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OK, before I saw this question, I had absolutely no idea what "greenwashing" was. I mean, not a clue. So Black sent me two good "overview" articles (American Scientific and UL) that helped me understand it's when a company makes an unsubstantiated claim to try and convince us that its products are environmentally "friendly" when they're not. Obviously, they're taking advantage of the fact most of us want to do whatever we can to help protect the environment and support businesses that do (although sometimes it's difficult if the products are significantly more expensive).

I'll admit, though, that once I began reading various claims about sustainability and "supposed" benefits, it became very confusing. And, in general, the topic gives me a headache, which is why I had to laugh when Black sent me a statement issued by Advil about its sustainability efforts.


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I first became aware of "greenwashing" years ago when I stayed at a hotel that asked me to help "save the planet" by not having the sheets changed daily and reusing my towels instead of tossing them on the floor after a single use. Maybe I am cynical, but my initial reaction was they wanted me to help them "save money" since they would have less laundry to do. And, as I looked around my room and the hotel, I saw numerous ways they could be "green" – but were not, thereby supporting my initial impression. (Curious how consumers react to hotels that greenwash?)

Nowadays, many companies are rebranding themselves as well as renaming and repackaging products to demonstrate their "commitment" to the environment. But, just because they make a claim does not make it so. However, determining who is green versus "greenwashing" can be done, it just takes a little time and effort.

We thought this would be the perfect question to run on National Boss's Day.


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Oh yes, definitely! Without question, that would be Black. In fact, on more than one occasion, I've been known to refer to her as The Boss (and I'm not talking about Bruce Springsteen). It's usually me kidding around and saying something along the lines of "I'll have to check with The Boss." (Even my daughters have heard me refer to their aunt that way, and they've never questioned me, so there must be some agreement, at least in my family, about who's the boss.)

To a great extent, it may be because if you were to compare our bios, I don't think my background as a mom prepared me to be a businesswoman, although Black has tried to convince me otherwise. On the other hand, Black's bio makes it painfully obvious she's "all business" so better suited to be "the boss."


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It depends on how you define "boss." If you are referring to who owns more of the company, I hold 1% more than Red, which technically means I have more "authority". And, I will admit that as the older sister, I have more practice being bossy (especially as she has always tried to avoid conflict), but when it comes to business, I value teamwork. Red has a perspective and background very different than mine (that is an understatement!), but the key is acknowledging that – and learning from one another in order to make the best business decisions.

The bottom line is there would be no Red & Black … without Red or without Black. It is truly a partnership.

FULL QUESTION: It's not even Halloween, but is it too early to start shopping for the holidays?


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Of course not! It's never too early to start, although there's a huge difference between knowing that, planning to do it, and actually doing it. I've always considered Halloween the start of what I call the "silly season," but if you go into any store, it looks like it's already begun. Regardless, I think it's a good idea to get a jumpstart (oh my, am I using a car analogy?) on holiday shopping, but also holiday survival techniques.

These days my holiday shopping list isn't nearly as long as it used to be because my girls are older and now prefer one or two carefully selected items (although figuring those out isn't always easy) vs. lots of "stuff" to unwrap. Although I still get them a few small "fun" things. But your question reminds me of the stress that comes with leaving things to the last minute and has inspired me to try to get my holiday shopping done early.


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Except for business gifts, which I traditionally order from Zabar's on Cyber Monday, I tend to buy (and give) the gifts for the handful of people on my personal gift list during the year when I find the perfect item.

But, to answer the question, and try not to sound like Scrooge, it will be a challenge to find things this holiday season – not just the latest "it" gift, but even Thanksgiving Day turkey and fixings. Between the global shipping crisis and labor shortages, stores are already struggling to stock their shelves (virtual and brick-and-mortar), plus many items will be significantly more expensive. And, probably fewer "real deals" on Black Friday.

In other words, shop early or risk disappointment.


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That's a great question, especially as the holidays are just around the corner, which always seems to require lists of their own. Which can be overwhelming since it already seems like my lists have lists. I feel like I've tried just about everything – from Word documents to Excel spreadsheets (Black taught me how as I thought it was just for numbers!) to using a discontinued version of Franklin Planner. I drove myself crazy trying to find a perfect solution and ended up spending more time making my lists than actually doing things on my list.

Anyway, I use good ole fashioned paper and different colored pens to indicate the priority. And because it's still too easy to let a day (or two or three) get away from me, I'll often put a Post-It note on the edge of my computer screen or my desk for those things that absolutely must get done today or the next day.

If I'm out or not at my desk, I'll email myself a note so that I won't forget. I know some people use their phones to keep lists, but I can't imagine ever doing that because I get such satisfaction from crossing things off my list. I know, I need a life.


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I believe it is the thought process, not the method, which leads to productive lists. This may, to some extent, explain why there are so many to-do list apps, as everyone has different criteria, not to mention being used to using specific platforms.

Regardless, keep in mind that anything you can do with technology, you can do with paper. In fact, I find doing it the old-fashioned way – using pen and paper – works best for me as the written list then becomes a "commitment" I make with myself. And, establishing priorities is critical, although how you note them is personal preference.

I keep a monthly paper calendar and write high-priority items and deadlines on it … but in pencil. That way, I can erase them when they are done – as I prefer to look at a clean calendar versus one with items crossed off. However, the satisfaction of completing things on your to-do list is the same independent of the method used.