The feels, ramblings and doing alright

You guys.

I was cranky today.

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And I wasn’t cranky because I am constantly picking up garbage off the ground either. Seriously guys, one thing you can do to be better to the environment is not litter. And if you see litter, pick it up. My son is the best for this: MOM! Look! Garbage! Let’s put it in the garbage can. If a three year old can do that, so can you.

Anyway.

 

I’m a sensitive soul. I have way too many feels. I want a lot of things to change in this world. I want to accomplish a lot and at the same time I want to hide away in my hole and see no one and do nothing. I want to wake up to the sunrise and fall asleep with the sunset. I want to sit in quiet, quiet silence and watch carrots grow and listen to dragonflies or waterfalls. Or waves in the Philippines and the wind through palm trees.

I realize how different I am.
I am a proud weirdo. A misfit. A black sheep.
I’ve been ever since I came to Canada when I was 4.

The things that get my heart going are when I get asked to speak to a group of students about not making garbage. My soul soars when I find someone who is living a nomadic lifestyle and then I yearn for the same. I get excited when I know someone has planted a garden and is giving food away for free. Or is living off the grid.

I’m weird because I cringe when a friend tells me that they just got accepted for a mortgage and that they will be buying a house. It’s not that I am not happy for them, but because I can see that they want it only because they think it will make them happier. And will make them feel successful. Because that is what society tells you is success.

But all I can see is how much debt it creates. And how unnecessary it is. And how unhappy people become. And how much stuff they try to buy into their lives to make up for their unhappiness.

But here is where I take a deep breath and let go. Let it all go.

My life is not their life.
My idea of success is not the same as most.
I must be accepting of everyone as they are and be non-judgemental of their choices.

Because I too once believed in having a fancy car like a Mercedes, a nice condo or house with a big backyard, a family of 4, vacations every year and everything I ever wanted to buy just be within reach. I too thought I needed to fit in, dress nice, look pretty. Get my hair done, nails did and have sexy heels on and have a colour coordinated walk in closet.

Yes. Really. I was all of that once too. In a previous lifetime.

But when I am sitting still, I remind myself that even though those things may look good on the outside, they will never make me happy. That’s why I’m here now. Because I was on that path to all of those things and I felt miserable.

Of course I do want a relationship that is secure and committed but I remind myself that I do have a family now, even if it is not what I imagined. What this space is giving me now is the room to work on making myself happy first. Working on making myself happy is making sure I am taking care of myself. And reminding myself that where I am now is actually where I wanted to be 5 years ago, with the added bonus of extra love from a beautiful, incredible wide-eyed, nature loving, toddler.

I remind myself that the things I want most in life are:

1) Zero debt. I have one credit card that I am still paying off but it is a few thousand dollars. Ok, like $6,000. But that’s pretty good considering that is all the debt I have. I promise you, I will not have anymore.

2) Time with my son. And while I work really, f’in hard to provide for him and I cry sometimes (ok a lot) wondering if I’m being a good parent or if he’ll have a good life and especially when I have to stress about finding a babysitter (like this weekend where he needs to be somewhere overnight for just under 24 hours at someone’s house who is not family that I need to pay) or whether or not I can even afford to put him in swimming lessons – through all of this stress – I remind myself I get to be home with him. Every day. I wake up to his face and we wake up slowly. Really slowly. And eat really good food every day. On rare days I have to rush off but 90% of the time I’m with him doing whatever we want.

He’ll be almost 4 soon and I get told: he’ll be starting school soon! It will give you a break, they tell me. Well, I have no clue yet if I want put him in school. And to add that to the list of the already weird things I choose, is putting me further outside the norm of society. I’m ok with that because there are beautiful families who homeschool their incredibly bright, happy children. Even on the road. Like Our Open Road, who inspire me all the time with their family of 4.

3) The flexibility to work where ever, whenever and accept work or decline it. No matter what that looks like. Be that here where I am in this city now, in an ecovillage, in my tiny home or in a van moving across the country to connect with everyone that has reached out to me on here. I’m being serious here. I started creating a map. With a timeline. Holler at me if you want me to come say hi. I promise you it will be within the next 3 years.

