Apr 22

Happy Earth Day! Here Are Seven Impactful Environmental Organizations Worth Checking Out

Happy Earth Day!

If you’re looking for a reputable charity to donate to this Earth Day, then have a look at these great organizations as options.  We all have causes that speak to our hearts, so hopefully this will help you choose one that you really feel passionate about.

All of these have been given high ratings from various charity watchdog organizations.  The Charity Navigator Scores are listed for each:

1.) Environmental Defense Fund

This fund works with governments, organizations, and companies to aid in a wide range of causes, including climate change, oceans, wildlife, and health.

Charity Navigator Score: 94.81

2.) Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance works to protect rainforests, but also help to protect the communities and wildlife living in these areas by providing certification of rainforest products like bananas and coffee.  In order to gain this certification, strict environmental guidelines must be adhered to.

Charity Navigator Score: 85.73

3.) Nature Conservancy

With the help of scientists, this group focuses on protecting important lands and waters and aids in climate change, fresh water, forests, invasive species, and marine ecosystems.

Charity Navigator Score: 84.35

4.) Ocean Conservancy

This organization solely focuses on keeping oceans healthy.  They help in oil spill clean-up, protect fragile ocean ecosystems from oil exploration and shipping damage, and protect oceanic creatures.

Charity Navigator Score: 90.87

5.) Greenpeace

Greenpeace is still as active as it ever was, working on protecting both land and sea from destruction, as well as the wildlife.

Charity Navigator Score: 88.01

6.) Sierra Club Foundation

The Sierra Club focuses on protecting land, solving climate change issues, and fostering a love for the outdoors in people.

Charity Navigator Score: 94.08

7.) Natural Resources Defense Council 

Last but not least, this organization received one of the highest scores on Charity Navigator, and The New York Times named the NRDC “one of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups” which utilizes the combined effectiveness of scientists, activists, and lawyers to defend wildlife and natural resources.

Charity Navigator Score: 96.35

Tea Plantations in Munnar, Kerala, India

Apr 06

Aldous Harding – “Imagining My Man”

New Zealand’s Aldous Harding recently released the video for the lightly pensive song “Imagining My Man,” from the forthcoming album Party, out May 19th on 4AD/Flying Nun.

Listen here.

Mar 12

Downtown Tulsa’s Modern Architecture

Tulsa’s Holmes Organization/Warren Petroleum building (International Plaza, 1957)

This weekend my friends and I enjoyed a rainy yet amazing tour of downtown Tulsa’s Modern architecture guided by the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture.  I always tell people that two of my favorite things about Tulsa are the friendly people and the architecture, and many of my favorite T-town buildings were covered in the tour.

When downtown Tulsa was forming, many local oil companies were booming from profits from automobile sales as well as profits from World Wars I and II, so they were able to invest in cutting edge architectural designs.  That explains why many of these buildings were designed for the oil industry, and some of them still house oil companies today.

Blue Cross Building (1954)

One of the first stops on the tour was the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building (1954).  The building was first designed by the architectural firm Koberling and Brandborg AIA and constructed in 1954. Originally, the building was only three stories high, but the need for more office space, including making room for the first computers, gave a need for more stories.  So in 1969, nine additional stories were designed by architect Joseph R. Koberling and engineer W. C. Roads and added to the structure.

Blue Cross Frieze

The Blue Cross Building also features an Art Deco frieze above the entrance.  Tulsa is perhaps most famous for its Art Deco architecture, but in many of the city’s buildings, Art Deco and Modern decor and design overlap each other.

Holmes Organisation/Warren Petroleum (International Plaza, 1957)

Warren Petroleum (International Plaza, 1957) was designed by Chicago’s Sears Tower, or Willis Tower, architect Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), and was one of the most interesting legs of TFA’s Tulsa Modern architecture tour.  In its heyday it was filled with the best in modern furniture, including Barcelona chairs and Eames office furniture, during an era when many businesses felt that their office building’s architecture and style were a direct reflection of their awareness of the needs of the times.

Another view of Holmes Organization/Warren Petroleum (International Plaza, 1957)

You can see a bit of one of the environmental functional design features in the photos above, how the Warren Petroleum/International Plaza Building used double-glass-paned windows to absorb the heat of the sun and help to keep the interior cool naturally.  The concept was inspired by the Swiss-French modern architect Le Corbusier’s “neutralizing wall,” which allows air to circulate between panes of glass.

Kewanee Oil (1953)

Originally the Kewanee Oil Building (1953), the office located at 14th and Boulder showcases another Art Deco frieze similar to the one displayed in the Blue Cross building, and is one of Tulsa’s Modern buildings exhibiting Bauhaus influences, designed with clean lines and lots of glass.

Skelly Building/Boulder Towers (1960)

Here we see Tulsa’s well known Skelly Building/Boulder Towers Building (1960).  This structure was originally built for Skelly Oil Company and Cities Service.  With changes of hands over the years, the building has also been known as the Getty Oil Co. Building (1980) and later on, the Texaco Building.

Another view of the Skelly Building/Boulder Towers (1960)

Boulder Towers is located on the northeast corner of 15th Street and Boulder Avenue.

Liberty Towers (1965)

Caddy-corner to Boulder Towers is the Liberty Towers Building (1965), which was designed by the architectural firm Kelley-Marshall Architects, known for their Modern high rises.

University Club Tower (1967)

The University Club Tower (1967), popularly dubbed the “Syringe,” is a well known Tulsa landmark because of its unique shape.

