Photo Friday | Zero-Waste Cravings

I've been diligent about my health and nutrition throughout my pregnancy so far, but I can't lie - I still give in to my cravings.

And while I don't miss wine or frozen margaritas all that much (shocking, I know!) I have found myself craving a cold refreshing drink sometimes. As I've decreased my sugar intake over the last year or so, snoballs are just entirely too syrupy sweet for me now.

However, ironically, I've been crazing a good old frozen Coke as the temperatures have skyrocketed.

This week as one of my cravings hit, I realized I would feel better by going the zero-waste route, instead of walking out of the store with a single-use plastic cup (even if it is recyclable). I brought a widemouth stainless steel tumbler and my widest stainless steel straw, the one perfect for smoothies and frozen treats.

I was able to easily fill up my tumbler, and when I checked out, I told the cashier how many ounces the tumbler holds, so she would quickly be able to ring up the equivalent size. One thing about bringing your own containers is getting looks of confusion from cashiers at gas stations, grocery stores or wherever. But if you make it as easy as possible for them to ring something up, and be confident, you shouldn't run into many issues.

And let me tell you: on a hot, sunny day, that frozen Coke absolutely hit the spot. I had forgotten about the other bonus of bringing my own reusables: the drink stayed frozen longer than it would have in plastic! The insulated tumbler works wonders, and the straw keeps the drink cold all the way through.

My zero-waste journey is absolutely not perfect, but swaps like these certainly make a difference.

And now, I shall go back to drinking my 80 daily ounces of water from my giant reusable Ragin Cajuns football cup...


Photo Friday | World Oceans Day

This past Wednesday was World Environment Day and the focus was on ways to beat plastic pollution, one of the biggest threats to our environment.

It's only fitting that for World Oceans Day today, that focus on plastic pollution continues. Plastic pollution is a detriment to both our land and marine environments, along with our wildlife.

Graphic via Pela Case


Another Year Older

Today marks another year around the sun, and now it's time to officially update my age in any of my bios (if that doesn't sound like adulting, I don't know what does!)

As I get older, birthdays seem much less material and about gifts, and more about spending quality time doing things you love with the ones you love. And more about wearing eco-friendly outfits that make you feel great about yourself! I love this secondhand dress that I scored locally for $7 and my Sseko Designs ethical sandals.

This year, being in the midst of preparing for the baby, work and household projects, what I want most is to spend some time with my little family (as you can see, Dax is resting up for the party), and honestly, just take it easy for an evening.

Another thing I'm excited about is the birthday fundraiser feature on Facebook - I chose to create a fundraiser for charity:water, an organization I've followed for a handful of years now. They work to provide clean drinking water to communities who don't have access to it.

It's the least I can do to give back, even just a little bit, and make birthday gifts a little extra meaningful this year!

Photo: charity:water


Father's Day Gift Guide

Since I put together a Mother's Day gift guide last month, I figured it was only fair to give some attention to the dads and dad-figures out there!

Help Dad take it easy with this collection of eco-friendly gift ideas.


Photo Friday | Bicycle Safety Festival and Summer Reading Kickoff

Tomorrow will be a busy day for two of my favorite eco-friendly things: bicycles and libraries!

Happening tomorrow at Parc Putnam in Downtown Lafayette, the third annual Bicycle Safety Festival and Lafayette Public Library's Summer Reading Kickoff is helping to herald in summer vacation.

Parc Putnam is on Lafayette Street across from the federal courthouse - there is plenty of street parking, but of course, I encourage you to ride your bicycles there! The Congress Street bike lane is conveniently adjacent to Lafayette Street, allowing you a safer ride. (In previous years, the festival was held at Parc San Souci.)


Sustainable Summertime Gear

Now that Memorial Day is behind us, summertime is unofficially here. With that, here come the onslaught of barbecues, beach days and backyard activities.

Are you prepared yet?

If you're looking to make sustainable switches at home, now is a great time to make sure your summer gear is eco-friendly.


