Nixing the television

Hey guys,

I feel like this is the time of the year when we all start getting cabin fever, and start asking ourselves “When will it be spring/ will it EVER be spring?” 🙂

I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of the cold. I don’t do winter sports, or even really go outside this time of year, and let’s just say when I finally got a car with an automatic start feature in the middle of winter I did a little happy dance inside.

So what’s one to do when going outside isn’t an option your willing to consider? Well if you are any sort of a normal human being in this technology driven society your answer might fall along the lines of “watching television” or “surfing the internet/scrolling through social media”….and up until recently, that was my answer too.

Winter seems to last forever where I live, and the long hours spent indoors can drag when you don’t have anything specific to do (cough *want* to do cough).

Safe to say I ended up spending quite a bit of time being a couch potato, watching endless hours of the cooking channel and mystery shoes.

But….eventually I got sick of it.

I was just sitting there rolling my eyes at another ridiculous commercial and wondered “What am I doing? I’ve been sitting here for HOURS watching shows I don’t really even want to watch but am just watching because I’m bored.”

The older generations call it a “Boob Tube” for a reason, just saying.

I started thinking about all of the things I could be doing with the time I was wasting, all the things I always said that I never had Time for, or that I should really get back to. Things that I actually enjoy.

Sooooo I decided to stop watching television for the indefinite future. It started as an experiment to see what I would actually have time for if I nixed the tube, and has turned into a lifestyle choice.

Now granted, I live with other people, so chucking the tube in the trash isn’t an option, but I found that rearranging my furniture so that the television wasn’t the center of attention anymore helped in reducing the temptation to watch it. It used to be up on top of our piano, right there center stage when you walked in the door….kind of ugly looking too when I think about it. Now it’s tucked in a corner on top of an end table, out of the way, and instead the first thing you see when you walk in the door is the couch, a bunch of indoor plants, and a cute nook with a couple cozy chairs just inviting someone to sit and relax in them.

But, back to the point, nixing the television has been a grand decision. I now seem to have much more free time than I had before, those precious hours between coming home from work and dozing off for the night have seem to multiplied, and I’m feeling freer that I ever have. I’m also doing all of the things I actually enjoy doing, like reading books, making art, trying out new recipes, going to the library more, etc.

So here we go,  5 Reasons to Nix Television

  1. Television (and any technology for that matter) is a time sucker, you start saying “Oh, i’ll just watch a quick half hour show” and 3-4 hours later you’re looking at the clock wondering where the time went.
  2. Studies have shown that watching too much television (especially right before bed) can mess with the ZZZZ’s you’re getting every night. I don’t know about you, but I love me some restful sleep.
  3. Is there really anything that good on television these days?
  4. It increases your consumption of electricity, and thereby your electric bill. Nix it and save some dough, and the planet 🙂
  5. One word- COMMERCIALS

Oh, and for those of you asking “What will I do if I’m not watching television?”….this one’s for you…   20 Things you can do instead of watch television

  1. Take a bath, indulge yourself to some “me” time
  2. Read a book, or two, or twelve if you’re like me 🙂
  3. Draw a picture, or color a picture with a kiddo in your life
  4. Take a nap
  5. Try out  a new recipe, or learn how to cook
  6. Finish up that housework that you’ve been avoiding, I know it’s not fun but it also needs to be done, so just do it lol
  7. Make a cozy nest of pillows and blankets on the couch and listen to some music
  8. Go visit a library, or your local community center, places that are still indoors but at least get you out of the house.
  9. Call your Grandmother, trust me, she’ll love it
  10. Spend some quality time with your pets
  11. Plan a special evening for you and that special someone, bonus points if it’s a technology-free evening!
  12. Babysit some kids you know and give their parents a nice kid-free evening
  13. Go to a museum
  14. Spend time reconnecting with all those friends you never seem to get around to texting back
  15. Write a letter to someone
  16. Try out a new resturaunt
  17. Board game night!
  18. Get crafty, I have made countless things from blankets to baskets to purses, etc.
  19. Actually try out all those hairstyle/makeup/style pins you have saved on pinterest
  20. If all else fails, try something new. Take up a new hobby like sewing, reading, baking, painting. Or incorporate some exercise into your routine now that you have enough “time” to do it 😉

 

Have you tried nixing the television? Other technology? How’d it go? Let me know in the comments!

