Why You Should Have An Indoor Greenhouse

Being able to grow your own food is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Every spring since I was 12 was dedicated to seed growing. Except that one spring in my college dorm where my roommate hogged the entire window. Although a few boys down the hall did ask how to grow weed in their room. Ah, Colorado.

Mentioning Colorado, the seasons are completely different here compared to my much more northern state of Michigan.

The sun here is lethal.

One summer, I lived in this place where the patio floor would get so hot, I couldn’t even stand on it without my feet feeling like they were melting. Needless to say, nothing I grew that year survived that heat.

This is when I decided to invest $40 and buy a baby indoor greenhouse.

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This thing has been through three moves in the past few years and countless seasons.

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I’m not an expert by any means, but a few people have asked me the easiest way to keep a garden going all year in these cold climates and don’t have access to a full greenhouse… this is my solution.

If you’re looking for one, this one: click here, is very similar to the one I have (that I don’t believe is for sale any longer).

August 2016 Challenge: Go Without Plastic Straws

Few items beat the plastic straw in terms of pollution.

With plastic straws, you only use them once and they go immediately in the trash.

Some estimates say that over 500 million straws are used in the US every single day. That’s just the US. I can’t even imagine the numbers if the whole world was included.

I never even recognized this problem until I worked for a glass straw company.

Then, I realized how often plastic straws are used in the day to day world. At every fast food place, many restaurants, schools, sports stadiums… Everywhere.

Rarely are the straws available biodegradable. Instead, the plastic straws just break down over time into smaller plastic that generally ends up in our oceans and waterways.

Along with the plastic pollution from straws, it also requires oil and gas to create these straws in the first place.

Hot straws can cause the plastic to leak certain chemicals into your body as well. This isn’t always the case, but it’s something to keep in mind if you choose to drink something like coffee or tea through a straw every day.

Here are some more reasons that plastic straws shouldn’t be in your life.

What to Do Instead

There are so many alternatives to the cheap, common plastic straw.

There are some biodegradable straws on the market. Although those still require a whole process to create, they’re still a better alternative.

There are so glass, bamboo, and stainless steel straws.

As I mentioned earlier, I worked for a glass straw company and still use my glass straws every single day. I know it seems strange to spend $10+ on a reusable straw, since we have been conditioned to believe they’re cheap/free everywhere we go, but one straw can last years. Most companies also have a return policy if you break them.

It’s a small price to pay for the benefit of making my small, small, small dent of helping the planet.

So, for August try to avoid using a plastic straw all together or better yet, invest in a reusable one.

Feel free to share this with your friends and challenge them to go plastic straw free this month!

Also, subscribe and get easy tips right to your inbox for helping the planet. No spam ever! Just actionable, easy tips.

The Honest Company Breathe Easy Rub Review

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As I mentioned in my other post about the Honest Company, I think they’re great in general, so my opinion is a little biased in that regard.

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I saw this in the store and couldn’t help but try it. I’ve been using Vicks VapoRub since I was a kid and I was intrigued by an organic alternative.

The basics to know about the breathe easy product:

  • USDA Organic
  • Menthol and petrolatum free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Made with organic aromatherapy oils

The first thing I noticed when I opened it and put it on was the fantastic smell. Most people know the Vicks smell if you’ve ever used it.

This does not have that smell. Instead, it has a wonderful eucalyptus, rose hip, tea tree, rosemary, and lavandin smell.

My allergies have been trying to kill me this season, and honestly this breathe easy rub helps a lot. I rub just a little right under my nose and it’s amazing how fast my stuffy nose goes away.

I haven’t tried this when I’m sick yet (fingers crossed that won’t be for awhile!), but it’s my new nightly routine to put just a small amount right under my nose and curl up and read before I fall asleep.

The only complaint I have about the product is that the great smell doesn’t last as long as I’d like. It’s gone after a few minutes, but thankfully the clear breathing continues.

Overall: I love this breathe easy rub so much and I’m going to use it for a long, long time.

You can get the Honest Co. organic breathe easy: click here.

It can also be found at your local store and they have a handy store locator: here.

Do The Best You Can

After my last grocery haul, I got home and realized some of the products were not products I really meant to buy.

Some were from companies I don’t support.
Some were not nearly as “healthy” as the label claims.
Some of these foods have ingredients I always try to avoid.

After being upset and debating walking all the way back to the store to return everything, I took my dog out and thought about it for a second.

Here’s the thing, sometimes we need to just relax.

Yes, it’s important to continue to give money to amazing companies and healthy products.

At the same time, we’re all just trying the best we can.

Some days everything goes well, and some days it doesn’t.

All that matters is that you never give up.

Earth Month 2016 Celebration Ideas

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Photo by Christian Joudrey from Unspalsh

Today is Earth Day, and although every day should be Earth Day, this is a good time to go through our lives and see if we’re helping or hindering the environment with our choices.

