Hello readers! I am so glad you decided to come over my blog today. Summer is finally here in Nova Scotia with warm 30 degrees over the last few days. I enjoyed every single one of these even when it gets stuffy with humidity. I hope you have as well. During the warm months, I enjoy reading books (hardcovers or ebooks on my tablet) instead of watching TV. I love learning new things and readings something that makes me question how and why I do things. Today I want to share a few of the books on my list and would love to know what books are on yours in the comments below.
Harry Potter Serie
I have started to read them again in January. The goal was to read a book every month but life got busy as usual and I am behind. Currently, I am on book 4 or The Goblet of Fire and I have read about half so far.
The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential by Leo Babauta
I have seen this book on Instagram and it was a current read from one ethical/minimalist account I love. So I decided it was worth putting on my list for the summer and maybe take advantage of the nice weather to downsize our possessions.
Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Soderberg
This way of life has been intriguing me for almost a year now. It was big all over social media all winter long. It is also described as a way of life and thinking which fits in the minimalist/simplicity lifestyle. Have any of you read it?
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (Audible)
I started to read the labels and research what my beauty products contain over a year ago now and I love learning about the benefits of certain plants as well as which chemical to avoid. I am always going back and forth between 100% natural products and more traditional ones. I always try to look at the ingredient list to avoid what I consider dangerous and what my skin does not like (it’s a bit of a princess – hello sensitive skin!). This book seems to touch all of those subjects and more. I decided to read it with Audible while at the gym or cleaning the house.
I hope it inspired you to read some books over the summer. Please comment below if you read any of the books I mentioned and any recommendations I should add to the list. I wish you a lovely day and hope to see you back here in for the next post. As usually, please subscribe to get the notification when I post, share on social media if you like the comment. The blog is growing very slowly and I would love for more people to join us. You can also follow me on social media. In the meantime, have a great day!
Hello readers! It’s been a while since I posted frequently but I still have some content coming your way this summer. I have had issues finding balance and consistency with the blog posts but I have more content coming so make sure to subscribe via WordPress or with your email to receive notifications when I upload a new post. I will be experimenting with my schedule so make sure you don’t miss any content. You can also get news on my social media, links are at the top right corner. With that being said, I have been on a financial frugal mode for a few months now to save money in order to realize some big projects we have for our house this summer and great family vacation this fall. Some are not that exciting (new doors) but they need to be done. With that in mind, I have come to the conclusion that frugality and intentional living can go hand in hand.
To be able to accomplish this big renovation, we need to save a few thousand dollars (I know! It’s a lot of money and I would prefer to spend it somewhere else but it needs to be done). We tried to find a few things to cut back on, make a few changes to our habits or do without. Sometimes with ethical and sustainable living, it feels like you have to support all of those great companies, ideas and spend all that money when in reality, you had other plans for those funds. Do not worry, we still live a great life but our priorities are on the house for the moment. As you may know, I am a fan of Jordan Page’s approach to financing as it makes sense to me. I watch most of her YouTube videos and like her online programs. All of these frugal ideas and my conscious way of life sometimes compete with each other but I came to realize that they can go hand in hand if you do it right. I know it doesn’t seem like it at first but stay with me I promise some of the principles can be applied for both.
Don’t spend money on junk
It is very simple and can avoid a lot of clutter in your home as well as a lot of money. New gadget pop all the time and there are a lot of things promising to make your life easier. The question I like to ask myself is “do you really need this?” and most of the time the answer is NO. I can usually use something I already have or go without. I know a lot of people around me that enjoy a good bargain (and I do as well) and they will spend a lot of money on little things from the dollar store they do not really need or will have a use for simply because it is a bargain and looks cool (not really but it makes you feel that way). In summary, avoid clutter coming to your home by refusing things you don’t need and save money by refusing to purchase junk (I mean here in the large sense of poor quality item we don’t use) and get creative with things you already have. On a side note, junk can also be considered as fast food and alcohol. I truly enjoy eating out and in the summer being on a patio with a cold beer. But these thing can cost a lot of money in the long run so we set ourselves a budget or have a great bbq meal and a drink on our patio. It is inexpensive , you can have friends over and since you cook your own food you can make it healthier.
Buy with longevity in mind
Whenever you need to purchase something, it is important to consider the quality, how much use you can get out of it, and take the price into consideration (here I mean the value). It does happen that we do need to replace things or just came to a point where we need to upgrade or simply need items to come into our home. You should try to get the best price for whatever you purchase (hello sales!) but always consider these three things while doing your research: purchase price, value price, quality and long term use. Then, you need to see how many different ways can you use this item and how long you can use it for, hopefully, years. While researching make sure to look at various reviews on the item and the company making it. One site I have yet to use but highly recommend is Buy Me Once. It was founded under this very principle and offers great reviews on items and brands.
