Friday Faves!

Happy Friday! Sometimes my faves might be sustainability/outdoors related, sometimes not – hey some weeks I just enjoyed a multitude of random stuff! Here are some things I’ve been loving this week:

On Wednesday, I joined an amazingly informative webinar on Indigenous Cultural Sensitivity. If you’re Canadian (or even if not), check this out!

I’ve been playing the Sims 4 again in my free time. At first I was feeling guilty, then I read this article, hooray, I’m not a weirdo!

The Great British Baking Show Season 10. Paul Hollywood pierces you with his blue eyes and cake week gives you life! CBC Gem is quite the gem for offering this for free on their website.

One of my favourite vegan bloggers came out with her 3rd cookbook recently and it’s a winner!

Although I’m not HUGE into Halloween (more of a Christmas gal – okay a crazy Christmas gal), I do love a few things about it, one of which is this record which I will be bopping to on Halloween day.

A Beautiful Mess is one of my favourite blogs (I’ve been following for almost 10 years) and this year they came out with their first podcast! They did a Halloween special (two parter) with some sweet and spooky stories this week. You can tune in anywhere you listen to your podcasts!

This is a fan fave indulgent autumn meal (it’s a mouthful to say and to eat) in my house and my partner rushed home for it this week, so it must be a good one!

We’re all trying to keep as active as possible for our physical and mental health during these isolating times. I’ve been attempting the 100 Sweaty Sweats challenge, although admittedly I’m pretty behind! They also created a great initiative this year where you donate to your favourite charity.

Take the Bruce Trail Pledge guys! Support our local Ontario trails and you get a cute little “I took the pledge” button in the mail and it’s free of course!

I love Dolly Parton. The End. She is doing Dollyisms 101 on her Instagram this month and not surprisingly they are GOLD.

That’s all for this week folks! Enjoy your day, follow me on Instagram @sustainablesydb – thank ya!

10 Clean Beauty Products (I’m Loving Right Now)

Clean/Eco-Friendly beauty products are becoming increasingly more accessible to everyone, which is such an amazing thing! The best way to figure out if a company is following ethical and sustainable practices is to seek out the “About” page on their website and see what measures they are taking to ensure people, the planet, and animals are all being treated well.

Watch out for “greenwashing”! Brands are acutely aware that people love an “eco” product, so make sure you do your research before buying into the hype. Here are some of my favourite beauty products right now, created with sustainability and toxic-free ingredients in mind:

