Low Waste Flying

found in low waste, travel | 0

My husband Ben has a job that requires him to fly often. He was getting frustrated by all the plastic generated on his trips, so there are some things he decided to bring on his trips to reduce the amount of plastic waste created when flying:

  • A cup/bottle – plastic cups are probably the biggest culprit. Especially on a longer flight, passengers will be served (sometimes multiple) drinks multiple times. Ben brings a stainless steel mug which can be used for hot or cold beverages. He also fills up his S’well* water bottle at the airport and also during the flight so he has water throughout the flight.
  • Cutlery – typically meals are served with a little plastic bag of plastic cutlery – skip this and pack your own. Ben usually finds a spork is fine (most vegan/vegetarian meals are some kind of curry, pasta or rice dish that doesn’t need cutting). Chopsticks are another option, and some people also bring a bamboo cutlery set with a spoon, fork and knife.
  • A straw – if you typically order sodas or other canned drinks on a plane, you can ask for the can and use your own reusable straw (although whether or not they’ll let you have the whole can depends on the airline/flight attendant).
  • Headphones – the headphones you get on a plane are always wrapped in plastic and generally pretty low quality; bring your own instead!
  • Snacks/food – if you want to have a completely plastic free flight, you can bring your own food in reusable containers.

 

It’s also great to carbon offset the impact of your flight. Read my post about carbon offsetting.

 

 

*indicates an affiliate link. For more information on my use of affiliate links please see the disclosure policy.

Fall Capsule Wardrobe

please note: this post contains some affiliate links

 

The items I’m including in my capsule wardrobe for this autumn are:

1. Wine bodysuit from Miakoda*
2. Velvet bodysuit from Underprotection (read my brand review)
3. Navy tee from Lanius
4. Black tee from Funktion Schnitt 
5. Grey tee from Kuyichi
6. Grey jumper from People Tree
7. Red jumper – old
8. Grey top from Comazo | earth
8. Black sweatshirt from Dedicated*
10. Long shirt from ArmedAngels
11. Sweater from People Tree
12. Icelandic sweater – secondhand

13. Knit vest – DIY/handmade
14. Gold jacket – secondhand
15. Beige cardigan – old
16. Green cardigan – DIY/handmade

17. Linen skirt from NotPerfectLinen* (read more about my love of linen)
18. Light jeans from MUD Jeans*
19. Dark jeans from Naked & Famous Denim
20. Black pants from People Tree

21. Check tunic from People Tree
22. Black dress from People Tree
23. Draped dress – secondhand
24. Tee dress from Kowtow

25. Brown jacket – DIY/handmade
26. Denim jacket – secondhand
27. Woven cape – secondhand/vintage

28. Beige purse from Angela Roi
29. Black purse from Matt & Nat (please read why I no longer support Matt & Nat)
30. Back pack from Matt & Nat (please read why I no longer support Matt & Nat)
31. Black hat – secondhand
32. Knit scarf – DIY/handmade

 

My capsule wardrobe is adapted from the Project 333 challenge. Over the course of creating my many capsule wardrobes I’ve been fine-tuning them to figure out what works best for me. The most recent change I made in the spring was to no longer include shoes as part of my capsule wardrobe, because I feel I have a good core “shoe capsule” and the one thing I often seemed to miss was some pair of shoes that I hadn’t included.

I also find that I need more pieces in the fall and winter and fewer in the spring and summer, so I don’t try to hit a specific number, I just build a wardrobe I think would work well, and it usually ends up being 30-35 pieces.

 

I want to say that I didn’t do the best job with my colours this season (even though there is very little colour). Like I mentioned in my how to build a colourful capsule wardobe video, it’s best to keep different colours in the same “area”. I really love the deep reds and greens but I have the reds as tops and the greens as layering pieces (I’m not really into dressing like Christmas). This is mainly because I started knitting the green cardigan years ago and just finished it a few weeks ago. In hindsight, I wish I had chosen a different colour, but while it’s not ideal, it’s still a really versatile and functional capsule wardrobe. I just wanted to mention it in case you’re wondering why I’m not following my own advice. XD

 

I also did the 10×10 Challenge again this year!

