Eco, Uncategorized

3 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste Daily – Foodie Edition

Earth Day is fast approaching! I initially planned to have a post a day in April with environmental facts, sustainable life hacks, and eco-friendly product gift guides, but life happened & I was busy helping mom every day after work so I didn’t have time to blog, as her cancer treatments have been really rough on her and she had some exceptionally tough past few weeks, requiring a lot of additional care. ♥

But today, I’m present & prepared to share in a series how I have been cutting plastic waste out of our life daily & how a few simple little changes to your daily habits can have a huge impact on the environment, starting with the foodie edition!

Switch to Stainless Steel Straws

Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States. That is enough straws that if they were put end to to, straws would wrap around the world two and a half times – EVERY SINGLE DAY of the year. You can read more facts about plastic straw pollution, The Last Plastic Straw and the #banthestraw movement here.

I ordered my gorgeous rainbow Stainless Steel Straws from Pretty Candy Pin Co – look at how flipping beautiful they are! They turn every beverage into an instantly Instagram worthy #unicornlife photo!

There are several distributors of stainless steel straws, and you can buy accessories like PUL lined zipper pouches to keep them in your bag on the go! Care for them is so simple, too – a bit of soap on a pipe cleaning after each use, rinse well!

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Say NO to Plastic Lids

Instead of grabbing a to-go or a kid’s drink with a plastic lid, go topless – and put on your own!

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SipSnap has silicone lids that stretch to fit over any cup, in either sippy top form or to hold a straw. They are usable for decades, easy to clean to prevent spills! Here is a video demonstrating their spill proof tops!

In addition to ditching the plastic lid, don’t forget to bring your own reusable cup to get coffee or beverages in when getting take out!

Bring your own Bamboo Ware

Heading to a restaurant you know uses plastic ware, or out to a picnic? Skip the plastic and bring your own portable & sanitary cutlery from To-Go Ware! Each set is dishwasher safe, has it’s own carrying case and you can order a single set, a family pack of 5 or a kid size set! Kid size set shown here.

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Portable cutlery? Not gross at all! Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, antifungal and odor resistant, easy to clean & safe for children to use! Plastic ware – including plates, straws and cutlery – make up the majority of the 269,000 TONS of plastic waste in the oceans. More than 100,000,000 plastic dining wares are used in America alone every year, and switching to bamboo cutlery can drastically cut down that number! You can even make the switch for parties & buy biodegradable bamboo cutlery in bulk71NHCBkeluL._SL1500_.jpg

Together, we can save the world

(literally!)

What disposable plastic foodie items do you plan to replace with reusable items this year?

 

Transformation Tuesday

Transformation Tuesday: Pajama Top into Toy Storage!

I always think it is fun to showcase what Mon-stors Toy Storage Bags & my monster toys are made from! This week, I’m throwing back to a Mon-stor I made in January from this fun blue on blue zebra stripe pajama top I rescued from the salvage center.

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It was discarded for some fraying hems, I think, but was in great condition! I cut the sleeves and hems off, and cut it open at all the seams, to turn that discarded top into this fun Small Mon-stor Toy Storage Bag!

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All those board books in the floor? They fit neatly inside to tame the never ending slippery sea of baby books around the house – plus, toddlers love to “feed” their Mon-stor their books and take them back out, making reading time even more fun!

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This Mon-stor is currently available for adoption in my shop, along with several other Small Mon-stor Toy Storage Bags!

Tell me: what would your kids feed to their Mon-stors? Books, blocks, toys, dress up clothes?

 

Gift Guides, life, Parenting, Uncategorized

Hey Mama: 8 Great Gifts to Give Yourself This Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I wanted to put together a little self love gift guide for my fellow mamas with some of my favorite “treat yo’self” goodies to indulge in this month – though, personally, I indulge myself at least once a month. Because motherhood can be difficult, and self care & appreciation for yourself is so important as a mother – we have to be at our best to be our best for our children! So feel free to bookmark this post to come back to through the year for self love inspiration & spur of the moment self care shopping sprees!

Hair dye (or a hair cut!)

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Does anything make you feel as good about yourself as freshening up your look!? It is always a huge boost to my self esteem when I touch up my hair, get a hair cut or get my eyebrows done. Been dreaming of #mermaidhair for months but afraid to take the plunge? Mama, treat yo’self! I personally use Manic Panic or Arctic Fox hair dye. Both are vegan, and deeply conditioning so they don’t damage your hair.

A New Mug

I drink a lot of coffee & cocoa, as well as use mugs all around my house & studio to hold pencils, pens, markers, mail, nail clippers & baby combs – basically everything I don’t have stuffed in my own Mon-stors, haha! A ton of my mugs come from thrift stores, but I also have a huge collection of mugs from makers & artists. This Strong as a Mother mug by Callie Garp is on my treat yo’self wishlist!

