Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Festive, Holiday Gifts to Buy This Black Friday!

Hey earth muffins, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is spending some quality time with family and friends... And, of course, eating a lot of tasty food! 😊 While I don't have any plans to go Black Friday shopping tomorrow, I know that a lot of people love to head out early in the morning to get some awesome deals. The holidays are coming up, so I wanted to share some festive things you can buy to get yourself (and your loved ones) into the holiday spirit.  ❤️🎄 💚 Let's jump right into it!

*Matching Holiday Pajamas - I love that matching holiday pajamas are such a trend these days... I think they are so cute and fun! I would definitely take advantage of some Black Friday deals to update your pajamas with some holiday fun. I got this adorable A Christmas Story inspired leg lamp kimono from Shinesty, and I absolutely love it! The pattern is bold and screams Christmas, and the material is thick and perfect to keep you warm on a cold winter's night. Shinesty has a large matching Christmas selection from "naughty" to "nice", so I definitely suggest checking out their pajama options! 😍

An image of a girl wearing a kimono with a leg lamp pattern on it, inspired by the holiday movie A Christmas Story

*Holiday Candles! - The apartment complex I live in currently does not let you burn candles, so I have a couple that I am waiting to burn when my boyfriend and I move in together this summer. 🙃 I absolutely love holiday scents whether it be cookies, pine trees, or hot cocoa, so I definitely suggest buying some candles (preferably soy to stay as sustainable as possible!) to get your house smelling like the holidays.

*Sweaters @ the thrift store - As Black Friday is quite the big shopping day, I suggest checking what thrift stores in your area will be open and what their deals are. I know my favorite Salvation Army in my hometown has all clothes 50% off, so I would definitely suggest going thrifting to upgrade the sweaters in your closet. Sales like this allow for thrift stores to turn over a lot of the donations they receive, which is a win win for you because you get to score big! Feel free to check out my other thrifting tips if you are interested! 🛍️

A picture of the sweaters of a thrift store

*Advent Calendars - I can remember having an advent calendar every year growing up, so I always look forward to seeing what cute new advent calendars get on the market each year. As I am on a journey towards living zero waste, I have been looking into getting an advent calendar that can be used each year instead of being thrown away on Christmas - there are a ton of cute options, so I definitely suggest scooping one up on Black Friday, as December is almost here!!!


What holiday items are you going to buy this Black Friday? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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*Note: the leg lamp kimono was gifted to me, but the opinions are all my own!* 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

How to Have a "Zero Waste" Thanksgiving 🦃

Hey earth muffins! I am officially home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family - and I am so excited! 🎉 Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays as I get to do two of my fave things: hang with my family and eat all day. 😂 Ever since starting my journey towards living zero waste, I have been writing posts about how to reduce waste on holidays (check out my Halloween, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day posts!)... In honor of this Thursday, I thought I would share some tips on how you can reduce waste this Thanksgiving!

A collage of thanksgiving items including a pie, apples, and forks with the words Zero Waste Thanksgiving in the center
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~Avoid unnecessary packaging at the grocery store when you do your holiday shopping. I suggest checking out the bulk bins for some great savings or buying loose produce for your meal! You could even challenge yourself to make everything from scratch like the pumpkin puree for your pumpkin pie! If you have to buy something in packaging, choose glass or metal containers that can be easily recycled. 👍

~Have a vegetarian dinner. Turkey is such a classic for Thanksgiving, but you could always try having a meatless holiday feast! The meat industry is pretty terrible in terms of both sustainability and ethical practices, so avoiding turkey is a great way to share these beliefs. This is obviously not for everyone as I know my own family would never not have a bird, but maybe your family would be okay with it!

~Know how many people you are cooking for! While having some leftovers is a good thing, you don't want to have so many leftovers that you end up throwing a lot away after a few days. 👎 Keeping serving sizes in mind is a great way to reduce food waste this Thanksgiving.

~Set up a designated compost bin and keep it nearby when cooking. When you are cooking this holiday, make sure to put all of the food scraps into a compost bin! This is especially great if you are preparing food for a good amount of people, as you will be shocked to see how much compost you have been throwing away all these years. After dinner you can put the compost into your own compost bin or have someone take it to theirs (or to drop off at a local composting company).

