0

Same Dress, Different Day.

I am a very passionate person. When I get an idea in my head-especially as I’ve gotten older-I glom onto it and just GO with it. Definitely have that “jump first, think later” attitude.

So when I somehow got back on the idea of wearing one outfit for an entire year, something I’d contemplated back in college while working on my Senior Project on Sustainable Fashion, I forced myself to sit back a little and think about it. Mainly, to explore the question “Why?” (subtext: “…the hell would you ever want to do something so completely crazy as that? Why? Why? Why?”)

Why would I want to get rid of my clothes? Well, one reason was that I was just so tired of standing in front of the mirror judging myself. It seems like every time I try to get dressed for work I end up second-guessing my choices all day. And have you noticed how one shirt can literally make you look 20 lbs heavier than another one? And how it seems like 3/4 of your wardrobe are those fat-making shirts? And your pants are never the right length? And that color is sooo bad on you? And that skirt is a little too short? And you really can’t wear a coat with that outfit because it doesn’t match, but who cares, at least you’ll be cute! And is that a stain on your favorite shirt?! Shit.

Why would I want to go against cultural norms and wear the same thing every day? Wouldn’t people think I was smelly, poor, unfashionable, weird? This was a big sticking point for me. What will people say when I show up to every work event in the same clothes? Luckily for me I work at a very open-minded, Liberal church, so I don’t anticipate any animosity from them. But I can imagine a lot of professions where I would lose all credibility as “some crazy woman” for doing something like this. In the end, my hope here was just that people would look past my weirdness and look at me for me, or possibly even use it as a conversation starter, rather than just judging me by my appearance (which wouldn’t be all that different, would it?).

Won’t I just be using more resources because I’ll have to wash my clothes more often in a less-than-full washing machine? I still haven’t figured this one out. It does seem like I’ll be doing a lot more laundry. BUT I am really looking forward to not having clothes lying around all the time.

So I decided to do it. I still had a lot of questions, but I wasn’t holding myself to something that I didn’t want to do; if it ended up awful, I could quit.

The first step was to find an outfit that was comfortable, multi-seasonal, and appropriate for a variety of scenarios. Like I said, I work at a church (albeit a modern one) so I wanted to be sure I could be modest on a daily basis, while also not feeling like a shlub. Is that a word?

I found this:

Image

And I quite liked it! Unfortunately, it shrunk quite a bit in the dryer… Probably going to have to add a bit to the bottom.

It’s been one week since I bought the dress, and I’ve worn it every day that I’ve been out of the house (I wear jeans around the farm, and sweatpants if I’m working from home). I would like to share with you my initial insights:

  1. I knew it would take less time to get ready, but it really takes less time to get ready. Like 1 minute instead of 20. The husband takes more time than me!
  2. My favorite thing so far: I don’t look in the mirror and judge myself. It’s only been one week, but already I feel like a new woman. I put on this dress, go to the mirror and decide what my hair needs to be doing, throw on the necklace that fits my mood, and go get my coat. There’s no second-guessing, no harsh critique, no feeling like I’m less of a person because of my outer appearance. Maybe this will change; perhaps in 2 months I’ll be sick and tired of the dress and seeing it will make me feel blue, but for now it’s empowering.
  3. So I haven’t come across a green benefit yet, except perhaps that it takes me out of the marketplace, so new items don’t have to be made for my consumption.

I’m hoping I learn a lot from this “social experiment,” not only as it relates to resource consumption, but especially how it relates to us (women and men) culturally as “non-beautifuls,” which I would argue is every single person who hasn’t been airbrushed and pasted on a billboard. And when I say that, I include the pre-airbrushed model, who has her own insecurities around beauty and acceptance.

Or we could all just be nudists. Though I think I would be a hibernating nudist…

I would probably get fired. (My church isn’t THAT modern).

Advertisements
0

Let’s Talk About My Menstrual Cycle.

The other day on Facebook a friend linked me to this article: 8 Awkward Things You Might Do If You’ve Truly Gone Green. It was pretty silly, but I think the sentiment of the title was exactly what I’m looking for here.

“Awkward” is the enemy of Befriending Green. Who wants to look foolish or weird in front of strangers-or worse, their friends and family?

