Post 65…​

A bucket list item was scratched off this week when I visited the city of Stockholm Sweden. On an overnight cruise, kindly gifted from my mother in law, I embarked on a very Finnish experience locals call “the booze cruise”. While my journey did not include as much booze as some of the other free-spirited teens, it did include breathtaking views of the sea.

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While spring air temperatures are still frigid, it does leave a glacial surface to the ocean water. A sight only appreciated for the chilly context in an image. While others enjoy taking a polar plunge between sauna sessions, my comfort zone will be at a distance only using my camera zoom to get in on the freezing action.

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From the inside of the ship, you can see small islands passing and the setting sunlight. On occasion, another ship will pass in the distance only to make for some sense of depth on an otherwise isolated journey across the Baltic Sea. Traveling has its perks, no matter what shape it comes in, and I do appreciate the views of being out on the ocean with only the wind and water to keep you on course.

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Post 64…

Recently I became a member of the Finnish Public Library. To my understanding, my new library card allows me to have access to any library within the country. Such a large opportunity seemed overlooked my first couple years as a resident here, and I am eager to make up for lost time.

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The Rikhardinkatu Library is closest to my apartment. It is a beautiful building and a visual treat to explore the many halls. The spring light has returned to the city, and since there is still time before the warmth follows, these cozy corners will be my preferred place to stay. Like a cat basking in the beams of light, I receive so much pleasure enjoying these views.

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My first batch of books included The Collected Poems of Allen Ginsberg, You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski, and finally Hystopia by David Means. The latter is a novel and it has been an interesting change of pace for my traditional scientific sociological interest. It is a fiction piece based on American culture in the mid-west post-Vietnam war. Novels are not my favorite, but from time to time it is good to read something different from your natural attraction.

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Taking the time to be a member of the library has been a humbling way to grow roots deeper into the neighborhood. The benefits are plentiful in that I am able to enjoy reading without hoarding books and producing waste. This is also an opportunity to save money whilst enjoying the tangible experiences of reading. I also like the fact that I now have a cute little tangerine colored library card in my wallet. It is simple and may not add much to my resume, but to me, these little things mean the most. So I will continue to enjoy the smell of old books, watch my coffee table change from season to season with various titles, and continue to take advantage of what city life has to offer.

I made a few notes whilst sitting in the library today to prepare for this post, and I don’t believe much editing is required to express what I felt:

Although most of what fills the shelves here is foreign to my native tongue, the bones of any library can be comforting. I feel like I belong here.

-xx

Post 62…

So some of you may know that my new year’s resolution was to start making steps towards a zero-waste lifestyle. This has been an interesting resolution because unlike previous goals, this transition has pushed me to rethink almost every aspect of my life. The original concept was developed for businesses to be less linear and more circular with production. Now, people are taking action into their own hands, and homes, to become more conscious consumers and users.

It is nearly impossible to stop all waste in a single moment. It takes time, practice, research, and discipline. Fortunately, the more you educate yourself, the better you are at developing these skills. The switch is simple in my opinion, but it requires a dozen tiny changes to your daily life.

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 The first image above and one of my favorite substitues to plastic, it is a dish scrubber. It is a beautiful wooden design, with only small metal pieces of hardware to hold it together. I also use a bar of soap versus a plastic soap dispenser to clean my hands before and after cooking.

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The second switch is package free beauty products. After waiting for certian items to products to go empty, I switched to purchasing package free items from Lush. Another aspect to zero waste is slow shopping. Do not purchase items for the sake of buying it, wait for the need to arise and then make a new more concious investment. After trying a few of these I may never go back to the packaged items, they are just that good!

From left to right, deodorant, hair mask, and facial cleanser.

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A great switch for me has been the wooden toothbrush. I really enjoy this brand and even though it does have a little packaging to get from production to your home, it is all 100% recyclable. At first, I doubted the durability of a biodegradable brush, and really cringed to think about paying 7euros or more at the local organic store. But after waiting for a sale, and later receiving a couple as gifts, I am fully stocked for the next year or more! Seriously, these brushes are amazing. Unlike plastic brushes which lose strength, the Humble brush has stood the test. As for someone who has always had a difficult relationship with dental care, this is huge upgrade!

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Lastly are the small reusable produce bags.. In many grocers, it is required that the customer weigh the items first before checking out. Instead of grabbing a cheap plastic bag, why not make the easiest switch ever to these little mesh pouches. Add the price sticker on the tag and off you go, back home to make yourself a lovely meal, with little to no waste involved.

Now as a disclaimer, I am not perfect, and my home and lifestyle still have a long ways to go before being 100% zero waste, or even 50%. I will say these small changes have made a huge shift in my motivation. Even with a couple small changes, I feel more conscious, more proactive, and enjoy the smaller details of my routines. So, now is the time I will encourage you to make the switch. Next time you are in need of a plastic object, reconsider and invest in a more sustainable option.

