Laura Zabo Recycled Fashion

For a few years now I’ve been trying my best to be as green as possible. Trying to greatly reduce plastic usage, water and energy. I buy used whenever possible and when I buy “new”, I try to find items made of recycled materials. I’ve also been much more appreciative of the arts. I was a big science nerd in college and thought art was kind of a waste of time. I have changed my mind entirely. I’m not going to go into how awesome art is (for another post), but I will make the connection between art and science. 

You can use art to bring much needed attention to various scientific causes. Throw a planet painting on a t-shirt and you’re a walking advertisement for recycling. You can combine the two by making art out of garbage. You’re cleaning up the environment while making a beautiful piece of jewelry. The list goes on, but you get the point. 

I’m always on the hunt for a new green designer, company or small business. I was hanging out in vegan twitter (supporting like minded individuals) when I came across this woman who designs accessories from old tires. What a great idea. Let’s first discuss the atrocities that stem from our massive tire consumption.

RMA reports scrap tire piles have declined by 93 percent                                  source: recyclingtoday.com

Ever wonder where all these tires go? Like just about everything else, it piles up in a landfill, in the ocean or illegally dumped off some country road.  They leach chemicals into the soil, provide ample breeding grounds for potentially dangerous mosquitoes, are prone to fires that are extremely difficult to put out, and quite frankly they just take up much needed space.

The good news is that tire piles in the U.S. have greatly reduced in recent years. Tires are being re-purposed into things like ground rubber, fuel and of course… fashion!

Enter Laura Zabo. Laura’s inspiration stems from a pair of sandals she came across while traveling through Tanzania. The sandals were brightly colored, beautiful and shockingly made of car tires. She loved the idea of art being recreated through waste and felt she had to share this new found revelation with the world.

Laura now creates beautiful accessories from re-purposed car tires. Her website laurazabo.com carries all her stunning pieces including gorgeous belts, dog accessories, footwear, guitar straps, earrings, necklaces and hair accessories.

I was given a pair of gorgeous earrings and an awesome belt in exchange for this review, and I love them! My shipment arrived in a white envelope, beautifully wrapped in blue tissue paper and, of course, zero plastic.

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I love the bright colors on the black background. The earrings are surprisingly light and easy to wear. The belt feels well made, fit perfect and was easy to loop right in to my jeans. 

My daughter loves them too, so much so that she wanted to add her picture 🙂

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If you’re looking for a new, unique gift idea this holiday season (or ever), I highly recommend Laura’s awesome creations. She’s a vegan business owner and her zero plastic shipping materials earned her a spot on our List of Companies that Don’t Use Plastic Packaging

Learn more about Laura and her collection at her website laurazabo.com, her facebook facebook.com/lauzabo, her twitter twitter.com/laura_zabo, or her instagram  instagram.com/laura_zabo/.

source: https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/rubber-manufacturers-tire-piles-declined/

Thank you Cards

I bought these gorgeous Thank You Cards from Etsy for my daughter’s first birthday. I looked all over for “eco-friendly” or “green” thank you cards and most of my search came back pretty expensive. We went all out on the party and didn’t want to drop another fat stack for the thank you cards. Etsy seemed to have the best prices while still having a good selection.

 

The shop I stumbled upon is called FlowerSeedPaper. They have a ton of fabulous stuff. I really liked the beautiful simplicity from this particular set. They have the lovely flower sketch on the front and are blank on the inside. With my budget, I had my sights set on cards made of recycled paper, but this set is made up of 50% recycled paper (envelopes are 100% recycled) and come with seeds imbedded in the paper. How cool is that?! The seeds embedded in the paper are the flowers found on the front of the card. I’ve planted one of the cards, but the shop says the seeds could take up to 6 weeks to germinate, so I’ll update this post if/when they ever sprout 🙂

Had my little helper dig the hole for me 🙂

There is no plastic in the packaging. This set is $19.50 for a set of 15. That comes out to $1.30 per card. Sounds steep but other “green” cards run around 5 to 6 bucks each! If you can afford it, I’m sure the more expensive cards are worth the extra dough. Most display beautiful artwork and are done by hand.

