Sustainable Home Decorating with SOL Organics

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This past weekend I redid my bedroom. To be honest, Blake and I have been married for almost 5 years, and for the first 2 years with him in med school, we never really had enough money for me to spend even a cent on something that seemed so frivolous as bedroom decor.

Maybe some of you can relate?

But even after med-school, in our quest to be frugal and allocate resources appropriately, it never seemed like a worthwhile cause.

Well, I’ll have to say, getting this stunning, fair trade organic cotton bedding set by Sol Organics changed everything this past weekend. It was like getting a new pair of jeans and all of the sudden wanting to get a new haircut or upgrade your makeup too.

You may say- bold move ordering all white bedding with 4 animals. And I’d say… touche. But I’m a SUCKER for clean, light and bright spaces. I love how crisp and clean it looks. (as long as I keep my dog off of it!)

You may say- bold move ordering all white bedding with 4 animals. And I’d say… touche. But I’m a SUCKER for clean, light and bright spaces. I love how crisp and clean it looks. (as long as I keep my dog off of it!)

I’m thrilled about Sol Organics because their mission is so aligning with my own. They are sustainable, organic, fair trade, and transparent. Honestly, even their “about” page on their website gives me chills and makes me proud to use this bedding. They have a commitment to no child labor- EVER, and they partner only with facilities that pay a LIVING wage and are committed to the wellbeing of the people who work there. I will be sleeping well at night knowing the sheets I’m using were made fairly and justly.

I can’t help but think about the people making those products. Who are they? What are their working conditions? Are children involved? How can I be sure? How can my customers be sure? –Vishal Naithani, Co-Founder

SOL uses 100% organic cotton grown from non-GMO seed. They are committed to supporting better farming practices that reduce carbon footprint, converse and protect drinking water, and keep us and our communities safe.

SOL uses 100% organic cotton grown from non-GMO seed. They are committed to supporting better farming practices that reduce carbon footprint, converse and protect drinking water, and keep us and our communities safe.

SOL uses 100% organic cotton grown from non-GMO seed. They are committed to supporting better farming practices that reduce carbon footprint, converse and protect drinking water, and keep us and our communities safe.

Sol Organics bedding bundle. Includes:  • 1 Fitted Sheet  • 1 Flat Sheet  • 2 Pillowcases* • Duvet Cover • 2 Pillow Sham Covers* • 100% GOTS Certified

Sol Organics bedding bundle. Includes:

• 1 Fitted Sheet
• 1 Flat Sheet
• 2 Pillowcases*
• Duvet Cover
• 2 Pillow Sham Covers*
• 100% GOTS Certified

And one of the best things about them is that in all of this, they have made their products affordable.

Affordability is the tipping point. It promotes access, which in turn creates demand and conversion to organic cotton. It creates a symbiosis in which everyone wins: the farmer, the consumer and the earth. – Sachin Chauhan, Co-Founder

So back to my bedroom… receiving my SOL bedding in the mail sparked something inside of me- why do I care about styling the rest of the home to be a representation of Blake and I, but our bedroom- this sacred space where there is precious sleep, pillow talk, cuddles… has been put on the back burner?

The cool thing is- 90% of the decor you see in these photos are things I already had. Most of it found at antique or thrift stores. But a new bed set (white instead of dark grey), a few throw pillow and some shelves made the BIGGEST difference. (I wish so badly that I had taken a before picture of our bedroom!!! You honestly would not have recognized it now.)  

Shelves: Made Scratch (thanks Home Depot)  Pillows: Made from fabric I found on sale @ Whimsodoodle in St Pete, FL  Shades: Blackout shades I’ve had for years. I sewed the blue ribbons on top to make them hang prettier  Bedding: SOL organics  Lamp: Thrift store  Signage: Our wedding  Ladder, wool blanket, mountain scape photo: antique stores

Shelves: Made Scratch (thanks Home Depot)

Pillows: Made from fabric I found on sale @ Whimsodoodle in St Pete, FL

Shades: Blackout shades I’ve had for years. I sewed the blue ribbons on top to make them hang prettier

Bedding: SOL organics

Lamp: Thrift store

Signage: Our wedding

Ladder, wool blanket, mountain scape photo: antique stores

I would describe my style as midwestern mid-mod. And I am a full believer that with a little time and patience, you can decorate your home sustainably. I’m now going to walk you through some of my tips for sustainable home decorating and how I applied them to this latest project.

The biggest thing to remember when decorating sustainably- patience is key! It’s so tempting to run to target over the weekend and grab everything you need to make a well decorated room, but sustainable decorating is a much slower process as you acquire quality, unique and sustainably created pieces.


