Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a sustainable lifestyle blog focused on Zero Waste, Slow Living and Ethical Fashion written by Chloé Lepeltier.

Lessons I Learned from Getting my First Cold of the Season

Messy Bed by Luis Felipe for Conscious by Chloé

I've been alone at home for the past 2 weeks. And I usually love having the house all to myself to work on messy projects, have my girlfriends over and, most probably, redecorate the whole house.

But this time, a couple days after Octave left, I got sick.

What started out as the usual symptoms of a migraine turned into a full-blown cold. I'll spare you the details but you know the drill: congested nose, sore throat, cough, headache.

I got sick last winter too, for a little more than 2 weeks, so this time I did my best to take action as soon as possible and prevent that.

And failed miserably.

I had assumed that I got contaminated last winter because I had been hired to work on a project at an agency. Public transportation, a non-dedicated workstation at work (I hate typing on a keyboard that's not mine) and snow days were probably a lot to process for the immune system of a person who had recently moved from Southern California, usually works from home and drives her own car.

Since then, I've become a little germaphobic. I have this thing with pets. Whenever someone who shows any sign of an illness leaves my house I open all the windows, wipe all surfaces they've been in contact with and burn some palo santo. And I wash my hands 100 times a day.

But this hasn't prevented me from catching a cold this year again.

From my research, I learned that there is not much to do to cure a cold besides treating the symptoms and waiting for it to pass.

I felt an urge to stock up on vitamins but the first article I read on the subject debunked that myth and many others.

Instead, here what I should have done:

  • Sleep

  • Rest

  • Stay at home

Other things that couldn't hurt:

  • Take long Epsom salt baths or hot showers

  • Drink warm liquids all day (herbal teas, soups, broths)

I did some of that, but not consistently. I craved human connection, attended events, ate at restaurants and binge-watched TV shows until late at night.

And I worked, because, you know, freelance life.

I felt like staying at home all day was enough and I could reward myself with an outing in the evening.

Nope.

As I'm writing this I'm feeling much better, although I still wake up in the morning feeling groggy.

Hopefully, by the end of the week, I'll be feeling much better as I'm flying to LA to meet Octave. We're gonna visit friends, say hi to our former neighbors and drive up North back to Portland.

This misadventure is a good reminder to take care of myself. It made me realize that I sometimes take my health for granted. So here's what I'm gonna do and/or continue doing when I'm back from that next trip.

  • Nourish my body with healthy food (I must have taken that resolution 1000 times)

  • Balance a little better between yoga and cardio sessions at the gym

  • Schedule regular visit to the sauna

  • Listen to my body and know when to say no

Or maybe I should take a dog? I was recently told that they're good to build up your immune system. Haha!

I made the following Cold & Flu Surviving Kit for those of you who wonder what I chose to use after my web research.

On a more serious note, I hope the colder weather hasn't taken its toll on you yet. And I'd love to know how you deal with a cold. Is there a magic recipe I should know about?


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Pictures by Luis Felipe for Conscious by Chloé.

A Personalized Bath Ritual Kit DIY

Bath Ritual Kit DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Last month, a friend of mine celebrated her 30th birthday.

Finding the perfect gift for someone is not always easy, especially when you're on a budget.

I had noticed that she really, really loved taking baths (I mean, who wouldn't when you have such a beautiful tub?!), so I decided to make her a personalized bath ritual kit.

Bath Ritual Kit DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I had seen one of these kits at a local shop, but their price range was a little to high for me. So instead, I just purchased the candle, sage and crystal there and made my own bath salts, body scrub and ritual card.

I reused the box and tissue paper of my latest online purchase, took out my favorite washi tape, calligraphy ink & nibs, and voilà!

Bath Ritual Kit DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I had so much fun that afternoon! I kept asking Octave to come over and look at how cute everything was. I'm such an annoying studiomate!

To me, putting time and effort in making a personalized gift means so much more important than buying the most expensive gift.

I was happy to support a local shop, a local candle maker (whom I met at a flea market a couple days later) and craft a personalized gift for someone I care for.

Bath Ritual Kit DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Now if you'd like to make your own bath ritual kit, here are my bath salts and body scrub DIYs.

And if you also want to make your own candle, here's a link to my soy candle DIY.

Bath Ritual Kit DIY by Conscious by Chloé


BATH SALTS

Taking a hot bath after a long work day is a great way to relax, breathe and take some time for yourself. Light a candle, put on some music, lock the door, and enjoy!

Active time: 2 min
Total time: 2 min

Supplies

  • 2 cups epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup finely ground pink Himalayan salt
  • 40 drops of your favorite essential oils

Tools

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Fill the jars and close them tightly.

Notes

My favorite essential oils for bath salts are citrusy but I've also been using a lot of mint lately to fight a nasty cold and breathe better.


Bath Ritual Kit DIY by Conscious by Chloé


BODY SCRUB

A little body scrub goes a long way. Get rid of dead cells, hydrate your skin and get out of the bath all smooth and invigorated!

Active time: 2 min
Total time: 2 min

Supplies

  • 1 tablespoon room temperature coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground pink Himalayan salt
  • 3-4 drops essential oils

Tools

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a fork.
  2. Fill the jars and close them tightly.

Notes

Rose essential oil seems to be a favorite for body scrubs. You can mix a bigger batch ahead of time if you, for example, are making party favors for guests. Just multiply the volumes by the number of guests. Or just prepare your mixture and use it on the spot with this recipe.


Bath Ritual Kit DIY by Conscious by Chloé


Photographs by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

My Daily Meditation Ritual

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

As you know, my word for 2017 is ROUTINE, so I've been looking into creating daily rituals.

In her book The Creative Habit, dancer & choreographer Twyla Tharp stresses the importance of morning routines, so I thought I'd start here.

Meditation has been recommended to me an infinite number of times though I've never quite managed to incorporate it to my life on a regular basis.

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

But lately, I've unconciously and gradually carved out room for this practice in my life. While reorganizing the living room, I created myself a little reading nook, with a cozy chair, a pillow and a little table on which rest a candle, palo santo, and the copy of my current reading.

One day, I figured that it would also be the perfect place to meditate (I like to meditate sitting in a chair, rather than cross-legged on the floor).

Now, whenever I can, in the morning, before Octave gets up, I take advantage of the stillness of the house and practice meditation.

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

Since I'm a beginner, my mind tends to wander (How long has it been since I started the session? What should I do now? Is it OK to be thinking about my to-do list?) so I'm using the following tools to help me focus.

My favorite Guided Meditation Apps

Headspace (free) - I started using this app many years ago when it was first launched. I remember being very dissatisfied with my job and trying to meditate on a park bench during lunch time. It was an epic fail but I knew it was just because I had too much on my plate. Short after, I quit my job and moved to another country.

The first level of the Foundation Course, Take10, is free. It consists of 10 10 minute meditation exercises designed for beginners. You can then purchase packs and one-off sessions on a range of topics such as stress relief, happiness, mental health and appreciation. I never got to purchase any. I prefer to go back to the beginning of Take10 and start over on a regular basis.

Simply Being ($1.99) - This one was recommended to me by my acupuncturist when I was trying to find a cure for my migraines.

It's a great meditation app that offers a wide range of options. You can chose a meditation length of 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes and let the voice guide you step by step. You can also listen to the meditation with or without music/nature sounds or decide to listen to the music or nature sounds alone.

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

My Meditation Playlist

Having a meditation playlist is also a great option in order to be able to meditate in different locations and for various durations.

The first part of the playlist is by Shalom Mayberg. I attended one of his Crystal Bowl Sound Baths last month and had a great colorful meditation experience there, so I thought I'd extend the experience by listening to his playlist.

The second part of the playlist is by Moby who over the last couple of years has been making really quiet music to listen to when he does yoga or sleeps or meditates or panics. He ended up with 4 hours of music and decided to give it away.

A couple extras

My most successful meditations happened early in the morning. I prepare a cup of tea, burn some palo santo or some incense, light a candle, grab my favorite throw and sit comfortably in my chair.

There's no need for all these props but I've come to like the ceremonial aspect of opening a meditation session by a ritual.

I even go as far as drawing a card from the beautifully Minimalist Oracle Deck that my friend Rachel designed here in Portland and use it as a thread to guide my meditation for the day.

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

How to meditate

  • Set time aside
  • Find a calm location
  • Make yourself comfortable
  • Pay attention to your breath OR initiate a body scan (from the top of your head to the tip of your toes) and pay attention to your sensations
  • Don't judge your sensations, just acknowledge them
  • Don't worry if your mind wanders, it's natural
  • Pay attention to the present moment

This article by the New Work Times is a great source of information to start your own practice.


What about you, what are your meditation rituals? Do you have any music or apps to recommend?