What Plant Based Means to Me and How We Eat

My mom was a vegetarian while I was growing up. I was used to having tofu, tempeh, fresh veg, lots of legumes, fruits and homemade foods. Bc I grew up with it, it never occurred to me that other kids didn’t live that way. My father was always a healthy eater and great cook, but he ate meat. As I see it, I had the best of both worlds.

When I met my husband, he was vegetarian and had been on and off for most of his life. I ate meat then, but I never had any issues eating less or no meat during our meals together. Eating less meat made me realize that when I did eat meat, I didn’t feel as good as when I ate more fruits and veggies.

By the time we moved to New Jersey, we were eating fish, but little to no land meat. We wavered back and forth some (my husband even ate chicken for a while) but it was mostly ovo lacto vegetarian for us. Some events in the Summer of 2018 lead us both to come to the conclusion that we would give up all meat, from land and sea, in a serious manner.

Personally, I think humans are supposed to eat animals. We, ourselves, are animals and omnivores as far as I can tell from the evidence I know. But I think the way most people currently eat animals is unsustainable and inhumane, wasteful and unnecessary. In an attempt to lead a more sustainable and less wasteful life, eating plant based is an easy and obvious choice.

 I’ve been trying to eat more rice, as it is a great staple. This is a good example of a fresh whole foods meal. Rice, carrots, onions, celery, sweet potato, squash, apple cider vin, soy sauce, pepper.

I’ve been trying to eat more rice, as it is a great staple. This is a good example of a fresh whole foods meal. Rice, carrots, onions, celery, sweet potato, squash, apple cider vin, soy sauce, pepper.

Now we eat what I like to call a vegetarian, plant based, whole food diet. That’s a mouth full and what does it even mean? We stopped eating any fish and sea creatures. We do eat dairy like cheese and butter and sour cream. We try to eat mostly fruits and veggies and eat whole foods that have not been overly processed. We eat fermented foods like miso, pickles and vinegar.

We try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Some with every meal! The term Plant Based really refers to a diet that is only plants but I use it to mean a diet that is based on plants, which we definitely do.

We also try to keep local stores, growers, producers in mind when we eat. This year was the first one where we grew our some of our own food and it was a game changer. It’s important to us to eat this way so that we are conscious of the environment, animals, our home and our health.

There are, of course, some ways we could improve our current diet. An example would be to make our own cheeses, sour cream, and yogurt, or only buy local cheese and dairy. But right now this diet works for us.

Some of our typical and most eaten meals are:

Quesadillas with black beans, corn, olives, fresh veggies, sour cream and hot sauce.

Cheese, crackers, veggies, mustard, pickles, olives, and mustard.

Miso soup with veggies and noodles.

Pasta with red sauce or pesto or cheese or garlic oil.

Sides meal with potatoes, veggies, grains, and various other “sides”.

Salads with home made croutons, veggies, sometimes we add fake chicken patties, and dressings.

Tofu, rice and broccoli with soy sauce, peanuts and chili garlic sauce.

Peanut butter and jelly (and sometimes hot sauce) sandwiches.

Bean and rice bowls.

Grilled cheese sandwiches with red onions and hot sauce.

Pierogies with onions, sour cream and veggies.

Smoothie bowls with various toppings.

Oatmeal with fruits, nuts and nut milks.

Beans on toast.

Chickpea salad sandwiches with carrots, onions, celery, and mayo.

 This is an example of a more processed meal I might eat. The cheese bread is made fresh daily at our local grocery store and the beans are vegetarian. Beans on toast is a favorite breakfast of mine but I only eat it once in a while.

This is an example of a more processed meal I might eat. The cheese bread is made fresh daily at our local grocery store and the beans are vegetarian. Beans on toast is a favorite breakfast of mine but I only eat it once in a while.

Let me know in the comments if you also eat meals like this! Or if you would like recipes or more info on any of the meals listed above. What kind of diet do you eat? What role does your diet play in your lifestyle?

