Whether you’re worried about plastic pollution or the amount of dough you blow on bottled water, there’s definitely a reusable bottle perfect for you.
But with a market flooded with options, what should you consider? The key questions include how and where you will you use it. Is it for home, commuting, indoor cycling classes? Flying or camping? Are you looking for gorgeous design or a high-tech nudge to improve your hydration as the summer heat settles in?
Enough with the questions, we’ve got answers: Here are 10 great water bottles designed for specific tastes. Of course, we kept style in mind, and all are BPA-free. Most lines carry various sizes and shapes too.
Do you feel that?
The stainless steel DrinKup bottle hold 17 ounces — and vibrates to remind you to drink. The LED screen embedded in its cap also serves up reminders to take a sip. Keeps water cold for up to 24 hours and needs charging only every 30-90 days. The only downside we found? At 12 ounces, it’s a tad heavy once you add H2O. $69, drinkupbottle.com
Watch it glow
The Hidrate Spark 3.0 is made out of an impact-resistant plastic, holds 20 ounces and comes with a smart sensor stick to keep track of intake. It glows to nudge you to drink and integrates with Fitbit, Apple Watch and other fitness trackers with fun app notifications. It’s dishwasher-safe (just remove the long-lasting, replaceable batteries). One downside: It doesn’t keep water cold. $45, hidratespark.com
The vacuum-insulated stainless steel Contigo Couture Thermalock holds 20 ounces and keeps drinks cold (up to 24 hours) or hot (up to 10 hours). We found it beautiful, stylish and leak-proof. We especially like the removable drinking spout for adding ice — or deep cleaning. Best of all? That price. $19.99, gocontigo.com
The insulated, stainless steel Hydro Flask bottle is not technically leak-proof, but it boasts a sports cap that helps us avoid spills (or at least limit them). And the slim profile means it fits many cup holders. It holds 21 ounces and keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours. Not suitable for hot liquids. $35.95, hydroflask.com
At 16.3 ounces, the Yeti Rambler boasts a hardy, rugged stainless steel design and a sturdy cap that makes for easy toting — but also a heavier carry. It holds 18 ounces and can handle both hot and cold liquids. It’s dishwasher-safe. The wide mouth means you won’t have any problem shoveling in ice cubes. $29.99, yeti.com
The insulated Klean Kanteen’s Reflect holds 20 ounces and claims its Climate Lock technology will keep iced drinks cold up to 40 hours. It’s a minimalist’s dream: The plastic-free bottle features a sustainably harvested bamboo lid and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Not advisable for hot liquids. $40.95, kleankanteen.com
If you want a reusable water bottle that doesn’t scream “I look like a reusable water bottle,” check out the crave-worthy stainless steel offerings from S’well. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and designs, including the eye-catching teakwood, white marble and calacatta gold, and keep drinks cold up to 24 hours. Many boast wide mouths, perfect for ice lovers. Around $20 and up. swellbottle.com
The textured grip on the Thermos’ vacuum-insulated stainless steel hydration bottle is perfect for those sweaty gym workouts or hikes — or for the clumsy among us. Holds 18 ounces and has a comfortable sipping spout and easy push-button lid. Not for hot liquids. Wallet-friendly price. $19.99, thermos.com
The makers of the LifeStraw GO reusable water bottle say it can be safely filled from a stream or anyplace without potable water: The two-stage filtration straw filters bad taste, waterborne bacteria and more. Super lightweight — less than 6 ounces — and holds 22 ounces. Does not keep water cold. $44.95, shop.lifestraw.com
Wow, just wow
The eco-conscious Blue Bottle Love bottles are made of break-resistant Italian blue glass, so they weigh more than most. But they’re showstoppers, sandblasted with loving inscriptions and positive intentions. (Blue Bottle also sells a variety of hemp slings to make toting easier.) Blue Bottle Love’s philosophy is based on the belief that the molecular structure of water is affected by words, vibrations and light — so the bottles are made to allow sunlight to pass through. Prices vary according to size. Around $30 and up. bluebottlelove.com
For the last two years, Jasper and Vjera Watts, along with their daughter Isla, 8, and son, James, 5, have been trying their best to live plastic-free. No matter where they go — from school and the office to the mall, airport or park — everyone travels with a stainless steel water bottle and his or her own utensils. Ice cream served in paper cups with wooden spoons at the farmers market has replaced once-regular treks to Jamba Juice. Most toys bought are used ones. Toothbrushes are made of bamboo. A family snack favorite — tortilla chips from Baja Fresh — is bought and carried home in paper bags. And every three months, a service called Who Gives a Crap delivers 48 rolls of toilet paper and six of paper towels without plastic wrapping to the family’s Altadena home.
“My motivation is to leave a better world for our kids,” Jasper says. “It’s our job to make smart decisions as consumers, and to educate the next generation, or the situation is only going to get worse.”
Some 335 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide every year, of which only 9% is ever recycled. Most plastic ends up in landfills, or in rivers and oceans where it contaminates our water and food and kills wildlife. Plastic never truly goes away either. It breaks down only into tiny pieces called microplastics, which contain toxins. Exposure to microplastics has been linked to multiple health issues including cancers.
As hikers and beach lovers, Jasper, 37, and Vjera, 41, always considered themselves eco-friendly. But it was only after watching a documentary about whales washing ashore dead with bellies full of plastic that they decided to reexamine their lives.
Once they opened their eyes to plastic pollution, the problem felt overwhelming. Wasteful use of the shiny substance seemed to be everywhere, from grocery and clothing stores to the packaging of Amazon orders. Even their son’s back-to-school night presentation about protecting the environment was an offender.
The students in James’ transitional kindergarten class each had drawn a picture and written a paragraph about an animal threatened by discarded plastic. Yet surveying the room, his parents were baffled by the fact that the kids’ work was all laminated in plastic.
The first step in making a change was to assess the family’s plastic footprint. “We emptied our recycle bin onto the kitchen table and realized the amount of plastic we were throwing away every week was crazy,” Jasper says.
Jasper chronicles the family’s journey on his Instagram account, @plasticfreedad. Followers have shared such triumphs as dad discovering a shipment of unwrapped cauliflower — a family favorite — at Whole Foods and the kids drinking smoothies with straws of bamboo grown in their garden.
Grocery shopping is their biggest challenge. Two working parents feeding a family of four while steering clear of plastic packaging is no small feat. But over time, they have developed a strategy.
Both parents have demanding jobs and therefore share shopping and cooking duties. Jasper is a marketing director at the ID Agency and also runs his own microorganism business. Vjera works long hours as a commercial fashion stylist. Yet they are determined to make meals from scratch using fresh ingredients.
A few years ago, the Watts family cut out about 90% of plastic out of their daily lives. Here is how they do it.
Fruit and vegetables, whether from the store or farmers market, are placed in reusable bags brought from home. This sometimes causes customers behind in line to roll their eyes.The family also forgoes the plastic bags offered in the bulk section of Sprouts, where they load up on rice, coffee, pancake mix and flour. Instead, they grab paper wine bags from the store’s liquor department. Isla and James always make a beeline to the bulk cookie and pastry section.
With kids in tow, they order meat from the butcher at Whole Foods and have it wrapped in paper.
“It’s more expensive to buy from the butcher, but we buy less packaged goods, so we’re saving money there and we’re eating a better quality of food,” Jasper explains.
Clover is the go-to brand for milk because it comes in a carton sans plastic-capped spout, as is yogurt from Oui by Yoplait, which is sold in small glass jars. Weetabix, a British cereal, is another staple. The rectangle-shaped biscuits are sealed in a wax, not plastic, bag inside the box. Pepperidge Farms Goldfish packaged in a foil-lined paper bag survived the cut from the family’s former life.
Some concessions are necessary. Soft bread that Isla and James prefer is available only wrapped in plastic. And only recently did the family find a desirable alternative to brand-name toothpaste in a plastic tube. The Wattses tried several natural toothpastes in metal tins and had decided against making their own from the many online recipes that call for baking soda, coconut oil and stevia. Then last month they discovered a winner: chewable toothpaste tablets sold in a glass jar.
