Monthly Archives: February 2012

Reflections On Two Months Of Blogging

Ok, today I’m completely burned out! Who would have thought minimalizing would be so exhausting!! I already wrote a bit about how exhausting transition can be in another post before.

Just looking through this post, I wrote after one month of blogging, not a lot has changed. It’s just constant progress, when you start eating better, you just have to keep doing it, when you start de-cluttering, you just gotta keep doing it, when you stop spending money on crap.. well, you get the picture. So, there hasn’t been much new stuff happening. With the de-cluttering, we are pretty much down to the essentials, just need to sell our furniture when we are moving. Except for my studio, which looks like a bomb went off.

The more parts of your life you’re tackling the more stressful it can be.

In the long run I’m trying to have more time and be more relaxed, but that’s still quite a way off. But I got a new goal, to stop working day jobs this year. This is basically my goal every year, but I feel like I can actually do it this year, being more focused and letting go off expectations of perfectionism.

This weekend we wanted to go camping and I love camping, but what I really want is, to just stay in bed the whole day, eat and read and watch silly or interesting videos. So, we might going to do that!

It’s weird, as I said, the more you are trying to change things, the more is on your plate and the more stressful things can become. And sometimes you don’t know if you are really making progress in de-stressing your life when it just seems to be getting worse. But I really do believe we are making progress and it will pay off in the near future. Once we moved to Germany we are going to take a break and go for a little roadtrip. We did that the last time we went there and LOVED it!!

So there is definitely a treat to be looking forward to. Maybe that’s what we need sometimes, a treat that is waiting for us at the finishing line?! Sometimes it helps.

Sometimes flowers look black and white

If you are trying to change significant parts of your life, and I’m speaking partially to myself here, take care of yourself. Have little treats on the way through, keep it fun and get lots of rest!

That’s what I’m gonna do tomorrow, eat… go to the post office, ..eat some more and eat. And probably do some sewing..

Do you have any tips on how to survive stress and transitions in your life?

Discretionary Spending

What is discretionary spending? Looking it up I just found there is quite a difference between disposable income and discretionary income. I always thought it was the same. I like learning new things..

Anyway, I think discretionary spending is kind of a flexible term. What counts as a necessity probably differs a lot between different people.

To us, it’s personal spending, that’s how we do our books at the moment. What each of us spends after we have paid rent, energy, water, petrol and food and stuff like that. The real basics.

I think once you set yourself up, with homewares and kitchen crap, clothes, shoes and furniture you don’t have to buy much stuff. I mean, what do you need?! If you don’t replace items just for a different style or for the sake of Keeping up with the Joneses and the latest gadgets, you just need to replace items if they are broken or become irrelevant. And you really don’t have to spend that much.

So now we are doing our spending diary, we can really see what we are spending exactly. We were never big on shopping and spending money on a whole lot of crap, but it’s really interesting to see what’s happening. I hardly spend any money on extras.

I got shoes, I got bags and I make my own clothes, not all of them, but it helps. I don’t buy shitty cosmetics. We hardly ever go out to fancy events, we are better at creating them for ourselves. Now that we are moving, we stopped buying homewares. But considering we are doing the minimalist thing, we would have done that anyways.

So yeah, I’m thinking hard, but I can’t come up with anything else people would “need to buy for fun”. I know some people have hobbies or like going out and that’s cool. What I’m saying is, you don’t always need the latest things or new things and you can have great experiences without spending a whole lot of money on them.

What do you spend your “extra money” on? Do you really need the treats you buy for yourself?

Beach Picnics

This is our fridge, pretty healthy right?!

I LOVE WATERMELON!

For our beach picnic last night I made the kale chips I was talking about in this post. They were nice, but I heat blasted the fuck out of them. Next time, less heat. I stuck to the recipe, but used aluminium foil instead of baking paper, that might have sped up the process a bit. I’d rather have them take longer at a lower heat.

Crunchy!

Also I used extra salt, as it said in the recipe and coz I like it. Well, they ended up being REALLY salty. But I would definitely recommend making kale chips! I wanna try kale in a green smoothie sometime. I sauteed it last time and it wasn’t very nice, very chewy.

The sky was just stunning!

We were really busy at the weekend, doing food shopping all over the city and several other crazy things and didn’t have a lot of down time and time with each other, so I thought to go to the beach for a dinner picnic would be nice. And it was!

Love Beach Picnics!

Lucky we live relatively close to the beach, it’s like a 20 minute car ride from our house.

So dramatic

What do you do to treat yourself after a hard days work? How do you like to unwind?

Changes

We are moving back to Berlin in less than two months. I should say ‘I am moving Back to Berlin’, as my boyfriend hasn’t been living there before. He doesn’t speak German and I think he is shitting himself a bit.

To be fair, I have some mixed feelings about it too. I haven’t been living in Germany for 8 YEARS!!! I don’t know how to behave like a proper German anymore..

A New Day

We already booked our tickets, we are leaving just before my birthday and I just checked my passport, that makes it EXACTLY 6 years, to the day, I have been living in Australia. Fucking Crazy!!

When I first came here, I would have never expected to stay that long! Ah well, meeting my boyfriend here took care of that.

In all the time I lived here, I never felt Australia was my home. I never took roots here, it’s where I live, have my stuff and where my partner lives. I actually think it’s quite boring. Now don’t get in a huff about it if you are Australian and patriotic, I find it quite boring everywhere, that’s why I left Germany in the first place. The People!!! I couldn’t stand them! I’m just a little bit antisocial in general, got high standards, right?!

The first couple of years living away from Germany I didn’t mind it at all, in fact, I really loved it. Now, that I haven’t been back for 5 years and I feel like going back. If I could afford flying over there once a year, things would probably look a bit different. But Australia is really so far away from EVERYTHING!! Another reason for going back is, where else would I live? What else is there?