Two Habits I love and Two for November

I’m still working on my habit goals for October. I’ve been better about taking a minute to stretch in the mornings, but it hasn’t been every day. I’ve been trying to incorporate doing the dishes into my mornings and keep the sink dish free.
Since I don’t do the same things at the same time everyday for the most part, habit forming has to fit in where it can. Not the ideal way to form habits! It might take me a little longer than I would like, but having my habit blog post has helped me to stick with my goals. I like to refer back to it for motivation. How do you keep yourself motivated to change your habits?

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For November there are some new habits I want to start working on. In order to get myself ready, I like to look at some habits I already have and remember why they help me and why I like them.

Watering the plants once a week
We have a lot of plants. Plants are, to me, an essential for every home. At last count we had 50 indoor plants and it takes about half an hour to forty five minutes to water them all. I like to water them once a week. I find when I do it less often, they are not as happy and they tend to leak more, or I will feel rushed watering them. I don’t water every plant every week, but making sure I check every plant each week is best.

Move the plants every two to three months
This goes along with watering on a regular basis, I love to take the time every two to three months to move all the plants around. Some plants just get a small move or turn but some go to different rooms, or areas of the house. Since the weather has turn I got to do this ritual recently and it was lovely.

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For November here are the habits I want to make:

Read everyday
I love to read but sometimes it’s hard for me to choose reading over other activities. There are times when I get in a groove and read a lot. That time is not now. But I want to read SO MANY things! This month I want to get into the habit of reading everyday, even if it’s just a few pages.

Morning Pages
Lots of people sing the praises of morning pages. Over the last few months, I have tried to start this habit a few times. But this month I’m going to get serious about it. People say there are a ton of benefits for morning pages, and I’m excited to see what it does for me.

What are some habits your trying to adopt this month?

Here are some of the past habits I have tried to learn:
Stretch everyday
Dish free sink

October Plant Update

Plant observations were many this month. We had a lot of opportunity to walk around town, be in our yard, and visit new places. We saw bees buzzing, squirrels scavenging, flowers blooming and dying off, creatures and plants working together and everything getting ready for Winter.

 On days that were clear the sky and trees were amazing.

On days that were clear the sky and trees were amazing.

 Hardest working bee in Asbury park.

Hardest working bee in Asbury park.

 The basil bolted a long time ago, but we just let it go for the other plants and animals.

The basil bolted a long time ago, but we just let it go for the other plants and animals.

 Some of the flowers we planted are still blooming.

Some of the flowers we planted are still blooming.

 The dunes looked majestic in October.

The dunes looked majestic in October.

 We saw many mushrooms this moth but some of the best ones were shelf mushrooms.

We saw many mushrooms this moth but some of the best ones were shelf mushrooms.

 Another active plant observer.

Another active plant observer.

 We visited Allentown NJ and saw these fellows enjoying the river and surrounding plants.

We visited Allentown NJ and saw these fellows enjoying the river and surrounding plants.

 Allentown also had a civil war reenactment. It was neat to see a world as it may have been.

Allentown also had a civil war reenactment. It was neat to see a world as it may have been.

 Another late bloomer.

Another late bloomer.

 Another busy bee.

Another busy bee.

 The rainy days made everything green and vibrant.

The rainy days made everything green and vibrant.

The weather was mild and it was a lovely month. For November, we are planning on ways to keep our plants happy over the Winter.

What were your plant observations in October?

Garden Tour | Summer 2018

Since first moving to New Jersey and into our own house, we have wanted to start gardening. It took about 3 years, but this Summer was the first year we seriously started growing vegetables. 

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We started small, but this was a great introduction to gardening at home! We started basically everything from plants, except our radishes which we started from seeds. For us, starting from plants was less intimidating and we thought we would have more success. We had lot of success with just about everything we planted.

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Our main bed, and the biggest producer, is in our front yard. My dream is to have more and more beds in our front yard since we don’t really utilize that space. We planted four or five different tomatoes, basil, orange thyme, and shishito peppers. We also planted items in pots that were scattered between front and back.

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In the back we already had blueberry bushes and we also put a raised bed with kale, hot peppers and radishes from seed. We plan to devote one whole side of the yard to our garden next year, have some space in the middle and eventually plant fruit trees on the opposite side.

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This summer was mild but we had lots of sun and lots of rain and the garden loved it! Our tomatoes exploded. We ate one of our favorite meals, tomatoes and mozz, all year and never bought any tomatoes from the store!!

