Real Christmas Trees or Fake Ones: Which is More Eco-Friendly?

Friday, December 8, 2017


By: Ariana Palmieri
This time of year, everyone seems to debate over the same thing: Which is more eco-friendly, real Christmas trees or fake ones? Often times, people believe they are making a better choice for the environment by getting a fake tree. They say "I'm saving a tree from being cut down, so isn't that a good thing?" Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are a variety of factors to consider. In order for a artificial tree to be environmentally friendly, you'd have to use it for several years. To put it shortly, real Christmas trees are more eco-friendly and sustainable. But in order to make sure you make the most earth-friendly choice this holiday season, I crafted a handy guide that gives you all the details you need to know about real trees and fake trees. Here's what you need to know.
_______________________________

The Ultimate Zero Waste Gift Guide

Friday, December 1, 2017

zero waste gift guide

by: Ariana Palmieri
With the holidays upon us, it's so important to shop responsibly. So much waste is produced this time of year. From plastic gifts to wrapping paper, it's literally a zero waster's nightmare. That's why I decided to create the ultimate zero waste gift guide. It will help you come up with great, sustainable gift ideas for everyone on your list. So if you're struggling to find a gift for that special someone, scroll down and see all of the options. I guarantee you'll walk away with at least one or two good ideas.

Review: Plaine Products - Zero Waste Shampoo + Conditioner

Friday, November 24, 2017

Plaine Products Review
By: Ariana Palmieri


Did you know only 10-20% of a plastic bottle can actually be recycled successfully? Even that portion is often downgraded into another lower form of single-use plastic (not exactly zero waste, if you ask me). Due to this downgrading process, all recycling does is delay the inevitable: Plastic's trip to the landfill. There, it will last hundreds or thousands of years. The plastic that does avoid going to the landfill will probably just end up polluting our oceans and waterways (and possibly even end up in your food - no joke!). Suffice it to say, recycling is a good place to start, but a bad place to stop. That's why I'm excited to talk about Plaine Products with you: They're an eco-friendly brand that packages their all-natural shampoo and conditioner in refillable aluminum bottles. That's right: Aluminum bottles (not plastic ones!). This is a pretty big deal, considering aluminum bottles can be recycled over and over again without any quality loss. In fact, recycling aluminum requires less energy than was needed to make the bottles in the first place. Plaine Products also make other products as well (body wash, hand wash, and body lotion), and all of them are natural, vegan, cruelty-free and refillable! I was lucky enough to try out their shampoo and conditioner and I've been using it for a full month. Want to see what I thought? Here's my review.

12 DIY Mason Jar Gift Ideas for Any Occasion

Friday, November 10, 2017

mason jar gift ideas

By: Ariana Palmieri

Do you have a birthday or holiday coming up? No matter the occasion, mason jar gifts are my go-to solution. They're super cool because the person receiving the gift gets two gifts: Whatever's inside the mason jar, and the mason jar itself. Unlike wrapping paper, they won't be carelessly tossed out (and create more waste). What could be better (especially for the green-minded)? Here are 12 of my favorite zero waste mason jar gift ideas. These gifts are perfect for any occasion (not just Christmas), so feel free to get inspired!

5 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving

Friday, November 3, 2017

eco-friendly thanksgiving

By: Ariana Palmieri

If you love celebrating Thanksgiving, you're not alone. Many Americans do: It's a time where friends and family get to come together, talk, and feast. There's just one problem with this holiday: It takes a huge toll on the environment. Between all the traveling, food, and waste we produce in this one day, it's hardly sustainable. That's why I've devised this simple guide to help you turn this holiday around: Here's 5 ways to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving! 

Fire Cider Recipe: Holistic Immune Booster

Friday, October 27, 2017

fire cider recipe

By: Ariana Palmieri

If there's one thing no one likes, it's being sick. Colds and flus suck, but what if I told you an herbal tonic could help prevent them? Introducing fire cider: A powerful holistic immune booster. With autumn here, and winter right around the corner, it's so important to stay on top of your health. This tonic will help you do exactly that: It's designed to produce natural antibiotic, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory activity in the body. It also increases blood circulation and lymph flow in all parts of the body, and contains natural antioxidants. How amazing is that? But what exactly is fire cider? Essentially, it's the perfect blend of hot, spicy, pungent, and sweet flavors steeped in apple cider vinegar. There are many variations to this tonic, but the original (created by Rosemary Gladstar, a master herbalist, in the early 1980s), calls for garlic, onions, horseradish, ginger root, hot peppers, sometimes turmeric, and often echinacea. 

Why You Should Avoid Face Paint This Halloween

Friday, October 20, 2017

face paint

By: Ariana Palmieri

With Halloween fast approaching, you can expect to see a lot of people wearing face paint. Stores like Party City, CVS, and even supermarkets are selling it like crazy. There's only one problem: Face paint is loaded with toxins, especially face paint meant for children. I don't mean to scare you, but according to a 2009 study conducted by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, lead, nickel, cobalt and chromium were found in most children's face paint. To make matters worse, these products were still labeled "hypoallergenic" and "FDA compliant", despite containing these known toxins and allergens. Isn't that ridiculous? Well it gets even more terrible: Those findings were again reconfirmed in 2014 when the FDA themselves tested 10 face paints for heavy metals and detected lead in all 10 samples (along with other hazardous metals). There's no safe level of exposure to lead, so it's not exactly a comforting find.

How to Shop Zero Waste at the Farmers Market

Friday, October 13, 2017

zero waste farmers market

By: Ariana Palmieri

It's 11 a.m. on a Saturday and it feels like everyone is at the farmers market today. I walk up to the compost bin with my mom and dump our food scraps from this week into it. The food scraps stink, but they'll become beautiful, fertile compost in no time, thanks to John (who manages the compost pails at my market). After a quick chat with him (probably about the native plants), me and my mom head over to the booths. There's so much produce and it changes with the passing seasons. I get my cloth produce bags ready and put some apples in one of them. I pay for them after they're weighed, no questions asked. Then, I put the produce bag in my reusable tote bag and move on to the next booth with my mom. We pretty much repeat the same process: Food goes into cloth bag, it gets weighed, we pay for it, we put it in the tote bag. This is how we shop zero waste at the farmers market every week. 

