How to Throw a Plastic-free Party

If you’re still purchasing single-use plastic cutlery and cups for your parties, you might want to think again. Plastic can take 10,000 years or more to disintegrate, all the while releasing toxic chemicals into the Earth. And if you think about how much single-use plastic cutlery is tossed away after each party, it won’t come as a shock to us if we end up living in a world made of complete and utter trash. And how, you may ask, do we even go about hosting a zero-waste party?

Well, the answer is to stop thinking in terms of convenience and to start becoming more aware. If you’re conscious of the plastic you use and toss away, you’ll begin to realize how much of it you’ve actually used over the years. We did, and we certainly found some creative ways to reduce single-use plastic consumption. We think you can too.

Here’s some food for thought: why do we use and dispose of plastic so frivolously when the material lasts practically forever?

Use REAL silverware and plating

For smaller gatherings, the answer is in reusables. Now, bear with us for a sec, we know it seems daunting to use silverware and real plates when hosting, but it’s much easier than you may think. Guests are usually more attentive with silverware and plating because it comes with the notion that you only get one! Single-use plastic cutlery and plates, however, are considered disposable and abundant, so it’s likely someone will toss it away right and be quick to grab a new one.

Keep your washing machine handy and allow a few willing guests to help with clean-up. You’ll be surprised when your guests spring to help you since you busted out the fine china (or Ikea?). It makes your gatherings that much more special.

Use glassware and labels

Go for glassware that’s versatile and that will hold up for many parties to come–like mason jars–to avoid using single-use plastic cups. We know that rustic style isn’t for everyone, but there are ways to dress them up for any occasion. We love mason jars because they are just that–versatile and pretty durable considering the material. Labeling will help guests hold onto their glasses instead of grabbing a new one.

For labeling, get creative. Tie a ribbon around the jar below the ridges and include a felt tip Sharpie so your guests can write their names. The ribbon will stay on throughout the event and you don’t have to worry about your jars being ruined. If ribbons aren’t your thing, you could also invest in some chalkboard labels for your jars. You stick these on and allow your guests to write their names in chalk–erase them after the party and reuse! Have fun with it. There are plenty of creative ideas you can use to fit your party’s theme.

How about for beer pong?

Don’t worry, you can still have your fun! If you and your crew love beer pong, maybe it’s time to invest in reusable stainless steel party cups. Yes, they do exist, and you’re welcome. If you must, however, try to reuse your plastic cups as much as possible instead of getting new cups every time. You can even label them so you know for the next party that they’re for beer pong.


When it comes to water, the most common, quick and convenient thing to do is to buy a case of bottled water for your party. But let me ask you this–how often will you find a bunch of half full bottles of water around unclaimed and forced to pour out the water and toss the bottle? Too many times. Not only is that contributing to plastic pollution, but it also is a complete waste of water!

The solution? Encourage guests to drink tap water. You can fill up some pitchers with iced tap water at the table that will make a great addition to the table setting. For extra filtration, add a stick of activated charcoal into the water overnight so you’ll have filtered water by the day of the event. If you’re attending any party, bring your water purifying LARQ Bottle and avoid using another glass for water.


Sustainable reusable bamboo straws by The Other Straw
Courtesy of The Other Straw

By now, you should know better than to buy a bunch of plastic straws for your party. Depending on the type of drinks you’re serving you might not even need straws and we can trim off unnecessary waste here for sure. But if you absolutely must, try to find paper straws instead which are widely available at stores like Target, Walmart, and even discount stores. For more durable reusable straws that your guests can even take home as party favors, try reusable bamboo straws. They’re biodegradable so, at the end of their lifespan, they won’t be contributors to the growing issue of waste.

Compostable cutlery and plates

These usually use abundant and extremely eco-friendly material, bamboo. Bamboo is 100% compostable and biodegradable, so it’s a great choice as a single-use substitute. You’ll find plates, cutlery, and all things bamboo with a quick google search. We’d highly recommend this if you’re having larger gatherings that you just don’t have enough silverware and dinnerware for–or if you’ve got children attending your gathering.

Label landfill, recyclable and compost bins

Too many a time we’ve been in the awkward position where we don’t quite know if there is a recycling bin at a party or if everyone’s just tossing things in the same large trash bag. To help your guests decipher what’s what, label or even color code your waste bins–even including examples of what to toss will help! Put them in layman’s terms; “Scrape off food waste here” or “EMPTY beer bottles only” are some easy-to-understand, easy-to-follow examples of instructions you should use! If you’re not sure what kind of plastics are recyclable, read about how to recycle plastics. This will help you properly dispose of all the trash without having to sort through everything in the end too. Yay for efficient clean-up!

Make an announcement to your guests

If you’re throwing a plastic-free or zero-waste party, you ought to let all your guests know. Shout it from the rooftops, include it in the Evite, or even make a sign at your party about it! Seriously, the more you educate your guests and friends, the more we can help save the environment one zero-waste party at a time. Plus, we’ll have a ton of fun in the process.

By cutting out single-use plastic from parties you throw, or encouraging others to eliminate the use of plastic at parties, you’ll be saving thousands of single-use plastic from entering our environment and polluting the Earth. Don’t forget that sustainable practices can be applied anywhere–from sustainable travel to ways to conserve water. Now, who needs a drink?


Why You Should Switch to Natural Deodorant

​You’ve probably heard the buzz all around the internet about natural deodorants, and you’re probably wondering–what’s the hype about? Natural deos have been on the scene longer than you think, but are gaining quite a bit of attention due to a couple of studies that may have found a correlation between chemicals used in conventional deodorants and diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.

Although results are not quite conclusive, studies have shown a possible correlation between aluminum on diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer, leading to the rise of natural deodorant. Many wellness experts are urging people to put down the aluminum-laden antiperspirants and pick up natural deodorants.

Note the difference

To learn more about conventional deodorants/antiperspirants, we sat down with JP Mastey, CEO of Corpus Naturals, an all-natural deodorant company founded on creating artisanal scented deodorants that are effective and environmentally friendly. “Conventional skin products contain ingredients that are potentially harmful. Deodorants are a leave-on product meaning that you remain exposed to the ingredients for a lot longer than you would with a product you rinse off” Mastey explains. Antiperspirants–what we’ve used over the last few decades to ensure that our pits were dry even after stress or activity–use aluminum-based compounds to temporarily block your sweat ducts and stop the flow of sweat to the surface of the skin.

Deodorants, on the other hand, aim to neutralize body odor and do not control or block sweat from releasing. For this reason, some people are hesitant to try natural deodorants, but news flash–sweating is natural and we shouldn’t try to stop it from happening if it means potentially harming our health. In fact, by using antiperspirants, Mastey says “there’s a concern that [chemicals in conventional antiperspirants and deodorants] can bioaccumulate. And more concerning is that deodorant is applied near anatomy (lymph nodes, breast tissue, vital organs, etc.) that is particularly sensitive to endocrine disruptors. When you’re considering switching to natural products, deodorant is a very good place to start.”

Years of studies on the effects of aluminum-based compounds found in conventional antiperspirants have shown a potential risk for the development of Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. However, the studies do not provide solid evidence of causation, but many still prefer to err on the side of caution by using natural aluminum-free deodorants. I mean, why introduce more chemicals do your body if there are so many natural options out there?

Sensitive skin

In addition to being aluminum-free, natural deodorants are gentler on the skin so people with skin sensitivities may want to try a few natural options out if conventional deodorants aren’t working out.

