New Fascination: Zero Waste

I saw a video on Facebook the other week from the blog “Trash is for Tossers” about fitting 5 years of trash into ONE TINY JAR. Like. I throw more than a jar’s worth of trash away in a day. My question is… HOW? The answer is simple and not simple. You have to change your lifestyle to be able to go “Zero Waste”.

What is Zero Waste? Well, friends, it’s when the life you lead doesn’t produce garbage or trash that will end up in a landfill. But Roxanne, (you’re saying to yourself), how will I buy anything ever? There’s trash connected to everything we buy. Food comes in packages, tags are attached to clothes, and electronics come wrapped in plastic, heck when someone gives you a present it’s wrapped in bows and paper.

The first step: Assess your life and think about what it is you are throwing away, and how to limit that. Are you getting food in wrappers that are thrown away on a regular basis, like chips, protein bars, and juice bottles? Well, make those granola bars instead of buying the box of individually wrapped ones. Buy and use fabric produce bags to prevent taking a plastic bag every time you need a few apples. It’s all about being conscious of what you are doing on a day to day basis and choosing different products.

It’s all about making better choices. Making smarter, healthier, and more earth-friendly choices.

The 5 R’s of Zero waste: 

Refuse: Just say NO! No to plastic bottles of water, wrapped candies, straws in your drink, plastic bags at the store. Say no to plastic cups of beer at parties. Yeah bringing your own jar for a drink might look a little weird, but you aren’t making trash so let them look at you funny.

Reduce: You can cut back on the trash that you accumulate by making some simple purchases, like the items in the photo below. You can get your produce from the farmer’s market and reduce the amount of packaging you throw away. Shopping in the bulk area of the grocery store, getting local soaps, meats, and other package free products are a great way to start.

Recycle: This is an easy one to understand. Get things in recyclable packages, and recycle. Make an effort to not throw your recyclables in the trash. Also, buy things that are compostable, biodegradable, or eco-friendly. Buying local products didn’t come from a large plant and use fuel emissions to get shipped to you is another smart choice.

Reuse: Looks like you’re gonna have to spend money to save money. Get yourself some “Zero Waste” gear. Get reusable produce bags, grocery bags, jars for bulk food, reusable water bottles. ALSO start getting cozy with your local thrift store because this will be the best way to find awesome gently used clothes, furniture, and other household items.

Rot the Rest: Start a compost bin! There are a ton of ideas on the web for composting in small spaces, in your yard, and how to get started. Keep your food scraps and make them into the dirt to grow some herbs and veggies if you have a small apartment patio, or make a larger compost pile if you have an actual backyard.

 

Follow the Litterless blog and check out this post on how to get started. Litterless also makes a great point here about why to go zero waste: “I think it’s really critical for several reasons. First of all, trash doesn’t decompose in landfills – instead, it sits there more or less unchanged forever, belching out greenhouse gases like methane.”

 

Follow my “Off the Grid” Pinterest Board for Zero Waste ideas!

Remember, you CAN make a difference. One person at a time!

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Favorite Bloggers

I was recently inspired by Eventbrite, to go through my list of blogging gurus, (on the right side of my page), and decide if there were any I would love to meet and talk to, ask questions, and pick their brains. There are many that have inspired me over the years with my own blog, crafts, cooking, and DIY life hacks. Maybe I can send their names your way and they can inspire you too! You check out Eventbrite’s online registration page, a great resource for organizing and registering conferences locally.

Elsie and Emma from “A Beautiful Mess” are always beaming with colorful inspiration. From clothing re-do’s to fashion to crafts, I wish I had the time and creativity to do what they do. Elsie and Emma

Andi Mitchell and her blog “Can you Stay for Dinner” is inspirational on so many levels! Not only are her food photos mouth watering-ly delicious, but her journey on how she lost (and kept off!) over 135 lbs is motivational to read. I just got her cookbook, “Mostly Wholesome Cooking” and can’t wait to try the recipes. (Buffalo Eggrolls, I’m looking at you.)

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Another foodie fave is Manger, written by Mimi Thorisson, journalist and chef, and someone living one of my dream life scenarios… She cooks, she entertains, she lives in a beautiful southern French villa in Médoc and makes the most amazing looking food (thanks to her photographer husband). Please invite me to dinner.

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The couple that bought and are fixing up an old French Chateau, Chateau De Gudanes, are a couple of people that I would like to meet. FIRST. Thank you for doing what you’re doing. You’re doing an amazing job and I love your journey, your photos, your perseverance! I want to do what they are doing and would love to talk about their ups and downs, regrets, choices, and how they made the choice to take on such a beast of a remodel.

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Some great and frugal design inspiration for me is from Steph, from “You Paid More Than Me”,  she finds home design inspiration, and then finds ways to make or places to buy said designs for cheaper, and it looks good!

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I’d say inspiration is out there somewhere, you just need to know who to ask, and where to look!

What’s New?

So readers, you may (or may not) have asked yourself what happened to Roxanne? It’s been since September since she’s taken the time to write anything at all?

WELL let me tell you. I’ve been super busy but I’ve also wanted to share it with you. Promise.

I’ve wanted to take Verbena and transform it into more of a lifestyle blog. I know it already is, but more of a ‘personal adventure’ blog. I mean. I was in Europe for 12 days in August. 3 countries in 12 days! I helped plan a Halloween party for the Red Cross. I went through heart break and mending that heart, a couple times. Read some books, learned some lessons. Busted my arm in the middle of the street after an Octoberfest celebration. (Welcome adventures in cast land.) Saw the live Rocky Horror Picture Show. Won tickets to the Green Bay film festival. Had a birthday on Daylight Savings day that ended with a bottle of pink champagne in the local dance club. Had a radical late night Thanksgiving adventure that includes the Rotary Lights and a 20′ tall reindeer. Joined a dating site. Went on a bunch of first dates… Canceled my dating accounts. Had a great New Year’s Eve with some great friends.

