dare to be different, giving, inspire

Making Local a Priority

This year I decided to make a goal to spend money with local small businesses. I actually track my spends and make a firm commitment to choose local and small even if it costs more for a particular item. I’m not going cold turkey on Amazon Prime by any means. Just making a percentage of my spend hit the local economy.

So far so good. I am excited about these choices. I am excited about helping a small business live another day.

I went to a local restaurant with friends. It had a good vibe and allowed pets in its outdoorsy environment. I decided I’d buy a t-shirt and gift card. Each was given to a different person to build the hype. Hopefully they will buy something and share their experience with a friend. It’s that simple to stimulate the local economy.

A friend works at a pet store, locally owned and operated. I have pets. I bought some special treats. Those treat make my pets happy but also helps my friend have a job.

My car needs an oil change. I can go to the corporate dealership but I like going to the local shop down the street. The service is good and I get to talk to the mechanic. I can’t get that attention at the dealership. I can even see the work getting done in the bay vs. sitting in a lobby with the TV or internet. Check out my photo above for a view of my mechanic’s shop where I happened to drop by when this sweet car was in for a little tune up. Not sure the year but it sure did have a pretty paint job.

It’s crazy what you can observe if you just slow down and appreciate what’s right in front of you. At the holidays many shop online to avoid the crowds. I get that, but then we miss the human interaction with the workers. We miss the smiles exchanged. We miss the crazy customer who gets mad when they can’t find something. Isn’t there a value in shopping in the muck of it all?

I am going to enjoy my community a little more this year by opening my eyes to what’s right in front of me.

Having a small business is hard work and when you read about one closing, you immediately think what went wrong? Well many things could go wrong but at the end of the day if I never went in to that storefront and bought their cup of coffee or their dog biscuits then I didn’t really help them have a fighting chance.

Big companies have strong leaders making key decisions and a boat load of funding. A small business is a family behind the scene. It means a kid getting to play little league or getting new shoes when mom or dad finally takes a paycheck. It means that business lives another day.

This month a local coffee house shut down as in went out of business. Is it a coincidence that Starb**** opened up next door inside Kroger’s grocery store? Probably not as folks may find it easier to get their latte while they shop vs walking a few doors down. Convenience is good but once a week visiting the local independent coffee shop could make the difference in the owner making their rent payment that month. Just food for thought.

This post could go on and on but the simple point is take a little bit of your monthly spend and divert to a local small business. It could be a hair salon, a nail salon, a restaurant, a bike shop, etc. it may not be the cheapest but I bet the owner is passionate about what they provide to the community.

While you are at it, give a local company shout out on the web. So many people read reviews. Make sure to note it’s a local favorite to build trust. Today I made my Saturday a small business Saturday and hit a locally owned place I adore called Pat’s Eatery. A place where you can sip coffee with friends for an extended period of time and the owner is cooking up a storm on his Saturday morning. The server is a long-time employee who must love her job because she is as permanent as the sign on the exterior of the building. It’s always a pleasure when she serves you. Smiles and conversations are a must.

Have fun experiencing your local community. Put your own special twist on this. Visit a farmers market. Buy from a local artist. Have a sales meeting a local coffee shop. Make a difference in community with the money you are going to spend anyway.

fitness and nutrition

Your Feet Stink

Stinky feet is no laughing matter when it comes to teens who play sports.

Let’s take my daughter. She plays lacrosse and on a tournament weekend she can play 3-5 games outside in the elements. Her shoes will be sweaty, wet and dirty at any given time or pretty much all the time. We change her socks multiple times. We rest her feet in Crocs between games to sit them out. We go to extremes in my mind to prevent the foot funk!

Add in the eeew factor of being a teen and the chronic stench of shoes with no socks or socks that haven’t been washed in what seems like months you get the most awful smell in the world. Limit the airflow (like in a car) and you are doomed.

Carpool with three teammates and that funky smell just multiplied to an epic level. Add in the gear bags and their bodies after a day at the ball field in extreme heat and let me just tell you it’s enough to burn your eyes, throat and turn your stomach upside down.

And that is just feet and perspiration. I didn’t even mention the car farts that come because they can’t use the darn porto-potty!!!

What got me to write about this was a recent car ride to the field with an SUV full of three girls. We were running late so they all went to put on their cleats in the car and boom! The driver and I almost passed out. I hung my head out the window, gasping for air. The girls said “you’re crazy, it doesn’t smell,” and proceeded to pass a shoe to the front of the vehicle.

That was it. The window was down so the shoe is immediately held out the window. We approach a red light and the car next to us is laughing uncontrollably. I make eye contact. They say “please roll up your window, the stink is reaching our vehicle now.” My jaw dropped.

I was horrified. The smell was validated. The kids were in shock as well but found it funny. If only I had a picture of my face in that moment.

The light turned green. The guy in the neighboring car says, “good luck today. We have the same smell over here in our carload. That’s why we laughed when we saw your arm and head out the window!”

So why do feet stink so bad? Those shoe balls don’t work. Neither do the oils you spray in the shoes. And washing is no help either. Does anyone have any suggestions to cure stinky feet syndrome?

I am pretty sure the nail salon hates me when I bring this child in for a pedicure because they have to work so close to and actually touch those nasty things she calls feet.

I really don’t remember my feet stinking like that as a kid.

I hope my stinky feet blog made you giggle not hurl.