Un-plastic-ing My Life: Part 5

The last place you’d think you have to worry about plastics is in your laundry, but unfortunately they’re rampant there as well. For years, I used the liquid version of Purex (choosing the most “nature” variety, free of dyes), but that arrived, of course, in a non-recycle-friendly plastic jug. I then switched to laundry sheets, thinking I had done myself and the world a big favor, only to find out that those “eco-friendly sheets” are FULL of microplastics.

So I did what I’ve been doing throughout these transitions and thought back to the basics: What did people in prior generations use to clean their clothing without polluting themselves and the world? The answer: They used laundry powder. A simple combination of non-harmful agents that still dissolved well in water and cleansed their clothes thoroughly.

So I tried several varieties with mixed results until I found the one that is reasonably affordable, has pleasant scents, cleans all types of fabrics beautifully (and gently), plus offers quick shipping on refills when need be.

That favorite is Meliora, who will get you going with a starter kit (reusable canister) and then send you refills that arrive in minimal paper bag packaging. You can subscribe or buy these items all as needed. Their powder is fresh (I prefer the lemon scent, but all are lovely), comes with a reusable metal scoop and uses a small amount for each load.

One more successful transition away from our toxic world.

Un-plastic-ing My Life: Part 4

My efforts to remove plastic from every part of my routine continue with the fourth item in my daily repertoire, storage bags.

I’m one of those people who cannot stand to have a refrigerator with any odor whatsoever. I have always been fanatic about tightly sealing leftover food and containers, for years using more Ziplock bags than I care to admit.

Of course, they are single-use plastics at their worst and contrary to my environmental values, so I had to find an alternative. Enter: Stasher.

I first heard about these on Chrissy Teigen’s website and ordered a set just to test them. They passed with flying colors, keeping everything from lemon wedges to cheese fresh for days without leaving any weird flavor behind on the food.

What I love is that they are easily washable on the top dishwasher rack and can be reused forever (I’ve had a few since pre-pandemic times and they’re still strong as ever). They also release new colors and patterns fairly often, so if you get bored using the clear version, many options are available.

They’re also great for stashing (pun intended) movie snacks and non-food items like hair ties when traveling.

A+ recommendation.

Un-plastic-ing My Life: Part 3

My efforts to remove plastic from every part of my routine continue with the third item in my daily repertoire, shampoo.

The photo above reflects how I want my hair to appear on any given day—shiny, with lots of volume and body. After developing a habit of getting blow-outs for various events in Los Angeles at the Dry Bar on Sunset, I became quite fond of the scent of their Liquid Glass shampoo. It reminded me of fun times, my “happy place” and the person I became the instant I landed in California.

I liked it so much, I began buying it in Seattle and using it at home, making it a regular rotation in my hair products … until I ran it through my Yuka app and discovered it was made with high levels of BHTs (compounds which potentially disrupt our thyroid functions). Plus, it was only sold in plastic bottles, so I had to find an alternative.

Enter JVN “Undamaged” — a sulfate-free shampoo, which smells amazing, leaves my hair soft and light and has a 72/100 Yuka rating with no harmful ingredients AND it is packaged in (recyclable) aluminum, so there are no plastics seeping into the bottles as they are stored on the shelves.


Bonus: If you’re shopping LGBTQ shops for pride month, JVN was created by Queer Eye’s Jonathan van Ness. 🌈

Un-plastic-ing My Life: Part 2

My efforts to remove plastic from every part of my routine continue with the second item, also related to teeth: Dental Floss.

Until I saw an Instagram reel flash by that was talking about a class action lawsuit, it never occurred to me that dental floss could be harmful in any way. But when I saw my usual brand as the company being targeted in the lawsuit, I decided to investigate.

The suit alleged that there were dangerous PFAS, more commonly known as “forever chemicals,” in the floss, meaning each time you used it you were potentially jamming harmful substances up into your gums. Substances that often come from the production of … plastic! This, coupled with the news that poor oral health can increase your chances of getting dementia, gave me pause.

Spoiler alert: The big corporation won the lawsuit. Not because their product was proven to be entirely safe, but because the studies weren’t extensive enough. Not satisfied, I kept digging and found the evidence I was hoping for, then began trying various non-chemical brands.

So … after years of satin gliding, I’m now a happy customer of Cocofloss, which has a fantastic reputation and also offers unconventional flavors so you don’t have to settle for boring mint (unless you want to) every time. Plus, all of their packaging is cardboard or recycled plastic, so no new plastic is generated in their production.

Stay tuned for my next swap (I promise the third installment won’t have anything to do with teeth)!

Un-plastic-ing My Life: Part 1

Leading a charity that promotes sustainability and care for our planet, I’m in a constant state of learning about the harm that everyday products can cause. Armed with this knowledge, it would be hypocritical of me not to heed the warnings of scientists and medical professionals, so I have begun the process of removing perhaps the most harmful substance of all from every part of my life: plastic.

