4 Fun Hobbies for Conscious Fashion Lovers

Many people today consider shopping a hobby, which is quite sad. They have made consumption into their hobby and oftentimes it can be their only one. I used to have shopping as a hobby. I used to spend hours of just strolling around stores, during lunch hours, after school or work, or just whenever I had some time to kill. All this gave me was an overfilled and uncoherent closet that always left me feeling like I had nothing to wear. In addition, it cost me a lot of money this mindless spending.

Still, I do love fashion. Like I really love it. But I don’t want to be part of this unconscious consumerism that is going on. So I’ve tried swapping my shopping for other more productive hobbies and here are some tips on things you can do if you love fashion, but don’t want shopping to be your hobby.

Sewing

Learning to sew is not just fun and very fulfilling, it’s also very practical. When you know how to sew you have endless possibilities! You can tailor your old clothes or things you buy, you can completely refashion things into new items or you can make your own things from scratch. Sewing your own things will mean you get a closet tailored to you, both to your body and your style!

So how do you make sewing your hobby? Well, you can always take a course, you could buy (or borrow) a book about sewing, learn from online, or just try it out. It will cost you a bit to start if you do not own a sewing machine or can borrow one, and it will also require some basic tools like fabric scissors and such.

Embroidery

Learning to embroider might not be as practical and useful, as say sewing, but it can be equally fulfilling! Spending time on a certain pattern only to see it start coming together is a lovely feeling. And while it might not make a new garment, it can really give new life to one! Maybe you’ve got some holes or stains in your favorite shirt, that makes it unusable. Well, why not try embroidering some nice flowers over it? Not only broken clothes can benefit from some embroidery. A regular white t-shirt can become a statement piece by adding some colorful threads to it. If your style is leaning towards bohemian this is the hobby for you!

Knitting & Crocheting

In the last few years, the popularity of knitting and crocheting has skyrocketed. There are now several stores (such as Wool and the Gang) providing ready-made kits for making your own sweaters, hats, and cardigans. I have found that knitting can be quite expensive if you want to use quality yarn (which you want, just imagine making a sweater for yourself only to find it to be an itching nightmare…), but to me it’s quite meditative and something to keep my hands busy (instead of scrolling Vestiaire…).

Fashion illustration

If you love drawing and being creative, or maybe you’re just not too interested in producing wearable things, why not try fashion illustration? It won’t add things to your (or your family’s) closet, but it will still give you a bit of that fashion fix. The best thing about having fashion illustration as your hobby is that it is super cheap to start! Sure, if you want to get fancy with it there are expensive pens and brushes, but for starters, a few pencils will do.

So how about you? Do you consider shopping a hobby?

Why and How You Should Do a Shopping Ban

Girl in clothing shop

A shopping ban is exactly what it sounds like, a ban from shopping. But the exact rules for a shopping ban tends to differ depending on who you ask. Most people, however, would include any shopping in the form of clothes and apparel, as well as shoes and accessories. Many would also add any items for the home or tech appliances.

So why should you try a shopping ban, and how do you do it?

Why should you do a shopping ban?

There are many reasons for doing a shopping ban, but I would ultimately say that they all include something. And that is sustainability. Ther reasons might be:

Financial sustainability

It’s quite common for people that are in debt or are facing tough financial times to cut their shopping for a shorter or longer period. It allows them to cut their unnecessary spendings from shopping to better their financial status.

Environmental sustainability

More and more people are getting aware of the fact that overconsumption is killing the planet and the people. Buying less stuff will have a positive impact on one’s personal impact on the world. It will mean fewer resources used to produce products for you, as well as fewer things to have to recycle, reuse, repurpose.

Mental sustainability

There is a reason why Marie Kondo and minimalism have become a big trend. Living with less can give you more time for the things that really matter. If you are a shopaholic and only find joy in buying new things all the time a shopping ban can be a great way to kick the bad habit.

No matter why you want to buy less a shopping ban is a great way to detox your shopping habits.

How to do it?

Set clear rules

The first thing to do is to set rules that work for your situation. If you have kids it might be hard to ban all type of shopping you do, but you could decide that purchases for the children are okay, but not for you. Some people think that gifts are okay to buy, as they are not for yourself. Some people include almost all purchases in a ban, even experiences such as travels, concerts and restaurant visits.