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Bath Bomb & A New Book

I love bath time. I always have. It is like pressing a reset button on the week, a simple escape. Wouldn’t it be dreamy to sink into a steamy, rose scented bath with this sultry Roses are Red Bath Bomb from Sun Basil Soap, a good book & your favorite beverage (whether it is a glass of wine, chocolate milk or a beer – you do you, mama). Be sure to post the submergence of the bath bomb on Instagram, or it doesn’t count, though.

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Decadent Handmade Soaps

I love supporting other makers, but honestly, I buy handmade soap because it is so decadent, moisturizing & typically smells sooo much better than generic brand soaps. Thumbprint Soap has some amazing scents, like this Pink Sugar soap, but the reason I especially love buying Katie’s soaps is because she donates a portion of all proceeds to animal rescues! That keeps me coming back, time and again. Additionally, Katie has offered an exclusive discount to Lu & Ed fans so they can treat themselves to something special this season: MOMMY18 – 18% off any order of $15 or more through the end of 2018. How rad is that?! Go on, mamas, treat yourself to some amazing handmade soap, lotions, lip balms & more from Katie’s shop!

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New Jewelry

I have a huge collection of handmade earrings and necklaces, and my latest obsession is basically everything Lin of Turquoise T-rex makes. I have two necklaces from her that I wear pretty much all the time!

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A New Shirt

I recently treated myself to a “Support Your Local Mama Gang” shirt from Punky Moms and I feel like an ultimate bad booty mama rocking it! Adding a new item to my wardrobe is always a thoughtful process, because I don’t often buy myself clothing, so it is a slow process picking which item to add!

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Their “Kicking Motherhood in the A**” shirt is another one on my wishlist, and a perfect one to treat yourself to during this season of self love, because that is just what you are doing, mama!

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A Custom Baby Wearing Portrait

I am so in love with these custom baby wearing portraits by Taynee of Grrl Gang Art. If your baby wearing or breastfeeding journey was exceptionally special to you, you can message Taynee about a custom portrait of you to commemorate that beautiful bond! Nothing makes me feel more beautiful, strong & confident as a mother than looking through my images of me baby wearing or breastfeeding, and I just think this is such a beautiful way to reward yourself for the hard work, sleepless nights, and special moments of motherhood!

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Artisanal Coffee or Tea

For a lot of mamas, that first cuppa coffee or tea is our greatest form of self care every day, so the occasional brew of the finer variety is it’s own form of self lovin’! For the coffee drinkers, Burial Grounds Coffee has a wide flavor variety of small batch roasted artisan coffee with fun fandom themes & Angie (the mama & brains behind the beans) offers a subscription service – so you don’t need to remember to reorder your favorite blends!

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If tea is more your jam, Albion Tea Company also has a fun fandom themes for their small batch, loose leaf teas, like their Magical Collection which is based on Harry Potter or their Sherlock collection!

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I could go on & on with goodies I indulge in for self love, but I want to turn the handles over to the readers:

What is your favorite self care goodies & go-to habits? Share your self love advice in the comments & let’s chat about how we, as women, can take better care of ourselves so we can take better care of our loved ones!

Transformation Tuesday

Transformation Tuesday – Pretty Pink Robe into Magical Unicorn Mon-stor Toy Storage Bag & more!

Last week, I snapped this hilarious shot of my son in this pink robe before I cut into it to make Mon-stors.

(sidenote: this photo is misleading. He only looks less than enthused because I interrupted a match of his video game, not because I asked him to model the robe – if you can’t tell by his hair, he loves the color pink & actually asked me if he could keep the robe!)

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This was an adult size large robe that found it’s way to the salvage center because of a little spot of something sticky on it’s hem that washed right off after one round in the washing machine! I still have a bit of it left to turn into stuffed monsters, but my main upcycles from it were….

One – This pink haired small Mon-stor toy storage bag, where I used the front panel of the robe to add additional pocket storage to the Mon-stor.

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And 2 – this unicorn themed Mon-stor, lined with a vintage wild animal sheet & also rocking the second pocket from the robe!

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Here is a shot of the amazing vintage sheet I used in this one!

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At the time of this posting, both Mon-stors are currently available in my monster shop! I will update this post when I use up the last bit of the robe to make stuffed monsters to show the full transition!

makers, Uncategorized

Meet the Maker: Mindy of Milkweed Baby – Creator of the cutest high fashion baby shoes & teething accessories!