Please consider buying eco friendly invitations/thank you cards for you next gathering.

July 24th

Note: I wrote this on July 24th, but then the site crashed. So I’m a day off 🙂

I just wanted to make a quick note on this special day. After four years of trying for a second child, on July 24th 2016, we realized we were pregnant again.

We were no longer trying as we were in the process of adopting and were actually just waiting for a match. For those of you not savvy on your adoption lingo, a match is when you get “matched” with a child. Kind of a big deal. We were only a few weeks away (with international adoption things are more predictable than domestic infant adoption). Being used to disappointment and having lost a pregnancy a year earlier I didn’t think it would stick, and if it did I was worried about losing the adoption.

We went about our day as if nothing had happened. It was a Sunday. We went to watch Finding Dory with our four year old and that’s when the nausea kicked in. While at the movies, we learned our twin niece and nephew were about to come into the world. An event that would have brought a mixed feeling of joy and sadness but since I had a fat batch of hope brewing I was insanely excited.

As the weeks past and the ultrasounds showed a wonderfully healthy baby growing strong (minus the kidney disease but whatevs). Fast forward two years and we have a perfect 15 month old baby girl.

July 24th will always be “the best day ever” in our family. It gave us three beautiful children.

The Last Straw

Plastic in general is a huge problem, but little by little we can make a huge difference. This post is specifically about straws.

Have you seen the video about the straw stuck in the turtle’s nose? Click Here.

People tend not to give a crap until it affects an adorable animal, so I had to add the video. Sad, right? What should we do? Duh! Stop using straws!

“But I love straws.”

If only there were a ton of options for straw lovers… oh wait there is.

There’s metal, paper, plant derived plastic and even glass! The glass is especially beautiful. Check out our small collection:

The metal straws came with a nifty wire straw cleaner for easy cleaning. We got the disposable straw this weekend at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles. The bartender (who also happens to be vegan 🙂 said he introduced the idea of compostable straws to the hotel and they made the switch. Maybe we can all make a call to our favorite hotel or restaurant and start pressuring establishments to finally move on from plastic straws? It’s that easy!

I highly recommend the glass straws for home use. Mostly because they’re beautiful and fun, so why not? The stainless steel straws are great for going to restaurants (they won’t break in your purse or pocket :),  just don’t forget them at the restaurant! Lastly, the compostable straws are great for traveling, where straw washing isn’t as accessible. And also remember, you don’t actually ever NEED a straw so you can always. just. not. use. one.

Below is a list of eco friendly straw options sold by small businesses. I don’t technically support Amazon because of their non environmentally friendly shipping practices and the fact that they’re a big ugly corporation, so I won’t add them here, but rest assured they have plenty of options if that’s your thing.

If you need a quick link to just the list click here.

 

Eco-Friendly Straw Options

Eco Products – Compostable Straws

Green Restaurant – Compostable Corn Plastic Straws

Green Paper Products – Compostable Corn Straws

Aardvark – Paper Straws

Just Artifacts – Paper Straws

Sweet and Treats – Paper Straws

Hummingbird Straws – Glass Straws

Simply Straws – Glass Straws

Strawesome – Glass Straws

Glass Dharma – Glass Straws

Drinking Straws – Glass Straws

EcoStraw – Glass Straws

Mighty Nest – Several Eco Friendly Straws Options

Health Ceramics – Glass Straws

Package Free Shop – Stainless Steel Straws

Eco At Heart – Stainless Steel Straws

Klein Kanteen – Stainless Steel Straws

Life Without Plastic – Stainless Steel Straws

Norwex – Stainless Steel Straws

If I’ve missed a great company, comment below and I’ll be sure to add them. Thanks!

