Spring To-Do: Starting an Urban Garden

Sustainable Living

Food, food, food – it seems like I’ve been doing nothing but food shopping, cooking, thinking about food shopping, more cooking & worrying about a food shortage for the past three weeks. I can’t get a grocery order to save my life & then when I do, many of the items that I want aren’t available & I end up having to take a trip to the store. At least I have access to food, I know that others don’t but it has started me wondering how much food I could grow for myself if things continue to get worse. As a kid, we always had access to fresh veggies because we grew them & I honestly don’t recall it taking that much effort. Obviously, my parents probably started the beds ages before I existed & I didn’t see all of the heavy lifting that went into the operation but I’m itching to try my hand at urban gardening. I have a very small deck that gets sun for probably 80% of the day time hours & I’ve been checking out some small garden set ups. Apparently, everyone else has too because the pickings are a bit slim. I think that hanging bags & grow bags are going to fit the space that I have to work with best. Grow bags are good for; tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, root veggies & even some salad greens. Here’s what I ordered to get started, it will take a few weeks for everything to arrive & I will share my set up as soon as I can!

Root Pouch 3-Gallon BagsI chose these because they are reusable, breathable and small enough for what I have in mind. Also, I don’t know anything about gardening but the price seemed right for 10 bags!

Root Pouch

Bloem Bagz Hanging Deck Planter: I am using these for small herbs like mint, rosemary and basil I’ve had luck with growing these right on my counter top & think they will do well.

Bloem

Miracle-Gro Vegetable & Herbs: I don’t know if I believe that you need different dirt for different plants but this was on sale.

Miracle Gro

For potted plants, I ordered two tomatoes because I think that those should have already been in the ground & I’m not sure that mine will even take since I have heard that they are difficult to grow. For seeds, I chose basil, yellow squash, jalapeno, rosemary, spinach, green beans, green onion, and radishes. I am excited to get started, I still have some research to do but think that my deck is a great environment for these veggies.

Here are a few inspiration posts that I am working from:

What’s on your spring to do list? I think getting outside to do anything is keeping me healthy and feeling mostly happy. Thanks for reading πŸ’š

It’s Been a Journey, Creating a Sustainable Life

Sustainable Living

Happy Earth Day, earthlings. Mother Nature celebrated the big 5-0 by cancelling the human race, apparently. Unfortunately, this means that many trash collecting, education events and other celebrations have been put on hold. So to the morons throwing their trash out car windows, please refrain until further notice. I think this pandemic has sparked an interesting discussion around how much our impact on the planet could be mitigated if we really only traveled when absolutely necessary. What if all the jobs that could be done from home just stayed at home? If the entire human race made cuts where possible, how would that be to our advantage in the fight against climate change? I dunno, it’s just been something on my mind lately. Anyway, nearing a year ago I made the decision to move to a more sustainable/minimalist lifestyle & to celebrate Earth Day will share a bit on how that’s been going.

ED1

Buttey Honey Regular

This has taken hold in some areas and other areas, not so much. I find myself still purchasing quite a lot of skincare/cosmetics but not clothing, housewares, things I just don’t need. For the clothing and housewares that I have purchased, they are more investment pieces that will last a long time. I’ve been couch shopping for months and just can’t seem to find one that I feel as though I will still love in 10 years or even last that long. I did recently overhaul my kitchen with bamboo dishes, green pots & pans and some new appliances. Most of my old stuff was still in good enough condition to donate but quite a bit went into the trash as well. When I cut my possessions by more than half, it was a struggle to just throw stuff away because it was so wasteful but I feel good about owning less overall.

Earth Day Calligraphy And Watercolor Flyer

Buttey Honey Regular

Thankfully, I didn’t grow up using a lot of single use plastic like baggies, food containers and straws. We reused a lot of prepackaged food containers, our milk was in glass jugs, etc. However, lots of beauty products and household goods come packaged in plastic. I’ve sought out more brands that offer refillable options or compostable packaging like Sapadilla, Humankind, Seed Phytonutrients and Dropps. There are loads of companies out there who are offering unique solutions to the human waste issue, it’s just a matter of seeking them out and finding products that work for you. I would love to see more mainstream brands that offer reusable packaging like Aveda does for their cosmetics.

