By Christina Lalor
If you are from the Indianapolis area, you may have already heard of this inspiring family-operated business, Our Sons Bakery! If you have not yet, we highly recommend you check them out ASAP. Not only do they offer a diverse array of flavorful treats, but they are doing it while making a huge impact on the community.
We got in touch with the owner, Sabrena “Bre” Suggs a few months back to learn more about their operation and find ways we can collaborate and elevate one another’s mission and boy, we were not disappointed. Bre is such an energetic, passionate business owner and it was so amazing hearing her speak about the committed work they are doing. More than just creating delicious dessert popcorn and confections (known as Ummmy bars), OSB provides the opportunity to build brighter futures for not only her own sons, but Black youth across the city. Suggs has worked firsthand in social services and mental health and seen the consequences that a lack of support in a community can create. Her commitment and passion to the cause is what makes the operation so effective. Suggs is creating a bright light of hope and opportunity for the future of her community and beyond.
The benefits and impact Our Sons Bakery has had is incredible. They do fundraising bake sales, sponsor extracurricular activities and trips and provide tutoring to those who need some additional resources. Suggs hopes to teach baking and entrepreneurship skills to those in the community and hopefully more within the Indianapolis Public School system.
By far, the most popular item from Our Sons Bakery is their famed Ummmy bars. They are described as a treat somewhere between a cookie and a cake, I’ll have 10 please! The most fun aspect of this is that each of the treats is named after one of the bakers or a prominent black figure in history. This allows the boys to get a chance to create something that is their own- their favorite flavors, mixes and matches and put their name to it! For example, “the Jordan bar, is browned butter with triple chocolate chips, and the Xyren bar is fudge mint with Andes-and Oreo crumble.” They have over 50+ flavors and I don’t think they are slowing down anytime soon. In fact, they are continuing to expand and offer shipping nationwide, so make sure you order some Ummmy bars for your family and friends! Everyone deserves a bit of deliciousness.
When asked about OSB, Suggs wrote back:
“Our sons Bakery (OSB) is a family-owned social enterprise focused on giving youth opportunities to express creativity through food as they discover the strengths and gifts that will mold them into successful future business owners. Delighting customers with deliciousness and empowering youth with skills for lifelong success is at the heart of Our Sons Bakery.
OSB uses food to connect with male youth from socioeconomically challenged communities as a means to cultivate a foundation of excellence in the areas of education, income, and health. As youth are gaining invaluable knowledge and skills beneficial for lifelong success, customers are able to delight in high-quality, delicious confections that enhance the social landscape of youth.
Our Sons Bakery is known for its variety of 50+ flavorful gourmet baked confections known as Ummmy Bars. Ummmy bars are a delectable trifecta of a cookie, cake, and brownie combination. Using high-quality ingredients and signature recipes, Ummmy bars are the perfect combination of soft, chewy, and decadent deliciousness.
The business was started by [Suggs, a mom] with her young three sons in the spring of 2020 who decided to take a leap of faith to start a home-based bakery driven simply by their love for food, passion for community, and curiosity for flavor creativity. The idea to start baking came in 2019 from a family pastime of binge-watching cooking/ baking shows and inspired to create cool flavorful confections of their own. The ultimate goal was to create a baking enterprise reputable enough to host an annual youth baking competition.
The Covid-19 pandemic was the spark that lit the flame for the start of the bakery due to Indiana’s stay-home order that forced everyone to remain at home, simultaneously creating extra time for home-based activities. After generous donations of flour from local farmers along with a personal investment into baking equipment for their house, the incentive to go all in vastly outweighed the risk. With no prior professional experience in baking, the family started creating recipes inspired from their favorite baked goods, and a curious idea officially transitioned into a reality. Once a finalized base recipe for the bars was taste-tested with unanimous approval, they hosted their first public sale at Roadside Stand/ Pop-Up in mid-June 2020. Social media attention helped to give us exposure to secure our first corporate order for the end of July 2020 placed by a local Target. After posting via social media, the attention and requests began to increase creating a higher demand for more bakers and a bigger space. By October, the bakery transitioned into a licensed shared kitchen minutes from their home at Broadway UMC. The bakery has continually grown leaps and bounds through local support along with Ummmy craze even spreading to fans nationally as well.”
What an accomplishment and they are only just getting started! We are so excited to be partnering with OSB for our Valentine’s Day #7daygreenlivingchallenge. Not only did Suggs and her sons participate and complete Elay’s challenge to live more sustainably, but they are also providing our winner with a box of their delicious Ummmy Bars!
Our Sons Bakery shares in our values of safety, sustainability, and responsibility! We are all human here, constantly learning and growing from one another. We hope to continue our partnership and collaboration as we share in our missions to make our world a better place for all.
To taste an Ummmy bar or flavored popcorn for yourself, place orders with Our Sons on Facebook, Instagram, or over the phone at 317-643-1033, and keep up with their pop-up shops, which will be announced through social media.
