White Noise : October Edition

Posted on October 28, 2018

Conservatory-archives

Source : Conservatory Archives

Sustainable denim using laser technology.

Best closet tour ever. Honest. Simple. Joyful.

A cosmic perspective on Earth by all the astronauts who travelled into space.

Would we recognize an alien if we saw one ? 

Plant scientists + gene editing = super-tomatoes. 

This home tour. 

This round up of beautiful things from a design fair. 

A quote that stayed :

The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe because it’s handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them.

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LOL, was my reaction to the UN report on climate change. Bill Gates published this split up the causes : 25% is electricity. 24% is agriculture with cattle being the biggest culprit. 21% is manufacturing with plastic, steel and cement being the top of the list. 14% is transportation with air travel and ships being the biggest contributors. 6% is buildings with air conditioning and appliances taking the big chunk. Take the quiz to test your knowledge on climate change.

Social cost of carbon emissions. ( Why is India on top of the lists I don’t like ? )

Give up plastic for your God.

This chai recipe. 

I watched 96, a tamil movie with subtitles and managed to experience space-time dilation.

This wedding.

Chic? Oh, don’t you start using that filthy little word.

Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2018 :: “Chemists have sped up evolution, harnessing a process that can take millions of years in the natural world and using it—in months or weeks—to make novel molecules that today are used for everything from “green” biofuels to cancer drugs. ”

Tips on garden design. 

Ikea’s live lagom.

I am growing cabbage so that I may make this version of kimchi.

On Fashion Victims.

This instagram account.

Banksy shredded his own panting after it sold for 1.2 mill. What a rockstar !

Will there ever be a woman’s blog that celebrates aging of garments ?

Dyson humidifier. What a sleek device !

A credible source for white papers on sustainable fashion.

THE best post on ‘finding one’s personal style’.

I would like to embroider my worn out t-shirts to resemble this top.

“Whoever creates expresses his soul through his work”

New Blog discovery : Ubierajsieklasycznie.pl   Start with these articles :

What is French Chic ?  What is preppy style ?  Approaching style.  Building a wardrobe from scratch.  Shopping method.     A timeless style.     Wabi Sabi.     Everyone has their own classics.

Nobody wants their latest purchase to become a guilt trip, but many of us are taking time for a little extra consideration beyond how something fits and whether or not it makes us look fabulous. We want to know how it was made; whether the factory conditions were safe and clean; if the cotton farmer used pesticides to grow his crop; what happened to the toxic effluent when the fabric was dyed; how much the machinist was paid; how much energy has been used, and ultimately, was it all worth it? The value of a garment includes the values it was made with, which is why designers who are doing things differently are setting the tone for a fashion industry with a fresh set of beliefs. There is no single ‘right’ way to make fashion, but there are many better ways.

Slow Fashion.

Second hand finds :

Think I need this pink scarf from Eileen Fisher Renew.

This red sweater by Dries Van Noten.

Navy and pink cashmere sweater by Steven Alan.

If you want to sell your car and fly around on this Hermes Cape. The Acne version.

For Wear Bambi to Work day.

Admired her coat for years. Found a navy blue one by Jil Sander.

This cardigan from Autumn Cashmere.

A gray cashmere sweater by Zadig & Voltaire. A red one by Hope.

When Mara Hoffman turns her gaze towards hemp : we get this maxi dress. Do you know that hemp is a carbon negative fabric ? It has come a long way from the rough textured itchy fabric I once knew.

I have wanted this scarf for a long time. But don’t want to give it a slot in my 5 item wardrobe challenge.

The trousers similar to the ones worn by Gretta in the film Begin Again.

Navy trench by Stella McCartney.

Tiny Home : The good, the bad, the ugly

Posted on October 27, 2018

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This is not simplicity. This is selfishness. What about your guests?

– mum.

Tiny home is a wonderful concept. Urban density reduces emissions from daily commute. It’s a way to take less from earth to build a home. (Cement, steel & wood have big carbon footprints.)  It’s a way to reduce needs. I tell them that I am “trying out sustainable living” but hear the usual “all this doesn’t matter”. I for one, usually smile, nod and brush off the comments. But my partner is a more social being. When my parents & in-laws decided to visit us this summer, we moved out of the tiny house and into a 950 sft cottage with a backyard. Looking back, I really miss my old home. It has taught me a lot.