How to Create an Eco Garden

Friday, October 6, 2017

eco garden

By: Ariana Palmieri

Have you ever heard of the term eco garden? An eco garden is both a mix of nature and garden. Most conventional gardens contain invasive species and pests are killed using harmful pesticides. Not an eco garden: It's designed to operate like a mini ecosystem in and of itself, with a little human help along the way. Most eco gardens contain native species, organic pesticides, and natural predators (animals that eat pests - lady bugs, birds, etc.). They are safe havens for wildlife and help reduce your environmental footprint.

Zero Waste Living: How to Make DIY Deodorant

Friday, September 29, 2017

DIY deodorant

By: Ariana Palmieri

Have you ever tried making your own zero waste deodorant? If not, maybe you should. A bunch of harmful ingredients can be found lurking in conventional deodorant (aluminium anyone?). Not to mention most deodorants are packaged in plastic, which is not ideal if you follow the zero waste movement. Every piece of plastic ever created still exists on this earth! We don't need any more of it, especially not in deodorant form.

Are You Eating Plastic?

Friday, September 22, 2017

eating plastic

By: Ariana Palmieri

Here's an unconventional question for you: Are you eating plastic? Most of us would outright say "no, of course not!" but are you so sure? I'm not. You see, while you might not be putting a fresh piece of plastic on your plate, it might be contaminating your food. 

Healthy Eating: Your Guide to Clean Eating

Friday, September 15, 2017

clean eating

By: Ariana Palmieri

You've probably heard of clean eating before, but what exactly is it? In simple terms, eating clean simply means avoiding processed and refined foods and basing your diet on whole foods. It's great for those looking to lose weight, remove toxins, and overall feel better. Creating a clean eating plan, or a guide, will really help you achieve these goals. Plus it will give you the proper nutrition your body may be lacking from eating too much processed foods. Please use this post as a guide to jump start your own healthy eating plan today: It will tell you the basic principles of this diet, the benefits of this diet, and exactly what you need to get started. There are tons of eating clean recipes out there (which I encourage you to look up), but I will be sharing one at the end of this post to get you started. 

Zero Waste Living: 4 Green Beauty Brands That Offer Refills

Friday, September 8, 2017

green beauty brands

By: Ariana Palmieri

Zero waste beauty isn't exactly the easiest part of this journey. There are so many amazing green beauty products out there, but most of them are packaged in plastic! It's incredibly frustrating, especially when you know your state does not recycle cosmetics properly in any shape or form. Sure, you can DIY a few things, but what if your DIYs keep flopping? What if you just don't like crafting your own products? Thankfully, there are some brands out there that are a little more eco-savvy than the rest.

Zero Waste Living: The Art of Saying "No" to Single-Use Plastic

Friday, September 1, 2017

single use plastic

By: Ariana Palmieri

You've got all the zero waste tools: Reusable straws, cloth napkins and stainless steel cutlery. You're ready to hit the town and do your thing. You head on over to a restaurant and you order yourself a nice drink, feeling good about yourself. You're all ready to use your reusable straw, which you recently bought. The problem? Your drink comes with a plastic straw.

Indoor Container Gardening: 3 Fruits to Grow This Summer

Friday, August 25, 2017

indoor container gardening

By: Ariana Palmieri

To me, there's nothing better than eating watermelon on a hot summer day. The juice that drips down your chin is sublime, and for a moment you can almost forget any woes of the day. That's probably why I love fruit so much: Their sweetness comforts me without making me feel guilty (can't say the same after eating ice cream). In summer, fruit is at their peak, and there's an overwhelming abundance of it that needs savoring.

Zero Waste Lifestyle: 20 Ways to Have a Zero Waste Kitchen

Friday, August 18, 2017

zero waste kitchen

By: Ariana Palmieri

Take a quick look at the items in your kitchen: What items do you use over and over again, and which do you toss after one use? For me, paper towels and napkins come to mind. For the longest time, my parents and I would constantly toss both those single use items in the trash, dooming them to a landfill. Well, not anymore! Thanks to learning more and more about the zero waste community, I decided to invest in a compost pail. It fits on my kitchen counter and is great for collecting food scraps...but that's not all it collects. I put used paper towels and napkins in there too! The guy we donate our food scraps to every Saturday (he's at our local farmers market) said it's completely fine to add these because they decompose. So, while it's not a completely zero waste solution, it's definitely better than tossing them in the trash.

My Top 5 Zero Waste Travel Essentials

Friday, August 11, 2017

zero waste travel essentials

By: Ariana Palmieri

I love eating out. Something about it is just so much fun: You don't have to worry about cooking and you can pretty much eat anything you want based on what you're craving. Japanese anyone? There's only one problem: Waste. At most eateries, they'll serve the food with silverware, cloth napkins, and reusable cups, but not every restaurant is the same. I've encountered my fair share of restaurants (and food courts) that use plastic straws, paper napkins, and even plastic cutlery. Since I eat out at least once a week, I decided it was time to create a zero waste travel essentials kit for myself. That way, I'd be prepared for (almost) anything that was thrown my way. I hope by showing you what's in mine, it will inspire you to make your own, or improve upon the one you already have.

Review: The Little Flower - A Peak Inside My (Nearly) Zero Waste Nail Polish Bag

Friday, August 4, 2017

zero waste nail polish bag

By: Ariana Palmieri

Are you the sort of girl who loves getting her nails done? I'm not. In fact, the last time I got my nails done was back in February of this year. I know, crazy right? Thing is, I hate the smell of nail polish and also, as a green beauty blogger, know that nail polish can never be all natural. At least, not if you're looking for a diverse set of colors. That said, you can come close, and I particularly love using Pacifica's 7-free nail polish. They're free from 7 toxic chemicals typically found in most nail polishes, such as parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animals. They also come with a vegan brush and are completely cruelty-free.

Indoor Container Gardening: 3 Vegetables to Grow This Summer

Friday, July 28, 2017

indoor container gardening

By: Ariana Palmieri

Back when I was little, my mom was a home health aid and would take me with her (sometimes) to client's homes. I remember one of her clients quite fondly: He had a really quaint backyard garden that looked absolutely massive to little me. He didn't mind letting me look at any of the plants either, which made my little inquisitive mind all the happier. Every summer, his garden had an abundance of vegetables growing in it: Squash, pepper, eggplant, tomatoes. I loved spending time in it, but I was careful never to disturb his plants, out of respect for both the garden and the gardener. I guess that's where my love for plants, gardening, and summer started. To me, summer wouldn't be summer without seeing some sort of vegetation popping out from some nice, earthy soil. To celebrate my mother's client who loved growing vegetables before I ever could, I dedicate this post to him. After all, this post is all about vegetables!

