Hippie in Disguise Rideau River Ottawa

Global Guardian Learning Capsules Giveaway

Hippie in Disguise Rideau River Ottawa Canada

I’ve teamed up with my friend Rebecca to *giveaway* a 6-month subscription to the new Global Guardian Learning Capsules. You can read all about them in my post here.

In a nutshell, the Global Guardian Project is a monthly online subscription focused on global stewardship for families and children, home educators and anyone who loves to learn about the world and help make it a better place. Each month subscribers receive a learning capsule by email focused on a country and its wild life. The first capsule was Brazil (released August 2016), in two weeks the Rwanda capsule will be released. Future capsules will feature other countries including India, Australia, England and many more. Each capsule includes beautiful photography, facts and information about the country, it’s wildlife, global change makers and inspiring people, recipes, vocabulary and much more. There are also art projects and free digital downloads, podcasts, videos and guided meditation recordings.
Global Guardian Project Rwanda Capsule Homeschool

The capsules are both informative and inspiring, helping us understand how simple, small actions can make a big difference. Most importantly, the capsules highlight some of the things children are doing around the world to make a difference, showing us that there is no need to wait to for adulthood to make a positive impact.

To enter the giveaway, visit my Instagram account (rules are explained there too) and look for the giveaway photo, and make sure to:

  • Sign up by email for the FREE sample capsule “Our Oceans” by visiting this link 
  • Like and comment on the giveaway photo to let me know you signed up for the free capsule
  • Tag a friend in the comments who is a fellow global guardian, and if they sign up for the free capsule and follow @globalguardianproject too, then you’ll both win a subscription if your name is drawn the winner. Pay it forward!
  • For an extra entry: Share my Facebook post about this
  • For an extra entry: Repost my Instagram post about this with hashtag #ggpgiveaway

Contest closes Thursday September 8, 2016 at midnight (Pacific Standard Timezone) and is open worldwide. Good luck friends!

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Plastic Free July Zero Waste Plum and Sparrow Market Basket

Plastic Free Living: 9 Ways to Get Inspired and Informed

Plastic Free July Zero Waste Plum and Sparrow Market Basket

This past July our family participated in Plastic Free July, you can read about it here. To update you, we are continuing on with our project to eliminate plastic from our lives, still making poor choices some days, but all in all doing much better at keeping plastic to a minimum in our home.

There are a lot of great resources on the web to get people motivated to eliminate plastic from their lives, both practical and funny. Here are a few places you might want to check out for more plastic free inspiration, resources and entertainment:

  • This video by Tim Minchin Canvas Bag – watch it to the end, it’s worth 3 minutes of your life.
  • Litterless Blog, a great resource for making less waste, practical and achievable. And read my interview with Litterless blogger Celia here.
  • A great post for beginners is over on Less Makes Happy where you will 5 tips for getting started.
  • The Beauty in Simple, another great blog with practical tips for how to live a busy life with kids and make zero (or close to) waste. You can also read my interview with Juliehere.
  • Resource: The book ZERO WASTE HOME by Bea Johnson is a resource I refer to every week to solve simple zero waste problems, so far I haven’t come across a problem the book couldn’t offer a solution to.
  • Real talk: I have been really enjoying the Petalplum blog lately, Ellie has been sharing her month of plastic free in a funny, practical, humble and achievable way. Read this post and this one too.

On my site:

  • How To: A simple tutorial for wrapping gifts with fabric instead of paper and plastic tape.
  • Inspiration: The original source of my inspiration to live zero waste was the amazing Devine Family from Australia. Read about them here.
  • DIY: How to make your own milk, the recipe is for cashew but you can use oats, almonds, sesame seeds, rice, and it works just great.

What websites, blog posts and other resources have you found funny, helpful and inspiring? Please share in the comments below!

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Have you subscribed to the Global Guardian Project yet? These are monthly learning capsules for children and their families to learn about global stewardship. Each month features a different country’s wild life, landscape and challenges, and includes art projects, activities, meditation, recipes and more! Use my discount code:HIPPIEINDISGUISE for 10% off and read more about it here.
Luv Mother Mthr Merino clothing Hippie in Disguise Cape Cod

Back to School Giveaway with Luv Mother Merinos

Luv Mother Mthr Merino clothing Hippie in Disguise Cape Cod

To celebrate back-to-school and the changing of the seasons here in Canada I am hosting a special giveaway with Luv Mother over on their Instagram account!