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Heat map of sft usage in an average home. Much like an closet full of excess, look at the efficiency of usage. 

The Good

Firstly, our previous home was not tiny. Most people in India live in smaller spaces without calling it a tiny house. Most people in Asian cities live this way too. I can generalize and say most people in the world live in small homes. Super sized homes are a first world phenomenon. I found our home comfortable. Some notes :

  1. There is a zen in putting things away and being organized. Not having stuff is liberating. I felt a sense of freedom. I could pack up and leave anytime without being tied down to a house. Everything I own can be packed up in a few hours.
  2. I spend 30 minutes per week cleaning it. I could use rags, a broom and natural detergents because it’s a small space. In 350 sft, the results magnify. Messy looks super messy. Tidy looks pristine. Clean looks OCD clean.
  3. It is okay to get rid of stuff. Else, I couldn’t have fit into the space without my home becoming a storage space with humans squeezing by.
  4. It inspires you to buy less. There is no space to store the excess.
  5. I invested in the few things I bought. There weren’t many rooms to furnish. I could put the money towards the one room we had to furnish.
  6. Gatherings are cozy. Sleepovers turned us into children again. A larger living room would have been nice but one doesn’t need a formal living room and formal dining room which has become the norm in suburban homes.
  7. It is possible to be very happy in a small space. We could be around each other at all times. After years of long distance marriage, a tiny home is an ointment to fix the trauma of separation.
  8. We used every inch of it daily. It’s highly efficient. All the camping gear we own ? In the boot of our cars. Capsule wardrobe system helped with seasonal clothing. Books ? Under couch, in the unused dryer, as stools, near the bed, in the closet, …. Bikes and a part of the couch lived out on the patio. Just like how we get used to the conveniences, we get used to the inconveniences.
  9. There is nothing in our home that we didn’t use on a weekly basis.
  10. I never wondered “what else can I buy for our home?” I was content.
  11. It was fairly easy to be zero-waste. Multi-purpose products like baking soda, vinegar and olive soap worked hard on my behalf.
  12. I got lucky with my compost bin. There is some community space outside that I can use. I had a patio which made all the difference.
  13. We had community pets who wandered outside and came home when they wanted.
  14. We were spending a lot of time outdoors because we didn’t want to be cooped up inside over the weekend. We went for walks. We picnicked outside. The city became the extension of our home.

The bad

These are not real problems. These are minor first-world inconveniences. Not worthy of a mention but for the sake of being comprehensive :

  1. The tiny kitchen made cooking a game of scheduling tasks. Some tasks took longer because we couldn’t parallel process.
  2. I don’t think we should build our homes for the sake of people who might visit us. We AirBnB-ed cabins for the weekend when we had family visiting. It was cheaper than paying rent for a bigger space, regularly cleaning and furnishing an extra bed room for visitors. My family found it selfish.
  3. Specific to our home, we didn’t have any natural light in our bedroom. It felt like a dungeon in the winter. Good design could have made this experience much better.
  4. When you fight with your partner, there is no space to escape each other.
  5. When busy life happens, the untidy-ness made me miserable. There was no space to hide the clutter.

The ugly

  1. The Shame. I am the one reading about minimalism. Nobody else around me is into it. They don’t understand. Our peers have bought their suburban McMansions and have been stocking it up on appliances. You are the only ones left out of the race. When your partner feels a shame every time someone comes home, …. it’s not the right living situation for you.
  2. Socializing is a problem. My closest of friends are comfortable staying over. The elders in the family complained a lot. In general, it’s not optimal to have your guests bumping into each other as they walk around.
  3. I wanted a dog.  The lack of space stopped me from adopting one.

On Tiny Homes

  1. Access to a calm uncluttered space is essential for rest and rejuvenation. It can be created in a small space if you live a simple life.
  2. The idea of excess, enough, just enough, less, more, essential, must haves, … can be re-learnt.
  3. I think camping/backpacking/tiny home living/ RV-ing changes the relationship one might have with stuff in general. Folks who travel ( different from vacationing ) have a different perspective on needs and nesting.
  4. Tiny home living is not for everyone. Folks with children, pets, aging family members, … will need more space than I do. I no longer live in one but I can’t unlearn what it has taught me about need vs want. 
  5. The French 5 challenge, 10 by 10, capsule wardrobe, … are a way to try out minimalism without committing to it for life. Similarly, I think everyone should try tiny home living for a short period of time to learn more about themselves. You may like it. You may not like it. You will however have that memory of ‘a simpler life’ to latch into, when life throws challenges at you.

