Bathroom needs – a burgeoning list

Ok, so I need to keep track of all the things that once I run out of I will need to find unpackaged or home-made versions of or potentially stop buying. Actually, it’s just a list of the things I use in the bathroom – not using some of these things seems insane

  1. Shampoo
  2. Conditioner
  3. Moisturizer
  4. Foundation
  5. Blush
  6. Eyeliner
  7. Mascara
  8. Nail polish
  9. Lipstick/lipgloss etc
  10. Deodorant
  11. Face wash
  12. Acne treatments
  13. toothpaste
  14. sunblock
  15. dental floss
  16. toothbrush
  17. hair ties
  18. hair combs
  19. bobby pins
  20. hair brush
  21. Make up removal wipes

I already buy my soap in a cardboard box from the eco store (this is my fav!), but changing face wash, moisturizer and everything else seems daunting. Not wearing sunblock is insane, but how do you find an ethically packaged version? Can I buy it in bulk? There’s a hole in the ozone layer – all the make up I buy has sunblock in it. Argh!

Also – is it reasonable to change everything? If bicarb soda was great at cleaning teeth wouldn’t society still be using it? I’m 31 and never had a filling – surely that means that my methods of teeth cleaning and flossing works well – why change if it works? What could I change to?

The shampoo I use is for dandruff control. Literally just head and shoulders. What will happen to that if I stop using it – will I become one giant piece of dandruff?

Transitioning my life involves thinking about things I just take for granted. I’ve never considered not buying a plastic hair brush – I need a new one and am looking at bamboo at the moment. I wear a liquid foundation along with a pressed powder with a blush over the top – how will I source those products and will I just instead have to give them up?

All questions I plan on answering. At the moment they’re feeling insurmountable. But if I break them down it’ll become easier to sort out and make progress.

 

 

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Book review: do what you love and other lies about success – Miya Tokumitsu

When you work in the not for profit area expectations on your work can be exceptionally high. You are lucky to be working in an industry where you are doing something you love.

Thus expectations can be high.

This does not just apply to not for profit arena FYI – I know teachers that don’t call in sick because they know their students won’t learn as much with fill in teachers… what a level of personal pressure!

When you do a job you love you’re supposed to just do it – not for anything crass like money! Teachers, nurses, child care workers, not for profits… we undersell what we’re worth in these industries.

Talking about money is gross, but you need to know your worth. But here’s the thing… Talking about money shouldn’t be gross. Some things you volunteer at because you enjoy them, but you don’t volunteer at work. You do a job and are compensated with money. People that work in these caring industries are often taken advantage of because of these perceptions.

This Book had many wonderful quotes, but I’ll share this with you:

The paradox of do what you love is that, while exhorting people to perform work that they love, it denies that this work is work at all. Persuading professional workers not to think of themselves as workers is one of the profoundest achievements of established class rhetoric. When people speak of the working class as a constituency to which they do not belong, embedded in their speech is a disavowal of their own status as workers, specifically as workers toiling for an employer or entity other than themselves. The social desire not to fall into this class is so powerful that, as we’ve seen, people will assume massive amounts of debt, submit to intrusive surveillance and managerial control and work for hope instead of wages. This, too, is a disavowal of their own work. 

Hope remains a major force keeping the swelling reserve of credentialed, would-be professionals toiling for paltry wages (or no wages at all). While scores of college grads working in unpaid internships could be doing paid apprenticeships that impart tangible skills, they opt for the uncompensated purgatory of coffee fetching and photocopying in the hope that such service will lead to a lucrative, lovable job. Is it worth it?

To me? Yes. One of my goals is to apply for and receive an internship at the UN.

I spent 6 years in my 20’s working in risk and insurance and hating every minute of it. I would often come home from work and cry, not sure how I would face going back into the office the next day. Now if I cry from stress, it’s because I care so much I want to do so well that I stress myself out. But that doesn’t mean the job isn’t good, just that I need to work on coping in a way that reflects how I care about my work.

