6 Ways to Create a Paperless Office

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A paperless office is often seen as something of a gimmick, but the less paper we use, the better it is for the environment – a point discussed in this article by GoCanvas.com. You can’t create a paperless office overnight, even if you are setting up a business from scratch. Clients may still need hard copies of documents and there could be regulatory requirements to store some documents on-site. However, thanks to technology, it is possible to do away with more paper than you might think.

#1: Request Online Billing
Most suppliers offer online billing these days. It saves them – and you – money. However, you will probably have to opt-in to this. Otherwise, paper bills will continue to arrive. You don’t need to print off a copy of your bill. The Inland Revenue Service will accept soft-copies of bills for accounts purposes. Download your bills and store them in a folder so you can access them for accounts purposes.

#2: Print to PDF
Why print to paper when you can print to PDF and share via email or the cloud? PDF documents are far easier to deal with thanks to online sharing tools. There are free PDF print tools available online, but if you need extra functionality, subscribe to Adobe or similar.

#3: File Sharing
Long gone are the days when reports had to be printed out and posted. These days, we can print to PDF and email it to multiple recipients. This is less time-consuming and you don’t need to run the gauntlet of expensive courier or postal services.

File sharing is now a thousand times easier thanks to Google Docs, Microsoft 360, and tools such as Dropbox. You can share vast reams of data, in all formats, on any device. File sharing makes it much easier for employees to work remotely, which saves everyone time and money.

#4: Make it Harder to Print
If your office has a printer on every desk, is it any wonder that people are happy to print off anything and everything? To discourage people from printing unnecessary files, make it harder for them. Remove old desktop printers and install a network printer out of the way, so if they do need to print a file, they must make an effort to retrieve it. You will soon notice a reduction in print costs.

#5: Use Apps for Notetaking
Notepads are useful tools for making memos to yourself, scribbling down ideas, or taking notes during a telephone conversation. You can do away with notebooks if you download an app like Evernote. Evernote works across multiple devices and will sync with a smartphone, so you can access notes and memos from anywhere.

#6: Electronic Signatures
It’s a misconception that electronic signatures are not legally binding. Thanks to the ESIGN Act of 2000, electronic signatures are now legally valid, so you can do away with the physical signing, even on legal documents such as contracts.

You won’t be able to discard all paper in the office, but paper usage can be mitigated if you recycle it as much as possible. Use discarded paper for making notes and print on both sides of the sheet if you absolutely must print out a document.

How to Make Your Own Organic Hot Apple Cider

Make Your Own Organic Hot Apple Cider
Have you checked out the price of organic apple cider at your local grocer? Wow! $7.99 a gallon. Instead, of breaking the bank, make your own! It’s perfect for filling up reusable mugs and snuggling up with your family this fall!

Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts organic apple juice
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • Place all whole spices in a tea infuser, these will be removed before serving
  • 1 tsp organic whole allspice
  • 1 tsp organic whole cloves
  • 3 organic cinnamon sticks (broken up)
  • 1/8 tsp organic ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Stir everything together in a saucepan over medium heat until it simmers. Let it steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea infuser and serve in mugs.

Serves: 8

Enjoy a hot cup of apple cider by the fire with a good book or your family. You could also enjoy a yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie to go with it.

7 Simple Eco-Friendly Fun Ways to Spend Fall with Your Family

7-simple-eco-friendly-fun-ways-to-spend-fall-with-your-family

I love fall – it is my favorite season and my favorite time of year! What’s not to love? This is the one time of year I wish I didn’t live in Florida! There is cooler weather, chai tea, cozy sweaters and pumpkin everything. But my favorite part is spending time with my family. Here are 7 simple, eco-friendly ways to inspire you!

1. Take a Listening Hike
One of my favorite fall activities is hiking! And one of my favorite ways to enjoy a hike is when we take what we like to call “a silent hike.” A silent hike is just that – we hike together as a family in complete silence. It’s amazing how the act of simply being quiet and listening can have a huge impact on your hiking experience. There have been many times that we come upon an animal grazing or fish swimming in a creek – it’s amazing. We also like to stop along the way to listen to the rustling of the trees, chirping of the birds or to watch leaves quietly wafting to the ground. It a great time to reflect within too, while still being with the ones you love.

