Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

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

A Creamy Coconut Milk Matcha Latte Recipe

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

As days are getting warmer (yay!), I feel like it is high time I shared a recipe I've been making all winter long.

I can't really tell how I first heard about matcha. But I do remember getting a little addicted when I realized that a café I walked by every day last autumn made the best matcha latte I'd ever tasted!

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

I do not drink coffee, so my go-to drink at cafés when meeting with friends (or, let's be honest just getting some work done and people-watching) had mainly been chai teas. But as soon as I tasted my first matcha (with almond milk) I was hooked!

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

I tried to learn a little more about this green powder and stumbled upon this book, which inspired me for the following recipe. Reading about the Japanese ritual that surrounds the preparation of matcha reminded me of the tea ceremonies I attended when I lived in China.

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

I have to admit that I tend to skip a couple steps mentioned in some recipes (heat the bowl, wet the whisk, sift the matcha powder) but I do sometimes take the time to prepare a more elaborate version on slower mornings, starting by making my own nut milk.

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

So here is my Coconut Milk Matcha Latte recipe, which could be named the lazy interpretation of a real matcha latte (read the recipe notes first). I hope you'll like it as much as I do.

COCONUT MILK MATCHA LATTE

Matcha is a green tea powder packed with chlorophyll and antioxidants. It's a great alternative to coffee to boost your metabolism while keeping you calm.

Yield: 1-2 cups
Active time: 5 min
Total time:

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • Sweetener (optional)

Instructions

  1. Boil water and pour some into a bowl to warm it. Set aside.
  2. Pour 1/4 cups more boiling water into a cup and let it cool slightly (or pour it into another cup). (Boiling water or milk will scorch matcha. The ideal temperature is said to be 175°F. To get to this temperature without a thermometer, simply pour the volume of liquid you'll need into a cup, and then into a second cup. By the time it gets to your drinking bowl, the temperature should have lowered to 175°F.)
  3. Sift the matcha though a fine-mesh seeve into a small bowl (optional).
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the hot water and stir, or whisk with a (bamboo) whisk until no lumps remain.
  5. Stir in the remaining water and sweetener (optional) until dissolved. Pour it into the warmed bowl from step 1.
  6. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat just until it begins to boil (you can try my nut milk recipe).
  7. Froth the milk (optional).
  8. Slowly pour the (foamy) milk into the bowl.

Notes

On most days, I tend to skip a couple steps (bowl warming, matcha sifting, milk frothing) because I'm lazy, but I highly recommend trying the whole "ceremony" at least once, just to taste the difference.


Now I need to take a few barista classes in order to make beautiful patterns in my cups. Is there a school? OK, I'm gonna look for tutorials online, get a frother and show you my progress in a few weeks. Deal?

Photographs by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

5 Favorite Conscious Blogs

5 Favorite Conscious Blogs by Conscious by Chloé

I am a big consumer of news and podcasts and have also been an avid reader of all kinds of blogs for the past 10 years. I've relied on a number of ways to keep up with my favorites (RIP Google Reader) and now use Feedly to stay up to date with my daily conscious, style and interior design blogs.

From eco-fashion to minimalism, mindfulness, activism, and zero-waste cooking, here are 5 of the best conscious blogs you can find in my feed, here are 5 of the best blogs you can find in my feed.

Reading my Tea Leaves for Conscious by Chloé

Lifestyle - Reading my tea leaves

Erin Boyle lives in a tiny Brooklyn apartment with her husband and 2 kids. Her blog is a constant reminder to consider every item that enters your life. I read her book this winter and highly recommend you do the same.

Favorite section: It's hart to chose, but Erin's life in a tiny apartment posts are a big inspiration to me.

Style Bee for Conscious by Chloé

Style - Style Bee

Once you've started reading Lee Vosburgh's journal, you'll immediately want to become her best friend... in order to be allowed to borrow all. her.clothes! Check out her Insta Stories, they're a great way to see how Lee styles various outfits from the same base layers.

