How to Help Those Affected by Hurricane Laura

(Originally published 9/11/20, last updated 9/15/20) 

 

It's been two weeks since Hurricane Laura made its way across Louisiana, destroying Lake Charles and surrounding towns and parishes in the process.

This was the biggest storm that has hit Louisiana since I've become an adult and moved out on my own. It certainly brought a high level anxiety as none of us knew what to expect or how bad it would be for us here in Lafayette. As the storm came through in the middle of the night, we stayed up listening to the wind, but thankfully, Ariana slept through the whole thing.

I'm extremely grateful that Lafayette and my home were spared of major damage and we personally didn't lose power, but it's hard to see the majority of Southwest Louisiana so battered. In addition, many areas in Central Louisiana faced damage from the strong winds. I've heard from friends and colleagues that photos don't even do the damage in Lake Charles justice. Nearly every building in the city is damaged to some degree. Many compare the sight to what it looks like after a tornado passes through - except across a much larger area. 

 

Photo via Second Harvest


So many people have stepped in to assist, from working around the clock to restore power and water, to cooking and distributing food, to distributing ice and water, to donating and distributing needed supplies and clothing.

The rebuilding process is well underway, and there are ways you can help even if you aren't nearby or in a position to provide manual labor.

 

Via Times Picayune



United Way of Acadiana

Donate supplies via United Way of Acadiana's Amazon wishlist.

United Way has also partnered with local startup Hampr to provide laundry services to displaced residents. Support that effort by donating here.

 

Photo via United Way of Acadiana

 

United Way of SWLA

Donate supplies via United Way of SWLA's Amazon wishlist.

The organization is keeping an updated list of supplies and materials needed for residents who are cleaning up and rebuilding. You can donate to their efforts at the bottom of the page.


Red Cross

Donate or volunteer through the Red Cross.

 

The Current

My friend April put together a comprehensive list of places where you can donate supplies in Lafayette for The Current. Check out her list if you want to donate goods rather than money. 

 

Second Harvest food bank  

The Second Harvest food bank has been collecting food donations in Lafayette and Elmwood and transporting them to Lake Charles. Visit their Facebook page for current information.


Operation BBQ Relief

Operation BBQ Relief is one of the nonprofit organizations currently deployed in Lake Charles providing meals to residents and first responders free of charge. Donate to support their efforts here.

 

Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon is a group of veteran volunteers who help communities recover and rebuild, often by providing manual labor. Donate to support their efforts here.


Louisiana Care Fund

This fund is administered by the Louisiana Hospital Association Research and Education Foundation and supports hospital workers in rebuilding. Donate here.

 

Acadian Companies Employee Disaster Relief Fund

Similar to the Care Fund, this fund is set up by Acadian Ambulance to support EMS personnel and Acadian employees who were impacted by the hurricane. Many first responders were on shift when the storm passed through and were away from their homes and families and continue to work as they rebuild. Donate here.

 

Resources for Lake Charles residents and volunteers

Lake Charles Memorial Hospital is keeping an updated list of resources on their social media, including where to pick up food, ice and water.

 

Cajun Navy

The Cajun Navy has been hard at work helping residents recover and rebuild. In a post on their Facebook page from September 9, they list specific donation items needed for residents whose homes are facing mold damage.

Follow the group's Facebook page for other ways to donate or volunteer.

 

The705

Lafayette-based organization The705 is collecting used laptops that will be cleaned up (with all personal information removed) and converted for use by displaced Calcasieu and Cameron Parish students who may not have a laptop for remote learning.

Donate your old laptops to EDC by September 30, 2020.


 

As I find more resources throughout the recovery from Hurricane Laura, I'll update this list. There's a long road ahead for Louisiana, but we have proven over the years that we can and will rebuild.

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Local Restaurants That Use Plant-Based Packaging

(Originally posted 7/16/2020, last updated 9/4/2020)

With almost every restaurant adapting to takeout and curbside pickup orders during the pandemic, single-use takeout containers, utensils, straws and napkins have definitely multiplied.

