Growing up in the Philippines, we weren't necessarily poor. My parents worked for a multi-national corporation, we had a nice house and we went to private Catholic school. From what I remember, Sundays were usually market days and part of market day is "ukay ukay". Ukay ukay is secondhand clothing from the Western world that make its way to the Philippines. Originally, they were meant as donation from first world to third world countries. At some point, it became a business and clothes. Secondhand clothing is a large part of the economy in third world countries. It has its pluses and minuses. First it supports the creation of micro businesses, second it provides affordable clothing and three it supports reuse. The downsides are it hurts local business sometimes especially those that want to produce and create their own clothing. It also leads to waste as this can sometimes be the last resort for textiles. If no one wants them at this point, it's very rare that they are shipped to another country to be recycled.Read More
Online shopping is growing, and so is the waste it generates. In 2013, the EPA estimated that 27% of landfill mas was paper and paperboard. The increase is cardboard waste is causing waste management companies to alter their processes to meet the growing flow of cardboard from online shopping.
My goal with Unburied co. is to reuse as many items as possible before they are upcycled and then recycled. I hope that this process will decrease the demand for new materials and pave the way for more sustainable options. The first arm of this is collecting cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper and tissue paper. These are all items that we save up in our homes because want to reuse them but end up throwing them away when they pile becomes unmanageable. I want people to sign up for my service before it gets to that. The second arm of Unburied co. is to develop a network of businesses that will reuse these products. Reused materials from Unburied co. are cheaper, allowing for decreased shipping costs, are just as capable, and their use will help bring awareness to the Zero Waste movement.Read More
For the month of March on Instagram, I'll be going through some aspects of how life was when I was growing up in the Philippines. You can read more about that here. I have also partnered with a few great companies to do some giveaways in March. There's been a lot of discussion about zero waste and how sometimes among the white walls and perfect portrayals of neatly stacked jars, privilege reigns. I'm lucky to be where I am today. My parents sacrificed a lot to come to the U.S. as immigrants. As with everyone else, our life perspectives will be different. Mine contains a glimpse of life in a country that did not have a luxury, but we made do with what's possible. Fast forward years later and I am lucky that I do not have to struggle to meet my basic needs and can therefore spend my time and money on other things. I recognize that zero waste as a movement isn't necessarily about getting the latest gear, but learning to understand what it means to consume and how to consume in a way that doesn't harm the environment. As someone who also just went through the zero waste transition and continues to make changes (the journey never ends), I wanted to giveaway a few items to help others break away from wasteful habits.Read More
In our current system, the worker's life belong not only to the commodity he or she makes, but also increasingly to the garbage graveyard. When manufactured goods are trashed, so too is the labor that went into making them. What other productive, scientific, creative pursuits could we have invested in the time we were making cheap things? Garbage is not just nature, but human labor thrown away in the interest of the circulation of commodities and the extraction of profit.
I just finished reading Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage and I can't help thinking about the above quote. It makes me sad. I'm also struggling to reconcile my Economics and Sustainability brain. As someone who studied Economics in undergrad, economic growth was paramount, but the only way to have economic growth was to produce more. On the other hand, my Sustainability brain is screaming, we can't keep producing more. We don't have enough resources and we are not even recycling resources properly.Read More
I'm joining EarthHero on their March Zero Waste Challenge, but I'm going to be doing a bit of a different spin on it. I'm borrowing a page from Heidi over at zerowastechica and Olivia at zerowastehabesha and will showcase how cultures have been living sustainability before "zero waste" became a trend and got its own hashtag. I grew up in the Philippines until I was 9 and went back several times since then (though not as often as I would have liked). I remember a lot of the things we did to save resources and use up as much as we could. Many cultures around the world have been preserving the Earth and doing what they can without the label. While it wasn't termed "zero waste", the concept of sustainability has been around since the dawn of time.Read More
I was in love with New York. I do not mean ‘love’ in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and never love anyone quite that way again.
