Monday, November 11, 2019

DIY: How to Make Easy Fabric Hair Bows!

Hey earth muffins! As you all saw in my Halloween Costume post, I made a bow out of thrifted fabric for my Mary Poppins costume. I learned how to make fabric bows all the way back in middle school when I loved using scraps of fabric to make cute hair accessories that I could wear with my school uniform. 😊 If you are looking to learn how to make your own fabric bows, you came to the right post - it's time to get crafty!

A picture of a hot pink hair bow with the words No Sew Easy Fabric Bows across it
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What You Need:
-Fabric (check out your local thrift stores for extremely cheap scraps of fabric!)
-Scissors
-Hot glue or needle and thread

What To Do:
1. Pick out the perfect fabric. It will be harder to fold the bow at the end if you are using a thick fabric, but make sure that the fabric isn't too thin either or it won't be able to hold its shape!

2. Cut out a rectangle. I have found that the perfect bows require longer rectangles with shorter sides... But if you want to make a wide bow, then you can always make the rectangle wider!

3. Sew/hot glue the long edges down so that the frayed bits are hidden.

A picture of a piece of red fabric with the long edges of it glued down; a step in making a fabric bow

4. Fold the short sides into the center. Sew/hot glue in place.

A picture of a piece of red fabric being folded into a bow
Note: this fabric is WAY too wide, but I just used it to easily show the folds 👌 

5. Starting from one edge, accordion style fold the fabric until you get to the other side. Make sure that the end of both edges face the same direction so that they can be hidden on the back of the bow. Note: this is the trickiest step, so play around with the folds until your bow looks the way you want it!

A picture of a piece of red fabric being folded into a bow, using an accordion style fold
Back of bow after accordion fold

6. Sew/hot glue the folds (I recommend doing it on both side!) so that the bow shape holds.

7. Cut out a long, skinny rectangle. This will be used for the center of the bow. 🎀

8. Sew/hot glue the long edges down.

9. Wrap around the middle (to hide what you did in step 6) and sew/hot glue in place.

10. Attach any bobby pins, hair clips, etc. Ta-da! A quick and easy fabric bow! 😄

A picture of a finished hair bow, made of red polka dot fabric

What is your favorite craft at the moment? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Friday, November 8, 2019

The Weekender's Guide to Cleveland, Ohio: What To Do & Eat on the East Side! 🥰

Hey earth muffins! A couple of weekends ago, I went to Cleveland to visit one of my college friends. She lives in a suburb on the East Side of the city and was kind enough to show me around for a few days. It was so much fun to explore with her, so I thought I would share another weekender's guide with you all (especially since you have loved my guides for Madison (WI), Fort Wayne (IN), Bar Harbor (ME), and Washington D.C.). 😊

A picture of a collage of photos from Cleveland, Ohio with the words The Weekender's Guide to Cleveland, Ohio in the center
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What To Do:
1. Visit the Cleveland Museum of Art - My friend is a huge art buff, so it was great to explore this museum with her as she knew so many fun facts about certain paintings and artists! For a free museum, it has SO much art it in from ancient Egyptian sculptures to modern art. Plus, they have some extremely famous art from Monet, Degas, Picasso, Rembrant, etc. 🎨 We were lucky enough to witness a couple get engaged in front of a Monet painting, which was definitely the cherry on top of this museum trip!

A picture of a Degas ballerina painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art

2. Walk around Little Italy - Your girl right here is Italian, so of course I had to check out Little Italy! It was so cute and fun to walk around; see my Italian dessert suggestions in the section below. 😉

3. Drive through the gorgeous neighborhoods of Shaker Heights - This might be odd, but I absolutely love to drive through residential neighborhoods when I am visiting new places! There are some gorgeous (and huge) houses in Shaker Heights, so I would definitely recommend driving around if you are into that sort of thing.

A picture of a house in Shaker Heights, Cleveland

4. Walk around University Circle - At the heart of the East Side of Cleveland is University Circle which has many museums (the art museum is here!) and colleges (including Case Western). It is a great place to cover some ground on foot.

5. Spend time in the Botanical garden - I was in town when the weather was just starting to turn cold, so I wasn't able to embrace any nature inside the garden... However, I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are searching for some calm in the city. 🦋

6. Find some famous graves in the Lake View Cemetery - President Garfield, John Rockefeller, and many other people are buried here. There is free parking on the side of the street next to the cemetery on East 123rd Street, which is a great place to park if you are going to walk around Little Italy or University Circle!


What To Eat:
1. Cannoli from Presti's Italian Bakery - Cannoli have forever been my favorite dessert, and these were a 10/10. This place gets extremely busy, so make sure you take a number when you enter so that you save your spot in line. 😄 They have huge portions for a reasonable price, making it a must stop!