 

xo Candice

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Racing the clock…

I don’t know about you guys, but I almost always feel like I’m racing the clock.

Racing to move onto the next task, to cross as many items as I can off of my to do list, racing to eat, to answer texts and emails….just like I’m at war with the clock and time itself.

Have you ever felt that way? Like there are never enough hours in the day?

Well lately I’ve decided to do something about it. I’m going to stop racing the clock. I’m going to be unhurried (not Lazy, just unhurried).

I’m going to relax. Slow down. Stop rushing to do everything and go everywhere.

Our culture is a big proponent of being rushed. Time is money according to businesses and as such we all see time as a scarce commodity instead of something we have in abundance.

Our standard answer for “how are you?” is “busy”, as though having an overcrowded schedule is something to be proud of, an accomplishment in and of itself.

What ever happened to evenings playing games with family members and taking leisurely strolls around the neighborhood or reading a good book before bed? I’ll tell you what happened to them, they’ve been replaced by smartphone games and a hurried dinner in front of the television, or it’s a drive-thru dinner while going between kids practices and sports or trying to fit in another social gathering because you’d rather go and be super stressed than say no and risk disappointing someone.

We’ve got so much going on and so much to do that instead of confronting the real problem of being overscheduled we instead speed up our pace to try and fit it all in.

This rush leads to being chronically stressed, overeating, heart problems, a weaker immune system, and many more problems.

So I’m saying enough is enough. The clock is no longer my master. I refuse to feel guilty for taking an hour to sit and read before bed even though there is still a load of laundry in the dryer. And I will no longer prioritize any social gathering over my health both mentally and physically.

Instead of speeding up to get more things done (and wearing myself out in the process) I’m going to address the real problem, the calendar/to-do list.

I’m going to only schedule enough in each day that I won’t feel rushed trying to do it, and if it doesn’t get done then it’ll keep for another day. We don’t have to answer an email the second we get it, and just because someone asks you to dinner at the last second doesn’t mean your response has to be a resounding yes.

It’s time to minimize stress, minimize hurry, and minimize the schedule. That way I will have time to linger with friends after an event, or take some time to just kick my feet up for a while. Time to enjoy the things we normally miss in our rush of life, like the colors in a sunset, or the feel of the breeze against your face. Time to be still and rest.

I now take every Saturday as a day devoted to rest and being unhurried. I try to get all my normal chores done by Friday so I can take Saturdays off.

Imagine this….

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Waking up not to the sound of an alarm but by the gentle light flooding through your room. Getting up as slowly as you’d like and having a good stretch before you get out of bed.

A lingering breakfast while watching the squirrels run around in the yard. Followed by whatever you’d like to do for the rest of the day, be it going to the park or library or just hanging out with your family. But the whole day you don’t even need to look at a clock because time management doesn’t matter today.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

It’s not just a fantasy, it’s what my normal Saturday looks like now and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There’s a lot to be said for slowing down and even taking a day off. It’s humbling to know the world will keep spinning even if your not in charge and on top of things for a day.

So here’s my challenge to you15326148714641943469482…take one day this week and clear the schedule. Do not look at the clock the whole day, just enjoy being in each moment.

If you take the challenge I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Top 5 tips for an Eclectic Minimalist Wardrobe

Time for a wardrobe update!

Finding the perfect balance in a minimalist wardrobe can be challenging, especially if you’re like me and are not a fan of having a “uniform” or a wardrobe composed of only 1 color….but I think I’ve finally found the perfect balance for me 😀

So I’ve compiled my top 5 tips for having an eclectic minimalist wardrobe

1. Choose your “Core colors”

Your “core” colors are colors that you love and are flattering to your skin tone. 

I used to have clothes in all the colors of the rainbow but as I minimized the number of pieces I realized having fewer colors was better for me.

I’ve narrowed my core colors down to 2. These colors are staples and cover a good 50% of my wardrobe.

My core colors:

*White

*Navy blue

2. Find your coordinating colors.

Coordinating colors complement your core colors and are easy to mix and match.

My Coordinating colors:

*Dark purple

*Grey & Black

Now even though I love patterns and have a lot of them in my wardrobe, having them in a minimal amount of colors makes them all work together cohesively.