Luv Mother makes merino clothing and accessories for children. I am very particular about the source of our clothing. Luv Mother produces their clothing ethically. You can read about their sourcing and process here. Not only is their product made ethically they also do all sorts of extras to make sure they are operating in as sustainable a way as possible:

  • They buy carbon offsets for their shipping footprint
  • They package with recyclable and compostable materials — and no plastics!
  • They save all fabric scraps from production and re-purpose them, for example by sharing them with artists
  • The list goes on…

We are a vegan family and although wool is an animal product we have opted to include it in our wardrobe because we feel that when *truly* ethically sourced it has a much lower environmental impact than other fibres. Did you know that you can wear a wool item up to 100 times without washing it? Think of all the water and energy saved! Did you know that wool is biodegradable? When it’s life is over (although it has a long life) it nourishes soil. Many synthetic fabrics contain plastics which never ever break down, which in turn harms ecosystems and all the plants and animals that are part of it.

Giveaway:

Luv Mother would like to giveaway a three-piece outfit of your choice to one person following their Instagram account!

Luv Mother Mthr Merino clothing grid

To enter, visit the Luv Mother Instagram account (rules are explained there too) and look for the giveaway photo, and make sure to:

  • Follow @luvmthr on Instagram
  • Like and comment on the giveaway photo
  • For extra entries: Tag friends in the comments, separate each friend into a different comment so that it is easier for me to make the ballots ???? No limit to number of friends tagged.

Contest closes Monday September 5, 2016 at midnight and is open worldwide. Good luck friends!

***

Have you subscribed to the Global Guardian Project yet? These are monthly learning capsules for children and their families to learn about global stewardship. Each month features a different country’s wild life, landscape and challenges, and includes art projects, activities, meditation, recipes and more! Use my discount code: HIPPIEINDISGUISE for 10% off and read more about it here.

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

Slow LIving Project nature collection vanillalemoncake

Slow Living Project: Explore Photo Winners (and some news)

Luv Mother and Mabo Clothier by Hippie in Disguise Cape Cod Beach

It’s been just over a year since Melanie and I launched the Slow Living Project. Initially the project sought to inspire others to share their slow living moments through photography. As the months went by the number of contributors grew and we explored different facets of slow living through a variety of themes, the project became more than simply a celebration of photography, it became a community and a pool of inspiration around the notion of slow, mindful living.

Participants began talking more about slow living in their captions, testing the idea, pushing it, contemplating, and always inspiring thought. As the months passed, I found myself evolving and changing. I was so inspired and guided by the photos and captions that my way of life changed. I joke that slow living made me lose all sense of deadlines, which is a little bit true, but I also found myself changing in other ways. Slow was really sinking in. Slow was no longer something I did on my days off of work. Slow was infiltrating my very state of mind. By the way, slow doesn’t mean (for me) that I do things at a slower pace necessarily, sometimes it does, but what it means is that I approach my day, my task, my interactions in a mindful way — meaning very connected with the present, connected and in touch as much as possible, in a singular way, with what I am doing in the present.

From my own evolution it became clear that the Slow Living Project would need to evolve too. But I will get to the at the end of the post. First let’s celebrate the winners of the photo contest!

In July, Melanie and I announced we would host a photo contest to celebrate the first year of the Slow Living Project. In partnership with our awesome sponsor  – Magic Organic Apothecary – we awarding 6 prizes this month for our favourite contributions to the #slowliving_explore hashtag on Instagram. As there were around 3,000 photos in that gallery this was no small feat (see the gallery here). But after many chats Melanie came up with 6 photos (down from about 60!) that we loved. (You don’t know how many times I wished for extra prizes!). What you’ll see below are excellent photos, no doubt, but technical ability is not what we are looking for. Really we are looking for a moment of slow living captured beautifully, poetically. As well, we tried to gather a collection that showed variety and would inspire in many ways. Slow living and exploration are personal, we all do it our own way, alone and with children, family, friends, indoor and outdoor, physically and mentally.

Without further ado…

VeronikaGphotography Slow Living Project

Photo by @veronikagphotography

Magdalenadom Slow Living Project Fog

Photo by @magdalenadom

Slow Living Project siblings on hay stack

Photo by @_jessarose_

Slow LIving Project nature collection vanillalemoncake

Photo by @vanillalemoncake

Slow LIving Project

Photo by @tania_mcmahon

Slow Living Project beach silhouette

Photo by @treeoftash

Winners can email Melanie at geoffreyandgrace@gmail.com to claim their prizes. As well, check out Melanie’s post about the winners here.

A massive thank you and heartfelt hug to everyone who contributed this month to the hashtag and to the project over the past year. You have changed my life for the better! Melanie and I (and countless others no doubt) have been inspired by the moments you shared. We’ve been inspired so much, that Melanie and I knew we had to make a few changes to the Slow Living Project.