List of Businesses that use Sustainable Packaging

These companies use sustainable packaging for their products. Whether that’s metal, glass, cardboard, or they used post consumer recycled (PCR) or biodegradable/plant based plastic. This list will be updated constantly so check back often. Please let us know if you have a business that should be on the list or if  you see a business on here list that shouldn’t be. Thanks!

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The Dangers of Polyester

In general, like 99% of all man-made crap is ruining everything. But this post is only about synthetic fabric, mainly polyester.

I saw a video on Facebook about a year and a half ago that it blew my mind. Of course, I can’t find that video now, but I found one that delivers the same message:

Polyester (and acrylic, nylon, spandex, etc.) is just wearable plastic. If you’re trying to reduce your use of plastic you need to expand that effort to your wardrobe. If you watched the video, you can understand the dangers of fish eating these microplastics. But what about your kids? Unless you make a concentrated effort to find cotton toys/blankets, your baby is probably snuggling up to a soft batch of plastic poison as we speak. I don’t know about your kids, but my toddler sucks on these toys! So forget about the lengthy life cycle of:

  • you washing your clothes
  • microfibers end up on our oceans
  • fish eat microfibers
  • we eat the fish
  • poison microfibers making us sick

OR

  • baby sucks on polyester and eats microfibers directly

What the hell everyone that makes this crap?!? It’s so widely used, you have to assume it’s safe.  It’s not. When in doubt, Google 🙂

For someone who’s never bought my kids cheap polyester/plastic blankets/toys/clothes and have asked others buying them gifts to do the same, I sure have a lot of this crap in my house. I even return most plastic gifts. But over the years, I’ll forget to take them back or my kid seems to really like it, or they’re hand me downs that I’m reluctant to throw out… Well I’m done. I’m on a mission to completely eradicate my house from polyester/plastic junk. I’m planning on using sewing to replace everything with at least natural fibers (cotton or hemp), but am trying my best to support sustainable farming and be extra healthy by buying 99% of my fabrics from organic sources. So far I’ve ordered a ton from Organic Cotton Plus and a local shop, Monaluna. I’ll be posting about my transition as I go.

How to Make a Birthday Party Eco-Friendly

We just had our daughter’s first birthday party and we strived to make it as green as possible.

  • We bought biodegradable cutlery and cups from our local grocery store (Nob Hill Foods).
  • We bought paper plates made from recycled paper from Costco.
  • We asked for only wood toys or cotton clothes.
  • Returned unwanted plastic gifts to Target.
  • We served an all vegan menu.
  • No plastic water bottles! Water came from our filter system using the biodegradable cups.
  • We bought recycled seed Thank You cards from Etsy (cards with seeds embedded in them so when you plant them they grow wildflowers).
  • Saved all of the gift bags and tissue paper to reuse.

Some things cost us extra while others saved us money. So we basically broke even. The biodegradable and recycled plates/cups/cutlery cost more than the plastic crap, as did the seed cards. But we evened out on not buying water bottles, serving vegan food, and loading up on gift bags and tissue paper for future use.

Really annoying that they still make single use plastic cutlery. Ugh. For a few extra bucks you eliminate waste and support a green company.

We’ve been asking for only wooden toys since our first daughter’s first birthday party (almost 6 years ago) and all her subsequent birthday invitations stated “no gifts please”. We’ve just started asking for “no synthetic fabric” (polyester/acrylic/nylons etc). We understand this is difficult for some people, but just by asking you’re making people think about what they’re buying. And we still get the well intentioned plastic toy from friends and family. While super stores like WalMart and Target are super evil, they’re fantastic for returning cheap plastic toys without a receipt. So far they’ve taken back everything we’ve brought them. And by returning these gifts you’re decreasing demand and not having a house full of ugly, annoying, cheap plastic toys that your child will get sick of in a few days anyway.