~Use "fancy" table settings. I'm talking the whole nine yards: fancy dishes, cloth tablecloths and napkins, nice silverware, etc. If you are hosting and don't have enough supplies, ask you family and friends to bring some along! While you will then have to wash everything at the end of the night, you will be saving a ton of waste from heading to the landfill. Worth it!

A fancy table setting for Thanksgiving, with a pumpkin on the plate

~Plan what to do with the leftovers! After a couple of days after Thanksgiving my family definitely gets tired of the same leftovers... So make a plan on what you are going to do with the leftovers! You could freeze some turkey to put in soups, turn vegetable dishes into a casserole, etc. etc. By having a plan you will be less likely to just throw away the food after a few days. 🙂


How do you reduce waste on Thanksgiving? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

He Peed Where?! 😱 A Greyhound Bus Storytime

Hey earth muffins! As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I have spent many years with my boyfriend doing long distance. When writing that post, I was thinking about all of the interesting things that have happened through that time... And this story came to mind. The last storytime I wrote was all the way back in August (when I shared how they pronounced my name wrong at graduation), so I figured it was time to share another story with you all! 😊 Let's jump right in!

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Now before I had a car on campus, one of the ways I would go visit my boyfriend was by taking a Greyhound bus. These buses have quite the reputation... And it is honestly for good reason. I have seen some pretty strange things and people on my bus rides. 🙃

On this particular instance, I was headed back to campus on Sunday. There was a bus leaving at around 11:30 in the morning and then another leaving around dinner time, so I figured I would take the early bus to make sure I got home at a reasonable hour.

After saying goodbye to my boyfriend, I walked into the bus station a good 30 minutes early before my bus was scheduled to arrive. As there weren't many buses leaving at this time, the station was quite empty, so I took a seat next to an outlet and started scrolling through Pinterest (a good time waster if you ask me!). Right across from me there was a young man who also was waiting for the same bus as me.

The quiet of the station was abruptly disturbed by the mumbles (more like yelled mumbles) of a man walking haphazardly to the area where I was seated. He was clearly very very drunk.


He stumbled over and (thank goodness!) sat in the chair directly next to the poor young man across from me, which was funny because there were a bunch of empty seats all over the place but he just had to sit as close to that poor guy's bubble as possible. He continued to mumble things to himself, and I did my best to not look his way as it definitely looked like he was homeless.

After a few minutes I looked over at him and noticed a puddle was forming on the floor under the wire seat... He was literally wetting himself in broad daylight with no care in the world. 


As soon as the young man noticed what was going on he jumped up (rightfully so) and came over to where I was sitting. Clearly there was something up with this drunk dude because no sooner had he finished his business a security guard came up to him and escorted him (and his extremely wet pants) out of the station. 😬 What an experience to witness; what a time to be alive.


Do you have any crazy bus travel stories? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Monday, November 18, 2019

The 6 Surprising Things I've Learned from my 6 Year Relationship

Hey earth muffins! Today is a very special day... It is my boyfriend and I's six year anniversary! 😍 I cannot believe that we have been dating for this long, especially since a little over four years has been long distance. To reminisce about our relationship (and similarly to what I did last year), I thought it would be fun to share some of the takeaways I have learned from being in such a long term relationship with my high school sweetheart. 😊

A picture of a couple enjoying the fall scenery around them

One
Long distance takes a lot of work and communication. My boyfriend and I obviously thought a lot about if we wanted to continue our relationship when we would have to be long distance. Clearly we made the right choice by giving it a try! 🙃 There is no beating around the bush - long distance is extremely difficult and emotionally taxing. It is honestly one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. There will be inevitables that happen as a LDR couple (such as missing them all the time, etc.), and we have found that communication is even more important because you don't get to see each other as often. If you want a long distance relationship to work, you definitely need to make it a priority and allocate time to keeping (and building!) your relationship strong. This can build you up as a couple, so we have found that it has been worthwhile even on the toughest of days. ❤️

Two
Relationships aren't always about being "fair" or keeping things "equal". My boyfriend and I have always tried to split everything 50/50, but there comes a point in time where you have to learn that not everything should be "equal" depending on certain circumstances. For us, this has become evident in who has to travel to see who, as my boyfriend is much more restricted on his leased car which requires me to visit him more. And that is totally fine! Other people will often question why certain aspects of the relationship do not seem "fair" to an outsider... So it is important to recognize that what works for you and your partner is the only thing that matters.

