Eco-friendly

My Bulk Aisle Favorites.

Hello, my dear friends! And a happy Monday to you all! As always, the weekend seemed to go by much too fast. I had such a lovely little weekend. This weekend we went to Traverse City’s co-op, which made me a a mite homesick, but also got me thinking about how wonderful the bulk aisle is… I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favorite things to buy in bulk! And I’m sure everyone knows what it means, but I’ll explain it all the same, as I can’t quite seem to think of how to differentiate that I don’t mean buying massive quantities when I say bulk. I mean when you’re able to bring in your own jars to a store and are able to fill it up with all sorts of wonderful goodies. Rice, nuts, oatmeal, olive oil, coffee… the list goes on and on. Speaking of, here’s my list!

1.Popcorn! Popcorn is such a wonderful snack, and it can also be used for scrumptious trail mixes. Put in some chocolate chips, some nuts, and a dried fruit, and you are all set! I also love how popcorn tastes when you make it on the stove as opposed to some microwave popcorn. Especially since you’re able to control just what goes into it. It’s especially nice for those who may be a bit weary of microwaves, or for those who do not own one!

2. Vanilla! This is actually the main reason I decided a trip to the co-op was absolutely necessary. I used up the last drops of mine making cookies. Vanilla can be SO expensive. Buying it in bulk is so great because you’re able to get just the right amount. And at some co-ops, you even get a discount for bringing in your own container! Which was the case at the Traverse City one! Yay! Which is double good news because I have a bunch of bananas right now just begging to become banana bread!

3. Oatmeal! Oatmeal is a great option for breakfast. Put some almond milk in there, paired with some chocolate chips, brown sugar, maybe some cinnamon, and you’ve got yourself a very delicious little meal! And of course how can you go wrong with oatmeal cookies? Oatmeal is a wonderful staple to have in your kitchen. It can be dressed up so many ways, and when you buy it plain, and in bulk, you’re able to dress it up however you desire.

4. Cumin! Cumin is one of my favorite spices to season things with, and I absolutely love being able to buy spices in bulk. Sometimes you have a recipe that has a really obscure spice, and you may need jut a teeny tiny bit of it. Cumin isn’t one such spice, but I enjoy buying it in bulk all the same!

5.Coffee! Buying coffee in bulk is such a great option if you’re trying to figure out what sort of roast you like. And it’s also really nice if you’ve made the switch to a reusable k-cup or if you use a regular ol’ coffee maker. A bonus of buying coffee in bulk is that most co-ops have a grinder in store, so you can grind it right then and there!

6.Garlic powder! Garlic powder is probably my absolute favorite spice to cook with, and it does not last long in my home. I love buying it in bulk because I can buy copious amounts to fulfill all my kitchen’s garlic needs.

7. Granola! I love buying granola in bulk as opposed to a bagged granola, or even a breakfast cereal because it cuts down on SO MUCH waste. All that plastic used to package the granola and/or cereal is insane! I find this to be a much better option.

8. Olive Oil! The bulk aisle has liquids, too! I think olive oil is such a staple for any kitchen, and being able to buy it in bulk is such a wonderful option. I especially love it because once you find a nice glass jar to use, you can fill it up over and over.

9.Flour! Another staple for the kitchen. And how cute do little reused jars look when they’re filled to the brim with flour? I even labeled mine, “flour power”, hehehe.

10. Sugar! Sugar is the last option I will mention on my list today. I use it in my baking a lot, and it’s always nice to be fully stocked up on sugar. You never know what baking fun you may need it for…

And a little side note, my dear friends! There are certainly items that I’ve bought in bulk that I ended up not finding a use for. I went a little crazy on some items in the bulk section because I thought that I would use them, and yet here they are…. still sitting in my cabinets. I’m looking at you chia seeds… just because buying in bulk is less waste than some other purchases, if you don’t use the item, it’s still being wasted!. Be mindful with all of your purchases, even if they are done with the best of intentions. Be honest and practical when shopping!