By Jack Hornsby
So, we’re about 1 year into COVID at this point, and I think I speak for a majority of us when I say that this has been a tough 12 months. The first couple months of this awful pandemic it was kind of fun to sleep in, work from home, and just generally be lazy. But if you’re anything like me the novelty of all this has LONG since worn off. Fear not friends, because today we’re going to talk about things that you can do to beat boredom, and try to get out of the monotony of quarantine!
There’s been so many fun little activities that I’ve taken up during quarantine to keep myself occupied and sane, but we’re going to start with a more literal interpretation of the title of this article. Starting a new “workout” routine is a great way to quite literally stay active, and a great way to be healthier! Now, a new workout routine doesn’t have to be running, doing curls, sit ups, or whatever else you can think of. Sure working out can be those things, but there’s so many other options that cater to an individual’s interests; find out what works best for you!
One great alternative to your typical gym workout is yoga. Yoga is great because there is such a massive variety of difficulties that you can really start anywhere and find what you like and enjoy. Yoga is a workout that you can easily do a burnout exercise day on, or you can just do more relaxed exercises. I’ve found that 20 minutes of yoga a day is incredibly calming, and a solid workout that I would recommend to anyone with even a remote interest in fitness, plus there’s tons of amazing resources online to help you get started!
Another great form of exercise is hiking or walking. I’ve got a ton of great trails near where I live so it’s very easy to get out once every week or so. Being outside and in nature feels a lot like a reset for me and is alarmingly relaxing, all while getting some exercise! On the note of hiking, another great way to get out and do something is to plan a picnic! This can easily go hand in hand with hiking as you can find a fun hike and plan a picnic at the end, but for those of us who don’t want to haul food all the way up a hill I'm sure you can find a great spot without including hiking. Finding a great spot away from people, and just enjoying a meal in a nice place can be very relaxing. Make sure to bring your Élay plates along with you for your picnic. They make for great to-go containers, can be your water or food bowl if you brought your dog along with you and can be composted back to the Earth!
Finally, there are a ton of traditional workouts that you can do at home if these suggestions aren’t for you! Without access to any gym equipment there’s still a ton of things like sit ups, push ups, squats, lunges, and many more! This is definitely another one that’s purely based on personal preference, but I would highly recommend finding some workouts you can easily do at home and get into a routine of staying active!
Now let’s get into some stuff that won’t make your muscles hurt or require massive physical exertion! Something that’s really helped me pass the time during this pandemic is working on my hobbies. Now, a hobby can range from making music all the way to model trains. That’s the beauty of it, almost any interest of yours is probably something you can turn into a hobby!
During this pandemic I have had way more free time than I have had in years, and I needed more stuff to dump time into that I could do on my own. One of the things I came up with was work on my passion for music. Learning an instrument is something that can be incredibly challenging, and something you may never master, but you will get out of it exactly what you put in. If you don’t put forth much effort you won’t see any results, but a lot of time and effort and you will see consistent improvement. Don’t worry if you don’t get lessons either, in today’s age of online tutorials there’s literally hundreds of free tutorials to get you started on any instrument you find interesting!
Another form of art creation that you can do at home is drawing or painting! Really committing oneself to making art just for fun is a great pass time, and there really aren’t any parameters to what you can and can’t do. Now, I absolutely suck at drawing and painting, but that doesn’t mean that making something can’t be a fun little project. Recently I drew / watercolored one of my favorite movie’s posters, and surprisingly it came out well enough that I might actually put it up in my room! This is a great one because the cost of entry can be incredibly low, and the projects you want to work on can take as long or as short as you like!
Keeping with the theme of the arts, another “hobby” I’ve been devoting a lot of time into is my love for film and TV. I’ve found that it can be incredibly fun to give themes to specific months, and stick with that. For example October was horror month, and I saw some amazing movies, very original, I know. Another example more applicable to most people is that for February I’m doing a documentary month. I’ve spent a bunch of time finding documentaries that will be very interesting to me, and I'm excited to dive in!
Finally, cooking is an amazing way to pass the time. I’ve been very into cooking for quite a few years, but during the pandemic I’ve gotten a lot more adventurous with what I’m willing to try! I actually cooked my first flatbread a couple of weeks ago and wrote an article about it here on the blog, check it out! Cooking’s such a fun hobby because you can really do anything you want with it, and home making food is SO much cheaper than eating out! On top of all this cooking’s one of the best hobbies to share with others. While there’s a lot less opportunity to share food with others these days, coming out of quarantine as a bit of a chef is nothing but a plus. If you are having friends or family over for a small or larger gathering, make sure to have your Élay plates on hand.
I wanted to give some examples of activities that have helped occupy my time, but a hobby can really be anything that you enjoy doing. I had to take a big look at my interests and figure out what fun stuff that I could work on, on my own, and these things are what I came up with. Hopefully this gave you some good ideas to get more active throughout these trying times.
