Happiness Has a New Address – Tagged "Zero Waste Lifestyle" – Page 3 – Dulse & Rugosa
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    Zero Waste Alcohol- Oh Yeah!

    Zero Waste Alcohol- Oh Yeah!

    If your idea of a good time is sitting outside listening to the birds chirp and watching your garden grow while sipping a fruity, boozy drink then infused vodkas are for you.

    I first read about infusing vodkas in the cookbook "How to Be a Domestic Goddess" by Nigella Lawson.  Her rhubarb schnapps recipe caught my eye.  Living in Maine rhubarb is one of the first things to pop up in the garden and this was a new way to preserve it.

    I've been tinkering with infused vodkas ever since.  I tend to focus on seasonal fruits but my Finnish friend told me wonderful stories about herbal infused vodkas that pair beautifully with fish.

    Perserve fresh, seasonal fruits in vodka for delightful sipping.

    You need three simple ingredients- fruit, sugar and vodka.

    Fruit infused vodka needs only 3 ingredients- fruit, sugar and vodka.

     

     Plus big glass jars.  I don't recommend plastic.  The easiest jars to repurpose usually contained a vinegar based product so wash quite a few times.  Otherwise you'll end up with this slightly vinegar note that is so disappointing.  

    It's a bit of a balancing act and a mystery how much sugar to add.  If you are super serious about the process- keep notes but remember you are working with natural ingredients and there will always be variation due to weather and growing conditions.  In general, I use more sugar because my favorite way to enjoy is to sip from a glass filled with vodka, a slice of citrus and lots and lots of ice.  I found if I skimped on the sugar it has a raw taste.  If the infusion is too sweet I can tone it down by adding seltzer, juice or water to dilute.

    Strawberry Rhubarb Liquor

    1 lb rhubarb chopped and 1 cup sugar

    1 lb strawberries  and 1/2 cup sugar

    Combine fruit and sugar in a large bowl and mix to coat fruit evenly with sugar.  Put in glass jar, fill with vodka.  Shake.  Store in cool, dark cupboard for at least 6 weeks.  Strain into a pitcher and pour into a fancy bottle.  Viola- perfect holiday gifts and what a treat it is to sip summer fruit on a snowy winter's night.

    Capture summer by infusing vodka with seasonal fruits.

    If you keep vodka and sugar on hand you are ready for whatever is in season is in season. You don't have to make big batches, have fun experimenting with flavors and combinations in small jars.  

    And finally the trash- I composed my rhubarb and strawberry bits, the strawberry baskets I'll see if my local farm can reuse them first or  compost or recycle.  The vodka bottle can be returned for my bottle deposit and the sugar bag will get recycled.  That's not to bad for waste.

    Happy infusing!  I'd love to hear about your adventures and combinations.

    Zero Waste Mother's Day Gifts

    Zero Waste Mother's Day Gifts

    When you have a small business, you tend to think about holidays and when you make skincare, Mother's Day is a great holiday.  You hope people want to buy something special for their "mother".  And by "mother" I mean anyone who has nurtured, mentored and cared for you, perhaps even giving birth to you.  But there is also the "BIG MAMA" to consider- our beautiful and fragile planet.  It's possible to show your love and affection to your special moms while treading lightly on our planet.

    When you're thinking about zero waste gifts for mom, it's important to think about what your mom likes, enjoys and considers a special treat.  If at all possible, give the gift of you.  A lunch, coffee or walk together is the perfect gift for someone you love.

    Give the Gift of an Experience-  I recently had a super crummy day and it was also super crummy weather, I took myself to the matinee and watched Emma Watson as Belle in Beauty and the Beast.  It was the perfect relaxing mood enhancer that I needed to get myself going again.  Alone in the dark with popcorn and my legs stretched out in a double date seat.  

    Give the Gift of Local or Farm- When you shop local more money is kept in your community- it's an easy way to support your neighbors.  I've written a blog "Become a BFF to Small Businesses"  with lots of tips on how to be a supporter of small, local and indie businesses.  I saw a recent social media post from a local flower farm offering gift certificates for bouquets- what mom wouldn't love that.  Feel free to ask your favorite farmer for a gift certificate- they will be happy to make one up for you.

    Give the Gift of Art- the Arts are fundamental to our humanity and fosters goodness, creativity and beauty- all qualities of our beloved moms.  Enjoy a concert, open mic night, gallery walk or visit an artist studio.

     

    Give the Gift of Food- Make something delicious yourself, buy from a local food shop or enjoy a meal in a restaurant but nothing brings out the love like a good tasty food.

    And finally Give to a Cause-  You know what is important to your mama, support the organizations that she supports. Now more than ever standing up for love and kindness is so important.

    Give the Gift of Service- Every day I walk and I pick up trash but especially on holidays I try to making cleaning up my environment a priority.  Get out, pick up some trash in honor of your mom and Mother Nature.

     

     

    Herbal Hair Vinegars- and a DIY Recipe

    Herbal Hair Vinegars- and a DIY Recipe

    An Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Rinse is a great addition to your natural hair care routine.  Rinsing with ACV is super nice when you are making the transition to shampoo bars because it helps to keep your hair at the proper pH level.

    Herbal Vinegar

     There are lots of benefits of rinsing with ACV including-

      • less tangles, less frizz because an ACV helps smooth the cuticle.  Think of the cuticle as the outer layer of your hair, sort of like bark on a tree.
      • more shine because if your cuticle is smooth it lies flat which increases shine.
      • helps clarify and reduce build up.
      • adds bounce without weight.
      • ACV rinse is a tonic for your hair with nutrients that help stimulate hair growth.
      • full of natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which can help soothe an itchy, flakey scalp.
      • balances the pH of your hair especially with shampoo bars.

     If you've been using one type of hair product because you love how it works and then after a period of time notice a difference an ACV rinse can help clarify and remove product build up.  

    It's easy to make your own Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse.  In general, you can use any type of vinegar but apple cider vinegar is the popular choice.  A natural unprocessed vinegar will give you the "mother"- full of bacteria, nutrients and enzymes.  The next step is to dilute the vinegar with water.  How much depends on your hair type, in general 1/4 to 1/2 vinegar to water.  Add the appropriate amount of vinegar to a spray bottle and then fill with water.  You can boil your water first, add tap water or purchase distilled water.  

    To make your vinegar extra special add herbs.  There are many herbs which are beneficial to your hair.  Our favorites include rose petals, rosemary, chamomile and calendula petals.  Pour your vinegar into a glass jar add your herbs, fresh or dried.  Place in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking and admiring occasionally.  Strain to remove all the herb bits and pour back into your clean glass jar.  Remember to dilute before use.  

    It's fun and relatively easy to make your own ACV hair rinse and it's a great way to use garden herbs.  But for busy folks who want a high quality natural hair rinse filled with our own Maine island flowers try our handcrafted Herbal Vinegar.

    And remember always be a Goldilocks and experiment to find the right combination for your unique hair.

    Zero Waste Easter Tips

    Zero Waste Easter Tips

    Holidays can be tricky for so many reasons and when you add in zero waste and plastic free it can get very complicated.  Many of us have family traditions that we want to honor, our kids have expectations and it can be easy to be overwhelmed. But remember, reducing your package/plastic consumption is a dance, the cha-cha moving forward and then a step back.

    Zero waste easter tips

    It's important when you are changing up your holiday traditions to be realistic and think reusable.  I read a sweet FaceBook post from a friend about the joy she felt when putting out her Easter heirlooms, especially a bunny her mom had made.  We can make these same memories for our children when we purchase wisely.

    The first item is the Easter basket/container.  We have handmade stockings we use every Christmas and I wish I did the same for Easter.  How lovely to use the same container year after year.  I'd also include some trinket/filler containers and maybe even a beautiful handcrafted spring animal.  Unpack the box as a family a week before Easter and then pack away until next year.  Your Easter box becomes the nucleus of your celebration and your children will cherish these memories.

    The more you do as a family to prepare for any holidays, the more memories you built and traditions you start.  So have an Easter grass making party.  All you need is a few old, colorful magazines and scissors.  Cut the pages into strips and then older kids can curl.  How cute!  How fun!

    Zero Waste Easter tips

    When shopping for Easter treats start at your local coop, health food store or candy store where you can buy from a bin.  This will eliminate a ton of unnecessary packaging. It's possible to buy foil wrapped chocolate bunnies and eggs without any extra packaging.  Save all the foil bits and roll into a ball.  When it gets big enough you can take it to the recycling center.  If one of the items in your reusable stash is nesting critters, you can fill them with all your loose, unwrapped candy treats.  Check out your local bakery for cute cookies, just remember to bring your own container or bag.

    Zero waste easter tips

     

    There are lots of other items to fill a Easter goodie basket, depending on the age and interests of your children.  For toddlers try small sturdy books, wooden toys, wooden puzzles, play food.  Books, art supplies or a card for a special trip or event for older kids.  Try to strike a balance between consuming/using on the big day and having a longer shelf life.    A family game to be played all together can make a large gathering lots of fun and keeps everyone together away from the TV.

    One important step to help everyone understand why reducing, reusing and refusing is so important is a community service action.  Our family has added a trash pick up to our holiday celebrations.  There’s nothing like picking up a bunch of straws, drink cups, candy wrappers and so on to make it crystal clear why you are on your zero waste journey.