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

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Eco-friendly

I Made the Switch to Reusable K-Cups!

Hello, my friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful, caffeinated Wednesday! Or if you are less  caffeine addicted than I am, I hope that you are having a wonderful Wednesday all the same!

I drink coffee every single day, one or two cups per day. Last summer I was able to ween myself off of drinking coffee, but here we are… there are certainly worse vices…

A vice related to my coffee drinking, but not a result of the actual act of coffee drinking… was using k-cups that WEREN’T REUSABLE. I had even tried to use a reusable k-cup! I bought one and everything, but it did not work! For whatever reason, it wasn’t compatible with my Keurig. And as guilty as I feel saying this… I just didn’t try to make it work or even buy a new one… until now.

Today is day one of using my reusable k-cup and I am NOT going back. I will say that it is a little bit more labor intensive, as you have to clean it out, but that’s really not a problem for me.

On the Midwest Mattie blog we are all about saving money AND saving the Earth. Making coffee at home is already better for your pocketbook and for the Earth, but if you are using a Keurig, I couldn’t recommend purchasing a reusable K-cup enough.

I’m trying to make changes in my lifestyle that are doable, and sustainable. It doesn’t do much good for us if we try to make too big of a change at once, and then ultimately give up because it was too much, too fast. And I understand the allure of going big or going home, but I think that going at a pace that works for us and will continue to work for us is the best way to go about change. And being HONEST with ourselves. Only we can know 100% if we are doing our best to be sustainable. People have different factors in their lives that may change their ability to make an assorted amount of change in their own lives.

Thinking about things that we do EVERY SINGLE DAY that we can change is important. Despite my best efforts, there are days when I get a coffee from a coffee shop and it’s in a plastic cup. And I always feel guilty when I do that, but it is not an every day thing. We will all make mistakes. We cannot be in complete control of our lives and our surroundings 100% of the time. We just can’t.  We have to do our honest best.

Thank you so much for reading, friends!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Decorating · Eco-friendly · OOTD

A Home Decor and Fall Fashion Goodwill Haul.

Hello, friends! Happy Wednesday! I hope that your week is going well! I’ve had quite the busy little week, and have been on a mission to get to decorating our apartment. Which you can see if you read this blog post. I wanted to take a trip to the thrift store to find some more pieces to add. And boy oh boy, did I find some treasures — the Goodwill here in Traverse City is phenomenal!

These boots! Oh my gosh. As if I wasn’t already plenty excited for fall… I’ve been wanting a pair of brown boots for awhile, and here they are! They’re a seven and a half, which is half a size bigger than what I usually wear, but with socks on, they fit perfectly! I picture many a cute outfits completed with these boots.

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This little sunflower piece! It’s so stinking cute and it fits in so well with all my other decor. When I took the Goodwill sticker off of it, some of the paint came off, so I put it behind this faux ivy to cover it up! It uses the space really well, and makes it look even more complete! Above the counter is quickly becoming my favorite part of our apartment.

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Isn’t this little basket the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? And believe it or not, these soaps are from Goodwill as well. I recently finished up my liquid soap and wanted to make the switch to bar soap, as it’s so much better for the environment! And they fit so nice in this little basket! It also looks so dang adorable on our countertop.

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This sweater!!! Oh my gosh! It was brand spankin’ new — with tags and everything! From the Gap! And it was originally $30! I was so happy to find this! And again, it’ll be perfect for fall, or even a summer night over a sundress. It’s so stinkin’ cute.

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This dress is probably my favorite find of the whole trip! It’s from L.L Bean, and it’s actually from the petite section which is awesome because I’m a bit on the short side… It is the coziest dress ever and I love this blue color! I paired it with some white flip flops and it was perfect. I also have a white denim jacket that I think it would look amazing with.

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We also bought some cups, but they’re fairly standard, so I didn’t bother taking photos of them. And a pan! But again, not super exciting! We were excited about them, which I suppose is just part of becoming adults. Ha!

Thank you so much for reading, friends!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

Eco-friendly

Five of my Favorite Eco Tips.