By Jack Hornsby
If you are like me, then you are an environmentally conscious person that loves to do little things to reduce your carbon footprint, but don’t want to or can’t do a complete lifestyle change to get your carbon footprint to absolute zero. Fear not! Today I’m going to share 10 steps that you can easily integrate into your life to reduce your carbon footprint. None of these are even going to require that much effort from you so we truly believe that you can do these all!
By Jack Hornsby
Thrifting is a fun thing for anyone to do, and you can get some really cool outfits for a much cheaper price than buying new. The benefits of thrifting go beyond just your wallet and wardrobe, thrifting is actually good for the earth! Today we’ll be talking about the benefits of buying used goods and how that ties into the overall theme of shopping smarter in the ecological sense of things.
Benefits of thrifting
Thrifting has a ton of benefits, some more easily seen than others. As I was talking about earlier, as an individual you can get some really great outfits for really cheap! That said, just getting a new outfit isn’t even close to being the best thing about thrifting in my eyes. A study from 2018 showed that the clothing industry is responsible for about 4% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions every single year. That statistic covers everything from Gucci flip flops, to plain white T-shirts from Costco.
Now, I’m not saying that buying new clothing is evil, or bad, or negative, I mean everyone needs to have clothes. What i am saying is that the fashion industry actually has a massive impact on the earth and its environment. “Stores like Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and basically any other big clothing retailer you can think of all fall into the category of fast fashion, which is the rapid mass production of super cheap clothing” - the price may be right but the environmental costs are extremely high. A lot of times people will associate someone’s carbon footprint with something like leaving electronics on when they’re not using them, or driving to work every day, but the truth is all of the products that people buy and use on a daily basis are part of their carbon footprint.
Thrifting ties into this because, in a way, it’s a form of recycling. Instead of buying new clothes, you’re reusing old ones that would otherwise have been thrown away therefore reducing the carbon footprint that you would have had from buying new clothes! This helps prevent clothing from ending up in our landfills.
What is shopping smarter?
Shopping smarter is an idea of basically putting your money where your mouth is. A cause that we’re constantly championing here at the Green Living Blog is to be environmentally conscious when doing anything in life, whether that be from using less water/energy to reducing emissions. Shopping smarter in these terms means shopping in a way that reduces your own carbon footprint and has less environmental consequences- thrifting is a great example of that because it’s essentially recycling clothes that would have otherwise gone to waste. thrifting is actually a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about shopping smarter.
The fashion industry has dramatically changed in the last century. People once bought one nice jacket, a good pair of shoes and other quality clothing and would make it last a lifetime. Now, people’s closets are filled to the brim, we can go through our closets twice a year and donate full garbage bags of clothing- the quantity of clothing has increased but the quality has significantly decreased.
I have one friend that absolutely loves thrift shopping- it became more of a lifestyle transition than just going to find clothes she needs. The way she sees it, “every piece of an article has a story.” That story can come from the clothing’s production and shipping process to who the previous owner was before- maybe that one jacket lived through the 50s and has seen some crazy times. When speaking with her, she mentioned that she uses thrift shopping as a way to clean out her closet as well. There are many stores that take donated clothes, will buy your clothes back or will exchange articles of clothing. This is a fantastic way to clean out your closet. Part of living an environmentally conscious lifestyle is going back to the simple things- thinking in terms of a minimalist lifestyle, having what you need and not what you want. Being more mindful about what is in your closet will not only spice up your wardrobe, but have incredible environmental benefits as well!
How can you shop smarter?
Thankfully, there are almost endless ways to shop smarter, and you as a consumer can choose whichever ones fit your lifestyle! I wish i was an absolute saint, and only wore thrifted clothing, ate food that was grown completely organically, and only supported businesses with a net zero carbon footprint, but that’s kind of unrealistic in my lifestyle.So, as a relatively normal person, who is inclined to live a lifestyle that reduces my carbon footprint as much as i can without going crazy with it, what do i do?
Well, the answer is a lot of little things! One of the biggest things that I look for while shopping is to find local brands. Shipping products across the world has a pretty big environmental impact. Transit emissions are something that are surprisingly relevant in the carbon footprint of the products we buy, and is also something that an informed consumer can avoid without too much effort.
Another big thing in shopping smarter that I touched on a bit earlier is buying and using recycled goods. We all know the benefits of recycling, and buying pre used goods is good in the exact same way that recycling metals cans or plastics is!
My final tip is to investigate the brands that you give your money to. Make sure that any brand that you actively support is in line with your ideals, and hopefully does their part in reducing their carbon footprint. Supporting eco friendly brands is really one of the best ways to shop smarter in an environmentally focused sense of the phrase. Supporting these businesses helps them expand and continue with saving the environment.
