And so the adventure begins.

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By now I have been in Quito, Ecuador a week! It has been one hell of a week at that. But lets start from the beginning of the journey.... 

Naturally with 30 hours of travel you get a lot of time to think. As I sat in Santiago Airport in Chile with four hours to kill I decided to reflect upon my journey up until this point. This last year has been a crazy whirlwind, from the conception of this crazy idea to travel South America for four months.

The last eight months have been filled with working two jobs + planning this trip + starting a blog (craziness at its best). But within a blink of an eye here I am safely in the South American continent all by myself, I really am a grown up (I havent even fallen over yet!) 

While I am unbelievably proud of myself for working hard to make this dream a reality, I really cant take all the credit. As I look back both friends, family and my two bosses have been nothing but encouraging and supportive. I would not have had the strength to do this by myself without you. THANK YOU.

Ive been finding myself thinking about something many people have said in the lead up to this trip. "You're so brave".    While the compliment and the right intention is there, it made me think, "must we be brave to live?" Bravery never crossed my mind, my heart took over that capacity. While I sat in the stinky airport, tired, smelly (not even my deodorant can stand this much air travel) I could honestly say I had never felt so alive (until this week).

Lesson learned; what your heart, soul, dreams (whatever you may call it) go for it. You've hard it before, we only have one life. Hvaing to be brave should never be an option, just live. 

 

Love from Quito, 

Katie

 

Pecha Kucha Hamilton!

The last few weeks have been absolute manic. Currently I am working two jobs, trying to save like crazy for my trip to South America in July, only 4 weeks to go! As a result Goldmine, has been a little neglected but hasn’t been far from my mind and neither has my zero waste mission. My bathroom is now zero waste! (More Sustainable Sunday posts to come as soon as I get some time).

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at Pecha Kucha Hamilton. All I can say is WHAT AN AMAZING EVENT. If you have the opportunity to go, do it. Such a diverse range of speakers, who just proved my point, our community is a goldmine.

I’m sure a lot of you are reading this thinking, ‘what the hang is Pecha Kucha?’ Pecha Kucha was developed in Japan by architects which created a format to giving structured interesting presentations. Each speaker gets to choose 20 images and they automatically change every 20 seconds, and the speaker talks along with them. The result, a poetic talk about what you are most passionate about, all in six minutes.

I decided to talk about what I know best. My own personal journey toward finding my creative outlet through my greatest passions, people and the planet. Starting with my family ties to the farm and nature to what I learn as I get older. I was terrified, physically sick before the show, as the auditorium filled slowly, I considered backing out. Sharing something so personal to a bunch of strangers is naturally scary but the outcome was so rewarding.

It’s a funny thing that as your get older you start to care less about what people think and start to stand tall in the things that you believe, and this opportunity solidified that even more. Its also funny that as you get older and you reflect on your own journey, you start to understand why and how you got where you are. Things really do happen for a reason and things will always fall into place. My main mission is to make people think more about their impact on the planet and at Pecha Kucha I got to do that! I am so thankful to Jess, for the push to do it and her organisation of the whole event.

“I now find myself constantly thinking of new ways to eliminate waste out of my life. Where my mind would once wander to thoughts of love, money and fairy tales it now wanders to recipes of homemade toothpaste and deodorant”


Sustainable Sunday - A few of my favourite things

If you know me you'll that one thing that gets my blood boiling is disposable plastic packaging in the terms of anything takeaway. Coffee cups, plastic cups and plastic water bottles. Say an average person consumes five takeaway coffees a week, that would amount to 14 kilos of waste per year. With New Zealand's coffee culture growing I'd hate to imagine how much waste in total that is! 

But never fear my friends there are solutions. And the come in the form of a few of my favourite things, I introduce you to my trusty, Keepcup, Eco-Tanka and Mason Jar.  

  

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These wonderful products satisfy my on the run lifestyle, guilt free and zero waste.  Keepcup's  have been designed for only the best barista made coffee, they are wonderfully designed and dishwasher safe. I opted for the glass one. 

I don't go any where without my Eco Tanka, finally a reusable, safe, non toxic water bottle! Made from stainless steel, considerably more hygienic than plastic bottles and surprisingly light. 

And finally my lovely mason jar (with lid), suddenly the latest trend calls for healthy juices and smoothies, but they must be able to be enjoyed on the run right?! This jar never fails me, and generally cafes are happy oblige although I do get funny looks.  

See it is easy to make zero waste decisions! Using these products have considerably cut down my waste but of course they aren't the only options. What are your favourite reusable products?  