It is so important to continue to support local businesses during these times, especially restaurants that are struggling to keep their doors open. And ordering dinner from your favorite restaurant is a nice break from cooking once in awhile. (Even though I love to cook, I get burnt out on doing it as often as I have been, and look forward to treating the family to some restaurant food!)

So during Plastic Free July, I came up with a list of locally/regionally owned restaurants in Acadiana that use plant-based or plastic- and Styrofoam-free packaging. Not only are these some delicious restaurants, but you can also feel better knowing you aren't contributing to more plastic and Styrofoam waste.


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Plastic Free July

Today kicks off the annual Plastic Free July movement, which aims for millions of people to be part of the solution to plastic pollution, enabling us to have cleaner streets and oceans and beautiful communities.

This year is the 10th year for the movement that has now inspired over 250 million participants in 177 countries, according to Plastic Free July's Facebook page.

It’s not about being perfect (there is no failing with Plastic Free July) but rather starting by looking at the plastics in your life (look inside your bin, fridge or pantry) and choosing to refuse one single-use plastic.

https://www.facebook.com/PlasticFreeJuly/photos/a.249328958515547/3241407319307681/?type=3&theater

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Guide to Shopping Sustainably in Acadiana

Over my years of blogging, one of the things I've enjoyed most is seeing more businesses come to Acadiana that focus on sustainability in some way. It's encouraging to see more demand for secondhand goods, locally made goods and waste-free shopping!

So today, I'm rounding up a guide to shopping sustainably in Acadiana! Whether you live here or plan to visit when it's more safe, this can help you find a place to start if eco-friendly shops are something you value. Many of these businesses I've written about before, so click on their name to read the post! Scroll to the end to find a custom Google map as well.

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Our Night in a Tiny House

My husband and I have imagined for years what it might be like to live in a tiny house. We follow tiny home accounts on Instagram and have chats about what features we would want in our ideal tiny home. Mind you, most of this was before we had a baby.



Although I know that we won't be trading our home for a tiny home anytime soon (maybe once we're empty nesters and/or retired), we have still been curious about what it would be like to have one.

A couple years back, I introduced y'all to Tee Tiny Houses, an Acadiana-based tiny house builder, and gave y'all a tour of their first construction. Since then, they have turned the home into an AirBNB located in Sunset, Louisiana.

 

The owner, Cherie, and manager, Jamie, were so kind to let us spend a night at the home to check it out and see what it's like. We made our plans and took a one-night staycation not long before Coronavirus shut everything down and our governor implemented a stay-at-home order. Looking back, it really was nice to have a night out before many, many nights in.



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Earth Day at Home

Happy Earth Day, everyone! This year marks the 50th anniversary of the movement, and the celebration is going digital. I'm celebrating at home and on social media, and it's been a welcome change of pace to see my news feeds filled with photos of nature and graphics that feature the environment.




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Love the Boot Week

We have officially made it to Love the Boot Week! Spearheaded by Keep Louisiana Beautiful and kicking off today, the week is all about celebrating both the state of Louisiana and our environment.


A big part of Love the Boot Week involved cleanup and beautification events planned throughout the state. Following the state's stay-at-home orders and health guidelines, all physical events were canceled.

However, Keep Louisiana Beautiful is keeping the spirit of the week alive and has planned challenges and virtual activities to help everyone feel connected to one another and our communities.

There are many ways you can celebrate Love the Boot Week and Earth Day from the safety of your home and through social media - I share some of them in my column for the Times of Acadiana!

“Love the Boot Week is Louisiana’s unique way to engage all citizens to show love and respect for their home, city, parish and state,” said Casey Rudolph, development and communications manager for Keep Louisiana Beautiful.

The organization has shared their first challenge for the week on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: Share a photo of your favorite reusable drink bottle to spotlight the importance of reusable versus disposable bottles! Use the hashtag #LoveTheBoot to participate when you post.

