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Create Your Own 'Commute'

What is it about our daily commute that feels so engrained in our lifestyle? Is it the ‘Me Time’, the ability to ease into our workday, the simple routine of it all? In the past, commuting was widely surveyed to be one of our least favorite activities. But now that it’s gone, many people find themselves missing it.

Maybe it’s the realization that we’ve lost that in-between time to listen to a podcast, clear our minds on our drive into work, or the sanctuary of being alone in our car. Perhaps we don’t realize how peaceful it can be to grab the window seat on a train, see the sun peaking over the horizon while driving to the office, or people-watch on the subway. When we think of things like traffic on our way home or jam-packed buses, it feels odd that we would miss our commutes at all.

Writing tutor at Southern Connecticut State University, Stephanie Kaesmann told us, “Watching the seasons change on the parkway is something I miss about my commute as I can only tutor online now.”

You’d be surprised at the original thoughts and moments of peace that can be fostered on our rather monotonous daily commutes. Whether it’s walking to catch the subway or half hour drives on the highway, being on the go can bring clarity, and ritual invites a welcome consistency when the world feels so uncertain.

While teleworking, we can create small moments of routine that can mimic the way our commutes get us ready to take on the day. Sit by the window with a podcast on to have your morning coffee. Start the day with a short walk. Change out of your sweatpants. Play a game on your phone. Jot down your goals for the day in a planner or notebook.

When your commute becomes a walk from your bed to your desk, we begin to realize how much we miss even the most mundane parts of our regular day. Take time to give yourself that in-between time and separation from work you may find yourself missing.

While you’re at it, you can use our commuter calculator to see how much you’re saving on your commute.

by Isabelle Brown  | 


Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On January 18th, we observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Always the third Monday of the year, MLK Day is seen as “a day on, not a day off”. The only federal holiday designated as a national day of service, people all over the country are encouraged to volunteer and improve their communities in Dr. King’s memory.

This day of remembrance pays tribute to Dr. King’s impact on the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s through his revolutionary leadership. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. achieved such genuine progress toward racial equality that he has come to be among the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.

The King Center in Atlanta has cited that Dr. King is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor, not to say it came without a fight.

32 Years of Campaigning

After Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, it took 32 years for all 50 states to make it a state government holiday. MLK Day was approved as federal holiday in 1983, but it wasn’t until 2000 that it was recognized across every state. Racially motivated resistance to adopt the holiday to remember such a courageous and influential hero made the fight last decades.

The struggle to achieve this holiday’s official recognition reflects Dr. King’s importance in our country’s history. MLK Day today is widely celebrated with marches, parades, and speeches by civil rights and political leaders to honor the memory of Dr. King.

Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington. August, 1963
March on Washington. August, 1963. It was at this historic protest that Dr. King gave his famous 'I Have A Dream' speech.

 

Remembering Dr. King

We remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the youngest man to ever be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35. We honor him as the man who had a dream that filled black Americans with courage and hope that shaped the future.

We pledge to make strides as an organization to be part of the positive change we must see in our society. We enter 2021 with intention and purpose, acknowledging the progress we have made as a nation, and all the work that is still left to do.

by Isabelle Brown  | 


National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

Weather has a substantial impact on our energy consumptionas electricity powers us through the cold winter months. Less daylight and warmth can bring our use of lighting and heating to an all-time high for the year.  

 A common New Year's resolution is to spend less. This year on Sunday, January 10, National Cut Your Energy Costs Day brings awareness and tips to help us cut our usage down and save us money on our utility bills! 

We have a few ways to cut back on energy consumption to start off the new year right.  

Consider commute options

Fuel prices make up a good portion of the average household’s costs per month. Using public transportation or joining a carpool even one day a week can significantly cut costs and trips to gas stations. Similarly, people who carpool or use alternate modes of transit save on vehicle maintenance, which can be especially costly in the winter months. 

Lighting choices

It seems small, but the average household dedicates about 5% of its energy budget to lighting according to the Department of Energy. Cutting your energy bill, even by 5%, is only helping yourself in the long run. Choosing more efficient lightbulbs like CFLs and LEDs as well as purchasing controls like dimmers and timers are small steps toward spending less on our utility bills this winter.

It is also worth mentioning that utilizing natural light during the day is always the most efficient choice, taking advantage of the warmth and light that comes in through the windows. Reducing your carbon footprint and energy bills is sometimes easier than you think! 

Reduce water use

Taking shorter showers, only running the dishwasher and washing machines when completely full, and checking all faucets, toilets, and showers for leaks are all good ways to cut back on daily water consumption. Another way to be intentional and less wasteful is to never let the water run excessively while you brush your teeth, shave, or wash the dishes. 