4) Inspire and help others.

5) Live within my means. Consume and own only the things I need.

When I look at this, I think ok, I’m good. I’m doing really good. Because aside from not being debt free yet, I’m living my dream.

And I know I’ve said all of this in previous blogs before, but I need to remind myself every now and then. I need to be responsible for my own happiness. And that means I need it written down for me to see in plain sight.

Because anyone who is different knows it is hard. It can be hard to look around you and have no one else that not only remotely looks like you (because honestly everyone I know doing anything like traveling in a van, living on a boat and making zero waste videos are all white people), eats like you, is zero waste like you but is also a single parent as well.

I just needed to remind myself today that this little zero waste, self-employed, veggie eating, black sheep with a gypsy heart and a homeschooler in the works, is doing alright.

Going on 12 months | teeth, hair and more updates

Hey lovelies,

Firstly, can I just say thank you for all of the kind words that I’ve received over the last week or so? I think sometimes we need reminders as humans that we are on the right journey and that the decisions we make, can have an impact and not only inspire but perhaps make a difference. When people reach out and connect with me, I feel more motivated and more inspired to continue down my life journey of aligning myself with my values so that I can be the most real ‘me’ I can be. Which is like the full circle of Life. One can not be without the other.

Anyway.

12 months on the 17th. Wow. Time flies. This non-existent, intangible thing we call ‘time’ actually has brought me full circle. Something that I didn’t think could be done, I’m doing. And I can’t stop. Won’t stop. I actually stopped for a minute to YouTube this song and this song.

So what’s new now that was different a month ago?

  1. I’m over conditioner.I have a handful of conditioner left and I don’t need it anymore. I’ve been forgetting to even use it.  This was how I made it before with my friend: HERE. But over the months something happened to my hair (me) and it kind of just started to look great and feel great without it. And I have a ton of hair. It’s really thick too. And wavy. I think my hair is back to it’s natural state. And it means my friend and I save money.

    My other friend commented the other day how I’ve come a long way from being the hairstylist that I was (kind of still am, I still cut people’s hair who I love) for 7+ years. I used to know all the products and be completely invested and now I’m like, “yeah I don’t really need to wash my hair nor do I do anything with it or put anything in it.”

    Do you know how much time (and money) I save? I literally roll out of bed and do nothing to my hair.

    Although I never use anything on my hair, I’ll probably do a post on ZW ways to still style your hair with DIY products that do the same thing as conventional ways. This goes for make-up. Since hair and make-up for me are still creative outlets, I might as well make my own to try on people.

  2. I changed my toothpaste. Again. 
    And probably will again once I get bentonite clay.
    So I can try something similar to this recipe HERE.
    My first toothpaste was HERE.
    My second was HERE.
    Right now, it’s just baking soda and xylitol. So easy, yet so satisfyingly clean. It takes me a whole minute to put it together.

    Here’s the RECIPE:
    3 tbsp baking soda
    1 tbsp xylitol
    Stir with a chop stick and store in a glass jar.

  3. A sharing economy has begun.
    I love sharing. And since this started, it’s almost just like everything makes sense in life to share. I mean my friends and I already had this kind of mentality, there just wasn’t really a name for it. But now being zero waste, it totally helps to reduce waste especially when some products can only be found in plastic tubs or shipped online, like this bentonite clay for example.It goes something like this:

    One friend needed xylitol. I told her I had some. She told me she has bentonite clay. So we’re trading. Now that eliminates me having to go buy a container of clay and her a container of xylitol, saving 2 containers from going to recycle or landfill. Next time, we’ll split the costs of a container so it saves us money too.

