Photo Friday | Still Lafayette Strong

It's been one hell of a summer around here, and I'm definitely ready for some cooler weather and a change in the seasons.

I haven't been able to ride my bike as much as I would have liked lately, but I'm working on dodging the random rain showers to get out a little more. Last weekend, I enjoyed a nice little solo ride, complete with music and my super styling bike helmet.



There's so much peace I find in bike riding, even with the dangers of city traffic. For a short trip to visit hang out with my parents, it was much more enjoyable to hit play on my phone's music and hop on my bike, instead of getting in my car. You notice your surroundings more, and just feel less isolated than you do inside a vehicle.

I've been enjoying my Schwinn Candis bike for its quiet and comfortable ride. Plus, it's a happy shade of sky blue!

With all of the summer storms that pop up around town, it's been refreshing to see a bunch of rainbows this summer. Not only do they remind me of our trips to Hawaii, but they make me smile just a little bigger.


This coming Sunday marks two years since one of Lafayette's darker days, and while I was on a bike ride last weekend, I came up to a rainbow over the Grand. Still Lafayette Strong, indeed. After that day, and the flood last year, we've certainly dealt with a lot, but we still come back strong.

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What's In My Bag

Isn't there a saying about what's in a woman's purse tells a lot about her personality? Whether there is or not, my own purse certainly does express my personality pretty closely!

Because I like to use my own journey as an example when sharing ways you can go greener, I'm sharing the items I carry in my bag all the time. Not everything in my purse is eco-friendly, but these are my most important staples.


The purse

First things first, my everyday purse is not inherently eco-friendly. It's from TJ Maxx, but it's more than four years old and I plan to use it until it's literally falling apart (and it's starting to get there). Staying honest to show y'all that even I still have a ways to go on my sustainability journey. I don't intend to replace it until it really needs it and I find an eco-friendly option.

On the flipside, my "small purse" that I use on occasion is a secondhand find from my great aunt's closet. I love it for the crossbody style and the fact I can't shove too much stuff in it.


Wallet

My wallet is actually a recent replacement of an older, recycled-material wallet. Thanks to Natalie at Sustainably Chic, I discovered this vegan cork wallet from Friluk. Of course, I love anything that reminds me of wine corks, so I was excited to pick up this wallet for myself. I seriously needed a replacement, and the longer size felt like a more grown-up option than my previous bi-fold wallet.


My older wallet was a six-year-old recycled billboard style from Plywood People. It held up well over the years of being banged around in my purses, which is understandable given billboard vinyl's durability. The cloth edging was starting to fray, and it was starting to feel a bit young for me. I do love that I've had some form of eco-friendly wallet for a few years now.


Makeup bag

My makeup pouch is probably about four or five years old and is from GAIA Empowered Women. The style itself is no longer available, but there are plenty of other cute ones! GAIA is based in Dallas, Texas, and the items are handmade by refugee women resettled in the city. They use vintage, artisan-made, and sustainable materials. They aim to empower refugee women through employment, encouragement, and dedication to their long-term success in local communities.

I usually keep my chapstick, lipstick, mints, hand sanitizer and any medicines or vitamins in this pouch, and it makes the transfer from my large purse to small purse pretty easy.

Cell phone

My phone is almost always nearby, for better or for worse. However, I love my iPhone 7+, and don't tell my husband that I really don't regret jumping ship from Android to iPhone.


When I got this phone last December, I looked around for eco-friendly phone cases, and chose this wood style from Carved. It's held up really well to all of my abuse! The ridged edges are so useful, and the wood is very durable - I haven't noticed spots or stains from my hand being in the same place, or from water hitting it. Although I got a plain wood style, there are tons of gorgeous designs and patterns. Plus, the cases are made in Indiana before being shipped out.(Get a 10% discount code here!)


Chapstick

True story. I'm addicted to lip balms. I always have at least one in my purse, and although the brands sometimes rotate, I mainly stick with Burt's Bees. They score well on the EWG chart for their ingredients, which is a good thing for how much I use them.

Reusable straws

I try to always remember to keep at least one reusable straw in my purse at all times. The key is remember to move them from the sink or dishwasher back into my purse. I've also been working on sewing a small carrying pouch (out of some scrap fabric) to hold my straws...for about the past three months. So if anyone wants to send me some motivation to finish that project, I would appreciate it!

Also, this is a reminder that I need to be better at carrying a cloth napkin too.

Essential oils

I carry a travel container of essential oils all the time, but sometimes I start to collect the full-size bottles too. I try to keep the ones I need on-the-go, like peppermint for headaches or On Guard for the sniffles.

This summer, I've also been carrying my essential oil bug spray, just in case! This one comes from a local shop, Aromatic Infusions.

Eco Cajun business cards

You never know when you might need to give one out! Okay...it's rare that I actually do, but they're always in my purse, next to my actual work business cards.


Sunglasses

Although my TOMS sunglasses aren't necessarily made with recycled or sustainable materials, they do help contribute to TOMS giving back to communities in need.

Reusable Mug

No, they don't go in my purse, but one of them is always with me. I should really look into a purse with a built-in cup holder...


Although not everything I have in my bag is eco-friendly, these items make the majority of my most frequently used items. And as I need to replace things, then I can make the switch if I haven't already!
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Photo Friday | Skipping the Straw at Lunch

I almost feel like my own 2017 is turning into the Year of the Straw, but I suppose that's not a bad thing! Spending seven dollars on my set of reusable straws has absolutely been a good investment, and although not perfect, I've been able to save a lot of straws from the landfill or litter.


Today at lunch, I enjoyed using my reusable straw because the paper ones were available for those who want them - not given out automatically. This is definitely a benefit to restaurants where you can fix your own drink; they're the easiest place to transition to skipping straws.
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Zero Waste 101

This month is known as Plastic Free July, and my column in this week's Times of Acadiana focuses on the basic principles of a zero-waste lifestyle.

The thought of living a truly zero-waste lifestyle can be very overwhelming. Even I think so! While there are many people and bloggers who successfully live by generating only a mason jar's worth of trash in one year, it can be a daunting and unrealistic goal for others.

I won’t judge you if you’re not at a level of “I can fit my entire family’s year of trash into a mason jar.” I’m not at that level either! I'm not an expert by any means, but I try to stay conscious every day of the packaging I use or purchase, and my household has definitely been able to reduce the trash we put out on the curb each week.


The key is simply becoming more aware of the waste you generate, and the mindset behind what you use and what you throw away. If you can become aware of your unnecessary waste and take a few actions to cut down on that waste, then you're already working toward a zero-waste lifestyle.


“It’s not about perfection. It’s about making better choices.”
- Going Zero Waste blogger Kathryn Kellogg


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Photo Friday | Plastic Free July

Yes, I know it's July 7, but it's never too late to start participating in the Plastic Free July challenge!

Joining the challenge is quite simple...choose to refuse single-use plastic during July. Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it. ​You’ll be joining a million+ people world-wide from 130 countries in making a difference. 



Next week, I'll be publishing a more in-depth post on the basics of transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle, and my column for next week's Times of Acadiana will also cover the topic.
 

This weekend, I'll challenge you to look around your home and see where most of your plastic waste comes from. Is it in your kitchen? Bathroom? Once you can identify the source of most of your waste, then we can start to figure out how you can shift to wasting less.


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