The Friday Feedback Forum

July 16th, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback

Oi Oi! Hello there! I don’t know about you, but I am sooo looking forward to a nice relaxing-yet-productive weekend. And speaking of . . . it’s time for your comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions.

So this week’s question is a bit different. I’m working (you know, in all my abundant spare time, haha!) on plans for expanding Bonzai. I want this site to always evolve, I want what we’re doing here to reach a wider audience, and I want to connect with more and more like-minded people. I believe so deeply in what we all are doing and I want to spread that positivity and green goodness to as many people as possible! SO, my question for you is –

How would you like to see Bonzai Aphrodite grow?

Any and all ideas are welcome! I’m so interested in your thoughts, so please please share. Remember this community is all bout YOU guys. I want to make it even better for you!

As usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time.

Okay, have a mellow, magic-making weekend!


  • Katie F.

    I will be thinking of concrete ideas for expansion, but until then…I just have to tell you that every time I read your new (and old) posts, you put a huge smile on my face. You exude positivity and light, and I want you to know how great that makes me feel, and how it inspires me to do the same.

  • wendi

    Ok, i love your site and so glad I found it! I am going green and going to start putting my adventures on my blog. I was wondering if you were interested in putting some thoughts together of why organic being green and cloth diapers ect?? I am so for it but want an anothers words to go with mine :) if your interested email me! I would love hear about it and I am going to reference some of your posts from my blog. Not sure what to do for expansion…keep doing what your doing :)

  • Rea

    Well, for one small thing, I’m already always pimping you out on my LJ, haha, but what would be really neat would be like some official Bonzai profile badges. I’d love to have a Bonzai button that links back to the site on all my blogs and sites and stuff. I’m a huge huge fan of word-of-mouth advertising and I think it’d be great to encourage more people to get the word out about Bonzai. Really, you’ve inspired myself and many other people in so many ways, thank you so much for offering your time to reach out to people from all over the place online and share your tips, ideas, and optimism. I’ve been reading since almost the beginning of the site and I’m more than amazed with how things have been going here, I’ve learned so much.

    What all have you personally had in mind for expansion, though? Maybe a monthly newsletter or something?

  • Sarah

    You could always host a forum. I mean, besides the Friday feedback one :) Set it up for more interaction among your readers to talk about their choices, progress on your missions, etc. You could even set it up so a moderator could do some of the day to day monitoring stuff.

    I imagine if you get more readership, newer people may want to go back and do your older missions. A forum would be an easy way to support that!

  • Kelly H.

    I concur with Katie. I truly aspire to be as committed and successful at living the healthy, sustainable, “green” lifestyle you live. I am in awe of your energy and dedication and…you really should have an entire litter of kids to populate this world with good and compassionate Stewards of the Earth and fellow creatures. :o)

  • Kate

    I did want to let you know that, while I haven’t been keeping up on all your missions, I’ve taken this most recent mission to heart every day. I’d like to share this story with you:

    I live in AZ and the only comfortable exercise we have is swimming (or running on a treadmill in the A/C’d gym…). I like to people watch the folks jumping off the diving boards after I finish my workout, because they all act like such kids and it’s so wonderful to see the joy in their faces when they finally jump off the 3m board. This old guy finally mustered up some gusto and decided to jump off the short board. I was impressed!! When he walked by me, I thought of Bonzai (compliment him!! my brain said) and I asked “Did you dive in high school? That looked really good!” And he said “No I didn’t. But, no one ever says anything nice to me. You just made my day, thank you :)”

    There you Sayward – changing lives all the way down in Phoenix, AZ :) I love this mission!

  • Sayward

    Oh! You guys, you’re getting me all teary-eyed. Thanks so much for all the great feedback and ideas. This is such an amazing little community we’ve got here!

    @ Katie F. – Thank you *so* much. I really mean that, and I hope ou believe me when I say it is totally mutual – I draw so much inspiration from all of you!

    @ wendi – That’s awesome, yay for more green bloggers! Feel free to leave a link when you get it up and running, so we could all check it out. And of course, you’re more than welcome to link to any of my posts here on Bonzai. Luck!

    @ Rea – Yay, thanks for spreading the word! I’ve really relied on word of mouth here so I *really* appreciate that.

