Hello, out there! I hope that you are continuing to weather the uncertainty 2020 has brought and that we will start to round the corner in this new year. I hope that you are safe, both in body and mind.
I am not one for big, sweeping changes or (woof) resolutions, but I wrote a short piece on my quarantine earlier during the pandemic, so the top of the year feels like a good time to check in.
After spending several months staying with my parents, my little family is back in Brooklyn, NY, working from home and making the most of our bubble. We are in our new apartment that still needs a lot of furnishings, but the way my toddler runs around and dances in the kitchen certainly makes it feel like home.
Sharing what is still working for me below!
We’re still cooking. Due to a crazy set of circumstances, we didn’t have gas (no stove) for months when we moved back. It was finally fixed in October, so we are still excited to recreate our favorite restaurant meals and try new things in the kitchen. We cook a lot of recipes from the New York Times and when we have a taste for something in particular, we just search for good recipes.
I’ve always been intimidated by our farmers’ market, so I made a simple new rule: Buy one thing that looks really good and build a meal around it. That could mean an animal protein one week, a vegetable outside our comfort zone the next. This way I don’t feel pressure to buy a bunch of produce that we might waste and I don’t spend a whole Saturday morning ambling through all the stands. I needed structure.
Sustainability in focus. Living more sustainably is really important to me as a consumer. It’s also something we are working to fold into our business as we scale. I believe that small changes we make add up. Last year, I did decide on one small change (call it a resolution if you must). I decided to forgo beverages in plastic bottles. I already had a Sodastream to satisfy my seltzer habit and I’m lucky that we have great tap water in New York. I very rarely drank soda, so all in it was a good, SMART goal for me. If you’re not familiar, but perhaps embarking on some resolutions, a SMART goal is
Specific - set with numbers, not lofty and broad
Measurable - you can track your progress
Attainable - the goal is challenging, but possible
Realistic - this is a little different than above because somethings are attainable (like exercising every day), but not realistic for your life (I have a toddler).
Time-bound - there is a deadline
I have two new sustainability goals that I’m working on over the coming months. They are not SMART yet because I’m still doing a little homework before I begin. The first is phasing out paper towels. Since having a baby, I am always appalled by how much paper towel we go through. I’ve been reading about alternatives and finally bought a pack of Swedish dishcloths to test. They are like thin sponges that are great for wiping countertops, cleaning the stovetop and mopping kids’ faces. You can pop them in the washing machine or dishwasher. I actually think my testing phase is done because these work so well that I don’t need to explore other options. Now I just need to set a deadline for the full phase out and make sure everyone else in the house is on board (hehe). It’s amazing what you can do with one cloth compared to using endless amounts of paper towel. I’m not endorsing any specific brand because there is a whole universe out there!
I also want to work to phase out shopping on Amazon. It feels hypocritical to pound the pavement in support of our own small brand and then turn around and buy from the biggest killer of small businesses. It has definitely been a staple for random toddler things and I’m guilty of convincing myself I need something tomorrow. I have not put a plan in place for this yet, but I’m starting by looking back at my past few months of Amazon purchases and just asking myself what I would have done if it wasn’t an option.
Finally, this wasn’t a goal I set, but falls under sustainability so sharing here. I bought a period cup on a whim at my supermarket a few months ago and it is LIFE CHANGING. I’m now a period cup evangelist and using this platform to encourage anyone who gets a period to give it a try. If you are already on this tip, why didn’t you tell me? It will save you money and reduce the number of paper products put into creation, but these facts are secondary to what a better experience it is than tampons. If you are cup-curious, check out Put a Cup in It where you can have all of your questions answered and even take a quiz to help you pick the right cup.
Health. One bright spot in the pandemic has been the catalyzation of tele-medicine. Earlier in the fall I had a virtual dermatologist appointment for my daughter. I don’t think I will ever schlep to an office for that type of visit again. The pandemic has also ushered in so many virtual mental health services that are relatively low cost and so much more accessible. I’m taking advantage and I hope you are, too.
I don’t own a Peloton bike, but I have been using the app for a ton of classes (I know, I’m late to the game). I like it because it’s cheaper than other options I explored and there’s a lot of variety.
Other bits. I’m still not spending a ton of time on social media, but I do enjoy a nightly news scroll. Maybe it’s a little doom-scrolly. Maybe. My husband has a fab Instagram handle @thebrightandearly so he keeps me up to date on any major social moments I might miss.
That’s what I’ve got for you! I’d love to know if you’re making any small changes (or big ones). Hit me up at rebecca[at]rebecca-allen.com This was a personal dump, but we also have a lot, a lot in store for the biz. More on that soon.