Review: StrawSleeves - The Sustainable Way to Carry Reusable Straws

Friday, July 21, 2017

strawsleeves review

By: Ariana Palmieri

It's a crowded ice cream shop at 8 o'clock. There are little kids, parents, and teenagers everywhere, all of them eating ice cream or drinking bubble tea. You can't help but notice everything they put near their mouth is a plastic spoon or a plastic straw. You think about how much waste is produced by this single ice cream shop every night, considering there's at least twenty people surrounding you at the moment. Thankfully, you won't be contributing to that waste. You pull out your reusable straw from your bag. It's being protected by a uniquely beautiful denim straw sleeve. You don't go anywhere without this sleeve: It keeps your straw safe from touching anything else in your bag. Also, thanks to its special design, your straw stays put in there and doesn't slip out. You put the sleeve on the table you're sitting at and use your straw to drink the bubble tea you ordered and can't help but notice people are watching you. They don't say anything, but you can see they're intrigued by your straw, and its sleeve. Some people even smile at you and compliment your straw, or ask about the sleeve, which leads to a conversation on zero waste living. When you're done drinking, you wipe off the straw using a reusable napkin (you'll clean it when you get home) and put it back in its sleeve. Guess what? You just saved one more plastic straw from being wasted. Not to mention, you got other people interested in zero waste living too.  

Review: Cleo + Coco - Detox Deodorant + Detox Dust

Friday, July 14, 2017

cleo + coco review

By: Ariana Palmieri

Imagine having clean smelling, odor-free pits all the time. You would wake up in the morning without being greeted by B.O., and you wouldn't have to apply heaps of deodorant and perfume to get through the day. Even on hot, clammy days, or during intense workouts, your skin would still smell amazing and fresh. Is this even possible? The answer is yes, all thanks to Cleo and Coco, a company dedicated to making all-natural products that keep you dry and odor free all day long.

Review: Farmstead Naturals - Natural + Zero Waste Sunscreen

Friday, July 7, 2017

By: Ariana Palmieri
Summer heat is nothing to joke about: Without proper sunscreen, you can get seriously burnt, and the results won't be pretty. The trouble is, most sunscreens contain worrisome ingredients that I no longer feel comfortable putting on my skin. In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), "sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. The FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients". Scary, right?
Worse yet, sunscreens haven't been regulated since 1978 in the USA, and the SPF factor only tells you how effective a sunscreen is against UVB rays which can cause sunburn. What it doesn't tell you is how dangerous the ingredients in the sunscreen really are. According to a study in Environmental Science Technology, common sunscreen ingredients such as oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA are estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer. Just what you need, right? Wrong. I refuse to subject my skin to any of those ingredients, including any other possible chemicals.
That's where Farmstead Naturals comes in. While on a quest to find an all-natural sunscreen, I also took into account how most sunscreens are packaged in plastic. After learning about the zero waste movement, I've been trying to reduce my plastic footprint on this earth, so looking for a natural, zero waste sunscreen became a priority. Luckily, Farmstead Naturals shares similar ethics and packages their sunscreen in a reusable tin. Not to mention all the ingredients in it are super safe and totally natural (think shea butter, coconut oil, etc). Believe it or not, this sunscreen has an SPF of 25+, which works perfectly since most higher SPFs are misused (or don't actually work) anyway. But while this sunscreen seems to be absolutely perfect, there was one issue I was concerned about: Would it actually work? Would it prevent me from burning, like conventional sunscreens are said to do? How would my skin react to it? There was only one thing left to do: Try it out. Want to see what I thought? Read my review of this unconventional sunscreen below.
Farmstead Naturals review

 _________________________________________________

Farmstead Naturals review
  
Why you want it: This all-natural sunscreen is super moisturizing (it almost feels like you're applying a lotion instead of a sunscreen), while simultaneously keeping skin protected.
Its value: $5.59 - $11.98 (depends on the size you get - there are three different sizes available: 1 oz., 2 oz., or 4 oz. I have a 2 oz.)
My review: I know it can be scary to tamper with certain skincare products (especially sunscreen), but I just had to give this a try. I wanted to stop using chemical-filled sunscreen and reduce the amount of plastic in the environment. Not to mention I love supporting small businesses (and this is a woman-run Etsy business, so more power to it!). The founder of Farmstead Naturals is Crystal Ferenczi: She's a farm wife and a mother who lives in Deroche, Canada. She loves creating all-natural products for babies, moms, and everyone in between (aka, me). When I found out she made zero waste, all-natural sunscreen I just knew I had to try it out for myself. This sunscreen is made using coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, raspberry seed oil, vitamin e oil, carrot seed oil, zinc oxide, and beeswax.  Unfortunately it's not vegan, but I still prefer this to a chemical alternative. According to Crystal, the organic shea butter and coconut oil in this product are used as a base, and each have a natural SPF of 5-10. She also added non-nano organic zinc oxide powder (which won't get into the pores or bloodstream) for a natural SPF protection of around 25+. That's pretty awesome, if you ask me. Personally, I've used SPF 30 sunscreens all my life anyway, so having a sunscreen that's around that SPF sits well with me. While this sunscreen hasn't been evaluated by the FDA, it's important to remember most commercial sunscreens aren't either (similar to how makeup is unregulated by the FDA as well). That's why I was super excited to try this out for myself: That's the only real way I'd tell if it worked or not! Recently, I went up to Pennsylvania for the fourth of July weekend and I brought this with me. We were up there for four days, so I knew it would be the perfect place to test this baby out. Almost every day, I was out and about in the sun, so I knew it would come in handy. The second day up there, we went to the pool, and I knew it would be the ultimate test. I applied some of the sunscreen before we got there (it was super easy). All I did was open the tin, swipe my fingers into the sunscreen, and rub it in on the areas I wanted/needed coverage. I made sure to apply it on my face, arms, shoulders, neck, chest, belly, back, and legs. It applied white, but once I rubbed it in, it became transparent and left no visible residue. Crystal advised me to apply this sparingly to avoid greasiness, so I did. Usually I just needed two swipes of the stuff to cover a particular area. When I was done, my skin felt so nice and smooth (it also had a faint but pleasant smell I couldn't pin down - maybe a mix of coconut and carrot?). After I applied it, we went to the pool and I reapplied it about two more times while there: Once immediately after I got out of the water and dried off, and a second time while I was tanning. I would say I waited about one and a half hours each time before applying more. After we went back inside, I noticed that I certainly did get some color, but no burns! The only place my skin looked a little red was on my face, but that's because I didn't put as much on there as the rest of me. It wasn't painful at all (thought like sunburn usually is) and quickly transitioned into a tan practically the next day (without the flakiness). My skin felt even better and more nourished than before I used this stuff. So just to confirm: It works. It doesn't prevent me from tanning either, it simply protects me from burning, which is great (cause I love to tan, it looks nice). I made sure to apply the least amount to my face, just because my skin is acne-prone and sensitive, but I did make sure it got some sort of coverage. It made me break out a little bit, but nothing I couldn't handle. I prefer that to being burned, that's for sure. By the time I left for home, my skin was even, beautiful, and totally healthy. I highly recommend this luxurious sunscreen to anyone looking for a zero waste, all-natural alternative to conventional sunscreens. Bonus points?: It didn't leak in the bag I was carrying it in (thanks to it being packaged in a tin - instead of a squeezable tube - it was extra secure). Total win!
Ingredients:
Coconut oil, Shea Butter, Olive oil, Raspberry Seed oil, Vitamin e oil, Carrot seed oil, Zinc oxide, Beeswax
_________________________________________________ 
The (quick) Rundown
Farmstead Naturals review