-xx

Post 61…

There is nothing better than sharing a warm meal on a cold day. In my case, a very cold week (below -20c as a matter of fact). Regardless, Fat Ramen is simply the place to be, no questions asked!

In other news, I will be spending the rest of the evening with my husband, and celebrating his 29th year. After a delicious meal and a bottle of wine, I am content and looking forward to enjoying the weekend ahead.

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Post 60…

It is -19c outside with the wind chill so today I am getting cozy in my closet. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on shopping, style, and wardrobe investments. As someone who pushes to live more consciously, step one is all about what is in the closet!

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I have had a “basic wardrobe dream” since I was 17 years old. A collection of perfect timeless essentials that would get me through all of life’s events. It is hard to determine where this interest started, maybe it was watching my older sister grapple with what to wear, maybe it was my father bragging about having the same windbreaker for a decade. No matter the origin of my interest, the seed grew as I got older to be a full passion. Now, with Capsule Wardrobes, #30wear, and buying fairtrade it is easy to live and dress consciously.

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I do not identify my current closet as a capsule wardrobe, but by all definitions, I think it fits. Two factors helped me attain such a minimal closet. The first was moving abroad in 2015. This transition forced me to pack all my things into one suitcase, and everything else was donated. The second factor is my mentality. I have always been attracted to this minimal style. I believe less is more. My closet is living with me, so once a month or more I clean it out. Also, when you live with less, sometimes it is worth your while to pay more. Investing in quality over quantity will last years instead of buying for a single season is a huge game changer.

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In the future, I would like to deconstruct my closet and share everything with Y’all. For now, I will keep things light and avoid any ominous threats about fast fashion or maximalism. With the temperature steadily under -10c for the foreseeable forecast, my ensemble will strictly be layers, sweaters, and thermals!

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-xx

Post 59…

This week I am sharing my current obsession, the ultimate green smoothie! For the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to have one of these bad boys daily. This smoothie has everything too, antioxidants, immune boosting, vitamin galore, green goodness! I tweaked this recipe down to two main factors, one, gotta get your greens every day, and two I need to take care of my joints. If you are interested in trying this smoothie yourself, simply use the infographic I have added at the bottom of the post!

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Not pictured are the two most important ingredients, in my opinion, turmeric and cayenne. From what I have read online, these two help joint inflamation. And after drinking this little cocktail for a few weeks, I really notice a difference. I am a huge advocate for eating your vitamins and minerals. Supplements in the pill form are fine and well, but when you can eat what you need, to me it brings the wellness process full circle.

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I also prefer my smoothies extra large! This might be a habit from my childhood, but I think things are better when served in a mason jar. So it is a must to make this thing bigger and better. Fortunately, my Vitamix is up for the job. This blender is one of the best purchases I have made in my adult life. Investing in the kitchen can seem a bit boring on the surface, but when it affects your everyday life, there is no going back.

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Finally, I would like to address the two unique ingredients. One is the green powder I use. This is a subtle step towards making any smoothie a well-rounded addition to healthy living. I also add nettle. This is new to me as it is a Finnish resource. Ladies, this is packed with iron! I highly recommend you add this to your diet if you are like me and struggle with keeping the iron levels in your body stable.

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Besides all the benefits of this fully loaded drink, one of my favorite side effects is the pure joy it brings to my day. I am not a fan of wearing colors, nor do I live somewhere that is vibrant in technicolor nature, so a bright green smoothie like this sure boosts my mood. Top it off with my little reusable straw, and it is a moment of bliss all to myself.

Have a great weekend, and thank you for reading!

-xx

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Post 57…

This morning started out like most days, caffeinated and optimistic. It took some time to get the nerve to get out the door. After navigating slushy streets I found myself at the local thrift store. I visit frequently, usually to drop off donations, yet this afternoon I spent some time to explore the aisles. IMG_3280.jpg

Although I lingered a little longer than the usual drop off, I did manage to find a few treasures. One, in particular, being the stellar new pair of scissors as seen in the next image. Another treasure of Dutch creation, a game of pick up sticks, was a must for my home entertainment.

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The errands continued, and so did the slushy streets. I managed to walk a few miles before meeting with my husband and ending our Friday evening at a local spot for our weekly coffee date. Tonight was special though, we indulged in a few glasses of wine and had a colorful conversation of politics, humor, media. and social conduct.

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This is definitely not the blog post I assumed I would be writing when I woke up this morning but sitting here now, I am grateful for the day. I struggle with getting outside, especially during winter. But it is days like today that inspire and motivate me to push the anxious behavior aside and be proactive in my life.

xx