Vegan Living

ZERO Waste Gift Basket for the Eco-Friendlies

I’ve gotten into the habit of including a useful basket when gifting instead of purchasing the common gift bag/tissue paper combo.  Most people just throw the wrapping away without skipping a beat and I hate the thought of a perfectly good bag ending up in a landfill instead of being reused.  With the exception of a few slip ups, I have managed to reuse most of the bags, boxes, bows, tissue paper, etc. my family receives from gifts.  The 3 main benefits of reusing these items are less waste (win for the environment), less money spent (win for your wallet) and the convenience of not having to go fetch these last minute items on top of the gift (win for your time).

This is one of the first gift BASKETS I created and it focused on zero waste & conscious living.  All the items shown were found at TJ Max and Marshalls here on the East Coast.  I used a cotton bath towel to play the role as tissue paper and kept the theme going with some other bathroom/spa essentials.  You can do the same thing perhaps with a bathrobe instead, or a bunch of hand/face towels.  The options are endless!  You can never go wrong with a candle and I was lucky enough to score an amazing vegan soy wax one along with bamboo toothbrushes, reusable face towels/pads and a container to hold said pads. Some items not pictured that were also added to the basket include a shampoo bar with a soap saver baggie and some knitted reusable cotton pads.

I had a blast creating this basket and it felt good knowing the items play a beneficial role in improving our planet and health all around.  I intend to incorporate more conscious living items whenever possible as gifts to my loved ones and clients!

Vegan Living

The Rollerblading Vegan

One of my very favorite things to do as a workout is rollerblading.  It’s a workout I do by myself (mainly because I don’t know many others who rollerblade lol) and I love the time it gives me to reflect on anything and everything.  It’s a form of meditation, as weird as that sounds.  The bike paths I rollerblade on have some amazing views and I do my best to take it all in as often as possible.  One thing I’m always cautious of however, are all the little creatures who are currently on the same route as myself.  I do my absolute best to avoid rollerblading over them even though I know it’s impossible to dodge every single one.  This is a prime example of how and when vegans aren’t “perfect”.   We as a species are bound to cause harm to many non-human animals simply for existing.  This is an argument I hear often from non-vegans who claim vegans think they’re perfect and claim to not harm any animal.  The huge difference between incidents like rollerblading or even walking for that matter, is that the harm is UNINTENTIONAL.    Unintentional harm is inevitable.  Farming vegetables causes unintentional harm, construction causes unintentional harm, even driving your car causes unintentional harm (most likely) every time.  These are unintentional deaths simply because humans exist.  INTENTIONAL deaths directly harm others simply for our benefit.  The most obvious being the billions of intentional slaughters that happen around the world every single year simply for our pallet pleasure.  The second most obvious being the intentional killing of the animals we kill to wear and test on. 

 Sheesh, just typing this makes me realize how vain we can be as a species.  One thing we can all strive for however, is to limit the intentional deaths as much as possible, wherever possible.  Most of us live in civilized communities where survival situations are few and far between.  Meaning we have (healthier) alternatives when it comes to food and clothing so there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be striving to live a vegan lifestyle.  It’s the only way we can limit the intentional deaths (aka murders) of all the innocent non-human animals we share this wonderful planet with. 

Vegan Living

5 Simple Yet Impactful Ways to Save the Planet

1. DITCH THE PLASTIC H2O!- Invest in a few eco friendly water bottles for your on-the-go hydration needs.  Try your best to choose these when possible.  Granted, there will be times when convenience will win or you forget to bring your refillable bottle with you.  Don’t beat yourself up over it… just be aware of it and try again next time.  I remember getting so excited when the 24 pack of Poland Spring were on sale 3 for $10.  That’s 72 plastic bottles in one shopping trip that would last about two weeks.  Now I cringe when I walk by the water isle and see all that unnecessary plastic that will soon end up in a landfill or in our waters, wreaking havoc on our planet.

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

2. CHOOSE REUSEABLE OVER DISPOSABLE-  Refrain from using everyday disposable dishware.  I know this convenient method saves time on washing dishes, but the environmental impact this waste has is definitely worth changing some habits over.  Use reusable dishware whenever possible and try to leave the disposable stuff for large gatherings and parties.  I went from buying plastic Solo cups and paper plates every few weeks, to using glass mason jars and dishes at home instead. I even started investing in reusable sandwich bags for Isaac’s lunches. This change is definitely pro zero waste living and budget friendly, yet doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice.  Save your money while saving the planet!

