Monday, October 21, 2019

Minimizing Waste When Eating Fast Food ๐Ÿ”

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

A photo with a cheeseburger on a black background with the words Low Waste Fast Food
Pin now to read later! 

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. ๐Ÿค—


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 ๐Ÿ‘ฉ‍๐Ÿณ 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! ๐Ÿฅณ

Pin to read later! 

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. ๐Ÿ˜Š
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 ๐Ÿ‘Œ

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. ๐Ÿฅฏ
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 ๐Ÿ 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 ๐Ÿ˜
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‹


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 ๐Ÿ“•

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! ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐ŸŽ‰

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. ๐ŸŽƒ 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! ๐Ÿคฉ 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... ๐Ÿค” 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. ๐Ÿ˜… 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. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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 ๐Ÿ˜€
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! ๐Ÿ‘ 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. ๐ŸŽ 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! ๐ŸŽ‰

Hey earth muffins! After moving into my apartment over a month ago, I thought it was time to share a bedroom tour! ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐Ÿ˜

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™„ 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. ๐Ÿ˜ 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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Monday, October 7, 2019

Recipe: Greek Yogurt Tuna Noodle Pasta

Hey muffins! Do you ever have a can of tuna lying around that you don't know what to do with? Are you ever craving tuna noodle casserole but don't have enough time to make it? Do you ever want a creamy Alfredo sauce but don't want the calories? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this recipe is perfect for you! ๐Ÿ˜€ It is a fast and simple "faux" tuna noodle casserole dish that only takes about 15-20 minutes to make. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ‍๐Ÿณ Let's jump right into the recipe!

A picture of a cartoon bowl of alfredo pasta with the words Greek Yogurt Tuna Noodle Pasta around the bowl
Pin to read later!

What You Need:
-Your favorite type of pasta (I suggest buying it from the bulk bins!)
-Canned tuna (make sure to get it in a can so that you can recycle the metal and create less waste!)
-Plain Greek yogurt
-Onions, diced
-Olive oil
-Other vegetables, optional
-Salt and pepper to taste

What To Do:
1. Add some water into a saucepan and get it on the stove to boil.
2. While the water is heating up, saute your onions in a splash of olive oil. Add in any other vegetables you want, or just leave it at the onions. ๐Ÿง…
3. After the water has started to boil, put in your noodles and let cook.
4. Pour the canned tuna in with the vegetables and turn to low; you just want to keep everything warm at this point!
5. When the noodles are finished cooking, drain them and add directly into the vegetable pan.
6. Mix in 2-4 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (could be even more if you want it to be even more saucy).
7. Season with salt and pepper; serve out and enjoy!


What are your favorite tuna 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, October 4, 2019

How to Zero Waste Your School Supplies!

Hey muffins! I know that the school year started last month, but my masters program has some quarter classes, which means I will be starting a few new classes in a week or so. ๐Ÿค“ Because of this, I need more school supplies, and I was inspired to share my best tips for keeping your school supplies low/zero waste. In this series I have tackled everything from the laundry room to periods, so I hope this is helpful to all of you still in school!

green background with various colorful school supplies such as pencils, rulers, and paperclips, words say How to Zero Waste Your School Supplies across the middle
Pin to read later!

~Use actual pencils: Mechanical pencils might be "easier" because you don't need to sharpen them, but they are made of plastic (and as you all know from my Plastic Free July posts plastic should be avoided!)... ✏️ Wooden pencils are so much better!

~Buy a refillable ink pen: If you go through a lot of pens, I suggest finding one that is refillable. This allows you to not throw away the pen each time it runs out of ink! This gorgeous bamboo pen is only $19 on Amazon, and it comes with an ink covertor to easily add ink (which is under $10 on Amazon as well!).

A picture of a bamboo pen that can be refilled with ink, making it a sustainable alternative to a normal pen

~Reuse old notebooks and folders: I have yet to take a class where I used a whole notebook in one semester, so I definitely suggest recycling the pages you have notes on and then reuse the rest of the notebook for a new class. The same goes for folders!

~Buy school supplies from the thrift store: As I mentioned in my Collective Thrift Haul, I recently purchased a binder for only $1. You can always find school supplies secondhand; make sure to also donate any unwanted school supplies at the end of the year!