Second hand shopping is one of many great solutions to help make a positive environmental impact and help combat the growing fashion industry. We all need clothes and we all want to have the latest and greatest, but thrifting helps you find those quality pieces that speak to you. They are far more unique to your style and personality, they hold great stories, and they are cost efficient- I can buy triple at a thrift store than I could in any mall shop. Try not to throw any clothes away when you are done with them- they can be donated, reused, and live for far longer instead of ending up in a landfill.
By Christina Lalor
Making a lifestyle change is no easy feat- it takes preparation, consistency, and passion! And as much as I wish it could happen with the snap of our fingers, it does not. The key is to take it day by day, step by step. Making the decision to go vegetarian or vegan can seem overwhelming at first, but we at the Green Living Blog are here to help you make the lifestyle transition with ease!
Keep reading to find out about all the benefits, both for yourself and for the environment, get tips on how to phase into being vegetarian or vegan, and how to keep your mission top of mind throughout your journey!
Why Do You Want to Go Vegetarian or Vegan?
When I do anything, I think about my reason behind doing it- my why. This is what drives my actions and motivation. I’ve found the power of knowing my “why” - it makes the decisions I make more mindful and forces me to make more informed choices. Before, it was easy to just go through the motions. My diet wasn’t really a diet- it was just whatever was in front of me, whatever I was eating out that night, whatever my friends or roommates were cooking - I wasn’t mindful of what I was putting in my body. Then in college, I had a terrible outbreak of psoriasis for the first time. I didn’t know what it was for a long time or how to stop it, I just wanted a quick solution. There isn’t always going to be a quick solution- but there will always be options available. Taking better care of my body and what I put into it was one of my options- I decided to try a vegan diet. After doing my research and speaking to multiple people, I decided this was something I was willing to put time and effort into. As being vegan is naturally low in inflammatory foods like red meats and dairy, it was a great option to help manage my psoriasis. Knowing my “why” helped me stick to the transition and make the changes I needed to make. It’s important for you to know your “why”- whether that be for environmental reasons, health benefits, or saving money! The more passionate and dedicated you are about your reason, the easier it will be to change your lifestyle.
Being educated on what it means to eat a plant-based diet will significantly impact your success in sustainable eating. One thing that helped me a ton was learning about all the health benefits of going vegetarian and vegan. When we digest all this amazing information about how our diets can significantly improve our bodies and health, how can you not want to stick to it? Everyone has their reasons for trying a new diet or lifestyle, mine was triggered by psoriasis. But when I continued my research, I dove deeper into the hole and wanted to do more and more. I seriously encourage everyone to watch documentaries, listen to podcasts and surround yourself with information to help encourage your brain that this is what it wants. If you don’t have a specific reason for going vegetarian or vegan, keep reading and I’ll give you a ton of reasons!
Here are just 5 health benefits for cutting meat out of your diet- you don’t have to be full vegan or vegetarian to optimize these benefits.
If all those health benefits haven't convinced you yet, I’m about to come out with all the environmental reasons for adopting a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle (or maybe just cutting down if you really can’t stop enjoying those BBQs). It is the most ecologically sustainable diet- meaning it is healthful and has a low impact on the environment and food supply. We don’t want to be greedy and take resources for future generations, now do we? With the planet’s food demands, waste and gaps in global poverty levels, we have a responsibility to our planet and future generations.
Food production is the leading cause of environmental change, according to the EAT-Lancet Commision. If you ever feel that small changes in your life may not have much impact, think again! Going vegan or vegetarian reduces land use, greenhouse gas emissions and uses far less water! Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) research, “food production accounts for 20 - 30% of global greenhouse gas emission and up to 66% of water usage.” That is truly an insane amount. After minoring in environmental studies at Gonzaga University, I wasn’t eating a meal without thinking about what had to go into making that plate.
The treatment of animals in the factory farming industry is just horrendous. Many of us don’t think about where our food comes from or the conditions it lived in. Being a woman that has 16 chickens in my backyard, it breaks my heart to see the conditions factory farms keep their animals in. These animals are turned into drugged up machines to produce milk, eggs, and give their lives to be somebody’s next meal. According to the United Nations, the “amount of industrial livestock sent to slaughter each year is equivalent to eight times the human population on planet Earth!” Think about just how crazy that is! With every meatless meal you eat, you are helping make a difference.
An easy way to learn more about the environmental impact of the meat and dairy industry is to check out some amazingly well-done documentaries (no I’m not a movie reviewer, but these were ones I got the most out of watching). They are so powerful and educational- a great way to kick-start your journey! Here are my top 5 favorites:
Educate yourself: Just like I said above, knowledge is power. The more you know about health benefits, factory farming, animal cruelty, and how to have a sustainable diet; the more committed you will be to your mission! Understand what it means to be vegetarian or vegan, what is realistic for you, how to supplement in the correct nutrients, and what it means to cook vegan! If you are making this change for environmental reasons, make sure you aren’t eating any meat or its by-products or supporting any large farm corporations. You should be more mindful of ingredients: gelatin and rennet are meat by-products, kosher is not synonymous with vegetarian and sugar is often refined with bone char!
