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Simple Natural Living: Reusable Eco-Friendly Items To Be A Little Bit Greener Everyday

By now we all know to be wary of plastic. Everyday items such as plastic water bottles and plastic shopping bags are bad for your health and even worse for the environment. But, most of us go on using these things, at least some of the time, if not all of the time. Largely, because we aren't entirely aware of just how bad these things are. 

Plastic bottles. First, there's the health concern. Polycarbonate plastic (the kind used to make plastic water bottles) leaches the chemical bisphenol-A (or BPA) into the water being contained by the bottle. Consumption of BPA can alter hormones and have other negative effects on our health. I am guilty of grabbing a plastic water bottle from the bodega in a time of need, but the majority of the time we use a stainless steel reusable bottle like THIS one. And for Lily, we like THIS. They're affordable and durable and I can rest easy a night knowing that I'm limiting my contribution to the 60 million water bottles used daily in the United States alone. Just writing that statistic really freaks me out, guys. And according to the Container Recycling Institute, 86% of those bottles end up in landfills. That's about 18,834,000,000 each year. 

Not into metal? (drea can't stand metal near her teeth) You can try THESE reusable glass options. Or one of THESE plastic (bpa free) ones or THESE colorful ones (also pba free too of course). 

Plastics shopping bags. Speaking of freaky statistics, according to reuseit.com about 1 million plastic bags are used each minute. And apparently, plastics bags are the most abundant type of trash in the ocean, which currently contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic per square mile. Plastic bags take up to 1000 years to break down and even after doing so, they're still toxic. The message here, don't use them. Invest in a reusable bag and take it with you everywhere. We really love THIS one. The price is right on and they have a ton of cute colors to choose from. Want something a bit more sturdy? Try a larger canvas tote or inexpensive burlap bag. Or join the trend, and buy a market basket to lug your goods. 

I won't even get started on my opinion about the amount of energy used to make these items, because I'll start to rant. But, National Geographic reports that if we stopped consuming these items we could spare 15-17 million barrels of oil each year. That's enough to power 100,000 vehicles for an entire year. 

So please, try to keep this post in mind next time you're at the grocery store and share it with your friends! 


Author & Illustrations by Emily De Nicolais exclusively for ohdeardrea. To see more of Emily's work, click HERE

*From drea: Emily didn't link these, but you could totally check out THESE amazing bags she designed. Not related, I love THIS print--- and check out the rest of the goods too ;) Also, on water bottles, I'm also guilty of buying bottles out from time to time, but using a good re-fillable bottle is a hell of a great way to save pennies--- I've already mentioned it HERE, but you could save a good chunk of money a year by skipping drink buying. 

Finding The Perfect Gifts (The No Waste Way)

I've gone through a lot of phases in my life when it comes to gift giving. A lot of it has been determined by the amount of money I had or made--- some of it is dependent on the amount of time in my life--- or just my general mood. Years ago, before spending hours at a time on a computer (and probably before I lived in West Palm in general), I used to love to checking out small shops for gift buying (I much prefer to shop for others than myself). Then I would find gifts for people and think, "this would be the perfect gift for this person's birthday!" (but their birthday would happen to be months away), then I would buy the gift and a few hours or days later I would see the person and spoil the surprise immediately--- because it is too hard to wait on gifts sometimes! Well now, small shops are to a minimum around here (read: practically non existent) and even if there were a bunch well, I don't have all the time in the world to go window browsing around town, especially with a kiddo.

So, I started just hitting the "save to bookmarks" button online when I randomly found or happened to click pass a gift I saw---you know, to save gift ideas for a later date. This didn't go great for me. I would spend way too much time going through bookmarks later to find the right thing I was looking for. And when you have a lot of people you love, well, the bookmark lists add up. Things like pinterest are helpful, but unless you know the person you're gift buying for inside and out, there's no perfect way to know if the gift is right for them. This is usually a reality of gift buying--- which is okay, but in my spend less, get more living type head, I'd rather be sure to find a perfect gift that may not necessarily be practical (gifts, don't have to be practical, they're gifts), but will absolutely be well loved. I mean, nothing is more practical than a well loved gift. And in general, well loved gifts are great, aren't they?! They create less waste, sure, but whats more exciting than giving (and getting) the perfect gift?

I'm excited to tell you guys about giftry, I've teamed up to be one of their 'influencers', if you will. It's an exciting new site designed to find the perfect gifts for people. First off, let's start with: it's free. Hooray! There are no gimmicks. You create a profile, use it, create personal lists, and have fun! 

