Learning to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

If you’re like me, you do an okay job at recycling, but not a great one. Recently, a study was released that said we pretty much have 12 years to get it together or else the world is going to explode.  

(Okay, maybe that’s dramatic, but it’s not much better than that. You can read it for yourself here.)  

While the majority of the change needs to come from large companies and their factories, there are simple things that you and I can do to help, too. Every tiny contribution is something!  

Since moving to Asheville, I’ve gotten to encounter a lot of folks who absolutely crush the recycling game. Not only that, but they’ve found ways to lessen their environmental impact that have taught me so much! I felt a little daunted by this concept at first because I’m not someone who can, let’s say, live without central air (obviously I can, I’m being a brat) - but I’m dipping my toe into the pool and taking my transformation into Eco Girl one step at a time.

Many of you may be thinking, “Yeah, dumb dumb - we’ve been on this train for a long time. You’re not telling us anything new.” If you’re one of those people, I salute you. If you’re more like I am, here are some things I’ve recently been inspired (I polled Instagram, too - so many of your answers made it into this post!) by that have helped me feel like I’m helping, even if it seems small! 

1. Wildly reducing the paper products we use.  

Let’s be realistic: I have a 10-month-old and a dog. I can’t NOT have paper towels in the house. But I used to use them for everything. Are we sitting down for a meal? Tear off a paper towel to use as a napkin. Do I need something to stick my bagel on in the morning? Paper towel. Mac threw solid food all over the floor under his high chair? Paper towel. 

We have cloth dish towels that we use to dry our hands off, but we were under-utilizing them. I recently bought a pack of surgical-grade towels from Amazon that are coming in so handy with all of Mac’s spills and any kitchen messes. Now, I just toss a dirty towel in the laundry rather than throwing a paper towel away. It’s been a week since I started this effort and I’ve only used 4 (!!!) paper towels! That’s an enormous difference for our family. Hoping to get down to zero!

2. No straws, napkins, or cutlery at restaurants; using glass containers to store food or reusing plastic containers from takeout. 

This can be a tough one if you’re driving through because of a road trip or some other truly time-sensitive reason, but if not, it’s a great way to change your habits. I stopped using plastic straws this summer! It’s a really easy thing to refuse - I’ve started saying, “No straw, please!” And it’s as simple as that.  

There are great companies that make washable metal or silicon straws, and even cutlery packets that you can take with you and re-use if you’re going somewhere that would give you plastic silverware. Easy and great! Best part - the people with whom you’re dining will also be inspired! Someone on Instagram even suggested bringing your own takeout containers to a restaurant from which you know you’ll take home leftovers. It’s brilliant!

Another great food-related suggestion I got is to buy glass containers for food storage and/or put containers you already have to use. Pay attention to which restaurants deliver food with compostable or reusable containers, and patronize their business. We vote with our dollars. 

And, sadly, red meat consumption has been proven to be tough on the environment. As a non-meat-eater, this one isn’t tough for me (just another excuse not to eat tons of meat!), but it’s a great way to make a change that’s both healthy for you and the earth.  

3. Keeping the AC at a reasonable temp.  

It’s really tough to do this one for me because I am a SUPER WIMP about heat (that’s what growing up in Alabama will do to you. I have summer PTSD). However, I guesssssss the planet is more important than my comfort UGHGHHGHGH. 

We keep our AC set to 74, although some of my friends keep theirs as high as 78 and many of my Asheville buddies don’t even have/use their AC at all. MIND BLOWING. I’m not at that level, but I can avoid cooling my house to freezing temps.  

 4. Buy in bulk. 

This is one I haven’t started putting into practice yet, so I’m excited to try. I’m learning so much about what products are sold in “single-serving” packages that are totally unnecessary. Toothbrushes, for example. Why buy one, individually packaged toothbrush when you could buy a pack of 6 and save packaging waste? 

This goes for food, too - buying in bulk at places like Costco can often save waste and save money. Items that are great bulk purchases: cereal or oatmeal; peanut butter; granola or any kind of protein/power bar; snack food like raisins, cashews, almonds; coffee, the list goes on and on. It also just occurred to me while writing this that this concept totally applies to toiletries as well!

5. Checking into what is included in curbside recycling.  

Believe it or not, lots of things you’d think are recyclable aren’t actually accepted by curbside services. Plastic grocery store bags are one of those items for us! It took me many moons to realize that. I’d been putting them in the bin without knowing - now, I know that if I take them back to our local grocery store, they ensure the bags get taken to the proper facility.  