The pros: The pros heavily outweigh the cons.
  1. Farmstead Naturals' founder, Crystal Ferenczi was very sweet to work with and quick to ship out my sample! I received it in less than 10 days.
  2. I love how the product is zero waste friendly: It's packed in a reusable tin that totally beats the plastic tubes most sunscreen comes in.
  3. I haven't finished using the sunscreen yet - I think it'll last me the rest of the summer!
  4. I adore how it's only made from a few, all-natural ingredients you can completely pronounce.
  5. The stuff actually works (and I have a nice tan now, instead of an icky sunburn). No fibs here!
  6. Using these products seriously minimizes the amount of waste and chemicals I put into the environment.
  7. I can just reuse the tin when I finish the sunscreen (maybe to hold small jewelry), instead of just throwing it out or recycling it. 
  8. There are so many health benefits to using the ingredients in these products (after all, half of the ingredients used moisturize the skin, instead of intoxicating it).
  9. My skin felt absolutely amazing after using the sunscreen - so smooth (and it smelled pretty nice too).
  10. It was handmade by a woman owned Etsy shop owner (so I know it was made with lots of love and not by a bunch of mechanical factory hands!).
  11. The sunscreen didn't melt/leak in my bag or anything like that (though it did get softer and more lotion-like when it encountered the heat from my hands. But this worked to my advantage and helped me apply it all the easier!).
The cons: The cons are ridiculously low.
  1. This product is not vegan (sorry all my vegan zero wasters).
  2. It came in a plastic shipping bag (but I recycled it, so not too big of a problem).
  3. It's not made in the USA, which means it has to travel a little farther to get to me (but it's better than it being made in China, that's for sure).
  4. It is a little greasy, so I wouldn't advise putting too much on the face (especially if you're acne-prone like me).
Conclusion: I highly recommend trying out Farmstead Naturals' sunscreen. It's all-natural, zero waste friendly, and actually works, so everybody wins. If you live in Canada, this is a great local brand for you to support. If you don't (and you're like me), you should still consider getting it. It will only take a few days to ship and Farmstead Naturals ships worldwide. This sunscreen is white but applies on clear when you rub it in (so no blotchy white spots!). Plus it won't leak in your bag (like most squeezable sunscreens), which is a great bonus. Do the environment (and yourself) a favor by getting your hands on this stuff. I can assure you, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how good it works. If you'd like, feel free to follow Farmstead Naturals on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates to their brand.

This post was sponsored by Farmstead Naturals. All thoughts remain honest and not influenced by a third party. 

Indoor Container Gardening: 3 Summer Herbs to Grow

Friday, June 30, 2017

By: Ariana Palmieri
The first plant I ever grew from seed was organic basil. I planted one tiny seed in a small terra cotta pot on my windowsill. I remember the day like it was yesterday. In that one moment I was filled with so much love and hope: I couldn't wait until it sprouted! And then, not even a week later, my baby basils were popping their little heads up. I couldn't have been prouder and more excited than I was at that moment. And you know what? That basil grew to be the tallest basil plant I've ever had (and the most beautiful too). It lasted all summer long and its leaves made great additions to pasta sauce. You can read more about my first basil plant here (warning: This is one of my very early blog posts, so it's not exactly written the same way my blog posts are now).
That said, it's no surprise basil has a special place in my heart. So of course I'd include it on my list of herbs to grow this summer. And the best part? It can be grown successfully in an indoor container garden. The other two herbs I'll be talking about are thyme and dill. While I can't say I've planted these two, I can say they do make great additions to anyone's home. Who doesn't want fresh herbs on the daily, after all? 
My first post in this series was about spring herbs. If you'd like to see the first article in this series, I got you covered. My second post was all about spring vegetables, and my third post was about spring fruits. If you enjoy this series, be sure to look out for another article at the end of every month. I publish every Friday, so look out for the next one July 28th!

indoor container gardening
_______________________________________
Basil
indoor container gardening


Definitely my favorite summer herb to grow, I highly recommend growing basil for beginners. It's not hard to do and basil isn't very knit picky. Plus, these make great additions to any pasta sauce (trust me on this one, I'm Italian). I've even heard basil is great for acne, due to its antibacterial properties. Maybe I'll grow this again sometime soon (I actually really miss my basil plant and still have seeds leftover).
You will need:
  • Basil seeds (preferably organic)
  • 6 inch clay pot with drainage hole
  • Organic potting soil (I got mine at Home Depot)
  • A dish, saucer, or tray to place under pot (to capture any water leaked out of drainage hole)
  • Sunny window (South, west, or east facing windows are best)

