This blog was started, and is intended to illustrate that environmentalism happens through small acts, is not difficult, and that it does not always have to be some big life changing event that forces you to live in the tree tops with no electricity. All that being said, one of my small acts was to start this blog to gain some friends to help me save the world.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just in case anyone is interested

All proceeds that receives will be donated to a local green charity.  And watch out b/c has already made $2.40, woohoo!!!

But wait there is more now.  Thank you Allie.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Help for the victims of the Colorado Wildfires

Unfortunately (I say unfortunately since the circumstances around this post regard a major natural disaster)  an opportunity has arisen that demonstrates how once again the small actions of many can add up to big change.  So as many of you are aware there have been wildfires in the Western part of the US that are causing massive destruction.  Colorado in particular has been hit hard.  Not only are the natural landscapes torched, but also to peoples' communities and homes.  If you are interested in helping out the many people that have lost their homes, as well as everything in those homes, please check out some of the below links. Remember every little bit counts.  Thanks.

Be present

So just for a minute we are going to stray away from the environment and discuss a recent discovery I have made.  Now I will start this post, as I have with many others, with a disclaimer.  This is not advice I am doling out here, because everyone knows I am the last person to be offering this kind of advice.  But what this is, is more of a suggestion, something I found that works for me (since let’s be honest I am the one that needs lots of help and I know it) and thought was worth sharing.  So just keep that in mind while reading (yes I am again pretending like I have people that read my words it is ok my delusions keep me happy).  So I begin.  I read a great article (and have been reading many others like it recently) that discuss ways to let go and be present.  The specific article ( ) I am referring to was written as a counterargument (that word may be too strong here, but let’s go with it) to the Slaughter article, "Why Women Still Can't have it All".  And the counterargument was a simple statement, to be present.  Now please do not get me wrong the Slaughter ( article offered many great arguments and ways to think about things, ways that I actually agree with and would like to see changed.  But I have recently found that that kind of thinking does not help or benefit me, instead it tends to overwhelm me.  I still want to think and create positive and intelligent change, but I do not want to do it in a way that consumes me or makes me think in a negative light.  That comes way too easy for me, thinking in a negative way.  Being present and letting go is not quite as natural, and I really cannot even define it in generic terms.  I have always been told my entire life to let stuff go and not worry so much.  After I have seen the effects of holding on to some many petty things, I finally see that value in that advice.  Sure, some may say I have learned too late, but better late than never.  So what being present means for me, and how it helps me, is when I get overwhelmed, cranky, whiny, and negative, or start thinking in doom and gloom terms, I stop (in my head) and just try to be present.  It is a way to try and change your thought patterns and in turn some negative habits.  Be present, be grateful, be thankful and lighten up.  There are things to worry and stress about sure, and this is not a cure to make you 100% stress free.  Exhibit A: I still have stress, but now I seem to stress out a little less and not over everything (gulp, some of the time).  So when I catch myself about (or even after the fact) to say something negative I now stop, and try to be present.  It is just an extra step that I have added to my thought process to try and overcome bad ugly habits.  If I am whining because I have to do so many loads of laundry I stop, think about being present, and for me it takes me to a place where I say thank you, instead of whining.  I have laundry to do, but so many do not, they have worse issues to deal with.  So I stop whining.  It humbles me and then I think about how I do not need as much as I am told I need, and heck it might even help motivate me to clean out my closet (which it has needed for a while) and donate something to those who do need it.  Then they can complain about laundry, I kid I kid.  Look, you will get through everything, because at some point it all passes.  You get through a crappy day at work, you get through a traffic ticket,  you get through doing the laundry.  I know it all sounds small and petty but it is generally the petty things that I bring up the most.  Now this is not a religious thing, and as I mentioned at the start this is not me giving out self help advice, it is me finding some self help, and finding something that actually works for me.  It does not require a lot, just slowing down for less than a second to think and be aware.  Just thinking about being present adds a filter to my mouth so that I do not blurt out some garbage that benefits no one.  I am forced to constantly be aware of what I say and do and how that affects others.  Not everyone needs to hear my opinion all the time (and that is why I have a blog, omg what is wrong with me I need more help than I thought).  Now I am not saying this is a cure all, and I am not saying I am perfect now and only say great, wonderful, wise things, and I am not even saying that I will do this forever.  But the goal is to change some of my negative habits and make them positive habits or at very least silence the bad habits.  Because the more I practice the easier it becomes, and I will be honest I do feel more relaxed (even just reducing my stress by just a small percentage).  I will be more grateful for what I have and less worried about what I do not have, I will serve this planet and the people on, because their needs are my needs, and I will be present.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

It is the small things

So it has been a pretty consistent theme on this blog that it is the small things and little actions you can do that add up to big change.  There are simple things like a friendly smile or a wave to someone that can change their day.  I am actually a big fan of the smile.  Why you may ask?  Not only is it very easy (and free might I add) but it sends happy vibes to someone else, and on top of all that it makes you feel good too.  And that is the same concept that is built around Leftover Love.  It is a small act that makes a big difference, and that small act makes you feel good, at least it makes me feel good.  It makes me feel like I am making a difference, a small difference, but a difference nonetheless.  So what is Leftover Love?  Quick recap.  All it is is making sure that you take your own reusable container to restaurants to save your leftovers.  The restaurants thank you, the leftovers thank you, and the environment thanks you.  So simple.  So lets keep up the work, all these small actions will bring about big change that will benefit not only our well being but our survival.  And don't we all want to live on a nice happy and green (and blue) planet.

If you would like to discuss the small ways that you live life to the fullest please visit  or

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Not cheap, green!

The other day I was scanning and searching the world wide web for additional ways to help serve our planet.  I do this because I know there is always more that I can do and ways to improve what I already do.  But my criteria is I like easy ways.  Anyway back to the point and I came across two interesting ideas that I felt fit in well with the Leftover Love idea.  The first one was pretty simple, eat your leftover.  Can you see how I made the connection with Leftover Love, let me break it down, first I created an algorithm, made some minor mathematical adjustments, then I saw the word leftover and was like oh wait I know something else about leftovers.  So as you can figure out, since I am sure everyone has made their own algorithm to understand the benefits of eating leftovers, it is very economical, it is healthy (helps you cut down on your portion size), and lastly it helps reduce the amount of resources consumed.  Now I was never very keen on leftovers for a long time, that was until I left home and went off to school.  Then I feel in love with leftovers and have maintained a strong love affair with them ever since, and now they are a staple in my diet.  So great what a great idea, and very easy (I really do like easy, especially easy algorithms, oh who am I kidding i can barely spell algorithm).  But then on this same green website the next thing listed to help save the environment after eating leftovers, was ask restaurants for a take home container to save your leftovers.  Well I was shocked, obviously the site owners have not read the fabulous literature that is found on my blog.  So yes save leftovers, but if you really want to go green then save any and all leftovers in reusable containers, including the leftovers you bring home from any and all restaurants.  Now please know while I type these insightful words from my humble fingers (choking sorry had to stop for a minute) I am NOT doing a little happy dance because I am way more advanced with my leftovers (don't ask, I do not even know what that statement means) but that I am trying to add to an already great green idea, save your leftovers and then be super green and take your own containers.
So as promised I said there were two ideas I found.  The second concept goes along very nicely with taking your own containers, and that was the idea of a waste free lunch.  So lets review very quickly.  We all know that eating out a lot increases our carbon footprint (and at this point in time we are working to reduce that).  So yes taking your own containers helps (when we eat out just every once in a while, right (insert a light hearted finger wag here)), but another way is to avoid eating out, end of statement.  So if there are any other tightwads like me, wait I mean budget-minded folks out there, then you will probably already know this but hopefully still appreciate it.  Take your own lunch to work or wherever you go during the day.  And then to make it super environmentally friendly, make it is trash-free lunch.  Get rid of those lame brown paper bags, get rid of those stupid plastic sandwich bags, take your own utensils, take a re-usable water bottle, it really is pretty easy to make it waste free, and we all know who likes easy!  Anyway so there has not been a green challenge posted on the blog in a while, so here is it, the green challenge of the day (or week, or forever whatever you choose) is to try a waste free lunch.  And whatever you do not eat you can take home and eat later in your super awesome wonderfully green (or any color of your preference, but even blue and red ones are still green, ok I will stop with the lame color joke/riddle) reusable containers.
And as always if anyone else out there has anyway to improve leftovers by making them even more green (ok disclaimer please do not eat green leftovers if the green was not there originally) please feel free to share so we can keep expanding and improving ways to protect the green and blue planet we call home.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

OMG has it been a year!

Well  happy birthday to me and my blog, I hope this means I get two birthday presents this year.  OK so I will be the first to tell you, but I honestly do not believe it myself, today marks the one year anniversary of this blog.  Really I must say that I am pretty proud of myself to keep this going for a year.  But to have actually accomplished something with the blog, well that just makes me super awesome, really you are laughing at me, come on please let me have my delusions, please.  I know that I owe a lot to the support of family, friends, and yes that little bump from the local NPR station and newspaper helped too.  I doubt I would have gotten very far on my own.  Maybe I should end my Grammy/Oscar acceptance speech now, but I can't so haha.  I am very grateful for all the help I have received.  I have also learned that I do have some great friends that are truly inspiring, and hopefully that inspiration is past on through some of the wonderful reading that is published on this blog (still laughing, oh about the awesome comment, ok keep laughing).  So with all that said I would just like to say a very big thank you.
Now I could continue this post with a "Random Charlotte year in review" but instead of re-boring you with all the old posts, I just wanted to go back (don't worry this will be short) for just a second, and discuss what started this blog, Leftover Love (aka taking your own doggy bag to restaurants).   Now as I have said many times this is not an original idea, but it is still a good one, that to be very honest I am not quite sure why it is not catching on faster.  Anyway the concept is similar to taking your own shopping bag to the grocery shop (or every other shop that hands out plastic bags), but instead of the grocer you are at a restaurant and instead of bag you take your own leftover box.  Beautiful, easy, love it.  The thing is, this concept most clearly illustrates (at least to me) that it is the small things that we can do everyday to will help protect our planet.  I know that sounds cliche, and that I say it a lot, but for me it is the bottom line.  No planet, no us, so then what was the point fighting over all the other issues.  I know to some being green is hip or trendy or whatever, but really it is survival (and also very cost effective, which for cheapskates like me should be very attractive).  Being green means caring about others and be willing to make small sacrifices that help for the greater good.  It does not mean putting up solar panels you cannot afford or living in the top of a tree.  But it does mean giving up your bottled water, taking your own leftover container to restaurants, hiring (or lowering) the thermostat a degree or two.   Not everything has to be easy, convenient, and comfortable, all of which is promised with a disposable lifestyle.  I want to remember, and I want to set an example that every action counts, even the small ones.
So have I done something great like I wanted?  Maybe not.  Have I done something that matters?  Hopefully, even if it is only to me.  But I have tried and I will continue to try, because that is all anyone can do (at least that is what my parents told me).  Hopefully I will continue to live by my words, and then my actions will create an example, if for no one else, then for me and my family.  So I will end here with another big thank you to everyone (but I especially want to thank those who take their own leftover containers and  practice  (yeah I said practice like it is some religious experience) leftover love, man I am horrible!! but I am kidding).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A horse is a horse of course of course

So I wanted to pass along another petition (calm down it is not mine this time, it is one that lots of people are signing).  It is to create a ban on the horse drawn carriages in NYC.  Now I am not sure if this ever comes out on this blog or not, but animal rights is another issue that is very important to me, and that is why I am passing it along.  I will not go into any gruesome details, but the idea is to replace the horses with old fashioned style automobiles so that people can still enjoy an open air ride through Central Park without having to torture a horse.  Here is the link to the petition
And another link to a NY Times article that illustrates the alternative a bit better than me :)
With all the issues around horse racing, I do think this is the very least we could do for these animals.  I do think that is a worthwhile cause so please sign.
Thanks everyone.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It IS easy being green, sometimes!

I get that I am not perfect.  But I do try to be a good green ambassador.  I was reminded today by my 2 year old that that is not always the case, sometimes I am not as good as I need to be.  We had taken an afternoon walk to feed the ducks and turtles, and on the way back I walked right by a recyclable plastic coffee cup and a recyclable cardboard holder that had been tossed on the side of the road.  Both items were from Starbucks, not sure that makes a difference here.  Anyway my son went to pick it up, probably not for the reasons he was supposed to, but he still went to it nonetheless.  And it hit me, if he was not there I would have walked by it, without a second thought.  I was so involved in whatever fun thought was in my head that I was unaware I could have been helping.  I try so hard to conserve and practice good habits for the environment, but sometimes I mess up.  Do not worry we picked up the cup and cardboard holder and brought it home to recycle.  So what is the point here, I suppose that my point is that sometimes we all need gentle reminders that we can help a bit more.  We need to continue to put forth the effort, we need to do rather than to talk about it, and remember that all the small actions will add up.  No point in short shortsightedness or short term solutions.   We may not see results right away but we will benefit from the efforts long term. So I started thinking about some of the ways that we try to be environmentally friendly in our house and went down a quick checklist to make sure I was not slacking in other areas.
These are just a few helpful tips on easy ways to go green that I find pretty easy to practice with little reminders.  
1.  Take a walk and pick up some trash (don't think I will be forgetting this one again any time soon).  Sounds awful put if you have kids can be a lot of fun.  And who knows you may find some treasure.  
2.  Always make sure you run a full load of laundry (and if you do it on cold, extra energy savings added) in the washing machine and dishes in the dishwasher.
3.  If you can dry some or all your clothes on a laundry line. 
4.  Turn off lights when you leave the room, and/or try not to use lights at all. 
5.  Higher your AC thermostat, anything over 75 F or 23 C will help cut down on cost and saves a bunch of energy.
So these are just a few of the ways we try to help.  There are a bunch of other ways too, but these are the ones that if you start practicing will become habits and you will not need a kick in the pants like I did today.  Oh yeah there is another one, number 6, take your own reusable container to restaurants (because we all know you are already taking out your reusuable shopping bags) so yo do not have to use their disposable one, yay for leftover love.
Keep being green!

