Valentines

Happy Valentines Day!

Is it possible to have too many Valentines? Because I have four.

  1. The Bearded Husband–my rock, the foundation to our family, who makes me swoon, and supports and even joins in to my eco-manacle ways.
  2. Thing One– My favorite tiny human.
  3. Thing Two– My favorite tiny human.
  4. The favorite planet, Earth.

While I’ll be showing my affection to each of my Valentines, I thought I would quickly share a low-waste Valentine project that #2 and #3 could share at school, but also treads lightly on #4.  Continue reading

Oops – Cheers to 2018

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How does one hit publish and have an entire post disappear? Of course this would happen to me. Especially considering getting here has been a struggle given the chaos of the holidays with a big dollop of new baby who prefers to sleep attached to me. I’ve called it my “maternity leave” and am finally coming out of the smog since our journey to see the giant sequoias filled me with fresh air and a fresh perspective.

The holiday hangover was real this year. Theodore arrived early November and then the chaos of the holidays hit. I was bound and determined to not let it get to me, but a mix of hormonal uncertainty and holiday anxiety is not really a recipe for success. I absolutely voted with my dollars, but issues like wrapping paper, battling the awful plastic fight with those horrific gifts from family that refuse to respect our lifestyle, resisting the urge to buy more things because it has been ingrained in my head since I was a wee tot, and making sure that that capitalist Santa guy was bringing my kids enough “stuff” haunted me.  I did manage to find everything on the big guys list used and no one new the difference. For the 26 kiddos on my list I purchased books from our local bookstore and opted for some jammies made of soft organic cotton and not made in China. For wrapping paper I made reusable fabric bags from scraps of fabric left over from old projects, this was a bit ambitious and I’m not sure I can recommend this for a new mom next year.  We also hosted a vegetarian nearly gift-less Christmas Eve and it was quite lovely. We didn’t master the art of refusing, still having a hard time convincing my husband on that one, so in our bathtub you will find a peeing plastic baby doll and a plastic singing tea cart in the box in our living room (I keep trying to trade that one for something less hideous). How do people avoid these things? I can’t imagine Jess Brown, Simone LeBlanc or  Erica Tanov deal with singing plastic hideousness, what is your secret???? (these are my lifestyle crushes in you are unfamiliar 🙂 )

2018 Started out better than 2017 ended though. We had to cancel our vegetarian new years brunch due to a kid with a horrifically high fever, but soon after we jumped in the car and found ourselves in an amazing coniferous forest filled with emerald moss, eggplant bark, rusty needles, and the most amazing trees I’d ever seen. I didn’t realize this was a bucket list item for me, but it totally was. If you haven’t been, go, go now!  The kids loved it too. Don’t get me wrong there was a fair share of four-year old complaining, but once we discovered the trees and gave them the space to actually play amongst them Missy’s daughter screamed out “there’s so much to do here!” while running in and out of a hollowed tree. We might be doing something right after all. Fingers crossed.

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I felt incredibly small standing next to these ginormous beings. Standing there looking up I couldn’t help but be perplexed that my small self could have a greater and devastating impact on the environment to the point of harm of these spectacles. That hardly seems right and fair. It really put into perspective how important it is to change. I’ve gotten so many questions about whether or not I will continue on this journey and honestly there is no way I could ever go back. I will never shop the same, or eat without consideration of the journey but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned so much last year and feel I can only go forward from here. We plan to continue our 2017 resolutions but take them a bit farther and continue to add to them. For example  instead of just giving up beef I am becoming a ceremonial omnivore. I am only eating meat on special occasions and exploring the world of vegan cuisine. The native people didn’t eat meat everyday and neither should we.

More items to tackle in 2018:

Finally build that curated closet, once my waistline goes back to normal of course 🙂

Putting all the investment research to play, and donating to more organizations that are truly doing their part in action and education.

Getting more political. This I am least excited about, but last year I learned this is the most important one, so alas here I come.

Continue to instill these values in my kids. This may be the most important one.

Hold my community accountable. Why are the public schools not composting? Why are there only trash receptacles at the park? Why are some places still giving out plastic bags? Come on, we call ourselves a “green city” but really??

Shop less, but when I do shop shop small. Period.

Make this process more beautiful. Being more ecologically minded doesn’t have to be granola and frankly it won’t appeal to the masses if it is. How can I make these everyday small steps be Pinterest ready? If its beautiful more people will join in. #jarporn

And the list will keep growing and growing. In 2018 we must keep moving, time is running out. Will you makes some changes for the better this year? Will you join us? You don’t have to make your own laundry soap, but maybe instead of buying Tide in plastic you can change to something eco-friendly in cardboard? Or even better hit up the bulk section? If we all make small changes it makes a big difference, don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Please.

Happy New Year!

Like all good resolutions, I’m going to admit I’ve outgrown mine from 2017. No need to laugh and jump and shout, “I told you so!” just yet. I’m not retiring my resolutions. But rather, the act of embarking upon them has brought me farther than any other resolution has ever carried me before. They need a tune up, because I know how to get more milage out of them. Continue reading

A Post about Popcorn

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This is my first blog post in a very long time. Not that you’ve noticed because my comadres Lily and Missy have been keeping Love, Laugh & Make Lemonade going strong during my unexcused absence.

