Karlee

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South Lake Tahoe, California

This winter, I’ve been stuck inside daydreaming about my next adventure. While doing so, I have reminisced about some of my favorite excursions in the past couple months, one of which was at Glen Alpine Falls. Located outside of South Lake Tahoe, Glen Alpine Falls offers stunning views on a very sketchy road. But seriously, watch out for the one-lane roads and cliff sides right outside your window.

On the way there we passed Fallen Leaf Lake, nestled next to the green mountainside. I can’t believe some people actually get to live here. The view is something right out of a movie.

Who wouldn’t want to sit on that bench?

Parking was very limited but I managed to squeeze between two rental cars. Once I saw the falls for the first time, my jaw almost dropped. It wasn’t just one waterfall, but several all side by side. I felt like I was in some sort of fairy land.

It was so nice to just sit and be. 

The running water feels so nourishing to my spirit. And Shadow even loved it too! She’s been doing amazing on the trail and around other people. But she does want to be everyone’s friend, and makes that very clear. It’s so hard to get her to sit still and take a photo with me. but we did it! 

This was only the second waterfall I have encountered in Tahoe, and I can’t wait to be exploring more this spring. Tahoe has so many hidden gems, I could get lost here for weeks.

One thing I love to do around fresh water, is find a cozy place to sit and watch. If you stick around long enough, you’ll get the place to yourself.

Check out my view!

Another thing that stood out for me about Glen Alpine Falls was the amazing rock side. This rock wall looks like it’s straight off of a canvas; the geometric shapes and lines make my mind run wild with creativity.

I seriously cannot wait until the spring time (I keep talking about it) because my car will finally able to pass over the Sierra Nevada’s again. I’m very interested in spending more time at Fallen Leaf Lake because it’s next to Lake Tahoe without the crowded beaches.

Can’t wait to share more adventures with all of you soon! 🙂

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10 Ways To Be More Sustainable in 2017

Regardless of where you live, how you live, or how much you have, you can always be modifying your lifestyle to be more sustainable.

2017 is the year I want to focus on my own sustainability as well as helping others and bringing awareness. This should be a hot topic this year! As climate change continues to be the most important issue of our lifetime, more and more people will hopefully realize that laziness isn’t a valid excuse for being wasteful. There is no excuse.

I want others to realize that little changes create a ripple effect and some of them can be so simple. Change should be celebrated!

I have compiled a list of 1o things that YOU can do to have a more sustainable year and make it an easier transition to a sustainable life.

      1.Stop receiving pesky junk mail

I couldn’t tell you one time that I actually used junk mail for something, but it took me up until this year to finally find a way to stop receiving it in my mailbox. I used DMAchoice  to cancel all my ‘hidden’ subscriptions. If you still want all the awesome coupons (like me) then you can easily download a coupon app or simply visit the website of the place you’re going for all those specials.

If you already have all this junk mail piled up under you coffee table, why not make use of it instead of throwing it away? Use it for unique wrapping paper, shed it for some free  animal bedding, or some crafty paper-mache projects down the line.

       2. Ditch the plastic water bottles

Does it ‘eeerrrrkkkkk’ anyone else do see all those dinky plastic bottles everywhere? This one is quite simple, but still needs to be said.

Not only will you save money by buying a nice glass or steel water bottle but you’re gonna decrease your waste by A LOT.

If you’re looking for the best of the best of water bottles then I recommend Swell or Klean Kanteen. They’re both a little pricey but the quality is well worth it.

       3.  Start composting your food scraps

I learned how to do composting back in high school. We had an amazing farming class that I’m still very thankful for. Before moving out to California 6 years ago I didn’t even know what a compost was but now I swear by it!

I’ve been doing some research recently and have found some incredible alternatives for apartment/small space living for a compost. I live in a one bedroom apartment with a small deck so having a full size compost isn’t possible for me at this moment.

Luckily, I found an inside worm compost on Amazon! I am currently saving up for it and will hopefully have it just in time for spring gardening.