As a mother to a preteen AND a baby, I can honestly say it is super exciting to see how much the children’s fashion industry has evolved since my son was a baby/toddler! There is still a huge fast fashion market, but you can also build a lasting wardrobe for your child that is fun, fashionable & ethical through independent designers, makers & creatives! Today, I am so excited to introduce Mindy of Milkweed Baby & share her shop (plus a sweet discount code!) with you! She makes the most adorable, high quality and durable baby shoes I have encountered – Milkweed Baby are the only baby shoes we have ever bought for Zoey Rose, and the only ones Zoey will actually keep on her tootsies! Mindy is mama maker driven by quality & great design, and below, you can get to know her & see a sampling of her work!
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Tell us about yourself:
Born & raised KC… and still here. But I think it’s great here! The only thing that would get me to move is a beach on the west coast! I had planned to be a golfer, I played in high school until an injury stopped all that. So instead of a golf scholarship I went to art school. I majored in painting at KU and dropped out with 3 semesters left because I was afraid of a “do you want fries with that?” degree. I worked a variety of jobs after that. The last was 9 years as a marketing coordinator for a seminar company. While working there I started my first business, by Mindy. I was laid off while on maternity leave 2 years ago and it was during that time that Milkweed Baby was born.
 
When did you first find your love of creating?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love creating.
 
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Have you always been a textile sewist?
NOPE! I learned to sew when I was 27. I wanted to make a gift for each of my bridesmaids, so my mom helped me sew them each a bag. And that was that! I was hooked!!!
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When did you begin to create baby products/How did this become your central
focus?
I started making baby shoes in 2010. I’d been making a variety of things, coffee cup sleeves, totes, bow ties, knit ties, clutches, aprons and so on. Nothing felt right.
I was at a pop up and saw how people couldn’t control themselves with baby items. They are just so cute! So I decided it was the market I wanted to get into.
I did a bunch of research and found the soft soled shoes that I thought looked cool were really hard to find. So that’s what I was going to make. And through a bunch of trial and error, I worked it out.
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What sets your baby shoes apart from the rest?
1. My style (I don’t do ugly). 2. My quality (read attention to detail & perfectionist nature).
 
The baby & children’s market is heavily saturated and highly competitive –
what is your advice for makers in this industry to help them stand out &
grow their client base? Find your style identity and stay true to it. It’s really easy to pander to the audience, but it’s not satisfying. “YOU DO YOU”. Get your product in front of as many people as you can. If you are passionate and make a good quality product, people will buy.
 
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How did having your first baby impact running your small business?
This is complicated. Having my first baby almost killed my business and made my business my full time gig. I basically took a year off when I had my daughter, and during this time a local gal hard core ripped off my designs, undercut my price by a mile (she uses lesser quality materials) and moved in on all the local shows. Also during this time, I was laid off from my full time job of 9 years… so this became my full time job. I have to say, I thought it would be easy to work and take care of a kid! HA!!! Only someone without a kid would make that assumption!
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What can makers & small business owners expecting a baby do to prepare
their business – and themselves! – for such a big change?
You know, so much depends on what kind of kid you have. Mine rolled over at 6 days old, so she could never be left alone. My best advice is to prepare your finances to have some down time. Amp up as much stock as you can before baby comes so you can still keep up with shows and online without needing to make much (prevent people from moving in on your “turf”).
Expect the unexpected.
 
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What is your favorite method of self-care as a mama & a maker?  
Walks, Sleep, Wine, meal planning (it’s the only way we eat healthy), and every 3 weeks I get my eyebrows waxed
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Do you bring your baby to events you vend at? If so, how do you balance motherhood & face-to-face business transactions with customers?
Mostly we have my mother-in-law watch my daughter while my husband & I run my booth at shows. However, we are about to do 2 big ones where childcare is not going to be an option. So we will see. I think the plan is to get a cheap tablet and load Daniel Tiger on it. And coloring books and crayons. Probably, my husband and I will take turns chasing after my daughter and making sure she doesn’t break any ceramics or topple any displays. And my husband will have to leave me for a couple hours each day to handle her naps.
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Mindy’s daughter rocking some Milkweed Baby shoes!
How many pairs of your handmade baby shoes does your own sweet little baby
have? 
She has 1. I know, I know. Everyone always gasps when I tell them that. Here’s the deal…
I love all of my fabrics, so choosing is impossible. So I just pick 1 or let her pick 1. I make a pair & that’s it. I need to be making these shoes to sell because I need the income.
I recall something about the cobbler’s child has no shoes?
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What is your favorite color?
Green (many shades of green… aqua, seaglass, olive, mint, kelly, emerald… just not hunter)
What is your drink of choice while you sew?
6am-5pm COFFEE
5pm —> WINE (shiraz or rose)
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Television or music while you work?
Music (TV is too distracting and I really need to be looking at the sewing machine)
 
Lastly – Have you ever made yourself an adult size pair of slippers?
No. Maybe next year!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Mindy of Milkweed Baby! Be sure to visit her on Facebook & Instagram, and you can use code LUANDED to save 20% of baby shoes in her online store!

code valid 2/1 through 2/28/18

Eco, Uncategorized

CoffeeSock: it is not as weird as it sounds, and you totally need one

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to go a little more green, use a little less paper, or drink better tasting coffee, you will LOVE this radical invention I am about to introduce you to!