Photo Friday | Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is here, marking a long weekend for many and the unofficial start of summer. It's most important to remember why we have Memorial Day, so please take a moment to honor the male and female service members who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country.

If you are planning a gathering or activities to take advantage of the long weekend, remember to be sustainable!


My Eco-friendly Maternity Style So Far

As I pass through the middle of my pregnancy and get into these (ugh) hot summer months, I figure it's a good time to chat maternity style.

My philosophy so far has been to work with my existing closet and shop strategically for maternity and bump-friendly pieces that can still work afterward. I'm a pretty budget-conscious clothes shopper and have aimed to stay that way throughout pregnancy.



Photo Friday | The Plogging Trend

I almost hate even calling plogging a "trend", but it has a catchy name now, so I suppose it is officially a trend.

If you're unfamiliar, plogging is a Swedish term that describes picking up litter while jogging. Simple, right?


National Bike to Work Day

There are tons of events across the country as part of National Bike Month, and one of the most popular is Bike to Work Day, which is this Friday, May 18.

Depending on where you live, biking to work may be a common, every day practice. But in many places, especially smaller towns, the overwhelming majority of people drive themselves to work.

Biking to work is not always feasible, and that's understandable. Back in 2013, my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time!) and I celebrated Bike to Work Day, when we were both at different jobs. Our bike commutes were about 3 1/2 miles each, and we had simple alternative routes that allowed us to avoid main roads.


Photo Friday | Mother's Day

It's been one of those weeks where, while you're glad it's Friday and the weekend is here, you're also wondering how in the world the week flew by so head-spinningly quickly.

But we are here, and it's Mother's Day weekend!


Photo Friday | National Bike Month

Happy Friday everyone! Are you just as relieved as me that the weekend is here?

In honor of National Bike Month, which kicked off on Tuesday, I've got a new article in this week's Times of Acadiana on a new bike rental option in the Lafayette area. The city does not have a large public bike share program, although the UL Lafayette campus has the Geaux Velo bike share.

However, BudBike, the new bike rental program, offers something different for riders - electric bicycles! These allow you to cruise a little more and enjoy the surrounding scenery, and can be rented by the day.


Mother's Day Gift Guide

Happy May, everyone! Today kicks off the annual National Bike Month, and we're only 12 days away from Mother's Day!

If you're still (or about to start) shopping for the special mothers in your life, look for eco-friendly or sustainable gifts. Shop online in the next few days to get great deals and delivery before the holiday, or shop local and support an independent business.


Photo Friday | Sustainable Festival Food Options

Super quick post today, because I know most everyone in Acadiana has Festival fever!

I've got to give a shout out to Scratch Farm Kitchen, a staple at the Farmers and Artisans Markets on Saturday mornings, and a new food vendor at Festival International.

Photo via Scratch Farm Kitchen's Facebook

They focus on serving farm to plate street food, and this week, they shared an Instagram post showing off their compostable bowls for the weekend. It's so great to see a Festival vendor looking for more eco-friendly options!

Photo via Scratch Farm Kitchen's Instagram
If you're looking for a healthy Festival food alternative, check out their menu:
  • W.E. Grassfed Burger
  • Beta Bowl
  • LocoRito Burrito
  • Curry Up

Then, visit their food truck located in the LUS La Craft Biergarten space on Jefferson Street all weekend!

Don't forget to check out my blog post and Times of Acadiana article on how to geaux green at Festival International, and have fun this weekend!


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Festival!

The stages are set up, the music started last night and Downtown Lafayette is about to get a lot more residents for the weekend - Festival International is here, y'all!

The weather forecast looks pretty perfect, and there are many ways you can make Festival your own.

Whether you attend one afternoon or all five days of music, dancing, eating and drinking, remember to party a little greener!

Earth Month Spotlight | Dane Thibodeaux

Although Earth Day has passed, we've still got almost a week left to the month, and that means one more spotlight on an awesome green person in Acadiana. This week, it's none other than Dane Thibodeaux, who puts much of his passion into the TECHE Project! Dane can be found representing the organization and Bayou Teche at many community events, including the Vermilionville Earth Day Festival this past weekend.


