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.

Self Care - 19 for 2019

Portrait by Bottega Stories for Conscious by Chloé

Happy New Year!

I hope 2019 will bring you everything you wished for and so much more!

Hosts of the Happier Podcast Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft decided last year to identify their "18 for 2018", inspired by a listener who had created her own happiness project by doing 35 things she wanted to do in her 35th year.

I got such a kick following along their journey and accomplishments that I decided to create my own list.

1. Keep a food diary

I want to have a closer look at what I eat, where it comes from, who grew it, who made it, what its impact is on my health and the environment. I'm planning on keeping myself accountable by writing down everything I eat in a journal. This will also help reach goals 7, 13 and 14.

2. Keep an expense journal

I want to track all the little expenses that accumulate and figure out where my money goes as, like food, I tend to minimize negative habits. I'm guessing I take too many trips to coffee shops and shop too much (ethical, local) fashion. This will also help reach goals 8, 9 and 11.

3. Set up a bed time

I had already set an alarm on my Fitbit but stopped wearing it and getting the signal, so I have to wear it again (see goal 6) or find another system.

4. Publish the Portland Zero Waste Guide

I've been meaning to do that for the past 2 years and decided that this year will be the year the Ultimate Zero Waste Guide to PDX will be available in print. I will hopefully have it ready for spring 2019!

5. Grow flowers

We've focused on our veggie garden for the past couple years but I want to plant flowers, edible ones, pollinators. I want color, I want bees, I want hummingbirds!

6. Walk 8'000 steps a day

I did a great job at the beginning of 2018 but struggled to keep the momentum going because of many trips/interruptions. It really boosted my mood and helped me fall asleep so I really want to do this again.

7. Reach my weight goal and maintain it

I only have 2-4 kg to lose. And by have to, I mean want to. I already feel lighter and stronger but want to reach that mental and physical milestone. Goals 1, 6 and 16 will help and this goal will also help me reach goal 10.

8. Go for a retreat in Hawaii

I have never lived this close to Hawaii. This trip has been on my wishlist for a couple years and I really feel like if I do not do it this year I never will.

9. Visit my friends in New York

This seems doable, since I fly to Europe once a year but for some reason I never managed/had the patience to book a flight with a stop in NYC. If you have trip planner recommendations, please send them my way!

10. Hike a portion of the PCT

I mean, I love Oregon and love hiking...

11. Pay off my credit cards

I've accumulated some debt over the past year. Nothing crazy, but I do not feel comfortable with it and do not want it to become an issue in the future.

12. Buy nothing new for a set period of time

I want to take on a couple challenges and study their impact on myself and my environment. This one makes sense as the "strategy of inconvenience" might even prevent me from buying things I may not really need.

13. Go vegan for a set period of time

I eat a plant-based diet, I am a flexitarian. I also want to learn more about other diets and understand other points of view better.

14. Eat local for a set period of time

I realized during The Local Thirty that I had so much more to learn about where my food comes from, who grows it, how long it travels. So I am slowly going to identify locally grown staples and prepare myself for this challenge.

15. Go to the dentist's

I usually go when I visit my parents in France but she had no availabilities last summer, so this visit is long overdue!

16. Exercise/Meditate every other day

I have already paid my gym membership for the next year and have access to a plethora of free yoga and meditation classes online. No excuses!

17. Host a yard sale

I have done many decluttering sessions and need to sell and get rid of a lot of stuff. Outer order, inner calm, and extra $$.

18. Host a party in our backyard

This is just fun. I love our friends. I love summer. I love our little garden. Let's party!

19. Sign a post nup

We eloped in Vegas a couple months before moving to the States and did not take the time to figure things out with our assets and businesses. The law is different in France and the US. I want us both to figure things out. This year will be the year. For more couple stuff, check out my conscious cohabitation guide.


What's on your list? Use #19for2019 and tag me @consciousbychloe.

Self Care - Hygge or 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!