~Utilize any paper that you can find!: My office recycles a bunch of perfectly good paper, so I like to take a stack home to use for school. ๐Ÿ˜Š Look for paper that you can take home as well!

~Avoid printing out assignments at all cost: Read articles online instead and take notes either on the computer or in your notebook (as writing down your notes helps you learn the material faster!).

~Rent your textbooks or buy the online version: When you buy a hard copy of a textbook, you most likely aren't going to ever read it again when the class is finished... And that is just wasteful! Renting is cheaper and allows other students to use the book after you. The same goes for an online version.

~Use your "big" school supplies (ex. backpack, lunchbox) until they are totally un-usable: I used to buy a new backpack and lunchbox every year for school, and that is extremely wasteful. My current backpack and lunchbox have lasted me my whole undergrad and will definitely make it through my masters program as well! I have absolutely LOVED my High Sierra Swerve backpack, so I would definitely recommend it ๐Ÿฅฐ

A picture of a navy High Sierra Swerve backpack, which can last many years before it must be thrown away

~If you have to buy new, look out for products made with recycled materials!: I bought my planner from Walmart for only $8, and it is made of all recycled paper. Buying secondhand should always be the first option but this is a nice alternative.


How do you keep your school supplies sustainable? 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 2, 2019

๐Ÿ‚ A (Sustainable!) Fall Bucket List ๐Ÿ

Hey muffins! I am SO happy that the fall weather is finally here! Fall is my favorite season, so I already have a long list of activities that I want to do. If you need any help planning out your own fall festivities, never fear - this list is for you! It contains some of the best autumn activities, that are still sustainable and won't hurt the planet. ๐Ÿ˜€

an image with pictures of things from the fall like leaves, pumpkins, and orange with with words it's fall y'all in the middle

1. Go apple picking! Supporting your local farmers is always a good thing, and I love picking my own apples because I am able to bring my own bags and create no waste. ๐ŸŽ Plus, apples taste so much better when then are fresh from the tree.

2. Have a pumpkin carving party with friends! If you want, this could be turned into a competition... Also challenge yourself to turn the "guts" into pumpkin puree, roast all of the seeds, and compost the rest!

3. Bake some goodies for treat-or-treaters! There are a bunch of alternatives to giving away candy on Halloween (I wrote a whole post about it last year), and my personal favorite is to get creative with some baking.

4. Compost your leaves (but JUMP IN THEM FIRST)! Leaves are great for compost bins, so clean up your own yard, the yard of your neighbor, etc.

gif of snoopy blowing a leaf into a pile next to Charlie Brown

5. Make some Halloween cards for kids at your local children's hospital using craft supplies you have around the house! Hand deliver them if you can to save on the carbon effects of postage.

6. Catch a leaf before it hits the ground! My family has always said that if you are able to catch a falling leaf, you get to make a wish... It isn't as easy to do as you'd think, but it is super fun to try! ๐Ÿ˜‹

7. Invite friends over for a fall clothing swap! As you switch out your closet from summer to fall, try on all of your fall clothes to see if you don't like some anymore... Then swap around looks to re-invent your wardrobe without spending any money!

8. Have a fall-themed movie marathon! Some of my favorite fall movies (that can be rented for only $3.99!) are:


a collage of four fall movies including Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, Beetlejuice, and Ichabod Crane

What are your favorite things to do in the fall? 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, September 30, 2019

Collective Thrift Haul ft. Second Hand September

Hey muffins! If you weren't aware, this month was Second Hand September! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I have talked about thrifting a lot here on Life of an Earth Muffin, so in honor of this month coming to an end I wanted to share my most recent thrifted purchases. Let's jump right into the haul!

collage of four items bought from a thrift store, the words thrift haul are located in the center
Pin to read later! 

*Dining Room Table & Chairs: Facebook Marketplace, $45

picture of a wooden table with two wooden chairs, bought off facebook marketplace

I recently shared my tips and tricks for successfully shopping on Facebook Marketplace... And this is one of the best things I have scored! This table and chairs set was super cheap, and it is still in great condition - perfect for a grad school apartment!

*Binder: Local thrift store, $1

I will be writing a whole post this week on "how to zero waste your school supplies", and one of my suggestions is to check out your local thrift stores! I am about to start studying for my CPA exams and wanted a binder to store all of my notes as I work through the Becker materials. ๐Ÿค“ This binder was brand new, and it is absolutely perfect for what I was looking for!