Lightening your energy costs makes room for some of life’s simple pleasures, and reduces financial stress in your daily life. With any kind of change to your lifestyle, be patient and take it day by day. Over time, your small steps will begin to pay off, and it will show on your utility bills.  

by Isabelle Brown  | 


Great Gifts for the Telecommuter in Your Life

What are your favorite ways to spread love during the holidays? With so much uncertainty this year, missing friends and family has been a tough burden many are carrying. One way we can feel the love and togetherness of the holiday season is sending gifts to your loved ones.

With many people working from home, we all know a telecommuter that we hold dear. This opens up a lot of opportunities to send both a thoughtful and useful gift to those that have made their home into their office. Here are our top 5 favorite gifts for the telecommuters in your life for this holiday season!

A Quality Headset

One of the most vital yet underrated pieces of equipment for an ideal telework setup is a good headset! With Zoom calls becoming part of our daily work routines, having seamless audio and microphone connection can create a stress-free work environment for the telecommuter in your life. This gift is also great because it’s something your loved one would use almost every day. Whenever they have a successful Zoom meeting, they would think of you!

An Indoor Plant

Plants have so many benefits to bring to indoor spaces like home offices. Plants offer air-purifying qualities, reduce stress, and improve productivity, attentiveness, and mood. It’s a sweet gesture to gift someone you love a little green friend to take care of during this time where we spend much of our time alone. Just make sure you get a non-toxic variety if your loved one has pets just to be safe. If this person isn’t great with plant care, succulents are growing increasingly popular for how little attention they need! Even a fake plant could bring a nice touch of greenery to their desk space.

A Good Reusable Water Bottle

A sustainable and super useful gift for this holiday season is a reusable bottle like a Hydroflask or a Yeti. Remembering to hydrate is especially important because we don’t have a structured “lunch break” or break room to nourish ourselves in while we telework. It’s up to each of us individually to make sure we are taking breaks to eat and staying hydrated all day long to be our best, most productive selves. Getting a loved one a reusable bottle is like a daily reminder that you care about them and their health.

Personalized Desk Calendar

A calendar or planner can be a fun and personalized gift for any telecommuter in your life. Whether it’s photos of family and friends, cute animals, beautiful landscapes, or images from their favorite TV show, creating a calendar for someone shows thoughtfulness and love. Going into the new year, a calendar may help teleworking loved ones remain organized, productive, and motivated as we see how 2021 treats us.

Self-Care or Spa Kit

Our final gift recommendation for loved ones working from home is an at-home spa kit. Taking time for self-care is more important than ever with heightened feelings of isolation or boredom. When telecommuting, it can be difficult to find a healthy work-life balance as you are essentially living in your office space. Remind those you love that they deserve to pamper themselves and relax with a spa kit. Pick their favorite scents, colors, or beauty stores to give them a personal and tranquil experience in the comfort of their home.

We hope we sparked some ideas for a holiday gift for someone you love. Be safe, be healthy, and remember to send love the important people in your life.

by Isabelle Brown  | 


A Brief History of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and this holiday season will certainly be different from any we have experienced before. Many beloved traditions may be put on hold in order to keep family members safe and healthy during these strange and difficult times.

One favorite tradition among both children and grandparents alike, The Thanksgiving Day Parade, will still be taking place this year. It will be completely virtual, musical performances and all, reimagined to work in the times of social distancing. The parade is a treasured event that has a rich American history that began in 1924.

The original Thanksgiving Day Parade was nearly three times as long as it is today, stretching from 145th street and Convent Avenue in Harlem and winding its way down to the Macy’s store in Times Square.

When Macy’s on Broadway and 34th Street reached its expansion size of an entire city block and 1 million square feet of retail space, the employees organized a parade to celebrate.

Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade in History

Originally the Macy’s Christmas Parade, this sunlit morning in November gave the children of NYC a magical experience with animals from the Central Park Zoo and the guest of honor riding in his sleigh propped up on a float—Santa Claus.

While the number of people who witnessed this historic parade is disputed, from Macy’s claiming a million people to newspapers stating 250,000, everyone could agree that this parade was an absolute success. Macy’s quickly announced within the very next week that everyone should set aside Thanksgiving morning of 1925 to feast your eyes on the marvelous parade again.

NBC jumped on the opportunity to sign a contract with Macy’s to be the outlet broadcasting the parade nationally. Bob Hillman, the first director at NBC for the parade’s first national broadcast, said “I wanted to make the picture as exciting as it was to someone standing there, and transmit that to someone watching from Los Angeles or Chicago.”

To make the balloon filled spectacular event more TV-friendly, the length of the parade was cut down significantly to its route we see today.

What started out as a march down to Macy’s became a cherished and treasured tradition for every Thanksgiving morning to come. It is, without fail, on tens of millions of television screens on the morning of Thanksgiving all around the country to begin the day of gratefulness, family, and love.

Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade NYC

by Isabelle Brown  |