Going forward we will no longer have monthly themes, instead we would like to introduce the hashtag #slowlivingforlife. This reflects Melanie and my understanding that compartmentalizing slow living doesn’t feel right to us anymore. It is a way of life, it is a perspective. We also, in embracing slow living, have had to be reasonable with the amount of work we put on ourselves, so we will now post to our blogs every so often, when the inspiration strikes. Please continue to tag your photos on Instagram with the slow living hashtags, as we hear all the time from people writing us that the slow living galleries on Instagram have been hugely inspiring. Won’t you please inspire someone today?

As a little memory jog, our year in themes and hashtags was:

You can also see a collection of our favourites from the past year on our Pinterest board, click here.

Thank you once again for contributing to the project. There will be lots more writing on slow living coming up in this space so please check back or subscribe by email or bloglovin.

Wishing you a beautiful, slow day. xo, Danielle

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Stitch and Forage: A Seasonal, Natural Guide for Summer

Guest post by: Melanie Barnes

melanie

If you are interested in making the most of the Summer months in a seasonal and natural way, and on a budget, the ’Stitch and Forage’ E-course is a brilliant guide. Created by Hannah Bullivant from Seeds and Stitches and Herbalist Natasha Richardson, it also has some wonderful contributors, Sara from Me & Orla, Kate from A Playful Day, Laura from Circle of Pine Trees, Rachel from The Foraged Life, and myself from Geoffrey & Grace.

The section I created was a guide to self care focusing on meditation, including the benefits, why you should meditate, and how to begin. We look at breath, Mantra and energy flow (Prana). Plus, there are two meditations for you to try and practice.

I really love this quote on meditation, I find it to be great inspiration….

“In the beginning you will fall into the gaps in between thoughts – after practicing for years, you become the gap.”  – J.Kleykamp

Let me tell you a little bit more about the course…

Stitch + Forage is as self paced e-course, made up of four core modules; ‘Forage’, ‘Make’, ‘Gather’, and ‘Tend’. You will receive a beautifully designed PDF with all the tutorials, planning tools, resource links, and printables you need for the course.

The modules contain features covering:

  • How to survive hay fever with herbal remedies
  • The joy of camping; both maximalist and minimalist
  • Styling a Summer dinner party
  • A guide to Summer beers
  • Simple, useful Summer crafts
  • How to make your own Summer sour
  • Recipes for seasonal foods
  • Taking care of your skin in the sun
  • Nature meditation
  • The best holiday, garden and beach reads
  • Simple ways to entertain kids
  • Ideas to have a more mindful, eco-Summer

The cost  is – £30  – However there is 50% off until August 31st.

If you would like to sign up to the course, and for further details please see here.

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Thank you for sharing Melanie!

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Digital Minimalism Declutter Hippie in Disguise Salt Water Sandals Nico Nico Clothing

Digital Minimalism: Essential Tips for Decluttering your Camera Roll

In the news! My friends over at Impressed App asked me to share some tips for managing our digital camera rolls.

Here’s a little sampler from my article:

“Minimalism and de-cluttering are definitely on trend, and while some of us have gotten pretty good at keeping our homes and work spaces free of clutter, digital clutter is a whole domain most of us ignore. It’s easy, right? Digital files don’t take any physical space, aside from the hard drive in our phones or computers. And with near infinite storage capacities between our many devices and clouds, it’s easy to just keep snapping photos endlessly and not worry about how many we have accumulated. Until…we want to make a photo book or print a few for our walls, then we have the daunting task of sifting through hundreds (if you are lucky) and usually thousands of photos. It’s enough to make you quit before you start.”

To find out what my super easy tips are visit the Impressed App blog here.

What tips do you have for managing digital clutter? Leave a comment below!

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Global Guardian Project Hippie in Disguise Fouremki

The Global Guardian Project: Home Learning

Global Guardian Project Hippie in Disguise Fouremki

Raising kind, caring, responsible humans is really important to me. I know I’m not alone in this. My goal as a mother is to raise my children to not only care for other humans, but to care for plants, animals and the planet. It’s not just about human survival, it’s about doing the right thing, and to me that means caring for all life.

Since January I’ve been working with my friend Rebecca on an idea she called the Global Guardian Project. Rebecca’s dream was to launch a global stewardship learning capsule for children, families and educators. The capsule would contain facts and information, activities, art projects, challenges, and inspiration for children to learn about the planet and how to take better care of it. Each month a new capsule would focus on a different country, it’s flora and fauna, endangered species, local advocacy organizations and so on. The goal is to educate children and inspire them to become little change makers: Global Guardians.

I’m excited to tell you that this idea has come to life! The first learning capsule on Brazil will start going out to inboxes tomorrow!

Global Guardian Project Discount Code Hippie in disguise brazil learning capsule

Global Guardian Project Discount Code Hippie in disguise brazil learning capsule

While my children attend public school, there are always subjects they take a special interest in or that I want to expose them to, so I’m happy to have these monthly capsules to feed their inquiring minds about all the beautiful places around the world and how our actions can affect the whole planet in a positive way. I imagine that homeschooling families will also find these very useful in their home education. While the capsules are intended for children roughly aged 4-8, my children are 5 and 11 (and quite brilliant if you ask me!) and they’ve enjoyed the capsules start to finish.

