Wednesday, April 1, 2015

time to celebrate earth month + a new look for eco cajun

No fooling kicks off the annual Earth Month, a celebration stemmed from Earth Day on April 22. As you know from past years, or can imagine, Earth Month is one of my favorite times of the year.

April in general is such a great time of the year, especially in South Louisiana. The weather is in that between phase of gray winter and balls-hot summer. Everyone’s yard is blooming. Local events are happening outside, just about every single day. I find reasons to do everything outside, like my writing and brainstorming afternoon this past weekend. Bike rides are common occurrences. And one of my favorite events of the year is coming up...Festival International!

Of course I love to celebrate Earth Month on top of all of that...April is a great time to simply appreciate this Earth.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m kicking off this Earth Month with something very special...Eco Cajun got a facelift! I’m so excited to give the site a refreshed, updated look, and I love how everything turned out. When I sat down with my handy dandy notebook before 2015 started, and I started drafting a list of blog topic ideas and goals, a redesign was near the top of the list.

New colors, a new layout and a clean look...check, check and check! Thank you to Michelle over at Dixie Lust for helping me install and tweak everything, and for the thousands of Photoshop lessons.

And because I am working so furiously to make 2015 the most amazing year (which, hello, I’ve already achieved that goal only three months in), I’m also excited to announce my month-long ‘residency’ over at 106.3 Radio Lafayette! Side notes, I've been a loyal fan of 106.3 ever since they launched a couple years back, and if any radio station matches my musical tastes, it's this one. Radio station mix or my music library? I can't tell the difference anymore!

Huge thanks to Matt for having me in once a week to share eco-friendly tips with everyone in honor of Earth Month. Listen on your radio or streaming online on Wednesday mornings to hear my ridiculous voice talk about my favorite subject.

So, I’ll leave you with a few basic tips on what you can do to celebrate Earth Month and go green:

  • Use your reusable bags! This is one of my cardinal tips for going green. By investing in a few cloth shopping bags, you will eliminate so many plastic bags from the waste stream. Fewer bags being littered, fewer bags in’s just one of the most needless items. So, get some cloth bags and take them with you when you go shopping at the grocery store or anywhere. Bonus: some places will give you five cents off per bag! Cloth bags also make great lunch bags for work.
  • Recycle as much as you can. Of note: bottle caps and pizza boxes or frozen food boxes are not recyclable! Plastic bags are not recyclable in your curbside bin, but you CAN bring them to your local grocery store.
  • Conserve energy at home. Whether you change your lightbulbs to CFLs, you make sure to turn off the lights when you leave the room, or you turn your thermostat up a couple degrees, you’ll help lower your utility bill.
  • Keep a reusable coffee/tea mug at work. Avoid the disposable cups by reusing your mug every day. You’ll get to show off your style, and you’ll eliminate a lot of trash. Go even further by stirring your coffee or tea with a spoon instead of those stirrers. 
So, I wish you all a very happy and GREEN Earth Month! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or subscribe to RSS updates so you know every time I have a new post!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

plant an herb garden

I love to cook, and the majority of the time, my dinners are a success. There a few Pinterest fails and a few that are just from blah recipes, but I suppose they can't all be winners. Even when I take the lazy way out, I like to spice up a recipe and make it more my own.
One of my favorite things to add to a dish are good herbs. The right herb can be that one thing a dish is lacking.

Unfortunately, picking up a container of herbs from the grocery store every time you need something can be costly and wasteful, if you don't use the entire package. And dried herbs just don't have that same je nais sais quoi.

Monday, March 30, 2015

workin' out

Regular exercising is an important part of being healthy; unfortunately, it's not always eco-friendly. While the gym is convenient, has everything you need, and bad weather doesn't shut things down, it also uses a ton of water, electricity and disposable cups.

I love to exercise, whether it's to complete my day's step goal, burn a million calories, tone my muscles or find some zen after a long day. I also love my gym. My go-to workouts are Zumba and Pilates, but lately I've been turning to yoga and running.

Whenever I go to the gym, I find myself trying to combine my conservationist ways with my exercising ways. One of my biggest gym peeves is the abundance of styrofoam cups at the water fountains. It's so wasteful! How can you be greener at the gym?
  • Bring your own reusable water bottle, whether you fill it at home or at a fountain.
  • Bring your own towel, so you don't contribute to the pile that goes into the industrial laundry room.
  • Take a quick shower to conserve water.
  • Be reasonable with the paper towels.
But, since we're in springtime now (all three weeks of it that we get) and it doesn't get dark until after 7:00, now is the perfect time to really green your exercise plan; whatever you like to do, go outside to do it!

