Small Acts of Sustainability

small-acts-of-sustainability

Sustainability is an interesting topic to bring up this time of year. The holidays are about consumption. Buying more to prove you care for your loved ones. Buying them gifts they don’t really want or need just to get them something, anything at all. This year, why not take steps to break that cycle?

So. Let’s talk gifts. Christmas, birthday, all of it.

When you are getting gifts for those on your list, put a little more thought into it. Brainstorm. What do they really need? A person only requires so many mugs from Anthropologie or posters or cheap tshirts with funny phrases on them. I don’t often buy gifts for friends nowadays. I follow the rule of always sending a card, but I only send them a gift if something really catches my eye as something special for them. They know I am thinking of them, yet they don’t accumulate more things they don’t need. I appreciate when they do the same for me. Easy gift ideas? Your favorite book or a classic you think they might enjoy. A gift card, which I know people hate on, but as an adult-ish individual I can confirm nothing gets me more excited than a Starbucks or Target gift card. As long as you know a place they frequent, I think a gift card is perfectly acceptable. Do they have a pet? Throw in a toy or bag of natural treats for their fur baby. Overall, just attempt to buy smarter. Less money wasted, less stuff wasted.

Next up, look at what you bring into your home.

As Christmas fades out and our mind shifts toward New Year’s Resolutions, I encourage you to take small steps toward being more mindful of your own daily purchases. For me, that means I intend to focus on better clothing purchases. The clothing industry is the second most toxic industry world wide, second only to the oil industry. Reason being: fast fashion. If you are interested in learning more about this, I recommend the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast episode on fast fashion, as well as the documentary The True Cost. The overall message is, buy quality. Not only clothing quality, but companies of quality that treat their employees fairly. This article is a fantastic resource for companies that do just that. One other thing I want to do in the next couple of years is get a higher quality washer and dryer. Our current one isn’t high efficiency and is hard on our clothes. Plus, knowing some basic mending skills, or a good tailor, helps your clothes last and last.

Finally, focus on your daily activities.

Think manageable steps. Like I really hope no one still leaves the water running while they brush their teeth do they? For us, I try to use reusable rags for cleaning, microfiber cloths for dusting, and cloth napkins at dinner. It saves money and paper products. I haven’t purchased a plastic bottle of water in I don’t even know how long. We have a Brita pitcher filter and I take a glass water bottle with me whenever I know I’ll be gone for a while. Plus, throw in a lemon or lime wedge and it tastes far better than your average bottle of water anyway. Run your dishwasher and washer when you have a full load. Turn out unnecessary lights. Buy the large container of yogurt instead of individually wrapped ones. Have your own little garden when it warms up, or grow what you can indoors. Keep the heat lower if you can, we can’t really do this ourselves. With a six month old, we keep the temperature a couple degrees warmer than usual to ensure he’s comfortable. The changes you can implement may differ from mine, the goal is to think of a new idea or two. No matter how small.

As this year ends, we should do what we can to make 2017 better for everyone. And better for our planet.

May Faves

I can’t believe May is almost over. This month may have been so overwhelming due to the baby prep, but we are officially ready to go. The car seat is in, the nursery is set up, and I have our dog’s specific daily schedule on the fridge. My mind is constantly going with different ways I can help prepare everything and ease the transition into parenthood. Here are a few things that have eased the tension or aided in the preparation process this past month.

Home Item

Microfiber cleaning cloths

Microfiber cleaning cloths – These things are amazing. Our dog doesn’t shed a lot, but a weekly vacuum also doesn’t cut it in our household. I bought a pack of these microfiber cloths to use in place of disposable Swiffer cloths. Wash them in cold water before use and I create a little pile of the used ones and wash them separately or with rags to ensure clothes don’t get covered in the process.

 

Nursery Items

Mist and Gray Owls crib blanket

Mist and Gray Owls musical mobile

Mist and Gray Owl blanket and musical mobile – I ordered both of these and the anticipated delivery date was mid June. In the happy news department, they arrived today and I love them both. The blanket will go with us to the hospital to keep the baby warm on the way home, and the mobile is adorable.

Simply Love crib sheet

Simply Love crib sheet – We’re trying to go gender neutral on a lot of items, saves money for future children and not everything needs to be cars and manly items. I got our crib sheets from Target, they’re lightweight and perfect for warm summer weather. This sheet in particular is my favorite, it’s just too sweet.

SnackChile Spiced Mango

Trader Joe’s chile spiced mango – I haven’t had many cravings. There was one night I was beyond obsessed with getting my hands on KFC, but outside of that my indulgences haven’t been abnormal. The exception may be TJ’s chile spiced mango. To say I could go through an entire package in one sitting is an understatement. The longest one of these packages has lasted is three days, and that’s only because I forgot I had it! The dried mango is chewy, somewhat sweet, and not overly spicy. Delicious.

Go to Dress
Motherhood-Maternity-Black-Maxi-Dress

Motherhood Maternity Maxi Dress – The weather here is either rainy, cold, or unbearably hot. It’s remarkable how I can never seem to be comfortable. This dress looks fancy enough for a dinner out and it’s comfortable enough to wear to the dog park on an oppressively hot day. Trust me, I’ve done it.

Way to Pass the Day

Agatha Christie’s Poirot on Audible – I spend a lot of time organizing, cleaning, and walking the dog. Sometimes it’s nice to put a good book and zone out. I love Christie’s Hercule Poirot, I’ve seen nearly every episode on Netflix, but I can’t Netflix and walk so Audible is a great substitute. Most of them are narrated by none other than Hugh Fraser, aka Captain Hastings in the television series. You’re welcome in advance!