Self Care - 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?


This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Conscious by Chloé!

Pictures by Luis Felipe for Conscious by Chloé.

Self Care - Seasonal Cleansing

Juice Cleansing with Pure Simple Juice by Conscious by Chloé

Winter has been pretty gloomy, long, and snowy here in Portland, and spring has been, well, unsurprisingly very rainy. I felt like I needed a break to start afresh for the new season, but did not know how to implement this by myself.

In autumn of 2015, I had done a 21-day purification program for healthy eating and living and habits changing with a group of girlfriends, led by my acupuncturist.

After I completed it, I promised myself to do something similar before each major seasonal change, to put my eating habits back on the right track. But I've never succeeded. I missed the accountability and support provided by our weekly group meetings.

Juice Cleansing with Pure Simple Juice by Conscious by Chloé

A couple weeks ago, I attended a brunch at a local restaurant and met Lydia, a local entrepreneur. She was attending the event as a vendor and I immediately knew that our paths would cross again soon. Here's why:

Lydia is the owner of Pure Simple Juice, a Portland-based juice company whose juices are raw, cold-pressed, made from local, organic and seasonal ingredients, and served in reusable glass bottles!

As you can imagine, I contacted her a couple days later, and soon started my first juice cleanse.

Pure Simple Juice offers a wide variety of juicing and cleansing options. I was feeling highly motivated, so I opted for the 5-day Deep Green Cleanse. Each day of the cleanse you get to drink the following:

  • Green lemonade (lemon, apple, parsley, E-3 blue-green algae)
  • Pumpkin Seed milk (pumpkin seeds, dates, maple syrup, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, pink himalayan sea salt)
  • Green Juice (cucumber, kale, lettuce, celery, fennel, spinach, parsley, cilantro)
  • Ginger Turmeric Tonic (grapefruit, apple, ginger, turmeric, just add hot or cold water)
  • Green Juice (kale, lettuce, celery, fennel, apple, parsley, lemon)
  • Veggie Miso Broth with leeks

Don't ask me why I chose the Deep Green Cleanse rather than the Standard Cleanse. I suppose I wanted to show how motivated I was and probably convinced myself that it was the healthiest option.

Juice Cleansing with Pure Simple Juice by Conscious by Chloé

I never thought I'd do a juice fast. The idea of a juice cleanse did not really make sense to me. Having followed a very strict diet a couple years ago, I had learnt that eating real food, masticating, was indispensable and I had been discouraged from drinking juices in lieu of eating real and whole fruit.

Coincidentally, I had watched Sick, Fat & Nearly Dead 1 & 2 recently and saw juicing with a somehow critical eye as I did not believe that it could be a viable option in the long run.

But since I'm a questioner, I wanted to try it for myself to decide whether a juice cleanse is worth all the current hype.

Juice Cleansing with Pure Simple Juice by Conscious by Chloé

Reasons why I decided to go on a 5-day cleanse

  • I wanted to experience it for myself and form my own opinion.
  • I wanted to challenge myself by fasting (with benefits) for 5 days.
  • I wanted to take a step back and connect to my body.

So on Wednesday morning I drove to Lydia's kitchen to pick up my juices for the next 3 days (and would come back on Sunday to pick up the last fresh juice batch for the last 2 days of the cleanse).

Juice Cleansing with Pure Simple Juice by Conscious by Chloé

My experience

Everything went pretty smoothly on day 1, 2 and 3. I even went out with friends on the night of day 3, which included dinner at a pizza place and drinks and cake at a fundraising.

I switched the order of the juices throughout the day according to my mood and program, but would usually keep the miso for dinner time and try to spread out the green juices as much as possible.

My favorite combo was the following:

  • Breakfast - Seed Milk - I need something sweet in the morning, always
  • Lunch - Green Juice - Because I have to drink it at some point.
  • Dessert - Lemonade - I always eat something sweet after lunch.
  • Pick me up - Ginger Turmeric - I prefer not to have it too late at night as it definitely gives me a boost of energy.
  • Dinner - Miso Broth - I need something warm in the evening.
  • Snack - Green Juice - Because I have to drink it at some point.