Plan it out and be mindful: What is your end goal? Go back to your “why,” the reasons you are trying this dietary transition. Diets don’t have to be all or nothing, it took me a long time to figure that one out. The more customizable and realistic you make it, the more sustainable it is for you. I know that I absolutely love my meat, but when I broke out in psoriasis I had to make the best decision for my body. I started small, it is easier to change habits and routines when you do it in phases and do it consistently. Figure out what your goal is, there are tons of variations to adapt and there are zero wrong answers. This is your life, your body and your choices! Here are some variations:
Make Sure you get your nutrients: Like with any diet change, you need to plan appropriately to get the full range of essential nutrients. If you aren’t eating meat, you must supplement with other alternatives like tofu, tempeh, seitan (wheat gluten). I am also anemic so it is incredibly important for me to get enough iron. It was much easier when eating meat, so I had to be extra cautious and mindful when I went vegetarian. There is plenty of protein in beans, lentils, chickpeas, and mushrooms- a lot of foods you probably couldn’t get me to eat as a kid. Your body requires a specific amount of calories, balanced meals, and nutrients to keep you fueled and running as your most efficient self.
You Got This
We are human and there are good and bad days- if you make a mistake or need a cheat day, go easy on yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nobody wakes up and starts a new lifestyle in a single day. It takes time, dedication to the cause, and a game plan. There is on right or wrong way to go vegetarian or vegan, do what is right for you and you can always keep adapting your lifestyle to be more and more sustainable. Who knows? You might do meatless Mondays this month and in three years, you are living the zero waste vegan life. It isn't just your diet that will change, you will have to be more mindful in your social interactions and events with friends or family. Some may not be very supportive or some restaurants may not have vegan/vegetarian options, that’s okay! You can plan for these challenges to- remember your reason for doing it and that will help you stay on track! Your energy, your life, and your planet will thank you!
By Jack Hornsby
We all have experienced how hard it is to stick to a resolution, I know I've failed within the first week of trying to stick to mine. I get lazy and let it fall by the wayside and if you’re like me then you’re in the right place! I’m going to give you a bunch of tips and tricks that have worked for me in the past, and what I’ll be doing this year to help me keep myself on track!
Start with a routine
A routine is pretty simple. It’s just something you do that becomes second nature. A great example that applies to myself, and many others, is having a cup of coffee when you wake up in the morning. That’s just how my mornings always start. Another routine that applies to me is getting up super early every Saturday to watch Soccer. When I first started getting up early on the weekend, it kinda sucked. but after 8 years of doing it, I just have a 6 AM weekly alarm for Saturdays, and that’s how I start my week ends without even really thinking about it. Routines help build habits, and that’s exactly what resolutions are all about - making changes to your habits.
Why is getting into a routine important?
Routines make it easier for us to do something and make sure it isn’t left behind. With a new year's resolution for 2021 it’s something new you have to integrate into your life. So saying you want to work out once a week is something that plainly isn’t specific enough. Maybe you do it a couple times at different days, but if you specifically define Sunday from 5 to 6 PM and do that every week you will have a much harder time skipping it when you know that time is blocked out for your new routine. After a couple weeks of doing whatever it is you’re trying to do it will become second nature, and Sunday will just become workout day(or whatever it is for you).
While it can be hard to get into routines, and studies show that it will take a couple weeks to really make it into something second nature, it is something you just have to keep trying at. While on the subject of studies, studies show that getting into a routine is much more effective when you mould the routine itself around your own schedule or habits. Cutting things out of your life is much harder to do than just adding something new in. Maybe after work on Tuesday you don’t really have anything that you do with your free time. That would be a perfect day to start to fit in your new routine!
Why haven’t your routines worked in the past?
Before we even get started on any of the big stuff let’s have to look at the roadblocks we sometimes face when getting into a routine. Personally, I get super lazy and never really give myself a chance at getting into any sort of routine. Starting in the first week, I’ll be really good about following through and holding myself accountable to whatever it is I have chosen for my resolution. Sometimes I'll even be really good about sticking to my new year's resolution through the second and third week , but around 3 weeks in, I’ll start making excuses about why I don’t have the time to do it this week, or how I'm too tired and need to take a nap.
Figuring out your own roadblocks is different for every person. So you really just have to look at yourself and figure out what might and what might not work. Let’s look at an example of a roadblock that I’ve faced and break it down! When I’ve made resolutions that end up requiring more effort than I thought I’d need, I’d just tell myself “I’m too lazy to do this”. Making excuses for yourself is easy and harmful - especially when you stop seeing them as excuses and really start believing them! A good way to counter excuses is to take steps toward accountability and reward yourself when you do achieve your goals. Take some time to think about why your plans haven't worked in the past and write down everything that got in the way of sticking to your resolution. This will help you plan better and counter things that might get in your way of sticking to your 2021 new years resolution!