Tips for sustainable decorating:

1. Less is more. Question everything that comes into your home. Instead of trying to fill every nook and cranny with something, embrace blank space. Only buy what you LOVE and brings you joy.

2. Go with classic vs trendy styles. This is true in your wardrobe, but also in your home decorating! Will the items you buy be out of style in a year and will you want to “upgrade”? Consider this when you are finding and honing in on your style!

3. Quality > Quantity. This is applies to everything- furniture, throw blankets, pictures etc. When you purchase something- ask, will this last for years to come? This is why I love to find furniture and the bigger items at thrift and antique stores. I can get amazing quality for a fraction of the price.  In the case of throw blankets- consider investing in a quality, organic cotton throw blanket instead of 10 synthetic ones.

4. Shop local & support local artisans. For example- instead of buying a macrame from target, look for a local artisan! If you don’t have many  local artisans, check Etsy! It’s so rewarding to support small companies and creatives who are trying to make a living with their craft.

5. Hit up thrift stores and garage sales: I have found the BEST things at thrift stores. Just remember- consistency is key. You probably won’t find THE piece if you go to the Salvation Army 1 time.

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6. Decorate with (real) plants instead of “things”. Plants are so hot right now! haha! Huge bonus- you have a natural air filter!

7. Utilize what you already have. For example, the curtains are nothing special- they are blackout shades Blake and I have had for 5 years. To spruce them up, I added the light blue ribbon on them to act as hooks. It made the way they drape much cutter! In my opinion.

8. Of course, the final tip I have for sustainable decorating is to invest in high quality, sustainably sourced bedding, such as SOL organics.

*** Use code RFF20 for 20% off***

I hope this has been helpful and encouraging in your sustainability journey,

Xoxo,


Meg

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Sustainably Supported by SOL Organics. As always, all opinions are mine & these are products I truly love!  #sponsored

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Why Recycling Your Christmas Tree is Important - and how to do it!

Someone asked me yesterday why it mattered if Christmas trees end up in landfills. What difference does it make? What harm does that cause and what is the alternative? 

I thought this was a great and valid question! Especially since there are approximately 25-30 million Christmas trees cut down (and therefore requiring disposal) in the US alone! 

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The downfall of trees and really any organic matter going to landfill is this: 

Organic matter (i.e. lawn clippings, leaves, food scraps, wood etc) does not compost in landfills. This is due to the lack of oxygen present during the breakdown process. Methane gas develops and is released due to the anaerobic (absence of oxygen) decomposition that takes place in a landfill. Alternatively, a compost (and Mother Nature) decomposes organic matter with oxygen. This does not produce methane emission. This is important because methane is 26 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. (It holds 26xs more heat in the atmosphere and therefore; is a key player in global warming.)

Organic matter thrown in landfills instead of sent back to the earth is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. 

In fact, the estimate that 16% of all methane emissions are from organics that can't decompose and compost properly in landfills.

So this is important shit and applies not only to the proper disposal of Christmas trees, but of all organic matter! But that’s for another day. :)

The upside of consciously disposing of our Christmas tree is this: 

In repurposing/recycling our trees, we are returning them to the earth and respecting the natural process of nature. This has tremendous environmental benefits. As always, mother nature knows best and does best. When trees are recycled, they are often repurposed as mulch or compost. When we do this, we are contributing to a circular economy and finding purpose and value in our “waste”. In doing this, we also minimize the environmental implications of this holiday tradition by reducing greenhouse emissions, and providing benefit to our communities, soil, and environment.

When trees are turned into mulch, they can be distributed on public land or given to those who need it (such as gardeners for weed control!). Mulch can serve as a natural wildlife erosion control and as a organic nutrient supply. When Christmas trees are added to compost, they add valuable nitrogen that is essential for good soil capable of growing life.

How to consciously dispose of your tree:

The easiest way to dispose of your tree properly is to take advantage of county christmasy tree recycling programs! Every country will be different, but most major cities have recycling programs in place that are compost and/or mulch focused.

Some counties provide curbside recycling programs, and other provide drop off locations. So even if your county won’t pick it up, chances are you’ll be able to find a drop off location near you!

Search this site for you county recycling options.

Regardless your recycling options, do not put your tree in a bag and ensure all of the ornaments, tensile, hooks, etc are removed. There may also be other requirements for your tree recycling program such as bundling your tree limbs, specific days etc- so again, check with your county requirements.

