June Coffee Date - 2018 - Skillful Cook
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June Coffee Date - 2018

Pink peonies in a jar.

Hi again!

It's June! Almost July. In other words, it's peony and lemonade and not-sad-salads-for-lunch-everyday season. June is my happy place.

What are you guys drinking today for the coffee date? I boldly enjoyed a half-caf coffee this morning because we were all out of decaf, and I'm not going to lie: I am feeling it. As in, I AM ALL OVER THE PLACE. My brain feels like a ping-pong ball. I need snacks! A checklist! A quick sprint on a treadmill! And then there's Bjork, who could drink an espresso at 10pm and fall asleep within exactly three minutes. God bless his relaxed, adaptable brain.

Okay, so better choices for me in the drink department today: green smoothie, which I've already sipped on this morning; regular water, which is sitting next to me now; and coconut water for when regular water starts to get boring later this afternoon.

Grab your watermelon smoothie (OMG aren't they the best?), your sparking water, or your Vietnamese iced coffee if you are so bold and lucky to be able to handle the buzz, and let's do this thing.

A dividing line with a '1' in the middle.


Organized fridge with food.

We recently restarted our membership up again after two years away. It is stocking my fridge with the most juicy, candy-sweet nectarines my lips have ever touched and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

But also, I am having some love-hate things with it after having been away for two years.


  • Organic produce times one million. There is so much good, organic produce, especially in the summer. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries galore. And honestly, I wasn't kidding about the nectarines. I bought them last week at the Maplewood Costco. SO GOOD. Fruit - and more specifically, organic fruit that doesn't cost your life savings - is the number one reason we restarted our membership. I love you Costco!
  • Samples and more samples.
  • XL bags of Veggie Straws. The end.


  • Being tempted to buy more than we probably need. For example, deck furniture, air purifiers, and a new TV while going to casually get groceries. (We haven't gotten any of these yet but let's just say there have been considerations.)
  • Needing to have extremely good organization in the fridge and pantry, because when you buy in bulk, and you have a very tiny kitchen... it gets a little problematic.


  • The amazing snacks are - as stated - amazing. Little snack cheeses, a new type of protein bars, and individual coconut waters which are delicious. But guess what? I'm all of a sudden realizing that these are all individually wrapped and non-recyclable. SAD TIMES. I'm super bummed. This is probably obvious to people who have been aware of plastic and waste reduction for a while now, but this is kind of a new thing for me (started back here with the straws) and it's bumming me out because the low-maintenance side of me really loves convenience packaging. Do I have to stop buying the individually wrapped cheeses and the little coconut water juice boxes? Can't there be another way that is equally as low-maitenance?
  • Also, Costco doesn't have recycling in the store, even though they sell lots of drinks in plastic cups that could be recycled. No recycling?! What the heck! Come on, Costco.

What are your thoughts on Costco? Specifically on convenience or individually-packaged snacks and drinks? It's so basic of me, but I am genuinely sad to give up the individually wrapped snacks.

A dividing line with a '2' in the middle.

Getting Clothes Altered

Maternity clothing.

This week I'm going to be taking some ill-fitting maternity clothes in to get altered (this dress is not one of them - it fits like a glove and clocked in at 40% off).

The clothes were not ill-fitting when I bought them, but after wearing them, and washing them, and working with a body that is literally changing shape week by week... you guys know the drill. Suddenly things that were fine are gaping and pulling and doing weird things in weird places. Alterations to the rescue? I don't know.

I have never had my clothes altered before. Tell me: Is it weird? A waste of money? The best idea ever?

A dividing line with a '3' in the middle.

Maternity Pillow

Pregnancy pillow on bed.

Laugh all you want because I'm sleeping amazingly well tucked into that little stuffed donut.

A) It looks completely ridiculous.


C) Honestly I am at the point where I'm not sure how people sleep without them.

C) Sage LOVES it. I have already willed it to her when I am done.

A dividing line with a '4' in the middle.

Paint Your Pet Night

Paint Your Pet Night with Sage.

Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh.

Okay, we did this in June, and I can't stop laughing. I have no pictures because we were running late and it was a little stressful, and it was at a brewery which was of no use to either of us, and then (possibly because of the lack of a beverage?) I became a little too heavily invested in my artistic process and got wayyy too bummed that my 2-hour painting of Sage didn't actually turn out like a Bob Ross masterpiece. THIS IS SO ME. I just care too much sometimes.

It's supposed to be fun, Linds! Bjork said. No, it looks great! Bjork said.

I am not exaggerating to say that it took me at least an hour to not be really disappointed in my painting. Lols. We laughed a lot and it was a really fun night.

Even given my over-zealous attitude and resulting disappointment in my skills, I would do this again in a heartbeat! Bonus is that it was a fundraiser for the rescue where we got Sage from, so it was a super fun way to support the organization that gave us our fur baby.

Have you guys ever done a paint/sip night?

A dividing line with a '5' in the middle.

Clean Living, Etc.

Kitchen with rug.

On the last coffee date, someone suggested that we talk about clean home / clean living. I love that idea!

Let me just say, I am not an expert on clean living. We do / eat / use a lot of things that are very mainstream and not necessarily “clean.” But I really like the positive snowball that happens from making little changes here and there, and that's how it has to be for me to make any progress at all.

Here are some of the small things that we currently do in our home to keep it less-toxic and more-green-and-clean:

  • No air fresheners.
  • Unscented soy candles, or soy candles with essential oil fragrance (most of the time).
  • Clean laundry detergent, dish soap, hand soap, etc.
  • Wool dryer balls with essential oils instead of dryer sheets.
  • Organic lawn care.
  • Composting (which recently became available as a city service in St. Paul - yay).
  • Glass food storage containers (Pyrex and mason jars).
  • Paper straws and reusable water / coffee tumblers.
  • Monthly drop off to recycle plastic bags and soft plastics (thank you, Target).
  • Clean beauty (you can see my favorite products here).
  • Mineral sunscreen.

There's still A LOT I'd like to do to help us keep our home and personal care clean and toxin-free, especially with baby girl hopefully coming home with us this fall. But this is a start.

I've found it to be extremely overwhelming to try to clean it up all at once, so we've just started with one thing at a time and tackled the rest month by month by month.

What are your favorite clean living tips and tricks?

And now, a word from Sage.

Sage in the sand.

She would like to take a moment to remind you that June (and July!) is a very good time to go outside and play and just get yourself all up in that dirt! This is true even if you're not really the playful type (and she's not). The laundry will still be in the basket. The email will still be in the inbox. The dishes in the dishwasher can sit for a day. Go play! Enjoy that hot sand and sun, and then go all the way under the water. Full dunk. You know, hair and everything.

Thanks for the coffee date today! *glasses clinking* Wishing the happiest of the warm weather times to everyone this month.

Goooo summer!

Filed Under: Life Motherhood

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    We finally joined Costco this year. I put it off for so long because I was afraid that we’d buy a bunch of stupid stuff (lookin’ at you Target and Amazon) but we’ve been really good, I usually spend less than $50 when I go and we’ve gotten some good deals. We really made bank with the travel, the savings on our hotel for spring break alone paid for our membership and I think the savings on gas are also getting up there. My only gripe is that there are a lot of things I don’t buy because the quantities are just too large.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      How do you spend that little at Costco? We need a coffee date so you can spill your secret!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      We split some of the bulk every day items with our neighbors and split the cost… razors, soaps, paper towels, tooth brush packs, etc. and even some of the frozen food items. Just divide them up and you are good to go.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey Lindsay! So I get certain pieces altered in my shoulder area bc I have freakishly narrow shoulders. That text to make fitted dress gap there when the rest of dress fits spot on. Idk if I’d do it with maternity clothes though. I found my body very rapidly changed in the late second trimester and the part of the third trimester I was pregnant for so I feel like I would have needed to get the same piece altered every couple weeks. The exception? I got the straps taken in on my baby shower dress bc I wanted to look as nice as I could look that day. However, I tried to put the dress on for a date night with my hubby about a month later and other areas of my upper body would have benefited from long straps lol. I couldn’t wear it again bc of that issue. So just alter things quite conservatively I guess. Lol.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      i agree! I am almost 36 weeks now and stuff that fit me a little weird, didnt within a week or two LOL your body has a way of filling in the weird spots. However, i didnt spend much on anything maternity. The most i spent was $30 dollars on a maternity floral dress that i adored on ASOS <3 and i dont regret it one bit, but everything else has been maxis on amazon (surprisingly great quality for cheap) and old navy! I also have gotten a few tops to get me through at my local Ross. I wanted to be cute during pregnancy, but I would rather invest in my afterwards wardobe when I am fitting into a new body that may not quite look like it did before… 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love that you’re wanting to focus more on clean living and sustainability. One of the first swaps I did was grocery bags (I had a pile of paper bags at home) and, even better, produce bags. Being able to come home from the grocery without any immediate trash. Since China stopped taking our plastic recycling, it’s more important than ever to be aware of our single-use plastic habits!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      meg, do you buy reusable produce bags? do you find that your grocery is okay with that when they are measuring things?

