Thursday, May 30, 2019

How to Zero Waste Your Cleaning Supplies 💧

Hey cupcakes! For the next post in my "How to Zero Waste Your [insert room/thing here]" series, I will be sharing how you can easily make your cleaning supplies more sustainable. 😊 Just like I mentioned in my How to Zero Waste Your Bathroom 🚽 post, there are many ways you can avoid the smelly and chemically-filled cleaners that you can find in the store. Let's jump right into it!


Cleaning Containers
~Recycled buckets/baskets/etc.: Utilize what you have around the house (or your friend's house)! Many people have buckets either in their basement or garage, so see if you can put them to good use instead of buying something new.
~Metal/wire bucket: If you can't seem to find any container (which I think is extremely unlikely), purchase a metal or wire bucket that can be recycled after you are finished with it. 👍

Paper Towel/Disinfectant Wipe Alternatives
~Rags and washcloths: One of the first things I did when I started my journey to zero waste was to stop using paper towels. Instead of throwing away something every time you need to clean the counter or wash a mirror, try recycling old clothes into rags or putting those old washcloths to use. Throw them in with your laundry and you are good to go!


~Natural Sponges: Instead of using normal sponges, try natural ones. Make sure to use up the sponges you already have in your cupboards before switching, as you wouldn't want to waste anything!
~Wooden brushes with natural bristles: Instead of any sort of sponge, I have switched to wooden brushes to clean my dishes, etc. These can easily be sterilized by dunking in some boiling water, so I have found that they last much longer!

DIY Cleaners
~Natural alternatives to cleaners: Instead of using cleaners that are both bad for you and the environment, use ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, castile soap, etc. to make your own cleaners! These ingredients can be purchased in bulk, which saves on plastic packaging as well. 😃 I have been amazed by the number of recipes you can find online and on Pinterest; check out this master list on Plastic Free July if you don't want to find them yourself!


~Brands known for being sustainable: Feeling like you don't have time to make your own cleaners? Check out Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyer's brands! While they aren't as sustainable as making your own, they are still better than some of the other alternatives.
~Laundry soap nuts: As I mentioned in my How to Zero Waste Your Laundry Room post, you can use soap nuts instead of laundry detergent! 😍 There are many other DIY laundry cleaners out there as well, so I would definitely recommend checking out Pinterest!

Pin to read later!

What sustainable cleaning tips do you use? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

P.S. As it is the summer and I have some more time, I will be changing my posting schedule to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!! 😁 Get excited for some exciting posts in the future!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Recipe: Easy Homemade Bread in a Pyrex Bowl!

Hey cupcakes! You all seemed to really like my Flour Tortillas recipe last year, so I wanted to share another grain staple with you all today. 😍 Both the tortillas and this bread are super simple to make, and they are great ways to avoid plastic packaging at the grocery store (plus they are more cost effective!). Let's jump right into the recipe! 🍞

Check out the original recipe here

What You Need:
-4 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tsp salt
-2 cups warm water
-2 tsp sugar
-2 tsp instant yeast
-approx. 2 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
-2 Pyrex bowls (either two of the 1 quarts or a 1 quart and a 1.5 quart)

What To Do:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.
2. Add the warm water and mix until the flour is absorbed.
3. Cover the bowl with a towel. Set aside (in a warm spot) to rise for at least an hour - I suggest putting it into the oven with only the oven light on!
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
5. Grease your Pyrex bowls with about a tablespoon of butter each.
6. Remove the towel from your bread and punch it down with a fork, making sure to scrap all of the sides.
7. Cut the dough in half and place into each of the greased bowls. Note: this step can get messy as the dough is fairly wet... Don't be scared to get your hands dirty! 😉
8. Let the dough rise on the countertop for about 25 minutes. The dough should be just below or just above the top of the bowl.


