A quest or two

Today in my work break I scoured the shelves out the back in the “Expired” pile of food. I put the veggies (and such goooood veggies) in my Bolsa bags and went on my merry rejoicing and singing loud Hosannas.

At the register I was told by the girl putting the groceries through had these bags. At my locker, the assistant manager told me that she also had these bags. Another co-worker asked me where I can buy these bags. It turns out that people are so interested in saving on packaging and plastic but they just need someone to start the conversation! I love this – but I hate it at the same time. If you’re interested in something, start the conversation yourself, most especially when it is bringing good into the world!

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Now I’m home and I’ve been preparing dinner for a couple of hours: homemade pasta, salmon, roasted veggies, creamy sauce. I know that I have a whole heap of spare time right now, so that is why I’m throwing myself into this whole Zero Waste thing: later, when I’m working more or maybe even back to study, I won’t have the time and I might lose some of my drive.

I really don’t want anyone to think that what I am doing is impossible. I do other things with my time and I recently went to a Zero Waste talk by the founding mother of the entire concept (when it comes to a Zero Waste personal life), Bea Johnson. She works full time but can contain her yearly waste in one jar. It’s amazing. I love it. I want to be like that. But right now I know it is going to take a while: to get rid of plastic bottles of shampoo alone it will take a few more months. But I’m not giving up or slackening (very much… sometimes I fall or stumble, but if I fail a little and improve, it’s more impressive, right?)

So, that’s just my little story on a few random things. Let me know about your own Zero Waste stories and happenings! I love to hear about it so much!

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About one year ago today

A blog about personal growth using time to compare self? It’s been done. BUT it has never been done by me. I’m not saying that that means it will be fantastic, but it will be fantastic for me.

About one year ago today I was preparing to go to Italy by the end of the month. I felt like I knew what was going on, having gone to Malaysia for four months the previous year. The flight got delayed, I missed my first day of class, but I was not worried. I met some interesting people, ate some good food, whiled away a while in the hotel we got put up at, and got on the next plane.

Now, I feel like I want to travel, but I also feel as though it would be a far greater challenge. Somewhere along the way I’ve lost some of that fire and pizazz, the soul always looking for adventure. I want to find it again though. I’m not content.

One year ago I was talking to a boy I met online – maybe even a couple of boys. A couple of days ago I was asked by a particular one to move in with him. To clarify, he is the only one I’m talking to like that, and I mostly talk to him in real life, when he lights up my day. I wonder if my relationship with him has been me dependent on him, because I love him to bits. The change from being stubborn and proud is probably good, but I miss the old me who would go and tackle random activities without having to ask or check that I’m not interfering in any plans. It’s not that he would ever make me feel guilty, I am just very accomplished at doing that to myself.

One year ago I had recently discovered kombucha, and the making thereof. I would make it in the kitchen at residence and then keep it in my room. As one boy said, I would “make moldy drinks in my room”. I now have a bit more of a repertoire in fermeted foods and drinks, and it has led me to find out a lot more about the plastic-free movement which has inspired me to do what I can to help the environment, maybe even make a career out of it.

One year and a few weeks ago I was moving from residence at university to move in with a friend. A friend who is quite different to me, but we rub along. This morning, while walking back to our place from my boyfriend’s (soon to be our!) place, I remembered that a year ago I reckoned I could handle whatever she threw at me – figuratively speaking! And yes I can. Sure, sometimes I get a bit weighed down, but I can handle so many things.  have passion, people who love me, very few friends but the ones I have are real, my beautiful dog who I will visit tomorrow, and an unconquerable spirit.

Just writing this makes me think of how I was: freer, caring, generous, adventurous. One of my sisters loves hearing my stories, saying that interesting things always seem to happen to me. That may be true, but, to some extent, I make them happen. And I will make them happen again.

Plastic free aesthetic

I have recently made the pledge to go plastic free. Is my apartment suddenly pristine, with cute little jars with labels stacked neatly in the cupboards? Nope.

Will I ever get my apartment completely plastic free? Nope.

Have I stopped bringing things home that have single-use plastic packaging? Nope.

Look, it’s pretty hard. Milk is my stumbling block right now. I feel like I am making excuses, like “I need to use it up before I throw it out”, and “Surely this little bit won’t matter…”, and “I can’t help it f I get plastic gifts for my birthday!” The key, I think (although I am really new to this lifestyle change) is to remember “Everything in moderation. Except plastic. I hate plastic.”

