Urban Gardening Adventure

Nicole Voris

Recently Oliver and I have gotten into gardening.  Living in the middle of a city, this isn't the easiest feat.  We are very lucky that our apartment has an awesome balcony.  

Now we are very much beginners, and we have definitely made many mistakes and killed more plants than I'd like.  (I wish they had all lived.)  But I want to take you on a tour of our plants.

The first plants we started with were bougainvilleas.  These are some of my favorite plants and to me they represent Southern California.  I love seeing the pink and purple flowers climb and take over the structures that support them.  Here are the four "Thai Delights" we're raising.

 The day we brought them home (March.)

The day we brought them home (March.)

 Today!

Today!

They're growing really well despite both us and El Nino overwatering them. We've figured it out now and they're doing much better now!  Find more photos of our plants below. 

 little cactus and beginnings of cat grass

little cactus and beginnings of cat grass

 Tomatoes (planted them 10 days ago) Our first try at urban food gardening!

Tomatoes (planted them 10 days ago) Our first try at urban food gardening!

 Already planted from Home Depot. But we love the pot and these succulents!

Already planted from Home Depot. But we love the pot and these succulents!

 This is our little indoor terrarium from Ikea.  Sochi LOVES to eat plants.  So this is the only way we can have plants in the house without him destroying them.   

This is our little indoor terrarium from Ikea.  Sochi LOVES to eat plants.  So this is the only way we can have plants in the house without him destroying them.   

Although we're new, and have made many mistakes, we're learning as we're going.  It's super relaxing and wonderful to cultivate life. 

Two Years

On Tuesday it was Oliver and my 2 year wedding anniversary.  At that point Ballet Zaida had existed 5 years, we had been friends for 7 years, and been together for 6 years.  Below are a few photos I haven't shared before from the wonderful Nadine Photography.  You can check out more photos from our wedding and more of her work here: Nadine Studio

Buying less, giving more

Nicole Voris

A few weeks ago I talked about my wardrobe and my attempt to own less and love more. 

Sustainable Fashion

Oliver and I have been attempting to own less "things" and embrace minimalism.  We don't claim to be experts at all!  We own way more than 100 items.  We can't fit everything we own in a backpack.  We can't fit everything we own into our car!  And we didn't become minimalists at 21.  We look at this as a continuing project of learning to buy less and let go more.

I look at it like someone trying to get healthy and lose weight.  If they do a crash diet and lose a ton of weight quickly, they are more likely to put weight back on because their metabolism slows down and crash diets aren't sustainable.  If someone really wants to change their health they need to eat healthier, exercise regularly, and let the weight come off because they've changed their lifestyle.

I view this the same way.  If we had gotten rid of everything at once and paired down to 100 items each we probably wouldn't have made the correct choices on what to keep and what to give away.  We wouldn't have fixed the problem of buying something every time we were slightly inconvenienced or every time we went to Target!!  

 Our living room/kitchen.  Since this photo was taken we got new huge teal throw pillows! The bright colors make me super happy! Yes, we bought something that wasn't a "necessity,"  but they make me smile every day so it felt like an important purchase.

Our living room/kitchen.  Since this photo was taken we got new huge teal throw pillows! The bright colors make me super happy! Yes, we bought something that wasn't a "necessity,"  but they make me smile every day so it felt like an important purchase.

Over the last year and a half we have gone to Goodwill at least once a month.  We went today to donate a step stool that took up way too much storage space and we never took out because it was such a pain.  When we first discussed getting rid of it I thought we could get a folding step stool, but I realized this morning that we don't actually need one.  Oliver is tall enough to reach everything we need and our chairs are very sturdy if I'm desperate.

I also donated some kitchen gadgets that I'm embarrassed stayed over the last few purges. Why did we have three whisks?  Why did I have a bunch of baking tools despite the fact that I haven't used them in over 2 years?  Why did we have gimmicky gadgets that served no real purpose except creating more dishes?  We don't have a dishwasher so the least amount of dishes used is extremely important!

Again,  we don't claim to be experts, but over the last year we have learned a lot about what we actually need and what takes up space in our home and headspace.

Having less allows us to have more free time, to save more, and to be more creative.  Not constantly seeing clutter in our living space helps us declutter our minds to think more, be creative, and figure out how to bring our artistic ideas to life.  

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Performa/dance

Nicole Voris

Two years ago I had the privilege of performing in the inaugural performance of the small Austin based company Performa/dance.  The two wonderful people who launched the company are Jennifer Hart and Ed Carr.  Jennifer Hart is an amazing choreographer and for this show I was lucky to perform two of her pieces On Truth and Love and Lightspace.  Ed Carr was one of my partners in On Truth and Love which won an Austin Critics Table Award.  You can see some photos taken by Ballet Zaida below.

