5 Ways to Reduce Plastic Usage

Though I list a few specific products I have no affiliate links nor have these companies sponsored me in any way, this is all my personal recommendations.

*update 10/14/2018 I have recently signed up for the Amazon Associates program to turn my blog into a career. I have updated the amazon links and may receive a commission when you purchase from my link. They are still my personal recommendations.

Plastic is one of the most life changing inventions of the modern age. Though you wouldn’t think it could compete with a Tesla being flown into space it has permeated through into every aspect of our existence.

From grocery shopping to makeup, toys to eating out our lives are consumed by plastic. Life has been made more convenient by the introduction of plastic into our lives. Yet, according to National Geographic more than 40% of plastic is only single use and will be thrown into the trash. Though we throw it away plastic will not only end up in landfills, it will also end up in the ocean; killing sea life and washing onto otherwise untouched and pristine beaches.

If you would like to read more about the journey of plastic read this article(and I highly recommend it):

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/the-journey-of-plastic-around-the-globe/

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/plastics-facts-infographics-ocean-pollution/

With all of this in mind there is surely something that every single person can do to reduce their use of single use plastic. Every one of the ways that I will list is simple and easy.

Plastic

  • Buy reusable water bottles and coffee cups.

I have never been to a coffee shop where they have refused to fill up my water bottle, or they have refused to make the drink in one of my reusable cups. Some places even offer a discount for bringing in reusable cups. Investing into a few durable and reusable cups will bring down your single use plastic, especially if you are used to buying cases of bottled water.

If you are in an area where your tap water is not so great there are filters you can attach to the faucet, or even water bottles that have a filter. My favorite water bottle is my Yeti. I don’t use any other water bottle as it is durable and keeps my water cold.

https://www.yeti.com/stainless-steel-water-bottles?utm_id=google_477448229_48833754441_251429274433_kwd-297999465298_c&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0PTXBRCGARIsAKNYfG2fGCLB50oziWRei229HXOJLErqe4XS9ay3KY8wWbtdUXXAbSpPz3AaAkLHEALw_wcB

  • Buy reusable grocery bags or use paper bags

Annual plastic bag usage in Denmark is averaging at about four bags per resident, American shoppers are using about 365 per resident in a year. That statistic can be brought down if we use reusable bags, or even opt for the paper option, which can then be recycled.

Many times the reusable bags offered at stores are cost effective and can be quickly accumulated, eliminating the need for plastic bags altogether. Be sure to keep at least a few bags in your car should you ever need to make a surprise visit to a store.

  • No more straws!

Though they are small they are extremely detrimental to the environment. Skip the straw, or if you really can’t go without invest in some reusable stainless steel straws that will last for years instead of once.

https://amzn.to/2NHKQfw

  • Instead of plastic wrap and plastic produce bags opt for more eco friendly options.

Even when buying fresh foods we still end up using plastic to carry it. Instead of using the plastic bags found in the produce section opt for reusable mesh or muslin bags to store your produce.

Plastic wrap has undoubtedly made life easier, though it is still another single use item. Rather than go through sheets and sheets of it think about using a beeswax alternative. It creates a seal around the bowl, fruit, or whatever to keep it fresh. This product is reusable, but does have an end to its usable life. Instead of needing to be thrown away you can compost it or use it as a fire starter.

https://amzn.to/2CeB2I0

https://amzn.to/2RPPiwk

  • Try to avoid buying food products and household items that are stored in plastic containers.

Even the foods we buy are not without the use of plastic. From meat to cookies it’s all stored in a thin sheet of plastic. Instead of buying these unsustainable products go for products stored in boxes that can be recycled and are able to break down. When it comes to drinks go for glass bottles or drink mixes that will have a much longer life and plastic bottles.

Even household items such as laundry detergent can be stored in plastic. Again go for boxed goods instead. Or if you are into the diy scene pinterest has a multitude of recipes where you can create your own household goods.