Give yourself realistic goals
Having measurable goals is one of the first and foremost obstacles you need to figure out when making a plan for your resolution. Start small, but make sure you’re specific with the goal! A good example of this from my own new year’s resolution for 2021is that I decided that I want to work out twice a week. I’m going to do this by working out on Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 5:00 pm. By giving myself specific days and times, i’ve already built it into my schedule and can’t make excuses for not having time.
Giving myself very specific goals works wonders for me, because it’s so much harder for me to skip it. As I said earlier I can get really lazy, and I’m very experienced at making excuses about why I can’t do something that day, or that I will do it tomorrow (spoiler alert: I most certainly will not do it tomorrow). Non-specific goals are not effective for me because I'm someone who needs structure. If my goal was to just work out 2 times a week, I would get my workout in for the first day, but by the time the end of the week came around and I wouldn’t have budgeted enough time for my workout. I’d have sacrificed my workout for whatever else that needed to get done, or maybe even just taken a nap and completely blown off my work out.
How do you stick to your goals?
Once you've outlined your goals, you need to find a way to stick to them. There are a lot of other ways to help you stick to your goals. For me, I NEED to make my goals as tangible as possible. Making these goals feel more real and attainable helps keep me motivated along the way. A couple ways that are found to be universally helpful for sticking to goals are visualizing your goals and writing them down somewhere.
Take a couple minutes out of every day, week, or month to visualize what your goal will look like when it has come to fruition. Seeing where you will be at the end of your journey really helps you stick with it! For my 2021 new year's resolution, I have been taking a couple minutes every day and visualizing where I want to be in a year. The more you repeat or visualize something, the more real that goal will end up feeling. This is a fool-proof way to motivate and push yourself to meet your goals for your 2021 New Year’s resolution!
Finally, writing your goals down is great because it gives you something physical to look at. You should be as specific as possible when writing down all these goals. I usually prefer the list format as it’s quick to go through and easy to read. Start with your overarching new Years resolution, and then break them down to smaller goals for your list Once you’ve reached the smaller goals, go ahead to cross them off! It’s always such a satisfying feeling to cross something off when you’ve achieved it!
Track your progress
When starting something new and beneficial for myself I LOVE tracking how I'm doing. I’m a very competitive person. I want to outdo whatever I did last week. The best way to do this is by tracking my progress! For your new year's resolution 2021 tracking how you’re doing can either be a fun little pat on the back for yourself, or it can be extra motivation if you regress. Every person gets motivated differently, what works for me is negative reinforcement. What i mean by that is i need something or someone to tell me what i’m doing wrong.
How can you track your progress?
Well, there are a lot of ways you can track your progress, so you need to find something that works for you, but i’ll leave a couple suggestions. As i mentioned earlier, writing things down and crossing them off is a very satisfying way of keeping track of past, present, and future goals. My personal favorite way of tracking my own progress is keeping a calendar specifically for whatever i’m working on. That way I can look at it and see exactly where I'm at, where I'm going to be, and what the journey getting there will look like. Just having some form of tangible tracker for me is something that I have found to work the best and is something I would recommend to anyone.If you have another way you know will work for yourself then go for it! This might mean having a friend or family member help hold you accountable, having weekly check-ins with yourself, or putting up sticky notes around your home with inspirational words. Whatever it is, be sure there is a way to track your goals and progress!
Accountability is an absolute must for any goal you set for yourself, and there’s a couple good ways to stay accountable. One way that I keep myself accountable is to try and bring a friend on board for a project or resolution. If you have someone else pushing you to reach your goals and vice versa it’s so much harder to give up on something. Plus having a friend most likely pushes you beyond how far you might push yourself- you have a whole other person to compete with! On top of that, if i start feeling lazy, or skip days, having someone to give me a kick in the butt to keep going can really help me stay on track. Now, it’s not always possible to have someone else there to push you to meet your goals (especially this year), but another good way to keep oneself accountable is with a rewards system, which we’ll get into in the next section!
This is the best part of any journey! While reaching the benchmarks and goals of your resolution are a reward in and of themselves, giving yourself tangible things to work towards throughout your journey is a great way to incentivize yourself to keep at it! I know for myself having that extra little thing, like ordering in from my favorite restaurant and having a cheat day, is a great way for me to push myself to meet or exceed a goal. It shows that you earned what you got!
That personal example aside, you can really use anything as a reward for yourself to achieve your goals. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a new nick nack, or mulling over a big purchase for yourself. Figure out what goals you want yourself to reach in order to earn those things for yourself and decide what they would be proportional to. Then receiving them will feel so much more sweet and special because you earned them! Any little treat that you can give yourself as a reward for sticking to it helps and adds even more incentive for you to stick to that new routine!