It sounds crazy but having LESS colors has given me MORE.

More outfit combinations.

More space in my closet because things are multi seasonal because they all coordinate and can be layered or worn alone.

And more satisfaction with what I’m wearing everyday!

3. Choose pieces made with  100% natural fabrics like cotton, wool, etc.

They’re better for the environment and easier to mix and match!

4. Shop the thrift store first!

Why? Because they section their clothes by type AND color, which makes it easy to find your core colors. They’re also a lot cheaper than buying new. Also they’re already in the waste stream so you’re being friendly to the planet…..what can I say? I love thrifting.

5. Make sure they’re pieces you LOVE.

If you like patterns and unique pieces than own it!

Don’t settle for pieces you aren’t completely in love with. If you feel good in an outfit then you’re going to look good and project confidence too.

I love all the funky eclectic outfits I have in my wardrobe and I feel great when I wear them. What more could you want out of your wardrobe?

 

 

What are your core colors? Do you like patterns in a minimal wardrobe? I’d love to hear about your wardrobes in the comments!

 

Minimalism/Zero-Waste and reducing anxiety

Hey guys,

Do you ever get that feeling where your chest constricts, your stomach drops, and you look around your home and wonder “How in the world am I going to get everything done?” or better yet where I was a few years ago looking at my bedroom…”What in the world happened in here? I swear it wasn’t this cluttered a week ago.”

So what would I do? The obvious thing, or course, I would go to the store and grab a few organizing bins, pull everything out of it’s drawers, etc. And ORGANIZE (read here: rearrange) the clutter. I played the giant game of tetris for years before realizing what I was doing.

I was trying to stifle my anxiety and stress by moving things around instead of what I really needed to do…let go.

So today I wanted to touch on the topic of how being on  a journey to both Minimalism and Zero-Waste has helped me significantly reduce the amount of stress and anxiety I have overall.

Now, that being said, I am still a human being and still do get stressed out and anxious at the most random times, but the overall amount of stress I have is significantly less than what it used to be.

How did I do it? I started living my values.

I’ve always been a big believer that we need to be kind to the planet and reduce our impact on the environment.

I also have always believed that we don’t need tons of fancy things to make us happy. Money doesn’t buy happiness and neither does stuff.

But…here’s the catch…I wasn’t living in line with these beliefs. And that was a big cause of stress for me. Now, granted, it took me a few years to come to this conclusion. When I started purging I just liked the cleaner feel of my space and having more room, I didn’t equate it with having less anxiety until a few months ago.

The lightbulb clicked when I looked around my room in search of any chores to be done, and found NONE. Nada. Everything was in its place and clean. I all of a sudden had free time…to do whatever I felt like….and that my friends is a heady feeling. It’s almost rebellious in a way, I’ll admit I felt like letting out an evil laugh “mwahaha, I have nothing to do! No chores for me, haha.”

It’s like that great feeling you get when you’ve checked everything off your daily to-do list, but better, because I actually cut my to-do list in half.

Some of you are scratching your heads at this point like “I get why minimalism would reduce anxiety and stress because less stuff is less to worry about, but where does zero-waste fit into all of this?”

Here’s how:

  1. Zero-waste grocery shopping makes shopping and putting away groceries super simple, especially if you bring your own jars. I take the jar from my tote and put it in the pantry, end of story. Now this does work with regular grocery shopping, but then you also have to deal with those pesky plastic shopping bags, not to mention food packaging, and those bright and bold labels on all the packages which is just a bunch of visual clutter. This is much more relaxing to me… 

  2. Zero-waste personal products- like toothpaste and soap bars and safety razors are much longer lasting, not to mention just easier all around. Besides not housing any plastic bottles in my bathroom cupboards or the shower stall, I also have to shop for these products much less often. Soap bars are the easiest, I simply pick up a new one from the health store whenever I run out. Toothpaste I make myself, and the razor blades last for such a long time I doubt I’ll need to order new ones online for at least another year. Which makes for less items on my to-do list, and less things to worry about.
  3. Zero-waste PMS, with a menstrual cup and cloth pads I’ll never again have that “oh, shit” moment when you realize you’ve started and ran out of pads or tampons. No more midnight pms store runs for me!
  4. Labels, I never realized how much visual clutter irritated me until I went zero-waste and as a result have almost zero product labels to deal with. They are always vying for our attention, saying “look at me”. Without labels I have more space both physically and mentally. I find that I am more relaxed without them.
  5. Where before I was stressed every time I looked at the overfilled garbage can and how wasteful I was being, now when I shop zero-waste and realize exactly how little trash I’m producing it makes me proud that I’m living out my values, .

