5 things: minimalist transitions

It’s a little more than 3 years since I decided to adopt a simpler, more minimal approach to life and consumption. I was already interested in green initiatives, but, naturally, this led to an increased interest in low waste, DIY, conscious consumerism, curated collections, and introspection. Like many, I started with a copy of Marie Kondo’s Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and took off from there. The book really was life-changing, altering my philosophy on home, spending, and happiness in general. My initial goal in reading the book was to inspire my mom to change some of her own habits and overcome her fear of letting go, what I found was a new outlook that resulted in a happier, simpler me.

I filmed a few videos describing my early experience with “sparking joy” (I’ll be restarting that that series soon, re-titled “minimalist transitions”), but here are 5 things that facilitated the process and/or inspired me to think about what I consume.

5 things: minimalist transitions

the book

This is the book that started it all for me. I borrowed it from my library and learned so much, I wanted to share it with everyone. I still apply KonMari’s philosophy and strive to surround myself with things that spark joy — in life, work, and home.

KeepCup

I have a coffee habit, and while I’m still working on minimizing my use of disposables, this was a start. KeepCup has since become the cup du jour among the cool kids.

I am not a cool kid, just a posh nerd.

Fjallraven Kanken (classic and mini)

I have two of these – the classic in red and the mini in brick. I work at a university and I have a lot to carry. I also travel for work and love Swedish design. These bags hold EVERYTHING and don’t make my back hurt (joy all around); they also helped me re-evaluate what I carry, and learn that I value comfort and practicality above all. I wear a Kanken on most days and have gotten sooo much use out of them. Fun fact, I used my amazon reward points to purchase both of them. I paid $0 for each.

Lesson: use those credit rewards!

tieks

I’ve talked about these before (here, here, here, and here). These were the 1st big, well-researched fashion purchase I made after re-evaluating my spending and shopping habits. Purchasing a pair of $175 shoes is an investment and not one I made lightly. This purchase forced me to re-evaluate my relationship with fashion, and appreciate the quality and durability of well-made shoes. Two years on, my first pair is still one of my most-worn items.

Another happy side-effect, I was able to let go of all the shoes that made my feet hurt. I reach for tieks whenever I’m not wearing my Lotta’s (another purchase made for comfort and durability).

Note: I have the luxury of being able to afford these. This is a luxury that I did not have once upon a time, but one that I am aware of. Buying secondhand, quality items that live up to their value is always an option. Quality does not always = $$$.

project use it up

Not a thing, but a concept – “project use it up,” or tracking my empties, has resulted in a greater understanding of what I buy and use, which leads to fewer impulse buys and more selective purchases.

some thoughts…

Do you need these things to adopt a lower waste/minimalist philosophy? No. Do they help? Sometimes, but you can find your own joy sparking alternatives. The items listed are items that I love and appreciate for their style and purpose; they have a classic, timeless style and will serve me for years to come.

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project use it up: July empties

project use it up-2

Another month, another round of stuff I used up.

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Kicking it off with the supplements… my doctor is in awe of my self-experimenting and documentation.

  • Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water: Watermelon Mint – Have to admit, this tastes pretty awful until you get used to the flavor. I’d much rather use the Collagen Peptides, but I decided to try this to flavor my water during the summer. I used it up, but it took some time. After trying a different flavor (and finding it just as bad), I’ll be sticking to the Peptides in future. I take collagen for my joints and find that it does ease my aches. Also, an extra source of protein since I tend to have a carb heavy diet on most days (especially after going mostly plant-based).
  • Florastor – I had a nasty bout of tonsillitis in July (still not over it), and had to take a round of antibiotics. Once upon an infection, a doctor recommended this brand and I turn to it whenever I need to take antibiotics.
  • Nature’s Way DIM-Plus – My first bottle and not my last. I started taking DIM because it works to balance estrogen in the body. I’ve been taking it for three months and have seen a significant change in my charts, as well as my overall mood and health. I’ve had fewer migraines since taking this and I am convinced this is due to the estrogen that it helps metabolize (I take it with milk thistle to detox my liver – where excess estrogen is stored).
  • Vitacost Selenium – Selenium is important for thyroid health and *newsflash* I’m hypothyroid. I recently started a multi that includes selenium, so I’m not supplementing for the moment. I took it in conjunction with Vitamin E and noticed some improvement in my nails (there is a kind of nail splitting that happens when thyroid hormones are not being produced or taken up by the body).
  • Solgar B-complex 50 – Not supplementing at the moment because of the multi noted above, but I used to take it for energy and metabolism. Sometimes, it made me a little too hungry.