Directions:
  1. Fill your 6 inch clay pot with your organic potting soil.
  2. Now add some seeds to your soil. I recommend no more than 4 seeds per pot. Give them their space too: Seeds should be at least 3 - 6 inches apart.
  3. Now cover the seeds with some more soil, about 1/2 inch deep (in other words, don't bury them). Transfer the pot over to your chosen windowsill. Over the next few days, water by gently misting the soil, instead of with a watering can. Personally, I don't even use a watering can: I use an upcycled glass bottle. It's easier to water plants this way because there aren't several watering holes (just one) so I have better control over my watering.
  4. Watering: Once you start to see sprouts, now you can use your watering can (or for me, my upcycled glass bottle - which I painted and made look all pretty by the way). Make sure you water around the sprouts, not on them (sprouts are very fragile and you don't want them bending in awkward ways!). Water ONLY when the soil at the top is dry to the touch. I always watered my basil daily, but never over did it (just enough to make the soil moist).
  5. Sunlight: Basil needs at least 6 hours of sunlight. Essentially, that means don't even bother moving them away from the windowsill. They love sun and heat!
  6. Harvesting: To harvest basil, simply snip off a full grown leaf or two. Depending on how much you need, I wouldn't cut too much off. You want to let the basil grow back, so don't cut off more than you know you'll use. You can add it fresh to sauces, pestos, or stir-frys. You can also store it for later (here are a few clever ways to store basil).

_______________________________________
Dill
indoor container gardening

Dill is an all-around favorite herb in my household. I absolutely love putting it in my homemade veggie soups - and don't even get my started on those dill pickles. Have you ever seen the Rugrats episode where Tommy and friends all think Didi is planting more baby Dils? Sorry - I just had to reference that. Dill is just too close to my heart not to. I'm determined to grow it one day, especially since it's so easy to grow and too delicious not to. If you're curious, here are 8 yummy recipes to make using dill.
You will need:
  • Dill seeds (preferably organic - try to find dwarf dill seeds, since dill tends to grow very tall)
  • 6 - 8 inch clay pot with drainage hole
  • Organic potting soil (I got mine at Home Depot)
  • A dish, saucer, or tray to place under pot (to capture any water leaked out of drainage hole)
  • Sunny window (South, west, or east facing windows are best)
Directions:

  1. Fill your 6 - 8 inch clay pot with your organic potting soil
  2. Now add some seeds to your soil. I recommend no more than 1 seed per pot, as dill needs its space. It also doesn't take very well to being transplanted, so make sure you don't put it in anything smaller then what I recommended.
  3. Now cover the seeds with some more soil, about 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep (in other words, don't bury them). Transfer the pot over to your chosen windowsill. Over the next few days, water by gently misting the soil, instead of with a watering can.
  4. Watering: Once you start to see sprouts, now you can use your watering can (or for me, my upcycled glass bottle). Make sure you water around the sprouts, not on them (sprouts are very fragile and you don't want them bending in awkward ways!). Water ONLY when the soil at the top is dry to the touch. I always watered my basil daily, but never over did it (just enough to make the soil moist).
  5. Sunlight: Dill needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Essentially, that means don't even bother moving them away from the windowsill. If you have a windowsill that doesn't get that amount of sunlight, consider investing in grow lights.
  6. Harvesting: To harvest dill, wait 6 to 8 weeks after planting. As soon as the plant has four to five leaves, you can start harvesting. Pinch off the leaves or cut them with scissors from the stem base. To store dill, wash, trim, and chop the dill, allowing it to dry thoroughly. Then, freeze in ice cube trays with a bit of water. This way, your supply of dill will last you for 4 to 6 months!

_______________________________________
Thyme
indoor container gardening

Although I've never grown this plant myself, I can say my family does like to use it, especially for seasoning. It smells really good too. It's been said to be a little tricky in terms of growing it from seed, so you've been warned. If you'd like to take the easy way out, look for thyme cuttings or sprouts. Personally, I prefer a little bit of a challenge and love the joy I get from growing something from seed, so, I'd probably choose seed over pre-sprouted thyme. Thyme makes an excellent addition to meat-themed dishes. Here are a few thyme-inspired dishes that'll make you hungry.
You will need:
  • Thyme seeds, or pre-sprouted thyme (preferably organic)
  • 6 - 8 inch clay pot with a very good drainage hole
  • Organic potting soil (I got mine at Home Depot)
  • A dish, saucer, or tray to place under pot (to capture any water leaked out of drainage hole)
  • Sunny window (South, west, or east facing windows are best)
Directions:
  1. Fill your 6 - 8 inch clay pot with your organic potting soil.
  2. Now add some seeds, or sprouts, to your soil. I recommend no more than one seed/sprout per pot. Since thyme can be tricky to grow from seed, I'd suggest growing it in a few different pots, maybe two or three.
  3. Now cover the seeds with some more soil, about 1/2 inch deep (in other words, don't bury them). Transfer the pot over to your chosen windowsill. Over the next few days, water by gently misting the soil, instead of with a watering can. Personally, I don't even use a watering can: I use an upcycled glass bottle. It's easier to water plants this way because there aren't several watering holes (just one) so I have better control over my watering.
  4. Watering: Once you start to see sprouts, now you can use your watering can (or for me, my upcycled glass bottle). Make sure you water around the sprouts, not on them (sprouts are very fragile and you don't want them bending in awkward ways!). Water ONLY when the soil at the top is dry to the touch. Make sure the drainage in the pot is good, as thyme doesn't take well to soggy roots. Never let it sit in water that's been collected in the saucer, either.
  5. Sunlight: Thyme needs at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Essentially, that means don't even bother moving them away from the windowsill. If you have a windowsill that doesn't get that amount of sunlight, consider investing in grow lights.
  6. Harvesting: To harvest thyme, simply snip off a leaf or a spring at any time. You can use it immediately or save it for later. To dry the spring, hang them in a dark, well ventilated, warm area. You can also just dry the leaves by placing them on a tray. Once dried, store them in an air-tight container. Freezing is another way to store them.

___________________________________________ 
Want more indoor container gardening? Check out the rest of the series here (this list will be updated):
Part 6 - Coming soon! *Summer fruits*
I'll update this series once a month on a Friday. Next month's will probably be on July 28th. See you then! 


3 Holistic Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Friday, June 23, 2017

By: Ariana Palmieri
Do you suffer from constant stress or feel anxious all the time? I know the feeling. Sometimes, I have a lot of weight on my shoulders too. There are times where I want to accomplish a dozen different things all at once and feel that I'm slacking. That's when my anxiety starts kicking in and I wonder if I'll ever get to them. It makes me want to pull my hair out (but I don't, so no worries). What about you? What stresses you out? Maybe it's your job, or drama with family or friends. Whatever your story is, I get it. Stress and anxiety suck, but it happens to the best of us.
While I can't say I know how to completely get rid of stress and anxiety, I do know what helps me. Today I'm going to share my tips and tricks with you greenifiers in hopes this will ease your woes just a little bit. While these five holistic ways to de-stress and calm anxiety work for me, they might not work for you, and that's okay. If any of them are new to you, maybe try one out to see if it helps (you might be surprised!). Is there a specific way you like to reduce stress and anxiety? Feel free to share it in the comments below!
Holistic Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
_______________________
Aromatherapy
Holistic Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Whenever I'm starting to freak out over something, the first thing I usually go for is something that smells good. And by smells good, I mean floral waters, essential oils, and smudge sprays. I find that inhaling a whiff of rosewater, lavender essential oil, or sage smudge spray really helps to re-center me and relax me. But one of my absolute favorite aromatherapy products is my lavender rose reiki infused crystal aura spray (the dark blue glass bottle pictured above). I got it from a brand called Awaken the Light. It smells absolutely divine and I love to spritz it over my head or around my room when I'm feeling extra stressed out. I always reach for this first. I wish I could link to it, but unfortunately the creator of this spray doesn't seem to sell it online anymore (I got it at one of her events). She does sell really gorgeous crystal jewelry though, so feel free to give that a look.
My second go-to for aromatherapy would have to be my rosewater spray bottle. I bought it a while ago at my local health food store. It's at the end of its life, but I've actually had it for about two years. I use it sparingly and only need one to two pumps of it for it to take effect. The scent is absolutely gorgeous and actually has a few more benefits than just calming me down - it also helps set my makeup! If you're interested in learning more about floral waters (and creating your own rosewater), check out an article I wrote about them here.
I also really love my glass roll-on lavender essential oil. I like to roll it onto my wrists and just inhale the soothing aroma. I got this at a local boardwalk event (there was a booth set up for just essential oils alone) last summer and it's still full! I like to apply this at night if I'm having trouble sleeping, as the scent really helps calm me down. I used to have a little sachet with dried lavender buds too, but it ripped. I used to keep it under my pillow and smell it whenever my mind wouldn't let up. Totally recommend it.
_______________________
Relaxing Tea
Holistic Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
At the end of the day, I absolutely love to drink chamomile or lavender tea. It really, really helps calm me down. In fact, it even helps me sleep. I like to buy from brands that have compostable tea bags, or I buy the loose herbs in bulk. Either way, I highly recommend trying this out. I prefer chamomile whenever I'm trying to go to sleep but can't due to anxiety. Lavender is better at reducing stress during the day.
There are other teas that are very good for sleeping as well, if you're interested. Sometimes, stress and anxiety can lead to insomnia, or at least keep you awake longer than you'd like to be. If you're really having trouble sleeping, I recommend this tea. It made me so drowsy after just a few minutes. That's because it's loaded with herbs that are known for their sleepy-time effects, such as ashwagandha, passionflower, skullcap, kalea sacatechichi, tulsi, and kava kava. You'll get a great night sleep with that, trust me.
_______________________
Crystals
Holistic Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
One thing I love above all my possessions is my crystal collection. While it's not absolutely huge, it is nice. Each crystal I own has a back story to it (and no, I won't get into each). Some were given to my by a friend, some I bought myself, and some came in subscription boxes. But each is special to me and has healing properties I cannot get enough of.
Are you wondering how these pretty gems help reduce my stress and anxiety? I'm glad you asked. Sometimes, simply looking at them is enough for me. It takes me to another place, makes me think about the beauty of this earth. After all, they were formed by our earth (and I cannot help but be in awe of that). Other times, I just like to fiddle with them in my hands (especially my rose quartz sphere). Out of all of them, I absolutely adore rose quartz the most. I love pink, but I also love the wonderful energy rose quartz gives off. It's so sweet and healing (plus it helps with self-love - something you don't feel very much while stressed or anxious).
If you're feeling particularly stressed and would like to give crystals a try, I highly recommend getting some rose quartz, amethyst, aventurine, and green moss agate. All these crystals are great for calming anxiety and reducing stress levels. I particularly like them tumbled and in clusters, but tumbled crystals are easier to carry around in your pocket or purse. They can also be made into jewelry. I like to wear my crystals in a wire-wrapped necklace (which allows me to swap out crystals whenever I feel I need a new one). Plus it makes a really cute accessory! 
Do you practice any of these holistic ways to treat anxiety and stress? Let me know in the comments below!

Zero Waste Lifestyle: How I Compost in My Apartment

Friday, June 16, 2017

By: Ariana Palmieri
Recently, I've been really into reducing my food waste. Did you know Americans throw away nearly half their food every year, waste worth roughly $165 billion annually? That's insane, and I don't want to be a part of that anymore. So, I decided to invest in a compost pail. I'm super happy I did too! I recently got it (on sale) from Earth Easy and couldn't be happier with it. It's made out of stainless steel, has a convenient handle, and is small enough to fit on my countertop. Don't be fooled though: It can hold up to 1 gallon of food scraps in it! Both my parents (who don't consider themselves zero wasters, mind you) have already started using it. They don't mind it at all. Why? Because it has a built-in charcoal filter which will last 6 months and prevent nasty odors. I haven't smelled a thing since buying and using it (unless I open it up to put in more food scraps). Tomorrow (and every Saturday after that) I intend to bring it to my local farmer's market. They collect food scraps there and turn it into compost. Since I live in an apartment, and I know my parents would not be up for having a full-on compost bin (complete with worms and all), this is the easiest solution. The most important part is that I've cut most of my waste down already just by having this one handy device in my home. Want one of these in your casa? Here's how I compost at home and how you can too.
How I Compost in My Apartment
_________________________

How I compost at home
Technically, I don't actually compost at home. I bring my decomposables to the farmers market, where it will get turned into compost. That said, if you live in an apartment too, the compost pail I use will surely come in handy. It will make composting so easy and reduce your food waste to pretty much zero. It's valued at $39.99, but I got it on sale for $29.95 (it should still be on sale too!). It also comes with replacement filters and already had a filter in it when I unboxed it. I also ordered one extra set of filters (so now I have 3 filters - which totals in 18 months - 1 year and 6 months - of coverage!). The filters are super cheap to replace too ($5.95 to be exact) and will make sure you smell absolutely nothing.


