12 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Environment Today

Did you know that the first week in September is International Zero Waste Week? We love practicing zero waste routines at home, every little bit counts! We are not a zero-waste household (absolutely NO garbage) yet, but we’ve made lots of small changes over the past couple years to move in that direction!

If you are looking for some easy ways to reduce your waste and help the environment here are some easy tips you could start following this week!

  1. Carry a reusable cup with you all the time.
  2. Use cloth napkins at home instead of paper.
  3. Use rags like old t-shirts or tea towels instead of paper towel!
  4. Say no to plastic straws! Or use a reusable stainless steel or glass straw!
  5. Compost! (We are just starting to explore this and it is a fun adventure!)
  6. Avoid single-use plastic such as plastic utensils, cups, plates, sandwich baggies, etc. I always carry a bamboo fork and spoon in my bag to help with that!
  7. Wrap your food in bee’s wrap instead of plastic.
  8. Buy toilet paper that is packaged in paper instead of plastic!
  9. When shopping online, ask retailers if they can send your package plastic-free. I have had good luck with this.
  10. Always carry a container for leftovers in your car or bag so that when the time comes you don’t need to ask for a to-go box!
  11. Always check an item to see if it is recyclable before tossing it in the trash.
  12. Buy produce that does not come wrapped in plastic, or better yet – grow your own!

These are all easy changes that make a big difference! We have had a lot of luck at home with these practices and it has been fun to challenge ourselves to make more informed choices about our waste. We have a lot of room for improvement so we are doing our best to create NO garbage this week! If you want to make a pledge for Zero Waste Week too, you can do it here! They will send you tips and motivation all week long!

The most important thing when working to reduce your waste is to simply be conscious of your habits. When you are mindful about the choices you are making it becomes very easy to recognize opportunities to make zero waste choices. It all starts with awareness!

Good luck on your Zero Waste journey!

love & light

Lena

Honeymooning

If you are wondering where I’ve been the last month, Will and I celebrated our wedding on August 11th and we are currently on a beautitul trip in Northern Michigan for our honeymoon! I hope you are all busy enjoying the last few weeks of sweet summertime and making the most of every moment!

I am looking forward to getting back to posting when we return next week, but for now I am off with my husband being in love!

Wishing you love & light,

Lena

Dip-dyed napkins for our late summer wedding…

When Will and I were planning our wedding we knew we wanted to DIY as many elements we could because we love making things ourself. Over the past year we’ve been slowly phasing out paper products from our home and acquiring more reusable clothe options! Because we only use clothe napkins in our home, this seemed like a great opportunity to bulk buy napkins that we could use for years and years without any extra production waste happening due to our consumption.

I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of basic white napkins because our theme for the wedding was lots of color, so I decided to dye the napkins myself. For this project I bulk ordered white 100% cotton napkins on Amazon – I purchased around 180 napkins for under $100 and used RIT dye from the grocery store. I would love to try this project again in the future and explore more sustainable dyes or learn how to make my own natural dyes!

I was able to dye all of the napkins within 2 days, the first day my little brother helped me and the second day my good friend Abby was there to assist! I separated the napkins into sets of 20 and tried folding them in lots ofdifferent ways. After that it was time to start dyeing! Be sure to pre-wash anything you plan to dye to remove any finish that may be on it!

Here are the steps I followed to customize our colorful wedding napkins!

Materials:

  • White 100% cotton napkins
  • RIT dye
  • salt
  • water
  • large tubs or bins
  • drying rack

Instructions:

  1. Fold napkins in various patterns – this is the creative part where you can really just play because no matter what they turn out beautiful.
  2. Fill the tub halfway with very hot water (for me it was about 8 cups), I just used tap water on the hottest setting but you could heat it up in a tea kettle if you wanted it really hot.
  3. Dissolve 1 cup of salt in the dye bath.
  4. Add 1 bottle of RIT dye to dye bath. If you want softer colors, use less dye!
  5. Soak napkins in dye bath for 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Wring out napkins and rinse well to remove any extra dye.
  7. Line dry or if you are afraid of the dye bleeding, you can run them through the gentle cycle of the wash and hang them to dry.
  8. Iron and enjoy!

