Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Current Life Update: Traveling, College & Living Sustainably ☆


I didn't think I would continue blogging, if I'm honest. After all, the last proper post was in April. I mean, yes, sure I posted a few days ago but I mean a real post. The thing is, I've been stuck in a rut. I'm uninspired, unmotivated and losing my passion for blogging. I was sick of being stuck in a routine of talking about beauty and that's one of the reasons this blog has just become a a digital platform of expression - sharing sustainable things, poetry, videos, music etc. I don't want to categorize myself into a little niche when I could be doing so much more. And that's what I want to do - more. But, before we get into all of that, here's what's been going on. 



I've been traveling more than I've actually been "home" - aka in my college dorm room - this year. I live abroad in the Netherlands and this year I've visited Sweden, Malta, Belgium and Bali. I am currently back in South Africa and all I can say is that so far 2018 has been a dream. I'm so happy to be seeing more and experiencing more of what this wonderful world has to offer. Sweden was initially part of a trip for my study association, Malta was a super spontaneous trip with my best friend, I went to Belgium with said best friend to go see the Lana Del Rey Concert and Bali was, in a sense, for my 21st birthday. All of these countries have got me counting my blessings and I am humbled by how amazing and unique each place is and especially how big the world truly is.



I've recently finished my second year and have one more year to go - eep! You see, I have a love-hate relationship with university. I adore my campus and living in The Netherlands but I wish I had given my study more thought. I would love to become a journalist, or a writer of some kind, so this was the correct course to choose. It's just a bit tough at times, in terms of not having as many subject options in English,  because it impacts my future career prospects. Overall, I really enjoy university life if we're talking about the campus, where I stay and who I'm friends with and what my friends and I get up to in our spare time. The housing situation is a different story. In South Africa, people have the option to live on campus but in the Netherlands you just kind of just get an apartment or share a house and pay rent for your room. It's great because you're independent and usually GWE and wifi are all included, but you don't always know who you'll be living with and let me tell you, there are tons of characters I've recently been exposed to.  For those of you wondering, I'm planning to obtain a Masters degree in Global Communication.



Living sustainably - wow, what a challenge! After coming home and seeing how many cool zero waste stores Cape Town has to offer, I'm feeling a little sad knowing I'll have to scavenge around to live as close to zero waste as I possibly can when I return to The Netherlands. Places like Nude Foods and Shop Zero make it easy to be sustainable, especially if you are on a budget,  which is  convenient if you're a college student like me.  I've been doing quite well if I say so myself; plastic free skincare and grocery shopping is so easy with the correct tools. I still go secondhand shopping from time to time and shop at the local market. 




I'm currently in South Africa and I'm very excited to return back to The Netherlands for my third year which begins in September. Then it'll be Autumn, my favourite season. I know a lot has changed for me this summer and going back will be a goodbye to many things but it'll be a challenging year of growth as I complete my final year and figure out what else I want to accomplish. I'm looking forward to wrapping things up, redecorating and reorganizing my room and overall, just getting more involved on campus. I'm just focusing on myself right now.


Thank you for still keeping up with my little corner of the internet. I'm excited to show you what's next. All my love always, 

Miah 




 

Monday, 3 September 2018

A Plastic Free...Instagram? | Interviewing @CreativePlanet_


Dear readers, 

It's been a while. I've been traveling a lot and not making enough time for the one thing that makes me super happy - blogging. As many of you know, I've switched to blogging about ethical and sustainable living. Today I am sharing an interview I did with instagram user, @creativeplanet_, or as many know her, Sophie. Sophie is a graphic designer and her instagram page caught my eye as it's so beautifully curated and sends a wonderful message about plastic pollution and sustainable fashion. 



You chose to create an Instagram about plastic pollution in a totally unconventional way. What made you want to create this account and why the blue and white colour scheme and the ocean theme?
A year ago when I was walking around on the beach I saw a lot of plastic laying around and I started to pick it up. When I saw how much I collected in only a few hours I started questioning my own plastic use. I became aware of how much I use plastic and that it is just everywhere you go. I started this instagram account because I wanted to create more awareness around this subject. I study graphic design for two years now, I really like to create images that communicate a certain message. And because the plastic pollution problem is something I really care about, I thought creating an instagram was a fun way to communicate the plastic problem to an audience and a way for me to keep creating images on a regular basis. 

I chose to use a blue color scheme on my instagram because that’s the color of plastic I find the most laying around on the beach. I wanted an ocean theme because the first time I thought about the plastic pollution problem was on the beach. Lots of plastic ends up in the oceans and marine life suffers so much because of this and I think that’s really sad. 


How did you get into graphic design?
When I was younger I always loved drawing, painting and creating little artworks so when I needed to choose a study, I opted for graphic design. I wanted to do graphic, because there are so many things you can do with it. I love to design logos, posters and websites. But what I really love to do is creating awareness with my designs. I love to learn more about how to get people interested in a subject they normally wouldn’t think about. Like a lot of people don’t really care about the plastic problem, but my goal is to make people care.