How I Compost in My Apartment
  
Also, if you prefer something a little more pretty, these compost pails are available in ceramic as well. One is plain white and one is decorative with cute flowers and butterflies on it (though I believe this one is smaller in size - its capacity is 3/4 a gallon, compared to the others which fit 1 whole gallon). If, for some reason, you really cannot afford this pail, then you can also store your food scraps in a sealable container of any kind and keep it in the fridge/freezer. This will help prevent odors and is what I did before I got my compost pail (I reused an old plastic Chinese food container). Now without further ado, here's how you can compost at home:


  • The easiest way to compost at home is to just take your food scraps to a farmers market. Almost every farmers market will have someone there more than willing to take the scraps off your hands and compost it for you. At mine, there's a booth set up especially for it, and the man who runs it is super grateful to anyone who contributes to his compost pile. This is the method I use. Just visit your local farmers market and ask if they have somewhere to donate food scraps (and other decomposable items which you can collect, like paper, cardboard, hair, etc. - all mentioned in 'what to compost')!
  • Some farmers markets may also give you compost in exchange for your food scraps (and other decomposables). You might not have a need for this if you live in an apartment, so it's completely up to you if you want to take the compost. It makes really great fertilizer for any houseplants though!
  • I really recommend bringing a wooden spoon with you and a reusable bag. The wooden spoon will help you scrape out any remaining scraps that might cling to the pail without getting your hands dirty. I use the reusable bag to shop around as well as carry my compost pail conveniently. While it does have a handle, it can get a little tedious carrying that around when you also want to shop at the farmers market!
_________________________ 
What to compost:
Now that we discussed how I compost, lets talk about what I compost (or can compost). Not everything on this list goes into my pail (simply because I live in an apartment, not a house), but I felt it was important to include everything you can compost in general.
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps (ex: the ends of carrots, potato peels, strawberry crowns, banana peels, etc.)
  • Hair and fur (yes, it's biodegradable! I take any hair that clumps up in my brush and put it in my pail)
  • Coffee grounds (I don't drink coffee but my folks do!)
  • Tea leaves or tea bags (I always make sure I buy tea bags that say they're compostable - some are made using plastic!)
  • Egg shells (I wash them out gently with water before I add these in)
  • Nuts and seeds (pits of fruit, for example)
  • Yard waste (leaves, twigs, grass clippings etc. Since I live in an apartment, this doesn't apply to me - plus I don't think it would all fit in the pail anyway. That said, it is biodegradable)
  • Houseplants or wilted flowers in vases (I'll probably just add my houseplants to my compost pail when they die - instead of throwing them in the trash!).
  • Fireplace ashes (I don't have a fire place, but still, biodegradable)
  • Sawdust and woodchips (I'll probably never have to put this in there, but yeah)
  • Cardboard, paper, shredded newspaper (just make sure they're not coated in plastic!)
  • Hay and straw (Again, not something I'll ever need to worry about, but felt it important to include)
  • Cotton and wool rags (at the end of my cotton facial wipes, I'll definitely be composting them!)
  • Any 100% natural material/fabric (like my bamboo toothbrush - I will compost that too)
_________________________ 
What not to compost:
Literally, these are things I will never put in my compost pail, even if I do have access to them. And you shouldn't either.
  • Dairy products (like yogurt, butter, milk, sour cream, eggs, etc.)
  • Meat or fish (bones and scraps included)
  • Pet waste (like feces)
  • Yard trimmings treated with pesticides (these might kill beneficial composting organisms!)
  • Disposable feminine products (if you're still using these btw, consider switching to cloth pads!)
  • Disposable diapers (consider switching over to cloth diapers for your baby)
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils
  • Diseased or insect ridden plants
  • Plastic lined cartons (or plastic anything for that matter)
  • Coal or charcoal ash (might contain substances harmful to plants. Bamboo charcoal - like the one I use to filter my water - is okay to compost though!)
  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs (apparently this plant releases substances that may harm other plants)
How I Compost in My Apartment
Yes, it's really that simple! I hope this helped some of you and inspired you to start composting in your home. Just remember, every little bit you do for the planet helps! Leave a comment below and let me know how you like to compost at home!

*This article may contain affiliate links.


How to Make Zero Waste Iced Tea (+ 3 Healthy Recipes)

Friday, June 9, 2017

By: Ariana Palmieri
In honor of National Iced Tea Day, which is Saturday, June 10th, I decided to share with you an easy, completely zero waste way to make iced tea (3 ways in fact). I am a tea fanatic, so when I learned about this holiday I got really excited and wanted to give it a zero waste spin that would make all you tea lovers grin from ear to ear. It actually pretty darn simple to do at home and doesn't require too many expensive materials or tools, which is great. I really hope you enjoy it, and if you do, be sure to tell me what your favorite iced teas are in the comment section below!

zero waste iced tea
______________________________________ 
How to Make Zero Waste Iced Tea
The Basics
So, I'd like to first start out saying, you really don't need much to make zero waste iced tea. It's quite similar to making regular tea. The only difference is that you are limiting the amount of waste and plastic you create with every sip. Here are the basic tools (and tips) you will need to make any of the recipes listed below:
  • A teapot of any sort (if you don't have one, a big pot to boil water in will do)
  • A tea diffuser (if using loose tea at any point)
  • Compostable tea bags (some of the recipes below call for loose tea or tea bags - if you choose to use tea bags, make sure they are compostable. Some tea bags are made from plastic, so you have to do your research. It usually tells you on the box if it is compostable or not. For example, two tea brands that do make compostable tea bags are Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinal. When all else fails, just get some loose leaf tea from bulk stores or places like Mountain Rose Herbs). 
  • A glass, ceramic or stainless steel pitcher of some sort
  • Glass, ceramic, or stainless steel serving cups (mason jars work well!)
  • Compost (whatever form of compost you use at home - make sure you add any tea bags, loose leaves, or fruits you use via the recipes below to it! I recently started at-home composting this week and keep my food scraps in a container. I plan to deliver them to the farmers market this Saturday, since I live in an apartment and don't have any room to make a huge compost pile of my own. Maybe I'll write a blog post about it soon...)
______________________________________ 