Avoid single-use everything, especially plastic items
This is buzzing in the news lately, mainly because of the state of our oceans and the quantity of micro-plastic particles now found everywhere. Instead of a pack of 28 plastic water bottles bought at the store, buy a reusable one (glass, metal, etc.). If you do not like the taste of your local water, Brita offers water bottle with filters. Silicone bags and baking mould are great alternatives to paper products in the kitchen. Replace wipes with fabric face cloths and cotton pads for reusable ones. For female hygiene product, I recommend the diva cup to replace tampons. You can find a replacement for a lot of things you would normally throw away but can reuse and save money while being eco-friendly. If you would like me to write a post all about this, let me know in the comments below.
Repair, reuse or repurpose
This is a very eco-friendly principle the previous generations were great at, whenever possible, you should look into repairing before purchasing. I know in the past few decades things were build to break and force us to purchase again. Nowadays, we are slowly coming back to fixing things before purchasing new ones. You can use YouTube to learn how to fix things or Pinterest to find creative ways to reuse and repurpose your items. As you can imagine, this simple thing can save you hundreds of dollars.
Creative alternatives or do without
This follows directly with the previous reuse and repurposes what you have. With social media, it is easy to ask for ideas for creative alternatives and ask for advice with what you currently own. I will use the example of spice mix you can purchase in-store (pre-made for you). You can buy pre-made Greek/Italian/Taco spice mix at your grocery store but you can purchase all the spices individually and make them at home. It will be more money up front but you can use those individual spices to create any mix you want and that will be cheaper as well as versatile. You could make your own bread and freeze the extra loaf for later. If you like to purchase premade meals in the frozen section of the grocery store, buy the ingredient and make it at home for cheaper. Also, anything you see at the grocery store frozen can be made at home and you can freeze it. Another idea would be to purchase second-hand or even participate in an exchange between friends or neighbourhood. Instead of buying books you can visit your local library and borrow books (hard cover or ebooks). I love to borrow ebooks (from my couch no less) and can read from iPad or even my smartphone. They really upped their game with apps that you can even borrow magazine from your library from your phone in electronic copy.
Invest in a few durable things
There are a few things I really wanted in my kitchen and one of those things was a Kitchenaid stand mixer. If you know what they are, you know they are an expensive small kitchen appliance but the reviews are great on quality, value for money, durability and versatility (they now sell a lot of extensions to replace other small kitchen appliances, e.g. spiralizer, grounder, food processor, etc.). Since we love to bake and cook, we knew it would be worth our investment but we were waiting to have the money and for it to go on sale. This is a great example of intentional living and frugality. If you can get it second-hand from a family member or a friend, it’s even better. There are a few big sales throughout the year when big items are on crazy sale (30-60% off). Make sure to watch for those.
Cash back and discounts
If you do not use this cash back program yet, please join using this link and get $5 with your first purchase using the program. The program I have been using for years now for online purchases is Ebates by Rakuten. You probably wonder how it works but I promise it is very easy to use. When you shop online, you go through Ebates to find the store you want to shop at and click on their link. This will give you the details of the percentage of cash back available at the time and what is applicable towards cash back. You shop as you normally would on the store’s website but you will receive a notification of your cash back a few days later. An app is also available if you shop from your phone a lot and also you can add it to your Chrome browser to get alerts when you are on a site with cash back (beware that not all are included so go through Ebates web page, it’s safer). When I use it, I like to check a few days later that my shopping trip was recorded and the cash back applied. They are really nice whenever something is missed and are so helpful. Another one I have been testing is Honey. You add this program to your browser and while you shop it will show you coupons or discount codes available for that merchant.
My final advice would be to not sweat the small stuff since nobody is perfect. We will make bad decisions and will buy unsustainably and unethically from time to time. It does happen because not everything is sustainable or can be found ethically sourced but don’t stop trying. It’s the little changes you can make now that will have the biggest impact long term. I hope this inspires you to live with intention but also frugally. I find frugality freeing because as you save your money it gives you more where it really matters for you. It also allows you more freedom to do things you love, encourage companies that matter to you and help people. It gives you options and flexibility to deal with what ever life throws at you. I hope to see you back on the blog soon and come visit me on my social media. I wish you a fabulous day!
Sustainable traveling means not to harm or negatively influence the environment or the locals and their culture in any way. So, in order for you to get a better feeling of the concept and to see how easy it can be to travel more sustainable, we provide 5 easy tips to start with.
