The 2016 Eco Cajun Green Holiday Gift Guide

As I grow older, the more I truly enjoy the process of finding the right gift to give someone. It's easy and pretty guaranteed to pick something off someone's list, but it's even more fun when you can surprise someone with something thoughtful and creative.

Now that the holiday season is here and shopping is in full swing, it's a great time to look for eco-friendly and sustainable gifts for your loved ones, coworkers, or even for those White Elephant parties.

Instead of categorizing my Eco Cajun Gift Guide by recipient, I've broken it down by the different eco-friendly qualities (and sometimes, gifts are more than one of these!) From fair-trade to recycled, to upcycled, to handmade, to vegan, to organic, find the perfect gift - at any price point - for anyone!

Fair-Trade: Liz Alig | Handmade: Secondline Jewels | Sustainable: Carved | Experiences: Yoga Garden
Vintage: Sweet and Spark | Reusable: Klean Kanteen
Organic: Bonterra Vineyards | For Children: Schwinn, Paper Culture | Upcycled: A Higher REpurpose
Vegan-Friendly: Mieroglyphs | Chemical-Free: Native Polish | Recycled & Charitable: Hands Producing Hope

There are so many Louisiana-based independent shops and online eco-minded businesses and brands that I couldn't even begin to scratch the surface in one gift guide. Get some store links throughout the guide below, or visit my Resources page for a more comprehensive list of links.

Side note: Most of the brands listed are ones I've shopped from before, or collaborated with. A few were simply found through researching.


Fair-trade goods are made by workers who are paid fair prices and work in better conditions. Many times goods are produced with eco-friendly methods as well. Producers in developing countries get a fair price for their products to reduce poverty, provide for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers, and promote environmentally sustainable practices. Buying fair-trade goods support workers in developing countries much more than conventional goods.

In the gift guide graphic, these Liz Alig gloves are woven by a small cooperative in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and provide employment to women entrepreneurs.


Handmade goods make awesome gifts because of their uniqueness and heart. I tend to feel a more personal connection with handmade goods because I know someone really spent time and effort into making them. You can usually buy direct from the maker, or you can find great handmade goods in locally owned shops, which benefits even more people in the community.

In the gift guide, I've got local jewelry brand Secondline Jewels, whose rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces are made from broken or used drum cymbals.


Sustainable materials are ones that leave a smaller impact on the environment, from requiring fewer chemicals or natural resources like water and electricity during production, to being more renewable.

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, can be used in SO many different ways, and is popular in apparel. Tencel is another sustainable material made from cellulose in wood pulp, and it can be found in sheets and apparel.

Wool is an all-natural, renewable fiber from sheep, has a long lifespan, is one of the most recycled textiles, and is biodegradable.

Cork trees are not cut down when cork is harvested; the bark is simply stripped from the tree. The tree is also able to regenerate its bark during its lifespan. Cork can be made into a vegan leather alternative, and becomes the foundation for Mieroglyphs bracelets.

Featured in the gift guide is a gorgeous cell phone case from Carved. The company uses sustainable wood harvests to make their cases, and everything is made in the United States. I recently purchased a case for my new phone, and I can't wait for it to come in the mail. (Click the link to get a special 10% discount code for your purchase!)


You can always gift someone an experience, providing great memories without a lot of stuff. A gift card for everything from yoga classes to restaurants or coffee shops, to outdoor adventures makes for a great stocking stuffer or main gift.

Giving a gift card doesn't require a big box, tissue paper, or a gift bag, and they can even sometimes be reloadable (therefore, reusable). Beyond that, a gift of an experience is zero-waste!


Shopping vintage or secondhand goods helps extend the life cycle of products. Plus, you can find super unique goods that may no longer be available. From pop art to home decor, to clothing and jewelry, visit local flea markets or consignment shops, or browse online to find that perfect gift.

Sweet and Spark curates a beautiful selection of vintage jewelry, but especially with any vintage finds, you've got to act quickly!


I always say investing in a few reusable items is the first step to making a greener impact on the planet. Help someone get started on the reusable path by gifting them a water bottle, coffee mug, or even coffee filters or K-Cups. You've heard me sing the praises of Klean Kanteen before, but I seriously think it's one of the best changes to make first. I still have my first Klean Kanteen I bought over eight years ago! (And it most recently held locally made Bayou Satsuma Rum!)


Organic items are produced without chemicals. For example, an organic cotton t-shirt means the cotton was grown and farmed without the use of pesticides. Choosing chemical-free has many benefits for your health, your children and the environment.