9. Bake for 15 minutes.
10. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake for 15 minutes.
11. Remove bowls from oven and the bread should pop right out of the bowls! Enjoy! 😁


What is your favorite type of bread? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Recent Reads & Movie Reviews 🎬

Hey cupcakes! You all seemed to really love my last Reads & Movie Review post, so I thought I would share my thoughts on the books and films that I have recently read/watched. As I am officially done with school for the summer, I have had a lot more time to read and watch things... So definitely  look forward to more of these posts in the future! 😃

Pin to read later!

Recent Reads
~The Last Job: The “Bad Grandpas” and the Hatton Garden Heist by Dan Bilefsky


In one of my book review posts from January, I talked about a random book I found at my local library about a college guy who stole a bunch of dead birds from a museum. I thought it was quite interesting, so (of course) I just had to get another heist book. This one focuses on the Hatton Garden Heist where a group of 60 and 70 year olds used a diamond tip drill to cut through 20 inches of concrete. Sounds like a movie right? Well, it actually did inspire three! 😂 This was such an interesting book, and I just cannot believe the craziness of this robbery (which includes a sleeping look out, a security guard literally showing up when the heist took place, and giving up but then returning a day later). If the "Bad Grandpas" had done this crime in 1980 they would have never been caught! 
Rating: 10/10

~Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear... and Why by Sady Doyle


This book focuses on the "trainwrecks" we all know about from the media - examples like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, etc. Doyle does an excellent job of comparing these women to the male "trainwrecks" who are never as negatively affected or ridiculed by society. It definitely made me think about the unfair expectations that women celebrities have forced on them, so I would recommend reading if you are into feminist literature!
Rating: 7.5/10

~Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert


Gilbert is most known for her book Eat, Pray, Love (which I have yet to read haha), and in this book she shares her ideas about creativity. One of the interesting things she talked about was how ideas wander around (sort of like ghosts) until they find the right person to express them... I thought this was such a romantic way to put it! For anyone who is looking to lead a more creative life, I think Gilbert has a great way of basically telling the reader that everyone is creative in their own way. 😊
Rating: 8/10

~Are u ok?: How to Know You Need Help and Where to Find It by Kati Morton


Knowing how to handle your mental health is something that I have learned throughout college to be of the upmost importance. One of my close friends was struggling to deal with depression recently, so I gave this book a read to try and help them out. Morton does an excellent job of debunking the misconceptions about mental health and therapy while describing all of the steps you can do (both by yourself and at therapy) to make sure you are at your best. She does an excellent job of breaking down medical terms, and I think it is super helpful for anyone struggling with a mental health issues. ♥
Rating: 9/10

Movies
~Sing


I am pretty sure that you all know how much I love animated movies, so of course I enjoyed Sing! I was actually amazed by the all-star cast for this film, which makes the singing portions so much more enjoyable. I laughed a lot (especially during the auditions scene because who doesn't love a good audition montage like High School Musical or Pitch Perfect?!), so I can definitely say that this was a feel-good family movie. 😂 Give it a watch if you need a pick me up! 


Rating: 9/10


What have you read or watched recently? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Birth Control: What is the Cervical Mucus Method?

Hey cupcakes! If you have been following my Natural Birth Control series, you will know that I use the Basal Body Temperature method to track my menstrual cycle. To use the BBT method (which you can read all about here!), I use the Femometer. 🌡 I have loved everything about my experience with this device, and I recently also started using the Cervical Mucus method alongside BBT. This method can also be tracked using the Femometer, so I wanted to write a post all about this other form of natural birth control. Let's jump right into it! 🙃


What is the Cervical Mucus Method?

The Cervical Mucus Method (also called the Billings Ovulation Method) is a natural form of birth control that focuses on the mucus patterns during the menstrual cycle. Now you might be thinking, ew gross mucus?! 🤢 But don't worry, every woman produces this mucus and it isn't gross at all (you probably have already seen it in your underwear at some point)! By looking at the mucus produced during your cycle, you can predict when ovulation is occuring. This is helpful if you are trying to get pregnant and also if you are trying to avoid a pregnancy.

What is the typical Cervical Mucus pattern?

