New Year Essentials

25 February 2016

In early 2015, I discovered a phenomenon that, in the last year, has taken the internet by storm. Minimalism and, when taken to a certain extreme, zero waste are concepts I never gave much thought to before last year. But after burying my nose in library loans of zero waste books and scouring minimalist sites, learning about their advocates, and trying on a few of their practices for size, I'm convinced. Fast-forward nearly one year.

Now, I'm not restricting myself to only having 100 items and I don't have a zero waste homefar from it. But in taking steps toward this lifestyle, I've learned to go back to the basics. At the bare bones of minimalism are two things: determining what you value or makes you happiest in life and prioritizing only what's essential to you, from possessions to relationships. Zero waste takes it a step further by encouraging us to become aware of the waste we create and determine how much of it is really necessary. (Not much, really.) But we've become a society that's quick to replace items, rather than invest in their upkeep, and it's creating pockets of waste all over the Earth that just keep getting deeper. Those aren't the kinds of landscapes I want future generations, and travelers, to revel in because of our choices.

So rather than set New Year's resolutions, I'm focusing on being more mindful about minimalism and zero waste. For starters, there's quite a simple learning curve to minimalism, and that is being more thoughtful about what I bring into my life, investing only in things that reflect my needs and values. Let's take, for example, the handful of essentials I carry with me every day. I selected them with care, knowing that these are items I truly love and am willing to invest in for the long haul. These are my New Year essentials.
Michael Kors Jet Set chain crossbody, exclusively at Nordstrom | made by Freskko RUSH flask | Lost Little Things handkerchief | Feel Better tea by The Jasmine Pearl Co. | Smith's Rosebud Salve
As a rule of thumb, I invest in quality outerwear and accessories, and stick to basics for the rest. My Michael Kors Jet Set chain crossbody fits the bill, and it was a steal given it's daily use and expected lifespan. It's spacious enough for everyday items, yet small enough to toss into your weekender or add to a carry-on when traveling by plane. Another selling point for me is that Michael Kors offers reasonable fees for cleaning and care when needed and, of course, Nordstrom backs every buy.

Recently, I've started carrying handkerchiefs. A bit old-fashioned, right? But rather than waste paper tissues, I purchased a few of these to swap in and out of my handbag. They're made by a local Idaho creative; she screenprints them herself, and her Etsy shop is swoon-worthy.
Hands down, my favorite item from this curated collection is my made by Freskko RUSH flask. It's made almost entirely of bamboo and stainless steel, two materials that will certainly stand the test of time (and travel). It's also crafted with consideration for our planet, sourcing it's materials from sustainable resources. I love that it looks like a work of art, yet it's practical for daily use as a cold brew/coffee insulator, tea infuser, and water bottle at home and on the road. (Pro tip: I leave the filter in even when not steeping. It keeps me from getting a mouthful of ice or too much coffee/tea at once.)

I have Smith's Rosebud Salve on hand for everyday lip moisturizer. It's an Amazon.com cult favorite, although I'm still getting used to the glycerin texture. What turned me on to it was it's simple, three-ingredient recipe and recyclable (or reusable) packaging.

Last on the list is a seasonal pick, but I've fallen in love with it. Feel Better tea blends chamomile, mint, ginger, and lemon myrtle for one tasty herbal tea with calming benefits to boot. I carry a small pouch of it in my bag for natural aromatics and steep it on the go in my RUSH flask. Like Fressko, The Jasmine Pearl Tea Co. is all about sustainabilitythe packaging is eco-friendly and the teas are Certified Organic. Like I said, back to the basics! 

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