Since we read the free sample capsule on Oceans (get it here), which talks about many things, including the dangers of plastic for sea animals, Sen has become positively obsessed with picking up stray garbage. And I say positively because he feels happy and empowered by his actions. He gets excited about making a difference. While it might feel a little inconvenient when we are biking around town and he calls out “Hit the brakes! I see a plastic cup!” it’s also pretty amazing and a little action I can’t deny him and should probably do more myself.

Aside from facts and other written information, like vocabulary lists, the capsules contain videos about children who are making a difference, for example, children working to protect turtle populations. My children know about Jane Goodall and other inspiring humans, but no one inspires them more than other children, so the videos have really touched their hearts and minds in a new way.

Each capsule also contains an audio recording (with a text version too) of a meditation for children. There are art projects and printable downloads to work with. There are plans to include more in the capsules each month, so stay tuned, there will be local recipes and historical figures and much more coming soon!

If you would like to sign up for the capsules I have a discount code: HIPPIEINDISGUISE that will give you 10% off. However for today only (August 11, 2016) my code will give you 20% off. Click here to sign up.

  • The monthly cost is $14.99 (minus my discount) and you can cancel at anytime and will only ever pay for the capsules you received.

Bonus: Subscribers will get a gorgeous world map digital download emailed to them to use with the monthly capsules. The map is also available printed on beautiful archival art paper for purchase in the GGP shop. Below you’ll see a copy of the map with the downloadable art for the month affixed to Brazil.

Global Guardian Project Discount Code Hippie in disguise global map project

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or know of other great resources like this.

If you want to see what other parents are saying about the Global Guardian Project visit here.

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Sarah's Silks Rainbow Scape Hippie in Disguise

Giveaway: Sarah’s Silks

Sarah's Silks Rainbow Scape Hippie in Disguise
Today I have a special giveaway with Sarah’s Silks over on my Instagram account! Sarah’s Silks makes the loveliest play things inspired by Waldorf learning. Sarah is known for her play silks: beautiful silk (cotton is available too) fabrics dyed in different colours for imaginative play. You will be pleasantly surprised by how creative children are with a piece of fabric! I could not tell you how many different ways my children have played with theirs — it really goes to show how open-ended play things are so much more inspiring to children. Sarah also makes lovely costumes, crowns and other dress up items (including a new unicorn headband!). Her shop also has string and wooden toys and other new items are always being added. Best of all, everything is handmade from natural materials. I always recommend Sarah’s silks to anyone looking for a gift idea for children.

Sarah would like to giveaway a $50 shop credit to one of my Instagram followers. I want to win this one!

To enter, visit my Instagram account (rules are explained there too) and look for the giveaway photo, and make sure to:

  • Follow @sarahssilks
  • Follow me @hippieindisguise
  • Like and comment on the giveaway photo
  • For extra entries: Tag friends in the comments, separate each friend into a different comment so that it is easier for me to make the ballots ???? No limit to number of friends tagged.

Contest closes Sunday August 14, 2016 at midnight and is open worldwide. Good luck friends!

sarah's silks playsilks waldorf toys
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Plastic Free July Plum and Sparrow Market Basket

Plastic Free July: Our Successes and Failures

Do something drastic, rid the world of plastic” – Tim Minchin, Australian Musician and Comedian

Plastic Free July Plum and Sparrow Market Basket

Plastic free shopping with the help of a market basket, reusable produce box, bulk produce bag and glass mason jar

 

I’ve mentioned a few times that July is Plastic Free Month. For those who are new around here, Plastic Free July “aims to raise awareness of the problems of single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it.” People are encouraged to refuse all single-use plastic for the period of a day, week, month or longer.  Alternatively, people can opt to refuse the top 4 single use plastic items, which are: plastic bags, water bottles, to-go coffee cups and straws. Sadly, it is estimated that by 2050, “there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. Most [of this plastic] comes from land and was once in our hands.” Together we can make small, but significant changes, by refusing single-use plastics to keep oceans and waterways clean.

A little truth to start things off: while I had heard of Plastic Free July in the past I never actively participated in it. I’m not sure why, it’s not that I think I’m perfect and it wasn’t for fear of failure. I guess I was just otherwise occupied with my thoughts.