 

* this item was gifted to me from the brand

Hygge Holiday in Belgium

found in travel | 3

Ben and I recently planned a little trip to the country. We wanted to relax; spend time hiking and walking in nature; cook meals together; and just enjoy some time away from the city. We stayed in a beautifully renovated barn on a Belgian farm and it couldn’t have been a more lovely holiday.

We filmed a lot and I edited this video, but it fit much better on my very neglected second channel, A Slower Life, than on my main channel (I’ve included the hyperlink in case you want to follow it, but don’t expect any kind of regular content). I hope you enjoy coming along on our little “hygge” holiday.

I love cooking with Ben, so a trip to relax out in the country for me definitely involves making some delicious meals. We picked up groceries at a bio-market on the way and ended up making:

  • Mushroom and leek risotto (Minimalist Baker’s recipe) with garlic bread
  • Pancakes with berries and pineapple (we had pancakes for breakfast on a couple of days, but also brought some muesli)
  • Baked sweet potatoes, hummus, and kale chips – one of my favourite simple meals
  • Sun-dried tomato, mushroom, and spinach tofu quiche (adapted from Oh She Glow’s recipe)
  • “Cheesy” pasta with kale and tomatoes (a cashew, garlic “cheese” sauce + veggies – Minimalist Baker has a bunch of different vegan Mac n’ Cheese recipes)

 

We found the farmhouse on Airbnb. We use Airbnb for most of our trips and find it much nicer (and often more affordable!) than staying in hotels. If you’ve never traveled with Airbnb I recommend it, and you can get €30 off your first trip if you book with this link!*

The house was not only gorgeously designed and decorated but it’s in a great location within driving distance to lovely little towns and lots of parks with walking trails.

This was a perfect vacation for us and just what we needed to relax and recharge.

What’s your ideal holiday?

 

 

*Indicates an Airbnb referral link, you get €30 and I get a €15 credit.

Choosing a Facial Oil

found in makeup | 4

I love using oils; I’ve completely replaced creams and moisturizers with them, and enjoy the simplicity and benefits to my skin that come with using them. Some questions that I often get in relation to oils are: “Which oils do you prefer?” and “How can I find the right oil for my skin?”. There are lots of different options, all with their own benefits so it can be a difficult choice.

The first oil that I tried was jojoba oil. I selected it because it’s a good versatile oil, and it’s recommended for both oily and dry skin, although it’s generally better for skin that’s more on the oily side. I have combination skin, so I figured this was the best option. Jojoba oil is actually not a oil, it’s a wax that is very similar to the sebum your skin produces. This makes it good for helping to balance your skin’s sebum production, and it’s also good for acne. I really liked how lightweight it was, especially for my first time using oils, since I was worried that they would make my skin really greasy. I really liked using jojoba oil and it got me excited about facial oils, so when it was time to get more, I decided to experiment with different oils.

The next oil I got was argan oil. It’s also recommended for different skin types, and is high in vitamin E. It’s know for its anti-aging benefits: reducing wrinkles and helping heal the skin. Argan oil is heavier compared to jojoba, but it still absorbs well. A big reason why I wanted to try argan oil was because it’s supposed to help with redness, which I get around and on my nose. Using it, I never noticed any improvements in that area, but I later learned that it’s high in oleic acid, which can make redness and acne worse. It seems like argan oil works really well for some people, and not so well for others. Since it is a pricier oil, for me it wasn’t worth it, although it was really wonderful on my hair.

I then decided to try sweet almond oil. This is actually recommended for dry skin, but I got it because it was winter, and I was spending time in my hometown in Canada where it’s very dry. Sweet almond oil can help heal the skin, and I found it still absorbed well. Going back to Germany where it’s more humid, I did feel a little greasy using it, but it wasn’t too bad. I do, however, really like using it on my body and any dry areas, and because it’s an affordable oil it makes a really great body moisturizer. Ben has drier skin then I do, and it works really well for him.