    Banners, badges, buttons – definitely on the list of things to do for expansion! Damian and I were looking into it a bit and there seems to be a lot of variability in size. So question: what size would you be interested in, say if you were going to put one up on your site or LJ or something? (which would be so awesome!) I don’t have a lot of experience and would love any input.

    I’ve thought about a newsletter . . . thought about forums, and eBooks, and T-shirts, and I’d love to send out stickers if I could find a place that prints on recycled paper. Thought about an ‘online co-op’, building a community feature where members could have a profile page, with pics and bios and journals, thought about clothing swaps and seed exchanges all through the mail. I have tons of ideas but don’t know where to start, or what people want right now.

    @ Sarah – A forum is definitely high on the list, already in the planning stage. =) I love the idea of a subforum to facilitate MMMs! Great idea.

    @ Kelly H. – Aw, thank you so much. Hearing that I am really touching people is seriously the best thing in the world. That’s what all this is about! And man . . . I may just end up having a whole litter. This is too much fun! =D

    @ Kate – Your story brought a tear to my eye. That is just so, so sweet. Such a simple gift of kindness that can mean SO much to someone. That is *exactly* what this mission is about!

    You all are so amazing. KEEP ROCKIN’!!!

  • Rea


    WOW, those are TONS of wonderful ideas! As for the badges, I think offering a variety of sizes would be your best bet in reaching an optimum amount of people to use them, but as for myself, any size really. A few starter sizes would be 150×150 pixels (small), 175×175 (medium), and 200×200 pixels (large) for just round/square ones; another good idea would be the Socially Conscious, Totally Fabulous image or some variation of it, it’s a good size. It’s totally something you and Damian could have LOTS of fun working together with to make! I think incorporating the fork-mirror-flower logo is a fantastic idea.

    I think a little store for stickers and shirts and maybe bags–post-consumer and organic of course–would be an absolutely amazing way for outreach, advertising, and generating a small bit of income to help with hosting fees and such for the website (if you were interested). I personally would love a bumper sticker, some kind of reusable bag for shopping and stuff, and a t-shirt! I’d love to be able to support Bonzai that way.

    The online co-op sounds sooo fab, especially for those of us without nearby tangible co-ops! I hope to see this in the future!

  • Kathryn

    Online co-op would be super fun! But other than that, I have no idea. Really, everything is fantastic. :) :) :)

  • Tenise Rae

    First of all I must say: I’M IN PORTLAND!! HA! I’ve totally been thinkin’ about you!! :D Second of all, I’ve NEVER been to Portland! I know! I KNOW!!! What in the world is wrong with me? Thirty-three years old and have always lived in the northern California/southern Oregon area, yet I’ve never been here. After being here for about 3 days I’m totally kicking myself for not ever making it a priority to come up here. Third: I could live here and be completely and totally happy! Such a cool area!! So many cool little shops, PUBS and weird triangle corner businesses. LOL!! I am in total love. :D
    Anyway, we’re going back home tomorrow. It’s been a lovely time.

    Here’s a thought, we had to travel up to visit someone at Portland Providence and we’ve been having a hard time with recycling. Since we’re not familiar with the facilities and there aren’t many recycle receptacles just randomly placed about(there are some), what do people do when they’re traveling? I think we should come up with a traveling recycling idea. Although I’m not sure if I want to carry around bags of empty containers in my car…..I’m just not sure what to do about it. I do know I’ve felt horrible throwing stuff away.

    *yawn* I gotta hit the sack…soooo tired.

  • Kate

    I thought of this after I left my comment. I hope you take this as constructive criticism, it’s just my thoughts on an area to improve! :)

    I’ve been a bonzai reader for at least a year now, but even so I still have a hard time finding posts I’m looking for. I think there’s a lot of value in your ‘cleaning’ posts, but I don’t always feel like they’re the easiest to find. For example, it took me a bit to find the laundry detergent post yesterday, and I look up the recipe at least once every few months. Perhaps a way to make your ‘cleaning’ posts more obvious, a way to make ‘baby/munchkin/parenting’ posts more obvious, a way to make ‘recipe’ posts more obvious, etc. Sometimes, when I click on your tag cloud, I don’t get the posts I’m looking for. I think for new folks joining your community it’s a little difficult to find the good ‘old’ stuff.

