Well last week we were talking about snow days and how cold it is, this week I wanna talk about the Spring Thaw. If you are experiencing snow melt, fog, or anything else that resembles spring then you are also getting the ugly glimpses of earth that the snow was hiding all this time. I hate this part. When the snow melts there is mud and puddles everywhere. While I just in general like to stay off the weak ground at this time, it is actually important too.
When possible it is important to stay off trails during the spring thaw. The ground is weak and loose, walking on it can damage the trail and cause intense trail maintenance (something a lot of trails have little funding or volunteers for). That being said; here are some paved Michigan trails to frequent while things warm up!
Lansing River Walk
The Lansing River Trail now stretches all the way from Waverly Road to Old Town! You can also catch it from Potter Park into MSU. Altogether, over 16 miles of paved trail pass through numerous parks and natural areas, as well as Downtown Lansing.
I talked about in Wrapping Up February how I used to live in Lansing and I loved frequenting this trails for a good hike with my sisters or walking the Fellas. It is also a very popular bike route that my fiancé endorses himself! My recommendation is to start at Crego Park (also a great hammock and kayak location!) and take the Lansing River Walk to Potters Park Zoo! Just realize that some areas do get flooded over as spring is birthed!
Blue Water River Walk
The paved pedestrian path rolls along 4,300 feet of shoreline and connects to the Bridge to Bay Trail. An elevated structure that was once used as an ferry dock provides a fun and different perspective on the river and land.
I have not been able to walk a significant amount of this trail but the views are gorgeous! The Lansing River has nothing on the size of the St. Clair river and while these are both “river walks” they are both so different in their own ways. The Blue Water River Walk is a great example of showing that we can enjoy nature while also returning it back to a more natural state.
All I am saying is that Spring is a beautiful and wonderful time and whenever possible we should be avoiding trails during the spring thaw. Great benefits of the paved trails I talked about today is that many are also bike paths, may have other amenities like picnic or hammock spots, and/or are communities efforts at the rehabilitation and preservation of natural areas. So enjoy and once snowmelt and precipitation take a break we can enjoy the joys and beauty of our favorite hiking trails again!
Well y’all, this is the post that finally starts to cover how I practice a more sustainable lifestyle. I want to share with you a few products and services I use that help me decrease waste and things I look forward to utilizing in the future. I hope that these are helpful and feel free to click on some of these links for offers to start utilizing the same services!
First off, let’s start on something I am passionate about considering my own bad habits. Did you know that rts.com is projecting 80 billion pounds of food waste this year? Yikes. I feel bad about throwing away part of my lunch or letting potatoes go bad (who even has time to let potatoes go bad!?), but there is a substantial amount of good food that cannot even make it to market because it looks funky or is of inadequate size. This is where Imperfect Produce comes in for me. Imperfect Produce gets their hands on the produce grocers won’t buy and not only sells it to you to deter food waste, but will deliver it to your doorstep.
Y’all. I don’t drive. But I love grocery shopping and ugly produce/overstock food items. This service is so convenient for me and I love opening up my box on delivery day. And to be perfectly honest, I have not gotten any of the funny looking produce that they advertise. Most of the items are overstock or abnormal size; for example my favorite item which was a giant 3 lb. carrot! I just love this service and am so happy to always have fruits and veggies to incorporate in my meals.
I purposely did not make this the first topic because some people do not like to talk about toilet paper, but here we are. Who Gives A Crap is a 100% recycled toilet paper subscription service. Yes, a subscription service for toilet paper. They also have add-on products like facial tissue and paper towels made from recycled materials if that is your thing.
On top of being eco-conscious, Who Gives a Crap is also dedicated to making a social impact. Who Gives a Crap uses 50% of proceeds to create sanitary toilet options for areas in need of them. Plus, they are certified Carbon Neutral and a B Certified Corporation meaning they meet the highest level of social and environmental impact.
I just love never running out of toilet paper while also supporting a socially-conscious business. I really think this is the best way to buy toilet paper as a capable and responsible consumer. Plus, when the shelves were cleared of TP in March 2020 I was un-phased! Who Gives A Crap did not take on anymore customers during the TP shortage, but I was able to keep my subscription and give away this “currency” to family and friends in need. I love it!
By now you may have noticed that I LOVE subscription services and am in a blessed position to be able to afford the upfront investment of bulk supplies (aka large produce box, 3 month supply of toilet paper). Fillaree is also just like that but is a refill subscription service for soaps. REFILL SUBSCRIPTION. You are sent a container of whatever soap you choose from – dish, hand, body, hair, all purpose spray, and other eco friendly accessories – and you can create a refill subscription where they send you a new bottle and you ship back your empty. Easy-peasy!
