Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Capsule Wardrobes: Quick Ditty on Buying Quality

I've been obsessed lately (and actually so much longer than that) with the idea of a capsule wardrobe. #jumpingonthebandwagon #2010minimalism

With my upcoming vacation, I'm going to try to let go of the things I don't actually wear. I started a new job last year and bought some button-ups that I just don't go for and don't absolutely need for the environment. (I would like to add more button-ups to my wardrobe sometime, but I find I don't like the texture of these.)

While, I may not actually get to Courtney Carver's 33 or Caroline Rector's 37, it will be a good exercise. 

I've already split up my closet between FW and SS. 

But if there's ONE takeaway from the capsule wardrobe that is really working for me, it's buying higher quality...

While you save up for that one great garment, chances are it will be there when you're done. I had my eye on some basic black boots and when I finally got around to buying them a year later, they were still there! 

Good quality items at a higher (not necessarily THAT much higher either) price point, especially a classic item, probably won't have a high "fast fashion" turnover. Perhaps they won't be available for the current season, but they will probably come back in some form, if not the same form, during the appropriate season. 

I also get attached to much clothes and for casual clothes, I love them more as they get worn. So now, I've got a great pair of boots I can wear with anything and will last me longer than the 4 years the boots they replaced had lasted (still not bad, but I legitimately wore holes in them).

I find that the price point sweet spot for me is either two to four times higher than Target. Fast fashion is so cheap, I can't even begin. Like 8 times higher?!?!

Perhaps, you knew all this already, but my main experiences with shopping have been with fast fashion, so you had to get it while it's good.

So plan it, budget it, and then get it. 

I went from fast fashion, to thrifting, to buying for filling gaps in my wardrobe.

Good stuff. 

Buy less, buy better. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I was recently at a shopping establishment, trying to shop and get my life in order, when I broke out my reusable grocery bag. To spare you the details, the cashier began -what felt like- attacking me for my choices. Well, here's a letter to him since my brain blocks any logical and helpful information while in an argument.

Dear Will,

I do not believe you should be reprimanded for your political beliefs, but I do believe you should be more conducive to creating a better world for your political beliefs. You recently attacked my choices in a very public way and I shut down. I did not effectively share my viewpoints with you.

Firstly, I do not want or need the plastic bags. I do not want to create waste for myself and I do not own a dog.

Secondly, I could not figure out what exactly your political views are from the straight facts you were telling me. Do you support oil consumption or don't you? So, don't want to harm animals? Before you converse with anyone about your beliefs, I think you should make your arguments cohesive. They are more convincing that way.

Lastly, I want you to know that sustainability (which is what I think we were talking about) is such a complex topic, that the everyday person can only decide on their priorities and follow-through on them. There is no way to be perfect. We have to live our lives as best we can, and sustainability will look and be different for everyone.

In Greta Eagan's Wear No Evil, she outlines different aspects of consuming clothing that are harmful to the environment. She essentially tells you that it is nearly impossible to find a 100% sustainable garment, and that you must find clothing which aligns with the values you have concerning eco-friendliness. I have taken this to make sustainability less complex for me. Read it if you haven't. And if you have, realize that you can apply this concept of triage to every part of your life.

Right now, I am trying to minimize my plastic consumable consumption. I am trying to fully incorporate less usage of plastic that will be thrown away from toiletries. As for the plastic (oil) that was in my reusable bag, my philosophy still stands: I am reusing the oil that was used to make the plastic bag and I am not creating waste in a landfill until my bag is no longer usable. (And for the record, I had one flimsier bag last me 4 years!) For any plastic bags I do receive, I bring them to my grocery store for recycling, but for my convenience, I do not want them.

If I were to share my steps toward sustainability, I would have to say my overarching goal right now is to reduce waste in landfill -especially waste that does not biodegrade. Therefore, I will be inclined to buy animal products, such as leather and wool which will eventually break down. I am trying to avoid disposable plastic.

I understand that your job (or second or third) is not the most fulfilling, however, if you continue to have these interactions, you may try to build others up instead of tearing them down. Little changes over time become lifestyle changes, and it may have begun from one simple interaction. Be that guy.

Signing off,
That Dumb Chick Who Thinks She's Making a Difference

FULL DISCLOSURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY: I bought a purse at this retailer that isn't necessarily the best quality (and may be made of essentially plastic), but my purse literally broke the night before (my purses hate concerts apparently). I intend to wear out this purse, and buy a better quality purse when I am in a better financial position. However, I am very happy with this purchase. I have effectively downsized my EDC and purse design really works for my lifestyle. In the future, I will know exactly what kind of purse design I want to invest in.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Word of the Year

Why? To create financial security for myself and to live authentically.

It's also my birthday.

Dirty Thirty, Purdy Birdy.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Reducing Plastic from Everyday Toiletries

So the biggest thing I'm focusing on in terms of living lightly is to reduce the amount of plastic I use and throw out (into a blue bin!).

Toiletries for me seem to be the big thing.

