5 Ways to Start Wearing Conscious

Wearing stylish and sustainable clothing is a great way to not only look good but also feel positive about your impact on the planet. It can be tough to know where to start, though, with vague marketing messages, tons of options, and a lot of companies jumping on the ‘conscious’ bandwagon.

The journey to where I am now took me over three years and a ton of costly mistakes, and I’m still learning every day too. So here are some tips I learned the hard way for wearing conscious style, both with new and used clothing:

  1. Invest in timeless pieces: When shopping for new or used clothing, look primarily for timeless pieces that you can wear for years to come and that match many things you already own. This is the basis of a capsule wardrobe. Timeless also means high quality, which– spoiler– is not necessarily correlated with price. For instance, I’ve posted openly about well-fitting bootcut Abercrombie and Hollister jeans that have been in my rotation for 10+ years. Look at the quality of the thread, the material, the stitching, the fit, the strength at the seams when you lightly pull it.
  2. Trend thoughtfully: Trends can be fun, and I hate the blasé natural line earth tone look I see many Eco-Fashion influencers wearing day after day or even worse, the all black-and-white-and-gray-and-beige of the Forever Classic influencers. So if you’re having trouble saying No, think about the piece itself and whether it will still fit with your other clothes. Is the trend true to your personal style? Does it actually flatter you? Is it comfortable? Could the idea of the trend be recreated with something more timeless? Would you wear it on more than one occasion, in more than one setting, with more than one outfit?
  3. Check the label: When shopping for new clothing especially, pay attention to the materials used. Look for natural and sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, linen, and hemp. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, which are not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to break down.
  4. Shop secondhand: Thrift, consign, vintage! Buying used clothing is a great way to reduce your environmental impact and you can find amazing clothes that will last forever for the same prices as fast fashion. Check out thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces to find great deals on gently used clothing! Some of my favorites: The RealReal, Poshmark, Instagram (so many sellers on IG, seriously), and ThredUp. Also, we are adding new pieces right here on the Wearing Conscious Shop all the time.
  5. Repair and repurpose: Instead of throwing away clothing that’s damaged or no longer fits, consider repairing it or repurposing it into something new. This not only reduces waste but also gives your clothing a new lease on life. I know how to sew (thanks Mom!) and am getting better all the time, but I also take my clothes and shoes to get repaired professionally. I’ve repaired the Frye boots I purchased 10 years ago twice already! Comfortable, great for reducing waste, and a lot less costly than buying new.

Building a conscious wardrobe is a journey, but remember, the most conscious thing you can do is wear what you have. When you do need to buy, you can build a wardrobe that looks great and does good for the planet. Remember, every little bit counts when it comes to making a positive impact on the world around us.

Too Good To Go Is Too Good To Not Use

What Is Too Good To Go?

Too Good To Go is a mobile app that helps eliminate food waste by connecting users with local restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, and other food establishments that have surplus food at the end of the day. Often this food cannot be donated or there are transportation/ licensing/ other issues that prevent donation. The app allows users to purchase unsold food at a discounted price, which would otherwise go to waste. The result? A Win-Win, with business owners able to still recoup some money for their product, users able to afford items they might not otherwise try, and of course everyone benefits because food is diverted from the garbage.

How Is Too Good To Go Socially Conscious?

Food waste is a common problem, with a full 1/3 of all food being wasted. As consumers, we often think of it as ‘cash in the trash’, but businesses also lose money when food doesn’t sell: $1.2 trillion worth of food is wasted every year.

Cultivating, packaging, transporting and selling food all give off greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are all for nothing and wasted themselves if no one eats the food and it’s put into the garbage.

Here are some ways in which Too Good To Go helps to eliminate food waste:

  1. Direct diversion of food waste from the trash: Too Good To Go helps to reduce food waste by allowing users to purchase unsold food items from local businesses at the end of the day. This helps to reduce the amount of food that would otherwise go to waste.
  2. Increases business efficiency: By selling unsold food at a discounted price, businesses can recover some of the costs associated with food waste. This can also help to increase their efficiency by reducing the amount of food that they need to prepare and waste.
  3. Raises awareness: Too Good To Go raises awareness about the issue of food waste by educating users about the impact of food waste on the environment and encouraging them to take action to reduce waste.
  4. Provides an easy solution: Too Good To Go provides an easy and convenient solution for users to purchase surplus food from local businesses. This helps to encourage people to take action to reduce food waste and provides a platform for businesses to reach new customers.