I did all of my soaking in the backyard to make sure I didn’t make a mess in my house – luckily we were able to complete the whole set without an spills! Now we have a huge supply of beautiful napkins that we can use daily! I love that they are a reminder of our wedding day too, that makes them even more special! In the future I would love to explore ways to do this project again but in a more sustainable way!

Any other wedding DIYers out there? What about you? Have you ever tried to create your own dyes? Or what is your favorite kind of  organic natural dye? I would love to learn more!

love & light,

Lena

29 intentions in my 29th year

Today is my 29th birthday! The final year of my 20s has begun and I could not be more in love with the existence I am creating for myself. I am a work in progress, and I am okay with that. I am passionate about so many things and everyday I am astonished at my own thirst for personal growth. I am so very thankful for every opportunity this life has granted me.

It seems fitting that I wrapped up an 8 week Mindfulness Meditation course today. I had tons of clarity in my reflections and it felt like the perfect way to begin a year (and lifetime) of intentional living.

My 29th year will be a year of authenticity and intention. I will be mindful in the way I live. I will be loving in my daily actions. Here is my list of 29 intention for my 29th year:

  1. Be intentional with my time and energy.
  2. Continue to cut down on plastic use.
  3. Become a full-time pescatarian.
  4. Maintain a regular mindfulness meditation practice.
  5. Attend yoga classes regularly with Will.
  6. Make quality time with family a priority.
  7. Buy less.
  8. Write more.
  9. Practice gratitude regularly.
  10. Be resilient.
  11. Pursue zero-waste and circular living.
  12. Only purchase ethically made and sourced clothing.
  13. Breathe.
  14. Walk.
  15. Stretch.
  16. Create a better system of organization at home.
  17. Designate a special spot in the house for meditation.
  18. Be more patient with my littles.
  19. Spend more time in the kitchen.
  20. Practice self-compassion.
  21. Spend more time with the people I love.
  22. Extract joy from every day.
  23. Explore more.
  24. Ask questions.
  25. Make things.
  26. Get to know me better.
  27. Dream far and wide.
  28. Show kindness and compassion everyday.
  29. Be courageous.

This is my list. It covers so much while still leaving such a great deal to seek and explore. I want my 29th year to be a year of curiosity, risk-taking, and growth. I want to spend my time diving deep and falling in love with who I am and the life I am leading.

What are your intentions for the year ahead? Have you thought about it? What would be the first thing you would put on your list?

love & light

Lena

DIY jasmine make-up setting spray

The past few years I have been transitioning to a more natural beauty and skincare routine. Sometimes I make my own products and other times I buy products that I know are made without the use of dangerous chemicals. I have lots of favorite all-natural beauty and skin products but sometimes I just like something I have made myself better. When I’ve made it, I love knowing exactly what has gone into the product that I am absorbing into my skin and bloodstream.

This recipe is for a make-up setting spray that I put on after applying my make-up in the morning. As a teacher I am on the go all day long and have very little time to stop and look in the mirror so I need to know that my make-up is going to stay in place without any touch-ups! This light weight spray takes care of that worry for me and gives me all the peace of mind I need while teaching my tiny humans how to paint!

Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Witch Hazel
  • 1 Tbsp Aloe Vera Gel (natural, not the bright green stuff)
  • 1 Tbsp Distilled Water
  • 5 drops Jasmine Essential Oil
  • 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 2 oz. glass bottle with spray nozzle

Directions:

  1. Fill 2 oz. glass bottle with 1 tablespoon natural aloe vera gel.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons witch hazel and 1 tablespoon water to fill bottle.
  3. Shake well to mix thoroughly.
  4. Add essential oils and shake again to evenly disperse.
  5. To use: Shake well and spray over freshly applied makeup.

I love using lavender and jasmine essential oils because they smell so lovely. Lavender is also great for your skin to soothe redness and irritation. I use Jasmine for its empowering and confidence-boosting aroma, as well as the fact that it is great for improving dry or dehydrated skin!

I know there are lots of different recipes out there, has anyone tried a different recipe for a DIY setting spray? How do you make yours? I love this one and I hope you to do!

love & light

Lena