Project “Not Buying Sh** in Plastic at the Grocery”

 

In honor of Earth Day, I’m finally publishing this post I’ve had in the drafts for the past two weeks. I’m cutting back on purchases that involve plastic, damn it! I love the planet, I hate that we’re so reliant on oil, and I hate that plastic items are taking over the freaking oceans and waterways.

After listening to Planet Money’s five part series on oil a few months ago (especially episode 4 – “How Oil Got Into Everything”), I decided I had to do better. I never realized how much oil is used in almost everything: shoes, phones, medicine, and one of the biggest – PLASTIC. We can bitch about oil pipelines in the U.S., oil companies drilling in our oceans, and oil spills on our land, but until we stop spending money on all the damn things that oil is used for, we’re not going to make any headway. We’ve gotta start somewhere, so I’m starting with plastic.

I’ve been really trying to avoid things packaged in plastic lately because it’s fu**ing everywhere. One of the things that’s bugged me most is its prevalence in the grocery store. Yay for cutting out plastic bags at the checkout, but when every piece of produce is wrapped in it, I don’t know if we’re doing much different.

Here’s what happened last week when I went to the grocery and specifically tried NOT to purchase anything wrapped in plastic. This was also semi-documented on Instagram stories that day…

Goal 1: To not put anything that doesn’t come in plastic INTO plastic bags. Check!

It’s like we can’t have our produce touching… or if we don’t bag it, it’ll fly everywhere in our carts. Turns out, it can sit in the cart just like everything else. We wash it anyway when we get home. I laid down my canvas grocery bags to keep them from falling out of the cart.

Some things even have paper bags for you to grab the smaller items: 

I’ve been buying mushrooms for a while now and always grabbed the pre-packaged ones on the top shelf. I’ve never noticed that there are bulk ones just below it that you can bag in paper yourself until I made a point to look for them… Next step: bring a different bag so I can cut out using paper bags.

Goal 2: Seeking out the naked produce, sometimes far away from the wrapped kind. Check!

The bell peppers in plastic are right next to the bell peppers not in plastic, so those were easy… but some things I had to search for. Turns out, there weren’t ANY cucumbers in the entire store not wrapped in plastic, so I just decided to buy something else instead. Zucchini it is!

 I had to go searching for un-bagged and although it was across the section from where I normally get my spinach, I’d bought green beans right next to it before. I’d walked by it dozens of times and never noticed it. Duh. But now I know. Plus, the same amount was cheaper than the bagged kind.

Goal 3: Coming out of the store plastic-free. Fail. 

It’s amazing how much shit comes in plastic. While I was going for a fully plastic-free cart, I ended up with a few things that I didn’t have a solution for: Yogurt, cheese tortellini, the bin of honey, the seal around the salad dressing lid. I even thought I was being good by purchasing bar soap that came in boxes… until I got home and noticed that all 3 bars were individually wrapped in plastic. Son of a bitch…

Goal 4: Do better. Check!

“Not a total Betty, but a vast improvement.”

Although I didn’t fully succeed in a plastic-free grocery run, I definitely cut back on the plastic that we usually buy, so that’s better. Imagine if everybody did that? But I can see this is going to be a challenge…

However, things won’t change unless we make a conscious effort to change our own habits and demand better from who we buy our things from. Goodness knows revenue makes a big difference. The more we pay attention to what we’re using, the more retailers will as well. They won’t stock the shelves with things that aren’t selling. I’m also writing some letters to store managers moving forward, you can do this simply by leaving them a note at the customer service counter. One person speaking up won’t make a difference, but if several people talk, and keep the conversations going, it may. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? I’m not saying we can totally cut it out by tomorrow, but being aware of all plastic everywhere definitely opened my eyes. I promise today to do better.

Anybody else with me?

 

Shoutouts:

Sweden: You might have read that Sweden is now laser printing code numbers on produce to cut back on sticker usage (which is great).

Lisa A.: When I shared the above Sweden article on Facebook, my friend Lisa shared the link to these washable produce bags from MightyNest. If you do want your produce separated or just confined to one area of your shopping cart, these may be a solution. I’ll be getting some of these, I think.

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Introducing “Fit Body: Core” from Flash Fit Clubs

Want a stronger core? Got 15 minutes?

Introducing the new Fit Body Series from Flash Fit Clubs. These workouts are stand-alone workouts focusing on one area of the body and can be done on their own, or in addition to the other Flash Fit Clubs programming. The first one released in this series is the Core workout. It’s a quick and effective workout that will target your abs, obliques, low back, and hips.  There are 3 rounds that take exactly 15 minutes to complete, and can be repeated if you have time. And it’s just $9.99.

Includes:

  • Real Time Instructional Workout Video
  • Printable PDF
  • Workout Timer

GET IT HERE 

Most gyms are equipped with a TRX Suspension Trainer (you can ask the front desk if you’re not sure) so you can rock out your workout as a warm up or at the end of your usual session. If you’d like you’re own set of straps, you can get any model for 15% off on the TRX website.

Video Extras: See if you can name the theme song at the beginning (since I don’t have one my own yet), and stick around for the blooper reel at the end. You’d think filming a 20 second intro wouldn’t be that hard…

#BeABeast

*Not available in Canada yet. Gotta get my work permit approved before I can sell to Canadians. Sorry! I’ll announce when that’s changed though!

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Recipe: Sweet Potato Fries. And a meal for your week!

Photo & Recipe from JamieOliver.com

Any time I cook, I try to be efficient AF. If we’re baking something in the oven, we’re also going to bake a side dish… because that’s less work. Since sweet potatoes were on sale for $.79 (holla!) at the grocery this week, I decided to try Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Sweet Potato Fries. I’ve never tried to make them before but it was crazy easy. You slice ’em, season ’em, and pop those bitches in the oven for a total of 3 whole minutes of preparation.

> > Shoutout to Sandy Webster for the Spanish Style Smoked Paprika (she sent us a bunch of Penzey’s spices as a wedding gift)!

Since our salmon (we use this recipe) needed to be baked at 375 degrees (fahrenheit) for 35-45 minutes and the potatoes needed to baked at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, I’d planned on having to leave the potatoes in for 10 extra minutes to soften up, but they were good to go at the 35 minute mark too. Double score! We cut up an avocado to round it out and BAM: Dinner.

The salmon cost me $18 (depending on where you live, this might be cheaper for you), the potato was $.79, and avocado was $2. So the hubs and I ate dinner for just over $10 per person (This is in Canadian currency, which would equal under $16 for U.S.). And since it made enough food for 4 people, we could have fed the kids on this too.

Real food (and easy cooking) for the win!

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Life. Currently

It’s a big night. We leave for Hawaii for a family vacation in the morning. We live an hour away from the airport so we drove in to the city tonight. Our flight is at 6am (woof) and we have to be there to check in and check bags at 4:15, so the 3:30am wake up tomorrow morning is gonna be a rough one. It’s totally worth it though. I’m stoked to go to Hawaii, as I’ve never been to the big island before and am looking forward to sun on my skin for the next week. We’ve used our hotel points to book the first two nights, then we’re camping all around the island for the next four days, then using hotel points again for our final night (goodness knows we’ll all need showers by that point). All that being said, here’s what else is going on currently:

Making: Last minute checks through the luggage to make sure I’m not forgetting anything. But really, I’ve got swim suits, flip flops and sunscreen… so I’m good.

Wanting: To be able to take Tango with me on all trips. I hate leaving him behind. I mean… look at that face up there! He was ignoring me and tucking himself into a ball when we left the house tonight. Daggers straight through the heart, man.

Reading: Just finished The Underground Railroad. Still working on iLearning (work books take longer)

Watching: The Final Four games! Gonzaga’s win just now declares me the victor of both my bracket challenges: the one with Fraser (the most important, because of The Bet) and my San Diego bracket for dollars!

Listening: To the S-Town podcast! YOU GUYS. Are you listening? I’m on Chapter 4 of 7. Hoping to be finished in the next couple days. Can’t wait to discuss fully. I keep having to scroll past all threads on Facebook to avoid spoilers.

Drinking: Nothing fancy now, but I’m planning on some Mai Tai’s in about 24 hours. *Heart eye emoji*

Eating: We ordered pizza because we’re in the airport hotel tonight.

Enjoying: Less and less snow by the day. Spring’s on its way up north! (I feel like this is a permanent answer for this spot for the next several months)

Hoping: For safe, smooth travels this week. Keep the fingers crossed we don’t need our first aid kit…

Needing: To get to sleep. 3:30am is going to come quickly.

Feeling: Like Moana tonight. We played the soundtrack on the way to the hotel!

Wearing: Pajamas now, but a swim suit, shorts, and tank every day this week.

Noticing: This Oregon team’s tenacity. They’ve had a great tournament. I was secretly rooting for them tonight. Sorry UNC buds.

Pinning: This article my BFF sent me from the Guardian: Protest & Persist.

Wishing: We could have the rest of our families with us on this trip!

Loving: That this will be our vacation with me as a part of the family. #allthefeels

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New Recipes in The Rotation (Kid Approved Too)

I’ve been experimenting with new recipes on Sundays (because it’s the most chill day of the week) to try new stuff and take my time. Here are few that I’ve tried lately that have made it into the regular rotation, with approval from Tristen and Robin. My bonus sons, ages 8 and 6, even gave this first one another two thumbs up the next day for lunch. Total score.

{Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti Squash Bowls}

 (longest name ever, but worth it)

recipe & photo from Danae at the RecipeRunner.com

The boys love this spaghetti squash bowl. And to be honest, I do too. I was originally drawn to it one evening simply because we already had all the ingredients needed to make it. I love that the filling takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, it doesn’t require 1,000 ingredients, and let’s be honest: anything Mexican-inspired is a win in my book.

What I did differently:

  • The recipe calls for shredded chicken, but my man-friend grilled it and then cut it up in small pieces. This helped saved me time.
  • I added black beans. Because… yum.
  • I used salsa verde the first time, but have used 1/2 verde and 1/2 red salsa (when we were running out) and it was delicious as well.

 Anyway, try this one out. You’ll love it. Try this one too.

{White Bean Chicken Chili}

Recipe from Sam the Cooking Guy

This recipe is perfect for cooler weather and also doesn’t take very long to make. I will warn you that if you’ve got a sensitive pallet, it’s a little spicy as is. Neither Robin nor I can handle like dishes that are incredibly spicy so we had a lot of ice water with this the first time (I hadn’t made it in years and forgot). But everybody still liked the taste. Next time, we’ll be armed with a few more crackers. It also makes enough for lunch the next day… Always a plus!

What I did differently:

  • I added a little more chicken because there are 3 boys in this house.
  • A little less cayenne pepper to cool it down.
  • Have substituted chili powder in the past.
  • Added cheese when serving. Because duh.

This recipe is good for just one serving! It’s also the source of the photo above.

 

{Caramelized Onion Apple Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash}

(another mouthful, but a tasty one at least. <– Hey-o!)

Recipe & Photo from PaleoRunningMama.com

I searched for any acorn squash recipe after seeing them for $1 at the grocery story. I’ve actually never cooked acorn squash before this recipe and realized that was dumb. They’re delish and super cheap when they’re in-season (like most produce). Stuffed gourds are always fun anyway. Cooking the garlic and onions made the kitchen smell sooooo good. The filling makes quite a bit too!

What I did differently:

  • Used ground beef once because we forgot to thaw the sausage. Still yummy.
  • Used 2 more cloves of garlic than it called for.
  • Couldn’t find ghee at the store so just used butter.
  • Used an additional half an apple.
  • Was out of rosemary. It was still good.

 

Try ’em out and let me know what you think.

Happy cooking!

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My Car Needs A Name!

I love my cars. They are more to me than just transportation. Lola, Abe, Mona, and Charli were all like best buds to me. If you’ve been around here for a while, you might remember when Charli, my ’08 Mazda, bit the dust last year on our road trip from San Diego to Canada. I wasn’t ready to replace her for a new (to me) car, but I had no choice.  Although every car I’ve owned had a name within the first week, I just couldn’t think of a name right away for my new Mazda. Nine months later… she still doesn’t have a name. That changes this week.

Things to Consider:

  • Female name
  • Adventurous (she’s equipped for biking, climbing, camping, etc)
  • Has to match her black paint
  • I picked her up in the mountains and we live in the mountains.
  • She’ll go all over the U.S. and Canada, so maybe travel should be insinuated?
  • She’s a good lookin’ car. She needs a hot name.

I’ve done some serious thinking this week to try and nail this down and have come up with the following list below. Although I’m not going to place her name entirely in the hands of anybody else (you may have read about what happened with Boaty McBoatface), I would like to know what you guys think for a name that would suit an adventurous, sporty, awesome car that will go all over North America in her lifetime. Please click on the name below that you think best reflects my car.