Plastic bags that come from the dry cleaners are another no-no. Who knew?  

6. Vote! 

This might be the biggest way that we can make systemic change. We are at a point in our global society where unfortunately, small, individual actions aren’t going to be enough to change the future of our planet. Enter: people who can make a big difference.

This is a great one because it isn’t even a partisan issue! It’s based in science and data, which is a refreshing black and white in the midst of what can seem like a sea of uncertain grey. Climate change is real, global warming is real, and we need to elect leaders who both accept those facts and are ready to do something to address it. Midterms are coming - look into which candidates support saving our planet and go vote for them!  

And if you need help, here is a list of folks currently serving in Congress who do not acknowledge climate change as being real. You know what to do, y’all - boot ‘em! The stakes are just too high not to.

Fetch or Wretch? The 2018 Emmy Awards

SNORE.

Y’all! This Emmys was so borrrrrrring (and, despite the chirpy little opening number, very white. Which wouldn’t have necessarily been as problematic if the production hadn’t been so self-congratulatory about the “most diverse group of nominees ever” at every single opportunity…but I digress.). Easily the best part of the show was this moment, which had both my husband and me agape on the couch choking up (shut up, Jordan, you know you did):

Oh my gosh I just watched it and cried all over again. HIS MOM’S RING, Y’ALL

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Whew. But THAT isn’t what we’re here to talk about, is it, my friends? No, we’re here to dissect Emmy fashion with a sharp, merciless knife.

ROUND ‘EM UP!

FETCH.

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Rachel Brosnahan.

The woman knew she was going to be picking up an award (and the show itself swept the evening), and she DRESSED FOR IT. This is pretty down-the-line flawless and you could tell she felt like a million bucks.

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Thandie Newton.

THE BITCH DOESN’T AGE. This knocked me out. Styling, accessory choices, color, how they managed to keep that dress wrinkle-free all night…so many things to praise. There are several people last night that shocked me with their agelessness - Thandie Newton, Angela Bassett, Sandra Oh, Heidi Klum. Speaking of the last two, let’s just go ahead and put ‘em where they belong…

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Heidi Klum.

Gotta give credit where credit’s due.

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Sandra Oh.

Very disappointed we didn’t get to hear a speech from this amazing actress who I LOVE, but the dress said it all. What an amazing statement and a banner night for Asian American actresses, despite the loss. Although the real star of the red carpet wasn’t Sandra Oh, but instead was her mom, who wore the most FABULOUS hanbok I have ever seen. Mrs. Oh - we are here for you, girl. Google the image, the stupid internet won’t let me find a good one. Just trust me.

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Tracee Ellis Ross

Lemme just be basic here for a minute and scream ‘YAS QUEEN!’ I mean are you kidding me?! This is so beyond fabulous I can’t. I canNOT.

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Ru Paul.

Another that needs no commentary. Sashay away!

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Leslie Jones.

Look, this one is tough. Do I love the length of the pants? No, I do not. Do I love the button placement that skews her proportions? Nope. But the color, her confidence, and the overall cut/fit of this custom Christian Siriano gets my vote, especially because CS has made a habit of dressing women who aren’t runway sizes and making them feel fabulous and confident. And she certainly felt both. Please pay special attention to her reaction during that proposal video - SO good.

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Angela Sarafyan.

So elegant, so gorgeous, so darkly Cinderella. I LOVED it.

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Kristen Bell.

Another tough one for me because that neckline is damn near impossible to pull off. But from every angle, sister was WORKING IT. The fit and the styling are perfection.

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Sarah Paulson.

I thought this was pretty divine. The low-cut bodice is right on the edge of not great, but everything else (the feathers, the length, the head styling) works.

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Jessica Biel.

I am damn near positive that the major critique of this gown will be that it looks like it’s made of coffee filters. Even so, I thought it was beautiful.

There are more Fetches, but I have to take my son to the doctor so that he can pee all over the nurses the second his diaper is removed, so let’s just get to the real reason we’re all gathered here today, shall we?

WRETCH.

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Emilia Clarke.