Without the distractions of things and extra wastefullness that normal shopping produces, I am not only living my values which brings a sense of peace and acomplishment in and of itself, I also am realizing how much time I spent on things and worrying about things. This free time I now have to devote to other things.

Don’t mistake the free time for more time to get a thousand and one things done, I did that at first and it didn’t help anything. But see the extra time you get from both minimalism and zero-waste as a gift. You can spend more quality time with your kids or friends, or even take up that hobby you’ve been wanting to try forever. Learn a new language, or read more. Write a book if you like, or finally use the time to get yourself into shape.

Whatever sounds like the most fun, do it and enjoy it.

How has minimalism or zero-waste reduced your stress? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

 

It’s that time of year again…

…the beginning of spring! And I am super excited that the weather is finally warming up and winter is over ( fingers crossed lol).

This time of year is my favorite. It’s all about new growth and new life, freshening things up and starting new. I’m in the process of spring cleaning, purging excess winter stuff, and my favorite…getting things ready for the garden! 1522678082532-1451483086.jpg

Officially it is still too cold at nights to plant anything outside just yet but I already have some lovely little seeds planted indoors in old paper egg cartons and random pots and such I had lying around. I kept it minimal and mostly zero waste by using containers I had on hand as well as the egg cartons which are biodegradable and can transfer straight into the garden when it is time. I also used seeds I saved from my harvest last year so I didn’t have to purchase any new. The only things I bought were some organic potting mix and organic compost fertilizer.

I don’t know what it is about growing things myself but I get so excited to see my little sprouts grow into full plants 🙂 It is very satisfying to eat something that you grew yourself from start to finish.

Even if you don’t have space outdoors for a garden, all you really need is a sunny window and a few pots and you can have a small green space in your home for growing herbs or even lettuce for salads all year round.

Do you garden? Have any great tips for indoor gardening? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Xo Candice

Plant fun and thrift finds

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Starting to save seeds for next year!

 

Hey guys, it’s been one crazy summer for sure. Lots and lots of craziness got in the way of blogging, but now that I’ve got more time I’m back at it. Let’s talk about my most recent zero-waste and minimalist changes.

First things first, my pet project in both zero-waste and a minimalist lifestyle…growing my own food.

I’ve had lots of fun in the garden this summer, and am already planning for how I’m going to improve things next year. This year I added a raspberry plant and a blueberry bush to my growing list of plants in the yard. They’ve taken off beautifully, the raspberry plant alone has tripled in size this summer!

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I had everything from spaghetti squashes to potatoes and herbs in my garden. I’ve gotten 22 spaghetti squashes off the vines and still have another 9 growing 🙂 I’m storing these guys in the basement on metal shelves to use during winter.

I also have quite a few potato plants, some already harvested but a lot that aren’t ready yet. I think potatoes are probably the easiest things to grow since you just take the sprouty ones sitting in the kitchen uneaten and plant them in the ground, water and sun and a few months to grow and you have a bunch of new potatoes 🙂

Then of course I had carrots, beans, peas, zucchini, and somehow managed to get one measly cherry tomato plant to grow.

And of course I still have my aloe plant which has almost doubled in size.

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Growing your own food is probably one of the most satisfying ways I’ve moved towards a zero-waste lifestyle. Now I know some of you are thinking that I must have a green thumb, but trust me, I don’t. Take a look at this baby, I planted a BASIL seed or two in here, but you know what ended up growing….a Tomato plant! Don’t ask me how it happened, because I have no clue.

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I also end up with random watermelon vines growing in places I definitely did NOT plant them, and seeds sprouting months after I planted them. Let’s just say my plants have a mind of their own and they refuse to work around my schedule lol But there is nothing more satisfying than biting into a bit of produce you grew yourself, like a nice ripe blueberry or even fresh crisp peas right out of the pod, yum yum.