Next in my facial oil journey I decided to try an oil blend. I got the Aphrodite Facial Oil from Magic Organic Apothecary (you can also get it from The Choosy Chick* if you’re in North America). The main ingredient is rosehip oil, but it also contains sunflower, yarrow, and rose geranium oils, along with marshmallow leaf extract, and damask rose essential oil. Roseship oil is has lots of vitamins and beneficial fatty acids which help with skin regeneration. As well, the other oils help with redness, calming and balancing the skin. This is a nice “dry oil” and absorbs well. I’ve really been enjoying using it this summer. I’m not sure if it will be too light for the winter, but we’ll see!

 

So those are the oils that I’ve tried on my skin, but these are some other good ones:

If you have oily/acne-prone skin try grapeseed or hemp seed oil. You will want to look for an oil with linoleic acid. Grapeseed is easily absorbed, known for combating acne, and can help reduce oil production. Hemp seed is another oil high in linoleic acid and has anti-inflammatory properties.

If you have dry skin try safflower or sweet almond oil. Safflower oil helps your skin to keep in moisture, but it also contains linoleic acid to help with acne. Sweet almond is a good moisturizing oil for dry skin, and can help to remove dead skin cells and relieve itching and inflammation.

If you have very dry skin try coconut or olive oil. Both of these are comedogenic (meaning they can clog your pores) which is why they’re typically used on the body, but both oils can provide moisture and nourishment to dehydrated skin.

If you have aging skin try argan or rosehip oil. Both help to improve skin texture and combat signs of aging.

Finally, if you’re unsure where to start, I think jojoba is a great, “all-types” oil. It balances sebum, is good for both dry and oily skin, and it can help skin conditions like acne or eczema; also, it’s not very expensive and has a long shelf-life.

 

When purchasing oils look for pure, preferably organic, cold-pressed oils. I bought most of my oils from Ecco Verde*

 

 

Learn more about different oils:

Naked Truth Beauty has a helpful post explaining linoleic vs. oleic acid, comedogenicity, and some common face oils.

Gothamista’s Face Oil video explains lots of different oils for different skin types.

Natural Living Ideas has a post about making your own oil blend.

 

*indicates an affiliate link, please see my disclosure policy for more information

Is it Inauthentic to Edit your Photos?

found in Beauty, Lifestyle | 6

There are always discussions around the “fakeness” of social media and Instagram – how it’s made up of perfectly composed images that crop out the ugly parts, people doing something just “for the gram”, only showing all the best parts of your life, and editing/photoshop.

I totally understand this; obviously I’m not going to post a photo of my sweatpant-outfit or a breakfast I just threw together, and even though my reality is mainly me sitting at a computer, I’m not going to post that either – I’m going to post the interesting places I go. It’s normal to want to share the best parts of our life and have nice photos. We already edit what we post quite a bit just through deciding what to share and taking a bunch of photos to get the perfect one. What I’m unsure about is photoshopping or all these other photo editing tools. When does editing go from improving a photo to making it misleading or fake? Heavy editing generally seems to acceptable and endorsed with artistic/creative photos but where is that line? And the big question for me is, as a content creator focused on ethics and promoting transparency, does editing my photos make them and me inauthentic, and is editing something that should be disclosed?

Consider the following as Instagram photos and how you’d feel about the editing in each case:

  • A beautiful beach photo with the litter edited out.
  • A fashion photo where the person has been edited to appear taller and thinner.
  • A food photo where the colours and textures have been enhanced to make it more appealing.
  • A beauty photo where the model’s skin has been smoothed, and wrinkles and spots have been removed.

Maybe, like me, you feel conflicted. I asked members of the My Green Closet Facebook group what they thought of Photoshop and editing on social media which resulted in a really interesting discussion. The vast majority of people, however, thought that some editing was fine.

Another perspective also came out of the discussion – it matters whether the image is intended to sell something. So for the above examples, would you feel different if the beach photo was promotion for a vacation spot, the outfit sponsored by a fashion brand, the food to promote a restaurant, or the beauty photo to advertise a makeup brand? Also, with companies, we know that they are trying to sell something, but with “influencers” it’s more of a grey area. You could argue that even if a blogger wasn’t paid to advertise something, by posting an image they are still helping sell that product and promote the brand.