So, the rules I have set up are:

  • Treat it like an adventure. Since this is my pledge, I get to do as I want with it. Instead of ringing up every supermarket in the area, I’ve decided to take trips to each one in quest of milk in glass bottles, or paper cartons. This way, I get to know my area a little better, find some interesting products hopefully, and have something to do with my non-working days that gets me outside!
  • Do use up the stuff you have. To me, going plastic free goes hand in hand with using less, buying less, making do with less, and, ultimately, throwing out less. If I use up the moisturisers, tooth brushes, shampoos, conditioners, etc. that I already have, I can repurpose them. Those bottles and things will be re-used as bottles for homemade shampoos, and what-have-you, and even toothbrushes can be reused as tiny little scrubbers, or even garden signs.
  • I have a timeline: 2019 sounds like the perfect time to be completely single-use plastic free.
  • I can not force other people to adopt the lifestyle change for me. For instance, I can’t make my housemate clean out the bin because I don’t want to use bin liners any more. Two options are: keep using the bin liners, or, I take responsibility for the bins. Yep, it’s not all pretty jars and fun hand-drawn labels in an artsy fine liner with cute pictures (I suck at drawing, and most fine liners have plastic in them anyway, so…. I guess I’ll have to suffice with plain, hand-written labels in pencil)
  • I’m doing a good deed here. If I have a few setbacks, like every time I want a milky chai at home so I buy another bottle, I feel guilty. But I need to remember that I have made progress already, and that this project is doing good. I support businesses with the same inspiring mindset, and lessen my waste as I go. I am also learning a lot about the environment and interesting alternatives, as well as how a little change makes a big difference.

I hope we can all remember this when we do anything – big or small – to improve our world. Sure, the plastic-free aesthetic is awesome and pretty and sleek and how I want my apartment to look…. off track. I may want those things, but knowing that I am helping the environment a tiny bit makes the real difference, and is the real motivation.

My list

If you don’t know from previous posts, I have an obsession with my hair.

First, I need to update you on my last haircut – it is a rollercoaster if ever I knew one. After a lot of discussion, which escalated to arguments, with myself, I got a cheap haircut on campus. And not just a haircut: a fringe!

Or bangs. For me it was more of an explosion, I was so excited.

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The hairdresser cut a very thin fringe that poked up every which-way, and highlighted my grey hairs, which stuck up above the rest somehow. So, when I got home I did a bit of research, then took my scissors and hacked maliciously at it. It was fun, rather terrifying, and, strangely enough, I am happy with the result.

I am still engaged in growing my hair out and I have challenged myself to grow it faster than my friend is growing hers. She doesn’t know this, but it will give me great satisfaction to achieve it. Being overseas and therefore without my stash of hair products (including kitchen products), my hair-growing habits have turned to researching how to grow hair long and strong (which, I know, doesn’t actually do anything except make me eager to do those methods suggested).

But, it is time to make my own list. I’ve done enough research, enough repetitive reading, to make my own list with my own needs. Hopefully, this gives a few clues to others too!

  1. Don’t use avocado. As a student (or normal human being), it’s hard to afford this kind of thing. There is rosemary and lavender in the garden outside, and I always have a bottle of eucalyptus oil on hand. I suggest using things close at hand, doing a bit of research on them, finding out if they will actually work (rather than harm), and use it to your advantage.
  2. Take time. Obviously hair doesn’t grow overnight. Well, you know what I mean. Little things, like brushing your hair slowly, and not scrubbing it to dry, are so useful and should be part of your routine – not only for long hair, but for strong and healthy hair.
  3. This is similar to the first but I find that I’m kind of running out of things already! So much for all the research. This tip is: while buying hair products is fun, look into homemade alternatives. Usually cheaper, and always healthier, and pretty fun to concoct, homemade alternatives are better than bought. I keep them in jars in my room, and feel good about the fact that it’s more environmentally friendly than buying packaged goods.

Honestly I think that they are all the tips that I have. They aren’t much, but I think that it is important not to get sucked into the big consumerist ideas. True, a lot of my hair products are bought but I will not be restocking them. I have a homemade dry shampoo (with coco and cinnamon, it smells delicious), and a hair mask of olive and eucalyptus oils. I use the rosemary and for a steam, and I use other herbs for facial steams.

So, enough talk about my hair! I hope that this is helpful to someone! Remember: don’t buy into all the fancy packaging, all the lovely smells (you can make your own though!), and have fun doing some experiments of your own!

Hypocritical much?

The title is an attack on myself. This post, when compared to my last one, is very hypoctrical. You know that Greek guy, Hypocrites? (pronounced Hip-oh-kret-ees) Well, I’m his mother.