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Mostly for my own records here is a list of what we grew in 2018 and how it did:

4 small tomato varieties - these were bananas! Next year I hope we label/mark/ remember what we plant. That would have been nice this year.

1 large tomato variety - these got completely over shadowed, literally, by the small ones so they didn’t produce much. What we did have was delicious! We like the smalls better, but it seems worth it to have one large each year.

Shishitos - this was my favorite thing we grew this year. I want to have like a million of these next year!

Hot peppers - I’m not sure if we even ate any of these.

Kale - Next year we have to get better about harvesting and eating our own kale!

Radishes - Why did we even grow these? We tried pickling them but they turned out pretty bad. Next year, if we plant them, we will only do a few at a time.

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Basil and purple basil - what we planted in beds did really well, the ones in pots not so much. I hope to plant again next year but be better about picking and using what we grow.

Orange thyme - probably my husbands favorite thing we grew, we will def be planting this again.

Assorted herbs - some of these I’ve had for ears and they just keep coming back, some are new this year. I want to get better and maintaining and using herbs next year.

Blueberries - our bluebs did really well this year. Over the winter we hope to protect them better bc they took quite a beating in heavy snows last year.

Raspberries - we only got a few but they were good! We have them in pots, but perhaps we will transfer them to beds or the yard next year.

Strawberries - we had more strabs than ever before but never got to eat them. We could never get to them before the critters.

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Looking at the list, it’s a lot longer than I thought it would be! I can’t wait to grow more next year and rely on store bought foods less!

What did you grow this year and what are your plans for 2019?

Off Season: Moth Coffeehouse

We recently headed to one of our favorite small towns, Allentown NJ, and finally got to stop in at a Moth Coffeehouse. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time but somehow always visit the town when the cafe is closed. I was not disappointed. I love that this coffee shop is in a hundreds year old building and that it offers a lot of healthy and vegan options.

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The whole cafe and aesthetic is lovely. They have plenty of low waste options, to stay cups and plates. It’s cozy and if I lived closer, I could easily see myself becoming a regular.

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What’s your favorite coffee shop?

Tattoo Story: Cup of Coffee

My second tattoo might seem a little out there, or childish, but to me it fit perfectly with what I want my tattoos to be and how I want my body to be decorated.

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I got my second tattoo only a few months after my first. I knew that I wanted more and more right away. It was an easy choice to get another from the same artist as my anchor.

My coffee cup clearly depicts my love of coffee, but it’s also a replica of the cups I served coffee out of for 8 years at one of my favorite jobs. It’s very whimsical but it’s remembrance is very special to me.

Do any readers have tattoos of food or drink?

Why I'm Not Changing the Name of This Blog

The anniversary of this blog is Oct 28th 2013. I started it mostly bc that was around the time that I was quilting seriously. I wanted to become part of the online quilting community and to document my journey. For many years, this blog was my accountability partner as well as my journal for keeping on track with quilting.

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Earlier this year, I decided to take a break from quilting. Quilting had become a chore, something I did bc I knew I had to/should but not bc I wanted to or was inspired. I found myself dragging my feet on making things, and therefore dragging my feet on posting on the blog, as well. Although it started as an avenue to share my quilting, this blog also became a way to share my life and other passions. So I didn’t take a break from the blog even though I needed a break from the reason I started it.

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I’m happy to share my zero waste journey, my love of where home, my attempts to lead a more mindful life. But I’m not going to change the name of this blog to move away from the quilting and towards some of those other avenues. Quilting has been a part of my life for a long time and I plan for it to continue to be. Quilting has ties to all the aspects of my life that I want to share here, whether I’m currently doing it or not. Hopefully I’ll return to quilting sooner rather than later and this space will be the spot to share it.

Mad Cat Capsule: Fall 2018 (Oct, Nov, Dec)

For this Fall Capsule, I did things a little differently. I still eased clothing that I wanted in the next capsule in over the last few weeks of the previous one, but this quarter I divided the items by color. I usually try to only have a few colors in each capsule, aside from certain neutrals. But for this, I didn’t hold back.