A picture of a display case in Presti's Italian Bakery in Cleveland with many Italian desserts inside

2. Peppermint Thai Cuisine - This restaurant is located over in the Pepper Pike suburb, so if you find yourself nearby I would definitely recommend. The food is healthy, delicious, and a great price! The teriyaki salmon was amazing, and my friend (and her family) order food from this restaurant all the time (which shows you just how good it is!).

3. Mitchell's Ice Cream - Good ice cream is a staple whenever I travel, so I love that this brand is local to Ohio. They have traditional flavors but also some out of the box ones, making it perfect for everyone in the family! 🍨


What are your favorite things to do on the East Side of Cleveland? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

What is "Planned Obsolescence"? & How To Avoid It

Hey earth muffins! Today I wanted to talk about a topic that I have noticed much more during my journey towards living zero waste: planned obsolescence. 🤔 Let's jump right into it!

A picture of a pile of phones getting thrown into the trash with the words Planned Obsolescence 101 across the center of it
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What is Planned Obsolescence?
"Planned obsolescence" is the term used when goods are produced in a way that will become obsolete in the near future (usually about 2 - 4 years). This requires the consumer to replace the good when it becomes obsolete. Some examples of planned obsolescence make sense; in fashion, nylons are going to run after a certain point and will need replacing. However, planned obsolescence has become more prevalent and is often used by companies to maintain revenues across the years. Think about Apple: their iPhones only last a few years when more sturdy phones could actually last decades.

Why is Planned Obsolescence bad?
Let me make this clear - not all forms of planned obsolescence are bad. Often times, this practice can help with technological improvements. But, there are many negatives as well:

*Costs the consumer (YOU!) more money because you have to keep buying replacements
*Results in lower quality goods - if it is made to break in 2 - 3 years how good can it really be?
*Creates unnecessary and excess waste going to landfill 😥
*Reinforces our "throwaway-able" culture - just like fast fashion has ruined how we see and value our clothes, products that become obsolete strengthen the way we view material goods as something that will be in our lives for a short time and then get replaced. See previous reason on why this is bad. 

A cartoon about planned obsolescence

What can you do to avoid Planned Obsolescence? 
1. Only buy the best of the best: Do research before buying products to make sure they will last you a long time. Many brands advertise that their products last a lifetime because they actually might! Definitely prioritize supporting brands that make these higher quality items.

2. Repair it instead of buying new: I've personally had my iPhone 6 since junior year in high school instead of forking out money to purchase the latest and greatest iPhones. It does what I need it to do (text and call people, check email, etc.) so that is good enough for me!

3. Don't buy into everything advertisements are trying to sell you: Trying to live sustainably has really helped me on this one, as it is easy for me to refuse products that I don't need and won't last.

4. Buy used or antique: How many times have you seen your grandma use an old cooking dish from the 60's? Those goods were always made to last so try to buy those instead!


What are your thoughts on planned obsolescence? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Recipe: The EASY Way to Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree

Hey earth muffins! My absolute favorite cookies are pumpkin chocolate chip, so I am a huge fan of pumpkin spice season. When grocery shopping a couple of weeks ago, I saw that pie pumpkins were on sale... 🎃 So I thought it would be fun to try to make my own pumpkin puree! Thanksgiving is coming up soon, so this recipe would be perfect for your delicious pumpkin pies (and of course any other pumpkin-themed baked good). Let's jump right into the recipe!

A picture of a bowl of orange fresh pumpkin puree with the words Easy Pumpkin Puree around the bowl
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What You Need
-Pie pumpkin(s): I used two small ones which made about 2.75 cups of puree
-Large spoon
-Large knife
-Baking tray (must have some sort of lip)
-Water
-Blender (or some sort of Nutribullet)

What To Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using the knife, cut off the stems of the pumpkins. Be careful you don't cut off any fingers!
3. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise.

A picture of a pumpkin cut in half lengthwise, ready to be cooked to make pumpkin puree

4. Use the spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy bits in the middle of the pumpkin. I suggest roasting the seeds as a tasty snack and then composting the rest! 😊
5. Place the pumpkin halves FACE DOWN on the baking sheet. Add about 1/4th of an inch of water to the bottom of the pan.
6. Pop into oven and let bake for 60-90 minutes. The pumpkins are done when a fork can slide in easily (mine took about 65-70 minutes).
7. LET COOL!
8. Scoop out the pumpkin "meat" and put into the blender. Blend until smooth.
9. If your pumpkins were a bit watery, you can drain some of the water out to get a thicker puree consistency. You can also add some water if it is too thick. My pumpkin puree was absolutely perfect straight from the blender, so I skipped this step.
10. Either use in a recipe right away, pop it into the fridge to use up within a few days, or freeze it. As I wanted to be able to use the puree for cookies throughout the year, I measured it into 1 cup portions and froze in mason jars. 😀 Ta-da! Your pumpkin goodies are just waiting to be baked!!


