Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

Reset your phone, reset your life

Girl with hat looking in the distance by Conscious by Chloé

You know how sometimes one little event ends up making you reflect on your life in general?

This happens to me a lot, especially when I'm clearing my closet...

This time, both a book and my phone made me re-evaluate my habits. Here is how it went:

During our road trip - which I highly documented on Instagram and that will be the subject of an upcoming article - I read many books, different kinds of books, and one of them was by my favorite happiness expert, Gretchen Rubin.

As you know, I listen to her podcast and was also very inspired by The Happiness Project, her best-seller. Unsurprisingly, her latest book, Better Than Before, was on my reading list. This time, she tackles this critical question: How can we make good habits and break bad ones?

With September coming up, a big project that will keep me busy for weeks and this general feeling of going back to school, the long hours driving along the Western States roads were the perfect opportunity to reflect on my habits. I assessed my New Year Intentions and formulated some new ones for the coming month.

But the implementation of these habits came in a funny way. I had been having issues with my phone for a while now and had postponed the inevitable restoration for too long. A thorough restoration is something you really do not want to have to do. It means losing all of your beloved settings, reinstalling numerous apps and re-entering a countless number of passwords (At least, I was glad I used 1Password. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, head out to my favorite apps article.)

In the end, it took me an entire afternoon to tackle this nagging task. What I would never have imagined though, is that evaluating whether every single app in my phone was worth reinstalling would make me reflect on my lifestyle in general.

Better Than Before helped me identify certain aspects of my personality. I'm a questioner, a procrastinator and probably an abstainer. This came as no surprise, but actually writing it down in my notebook helped me realize that what I needed was a) tools to organize my life and prompt me to do certain activities at certain times, b) an accountability partner and c) to identify activities that should be paired together in order to ensure they will be done (you'll understand what it means later).

I fell into a fitness-related vortex and spent way too much time linking well-being related apps to the Health app (I use an iPhone) and installing new ones that were suggested to me. Since my health data had completely been erased, I was motivated to start afresh and capitalize on the good cycling and hiking habits we had set during the holidays. So I reinstalled Runkeeper and Strava for walking, hiking and cycling. I also reinstalled my precious Clue app (period tracking), and the fun Sleep Cycle one. As one of my goal for the year was to drink more water, I also installed the Waterlogged app. And it's been pretty successful so far. Even Octave asks for a glass of water whenever he hears the waves sound of the app reminder.

Octave got me into mountain biking during this trip, and as we got back home, I finally managed to convince him to go indoor bouldering with me. We went to an intro class this week and got a pass for the next two weeks. Let's see how it goes. Accountability really works for me, so I hope that this fitness & fun partnership will go a long way.

As for work organization, I followed a friend and colleague's technique and set reachable daily goals in order to finish on time (duh!) and avoid the stress of the upcoming deadline, the sleepless nights, etc. I also try to wake up and go to bed at the same time, start working and stop working at the same time and take a break to listen to a podcast while walking after lunch (Rubin's strategy of pairing activities). That's basically office life at home, except that I'm allowed to make a couple exceptions.

This will hopefully give me more stability and eventually make me healthier, and happier!

Have you ever had such an experience? What happened? Did you quit your job after painting your nails? What are your habit hacks? I'd love to hear it all!

Podcast - A conversation with Sean Barron of The Portland Cool Podcast

The Portland Cool Podcast Reading List by Conscious by Chloé

Guess what? Being an avid podcast listener can lead to surprising outcomes.

As you know, I love podcasts. They keep me grounded, teach my a lot and make me discover incredibly talented people.

I sometimes reach out to their hosts to share my enthusiasm and opinions. But what happened this time was pretty amazing because, one thing leading to another, I ended up being invited to participate in one of them.

And what better podcast could it be, than Portland's coolest podcast?

I was pretty sad to learn that the Portland Sustainability Podcast was going to broadcast its lasts episodes, and was really surprised to be invited to talk about sustainability on its sister podcast, the Portland Cool Podcast. But in the end, it makes perfect sense. Sean is a Master Recycler, Portland is the greenest city I've ever lived in, everything's cool!

Amongst many subjects, Sean & I talked about how I got interested in sustainability, what particular event led me to open Conscious by Chloé last September and how one can start shopping in the bulk aisle.

Here is the conversation we recorded a couple weeks ago (in my kitchen). I hope you'll enjoy it.

PS: I may have mixed the information about recycling in Switzerland. Don't believe the numbers I give. Just know that I'm pretty proud of countries and counties that have a strong recycling policy, but that I would like to see more efforts made into avoiding waste production ahead.

Do you listen to podcasts? I'd love to know what your favorite one is. Let me know in the comments!