Corpus Naturals, which launched in October 2018, has quickly become our favorite all-natural deodorant–even after trying out a ton on the market. It is a completely naturally-derived, effective vegan deodorant with refined, natural fragrances. It is a water-based, has a long-lasting formula using sustainable manufacturing practices, and it’s made in the USA. There are 5 scents available: No. Green, The Botanist, Santalum, Cedar Flora, and Third Rose. To make selecting the perfect scent easy, they even include a detailed description and video about each one including a chart of the notes in each scent.

Baking soda in deodorants

Baking soda is used in some natural deodorants because it is an effective natural remedy for combatting body odor but gets a bad rep for causing skin irritation and rashes. While some have exhibited such side effects, the cause is not the ingredient itself but the concentration of baking soda. It can cause rashes and irritation due to its alkaline pH if used in high concentrations. When a formula with baking soda is done right, the baking soda should not cause a reaction although a small number of people can’t use baking soda on the skin due to impaired skin function. There are natural deodorant companies who are aware of this subset that can’t tolerate baking soda though, like Corpus Naturals, that substitute baking soda with tapioca starch instead to mitigate the likelihood of irritation or rashes.

If you notice a rash forming on your underarms, discontinue use of any underarm products and seek medical attention.

Not all natural deodorants are created equal

If you’re new to natural deodorants, you’ll want to do a bit of research on the ingredients before you get started. It is quite easy for companies to get away with slapping the word “natural” on their products and this word is not regulated with household or personal hygiene products. Some natural deodorants contain fragrances (the term fragrances is typically used for artificial perfumes), or other additives that aren’t natural at all. Let’s face it, if you’re not getting the real thing, then what’s the point in shopping for “natural” in the first place?

The great thing is there are some brands out there that are all-natural and did the R&D to make their deodorant safe, effective, and environmentally friendly. Corpus Naturals’ CEO, JP Mastey (former CEO of Baxter of California), spent years developing their natural deodorants. “We have pushed the bounds of what people have come to expect from natural. Every detail is carefully considered. Even down to our green box which had to be custom made just for us to get that perfect tone of green. Our container and packaging are made in factories powered by hydroelectric energy and our fill is made with solar power”, Mastey explains, and the quality speaks for itself.

Right down to the scents, Mastey has set the bar for artisanal fragrances with scent complexities that mimic high-end perfumes without being overbearing. The result is a light scent with layers of aroma that feel like you, but without the B.O. No single-note essential oils here (because we don’t want to smell like a yoga studio). What’s more, the fragrances are created with resins, distillates, concretes, extracts, and more–nothing synthetic.


To find out more about the process of how natural deodorants are created, we took the liberty to ask JP Mastey, CEO of Corpus Naturals–why natural deodorants?

JP: My motivation was personal. In 2015 I was expecting my first child. In the process of preparing our home, I went from someone that read ingredient panels to obsessing about the idea of clean and safe ingredients. All of the “natural” product I found was either not really natural, or felt like you were making a sacrifice on aesthetics, scent, texture or performance. I was prepared to do it better.

I have a lot of experience in the industry (I was the owner of Baxter of California for over 10 years before it was acquired by L’Oreal in 2013) and in the mid-2000’s we made several futile attempts on creating natural formulations and gave up since we just could not get it right. Move ahead just one decade later and natural + effective has been established. The science has delivered on the promise. The major ingredient suppliers have put major effort into making safe and bio-based alternatives and that has made product formulation easier and effective. This is what made CORPUS possible and the time was right.

There’s a lot of love that went into creating the scents that are so unique to Corpus. We asked Mastey to walk us through the process of creating these signature scents:

JP: It is not synthetic, and it’s more than essential oils. How did I create natural fragrances that smell like fine fragrances?

Let’s start with the differences. Synthetic fragrances are made of a variety of substances many of which are derived from petroleum-based chemicals. Chances are you spent most of your life spritzing the compounds on your skin unknowingly exposing yourself to potential health risks (carcinogens, allergens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and more). The term “fragrance” can mask numerous ingredients that you might be trying to avoid, but end up consuming and wearing due to the cryptic nature of the term “Fragrance” on the ingredient you read.

Next, you have essential oils (oils extracted from plants). These are surely natural but are very limited in variety when it comes to perfume ingredients. They tend to lack complexity, longevity, and consistency (due to weather).

That brings us to natural fragrance and why we use it. Natural fragrance is also limited in variety, but greater options than essential oils. So while it is somewhere in the middle of synthetics and essential oils, it’s much closer to the limited range of essential oils.

Natural fragrances start with essential oils. In addition to essential oils, natural fragrances also use oleoresins, distillates, fractions, concretes, absolutes, and extracts. All of these materials are extracted directly from the plant source, but each plant releases its fragrance materials differently. So, for instance, Rosemary essential oil can be easily extracted from a plant through steam distillation, but true Vanilla comes only in an absolute.

The use of natural fragrances gives us a wider palette to work with, however, it is still very limited and challenging in comparison to the world of traditional perfumery and chemical compounds (synthetic).

Right now we are still not able to duplicate many synthetic notes with their natural equivalent. The typical Musk and Aldehyde notes that are used in perfumery are only available in synthetic form. Natural perfumery could be compared to the Vegan baker or the sugar-free confectioner. Possible, but only with a great amount of research, development, creativity, and experience can you compete with the expectations set by conventional chemistry.

Lastly, we wanted to know, what is Mastey’s favorite scent from his collection?

JP: You know it’s a little bit like asking a parent who their favorite child is. I love them all the same but in different ways. Cedar Flora was the first iteration and maybe the hardest to get right, so maybe the scent will always remind of how much effort went into the process.


Intrigued? Check out Corpus Naturals for more information about their all-natural deodorant line!


Tips for Camping Sustainably

Go zero waste (or try!)

Say no to single-use plastic and opt for reusable options where you can. Plastic will take up to 10,000 years to disintegrate, all the while leeching toxic chemicals into the Earth. When you’re roughing it out in the backcountry, it’s likely that you’ll need to fill up your bottle in questionable places. The perfect solution is to bring an activated charcoal stick with you that will filter the water and/or a self-cleaning bottle to deter any bacteria from forming in your water bottle; the LARQ Bottle uses medical grade UV-C LED technology to eliminate up to 99.9999% of bacteria and viruses (in Adventure Mode) so you can drink with confidence–even out in nature.

Organic food

Purchasing organic foods are more environmentally friendly than buying foods riddled with pesticides and chemicals. Aside from keeping those harmful chemicals from entering your body, you’re promoting sustainable agriculture and keeping any toxic food waste from entering your campsite. Organic farming reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility, and uses less energy than traditional farming.

Dispose of human waste properly

When available, always use nearby restrooms, outhouses, or porta-potties. If you’re in a situation where you need to dig a hole, make sure you are at least 200 steps from any water source, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and bury your waste. Make sure you pack up your used toilet paper, or better yet–use natural toilet paper.

Leave the campsite better than you found it

You should always leave a place better than you found it, but when camping, this is especially important. Respect the grounds we wander and pick up after yourself, or even for other people if needed. Litter, chemical products, and other manmade items, when left behind, are a danger for wildlife and the species that live in the area.

Make sure you pack everything with you–your trash, recyclables, and compost–and drop them off at the appropriate disposal area or take them with you.


Always check the rules and regulations for campfires before you embark on your trip! Not all campsites will allow fires.