Friday, June 1, 2012

A guest writer and some yummy bread

So I would like to introduce Jennifer.  She is my latest guest writer, and I must say she makes the rest of us look bad.  But that is why I like her writing, ideas, and her blog ( .  Please read and be inspired, I am.  I am inspired and might even dare to make something in the kitchen (not too scary). Please check out Jennifer's blog and please leave any other recipes you may want to share on this blog or hers.  

Three years ago when my husband and I started our zero waste journey, I stood in the kitchen, a brand-new bride, determined to change all our habits, no matter how difficult. We already recycled and composted and our amount of consumption was miniscule. I figured ridding ourselves of the small amount of trash—mainly plastic---could be reduced to zero in a short amount of time.

Not so.

It turns out the majority of packaging we bring into our home is what our food is wrapped in. This packaging is also the advertising for the brands we use, so in no way do these companies intend to go package-free anytime soon. Meaning, some of the brands we bought, we simply had to stop buying. In others, we hunted for more environmentally friendly packaging. But mainly, we simply had to stop purchasing the majority of store-bought products and make our own. I’m not working outside the home presently, and this equaled a full-time job. I became everything I always swore I’d never become.

My grandmother. Her name might as well have been Betty Crocker.

Once a habit is instilled however, it really does become easier. Unless we’re traveling or I’m sick, we’ve stuck to the program pretty well….mostly. I try to keep a stocked supply of homemade oatmeal, muesli, granola, or muffins for breakfast so that we don’t miss our favorite cereals. And it forces me to search for creative, new food ideas, especially when it comes to breakfast so we don’t end up with muffin burn-out. I’ve discovered in making everything from scratch: if I don't freeze it, it has to be eaten immediately. No preservatives here.

That’s one of the many reasons why I like making my own bread.
  1. It doesn’t take that long.
  2. There are dozens of different types of breads to try.
  3. No preservatives and words I can’t pronounce in the ingredients.
  4. I choose how much sugar I put in.

Though I’ve heard the bread bags can be recycled, it might just boil down to where you live. The man at the recycling center in our area told me if there is no number on a product, it won’t be recycled as they cannot guarantee “which type of plastic” it is. And one wrong type of plastic touching all the rest can contaminate the other plastics = they all have to be chucked.

Yes, there are creative ways to reuse the plastic---wrapping food---including bread you might make yourself or as a convenient pooper-scooper for a dog walker, etc, but the bag will eventually have to be disposed of. I’d rather not use the plastic, if I can get away with it. And so, I’ll make my own.

This is the recipe for the bread we make the most. It’s still a tad crumbly (most likely due to the olive oil), so we haven’t quite perfected it yet. But it’s tasty and better than two other whole wheat bread recipes I’ve tried. If you have one that’s better, by all means, swing over to my site and let me know!

I found this bread recipe on the 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet website. It was sent in by Tejas in 2010. She got it from “Our Daily Bread” by Stella Standard, 1970.
1 envelope of yeast

1/4 Cup of lukewarm water

1/4 Cup of liquid honey (honey with a bit of water)

1 and 1/4 Cups of hot water

1 scant Tbsp. salt

3 cup of whole wheat flour

3/4 Cup wheat germ

1/4 Cup of olive oil
1. Put yeast, lukewarm water and honey in a bowl and let it become frothy.
2. Mix hot water with salt and let it cool to lukewarm.
3. Combine this with the yeast mixture and add to the flour and wheat germ.
4. Mix this very well, while pouring the olive oil over the mixture. Add more water if needed to make it malleable. Beat this hard (I use wooden spoon) in a kneading motion in a bowl.
5. Put the bowl in a pan of hot water and let the dough rise.
6. Beat it down and put the dough in an oiled pan (regulation bread size) and let it rise again.
7. Turn the oven to 425F for 10 minutes before you put the bread in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the heat to 350F and bake for 25 minutes more.
8. Placing a pan of water in the oven below the rack with the bread on it will give a nice crust.
Happy baking! And remember, each step each one of us makes creates huge footprints when you put them all together.