  1. Phillip Adam Shampoo + Conditioner – Apple Cider Vinegar. Maybe this scent sounds a little odd but my hair has never smelled better and it keeps my hair tame and free from frizzy-ness. This Vancouver based brand is family owned and focuses on natural ingredients. Biodegradable, Paraben Free, Vegan, Cruelty Free, Gluten Free, SLS Free, GMO Free. Link: https://amzn.to/2HG0Q4
  2. Matter Company – Day Pack. This includes a lip balm, all-heal salve, and heat rub. I love these mini travel sized items, they are perfect for an outdoorsy gal like me who tends to dry out her hands and windburn her face! They are Toronto based as well which is a plus, love to keep it local. Herbal, Made in Canada, GMO Free, Not Tested on Animals, Paraben free, Organic + Natural. Link: https://www.mattercompany.com/product/day-pack/
  3. Pink House Glow Stick – Peach. Love, love, LOVE this highlighter/blush stick! It brightens up my whole face and is super reasonably priced for a clean beauty product. The brand has a very bittersweet back story as well about a family and their loss, which led to this wonderful company. Natural + Cruelty Free. Link: https://www.shoppinkhouse.com/products/glow-stick-peach-1
  4. Basd Body Wash – Seductive Sandalwood. This body wash sounds sassy and frankly, it is! If by sassy you mean super great for the environment and your skin that is. This Kitchener, Ontario based (hehe Basd) brand was created by a couple who wanted ingredients and scents they both loved, so you know your partner will like it too! Organic, Tested on Consenting Adults, Paraben Free, Leaping Bunny Certified, Naturally Derived Fragrances and Oils. Link: https://www.basdbodycare.ca/collections/organic-natural-skincare/products/basd-body-wash-seductive-sandalwood
  5. Shea Moisture Overnight Face Oil. This is a fantastic, BIPOC founded company which keeps community support and fair trade front of mind. The oil is something new for me, as I always used creams as my overnight treatment, but oils are supposedly much better for your skin, especially in the winter months! No Parabens, No Mineral Oil, No Phthalates, No Petroleum, No Formaldehyde, Fair Trade, Cruelty Free, Ethically Traded, Certified B Corp. Link: https://www.amazon.com/Shea-Moisture-Coconut-Hydration-Overnight/dp/B0727WY21S
  6. Herbivore Botanicals Hair Mist – Coconut + Sea Salt and Face Mist – Rose Hibiscus. Both of these sprays are divine and I use them every single day. The hair spray makes me feel like a beachy surf babe and the face spray makes me feel like I just dunked my face in the water (in the best way). Not Tested on Animals, Non Toxic, GMO Free, Organic, Recyclable Packaging, Paraben Free, Petroleum Free. Links: https://amzn.to/3e0ddEC, https://www.herbivorebotanicals.com/collections/body-1/products/sea-mist-hair-spray-coconut
  7. Ilia Beauty Mascara – If you are searching for the perfect, clean mascara for your everyday life – look no further! It’s award-winning (Allure, Glamour), natural, and lightweight so you don’t feel like you’re weighed down. Safe Formulas, Inclusive Shades, Responsibly Sourced Packaging, Leaping Bunny Certified, Recyclable Packaging (through TerraCycle). Link: https://iliabeauty.com/products/after-midnight
  8. Lauren Conrad Beauty Cheek and Lip Tint Peony. Lauren Conrad just released a clean beauty line! She is one of the first celebrities to come out with a strictly clean beauty brand under their name, which is super influential – love it! This product is a two-in-one, which I think we can all get behind (can I get an amen!). Who doesn’t love two products for the price of one? It’s also a very environmentally friendly way to market a product. Recyclable, Paraben Free, Cruelty Free, Ethically Sourced, Vegan. Link: https://laurenconradbeauty.com/collections/makeup/products/the-lip-and-cheek-tint
  9. Leahlani Skincare Bless Beauty Balm. This Hawaii-based company is as dreamy and tropical as you might imagine. I would buy up the whole line if I had the budget, but for now this is the one product that I MUST have and continue to buy once a year (it lasts that long!). It’s sort of a stand in for face cream, but instead it’s a smooth, buttery godsend that melts into your face. I put this on right before bed and it makes me dream of coconuts and the beach. Natural Ingredients, Not Tested on Animals, Locally Sourced Ingredients. Link: https://www.leahlaniskincare.com/products/bless-balm
  10. Tower 28 ShineOn Milky Lip Jelly – Coconut. If you hadn’t guessed by now, I love coconut/tropical smelling products (I know I’m not alone here). This falls seamlessly into that category with a yummy scent that does an even better job of making my lips look delicious! Yes please! This is also a brand specifically designed for sensitive skin. BIPOC owned, Non-Toxic, Non Irritating, Vegan, Cruelty Free. Link: https://www.tower28beauty.com/products/shineon-milky-lip-jelly?variant=32245684830263

More Items I Love:

  • Bite Beauty – Custom Lipstick
  • Burt’s Bees – Overnight Mask
  • Westman Atelier – Vital Skin Foundation Stick
  • Juice Beauty – Green Apple Peel Face Mask

Questions? Email me at: info@sustainablesyd.ca, DM me on Instagram @sustainablesydb

Muskoka Hikes: Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail

Main Lookout Point

Fall hikes in cottage country are a must and the Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail is a perfect spot to view the autumn leaves this season. This is a 2.9km loop to a scenic lookout point over Lake Muskoka, Ontario that takes about 20mins to get to the top if you’re really hoofing it (like we were). Overall, the hike was easy to navigate (although I can see it being difficult in the winter if it was snow-covered), mostly because there were hoards of people coming up and down the hill, but it was also decently well signed for the average hiker.

