Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

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

Have a blissful week-end

Zero Waste Pantry by Conscious by Chloé

What are you up to this weekend? I'm gonna go to the farmer's market on Saturday morning and clean the house like a mad person because my parents are coming from France on Saturday night! I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few links from around the web:

Create your own home maintenance manual.

50 best green lifestyle blogs (8 is a lucky number).

This plant pot will soon be on my window sill.

A fashion podcast worth listening to.

How to Freeze Food Without Using Plastic.

Octave made these popsicles this week, I want MORE!

The best music for your dinner party.

I need to add this staple to my wardrobe.

Speaking of fashion, check out this project.

Plastic Free July

Shibori furoshiki by Conscious by Chloé

It's been a year and a half since I've jumped on the zero-waste bandwagon. I've been applying its principles even more seriously since I've moved to Portland exactly a year ago. But lately, I've been feeling like I've hit a plateau.

At the beginning of this year, I read a book that, once again, completely changed the way I approach the food I eat, the clothes I wear, and the objects I welcome into my home. It got me wanting to dive deeper into my habits as a consumer, especially for material belongings. This book is Plastic Free, by Beth Terry.

I thought I was doing pretty well, having reduced the number of times I have to take the trash out each year and having decluttered the house during our last move. But Beth's manifesto opened my eyes even more on the consequences of plastic on our health and on the environment.

I first thought that adding yet another rule to my consumer habits would lead to disenchantment. And I have to admit that, looking at all the plastic that surrounds us at home, I panicked a little. But I decided to take things slow and opted for a step-by-step process.

First, I realized that I could use it as a guide to help me solve the dilemmas I face whenever I need to make a purchase. Adding plastic in the list of noes made decisions simpler.

For example, we decided to get sporks for camping and were presented with 3 options: BPA-free plastic, bamboo or titanium. By eliminating plastic from the equation and choosing titanium for its durability over bamboo (which could be a great option, since it's biodegradable), the decision was made for us. Simpler, greener, happier.

Of course, there are different ways of looking at this. What is the carbon footprint of the production of each one of these 3 items? I don't know. In the end, the best solution in these cases is always to borrow or buy second hand in the first place.

For those of you who are curious to see why and how we could and should ditch plastic, this amazing plastics mindmap sums up part of what Beth explains in her book and makes for a great inspiration to reduce our plastic consumption.

Plastic Free July Plastics Mindmap for Conscious by Chloé

Observations

  • Plastic lasts forever
    Plastic cannot be recycled, it can only be down cycled, which means it will eventually end up in the landfill at best, or in our waterways.

  • Plastic kills animals
    Whoever has participated in a beach clean up will have seen how much plastic pollutes the ocean. Now you can imagine what percentage of it will make its way into the organism of innocent or confused sea creatures.

  • Plastic gets in the food chain and comes back to us
    If fish eat plastic and we eat fish, do we eat plastic? Also, BPA and phthalates are widely used in plastic bottles and food packaging, they can contaminate what they hold and interfere with human hormonal function.

Actions

I'm pretty happy with what we've been achieving at home since I finished reading Plastic Free. But, but I thought I would get a great boost by signing up for Plastic Free July and challenge myself to avoid all single-use plastic including the top 4 (straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags & coffee cup lids) for all of July.

Here are some aspects I'm going to focus on, based on our actual situation:

  • Ask for paper-only packaging
    When I need of something that is not available locally or second hand, I usually order it online and tend to forget to look and ask for eco-packaging.

  • Make our own tortillas
    Octave and I both work from home and cook all three meals every day. Tortillas entered our pantry since we moved to the US and are a great solution when we run out of inspiration. But the only ones we can find are wrapped in plastic. Octave is usually in charge of cooking and his first attempt was pretty successful. So we should just make a habit of it and prepare a big bunch of tortillas and freeze them so we always have a couple on hand when we're feeling lazy.

  • Buy cheese at the counter
    I recently found a great place in Portland which sells a lot of good fresh products at the counter and even has feta and mozzarella. It is located close to my CSA pickup so it saves me time and gas.

  • Start collecting produce stickers for Stickerman
    Instead of automatically putting produce stickers in the trashcan, I'm gonna attach a piece of paper at the back of a cupboard and stick them on it every time I'll buy fruit. I'll use it as a reminder to sign up for the fruit CSA next year instead of the veggie one (now that we have planted the prettiest veggie garden at home) and will send the sticker sheep to Barry Snyder so he can make more educational art.

  • Be more aware of the composition of the fabrics my clothes are made of.
    I'm planning on doing a lot of reading about fabric origin, composition, production and will simply continue de buy second hand and focus on natural fibers. I'll keep you updated if you will.

That's it for this month's challenge. If you need more inspiration, Beth also compiled a great list of 100 steps to a plastic free life on her website.