We have been planning to go back for years and this year we’re finally ready for the jump. Don’t know why it has taken us so long??

My sisters. They used to be so cute!

It’s kind of good and bad. Scary, but exciting. Meeting up with my sisters and my friends again, who I haven’t seen for so long, is gonna be really cool. But it’s all a bit anxiety inducing too, especially considering we both won’t have jobs straight away.

That’s where minimalism comes in handy, getting rid of all this superfluous crap and cutting spending on items we don’t need. We never counted shopping as one of our hobbies anyways, now we’re just taking it to the next level.
Moving back is actually the reason why I started on this minimalist journey.

Just buying necessities and being able to live in a smaller space is also definitely going to help us setting up without a lot of money(actually my secret dream is to buy a gypsy or circus wagon and live in it, I will keep you updated on that).

A fresh start is always good for changing bad habits. Now that we’re changing them already it’s just an ongoing process.

So yeah, funny I will say goodbye to Melbourne soon. Not sure if I will be coming back. Remembering all the times I spent here.. To me, moving back feels really final, almost like a small death. Getting rid off stuff, getting your affairs in order, saying your goodbyes. You notice nothing is forever, things, people, experiences, you are growing older. It doesn’t last.

Changes

But hey, it’s good to do something different, keep on moving and developing. To bring some excitement and something new into ones life. Changes are constant.

All the best to you and wish me luck!

I’m Beat

Melbourne doesn’t have many great organic, whole foods shops, so each weekend we have to drive across the whole city just to visit a couple of them. It takes half a day, most of the time we go to a market too, and by the time we get back I’m completely beat!

Pisses me off it’s so difficult to get organic produce. There is nothing in our area, so we just go to the normal supermarket during the week, they only have regular produce and a tiny, sad looking organic section, which is obviously not great.

We are trying to eat more raw, vegan foods. We are definitely eating healthier all the time and I think, after two to three months now, it makes me feel better. More energetic and I feel cleaner.

Today we had baby spinach, kale and rocket with brown rice and red quinoa for lunch, which was nice. The grains are hidden under the kale in the bowl.

Looks pretty healthy

The kale wasn’t great, but it’s the first time I cooked it that I can remember. I just sauteed it with some olive oil and salt. It was really chewy.

Somebody on twitter sent me this link to a kale chips recipe. Now this looks delicious! I’ll try that tomorrow.

So yeah, we are eating healthier, more raw, organic produce, but sourcing that crap can be frustrating.

Is it easy where you live to source fresh, organic vegetables? How do you organize shopping for healthy foods?

The World According To Monsanto

If you haven’t watched this documentary yet and you don’t know what Monsanto is or you wanna know more about them, watch it! I knew a little bit before I watched it and it just blew my mind.

Monsanto is an agricultural company, one of the biggest producers of GM foods and pesticides and are responsible for hugely polluting the food chain and the  environment. They were and are also a producer of other toxic chemicals, like Agent Orange.

They are massive and have really close ties to the FDA(Food and Drug Administration), their relationship seems to be very much affected by something I would call The Revolving Door Syndrome. Monsanto is also trying to patent all seeds and are producing killer seeds, which prevent the seed collection that lots of farmers rely on. Thereby ruining small farmers, some of whom resort to drinking their disgusting pesticides, to commit suicide.

Yeah, that’s how evil they are!

Here is the trailer (I couldn’t find one without french subtitles, the movie isn’t subtitled though).

If you wanna know more about who controls the world’s food supply and care about the health of human beings and the environment, Watch It!! I watched it a while ago and will definitely be watching it again.

Have a great weekend!

Zero Waste

I really like the concept of Zero Waste. I like the refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle mantra. To me, it really fits into the minimalist lifestyle that avoids overconsumption.

And if you are thinking of partially or fully getting off the grid, then that’s one concept to think about. It’s part of being self reliant and independent, not needing the weekly rubbish pick up.

Also it is obviously good for the environment.

I’m not quite sure how easy it would be to go zero waste in an urban environment, as you would definitely need a compost. Some cities provide compost bins for food waste, but not all.

Most of the rubbish we got in our home consists of food packaging and not much else. And there is always so much of it! Now, that we eat more fresh produce, it’s a shame to throw kitchen scraps into the bin, from where it goes straight into the landfill. If they could at least use it there, to make it into methane or something..

Plastic packaging is obviously evil, but it’s also other things that get discarded, that may be in perfect working condition, which we just trow out because we got a replacement or don’t use it anymore. Think about giving things away, to charity shopes for example.

I loved watching the clips of this Zero Waste families home. I like it because I found some other Zero Waste clips, where people are like really into their recycling. While that is obviously a good thing also, I really like the minimalist approach of refusing to drag waste into your house in the first place. Recycling is good, but plastic bottles still have to be made from oil, consume energy and water in production, recycling and transport processes. So yeah, with some thought, a lot of waste can be avoided in the first place. And it’s healthy, because most of the time packaged food=processed food, unpackaged food=whole food.

I love this and how stylish does their home look?! Here is another one!

And here are some easy tips to get your started if you are thinking about reducing waste in your home.

Go to the farmer’s market and buy fresh, unpackaged fruit and vegetable. Great for you the environment and small farmer’s.

Buy loose foods, reconsider packaged foods. Cook from scratch if possible.

Buy loose dry goods.

Use reusable containers, produce and shopping bags when shopping.

Make your own non toxic cleaners with lemon, bi-carb soda, vinegar or borax.

Make your own cosmetics with coconut oil, cocoa butter, bi-carb and crystal salt.

For more tips and information check out this great link to the tips section of The Zero Waste Home.

Have you tried cutting waste in your home? In what ways?