If you have any purchases you know will be needed during the time of the shopping ban, it’s a good idea to write out a list of needed items that are exempt from the ban. You might need to buy a bridesmaid’s dress for your best friends wedding, your running shoes are starting to break, or your computer is really old and you do not know if it will survive the time. The rules are for you to have a better experience and to hold yourself accountable.

Be realistic

This one is probably the most important one. You need to be realistic with both the rules of the shopping ban and during the actual process. What works for others might not be for you. I know people who have done modified shopping bans where they are not allowed to buy anything new, but they can buy second hand.

Also, don’t be a Scrooge for things like your health and wellbeing and don’t feel bad if unexpected expenses come up. You might get a bad toothache that will result in expensive appointments. There is nothing you can do about this (except maybe keeping a buffer for unexpected events), so just deal with it and move on. You simply need to give room to life happening, e.g. it’s okay to replace something you really need that breaks, it will not make you a bad person. The ban is a detox, it is meant to change your habits, not get rid of them all together!

Remove & avoid the temptation

Just like when you’re on a diet (not that I really do diets, because they kinda suck) it’s a good idea to remove and avoid all temptation. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

A great first step in removing temptation is to unsubscribe from all sources that usually triggers your shopping behavior. This can mean unsubscribing from e-mails or send-outs from companies, as well as muting or unsubscribing from brands or influencers on social media. Avoiding temptation can mean that you avoid going into stores all together or at least the ones where you usually shop. It can mean that you avoid going to the mall since it might trigger you. Sometimes it might even involve avoiding certain people that seem to trigger your behavior…

Change your habits

Changing your habits and exchanging them for new (healthier) ones is key to remaining the behavior after the ban is over. Otherwise, you risk returning to bad habits once the ban is off. It doesn’t really matter what you fill your time with, you could swap scrolling through online shopping sites for reading a book, or knitting, or whatever that makes you feel good. But try to swap it for something positive. Sometimes we do not understand how much time we actually spend consuming or looking to consume, but if you use that time wisely, you can come a long way!

Remember it’s not forever

Maybe this seems a little bit contradictive to the last point. Obviously, the intention of the ban is to challenge one’s perceptions and habits. Still, remembering that it’s not forever can help deal with it. Hopefully, when later comes and the ban is over, you won’t have the same urge to buy anymore, and you will have a more conscious relationship to shopping.

Find your creativity

When you are not allowed to follow in your old habits of buying new every time you feel uninspired or bored it is vital to get more creative with what you have. If interior decor is your thing, you could get creative by using items from nature, upcycling things (maybe making a nice candle holder from a glass jar?), or simply rearrange the furniture a bit. If clothing is your biggest vice you could try borrowing from friends, refashion things you already own or try find a way to use something in the not intended way (like a dress as a skirt/top…). I have also found help in using the Cladwell app. It can give you suggestions on how to combine the items you have in ways you didn’t think of before.

Are you up for a shopping ban?

Vegan “milk”

rawpixel-1149532-unsplashVegan drinks or “mylks” that substitute cows milk have become increasingly popular and today there are more alternatives than ever in the stores. Did you know that making your own is both easy and can save you money? It also allows you to exactly control the ingredient list and to make just enough for you!

Almond, rice, soy, oat, cashew

My favourite is oat milk, partly because I like the taste, but also because it’s the best option for me living in Northern Europe. We grow a lot of oat here (none of the other crops are grown much in these areas) and in general oat milk is one of the best options since it requires less water than many of the other options and have quite low emissions.

So what you need in order to make some home made vegan milk is:

  • A blender (A strong one is advisable)
  • A cheese cloth or strainer
  • Water
  • Oats, cashews, almonds or whatever type of mylk you are making
  • Sweetener if wanted (dates or vanilla powder are great options)

Start by soaking the oats (or nuts etc.) for at least 30-60 minutes. A great idea is to soak overnight. Then drain and wash them.

Mix 1 part oats, with 3-5 parts water (depending on how thick you want your drink to be) in a blender.