Farmers Market Ottawa Garlic Plastic Free July Zero Waste

Compostable packaging courtesy of Mother Nature

 

So, this year I decided I would actively participate in Plastic Free July. I did not expect it to be hard, nor did I think it would be a total breeze. I knew that we brought home plastics fairly often, despite trying not to, and usually without any guilt because these plastics were recyclable. You know, yogurt containers, ketchup squeeze bottles, bottled hair conditioner and so on. For years now we’ve been focused on minimizing our waste, that is, garbage that ends up in landfill, but we hadn’t put a lot of effort into minimizing our recyclables. Although, had we stopped often enough to think about this, we would have realized that “recyclable” is not a free ticket. While recycling does keep significant amounts waste out of landfill, recycling is still a dirty process, meaning it still creates waste, pollutes water, air and soil, and overall is not as gentle as we’d like to think.

I decided that for Plastic Free July I was going to go full tilt: no plastic of any sort, single use, multi-use, recyclable or not.

Plastic Free July Zero Waste Plum and Sparrow Market Basket

Preparing for a trip to the farmers market with market basket, reusable produce boxes, cloth bulk food bags, mason jar and bees wax food wraps for baked goods

 

So, how did it go, you ask? Pretty well, but it was definitely an eye opening month. And, punchline: I did not succeed in going the full month without acquiring plastic. I failed around the end of week two when we went, rather unprepared, on a camping trip. And then I failed a few more times. Overall, though, I learned a lot about our habits and conveniences, and am a much better zero waste shopper now, and feel like there were many successes.

Like I mentioned above we have focused on zero waste shopping for a while now. But, zero waste for us was very simplistically applied: no landfill garbage. So, we did all the usual green shopper things like bringing our own reusable shopping bags, produce and bulk bags, shopping baskets (on Amazon here), including produce boxes and mason jars when we were being extra good. But…we did not refuse to buy things that were in plastic if the plastic was recyclable. Starting to say ‘no’ to these plastics really opened our eyes to how much plastic we were bringing into our home.

We realized that it’s pretty easy to say ‘no’ to produce packaged in plastic, because there are alternatives, like farmers markets. Other items like ketchup are easy to make, but when you start making these things yourself you quickly run out of time…no matter how delicious (and fun) homemade ketchup is, you can’t make ketchup and cream cheese and yogurt and all the rest of these items in the same day or week. This meant we had to opt to not buy some of these items; y’know, the good ol’ environmentalist practice of doing without. It’s not always the most fun, but it is quite instructive, you quickly learn how much you can do without, without this affecting your enjoyment of life.

Zero waste farmers market shopping ottawa canada

Another problem was the whole category of things you don’t normally make for yourself, like hair conditioner. While shampoo bars (unpackaged shampoo in a soap bar format) are pretty easy to find, I have never come across conditioner bars (if you know of one, please share!). My hair, and especially Ro’s curly mane, cannot go many days without a detangling conditioner after shampooing. I tried to go without shampooing my hair and within 5 days I could not endure the pain my scalp was experiencing from adjusting to a lack of washing. As it turned out, I had enough hair conditioner to last the month, but I’m fairly certain I would have bought some if I had run out. I will definitely experiment with some homemade conditioner recipes over the coming months, so that I can go plastic free for my hair care. I probably never would have thought to make my own conditioner if it weren’t for Plastic Free July, so thank you PFJ for that!

Ok, so aside from figuring out solutions to plastic packaged items that aren’t available in an unpackaged or glass format, we also found that the single most frequent problem for us was: lack of preparation (like bringing containers with us and packing snacks for outings). If you go to the grocery store without your reusable bag you will probably come home with a plastic one. That’s just the reality. But, the way to ensure this doesn’t happen is fairly simple: bring a cloth bag with you or always carry a cloth bag in your purse or backpack or back pocket, so that you can spontaneously shop without needing to take a plastic bag. This applies, in general, to living plastic free, a few moments of preparation and forethought, coupled with developing new habits (for example shopping at bulk stores) will keep you from taking home unnecessary plastic. By the way, in case it’s not obvious, bulk stores are perfectly happy with you bringing your own bags and containers to package food with (just remember to weigh your heavy containers first and note the weight before you fill them).

At the risk of making this post too long, I will leave my advice on how to adapt to plastic free living to the above, however, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section found at the end of this post.

Overall our experience with going plastic free distilled down to: preparation, adaptation and refusal. I haven’t touched on refusal yet. So, yes, the reality is that not everything (but almost everything) we ordinarily buy and consume can be acquired in a plastic-free way. But, not everything… For example, conventional vegan hotdogs and sausages are not available unpackaged, and while these are only borderline healthy, my children really enjoy eating these at barbecues with friends. This was something we would have to refuse to buy to be 100% plastic free. There are other examples too, but to be frank there were so few I’m having a hard time remembering them. In general, you can go plastic free by opting to package your own foods, whether buying in bulk or going to a farmers market, or opting for foods packaged in paper products or metal. (Paper is much better because it is compostable, whereas metal must be recycled).

