Top 5 Reusable Must Haves for Camping

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Over the Labor Day weekend Tyler and I headed up to Kings Canyon National Park and met some friends from San Francisco for 4 days of camping, swimming and hiking. It was great! Camping is one of my favorite things to do when I have a few days off work. When living in the city gets to be a bit too much camping is my go to way to get my nature fix. We head to campgrounds in National Parks, State Parks or National Forest public lands, there are just so many beautiful places to see. Sadly because of cutbacks and, frankly, lazy visitors I’ve been finding way more micro trash at most campsites than in years past. The two best ways to cut down on miro trash are 1. don’t be a jerk and leave behind your trash ;) and 2. Bring Reusables. Since I know none of you would ever litter we don’t even have to go there, below I share with you my top 5 reusables that we never go camping without.

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Death Valley National Park Thanksgiving camping trip.

 

  1. The most common thing I see in campgrounds is people using paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery. There is so much unnecessary waste created at campgrounds by using these products. Washing dishes while camping can be a bit of a challenge but totally doable. The number one thing you need to make using reusables work while camping is dishwashing supplies. Grab one or two of your home dish towels (go for the older, faded ones that you’ve been holding on too but you never want to put out), a small bottle of bio degradable soap, a sponge, and a small bucket (we just use our larger cooking pot…one less thing to pack). Fill your bucket or pot with hot soapy water and grab one of your fellow campers have one of you dunk and rinse and while the other dries and stacks so they are ready for your next yummy meal.
  2. Reusable plates, bowls and cutlery. They make so many great kinds, designed for camping or you can just hit up Target or the 99 cent store to buy a set. We have a set of 4 of each. It’s nice to have extras in case someone else in camp forgot to bring theirs.
  3. Reusable water bottle. If you’ve been reading my past posts you know all about this handy eco-lifestyle must have by now. You just can’t go camping without it. I’m sad to say that one of the most common pieces of trash I pick up while camping are the caps from one time use plastic water bottles. I don’t even want to think about how many bottles a group of 4 campers for the weekend would need to stay hydrated…yikes! Really it’s time to get one if you haven’t and for sure bring it on your next camping trip.

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    Enjoying the view & a water break in Joshua Tree National Park.

  4. Insulated mug. Whether you’re a coffee or tea person it’s so nice to have a hot drink while you enjoy the mornings cool air. Whatever travel mug you have at home will work great, just remember to pack it. It also handy for holding campfire cocktails!
  5. 5 Gallon refillable water jug. This way when you are buying your groceries for your camping trip you wont have to buy those flimsy 2 gallon water jugs with the spout. It’s great being able to fill up this jug at the water spigot at the campground. It is very convenient to always have water in the campsite for drinking, washing dishes or hands.

Making the time to enjoy nature is  important, so I hope next time you head out on a camping trip you will leave the paper and plastic products at the store and bring your reusables. Happy Trails!

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10 Eco Summer Essentials

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I can hardly believe it’s the end of August already. The summer heat is still going strong here in San Diego and before the transition to Autumn begins I’m making sure to soak up all its goodness. It’s the perfect time of year to spend lots of time outside. For me a big part of living an eco lifestyle is being outside having great experiences in nature and using healthy, non-toxic products along the way. Below is a my list of Summertime essentials not to be missed.