There will be a new challenge each day, so follow Keep Louisiana Beautiful to find out what they are!

Since we've been home for the past month, using reusable bottles and cups has been extremely easy. We've been going for near-daily walks and bike rides, and I always make sure to bring a reusable bottle for both Ariana and me. We enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, and I've picked up litter a few times as I'd come across it.


Last week, we joined a neighbor friend for a social distancing wine and walk. We stick to opposite sides of the road, but get to chat and fit in 30 minutes of exercise with our children. It's all fun and games until your toddler insists on standing up in a moving wagon!


CHEERS to a positive Monday and a great Earth Day this week! I hope you all stay safe and keep your head up.
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Sip Sustainably with Reusable Bamboo Straws

I've been on the reusable straw train for a few years now, after investing in a set of stainless steel straws. I've been able to dramatically reduce my straw usage and get in the habit of requesting "no straw, please" when out at restaurants.

Reusable drinking straws are a very simple way to help stop the plastic pollution problem. 

Stainless steel straws are pretty great overall, but they aren't the only kind of reusable straw available. Straws are also commonly made of glass and bamboo.


I recently got to try a few bamboo straws as a gift from The Other Straw, an Australian company that sells the straws both retail and wholesale.



Overall, I really enjoy using bamboo straws over stainless steel. If you have sensitive teeth, bamboo is a much better option, because the straw stays room temperature when the drink is cold.


I also find they are safer for younger children to use, which is especially great when you have a child who just wants a sip of your own drink!


They should be cleaned by hand, which is easy with a cleaning brush, and left to air dry.

The straws I have are the original size, which are 10mm in diameter, but they also offer cocktail (7mm) and smoothie (12mm) options. You can start small with a two pack that comes with a carry case and cleaning brush made of coconut fiber, or get a five- or 10-pack.

One thing I love about The Other Straw is that they offer wholesale and bulk options with the ability to put your own logo on the straw. They are able to offer a low minimum quantity, which is great if you want to purchase custom straws for an event or party (after we're all out of quarantine, of course!)

"Since launching in 2018, we’ve sold over 50,000 reusable bamboo straws and prevented more than four million plastic straws from entering our landfills, natural environments and oceans. We’ve also educated over 12,000 businesses and individuals on the impacts of single-use plastics and supported over 45 beach cleanups," says The Other Straw co-founder Jamie Lee Kay.


The company grows organic bamboo, free from chemicals, pesticides and nasties. They also send out online orders and wholesale bamboo straws are using carbon-neutral methods and zero waste. All packaging materials contain 100% recycled and/or post-consumer materials.

Check out The Other Straw online and follow them on Facebook and Instagram
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Earth Month 2020 kicks off today!

This Earth Month is certainly unlike any other in its history. It's a strange time, with all of us sheltering at home for the greater good.

Although Louisiana remains under a stay at home order through April 30, much of the country is under the same restrictions, and Earth Month events are canceled, it's still possible to celebrate the spirit of Earth Month.


With the quarantine and being home, we've remained as eco-friendly as usual: making sure not to waste our paper goods, using reusable dinnerware and coffee cups, recycling, not wasting food and conserving energy as much as possible, although we're having to run the air conditioner more since we are home.
I'm washing my cloth shopping bags extra to make sure they are clean. We've been saving on fuel since we don't need to drive anywhere.

Appreciate the nature around you

I wrote about this a couple weeks back, but especially during Earth Month, get outside in your yard or nearest safe green space. Even the smallest bits of nature are providing a lot of comfort right now. Take a break from work and family pressures and help your mental health by getting outside.

We're still going outside daily, either playing in the yard, going for a walk or going for a bike ride as a family, staying away from any neighbors who are also out. I'm grateful that we've had overall great weather these past few weeks, and extra grateful for the cool front that passed through today!
While we can't hug our loved ones, we CAN still hug trees! I most definitely am teaching my daughter about being a treehugger.

