Zero waste the easy way.

Why I Stopped Drinking Bottled Water

By: Ariana Palmieri
Did you know that 1,500 water bottles are consumed in the U.S. per second? That's a lot of bottles.

Bottled water: The unnecessary money drain

Once upon a time, at least once or twice a week my mom would buy a 12 pack of bottled water. We went through them like nothing, and at times I wouldn't even finish the bottle I took with me to school. When I did finish it, I would get thirsty throughout the day and buy another bottle of water from a vending machine, which cost me approximately $2.00 each time. Clearly, all this added up and cost my mom and me to spend unnecessarily. My dad never liked bottled water and would always say we were wasting our money when we had full access to tap water, fresh out of the sink.

Well, guess what? He was right. Eventually, my mom decided to stop buying bottled water (it was just adding up to too much money) and bought a Brita Pitcher instead. This left me with a dilemma: How would I go about bringing water with me to school? I had relied so heavily on my mom's purchase of bottled water that for a least two weeks I went to school and came back parched. Sure, I bought a bottled water from the vending machine every day, but it was costly and where I once had two bottles of water, now I only had one.

I decided to do some research of my own. What I found alarmed me: Not only is bottled water an unnecessary expense, but it's bad for the environment as well as hazardous to human health. Almost immediately afterward, I bought a portable Brita filtered water bottle and have been using it ever since.

What's so bad about bottled water? Look at these facts

Water bottles contain toxins that can leach into your system with each sip you take. Two toxins found in water bottles have been DEHA, a possible human carcinogen, and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), a potential hormone disruptor. The risk of exposure to these chemicals increases the longer water bottles are left in the sun or left unattended. That sounds pretty bad, if you ask me. Not to mention that the water itself is probably re-bottled tap water, and can contain a host of icky things like mold, phthalates, microbes, trihalomethanes, benzene, and even arseni.

Not convinced yet? Consider this: 1,500 water bottles are consumed per second in the U.S. Now just think about that in conjunction to the toxins found in water bottles I mentioned earlier: Does that create a better, healthier America? Worse yet, it hurts our environment: Every square mile of the ocean has over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in it. This can kill sea life (they think the plastic is food and find out the deadly way their body can't digest it) as well as contribute to climate change.

Conclusion: Get a reusable water bottle

So please, if you're tired of spending money on something that's bad for your health and your world, make a change. Try using a Brita at home and a filtered water bottle when you're on the run. There are so many out there it can be hard to choose. Your best bet is probably stainless steel: That way there is no chance of any chemicals associated with plastic leaking into your bottle. Eventually, I'm going to transition to a filtered stainless steel water bottle too.

But if you do decide to go with a reusable plastic water bottle, make sure it's BPA-free. I prefer filtered water bottles (because tap isn't always clean either), but there are a lot of beautiful glass, aluminum, plastic, and stainless steel reusable bottles without filters too. Choose one that feels right to you and meets your criteria: You won't regret it!

I Stopped Using Foundation: Here's Why and What I Do Instead

Written by Ariana Palmieri
Which beauty product can you not live without? For a while, mine was foundation. I would apply the stuff all over my face in hopes to cover my pimples while simultaneously hoping the blemishes would never return one day. I was so self conscious of my zits that it was literally all I could see when I looked in the mirror. I hated them so bad that I never left the house without foundation on, at the very least. There were times when foundation couldn't even completely hide my acne: It just kind of caked over it, which made it look even weirder. So what did I do? I stopped using foundation. Here's why:
Foundation can clog pores, cause acne, and even hurt animals. Some of it is tested on animals (unless you buy from cruelty-free places, like I did). Still, it is something to consider the next time you purchase it (or any makeup for that matter).

The reason I stopped using foundation

It was a never ending cycle of primer, foundation, and self-disgust every day, until I read a certain article on Bustle, that is The article was an experiment: Was makeup just a placebo effect? Did makeup make women feel happy because it covered their imperfections or was it merely the act of applying it that generated satisfaction? In the article, the writer tricked her friends into thinking they were going to get makeovers by a makeup artist, when actually only a minimal amount of makeup would be applied. The makeup artist would pretend to put on most of the makeup. When the session was over, the women were asked how they felt, and two out of three said they felt no more or less beautiful than usual. This was pretty interesting, considering they were wearing less makeup than they usually did.

"I knew it was time for a change. I had to take a leap."

So what am I getting at here? Well, this really opened my eyes to think about my own application of makeup. Could I give up my most prized beauty product and still feel confident? Did I simply apply foundation just because the application of it made me feel better? If I  gave it up, what would the impact be on my morning routine? Would other people notice my zits more?

There is also something else to consider: Makeup in general is not always safe. Just because it is on the market does not mean it is healthy for your skin. I liked to buy foundation from 100 Percent Pure and Poofy Organics, which are both more natural, organic brands. I felt less guilty putting their products on my face, since they were cruelty-free and contained natural ingredients, yet I still didn't feel beautiful. Either my foundation looked too cakey,  didn't cover my blemishes enough, or didn't match my skin tone completely. I was never 100 percent satisfied, and I knew it was time for a change. I had to take the leap.

How this has benefited me

I've went three weeks without foundation now and I must admit the changes I've seen and felt are striking. Not only do I feel more confident, but I also enjoy my morning makeup routine even more. It's become quicker and much less of a hassle. I don't apply nearly as much primer, only on the spots I apply my eye shadow and blush. If I have a blemish that I feel is too noticeable, I'll put primer on it and then dab some of my old foundation on it, using it as a concealer. People, including my parents and boyfriend, have barely noticed the difference too, and I had to be the one to tell them I wasn't wearing any foundation.

"...I have noticed my skin has more of a glow to it and doesn't break out as bad or as much."

My skin has become even more radiant, in my eyes. Along with this, I've been drinking Yogi's Skin Detox tea, cleansing with 100 Percent Pure's Organic Lavender Honey Facial Cleansing Foam, moisturizing with Lani's Tropical Super Serum, and treating acne with Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick. All these things combined, along with eating a more balanced diet, is starting to heal my skin. I still have some acne, but I have noticed my skin has more of a glow to it and doesn't break out as bad or as much. I'd have to keep up my routine for a few more weeks to see further results, but the important thing is I feel better than I did before.

Should you stop using foundation too? 

I truly recommend every woman take a moment to think about their makeup and question it. Does it really bring you happiness? What other things could you do with the time and money you invest in buying and using it? What does it do to your skin? It's important to note that foundation, like any makeup, can cause blemishes too. By constantly using it, I was clogging my pores, wasting time in the morning, and avoiding my real skin underneath. If you feel it's time for a change, like I did, take it and be brave: Your happiness will ensue.