The result is that the color themes in this capsule includes cream, light blue, green, black & white, yellow, black, white, and grey.

I also paid close attention to texture, fabric and weight in this quarter’s capsule. I’ve been working my way towards a plastic free wardrobe, but this capsule has a few synthetic pieces I’ve had for a long time and want to see if they are worth keeping in my closet.

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This capsule turned out quite large. The weather has been all over the place, so partly the capsule reflects that but also I had fun putting this one together and getting out of my comfort zone.

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14 shirts - Black and white ribbed mock neck (thrifted and vintage), silk mock neck (thrifted and vintage), snake skin turtleneck (thrifted and vintage), boat neck tee (ethically made, 10+ years old), waffle long sleeve (ethically made, 10+ years old), silk blouse (thrifted), black and white flral crop (5+ years), black and white dot crop (second hand), white floral crop (thrifted), mustard silk (vintage and thrifted), denim crop (vintage and thrifted), cream silk blouse (vintage and thrifted), floral long sleeve (thrifted and vintage), mustard silk knit (thifted and vintage. Not pictured).

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10 tee shirts - grey crew (ethically made, 10+years), cream crew (ethically made, 10+years), green v neck (ethically made, 10+years), dark grey v neck (ethically made, 10+years), team sandwiches cat crew (thrifted), forgotten boardwalk (local biz), pizza and bee (local biz), MLB crop, yellow attendance (vintage and thrifted. Not pictured).

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4 skirts - wool grey (thrifted and vintage), black suede (vintage and thrifted), black and white stripe (10+ years), long black.

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6 pants - black skinny (thrifted), everlane (ethically made), light grey (thrifted), black mom (thrifted and vintage), green silk (thrifted and vintage), blue sailor (thrifted, not pictured).

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6 sweaters - Grey kimono (thrifted), dark grey, cream crop (thrifted), yellow cardigan (second hand), green confetti (hand made, vintage, and thrifted), black holey.

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4 over shirts - yellow cowl neck sweatshirt (10+), grey crop (thrifted), denim (found, not pictured), linen (vintage and thrifted, not pictured).

Edit: Light has not been my friend lately. While creating this post, I was only able to get limited photos. I’ll add more as soon as I can capture them.

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6 dresses/jumpsuits - Long hippy (vintage, handmade, thrifted), black and white pineapple, black and white rabbit, cream cats, blue denim, grey jumpsuit (thrifted).

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4 tanks - Black strappy tank (10+ years), black ribbed (10+), grey ribbed (10+), yellow.

7 shoes - bright vans, cat vans, velcro vans, zip booties (thrifted), emily booties, brown suede booties (vintage and thrifted), high tops.

In total this capsule has 61 pieces. 46 of them are slow fashion. I have also been trying to remove micro fibers/plastics from my wardrobe. It’s not easy, and I worry that I will never be able to fully eliminate them. I have to count exactly how many non synthetics.

Who else is starting out a capsule around now? Share your posts, or closets below!

Three Habits I love and Two for October

A few months ago I shared some habits I want to build in the rest of 2018. This week I want to start documenting the habits I'm working on for October. 

Working on building new habits isn't the funnest activity. It can be frustrating and I sometimes forget why I'm even bothering. So before getting into the habit I hope to make, I want to share some of my favorites habits I already have. 

Making The Bed
I don’t make hospital corners, I don’t change the sheets every day, I don’t buy expensive sets, pillows, or have a fancy mattress. But I love to make the bed! making the bed every day makes me feel like I have done something that day (even if I haven’t).

Cat Naps
While we are talking about beds, let’s talk about naps. I try to take a nap several times a week, if not once a day. I like a nap of course more importantly, I need the bonding time with my babies. I used to think that this wasn’t so important, but it has become a vital part of my self care.

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Walking to Work
Walking in general is an activity that I have come to realize is very important to my mental health and over all well being. I wish that I took many long walks, and I used to. But lately, I have settled for just walking to work. Not only do I get a walk in, it takes about 20-25 minutes to get to work, but I get a few moments to prepare from my day ahead.