Best Name for Ami’s Car

Dash
Fox
Parks
Champ
Rockie
Jazz

Quotes To Know

*This poll won’t center for anything. Sorry. It annoys me too…

I’m leaning toward two of these names so far, but I don’t want to tell you and skew the results.

And if you have a suggestion, leave it in the comment section! I’m open to other ideas.

Thanks!

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Things & Links That Are My Jam Right Now

The following things are my jam right now…

Kentucky in 2 Weeks!

I’ll be spending a few days in Louisville in a couple weeks! Excited to teach a TRX course, see my people, and hopefully score some of the warm weather they’ve been having. See y’all soon! Who wants to go play in the park(s) with me?!

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Daylight Savings This Weekend:

I saw a friend post something about it being this weekend & I’m so ready for Spring I immediately thought, “DON’T F*** WITH ME ON THIS.” But then I looked it up & it’s true! Spring forward this Sunday! #hallelujah

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My New Book:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s autobiography. Woot! #NotoriousRBG

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Photos of the D.C. trip w/ my Momma

I’ll post more soon, but I had the best time with my mom last week in D.C.! Five days with just the two of us was awesome and not something we’ve done for a while now.

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Flash Fit Club Group Session:

I’m stoked to start working out with some new peeps next week! Starting on Monday, whoever’s joined either of my TRX online Fit Clubs will get weekly check-in emails and tips from me for the next month. We’ll all start the 4 week session together for a little group support. If you want in, sign up here by Monday morning. (It’s $79 but you can save 15% by using the coupon code below.)

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Walking Against Humanity:

A step-tracking app that offers the same great shock value as the Cards Against Humanity game. It’s hilarious and you can connect with friends and talk trash about your steps for the day. So fun!
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Links That Are My Jam Right Now:

 

Selection Sunday this weekend! Printable NCAA Tournament Brackets. NCAA.

On-Site Childcare is a Win for Everyone. Just Ask Patagonia. Outside Magazine.

Love Actually Sequel Photos! Entertainment Weekly.

Congressman John Lewis’s re-telling of his March to Selma on 52 years ago. Twitter.

Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools? NY Times.

“Passengers” Bloopers of Jennifer Lawrence & Chris Pratt. Marie Claire.

Illustrations of Disney Princesses as Women’s Marchers. Teen Vogue.

Defending the Bears Ears National Monument. Patagonia.

When Your Greatest Romance is a Friendship. Modern Love.

101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City. Curbed.

Why “This Is Us” Makes Us Cry. Wall Street Journal.

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How to Love Your New Town

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Maybe your university is way across the country. Maybe your job just relocated you to a new city. Maybe you’ve moved to a different town for a relationship, to help out family, or just because you needed a change. Whatever the reason, getting used to a new place and starting all over can be equal parts exciting and stressful. You may love it, but you may not. Since so much of our health is affected by our happiness and stress levels, it’s important that we love (or at least like) where we live.

Since high school, I’ve moved cities and started over 6 times. It’s rough starting over, but it’s always worked out. I’m compiling my  “best practices” just in case you’re in the same boat. In no particular order, here’s how I came to be content in each new place I’ve lived in:

 

{Embrace the Local Stuff} [Read more…]

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Workout Playlist Inspiration

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Need some tunes for your next workout playlist? Here’s some new (and not-so-new) music to pick and choose from: Two for warm up music at the beginning, two for cool-down music at the end, a bunch of fun beats in the middle. Just a heads up: Some of these have explicit lyrics. Might wanna throw on the ol’ ear buds if you’re around sensitive ears. ; )

Looking for something else? All my playlists are on Spotify and are (usually) an hour long.

In other news: FitwithFlash now has its own Facebook page.

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The discount code FIRST50 is available to use for 15% off any of my online TRX fitness programs.

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Podcasts That Are My Jam Right Now

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Tango and I take a 45 minute walk every day (unless the temperature is -25, then we take a 2 minute walk) and I listen to any number of podcasts. Podcasts have literally taken over from music in my life the past year and a half. I listen to them while walking, running, driving, and now during my workouts. There’s so much GOOD content out there and it’s way better than listening to any radio station. I pick up new ones all the time. Here are my latest faves I want y’all to know about: [Read more…]

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