 

Happy sustainable sunday!  

Katie xx

 

Things are going to change slightly around here...

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Almost three years ago I embarked on a special trip that changed my life. I was given the opportunity to experience the Inka Trail in Peru with a good friend of mine. I instantly fell in love with the place and the people as it felt like a home away from home. Since returning home, South America has been in my head and in my heart every day. This year I’m returning, in a quest to give back.

Approximately 4 million people live in poverty in Ecuador (35% of the population) and about “17% more citizens are in danger of entering poverty, and there are around 200,000 children in child labour”. This tiny nation has been exploited and ancient Amazon communities and traditions lost due to the greed of oil giant and it's governments own quest for a stronger economy. On my journey Ill be spending two months in the city of Quito volunteering my time to caring for street/market children. Giving these children the opportunity to play and learn, something many of them don’t get the chance to do as they are taken to the markets every day. I can’t even express to how, why or what I am feeling. But the one thing I know is that I am following my heart.

Image sourced from IVHQ  

Image sourced from IVHQ  

I am so thankful to Matt and Lisa Cooper, the owners of Paddock, for supporting me in this adventure, and any donations would be gratefully accepted. On the 1st of May, Burgers for Street Kids will be going down at Paddock, where the profits from every burger sold will go toward the children in Quito and getting me there!  I will also be blogging about my experiences, which means the posts will change slightly when I am on this journey.

So come July I will be jetting off to South America, come on a journey with me! 

Xx

Sustainable Sunday #4 - Safety Razors

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With my current war against plastic continuously on the rise, my next battle was that of plastic razors. Sure they aren’t terrible,  you can reuse the handles and they last, but one word. Unrecyclable. They also come in copious amounts of plastic packaging (of which is infuriating to even open!). So I decided to go one further, and purchase a beautifully designed safety razor - doesnt that just roll off the tongue nicely?    

I didnt want to jump the gun by talking about this product before I had tried it, so I threw it in my backpack and took it round South America, surely that would be a good enough test. As I travelled, I often had little control over how much waste I produced. It was frustrating. But I was grateful for my saftey razor, for it was something I could control.  

I got mine through Goodfella, a New Zealand owned and operated online store, who has safety razors for your every need. I went with the cheap option of a smaller travel razor (you know I'm a tight ass) which was around the $30 mark. Note - dont forget to purchase the blades are well, I made that amateur miskate.

Sure these razors are targeted to men but who says women cant use them?! Ive been using mine for around five months now and have changed the blade about four times. Easy to use and care for, simply dry it after use and oil it every couple of uses, coconut oil works a treat!   

To dispose of blades : Its important to not just throw these little blades in the recycling as they can fall through cracks and cause damage to recyling machines or hurt workers. Ive been collecting mine so I can dispose of them properly later. 

Ah smooth skin and zero waste. Who said all hippies are hairy! 

Happy Sustainable Sunday

Katie xx

Note : On review of Goodfellas site, them seem to have discontinued the travel razor, but never fear, Shaver Hut  have a huge range of razors within that same $30.00 mark. 

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Infographics

I have a new obsession, which comes in the form of infograpics. Sustainability and infograpics are a match made in heaven. Here are my favourites.  

 

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Definitely some food for thought for your short week! Just an update on my zero waste journey, I am now almost completely waste free in the bathroom! Will be blogging more about my changes in the next few weeks. It's taking a bit of a back seat while I work and get organised for my big OE trip planned for July. More to come on that too. There are exciting things ahead people!! 

Green out!  

Katie xx

Sustainable Sunday #3 - The wonderful world of Castile Soap!!

I have to be honest, this week has been discouraging. I learnt this week that a lot of my shower products that I use, that claim to be 'free of parabens and toxins', are not. For a few years now my family and I have used both Organic Care and Health Basics shampoos, body washes and hand soaps. Unfortunately all of these products have in them a toxic preservative called (sorry guys this is a long one!) methylchloroisothiazolinone  and methylisothiazolinone (phew!). These two toxic preservatives are not only skin irritants but have also may be linked to nerve damage. They are highly toxic! Yet cosmetic companies justify using them because of the low levels they use, but I would hate to think what kind of affect they would have on us, when they are used day after day. Annmarie Gianni has written a fantastic article on these preservatives, check it out if you want to know more. Many companies in the UK have even stood up and said that they would no longer use these preservatives in their products.

