Sustainable Holiday Hacks

It’s December and that means the winter holidays are upon us. With it comes a flurry of shopping, consumption, and giving. For many of us, that means receiving gifts that we don’t need, opening tons of packaging that gets thrown away, and spending lots of money of things that we aren’t sure will get much use.

This is not to say that gift giving, shopping, and enjoying the holidays is inherently bad, but for those who are concerned with reducing waste it can present a bit of a challenge. There are simple things we can do to maximize our seasonal enjoyment and minimize our environmental impact.


  • Shop local as much as possible, in particular from small businesses.
  • Consider shopping second hand at thrift stores, consignment shops, or online marketplaces like Mercari. You can often find items that are new with tags or in like-new condition.
  • Give gifts that encourage less waste, like reusable shopping bags or glass storage containers.
  • Make your own gifts using recycled or up-cycled materials, such as bath salts and hand scrubs in old jars. Anything handmaid is a more sustainable option.
  • Give experiences instead of things with gift cards or vouchers to local attractions or nearby destinations.


  • Save and reuse boxes and gift bags year after year if you must have seasonal gift wrapping.
  • Use postcards instead of traditional holiday cards, eliminating the need for envelopes and therefore reducing waste.
  • Give gifts in baskets or reusable cloth bags, which will come in handy at the grocery store.
  • Wrap gifts in reusable cloth. The cloth can even double as a scarf or tapestry.
  • Reuse materials for gift wrap, like newspaper or paper grocery bags.


  • Use solar-powered lights for decorating outside, which can even be connected to a timer.
  • Decorate with items found in nature, such as pine cones, evergreen branches, twigs, berries, flowers, etc.
  • Cut Christmas trees are a more sustainable option that artificial trees, but potted trees can be planted outside after the holidays.
  • Use second-hand or vintage decorations. Some of the best holiday decorations are the ones that conjure fond childhood memories.


  • Serve and enjoy locally-grown food as much as possible. Nothing tastes better than food that is fresh, in-season, and grown locally.
  • Send electronic invitations instead of paper ones for holiday events and gatherings.
  • Walk your neighborhood to view light displays instead of driving around to other areas. If your neighbors don’t decorate much, drive somewhere close, park, and walk around instead of staying in the car.
  • Donate leftover food to food banks and compost what can’t be donated.

What are your favorite holiday traditions, and how can you make them more sustainable? Let me know in the comments below. Happy Holidays!

Be well,

Toddler Travel: 5 Lessons From Our First Family Flight

Some families travel frequently and their Instagram feeds are filled with beautiful photos from incredible destinations. This blog is not for them.

This blog is for the family that has to prepare, save up, and plan every detail of their vacation in order to make the most of their limited funds or time off from work. It’s for the families who only dream of maybe finally taking that family vacation next year. You know, the trip that didn’t work out this year.

Listen up, fam – you can make it happen! If you’re not sure where to start, I’m here to share some tips to help you see the world with your little one(s). Here are a few things I learned from our first cross-country family vacation:

1. Children under 2 fly free on a parent’s lap.

For many jet-setters, this is common knowledge. For families looking to afford their first trip together, this information might be a game-changer. For us, this information was used as motivation to finally book our trip from New York to California before our son’s 2nd birthday. For our family of three, purchasing one less plane ticket meant making a cross-country trip much more affordable.

There’s a lot to consider when flying with your baby or toddler, and flying with a lap child might not be the best solution for everyone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges travelers to secure children in a child safety restraint system in flight, which does require the purchase of an additional ticket per child. More information about the FAA’s recommendations can be found by visiting their website.

2. Car seats and strollers can be checked for free.

Airlines allow travelers to check a car seat and stroller free of charge. We opted to gate check our stroller so that we had it available for navigating busy airports. We did check our car seat at the counter with our other baggage since we opted to fly with our son in our laps.

If you do plan to check a car seat, as we did, there are some things to be aware of. Car Seats for the Littles, Inc is a 501(c)(3) organization, staffed by Child Passenger Safety Technicians who advocate for car seat safety.

They recommend placing the car seat in a box (its original packaging is preferred) with padding, and gate checking if possible. The concern is that car seats may arrive at your destination with damage that cannot be seen. You can read more about their suggestions for air travel with children at

3. Flying at night worked better for us.

This one will obviously depend on your child’s temperament, schedule and sleep patterns. Our son hasn’t always been the most reliable napper, but sleeps deeply and consistently overnight. I’ve also found that overnight flights, for the most part, are darker and more quiet, creating a better environment for toddler sleep.

We had a more difficult time finding an overnight flight for our trip home, so we ended up flying during our son’s normal nap time. Predictably, our son did not nap during the flight and the result was a restless, over-tired toddler during our long journey home.

4. Expect some sleep schedule adjustment and plan accordingly.

We intentionally left our schedule open for our first full day in California. This was such a good idea, as we all were adjusting the time different and lack of sleep from our long trip. Toddlers, in particular, require some leeway and grace in this department. A regular sleep schedule is essential to most children at this age, so a major deviation can (and probably will) cause some crankiness. Be prepared for an adjustment period!

5. Accept that screen time can be a big help.

Our family is generally not in favor of excessive screen time. While we haven’t exactly followed the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines to a T, we usually try to focus on daily activities that include outdoor time, physical activities, and imaginative play. A lot of online resources suggest bringing along your child’s favorite toys and books. However, we found in packing for our trip that the items we could carry only provided about 15 minutes of entertainment at a time.

