Family Matters - Influencing Change

Good afternoon and Happy Monday!  I am very excited to be a guest blogger for The ecoLogical.  I am a teacher, mom, animal lover and nature enthusiast. I love finding great deals on eco friendly products as well as being able to try out new beauty products.  I look for products that make me feel good about using it, sharing it with others, and seeing the positive impact it has on the planet.

Packaging in the U.S. is a huge issue, and I struggle to find non plastic containers, vegan or 'pure' food products, and clothing that is not made with plastic fibers. The U.S., especially here in New York State, is slowly recognizing the need for change and acting upon it.  I am proud to see the baby steps taking place, such as the plastic bag ban in grocery stores, restaurants using cardboard take-away containers and offering real silverware and paper straws, regular farmers markets, more gluten free and vegan food options, and smaller portions (less food waste!).

Another big change is the shift toward preventative mental health care in schools. Mindfulness, meditation, and community building within the classroom is very important to build relationships, create community, and easily resolve issues within the day. I integrate restorative practices and community building within my classes to build relationships. Healthy students equal learning students.

Throughout the past few years, I have been working on myself (both physically and emotionally) to be the healthiest version possible.  I have a gym routine, hike daily in nature, practice yoga (indoors and out), teach middle school, and am continuously learning and growing as a mom, wife, and healthy human being.  I have a passion for nature and am striving to live a more sustainable life.

My daughter (The ecoLogical) has been a huge influencer, educator, and advocate during this journey.  The research, knowledge, and constant fun facts allow me to choose wisely each time I make a purchase in all areas- beauty, health, food, even daily routines.  

Blogger Note: I like to thank my persistent attempts to offer advice every time I called or visited (aka annoying, berating, and whining until my mom finally gave in) plus my constant supply of green beauty samples (many from Love Lula!) I gave on every visit from the UK

Over the last few years, I have made changes in all aspects of my daily life, and I am proud to say my students are influenced by these changes as well. They are striving to make the little changes that lead to great and positive contributions on the road to becoming eco-friendly. While on our class trip to DC, the students noticed and informed me excitedly each time they found a restaurant that used eco friendly products, paper straws, and had vegan or vegetarian food choices. They are taking notice and acting in a positive way. I love this! Positive mind, body, and soul, reflect entirely everywhere you go.  

What has changed in my life?

Paper, glass, and stainless straws have replaced all plastic straws - even my glove box has a stash of paper straws for on the go!

Plastic bags are no longer a part of my grocery shopping- I bring my reusable totes and store them in my car for easy access and no excuses.

All of my sinks are armed with glass refillable soap dispensers.

I do not leave the house without my reusable cup

I am always looking for the best way to carry my go to products that I use while I am out, and am never without my backpack

Sandwich and storage bags do not live in my cupboard any longer, they have been replaced by reusable and resealable paper lunchskins.

I also have invested in glass canning style jars to house my fruits, yogurts, and other lunch foods that I pack into my reusable lunch bag for school.  The local farmers market is my favorite place to stock up on seasonal fruits and veggies to freeze in my glass canning jars. I am brainstorming a way to get rid of the plastic clam shell style containers that riddle the produce section at all grocery stores. There has to be a better solution.  Any thoughts??

My hair products have been revamped, as I have switched from potentially dangerous chemical filled brands to products free of parabens and dyes, that are nontoxic, cruelty free, and responsibly sourced. Through this journey I have also learned just because something says they are organic or vegan, does not necessarily mean it is good for you. I used to use random shampoos and conditioners like Herbal Essence that made my hair smell good and feel clean, thinking the labels and taglines meant they were okay. I had not imagined how many toxic ingredients were lathered into my hair and skin on a daily basis.

Now that I have had my eyes opened and my mind educated, my hair shines, smells amazing, and I have natural ingredients flowing from my pores.  I have noticed my hair change and grow into a better version of what it once was. My skin is healthy, hydrated, and I feel amazing about the products that I am using as well as rinsing down my drain.

My beauty regime has also made gains. I use an amazing hemp face scrub daily, natural body lotion, and even my makeup is being transitioned - my goal is for all the ingredient lists on my products to be gone from oh my gosh look at all of these unpronounceable things to a quick and painless list of oils and extracts found in nature.

I have realized that all eco friendly makeup is not created equally. I am not a fan of Burt's Bees foundational powder because it shows every line clearly- the things you want concealed are highlighted. Also, the lipstick bleeds and does nothing for a fresh face.