So with that I have been on a castile soap rampage! Making shampoo and hand soap, and also using it on my face and body, hows that for multi purpose?! Firstly castile soap is made from 100% plant oils, and is not a chemical detergent, meaning its completely biodegradable. Big Tick. I have only tried the Dr Bronner brand, but its wonderful! Currently Im using the peppermint bar soap in the shower, for both my face and body, and I have made a shampoo using the hemp rose liquid soap, with great results at that! (oh and they smell great). As I often have problem skin, I am waiting to get in the tea tree bar soap, I have heard its fantastic for clearing it up.  

My dad has struggled with bad dermatitis, and constantly has an irritated scalp, so it was my mission this week to find a recipe for a shampoo free of crap! I my self have been using this and I am really impressed with the results so here's the recipe. Credit to Wellness Mama 

  • ¼ cup coconut milk (homemade or canned)
  • ⅓ cup Liquid Castille Soap like Dr. Bronners - I used the hemp rose
  • 20 drops of Essential Oils of  your choice (I've used peppermint, lavender, rosemary and orange or combinations of those)

  • For dry hair: add ½ tsp olive or almond oil (optional)

Simply mix them all together and pop in a jar or reusable squigy, or pump bottle (it will last about a month)

And with that my shower is almost completely zero waste!

Happy sustainable sunday! 

xx

Inspo Space

What a crazy couple of weeks I've just had! I've been so overwhelmed with all the wonderful feedback and encouraging words  received from all of you. And here I was thinking that no one would read this blog, so thank you! I am still working on my next profile and zero waste posts but I thought Id share some of my inspiration with you all. Also today is my birthday and with everyone's kind words I thought this would be fitting. Today I celebrated with pink lippy, sequins, beer and family, what more could I want or need! 

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So anyway there is a man who has been hugely influential in my own journey and the creation of this blog, whom I have never met. Since watching his TED Talk, "why schools kill creativity",I have been obsessed. Sir Ken Robinson is a professor, and world leader when it comes to creativity, innovation, personal development and human resources. After watching his talks for about the tenth time, I went out and brought two of his books and man have they changed my whole thinking process. Through them I ended up finding myself intrigued and excited about this whole concept of creativity. I used to have a very narrow conception of what creativity really was, I thought to be creative you have to be an artist, a musician, designer or performer but I soon realised that creativity is much bigger than that! In Ken’s book “Finding your Element” he describes the place where individuals are most creative is when their “personal passions and natural talents meet”. 

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In "Out of Our Minds", Robinson explores the true meaning of creativity as a whole and what happens to our own creativity as we get older. As children we are highly creative, yet as we get older we seem to feel as though we loose that creativity. But why? "Out of Our Minds" looks at how the schooling system and society affects this massive issue. These two books are bloody good reads and I would recommend to anyone! Also make sure you check out his TED Talks, he has revolutionised the way I think about creativity and has unlocked my passion for sharing creative's stories and encouraging collaboration. 

 

Happy days

Katie xx

Sustainable Sunday #2

I know I have only managed one Sustainable Sunday post on an actual Sunday but the past few weeks have been chaotic. But with that I have not forgotten my zero waste goals! Last weekend was Diner en Blanc, which some of you may have seen on my Instagram, which I managed to pull off completely zero waste, including my outfit. Food carried in a picnic hamper with linen bags and glass containers, reusable cutlery and glasses, and of course cloth napkins and tablecloths. And the outfit you ask? Opshop dress, lace slip made by my wonderful mother and shoes borrowed by my lovely friend Robbie (keep an eye out, upcoming profile on this stunner of a woman).

 

This weekend just pasted I decided to take some time off and spend it with my family at the beach. Sometimes you’ve got to just stop and take a breather.

Anyway, on to the next zero waste option! Let’s talk about deodorants. We all rely heavily on an effective deodorant that keeps us feeling fresh all day but what’s in those deodorants isn’t so pretty. Aluminium is the active ingredient in most standard deodorants, this is a chemical people! It has also been linked to cancer and alzheimers. Where in the case that our skin absorbs 60% of everything we put onto it, we have to be careful. So it got me thinking, why would I put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t eat or ingest?

In comes my 2nd zero waste product, homemade deodorant that actually works! Yes I can hear a lot of you moan, “I’ve tried natural deodorants they don’t work!” Well I’m here to challenge you to make this one and see how you go. I’ve been using it for a while now and yes while you do still sweat, you won’t smell. I know bold claim. Give it a go!