 

On Gardening Style

Posted on October 21, 2018

Source : Unknown.  ( Do reach out for image credit. ) 

Outfit anxiety and chasing perfection is the anti thesis of personal style. I found the most effortless style in an unlikely place – in the gardens and the people who tend them. It’s not that they are wearing cool clothes that I usually don’t see in my everyday life – overalls and worker wear. It’s that they are doing their work in style.

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Poet M.S. Merwin planted an entire FOREST in 30 years !

Jeannie Phan, Illustrator and gardener. 

Anne Schwalbe, Photographer. She knit her sweater.

Laura Silverman, Founder of The Outside Institute. 

[ Some second hand finds : rain boots, denim overalls, utility overalls ]

 

My Yard Clothes

A gentle plea for chaos, worn proudly

My rules :

  1. Practicality is the key. Dress for comfort. Buy for durability. Choose details that add to the utility factor of the garment.
  2. Do not run out and buy new worker wear to do some amateur gardening. Use your old worn out clothes. ( I declutter regularly and didn’t have any. )
  3. Find your over-alls second hand. They should be oversized. You should be able to bend, squat, do splits and crouch in them. Let them be in a crazy color for therapy. You could look like to your fruits and vegetables. They should have enough pockets to carry pruning sheers and some produce.
  4. My garden is in a very initial stage of it’s life. (It is a neglected land with two old trees.)  I weed, prune, lug and dig every week. Have dedicated clothes that you wear when you work outdoors. Remove them before you come inside. Hang them in the sun and wear them again tomorrow. Wash when needed.
  5. Do not ruin your day clothes by wearing them out in the soil. I water my plants every morning at 6 am. Wear an apron on top ( at-least ) .
  6. A short cotton trench coat or a denim shirt make good layering pieces for when the days are chilly.
  7. A garden is a relationship one has with the land. There is a start. But there is no end. The work load never seems to lessen. Make sure you take care of your gardening clothes too so that they may last. One set of overalls per decade is allowed.
  8. Rain boots and sweaters pair well with the overalls during the cold seasons. Warm your body up by working harder.
  9. @TheInternet : If you plan to guilt trip me by saying ‘you don’t need a style to work in the garden’, stay away from my style blog. There is no OFF and ON button on my body.
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Overalls

Never in my life did I think I will wear corduroy. I “eeewwww”-ed at the thought of it in the past. But these are what I found in my local thrift store. They are men’s size small – gives me enough room to bend and crouch. The fabric is sturdy. This was a pragmatic choice.

T-shirt

Found it at the same thrift shop. I don’t wear pink. But why not try it out ? I wanted something that will show dirt stains as the work cumulates. When it has holes, I will start to call myself a gardener. I will eventually use this tshrit to dress the scare crow that I am making.

Shoes

Men’s sandals from an Indian regional store. The farmers in my village wear the same.

Hat

I found it on a hiking trail and picked it up.

Zero Waste Gardening

What I have learnt so far

Plant as many trees as your yard will allow. Plant deciduous trees on the North side, so that they let the sunlight though and warm your house in the winter. In the summer, they do the opposite.

What is the point of  living in a house with a yard ? Urban density and zoning regulations are a big problem where I live. Emissions from commute are a big chunk of our air pollution. If I have a yard, it has to do more than allowing me to lounge around. I want to convert the soil I have into a carbon sink. I want to plant something on every inch of it. The plants grab CO2 from the air, break it down during photosynthesis and transfer some of the carbon to the soil. Do not let your soil sit bare.

Save on some food miles and packaging waste by growing some edibles. I may not be as efficient as the farmers who do this for a living and know the techniques, but even if I get 50% of the desired yield from a certain plant and eat it all up, I still am better off than the efficiency of the conventional grocery store pipeline out there.

I do gray water irrigation. The water from my washing machine goes to the plants. I do my dishes in a rubber tub and use an olive oil soap. Every day, one tree gets watered from the water collected in this tub.

Kill the lawn. Grow some food instead. It is not worth the water a lawn uses considering the returns the alternatives can give. I am slowly killing mine in incremental patches.

Plant drought tolerant species. Learn to properly water your plants so that they will develop strong root system. They will need much less water when they mature. Collect your rain water.