A vegan menu is super green! Animal products have detrimental effects on the environment. Including global warming (from methane released from factory farming), water consumption, water pollution, deforestation, the list goes on…

Who the hell still buys plastic water bottles??!!? Especially when you have a clean water source nearby. It’s best to always have your stainless steel water bottle filled up wherever you go, but let’s face it, not everyone is doing that. If you’re having a party at a park or someplace without access to clean water, there’s a company called Just Water that make biodegradable water bottles. Much more expensive than regular poison plastic, but much better in so many ways.

I looked around for some kind of “eco friendly” thank you cards. I quickly found that Etsy was going to be my best bet. I found recycled card stock and/or seed cards. I must admit they are pretty expensive, but I found an affordable bunch that look beautiful. They’re seed cards with 50% recycled paper and 100% recycled paper envelopes. I’ll update this post with my review of them when they come in.

Saving gift bags! Are there people that don’t do this? Why? What’s wrong with you? Not only is it “green”, you get free stuff! I’ll admit the tissue paper is a little iffy (it’s all crinkly), but just say you reuse them to be green and not because you’re cheap :).

Happy partying!!

 

Trying to Find Sustainable Businesses

mustsaveworld.com

I was trying to find a list of businesses that use sustainable/ecologically responsible packaging and/or shipping materials and I suppose there is no such list! And just trying to find any business that uses these materials is proving quite difficult to find as well. Just going around my house, checking labels, I’ve found a few. So now I’m on a mission. To make such a list! If you know of some awesome businesses that you’d like to suggest, please do so in the comments.

Off to work!

Overcoming Infertility

When I was in the throes of (secondary) infertility, I would scour the internet looking for success stories to give me any inkling of hope. So now I share my story to give someone else hope.

We started trying for our second in October of 2012. After a year of trying I asked my obgyn what advice he had. After learning I was still breastfeeding, he said “that’s it!!” It’s the breastfeeding. “Once you stop that you’ll get pregnant immediately”. So I stopped. A year after that, I was like, “OK, that didn’t work now what?” He said “I know you’re fine, you’ve already had one. I bet you anything you’ll be pregnant in 6 months”. He was so convincing I actually started planning out my life as if I’d be pregnant in 6 months. Then nothing.

In March of 2015, I said I need help! First he tested my husband. Turns out the guy has super sperm. Literally. His count was off the charts. The problem is all me. He told me the only thing he could give me (without referring me to a reproductive endocrinologist) was clomid. He mentioned this before, but the higher chance of multiples scared me. At this point, the thought of triplets sounded awesome. I said yes.

Not only did I feel awful, I completely stopped ovulating for three months! And I just took one cycle! I decided I needed to go another route. My body reacts terribly to synthetic drugs so I started looking for natural help (before this I had tried acupuncture with no success). So I found Dr. Aumatma in Oakland, California. It was way out of our price range but she gave me hope. She was also vegan (like us!) and I took that as a sign to go for it.

Dr. Aumatma works with you by taking a bunch of blood tests, addressing your issues, then prescribing a diet and herb/supplement  plan. Blood tests show I had extremely low egg quality and reserve (AMH 0.138, FSH 12). In the world of western medicine I wouldn’t even qualify for IVF. It’s egg donors or adoption. In the eastern world, you have more options. I started taking the supplements and was put on a VERY strict diet. So strict, it really stressed me out. And I’ve always been a very healthy eater so I was used to restrictions. But this was different. With all the stress I was going through, the added pressure was a bit much.

Dr. Aumatma has a policy where you CANNOT get pregnant in the first three months of treatment. Something about ‘your body needs to get fixed first’ and the herbs she gives you aren’t great for pregnancy. Keep in mind I haven’t ovulated in three months (because of the stupid clomid). After about a week working together I get pregnant. Of course. I had told her there was the slightest chance in hell so I wasn’t taking any of the “scary” herbs. The first ultrasound shows it was measuring behind, like my oldest so I wasn’t too concerned. Well I lost it at 10 weeks.

