Thursday, September 26, 2013

Zero Dechet Number One!

Just a quick post to announce that am in France promoting the Zero waste lifestyle. I look forward to blogging again soon.

In the meantime, I would like to share with you that my book Zero Dechet reached number one on Amazon in France today!

I am touched by this recognition, and at the same time excited for other people to embrace the lifestyle and enjoy its benefits!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Zero Dechet est sorti!

 I am so excited to announce that the French version of my book, Zero Dechet, is finally out!

Apres des mois de travail acharne pour son adaptation, c'est avec joie et beaucoup de fierte, que je vous annonce la sortie mon livre Zero Dechet en France aujourd'hui meme! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Beauty of Zero Waste: The French Market

People often ask me what the differences are between France and the US in terms of Zero Waste.

Both countries have pros and cons, but I am of an optimistic nature, so I'll focus on the pros: Great bulk can be found in the US, at the grocery store (including liquids such as castile soap, conditioner, and cooking oil); in France, at the Farmer's market.

This summer, I had the opportunity to make a quick stop in the town of Mirepoix and visit its farmer's market: The ambiance, the colors, the smells... mmm ... were amazing and the selection dreamy. I could not resist sharing this experience with you!

Pour le plaisir des yeux...



Including marinated anchovies (my fave)

Plastic-free cheese


Dried Fruit

Vanilla beans


Alum stones

Even Khol powder!

And only a block away, a small shop selling bulk wine

Disclaimer: This series is not about making you feel bad if bulk is lacking in your town. This series simply aims to share the great alternatives that I encounter throughout my personal journey, shatter preconceptions that Zero Waste is messy and unattractive, provide visual evidence that Zero Waste is beautiful, and prove that Zero Waste is possible! Overtime, I hope to compile a fantasy photo album of a Zero Waste economy, and to inspire manufacturers and retailers to adopt waste-free alternatives... they're so much prettier!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What happened?

Hi Everyone:

I hope you had a great summer. Mine sure was not what I had envisioned.

Before I left for Europe, I was working on adapting my book into French and revising its translation...
What I did not expect was the amount (and cadence) of the work ahead.

I wanted this book to carry my voice to my country of origin, and I ended up rewriting a lot of it. I went from the glamour of wearing my skirt on the set of UK's BBC Breakfast (promoting the UK version) to consecutive weeks in PJ's battling deadlines at my mother's home in the South of France. My mom fed me, took care of the laundry, the kids... I was glued to my computer from 8am to 6am (the next morning) for days in a row, my mind fueled by coffee, my eyes irritated by too much screen time and not enough rest. Leo kissed me goodbye on his way out the door to an overnight camp; on his return a week later, he found me wearing the same PJ's sitting in the same spot... "Have you been crying?", he asked.

I did make my deadlines in the end, but I worked so hard that I was not able to enjoy this visit with my kids, my mom and my nieces. I hope that my sacrifice will pay off, that the French public will be grateful for all that I have invested in this French version of my book.

A few weeks ago, I came back to the US exhausted, in great need of not only sleep, but also screen rest. We took a road/camp trip through Oregon, and as those who follow me on social media noticed, I eventually emerged back into cyberspace. And then I read your comments...

I am sorry for the long absence, I am sorry for worrying some of you, I am sorry for the lack of consistency regarding the skirt experiment. I was forced to prioritize my time and put the experiment on the back burner - heck, I did not have time to get out of my PJ's, even less to put on a skirt! ;)

My first week back, I filmed with three different shows for five days straight (local news, French news, and a French documentary). This week is filled with interviews, the next, I will be speaking in Fremantle, Australia at 2013 Waste and Recycling Conference. Just know that even if I sometimes seem absent on the blog, I am working hard to spread the word about the lifestyle. You do not need to worry about me giving up!