Beyond clothing or textiles, you can find organic foods, wines and chocolate, which is definitely a festive and healthier gift - perfect for the foodie in your life! A not-so-clever hint: you can find a LOT of well-priced organic food items at Whole Foods Market.

The gift guide features an organic Cabernet from Bonterra Vineyards.

For Children

If you've got children and they don't have a bicycle, now is the perfect time to teach them the ways of eco-friendly transportation and inexpensive fun times! Schwinn is popular for their children's bikes (and adult ones too), and they've got all the safety gear you need.

For a fun, personalized gift, Paper Culture has great eco-friendly games and decorations, like this personalized memory game. It's educational, to teach relationships and important people, and it's cute and fun!


Recycled items can be either pre-consumer or post-consumer. Pre-consumer recycled material is what's salvaged in production before a product is distributed. Post-consumer recycled material is what's made from items you throw into your recycling bin, like any items containing RPET.

Upcycling is a form of recycling where the new product is different or more creative than its original version. Upcycled products make great gifts! Think garden accessories, candles or wind chimes made from wine bottles. Gifts made with recycled metal are also a great choice.

Back to the gift guide: Hands Producing Hope sells a few different baskets that are made with recycled plastic bags. (The organization is also charitable and fair-trade.)

And the candles from A Higher REpurpose are always some of my favorites. They hit three of the sustainability categories I touch on today: upcycled, handmade, and local! (Check out my blog feature on AHR, formerly known as Syrup Row.)

Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. - See more at:


Supporting locally owned businesses and artisans is a great way to support your community's economy. Continue the momentum from Small Business Saturday, and shop local for many of your Christmas gifts. Local retailers carry so many unique items perfect for gifts. And don't forget your local artisans! Every community has a crop of talented people who make great unique items from jewelry to home decor and art, to even clothing and holiday decorations.


Charitable gifts can go two ways: tangible and intangible. Many charities have online shops where you can find gifts, and proceeds go toward funding the charity. By giving a charitable gift for the holidays, you're really giving twice!

Or you can simply make a donation in someone's name, without getting anything in return (except for your receipt for tax purposes, amiright!?)

Chemical-Free and Vegan-Friendly

Maybe not everyone enjoys getting cleaning products for Christmas, but for those who want to have a more natural and chemical-free home, it can be a great gift. For something a bit more fun and glamorous, look for chemical-free makeup and nail polish.

I wrote more about my journey to natural makeup earlier this year in preparation for my wedding. Tarte and Ecco Bella are two brands I really enjoy using so far.

When it comes to nail polish, brands like OPI and Essie are both three-free (learn the meaning in my blog post on greener manis), but my current favorite is the New Orleans brand Native Polish. Their polishes are seven-free and vegan friendly. So obvs, the nail polishes don't eat meat, dairy, or animal products. (Okay fine, they just don't contain any animal byproducts.)



Some sustainable companies go beyond just focusing on the kind of goods they sell, and commit to extra practices like planting a tree with every order placed (something eco-stationery company Paper Culture does), shipping in recycled boxes with paper packaging material, or even offering carbon-free shipping. Online retailer Bambeco is one that offers carbon-free shipping, which means they use minimal packaging made from recycled materials, work with shipping carriers that offer greener options, and eliminate their carbon impact in 100% of their shipments.

With Carbonfree® shipping through, they offset unavoidable emissions, supporting renewable energy and achieving their goal of delivering carbon free. So far, they’ve kept over 236 metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere.

If you mail your own gifts, choose sustainable packaging! Reuse boxes and packaging material instead of buying new. If you sell gifts online or just have a lot to ship out, consider investing in more sustainable packaging, like envelopes and boxes from EcoEnclose.

Now, go forth and have fun shopping!

For more green company and brand listings, visit:

Other Ways We Made Our Wedding Eco-Friendly

July 25, 2018 update:  As of March 2018, Eco Flower is no longer in business. This post will remain published as an archive of my own wedding experience, but the information is no longer current.

At the same time I was fine tuning my bridal style, I was also focusing on how to green the decor and gifts (that we both gave and received). By carrying elements throughout each part of the wedding, we were able to put together unique decorations that truly enhanced the inherent beauty of our venue, the Caldwell House.


I've written before about using Eco Flower for bouquets and boutonnieres, and today I'm switching over to how I used them in our reception decorations. From the beginning, I wanted to use spray painted wine bottles as vases, and over the course of a year, I worked on painting about 60 of them in two shades of teal, champagne gold, and white. (Yes, I may have matched the bridesmaids' dresses to the teal spray paint, but it's fine when it's my favorite color!)

The wine bottles were either my own or donated by friends, and a few were salvaged from my in-laws' after the flood. They were safe, just muddy, so they got extra special sanitizing before the paint job. It's time consuming to scrape wine labels off, but it was worth it in the end. The color arrangements turned out how I envisioned, and each vase held 2-3 eco flowers that were either natural white or light aqua.

As we decorated, we ended up reusing baby's breath from the rehearsal dinner by adding them to each wine bottle arrangement. And I added pictures of us by hanging them from jute string and tiny clothespins.

Thanks to my husband's family, we reused a lot of rehearsal dinner decorations in the reception and dining areas, giving them longer life and keeping the white, gold and natural themes going.

I saved a few loose eco flowers for the wedding cake, and our unique cake topper comes from Etsy. I love how my cake truly tied in a lot of our wedding's eco-friendly elements, and the groom's cake paid tribute to our love of Acadiana. (Sky's the Limit Cakes did both cakes and Midnight Moon Vintage Event Rental provided the tree trunk cake stand and vintage lace doilies. Visit my feature post on Midnight Moon!)

And finally, for our guestbook, we opted for something we could use as a piece of art, rather than a formal book we would never look at again. I went back to Etsy, and found a shop that makes string art on large wood slabs. We provided metallic Sharpies for guests to sign with, and it's on my to-do list to run a clear protective coat over the whole thing to keep those signatures from fading over time.

The piece has been hanging in our living room since the day after the wedding, and I still smile every time I look at it. We definitely made the right choice on our guestbook alternative.


It's inevitable that your wedding registry and ensuing receipt of gifts will use a lot of wrapping paper, tissue paper, and gift bags, which can't be traditionally recycled. But, if you request that guests leave your gifts unwrapped, you can eliminate a LOT of that single-use waste!

We decided to hold a couples shower/engagement party a few weeks before our wedding, so the focus was more on visiting with our family and friends and not on the gifts themselves. So, when we got home with our new items and went through everything, it felt just as exciting as if they were wrapped! I absolutely loved not having a huge pile of wrapping paper to throw away, gift bags to store, or tissue paper to fold up and store (of COURSE I save and reuse all tissue paper!)

When we received gifts in the mail, we broke down and recycled all cardboard boxes, and I saved any packaging material (especially bubble wrap, air packs and brown kraft paper) to use for packing all of the spray painted wine bottles for transport. Oh, how nice it was to have the materials on hand for that!

We kept our registry fairly small, as we already own a lot of the items we need every day, and we didn't want to replace things just to have a larger registry. And a lot of the items we wanted will help us be even greener at home.

  • Our new coffee maker came with a reusable gold mesh filter, so we haven't had to use a paper filter in almost two months now.
  • Our toaster oven will help save energy, because I won't have to turn on the oven for small jobs like toasting tortillas or reheating fried foods.
  • We got a silicone baking sheet liner so I don't have to use disposable parchment paper.
  • And our new sheets are made of Tencel, a fiber made from cellulose, found in wood pulp. Created by Austrian textile company Lenzing, Tencel is the branded version of a similar fiber, lyocell. Tencel fabric is extremely soft and breathes well, making it a great fabric for bedding. In addition, the fiber requires less land and water during production than cotton. (Business Insider) We love these sheets.
  • While not on our registry, I love that one of our friends got us a solar powered lantern as part of a patio entertaining gift basket.

Wedding Party Gifts

I spent a lot of time brainstorming what to get my bridesmaids for their gifts, wanting something that reflected my eco-friendly values. And about three weeks before the wedding, I realized Alex and Ani bracelets would be a beautiful choice. All Alex and Ani bracelets are made in the United States, and they use sustainable materials derived from eco-conscious processes.

As I browsed the site, I fell in love with the Charity by Design section, where I found a bracelet to match each of my bridesmaids' personalities. The Simplify bracelet for my minimalist friend Michelle supports the Life Is Good Kids Foundation, the Bicycle bracelet for my bike and yoga buddy Hailey supports the Pan-Mass Challenge, and the Living Water bracelet for my doctor friend Jody supports Living Water International. Sweet gifts that also give back and do good...I am all about it!

And in a sign of fate, there was a sale going on the day I ordered that allowed me to get a free bracelet, so I picked out the gorgeous Love bracelet to commemorate my wedding.

When it came to gifts for our mothers, I turned to Melancon, the Abbeville jeweler where we purchased our rings, to see what they had in store. I gravitated toward a display of bell charms, which I learned are made by a company in Austin, Texas. The Bell Collection is a small, family-owned business who makes bell charms for all occasions and sentiments. These turned out to be a sweet, personal memento, and I loved supporting two small businesses in the process.

In addition, my husband (without realizing he was doing something eco-friendly, probably) bought reusable Yeti ramblers for his groomsmen, and had them engraved with each guy's last name. All the guys loved their gifts, and the ramblers promote reusable over single-use!

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas or inspire you to make your own wedding or event a bit more eco-friendly. There are so many ways you can approach it, from shopping small, to reusing and DIYing, to working toward zero-waste!

Saying Thanks

Let's face it, a lot of this year has been pretty crappy. But there's still so much to be thankful for! In the spirit of my yoga practice, I constantly work on looking at the positive side of things and finding the good.

This year, I'm especially thankful for:
  • My husband. And the fact that I now get to call him my husband. :)
  • My family and my new in-laws, and everything they do for us.
  • My friends.
  • Dax's health.
  • Yoga
  • All of you guys who read these posts and/or follow along on social media, and who care about the environment.
  • The environment itself, and for everything it provides all of us.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving holiday! If you're going shopping tomorrow and this weekend, don't forget my tips on making it a greener trip...and don't forget to Shop Small! I'll see you all back here on Monday!

Shop Smart, Shop Small

As we all stare the holiday season directly in the face, prepare our shopping lists, and hunt for the best deals, it's important to remember not to throw out all of the green habits we've adopted.

While an important part of living a greener life involves not consuming so much, there are ways to cut back at least a little bit when it comes to holiday shopping. Next week, I'll focus more on a holiday gift guide that looks a bit more into green gifts, but this week, I'm looking at Small Business Saturday!

Now in its seventh year, Small Business Saturday celebrates every community's small and locally owned businesses. Those ones where you know the owners, they recognize you and catch up when you visit, and where you can find unique goods or personal services.

Shopping locally is important and sustainable. When you support local shops and businesses, you know exactly who you're supporting, and you know more of your money is staying in YOUR local economy. While Small Business Saturday (#SmallBizSat for all of us social media nerds) a great one-day event, it's important to make shopping at local businesses a priority all year long.

Graphic: Small Business Saturday

With five days to go until Small Business Saturday, you've got time to plan out your trip and look for sales or discounts from local retailers. Social media and email newsletters are a great way to get in the know. Plus, find out which businesses near you are participating in Small Business Saturday promotions or events with the official guide map.

When you plan ahead for your shopping trips, focus on reducing your waste and impact as much as possible:
  • Plan your trip so you don't end up driving around in circles.
  • Carpool with friends instead of driving separately.
  • Bring your reusable shopping bags!!
  • Pack your coffee in an insulated mug. It'll stay hotter longer, anyway! (Stop at a local coffeeshop with your reusable mug and get a discount!)
  • Skip the gift-wrap service. (And the aisles upon aisles of non-recyclable gift wrap! I'll have a blog post in December all about how you can green your gift-giving.)
  • Only buy what you really need, not just anything you see that happens to be 50% off. Be intentional! (And there's one way my yoga practice ties into being green. 😄)
  • Stopping for breakfast or lunch? Dine at a local restaurant, bring your own reusable cup, and go inside instead of hitting the drive-thru.
  • Don't be idling your car in store parking lots! Once you park, conserve your gas and turn your car off.

As this holiday season kicks off, shop smart and shop local. Your retailers will thank you! It's been a tough year for South Louisiana, and many of our local retailers and service providers are still feeling the effects, so they'll be especially thankful for the boost in holiday business.

This year, I'm giving away some Small Business Saturday cloth tote bags, just in time for you to get your shopping on. Visit my Facebook and Instagram to enter the giveaway, which ends tomorrow!


Photo Friday | Sustainable Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and the weather is finally getting the memo that it's autumn and not summer! Phew. I'm already ready for the good food, visiting family, the annual Thanksgiving viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and the real star of the holiday this year: THE GILMORE GIRLS NETFLIX REVIVAL. (Ooohh, if I haven't waited nine years for this...and I'm remaining blissfully unspoiled!)

Are you thankful for our environment? If so, show it in your celebrations next week! If you're hosting friends or family, make some small changes to your gathering to lessen the amount of waste you create.

One of the biggest impacts you can make is choosing reusable dinnerware. You don't have to bring out the fine china, but by skipping the disposable plates, bowls, utensils and cups, you're avoiding a lot of unnecessary and unrecyclable waste.

A few years ago, I wrote a detailed post on sustainable Thanksgiving gatherings, so head over and learn some more ways you can be green this year.

Here's a quick summary of the other changes that make a big impact:
  • Cloth bags
  • Recycling bins
  • Local produce and meats 
  • And a bonus that's not in my previous post: Local brews and spirits!

It's funny how Louisiana is notorious for not having fall foliage on the level of New England, but I manage to find the three pictures in my phone featuring colorful leaves. It's such a great illusion of fall, especially this year as we're still wearing short sleeves on the regular.

What do you have planned this year? Are you staying home? Traveling? Hosting a big group? Dining out? Hanging at home with the pets?

Come on back next week for a blog post on Small Business Saturday!

Eco-Friendly Bridal Style Elements

Wedding style was one of my favorite areas in which to go green. There are so many fun things to research and shop around for, although at times, the decisions can be tough.

Committing to finding an alternative can prove to be difficult, when sometimes there don't seem to be many choices. But it was important for me to stick to my guns, support local businesses, and choose more eco-friendly alternatives.

Overall, I'm very happy with how well I did! And today, I'm breaking down each element for you.

I had three dresses for pre-wedding events, and all of them (plus a pair of shoes) were secondhand, without looking like it! Two dresses came from Thred Up, and one was from local consignment shop Clothing Loft. The dresses themselves were amazing, but needed a few alterations to truly fit well. It was an easy fix and still less expensive than buying three new dresses. I either wore jewelry I already had, or wore a few "new" vintage finds.

The morning of the wedding, I knew I wanted to wear my favorite Niyama Sol turquoise yoga pants. Not only are they extremely comfortable and my favorite color, they are made of recycled plastic bottles. (And I got them locally at Yoga Garden.) My button-up shirt was monogrammed by Simply Unique Too, a local husband and wife venture.

So, the dress. When we first got engaged, I started by researching organic and sustainable wedding dresses. It was a fail. There are dresses available online, but none that came close to fitting the vision I saw for myself. One of the things I find about eco-fashion is that it focuses more on being sustainable than being cute (for lack of a better word). I'm no fashion designer, and maybe my girl Natalie from Sustainably Chic can shed more light on it, but I don't see why eco clothes don't fit/aren't designed more like conventional clothes.

I also perused a few secondhand bridal websites, like OnceWed, but I really wanted to experience trying on a lot of dresses. It was a stressful process, but it was a fun tough decision to make! With my mom by my side, I had a lot of fun trying on so many different styles, and I ultimately chose my dress from a popular local shop, A Net's Bridal Boutique.

With all of the follow-up visits I made to the store for fittings and accessories, I was extra happy to be so close by, instead of having to make multiple trips out of town. (In fact, I only visited two other boutiques during my hunt, one in Lafayette and one in Baton Rouge.)

I wanted to keep my jewelry simple, since the dress was covered in sequined lace and the belt was very beaded. My pearl bracelet was made for A Net's, I believe. My earrings are a vintage pair courtesy of my grandmother, and I was so happy to be able to have something of hers in my outfit. My small cross necklace is actually from when I was a child. It was simple and subtle, and didn't compete with the illusion lace neckline.

I mentioned it a couple weeks ago in a Photo Friday blog post, but my shoe journey was quite adventurous. I was determined to have sustainable shoes, which is not as easy as it seems to accomplish. I really wanted an amazing pair of vintage bridal shoes, but it was a very fruitless search. I tried two other pairs, one conventional and one secondhand, before finding this vegan leather pair from Beyond Skin.

With the company based in the United Kingdom, I quickly learned a lot about European shoe sizing and how it translates to my traditional shoe size. Their customer service rep, Coral, very sweetly handled all of my email questions about shoe sizing, styles, returns and customs. I definitely guessed wrong on my shoe size on my first pair, and ended up with a different style shoe, but they were my favorites out of every pair I tried. (If you're curious, I wear a 7.5 in American sizing, and went with a 38 in European sizing. They were a pretty solid fit.)

So, these shoes are made of vegan leather, and the lining is 100% recycled with a vegetable polymer coating. With the lower heel and ankle strap, they were perfect for dancing all night while staying comfortable. And I definitely plan to wear them for special occasions post-wedding.

I ended up wearing the secondhand shoes that didn't work out with my wedding dress with my secondhand rehearsal dinner dress, and they'll also get a lot of use in future holiday parties and cocktail dinners (like I go to so many of them. Ha!)

We got our rings from a local Abbeville jeweler, Melancon Jewelers. The staff was so incredibly helpful during all of our visits, and I'm so happy that we got to support a small business.

Check out my previous post on Eco Flower here.

I used my eco-friendly makeup and perfume on my big day, and I'm still amazed I didn't screw it all up. Most of the makeup was Tarte, with Ecco Bella powder and Physician's Formula eye shadow. My perfume was La Vanila (my absolute favorite brand).

With all of the eco-friendly elements to my bridal style, I felt even more like a million bucks for our big day!

America Recycles Day 2016

Every year on November 15, Keep America Beautiful celebrates America Recycles Day. Thousands of local events are planned across the country for tomorrow (and throughout the month), but even if you only take a few minutes out of your day, you too can celebrate.

  • Take the pledge to recycle a particular product, maybe one you don't recycle now. 

  • Recycle as much as you possibly can! Especially on November 15, make it the highest priority. If you collect your recycling inside, make sure to bring everything to your outside bin or community dumpster for pickup.
  • Grab some bags and get outside. Use your lunch break to go on a litter hunt and pick up and recycle as much as you can, or take a walk after work to clean up the neighborhood.
  • Take your children around the neighborhood to clean up litter, and teach them about the importance of recycling in the process!
  • Offer to recycle for others - whether your office or neighbors. Offer to take any of their recyclable waste and put it out for pickup. At work, go around to everyone's desks and offer to collect any recyclable waste, or leave a special bin for them that you can pick up later.
  • Visit the America Recycles Day website and look for a recycling event in your area. There are 2,148 registered events across the country! In Louisiana, you can find events or education initiatives in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Napoleonville, and Ruston.
  • Visit the organization's Facebook and Twitter.
  • Share the message with everyone! Let your friends and family know about America Recycles Day and encourage them to participate too.

Now, let's kick off America Recycles Day with this video on the potential of recycled items!


Photo Friday | Recycled American Flags

With today being Veterans Day, I think it's appropriate to share an amazing product I came across earlier this year on social media: American flags made with recycled plastic bottles.

RePatriot Flag is a company, started by veteran Sam Russo, that sells three sizes of American flags, all made with recycled polyester material called REPREVE. All of the flags are produced in the United States.

Photo: RePatriot Flag

On average, 15 plastic bottles are recycled into each US flag. To date, RePatriot Flag has produced more than 3,000 3’x5’ American flags, recycling nearly 30,000 plastic bottles that were collected from curbside bins.

How does the process work?

Graphic by RePatriot/REPREVE

Plastic water and soft drink bottles are made of PET, or polyethylene terephthalate. Over the years, REPREVE has fine-tuned a proprietary process that breaks the bottles down into flakes, then transforms PET bottle flakes into REPREVE fiber, which is then used in thousands of different fabrics and products available globally.

RePatriot works with REPREVE to turn the fiber into the base yarn for the flags. The yarn is woven into fabric, dyed red, white and blue, and manufactured into the US flag.

As REPREVE points out:
Did you know 6 recycled plastic bottles makes a shirt? Also, 50 recycled plastic bottles makes a fleece jacket. Every year, millions of plastic bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills that impact our environment. These bottles will sit there for hundreds of years, as they will not disintegrate. So next time, make the smart throw and toss your plastic bottles in the recycle bin, not the trash can, so they can be recycled into something more.

So although the common mentality is to throw something away when you're done with it, think about the life of that plastic bottle before you throw it out (or, shudder, litter it). Your items may no longer be useful to you, but they are very useful in some capacity.

Learn more:

Root to Rise | More on My Yoga Journey

My love for yoga started slowly over the course of a few years in my wellness journey. A year and a half ago, I wrote about discovering the class that got me to 'get' yoga, and brought me to my mat more regularly.

But, proving that journeys can really take you to unexpected places, I wound up discovering my yoga niche this time last November. I had moved beyond those basic yoga classes and was comfortable in my intermediate classes, and I don't remember how it happened, but I decided to try the power yoga class on my gym's schedule. What I remember most from that first class was wondering, "What the hell did I get myself into?" I believe I wore long sleeves, since I usually leave class freezing. And that was when I learned that power yoga is heated. And fast-paced. And I was totally sore the next day.

But I quickly started attending the class regularly, and grew to be obsessed with Baptiste-style vinyasa power yoga and the teacher's style. After one year, I've only missed a handful of Ashley's classes, and I always look forward to my hour on my mat.

At this time last year, my goal was to tone up my arms before my wedding. I did that, and more. In addition to feeling more toned and lean, I haven't been sick in over a year, I have more energy, I don't have trouble falling asleep, and I feel like I'm changing my outlook and way I react to what comes my way. It was absolutely a benefit during wedding planning!

I love that my practice has pushed me. In this year, I've achieved headstands and crow pose, and I'm working on balancing handstands. The feeling of working for a pose, and the journey of achieving it, is so fulfilling to me. And I love that even once I achieve it, I can then reach for the next level. Got a headstand? Great! Go for eagle headstand. There's always a next level.

One phrase that I always repeat to myself, and visualize on my mat, is Root to Rise. You'll hear it often in any yoga class, and it means setting an intention and foundation for your pose, both physically and mentally. Whatever is touching the ground (your hands, feet, forearms) becomes your roots and your foundation to let yourself rise.

Beyond my mat, the phrase has also become a reminder for my commitment to sustainability and the environment, and the actions I take to respect them. Roots keep you planted and balanced while you reach for the sky.

So when vegan, cruelty-free and handcrafted accessories brand Mieroglyphs offered me an opportunity to choose a bracelet and interior inscription, it didn't take long for me to decide on a quote.

Mieroglyphs' accessories line features bracelets, key chains and pet collars. All of their products are made with vegan cork leather (derived from a natural bark shedding process in oak tree forests) and either organic cotton or recycled PET fabric.

The clasp is a super sturdy magnet featuring Mieroglyphs' logo. A bonus - the magnet will also help you keep track of bobby pins or other small metal items. Be careful not to pinch yourself when closing the magnet. (I say these things because I've done them!)

Every item comes with an inscription on the inside, and if you don't have an idea for a custom quote, Mieroglyphs has selected some of their favorites for you to choose from.

"Root to Rise" was the most simple and appropriate way to go. Combining my love of yoga with an eco-friendly bracelet? Sign me up! However, I shan't be wearing the bracelet to a hot yoga class, since I actually want to keep it looking nice!

Mieroglyphs focuses on providing fair wage jobs, ethical production, and intentional inspiration. Every item is hand-crafted and customized to each buyer's request, not mass-produced in a factory.

The other thing I absolutely love about my Mieroglyphs bracelet is that it fits me. It sounds silly, I know, but I've got super small wrists and 95% of bracelets slide down to my elbow all day long. The other 5% are made for toddlers. But Mieroglyphs offers all of their bracelets in five sizes - XS to XL - and they give a size chart.

With a quick measuring of my wrist, I knew which size to order, and my bracelet truly feels like it was made for me. The fabric has all the colors I love, the materials are sustainable, it's got my yoga mantra, and it's sized for me. Yep, this is my new favorite bracelet!

Starting to think about gift ideas for the holidays? Head over to the Mieroglyphs website and look around, and use discount code 10CAITLIN to receive 10% off your order!

It's such a great feeling when you find your niche, and you find that confidence. My mat is my happy place, and I've found so much strength and balance (and sweat) over the past year of power yoga. Root to rise, indeed.


Bring Your Own...and Save Money!

Last week, I shared about the importance of skipping the reusable coffee cups - you can still have your daily habit and perfect Instagram shots without contributing to unnecessary waste.

One of the extra bonuses of bringing your reusable mug to the coffee shop is finding the ones that will give you discounts for doing so! Starbucks will give 10 cents off your coffee with your mug, but in the spirit of this blog, I want to focus more on the locally owned businesses.

Acadiana has a long list of locally owned coffee shops, and many of them offer discounts for patrons who bring their own mug in. To make it easy for all of you, I set out to compile a comprehensive list of each shop's offer.

And following the list is a custom map of every location with their offer included! You're welcome and Merry Early Christmas.

The Lab

River Ranch's The Lab offers 10% off on all drinks with a reusable mug or tumbler, and on Saturday mornings, bring in your favorite reusable mug and get your drink for $3.


Purchase a reusable Indulge tumbler for $9.95 and receive 25% off all coffee or tea drinks when you reuse the tumbler.

Reve Coffee Roasters

Reve gives 10% off for guests who bring in a reusable cup.

Tribe Collective

In addition to coffee, Tribe Collective and Emerge Juice sell fresh juice and kombucha in glass jars. They take 10% off your purchase when you bring your own mug, or reuse one of their glass jars. Note: Tribe is relocating to University Ave. on November 14!

Jammin Java

For the Youngsville and Milton crowds, Jammin Java takes 25 cents off your order with your reusable mug, and you get an extra stamp on their punch card app!

Black Cafe

On the edge of downtown, Black Cafe offers 40 cents off your coffee with your reusable mug.

CC's Coffee House

With four locations in the Lafayette area, CC's offers a 10 cent discount when you bring in your own mug or tumbler. The discount is good at all locations, not just the ones in Lafayette.

PJ's Coffee

PJ's offers 25 cents off your purchase when you bring in a PJ's tumbler. Good at all locations, not just the ones in Lafayette.

Steam Press Cafe

New to Downtown Lafayette, Steam Press will offer 10% off your coffee purchase with your reusable mug.

Carpe Diem Gelato & Espresso Bar

Get 10% off your beverage purchase with your reusable mug.

The Steep House

New to the scene, The Steep House tea shop doesn't currently offer a discount, but they may have something exciting in the works, so stay tuned.

Beau Bassin Cafe

Located in the heart of Carencro, Beau Bassin focus on reducing waste in the shop by using reusable items. Due to the specific sizing of their drinks, they don't offer a discount for bringing your own mug in. Stop in to get your drink and use their reusable cups instead of getting one to-go!

These coffee shops haven't provided discount information as of publish time. This list (and the map) will be updated as information comes in.

Coffee Depot


Johnston Street Java

Professor Bob Beans Coffee Bar

Campus Grounds

Happy coffee drinking! Sip sustainably, support local businesses, and snap a photo to share your #ReusableIsInstagrammable moment with all of your friends.


Photo Friday | Eco Flower

July 25, 2018 update:  As of March 2018, Eco Flower is no longer in business. This post will remain published as an archive of my own wedding experience, but information is no longer current.

One of the most noticeable eco-friendly elements at our wedding were the flowers. After a lot of researching, I opted for recycled wood flowers instead of traditional fresh ones for the majority of our decorations.

I worked with Eco Flower, a startup out of Utah, for all of the bouquets and loose centerpiece flowers. One of my favorite things is knowing I'm supporting a small, independent business, especially one that uses recycled materials in a unique way. The company started just about two years ago, and has grown tremendously.

And I feature them today for one big reason:

The company's founder, Meagan, is going to be on Shark Tank tonight at 9/8 central! I'll definitely be watching to see what happens.

Over a few months, I ordered assortments of loose flowers to use in my repurposed wine vase centerpieces, and to make small bouquets for our moms to carry. (This was probably my first and last attempt at being a florist!) Extra loose flowers were used on my wedding cake. My wedding bouquet was custom made by Eco Flower's wedding department, and my bridesmaid bouquets were a predesigned style. In addition, I ordered boutonnieres for the wedding party, and corsages for the grandmothers.

Why do I love these flowers so much? Obviously, because they use recycled materials, and because they last forever. As we were on a budget, these were much more cost effective than using all fresh flowers. I love that I will be able to keep my bouquet for years - I'm currently keeping it at my office so I can have it near me all week long!

The other thing I love is the ability to have the flowers scented. When you order flowers, trust me and go with the black raspberry vanilla scent. It is divine! And the scent lasts a very long time. My loose  assortment arrived in July, and the flowers still had a nice smell come wedding day in late October.

Now that the wedding has passed, we won't be keeping all of the loose flowers around the house, but we will keep the eco-cycle going. We're saving a few of them to share with our late loved ones, and I absolutely love the idea of being able to share these flowers in such a deep and personal way.

The rest we will be selling for any interested future brides, so they'll be double-recycled.

Photo by Laura Reaux

Working with startups can pose challenges sometimes, and there were moments of frustration, but overall, I don't regret using Eco Flower, or flowers made of wood, one bit for the wedding. These flowers gave such a unique, eco-friendly touch to the wedding, and they're something I'll fondly look back on.

From Pumpkin Spice to Peppermint...Choose Reusable!

Ah, life in Louisiana right now. It's still 85 degrees in the afternoon, but it's technically the middle of fall, and now that Halloween is over, all the Christmas things are about to be thrust in our faces.

Even if it's hot outside, coffee is always a go-to, and I am not above a good pumpkin spice latte. But I am above a bunch of disposable cups!

One of the easiest ways to cut the amount of single-use items you use and throw away is to rock a reusable mug. Make your coffee at home then head out the door, or bring it to the coffee shop with you. Some coffee shops, including Starbucks, will even give you a small discount if you have your own mug.

While a disposable cup may seem like a stylish accessory, you can actually make reusable options fit your style more. Invest in a few mugs that match your personality or your favorite wardrobe pieces.

You can get your pumpkin spice or peppermint lattes, and get a great photo, without being unnecessarily wasteful! Reusable is Instagrammable, my friends.

And because I'm already hearing about Starbucks holiday cup controversy (...) I will reiterate what I shared on Facebook last holiday season:
Forget the Starbucks matter what color or design it is, it's still going to get thrown away after one use! Not cool. #BringYourOwn and choose reusable for your coffee.
The design of a single-use cup isn't going to matter when that cup is litter in a parking lot, yard, or river. Let's shift the outrage from whatever color or design it is to the material that it's made of. Choose reusable and your mug can be whatever design you want, while being better for the environment!

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