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5 Ways to Wrap Christmas Gifts Using Recycled Brown Paper and Greens

Top photo courtesy of Pure Green Magazine 

Trying to avoid creating waste during the Christmas season is almost as difficult as avoiding those holiday sugar cookies (re: near impossible). It’s especially tricky to avoid when it comes to wrapping paper; it gets ripped, torn, and crumpled then tossed into a pile of brightly-colored scraps that just continues to accumulate.

Purchasing bundles of wrapping paper can be an expensive hassle but the good news is it isn’t the only way to wrap a gift. Some of the most charming and creatively wrapped gifts are handmade and often very simple. So as I found myself wondering how to make this happen without setting unrealistic expectations for myself that would only get replaced by the one thing I wanted not to happen, I sought out a little inspiration from some crafty folks and bloggers who seem to be born for the job. Read More

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Lifestyle | Shop + Give The Basic Goods

It’s easy to paint consumerism as wholly negative. But I’d argue that in today’s society, a sensitivity to the issue of thoughtless buying and selling has inspired a movement of purchasing with a purpose—conscious consumerism. So maybe now isn’t such a bad time to be a consumer after all especially when the driving force behind it means making a positive impact socially and environmentally.

So in the spirit of the holidays and Giving Tuesday, I’m really excited to bring you not one but two ways to do good with your dollar this year. The Basic Goods Shop is now open! This makeshift online boutique has been consciously curated with a handful of essentials to help you live a more zero-waste lifestyle. Check back for occasional updates! 

For Giving Tuesday I’ve handpicked some of my favorite brands and businesses that do good, specifically by providing the basic goods and necessities to those people, places and things that truly need them. What could be better than getting to give the basic goods and a meaningful gift all at once? Nada!

So, friends, conscious consumers and gift-giving extraordinaires here you go!

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People | Suyog Mody, Co-Founder of Driftaway Coffee

This interview is a pretty big deal. Rarely do I have the opportunity to talk to the co-founder of a radical coffee company like Driftaway about the heart, soul and game-changing tactics behind their brand. Second, I’m pretty sure that after reading this you’ll have a drastically different view of coffee, climate change and your massive impact as a consumer on the world.

Featured in The Today Show, Good Housekeeping, Esquire and more, Suyog Mody and his wife Anu started their small-batch, coffee roasting subscription company as an effort to help alleviate poverty and bring you a delicious cup of coffee customized to suit your tastebuds. You know, the usual. Coincidentally, my husband and I were gifted a 6 month coffee subscription as a wedding gift (shout out to Scott and Anna) and as coffee lovers, we were hooked.

Now, I don’t want to give too much away but there are so many things that make Driftaway Coffee unique. From their perspective on using Organic certifications (it’s not 100% and they’re fine with that), why farmers deserve a spotlight and the important reason that coffee needs science to survive the effects of climate change.

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Hopefully you’ve read the fantastic interview with Bill Ahrens of New Country Organics Farm (if you haven’t go do that, too) and are about to have your mind blown and lens shifted once again by Suyog. His passion for sustainability and supporting others shines through and I hope you leave feeling motivated to take #inspiredaction.

Huge thanks to Suyog of Driftaway Coffee for being so generous with his time and energy. Make sure you get a coffee subscription for yourself and gift at least one more this holiday season. Enjoy, friends!

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The Conscious Kitchen | 3 Zero Waste Ways to Use 3 Cups of Almonds

Over coffee one afternoon my friend Melissa Ballone (the girl boss behind Wellness for Makers) and I were chatting about nut milks — I know, I know, things white people say. Her favorite was fresh oat milk and I proudly declared that I couldn’t part with my 3-in-1 homemade almond milk method that left no scrap behind.

As I started rambling on about the bounty that 3 cups of raw, organic almonds can bring to your conscious kitchen, I realized that, doi, this should really be on TBG.  And that’s it! I think that green living is as simple as a conversation with friends trading tips over coffee and, most of all, are simple and earnest. Not everything works perfectly every time but this particular method allows me to turn 3 cups of almonds into so much more and it’s a ritual that I love, so I hope you enjoy this, too!

Got some stellar tips yourself? Leave your comments, thoughts or questions below.

 


3 Zero Waste Ways to Use 3 Cups of Almonds

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People | Behind the Scenes with an Organic Farmer

In bold and unapologetic letters on their website, New Country Organics farm in Virginia proudly states, “We are all organic. Organic doesn’t mean trendy or cool or pretentious. Organic doesn’t have to mean expensive. Organic simply means living in ecological balance. Living real life. Real life sustained by real food.”

As a team of dedicated organic growers, New Country Organics is passionate about educating people on the farming practices that allow us to enjoy a healthy and sustainable planet, produce and people. I was lucky enough to talk to one of their team members, Bill Ahrens, about what exactly organic means to them as a small-scale organic farm and what they think we should know as conscious consumers.



WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO PRACTICE ONLY SUSTAINABLE METHODS? 

One of the things we love about organics is that it has outright prohibitions against the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. I spend a lot of my time trying to explain what organic is as opposed to what is now the reality that we consume chemical food. Our culture tends to rely on this idea that food is inherently good. However, today, there are so many chemicals being used not only in GMO products like soy, corn and wheat but also in conventional farming and non-GMO farming. We’ve been taught that as humans we can tolerate these minute qualities of chemicals, but unfortunately we can’t.