  • Location: 8mins from Port Carling, 2.5hrs from Toronto
  • Length: 2.9km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 1hour (including time at the lookout)
  • Time To Go: Weekdays, Sunset, avoid Thanksgiving Weekend (this is when we went and it was VERY busy)
  • Viewpoints: Awesome 180 degrees of Lake Muskoka
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on a leash!
  • Weird sightings: People wheeling strollers to the top of the hike (it didn’t go well)
We exited the hike a different way – this lead to a main road
  • What we brought: camera, sweaters, water bottles
  • What we left: footprints/crunched leaves, nothing!

20 Ways to Make Your Life More Sustainable (right now!)

So you want to live a more sustainable/low waste lifestyle, but you don’t know where to get started. This is completely normal! Sustainability as a concept can be broad, hard to follow and super intimidating, so I’m going to provide you with a few simple tips that you can do TODAY (or this week because hey, procrastination is alive and well even during a pandemic).

  1. Get yourself some tote bags. I’m sure many of you already have these at home, but it’s time they left your coat rack and made their way out into the world! Here are a few I’ve been using lately: https://baggu.com/collections/reusable-bags, https://www.filt1860.fr/en/9-net-shopping-bag
  2. Instead of plastic bags and containers, use reusable baggies and glass containers to store your leftovers or to go sandwiches: https://amzn.to/2T8lsVv
  3. Reduce food waste by making a list before you to go the grocery store. This seems so simple but we’ve all been guilty of just “winging it” and coming home with 3 bags of chips when you already had 2 in the cupboard.
  4. Download these apps: Good on You – a great sustainable fashion app that rates clothing brands based on how ethical they are for workers and the environment https://goodonyou.eco/ and Think Dirty – a clean beauty and skincare app that makes you rethink everything on your bathroom shelf. Bonus: you can scan all of your products and see how “dirty” or “clean” they are! https://www.thinkdirtyapp.com/
  5. Challenge yourself: try and only buy thrifted or previously loved clothing for a month! I wouldn’t recommend in person shopping too often during the pandemic, so if you can’t support local, here are some online shops to try: https://www.depop.com/, https://www.thredup.com/
  6. Use Dryer Balls! Goodbye heavy synthetic scented dryer sheets. These are the ones I use and they put a smile on my face every time I take the little sheep face out of my pile of clean clothes: https://amzn.to/3m6CEY5
  7. Visit a zero waste store! Don’t forget your mason jars and a bit of patience. If you are in Toronto, my faves include Unboxed Market and Bare Market.
  8. Bring your travel mug and water bottle everywhere you go! Nobody wants to buy plastic water bottles or those “devil in disguise” coffee cups coated in plastic. I’ve used a Keep Cup for the past few years and no complaints! https://amzn.to/349ywjL
  9. Turn off the lights and unplug your small appliances! You’ve heard this since you were 8 years old, you get it.
  10. Use fibre cloths instead of paper towels. This is usually where I lose people, but honestly it’s not as tough as it sounds! Just buy about 20-30 cloths (those Frank brand ones at Canadian Tire are nice and cheap!) and keep them in a drawer that’s quick access for spills. Just give it a try! I’ll be the first to admit that we still buy the occasional roll of paper towel just to have on hand, but we use it much less with the cloth option.
  11. Stop “Wish-cycling”! The easiest way to describe this is the black take out container you stood over the garbage thinking about for 5 minutes before opting to recycle it. This is NOT recyclable! But, this is also NOT your fault! Unfortunately, we are taught “reduce, reuse, recycle” from a young age but we aren’t taught how to do these properly or effectively. Look up the recycling rules in your area on your town or city’s website. Bonus tip: if you don’t clean all of the food out of your recyclable item (ie: leaving peanut butter in the container) it will go to the landfill – sad but true! Toronto’s waste app: https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/recycling-organics-garbage/towaste-app/
  12. This may only apply to certain readers, but switch to e-billing! The paper waste is just madness, madness!
  13. Switch to recycled toilet paper (at least some of the time). I can’t lie, this is a hard one because we all love to indulge in a soft brand, but in the words of Dwight Schrute, “don’t get me started on how coddled the modern anus is!”. Oh, I found a cross stitch of this quote for your bathroom, you’re welcome: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/786943673/dwight-schrute-quote-coddle-anus-cross?ref=landingpage_similar_listing_top-1
  14. When you get to the produce section of the grocery store, whip out your mesh product bags! These are a great way to avoid one of life’s most horrible tasks: opening the plastic bags in the fruit and veggies section. Here are the ones I use (only down side is they make your veggies a bit soft, so make sure to take them out of the bags before you put them in the crisper drawer of your fridge): https://amzn.to/3j8KZbD
  15. Empty your email inbox! I know a lot of us have that sad old Hotmail account that is just collecting dust and American Eagle promotions from 2004, so please, CLEAN IT OUT! All of that cloud storage space uses energy which creates C02 emissions. If you’d like to read more about this here’s a link: https://carbonliteracy.com/the-carbon-cost-of-an-email/
  16. Save your veggies scraps and freeze them! This makes for a great broth starter whenever you’re looking to make a quick soup.
  17. Meatless Mondays! I spent a few years as a Vegan (opinions not needed) and I have been a Vegetarian for the last 8 years. I recently decided to add fish back into my diet, but I mainly eat plant-based as a personal choice. My partner eats meat, but we try and keep it to a minimum for environmental reasons. See if you can lessen your meat intake! It’s all about personal preference, but if you like a challenge this is for you.
  18. Walk or bike when you can and try to drive less! This one should be easy peasy right now during the pandemic, so walk that extra 30 minutes and get out into nature!
  19. Collect rain water to water plants! Obviously, going into fall/winter right now you won’t be watering your garden, but you can still collect rain in a container and bring it in to nourish your house plants.
  20. Use beeswax wraps and reusable bowl covers! The beeswax ones smell so yummy and they are great to actually wrap the food itself (I often wrap half an apple in these) since they are all natural. Use the silicone bowl covers as an alternative to plastic wrap or aluminium foil. Here’s what I’ve been using: https://amzn.to/34a3aJW, https://amzn.to/34eCbgq