My 2016 Reading List

2016 Reading List by Conscious by Chloé

Having decided to cut down my screen time, I now have more time to read. I finally got my library card, figured out how to download e-books on my iPad (which I put in airplane mode if I read in bed) and now don't even need to go to the library to borrow books! Next step: audiobooks (I already listen to many podcasts but I'd love to try it once). I cannot believe that I can do all this for free!

Also, I'm about to join a book club. Yeah I can hear you laugh over there. But I don't care, groups are the bomb! Women groups, craft groups, entrepreneur groups, you name it, I love them all!

I've kept a reading list for a long time now, but it looks like all I was doing was adding items instead of reading them. So I thought that putting it out there might encourage me to finally tap into it. I'm pretty happy with my current pace of 2 books per month (I read somewhere that 12 a year was a good start). Anyways, here's my 2016 reading list (I'm currently about to finish Didion's Blue Nights).













You'll notice that this is a 100% feminine list. It was a coincidence in the beginning and I then decided to make a theme of it. Of course, the order might change along the year, according to the availability of these books at my local library (which explains the 2 Miranda July and 2 Joan Didion books on my list), my travels (it looks like I'll be spending the month of May in France/Switzerland), my mood and... YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS!

Seriously, I sometimes feel like my reading list revolves around the same subjects, so a little change is also welcome. But I still love girl bosses, feminist icons. Do you have a favorite author? Also, I'd love to start reading again in Spanish.

New Year intentions

New Year Intentions Map and Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project by Conscious by Chloé

Happy 2016 Everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

I sure did. After flying back to France for 2 weeks, Octave and I made a stop in Iceland on the way back.

We landed in Portland last Thursday night and, for the first time ever, jet lag got me real bad.

No matter what time I'm going to bed 8.30, 10.30pm, I'll wake up around 5-5.30am. The first mornings I stayed in bed trying to force myself to sleep, but yesterday morning - after Octave had asked me the day before what the hell had I been doing during these 2 hours in bed before finally getting up at 7.30am - I decided to get up and be productive.

And boy did it work!

A long due newsletter, and some serious saved articles, reading list and bookmark organizing...

... which leads me to the main subject of this first post of 2016:

New Year Resolutions!

As you now know, I love making lists. But what you may not know, is that I sometimes get analysis paralysis. I have so many ways of organizing things or ideas to chose from that I just don't know where to start.

So I started by starting.

I came up with a list of things I want to achieve this year, and then organized them by timeline (daily: meditate, weekly: write an update email to a friend who lives far away, monthly: read a book, always: get even closer to producing zero waste, one time: sign up and participate in a race).

But then I realized that the result was just another list of to-dos.

Here I should remind you the mantra of this blog and basically my mantra in life: Simpler, greener, happier.

So I replaced the goals by intentions or aspirations.

I narrowed them down to what I want more & less of in my life, and I made this:

2016 intentions planner for download by Conscious by Chloé

Click on the image to download the intentions map, don't forget to select "scale to fit" and then "fill entire paper" to optimize the printing process.

Here are a few examples from my intentions map:

More: yoga, travelling, water, greens, meditation, early mornings, book reading, running, volunteering

Less: waste, procrastinating, nagging, criticism, chemicals, chocolate, dry skin

Instead of going on a diet which I will never follow, I decided to add greens and water to mine, and cut down chocolate (chocolate covered almonds especially).

"Less chemicals" will mainly help me achieve the following goals: continue making my own natural body and cleaning products, stop chemically highlighting my hair.

"Less dry skin" might need an explanation. When I decided to remove chemicals from my life (cleaning and body products), I've been very strict and for a long time, I just stopped using body lotion. Then I tried a homemade recipe but was not satisfied by the texture and then stopped using it again. Now winter has come and after weeks of travelling and showering in places with different qualities of water, I feel like a crocodile. So I'm gonna start the easy way and get natural body lotion in bulk at the coop and will eventually find a homemade recipe that suits me. Sometimes simpler is the best way to be greener and happier!

This month, I'm also re-reading the books which inspired me to live the lifestyle I lead today, starting by Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. Each chapter is dedicated to a month, so January is the perfect time to start reading it.

Rubin's goal for January is to boost her energy and her tools are the following:

  • Go to sleep earlier
  • Exercise better
  • Toss, restore, organize
  • Tackle a nagging task
  • Act more energetic

Chloé reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin by Conscious by Chloé

I'm not gonna summarize the whole chapter here, but rather see how her tools would help me achieve my aspirations :

Go to sleep earlier

I'm off to a good start with this jet-lag, I'm just gonna try to get more hours of sleep while trying to continue waking up earlier (note for self, re-program the heating system so it switches on at the same time).
= more early mornings

Exercise better

I had a medical issue that prevented me from exercising, or, better said, that actually put me in excruciating pain after exercising. I solved the problem with a doctor during the holidays and am really excited to be active again (I was over the moon when hiking up a volcano in freezing temperatures in Iceland last week, Octave can testify). I put the 30 minute booty boot camp link in my favorites, I scheduled running sessions in Runkeeper. Let's do this!
= more running, more yoga