Plant some natives. They would have evolved over millions of years and do well in the local climate/soil conditions. They are good for the local animals and birds.

Plant for the bees. Have a shallow dish with water for the bees and the birds.

Use companion planting, crop rotation, row covers, … to deter the pests if possible. I use a neem oil spray when I need some help.

Start from seed to avoid buying plants in plastic pots. Propagate them if you have a friend who is willing to share some cuttings.  If you do buy plants from a nursery, look into your city’s recycling policy to check if they take back the pots. Some nurseries welcome them back for reuse.

The plastic bags in which they sell soil should be recycled at a grocery store that takes back plastic bags.

Stop buying plants on an impulse. Only buy what you can take care. The right plant, right location and the right nutrients – recipe for success.

You will eventually need fertilizer that comes in plastic bottles. Look for an outlet that takes back these empty bottles.

Compost to make your own fertile soil. But there is no assurance that your soil will be balanced on Carbon/Notrogen/trace minerals. You might have to make amendments later. But not composting while having a garden, is wasteful. Compost is super food for your plants !

Mulch your soil. You can recycle dried leaves from the garden. Mulching prevents the loss of moisture from the soil. It helps with preventing weeds. Worms leave the land as soon as the soil stops providing them with food to eat. They stay if you can mulch with organic vegetation.

Use human physical labour intense devices like leaf rakes and brooms to do the upkeep instead of buying appliances. ( Count it as exercise and subtract a few minutes from your gym session. ) Rent tools from a library / neighbors / friends instead of buying everything. The ones you need on an everyday basis, can be found second hand on Craigslist.

Do not design a garden to please the eye. Plant a garden to provide for the animals and the humans. Understand that you are a part of the local eco system. Conserve it.

A gardener whose channel I am watching currently : Siloé Oliveira. So good !

On Sustainable Fashion Bloggers

Posted on October 20, 2018

Blogger : look at all the stuff I bought ! You know how much I like striped tops. #secondhand #vintage #haul #ethicalFashion #climateChange #saveThePlanet #voteWithDollars #minimalism #sustainableFashion 

Earth : Phew ! What did you consume AGAIN this month in the name of sustainability ? Stop taking from me if you want to be friendly. #ecoFriendly #letMeRenew #stopConsuming


There are words that we, as an internet culture, render meaningless.

‘Research’ is one word that is often mis-used on blogs. If you go on the internet and search for some information, it doesn’t become your research. It’s just search. If at all you do an exhaustive reading and analysis of everything published out there on a certain topic, it’s called a literature survey. ( Still not research. ) When you are trying to add to the existing body of knowledge using hypothesis/experimentation/method studies, it’s called research.

‘Curate’ is one such word. Everyone on the internet can call themselves a curator and a reviewer while knowing nothing of the craft. Most bloggers who review shoes cant identify the types of leather. Most bloggers who review clothes cant identify one stitch from other. Most reviews are feelings and reactions to a garment.

Another such word is ‘minimalist’. You can have a shopping blog, show what you buy every week/month and call your self a minimalist fashion blogger.

‘Mindful consumption’ : a word to use when ever a garment is purchased from a non-fast fashion store. How much can one mindfully consume ? Is your 12th sweater a mindful purchase ? As opposed to grabbing stuff and mindlessly racing to the checkout ? What does this term mean ?

‘Sustainability’ is a word that is slowing going down this path. On one hand, the experts in the field have tightened the ropes on what is considered sustainable. The bar is set high. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. In 2018, it fell on August 1. We are using 1.7 earths per year. Considering that information, the way the ‘S’ word is used on the internet is troubling.

“One of the toughest things to do is to figure out the important questions to ask before solving a problem. Once you figure out the question, the answer is relatively easy.”

– Elon Musk

What is sustainable fashion ?

“Sustainability requires a long-term outlook that encourages responsible consumption. Fashion, it seems, is fundamentally at odds with this goal. Perhaps apparel can be made sustainably, but fashion? Fashion is more than a product. Fashion is a mode of thought. It affects everything from design to purchasing to obsolescence, and is usually distinguished by a fast-paced and ever-replenishing chain of supply and demand. The inevitable consequence of quick and constant change is ravenous resources consumption and a vast accumulation of waste. Better production methods can slow resource use and recycling can reduce waste, but buying ( and therefore making ) fewer products will address both problems.