It’s everywhere and it’s dangerous. In its intended form, whether it be a cup or a synthetic fabric, it can take anywhere from 20 – 500 years to break down, and when it does, it will release toxins into the atmosphere. So I’ve started a process of doing a complete overhaul of my lifestyle, one item at a time, to find safer alternatives that accomplish the same thing.

The first: Toothpaste.

It’s something everyone needs and consumes every day, and something that comes in a container that will need to be disposed of when empty. For years, because I love the taste of cinnamon, I’ve been a loyal user of Close-up toothpaste. Many of the leading brands were found to have microplastics in the toothpaste, which is not only harmful to those who consume it, once the user spits it back into the water supply, the plastics travel to pollute other areas. Furthermore, the tubes they are packaged in are plastic.

I began researching to find both a toothpaste that didn’t contain plastic and a container that wasn’t plastic, even if the product was clean. I started testing out different brands for flavor and texture and arrived at my favorite: Bite. Though it’s a bit more expensive than a tube of mainstream paste, it arrives in a reusable glass bottle (these are especially great for travel) and has a variety of flavors including Mint, Berry and Cinnamon (though that one can be harder to find). Furthermore, they’re tablets, so there’s no spilling or wasting any toothpaste because it’s already measured out for each use. It’s been a smooth transition.

I plan on making a series out of my swaps so stay tuned if you want to follow along for tips to un-plastic your own environment!

The Year Ahead

2024 New Year Selfie

Each year, it’s my ritual to take a selfie on New Year’s Day, so when I look back over time, I’ll be able to tell from my demeanor/expression where my headspace was (and what kind of journey I was on at the time).

This is the photo I took for 2024. The word I chose to represent my year is “Breathe” because I certainly didn’t do enough of that in the past three years.

It’s definitely time to return to who I was pre-pandemic (saving all of the positive ways I’ve evolved since, of course), and not get so caught-up in the day-to-day that I miss out on being me.

What does that mean?

More travel (for fun), more time with friends, more live music, more writing that’s not work-related, more reading, more singing, more hiking, more self-care.

I’m also going to share bits and pieces from my world that I’m often asked about, whether it be in posts, Pinterest boards or on other socials—whatever makes sense for the context of the content.

I hope you’ll join me …

New Article on Stress

In honor of Stress Awareness Month, Julian and I wrote about the epidemic of stress that plagues our world in our most recent essay for The White Feather Foundation.

Read it here.

Photo: “Balance” by Julian Lennon, available for purchase at Artsy.

For the Benefit of Mr. Fanque

I was honored to write again for the award-winning Drink Tank, in their special issue about The Beatles. I centered my article around the song “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” and the real-life entertainer that John mentions in the lyrics.

Follow this link and advance to page 20 to read my piece.

How to Explore More This Summer

Whistler BC
Photo by Coby Degroot/Pixabay

The world is coming back to life just in time to make the most of what summer has to offer. One of my favorite pastimes is adding to my ever-evolving “bucket list” of places to explore. My criteria for the list includes the following:

  • The destination has to be somewhere I’ve never visited previously.
  • There has to be something in nature to do at said destination (even if that’s not the main purpose for visiting).
  • The destination must include the availability of an activity that I’ve never done before (i.e., when I went to Fairbanks, Alaska, I went dog mushing).
  • There must be at least one type of cuisine at the destination that I have never sampled before.

Neighbors to the North

Living so near to Canada, pre-pandemic I visited the country every few months to see art exhibits at Vancouver galleries, stock up on my favorite tea (only sold there) and explore new places around British Columbia. 

One area that’s quite popular with my friends who love to ski, is Whistler. Seeing their Instagram photos of beautiful snowy vistas has always made me want to go, but the more I research it, the more I think I’d actually like to experience it first in the summertime. 

So, does it qualify as a Bucket List destination?

It is somewhere I’ve never visited previously, so that’s one requirement met. But what about the other variables?

Recreational Opportunities in Nature

Of course, as I mentioned above, skiing is the no. 1 activity in the region, but as I did my homework, I realized there are several things I would enjoy in the great outdoors there:

I hike regularly at home, so a great trek in the Canadian countryside sounds ideal. I’d especially like this jaunt.

I was delighted to see that like Seattle, they have their own Green Lake.

If I really want to be part of the snow, I could also take a glacier tour.

A Unique Adventure

An activity that I’ve never done, but would love to do is zip lining and that appears to be an option readily available in Whistler:

I love the eco vibe of this group.

Admittedly, this also looks exhilarating.

A Taste of Whistler

Something I’ve heard a lot about are Whistler Jeggs—a savory pancake that I think I would definitely enjoy, if they’re all presented as extravagantly as this.

So yeah … every Bucket List requirement is met. But what about the vibe?

Real Estate Reality

A great way to tell if an area is thriving is by browsing homes and values in nearby areas. Looking at the beautiful properties here, it appears Whistler is going strong. Check out the real estate for sale in Whistler.

When the border is open—hopefully next month or the month after—I may have to make Whistler, BC, one of my first excursions

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