Love the Boot

This year, Keep Louisiana Beautiful launched Love the Boot Week for April 20-26. The original intent was to engage all citizens to show love and respect for their home, city, parish and state. In communities throughout Louisiana, thousands of citizens will organize or volunteer for events to clean up and beautify public spaces.  

All cleanup and beautification events have been canceled, but Keep Louisiana Beautiful has a list of 21 ways you can still Love the Boot while staying at home.

Share any photos or posts on social media with the hashtag #LoveTheBoot and join in the fun that way!

"Travel" on social media

Over the weekend, I saw a post going around Facebook about sharing a photo you've taken from somewhere in the world with the goal of traveling around the world virtually. I don't join in most Facebook things like that, but this was a fun one to participate in. Why not use Earth Month to share some of our favorite nature photos online and really put a spotlight on the planet and nature?



Practice conservation

Being at home is a great time to put conservation measures into practice. Make your groceries and toiletries last as long as you can, especially while being home is the safest place. Use rainwater for your plants. Turn off lights when you don't need them.

Hang in there

I know it goes without saying, but hang in there! Don't stress to accomplish a lofty to-do list right now. I'm surely feeling the survival mode vibes, and there's nothing wrong with that. Prioritize your sanity and take a deep breath when you need to. My top ways to attempt to stay sane are to stop reading every news article (you seriously don't need by-the-minute updates!) and get off social media every once in awhile.


Happy Earth Month everyone! I'll be sharing some of my favorite nature photos, both in Louisiana and from travels on social media this month, as I balance out every day survival.


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Earth Hour 2020

With everything that's been canceled this spring, it's comforting to know that one event is still going on - Earth Hour!



Started by WWF and partners as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, engaging millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories. It has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact, driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people.

Many physical community events were planned to honor Earth Hour and have been canceled, but every year, millions of people participate at home. It's the perfect event for this crazy time. On Saturday, March 28, at 8:30 p.m. in your own time zone, turn out the lights for the hour.

Since we're already all staying home, might as well turn off the lights! The Earth Hour website even has 20 ideas of what you can do during that hour.

Other ways you can participate in Earth Hour:


 How will you celebrate Earth Hour?
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Keeping Somewhat Calm

In a culture that prides itself on how busy we always are, or how many things are on our calendar, it surely feels weird to be told to stop and stay put for the next few weeks and months. It's weird to see our calendars emptied all of a sudden, although it is for the greater good.

Every day is uncertain, and like everyone, my anxiety is running high as well. I'm glad that my daughter is young enough to not understand what is going on, although I know she can sense the heightened feelings of worry.

As an eco-friendly blogger, it's sad to see all of these Earth Month events being canceled or postponed, but it doesn't mean we can't love the our planet all the same. I'll be looking forward to celebrating Earth Month virtually this year! Not to mention, Earth Hour is scheduled for Saturday, March 28, and can still be celebrated while everyone is social distancing!

In times like this, single-use items are an absolute necessity. For the sake of cleanliness and sanitization, it makes sense to rely on these items. This is what single-use should be for, not for simple convenience. It's the same reason I think bottled water is perfectly acceptable in times of disasters, like following a hurricane or other natural disaster. It's there to help and be a safe way to get a necessity.

While it's absolutely vital to give yourself grace and allow yourself some flexibility during this time, there are some ways you can incorporate eco-friendly practices while maintaining cleanliness, social distancing and self-care.


Conserve your resources

In a world where toilet paper is being hoarded like diamonds or gold, it's important to remember conservation practices. Make your toilet paper and paper towel stash last as long as possible by not going overboard when you use them. And maybe keep the TP away from toddlers and pets who like to unravel the whole roll! If you do run out of TP and can't get more, just saying, an old raggedy T-shirt cut into squares will work in a pinch.

Don’t waste food

You worked hard and paid good money to get those groceries - don't let them go to waste! Make sure to eat any leftovers or perishables before opening any canned or frozen goods. Check your expiration dates as well.