Make it enjoyable!
A lot of resolutions people are going to have for new years 2021 are going to be more health or wellness focused. Even if you don’t enjoy eating healthy, going to the gym, or whatever it may be, finding a fun way to integrate this new routine into your life is a great way to stick with it and achieve your goals. I personally chose a new year's resolution for 2021 that will be fun for me to do, but if you’re doing something you’re not too excited about, it’s definitely worth the time to figure out how to make it fun.
There’s so many interesting ways to make something fun! If you’re eating healthy, spend that extra time and figure out healthy recipes that will be fun for you to make and eat! If you chose working out as your resolution, find workouts that you enjoy doing. This part may even be the hardest portion of making a routine, but I would highly recommend that you give this portion of starting a new routine the most thought. Finding a way to gain personal enjoyment out of your 2021 new years resolution is going to be far and wide the best way to ensure that you stick to it for the whole of the 2021 calendar year.
Who We Are
In a world where we can order groceries online, google any questions we have, and where we live fairly disconnected from our natural selves; it is more important than ever that we be mindful in our daily decisions. We are here to inspire and guide our community to making more eco-conscious, healthier life decisions! The Green Living Blog is here to be your trusted source - think of us as your sidekick on your quest to sustainable living.
Elay Products’ Green Living Blog is your go-to destination for all things green- from living an eco-friendly lifestyle, to discovering more about environmental science, to trying new scrumptious recipes to share with loved ones or keep all to yourself (sometimes they’re just that good)! Going green may not always be as easy as it seems. In my own eco-conscious journey I noticed how much I was looking up topics I had no prior knowledge about, scouring the web for the most reliable and wholesome information, bouncing from site to site. The team at Elay Products (myself- Christina and my partner Tan) wanted to provide a single consolidated platform for our readers to not only help educate, but to share with us your personal journeys! Whether that be sharing your favorite environmentally friendly shampoo, the way you were able to start composting in your own garden or that new vegan recipe you tried- we want to hear about it. It truly does take a village to enact change and we hope you’ll join us in our mission. Whether it is reading our articles, submitting your favorite recipes, or teaching us about your favorite local eco-conscious brands, this is a blog for the people. We are here as a community to inspire, learn, and take action!
If you’re like me, you may not be able to take huge actions every day to help the environment, but you sure can make simple changes within your routine and it feels so so good to do it. Something simple like turning off your water more may seem like an easy feat with little impact, but if thousands of people are doing the same, that has a huge impact. Small acts together, create big change! So let’s spread some of that love for our planet, for our health and for our lifestyles with our neighbors, families, and friends. We believe that the more you know, the more you grow.
There is a ton of jargon and fancy phrases that people get caught up in when talking about the environment. We are here to break it down for you. As my mom always says, knowledge is power and no real change starts without it. The Green Living Blog strongly believe in providing only factual and accurate information because who wants to read something and not be sure of its credibility? This means that any research cited and/or quoted in our posts have been verified for using sound and valid research methodology and have been peer-reviewed. We do not post articles based on conjecture or unverified theories. Any opinion pieces (mostly relevant to our Lifestyle and Recipe Blogs) are clearly marked and stated as such. We as a community are ever-evolving and changing- we have to keep up with the times and continue discovering more.
Blog Schedule: Lifestyle, Science and Recipes
Every Tuesday, come to the Green Living Blog to read about trending news in science, interesting facts, and scientific articles. We're here to help you learn about the science behind the environment, climate change, sustainability, and to help you catch up on the latest research and trends. Whether you're looking for a quick read article or you'd like more in-depth information- we've got it all right here!
With this blog's resources and information about Earth Sciences- Environmental Science, Ecology, Climate Science, Materials and Sustainability, you'll have the resources you need to make informed decisions. In the modern day and age, it is easy to make uninformed purchasing decisions with large corporations, online shopping and mass production- I’m guilty as ever of seeing a sponsored ad and wanting to buy it immediately! The Green Living Blog is here to support and inspire you to shop local, discover what is in your foods, and learn the science about the tableware and products you use. As easy as it is to order online from your favorite large company, it is far more fulfilling to support your local small business down the street! We must be the ones who protect our planet and communities.
Next, tune in on Thursdays for all the latest and greatest lifestyle hacks! Whether you are a pro at the zero-waste lifestyle or just getting started on your sustainable journey, this will be your guide to going green. Curious about what it means to go green, how to start composting, ways to improve your energy costs- look no further.
We know that life can get pretty crazy and we get caught going through the motions- we are here to help make those simple decisions even easier. It can be something as simple as using less water throughout your day to learn about the benefits of solar panels. Lifestyle changes happen when small or large changes are consistently being made- I know, it’s hard holding yourself accountable. But remember how great it feels!
