Christmas Vacation with One Carry-on for a Family of 5.

This year we spent a week away from home during Christmas. To keep things cheap we only brought personal bags and one carry-on for our whole family. Now before I go on too much farther, just know that we celebrated Christmas with gifts when we got back home. With our kids being young enough to not know what day Christmas is on, we can actually do that.

Each one of us had four outfits for the whole 8 days. That meant doing laundry while we were away. We also had large coats since we went to Idaho where it was much colder than what we are used to in Southern California. We also had enough diapers and wipes to get to our destination, blankets for each of our babies, food so we didn’t have to buy airplane food, and our hygiene/makeup.

Here is what I packed for myself to give you an idea:

1 PJ set

2 sweaters (I switched off every other day on which one I wore).

4 white T-shirts

1 coat

1 scarf

1 pair of pants

1 black leggings

1 pair of work out clothes with sports bras

1 pair of shoes

2 pairs of socks

(Not shown in picture above is 4 pairs of underwear and 2 bras)


If you can get it at your destination, buy it there. I’m mainly talking about diapers and wipes in our case, but that could look differently for different people. We only packed enough for the flight then bought them in Idaho.

Don’t be afraid to borrow things. Need a jacket? Ask for someone’s spare to borrow. Almost everyone has extras that aren’t being used and most people don’t mind lending an extra pair of socks or a towel or whatever. Or even toys for your kids. No need to pack toys if where you’re staying they’ll have things for your kids to do.

Don’t pack just-in-case items. If you absolutely need it, buy it. Most likely you won’t need it though.

You’re traveling, it’s okay if you wear the same thing more than once.

Can it be used for double duty? A scarf as a travel pillow (or as cover up while nursing), lipstick used as blush as well, you get my drift?

Plan packing items ahead. Give yourself enough time to think through how to make it all possible.

Pack like-things together. Ex: all our clothes went in the carry-on, all blankets in one backpack, all food in another backpack, etc.

Would I do anything differently?

Wait until at least two kids can walk in the airport. With two babies who can’t walk around and all three of our kids still in full car seats, AND with both me and my husband wearing backpacks (carrying a baby each) getting from car to check-in car seats was super difficult.

Not pack so much food, we didn’t need as much on the plane as I thought so it was just extra weight.

Do any of you try to pack minimally? The whole week we were gone we stayed at 4 different places and packing light made it really easy to pack up and go to the next place. It made packing light well worth it!

The Best Deodorant you’ll Ever Wear!


I have been making deodorant for my husband and I for about a year now and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result. It is probably the best DIY recipe that I use in our home that works really well and is all natural. Now don’t think I’m a genius, because it’s not my own recipe, but I love to share with people anything that works well. Sophie Uliano is all about ‘green’ products and is amazing at coming up with DIY recipes. Now luckily I’m not a very stinky person, but when I am nursing or pregnant my body odor is funkier than normal.


What I love about this recipe is that it is all natural ingredients, it is super cheap, one batch lasts a long time, and it really works! You only need a tiny bit, especially if you are a little sensitive to baking soda, make sure you don’t use too much or your skin could get irritated. If you find that the baking soda is bothering you, then try adding more coconut oil. This is actually considered a ‘pit paste’ because when it’s hot outside the coconut oil in it makes this turn more ‘pasty’ and the deodorant turns into a liquid so don’t try putting this into a deodorant stick.


Here is the recipe! Let me know here or on Facebook or Instagram if you end up making this.

  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp non-nano zinc oxide*
  • essential oils of your choice

*Make sure that it is non-nano zinc oxide. This can be purchased on Amazon.

**And yes, I did spell deodorant wrong on my label on my jar….if only labelers had auto correct. Fixing that label!

10 Must See Documentaries on Netflix

I love Netflix because for a very low price, you have access to not only great entertainment but some of the best documentaries on a variety of topics. So without further ado here are my top favorite documentaries that I truly believe everyone has to watch:

  1. The True Cost


Why not start my list with a bang! This is a documentary talking about our relationship to the clothing we own. From beginning stages of where the materials come from, to who makes the clothes, to how long the average item of clothing’s life expectancy is now-days, to what happens to the clothing after. It addresses all of it. The True Cost opens your eyes to the environmental affects that fast fashion has on our planet and the inhumane treatment regarding those who make our highly consumed and discarded clothes. It explains why clothes are so much cheaper now than they ever have been before in the history of time and how clothing is no longer a seasonal collection. Many stores now have new inventory on a weekly basis! Fast fashion is truly one of the worst offenders to our environment which is why this documentary exposes fashion’s true cost. You won’t look at the clothes on the racks the same after watching this,…which is a good thing.