What are your favorite pumpkin recipes? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Friday, November 1, 2019

YouTuber or Blogger?! My Thoughts

Hey earth muffins! I hope everyone had a wonderful week; it's time to celebrate now that it's the weekend! 🎉 Today I wanted to write a random post about the differences of being a "YouTuber" and a "blogger". It seems like people who are deemed "influencers" are their own special type of celebrities in this modern age, so I thought it would be fun to think through these difference approaches to creating content.

First, I would like to start with the fact that being a YouTuber or a blogger are each great in their own ways... It just depends on what your personal preference is! Both making videos or writing posts are excellent channels to send content into the interweb; for me, I love blogging as a hobby because I am able to write about the things that I love (especially my journey towards living zero waste!).

A picture of a black and white woman in front of a computer and the YouTube logo with the words YouTuber vs. Blogger in the center
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Often times it seems that YouTube is seen as more "trendy" than blogging. I've heard many people say things along the lines of "People still have blogs?" suggesting that blogs are "old fashioned". This might be because people love to watch videos instead of taking the time to read, as well as the fact that YouTube makes it convenient to have all of the different videos in one place instead of on multiple websites. However, sites like Bloglovin' make it so easy to read all of your favorite blogs... But YouTube definitely seems more "trendy" these days.

Starting a blog is cheaper than starting a YouTube channel, as you don't even need to purchase your own domain name if you don't want. You won't be able to do much without a decent quality camera if you start a YouTube channel, so I would say writing a blog is more accessible to everyone.

It also feels like there is more money to be made in the video sphere. 💲 Companies would often rather work with YouTubers or Instagram influencers because of the visual appeal of brand promotion, but there are definitely still brand opportunities for bloggers too! Plus, if you hit a certain threshold of followers on YouTube the company will actually pay you to keep creating content... That is a pretty cool incentive for sure! YouTube can easily force you to watch an ad (or even ads) while you are watching a video, while the ads placed on a blog don't often force itself onto the reader/site user. I am assuming AdSense earnings are probably greater on a YouTube channel because of this; but, there is still the potential to earn similar amounts on both YouTube and a blog.

I do believe that YouTubers and bloggers put in similar amounts of work. YouTubers might focus more on planning videos, setting up and filming videos, editing, and posting videos while bloggers plan out posts, write posts, edit the posts (and the photos in the post!), and post. Sound pretty similar right? As both take a significant amount of work, I would suggest not pursuing them if you aren't willing to put in the effort. 😊

One of the things I absolutely love about blogging is that I don't need to "look my best" if I don't want to. I can sit in my pajamas while writing posts while many YouTubers often try to look "nice" whenever they are filming (especially for daily vloggers). There is nothing wrong with that at all - I just like to be lazy sometimes and think there might be more opportunities for that as a blogger.

Lastly, I think it is often harder for bloggers to get followers than it is for a YouTuber. Many people will follow the channel of a viral video they saw even if they have no intentions on keeping up with their content. While the number of followers shouldn't be your motivation to create videos/posts (remember, Jesus only had 12 followers!!), it is often a huge evaluation criteria when companies look at your site to see if they want to work with you.


What are your thoughts on being a YouTuber or blogger? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

My Halloween Costume: Mary Poppins ☂️

Hey earth muffins! Halloween is tomorrow, and I cannot wait! 🎃 The holiday festivities started on Friday, so I have already rocked my Halloween costume to a couple of dances/events. This year, I wanted to pick a costume where the pieces could be repurposed instead of only being worn on one night... As you saw in my most recent thrift haul, the pieces I purchased for my costume can be worn separately after Halloween - yay for sustainability!


If you want to be Mary Poppins for Halloween too, here is what you will need:

*Black hat OR low bun hairstyle - This was the one piece that tripped me up, as I couldn't find a black hat anywhere. This was probably a good thing because I would never have worn it after Halloween... Putting your hair in the classic Mary Poppins bun will work just fine!

*Red bowtie - I had to make mine using thrifted fabric; I will be writing a post soon on how you can make your own hairbows because I think it is super fun and quite easy to do!

*White button down - The shirt Julie Andrews wears in the movie has some ruffles on it, but I went with a classic button down so that I can wear it to work after Halloween. 🧛‍♀️

*Black flared skirt - I was able to find the PERFECT skirt for this costume while thrifting (and it was only $1.50!). Any type of black skirt will do!