Reuse where you can and save the single-use for when you need it

Especially while at home, and provided you have the ability to wash things, choose reusable - like using a kitchen towel rather than a paper towel when washing your hands. Set out one towel for each member of the family.

Save water

While you're washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, turn the faucet off. If everyone has the faucet on while washing, can you imagine the amount of water being wasted?

Get outside

Social distancing is so important right now, but it doesn't mean you have to stay holed up inside your home. Go outside, even just to your backyard. With the time change, we have been spending so much time in our yard, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be outside in the fresh air, where my daughter can run around and enjoy herself safely. You can also go to a local park (just keep to yourself), ride your bike, plant flowers or trees at home, or clean up trash in your neighborhood (gloves of course recommended, or use a trash picker if you have one.)

Find the positives

They're still out there! Like I mentioned earlier, I'm grateful for the time we've spent outside lately. This past weekend, I was watching my daughter run around and play with sticks, and I felt a sense of calm and appreciation for our house with a large yard.


I'm also grateful that my husband and I didn't get rid of our deep freezer, like we've been talking about doing for a few months. It's certainly being put to use.


I think all of us have experienced really rough moments and hard thoughts during the past few weeks. I was feeling a lot of worry yesterday morning, but after talking to a few people and seeing that my fear was not real in that moment, I was able to release it.

My thoughts are with everyone right now. Be kind to others. Even if you personally feel less concerned, respect those who are extremely worried and taking extra precautions. Now more than ever, we're all in this together.
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Starting Your Zero-Waste Journey with Curated Bundles

If you haven't made a transition toward being zero-waste, the idea can be extremely daunting. However, the goal isn't to become completely zero-waste in one day. Instead, look at it as making a few small changes at a time.

Break it down and make it a little easier on yourself. Maybe commit to making changes in one room of your house each month. Look around your kitchen and see what single-use items you can swap out, like using cloth towels rather than paper towels, or silicone baking mats rather than aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Starting off can be even easier with some starter packs from EarthHero! Earlier this year, they shared a collection of sustainable starter packs, and it's a helpful way for you to take that first step. They curated a few bundles, a few gift boxes and a few collections, ranging from Stasher bags to nontoxic laundry detergent to a very cute sustainable guru bundle.

Rather than picking each item individually, with a bundle you can make one click and be on your way toward being more earth-friendly. EarthHero is one of my favorite resources, because they make it easy to find what you're looking for, and everything is made by eco-friendly and sustainably minded brands.


Even beyond the curated starter packs and bundles, EarthHero has tons of sustainable items for every member of the family and every room of the house. Last year, I added some eco-friendly toys to my daughter's Easter basket, and I've gotten everything from clothes for me to household items to baby accessories.


I love that EarthHero goes beyond just carrying eco-friendly products, and they stay committed to their mission through the shipping process. Shipping is carbon neutral, offset through CarbonFund.org. Their zero-waste office environment utilizes 100% recycled paper and refillable dry-erase markers, among other things. In addition, they partner with 1% for the Planet to donate 1% of their sales towards approved nonprofit initiatives that give back to the environment.

So now that you're ready to get started, head on over to EarthHero!

As you shop the site, get 10% off your EarthHero purchase by using my code, ECOCAJUN!


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Secondhand Gear with SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange

SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange is not a typical retailer — they’re a brand-new, locally-owned consignment store that accepts and sells outdoor adventure gear and apparel.



If you’ve got unused gear sitting at home taking up space, now is the perfect time to clean out and make a little extra cash in the process.

SugarWolf expects to open in downtown Lafayette in early March, but they are holding three advance public consignment days THIS WEEKEND to help with stocking the store:
  • Friday, Jan. 31, from 2-6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 1, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 2, from 12-3 p.m. 

Bring your gear to Hub City Cycles, 208 E. Vermilion Street in downtown Lafayette, and bring your used gear for SugarWolf staff to review. If your items are accepted for consignment before the store opens, you will earn an extra 10% cash or store credit on the sale of your items.