 

Want to read more about ways to cut down on plastic? Check out this article: 

http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-less-plastic.html

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Ethical Consumption in the Modern Age(ECMA)

When Blackfish was released in 2013 it created a mass uproar and sparked a multitude of conversations about the conditions in which wild animals were kept in captivity. Yet there are still SeaWorld parks in operation and they still house these wild animals. If you look at their site they have a huge push towards the good work they do for marine life but as I sit here watching Blackfish for the first time I can’t help but feel that it’s all BS.

That’s why I want to add a new category to my blog: Ethical Consumption in the Modern Age or ECMA as it will be in the tags.

I can’t bear the thought of being a contributor to the senseless violence that blind consumerism brings to the world around us. We only have one earth and it is filled with wondrous things.

I understand that in our modern life it is extremely engrained in patterns and conveniences, and I am striving to form a community that will enable small changes in our everyday life that positively impacts the big picture.

I want this community to grow in terms of places (like SeaWorld) to avoid, ethical food purchasing (in a way that is affordable), good companies to buy from, growing your own food, or other small things that we can all start doing today. In cases that require an explanation I will certainly provide one. I believe that being aware and conscientious of protecting our environment belongs to one group of people who believe a certain way. We all live on this planet and so do hundreds of thousands of other species that also deserve to live their lives on this planet.

flowers

Spring Bucket List

Right now we are only three days away from the first day of spring, and I am rather excited. Living in Colorado I see more than my fair share of the snow and spend most of the winter bundled in as many layers as I can manage.

But with March 20th quickly approaching I can finally get into a spring state of mind. Yet, I didn’t want 2018 to roll out exactly like last year when I let spring completely pass me by, so I have created a Spring Bucket List and I invite you to join me.

2018 Spring Bucket List

*Side note: If you would like to feed ducks please do not feed them bread; instead you can get duck pellets from a pet store, or any variety of birdseed. You can also feed them leafy greens(in small pieces) or oats.

Sunday Adventures

Here in Colorado we have had a round of sad, cold weather.

With the beginning of March we have finally begun to have spring-like weather. This Sunday my best friend and I went out on a mini adventure. What started off as a walk around the park turned into a walk all over Greeley.

IMG-6415

Starting at 10th street we ended up on A street; which is the location of Island Grove Park. We stumbled across a home and garden event, which was complete with vendors from the community and food trucks.

I love mini adventures as is it is a constant reminder that even in the places we are most comfortable or feel bored in, there is always something new. Something interesting, or at the very least new memories and experiences.

Perhaps the rest of the week I’ll only be at home and work and I won’t trek from one end of Greeley to the other, but I was able to get out today and enjoy the moments of today.

 

How I’ve Started to Live a Happier Life

When I compare my present day self to where I was last year it’s almost like comparing two totally different people. Here are the five major changes I’ve made in my life to improve my overall sense of self and my motivation.

 

Invest time into your hobbies, but it doesn’t have to be every hobby everyday.

I like to do many things. And I love doing things, but if I try to press myself to practice or participate in every single one of my hobbies every single day I would go crazy. There would be no time to do anything else, not even sleep. There would be too much pressure to perform at the same level everyday. And that would take away the joy I get from things like playing the ukulele. It is something I enjoy, and though I could stand to practice more than I do, it’s okay to not do it every day.  This is especially important if you have many hobbies, allow yourself time.

Go outside everyday/open the blinds.

Before I got a dog I would never go outside when it was cold. Even on some nice days I would stay inside, unless it was to go to my car. The blinds were also always closed. Since getting a dog I have to go outside, and I am so thankful for it. Although I never wake up early enough to see the sunrise, going outside at any time is important. Even on the cold days there is something almost therapeutic about breathing in the fresh air. Having my blinds open during the day and letting in the natural light has boosted my mood exponentially when compared to the days when I leave the blinds closed. The sunlight is such a happier light than having the lights turned on in the apartment, and I always feel more motivated too.

Find your perfect work/life balance.

The perfect work and personal life balance is different for everyone. And of course, changing up hours or jobs isn’t viable for everyone who has to hold onto every hour they get in order to fully pay their bills and survive. And I understand that, so if you are unable to change your current work life; I applaud you for doing what needs to be done.