There's also a neat 'gifts for me' section that is created automatically. I actually don't have any gifts listed for myself yet, but I'm sure if you give me some time, I'd find some things ;) The good thing about this section is it comes in real handy for other people. Once you create a 'giftry' for a friend and add that friend to the account, it becomes a secret account!  All of the gifts they've selected for themselves go side by side with the gifts you've selected. And what's even better is you can add people to help pick out presents. Meaning, I could team up with my brother to help add perfect gifts for our mom. Or I could team up with my mother in law to find the most awesome cooking or backyard gifts for Alex. 

I mean, it was a bit late to use it for Marlowe's birthday this year--- but Christmas is coming and this will be the absolute best way to let all the different family members know what Marlowe might like or need most. 

So this is the no waste awesome part about it, by collaborating with friends and family, it saves time to find the perfect gifts (no wasting extra time!). And by helping friends and family with gift picking, we help bring down the level of extra gifts (less wasted stuff and less wasted money!)--- but maximize the level of gifts really wanted (more fun!). Amazing, right? I mean, I can get tremendously geeky when it comes to things like finding the best way to maximize efficiency and fun--- but I think it's amazing ;) 

I've had the chance to use giftry for the past month or so now--- and it's been great--- not only have I been able to add gifts that I've personally found for people, but I've also found random, perfect gifts that I wouldn't have even known existed (like a magnetic arm band for screws and nails?!--- so random, but kind of perfect for Alex's backyard projects). Haha, anyway, the holidays are coming.... so let's be smart, thoughtful, collaborative, and excited to find the perfect gifts for people we love! 

If you're interested... lunch break, kiddos are sleeping, twiddling on your phone, whatever, you can try out giftry for yourself HERE. hooray! 

ummm. ps. my categories are a bit... interesting, I have one titled "grumpy cat, space and other random things"--- this could be alternately titled "my brother likes weird things." But you can make your sections a bit more direct if you'd like :) 

AND hey you guys always asking about my rugs, I decided to make a RUG(!) giftry. Consider this my gift to you. I find about half my rugs when I'm out, but If I see them online, I'm going to include the rugs that I already have in my home as well, so follow me on there :) You're welcome ;) 

Happy gift-giving!

Pictures Of Recently Enjoyed Things

i'd say this is a colorful morning. 

plant! we've been wanting to do this for-ev-er. happy to finally do it! adding more soon. hooray!

one year later, helping us to take down the butterfly sparkle party garland. holy smokes, she's 4 this month. 

hi ho to sleepovers we go! 

getting out of the house--- it takes a bit of effort in this heat, but we do it :) 

staying at the house. 

sometimes I find her like this--- sitting by the radio, listening to music. No pictures, no moving screens, just her and the music. It makes me happy. Also, why she likes to bundle up so much is really beyond me. 

our lady dates, I love. 

bring your friend to work day. 

"omg mom. I'm so completely mortified. My boyfriend is here. I can't believe you're taking a picture of me right now." aka. my scary future. 

will travel with plants. 

for like ever. 
also amusing: on the car ride over here I turn to alex, "isn't it weird that people get married with someone and they choose to be with the same person, for like ever?!" His response, "yeah, drea thats called marriage." Me, "I know, but thats still a crazy thing to think about." Then we show up and he points and says, "look, it's you! For like ever!" magical coincidence. 

I enjoy this. 

I'm Proud Of Her

It's absolutely crazy to me that this kid will be four in less than two weeks. When talking about her birthday this week, I said to Alex, "I planned to order a sewing machine, but it seems like a bit of an expensive gift to give a three---- four year old. I was thinking we could get her some art books and take her to pick out a bike." And he replied, "A bike? Are we at the bike stage of life already? How did this happen?"

And we are. We're at the point where the baby I once had is no longer a baby, not anywhere near it. And ten bucks guaranteed, the kid will be zooming by on a bike (sans training wheels) within the first day of picking it out. (She's great on the ground like that--- still not a swimmer, but some people are just better at some things and not others.). And 20 bucks guaranteed it'll be the most obnoxious pink you've ever seen. It's crazy how time zoomed by. I look at her sometimes and I see my baby. And others times, I look at her and I wonder, "who are you, when did you get so big?"