       4. Grow your own food

This is my favorite on the list because growing your own food and eating it is totally badass.

In my apartment I grow herbs on the deck in the summer and on my window sill for fall and spring. If I had a real yard, I would put in a big garden filled with squash, kale, and carrots! Mhmmm. Nothing beats walking in your backyard and grabbing some fresh kale to throw into your morning smoothies.

       5. Create & set-up a rain catch system

This one might seem a little harder to achieve however, I have managed to collect almost 10 gallons of rain in a plain old bucket. But seriously, the other day I just stuck an old laundry bin on our porch and it filled up within the day! I’ve been using that water source for the flowers and herbs were growing inside 🙂

Your rain catch doesn’t have to be something fancy. It just needs to do the job.

For homeowners, it would be fantastic to invest in a rain catch system that can store water in a nearby septic tank. You would be surprised by how much water you’re missing out on!

       6. Contact your representatives

Yes, even this one is sustainable. If we want real change, we’re going to have to make our voice heard because how can we complain about the result when we never tried? This is one of my biggest challenges on the whole list because up until this past year I almost knew nothing about the political process. Now that I’m greatly unsatisfied with the outcomes, I have found the time to educate myself properly.

I recommend looking into Citizen’s Climate Lobby and joining a local chapter. They focus on the political side of climate change and are actively trying to enact real change in the ballots.

       7. Think before you shop (& end fast fashion)

I know it’s SO easy to run to the mall when you need an outfit for a party, but the cheap clothes come with big costs. Think about how that big retailer got that price down so low, or who made that dress and shirt and what country they’re from.

I know learning about where most of our clothes come from isn’t fun, but it’s the truth and it needs to be addressed.

If you do not know much about fast fashion I HIGHLY recommend watching The True Cost, you can watch it on Netflix or Amazon prime.

       8. No more plastic! No more plastic!

I know its nearly impossible to go plastic-free in the U.S. but you can cut down your plastic waste by half, by making conscious decisions. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten my reusable bags at the grocery store. But instead of saying oh well next time, I will force myself to carry my groceries out by hand to my car. Now if you’re doing your monthly shopping trip, just put the food in your cart and put it directly in your car. This way you’re not using anymore pesky plastic bags then you have to!

I have a sticky note on my door to remind myself to grab my reusable bags and highly recommend doing that because it has saved me a of couple times.

I actually have saved all the plastic bags I have accumulated from forgetting my reusable bags. I’m going to be doing a post about that soon. 😉

        9. Eat less meat

I of all people absolutely love meat- elk, beef, lamb, you name it and I probably love it. Up until this year I wasn’t fully aware of the consequences that came with meat, specifically beef.

People give vegans too much crap. They are making conscious decisions and that doesn’t give anyone the right to deem them as hippies. I honestly have thought of going vegan, but it would be difficult for my blood type. Who’s perfect? However, I will decrease my meat consumption by at least half. Even that decisions alone will save hundreds, if not thousands of animals. Not only that, but I will be reducing my carbon footprint as well because of the energy needed to transport meat.

        10. Continue to educate yourself & others 🙂

You may ask how this one is sustainable, but by spreading information to family and friends will make a difference even if it only changes one person’s mind. If I can change someone’s opinion or make someone think twice about something then this blog has been successful.

Community is a place that is greatly undervalued. When we come together with a similar idea, that’s how we can make BIG change.

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With the year coming to an end, I was thinking about all the amazing places I got to experience. I’m such a reminiscent person which is one of the reasons for this blog. I love to look back at my stories and relive the experience.

I wanted to share a camping story from this past June when Michael and I went to Minnesota to visit family. Even though I grew up in Minnesota, I only went on a couple of family camping trips there, so I was ecstatic about this weekend getaway.

We decided to take a 2-day trip up north to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. It was just under a 2 hours from the suburbs of Minneapolis.

Once we got there, we quickly decided on a backpacking site and were set. I carried my huge Osprey pack and Michael had the food and tent. We hiked through thick mid-west forest for a couple hours till we finally found our site. It had been lightly raining since we got there but rain never bothered either one of us. But once we got settled and got our site up the temperature began to drop.

