Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Soda Stream

About a week ago I noticed a new kitchen gadget on our counter, a SodaStream my roommate purchased.  I've read about them before from books and bloggers, but had never experienced it myself.  But I can officially say it's my favorite kitchen gadget and a must buy when I move out of my apartment.  The only recipe I've been trying lately is sparking lemonade (I use sugar and lemon juice from a bottle), but it is just as good or better than the store.  I'm hoping to try other recipes including grenadine, but my grocery store doesn't carry it.  Would you use it?  http://www.sodastreamusa.com/

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bulk Bins

The illustrious bulk bins the area of my life where I know I could make the easiest change, yet I'm still hesitant.  My family has never really been one that would use bulk bins, especially in a time when plastic packaging is so abundant.  The only time I ever remember buying from bulk bins was before I went to summer camp as a child and my dad let me get a bag full of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (from what I remember we were both surprised that a small bulk bag of Jelly Beans ended up costing us close to $15).  The thing that makes me shy away from Bulk Bins is the convenience factor.  Dried beans?  I don't have time for those!  The fact that you have to decide the night before what you want to cook doesn't work well with a fast paced DC lifestyle.  I also have to battle the fact that most of my containers at home are plastic containers and I'm only now starting to stock up on glass jars.  Because of this I don't have a good place to store my bulk bin items.  For now I'm hoping to take the plunge into bulk bins soon, and I hope that it doesn't become a burden in the process.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Last Straw

One of the plastic items I've noticed with the worst impact are straws.  These little, usually helpful, pieces of plastic are everywhere!  Though I've taken to drinking my drinks without a lid or straw they still seem to pop up.  Most notably was when I was at a chain Mexican restaurant for Cinco de Mayo.  I didn't think anything of it when my drink came with a straw until my boyfriend pointed it out.  Now one straw I can let slide, but then the waiter proceeded to bring me TWO additional straws for my soda refill and water.  Seriously?  Even if I wasn't trying to eliminate plastic I would have just transferred my straw instead of taking the time to open two new straws.  Since I've been searching the internet for plastic free options I know there is a better way and I could purchase a glass straw, but for now I'm just planning on going sans-straw and plastic lid.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Plastic Free

I'm in the process of taking the Plastic Waste Challenge from Beth Terry's website.  www.myplasticfreelife.com  Some information about my first week is below:

What suggestions would you like from the group to reduce your plastic waste?
How can I cut down my individual consumable items such as string cheese? Also since I work crazy hours (it's D.C.) what convenience foods are available that have no plastic?
Week Number
List of plastic items you REFUSED this week. (Thanks!)
Plastic Utensils
plastic bags
Total number of plastic items in your stash
List of recyclable items
3 water bottles
3 Mountain Dew Bottles
1 Gallon Sweet Tea
1 Tide Detergent Bottle
1 Bottle Conditioner
2 Bottle Shampoo
1 Box pasta noodles (plastic window)
1 McDonalds Cup
1 ice pack container
List of non-recyclable items or those you are unsure of
4 Straws
2 Styrofoam Cups
1 Candle lighter package
1 Hair Accessory Package
1 Pore Strip Packaging
3 Granola Bar packages
1 ramen package
1 bread plastic
plastic package for fresh Parsley
plastic six-pack ring
1 bag shredded cheese
1 individual string cheese wrapper
1 oatmeal lid
1 bag Doritos
1 bag Ruffles potato chips
1 styrofoam take out container (not pictured)
What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
Drink items can be stored in reusable stainless steel bottles
Straws can be replaced with a glass straw
Plastic Utensils can be replaced with metal utensils
Shampoo and Conditioner can be replaced with No-Poo (currently trying it, but not loving it)
What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
Granola Bars (though I would want another fast snack)
String Cheese
Chips (these were leftovers from a camping trip)
Bills or other mail with plastic windows
candle lighter (I could use matches
What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
trash bags (my roommates aren't open to the idea of composting)
What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I need to change my eating and cooking habits. I work a lot of weird hours for my job and most of the time I don't have the chance to cook and it look for convenience foods.
I should look into bringing my own to-go containers with me.
What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
This week I changed from using plastic utensils and paper plates at work to bringing my own dish and utensils.
I want to look into using bulk bins more, though this will take extra planning since I've never made items like dry beans before.
What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Most of the plastic I use is for convenience items. To make big plastic changes in my life I need to make sure that I plan my meals and time to fit this lifestyle.
Post Tags

  • plastic bags
  • plastic bottles
  • plastic caps
  • plastic containers
  • plastic envelope windows
  • plastic lids
  • plastic packaging
  • plastic straws
  • plastic utensils
  • plastic wrappers
  • Styrofoam cups
  • Styrofoam packaging
  • plastic trash
  • plastic waste
  • plastic challenge

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sea Otters!

At the end of July Andrew and I will be traveling to Monterey for one of his college friend's weddings.  For one thing I'm incredibly excited to go to the beach (and hopefully all of this running will give be a bang'n bikini body), but I'm also excited for the Monterey Bay Aquarium!  One of my favorite things in the world are Sea Otters.  Many times when I'm sad or depressed I'll turn on the Monterey Bay Aquarium webcam of the Sea Otters (see below).  It's hard to believe that my actions are harming them and the Sea Otters in the ocean.  For something so small, why should my actions wreck such havoc on their eco system?  What have they done (Ok, besides raping baby seals.  Not even kidding, look it up.  Or don't, that way they will stay cute in your mind)?  I'm afraid that in the future generations won't be able to look out on the beautiful sandy beaches without seeing dead fish carcasses and plastic.  I'm hoping to see what I can do while I'm there to help, or at least educate myself and others.

Thursday, May 16, 2013



Shy, socially awkward, weird: whatever you call it, I'm that person!  I'm the person that I absorb information you tell me and then spout it back to you (yes, I remember it's your cat's birthday.  Why?  Because you had once told me.  I have a weird memory.  Don't hate.).  The thing I can't do is tell you about my own life or hold a conversation for more than a few minutes unless I know you really well.   Since I am trying to be more eco friendly and reduce my plastic consumption how will that come across to others?  Will I stumble over my words trying to explain to them why I'm doing this?  Will it just come across as another weird thing that Dara does in addition to not being hold a conversation?  We will see!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Life After 25

Life After 25

It's coming, I can feel it.  My 25th birthday.  Geez, how did it get here so fast?  I don't feel like I'm in a bad place, I'm the youngest person in my Department, but at the same time what am I doing to set myself apart from the competition?  Since I work with kids I'm inconstantly surrounded by kids who are doing great things or attending events that I would have never dreamed of before (seriously, you are 15 and meeting Hillary Clinton.), but I'm still young enough to make a difference.  I'm hoping to keep up with this blog, but who knows.  I feel like the link to the video below pretty much sums up everything.