Pasta is another tough one. “You can’t find plastic-free pasta anywhere,” Vjera says. “The box always has a plastic window so you can tell it’s penne. I heard there’s a store in Chicago that sells pasta in bulk.”
Sometimes, they splurge on grapes in plastic. “When we do, I try and think of other ways to use the packaging,” Vjera says, “but then you feel like a plastic hoarder.”
Other times, they just say no.
If the berries aren’t in cardboard boxes, “we don’t get them,” Vjera says. “A lot of my friends say it’s just too hard. But for me, I find it very easy. I go to the market and I know that there’s literally 90% of the store I don’t pay any attention to.”
Reusable beeswax wraps work just as well as cling wrap for covering leftovers in the refrigerator. Dropps, which are plant-based detergent pods, are delivered monthly via mail in a cardboard box. Household cleaner is a homemade combo of lemons and vinegar. “It doesn’t smell great, but it’s not bad,” says Jasper, offering a whiff from a jar on the kitchen counter.
Toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner and hand soap are purchased from Sustain L.A.’s refill station at the Altadena Farmers Market. The Wattses bring their own containers to fill.
Sustain L.A. operates refill stations at farmers markets throughout the city and on June 29 opened its first storefront in Highland Park. It’s one of a burgeoning crop of outposts catering to customers looking for plastic-free options. Stores such as BYO Long Beach and online sites like Wild Minimalist sell everything from reusable silicon menstrual cups to silk dental floss.
When it comes to toys, the family goes for secondhand items from thrift stores and avoids quick-to-break plastic items. James is a huge Transformers fan, but the family has stopped buying them new.
“For Christmas we found some used Transformers online, which he loved,” Jasper says. “It’s amazing what you can find used on eBay. You just need to ask them to not use plastic in the packaging.”
For friends’ birthdays, the kids pick out plastic-free gifts and don’t take home the goody bags filled with plastic junk.
“They’re animal lovers and they get it,” Jasper says of Isla and James.
So do a growing number of Southern Californians.
“Reducing plastic is the new norm,” says Jeff Coffman, who chairs the Huntington Beach Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics program. Not long ago, “I was the crazy kook,” says Coffman, who has been organizing beach cleanups for more than a decade. “The ban on plastic bags and straws really turned the tide.”
Celebrities and social media are fueling the movement too. An online video Jeff Bridges made for the Plastic Pollution Coalition has over 60 million views. On Facebook, the Zero Waste L.A. Group’s 1,000 members share tips about cloth diapers and places to buy tahini in bulk.
Still, old habits die hard, and seeing plastic waste in action is frustrating. Take, for example, the deli worker who obliged Vjera’s request to wrap a cheese order in paper, but only after inserting a sheet of plastic between each slice. At restaurants, servers often bring Isla and James beverages in disposable plastic kids cups, despite specifically being asked not to. “It’s become a game guessing which they will bring,” Vjera says. Then there are the school art projects, such as the holiday snowman Isla made from brand-new plastic cups.
The only way to truly combat plastic pollution is through tougher laws, says Anna Cummins, co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, a nonprofit focused on reducing plastic pollution through scientific research. “We’re fooling ourselves if we think that individual actions are going to move the meter. Every little bit helps, but public policy and corporations have to change.”
In January, the Berkeley City Council passed the country’s strictest limits on disposable single-use plastic. By next year all takeout cups, straws, cartons and forks in the city must be compostable. Several other cities, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Palo Alto, have followed with their own ordinances designed to phase out single-use plastics. In addition, two similar statewide companion bills are working their way through the California state Assembly and Legislature.
In the meantime, the Watts family continues to forge ahead. And in their quest to live as plastic-free as possible, they’ve discovered unexpected rewards.
“It makes life simpler,” Vjera says. “When I’m at the store, I ask myself, do you really need a phone case or that nail polish? Do you really need another candle? You have three at home. I now only get things if I need it. That is really freeing.”
Sunscreen. Towels. Swimsuits. Toys. Sunglasses. Even the most minimalist beachgoers can’t avoid a little gear. Because the sun and sand are relaxing only if the sun doesn’t burn and the sand doesn’t come home in the car.
“You have to approach a beach day almost like a mini-camping trip,” says Molly Fergus, general manager of TripSavvy. “Come overprepared, with more than you think you will need of everything.”
We asked some beach-bum experts to find us the latest and greatest goods and gadgets for beach days. Here are their picks. (And don’t forget water and sunscreen.)
Reading is a prime pastime on the sand. Alexander Howard, lead editor for home page and interests for the travel guide company Lonely Planet, is based in Nashville and goes out of his way when traveling to find the best beaches. He always packs the Kobo Forma, a waterproof e-reader with a large display that can be read even in bright daylight ($279.99 to $329.99, us.kobobooks.com). It’s perfect for “beach-going bibliophiles,” he says.
Frequent road-tripper Chandler O’Leary of Tacoma, Wash., often sketches at the beach and keeps her sketchbooks in a Matador Droplet Wet Bag ($14.99, matadorup.com). “It’s super handy and stuffs down into a teeny-tiny case that can hang on my key ring when I’m not using it,” says O’Leary, author of “The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas: Illustrated Adventures Along the West Coast’s Historic Highways.” She also keeps her phone, camera and anything else she wants dry in the bag.
Surfer Julia Chaplin, author of “The Boho Manifesto: An Insider’s Guide to Postconventional Living,” likes to keep her beach days low-key: “I don’t like gear, especially beach furniture, as I want to feel the texture of the sand and smell the sun-kissed salt when I’m lying down.” As a surfer, though, she does need sunscreen, a sarong and sandals, which she carries in a Blue Ogunquit Beach Tote ($225, seabags.com). It has a pocket for wet swimwear and a grommet in the bottom to shake out the sand at the beach.
An Australian engineer and surfer who was tired of wet towels sticking to sand designed the Sandusa Beach Towel ($49.95, sandusa.com), a 33.5-by-63-inch cotton beach towel with a waterproof, sand-resistant backing. “The towel doesn’t get wet from the sand, and you can sit on it in the car in a bathing suit and you won’t get your seat wet,” says Laura Begley Bloom, chief content officer of Family Traveller.
Mott50 makes clothing with sun protection built in: shirts and leggings as well as swimsuits and cover-ups for the whole family. Living in Palm Beach, Fla., Stacey Leuliette, owner and editor of the Scout Guide, says she loves the Mila one-piece swimsuit in the Le’Orangerie print, which is also available on several other clothing pieces — as well as a matching kids’ suits ($118, mott50.com). The zippable suit, which has hand covers for added sun protection, is made of UPF 50 fabric. (UPF stands for ultraviolent protection factor and is used to measure the amount of UV radiation that reaches the skin through clothing and other fabrics.)
“I love playing cards by the beach or on a boat, but it’s way too easy for them to fly away,” says TripSavvy’s Fergus, who recommends Hurricane Cards ($19.99, hurricaneplayingcards.com). They are “weighted, waterproof and even float in the water,” she says, noting that they shuffle well, too.
Emma Kate Fittes, Indianapolis Star Published 6:56 a.m. ET July 19, 2019 | Updated 11:23 a.m. ET July 19, 2019
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Homeowners Hal and Rhonda Darring pushed the limits when building their contemporary home in the Village of West Clay in Carmel.
The high-end neighborhood is known for its traditional and European-style estates. The Darrings initially moved into a colonial revival-style home before deciding to build their own.
For the new custom home, they drew inspiration from Orange County, California, where homes had high ceilings, clean lines and a minimalist feel.
Darring said he worked with an award-winning artist, shipped in materials from across the country and made the exterior as contemporary as the subdivision’s requirements allowed.
The result is the 7,658-square-foot, four-bedroom California contemporary home at 13086 Horseferry Road, currently listed for $1,799,900. There’s a curvy yellow slide from the mud room on the main floor to the built-in bunk beds in the basement, a wine cellar with a glass wall and a 10-car attached garage.
Most of the main floor is an open-concept living space with multiple seating areas, a freestanding two-sided fireplace and dining area. The kitchen features two wine fridges, white granite countertops and an island with a second sink.
