Review: Camping with the Tentsile tree tent

Photo by Risto Kuulasmaa

[featured photo by Risto Kuulasmaa – CC BY-NC 2.0]

Hi everyone,
it has always been my dream to go camping with one of the Tentsile tree tents, I mean look at all those incredible Instagrams! So earlier this year, we finally planned a camping trip to Yosemite National Park and I was lucky enough to find a Tentsile on Airbnb that we could pick up on our way! Isn’t it great that you can even rent camping equipment on that site now? The rental included all kinds of useful camping gear too, so we didn’t have to buy anything extra (the mister has quite a collection of gear, too).

tentsile instagrams
Photos by @tentsile
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July Roundup and some links

Hi everyone,
slightly delayed, this is my July round up! It  was a pretty exciting month for me:
  • I was still traveling with my parents but that is going to be a whole other blog post. I went to Yosemite National Park (again), Mill Valley and surrounding area, as well as on some local day trips.
  • It was my birthday! And the mister secretly hijacked my plans and turned my standard backyard BBQ into a fantastic Harry Potter themed party. Our friends made a Quidditch beer pong table, intricate wands, a unicorn cake, and so much more. Unfortunately, I was way too excited to document any of it properly. So here are some crappy Snapchat screenshots: wands unicorn cake and moaning myrtle
  • I went on a pretty intense day hike through the State Park of Nisene Marks in Aptos. We hiked about 8 miles in total and it was totally worth it. I went with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages so we had plenty to catch up on.
    aptos state park
  • I got one decent blog post out. See my first 5 zero waste swaps here
  • I read 1984 by George Orwell, Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and Sapiens: A brief history of humankind by Professor Yuval Noah Harari. That was some good progress in my reading challenge but there is still a lot to read.
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Sustainability: My first 5 zero-waste swaps

My first five zero-waste swaps

Hi everyone,
I’m so excited to share my first “minimal waste” post with you. I want to address a few things before we get started, though: I am in no way a perfect “zero waster” of even “minimal waster”. I just recently started this journey and thought it would be fun to take you along with me. There are so many awesome zero waste blogs out there that have way more extensive and detailed advice for you than I will ever have. However, I found that these blogs can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning. That’s why I thought, my first baby steps might be interesting for you. Also, these five swaps might not be the first swaps that come to mind. Everyone starts these lists with reusable shopping bags but I wanted to share with you the swaps that came easiest to me maybe even before I really thought in terms of minimal or zero waste. Enjoy!

Swap 1: Bar soap

  • Why is this swap a good idea? First of all, you can avoid the big plastic containers – bar soap can be purchased wrapped in paper or even better, completely unpackaged. Check Lush, Whole Foods, or your local health food store. Secondly, liquid soaps contain a large percentage water but you’re going to add water when you wash your hands anyway. So why do we need water in our soap? Additionally, you have the chance to shop local and be picky when it comes to the ingredients.
  • How did I make the swap? My dad actually initiated this zero waste swap long before I moved out. He was annoyed by the moisturizing effect of liquid soaps and prefers the really clean feeling of bar soaps. So he did his research and started buying bar soaps from a local soap maker. They had so many different ones for different purposes. My mum would always store them in our closets to make our clothes smell nice and fresh.
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Life lately and my new plans (and some Monday links)

Hi everyone,
it’s been awfully quiet around here in the last couple of months. The reason? Life! The life of a PhD student to be more precise. And relationships, and family, and now vacation. I almost completed my first year as a PhD student. The work load will probably continue to get heavier. However, I feel inspired to write again and I hope I can pick up the pieces of this blog again.
However, things around here will change: I have been doing a lot of research on environmental issues and zero waste lifestyle over the past few months and I am hoping to write about that here. Learning and practicing scientific methods every day, I’d like to use that experience to help people who don’t work in science understand environmental and medical publications. Maybe I’ll open a little science category… I am also not traveling as much as I used to but it is still my favorite thing to write about, so I will try to keep it up. I still have so many photos and past trips to talk about.
Let’s hope the motivation and inspiration lasts!!

If you’re curious what I have been up to lately, check out the links below 😃

  • Despite everything going on, I managed to get addicted to the show Girlboss on Netflix and it took me a good 5 episodes to recognize why I recognized the name „nasty gal
  • For some reason, in stressful times, I feel the need to shop. This month I satisfied my shopping craving at thredup.com and online thrift shop. I am actively trying to buy less new clothes to reduce my environmental impact and I wanted a new dress for the Mister’s younger brother’s graduation.
  • This list would be incomplete without a link to my favorite blog Hither&Thither. I stumbled upon a post, where Ashley, the blogger, was writing about the HBO series Girls. Having very mixed feelings about the show, I really enjoyed the discussion with her readers.
  • I was looking into a lot of zero/ minimal waste alternatives this month and I did make a couple of changes (will report back soon). However, the DIY natural deodorant bar didn’t make the list yet this month. I will keep this recipe for future reference though. For now, I got a packaging free deodorant bar from lush.
  • I stumbled upon this article “8 reasons why traveling is good for your health” and I thought it would be really interesting to look into scientific publications related to travel and health. As I said, I’d like to make scientific publications about interesting topics more accessible to my readers.
  • Also, check out my post about conscious clothing to get an idea of what I am planning in the future 🙂
Yours,
Juliet
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15 Things to do in Spring – Spring Bucket List

Hey everyone,

today I have a rather unusual post for this blog. Ever since I started going to a school with a quarter system, I started thinking more about my goals for that quarter and the corresponding season. So today I wanted to share some of my goals and ideas with you. Happy Spring!

