~John Perry Barlow
A photo of a set of wooden handled brushes will get a lot more clicks than a photo of a forest under the #zerowaste tag on social media. One could say that one is the how + one is the why. Another could say that one costs the other...or that one is necessary + one is unnecessary.
I want to say that's ok. It's human nature for whatever reason. I'm all for anyone giving zero-waste habits a go...for any reason. Each straw skipped helps + any zero-waste habit can snowball into more action + awareness. But I would like to caution against zero-waste involving a shopping list...because more often than not it will simply remain a way of consuming rather than a way of thinking.
This problem is demonstrated by the cashier checking me + my toilet paper out at the grocery store telling me that she is trying that internet toilet paper that she can't remember the name of. I supply the name + hope she realizes the irony of this whole situation. She could just walk down the aisle of the store she works in to buy paper-wrapped, recycled, toilet paper rather than having a huge box shipped across the country just for her. Ugh.
Zero-waste isn't a collection of pretty wood handled brushes or tote bag full of stuff to lug around. It's a way of thinking that inspires a thoughtful way of life.
I did not play sports growing up. I am terrible at anything involving round, bouncy things. I don't like to sweat. But...I've been consistently exercising for the past few years. I'm still not buff or fit...but I am stronger than I was + I have learned a few things about making a lasting habit from the realization that I've kept this habit going.
-knowing myself + making manageable commitments ::
---three days per week :: Though I'd like to say that I exercise every day, I know that it's better to say that I exercise three times per week than...well...less. I decided that three times per week would be floor. I'd like to make a fourth day's walk outdoors more consistent this year.
---no more than two days between workouts :: This allows for being sick + bad weather + holidays. It keeps up the momentum + muscle.
---setting reasonable expectations :: When we started I told myself that I would not berate myself for being weak or slow. I was a beginner + I would celebrate the fact that I got moving that day. I did + I do...and I'm stronger + faster than I was. If I overdid every time I went, I might resist going or hurt myself + need to recover. Consistency is the goal.
-having partners helps a lot :: Knowing that my girls are depending on me to keep my promises, provides so much motivation to get out the door. We can laugh at how tired we are together afterward + high five the fact that we did it.
-being flexible :: Yes, increasing bodily flexibility is key...stretch. But mental flexibility is also helpful. If I can't do down dogs, because of an excessively runny nose or our teacher cancels class...I don't skip...I walk, ride bikes, row, do weights, etc. instead.
-location :: I still think that walking outside is a great way to get exercise + we do that often. It's a cheap way to exercise + offers time in nature...which I think is essential. But I have to admit that a temperature controlled space is great. When our city announced that they were building a more-cost-effective, city-run fitness center within two miles of our home, I committed to joining. I heard recently that the closer one's gym is to one's home, the more likely one is to go. I know it's helpful for us.
-choosing the best time :: I like working out in the morning, so that it's not hanging over my head all day...and I can't have the excuse of being too tired by the end of the day. On the other hand, one of my girls feels she has more energy in the evenings.
-scheduling ahead :: Every time the girls' work + school schedules change, we address when we'll go to the gym. Set times that we can depend on throughout the week help us keep to our commitment. We don't have to scramble to figure it out day by day, and we keep those times clear of other commitments.
Last week, I had a terrible cold, and I knew that my girls didn't want to miss another gym day. I decided that I'd just do what I could + not feel bad about setting the level lower on the bike or just walking instead. I felt so happy afterward + realized that I don't even dislike going to the gym anymore. I mean...I actually sort of like it. :)
Often, by the time a book I put on hold arrives at my library, I've forgotten how I came across it. All About Love by Bell Hooks stands out as the book Brene Brown referenced in the piece I mentioned yesterday. It does not disappoint.
A very good use of my time.
Don't buy it if you don't need it.
A simple wardrobe.
Use what you have. :)
Yesterday we wished we could send our rain to Australia. Today snowflakes are falling outside our windows. Wherever you find yourself this weekend, take good care of the world.
lots of love,
Love is the only sane + satisfactory answer to
the problem of human existence.
(via this read that I loved)
Overalls are made to layer...nothing new there. The various stylings of this pair of overalls from Ali Golden caught my eye though. My default thought on wearing overalls veers toward pairing them with fitted tees + tanks. Layering a cardigan overtop is cozy + looks great...but can present a little issue throughout the day...on + off. ;) I had almost decided that jumpsuits + overalls just don't work for me as well in the winter. Then I saw these outfits...all using the same pair of overalls.
I enjoyed seeing a few layering options that I don't usually consider...looking so good here. Monochrome layering...layering a sweater or button-down underneath...and a bunch of footwear options that change up the look too.