2. Food, Inc.


This documentary is probably the first, if not one of them, of documentaries I watched talking specifically about the food industry and the negative affects it has on our health and the environment. It exposes the unsustainable practices we use to farm our foods which is depleting natural resources, and adding toxins into our environment. These practices in turn are linked directly to why we are having a health epidemic of modern day illnesses in our country. Food, Inc. also talks about the abuse that goes on to our animals and employees. I would definitely suggest this being a starting point on documentaries to watch about the food that we eat.

3. Fed Up


This documentary talks a lot about what types of food, and food companies are funded and subsidized by the government. Exposing the corruption and deceit that companies and government have to make a profit. Often we are told that we are overweight and sick, and that  our children are because they eat too much and don’t move around or exercise enough. We’re finding that that isn’t the truth but that our bodies react differently to certain food than others. In other words, calories aren’t all created equal. Our addiction to processed, unnatural foods change our taste preferences and the way our brains are wired and ultimately making it almost impossible to get off the rat race of diet and exercise to get healthier. It’s not until we stop eating things in packages and start eating true food that we can heal our bodies and minds.

4. Cooked


Based on the book “Cooked” written by Michael Pollen, a New York Times Best-Selling Author, this docu-series talks about the very basic principle of what makes us “human.” What separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, which is that we cook our food. Fire, Water, Air, and Earth are the four natural elements that has evolved and shaped our most basic foods we have been consuming for thousands of years. Beyond the food, this documentary takes a look into how this act of nourishing our bodies connects us with those we love and share community with.

5. Forks Over Knives


Based on the book, “The China Study,” which is one of the most comprehensive study on nutrition ever conducted by M.D. Thomas M. Campbell and PhD T. Colin Campbell. Essentially the study done proved that animal products “turn-on” cancer cells while consuming plants “turn-off” them.  T. Colin Campbell is quoted saying to New York Times:

“The idea is that we should be consuming whole foods. We should not be relying on the idea that genes are determinants of our health. We should not be relying on the idea that nutrient supplementation is the way to get nutrition, because it’s not. I’m talking about whole, plant-based foods.”[10]6. Living On One Dollar


Many people in the developing world live on the equivalent of one US Dollar a day. Four college friends take it upon themselves to live in rural Guatemala for 56 days on only $1 a day. They document the experience as they try to live like the locals, growing a crop during that time to sell and the struggles that come with poverty in the developing world. This documentary is very eye opening to what it would be like to not live with what we think to be very basic necessities and what families in these areas are faced with.

7. A Plastic Ocean


I was a little apprehensive to watch this because of the title alone, but I’m so glad I did. My daughter watched it with me and she was full of questions the whole time as to why the fish were full of plastic pieces and how did the plastic bags get into the water? The people documented in this movie who dedicate their lives to researching and teaching people on the negative affects plastic has on the ocean are genuine people who have a love and amazement for a part of the world we know very little about. What we do know is how much we rely on the ocean for our sustainability as humans and we are polluting it in enormous amounts with our plastic consumption. If you want motivation to kick the plastic habit, this will do it to you as you watch animals dying because they are filled with plastic and learning on the negative affects mico-plastics have on the fishes health, and ultimately, our own. It’s amazing how something that’s treated as a disposable is anything BUT disposable.

8. Minimalism


I hope you’ve made it to this point down my list of documentaries to watch because this one is my new favorite. I religiously listen to The Minimalists podcast every Tuesday. Josh and Ryan, better known by their blog as “The Minimalists,” interview many different people who live the ‘minimalist’ lifestyle on varying different levels. The concept being that there is no “right-way” but that ultimately owning less and putting less emphasis on material possessions gives you the freedom of living a more intentional life that helps one to focus on what values you have for yourself, giving your life more meaning. I love this documentary and I love Josh and Ryan’s podcast. They have great insight into how to live a life with intention and purpose.

