I have a treat for you – a second interview for the month of February! This one is with Lisa Sharp who blogs at Retro Housewife Goes Green. And she just happens to be my daughter. I often say that if you do it right, you can raise kids who in turn teach you. Lisa is my inspiration to live an eco-friendly life.
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LWD Interview: Lisa Sharp, Retro Housewife Goes Green
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green.
I’m a homemaker living in a small town in Oklahoma with my wonderful husband and our Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd rescue dog.
I started blogging in 2008 as a way to share the things I was learning about green living and real food. Over time I found I also really enjoyed sharing my love of homemaking. Now I share all about homemaking, green living, cooking from scratch, and my other love, vintage.
2. When did you first become interested in environmentalism?
It’s always been there on some level. When I was around two years old my dad went to throw away my baby food jar and I told him “no daddy, we cycle.” To this day my family still often says “we cycle.”
It became more of a passion for me as an adult. I watched An Inconvenient Truth and started researching what was going on with our environment more and became very concerned.
I knew I had to do something so I started volunteering with the local recycling coalition, and ended up helping to bring curbside recycling to my town. I also started blogging and sharing green living tips to help others do their part.
3. In addition to your blog and your Green Oklahoma website, what sources would you recommend to someone interested in living a more eco-friendly life?
Two of my top book suggestions would be The Story of Stuff and My Plastic-Free Life. They are very informative and give some great advice. For homemakers, I also highly recommend Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck.
Some of my favorite green living blogs are:
They all share a wide range of information from organic food, reducing waste, gardening, natural health, and DIY.
4. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be more environmentally conscious but doesn’t know where to begin?
Start small! It can be easy to want to do it all but that is a recipe for disaster. It will become overwhelming and expensive.
Figure out which small steps will make the biggest impact in your family. Do you use a lot of disposable water bottles? Invest in some reusable water bottles.
Reusable bags are another thing I recommend. Buy them slowly and put them where you will remember them. You can save some money over time as many stores now give discounts for reusable bags and you will have less bags to stuff in a cabinet or dispose of.
The biggest thing is to take one thing at a time, let it become a habit, and move on to the next.
5. What has been your biggest challenge in living a green and eco-friendly lifestyle?
Giving myself grace. I have spent years feeling guilty anytime I wasn’t perfect. This is not a good way to live and not practical.
Last year I started really taking note of this. There has to be a balance between doing your part and being stressed all the time.
Now I try to follow more of a 80/20 with my eating and green living in general. Sometimes I eat fast food and sometimes I dye my hair. If most of the time I’m doing really well I have no reason to stress about the other time.
I wish I could be perfect but I really don’t want to live off the grid, raise all of my own food, and live a zero waste life. Maybe for a week and then I’d want to sleep for a week. There are some that can do all of that but I can’t.
6. I know you try to eat a mostly organic diet. Can you tell LWD readers why you started doing this and any benefits you have seen from it?
Several years ago I started suffering from a lot of health problems. I have fibromyalgia and it had gotten very bad. Most weeks I’d have at least one day I ended up in bed all day.
Conventional medicine hasn’t come up with good treatments for fibromyalgia right now. Your options are basically pain medicine and sleep aids. I didn’t want to go this route if at all possible so I started researching natural ways to treat it.
One thing I found is many people had a lot of success with eating an organic/whole food diet. Since I grew up eating a pretty natural diet, including having some organic food before it was popular, this was pretty simple.
I started by removing the worst ingredients and making more and more from scratch. I lost weight and started to feel better. My husband also saw health benefits from this change.
I’ve tried many things over the years to improve my health and reduce fibromyalgia symptoms and my diet changes are one thing that has stuck and made the biggest impact.
7. Do you make any of your own cleaning products? If so, do you have links to the recipes?
I don’t make that many cleaners because I clean almost everything with hot, soapy water. It’s very simple but has been shown scientifically to work. I just fill a bucket or sink with as hot as I can stand water and add a bit of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.
8. Organic food and “green” products can sometimes be expensive. Do you have any suggestions for “going green” on a budget?
Meal plan. We waste a lot of food and that can cost a lot of money! When meal planning be sure to check sale flyers and look for coupons. And be flexible. My last shopping trip I found grass-fed ground beef was on sale for almost half of what I normally pay. My meal plan had a fair amount of chicken in it but I decided those meals would wait and got a lot of ground beef instead. This saved me a lot of money on meat for the month. And of course reducing your meat intake will help. Try Meatless Monday for an easy way to reduce your meat intake.
Otherwise being green should overall be about using less. You don’t need all the latest “green” gadgets. When buying something consider buying used and when buying new, buy products that will last.
Ditching disposable products and gradually buying reusable ones will also save you a lot of money over time. I rarely buy paper towels anymore because I have a paper-free kitchen, I don’t buy bottled water, and one bag of plastic sandwich bags will last me years. These changes add up.
9. Where can LWD readers connect with you?
10. Do you have any upcoming projects or anything new in the works for Retro Housewife Goes Green?
Soon I will have a spring cleaning challenge series. You will get tips and tricks delivered to your inbox to help you get your house in great shape for the spring. I will announce it on the blog and social media soon.
Thank you, Lisa! I appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions and share so many great resources.
I’m Lisa. I’m a homemaking, vintage loving, green living, blogger, living in a small town in Oklahoma.
I’ve been married since 2005 to my wonderful husband, Justin. We have a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd Dog rescue named Patience. She’s terribly spoiled but also very sweet.
I love to bake, craft, go antique shopping, listen to local music, and of course spend time with my friends and family.