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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Tell Me About You!

As I mentioned a couple days ago, I’m working extra this month – to help pay off some old debt and start a savings account.

That means for the next few days, I won’t have a lot of time for writing.  I’ll be working hard on making a video for a local community-building organization.

The hours are a bit brutal – I’ll be working 14-18 hours a day.  Wah.  BUT it’s for a good cause (my local government) and it’s good for my family in the long run.


Tell Me About You!

We haven’t shared with each other much lately and I’d really love to know more about you.  So, please take a moment to introduce yourself and say a few words!

    1. What’s your name?
    2. What brings you here?
    3. What are you most passionate about in your life??


      What Do You Do With Old Clothes?

      I have gone through a couple of closet purges over the last few months, as my body grew smaller after the cleanse, increased exercise, and avoiding gluten (which, among other things, made me bloated).

      My favorite drop-off site for used clothing is Lifelong AIDS Alliance.  Sometimes I drop things off, other times I pick things up.  It’s a wonderful cycle, and it helps a great local charity at the same time.  (Plus it’s a tax write-off, which doesn’t hurt.)

      I just came across usagain, a for-profit company that sells, gives away, and recycles used textiles – clothes, curtains, shoes, etc.

      I must say that for a moment, I was annoyed that it was a for-profit company given all the charities you could donate to instead.  And then I rethought for a moment.  Here’s their mission:

      Our mission at USAgain is simple: to provide consumers with a convenient and eco-friendly option to rid themselves of excess clothing, which we divert from wasting in landfills for resale here in the US and abroad.

      According to their “Live Stats”, as of this morning they reported:

      • 395,826,858
        Items saved from landfills
      • 2,518,896,804
        Lbs of CO2 saved
      • 2,056,224
        Cubic Yards of landfill space saved

      It’s pretty cool that someone saw an environmental need and started a business to fill that need.  If their statistics are any indication (only 15% of household textiles are recycled?) there is still a lot of unmet need!

      Where Do You Donate Clothes?

      Or what else do you do with them?


      How Is Your Local Government Doing During The Recession?

      A few months ago, my husband and I created a video for Countywide Community Forums.  It’s a program that brings policy makers and citizens together to talk about local issues – a really fabulous idea, don’t you think??

      We’re creating another film now – I can’t wait to tell you about it.  But in the meantime, I wanted to share the video we created about how local governments are suffering during the Recession – and how we all suffer as a result.

      Most of these issues are not specific to our county, or our state.  Most of these issues are not even particular to our country during the Recession.

      So if you have a few minutes to spare today…

      Government in Challenging Economic Times on Vimeo.  (If you’re curious, you can see a few of my other videos here.)

      Sadly, our local government budgets have only decreased since we made this video.

      How is your local government doing?


      March: Money Management

      In January I focused on a cleanse.  In February I focused on yoga.  In March I have focused on money management.

      Over the years, I have made vast improvements in money management.  In my early 20s, I fell into the new student credit card trap.  I received – and signed up for – multiple credit card offers, but had no guidance on financial matters.  As a result my credit was bad for years (seven, to be exact).

      Later in life, my accounting and management skills have become much better – thanks in large part to financial education and my husband’s savvy.

      We have one credit card that we pay off each month.  We haven’t bought a house because it would be beyond our means right now.  But… we have student debt.  Lots of it.  As much as a house is worth.

      So this month, we’ve focused on making smart money decisions.  We’ve cut down on spending little bits of money here and there.  But more importantly, we’ve set a plan for paying off our student loan debt and we started a savings account.

      I took on a second contract this month, which means I’m working longer hours but that much closer to paying off our debt.  And we’ve decided to stay in the area for at least a couple of years, so that we can pay off debt and start saving.

      It’s the beginning….

      What Helps You Manage Your Money Wisely?

      I’d love to know what books, systems, and other resources you use!


      Earth Hour Tonight

      At 8:30pm tonight, your local time, I recommend you and your family turn out your lights for an hour.

      While it’s a symbolic gesture more than anything, it’s a fun way to show others you care about the world we live in together.  Take a walk around the neighborhood, eat dinner or dessert by candlelight, talk with your family and friends under the light of the moon…

      For just one hour you’ll be experiencing the same thing millions of others will be doing around the world.

      Learn more about Earth Hour here.


      I’ll be back soon, everyone.  Apologies for my disappearance!  I was ill and it took a while to recover fully.  I lost a lot of energy and time, which ate into my time dedicated to writing.  I miss you all.  See you soon.

      I Have Food Poisoning

      Hi everyone,

      Sunday was one of the most wonderful nights for my grandfather – it was his and his wife’s joint 100th birthday party. I can’t wait to tell you about it.

      However, over the last few days, unfortunately about 80% of the guests came down with food poisoning afterward.  It is one of the worst flu-like viruses I’ve had in a long while, so I’m very slowly nurturing myself back to health.  My grandfather and his wife are ok – they are keeping hydrated and it sounds like they will recover well.

      I will be back soon.  Until then, please peruse past articles in the archives, visit our Facebook page, and take care of yourselves.

      With all my best,