Author: jacqueline

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Tahoe Trip

I wrote this post back in August, but never got around to posting. Here it is 🙂

Our family recently took a trip to Lake Tahoe. The California wildfires made the views a little hazy, but other than that it was a wonderful trip. Oh, and the baby gets car sick, but other than that, just fabulous. We stayed in South Lake Tahoe and had a plethora of vegan food choices.

We rolled into town around 1pm. After wiping most of the vomit off the seats, our stuff, and the kids we got to relax in the Tahoe keys for a few hours while we waited for the house we were staying at to be ready. It was great. I had a fantastic gluten free, vegan falafel lunch at The Artemis Mediterranean Grill. Later that night we got some insanely delicious gluten free, vegan pizza from Blue Dog Pizza. After that we went shopping at the local grocery store, Holiday Market, and made the majority of our food for the rest of the trip at the house. Holiday Market had a lot of good options, including jackfruit. The only other restaurant we went to was the Vegan Bliss CafĂ©. It’s an all vegan, soy free restaurant and you can make any meal gluten free as well. It was a small place but the food was amazing. I’m so over the “vegan” restaurants that are just tofu with a side. This place had personality, they made their own veggie patties and sauces. It’s a must try.

This was our first trip with a built in baby sitter. My Mom came with us. So I was able to hit the casinos a few times. Loved it. Family outings included a poorly prepared, intense hike in 90 degree heat. Not much water and no map made it interesting. It was nice though because it was just outside the house so we didn’t have to drive anywhere. We had to visit the main lake, so we did that Saturday morning, we got lucky on the parking but it was super crowded. After several summer months of swimming lessons, toddler swim, and a local lake I never actually ventured out on my own. I always had a hand on the baby. At the lake I was able to actually go for a swim. It was amazing. It was cold, but amazing. We weren’t at Lake Tahoe long, too crowded and hot. Someone told us about a place called Angora Lake and we went on a mission to find it.

We hit a taco joint on the way and were pleasantly surprised to see it was close to our house. Just a few miles but about 30 minutes out. We quickly figured out why. It was in the cuts. The road stayed paved but it was a one lane road with lots of blind turns. The best part was when we suddenly found ourselves on a ridge with steep drop offs on both sides. My brother’s girlfriend’s 9 year old started freaking out and I was quietly right there with her. It was beautiful yet horrifying. Soon after we arrived at the parking lot. From the parking lot to the lake is another mile hike. We decided to take the Bob stroller, we knew it was a tossup but went for it. We made it but it was touch and go for a minute. Signs entering the lake post warnings of the plaque. Just in case things weren’t exciting enough.

We get there and this place is amaze balls. Clear water, awesome mountain side and best of all, no crowds. We realized we should’ve just gone here in the morning, but it’s nice to try a little bit of everything.

The trip was great. Got to spend quality time with the fam, lots of good food and best of all… it’s been over 7 days and no one got the plaque :).

Cory Booker

As of right now, Cory Booker is my favorite democratic candidate. I should also mention, I will support and vote for whoever gets nominated. I will admit the reason the New Jersey Senniter is my current favorite is because he’s vegan. Not just because I’m vegan too and I stand by my own, but because being vegan means so many things. A vegan is a voice for the voiceless (the animals), they put the needs of others before their own (compassion for animals before “tasty food”), they’re a strong advocate for peace (living a peaceful existence by not financially supporting the abuse and torture of defenseless animals), they support healthy living, and are a huge proponent of the environment. All the things that I feel most strongly about. And he’s not just talking about these things, he’s living them. He’s been vegetarian since 1992 and vegan since 2014. My dream canidadate!

He’s an ivy league man. I like that. I feel it’s important. I like the idea that our leader be a product of our nations most prestigious institutions. It just makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, give me a great candidate, willing to listen to the experts and always trying to do the right thing and prestige goes right out the window. That being said, I miss having a president who can spell and form complete sentences. Seneter Booker got his undergrad from Stanford University, which particularly pleases me since I’m a bay area resident. I love that he has ties to this awesome state and particularly this area. He also played football for Stanford. I. Love.. Football. He then went across the pond to Oxford for a masters before attending Yale Law School. That’s another thing. The president should have a basic understanding of the law and Yale law school seems like a good place to find that understanding.

I do have some concerns. I grew up Catholic, but no longer practice. It’s kind of hard being a scientist and not be offended by almost everything preached by Catholicism. Cory Booker seems to be a bit of a holy man., posting several twitter pictures of himself “worshiping”. I try to be open minded about religion, but the word worship is pretty intense. I personally find it very difficult to understand science and still follow religion and I’m skeptical of others who do. Skeptical may be too harsh a word, they just puzzle me I guess. You can’t wholeheartedly believe in both, so which is? Which do you favor, science or religion? In an extremely general sense, it doesn’t matter, but in today’s day and age, and for a person in power, it matters a lot. Some people use religion as a shield. They use it to deny climate change, to discriminate against people, to spread hate, or even start wars. It’s a dangerous concept. I don’t believe Cory Booker (nor does his voting record indicate) he would do any of those things. It just makes me feel uneasy is all.