3. INVEST IN REUSABLE BAGS-  This one is probable a no brainer to most.  I think the most difficult thing about this is actually remembering to bring your bags with you when you shop.  Keep a stash in your trunk as well as your pantry.  Go a bit further and also invest in reusable produce bags to eliminate having to use those fussy little plastic bags as well.  For the most part, this is one of the easiest things I’ve gotten in the habit of doing for a greener planet.  What I find however, is the grocery plastic bags being useful for my dog and chicken poop waste. Sometimes I would purposely forget my reusable bags when we were really low on plastic ones.  To solve this dilemma, I’m working on investing in bio degradable poop bags whenever possible.  I stocked up recently when I found some at Burlington Coat Factory for cheap.  It made my day!

4. SWITCH TO BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES- These have become more and more convenient to find and are by far the more eco friendlier choice than regular toothbrushes.  Your local TJ Max, Marshalls and Home Goods (for my East Coast peeps) carry them at super cheap prices.  I paid $3.99 for a 2-pack with charcoal bristles.  I’m in love.  I also bought a 5-pack for $9.99 and how cool is this…each toothbrush has different color bristles so you can easily tell them apart!  They are worth the switch, trust me.

5. BUMP UP THE PLANT BASED MEALS-  Last but certainly not least, work on adding more plant based meals to your diet.  This is the most important thing you can invest in for a greener plant and healthier you.  Animal Agriculture leaves the biggest carbon footprint on our dying planet and also leaves such a stain on our “civilized” society. The deplorable animal cruelty behind farming animals doesn’t happen because we need to eat their dead bodies to survive, but because we choose habits, convenience and greed over their suffering.  Since most people center all three of their daily meals around animal products, baby steps and slow transitions are key.  Try adding 1 or 2 plant based dinners every week and work towards 3-5 plant based dinners per week.  Then maybe try adding a plant based breakfast or lunch throughout the week too.  Small changes make big impacts.  Strive to make plant based meals a common thing, yet go at a slow and steady pace that works for you and your family.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com


Vegan Dishes, Vegan Living

My Vegan-ish Pup

V-Dog Pupper!

My almost 6 year old Irish Terrier pup, Cooper has been a vegan in training for the past 9 months. Luckily, he took to the V-Dog brand, so I didn’t have much challenges with that. He’s always been a spoiled pup and likes his dry food mixed with some heated up, fresh food. This is a plus for my V-Dog budget since I can stretch out his stash, while saving money making his fresh food at home.


I usually buy a 30 pound bag every 3 months and give him one cup per day (half a cup for breakfast and half a cup for dinner). He gets half a cup of dry and half a cup of the homemade food twice a day. His fresh food varies from a potato or rice base with mixed veggies. Since our family is plant based and we try to cook whole plant based foods more often than not, I just bump up the portions of whatever we’re having for dinner and set some aside for Cooper, unseasoned. Although there are plenty of safe seasonings for pups, I only use nutritional yeast for him at the moment. I do have a goal to start making his fresh food more in bulk instead of relying on family dinner leftovers. Perhaps once I get into this habit, I’ll dress up his fresh food with some different spices.

I’ve been more cautious on his treats also being plant based.  I have luck sometimes at Wal-Mart and Target finding accidentally vegan biscuit treats.  I invest in V-dog long lasting bones (pictured above) when there’s a great deal to buy in bulk. 


Of course there is always Pinterest as well, to get some homemade vegan dog treat recipes.  Some non vegan treats slip through the crack when my husband buys them.  I know that if I kept up with the treat supply, he wouldn’t take it upon himself to buy any, so I try not to nag him for it.


I advise anyone who is thinking of transitioning their companion animal to a plant based diet to do their research.  There is plenty of evidence in favor of a plant based diet for dogs since they are omnivores (can eat both plants and meat).  Cats are a bit more tricky since they are ultimately carnivores, but there are plenty of supplements and plant based diets that cater to cats needs and at the very least, worth looking into further. 