  4. I ditched the phone plan. 
    I use Fongo, it’s Canadian but things like Skype are more international and are similar and offer free phone numbers, like Fongo does. I ported my cell phone number to Fongo so people can still get in touch with me when I’m in Wi-Fi area. And when I’m not, it’s like I left my phone at home and holy crap guys, guess what? I have to be present. And not on my phone around people! WOW what a crazy concept. Not being on your phone in the presence of another person or while you’re doing Life!To be fair though, I have been considering getting a Mobile Hotspot device for business, like when I start wedding season and need to quickly figure out where the hell the next venue is or connect with one of my team members who is at another job and I’m nowhere near Wi-Fi. It’s only $5-$10/mth, no contract, when you buy the device and I would find the device used, for half the price.

    I also may not do this. Who knows. Who cares.

  5. I struggled for a little with vegetarianism at the start but I have now found my backbone.
    I never really ate much meat this past year. I’d eat a few things but I’d cringe thinking about where it came from. Except for the kind my friend gets from Heritage Harvest Farm. They care about their animals and let their pigs be forest roamers and they are local.

    Then I wrote about how I wanted to make the switch and for some reason it became even more in my face. Like everyone was shouting EAT MEAT! YOU NEED IT YOU FUCKING WEIRDO! AWESOME YOU DON’T MAKE GARBAGE BUT NOT EATING MEAT?! YOU’RE LITERALLY AN IDIOT ALIEN.

    Mostly my parents. So I decided to give myself less pressure and stopped thinking about it so much. Then I kind of avoided people. And now, I’m proud to say I actually say no. I just don’t talk about it with people because they try to justify why I need it and then try to debate with me about the meat industry, as if I don’t do my research or like I don’t care about animals. So for example, with my parents, if there’s meat in the dish, I eat around it or eat the other dishes that aren’t meat. I don’t make a fuss. I just mind my own business.

    The tricky part is that my son loves it. He loves meat. He cries if he can’t have it when it’s in front of him. I struggled with this and decided I’d travel the route of less resistance. I don’t feed it to him when we’re together and I let it go when we’re with others. We’ve talked about it and what it means, but if he’s anything like me, the more pressured he feels to do something, the more he’ll rebel against the idea. Kind of like how I am with society and crap.

And that’s it.

Also: here’s 5 tips for you newbies joining the adventure along with my 12 months of garbage.

P.S. A secret side note, you’ll find me in February’s issue of Ottawa Family Living Magazine and in next weekends Ottawa Citizen in the Home section – thanks to everyone who shared EA’s video about my zero waste life. Big huge hugs!

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Shopping made not so simple

The downsizing and decluttering continues. My kitchen, bathroom and wardrobe has about 50% less than before. While I am going zero waste, it is a slow process because I don’t want to just throw things out like food, products or containers immediately because they are all packaged in plastic. And of course I still have a garbage, which I am waiting to fill completely to the top and hoping to just have this one and maybe one more before a garbage can is no longer necessary.

I have a 2 bedroom apartment and thought I was already minimal. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to do this if I lived in a house. With a basement. And a garage. I’ll be honest though, giving away all of this stuff, it feels fantastic.

Yesterday I did do a little shopping, which prior to it, I was a nervous wreck thinking of what I was going to buy that wasn’t in packaging. Anyway, I walked into Rainbow Foods (Britannia) and asked if they allowed people to bring in their own containers and they said YES! I was so relieved because it’s so close to my place. Bulk Barn doesn’t let you and The Farm Boy doesn’t let you and it made me sad. Yes Farm Boy does have great produce which is unpackaged, but the salad bar and deli area, you can’t use your own container. They do offer recycled paper to go containers which is better than nothing, but the goal is to try to not have any waste even if it is recyclable.

That basically means making everything yourself is the way to go.

a dream lived greener
Anyway, my first “conscious shopping” trip I just got almonds, chia seeds and flax seeds in bulk. I was actually only there to buy natural almonds which they didn’t have on the shelf at the time because it was being restocked. I wanted to buy natural almonds so that I could make my own almond milk. We ran out of almond milk (which was in a container) but I found an easy recipe except it takes at least 10 hours to make. I could have waited for the natural almonds to be restocked, but I had a friend waiting for me at my place. My son wanted milk so I bought the only thing they had in a glass jar, which was organic pasteurized goats milk.

(No, I don’t want to hear anything about what kind of milk we should be drinking, we normally drink almond milk. Period.)

I’ve been pretty much cleaning out my fridge and cupboards before buying groceries and literally using everything I have but I’ll be going out tomorrow to do some more grocery shopping with my new reusable bags Brandi made me. I’ll be sure to tell the cashier I don’t want a receipt.

Here are two places in Ottawa that allow you to bring your own containers. Oh, and Benji’s a  Vietnamese restaurant near Ikea is a good place to go to eat. They only use cloth napkins and don’t give you a plastic straw. Not sure what they do about coffee or tea though if you want milk and sugar. It’s most likely packaged. Maybe you should just bring your own?

If you know of any others, especially deli for cheese or meat, comment below, we’d love your suggestions!

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– Dream Greener

How this affects my art

So I’m still awake after having woken up at 4:30AM today. I was a little in shock after discovering the majority of items that I own in my kitchen alone that are plastic and that I actually don’t use. I have accumulated 4 bags of items that I do not want or need or use and this includes:

1) Endless tupperware, mugs and cutlery
2) Plastic bottles that once were for baby boy
3) Sippy cups, because thankfully he can drink out of a normal glass without breaking it
4) Plastic measuring cups and teaspoons and a plastic flipper thingy

In order to recover from my kitchen I went and tackled my closet again and came up with:

1) Another almost full bag of clothing ( I just dropped off 3 bags yesterday to a Mom in need) that I had to fight with myself to let go of. I tried to convince myself I still liked to dress like a teenager.

I also started rummaging through my bathroom things and got too overwhelmed after realizing that almost every beauty product I own is plastic and that although I tried to avoid the ones full of ingredients I hate, I was still hanging on to some.

Let’s back track a little. I have sensitive skin. Back in high school I had the kind of eczema that left me with the worst skin (I still have scars today) that oozed, pussed, bled and itched and not even drugs could fix it. Later I realized it had a lot to do with stress, what I was eating and what I was putting on my skin.

This greener life is not something I decided over night. It has been years in the making.

I used to be a hairstylist (and for some of the lucky few I still am) and I would cut and colour every day. But the fumes started catching up to me and my asthma kicked in to the point where I was waking up every night unable to breathe. My doctor told me I needed to find a new profession. My hands were itchy from the latex gloves I wore regularly and even though I did enjoy doing it, my heart also wasn’t in it – I saw how much water was wasted, how much crap got rinsed down the sink and I thought of all the fish and the beautiful oceans. I also realized I wasn’t happy being a part of a billion dollar industry that fed off of making women feel like all that mattered was how they looked.

I quit and got into photography and film-making.

But before I did, I was huge into the industry of beauty. Not only did I do hair but I also did make-up. And all of these products that I invested in are still in my life. Sitting there looking at me telling me that I have so much to create and do and make with them.

The dilemma I am having is with the fact that I am an artist. I literally create in every. single. way. possible.

I am blessed with the fact that if I want to do make-up on someone, I can. If I want to do their hair, I can. If I want to colour someone’s hair rainbow colours, slather make-up on their face and take their picture, I can. I think I’m alright at it. I enjoy it. It makes me feel happy. Or it did.

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The downside is the fact that over the years I have realized that some parts of my art are not really that friendly on the environment. And I can’t just ignore it anymore.

On the plus side, it makes me want to be more creative with what I can do. I find myself asking, what products are out there that can still achieve the same way of creating that I’ve always enjoyed? What can I do to continue creating art while still being aware of what I am purchasing and being conscious of the environment?

While I realize this change won’t happen overnight, I am looking forward to the discoveries I make. I look forward to all the new ways of creating.

So even though I panicked for a little today, I see this as the most incredible and wonderful challenge there is. I’m excited to see just how this will affect my art and my business.

Here are some links to some of my work for those that care:
ART
PHOTOGRAPHY