  • Don’t bring your own firewood. Foreign species to the area can have adverse effects on the environment. Instead, use branches and sticks from surrounding areas of the campgrounds.
  • Always use rocks from the surrounding area to form a barrier around your fire and build high to keep it contained
  • Keep your fire small–this way, it’s much easier to control.
  • Always be sure to burn all the wood and coal to ash so that the fire is completely diminished. Once you’ve done this, scatter the cold ashes around.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. This is how accidents happen!

Lock everything up

The scent and taste of human food can make wildlife more aggressive, namely, bears. Bears are intelligent creatures that also have an incredible sense of smell. They can detect food from up to 20 miles away! Once they have a taste of human food, they’ll learn to seek it out, which becomes dangerous for campsites, humans, as well as the bears themselves.

Bear canisters are considered the safest form of storing food and trash aside from provided food lockers at some major campsites and backcountry because they are airtight and hide the scent of your food and other scented belongings. They’re also mandatory in some national parks and wilderness areas in the United States, so be sure to check the rules and regulations before taking on a trip!

Use eco-friendly products

Swapping for eco-friendly products–no matter how seemingly small the change–can have a huge impact on the environment…if you are using the right ones. However, beware of greenwashing. An easy way to check if a product is eco-friendly is scanning for certifications like Certified B Corporations, Fair Trade or Non-GMO. For disposable items, looking for biodegradable options is best–especially for camping. Here are a few of our recommendations for sustainably made or eco-friendly options for camping:

  • Camp stove – Camp stoves are easy to use and convenient for cooking on an outdoor adventure.
  • Bamboo travel utensils – Bamboo is one of the most sustainable crops because it grows fast and doesn’t require any fertilizer or pesticides. It regenerates its own roots so it doesn’t need to be replanted either. You’re probably thinking–so this is why I see bamboo products everywhere. Yes, yes it is.
  • Self-cleaning Reusable Water bottle – Surely as a backpacker, you may be accustomed to using the Steripen–but did you know that these require you to carry a separate water bottle and are made with toxic mercury-based lamps? That means if you break yours in the backcountry, you would be releasing toxic chemicals into nature, and potentially exposing yourself to them too. Thus, it wouldn’t be a sustainable adventure without a LARQ Bottle that stays clean even in the roughest of adventures. Using UV-C LED technology, the LARQ Bottle purifies and cleans the inside of your bottle without the need for any toxic chemicals so it’s safe to use in and away from nature, and you can fill up and stay hydrated–even in the mountains. Just fill up, press the button twice for Adventure Mode, wipe the area around the mouth, and drink up!
  • Activated Charcoal – You’ve probably heard the buzz around activated charcoal (especially in LA), and there’s good reason around it! For camping, activated charcoal sticks are great for filtering water without the plastic (like from popular water filters). Fill from your water source, drop an activated charcoal stick in, and leave overnight to let it work. You can refill your LARQ Bottle with this filtered water for your day hike!
  • Dr. Bronner’s Biodegradable Soap – Soaps and lotions, although biodegradable can affect the quality of our natural water sources, so it’s still best to wash yourself at least 200 feet from any water source.
  • Hammock – Hammocks are actually good for you to sleep in because of the position of your neck and spine when cradled in one of these bad boys. This one’s constructed with Repreve fabric which uses recycled plastic water bottles–9 to be exact!
  • Hammock straps – When choosing a spot to string up your hammock, make sure the trees are strong (at least 8″ in diameter), healthy leaves, no bare patches on the bark, wilting or dead branches. Try to avoid young trees, trees that produce sap, or that tend to attract crawling poisonous vines. It’s also important to make sure your hammock straps are tree-friendly–meaning they won’t damage or strip the bark of the trees you’re using. If you come across a tree with stripping from a hammock strap, move onto the next one! That one probably needs a little break.
  • Headlamps – Headlamps are pretty much essential when camping overnight or taking early morning hikes or late evening ones. These headlamps are made from 100% recyclable materials!
  • Biodegradable wet wipes – Staying clean is the best way to prevent germs from spreading, but out in the backcountry this can be difficult without soap and water or wet wipes. Conventional wet wipes aren’t biodegradable and will need to be packed up in a bear canister after being used. Instead, biodegradable ones like these will take up to a month to decompose–just dig a 6-8inch hole at least 200 ft away from a water source.

Leave No Trace

As a general rule of thumb, pack up everything you brought with you when you leave your campsite. Follow these Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to have a wonderful and sustainable trip into the wilderness:

  • Plan Ahead & Prepare – Knowing the terrain and environment you will be traveling through will help reduce environmental damage, minimize resource damage, and is overall safer.
  • Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces – as a rule of thumb, camp at least 200 feet from water sources and do try not to disturb, trample or camp on top of vegetation. It’s also best to camp further away from other campsites to ensure a clear route for wildlife to access water sources.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly – Aside from properly disposing of human waste, other forms of waste include greywater (used water from washing dishes, showering, or doing laundry). Carry the water 200 feet away from any water sources and scatter strained dishwater.
  • Leave What You Find – Grabbing a souvenir from the campsite doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but for the wildlife in the area, it could. Did you know that pregnant deer depend on maple leaves for vitamin C? Or that birds building nests would need that tiny stick you found? All you should take from your trip is the memories and the sights. Leave everything else to the inhabitants!
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts – In addition to the aforementioned best practices for campfires, you should always try to use stoves if you can bring them with you instead of traditional fire for cooking. These are fast, easy to operate and have a less severe impact on the campsites and surrounding areas. If you have a site with a fire ring, use that! These are built to contain fires which mean less risk involved–especially if you’re a beginner!
  • Respect Wildlife – This is their home and they don’t want to be disturbed. Be considerate guests and view them from afar, keeping food safely packed away and trash contained as well. As we mentioned before, you should set up camp far enough away from other campsites so that animals can pass through.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors – We know you like your music, but keep it to yourself. Animals have an acute sense of hearing, so the music will cause a serious disturbance to the animals and others around you; if you must, use earbuds instead of loud speakers. When hiking, groups leading or riding pack stock have the right-of-way on trails, so as a hiker or bicyclist, move aside and let them pass–be quiet around horses since they startle easily.

Read more about the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to ensure you’re best equipped with the knowledge to help you camp sustainably! Adventure away!


6 Sustainable Chefs that are Changing the World

#1 Massimo Bottura

massimo bottura - italian michelin star chef cooking in food for soul kitchen
Source: Grundig

Massimo Bottura, Italian restauranteur and chef patron of Osteria Francescana was named the top restaurant in the world by World’s 50 Best. Osteria Francescana is a three-Michelin star restaurant based in Modena, Italy. Needless to say, he’s masterful at his craft. What is admirable about Bottura is his vigor toward not only creating delicious food but also changing the world by reducing food waste. Bottura turned an abandoned theater in a Milan suburb into Refettorio, a soup kitchen that turned over 15 tons of excess food into meals for the homeless, working poor, and refugees. He remains a champion in reducing food waste–one of the prime issues of the restaurant industry–and has even formed his own non-profit Food for Soul to encourage sustainable practices in the food industry to reduce food waste.


#2 Dan Barber

Dan Barber - Michelin star farm-to-table chef in his Blue Hill farm

Dan Barber hails from Manhattan’s West Village as the Chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns located within the nonprofit farm and education center, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Also known as a “chef-thinker” or chef and scholar, Barber is a philosopher of sorts when it comes to food–emphasizing the importance of pleasure and thoughtful conservation, knowing the source of the food on your plate, and the process of how your food got there. Barber evangelizes agricultural policies to push forth more a model of environmental responsibility. His book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, explores the world of food beyond “farm-to-table” to propose a revolutionary way of delicious and ethical eating. His mission is to educate and push Americans toward a future of food that is as sustainable as it is delicious.


#3 Melissa Kelly

Melissa Kelly from her Primo restaurant farm
Source: Primo Restaurant

Melissa Kelly is the Executive Chef and proprietor of Primo, a restaurant located in Maine, US. Kelly and her partner have spent over a decade cultivating a farm on Primo’s 4.5-acre property that serves as the main source of the ingredients she uses for the restaurant. Having access to her own farm means that she is in control of how the ingredients are grown from start to finish and can ensure the freshest and highest quality of ingredients are being served. It also means that kitchen waste can be recycled or composted properly. She spreads the importance of farm fresh local ingredients to aspiring young cooks and educates others about the true farm-to-table philosophy.

#4 Jose Garces

Former Iron Chef Jose Garces in his Luna Farms home
Source: SJ Magazine

Jose Garces is not only an Iron Chef, but he’s also an author, restauranteur, and the owner of Luna Farms, 40-acres of farmland aimed to grow fresh organic vegetables, fruits, eggs, and honey year-round in Ottsville, PA. Luna Farm plays a critical role in supporting the Garces Foundation and its mission to educate children about the nutritional benefits of sustainable agriculture, meal preparation, and healthy eating.


#5 Eneko Atxa

Eneko Atxa, Michelin star chef-owner of the most sustainable restaurant in the world, Azurmendi in Spain.
Source: En La Cocina

Azurmendi, a Michelin 3-Star restaurant located near Bilbao, Spain, named Most Sustainable Restaurant in the World, is the product of famed chef, Eneko Atxa, who is also one of the youngest chefs to ever achieve 3 Michelin Stars. The Azurmendi restaurant was designed and built on sustainability, Atxa’s philosophy to life and cooking. The building itself reuses rainwater for the garden, greenhouses, toilets and more. The large open windows make you feel like you are outdoors and takes advantage of the sunlight to reduce the need for artificial light and energy, it produces renewable energy to cover part of the restaurant’s energy needs, and produces a portion of the ingredients used in the kitchen in their greenhouses on site–planting more than 800 trees to reduce CO2. The building as a whole is a testament to the commitment to sustainability Atxa is advocating for–a truly inspirational masterpiece.


#6 Filip Fasten

Filip Fasten, Michelin star chef of Agrikultur in Stockholm
Source: Superb Experience

Michelin-starred Agrikultur, run by Filip Fasten in Stockholm, offers what Fasten calls “Nordic Comfort Food”, a prix fix menu of vegetable-based dishes where the protein is used to enhance the flavor depth rather than to be the star of the dish. He sources his produce and food from local farms and uses flavors that honor the land. The menu changes constantly to celebrate seasonable harvests to ensure the freshest quality, flavor, and helps the community, including hunting his own game during hunting season to serve at the restaurant.


Reducing food waste, eliminating added chemicals and processing from food, and locally sourcing food products are the biggest ways these Michelin-rated chefs and restauranteurs are helping to lead change in the food industry.


Some of these ideas can be adopted into your own daily life using methods of composting, nurturing your own organic garden, and buying what you need instead of what you want, locally. The best chefs in the world know exactly where their food is coming from and how it was produced or raised–whether it’s from their own farms or from a local farmer. Do you know where your food is from, or what went into producing it?


8 Tips on How to Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle with Fitness Gurus @SweatsandtheCity

Summer is just around the corner and we’re starting to feel a little guilty about all those workouts we missed… So naturally, we invited two of our favorite fitness gurus, Elizabeth and Dale from Sweats and the City to give us the inside scoop on how to get fit and stay fit.

Sweats and the City originated as a fitness review platform and has since expanded to all things health and wellness from the perspective of two 20-somethings living in NYC. Their website and Instagram (@sweatsandthecity) serve as inspiration for us to get fit and live healthier lifestyles. Their passion for fitness grew with the launch of Classpass, an app that makes finding and booking studio fitness classes easy. “It inspired us to try a variety of workouts we would have never previously explored. As our eyes opened to the boutique fitness scene, it quickly became a part of our lifestyle.”

Elizabeth and Dale from @SweatsandtheCity in New York City
Courtesy of @SweatsandtheCity

#1 Don’t compare yourself to others

“Originally, we were pushing ourselves in ways that we felt we had to versus what we actually enjoyed and worked for our bodies. It took some time for us to figure this out. Trial and error!” Comparing yourself to others or listening to any of the “fitness scene” noise out there is not the way you want to go, according to E & D. Instead, do what’s right for your body.

#2 Develop a sustainable fitness practice

“More isn’t always more! It’s important to listen to your body, take rest days, and know that just because something is “high intensity” doesn’t mean it will always yield better results. It’s important to think long term. If you’re just starting out, try something lighter like yoga or a slower pilates class … anything to get your body moving and into a routine! If you go from hardly ever working out to Barry’s Bootcamp several times a week, you will likely burn out.”

#3 Find something you enjoy

“If you want fitness to become part of your lifestyle, it’s so critical to find something you enjoy, otherwise, you won’t stick with it!”

#4 Restriction and diets are not sustainable or health

“We keep it [our eating habits] simple and balanced, focusing on lots of whole foods and cooking at home when we can. At the same time, we also see value in enjoying meals out and making sure to treat ourselves!” Some of E & D’s go-to meals during busy schedules are alternative pasta (chickpea or lentil ‘noodles’, hearts of palm pasta, etc.), oven-baked fish, and air-fried vegetables. Check out some of E & D’s easy recipes!

#5 Work out your core

“We love a core workout! Working your core is so important for the long term health of your body and muscles, and is not just for aesthetics. Pilates is amazing for the core–all the planking, pikes and moves on the reformer takes tons of effort to stabilize your core, and can really strengthen it.”

#6 Weight loss starts with what you eat

“We don’t believe in any quick workout fixes or crash diets to lose weight…our focus is on sustainable practices! We believe it’s important to properly nourish your body and keep things balanced. Everyone’s base weight looks totally different, too, so it’s important not to buy into any machines or equipment that tell you you’ll get a 6-pack in 30 days.” Having a balanced diet lays the foundation for weight loss, while workouts will help burn calories and build muscle tone.

#7 Cardio may not be the answer to weight loss

But it can be the answer to a healthy heart according to E & D. “In regards to cardio, we don’t do this for weight loss. Personally, we’ve actually found it to actually make us hungrier! We incorporate it in our routine because 1) it makes us feel good to really sweat, and 2) for other amazing benefits like your heart.”

#8 If you get bored with workouts

Boredom can make you unmotivated to continue your fitness journey. The remedy for this, according to E & D, is to keep exploring different types of studios. “We love dance cardio to bring us out of a workout funk, it keeps things fun and makes the time pass so quickly.”

While we’re all on the edge of our seats for a huge secret here, trust us, the secret to getting fit is being mindful of what you eat and doing what’s right for your body. It can become a fun thing for you to do to break the cycle of eating, sleeping, and working. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take some fitness classes to find what suits you!


5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Desk and Cultivate a Productive Workspace

Your office space is probably the place you spend the majority of your time–unless you’re one of those people who can work from your bed; how is that even possible?! Whether it’s at home or at HQ, your office space should inspire productivity, creativity, clarity and overall feel like a space where you can, you know, actually get stuff done.

We’ve all been there–arriving to a cluttered desk with piles and piles of paperwork and random knick-knacks that can get overwhelming. When you see things in disarray, your mind can’t help but feel overwhelmed and stressed. A clear and organized workspace is essential to your productivity and mental health.

Now, here are a few tips on how to decorate your home office or work space for optimum success and minimal maintenance. Did somebody say “desk envy”?

#1 Everything should have a place

Storage, storage, storage.

matching blue plastic desk storage set
Source: Poppin

If everything has a designated space, you are less likely to lose things and less likely to leave a mess, which will likely result in reduced stress!

For that paper

wire crate magazine holder for desk
Source: Amazon

For magazines, newspapers, manuscripts, sketches–any form of paperwork, a filing system might help. If you have a lot of paperwork, you might need some file cabinets. If not, you might be able to get away with a desktop filing system (as long as your paperwork isn’t too sensitive of course).

All the small things

matte black magnetic desk storage set
Source: The Container Store

Keep small office supplies in a drawer organizer or a container with a lid so they are easy to find yet concealed to avoid clutter. Binder clips, paperclips, erasers, loose change–they all have a place and it’s not scattering them across your desk or thrown into a drawer carelessly.

A cup half full

uniquely shaped geometric pencil holders
Source: MoMA Design Store

A pencil case, pencil box, or simply a tall mug will keep your writing tools in one place. If you use a lot of different mediums for your work like pens, pencils and different sizes of paint brushes, you might even want to take it a step further and have them organized into different holders.

clay geometric pencil holders
Source: Container Store

Use this rule of thumb and tailor it to your needs. You can always find a place for things that makes sense for the way you work.

#2 If you don’t use it, get rid of it

We’re all a little guilty of keeping things at our desk for ages and never using them. If you realize you haven’t used something in more than 6 months, consider repurposing it elsewhere or giving it to a friend. There’s no use in letting it collect dust and take up space in your office.

#3 Use a notebook

If you’re the type of person who needs to write things down and are currently doing that on a bunch of sticky notes or random pieces of paper you have on your desk–it’s time to invest in a notebook. Having all your notes in one place not only keeps your desk neat, but it makes finding your notes easier. After all, you wrote them down to try to remember them right? You could also think of it as an archive of all the work you’ve done in that part of your life.

Trust me, I was really resistant towards purchasing one because I have had a ton in the past I didn’t use, but when you get one that you like, that fits your aesthetic and is a good size for your lifestyle, you’ll want to use it and stick with it until you run out of pages.

Do you tend to spill coffee or tea or anything on your notes? What if I told you there was a waterproof and tear-resistant notebook for you that also looks beautiful? Shocking, right? The Karst notebook is made out of stone that has been finely milled to create beautifully smooth pages that are spill-proof and tear-resistant so even the most accident-prone people will have a notebook they can truly take with them anywhere.

#4 Keep your cables in order

The most frustrating thing about a desk area is the cluttered cord situation. You have chargers for everything–even if most of your tech gear is wireless.

So what’s the solution?

matte black adhesive cable management strip
Source: Amazon

Keep cords neat by binding them together or using a cord keeper. If your gear has wireless charging capabilities, invest in a wireless charger to minimize the amount of cords on your desk.

You can also tuck larger cords behind a laptop or monitor stand or keep them neatly bound towards the back of your desk.

#5 Express yourself

scandinavian contemporary desk layout with natural wood desk accessories

Sometimes the problem with an office area is the lack of self-expression that can make your space feel cold and unwelcoming. But on the other hand, a slippery slope is adding too many random things to your desk, so make sure every piece of decor you add is intentional and not overbearing.

Get Sentimental

You can say a lot with the few things that you decide to include, such as photos of loved ones, or a bobble head from your favorite team–no need to bring your entire collection. Don’t want to get too personal? Using elements that speak to you, like wood finished accessories, minimalist touches, or a few your favorite books sandwiched by gold bookends will get the job done without the warm and fuzzies.

Form but also function

Express yourself with functional pieces too, such as a desktop calendar with your pet’s face on it or a mug with your favorite Disney character on it. Or, dare I say, a sleek looking water bottle that won’t cramp your office style and that automatically cleans itself so you never have to worry about the embarrassing stench after forgetting it in the office for a whole weekend.

Go green

modern designer's desk scandinavian desk inspiration
Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

A great way to spruce up any area, especially your office, is adding indoor plants. Plants are great for adding some life into your otherwise cold workspace. Some even help purify the air and are *nearly* impossible to kill. Snake plants, peace lilies, dracaenas, and cacti are all tough plants that will do well in lowlight settings such as in an office space and are forgiving if you forget to water them or overwater them.

Don’t worry, if you don’t have a green thumb, you can opt for some faux plants! They add the same effect without the hassle.

Remember, your workspace should be a place that feels like your own, that inspires creativity and productivity, and that you shouldn’t feel stressed out by on top of your workload. We believe these simple tips will help guide you along your way to a more productive work life. Does your stress stem a little further than from your working environment? Check out our article on how to reduce stress and tips on managing your stress levels for improved mental health.


Gift Ideas for New Graduates

As we go on, we remember… Vitamin C gets us every time. Yep, it’s grad season and as the rest of us are just trying to get through the workweek, some of our loved ones are preparing for the beginning of adulthood or their dream careers. Need some help shopping for a gift for the grad in your life? Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of gifts perfect for any grad–whether it’s high school, undergrad, graduate, masters or even med school and law school.

Gift Ideas for Grads

Restaurant Gift Cards

Source: Chipotle

No matter what age group, food is the window to the soul–that’s how it goes right?

Weekender Bag

Source: Dagne Dover

The new grad will most likely be traveling a bit heading to and from school, pulling all-nighters with a study group (hopefully), or traveling for business starting out in their career. A weekender bag is perfect for anyone. This one from Dagne Dover is unisex and features a variety of colors and sleek design your grad will love.

Pour-over Coffee Maker

Source: Amazon

For the coffee addict or soon-to-be coffee addict, this pour-over coffee maker will help get them through long days and nights.

Instant Film Camera

Source: Amazon

What better way to document their journey than to have physical photos they can look back on or scrapbook? An instant film camera is perfect for heading off to a new school, career and beyond.

LARQ Bottle

You know a self-cleaning water bottle is perfect for anyone by now, including your grad! Everyone’s looking for the next cool thing to show off–especially with all their new gear for school or work. It’ll quickly become one of their must-haves in their backpack or commuter bag for worry-free hydration. No more dealing with a stinky water bottle or washing it (they probably won’t).

Wireless headphones

Source: Amazon

If your grad doesn’t have these already, treat them to a pair of wireless headphones. They’re going to be on the go a lot–rushing from class to class or from work to the gym–they’ll appreciate this one.

Programmable Pressure Cooker

Source: Amazon

Make weeknight meals a breeze for your new grad. With a packed schedule, an Instant Pot is essential in their kitchen.


Source: Amazon

Who better to teach your new grad a few new recipes than ya girl Crissy Teigen with her book Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat?

Airline Gift Card

Southwest airlines gift card

Source: Southwest Airlines

Is your grad going out of state for university? Got into their top pick for residency? Relocating for a new job? An airline gift card is perfect! Nothing says “come back home soon” better than an airline gift card to get them from point A to you.