*Black nylons - My legs are ghost white 👻, so wearing some black nylons was a must for me... You could definitely rock this costume without them if you prefer that!

*Black ankle boots (with a heel) - My mom let me borrow some of her shoes that look like they are directly from the movie. Making sure your shoes are comfortable is a must, as you will be in them all night!

*Black umbrella - You could even DIY the bird handle that is so iconic from the film, but I didn't think it was necessary. 😊

*Black or patterned bag - If you want to carry some things around with you, why not tie a purse into Mary Poppins' look? Her bag is patterned, but a black purse would work just fine.


What are you being for Halloween this year? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Monday, October 28, 2019

The 8 Questions You MUST Ask When Apartment Searching in College (and Post-Grad)

Hey earth muffins! My campus is currently abuzz with eager college students searching for their apartments for next year... Yup, it is crazy that you have to secure your housing so early! While I won't be searching for an apartment until the summer (when I move out of my parents' house for good 😓), I thought it would be a fitting time to write a post about all of the questions you MUST ask if you are currently in the process of finding housing. I hope this helps some of you find your dream apartment! 🤞

A picture of a magnifying glass over some cartoon houses with the words Questions to Ask When Apartment Hunting in College and Beyond!
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How much is rent? This is obviously the most important question because price is everything! If it is too high, then it probably isn't the one for you... But if it seems too low, then you might want to dig further to make sure it isn't a big scam.

What utilities are included (water, gas, electricity, Wifi, etc.)? If the rent is low you might be responsible for paying more of these than if you were paying a higher rent. I currently pay for electricity and Wifi each month, which doesn't add much to my total bill (as electricity is pretty cheap, especially if you are conscious of turning off the lights!). Make sure to write down all of the utilities each apartment includes in the rent so that you can compare and contrast them later!

Is there parking? If you are going to have a car on campus, you will need to consider where you are going to park. Some parking is extremely difficult to maneuver with larger cars or is far away from the actual apartment, so this was a huge consideration for me when I was looking at apartments.

How much does it cost for parking? This might be a large lump sum at move-in or monthly payments with other utilities, so make sure you know how much it is going to cost you!

What public transportation options are available? 🚌 If you aren't going to have a car on campus or don't plan on driving to school each day, make sure you know where the closest bus/train stops are! Make sure to do some research on the frequency of these transportation methods, as well as what days/times they run.

When can you move in? Some apartments (like mine!) will let you pick what day you want to move in, while others will have a strict move in schedule. Make sure you know that the move in date fits your schedule before signing the lease!

How long is the lease? Especially for the school year, you might be trapped in a lease over the summer when you will be a home. This might require getting a subleaser, so make sure you know in advance how many months you will be required to pay.

What does the unit look like? Make sure you take a tour!! 😊 If the unit you look at is different than the one you will be moving into, get a detailed list on what will be different. You do not want to be surprised on move in day!



What other questions would you recommend asking during the apartment hunt? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Friday, October 25, 2019

My Current Makeup Routine as an "Earth Muffin"!

Hey muffins! I don't talk about beauty as much as I used to on Life of an Earth Muffin, which is mostly due to my journey towards living zero waste. I found some awesome products and have stuck to a very minimal makeup routine for years now, but I thought you all might be interested in seeing what products I currently use every day. 😄 Let's jump right into it!

A picture of multiple cartoon makeup products with the words My Current Makeup Routine! in the center
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1. e.l.f concealer palette - I have been using this palette since I was in middle school!! I love having multiple shades that I can mix depending on what I am trying to conceal. For only $3, you really can't go wrong; however, I have been trying to find a zero waste concealer... So if you have any suggestions, put them in the comments below!

A picture of the eyeslipsface elf concealor palette
Link to purchase the product 

2. Eyelash curler - My mom had an extra eyelash curler a few years ago, so I snagged it and have been using it ever since. I believe it is from Sally's Beauty Supply, but the brand has long since been rubbed off...

3. Mad Hippie mascara or Clean Faced Cosmetics mascara - I love both of these products, so I will alternate depending on the day. If I am in a rush, the Mad Hippie mascara is perfect; the Clean Faced Cosmetics cake mascara can also be used as an eyeliner, so it is great for looking extra special. 😀

A picture collage of the Mad Hippie mineral mascara and the Clean Faced Cosmetics cake mascara

4. Clean Faced Cosmetics loose foundation powder - Another product I absolutely love from Clean Faced Cosmetics! This powder is perfect for someone who doesn't want to wear foundation every day. Plus, it doesn't itch my skin like some other powders have done in the past...