So, I present to you my short and shameless list of things that I do because it makes me feel better about my relationship to the natural world that people think are really weird:

  1. Reusable Menstrual Pads Hey, why not put the most outrageous, personal, “disgusting” thing I do right at the top? I have been using reusable pads for like 5 years now. I generally don’t share that information, because people think it is super weird and gross. But hey, you readers don’t get to be a part of polite society once you hit this blog! I don’t understand why this is so weird to people. Our parents used reusable diapers, didn’t they? Hell, our mothers probably used reusable pads back in their day! Just think about how many bits of soiled plastic and cotton you could keep out of the landfill if you headed over to lunapads.com?
  2. I use chemical-free shampoo (Shameless plug!!!!) That’s right, folks, my shampoo doesn’t have any chemicals in it. Not impressed? Go dig out your pathetic shampoo and tell me what ingredients you see there! HA I WIN. Ok, so this might not seem that weird, but it is a hard thing to transition to. Normal shampoos that you can buy at the store have lots of chemicals that strip your hair of its natural oils, and are often carcinogenic. The shampoo bars that we make at Chicory Farm Soap don’t have chemicals in them, so when you wash your hair it’s a different kind of clean. For the first two weeks it feels like your hair isn’t really getting clean, but once it regulates itself your hair and scalp are healthier than before!
  3. I compost This isn’t so weird, but it is freaking disgusting. Even I think so. We have a 5 gallon bucket under our sink that holds all of our compost, which generally includes one or two fridge-cleanings worth of horribly rotten food. This compost bin is a combination of my guilt at wasting food and utter laziness of just taking the compost out every day. It used to be a 1 gallon bucket… Yeah. Pretty soon we’re going to turn the whole basement into a compost bin and I’ll have a shoot from my kitchen down into the slimy pit of hell that is the compost. Joking aside, I love my compost bin because I don’t feel bad about wasting food, which is pretty much inevitable. But it’s gross.

Hmm, can’t think of anything else weird that I do.

Do you do anything that your friends and family think is a little off the wall? Is there something you’ve been thinking about doing, but you’re too afraid they’ll laugh at you?

0

I’ve met someone new, Wrapping Paper. Her name is Furoshiki.

Man, I have been so lazy lately. I’ve been practicing the art of snuggling with my dogs and looking at snow. It is very difficult to do.

So here’s a lazy blog post for you. Basically a re-post of someone else’s post. (Cheater!)

If you’re not familiar with Treehugger you should go check them out. It’s a website dedicated to sustainability that generally has a pretty positive outlook on the future, rather than bashing us all for our horrible earth-destroying ways. They usually have crazy awesome technology articles too!

Today I found a neat article on their website via Facebook (oh, the rabbit holes we dig). It talks about a different way to wrap your Christmas gifts: Furoshiki. Furoshiki is a Japanese folding art, similar to origami, but done with fabric instead of paper.

furoshiki_diagram.jpg.gif.492x0_q85_crop-smart

You can read more about Furoshiki here!

But I’m not about to COMPLETELY duplicate someone else’s blog post. I’m not that lazy.

I have to share something kind of yucky: Each year, between Thanksgiving and New Years, 5 additional tons of waste are generated in the United States. 4 of those 5 tons are wrapping paper and gift bags. That is one of those statistics that makes you go “Wait, whaaaa…?”.

I don’t feel like it’s a good use of your time to discuss why that’s bad, so let’s just talk about solutions! Quick brainstorm:

  • I always save gift bags to reuse them, and sometimes will save the wrapping paper to use over again if it isn’t too creased.
  • I also always save tissue paper to reuse, because it’s supposed to be kind of crinkled up anyway, and if it’s torn no one ever notices!
  • My grandfather always wrapped gifts in old newspaper; you can make this particularly fun if you choose articles or comics that you think reflect the person you’re giving the gift to.
  • What about forgoing the wrapping altogether and creating a different tradition? We don’t need wrapping paper for our Easter baskets because we hide them in the house! What if we just hid our presents around the house instead of wrapping them up under the tree? Maybe you could incorporate the tree by hiding a clue inside of it, as to where the gift is hidden?
  • Recyclable wrapping paper is always a good option if you’re not quite ready to kick the paper habit!

There are lots of other holiday traditions that could use some greening, too. How do you befriend green during the holidays?

0

Eat Local! No wait, don’t! No wait, do!

My first thought was kind of a doozy… I need some more time to flesh that one out, so shall we start a bit easier?

FOOD. I freakin love food. If I die and go to Heaven, I hope there’s a buffet.

Kristin Keyes (my cousin, and hopefully future contributor) pointed out on my Facebook wall that eating local is important, especially if you eat meat. I whined about this in an earlier post because it has become so beaten into the mainstream ground, and then contested by experts. It’s one of those environmental points that have been forced down our throat, just to have our backs pounded on by scientists and economists so we can dislodge it once again.

And it’s not as simple as all of that, either. It gets more complicated when you start to think about organic food, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), animal products, pre-packaged foods, lab created chemicals, aluminum and plastic containers, Kosher and Hallal foods, and (of course) what you can afford.