The word hypocrisies? It should be hypocrisis. Not that there’s a hippo crisis. There could be, but my own dilemma has turned my thoughts to myself in a selfish, artificial way.

The source of this dilemma, this conundrum? My hair.

I reeeeeally want a haircut. I would like to get a haircut. I’d love a haircut – I need a haircut!

Soon I will be going to Italy and I have heard a few times recently that, upon meeting me, people tend to thing I’m a goody-two shoes who sits home and knits. “Really boring”, one girl said. “A good girl”, a work colleague said. “Kind of quiet”, from another.

While I honestly do sit home and knit sometimes, and I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert, and I hate getting into trouble, I want to be someone who looks exciting and fun because, heck, I am fun.

But – I am scared. I don’t want to be passed over because I look boring. First impressions are big in this society – seeing someone’s face on a display picture on Facebook can define one person’s impression of another. I don’t want to look boring, I want something happening on my face, something that makes me stick in people’s mind.

I want a different look and my hair is something that can do that.

Even though it is superficial. Even though it *gasp* costs money. Even though it’s all of that – it’s just a haircut.

Buuuuut…. I want one.

Reinvent. Really.

The location for today’s procrastination location: WordPress.

I’m not even sure if that made sense but, hey, I like the rhyme. And, even though I am procrastinating, I feel as though this is important.

The other day I was feeling a bit bored and a bit stuck in my normal routine, lacking interest – this led me to looking up how to reinvent myself.

I guess that the almighty Google knows I’m a girl and my interest in make-up and that sort of thing, but I was still a bit irritated to find that the fruits of this search weren’t very nutritious: it was basically junk food. Artificial, dangerous, useless.

It was all about changing my looks: how to reshape my eyebrows, why I should change my lipstick and even my eye colour! As a fan of make-up and of fixing my hair up in braids and buns, I think that appearance is kind of important. For one thing, it’s just fun to play with.

But, on the other hand, it is just fun. It should not be how I reinvent myself. Beauty is only skin deep, and changing my look on the outside won’t do all that much on the inside.

To give a few of the articles I read credit, they did comment that looking good gives confidence. I kind of agree with that – looking good makes it easier to walk into a room. Ask anyone who has the bridge of their nose filled, or their eyelids lifted. Looks give you power.

Simultaneously, my interest in healthy and environmentally-friendly eating has been growing. A friend gave me a SCOBY – the key ingredient of kombucha – and lent me a book by Sarah Wilson in which a recipe is written. It’s so interesting, and I love reading about how she has incorporated this type of food prep into her life, and how it has changed her life. It’s quite holistic – a word and notion I love.

So, that’s what i’m starting to do. For me, food is a very non-artificial part of life. The way I eat shows my heritage, people that I meet. I make pasta because I love sharing it with family. I took over the vegetable garden at home because I can give vegetables and herbs to friends and family. Heck, I grow sunflowers to help the bees. (Guys, really, plant flowers for bees)

So this is what I was hunting for without knowing. Ideas that Sarah Wilson expresses so clearly were some simmering, unclear concepts that had been floating around my mind for years. She illuminated them.

So please, to anyone out there wanting to reinvent themselves – go beyond looks. Go for something that means something big to you. Do it for the real you.

Projects

I am probably the exact same as everyone else – especially at this time of year.

You see, I work at Kmart. Luckily (for you), that’s not why we’re all alike. On New Year’s Day, 2017, I saw more people than usual buying work out clothes. Good on ’em. Keep it up. Good job, Bob.

At the start of the year we all get those urges to do, to experience, to be better, to be healthier, to incorporate mindfulness. I will leave the subject of mindfulness to another post, though. On that subject, I have so. Much. Advice. (In a totally non-aggressive way, of course)

I had the urge and the opportunity to re-organise my room. To tell the truth, I didn’t have the opportunity: I made it. I started at 9 pm and kept going until I had room on bed to sleep. Then I needed to get rid of things and to find new boxes for jewellery. That got me onto Pinterest and I am now making a jewellery storage space from an old corkboard that was sitting on the floor and still holding 2015’s shopping lists.

Now I am (once again) an avid Pinterest user. I have re-organised my boards and have aims to give my account a facelift. I hope that this urge will pay off: that it will help keep me active both physically and mentally, help me to learn and prepare for the day when I have to renovate my own, futuristic house, and to keep me far from boredom and well within the realm of creativity and… fun.

Good luck to all with your resolutions and aims, motivation and journeys!new-years-eve-fireworks-sydney-harbour-national-park