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Zero Waste Birthday


Last Updated on January 23, 2024

I love my birthday. I don’t love getting older, but I really love being the center of complete attention for one day. (Maybe that’s why I wanted to be an actor?)

My birthday fell on a Sunday which meant a whole weekend of whatever I wanted to watch or eat, and never having to get up to get a third slice of chocolate cake. 

The weekend started out with a brilliant plan, “What if we could get the pizzeria to put pizza dough in our jar?” Guess what – it totally worked!!

There’s an AMAZING pizza joint around the block, and they put their crack crust right into the jar. We made a Friday pizza, a Saturday pizza, a Sunday pizza, and after eating pizza for almost 9 meals straight, I was pizza-d out. 

My family has been awesome and super supportive about my zero waste transition. They’re all completely cool with buying experiences rather than things. We’ve gone to some great new restaurants and out to the theatre!

It can be difficult to talk to your loved ones about gifts. You don’t want to come off ungrateful but try to explain it to them that you want experiences rather than things.

It also helps if you can give them specifics. Like, I would like to go zip lining you can buy me tickets here.

There’s a new restaurant I really want to go to, you can buy me a gift card here. I really want to take a cooking class you can buy my admission here.

There are so many awesome things you can do that don’t involve more stuff. 

On Sunday morning my love whisked me away to my favorite spot, LEAF Cafe, where we got coffee to go in our mason jars.

Then we trekked to Old Town Sacramento where we explored the museums, learning about the Pony Express and the expansion of the railways. Trains allowed goods to be outsourced; consumerism and capitalism had their birth in the railway.

It was fascinating to learn the history behind it and see how consumerism has developed. Exotic goods such as birds, oranges, spices, and jewelry could be ordered from catalogs.

Back then it would take weeks for your items to arrive at the mercantile, where you’d pick them up. Now we can go on Amazon, order anything we want, and have it on our doorstep tomorrow. 

I was also very pleased to see the Harvey Girls represented. Harvey Girls were waitresses in restaurants along the railway. They were said to have helped civilize the west and redefine the working woman in a positive image.

They adhered to a strict code of conduct and were one of the few options for working women during that time period. With good pay and honest work environments, they blazed the trail for women in the workforce, and contributed to a large part of women’s history.

We listened to nonstop NPR in the car, wine tasted in an underground cellar, had drinks in a saloon, and I almost got a tattoo (but, it’d probably hurt – so, I didn’t!) The day was completely free of disposables!

I did get one present, and it’s been something I’ve been wanting for a while…. Last year Justin bought me a beautiful marble and wooden rolling pin for the kitchen. This year he bought me a matching mortar and pestle.

I can’t wait to try it out!!  Do you have a mortar and pestle? How do you like to use it?

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  1. I love the whole experiences, not things gifts!! What a great idea! (also the whole crack crust paragraph made me laugh out loud at my desk at work!) I am glad you enjoyed your day!

  2. It’s possible to get pizza’d out?? Happy Birthday! 🙂 Have you ever had a cooked egg on your pizza? I made that a few times with a Blue Apron recipe and it was amazing!

    1. I had no idea! On Monday I wanted nothing to do with pizza, but by the time Tuesday rolled around I was ready for some more.We have made breakfast pizza with eggs, bacon, cheese and some veggies and it was delicious!

  3. Great birthday! I used to have a mortar and pestle, but only used it to grind mint for mojitos- ha! This was reminiscent for me, as one of my very first posts was about my zero waste birthday in February! Feels good to spread he word about presents! I have been doing the same for myself and at kids’ parties. Experiences are the best! Shoulda got the tattoo!!! But then it wouldn’t have been zero waste 🙂

  4. Happy birthday! Mine is on the 17th October and I had a similar weekend – although I only had pizza once ; )

    I have to laugh at your dough dilemma – it’s such a zero waste thing to do! Get so excited about finding something packaging-free that we buy ALL of it without thinking through how practical it really is to do so! [Remembering the time I bought about 3 kilos of sesame seeds – let me tell you sesame seed nut milk is NOT the greatest!]