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Lifestyle | Why You Should Drink Fair Trade + Organic Coffee

Happy National Coffee Day! 

Coffee is something that’s ubiquitous in nearly every household, cafe and eatery around the world. Besides being the best part of the morning (just me?) it’s effects are far-reaching, impacting communities and the environment — not just our morning buzz.

When we stop and think about the term “Fair Trade”, the words alone make it obvious to me as to why this is important. Being compensated fairly for your work and treated as an equal human being is a simple concept that even a little kid could understand — I would know, because the term “fairness” was recently explained very clearly to me by five year olds kids in a yoga class.  Despite that, there are many coffee farmers worldwide who are not treated equally and paid less than they deserve. Here’s an excerpt from a past post, How to Green-Up Your Morning CupRead More

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Events | Fall Equinox Hike + Yoga

If you are new to The Basic Goods or need a refresher on what’s at the heart of this blog, it’s dedicated to slowing down and simplifying our lives through a deep appreciation of the little things — the basic goods of life. Finding a connection to the beauty of our natural world, ourselves and one another in ways both large and small is paramount to living out this idea. So, when I can find a way to do one or two of those things at once I’m pretty happy. But doing all three? Well, that’s a moment to soak in for sure.

For the Fall Equinox we did exactly that. As a yoga teacher and someone who loves to be outside, a morning hike and outdoor yoga class bring together the best of both worlds — oh, and of course it’d be followed with a locally-brewed beer or cider, it’s only right, people.

When I reached out to my good friend and yoga teacher, Erica Spirko, she suggested turning it into a celebration of the Fall Equinox at a quiet spot in Warwick, New York.  From there all of the pieces somehow came together.

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Check out these 7 books on sustainable living for a conscious lifestyle.
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Green Living | The Best Books on Sustainable + Conscious Living

There’s a whole lot of misinformation and fear-based news with over-exaggerated claims dominating headlines and social media feeds that it can make it hard to get your facts straight. For me, one of the best (and let’s be honest, less stressful) ways to cut through the noise is with a book. Plus, without the zombifying-effects of staring at a glowing screen with a hundred distractions, it’s somewhat easier to digest the hard truths we may discover in a sustainable and eco-friendly book.

What, you mean you don’t also turn into a sad, computer zombie after an hour of Google-searching global warming too? Just me? In any case, to help you live a more eco-friendly and conscious lifestyle, here are some of the best books on sustainable living.

Check out these 7 books on sustainable living for a conscious lifestyle.

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A Course in Calm

Hey everyone,  Since I started my newsletter, The Exhale, a year ago, I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to bring together my yoga and writing projects here on The Basic Goods. I’m excited and really proud to share that, A Course in Calm, is exactly that. Don’t let my title as a yoga teacher fool you, I’m also a person who deals with anxiety and a distracted mind like many people do. So I created this totally free course to share what I have learned and teach in studios and schools that help others (and myself!) feel more settled and calm.

I don’t believe that we need to accept this stressed and over-reactive state as the norm. Peaceful bodies and calm minds are our baseline and I know that we are all capable of living from that place. Please feel free to send me a message or sign up a friend/loved one if you like! Read on to find out more about A Course and Calm.

xx Kat

Manage and control your anxiety with mindfulness, yoga and breathwork in this free four week e-course, A Course in Calm.


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Beauty Basics | DIY All-Natural Deodorant

Would you believe me if I said that making your own deodorant is easy annnd fun? Probably not, but I’m gonna say it anyway! I started to make my own deodorant a few years ago because I refused to believe that it could really be that complicated. Based off what I had learned from making simple and non-toxic home cleaning products I knew that my pantry was chock full of eco-friendly ingredients that worked in my house so why couldn’t they work on me too?

Besides that, I was also keen on avoiding many of the chemicals in store bought deodorants such as, aluminum compounds, TEA/DEA, Triclosan, propylene glycol (this is especially harmful to people with sensitive skin) and parabens. Shockingly, the government does not require any safety testing before the creation and marketing of beauty and personal care products, and some like TEA/DEA have been banned in Europe due to the evidence that they are in fact, known carcinogens (chemicals that can cause cancer when used regularly).

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The Conscious Traveller | Green Travel Tips: Chile

Here’s the question of the summer: how can you be eco-friendly while you travel?

This past June, my husband and I got married and after doing our best to plan a green wedding (more on that soon!) we decided to have a honeymoon fun-venture in the incredible country of Chile. Think: hiking, camping, boating and horseback riding in Patagonia, plus world class skiing in the Andes at Ski Portillo and of course, lots of wine! It lived up to the hype by exceeding every expectation we could possibly have had, most especially the Chilean people and culture. For all of you who love outdoor-adventure travel, I highly recommend putting it on your list of places to visit.

We were fortunate to discover that Chile is ranked the world’s best developed country for eco-tourism. However, the sheer impact of flying to the end of the earth gave us reason to pause and consider the effects of our carbon footprint on this beautiful world. There’s simply no easy way to travel and be eco-friendly at the same time but it can be done. Brian and I travel often and this trip really helped us to hone our green travel skills abroad, so I’m excited to kick off the sustainable summer travel series with one of my favorite places in the world: Chile! Read More