Photo Friday | Preparing for Earth Day

As with pretty much everything so far this year, Earth Day is still managing to sneak up on me!

For yet another weekend, the rain looks to put a damper on events, but I'm still looking forward to attending the annual Earth Day festival at Vermilionville to check out the booths and exhibits.


Earth Month Spotlight | Simon Mahan

When I think of go-to environmental people in Lafayette, I think of Simon Mahan. The husband and father of two who hails from Missouri has become Lafayette's voice on alternative power and energy.

He's an advocate for wind and solar energy and supports local options for electric vehicle drivers. And his home is partially powered by solar panels, so he practices what he preaches.

Photo courtesy Simon Mahan.

Photo Friday | Bubbles, Not Balloons

First, a note of housekeeping for Lafayette residents: Tomorrow's Household Hazardous Waste Day collection has been canceled, thanks to yet another Saturday full of thunderstorms.

During this week's Project Front Yard Gr8 Acadiana Cleanup Festival of Service, I got to share a little about eco-friendly alternatives to balloon releases. Check out the video here. Videos definitely remind me of why I'm a much better writer than speaker, ha!

I had a lot more fun than I even expected blowing bubbles and planting a seed ball in this community space, and now I'm looking forward to planting the rest of these wildflower seed balls in my own yard.

These seed balls, by the way, are from Seedles, a small business out of the San Francisco area. I actually happened to discover them via Facebook ad, and it was perfect timing when it came to needing some samples for this video.

One thing I noted in our live video is that if you use flower seed packets or seed balls for community or memorial plantings, it's important to choose flower varieties native to your area. Seedles allows you to choose your region when purchasing seed balls, so I was able to pick flowers for the Southeast part of the United States.

Southeast Wildflower Seedles - Butterfly Weed, Partridge Pea, Lance-Leaf Coreopsis, Plains Coreopsis, Purple Cornflower, Rattlesnake Master, Indian Blanket, Standing Cypress, Blazing Star, Wild Blue Lupine, Lemon Mint, Drummon Phlox, Mexican Hat, Clasping Coneflower, Black Eyed Susan, Scarlet Sage, & Spiderwort.

In Eco Cajun spirit, my outfit this day was mostly secondhand. I have to say, for spending $1 on this dress at a garage sale, my cost-per-wear is almost too small to calculate at this point. Definitely a staple dress in my closet over the past year, and I anticipate even more wears this summer as I prepare to live in comfortable dresses.

In a bit more housekeeping, if you missed my Earth Month spotlight on Sustainable Anna, read it now! I've got two more really exciting spotlights coming your way in the next two weeks as well.

I've also got a column out in the Times of Acadiana on how practicing self-care is extremely beneficial. Take a few minutes to read that, then a few more minutes to meditate. It'll help you jump start your weekend for sure.

Earth Month Spotlight | Sustainable Anna

What better time than Earth Month to share about other awesome environmentalists who are making a difference in their own way?

To kick off this series, I'm introducing Anna from Sustainable Anna. Four years ago, she embarked on a personal challenge to buy products made in the United States and with sustainability in mind. I've gotten to know her through social media, and I love that she's based near Houston, Texas - another green blogger here in the South!


Photo Friday | Earth Month Goals

I'm a little bummed that the first full weekend of Earth Month is going to bring some thunderstorm to Louisiana (and a lot of snow to a big part of the country!), but it's not going to stop me from working toward my own personal Earth Month goals.

In addition to working on some fun new blog posts and preparing for Festival International, I'm looking forward to some simple ways to celebrate Earth Month.

Don't forget to visit Project Front Yard's Facebook page next Wednesday afternoon, as I'll be going live to talk about why balloon releases are harmful to the environment and share some of the alternative options that are a lot less wasteful! It's part of Project Front Yard's Gr8 Acadiana Cleanup, and I'm looking forward to all of the events coming up next week.