I could write a book (let alone a blog post) about how and why I’ve been slacking in my zero-waste pursuits: summer vacation, laziness, unprecedented heat, traveling, houseguests, summer-time ear infections, ER visits, broken wrist, surgery…

But instead, I’m going to write about popcorn. Continue reading

Three things you can do today… while waiting in line.

Greetings from the Denver, Colorado Hertz rental car line. Why this line is sooooooooo long. Luckily I’m armed with an iPhone on full charge. Here are three quick things I know I can do before I decline any vehicle “upgrades” less it be a hybrid.IMG_0645

1. Message your representatives- let your local, state, and/or national representatives know how you are feeling. Not necessarily about the line you are in (hopefully), but about your concerns about climate change. If you are fortunate enough to have representatives in line with your values as I am, you can take time to thank them as well. I just shot Kamala Harris a grateful shout out for co-sponsoring a single payer healthcare bill with Bernie Sanders and to keep up the good work defending California’s coastline and national parks. I also wrote my California state senator Mike Mcguire in support of SB-149 which comes up for a vote on Tuesday. It would require any presidential candidate to disclose their tax returns before appearing on the ballot.

2. Plan a beef and palm oil-free menu. Check out Lily’s post in time for a tasty burger on Labor Day. 

3. Email a company about their sustainability practices. Here’s an example Lily used for our favorite yogurt company. One vice I can’t seem to kick is GT’s kombucha with its plastic cap and ring. I have tried other brands with aluminum lids, and they just don’t quench my craving for the Booch. Yes, it’s wicked easy to make your own and I even had my brew streamlined to just how I liked it with my scoby Artem (every scoby needs a slutty name). but I still find myself picking up bottles Of GT’s. I contacted them via their website:

Hi!

I love your Kombucha!

I’ve made my own and tried lots of different brands but yours is the one I keep returning to. I drank it through both of my pregnancies. I found it to be a great substitute for a glass of wine in the evening and an effective tonic for nausea.

I’ve embarked on an adventure to curb my carbon footprint. One reason why I went shopping around and brewing my own was because I’m avoiding the consumption of plastic. I appreciate that your bottles are made of glass, but they are capped with plastic and sealed in a plastic ring. While plastics are technically recyclable, 90% isn’t. Furthermore, plastics are derived from fossil fuels and cannot biodegrade, so it’s a product that’s dirty to make and lasts the lifespan of the planet.

I’ve noticed other brands of kombucha, while not as tasty as yours, bottle differently. Some come with an aluminum lid and built in seal. Even better is a returnable bottle with reusable lid. Please consider switching to either these or another form packaging that achieves the goal of reducing waste.

I’d also love to hear more about what your company is doing to decrease your carbon footprint.

Kind regards from a fan,

Mellissa

 

Sent from my iPhone

Thoughts on Sustainable Design

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Today I had a long long long meeting at the design center with a little time for sourcing afterwards. I popped into one of my favorite showrooms Holland & Sherry and stumbled upon these gorgeous green chairs. Thinking they would be perfect for client I asked for the details only to be pleasantly surprised to find they were vintage and upholstered with the company’s line of responsible wool fabrics. I swooned, took a bunch of pics, and then went on my way. As I walked from showroom to showroom I really got lost in the idea of sustainable and responsible design. What does it truly mean? Why does it seem so sterile? Is it really unattainable? There seems almost to be a negative view of “green design”. They (meaning the companies pushing it) seem to push a very modern, simple, aesthetic that can read somewhat granola-esque. The problem is that this aesthetic is not for everyone, in fact it includes very few people. Most people want a warm inviting home and that definition looks very different to everyone. From ornate to minimalist sustainable design should reach us all and there is no reason it can’t.  Continue reading

How to Make Zero Waste Pudding Cups

For Marilyn’s 4th birthday she was adamant about having a camping birthday before she was even 3 1/2. As the time got closer she did not waiver on her choice so we planned a wonderful weekend of camping with friends including a big fireside party. While we were flipping through some of my old Martha Stewart magazines for summer inspiration she came across an ad with pudding cups and asked if she could have those, she’s a huge chocolate fan. I fondly remember pudding cups as a kid. Pulling back the plastic-y foil tops and using my spoon to attack every nook for the chocolatey goodness. Looking back the pudding was really not that great, and I hang my head in shame thinking of all the waste they created. So it got me thinking, how could I recreate that childhood favorite for my own child without leaving a huge footprint?

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Where to Start….

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Paper straw on a kid friendly cup at Sotola

We just returned home from a 10 day vacation in my old stomping grounds. It was great to be “home” amongst friends and family and to drag along some “new” friends for the ride. How I just love the weather, the ocean, and being surrounded by the familiar. It is my fantasy to get back there, but the logistics are a bit challenging right now. During a park playdate with one of my nearest and dearest we got on the subject of this new lifestyle I have been exploring. I try not to be too excited or overbearing when the topic approaches so I often take the quiet road in hopes not to scare people off. She had wonderful words of praise to say, and warmed my heart when she said “I think about you all the time”, like “how do buy toilet paper?” I love it, one of the first things my mom said was “I am not visiting if you give up toilet paper”. Later I got a text saying she would like to get started but wasn’t sure how and requested this post. Its true that my list of goals can seem intimidating, and with a new baby like she has, the thought of turning your routine upside down can be more than overwhelming. So here is my go T, I know you can do it! Continue reading