I am fortunate enough to be in a situation where I do not have to work full time to make ends meet. Though the months are tight and I rarely have extra money I am so much happier. The change in hours also came with a job change, which also helped. At my last job(which was at a call center) I was sad and anxious all the time. There were no windows to look out of and it was sitting in one place for eight hours. There were days where my anxiety was so bad I could not go to work; one time I missed a whole week of work due to my mental state.

Although now I still work in a high stress job(at the Boys and Girls Club) it has been a complete 180. The hours are only after school and I am able to move around, go outside, play games, and watch movies. My new job has also allowed me to invest more time into what my dream job is; writing. I have been able to progress more than ever on personal projects than I had over the past year.

Eliminate the things that don’t serve you.

I purposefully left this as vague as possible, because you can take this mindset into any aspect of your life. And I certainly don’t mean this in the way that if someone or something isn’t benefitting you in a financial or material way you need to cut them out of your life. This is more in the sense of emotional negativity, material clutter, or health. I have found that dairy makes me bloated and tired, it is not positively serving my body so I have mostly eliminated it from my diet.

Look at self-care/working out as a celebration of your body, not a punishment.

I’ve never been big into working out. When I would have those few moments where I told myself I needed to work out it was out of hatred for my body. I would eat way too much junk food and was sad and unhappy with how I looked constantly. Now I have gotten into yoga as a celebration of where my body is, and how it will improve. Though I do still eat junk food it is much less than in the past and I now enjoy a much better diet. These two physical changes have improved my overall state of health. Like with the work/personal life balance this, of course, is dependent on how much you can do for yourself. I can’t always eat the way that would be ideal for me, but you just have to work with what you can do.

Finding Culture Where I Am

If you’ve ever lived in Colorado no doubt you’ve heard of Greeley. And I’m sure the things you have heard about how badly it smells or how terrible it is.

Yet that is a disservice to the small city. It is also at a disadvantage in location; it is an hour north of Denver, 40 minutes south of Fort Collins and a short drive to Loveland. All three are much higher income areas than Greeley and thus Greeley is stuck with the piteous reputation.

Even when I had first moved here in May of 2016 I was not happy about it. Everything I had heard about Greeley was sad and dismal, and I’ll admit for awhile I believed it. It wasn’t until I moved closer to the university last year that I allowed myself the gift of opening my eyes to the reality of Greeley. No it is no New York City or Memphis, but it is not without its own culture and surprises.

Downtown Greeley is full of small shops and restaurants, and one of my favorite ways to spend a warm morning or afternoon is to walk around and find new places to frequent.

This morning I went to Cranford’s Tea Place and ate a sandwich that I really believe was as large as my head, and of course I had a cup of chai to accompany it.

Self Improvement

Slowly it’s getting further and further into 2018 and on social media I have already seen some people give up on their resolutions, and others who are showing real improvement and following through on those resolutions.

Unfortunately, I was in the first group of people who had given up. I wanted to do yoga everyday and really focus on my body and eating healthier, and all of those cliche health related goals that everyone has at one point or another.

That lasted for a little bit, however one morning of skipping yoga turned into two, then three, then a week. The water turned back into soda and I found I was participating in those same old self destructive habits.

While I was slipping back into this “old me” status, I saw those people who were improving, people who are my friends. And instead of feeling joy and happiness for them, I felt anger. Why were they improving while I was going in the opposite direction.

It took me awhile to really think through and process my thoughts. Why was I so angry at my own friends for doing something awesome and improving themselves?

It was because of my hatred for myself. Even those good intentioned resolutions I had made, were made out of self hatred for my body. When those goals didn’t yield immediate results I really couldn’t think of the point of continuing and slipped into those negative behaviors.

That’s when I realized that self improvement should come from a place of self love, not from self hatred or being angry that others are achieving their goals. Rather than make goals of working out and being healthy I should have put more focus on loving my body as it is, and loving myself so much that the healthier options would not become a punishment for my body.

With this, I know I can still make those promises to eat healthier and do yoga everyday, however I am now bringing those changes into my life out of a love and appreciation for my body and the incredible things it is capable of, rather than hating it.