5. Eco Lips Mongo Kiss lip balm in Vanilla Honey - This product keeps my lips moisturized all day, so it is an essential part of my makeup routine. 💋

A picture of the Eco Lips Mongo Kiss lip balm in the flavor Vanilla Honey

What products are you currently using in your makeup routine? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

What "Experts" Say About Using Natural Birth Control Methods

Hey muffins! If you have been following Life of an Earth Muffin for some time, you will know that I use the Femometer (and both the Basal Body Temperature and Cervical Mucus methods) as a natural form of birth control. As many people have not thought about using natural birth control, I wanted to share what "experts" say on the subject... Let's jump right into it!

A picture of a female doctor in a white lab coat pointing her finger at a speech bubble with the words Natural Birth Control? Here's What I Think inside it
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*Doctors: The opinions on using natural birth control differ for every doctor. My doctor laughed in my face when I told him I wanted to use something natural, so I haven't discussed the matter with him any further. Check with your doctor to see if natural birth control is right for you!

*WebMD: When looking at the natural family planning page on this infamous health website, it says that natural birth control isn't as effective as other forms of birth control: about 24% of women will get pregnant... However, I find it weird that they would put a percentage on their website for all forms of natural birth control instead of breaking it down by method, as some natural birth control methods (like "pulling out" or using just a calendar to count days) definitely have a much higher pregnancy risk.

*Planned Parenthood: In their article about natural birth control methods, Planned Parenthood says that using natural birth control will result in about 12-24% of women getting pregnant. Again, they group all of the methods together. This article then goes on to say that this percentage can be reduced, meaning natural family planning can be more effective, if you use multiple methods together (which is what I am doing!) and/or use condoms as well.

*American Academy of Family Physicians: The AAFP did a study on natural birth control, and they actually do break their results down by type. The percentages are how many people will get pregnant using the certain method

Method                           Typical Use         Perfect Use
Condom                               18%                    2%
Cervical mucus                    3-22%                 3%
BBT & Cervical mucus        2-8%                  <1%

I think these results stress how important it is for couples to know how to use their birth control method in the correct way!

*Medicine Net: This article goes into detail about less popular types of natural birth control (things like douching), but it states that overall natural methods can be as much as 98% effective if they are continuously a commitment.

*Natural Womanhood: If you are interested in trying out natural birth control, I would definitely recommend looking into blogs (like this one) and YouTubers who speak about the different forms. No opinion is more valuable than those who actually find success using these methods! This post shares that natural methods (with typical use) are 92% effective: the birth control pill is usually only 91% effective!


Overall, there are so many differing opinions on using natural birth control. There is a lot at stake when it comes to getting pregnant, so the decision truly depends on whether or not you are comfortable putting in the work to ensure that your method is as effective as possible. Definitely do as much research as possible, and give yourself a few months to perfect the method using your individual cycle before you fully trust it!

What are your personal thoughts on using natural birth control? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Minimizing Waste When Eating Fast Food 🍔

Hey muffins! When I first started my journey towards living zero waste, I realized that low waste living and fast food do not mix. I wouldn't say I ate fast food a lot, but I definitely would eat it whenever I traveled or was busy and didn't have any other options on campus. When making steps towards living sustainably, it is important to remember that you can't be perfect - and that you are allowed to eat fast food if you want! Here are some of my personal tips to reduce waste when eating at your fave fast food places 😀

A photo with a cheeseburger on a black background with the words Low Waste Fast Food
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1. Order it for "here" instead of "to go". Instead of getting your food in a bunch of unnecessary packaging, you can then either take the food and leave or eat it in the restaurant.

2. Use your own utensils and napkins! This is an easy swap when making your kitchen zero waste, so I definitely suggest doing the same when you eat out.

A picture of a set of bamboo eating utensils for zero waste dining

3. Put sauces on your food inside the restaurant to avoid single use packages... OR bring your own containers to fill up inside to use on the go!

4. Bring your own water bottle to avoid all the plastic cups and straws. This will also ensure you are staying healthy and not drinking all of those nasty sugary beverages.

5. Know the menu and order what comes in the least packaging. If the burgers come in plastic, maybe opt for the fish sandwich that comes in a recyclable cardboard box.

A picture of a fish sandwich in a cardboard box

6. Order the vegetarian options!! Fast food and unsustainable meat practices go hand-in-hand, so avoid what you can by ordering the veggie options. Some of my personal choices are the vegetarian bean burritos from Taco Bell and the veggie burger at Burger King. 🤗


How do you reduce your waste when eating fast food? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Friday, October 18, 2019

What I Eat in a Week as a Graduate Student!