  1. Go camping: It’s finally getting warmer and I am excited for plenty of outdoor activites. I am not the biggest camping pro out there but I do get excited about short weekend camping trips. I actually have two of those planned in the near future.
  2. Read in the park: I love reading and I set a quite ambitious reading goal for this year (see my reading list), so I am hoping to get some outside reading time in this spring. I also always have to read a bunch for school/ work and that is always a lot more fun if it can be done outside.
  3. Bike tour and ice cream: My bike is fixed and I have a long list of ice cream places I want to try in Santa Cruz and surrounding towns. Combining bike tours with some rewarding ice cream afterwards is one of my favorite combinations from my childhood.
  4. Picnic on the beach: I already had one picnic on the beach this year. On the dog beach, to be specific. Picnics are cheap, fun, and can involve an almost unlimited amount of people.

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Photo Walk: A Weekend in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park - El Capitan Meadow

Hi everyone,

to stick with the theme of celebration the 100th birthday of the National Park Services, I’d like to share some photos from my three-day trip to Yosemite with you. It has been a while that I was last there and I can’t wait to go back and see more of the park. While I went through my photos, I tried to remember the names of all the places, hikes, and vista points and failed horribly. I managed to research some of them, however, this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do in Yosemite National Park. I just figured I’d share some impressions with you.

Tunnel View - Yosemite Valley - Yosemite National Park
Tunnel View – Yosemite National Park
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Reading Challenge: 10 books to read this year

10 books to read in 2017
Hi everyone,
I am addicted to goodreads.com and I am a big fan of making my list of books I want to read longer and longer. However, grad school usually gets the better of me and I rarely ever finish a book. So this year I decided to participate in the goodreads reading challenge and read a book every month. I am already hopelessly behind but I just started taking advantage of the offers on amazon where you can add the audiobook for a couple dollars to your ebook purchase. That way I managed to sneak in a lot more reading time in my daily routine. To keep me motivated, I picked 10 books from my long reading list that I want to tackle this year. I feel like it is a good mix of young adult, non-fiction, new and classic books. I’m sure there is something on the list for everyone. Enjoy!

My books for 2017:

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Review: My year in travel 2016

Hey everyone,
I am finally back to writing after a few stressful months of getting settled into a new city and a new grad school. Like last year, I’d like to revisit my travels and the memories I have collected during the year of 2016.

New Years in Portugal

In short, we went to a small town close to Porto to visit some old friends for New Years and of course we all explored Porto together.  I really fell in love with this city and could totally imagine living and studying there. I kind of wish I had found out about Porto before my undergrad was over so I could have considered a study abroad period in Portugal. After a few days in the northern region of Portugal, plenty of delicious homecooked food, and some port wine tastings, my travel buddy and I took the train down South to Lisbon to explore the capital for a few days. Lisbon reminded me of San Francisco in so many ways and even though the weather in January was rather mediocre I had a great time and many adventures in this city.
Porto
Porto
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Recipe for German Cinnamon Cookies (Zimtsterne)

[featured photo – Zimtsterne byLiliana FuchsCreative Commons 2.0]

Hi everyone,

I am, unfortunately, a little bit late to the party but here is my part for the holiday recipe week for Anna’s blog parade: I decided to share my mom’s recipe for German cinnamon cookies, called Zimtsterne (literal: cinnamon stars) with you. They can be found in bakeries and at Christmas markets all over Germany and for me Christmas is not really happening without them. So I made an effort to bake at least a small batch this year as I am not going home for Christmas. In Germany, we like to bake using weights not cup measurements, so I tried my best to convert them but the recipe will probably still work out better if you use a kitchen scale and weigh all the ingredients.

Enjoy!

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5 Easy Christmas Card DIYs

[featured photo – Yvonne Heine]

Hi everyone,

this is kind of a different blog post than usually. I am participating in a pre-holiday blog train started by Anna from whenanna.com. We are five bloggers from different niches working together to publish five posts a week related to a certain holiday topic (see schedule at the end). This week’s theme are holiday DIYs.

I just recently moved from Germany to the US, meaning I left my whole family behind and during the holiday season I usually miss them the most. So I decided I would make my own Christmas cards this year and send them to my family. However, grad school keeps me more than busy, so I searched Pinterest for simple and easy ideas. I thought I’d share my favorites with you:

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