Tag Archives: reduce

My five zero goals; inspired by you #zerowaste

I’ve been really inspired lately by quite a few excellent blogs written by people who aim to live life with zero waste. #zerowaste bloggers are crafty, innovative, smart and caring! They remind us of how we can all live a more sustainable and appreciative life.

All these great posts made me think about that I actually have a few “zero hashtags” of my own, in addition* to the brilliant, say-it-all-in-one-tag: #zerowaste.

Believe me, I know they all fall on a scale of impossible to very impossible (and nobody is perfect!), but you know what they say; aim for the stars and you may reach the treetops.

zero- 1. Zero Made in China (Zero Imports). Buy local stuff, all the time. Start with made in town, state, country, part of the world… Work my way out. Some things are quite easy, like veggies, some things are hard, like good looking shoes. (By all means, correct me if I’m wrong!)

2. Zero Chemicals. No lotions and potions in the bathroom with any ingredients I can’t pronounce.

3. Zero Processed Foods. Actually, this one is probably the easiest of all my zero goals! Except bread – does that count? Will still buy and eat bread (I’m a terrible baker, don’t even go there).

4. Zero Oil for Fuel and Energy. We’re saving up for our first Tesla! Yes, we are! And we hope to one day be energy independent. Reaching for the stars here? Well, so is Elon Musk (literally).

5. Zero Bad and Grumpy Days. Move forward with a happy spirit, banish worrying and always remember that everything will work out :)

That’s it!

Maybe you have some zeros of your own to pursue? If not, go ahead and borrow mine. Feel free to alter, add and customize as needed. See, that’s another cool tag I like, it’s called #reuse.

*We are not a household committed to 100% zero waste. Yes, we are always mindful about waste and packaging, but it would be an insult to people committed to a zero waste lifestyle, to say that we are.

My new best friend is saving the planet, straw by straw

You know, I didn’t want to buy a new reusable water bottle for myself, despite the fact that the cup I had been using had a huge crack in it. I was in super-sustainable-mode when my husband suggested it. But this one was cute, lilac and made in USA (of US and European parts) so I let him buy it for me. Introducing the Life Factory 16 Oz bottle – my new companion.

Picture1Most of us love drinking from a straw, right? So, cups with straws are nice for that reason (think “cold beverage Starbucks cup”), compared to a regular bottle you just open and drink from, but the big drawback is that they will spill if they get to ride the purse, or if you turn them upside down trying to carry groceries, lifting things… I hate that. THIS one on the other hand, combines the awesomeness of drinking from a straw and the convenience of having a no-spill container with its straw cap. And it has a little handle to carry it in (cute!). Another cool thing is that there are no BPA/BPS or phthalates since it is made of glass (water tastes delicious).

So now, this little guy gets to go everywhere with me.

A very fantastic part about this country in general, is that diners, fast food places and coffee shops alike will give you water for free with your meal or coffee. And when I say “I brought my own cup” everyone’s like “ok”. Can you imagine how many plastic straws, cups, lids and wrappers could be saved if more people were doing this?! I am not embarrassed to bring my own at all. I am proud and I love that I get to save cups from going to landfills every day. Every day, folks!

LifeFactory Bottle

And if you are one of those people that walk around your OWN house drinking bottled water from the grocery store, shame on you. That water was bottled, wrapped in plastic and trucked several hundred miles. Evian and Fiji water were imported on a ship! All that energy lost – for water. Even if you put the plastic bottle in the recycling bin, guess what, recycling something takes energy too, and plastic has limited recyclability.

Come on, join the revolution. A reusable water bottle is the coolest thing you can carry. Eco-friendly is so freaking cool.

How my dad ended up on the blog… and why he is rocking it

When my dad first heard about me blogging, his first question was not “why?” but “are there any pictures of me on it?” Erm, no dad, it’s about eco-living, product origin and shopping consciously.

But come to think of it, he is right, he does deserve to be on the blog! Why? Because he is an excellent role model for sustainability.

He never buys anything he doesn’t need, rarely shops for clothes, buys good quality items so he rarely needs to replace anything, gives us gifts we want and need, eats mostly organic and locally grown foods (his wife helps on that part), recycles everything, reuses his coffee mug over and over (the so called dish-saving-program that sometimes drives us a little crazy), and always bikes to work; rain or shine.

It so happens, that he has just gotten a new t-shirt which is perfect for his first blog photo. (A gift from my sister – he did NOT go shopping.) It has glasses and a mustache, just like him. So he gets to be on the blog in a not made in China, but El Salvador, t-shirt. It’s looking pretty cool, I must say.

Go dad!


