Month: July 2017

Who Needs Cotton Balls?

I have not bought cotton balls in AGES.

 

cotton rounds2

My cotton ball replacements.

 

From Friday’s post, you know that I have not been buying Ziploc bags because I have a solid replacement for them, but a replacement for cotton balls was not something I had found yet.

For a while, I just stole cotton balls from my parents, the bags just seemed to last forever. But now I do not even bother.

I never used cotton balls to take off makeup. Instead, I just used a washcloth. The only thing I really used them for was to remove nail polish, which I now just use some toilet paper for. It definitely was not efficient, but it got the job done when necessary.

Now that I am wiser, I know there are replacements for cotton balls and those are just reusable cotton rounds! They are basically two pieces of cotton fabric sewn together. cotton rounds

Currently, I do not own a sewing machine, so making my own was a bit more of an arduous option. So instead, I purchased them from a local business, WholeLoveOrganics. I currently use their deodorant too.

After using the cotton rounds, I toss them in a laundry bag for delicates (so I don’t lose them in the washing machine) and then wash and dry as normal.

Reusable and washable anything is pretty awesome, and I love that I have added these to my routine. They require basically zero effort and I will basically never buy cotton balls again, not that I have been recently!

 

 

 

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How I Pack My Lunch

Back to the days of packing my lunch for work!

I pretty much never buy lunch and I never did even in my school days when we could purchase “hot lunch.”

 

 

snacktaxi1

Locally produced turkey sandwich

 

Not only does this practice save me money, but it also saves on food packaging and waste. Ziploc bags are never on my shopping list because I use SnackTaxis to hold all my snacks and lunch essentials.

snacktaxi2

I have had them for a number of years and I love them. They are machine washable and I just let them air dry over night. They even stand up to a PB&J with a bit too much jelly. Just wipe it off and toss in the washer!

Their fun designs also can make a boring lunch a little bit more exciting! And my lunches are pretty boring (see the turkey sandwich with just bread and turkey above).

snacktaxi5

My handy lunch bag has also been hanging around since my college days and it too is machine washable. So when I leave something in there just a little too long and it starts to get a bit funky, that can easily be fixed.

snacktaxi6

For foods that cannot go in a SnackTaxi, I just use Pyrex glass containers for everything from yogurt to soup. Yeah, glass is heavy, but whatever, bring on the muscles!

snacktaxi4

Our regular silverware from home comes with me to work when necessary and then I just bring it home every day to pop in the dishwasher. I don’t find it to be any extra work.

snacktaxi3

On top of all the other necessary pieces, I keep a napkin in my drawer at my desk! It definitely comes in handy when I am eating a juicy peach or there is a snack to grab in the break room.

How do you keep your work day lunches package-free?

Buying Local: Week 12

It was not a CSA week this week and I eat fruit pretty fast, so I had to run over to the farmers market to get some supplemental fruits (and a giant sweet potato).

peachers

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Greenridge Farm lunch meat from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL
  • S. Rosen French rolls from Chicago, IL
  • Peaches from St. Joseph, MI
  • Blueberries from Marengo, IL
  • Sweet potato from Marengo, IL

CSA4 week 2

What We Learned:

  • I tried the beet smoothie K made last week, unfortunately, I think I used a little too much beet and not enough berries…
  • We got almost got through the rest of our CSA box this week!

 

beet smoothie

So beety.

 

Herb Garden Failure

I have something to admit.

I have now failed twice on our herb garden. First, we tried growing kitchen herbs from seedlings and they never made it.

Then we tried starter plants.

The cilantro was the first to go.

cilantro

Slowly others followed suit.

herbfailure1

Our apartment just does not get enough direct sunlight. Between the 3 story buildings and the leaves on the trees, there was only a very tiny bit of time where we got any real sun.

herbfailure2

At one point I started transferring them all outside to our fire escape when the sun started to lower in the late afternoon. It was not enough sun, but it was the best we could do with our location.

After a while of attempting that, I had to come to the conclusion that our second attempt at starting an herb garden was not successful either.

Unfortunately, our herbs destination will not be on our dinner plates, but instead in the compost bucket. Womp womp. I just had to accept that our space is not conducive for growing herbs that require good sunlight.

There will not be a third attempt at an herb garden. Now I need to focus on the other plant issues I have…

 

pokey failure

I am pretty sure this guy is suffering from a drainage issue

 

Best Buy: They Will Take Your Old Printer

I found a secret weapon for taking your unused, broken, and obsolete electronics off your hands and out of your closets.

 

close-up-of-a-huge-pile-of-com

Source: Greenpeace

 

Recycling electronics can be hard, I get it. Municipalities and local government usually hold electronic recycling or e-waste collection drives, but they are never convenient and always random.

They might take place once a season or once a month if you are lucky.

My parents have been hoarding old electronics for years and I had been holding on to them to recycle with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, but then the program was suspended and we weren’t sure what to do with them anymore.

Let me just hold on to the 6 different cords that came with my digital camera in 2006 just a little bit longer.

Another 4 months won’t hurt. Anything to make sure it does not end up in a landfill and that all hazardous materials are disposed of properly.

You know what is convenient? Getting rid of your old printer from college (that no longer prints) when you actually want to get rid of it.

