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. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

DC Summer Heat

DC Summer Heat

Washington DC is known for politics, memorials and HEAT!  The city was founded on a swamp of all places.  Since the summer is so hot and keeping cool is always a concern what can we do to cool off while making sure that we are being eco friendly?  Let's take a look at the ways:

  • Carry your own reusable water bottle.  It's tempting to buy drinks while you are out and about, but those cost a lot of money and create waste.  I know that this will be interesting for me personally since I downside my purse and try to carry as little as possible during the hot summer months. 
  • Use less straws, or bring your own!  I'm considering purchasing a dharma glass straw to cut down on the small waste, but when it's hot and you order milk shakes or any additional drinks don't forget about the small plastic that is generated from your actions.
  • Clothing-  I know that my boyfriends sweats a lot, to the point that he is uncomfortable from not only the heat but from his sweat.  After doing a project for school he recently learned about the plastic water bottle shirts that are offered from UnderArmour.  Not only do they give back to the community in Baltimore, they are taking more steps to become eco-friendly.  One of their newest products is a sweat wicking shirt that is made from recycled bottles.  Though buying new clothes creates additional items for landfills, this is a product I can get behind.    

Tuesday, May 7, 2013



Back in March of 2013 I started a running class with Potomac River Running (PRR).  I've really enjoyed getting out and exercising more.  Though sometimes running isn't my favorite (let's face it I would rather sit on my butt eating ice cream than running), I'm still doing it.  I've already signed up for the second set of classes over the summer.  The hard thing about running is all of the gear.  I've already covered that I like to shop and running gear is so enticing, especially with the claims that it will make you a better runner!

I'm torn on this one.  I want to be more eco-friendly but I also want to keep up my heath.  What are your thoughts?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eco Beauty

Eco Beauty

I am an avid Youtube Beauty Vlogger viewer.  Michelle Phan, JuicyStar07, AllThatGlitters21, MakeUpByTiffanyD: I have been following them since early 2007.  I've grown up with these women and their beauty advice.  Do I actually follow any of them?  No.  (I can tell you all about the latest MAC collection or what the best eye primer is though).  There are some things in my life that are beauty constants though and I want to see how I can improve on them.  

My Current Loves:
  • St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub- I have an EXTREMELY OILY face that is prone to acne and I love the feeling of scrubbers on my face.
  • John Frieda Brilliant Brunette- I have really long hair which, well, gets oily.  The only shampoo and conditioner that I've consistently used for the past few years has been this one.
  • Carmex Lip Balm- I apply lip balm on my lips constantly since they dry out so fast (ok, ok, I know that it is probably a product of me using too much lip balm).  I've used other chapsticks (burts bees is a weird consistency, Chapstick doesn't stay on long enough), but they have never been up to the caliber of Carmex.
  • Clinique Yellow Moisturizer- I've used this stuff since I was 13, it's pretty much a staple of my day.
What can I change?

  • Shikai Shampoo-  After reading online a while ago about the best eco friendly shampoos I ran across Shikai Shampoo. It is a better dupe for the John Frieda Brilliant Brunette than I've seen in eco friendly and non-eco friendly shampoos.  I think I will continue to purchase it, but it comes in small amounts in a plastic bottle.  
  • Other changes?  We will see, I'm still researching to see what would be best.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Buying Power

Buying Power

I love things.  Being able to hold something in my hands or swipe my credit card to purchase said item always gives me a little high.  Am I a shopaholic?  That depends on who you ask, but generally I'm fairly good with my money.  

Once I started thinking about going "greener" or cutting out my plastic consumption the first thing I wanted to do though was "buy, Buy, BUY!".  Now that I'm cutting down my plastic wouldn't it be great to invest in a ceramic soup mug to eat my ramen in?  How about buying a new set up utensils to leave at work so I'm not using plastic?  I'm running out of toothpaste, wouldn't the new LUSH tooth-y tabs help with my plastic consumption?  

I am constantly surrounded by gadgets and items that would help me "go green", but do I really need them?  I had this same eco-kick once I arrived back from the Philippines in 2008, but did the things I do then create a lasting habit?  My klean kanteen still sits on a shelf since I prefer my clear plastic water bottles.  The recycled paper Christmas cards I send out every year?  More than likely trashed.  

My goal is to evaluate the things I want to buy and see if I really need them.  If I do and they would help with my plastic consumption, great!  If not, we will see. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Coke, Soda, Pop

Coke, Soda, Pop

No matter what you call it I'm a pretty big soda drinker.  Coming from rural Tennessee I was raised on Mountain Dew and have been known to spend my day drinking nothing but the sugary goodness of that soda.  Over the years I've done a few things to cut down my soda consumption from only allowing myself to drink soda in the car to purchasing it only before work events where I will need the caffeine.  

Fast forward to the past couple of weeks.  Work has been rough, let's face it when you end up working 14-16 hour days and are running on 3 hours of sleep Mountain Dew is a lifesaver.  What can I do to change things?  Well in the time being I'm not going to purchase anymore plastic bottle sodas, but I will allow myself to buy sodas that are packaged in glass bottles.  Let's see how this goes!     

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Eco Life Crisis

As I enter my Quarter Life Crisis (25) I've starting to wonder…  What have I offered the world?  Have I really made a difference?  Am I turning in a boring 20-something?   At the same time what am I actually doing to change things?  I hope that this blog will help me evaluate what I’m doing to make a change in my life and others.     Goals: 
  • READ!  Read as much literature about the environment and bettering myself. Currently I’m reading Beth Terry’s “Plastic Free” to get a better understanding of plastic on our environment.
  • Evaluate my plastic consumption:  What can I do to make a change and work to eradicate one-time-use objects in my life
  • Shopping:  What new products can I find to support this lifestyle and what can I get rid of?
 Join me on this journey and help keep me accountable!