Friday, December 29th, 2017

2017 Recap

There has been considerably less activity on this little blog of mine this past year, which in a way is somewhat misleading. It has actually been a year of tremendous growth. Not for the blog, but for myself personally.

Take clothes, the primary reason why I started this blog. Reading about ethical fashion, I felt like I couldn’t win. Synthetics were the devil, but bamboo and hemp based fibres were doused in toxic chemicals to make them workable. Wool and organic cotton were viable options, but most of it was blended with the aforementioned devil fibres. If not, the clothes were cut in a way that only an Olsen twin could pull them off (or otherwise afford). Thrifting is a great option if you have the time and can find what you’re looking for, but I didn’t find that I often had the time to devote to hunting for fashion treasures.

You could easily apply my frustrations with ethical clothing to multiple areas of my life. I didn’t, and in many cases still don’t, feel like there actually is a right choice to be made. Every choice I make has an impact. The question is, am I okay with that impact? A lot of the time that answer is no, but I often didn’t know how to fix it.

This frustration really came to a head early in the year, for a variety of reasons. If I’m being honest with myself, the primary reason would be a bout of undiagnosed postpartum depression and anxiety. Had I realized what the problem was I would have tried to seek treatment earlier, instead I tried to “fix” all of the problems I thought I had by thinking my way through them. Not a wise idea for my general mental health, but rather helpful for overall reflection.

TL;DR – my life is needlessly complicated, I care too much what others think, and the pursuit of “more” is leaving me feeling empty.

I made a lot of changes this year, though not as many as I want to. I’m part of a family unit, so I can’t completely upturn everything about my life on a dime without negatively affecting others. To my husband’s credit, he’s gone along with a lot of changes that I know he wouldn’t have chosen to do on his own. That man is my rock.

These are some of the major changes I’ve made this year:

I’m Simplifying

Minimalism would be an epic stretch from where we are now, but I’m assessing what we use and what we actually need. For example, we have 12 mixing/serving bowls. We do not need 12 bowls, and I’m going to convince my husband that we can part with some. I’ve already done this with our sheets, towels, some of our kitchen items, and some of our clothes and shoes. There is still a lot of work to be done, but looking back on the last year I can see a ton of progress has been made.

I’m Using Things Up

We (read: I) have an obscene amount of bathroom products. Given that my routine was pretty minimal to begin with, I had no reason to have this many products other than the fact that I like to buy them. When I cut my hair off I gave my hair products to a friend with long hair. I gave the bulk of my makeup to my sister’s teenage step-daughter. I poured the plethora of small shower gel containers I had lying around into a single pump bottle in the shower to use it up. My disposable hygiene products were donated to an organization that helps the homeless. I’m not allowing myself to buy anything new until I use up my existing products (which slows down the quarterly makeup bag purchase posts).

I’m Bringing Less Home

I went down a little bit of a zero waste YouTube rabbit hole while I was on maternity leave. To say it feels authentic would be a tad trite, but it does feel like I’m moving in the right direction for myself and my family. Our consumables (shampoo, laundry soap, dish detergent, etc…) have been purchased in bulk with reusable containers since last summer. My personal products (razors, etc…) have been swapped out for reusable options since last spring. Produce is largely either loose or in drawstring bags I made. Deli meat is purchased in a glass container at the deli counter. Oil/vinegar/nut butter/honey/etc… is purchased bulk in mason jars. Dry items like rice, lentils, pasta and coffee beans are purchased in IKEA bins that go straight into the pantry. We can go over a month without putting our garbage bin out, and that makes me very, very happy.

I’m Not Shopping

I haven’t purchased a single article of clothing in 3 months. This wasn’t something I planned, it just sort of happened. I don’t have the urge to shop right now. My wardrobe is serving my needs at the moment, and since I haven’t been taking outfit photos I haven’t felt the need to have something new to showcase. I’m sure the other style bloggers out there will know exactly what I’m talking about. I may look at adding another pair of jeans to the mix since I’m wearing them daily and one of them is getting ready to die, but to be honest they may very well be thrifted. I should start looking when everyone starts their January purge.

I’m Making Things

More specifically, I’m cooking at home. In November I set myself a goal of not buying lunch while I was at work. I wasn’t 100% successful (I think I ate out twice?), but I definitely got more into the groove of cooking at home. The picture above is a jar of ham broth I currently have in the fridge. The rest of it turned into a ham/lentil/veggie soup a couple days ago, and this is turning into a crock pot full of split pea soup tonight. I’m hoping to take after my mom and preserve some tomatoes and jam this coming summer.

I’m Getting Comfortable In My Own Skin

I saw my grandfather at a wedding in October. Given that I have so much white showing, he asked me why I decided to stop dying my hair. I told him my hair is what it is, and I’ve decided I just don’t care what anyone else thinks about it anymore. He liked that answer.

When I first stopped dying my hair I told myself if I didn’t like it I could always start dying it again. Now? I love it. I feel like I’m not hiding anymore. It feels sassy, not matronly. I’m slowly  learning how to embrace that attitude in other areas, such as my body’s new normal shape, though I’ll admit that’s slower coming. It is coming though. As I focus more on areas of my life that are more deserving of attention (my son, my husband, my career), the things that matter less (what society thinks of my stretch marks) take up less mental space. It’s a process.