I am the person discussed above. I have worked in many different industries, but without community I am nothing. Community radio in particular is a home to me. I do love my job, but reading this book has helped me reflect on and reset my boundaries. I give a lot and I work hard, but I no longer check emails when I’m at home or on the weekend.

And when I leave work, I work hard to leave it at work. I’m not perfect, but this book clarified to me the importance of personal and professional boundaries. Highly recommend tracking it down – it has a lot of reread potential as well, so worth considering in investing in a purchase of it.

 

 

 

 

Menstrual options

Ok – real talk – Women unless they’re currently pregnant or have gone through menopause will have a monthly menstrual cycle. How they decide to live with and cope with that cycle is up to them. This is how I choose to do it.

I use a Diva Cup. A Diva Cup is a silicone cup that you insert (much like a tampon) into yourself to catch your flow. To insert, you bend a side of the cup in, insert and twist internally. This creates an air lock which prevents leaking (for the most part).

Continuing the real talk though – you get pretty intimate with yourself. Emptying the cup often involves getting a little bit of blood on your hands as you rinse it out. The cup is made from medical grade silicone and I simply sterilize it with boiling water at the beginning and end of my cycle. I pop the cup in before my period starts and check it in the shower daily to see if anything’s happened – often my period has begun and I don’t even know yet!

I’ve had great success with the diva cup – my only issue has been that sometimes mid cycle on a heavy flow day if I remove the cup to empty and then reinsert some blood may then be lower in my vagina and then leak onto my underwear. In 8 years of usage that’s been the only type of leak incident I’ve experienced and then it’s just some light spotting. To combat this, I use reusable pads during my cycle. My last batch finally died and as I’ve been yet able to replace them, I’ve been buying disposables: cheaper initially, most cost over time.

In addition to being cheaper over time – they’re also more comfortable. Disposables have sticky stuff on them which can often stick to your leg or move around. The fabric is much much softer than disposables and when buying organic cotton you are sure of what is going to be touching the most intimate parts of you. That shit is important when you think about

My current plan is to buy 7 more reusable pads on pay day and then donate my disposables to Share the dignity once they’re no longer required. Since they’ve already been purchased it makes sense to donate them to women in need – one of the few times in my conscious choices year that the more conscious choice is to shop for a new product sooner since I have the flexibility to do that to allow others to receive the disposables since their need is urgent.

Razors – post 2

So after doing further reading on Wicked Edge on Reddit, I decided to bite the bullet and invest in a kit. To be honest, I’ve only got another couple of weeks left in my current razor and with shipping I’m hoping it’ll all match up time wise. Since it’s my last razor I’ve got in the house, it was time to make a decision.

I’m going to discuss brands and things now – I am not paid to do so. I follow advice on places like Reddit pretty closely and when enough people back up a product I consider it ok to dive in and give it a go.

Maggard Razors are pretty highly regarded. They have a wide range of options and also help you out by providing DIY kits to build. Pick your razor, pick your brush, soap etc. I’m going to go through my decisions below:

I bought the Edwin Jagger Razor in pearl blue. All the feedback on reddit was super positive, it seems like the handle is a decent length and it’s also pretty. Clearly not integral to the shopping process, but something still to factor in.

Brushes were harder. I got the 10049 in Red. The bristles looked sturdy, well rounded and were not acrylic, but still vegetarian as I believe boar hair is farmed without killing the boar. It was also important to not buy another plastic item, but instead something that would biodegrade.

I picked the La Poire Francaise soap as it had a humectant to prevent my skin drying out which is a problem I have anyway – shaving or not. The container is plastic, but I believe as I become more skilled in finding products I’ll be able to find a product to refill into the container or make my own to store in it.

I also bought a styptic pencil as I reckon there’s good odds I may cut myself the first few times I do this. Best be prepared for that in advance.