Murphy Oil/Langdon Publishing (1960)

The Murphy Oil/Langdon Publishing Building (1960) also showcases clean lines in its design, as well as a cozy alcove of an entrance.

The Gallagher/Bryce Building with the Holmes Structure Towering Above

Various Modern structures are visible from the Gallagher/Bryce Building on Main near 14th, a stop which was in the final leg of TFA’s Tulsa Modern architecture tour. This is a great example of different Modern styles in one corner.  Note the historic Holmes building in the background.

Distant View of Boston Ave. UMC

From this site, we could see the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church from afar, one of Tulsa’s most famous buildings which was designed by Adah Robinson and one of my favorite architects, Bruce Goff.  On a side note, Bruce Goff also designed the Bavinger House constructed from spiraling sandstone, an architectural gem which was set in Norman, Oklahoma, but unfortunately the house was destroyed by a storm.  The Bavinger House is one of the most interesting designed structures I have ever seen.

Here are some close-ups of Boston Ave. UMC that I had taken previously.

Steeple of Boston Avenue UMC

The Boston Ave. UMC tower is a great example of Art Deco design.

Front of Boston Avenue UMC

That was my rainy day view of downtown Tulsa’s Modern architecture.  As much as I love rainy weather, one day I hope to provide another sunnier perspective of all of these places!

If you’re interested in seeing more of Tulsa’s architectural designs, the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture gives tours every second Saturday; you can find tour information and more on the TFA site.

Mar 03

Recipe: Three-Ingredient Cherry Jam

Three-Ingredient Cherry Jam

When you get the kids in the kitchen, you make both great food and great memories. This simple yet tasty three-ingredient recipe for cherry jam uses frozen fruit, chia seeds and maple syrup.

It’s an all-family activity that gets kids and parents working together to create treats that can be shared with friends, family and neighbors. The short cook time and inexpensive ingredients make this recipe perfect for time and cash-strapped families, all for a little over $5 per batch.

Find the recipe for Three-Ingredient Cherry Jam here.

Feb 22

Flying Cars in Space and Cosmic Fun at the Beach in Lana Del Rey’s “Love”

Lana Del Rey now has a dreamy video, complete with flying cars in outer space along with more fun beach scenes that we’ve come to love in her videos, yet with a very new spin because it appears that the kids are playing in a crater lake on a new planet, for the new song which she released this weekend, “Love.”

You can watch it here.

Feb 15

Stranger Things Fans: Enjoy Some Fresh Air for Awhile

Stranger Things Fans: if you’re like me and Stranger Things is one of the only television shows that you get terribly excited about, then my recommendation to you is to go outside and enjoy the rest of winter, spring, … and summer, because season two won’t debut until Halloween.

But there is a teaser for eager fans like myself awaiting the next season, which was aired on Super Bowl weekend. And from the looks of it, there are far worse things in the Stranger Things world than the demogorgon:

Gauging from the Eggo commercial and Ghostbuster suits, it looks like we also have another fun ’80’s nostalgia trip to look forward to in the new season!

Netflix has also confirmed that all of the major stars of the show will be returning in their beloved character roles, all except for poor Barb; there is no #Justice4Barb in season two.  Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer have stated that Shannon Purser’s character will remain dead, but “will not be forgotten.”

However there are at least three new characters that we can look forward to in the show.

Feb 15

Trailer: “Kedi”

The topic of this documentary is simple, yet brilliant.  They are a daily part of our lives, living in most every corner of the world, both outdoors and indoors and close to many of us.  Yet as often as we encounter them, they are still endlessly fascinating.

Yes, Kedi is a documentary about cats, and the people who love them.

Kedi, a word which means “cat” in Turkish, follows the lives of seven cats of Istanbul.  Director and cat lover Ceyda Torun describes the film as “a love letter to those cats and the city,” and you can get a peek at how she has a talent for drawing out their individual personalities in this trailer.

Ceyda Torun explains the prevalence of cats in the city of Istanbul at KediFilm:

Cats have been a part of the city for thousands of years, and so, everyone who grows up in Istanbul or lives in Istanbul has a story about a cat. Stories that are memorable; sometimes scary, sometimes spiritual, but always very personal.

 

Kedi has already received many loving reviews, from both cat-lovers and non-cat-lovers alike.  Sheila O’Malley at RogerEbert.com notes:

I am a cat owner, I admit, but even I was surprised at the power of Kedi. Where did all that emotion come from? It’s because what Torun really captures in her unexpectedly powerful film is kindness in its purest form.

Kedi is in theaters now.

Feb 07

Video: The Range – “Florida” & ‘Potential’ Trailer

The Range has a new video for “Florida,”  with a montage of rooftop dancing, taken from The Range’s album Potential which is out now on Domino.

You can watch “Florida” and the Potential Trailer here.

Feb 04

I Heart French Toast Casserole

I Heart French Toast Casserole

While flowers are lovely, there’s something very special about a homemade treat from your sweetheart. Waking up to the smell of a delicious meal is a great way to start the day, so treat your loved one to breakfast (or brunch) in bed.

Find the recipe here!

Feb 04

Make This Birds of Paradise Tropical Soap for Valentine’s Day

Birds of Paradise Tropical Soap

Here’s a functional and whimsical gift idea for your loved ones – Birds of Paradise tropical scented pure coconut oil soap! The fragrances in this soap combine sweet and tangy fruity scents with island hibiscus, making for a true tropical getaway.

Find out how here.

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