Hello, friends! And a happy Monday to you! As we settle back into our routines after that wonderful long weekend, I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to be eco-friendly on a day-to-day basis! I think that they’re all super simple, and easy to add to most routines!

  1. Use the backs of paper before recycling them. This one may seem a tad obvious, but I thought I’d mention it all the same. I use old pieces of paper for many things, grocery lists, to-do lists, and just small little reminders. I don’t buy sticky notes at all, I can’t seem to find a need to. I will cut up bigger sheets of paper into fours and have a little pile of paper that can be used for notes! Such a simple thing, but I make sure that I don’t recycle a piece of paper before I’ve used both sides!
  2. Reuse spaghetti jars. I know how tempting it can be to want to buy brand new jars that all match to hold bulk items in, but that’s really not necessary. If you’re buying food items that come in glass jars, they’re super handy to keep and use when buying bulk items, or even for organization of smaller items. I like to use old jam jars to hold bobby pins or makeup brushes. If the sticky adhesive doesn’t come off right away, you can always use a bit of an essential oil, and that generally does the trick. If you’re wanting jars for a bit more of a decorative use, you can always wrap some twine or fabric scraps around it to make it look a bit cuter.
  3. Do not buy things simply because they are cheap. Even if you’re buying secondhand. It’s so easy to get swept up in a good deal, but it’s not always in our best interest to purchase things. If we have no use for an item, it’ll just sit around our home, collecting dust. There could be someone else out there that could genuinely make use of it, so we ought to leave it for them. This would also probably be my number one tip for thrift shopping.
  4. Know when to buy things NEW. I’m especially guilty of doing this when it comes to jeans. I’ll buy a pair of jeans from Goodwill that don’t fit me especially well, and wear them until they inevitably tear from being ill-fitting, only to have to go back to Goodwill to buy a new pair. After doing this for a couple of years, I finally bit the bullet and bought two new pairs of Levi’s, because they fit me very well, and I know that they will last me for years. This may not always be in one’s budget, but I would definitely recommend figuring out if items you buy will be costing more money in the end.
  5. Opt for no receipt/do bills online. Some stores do not offer this option, but I try to do it whenever I’m able. For example, with Consumer’s Energy, I only receive my bill online, as opposed to also getting it in the mail. This saves some paper, and you’ll also have a record of your bills online. Additionally, some stores will allow you to opt for a receipt sent to your email, instead of a physical one. Not all stores do, and if that’s the case… look to my first tip for how to deal with that!

 

And remember, something is better than nothing. As long as we’re doing on our honest best, I think that we should be proud of ourselves.

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Crafting · Eco-friendly

Sewing Stories: Reusable “Cotton” Pads.

Hello, friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful Monday so far! I had a lovely weekend, which was, of course, too short. A wonderful, simple, little weekend. Going to lunch with my friend Tenley at Ponder, wandering around an estate sale, and SEWING!

I’ve seen so many different DIY’s for making these little “cotton” pads, but I thought I’d share my experience. In everything I do, I’m quite utilitarian. Food? Tasty, but not pretty. Home decor: Useful first, cuteness last. (I know, shocking!) And sewing… As long as the stitches keep things together, I’m fine. Pretty stitching is not my top priority.

I find these pads to be pretty darn cute, but that’s mostly likely because I find everything small to be adorable. I’m sure that someone who is better at sewing could make these even cuter, but I think that all in all, they turned out pretty well! They did what they were supposed to do — remove makeup!

Materials Needed:

  • I used terry cloth. If you have any old towels that are getting a little dingy, you could use those as well.
  • circle stencil. This can be all sorts of things, get creative! I used a small glass, but you could choose so many different things. A cookie cutter, an old jar, or even the bottom of a shampoo bottle! Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s just a bit bigger than your desired size, because you’ll lose a little material from cutting and sewing.
  • Some paper, for said stenciling. I recommend reusing some recycled paper for this step! I used the paper that came attached to the fabric.
  • Pins, for two different steps. Very important!
  • Sewing needle, or a sewing machine. (I sewed this by hand. A sewing machine is on the top of my want list, though…)
  • Thread. I used a thread that was close to the color of my cloth, but it could also be cute if you chose a contrasting color!

