Posting some old work here as I reboot the structure of this site...seeing this work with some level of kindness that I think it needed from me at the time of making it.

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Feeling fueled by Clarisse Demory's old blog and her generous yet refined eye...a needed reminder of the power of sharing what delights us and grateful to her for publishing her shots of home and France, it has given me so much joy and creative permission to let myself play. Also: candying rinds instead of composting them and anticipating candied orange rind and rosemary cornmeal biscuits; clearing out my book collection; articulating values; making homemade tea blends; grey purplish skies but the freshness of spring around the corner making everything inside my home feel pale yellow; new friends.

Most of all, I'm feeling the reminder that I don't need to always sprint against myself...that taking time to putter and moodle and zone out is all valuable. As someone that commonly falls into guilt about how time is spent (often with thoughts of "I should be doing this", go to do that thing and ah ha! another thought: "oh but I should be doing this...") I'm feeling that there is really an abundance of time and the burden of guilt is easing off my shoulders. So more time this spring for knitting, drawing, aimless walks, eating hot donuts in the early mornings while it's still cold, naps, improvisational baking and messing up and baking again to eat some and then give away, delving into long desired creative projects and accepting that losing sight of the shore might not be as terrifying as the anticipation of it. 

I'm wishing you some lightness as well...

Here are some Milton Avery still lifes:

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The radiators barely work, it's -1 and nothing sounds so good as a warm Montreal bagel fresh from the oven

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Reducing waste and noticing sufficiency

When I talk with people that are self-professed animal lovers but are disconnected when it comes to dairy (or just love cheese so much that their lives couldn't continue without "their" brie) Gotta have my cream, my grilled cheese, my.... I sit there and believe at the base of my heart that if people saw what animals go through in order to get that cheese on your plate, it would look a whole lot less appetizing and there would be so many more plant-based eaters based on logical harmony (which by the way is a website here about vegan and cruelty free cosmetic lists and resources, an aspect of this lifestyle that took a very long time to click for me). Because really, I've seen happy baby cows that act just like puppies and goats that cuddle up like cats (things I can post here too) and know that the people that have doggy companions with little smushed faces, grunting and drooling and wobbling, can surely also find a spot in their heart that connects to a fuzzy pink pig. I might be wrong too.

Well the animal lover/dairy industry contributor conundrum hit me smack in the face as I realized my own part in the earth lover/major unnecessary waste producer. Gulp. Thank goodness for the people that are putting out so much content about this online and thank goodness that for some reason, it crossed my path last month. Hopefully this post can operate in the same way for someone else... This is just to break down some changes that are churning in attempts to be more mindful about the waste we create. An extremely helpful resource if you're in Chicago, or just for general inspiration if you live anywhere, is https://www.zerowastechicago.org/. Two additional resources: https://www.sustainablelifestyleco.com/ and https://packagefreeshop.com/

Some of the switches we've made so far:

-Buying secondhand books

-No more paper towels. The paper towel industry doesn't need more of my money... Instead, we cut up old t-shirts and use toilet paper for the too gross messes that only happen once in a while (cat puke)

-Limiting food bought in plastic bags (Trader Joe's.....) and packing cotton produce bags. Trying to keep a thin bag bunched up in my purse for on the fly grocery buying. I've even started making my own drawstring bags which has been a fulfilling way of putting smaller fabric pieces to use!

-Composting! If you live in a city, there are companies that give you a bucket (mine was $8) and then you return it at any time and pick up another for the same price...and you can pay more and have someone swing by and grab it, or keep your own compost and hand it off to a friend or neighbor that gardens. This has been the biggest game changer for us after seeing that our two major sources of waste are plastic bags from food and food scraps themselves. It has opened my eyes to being more appreciative for how completely the earth provides for our needs, and how delicious and colorful it all is! 

-Being more mindful of to-go cups...taking an espresso at the counter only takes a few more minutes. Also swapping paper filters for metal filters for drip coffee, aeropresses, etc. 

