Waste Not

attempting to waste less and live more deliberately

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Stressed Out Plants

Did you think humans were the only ones feeling stressed out? Well, turns out plants are too.  While I calm my nerves with a nice cold pint, plants deal with stress quite differently.

The flowering of many plant species is regulated by environmental factors such as light exposure and temperature. As these conditions change, some plants may experience stress-induced flowering. This year the Lilacs at the gardens are experiencing stress-induced flowering due to the string of very dry LA winters.

A friend and fellow garden employee puts it this way, “Plant’s are smart. If the plant believes it’s in danger of dying it will do everything it can to reproduce.”

Picture 228

Picture 234

Picture 236  Though beautiful, these flowers are a clear sign of stress.

♥ ali



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It’s Raining Weevils!

At my desk there is a shelf that is solely devoted to interesting/pretty things found in the gardens.  Seed pods, bark, hops, quartz, and the occasional acorn.


One day while working…type type type phone call type print… a giant grub/maggot/wormie thing dropped right in front of my keyboard *SPLAT*. (note, the word giant may be an exaggeration.)

It should be known that I love bugs (see my spider post) and I am sure given a little time I could have grown to love this strange bug. However, the shock of a bug falling from the skies seemed to have blocked all lovey feelings.

After scooting the little bug onto a leaf and sending him back into the wild, I couldn’t shake the feeling that a bug had just fallen from the sky.  Would it happen again? Did it come from the ceiling? Is there maybe a dead animal in the ceiling with maggots feeding on its shell? Would it happen again? Should I start wearing a hat to work?

After discussing the odd incident with my coworker she furrowed her brow, looked at my collection of seed pods and other lovelies from the gardens and said “Acorn”.

And that is why I no longer collect acorns and why I had to share this National Geographic Video I stumbled upon. Click Here:  Acorn Weevil!  (if you dare!)

Happy fall and watch out for those Weevils!

♥ ali

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Orange Infused Vinegar

Dust is the WORST! This has never been a problem before, I am convinced that having hardwood floors allows every little particle to fly around freely, landing right in your…ah…Ah….ACHOO! You get the picture.

No matter though, surely there is a DIY dust spray somewhere in the internet world.  Found one! Only one problem, it calls for lemon essential oil. I have nothing against lemon essential oil, it’s just that I don’t have any, and I am cozy at home, and I don’t want to spend any money. So what to do? Citrus Infused Vinegar! A friend once described cleaning with his lemon infused vinegar as leaving his house smelling like Victorian Lemonade!

Here’s how it’s done in just a few simple steps!


Find Citrus Peels – I chose the old orange peels left over from juicing.


Prepare the Peels  – You can stuff them in as are, but I chose to use a veggie peeler on them to increase the surface area and let out those essential oils.


Stuff them in a jar!


Wait – A few weeks should do it!


Smells amazing, gives new life to discarded peels, and it’s free; all good things!

Dust spray recipe coming soon, watch out dust bunnies!

♥ ali

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A-Tisket, A-Tasket…

…I no longer forget my bags ‘cause now I use a basket!

This is my basket; it is by far the most useful present I have ever received.


While the thought of having a pile of reusable bags sitting next to my door makes me cringe, this lovely basket sitting in our entry way brings nothing but joy. I believe this is why I rarely forget to bring it to the store; that and it is always complimented, go positive reinforcement!


While this basket is usually overflowing with food and wine and all good things, today it is helping me take home all the dishes I’ve left at work.

Not only is it beautiful and easy to remember, it carries a boat load!!! Seriously, this thing is strong! I would say it can hold about two big bags worth of groceries.


These kinds of baskets are called Bolga baskets and come from Bolgatanga, the craft center of Northern Ghana. The baskets come in a wide variety of sizes and designs, as you can see…


Imagemini bolga lunch basket


Lean about and shop Fair Trade Bolga baskets: http://basketsofafrica.com/ghana-bolgatanga/ghana-bolga-baskets.html

What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system.

Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers lack economic opportunity and often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods.

Fair trade is much more than just trade. At the core of the fair trade model is a direct, cooperative, and in-depth relationship between buyers and sellers that keeps all of the principles of fair trade at the forefront.

What Does that Really Mean?

Fair Trade is about making a tremendous impact on artisan and farmer communities while offering great products to the public.

Fairly traded clothing, coffee, food, furniture, home decor, housewares, jewelry, tea, toys, personal accessories, and many other products are available from Fair Trade Organizations. Communities are improved; nutritional needs met; health care costs are covered; the poor, especially women, are empowered; the environmental impact of production, sourcing, and transport is mitigated to the fullest extent possible. Such an impact is created because Fair Trade approaches development as a holistic process.

Who is the Fair Trade Federation?

Fair Trade Federation members are fully committed to Fair Trade. They have dedicated their businesses to creating positive change for the poorest of the poor. This means that fair trade is at the core of every business decision they make.

By selling their products in North America, Fair Trade Federation members are improving the lives of artisans and farmers around the globe.


We are in no way affiliated with basket distributors; we’re actually affiliated with nobody but each other. We just think these baskets are useful, beautiful, and a big help in breaking our paper-or-plastic habit.


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The Real Deal

“The change in life path came one evening on the yacht whilst philosophizing with a friend over a glass of merlot. Whilst I had been significantly influenced by the Mahatma’s quote “be the change you want to see in the world”, I had no idea what that change was up until then. We began talking about all major issues in the world – environmental destruction, resource wars, factory farms, sweatshop labour – and wondering which of these we would be best devoting our time to. Not that we felt we could make any difference, being two small drops in a highly polluted ocean.”

-Mark Boyle



Read his story here: 



Happy Reading!

♥ ali


Rose Hips: A Simple Snack

You may be familiar with the many culinary uses of rose hips such as jellies, teas, and wines, but did you know you can also eat them fresh from the plant?  What a treat!


Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant, which occur in fall after successful pollination. They range in color from orange to deep red and in size from a pea to a plum. In addition to being a rich source of vitamin c, they also contain an abundance of vitamin a, calcium, and fiber.

While all rose hips are edible, some are not worth eating. Typically the more hybridized the rose, the less tasty. Look for simple, wild, and native varieties.


Rosa virginiana, known as Virginia Rose, Common Wild Rose, Prairie Rose

There are a variety of techniques when it comes to eating rose hips, all which are centered on avoiding the fibrous center which contain the seeds. If ingested these fibers could cause what the Aboriginal people called “itchy bottom disease.” Even touching the fibers in excess can cause a slight irritation.

Here is one technique.


Here is another; I call it the squirrel technique.


Harvest your rose hips! They should be easy to pull off and plump.


Rinse the handful you are about to devour.


Rub the rose hip back and forth on a cloth or your jeans to remove the prickles on the outside.


All clean and ready to eat!


Eat like a squirrel, consuming only the outside of the fruit, avoiding the fibrous seed pouch in the middle.


Like so! Yum! Tastes a bit like a mix between persimmon and apple.


For comparison,: on the left, an uneaten rose hip, on the right, a thoroughly enjoyed rose hip.


Here, you can see the rose hip seed “pouch” opened up. This is what you want to avoid!


The seeds, like apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide and the fibrous hairs are irritating. This shouldn’t deter you from eating them, just nibble around them!


Make sure to wash your rose hips, they may have chemicals sprayed all over them!

Like anything you consume, its best to practice caution. Aside from the fibrous seed packs, I have never come across any alarming information regarding rose hips. If you should try them, do your research just to be on the safe side!

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” — Brillant-Savarin

If this is the case, why not be a rose?

♥ ali