Okay, friends! Here we go!

Step One. I used my stencil to make a circle on the piece of paper. I suppose some people may be able to free-hand this, but I wasn’t taking any chances! Once you’ve traced it, cut it out!

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Step Two. After you cut out the stencil, pin it to the fabric. I also pinned the fabric to itself so that it wouldn’t shift at all, as shown in the below picture.

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Step Three. I cut out the circles two at a time. You could do more or less, depending on how thick your fabric is.

Step Four. Depending on how thick you want these to be, you can do varying layers of fabric. I chose to do three.

Step Five. I sewed all three of the pieces together! There are so many ways that you could go about this, but I just sewed all the way around the little circle, nothing fancy. If you want to speed up the process, you could definitely use a sewing machine.

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Step Six. Remove any loose strands and snip any excess fabric.

Step Seven. Remove your makeup! Yay!

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Thank you so much for reading, my friends! I had such a fun time with these. They were SUPER easy to do. And they worked like a charm, too!

Happy crafting!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Eco-friendly

5 Things to Switch out for an Eco-Friendly Lunch.

Hi, friends! Happy Wednesday! (Although it may be Thursday by the time this goes up…)Hope that your week is going great so far! I had originally planned to make this post Monday, but time really got away from me. I ended up doing a bunch of homework and laundry instead of getting time to work on my blog. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I’ve been working extra hard trying to publish more frequently and on a schedule. Currently, I’m trying to post Monday’s and Friday’s. Does anyone have thoughts on the idea of having a schedule? Suggested post dates and suggested frequency of posts?

ANYWAYS…

I did my weekly grocery shopping last night and bought something that I have wanted for years — bee’s wrap! And this got me thinking about how I really need to start consistently packing my lunch for when I’m on campus.  There are so many benefits to packing your own lunch, it’s cheaper, you’re able to eat whatever you want, and it’s good for the environment! I thought I’d compile a little list of things that I’ve found to be helpful when packing my lunch!

  1. A water bottle! Or really, any reusable drink container. I’ve sometimes used old jars as water bottles! One thing that I love about my college’s campus is that there are water-filling stations all over the place, so I’m able to fill up my water bottle with zero waste and zero cost. And of course, if you’re someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy water, you can always fill it up with a different beverage! I also like to bring my coffee to campus in a reusable cup! Even more money saved!
  2. Tupperware! This is probably a pretty obvious one, but I thought I’d mention it regardless! It’s perfect if you have leftovers from the night before that you want to get eaten up. That’s what I usually do! I personally think there’s no better lunch than last night’s dinner! And tupperware is super easy to transport and it’s pretty secure, so you won’t have any spills! (Hopefully)
  3. Silverware! This is one that I really need to start working on. So often I bring my lunch and then forget silverware so I have to grab some plastic utensils from one of the restaurants on campus. Which I hate having to do! So, I try to bring whatever utensil(s) I’ll need and then after lunch, I just rinse them off in the bathroom so that they don’t make a mess in my backpack. And then I wash it when I get home! Super handy.
  4. Reusable napkins! Here’s another one I really need to start working on. But this one is super important, too. If you bring a reusable napkin with you, you won’t be stuck with spaghetti sauce coating your face, on the off chance wherever you are doesn’t have any napkins. It’s also so much better for the environment and in most cases, it probably cleans up messes better!
  5. Bee’s Wrap! This is the one I’m most excited about! Like I said, I’ve been wanting to try this for so long and I’m going to use it to pack my peanut butter and jelly tomorrow! I have a full day of classes, so I’m curious to see how it will hold up! Maybe I can do a blog post about my experiences with it? This is such a great alternative to plastic baggies, I can already tell!

What do y’all think? Do you have any special lunch-making tips and tricks? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae