Lately, I have been in Spring Cleaning mode. Out with the old, extra, cluttery, stuff! It feels very satisfying to clean out and pass my stuff on (even the super cool stuff I just don't need) to friends or the charity thrift store. I am also looking at my habits to see what eco-friendly choices I can make to :
A) replace worn out or broken stuff
B) create an alternative to spending money and creating waste over and over again
Stopping, or slowing down, a consumption cycle and simplifying life seems so attractive right now in my life.
In general, buying more stuff isn't all that eco-friendly, but lately I've decided to invest in a few items (and sing the praises of some I've been using for years) to create a long-term kit for reducing waste, saving money, and keeping my living space nicely organized and functional.
Flip & Tumble Reusable produce bags: These are $5.10 for 5 on Amazon. I love that they are color coded, so if you buy certain stuff that you want to use the same bag for over and over, you can. These are light enough to not weigh down bulk food prices, and totally solve the problem of using 8 million plastic or paper bulk bags. I bought wild rice and quinoa today, then transferred both right into the mason jars I keep them in at home. Score!! With 5 in a pack, you could leave some at home, some in your bag, etc. and always be prepared.
PeopleTowels: I watched a great video today by Eco-Vegan Gal. She totally convinced me to get a few PeopleTowels. (The reusable water bottle is also a terrific suggestion. I am rocking a Sigg that I've had for about 4 years now- Make Love Not Landfill!)I already carry around so much in my bag, a reusable towel wouldn't be a hassle at all. I hate using paper towels, paper napkins, etc. These adorable little towels solve that issue, and I'm guessing with line drying (I do this as much as possible), will probably last a long time. They also seem a friendly way to start a conversation with someone about another easy way to save money and resources. I got so jazzed that I signed up to be an ambassador- use the promo code "ambassadorepw38" to save 10% at PeopleTowels.com!
Menstruating ladies, behold Gladrags! I am a true blue fan of this company. I've been using the same set of Gladrags for about ten years now (good ole linedrying strikes again, increasing the life of these organic pads by a lot). I may be a weirdo, but I actually look forward to using my Gladrags when the time comes around. These are zero waste, last forever if you care for them, and actually create a sense of respect and love for your body and all it's processes :)
And finally, one of the best companies I have ever interacted with: Glass Dharma! I make a smoothie almost every day, and I realized that I was jamming my way through hundreds of straws a year. I dunno about you, but my smoothies are seriously thick, so I need a straw to enjoy them! I tried a knockoff glass straw and loved the reusable factor, but the glass felt too thin for my comfort. When I tried I Glass Dharma straw, I fell in love! What's more...they offer a lifetime guarantee! I love everything about this company and it's products. They have a great array of straws, and the customer service is truly impressive. *Slurrrp*
I am not a big teevee watcher, but when we are tuning in, the Food Network is a staple. I love cooking shows! Since I live in reality, I don't get upset when most shows focus on some very nasty (IMO) "proteins." Just because I don't eat meat doesn't mean others have to make that decision or tiptoe around it.
That being said....DAMN. Did anyone watch the Worst Cooks episode last night? It was such a pitiful representaion of veganism that I wanted to hide under my couch...or go on attack. Problem #1: One of the contestants wives came on and shared that she was vegan, mostly due to her husband's horrible cooking. Problem #2: Furthermore, she agreed wholeheartedly to eating a porkchop stuffed with bacon, but only if he cooked it nicely. Problem #3: She happily ate the meat (both her husband's dish and the other contestant's lobster extravaganza!) on camera, just a'smiling.
GAH!! What is up?! I like the contestants on this show, and I know they are real people who deserve respect amd shouldn't get blasted for stuff they did on a reality show. At the same time, think a little, people! Why even sully the name of actual practing vegans by throwing in this obviously meat-eating person calling herself a vegan? Geez. It got me riled up. I know everyone can make their own choices, but with all the lame crap that vegans (for reasons of ethics, health, allergies, religion, or otherwise) put up with, WHY FOOD NETWORK?!!!
Maybe just to create a little stir. Mission accomplished at camp Pixiepine!!! *Grumble grumble grumble, waving fist in the air*
Hello all! I completed month 1 and the "recovery" week (bollocks! I am more sore now than ever!). About halfway through the Cardio Core & Balance recovery week, my knees and back really started bothering me! I am super paranoid about fitness injuries, because sometimes a little thing can take a person out for a long time! I went ahead and started month 2 on the scheduled day. Made it through the warm-up, but stopped after the 1st workout exercise. My knees were in agony!!