– Deborah J C Brosdahl, Professor of Ecology.

“The term sustainable is not one we use often, because it’s meaning seems to have been lost. From our perspective, ‘sustainability’ refers to long term objectives that are both environmentally and economical. The definition of sustainable development, as originally drafted by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, refers to “meeting the needs of the present generations without compromising the needs of future generations.” As such, development policies and environmental protection are not at odds, as both aim to increase people’s overall welfare.

– Susab and Yves Gagnon, SYKA Textiles Trading Corp

What is the root cause ?

Growing population whose needs are dependent on our non renewable and limited resources.

The way goods are produced. [ Buying from sustainable brands is not a solution in it’s entirety.  ]

The way goods are consumed.

The way goods are disposed.

.

Solution ?

There is no one solution. From what I read :

Systemic Changes. Innovation. Regulation. Colonizing other planets for raw materials and real estate. ….. All the ones not happening right now. What we can do meanwhile to buy us time and lessen the damage :

Scale back on needs. Want less. Buy less.

The stuff you do end up buying should be sustainably made to lessen the damage done during production. Even the most sustainably made garment consumes resources and not consuming it is most sustainable option. A second hand garment that I don’t purchase gives a better chance for someone who actually needs it to find it. A garment that I don’t hoard gives it a fresh lease of life in the second hand market.

What is sustainably made ?

Meets market’s requirements.

Has positive social effects for individuals and communities

Is safe for human and ecological health

Is sourced from renewable or repeated recycled materials

Is sourced from renewable energy

Is designed for safe, productive return to nature or industry.

Is recovered and recycled at the highest quality after use.

– Cradle to Cradle design.

No brand meets them all. ( The solution isn’t about consuming fast fashion claiming that no brand is perfect. That is like saying “I can’t save 100% of my pay cheque. So, I wont save at all for the future.” ) The brands who are change makers in today’s market seem to meet at-least 4 of these requirements. ( Stella McCartney has my admiration for making strides in every aspect of this check list.)

Does individual impact make a difference ?

Only if it has strength in numbers. But I am not sure. Some movements start this way and eventually change the world. One can only hope, at this point.

If it’s a law or a regulation, our compliance matters. But I doubt we as a society will regulate our consumption in this free market capitalist economy. We cant even agree on a carbon tax to provide an incentive to consume less.

Sustainability has been left to individual citizens as a choice / a hobby / a conspiracy theory / a belief / a buzzword. There is no immediate reward for individuals who lower their carbon footprint or for buying eco friendly products or for spending the extra money on sustainably made goods. Why would anyone do it ? I don’t know the answer to that question either.

If you are a person like Elon Musk who is working on the big impact solutions, by all means, go ahead. Do not divert your energy towards these lifestyle changes. Eat your steak and work the long hours. If you are a non-Elon Musk-ish citizen of the planet, do your bid. This maybe the only contribution you will make to this cause.

So you think you are better than me huh ? 

I hear this line a lot. I call it the small town syndrome.

No, I am not in competition with who ever you are. But I shall point to some bloggers who are truly better than me towards the end of this post.

That being said … there is a bigger picture. As of today, there are 2,349,496+ hashtags on Instagram. Each image shows a tiny action taken / an intention set. It is great that more people are interested. Maybe this is a movement that can only exist in small steps. Maybe aspiring towards a no-impact zero-waste living is not a viable solution. Maybe it’s a mindset that is cultivated while being a part of this wonderful civilization and it’s advances. Maybe it’s us trying to buy time till the future problem solvers find the solutions with big impact. In what ever scope, I am happy when I see folks talk about sustainability. I get angry when someone criticizes the movement. While I don’t enjoy the criticism, I do appreciate a good critique. Any movement, how ever important, can be critiqued. I am not in a position to judge anybody’s lifestyle, let alone a sustainability lifestyle blogger. I also don’t know about the right solutions vs the wrong solutions. The antagonist here is not the blogger, but consumerism masquerading as sustainability. We are not supposed to do what is convenient to us and then try to convince the world that it is sustainable to live that way. We as bloggers, are not supposed to fit the problem to our solution. Let me talk about the sort of content I find inspiring. I ask these 5 questions when I see a blogger preaching sustainability  :

FIVE QUESTIONS ( in the order of priority) :

1. HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED ?

Coz, can you preach sustainability while owning excess ?  Can you really say “I really need this sustainably made high quality sweater” when you already have a dozen hiding in your closet ? Needing excess is the root cause of this problem and its sort of oxymoronic to show it as a solution, don’t you think ?