If you are in the same boat, it’s a hard transition to make, especially if you have spent years in the hole of self deprecation, but it is so worth it. This is a recent change for me, but I am so much more content now that I have made the change.

I am allowing myself to indulge in things that make me feel good, outside of health, like wearing makeup and taking selfies, and I urge you to do the same.

car selfie

Promises to Myself

 

Forming long lasting habits has never been something that has come easily to me. Yet I love giving myself self improvement goals. I’ll spend time on Pinterest poring over all these how-to guides for being your best self, or losing weight, eating healthier. And with all of those articles and guides I’ll find myself making goals- most of them are much to difficult to attain.

So here I am a month into February and all of my new years goals have all since ended. Obviously the way I had been doing things had not been working. Yet, I’m not sure how else I’m supposed to go about change. I feel like every month it’s a new “New Me” deal, and it only lasts until I burn out and lose motivation, only for me to find motivation the next month and repeat the cycle.

I’ve read about people making contracts with themselves, and if it isn’t followed through they have do something they hate, or donate to a cause they don’t stand behind as the motivation to stick to it.

I don’t think I’m that ready to go quite that far, but rather than make arbitrary goals for myself I am going to make promises to myself. Promises hold more weight than goals. Some of my promises will include dietary changes and overall health and lifestyle changes. I’m not expecting it to be a totally linear process, but to start seeing positive improvement is really the most important thing, along with persistence.

Here’s to the last, and hopefully, best month of my being nineteen.

Smoothies in a Jar

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about meal prepping, and mason jar meals and I must admit; I absolutely love the idea. Then I saw a video about mason jar smoothies and was instantly sold. However I made a few tweaks to mine as I am a firm believer that if you add milk to your smoothie it is no longer a smoothie, but a milkshake. If you are interested in how I prepped and made my smoothies please continue reading.

Smoothie jar aesthetic

 

Ingredients(What I used, but you can use different things)

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Kale
  • Honey
  • Orange Juice
  • Plain Yogurt

I made a few different smoothie combos to keep things interesting. With the exception of the pineapple(which I bought canned) I bought all the fruits fresh from the grocery store. I bought pint sized mason jars, which means each smoothie has approximately 2 cups of fruits,veggies.

smoothie 4

Different Smoothie Combos:

  • Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry
  • Banana, Kale, Strawberry
  • Raspberry, Kale, Strawberry, Blueberry
  • Pineapple, Kiwi, Banana
  • Kale, Blueberry, Banana

I don’t measure out anything I put into my smoothies, but I was able to make an approximation to the amounts.

  1. 2 cups of fruit or veggies
  2. 2/3 cup of orange juice
  3. 4 TB of yogurt
  4. Honey to taste

With the orange juice I start with a smaller amount, however if your blender is having difficulties blending everything add more juice.

smoothie 1

Why I Cut My Hair with Child’s Safety Scissors

On the first of this year I sat in front of my mirror and cut my own hair. I cut off quite a few inches, with the finished result being a modern bob type style. Now it isn’t the length itself that was so crazy- back in high school I had a pixie cut- but rather that I did it, and the ‘why.’

For so long, and even still, I have wanted long, wavy, mermaid hair. As my hair began to grow longer I began to hide behind my hair, using it as a shield. Also I wasn’t even really doing anything with it to improve how I felt about myself. It was either in a bun or poorly brushed and I was out the door. Besides the physicality of hair, or anything else directly related to it, I felt like I had been stagnant and unchanging.

blog before hair

Artistically and mentally 2017 was a really rough year for me. I felt like I was failing or backpedaling, certainly not moving forward, no matter what it was that I did. I felt like I had lost control over every aspect of my life. So, naturally, I decided to take control of my hair. I cut it off to feel that small amount of control back in my life, and to ensure I wasn’t bringing in 2018 in the same way I left 2017.

blog after hair

The same gets tiring. That’s why I’m going to do something crazy(at least for me) once a month, at the minimum. If you have any ideas for future shenanigans don’t hesitate to leave a comment or message me.