TOMS Wishlist

Sustainable Living

Have you ever eaten something really disappointing and thought, well fuck, I wish I could get those calories back. I wish I was one of those people who could create recipes but I’m not and depend on the internet for most of my recipes. Usually this works for me but this one was a dud.

It was supposed to snow 10 inches today, it didn’t. Instead it rained for hours and only just started snowing about an hour ago. The rain put me in a panic because I need new rainboots. I wear rainboots from about April 1 to Thanksgiving, I wear out a pair a year. Does it rain everyday for 6 months in Minnesota? No, in fact it does not but a few years ago, I stepped in a puddle of slimy water and woke up with a rash all the way up to my thigh. I got a skin infection, I had a fever and now I wear rainboots all of the time because water in the city is wretched. I didn’t find a new pair of rainboots but fell in love with about 10 pairs of new TOMS that I don’t need. I like TOMS, I’ve been sporting them since they became available in 2006. Over the years though, I’ve become more skeptical of this for-profit organization and its good intentions. It’s a couple of things for me, the influx of donated shoes must disrupt the local economies, canvas shoes aren’t great for most terrain, 40 bucks is a lot to pay for some canvas shoes that have basically become the trendy footwear of hipsters and yuppies. Do I like the idea of One-for-One? Yeah, absolutely but it makes me wonder if local businesses struggle to compete with a foreign supply chain. The donated shoes are exported to Ethiopia, Kenya, India and Haiti. Now, their shoes are plenty durable for my pedestrian, desk job working life but that 1/2 centimeter rubber sole wouldn’t hold up to much more. Are they the best shoes for kids in these countries? Being a middle class American, the cost of the shoes is a bit prohibitive. I own about a dozen pairs that I’ve collected over the years but wouldn’t they sell more pairs if they reduced their profit margin and cut the cost of them? I mean, I’m just sayin’. I’ve also owned my TOMS for years so I don’t really consider them fast fashion or wasteful, I get a lot of wear from them. I know that the organization now supports other causes like vaccines, clean water and eyecare so trendy shoes were obviously a great gateway cause. Anyway, I still like the shoes and appreciate the effort and need some spring kicks πŸ˜‰

Also, I just noticed that the canvas classics are 54.95! Let me know your thoughts on TOMS. How much good are they really doing? They’d just be ugly ass shoes if they weren’t TOMS, right πŸ˜‰

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Vegan Things I Can’t Even

Sustainable Living

March 1 marks two months since I jumped on the vegan train and I’ve mostly been loving it. As with anything though, there are some aspects of the vegan lifestyle that I just can’t get into. There are things I wouldn’t eat prior to my lifestyle change like caviar, frog’s legs or quail eggs – there are odd delicacies in any diet, plant-based being no exception. I don’t care how nutritious these items are, I just can’t even.

Nutritional Yeast – This deactivated yeast was a staple of my childhood nightmares. My dad used it as a popcorn topping and I’d forgotten about it until I needed it for a recipe recently. Once I cracked the seal, all of those years of foot popcorn came flooding back. Yack. Apparently it’s a staple ingredient in cheese substitutes which probably explains my aversion to them 😭

Black Bean & Most Plant Based Burgers – Now, I’ve tried some good ones but the vast majority of these burger substitutes have total gag-worthy texture.

Tofu Hotdogs – Another delicacy from my youth, tofu pressed into any unnatural shape is off-putting. It tastes delicious without having to masquerade as something else.

Cheese’ – Vegan cheese is literally the worst, how does it smell 100 times more like cheese than actual cheese?!

Kombucha – I don’t think this a vegan thing as much as it is an everyone’s lost their fucking minds thing. My first kombucha experience, I ended up with all the globs of fungus coming in the first swallow 🀒 Just gagged a little thinking about it.

Eggs – I’ve tried one soy egg product that was amazing and one that was just what you’d think soy eggs would be like. I’m steering clear for now, the good ones are incredibly hard to find.

Toona – Mostly because this plant-based tuna tastes like an old folks’ home smells – don’t act like you don’t know what that means 😝

There are loads of delicious recipes and vegan treats available, I find that I just don’t like the ones that are trying to imitate something else. I much prefer hodge podges of veggies and legumes to any processed stuff but it’s all about personal taste. Let me know what food aversions you have.

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Towards Zero-Waste, How to Get Started

Minimalism, Sustainable Living

Starting a zero-waste or minimal lifestyle can seem a daunting task, at least it did to me when I started researching it more and saw all of these beautiful blogs and Instagram accounts dedicated to more conscious living. One look around my abode and having no idea where to get started definitely put me off starting sooner thanΒ  I should have. That being said, I found that consistency and starting small helped me to find my rhythm. I started by seeking out sustainable options for everyday products that I already owned and then dived into the more complex stuff like fast fashion and sustainably sourced ingredients/materials. I found that a number of products that I purchase have accessible, more sustainable options and some things that weren’t necessities I just quit purchasing. These are easy examples, I don’t know if I will ever be one of those people who can use a jar of coconut oil for a million different uses but something to aspire to πŸ™‚