Hey muffins! One of my favorite parts of living in an apartment is getting to cook for myself 👩‍🍳 Being a grad student, I am often busy and stressed, so taking the time to cook nutritious meals is a huge priority. Something I haven't mentioned on Life of an Earth Muffin yet is that I have been vegetarian for the past couple of months... Here are the budget friendly, vegetarian, and healthy meals I cooked in a normal week in my life; I hope you enjoy! 🥳

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Monday

B - A bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with unsweetened almond milk. This is typically my breakfast, as I am often leaving for class around 8 or 8:30. To avoid creating waste (and not having any access to cereals in bulk bins), I opt to purchase the largest bag of cereal my local grocery store carries. 😊
L - A peanut butter sandwich, pretzels, apple, cucumber slices, and a sugar cookie. You will see that my weekday lunch is almost the same every day with the fruit and veg changing... I buy my salty snacks in bulk and bake my own cookies (I recommend storing them in the freezer and then taking out what you need for lunch!).
D - Pesto pasta with roasted carrots and onions. My friend gave me a bunch of packaged food when she was moving out, so I made this pesto pasta from a package to save it from going to landfill!

Tuesday


B - Honey Nut Cheerios with unsweetened almond milk 👌

L - A peanut butter tortilla wrap, banana, carrots, pretzels, and cookie

D - Baked nachos with tofu, black beans, red onions, and shredded cheese (with a side of medium salsa). This is such a delicious dinner if you are craving Taco Tuesday! It is also super quick, which makes it a fave meal when I get home late.






Wednesday



B - Vanilla cinnamon bagel with plain cream cheese. The alumni association on campus hosts a free bagel event every Wednesday morning, so if I am around I usually try to grab one. 🥯
L - Peanut butter sandwich, cucumber slices, apple, honey wheat pretzels, and a cookie... I told you my lunches are basically the same every day!!
D - Rice and chickpeas in tomato sauce 🍝 Spaghetti vibes for sure!

Thursday



B - Overnight oats topped with apples - I used this recipe, which I absolutely love!
L - Leftover rice and tofu with soy sauce and a side of roasted sweet potato. Peep my adorable mini jam jar that I repurposed and my amazing stainless steel tupperware 😍
D - Fried pierogies with rice and roasted carrots. No, these pierogies are not my homemade ones (which are honestly WAY better!), these were also leftovers from my friend and have been in my freezer for awhile.

Friday



B - Soft boiled eggs with toast and strawberry jam
L - Peanut butter sandwich, cucumber slices, banana, pretzel sticks, and a cookie
D - Leftover fried rice! On Friday nights I always use up all of the random things in my fridge... It makes such tasty fried rice 🙂

Saturday




B - Honey Nut Cheerios with unsweetened almond mik

L - Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. So cozy for a day of homework and studying!

D - Spinach and tomato sauce pasta. This is a great way to get in your greens, as I just throw in a TON of spinach to my tomato sauce.







Sunday



Brunch - Pumpkin pancakes!! After coming home from church I love to cook myself a tasty brunch. The weather was so crisp and chilly this day, that I just had to whip up some fall inspired pumpkin pancakes!
D - Hard boiled eggs, toast, and roasted sweet potato. I was studying for an exam all day, so I wanted to whip up something quick and easy... Plus, I love having breakfast for dinner! 😋


What recipes would you like me to write a post about?? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Recent Reads & Movie Reviews 📕

Hey muffins! It has been over a month since I did a book and movie reviews post, so I thought I would write one for you all today! 😁 I have been trying to read as much as possible on my free time; however, my textbooks definitely take the priority most of the time... But I do have some awesome books on my "to-read" list that I hope to share with you all in upcoming Recent Reads post. 🎉

Pin to read later!

Recent Reads
~The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Check out the book here! 

After being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, Randy Paush (a professor at Carnegie Mellon) decided to give a "last" lecture discussing all of the important lessons he learned in his life. As he was leaving behind two young kids, he wanted them to remember him through these messages. This book shares not only Randy's last thoughts he presented at Carnegie, but also goes into more detail with his sad, yet powerful message. His takeaways from life are so relatable that it really makes you think about your own life and what legacy you want to leave behind. I definitely want to watch his actual last lecture after reading this book, and I suggest you watch it on YouTube as well!
Rating: 10/10

~essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Check out the book here!

I picked up this book from the library expecting it to be another book on how to minimalize your life in terms of material goods... And boy was I wrong! This book basically takes you through the Marie Kondo method of getting rid of everything that isn't essential in your life in terms of work, relationships, etc. It was such a breath of fresh air for me, as college always makes it seem like you need to do everything in order to be successful... This book opened my eyes to a different path where you create more (and better!) success by putting more energy into the essentials. For someone on a journey towards living a low/zero waste life, this was an amazing read that truly embraces "slow living". I would definitely recommend to anyone who is looking to improve their quality of life!
Rating: 9.8/10

Movie Reviews
~Hocus Pocus


Check out the movie here!