I've given in plenty of thought, and I am going to repeat Month 1, mixed with some other moderate intensity workouts. The plan is to go back and get stronger at some of the month 1 moves I never was able to do, then move on to Month 2 when my knees and back are stronger again.
Today was my first hybrid workout and it rocked! I did an Insanity stretch and warmup (about 15 minutes) and then the level 2 workout from Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown. My heart rate got up, the floor got sweaty, and I have that nice post-workout wobble going! :) I am really happy with my plan so far! It feels like a reasonable compromise between listening to my body but continuing to push towards greater intensity workouts.
In other news, I am enjoying coffee from my new HOT PINK coffee maker, on my newly clean patio, in the newly breezy Louisiana spring weather. Ahhh!! I spent last weekend purging my stuff and cleaning, and the reward has been great so far. Filled my car about 5 times full of stuff for the charity thrift store, and wow, satisfying!
When that was over, I replaced the following things:
2 handmade potholders from the lovely kngo shop on Etsy (donated or threw away our burnt and stuffing-less ones)
1 set of rainbow mugs/cereal bowls (donated our chipped/cracked ones)
orange tea kettle (clearance!)
pink coffee maker (clearance!) (donating or gifting the old one)
purple heather jersey sheets for the bed (using the old set for household cleaning/scrap fabric)
Five carloads out, five shiny new useful items in- love it!! I love my clean space, and I love my new useful items. Happy happy! As a final p.s., and an explanation for all this extra motivation, I'm so happy to say that I have secured a new job doing counseling in a private practice, and I'll be full time within the next month or so. It's a wonderful opportunity to help people, be compensated well, and just generally feel like the time and effort I put in at work is truly making a difference. I am super thankful and just very jazzed about the positive changes this will bring about in my life!
I have to be honest and say that I've never purchased these before, even though I've seen them. I assumed they were nasty chemical cleaners packaged in a "green" manner, end of story. With a box of free products on my doorstep, I've decided to give them a try and share the pros and cons. (Disclaimer: I have become a weirdo lady who mostly makes my own cleaners, so this should be interesting!)
So far I've tried out these products:
All Purpose Cleaner:
*very mild scent (I really hate overwhelming fragrance)
*recyclable (or refillable!) bottle
*no animal testing (this is a biggie and can be super hard to navigate when you are choosing from products offered at most conventional supermarkets)
*supports the Sierra Club
*the addition of colorants. I get it that consumers want a pleasant product, but I'd be happier with a clear spray that leaves out unneccessary things. Overall though, the ingredient list is short, understandable, and without offending stuff!
*pretty sure the sprayer isn't recycylable (refilling would take care of this, though!)
I also used the Compostable Cleaning Wipes.
Yep, I said compostable! How fun is that? At our house, there is usually a cannister of cleaning wipes in the kids' bathroom. It is not the most eco-friendly thing to have, but in the battle of nasty kid-proportion messes, it's one of the few conventional products we still use. I *love* that these wipes are both compostable and made from natural ingredients.
*recyclable (cannister) & compostable (product)
*great for gross/germy messes that you don't want to use towels on
*no animal testing
*Again, the use of added fragrance seems unnecessary to me.
*If consumers choose not to compost, it's still a wipe getting thrown in the garbage as opposed to a cleaning cloth that can be washed and reused over and over.
Verdict: I was pleased with how these products worked, and the ingredient listings looked suprisingly simple. Do I still support making your own cleaners in reusable containers? Of course!
I do think these Green Works products are a great choice when you need a conventional cleaner or can't make your own for whatever reason. It is nice to know that there is an eco-friendlier, healthier choice at conventional stores for when the situtaion arises. I also had the thought that these products might be a nice way to get people interested in an eco-friendlier lifestyle. Baby steps! I prefer homemade, local, and eco-friendly, but I sure appreciate that companies, no matter how big or how destructive they have been, are making efforts to improve their products and their environmental impact.
Here's a little glance at one of my free time projects! I decided to take all of the icons named in Le Tigre's song, Hot Topic, and mail my friends little informative letters or postcards on each person. It's a project that goes out about once a month and will go on for a while!
In Singles, Cliff says to Janet..."You rock my world."
I would like to say that to the Happy Herbivore cookbook...HH- you rock my world!!!! I love this cookbook. Today's post is about the life changing sauces and spreads in this magical tome.
First- Nutty Spread!! This is a genius sort of peanut butter spread...cut with white beans! This book is big on taste as well as health, and this recipe is a true winner. I put it to work with ants on a log.
Next is homemade vegan mayo...which can then be added into other recipes like faux tuna salad and ranch dipping sauce.
I am so jazzed by these recipes and the many more I have been making from this great cookbook. It's been a while since I have been really excited about new recipes- this is exciting!
