It Worked Out!


Downtown Indy. The conference was in that big monolith looking thing!

Hello everyone! I’m back from Indianapolis and I’m thrilled to report that all of the little things I did to make my trip greener and more frugal really helped. I took off with only $96 USD for six days of food, entertainment, and getting around Indy (I told you my budget was tiny! That’s $16 a day!), and I came home with $1.50! More importantly, I did not leave a trail of disposable cups, plastic bottles, and half used products behind, I did not spend any coupons, and I had an amazing, transformative experience!

What helped the most? Three things:

1. The conference itself was well-appointed. There were water coolers every few seminar rooms so that I could fill up my kleen kanteen, and urns of (delicious) coffee and tea and little jars of honey and raw sugar and even Real Cups for the people who didn’t bring their thermos were put out three times a day for conference attendees. This right here probably saved me at least $60 in coffee and water money and saved the landfills at least 20 bottles and cups! Best thing? So many people at the conference had reusable water bottles and thermoses! How great is that?

Also, the parties were lovely and lavish. Some were even off-site and fancily catered or offered the food the restaurant normally offered. One of the parties was nicer than any zillion dollar a plate wedding I’ve been to — even the wine was really, really good!

2. Indianapolis is less expensive than where I live. I was nervously budgeting for Philadelphia/New Jersey, but the food we did eat out seemed a good couple of dollars less than what I would pay normally. For example, my usual hole in the wall burrito place near work usually costs $9, and the similar burrito at the totally cool food truck we visited at Indy’s Food Truck Friday was $5.95.




I don’t know if it was because I was sitting in the sunshine on a beautiful day after an incredible session, but (whispers) I think it tasted better than my usual hometown one! A pint of Guinness was $4 at a local bar. We tried Waffle House because we don’t have them here, and my giant platter was $5.95 (enormous pie $1.15)! We played the jukebox, and even that was less expensive: 24 songs for $5!


Make sure you get the chocolate pie!


Also, the water from the faucet tastes so good in Indianapolis! I was able to drink tap water when not at the conference with no problem (Philadelphia water is vile, New Jersey water even more vile — both must be filtered).

3. Kindness. My professor took us to lunch and paid for museum entrance, and we had an amazing afternoon at the Eiteljorg Museum. My project partner bought a bottle of wine in our hotel lobby and brought it up with three glasses to celebrate our successful presentation. We were originally in a really far hotel, and her mother searched exhaustively for a closer hotel and used her friends and family discount to make it affordable for us. She also turned us on to Uber, which saved us so much time over busses, and money over taxis (you don’t want to hear about our $50 cab ride OR 1.5 hour bus ride, trust me). My professor also made sure we were invited to all of the parties where there were food and drinks. We even stumbled upon one party we weren’t invited to, and no one blinked as we raided the cheese 🙂 Bedford/St. Martin’s Press gave out free organic cotton, nicely made tote bags. I love mine and will use it with fondness. Thank you, nice people! I would have been eating nuts from my purse for days without the kindness I was shown.

Comfortable shoes and powerbars also helped things wonderfully. I recommend them no matter where you travel!

An Interesting Observation: I did not enjoy using the little packets of conventional toiletries at all! I had free sample packets of a facial creme that I know retails for over $100 a jar, and was not impressed. My skin was itchy and dry without my homemade body butter, especially my hands! My poor hands from convention center soap! Ah! They are still recovering. My hair was puffy and sad from regular shampoo and conditioner. The deodorant also made me itchy, smelled fake powdery awful,  and broke the first day I used it. I am going to start saving tiny jars now to reuse for future trips, so that I can bring my green, natural, simple toiletries.

A Mysterious Happening: I lost one of my vintage slips! I was really careful about putting the things I used back into my suitcase so I have no idea how this could have happened! One of my books has a pretty slip pattern, and I have some thin raw silk. I think I may try and make one as a replacement instead of buying one.

Although I had a life-changing, incredible, amazing time, I’m so happy to be home with my husband, cat, knitting, books, making regular meals, baking, taking baths instead of showers, getting on my little train to work instead of scary airplanes, and planning more things to share with you on this blog! I just got some soap nuts for laundry. Will tell all soon!





  1. What a success, Jackie! Well done on staying green and having a wonderful time at the same time!

  2. I am glad you had a super time in Indianopolis and managed to negotiate being eco-aware with being away from home – always a challenge!

    I know what you mean about the ‘swanky’ toiletries that normally sell for £££/$$$! Mr M treated me to a weekend away at a lovely hotel. I forgot to pack my pure olive oil soap and my skin felt so scratchy and itchy after one day of using the glamourous brand soap in the hotel… I really do think that the ‘simpler’ and ‘cleaner’ ingredients are (whether in food, toiletries, laundry products), the less tolerant we become of over-engineered or synthetic concoctions. E.g. I have used an alum stone for years and now consider the smell of spray or roll on deodorant fake and invasive… Still, many people are swayed by the packaging, branding, allure…

  3. I carry a tiny plastic bottle of Dr Bronner’s in my bag because I’m so sensitive to commercial soap. It’s a lifesaver! I think the bottle used to contain hand sanitizer which — blech — I don’t use, but my sister does.

    I have been making my own energy bars! Want me to share the recipe?

    1. Yes, I’d love to have the energy bar recipe!

      Someone at the conference put a bottle of gentle, natural soap in one of the bathrooms and I could hear my hands sighing with relief! I need to start doing that.

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