Why Being Eco-Friendly in Public Causes Me Anxiety

Anxiety. That’s a word that gets tossed around quite often. Certain situations cause anxiety in certain people. Me for example – there is nothing that makes me more panicky than feeling like everyone is staring at me. It causes my hands to tremble, my face turns read, my heart explodes in my chest to the point I can hear it in my ears. If you have anxiety, you know what I am referring to all too well. When I am at home, secluded from those people staring at me, I can be completely myself. The second I step outside – I realize I am opening myself up to this judgmental society.

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Must-Have Essential Oils for Winter

Peppermint

This common oil is best used as medicine for headaches. A little dab on the back of your neck can naturally relieve headaches quickly. This refreshing oil uplifts you and helps stimulate your senses.

Lavender

Now on the contrary, lavender is best used before bed. Known for its relaxing qualities, a small amount on the corner of your pillow will cause you to melt into the mattress. I use this every night before laying down, which also encourages nightly routine. Routine is also a huge factor in letting your brain know its time for sleep. The best duo to catch some Z’s.

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Traveling with Less

Traveling with less isn’t as difficult as it once was for me. As many of you know, Sam and I recently traveled to Florida. I don’t travel much via plane, so this was a great way for me to test my limits to see what exactly I packed was actually necessary and what was not. Sam and I shared a suitcase. He brought a backpack for his carry on that carried important electronics such as our nice camera. I only brought my small backpack to carry my essentials like my wallet, a layering piece, and a book for the plane ride. Here is a list of helpful hints to use when traveling:
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Essential Denim

First thing I can definitely recommend, you want to bring denim. I had a pair of denim shorts and jeans. I wore this almost everyday. Jeans were necessary for the evenings when we went out to dinner. Denim is the easiest thing to match everything with.

Simple Tops

This is something I am still working on. I really only wore this shirt in the picture multiple times. I had another tank top I wore maybe once. Learning to live a minimalist lifestyle is not something that happens overnight. This trip taught me to stop purchasing pieces that are ‘trendy’. The reason I wore this top repeatedly is because I like the way it fits and its a timeless piece. Stripes can never really go out of style. The one thing I forgot to bring was a light jacket or long-sleeved top for the evenings once it got colder.

 

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Little to No Make Up

I’m constantly learning how to be okay with myself without any make up. I think most women can relate – its easy to find imperfections and think negatively of yourself. I’m not going to lie – I brought almost all my make up with. I barely used it. Part of going on vacation is to worry less and just relax.

Book a Room with a Kitchenette

When traveling, its difficult to limit your waste because you don’t know the areas all that well. We booked through Air B&B, I knew we needed a room with a small kitchenette. We found the local grocery store called Publix (Similar to Jewel Osco in Chicago area). Candidly speaking, we couldn’t completely zero waste grocery shop. I mean, I am still working on that even in Chicago. We did our best. One thing I forgot to pack was produce bags for shopping (fail). I would highly recommend bringing those along with your reusable totes. Having the kitchenette did help us save money while we were down there because we didn’t have to go out to eat for every meal. When you do go out to eat, bring a reusable napkin and avoid all straws.

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What other tips to do have for traveling with less?  Comment below!

 

Photography by Sam Meinders
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Ditch the Caffeine: Effects of Drinking More Water

The waitress approaches our table, “What would you like to drink? Coffee? We also have Coke products..”

It’s no surprise that water has become so uncommon when we are not even offered it in some situations.  Water has become such a plain and boring drink after being offered so many other drinks such as Coke, ‘diet’ Coke, Sprite, iced tea, ‘sweet’ iced tea, Gatorade, energy drinks and etc! Contrary to popular belief, water is a life saver! Water is inexpensive and easy to get, not because it has a low value but because it’s extremely necessary.

About two-thirds of the human body is made up of water. It is necessary for most functions in the body, including digestion, absorption, and circulation. The water in your body is the main delivery system for nutrients and oxygen. Water hydrates cells, flushes out toxins, and detoxifies the kidneys, and is crucial for transporting nutrients into your cells and waste out of your cells. If there isn’t enough water to flush away your toxic wastes, they will damage your body. Water is imperative for your body to function. The human body can go without food for several weeks (not a fun several weeks though), but can only go without water for a few days. It is important to stay hydrated, especially since the body loses water every day through urine and sweat.

Personally, water has been my best friend. I tend to have trouble getting out of bed at a fast pace in the morning to start my day. It is an every day struggle! I’ve learned to leave water on the table next to my bed at night. After I wake up in the morning, I try to drink it as soon as possible. I feel incredible after gulping my water and honest to God, it motivates me to start my day! This gives me a burst of energy and it is especially  an amazing feeling on my sluggish days.

Anyone that knows me knows that I love my coffee. However, there have been plenty of mornings when I was rushing to work and didn’t have enough time to grab some coffee. On those days water was genuinely appreciated. Of course water works in a different way than coffee does, but it definitely assisted with the waking up process and provided energy to start the day! Plus, my body yearns for water over coffee in the morning anyways. Water is huge in producing energy and the more you drink, the more energized and awake you’ll feel.