2. Take It Outside
Fall is the perfect time to take whatever you are doing – outside! The mister and I start every morning by taking the dogs on a walk around the lake in our neighborhood. And Eben and I like to sneak away after dinner to take the dogs on another walk. It is my favorite way to start and end each day.

3. Slow It Down
Now that school is back in session, you have to admit that you are much busier than you were all summer. I know that if something isn’t on my schedule, it probably isn’t going to happen. Which is why during the fall months, we really take extra consideration to slow things down at our house. We like to schedule extra time in the morning and afternoon, just to be. We usually spend this time snuggled up chatting about our upcoming adventures.

4. Get Centered
Along with slowing down, fall is a great time to get centered. Spend time each day doing whatever it is that makes you feel connected and centered. For the mister, this means swimming – he will get up early everyday to swim his laps before heading to work. For Eben, this means a hot cup of cocoa and a really good book right after dinner. For me, I like to snuggle down with my iPad to pin my favorite eco-friendly things or end the day with a relaxing yoga session!

5. Plan Ahead
One thing that I have definitely learned along the way is that it is super important to enjoy the moment. To ensure that every moment of fall is enjoyable for my family, I like to plan ahead. I sit down with my journal and jot down things that I really want our family to do together during September, October and November. I include all of our traditional fall family activities, as well as new ideas that I can run by the boys. The idea is that if I plan these activities ahead of time, we spend the months doing fun things together without much thought – since I planned it well in advance.

6. Find an Adventure
One of my favorite parts of fall is the cooler weather – which always equals more time outside. We usually do the bulk of our camping and sailing trips during the fall months. We really enjoy the cooler days spent outside, followed by the crisp nights roasting marshmallows over the fire!

7. Get Cozy
Fall is a great time to reconnect with family and friends. We like to plan long dinner parties with friends, have family stay for extended weekends and plan unexpected get together with close friends. Last night, I kicked off my fall cravings by having a close friend over for a glass of wine at 8 pm. It was the perfect way to end a busy day, we were able to relax, sip wine and giggle about how hard it is to get into the back to school routine – it really made my week and will definitely become a tradition!

What ways do you plan to spend fall with your family?

The World’s First Flower Most Likely Looked Like Today’s Water Lily, Researchers Find

How would you feel if someone told you that all of the flowers in the world come from one ancestor? While it may seem dramatic, it’s true, according to a new study published in the British journal Nature Communications.

A group of international scientists has discovered that the world’s first flower sprouted about 140 million years ago. It looked similar to the common-day water lily, with circles of petals and protruding pollen spikes in the center of the bud. While scientists say that it is similar to one of the most widely known lilies, the Madonna lily, which is also the oldest lily on record, dating back 3,000 years, the head scientist explains to USA Today that it is hard to really compare pre historic flowers to flowers of today.

Herve Sauquet, an evolutionary biologist at the Paris-Sud University explained:
“All flowering plants have evolved and changed since that ancestor, that’s how evolution works. So there is no single species or group of species that would have existed some long time ago and still exists today unchanged.”

For their study, the scientists used an evolutionary tree to connect all species of plants, 792 in particular, to this one flower. Interestingly enough, the scientists were able to find that what they originally thought concerning the flower’s sexual organs was false. This finding actually was able to help the scientists plot out a whole new vision for exactly how pre historic flowers evolved to the flowers of today.

However, Sauquet points out that while no fossil exists from 140 million years ago, the researchers were able to compare the oldest finding, from 130 million years ago, and link it to 10 million years prior simply because they could link the flower’s sexual organs to similar flowers they know to existed at that time.

So while this was a great finding, the researchers are still trying to figure out where and when the first flower formed in the world. But with this information, they’re hopeful that they’re close.