Something else I find interesting is how editing is often seen negatively, but skilled photography, styling, or makeup is not. People seem to assess a photo more critically if they know it was edited after it was taken. While you can edit someone to look taller and thinner, you could also light and shoot them in a way to make them appear taller and thinner (those low camera angles make a huge difference!); but Photoshopping to create those same changes is typically seen as wrong. Of course it depends on the extent of the editing – there is only so much you can do with lighting and how it’s shot – but it’s an interesting distinction even though both might have the same result. Another example of this is the use of makeup, which can drastically change a face, but is often viewed differently than editing. For the beach travel ad example, would it be viewed differently if they had instead moved the garbage out of the shot beforehand? Besides “unnatural” editing, there often seems to be two ways to achieve a similar photo, one with more work before the photo itself is taken, and one with more after; and yet these are judged in a different way.

Is there a line where images are manipulated “too much”?

Here is an example using one of my photos; the leftmost shot is the original image. The center image shows how I would typically edit photos: brighten the light, clean up some spots and blemishes, and maybe make some other small corrections. The rightmost image has a lot more editing: the texture of the skin has been smoothed, any lines and uneven skin has been fixed, areas have been brightened and darkened, the hat’s shadow has mostly been removed, and more. You can really see the difference with them all side by side, but if I posted the last image alone you probably wouldn’t think too much of it. I’d likely also get comments about how nice my skin is, which I think also speaks to the issue of misleading images because I don’t look like that in real life. Something else to note is that the final image is tame compared to some editing on Instagram; it could easily be taken much further.

original vs. very edited image

Personally I feel the final image is edited too much and it feels inauthentic, but I also can’t say where exactly the line is.

There’s also an issue of disclosure. In the group discussion people mentioned that editing should be disclosed, but what kind of editing should be disclosed? Technically an Instagram filter edits a photo a lot and almost every photo is edited in some way; is lighting adjustment okay but body/skin changes not?

I unfortunately don’t have answers to these questions. I think it’s an important discussion and we need to be aware of these things regarding social media, but here is how I can at least be transparent about my image-editing:
All my videos and photos are edited in some way. Typically, there are light and colour adjustments or a filter added. My Instagram photos likely have some skin/blemish editing as well. Because of the discussion around disclosure, I also have decided that if I ever post a heavily edited photo, it will be disclosed as such.

So that’s where I’m currently at with this- a lot of questions. I’d love to know what you think about photo editing, authenticity in social media, and transparency. Do you think the creator, brand, or blogger/influencer has a responsibility regarding editing or does it lie with the content consumer to be media-literate and understand that editing is happening?

 

Research and Reliable Information

On youtube and social media I try to share how I live more consciously, but the part of my life you don’t see is the hours and hours I spend researching – looking into brands, reading studies, and catching up on the latest sustainable fashion news and blog posts. When I went to school for fashion design, I even wrote my thesis on slow fashion, and yet I always feel like I still don’t have enough information. As someone who still feels frustrated even with being able to dedicate a lot of time to research, I totally understand how difficult it can be for someone who doesn’t have that time to spend but still wants reliable information.

I was inspired to write this post after receiving this question from Kara on a recent video:

“I would love to hear your thoughts on how to find reliable information online for people trying to live zero waste/ sustainable lifestyles. It seems to me that a lot of people re-post content that they read on someone else’s blog (or many other blogs), without independently researching whatever topic they’re discussing… Are there organizations that cull and publish verified data relevant to zero waste alternatives? Or any organization that helps consumers decide which of several different choices is least harmful to the environment? It’s important to me that if I’m making such concerted efforts to do no harm, that my choices be backed by evidence!”

First, in response to your question, Kara, it’s really awesome that you care about evidence and verified data! There’s a lot of false and unsubstantiated information so it’s important to be skeptical, but the short answer is no, there isn’t a way to easily get verified data. There is both too much and not enough information, plus a lot of biased perspectives (including my own).

There are some things that can help though!

Project Just is a platform I really recommend for researching clothing brands. They compile information from the brand itself, from news reports, and from reports from organizations like Clean Clothes Campaign to give you a snapshot of the brand with links so you can do your own research.