How Can I Get Started on Too Good To Go?

Four easy steps and you can take home a bag of food at a massive discount today!

  1. Download the app (click here – non-affiliate link)
  2. Create a profile complete with payment information
  3. Find a local business offering a Surprise bag you’re interested in and click “Buy” on the one you want to try
  4. Pick up your bag at the appointed time

I’ve tried bags from five businesses so far, with costs ranging from $3.99-$5.99 per bag. Every single time I’ve walked away feeling I got an amazing value. A $4.99 bag from a local coffee shop, for instance, contained a full veggie burrito, a veggie croissant, a muffin, and a cookie.

For those wondering: Yes, you can input your dietary restrictions and preferences!

Overall, Too Good To Go is a great app that gives me a lot of hope that technology can help solve some of the problems we face today in our societies.

How For Days Co. Introduced Me to Circular Fashion

The Conscious Closet Dilemma

Fall 2022 I was in the midst of my epic clothing purge, after realizing how much time and money it was really costing me to move, store, sort, and organize things I never wore.

Clothes were listed on my Poshmark closet, but I wasn’t seeing fast enough sales. And some pieces were just plain unsuitable for wearing, repairing, or selling: Stained towels, torn underwear, moth-eaten dresses.

Closing the Loop: Recycling My Old Clothes

By surprise, I came across For Days on Instagram. This was before I started Wearing Conscious, so my IG was full of general “socially conscious” content. I saw there was a For Days donation event in my area and made it my mission to donate as much as I could!

For Days uses a standard process of garment recycling that turns old threads in any condition into new, usable pieces. Some fast-fashion brands use this as well, but the unsustainable pace and poor labor ethics negate any benefit of garment recycling by those brands, so I choose to avoid them.

The For Days website showed high levels of transparency and sold recycled ethically-made clothing. That’s when I realized, donating would help close the loop between recycling and buying recycled. Plus, the quality of the items was the opposite of fast fashion, with pieces that looked timeless and like they could be worn for many years without losing their luster.

Time to Audit My Closet

I really felt guilty donating any clothes that weren’t A+ retail quality, as I’d learned that most items end up incinerated, sent to the third world as trash, or in a landfill anyway.

Now I knew I didn’t have to send clothes (or fabric goods like towels) to the landfill, I started to look more closely at what I couldn’t really sell, swap, or give away.

What helped me part with clothes that I was keeping for emotional reasons was creating a reel to say Goodbye, metaphorically. I included some photos of myself wearing many of the pieces over the years. Some photos were very old indeed, back to 2013.

Said clothes were themselves often fast-fashion that didn’t hold up well over the years, with little resale value since they were already so inexpensive to buy new. They’d been rejected in clothing swaps and certainly not nice enough to gift.

Using My Clothing Credits

Once I donated my box to the For Days mobile pop-up, they took down my email for a clothing credit and gave me another bag to fill. I filled it up and sent it in for another $20 credit!

For a while, I forgot I had the credits. Then recently, I wanted another Take Back Bag, and went to order one on the site. The way it works is you pay $20 for the bag, then get credit for $20 on the site. I hadn’t had to pay the first times, but this way makes sense to me: They want to close the loop, so encouraging people not just to donate to recycling but to then buy the recycled pieces makes perfect sense.

After I’d stacked all these credits, I purchased a comfortable, post-consumer recycled sweater dress on the site that I’ve had in weekly rotation ever since!

Final Thoughts on Recycled Clothing

Here’s a summary of what I learned from my Wearing Conscious experiment with clothing recycling:

  1. Recycling old clothing should be saved for the end of the piece’s life. If you have pieces you don’t fit into or that no longer match your style, but they still have a lot of use left, recycling them would be a waste. Mend, update, swap, borrow, sell, gift, or lend the item first! Try to think about it as though your item were a very expensive vintage piece: You wouldn’t just recycle it unless it was completely done for.
  2. Fast fashion recycling programs don’t make fast fashion a conscious choice. Often the new ‘conscious’ items allegedly produced still use unethical labor or a very low percentage of recycled/ renewable material. Trust me – I bought a “cashmere” sweater many years ago only to find it was just 4% cashmere!
  3. Learn to say goodbye to pieces you’re keeping for emotional reasons. Marie Kondo would approve! Thanking the item for its service and releasing it to a new life can be an important ritual if you need that to help you release what no longer serves you.
  4. Don’t just donate, buy recycled clothing too! If the demand remains high for timeless, recycled pieces, then recycling at the end of an item’s life will become more prevalent as an option. Companies follow the money, so put your dollars toward the world you want to see!