2. HOW MUCH DO YOU BUY PER YEAR ?

Coz buying excess from a second hand store is a band-aide fix to a behavior that was once exhibited at a fast fashion store. Can the planet can’t support providing 20 garments per year multiplied by 7 billion people?  Or do you justify your consumption because you write a blog ? Do you get a free pass to consume more because you supposedly care about sustainability ?

3. ARE YOU ALWAYS LOOKING TO BUY SOMETHING ?

Coz it’s all in the mind. Actions follow intentions.

4. ARE YOU BUYING AND CULLING ON REPEAT ?

Coz you are treating the symptoms while keeping the disease alive. Coz you are decluttering, not de-owning. Coz you haven’t lessened your needs, but want the optics of owning less. Coz you are only downsizing to make space for more. Coz at the end of the day, you are still consuming. Coz at the end of the day, your practices are wasteful. Crash diets don’t work.

5. WHAT DID YOU BUY ?

 

Coz how the garments are made, matters. Buying what you absolutely need second hand helps. Repairing and wearing what you own, helps. The way you take care of what you own, matters. But understand that even a Stella McCartney sweater made from recycled yarn and in solar powered factories didn’t come out of thin air. It won’t poof into thin air once you wear it out. I put this last coz I don’t think sustainability is about being able to afford Jesse Kamm pants and Eileen Fisher tunics.  I see too many blogs fail at points 1-4 and consume excess from sustainable fashion brands. I do not want them defining the narrative of sustainability and influencing me.

 

Look for answers to these 5 questions. Not in words, but in actions. I don’t want the narrative to shift from ‘Buy less. Buy better’ to ‘continue buying from these brands instead’. If they are not transparent about how much they own/consume, I am not interested. I am left with 3 blogs that have made the cut off. While most blogs increase awareness of the problem, these 3 increase the understanding of the problem. They are a part of the solution. In the spirit of minimalism, 3 good blogs is enough. ( Raise your hand if you complain about not having time to mend your clothes/be sustainable/be zero waste but have enough scroll time to read blogs ? ) If we are to become the average of our influences, who would you choose ? My picks :

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I have always equated minimalism with boring clothes and a gray life. Ariana showed me that you can live in style and embrace your wild side while fitting your entire closet into a carry on. I have never been the one who could admire one’s style if I didn’t respect the intellect of the women behind the clothes. I think she is fabulous.

( I don’t agree with her stance on carbon offsets. At times, she makes me uncomfortable with my choices but it’s good to have your views challenged isn’t it ? )

Blog.  Instagram.

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Conscious Creators Consume Consciously

Say that 5 times fast 😜

I’m probably at the more extreme end of this since I have a capsule wardrobe and live fairly minimally, but any creator who is promoting and actually living a more sustainable lifestyle knows the importance of mindful consumption. Having overflowing closets, drawers full of beauty products and piles of household goods, even if they’re eco friendly, still isn’t very sustainable.

There’s a balance to find as a blogger/youtuber though because people are looking for recommendations – if you’re thinking of purchasing something you want to make sure it meets your criteria and is something you’re going to like and use. The main mission of My Green Closet is to help and inspire people to live more sustainably and responsibly. One way of doing this is making it easier to shop in line with your values by sharing brands, products and better options. However I also have to to do this without going against my own values and ideas; how hypocritical would it be if I talk about consuming consciously and then every month share a new beauty line I’m using, have a totally new wardrobe each season, or post “hauls”.

This quote sums up her commitment to the cause.

Blog. Youtube. Instagram

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I don’t read many zero waste blogs because I find photos of glass jars filled with food, tote bags, linens and bamboo appliances boring to view after the 10th image of the same. But Andrea Sanders manages to teach me something new in every post of hers . Her simplicity is inspiring. Her content is calm, compassionate, peaceful and joyful.

Blog. Instagram.

And me ?

