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.


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.


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.

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

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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