Mint Peach Iced Tea
Now comes the really fun part: Making the recipes! Once you've got all your tools assembled, making this will be a breeze. This tea is absolutely delicious and perfect for a warm spring/summer day. Great to take on a picnic too!
Ingredients:
  • 8 cups of water
  • 5 ripe peaches (preferably organic - wash before use!)
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • Natural sweetener (optional - this could be organic sugar, honey, agave, etc.)
  • 5 white tea bags (or 1/2 cup of loose leaf white tea)
Directions:
  1. First, add 8 cups of water to your tea pot, or a big stove pot. Set it on high until it boils. As soon as it starts to boil, add the 5 white tea bags, or loose leaf white tea. If you're adding loose leaf white tea, use a diffuser of some sort (you may need several individual diffusers or perhaps you have a teapot that comes with a built-in diffuser. Whatever the case, it'll make your life easier). Let it steep for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea, then remove bags or diffusers. Be sure to add them to your compost!
  2. Now, let the tea cool down. While it sits in the pot, prepare the peaches. Cut them in half, take out the pit, and then dice up the peach. You don't have to waste the pit either - here are a few creative ways to reuse the pits (you can also add them to your compost pile too). Do this for all 5 of the peaches. Add them to the glass pitcher, along with the fresh mint leaves. I'm in the process of growing my own mint leaves (they're still babies), but you can find fresh mint at almost any grocery store.
  3. After the peaches and mint have been added to the pitcher, pour in the white tea you made in your teapot (or pot stove). You can also add as much of the natural sweetener of your choice as you want at this point. To keep things healthy, try limiting the amount you add - trust me when I say the peaches will sweeten the tea naturally. I usually don't add any natural sweeteners to my tea, but it's totally up to you.
  4. You're definitely to want to let it sit for a while, so the tea can infuse with the peach and mint flavors. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. You can place it in the fridge and let it sit that way (so it cools down even faster), or pour some into a cup filled with ice at the end of the 10 minutes. Feel free to add some ice to the actual pitcher too. I personally recommend letting it sit in the fridge for a good 30 minutes to an hour before you try drinking it, so it gets really nice and cool. Serve in a mason jar (or plastic-free cup of your choice), and enjoy!
______________________________________ 
Lemon Iced Tea
A true classic, this tea is something anyone will love. Well, anyone expect one of my friends who absolutely hates lemons (she only drinks water anyway). Regardless, it is the ultimate summery drink, without being lemonade (because yes, there is a difference).
Ingredients:
  • 8 cups of water
  • 5 lemons (preferably organic - wash before use!)
  • 5 green, white, or black tea bags ( depends on preference. I recommend green tea for this one. You can also choose to use 1/2 cup of loose leaf tea of any sort)
  • Natural sweetener (optional - this could be organic sugar, honey, agave, etc.)
Directions:
  1. First, add 8 cups of water to your tea pot, or a big stove pot. Set it on high until it boils. As soon as it starts to boil, add the 5 white, green, or black tea bags, or loose leaf tea of your choice. If you're adding loose leaf (of any kind) tea, use a diffuser of some sort (you may need several individual diffusers or perhaps you have a teapot that comes with a built-in diffuser. Whatever the case, it'll make your life easier). Let it steep for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea, then remove bags or diffusers. Be sure to add them to your compost!
  2. Now, let the tea cool down. While it sits in the pot, prepare the lemons. Cut the lemons into slices and place the seeds on the side. You can either replant them or add them to your compost pile. Do this for all 5 of the lemons. Add them to the glass pitcher.
  3. After the lemons have been added to the pitcher, pour in the white, green, or black tea you made in your teapot (or pot stove). You can also add as much of the natural sweetener of your choice as you want at this point. To keep things healthy, try limiting the amount you add. 3 tablespoons of honey, agave, or organic sugar is usually more than enough for me. Make sure to mix it in if you do add it!
  4. You're definitely to want to let it sit for a while, so the tea can infuse with the lemon flavor. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, or longer for more potent results. You can place it in the fridge and let it sit that way (so it cools down even faster), or pour some into a cup filled with ice at the end of the 10 minutes. Feel free to add some ice to the actual pitcher too. I personally recommend letting the pitcher sit in the fridge for a good 30 minutes to an hour before you try drinking it, so it gets really nice and cool. Serve in a mason jar (or plastic-free cup of your choice), and enjoy!
______________________________________ 
 Rose Oolong Iced Tea
Now this is an interesting mix. Certainly not a 'traditional' iced tea, but I figured it would be fun to spice things up just a little bit. I had this once in a tea shop in the city and it absolutely blew me away. It's so refreshing!  
Ingredients:
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 cup of  dried rose buds or petals (best with rose buds)  
  • 5 oolong tea bags (You can also choose to use 1/2 cup of loose leaf oolong tea)
  • Natural sweetener (optional - this could be organic sugar, honey, agave, etc.)
Directions:
  1. First, add 8 cups of water to your tea pot, or a big stove pot. Set it on high until it boils. As soon as it starts to boil, add the 5 oolong tea bags, or loose leaf oolong tea. Also add the dried rose buds (I always get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, because I know they're safe for tea). If you're using loose leaf oolong tea, you can mix it with the rose buds and add it to a diffuser. If not, add the oolong tea bags, then place the rose buds into a diffuser. You may need several individual diffusers or perhaps you have a teapot that comes with a built-in diffuser. Let it steep for about 10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea, then remove bags or diffusers. Be sure to add them to your compost (both the oolong and the rose buds)! If you would like, you can leave a few rosebuds in the actual brewed tea for look.
  2. Now, pour the tea you made in your teapot (or pot stove) into your pitcher. Add some ice cubes and as much of the natural sweetener of your choice as you want. To keep things healthy, try limiting the amount you add. 3 tablespoons of honey, agave, or organic sugar is usually more than enough for me. Make sure to mix it in if you do add any sweeteners!
  3. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour so it gets nice and cold. If you're really eager, feel free to pour some into a cup right away (just make sure the cup is filled with ice). Either way, enjoy!
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs