Conquer the Cloud

Do you ever wake up on the absolute wrong side of the bed? Like, you’re so far over that you might as well just go back, curl up, and wait for tomorrow? Everything sucks, the world sucks, why am I even bothering, I’m tired, achy, and grumpy…and it’s raining. Ugh! Life!

And then…and then. It’s like the universe at large sees your plight and hands you a little ray of sunshine as if to remind you that the world is not a giant, dark cloud of doom and gloom…and that there’s actually quite a lot to be happy about. Goodness is out there, and we can shake ourselves out of our funk. I feel like I’m writing about this concept a lot these days: this idea of getting ourselves out of our collective funks and doing something, anything, to move forward instead of taking 10 steps backward. Not staying in the doom and gloom. This journey through the world of plastic pollution and the general life journey, is teaching me that it’s a constant practice/battle/struggle/opportunity for improvement. And that some of the best lessons and best practices are ones we didn’t even consciously learn.

Cue Robert Fulghum.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Snappy, irritable, and cold…three of my least favorite adjectives. Then, I opened my email up and there was a note from my Dad, with a reminder of an old book we’ve read many times and one I had totally forgotten about. It was the ray of sunshine I needed. Consider this ray of sunshine passed on to you, dear reader!

The synopsis, from my Dad: “…basically a series of statements about how the practical stuff you learn when you are very young (i.e., sharing, caring, sticking together, etc.) carries over through the rest of your life.

Enjoy. 🙂

ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
by Robert Fulghum

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

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Mushroom Pasta & A Story

Once upon a time, I started this blog with the intention of sharing my progress towards completing my senior thesis while an undergrad at The University of Maine. It has now been 7 years since us Class of 2010-ers were released into the real world. Since then, I’ve learned a few things:

  1. The real world is really nuts. It’s still amazing to me that we spend 10+ years of our lives in a school system and then are expected to function in society as a normal human…when we’ve been in school for so long and nobody taught us how to actually LIVE in said real world. Does that make any kind of sense?
  2. I really love to cook. Thanks, Mom! 😄
  3. Holy f*ck, this plastic pollution problem is a lot more complicated than I originally thought.

Where am I going with this?

Simply put: over the last 7 years, my interest in the issue I had written my final paper on (plastic pollution) has shifted and thank goodness for the chaos of the real world or I wouldn’t have made the connections between our waste and food problems!

So what did I do about all this? I started another blog, of course. 😝 This one was all about my Instagrammed-meals and it eventually morphed into an attempt at vegan, plastic-free food creation. But for some reason, I kept these two blogs separate from each other until…

…I realized that my these two areas (food and plastic) are so intertwined, to not talk about them on the same platform would be absurd. My present goal is to bring more awareness to the issue of plastic pollution by talking about food.here’s the deal: moving forward, this blog, my dear 7 In the Ocean, is going to morph, once again! It will still be my place to rant about all things plastic, but I will also share recipes, and ideas on how to make said recipes plastic-free experiences.

Oh yeah, and about that mushroom pasta…I made it for dinner tonight (Thanks, The Kitchn!) and it’s what inspired this post. The whole thing was simple, fast, and totally delicious which is what I love about cooking. It doesn’t have to be complicated and in most cases, it can be waste-less without really trying hard!

Hints: The mushrooms can be purchased in a paper bag (or in your own bag) and the pasta can be purchased in bulk. The butter is butter (I sometimes freeze the paper wrapping for use later greasing pans) and that’s IT people!

Dig IN and stay tuned for more food ramblings… 😊❤️

Revelations Over Juice

The intention of this post initially was simply to share how I turned a fridge full of produce into juice for a road trip. A couple of photos, a recipe, a hint at plastic-free choices, and done…except then I got more ideas as the road trip actually happened. So here we go:

I started with the above pile of produce and distilled it down into two juices: green and green. The watermelon was too big and there wasn’t much time to break it down, so it stayed as is and ended up coming along for the ride. Who doesn’t love road trip watermelon slices?! Put them in a cooler and off we went. Destination? Revelstoke, BC. More on that later.

Along the way, we stopped for lunch at a natural foods store in Vernon, BC. Nature’s Fare is a BC chain specializing in all things organic, natural, and holistic. They have aisles filled with supplements, household products, fresh food, and a spread of tasty deli items including fresh juice and smoothie options. On the surface, it’s a dream and really, it makes my heart sing to see people choosing this place over McDonald’s. But what got me more than a little POed was the disconnect between this healthy style of living…and all the packaging everywhere!

Places like Nature’s Fare are a beacon of hope for all people searching for healthy alternatives and yet, they sometimes fall so short in the packaging department. Want a muffin for the road? Great! But first, let me wrap that in a plastic bag because that’s what the health code requires of us. Want three? Individual bags for each, of course!

Guys, it’s enough to make me scream. Have we forgotten the point? I thought the goal was to eat and live more healthfully, and with intention…all while taking into account the things our stuff comes wrapped in (or not). Why are we still living as though our waste is inconsequential? We have to take into account the whole picture.

It seems like these days we’re becoming more like robots, and we need to break that mentality. Had we spoken up earlier at Nature’s Fare, we might have had a fighting chance at avoiding the plastic muffin bags altogether. And to be fair, the counter people are just doing their jobs; having worked in food retail, I get that. But when did we stop having conversations at the point of sale? Why aren’t we having a dialogue to inquire what customers truly want? We become sheep that way, and we are drowning in a sea of plastic-wrapped health food. That’s not healthy!

I feel like I’m knocking Nature’s Fare. But too much with this rant and I don’t mean to. My point is that sometimes it’s easier to just DIY, and skip the chaos of the grocery store packaging mayhem. There’s power and satisfaction in making something in my own kitchen and packaging it as I see fit. Hence, the juice I mentioned at the beginning of this post!

So, if you’d like to share in that satisfaction, here’s the recipe for the juice that kept me awake on the road and calmed me down after the Nature’s Fare debacle. I quadrupled it and ended up with 64oz of green bliss. 🙌🏼

(Ok, so after a day it starts to look less vibrant, but it was still tasty!)

And hey, if juicing isn’t your thing and you’d rather have someone else make it for you, that’s cool too. Nature’s Fare does do fresh-pressed juice! But how about bringing your own glass/jar/container to the counter and skipping the lame plastic?

Just Do the Thing!

Do you ever get totally overwhelmed by all the beautiful content on the Internet these days? Scrolling through my Instagram feed is like riding a roller coaster of emotions: first, it’s inspiring, then it gets frustrating, and sometimes I have to turn off the damn phone and walk away because I have flung myself into a sea of misery and feel like I can’t even begin to compete with all the beautiful madness. I give up.

But then, I make a smoothie, pour it into a jar, and realize…it doesn’t have to be perfect. None of this has to be perfect, it just has to come to fruition (haha, fruit…smoothies…it’s funny, right?) and BE a thing. Our smoothies don’t have to have perfectly placed chia seeds and banana slices on top, and they don’t need to be in a vintage Mason jar. Nope. Today it’s a repurposed mayonnaise jar and tomorrow it’ll be an old salsa jar and whatever the type of jar, it’ll be beautiful, and more importantly…it’ll be damned tasty.


After all, the point is not to gain 100K likes on this photo. That’s never the point! The goal is to demonstrate that food can be delicious, sustainable, and easy. Make a smoothie! Grab a jar! Enjoy it!

My favorite yoga studio has a phrase on the wall at the front desk that simply says, “Begin Anywhere” and I always come back to that concept when social media gets overwhelming. By doing the thing (like making a smoothie and putting it in a mayo jar), we are taking control of the situation, and creating something amazing. That is totally satisfying (and sustainable). 👊🏼

Recycle, Profit, Invest…Repeat!