Back to the drawing board. Still working with Dr. Aumatma. I’m still not “allowed” to try to get pregnant while working with her. And I’m not “allowed” any joy of any kind either. No alcohol or sugar (not even fruit!!). Soon my cycle started to go to hell again (short cycles, not ovulating). And I felt Dr. Aumatma started losing interest. It was getting hard to get a hold of her and she was talking about charging me more money! The situation was getting toxic for me. I’m sure she’s great at what she does and has helped lots of people, but our relationship was beyond repair at this point. I had to move on.

My friend told me about another fertility specialist in Santa Cruz, Dr. Rozenn. She had been very successful in the fertility game. She was even more expensive, but I was desperate and I really liked her demeanor. She took more blood tests to find my egg reserve had gotten worse! FSH of 23 now. That alone is a fertility death sentence. But coupled with my horrific AMH of 0.138, hope is slim to none. But Dr. Rozenn it’s super confident we’ll find success together. I say ok! Her protocol is similar to Dr. Autmatma but with added acupuncture, once a week. Sooo very expensive.

The diet is just as strict. So not a great start but I’m willing to try anything. I tell her I’m vegan, but will be flexible if it’ll help. She suggests daily bowls of bone broth. I reluctantly agree. I hate the bone broth. I feel terrible the whole time I take it, physically and emotionally. I really liked Dr. Rozenn but things were not getting better. Most of the time I didn’t ovulate. My best friend found out she was pregnant and I was a hot mess. I cried more than a few times in her office. I couldn’t have a drink. Couldn’t have an apple! I was drinking bone juice! I wasn’t ovulating. This was costing us an arm and a leg. I was driving an hour and a half each way every week. Something had to give!!

At this point, I’m at my wits end. I start to go to an infertility support group. I’m the asshole that already has a kid in a room where everyone is trying for their first. Luckily I had been trying the longest and I was the only one there that had a miscarriage so I got some sympathy. Everyone was super nice and no one told me to f-off. Thanks guys! When I mentioned my AMH and FSH, there was a communal gasp. They ever so gently told me I had no chance in hell. Well keep reading…

We decide to adopt, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I still would like to try for another biological child in the future, but for now I can’t take it anymore. I tell Dr. Rozenn my plans and she advises me to continue treatment throughout the adoption process. Apparently my situation was so dire if I stopped then, I would probably never get pregnant again. So she told me to find something close by and I did. She gave me the website aborm.org where you can find natural fertility specialists in your area. That’s where I find Dr. Judith Tognetti of Nurture Acupuncture in San Ramon, California.

This is when everything changed. She was WAY cheaper. She gave me a diet plan and told me to do my best. In regards to alcohol, she says “just don’t be drunk all the time”. Yes!! I can do that. She told me to eat as much fruit as possible and if I liked being vegan, don’t change. I’m already so much happier. AND they do abdominal massage there. I had heard of it before and I’m super excited to try. So the plan is: vitamins/supplements/specific herbal mixture they make for me/abdominal massage once a month, acupuncture once a month.

Of course things are a little different now because we’re NOT trying to get pregnant. We’re in the adoption process and everything is wonderful in the world. My cycles start to normalize, going from 15-24 days to 26-28. I’m ovulating every month. I feel fantastic. I actually start to worry we will get pregnant on accident and we’ll lose the adoption.

I began working with Dr. Tognetti in January of 2016. I was pregnant by July. All the while trying NOT to. We were so sad to lose the adoption but you cannot stay mad when you have a wonderful baby girl to hold and squeeze and kiss all over. We have updated our adoption paper work and will send out our dossier when baby girl turns two.

After 4 years of trying, someone with abysmal egg quality and reserve (again, AHM 0.138 and FSH 23) got pregnant naturally!!   It is possible. There is plenty of hope.

You can learn more or look for a specialist in your area at aborm.org or if you’d like to research where I found success, go to Nurture Accupunture. Please let me know if you have any questions. If I can make anyone feel any better, I’d love to help.