I’ve made another trip to the thrift store, and can I just take a minute to say how much I enjoy the thrift store! I always find the coolest stuff there and not only is it cheaper than buying new, you also don’t have packaging to deal with and your saving the planet by taking something that’s already in the waste stream.

Anywho, I found a cool new jar, some old school metal measuring cups, a cool metal watering can someone painted which is adorable 🙂 Easy practical things I will definitely use again and again.

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Now there are some times when you need to buy something new. Case in point, my new blender. The poor old plastic one finally bit the dust and I wanted to buy a sturdy glass one that would work and last for years to come. So I did buy new, but it was an investment in something I use daily and it will last for years. And it’ll help me in my minimalist and zero-waste journey because I make my own fruit smoothies with it with my fresh garden fruit. Bonus points for eating healthy 🙂

Do you grow your own food, if so what types do you enjoy growing the most? Any thrift finds you want to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. And for those of you buying new, what have you bought and how does it help you in your minimalist or zero-waste journey?

 

Xo Candice

 

Small changes, big impact :)

Hey everyone, I hope your week went well. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately….about the changes in my life and all the naysayers who pipe up with something along the lines of “One little change isn’t going to magically save the planet” or “why don’t you just use a (insert disposable product here), it won’t hurt anything. One isn’t going to make that much of a difference.”

Mainly all the people who think making small changes isn’t worth their time, because they think that one small change can’t save the planet.

I think they have the wrong perspective.

Sure, one roll of paper towels is a small thing, but so is one reusable towel that can in effect save many paper towels from being purchased and wasted.

And your one reusable towel might seem small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but you’re bound to have a friend or family member to your house, and when they ask if you have any paper towels and you explain that you don’t like disposables they’ll be amused and probably slightly confused by it….but the thought of your reusable towel might pop up the next time they go to buy paper towels, and the time after that. Maybe they’ll ignore it….but what if they don’t?

What if your one small change helps influence someone else to make a change?win_20170227_133514

I’ve experienced this in my own journey. I started with the small change of making my own toothpaste instead of buying tubed ones, and that change led to others. I didn’t force my beliefs on anyone, I just was living my life and my values and before I knew it I noticed others close to me following suit.

It’s always a small change. Like noticing family members stopping at the trash and then placing the item they would’ve thrown away into the recycling pile. Or seeing coworkers start bringing reusable containers for lunches.

My favorites are when people I know come up to me and start the conversation by saying “Hey Candice, you’ll be so proud of me, I’m doing/changing/buying such and such reusable thing, etc.”

So my small changes have unwittingly influenced the people around me, without me having to spout random environmental statistics or show them some horrifying video of a tortoise and a plastic straw coming out of its nose. I’m just living my life, and I blog, and happen to talk about my changes if someone asks me…but that’s about it. Nothing big. Nothing ostentatious.

Just small changes.

Then the effect of those small changes becomes cumulative because their one change might influence another person or two, and so on and so on. Before you know it there’s a whole movement of people using reusable towels instead of disposables.

Your one small change can make a difference, even if it’s just a difference in your own life. And let’s face it, all those disposables you save by using a reusable alternative ADD UP. Think of the effect you can have on the planet over the course of years with one small change.

Of course, one small change is bound to lead to another, and another…

Before you know it your whole lifestyle is different and so much better for the environment.

So don’t discount a small change, they can make a big impact.

Loving them Berries

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

I’ve got dinner plans with my own mother and grandmother later, so I’ll make this a short one.

Last summer at the farmers market I bought a good five pounds of blueberries from one of the vendors there. When I got home I froze them individually and then stored them in mason jars in my freezer. Safe to say during this past winter when berry prices skyrocketed I was quite glad I bought those berries. But besides eating them whole, I’ve recently started using them in fruit smoothies…Delicious!

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Today I finally used my last jar of frozen blueberries to make a triple berry smoothie (mostly zero-waste style). I used fresh strawberries, my blueberries, raspberry sorbet, and some almond milk (which does come in a carton, but I’m okay with that since I need the calcium boost).

But the whole 5 pounds of blueberries lasted me the whole winter, and for only $25 bucks too. In the dead of winter blueberries can go for over $5 for a 6oz package. So the five pounds, safe to say was a total steal at the farmers market. And as an added boost they came package free except for a small cardboard box, and they helped support a local farmer. So win-win!