How could I not watch this movie this month?!? It is one of my absolute favorite Halloween movies as I mentioned in my Fall Bucket List post. 🎃 It has amazing characters - Billy is the best. It has characters with weird names - Thackery Binx who? It has kids running wild all over town. It has singing witches - "I Put a Spell on You", anyone? Please watch it if you haven't already!
Rating: 10/10

~Aquamarine


Check out the movie here!

My roommate wanted to watch this movie the other night, and it was a great time! I have always been a huge fan of any sort of mermaid movie/TV show (H20: Just Add Water is one of the best TV shows of all time), so this was such a nostalgic film experience. It is super cheesy, has a hilarious mean girl (the newscast scene is cringey and oh so good), and a great "friendship fixes everything" ending. A classic for sure!
Rating: 8/10

~What a Girl Wants

Check out the movie here!

Just like the past few Recent Reads posts, I decided to watch a classic chick flick that I had never actually seen. This film stars Amanda Bynes, and it was INCREDIBLE. How had I not seen this before?! It was everything I could ask for in a chick flick: two love stories, a father daughter reunion, a juxtaposition of politics and rocker, amazing music, and iconic 90's fashion. Will definitely be watching again!
Rating: 11/10


What have you been reading and watching lately? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: Mad Hippie Mineral Mascara

Hey muffins, happy Monday!! Today I will be sharing my thoughts on another sustainable beauty product: the mineral mascara from Mad Hippie cosmetics! 🤩 Mascara is one of my favorite makeup staples, so I was beyond excited to test out this product - let's jump right into the review!

A picture of the Mad Hippie Mineral Mascara with the words Mad Hippie Mascara Review
Pin to read later! 

What I LOVE:
1. It makes my lashes look extremely long! I have always preferred mascaras that make my lashes longer than those that make them "thicker"/clumpy. This mascara does an excellent job of coating each lash, enhancing their natural length.

2. The wand is perfection. It is both long AND thick, which allows me to apply it so easily. Definitely my favorite mascara wand of all time!

A picture of the wand of the Mad Hippie Mascara, a perfect length and width

3. It smells like roses. When looking at the ingredient list, it is clear that their is no rose in the actual mascara, so it might be smelling like the sweet almond oil... 🤔 Regardless, it smells SO good!

4. The container is sustainable!! One of my biggest challenges with trying out new makeup products since I started my journey towards low/zero waste is to find products that are in sustainable containers. This mascara is made of a sugarcane bioresin plastic tube that can be recycled after it is used up. While recycling is by no means the best solution to the struggles of our planet, it beats the plastic tubes that can never be recycled!

5. It is made of simple ingredients. As it is a mineral mascara, there are no synthetic waxes, dyes, or coal tar inside the formula. Compared to the Clean Faced Cosmetics cake mascara I typically use (which only has 4 ingredients!), it includes more ingredients in the formula... But much fewer than those in drugstore/high end products.

6. This mascara will last all day through rain, sweat, and tears. 😅 Trust me.

7. The brand is vegan and cruelty free! I will always support these types of companies and brands!


What I DISLIKE:
1. You need to use some sort of soap to take it off. While this might seem like a weird con to most people, I usually just wash off my makeup in the shower... So I don't like the fact that I need to take an extra step to get this off. However, as I said above, this mascara doesn't budge during the day so I guess the extra time to take it off is okay.

2. It is a tad pricey... But most sustainable beauty products are pricier. This mascara can be bought on the Mad Hippie website for $19, while the Clean Faced Cosmetics mascara is $12-16. However, there are many sustainable makeup brands that are WAY more expensive... But, I thought I would mention it none-the-less. 😊

A picture of the Mad Hippie Mineral Mascara over the paper it came with that says, Welcome to the Revolution
Definitely go check out this mascara!

What is your favorite mascara currently? Check out my other product reviews, comment below, and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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*I was sent this product for free; all opinions are my own!*

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Ultimate Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fabrics

Hey earth muffins! If you are on a journey to live with less waste (like I am!), one of the major areas that needs to be addressed is buying clothes. In my opinion, there are two options:

1) Go thrift shopping! - This is my personal preference 😀
2) Buy sustainable fabrics when buying new

The struggle with the second option is that you will need to avoid fast fashion when choosing fabrics that aren't so hurtful to the environment. Fast fashion is a terrible thing in general (read my whole about it here!), so this is extremely important. Many “cotton” and “polyester” fabrics have microplastics in them that are released in the washing machine… We definitely do not want that! Buying from the thrift store can lessen this issue, as the microplastics have already been released and you are saving any new microplastics from leaching into the water stream. There are many other problems with unsustainable fabrics as well: huge amounts of water usage, chemicals/pesticides affecting the land and leaching into water, unethical treatment of workers, the list goes on.

