4.16.2018

Intentional Living: Feminine Hygiene Products

Chemicals in where?
No thanks, please let's not go there.
Cotton is enough.

Feminine hygiene products. If that doesn’t apply to you, feel free to tune out today.

I’ve been extremely excited about the influx of healthier feminine care options into the market lately. It seems crazy that we’ve all been using these chemical-laden products for so long without second thought. Or if you haven’t had that thought yet, maybe it’s time!



My favorite company to offer organic products is Lola. I’ve been using their products for over a year now. They have a great subscription system that is fully customizable. I get their organic tampons in all sizes (and have not tried their pads.) I prefer the design of their compact applicator tampons the best. They come in light, regular, super, and super +, but the applicator is plastic. I’ve switched to buying the cardboard applicator for regular and super (they’re currently not available in light and super+) because they are fully biodegradable.

Another great company offering organic tampons is Sustain Natural. I buy other products from them, but decided not to buy their tampons because they only offer regular and super and their boxes aren’t fully customizable. However, their applicators are made with bio-plastic, and I just really like this company.

Speaking of applicators, there is a new product out of the UK called Dame currently running on Indiegogo. From their site: “D is a reusable tampon applicator. It uses self-cleaning technology and medical grade materials so you can enjoy the comfort of an applicator without the plastic waste.” I’m intrigued.

All great options, but you can even find organic tampons on the shelves at your local stores now. Even Brandless is selling $3 boxes!

In switching from conventional to organic tampons, I’ve realized that they work just as well, but maybe hold a little less volume than you’re used to. So in the time you would expect to wear a regular sized conventional tampon, you may want to bump up to a super organic one.

Finally, do you flush your tampons? I can’t unless I want to risk an emergency plumbing bill. Our house has a sewer pump that doesn’t handle anything beyond organic waste and toilet paper. But in general, you just shouldn’t. Main line sewage clogs are becoming a big problem, and I’d like to do my part to make it easier to create reusable drinking water. This article covers it.

A couple months ago, I realized how much toilet paper I was going through to wrap used tampons for the trash. I was hoping to find an eco-friendly way to dispose of them and came across MaskIT! I highly recommend this product. According to their website, one female goes through 24 rolls of toilet paper to cover one year’s worth of tampons (I think I went through more than that.) Their MaskIT pouch is made from plant starches, vegetable oils, and compostable polymers and is completely biodegradable. It’s easy and hygienic, and I’m just so happy to have found them. They even sent me a hand-written thank you card with my order that reads “Small changes make a BIG difference when we work together! Thank you for helping us save trees!”

I only talk about tampons here because that’s my preference, but if it’s not yours, hopefully you’ll still think about the products you’re using. There’s always the Diva cup, but I’m just not there.

This post contains affiliate links. You can read the Amazon Affiliate disclosure in the sidebar. Please know I only ever post links I personally support and think may add value to my readers. Thank you for supporting the blog!

4.12.2018

Intentional Living: The Basics

Plastic everywhere,
But not in my body please.
We can do better.

I’ve realized lately that there are a few earth-friendly tasks that I assume everyone does. And it’s sadly just not true. So I’d love to share these actions that I find to be very basic and easy to implement into your daily life.

1. Recycle everything you can. Find your local recycling program’s requirements and learn them. Tape the guidelines to your refrigerator or your recycle bin and do your part. Nothing that is recyclable should end up in your trashcan.

You can always just get another little bin to hold your recyclables, but if you’re looking for a good system, we’ve used these slimmer connectable trash cans in the past, and recently switched to this stackable Muji system. Ideally, I would try to stay away from plastic bins and have stainless, but I find this to be a good solution for now based on price, convenience, and size.


Our Muji trash bin: recycling on top, trash on the bottom, and compost in the freezer. :)

2. Use steel or glass water bottles. There is no need to buy plastic water bottles unless you had a lapsed moment where you forgot your reusable water bottle, aren’t near home, and can’t find a place to give you a glass of water (happens to us all). I highly recommend Klean Kanteen (stainless) and Bkr (glass), both of which I wash in the dishwasher (always a big selling point for me.)

If you like that bottled water comes filtered and want to be able to refill away from home, I recommend keeping a GoPure water purifier pod in your reusable water bottle.

3. Do not have plastic straws in your home. You will be just fine without a straw. Or, buy a plastic alternative straw. I have 4 stainless straws (2 regular and 2 smoothie sized). They also come in glass, bamboo, and there are compostable plant-based packs on amazon. You have options. Then, try to pass on that straw when you’re out and about.

If we can make these three simple adjustments the new baseline, maybe we can have an impact on this.

This post contains affiliate links. You can read the Amazon Affiliate disclosure in the sidebar. Please know I only ever post links I personally support and think may add value to my readers. Thank you for supporting the blog!