Then things became a little shaky. I was so excited that I started the cleanse on Wednesday when I picked up my order. So when Friday night came, I realized that the second pick-up day was Sunday and that I would have to find a solution to continue the fast on my own on Saturday. I called Lydia to the rescue and she gave me some very useful tips.

But I was not prepared, did not have the necessary ingredients at home and totally went off track because I no longer had a framework. I did go to the farmers market on Saturday, ate steamed greens at a Japanese restaurant and drank all the ginger tea at my favorite tea house. But once I was home, all I could think of was bread and cheese.

The next day, I was back on track. I exercised a little, brought the empty bottles back to the Pure Simple Juice kitchen and picked up the rest of the order. Even though I was a little discouraged by the idea of tasting the same flavors for yet another 2 days, it was also very comforting to be back on track and not have to worry about shopping and meal prepping.

The last day was pretty interesting as I was working at a client's office. The people who work there are only working on short projects and usually just eat at their desk or take short breaks at random times. So I had no social pressure to eat real food, and the bottles were actually pretty convenient to "snack" at my desk (though they were a little heavy to carry in my backpack on my bus commute).

Finally, I went back to a regular diet at the same time as Octave came back home (perfect timing as he's the one who cooks at home!).

I unfortunately got sick during that week - I blame public transportation, the non-dedicated workstations at the office, and my being cooped up at home all winter (working from home does not reinforce your immune system) - so I did not really measure the benefits post-cleanse.

But it was overall a very interesting experiment. I did not beat myself up for "bending the rules" on day 4 and was actually proud for not giving up overall after this little transgression.

I would definitely do it again next time I feel like my eating patterns are aiming to much towards comfort food.

And of course, I'm always very committed to supporting young, local, and female entrepreneurs who share my values by being ruthless about the quality of their products and their impact on the environment.

Juice Cleansing with Pure Simple Juice by Conscious by Chloé

My recommendations for a successful cleanse

1. Take it slow

Gradually reduce your intake of stimulants and foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat 1 or 2 days before the cleanse. This includes alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, dairy products, red meat, white flour, sugar foods and fried foods.

Reintroduce them gradually into your life and notice their impact on your mind and body. It's a great way to monitor their effect and notice intolerances and allergies.

2. Find your own space

To me, this cleanse was a great moment to focus on me, and me only. I was lucky enough to be able to program the cleanse while Octave was out of town, so I had the whole house to myself. It sure helped a lot, not having someone eating regular meals around me.

And again, since I work from home, I did not have to struggle with the temptations of snacks and coffee machines from the break room at the office.

3. Treat yourself

I took epsom salt baths, dry brushed my skin, mediated and took many naps throughout the day to take my mind of food.

My budget did not allow me to do so during this period but I would definitely schedule a massage, a sauna, an acupuncture session, or, for the most adventurous among you, a colon hydrotherapy.

4. Be active (but not too much)

I took that advice and stayed home reading books and bathing (see 1.) but, on Sunday morning, as the weather was really good, I did hop on my bike and cycle through my neighborhood, admiring the blooming flowers and trees along the way.

5. Journal

Not having to worry about grocery shopping, menu planning, cooking and dishwashing, for 5 days, my mind suddenly had more room to wander. So I filled pages of notes, ideas, resolutions.

I also took note of the triggers of my food cravings and of the satisfaction I felt for not indulging.

As mentioned at 1., monitor the reactions of your body to the reintroduction of certain foods into your diet.


Have you ever done a juice cleanse? Would you ever want to try one?

This post is sponsored by Pure Simple Juice. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support the original content on Conscious by Chloé.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Photographs by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Make Your Own - Personalized Bath Ritual Kit

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.