Hello readers! I am so glad to see you back on the blog today or welcome if you are new here. I share content related to simple and conscious living as I navigate this new lifestyle. This week I noticed how much plastic entered our house with the things we purchase every week and all the plastic already in our house. A great thing I love about my boyfriend is his knowledge of chemical (he is a chemical engineer). It is so helpful to have him around to know what can be recycled, things that are safe to use or things to avoid. Since not everyone has that resource available, I wanted to share some information everyone should know and where you can get more info. I hope you will find this helpful and share on your social media.
Types of plastics
In short, there are 2 main types or categories of plastics: thermoset or thermosetting plastics and thermoplastics. The first type, thermoset, is hard and durable, can be used for auto parts, aircrafts parts and tires. This type of plastic is cooled and hardened which means it retains it shape but cannot return to its original form. Polyurethanes, polyesters, and certain type of resins can count of thermoset plastics. The second type, thermoplastics, is less rigid and can soften with heat as well as return to its original form. It is easily molded and extruded into films, fibers and packaging. All poly can be considered thermoplastics; e.g. polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), etc. (1) There are other variations of plastics but for simplicity, I will limit this post with those 2 previously mentioned.
When we order online, most things will come in cardboard and plastic wrapping. It is almost inevitable and we don’t notice anymore. At our house, this is one of the main source of plastic and comes from grocery stores, online purchases and in store purchases. To limit plastic packaging, we try to bulk order online and have it delivered in one cardboard box with less plastic or even opt for the eco-friendly packaging whenever available (brands are starting to offer it more often). Our base line is “we refuse whenever possible on what we control”. We use fabric bags for shopping at the grocery store or any stores. I also purchased some produce bag to avoid the plastic store ones and we try to buy in bulk with glass jars when we can.
I am talking about the containers you use for lunches and leftovers. I will be honest, we have a lot of them in our cupboards and use them daily for lunches and snack at work. We are slowly replacing the broken or very dirty/old containers with glass ones. Not all plastic containers are bad for you (BPA), especially if you do not use them in the microwave (that is a whole other issue). I prefer to use what I currently have, slowly replace when needed and make sure we don’t waste food then going to the crazy and throwing away everything plastic, going to the store to buy all glass containers. To me, this does not make any sense and is wasteful.
We could also talk about the plastic containers from the grocery store for some produce, milk, yogourt, etc. These are hard to avoid while shopping, unless you have a bulk store near you and lots of glass containers. One thing you can do, and we will discuss it next, is to look for recycle plastics over non-recyclable plastics.
What can be recycled
Sadly, not every plastic can be recycled and the percentage of plastic recycled is limited because of mixing of packaging materials by manufacturers and contaminants. In the USA, post-consumer plastic waste for 2008 was estimated at 33.6 million tons, of which was as follows:
2.2 million tons were recycled (6.5%);
2.6 million tons were burned for energy (8%); and
28.9 million tons were discarded in landfills (86%).
As much as we would like to thing recycling plastic is great and everything can be reused, it is not the case and cities do what they can but there are lots that cannot be reused.
” When different types of plastics are melted together, they tend to phase-separate, like oil and water, and set in these layers. The phase boundaries cause structural weakness in the resulting material, meaning that polymer blends are useful in only limited applications. The two most widely manufactured plastics, polypropylene and polyethylene, behave this way, which limits their utility for recycling. Recently, the use of block copolymers as “molecular stitches” or “macromolecular welding flux” has been proposed to overcome the difficulties associated with phase separation during recycling.“(2)
You might know the simple for recycling as it is widely used in green or black color. It is 4 arrows rotating clockwise to form a triangle. They usually have a number in the middle to indicate what it is made of. The number broadly refers to the type of plastic used in the product, by chronological order of when that plastic became recyclable:
“1” signifies that the product is made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (beverage bottles, cups, other packaging, etc.)
“7” signifies other plastics, such as acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate and polylactic acid (PLA). (3)
To help with visualization, I copied part of the chart below which is available on Wikipedia and can be found under the recycling code page (also with the link here). I also left all the links originally in the table.
List of resin identification codes (RIC) and codes defined by the European Commission
My recommendation would be to avoid any dangerous plastic and all that cannot be recycled or reused but I understand that would be in an ideal world. I will leave this up to you and what you think is best for your family. Hopefully with the information about and you own research, you are a little more informed of the various types of plastics, their usage and the recyclable potential. Instead of telling you what to avoid, I will share below some alternatives to commonly used plastics.
How to replace plastic things in your daily life
This was a staple in my house growing up. I admit that we still have some in our house but I plan to replace it with beeswax food wrap (Amazon link). I have seen these everywhere and comments seems to be largely positive. I already have some silicone covers for bowls and containers but I would like to add options and flexibility with those food wraps.
It has been hard to replace this in our household because the silicone we used kept a soapy taste. We still use it from time to time to roast vegetable but have also been using parchment paper for cooking meat.
