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.

Hygge - The Danish & Norwegian Art of Coziness & Conviviality

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

What's Hygge?

The word Hygge (pronounced "hoo-gah") appeared in written Danish for the first time in the early 1800s, but the word is actually Norwegian in origin. It describes a universal feeling of being warm, safe, comforted, and sheltered — an experience of belonging to the moment and to each other.

Hygge has been called everything from "the art of creating intimacy", "coziness of the soul", and "the absence of annoyance", to "taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things", "cozy togetherness" and "cocoa by candlelight".

Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.

Hygge is the antidote to the cold winter, the rainy days, and the duvet of darkness.

Hygge is about feeling safe. Hence, hygge is an indication that you trust the ones you are with and where you are.

When life gets hectic, work grows stressful, and the days fly by, hygge allows you to unplug and tune in.

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

The Hygge Manifesto by Meick Wiking

  • ATMOSPHERE - Turn down the lights.
  • PRESENCE - Be here now. Turn off the phones.
  • PLEASURE - Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
  • EQUALITY - "We" over "me". Share the tasks and the airtime.
  • GRATITUDE - Take it in. This might be as good as it gets.
  • HARMONY - It’s not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements.
  • COMFORT - Get comfy. Take a break. It’s all about relaxation.
  • TRUCE - No drama. Let’s discuss politics another day.
  • TOGETHERNESS - Build relationships and narratives. "Do you remember the time we . . . ?"
  • SHELTER - This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

Hygge at Home

Here's my way of making my home a little more hyggeligt:

  • A warm cup of tea

When I last de-cluttered my kitchen, I cleared a whole deep drawer and converted it to a coffee/tea/matcha brewing station. All my ingredients and handmade ceramic cups are in the same place. It makes me happy every time I open it!

  • Heavy blankets

There's a basket next to my couch where I keep a collection of warm and soft blankets. Whether I'm reading a book by myself or watching a movie with Octave, I reach into the basket and add a little warmth and coziness to any activity!

  • Scented Candles

Nothing beats candlelight to make any gloomy day and dark room feel warm and welcoming. I made a bunch of soy candles last year and will definitely try new scents pretty soon.

  • Delicious Cake

Baking is such a great colder days activity. It warms both your home and your belly.

  • Good time with good friends

It's so easy to retreat into your home and stop going out when the days get cold and wet. The best way to beat the gloom is to have friends over and share a great moment together.

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

Hygge at Work

Hygge is not reserved to your home, which means you can apply those principles to your workplace.

  • Decorate your workstation, make it more homey and comfortable

  • Schedule a potluck

  • Bring cake

  • Organize a meditation session/yoga class

  • Grow plants or herbs

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

A Hygge Reading List

Last winter, I borrowed these 3 books about hygge from the library and loved every one of them:

Now if you've learnt enough about hygge and actually want to experience it, here are my favorite "afternoon under the covers with a warm cup of tea" books:

My friend Christine sent me her book and I've been loving it. Taking inventory oh what's in your home, making it simpler, more organized, healthier is one of my favorite past-times. It is a great reminder that we can make a lot with what we already own. Thank you Christine for this thoughtful gift and congratulations on a beautiful work!

A beautiful book about learning to embrace the imperfect and entertain with thoughtfulness and ease. PS: The book in itself is so beautiful with its Japanese binding!

  • I usually do not read those kinds of books, but I bet epic sagas or winter adventures or Nordic tales would be very hyggeligt.

For more book recommendations, you can check out my reading list.

Hygge at Home with Christine Liu and her Sustainable Home Book by Conscious by Chloé

Let me know in the comments below whether you have fall rituals and what's your favorite way to make your home feel cozier in the fall!

Getting Good Sleep

Minimalist Bedroom by Conscious by Chloé

For a number of reasons -the change of seasons, the news, stress, early-rising chickens- I have had trouble sleeping lately. After a lot of trial and error, and many, many bedroom redesigning sessions (am I the only one who's obsessed with sleeping with my head pointing towards the North?), I've come up with a few tricks to get better sleep and finally come up with a bedtime routine.