Upgrade Your Loungewear

Upgrade Your Loungewear{Image Source}

When it comes to loungewear, no one does it better than Olivia Pope. Though I am at least a season behind on Scandal, her at home attire was the first of her possessions I truly envied. Plus, did that glass of wine in her hand add to the ambiance or was it just me? Either way, with my due date a month and a half away I am ready to upgrade my own lougewear and bring some wine back into my life.

Matching, or well coordinated, pajamas are something I consider a small and necessary luxury. If you are going to bed in a ratty tee and stained old sweatpants, you are giving me nightmares. I really enjoyed a lougewear related post over on The Simply Luxurious Life,  but the $200+ price tag on a number of items was rather unrealistic for me. I don’t have any appropriate warmer weather sleepwear and to drop even half that per pair would not work at this point. This lead me down the slippery slope that is Google and I found some amazing pieces to channel my own inner Olivia Pope. Bonus: here’s a Popetastic post to inspire other areas of your closet as well.

Nordstrom Picks:

(1) Betsey Johnson Lace Sleeve Pajamas (2) Honeydew Intimates Lace Trim Pajamas
(3) Splendid Jersey Shorts Pajamas (4) Splendid Knotted Tank and Pajama Shorts

Kohl’s Picks:

(1) Vera Wang Away We Go Pajama Set (2) Vera Wang Basic Luxury Pajama Set
(3) Vera Wang Sweet in Pleats

Target Picks:

(1) Gilligan & O’Malley Long Robe Paisley Print (2) Gilligan & O’Malley Fluid Knit Gown
(3) Laura Ashley Sleeveless Pajama Set (4) Gilligan & O’Malley Soft Pajama Set
(5) Laura Ashley Capri Pajama Set

Gilligan & O’Malley is possibly my favorite pajama brand. Sold at Target, the price is reasonable and often on sale. The quality is also quite good and a pair can last for a couple of years with regular use. Pick up a few of your above faves and enjoy some elevated relaxation!

Building a Maternity Wardrobe

Having to spend a large sum on, essentially, an entire new wardrobe is a great cause for panic. Especially when you know new baby costs are just around the corner. As I enter month eight of my pregnancy, I am satisfied to say I own a number of appropriate items without going too maternity clothes crazy.

The best advice I received, though I doubted it at the time, was to buy what you need as you need it. I thought this approach was not nearly proactive enough and I would wake up one day with nothing to wear. I did get a jump start on things around Christmas time as my mom bought a number of winter appropriate tops for me, but outside of that I’ve picked items up as I’ve gone along. So what do you really need to buy? It may be different for you than it is for me. I’ve gained a healthy amount of weight, but I can still fit in a number of my shirts, as they are a stretchier fabric. Though I am measuring fine, I don’t look as far along as I am. So, fitted shirts are far more preferable and comfortable than their loose, overwhelming counterparts. Those disclaimers being said, here is what I recommend.

Building a Maternity Wardrobe

Topstees and tanks layered under your current sweaters and cardigans for colder days, then they transition easily into spring/summer months.
Belly Band – this will help hold your pre-pregnancy pants up when you need to unbutton, and they hold up your maternity jeans when your belly doesn’t quite fill them out yet. The first couple of months fold the band in half to make it tighter, then you can wear it across the belly as shown.
Leggings – any kind you have will likely work for a few months, come second trimester you will want an over the belly pair
Jeans – skinny and boot cut are ideal
Comfortable shoes – the basic Keds tennis shoe will always be my go to, recently I also picked up a pair of these slip ons for when shoe tying gets too hard. A nice bonus? The padding in the slip ons is excellent.
Underwear – if your fanny grows in the slightest, get yourself some new underwear. I am in love with these Calvin Klein super comfortable no show panties. Some reviews say they can run small. I ordered a size up from my usual because, duh, pregnancy.
Compression socks and stockings – if you are like me and pregnancy has given you the gift of cankels and varicose veins, get yourself some compression gear stat. And then find a good vein surgeon post pregnancy to fix those guys, I know I will. The higher the “mmHG” the more compression they provide.
Yoga Pants – I am still wearing the same size and style of yoga pants as before, though I have had to buy additional pairs as I wear them so often. This is one area I don’t plan to have to buy an “over the belly” variety.
Dresses – I can’t speak much to this category. It’s still a little chilly for dresses in the Chicago area, but I will be going to get a baby shower dress this weekend. I am picturing a flowy, effortless maxi dress style.

Tips:
– You can get these items anywhere, but be aware of the price. Target had the best price on the belly band (called beband) and every day tanks and shirts. Motherhood Maternity had the best full length legging price – they can run nearly $100 a pair elsewhere, and I got my jeans there during a sale.
– If you gain a “normal” amount of weight, you will likely buy everything in your pre-pregnancy size, but don’t be afraid to try on before you buy. For example, most everything I buy is a small. However, the Liz Lange tees from Target fit my chest better in a medium, even though the tank tops fit me better in a small.
– Keep wearing your normal clothes as long as they are comfortable and any additional stretching isn’t causing damage to the fabric.
– Remember, you aren’t pregnant for that long, so unless you work in a very fashionably demanding field or just love maternity wear, don’t feel pressured to overbuy. Buy what makes you feel good – maybe you don’t like fitted clothing –  and enough of it for you to be comfortable – have at least a weeks worth of tops, underwear, and pants you can wear without being required to do laundry. Also, store your maternity clothes properly whenever you are able to wear your everyday clothes again. This ensures they won’t get lost or damaged should you need them, or a pregnant friend want to borrow them, in the future.