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.


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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!
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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!



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one hour in the dark...it'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??
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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. 

http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/home/en/
 
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.

http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/learn/en/

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!
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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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a spring saturday trip to the farmer's market

Things I was expecting to get at the Farmer's Market this past Saturday:
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Kale chips
Thing I was not expecting to get at the Farmer's Market this past Saturday:
  • A diamond ring

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rainy dayz AKA, why you should not litter

Today is one of those rainy days where all you want to do is stay home in your pajamas and watch trashy reality TV or binge-watch TV shows on Netflix. But in reality, responsibilities trump the rain and you most likely have to venture out anyway.


Now, let me tell a story about gravity when it rains. You know that cigarette butt, styrofoam food container, drink cup, or any other piece of trash you see littered on a sidewalk or near a curb? (I know YOU didn't litter it!)

Well, that trash that's left in roadways has to go somewhere. Sadly, it doesn't magically decompose the second it hits the ground. But...wouldn't that be a great way to keep our cities clean!?

Nope, instead, when it rains, that trash gets caught up in the stream of moving water where the road meets the curb, and it runs along until it finds an exit point, AKA a storm drain.

Where does that storm drain lead? To our waterways. The coulees. Eventually the Bayou Vermilion. So guess where that litter is also going. Plus, it clogs up the storm drain system.

Litter in the Bayou Vermilion and other waterways is not only ugly, it can contaminate the water and endanger the wildlife that depends on that water.

https://www.facebook.com/BayouVermilionDistrict/photos/a.1548863805391979.1073741830.1545101712434855/1564870953791264/?type=1&permPage=1 

The Bayou Vermilion District provided a great image this week of all that litter collected from the waterway with just one inch of rain accumulated. Gross, right?

This is what happens when you litter. It doesn't disappear. It doesn't go directly to a landfill. It doesn't get recycled.

Don't contribute to this pile of trash...keep your trash to yourself and dispose of it in a real trash can. Hint: Roads are not trash cans!
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greening your kitchen sink

First things first, washing dishes by hand sucks. Oh, is that just me?

I love having a dishwasher, and I love using our dishwasher. If I'm washing something by hand, it's usually because I need to use it in .2 seconds or because it's too delicate or big for the dishwasher.

But whether you're a manual washer or automatic washer, chances are, you use a sponge in your sink. I use one to clean gradoo off plates and out of bowls before loading into the dishwasher. (Don't even get me started on prewashing before loading!)

Now back up a minute, and put the sponge down. Take a look at it. It's probably made of plastic, aka, it's essentially made of petroleum. Got an antibacterial sponge? It's most likely treated with triclosan, an environmentally harmful pesticide that's been damaging aquatic ecosystems for awhile.

Tell me there ain't a better way to clean them dishes!




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la pizzeria | local restaurant spotlight

When I was brainstorming ideas for featuring local businesses on Eco Cajun, I thought of one restaurant first: La Pizzeria. I have known owner Christine Mhire since we were in preschool at age 4. Over the years, there were many sleepovers, 'N Sync singalongs, IMs and classes together. For a few months in college, we worked together at a local video rental store (I still remember the time we tried to kill a wasp with half a container of 409. It did not work.)

Over the years we've kept in touch, and I knew I wanted to share her story.


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bucket lists and resolutions, oh my

March has arrived, and spring is almost here. Even though today is basically winter, soon we'll enjoy that spring weather and watch as yards bloom with color.


I'm already envisioning the evening frisbee and badminton competitions and more plentiful neighborhood walks. My pasty legs are not yet ready to envision shorts.


I've always enjoyed spring because it would bring about the end of the school year, and subsequently, my birthday. School isn't a thought anymore, but this year the spring season will bring about my 30th birthday.

Three months ago, I decided to create a short bucket list of things I wanted to achieve by my birthday. Today is the halfway point from when I made that list until the big day.



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say bye to artificial dyes

While we're working on greening your laundry routine, let's go to the beginning. It's time to wash ya dirty clothes. Whether you use powder, liquid or detergent pods, you are probably cleaning your clothes in a mess of chemicals and artificial dyes.

While you see Spring Mist, Island Fresh or Ocean Escape on the label, that fragrance alone could be a combination of several hundred chemicals, including many that are hazardous. According to Mother Earth Living, laundry detergents are often derived from petrochemicals and contain synthetic fragrances, even when they're marketed as “fragrance-free.” Optical brighteners are found in many detergent formulas; they're additives that emit blue light, making whites appear whiter. They tend to stay in clothes after washing, which can cause skin irritation. They also decompose relatively slowly and can be toxic to marine life. (If you want more detail on which ingredients are the most harmful, check out Mother Earth Living's list of laundry chemicals to avoid.)

So what's the alternative to washing your clothes in chemicals?



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clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere!

(Edit, March 19)
DATE CHANGE! Keep Lafayette Beautiful is postponing the Evangeline Thruway cleanup due to the threat of thunderstorms this weekend! We will meet up next Saturday, March 28, instead; same time, same place!

---------------------------------------------------------------

Looking for a way to flex your volunteering muscle? Well then, mark your calendars! Save the date! Hit me up!


Keep Lafayette Beautiful is getting ready for its first project of the year, a cleanup along Evangeline Thruway from Tissington St. to Cameron St. The cleanup will focus on clearing off the overgrown sidewalks so they are functional and presentable and cutting back brush. Wield a weed-eater! Be an expert on edging! Help make the Thruway's sidewalks look decent!

All supplies will be provided. But if you've got a pair of work gloves, you're more than welcome to bring them!

The cleanup is going down on Saturday, March 28 at 7:30 a.m. Yes, you can get up that early. It's just for a few hours. Bring your coffee in a reusable mug. You'll get some exercise, a lot of steps for your Fitbit, possibly a new Facebook profile photo, and a happy heart from volunteering. Then you can go back to bed (but I'd suggest taking a shower first).

I'm honored to be a Keep Lafayette Beautiful board member, so if you're interested in participating, let me know by emailing or Facebook messaging me so we can get a head count in advance. Let's see if we can get a huge group of people who care about keeping Lafayette beautiful for both residents and visitors.
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