I would like to get a Dropps subscription for dishwasher and laundry pods…but I do not have a dishwasher yet and want to bundle the two. Dropps packaging and pods are biodegradable which I think is awesome. As you can imagine though, once we switch to drops we will look to dropping Fillaree dish soap. For now we are a Fillaree and Charlie’s Soap household.
Y’all have not heard about my absolute LOVE for this brand! I bought their leggings at launch (anyone remember that annoying “$20 luxury leggings” ad from 2016?) and am now a devotee to their recycled bottle leggings. As you read this my next order is on the way with my new micro plastic filter for my washing machine! Since we are slowly moving from one house to another I decided this was a perfect time to get a micro plastic filter to do my part in making sure little pieces of plastic crud do not enter our water ways.
If this pumps you up as much as it does me, check out Girlfriend and use this link for $10 off your order over $95.
No secret, I currently don’t compost. I am learning about household composting and a sustainable practice for my household.
No Buy/Eco Minimalism
I am trying to stop shopping for things I don’t need. These things are filling up my life and are destined for a landfill or the back corners of my closet. When I think of this fate I am pretty confused as to why I spend my money on frivolous things. I DON’T LIKE IT. This will be an ongoing adventure but one that I am sure will give me the piece of mind that I need.
Thank you for checking out things I use to be more eco-conscious and please let me know what products I use that you are interested in or alternatives you utilize! Comment below!
I am humbled to share with you that by clicking any links in this post I may receive a kickback. Thank you for your support!
I think we would all be surprised how much weight our recommendations have to those closest to us. Sometimes our interests overlap with the people we know more than we realize and that is what I found out in 2019 when I decided I needed to tell people about items that I truly loved and made my life easier. With those posts buried in the Facebook archives, here is a list of things that I loved in 2020 AND 2019!
With 2020 not meeting anyone’s expectations, I started to finally feed my desire to start backpacking. That being said, one of the first things I bought was my sleeping bag. For this I researched bags used for backpacking and a handful of qualities that were important to me; warmth and comfort, compact-ability, and affordability. The Women’s Marmot Trestles Elite 20 Sleeping bag caught my eye for its price compared to other backpacking sleeping bags and the partner compatibility – meaning I convinced my fiancé to also get this bag so we could zip the bags together!
This bag is so warm that it is chihuahua approved!
I have not had a personal laptop since college and on top of that I tend to over-flood my IPhone 7, so I remedied this by buying and IPad Pro. I have been able to separate work and fun (a big struggle for me) by moving game and social apps to my IPad, leaving my phone to its bare necessities. With the addition of the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil my IPad has become my laptop and has even enabled me to start this blog! While it is definitely a luxury item, it has really made my life easier.
Once you decide to start backpacking you realize there are many choices in gear, but I dare say picking a shelter provokes the most research. There are so many varieties of tents or even just a simple tarp for the brave, but I chose to evolve my hammock kit as my backpacking shelter. I have had an Eno Eagle DoubleNest Hammock for 2 years and coveted my sister’s Eno Hammock for years before that. Since I already had the hammock and the straps it was easy to start building this shelter. All I needed was the bug net and rain tarp. This is by far the most comfortable sleeping setup outdoors, has room for cutting costs to fit a tighter budget, and all the components can even be purchased at once with the Eno OneLink system.
Later on I even bought and under quilt for Midwest fall camping!
My fiancé had gotten me one of these can koozies and I can hardly drink a beer without using it. This koozie keeps your drink cold for hours (if it lasts that long). It is a little heavy, but you get used to it. They even have a slim can koozies that I think I may need to invest in!
First clothing item! When I got these leggings I was working in warehouse management and my high-visibility vest would burst from holding so many pens, radios, and notebooks. But when I wore these leggings I felt like I had myself put together. There are no shortage of pockets, fit true-to-size, and are reinforced in the knees. A lot of my girlfriends that work outdoors, on farms, and other labor positions swear by these leggings!
In 2019 I had the pleasure of being on two road trips. One was from Michigan to California and the other was California to Michigan. On the first road trip my sister had me help navigate some of the no-service areas with the National Geographic Road Atlas. Then when my fiancé and I drove back to Michigan I just had to have my own Road Atlas! We even used this on a Northern Michigan trip. The maps are easy to follow and the states are even in alphabetical order. I just cannot recommend this enough for your car or recreation vehicle.
Bonus points that my uncle said he was so proud of me for acquiring map reading as a skill!
These were the things that were most useful for me, but what were your favorite items in 2020? Comment below or in the Sustaining Sara Facebook Group!