Read more about SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange, the couple behind it and their inspiration in my weekly column for Times of Acadiana!


Having a consignment shop helps bring a focus to the conscious reuse of gear and apparel in our community. “We know that folks have a lot sitting in their closets and garages that they aren't using,” Co-owner Allison Nederveld says. “We hope this can reduce waste locally while outfitting those who would love some high quality gear at a more affordable price.”

Owners Allison and her wife, Wendy, look forward to helping people explore the outdoors, especially in our own state, and go on adventures at a much more affordable investment. They personally love anything that takes them far away from cars and the noises of a city: Allison loves the adrenaline that comes when you do something you never thought possible or that you struggled to finish, and Wendy thinks there's nothing like sitting around a campfire with friends and laughing. "We both love paddling out at Lake Martin and bringing our dog for walks in the woods," says Allison.

GO

Opening in March 2020 at 501 Jefferson Street in Lafayette, LA

ONLINE

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Mardi Gras Ballin on a Budget

Now that Mardi Gras season is in full swing, Mardi Gras balls seem to be a weekly occurrence.

Lafayette's Krewe of Rio kicked the festivities off this past weekend with their ball. I'm not a regular ball-goer, but I know it's a lot of fun to find the perfect formal gown for the occasion.


However, finding a gown can be sometimes difficult or expensive...and it doesn't have to be!

Shopping sustainably can help save you money and save a dress from being worn once and stashed in the back of your closet for years. Here are some options if you're shopping for a Mardi Gras ball, or any upcoming formal, including prom! These also work for finding accessories and shoes to complete your outfit.



Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is my go-to source when I have an out-of-the-ordinary occasion coming up. When my husband and I attended a ball three years ago, I found this gold sequin Badgley Mischka gown with a rental cost a fraction of the retail price. This dress was higher than my usual rental budget, but I'm also not usually renting formal gowns.

When I rented this dress, Rent the Runway's customer service was extremely helpful in sending me a third size when the original two sizes didn't work out for me. It wasn't the most eco-friendly option to have a dress overnighted, but it was better than losing out altogether and being without a dress days before the ball.

It's best to shop Rent the Runway early, now that it's one of the most popular shopping spots for Mardi Gras, but even closer to the event date, you can find a dress that works for your budget.


Local consignment shops

The Clothing Loft in Lafayette has a formal gown section, and although I've never shopped it, I've found some great cocktail and party dresses there. I feel like this is a fun hidden gem in Lafayette, and it may still have a great selection of dresses and accessories. With many designer names, the price tag can be a little higher, but you're still getting a great deal on a secondhand dress.

Clothes Mentor is another secondhand shop that has a selection of formal gowns at great prices.

Goodwill

While each Goodwill retail store carries slightly different items based on their donations, at least some stores in the region carry formal gowns. If you're interested in thrifting at Goodwill, give the store a call first to confirm they have gowns available. This is a great budget-friendly option.

Friend/relative closets

One of my friends attended the Krewe of Rio ball this past weekend, and last week, shared that she hadn't found a dress yet. She ended up finding a fabulous and classic dress in one of the best places - her sister's closet. Borrowing from a relative or friend's closet is awesome because it's almost always free, and you can return the dress so it doesn't sit in your closet.

I've borrowed cocktail dresses from friends for weddings before and it's one of my favorite eco-friendly options.

If you do borrow from a friend or relative, be courteous and have the dress cleaned before returning it. Check out this blog post I did on GreenEarth Cleaning and find an affiliated dry cleaner near you!

Facebook

Facebook Marketplace and your friend feed can both be great resources to find a secondhand gown. Every year, I see a lot of friends posting that they're in search of a gown in a particular size, and their friends will come through with store recommendations or offers from their own closets. The Marketplace has plenty of dresses for sale, and the bonus is that you can pick it up locally.