One of my favorite things said in the documentary, though I can’t recall who it was said by, was that it’s not that we are too materialistic, but it’s that we aren’t materialist enough. Meaning we don’t see the value of items, we don’t take care of what we have, we see things as disposable, replaceable.

9. Happy


At first glance you may think, “What does being happy have to do with the environment?” Often we seek for material possessions to make us happy; clothes, house, expensive trips, but the principles that bring true happiness have nothing to do with material possessions. There is a certain amount of our basic needs being met that does make us truly happy, but after that point, when you are not in need, happiness comes from the things that you can’t buy.

10. Cowspiracy


A man’s journey to live a more “green” life suddenly realizes that one of the biggest offenders on the environment is the animal agriculture industry. He goes on a quest to find out why environmental non-profits aren’t talking about this? If you profess that you’ve changed your ways to being “more green” or “more eco-friendly” this documentary will open up your eyes to how little of an impact taking short showers or recycling your water bottles have on the environment compared to what’s on your plate at dinner time.

I always love to hear back from those that read my posts. Please share your thoughts here or on Facebook or Instagram. Thank you for reading!

Bloom Where you Are Planted


Image by: Humming Homebody

For the past few months I have been glued to my phone looking up real estate where we live, in southern California. Prices have gone up so much in just the past two years that I’ve lived here and according to economics, they see prices to continue to go up for at least the next two year, possibly even the next eight! In eight years my oldest will be 12-years-old, so naturally I’ve been thinking, if prices don’t drop she’s never going to have a yard to play in her entire childhood.

With that thought I immediately started looking all over for a house I thought we could possibly afford. At first my expectations were high, but as I started calculating mortgages, my expectations dwindled. Then I researched all the programs for teachers to get into housing and met up with a lender to go over what we could afford with the program I thought best fit for us.

The outcome was depressing. After we got home I cried, for probably a good hour. Then I went back online and looked for houses to rent. After a few more days of obsessing, I found a killer deal. 3 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, house with a yard, my own laundry, on a cul de sac, back in my home town, 9 out of 10 rated schools, AND the best part, is we could afford the place without feeling uncomfortable. I set up an appointment to see it. Then I started to think of all the things I would be giving up.

Although I live in an apartment, I have a landlord who is so aware of what’s going on, it’s like having an alarm system installed in your home. I can walk to the park, the elementary school that has high ratings, the library, stores, restaurants, and my favorite grocery store. I have good friends, my daughter has good friends and I’m apart of a great community with a large diversity. Moving would mean that anytime I need to go somewhere I have to drive, (and with three kids in car seats, I’d so rather be able to walk). And I’d have to start over again with making friends, and did I mention my husband would have to commute?

That’s when the thought came to my mind: “Bloom where you are planted.” I canceled my appointment to see the house for rent a few hours before. The more I started to think about what we can do in our situation, the more I realized the grass really might not be greener on the other side. Sure a few years down the road with more in our savings account, when prices of homes start to go down again, (because there’s always ups and downs in the housing market), we’ll be ready. And maybe before that we will find a better place to rent with a yard. But until that happens I’ve decided that I need to grow and bloom where I am right now. My family and I aren’t going anywhere and so I might as well make the very best of it. Here is a list of things I plan on doing to help with just that. I share it for anyone who is feeling a little stuck in their situation to know, you aren’t alone. I think everyone at some point feels this way, whether it’s because of your location or the stage of life you’re in.

  1. Think or write everyday things that you’re grateful for.
  2. Foster your creativity. Internet and apps, like Pinterest, on our phone can give us a false illusion that we are creating when actually we are consuming. Find something that you enjoy and then do it.
  3. Beautify your home.
  4. Get moving, no not pack your bags, but move your body, exercise!
  5. See what events are going on in your area. This is something I love about Facebook is you can now see events near you going on. Look them up, and then actually get out and go.
  6. Invest in your relationships
  7. Take care of what you do have and have a heart of gratitude.

DIY Alternative to Plastic Wrap

I found out about using a beeswax soaked cloth as an alternative to plastic wrap a few months ago as I was binge watching Sophie Uliano on Youtube. She has a lot of “green” solutions to everything from beauty to household to nutrition.