Here are my 11 questions: 1. What is in your purse right now?
Ay ay ay! A lot! I tend to carry lots of books and vegan snacks everywhere...journal, good reading, bananas, food bars, etc.! I also keep my phone, chapstick, hair rubber bands, pens, and a reusable shopping tote in there. My bag and wallet are awesome handmade gear from Slaughterhead...like these!
2. What is the one room you dread to clean in your home?
3. Where do you draw your inspiration from in your home decor?
I really love tons of colors! I keep a running Pinterest board going with lovely pictures. I also love the aesthetic of Sara Janssen of Walk Slowly, Live Wildly blog. My go-to's are colorful, fun, and ,eco-friendly!
4. What is your favorite holiday and why?
I love Halloween & Christmas...cozy cool weather, good food, and wardrobe fun! 5. What are your go-to beauty products that you swear by?
I really love the fruit-pigmented mascara from 100% Pure and the makeup from Everyday Minerals. These are super quality cruelty-free staples that really get the job done beautifully. 6. What would you consider your dream job?
Getting paid to eat and travel, maybe. Something to do with healthy living and vegan food :) 7. What is one blog you read regularly and why?
Soy lattes, fancy herbal tea, & Etsy splurges!! Some more favorites are bath products, pretty dresses, books, and music.
9. Who is your celebrity crush?
I dunno. I am kind of out of touch with celebrities. People who I love in general for their good looks and or talent are Ani DiFranco, LL Cool J, Lenny Kravitz, JD Samson, Bitch, & Michelle Tea. 10. What is one store you go to and almost never come out empty handed?
Anything of the Free People/Anthropologie variety. Also, any health food store!
11. What is your favorite blog post you have written and why?
Hello all! To tell you the truth, I have a gotten a little bored posting the blow by blow of Insanity, (and if I'm bored, I bet you're bored!). I am still on track and will just post general updates as I go sweatily along! The end of month one is in sight and I am very happy with my increasing strength and stamina :) (Plus my pants seems a little more roomy!)
But onto really good topics...how amazing is vegan ice cream?! Since I am burning 8 million calories a workout, I have been indulging in a little vegan ice cream for a treat. One half cup is the general serving size, and it is a very satisfying little treat! Here's two of my faves I've tried lately.
Mucho thanks to Bianca, at Vegan Crunk, for introducing me to this awesome product!! I won her giveaway and used my coupons for some GoodBelly at Whole Foods on a recent trip to Dallas. (There's no Whole Foods in my area, which is sad, because I love it in a passionate, recreational shopping/wine-tasting/fancy chocolate-buying way...but which is great because we have a thriving mom-n-pop health food store that doesn't have to live in fear of a giant store running them out of town!)
So anywaaaays...GoodBelly...I LOVE!!! GoodBelly makes vegan probiotic juices and shots. I used my free vouchers for some Straight Shots, Tropical Green, and Coconut Water. I love the taste of these drinks! I can tell they are good for my belly, which since going vegan has been much less troublesome, but could always use a tuneup. Also, I am 100% in support of cute packaging, so of course I totally loved the happy face container!
And since they can probably explain it better than me, from the site:
GoodBelly is a juicy and delicious probiotic drink that contains live & active probiotic cultures.GoodBelly Probiotic Juice Drinks are dairy-free, soy-free and vegan. Just right for those of you who experience digestive upset from these common food sensitivities and anybody who loves the refreshing taste of juice. GoodBelly Probiotic Drinks are available in several great tasting varieties and unique flavor combinations. Here’s a quick look at our products:
GoodBelly products contain Lactobacillus plantarum299v (Lp299v), one of the most well studied probiotic cultures available on the market.
GoodBelly may promote healthy digestion when consumed daily as a part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.*
GoodBelly’s probiotic juice drinks are certified organic (with the exception of black currant and coconut water varieties, due to a limited organic supply.)
All of our probiotic juice drinks are dairy-free, soy-free, and entirely vegan.
Love it love it love it! In fact, I even contacted GoodBelly here to see if they could strike up a deal to be sold at my local HFS. Yay!! This is definitely a product I would love to commit to on daily basis if it's sold here at some point. In the meantime, it has been awarded a spot on the list of awesome products I stock up on when I hit the big cities! Does anyone else come home with a cooler full of stuff when you travel?
Hi all- I am having such a nice Wednesday I had to share!
Number one awesomeness is that I am on workout 22 of Insanity! I can't believe that the end of month #1 is getting close! I am proud to say that I haven't cheated, skipped, or fast-forwarded (ooooh how I have wanted to at times!) through anything. All workouts done to the best of my panting, trembling, ability.