I bought a mixed pack of razors as they seem to be entirely dependent on individual preference. Some people rave about a particular brand, others can’t get them to work and switch to something else. Best to try as many as possible, find the one that works best and then give the others away on a group like Rough Trade Melbourne or something.

Including shipping to Australia it all cost $78.83. That’s about a years worth of disposable razors probably, but hopefully the handle will be one thing I’ll only buy once in my life and the razors come in packs of 100 for about $10. Give me some time and I’ll be ahead financially me thinks!

First decision to make – razors

So my friends would consider me a feminist. I consider myself an ardent one at that. Late last year I stopped shaving my underarms for a number of reasons and have found it incredibly empowering with the added benefits of no longer having a constant an incessant rash irritating me and also useful for grossing out old boring men on public transport, but I still shave my legs. I hate the feel of the prickle on my leg and it’s only been since Thursday (now Monday) since I last shaved, but it’s driving me nuts with irritation. I also have very dark leg hair and shaving makes me feel more comfortable in myself. I’ve come a long way with not shaving my arm pits, but not shaving my legs is not for me. Or at least not yet.

Like most women and men I know I use disposable razors. I would go through at least 12 a year (one a month is generous I guess) and they all end up in landfill. They are not recyclable. I previously used to buy the ones with replaceable heads (still plastic) and then change them out, but found the blades were more expensive than just the standard BIC style razor – especially since the body of the razor would often break regardless of replaceable heads. So then I was buying both products repeatedly per year. Shithouse. More waste in landfill and more stupid plastic bought.

So I have 3 options: wax, shave, or get the hair removed via laser processes. Laser is waaay out of my price range so that leaves me with wax and shave. Wax is less pricey, but I can’t do it myself and don’t wish to spend upwards of $50 per month on hair removal if I can save that instead. So that leaves me with old style razors like my Grandpa used to use.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading at Wicked Edge on reddit. They provide FAQs and many ideas for finding a razor and plan that will work for you. They also provide hints and tips for women – which considering we have a lot more area to shave with tricky angles seems wise to me.

The best part? The blades can be recycled! You just store them in a safe little container until you fill it (based on the size of the blades potentially filling it would take a year or more) and then you can drop it off! Easy! Whilst it’s not zero waste, it’s a significant improvement and one that’s easy to maintain and not too much of a change from my current lifestyle.

I’m going to invest in some products soon from the suggested kit from wicked edge and then I’ll report back with my findings and how I’ve found the process.

Inspo

A lot of my goals about this year relate specifically to people I admire. I admire people in my life and also people that make conscious choices. I read and talk to the people I admire when I feel weak and low in energy and motivation. These people helped me (without even knowing it) and so I wished to share that and have a list for myself for when those moods strike again (because they always do)

Bea Johnson from Zero Waste Home is a huge inspiration. I’ve read and reread her book many times (on my ereader – cutting down on paper books is part of my process!). She offers large amounts of content for free that is exceptionally easy reading. She is no nonsense and has been a really great guide for me about food – I just wished she lived nearby so I could shop at the same places and not have to find ones near my house instead!

Erin Rhoads from The Rouge Ginger is another great source of knowledge and much closer to home for me. She also planned her wedding zero waste – how bloody impressive is that?! She writes about many things and I’m lucky to have someone to follow that lives in the same city, so many of her suggestions are quite relevant to me.

Colin Beavan from No Impact Man. I read his book and have watched his documentary many times. Colin is a great example of what I want to be: someone who works both personally and on a societal level to try and create positive environmental change. He also includes some very interesting criticism of his project in his doco, which is also a great thing. Always respect someone who isn’t afraid to openly accept constructive criticism. Plus, he’s super active on twitter and is always up for a chat. What cool dude!

Gretchen Rubin wrote The Happiness Project. This book has had a huge influence on me and is one of the reasons I’m writing this down in a blog form to work on keeping accountability. I believe that making these changes to my life will result in becoming happier. She is more focused on the personal and as I have elements there I am working on regarding my own personal happiness, my mindfulness and my quick temper she’s still a relevant inspiration to me.