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I ordered a set of CoffeeSock reusable coffee filters about 4 months ago, and I made the switch from paper filters to cloth. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was worried it would make my coffee taste a little funky, but honestly, I have never had coffee brewed at home that tasted so good! Add in the fact using CoffeeSock filters reduces paper consumption & waste, and you can see why any sustainably minded mama who loves coffee needs these in their lives!

This company gets some extra bonus points for being handmade in America – you can “meet” each team member & learn about them on their maker page. You can also take a virtual tour of their maker space. The transparency and personality behind this brand/product is what sold me on testing it out – and what will keep me coming back!

Care for them is super easy – rinse with hot water after each use & hang to dry, and boil once every 6-8 weeks. They last up to a year with proper care. I can honestly say, I doubt I will ever go back to paper filters! A set of two filters is just $13, so they actually save you a bit of money if you drink coffee at home regularly. Paired with their sustainable production and reduction of paper waste, that makes them worth every penny, in my book!

I wasn’t paid for this post, and I bought my CoffeeSock filters with my own money, no discount, so this is not an ad in any way – I just really adore this eco addition to my morning routine and wanted to share with other sustainably-minded individuals!

What do you think? Will you try out reusable CoffeeSock filters, or stick with paper?

home schooling, life, Parenting, Uncategorized

Flourish: how I’m letting one little word shape my year

Flourish: verb, to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.

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Each year, I pick a word to set the tone for the entire year. Last year’s word was Achieve, and I really feel like that word carried me well through the year. I hit & exceeded all of my production goals, sales goals & smaller goals for my business, like getting some wholesale accounts & attending big shows in the area. I laid a lot of groundwork in 2017 to because I knew that I needed 2018 to be a year of growth and personal development – as a business owner, mother, and human.

I set some really lofty goals for 2018, and by acting upon my word for the year, I am already seeing things begin to Flourish! I knew that part of growing this year, I wanted to attend a lot of large events in order for Lu & Ed to grow & thrive. I started applying for shows all over the East Coast & Midwest, including some huge shows I have always dreamed of doing but never thought I would get accepted into. And it paid off! Most events are still taking applications so it will be a bit before I find out my entire show schedule for the Spring/Summer, but a week ago I reached out to – and was invited to! – Mommy Con, the biggest parenting convention in America! I will be at their Charlotte event May 5th! I am so flipping excited – this is an event I have always DREAMED of doing with Lu & Ed, and now that it is on the books, I feel like I could fly!

In addition to booking several large shows alongside smaller markets to build my local audience, I set other goals for my business to facilitate my word of the year manifesting – I set a production goal of 1000 monsters in 2018! I am already just over 5% of the way to that goal! In 2017 I was able to make 514 monsters, with a new baby, homeschooling my son & life in general, so I am feeling really confident that while it will be difficult, I can hit that goal! By doubling my production, I will be able to take on more bulk/wholesale orders as well, which turned out to be great for Lu & Ed last year, so I am excited to expand on that more this year!

As a mama, I am working on patience, and creating an environment in which my children can Flourish as well. Which means less clutter, less screen time, more family time, more conversation and more time spent connecting with humans! I recently launched a local Asheville chapter of Punky Moms, a group for alternative mothers, and am building connections & fostering community through that group as well as through our tween homeschool group & the local artist community. For Gauge, we also recently applied to a local charter school – it has all the features of a public school (sports, band, swim team, etc) but  it has a high focus on college preparation, advanced curriculum, and a much lower rate of bullying & social issues with higher diversity than the local public schools offer here.

And for myself, I am focusing on the word Flourish to help me regain my health. I used to eat an all raw/organic diet, and worked out every day, did yoga, walked at least a mile a day, and all that. I’ve strayed so far from that healthful lifestyle since I moved to WNC, but this is the year I restore that lifestyle and mental attitude! I want to gain at least 10 pounds by the end of the year, as I have always struggled with weight gain and one year postpartum, I am only weighing 98lbs. So my goal is to gain weight, get healthy, and exercise regularly so I can Flourish and keep up with my intentions for my business & family!

Do you pick a word for the year? If you do, share below what your word is! I would love to know!