  1. Read a great fiction book: During the year I read mostly non fiction books, magazines and blogs, I think it’s from years of being a student. During the summer I find that it is great to dive into a good fiction book. I just finished one so if you have any good fiction book recommendations please let me know. I’m not ready to go back to the world of non-fiction just yet!
  2. Sun hat: One that you love and will wear. I have super sensitive skin and finding a mineral based non-toxic face sunscreen has been a really big challenge so I oped for rocking the big floppy sun hat instead most of the time and love it. If I know my hats not coming off, aka I won’t be jumping into a pool, ocean or lake, I won’t put sunscreen on my face and my face thanks me.
  3. Mineral sunscreen: This summer I’ve been using this by Kiss My Face (don’t you just love that brand name?) Finding a good mineral sunscreen can be hard because they can leave a white film or be hard to rub in but this one has been great. I haven’t gotten burnt once this summer (knock on wood) thanks to this stuff and it does great if you are planning on being in and out of the water.
  4. Eco lip balm with SPF: During the summer I put away all other lip balms and only use my ones that have SPF in them; because even if you’re not planning to be at the beach all day you are still going to be outside. The sun is obviously more intense in the summer and the weather is drier so give eos or Kiss My Face a try. I’ve tried a lot and these don’t feel waxy; they smell great and keep your lips looking beautiful.DSC04386
  5. Lotion with lavender for sunburns: If you do get sunburned or you have just been in the sun all day and your skin is feeling like it needs some extra love, one of my favorite tricks is to use a very mild shea butter based lotion (this is my favorite lotion I use it everyday) and add 2 or 3 drops of lavender essential oil to the lotion before rubbing into your skin. It feels so calming and soothing.
  6. Day spent playing in the waves: I realize that those of you who don’t live near the beach this one will be more of a challenge, but go to the beach or body of water with the intention to let loose and play. As adults we don’t do nearly enough of that. So dive into a pool, lake, or the ocean, it doesn’t matter and let go of the “go, go, go” and the “to do” lists and just swim around and have fun!
  7. At least one camping trip: This has been an absolute must for me for many years now.  I’m happy to say we have gone on more than one trip so far and we are headed back out over the Labor day weekend. Summer and camping go hand in hand for me.  Load up the car and spend a weekend in the mountains, hiking, hanging out around the fire and grilling up yummy dinners.IMG_9684
  8. Reusable water bottle: Hydration is key in the summer. With the heat and sweating more we all get more thirsty. You don’t want to be somewhere with no water and end up having to buy water, so get your reusable water bottle out. Keep it on you at all times so you can refill it and reduce your waste.
  9. Eat lots of organic berries: They are delicious and in season so eat em up! Enough said.
  10. Lay out on a warm night and look up at the stars: I love to do this. It makes me feel incredibly small and expansive all at the same time. After some time of gazing has passed I find it fun sometimes to take out my phone and play around with the Google Sky Map app to see the names of stars, planets and constellations I’m looking at!

I hope you have been having a wonderful summer. What eco products or experiences are must’s on your summer time list? I’d love to know!

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Green Links – 8/7/14

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There is so much amazing information out there. I get inspired daily by blog posts, articles, reports and videos. I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favorites from this past month. A link round up all about green living, making yummy veggie gluten free food and living an inspired life.

I love now that I’m letting my eco-lifestyle flag fly more proudly, friends and family are sending me links to articles, tagging me in posts on Facebook and talking with me about their “green” acts…it’s awesome! These things bring me such joy. So I thought I would share the love!

  • An exciting video about a new German grocery store desinged to cut out packaging waste…so cool!
  • Every supermarket should do this! Watch this video about what a grocery store in France is doing to increase access to healthy food. This cuts down on food waste and increases farmers and stores revenue. So much good has come from what started out as a marketing campaign.
  • Try to read this fun article about 11 TV & Film starts that help save the planet without smiling or being nostalgic for your childhood. Any other Fern Gully fans out there?
  • An interesting article about the symbolic meaning of figs, plus the perfect fig recipe for the summer.
  • Farming, the green movement and scifi all together in this innovative design idea.
  • Turn an orange into a candle. I can’t wait to give this a try. Look for an Instgram photo coming soon to see if it’s as easy as they say.
  • How to ride your bike in a skirt. This video is so fun! It makes me want to get on my bike and start riding.
  • Summer is the perfect time for being outside and grilling. This is a more involved recipe, but perfect for sharing with friends on the weekend.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

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Drink Your Greens: Blueberry Love

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Salads, melons, stone fruit, berries, lots of sunlight hours and camping trips, these are just some of the things that jump to my mind when I think about the summer. Berries especially! In years past my favorite was blackberries but this year I cannot get enough of blueberries. It started with wanting some for my 4th of July sangria and from than on me and blueberries have been inseparable (I think I might have a problem). I eat them by themselves, with pecans and almonds for a snack, on oatmeal and of course I’ve been putting them in my green smoothies in the morning. So today in honor of my new found love for blueberries I bring you this super simple, delicious green summer time inspired smoothie!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 small handfuls of greens (I used spinach)
  • 1 handful of ice

Directions

  1. Add all above ingredients in order into high speed blender and blend until liquid! If you don’t have a high speed blender first add all liquid ingredients and greens and blend until liquid. Next add all other goodness and continue to blend (if you slice your banana before freezing it, it will work nicer with a regular blenders).
  2. Pour into two cups, share and enjoy the taste of summer abundance!

 

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Let me know if you try it or if you have a favorite summertime green smoothie you’ve been enjoying. I’d love to know!

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Whole Foods Shopping Experiment

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I have often thought of how cool it would be to do ALL my shopping at Whole Foods. How much time would be saved going to just one store where I can get all my food, body care and specialty items. We have all heard the phrase “Whole Paycheck” and like many others Whole Foods just seems so pricey to me.  It seems like it would be impossible to do my normal grocery shopping there. Before this experiment I would only go to Whole Foods for the body care section or if I needed some unusual ingredient for a gluten free vegan dessert or dish I wanted to make. Tyler and I cook 95% percent of the time breakfast, lunch and dinner so we do a LOT of shopping. I feel like I think Whole Foods is so expensive because when I go there I’m buying a few items that are higher priced, things that get use over a month(s) like lotion or raw cacao powder, not everyday things like rice, beans and broccoli.

