Recent Posts

Cleaning Products Worth the (Extra) Money

Cleaning Products Worth the (Extra) Money

I love saving money, and love a good deal. There are many areas where a budget can be easily slashed, and household cleaning products are one usually of them. You want the most basic cleaning product that works for everything? Water and vinegar. THAT SAID, […]

Whole30 White Chicken Chili (Slow-Cooker)

Whole30 White Chicken Chili (Slow-Cooker)

Today was a day of busy house-things after a week of work travel. TBH I didn’t want to meal prep. So I told myself I was going to make up a crockpot recipe that I could truly just toss in the ingredients and let it […]

Zero Waste Gift Set Idea

Zero Waste Gift Set Idea

If you are someone like me, who is trying to lead a more sustainable life, but still loves to give gifts…then this gift idea may be perfect for you! It’s a zero waste gift beginner kit for friends/family. Of course, if you don’t want to do the full list, any single item off here would be a great little gift. I’ve tried to make these items that just about anyone would use, regardless of if they care to be zero waste or not. You might be sparking something within that person, or you may just be giving them a useful gift. Either way, it’s a great way to give a useful gift and know that it works for the environment.

 

One thing I will say is that I have linked all items to online sources so everyone can see them. Online shipping is not necessarily a sustainable practice, so if you can find something better near you then you may wish to go that route. Also in full disclosure, some of these items have affiliate links and will have {} around the link if this is the case. That means I get a % to keep making content, but there is no cost to you. It’s pretty neat. Again though, I understand wanting to avoid online shopping because of shipping, so you do you! Lastly, if you can find any of these package free, that is going to be the best option because you don’t know that the gift receiver will compost (in many cases that’s unlikely) or recycle as you would. So Here is my Zero Waste Gift Set idea. Of course, you can mix and match ANY of these to fit your budget.

Toiletry Zero Waste Gift Ideas for All

  • Package Free Soap – If you want something kind of fancy, Lush is great for a zero waste gift! They offer many soaps and items that don’t use packaging. Click (here) for their entire package free selection. Also, I’d say check your local health food store. I can get locally made bars of soap package free for about $2.50 and they smell amazing, but again not everyone may have this option near them.
  • Bamboo Toothbrush – I would have to be pretty close to someone to give them a toothbrush as a gift, but that’s just me. If you really want to go crazy, you could even include Toothy tabs (link!) from Lush! I have used these toothbushes {click for link!} and love them. 

Non-Toiletry Zero Waste Gift Ideas for All

  • Reusable shopping Bag – instead of a traditional “gift bag” use a reusable shopping bag to hold the remaining items. If you write a card or note, maybe mention this or tell the person as you give them so they know and don’t throw it away. I like this hemp bag {click here for link!} but get the size you think will be useful for the person and that will house the remaining contents appropriately. You might even have an extra lying around that can be used for this!
  • Stainless Steel Straws – I actually have two different sized straws, skinny ones for water and normal drinks, and a larger one for smoothies. One of each (or a pack of each) can be a great addition for anyone. When I first began using them, I got compliments and questions just because other people around me thought they looked cool. And if I’m being honest, that’s why I bought them. It was pre-zero waste and I thought, “hey, those look cool, and I don’t have to buy straws!” If only I would’ve known and shared the benefits to the environment at that time too! The good news of that is, these are typically really well received and are probably my top zero waste gift recommendation. Click {here} for my favorite bent straws and {here} to see my favorite smoothie straws!
  • Reusable coffee cup – So this is one I somewhat hesitate to put in here because honestly, who doesn’t have a reusable travel mug around? But for some this can be one of the most fun things to receive and can be really creative on the gift giver’s part. So really think about the personality of the receiver and go from there. This one {link!} is by KeepCup and it’s on my personal wish list!  
  • Glass Storage containers – specifically, if you know people who meal prep, these are awesome. They freeze the best, are oven safe, and are just excellent overall. I use ones by GlassLock {link!}, but if you know of better options please let me know.