*Set of 19 pans: Facebook Marketplace, $5

picture of a stack of various baking pans used to cook or bake in the kitchen, bought off facebook marketplace
A small sample of the pans... The rest are stored under the oven! 

That's right - 19 PANS! I have been on the hunt for a muffin tin, cake pan, and bread pan so when I saw someone selling all of them (plus 16 other assorted pans!) I just had to make the purchase. While I found some other good pans in the bunch (like a pizza pan and a brownie pan), I will be donating the others that I don't want to my local thrift shop so that they can get used in another kitchen. ๐Ÿง

*Ann Taylor Black flared skirt: Salvation Army, $1.50

This is for my Halloween costume... And it is perfect! It fits like a pencil skirt but flares out a bit more at the knees, so I will definitely be able to wear it to work after I use it as a costume.

*Red fabric: Local thrift shop, $0.75

picture of a red fabric bow made with thrifted fabric

I turned some of this fabric into a bow... Any guesses on what I am going to be for Halloween?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

*New York and Company White Button Up: Salvation Army, $4.99

Again, this is for my Halloween costume, but I will get a ton of use out of it when I start working full time. ๐Ÿ˜€

*2 Pumpkin Napkins: Local thrift store, $0.50 each

picture of a red burgundy napkin with a pumpkin design on it, bought from a local thrift store to avoid single use napkins

One of the easiest things to do on a journey towards zero waste is refuse single use napkins. I have slowly been building a collection of napkins from ones my parents no longer want, but I thought it was time to throw in some fall cheer to the mix. ๐ŸŽƒ

*Debbie Mumm Halloween Pillow: Local thrift store, $4.50

picture of a pillow designed by Debbie Mumm, an image of Frankenstein, pumpkins, and candy corn are sewn on it

My apartment has no Halloween decor right now, so I figured this would be an easy way to add some Halloween spirit to the living room. Frank looks SO cute on the futon. ๐Ÿ˜


What have you thrifted recently? 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, September 27, 2019

Review: LUSH Herbalism Face Cleanser

Hey muffins! As I mentioned in my Plastics I Refuse to Give Up post, I started using Lush's Herbalism face wash over the summer. I have been using it for a few months now, so I thought I would share my opinions on the cleanser with you all today! ๐Ÿ˜€

An image of a jar of Lush's Herbalism face cleanser, with the text Lush's Herbalism Review around the rim of the black container
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Pros:
~This face wash makes my skin feel SO healthy and moisturized! I had been using Proactiv for a year or so before making this switch, and that always made my skin feel super dry. I love that my skin feels nourished and clean after using this face wash!

~Helps prevent new breakouts. The reason I started using this product was because over the summer my skin freaked out with Proactiv. It has been a few months now, and I am still dealing with some of the scarring left over from the incident. This product definitely helps my sensitive skin in preventing any new zits from forming, which is a huge bonus!

~There are fewer ingredients/chemicals, making it better for my skin. I plan on writing a whole long rant about how Proactiv ruined my skin, but the major reason I stopped using it (spoilers, I know) is that it bleached one of my dark shirts. If it can literally bleach a dyed fabric, what is it doing to my skin?! I feel much happier that Lush makes products with fewer ingredients and additives!

~The packaging is made of recycled plastic and can be brought back to the store! While I try to avoid as many plastic containers as I can (check out my Why I Use Bars Over Bottles post!), many Lush products still do not have a "naked" form... But hopefully they will one day! I love that you can bring back 5 of the black tubs to any Lush store and receive a free face mask in return - definitely a great incentive to get people to recycle their containers!

~A little goes a long way! This cleanser is used a bit differently that others, as you have to take a dollop, get it wet, and then apply. Because of this, the product will last much longer than a typical bottle (which I love!). Plus, you aren't paying for water in your face wash. ๐Ÿ˜Š

A image of a hand with some of Lush's Herbalism face cleanser on it, showing how to correctly use the cleanser with water

~Saves water in the shower. Because it is a more hands on process, I don't actually wash my face in the shower anymore, choosing to wash it after getting out. This saves water and makes my shower time even shorter.