What made you want to upcycle certain plastic parts instead of recycling them? For example, you have some photos sharing upcycled bottle caps as earrings and even plastic doll parts as accessories.
When I came back with a bag full of plastic parts from the beach, I didn’t just want to throw everything away. Plastic’s usually really cheap and it’s easy to throw away, and that’s something we need to change. So when you for example take a bottle cap, that’s a piece of plastic that will be thrown away only minutes after usage. When you turn it into an earring it can be used for a longer time. 


Do you practice sustainability in other areas of your life or do you mainly focus on reducing your plastic consumption?
In my daily life I try to live sustainable. I’ve been trying to be completely vegan, this hasn’t been easy for me, but I’m almost there. I do think being aware of the problem makes it a lot easier to make the better choices. Before I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of the way I lived, but now I try to be more conscious about the choices I make. I’m trying to use the printer less, which is pretty hard as a graphic designer. And whenever I go somewhere I always try to carry my own water bottle and bag, so I don’t need disposable ones. Whenever I need to buy something I’m always checking if there’s an option available without plastic. These are really small steps, but I do think if everybody does this it has a big impact on the planet.




What do you think of the promotion of consumerism of products in advertising and marketing, especially since most of the products that are being promoted are packaged in plastic?
I hate to see consumerism everywhere. Whenever I check my social media I see an ad almost every minute, they keep track of the things I searched and use it to advertise. I think the promotion of the products are usually not realistic, you don’t need products to be happy. Advertising and consumerism try to manipulate us into adopting a particular view of how we should live, we are not deciding for ourselves anymore. The advertisers ultimate goal is to create needs to make people wanting their products. They create false desires and needs by manipulating us and I really hate seeing that all around me. 
Whenever I go to the supermarket there aren’t a lot of choices without plastic, for instance fruit being wrapped in plastic is just crazy, because most fruits have their own natural protection and don’t need a plastic wrapper to stay fresh. I don’t think advertising and marketing are the blame for this problem, I think if they sell the products without plastic or give them other options people will still buy it. I think the plastic packaging problem is more a subject that politicians need to discus. But I do think designers and advertisers could have a big role, they can show people they don’t need all that plastic.


If you wanna see more of Sophie or check out her Instagram, be sure to click here.   

To keep up with me, you can check out my youtube channel or follow my instagram here and here.

Thank you for reading, see you soon! 

Monday, 30 July 2018

What I Bought at Nude Foods & Shop Zero ☆

On my Instagram I had recently shared that a friend and I had done some zero waste shopping in Cape Town, South Africa. We headed to both Nude Foods and Shop Zero. Admittedly, I did buy more food than anything else.  I'm only in Cape Town for a short while and still have to travel back to the Netherlands, so I really have to watch luggage restrictions. That didn't stop me from purchasing a few items, though! 


The first stop was Nude Foods. Nude Foods had Kombucha on tap and honestly that already won me over. The store is easy to navigate and they had a variety of items. I think I was most impressed with how body washes, face washes, an assortment of vinegars and oils were readily available to just fill into your own reusable jar which you can bring along or buy in store. They had a small lifestyle section as well. Here  I purchased my safety razor and a small box of blades. I liked the beauty and skincare shelves a lot too - it was great to see so many products packaged in glass or metal that could be washed and reused or recycled.



At Nude Foods I also purchased two vegan date balls, vegan shortbread and  mint & lemongrass kombucha that I stored in my own jar, but my greedy ass consumed that before I could take pictures.

The second and last store we went to was Shop Zero. Personally I preferred the layout of this store. I found it super aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate and at times cheaper than Nude Foods. 
 

Shop Zero also had a section where they sold secondhand clothing and I thought it was so cool that they encouraged upcycling clothes. What I loved most about Shop Zero was the warm, welcoming environment and how the products were displayed. Everything was clear to see. Not only in shelves lining the walls, but also a long table in the middle of the store that had coconut bowls, handmade bracelets, tote bags and other groovy items. It was my first time in a completely zero waste store and it was such an experience! I  realized that most of the stuff in these stores  ought to be readily available so that everyone can live more sustainably. 




They are exactly the same items as one could find in a regular supermarket  but the difference is they're waste free, there's no excess plastic and you buy just what you need because a majority of items you can purchase in bulk. 
 

Some of my followers also wanted to know if it's super expensive - it depends what you buy, as with most things. All the food I purchased was in bulk, meaning I took just what I was sure I'd eat. Personally, if it's a lifestyle product I don't mind spending a bit more especially if I know I'll be (re)using it a lot. The most expensive item was my safety razor and the blades (R180 total), but in the long run it was a great item to buy as only the blades need to be replaced and they can also be recycled. To me, paying that much isn't a problem because I will no longer throw away tons of razors every year. All in all, I love that Cape Town is jumping on this zero waste and sustainable bandwagon - not only in terms of zero and low waste stores, but also lots of vegan restaurants and beach cleanups organized by the community. It's great to see people taking responsibility and I hope when I return to the Netherlands I'll find ways to continue being as eco-friendly as I have been at home.

Thanks for tuning in to today's post! 
All my love,