For a long time, I thought I was living a rather sustainable life because I decluttered and have been buying from the right stores. But if it’s really about the amount you consume, I don’t live a sustainable lifestyle.  When I successfully complete the French 5 challenge for a year, I will put ‘a blog about sustainable living‘ in my blog’s tag line. This leaves me with the uncomfortable question : What is my blog about ? I removed my ‘About Me’ page because I don’t know what to write in it. This post is meant to make me introspect a little before the Thanksgiving shopping frenzy takes over the country. It has already started raining coupon codes. Everyone around me is making lists on what to buy. I am being sent shopping lists by my family in India. Advice to self :

How to “mindfully” shop the sales this season ?

YOU HAVE ENOUGH.

SIT THIS ONE OUT.

#meTooIndia

Posted on October 18, 2018

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Source : Me Too Rising 

Me Too has reached India. On it’s onset, I was thrilled coz I never thought it would take off in my country. A sisterhood/brotherhood stronger than the predators is trying to emerge. But with every story I read, I wish for ignorance. Some of the accounts are heartbreaking. India has a very diverse society. Movements like these are extra messy and imperfect. I applaud everyone, the men and the women, who have come forward with their stories. You are making it safer for the rest of us and the future generations by speaking up.


#meTooIndia Support

Closet Talk : Fall Edition

Posted on October 13, 2018

closetTour

[ Background score for this post. ]

I know it’s a new season when Chloe drops a new “IT bag” on to the fashion circuit … The Drew is now a nostalgia of the year gone by. The Faye only exists in second hand market. How does it work like that ? Have they programmed a spell into their bags ? Does this alleged spell loose it’s potency as soon as the next one drops ? Or is it me ? Is my lust so fickle ? I have liked them all and conveniently forgotten them all. The Tess is the new pretty one. Bags aside, this year’s seasons are special. I started growing food. Frost dates, temperature of the soil and humidity in the air matters. I pray for the rains alongside millions of farmers who do this for real. I have seed catalogs. I have a time table for sowing. I have a weekend blocked off for making compost tea. I am currently shopping for red worms on Craigslist. Frost date is a more immediate apocalypse on my mind. “Life starts all over again when it gets crips in the fall”. But F. Scott Fitzgerald, really ? Is that an honest journal from your lifestyle or are you trying to fill pages of your book by talking about the weather. In contrast, Thoreau doesn’t sugar coat. “It’s vain to talk about seasons when you don’t have seasons in you”. One doesn’t need a wardrobe to walk from a door to the car to a door. This year, I feel like less of a fraud for talking about Fall and the clothes I will be wearing.

Grow

Eat, Pray, Love.

On September 15th, a meeting was called upon.

Venue : Our dining table.

Attendees : him and I. Cinco, the FOMO cat, sat in my lap anxiously waiting for something to happen.

The materials spread across : The vegetable bible. Seed catalogs. A sketch of the outline of our vegetable bed. A beloved mechanical pencil. A browser with google search as its homepage. Wine glasses filled with coffee.

Agenda : Grow a food forest. Water Your New Plants

Minutes of meeting : We made a list of all the fall veggies we could name. We circled the ones we want to eat. Each of us quickly typed into search boxes. The companion planting charts were pulled up. The crop rotation charts were pulled up. In a sudoku-esque game of placement and elimination, we zeroed in on the locations for the plants.

garden

Plan of action : Grow some plants from seeds. Buy some from the nursery. Plant. Transplant. Weed. Water. Compost. Prune. Mulch. Enjoy the process with all 5 senses. Learn from the internet. Learn from the plants. Fill the house with loved ones. Make good food. Eat in moderation. Grow more herbs that I can possibly use. Make tea. Serve it when people have eaten too much. Lie and tell them that your special tea can make them feel less full. ( They always fall for that line and stay a little longer. )

White Noise : September

Posted on September 29, 2018

C3-Kal-3

[ “Activist Kalpona Akter who began working in a garment factory in Bangladesh at the age of 12 and in the 30 years since has become a prominent campaigner for the rights of 4 million Bangladeshi garment workers. Her cause is relevant to anyone working in fashion — and to anyone who buys clothes.” ]

F**king amazing music as a result of Epic Mountain studio collaborating with Kurzgesagt Science. ( Watch the educational videos on Youtube in the night. Exercise to the background music in the morning. )

This closet inventory. 

WTF Bloggers : Influencers are now getting paid to write negative reviews on the sponsoring brand’s competitors. 

WTF Social Media : Instagram making people miserable ?