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On to the products…

  • Suntegrity 5-in-1 in Fair – I’ve tried the Suntegrity Light, which is too warm on me, and decided to give Fair a chance. It’s nice, but still not my favorite. I’m currently using their moisturizing primer, which has a different texture and no tint, but smells very strongly of orange jellies.
  • Kiss My Face Triple Action – My favorite brand of SLS, Fluoride-Free toothpaste 🙂
  • Andalou Naturals A Path of Light hand cream in Lavender – At first, I hated the smell. I don’t love lavender (I meant to buy the citrus one and grabbed this one by mistake), but I grew used to the smell and I really enjoyed the moisture.
  • ACURE Brilliantly Brightening scrub (trial size) – My BF recently noticed the number of ACURE products in my bathroom… they work well and are an affordable eco option if you’re trying to switch to a more natural skincare routine. I like this scrub, but the full size tends to go bad in my shower if I don’t use it quickly, because it’s so hot in my apartment. This trial was just right.
  • Honest Beauty cleanser (trial size) – This was part of a Target beauty box. I always wanted to try the Honest cleanser and I’m glad I got to use a trial because it’s not a keeper. I used it while traveling and had to wash my face two or three times to get the makeup off. I ended up using it as a second cleanse to finish it up. Not buying a full size.
  • Ulta Luxurious Cleansing Body Wash in Coconut + Almond Milk – Have to admit, this was an impulse buy that was on clearance, but I like a bit of bubble in my bath. Nice scent.

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PENS!

The red and green ones are actually declutters. I gave up on trying to use them because they were always scratchy and dry. They were part of a set that I plan to give away at work (where pens walk away on a regular basis). I used up the yoobi and the Faber-Castell was a mediocre brush pen for calligraphy that didn’t quite work out.

loves & latest: August 6, 2018

monday musings

Loves

Reads

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Uprooted was one of my favorite books of 2017 and I was ecstatic when I learned that there would be another work in Naomi Novik’s re-imagining of Eastern European fairy tales and folklore. This one concerns a Rumpelstiltskin like story. It’s a dark, compelling story and one I’m intrigued to finish.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

An old favorite that I recently revisited, Sabriel is a classic and still perfect in every way. It is also the coming theme for the next episode of The Bluestocking Circle, so read up now!

Beauty

Medieval by Lipstick Queen

This has genuinely become my go-to lipstick for every day. It’s sheer and glossy with just the right amount of color to look natural and put together. I also find that the formula lasts long and does not dry out my lips – win-win!

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Latest

Podcast

bluestocking-circleDidn’t know I co-host a podcast? I do! 

The latest episode of The Bluestocking Circle is on The Flash (CW). Our previous episode was on The Incredibles and Incredibles II. If you want to hear three lady nerds talk superheroes, give us a listen on Podomatic, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify.

Follow us @bluesoxcircle on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

writing: June & July update

writing

So all plans re: blogging/vlogging/social media were tossed out the window in July. But that’s ok—the writing is strong and the words are coming. Unexpected circumstances aside, this draft will be done by the end of the month…

Now, for the stats:

  • Words (re)written in June: 16,888
  • Words (re)written in July: 33,609

good job, self. keep at it.

life: stepping back

I have not been kind to myself this week. I’ve been sick. I’ve been sick for a long time, but in the last week, I’ve been really sick. And I forced myself to chug through it. I’ve been hard on myself for a lot of things: writing, fitness, lack of progress in both. I’ve beat myself up over it—especially the fitness part. I’ve fallen into a pattern of negative self-talk when it comes to my body. I’m physically tired in general, add a bout of tonsillitis and my energy is next to nil. I’m trying to slow down and be kinder. It takes a lot of work. This is me thinking through it and recognizing my baggage. It’s not easy.

project use it up: June empties

project use it up-2

What I used up in May. Body care and supplements.

June 2018 empties

  • Me! bath tini ME! Lavendar Lullaby bath bombs: These were part of a Target sample both and proved to be a pleasant surprise. It brought three little bombs and they were perfect and nicely scented.
  • Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Baby Unscented Pure Castille Soap: This is the workhorse: hand soap, brush cleaner, body wash, I may not have 18 uses, but it’s a fave.
  • Oral B floss: True confession: I hate flossing. My teeth are crazy tight and I’ve yet to find a floss that doesn’t get stuck. This one was ok.
  • Weleda Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash: Another sample bag trial. Smelled like orange peels and felt like the L’occitane Almond Shower Oil.
  • wowe wooden toohbrush: Not really an empty so much as a new addition… I went through all the plastic toothbrushes I had and made the switch to bamboo. So far, I’m impressed by the quality and like that they come in a 4-pack that will get me through the year. They’re no more expensive than plastic brushes. win-win.
  • NOW Foods Super Enzymes: The best and always a repurchase. I started using these after my gallbladder surgery, when I started to have issues with food intolerance. They make my tummy happy and I can double up when I choose to indulge in something problematic, like ice cream.
  • PB8 probiotics: Another frequent product. I alternate brands, but this is a trust fallback. As with the enzymes, probiotics keep my gut working.