Since the time change, I've been pushing myself to go for a walk or jog after work. Partly to enjoy the temperatures before it gets ridiculously hot and partly to fuel my competitive side and earn my daily steps on my Fitbit. There's also that crazy idea that I will run a 5K in April. Despite growing up as the child of two runners, I have not participated in a race since I was about 10.

But, I guess it's part of growing older that I find myself choosing to run a bit more, and it's hard to want to put in miles on a treadmill when I get sights like this in the evenings. Exercising outside allows you to appreciate nature a little bit extra. Plus, you don't need any electricity or membership for this kind of exercise.

Free, solar-powered workouts, you might say!

I love to equip myself with a good playlist and pretend I'm running to my movie soundtrack, while taking in the sunlight, blooming front yards and fresh air. It's also zen, aiding in my mental clarity.

And there are so many ways to get an outdoor workout. Yardwork? Incorporate some squats and lunges.

Bike rides are also a great way to get some cardio in, along with some great sites, like the recent evening we rode past LITE. The gym's stationary bike is okay, but a real bike is much better! Use an app like MapMyRide to calculate your exercise impact similar to the stationary bike.

Turn exercise time into sports fun. Frisbee and badminton are two backyard sports my fiance and I enjoy playing, and both usually involve running (mostly him because I'm not the best targeter sometimes). Frisbee is my favorite because it's both cardio and an arm workout.

When you're working out or exercising outdoors, remember to keep your water in a reusable bottle, and if you do have anything disposable, don't litter it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

let's break down those lawn and leaf bags

True story. About two weeks ago, my fiance and I spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon doing yard work. I was tasked with picking up and bagging the veritable sea of oak leaves that filled up our ditches. After filling about 10 55-gallon bags with leaves, my legs hurt in a way they haven't felt since I walked the Krewe of Rio parade picking up beads and trash. I never wanted to see another oak leaf again.

The next day, I came home from work to find our driveway covered in a thin layer of oak leaves. I believe my response was something to the effect of, "Those trees better figure out how to tape their effing leaves back to their branches because I am NOT picking up any more! My legs ain't even recovered yet!"

Trees and I have a love-hate relationship.

So anyway, back to the point of this post. It's spring. And oak trees tend to dump their load in the spring. And there are lots of oak leaves around south Louisiana.

Bet you've got some yard work to dooo-OOO!

Did you think about those lawn and leaf bags? And how not eco-friendly they are?

Well, you will now!

Monday, March 23, 2015

one hour in the's earth hour 2015!

So, um, what are you doing this Saturday evening? No big plans, you say? That's good! I'd like to ask you something.

Will you turn the lights off in your house (or wherever you are) for one hour?

Whatever time zone you're in, turn your lights out from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 28, and join the 2015 Earth Hour movement. Organized by the World Wildlife Federation, Earth Hour started in Australia in 2007 and has grown to become a global movement promoting energy conservation and protecting the planet. Homes, commercial buildings and even entire cities are taking part in switching non-essential lights off for just one hour. Check out this long list of businesses and cities that are participating! There's even a guide for hotels that want to participate. Who in your area is on the list?

You don't even have to do anything in particular during your hour! You can light candles and have an extra ambient evening. Go outside and enjoy the nice weather. If you're a business, keep only the essential lights turned on and promote your participation by hanging a poster inside your business and letting customers know as they come in. You'll educate more than a few people!

Join in the social media and share what you're doing during your hour by tweeting @EarthHour and #EarthHour.

Just remember, you only have to turn off your lights for one hour this Saturday evening. Can you do it??

Sunday, March 22, 2015

water is...

Every year on March 22, we celebrate World Water Day. Started by the United Nations in 1993, the day celebrates water and its importance to everyone on this planet.
This year, the World Water Day focus is 'Water and Sustainable Development', looking at how water links to all areas we need to consider to create the future we want.

Water is at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions.

How can you individually participate in World Water Day? Easy! Conserve water and share the message. Visit the World Water Day website to learn more about water's impact, and share on social media to let everyone know you're celebrating this Saturday!

But don't forget to actually conserve water. Use rain water to hydrate your garden. Don't let your sprinkler run out of control - especially if you are in a drought area, or conversely, if it's raining. Use as little water as you can when washing dishes and laundry (fill the dishwasher completely before running it to maximize water use, and set your washing machine on the lightest load setting you can). Take a quicker shower than you might normally. Spare yourself of drinking bottled water, and tote along some tap or Brita-filtered water instead.

Spread the word and let's all celebrate World Water Day together this year!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

cleaner dish detergents

Now that you're well on your way to greening your cleaning supplies, this week we'll look at dish detergent, for both hand washing and dishwashers. Some of those same chemicals found in your sponges can also be in your dish detergent.

How clean is your cleaning, really? You have to eat off those plates!

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