Thursday, January 29, 2015


Green Light- Elle

An eco-sista who says start small and find what is most important to you

How long have you been eco-friendly? As an elementary school child I can remember learning about recycling and up-cycling in school. The message of being eco-friendly was engrained early on in my life; in fact, I went from planting trees as a kid to dreaming about owning a solar-powered home.

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? I did not take an intentional approach to living an eco-friendly lifestyle until I had children and learned that one of my daughters was living with Sickle Cell Anemia. Sickle Cell Anemia is the most common genetic blood disorders in America. In an effort to keep my family healthy I made an intentional shift in what products we consumed, clean with, and use within or on our bodies. As a result of living eco-friendly, we try to enjoy the simple things in life the most.

What do you like about it? Part of eco-friendly living is consuming less, because of my daughter's health challenges I homeschool her and her twin sister. It feels good to teach my children early lessons about sustainability and recycling such as: 

Conserve Energy- Even though we power our home with solar panels, we want our girls to know that when they leave a room it is good to turn off the lights and unplug items that they are no longer using.

Recycle- Sometimes my kids save regular household items like toilet paper rolls and cereal boxes for science projects or crafts, but they also put bottles, paper, and cardboard items in the recycling bin. I teach them early so eco-living will be second nature and not something they need to think about as they grow.

Garden- As vegetarians a lot of our food comes directly from the ground. It's great when kids get to see where their food comes from. I attribute my kids' love for fruits and veggies to allowing them to have a chance to grow small herbs and vegetables in our yard. They love seeing the vegetables sprout and take shape.

Natural Cleaning Supplies and Toiletries- I'm very sensitive to chemicals that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Parabens. So, now that "going green" is popular with mainstream society it is very easy to find all natural products in stores, farmer's market, online, or at green local fairs.

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? Gardening is my greatest challenge, because I prefer to stay out of the dirt. Thankfully, my kids and husband enjoy it so they often do most of the work while I watch. 

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Start small and find out what is most important to you. For me, recycling came first. Adding a recycle bin next to our trash can made the process easier. Our city also encourages all residents to recycle, so avoiding fines was a good incentive too. The trash collection website also has information about how to recycle correctly, such as bottles need to be rinsed. 

For people who are interesting in living an eco-friendly lifestyle, I'd recommend attending a green fair, or eco-friendly trade show. These are local events in communities that help teach people the latest information about living eco-friendly. They show cool products and often give good discounts. You can also meet other people in your community who are like-minded.

Going green can be complex. This discourages a lot of people. There's really no "right" way it's basically trying to do something than nothing at all. I sometimes feel like a green hypocrite. Do you feel that way sometimes? I don't. I guess it has been apart of me for so long, eco-friendly living is just a natural part of who I am. Also, there is not anyone measuring your loyalty to the lifestyle, it is a carefree way to live and is not supposed to be a stressful transition. The lifestyle is more about learning and doing. Often times, once people realize the savings benefits that are involved, the desire to live eco-friendly becomes fun. 

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? LOL. Wow, what a compliment! I humbly thank you. I went natural about 14 years ago. But I locked my hair 9 years ago. For me it was about freedom, I didn't want to be a slave to my hair. I was in college and I had an epiphany. I realized that I value my differences; in fact, I recognized that it's cute just being me, natural and different. I learned how to be comfortable in my skin early so I continue to embrace it.

I locked my natural hair because I got tired of the co-washing, pre-poo, etc. I'm sure a lot of natural sister's can relate. Basically, I went natural long before the blogging and YouTube hair phenomenon was popular. Essentially, I wanted a hairstyle I could easily maintain myself and a style that wouldn't make me a product junkie. Locks are perfect because they just need to be twisted and washed; and you can't get much easier than that.

I am allowing my locks to grow because they are easy to maintain. By being natural, I want to show my daughters that beauty comes from the inside and is then reflected on the outside. I want my girls to see me and think of beauty, not Beyonce or Nikki Minaj. No shade, it's nothing wrong with them, they are gorgeous women; it's just that I want to be my daughters main role model. I want them to see that being an intelligent black mother is beautiful and incredibly rewarding. I want my girls to see love and beauty firsthand right in their home.

Is there anything you like to add? Thanks so much for this opportunity to share my eco-friendly view with your readers. 

Fourteen years ago Elle found her passion for writing and her love for sharing information has only increased with time. In her spare time she enjoys teaching, hiking with her husband and twin daughters, and advocating for people living with Sickle Cell Anemia. In addition, she and her family believe in living a debt-free lifestyle and challenge everyone to find a way to have financial freedom. When Elle is not diligently saving for the future, she is encouraging others to support Sickle Cell Research and charities like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Cleverly Changing is a lifestyle blog that helps educate it's readers about finance, healthy living, and parenting. In the near future Elle hopes to release a motivational children's book series, which celebrates diversity.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing a little bit about my commitment to green living with your readers. I wish you much success in all you do!

    1. You're very welcome! Thanks for taking the time to share your journey. Much success to you also.