I plan to continue these habits, hopefully for a long time. But this month, and especially before the cold weather sets in, I want to make some new habits, too. Here’s what I want to work on:

Stretching
This is one habit I have wanted to incorporate for long time. I’m hoping this month I can cement doing daily stretches every day. I plan to start small but I’d like to eventually try a yoga class or something like that.

Dish Free Sink
I actually really like to do dishes. But I am guilty of often not doing them right away. It doesn’t help that we have a small space to dry them. But ever since we got a on tap filter, I have been wanting and trying to keep the sink dish free most of the time.

What are some habits you’ve recently adopted or wish to?

One Day in Cape May

Last month we took an impromptu trip to one of our favorite places, Cape May NJ. We left pretty late as it was a last minute decision to go, but it was a ridiculously gorgeous day and once there, we went right to the beach! It’s about an hour and a half drive so it was really relaxing to swim and lay out.

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Congress Hall is a favorite of ours when we stay in the area, but it’s also great to pop in and see how it’s decorated or for a bathroom break.

We walked around town and popped into a few shops, but then made our way down to Sunset Beach. We love the weird gem shop there and that there is a sunken ship still visible. We even got to see a flag ceremony with muscat salute! It’s also known for it’s sunsets, of course.

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On our way back into town we stopped at the Animal Outreach Of Cape May. It was too late for it to be open, but we got to see a few kitties.

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On the way back north, we stopped at Big Wave Burritos. It was pretty tasty! I was happy to try a few local spots this trip that we hadn’t before. Earlier in the day we also got a nice coffee at Out There Coffee.

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I’m so glad that we live so close to Cape May now and it makes for easy day trips to one of our favorite places! One day in this town is plenty to see and do a lot and I highly suggest a visit if you are close by.

Do you have a near by getaway that you love to revisit again and again.

September Plant Update

September has become one of my favorite months since moving to the beach. Local’s Summer, changing of the season, back to school, and slower living, are part of why I love it. I also really love my plant observations during this month.

We went to some new beaches, new parks, got to forrest bathe and hang out in the back yard.

 Higbees Beach, Cape May, NJ

Higbees Beach, Cape May, NJ

 We brought these plants all the way from Brooklyn and September is their time to shine.

We brought these plants all the way from Brooklyn and September is their time to shine.

 I’m not sure what these little flowers are but they are pretty neat!

I’m not sure what these little flowers are but they are pretty neat!

 The bees are still doing the good work this month.

The bees are still doing the good work this month.

 Our raspberries were briefly infested with these little bugs.

Our raspberries were briefly infested with these little bugs.

 Our morning glories are happy.

Our morning glories are happy.

 Exploring some local parks.

Exploring some local parks.

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 Clematis at night.

Clematis at night.

 More night blooms.

More night blooms.

What month of the year is your favorite for plant observations?

Zero Waste vs. Low Impact Movement

I use the terms Zero Waste, Low/No Waste, and Low Impact Movement a lot these days.

In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste would be a more  accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.

I wanted to take some time and explain these terms. I have done some research on them, but these definitions are mostly what I understand them as and how I use them.

Zero Waste
According to the Zero Waste International Alliance the definition of zero waste goes like this:

“Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.
Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.
Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”

This definition is geared towards big business as well as every day life. The idea is to create systems so that all aspects of industry that are circular, both in production and product, and do not end in landfills or the ocean. For individuals this means changing day to day life before the corporations come around. Living a Zero Waste lifestyle does not mean that one will not generate a single piece of trash, which is of course, impossible, but it means to strive to create as little trash as possible, to seek alternatives avenues that might not generate waste. Zero Wasters consider all sorts of waste when trying to reduce; plastic, water, food, fuel, and all sorts of more traditional trash.

In short, being Zero Waste means trying to live up to the impossible task of generating zero waste of any kind by making mindful decisions in everyday life.

Low/No/Less Waste
This is a more gentle term, a less harsh way to state the above lifestyle but follows the same principles. Whatever they call themselves, one of the tenants that most Low Wasters follow a Low Waste Inverted Pyramid. Remembering to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot, can help to keep Low Waste.

 In more recent times, as we see that recycling is not a sustainable solution, recycle and rot would be in the opposite spots on the inverted pyramid.