ED2

Buttey Honey Regular

Again, not hard as I was raised eating a low meat/no meat diet. Veganism can be as exciting or as boring as you make it. Some weeks it’s just sheet pan veggies on repeat and others, I’m deconstructing gourmet recipes to make them vegan. I still hate nutritional yeast and many meat replacements weird me out. I have found a really tasty sausage and an OK cheese but I think it’s easier to focus on all of the things that I can eat rather than what I’m missing. Like, a really frothy coffee creamer and perfect grilled cheese πŸ˜€

2020-3-Feature-Earth-Day-At-50-Headline-Opener-WB

Buttey Honey Regular

Am I a sustainable goddess who somehow managed to replace all of my beauty products with a jar of coconut oil? Absolutely not and while it felt daunting and discouraging getting started I find that it’s best to not compare my lifestyle with the Instagrammable experts. I love scrolling through beautiful photos of perfectly sustainable homes but realize that some lifestyles are not accessible to me. Maybe today I am simply choosing to use a reusable water bottle but ten years from now I could be installing a backyard compost.

I hope that you are safe & healthy & just doing the best that you can wherever you are. Be sure to let me know if you’ve found some sustainable products that you love or what tips you have for living a more earth friendly life πŸ’š

Blogmas Day 6: Sustainable Gift List

Blogmas - 2019

It seems like everyone is talking about sustainability, which is awesome and introducing someone to the movement through gifts is a great way to help others get started. Especially for the person who has everything, there are tons of unique sustainable gifts that anyone can find use for. I’ve rounded up a few products that I have found tremendously useful since having started my zero waste journey.

Amilya Regular

This set includes silicone baggies, stretchy storage lids and beeswax wraps to replace plastic baggies, tupperware containers and plastic wrap. All of the components can be washed with soap and water and reused.

Amilya Regular

These probably seem boring in comparison to all of the cute reusable bags available but these canvas totes are washable which I find very useful because stuff spills. They also don’t take up much room in my car, I just roll them up and throw them in the trunk.

Amilya Regular

Super useful, these are really well-made drawstring bags for fresh produce, I’ve owned a set for a little over a year and they are great quality.

Amilya Regular

I love the weight and feel of bamboo dishes, the fun prints on these will add an eclectic pop to anyone’s kitchen. Now, some people think they are plastic and that I’m a 12 year old when they come over but I think they are cool.

Amilya Regular

I think that I’ve already talked about these, they are fabric rounds that can be used for makeup removal and then washed. A great alternative to cotton balls and a money saver over time.

Amilya Regular

I’m a big fan of the compostable coffee pods but if there’s that one flavor that you just gotta’ have and it only comes in a traditional pod, this little tool will help you dismantle the pod so that it can be recycled.

Amilya Regular

These glass spray bottles are pretty and practical alternatives to one-use bottles.

Some of these might seem a bit too practical for Christmas but I also think that Christmas is great time to give someone something that they might not otherwise purchase. Let me know what sustainable products you’d like to try or can’t live without and thanks for reading!

πŸ’™

What’s in My (Modcloth) Bag

Blogoween

I haven’t purchased a single item of new clothing in over a year! I have picked up a few items used but I don’t think I have done too shabby in being choosier with clothing. It hasn’t been difficult since I hate shopping for new clothes anyway but I have walked away from a few cute pieces that resulted in major FOMO. I actually do need some cool weather clothing and have a huge discount coupon from Modcloth to use. I’ve been curating my order for over a week, it’s getting a little ridiculous and I think it’s time to check out. If you’ve never shopped at Modcloth, it used to be an online-indie boutique that offered tons of different, offbeat designs from a variety of labels. Now, they are owned by Jet.com – yup, owned by Wal-Mart. I don’t love that they are owned by a store that I refuse to shop at. I don’t feel that the quality (for better or worse) or cost of the items has changed, I can still find all of my favourite labels there but I wish they were owned by anyone but Wal-Mart. Even before this, an issue that I’ve always had with Modcloth is that the quality doesn’t always match the price. I’ve purchased some shockingly cheap-feeling items, since they are primarily an online retailer, it’s a gamble but I’ve never had an issue returning items. So anyway, here’s what’s in my bag!

Pam Breeze-ly Long Sleeve Tunic –Β I love these tops and they come in a ton of colors. They are perfect with leggings, tucked into a skirt, with jeans – super easy to wear and so flattering. I have my eye on the olive and black.

Palpable Perks Knit Top –Β I have this top in the navy, I really like it and am surprised at the poor reviews! It’s a basic top with a touch of flare from the cute bow-tie embellishment. I tend to wear a cardigan or blazer over it as the fabric is on the lighter side but overall very comfortable. I’m picking up the basic black, shocking πŸ˜›

Ready to Ruffle Knit Top –Β The texture of this one looks totally adorable and I like the ruffled neck line. I’m torn between the tan or the green, I will probably go tan since I don’t own anything this color.