I've recently cut my extremely long hair to a pixie type cut. This allows me to use less product, so I intend to try more products from Keihl's and try Lush for the first time. These are a bit pricier than drugstore, but I like that they have recycling programs. Kiehl's requires 10 empties, and Lush requires 5 empty black tubs. Kiehl's will reward you with a travel size product and Lush with a mask.

If you're on a budget, I did a search for "Shampoo Bars" and "Conditioner Bars." I really liked this option. So Google away and find something you like in your price range.

I still have some other toiletries to be consumed,  such as my face wash, but in the future I already have raw honey to cleanse my face and will possibly pick up some apple cider vinegar.

I'm also going to try this Tooth Powder Recipe.

As for soap, I am switching to bar soap as these are often wrapped in paper and cardboard.

Budget Solution: The Dollar Tree has bar soap packaged in paper and/or cardboard. I grabbed some just to try and some for my Beauty Blender. (-I've actually and surprisingly have gone pretty minimalist with my makeup too, but I'm going to use my stuff until it breaks/is used up.) I don't advise shopping at the Dollar Tree for plastic stuff, but seriously, if you're on a budget, you'd be surprised at what you can find! And, if you shop at the Dollar Tree and get plastic stuff out of need, I'm not judging you. Been there before.

The switch to bar soap means... NO MORE LOOFAHS. These are really just bacteria harbors. And I don't think anyone is cleaning them (with a diluted bleach solution) weekly or replacing them every two months. Natural loofahs should be replaced monthly. Or just don't to begin with!

I also have some lotions to use up, but I also moisturize with coconut oil mixed with essential oils. The oils are either for scent or to treat however way my skin is wonky that day.

A few Saturdays ago, I spent a snowy day making lotion bars to give as gifts. And I've got extras! Bonus.

Simple Recipe for Lotion Bars:
1 C coconut oil
1 C shea butter
1 C beeswax
Vitamin E
Essential Oils (add generously)
[Next time I will add more beeswax or lessen the amount of coconut oil because the bar is a little softer than I'd like. However, the moisture they provide is remarkable. The softness feels like it's actually within the skin and not a superficial slather on top of it. However, use sparingly or else you won't be able to twist doorknobs or open jars.]

A lot of these are all-natural remedies, but I'm more concerned about reducing plastic waste. Obviously, these will still create waste, but multiple uses for one product cuts down on the need for another, specialized product. The lack of harsh, potentially carcinogenic chemicals is definitely a plus.

I'm about to the get nerdy, but to me this theory is similar to "cost per wear." When you buy in bulk (such as my Costco coconut oil), you are extending your amount product volume per surface area of plastic. Did that make sense? The container is bigger and may have literally more plastic to discard than a smaller container, but the volume of your product was greater and it probably lasted you much longer than the smaller container would have. Therefore, to equal the same amount of product the bigger container had, you are discarding more plastic from the smaller containers. -A great thing to buy in bulk is honey because it literally never goes bad. My Costco coconut oil is a lot, but since I'm incorporating it into everyday use, it should be finished before it expires. We'll see when my next "Mad Scientist" weekend happens.

I also have a thing for jars and containers. I tend to keep glass jars I like and paint the lids with chalkboard paint. I once kept a plastic bottle from a bath and body gift set because in my head it's Plato's Ideal Form of a toiletry bottle. (It's still in my shower, several years old. It's too big to travel with, but it's the most perfect bottle. Weird much?)

Ultimately, this is how I've reduced/am reducing my use of plastic from toiletries.

I definitely support making your own products. For instance, the shampoo and conditioner bar that is linked is made with some of the same things from my lotion bars. There IS an initial investment, but it's something I have time to do and am willing to do it -I enjoy making these things, but I don't love it (yet!), so I mostly buy. So buy or make according to what works for you. And if you make: Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest.

I also want and need to educate myself further about essential oils. They are unbelievably versatile and have very real effects. They can be used for cleaning, cooking, skin care, hair care etc.!

My next steps are to be more mindful of what plastic I'm consuming from fast food (plastic to-go cups, straws, cutlery) and grocery plastic packaging. Fast food plastic will sneak up on me with the cups and straws. When I treat myself to a Starbucks, I often go through the drive-thru and or forget to put my to-go cup back in my car. And sometimes I just forget that I have my own cup in the car. I found a reusable bag that folds up into a smaller bag with handles that I can clip onto my keys. These are great because often I'd just run in and take my wallet for a few things, then I'm coming home with a plastic bag, when there was one I forgot about in the car or back in my main purse at home. Hmm.. Good thing I'm reading The Power of Now. As for updates on these topics, I'm still transitioning into this routine with my toiletries, so a future post on how I've addressed these things will be very in the future.

Minimalism Update:
I've taken down some wall decor, and am faced with stark white walls. The room seems more open, and I think I will be encouraged to minimize more of my possessions. I've got a craft corner that could afford some minimizing, but it's an inspiring start.

If I'm actually a minimalist anything, it's a Bullet Journaler.

Live Lightly, Live Lovely.

This post is NOT sponsored.

Monday, January 2, 2017