Wearing Conscious Style

I started with a clothing audit in 2020, bought conscious clothing in 2021, and bought close to no clothing in 2022 while massively donating and Poshing.

Now, I’m developing a minimalist style I love that’s all my own.

My mom went to fashion design school and designs Wearable Art. Growing up, I was surrounded by pattern books and fashion magazines. I got to feel the textures and see the array of colors and patterns at fabric and craft shops. I learned hand stitching and machine sewing, which has come in so handy over the years for alterations and embellishments.

Fashion is a passion of mine, and thanks to my mom (and dad) I am comfortable with bold choices. I love beauty and elegance, comfort and flowiness in clothes. As a form of self-expression, fashion is virtually limitless.

A Conscious Clothing Audit

Analyzing a microcosm of my wardrobe, in 2020 I took a look at how what I wore fit my socially conscious goals. The analysis was a major learning experience, taking into account the Buyerarchy of Needs in addition to what the clothes were made out of, who made them and how, if they were made to last, and how to dispose of them.

This was eye-opening for many reasons. Foremost, I owned a lot of nice pieces that I didn’t wear very often because in my mind I needed an excuse or occasion. 2020, as we all know, was the epitome of not having an excuse or occasion! Without an office, restaurant, party, or event, it was easy to wear a T-shirt and sweats every day while ‘saving’ nearly everything nice.

Second, it wasn’t just that I was saving up everything nice. I was buying cheap things to not get anything nice dirty or damaged. I packed, and wore, mostly clothes I could lose or damage without caring.

Basically, I was buying and wearing things I didn’t care about so that I could treat things irresponsibly and dispose of them. The opposite of being socially conscious!

What that also meant was that I wasn’t always dressing in clothes I loved or that I really felt were the best expression of myself. The look was chaotic and didn’t reflect any particular taste, nor did it feel purposeful or meaningful. My look was the epitome of fast fashion, the plague of all millennials: Quantity over quality.

Collecting Conscious Clothing

After releasing that video, in which I admitted to buying extremely cheap pants from ‘questionable Chinese companies’ among other things, I knew it was time to make a change. My quest for cheap ‘stuff’ was so unconscious that I felt scammed by how easily I was taken in. When I realized what happened, I actually wrote an article for Medium about it.

By 2021, it was time to move forward. Mid-year after getting the vaccine, boutiques, and malls were open again, and I was in the market. First order of business, stylish and comfortable sweat clothes from Aviator Nation. More upcycled fair trade silk pieces from Indie Ella Clothing (designed by my friend Jayna Lamb). Massive thrifting, swapping, and giving/ receiving gifts also ensued.

Soon I had a reputation for my unique and interesting style, in my co-living home as well as in the coworking space I joined.

Paring Down and Minimalism

Accumulating clothing, whether consciously made clothing or not, soon became a problem for my closet. I wasn’t paying heed to the basic tenet of wearing conscious: Wear What You Have. I knew I had a massive issue: I needed to pivot, reassess my tastes and priorities, and most importantly, purge my closet of everything I was carrying around that wasn’t sparking joy.

Buying nothing for all of 2022? Great. In tandem with repurposing, upcycling, gifting, selling, donating, and (at last resort) throwing away? A recipe for a wardrobe that would fully reflect my own personality, interests, and tastes.

Turns out my tastes accommodate both beauty and art in fashion as well as the socially conscious aspect.

Near the end of 2022, I realized I had accomplished something. I was loving my style and wanted to share the joy I’d newly discovered in my wardrobe. That’s when I started my new Instagram just for socially conscious fashion: Wearing Conscious.

2023 Socially Conscious Clothing Goals

This year, it’s one-in-one-out. That means selling/ donating/ swapping/ gifting everything I can, and only replacing an item if there is a specific need.

It also means getting even tighter with what I own, if I don’t love it, wear it, feel fabulous and look stellar in a piece… It’s time to find it a new home. So far I’ve sold several pieces that were difficult to part with at first for emotional reasons, but once they were in the mail with a sincere note of best wishes to the recipient, I knew I made the right decision.