Here is a recap of the 30 ways that I wore the long black skirt:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

30 Ways to wear a long skirt - Day one

Sorry for not posting in a while: I have been working overtime in translating (and adapting) my book to French and answering the demands and interest of international media (a great sign that the word of Zero Waste is spreading and the world intrigued by change!) .

In the midst of that, I made my annual trip to Europe. I will be here for 30 days, mixing work and pleasure, and as you guessed it, I am taking on a challenge similar to last year's: Wearing a long skirt 30 different ways.

Presenting to you:  The skirt. Long, black, slit in the back, made of a matte jersey knit (for some reason, the pictures make it look shiny) and fitted (I took it in at the seams to fit me).

To allow for maximum versatility and accommodate a variety of climates (from cold/rainy to hot/dry) and events (from hiking to TV appearances), I brought 4 tops, 3 bottoms, 5 pairs of shoes and 3 toppers (all naturally fit in my carry-on, along a jar with our year's trash (long story).

Everyday, I will post a different way of wearing the skirt through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Today is Day One: Strapless dress with a side slit.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Party Time! Zero Waste style.

This weekend, I threw a cocktail party to celebrate my becoming an author. Our house's size limited our guest list, nonetheless, forty people RSVP'd. My full time work schedule did not give me much time to get ready. On Friday, I tackled the grocery shopping armed with a shopping list and a basket full of jars; Saturday, I worked from morning till 6:45pm, just in time to take a quick shower, take a few pictures to share with you and welcome our first guests.

My book describes Zero Waste entertaining, so this post is to show how I put some of my tips into practice.

Here is how we managed to make our soiree a Zero Waste event:

Glassware and plates

As mentioned before, when we host parties bigger than our table can sit (10) we serve a buffet of finger foods with our stack of cloth napkins (I only have 32, but was not worried about running out for our 40 guests, as I have learned from previous experiences that only half the guests actually use a napkin for finger foods). Our everyday glassware (two full shelves, about 50 pieces) eliminate our need for disposables. Our everyday (white ceramic) and camping (polished stainless) plates served as platters, a handful of turkey lacers as reusable toothpicks, and jars of plant trimmings as decorative items.

Reusable Ware


To simplify my cooking, I took full advantage of items sold loose in my grocery store (one stop shop), including the salad bar, olive bar, prepared food counter, meat counter, fish counter, and cheese counter using jars; the bulk bins and bakery using cloth bags; and, the produce aisle using mesh bags. I also used home-grown and foraged (neighbor) herbs. Our menu consisted of:

  • Pistachios (bulk bin)
  • Black olives (olive bar)
  • Green olives (olive bar)
  • Leo's breadsticks: He rolled leftover dough (onion tartlets) in a beaten egg, then in grated parmesan cheese (salad bar)

A few snacks

Veggies and Cheese
  • Zucchini (produce aisle) slices topped with a chickpea mixture: Marinated chickpeas (olive bar), blended with an immersion blender and seasoned with ground cumin (bulk bin) 
  • Mini Skewers of mozzarella balls, asparagus and cherry tomatoes: The ingredients consisted of a salad (prepared food counter), which we then separated and skewered onto turkey lacers.
  • Onion tartlets: Homemade using bulk ingredients
  • Eggplant spread and blinis: Homemade using bulk ingredients
  • Marinated chili peppers (olive bar) stuffed with a mixture of feta cheese (salad bar) and cream (reusable bottle), then tipped in freshly ground pepper (bulk bin)
  • Celery sticks (produce aisle) filled with a blue cheese (salad bar) mixture and a pecan (bulk bin) 
  • Goat cheese balls: I rolled the mixture used to stuffed the chili peppers in 3 different ingredients, including chopped celery leaves (discards of previous appetizer), chopped herbs (home-grown), and chopped almonds (bulk bins). I hid a snap pea (produce aisle) for extra crunch in the first two types.
  • Veggies (produce aisle) and hummus dip (salad bar)
  • Three types of cheese (cheese counter) on a platter and toasted baguette (stale baguette)

Veggie and Cheese Appetizers

  • Pate with toasted baguette and cornichons (recipe and origin of ingredients here)
  • Chicken and Quinoa meatballs (prepared foods counter) with their honey-mustard dip (homemade using the recipe provided in the book by replacing sugar with honey).