Naomi Klein has written extensively on capitalism, environmentalism and human rights. With books such as no logo and this changes everything she is a force of good speaking out against neo-liberalism. For me, it is impossible to remove the political from my plans and goals and so to not include Naomi would be disingenuous.

David Suzuki  has worked on public education campaigns around the environment for his whole life. A wonderful and engaging public speaker and writer I’ve been lucky enough to see him twice and both times I have walked away feeling empowered about the impact I can make.

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. He provides loads and loads of free content that is really motivating. He is a minimalist with 6 kids and that really makes me feel like I can do anything! This includes things like living car free, exercise, health, veganism, minimalism, meditation… He achieves so much through constant slow and consistent progress.

Marie Kondo of Kon Mari. I have done some minor Kon Mari-ing of my house and life, but I plan to continue to work through the process as 2017 continues. Plus my sock drawer has never looked happier.

Barbara Kingsolver who wrote Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. One of the most influential books I have ever read. Her food choices have influenced me since publication (even though I was a vegan when I first read it). Her choices around only buying fresh and in season produce, along with then growing all of her own food (including animals for slaughter) was eye opening and revealing. It also presented ideas that I thought were beyond me: I could learn to make cheese, I could learn to grow vegetables – then I can opt out of systems entirely.

And of course my mates. Do you ride your bike to work? Do you bring your lunch and carry a water bottle? Do you strive to make these sorts of positive environmental changes in your life? Well chances are I probably admire you greatly too – possibly even more than the people above as many of them are using these things as a career, to make money and to encourage people to spend in a different way. Do you do your thing quietly without expectations? Then I reckon I admire you most of all. Sappy, but true!

Goals for 2017

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the last 6 weeks or so about what I want to do with this year. I can be a bit floaty, make plans and not follow through. This blog is about personal accountability and pulling it together.

