8 things I’ve learned since going Zero Waste.

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Hello Friends!

I am back from break and even more motivated to continue writing about my little life and the things I experience. It’s been three months since deciding to try out a zero waste or a low waste lifestyle. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy as most people will tell you. Convenience and routine get in the way at times but over all it has been rewarding. Here are the eight things I have learned since going zero waste.

1.Coconut oil is a god send.

I jumped onto the coconut oil bandwagon and refuse to jump off. Coconut oil is so versatile and smells amazing. I use it in cooking, as makeup remover, shaving cream, moisturizer, deodorant, and so much more! I’ve replaced shaving cream completely and haven’t purchased any since I ran out in June. It leaves my legs silky smooth and I smell amazing.

2. People will judge you and want you to fail.

Just like any movement that is different from what is mainstream, people will judge you. They will ask questions about it. Wonder why your drinking out of a mason jar in public. Tell you that your efforts are wasted since your only one person. I’ve pretty much have heard it all. Don’t let those comments get to you. Be knowledgeable in the subject and continue doing what your passionate about. It is about the environment and having a future on this planet.

3. Mistakes happen

It’s 6am, I have a half hour to get ready, eat and drive to work. Of course I would forget my reusable cup for coffee. Don’t beat yourself up over it. You will make better choices next time. This is a zero waste lifestyle yes but it is nearly impossible to produce zero waste. Your going to have bumps in the road. Get up and continue making smarter choices.

4. Glass jars hold EVERYTHING!

I have also jumped on the glass jar bandwagon. I love glass jars. I use them for everything. I even use one for my morning coffee. Freezing in glass jars can be problem-some especially liquids because of breakage. If you do consider freezing liquid be careful and never over fill. It will break in your freezer and that clean up in no fun. Currently in my freezer I have chicken, red peppers and green peppers. With winter coming and certain produce going out of season, freezing in glass jars is going to help. On the topic, they are also great to take to the grocery store. Just take them to the customer service desk, weigh for the tare and fill up them up with bulk items. Whole foods has a wonderful selection of bulk items.

5. Time Management.

This is probably the hardest part for me. Prepping and time management is a huge factor in this lifestyle, especially if you are working full time. Plan ahead with grocery shopping and meals. Write down meal plans, cut up produce. If your going to eat out, plan ahead and bring your own container for leftovers. Use your time wisely. This will help eliminate quick runs to a store for convenience items. Make your own snacks for grab and go. Pack a lunch the night before work or school.

6. Join a community.

The internet is an amazing place! When first starting this journey, I was reading articles on the subject, Stalking instagram of people to get ideas. I searched on facebook of all places and found a couple different groups on zero waste. Actual people going through some of the same struggles I had gone through. This was the support group I needed! The groups had different people from around the world trying to live the same lifestyle as me. It helped with not feeling so alone in the experiences I was having.

7. Reusable water bottles are your best friends.

We all know plastic water bottles are the worse. You don’t know if the water is save or even it is actually coming from a mountain. Since making the switch to a reusable water bottle, I’ve double the amount of water I drink in a day. I carry it everywhere in my purse and refill when I need to. I am currently using a Klean Kanteen.

8.Everyone is different.

Lastly, everyone is at a different stage in this journey. It’s easy to judge or idolize a person based on what stage they are in. Don’t criticize other just because they are still using plastic bags or not composting. Even if they aren’t vegan, that’s okay. Maybe they aren’t ready for the step. We all have a common goal which is to save the environment.

I hope you enjoy my update post on my zero was lifestyle. Thank you for reading and hope to see you back soon!

-Jenn

 

Blueberry Muffins!

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Servings: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup milk
2-1/4 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (also called raw sugar or demerara sugar)
For Cooking
Non-stick cooking spray
12 paper muffin liners

Instructions

I did not use paper liners for my muffins because I didn’t want any waste associated with them. I just spray the pan and they came out easily!