Plastic Free July wasn’t all problems and adaptations, though, it was also really fun and filled with pleasant surprises. For example, when we went to the store to buy some gummy treats for Sen and brought a cloth napkin to wrap them in, instead of using the compostable plastic bags they offer, the store found this so charming that they gave him his gummy treats for free (…we explained about Plastic Free July, and of course, it’s much cuter in Sen’s sweet voice). As you can imagine, this made quite the impression on Sen! He definitely had good incentive to remember his cloth napkin the next time.

At the farmers market, whereas in the past when I ran out of my own bags for purchases I would often still buy a few things packaged in plastic, I refused these items. However, a few of the farmers and bakers gave us the item for free when we explained why we were skipping on a usual purchase from them. We found that these interactions often led to great discussion about plastics and recycling, and many people were really receptive to trying out plastic-free shopping themselves. We’re not the evangelical types, we try our best to live sustainably and make good choices, but we don’t broadcast these decisions – we do, however, engage in conversation when people ask us how we do things or why live the way we do. In the case of Plastic Free July, we had great conversations in local shops and chain stores too, with farmers and bakers, baristas and lots of other interested folk. I feel like this was the greatest benefit of Plastic Free July. It wasn’t keeping plastics out of landfill and recycling bins (which was, of course, IS a great benefit and the goal), but it was the conversations we had, the sharing of information and growing awareness, the daily activism it encouraged, that was the greatest benefit. If my small changes coupled with some good conversations lead to a few other small changes and conversations, the effect becomes exponential pretty quickly. At least I hope it does. Someone check my math on that, okay?

Farmers market zero waste shopping basket cherries

So July is over, but plastic free shopping will continue for us. The minds behind Plastic Free July were smart because they know that if you commit to something for a month you will probably stick with it over time. It’s hard for me to imagine going back to mindlessly acquiring plastics simply because they are recyclable. That said, I know we won’t be totally plastic free. Like any big change, it is best to start small, forgive yourself for missteps, and keep going. Personally, I have to be sensitive that my interests and values shouldn’t dictate how my whole family behaves and so I have to let them figure out their own way of living. Which might mean more packaged vegan hotdogs are in our future, because so far my homemade sausages are not as delicious I’m told, and some things, like summer barbecue traditions, are pretty important to 5 year olds.

Zero waste shopping farmers market ottawa beet root vegetables

A few things and places to check out for more plastic free inspiration, resources and entertainment:

  • Watch (and share) this video by Tim Minchin Canvas Bag – watch it to the end, it’s worth 3 minutes of your life.
  • Litterless Blog, a great resource for making less waste, practical and achievable. And read my interview with Litterless blogger Celia here.
  • A great post for beginners is over on Less Makes Happy where you will 5 tips for getting started.
  • DIY: How to make your own milk, the recipe is for cashew but you can use oats, almonds, sesame seeds, rice, and it works just great.
  • The Beauty in Simple, another great blog with practical tips for how to live a busy life with kids and make zero (or close to) waste. You can also read my interview with Julie here.
  • Resource: The book ZERO WASTE HOME by Bea Johnson is a resource I refer to every week to solve simple zero waste problems, so far I haven’t come across a problem the book couldn’t offer a solution to.
  • How To: A simple tutorial for wrapping gifts with fabric instead of paper and plastic tape.
  • Inspiration: The original source of my inspiration to live zero waste was the amazing Devine Family from Australia. Read about them here.
  • Real talk: I have been really enjoying the Petalplum blog lately, Ellie has been sharing her month of plastic free in a funny, practical, humble and achievable way. Read this post and this one too.

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

Interview with a Minimalist: Rebecca

How we live minimalism is very personal. Sure, when you search Pinterest you might think minimalism is all about white walls and owning less than 100 things, but this is only one version of minimalism. When I say that minimalism gives a sense of freedom, it can be hard to reconcile the word ‘freedom’ with the version of minimalism that gets the most visibility on Pinterest and in the news (because it’s the most photogenic). Minimalism, having and doing less, releasing and unburdening ourselves from unnecessary habits, thought patterns and emotions, is freeing. And with this freedom we can choose how we use our time, our energy and our money. That is, we have the opportunity to craft a life more closely aligned with our dreams, our beliefs and our values. For me, this is the real appeal of minimalism – the freedom it affords me to live in a way that is more aligned with what is most important to me: family, community, adventure and sustainable living. So, what is important to you?

Think about what you can stop doing, stop spending money and time on, and what habits do not serve you, so that you can do more of what you love and do more good for yourself, others and the world.