Such a disappointment. Her head is so beautiful. Her body is sublime. But that dress looks like leftover Halloween decorations and dead flowers glued to a tarp. And I am VERY VERY OVER THE SHEER BODICE TREND. Can’t we all say once and for all that it’s dead, never again to be resurrected?! It’s so tacky looking! The Mother of Dragons really let us down - maybe she’ll pull it out next year when GOT is over.

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Michelle Wolf.

I can’t decide if the bodice looks more like Maleficent’s head or cat-eye glasses, which would make her boobs the eyeballs, which is not something anyone wants to have said about what they wear to an awards show.

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Tiffany Haddish.

I know I know I know I know I know, this is the it girl, I love her so much - I really do!! But this dress is a PROBLEM. Remember those big, colorful, circular parachutes that you used to play with in gym class in elementary school and all your classmates would hold onto the outsides and lift it up at the same time? …mmhmm. I know she’s honoring her dad’s culture, but that doesn’t make this a good dress. Not her fault, she’s still the best, but…PE parachute.

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Ellie Kemper.

Another fave of mine, but I think she slipped in a vat of old tea. It looks like a Project Runway design where the theme was “Breakfast Beverages.” It’s the same color as her head/skin/lips/hair. Have I said enough? K.

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Scarlett Johannessenenenennnnn

Her last name is impossible to spell and I’m too lazy to Google it. You’re not nominated, you’re not a Kardashian, and that Balmain silhouette is officially O-V-E-R. “Oh my dress is barely hanging onto my body oops there it goes!” Girl, pull up ya shoulder straps and go back home.

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JVN, Tan France, and Karamo Brown

WHY must you guys disappoint me so?! Bobby and Antoni get a pass. And I’m not hating simply because these three guys have avant garde looks - I’m hating because they are also awful. JVN - I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, but we do not need to see your chest every single time you step onto a red carpet. Sheer is amaze, but let’s add some variety. Tan, you look like a Chanel vision except that suit reads as very “daytime” and is made even clunkier by the random addition of a heavy black boot and black bowtie. And Karamo…oh my. It’s like equestrian mixed with aging socialite mixed with…someone who wears a pocket watch. Strugs. To. Func.

And finally, for this year’s WRETCHEST OF THEM ALL…


drum roll please

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Amy Sherman-Palladino.

What the HOT HELL.

She can’t decide if she wants to be the magician or the magician’s assistant.

This is the most annoying outfit I’ve ever seen. Begging for people to think she’s adorable and kitschy when in reality she appears to have walked into a costume shop whilst on mushrooms. I get that hats are your thing, lady, but this is HORRIFYING. Don’t try to win me over with your quirkiness. I live in Asheville, okay? I regularly see a man who walks down the street in a chicken costume FOR NO REASON. He doesn’t work at a chicken store. He just feels like it. You’re not impressing me. You are also pretty annoying and both your speeches were very “I’m a 13-year-old theater kid, LOVE ME!!!!”

And her hose were ripped.

…and that hat.

Don’t look at it too long. It wounds the eyeballs.

That’s it for me, kids - see you soon. Keep your fingers crossed that only one nurse is taken out with Mac’s unbelievable geyser of urine.

The 7-Minute Blowout

I am so excited to share this with y'all! You know that feeling when you go to the salon, get a great blowout, and then when you try to wash your hair and recreate it, you're defeated and also kind of haggard? 

ME TOO, GIRL. 

This blowout has given me  L I F E   since I mastered the technique. Together with OI All In One Milk, this method of drying my hair has not only saved me so much time, but has also given me a shiny, touchable blowout that lasts for days. I can't say enough good things about it. Even if you have super thick hair, this should work! It might be a ten minute blowout for you super-thick-haired girls. Hehe! 

All you'll need is a hairdryer with a nozzle, a paddle brush, a volumizing spray or mousse, and a pre-treatment like OI's All In One Milk (which I use in this video). 

I hope this saves you time so you can get to the business of being awesome!

Pin Curls that Last for 5 Days

Hey, friends!

So one of the big resolutions I made to myself when I started this blog a few years ago was that I didn’t want to be a fashion/beauty/lifestyle blogger. Today, I’m breaking that promise to bring you something that I believe is pretty freakin’ worthwhile: the 5-day hairstyle.  

You heard right: style once, wear for 5 days. Don’t believe me? Check it out. 

This little trick has helped me enormously since I had a baby, though I figured it out long before Mac was born. I was always a person who said, “My hair won’t hold curl.” It turns out that’s a bunch of hooey. ANYONE’S hair can hold curl - even the most limp, flat, fine, straight hair. Trust.  