So, what are my goals for this month?

Ride my bike more often.

I, of course, am no stranger to a good bike ride, but especially this year, I've been relishing in my afternoon rides around my neighborhood. During my pregnancy, I've remained dedicated to exercising, although I've had to adjust my routine a little. Yes, I am very bummed about taking a break from hot power yoga and working on inversions, but it's completely worth it.

In exchange, I've been going on neighborhood rides more often to get some cardio exercise and some sunshine. I hope Baby enjoys riding as much as my husband and I do!

Spend time outdoors.

And by outdoors, I'm pretty sure I'll end up meaning "my backyard." We've got some yard work projects to do, but I also just want to sit outside and enjoy getting out of the house. Maybe I'm a little extra stir-crazy this year, especially with my energy levels taking a hit the past couple months.

Because Moncus Park is currently under construction, we probably won't make it out to the front part often to set up our hammocks, but I hope we can get there at least once!

Continue to refuse single-use.

I'm not perfect at refusing single-use items 100% of the time, but I'm absolutely more conscious of it. Earlier this week, I was able to use my metal straw at lunch at a restaurant. Today for lunch, the only options were Styrofoam cups for fountain drinks, canned soft drinks or bottled water. I had forgotten a reusable water bottle, so I skipped the drink altogether, and waited until I was back at my office to get some water. 

It may not have been the most convenient, but I was committed to passing on the Styrofoam cup. (Cans are probably the best option in this instance, but I need water right now much more than I need a Sprite!)

In all honesty today, I still ended up with a plastic bag (that I'm saving for cat litter), a plastic food container and plastic utensils. I was not waste-free at all, but at least the plastic bag and utensils will be reused and the plastic container will be cleaned and recycled.

Pick up litter!

Well, you know this is always part of my goals. Tomorrow is Project Front Yard's annual Trash Bash, and I'm really hoping the rain doesn't keep me indoors. If it does, I'll still plan to make some time to walk around my neighborhood and pick up any litter I see.

If you do want to sign up for Trash Bash, you have until this evening to do so! Register for free here.

Do you have any goals for this Earth Month? Let's hear em in the comments!

Why I'm Committed to Sustainability and the Environment

Happy Earth Month, y'all!

I'm excited about what I've got planned here on the blog during Earth Month, but I wanted to kick off by taking a step back to WHY protecting the environment is so important to me - and why I hope it would be important to everyone.


Earth Month Events Across Acadiana

With all of the springtime events ramping up and Easter weekend just ahead of us, it's strange to think that Earth Month is only three days away. Of course it's one of my favorite times of year, between the environment-related events, decent Louisiana weather and abundance of things to do in the community.

Whether you live in South Louisiana or not, there are sure to be Earth Month events happening near you. Mark your calendar so you don't miss out on the fun!


Starbucks' Quest for a Greener Coffee Cup?

One morning last week, as I was trying to get out of bed and ready for work, I heard on KATC's Good Morning Acadiana that Starbucks was pledging $10 million to develop a recyclable and compostable coffee cup to combat the waste it produces. Even while still a quarter asleep, I cheered as the morning show anchors were all, "Just use your own!" and they both held up their stainless steel coffee cups. You go, Tracy and Dave!

I keep thinking about Starbucks' "effort" and how it really misses the point entirely. Many waste reduction groups and bloggers have covered how this is a classic example of greenwashing - making you think something is more sustainable than it actually is.


Photo Friday | Leaders Against Litter and Earth Hour

The spirit of Earth Month events are really kicking up already, even if there's still a full week left of March. Today was Keep Louisiana Beautiful's annual Leaders Against Litter statewide cleanup, and tomorrow marks the annual Earth Hour event at 8:30 p.m. in your local time zone.


