Marina Mayer, our managing editor, creates a list of New Year's resolutions and learns that a state of reflection doesn't always have to be about her.

New Year, New Me

It’s BOGO time, as in buy one, get one free.

    That means, you get two columns for one.

    I know it’s not much, but in this day and age, we all take what we can get right?

    First, Happy New Year to everyone. New Years to me is more than clinking of the champagne bottles, (despite what some may think).

    The New Year always brings me to a state of reflection, one where I reminisce about the past and prepare for an exciting year to come.

    It usually requires me to put together a resolution list, one where I promise to eat healthier, shop less, travel more and be a better person.

    However, this year’s holiday forced me to look outside the bubble that is my life.

    This past year delivered an assortment of unprecedented events - rise in commodity and then, fuel costs during the first part of the year, natural disasters, slumping economy, changes in consumer spending, the introduction of a per bag charge in the airline industry and our country elected its first African-American President.

    Who cares if I stop buying shoes? Many Americans are losing their jobs or pinching their pennies just to make ends meet.

    So how can someone like myself make a difference? Someone who sits in a cubicle and writes about food - food that some people in this world never come close to experiencing?

    For starters, I can work on sharing. Despite popular belief, I don’t just hide behind my monitor and chow down on every chip, cracker, brownie, cookie and bread item that rolls my way. Each sample product I receive is shared in some way, either through my friends, family or coworkers. But I would like to begin sharing with those outside my building of buddies. I want to do something in my own little way for those who would trade anything to sink their teeth into a gooey brownie or a crispy cracker. If a tasty sweet onion baked chip can make my morning, I’m sure it can do the same for others.

    Secondly, I plan to recycle more. Growing up, my kid brother was the recycling dictator who would inspect the garbage before it was placed on the street. Every day was Earth Day for him - and this was prior to the rest of the world going green. So naturally, I picked up his good habit and now stress recycling in my own household. But it doesn’t seem good enough.

    On a daily basis, I receive product samples in boxes and plastic bags and without thinking, I just toss it in the garbage. Companies, including my own, should invest in a recycling program where cans, bottles, plastic and cardboard boxes (to name a few) can be recycled. To me, it’s more Earth-efficient than say, the latest, technologically advanced copy machine that mirrors the look of a mini spaceship but never seems to operate quite right (Office Space anyone?).

    Plus, boxes are viable sources of storage and shipping. Why bother stocking up on plastic crates (that will eventually be thrown away, not recycled) when you can reuse a box that’s in decent shape?

    There’s also something to be said about paper. Yes, our company has recycling bins situated throughout the office, same as most companies do, but I’m never completely positive that paper actually gets recycled. Instead of conducting a full-fledged private investigation, I think it’s safe to say that maybe we don’t print every email we receive, or photocopy every funny forward that’s passed on. Microsoft Outlook and other email providers have made it possible to store various materials online without having to print a single page. And it makes for great organization.

    So when it comes time to create that dreaded resolution list - the one that most likely becomes obsolete after January 3 - take the time to think about others.

    I can’t promise to cut back on my shoe shopping, but I will make sure to recycle the box it comes in.

    After I’m done “saving the world,” I plan to follow through on my dare.

    Ya know, the dare where “Ms. Won’t Try” will actually expand her horizons and eat foods outside of plain-ville.

    It’s a new year for my taste buds and not only am I listening, but I’m ready to dare myself into trying exotic, organic snacks.

    For those of you who have diligently sent in samples, I haven’t forgotten about you. I can only eat so many chocolate-covered potato chips, organic snack bars and gluten-free tarts at a time. But to those who haven’t responded, my dareless taste buds are waiting for you.

    Dare me to try new products that provide a little kick, add a bit of spice or tickle me silly with sourness.

    Like I said, it’s a New Year and it’s a new me.

    Bring it on!

    I’m going to take what I can get.



Marina Mayer, managing editor