Because cash is king, right? Check this out: Americans spend less on food than ANY OTHER COUNTRY. Perhaps that’s because the rent is too damn high, or perhaps (probably) it’s just how our culture values (or rather, doesn’t really value) healthy, clean, fair food.

My personal solution? I cheat. I raise my own meat, feed the animals local, organic grain, and then in the summer can as much local, organic food as I can. When I’m not eating food that I’ve created, I try to buy vegetables that are in season, and stick to the Dirty Dozen list. But I am guessing maybe only one other person who is going to read this blog is capable of doing that.

Ugh, I just sounded so preachy there. Gross.

Anyway, I think we should ignore all of the preachers, the scientists, the environmentalists, the economists, and just go with what feels right. Why should we be purchasing food from halfway around the world, from a country that might not have the same safety standards as us, when we could help sustain those who help sustain our environment and make some rad political statements with our dollars? Because it’s too difficult? Too expensive? Oh, boo to you. Those are lame excuses.

I hate this stupid popular phrase: “life hack.” But I guess that’s kind of what I’m going for here. How can we life hack this situation? We gotta make sure we can get local, organic food without breaking the bank.

  1. Choose cheaper meats. Unless you’ve decided to go vegetarian for environmental reasons, you’re gonna eat meat. Cool. I like meat too. But just because that recipe calls for strips of steak doesn’t mean it won’t be awesome with chicken. So buy organic, but go with a cheaper option. We did turkey tacos for months and months because that’s what we had in the freezer, and I never could tell the difference.
  2. Eat a little less meat. How many times a day do you eat meat? 3 times? If you cut that back to 1 time, you’ll be saving 66% of your daily meat consumption. My friend and health coach, Vicki Ragucci, suggests we have oatmeal for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a balanced dinner. Delicious!
  3. Choose a more efficient, less farty meat. Yeah, I said farty. It’s my blog, deal with it. According to this article, poultry is the most feed-efficient meat, and pigs fart less than cows (releasing less methane). Maybe I would be more environmentally friendly if I avoided foods that make me gassy??
  4. Don’t be an idiot at the grocery store. Come on, fools. You should know by now that strawberries don’t grow in New York in January very easily. Ok, some things are harder to remember, like that asparagus is an early bloomer. But in the winter, your best bet for seasonal/local(ish) foods are cold storage foods that can be sold throughout the winter, like apples, carrots, onions, and squashes. Can’t live without your strawberries? Consider stocking up in the summer and freezing them.
  5. Don’t be an idiot at the grocery store part II. When was the last time a multinational corporation had your back? READ THE INGREDIENTS. Just because it says “organic” or “all natural” (side bar-all natural is not an FDA regulated phrase, so it means whatever the eff they want it to mean) doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Come on, that was an obvious one. I apologize for insulting your intelligence by even including it here.

Stop being a wuss and confront your eating habits. What can you do to befriend the green monster in your kitchen? I’m not making you be a vegan, and I’m not making you empty your 401(k) at the grocery store. No excuses.

What other tips do you guys have? I’ve only scratched the surface here!

2

It’s time to befriend that big green monster

Those who know me will not be surprised that I’ve decided to throw together a blog about sustainability. In fact, they’ll probably wonder why I didn’t start one earlier?

“I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

That’s why.

Come on, guys. We are so much better than this. We’re doing really stupid shit with the resources that we have, and we’re refusing to deal with it.

And why’s that?

Here’s my theory (it’s not very scientific):

  1. Every time we’re confronted with environmental conundrums, they’re super depressing and make us feel like we can’t do anything about it.
  2. When we DO get help on how to be more environmentally conscious, it’s a really freakin stupid suggestion, like “take shorter showers,” or “recycle,” or “carpool,” or “shop local.” Yayyyy.
  3. And then when we DO do those silly little suggestions, some scientist comes back and says “Oh, no, doing that doesn’t actually matter at all, so you should stop doing that and just wait to melt in a big pile of human goop when the ozone layer gives way.” Oh, great, guess I’ll have that second burger.
  4. If we decide to go with some really crazy environmental choice, like, say, being a vegetarian, the people around us make us feel like dirty hippies. “Did you want some granola with that, dear? Maybe some marywana?”

So, that right there is quite a bit of social pressure to NOT befriend green. All of our external stimuli are saying, “Eh, why bother? Let’s just stay the way we are, blissfully unaware. Otherwise we’d be too miserably depressed to function.”

This blog is my attempt to address this silliness. I think we can all band together and befriend green while having fun, looking pretty freakin bad ass, and actually making a tangible difference. Together with inspirational people around me we’ll tackle issues and try to make green a little less frightening and a little more tangible.