Perfect time for a fire! Except all the wood around us was completely moist and flimsy. We managed to get a fire going after 30 minutes or so and dried all the wood we could.

We brought some yummy bacon (who doesn’t love bacon?) and slapped it on the pan. I have to say bacon cooked right on fire is the best.

By this time the sun was beginning to set and we were beginning to settle in for the night. That’s when we heard howling from close by. Now I know what coyotes sound like, but this was Minnesota and we got wolves! The howling is so beautiful. It makes me feel at home.

We could hear the whole pack howling the night away.

We both looked at each other and I could tell Michael was surprised. Back where he’s from there hasn’t been a wolf siting in a very long time. I could tell he was a little nervous because they were pretty close. But after some time in the outdoors you realize you’re not in control and you learn to just enjoy where you’re at.

It’s exhausting and beautiful when your’e struggling in nature, but some of us love it.

I can’t wait to return back to my home state next summer and do some more exploring up north!

-Karlee

p.s. here are some of the photos I took this trip! 🙂

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Politics has made me frustrated and exhausted over the past year. I struggle with the candidates for pretty much every position on the new administration. It’s really easy to get discouraged and end up feeling hopeless when it comes to having your views heard. But you can always be heard in this country with your dollar.

Ever since I first heard of the term “vote with your dollar” it has really stuck with me. I had an even bigger question after hearing that– how do you know which companies are genuine and which are just putting on a front?

Of course anyone can do extensive research on the internet to find out but there must be a easier way for consumers to know. A couple months later, I was in a Global Heart Fair Trade in Sonoma when I came across the perfect little pocket book.

I have to hand it to Ellis Jones, this is exactly what I was looking for.

The Better World Shopping Guide has about every category you could think of from feminine care to outdoor gear.

They rate brands on 5 main factors-

  1. environmental sustainability

  2. human rights

  3. community involvement

  4. animal protection

  5. social justice

All amazing things that should be considered from the get-go.

Anyways, each brand is given a grade based on these five things. On the adjacent page is a Green Hero , a company that has exceeded expectations and a Corporate Villain , whom most of the time doesn’t care about anything but money in their pockets. It’s very fascinating and at the same time terrifying to learn about what big companies do. But in honesty, it events out with the small companies who are kicking butt. And either way, it’s your choice where you spend your money at.

This is a little book with BIG, valuable information.

I enjoy flipping through it daily and learning about where my dollar goes.

I now feel like I can truly vote with my dollar and fully support companies that are doing it right.

Hope you all consider reading this book, but either way remember to

vote with your dollar

and make mindful choices in life.

xo Karlee

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3 Climate Change Documentaries That Will Change The Way You Think

Who doesn’t love a fascinating documentary on a late Sunday afternoon? I don’t think I will ever get tired of learning about our home. I am constantly amazed by the variations of life and how responsive our Earth really is. Below are some of my favorite documentaries
that have opened my eyes to what’s happening in our global community.

1. Home, 2009  

A written statement from one of the creators of the film-

“We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth’s climate.

  1. The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being.For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film.HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.”                                                                                You can watch the film on YouTube here.

2. Before the Flood, 2016

This is the newest of the three documentaries, which means it’s also the most up to date for news. It follows actor, Leonardo DiCaprio as a United Nations Messenger on Climate Change while he narrates his experiences around the world to witness these events first hand and determine the severity of the situation for himself. The events are much more devastating than he ever could’ve ever imagined.

Watch the trailer for this incredible film below!

 

3. Chevron vs. the Amazon, 2016

I have been focused on forest devastation in the Amazon and stumbled upon this film! There are so many outrageous things that happen in the most sacred of places. The Amazon is the heart of the Earth and without it we would be living a dramatically different lifestyle. Americans use gas every day but few really know what had to be done in order for that full tank of gas.

You can watch this one for free by clicking here.

Enjoy watching!

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