I love finding a little bit of inspiration to increase the versatility of what's already in my closet. So...I'm reconsidering wearing my overalls in winter (+ always love them for spring, summer + autumn). :)
All lovely photos via links.
the beautiful in-house production space of Conscious Clothing
A recent series in the New York Times (see * below) offers insight into the lives of garment workers + young shoppers around the world. The two groups are so closely linked, yet many shoppers have never really thought about where their clothing comes from.
We most often compare ourselves to those in our perceived tribes. This might be an instagram tribe, a style tribe or a tribe of proximity (school or mommy group or coworkers...). We learn thinking, behaviors + new norms from the groups with which we spend our time. Even much of the so-called ethical fashion community online ends up creating desire rather than contentedness.
When we compare the ways that we are able think about + consume clothing...to the ways garment workers have to think about more basic needs...it creates perspective.
"Seamstresses are the key element in the fashion chain, we are the ones who put the clothes together," said [a seamstress from Brazil]. "You basically have to kill yourself in front of a sewing machine in order to provide for your family." (via)
These articles reveal some heartbreaking testimonies from garment factories around the world...including in the United States + China. They even raise questions about origins that may be presented as ethical:
-How do we know that a made in the USA label = fair wages?
-How do we trust the wording on a brand's website about the origins of their clothing?
-Does a brand really know the conditions under which their garments are made?
So, what can we do? Again, the principles of the fairdare serve us well. We can reconsider "need". We can wear what we have...mend + repair...refashion...swap...shop secondhand... and make our own clothing (with attention to fibers + commitment to longtime wear). When it comes to purchasing "fair" clothing, we can look for:
-a small brand with the designer making his or her own pieces
-a brand that makes ALL of their clothing in-house with commitment to makers' well-being
-a brand making their product close to home + making frequent visits to the factory
-a brand using traceable materials + a commitment to every part of the supply chain
-an item of clothing that is fair-trade certified
Both brand + consumer need to prioritize farmers' + garment workers' well-being higher than getting the cheapest product possible. As consumers, we can read the fine print on the brands' "about" pages with a critical + educated eye. Education comes from reading articles like the ones linked here. They contain so much information + have caused me to be even more critical in a few areas. I'm in the process of making a few changes to the ethical brands page. We can vote with our dollars. We can let brands know when we'd like them to do better + also when they are doing things that we love. Articles like these are also incredibly helpful in reigniting resolve + encouraging action. Remembering that there are garment workers with concerns for having enough food, the education of their children, the health of their parents, and being forced into labor puts my own closet concerns in perspective.
All lovely photos via link.
* check to see if your library offers online access to newspapers (ours does)...this is helpful for newspapers like The New York Times with limited allowed articles per month
Not only are the photographs in Making a Life beautiful + transporting, but the words of the artists are thought provoking + stretching. This is a book about the why of making rather than the how.
I identify with not only the desire, but also the need to make things with my hands + to make them beautiful. Like so many of the makers highlighted, I gain joy from making, testing + discovering.
Simplicity often prods me to think about the necessity of objects being made + where sales come into the picture. Yes, I receive value from creating beautiful things, but do those things have value in + of themselves? Do they have value if they are not necessary? How much stuff do I need to bring into this world?
At the same time, what do I lose by not making?
From Making a Life ::
Melanie Falick: In traditional society, hands-on competence, learning to do what is expected of adult men + women, is what growing up is about.
Ellen Dissanayake: Yes. Girls were taught to prepare food, boys to make animal traps + fishing nets. In some groups, only females or only males made pots or wove baskets. All these skills were acquired as a matter of course by watching + interacting with others, and the skills were within the capability of all normal people. Today, although they have the 'freedom' to choose their own paths to satisfying work, not all young people can figure out their own place in the larger world, where it is difficult to acquire the skills that will bring the money + prestige that have become the measure of success. In traditional societies, a material object that one made was tangible evidence that one had accomplished something, even though it might not have been 'the best'.
We're all spinning on blue
Watching the same clouds
Breathing in, breathing out
A few of mine ::
-lots of candles
-a cozy blanket
-good (library) books
-good warm drinks (chai is my favorite)
-roasted root vegetables
-warm treats (especially apple crisp, pumpkin bread, popcorn + cookies)
-a good movie
-a walk under cloudless or starry skies
-cutting snowflakes + hanging them in windows
Sometimes I can forget what truly brings warmth + simple pleasure to this season of frigid temperatures + darkness. Revisiting this list periodically keeps me from looking for contentment in the wrong places. It's not about having the right blanket or tea...it's about taking notice of the no longer cold toes + the warmth of the cup.
If we fill our lives with simple good things + are constantly grateful for them...we can be full of joy. This is a discipline...a chosen way of thinking + living. Make a list that speaks to you + get to it. ;)
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time