And here we are… 2017. Oh the stories!

Where to start? So my question to you, readers, is would you be interested in more of an adventure / photo / life and times and thoughts / musings of Roxanne blog? I’ll take your input into consideration and just do what I want anyways but I like advice and constructive criticism.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Roxanne

Hiking Solo

Recently I talked with a coworker about her love of hiking. I have never really been hiking before, and thought it sounded kind of boring. Me? Alone? Trees? Why? Sounds unproductive. My brain works at a different speed than that. I need to stay busy to feel like I’m accomplishing something. But my brain also told me that I needed this. I needed to unwind, disconnect from technology, people, and reconnect with what I wanted in life and what was important to me. So I asked her for a good route here in Wisconsin and she delivered! I decided on Kettle Moraine State Park, the Zillmer Trail. I did about 5 minutes of research on what to bring, it was only a 5 mile hike after all…

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Make sure to bring:

Water, small and filling snacks, (as not to get a stomach cramp) a book to read, something to take notes down on when you have an epiphany, more AND less clothing in case it’s hotter / colder than you thought, toilet paper, bug spray, sun screen, some kind of hat, good hiking shoes, some way to communicate with the outside world in case of bears / rocks / werewolves or other dangers, and an open mind.

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I went hiking on the anniversary of the passing my Step-Mother who was in my family for 19 years before she succumbed to cancer. I had decided this hiking trip would be my date with her, where I can walk around the woods and talk to her, shut off from everyone, and just be me. I had a few goals going into the woods as well, so I could have an objective when I came out the other end of the trail.

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Hiking goals:

  1. Figure out what I want from the next 5 years.
  2. Figure out what I LOVE in this life and don’t budge on letting those things fade. Keep the things / people / places you love, dear to you. And keep them. It’s what makes you, you.
  3. Figure out what I want from the next man in my life and what I’m willing to settle for and not settle for. This is really important. DO NOT SETTLE.
  4. Love yourself first. Drill it into my head.
  5. Talk to the woods. Step mom. Grandmother. Chipmunks. A random snake.
  6. Listen to music and dance a little in the woods. This happened as well.

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Hiking lessons learned:

  1. Everything in life is about balance. Working out / rest days. Eating well / comfort food. Helping others / taking time for yourself. Social time / alone time. Accepting life / changing your future. When the scale tips too much in one direction is when life gets out of balance. You can feel it, and you can adjust accordingly.
  2. Only accept from a future partner the love you put into the relationship. Don’t settle for less than how happy you are being alone. A partner should be an ADDITION to your life, not someone that makes your life less amazing.
  3. Life is short. Grab it by the cahones. Take it. You only get this one precious chance.
  4. Your past isn’t you. YOU are you. Your past just makes you who you are today, in this moment.
  5. Accept others / love yourself. Love others / accept yourself. But love yourself first. The rest of the things you’re looking for in life will follow.
  6. You can love without expectations. Love others because you are a loving person. Don’t expect others to give you the care and generosity that you would give to them. You only get hurt when you expect. Just be careful about being taken advantage of. You’re a person with needs too.
  7. You are not crazy for talking to relatives that are passed. If you think they can hear you, they can. Who is anyone else to say otherwise.

SO it may sound crazy but when I was done with my 5 mile solo hike I was a little different of a person. I forced my overactive anxiety ridden brain to shut off for a few hours, no one could get a hold of me, and I had to think about what I needed instead of what other people needed for once. So get out there! Unplug and unwind, reconnect with nature, ask yourself, what do I love / need? What makes me happy? And then go after it!

 

Ideal Shape up 12 Week Challenge

I posted in the past about the 15 day challenge that my friend and I did, and completed, a program by Trainer Lindsay Matthews from the IdealShape site. Best of all, it’s FREE. The meal plan, the workouts are all on YouTube, and there are Facebook groups you can join for support as well. It’s my kind of workout plan! The workouts are 6 days a week, but only 30 minutes a day, complete with a warmup and a cool down video. I was skeptical about the challenge because I’ve never stuck to a workout plan in my LIFE and never seen results when I did. But little did I know, I have really only stuck to plans that have lasted 3 or 4 weeks and then given up… But I have to say, this was different. It took a few weeks for me to see results, and a few more for everyone else. It took about 5 months for me to have to go buy new clothes, and see a real difference. I tell myself, it took me 33 years to put this weight on, it will take me more than a few weeks to take it off!

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October 2015 / May 2016. 167 lbs vs 150 lbs.

And again, after photos in August 2016 after losing almost 30 pounds! (After weight being 140 pounds)

By no means was I overweight, but I was wearing a “plus size” in pants, and the Wii fit told me I was overweight for my height… And that was discouraging. But my best friend was doing this challenge at the same time I was so we kept each other on track, and I’m SO happy I did. I’ll be starting the program over when it’s done, and just picking up heavier weights to keep improving and getting stronger.

I also gained some important habits in the last 16 weeks too like my eating habits, (I can’t really eat fried foods or too much dairy or sweets anymore.) I eat way more fruits, veggies, and lean meats. I also drink WAY more water than I used to. I get up earlier in the morning and feel like I spend less money on food since I just buy almond milk and protein powder now for breakfast instead of cereal, eggs, oatmeal, and a ton of other random stuff. If anything the 12 week challenge was a gateway into a healthier lifestyle because I started to see and feel results, it’s something that helped me build my confidence and made me a better person overall.

Bottom line, I recommend it!