Stone Paper Notebook


For the accident-prone grad, this stone paper notebook by Karst is one-of-a-kind. Because it’s made from stone (you heard that right!) it’s completely waterproof–spill coffee, tea, water, hard liquor (hopefully not)? Just wipe it off and your precious notes will remain intact. The pages are also tear-resistant and made from recycled stone so it’s way better for the environment.

Engraved Pen

Source: Things Remembered

Get your grad an engraved pen that they can use for taking notes, signing documents, and keeping at their new desk. With refillable ink, this will stick with them over the years.


Source: Amazon

Where your grad is headed, they might need a tablet that’s portable, watching Netflix a breeze, and taking notes easy as pie. If you’ve got the money to spend on your special grad, this is the perfect gift!

Aromatherapy Diffuser

graduation gift ideas: LARQ Bottle, Vitruvi aromatherapy diffuser, Karst stone paper notebooks

You can probably sense the stress coming. At a new school where the stakes are raised, or at a new job where expectations are high, your grad might get a little overwhelmed. To help them reduce stress, an aromatherapy diffuser is a perfect gift–whether they know it or not. Throw in some essential oils to help them on their way.


Father’s Day Gift Guide

Pops, pop, papa, dad, daddy, old man, padre, ba-ba–the man in your life who picks you up when you fall, who taught you how to ride a bike, who read you bedtime stories before bed, who keeps you in line when you need to hear some valuable wisdom–if we’re lucky enough to have a father(s) or father figure in our lives, we ought to show them our love even if it makes them a little uncomfortable.

Father’s day is coming up (June 16) and we’re stressing out because… Dad can be one of the hardest people to buy gifts for.

But not to worry, we’ve done some of the heavy lifting to come up with a list of things any dad would appreciate on father’s day. Here are a few things for pops who thinks he has everything:

Gifts for Dad

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Ember Temperature Control Mug, $130


Does dad constantly babysit his coffee until it’s a weird luke-warm temperature? If so, he’ll love this tech-y temperature control mug that he can use at home or at work! Now, he can enjoy his hot coffee or tea right away or even two hours later. Is dad always on the go? Get him the Ember Travel Mug instead at a pretty $150.

Ettitude Waffle Bathrobe, $80


You can’t beat a luxurious bathrobe like this one when it comes to relaxing. Give pops a little piece of self-care that he’ll actually use. This irresistible bamboo lyocell material is silky smooth and feels like you’re at the spa. Even if he didn’t wear robes before, he will now. Mom might get a little jealous.

LARQ Bottle, $95

We’re not kidding when we say this is a great gift for anyone. We all should be a little more mindful of our health and that includes the water and bottle we drink from. The LARQ Bottle self-cleans every 2 hours to keep your water and bottle clean and bacteria-free. For the father who doesn’t drink enough water, the father who hates cleaning his water bottle, or the father who’s always traveling–give him the gift of pure water at the touch of a button.

Airline Gift Card


Does dad love to travel but doesn’t for whatever reason? An airline gift card will be just the thing to give him the extra nudge he needs to get out there, explore, and take a day off for once.

Noise-canceling headphones, $350


Since these are becoming more and more mainstream–especially with the AirPods 2 release–chances are dad doesn’t have these yet, or doesn’t have great quality ones. Does he like to watch movies or listen to music to wind down? Get him noise-canceling wireless headphones so he can sit back in his old chair and sip some wine to his old-school jazz. Does he have a long commute to and from work? Get him a pair of true wireless headphones that he can also use for hands-free calling. Is he a runner or a gym rat? Get him a sports-friendly pair of true wireless headphones that won’t fall off when he’s working out.

Karst Stone Paper Notebook, $12-39


For the father who is always jotting things down on random pieces of paper (then losing them later on), a notebook is a thoughtful gift for him. Not just any notebook, but one that is waterproof and fits any style–and who knows that style better than you? That’s right; the Karst Stone Notebook is literally made out of stone, so it’s waterproof, coffee-proof, tea-proof, and better for the planet. As a company grounded in making sustainable products with thoughtful design, we love Karst for their innovation and beautiful products. For the backpacker dad, get him a pocket-sized notebook and mini pen so he can document his travels–even as he’s wading in a river. For the man of the office, a sleek hardcover notebook is perfect.

Engraved Pen, $41


Engraved pens are an easy thoughtful gift for anyone–we all use them, he won’t lose this one (hopefully), and they’re a great reminder to them that you care every time they use it. This will be a great gift for someone graduating as well as for your dad!

Game of Thrones Puzzle, $60


We’re all a little heartbroken about GOT ending, but maybe your dad can relive a bit of the series by putting together his very own GOT-themed puzzle!

Restaurant Gift Card

OK, this might seem like a cop-out but for those of you who won’t be with your fathers this father’s day, a gift card sent in the mail with a thoughtful father’s day card is an amazing surprise he’ll appreciate. Plus, what says “I love you” better than food!

Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker, $95


For the dad who loves to cook, he’ll appreciate this gift (plus, you might benefit from a mean meal from this). This device allows you to cook anything from beautifully tender steaks and soft-boiled eggs to perfectly cooked veggies.

Family Portraits

Photo by Blake Barlow on Unsplash

Some parents are big on taking photos–others are not. For a father, it could mean a lot for someone else to want to take family photos. Even if they aren’t immediately excited about the idea, they’ll appreciate it in years to come. I’m talking to the people who rarely get together as a family, the people who never have pictures with their parents, the people who live far away from their parents–this is the gift they’ll cherish.

Wallet, $130


There are some dads that will buy these for themselves–shoutout to you fashionable dads! But some dads will literally wait until their wallet falls apart to buy a new one. Do the shopping for him so he can experience the luxury of a brand new wallet.

Waterproof Sandals, $40


With summer just around the corner, get dad ready for his next beach trip with a pair of sandals you’re on board with. If you buy it, he *hopefully* will wear it and *hopefully* get rid of those beat up flip flops he’s had for years.



One cannot have too many athleisure clothes and the same goes for your pa. Whether he works out or likes to lounge around on his days off, get him some comfy and stylish athleisure for father’s day to show you care.

Fitness Tracker, $140


Fitness trackers are great for people of any age, gender or fitness level. It’s a great way to encourage your father to be more active or for the father who already exercises all the time to track his progress. There are a ton out there with different features like step-counters, heart rate monitors, sleep tracker, and more. Find one that best fits what you think he’d want or need.Father’s Day Gift Guide


How to Reduce Stress

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Overworked? How about just plain exhausted mentally and physically? Yeah, we feel ya. Stress is a part of life–there’s no avoiding it given all of life’s nuances, but what we can do is manage stress in a healthy way. If we don’t it’ll just eat us up inside. For the sake of mental clarity, mental health, and wellbeing–and in observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are some ways you can not only manage stress but hopefully reduce it and its negative impacts on your day-to-day life.

#1 Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to reduce stress. When you keep your mind from resting, it’s getting overworked and overstimulated to the point of getting overwhelmed. Ever heard of the phrase “sleeping it off” or “sleep on it”? Well, getting quality sleep can help your mind to recuperate and can help you solve any glaring issue–no matter how long you’ve been trying to figure it out. Next time you catch yourself spending restless nights on a wall you’ve hit in a project, get some much-needed shuteye–you might just be overthinking it. And you might just be amazed how quickly you can solve it after some rest.

If you’re having trouble getting quality sleep at home, try a sleep vacation!