A picture of sustainable fabrics including wool, hemp, bamboo, cashmere, and organic cotton, with the words The Ultimate Guide to: Sustainable Fabrics! in the center
Pin to read later! 

SO, if you decide that you still would like to buy clothes that are brand new, I suggest searching for these fabrics:

~Organic cotton - Normal cotton uses huge amounts of water and pesticides, making the "fabric of our lives" an unsustainable choice. If you really love cotton clothing, I suggest checking out 100% organic cotton fabrics. While there is still a lot of water involved, this at least helps avoid the chemical/pesticide aspect of producing the cotton. If the cotton is 100% organic, it will also be biodegradable!

~Silk - This fabric is extremely sustainable and efficient when it comes to water usage and land use; plus, it is biodegradable at the end of its life! However, the silkworms are only able to produce a small amount of fabric making it a more time intensive process. Some vegans also disapprove of the treatment of the worms.

~Wool - This fabric is renewable as it comes from sheep! 🐑 It is biodegradable as well. Take caution to research where the company sources its wool, to make sure the sheep are treated ethically and are taken care of properly.

~Cashmere - Just like wool, this fabric is renewable because it comes from goats! Fast fashion increased demand for this product, so many farmers started shearing their goats too early... This obviously puts the animal at risk of dying from the cold, so I would personally suggest only buying cashmere secondhand.

~Hemp - Growing hemp takes very little water (and the plants are naturally extremely pest-free, which makes pesticides not necessary). This fabric is also biodegradable, making it an excellent choice!

~Bamboo - Just like hemp, bamboo can be grown basically anywhere with very little water. 🎍 It can be used to make anything from kitchen utensils to fabric, making it an amazing sustainable choice! It is also biodegradable.

~Linen - Another great option, linen is biodegradable if it has been untreated. Flax grows with very little water, and almost all parts of the plant are used in the production process making it extremely low waste.

While there are many "sustainable" fabrics on the market, you must still do your research before making purchases. The rise of the "going green" movement has resulted in many companies stating that certain products are "sustainable"... But that doesn't mean they actually are! Make sure to look at all the tags and do your research to see the OTHER implications that resulted from a fast fashion brand using a sustainable fabric: water usage, shipping from across the world, the conditions of the workers, where the dyes have been sourced, etc. In my opinion, thrifting is always the best option, as I don't trust fashion corporations to completely change their practices. That may sound cynical, but I hope that one day fast fashion will stop existing altogether.


What fabrics do you look for when shopping? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Grad Student Bedroom Tour! 🎉

Hey earth muffins! After moving into my apartment over a month ago, I thought it was time to share a bedroom tour! 😁 You might recognize some similarities between the studio apartment tour I did a couple of summers ago, but I have definitely made this space my own... Enjoy!

An image of a bed with a navy bedspread on it, a gallery of colorful pictures hang on the white wall

My apartment is a two bedroom, and my room is the one attached to the fire escape, which means I get an extra door haha. When you walk in, I have my bed facing the window and there is a direct view of my mini gallery wall. 😍

A photo of a gallery wall in a grad student apartment bedroom, including framed pictures

I absolutely LOVE how my gallery wall turned out. Here is where I got everything:

White succulent painting - A home store a few years ago
Two black postcard displays - Made myself; check out my DIY post if you are interested! 
Boy in raincoat painting - Thrift store for $1 (see the full haul here)
Clay sun - Made by my boyfriend in middle school 😂 I thought it fit well here haha
Wooden frame with succulent image - Frame from a thrift store for $1, printed out the succulent picture using a normal printer


A photo of a grad student desk in an apartment

I placed my desk under my window so that I can embrace at least a little nature when I am doing my studying 🙄 I got this desk secondhand and will be reselling/donating it at the end of the year! I might do a detailed "What's on My Desk" post in the future, but it basically has my makeshift vanity supplies, Arvin 1967 radio, and Himalayan salt lamp on it right now. 

An image of a graduate student closet, with dirty laundry in a basket on the floor and clothes on hangers

My closet is actually HUGE for a college apartment, and I absolutely love it! I have plenty of space for all of my clothes, and keep socks, bras, etc. in navy storage bins I got for FREE last year from someone who didn't want them anymore. 😍 Super nifty so I don't need to waste any space with a dresser! You can also peep my Femometer under my mattress in this picture (which I have written many posts about!), as it is a great place to store it so that I can easily take my temperature every morning. 

And that's about it! What do you think of my grad student bedroom? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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