~Smells very fresh! This product has over 1,000 reviews on Lushusa.com, and many people seem to think it smells bad. I think it smells nice, but maybe I am in the minority...

Cons:
~Takes more time than other "normal" cleansers. Like I mentioned above, this cleanser is more hands on, but I don't think that is a bad thing! However, if you can't add a couple more minutes into your beauty routine then this cleanser is not for you.

~I am not a fan of the ground almonds. I understand that they act as a natural exfoliate (thank goodness there are no plastic microbeads!), but I sometimes think they irritate my skin as they can be very sharp!

A dancing almond, showing that Lush's Herbalism cleanser contains almonds

What is your favorite Lush product? 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, September 25, 2019

Recipe: Overnight Oats + 4 Topping Ideas!

Hey muffins! Living in an apartment off campus has been great, as I don't have to deal with the hub-bub that comes with being on campus. ๐ŸŽ‰ I also get to cook all of my meals for myself, which I love because I can eat healthy and take time to ensure I am getting the nutrients I need. While my breakfast is usually Cheerios, I will sometimes make some overnight oats instead. ๐Ÿฅฃ These are great when I know I am going to be in a rush, so I wanted to share the simple recipe with you all!

What You Need
-1/2 cup rolled oats (I either buy from the bulk bins or the largest cylinder container they have!)
-1/2 cup almond milk
-Mason jar (or other glass container)

What To Do
1. Pour the oats into the mason jar.
2. Add the almond milk on top and seal the jar.
3. Pop in the fridge to set overnight.
4. In the morning, mix with a spoon and add in the toppings (see below!). If you don't want to eat from the jar, feel free to pour into a bowl.
5. Enjoy!

TOPPINGS
~Add in some frozen fruit slices! I typically choose banana, as I like to freeze slices of them whenever they are getting too brown for my liking. As overnight oats are already cold, the frozen fruit fits right in!

~A small scoop of natural jelly or homemade jam. I shared my fast and easy strawberry sauce recipe over the summer, which is perfect to add some sweetness to the oats. As I am trying to avoid added sugars right now, the smaller the scoop the better. ๐Ÿ˜Š

~Dash of maple syrup! This is a classic combo, so I would definitely recommend giving it a try!

~Sprinkle of brown sugar or honey. If you love your oatmeal sweet, then try adding in some type of sugar. I am a huge fan of brown sugar, but honey works too!

a cartoon mason jar with overnight oats and blueberries in it
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What do you put in your overnight oats? 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, September 23, 2019

Why I Use Bars Over Bottles ๐Ÿงผ

Hey muffins! I think one of the easiest switches I made on my journey towards living zero waste was replacing my plastic products with bars. This isn't difficult to do, especially now that companies like Lush have a lot more "naked" options. This post outlines the best reasons why you should also replace your plastic bottles, so let's jump right into it! ๐Ÿ˜€

picture of plastic shampoo bottles next to a stack of shampoo bars, suggesting that you should choose the bars over the bottle
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1. 
There is less plastic packaging. If you want to be more sustainable, it is a much better alternative! Many stores like Lush and Whole Foods sell these products in absolutely no packaging, which means you can avoid all waste by bring your own container/bag to the store. Plus, you don't have to worry about recycling the plastic bottle at the end, which as I mentioned in my Ultimate Plastic Recycling Guide, isn't actually good for the planet.

2. 
You get more product, which is better for your wallet! How many times have you been unable to get all of the product out of a plastic bottle? There are many hard to reach places, which often forces you to toss before it is actually all gone. Many "naked" products use concentrated ingredients so that they will last a longer time; my Jumping Juniper shampoo bar lasted me 98 washes!!

3.
These products are often more natural. I am all for avoiding any unnecessary chemicals/additives, so I love that I am able to reduce them by buying bar products. This is especially true if you buy locally or off of Etsy, as I have found that even Lush items have more ingredients than I would like.

4.
They look so much better in the tub! ๐Ÿ˜ Just peep my side of the shower versus my roommate's. Plastic bottles are usually obnoxious colors with a million words, so I am a huge fan of having products that don't visually clutter the room. I love my Ethique soap container that keeps my shampoo bar and soap dry so that they last even longer; I would definitely recommend checking it out, as it is only $15 and is biodegradable after a few years of use.

a picture of the inside of the shower in my apartment, showing the comparison between a side with no plastic bottles and one with plastic bottles

5.
They work just as well! I think many people are concerned that these products aren't as effective as the brands they know and trust... And that is just untrue! Sure, you might not love everything you try out, but you will definitely find products that you LOVE!