If you don’t have a farmers market, you could always garden and then preserve your own veggies and fruit, that’s my plan for this year and whatever I don’t grow myself I’ll supplement with things from the farmers market. I already have lettuce, spinach, potato plants, squash, zucchini, peas, and green beans sprouting in the garden. I can’t wait for their first harvest.

If you haven’t tried preserving or freezing food for the winter, I’d definitely recommend it, especially for things like berries and tomatoes. Speaking of which….

I just finally used my last jar of tomato sauce I made from a big batch of 30 tomatoes from the farmers market last year. They cost like $4 and made 9 mason jars worth of sauce. Tip: Ask the vendor if they have any “ugly” tomatoes they’d sell for cheap. Since they’re going in a sauce to preserved they don’t have to be pretty 🙂

One afternoon of work and cooking, and I had a whole winter’s worth of spaghetti sauce/marinara sauce. Totally worth it in my book.

Are there any foods you preserve for the colder months, if so which are your favorites? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

Xo

Candice

Compostable shoes!

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Hey guys,

Lately I’ve been working towards a new goal of mine, to have a completely natural wardrobe….or in other words, a wardrobe where my pieces (once dead) will be completely compostable! (Another post on my progress will be coming soon)

So far I’ve converted about 85% of my wardrobe to pieces made of natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, cashmere, and hemp. All of the pieces have been thrift finds, until now.

Reasons to thrift:

  1. The clothes are already in the waste stream, and I’m giving them a second life before they become garbage. So it’s eco-friendly 🙂
  2. Less waste as opposed to normal shopping, most things only leave with a small paper tag attached, so very little in the way of new trash.
  3. It’s cheap! Easy on my budget.
  4. And I find it fun to look for new uses for old things, and thrift store shopping can be fun….like a scavenger hunt lol.

So, as a result almost 95% of my wardrobe has been thrifted over the years. I just recently started replacing my old synthetic fabric pieces with natural ones….

Why?

  1. Natural fabric is so much better for your skin. I personally don’t itch in natural fabric but can’t stop itching if I happen to sweat in a synthetic fabric shirt.
  2. Along the same lines, natural fabric is just that…Natural…no plastic weaves or nasty man-made synthetic fabrics that pollute the world not only during production and disposal, but also when you wash them (google polyester water pollution). Cotton, hemp and the like have no such problems. (as a caveat cotton is produced most of the time with pesticides, but at least the end product is compostable and nowhere near as harmful as some of the synthetics)
  3. They breathe!
  4. Do I even need another reason?

Anyway, when I was looking into switching up my wardrobe I also wanted to look into shoes and undergarments, etc. And as most of you know it is incredibly difficult to find good shoes and undergarments at a thrift store, so I knew I would have to buy new. But when buying new I have strict standards and I wanted only the best quality made in the least harmful way possible. While researching I happened upon a small company based in Canada (Rawganique) that makes and sells their own clothing, bras, etc and since I decided to order a custom made 100% organic cotton bra from them…I figured I’d try out the shoes too.

Boy am I happy I did 🙂

Check them out….made of 100% hemp fabric and a 100% natural rubber sole, these babies are cute and eco-friendly…and pretty comfy too!DSC04084DSC04082

They came with a small amount of recyclable packaging (as I requested) and the only bit of plastic is from the tape they used to seal the package, the rest will go right into recycling 🙂

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The best part is that these babies will be able to go right into my compost bin….years from now….when they finally bite the dust. Until then, I’m going to enjoy them.

It’s hard to find companies and brands that meet my ethical standards while also being within my budget and fashionable as well, but Rawganique really knocked this one out of the park. I really like the company because they are chemical-free, sweatshop-free, and make everything with sustainable fabrics. They also do a lot of products custom made (like bras), so you’re guaranteed it will fit. They even had me measure my foot to make sure they were sending me the right size 🙂

(And for those of you wondering, NO I do not get paid to sponsor them in any way, this is simply a great review from a very satisfied customer)

Have any of you tried natural shoes? Or have anything made out of hemp? As always I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Xo,

Candice

Zero-Waste, Minimalism, and technology

I hope everyone has had a great week! I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on how anyone could possibly be minimalist/zero-waste while still using technology. I guess to be truly “zero-waste”, you wouldn’t use technology except for perhaps shared computers at the library, etc. Or live off-grid in a yurt in the middle of the wilderness…

I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to go completely off-grid just yet. Mostly because certain parts of my life require access to technology, like my job, as well as for bill paying, etc. Not only that, but technology can make certain aspects of life more convenient. But I do believe there are ways to be more conscious about what technology you use, how much you own, and how long you keep it/how you dispose of it once it’s no longer usable.