If you're interested in what I will be up to during this Plasic Free July, know that I'll be documenting my daily victories and failures on Snapchat. Just add me as your friend, my username is: chloelepeltier.


Has anyone signed up for the challenge yet? If so, let me know, we'll be challenge buddies! No pressure, it can be as simple as just deciding to order drinks without straws during a couple days this month. Come on, it will be fun. But watch out, once you start, you'll see plastic everywhere.

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Last week-end was meant to take place a whole different way.

We had a whole road trip planned to the Northwest Overland Rally. But on the way there, Charlie (Octave's Land Cruiser) got a mechanical problem. So we drove back home to fix it.

I guess I must have had a premonition because I hadn't deleted all the events taking place in Portland on that week-end from my calendar. So I looked at the bright side and made the most of these 2 days in the city.

As some of you might have seen on Snapchat, I woke up early on Saturday morning for an outdoor yoga session followed by a (free) açai bowl for the one year anniversary of Carioca Bowls.

Later, I walked to the Woodlawn Farmers Market, which had reopened while I was in Europe, to get a little mint starter for my garden and some blueberries to snack on during the day.

After that, I rushed to one of my favorite shops in Portland, Johan, for its moving sale and splurged on ceramics. I also scored the vintage silk shirt I'm wearing on the picture and an amazing bodycon dress, made in the USA!

Ceramic cup found at Johan by Conscious by Chloé

Then I checked my phone and realized I had forgotten about the book launch of Becoming Minimalist's Joshua Becker. I was happy to see some friendly faces from the Portland Minimalists Group and get to meet Minimalist Baker Dana Shultz who was here on stage with Joshua.

Later in the day, I dragged Octave to Salvage Works to get some wood for a project I had in mind, and the main subject of today's article: a hairpin leg bench.

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

So here's our little tutorial:


HAIRPIN LEG BENCH DIY

A hairpin leg bench is a pretty easy and inexpensive project that will immediately add style to any room in your home.

Active time: 1 hr
Total time: 2 hrs

Supplies

Tools

  • Hand file
  • Orbital sander + sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Screws

Instructions

  1. Carve the edges.
    We used the hand file and finished with 60 grit sandpaper.
  2. Sand the wood.
    We used the orbital sander starting with 60, then 160 and finally 220 grit.
  3. Seal the wood.
    We used a polycrylic spray we already had from a previous outdoor sign project. We sprayed 1 coat and sanded after.
  4. Attach the legs.
    We more or less eyeballed the leg placement, but you can definitely measure it properly, and even clamp the legs and flip the bench over to see how it will look.

Notes

You can try different ways to seal the wood. We used what we had on hand, but wood sealer and Danish oil may be better options.


Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I love the idea of making something new out of something old. Of course, the project is not 100% made our of reused material, but I'm glad we decided to go to a local shop rather than the usual hardware store. This quick DIY, which happen on the very same week-end Rachel made hers definitely gave me more DIY envy.


What about you? What was your week-end like? Lazy? Productive? This one was definitely on the active side but I promise it's not always as busy or inspired. But my Pinterest inspiration boards are here, in case my hands are itching.

Podcasts I've been listening to lately

Current favorite podcasts 2016 by Conscious by Chloé

Last month, I traveled to Europe. Besides the usual plane tickets buying, housing booking and packing, I decided this time to take some extra time preparing for the long hours I would be spending on the plane and in airports.

Long flights used to be an exception, and thus an adventure. But they keep getting more frequent, and less fun. So I'm starting to get more serious in anticipating them, especially on the flight entertainment side.

First, I already have a full reading list sent directly to my tablet as soon as items get available at my local library (both e- and audio-books).

Then, I downloaded a couple TV shows & movies (I have stopped trusting airlines and relying on their watchlist/screens).

Also, my favorite and most recently downloaded music is always automatically synced on my phone.

Lastly, as you now know I'm a podcasts fan, so I've added them to the equation.

I continue listening to my old favorites, added a couple new ones I discovered recently and subscribed to a few that have been recommended to me.

Here are the podcasts that I have been listening to on the plane, between Portland, New-York and Geneva.

