Tuesday, January 10, 2017

An All Around Zero-Waste Guide


Many other people have their own zero-waste kits or guides, and I am no exception. Whether I’m gone for a few days, school/work, or going to run some errands I try my best to be prepared and it’s truly quite simple.

Its been well into the year I started taking re-usuables with me everywhere and at first I used to be quite shy: (will they accept my coffee cup? Will my company think I’m being far-fetched?). But kindness is everything and when I hit up my favorite joints, shoutout to DRNK in East Hollywood, Mugshot Coffeehouse in Santa Clarita, and of course Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf cafes throughout the city, I’m often remembered by the baristas for being the gal who whips out her Kleen Kanteen or UKonserve up upon ordering her drink and have struck up friendly conversations and smiles. Pro-tip: the cafes mentioned above offer in house cups to drink out of, just bring your own straw if needed.

As much as I want major companies to be the leaders in reducing waste and making environmental issues the forefront of their priorities, we as consumers have a voice in making that a reality. From taking re-usables, saying no to single-use items, and choosing farmers markets or bulk-buys we can make a difference with our actions.

These are simple and affordable switches that will save you money, minimize waste, and let’s be honest are quite appealing. I wholeheartedly support the companies mentioned here for their dedication to sustainability and helping our beautiful earth while minimizing waste.

zero waste guide at http://violet-woods.blogspot.com

Kleen Kanteen Insulated Tumbler | This company is one of my favorites. They create products that are durable and great for anyone to use. You can use this cup for anything: coffee, kombucha, water, etc. and since it’s made out of stainless steel it wont leech any The cup will keep hot liquids warm for 4 hours and cold liquids for up to 15+ although they must be covered but that these do come with a press-fit Simple Lid, just in mind this lid is not leakproof.

Klean Kanteen Insulated Food Canister 8oz | These are multi purpose stainless steel canisters that you can use for food storage, buying in bulk, or takeout. It is also
insulated so it will keep your items hot or cold!

Catspring Yaupon Tea | Catspring is a Texas based company that produces sustainable tea free of pesticides, chemical fertilizers in cultivating. What is Yaupon? It's a US native plant that produces a green or black tea, depending on how you roast it. Edible Austin describes it as yaupon’s berries as toxic but the small oval leaves of the plant had been used for centuries by Native Americans to brew in ceremony. The tealeaves can be composted and the company offers bulk looseleaf options.

Guayaki Loose Leaf Yerba Mate | c/o When it comes to efforts in sustainability and environmental integrity, Guayaki raises the bar. The company Sustainably sources the tea from preserved rainforests and devotes effort to reforestation projects. The bag it comes in can be composted in home composts or landfill in 180 days so yes, it is possible to create packaging.  So what is yerba mate? It's a South American herbal tea that some use as an alternative to coffee or for energy. It contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, 11 polyphenols, and of course caffeine. Guayaki’s yerba mate is organic & fair trade and the used tealeaves can also be composted.

Fat & The Moon All Salve | The plant based alternative to petroleum jelly, skin & lip balm, and healing salve for cuts and burns. This is a great multipurpose product that soothes and heals with organic ingredients like calendula, st john’s wort, & oregon grape leaf (but note: it does contain beeswax). This company is considerate about minimizing excess packaging and using re-usable solutions like this metal tin. 

Organic Unbleached Un paper Towels/Cloths  & Produce Bags | From the store Natural Linens, these are organic, unbleached, GOTS certified, and Fair Trade certified these are the perfect alternative to paper towels or face cloths. Of course you can wash them and use them as often as you need. These come with polyester threading but if you pay a small fee, you can request cotton threading instead.

Full Circle Glass Travel Bottle | If you or someone you know prefers tea this is a good gift or them.  It comes with an infuser so they can go a zero waste route and add loose leaf tea and let it steep to their content (compost it) but you can also add bagged tea bags, lemon, sugar + etc. The body is made out of borosilicate glass and cork sleeve. The cap and bottom are made out of recycled plastic that's BPA free. This is a great cup for on the go + travel ready.

Toockies Natural Jute Flower Trivet | These are beautiful handmade organic jute trivets that have so many uses. Toockies recommends this for holding casserole or roasting dishes but I like to use them as candle/drink coasters or wall d├ęcor. These are compostable & biodegradable and come in a set of two. Toockies uses a fair trade system to give a voice and financial opportunities to women in India who are able o making a living through this company. Learn more about Toockies devotion to helping these women-artisans here.