Let me start by stating that in my mind technology is usually some sort of electronic gizmo, mostly made of plastic and metals….now this could cover everything from toaster ovens to cell phones, but for the sake of time I’m just going to stick with tech that falls underneath the categories of phones, televisions, computers, videogames, etc. You know, the ones that tend to be a black hole sucking up all our free-time 🙂

Anyway, the best way to keep technology minimal with as little waste as possible is to not have that much of it in the first place. I personally own a cell phone, a tablet, a digital camera, an iPod, and the accessories to go with them (power cords, headphones, etc.). I don’t own any video game consoles or devices, smart watches, fitbits, or the like, and I personally do not own a television myself, though there is one where I live currently.

What Technology you use/How much you owntechnology-1260x840

 

How much/what types of technology you need and use can vary from person to person. One person might have to have a certain type of computer set-up for their job while another only needs access to a landline. One person can live without a cell phone, while others might need it to keep in touch with family, etc.

Ideally I would love to get to the point where I’d only need one or two devices that would fit all my needs, but I’m still working on it. Until then I do my best to keep things as simple as possible.

To keep my personal devices as minimalistic as possible I have a few non-negotiables for each item:

  1. The device has to serve a useful function in my daily life. For example, my phone let’s me call, text, and check my emails on a daily basis.
  2. The device has to be small and easily portable/easily stored. This is why I bought a tablet instead of a full-sized laptop computer. Easier to put away, and easy to take with me wherever I need to go.
  3. The device should serve multiple purposes if possible. Like my phone, which calls, texts, and has the ability to connect me with my emails. (For those of you wondering, it also has a camera, but the camera takes horrible pictures, hence my actual digital camera) *another good example here would be having 1 remote for your television, dvd player, etc instead of 3 or 4*
  4. It has to be able to serve it’s purpose for a long time before breaking down, or at least be easily fixable. I try to cut down on my electronic waste by keeping each cell phone I own until it literally bites the dust and is completely unusable. The same goes for my other devices as well as their accompanying power cords, etc.
  5. When it has finished it’s life it has a way to be recycled or repurposed. Cell phones can usually be recycled at local electronics stores, while my digital camera when dead will eventually be repurposed into a decorative piece of art.

By having these guidelines in mind when shopping for a new device, or even considering purchasing a new device, I can make really responsible choices with my technology.

How long you keep it

Some people run through cell phones like used tissues, waiting hours and hours in line to get the “new” version of what they already own…..I’m not one of those people 🙂

My phone is almost 5 years old. My tablet is already 3. My camera is almost 8 years old, and my iPod is closer to 10.

Why replace something that isn’t broken?

As far as I’m concerned, I’ll be using each of these devices until there is literally no way to use them anymore. If that means having an old sliding keyboard phone for another 3-5 years then so be it. Not only do I get to keep the money I would spend on a new one, but I’m also keeping extra electronics out of the landfill. Good for my wallet and the planet 🙂

How to dispose of them

Disposal is a huge issue with electronics, because when they end up in the landfill they can cause all sorts of trouble. Right now the best option is to recycle them when they’ve outlived their usefulness. I know a lot of stores will recycle old cell phones, some stores will recycle old video game consoles, even BestBuy will recycle old cords.

At least when the device is recycled it can then be taken apart to reuse the metals inside. Did you know a lot of phones have small bits of gold inside?

*If the device is still usable, but you don’t want it anymore….try giving it away to a friend or donating it*

Any way you slice it, technology is going to create waste, and if we’re not careful it can create clutter in our homes as well.

So, to recap..

  1. Refuse random gadgets and useless gizmos that you know you won’t use.
  2. Reduce what you do need/own. Consolidate and prefer multifunctional devices over single purpose ones.
  3. Reuse old gadgets- or in my case keep using them until they kick the bucket.
  4. Recycle those sad gadgets that have finally kicked the bucket.