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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Where I Am Now / New Years Manifestations

Its unbelievable to think how much can change and happen in a year.
Personally its surpassed my wildest dreams. As I look back on the list I had made last December, several of the concepts I wanted to manifest or invite more of in my life seemed to materialize in various ways. I discovered mindfulness, became enamored with the principles of cognitive awareness, I let go off expectations and doubts,  I became more in tune with what I wanted and pursued my own adventures. I did reach my academic goals and my perseverance certainly paid off. Although I didn’t wake up at dawn so much as find sleep at night-owl hours (to be addressed). On a personal level I feel full with serenity and ease. There were several points this year where I experienced epiphanies and confronted my fears in order to better my self & health. 
I found alignment with what I want to produce as a writer & maker. Discovering Lauren Singer & her “zero waste” principles along with participating in the Project Green Challenge allowed me to be creative and perhaps rediscover my passion and the content I wish to produce. I want to inspire others to live & thrive consciously as well as being kind to our precious earth and each other. This platform  will serve as a guidebook & community for sustainable living, zero waste, and the conscious consumer.  In the new year I am excited to work with more companies, makers, and folk who align with these values as well. 
  

2017 Manifestations

The art of slow living / Where zero waste was my catalyst in this current year, I am ready to transcend and disconnect from the hyperactive lifestyle that dominates much of our everydayness. We lose focus and detail in the created rush of needing to complete and can end up depleting us. Inspired by a recent podcast featuring Beth Kirby (Local Milk) who is a pioneer on “slow living”. We gain enrichment by slow-living which is truly about being mindful whether its n your work, life, or creating. To promote quality over immediacy, to savor experiences by recording them by being present. I am a burst of energy so “slow living doesn’t come naturally to me but when I consider what I desire more of in my life, the answer is to have a life well lived: sustainably, conscientiously, productively.  Read more about slow-living here as well as the Danish concept of “hygge” which is ““creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people” or experiencing joy in the little things. 
Chase down goals /  Sometimes we may expect opportunities to happen by chance, and sometimes they might but I am ready to tap into my creativity and innovation to go after what I want to materialize. We have to make moves in order to reach goals but this doesn’t need to mean pressuring yourself or doubting your potential – by building up assertiveness and learning from what goes well, or doesn’t go well, is a better perspective that will enable us to continue flourishing. Jessica Murnane of the One Part Podcast has great episodes on this featuring Mckel Hill& Amanda Chantal Bacon

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Seek experiences / This year gave me the pleasure of engaging in more wanderings & meanderings: concerts in Silverlake, farmers market hopping, trips to the ocean cities, and driving a mini boat (terribly). In the coming year I long to invest more in experiences and some travel. In the past I have avoided this because of my autoimmune condition that required planning out and downtime but I know I can overcome it gracefully. 
Read more / this need not a lengthy explanation. Reading is my method of reconnecting to my inner child – the activity I did so often to escape, unwind, and feel. Even in the age of technology my favorite part of university were my breaks where I’d sneak off into the computer lab to read or write.
Seek out biodynamic food / similar to organic farming, biodynamic farming doesn’t rely on synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers. The farming methods must meet the National Organic Program standard and farmers use regenerative, local sources instead of exporting in materials. Finding biodynamic food doesn’t mean you must visit farms, the number of companies that are Demeter USA certified (nonprofit formed promote Biodynamic practices) are growing – just look for the label in natural health food stores. Additionally visit the locator to find products and retailers in your area.

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Grow more / I will be focusing on cultivating a mini garden – this is easier said than done but not impossible. This is one aspect of m life that I will choose to put a bit of money in – think LED or solar grow lights and hopefully a mini potting area. But my goal is to be more sustainable and grow my own food and perhaps even compost.
Nightly unwinding/ the moment my head hits the pillow is my moment of clarity and peace. Maybe some will disagree with me on this but for me this is the optimal time to unwind by thinking about what I wish to achieve and bring forth. I don’t do this in a frantic or worrying way, but rather it’s an alternate meditation of letting my guard down and focus on tomorrow in a positive light in hopes I will carry on that same momentum when I awake.
Live with less / in all honesty having too many things exhausts me. With the exception of books and pieces of natures (crystals, flowers, & herbs) Of course de-cluttering is nothing new but I don’t like being surrounded with so many objects that aren’t of use to me. With the exception of a few products that I have to use up, I’ve already replaced and donated most plastic in my home. 2017 will be centered on needing less and discovering sustainable swaps. What I no longer need will be donated or recycled properly.