EcoInstinct Handmade Laundry Soap | When I was searching for laundry soap that was zero waste and palm oil free I found that you cant always get what you want.  But my search paid off when I came across Eco Instinct. This company started by Folk Herbalist Megan Donovan creates palm oil free, vegan, and Non-GMO laundry soaps that are plant based and free of borax . Thoughtfully packaged in post-consumer or recycled material that you can reuse when repurchasing. You can request a bulk purchase as well or get soapberries if those are your preferred choice.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Where I Am Now / New Years Manifestations


Its unbelievable to think how much can change and happen in a year.

Personally its surpassed my wildest dreams. As I look back on the list I had made last December, several of the concepts I wanted to manifest or invite more of in my life seemed to materialize in various ways. I discovered mindfulness, became enamored with the principles of cognitive awareness, I let go off expectations and doubts,  I became more in tune with what I wanted and pursued my own adventures. I did reach my academic goals and my perseverance certainly paid off. Although I didn't wake up at dawn so much as find sleep at night-owl hours (to be addressed). On a personal level I feel full with serenity and ease. There were several points this year where I experienced epiphanies and confronted my fears in order to better my self & health. 

I found alignment with what I want to produce as a writer & maker. Discovering Lauren Singer & her “zero waste” principles along with participating in the Project Green Challenge allowed me to be creative and perhaps rediscover my passion and the content I wish to produce. I want to inspire others to live & thrive consciously as well as being kind to our precious earth and each other. This platform  will serve as a guidebook & community for sustainable living, zero waste, and the conscious consumer.  In the new year I am excited to work with more companies, makers, and folk who align with these values as well. 
  
http://violet-woods.blogspot.com

2017 Manifestations

The art of slow living / Where zero waste was my catalyst in this current year, I am ready to transcend and disconnect from the hyperactive lifestyle that dominates much of our everydayness. We lose focus and detail in the created rush of needing to complete and can end up depleting us. Inspired by a recent podcast featuring Beth Kirby (Local Milk) who is a pioneer on “slow living”. We gain enrichment by slow-living which is truly about being mindful whether its n your work, life, or creating. To promote quality over immediacy, to savor experiences by recording them by being present. I am a burst of energy so “slow living doesn't come naturally to me but when I consider what I desire more of in my life, the answer is to have a life well lived: sustainably, conscientiously, productively.  Read more about slow-living here as well as the Danish concept of “hygge” which is ““creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people” or experiencing joy in the little things. 


Chase down goals /  Sometimes we may expect opportunities to happen by chance, and sometimes they might but I am ready to tap into my creativity and innovation to go after what I want to materialize. We have to make moves in order to reach goals but this doesn't need to mean pressuring yourself or doubting your potential – by building up assertiveness and learning from what goes well, or doesn't go well, is a better perspective that will enable us to continue flourishing. Jessica Murnane of the One Part Podcast has great episodes on this featuring Mckel Hill & Amanda Chantal Bacon

http://violet-woods.blogspot.com

Seek experiences / This year gave me the pleasure of engaging in more wanderings & meanderings: concerts in Silverlake, farmers market hopping, trips to the ocean cities, and driving a mini boat (terribly). In the coming year I long to invest more in experiences and some travel. In the past I have avoided this because of my autoimmune condition that required planning out and downtime but I know I can overcome it gracefully. 

Read more / this need not a lengthy explanation. Reading is my method of reconnecting to my inner child – the activity I did so often to escape, unwind, and feel. Even in the age of technology my favorite part of university were my breaks where I’d sneak off into the computer lab to read or write.

Seek out biodynamic food / similar to organic farming, biodynamic farming doesn't rely on synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers. The farming methods must meet the National Organic Program standard and farmers use regenerative, local sources instead of exporting in materials. Finding biodynamic food doesn't mean you must visit farms, the number of companies that are Demeter USA certified (nonprofit formed promote Biodynamic practices) are growing - just look for the label in natural health food stores. Additionally visit the locator to find products and retailers in your area.

http://violet-woods.blogspot.com


Grow more / I will be focusing on cultivating a mini garden – this is easier said than done but not impossible. This is one aspect of m life that I will choose to put a bit of money in – think LED or solar grow lights and hopefully a mini potting area. But my goal is to be more sustainable and grow my own food and perhaps even compost.