When making your observations, you will usually see this pattern:

1. Period days - don't bother looking at any mucus haha
2. No cervical mucus/"dry days" 
3. Cloudy and sticky mucus 
4. Clear and wet mucus - When this mucus resembles egg whites and can be stretched between your fingers, ovulation is occuring!
5. No cervical mucus/"dry days"


How do you do the Cervical Mucus Method?

This part is so simple a cavewoman could do it! 👍 When you are about to use the bathroom each day, wipe with some toilet paper before doing your business. Then, observe what is on the paper! It is extremely helpful to also touch/stretch the mucus, looking for characteristics mentioned in the last section. Some people prefer to actually insert a finger to monitor their mucus, but I have found that the toilet paper method is easier. 😃

How can I track my CM with the Femometer?

On the home screen, there is a "CM" button:


That opens up a screen to add a mucus reading:


On your BBT chart, letters denoting the mucus will then show up! The Femometer platform takes these readings into consideration, making your predictions even more accurate.


What are the risks of using this method? 

1. User error - I will be honest with you all, sometimes Cervical Mucus all looks the same. But I think after I continue to practice this method, identification will get easier.

2. Unwanted pregnancy 👶 - I would suggest using some other form of birth control (condoms, etc.) with this method at first. I think it is an easy natural birth control method, but you need to get practice with it before trusting it 100%!


Would you ever consider using the Cervical Mucus Method? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

What You Should Buy at the Farmers Market This Summer!

Hey cupcakes! One of my favorite things to do in the summer months is to hit up my local farmers market. There is an excellent one in my hometown, as well as in the city where my internship is - this means I get to enjoy the local options all summer long! 😀 The farmers market is an essential part of my in-progress-to-zero-waste lifestyle, so I would recommend checking out yours for these summer goods!


~Any "Toxic 13" things that are in season: To live sustainably, you should make sure to eat local and seasonal food! These 13 fruits and vegetables tend to suck up the most pesticides if you don't buy them organic and/or local: apples, carrots, celery, cherries, grapes, kale, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, spinach, strawberries, and bell peppers. Check out your farmers market to see what your local farmers are growing!

~Local honey: I didn't know that honey can be a different color depending on your location... Support your local honeybees and the local floral flavors!

Make sure the honey is sold in glass jars!!

~Berries: Summer is my favorite time for any type of berry, and they can be super cheap at the market. Nothing screams summer more than a bowl of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries 🍓

~Flowers: My market even has some succulents! I love to see what gorgeous flowers are in season - I think a vase of fresh florals on the dinner table makes the perfect centerpiece. 😊


~Local delicacies: If you live by a river, check out the local fish. 🐟 If your region is known for its cheese, then check out the cheese selection! 🧀 Summer is a great time to try new foods, so find the coolest (and maybe even weirdest) things that your farmers market has to offer!

Pin for later!

What are your favorite things to purchase at the farmers market? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

DIY: Vintage Postcard Photo Display Frame!

Hey cupcakes! I can't even remember the last time I did a DIY post on The Chic Cupcake, so it's a good thing I recently did some crafting! ✂ I will be moving into a new apartment for my summer internship and then another apartment for my masters degree, which made me want to find/make some new room decor. After acquiring some cheap supplies and doing a bit of crafting, this vintage postcard display turned out so cute! Here's how you can make one too 😃


What You Need:
-Some sort of frame (I bought two at a yard sale for a total of $0.50!)
-Paint/spray paint if the frame color needs to be changed
-Postcards (I found mine at a local antique store for a total of only $1.75!)
-Glue or tape

What To Do:
1. Take apart the frame. Set the glass aside and recycle any cardboard/paper backings (DIY projects can totally still be sustainable!).
2. Lay the frame on a covered surface outside and spray paint (or paint) it the color you want. The frames I purchased at a yard sale were burgundy, so I wanted to make them fit better with my black and white room decor - hence the black color.


3. Let the frame dry completely. As I used spray paint, I let it dry for 24 hours just to make sure.
4. After it is dry, clean the glass and put the frame back together.
5. Figure out how you want to arrange your postcards. As I didn't have an even number of postcards, I made two different designs!