#2 Exercise

Photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are less likely to exhibit anxiety or stress. Ergo, science shows that physical stress can help relieve mental stress.

Exercise lowers the body’s stress hormone, cortisol, over time. It increases endorphins which are mood-boosters resulting in an overall happy body and a happy mind. Exercise can also help you sleep better!

#3 Essential oils

Photo by Drew L on Unsplash

Think about everything that makes up a spa, aside from the amazing massages. Some essential oils, in particular, can help reduce stress. Invest in an aromatherapy diffuser of some sort–we love this one from Vitruvi–add a few drops and curl up with a good book. The scent will permeate the room and help you decompress after a long day.

Some relaxing scents include:

  • Lavender – known to soothe and relax you, and help you sleep
  • Ylang Ylang – contains uplifting properties and can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Bergamot – helps to treat stress, depression, and insomnia
  • Chamomile – known to have calming properties and used as a natural anti-depressant, eases worry, irritability and reduces anxiety
  • Vetiver – used most effectively in trauma situations to help ease a person’s nerves; it calms and reassures–best for people experiencing panic attacks and hypersensitivity
  • Rose – helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression

If you don’t have a diffuser on hand, some essential oils can be used topically (they usually come in the form of rollerballs), but make sure you aren’t allergic before use. A great substitute: candles that contain one or more of these soothing scents.

#4 Reduce your caffeine intake

High doses of caffeine can cause jitteriness, irritability, restlessness, and overall can increase anxiety according to studies. This can vary among people and dosages, but if you are experiencing that caffeine is making you anxious or jittery, consider reducing your intake.

#5 Don’t procrastinate

We all do it–sometimes things just get shuffled down our list of priorities and things just getting piled up. To avoid procrastinating, make a task list, either digital or written down, that you can refer to and follow. Schedule in time in your day to take care of a couple of things that are way overdue. The best policy is to do 1-2 tasks per day instead of doing them all in one go–which can be daunting enough to just avoid doing them altogether. Make sure you also schedule in some ‘me time’ to relax and not do anything. It’s all about balance and creating a sustainable lifestyle.

#6 Journal

Writing things down can be therapeutic if you have a lot on your mind. It can be a great option for those who don’t want to share with another person and just need to release some pent-up stress.

If what you’re jotting down is mostly negative, remember to also write some positives about your life, or things you’re grateful for. Being mindful, having gratitude, and reflecting on positive aspects of life can help you alleviate some stress and focus on the bright side even when things seem bleak.

#7 Spend time with loved ones

Photo by Jennifer Regnier on Unsplash

As humans, having a sense of belonging plays a huge role in overall happiness–it’s our nature. Even for you introverts out there (myself included), being alone all the time can take a toll on you. If you’re feeling stressed, consider asking a friend or family member to grab a bite or go out on a stroll. Some quality time, and getting a chance to vent about what’s stressing you out may do a great deal for your mental health.

#8 Practice mindfulness

Part of achieving mental clarity is being mindful–the practice of being present and reducing negative thoughts. This can help relieve stress and grant you clarity.

Meditation is one of the best ways you can start your practice and learn to be present. Don’t overthink it–just be. Check out our walk-through on how to meditate and be mindful.

#9 Physical touch

Aside from being one of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, physical touch is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. A simple hug, kiss, cuddle or even intercourse can help you find release. A weighted blanket can also reduce stress and anxiety as well–without needing another person.

#10 Relax with music

It’s no secret that music can stimulate the brain, but it can also calm the noise in your mind. Listen to soothing jazz or classical music–anything that can help you relax. Some people might even enjoy ambient noise instead of music to decompress. Just find what fits for you, plug in, and relax.

#11 Focus on your breathing

If the stress is overwhelming you, practicing your breathing can help relieve some of that tension. Take deep breaths–this is where meditation can help as well–and try to be present instead of focusing on the stressor.

The scientific explanation? Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system that helps you relax even in periods of stress allowing you to find peace and to be present.

#12 Spend time with your pet

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

If family and friends aren’t within reach, spending time with your pet can help reduce stress and improve your mood. When you care for a pet, your brain releases a chemical known as oxytocin that promotes a positive mood.

#13 Do something you love

Do you love to play music? Do you enjoy bowling? Do you love to play volleyball? Doing something you love can help reduce stress and release endorphins that boost your mood. If you don’t have a hobby, it might be time to find something you enjoy and make it a part of your life.

#14 The power of “no”

Taking on too much and constantly saying “yes” when anyone needs anything can wear you down. We’re human–we can’t do everything. Sometimes you need to say “no”; it doesn’t mean you don’t care or that the task isn’t important enough, and people will understand. You’ll find there is power in being able to say “no” and in being in charge of your own wellbeing.

#15 See a professional

Sometimes stress isn’t just stress; it can have underlying issues or morph into something greater. If you’re finding it difficult to manage your stress, having negative thoughts, or need someone to talk to, seeing a therapist might help. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health–if not more. Knowing when to seek professional help is the best thing you can do for yourself, your wellbeing, and for improving your quality of life.

For information about Mental Health Awareness Month or help and resources, visit:


Long Flight Essentials: 22 Things You Need to Pack + Tips for a Comfortable Flight

Summer is coming and we’re in dire need of some vacation time. In preparation for long haul flights we’re taking this season, we’ve gathered some of our favorite essentials for long haul flights–some non-essential but extremely helpful–to help you along on your travels!

When it comes to long flights, the airplane essentials you need are the things that make you comfortable, makes you feel like you’re at home in your bed, and can help you pass the time on the hours you’re not sleeping. If you’re bracing yourself for a long flight, you’ve come to the right place.

Make sure you’ve got all the essentials for long flights by using this as not only a shopping guide but as a checklist to ensure you’ve remembered everything. There’s nothing worse than forgetting your headphones at home when you have a 10+ hour flight. Been there, done that–not fun (and had to pay $25 for crappy headphones that I’ll never use again).

Let’s get into this.

Personal Item / Carry On Essentials for Long Flights

Make sure that all your in-flight essentials can all fit in your personal item bag, which can vary in size depending on your airline. You’ll want it in a personal item so that it can be stowed seamlessly under your seat, where you can access it quickly without getting in someone’s way or asking your neighbor to move so you can grab it.

If you’re only bringing a carry-on, a cool hack is to pack all your essentials in a pouch in your carry-on. When you pass TSA, take that pouch out so you can have it with you before you board the plane and not have to open your gigantic luggage or backpacking bag in the airplane and hold up the boarding process.

Photo by Patrick Coddou on Unsplash

Sleeping essentials for long flights

Catching a red-eye? Getting some Zzz’s before you set off on your action-packed vacation? Dozing off so you don’t have to make small talk with your neighbor? Don’t get us started on the screaming babies on flights that make it feel like the flight is lasting an eternity. If you’ve been in these situations, here are a few things to remedy your in-flight sleeping woes.

Noise Canceling Headphones

Can you tell why this is #1? If you like sleeping on planes or need to (you know, to prevent jet lag), you should invest in a good set of noise canceling headphones. You’ll be impervious to any screaming, crying, endless chatter, or annoying neighbor. You don’t even need to be listening to anything! That’s the beauty of noise-canceling headphones on long flights. Pop these on and you’re instantly in your own little world.

Wired Headphones

Some airlines offer free in-flight entertainment via a screen built into the seat in front of you. You’ll notice that these have headphone jacks to plug into. If your noise-canceling headphones are wireless, you might want to bring a pair of wired ones if you’re planning on utilizing this amenity. Your old EarPods should do the trick.