Nightly unwinding / the moment my head hits the pillow is my moment of clarity and peace. Maybe some will disagree with me on this but for me this is the optimal time to unwind by thinking about what I wish to achieve and bring forth. I don't do this in a frantic or worrying way, but rather it's an alternate meditation of letting my guard down and focus on tomorrow in a positive light in hopes I will carry on that same momentum when I awake.

Live with less / in all honesty having too many things exhausts me. With the exception of books and pieces of natures (crystals, flowers, & herbs) Of course de-cluttering is nothing new but I don't like being surrounded with so many objects that aren’t of use to me. With the exception of a few products that I have to use up, I’ve already replaced and donated most plastic in my home. 2017 will be centered on needing less and discovering sustainable swaps. What I no longer need will be donated or recycled properly.

http://violet-woods.blogspot.com

Live the life you love / I don't think we often hear this but perhaps we should. It's akin to an incantation or fortune that has been there all along. Find what drives you. Ask yourself what are you passionate about? Then assess how to get there or make it happen. This can be on a career, personal or self-care level. Check in with yourself throughout the year - are you following your purpose and taking care of yourself? Even if you are working through a situation or area that isn't completely fulfilling make sure to find ways to integrate activities or time for yourself.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Zero Waste + Minimalist & Palm Oil Free Bath Guide


We are a few days away from the year ending and I have my own plans written down and I've got my Kleen Kanteen on call. Still I am thinking about the year beginning and perhaps many of us should pass the torch from reflection to decompressing. From the holidays, from the ending of a year, & everything that came with it. 

Bath-rituals are my favorite part of the day (besides coffee). It's the ritual of cleansing and unwinding from the day and getting ready to rest your head and have sweet dreams. To keep my showers environmentally conscious I time them and I tend to find myself unconsciously meditating through then. Treat yourself with this ethical + zero waste guide on organic & wildcrafted bath & wash products. Part two will come in 2017!



bath

Heal / Acure Organics Dry Body Spray in Marula + Argan | y’all this product smells like a tropical island. Coconut, sea buckthorn and argan oil make this a healing oil that can be used on the ends of your hair or a body spray. It’s vegan and fragrance free with only botanicals making this blend. The bottle is recyclable – a really delicious investment piece because a little goes a long way with oil. You need not too much to soothe with this oil

Wash/ Gaia Entrancic Ah, I am proud of myself for finding a palm oil free package-free soap. Its not easy, even if you go to natural health/food stores, its still manages to find its way there. Gaia Entrancic makes vegan & palm oil free soaps that are also organic and packaged sustainably. Several of the ingredients are harvested from shop-owner Kaitlin’s garden and smell wonderful. She offers a variety of scents that rely on essential oils & not fragrance or synthetics.

Scent / Aura Aroma: Air, Body & Upholstery Mist | A multipurpose spray that is made with witch hazel and essential oils. I chose Tranquility that is a blend of bergamot, cedar-wood, sage, lavender, and neroli. These come in glass bottles made from recycled materials. I like spraying them in the shower and then after ward when I head to sleep.

Cleanse / Toockies Certified Organic “Her” Washcloths | These hand knit washcloths are perfect for washing or dry scrubbing (stimulate circulation). you can also machine-wash them in the dryer when needed, but when their time is up? These cloths are compostable and or can be recycled/reused as you wish. Zero waste and beautiful organic weaving. Even more is the story behind the knitters:  these are fair trade products made by women who earn a living wage through Toockies Project, these women are given a voice – the company adds their photographs a small note on the products they have knit and anyone who wants to know who created the garment can look her up.

Soothe / Fat & the Moon All Salve | I have an unfortunate tendency to get dry lips and palms during the winter. The drop in temperature and shift of seasons tends to cause issues. This All Salve is a rescue balm with Calendula, Comfrey and Yerba Mansa infused sunflower oil for applying on my lips, hands and under eye area after a shower or when needed. This is an organic based blend and its plastic-free, it comes in a metal tin which can be reused or up-cycled.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Blissful Basil Cookbook Review + A Giveaway

I am making a conscious effort to build and bloom better health habits. This involves taking initiative into myown hands and setting my pricipes to practices. Health is more than topical: its what we ingest. I believe in moderation, treating yourself, and self care. However it can be easy for some of us to neglect our health in lieu of easier options. Beginning now to December 2017 each month I will be featuring cookbooks that center around my values of whole foods, nutrient dense cooking. Though some may not be vegan, they will be vegan optional but all plant-based. My criteria involve ease, flexibility, and zero waste-friendly. So little to no packaged foods will be the cornerstone of my picks. Lets get started!