This is the power of a bottle deposit:

Step 1: Collect & Sort

Bottles and cans, just clap your hands…
Step 2: Profit

Canadian currency sure is pretty!
Step 3: Invest (in your health!)

Fresh from the Kelowna Farmer’s Market!
The act of returning metal and glass for money is amazing (almost like magic), but it’s made all the more powerful when that handful of change is put right back into the local economy. In doing this, I’ve supported area farmers, while also feeding myself and my family. And, as a bonus, I’ve also invested in our future health by purchasing a few seedlings for the garden. All with money collected from metal and glass. 👊🏼

How freaking cool is that?!

Inspired by Plastic

It’s a bit funny that as I try to eliminate single-use plastics from my life, I hoard 2 bins full of bottle caps, cigarette lighters, and toothbrushes. Why do I do that?

Exhibit A

Easy: it’s a constant reminder to myself that not only did I actually go to Midway Atoll (sometimes I think it was a dream) but that our trash DOES have an impact on living things, somewhere in the world. 
Exhibit B

This year marks 4 years since my Midway journey began and in a way, it hasn’t ever ended. The physical presence of the albatross is long gone and I’m no longer within walking distance of the nearest tern chick, but the memories linger and the plastic is obviously not going away any time soon. Every time I look at that bin, I am instantly transported back to that atoll and then start thinking about how in the hell all that crap ended up here. Then, Take those bottle caps in the bin, for instance…
Sometimes I forget that the whole concept of recycling is a bit of a leap of faith. We trust that what we throw into the bin will be processed in some way, turned into some new plastic item but it’s made out of recycled plastic and we did our due diligence so check, check. Out of sight, out of mind. BUT! (There’s so many buts [har har har])!
The bottle you recycle MAY be melted down and turned into something and the bottle cap that was attached MAY get caught by the recycling center and sorted with the other #5 plastics, but it’s not necessarily a guarantee. See exhibit A and B, above. That stuff is sneaky and it gets out. So it’s not too much of a stretch to conclude that the only way to be sure that your consumption is really having minimal impact on the planet is to tread lightly in the first place. Skip the plastic bottle, people.

Tomorrow is World Oceans Day, a day to celebrate the salty seas that provide us with so many benefits. For me, that benefit is being able to witness abundant life thriving in, on, and around a water world. I want to protect and sustain it that so others can witness the same thing.


On World Oceans Day,and tomorrow and the next day, I’ll be thinking about Midway and the albatross (who doesn’t get a vote in any of this) and the easy things I can do to help make their lives easier: drinking my morning smoothie out of a jar with a reusable lid, not a plastic bottle with a colorful cap; sipping water through a badass glass straw, not a flimsy plastic one.

But beyond that, the biggest act we can take to do something, beyond the products and the refusing? We can talk, discuss, and argue with each other about this issue. Look how much attention the world of politics is getting right now, all because people are yapping. The more we bring this plastic crap up, the more we look into that bin of plastic, and the more momentum we build.

At the end of the day (regardless of what celebratory “day” it is), it’s our combined efforts and chatter that will magnify this dilemma and make the biggest difference in helping eradicate it. So I’ll keep the bins of plastic and they will keep reminding me to keep building that  momentum toward cleaner seas. Here’s to getting inspired by plastic!

For more about my Midway journey including photos that may inspire you to purge the plastic out of your life, check out my guest post over at Plastic-Free Tuesday! And stay tuned as I continue to wax poetic about the Midway Months on here over the course of this summer. 😊

Revamp In Progress

Well, it’s official. I’ve officially gone over a year without posting a single new thing here. Not that nothing has happened in the last year, I simply have not prioritized this space. That can only mean one thing: it’s time for a blog face lift! I want to be inspired by 7 In the Ocean and excited to write about all the things currently hung up in my queue of draft posts, SO here we go…revamp time!

First up: this awful layout – it will be parting ways with 7 In the Ocean and I’m not sorry about it. Stay tuned for some updated content!