When engineers write blogs, they are special  …. ♡

All too often my favorite pictures have clothes as an afterthought. While these pictures make for shitty submissions to a blog about men’s clothing, blurry, off-center and candid pictures are the best way to see clothes in action. It’s easy to strike a robot pose or pretend to be deep in thought while a guy on the street snaps away, but those pictures always put the clothes front-and-center and give viewers the impression that the most important thing about the people is what they are wearing.

In contrast, candid pictures of people in action, like the one above of Francois de Menil with his mother Dominique and wife Susan, remind us that clothes are to be used and not obsessed over.

Looking at the picture, there are about ten things you’re likely to notice before getting to what Francois is wearing. In fact, it would take someone a good long moment to see his soft tailoring, wide lapels and collar, high rise, and horn-rimmed glasses. But that’s just the point. While Francois is undoubtedly well-dressed, his attire takes a backseat to his happiness and rumpled, casual air. He’s not here to show off his new grenadine or fidget with his barely-exposed pocket square.

This picture isn’t about clothes at all. And that’s why it’s great inspiration for how you should dress.

wellwornwornwell on posing for OOTDs.

There is nothing ordinary about a simple t-shirt.

This home tour. 

This bag. ( Is local leather market in Italy getting an internet presence ? )

This art print.

DNA testing plants for a more sustainable future.

Sam Harris and Yuval Noah Harari in conversation.

The legendary chef Alice Water’s Kitchen and Garden.

Fall trips if you are visiting California.

This salad recipe index on NYTimes. Need to print it and stick it on my fridge.

Some home decor advice.

This fascinating video on forest fires.

What would happen if all the humans disappeared from Earth ? 

How to edit a human.

On Breakfast.

Rockstar Jedidiah Jenkins’s book is finally finally out ! I have been waiting for 2 years. To get a sample of his writing, check out his Instagram.

Garden design from the legendary Piet Oudolf. ( Screening in Palo Alto. )

R.I.P Phoebe Philo’s Celine. I will always remember it as the era that made me fall madly in love with clothes and fashion.

My fav naturalist gets married.

Thinking of getting this to wash our exercise clothing.

“The world is an ever shrinking place, what divides people is not miles but bad ideas and thoughts.”

When one woman writes, produces, directs, shoots, edits a passion project with no real budget and takes 4 years to finish. When she shoots it all on a Canon Mark 2, the same camera that I use to take mediocre flat-lays for this blog. When it goes on to win National Awards and become India’s official entry to Oscars. When nature is cast as a herself in a film. When a story of resilience wins hearts – Let me introduce you to the film Village Rockstars.

Remembering the style of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. 

When is fashion considered sustainable ?

“History owes an apology”. India decriminalizes Section 377, a law that punishes homosexuality with 10 years in prison.

This project on kaggle that takes in the socio economics of a person and predicts his chances of getting off RMS Titanic before it sank. Data geeks  nerds, feel free to poke holes.

This interview of Elin Kling, blogger, founder of Toteme and magazine editor.

When your hero turns out to be a sexual predator.

How-to : Update your wardrobe when you already have a closet full of clothing you love.

Secondhand Finds :

This periwinkle turtleneck paired with black denim for a touch of spring during the Fall.

This cape for when going out for drinks in an outdoor bar or lounging in a friend’s backyard.

A collaboration happens when two artists bring in the best of their crafts to make something better than what they would have made individually. When Lanvin and ACNE made a denim shirt : this happens.

This one maybe my idea of a perfect floral print shirt. Too bad that it’s not affordable. An affordable version.

This striped denim blouse with a black wrap skirt perhaps ?

This denim tuxedo shirt looks like something the folks who go to the Kingpins Show ( invite only conference for denim lovers ) would fight over.

I would like to gift this scarf to the women in my life who are active, exercise and do sports.

A black turtleneck, black trousers with this hot pink scarf tied on the outside of the fabric covering the neck.

This red scarf on a gray sweater and blue denim.

This striped scarf to go with everything !

This navy Les Prairies De Paris coat to wrap yourself in.

Steven Alan makes wool joggers : Exhibit A & Exhibit B. 

This poncho, to wear in the picture I would like to paint myself in :  a train journey, a seat by the window, some coffee in hand and time to day dream.

A gray cashmere sweater, for being a reliable foundation block in a closet.

This red scarf if I had a wealthy aunt who is feeling generous and wants to buy me something nice for no reason at all.

Dainty station jewellry by Ippolita, my favorite.


To end the month, this recipe from my cousin :

cakeRecipe