When it’s fully blended, strain the mixture. If you want to add sweetener or to make flavoured mylk, put the mylk back into the blender and add spices.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days. I can’t tell you exactly how long it will last, because I always go for the look, smell, feel, taste when it comes to food. So as long as it doesn’t look weird, smell weird, has a weird-ish consistency or tastes bad, I drink it!

The leftover oats or pulp that you are left with in the strainer/cloth can be used in other recipes like pancakes, bread or protein balls, so don’t throw it away!

Good sources for vegan protein

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The first concern that seems to come up when someone mentions that they are vegan (or even vegetarian) is: “are you getting enough protein?”. Protein deficiency is quite rare in the western world and as long as you eat a varied and somewhat healthy diet, you are most likely getting enough. Even if you only eat plants. Because what some people fail to understand is that veggies also contain protein.

Still, if you want to make a balanced dinner that is sure to satisfy your protein needs, there are some foods that are more suitable than others (unless you feel like eating 50+ cucumbers per meal…).

Tofu

Tofu is a soy-based protein often used in vegan cooking. For a long time I did not understand tofu, I though it was bland and had a weird consistency and could not understand why anyone would eat it out of free will. Today I cook a lot with tofu and know that the trick is to use the right type of tofu and to not eat it without marinade or spice.

Seitan

Made with wheat protein (gluten) and sometimes called mock duck/chicken in restaurants, seitan is a great substitute for chicken and poultry in dishes. It is great for marinating and spicing since it easily absorbs fluids and flavours.

Tempeh

Similar to tofu, but is made with fermented legumes. Can be marinated and flavoured just like tofu and seitan and can be cooked in several ways; fried, ovenbaked or as part of a stew.

Beans

Probably my favourite out of the vegan proteins. It’s cheap, tasty (in my opinion) and if you buy the cooked beans you can have a dinner ready in 15 minutes or less!

Lentils

Lentils are a great source of protein. In addition, they are cheap and quite easy to cook. I like them mostly in soups and casseroles but they work on their own as well.

Nuts

Most know that nuts are high in healthy fats, but they also contain a decent amount of protein. Since nuts are high in fat they are also quite caloric so I don’t build meals around them. Instead, I like them as an add-on on stews, bowl and similar, or make a pesto or sauce.

Veggies

Like mentioned above, vegetables contain protein. Some of the most protein packed ones are potatoes, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mushrooms and cauliflower. So by eating a big variety of vegetables you will get a big chance of satisfying your daily need.

Vegan “meats”

This option might not the best regarding the environment or the price, but I like to include it as an option as it is simple and fast, which makes it more accessible. For people switching over to a more plant-based diet this is often a given, since it gives the opportunity to cook similar dishes to before. However, I think it’s important to not get stuck in just cooking substitutes since they can be quite bland and expensive. My favourite brands for substitutes are the Swedish brands Anamma and Oumph!

 

My favourite staples for green eating

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Transitioning to a more plant-based diet can be challenging at times. When I stopped cooking meat I started stocking new products that were tasty and easy to cook. So for those of you that feel a bit lost with vegan or vegetarian cooking, here are some of my favourite green eating staples!

Cabbage

I love almost all types of cabbage! The greatness of the cabbage is the versatility, that they are nutrient dense, cheap and keep for long (like really long). Cabbage can be used as a filler in many dishes, it is great for stews, soups, casseroles, salads or just as a side. You can pickle it, make sauerkraut, kimchi, steam it, boil it, fry it or just eat it raw. My favourites are kale and red cabbage (preferable pickled in a bit of apple cider vinegar).

Onion

Similar to cabbage, onion is cheap and durable. I use all types of onion to cook: yellow, red, garlic, spring onion, shallots. They are anti-inflammatory and great for adding flavour to a dish. It is very rare that I eat something that does not include at least one type of onion, raw or cooked. My favourite is to add a bit of pickled red onion or fresh spring onion to top of a dish. It adds a nice touch!

Potato

Regular potato and sweet potato are my best carbs (sorry pasta, I still love you though…). They work great boiled, mashed, baked, fried or whatever way you would like them. In addition to eating them as a side (or as me the main), you can add them to curries and stews, you can make hash browns or patties by mixing them with some nice spices and herbs. I also love to make sweet potato tacos with some black beans and loads of cilantro!

