Four Things I Wish I Had Known Before Thrift Shopping

I love going to Banana Republic or Aritzia or J. Crew as much as any other girl. I love finding that perfect shirt or dress, and buying something brand new; there’s just something about the shopping experience I love. But with the awareness of the impact of fast fashion on the environment and the people it affects along the supply chain, it’s become clear that I need to make better decisions.

Consider that an article from the Ellen McArthur Foundation, an organization dedicated to studying how we can create a sustainable circular economy, estimates that the garment industry produces the equivalent of more CO2 than the emissions from international flights and maritime shipping. But while the awareness of pollution from air transport has become so accepted that some airlines, such as British Airways, allow fliers to contribute to a carbon fund by buying offset credits when they purchase tickets, most fast-fashion giants are doing little and sharing even less with the consumer.

Two of the main environmental problems with most conventional (price-focused) fast fashion garments are that their production consumes an excessive amount of natural resources (namely, water) and it releases toxic chemicals into the environment at many stages of production, putting people and entire ecosystems at risk.

One way to mitigate these and other problems in the short term is to buy thrifted items. At this time, more environmentally made garments tend to be significantly more expensive than their conventionally made equivalents. So to stretch your budget, and make responsible decisions when you buy new, it’s a good idea to buy used clothes whenever you can. Here are some things I wish I’d known before starting to thrift.

[Consider watching the documentary The True Cost to learn more of the detailsof the environmental and human impact of the fast fashion garment industry. Rent it on Youtube or find on Netflix]

KNOW what you like: // This is my most important tip. When you enter a Club Monaco or the Gap or any other store, you’re presented with items that fit into a semi-coherent style. The company carefully curates their seasonal offerings and their garments wouldn’t look out of place side-by-side in your closet. But thrifting doesn’t offer that luxury! When you’re thrifting, you’re exposed to all sorts of styles; so it’s really important to know—before going to the shop—what you will be looking for.

Thrifting shouldn’t be about sacrificing your personal style; it just requires a little more effort. So, know your colours, which cuts suit you best, whether you prefer skirts or dresses, and be completely at peace with not finding anything sometimes—because that will happen!

If you have trouble envisioning what style might suit you, consider finding a fashion blogger that inspires you or look at the cut and colours of the garments at your favourite shops. I recently wrote a blog post about Carly, a style blogger I like.

Ditch last minute shopping: // If you know you’re going to be invited for a baby shower in two months, or you have to go to a friend’s birthday next month, start planning for an outfit now. It’s a good idea to have seasonal, occasion-appropriate outfits at the ready, but if your wardrobe is incomplete, act on it as soon as possible. Thrift shopping takes a lot more time and effort than conventional mall shopping. You might need to visit more shops and flip through more hangers than you’d like to. That’s why you need to give yourself time.

But if you do find yourself in a pinch, why not consider a rental service like Rent Frock Repeat? They are a Canadian designer dress rental service. You will pay a fraction of the cost of the dress, and you will look absolutely fabulous, without having to make an often unnecessary addition to your closet. This service is great for weddings and other big occasions.

Find a seamstress: // This tip can take you a really long way. Sometimes you’ll find a dress or skirt, or shirt, that is almost perfect, but not quite. Maybe it’s a little loose in the chest area, or maybe the shoulders sit a little funny. Ask the thrift store about their return policy, and take the garment to a seamster/tress you trust. See if they can fix it!

If you can find a place that offers well-priced alterations, then you will still save money on your shopping while ending up with an outfit that is tailored to your body, something no ready-to-wear item offers.

Follow the care instructions: // Yes, you may have only paid $8 for your newest thrifted item, and it may make little sense to now dish $10 to dry clean it. But if the wash instructions ask you to only wash cold with light items or dry clean, then you need to do that. My personal experience has been that thrifted items are much more prone to disintegrating than new buys. Treat them as well as you possibly can, and part of that will include following the care instructions to a T.

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Making Plant-Based Cheese, First Time

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Good evening, beautiful people! Thank you for visiting my blog, and choosing to spend a few minutes of your precious time with me. I really mean that, and I wish I could thank you in person because while this blog is about my personal journey with a hobby (which I would hope to undertake with or without a website) it’s so nice to connect with others.

Today I want to tell you about a cheese success story! I made vegan cheese for the very first time, and it was so easy. I wasn’t planning it, but it just occurred to me that I had an open bottle of wine in the fridge, some nice dried fruit, and all of the ingredients for a cheese recipe that I’d watched on Youtube weeks ago.

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So I went ahead with it. I used one of Anja’s recipes from Cooking With Plants. If you click the link, it will take you right to the video I followed.

