Saturday, February 28

Live Simply.

A couple of weeks ago, I renewed a personal goal that I have: "Live Simply." I am now trying to define what this means to me, and I thought I'd share some of those thoughts here. "Live Simply" may look different in practice for someone else than it does for me, and I'm not trying to judge any particular behavior. Here is what has been working for me.

Personal Care & Appearance

The fact that this aspect of living simply comes easily to me is perhaps indicative of my inherent laziness, but let's hope not. I have worked throughout the last decade of my life to trim time and effort from the routines of my day, and to work towards caring less about conforming to society's hopes and dreams for me.

1) Shower: I only used shaving gel for the first couple of years of shaving my legs, and then I ditched it because it was expensive and a hassle. I initially used body wash to shave my legs, but now I've ditched that, too, and just use bar soap. I had a fancy razor at first, but then switched to disposables. I saw the error in that thinking, and now have a Preserve Razor. I used to use shampoo and conditioner every day, but then switched to 2-in-1. Then, I ditched conditioner and now I only use shampoo every three or four days. Surprisingly, my hair looks better (not worse), and I save a ton of time (and water!). I also used to have a loofah, but then switched to a washcloth. Lastly, I take shorter showers and turn off the water when I shave my legs or wash my hair.

2) Hair: I used to straighten my hair or blow dry it, but then I ditched those routines for a simple air-dry, take-it-as-it-is approach. I used to put various detanglers or smoothers in my hair, but now I just brush it carefully and let it go. I used to get my hair cut in a salon and layered, but now my aunt cuts it for me at home, and I leave it in a simple cut. I have a couple of simple, versatile clips that I have learned to use in a variety of ways.

3) Make-up: I tried to get into make-up, but it never happened. I occasionally wear some blush and eye shadow, but this is rare. Because of this, I only have one thing of blush and one compact of four eye shadows, and that's it. I always have chapstick with me - Burt's Bees in the metal tin.

4) Lotion, etc: I used to use lots of fancy lotions, but now I only have one thing of lotion which I use sparingly and seldomly. I do have a quasi-vat of some special lotion that Karen gave me from her swim years that I use on my hands when they crack and bleed in the wintertime.

5) Eyes: I used to wear contacts, but I recently switched back to glasses. This means that I no longer have to juggle my contact case, solution, spare pair, and glasses when I travel - I can take my glasses and go. This also cut time off of my morning routine.


1) No meat: I've been a vegetarian for a long time now, and that has simplified my life a lot. I know that it may seem counterintuitive, but being a vegetarian has made everything from eating out to cooking at home a lot easier. When I go out to Olive Garden, for example, I only have three or four choices in the first place, so my decision process is drastically reduced.

2) Less plastic: Since I've started grocery shopping to avoid plastic, my trips have become far cheaper and quicker. As soon as I got used to my new options, I was able to quickly navigate the bulk produce and the bulk bins.

3) More-with-Less: Since I've adopted the More-with-Less philosophy, my meals revolve around cheap forms of complimentary protein. For example, I can form complimentary proteins like rice and beans or mac & cheese, and I pick a veggie to have alongside it. My meals have really, really simplified.

4) In Season: Now that I buy veggies in season, I don't have to wade through aisles and aisles of veggies in the store; I head right to the stand with the in-season veggies, and I buy what I need.

5) Avoid convenience foods: I now avoid so-called "convenience foods," which means that I no longer eat without thinking, and I avoid a lot of waste from packaging.


These are the two biggest areas that I've been working on lately, but I am thinking about simplifying across many areas of my life.

It's interesting to me that "live simply" has meant reducing choices in my life. I think that for me, less choice = less stress. I don't feel boxed in by the lack of choice; instead, I find that it frees up my mind to think about other things.

How do you live simply?

Monday, February 16

Feminine Hygiene

If the topic of feminine hygiene squicks you, run the other way now.

I've been waffling. Decreasing my environmental impact in this area has been a slow process, and it took a lot of courage. I'm a scaredy-cat, basically. But, I finally summoned up the courage to make some really positive changes, in my opinion.

Last May, when I became aware of the Garbage Patch, I switched from tampons with plastic applicators to tampons with cardboard ones. This was the first thing I was willing to do...I know that there are tampons without applicators at all, but that was a bit much at the time. I switched to Natracare pads and liners, for other needs.

About a month ago, I read about sewing your own menstrual pads, but I have never liked pads, and the laundering process seemed daunting. However, I did sew some pantiliners. I went to the thrift store and bought the softest baby clothing I could find, and used a couple of layers of that for each liner.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I did it: I bought a DivaCup.

Now, I know that this cup is made of plastic, but it was really the lesser of two evils for me (perpetual tampon waste, a little plastic). I also know that there is the alternative which has no waste, and that's sewing your own pads...but I really, really hate pads.

I had my first cycle with the DivaCup, and it was excellent. If you are considering this change also, I recommend reading some stuff at this LJ community. Basically, ignore the directions in the package and figure out what works for you. My other suggestion is to find a friend that will make the change, too. That way, you're not in it alone.