5 things: music to write to

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a 5 things, and with the death of Polyvore, I’ve been thinking how to create new themes.

For today, I give you 5 of the Spotify Playlists I listen to when I need to focus on writing, or while working on projects where I crave no distractions.

Thor: Ragnarok soundtrack

This album is electronic, atmospheric, and just the right amount of adrenaline-pumping to get me going. Really good for writing action.

Late Night Jazz

This playlist works for me at any time of day, but particularly when I want to relax into writing and forget about everything else. I also enjoy this playlist when settling in for a good reading session.

The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack

Like the Thor soundtrack, this one is atmospheric enough to get me going, but smooth enough when I need to focus on words rather than pacing.

Ambient Chill

I listen to this at work. It’s my version of office muzak. Unobtrusive and easy to listen to when working in an office.

Femme Fatale

Sometimes I need something dark and sexy to set the tone.

project use it up: May empties

project use it up-2

Welcome to another round of “what I used up last month”

May 2018 empties

  • ACURE radically rejuvenating under eye hydrogel masks: I’ve posted these before. Love them and they’re easy to find at my local Target and Whole Foods when I need a pick-me-up.
  • California Baby Calendula Cream (for babies and sensitive adults… I’m def. a sensitive adult): one of my favorite creams when my skin is reacting or experiencing a psoriasis flare.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (citron scent): Another good cream when I’m experiencing a flare. The active ingredient is Colloidal Oatmeal and the orange scent is lovely is you like a light citrus (fades quickly).
  • NEST fragrances in Dahlia and Vines: at the time of purchase, this was a Sephora exclusive scent. Light and floral, lasts a long time and didn’t give me a headache (always a win).
  • LaVanila The Healthy Deodorant, vanilla scent: When I’m not using Schmidt’s bergamot and lime, I’m using this. It works for me, but deodorant works differently on every body. If you’re new to natural deodorants, this might not be enough to cover the initial detox stank.
  • ACURE seriously glowing facial serum: This was a nice blend of nourishing oils, just what I needed when my skin was going through a dry spell. ACURE may have discontinued or renamed this since their rebranding.
  • Desert Essence spot treatment: one of my favorites.
  • Weleda Almond Lotion sample: Came in a sample baggie. I’ve used this before and continue to enjoy it. Very light moisturizer.
  • avatara Calm Down blackhead pore strips: bought these on a whim at Target, they really work.

May 2018 empties

  • Yogi Chai Rooibos tea: another tea successfully used up. Red tea with chai spice, no caffeine and no weird headaches (some chai blends give me a reaction)
  • Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night: for when I need a little help to fall asleep.
  • Solgar Zinc Picolinate 22 mg: part of my thyroid support protocol
  • Mr. Bubble Meltaways Bath Candies: part of a Target discovery box. They do what they do.
  • Kiss my Face Sensitive toothpaste, orange mint flavor: My favorite SLS/fluoride-free toothpaste. Been using it for at least 2 years.
  • Weleda salt toothpaste: This… was weird. Part of the same Weleda bag mentioned above.

loves & latest: June 11, 2018

monday musings

Loves

Reads

I recently devoured Sarah J. Maas’s Court of Thorns and Roses series (minus the recently released novella, which I will remedy forthwith). Faeries, complex characters, and unexpected sexiness, this is the kind of story I wanted when New Adult became a thing (and completely failed to meet my expectation).

I also mention the series in the video below.

Beauty

The heat is on and I’ve been feeling nostalgic. I decided to switch my usual RMS blush for an oldie but a goodie: Benefit DandelionI wore Dandelion for years (through college and beyond), but stopped using it after greening my makeup. It’s not clean; it’s not cruelty free; it is all things bad and evil, but I love the color and I can live with my poor choices.


Latest

Podcast

bluestocking-circleEpisode 10: Gotham by Gaslight (hosted by yours truly) is now available. This episode focuses on Gotham by Gaslight (the film and graphic novel) and general thoughts on BatCat.

You can find the episode on Podomatic, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play.

Video

May Update

Health, writing, books, and tieks!