Minimalist Bedroom by Conscious by Chloé

Create the right environment

  • Comfy bed

This one is a no brainer. Whether it's a mountain of pillows or a warm duvet, the mere thought of your bed should make you want to jump right back in it.

Minimalist Bedroom by Conscious by Chloé

  • Minimalistic decor

A bedroom is a place to rest. So you might want to keep the decor pretty minimalist and let your brain relax.

  • Dark room

According to the place where you live (Iceland in the summer, a house with no blinds), make sure that your room remains dark. It's the best way to fall asleep and stay so as long as needed.

Minimalist Bedroom by Conscious by Chloé

  • Pillow mist

A spray bottle, distilled water and a couple drops of lavender essential oil are all you need. A couple sprays of this concoction on your pillow will come a long way to help you drift off.

  • Ear plugs

It's not for everyone, but when your chickens decide that 6.30am is a reasonable time to sing the egg song, you do your best to prevent it or just stuff wax balls into your ear canals.

Bedtime Routine

  • No stimulants after 3pm

I personally don't drink coffee, but downing a glass of orange juice right before going to bed is certainly not a wise move.

  • Regular bed time

I sometimes go as far as setting up an alarm to start my bedtime routine (shower, brush my teeth, etc). This helps me make sure that I'll get enough hours of rest.

  • Put socks on!

There's this pair of fluffy socks I wear most of the time when I'm at home. Being warm and comfy is a great invitation to then transition to bed.

  • Dim lights

1 hour before bedtime, I try not to turn on bright lights, which is one of the reasons why we have dimmers, candles or reading lights in almost every room of the house.

Minimalist Bedroom by Conscious by Chloé

  • Books only!

No phone, no TV, no computer in the bedroom. You might remember my "No electronics in the bedroom policy". I have to admit that I've made an exception for my Kindle.

Do you have secrets to get better sleep? I'f love to know your bedtime routine secrets!

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Finding Inspiration

Love Style Life by Garance Doré by Conscious by Chloé

Freelance life has got its pros and cons. Getting free time can both be a blessing and a curse, especially when you feel uninspired.

I often suffer from decision fatigue. Some many options are offered to me that I feel paralyzed and end up on the couch binge-watching Netflix' latest hit show.

I've been working hard in the past few weeks in preparation for winter, a slower season for my line of business, which can get pretty hard on me.

And here are my tricks for fighting discouragement and finding inspiration.

  • Read a book

I just got my copy of Guillaume Wolf's You Are a Circle and read a page a day.

I like to alternate between ebooks and hard copies, whether I buy them or borrow them from the library and from friends.

  • Watch a TED talk, any TED talk

I was very moved by this [talk](Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I also added the TED app to our Apple TV so I do not immediately fall into the Netflix pit. This makes TV watching more productive.

  • Listen to a new podcast #trypod

This week, I'm gonna start listening to How I Built This from NPR.

  • Go for a walk

A short walk to my neighborhood coffee shop is sometimes enough, and sometimes I'll drive a little further and go for a hike.

Pairing listening to an ebook or a podcast while walking to run an errand is also a great hack!

  • Socialize

In order to make my return to Portland less daunting after a summer of exciting adventures, I scheduled weeks in advance coffee dates with friends and fellow creators and even reached out to people I had been inspired by like Andrea, Annika and Alba. The response was overwhelmingly positive. I should do this more often!

  • Learn a new skill

Calligraphy, macramé, natural dyeing, lip balm making, photography, editing, car repairing, the list goes on. My new goal is to improve my public speaking abilities, so, as you know, I'm gonna attend my local Toastmasters meet-ups.

Learning a new skill does not necessary mean attending a class or paying for it. There are many ways to learn something new.