Peas & beans

The great thing today about peas and beans is that you can buy them ready in tetras or cans, which is fast and accessible. But the cheapest way to to buy dried ones and cook yourself. They provide a great amount of protein and can be added to salads, soups, curries and most other dishes. If you do not like the taste or the structure, I would try to either blend them into a soup or marinate them to get some flavour. I mostly eat chickpeas, which I put in salads and curries, or black beans, that I use for tacos, bean patties and salads.

Tomatoes

I love tomatoes in any form! When I was a child I did not like fruit so my grandmother would cut up tomatoes for me to eat. Still today I tend to buy cherry tomatoes as snack for movie night! Tomatoes contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant, that has been linked to decreased risk for several diseases.
In my kitchen you can almost always find a few cans of diced or whole tomatoes. They are a great staple that keeps for long in the pantry and they can be used for soups, stews, sauces and what not. However, my favourite is to eat a perfectly ripe tomato with just a tiny bit of herb salt.

Grains

Grains are a great filler that you can put in salads, bowls or sub for when you have no rice at home. My favourites are quinoa, buckwheat and wheatberry. I tend to use then mostly for bowl base or as the side of a soup or curry, or to make breakfast porridge. They are great carbs, that fill you up, without being too “fast”, and I personally like the taste and the texture of them.

Lentils

If I am completely drained for food inspiration or seriously cramped on time, I make lentil soup. Lentils are a great source of protein and they are often very cheap. I prefer the red ones best, both for the flavour and for the fact that they are fast cooked. If I have more time I like to make chili with green lentils.

So if you are finding it hard to cultivate a vegan or vegetarian diet, you could try incorporating more of these foods into your your

My tips for making 2019 your most sustainable year yet

jazmin-quaynor-105210-unsplashAs the year comes to an end, many feel like a new beginning. If you want to make 2019 the best year yet, why not try to make some positive changes for yourself that are also beneficial for the environment?

Set realistic goals

Want to make a bigger change for the environment? I say start small. Maybe you heard that going vegan is the best choice if you want to decrease your impact and you decide to go vegan over night. For some it might work, but for most it is not realistic to change ones diet in a heartbeat. Being vegan takes some knowledge on your part and often time. To learn how to cook new ingredients and how to get proper protein etc. A more realistic goal might be to decrease the intake of meat, egg and dairy for a while, while incorporating more vegan recipes into the repertoire. The end goal can still be to eat fully vegan, but by easing into it, you lessen the risk of feeling overwhelmed and quitting.

Start small

This one connects to the previous one, but is slightly different. By focusing on doing one thing at a time you will have a bigger chance of having it stick. If you try to go vegan, start doing yoga every day and running three times a week, you will most definitely get really tired and not be motivated to stick to the rigorous routine. Decide on one or a few small things to change. When they start to become a habit, challenge yourself with a new change.

Don’t stress it

You are only human. If anyone (or society) makes you feel bad for not being perfect, remember that no one is perfect and that all movement in the right direction is good. You didn’t make it out to run three times this week like you said you would? Well, a maybe if you think back just a few weeks you hadn’t gone for a run in months! It is all about perspective. Try to see the bigger picture, without using it as an excuse to not continue striving towards your goals. Because that is what goals are. Something to strive for and work towards. If you are able to reach it within a few weeks, maybe the goal wasn’t big enough to begin with.

Educate yourself

If you want to lead a more sustainable life in 2019, both for you and the environment, take some time to educate yourself. It is hard being conscious, because there are so many people saying different things. By educating yourself, making sustainable choices will be easier. It will take less time at the store to decide what vegetable to choose since you already know which ones have lower impact.

Do you want to make 2019 your most sustainable year yet? Why not join my some of my challenges? Or create your own goals calendar for the year?

2019: monthly challenges

sarah-dorweiler-357715-unsplashNew Years resolutions have never been a big thing for me. Committing to something for an entire year takes a lot of devotion and engagement, which I tend to lack. Instead, this year I will be doing monthly “challenges” to push myself to do and learn more, and in some cases just to push myself to do stuff that I have long been meaning to do but tend to forget when life comes along.