Soft, adorable and locally grown

Because all babies are, undeniably, just that. 100% organic? Well I guess that depends on what mommy’s been eating and moisturizing with.

IMG_3477Anyway, Locally Grown Clothing Company is making lifestyle statement onesies for ages 0 and up. You can order these onesies online and pick a design representing the state you live in or whatever look you like! I got these at Whole Earth Provision Co. in Houston.

Not only designed and manufactured right here, materials are also sourced from the USA. Not a lot of companies can say the same. Love this!! And my beautiful friend, who got this gift of local baby fashion, loved them too. Win-win.

Can’t wait to see the baby, due February, rock these two styles.

IMG_3479 IMG_3478

Not a fan of fans

It’s been a while since I made an update on my blog. Work has been extra busy and I’ve made some long overdue family visits (that’s a great excuse!). What I have been doing, in the name of the challenge: looking for that outdoor ceiling fan I mentioned a couple of months back. I was hoping to find something not made in China or at least previously owned.

But…not even the downtown stores, with fans I can’t afford, have fans made here and not there. I went looking for a previously owned one, but without success, so I ended up at Lowes. Ultimately this led to my second felony since I started the challenge.

Unlike my last felony which happened by accident (online shopping!) this one was due to pure defeat.

Oh well, new month new spirit. August will be awesome!  On the “to find list”? Shoes, shoes and more shoes.

Can’t stay away from shopping? Try thrifting

A part from being passionate about not made in China/buy local, I also love to reduce, reuse, recycle. Love and practice it. A lot. (My colleagues may have heard my tree-saving speech once or twice)

These two “interests” go well together! How?

When you buy reused, or what we call previously owned, it doesn’t matter where it was made. Somebody already bought it and sent a positive (devastating “please make more”) signal to the manufacturer that this item is wanted. So the damage is done. Now, the most important thing is that the product gets used instead of it riding the fast lane to the landfill.

So let’s say you are looking for something that is (almost) always made in China, like toys. That’s easy to find used, and often in good condition at places like eBay. Barbie used to be from all over Asia, now she is only Chinese, but she is always on eBay!

For me, what I am looking for is a nice beach-style ceiling fan for my outdoor area. I haven’t been able to find a single one not made in the far east. I googled but only found alternative-style fans made in USA. So I’m going to check out all the local resale shops for something previously owned. Wish me luck!

(I wrote the other day about the money you save by buying not made in China – here is another reason. Pre-owned stuff cost less!)

Oh, the choices we make (go ahead, ask questions!)

People sometimes ask me if I have thrown away everything I own from China. Of course not. That would be even worse for the environment and contribute even more to the American over-consumption (which makes me sad when I think about it) as I would have to buy new lamps, shirts, sneakers, pillows, kitchen stuff, crafts…..

No – my already purchased “made in China” will be worn and worn out! My favorite shirt in the world is made in China. I didn’t check the label as I bought it last year. Today, I would have checked and passed. Could I have lived without it? Yes. Do I love it still? Yes. Hey it’s never too late to make better, more enlightened choices. The past never decides the future.

Dying to know more about the shirt? It’s from China-central also known as J.Crew. It’s a fine knit in off white with tiny orangey fruits on it. Vintage and adorable.

J.crew shirt

It’s so juicy! (when it’s made in USA)

It’s been almost two months since I started this challenge and I’ve just now decided to blog about it. It started at the mall (like so many great things do!)

IMG_5712I needed a new pair of sweat pants. I say needed because mine had paint stains on them! I love the Juicy Couture sweats and I remembered from before (2006 when I bought a blingy pair) that it said “made in the glamorous USA” on the tag. Left my friend at Sephora and headed over to Juicy. They had a sale, got a pair for like 35 dollars. Insane!

Before this, I had been looking at some (a lot) of that cute stuff at Anthropologie. I found my self picking things up, reading the label, and putting them back down. Really, 15 dollars for a porcelain bowl made in China? For that price, couldn’t it be made in USA or South America even? So all this got me thinking. Is this the new lifestyle for me? My new thing? Could I do a year of this? And so it started.

Oh, I love my light grey sweat pants made in America. I’d wear them to work if I could. (You know when you buy something and plan to only wear it at the house? House turns into Target… To the local restaurants… To your friend’s house… Yes that’s what happened with these) And they started this whole project, this commitment to (for me) the environment. Feel good by doing good.

Keep in mind, most of Juicy’s other garments and accessories are not made in America. Check before you swipe.

NOTE: After this post was published, Juicy has started to produce garments at international production sites (China, Vietnam). Check the labels. Unfortunately this “Made in USA company” may have deserted their original patriotism.