I used to dread birthdays. Not the getting older part or the eating a lot part, but the idea of having all eyes on me for a day. I don’t love the attention and it has always freaked me out. This year I wanted to do something different and focus on a challenge instead of my birthday itself: a Zero Waste birthday, and it seemed to take the stress out of the day for me.

Long story short, I did it. Two dinners, three outfits, and one uptown adventure. Waste free.

Dinner #1, Saturday, May 3rd: Mable’s Smokehouse
Outfit: Daniel Silverstein Tanager Jumpsuit

Mable’s has amazing barbecue, like ridiculously good, but they use paper, plastic, and Styrofoam instead of reusable plates, bummer. But I really wanted to go and so I called Mable’s weeks in advance to see if they could host a Zero Waste birthday dinner.

They thought about it and called me back, they could! Instead of single servings, they made all of the food family style. They served us all of their sides, mac & cheese, beans, beets, greens… etc. in ceramic bowls bowls with reusable silverware, and their meat and vegan Sloppy Joe’s on large platters on the table.

For drinks we got pitchers of Peak Organic beer from the tap, and all had glass cups and had pitchers of water. The only thing that they couldn’t accommodate were napkins so I tasked all of my dinner guests with bringing their own reusable napkins to dinner, which turned out really well! After dinner, to work off the insane amounts of BBQ, we went dancing, totally ZW! PS All of the birthday hats were saved from my friend Sara’s birthday dinner at my house last year!

Dinner #2, Sunday, May 4th: ABC Kitchen
Outfit: Daniel Silverstein Kea Lonika dress

ABC Kitchen is my favorite restaurant in the city and has been for a long time – 1) because their food is insane 2) because their ethos is even better. I’ve had 2 birthday dinners, a graduation dinner, countless friend meals, and alone dinners there. They use local, pesticide free, Organic, non-GMO, and sustainable food and serve it in and on vintage, handmade, and mismatched cups, plates, silverware, tables, everything! They also have reusable napkins, sustainable spirits, and incorporate sustainability into every aspect of the restaurant. They compost and recycle avidly and did not put anything disposable in front of me except for the sugar for my espresso at the end, which I don’t use anyway. If you are looking for a little bit more information on what ABC Carpet and Home is up to, you can find it here.

Birthday Adventure, Sunday, May 4th: The Cloisters NYC
Outfit: Secondhand Jeans gifted by Katherine Kartis

Before my dinner at ABC, Anthony and I headed uptown to spend the day at The Cloisters. The Cloisters is a museum run by the Metropolitan Museum of Art that focuses on the art of medieval Europe that dates from the 12th to the 15th century.

It is way, way uptown, like nosebleed uptown, but totally worth the train ride. It is located in Fort Tryon Park and you need to do a little light hiking to get there (or you could take the bus, but we learned that after).

The museum also has gorgeous outdoor areas. My favorite one was filled with plants that were used in medieval times for everything from arts and crafts to medicine and housekeeping. After we finished our audio tour of the museum, we walked around the park and walked 100 BLOCKS downtown for dinner. (Okay, we stopped to take a birthday shot and have a beer, but still!) PS – they even used stainless steel straws! How very Zero Waste of those medieval folk!

Let’s not forget my outifts!! All of the clothing at my two dinners were provided by Daniel Silverstein, a NYC based Zero Waste Designer! LOVE HIM!


  1. That is awesome that the restaurant was able to accommodate you! That's a lesson; oftentimes, all we need to do is ask. And if more people ask, businesses may change what they're doing. Glad you had a happy birthday!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth!

      I have learned that all it takes is putting in the effort to ask and maybe explaining why you are trying to do something a little bit differently, and people are SO accommodating. It is really awesome!


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