Toss, restore, organize

This has been an ongoing project for the last few years, with international and overseas moves. I also took part in a decluttering project before leaving in December. It helps me find peace (outer order, inner calm) and identify ways to be more effective at home in my quest for zero waste. Plus, decluttering and organizing is something I love to do, who wants to hire me for a KonMari session?
= less waste

Tackle a nagging task

There's this thing that Octave and I keep postponing, personal shared accounting. I've set things up pretty well since we moved to Portland, but we still have some things to figure out from the years we lived together in Switzerland and California. We're setting a date in our shared calendar, there's no avoiding it!
= less procrastinating

Act more energetic

I borrowed many of Ruben's mantras, one being "Act the way you want to feel". I already put it into action during our layover in JFK last week, when we had to queue for one hour at customs because there were only a few immigration officers available. I was tired and grumpy and generally feeling French and revolutionary. But I remembered that mantra and acted a little more optimistic... for the best!
= less criticism, less nagging

I do not know yet whether I'll develop such a detailed plan for the following months. I think that January is generally a good month to set the tone for the rest of the year, implement new good habits and (try to) stick to them all along.

My intentions map will most probably be my plan for the rest of 2016.

On your own intentions map, don't hesitate to write certain intentions bigger than others, or even in all caps, different colors. Draw intentions instead of naming them. Make it yours!

What about you? What are you new year resolutions? Do you even make any? I'd love to hear your mantras, rules and other aspirations for the year to come. Please share them below in the comments section, don't be shy! Also, it would be so much fun to see each other's maps! We could share ours on Instagram with the hashtag #myintentionsmap ! Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

5 podcasts for a happier life

5 podcasts for a happier life by Conscious by Chloé

Podcasts are a totally new thing for me. You tell me audio entertainment, I tell you either music or radio shows. You tell me fiction, I tell you movies, books, TV shows.

In 2013, in the small creative communication agency I was working for, my friend and former colleague Christelle would put on her headphones and work to the sound of this show called the Ten Minute Podcast. She told me I should listen to it, I tried but didn't get into it (I still suspect she liked it only because she had a crush on Chris D'Elia).

Fast forward to November 2014, all my new friends in California are talking about it, my Twitter timeline is full of references to it. I cannot not listen to it. I'm caught in the Serial storm. I started pretty late in the game but caught up fast enough to be able to listen anxiously to the final episode with the rest of the (English-speaking) world.

Since then, I've added a few ones to my collection according to my own taste, and fellow bloggers' recommendations. I usually listen to podcasts while I'm driving, but mostly while taking a walk in my neighborhood.

As I work from home, I need to get some exercise or, at least, force myself to get out of the house. So I took the habit to go for a walk and create a "fake commute" before getting back to work after lunch.

5 podcasts for a happier life by Conscious by Chloé

Here is the list of my past, current and even future favorite podcasts:

1. Serial
My first and favorite podcast which tells one story - a true story - over the course of an entire season. The first season was about Adnan Syed, who was arrested, convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder Hae Min Lee, his ex-girlfriend & a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland.
I cannot wait for the next season and really, really hope that it will be as good as the first one, second seasons can be tricky (True Detective, anyone?).
Category: News & Politics

2. Happier with Gretchen Rubin
A podcast where Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project and co-host Elizabeth Craft, her younger sister, bring practical and manageable advice about happiness and good habits.
I started listening to it after finishing Gretchen's book, The Happier Project which progressively inspired me to launch this blog.
Category: Self-Help

3. Limetown
A seven-part podcast where narrator Lia Haddock tries to answer the question "What happened to the people of Limetown?" who all disappeared one night some ten years ago, never to be heard from again.
I've only listened to 2 episodes (the third one came out yesterday), but I'm hooked.
Category: Fiction

4. The Mortified Podcast
A podcast where adults share their most embarrassing childhood artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, plays, home movies, art) with others, in order to reveal stories about their lives.
I often look like a crazy person, walking alone and bursting out laughing. I seriously sometimes regret not having written a journal when I was a kid, but I'm also relieved because I can only imagine the embarassment I would feel should I re-read it, or, in this case, read it in front of a crowd!
Category: Personal Journals

5. You must remember this
A storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century.
Right now, I'm focusing on the Audrey Hepburn episodes and even extended my research to finally watching Breakfast At Tiffany's on Netflix. This might turn into an obsession...
Category: TV & Film

I love the diversity of my playlist. From fiction to news, journal reading to story-telling, I can chose episodes according to how much time I have and what mood I'm in.

Also, Creative Mornings launched their own podcast (I already love attending their design conferences, more on this subject later) and I cannot wait for the first episode of #Girlboss radio by Nastygal founder Sophia Amoruso.

Do you listen to podcasts? Any favorites in English, French or Spanish? I'd love to hear your recommendations! Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.