Three
No one understands your relationship like you do. Family, friends, random people on the street, they will all judge you based on just human nature. Don't feel like your relationship is worth less than it actually is based on the opinions of other folks. You and your partner know what works for you - so keep building your relationship even stronger!

Four
Make sure you are holding your relationship to a realistic expectation. Disney movies, romantic comedies, novels, even porn have totally increased the expectations of what a relationship should look like and be. I would often fall into these traps when I hadn't see my boyfriend in a couple of weeks, so it is super important to remind yourself that your love story is BETTER than the one of Cinderella or Snow White.

Five
Word documents are actually a great way to solve fights. I know, I know it is very random. But, my boyfriend and I have found that taking the time to type out our frustrations/comments/thoughts on a Word document when we have something to say is a really awesome way to talk through any issues we might have. This "letter writing" fighting style has helped up get through some pretty challenging discussions that have truly helped us grow as a couple. By writing out your thoughts, you are forcing yourself to truly evaluate what the main sources of the problems are instead of resulting in a heated argument where you both say something that you regret. I would definitely recommend trying this method out!

Six
It is important to take the time to set goals for your relationship with small steps to look forward to. My boyfriend and I are currently looking forward to our first long trip together to Disney World over Spring Break. Then, we are planning on moving in together at the end of the summer to finally end our long distance. 💖 Having these small goals and things to get excited about helps grow your love - we are so excited to continue our journey as a couple to see where the world will take us!


What have you learned from your relationship? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Friday, November 15, 2019

My Mason Jar Collection: The Brands I Love & Where To Get Your Jars!

Hey earth muffins! The start of my sustainable journey back in May of 2018 introduced me to one of my current loves: mason jars. 😍 These jars aren't just for holding your trash when you go zero waste (which, of course, isn't something that all zero wasters aspire towards anyways!)... They can be used for reducing waste in your kitchen and pantry, for holding DIY cleaning supplies, and about a million other things. Today, I wanted to share the brands/types of jars that are currently in my personal mason jar collection. 🙂 I will then share the best way that you can pick up your own!

A picture of drawings of mason jars with the words My Mason Jar Collection: What I <3 & Where to Buy! across the center
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The Brands That I ❤️ 
-Ball: How can you not love a good Ball mason jar? I probably own at least one of every type of Ball mason jar in terms of size and shape.... 32 oz normal mouth, 32 oz wide mouth, 24 oz normal mouth, 24 oz wide mouth, 12 oz normal mouth, etc. etc. I think my two favorite Ball mason jars are the 24 oz wide mouth (as they are tall and skinny and are the perfect size for leftovers!) and my 24 oz vintage 1920s blue tinted jar (it even has a different Ball logo - I love that it can still be used after all of these years). The wide mouths are definitely the best ones, as it is much easier to get food in and out. ✌️

-Kerr: I also have a lot of Kerr mason jars, in sizes and shapes that are similar to Ball. Again, I think the wide mouth ones are the best, so I tend to have a lot more of those in my collection.

-Le Parfait: I only have one jar from this brand, but I will definitely be looking out for more. It seems like the glass of these jars is thicker, which makes it seem more sturdy than some of the newer Ball or Kerr jars. I also love the gorgeous design of the cursive "Le Parfait" on the side - it makes it seem so elegant and French! 🍷

-Mom's Mason Jar: This brand doesn't exist anymore, but I think it is just adorable that there is an actual "mom" in the jar's design. I only own one jar of this brand, and it is a 12 oz jar. This makes it perfect for packing things in my lunchbox, so I definitely get a lot of use out of it!

-Atlas: They also don't make these jars anymore, and I only have one of them. It is also a small jar which makes it perfect for saving leftovers or taking food with me when I am on the go. 😊

-Bormioli Rocco: As an Italian, I obviously must have some glass jars from Italy in my collection. They make these jars in some really fun shapes, so I have a coupe of oddly shaped ones to spice up my pantry.


Where to Get Your Jars
Yard sales! I have found that the best place to buy a lot of jars for a cheap price is at yard sales (especially if you go to a sale at an elderly person's home). I got a box of ten jars for $2 at one garage sale and another box for $3... And these included the 1920s blue Ball jar, the Mom's Mason Jar, AND the Atlas jar. This shows that you can not only get a great deal, but you can also find some unique jars you might not be able to find somewhere else.

