Let’s be honest, most of us won’t actually stick to our New Year’s resolution. While the start of a new year might seem like the perfect time to commit to a change, most of us don’t actually follow through. I get it. Life gets in the way and habits are hard to break. By March you’ll probably have forgotten all about your resolution, all while still accidentally writing 2018 on all your documents.

This time around, I decided that my only resolution would be to continue doing more of what I’ve already started. I’ve set myself up for success by agreeing that baby steps actually get me farther than leaps, and by planning rather than just making promises.

On New Year’s Eve I started my day by doing some therapeutic cleaning of my home, followed by a hike in my neighborhood, and finally a pilates class. One of the highlights from 2018 was my growing commitment to fitness - Something I never thought I’d be such an advocate for. Instead of tying myself to a gym membership, I joined Classpass which has given me the liberty of trying different workout classes, at different studios, at any time that fits my schedule. Since its based on a credit system you end up paying less for classes than you would through individual studios, and the credits you don’t use in one month roll over to the next so you don’t feel as guilty when you slack off. To make sure I don’t set myself up for failure in my resolution to get “fit”, I’ve already invested in great sustainable active wear eliminating that obstacle. Need suggestions? You can read about some of my favorite brands here:

I live a pretty busy schedule, so while subscriptions don’t always work and can seem wasteful in their own ways, I find some extremely convenient. I went searching for a meal subscription option that helped fit my lifestyle in 2018 and came up short. What I did find instead was a produce delivery subscription through the recommendation of a coworker. Imperfect Produce helps deliver fresh produce directly to your home every week or every 2 weeks. You get to choose the delivery time frame, can skip any week you want, and your produce box is entirely customizable with organic or non-organic produce. Sometimes they even have non-produce items available - Last week I receive locally made olive oil. The catch? Everything they send is considered too imperfect to be sold in groceries even if they’re totally safe to eat! They’ll have imperfections like misshaped lemons, or miniature onions, but I find the majority of produce they offer to be just surplus. Yup, produce that is imperfect because their is just too much of it. Imperfect produce not only saves me from the frequent trips to the grocery store, it also helps me feel a part of the fight against food waste while also saving time and around 30% off groceries. I’m for sure keeping Imperfect Produce into 2019.

Another change I began to focus on in 2018 was the use of toxic products at home. My aim was to get rid of toxic home cleaning and personal care items, and replace them with safer alternatives while simultaneously reducing the use of plastic and minimizing waste. In this New Year I’d like to take a step forward. I never realized how wasteful the products I use daily actually were.

Luckily I discovered The Grove Collaborative which is a subscription service that allows you to shop products for home that are safe for the planet. One of the biggest comments I hear from those who want to do good is that it is inconvenient to source ethical products due to a lack of availability in their local markets, or they don’t have the time to go out a shop. The Grove Co takes the work out of that. Your monthly shipments are fully customizable, and you can skip any month you feel necessary. They have their own branded products, however they also carry different trusted brands such as Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s.

Now, if I could only get some help cleaning around the house…

My first shipment from The Grove Collaborative.

My first shipment from The Grove Collaborative.

I received my first box on January 1st to start the year off right, and it included bamboo paper towels, bamboo toilet paper, a refillable glass spray bottle, glass cleaner concentrate, all purpose cleaner concentrate, and more. To reduce waste, they sell their glass and all multi-purpose cleaners by concentrate in a tube (similar to that used for toothpaste), so that you can use as much as you need in a mixed with water and refill your refillable spray bottle as needed. They have concentrates for multi surface cleaners, glass cleaners, tile and tub cleaners, etc. My only feedback was there was a little too much packaging used for shipment, which feels a little contradicting.

Micke & Jenny Charlie jumpsuit. Photo taken by S andra Emmeline

Micke & Jenny Charlie jumpsuit. Photo taken by Sandra Emmeline

This brings me to my final resolution: Holding the brands and companies I love accountable. From the start of my transition into this conscious lifestyle I aimed to focus on the positive. Too often I find bloggers criticizing brands for what they fail to do, instead of praising and encouraging them for trying to do well. I seek to avoid this cycle of condemning companies for not being prefect, and parading around the term “greenwashing” whenever I find an innovation too extreme to be true or whenever I want to discourage someone from promoting their favorite ethical brand.

Here is the deal though - Sometimes I find myself pinned between two different values, and it makes me question whether or not I’m making the right choices. This is why I want to begin sharing my grievances with brands I’d like to continue to support, but have a conflicting aspect of their business. My goal isn’t too tear these companies down - I want to contribute to their growth and success. To do this I want to start by addressing what I love about the brand and what I feel they do well.

Lets take Mickey and Jenny for example. I love their commitment to sustainability - They use environmentally friendly fabrics and they produce in small batches to lessen their impact on our planet. Their clothes are stylish and youthful helping to shed the stigma that ethical clothing needs to be frumpy and dull. They’re a great brand for formal wear, although I find myself wearing my Charlie Jumpsuit (pictured to the right) for casual events as well. Best of all, they produce locally, so by investing in them I’m investing in my community! In 2019 though, I’d love to see them increase their diversity. As a conscious brand hoping to “disrupt” the fashion industry, I believe its important that they acknowledge the lack of diversity in the fashion world and make moves to change that starting internally. People of color shouldn’t only be featured as the factory workers - I want to see them wearing the Mickey & Jenny pieces too! Personally, I’d like to get an idea of how certain fabrics and colors will look against my skin before I make an online purchase, and seeing models/ambassadors with similar skin tones to mine would be helpful. From their website to their social media, diversity seems to be lacking. Their clients also come in different shapes and sizes, yet I found myself a little stuck trying to fit my petite and curvy frame in the pieces I purchased. In order to get the right length, I had to cut off 5” from the bottom of the Charlie Jumpsuit (pictured on the Right). If Mickey and Jenny decides to create a Petite and/or “bra friendly” collection I'd be first in line for the launch!

It isn’t always easy receiving feedback, especially if its designed to make you feel some shame for your choices. I’ve experienced that first hand from other members of the “ethical” community who disputed my place in the scene for supporting brands they didn’t agree with, or even for wearing clothes they deemed too “trendy” despite their sustainable composition. Sometimes they don’t even have to direct the criticism to you! Have you ever met a person following a specific diet that didn’t spend some time talking to you about it? At times when they mention their restrictions, why they choose to eat or not eat certain things, and describe some of the health benefits they found in their way of life its hard to not feel personally attacked. Since I have been on the receiving end, I know better than to try and shame others into a more thoughtful lifestyle. Simply by sharing my journey in a positive and authentic way, showing some highlights and a few bumps along the way, I’ve watched the spark of interest in my friends. This is why ultimately my resolution for this year is to lead by example in hopes of causing a chain reaction. Happy 2019!