6. Using tape or glue (I used tape in case I wanted to change out the postcards), attach the postcards to the front of the glass. If you want, you could sandwich the postcards between two sheets of glass per frame. I personally didn't have enough glass to do this (and I love how it looks with just one), but that is always an option!

7. Hang onto wall and enjoy your stylish new decor! 😊 As the main portion of the display is glass, make sure that there are no marks or holes in the wall where you hang up the display frame!

Pin this photo to come back to this DIY later! 😀

What DIYs have you done recently? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

22 Things You Don't Know About Me 🎁

Hey cupcakes! As you learned in my post last week, I am officially a college graduate! I also just turned 22 years old (*gasp* - the Taylor Swift birthday!), so I wanted to do a fun post today sharing some facts that you probably don't know about me. Let's get right into it! 😃


1. My real name isn't Jenna - I definitely have mentioned this before, but I don't think many people know this... When I started writing on The Chic Cupcake, I wanted my blog to be more private so I wrote under the pseudonym "Jenna". I have been seriously considering revealing my true identity, as I think this blog would be even better with pictures of me and my life... Let me know what you think! 😊

2. I just graduated from the University of Michigan - Now that my undergrad in Ann Arbor is over, I can proudly say that I will forever Go Blue!

3. Only one year of grad school stands between me and the "adult" world! - I am pumped to get a Master of Accounting next year... And then never have to go to school again!!

4. I regret not being passionate about sustainability earlier in college - I feel like I would have added an environmental science major or minor to my business degree if I started my journey towards zero waste sooner...

5. I have a hard time putting down books when I start them - This is why I avoid fiction, as I will literally do nothing but read until I finish the whole novel. Nonfiction allows me to take breaks and do other important things like eat food haha.

6. I hate being around negative people - As I am extremely positive all of the time, negative people bring down my energy.

7. I am quiet until you get to know me - Then I am often too loud! 😆

8. Sweets are too tempting - I struggle to refuse any sort of sugar.

9. My family had to put our dog down this year, and I'm still not over it - I loved her so much 💔

10. The worst thing I ever ate was a Dirty Dishwasher jelly bean - It is part of Jelly Belly's Bean Boozled pack, and it still haunts me.

11. I try to avoid watching TV as much as possible - But I love watching Jeopardy and Food Network shows!

12. My biggest insecurity is my skin - I have suffered from hormonal acne since middle school, and I absolutely hate it. But, I have been working on accepting myself the way I am which has helped my self esteem immensely.

13. I don't want a huge wedding (or even a small wedding at that) - I have been dating my boyfriend for 5 and a half years, so whenever we decide to tie the knot I want to either elope or have a small ceremony with only a few people.

14. My favorite season is the fall and my favorite holiday is Halloween 🎃

15. The best place I have ever traveled to is Italy - I would go back in a heartbeat, but there are so many other great places I want to go!!

16. My family is everything ♥

17. I am both scared and excited to become an "adult" after grad school - It sucks that I won't be living in the same city as my family, but I can't wait to finally have an apartment that can be totally sustainable!

18. I am a practicing Catholic - While I don't agree with everything that the church believes in, I feel so much better when I have a strong relationship with God.

19. I never cry - Like ever. I feel like that is probably bad, but I guess I'm just not an emotional person.

20. I get cold so easily - But then I also hate being hot 😆

21. I'm not a fan of alcohol - I have yet to find a kind that I like...

22. Blogging is such a great escape for me - I love this little outlet I have on the Internet, so thank you so much for all of the support!


What facts do I not know about you? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Sustainable Gift Guide for Mother's Day

Hey cupcakes! Mother's Day is right around the corner (if you aren't aware, it is this Sunday!). As you should always do something special for your mom on this holiday, I thought I would share some sustainable gifts to give that your mom (and the planet) will love! 🎁

1. Brunch or dinner to her favorite place - My family loves to celebrate holidays with special food, so treat your mother to one of her favorite places to eat! No need to buy a cake in plastic or ingredients to make a meal when you can go where she will enjoy it best 😀

2. Ethique hair and body products - Treat your mom to an at-home spa day! I recently reviewed Ethique's Heali Kiwi shampoo bar, and I absolutely love their hair masks. My mom is always concerned that her hair is too dry after blow drying it, so I got her this Bloom hair mask to give it some nourishment. Feel free to check out Ethique's other masks too!