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

I am a home scent junkie and this one pained me a little but I never reused the glass jars, I have switched to wax melts instead which often come in little to no packaging.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

This is a new swap for me and was inspired by Neutrogena releasing those individually wrapped wipes, are you kidding me?! Anyway, Pinterest is rife with DIY makeup wipes using various oils and reusable cloths. You can choose whatever concoction you like and they are very effective at removing makeup. One of the only candle jars that I ever reused holds my wipes.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

I have as many dishes as I will ever need in my lifetime. Entertaining can be tricky but I usually pick up compostable dinnerware, I am also a capricorn so not having enough dishes is a good excuse for not inviting anyone into my space πŸ˜›

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

A reusable tupperware works just as well.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

I know this isn’t an ideal swap but I can’t with reusable toilet paper cloths, good thing recycled toilet paper is pretty readily available.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

I have swapped these out for reusable cloth rounds, you can find these on Etsy.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

I have started using reusable shammies, I also don’t have a ton of messes in my life and this one might not be ideal for all households. I also douse a shammy in cleaner and snap it onto my Swiffer handle so no need to purchase those wipes anymore!

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

The Method brand offers quite a few all-purpose clean refill bags and I have replaced my plastic squirt bottles with glass ones. Grove Collaborative offers some really lovely glass squirt bottles.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

Again, I have enough throw pillows to last my entire lifetime and this includes the ones that I donated. Throw pillows are one of those things that one doesn’t really need but I still like a few to make my rooms feel cozy.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

This was more in spite of Starbucks and their ridiculous prices but it’s a lot more sustainable and cheaper to just fill my own thermos with coffee at home before I leave for the day.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

I know that pre-cut foods can be useful for some people but for me, it’s not necessary since I can cut and wash my own produce. Also, I recall reading on a box of lettuce that it was ‘triple-washed’ and that sounds like a huge waste of water.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

Books, movies and music can all be purchased digitally and I find that I don’t need a physical copy. That being said, I do still get gifted a lot of books and I just donate them once I have finished reading them.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

I don’t paint my nails at home but kept purchasing nail polish because every girl needs nail polish, right? Wrong, I chucked out so much it was embarrassing.

Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.

I was skeptical about those wool balls but they actually work just as well!

I guess my advice is to start small and do some research but don’t feel like you have to get it all figured out overnight. It takes some getting the hang of and I probably still consume too much to be a true minimalist but getting started is what matters! I hope that my list of swaps/no buys continues to grow as time goes on.

QuiteSimplyStella(1)

 

 

Breaking Up With K-Cups & 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste

Sustainable Living

For a coffee fanatic like myself, the Keurig could be the single most important invention of my lifetime. Coffee on demand, never has caffeinating been so efficient. But what about those pesky plastic pods? I honestly hadn’t given much thought to how much waste something so small can create but when you consider that millions of people probably drink coffee daily, those pods add up pretty quick. Keurig has been a bit slow to make their k-cups recyclable and technically you can recycle them if you separate the components then properly remove the grounds. The thing is, who is going to do that and where’s the corporate responsibility to reduce waste?Β  Thankfully, some brands have heeded consumers’ concerns regarding K-cup waste and have developed compostable pods. While I am a fan of the compostable pods and think that they do make a damn fine cup of coffee, not everyone has access to a composting facility. I live in a metro area and my employer actually offers composting so this isn’t an issue for me but I feel that this barrier does make compostable pods less sustainable. Enter, the reusable K-cup which has been around for like 10 years and I have no idea why I hadn’t heard of it until fairly recently.

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This little beauty will cost you around $5, pair that with a $10-15 bag of coffee and not only is this super sustainable, it’s also crazy affordable compared to traditional single-use pods. These fit most Keurig systems, just spoon in your grounds, snap it closed, rinse and repeat. There are also teenie filters to reduce sediment but I don’t use them and don’t notice an undue amount of sediment in my coffee. If you use an espresso blend, this might be an issue but I’m not sure. Easy, right? For 5 bucks, I can keep roughly 1,000 K-cups out of landfills. Here are a few more simple swaps that anyone can make to reduce waste!

A Sensible Armadillo

This is a no-brainer to me, I really don’t understand why any stores offer plastic bags. Chances are, most consumers have totes and bags in their homes that can be repurposed for grocery shopping. I know that I did!

A Sensible Armadillo

Everyone loves new clothing, actually, that’s a lie and I hate shopping for new clothes. Before you hit the mall, check out a local thrift store for a new to you piece.

A Sensible Armadillo

With everyone on this Marie Kondo craze, I have a feeling that there’s a lot of unnecessary waste being created. Someone else can get use out ofΒ  your unwanted items.

A Sensible Armadillo

Another no-brainer, there’s no reason to drink bottled water unless you don’t have access to potable tap water.

A Sensible Armadillo

Plastic baggies, paper cups, plastic utensils – invest in reusable options instead to reduce waste and save money in the long run.

It’s easy to get started, I hope you join me in making 2019 the year of less waste!

QuiteSimplyStella(1)