Where to start: Her 10 x 10 challenge really caught my attention and I'm also currently loving her lounge wear series (#CurrentlyWorkingInMyPJs).

Ashley Neese for Conscious by Chloé

Spirituality - Ashley Neese

I've only been reading Ashley's blog for a couple weeks, but it's already one of my favorites and a great resource for anyone interested in subjects ranging from holistic beauty to mineral therapy.

An inspiring read: Ashley's gratitude practice really resonates with me.

Ecocult for Conscious by Chloé

Information - EcoCult

Ecocult was founded by Alden Wicker, a NYC-based writer whose bold reporting style kept me coming back. Alden is also the co-founder of the Ethical Writers Coalition, which I recently joined.

Why I read Ecocult: Alden's week-end reading is an endless source of information, from eco-fashion, to travel and activism.

Zero Waste Chef for Conscious by Chloé

Food - Zero Waste Chef

I have to admit that Anne Marie's blog is not in my feed (I don't really follow cooking blogs), but I surely have been reading it a lot lately since I've starting experimenting with the sourdough starter I recently brought home from a food exchange.

Favorite recipe: Anne Marie's sourdough crackers recipe is everything I had been looking for after I realized that only a small portion of my sourdough starter was going to be used to bake bread. I used the rest to make these crackers and felt like I had just saved the world (#understatement).


Those are only some of my favorite conscious bloggers. Do you follow any of them? Who else do you follow? Recommend them to me in the comment section below so I can add them to my reader.

Have a blissful week-end #5

Hiking in Oregon by Conscious by Chloé

What are you up to this weekend? I'm going on a retreat with a group of amazing women which will include movies, hikes hot tub soaks and wine tasting. I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few links from around the web:

This guide to a good death moved me a lot.

Getting one of these to label the jars in my pantry.

One of my favorite Portland bloggers.

Who makes your clothes.

Wishlisting this class for my birthday next month.

My first word when the alarm clock rang this morning.

Currently reading this book.

This closet tour.

I usually don't paint my nails, but this color made me look.

A zero waste and minimalist cracker recipe.

Conscious Cohabitation

Conscious Cohabitation by Brandy Young for Conscious by Chloé

Last year, I was asked by my local Minimalists group to give a talk about Conscious Cohabitation. It was an interesting exercise for me to reflect on what it's like to share a home with Octave. I got a chance to discuss with the attendees about their own experience of sharing a home with their parents, significant other or roommates and learnt a lot!

I've updated my presentation according to their comments and thought I would share it with you here as well.

First, there are a couple things you should know about me:

  • Octave and I have been living together for 3 years now (less than one in Switzerland and the rest in 2 homes/cities/States in the USA).
  • I grew up an only child.
  • My parents live together, but were never married.

This should give you a better idea about how and why I decided to implement the following system at home. I divided life at home in 4 categories: admin, finances, scheduling and housekeeping.

And last but not least, please bear in mind that I am here presenting a system based on my own experience and that I in no way assume that it's a one fits all.

Admin by Conscious by Chloé

1. Admin

Raise your hand if you've ever been in this situation where you think you're super ready for a meeting with your banker, real estate agent, mobile provider and they suddenly ask for a document they totally failed to mention before.

Based on this scenario, and on the fact that Octave and I moved overseas and had no intention to pay for the shipment of all of our admin archives, we digitized the majority of our papers. And here is how I organized them.

Google Drive

I've been using Google Drive for as long as I can remember, so I just created the following folders and shared them with Octave.

  • Create 1 shared folder that will contain 3 shared sub-folders (2 personal, 1 common).
  • In each of the 2 personal folders, scan and add the following personal documents for each person: ID, drivers license, passport, visa, birth certificate, ID picture.
  • In the common folder, scan and add the documents that are relevant for both parties: marriage license, rental agreement, insurance, accounting spreadsheet (see Finances). You can also add another subfolder and name it "Old" where you will archive items that are no longer relevant (previous car insurance, former lease agreement).

1Password

If you've been following me for a while, you've already read this article and know how much I love 1Password.
Long story short, this app will create complicated and safe passwords for all the websites you use, will remember all your important info (SSN, credit card number) and will even autocomplete forms online (oh the time you'll save not having to type your name, date of birth, address, bank info etc) and all you have to do is remember one. single. password. or use the touch ID on your phone.
We installed it on our phones, tablets and desktops and shared the passwords that are useful for the both of us (car insurance, home insurance, health insurance, utilities).

Finances by Conscious by Chloé

2. Finances

Before we moved to the US, Octave and I each had our own bank account. We meant to open a joint one, but the timing was never right, we had different banks, worked in different cities and never got around to being able to meet at the bank before it closes.

But as soon as we moved to the US and met our banker, we opted for the following system:

2 personal bank accounts

One for each. No messing with the other ones expenses, the household/family is on track, the rest is personal.

1 joint bank account

  • Open one joint bank account.
  • Select the paperless option.
  • Set a monthly automatic payment from your personal account to your joint account (calculate and estimate of your monthly household expenses and divide it by 2).
  • Opt for automatic payments for: rent, utilities, Internet, phone, home insurance, health insurance.
  • Get one debit card for each and use it to pay common expenses: groceries, common hobbies, restaurants, trips, home improvement.

Side note: To differentiate our personal card from our joint one, Octave drew a heart on the joint one while we were still at the bank. My heart melted.

2 savings account

As responsible adults, and as we are both freelancers and do not know what tomorrow will be made of, we each opened a savings account.
We set a monthly automatic payment from our personal account to the savings account so we save without even thinking about it.

Accounting

As our income is fluctuant, sometimes one of us is not able to make the scheduled monthly automatic payment. So the solution I found to keep track of our accounting is to:

  • Keep a shared accounting spreadsheet in the common shared folder and keep track of expenses related to the household (the payments made by each of us to the joint bank account or extra expenses for the household that we paid with our personal account)
  • Meet twice a year to keep track of your common finances.

Side note: I usually set up a meeting in our shared calendar (see Scheduling) well in advance and chose a café in our neighborhood with a wifi connection. Being outside of our home helps us focus on the task to accomplish.

Scheduling by Conscious by Chloé

3. Scheduling

Once again, our freelance life pretty much shapes the way we have to organize our lives. With our irregular schedules and off-location assignments, I felt like we needed a platform to let the other know of major commitments. As we are both Apple products users, we decided to use the Apple calendar and:

  • Share our professional calendar with each other.
  • Create a common calendar for: reminders, invitations, events, trips, family visits, cleaning up days (see Housekeeping).

Side note: I recently discovered that you could export your Facebook Events (and Facebook friends Birthdays) to your calendar, check it out!

Housekeeping

4.Housekeeping

Utilities & co

We deal with things together, mostly, but we have a tacit understanding that he deals with all things related to the phone, Internet, car & home insurance and I deal with the landlord, rent, electricity, gas, water.

Side note: Chose what you have interest in or knowledge of and share the tasks equitably.

To-Do Lists

Wunderlist is a to-do list app like many others that exist on the market. This is the first one that I used, I tried to switch to another one later on but came back to this one. It does the job, there's no need to change what works.

We mainly use it to share our grocery list. It synchronises the data in real time so that we both know what to get when one of us decides to stop at the store, even unexpectedly. I have to admit that we use it less and less now that be both work from home and usually shop together but it's still there in case we need it.

We also have a general to-do list (mostly home improvement) and a bucket list of all the places we'd like to visit some day (couple day trips in Oregon/Washington).

Grocery Shopping

We usually make one big trip to our coop once a month (on the 10th, we get 10% off), the date is in our shared calendar so we don't forget it.
We update our shopping list on Wunderlist for non bulk items and look for the empty containers in our pantry (our empty containers are our shopping list).

Side note: To learn what you'll need to go on a bulk shopping trip, go back to my Zero Waste Shopping Kit article and to learn how to shop in bulk check out my Shopping in Bulk 101 article.

Cooking

Octave and I keep sending each other recipes that we want to try. I didn't know how to store them until I found the Pepperplate app. What I love about it is the fact that there is now a bookmarklet that makes importing the recipe on your desktop so much easier by filling in the fields automatically. The fact that the app is also on my phone makes grocery shopping so much simpler. Now I just need to stop importing recipes and start cooking them...

Side note: Our deal is as follows: He cooks, I do the washing up.

Cleaning

By now, you should everything about my Cleaning Routine.

Whether it's a deep-cleaning session or routine cleaning and, more importantly, if you share this task with a partner or housemates, knowing that a special date or time in the week or month is dedicated to this task makes the decision-making way easier. No arguing, no convincing, no debating, it's in the calendar so that's when it should be done!

Here is my personal schedule for quick maintenance:
Monday - Bedroom
Tuesday - Bathroom
Wednesday - Mudroom/Pantry
Thursday - Kitchen
Friday - Living Room
Saturday - Office

I try to keep the same schedule for weekly maintenance cleaning but mostly rely on our common bimonthly cleaning session, scheduled on Wednesdays, every other week.

Waste

As I am now a proud Master Recycler, I set up a new sorting and recycling station at home composed of:

Trash, Recycling, Compost

  • 1 recycling box (paper, metal, plastic bottles and tubs).
  • 1 glass box (for curbside recycling and to bring to the Bottle Bill & Redemption Center).
  • 1 compost tray that I keep in the freezer and bring to the compost pile once in a while when I go to open the chicken coop.
  • 1 trash can (yes, we still produce some trash).
  • 1 box for special items: soft plastic, corks, batteries, light bulbs can be brought to specific locations for safe disposal, recycling or reuse.

Side note: This sorting station is designed according to the Portland, OR infrastructure. We signed up for weekly reminders in order to be informed of the collection schedule.

Decluttering

We keep a donation box by the back door where we put items that we no longer use and are still in good condition for donation.

Junk Mail

Getting junk mail is one of the things that frustrates me the most in my journey to zero waste. I feel like all the efforts I'm making to prevent trash from entering my house are ruined by the junk mail that filtrates through my mailbox.
Through research and experiences, I came up with the a list of solutions which will help you dramatically reduce the amount of junk, promotional or unwanted mail in your mailbox.

6. Conclusion

This system is the result of a couple months of trial and error, even though it pretty much stayed the same after we implemented it). First, you'll need to sit down with your housemates, identify what your needs and priorities are and build a system around them.

If you're more interested in producing less waste, focus on your pantry and the recycling station. If you're more interested in keeping your financial independence, run to the bank and open a joint bank account. You do not need to do it all at once. Start small, see what works for you and adjust along the way.

The one thing that I found very important is this endeavor was to balance the roles. Sharing a house is sharing responsibilities.

I hope you've enjoyed reading my conscious cohabitation tips and hope they will help you make your life simpler, greener and happier.

Conscious Cohabitation by Brandy Young for Conscious by Chloé


Top and bottom pictures by Brandy Young for Conscious by Chloé.

Now, I'd love to read your comments on this subject. What system have you implemented at home? How do you distribute the roles? Who's in charge of what? Do you hire a house cleaner? Roommates, how to do deal with rent & utilities?

Have a blissful week-end #4

Oregon Coast by Conscious by Chloé

What are you up to this weekend? Octave & I are going to a concert tonight (it was meant to be a surprise for him but he blew it) and I'm gonna make a flower mandala with my girlfriends on Sunday. I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few links from around the web:

Definitely on my to-do list next time I'm on the Oregon coast.

Stop telling women to smile.

Meditation for real life.

I'm a little obsessed with this US made bag.

These amazing Alaska women.

I approve of this Portland guide .

Sometimes I wish this button actually existed.

This linen wash cloth is just what I need.

If I weren't traveling so much this summer, I would totally sign up for this women owned & organic CSA.

I'm a little obsessed with this home organization company.


Photograph by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.