This is on my list to replace slowly because I find the price for reusable silicone bags to be between $8-15 per bags. Silicone bags can be found online but I would recommend Stasher bags because they have the best reviews. I like that they can go to the dishwasher and do not stain.
I rarely use them anymore and have replaced paper cups with silicone. Just like the silicone baking sheet, you have to be very careful when you wash them or they will keep a soapy taste. Another way to avoid paper cups would be to use your metal pan with oil (butter, olive, canola, coconut), depending on what temperature you bake at because various oils have a different burning point.
While at the store, you can use mesh bags or fabric bags for your produce instead of the provided plastic bags. You can use what you already have or you can purchase a set of 2-4 produce bags.
Plastic glasses or cups and utensils
When we have a large group over, it is tempting to use plastic cups and utensils but they are a one type use while taking centuries to degrade. Instead, use your normal glasses and utensils or use bamboo (or any biodegradable option available near you).
Plastic water bottles
This is a big one. Invest a few dollars in a good reusable water bottle and reuse it while washing it every few days. You can now find them in glass, metal or safe plastic with fun colours and design. If you do not like the test of you municipal water, a great option would be Brita water bottles or a Brita filter and regular reusable water bottles.
In conclusion, we are able to limit the use of plastic in our life but it does require a constant effort and awareness to make it happen. I hope this post was helpful to you and that you will share on social media. I do not pretend to know it all so if you have more information you would like to share, please comment below or message me. I am curious to see if you already avoid plastic as much as possible or if you are like me with half way there. I hope to see you back on the blog and don’t forget to subscribe to get notified when I post new content. In the meantime, you can follow me on social media (links are above). I wish you a great week!
Hello readers! I hope your day is well so far. I took the past few weeks off and feel so rejuvenated. I was going through an uninspired phase and was not sure what more to share on the blog. To be honest, I have not been trying anything new in beauty as I still have some products from my Body Shop advent calendar (I know, like 3 months worth of things). In fashion, I do not have the need for anything urgent at the moment and have been focused on finance (saving) rather than spending. A little while ago I wrote “leather” on my list of topics to write about. I did a lot a ready these past weeks about the various types of leathers, their categorization and environmental impact. Today, I decided to share my findings of this very opinionated topic in the ethical and sustainable community. I understand not everyone has the same opinion and see things the same way. Which is why I ask that everyone stay open-minded and respect one and another with their comments and opinion. I did so much research and read so many articles and wanted to create a little guide for you in helping you decide which would be the best option for you and your values. It will be a very extensive post and I hope you will share widely because I put a lot of effort into this piece. As usual, please like and follow me on social media for more content. Now, without further due, I divided this piece into 2 categories: real leather and fake or “vegan” leather. I will discuss their various origins, their treatments (both animal and care), their durability, and environmental impact. There will also be an infographic at the end if you would like to save it to your Pinterest boards.
Introduction and disclaimer
I am not an expert on the subject but these are a summary of what I found and understood on the subject of leather in the fashion industry. I will list all my sources at the end if you wish to read for yourselves. I draw my conclusions and made a decision of which I prefer in line with my values. I understand we might not come to the same conclusions and that is totally fine. I will try my best to give the information without any opinion and as simple/short as possible.
This is probably one of the oldest fabric used in clothing. As you can imagine, it comes from animals’skin (mostly mammals like cows and goats) raised for their meat or milk. What you may not know is that the quality and price varies upon which layer is used for the garment. The out layer of the skin is tough with tight natural fibres. This makes it stronger and durable. The other layers of skin get looser as you get further down and thus the price, durability and quality lessen. To compensate for the looser natural fibres, it will often get mixed with polyurethane.
The treatment of animal used for leather is a complicated analysis. It is very hard to get the information about where the leather is from, how the animal was treated and if the factories were ethical. However, there are alternative ways to shop for leather:
surplus leather: is scrap leather from agricultural or manufacturing production;
vintage leather: (also called second-hand) pre-existing clothing;
handcrafted/artisan leather: support local craftsmen, closer to the supply chain to get information about ethical practices;
local leather: eliminate the carbon impact link with transport and closer to the supply chain.
alternative leather: is a by-product of food, maybe fish skins like eel, salmon, sheep, ostrich, chicken or pineapple leaves.
Because it is animal skin, it needs to be treated regularly, such as cleaning and butter treatment to keep it moisturized and flexible. It can also be repaired as needed.
Animal leather is durable in the sense that it can last a very long time if it is of high quality and taken care of. It is also biodegradable in nature and can be recycled.