Admired Archivist Knit Top –Β I feel like I’m purchasing a lot of basic tops but most of my work tops are a little worse for wear (thank you, natural deodorant).

Spotted in Dots Mid SkirtΒ 

S1

Oh, Hello Polka Dot A Line Skirt

S2

Just This Sway A Line Skirt

S3

All or Nothing Pleated Midi Skirt

S4

Print Appeal A Line Dress –Β I have a weak spot for critter patterns such as this, more of my clothing is embellished with raccoons, dogs, elephants, cats, bats, etc than not.

T6

Crazy for you Leopard CardiganΒ – I mean, what can’t I wear this with?!

T7

I think I’ve made some solid choices, many of these items can be worn in winter as well. I’ll report back on what I think of everything, like I said, it’s always a bit of a gamble. Let me know if you’ve shopped at Modcloth before and what you thought!

πŸ–€

March Happenings

Random

Everyone is seemingly of the opinion that January is a long schlep of an uneventful month but March is that month for me. It’s still kinda winter, nobody knows what to wear, produce is terrible. I’m glad to see the end of it, I’ve been gone for a bit so let’s have a catch-up!

My new car is still the main event of this past month. I definitely like it and am happy to report that I sold the Mazda to someone who seemed excited to fix it. I think it will ride again 😭

I think that I found the most amazing burger replacement ever. I picked up these Beyond Meat patties randomly even though I’m not big into meat replacements and I’m so glad I did! They have a grilled flavor to them and the texture is perfect, not at all like a mashed bean patty. I definitely recommend!

I didn’t read a single book in March and I blame Desperate Housewives and BuzzFeed Unsolved for my lack of reading time. I do plan to read more in April but if the weather gets really good, I might whiff again 😝

Lent has been trying and we’re not even half-way through, I’m not having trouble sticking to my penitence but I’m getting burnt out on going to mass. I think I’m the only person under 60 at my church, where are all of the hot Irish Catholic guys?! It doesn’t bother me when I’m only going once a week but when it’s three times a week, I want some eye candy! I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Not much else to report, our busy season is ramping up at work but I have some fun excursions scheduled in the coming months. How was your month, what did you get up to?

πŸ–€

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˜‰

πŸ–€

February Favorites

Random

Before we get into the handful of favorite products that I have, has anyone tried Lularoe leggings? What’s the tea? Are they good quality? I’m down to my last couple pairs of workout leggings and need some that will hold up. Let me know!

My first favorites are these Blush Bomb liquid blushes from Flower Beauty. I’ve become more cognizant of fine lines which tends to happen when my skin is dry, I’ve been trying to use more cream products. These are awesome, super easy to use, I just press them on with a damp sponge and done.

Continuing with the anti-aging theme, I’ve not been wearing foundation and opting for this Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream instead. It doesn’t have a ton of coverage but enough to even my skin out. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t emphasize anything or settle in creases.

These are naked cleansing balms from Lush in Jade Roller and Tea-Totaler. I think they’re pretty new and are basically solid cleansing oils. Once you start to work them into your skin, they soften up. They remove makeup really well, smell lovely and are totally package free.

This cream shadow from Charlotte Tilbury is all I’ve been wearing on my eyes since getting my new lashes. It’s so creamy and long-wearing, I love that it has the appearance of being a whole eye look but it’s one shadow. I don’t know what the shade is because I’ve probably had it for too long and the label wore off πŸ˜‚

I’ve tried Schmidt’s deodorant before and didn’t love it. I gave it another shot because my psoriasis has been real bad on my underarms lately. Applying deodorant over broken skin is the worst and you aren’t supposed to do it anyway. I grabbed this out of desperation, this flavor is really good! I don’t think it feels nearly as wet as other ones I’ve tried and it doesn’t burn my irritated skin.

Already raved about it, still loving Karma Kream and waiting for a bigger tub!

Let me know what your you were loving this month, have you tried any of these?

πŸ–€

Death of a Paperback Romance

Minimalism

No, this post is not about my non-existent love life πŸ˜‚This weekend I went to a used bookstore that I frequent on the regular. I haven’t purchased anything in awhile and mostly just go to check out their enormous collection of unusual sci-fi novels with hopes of picking up my very own Fox Mulder 😝 It’s a very cool shop operated by some old hippies and just one of those peculiar places that are disappearing. There are literally thousands of books in this store and this weekend I got to thinking about all the stacks of unwanted books and if books are becoming too much of a good thing.

