Waste Not

attempting to waste less and live more deliberately

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October Unprocessed 2013

If you have ever eaten too much at Thanksgiving or put away one too many beers, you are already well aware that what we ingest affects our bodies, minds, and overall well-being. Like a plant, we are living organisms that need certain care to survive and thrive. This awareness is why we have decided to give October Unprocessed a try!


October Unprocessed is the challenge to eat only real, unprocessed food for an entire month.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, not so fast!  Walk into any grocery store and you will find real food (mostly on the perimeters of the store), but also a growing amount of edible, food-like substances. Upon reading the ingredients list you will find these substances were likely produced in a lab rather than in the soil of the earth. With so many edible, food-like substances parading around as food, how can one ensure they eat only real food?

Andrew’s Kitchen Test

“The first question I’m always asked is, “How do you define processed?”

Obviously there’s a wide range of implications in that word, and we will probably each define it slightly differently for ourselves. My definition is this:

Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.

I call it “The Kitchen Test.” If you pick up something with a label (if it doesn’t have a label, it’s probably unprocessed), and find an ingredient you’d never use in your kitchen and couldn’t possibly make yourself from the whole form, it’s processed.

It doesn’t mean you actually have to make it yourself, it just means that for it to be considered “unprocessed” that you could, in theory, do so.”

–Andrew Wilder

Is there a problem with processed? 

To be honest, I don’t know for sure. While I think it would be totally cool to be a nutritionist, I am not one and I don’t believe in acting as an authority on subjects in which I only harbor minimal understanding.  That being said, I encourage you to do your own digging, as we will do ours.

As you dig deeper into the subject of processed vs natural why not give October Unprocessed a try and see what your body has to say?

Give It A Try!

The challenge starts tomorrow, October 1! Learn more here: http://www.eatingrules.com/october-unprocessed-2013/


♥ ali


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Dry Brushing: very simple skin care


one step in a very simple skin care routine

What: Dry Brushing (also called lymphatic brushing)

Supplies: Natural bristle brushes for face and body. Not too soft, not too hard; should stimulate, not inflame. Brush used on face should be designed for facial use.

Duration: 5-10 minutes


When – Daily is fine, I try for a few days a week.  Some suggest dry brushing before you shower. If you choose to do so, just make sure your brush does not make contact with any moisture. Dry brushing can be done anytime of the day; however because it is so invigorating, it is wise to avoid brushing before bedtime.

Method – Skin should be dry. Do not dry brush if the skin is moist with lotion, sweat, or water. Dry brushing is to be done in long sweeping strokes using light pressure; “Remember, this is not tile or grout but a living organism!” Avoid sensitive areas such as bruises or wounds.

Direction – To put it simply, brush towards your heart. The idea here is to mimic the lymphatic flow. I use the picture below as my guide. I start with my extremities and work my way in; feet to hips, hands to pits, then my middle parts. Don’t forget, long sweeping strokes.


Dry brushing is best done sans clothing!


When – Once or twice a week with a facial brush (body brush is too hard). After my face is cleansed, I pat dry and gently “exfoliate” with my softer dry brush. After dry brushing is complete, I can move on to moisturizing.

Method – I brush my face gentler than I do my body. Here, the skin is more delicate so I treat it with care.

Direction – Below is the diagram showing the direction I brush.  Simply put, I start in the center brushing out and downward towards my neck.  Some people suggest brushing up, but for me I have found sticking with the lymph system feels pretty great. Don’t take my word for it though, try it and see what works best for you!



Feels Great

Stimulating, energizing, invigorating, tingly, cleansing…those are just a few words I would use to describe the experience of dry brushing. There are many health claims regarding dry brushing and I can’t say for sure if any of them are true, but I can tell you for a fact dry brushing feels incredible.  It is like a daily spa visit and is by far the most luxurious part of my day.

Saves Money

Imagine no more temptation to buy the latest exfoliating body wash that promises smoother skin and tighter thighs! Let’s say the average exfoliating body wash costs $15 and maybe it lasts about two months, that’s $90 dollars a year! $450 dollars over 5 years!

The “Beauty” industry is a big business! Why else do you think you run into a ridiculously large amount of advertisements that make you feel ugly? So you will buy their products that promise beauty, happiness, and riches.  I call BS! I promise, you are already so beautiful! While you might experience smoother skin, the aim of dry brushing is more about the feeling and care, at least that’s been my experience…

Point is, investing in a $10 dry brush that you can use for years and years will cost less than having to repeatedly purchase the latest wonder scrub.

(still love the scrub?  Get your DIY on with The Crunchy Urbanite: Salt Soda Scrub)

Less Clutter

You know how when you go to the spa and the counters and cabinets are just overflowing of half-used oozing/crusty bottles of toxic beauty chemicals? It’s just so relaxing…Hm, maybe not so much.