These types of leather will need to be treated otherwise the skin putrefies and harden. The treatment is called tanning and can be done 2 ways: vegetable or chrome. The later is a modern method (as early as mid-1800) and is currently used in about 99% of the tanned leather. It is a faster method than the vegetable. It offers the possibility of vivid colours, fairly resistant to water, stains and heat while keeping costs low. As for the vegetable tanning, it is the oldest method since it has been around for thousands of years. The principle is to soak the skin in vegetable tannins (trees and plants) and the process takes about 2 months. It is generally biodegradable thus environmentally friendly. In short, the making process those have an environmental impact but the disposal of it may not have a negative impact (recycle the material or biodegradable).
Some research and progress have been made to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of the tanning process (see research mentioned in “sources”).
Fake or “Vegan” Leather
This type of leather is fully or partially man-made, which means it is made from chemicals. The two main product of faux leather is PVC and polyurethane to make faux leather goods. It can sometimes be made from cork, barkcloth, gazed cotton waxed cotton and paper, although uncommon. It is easily modified and custom made and can be used for a wide range of goods. It is not expensive to make and lighter fabric than animal leather. You may notice that this type of leather is machine washable and can be dry cleaned. There is also a leather called bi-cast made of the lowest layer of a hide and mixed in polyurethane coding. Bonded leather is made of upcycled leather remnants (dust and scrapings – discarded leather pieces) pressed and glued together with a coat of polyurethane.
Since this faux leather does not come from animals, there is no real mistreatment of animal issues. On a care note, it is not easy to clean this type of leather and may have a shinier appearance. It could be possible to treat the leather to extend its usage.
It varies greatly and depends on usage, type of garment and products used. In general, it is fairly resistant to water and regular usage. It is possible, just like real leather, to treat it for a longer “life”. It is not possible to reuse or repair this type of leather. It might be possible to recycle some parts but it would require extensive research on where and how this would be possible.
As you may understand, PVC and polyurethane are plastic components and have a very large as well as complex environmental impact. It impacts in the production on the leather by its making process as well as it’s disposable after usage.
There is research for biomaterial to be used to create faux leather.
Both have an environmental impact we need to be aware of when purchasing leather of any kind, let it be in the making process or the disposal. Real leather does have the animal rights component to consider. More and more sustainable and ethical options are emerging and offer customers possibilities to meet their values. I hope this post helps you make a decision on what type of leather to support or avoid it completely. I would be grateful if you would share this post if you liked it or comment. I would love to hear from you if I misunderstood some things, miss things or if you have information to add. As always, I wish you a very good day and hope to see you back on the blog soon. In the meantime, you can follow me on social media.
Hello readers! I am so happy and excited to announce that the blog turns one this month. Can you believe it? I started after joining “The socially conscious women” Facebook group and the encouragement from the ladies in the group. It has been such a wonderful time and yet feels like only a week ago. Time is funny that way I guess. So today I wanted to share with you my progress, changes, struggles and answer all of your questions. I hope you will enjoy this post and leave comments below. I always love to read you and get a chance to discuss simple conscious living alternatives.
Why did I start?
I developed an interest in zero-waste, eco-friendly and ethical living about 2-3 years ago after reading about it on Pinterest or somewhere else online. The concepts fascinate me and the suggestions of little changes seem so easy at first. Truth be told, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. I slowly started to look at what I own differently and seeing them as things. The decluttering process started with the duplicates we had from us moving together. This was a great starting point for me because I like things to be useful and multiples of things can be just holding space without serving any purpose. With time, I realized our impact throughout are trash, purchases and brands we gave money to. After all this, I noticed people sharing their lifestyle (“minimalist”, “zero-waste”, or “simplicity”) but not a lot of bloggers were talking about the transition. I started my blog to share my findings, evolve with you and, with much hope, inspire you to make small changes as well.
I am proud to say this year was transforming and a rollercoaster. I learned so much from all the bloggers out there, Facebook groups and social media. I discovered amazing people from around the world with the same philosophy and like-minded people who believe they can make a difference in the world. I drastically downsized my wardrobe and now started to purchase from ethical and eco-friendly brands or secondhand. I keep selling or donating unused items and make an effort to still get rid of things I no longer have a use for. My finances are doing better (no thanks to the boxing day shopping I did, trust me) but I am mindful of what I wish to encourage while spending my hard earned money. We drastically have reduced the amount of trash we produce every week and we recycle or compost as much as we can. In general, I would say I developed awareness in every aspect of my life and really think about the impact it has in general.