There are also platforms like the EWG Skindeep where you can research beauty products and ingredients but it has it’s faults and criticisms. There are rating sites like Good On You,  GoodGuide or Ethical Consumer, but you need to look into exactly what their ratings are based on in order to make sure they align with what you’re looking for. Ratings are also very difficult, because we each have different priorities and it’s unlikely the ratings weigh different things the same way you would. These can still be good resources and places to start from, but all of the sites I’ve found have their own pros and cons.

One resource that I definitely recommend for sustainable fashion information is Copenhagen Fashion Summit’s Pulse of the Industry Report. It includes a lot of information from studies, surveys, brands, and reports (you can also get more info in the references too). They will apparently also be updating it yearly, which is really wonderful – not only because it means that we can see changes over time, but also because we’ll have more current information.

In terms of making sure information is reliable, when reading a blog post or news article there should be links to facts and sources. Follow these links back as far as they go (like you mentioned this unfortunately might be through multiple websites); if you can’t get to the source or the source doesn’t seem reliable, try searching for other sources for more information. Ideally you want to find a credible news source or study. Sometimes you’ll come up empty handed, though; for example, I ran into this when researching the “fact” that “fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world” – I tried checking and tracing this multiple times and never could find a proper source. Alden Wicker did even further research in her piece for Racked, We Have No Idea How Bad Fashion Actually Is for the Environment and found no actual studies proving this and yet this “fact” is everywhere.

Another issue is that stats and facts are always changing. Some things I learned in school 4-5 years ago are now completely different: there’s new technology, and also totally new issues- microfibre pollution for example wasn’t discussed at all a few years ago – so it’s really difficult to find resources that are updated.

I think there is always an element of gut-feeling and trust, though. When reading through a brand’s information, try to think about what they’re not saying. Vague and very general statements like “we care about our environment” I always see as a red flag. The brands I trust are those who are transparent, don’t seem like they’re trying to hide anything, are happy to answer questions, and will also admit that there are things they can improve.

As content creators, I think we can all do a better job of fact-checking, but I also understand why information gets relayed from blog to blog. It already takes so much more work to write a post about “5 eco-friendly products” than it does to write a more traditional fashion blog post like “5 lipstick colours for fall”. The conscious bloggers I know are all creating content because it’s something they believe in, and want to advocate for more conscious consumption and lifestyles. The majority do it in their spare time for next to no compensation, and no one has endless time or teams of people to research and fact-check everything. But more so than that, there is a severe lack of studies and information to reference in the first place. Fashion in particular is often not taken seriously as a sustainability issue; it’s seen as something frivolous, and brands have also worked hard to keep people unaware of how their clothes are made.

So what can you do as a consumer who wants more information?
  • Look for articles or studies from reputable organizations.
  • Trace back source links.
  • Ask yourself “why was this written?” – is it just to promote a product or is it to provide helpful information?
  • Assess a company’s transparency and ask them questions. (I have a video about researching brands)
  • Look for trustworthy bloggers and content creators – I really recommend Ethical Writers & Creatives, a lot of the members are incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, and put a ton of research into their work.
  • Finally, try your best, and support others who are also trying their best, but remember that no one is perfect and that’s ok.

The industry is changing; there’s always new information and hopefully with a growing interest in more sustainable consumption and lifestyles, that also means that over time, we’ll have more research and studies available. It’s a lifelong journey, though, and all we can do is keep learning and trying to improve.

 

Low Waste Bathroom Swaps

found in Beauty, low waste | 9

Some of the changes I’ve made to reduce waste with my care and hygiene products.

I now use:

  • Bamboo toothbrush
  • Toothpaste tabs
  • Concentrated mouthwash – you use a few drops in water
  • Menstrual cup – Read my post about switching to a menstrual cup
  • Washable menstrual pads – I have a couple thin liners made from hemp and organic cotton
  • Glass nail file
  • Peel-off nail polish – I like using Little Ondine
  • Cream Deodorant – my DIY recipe 
  • Face/body oils – I’ve liked using jojoba, argan, and sweet almond on my face and I use sweet almond as a body moisturizer (here’s a really helpful video about choosing face oils for your skin)
  • Washable cotton/makeup remover pads – I crocheted my own from organic cotton yarn
  • Shampoo bar
  • Bar soap
  • Safety razor

 

What product swaps have you made?