Hope you enjoyed these tips! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at info@sustainablesyd.ca or send me a message on Instagram @sustainablesydb.

Hello, Howdy!

Welcome to my very first blog post – from me to you with love.

Ken Reid Conservation Area – Kawartha Lakes, Ontario

I want to start by saying THANK YOU to anyone who’s come to read my blog, whether it be family members and friends or strangers, this really means a lot that you care. To quote the great Liza Minnelli, “you like me, you really like me!”.

So what am I doing?

  • taking you on my favourite hikes/paddles in Ontario while leaving little trace that I was there except for the distant echoes of my loud voice
  • trying to be more sustainable with my clothing and cleaner with my beauty products – take this journey with me, it’ll be fun and your skin might even thank you!
  • all the same stuff I was already doing but now I’m going to share it HERE and try to improve and make myself better (and hopefully funnier??) along the way
  • providing tips for low waste living (my friends already hate me for not buying paper towels, now your friends can hate you too!)
  • creating a positive and joyful space – anyone can live sustainably, it’s about baby steps and willingness to help our MUTHA EARTH!

In my first few weeks I hope to post about some of my favourite hikes/paddles/camping, recent local trips I’ve done, and my faves for sustainable fashion and clean beauty. Don’t hold me to all of this because frankly, it’s kind of a tall order. That being said, I’m going to try and do what everyone does and balance 500 things at once, say I don’t have enough time, then proceed to watch 5 reruns of RuPaul’s Drag Race back to back and call it a night. I hope if you’re reading this I’ve sparked your interest (or at least your pity) and you’ll join me on this new creative journey!

Check out my “About” page for more info about this blog and me! Oh and toss me a follow if you like nature, preserving our planet, or the occasional weirdo post.

Instagram: @sustainablesydb