Online Zero Waste Gift Idea

  • E gift cards! Okay so this wouldn’t technically go into your bag, but another zero waste gift idea is always e-gift cards to people. Whether it’s for a restaurant or a different store, a huge advantage is that 1. No plastic is used and 2. It can’t get stolen out of your mailbox (yes, that IS a thing sadly!) The options are pretty much endless with this!

I hope this gives you a basic idea of some zero waste gift items I’ll be buying for a few people in my life, along with my work secret santa. If there is something you think should be added to this list, please let me know 🙂

 

-Rachel

2017 Christmas Gift Guide/Wish List!

2017 Christmas Gift Guide/Wish List!

I am someone who LOVES Christmas, but I also like to respect that Thanksgiving comes first. So I’ve been toying with putting this post up for quite awhile. But since Black Friday (and Cyber Monday if they are still separate?) are coming so soon I […]

Sue’s Midwest Whole30 Chicken Gumbo

Sue’s Midwest Whole30 Chicken Gumbo

Earlier today, when my husband told me what he was going to make for dinner, I knew it needed to be put on here. This recipe is a twist on my mother-in-law’s recipe for a soup/chicken gumbo, which I’m 99% sure was taken off a […]

Too.Much.

Too.Much.

Welp, for the first time I’ve definintely bit off more than I can chew. For the first time in my life, I just failed a class. By 6 points (out of over 1000). Disappointed in myself doesn’t even begin to cover it but also, the timing was just HORRIBLE this semester. So maybe this post is a bit of a rant. Maybe I just need to justify it to myself. I’m not sure, but I’m pretty upset right now – not mad upset, just sad upset. Here’s some of the stuff that went into this semester.

  • The most classes – instead of two classes this semester, I planned to do four. Really, under normal circumstances (aka not everything else in this post),this probably would’ve been okay except I had just taken off the summer semester. So I wasn’t even in the groove of balancing life and school. Still decided it was a good idea.
  • I was PREGNANT – Not only was I taking the most classes but I was also in my first trimester. Oh, I guess this is also the first time I’ve said anything on my blog. Yay! Baby! But pregnancy, especially the first trimester, comes with some extra effort just to do life, let alone the extras. Thankfully, I had very little morning sickness, but I was exhausted. After work each day, I’d have to take a nap just to get through my evening and make it until 9:30 and maybe 10:30 if it was  agood night. Without that nap, I had to go to bed at 7pm. So there went the time for classwork. I slept it away. Now, this might have been okay if I had found out after the semester started, but I didn’t. I should’ve chopped my schedule the second I found out I was pregnant, but nope. Arroganly, I decided I’d be fine. *eyeroll*
  • Work has been insanely busy – normally, I take every single lunch break to work a little on my coursework. Lately, work has been so crazy I’m lucky to even get time for a lunch. Being pregnant, I make this a priority, but that doesn’t mean I’m not working while eating. And there goes a big chunk of homework time…
  • And probably the biggest thing? WE BOUGHT A HOUSE. AND MOVED. IN THE SPAN OF MY EIGHT WEEK SEMESTER. So on top of being exhausted just on day-to-day thing and extra courses, we moved. I mean…..moving along with my normal level of classes would’ve been hard, but this felt impossible. And the weekend we actually physically moved in just happened to be the LAST weekend of my course. Meaning the weekend I’d normally just leave our toddler wih my husband and take off for a cafe or library I was beyond busy with moving and cleaning! Again, a big part of this falls on me. I didn’t pre-plan as much. I should’ve dropped Riley off at my in-laws a different weekend and gotten everything done….but I didn’t.

So not only will I absolutely not get a reimbursement for this class, but it won’t even go towards my degree. It’s a slap in the face and reality. Timing is terrible because when you move, there is a lot of items on the “to buy” list. Thankfully, I got pretty worried about this during the semester (except I didn’t think I’d fail I just thought I wouldn’t hit my required grade for reimbursement) and we have the amount for both of my classes in a separate savings account. So at least there is that, otherwise this would be doing some damage to our emergency fund.

Ugh. Hoping I can scrape by with a B in my other class. Because I really don’t want to have to pay for both. I’m just ready to move forward.