In more recent times, as we see that recycling is not a sustainable solution, recycle and rot would be in the opposite spots on the inverted pyramid.

Low Impact Movement
This term was recently created by a Zero Waste Youtuber Sustainably Vegan. She felt that the term Zero Waste was confining bc it is technically unachievable, zero wasters had become judgmental and that it only explored a small portion of all the ways to reduce ones impact on the environment and global community. By creating the Low Impact Movement, she created a lifestyle movement to incorporate low impact mindfulness in all aspects of daily life from reducing your trash, going no plastic, ditching disposables, reducing your carbon footprint, vaganism, activism, etc…. The Low Impact Movement also emphesizes social action and activism. Their motto is “We strive for a LOW environmental impact through a HIGH social impact.”.

TL:DR
Zero Waste - Controversial term used for and by companies and individuals who are trying to reduce waste in all aspects of production and life.
Low/No/Less Waste - Similar to Zero Waste but less rigid and more practical.
Low Impact Movement - A more inclusive, all incompassing term for reducing ones environmental impact.
Zero/Low/No/Less Waster - Someone who practices a Zero/Low/No/Less Waste lifestyle.
Low Impacter - Someone who takes part in the Low Waste Movement.

I hope these definitions are helpful! Please let me know any questions or comments you might have in the comments!

Everlane Undies Review

Disclaimer: My product reviews are completely unsponsored and unsolicited. The opinions are my own from my own experiences.

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I've been waiting to make another Everlane purchase for quite a while. I look thru the website every month or so, put things in the cart, take them out, leave, come back and do it all again. I've only ever bought from Everlane once before. 

There’s been a lot of debate on the internet and in the world of the low impact movement about Everlane. Once touted as the greatest and most assessable sustainable fashion makers around, Everlane has come under a lot of distain lately. Many people believe that it has out grown it’s title as Slow Fashion.

I’m on the fence. Everlane still says it upholds it’s sustainable standards, but it has been producing at a faster and faster rate. Is it possible that the level of care is being taken for each and every piece? Ultimately, I decided that at least they must be a better choice than regular fast fashion brands. Although I mostly buy everything second hand, there are some items that have to be bought new.

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Which brings me to underwear!! From the first moment that Everlane announced their underwear and bras, I knew I wanted to try them. Undies are really hard to buy sustainably without breaking the bank. But I have a lot of undies so it was almost a year before I actually made a purchase. I waited until some of my old panties literally fell apart and I had to get rid of them before I decided it was ok to buy some new items.

I bought three matching pieces; the Tank Bra, the Hipster, and the High Rise Hipster all in grey. Having matching undies still give me a thrill. I waited until Everlane offered free two day shipping so these items came really fast. The last Everlane purchase I made, I was disappointed that the pants and top I bought came wrapped in plastic and in a plastic mailer bag. I was happy when all the underwear came in recyclable cardboard boxes with paper info cards. They came in a plastic mailer which I recycled at a local drop off location.

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I like how simple, soft and easy these panties and bra are. The bra has a wide, tight lower band and straps that are about an inch wide. The straps sit far out on the shoulders which I wasn’t expecting, but I really like bc I do have quite a few tops that have wide or boat necks. The high rise panties are my favorite and sit right at or just below my belly button. The seat is a bit cheeky, which again, I wasn’t expecting. I’d love to get a full coverage bottom set of these, which they don’t make yet, but fingers crossed. I will definitely get more pairs of these undies when more of my current pairs wear out.

Overall, I’m still skeptical about how Everlane works and it’s impact. But as a middle ground of affordable, well made, and better than fast fashion, I’ll continue to use them for purchasing some items.

Have you tried buying the Everlane underwear line? What are your thoughts?

Mad Cat Capsule: Thinking About Fall

I’ve actually been thinking about my next capsule for some time. I have my inspiration piece and I’m excited to get started. I’m trying to pace myself this season, though. Usually at this point in the month before changing over my capsule, I’d already be wearing new items of the next capsule.

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But I’m taking a different tactic this quarter. I’ve gathered quite a few pieces but I’m pointedly putting them aside and savoring thinking bout what my Fall Capsule will look like.

