle paper towels are $8.50, on the surface you may be tricked into throwing Brawnie in the cart, but if you look at the orange UNIT PRICE, the savings is in the sparkle.

Finally, Know where your money goes, exactly where your money goes. This doesn’t have to be hard anymore, there are all sorts of free online tools to track your spending without doing anything but registering and spending. is a favorite of mine. Sign-up, input your credit cards and bank accounts and mint will make pie charts and recommend budget cuts based on your purchases.
Worried about safety? Don’t be. is just as safe as swiping your credit or debit card at the grocery store or gas station, possibly safer.
If you're all ready a Bank of America Member, they also offer this tool online for free, just register and start accessing your free online backing and the tools for organization are all there.
Here is to living fabulous while living on less. Cheers!
If you liked this, let me know. I have more that can be posted.


Vicki said...

Thanks Hillary, I will have to try some of these tips. Hopefully I can get a little more organized and save some money.

Jennie said...

Great ideas! There is also a e-newsletter called "Living on a Dime" at with more great hints and tips.