Perhaps the best part of simplifying my skin care routine has been the zen-like feeling of a clutter-free bathroom!

Healthy Body

Take a moment to read the ingredient list on a few beauty products. Do you recognize what you see? Can you even pronounce the words? I can’t. I’m not too crazy about the idea of loading my body up with a bunch of chemicals.  Here’s the rule I have adopted: If I don’t know what it is, I don’t consume it or put it on my body.

I am not a health care proffessional. That being said, there are plenty of health claims regarding the practice of dry brushing; boosts to the immune system, cleansing of the lymphatic system, cellulite reduction to name a few.  As mentioned above, I do it because it feels good, but if you are interested in learning more about the health claims and benefits check out the link: Benefits and Techniques

Healthy Planet

We have all seen the heartbreaking pictures of ducks with 6-pack plastic rings around their necks and grocery bags floating eerily next to a majestic sea turtle, but have you heard of microplastics or microtrash?

In 2012 researchers studying the Great Lakes found 450,000 bits of the microtrash per square kilometer.  Among the bits, microbeads! The same microbeads found in many cleansers and soaps! Microbeads are designed not to clog plumbing; because of this, they easily make their way into lakes, rivers, and ocean.

Dry brushing not only reduces the amount of chemicals that get rinsed down the drain, but also the number of plastic “exfoliating beads”.


Want to learn more? Check out these articles:




There you have it. Dry brushing feels amazing, saves money, and unless you throw your brush into Lake Erie, has little impact on waterways.

Wasting less doesn’t necessarily mean going without! Give dry brushing a try and enjoy 10 minutes of luxury a day!

♥ ali


They’re Here…

and we love them!

For the most part all of our waste not tiny habits (see here) have come quite easily.  We have added a recycling system that seems to be working pretty well, we are making our own bread (by we, I mean Sam!), and even brewing our own beer (again, Sam is awesome!). However, there is one habit that has proven itself a bit more difficult…reusable drink containers (the cold ones).

DSCN0955Hot drink reusable — Thumbs up, we are doing well!

Hot coffee is working out just fine. We have started making our coffee at home in an effort to save money; as a happy consequence, we are using our own ceramic mugs.  However, when we are craving a nice iced coffee or latte (when it’s a billion degrees outside!!!) we tend to break and use the disposable plastic cups the drinks are served in.  DRAT! My chilled espresso beverage is tainted by the fact that the plastic cup I am sucking it out of will likely be around well after we’re both gone. Iced lattes are not so yummy with a side of guilt.

This also doesn’t sit too well…

If we each consume 4 beverages a week from disposable cups, that amounts to 416 trashed cups a year! If you live in a household of 5, that’s 1,040 trashed cups! Yikes, we were ready to find an alternative.

What to do? Research online, duh!

While searching for a product to help keep us on track, we have a few requirements.

  1. Must come from a company we would be proud to support!
  2. It should be made of safe-to-drink-from materials. I prefer eating and drinking out of containers that won’t disrupt my hormonal system, don’t you?
  3. It should be well-made, we would like it to stick around for the long haul!


What did we find? EcoJarz!


About EcoJarz

“We are a young company focused on challenging the concept of throw-away culture. Our first product — the Stainless Steel EcoJarz Drink Top — is designed to make reuse the new norm. Because our drink tops fit standard canning jars, they also fit hundreds of other bottles and containers that are disposed of everyday. This drink top will fit any standard mouth jar, whether it’s an empty tomato sauce, salsa, or mayonnaise jar. With EcoJarz, the possibilities of turning jars into long-lasting, always-handy, on-the-go drink vessels are almost endless.”

“There is a growing amount of research highlighting the benefits of using non-reactive drink and food storage for everyday use.  By using materials such as Glass, Ceramic, Stainless Steel and Silicone you are protecting yourself from many harmful compounds and toxins such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates. Materials such as Glass, Silicone and Stainless Steel are best suited for contact with food and beverages because of their lack of reactivity.  This means that you can use and reuse them again and again and they will put nothing harmful into your food!”



In addition to those listed above, here are some reasons I love EcoJarz.

  1. If I break the jar I am using, I can recycle it, find another and still use my lid! All is not lost.
  2. They give you the option to ship with minimal packaging!
  3. They also sell stainless steel straws!
  4. They are pretty darn cute!

IMG_0243Shipped with minimal packaging!

If you are interested in checking out EcoJarz (where you will also find some great beverage recipes) here is a link to their website: http://www.ecojarz.com/

You should know…

We are not affiliated with EcoJarz and have not been paid to say nice things about them; we just think they make a really great product and wanted to pass that info along to you!

what have you found that helps you waste not?