He’s single. I couldn’t care less how someone lives their lives, but as a married women I see the importance in having a partner in life. Especially in a high stress situations (such as the presidency), you need someone to share the burden. To keep sane. The up side of being single is he would have more time to focus on his job.

He has no children. Also can be a huge up side. More time for work. But there’s something to be said for doing the right thing for your children. I think it was Kristen Gillibrand that said, having children gives her more to fight for. It’s true, especially in the case of climate change. Many old assholes in Washington probably fully understand the consequences of climate change, but don’t care because they’re making a ton of money denying it and won’t be around for the more serious effects. I think they mostly all have children, but I guess maybe they’re not so fond of them?? Or they believe all the money they’re making from fossil fuel companies will shield their children from the harsher realities. They say the poorer communities will get hit the hardest. I really don’t know. I think they all just might be greedy assholes.

My last concern (for now) is this new bill he’s introducing, the American Opportunity Accounts Act. It’s a plan to try to close the wealth inequality gap. It basically makes a saving account for every child born in the US and the amount grows based on your household income. The money becomes available when the child turns 18.. Lower income families accrue the most, whereas the highest level of income accrue nothing. The lowest levels receiving over $40,000 and the highest is just over $1,000. It’s a noble plan and I applaud his efforts, but I take issue. While I agree we need to close the gap, it punishes hard working parents, like mine. My parents came to this country with nothing. They worked incredibly strenuous jobs, with insane hours to put me through college. My dad worked the night shift at a cement plant, having to always bring a change of clothes because he would sweat through the first, while my Mom cleaned houses and businesses. Their income would have placed them in the second to last bracket, building a very small percentage of the amount lower income families would attain if they had no jobs at all. Bills like this punish the hard working middle class. Why should people have to work so hard for something others get for free? It’s not right. I completely agree we need to help the less fortunate, especially children, but not like this.

In summation, the good far outweigh the “bad”. Nothing about Cory is actually “bad” (that I know of), just maybe he could use some tweaks. I’m extremely excited for his run and can’t wait to see what comes next.

https://prosperitynow.org/blog/cory-bookers-american-opportunity-accounts-act-bold-step-towards-wealth-equity

https://vegnews.com/2019/2/cory-booker-on-animal-rights-veganism-and-how-to-change-the-world

Sustainable Fashion

For the past two years, I’ve been teaching myself how to sew. It hasn’t been easy with a baby in the house (I started sewing about a month before giving birth).

I’ve also recently discovered all of the toxic consequences of synthetic fabric (ie polyester, acrylic, rayon). That coupled with the global plastic crisis, I’ve come up with a personal goal to rid our home of plastic (synthetic fabric is just wearable plastic) through sewing. I’m making things like produce bags as well but this post is specifically about the clothing I’m making.

When I’m looking to buy fabric, I first look for organic cotton. Buying organic, in whatever fashion, supports organic farmers and creates a demand for sustainable materials. Non-organic cotton causes a lot of environmental damage but we’ll save that for another post.

My first stop for organic cotton is always organiccottonplus.com.. They have a huge selection and great prices. Not so much prints, but lots of great solids. If I can’t find what I’m looking for there I scour the internet for it. I love to shop local when I can and was happy to find an organic fabric shop just 30 minutes away, monaluna.com. Now they have a bunch of prints. The woman who owns it designs them herself and they’re amazing. I love it.

When I can’t find an organic option I go for 100% cotton and/or hemp. And I do sometimes on occasion buy fabric with a little spandex or lyrca for a great stretch recovery. Great for leggings or sports bras.

The only polyester exceptions I’ve made has been for Halloween costumes and bathing suits. I hate it. The kids were Princess Jasmine and her pet tiger Raja this year, and after months of looking for cotton alternatives I had to finally concede. They were pretty cute though, right?

Working with faux fur was a nightmare, never again. I’m trying to find recycled polyester to make bathing suits in the future. I’ll let you know what I find.

When I first started sewing I ordered a lot of fabric online without thinking about it’s content. Looking back at the website, a lot of the fabric I bought doesn’t even say what it’s made of. I’m assuming it’s polyester. Now I know.

Teaching myself how to sew has been fun but not very inefficient. I’m so excited to start a sewing class in two days. Hopefully it’ll help reduce my sewing times and get more done in a shorter amount of time.

Here are some other outfits I’ve made:

organic cotton from organiccottonplus and maluorganic

organic pajamas from fabricdirect.com

polyester rash guard from Joanns

organic cotton cardigan from organiccottonplus.com

organic cotton jumper from monaluna.com

leggings made from old shirts

solid green fabric is 100% cotton from Joanns, checkered fabric is made from a bag of flour

pants from joanns

cotton fabric from charligirlfabrics

Halloween 2017, all polyester

organic cotton from organiccottonplus.com

cotton from charliegirlfabrics

organic cotton from organiccottonplus.com

charliegirl fabric (this might be polyester)

cotton from charlie girl fabrics

cotton from joanns

I’d love to share my weekly sewing projects on here. We’ll see if I actually do it 🙂

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!!