Rebecca Lane is a friend of mine. We first met about a year and half ago on a project to raise funds for Free2Luv, an anti-bullying organization dedicated to empowering youth, celebrating individuality and spreading kindness. I feel so fortunate that we happened to connect through this project because Rebecca is a truly amazing human, mother, artist and activist. Over the past year I have witnessed Rebecca push herself to align her way of life with her values. This meant she had to make big, scary changes – but her commitment to live true to what was, at the root, most important to her: family and global stewardship, did not shake. What was important to her were her boys and giving back to the world by raising environmentally-aware change makers.

In what follows, Rebecca explains how re-embracing minimalism helped her find a path to aligning her life with what mattered most to her. Not only this, but she was finally able to bring to life a project she’d been dreaming of for years, the Global Guardian Project, by letting go of the parts of her life that were weighing on her focus and productivity.

  • By the way, for those who want to know more, I will be making a separate post about the Global Guardian Project later this week, so come back for more details about that! In short, GGP will develop learning capsules for families about different countries and ecosystems around the world with a mind to cultivating a sense of global environmental stewardship and cross-cultural appreciation. If you’ve already heard of it and want to sign up you can use my code: HIPPIEINDISGUISE for 10% off a single capsule or full subscription.

I hope that Rebecca’s story inspires you, as it did me, and that you are able to find your own path to a contented life aligned with what matters most to you.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

All photos in this post were taken by Coleen Hodges

Let’s start with a little bit about you. Who are you? What’s your background?

My name is Rebecca Lane.  I am a (very new) single mom of two lovely boys, Giovanni and Matteo. I’m an artist and the creator of a couple social businesses, including Children Inspire Design, Fresh Words Market and Kindred Sol Collective.  I’m most recently the founder of my most favorite creation (besides my children), the Global Guardian Project. I also consider myself a reborn minimalist.

What part of the world do you live in?

We currently live in Southern California, but we travel every chance we get. We split our time between the north woods of Wisconsin, where I grew up and Isla Mujeres, Mexico where I lived for 3 years during which time my first son was born.  

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

What are your children like?

I have two lovely, creative boys. Giovanni is 13 and Matteo is 9.  They are my inspiration for the Global Guardian Project.  I built my businesses around teaching them about the world and how they can be a positive force in global change. They are my muses.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

You have an unconventional approach to educating your children. Can you tell me more about this?

I’ve been fascinated with homeschooling and world schooling since my children were born.  I knew from my own past experiences, that traditional public schools weren’t going to be enough to help me cultivate a globally educated, well rounded child. And I knew travel restrictions would prevent us from extensive exploration.  After much thought and a few trials I realized that with my work demands straight homeschooling wouldn’t work for us.  So I found a lovely charter school in Southern California that supported and embraced education through travel and we moved from Arizona to California to enroll them in the program.  They’ve been there for four years and it’s been such a blessing.  I’m able to pull them from the on-campus program when we travel, homeschool them while abroad, then reintegrate them when we return.  It’s worked very well for us so far.  

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

The education my boys have received from travel has been incredible, and ended up being the seed from which the Global Guardian Project was born. Each time we travel, my boys research an environmental organization.  We tour the organization, learning as much as we can about the good work they do.  Then the boys create a video about their work and teach ways kids can help their cause in everyday life.  It’s a brilliant way for them to both learn and teach.

What is your story, how did you start on a path toward a minimalist lifestyle?

I kind of started as a minimalist, fell off track, and then recently re-centered myself. I’ve been a gypsy at heart all my life, so when I was younger minimalism was easy.  It’s not convenient to acquire a lot of things when you’re on the move.  But it became more of a challenge when we rooted ourselves back in the United States. We started to consume more, in part because we bought a home and thought we needed to fill it. We fell into the ease and convenience of US consumerism.  I have to admit, at first I didn’t see it for what it was. But there was always this ambiguous knot in my gut that reminded me that something wasn’t right.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

I believe there are many ways to be a minimalist and many forms of minimalism. What does minimalism mean to you? And, in what ways are you a minimalist?

I think my transition back to minimalism came by force when my life was flipped upside down. This past year I went through a divorce.  And, as painful and challenging as it’s been, it was also a gift.  It provided me with the opportunity to release: physical items, emotional baggage and my negative patterns. At the same time as my divorce, I also sold my business, Children Inspire Design — which was a huge part of my identity.  Within the period of a week, I filed for divorce and sold my business. I had, in a very big way, pulled the rug right out from me and stripped away my identity.  And when the dust settled, it ended up being a beautiful mess because I was able to look at everything in my life, the physical, emotional, spiritual parts of who I’d become, all the accumulation of the good and the bad, and I got to choose to pick up only the pieces that served me and my boys from that moment and into the future.  I was given the opportunity to create a new blueprint. It’s been the scariest time of my life, but also the most transformative and empowering.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

What has been the greatest benefit of minimalism?