Here’s the things I am working towards achieving

  1. It all started with a new years resolution: no buy new year. What does that mean? It mainly applies to clothing, but I am going to avoid buying new things except under specific circumstances. What are those circumstances?
    a. underwear, tights, leggings. I wear many of these things and the reason why you never see second hand items is cause it’s a bit gross since it’s on your crotch.
    b. Medicine. I take a few medicines and I’d prefer to keep buying those at a chemist, cheers.
    c. If a specific item has attempted to be repaired and it can no longer be done. Electrical items are a good example of this one, but I can always buy those second hand. Shoes is probably a better option here as I have trouble finding shoes that fit me even when they’re new! These are just everyday shoes though as I have planned purchases for other shoes.
    d. I plan on playing footy this year and need to buy footy boots. I also plan on hiking a lot more (I’ve done some hiking over the last year and have enjoyed it a lot, but my weak ankles don’t care for me doing it in runners). Both these things require specific well considered ethical purchases. With research I believe that I can get those things easily from good producers
    e. Presents. I tend towards the ‘experiences as gifts’ items anyway, but a lot of my friends are having kids these days. If they’ve specifically requested something that their kid needs for the first birthday, I’m not going to push my personal choices onto them. Living consciously also means being conscious of others needs.
    f. I’m also not going to stop shopping entirely from small ethical producers. Local artists at markets need support to stay in a difficult industry. The arts are difficult enough without your target audience deciding against buying your creations on a whim! But this doesn’t just mean I’m going to shop etsy and not change. I want to seriously consider everything I buy and analyse my shopping motivations.
  2. Cutting down on packaging until I remove it entirely. Over the next couple of years (I plan on doing this slowly!) I plan on removing single use plastic from my life. My first step towards that is no longer buying drinks out (unless they come in glass) and removing soft drink from my life entirely. I am a huge addict of coca cola and am currently on day 1 of no caffeine and sugar and the headaches are already intense. This is even more clarifying for me: I need to do this for my health along with for the planet. There’s a few other things that I can already see this being relevant towards and they are: make up, food, menstrual products, shaving products, other body care items (shampoo etc). In many ways, I figure this will be more difficult than not buying new: I can avoid not buying clothes, but this will involve changing bigger habits that I’ve had for my whole life. Things like making my own make up and other body care items are on the list here. The main way this will be reflected is by finding food producers that don’t use plastics and allow you to return containers or bring your own. In addition, finding food producers that are also ethical sources of their produce: I am a light meat eater after being vegetarian for 10 years and vegan for 5. These things matter deeply to me. At present I am using up items and then assessing on when/how to approach the issues when I run out of an item. My odds are on shampoo and conditioner probably going first.
  3. Removing my car reliance to the absolute minimum. I have bicycles. They are good bicycles. I have more than 1 bicycle (I actually have 4 because I’m a horrendous hoarder). How many times have I ridden in the last year? zero. That’s seriously fucked. I live riding distance to uni and my boyfriends house is both riding and walking distance to work and my volunteering work. However I regularly drive to both or catch ubers. This is categorically shithouse and needs changing. I am lazy. This is not self-flagellation it’s fact. I know it costs $6 for an uber from my boyfriends place to work and that’s super embarrassing. Cars are expensive to own, expensive to run and maintain and horrific for the environment. I am lucky to own one that gives me immense freedom, but I also need to keep perspective on the other options available to me: my legs, my feet, bikes and public transport increase usage. Plus I suck at parking and hate paying for it, so this is really straightforward to save some cash on. I also hope it’ll help me lose weight and get a bit fitter, eh?
  4. Drinking less alcohol. At the moment, one of the ways I am trying to be more conscious is to remove things that inhibit my consciousness. Alcohol is one of those things. I love my friends, but drinking both impedes my ability to function the day after an event and also to recall things that have happened. As I get older my friendships are deepening and I wish to have these memories, not just fuzzy vague recollections of some fun stuff we did, but maybe we didn’t, or was that the night that…? Instead my measurable goal is to have one beautiful drink when I go out with friends. I came to this decision after a trip to Bruny Island just off Tasmania this weekend. I stopped at a whisky place and drank a shot of $20 whisky aged in rum barrels that was out of production and cost over $500 to buy 1 of the last 2 bottles. I drank that looking out over the bay and it was absolutely perfect. Why not just buy 1 immensely beautiful item to savour and enjoy instead of 4 shite ones? One beautiful glass of wine out with dinner is better than a cask of goon and you don’t need to be an elitist wine wanker to believe that. Plus – I have fructose malabsorption and drinking basically anything but straight spirits makes me feel totally ill so this has extra health ramifications. It also ties into the removal of single use packaging. I’m not a monk (and don’t aspire to be one either), so having a clear boundary of what I’m about will make things easier in the long run.
  5. Finish my masters. I am completing my masters in International Community Development and working full time in the industry is something I am deeply passionate about. Working part time in a job I love is wonderful, but I’d really prefer to be doing that work full time so I can earn more money to achieve more things that I want to do. I am taking a full course load, along with working 3 days a week and volunteering at 3 other organisations. This will be a busy year!
  6. Join a board. I want to work on a board of an organisation to help set strategic plans and goals for things that I care about.
  7. Apply to intern at the UN. They have programs and with my masters course nearing completion I need to focus on my future career direction. I plan on applying to do their internship program in 2018 if I am unable to find full time work immediately after completing my masters.
  8. Consciously spend more time with my friends. It is easy to neglect relationships as you age and I wish to focus more on friendships and attempt to see at least 1 friend per week out of work (I am also lucky enough to work with many close friends).
  9. Work on my anger. I can have a quick temper and it is not a constructive way to communicate. I wish to be more mindful in how I communicate generally. I am working on this with therapy and also a daily mindfulness routine.

So this is a bloody long post, but it lays out my plans. I may add more to those things as the year progresses, but that’s the rough list.