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Live the life you love / I don’t think we often hear this but perhaps we should. It’s akin to an incantation or fortune that has been there all along. Find what drives you. Ask yourself what are you passionate about? Then assess how to get there or make it happen. This can be on a career, personal or self-care level. Check in with yourself throughout the year – are you following your purpose and taking care of yourself? Even if you are working through a situation or area that isn’t completely fulfilling make sure to find ways to integrate activities or time for yourself.

Ethical & Sustainable Beauty | Wellness | Pet Holiday Gift Guide

So this Holiday Gift Guide is a little late but better late than never right?! This year I wanted to feature products + shops that are of course natural but also sustainable, cruelty free and in particular no palm-oil use, or little to no use of it. 

The overproduction and unregulated use of palm oil has a led to deforestation + loss of habitat in  Indonesia, however as consumers we can support and shop from amazing brands that do not contribute or use palm and focus on environmentally friendly products! For some of these companies I wrote about why they go above and beyond to create lasting effective products and give back to communities.

But the holidays are meant to be fun, and I like to pick out beautiful Winter gift choices that are thoughtfully crafted and will make any recipient (or yourself…) happy!! All products featured here I have bought & used (with the exception of the True Balm which was sent by my partners at the Detox Market) therefore they have tested and used. Some of these would make great stocking stuffers or little handmade theme gift boxes (which is something I did this season!)

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Pacifica is a wonderful company who is also committing to using no palm-oil in their product. Along with creating vegan & cruelty free beauty & lifestyle products they care about the environment using recyclable materials and incorporating zero-waste standards.

Pacifica Natural Soy Candle in Mexican Hot Chocolate | I remember going into a Whole Foods looking for candles and came across this one, it smells so decadent – exactly like a hot-cocoa with warming spices. I can’t get enough, this is probably my favorite cold-weather candle its perfect for any candle-lover or foodies (because it smells so good!) / Pacifica Island Vanilla Natural Soap | Y’all I am a sucker for vanilla & this soap should have been named Tahitian Vanilla because thats what it smells like, its a beautiful amber color and also has jasmine, it is vegan & cruelty free *A Portion of proceeds from all Island Vanilla sales goes to the Ocean Futures Society, a nonprofit marine conservation organization.

Andalou Naturals is an amazing company who choose ingredients that are Non-GMO, Cruelty-Free, Gluten-Free, Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Vegetarian & Vegan. If they ever use a palm oil (which I haven’t found in any of the products I own or on their site) it must be sustainably sourced. They use fruit-stem cells & work with many charities (read more here) including Vital Voices and SHE CAN.
If you know anyone who loves beauty & would like to introduce them to more natural based products (the skin is the largest organ, treat it well!) These cleansers are is a great start off and would also make a sweet stocking stuffer.

Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser For Normal & Combination Skin. | This is a vegetarian (contains manuka honey) cleanser for those who have surface pigmentation, uneven tone, and dark spots caused by sun damage. Contains lemon, sea buckthorn & white tea. /
Andalou Naturals1000 Roses Cleansing Foam for Delicate & Dry Skin. | This is a magical product that utilizes fruit stem cells along with purely plant based ingredients to cleanse + soothe the skin. Contains hyaluronic acid & aloe vera.

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Copper & Kraft Soy Candle in Pumpkin Chai & Sea Salt Caramel | These candles are made using natural soy wax, lead-free cotton wicks, phthalate free fragrance oils and no dyes. Y’all, no lie I spent most of autumn buying a lot of candles & wax tarts from this shop. These do not have any paraffin wax and if you know someone who likes the Bath & Body Work candles these are a natural alternative that smell amazing and come in a variety of scents. They now come in a variety of sizes!
Eco Tools Kabuki Retractable Brush | This is an amazing cruelty free brush that is so soft, free of parabens & phthalates. It comes with a pouch (I lost mine though!) and its extremely effective + good for travel!

HoneyBee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder in Luminous* | I love this powder, and its the first powder I have used (because the drugstore stuff I used as a preteen doesn’t count) I use it with the eco tools and its not “powdery” which was my initial fear. It covers my light freckles. HoneyBee gardens is cruelty free, gluten free & fragrance free & vegan.

*This product contains a palm oil derivative & I have emailed HoneyBee Gardens on future palm use and I will update this when I know.