What I am doing is paring down what’s in my current capsule. I have already started to take out all the items from Summer (July, August Sept) that I haven’t been wearing as much, or that I’m ready to stop wearing.

It’s a nice time in the capsule process to work with an even smaller closet of clothes. The excitement of the clothes I can revisit in my new capsule is always so fun! I love knowing that I’ll get rid of even more clothing when I go thru everything in storage.

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The anticipation for the next capsule isn’t always my favorite part, but this quarter it is! What’s your favorite part of building a new capsule? Does your favorite part change?

Something New: Hand Poked Tattoos

Disclaimer: This is not a tutorial. I am not a professional tattooer, and I am not giving anyone advice or guidance on this subject. I am only relaying my own experience and documenting my own journey.  

Two years ago I decided that I really wanted to learn how to do stick and poke tattoos.

Stick and Poke is a method of tattooing where one uses a tattoo needle to manually imbue ink into the skin with no tattoo gun or electricity. Stick and poke, or hand poked tattoos, are pretty trendy right now, but it is also an ancient tradition practiced by many cultures around the world. 

To start, I did a ton of research into this craft. I watched videos and read articles, as one should do when their goal is to poke permanent art into another's (or their own) skin. Eventually, I decided I just had to try it, so I invested in a few supplies (some research showed that many can be bought off tattoo websites or amazon) and started practicing. My research showed that practicing on fruits, pig skins, or fake human skins were the most common methods. I chose fruit. After a few months of practice on oranges, I decided it was time to test it out upon myself. 

 I remain super pleased with how my first tattoo came out!

I remain super pleased with how my first tattoo came out!

Since I have several tattoos, I knew sort of what to expect. I had never gotten a hand poked tattoo before, and they are a bit different that machine tattoos, but nothing drastically different in method or pain level. It is much slower, which is why the designs tend to be more simple and the colors less.  

So far, my journey has been very slow going, and each year, I make it a goal to try and do more. After my first tattoo on myself, I did two more on my husband and one on my BFF.  I have plans with a friend starting her own hand poked journey to have a poke party soon, and I'm excited for it! 

As with many of my goals, I'm talking about it here to have a record of it, give myself inspiration and hold myself accountable. I love this space to be able to look back and check how I'm progressing on the things I want to accomplish. 

I'm really excited to hear what people what me to put on them with hand poking! My next steps are to start thinking of ideas and working up sketches. I've tried sketching them before, and it's been in my goals many times, but I hope having an end game makes me stick with it!

 The first tattoo I made on my husband and my third tattoo ever.

The first tattoo I made on my husband and my third tattoo ever.

Do any readers have hand poked tattoos? What has been your experience with them?

Mad Cat Market

Since I have renewed my love of thrifting, I wanted to have an avenue to pass on some of my favorite finds. A great thing about thifting is that I find a lot of amazing peices of clothing, homewares, and unique items, but the downside is that I can't keep them all. So, welcome to the official launch of Mad Cat Market, an online shop to share my thrifting finds with everyone!

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I view thrifting as a way of saving items that might otherwise end up in a landfill.  Things I love to "save" are made of natural materials, are vintage, hand made, or unique. My favorite clothes to thrift are made from cotton, linen, silk, tencel, or other natural fibers. Sometimes I have to pick up a synthetic fiber bc the item is so awesome! For homewares I like porcelain, wood, stoneware, embroidery, wicker, etc... 

One of my goals is to pass along these saved treasures at a reasonable rate. I want these items to be loved as much as I might love them if I could keep them all. I'm using an existing Big Cartel shop and keeping it at the lowest plan, which dictates that my collections are kept pretty small but means I can pass the savings on to the buyers! Each is hand picked and curated and I hope that the shoppers like them!

I also invite everyone to visit the Mad Cat Market instagram. I plan on posting sneak peaks, sales, and inspiration there!

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The current collection is a mix of Summer and Fall transition pieces in a range of sizes and styles. 

I'd love to hear what people like or want to see or see more of! I'd love this space to also become a place where people can let me know what items them might be seeking and a conversation about thrifting and sustainable shopping. This is a new experience for me, so I'm thankful for people bearing with me while I work out the kinks and the mission of this shop! Thanks for checking out the new shop!!