I’m having fun making a business/ hobby out of selling clothes, shoes, and accessories, as well as showcasing my own taste as it evolves. It’s a great journey and I’m happy to blog about it!

Boo on Bambooi

A sustainable startup excites the conscious community, only to end with 1.3 stars on Trustpilot, voluntary liquidation, and a lesson in buying for life.

Even a cursory read of the reviews of Bambooi Beauty & Care on Trustpilot reveals a cadre of eager environmentally-conscious buyers who feel duped. By the time I added my review, it was a familiar story: Excited by the product and the company, anxious about the extended shipment delays, and then left disappointed with the product’s performance.

Ordering the Bambooi Electric Toothbrush

The Shop app recommended I might like it: An electric toothbrush made of compostable, biodegradable sugarcane and plastic-free. The price, even in USD, seemed very reasonable, with brush heads costing far less than what I would pay for the brush I was currently using.

The Shop app knew me: Within a few days, I purchased the brush. Due to shipping costs from U.K. to U.S. and the potential time it would take, I decided to buy 15 packs of additional brush heads. The entire order ended up being like $75 USD.

Inexpensive, environmentally friendly, a sophisticated eco-look. I was sold! I ordered in early October 2021, expecting the brush to arrive by Jan/Feb 2022.

Things Go Awry

By March/ April, I was getting ready to move states for the summer and anxious about not having received the brush. Messages to the customer service department went unanswered. Through the Shop app, I changed my delivery address in hopes it would make a difference. I received an email in April confirming my order.

June 15, 2022 I received a message that my order had shipped. Miraculously, I received it at my summer address!

The brush had the look of colored plastic rather than natural sugarcane or earthy-type material. Still, it was lightweight and portable. Initially, it went weeks without needing charging. After about 3 months of use 2x daily (husband opted to stay with the original brush), it started needing to be charged every week. I noticed it actually went weak and then went off more often.

The brush finally died in December 2022, about 5 months after I received it. The metal that held the brush heads prolapsed into the handle, so I can no longer add a brush head to it. This revelation came after I charged the brush overnight, since charging for a few hours didn’t allow me to use it.

Now I’m back to Sonicare, which I got at Walmart ages ago (don’t @ me I know!) and it still works perfectly.

Was Bambooi a Scam?

In Bad Influence Medium late-2020, I wrote about some scams I’d encountered in my life. Since then, I spend a lot of time on the Reddit r/scams community, keeping up-to-date on scams and helping where I can to prevent the devistation scammers cause.

Based on my knowledge and experience, I believe Bambooi was NOT a scam.

  • Valid contact information (at least at first) on their website
  • Valid U.K. business registration with address
  • Website had real info, a unique About page, and updates about the products specifically
  • Prices were fair
  • Good grammar, professional site design, realistic product photos

Bambooi appears to have been a geniune British startup company with poor leadership and overly-ambitious goals. Startups can and do often fail, but much of that typically falls on banks, financial institutions, and other investment companies. This seems to be more of a “Kickstarter without the middleman” scheme: Consumers pre-purchase the products based on marketing of a prototype in order to fund manufacturing and delivery of the final products. You as the consumer are the investor, taking the risk of funding something that may never materialize. Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, however, are up-front that you are investing in the company and may get a gift in return, but it’s not guaranteed. You risk time and money for the promise of getting the product first, at a lower cost than the public, or with other exclusive perks.

I’ve successfully funded Lomi, Tidy Brush, and other projects through Kickstarter/ Indiegogo. I also invested in a project last summer that seems super cool but is continually delayed, and I’m concerned may never materialize.

If anything, I believe Bambooi was unintentionally deceptive about where they were in their manufacturing and production process.

What I Learned

Just like many people, I succumbed to the excitement of an eco-friendly, more socially conscious electric toothbrush option. But I overlooked the fact that the most socially conscious option was right in front of me: Use what you have.

I had and still have a perfectly good toothbrush. I bought it to use until it fully died. Certainly it did not die, and I’m happy to still have it. Buy for life, use for life.

The second part is, if there is a startup or pre-order situation, and it’s a solution you can wait for potentially forever, then you have to understand you actually may never receive what you’ve invested in.

