National Secondhand Wardrobe Day

Today is National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, and I'm excited to celebrate!

Since I embarked on a personal journey back in 2017 to make a sustainable wardrobe a higher priority, I've found that I've really made a big impact on my shopping habits and my closet. I don't impulse shop at conventional stores online or locally, choosing to shop from either a sustainable/organic/ethical brand or a secondhand store.

Sometimes, I won't even realize it until I'm halfway through my day, but I'll look down and realize every element of an outfit is secondhand in some way. That's what happened with this outfit from earlier in the week!


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Touring the UL Lafayette Solar PART Lab

After I wrote a few weeks back about the UL Office of Sustainability hosting a day dedicated to panels on sustainability efforts, I decided to sign up to attend the final session of the day. It focused on the construction and usage of UL Lafayette's Solar PART Lab and included a field trip to the lab.



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Sustainable Beach Style

Summer break may be winding down, but the summer heat is definitely still in the air. My little family and I got a short break from the Louisiana heat and humidity and made our way to the beach with some friends for the Fourth of July weekend.

I was more than ready for our vacation, since it was my first trip out of town in a year and since having a baby. It was also a great excuse, I mean reason, to invest in a new one-piece swimsuit (since my other one-piece was a hand-me-down maternity suit) and a hat to protect myself from the sun.


This spring, I started doing some browsing to find companies committed to sustainability, and ended up choosing a suit from Summersalt and a hat from Conner Hats.

(Side note, the three minutes that I stopped to take these photos is probably the most I sat still and relaxed the entire vacation! Squirmy nine-month-olds are so much fun on the beach!)


I'd been seeing Summersalt a lot on social media, and because they have a commitment to sustainability, I decided to check them out. Their suits are made with 78% recycled polyamide, which is crafted from recycled plastics, post-consumer materials and nylon waste, like old fishing nets.

In addition, I've heard great things about the quality and fit of the suits. While trying to pick out a suit and color pattern, I discovered that Summersalt offers a discovery pack. You're able to choose 4 suit options to try on at home and send back the ones you don't want to keep. I was able to try on different styles and sizes at once without having to return and reorder suits, which saved time, money and resources.

I ended up going for the Swan Dive style. I love that even after having a baby, I still feel stylish and confident on the beach and the few times we've gone to the pool since then. This is my cool mom one-piece! I also love that the suit colors match the Gulf water almost perfectly.


I'm not traditionally a hat person, but after borrowing one for our beach trip last summer, I realized I wanted to have one on hand for these sunny days. 

I discovered Conner Hats through a search for sustainable hats, and I'm a happy customer. The company has a warehouse powered by solar energy, they don't use any single-use plastic in their packaging, and they use recycled and organic materials for their hats.  


I have learned through my hat hunting that my head is on the smaller end. I did order one hat in a small/medium that was way too big, so I spent awhile looking through the selection of hats that come in a small. I finally chose this beach straw fedora and it fits perfect. 

It worked out very well for our beach trip and it might actually make me more of a hat person in general!

Although I don't love this ridiculously hot summer weather, I am at least getting a chance to enjoy my summer swimsuit and hat for a little while longer before putting them away until next year!

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Plan Lafayette Day with UL Lafayette Sustainability

As PlanLafayette marks its fifth year since being adopted in the city, events are being held each month to share updates. Since the plan’s adoption, it has become an event series where plan successes are celebrated and new initiatives are launched.

The latest topic is sustainability and green infrastructure in the community, and the UL Lafayette Office of Sustainability is hosting a series of free sessions for the public, in conjunction with Lafayette Consolidated Government.

https://sustainability.louisiana.edu/news-events/events/20190710/planlafayette-day-sustainability-campus-community


The sessions highlight the community’s vision for sustainable approaches to development, including topics such as stormwater management, transportation and waste reduction; along with highlighting the partners working to achieve related goals.

When: Thursday, August 1, 2019

Where: LITE, 537 Cajundome Blvd, Lafayette, Louisiana

 

11 a.m. UL Lafayette Sustainability Strategic Plan

Attendees will hear an overview of the university’s mission, goals and strategic plan for the Office of Sustainability. The session will also demonstrate and how UL’s Master Plan and PlanLafayette guided the development of the Sustainability Strategic Plan.
 

12 p.m. Lunch N Learn - Campus as a Living Lab

Solving real world problems through cross-discipline – Thanks to Bluewing Civil Consulting, attendees can enjoy a complimentary lunch with university representatives for a discussion on the Living Lab concept including goals for the initiative, stormwater and waste management on campus, and how business and government are partnering to make positive impacts in the community.
 

