I just finished the book "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominquez. I love personal finance and am an avid personal finance book reader. Of all of the books I've bread, this is one of the few books that talk about the relationship and impact of our spending on both our wallets and on our one planet. “Financial Integrity is achieved by learning the true impact of your earning and spending both on your family and on the planet.”Read More
For my birthday a few weeks ago, I convinced my husband to try out Tiny House Living for a weekend. We rented a place on Airbnb that someone just built. To be fully transparent, it was brand new and luxury meaning it had a nice, large bathroom, a brand new, well-equipped kitchen and lots of space for us to move around. It was also fully connected with internet. It wasn't off the grid living, it was luxury tiny house living for a weekend.Read More
One of the things that eventually comes up with someone who lives or attempts to live a zero waste life or blogs about it is the hypocrisy that comes with it. No matter how you slice or dice it, we all generate waste. Zero waste is not all or nothing. Zero waste is currently not possible in the current system that we have, but it doesn't mean we can't try to have a low impact and reduce the amount of waste that we all produce.
Perhaps, the biggest thing that is definitely not zero waste is the use of the internet.Read More
Things to do in Charlotte for the responsible tourist. Lots of sustainable activities that allow you to explore the Queen City without generating a lot of waste and reduce your impact.Read More
I recently had a chance to attend the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, North Carolina. It was my first every fair of it's kind. I was surprised at how much there was.
For those not familiar, "The Mother Earth News Fair is your passport to money-saving hacks, health-boosting remedies, and environmental strategies from leading experts and entrepreneurs around the country." It's very informative, fun and hands-on event with plenty to do, learn, and check out.Read More
For many years, I did not own a car after mine was completely totaled in a freak accident. So for years, I used car sharing companies like Zipcar and with the introduction of Uber a few years back, I was a faithful Uber user. One day, I came across this article about an Uber engineer by the name of Susan Fowler who detailed her strange year at Uber. Read the text here. It was an account of a male dominated work place with unprofessional business practices, harassment and lack of accountability by HR and the company overall. This hit close to home and I vowed to vote with my money and my conscience and deleted my Uber account.
Today I am an occasional Lyft user and am happy to see the news that they are committing to carbon offsets.Read More
The truth is for majority people in the world, MINIMALISM is just a fact of life. There is no word to describe the day to day of most people as they work to meet basic needs. There is no such thing as disposable income. No such thing as extra money at the end of the week. So for those lucky and yes privileged enough to grow up and live in a part of the world where all of their needs are taken care of without much issue and wants were easily taken for granted, I believe minimalism or in this case, the art of slowing down and living with less is needed in society right now.Read More
Did you know that most workout gear is made out of synthetic materials that sheds in the wash releasing small particles of plastic into the water system and eventually into our rivers and oceans? These are called microplastics or microfibers that have a diameter smaller than a human hair. Sadly, these are everywhere and have been found in bottled water.Read More
What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?
This is going to be a tough post to write, but I am going to attempt to do so as I believe it will help me understand all of the views around eating meat and where I stand. It's not that I've been avoiding the topic. It's just that this is a complex topic and I have been trying to wrap my brain around it. You see, I don't have a problem eating meat. Growing up in the Philippines, I've seen animals get butchered for food. I've witnessed chickens and pigs being raised only to be killed for a special event, mostly for a fiesta celebration. When this happened, we would be eating parts of that animal for days on end.Read More
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