Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Follow Chloé’s journey to a simpler, greener and happier life.

Grow your own avocado tree

How to grow an avocado tree tutorial by Conscious by Chloé

My goal in the new house was to have more plants.

In our former live/work space, we had a gigantic banana tree named Gustave (or was it Auguste?) that the landlord had planted right before we moved in. We took good care of it and it flourished, but I'd say it was rather due to the nutrients already contained in the hole it was planted in (our warehouse used to be a pot-growing factory) than to our green thumbs.

But, as I was saying, when we moved into our new house last summer, I wanted lots of plants. But plants can be expensive. So if, like me, you want to make things yourself, and experiment, why not start from the start, and grow your own tree from a seed?

As always, I browsed through Pinterest and ended up with a solution, the avocado tree. It looked simple enough a project for me. Let's see how I went about it.

How to grow an avocado tree tutorial by Conscious by Chloé

Here's How to grow an avocado tree:

What you'll need:

  • An avocado pit.

  • 3 toothpicks

  • A cup

  • Water

  • Patience (the only ingredient I might be lacking, but I'm working on it)

1. Differentiate the top and bottom of the pit

Cut your avocado in half and study the pit. Differentiate the top and bottom. This is important for the next steps. The top is usually pointier and the bottom flatter.

2. Remove and clean the pit

Remove the pit without cutting it, clean it with water only and try not to remove the brown skin.

3. Install the toothpicks

How to grow an avocado tree tutorial by Conscious by Chloé

Looking at the pit from above, with the bottom facing you and the top facing opposite from you, install three toothpicks horizontally with a slight downward angle (they will rest on the top of the cup).

4. Immerge half of the pit in water

How to grow an avocado tree tutorial by Conscious by Chloé

You want to keep the top part dry so it will sprout.

5. Put it on a windowsill and water it

Don't forget to add water as needed and eventually change it once a week to avoid mold and bacteria.

6. Be very patient and watch it sprout

It took quite a few weeks for my first avocado pit to sprout. It was winter, it was dark. I think it took way more than 8 weeks for the pit to crack and the roots and sprout to peek through.

7. Once the sprout is as long as your hand, pot it in soil

How to grow an avocado tree tutorial by Conscious by Chloé

Chose a big enough pot and leave the top half of the pit exposed.

8. Water it and watch it grow

Keep the soil moist at all times (water weekly). As you can see on the pictures, mine is still a baby so I haven't had to trim it yet, but I read that the top two leaves should be pinched out each time the plant grows another 6 inches.

How to grow an avocado tree tutorial by Conscious by Chloé

I've seen some of my neighbors constantly have new pits immersed in water on their window sill, so I think I'm gonna renew the experiment every time I eat an avocado (I might run out of glasses soon). What about you, do you have indoor gardening tips to share? What do you grow) What's your favorite plant? Monstera, anyone?

Worn #3 / Fashion Revolution

Ethical look by Conscious by Chloé

A month ago, in honor of Fashion Revolution Week, I had planned on posting a quick vintage/ethical/sustainable look. But time flew, I had to prepare my month long trip to Switzerland and took longer than expected to select and edit the pictures of this session. But better late than never, right?

I usually work from home, so I tend to value comfort over... anything else. And layering is a part of it.

When I'm not working on my laptop on the couch in the living room, I sit/stand at my desk, and get cold pretty easily, so I have a cool collection of ponchos and cardigans or even a blanket, a look Octave rightfully nicknamed my Game of Thrones look.

Ethical look by Conscious by Chloé

But on that day I felt like showing you a couple of my latest acquisitions.

I got this pair of (mom) jeans on sale at American Apparel. They were made in the USA, the brand's motto is "sweatshop free".

I had been looking for a pair of Swedish clogs for some time, but did not want Swedish Hasbeens. I had been following Johan on Instagram for some time and finally showed up in Portland's cutest secret shop one day after a ceramics session. I met Laura there, tried on many items and came back home with a complete summer wardrobe, all vintage, except for the clogs which are individually made by fifth generation shoe makers in Sweden!