World Water Day 2018 | Water + Nature

Every year on March 22, the United Nations celebrates World Water Day. This year's focus is on water and nature, exploring how nature can provide us solutions to tackle crises like floods, droughts and water pollution.
Graphic provided by World Water Day


Going Green in Style with Paperless Post

When it comes to receiving holiday cards and party invitations in the mail, you typically think of a physical envelope in your mailbox. But you can still send your friends and family a beautiful and exciting card or invitation while still maintaining the spirit of reducing paper waste - enter Paperless Post!


Photo Friday | Crawfish Boils

Here in Louisiana, tis the season for numerous backyard, family/friend gathering crawfish boils. The beer is cold, the tails are hot, and the waste can sometimes fill multiple trash cans.

But with a few key items, you can very easily transform your crawfish boil into one that produces a lot less waste.


Eco-Friendly Easter Alternatives

It's an interesting year for holidays, with Valentine's Day coinciding with Ash Wednesday and Easter falling on April Fool's Day. I keep forgetting that Easter is actually only two weeks away. For us, Easter mostly consists of family gatherings, church and boiled crawfish. If I could even tell you how much I am looking forward to some crawfish...

If you've got younger children, your Easter probably consists of baskets, treats and dyeing eggs. All things I loved as a child!

It's not hard these days to make Easter activities a little more sustainable and eco-friendly, thanks to natural egg-dyeing methods and reusable gifts and decorating options.


Photo Friday | Spring-ish

The first full week of March is coming to a close, and I, for one, am very ready for the weekend! The past two weeks have been a small rollercoaster, including in the weather. For all my Northeast friends, I hope y'all are staying warm and safe!

Springtime has been in full force down in Louisiana, even with the temp swings. While I love the blooming flowers everywhere, I don't love the accompanying yard work and mulch projects (y'all).

I am looking forward to the time changing this weekend so I can start going for bike rides around the neighborhood after work!

Yesterday was International Women's Day, and I loved seeing all of the empowerment and camaraderie on social media. There's so much to say, and I kept it simple as I shared on Instagram, "Here’s to resilience, persistence, confidence, and climbing the damn mountains."

Let's keep lifting others up and working together every day! A little support goes a long way.

To all of my blogger friends, activists I admire, family, friends, professional colleagues, and coworkers, I wish you all courage to pursue your dreams and confidence in your day-to-day lives.

Two years ago, I shared a roundup of a few of my favorite environmental women, so check that post out here!

My newest Times of Acadiana column was published yesterday on a subject that's become one of my little soapboxes - the problem of balloon releases and balloon pollution. In my column, I share a few alternatives to balloon releases, one of which is to plant flowers or a tree in honor of a legacy. Head on over to Times of Acadiana's website, or pick up a paper locally to read the rest of the column!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Green Business Spotlight | EarthHero

As I've written about before, shopping sustainably online can be a little overwhelming. But when there are websites that serve as eco-friendly marketplaces, it makes shopping a LOT easier.

EarthHero is one such great marketplace, selling everything from clothing to home goods to pet products to beauty and personal care. They're a great place for people just starting out on a zero-waste or sustainable journey, because you can pick up all the essentials at once.

EarthHero works with different sustainable brands and carries items that follow strict standards. Each item carried on the site has corresponding icons to tell you exactly how the item is eco-friendly.

So what I did order for my first EarthHero purchase? A pair of shorts and beeswax food wraps, naturally!

Photo Friday | Ways to Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly

One of my life goals is to live in a truly sustainable, eco-friendly, energy-efficient home. While that goal might be many years away from happening, there are still budget-friendly steps I can take to make our current home a little more sustainable.

When I heard that furniture and home decor company Arhaus was looking for a few ideas on greening homes, I thought about some of the things we've done at home and some of the things I've shared on the blog before. Arhaus has a partnership with American Forests that enables them to plant a tree for every purchase made during their storewide sale. And a commitment to planting trees is especially timely with International Day of Forests coming up on March 21! I appreciate when companies pledge to give back year-round.

