The Year of eCommerce

2020 was a crazy year to say the least. I know from personal experience that the pandemic has changed a lot about our world and our society. Things that used to seem so normal are now a distant memory. Masks were required to be worn in all public places and this made going out in public a challenge at times. Consequently, people were spending a lot more time in their homes. This changed the way that people did their shopping. Before the pandemic, online shopping was becoming more and more popular with continued technological advancements. However, since so many stores and popular shopping spots were being closed down because of the pandemic, online shopping became the new thing for the year. I know for myself, I spent a lot of time indoors just playing video games and stuff like that. Unfortunately, the pandemic sent me home early from school and I was forced to finish my semester at home. After I finished my school work, I did not have much else to do. So like many others, I spent time online shopping and ordering stuff over the internet like the true gen-z that I am. 

If anything, 2020 was a perfect example of how easy it is to find and buy things online and get them at your door in cardboard boxes. Ecommerce companies were in a perfect position to capitalize on this. Some companies exist only as a middleman that will buy products from wholesalers online, then turn around and sell them in cardboard boxes or other packaging for a profit without ever even touching the product they are selling. There are some ethical and moral questions in play here when it comes to taking advantage of cheap labor and products just to make a quick buck, but these companies were greatly impacted by the COVID pandemic. One thing that was greatly increased with the pandemic was the use of Amazon. I know for me, I ordered a lot of products online from Amazon during the months of April and May of 2020. Not only is it easy to find almost anything on Amazon, they are a fairly trustworthy site with good customer service. Consequently, Amazon made a ridiculous amount of money over 2020. They did run into some supply issues, since Amazon works with other smaller companies that sell their products through the site. The problem Amazon ran into is that too many people were ordering certain products and they were not able to keep up with the demand.

The things that were out of stock always surprised me. Even something like a gaming computer, which I ordered in May of 2020, was out of stock for quite a few weeks. I had to wait a longer amount of time than I normally would have to get my computer. It was more difficult to work with the computer company from which I was ordering my computer, because their customer service was abysmal. I tried multiple times to reach the company through their support channels, but was mostly out of luck due to a high frequency of orders and calls.

After about 3 weeks or so of waiting and not being able to get a hold of the company, I decided to issue a refund through Amazon for my computer. Funnily enough, it was then that the company got a hold of me and told me they will be shipping my computer out the next day, with an additional discount for my troubles!

My favorite hobby

Ever since I was a young boy, I have always enjoyed baking with my mother and my sisters. Being the youngest of the family, I started out helping my mother in the kitchen in very small ways. She would let me help mix the ingredients, knead the dough, or eat some of the ingredients instead! Helping my mother in the kitchen was something that always made me happy and helped me to feel more connected with my mother. On any given afternoon, we would bake all kinds of cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, and other sweet treats. My sisters would also be part of this process, but I thought of myself as the one true baking assistant to my mom; after all, I spent the most time helping out. 

One of the great things about baking is that it doesn’t necessarily require expensive ingredients or supplies, and it can be a great way to pass the time. When my mom picked me up from school in my elementary days, we may stop at the grocery store on the way home to get supplies for dinner. My mom also liked to use this time to pick up ingredients for our next bake. I would help her pick out things that sounded really good to me; I especially liked to pick out the candy boxes that we would be using for our next plate of cookies or something like that. Rather than buy boxes of cake mix and other premixed baking supplies, my mom liked to make things from scratch. While this is a bit harder to do and requires more knowledge about ingredients and baking, I think it is worth it in the end. It is much more impressive and personally rewarding to make something completely from scratch. 

My absolute favorite thing to bake is cookies. Cookies are relatively easy to make but can become much more complicated or difficult depending on your preference and whether or not you would like a challenge. My mom and I liked to make oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and sugar cookies most regularly. During the holidays, we liked to make a lot more than normal to have on hand for friends and family that would come and stay. 

Now that I’m older and have my own place, I still enjoy baking as a pastime and hobby. Things are different now, but I made sure that the apartment I moved into has a nice kitchen with quality appliances that can accommodate my favorite hobby. Whenever I get the chance to visit home, I still enjoy baking with friends and family, especially my mom. It is a great way to stay connected with the people close to you, and it is rewarding to give the gift of baked goods to others that you care about.

Now that I live on my own, it is a bit more expensive to bake as much as I would like to. Since I have to buy all my own ingredients, I can no longer rely on my mom to help pay for all my candy boxes and other ingredients. It is also hard to find time to bake during the week working full time. However, I believe that if something is truly important to you, you should be able to make time for it. Hobbies are a super important part of life and can help fill your days with more fun and happiness. 

How Cardboard is Made

Chances are you have some cardboard lying around your house. Chances are, you’ve ordered a product online within the last week, or so that will arrive at your door in a cardboard box in a few days. The reality is that the world runs on cardboard. We use cardboard for so many different things on a daily business, and I don’t think there are enough people aware of this fact. We love cardboard because it is cheap and easy to make, easy to shape and form with, and relatively strong, and can hold up well in a variety of conditions. Making cardboard is no doubt a laborious process that involves great manufacturing at every step of the way, but I think it is important to know how things are made and what they are made from in order to get a better grasp on the reality we live in and the things we spend our money on. 

Have you ever thought about what cardboard is? Or how it’s made? I’m sure you think you do. You probably think you know all about cardboard. But in reality, you don’t. You are blind and ignorant to the ways of cardboard, and I will tell you why in this brief overview of one of the most versatile materials, along with the benefits that it brings to our lives.

In the first days of cardboard, developed by German Chemist Carl. F Dahl, simply involved pulping wood that was later used in the paper-making process. This advanced method of paper-making at the time was revolutionary in turning wood chips into paper strong enough not to split or tear. As we all know, cardboard is produced and manufactured by using fibers from trees and plants. The pulping process aims to break down the structure of the tree or plant fibers so that they are ready to be made into market pulp.