I still struggle with a conflicted way of thinking, e.g. some days I just need to replace a moisturizer but now I will look at the content as well as the brand which takes time and I have to admit my time is valuable. I also have issues letting go of dreams I had when I was a kid of beautifully decorated house from a magazine because 1) I rather spend my money some other places, 2) my house never stay like that because we do live in that house, 3) I do not like to clean everyday and dust everything, and 4) I come to realize I am very basic when it comes to decorations and colours. Another aspect I do struggle with is purchasing ethical shoes and jackets. I am still torn between ethical real leather or fake leather. I am doing the research and it is getting me more confused than being helpful. Both have valuable points but real leather has the animal aspect of it (cruelty) while the fake leather has the environmental aspect of it (plastic). Anyway, these are only a few of the struggle I have with this year of simple conscious living.
I hope you relate to some of the points I mentioned above and am not alone with all of this confusion. As usual, you can find me on social media (mostly Facebook and IG). Please subscribe if you want to be notified when I post new content and hope to see you back on the blog soon. I wish you a very good day and hope to inspire you for another year. Thank you for following my adventures and discoveries while sharing your own.
Hello there! Following my previous post on Marie Kondo and the KonMari Method, I thought it would be appropriate to write on ways to reduce our waste, in other words, the zero-waste movement. Have you noticed how much trash and recycling you produce in a year? The answer varies greatly between household but the average American produces about 1,600 pounds (726 kg) of trash every year (1). Can you believe it? Did you know, only 50% of your recycling is actually recycled? (2) There is already so much out there, yet we waste so much every year while people, less fortunate, really need it. Today is not about shaming you about your trash but to teach you simple little changes to help you produce less trash, use everything you have to the fullest and save some money. Yes, yes, I did dare say the M word. As you probably have read across the web, there are 5 “R” of sustainability: Rot, recycle, reuse, repurpose, and reduce. So let’s look over them and see how you can apply them every day.
This process allows using of some of the house waste for the garden. It is possible to compost food, yard waste and some paper (can also be recycled). This is a great solution if you have a garden or if your city offers a compost program. To create your own compost takes a lot of constant work and attention. Here is an idea on how to start your own compost at home (link). There is also an entire site dedicated to composting (link).
I think everyone has heard of this by now but you can recycle cans, paper, cardboard, and plastics. The issue is to make sure to do it properly and consult your city recycle centre’s site to confirm how to recycle electronics, batteries, construction waste and more. Some cities have recycled centres you can go to donate your waste items and they will recycle it for you. Here is a useful tool for a few things you can recycle (waste management).
Pinterest is full of DIY ideas to reuse what you already have in your house like coffee tins, car tires, cereal boxes, etc. I highly encourage you to research what you are looking to get rid of and see what else it can be used at. I was surprised to use cereal boxes for organizing.
Once again, Pinterest is a great resource of ideas to repurpose things, e.g. a plant holder, an old pair of jeans, an old t-shirt, etc.
This has probably the biggest impact on our waste because if we don’t buy we don’t waste. Simple enough right? Well, it is a change in your lifestyle and like any changes, it requires time and hard work. It doesn’t happen overnight otherwise, everyone would do it easily. In other words, you need to buy less of everything (food, plastic, clothing, etc.) and make sure to use what you already have on hand or in your home.
This is a whole issue in itself but I really wanted to mention it because of all the food we produce about 50% is wasted every year (this is across all of the earth’s countries). People go hungry and yet families overspend on food (money and quantity) which ends up in the trash uneaten. The whole concept of waste upsets me but food waste even more. Here are some tips to help you limit your food waste (see Fun Cheap or Free website for great ideas):
Meal plan for your week (breakfast ideas, lunches and dinners);
Inventory what you have in your cabinets, fridge and freezer to create meals using items that might go bad soon;
Shelf-cook at least one week every few months;
Consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables over fresh if they end up in the trash often;
Can or freeze your food – you can use canning for your own tomato sauce, apple sauce, diced tomatoes, soup or you can freeze most leftovers but keep a list to know what you already have;
While grocery shopping, only buy what you need for the week or things you can stock up while on sale; and
Consider eating less meat – there are many health benefits, it is saving you money and you lower the need for grain production as well as CO2 that are implicated in the production of meat. (I will speak more about this in a future post)
Here is also a list of things you can do to limit your food waste (link).
To conclude, waste, in general, is a social issue and we need to work towards reducing it and creative ways to use what we have. I will be honest, I am not perfect nor zero-waste but I am inspired by people’s zero-waste lifestyle and make slow but continuous changes to my life to reduce waste. I hope this gave you some ideas to change some of your habits and help the environment and society, use what you have while saving some money and the planet. As always, I thank you for visiting the blog and hope you will subscribe and follow me on social media. In the meantime, I hope to see you back here as I post new content every week. I wish you a very nice week!