How do you get inspired?

Photograph by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

10 little things #7

Heirloom Tomatoes by Conscious by Chloé

Here are 10 little things that have been making me happy lately:

  1. Meeting my parents halfway for a vacation.
  2. A big seasonal cleanup.
  3. Blank notebooks.
  4. Swimming in rivers.
  5. New music.
  6. New friends.
  7. New projects.
  8. Eating our garden bounty.
  9. Connecting with our neighbors.
  10. Not killing a single plant this summer.

What little things have been making you happy lately?

Photograph by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

20 Female Authors I've Read or Will Read in 2017

My 2017 Feminist Reading List by Conscious by Chloé

Considering the current climate and in line with last year's resolution to read only female authors, I've ferociously dived into my 2017 reading list.

Having a female-author reading list for the past 2 years has been an incredible experience. It has broaden my horizons in ways I could not have imagined.

Also, did you know that September 8th is International Literacy Day?

What a better occasion to share with you some of a list of 20 Female Authors I've Read or Will Read this year.

I am really not good at telling stories, summarizing a news article or reviewing books (I'm working on it though) so ,if you don't mind, I'll just make a comment about why I chose to include a book on my list, what happened while or after I read it, when applicable. I hope it will make sense to you and make you want to read more in general, and about experiences of women in particular.

Because just title is catchy. Just kidding. I listen to La Poudre, a French feminist podcast and write down every book recommendation from guests. This one came up quite a few times, so I'll read it as soon at the 30 people before me on the library waitlist finish reading it...

I've been reading many first-person narratives in the past couple years, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham. Jessi Klein's was both enlightening and entertaining.

Because, Virginia Woolf.

Because I want to know and understand why.

Part manifesto, part memoir. I can't wait to dive into it!

Have you listened to her Girlboss Radio interview? Have you watched her TED talk? Now, read this book!

Because we should. Her TED talk says it all.

Because I really want to read more poetry (and it seems to be Instagram favorite author).

I love this neologisms: manspreading, mansplaining, manterrupting.

I'm planning on reading everything Didion wrote. This one was highly recommended to me, it's on my library borrowing list.

I read this one during my lunch breaks while working in Switzerland in June: Love story, gender fluidity. It sparked many unexpected conversations with my coworkers.

I'm at this age and place in my life when people expect you to have kids. My mind isn't totally made up on the subject, but this book was definitely worth reading, only to be aware that there is no unique path.

I hear it's a classic.

I have to admit I stopped mid-book. But I might get back to it, since the reviews are so good!

I have to admit that I was not familiar with Sandberg's career path, and her infamous TED talk. Even though I do not work for a company, many, many aspects of the book resonated in me. I was amazed at how good the writing was, and appreciated the author's effort to include as many narratives and experiences as possible.

I forgot why I put it on my list. But I trust the past me who considered it worth reading. I'll report back.

I convinced the owner of the small I worked at for a bit to carry this book almost only because I wanted to read it during my working hours (that's considered research, right?). Some of my personal heroes are featured in this beautiful book. I might actually buy this one and add it to my highly curated collection (books are heavy to move, so only the ones I'm gonna read and read again make the cut).

Again, I do not work for a company. But was intrigued by the title. Plus, I bonded with a classmate (from the Agent of Change training) over it soon after I started reading it. An easy read, illustrations, generally badass.

My friend Julie lent it to me when I was a young adult. I am dying to read it again more than 10 years later in the light of my experience. Despentes is a French myth, author, director, activist. Her Vernon Subutex series is next on my list!

I listen to the 2 Dope Queens Podcast and wanted to learn more about one of its creators.

PS: If there is one more book I would add to the list, it would be Andrea Bemis' Dishing Up the Dirt. Yes, I read cooking books like any other book and actually took Andrea's book on my Washington State Road Trip.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations? I'd love to read more stories experienced by women from various backgrounds and origins. Please share them with me in the comments!