Pate and Baguette

  • Smoked Salmon (fish counter) and lemon rind (produce aisle) on Blinis (homemade using bulk ingredients)
  • Salmon Sushi: Homemade using fresh salmon (fish counter) on sushi rice (bulk bin, using a mixture of bulk apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt to season the cooked rice), and a drop of homemade horseradish (recipe in the book).
  • Baked cheesy (grated, salad bar) shrimp (fish counter) toasts (stale baguette): This appetizer was my only hot item; once guests arrive I want to join the party and give them my full attention!

Smoked Salmon on blinis, topped with lemon  rind.

  • Five types of cookies (bakery self serve)
  • Malt balls (bulk bin)
  • Sugar coated peanuts: Homemade using salted peanuts (bulk bin)
  • Fresh strawberries (produce aisle)


  • Revive Kombucha, sold in reusable growlers at our grocery store (the bottles are returned to customer service to be reused by the company)
  • Two types of beer, the growlers of which we get refilled at our local brewery
  • Red and White wine, the bottles of which we get refilled at a local winery
  • House Cocktail: Vodka (360 brand, available in flip-top bottles which we reuse for wine refills), French pomegranate lemonade (the bottles of which we also reuse for wine refills) and orange juice (I reuse and fill our milk bottles from the squeezing machine in my grocery store)
  • Flavored water: Rosemary and Lemon, simply squeezed into flip top bottles and then filled with water.

Cocktail and Flavored Waters

These accompanied with beautiful weather, great music and our favorite people, made for a successful and memorable event. And even a couple of days worth of leftovers!

Have a party scheduled? Questions? Ask away!

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Wardrobe Inventory in Pictures

After a month dedicated to our new Bulk app, back to our regular blog schedule...

First off, let me thank those of you who thought of posting a review for my book on Amazon! I am humbled by your response and excited about your positive feedback enticing new readers to embark on this incredible lifestyle! Your time is well appreciated; its ripple effect will change the world (literally), and I feel motivated to share more of the lifestyle with you...

As many of you already know, I have vouched to only buying secondhand clothing and my bi-annual clothes thrifting was a month ago. Many of you have asked for a post about it, so here are the highlights of my inventory changes:
  • Exchanging my white button down shirt for my girlfriend's chambray one (for extra color), my grey shorts for sparkly black ones (for extra texture), and my pink skorts for a gold skirt (for extra fun)
  • Introducing a tube type piece in each of these three categories: Tops, dresses, and bottoms for maximum versatility (they can all be worn as tops or bottoms)
  • Swapping my nude pumps for black pointy toe heels, large sunglasses for a funkier style, and all my jewelry pieces for fresh ones - including a locket ring which now keeps my lip balm handy. 
I bought a few "extras" for me to test the first couple of weeks and to then narrow my inventory down to my set number of pieces by choosing those that fit me best and are most versatile. By now, the not-so-good options that did not make the cut have already have been donated -so have the extra pieces that I purchased for the boys to allow them to chose their favorite styles from a selection (they were not able to come with me to the store  this time).  I wish I had a bit more color in my inventory, but I am pretty happy with what I found in the thrift stores within the limited time I had, and I sure scored on deals... I even found a $10 bill in one of the kids' jeans that I purchased for $2!

I am now set for the next 6 months and ready to REUSE and explore my minimalist secondhand wardrobe as much as possible... and here it is in pictures! - pardon the white on white items;).

Questions? Ask away in the comments!

Tops and Sweaters






Note: I purchased an "extra" piece that I will unveil before my annual trip to France;). Can you sense a new summer challenge coming on? ;)