  • It’s a toothbrush, I had a solution that worked at better than I expected Bambooi to work, and couldn’t wait for it without serious dental consequences. So right there I should’ve quit.
  • Bambooi made it seem like the manufacturing was only delayed due to COVID supply issues, not that they had never shipped a single brush. A U.K. watchdog group found Bambooi had been deceptive about almost every claim they made.
  • Consumers had every reason to expect they would receive a brush, not that they were funding a new product.
  • Those like myself who were fortunate enough to receive a brush had every reason to believe it would be a fully functional brush with functionality similar to lower-end brushes currently on the market. We were all willing to pay a bit of a premium for the idea of a shiny new eco-friendly option, at the expense of some functionality. Like, I doubt anyone expected this to be Sonicare quality (which has been on the market a long time and periodically upgraded), but probably akin to like Fairywill. It was not even that good – definitely more of a prototype.

What Happened to Bambooi?

Back in 2019, Lewis James Bryden, a 21-year-old Brit, started his first company, Bryden Group Limited. The company’s purpose: “Retail of furniture, lighting, and similar (not musical instruments or scores) in specialised store.” By 2020, the company’s name was legally changed to Bambooi Sustainable Enterprises, Ltd. (For American readers, it’s a U.K. version of an LLC.)

In Bryden’s own words, he wanted to become a millionaire and eventually billionaire selling sustainable products. Great for ambition, and great for wanting to own a sustainable product-based company, but it’s clear Mr. Bryden’s skillset wasn’t up to the task he set forth. A business manager would have been able to help, as far as funding, managing expectations, marketing, etc.

The company unfortunately appears to have undergone voluntary liquidation, surrounded by a chorus of angry consumers. No doubt business schools in U.K. could easily use this as a case study in business failure.

Of course not all businesses succeed, or at least they are often not profitable for a few years. Bambooi tried out the gate to make a huge impact, putting a lot into marketing and publicity to get pre-orders and then expecting to have steady sales thereafter. Tempering initial expectations with a “fund more sustainable alternatives by buying the prototype” message would have helped– or even a good old-fashioned Kickstarter campaign. People aren’t happy to not receive a reward for funding a Kickstarter, nor are they happy with sub-par quality, but they understand the risk.

The second big issue is that it seems they did no quality assurance testing, a big gaffe for an allegedly market-ready product.

Surprise Lessons from a Birchbox Review

And Re-Evaluating the November 2018 Birchbox

What started as a Birchbox socially conscious review turned into a lesson in not buying what you don’t need

Reviewing Birchbox Again, 2021 Edition

In February 2019, I published a video on YouTube reviewing the November 2018 Birchbox. That review focused on how conscientious the beauty products themselves were:

  • Cruelty-free yes or no?
  • Quality and composition of ingredients?
  • Value for the money and accessibility at all income levels?
  • Quality of product as a whole?

Considerations like packaging were noted, but not assessed.

For the April 2021 edition, I planned to review Birchbox again using this criteria, as the scope of the boxes appeared to have grown considerably. Plus, I planned to go into more depth with the packaging analysis this time.

But also, I admit now, I fell into the intense marketing for Birchbox, and the excitement of a surprise gift box got to me. Plus they threw in a bonus box for free! So why not justify it with a review?

Adding In The Buyerarchy of Needs

Buyerarchy of Needs. Photo credit: Sarah Lazarovic

As I recorded my thoughts on the 2021 Birchboxes, a pattern began to emerge:

Would I buy this product again? Well, I won’t need to, because Birchbox is just going to send me more next month.

Will I even use all of this before the next box? Probably not, because I either didn’t really need that solution or already had a product for that issue in my cabinet.

I sat on the videos for a year, pondering how to meaningfully assess the socially conscious nature of Birchbox as a whole, not just the products in it. It came down to the Buyerarchy of Needs.

While the products themselves may have been made with ethics and environment in mind, when looked at in the macro sense, buying most of these things was at the top of the Buyerarchy pyramid, especially when I had so much already that could be used. A year later, I knew the real message: Birchbox is not socially conscious if it is selling you things you do not need.

