I figured I should start a list of products and places that have made my life, and will make this challenge, much easier for me. Don't expect the products list to be long, though, because part of this is about not buying. In general, I try to go for quality because even if it's more expensive, it's going to last a lot longer and in the end will work out better. It's like buying a KitchenAid mixer. They're really expensive, but my mom's has been put to lots of hard use for over 20 years and the only thing that's broken down on it were two gears which my dad replaced. Good quality always trumps low price.
Stores in and around Fairbanks:
-HomeGrown Market--For food
-Sipping Streams--For organic, free-trade teas
-Gulliver's Books--They will order any book for you, and they have a great used book section.
-Ann's Greenhouses--For both plants and pick-your-own produce
-Tanana Valley Farmer's Market
-Sunshine Health Foods--For a variety of products, including local soaps and food storage containers
-Alaska Feed Comapany--For bulk foods like flours, pet products, as well as local eggs and milk
-Goldstream Sports--They were super helpful and knowledgeable when Shane and I were buying our bikes.
-Hot Licks Ice Cream
Products that make my life easier:
-Diva Cup--Ladies, buy one. I'm never going back to pads and tampons. And that's all I'll say on that subject.
-A really nice thermos. I won mine through a work wellness program, and it's kept tea steaming hot all the way through a half-hour walk at -40. That's a good thermos!
-Pyrex storage containers. We don't use plastic tupperware anymore, especially since these are so much more versatile.
-Chico bags. My friend Lucy gave me one and it goes with me everywhere. Anytime I need to pop over to the store, I don't have to worry that I might forget my reusable bags because this is so compact I just throw it in my purse.
-Oil Mister--All right, so I don't have one of these yet. It's on my registry and until I get one (or break down and buy it myself) I'm just going to spread oil in the pan with my fingers. It just takes longer that way.
-White vinegar and baking soda. I do almost all of my cleaning with them, and you can even replace a lot of beauty/sanitation products.
-The internet. Such a no-brainer, but I felt the need to put it on here because, honestly, that's where so many of these ideas come from. That and books, so my next category:
Books that have inspired me:
-"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver
-"The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan
-"Food Rules" by Michael Pollan
-"The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum
-"Pandora's Seed" by Spencer Wells
-"Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson
-"The Urban Homestead" by Coyne and Knutzen
-"No More Dirty Looks" by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt