Earth Day – Zero Waste Kitchen Guide

zero waste kitchen guide

We love Earth Day! If there is one day a year to stop. think. and strategize. about improving your impact on our planet, this day is it. Earth Day is about joining the environmental movement to protect endangered species, end plastic pollution, and solve climate change. 

With that in mind, we put together some tips and tricks for a Zero-Waste Kitchen Routine. 

1. Shop with reusable bags 

If you are like me, you have an entire pile of old shirts pulled out of the closet for Spring Cleaning this month. Here is a super cute No Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag that you can create in lieu of plastic or paper grocery bags. Or if you have some old pillowcases, give this DIY bag a try.

No time for DIY? No problem! Aplat has some amazing produce bag and tote bag options. Aplat creates modern zero waste design products for sharing and transporting food. Baggu bags are also super stylish and offer their original and best-selling item: the ripstop nylon shopping bag. The standard Baggu can hold 2-3 times more than the traditional grocery bag. 

zero waste reusable bags

2. Store food in reusable containers 

This is your Pinterest for cabinets moment! Store your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, nuts, popcorn, etc.) in glass jars and containersBuy in bulk so you have less containers to throw away and can simply refill as needed. Works in the fridge too!

zero waste food containers

3. Make Your Own Cleaning Products

This is the time to shine for baking soda and vinegar! Find recipes online for everything, including this Dishwasher Detergent and Disinfectant Wipes.

Try Etta + Billie’s Citrus All-Purpose Natural Cleaner

zero waste natural cleaner

4. Don’t buy disposables

This might be a given, but don’t buy disposable plates, silverware, plastic wraps, foil, zip bags, and whatever else that will just be thrown away. Use glass containers to store and transport. 

Beeswax Wraps

Reusable Snack Bags

Silicon Storage Wrap

5. Compost 

Composting doesn’t have to be hard. Start out with a 5 gallon bucket and build from there. Or, if you are ready to go a bit larger, here is a 10 Minute DIY Pallet Compost that you do not have to nail and hammer. 

Composting reduces household wastes by converting organic material (spoiled food, leftover food, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.) into fertilizer for gardening. Layer dry ingredients from the yard (grass clippings, leaves) with kitchen waste in a bin and it breaks down surprisingly fast. Here’s a video.

zero waste compost pile

6. Recycle

And finally, if you do have any containers left over, recycle! Keep in mind that glass and metal can be recycled over and over – so if you have a choice, use those. Plastic always ends up in a landfill eventually. 

In the Kitchen: 5 Fancy Looking but Totally Easy Easter Brunch Recipes

There are many things to celebrate on Easter, but one of my all-time favorite parts of the day is the incredible holiday brunch gathering. The kind of brunch you don’t see on a normal day. The kind that makes your eyes wide, mouth water, and sets your stomach growling!

Ready to be hailed brunch royalty? Here are some scrumptious recipes to put you on that pedestal: 

French Toast Casserole 

Flavorful and delicious, this french toast bake takes 15 minutes of prep the night before. Impressive dish, without the stress. 

Brioche with Prosciutto, Gruyere, and Egg

Fancy will be your name after you serve your guests this open-faced fried egg sandwichon toasted, buttery bread. Top with your favorites like frisee salad, prosciutto, and add some pretty garnish. 

The World’s Easiest (VEGAN) Sticky Buns

Soft, tender, and fluffy! These sticky bunsare perfectly spiced and loaded with pecans! This delectable treat gets better with each bite. 

Apricot-Bourbon Glazed Ham

This tangly glaze by the one and only Martha Stewartcarmelizes into a gorgeous amber coat for a bone-in presentation that is sure to impress. Sweet, tart, and smoky, this ham is a stunning centerpiece. 

Easter Brunch Cocktail: Lavender & Grapefruit

You can’t leave brunch without an impressive (but simple) Easter Brunch Cocktail. This drink is hard to mess up with only TWO ingredients! Lavender-infused vodka and grapefruit juice! Okay three ingredients – you do have to infuse the vodka with dried lavender prior to the day. But totally worth it! 

Tips + Tricks: Spring Cleaning with the KonMari Method

The countdown for Spring Cleaning has begun. There is nothing that can make you feel as comfortable and joyful in your home as a little refreshment after a long winter inside. Maybe you have even experienced a warm day to open the windows and let some new air inside.

Speaking of joy, Marie Kondo of KonMarie.comis currently leading the charge in the effort to revitalize the home. If you haven’t heard of her, Marie Kondo is the best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

The KonMari Method teaches you to ask a simple question when tidying up your house: Does this item spark joy? If not, get rid of it. 

Here is what we have learned from the KonMari Method:

  1. Visualize Your Idea Life:What does your ideal lifestyle and living environment look like? Imagine how you would be living your life if money, time and resources were not an issue. List the goals that come to mind. Describe in detail how you envision your home to look after the end of your tidying journey.  
  2. Tidy by Category:Rather than going room-by-room, tidy by category – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, miscellaneous items, and finally, sentimental items. Keep only those items that spark joy.
  3. Say Thank You:It is difficult to get rid of your possessions, but KonMari teaches that these possessions are stripped of their dignity when they go unused in a home. If it doesn’t speak to the heart, Marie Kondo teaches us to thank the item for its service, and then let it go. 

Marie Kondo’s focus on joy has been a novelty and eye-opener to many people. She also has her own hit Netflix show: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. So, if you don’t have the time/energy/concentration for the book, you can check it out there. 

Happy tidying! 

Last-Minute V-Day Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Giant stuffed bears line the grocery store, candied hearts are making eyes at would-be dieters, and love is simply in the air. 

Valentine’s Day is a chance to show someone special that they’re always on your mind. You could go with the expected gift: a two-layer box of mystery chocolates (not knocking it.) Or you could choose to go head over heels with these amazing, albeit non-traditional gifts for Valentine’s Day. 

1. Realistic heart jewelry 

Can an anatomic heart be more pretty in this rose gold setting? This Etsy seller even pairs it with a custom printed gift note. 

2. Cooking Class

This Valentine’s Day, make a 3-course meal with your special one. Many cooking classesfeature specialty chefs from your local area, cocktails, and guided sessions on knife skills and plating. Then enjoy a candle lit dinner. 

3. Citrus Scents

Totally a favorite on a normal day, grapefruit is known to boost confidence and … ahem performance. Wink. Wink. This grapefruit + cardamomscent will also enhance mood and decrease stress so you are kept in the moment.

4. Shadow Box

  Swoon! Fill a shadow box with tokens from your relationship: photos, tickets, notes.

5. Chocolate!!!

Yes! Chocolate! But you can take it beyond sweets, like these fancy hot chocolatecanisters sourced from South America or the Dominican Republic. 

And yes! Etta+Billie has you covered in the chocolate realm too. Every one of our main products has cocoa butter in it (aka the main ingredient in Chocolate). We also use cocoa powder in our Geranium Patchouli Soap (double the chocolate).

Want more information on this chocolatey goodness? Check back next week for our ingredient spotlight on cocoa butter. 

Go-To Tips: Goal Planning When You Just Aren’t Feeling Motivated

It happens: One week we are motivated and killing it at work, at home, and out in the world. The next week, it feels like we’ve been hit by a freight train and we are not motivated to get anything done. It’s a shame too … your to do list is sitting pretty, written in gold pen on top that hilarious Emily McDowell notepad you treated yourself to last year. But what happens when you are just struggling to check any of it off?

1. TAKE A BREAK

If you’re unmotivated because you’re burnt out, take a break before starting up again.  There are many things you can do when finding yourself in a slump that might recharge you: 

Take a little “you” time to regroup, recharge, and get going again. 

2. BE AMBITIOUS (BUT NOT TOO AMBITIOUS)

If you are finding yourself in a pattern of being overwhelmed, revamp your to-do list. Set actionable daily goals and stick to the list. If you get done early in the day, instead of moving on to tomorrow’s list, take the rest of the day off to prep, plan, and envision what you will be doing tomorrow. Be ambitious with your goals, but don’t be overly ambitious in trying to achieve those goals in one day. Make a list and plan on doing at least one thing a day that gets you to your goals. 

3. CELEBRATE SUCCESS

Celebrate the victories, both big and small. If you are moving forward, then you are succeeding. Its cliché, but progress is progress. If you stay positive about the execution of your goals, it’s easier to stay motivated. Sometimes just making this shift to a more positive outlook can make all the difference. 

Want more ideas? Read our article on Go To Tips: 8 Simple Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself.

Where to Go? What to Eat? Manhattan, NY

Manhattan is known for many things—theater, shopping, dining, sightseeing, you name it—making it a very popular spot for both visitors and residents. With everything New York City has to offer, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. Where should you go? What should you see? Where should you eat?

Sylvia Parker, owner of Magpie and a native New Yorker, has you covered! Sylvia’s shop—located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan—offers unique, beautiful, and practical gifts that are frequently handmade, organic, and locally made and designed. “We’ve been on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for six years,” says Sylvia. “We love our neighborhood for its mix of people, our proximity to two wonderful parks (Central and Riverside), the cultural richness, and old-time architecture.”

river and manhattan skyline

Where to Go?

American Museum of Natural History

Just a few blocks away from Magpie lies the American Museum of Natural History, a city landmark with world-famous exhibits. “I’ve always loved the old-fashioned dioramas and the giant blue whale suspended from the ceiling there,” Sylvia remarks. One of the largest museums in the world, the AMNH offers spectacles and exhibits for children and adults alike.

Central Park Rambles

A wooded area within Central Park, the Rambles are a restored area of the park that have been fitted with nature trails, gardens, and bird feeders. Located between 73rd and 78th streets, the Rambles offer a beautiful outdoor space full of both native and exotic plant species as well as views of a pond where visitors take out rowboats when the weather is nice.

Shakespeare Garden

Also in Central Park is the Shakespeare Garden, located near the Delacorte Theatre, the site of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series held in the summer. A less-frequented part of the park, this serene and picturesque part of the park is perfect for a relaxing stroll on its winding paths. Full of seasonal flowers, the garden is particularly lush in the spring and is a popular spot for outdoor weddings.

Museum Mile

A fifteen-minute walk across the park takes you to Museum Mile, which features one block after another of incredible museums including the Guggenheim, Cooper Hewitt, Frick, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “which I consider one of the best (if not the best) museums in the world,” Sylvia adds.

Riverside Park

With four miles of park, from 72nd to 158th street along the Hudson River, Riverside Park is frequently considered one of the best waterfront parks in Manhattan. With sunset views, a bike path, outdoor cafes in the summer, a skate park, and other sports courts and fields; this park is a must-see when visiting the city.

food and drinks

What to Eat?

Zabars and Fairway Market

Two longtime favorites, Zabar’s and Fairway Market are both famed for their selections of cheese, coffee, and foodstuffs from around the world.

Orwashers, Maison Kayser, and By the Way

“Orwashers and Maison Kayser have particularly delicious bread and pastries,” notes Sylvia. “I also like a bakery called By the Way that sells homey gluten-free and dairy-free cakes and cookies.”

Murray’s Sturgeon

Murray’s Sturgeon, a gourmet deli, sells everything from dried fruit to smoked fish and has “the sweetest counter service ever.”

Amelie Wine Bar

A French bistro that was recently cited by Michelin, Amelie has phenomenal brunch and dinner menus as well as a wine list that is updated daily.

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta are sister restaurants that both have terrific happy hour food. Pizzeria Sirenetta serves Neapolitan pizzas and rustic Italian fare while the Mermaid Inn is known for their seafood.

Jin Ramen

Another good spot for happy hour food, Jin Ramen offers delicious Japanese food and—of course—multiple kinds of ramen to choose from.

Shake Shack

The second Shake Shack to have ever opened its doors, this Upper West Side staple is popular among tourists, residents, and folks who work in the neighborhood. “There is always a long line outside for the burgers at Shake Shack.”

Amorino and Van Leeuwen

It’s also a good neighborhood for ice cream lovers,” Sylvia notes. “Amorino sells Italian-based gelato, while Van Leeuwen is local and features vegan ice cream in its shop.”

Go-To Tips: Surviving the Holidays

The winter holidays are a fun and festive time of the year, but they can come with their fair share of stress and headaches too. Instead of letting yourself get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, these tips can help you relax, be present, and enjoy the time with friends and family.

holiday self care with tea

Tips to Help You Stay Merry and Bright

  1. You may have plenty on your to-do list this holiday season, but you better make sleep a priority too! Without adequate sleep, your stress levels are likely to go up and you may wind up not getting to fully enjoy the holidays. Sleep deprivation can cause or contribute to fatigue, overeating, forgetfulness, and other ailments you probably don’t want coming with you to your holiday party.
  2. If the idea of being around certain coworkers at your office holiday party makes you want to tear your hair out, or you’d rather be alone than be around a certain few family members, gently remind yourself that it’s only for a short amount of time if these get togethers are unavoidable. It’s not ideal to spend your free time during the holidays around people who cause you stress, but you are in control of how you react to the situations around you. Take a deep breath, enjoy the parts of the festivities that you can, and remind yourself that it’s just one time a year.
  3. If you’re dreading going to a holiday function alone, bring a friend or significant other! Having company that you can turn to for stress relief, comic relief, or just to roll your eyes at when your uncle says that dumb joke for the 30th time can mean the difference between getting to relax and staying wound up all throughout dinner. If you can’t bring anyone, bring some entertainment (a book, for instance) so you can enjoy some quiet solo time.
  4. Don’t forget to make time for self care! While the holidays are a time to think of others and spend time with them, it’s important to remember to consider your own needs as well. Even if that means taking a break from holiday shopping to enjoy a hot cup of tea in a relaxing bath, watching an episode of your favorite TV show in your softest and fuzziest slippers, or making a batch of decadent cookies just for you; make time for yourself this season so you can be your best self when it comes time to celebrate with other