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Hi Amelia! Thought I’d chime in on this because I LOVE my reusable produce bags. I have the white mesh kind with drawstrings (they’re usually for sale right in the produce aisle). Not only does my grocery store not mind them, the cashiers always comment on how cool they are. They are so light, they won’t affect your purchase price. AND you can throw them in the washing machine!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Hi Kristine, I use those as well and they are terrific. I feel so much better using them. They hold a lot and actually store some things better in the fridge (such as loose salad leaves) because they breathe.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you for this! I was not aware of the recycling / China thing, so I need to read up on that. I wonder if there are any options for reusable bags with grocery delivery. When I go to the store I only use paper (which we reuse at home) and opt out of all plastic, but when we do delivery they pack it in whatever they want. 😛

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Are you able to make a note with a request for paper bags when you do your grocery delivery? I am a Shipt shopper (I’ve never used Instacart but I think it’s similar) and members can add notes with special requests like paper bags!

        Also – definitely checking out those reusable produce bags! I love that idea!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Yep, I just request that they use paper bags for my grocery delivery and most of the time that is what they use.

    3. Skillful Cook Logo

      OMG, thanks so much for sharing this! I haven’t seen reusable produce bags but I am going to pick some up. I always try not to use any bag and it sometimes drives the cashiers batty but I refuse to use plastic bags.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    That watermelon smoothie was delish 🙂

    Where is the rug under your dining table from?! Love it

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love Costco, too, but have had the same thoughts about their individual packaging. And also the temptation! I know you guys love Instacart, did you know that Costco covers the delivery cost for you? I’ve found that if I order my Costco goodies from Instacart instead, I won’t be tempted by all the things that are NOT on my shopping list. You go to the Costco website and there is a link for same day two hour delivery that you can order through!

    Also if you haven’t tried Young Living’s Thieves Cleaner, it’s a GAME CHANGER for clean living in terms of cleaners. It works for EVERYTHING. And it’s super economical. One bottle is like ~$25 or so but makes SO many spray bottles. I bought mine six months ago and haven’t even used half of it yet, even though I use it every day for all the things.

    Loved this post, Lindsay!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have the same joys and struggles at Costco, haha! I will say, it is really nice for baby and kid stuff – if you end up using disposable diapers and wipes or formula at some point, the bulk value is really nice for stuff like that. And the produce is a great price point for when it’s time to make baby food and stuff like that.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Definite love/hate relationship with Costco here, too. Organic produce is great, and I’ve come to know exactly which things we love and will use up, so we’re not wasteful. I just have to make sure I go by myself and buy only those, otherwise our bill seems to skyrocket quick.

    My favorite natural cleaner is good ol’ vinegar and baking soda. We use it on just about everything! Talk to me about your organic lawn care, though. We’ve been trying to go this route, too, but have had mixed luck. What do you use? Does keep your weeds in check? Would love a bigger post on your transition to a cleaner lifestyle!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I’m also interested in hearing about what lawn care you use? Particularly for weed control. I can’t seem to find anything safe so we do nothing and I spend my life pulling weeds…

      Love these coffee date posts, btw. Please keep them coming 🙂

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      The organic lawn care… gosh, I don’t know much about it because Bjork set it up, but it’s a company that uses products with a corn or oat byproduct as the base. Is that right? I can’t remember. I’ll ask Bjork. 🙂

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can you share where that dress is from? I am in need of some maternity clothes and that one looks cute and comfy.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can you do coffee dates more than once a month?!! They are so great and I adore your writing voice. Thank you! Also thanks for being so honest about the annoying little hard things like plastic waste…like I really want to be good to our precious planet but I also love individual yogurt containers. Gah! And also many similar feels on Costco, it’s such a great place to shop but I worry about the environmental impact.

    Thanks for this post! I love your recipes too.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks, Lindsay! Love the coffee dates. I didn’t have coffee but had water, a nectarine, and some cashews. 🙂 I’m curious where you purchase your glass containers for the fridge? I think I want to switch over to those from plastic.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for the date, I love these. Your dress is super cute. Clean living: we bought silicone sponges to as not to throw a sponge away every few weeks. I don’t love them but use them for some things so hopefully saves some sponge. My favorite sunscreen is MyChelle coconut – can get it on amazon and it feels slightly cooling and wonderfully hydrating when you put it on. For kiddos we really like think baby sunscreen. Xox

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Those Sage paintings are seriously impressive if you ask me! What a sweetie.

    Can I ask where you got your maternity pillow? I’m early in my second trimester and starting to feel like I may need one soon!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is my favorite coffee date so far! Being a Type A Perfectionist with High Expectations is hard – even when it’s supposed to be fun. I did a paint/sip night (well, it was paint/eat nachos for us) and I LOVED it, but I had to keep telling myself, “you’re not good at this and that’s okay because you’re good enough simply by showing up.” And it made it all a much better experience. I also was painting an owl from a photo, which is easier than painting a real life doggie! LIFE, guh.