Travel Pillow

This is about as essential as headphones. Countless times, I’ve witnessed people without travel pillows on long haul flights with their heads bobbing up and down or contorted in a weird position as they try to sleep upright. I get it, travel pillows are a nuisance to carry onto the plane and some just look silly–but, when it comes to getting restful sleep on a plane without the neck cramp, you’ll need it.

Before getting a travel pillow, I was one of those people that would get bad neck and back pain during my trip because of the poor positioning of my neck when sleeping on the plane. If this sounds all too familiar to you, just get a travel pillow. I got this one, which includes a carrying case (more hygienic) where you can roll it up to a more compact shape and clips onto your personal item easily so you’re not holding a bulky neck pillow as you walk to your terminal.

Eye mask

This is for those who are used to sleeping in complete darkness (studies show this is better for you), or for those instances where your neighbor has the reading light on the entire time while you’re trying to sleep. Yikes. Try it out before you go on the flight to make sure it’s not too tight and that you can actually sleep with it on. It takes some getting used to if you don’t typically wear one to sleep.

Photo by Ori Song on Unsplash

Face mask

OK, so you might look a little ridiculous with both an eye mask and a face mask, but if you’re an open-mouth sleeper, this might be a solution for you! If you don’t care, more power to you, but I know some people are self-conscious or tend to drool when they’re sleeping. If you’re one of those people and are looking for a quick solution, this is it.


If you’re skipping the noise canceling headphones, ear plugs are absolutely essential. Not just for the airplane, but maybe even for sleeping at the hostel or if you have really noisy neighbors at your Airbnb. Plus, they take virtually no space in your bag.

Compression socks

It’s debatable whether these are absolutely essential, but still, something to think about before embarking on your trip. Compression socks are made for people who will be sitting for extended periods of time to improve circulation in your legs and to combat fatigue or swelling. They also double as slippers if you’re brave enough to wear them from your seat to the restroom so you don’t have to put your shoes back on.


Sometimes you absolutely NEED to sleep on your flight in order to prevent jet lag (adjusting for the time at your destination). If you’re having a bout of restlessness, you probably want something to help you get there. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that makes you sleepy and can help you adjust your internal clock. When you’re on a long flight, your body is all messed up on the days and time zones. It might be a good idea to take some melatonin with you to help you adjust–just use as directed!

In-flight essentials for staying awake on a long haul flight

Sometimes being on a long-haul flight doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest to sleep the entire 10 hours. The amount of time you should sleep to avoid jet lag is entirely dependent on the time zone of your destination. If you need to stay awake for the better leg of your flight, make sure you have a few options for keeping your mind engaged.

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

Power Bank

This is a must for everyone traveling domestic or abroad. Too often I see people fighting over outlets at the airport or with a draining battery, which at that point, you’re tethered to a wall for 20 minutes to an hour. Not ideal for a vacation. Save yourself the trouble and use a portable power bank where you can plug and charge your electronic devices as you’re running around exploring.

Photo by BENCE BOROS on Unsplash


An e-reader is perfect for flights because it’s lighter than a book, takes up very little space, and it’s like you’re bringing your whole library with you to choose from. The other great thing? If you end up finishing one of your books, you have more. We especially love the Paperwhite Kindle because it doesn’t strain your eyes with blue light, which can make it more difficult for you to sleep if you needed to sleep on the latter portion of your long flight. Of course, you can always use your phone or tablet to read, too!


When was the last time you picked up a pen and paper? A long flight is a perfect place to do that again and jot some ideas or thoughts down. You can plan your itinerary, doodle, and journal your experiences as you’re flying. Throw it back even more by playing a little tic-tac-toe or M*A*S*H with your neighbor.


This is simple but it’s always a good idea to bring a pen with you for filling out documents, taking quick notes, etc. Just don’t bring a fountain pen or something that can explode with the altitude change. Your best bet will be a ballpoint pen or the tried and true Micron felt tip pen (just make sure the cap is secure).

Pre-Downloaded Music, Shows, Podcasts, or Audiobooks

For long flights specifically, download your favorite music, shows or podcasts to listen to ahead of time. Spotify and Netflix apps have the option to download so you can listen to and watch your favorites without the need for WiFi or the dreaded buffering. You can even download apps for ambient noise or an audiobook app in lieu of an e-reader–something calm to listen to as you drift off into a deep slumber.

Hygiene and beauty travel essentials for long flights

If you’re a germaphobe like us, these are must-haves for any bag (long flight or not). Stay fresh before and after a long flight.

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Moist towelettes

You can opt for hand sanitizer too, but these are slightly more useful. Use them for wiping down your seat area (those things can get pretty disgusting), as a substitute for washing your hands so you don’t have to get up or wait for the restroom, or for quickly wiping off light stains from clothes. These are useful on and off the flight for every sinkless situation.

Photo by Emily Boffeli

Water bottle

Of course, you need to stay hydrated. Flight attendants do not come around enough to hand you water, and even then, they’ll be handing you a plastic cup of water that you’ll consume within the next couple minutes because you’re afraid of spilling it. More plastic? No thanks.

Bring your own LARQ Bottle and fill it up at a water fountain in the airport after going past TSA. Ever think twice about filling at a station adjacent to the restrooms–eesh. That won’t happen with the LARQ Bottle. When you run out, ask your flight attendant to refill your water bottle instead of handing you a tiny cup of water. The bonus? You won’t have to worry about missing the next round of water if you were sleeping.


When you’re flying, the altitude can make your skin extremely dry. It’s a good idea to pack some moisturizer with you and lip balm to keep your skin hydrated (drinking enough water will help too!).

Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Keep in mind, on a long flight, or even overnight one where you’ll be sleeping on the plane, your breath can get a little unpleasant. Spare yourself and your neighbor and plan to brush your teeth at some point during your flight. Plus, you’ll feel fresh coming off the plane–especially if you need to make a good impression right off your flight!

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TSA-approved Toiletry bag

Clear 1 quart bags are a must when traveling abroad. Make things easy on yourself by packing this in your personal item or carry-on bag holding all your liquids in 100mL travel bottles. Having them all in one place makes going through TSA is a breeze, and you’ll have easier access to them on the flight.


If this is purely to smell nice, mints will do the trick too, but chewing gum can also help you release pressure from your ears on the flight.

First aid and medication

If you like to stay prepared, a first aid kit will be a staple in your travel pack. You never know if you’ll get a papercut that you’ll need to cover up, or if you’ll scrape up your knee on a hike in the Amazon.

Medication should be kept in the same place too–whatever medication you think you might need, just bring it, and bring a few extras just in case. If it’s something that could mean life or death, it’s smart to bring extra in a separate pouch or with someone you’re traveling with too. Remember to follow TSA’s rules and regulations for all medication.


Whether it’s hot or cold in your destination, a scarf is something versatile you can bring with you on a trip. If it gets cold, you can simply use the scarf as a blanket.


Don’t fall victim to hanger. Stashing a few snacks in your bag will prevent you from the dreaded irritability that can ruin your trip, especially if you’re traveling with other people. It’s a good idea to have them handy if you’re going on some hikes at your destination or if you have long days of touring and museum-ing.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a remedy for the child kicking your seat repeatedly besides politely bringing it to their parent or guardian’s attention in hopes that they’ll stop, but hopefully these are enough to help you deal with any other disruptions on the airplane. Happy travels!