There used to be a time when printed books were incredibly hard to acquire and treated like precious commodities. In the era of the mass paperback though, every household tends to have a few dozen books laying about. As a former educator, I certainly understand the importance of reading and literature being accessible to everyone. However, clearly there’s a lot of waste when it comes to books. While it’s important to ensure equal access to books, does there really need to be 20 copies of one Danielle Steele novel in existence?! Books can be recycled but it feels a bit wrong to throw a book away no matter how trivial the subject matter might be or how well-worn it is. Unwanted books can be donated which seems like a great way to waste not but are they really being purchased or rather sitting on a shelf in triplicate?

Even if the rest of the world doesn’t recognize what I refer to as book-waste or, seemingly doesn’t since I can’t find a single statistic on it, it’s something I’m trying to be more cognizant of. I rarely purchase physical books but always buy used when I do or simply check the book out from the library. I still absorb a ton of literature though through other mediums as well like audiobooks and yes, even the sacrilegious e-reader 😝 I don’t love the e-reader, I only just recently started using one and it doesn’t feel like a real book to me. That aside, my library offers a service where I can check out most any book digitally and access it on my device. There are also loads of free books available through my Amazon Prime subscription. My favorite zero-waste book though has to be the audiobook which I never would have thought possible since I love reading so much. Listening to a book though somehow makes me feel more immersed in the story. Even though I’m sure it’s more beneficial to my brain to actually be reading I still love a good audiobook. I’m still a total book junkie, whenever I need my book fix, I’ll visit a bookstore, do some browsing and then download the titles I’m interested in. It’s not quite the same but having consumed so many book already in my lifetime, I feel better about not creating more waste.

What are your thoughts on book-waste, is it even a thing to be concerned about? Tell me if you prefer a physical book or are fine with digital media! Does it make you a bit melancholy to see stacks if unwanted books or am I just a bit odd πŸ˜‰

QuiteSimplyStella(1)

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)

 

 

Minimalism to Mend a Broken Heart

Minimalism

Whenever I hear that someone in my life has made a lifestyle change, I always want to know the why behind it because I’m nosy and it fascinates me to know what some thing sparked an individual to change how they’ve been living their entire life. It can be someone’s health, doctor’s orders, they read an article, their kids – for me, I got dumped. A few months before my relationship ended, I had started to become more curious about minimalism and had jumped on the Anti-Haul bandwagon quite some time ago but I didn’t think that I would be making a lifestyle change any time soon. The reason being single turned out to be the catalyst for downsizing is that all of the stuff I owned was associated with someone who was no longer in my life and made me sad to think about. It was hard to come home to an apartment that no longer felt like a home and was saturated with memories. When I found myself on my own is when I really started to research and explore living a more minimal lifestyle.

I started with easy items like physical media, clothing that I wasn’t wearing, kitchen items that I never used and it felt like I was shedding my past and the newfound heart ache that I was associating with it. I didn’t find it very difficult to part with my things, growing up not having much of anything could be part of the reason but I also relished in the thought that my things could be used again by someone else who might not have very much. Reducing the amount of unnecessary things that I had in my space gave me a lot of clarity and my apartment had a fresh newness to it that I hadn’t felt since having moved in. The space was completely mine and I could fill it with only things that I curated but the thing is, I had no desire to fill my space back up with random items. Once I wasn’t surrounded by knick-knacks, throw pillows, stacks of media and all of the other items that were supposed to make my apartment a home, I felt a lot less distracted. The apartment isn’t totally stark, I still do have some decorations and enough to make it feel cozy but the atmosphere is completely different and I love it.

Am I totally committed to a minimalist lifestyle? Yes and no, I feel like I am totally committed to my interpretation of a minimalist lifestyle. I am choosing to surround myself with less collections of things and instead a collection of a few things that I have carefully curated that make me happy. I’ve felt for a long time that there is so much emptiness in consumerism, going from a childhood of have-nots to a comfortable existence as an adult has allowed me to own a lot more stuff that I value less. I have become much choosier when it comes to purchasing things, I’ve gotten better about investing in fewer well-made pieces over tons of average quality pieces. I enjoy living with less because it gives me a peace of mind that consuming couldn’t.

I’ve been at it for about 9 months, the whole process has been very therapeutic and helped me to find a sense of self that has made being on my own not so bad. So that’s how I started my minimalist journey but you can just read that Marie Kondo book too πŸ™‚

QuiteSimplyStella(1)