    Clean products! Very excited for your changes and this topic! I have been very slowly and incrementally cleaning up my products, and some things I just do without for now – hair spray, for example, but you guys (as in readers, since Linds, you seem to be on point) should check out MightyFix if you’re looking for a slow, monthly exposure to some clean products. It’s a subscription where you receive one clean household product each month – so reusable Swedish Dish Cloths or Reusable Velcro Bags to replace plastic bags. It is super useful. Make sure you get a link from someone to get your first fix for $3! I think it is $10 per month after that.

    I have replaced my normal candles and air fresheners with a diffuser, and that has probably been my favorite switch to date! And I really really like EWG’s Skin Deep for checking beauty products – anybody have hair spray recommendations?

    And for clothing alterations – great idea! I’m not a perfectionist about how my clothes fit, but when I like something that doesn’t seem to like my bod, I alter it! Great investment! So much less wasteful! And I can pay $12 to a person I can see, rather than stressing over the sweatshop laborers halfway around the world.

    Glad to see you’re doing well Lindsay and thanks for keeping in touch! 😉 Hope you guys had a great team retreat!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes, I second (third?) MightyFix. Or just peruse their website, MightyNest. That is where I bought my wool dryer balls!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Interesting post! I love & appreciate your details! Where do you buy paper straws? I’ve only seen plastic at my local supermarket! Thanks for your help & excellent tips! 🙂

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Girl you look adorable!

    Also: the maternity pillow is the most amazing thing ever. From pregnancy and BEYOND! 😛 I still have it even though my youngest of the 3 is now 3.5! hahaha – –

    and crazily enough I’ve never set foot in a Costco (yet!) . . . probably because I’m from a small town but we’re currently traveling fulltime!

    Enjoyed this post!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Tell me all about this Target recycling!! One of my struggles is that our city is very limited in terms of what it will recycle. I need to establish some good habits in terms of making the extra effort to recycle the plactics that our city won’t take.

    One of the biggest things we are doing in terms of clean living is using cloth diapers and wipes. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is, how well they work, and how NOT gross it is!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Recycling is certainly a good idea. One thing I learned is that given the energy it takes to recycle, an item would actually have to be recycled six times before it is actually better for the environment than just throwing it away. I try to focus on just not buying things in plastic at all. I almost never buy soda or drinks that come in plastic and I make my own yogurt with whole organic milk to avoid the plastic yogurt tub situation. I know it’s not realistic for everything, but finding small ways to avoid plastic in the first place is even better than recycling!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    RE: going more clean. I recommend Mighty Nest, a company that sells all clean and eco-conscious products, because it offers something called the Mighty Fix. It is so overwhelming to try to go clean and green all at once, but the Mighty Fix sends you a new product each month. I really like it because you can implement clean living little by little each month. Check it out!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    As a seamstress, I say a big heck yeah for alterations! If you have a garment that you love, but know it could fit better, it is well worth taking it to get altered; and usually minor alterations are not very expensive. Honestly, I do alterations for my friends for free; check with your friends to see if any of them is a secret sewist!

    One of the reasons I’m looking forward to moving into a larger home with a garage is the possibility of buying bulk groceries and having a deep freezer. As long as you are good at organizing and keeping inventory so you don’t end up buying more than you need, it’s definitely the way to go in terms of savings AND always having basic ingredients on hand.

    I used to get wax tarts for my heaters/burners because I love clean and citrus scents, but they are so expensive and I hated throwing out so much wax. My solution is to just get one wax tart for each of my heaters and then put some drops of essential oil into the wax once it has lost its scent. I am reusing the wax AND 10 drops of oil is way cheaper than a wax tart. Win – win!

    P.S. – you are quite possibly the cutest pregnant lady ever! And hugs for Sage =)

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    When I had kids I stopped using glass cleaner because littles like to lick windows and appliances. Now I use a wet washcloth with a bit of dawn detergent on it and a squeegee. It is fast, streak free, and less toxic for wet little tongues. I also use dawn and a washcloth for my counters unless I have been working with raw meat. In the bathroom I use liquid soap and a magic eraser. Congratulations!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Re straws:

    I tried glass, metal and hard reusable plastic straws and didn’t like them.

    I recently got bamboo straws and like them much better than the alternatives. (Particularly with hot coffee, which is no bueno with conductive metal and glass.)

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have been following along with you for quite some time and was so excited to see your clean living ideas today, yay! That is my expertise 🙂 You need a good set of reusable shopping bags to round out all of the great things you are doing. Once you get started it becomes a bit obsessive 🙂
    Would love to send you a set, pm me and let me know.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Oh my gosh, yes! I have a million and one. I just often use grocery delivery in which case we get whatever they pack it in. 😛 But for transporting all my own stuff, I have a ton of reusable bags!