The 18-foot ceilings, large black-framed windows and white walls create an airy feeling.
Large sliding doors open the dining area on to the patio, which Darring said he approached with the same level of care. That’s his favorite element of California homes, how the inside living space flows seamlessly to the outdoors.
“We liked the indoor-outdoor effect of the home,” he said. “We spent almost as much per square footage on the outside as on the inside.”
Outside there is a sleek tile fireplace, fire pit and built-in barbecue with a granite countertop.
Off the great room near the front door is a large half bathroom with marble flooring that continues up one wall. There’s also an office near the front of the home and a pantry, mud room and laundry room behind the kitchen.
The master bedroom is on the main floor. It includes a fireplace and access to the backyard patio. The master bathroom has two vanities, a walk-in shower with dual shower heads and a free-standing bathtub.
There’s another washer and dryer in the master closet, which has built-in cabinets and an island. One wall hold around 100 pairs of shoes.
The home’s basement — which is also accessible by a floating staircase if you don’t want to take the slide — includes a second kitchen and living area. One bedroom has a jack-and-jill bathroom with subway tile and marble. There’s also a bedroom suite with a walk-in closet, full bathroom and four built-in bunk beds.
Contact IndyStar reporter Emma Kate Fittes at 317-513-7854 or email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter: @IndyEmmaKate
• Address: 13086 Horseferry Road, Carmel.
• Details: Four bedrooms, three baths and one half bath, 7,658 square feet, 1.2 acres, 10-car attached garage, 18-foot ceilings, outdoor living space, additional washer/dryer in master closet, slide to basement, wine cellar.
The Wellesley Mothers Forum (WMF) kicked off its 2019-2020 membership year at the Wellesley College Club. Co-Presidents Melissa Lacy and Lindsey McCullough are at the helm of the 25-year old member-led social and support group. The group is all about providing opportunities for nearly 400 local mothers to come together with the goal of establishing a long- term support network.
As any one of the 65 dedicated volunteers can tell you, the not-for-profit group is first and foremost about family and community. With membership comes socialization, friendship, and nuts-and-bolts knowledge (where’s the nearest Montessori school? Where’s the best pizza in town?) at a time when connection is essential in helping a family feel like a part of the town. The organization strives to help women maintain their individuality, creativity, confidence, and emotional health while doing the hardest job of all — parenting.
As the WMF enters a new year, there will be exciting lectures on topics including parenthood in the age of fear, de-cluttering and getting organized, the power of positive thinking, and minimalist parenting, just to name a few. Members benefit from the Merchant Discount Program (over 160 merchants), as well as many events for moms and the whole family such as: the Morses Pond Family Picnic, Fall Carnival, Halloween Party, Cookie Swap, and various Children’s Events and Moms Nights Out throughout the year.
How to join
Members must live in Wellesley or surrounding towns (that would be Natick, Wayland, Newton, or Needham) and have at least one child (or currently be expecting). Most members have kids between the ages of birth to eight years old. The club’s membership year runs year-round, with most events occurring September through June. New members are welcome at any time of year, and no sponsorship is needed.
Dues/annual registration fee is $165 for the year. That gets you plenty, such as lectures and seminars from parenting experts. A big draw is the group’s monthly Speaker Series starts with a social hour with wine and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a presentation and Q & A session. Previous speakers have included award-winning speaker and author Carl Honoré of In Praise of Slow; Karen Le Billion, author of French Kids Eat Everything and Getting to YUM: The 7 Secrets of Raising Eager Eaters; and Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician, child development specialist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at USC School of Medicine.
Weekly playgroups are assembled according to the child’s age and the parent’s availability. Generally, playgroups meet weekly, rotating among members’ homes. The group also offer playgroups specifically for nannies to attend.
The Working Moms Group for full-time or part-time workers, or those interested in returning to the workforce. This group meets monthly for dinners at local restaurants or cocktail parties in members’ homes and is a place to share ideas and best practices about the challenges of balancing career and home life.
Members are encouraged to contribute two volunteer hours per year by volunteering for a committee, staffing an event, or preparing a meal for a family in need.