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.

 I have also had quite a few experiences on my zero-waste journey:

  1. I am having some difficulties with sustainable practices when I am basically living in two places. Not everything seems to be possible when I stay at the Mister’s house. I’d love to hear how some of you implement zero-waste practices while staying at a so house. I am also quite aware that it is pointless to force people to live up to our zero-waste rule, so I am looking for tiny changes that I can implement myself.
  2. I baked my own bread for the first time! Being gluten-free means there is almost no way I can buy bread packaging free. Unless I’ll buy it in an entirely gluten-free bakery (not close to me though), gluten free items will always be wrapped in plastic to avoid contamination. I might write a whole blog post about this at some point, but I tried this recipe and it worked out quite well. I sliced and then froze it and I am defrosting it by the slice in my toaster. I got all ingredients except for the yeast packaging free or wrapped in paper.
  3. I made my own jam for the very first time. The process was very exciting and rewarding for me. My mom always makes homemade jams and as I was a little homesick this month, I decided to recreate one of her recipes. It worked out well, even though I didn’t add any pectin. Besides being homesick, I like homemade jam because it tastes better, the ratio of fruit to sugar is better. I thought it would be also cheaper than buy jam but that might not entirely be true. The recipe that I made called for strawberries and raspberries. I managed to get the strawberries packaging free at the farmers market but failed with the raspberries. I’m starting to think that mixed jam recipes are not the most ecological things. what are the chances that both berries are ripe at the same time?
  4. I’ve been good about meal prepping and taking leftovers to work for lunch. I only bought one lunch this week, had a meal plan for the whole week and I had no food waste aside from the waste from my birthday BBQ.
  5. I switched to milk in returnable glass bottles
  6. My birthday BBQ was nowhere near zero-waste. I did provide glasses and regular plates for everyone and tackled the dishes with a friend and all the beverages came in glass bottles. However, there was plenty of meat packaging and so many chips bags. Since everyone helped with the cleanup, it was impossible to separate possibly recyclable items. At least, I kept all the red solo cups. I will wash them and reuse them at the next festivity.

Finally, here are a few interesting bits and bobs that I found on the internet in the last couple of weeks:

  • As I started getting more into blogging again, I discovered a bunch of new blogs and I just loved Kait’s take on New Orleans. Visiting this city is one of my top bucketlist items.
  • I was looking for a lot of recipes this month as I started to make more detailed meal plans and the mister is not a big fan of my standard (random) stirfry with rice. When looking for recipes, I found that a glutenfree food blog network exists! So nifty for celiacs like me.
  • I did know about the existence of the zero-waste blogger network but finally applied to be part of it. Check it out to find other great zero waste bloggers.
  • Not made in china challenge is a new favorite blog that I just discovered. Anna, the founder is aiming to only use USA/locally made products / clothing items. While she is also part of the zero-waste-movement, she explores and tests options for buying things locally made. She wrote a compelling blog post about H&M that I think everyone should read.

How was everyone’s July?

Yours, Juliet

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Photo by Risto Kuulasmaa
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