Number 2 awesomeness is that I won a wonderful Leap Year Giveaway at Bubby and Bean. Couldn't have come at a better time- a treat does wonders for a weary lady!
I am so excited and will definitely be sharing the cuteness when it comes in!
Number 3 awesomeness is that I had a super informative and enjoyable chat today with certified nutritional consultant, holistic health practitioner, and blogger extraordinaire Angel Quintana. She is full of great info and I am excited about exploring the possibilities of positive change to my thoughts, diet, and life in general!
I will close with a picture that makes me happy...courtesy of this lovely blog.
I love the follwing list, excerpted from a great post over at Crazy Sexy Life on overeating. I think I need to do all of these at once after a vacation/husband's birthday/new job whirlwind...there has been a LOT of (albeit vegan) cake consumed, and I feel like a big toxic sugarbowl. Gah!!
"Create a sacred ritualOne of the best ways to nourish yourself every day is to create a sacred ritual that makes you feel centered, strong and harmonious. When you include this in your routine, you will find that over time you are better able to identify and address thoughts, feelings and stress that contribute to overeating (and other unhelpful habits). What you include in your ritual is entirely up to you. For most people, one or a combination of the following works well:
Yoga and stretching
Drinking water or herbal tea
Reading inspirational material
Listening to music
Speaking to a loved one
Playing with your pets
Having a hot bath or shower
(I would add letter-writing, bicycling, splurging on Starbux, and sleeping late to this lovely list!)
Workout 12: Plyometric Cardio Circuit: I started out feeling really strong, stretching farther and taking fewer breaks. Then those blasted SKI ABS came my way and I felt as weak as ever. Whew, this is a tough workout! I did feel overall stronger as I got week 3 of Insanity started. Yay!
Workout 13: Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs: Whew! Another tough workout, but I definitely powered through this one with fewer breaks and better form on the exercises. Feeling stronger and loving the workouts! I've been eating like a madwoman (erm, vegan carrot cake from Whole Foods..like a monster!) so I'm not sure what my weight looks like, but I am loving the exercise and am willing to take a little more time to see results. Sometimes I just need some cake :P
Workout 14: Cardio Recovery: Well, this felt like less of a break than last time I did it! I'm guessing that I am getting stronger, getting deeper into the exercises, and thereby getting sweatier! This is a great stretch, but also includes a lot of challenging balance and core moves. Viva Insanity! I'm loving it!
Workout 15: Today was Cardio Power & Resistance. OMG ya'll. I dunno what made today different, but it was so HARD. I felt like I did when I first started this program! I sweat more than I have in a while, and the exercises felt super challenging. I'm pretty proud to have finished my workout still breathing today! Whew...scared for tomorrow, but then I get a day off!
Workout 16: Plyometric Cardio: Yeah...no. I worked at 2 of my 3 jobs today and started my period. Me & Shaun T. are just not gonna kick it. On the menu is Pure Sweat yoga with Rainbeau Mars instead. Yep. I am feeling a little nutty and way overstressed. I am considering spacing out Insanity workouts with other stuff like yoga and bicycling to cut down on the amped/tense pace of life at the moment. We shall see. I do love how strong I am getting, but I feel comfortable making Insanity a 3 month experience rather than a two, maybe, so that I can do some enriching exercise in there too. Updates to come!
ETA: Bwahahahaa! My idea to make Insanity a gentler experience lasted all of one day, during which I did yoga, decided to use it as a my rest day, and resumed schedule the next morning. I am just too stubborn to alter course in the middle of something. Besides...I am getting strong! I can hang for 60 days!
Hello friends! Today's post is on my favorite veggie meat ever! I am not a big fan of fake meat in general, having tried so many gross varieties in my years of being veg.
I gotta say...Gardein sort of blows up the stereotypes of weirdly-textured, oddly-flavored veg mystery meats. It is amazing! It tastes so good, and the texture is perfect. Our favorite is the Chik'n Scallopini. It is amazing cooked and sliced on top of a big fresh salad- ahhhh!!! I never was a chicken fan, so I won't say it mimics chicken- it's a million times better! It gives a very satisfying fullness to salads and grains that are traditionally served with chicken.
Gardein was kind of enough to send me some coupons, and I chose Beefless Burgers to share with friends and review. We made a great choice!
I cooked the burgers on the stovetop, and we enjoyed them with ridiculously yummy toppings!
The Beefless Burger on Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bun with onions, ketchup, mustard, and homemade vegan queso!!! We also enjoyed some homemade pickles and pasta salad with spinach, tomatoes, and basil. Yummmmm! Two thumbs up for the taste, texture, and ease of preparation. I can't wait to try more Gardein varieties!