Finally, I got this top on sale too as a treat for my birthday at my friend Kara's shop, Field Trip. It's handmade by Aubrey Vandals in Encinitas, California.

I'm feeling pretty good about the impact of the production of these items, the brands and people that create them and, last but not least, how they all work together.

Ethical look by Conscious by Chloé

Side note: My resolutions are going strong, I haven't dyed my hair for the last 6 months #willpower

Also, I'd love to hear about your favorite artists, ethical & green brands and, of course your favorite shops featuring local goods, wherever you live. Please share them in the comments!

Worn #3 / Top: Aubrey Vanvels, Jeans: American Apparel (similar), Clogs: Nina Z


Unless provided, the origin of the items showcased in my looks will not be disclosed as I may no longer share the values of the brands from which I purchased them. I highly recommend you to look for an alternative in my shop, look for similar items in second hand shops or, if you're talented and/or motivated, make your own! Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Podcast - A conversation with Matt Hanna of Thought Mixing Bowl

Thought Mixing Bowl Podcast with Matt Hannah by Conscious by Chloé

Last month, I got an email from Matt Hanna, Director of Curiosity at Thought Mixing Bowl, who had come across my profile on Creative Mornings, the breakfast lecture series for the creative community and asked me whether I'd be interested in having a conversation with him on his podcast.

Thought Mixing Bowl is a different kind of podcast, rather than a one-sided interview, it's meant to focus on real connection and conversation. Matt is particularly interested in exploring the idea of how to live a better life with other creative people.

The interview revolved mainly around the following questions:

  • What are a few mottos you live by to try to live a better life?
  • What are the important questions you find yourself tackling routinely?

and was followed by a couple questions I asked Matt in return.

Also, Matt composed a short instrumental piece of music inspired by our conversation (what he's calling "Conversation Pieces"). He based the piece around my motto of simpler, greener, and happier.

I was both flattered and scared to be asked to participate in my first recorded interview and I have to admit that it took me a long time to decide whether I would share it with you. But hey, it's the 21st century, and nothing can be kept secret for too long, so here it is. I hope you'll like it!

(Please pardon my accent and the 1'000 "basically", "definitely", "actually", "eventually", "you know", "I mean" and "realize" you'll be hearing in the next 30 minutes.)

Here are the books, articles and links I referred to in the interview:

What about you, what are a few mottos you live by to try to live a better life? What are the important questions you find yourself tackling routinely? Also, what did you think of this podcast? Would you like to hear me talk a little more? I have this slight obsession with podcasts and contemplate on starting my own. Do you think that would be a good idea? Picture by Candace Molatore​ for Conscious by Chloé.

Shopping in bulk 101

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

Shopping in bulk for the very first time can be intimidating. This is the reason why I reached out to my local co-op to host "Bulk Shopping for Beginners" workshops. But I thought I could take advantage of this experience to share it with you here on the blog.

By now, faithful readers, you should know what to put in your shopping bag before leaving for the grocery shop, but let's repeat it here for the newcomers.

What to bring:

  • a tote bag

  • mason jars (for dry goods or even shampoo & body lotions)

  • glass bottles (for oils, kombucha)

  • bulk bags (for dry goods, vegetables)

  • a crayon or Sharpie to write the tare and PLU on your containers

[Most of these items can usually also be purchased at the co-op.]

