A year of not buying anything (new) + investing in experiences

I came across an article in the beginning of the January about a woman who didn’t purchase anything for one year.Of course she isn’t the only one who has attempted a pause on purchasing. Others have and for various reasons. Be it financial, minimalism, or ethical values. 
I advocate conscious consumerism. I don’t necessarily believe consumption is the problem but it lies in the act of compulsory consumption. Alden Wicker of EcoCult recently covered this topic with her excellent article Conscious consumerism is a lie. Here’s a better way to help save the world

She writes: “Making series of small, ethical purchasing decisions while ignoring the structural incentives for companies’ unsustainable business models won’t change the world as quickly as we want. It just makes us feel better about ourselves.”

Alden’s stance aligns with the perspective that our shopping intake makes but a mere dent in the cause for sustainability, and I agree with her. Its our actions that make impact but we should address what those actions are. The majority of companies are willing to create products based on demand or fads. Sometimes we forget our money is funding a company’s values or business structure. I believe brands have to earn our trust and we should be doing research when it comes to their standards and business models.


http://violet-woods.blogspot.com//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js


It’s thoughtless acquisitions that become excess. We reflect and think: I will never really use this; wear this, read this. When you’re driven to want something is it because it will bring you inner joy or consistent use? When I moved I realized how much books (and objects) I had. As I selected the ones I was going to take with me I began to realize my time with other objects had reached it’s peak – and that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong. I still have a lot of books. That won’t exactly change because reading is my preferred hobby and source of creative inspiration. But I have analyzed the way I should go about letting go. Develop community. Pass it down. Gift it to a stranger.

This year I choose not to buy anything new with the exception of consumables such as food, plants (because I will gladly live in an urban forest), experiences such as train rides or recreational events, and zero waste toiletries like soap when needed. I will still continue working with companies and brands though they must be zero waste or have packaging that is completely recyclable.

A reason I don’t want to make new purchases isn’t completely about saving money, although that’s an added plus, it’s more so about investing in the opposite of materialism. Things make us happy because of the meaning we attach to it. I don’t spend much time with objects. I want to spend more time creating.

I believe in following guidelines where you have reached that level of comfort with your actions. Don’t force yourself to do something that isn’t you. Similarly, we shouldn’t force our own beliefs onto others. Exposing our views is best received when we have genuineness behind our message.

Even though I wont be buying anything new, I could still make occasional secondhand purchases if I really need something but in this moment I don’t and don’t want to. I have enough to sustain me. I have the library. I choose to make decisions that align with my values.

Part two will feature the opposite of “not.” It will discuss the experiences and possibilities that are in our everyday lives. I don’t think living with less means a life unlived, but rather it’s a life that has the potential for more experiences, interactions, and focus.

Inspiration + More on this topic

Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast featJess Lively on Intuition and Living with Less


SaveSave

Blissful Basil Cookbook Review + A Giveaway

I am making a conscious effort to build and bloom better health habits. This involves taking initiative into myown hands and setting my pricipes to practices. Health is more than topical: its what we ingest. I believe in moderation, treating yourself, and self care. However it can be easy for some of us to neglect our health in lieu of easier options. Beginning now to December 2017 each month I will be featuring cookbooks that center around my values of whole foods, nutrient dense cooking. Though some may not be vegan, they will be vegan optional but all plant-based. My criteria involve ease, flexibility, and zero waste-friendly. So little to no packaged foods will be the cornerstone of my picks. Lets get started!

I’m not sure if cookbooks are supposed to make you emotional but when I began to read Ashley Melillo’s namesake book Blissful Basil that’s what happened.

The beautiful book opens up with a poignant introduction from Ashley. Candid about her pre-Blissful Basil days as a graduate student where she dealt with the perils many students may face: anxiety. Motivated to take control of her own health Ashley humbly and briefly discusses her journey to “self-acceptance, self-love, and sustainable joy.” I was moved by her honesty about some of the roughest points of her life, the road that led to create a brand and curator of healthy, and delicious plant-based and allergen conscious meals.

blissful basil review + giveaway http://violet-woods.blogspot.com//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Perhaps it hit so close to home to me because of my own issues and rough patches with my own health. Similar to Ashley, I sought out natural and therapeutic methods of self-care through good nourishment, stress control, and being honest with my own loved one about my limits and how I feel. And it starts with making healthier choices that adhere to your own needs and learning what makes you thrive, which more likely than not, is consuming plant based foundations – don’t think of “diets”, think of sustenance
Ashley’s vegan cookbook is centered on the healing through healthy nutritional choices. She chooses to thrive with her practice of cultivating happiness through wholeness. Naturally this involves being conscious of what you consume.
If you’re new to the realm of bountiful vegan eating, Ashley’s got you covered with a quick portion of her book with a rundown on her pantry & kitchen essentials with explanations on their nutrient fundamentals. Want to know why sorghum and millet are underrated nutrient & powerhouses, or the difference between the natural sweeteners, conversion charts? She’s got the bases covered. My favorite part is her decision to have a primarily allergen friendly primer, similar to her blog she focuses more on wheat-free options and substitutes. (Thank you!)
But the bulk of this book is filled with vibrant, rainbow hued recipes. The pages are filled with stunning photography, which, lets be honest, is really helpful. These meals aren’t challenging but they aren’t basic – Blissful Basil is chockfull of creative recipes that look exquisite but don’t require an overload of ingredients. Perhaps Ashley was also innately inspired by her background as a school psychologist for many of the recipes would be really great to create with children.  Think: Hazelnut Espresso Shakes, Cauliflower Tots, & Vegan Pulled “Pork” BBQ with Polenta. There’s also Electric Tumeric Lemonade and Fiesta Salad to round all that out.
Personally I am working on living a minimalist/zero waste life. This applies to what we consume. Instead of reaching for packaged meals, I want to incorporate make-ahead or overnight meals, meals that focus on whole foods and leave no waste (or it can be composted). If this is also your vibe, Blissful Basil is on your level.  Processed ingredients don’t make their way through the pages – instead it’s composed of pure plant-based sustenance without being intimidating. Anyone from clean-foodies, experimental cuisine folk, to current/former busy students looking to incorporate easier & healthier vegan meals will enjoy this delightful book. 

blissful basil review + giveaway http://violet-woods.blogspot.com//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Ashley’s cookbook Blissful Basil comes out December 20th (click to purchase) but if you want to win this beautiful vegan cookbook:

·      Visit this Instagram post and leave a comment with your favorite recipe from Blissful Basil’s website
·      Follow me on Instagram
·      Follow Blissful Basil on Instagram
Extra points:
·      Leave a comment here with your favorite or new winter traditions

·      Subscribe to Blissful Basil’s website and leave a comment saying you did
Ends on December 29th** Good luck y’all!