The November 2018 Birchbox In Hindsight and Buyerarchy Lenses

The Original Birchbox Review from 2019

Here is what became of the products reviewed in the original YouTube video:

  • Amika Soul Food Nourishing Masque: Reviewed positively and I said I would buy again. Met my criteria for being socially conscious except for some questionable ingredients. Used it eventually in my travel bag but no specific memory of it being that great and in fact I think I did not like it as much after that first use. Did not need it as I had several travel size hair masques and a full-size tub in my bathroom.
  • Love of Color Shimmer Shadow: Met my criteria for socially conscious makeup and even looked pretty. But I absolutely did not need it, down to having a similar shade of shimmer shadow already. I finally gave it away in March 2022 in a large shopping bag filled to the brim with makeup I either didn’t like or had to admit I would never wear. I’d like to believe it’s with someone who will actually use it now.
  • Stila All-Day Lipstick in Paradiso: Passed the criteria, looked nice, stayed put. I still have it because it’s unique. Probably wear it once per year but trying to increase that.
  • Supergoop CC Cream: This fit my criteria and I loved it. Used it up quickly with daily use. Never purchased again because I had so many others to get through, even though I liked those a lot less. At the time I also mentioned that it was out of my price range, but after having to get through lower cost options that I don’t like as much, I would buy this now. (But not until I run out of every other option I have on hand.)
  • Vasanti Makeup Magnet Wipes: Struggled to use these up as I already had wipes that I liked. I was able to use them in my travel bag. I still have cold cream from 2015 that does wonders for makeup removal and a bottle of micellular water so it will be a long time before I need something like this again.

April 2021 Birchbox Breakdown

  • Magnitone Reusable Makeup Remover Pads: Didn’t need these but they are socially conscious. I still don’t need them yet, and rarely use them. The other one not shown in the video is literally still in the box.
  • Grace + Stella Rose Spray: I used this up at my desk at work within a few months. As mentioned in the video, I didn’t need this at all, having more than one bottle on-hand, but I found a way to utilize it. It’s a quality socially conscious product, but again, I won’t need to buy for a long time.
  • Stasher Silicone Sandwich Bags: The only item in all of the Birchboxes that I actually did need. I ordered the horrible Bake Everything bags because they were cheap (a lesson I’ve learned the hard way) and when I received them, I compared the quality to this Stasher bag and spent the money to get a set of Stashers anyway. It was a product I did need, and I learned a lesson that you get what you pay for quality-wise. Now I know all of this, I would save money and the environment ordering Stashers directly, instead of ordering Birchbox and Bake Everything first only to come to the same conclusion.
  • Vitamasques Detox Leafy Greens Face Masque: Used it right away, worked great. Always can use these but much less wasteful to just buy directly and when needed, which was not right then. A good socially conscious option that I would look for again when the time comes. Which will be a while, as I have a box of sheet masques and jars of mask as well.
  • Payot Paris Hydrating Facial Cream: Finally used that up a THIS MONTH, aka one full year later. And that’s only because I forgot what a rash the cream gave me and put it in my gym bag to use it up finally. I thought it was OK otherwise and conscientious, but absolutely not needed as I have so freaking many hydrating creams. Good thing the Colorado air is so dry, amiright?
  • Re.fil Beauty Balm: A major greenwashing here. MAJOR GREENWASHING. Oh, a refillable stick that you can use for lips, skin, cuticles? It’s petroleum jelly, basically. I didn’t need this for any reason, and I still have it. BUT YOU CAN’T EVEN REFILL IT! So there is no point at all to my having this, and it’s not even good for its promise of being refillable. I had cuticle cream I liked, tons of chapsticks, and jars of Vaseline already, not to mention dry skin balms.

Taking Care of Your Skin Bonus Spa Box

  • Birchbox Jade Gua Sha Tool: Possibly would have bought this from a different brand, but I had wanted one. Although whether I ‘needed’ one is questionable, since I used it about 1-2 times per month at most. Plus, I had my jade roller which worked in many ways similarly which is why I did not buy one independently. I’d like to find my gua sha now but it got misplaced in the move. I believe it is worth finding and using and putting more into my regimen since the benefits even from watching the video are very notable.
  • Marcel Brow Pencil & Shaper: Not a particularly conscientious product and not needed. I do like it more than all the other eyebrow products I have from other boxes. In fact, I still have it and it is still my go-to.
  • The Buff Stuff Citrus Body Scrub: Conscientious and great smelling. I would buy this again someday, but again, same old story: I didn’t need it and I have a lot of other products to get through. Currently this is in my shower as I attempt to use it up finally.
  • R + Co Waterfall Moisture & Shine Hair Lotion: Used this up in my travel bag. Very socially conscious and worked well for my hair. For my fine and long hair this is amazing, I like more than oils or sprays. Will be a long time working through every other hair moisturizer I have stocked up before I can even think about buying again.
  • Po Pomegranate Superfood Sleeping Mask: A great socially conscious brand but I believe I gave away this product. I have a lot of night creams/ oils/ masks and I never used this sample besides the once for the video.

