Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Being Green(er)

I had not tallied the number of changes I made in an effort to be "greener" until my friend Sarah texted me this: "I really want to go green(er)...what are some of the first steps I can take to improve?" I was flattered that she sought me out because I don't consider myself a spokesperson on the subject by any means. However, in the past two years I have started making some small "green" changes due in large part to my bleeding heart fiancee--Ryan. He can go on and on about global warming, greenhouse gases, pollution, and The Pacific Trash Vortex until your ears want to fall off. He means well, I promise. We aren't perfect and we don't live a zero waste lifestyle by a long shot but here's hoping!

Here are the options that I presented to Sarah:

  • Reusable grocery bags. Many people already do this and that's great! It's almost trendy. You'll feel so cool walking into the store with your bags in tow. I always smile more at people that have reusable bags in hand. No, I'm kidding...or am I? I also love that many retail stores have ditched paper and plastic bags and replaced them with reusable bags. My two largest grocery bags are from Steve Madden (shoe store). I was also told that they recycle their shoe boxes as well--so consider leaving them at the store if you don't recycle at home. 
  • Don't use the thin plastic bags for produce. Those thin plastic bags as well as grocery bags can not be recycled (from your city recycling bins). They get pulled from conveyors at recycling plants because they clog the machines. Where do they end up? Landfills or the ocean. The produce at the store is dirty and you'll have to wash it anyway so consider setting it in or on top of your reusable bag in the cart. Organizing it at the check out doesn't take much time. Now if you're one of those people who has a large growing collection of these bags in the cabinet under your sink and you want them off your conscience asap, many grocery stores will take bags back. However, that's just a band aid on a festering boo boo, y'all.
  • Buy in Bulk. This can be tricky because not many grocery stores offer a diverse selection of bulk items. Sure, you can get your Asian cracker mix, wasabi peas and granola in bulk almost anywhere. Until recently I didn't know that there are stores that have SO MUCH MORE to offer in the bulk department. WinCo Foods, where I shop has almost any thing you would need available in bulk: flour, sugar, brown sugar, flax seeds, barley, rices, quinoa, legumes, powdered sauces, spices, pastas, cereals, nuts, nut butters, oils and much more. WinCo items average about .30c to a dollar cheaper. They don't accept credit cards and therefore they avoid fees and save you money! They are located in these states (for now): AZ, CA, ID, NV, OR, TX, UT and WA. Unfortunately WinCo does not allow the use of reusable bulk bags. I have contacted them about it and I'm working on that. This sounds crazy but I do try to reuse plastic bulk bags. Turn them inside out, wipe them down, throw them in with your reusable grocery bags--no big deal. Whole Foods does have a decent bulk selection but I prefer WinCo prices. 
    The glorious spice section at WinCo.

  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The guiltless trashcan contains mostly or only biodegradable material. Food scraps, peeling, etc. Almost everything can be recycled. But not everything can conveniently be tossed into your cities recycling container. Your city has a designated recycling plant that has specific capabilities. If you're tossing glass into your bin when your plant doesn't recycle glass, you may as well have just thrown it into the regular trash. Be sure to look up the correct information about your city and the materials that can be recycled. Here's mine! Often there are nearby locations for other materials like glass and film plastic. 
  • Use Tupperware for left overs at restaurants. Ryan and I try to have a few Tupperware containers in the car at all times. I thought this was absolutely nuts at first and I thought we would get the strangest looks for sure. But quite the opposite has happened. We've had some great conversations with our servers about it and hopefully planted a good idea in the process. Many materials can not be recycled once it has been in contact with grease or food waste. Along that line--you can recycle the non greasy tops of pizza boxes and other plastic containers once they've been rinsed off.

There are many other things you can do to have a positive impact. This is where Ryan and I started. Please do not buy into the myth that your choices don't matter in the long run. You do have an impact on this planet and in turn an impact on your health and well being. 