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The opportunity came my way to test and see if the “Whole Paycheck” phrase was true for me. Tyler and I headed to Whole Foods on a normal Tuesday evening with our typical shopping list, debit and credit cards, just in case, with the intention of doing a weeks worth of normal shopping. The experience was fun because it was something new and we only had to go to one place to get everything we needed. I think this last piece is a BIG reason why I really wanted to do this.

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You see, we do a hodge podge of shopping, going to Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Vons, Whole Foods and the farmers markets depending on what we are making that week. There is never less than 2 stops on any given shopping trip. I’ve read many articles about other plant based diet eaters enjoying going to the store to pick up fresh ingredients multiple times a week and maybe this would be the case for me if I lived in Europe or a city with much better public transportation (this is a whole other topic). If I could walk to the train each day to get to work and on my way home stop at the market I might enjoy it as well. Sadly that is not the case, I would rather come home from work and spend the evening cooking, hanging out with loved ones, blogging, working in the yard and relaxing, not running yet another grocery errand. Sadly grocery shopping often just turns into a task, something else to do like laundry. I’m all about having enjoyment in my life and finding simple ways to infuse more joy into it.  As we filled the cart I found myself getting very nervous that our bill would break the bank but we did not hold back, we bought all our normal items.

Once we were done we headed to the check out line and held our breaths. The total was $174.  Although it was more than we typically spend it did not make me want to faint. We typically spend $90 to $120 at Trader Joe’s then another $20 to $50 at the other store(s) that we go to that week.  I’m not waving a flag boasting about the great deals at Whole Foods I’m just sharing that maybe though it’s pricey it stops me from impulse buying at more than one store (but those berries just look so good!), saves time and my sanity. Even after this experiment Tyler and I are still racing around San Diego to multiple places for our food each week.  I feel better actually knowing what it costs to shop there rather than just assuming it will be my Whole Paycheck.

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As I work towards finding my way while living a fun filled eco-lifestyle I know eating local and organic food is a part of it. In sharing my experience I would love to know what your shopping routines look like? Do you go all the time? Once a week? Visit multiple places? Seriously I want to know! Also if you love grocery shopping share your tips with me…I need them.

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15 Tips to Save Water

 

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I hope you had a great 4th of July! I celebrated in Big Bear with friends and family. It was nice to be in the mountains and to watch the fireworks show over the lake. Where we watched the fireworks from should have been underwater. I didn’t take a picture, but wish I had (sorry), we were sitting next to docks that should have been floating. In Southern California we are in a pretty serious drought and living in San Diego means that we are at the end of California’s water supply line. While the dry part of the lake made for a great spot to see the fireworks, it made me realize that I need to start doing more to conserve water. Sadly this isn’t my first drought but luckily I was taught while growing up in Southern California many important water saving methods. Many of these tips I already do around our home but it’s time to up my game and take on a few more, I hope you’ll join me!

Let’s save some water (15 Tips to Save Water)

  1. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth (Seriously why are people still leaving the water on?) You can save up to 4 gallons a minute!
  2. Water outside plants and planters boxes with watering cans instead of the hose or make sure your hose has a shut off nozzle.
  3. Check for leaks inside and outside AND fix them.
  4. Only run the dishwasher (I wish we had one) or washing machine if you have a full load.
  5. Plug the sink while washing dishes, it can save up to 1 liter of water every 6 seconds!
  6. Replace faucets, shower heads and toilets with low flow water efficient ones. I’m an eco nerd and I must admit I get excited when I see a toilet has the half flush option…blushing.
  7. Put mulch around the base of your outside plants to help reduce water evaporation.
  8. Buy and plant drought tolerant plants.
  9. Use a broom to clean up driveways and sidewalks not the hose.
  10. Use less plastic.
  11. Eat less meat.
  12. Take shorter showers, about 5 minutes.
  13. Although many would say it’s not a water saving tip to take a bath they are way too relaxing and necessary at times. A tip to saving water while still enjoying your bath is to plug the tub right when you turn on the water.
  14. Use a small bucket to collect water while your shower is warming up and use it to water outdoor plants.
  15. Collect the water you use while rinsing your fruits and veggies to water houseplants.

Want even more eco-lifestyle water saving tips? Click here

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4th of July Treehugger!

What do you do already or what are you going to start doing to save water? I’d love to know. Our world needs our help and we can make a few little changes and save A LOT of water.

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