And that is what you can do when you just take your electronics to Best Buy for recycling. They will take anything (almost), no matter where you bought it or how old it is.

best buy

You can even get discounts on new products for recycling your old products. I broke my broken Fitbit there when I purchased a new one.

Don’t worry about having to call your nearby Best Buy to see if they will take your e-junk. All U.S. stores offer the in-store programs, and they really want your stuff because…

Best Buy’s goal is to recycle 2 billion pounds of electronics by the end of 2020.

So far, Best Buy has collected and responsibly disposed of more than 1 billion pounds of electronics and appliances, making them the largest retail collection program in the U.S.

So go through your closet. Round up some of the stuff listed below and bring it to Best Buy to be taken care of properly.

  • rechargeable batteries
  • wires, cords, & cables
  • DVD players
  • headphones
  • remotes
  • VCRs
  • laptops
  • keyboards
  • web cams
  • tablets & e-readers
  • calculators
  • phone chargers
  • cell phones
  • shredders
  • vacuums
  • printer ink & toner
  • alarm clocks
  • CD players
  • iPods
  • speaker systems
  • curling irons
  • fans
  • hair dryers
  • hair straighteners
  • pedometers & heart monitors
  • video game consoles
  • binoculars
  • memory cards
  • digital cameras
  • camcorders
  • digital photo frames
  • GPS systems

Get going! You know you have at least 5 of these things lying around! 

Buying Local: Week 11

K picked up our CSA box this week and he took a page out of my book by bringing a bag to transfer the produce so we don’t have to bring the box home. He also purposefully did not bring any cash to the farmers market so he would not be tempted to make any impulse buys.

 

CSA4

This is K’s attempt at taking a cool artsy picture for me.

 

What We Bought (From the CSA):

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • New baby yukon potatoes
  • Bok Choi
  • Red Beets
  • Parisian Market Carrots
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Summer Squash
  • English Peas

What We Learned:

  • Since we failed on using the beets from the last box, K instantly used some of the gigantic beets we got to make a beet and berry smoothie and absolutely loved it
  • Blueberries and raspberries disappear just way too fast!
  • This may be the first box we actually fully finish!

Recycling My Running Shoes

Does anyone else hoard their running shoes? I keep them around forever and use them as my already-gross-don’t-care-if-they-get-any-grosser shoes.

After writing in a previous post about what to do with materials that are no longer usable to someone else, I learned about Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program that turns your completely destroyed shoes into Nike Grind materials for floor surfaces and new products.

nike recycle

Last week I popped over to our local Nike running store and dropped off one of my oldest pairs of running shoes. They have no cushion left and the heels are all torn up inside.  No one is going to want those, but Nike does, and they will give your Sole Mates a second life.

Gonna Be Composting at My Wedding

Yup. This is going to be a thing.

Let’s be honest. Weddings are quite wasteful. All that hullabaloo for just one day.

The biggest investment in our “special day” is feeding all of our guests. As a couple, we decided to avoid the detested dry chicken breast and sad, floppy asparagus in an unidentified sauce.

Instead, we are going for food that we love and that we know our guests will love. This will hopefully lead to less food waste since everyone will be cleaning their plates and filling their bellies.

But being realistic, everything will not be eaten. There will be food waste.

I have not yet researched into whether or not it is an option to donate unused food, but for now, I do know that composting is my number one option right now.

Healthy Soil Compost is a member of the Green Wedding Alliance and also the service that picks up my household compost. Since I love supporting my bicycle powered pick up service, it only makes sense that they come and collect any leftover taco bits from our reception.

Up front, I can already tell you that no, my guests will not be scraping their plates into an orange compost bucket. That should be taken care of by our caterer when cleaning up.

Either way, I am super excited to have this important element be a part of our important day!

Buying Local: Week 10

I am back in the workplace now and no longer working from home, so it has been a bit of an adjustment. Unfortunately, I can’t just pop over to Green City Market on a Wednesday unless I go at 7 AM before work.

My biggest challenge right now is incorporating all our produce into my lunches.

CSA3 week 2

What is left from last Saturday’s CSA box

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • S. Rosen bread from Chicago, IL
  • To be honest, I don’t even remember what else (It’s my second week at a new job, give me a break!)

What We Learned:

  • Cherries are not the easiest snack to eat at work, but I do keep all the stems and pits in my glass container to bring home and compost. I’ve been eating them everyday.
  • Did not eat those beets fast enough, into the compost they went

The Plastic Wrapped Apples

So I went to Denver a couple weeks ago.

On the way to our gate, we stopped at the Home Run Inn to get something to eat before our flight.

As I stood in line waiting to order, I noticed an odd sight.

plastic apples

A basket full of individually wrapped apples……

plastic apples2

I thought that was #1 very strange and #2 very wasteful and unnecessary, so I did what any millennial would do:

Complain on Twitter.

I tweeted at both Home Run Inn and Midway airport about the oddness of the plastic wrapped apples.

 

pizza twitter

Before we had even taken off, Home Run Inn had responded. I hope something does come of this. It would probably be best to follow up.

Although I was not rewarded with any free pizza, I was pretty impressed with their quick response and demeanor.

Next time you are at Midway, hop into the Home Run Inn and see if the apples are free from their plastic wrap for me!