3. Potted plant - Instead of giving flowers that will just die in a few days, try getting a plant in a ceramic or glass pot (avoid any plastic pots please!). These are great additions to the home and make excellent centerpieces on the dining room table. 🌷

4. Reusable bags for the market - Now that the weather is finally getting nice, the farmer's market in my city is about to open. To make sure your mom is shopping in style and saving the planet too, get her some reusable grocery and/or produce bags!


5. Homemade goodies in a glass container - If you know your mom loves your chocolate chip scones or triple chocolate brownies, why not make them for her? Pack them up all cute in a glass container, and let her check both the treats and the box! 👍


What are you getting your mom for Mother's Day? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

What I Learned in College ft. Graduation! 🎓

Hey cupcakes! I am officially done with my undergraduate degree! 😮🎉 I cannot believe that my four years at college are already over... Even with all of the stresses it brought me, I will definitely miss it. ♥ To reflect back on the "best years of my life" (as people seem to call the college experience), I thought I would share the biggest lessons I have learned throughout these past years. 😊


~You will meet your best friends in college. The people that eventually turned into my closest friends these past four years have a special place in my heart, and I know that these friendships will last forever. They have helped me when I was at my worst and have been my backbone for everything. 💕 While we might be all over the country after graduation, I know that we will stay in touch and visit each other as much as we can!

~Stress is real; college is really hard at times. There is a lot to deal with: being away from home, taking hard classes, balancing extracurriculars, meeting new people, navigating the college dating scene, having a social life, etc. etc. While college is a ton of fun, make sure you are prepared to work extremely hard!!

~Only YOU can decide what the rest of your life entails. Choose your own major - follow your passions - work as hard as you want (if that isn't very hard then so be it!). The time you spend at college decides what your next step into the adult world looks like, so it is up to only YOU to figure out what the rest of your life is going to look like.

~You are going to learn A LOT (and not all of it will be in the classroom). Not only do you have the opportunity to take the coolest classes, you also have the opportunity to learn by experiencing things on campus. These can be jobs, events, clubs, etc. - learn as much as you can as these four years go by sooooo fast!

~To do well in school, time management and staying organized is key. Take it from a graduate, these skills are crucial! 🤓 I even wrote a whole post on how to stay organized in college once, so make sure you check it out if you are looking for some tips!

~Self care, self care, self care! At college you are responsible for YOU, which means self care becomes even more important. Your mom or brother or best friend won't be there to make sure you are taking care of yourself, so make sure you make this a priority from day 1.

~Family is everything. When you are away at college, you truly realize how important family is ♥ Take time to stay in touch by texting, calling, Skyping, and visiting home during breaks (yes, even for a couple days over Spring Break).

~Free food and events are AMAZING! Utilize your school's events calendar to find all of the events on campus that have free food, free performances, free goodie bags, etc. Any kind of event that you can get into for free is awesome, as you won't have this luxury when you graduate. Take advantage of it!!

~You CAN be an adult. I remember being scared as a freshman that I would not be prepared to be an "adult"... But college helps you with that - You get experience with cooking, cleaning, dealing with trash roommates, building a resume, doing interviews, solving problems when you are sick, etc. After graduation you will still be nervous about being an "adult", but I definitely feel like I am pretty prepared to start my adult life. 🙂

~It goes by fast - make sure to enjoy it while you can! College truly will be the best years of your life.... So please, make sure you enjoy it as much as you can!!!

Now you may be wondering, what is next for me? Well, I will be returning to the same college next year to get my Master of Accounting... So I am excited to have one last year of college until I am free from school for forever!


What did you learn in college when you were in school? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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