 

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Following…

Selva Beat magazine and on Instagram

Today on SB | The ultimate guide to #PalmOilFree dog treats. Bone appétit! 🐕

A post shared by Selva Beat (@selvabeat) on


Selva Beat is a sustainability-focused lifestyle magazine. They have great online content with a focus on palm oil free and vegan products, beauty, culture, food, and activism, plus fun graphics and images.

 

 

Elim Chu on Instagram


Elim is a stylist based in Vancouver Canada. She shares a lot of secondhand, vintage, and conscious brand inspo.

 

 

Here Today, Here Tomorrow brand/store and on Instagram

Meeting with our amazing knitters in Nepal.

A post shared by Here Today Here Tomorrow (@htht_shopstudio) on


HTHT holds a special place in my heart, because it was one of the first slow fashion companies I discovered when I was looking to see if better fashion brands were really possible. They have their own line of fair trade clothes and accessories, including hand-knit pieces and artisan textiles.

 

 

The “Unflattering” Clothes I Love to Wear

found in style | 0

There are too many style rules about what we can and can’t wear depending on our bodies. I think your personal style should be about wearing what you love and feel good in.

This video is about some of the clothes I like that I’m told I shouldn’t wear because of my body shape, size, and skin tone.

 

Do you also like to break the “rules”? What are your favourite outfits?

My love of Linen

My love of Linen

Linen is an amazing fabric: it’s not only wonderful to wear, but is also the oldest known fibre, as well as one of the most sustainable!

Linen comes from the flax plant. The plants go through a process called “retting” to help separate the fibres. Flax is a bast fibre, which means that the structure is basically a bunch of long fibres inside of a thicker tube. The retting breaks down the outside and the “glue” holding the fibres together, which then allows the fibres to be separated, spun, and woven or knit.

Linen is absorbent, breathable, and stronger than cotton. The fibres are porous, and it’s great at keeping you cool in the summer but it can also be insulating in colder temperatures. It’s not very elastic, though, and is known for holding wrinkles.

 

I love linen because…

it gets better with use, becoming softer and silkier over time. It can be crisp and stiff or have a beautiful drape, and typically is woven with that signature linen texture. It also has a natural luster, which makes it more dimensional. While the wrinkles are seen as a downside for most people, I actually love the look of worn linen; the only pieces I avoid are tight-fitting skirts or dresses where you get a large straight crease across the front after sitting. The feeling of linen is lovely, the texture and softness is unique, and the fact that it just gets better with age makes me want to hang on to my linen pieces forever.

 

Why linen is so sustainable
  • Growing flax requires less water than cotton.
  • There is very little waste with flax; other part of the plant, like the seeds, can be used to produce linseed oil or flax seeds for consumption.
  • Linen typically requires fewer pesticides, herbicides and fungicides than cotton. They are still used, but you can avoid this by looking for organic linen!
  • The durability of linen means it lasts longer than other materials.

Hemp is also very similar to linen with a lot of the same benefits.

Some cons
  • The process to make linen takes more time and work, which generally makes it more expensive.
  • Organic linen can be difficult to find, although according to Bead & Reel, “linen produced in China has been grown with agro-chemicals and the processing is also higher impact, whereas European and Japanese linen is produced in more natural and low impact methods… you can also feel confident that good quality linen from European or Japanese mills is a good sustainable choice”.
  • Due to the lack of elasticity of the fibres, they can break along permanent creases over time. In particular, this is something to be mindful of with respect to areas that are constantly bent or creased, such as where the collar of a shirt folds down.
  • The wrinkling can be a con, but I think you just need to be mindful of the kind of garments you choose.
linen tee and skirt

 

Where to find linen clothing

My skirt is from NotPerfectLinen, who make all of their clothes from local linen in a family factory in Lithuania. The t-shirt is from Lanius, a company that uses organic linen.

 

Linen also is wonderful for home textiles; I’m currently saving up to invest in some linen bedding!

 

Are you a fan of linen?

 

*indicates an affiliate link, please see the disclosure policy for more information.

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