I’m not sure if cookbooks are supposed to make you emotional but when I began to read Ashley Melillo’s namesake book Blissful Basil that's what happened.

The beautiful book opens up with a poignant introduction from Ashley. Candid about her pre-Blissful Basil days as a graduate student where she dealt with the perils many students may face: anxiety. Motivated to take control of her own health Ashley humbly and briefly discusses her journey to “self-acceptance, self-love, and sustainable joy.” I was moved by her honesty about some of the roughest points of her life, the road that led to create a brand and curator of healthy, and delicious plant-based and allergen conscious meals.

blissful basil review + giveaway http://violet-woods.blogspot.com

Perhaps it hit so close to home to me because of my own issues and rough patches with my own health. Similar to Ashley, I sought out natural and therapeutic methods of self-care through good nourishment, stress control, and being honest with my own loved one about my limits and how I feel. And it starts with making healthier choices that adhere to your own needs and learning what makes you thrive, which more likely than not, is consuming plant based foundations - don't think of “diets”, think of sustenance

Ashley’s vegan cookbook is centered on the healing through healthy nutritional choices. She chooses to thrive with her practice of cultivating happiness through wholeness. Naturally this involves being conscious of what you consume.

If you’re new to the realm of bountiful vegan eating, Ashley’s got you covered with a quick portion of her book with a rundown on her pantry & kitchen essentials with explanations on their nutrient fundamentals. Want to know why sorghum and millet are underrated nutrient & powerhouses, or the difference between the natural sweeteners, conversion charts? She’s got the bases covered. My favorite part is her decision to have a primarily allergen friendly primer, similar to her blog she focuses more on wheat-free options and substitutes. (Thank you!)

But the bulk of this book is filled with vibrant, rainbow hued recipes. The pages are filled with stunning photography, which, lets be honest, is really helpful. These meals aren’t challenging but they aren’t basic – Blissful Basil is chockfull of creative recipes that look exquisite but don't require an overload of ingredients. Perhaps Ashley was also innately inspired by her background as a school psychologist for many of the recipes would be really great to create with children.  Think: Hazelnut Espresso Shakes, Cauliflower Tots, & Vegan Pulled “Pork” BBQ with Polenta. There’s also Electric Tumeric Lemonade and Fiesta Salad to round all that out.

Personally I am working on living a minimalist/zero waste life. This applies to what we consume. Instead of reaching for packaged meals, I want to incorporate make-ahead or overnight meals, meals that focus on whole foods and leave no waste (or it can be composted). If this is also your vibe, Blissful Basil is on your level.  Processed ingredients don't make their way through the pages – instead it’s composed of pure plant-based sustenance without being intimidating. Anyone from clean-foodies, experimental cuisine folk, to current/former busy students looking to incorporate easier & healthier vegan meals will enjoy this delightful book. 

blissful basil review + giveaway http://violet-woods.blogspot.com


Ashley's cookbook Blissful Basil comes out December 20th (click to purchase) but if you want to win this beautiful vegan cookbook:
·      Visit this Instagram post and leave a comment with your favorite recipe from Blissful Basil’s website
·      Follow me on Instagram
·      Follow Blissful Basil on Instagram

Extra points:
·      Leave a comment here with your favorite or new winter traditions

·      Subscribe to Blissful Basil’s website and leave a comment saying you did
Ends on December 29th** Good luck y'all! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Winter Ethical & Minimalist Clean Beauty Guide


Since I started my voyage into zero waste living I sought for ways to incorporate it into most aspects of my life. Naturally this includes beauty. While there are many DIYs and tutorials you could choose from, not everybody will lean towards that route. I wanted to create a guide (or gift guide, hello December!) with ethical and clean ingredient products with minimal impact on the earth. 

An excellent piece I recently read by LITTERLESS  Progress, not Perfection” echoes this point – don't fight or struggle for perfection. Others can define “Zero-waste” in their own interpretation with the goal of minimizing their trash. While I believe we should reduce our trash & recycle less – I also recognize that everyone’s transition is different. We are all on our own paths and I personally choose to support companies making the effort to create sustainable choices in their products. 