Please let me know if you have other ideas. I would love to talk about it! 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Pillows Available SOON!

I have had so many requests for a fox pillow since pretty much day one. Well, it's here and I've gotten a lot of positive feed back so check my Etsy shop Lunabeehive if you want to snag one! There will be more up soon!

I have also been super busy working on this custom order! They requested a giraffe, a cat and two pandas. I had to create patterns for all of these before I could start. I plan to make at least one of each for my shop to see how they do! 

 Personalizations can be purchased along with pillows for $5.00--cute huh?

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Felt Flower Magnet and Pushpin Sets

New felt flower magnets an pushpins are now for sale in the Etsy shop---and they're COLORFUL!

Spice up your chalkboards, dry erase boards (teachers!!), refrigerators, and cork boards with these fun magnet and pushpin sets!
 Mini pennant garland will be for sale soon as well! 

My (soon to be) parents in law looking good, being held up by a lovely rose pushpin. 

Check out my Etsy store! These would make great holiday gifts or stocking stuffers! 

Love, Christen

Friday, November 20, 2015

Antelope Island - The Great Salt Lake

I will never get over how beautiful Utah is. My best friend, Andrea, accompanied me on my road trip back to Salt Lake from Dallas a few weeks ago. (Thank you again, Lala! <3) Here we are on Antelope Island State Park in The Great Salt Lake. 

I took the rest of these on my "good" camera. 

Wheat, on the beach!?
Floating Islands?

Such a beautiful place minutes from my doorstep. Loving my new state!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Etsy Shop is OPEN!

Finally! After several months of preparation, my Etsy store is OPEN!

There is a link to it at the top of my blog called SHOP--take a look! 

 Owl Pillows!

 Felt Flower Pushpin Sets

 Felt Flower Magnet Sets


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Staging Etsy Photos

              Today, I'm making my first attempt at staging some Etsy photos. I've read over and over in my "Etsy research" that photos are one of the most important if not the most important aspect of a successful Etsy Business. No surprise there. One of the things I like most in background is fairy lights. They are like my kryptonite--so of course I ordered some on Amazon and they've been in a drawer waiting for their Etsy debut for months.

 Like a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils--fairy lights just make me happy. (Name that movie!)

 Something like this.

 Ok, I know this just looks silly and it will not appear on Etsy like this. Still working on the pup display...a little awkward.
Oh and I can personalize anything now!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Homemade Vanilla

I am in the process of making about five and half gallons of homemade vanilla extract to package in the cutest 8 oz. amber bottles. These will be our wedding favors. Sorry to spoil the surprise for anyone who will be in attendance. Surprise!

I have just enough time left before the wedding (EXACTLY FOUR MONTHS TO THE DAY--EEEP!) to let these precious pods soak and turn into extract. 

It could not be easier--especially if your only making a small batch. All you need is alcohol--I chose vodka (real cheap vodka) and vanilla beans (extract grade Tahitian vanilla beans). I purchased my beans online at Vanilla Products USA. There is a "help me choose" button that is convenient if you're not sure which beans to buy. My beans arrived promptly and in vacuum sealed bags.

Considering the awkwardness that is Utah and its relationship with alcohol I opted to purchase my vodka in my home state of Texas when I was there in October. I felt a little strange going into the liquor store to buy two whole cases of vodka by myself so I asked my dad to go with me. Needless to say that felt just as weird. 

After reading several recipes I decided that I would use about 6-7 beans per 8 ounces. I used about 35-40 beans per 1.75 liter bottle. 

Here are some photos of the process:

Split the beans before soaking.
Leave in a cool, dry and dark place. i.e..a closet, pantry or a creepy basement if you've got one. I DO!
Most recipes say to let them sit for at least a month but the longer the better. You can replenish with more vodka and more beans as needed. 
This bottle is about a week old and it's already looking and smelling great!
I ordered the amber bottles and lids through this website.

Thanks for reading,

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