  • your shopping list

  • your wallet/cash/card

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

How to buy bulk food

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

1. Identify a place to shop
Ask around, reach out to a zero waste blogger in your area or be patient and wait for the launch of Bea Johnson's app. I live in NE Portland and shop at the Alberta Cooperative Grocery, so this article is based on my experience and the products that are available there.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

2. Write your shopping list
Shopping in bulk makes things so easy. All you have to do is open your cupboards, your fridge or your pantry and identify which containers are empty.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

3. Get your shopping kit, put the empty jars in it, and head to your favorite shop

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

4. Weight your containers
Put them while still empty on the scale. You shouldn't have to touch any button, unless the screen shows a negative number before you put your containers on the scale, which means you should just press the "clear entry" or reset button.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

5. Write the tare and the PLU (item number) on the containers
I usually write them like this:
T = xxx
# = xxxx or PLU = xxx
Some people prefer to keep a list of tares and PLU on their phone and tell them at the attendant during check-out. Chose what you feel suits you best. There's (usually) no rule.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

6. Fill your containers with dry goods

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

7. Use your cloth bags for loose fruit and vegetables

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

8. Fill your bottles with oil, maple syrup, etc.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

9. Fill more containers with cosmetics

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

10. Cut your own soap
Then put it in a muslin bag and don't forget to write the PLU on it (or enter it in your phone and tell it to the attendant during check-out).

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

11. Bring your own egg cartons or use the ones provided by the coop
I now skip this part, since my hens started laying this spring!

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

12. Fill more bottles at the kombucha tap
This coop is pretty rad, but I'm sure you can fill your bottles at your local café. Also, bring a growler to your favorite brewery!

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

13. Check out!
If you haven't written the item numbers on the muslin bags, don't forget to tell them to the attendant. Same thing for the tare of the bags.

Shopping in bulk 101 by Conscious by Chloé

14. Put the jars, the rest of your items and your shopping kit back to where they belong.
There's no need to unpack items, transfer them into airtight containers, throw the packages in the trash. Shopping in bulk makes life so much easier!

This seems like a lot of work. And it is! But you don't have to do it all at once. Start with only a couple containers, shop with a friend, look for workshops at your local coop. Once you've done it once, you'll realize it's not that hard and will probably (I hope) want to go once step further. Watch out, it's addictive!

Have you ever shopped in bulk? How did it go? Where do you shop? Who do you shop with? I want to know everything! Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Leave no trace

Lake Twenty-two in the Snoqualmie National Forest WA by Conscious by Chloé

So Octave and I have this thing were we try to go sleep outside whenever we can, either because we need to slow down and disconnect or just because the opportunity arises, like a couple weeks ago, when we had to go to Seattle for an interesting partnership I'll share with you soon.

Spending time in nature is something that we love to do together: #couplegoals.

As some of you might have seen on Instagram, we car-camped in the Snoqualmie National Forest and chose to do something more before leaving, rather than just spending the night and taking off for our hike right away.

Camping in the Snoqualmie National Forest WA by Conscious by Chloé

We channeled our inner Baden-Powell and decided to clean our campsite from waste that was there before we arrived.

We usually have no use for a trash bag since we try to apply the zero-waste principle to our trips (the only waste we produced were banana peels which we put in the mason jar our soup was in to compost them back home), but I always bring one along just in case.

And I’m so glad I did. Aluminium cans, glass bottles, plastic jugs… condoms (!) were scattered all around. Don’t worry, the picture doesn’t show it but we protected our hands from all this nasty stuff.

Our bag was quickly filled up and we disposed of it in the appropriate bins at a parking area we stopped at on the way to our next hike.

Snoqualmie National Forest WA clean up by Conscious by Chloé

It’s a little thing to do, it took us less than 10-minutes, but it totally boosted our morale for the rest of the day.

Of course, we decided to focus on the positive side of our action and not the fact that careless and disrespectful people go up in the woods and throw stuff away or that more people will come and trash this place after us.

Snoqualmie National Forest WA clean up by Conscious by Chloé

The title of this article was inspired by The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics whose Seven Principles are the following:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Leave What You Find

  • Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Respect Wildlife

  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

I strongly encourage you to read them in details on the Leave No Trace website.

What’s your opinion on the matter of clean-ups? Pointless? Encouraging? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.