What "naked" products do you use currently? 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, September 20, 2019

10 Ways to Stay Motivated & Productive!

Hey muffins! The school year has started, which means I have been busy with lots of homework and studying. To keep myself on track to do well during the semester, having motivation to be productive is key. ✍️ If you are looking to increase your motivation and/or productivity levels, look no further! Today I want to share my biggest tips on how you can be your best productive self! ๐Ÿ˜

a desk with organized supplies on it that help increase productivity
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1. Find out what time of the day you are most productive - Do you tend to get the most work done early in the morning, in the afternoon, or late at night? Take advantage of these most productive hours by planning to do your work then!

2. Make a list of what you want to accomplish - To vary the work, I suggest alternating between things you are NOT looking forward to doing and then things that you ARE looking forward to. By starting with something you are dreading, you will feel so much more motivated to continue working after it is done. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Pick a productivity spot - Are you most motivated at your dining room table? The library? A cafe? Find what works best for you and take advantage of it!

4. Take breaks! - These can vary depending on what works best for you... Some people say to take a break every 25 minutes, but I enjoy taking one after each hour of work. You can also waver between short and long breaks too!

5. Stay hydrated - Drinking a lot of water is a great way to stay focused... And it can be helpful in planning out your breaks too; after drinking your water, take a break when you have to go to the bathroom!

6. Get a boppin' playlist - Music is so crucial to my productivity (at least for me it is!), so I suggest making a great playlist to listen to. I shared my go-to study music with you all a few years, but I also love taking advantage of Spotify's playlist radio feature to vary up the tunes. ๐ŸŽถ

7. Don't underestimate rewards - These could be longer breaks, a cookie, some candy, or anything else that gets you excited!

8. Actually schedule your productive time - I'm talking about putting it in your Google Calendar and/or planner to make sure you are motivated and in the mindset to get work done at that time.

9. Put an inspiring quote as your laptop background - My background looks like this, and it makes me more likely to get work done because it reminds me every time I turn on the screen that I can do it!

10. If you get distracted, try an add-on to block certain websites - After giving up YouTube for Lent last year, I found myself back into the rabbit hole. ๐Ÿ˜‘ I knew that I wouldn't be as productive, so I installed Block Site to completely block YouTube from my browsers (including incognito!). I love it, so I would definitely suggest trying out a productivity add-on if you struggle with distractions.

man typing on the computer, being productive

What are your tips for staying motivated and productive? 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, September 18, 2019

Am I Still Loving the Femometer?! - 1 Year Update

Hey muffins! I cannot believe it has been a full year since I started using the Femometer as part of the Basal Body Temperature natural birth control method. I unboxed my Femometer a little over a year ago, so I thought I would share what I am still loving (and not loving) about this product. Spoilers - I still LOVE it! ๐Ÿ˜„

femometer app screen

What I Love - The Pros:
~For someone with a longer cycle than the average woman, this app is much more accurate when it comes to making cycle predictions. Before I starting using the Femometer, I was using an app called Flo that just did not understand that my cycle lasts for about 35-38 days. It would predict based on the "average length of a cycle," which often made it very very wrong (so much so that I would often track on my own too which basically defeated the purpose of using the app). I LOVE that the Femometer adjusts its prediction after each cycle - it can accurately detect the start of both my period and ovulation 95% of the time (the rest are off by 1-3 days), which is just incredible!

~Getting into the habit of taking my temperature was super easy, as I was basically in the habit by my month 3 update. After the habit is formed, you will definitely not forget to take your temperature each morning, and I love the addition to my morning routine.

~Going off of that last point, I formed my habit so well that I actually took my temperature in my sleep once ๐Ÿ˜… This didn't throw off my chart though, because you are able to delete any "abnormal" readings or pick the accurate one if you take it twice by accident. While I haven't experienced any abnormal instances other than this one, it would be super helpful for keeping your charts consistent when you have a fever.