Final Thoughts: Buy What You Need – And You Don’t Need A Beauty Box

The emerging pattern here? One product out of 16 – the Stasher bag – was something I would have purchased otherwise and didn’t already have a solution for at home. (Interestingly, that is also the only non-Beauty product.) All the rest, not needed, and not all of it I even liked.

Instead of subscribing to a box where you truly need only one thing at most from it, save the environment and your money by buying just that one item! If you have absolutely no moisturizer left, find a socially conscious solution in your price range. Try some from a friend, read reviews, or get a smaller size if you want to try something new.

Think it through with boxes like Alltrue (formerly Causebox), too. When I looked at everything it offered in the box, including customizations, it seems like an incredible deal. And it’s all socially conscious, too! Good think I decided to wait for the spoilers, because in reality there is nothing in the box I need. Not one thing. Not a new purse (I sold or gave away dozens), not a water bottle (I have 3), not a blanket (we have them all over the house). Nothing.

In a culture that’s constantly screaming at you to BUY CONSUME BUY CONSUME, take control of your own life and destiny by tuning that all out. It’s a journey, but I’m finding it’s totally worth it.

2022 Goals

What work will I do on myself this year toward becoming a more #sociallyconscious citizen? I’ve given it some thought. Watch the Insta reel and read on for more detail.

1. Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day

Not every single day, but my goal is a monthly average of 10,000 steps per day.

Why? This is probably just hype, but the number is touted as having some sort of magical benefits, although that has been widely found to be a marketing myth. I don’t think it will really help me suddenly start dropping body fat, any more than the 30-60 daily minutes of HIIT, cycling, yoga, weights, etc., I already benefit from without increasing step count.

The real reason is just that it’s a challenge. Last year I wanted to reach 10k but only reached 8,947. But I came up from like 3,500 in 2017! And I definitely feel fitter and happier by far than I did in 2017.

Challenging yourself to better health means putting your best self forward.

2. Dry January

Can I go all month alcohol-free? I’d like to.

A reboot and reset, that’s important to gather perspective. Drinking a lot during the holiday season is socially acceptable and expected in many ways.

No, I don’t have an alcohol problem. Not wanting to drink for a period of time or even on a specific day or occasion, shouldn’t be stigmatized.

As I write this, I am already mostly through the month, but I’ll save that for another post.

3. No New Clothes Until 2023

This year, I need to get a handle on my closet. Seriously, I have too many clothes, and they’re not all sparking joy. I keep moving them from home to home, wading through clothes I don’t wear and wearing clothes I don’t like as much to justify them in my closet. It’s insanity!

Backstory: After 2020 and my clothing audit (watch on YouTube here), I spent 2021 buying socially conscious clothing like no one’s business. My wardrobe finally reflects who I am… But now there’s just a lot of clothes in my life. Is it really conscientious if I’m still buying so much stuff?

So I got to thinking: I don’t really need anything. So I’m going to go a whole year without buying anything new, starting 1/1/22.

4. List Everything I Don’t Wear on Poshmark

Piggy-backing off of Goal 3, I need to actively get rid of things. There’s a lot that I can donate, but it’s also easier to stomach re-homing my things if I know they are going to someone who wants and is excited about them! Plus I know where they are going, which is not always the case with donations. I’m also going to continue with Freecycle and Buy Nothing groups.

5. No New Makeup or Beauty Products Until 2023

As with clothing, I seem to have spent too much time in 2021 accumulating socially conscious beauty products, without using what I have.

That’s ignoring the entire Buyerarchy of Needs! I have too much stuff, and it would do me good to use what I have, and I think I have enough to last through 2023 without having to buy anything new (except sunscreen).

6. Meditate Three Times Per Week

As noted below, I challenged myself to meditate daily over the holidays, and it was illuminating! Even one minute a day was enough to calm my anxiety, and relax enough to allow other solutions to enter my mind instead of focusing on problems. I get very excited about challenges, but sometimes overwhelmed, and meditating definitely has helped me grow beyond by removing that sense of frustration and tension.

7. Exercise Daily

During the “shelter in place” time in 2020, I spent a lot of time walking, running, and riding my bicycle. I moved my body a lot, but not necessarily always a formal “workout”.