Here’s the recipe

6 Tablespoons Coconut oil

¼ cup baking soda

¼ Cup Cornflour

Essential oils – I used Lavender and Dewberry

Sift together the baking soda and corn flour, then add the coconut oil and 20-30 drops of essential oils. Mix well. Pour into a jar or old stick deodorant container and pop into the fridge to set. I like to keep mine in the fridge during the day and take it out at night so it is soft enough to scoop out in the morning. Just use finger tips to apply. Easy as!


Sometimes life is busy and you may not have time to make these recipes that I share so I want to be able to share brought alternatives to make life that little easier.

My sister has just introduced me to crystal deodorant made from mineral salts and she does have a bad word to say about it! I am still trying to source it down here in the Waikato but it is available at Ceres Organics in Auckland. It’s about $14 and lasts a full year, no nasties and re-useable container.

I’d love to hear if you have any favourite natural deodorants that you use and swear by. One thing that works for someone might not work for everyone.

Next week, the wonderful world of Castile Soap

Happy Sustainable Sunday! 

 

xx

Sustainable Sundays - Starting on a Monday?

There’s another reason why.

There’s another reason, close to my heart to why I am starting this blog. I have made a decision to go through a major lifestyle change, here my journey toward zero waste starts, (as I write this I'm starting to realise how crazy, hard this will be - what have I got myself in for?!). We live in a wasteful society where even the most natural of products are covered in unnatural packaging. To eliminate all unnatural waste from my life is my goal, where each week (on Sustainable Sundays’) I will make changes to my consumption, daily habits and routines in order to reach my goal of a zero waste lifestyle. Through this blog I want to be accountable for these choices I’ve made plus hopefully give you some helpful hints and ideas that you can incorporate in your own life! It’s not going to be easy and it won’t happen overnight, but come on a journey with me! - "it will be fun!' she said.

Sustainable Sundays 

I have to give credit where credit is due, my inspiration for this lifestyle change came from a young girl in New York, who has an awesome blog called Trash is for Tossers, go check it out! If I can inspire one person like she has inspired me, I will be a happy lady! I’ve definitely got a long way to go before I am zero waste, but she is my inspiration! So to start I thought I might accumulate the amount of waste I produce in a normal week. I was disgusted, and as you can see Zena is too.

Waste this week included:

Plastic bags, takeaway coffee and juice cups, beauty products, toothbrush, plastic packaging, makeup wipes, glad wrap, and other everyday rubbish that we tend to not even think about! 

So how exactly do I try to eliminate all this waste from my lifestyle? Shes a pretty big job ahead! But I have a plan! To eliminate my household waste, I'm going to do it on a room by room basis. This week I am starting in the bathroom! On next Sunday Ill be bringing you, DIY toothpaste and sustainable toothbrush options, stay tuned!

Be inspired, be challenged, be encouraged

Katie xx

Home.

Home.

Let’s start this journey from the best possible place, the beginning, which happens to be a small dairy farm in the middle of Waikato, New Zealand.

When people think of home different places, faces and feelings come to mind, but for all of us, this is where our journey begins. I grew up as the youngest of four, (by a long shot), surrounded by a family who as individuals accomplished the most amazing feats - well in my eyes.  We were, (and are), by any standards a run-of-the-mill family, yet I would find myself bragging about each and every one of them, to whoever would listen. My father, the hardest worker I have ever seen always ensured the farm was pristine, and of course he had the best cows in the whole area, (confirmed by my calves winning best ‘dairy type’ every year at calf club’). My mother, cooking extraordinaire, would send me to school with pesto and tomato sandwiches, and it was because of her that everyone wanted to come to my birthday parties, they wanted HER cake. My oldest brother, well he was head boy, captain of the first fifteen and an aspiring pilot – I strived in everything I did to make him proud. My oldest sister and my best friend - I wanted to be just like her and I would brag to my friends about the cool things we did together - they all wanted a big sister just like her. And lastly my other older brother, dedicated runner and the family’s only graduate, another hard worker just like dad.

Looking back I may have come across as a brat, constantly bragging about my wonderful family, but as I've grown the bragging hasn't really stopped. Even in this small spot in the middle of the Waikato, I am surrounded by both friends and family who are simply wonderful, and who are all doing extremely exciting things. And you know what, its time they were celebrated! Our communities whether large or small are goldmines, filled with extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Enter Goldmine, a place where I will share with you the stories of others in hope to inspire, encourage, create collaboration, and celebrate all that is good!

I will also be sharing with you my own personal journey toward living sustainably, creatively and collaboratively. 

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Vintage Photo montage cred. My family. Still bragging. I am because they are.