Hello everyone! Welcome on my little blog about simple conscious living. I share my experience and progress towards this new lifestyle with my struggles and foundings. Over the past few weeks, the new Netflix show ” Tidying up with Marie Kondo” has become more and more popular. It seems everyone on social media is talking about and YouTube exploded with videos of people trying her KonMarie Method to declutter their home, especially their wardrobe. I do enjoy her method and philosophy using joy to decide if an item should stay or go. My main concern is with all the people trying her method to declutter their house, mostly how they decide to dispose of their unwanted items. One thing that truly upsets me is waste and unnecessary pollution. As great as her method and this movement is, it does create a lot of waste.
image from https://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethharris/2016/01/10/marie-kondo-the-magical-art-of-tidying-your-financial-life/#7ba4f27c419f
Who is Marie Kondo?
She is a Japanese organizing consultant and author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011)“. She founded her organizing consulting business when she was 19 and a sociology student at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. (1)
What is the KonMari Method?
Her approach is fantastic to make sure you only keep what you need, use and brings you joy. It is very innovative and makes more sense to me than cleaning room after room. I did enjoy reading her book and watching some of the episodes on Netflix. Organizing and having a clean space is important to me but sometimes the mess does get out of hands. Her method is described on her website as:(2)
Most tidying methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever.
The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.
People around the world have been drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking.
What the show projects?
Like most reality-show, this shows is over the top showing families with houses full of things or overflowing (this is an understatement). They struggle with clutter and maintaining a clean house. Marie Kondo helps them decluttering their house of unwanted items (things that no longer spark joy) over a few weeks. Some families have an easier time than others to let items leave the house. In the end, the families seem to enjoy a clutter-free home and can maintain a clean house easily. This is the main premise of the show but I did not watch all the episodes.
It presents typical American families with large and cluttered houses, over-consumers, and unhappy. During their decluttering process, you see a lot of black garbage bags all over their house filled with their unwanted things. This is the point where I have an issue with the show.
How to declutter without over polluting?
I will start by saying I agree with her method of decluttering and it has helped me let go of a few things around that house. That being said, I would like the show to include the ways you can let go of things in an ethical and environmentally-friendly way. Landfills do not need more fabric nor plastic from our homes. Furthermore, we have people struggling to make ends meet every month, immigrants coming to start a new life, people losing their homes to natural disasters, people leaving life-threatening situations, as well as communities, friends and families in need.
Some items of clothing might not bring us “joy” anymore but it could help someone in those situations. Pots, pans and utensils can help someone start a new life; a winter jacket can keep an immigrant warm this winter; clothing can help a victim from a house fire start anew. It can really make a difference in someone’s life and give them hope. There are a lot of organizations that help people every day and they can use your unwanted items. Get in touch with them and ask if they are in need of anything you wish to let go. Another great alternative is also women’s shelters, churches, community centers and secondhand shops. Do some research, take an hour of your time and help.
If you are part of my generation and have a lot of student loans to pay back, you can try to sell some of your items online, e.g. Kijiji. Please note that not everything can be sold and you will not get rich doing this, but it can help you get a little bit of money to put towards your debts. If you have old electronics that you no longer use and are outdated, did you know they can be recycled and most cities will have centers where you can drop them off and they will take care of the recycling for you. Another great thing about electronics is the ink from your printer. The cartridges from laser or jet printers can be reused and all you have to do is dropped them off at a store like Staples or send them to the company by mail, look at their website for instructions.
In conclusion, there are other ways to declutter and let go of items than putting them in garbage bags and sending them to the landfills. I would love your thoughts about this post. Do you agree? Do you know other ways to recycle various household items? How do you declutter in an ethical and eco-friendly way? I hope you enjoyed this post and that you will share on social media. I do not criticize any particular individual in that show nor Netflix but would like to raise awareness on the impact it can have on our environment and provide alternative ways to donate, recycle or reuse our items. I hope you will subscribe to my blog via the link in the top left menu or on Bloglovin and look forward to seeing you back here for more content. I wish you a wonderful day and maybe some reflection for the upcoming spring cleaning.
Hello there! I hope this love month teaches you a few things but mostly how to love and take care of yourselves. In my last post, Simpler & Conscious Valentine’s Day, I shared some way to share the love with your friends and family but I realized that I forgot the most important person, you. Everyone takes care of themselves differently because people have different needs. Here I will share with you my Sunday routine that helps me unwind and start the week on the right path as well as a few things I do during the week.
Sunday is usually my “get ready for the week” day and Saturday is mostly about relaxing from all the things that happened over the week. I will get groceries, plan meals for the week, laundry, clean and write a little for this blog. It is not super busy but I do a few things to keep the house clean, have clean clothes and have healthy options available to us. I know it is not super exciting but those things need to get done.