The next step in the cardboard-making process is to make the pulp into paper/board. First, the pulp is beaten, squeezed, and pounded in a large tube to make it easier to work with. Sometimes there are other materials added in at this step. Materials like chalks or clays are sometimes added to the pulp to change the opacity of the final product cardboard. The pulp is then fed into a large machine and squeezed through rollers to drain the water and then pressed between wool felt rollers and heated cylinders to be absolutely certain all of the water has been removed. Then the paper is made into what are called flutes, which are typically that liner filling stuff in between the plates of cardboard that you would find in your everyday run-of-the-mill cardboard box. 

Cardboard is great because it can be made into all sorts of different products and has limitless possibilities for shipping and production. Manufacturers love it, and so do consumers. Another benefit of cardboard is that it can be recycled and used again. There is still new wood used in the production of cardboard, but the pulp can contain recycled materials, which is extremely important for keeping cardboard out of landfills. Since we go through so much cardboard in our lifetime, make sure you are breaking down your boxes and recycling them whenever possible so that we can keep our earth clean for the next generation.

Baking With Family and Friends

Ever since I was little, baking has always been a huge passion of mine. My mother would always treat my sisters and me to amazing baked goods. From cookies, cakes, pastries, pies, and other delectable treats, my mom could do it all. Consequently, I picked up baking really naturally during the later part of my childhood. The first things I started baking were mainly cookies because they are the easiest. Then I moved onto more complicated things like cakes and pies. Cakes and pies are a bit harder to bake because they involve a lot of accurate timing during the bake. In addition, it also requires a steady hand to meticulously measure ingredients and make sure the measurements are correct. 

One of the best parts about baking is being involved with family and friends. Not only is it nice to be able to share an activity with loved ones, but giving away baked goods as gifts for others is so rewarding. I frequently would head down to my neighbors’ house after a long afternoon of baking and give them various types of cookies that I had made. They really loved what I made! 

Getting the right ingredients for your baking is just as important as the actual baking itself. I remember going to the store with my mom to pick out different ingredients for a certain recipe. For cookies, we loved to buy different types of chocolates and candies to put together. Oatmeal raisin cookies with chocolate chips are particularly delectable. Walking down the grocery store’s isles and taking in all the different types of ingredients can be overwhelming; the different colored candy boxes and smells of chocolate and brown sugar can attack your senses. However, if you make sure you know what the recipe calls for, you can be in and out of the store very quickly! As you are checking out, be sure to use paper bags instead of plastic ones. Plastic bags are harmful to the environment and will sit much longer in landfills than paper ones. Paper bags are also very reusable for trash cans, picnics, and any other case in which you may need a bag! Now it is time to head home. Don’tDon’t forget anything at the store as you leave! Maybe even stop at Starbucks for a coffee on the way home – you deserve it!

Once you have your ingredients back at home, it’s time to start baking. Like I said earlier, baking cookies is relatively simple and does not involve too much complicated or strenuous baking procedures. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, butterscotch, m&m, and monster cookies are all great options! I personally love oatmeal cookies without the raisins. Adding in some candy never hurts. Make sure to gather your ingredients, including all your candy boxes, and start baking as soon as you get home. That way, your cookies will be ready to treat your friends and family as quickly as possible!

Baking truly does bring you closer together with your loved ones. As I stated earlier, baking is something that my mom and I can do together to remain close and stay in contact with each other. However, baking is always a great activity to take part in with friends or romantic partners! In high school, I very much enjoyed baking with my friends after school and bringing cookies to share with my classmates the next day. As far as hobbies go, baking is easy to get into, inexpensive, and something you can do with the people you love!

Moving from Florida

Recently I moved back from Florida, and in order to do so, I needed a lot of cardboard boxes in order to keep all my items together and in one place. There were a few challenges that I faced along the way, but I was sure to overcome them. I am not one to let an obstacle stop me from moving forward. I am glad to be back home and around my family and friends, but I do miss the Florida heat. I do not like the cold. I have been told it is because I have thin blood. I also think it is because I got used to the heat and just prefer that now. It was hard to find the best boxes for my move, but eventually, I found some. I was lucky enough to get some for cheap and was set. 

Finding out I was going to be moving back home was not an easy decision for me. I loved being down there. I moved down with one of my best friends and a friend of his. I found out when the roommate said he was not going to be living with us next year because I played video games. I wish I were joking when I said that, but it is true. My friend and I were planning on moving into a two bedroom apartment until he found out he had to move back home with his family because of money issues. I understood that, and I decided I would move back home with my family until I got a bit more on my feet. He moved back in with his family down in Florida, and I moved back up to Indiana to live with my family. 

After deciding, I was going to move back to Indiana. I had to find some boxes so I could put all my items in there for safe travel. I did some research to see if I could find a moving company before having to do it myself. Unfortunately, I was not able to find one that could fit my budget and time frame. I decided to move myself, and for that, I needed to get some boxes. I first checked out some stores nearby me and was able to get the Super Target by me to give me some boxes they were going to throw away. 

When I was able to get some free boxes, I was so ecstatic. I went home to pack up, and a few days later, I had to pack up the box truck with all my items and furniture. I had a bed and a desk as well as a lot of clothes and other things. I did not have all that much in comparison to others, but it was still a good amount of items. Luckily I had some very big boxes. 

Moving on your own is not that bad, but it is not the most fun as it is very time consuming and tasking. I was happy that I could get some free cardboard boxes and mainly because they were the size I needed but bigger. It is always recommended that you try and get some boxes for free before you try and buy them. Prices at this time are getting more expensive for cardboard.