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract.
Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. Add the berries to the batter and fold gently with a spatula until evenly distributed. Do not overmix.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin (an ice-cream scoop with a wire scraper works well here); they will be very full. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly on top of the muffins.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin to free it from the pan if necessary (the blueberries can stick), then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool completely.

Blueberry Muffins And Bread

Last Thursday was one of the first days that I saw the benefits of becoming a minimalist. I actually had the time to bake from scratch homemade bread and blueberry muffins. Currently, I do not have a bread pan. Instead of running out to the store to get one I improvised. I was able to use my Dutch oven.

The process of bread making is long and meditative. I know this sounds super corny but it really was rewarding. Bread making without a machines teaches patience. It isn’t something you can just throw together and eat it. There is mixing, rising, baking and cooling. This experience was very rewarding and I will perfect the art of bread making.

The finished product!

Now baking sweets I am a pro at and I have to say these muffins came out amazingly. I was shocked at how good they were. I purchased blueberries every time I go to the grocer. I usually eat them with strawberries for lunch but that didn’t happen. So instead of wasting them, I froze them for this recipe. (I currently have bananas freezing for muffins later on this week.)

The finished product half eaten already. Too good!

And the finished product without bite marks. Look at them blueberries! The loving boyfriend Jeff gave both two thumbs way up! If you are looking for the recipes for both of these items check the recipes tab on the top.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week.

XOXO Jenn

Journey to Zero Waste

 

I said in my last post that I would update you guys on this whole zero waste thing. It has been about five days since I’ve started. I’ve managed to scare the pants off my boyfriend, get funny looks from people while I carry around a mason jar with coffee and be asked if I am some sort of hippie/hipster. I took the hippie comment as a compliment.

I have to say it’s not easy. Really, it isn’t. I had this fantasy in my head that it was going to be. The amount of trash you receive on a daily basis is almost appalling. It is kinda stressful. I am constantly thinking about how not to get garbage. Which I guess is the point of all this.

Over this weekend, I’ve been scouring the internet for zero waster blogs, tips and tricks at the grocery store. Anything to help move in the right direction. I did find the mantra of zero wasters. Which is the five Rs:

The five Rs of Zero Waste

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
  • Rot

The only one I won’t actually be able to do is ROT because I live in an apartment complex. There is hope though! I’ve looking into a service that picks up compost for you! How cool is that!


(Three full bags of recycling)

One success from this change is bringing my own cup to work for coffee and refusing to go bags and plastic clam shells. I did end up purchasing a sandwich wrap in plastic on Sunday because I was running late for work. It is impossible to be completely zero waste and this process is not going to be perfect. At this moment, I am using up the products I have left in my bathroom so I can replace and downsize my routine. I did purchase a safety razor since my last disposable one is now garbage. Also, I am taking inventory on the cleaning products I have. I plan on using the rest of my back stock then minimizing my cleaning routine.

I really don’t have an end goal. I honestly don’t think there is one. This lifestyle shift has been eye-opening and a learning experience. I can’t wait to share more success stories with you guys along with recipes, DIY products and so much more. Enjoy my hipster mason jar coffee and thanks for reading!

XOXO Jenn

Update and Zero Waste

So remember how I messed up the time on the first interview I had for that promotion. Luckily I was given a second chance on Wednesday. At 11am I had an interview that didn’t go as well as I hoped. I honestly think I could of done better over all. Apparently, I don’t do well with phone interviews.

That is okay though. I figured at this point, I’m done stressing over this promotion. That this career isn’t who I am. Most of my coworkers have been supportive through the process. Saying things like “You deserve it!”. Which is fine. I’m appreciate the support. I am just tired of the politics that comes with this promotion is all.

Moving forward though!