In addition to these tips, some other ways to go greener at home are to:
  • Furnish your home with a combination of sustainable items (like some of these tables from Arhaus) and secondhand, thrifted or family heirloom items.
  • Switch out your current light bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs.
  • Donate or sell the things you no longer need or want, instead of just throwing them away.
  • Repurpose stained or torn t-shirts as cleaning rags.
  • Place a recycling bin next to your trash can inside your house, to make it as simple as possible to recycle.

What are some ways you've made your home more eco-friendly?

Green Around Acadiana | UL Lafayette Solar Lab

Over the past few months, five acres of land have been transforming into something unique for Lafayette. Just off Cajundome Boulevard and Eraste Landry, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has been building a 1.1 megawatt solar panel farm and research lab as part of its Research Park.

Construction is very near completion, and the lab is expecting to begin operating this month.

Photo credit: Simon Mahan

Photo Friday | National Skip the Straw Day

I'm a sucker for those random 'celebration' holidays that pop up all over social media, so of course I'm here today to say Happy National Skip the Straw Day!

Will You Accept This Skip-the-Straw Challenge?
Will You Accept This Skip-the-Straw Challenge?

Today at lunch with my coworkers, I went with my usual "Water, no straw please" order and the waitress obliged with no issues at all!


Photo Friday | Environmentalism

The warm weather and actual sunshine that's been around in South Louisiana for the past couple of days has definitely gotten me longing to be outside more and ride my bike around my neighborhood. Sitting inside is definitely not helping any post-Mardi Gras sluggishness!

So today is short and sweet. Give a Shift About Nature shared this sentiment on their Instagram yesterday and it really resonated with me. So simple, yet so hard to get across.

Photo courtesy Give a Shift About Nature

As you take advantage of this springlike weather this weekend, take some time to go outside and see what you can clean up. Most likely you'll be cleaning up after someone else instead of yourself, but either way, our planet will benefit from someone cleaning up.

Mardi Gras Festivities

How is everyone hanging on this Lundi Gras? The weather has certainly not been friendly to the festivities this year, but it seems like everyone still has that Mardi Gras spirit going strong!

My favorite parts of Mardi Gras this year have definitely been the unique sustainable initiatives of Krewe de Canailles and Project Front Yard.


Photo Friday | Vegan Fashion

Because of my background in advertising, I've always enjoyed watching the Super Bowl for the entertaining commercials. Now I love just about all of it - the game itself, the commercials and the halftime show.

I actually loved Justin Timberlake's performance this year (apparently not the most popular opinion, but oh well!), but what I did not love at all were his outfit and the backup dancers' outfits. They could have been done so much better, and with better color choices.

A day or so later, I learned on Instagram that at least Justin's outfit was made of vegan materials, and that it was designed by Stella McCartney.

Y'all know I love some sustainable, vegan and fair-trade fashions, but I still can't get behind this styling. I'm not very educated on Stella McCartney as a brand, although I know they are very committed to vegan materials and sustainability in general, and that's something I deeply respect from a more mainstream brand.

I dearly hope that sustainable fashion becomes more mainstream, but what I'm afraid of is that people are going to equate sustainable fashion to ugly fashion. And that's simply not the case! There's so much beautiful fair-trade, vegan-material and recycled-fabric clothing available, and the fact that it's kinder to the environment and the workers makes it all even better.

What did you think? Were you a fan of Justin's Super Bowl performance and style??

Krewe de Canailles: A Sustainable Mardi Gras Parade

Mardi Gras is now less than a week away, and this weekend is packed with events around Acadiana. Unfortunately, the weekend also looks packed with some rain, so you better break out the rain jackets, ponchos and rubber boots.

With Lafayette's usual Friday night kickoff parade being moved to Lundi Gras, it opened up an opportunity for a group of determined and creative Lafayette residents.

Krewe de Canailles is Lafayette's newest parade, and it was made possible through funding from Civicside's 24 Hour Citizen Project, an event held last July. Since then, Krewe organizers have brainstormed, worked out the logistics, and enlisted sub-krewes to take part in a unique walking parade.
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