So this process is called “pin curling,” and it’s a really old technique. The science behind it is that if you allow your hair to cool while it’s still in the shape of a curl, it retains the shape for a lot longer. Think about it: if you curl your hair with a curling iron, then immediately let it drop back down as it cools, the curl will be a lot looser because it’s cooling in a more open, wider shape, instead of in a tightly-wound curl.  

It’s a little bit of work on the front end, but it takes no more than twenty minutes. And when you’re through, you have 5-day hair - 20 minutes for 5 days? Worth it.  

You’ll need: 

- Clean hair
- Duck clips (the long, silver clips you see at the salon) 
- A 1’’ curling iron (if yours is a little larger or smaller, that’s fine - we’ll get to how you can make that work) 
- L'Oreal TXT It Tousle Wave Spray (optional, but great)
- 20 minutes

Step One:  

Wash, dry, and blow your hair out. A “blowout” doesn’t need to be salon-quality - it just needs to straighten your hair and get it completely dry. I divide my hair into two sections with a large clip, dry the bottom half with a paddle brush, then dry the top half with a round brush, pulling the brush up and through my hair as I dry it to give it some volume around the crown. Whatever method works for you is fine - just needs to get the job done.  

Step Two:  

Grab a two-inch section of hair and use your curling iron to curl it under, all the way toward your scalp. The direction you curl it is up to you - if you want to have a salon blowout look, curl it under. If you’re going for more of a Victoria’s Secret wave, curl the hair around the closed barrel of your curling iron. That’ll make more sense in the video below. 

Step Three:  

Release the hair from the curling iron. Then, using two fingers on your non-dominant hand, curl the section of hair around your fingers back up in the same direction as before, and secure it with a duck clip. Make sure the curve of the clip is facing toward your scalp, not away. If it sounds confusing, use the video tutorial below as a guide. 

Step Four:  

Repeat the process until your whole head is covered in pins.

Step Five:  

Give your hair some time to set. Do some housework, make some phone calls, or if you’re doing it in the morning before work, make this the first step in your routine. Do your makeup and have your coffee while your hair cools!  

Step Six:  

Take your hair down and comb through it with a wide-toothed comb. Don’t worry - this step isn’t going to destroy your curls. It’s just going to calm them down. Make sure you complete this step with at least ten minutes before you need to be anywhere so that your hair has time to settle and you don’t look like you shoved your finger in a light socket, like so:

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To maintain your curls all week long:  

Before bed each night, wrap your hair into a twisted bun and secure it with a rubber band. I usually loop one loop all the way around the hair, and take the other loop halfway over the bun to make sure it stays in place all night (watch the video below for a detailed walk-through).

In the morning, take your hair down and you’ll discover that you’ve still got an “out in public” ready head of hair. Hooray!  

Just to show you that this works, I documented 5 days’ worth of hair for you. I curled it on a Thursday, and the last photo was taken on a Monday.  

Thursday:  

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Friday (yes, I’m wearing the same shirt, I have a newborn, don’t judge me):  

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Saturday (featuring my goofy husband):   

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 Sunday: 

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Monday (the messiest and yuckiest day):   

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As they say in My Big Fat Greek Wedding: "So there you go!" 

I hope this has been helpful and will save you some time in the mornings that you could use snuggling your babies, sleeping in, or getting extra work done. 

Thus endeth my stint as a fashion blogger.  

*Bows*  

Pregnancy Product Recommendations

Happy Tuesday! 

OH MY GOSH DOUG JONES FREAKING WON THE SENATE, PEOPLE. HE WON. A DEMOCRAT. IN ALABAMA. IT'S A HUGE DEAL. HUGE. ENORMOUS. 

Mmkay.

Since I'm just sitting on "go" waiting for this baby to be born, I thought I'd record a short(ish) video recommending some products that have really worked for me this pregnancy. I got lots of helpful tips from girlfriends of mine, and some things I just trial-and-errored for myself. 

I've included links to all my recommendations in the text below the video, so if you know someone who's pregnant, click around! I can guarantee a big ol' hug if you were to gift your pregnant pal any of the following things. 

(In the future, it'd be great if someone could remind me not to shoot a video of my extremely pregnant face from a low angle. Holy double chins, y'all. W/e, I'm too pregnant to care!)