Is trying to be eco-friendly stressing you out? These tips may help.
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Savers

Taking care of the planet can feel like a monumental task.

For those of us who want to reduce our footprint, it can be hard to know where to start. Does recycling need to be separated? Should you get a hybrid? How do you get rid of old clothes? What to do with all of those odds and ends that you know shouldn't be trashed but aren't sure are recyclable?


Image by woodleywonderworks/Flickr.

Honestly, if you're even thinking about these things and asking yourself these questions, you're well on your way.

Don't feel overwhelmed!

Becoming an eco-friendly superhero won't happen overnight, but you can make a few improvements that'll help you to feel better and help the planet to thrive longer. Baby steps.

Image by Bill G./Flickr.

If taking care of the planet were easy and intuitive to our lifestyles, it wouldn't be an issue in the first place. Start small and once those things become routine, feel free to build from there!

Here are five ways to be eco-friendly that won't leave you feeling overwhelmed or inconvenienced.

1. Heading somewhere? Carpool!

According to the United States Census Bureau, as of 2013, "about 86% of all workers commuted to work by private vehicle." That's a lot of cars.

Cars are major contributors to air pollution, but for so many people, there simply aren't other viable options for getting around daily. But there's one small and easy way to help out: carpooling.

Image by Prayitno/Flickr.

Carpooling is the best of both worlds. You're helping the environment, and there are many incentives that make carpooling an attractive option for commuters. From special lanes to splitting gas and city programs that offer cash rewards, it's a wonder that more people aren't doing it.

2. Textile recycling: Savers and their nonprofit partners can pick up your old clothes; you just need to place them outside.

On their Facebook page, Savers reminds us that "clothing and textile recycling has a greater impact on reducing greenhouse gases than the recycling of yard waste, glass, and plastic." So how can you try to be a part of the solution?

The Savers family of thrift stores and their partners make it pretty easy. All you have to do is set an appointment and place your clothes outside your door. They'll show up, grab the bag, and make sure your best items find a new home and any remaining items get recycled. Easy.

Image by Andy Lyon/Flickr.

Is home-pickup not offered in your town? No worries! There are many clothing donation bins dispersed throughout neighborhoods. If there aren't any bins in your area, you can throw the bag in the back of your car and take your donation to a store. No fuss, minimal hassle, and nothing goes to waste.

3. Is this recyclable? Here's how to tell.

Have you noticed the little recycling arrows on some of your containers and bags? You may be sad to know that the symbol doesn't automatically mean that an item is recyclable. The materials used to package so many of our everyday items are not made equally. Some of them have been too chemically altered during their manufacturing process and simply can't be recycled.

Image by Alan Levine/Flickr.

So how do you know which items can be recycled and which can't? Greenopedia offers cheat codes. Plastic items with the numbers 1 or 2 in the little triangles are safe. 4 and 5 are maybes. 3, 6, and 7 are a no. All of that a little overwhelming? Try focusing on the items you know can be recycled. When you get used to identifying them, graduate to the maybes. There are those baby steps mentioned earlier. Don't beat yourself up if you can't become a master recycler immediately.

4. Composting: What is it and how should we do it?

Home Composting Made Easy shares that it's estimated "about one-half of all food that is produced or consumed in the U.S. is discarded." World Food Day USA reminds us that "in the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month." That's a lot of food getting thrown out.

Here's the thing: A lot of that excess food could be composted! So the next time you're about to toss out a spotted banana, think about composting it instead.

There are a few different options for creating your own compost, from a sealed pail that you empty into a compost bin to a worm bin. If you're feeling crafty, you can even build your own! Some cities let you put food waste right into the yard waste bin to be picked up for composting (but make sure your city is one of them before giving it a try).

Image by Lindsay/Flickr.

What's good to compost? All of the below, according to Home Composting Made Easy.

  • All your vegetable and fruit wastes, (including rinds and cores) even if they are moldy and ugly
  • Old bread, donuts, cookies, crackers, pizza crust, noodles: anything made out of flour!
  • Grains (cooked or uncooked): rice, barley, etc.
  • Coffee grounds, tea bags, filters
  • Fruit or vegetable pulp from juicing
  • Old spices
  • Outdated boxed foods from the pantry
  • Egg shells (crush well)
  • Corn cobs and husks (cobs breakdown very slowly)

5. Crafty? Try DIY recycling projects.

If you're the sort of person who loves making new things, then your used wine bottles, water bottles, cans, and more can become your new project. The options are limitless. From paintings to sculptures to horticultural endeavors, where there's a will, there's a way. These pictures can speak for themselves.

Image by John Lambert Pearson/Flickr.

Image by Erika G./Flickr.

Image by Giles Williams/Flickr.

Up for trying one or two or all of these tips? The planet and future generations will thank you for making an effort to keep this planet that we call home safe from the waste we've created.

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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When Donato Di Camillo was a kid, his family couldn't afford film for their Polaroid camera.

So instead, he ran around the house with a film-less camera pretending to be a hotshot photographer on an African safari, mimicking the heroes behind iconic photos he saw in the discarded National Geographic magazines his dad grabbed for him out of the garbage.

Years later, when Di Camillo found himself in prison after collecting a lengthy rap sheet of thefts, he discovered a library full of those same magazines.

While other inmates were working out or getting into trouble, he pored over old issues of National Geographic, Life, and Time.

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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