We've been busy making art over here. In the times that I'm not working on this blog space or fixing the last details on my book, I'm with her, creating. I've wanted these days from the very beginning--- honestly it's been maybe one of the only things that actually excited me about the idea of one day having children. I hoped for a time when I could share my love in creating with her-- and it's here. And I'm happy that she not only enjoys it, but embraces every aspect of it. Ten times out of ten, if you ask, she chooses an art project. In the past week or two we've done countless projects--- but two of her biggest accomplishments have been a skirt (I helped her with that one) and a purse that she made all by herself. Give a toddler some fabric, scissors, and some glue, and it's amazing the things they can come up with.

Near are the years where when she wants to choose what she likes and only what she likes--- and as a mom, I have no choice but to embrace her love for pink, sparkles, and love for all things fashion (who am I kidding, those days are already here). She's so proud of her self made 'fashion-designed' clothes and accessories and I'm happy she's proud.

For a home so filled with basics--- and clothes and shoes decades old, it's pretty amusing to me to have a child who loves everything about clothes so much, but she does. And I love that she does. I love that in her world of art she's discovered what she loves-- and it never wavers, not this past year anyway :) If at three years old, we decided our future, she'd be a fashion designer. When I think about the future, I don't know what she'll do or what she'll want to be, but whatever it is she does, I'm sure it will be great. And I'll be pretty surprised if it doesn't involve (or revolve around) an artist eye. Four years old in two weeks and this girl is sweeter than I ever was and cooler than I imagined a kid could be. And if she one day become a fashion designer--- well, expect rainbows. Always rainbows.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! We're enjoying the slightly cooling weather and prepping for our first camping trip as a family! Actually, this will be the first time Alex and I camp together too! We're all very excited :) Happy monday!

*I have a whole post in drafts written about how I'm not a romantic or a gushy type and I'm certainly not (not usually anyway), but man oh man this girl has my heart held tight this week. If you guys do have recommendations for kid friendly sewing machines, please do email them my way. I swear I saw some years ago, but struggling to find some this time around. 

Simple Natural Living: Homemade Dish Soap

natural living
Living in the city has it's ups and downs. Just about everything we need is right outside our front door. But, we pay for that convenience with a lack of modern conveniences inside our apartment. Most city dwellers don't have a dishwashing machine. Personally, I'm happy to live without one, but it does mean a lot of time spent hand-washing. All that extra time spent wrist-deep in soapy water is encouragement to make sure that the soap we are using is safe for us. There are natural liquid dish soaps on the market, but an ever-growing need to be more self-reliant drove me to search for a DIY recipe. I found this one and after making a few minor adjustments, I think it's the beginning of beautiful, sudsy relationship. 

Here's what you'll need : 
makes 12 oz.

How to:

In a medium sized saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in the grated soap until it dissolves. Now, remove the mixture from the stove and pour into a blender. Add the liquid castile soap, glycerin and super washing soda. Blend it! Transfer the new mixture to your pump dispenser bottle and let it sit for about 24 hours and stir it every once in a while. It's going to thicken up quite a bit, so if it seems too thick just add a little bit of warm water. When it's done sitting, add in the essential oils and you're good to go.

Happy washing! 

Author and Illustration: Emily De Nicolais exclusively for ohdeardrea. To see more of Emily's work, click HERE

Pictures Of Recently Enjoyed Things

my flower child in her favorite chair. obsessed with her crown

pretty things. 

alex and the baby. 

my sil in law took marlowe to the zoo--- alex and I got to sit alone and eat. that qualifies as a day date, yes? totally.

I woke up and found him like this. I then looked around the room for marlowe....
(find room details: here)

and found my sleepy, smiley faced child here, waiting for me. she knows where to find me :) 

glitter party. I promised her she could throw the rest of it on her birthday. (mom of the year)

sandwich and beading dates. 

I've taken almost the same exact picture so many times. I'll never stop. The light in the morning is forever magical to me. 

ps. vegan moccs

trolley dates. 
Here's a good story, I spent 3 minutes looking for the girls glasses inside and outside a coffee shop, until some nice chick sitting at the table alerted me to the fact that they were sticking out of my back pocket. Later on in the week, I discovered this was Marlowe new thing--- sticking things in my back pocket. This story got boring fast, sorry. 

windy waterfront dates. 

these chefs. 

and one more of her flower crown. cause even though I already posted one picture and posted this one on instagram, I'm pretty much in love with this and it's an eco-friendly shop too--- so it deserves extra 'shout outs'*

*I hate the term 'shout outs'--- but I can't think of a better term. brain fart. 
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