A side note about coffee… after drinking coffee for some time, I notice that it truly dehydrates me. Any caffeine will dehydrate the body. Every time that I drink a cup of coffee, I make sure that water accompanies me. I recommend this for all coffee and caffeine drinkers. This is the same for alcoholic beverages; alcohol dehydrates the body. If I don’t already have water with me, I always ask for water along with my Starbucks coffee or with my glass of wine at the restaurant/bar. People seem to think that this is strange, but it makes me feel so much better! Plus, the morning after you have been drinking alcohol will be ten times better if you have a glass of water for every drink you have at the bar.

I have discovered that water greatly helps me with digestion. There are times when I eat dinner late due to a hectic day, go out to a restaurant and simply eat TOO much because of how much is served, and eat heavy (but delicious) foods like pasta or pizza. After those kind of meals, I usually drink a ton of water. It helps settle my stomach and leaves me feeling less sleepy! (Water definitely assists with an upset stomach of any kind, not just from food but even from a stomach flu or anxiety.) This is helpful especially at night. I don’t like lying down in bed only a couple of hours after eating dinner. Going to sleep with a short time after dinner leads to an upset stomach and restless sleeping since the stomach is still in the early stages of digesting. Water definitely speeds up the digestion process in these times and calms my tummy!

I am actually a very healthy person but I have noticed that I tend to get dehydrated. My eyes become extremely dry and I find myself putting eye drops in my eyes every day. Instead of temporarily helping my eyes with eye drops, I figured feeding my body a bunch of water may prevent my eyes from drying out in the first place. My eyes have been slowly improving since I made that decision! When they do feel dry, I chug and chug water. It feels amazing and gives me a similar effect as using eye drops!.. I do add cucumber into my water and not only does it give the water some flavor, it hydrates me even more! The water is a lifesaver alone, but with the cucumber it is miraculous. Adding lemon to water is also an excellent choice for flavor and for extra help with digestion. Many people don’t like water because it doesn’t have a ‘taste’. I suggest infusing it with different kind of fruit; be creative! The fruit will give it some flavor, as well as provide some health benefits depending on the kind of fruit.

 

Water and beauty go hand in hand. So much time and money is spent on plastic surgery and “no more wrinkles” crème. Beauty starts deep on the inside. What you put into your body reflects on the outside. Purified water offers some of the best anti-aging benefits ever! Not only does it help the skin, water is an excellent weight-loss tool. It can be overlooked as that since it is ‘ordinary’. Jordan Rubin wrote a book called Perfect Weight America. In his book he wrote, “What water does is . . . revs up your metabolism and hydrates the cells so that you can process carbohydrates and fat more efficiently. When your body is well hydrated, you accelerate the liver’s ability to convert stored fat into usable energy . .”

Water has also been known to help with headaches and migraines. Drinking water is not only helpful physically but also mentally. I believe that water promotes great mental health and contributes to feelings of happiness!

Written by: Michelle Zabierowski
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Review: Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

The month of August has been such a busy one for me. My birthday was on the 9th, so I had a ton of activities going on to celebrate and to enjoy the last bits of summer! I’m so glad I’m a summer baby because there is always something new to try during Chicago summers. Its one of my favorite things about living here. The city (and suburbs) come alive during the summer months. This year for my birthday I checked one thing off my bucket list: The Chicago Architecture Boat Tour.

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I have been wanting to do this tour for many summers now, and finally booked it for my birthday this year! I’m so glad I did because it hands down one of the best experiences I have had. No wonder is one of the top tours across the U.S.! We got on Chicago First Lady right off Wacker downtown. Its super easy to get to, if you’re not from Chicago and just visiting. It is a little pricey, about $50 per person. However, the tour is an hour and half long which to me is so worth the money. We honestly couldn’t have picked a better now, it was a beautiful evening. I would really recommend doing one of the later tours right before the sun sets because the buildings look just amazing during this time of day!

One of the coolest things about this was that our speaker was a volunteer of the Chicago Architecture Foundation! This woman knew every building’s architect and the year it was built. It was truly amazing how much she knew, you could really tell she was passionate about architecture. She also knew a lot of history about the city and the changes we have gone through in Chicago. From an industrial, port city to the residential, major city we are today. I have lived in the area my whole life, but I really saw the city for the first time. I’ve also learned that Art Deco architectural design is my favorite part of the city, along with how much history was in these renovated residential buildings now. If you are a photographer, this tour gives you access to some amazing views of Chicago’s skyline. I really wish Sam and I brought our Canon, so I had to settle for some iPhone images to show you all.

 
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Some of our buildings here in Chicago are built with sustainability in mind, which of course I love! There is whats called a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. There are multiple levels: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. There are multiple reasons your building can get one of the LEED levels. Buildings with this certification use less water, energy, and reduce green house gases. Here is just a small list of LEED projects in Chicago. 

This is what a sustainable lifestyle is all about – more experiences and less things. 

If you are interested in the boat tour, check it out here. Also, here is the link to the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

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