Then in 2021 my mom got me an Apple Watch, and it changed my life. I worked out more than I had in years and got into the best shape I’ve been for a long time. And I’m only getting started! Aiming for exercise every day is the logical next step. Not necessarily a workout per se, it could just be a walk with my dog, but at least 30 minutes of exercise daily is what I’m aiming for.

August 2021 Gratitude Post

Since COVID restrictions were lifted, Summer has been wild. Certainly, I am grateful for all the friends and family who chose to spend their vacations with us! Plus the opportunity last month to visit Portland again was an amazing gift.

Grateful for Bizhaus

Calling this out by name because I’m glad to be here!

It’s a coworking space with a really friendly vibe. Something I’ve needed since I moved to LA only four months before COVID and knew/ was in touch with only scant few people. Finally a social life outside my house!

And, oh yeah, also a great place to work. Peaceful, focused environment, super smart people working there but also a sense of community.

I enjoy the routine of getting “work ready”, riding my bicycle over while I think about my schedule and tasks for the day. Then I arrive, start work, throw on exercise clothes for a lunchtime run or HIIT sesh, and maybe take a late afternoon stroll around the block, then leave work at or nearly on time and bicycle home thinking about what we want to do for the evening.

I know there are so many like me out there that just keep working when working from home, without a boundary. Seriously, it is probably a reaction to our collective trauma, to throw ourselves into work to feel like we still have a meaningful purpose in our lives; to feel a sense of control over our destinies. That said, I am definitely lacking any semblance of balance on a day-to-day basis, as evidenced by how much fun it was to have visitors.

July 2021 Gratitude Post

The first full month of Summer was busy and relaxing, with many twists and turns. So many gratitudes this month.

Yay, we’re engaged!

Grateful for My Fiancé

Yes, I am getting married! On the 2-year “Adoptversary” of our puppy, Pupperz Buddha, my boyfriend brought me to Malibu Lagoon for a picnic. It was absolutely beautiful, with surfers and pink sky. I remember even thinking it was incredibly romantic for a doggy celebration.

He suggested we play in the water and I agreed and then he said he just wanted to get a snack from the cooler first. As he was down there, he got on one knee and popped the question with a gorgeous ring, and we were hugging and dancing after when our housemates came running up with champagne! What an amazing moment I am so grateful for and so happy. My now-fiancé and I have been through so much and had so many great adventures together. Obviously, I am very excited.

Grateful for my New Job

Yes, I’m now a full-time employee at a mid-size company. Many years of running my own company and working on contract were exciting but finally, I decided to opt for some stability in my life. After 2020, it just feels right. I’m happy and grateful to have found a company where I can do some good and have a team to work with every day, while still being remote and having flexibility.

Within this gratitude, I want to also thank the other jobs I’ve had since moving to L.A. While it’s been a tough time for me and everyone, I worked hard and met a lot of great people, and got a chance to show that I’m indeed ready for the next level. In many ways, that’s the big hold-up: not getting a foot in the door to prove what you’re capable of and gain knowledge to take you to new levels.

I rode a scooter to work like this

Grateful for Coworking

Yes, in addition to the new job, I got myself a new office space to feel like I’m going somewhere to work. It’s also to make friends and have an office social life. Sure, it’s one mile away, but I actually wake up early and ride my bicycle over (or walk, or scooter) in California business casual every morning. Having a set workspace that’s just… not my house… is so great.

Grateful for Camping

Escaping the crowds and fireworks was so peaceful this 4th of July. The dogs appreciated it too! Being outside during the pandemic has sort of reset my priorities to doing more outdoor activities. Maybe it was because I was working too much or maybe I just felt I had other priorities, but I didn’t do enough outdoors activities when I was living in Portland in the past 8 years. Time to reset.

Grateful for Oregon

The Nexus 6, my long-form writer’s group

Visiting my home state and seeing friends and family after 1.5 years (and some friends I hadn’t seen in 2.5 years!) was an absolute treasure this month. Especially my writers’ group, my childhood friends, the Girls, my running team, my mom, and my mama-to-be sister! I guess that’s basically everyone.

I’m also glad to see things bouncing back. Portland especially got a lot of negative media attention and the situation there seemed dire, with so many places closing, an exploding homeless problem, and high levels of unrest. But things looked like they were actually going quite well, with a lot of restaurants bouncing back as food carts and just as many funky little shops and quirky events as ever. And, if I may say, everyone (vaccinated) was excited to participate!