During my Plastic Free Challenge I had three people tag me to a BuzzFeed video on beeswax wraps as an alternative to plastic wrap. I had already planned on posting how to do it yourself since it’s super easy and cheap but I just could not get around to it the last few weeks. When my own plastic wrap ran out a few months ago I switched to buying more glass containers and have just slowly reduced my need for plastic bags and plastic wrap. But there would be an occasional bowl that I needed to put in the fridge and instead of reaching for the plastic, I’d put an upside down plate over it. This new solution is much more convenient and less bulky then that though. I have been using one for close to a month now and really love it. So I made more to fit all my plastic needs when a container isn’t necessary, or not available. I’ve used it to cover watermelon, bowls, and even completely cover half an avocado!

Beeswax covered cloth is much MUCH better for the environment because it is reusable, it’s naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral which means that things won’t grow on them. These can easily be washed in cold water and soap and it smells good too!

To make these all you need is:

  1. Fabric
  2. Beeswax (buy online or most craft stores, I got mine at Michael’s)
  3. An oven pan/tray
  4. An oven
  5. String & clothes pins

  1. Lay out the fabric. For an easy guide, you can trace a plate. But what I did is I put down the largest items in my kitchen that I typically had to use plastic wrap for in the past (large bowls, casserole dishes). BE SURE YOU ADD EXTRA SO IT CAN FOLD OVER.

2. Cut it out.

3. Heat the oven to 220 degrees F. It’s just warm enough to melt the beeswax and you do need to use pot holders when handling the tray out of the oven. But you can handle the fabric easily after a few seconds of it coming out of the oven with your fingers.

4. Depending on what kind of beeswax you got (beaded or block) put the fabric on the tray and place beaded of shaved beeswax over the fabric.

5. Place in oven until completely melted. You may have to move tray around to get the fabric completely covered.

6. Once it is all melted take out and QUICKLY hang to dry using string and clothes pins. Place tray underneath to collect any wax that drips off. Fabric will dry fast.

And that’s all! Super easy and simple. I cut up all different sizes for most of all my plastic needs.

Before this post is over though, I want to put something in your mind when thinking about using one-time-use items. Think of the “craddle to grave” so to say lifespan of those items and the energy, natural resources and consequences of these items. Plastic wrap, paper towels, paper plates, shampoo bottles, etc. Is it sustainable? Just think about it.


*You may have to reheat the fabric in the oven if you don’t use the warmth of your hands to fold the fabric over things. It will crack the wax a little if it’s cold but it’s still usable, just looks cracked.

*Don’t use hot water to wash. Beeswax melts easily and since it’s anti-bacterial, you don’t have to use heat to kill germs.

*To get remainder wax off tray, let dry and peel it off. What you can’t get off, use a blow dryer until it’s warm enough to peel off easily.

Plastic Free Challenge Week #2 

Week 2 of my plastic free challenge came to an end Saturday night. So I’m going to share my experience doing this plastic free challenge for the last two weeks.

What plastic did I consume in week #2?

Clearly I still used plastic these last two weeks but it was a good challenge for me to discover how much plastic I actually do consume and how much can I reduce. The top picture is how much plastic I used in week two and the bottom picture is plastic that was in my cupboards. Last week I went through my cupboards and cleared out old things that have been there for months that needed to be dumped. But for transparency I added them also because it was still plastic I had to throw away during the week. Here is the list from the photo above of everything I actually purchased/used/received in the second week of my challenge:

  1. Baby wipes & diaper package
  2. Two mango containers from Costco
  3. Eraser toys of my daughter that broke (are erasers plastic? I would think yes nowadays although erasers originally were not plastic)
  4. Plastic lid
  5. Plastic lid wrap-around thing
  6. Candy someone gave my daughter
  7. Baby toothbrush container-part (toothbrush is in the shape of a banana)
  8. Packaging from the mail
  9. Two mints from Maggiano’s
  10. Plastic tag from asparagus bunch
  11. Produce stickers
  12. Bulk bin twisties
  13. Lactose package (I use to make my babies formula from scratch)
  14. Pasta bag
  15. Plastic bag that had bread in it my aunt gave me when I visited her

If you aren’t including the plastic coming from my pantry clean out, I only consumed a little less plastic than the week before.

Overall how hard is it to go plastic free?

It’s hard. Anytime you are changing your habits and lifestyle it’s going to take learning. It took me extra time to meal plan for the week. Since we eat a plant-based diet in our home with very little animal products in the month, many alternative vegan products come in packages so I had to make more things from scratch. This is good because although I think we eat pretty healthy with lot of produce, making just about everything from scratch took it to another level. It certainly is a new system that I would have to develop over the next few months. Another hard thing was that there are somethings (like mangos) that I can’t find better quality of without plastic packaging.