I fell in love with New York City at the age of 21. My roommate and I attended a New Year's party at Webster Hall and we had one of those random, New York nights weaving in and out of different crowds and neighborhoods. It was an unusually warm New Year so New York in the early morning felt special. As a girl growing up in New Jersey, New York was a 40 minute train ride away. At 22, I interned at the Met Life building on top of Grand Central commuting by bus. Each time the bus curves towards and away from the New York City skyline, I also smile. Post college, I accepted a job in New Jersey and would take a day or two to explore the city every few months. I eventually ended up working in New York City, but the grind of the daily commute, the constant push of tourists when all you wanted to do was get to your office got to me and I fell out of love with New York. I admired New York from afar, enjoying the skyline and the quietness that came with it. Add another year or two and I'm now back into falling in love with New York, but now with new eyes. What follows are tips on how to enjoy New York city without generating too much waste. I call this being a conscious traveler. My ask is to fall in love with New York, but don't leave it broken-hearted with waste and trash.Read More
Not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.
So for awhile now, I’ve been reluctant to write about money or personal finance on this blog. Not sure why. I had this idea that talking about money would turn people off and would be the opposite of minimalism and focusing on what you value. This month has been a long month of self-reflection and after reading the “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”, my mindset about money has shifted a little bit. Whereas, I felt money was bad and not inline with minimalism and eco-friendly living, but in reality, I’m learning that money can be a powerful tool to live the life that you want, under your own terms. For me, I’m owning up to the idea that money can be used for good and that wanting money and having money does not make me a bad person. In fact, money can help emphasize the work that I want to do in minimalism and eco-friendly living. With that, today I want to talk about minimalism and financial freedom and why moving towards a more minimalism lifestyle can be the catalyst to creating the financial independence you want.
What is Minimalism? What is Financial Freedom? To me, Minimalism has always been focusing on the things that I value. This means focusing less on the accumulation of stuff, but more on personal growth, on relationships and on helping the world. You can read my minimalism journey here. Today, Financial Freedom means more to me more than ever and I will share a story that I have never shared here before.Read More
We all need to start thinking of money in terms of freedom. Money = Freedom. Today, most of us exchange our time for money. Yes, the money eventually pays for housing, for food, for clothing, for vacations etc., but at the heart of it, we are exchanging our time to buy other things. It would be very idealistic of us to state that money is not important. We don't live in a world where money is not necessary, but we can figure out a way to use it for good.Read More
First of call, congrats on your new lifestyle. Whether you are on a minimalist or a zero waste journey, you've made a choice for yourself. Unfortunately, while this new lifestyle is making you happy, others in your close circle may not understand it and may judge and criticize you. Of course, this isn't fair, but as we know, we are the only ones that have control of our thoughts and our actions. It's hard to change other people's minds especially if they are not ready to change.Read More
I recently finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The first takeaway action item for me is to write my own Personal Commandments - things that I believe in and will hopefully dictate my actions for the year. Not really realizing it, I have been doing this for years now. I would write the Top 5 Resolutions and put it into a frame. The challenge with a Resolution is sometimes it gets misconstrued as Goals so I am taking a different approach on how to differentiate them and how my Personal Commandments come into play. I'm also experimenting with a bullet journal to see how I can get my thoughts, my to-do lists written in a way that is helpful, manageable and creative.Read More
I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.”
With only a few days left in 2017, I wanted to reflect on my zero waste goals for 2017. While I didn't have lofty goals and certainly am still not able to fit all of my trash into a mason jar, I believe I've made great progress. It's always good to stop and review progress as this informs what you need to work on. I've loved that fact that people term this "a journey" because it definitely certainly is. For me, I'm in my 30's and I didn't know about the concept of "zero waste" until last year so I have 30 years of habits and external influences that I personally need to battle
This post is not meant to brag, but to celebrate some of my wins as they will ultimately build up my confidence for greater and better things and perhaps convince others to start with something small.Read More
Toothpaste has been one of the most contentious item in our household for the zero waste transition. Granted, it's only my husband and myself, but we have our own different opinions on good toothpaste. For a good while prior to zero waste, I had a large range of teeth problems. Brushing and flossing and 6 month dental visits were never enough. I started to lessen my sugar intake and that really help me get on the right foot with addressing a lot of dental issues.