3.29.2018

Update

Been gone for too long,
Want to get back to routines.
First, in Florida.

Just over three weeks ago, the nice routine we’d developed since settling into Portland was well shaken. Late Friday evening, we received an email from the company that owns my daughter, Tova’s, school that the school would be shutting down at the end of term.

I have to say, we’ve become used to a quick change of plans. But our move back to the northwest was very purposeful. We were ready to live in a place that we loved, to dig into community, and have Tova stay in a school for longer than one year (which she hasn’t done since preschool).

Now, we’re on a hunt for Tova’s 7th school. David and I went on three school tours just last week, and one the week prior. Tova has missed school to go on a couple of those, and she’s doing a trial day at a prospective school next week. At the same time, a group from our current school is trying to save/reopen the school, and we’ve been attending those meetings. None of us want to be doing this right now, but we’ll push forward and make the best of it.

So here we are, ready to enjoy Spring Break with family in Florida. We’ll hopefully get back to that nice routine (and regularly scheduled house projects and blog posts) next week.

3.05.2018

Film Photos: Washington Tulips 2013.

I'm going back in time quite a bit, to before we moved away from Seattle. We are heading there (for our first visit since moving back to the PNW) later this week, so I won't have another post for a week or so. Enjoy these photos in the meantime.

These are from Roozengaarde Tulip Farm in Mount Vernon, Washington. It was April in 2013.










3.02.2018

Intentional Living: Coffee Products Part 2.

Taste, smell, and method
Are all part of enjoyment.
I love my coffee.

I just love coffee. I'm so happy to live in a big coffee city and have extremely wonderful coffee shops absolutely everywhere. We'll prefer a traditional latte at Barista, or try a new concoction at Never. There's Heart, Good, Stumptown, Kiosko, Coava, Tov, and that's a small fraction. They're all amazing. And on most weekend days, David and I enjoy our second (or third) cuppa at one of them.

But for that first cup, on a cozy weekend morning snuggled up with a book, David greets me with a nice hot cup of French Press. When we run low on coffee beans, we'll pick up a bag at one of the aforementioned coffee connoisseurs. We've had a Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder since 2011 (seriously! We have it in white, but the copper looks v cool.), and keep it on coarse grinds for our copper 8 cup Bodum Chambord French Press. We drink our coffee black, so that's all we need.



I recently stumbled across a newly improved French Press design called Rite Press. It is currently a Kickstarter campaign that has received over $900k over its small $20k goal. Incredible. The big selling point is that the bottom twists off to easily remove the used coffee grinds and is marketed as the "no mess french press." It sounds fantastic to me! Another big selling point for us is that the materials used will help hold in heat longer. And no plastic! They also tout a thermometer and timer, which could be useful. Rite Press originally launched with stainless steel options, but they just released the Ceramic Rite Press. I have backed the Ceramic option in Black and Gold. It is beautiful.



The campaign ends in just over a week on March 9th, so if you're as excited about Rite Press as I am, snatch up the lower prices now. Of course, I haven't tried this product yet, so I can't speak to its performance. I guess we'll all see if it lives up to the hype!

Not often enough, during the week, I'll use a Bialetti Moka Express to make some very strong and delicious espresso to enjoy. I started with the 3 cup stovetop espresso maker and we recently purchased the 6 cup for when David would like some, too. To note, Bialetti "cups" mean 2 ounces (not your typical 8 ounce cup). So a 3 cup maker produces 6 ounces of espresso. You need extremely fine coffee grounds for the Moka Express. The Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder requires the machine to run while changing the coarseness setting. Since French Press and Moka require such extremes, it's difficult to reset, and you get a lot of mixing coarse and fine grinds if you switch back and forth often. Therefore, I keep a small hand burr grinder set to fine grinds and use it when I have the spare time. (I have my eye on this pretty one, but just be sure it's a burr grinder.) I always prefer freshly ground coffee, but since using a manual coffee grinder can be time consuming, I like to have a bag of finely ground espresso in the cabinet just in case.



My two favorite things about Bialetti are the taste and the process. I recommend watching a video of how to brew your espresso with this machine, because you learn how to listen for your coffee to be ready. It's quite an accomplishment when you get the timing right. Another good bit is you can't use soap to wash it. A quick rinse, and you're done!

The great thing about all of these products (maybe minus the burr grinder) is that there is minimal plastic and extremely minimal waste. No plastic for a landfill and no plastic fumes or chemicals in your drink. A small investment up front can last for several years with basic care.

This post contains affiliate links. You can read the Amazon Affiliate disclosure in the sidebar. Please know I only ever post links I personally support and think may add value to my readers. Thank you for supporting the blog!
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