Do I plan on keeping up the plastic free challenge?

Absolutely. I bought Bea Johnson’s book “Zero Waste Home” which is chalk full of really great information on how to reduce your waste consumption. It was incredibly rewarding for me to be a more conscious consumer and I plan to continue to work towards reducing our waste more and more as time goes on. Some people I think can do it ‘cold turkey’ if you want to say, but with our family, I think it will take time. It starts with us and then letting others around us know of our changed lifestyle which for me -is the hardest part.

Plastic Free Challenge Week #1

Last week was the first week of my plastic-free challenge. In some ways it was very rewarding to find alternatives to plastics but on the other hand, I was surprised at how easy it is to be a plastic consumer and not even realize how quickly it can add up! Some things I wouldn’t even notice, until my 3-year-old would say, “Uh oh! Mom that’s plastic!” Overall though having my mom visiting, plus my husband, me and my two children -I feel we did pretty good.

What plastic did I consume?

Instead of putting plastic in the trash or what could be recycled, in the recycling bin, I kept everything separate in a brown grocery bag. The image above is what I had and here is a list:

  1. Yogurt container
  2. Plastic lid wraps
  3. 3 banana bags from Costco
  4. Bag of corn I already had in my freezer
  5. 3- It’s-It ice cream sandwich bags
  6. Juice container someone gave my daughter
  7. Phone charger case
  8. Plastic spork from my husband’s work
  9. Salad dressing lid plastic wrapper thing
  10. A few Emergen-C packs
  11. Stickers and plastic tags from Ross
  12. Insurance cards
  13. Plastic part from envelopes
  14. Bubble wand found on my porch
  15. Pasta packaging
  16. Cold medicine packaging
  17. Produce stickers
  18. Bulk section twisties (I’ll be reusing these though)
  19. Mail package that kept the pro-biotics I ordered online cold.

*Also some snacks and other food related packaging from my in-laws house because we stayed there this weekend…..didn’t think they’d appreciate me going through their trash though. HA!

How hard was it to strive for plastic free?

As you can see by my picture, it isn’t so much that it’s hard to refuse as it is just sometimes not in our control or we would forget. There are quite a few things that I already had in my kitchen before the week started (pasta, frozen corn bag) that I can start to make alternatives for but I wasn’t expecting the plastic on envelopes and then there are kind gestures from people in packaged form (toys, food, etc.)

There was one time I went on a walk unprepared with out my water bottle and my mom and I were so thirsty but I refused to go in a store for a water bottle. If it was in the middle of the day and we were sweating I would have. We weren’t by large stores with drinking fountains, just small ones that would be selling water bottles.

What’s left in my trash can?

I have to mention that I did use a trash can this past week -with a plastic bag cover. I used 4 trash bags for the week and  one small bathroom trash bag. Almost everything in my kitchen trash can  were food scraps that all could be composted and diapers. My bathroom trash mainly had floss and tissues, which actually the tissues could have been placed in the toilet when we went to the bathroom. Extreme? Maybe. So with this knowledge I’ve thought about alternative ways to reduce my trash bags. Diapers -If I had my own washer and dryer I would do cloth diapers but financially and practicality wise I do disposable. Food scraps- It’s hard to compost everything in an apartment but I am looking into ways I can at least reduce the food that goes into the trash. Floss- I’m also looking into alternatives for disposable floss.

What have I learned so far?

Plastic is so much apart of our everyday life we don’t even think twice. It takes practice, thought, and letting others around us aware. Something I will say though is it is cheaper. When you aren’t buying things in packaging you aren’t paying for the packaging. Bulk is cheaper and since I didn’t buy bread/tortillas in bags, it was cheaper making them too but a little time consuming. I still don’t have a good system down for either of these. Another thing is the closest store that has a bulk section is Sprouts for me and I really wish they had a larger snack selection in the bulk. We don’t need a lot of snacks but sometimes having something convenient on-the-go is nice. Moving forward I am going to look into making more snack, easy to grap, foods. And they’ll probably be a lot healthier too.

I love the comments here or on my social media platforms! Anyone else feeling inspired to minimize their plastic usage? Let me know!