♥ ali

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A Scrunchie Moment


This is the moment I realized scrunchies are not dumb, ugly, cool, nor fashionable; they are simply scrunchies. Maybe everything is just exactly what it is.

scrunchies90sleave it to full house to teach me yet another life lesson

The other night I was searching for a tie to put my hair up before bed. I found an old scrunchie, put it around my wrist and as I began to place it in my hair I thought “ugh, scrunchies are so ugly.”

That was the moment I realized I was brainwashed.

I realize this sounds a bit odd, but stay with me a moment.

There was a time when scrunchies were my number one.  I once had an active and varied scrunchie collection. So what’s my deal? Why do I now think scrunchies are ugly and horrible?  Certainly the scrunchies are not to blame, they haven’t changed. So what has changed? my scrunchie perception.


Scrunchies have never betrayed me. In fact, I have always found scrunchies quite reliable; they are softer than barrettes and never get stuck in my curly hair.

I could hypothesize that fashion, like other big businesses needs to maintain a constant flow of consumers. This would make it their job to tell us what is hot, and what is not. If we were happy with what we had (i.e. big fabric-y hair pieces), we wouldn’t feel moved to shop for the “newest”, “coolest”, “sexiest”, “hottest” trends.  There would be no pressure to keep up with the Joneses, or in our case, the Kardashians. (they’re still popular, right?)

Perceived Obsolescence starts at 1:20

I have no grand explanation, merely a suggestion. Perhaps, from time to time it is a good idea to take a moment to ask “why?”

“Why do I want to go out and buy new pointy heels when I have a perfectly fine pair of rounded heels?”

“Why do I feel the need to go down that career path, when really I would prefer to do something else? (even though it may not pay as much)”

Why to everything!


It reminds me of a conversation I recently had about why women shave. “But it’s gross!” she replied. At the time I didn’t bother to go further with the conversation, but I wish I would have said “Why is it gross? Why is the hair on your legs anymore gross than the hair on your head? Who told you it was gross?”

I am by no means trying to say you should do this, or that, or whatever. This is just a ramble about “why”?

Why? Because we can.


♥ ali


Look At The Moon!

Every so often when the moon is particularly beautiful, I get a call from my Mom.  “Go outside and look at the moon!” she encourages or “The Cheshire cat is out tonight.” Now, I can’t help but think of her when I see the moon, and I am glad for it.


A special moon is rising soon, in its last full showing before the Autumnal Equinox, the Harvest Moon.  It will rise on the West Coast around 4am and on the East Coast at around 7am on September 19th. I enjoy the word harvest, just thinking of it gives me pleasure. It invokes the smell of turning leaves and the taste of cider.  Tomorrow’s moon is called Harvest because of the bright light it lends, an aid to finishing the harvest chores.

This year the Autumnal Equinox falls on Sunday, September 22. Derived from Latin, equinox means “equal night”, describing the two times of the year (spring and autumn equinox) when we experience 12 hours of both night a day. This is due to the plane of the earths equator passing the center of the sun

please, please, please enjoy this wonderful explanation!

I do hope you will enjoy the Harvest Moon. If you are tending your harvest, driving to work, or toasting its rising with a cup of coffee, give it a smile as it prepares us for the coming fall.

♥ ali

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That’s Not Coffee

Do you have a collection of mysterious recyclables?  You know you should recycle them, but you’re not sure why and you’re not sure how. I do: batteries.


That’s not coffee…


That’s a collection of corroded batteries.

The corrosive material is called potassium hydroxide, and yes, it is highly toxic. Wear protective gloves when handling corroded batteries and be sure not to touch your eyes. Good news, you can still recycle corroded batteries.

Why Bother

As discussed above, batteries contain toxic materials. If we dump or burn batteries like we do with other landfill-bound trash, these harmful substances will make their way into the environment; contaminating the air, water, and soil life depends on. Would you like to take a deep breath of toxic air? neither would I.


During the recycling process, metals are also recovered and processed for further use. This lengthens their life and reduces dependency on future mining.

I am doing it because I love this place…


How To

There are many options to choose from: mail-in, drop-off, and take-back to name a few. If you would like to learn how to recycle your batteries, check out the links below.  I used Earth911 to locate a drop-off site just a few blocks from home!

Earth911: just enter your zip code! http://earth911.com/recycling/single-use-batteries/

Battery Solutions: http://www.batteryrecycling.com/

Batteries Plus: they also recycle bulbs! http://www.batteriesplus.com/t-batteries-plus-recycles.aspx

Call2Recycle: they recycle rechargeables too! http://www.call2recycle.org/physical-flowchart/

Next Step

Find out where you can recycle your old batteries and other mysterious recyclables using the links above.

Purchase rechargeable batteries like nickel metal hydride batteries. Better for the environment, better for your wallet! Also recyclable once their long life is over!

Have a Minute?

Check out this video about how batteries are recycled. It’s pretty neat!

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb

Why do you recycle?

♥ ali