Reuse bridesmaid gowns

Bridesmaid gowns are notorious for only being worn once, but they can make great options for formal events. Break out that dress from a wedding you were in a few years back and accessorize it to work for Mardi Gras.

The Lafayette Mom even has a post today from a local mom about how she's reworn a convertible bridesmaid dress for numerous Mardi Gras balls over the past few years. A great eco-friendly and thrifty way to go.


If you've got dresses in the back of your closet that you no longer wear, help complete the loop and donate or sell them so others can wear them!
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2020 Resolutions

I'm seriously looking forward to this new year.

2019 threw me for more of a loop than I expected, and I'm hoping that I can let go a little and move forward feeling stronger than before.


These are some of the things I would like to pursue more...not necessarily accomplish them, but at least try!

Simplifying

At home

I know I say it every year, but I'm in the mood to declutter our house in a big way. We do a great job of finding items to get rid of, but get hung up on moving them out of the house and to the proper donation centers. This year, my goal will be for us to declutter our guest bedroom once and for all. The next step would be to maintain it, and not keep bringing items in.

Email inbox

Every so often, I look at my inbox, see all of the marketing emails that have collected, and then delete them without even opening them. Now is a great time to simply unsubscribe from the email lists that I don't feel compelled to read anymore and declutter my email.

Get my organizational system together

One of my big struggles in 2019 was staying organized and on top of my things. Mom Brain is completely real, and it's way too easy to feel too spread thin all the time. I've been slowly figuring out ways to keep myself organized, from using Trello for batching my work tasks, to continuing using Todoist for personal and blog tasks.

I'm getting better at setting deadlines or notification times on my tasks or notes-to-myself so that I'll be reminded when I need to do something. And I'm working on scheduling everything on my calendars so that I have a complete view of what my schedule looks like. I'm staying almost completely paperless as well, so that everything is on my phone and/or synced to my computer.

One thing I started a couple months back that is starting to work and become a habit is building out our weekly menu before my weekly grocery trip. If I at least have an idea of what to fix each week, I'm not stuck every Sunday to figure out meals and make my grocery list. It's especially helpful now that Ari eats regular food, so I can stay organized and also know what to pack for daycare.

Wellness

Prioritizing workouts on calendar

I feel like a broken record on this one, but last year was awful in terms of getting back to my exercising. Beyond almost-regular walks during the day, I feel like I only went to about 10 yoga classes. I'm not motivated to exercise at home, since there are a thousand other things I could be doing there. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with my organizational goal, but I plan to book my workout times on my calendar so that I won't let the time slip away and forget to go to the gym.

Meditate regularly

I'm a fan of meditating and have found it effective with Headspace. In my final trimester, I think I hit a 61 day meditation streak...and in 2019 I don't think my streak ever went past two days. Getting back into a meditation rhythm, even if it's a short two-minute breathing exercise, will help me tremendously.

Blogging

Write more and expand my topics

Now that I've been blogging for nearly eight years, I've been feeling the writer's block hard, especially since having a baby. I'm working on ideas for new content and finding new things to write about that still fit within my eco-friendly niche.

Is there something you want to learn more about or want me to write about? Let me know!

Explore different creative outlets

I'd love to expand my blog posts a little beyond writing and photos, and I'm excited to play around with more graphics, photography and maybe music playlists...things that will help make the site more interactive for you!

Hobbies

Lettering/calligraphy

I'm not sure why, but I've been feeling drawn to learning lettering and calligraphy. Maybe it's because I'm currently awful at it and would enjoy the creative outlet. I'm accepting any recommendations on books or apps that help teach you!

Activities with Ariana

I can't wait to bring Ariana to get a library card and start checking out books that she can interact with (under supervision, because she's kind of a Destructo).

We would also love to go camping together, even though that might be better when she's a little older.

Especially after the time changes in March, we'll incorporate family bike rides into our free time more often.



Maybe this is a lofty list to start with, and I don't expect to accomplish everything by December, but I'm at least hoping this will help me stay inspired. Here's to a fresh start to the 20s!
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