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. 🎉

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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
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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
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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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