-Lunette cup (or Diva cup) and organic cotton pads if necessary. Whether or not they all contain BPA's or GMO's or pesticides or any assortment of ingredients that make people uncomfortable, for me it comes back to not needing to give my money to these industries. I'd rather save it to indulge on other good things! Dates, figs, persimmons! Chocolate! These products aren't generally cheap, especially when considered over a year's time...and anyway, just like plastic bottles, the product breakdown rate seems to be far off from the time spent using the product. 

-Charcoal water filters

-Bamboo toothbrushes

Next step switches:

-Determine if the recycling is actually getting recycled. Our garbage company uses one dumpster and "sorts the trash"...so we're trying to find another alternative to ensure that the materials are actually getting reprocessed

-Buy more items in bulk! 

-Homemade laundry detergent using rose or lavender Dr.Bronner's and washing soap (or homemade washing soap made from baking soda)

-Homemade toothpaste

-Switches to natural sponges/washcloths for dishes or compostable brush heads

-Keeping rinds for orange/lemon infused homemade cleaning solution and experimenting with making candied rinds, storing them in olive oil, grating the rind and freezing it ice cubes, etc... And now that it's winter, I plan to simmer some orange rinds with cinnamon sticks, cloves, etc on the stove.

-Freezing carrot, onion, garlic, etc. scraps in jars for homemade stock

-Making an effort to go to more farmer's markets in the spring (and always asking for their un-sellables!) 

-Buying a glass nail file instead of the disposable kinds

-Consider buying a Japanese ear pick (mimikaki) instead of buying q-tips

Things that don't have solutions yet/need to research further/not sure if I'll ever get there???

-Pens ????

-Lens wipes... almost not willing to risk possible lint on fabric scraps...

-Hankies (maybe just at-home use?)

-Toilet paper (paper-wrapped rolls are way too pricy at this point and family cloth is not my thing...)

-Glue and various art supplies ??

I guess you have to answer for yourself whether it is even worth reducing waste or if it is all going to shit... Especially when considering the trash being pumped out of New York, LA, Beijing, Mumbai, not to mention major factories and businesses everywhere. I cheer a hopeful "just because you can't do everything, do something!" (thank you, Colleen Patrick Goudreau) My future kids will have enough reasons to roll their eyes with an "ugh mom", most likely to my inherited dance moves, they don't need to be saying it about the negligence and greediness that I've shown when it comes to disregarding limited resources and the not noticing the ways that the earth ceaselessly sustains us all. And lastly, giving credit to Colleen Patrick Goudreau again for this insight, it really isn't about perfection when trying to make a difference, it's about intention. It's about upping my care and reverence by 2%, baby step after baby step, keeping my eyes open and claiming responsibility, and then seeing it beautifully impact all other aspects of my life. 

Succulent wild woman means "living fully, richly, rarely, and reveling in ordinary and extraordinary moments... I believe we must live untamed, juicy, and abundantly as women"

Maya Angelou said SARK's magical books should fill every child's book bag and I wholeheartedly agree. I'm sharing these thoughts here because I found a random blog post a while ago about Getting Clear by Anne Kent Rush and it was a total game changer. It's vital to shhaaarree these delicious resources. 

"We need you as an alive and awake woman, listening and contributing. Wake up your creative genius and let it out into the world. Wake up your power and use it wisely. Wake up to your pain and investigate it. Wake up the dull old parts that are hiding from the light. Wake up to love and let it flood through you."

SARK is a powerhouse of insights, playful suggestions, and loving encouragement. She is a massive supporter of talking to strangers (something Chicagoans could use a little help in...), traveling alone as women and feeling safe doing so, extending surprising invitations, and napping often without the burden of guilt. She says that "choosing succulence is a deliberate act of personal revolution. It means waking up! Embracing your true self, studying your patterns, and letting out your most alive self."

Here’s to choosing to see with especially "succulent eyes" as December commences.

A glorious find: Martha's 1999 flower arranging book...for some reason (early morning light?) the photos turned out as hazy and dreamy as some of her arrangements

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From last year’s All Hallow’s Eve… Starting to explore floral arranging with seriousness now and finding it amusing that I’ve never thought of it as a sensible path until now even though flowers operated as one of my main comfort mechanisms and as a way to feel grounded in the midst of all of the transitions. Thank goodness the dots connect at the right time.

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