2 p.m. Building a Sustainable Transportation Network

Subject matter experts from UL’s Office of Sustainability, Lafayette Consolidated Government and the Acadiana Planning Commission discuss the goals for and problems with our local transportation network. Registrants will learn about insights gleaned from the University’s first annual student commuter survey and goals for University-related transportation, the future of public transit, accomplishments towards a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community and carpooling as a regional movement.
  

3:30 p.m. Solar PART Lab Tour and Electric Vehicle Charging Station Ribbon Cutting

Attendees will hop on a bus for an up-close look at UL’s $5 million Solar PART (Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing) Lab at the research park and then celebrated Lafayette’s first public electric vehicle charging station with a ribbon cutting.
 
The UL Lafayette Office of Sustainability has worked hard over the past few years to develop the university as a pioneer in sustainability and zero waste measures, so these events are sure to be valuable and interesting!

All events are free, but registration is required, so be sure to register for any event you'd like to attend.
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Sustainable Hair Styles with S A Y A Designs


I'm not exactly the most creative when it comes to styling my hair, even less so now that I'm a working mom. My hair is naturally wavy and curly, so most days I let my hair air dry and let the waves fly free. Blowdrying and straightening my hair is pretty much relegated to days when I have important events or meetings.

When summer rolls around, I tend to keep my hair up and out of my face, but I easily get bored with standard ponytails and messy buns. This summer, I've got a new styling option—a unique and beautiful hair fork thanks to S A Y A Designs.


Usually when I see hair forks or similar products, I think I'd never be able to make them work in my hair and they would just sit unused.

When S A Y A offered me the chance to try and review the Barrette hair fork, I was still a tad skeptical that it would be something I'd use. I mean, remember back in the late 90s when hair chopsticks were a thing? I very much failed at using those.

However, on the first day of using my hair fork, I successfully kept my hair securely in a bun. I was immediately impressed. It works well enough to keep my hair up during the evening when I'm on the move doing housework, playing with/feeding my daughter and putting her to bed.


What I love is that it holds my hair in place without being too tight or crimping it like a ponytail holder does.

I've tried the hair fork with both wavy and straight hair, and it worked better in my wavy hair. I've had it for a few weeks now and have used it almost every day to pull my hair up into a loose, wavy bun.


S A Y A provides hair styling tutorials for their different hairpieces and cover all lengths of hair, giving you some inspiration on ways to wear your piece.

Each hair fork comes in a fabric sleeve so the wood is kept safe when not in use, and it's convenient for when I carry the accessory in my purse.

Beyond the functionality of the hair fork, it's also beautiful and sustainable. S A Y A creates all of their hairpieces from tree roots salvaged from old plantations. My hairpiece is made from reclaimed rosewood, and I absolutely love the color of it.


Searching for a way of sourcing wood sustainably, SAYA Designs came across Made & Wayan, sculptors who dig up and recycle root wood from old commercial plantations all across Indonesia. The roots are left behind by loggers harvesting trees on large-scale production sites. They take hundreds of years to decompose and have little value for the soil. By using this waste material we are having as little impact on the environment as possible.


In addition to using reclaimed wood, S A Y A is committed to sustainability by planting trees with each purchase - my hair fork helped to plant 8 trees and save 400 pounds in carbon dioxide in a year.

I'm very much looking forward to a summer of natural hairstyles with my reclaimed wooden hairpiece - I'll save time and energy on styling while still looking like I put in the effort.




Disclaimer: I received the Barrette hair fork at no charge in exchange for writing a review. However, all opinions are my own!
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Earth Day 2019

Happy Earth Day, everyone! I love the spirit and attention the environment gets today - it gets me even more hyped up and heart-eye-emoji for this cause.

April has been quite the whirlwind behind the scenes, but I am excited to have checked a few items off of my bucket list.


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Putting Together an Eco Easter Basket

Easter baskets are not something I have dealt with in years, but this year, I was excited to put together something small, sweet and eco-friendly for Ariana...even if she won't remember it.

As I was brainstorming what to do, I realized that it's pretty simple to put together an eco-friendly basket for babies and children. The bonus is that I saved money in the process!


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First Foods

One of the things I looked forward to while I was pregnant was when my baby would be ready to eat solid foods. Last summer, it seemed like that time was so far in the future. We started Ariana on foods shortly after she turned five months, and she's been an absolute champ so far. (Fingers crossed she continues being a champ!)


