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

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 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 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.


I haven’t written in a while so I think I’ll use this post to catch up on life. My last post discussed our adoption and my inferfility struggles. And now…

We had finally sent out our dossier to South Korea on July 14th. One of the happiest days of my life. Excitement was an understatement. We even had a name picked out. With South Korea adoptions at that time, the wait time from when your dossier gets sent out to when you receive a match was about 6 weeks. On July 24th I got that long awaited two pink lines.  Low and behold I write this with a 10 month old baby girl attatched to my chest. The adoption was put on hold. We actually tried to continue, but the agency laughed at me. In hindsight that would have been ridiculous.

We have since updated our homestudy and plan to send out our dossier (once again) when baby girl turns two.

The story on how we overcame infertility is coming soon….

Baby Steps: Our Adoption Journey Begins

I have wanted to adopt a child as long as I can remember. It was one of those dreams that seemed so far off, I never really grasped it’s possibility. Thanks to my huge disappointment of a uterus, the dream is coming into view. Today we went to our first real adoption event, the pre-adopt class.

The seven hour, rather intimidating, all day class was actually super fun and informative. We met four other couples also beginning their journey and three individuals who have already gone through the process. Listening to the stories of the people who have long since brought their children home, I can start to imagine our homecoming. While we still have mountains of paper work, home visits, and much waiting to look forward to, today will forever signify the beginning. I know the finish line is out there, however far away it may be.

We’ve been in contact with the agency for about two months now, including several phone calls, emails and one orientation. But this class was the first actually requirement for the adoption process. One down, 2354 to go 🙂 However difficult the process may become, it feels so good just to be in control. After three years of fertility failure, I actually have a say in this outcome.

After lots of research and many conversations with the program coordinator, it seems like Korea is the best fit for our family right now. I was initially super excited about adopting through Haiti but as luck would have it they are currently transitioning to a new program and many aspects of the process are in limbo, making the wait times long and unpredictable. Since my Dad, brother and I used to speak French I felt travel and the transition for the child would be easier.  It’s not going to work out right now, but maybe for our next child 🙂

The Korea program has many aspects that we’re drawn to and has quickly become my new happy thought (everyone needs a happy thought).  They have many strict guidelines that we some how meet. They are also great about providing a ton of information about the birth family and even encourage contact. That’s something we feel is super important and hope that it works out. We’d like to be able to answer any and all questions about our child’s past as honestly and as accurately as possible and hopefully be able to reunite them later in life. Currently the program is also on the faster side of international adoption. We could have a referral as soon as 0 to 6 months after the home study. I’m trying not to get too excited though, just in case it takes much longer.

Another aspect about Korea, and actually most international adoption programs, is that there are much more available boys than girls. I won’t get into all the reasons why but knowing this allows me to see clearer into the future. I’m sure it’s premature but we’re considering names and my goodness it is beyond fun. I would absolutely love to have another girl (would cut down on clothing costs) but chances are slim to none and we’re ecstatic either way.

There is so much more to discuss but there will be plenty of time for that later.  I’d love to hear about your stories, wherever you may be in the process or however different your process is (domestic vs. international). And please let me know if you have any questions, I’ll answer as best I can (not knowing much myself at this point:).

Thank you so much for reading!!

Due Date

Today is January 19th, 2016. Today is my due date.

I’m not nine months pregnant awaiting the faintest sign of labor. Nor am I fawning over a newborn. I’m at home taking care of my sick four year old and my poor dog recovering from a major surgery.

I miscarried at 10 weeks back in July. I’ve spent most of my time since trying to get pregnant again with no success. I was hoping to be pregnant again by now so that this date wouldn’t be so hard. Well it’s not as bad as I was anticipating. I had a major meltdown two days ago but today has gone rather well. My daughter only has a small cold and my dog is getting better each day (we’ll get into his condition in a later post). Maybe the universe gave my daughter this cold so that I might not be alone today. Maybe.

We’ve been trying to conceive for over three years now so the miscarriage is that much more magnified. Se la vie. I’ve gone to an infertility support group, which I don’t think they really like me since I already have a child. Haven’t been invited back.

I have a very high FSH (23) and a very low AMH (can’t find my test results right now). Most western doctors would tell me it’s never going to happen but I don’t think so. I have one extremely healthy child and have been pregnant twice. I strongly believe I will have another biological child and I can’t wait to prove western medicine wrong. But I’m taking a break. I don’t feel that I haven’t completely recovered physically from the miscarriage… and emotionally (but when does that ever get better?).

My joy, excitement and hope comes from the prospect of adoption. We officially start our journey in a few days as we take our pre-adopt class. From there we begin our home study. We are working with an intentional adoption agency and have not yet confirmed which country we’ll be working with. As of right now Korea seems like the best fit.

One day I’ll look back on this difficult time and be thankful. I. Can’t. Wait. But for now I just need to focus on the wonderful parts of my life and there are a LOT. My husband’s a badass and my daughter is supermodel gorgeous.

I hope anyone else going through the same thing takes some comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Things get better.