-Rachel

 

Selling Clothes: ThredUp vs. Poshmark

Selling Clothes: ThredUp vs. Poshmark

There are several resale websites/apps for clothing and fashion items. Two of the biggest are ThredUp and Poshmark. Both have great marketing, but which one is ACTUALLY better to use? I’ve used both, and none of this is sponsored. Just my thoughts and a few […]

DIY Maternity Snowman Costume: Easy and Only $15!

DIY Maternity Snowman Costume: Easy and Only $15!

I’ve been excited to create a couple of DIY costumes this year (coming soon!) but this made me think about some DIY costumes I’ve done in years past and how GREAT they turned out. The one that got me the most compliments was this DIY […]

DIY Fall Centerpiece (Under $20!)

DIY Fall Centerpiece (Under $20!)

I’ve been telling myself I won’t buy decorations until we move next week, but still somehow found myself and the toddler walking though Michael’s earlier today. There were so many cute (and expensive) centerpieces and wreaths for sale. Even with the 50-60% off that craft stores always have going on, the cost seemed crazy! My almost-two-year-old got excited and pointed out all the “flowers!” when I decided to take a closer look. Within a few minutes I had an idea for a centerpiece that would be relatively affordable, last forever, and have the exact types of flowers I wanted. Plus, I told myslf this was a craft activity for Riley and I, which we don’t do enough, so that’s how I justified it. But now with this sitting on my table, I am SO happy and decided that what we did was worth sharing:) In fact, thanks to those “sale” prices, my DIY Fall Centerpiece total came to $18.63! So this isn’t a dirt cheap centerpiece, but comparable premade centerpieces in the same store were listed for $79.99 (even with the 50% off, they were about $40!) so the cost seemed very much worth it.

DIY Fall Centerpiece

What I bought to make my DIY Fall Centerpiece (receipt below)

  • Small Basket- notemy original plan was to get a fake pumpkin and make that the base, but I’ve seen those everywhere and wanted mine to be a bit unique and slightly more “real” looking
  • Silk flowers in fall colors – I went for two larger bunches and three smaller ones
  • Floral foam – wet is easier to work with in my opinion

What I had at home:

  • rocks! I ended up needing these to stabilize the arrangement.
  • optional: hot glue gun and glue. this was my original plan to stabilize the arrangement but it ended up being a little off center and the glue wouldn’t hold. It might work better for you though.

DIY Fall Centerpiece Instructions

Step 1: In the store when you are planning to buy the silk floral pieces, make sure to test arrange them and hold in a bouquet. Some of you probably think that’s obvious, but not everyone knows this and it’s key!

holding the arrangement to test it out, looks good!

Step 2: once you have the arrangement planned out, begin inserting each stem individually into the floral foam. You my want to test out the height of the stems vs your basket. I had to trim a couple of the stems. Make sure to push them far enough into the floral foam that the pieces don’t move at all.

the foam should have everything secure enough to let go and stand alone

Step 3: Place into basket and stabilize. At first, I tried a hot glue gun, but the arrangement wouldn’t stay in the spot I wanted. So the toddler and I trotted out to the yard and grabbed some small/medium rocks and put them into the container to keep it in place. The nice thing about this is that it gave the arrangement a weight and it feels very sturdy.

That’s all! Honestly, this would take about 10 minutes, but I had to chase after a toddler and fight with a glue gun (you shouldn’t have to. you’re welcome) so it took me about 20. But it was still a fun craft and I’m in love with the results! My table looks so festive and it will last for years to come. What’s your favorite DIY you’ve created? Because this DIY Fall Centerpiece is definitely my personal favorite!

Enjoy!

-Rachel

 

My Whole30 Reintroduction Plan #SeptemberWhole30

My Whole30 Reintroduction Plan #SeptemberWhole30

I can’t believe it is day 25 of the September Whole30! Seriously, where the heck did September go? This round went pretty smoothly. I navigated through some family gatherings (shoutout to my uncle for grilling me up a compliant sausage alongside the hotdogs everyone else […]