    Just my $.02. I will love Bonzai still if you keep it the same!! :)

  • Callie

    I need help!! I’ve been wanting to make our own laundry detergent for a while now, and already use mostly home-made cleaning supplies, but we just bought a brand new high efficiency washer and dryer and everything that I’ve read emphasizes how important it is to use HE detergent with HE washers and dryers, but it doesn’t explain WHY. I’m nervous that I’m going to bust my washer (or at least shorten it’s life span) by going DIY. I’ve done a little research but can’t find an answer either way. Does anyone know anything about this? Thanks guys, and thanks Sayward for building such a wonderful community for us!

  • Valerie

    I’ve been racking my brain all weekend to try to find ways to help BA expand, but I’m not sure what you have in mind.

    ~ I do think that merchandise made from organic etc. like t-shirts, shopping bags, mugs, etc wold be nice. You could add a page of links to sites/companies that you and reeader’s have discovered that sell items printed on recycled paper, use organic cloth, etc. etc.
    ~ Also the idea of a forum on the MMM’s is a great idea, so that as people decide to take them up they ca ask questions & get current feedback.
    ~ I agree about the organization of the posts could be a bit better.
    ~ Profiles on the site would be a great way to put a face with a name.
    ~ Maybe setting up regional sections would be good. We could find out if there were BA readers in our area, we could share business in our area that produce green products, warn of environmentally unfriendly practices in our area. Maybe schedule potlucks or other social networking activities.

  • saundra

    Hey everybody.. i know this is a little off subject but i want to make sure that as many people as possible read this. the article is on what to look for in a drowning person this being summertime and all thought it would be a good read :)

    p.s. really like the idea of a seed swap and clothing swaps.. not even to mention everything else said. :)

  • Kate

    Valerie and Sandra’s comments gave me a few more ideas…

    Regional would REALLY help. In AZ….you just can’t grow like you can in Portland! I’m sure Portland is different than New York, which is different than Atlanta, which is different than Texas. Not sure how you could incorporate, but it would be very cool!

    I LOVE the idea of a seed swap though. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Keep the diversity in our food!!

    Also…depending on how ‘into’ you want to get into ‘Baby Bonzai’ – an online, second hand, ‘’ for baby clothes would probably be really cool. That’s another idea I just had.

  • Dawn

    I am really pleased to have found you! I am on an anti-inflammation diet that excludes sugar, red meat, potatoes, white rice and myriad of other ingredients. I was craving baklava and searching the internet for a sugar-free version; found your lovely recipe, can’t wait to try. I’m also experimenting with tofu. Thx for what you are doing, it’s a real service!!!

  • Tenise Rae

    I just wanted to add a little side note and say, “Don’t change Bonzai TOO much. I love the simple, clean look it has.” :D

    There’s just so many blogs I read regularly that have sooo much stuff on their site. Sometimes I don’t even know where the blog is on some sites it’s so cluttered, ya know?

    Just sayin’…..*shrug.

  • Sayward

    @ Rea – Awesome, sounds like we’re definitely on the same page with the styling of the banners/badges. =) I’m putting Damian on it!

    I’m so happy to hear that you would be interested in Bonzai merch! I’d love to do some limited run stuff. Bumper stickers are a great idea too!

    @ Kathryn – Thanks lady!

    @ Tenise Rae – Hey, WELCOME TO PARADISE, haha. But seriously yay, that’s so awesome you visited p-town. Isn’t it the best??

    That’s a really great point about traveling and recycling. I like the idea of coming up with a plan. I’ll think on it – and anyone else who has ideas, feel free to chime in!

    And don’t worry, Bonzai won’t be changing *that* much. Just tweaking. ;-)

    @ Kate – Thanks so much, constructive criticism is *very* much appreciated. I’m trying to understand exactly what the issue is. For example, all the cleaning posts are (I’m pretty sure) tagged with the ‘cleaning’ tag. But, they appear in reverse chronological order, so you might have to go back a few pages – is that the part that makes them hard to find? What do you think would make them easier?

    Navigation is really important to me, I know how much it affects user experience. So I definitely take this seriously! ANy additional input (open call to EVERYONE) would be appreciated. =)

    Also, great ideas on your second comment. Love the regional stuff, and I’m really excited about the seed swapping!

    @ Callie – Have you read through the comments on my detergent post? I know it was discussed by a couple of people and there were definitely folks who were using it in their HE successfully. Check out the comments!

    @ Valerie – All great points, thanks for the feedback! Could you elaborate on the navigation issue? How do you think it could be made more intuitive? Thanks, I really appreciate it!