They will be doing their second show 4X3 June 10th and 11th at Austin Ventures Studio Theater. If you live in the area I highly recommend checking this show out.  Keep an eye out for this company and the artists involved.

http://performadance.org/

 Nicole Voris and Ed Carr in  On Truth and Love  by Jennifer Hart.  Photo by Ballet Zaida

Nicole Voris and Ed Carr in On Truth and Love by Jennifer Hart.  Photo by Ballet Zaida

 Nicole Voris and Oliver Greene-Cramer in  On Truth and Love  by Jennifer Hart.  Photo by Ballet Zaida

Nicole Voris and Oliver Greene-Cramer in On Truth and Love by Jennifer Hart.  Photo by Ballet Zaida

 One of my favorite dancers ever!  Alexa Capareda after a dramatic vignette in  Variations on Surrender  by Jennifer Hart.  Photo by Ballet Zaida

One of my favorite dancers ever!  Alexa Capareda after a dramatic vignette in Variations on Surrender by Jennifer Hart.  Photo by Ballet Zaida

 Nicole Voris, Oren Porterfield, Ian J. Bethany, Grace Morton, and Preston Patterson in  Lightspace  by Jennifer Hart.  Photo by Ballet Zaida

Nicole Voris, Oren Porterfield, Ian J. Bethany, Grace Morton, and Preston Patterson in Lightspace by Jennifer Hart.  Photo by Ballet Zaida

Sustainable Fashion

Nicole Voris

Last week Emma Watson brought attention to eco friendly fashion by wearing a dress made from recycled plastic bottles to the Met Gala.  I thought it was so cool to see a celebrity, people known for wearing outfits only once, to bring attention to the idea of sustainable reusable fashion.  She and Calvin Klein worked with the company Eco Age to bring attention to this issue.  I've seen some people argue that it actually uses a lot of resources to make plastic water bottles into fabric.  It's better to use organic materials.  I understand that point and I think we should all make the switch to nice reusable glass bottles so there isn't plastic bottle waste!  I think her using this fabric brought more attention since the headline "Emma Watson's dress made out of trash!" could be used. 

 Emma Watson's Met Gala Calvin Klein dress.  Photo: Venturelli/FilmMagic

Emma Watson's Met Gala Calvin Klein dress.

Photo: Venturelli/FilmMagic

My favorite concept that the company Eco Age promotes is the 30 wears concept.  The idea that you should only buy an item if you commit to wearing it thirty times.  I love this idea, and if you love it enough to wear it thirty times, I imagine that you'll love it enough to wear it 100.  

Anyway,  this concept gave me the idea to tell you guys about my wardrobe.  When Oliver and I lived in Texas we had a 900 square foot apartment with a walk in closet plus two more additional hall closets.  It didn't feel like we had that much stuff and before we moved we took multiple full car loads to goodwill.  

When we got to Los Angeles we moved into a 470 square foot apartment with one hall closet. It was stressful trying to make everything fit, but we made it work.  This made me realize how much stuff we had that we didn't even particularly like,  much less love!  Over the last year and a half we have embraced minimalism throughout our life.  For this post I will specifically focus on my wardrobe.

I realized that I owned a lot of items of clothing that I felt meh about.  I didn't like them and I didn't like how I felt in them, but I kept them because I felt like a "should."  It's weird when we get tied up to items because they were gifts, hand me downs, we spent money on them and feel guilty, or have weird sentimental attachments.  The fact was that I really didn't like my clothes despite my closet being packed to the brim.

In a backwards move the first thing I did was start to buy items.  I started to shop online and figure out my personal style.  I didn't buy everything at once, but I started to curate nice pieces that I could pair with my new style as well as old items I still liked.  For birthdays and holidays I would ask for specific pieces and my family so kindly obliged.   

While I was curating this new wardrobe that I LOVED, I was donating like crazy.  There's the "one in one out" rule where you can only buy something if you donate something else.  I was probably doing more of a "one in five out" rule. I took almost everything to the goodwill down the street where I hope someone else will love the items!

My wardrobe is much smaller now.  I have three dresser drawers, three shelves on our shoe unit, and about 2 1/2 feet of closet space.  That includes all my dance clothes, pointe shoes, and my wedding dress!  Now I love all my clothes and don't feel a need to shop because I don't want or need anything.

Photo by @aestheteandderive - Blue cocktail dress that was once my mom's

MUA by Dawn Sorenson

My advice if you want to pair down your wardrobe and make it more sustainable:

1. "Shop your closet"  Go through and take out the things that you absolutely love.  Go through what is left, if you don't love it donate it.

2.  Rebuild you wardrobe with pieces that go together and mix and match.  Buy high quality items that will last a long time.  A few of my favorite items of clothing were actually my mother's and grandmother's.  I often wear a blazer and maxi skirt that were my grandmother's and a pair of red cowboy boots and a blue cocktail dress that were my mom's. Nice classic pieces can last thirty plus years!

3.  Follow the 30 wears rule.  Only buy things you LOVE.  If you don't love it wait until you find something you do.

4.  Take care of your wardrobe.  Repair items instead of throwing them away.  Follow washing instructions. (You don't necessarily have to wash something after only one wear).  Get things tailored if you want a different fit.

5. Wear it!  I used to have a bad habit of "saving" my favorite outfits for a good day to wear them. If you want to wear the outfit wear it now.  If you love all your clothes you'll always have a nice outfit you love wearing.

6.  Buy second hand.  This is a rule I am now trying harder to follow.  I am not buying any new items in the near future, but next time I need something I will check second hand stores first. Just because someone didn't LOVE that item doesn't mean I won't.

7.  Finally some inspo.  (not my closet)