I am leading towards a zero waste lifestyle. Lately I have been inspired by some bloggers and instagramers that are zero wasters (is instagramers even a word?) There are certain things I have been doing for years like bringing my own bag, not using the plastic bags for produce.With all the de-cluttering, I have noticed that I use things that are one time use only. Things like makeup containers, face washes, liquid soaps. Also everything is packaged in plastic. Plastic that probably can’t even be recycled. It is quite frustrating and wasteful.

My new minimalist outlook and zero waste do go hand in hand. Both have really opened my eyes are the amount of wasteful things are created each day.  These changes won’t happen overnight and mistakes will be made but I am moving  in the right direction. This holiday weekend I am committing to not use any plastic cups from work. I will bring my own cup. I am also committed to bring my own lunch to work. Using the food that I have at home with eliminate the amount of food waste that I do.  Monday, I will let you all now how the works out. Thanks for reading this short but sweet update.

XOXO Jenn

Bullying Doesn’t Stop When You Grow Up.

I turned 29 this year. The last thing I wanted was to be bullied. Growing up, I was the fat kid that didn’t really belong anywhere. The group of so called friends would call me fat, fat ass, Rosie O’Donald. You name it, I was teased. One memory that springs to mind was when I was about 10 years old. I was riding my bike pretty far from home. My friends and I had met up with some other people from school. One of the boys that was there said these exact words. “Oh look you got an exercise support group for the fat asses.”

Now kids will be kids right? That is what we are told. That teasing is a part of life and that it builds characters. I completely agree with that. I was able to push away all the hurtful things they said and move forward. I knew in my heart that I was worth more than their words. That my body type was not defined by my worth as a human being.

Since then I’ve lost 75 pounds. No one can call me fat anymore right? No one could bully me into thinking I wasn’t good enough because of my weight.

But bullying doesn’t stop when you grow up. You can have work bullies. Which is what I am dealing with currently. I didn’t quite understand it at first. I hadn’t been tease or bullied in years, so I didn’t notice the signs till I actually listened to what was being said. All the feelings I had as a kid rushed back. The anger, frustration, pain, all came back with a force. Work has turned into what school was for me. I am unmotivated, bitter and hurt. Instead of attacking my body, this person is attacking my character and my skill. Which is ten times worst in my case. I try to not let peoples opinions bother me especially when they are strangers. Once again though this is someone I see on a daily basis, so the anger just comes back full force when I see her face.

I keep reminding myself that her words mean nothing. That she is just insecure about herself. That her judgement are just reflections of her own judgement on herself. This experience with adult bullying has been eye opening. I honestly thought I wouldn’t have to deal with this again but this is character building for me. I will be stronger once I have moved passed this bump in the road. Thanks for reading.

Jenn Marie

Organized or messy.

Am I organized or Messy?

I saw this question during my journey through endless pinterest scrolling. You know, in one of those journal prompts pages. Now I highly doubt anyone is that interested in how I organize or clean my kitchen is. Maybe your weird like me and you like knowing how other people clean. Moving on to the topic at hand!

Is there such a thing called organized mess? Through my journey so far into this whole minimalism rabbit hole, I have been doing some self-evaluation.

I can either let my clean clothes sit for day on a couch or I will fold them instantly out of the dryer. There is no middle ground. Same goes for the kitchen or any other part of the apartment. I have tried to pinpoint the reason behind this organized mess. Typically this all stems from my exhaustion from standing for 8 1/2 hours a day from work.

When I had my own room as a child, it would always be messy. The only times I would clean it would be family occasions. Now was my messiness due to being tired 95% of the time. No but I was a typical child that didn’t want to do anything my parents asked me to do. Anyway, I’ve grown up and my organizing/cleaning habits have taken shape. I’ve looked at all those HOW TO guides to cleaning or even those silly day-to-day guides. None of them have worked. I have gotten better with certain things but sometimes the lived in look is comforting than sparkling clean.

So to answer the question I am an organized mess in my life and in my habits. Will that clean over time? Sure but for now I am content with learning about myself in this journey. Thanks for reading.

Jenn Marie