I definitely tried the DIY Toothpaste recipes and neither my husband or myself were very keen on it. We moved to using the LUSH Toothy Tabs and LUSH Toothy Powder and spent a few months trialing their product. That went better than the DIY paste. This still came in plastic so it still wasn't 100%. We then moved towards using BALM! Baby Teeth Paste. I know, it says baby on it, so if it's good enough for a baby, it's good enough for me. That Teeth Paste was better than we had hoped, but a little more expensive and not as portable since it was in glass. We went back to conventional toothpaste for a bit as we had some leftover that we found in our cabinet stash, but here we are today trialing Davids Natural Toothpaste.Read More
"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.
Another year winds down and I'm now already preparing for 2018. Last year, I wrote a post on my search for a good notebook to capture all of my ideas, quotes, notes, etc. I ended up using Ink and Volt for the year, but supplemented it with another notebok. I'm now reviewing the words, ideas and things I wrote and I love that I was able to capture it all.
Without further ado and in no particular order, here's the list of eco-friendly planners and notebooks for 2018. I have not selected my final notebook for 2018, but I will update once I decide.Read More
Resolutions require only words. Results require action.
One of the reasons why I started this blog was to keep myself accountable for all of the personal projects I was doing. My goal was to complete a monthly project related to optimal health, the environment, minimalism and so many others. So today, I want to go over the top 8 apps that have allowed me to complete a lot of projects. I hope they will help you live more optimally in the New Year. These apps allow a lot of tracking and make reaching small incremental goals more of a game. The data also encourages you to analyze which action is going well versus not. Without further ado, here are the Top 8 Apps I currently recommend. For less than $50 for the New Year, you can findRead More
Instead of medicine, fast for a day.
This weekend I completed my first fast ever. The experience was easier than I thought. With nothing but water and 2 cups of bone broth, I broke my fast at hour 57. Here's why I did it, how and some of my best practices.Read More
On the heels of my 100 Things To Do In the Fall, I thought I would also do a list for the Winter and probably for the other two seasons. I've loved every minute of Fall this year. The weather was slightly milder to begin with so we were able to enjoy most of it outside. So without further ado, my list of 100 Things To Do In the Winter. Do you have anything to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.Read More
Ever since I read 10% Human, I've been slightly obsessing about eating good pre and probiotics food. I've noticed a significant difference in the way I feel when ingesting probiotic-rich food or taking the probiotic supplement. After a few trial and errors, I think I've finally perfected the crock-pot yogurt recipe. With this recipe, you can significantly reduce the amount of plastic you use from yogurt consumption. It's a fairly hands-off process, but does require a few hours of attention. Here's how I normally make plastic free crock-pot yogurt.Read More
I've been struggling with the tenets of minimalism, zero waste and conscious capitalism for some time now. Not the practicalities of it, though I have my moments, but the idealism of it. We don't live in a perfect world. We don't live in a circular economy. The term "conscious capitalism" feels like an oxymoron. We live in a very capitalistic society that uses the GDP as the factor for measuring our economic growth. GDP means the creation and consumption of things. How can we be conscious about that and is that something that we can change?Read More
In a few week’s time, the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a wonderful holiday that brings family and friends together and kick off the holiday season in the States. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving happens to also be one of the most wasteful holidays out there. Isn’t it ironic that we celebrate and show gratitude for abundance with a lot of waste? This year will be my second year celebrating Thanksgiving with a zero waste mindset. What does this all mean, it means consciously consuming and ensuring that all of the food that you and millions of people have worked so very hard to put on the table does not go to waste. For me, a lot of living a zero waste lifestyle is preparation. Here’s my plan for this Thanksgiving. I know we will have dinner at my parents house so I will be encouraging family members to reduce as much waste consumption as possible.Read More
If you’ve read some of my posts, you know that I love to gather data as a way to quantify actions. (See post about how many steps the Inca Trail really takes or the payoff return when investing in reusables.)
Lately, I’ve been obsessing over the Cladwell app to log my outfits. So I am not a fashionista, far from it, but I like nice stuff and have come a long way from a walk-in closet full of clothes I never wore. Earlier this year, I took on project333 for the first time and found a lot of peace with dwindling my wardrobe to only 33 items. Now I’m not as exact with 33 as I could be, but I know it’s going well when:Read More