This is my us/me time. We usually have dinner together while watching some TV (not everybody agrees on that but this is a nice time for us). Lately, we have been rewatching The Big Bang Theory and are currently on season 6. If we feel like it, we will sometimes watch a movie from Netflix. After dinner and watching TV, I will start my self-care routine. I like to prepare my gym bag the night before with everything I need for the next day: makeup, skin care, clothing, workout clothes, book, lunch, etc. After everything is ready for the next day, I start with a nice warm bath and a face mask. While in the bath, I usually read a book or listen to an audiobook. After a chapter or two, I will do 10-15 minutes of meditation and sit there for a few minutes before getting out of the tub. After I pad-drying my skin, I will use a face cloth to take the mask off and use my Clarisonic brush with a cleanser. After my face is all nice and clean, I will apply a toner and let it sink into my skin for a few minutes, letting me time to moisturize my body (I will sometimes use my own body butter, other I will use the Body Shop creams I got with their advent calendar). It is now time to moisturize my face with a heavier moisturizer and apply some oil to seal in the moisture. And lastly, it is time for some more reading in bed before finally falling asleep.
How to create a self-care routine
If you feel the need to had some “me” time into your routine, it can start by adding a few minutes to meditate, go to a yoga class (or use YouTube), taking a bath, reading a few pages over your lunch break or even going for a walk whenever possible. It does not have to be long, it does not have to cost you money but it does need to make you feel good and makes you happy. My main advice would be to try a few things to see what helps you unwind and relax. Step by step you can add to this routine and create an oasis of relaxation. I also suggest looking at other people’s routine on Pinterest to get some inspiration and ideas.
I hope you enjoyed this little post on self-care. I purposely did not mention any of the products I currently use because they have been changing frequently to help balance my skin back to normal. Please share in the comments your self-care routine and suggestions you may have. I wish you a wonderful Valentine’s day and hope you will have a great week. I look forward to seeing you back on the blog soon.
Hello, lovelies! I hope your day is good. Can you believe January is over? I can hardly believe I started my new habits and workout 3 weeks ago. It is still going well so far with a few sidetracks (because let’s face it, life happens). If you follow me on social media, you probably know that I started the Focus 2019 with Jordan Page from Fun Cheap or Free. I discovered her YouTube channel and blog last year and absolutely love her personality and large family. She inspired me to plan my year in advance and January has been a great month. But, all this to say that February is all about relationship and friendship which is perfect for Valentine’s Day. It is not one of my favourite holidays but I am all about building strong relationships. This year, I thought about sharing alternative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, other than flowers and store chocolate. I hope you will be inspired and enjoy the company of your friends, family and partner this month.
In case you do not know, the flower industry is not as environmentally-friendly as you would think. To have certain flowers during the winter months, we have to import some of them from other countries with different environmental and labour practices. If you like flowers, it is something to keep in mind and reminder to compost them after.
An alternative to flowers would be a plant to add to your home or succulents or cactus. It can be locally sourced or imported but mostly can be enjoyed all year long.
This is another industry to be careful of because of the destruction of the forest as well as labour. Beside these very important issues, common chocolate brands sometimes contain chemicals, artificial flavours and sweeteners, and are very high in artificial sugar. If you still want to enjoy chocolate, there are fair-trade brands you can purchase from or you can look at Certified B Corporation for more information on ethical and sustainable companies. I recommend chocolate from Justly Market to order online or brand suggestions from The Good Trade.
I like to spend my money and time on experiences with friends and family for holidays and here are a few of my favourite to do.
Dinner and a movie
That is a classic date night and always a good idea. You get a chance to catch up, get to know each other and share stories over dinner and enjoy some popcorn and watch a movie. It is nice, relax and you enjoy a good conversation. It is also a great gift to give to friends and family, also include babysitting if they have young children.
Friends date night
This is my favourite. You can invite a friend over/go out for dinner, movie, coffee, walk, exhibition, visit a museum, board games, etc. You do not need to spend money to enjoy your time with good friends. You can always double date or go as a group of friends. Seasonal events in your cities can also provide some inspiration and could be inexpensive.
Get to know your spouse
Pinterest is always a great source of ideas for activities and inexpensive ways to spend quality time with your spouse. There are lists of discussion topics or questions to ask your significant other to get to know them a little bit more. You can do this over a camping evening in your living room, over dinner at home or out, on walks or hikes, as a game night, etc.
There you have 5 simpler and conscious way to celebrate Valentine’s day with the people you love in your life. I personally recommend spending quality time over things or gifts (although I do enjoy gift giving and receiving). I hope this inspires you for a few last minute way to enjoy this day with friends and family. I wish you all the love for this month and hope you will be back here soon. In the meantime, I will share this month with you on my social media and wish you a good day.