Alternatively, you can donate it to a conservation group in your area. Some conservation groups will take Christmas trees to use to prevent erosion around shorelines or to sink at the bottom lakes to use as artificial environments of fish! Sadly, there is no a resources for this (that I’m aware of), you’ll just have to do a little google research in your area.

If your county does not provide a recycling program, check with the Boy Scout chapter near you. They often have a recycling program and will come pick it up for a small fee of $5.

I really wish I could just give a blanket recommendation- “this is what to do!” But sadly, every county across the States is going to be different and it will require just a little google searching on your part! But I hope you are motivated to do so! If all 25+ million Christmas trees in the US were recycled and repurposed every year, this would have such a great impact.

xoxo,

meg


DIY: Homemade Beeswax Wraps

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Beeswax wraps! Have you heard of them? Chances are you have… they’re taking the world by storm as sustainable initiatives take off and public awareness of our waste problem is becoming more widespread. 

More and more, people are more interested and open to more sustainable alternatives. This includes in the kitchen and around or food systems. 

These handy, reusable wraps can replace plastic wrap from just about anything! My favorite uses are : to wrap cheese, to seals bowls or jars, to wrap sandwiches and produce. 
There are a plethora of beeswax wraps that you can purchase online that vary in quality and cost. But you can also make them easily (and cheaply!) at home! 

The beeswax wraps that you can find online are often not just beeswax and cloth. If you make a wrap with only beeswax, it ends up being very stiff and does not adhere to itself or other surfaces well. (Trust me, I’ve tried.)

I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting with various combinations of ingredients and have landed one that I’m very happy with! It is malleable but not too sticky. 

I hope they work well for you!

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Ingredients: 

  • 100% cotton fabric (organic is best if you have it) 

  • 3 tbsp of beeswax- of course, purchasing from a local beekeeper is best! But if you can’t find one in your area, this is a great source: Mountain Rose Herb.

  • 1 tbsp beef tallow (I used Epic brand)

  • double boiler- or a make-shift one like I used (pictured below)

  • metal or wooden spoon 

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry fabric 

  2. Cut fabric into desired shapes and sizes. I cut mine into 8” x 8” squares. The mixture above is enough for one 8 x 8 square piece. Double or triple recipe if needed. 

  3. Grate beeswax. 

  4. Prepare double boiler - filling with water and bringing to a simmer.

  5. Measure lard and beeswax and place them together in the double boiler. 

  6. Allow them to melt together until there are no more clumps or lumps. 

  7. Once the mixture has melted down, remove from heat. Add the cloth to the pan, and using a spoon, work it around until it is completely covered in beeswax. (Be careful! It’s hot!) Remove cloth with tongs and spread out on parchment paper. Allow it to cool. 


    Maintenance: These will last you at least a few months! To clean, simply rinse gently with cool water and mild soap. 

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Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas

Instead of buying wrapping paper, I’ve been collecting any paper bags that I get. I love it because it is versatile, minimalist, and best of all, more sustainably conscious!

Instead of buying wrapping paper, I’ve been collecting any paper bags that I get. I love it because it is versatile, minimalist, and best of all, more sustainably conscious!

The holidays are often a time of heavy consumption. But with our daily choices and decisions, we can cut down on the stress and the waste during the holiday season.

Wrapping paper is designed to be single use and contributes to an enormous amount of wasted resources.

Here are some staggering statistics from  www.use-less-stuff.com:

  • Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!

  • If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. 

  • If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. 

  • The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. 

  • If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

  • While the United States celebrates the holidays, Americans produce an additional 5 million tons of waste (four million of the 5 million tons consisting of wrapping paper and shopping bags).

Sadly, MILLIONS of pounds of wrapping paper go to landfills each year. Due to the lamination and dying, recycling is difficult. It is estimated that approximately 50,000 trees are cut down annually to accommodate our wrapping paper needs! 

Consider the following alternative wrapping ideas to make the season more environmentally friendly. Plus, it’s fun to get creative with it! 

Alternative Wrapping Ideas: 

  1. Repurpose brown bags: Instead of buying wrapping paper, I’ve been collecting any paper bags that I get. I love it because it is versatile and minimalist.

  2. Beeswax wraps

  3. Old sheets or fabric pieces- cut into a square and tie up with a ribbon or twine  

  4. Make or buy fabric gift bags that they can then reuse

  5. Reusable shopping bags

  6. Baskets 

  7. Newspaper 

  8. Old maps


Don’t forget to embellish your gifts! Here are some of my favorite:

  1. Dried orange slices

  2. Twine or ribbon 

  3. Red berries

  4. Wooden spoons

  5. Tree trimmings 

  6. Gingerbread men 

  7. Eucalyptus 

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