things that make me happy: natural living (or attempts at it)

Throughout my “adult” life (post – 20) I have made several forays into eating clean, removing chemicals from my life, trying to be more conscious of the environment that I am partially responsible for creating/destroying. Living in New York City there are several chemicals/waste products that come into contact with my body without me even realizing it – poisons from pest removal, harsh cleaning chemicals, subway germs, you name it -we have it etc.

Some of my choices have been voluntary but others were decided for me. For example, two or three years ago my deodorant started causing a rash on my armpits. After years of wearing antiperspirant, my body had started to reject it. I tried several different deodorants/soaps/etc. but much to my dismay, the rash stayed and nothing worked. So I just stopped wearing deodorant. Now I know that sounds kind of gross but I really do not sweat much and honestly no one around me has noticed a difference. I did attempt at making my own deodorant out of shea butter and essential oils which worked fine except I kept forgetting to make it. One day I will share the recipe.

But I feel great. If I sweat a lot from working out or running around too much, I just jump in the shower. But like I said – there really hasn’t been any negative impact to removing antiperspirant/regular deodorant from my life. In fact, the aluminum present in antiperspirant can block your glands and lead to Alzheimer’s, so I feel even better about giving it up.

My most recent decision has been getting rid of traditional shampoo and conditioner – I was inspired by a post on the Hairpin. I was pretty hesitant being that my hair is so greasy if I don’t wash it every day. I also don’t have curly hair like many I know who avoid washing their hair often. Two months into the process and I wash my hair 3 times over 2 weeks! The only products I am using are baking soda, apple cider vinegar, some essential oils and occasionally, coconut oil. My hair still looks good and it does not look greasy after not washing for a day anymore. & I am pregnant and more sweaty/hairy than usual so I can only imagine this will get even better with time.

Now if only I can get in on eating completely clean and organic – but first, I need another raise 😉

Have you tried to remove chemicals from your life? Are you living organic? Thoughts? Suggestions? Comment below.

minimalism

Over the past few months, I have been evaluating a lot of decisions I would normally make without thinking about it. This can range anywhere from how much should I be saving? to do I really need an owl hand towel from Target? Decision making is something that we are forced to do on a daily basis and there a multitude of ways to make decision making easier.

One thing that has really struck me – is something that apparently Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. all have in common. They either have a standard outfit for how they dress every day – i.e. black turtleneck and jeans or a formula of what to wear such as a navy or gray suit. Because I am pregnant and the clothes I wear are mostly temporary, I have yet to venture into this endeavor but I plan on doing so. This obsession with creating a highly functional and minimalist wardrobe has brought me to explore minimalism. What is minimalism you ask?

According to merriam-webster, minimalism is a style or technique that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity. But I like the elevator pitch from the Minimalists:

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

There are many flavors of minimalism: a 20-year-old single guy’s minimalist lifestyle looks different from a 45-year-old mother’s minimalist life. Even though everyone embraces minimalism differently, each path leads to the same place: a life with more time, more money, and more freedom to live a more meaningful life.

I unintentionally started this process as a part of moving. While packing, I was able to set aside two bags of clothing to donate as I knew I had not worn them anytime recently and wouldn’t wear them in the future. Now that I am starting to go through the boxes in our new apartment I am really evaluating what I need because I am 7 months pregnant and 90% of my regular clothing is now rendered useless. I put all items that I know I can’t wear going forward (for at least the next 4 months) in a storage container. If I start needing them in the next 4 months I will pull them out but if I have no interest in them/they are uncomfortable, I will be throwing them out.

After reading about the Minimalists, I have decided that I want to take my own journey towards removing clutter and adding value to my life and my home. I am not sure that I will do everything the way they did it – but I do start out on a much different path than they did. So in the upcoming posts, you will start to hear about my journey towards leading a more fulfilling life, which I can thank pregnancy for 🙂 

Any suggestions, comments, questions, please feel free to leave below.

moving on up

Hello Everyone,

I must apologize for my hiatus. Being pregnant and dealing with moving and decorating a new apartment plus a new promotion, really put this on the back burner for me. Since I recently moved, I would like to share some tips about NYC apartments, moving, and re-decorating!!

My fiance and I had to break our lease because we are having a baby and wanted to be closer to help (aka our moms!). Unfortunately this meant breaking a lease with a property management company.

When I posed a question to my facebook friends about “tips for breaking a lease with a property management company” I received many answers along the lines of “good luck”. I was not happy about the idea that this could seriously be an expensive situation, if they decided to charge us a fee. Luckily a friend brought up the point that if we live in a rent stabilized building (which we were) the building benefits from our breaking of the lease because they can charge the next person more money and take a loss on our taxes. So during the month of April, we let them keep our security deposit as last months rent and we were able to get away without paying any extra fees!!!! win win win 😀

Some advice for other pregnant ladies out there: if you are planning to move during your pregnancy. I was moving at 6 months pregnant and in retrospect it would have been better to either move or earlier or have more time on both sides – make sure you leave yourself enough time to move between the two places, even more time if you want to paint your new apartment or have to do any work on it. (We took about 4 days) We certainly did not leave enough time and it definitely made me more stressed and tired than it could have been.

As we are going to share a home with our first child, it was really important to me that our new apartment had a relaxed and home-y feeling. Part of this was deciding which colors I would like to paint the rooms of the apartment. This is also a daunting process if you are painting yourself/with friends and not with professionals.

  • take your time choosing paint colors – painting can get expensive and you do not want to plan on painting again and again
  • use neutrals or color schemes that are flexible – the best aid in this is pinterest. You can check my decor board to see what I was looking at. But it is nice to have a good idea of the look and feel you want your home to give off
  • BUY SAMPLES!!! – I cannot recommend this enough – the samples are worth whatever they cost! If you use Behr from HomeDepot – they are only about $3 each but I know especially Sherwin Williams runs a bit more expensive around $9 a sample. I was so set on getting a color from the living room but the second I saw it dried on the wall I knew that it was just NOT what I was looking for. You do not want a paint the walls of your house a color that you don’t like because it will just bother you until you repaint it & spending the money on a sample is much better than spending it on a gallon or 5 of paint!

In terms of decorating, it is so easy to just look at any catalog and decide I want this, this and this and pay for whatever ridiculous price they are asking. Since I have been living out of my mom’s house for over a year I have realized something – if you are able to do so – going to estate sales/craiglist, etc. for your furniture is so much better. I bought a beautiful bedroom set last year for the cost of $100 and making my fiance drive me in his pick up truck to get it! Also, do not buy too much stuff for your apartment in the beginning because you will find things over time that you like and before you know it you will have no room for anything anywhere.

 Any suggestions on moving? painting? or decorating?