Blogger Note: This is one main recurring difficulty for beauty products (particularly makeup) I have found and have heard many others complain about (especially in the US) - the quality isn't always matched yet, or the ones that have great reviews are priced really high so it is hard for most consumers to make the decision to buy it. I mean, what happens if it isn't good or doesn't meet your needs?? It can be a waste of money and of product - no good! That's why samples can be such a help. Now if only beauty counters offered natural ranges to test in shops!

I am still working to improve and be informed while making eco friendly lifestyle changes, but having the opportunity to read The ecoLogical and see so many reviews, and being able to discuss product ingredients over the phone (and now in the store during this visit) has been a terrific eye opening experience that has lead me in the right direction. With all the information in hand, I've been able to make some new discoveries of my own, including

Bamboo or Hemp Dresses, Socks, and Leggings: most of these come from one of my favorite local stores, Ava Grace Fashions. My hemp leggings in particular are amazing - I love them with my whole being. They are my favorite go to legging. Comfy, soft, breathable, and long lasting. I have had them for over five years and they are just as comfy and only starting to get a few wear marks.   Lunchskins Paper Storage Bags: My husband is still rummaging around for a plastic sandwich bag and is slowing understanding that they no longer are welcome in our cupboards. I love these bags and bought three sets while I was out at Target. Love the amount of space they provide, and the little seal holds everything tight.  We currently have a half of an onion in one- no smell, eco friendly, storage sealed tight- winner, winner!

SipSwell H2O stainless bottle: I take these everywhere and fill them with water and homemade tea. I have them at school and fill them throughout the day. Keep my water cold and my body refreshed throughout the day.

Strawsome Glass Straw: an amazing glass straw with a lifetime replacement guarantee.  It is easy to wash and is super sturdy. My go to at school for my afternoon iced coffee pick me up!

Vince Camuto Vegan Leather Tote: fits an amazing amount of stuff in it! I've got books, wallet, keys, lotion, make up and my water bottle. If you stash a few things in the mini pocket you are all set for a day out. I usually have hair ties, bobby pins, and a lip gloss in mine.

Coola Sunscreen: does not burn or irritate my face like many sunscreens do.  It is a lotion and goes on so nicely. It lasts and I have not been plagued by a sunburn when I wear it for long periods of time.  I love the small packaging and it is an essential in my summer time backpack.

Wonder Seed Face Scrub: my absolute favorite gift that I received as far as skincare is concerned. It is a hemp seed face scrub and when it runs out, I am going to be very sad.  I use it daily and it leaves my face feeling so fresh and clean. Until I discovered this beauty, I used Dove Bar soap for the past 15 plus years. Hmmm, who says change is not a good thing? Best decision ever!

and ellovi Lip Butter: this lives right inside my wallet. I've got the mint chocolate version and it is divine. It makes my lips feel soft and lasts ages.  Not to mention the taste is like a calorie free treat!

I also am an avid supporter of small local businesses and farms that work very hard for little appreciate and pay. I love shopping with them and discovering new eco friendly products. One of my favorite balms and oils come from a local small business in Western New York, Dandelions and Dreams.  The balms, chapstick, bug spray, and roller essential oils are homemade from ingredients found in nature.

Some other staples in my current beauty routine are Balm Balm's Tea Tree Organic Face Balm, Acure Mega Moisture Argan Oil & Pumpkin Shampoo (or the Coconut one if I can't find that), My.Haircare infuse My. colour Treat, and Burt's Bees Body Lotion for my new tattoo. I keep things minimal, and try to pick multi-taskers to cut down on products.

Life is leading me on a journey filled with education, nature, adventure, and fun.  I am striving to surround myself and others with eco friendly products to ensure they are heading into a healthy lifestyle as well.  Fuel your body with natural foods, surround yourself with nature and a healthy lifestyle, and provide your mind with the information necessary to be your best self.  Educate yourself on the products that you use, where they come from, the packaging, and be mindful of your purchases.

Do you need it, will you use it, is there something better than this item, will you love it?

Be a voice for our planet, be an advocate for yourself and others, and enjoy each moment, celebrate yourself, love yourself, be kind... Why? Because this is your best life.


  1. A great post! Some amazing household swaps too x

    1. aw thanks! my mom will be happy to hear you enjoyed x

  2. I love your mom already! Also the ripple effects of your efforts are clearly visible. I notice that in my own life too - I notice product changes in my friends bathrooms, even if they pretend they "don't care" about the switch to the natural side. I recently did a happy little dance when my friend who was the hardest to convince came back from holidays having bought a natural lotion :) I was yes, finally!


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