I did make a few adjustments, and I think that’s why my cheese turned out a lot softer, but it was still great, and I look forward to trying again one day with the right ingredients and measurements. Namely, I used almond milk instead of soy and didn’t quite measure everything properly.

And if like me, you have agar flakes instead of powder, use a little more of the flakes. So the equivalency ratio is 3 to 1. Three parts agar flakes equals one part agar powder. Agar flakes tend to be much less expensive, maybe for this reason. I wish I’d looked this up before because actually I only used three tablespoons of flakes in place of two tablespoons of powder when, apparently, I should have used six!

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Anyway, absolutely no regrets! This was a creamy and delicious cheese. I added salt-free Italian spices, some paprika and garlic powder as well. One thing I’d do differently is add a little less salt. The recipe calls for salt and miso paste, and I found that it just turned into a little too much sodium for me. But that’s a personal preference, I suppose.

I ate the cheese with dried apricots and figs, Mary’s gluten-free crackers (which are good even on their own), alongside a medium Riesling. I’ll be honest, I haven’t the slightest idea which fruits go with which wines and cheeses, but I will exempt myself this time.

I did notice that with the strong flavours from the cheese and fruit, I really couldn’t taste this delicate, fruity and flowery flavours of this beautiful white wine, and that was a shame!

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Making and setting this vegan cheese took about one hour. It’s all very quick. If you’re toying with the idea of eliminating dairy from your diet, try one of Anja’s recipes out! They are not the only ones, either, so feel free to find others.

The dairy industry is cruel, and we’ve come to a time of abundance when we no longer need to abuse and use animals for our benefit. We don’t need to get preventable chronic illnesses. Imagine, we are so blessed in developing nations that most people die from preventable illnesses! Most people aren’t dying from hunger, from a horrible virus or disease; they are dying from the consequences of eating too much of the wrong foods, exercising too little, worrying too much, sleeping too little.

That’s great news because those things can be fixed.

I hope you’ll join me in trying this cheese and a plant-based lifestyle. Trying is all I do—I’m not perfect. And it’s all I would ask of anyone else.

 

Fifteen Indian Vegan Recipes I’d Like to Try in March

Hi, everyone! Thank you for visiting my blog. Today, I decided to come up with a challenge to cook a number of recipes in March. I compiled a list of 15 Indian recipes, though  I realize that’s a high and unrealistic number, considering how busy I am for the rest of March.

The list does also include French toast, decidedly not Indian, but I just couldn’t take it out. It looked too good! All of the recipes are from Vegan Richa, about whom you can learn in a recent post, and on her website you can also find high quality photos and detailed instructions for each of the recipes, in addition to a little bit of historical or cultural background about the dish, which I enjoy.

Here are my picks—each recipe is linked below:

Vegan Methi Malai Paneer Tofu

Indian Butter Tofu Paneer I’ve tried this one before.

Almond Fudge This sweet looks amazing and kind of looks like Persian halwa.

Ginger Turmeric Root Tea

Chickpea flour fudge To see if it’s better than the almond fudge. If you haven’t had chickpea flour desserts before, try this or some others. It’s something that’s used in dessert-making in parts of Iran, and it’s really flavourful when paired with sugar/sweetness and cardamom (which I don’t know if this recipe contains).

Cauliflower Kofta Curry

Hemp-Tofu in Rich Pasanda Sauce Okay, this one requires hemp-tofu, supposedly tofu made from hemp seeds. I’m never heard of it but I’ll make a trip over to Whole Foods, and if they don’t have it, the Big Carrot.

Vegan Banana French Toast  So I can listen to Banana Pancakes and eat them (close).

Naan (I’d like to make the garlic kind)

Baked Samosas  I may have signed up to make samosas for friends in the near future. I might as well practice. These ones are baked. I can’t imagine deep frying something at home and then finding the courage to also eat it!

Palak Tofu Paneer Palak paneer was my favourite Indian dish before I gave up dairy because of lactose intolerance. I still sometimes eat dairy (though I’d like to move towards a fully plant-based diet this year) but I need to take Lactaid to do so, and I guess I’ve just never had any on hand when ordering Indian food.

Carrot Halwa This is such a popular Indian dessert that I feel it should be in my Indian recipe try. I used to love it when I ate dairy, and I haven’t had it since, as I believe the traditional version contains either of cream or milk.

Vegan Mango Lassi The first and only time I had mango lassi, another hugely popular Indian recipe, was at an Indian restaurant with a friend. We couldn’t drink ours because I suspect the mango was too unripe and the whole thing tasted sour.

Gobi Broccoli Makhani

Vegan Mango Burfi