We of course want her to eat healthy and enjoy a variety of foods. It's important to me to make her baby food, and so far it's been incredibly easy and budget-friendly to do so.

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Earth Month with My Little One

Y'all know Earth Month is one of my favorite times of year, from the springtime beauty to the many events being held to the focus on the environment and sustainability.

Check out my Earth Month goals from 2018 and Earth Month events in 2017. And let's reminisce on 2015, when I debuted Eco Cajun's updated look and layout, and 2018, when I made a special announcement!


This year is no different, even if I'm still in the mindset of "Wait...is it really April already!?" (Nothing like trying to catch up and only be a little behind, rather than actually be prepared in advance, ha!)

 
With the change in my routine, I've also got a change in perspective. I got to thinking a couple weeks back about how I can involve my daughter in my Earth Month activities this year. And now I'm more excited than I've been in awhile.

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Silky Hair without the Harmful Ingredients

I've written before about Maple Holistics and their organic, paraben- and pthalate-free shampoos. Back in 2017, they asked me to try the Tea Tree Oil shampoo and Argan Oil shampoo.

I found that the Argan Oil shampoo worked so well with my hair and have continued to use it ever since. So when Maple reached out again offering to let me try the Silk18 shampoo, I excitedly agreed.



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Can You Recycle Breast Pumps?

I've talked before about how hand-me-down items have been one of the most helpful parts of having a baby. From clothes to toys and necessities, we've been grateful to take what other parents no longer need. However, there are some things that are best purchased and used new. Safety is the most important thing!

Last summer I wrote about the potential issues with secondhand car seats. Today I'm going in a different direction - breast pumps!



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10 Years

10 years ago today, I published my very first post on this blog.


Read it here!


Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Although there have been a few hiatuses, I'm pretty proud that I've kept up with writing. Over the past 10 years, relationships have changed, residences have changed, jobs have changed and my writing style has certainly changed, but overall, the blog has been a constant through it.

It started out of my own journey toward being more eco-friendly and then wanting to share what I've learned in hopes of inspiring others to learn. My favorite thing is hearing someone say I've inspired them to do something, no matter how small it may be. All the small efforts add up to a huge impact. 

I still get excited when I see other people shopping with cloth bags or using a reusable water bottle. I internally cheer when I see people driving hybrid or electric vehicles and riding their bicycles. I get inspired by other bloggers and leaders in sustainability.


I'm grateful for all of the friends I've made and opportunities I've gotten through Eco Cajun, and I hope to keep growing over the next few years! I'm ready to work on new content, rather than recycle the same thoughts over and over. Do you have something you want me to write about? Leave a comment and let me know.

Thank you all for reading, and thank you even more for making choices to recycle more, waste less and conserve more. Here's to many more years!
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Supporting a Greener Mardi Gras

It's the Thursday before Mardi Gras and the parades are underway in cities across South Louisiana. I love the revelry and spirit of Mardi Gras season, although in the past few years, it's hard to unsee the sheer amount of waste the holiday generates.

However, things seem to be turning around a little, thanks to some dedicated organizations and groups of volunteers.


My column in this week's Times of Acadiana takes a look at these groups and what they're doing to make Mardi Gras a little more sustainable.


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Brand Spotlight | Something Borrowed Blooms

When I got married two years ago, I was determined to find an eco-friendly alternative for flowers, rather than spending a lot of money on bouquets that would only last a few days. I chose recycled wood flowers from a company that has since gone out of business. (My wedding bouquet, however, still sits in my office, looking beautiful as ever.)

These days, there are even more eco-friendly alternatives for your wedding bouquets - and these bouquets look so realistic, you'd never even know they are made of silk.

Kinsley bridal bouquet, photo via Something Borrowed Blooms
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My Sustainability Goals for 2019

Last week I shared my top 2019 resolution of getting reorganized after having a baby and being on maternity leave. My new habits are getting stronger, although apparently my writing motivation is not!

However, I've got a few other goals I'd like to aim for this year, even if I don't fully achieve them.

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How I'm Getting Organized (Again)

You know what one of the most cliche new year resolutions is? Getting organized. And yet, here I am, making that my top goal for the next few weeks.

I even started working on it before Christmas. I'm typically a pretty organized person, with to-do lists, an app to keep my tasks organized and reminders set up. (Of course I operate pretty much paperless these days!)

However, having a baby and being on maternity leave can throw any semblance of a routine out the window. Focusing on the baby was my top priority, but as I returned to work, I realized I needed to gather my scatterbrain and put everything back in order.



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