For me, the sense of freedom is the biggest benefit.  With every thing I release, whether it physical or emotional, I feel less suffocated.  I can breathe. Pressure lifts from my chest.

Is your parenting influenced by minimalism?

Yes, in a very big way. My boys have had the experience of living on the road and in a physically rooted home. At this point, they’ve spent more time rooted than wandering, and I’ve started to see their attachment to things grow and become a problem.  This is part of the reason why I’ve decided to sell our home and homeschool for most of next year while on the road.  They are at such a critical time right now, being 13 and 9.  I have a window of opportunity to take them back to a truly minimalist lifestyle, so I’m going to take advantage of it.  

I’ve received mixed responses when I tell those close to me about my plans. And every negative response boils down to this question: “aren’t you afraid of raising your kids without a home?”  The answer is no, not at all.  It’s so important for me that my children really understand that home is a feeling. A house is walls and a roof.  I need them to know that wherever they are in the world and in life, they are home.  I am their home. Our family is their home.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

In what ways do you struggle with keeping things minimal? What is your weakness?

I cry just about every time I have to let go of one of the boy’s art projects.  If it were up to me, I’d have a storage unit filled with finger paintings, noodle necklaces and monster doodles. { Me too, Rebecca, me too! }

Have there been any struggles with the other people you live with about living in a minimal way?

The minimalist philosophy was a challenge in our marriage.  We had very different views about acquiring physical things.  Which is, in part, why I feel now that I’m a minimalist reborn. It’s a new opportunity for me to become more true to myself.

What have been some unexpected experiences you’ve had with minimalism?

There have been moments where I’d get this overwhelming feeling of panic when I toss out an art project.  But, other than that, for me the less the better.  We recently went on a camping trip in Idyllwild, CA and I was so smitten with the very few things we had and needed to function.  I’d wake up extra early in the morning to make a pot of coffee on my tiny burner. One cup, one spoon, a thousand trees. That’s it. That’s all I needed. { Long-time readers of this blog will remember Tiffany shared a similar experience }

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

What advice can you offer to people interested in living a minimalist lifestyle?

Baby steps are great.  There’s no need to change the world in a day. That’s actually a philosophy we’re teaching with Global Guardian Project. In each monthly learning capsule, we include a family challenge for the month. A simple, sustainable change that the entire family can get on board with. In this way, each month you can build on your efforts to live more sustainably. Small acts transform the world.

You recently launched the Global Guardian Project, can you tell me more about this? Why did you start it and what does it mean to you?

Global Guardian Project (GGP) is a subscription based learning platform designed for global families who understand the importance of teaching children how to care for the Earth and all who inhabit it.

Each month, we launch a digital Learning Capsule, filled with educational stories, videos, interviews, art projects, and challenges designed to teach families how to become global stewards and changemakers in their own home and in everyday life.

GGP content focuses on  three topics:  Explore, Inspire + Challenge.

  • Explore focuses on a specific country, it’s culture, natural environment and endangered species.  
  • Inspire focuses on introducing families to important causes and individuals who are already making positive changes both in that area and globally, specifically little changemakers.
  • Challenge offers activities, or challenges, to help become a more sustainable, environmentally aware family.

Global Guardian Project has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. From the very first business I launched, I knew that my role in this world was to empower individuals to make positive changes for the Earth and all who inhabit it.

I designed GGP so that I could allow my children to be a part of the solution. They watch me dream, design and launch something with promise for positive change. That experience alone is so valuable.  They are not learning in theory.  They are watching their mama in action.  They are learning that they can do something like this too.  I intentionally incorporated travel and interviews as a way for my boys to continually learn about our world.  They get to see new places, interview changemakers, come up with videos to teach other kids how to help in everyday life.  They are an integral part of the Global Guardian Project. I feel like these opportunities are rare and important and will help form their sense of global responsibility as adults.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

Do you have any goals for this year or the next few that you want to share?

This year is a huge transition for us.  We’ll be renting out our home and traveling for a year beginning in January (2017).  We’ll be researching, planning, digging deeper into creating more for Global Guardian Project’s offerings.  We have plans to launch our first volunteer family retreat by the end of 2017 and also have long term plans to create the Global Guardian Foundation, where we can offer resources and programs to global youth changemakers.  We see community programs, workshops, retreats and international challenges, all for Global Guardian kids and families.  There’s never a lack of ideas when it comes to educating on how to care for the Earth!

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Thank you Rebecca for sharing your story and way of life. Readers you can follow Rebecca on Instagram @globalguardianproject on Facebook or on her site Global Guardian Project.

There is currently a free Oceans learning capsule available for download while we await the release of the first full-size capsule in mid-August. If you are interested in subscribing to the Global Guardian monthly capsules you can use my discount code: HIPPIEINDISGUISE for 10% off.

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