It took me a good while, but striving to find a happy medium I compiled a beauty assembly that is sustainable/organic ingredients based, several of these are multi-tasking (lip/cheek stain), involve packaging that can be recycled or upcycled and all of these clean beauty treasures with companies providing sustainable practices. I will end up using these products well into 2017 before i need to make any new purchased. Make investments in well-made and ethical products and it'll pay off! Do you have any zero waste beauty items you like? Let me know!

winter ethical + minimalist beauty guide http://violet-woods.blogspot.com




Axiology Lipstick in Bad & (c/o) Elusive (V/GF) | These lipsticks are hands down the goldmine of cruelty free lipstick. Free of palm-oil and full of botanical ingredients like avocado oil, elderberry, and neem seed oil. Axiology's principles to use pure plant based creations without the use of harsh chemicals, toxins, and sourcing organic whenever possible. 

Bad is a matte chestnut 90’s brown and Elusive is a dreamy true brick red. They go on smooth and nourish and heal. Axiology doesn't use synthetics dyes and chose to go with mineral pigments. These are truly high quality investments.



WasteWhen you order off Axiology they do come with sample that are in plastic cases so let them know you’d like to omit the samples – stick the full products. Axiology lipstick packaging are not made of plastic and it can be recycled. Although I didn't snap the paper packaging that the lipsticks come in, Axiology’s outer packaging is collected from an island and is taken to a small factory where goes from trash to recycled packaging. Sweet!

Pacifica Natural Eyeliner in Jet (V/GF) | I was using liquid eyeliner prior to discovering Pacifica’s eye pencils. Though the liquid eyeliner’s plastic cover was recyclable I thought there were better options. Pacifica’s eyeliners are vegan, gluten free and formulated with jojoba oil, shea butter for senesitve skin. The color glides on smoothly and I

Waste: The plastic cover on the pencil generates some waste. However the packaging it comes with is completely recyclable. Company-wise, Pacifica aims to have a zero waste in their manufacturing, they recycles and use post-consumer materials.

Pacifica Mystical Supernatural Eye Shadow Palette (V/GF) | These luscious vegan palettes are made with coconut, ginseng, and kelp extracts.  I love that these are botanical based and come in a variety of colors – although I also own Power of Love, the Supernatural packet has the best winter colors.

Waste: A representative for Pacifica told me that the eye shadow palettes are also recyclable. Simply remove the aluminum tin that holds the shadows themselves then put the palette in your recycling bin for safe disposal. The outer packaging is recyclable as well.

Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish (V/GF) in London Tomboy & Luxe Interior | What is 7-Free? These nail polishes are made without parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animals. I love the emerald color and that these polishes are very matte and lasted quite a long time than other non toxic nail polishes I’ve used. (I don't use top coats or any other primer). These nail polishes contain vegan brush applicators as well.

Waste: Conventional nail polishes contain chemicals that are bad for the environment. Pacifica’s brand omits these but imagine how many generic nail polishes get trashed? Imagine those nail polish chemicals making their way into water systems or released into the air via incinerators. The US EPA considers nail polish to be household hazardous waste. So what to do? Check out Earth 911’s guide on properly disposing and recycling your nail polishes when they have run out. In the meantime I stick to 2-3 nail polishes per season. After than I rotate and only support recyclable and earth-friendly brands.

Fat & The Moon Dusk Lip Paint  (GF) c/o | Made up sunflower oil, beeswax, and minerals this is a hazy mauve medium-pink that can be used on the cheeks as well.

Fat & The Moon Hecate Lip Paint – (GF) c/o | Made with the same ingredients as Dusk this is a dark brick-wine color that is a semi-matte to full matte depending on how much you apply.

Fat & The Moon Eye Coal (GF) c/o | to round out the dreamy and intense color spectrum of Fat & The Moon, the pure midnight black eye coal is the non-vegan (contains beeswax) answer to clean beauty eyeliner. Since its in pot form, you can use an eyeliner brush (I recommend Eco-Tools) or clean fingers to smudge. Skip any cotton q-tips, these are smooth thanks to the sunflower oil and only contain ingredients found in nature.

Waste: Since these Fat & the Moon products come in tins you can upcycle them. The company create small batched organic & farm grown ingredients while aiming to use little to no plastic and packaging is set up to be recycled or reused.

winter ethical + minimalist beauty guide http://violet-woods.blogspot.com
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