    @ saundra – Thanks for sharing the link. And yeah, I’m excited about the seed swap! I need to officially announce that soon . . .

    @ Dawn – Ooh, good luck with the diet! That can be rough. But, as you know you still have plenty of options! I like to look at any dietary shift as an opportunity to explore new recipes and types of foods – sounds like that’s what you’re doing.

    Tofu can be tricky to get used to. I personally like to freeze it (the whole package, in it’s water and everything). Then let it thaw and you can pretty much wring it out like a sponge. It makes it super light and it’ll suck up a marinade SO well. It does make it a bit *spongey* on the tongue, which is less ‘meat like’. I don’t mind this at all but some people want it meatier. Anyway, it’s worth giving a try, Good luck!

  • Kate

    I’d love to elaborate! Here was my quest to find the ‘dry’ laundry detergent:

    Yes, clicking on the ‘cleaning’ tag does show me the cleaning posts, but I have to scroll down the whole page, see if my recipe is there or not, and then back track with the ‘previous posts’ link. I didn’t know how long I’d have to go, so I looked to the top nav. I was debating between ‘the farm’ and ‘furthermore’ and decided to go for ‘futhermore’ because ‘the farm’ sounded like family, food, gardening, chickens, TP seed starters, etc. When ‘furthermore’ did not yield cleaning, I was like, well, maybe ‘farm’ also means *cleaning* ‘the home’. Once I got there, I saw under ‘home’ the cleaning posts. But also under ‘home’ is ‘homemade tea bags’ and ‘homemade holidays’ – which, to be honest, I do feel falls into a different category than cleaning/buying a townhome. I’m unsure where I feel ‘family cloth’ falls into intuitively :)

    I also looked through the other links – didn’t realize that under ‘the food’ there was a giant recipe list! D’oh! But, I see ‘how to grow a mother’ and ‘how to brew kombucha’ under ‘Food and Health’ and I feel those posts should fall under ‘recipes’. I see ‘food and health’ as opinion pieces, Veg*n overviews, Organic food discussions, biodiversity posts, etc.

    As for suggestions to improve…I agree with what others have said, I love it that Bonzai is so CLEAN, and not cluttered with junk. However, I personally never use the ‘archive’ links on the page (perhaps move those to ‘furthmore?’) and I would maybe suggest a ‘most popular posts’.

    Oh! Isn’t there a feature where you can choose how ‘much’ of a post displays? If I could click ‘cleaning’ and not have to see ALL of one post whenever I’m scrolling through tagged posts, that would help.

    I hope that others have equally good or hopefully much better ideas than I do. I really love the site, and my favorite parts are the ways you share to live greener. I love the ‘how-to’s', recipes, cleaning info, monthly missions, your experiences living green (childbirth, raw, cleanse, etc) and your gung-ho attitude. Your blog makes me feel like ‘Well, she did it and lived, I can do it too!’ I hope posts like that keep coming :)

  • Sayward

    Thanks Kate, that is SO helpful! Thanks for taking the time to write that all out. =)

  • Meghan

    I have been out of the country and internet poor! I’ve missed you!

    Like Kate, I tend to have trouble finding things… I really should just bookmark the recipes I use often (deodorant, laundry soap, dish soap, etc) so I don’t have to look each time. I like Kate’s suggestion of having less of each post displaying under the tags so it is quicker to look through a list of them? It can take a while to scroll/click through previous posts to get one of the earlier tagged things. Also, for some reason I can never seem to find things when I use the search function? It could be that I just don’t use useful search terms, and I also don’t know if it is possible to improve the search function. But, for example, I search for “deodorant,” the post actually about deodorant is the LAST result on the first page, because you mention (usefully!) deodorant in subsequent posts. But I don’t know enough to know if that is fixable. :-)

    But your blog is awesome, so I wouldn’t complain normally, but since you were asking for suggestions… :-) I’m glad that everyone else has great ideas, because I sure can’t think of anything else! Thanks for being awesome!

  • Sayward

    @ Meghan – Well then, welcome back in-country! Hope your trip was awesome!

    I really appreciate all the feedback. Damian is my awesome IT and programming dude, but he’s super busy with work right now. SO I just want to let everyone know, I *totally* hear your suggestions and I *will* be implementing them as much as possible, but it may take a while. SO if you don’t notice the changes right away, please don’t think I’m not listening! I am, and I appreciate the feedback so much!