Regardless, there are plenty of resources that mention just how un-fresh meat intended for pet food is.  They literally separate the rotting corpses of these once beautiful, innocent beings and whatever they deem isn’t “suitable” for human consumption, is then sold to pet food companies.  If you knew just how un-fresh pet food really is, trust me you’d explore better options for your furry family members.  

At the end of the day, living a vegan lifestyle in a non vegan world will have its challenges.  The transition can last months and sometimes even years for people and companion animals.  As long as you make sure you’re doing your best while not being too hard on yourself, your and your family’s vegan journey will be more successful and enjoyable.  One day and one treat at a time! 

Vegan Living

Earth Day Every Day

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Since transitioning to veganism, I have made many small, positive environmental changes along the way and there’s still about a few hundred more I need to strive for.  Aside from my food choices, I’ve been working on reducing my waste and making more sustainable purchases.
To be honest, we all should strive to reduce our waste since our one and only home (planet Earth) depends on it. The amount of plastic and trash we dump into our oceans is heart wrenching to acknowledge.  The fact that meat consumption is this planet’s main threat, yet the majority of humans consume animals several times a day, leaves such a stain on our environment.
Some baby steps I’ve taken so far have been to stop buying plastic ware for the house. I can not believe i used to buy Solo plastic cups and plates every month. I also used to pat myself on the back for reusing the same cup every now and then. I’m so glad that we’ve phased them out completely and just use our glassware now.  In the future, I’d love to phase them out of parties I host as well.  I still have some leftover plastic supplies to last me another year or two, so there’s no excuse why I can’t start investing in more earth friendly options as I replace them.  I’ve also purchased a few stainless steel straws so I can easily refuse the plastic ones. Luckily, I’ve cut way back on the Dunkin Doughnuts coffee runs; reducing plenty of plastic and straws. This doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a bunch of times I’ve forgotten my straws at home when I order on the road. Perhaps a car kit filled with on-the-go sustainable products is an order??
What I’m currently working on is investing in bio degradable poop bags for both my dog and hens. I’m really good at refusing the plastic bags at the stores, however they do come in handy for all our poop scooping needs. Sometimes, I purposely forget my reusable bags when we’re really low on plastic ones. Then I get bummed out because I know better. Convenience gets the best of me and I know I can’t be the only one!
Always strive to do better when you know better but at the same time, let’s not beat ourselves up when we hit a snag. Unfortunately our “normal” living habits have not yet caught up with just how much of a mess we need to clean up. We’re not told on a daily basis just how bad our environmental crisis situation really is. We’re not taught to be held more accountable to do our part on making more ethical and sustainable every day choices.
We must consider the negative consequences our present choices will make on our future generations. On our children’s and grandchildren’s future, since they’ll be the ones impacted by our actions the most.  Let’s aim for baby steps towards honoring Earth Day, every day.
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Real Estate, Vegan Living

Working Momma~Lady Loft Style~

 

I’ve paid my dues commuting roughly 100 miles per day working for the same company these past 13 years.  It wasn’t until they were bought out, that I was able to FINALLY work from home!  I’m in the Health Information Management career and process medical record requests 40 hours a week.  The convenience this allows me as a wife, toddler mom and realtor is such a blessing.  Although I take my real estate career very seriously, the piece of mind knowing a steady income with my full time job is guaranteed, makes it all worth it.
Needless to say, I turned my Lady Loft into my dual home office for both my real estate company and my “9-5” one.  It’s still a work in progress, as I constantly try to master my time management and organizational skills.  Having my very own space that I can customize to my liking, gives my productivity the boost it needs to help me accomplish my goals.  And it doesn’t hurt having my pup, Cooper as my accountability buddy to keep me in check!

 

Vegan Living

Hot hoT YoGa

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

If you enjoy yoga and or meditation, you should totally give Bikram Yoga a shot.  According to Wikipedia- Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional hatha yoga techniques. It became popular in the early 1970s. All Bikram Yoga Beginning Series classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures, including two breathing exercises.  The hubby and I currently signed up for a 21 day unlimited package and we’re scheduling two days a week.  It’s an intense course that helps you focus on breathing, technique and meditation.  My favorite pose is the one we get to do in between poses called savasana.  It means corpse pose and is a relaxation technique.. definitely right up my alley haha! I’m hoping it will help me with my March goal to finally get my splits and overall flexibility.