The better care I take of myself the better I look and feel. 2017 drove that home. If I’m being honest, I foresee a lot of vegetables in my future.

Ugh, it felt so good to actually write tonight. It was either blog or take a hot bath, but I was seriously missing my blogging. The next couple months are going to be rough (we’re moving houses), but I think 2018 will be interesting, because it has a lot to hold.

How was your 2017? What do you foresee coming in the new year?

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9 Responses to “2017 Recap”

  1. You have made some excellent progress throughout 2017 in simplifying and working towards zero waste. Good on you! I don’t think I have the motivation to ever get to where you are but I do my best and try and make small changes where I can.
    Sorry to hear about the PPD and I hope you are doing much better now. No one talks about the hard stuff after a baby arrives and I wish more people did. I don’t think I had PPD but I definitely have had my share of rough days.
    Good luck with the move, you will be relived when it’s over 🙂

  2. Xin says:

    Happy new year, and good luck with the upcoming move!

    I’ve taken the tiniest of zero waste baby steps (bringing my own mugs to work, so no more disposable cups; will go zero waste on my razor once I use up the refills of the disposable I have; wax wraps and pyrex containers instead of saran wrap, etc.), though I’m not likely to get too much further with that in the foreseeable future.

    K and I are going to try to take better care of ourselves in terms of cooking more, diet, and exercise. We work – a lot! – and find it really, really hard, and the effects of starting to get into our 30s (me this year and him next year) are making themselves felt.

    • The Minuteglass says:

      Thanks Xin! Happy New Year to you too!

      Small steps make a big difference! Especially when you’re talking about daily (or more frequent) waste occurrences. I was so happy when I got back to work and found out that the company had purchased a set of proper cutlery. They still have the plastic stuff, but now if I forget mine at home I have a reusable option!

      I hear you on needing to take care of ourselves better. My husband and I are in our early (approaching mid) thirties, and we definitely feel the effects of poor diet and lack of exercise. I’m working on incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our meals this year. If you and K find anything that works well, please share! I’d love to read about it 🙂

  3. You’re inspiring me. I honestly want to reach zero waste or at least try this year, and part of that means I have to stop thinking that I can just recycle it.

    Can you share more tips on the zero waste part and the logistics of it? We already do glass bottles for milk but it seems so hard for everythin else.

    • The Minuteglass says:

      I’m glad I can return the favour! Your kitchen posts inspire me as well 🙂

      I’m working on a post for you right now. I’ll take some pictures when I’m out picking up groceries today 😀

  4. Mica says:

    Oh good luck with the move!

    I’m so sorry to hear you had PPD/PPA after baby – it’s so common though, it happens to more people than we think. I hope you’re on top of it all now. It seems like 2017 has been a massive year of growth for you, in such a positive way! 🙂

    The ethical fashion debate is one I’m finding difficult too. I started shopping more at a store that had a good rating on the annual report, and stopped going to the stores with lower ratings. Then my friend shared something about the bad practices in the supply chain of that store and now I’m back to not knowing what to do! Buying less and rewearing more is my small way of trying to help, and I actually enjoy when I go to look up the last time I wore something when writing a post and it’s not a year or two ago!

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are having a great week! It’s hard to believe there are just a couple of days left in 2017! A happy new year to you.

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • The Minuteglass says:

      Thanks Mica!

      It really is common, and so hard to diagnose too if you don’t have someone who knows what to look for watching for it. My husband was watching for it, and it still blindsided both of us because it looked different than what we were expecting it to. It seems to be doing better now.

      You’ve written about this report before! I wish we had something like that here in Canada. Even if it wasn’t perfect, it would still make it easier to narrow things down. Sorry to hear about the supply chain issues with the store you were shopping at. That’s frustrating. I’m happy to hear you’re getting more wear out of the clothes you do have though! I’m kinda addicted to checking the stats on my clothing items whenever I wear them, lol.

      I hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well. Happy 2018!

  5. SarahN says:

    What a FANTASTIC post – you go you! AS you well know, I’m across the decluterring, the minimising, the zero waste. And you’ve provided super helpful advice, none of which have I actioned, but it lives in my inbox (which is kept trim, no more than 5-20 emails ever… so not forgotten)

    Of course, I have just started dying my hair, but held off til now, so feel like I did it ‘only’ for greys and not prior, due to some vain desire to have it another colour?! Who knows, I know my cheap arse self does not like the expenditure

    A move – I feel for you, it takes a lot out of you, and you have the little one too.

    • The Minuteglass says:

      Thanks Sarah 🙂 I actually miss your zero waste posts. I remember you weighing it out and being in awe at how little you produced. We’re nowhere near that level yet, but it certainly gives me something to strive towards!

      My hair dye was purely to cover grey as well. I started getting white hair at 16, and by 24/25 it was really bugging me. I’m so glad I got over that.

      It really does. It’s also shown me just how bad our junk accumulation is. We really need to work on this here 🙁

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Hi!

I'm Cassie.

I'm a petite hourglass, slow adopter, food geek, Engineer, wife and mom. Welcome to the little corner of the internet where I ramble on about random things. Mostly clothes.

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