Purple Prairie BotanicaSunStick SPF 30 | A friend of mine, Sophie, had posted an article on how many sunscreens contains chemicals such as oxybenzone & parabens contribute to coral reef damage(read more here, here & here) So I began searching for sunblocks that do not contribute to this. This Purple Prairie SunStick SPF sunblock is vegetarian (contains beeswax) natural & moisturizing thanks to shea & cocoa butter,  it must be applied ever 2 hours but it doesnt leave any white residue & its safe for kids. The company maintains rigid standards for sunscreen allowed in the protected coral reef lagoons of Mexico.

True Organic of Sweden All You Need Is Me Lotion | I received this lotion a few months ago through the Detox Market and its been a life saver because L.A. has very, very dry weather and I have felt the circumstances of it through my skin. this vegetarian balm protects the skin against weather & wind, irritation, relieves minor sunburn, whitens and reduces age spots can be used anywhere topically.

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Oh Mimi, you got your Holiday gift a little earlier. for the puppies, I like the Bobby & Bambi  Holiday Shop. The cookies featuring the Gingerbread Man are on Amazon & I got the Holiday Biscuits which I also got are still up for grabs and feature the new apple + kale w/ mint biscuits. My dogs LOVE these treats. Especially Mimi, and their other pet goodies are wonderfully made with organic, human grade, grain free they are & vegetarian!

Though not featured…and not for pets!, another animal friendly company is Grounds & Hounds who make amazing coffee and donate proceeds to no-kill animal shelters & rescues.

Well there you have it! Do you use any of these products? I also have some gift items in my shop and a coupon for 10% with the code READER. I hope everyone has a great winter season no matter how you celebrate. Stay warm!

January Monthly Favorites

Hi buns! Todays post is gonna be the start monthly series of products + companies I like and, not surprisingly are organic and nontoxic/sustainable. I’m also trying my best to support smaller companies who are kind to the planet. Here’s January’s picks:

organic products

Art of Tea | White Coconut Creme Tea For the longest time i have heard amazing things about this tea, I finally decided to see what buzz was about and yeah, its that darn good. Notes of organic white tea, safflower, cornflower and coconut somehow become a creamy (but vegan) blend of paradise, its just so good! Beyond this botanical dessert tea Art of Tea is on point when it comes to being sustainable both as a company and their products. i highly recommend checking out this page on all the great work they do.

AmiTea Organics Lemon Meringue Organic Tea | Once upon a time I had an amazing lemon tea (however was not vegan) and ever since then I have been searching for the perfect lemon tea blends. This blend is a citrus refreshment. It has Green Rooibos, the unfermented version honeybush who has its own health benefits good reads here & here  This blend contains lots of lemon: myrtle, balm & zest but its not overpowering and I add a little more than what the direction say. I’m dreaming up a recipe for this very tea involving mint & raw honey around spring.

Beeswax Tarts w/ Organic Rose Petals | While looking for beeswax candles I came across these pretty heart tarts and couldn’t resist, they come in 12 count and are 100% organic beeswax and the petals are a sweet touch, the tarts can come in a variety of scents but if pure essential oils are your preference, message the seller for a list. These smell incredible and last a long time. I dig her shop because it reminds me of one of my favorite films Practical Magic (Amas Veritas y’all)

GoodLight Candles  | Well to use tarts you need candles and in my opinion unscented is best, especially if you are using a tart with oils added. These candles are extremely affordable and use sustainably cultivated non-GMO palm fruit, The company also donates proceeds to the very forests from which they obtain their resources.

Palm wax has been on the rise with is a good alternative to petroleum, however it is leading to  (good read) deforestation and the habitat if you do purchase products that contain palm wax I really recommend you make sure it was ethically obtained. Lets protect our (cause the earth is ours to defend) and here is an article on the effects of  rainforest + palm trees

Notable mention
Chemical Free Dog Toothpaste | I didn’t get around to snapping a photo but for the pets I bought this great pup toothpaste. Dogs need a lot of care when it comes to their dental health. Especially since some eat food that is a little on the wet side, the moisture creates plaque and build up but some breeds eat softer food based on their dental anatomy. The older the dog gets the more care is needed on their health: their teeth & gums. However! This homesteading company (who are also beekeepers) from Pennsylvania creates this amazing dental care paste featuring clay, bee propolis, anise seed & more. I have been using this for my dog all month and thankfully her gum issues are getting better and it helps her have a fresh breath. All non-toxic, planted based and safe.

Be kind y’all!