Etta + Billie Gift Guide: Foodies & Cocktail Lovers (For Him)

Not sure what to get your friends and family this holiday season? Everyone loves a good meal or cocktail! This list is a great place to start for an assortment of gifts for any food and drink lover in your life.

gift guide for foodies and cocktail lovers for him

For Him:

  1. Harrison Bar Tool Set | Pottery Barn | $69.00
  2. SOMA x Ritual Brew Bottle | Ritual Coffee Roasters | $45.00
  3. Braising Sauce Gift Set | William Sonoma | $39.95
  4. Tasty Ultimate: How to Cook Basically Anything | IndieBound | $29.99
  5. Citrus Gift Set | Etta + Billie | $52.00

Etta + Billie Gift Guide: Foodies & Cocktail Lovers (For Her)

Not sure what to get your friends and family this holiday season? Everyone loves a good meal or cocktail! This list is a great place to start for an assortment of gifts for any food and drink lover in your life.

gift guide for foodies and cocktail lovers for her

For Her:

  1. Marble and Brass Single Bottle Wine Cooler | Goop | $68.00
  2. Evergreen Tangerine Soap | Etta + Billie | $14.00
  3. Red Wine Pairing Collection | Recchiuti | $28.00
  4. Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream Book | Chronicle Books | $19.95
  5. Cocktail Club | Shaker & Spoon | $50.00/month

Go To Tips: 8 Simple Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself

There’s no disputing that the modern lifestyle is a stressful one. What with extended working weeks, longer commutes, and the like, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the 21st-century crowd to strike the right balance between work and play.

 

Etta + Billie self care

If we let the daily grind take over, though, we do so to our own detriment. Not only does an overly-hectic life lead to higher stress levels, irregular sleeping patterns, and other marked health issues, but surrendering to work and study can spell the death of our personal interests and relationships. So how do you go about getting your life back? The following self-care tips are a great place to start.

  1. Take a break

Many people reserve self-care for after work, but since we spend so much time in employment, it only makes sense to set aside some health and wellbeing practices for the office. Especially important is stabilizing stress levels and making sure that you don’t stay sitting in a chair all day long – which explains why taking active exercise breaks is our first tip. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a mid-day yoga class, or even a couple of targeted stretches at your desk, allowing your body a moment to breathe will do every worker a world of good.

  1. Get back to basics

Your work life is likely complicated enough already; when you’re at home, then, get back to basic principles. This means keeping your space clean and decluttered, saying no to unwanted responsibilities (i.e. more work), and – most essentially – unplugging from social media. Think of your home life as one extended detox.

  1. Spend time in nature

A key part of getting back to basics, in turn, is spending time in nature. Kick off your shoes and go for a stroll in a local nature reserve – you’ll feel freer than you have in years.

  1. Sleep

If you regularly get less than six hours of sleep a night during your working week, then a one-day weekend sleep in just isn’t going to cut it in the long term. Challenge yourself – even if that means using an alarm –  to get to bed earlier every night.

  1. Hydrate yourself

You’d be surprised how many of us are on the brink of dehydration. To properly fuel your brain and body, make sure you’re carrying a high-volume water bottle each day, and set yourself a daily consumption goal.

And hydration doesn’t stop on the inside: it’s vital to apply the right treatments to the outside of your body as well, particularly if you’ve got naturally dry skin to start with.

 

 

  1. Get moving

The excitement about endorphins is well-deserved. Exercise is a natural anti-depressant, and what better way to re-energize and top up your optimism levels than by working out? So get moving!

  1. Strengthen your connections

Research demonstrates that loneliness can significantly impact health and wellbeing. If you’ve been wondering how an old high school friend is doing, get back in contact. If you’re after a new set of friends, consider signing up to a social group. Human connections are the elixir of life.

  1. Reflect

We’ve mentioned connecting with others; but what about connecting with yourself? Many people also find meditation and practicing the philosophy of mindfulness and presentism a vital part of their morning routines for this very reason. Simply sit in a comfortable place, and breathe slowly in and out, focusing on the rhythm of your exhalations, and visualizing a perfect sanctuary in your mind. Alternatively, keeping a diary might be the perfect means of self-reflection for you.

By implementing just one (and perhaps eventually all) of the above strategies into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to achieving equilibrium. Good luck!

Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand who loves relaxing outside in nature. You’ll often find Harper meditating in her yoga room at home or spending hours tending to her garden. Check out more of her work on Tumblr.