Green, frugal, sustainable, simple, healthy, happy... No matter what we each call it, we come together here to support and learn from each other.

We are preserving our planet with our lifestyles. We are creating sustainable communities for our children. We are living the lives we want to live. Please join us!


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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Who We Are & Where We’re Coming From

Welcome to the new blog!!


A Brief Blurb About Us

We are Matt and Melinda. In a nutshell, we are on a quest for the most sustainable lifestyle we can find. Generally I (Melinda) am the writer here, though Matt has been known to write a few brilliant words, too. We share our experiences, research, thoughts, and mistakes… about gardening, cooking, eating, cleaning, living locally and simply, reducing our carbon footprint, and being frugal, mindful and happy. And I like to think we have built a supportive community here, full of people from all over the world who are journeying together along this path toward a sustainable lifestyle.

We started out writing about our story over at Elements In Time: Creating Edible Landscape. For a variety of reasons – technical issues with the iWeb blogging program and a change in our overall outlook – we’ve moved the blog here! But the Archive of our old blog will remain for at least a year, so that you can peruse our back story to your heart’s content….


Matt & Melinda

Our Family


We have a dog, Ellis, who we rescued from a horrible previous life in LA – he had two broken legs and weighed twice his current weight when we found him. Now he is a happy, healthy pooch.


Ellis and Raisin


And we have a cat, who we rescued in the Sonoma County vineyards during the heat of the summer, like a raisin in the sun (and so she received the name Raisin). She had been abandoned four years earlier and was nearly wild, but with coaxing and calming, she has now become the most purrfect house cat ever.

Mom vs. Beet

Other characters on the blog include my grandfather, who has lived nearly a century and is a great inspiration to me, my mom (above, holding our giant beet), with whom I’m creating a backyard vegetable and fruit garden, and my sister, who has a new blog about her own brand-new garden.

Our First Road Toward Sustainable Living

For ten years we lived in LA, where I worked in the film industry and Matt worked as a brain injury researcher. We liked LA – wouldn’t say we loved it. But we tried, we did. We frequented the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market (which we do still miss), we participated in a CSA, and we began to make our lifestyle more sustainable.


LA Freeway


But my asthma was getting worse and worse (I was up to 8 meds a day!), we spent a long time every day in traffic, a new freeway off-ramp was being built outside our door, and more fires and droughts were predicted every year…. So we tried something different.

Our Second Road

We moved to the country, and lived as self-sufficiently as we possibly could. Life slowed down, we baked, cooked, preserved, and GARDENED. Boy did we garden! We lived on a vineyard, and it was beautiful, peaceful, serene… most of the time. We experienced the migration of hundreds of thousands of robins, we created a certified wildlife habitat in our backyard, we rescued a cat and took her in… and then rescued another (who went to a good home).


Rainbow Over Grapes

But something happened about 9 months in. We realized that we weren’t self-sufficient, we lived intimately with the hazards of industrial agriculture, we completely relied on our car, we didn’t feel like we belonged in our neighborhood, we were not quite making ends meet because of a slower, low-wage job market… We learned so much during our life in the country, and wouldn’t trade it for… much of anything. But we learned that we hadn’t finished our quest for a sustainable life quite yet.

Our Third Road

So… we researched and thought and paced and tore our hair out and drank some local wine and came up with what we thought was a pretty darn good idea: move to Seattle. I’m originally from Seattle, but haven’t lived here for nearly 15 years (I lived in NY, Austin, LA, and Geyserville in between). The city has grown, and the push toward greenness and sustainability has grown substantially, too. Plus my family and many of our friends are here. So basically all roads led to this beautiful northwestern U.S. city.

Seattle Skyline


As members of the Riot For Austerity, we’ve calculated our carbon emissions for nearly a year now. Through a lot of hard work, we’ve reached the point where we are utilizing 90% fewer resources than the American average… in every area except driving.

So that was a primary factor in our decision about where to live in Seattle: we chose to live in the heart of the city. Here we can walk to the local farmer’s markets (three, actually), food co-op, bookstores (three as well), library, restaurants, and pretty much everything we need. Matt just accepted a job (wahoo!!), and it’s .4 miles away. I’m currently working from home. We’re living very locally here.

So… There You Have It!

I hope you’ll stay and learn and grow with us. We host challenges here, a great way for us to all work toward a goal together. We have an on-going Growing Challenge, where you must grow a new food from seed and then share about your gardening progress.

And we participate in a fair amount of challenges, too! We’re reading eco-books, doing extreme eco-challenges, inspiring others to create Victory Gardens, making yummy local meals, and thinking about reducing our addictions to prepare for leaner times.

Welcome, Old Readers And New!

Please, always feel free to share your thoughts, advice, suggestions, hopes and dreams… that’s what this website is all about!

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