Having a monthly goal, or challenges as I choose to call it, is more sustainable since committing to 30 days of something gives a clearer horizon and you may not feel deprived in the same way since you can just “return to normal” if it’s not for you, without feeling like you failed. So just setting up reasonable goals that you can actually do. You might have heard about SMART goals. SMART goals is all about creating motivational and tangible goals that you can actually reach. SMART was first coined by George T. Duran in 1981 stands for:

S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

So by giving myself a clearer horizon by limiting the time to one month, it feels more attainable. I will also only focus on things that feel relevant to me and my journey, that are very specific for each month and that I will be able to see a result from.

Monthly challenges

January: Veganuary

This is a global challenge and yearly challenge from https://veganuary.com/ to inspire people to eat more vegan. All of January I will eat (or do my best to) eat vegan. To push myself to try something new, to try new recipes, ingredients and how to eat out.

February: Meditate daily

February is a dark month with bad weather, and if you live in the north it’s probably like four months since you saw the sun. So when the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) starts knocking on the door I will spend a month meditating daily. These past few months have been stressful for me and I have felt that my defence against stress is quite low. Hopefully with daily meditation I can improve this.

March: Digital detox 

For the month of March my focus will be on minimising my use of Internet, computers, tablets and phones. My only tech appliances that will not be on the decrease list are my e-reader and my camera. How much I will “detox” is unsure right now. Since Instagram is a big inspiration and I like to read interesting articles online I would not be able to do a full on detox, but I will be avoiding it as much as I feel is viable.

April: Shopping ban

This one is quite explanatory, I will not do any shopping for the entire month. Which of course excludes food, medications and hygiene stuff (I need to survive it!!). No new clothes, no new beauty products, no interior shopping, no unnecessary stuff I can live without.

May: 30-day yoga

I will do a 30-day yoga challenge to really feel the benefits of the practice and stretch out my body. I have done yoga on and off for almost 10 years and even though I love it during and after, I never seem to get into a routine that sticks, so this month I will challenge myself to stick to it and hopefully feel better both physically and mentally.

June: Capsule challenge

For the month of June I will commit to a capsule closet. I have yet to decide the number of items to be used but somewhere between 20-30 is where I am aiming. This years mini capsule challenge felt slightly too constricting for me, so I want to give a bigger and longer capsule a shot.

July: Plastic-free July

Plastic-free July is a quite well known challenge by now, which means that for all of July, the goal is to not consume any plastics. This means no plastic single use items like take away bowls or plastic cutlery. This feels like a tough challenge for me right now, but my hope is that it will teach me more about the low impact living.

August: Reading challenge

One of my goals this year is to read more and for this I purpose I will do a book club for myself, but I will also assign one month of the year for reading even more. When I was a teenager I would read several books a week, but when I started university and had to read large amounts of course literature, I lost the appetite for reading for fun. I want to find the fun in reading again and this is what I am hoping to achieve during this month.

September: Self care September

During September I will focus on taking better care of myself and doing stuff I enjoy. Since fall tends to be very dark and gloomy where I come from it feels like the perfect start to the darker times.

October: Slow-Fashion October

For October I will be challenging myself to be more circular when it comes to my closet. I will be mending broken clothes, tailoring bad fitting ones, upcycle that which is no longer my style or simply make new items. A personal goal for the year is to get better at sewing, so this challenge caters mostly to this. By using what we have better and not wasting fabric is good for the environment and my own economy, as I will feel less a need to buy new.

November: Food challenge

For this month the challenge will be to explore new foods. New recipes, new ingredients, new cooking techniques etc. The goal is to compile 25 new recipes to try out during the month, both breakfast, snacks and dinners.

December: Creativity challenge

When I was a child I was constantly drawing, cutting and pasting. I had subscription boxes for what we in Sweden call “pyssel” which is a somewhat broad word for doing any kind of creative hand-work. During December I want to get creative again, just like when I was a child. Maybe I won’t be gluing beads on a picture frame, but more knitting pot holders, painting, colouring and maybe practice my calligraphy.