Lastly come back at the end of your week (every Friday) to check out the latest and greatest recipes of 2020 - well, at least the recipes we've had the chance to try out in 2020. Here at Élay, we love our food just as much as the next person. One of the most magical parts of creating a meal is sharing it and that is why we created this particular blog. Whether you share these recipes with the people you eat with or pass this recipe onwards, we are thrilled to share our meals with all of you!
One thing at The Green Living Blog we are conscious of is being customizable to our community's needs. So whether you are trying out Keto, have been Paleo for six years, are Vegan, Vegetarian or an all-foods lover; we have the recipes for you! Your experience at the table goes far beyond just the food you eat- it is where you source your food from, the journey of creating the meal, the people you share it with, and of course the plates you share it on!
Brought to you by Elay Products
You may be wondering at this point who and where this blog came from! For the who- that’s me, Christina Lalor. I’m one of the co-founders of Elay Products- a small sustainable company my partner Tan Madhavan and I began. I grew up in San Francisco, moved to Indiana for two years (where Tan and I met) and now live in the beautiful, rainy city of Seattle! There are few things I love more than my two German Shepherds, rock climbing, and spending time with family and friends. As for Tan, she’s more of a cat person but that hasn’t deterred our partnership yet. She and her cat, Mrs. SkittleKat, live in Bloomington, Indiana where Tan loves cooking up some spicy home cooked meals and enjoying delicious adult beverages to help combat the cold Midwest winters. Tan and I combined our passions, resources and brains to create Elay- a company in line with our values and with the opportunity to create impactful changes. You can read more about the company further into this post, but for now, let’s focus on what you came here for - The Green Living Blog!
So how did The Green Living Blog come to be? As I mentioned earlier, it is brought to you by Elay Products. Tan and myself had a vision for change and an opportunity to market and distribute the best alternative disposable tableware there is. It’s not just our values that make Elay so wholesome, it is our actual product! Élay (pronounced "el- ay") means “leaf” and that’s exactly what our products are made of! From dinner plates and bowls to containers and to-go boxes, all our products are made from heat-pressed Areca Palm leaves. Not only do we want you to know about how amazing our disposable tableware is, we want you to know who we are, what we stand for and hopefully help inspire you to live a more green life which is why we created our Green Living Blog! We believe business is one’s greatest platform for change - to drive sustainability, provide safe products, and give our community responsibly sourced products and information!
Unlike bamboo, paper or plastics - our Palm Products are zero-waste, 100% compostable, biodegradable, made from a renewable resource and are even heat and cold resistant. So yes, go ahead and store that extra ice cream in your palm leaf to-go box, it’ll be just as good as new when you are ready for that midnight snack. Our personal values of being sustainable, safe and responsible convey themselves in every aspect of our business.
The most amazing part of our products is how environmentally friendly and sustainable the production process is. As long as the Areca Palm Tree lives and grows, we have a product! Unlike bamboo, we do not cut down any part of the tree. Instead, the leaf sheaths naturally shed and fall to the ground about 4 -6 times a year; depending on the age of the tree, environment, size of the leaf sheath and other factors. Our farmers, many of whom are women, then collect these beautiful, thick and durable leaf sheaths. They are so strong, local children even use them as sleds to play around with. The sheaths are then hydropower washed for sanitation purposes- ensuring there are absolutely zero added chemicals, additives or dyes. That water is then repurposed throughout the farm via irrigation canals for other uses- how cool! Our farmers then heat press the leafs into customizable molds- making a once fallen leaf that otherwise might have been burnt up as biomass, into quality-standard tableware! Don’t worry- the parts of the leaf that are not used are still put to great use. With some added water to make the leaves more pliable, they provide a perfect fodder for the farm cattle. You can learn more here about the journey of the leaf from the palm tree to the palm of your hand!
With the whirlwind of a year that we have had, the safety of our products and customers is our top priority! We ensure quality-standard, safe and sanitized products. There are zero toxins, added chemicals, melamine or any other dyes or additives in our product. Unlike bamboo, plastics or paper alternatives that contain many toxins, our products are safe for you and your loved ones (yup, even your cat or dog). I caught my dog chewing on one of our plates as a toy the other day - they’re just that durable and pet friendly!
As business owners and citizens of the Earth, it is our responsibility to not only provide accurate and educational information to our customers, but to ensure every choice and decision we make is made responsibly and for the benefit of our community and planet. From ensuring Fair Trade to helping employ women in southern communities in India, we are making an impact! It is our duty to be diligent in our decisions when considering who and where we source from, how we produce our products and how they get from our manufacturing estate in India to your dinner table!
This Green Living Blog is not only going to be our own personal guide, but a factually informative space with fun tricks and tips to improve the state of your lifestyle. According to Co-Op America, “48% of U.S. consumers are ready to change their consumption habits to save the environment,” we hope we can inspire more!
P.S. Have a topic you are specifically curious about, email us at email@example.com and we will answer any questions you have by directing you to a past post or writing a specific post just to answer your question!