Photo Friday | Christmas Week and Looking Ahead

Well, we've made it to the last Friday of the year! The year-in-review retrospectives are popping up everywhere, but this year, I'm skipping my tradition. This year was tough, and this holiday week has been bittersweet. I did enjoy reading through my 2016 and 2015 retrospectives this week!


Going Green in the After-Christmas Frenzy

Although Christmas Day has passed, there are still things you can do to keep the holidays eco-friendly into the New Year. Let's go out strong, y'all!


Photo Friday | Merry Christmas!

Twas the Friday before Christmas, and all through the house, Caitlin and Phillip were making their lists and checking them twice, while watching the 43rd viewing of Elf on Freeform.

Wait...that's not how the tale goes...

I am happy to report we are 95% done with our gifts - just a few more to pick up and wrap, but our little tree is looking very festive now. For as much as I tend to procrastinate on wrapping gifts now, I always love the look of a tree with an array of presents underneath, and always get a little emotional after the gifts are unwrapped and it's empty again. Maybe next year we'll be better at shopping and wrapping earlier in the season.

All of our gifts are wrapped with an eco-friendly touch, whether it's decorative kraft paper wrap, Wrappily recyclable paper (which I completely forgot is reversible!), reused gift bags and tissue paper, reused ribbons, or even a bed sheet from our donation pile.

One thing I AM proud about is getting our Christmas cards printed and mailed out earlier this month. I took advantage of a great Paper Culture sale, so I saved money while still getting to use recycled paper, and having a tree planted for my order. I couldn't decide between two different card designs (one foil and one non-foil), so I split up the quantity and got them both!

As a small Christmas gift to you, I'm also sharing this Christmas playlist I created this week. In my Tuesday evening yoga class, I joked with my teacher that she should play Christmas music for our Thursday yoga class, as it was the last one before the holiday. She said if I created a playlist, then she would play it in class.

So, I present to you my Christmas OMMMM mix that we flowed to last night! (I can now say I have done yoga to a Hanson song in a studio!) It follows more of a vinyasa class style - faster, upbeat songs followed by slower, mellower songs.

This weekend is sure to be hectic, nonstop and a little stressful, so take a few minutes to do a few stretches, meditate, or even an at-home yoga flow. Hit up this mix and take a few deep breaths before going back for more egg nog.

I'll be back on Tuesday sharing some eco-friendly post-Christmas tips. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!


My Hawaiian Vacation, Part 2

One of my favorite things about visiting Hawaii (aside from getting to visit with the family who lives there) is the abundance of outdoor activities.


My husband and I always say we would be so fit and tan if we lived there, because we could easily go for a bike ride, spend a day hiking one of the many trails, or exercise at the beach. It's kind of impossible to not spend most of your time outdoors, especially when the weather is always warm.


My Hawaiian Vacation, Part 1

Although my Hawaii tan might be fading, the memories and the photos aren't. Now that the shopping and the wrapping are almost done, it's time to share some of the highlights of our vacation!

Because I've got so many photos (and ALL the words), I'll break the trip recap into two parts. Today focuses on reusable items and my zero-waste efforts.


Photo Friday | Green Holiday Tips

Y'all. Christmas is in 10 days. I guess that means it's time for me to actually finish shopping and wrapping gifts, and watching the rest of my Christmas DVDs. I'm also excited to hopefully check out Christmas lights around town this weekend, if it doesn't rain too much.

If you're still in the wrapping stage, don't forget to check out my blog post from yesterday, with 20 eco-friendly ways to wrap.

I love these tips that LSU Campus Sustainability shared on Instagram this week - how many of these can you follow this year?

As a bonus, here's a quick roundup of some blog posts from the past few years, featuring photos of Christmases past:

How are you spending this last weekend before the big day?


20 Eco-Friendly Ideas for Wrapping Gifts

With 10 days to go until Christmas Eve, it's time to get to wrapping gifts! I can't wait for this weekend, when I finally sit down and wrap all the gifts I've bought so far. Although I procrastinate more on shopping more as I get older, I still love actually wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree.

As I remind y'all every year, standard wrapping paper is NOT recyclable. If it is shiny, waxy or glittery, it has other materials besides paper, and it goes into the trash and into the landfill.

Via LSU Sustainability and Recycle By City

There are so many ways you can wrap gifts with recyclable or reusable options, and they are sometimes even more beautiful than conventional waxy gift wrap.

My 2017 Eco Style Recap

I've been looking forward to this style roundup post for a couple months now. In a blog post at the beginning of this year, I set a goal for myself to be more conscious to shop sustainably for clothing, shoes and accessories. Throughout the year, as I shopped, I aimed to buy pieces that are:
  • Made of organic material
  • Made of recycled material
  • Made of sustainable material (like cork or bamboo)
  • Fair-trade produced/ethically made
  • Vintage
  • Secondhand
  • Vegan leather

Striped sweater: Amour Vert | Silk top: Amour Vert

Overall, I think I was pretty successful at accomplishing the goal, and more importantly, I love the pieces I've invested in this year.


Photo Friday | Gift Guide for Pets

After I finished my third and final gift guide for children earlier this week, I realized that there was one gift I guide I should add: for all the furry friends in our lives.

Don't tell me your pet doesn't have a stocking and get presents each Christmas. 😊


Sustainable Holiday Shopping | Gift Guide for Children

It's time for the final gift guide this season - all for the babies and children in your life!

(Catch the guides for ladies and guys, in case you missed them.)

There are some great eco-friendly educational and fun gifts from ethical brands out there, and this guide aims to encompass a variety of gift types and age ranges.

Photo Friday | Mountains & Beaches

I'm still not sure I'm 100% adjusted to not seeing views like this every day this week. You never truly realize how flat your hometown is until you spend eight days staring at mountains. 😆

I'll have a full recap of our Hawaii family vacation coming up soon, but for today, I'll share a quick preview. A pretty good way to sum up the islands, and our trips, is with these two photos: mountains and beach.

We got in a good balance of hiking through woods and laying on the beach (although sometimes it was just too "cold" and windy to stay and work on a tan!)

Taken near the top of a mountain ridge, I love this photo for the expanse of land it shows. The sky, ocean, and layers and folds of mountains in the background, and greenery in the foreground help to show just how beautiful Oahu really is. And it shows how beautiful our planet is, and can be. When our planet gives us things like this, how can we not want to protect it!?

I had a small arsenal of reusable items on this trip, and these were some of my most handy staples. The bag was a gift from coworkers who'd visited the 9/11 Memorial in NYC a few weeks ago, and I adorned it with one of my Busy Beaver buttons. I decked out a stainless steel cup with a Reusable Is Instagrammable sticker, for my favorite motto. And while we didn't ride bikes on this trip, I still had the spirit with me as I wore my Schwinn Ambassador hat on some of our hikes.
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