1. #girlboss radio by Sophia Amoruso
This was the podcast I was waiting for impatiently when I published my first article about podcasts. Besides being my star twin (we were born on the same day of the same year), Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal and author of #Girlboss (and soon Nastygalaxy) launched #girlboss radio where she interviews world-class Girlbosses who have made their mark in creative, cultural, and business ventures to extract solid advice from the lessons they've learned along the way.
I love discovering awesome entrepreneurs, what their first job was and how they started their professional career. The candid introductive discussion between Sophia and her friend Liz Carey is priceless & the #girlbossmoment of the listeners are a great source of inspiration!
Favorite episode: Sallie Krawcheck, Co-founder & CEO Ellevest, Former CEO Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Category: Society & Culture

2. Modern Love
In the podcast based on The New York Times’ popular series of weekly reader-submitted essay, host Meghna Chakrabarti and Modern Love editor Daniel Jones go deep, sharing some of the best stories about love today, with readings by notable personalities and updates from the essayists themselves.
I shed tears on various occasions, be prepared!
Favorite episode: One Last Swirl
Category: Society & Culture

3. Women of the hour by Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham hosts this podcast miniseries about friendship, love, work, bodies and more.
This is a pretty short series, and it left me wanting more. After reading Not That Kind of Girl, subscribing to the Lenny newsletter and waiting patiently for the final season of Girls, I can't wait to see what Dunham's got for us next.
Favorite episode: Lena & Lola Pellegrino
Category: Personal Journals

4. Serial
Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won't know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her.
I've already talked about the first season earlier. Season 2 focuses on the story of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who was held captive by the Taliban for five years (Homeland, anyone?). The interviews with the protagonist, phone calls to the Talibans and latest episodes where Koenig reports from court for updates on the first season kept me on the edge of my (car) seat.
Category: News & Politics

5. Pardon my French by Garance Doré
Pardon My French is a podcast hosted by Garance Doré, founder of the eponymous website, illustrator and photographer. Grounded in her love for fashion, creativity and self-expression, she shares stories and her point-of-view on everyday subjects with her friends and guests, in a relaxed and open conversation.
I was pretty disappointed by the sound quality and structure of the first episodes, but Doré and her team now seem to have gotten into their stride. As a long term reader of the blog and a fellow Frenchy, I am fascinated to discover another facet of Doré's personality and eager to find in another media the sense of humor and authenticity that has made her known around the world.
Favorite episode: La Parisienne - Isabel Marant & Caroline de Maigret
Category: Society & Culture

6. The Portland Sustainability Podcast & The Portland Cool Podcast by Sean Barron & Tony Hair
I just discovered these two local podcasts and cannot wait to listen to more episodes about what makes Portland cool & green. It already inspired be to do some more volunteering and sign up for a Master Recycler program, so there's that!
Favorite episode: Leave no Trace While Camping with Ruby
Category: Natural Sciences

7. Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert
My friend Rachel recommended me this podcast and Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear is also of my 2016 reading list. I need to dive more into the podcast but can so far say that Elizabeth's laugh is contagious and that I am utterly jealous of all the talented & famous friends she can rely on for advice.
Favorite episode: Sexy, Dirty, Nasty, Wicked
Category: Literature

8. Dear Sugar Radio by Cheryl Strayed
Another friend told me that this podcast will be live from PDX on Friday 8th July. I guess that's enough of a good reason to start listening to it, besides the fact that I am still obsessed by Strayed's Wild and keep crossing paths with the Pacific Coast Trail (see what I did here?). Get your tickets!
Favorite episode: TBD
Category: News & Politics

Finally, there is one thing I still need to do to make this whole music and podcast-listening experience the most enjoyable possible for my next trip. It is to find a sustainable replacement for my distressed mobile phone cover and the best possible earphones now that I've decided that noise-canceling properties are more important than sound quality. Your recommendations are welcome. I'll probably share my selection in the shop as soon as I've finished my research.


What about you? How do you plane long plane rides more bearable? I'd love to hear your tips!

The Zero Waste Switch Challenge Recap

The Zero Waste Switch Challenge Recap by Conscious by Chloé

Last April, I launched the Zero Waste Switch Challenge.

Every week, for 10 weeks, I published a newsletter to help you conscious readers kickstart your journey to a greener life. The emails either contained recipes, DIYs, tips or products recommendations touching various aspects of our daily lives.

Close to 200 of you took part in it and some even shared their accomplishments on Instagram using the #ZWswitchallenge. I'm so proud of you all!

In case you did not get a chance to participate, I thought I'd compile a recap of the 10 challenges so you can catch up.

  1. Switch to a reusable bag

  2. Make your own toothpaste

  3. Bring a cloth napkin everywhere

  4. Make your own non-toxic cleaning products

  5. Bring a mug/canteen everywhere

  6. Switch to a menstrual cup/safety razor

  7. Make your own nut milk

  8. Prepare a to-go bag

  9. Make your own reusable food wrap

  10. Find a bulk shop in your area

This was a fun little project for me. I hope it was (or will be) for you as well. Don't hesitate to send recommendations or comments my way, I'm always open to (constructive) criticism.


Have you ever taken part in such challenges? Would you like me to organize more of these on the blog? In what areas (I'm thinking simplifying, decluttering, capsule wardrobes, etc)? What else would you like to see on the blog? I'd love to hear what you think!