~NO PERIOD SURPRISES! ๐Ÿฉธ See the first bullet point.

~The visual data in the app is amazing - there are so many different charts that are tracked for you in the Analysis tab in your profile. From analyzing every single data point that has ever been taken to just visualizing each cycle for consistency, the real magic of this device is the data you get. It definitely helps you take charge of your cycle, which is so empowering to me!

visual data and graph in femometer app
Overlaying your cycles can help you see how similar they are!

What I Don't Love - The Cons:
~Unfortunately, the app doesn't re-adjust your ovulation date until after your period starts when it analyzes the cycle. While my ovulation date is usually accurate, it might vary by 1-3 days. This doesn't bother me too much, as I also do the Cervical Mucus method that makes it super easy to tell when I am the most fertile; however, it is something to think about if you aren't using any other birth control methods.

~As I've mentioned in prior updates, I don't like that I need to sync my thermometer to the app each day... But it is a small time commitment that isn't a huge deal.

~I also don't like that the comparison charts use the "average" woman's cycle... It is especially not as helpful for someone who has a longer cycle, but I understand that I am an outlier in this regard. ๐Ÿคท‍♀️

analysis of cycle on femometer app

Overall verdict, please do yourself a favor and purchase a Femometer! The $30 you pay is SO worth it! What are your thoughts on using the Basal Body Temperature method? 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, September 16, 2019

My Tips & Tricks for an Armpit Detox ๐Ÿ’ช

Hey muffins; Happy Monday! To start this week off right, I want to share my tips and tricks for dealing with an armpit detox... Now some of you might be asking, "What the heck is an armpit detox?", so you definitely came to the right Earth Muffin! Let's jump right into the post!

What is an armpit detox?
An armpit detox is a detox for your armpits (duh! ๐Ÿ™„) that often occurs after switching from an aluminum based deodorant to a more natural deodorant (such as the natural deodorants from Primal Pit Paste). When using products that contain aluminum your body is prevented from perspiring, which is why they are often labeled as "antiperspirants". After switching to a deodorant that lets you sweat, your body isn't used to it... This results in the armpit detox where you might notice excess sweat and smell coming from your pits as you sweat out the gunk/toxins that have been sitting in your armpit for months and even years! ๐Ÿ˜ท

My Experience with an Armpit Detox
When I switched and started using Primal Pit Paste's Wild Wood deodorant, I (surprisingly) didn't experience much of a detox. I maybe had more sweat than usual for a few days, but nothing too crazy. I did however notice my body actually sweating in the pits for the first time in my LIFE, which was such an interesting thing to think about.

natural deodorant for armpit detox

Tips for Surviving Your Armpit Detox
If you make the switch to natural deodorant, you might experience a much longer detox than I did, so I thought I would share my tips to help you mitigate the sweat and the smell!

1. Pick a time that works the best for you - Don't try to make the switch when you have a lot of presentations in class or know you will be wearing a lot of tank tops. I think winter is probably the best time of the year for a detox, as you can wear a shirt under a sweater to catch any excess sweat or smell!

man sweating

2. Dab away the sweat often - You will find yourself sweating more than usual, so feel free to use some toilet paper or tissues to dab away the sweat often. I would do this whenever I went to the bathroom, as it is an easy thing to do while sitting on the toilet (sorry for the TMI haha).

3. Reapply when necessary - Feel free to reapply deodorant if you feel like the smell is getting particularly bad... Just make sure you don't over do it so that your armpits turn white or it rubs into your clothes. You wouldn't want a stain!

4. Let your pits have space – This process is completely normal, so let your armpits detox all the gunk! I would avoid wearing any tight-in-the-pit clothes to prevent from even more irritation. #freethepits!

5. Have a back-up smell blocker – If you are super concerned with the idea of slightly smelly pits, double up your odor blocker by using body spray, perfume, essential oils, etc. Please don't use too much though, nobody wants to smell you from a mile away!

6. Make sure the scent of your natural deodorant works for you – Some body odors don’t mix well with certain scents, or your body odor might smell similar to a scent. If you aren't liking the smell of the first product you try out, don't give up and try again! It is really a trial and error process until you find the deodorant that works for you. ๐Ÿ˜Š

pinterest graphic about armpit detox
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Have you had an armpit detox before? What are your tips for making it easier? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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