I know I personally have a lot of things to go continue to adjust, especially as I learn more things about companies and the things they try to sneak under the eye of the public.

While it seems like one person changing their habits won’t have a huge impact, when a lot of people collectively make a lifestyle change, the impact is huge. Don’t underestimate your influence on your friends, family, and community.

Here are some easy solutions this month for small habit changes:

Reducing plastic use

From our food packaging, to our bathroom items, to our childcare products, and everything in-between, plastic is in all of it.

While plastic seemed like a good, cheap alternative in the beginning to other options like glass and wood, it ended up being disastrous for the planet and our health.

Here are 11 more easy options from Treehugger to reduce your daily plastic use: here.

Simply Straws, a glass straw company, is giving away a free straw this month if you pledge against plastic on your social media account.

Cutting down on water use

“According to the U.S. Geological Survey the average person uses between 80-100 gallons of water per day and estimates that 95% of the water we use, goes down the drain (1). So we waste 76-95 gallons per day per person.” Source: Here.

That is an insane amount of water.

Walk or car pool

Living in downtown Denver has made it incredibly easy to walk where I need to go, but it’s interesting how many people I talk to that refuse to walk anywhere even if it’s just a few blocks away.

Grow your own herbs or plants

I have a whole post on this: here.

Spend time in nature

There is a ton of research on the benefits of spending time in nature, and Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to receive all the benefits from being outside.

Only recycle

The average American throws away 4.5 lbs. of trash a day. Try to make today at zero. Only recycle today, or better yet, aim for zero trash at all.

Buy from a farmers market

Items from a farmers market are usually more nutrient dense, but did you also know buying from a farmers market can help the environment?

Donate to a cause that matters to you

There are thousands of organizations across the world that work hard to save the environment. If you have anything to spare, a lot of those organizations could always use your help. Make today the day.

My Favorite Eco Companies and Nonprofits During April 2015

*Just to note: I am not sponsored by any of these nonprofits. I just really like their goals.

1. Leaping Bunny.

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I, personally, feel better when I buy home products not tested on animals. I didn’t even know this was a thing until I was in my 20’s and it is clearly a well-kept secret by most big companies.

If you see their logo on a product, you can rest assured it is cruelty-free. Plus, they have a free guide on their website for all the certified companies that do not test on animals.

The whole site and all their information is free. I’d highly, highly recommend their site.

2. Protect Our Winters.

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As a Colorado resident, I love the Rocky Mountains. One of my favorite parts of traveling into the mountains is snowboarding in the winter.

Protecting every inch of snow is an important part to keep the mountains and the towns up there thriving. Protect Our Winters works hard to combine the winter action sports community with the opportunities to protect our winters.

3. 5 Gyres.

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5 Gyres worked hard to actually try and put a number to the number of plastic in our oceans. (In case you were wondering, it comes out to about 270,000 metric tons.) They focus on educating consumers as well as corporate and legislative responsibility to try and get everyone working together to solve this massive problem.

Spring Decluttering (While Helping the Planet)

While the spring brings about a desire to get outside, it can also bring a desire to clean the house.

I love purging in the spring. It’s been a habit ever since growing up watching Martha Stewart.

The problem I keep encountering on my decluttering journey is that now what I know happens to a lot of our plastic that is thrown away, I hate the idea of just tossing things in the trash.

It’s even hard for me to watch those decluttering shows where they take a TON of crap and just simply throw it away without trying to recycle or donate it.

To avoid this, I’m finding new ways to reuse everything. Currently on my desk, I have old plastic Easter decorations that hold my pens, index cards, and spare headphones.

In the past, I followed the general advice: “Get rid of everything you don’t need!” only to feel like kicking myself months later when I needed some of those things and now have to go buy them again. Ugh.

So, my goal for this spring is to simply declutter while minimizing my impact on the planet.

Here is my general plan (with updates to come!):

1. Pack away my winter stuff.

If you have a big enough closet, it’s easy to just store your winter stuff in the back. However, I live in a pretty tiny apartment, so it’s easier for me to just pack all my winter stuff away. Keeping out all my winter clothes and sweaters just makes it all look messy. The warm weather is here!

Of course, if there is anything I am going to pack away that I haven’t used in a long time or I no longer want, I will be putting it up for sale on Craigslist/eBay or simply donating it.

2. Focus on maximizing the things left.

While I love the idea of minimalism, there have been a lot of posts about the problems with it. One being that when you need something, you have to go out and buy it again.

For me, one of my goals this year is to buy less and fully maximize the things I already have.

3. Consume less.

Throughout college I fell into the “Stuff = worth” trap. I simply spent too much and owned too much in an attempt to prove who knows what to the world. Throughout this year, my goal is to only as little as possible. If I do buy anything, my goal is to buy it either already used or something that I will use for a really long time.

This spring cleaning will be different than ones in the past, but these are changes I’m looking forward to making instead of just throwing everything away to fit in with some minimalist crowd. Cheers to the warmer weather!