How To Transition To A Natural Beauty Routine In 5 Easy Steps

With mountains of information out there about unregulated beauty products and the potentially harmful ingredients we use every day, there are plenty of reasons to simplify your beauty routine. The tricky part is getting started. By taking small steps and forming an understanding of what you really need to feel refreshed and beautiful, you can create an effective routine that is as chemical-free as possible.

These five easy steps can guide you toward a more holistic approach to beauty. You will feel clean and radiant as a result.

Step 1: Tune in to your body’s natural chemistry.

Before you decide which products to include in your natural beauty tool kit, learn how your body naturally behaves. When you are lathering your skin and hair with artificial ingredients, it is easy to completely throw off this natural balance. Take a break from or cut down on these products for a week, and notice the natural texture of your skin and hair. This will inform what you are trying to calm with your products.

Step 2: Simplify your entire routine.

Once you have a better understanding of your body’s natural chemistry, decide which products you actually need. If you have been using multiple types of face moisturizers, you likely will be able to cut down to one. Do what you can to simplify your makeup routine and cut down on the products you put in your hair.

Step 3: Read labels.

When you do buy products from the store, take the time to read ingredients. Many natural beauty gurus choose to cut out parabens and phthalates, so avoiding these can be a place to start. The same goes for when you go to a beauty salon. A 2016 survey by YouGov found that 96% of women groom their bikini area in some way. So, if you choose to schedule regular waxing appointments, find a salon that uses more natural ingredients in their wax.

Step 4: Make your own care products when possible.

For every product that you buy from a store, you can likely make your own. For example, if you are one of the 32% of people who are concerned by the look of your teeth, take a moment to consider your whitening options. Rather than reaching for a synthetic whitening kit, you may want to make your own charcoal whitening product or try oil pulling.

Step 5: Embrace your natural beauty.

Remember that the most important part of starting a more natural beauty routine is learning to love your natural beauty. For some people, this may mean more makeup-free days. For others, it may mean switching to their natural hair texture. It is up to your to define your own natural beauty. Stick with whatever makes you feel most radiant.

When working on your natural beauty care routine, remember to be patient with yourself. Forming new habits takes time, and completely changing your beauty habits is no exception. When you are liberated of chemicals and other harmful ingredients, you will feel more healthy and beautiful overall. And that is simply priceless.

How to Make Organic Dried Apple Slices this Fall

Many of you may have a family apple-picking adventure on your fall calendar. During our evacuation from Hurricane Irma last week, we were able to visit our favorite apple orchard is The Historic Orchard at Altapass in North Carolina. We had so much fun hiking through the orchard picking and eating apples as we went!

If you find that you have more apples then you know what to do with after your orchard trip, you can make simple, dried apple slices. These treats are perfect for the school lunchbox. Read on to learn how to make these simple treats in a couple short steps.

What you will need:

– organic apples
– cinnamon

Directions:

Dehydrating: Line your food-dehydrator shelf with parchment paper. Cut your apples into super-thin slices and arrange the slices on the shelves of your food-dehydrator. Sprinkle with cinnamon and either dehydrate at 135° until crisp.

Baking:
Line a baking sheet with a reusable mat or parchment paper. Cut your apples into super-thin slices and arrange the slices on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in the oven at 225° for about 1.5 hours.

Do you make apple slices during the autumn season?

Green Tip: Pick an Organic Pumpkin

Green Tip Pick an Organic Pumpkin

Did you plant your pumpkins and gourds last spring? If so, you should have a bounty of them to use for decorating and baking this fall. If not or if you live in Florida like me, that’s alright, you can find lovely organic pumpkins and gourds at your local organic farm, farmer’s market or organic grocer. Do you need help locating great organic pumpkins in your area? Check out Local Harvest to locate a farm in your area, and enjoy autumn!

Where do you get your pumpkins?
Do you purchase local organic ones?
P.S. My favorite place to pick pumpkins is in the North Carolina mountains at the New River Pumpkin Patch. Hurricane Irma made it possible this year! We happened to be evacuated at the time and were able to stop by before heading home! 
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