My grandpa (aka relatives). My grandparents did a lot of canning when their farm was up and running, so he accumulated boxes and boxes and boxes of jars... That are now just sitting in his basement. He gave me a ton of jars to start my collection (for free I might add!), so I would definitely ask relatives and friends to see if they have any jars they do not want anymore.

A picture of a row of mason jars filled with various canned vegetables

Thrift stores! Just like yard sales, you can usually find lots of shapes/sizes of mason jars secondhand. However, they will definitely be priced at $1-$3 for each jar, which isn't as cheap as other places.

As gifts! Especially during the holiday season, many people like to gift things in mason jars... Which allows you to enjoy whatever is inside AND the jar. 🎉

Repurposed! Some of the jars in my collection I have added through repurposing. After using up the honey, I added a glass honey bear that can now be refilled from the bulk bins! 🧸 I also used an old mini wine bottle as my counter-top olive oil container (that can either be refilled from the bulk bins as well or from a huge glass bottle of oil in the pantry).

New? With all of these other secondhand options, do you really need to buy them new?


What is your favorite thing to do with mason jars?? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Review: Clean Faced Cosmetics Zero Waste Cake Mascara

Hey earth muffins! When I wrote my review of Mad Hippie's Mineral Mascara last month, I referenced the other mascara that I use on a day-to-day basis and realized that I have not written a full review of it yet... I have been using a cake mascara from Clean Faced Cosmetics for a couple of years now, so I thought today would be a perfect day to share my thoughts! 😊

A picture of Clean Faced Cosmetics cake mascara with the words Clean Faced Cosmetics Mascara Review in the center
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What I Love:
*It is sustainable! This was one of the first switches I made when I started my green journey back in May 2018. The mascara comes in a metal tin, can be sent back to the Etsy seller to be refilled, and comes in zero waste packaging. I also use a powder from this shop (see the full review here!), and I love that the seller will ship a compostable bag of the product instead of using another tin.

*Made of only 4 ingredients - As you all know I try to keep the ingredient count down on all the products I use, as I'm not a fan of chemicals or putting things on my body that shouldn't really be there.... So I LOVE that this product is made with less than 5 ingredients!

*Good pigmentation and color - It is not super duper black (even though it is buildable if you want a dark black), which I love because I usually do a natural makeup look.

*Lasts all day and is easy to get off in the shower! I mentioned in my Mad Hippie mascara review that I didn't like how I had to actually try to get this mascara off in the shower. I love this Clean Faced Cosmetic mascara because it is easy to get off with just water but lasts all day long.

*It is multi-purpose - Because this mascara is in cake form, it allows it to be used as both a mascara, eyeliner, brow filler, and even eyeshadow! I typically just use it as mascara and eyeliner, which saves me from creating more waste than I need to! 👏

*Easy to apply! Cake mascara might seem harder to apply compared to those in tubes, but it is actually super simple - check out my tutorial here!

*Comes with a TON of product - Especially if you use a small amount each day like me, this product will last you a long time.

*Supports a local business - Laura, the lovely lady who owns the Etsy store, is from Grand Rapids, MI. I love that I am able to support a local Midwestern!

*Easy to sanitize! Mascara wands can get pretty nasty and collect bacteria, so I love to sanitize my cake mascara by spraying it with some rubbing alcohol every once in awhile. You definitely can do this with typical plastic containers!


What I Don't Love:
*A bit pricey - Compared to cheaper drugstore products (like elf, NYX, Wet n Wild, etc.) this mascara is more expensive... But for $16 (and usually the shop has some awesome sales!), it is definitely worth it!

*Learning curve - While applying cake mascara is easy, it will require you to learn how to do so if you have been using wand mascaras for your whole life. Not a big con, but I thought I would still add it to the list. 😬


What is your favorite mascara 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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Monday, November 11, 2019

DIY: How to Make Easy Fabric Hair Bows!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Sew/hot glue the long edges down.

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

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

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

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

Love,
Jenna 

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Friday, November 8, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

A picture of a house in Shaker Heights, Cleveland

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Love,
Jenna 

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

A cartoon about planned obsolescence

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

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

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

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


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

Love,
Jenna 

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Recipe: The EASY Way to Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree

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

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

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

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

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


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

Love,
Jenna 

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Friday, November 1, 2019

YouTuber or Blogger?! My Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Love,
Jenna 

Bloglovin' 💟 | Instagram 📷 | Pinterest 🎯 | Patreon 💲

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