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.


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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


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Changes: On Moving, Materialism, & Self-Care

Recently I moved into a new home. It was very sudden and everything worked well in my favor but I was reminded of how draining the process of moving can actually be. You begin to realize how many things you own when you move. How many boxes or totes of items you need to haul from one place to the next. Or what items hold more value to you compared to others. I questioned why I had collected things that I hardly used but set aside for a rainy day. 

This will not be my last move but it did give me a reason to recollect on purpose and meaning, something that author (who also holds a master of applied positive psychology) Emily Esfani Smith claims can help us achieve richer and more fulfilling lives in her book The Power of Meaning. To be clear I think everyone has their own individual perception on “things” or what makes them feel comfortable. When it comes to spaces. Mine just happens to align more so with aspects of minimalism and consciously consuming. 

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I realize that moving causes me to personally come to grips with what truly matters to me. It is not objects but the purpose they serve. This can mean letting go of what no longer serves me but lingers like ghosts hidden in the attic. 

In a way I am thankful for the experience because it did cause me to reevaluate. Therefore I am working on incorporating this year is prioritizing my time and schedule. The past month I discovered what bullet journaling was. I didn’t want to buy another agenda because I tend to use them and then forget them. Thankfully I still had an unused journal from my previous zero-waste office/back to school guide to use in place. I liked the open-spaced beauty that I wasn’t confined to limited space. I could fill in what I wanted (budgets, list of goals, list of meal planning) and since I use refillable/erasable pens I don’t have to worry about “errors”. I am also taking a cue from my beau and will use the calendar app on my laptop to fill in events, dates, and posting schedules. 

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But there is another entity I am going to incorporate: self-care. While this was on my mind in the beginning of the year and in first page of my bullet journal, the sudden move caused me to do what I do best: put myself last. Therefore I am going to think of ideas and routines that I can integrate in my calendars such as guided meditation, solo nights-in (complete with binging Gilmore Girls & pizza), art journals, or visiting somewhere in nature. Self-care means a lot to me because of vulnerability. When you have autoimmune issues it causes you to reflect and hit the brakes. But you need not have any condition to participate in self-care. Everyone should. You matter. Nourish yourself. 

Sustainable Shopping: Creative Energy Candles

I love the ritual of lighting candles. Lately we’ve had a very brisk, cold winter in Los Angeles and with the rainfall and overcast skies it makes it all the more beautiful and ideal for lighting candles and unwinding with a book or film on Netflix.


But most candles aren’t really ideal. Conventional candles that are made with paraffin wax is essentially a petroleum waste product that must be treated chemically and then bleached. Artificially scented candles, even when they aren’t lit, can release chemicals like formaldehyde into the air around you because of simple evaporation and what’s worse is that the scents themselves are oils petroleum-based synthetics. Further more The American Lung Association says, “refrain from burning scented or slow burning candles that have additives.”

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Shop owner Kara started her company to create a safer product on the market. Creative Energy Candles are cruelty-free and vegan with a blend of soybean wax, certified organic extra virgin coconut oil and a variety of essential oil blends with organic cotton wicks. They serve a zero waste  multi-purpose use both as a candle and warming lotion – as well as aromatherapy. With various sizes (I prefer the larger ones for less materials used + more product) I no longer have a need to purchase lotion that I would hardly use.
Packaging is very important for the company, or rather reducing packaging. The candles themselves are poured in glass jars or metal tin – both re-suable or you can recycle the glass. An outer sleeve made up of 100% recyclable material is the only cover on the candle


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The company also donates 10% of its proceeds to various charities and missions 

Featured here//

Moroccan Teakwood features notes of cedarwood, patchouli, black pepper

Bergmont & Oakmoss is one of my favorites with sage, lavandin and bergamot


Tarocco Orange (my beau’s favorite!) with mango and blood orange

Citrus & Wild Mintisspringtime in a candle, channeling Persephone with geranium, lime, and basil


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Zero Waste + Minimalist & Palm Oil Free Bath Guide

 
We are a few days away from the year ending and I have my own plans written down and I’ve got my Kleen Kanteen on call. Still I am thinking about the year beginning and perhaps many of us should pass the torch from reflection to decompressing. From the holidays, from the ending of a year, & everything that came with it. 

Bath-rituals are my favorite part of the day (besides coffee). It’s the ritual of cleansing and unwinding from the day and getting ready to rest your head and have sweet dreams. To keep my showers environmentally conscious I time them and I tend to find myself unconsciously meditating through then. Treat yourself with this ethical + zero waste guide on organic & wildcrafted bath & wash products. Part two will come in 2017!



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Heal / Acure Organics Dry Body Spray in Marula + Argan | y’all this product smells like a tropical island. Coconut, sea buckthorn and argan oil make this a healing oil that can be used on the ends of your hair or a body spray. It’s vegan and fragrance free with only botanicals making this blend. The bottle is recyclable – a really delicious investment piece because a little goes a long way with oil. You need not too much to soothe with this oil
 
Wash/ Gaia Entrancic Ah, I am proud of myself for finding a palm oil free package-free soap. Its not easy, even if you go to natural health/food stores, its still manages to find its way there. Gaia Entrancic makes vegan & palm oil free soaps that are also organic and packaged sustainably. Several of the ingredients are harvested from shop-owner Kaitlin’s garden and smell wonderful. She offers a variety of scents that rely on essential oils & not fragrance or synthetics.
 
Scent / Aura Aroma: Air, Body & Upholstery Mist | A multipurpose spray that is made with witch hazel and essential oils. I chose Tranquility that is a blend of bergamot, cedar-wood, sage, lavender, and neroli. These come in glass bottles made from recycled materials. I like spraying them in the shower and then after ward when I head to sleep.
 
Cleanse / Toockies Certified Organic “Her” Washcloths | These hand knit washcloths are perfect for washing or dry scrubbing (stimulate circulation). you can also machine-wash them in the dryer when needed, but when their time is up? These cloths are compostableand or can be recycled/reused as you wish. Zero waste and beautiful organic weaving. Even more is the story behind the knitters:  these are fair trade products made by women who earn a living wage through Toockies Project, these women are given a voice – the company adds their photographs a small note on the products they have knit and anyone who wants to know who created the garment can look her up.
 
Soothe / Fat & the Moon All Salve | I have an unfortunate tendency to get dry lips and palms during the winter. The drop in temperature and shift of seasons tends to cause issues. This All Salve is a rescue balm with Calendula, Comfrey and Yerba Mansa infused sunflower oil for applying on my lips, hands and under eye area after a shower or when needed. This is an organic based blend and its plastic-free, it comes in a metal tin which can be reused or up-cycled.