I had a strong feeling that this would not suffice for a 5+ hour flight, so I purchased several episodes of our son’s favorite age-appropriate show (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!) and some over-the-ear headphones for him to enjoy during the flight. I didn’t want to be that mom who lets her toddler run up and down the aisle of the cabin, so I opted for a bit of screen time to keep him quiet, happy and in his seat for much of the flight.


Are you ready to book a flight with your toddler? Where are you heading? I’d love to hear about your family adventures in the comments below!

Keep exploring,

Alli Signature

The Greatest Adventure of All

IMG_0674Experts suggest that when returning to blogging after a hiatus, it’s best to not even mention your absence. Just jump right back into it as if nothing happened. That’s great in theory, however my absence from blogging is pretty hard to ignore for a couple of reasons.

For starters, the length of my blogging hiatus is pretty significant. My last published post was in February of 2016 – a year and a half ago! That’s a long time – practically a lifetime in the digital realm. I probably lost a lot of followers who I worked hard to connect with.

More important than the length of my absence, however, is what happened during it. A lot of big, life-changing things happened since February 2016, and I can’t wait to share them with my readers, old and new.


As you may have guessed from the new name and URL of this blog, I had a baby! Becoming a mom has changed my life in more ways than I ever could have imagined, so naturally, it will change my blog as well! As Trekking on Two Feet transforms into Trekking Mom, you can expect the same type of posts, but from the perspective of a first-time mom trying to raise her own little adventurer.

I’ll be sharing some of the amazing experiences from pregnancy and life as a new mom, and of course, our family adventures to come.

If you’re still following, hey there! I’ve missed you! What have you been up to for the past year and a half?! Tell me about your adventures, big and small, in the comments below!

Keep exploring,Alli Signature

The World’s Cutest Snowboarder

Yeah he’s cute, but someone else has got him beat.

I hate to be a traitor to my very talented partner (who gets all the credit for turning me on to snowboarding in the first place), but another snowboarder now has my complete adoration. Her name is Sloan Henderson and she’s only one year old! Sloan’s snowboarding video is going viral and has been featured on Today, ABC News and more. Check out her first time on the slopes in the video below!

Seriously – #lifegoals. You can also check out her snowboarding progression on her YouTube channel. This girl has some seriously rad parents and natural talent for “cruisin” on her board! I hope we see more of this little lady’s adventures in the future, complete with lots and lots of smiles and high-fives!

What do you think about Sloan’s snowboarding adventures? Is it possible to watch that video without wanting to give her some major high-fives?! Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Keep exploring,Alli Signature.png

New Year’s Eve at Owl’s Head

My partner and I decided to plan a spontaneous trip to the Adirondacks to ring in the new year with some hiking and snowboarding. We found an affordable last-minute hotel room in Lake Placid (thanks to the Maple Leaf Inn, again!) and set out first thing in the morning on New Year’s Eve.

Summit of Owl's Head

Since we pre-purchased all day lift tickets for New Year’s Day at Whiteface Mountain, we decided that a short, non-strenuous hike would be best for New Year’s Eve. We both absolutely love the high peaks, but we knew we probably would be too sore to enjoy a full day of snowboarding after climbing one, so we chose a quick hike for that afternoon at Owl’s Head in Keene, NY.

A blue sign marks the trailhead on Owl’s Head Lane

Owl’s Head is a great short hike in the high peaks region. Located right off Route 73 in Keene, the hike begins at the trailhead on a dirt road in private property and goes a mere 0.6 mile up to the summit. The trail is mostly uphill, but not very challenging, and reaches a final elevation of 2120′.

The trail was snowy and icy on December 31st, but it was packed down enough that snowshoes weren’t necessary. I used my new Yaktrax and my partner wore a cheap, knock-off pair of Nanospikes that I use for flat, icy winter runs. This turned out to be plenty traction for our brief hike, although my Yaktrax fell off my boots TWICE and by the time we got back to the car we noticed most of the spikes had fallen off the running spikes my partner wore.

The trail has a few open areas that could be mistaken for false summits, but these spots offer some nice views on the way up. Just before reaching the actual summit, there is a very steep rocky ledge that hikers must traverse on left side. Here the trail gets quite narrow, with a steep drop off on one side which can be a little intimidating. This brief section can be a little  tricky, but shouldn’t be a problem if you move slowly and step carefully.

After a steep scramble, the open rock summit offers extraordinary views of the surrounding high peaks. We stayed up at the summit for a while, enjoying the views and watching the clouds roll over the mountains. It’s an incredibly rewarding climb that requires relatively little work.

Alli at Summit 2

After a while at the summit, the wind started to pick up and our body temperatures began to cool so we made our way back down to the trailhead. Typically when hiking in the high peaks, the descent seems to take forever. On this hike, however, it feels like it took us no time at all to reach the trailhead.

Owl's Head Pano Before Summit

We passed a group of three hikers who summited just before we began our descent, and then we passed another group just heading out as we got back to the car. There is very limited parking, mostly on the side of the road near the trailhead. When we arrived we were the only vehicle, but by the time we left the area was crowded with several more.

As someone who enjoys hiking the Adirondack High Peaks, I can’t emphasize enough just how easy and enjoyable this hike is. It is a great trek for someone who wants to experience the high peaks without putting in the work required to summit one of the tallest 46. This can be done in an afternoon, evening or even sunrise hike before exploring more of what the Adirondacks have to offer. It was the perfect hike for our trip, since we were not too sore or tired to enjoy several hours of snowboarding the next day.

Owl's Head GoPro Selfie

What did you do to ring in the new year? Any exciting outdoor adventures planned? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Keep exploring,Alli Signature.png