{simple pleasures} forgiveness: le pardon

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. he who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

le pardon: the royal musem of fine art of belgium features the sculpture "le pardon" {forgiveness} crafted by expressionist artist pierre braecke in 1893. i was truly transfixed by the light + emotion of this space + of this piece. i'm wishing you all the strength to forgive easily + to love abundantly

{eco travels} sustainable belgium: brussels eco fashion landscape

when an airline recently lost all my luggage {somewhere in the beautiful country of iceland they surmised}, i knew i wasn't going to purchase any new items. first of all, the optimist in me hoped they would find my belongings {after all, i don't own a lot, and the suitcases contained, well, nearly all the clothes i own}; secondly, as an ethical consumer + minimalist, i understand our constant demand for new goods has implications.

80 billion pieces of clothing are produced annually for the international fashion market, with u.s. consumers purchasing an average of 62 garments and seven pairs of shoes a year.

my action plan involved making a list of the things i really needed: my list added up to two items: a jacket and sneakers. and so i headed straight to my fave secondhand shops in paris where i purchased a vintage jean jacket. i stumbled upon a flea market and bought a pair of baskets for one euro to keep my feet warm and cozy on rainy days. i did have some summer items at home that i decided to pack for an upcoming trip to belgium. layering is an important part of being an eco fashionista. need warm clothes? layer up and voila! 

80 billion pieces of clothing are produced annually for the international fashion market, with u.s. consumers purchasing an average of 62 garments and seven pairs of shoes a year. that's each and every year. with this comes a tremendous environmental impact + human rights violations that garment workers are exposed to daily in the name of cheap fashion as fast fashion companies pressure apparel factories to keep up with this demand.

i know i don't need a lot, and what i do need, i can find in secondhand/thrift shops + vintage boutiques. as i traveled through brussels, i had the opportunity to explore the eco fashion landscape of pre-loved apparel. eco brussels has a lot to offer!

the solution to fast fashion? it actually costs nothing, my friends. slow down: only shop when you really need an item. and if you do need to add a piece to your wardrobe, consider buying vintage + gently used apparel instead. here's how to do it in brussels:

1/ melting pot kilo: vintage clothing by the kilo. great selection with a clean milieu, chill music + cool vibes, oh and super prices. pick an item, pop it in the basket to be weighed at check-out + voila, weight will determine the price of your piece! fab textiles for home sewing also sold here. / 54 rue haute, brussels 1000 / +32 2 511 88 94

2/ les petits riens: celebrating 80 years of working with the homeless. proceeds from sales benefit those working to overcome social + economic obstacles. tidy space with vintage treasures interspersed. do not miss that box in the front + center of the shop with vintage finds, including beautiful 60's dresses, offbeat designs + colorful graphic textiles, for only one euro. 188 rue haute, brussels 1000 / +32 2 537 30 26

3/ spullenhulp: if you've decided to move to belgium, this is the place to shop for everything you might need in your new abode. a division of les petits riens, proceeds from sales benefit those working to overcome social + economic obstacles. clothes, furniture, decor + home goods sold. 101 rue americaine, ixelles 1050 / +32 2 537 30 26

4/ oxfam tweedehand: oxfam opened its first charity shop in 1948, and ever since then, they've been selling both new + used goods in an effort to fight poverty + transform lives. books, toys, clothes, they've got it. vintage + gently used items sold here. proceeds fund oxfam's programs + action projects including empowering survivors of violence + creating access to clean water in rural communities. did you know that oxfam has on online vintage shop? if you're in town, visit their brick + mortar shop at 243 rue haute, brussels 1000 / +32 2 502 39 5

5/ foxhole: while you can find a variety of shops big + small on rue haute, this one is off the beaten path. rare vintage pieces + rue des riches-claires 4, brussels / +32 476 95 88 72

oh, and this post does have a happy ending; my luggage was eventually found + i was reunited with my vegan + vintage attire! which means my zero apparel purchases in belgium were well worth it. that means i can use all that money i saved for more travels in the future!

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{simple pleasures} world of wonders: monde des merveilles

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.
— Robertson Davies

far from the simple geometry of downtown chicago's highrises wearing their mies van der rohe influence proudly like a royal cloak; and a mere two-hour train ride from the elegant cityscape offered up by haussmannian paris, lies the fine art nouveau architecture of victor horta + henry van de velde and the grandiose castles of yore in belgium. architecture from all genres, both secular + religous, is indeed just as enchanting by day as by night, at dawn or at dusk. 

{eco travels} sustainable belgium: brussels vegan café guide

before embarking on my journey through belgium, i read about its rich history, its florid architecture, its diversified culture and its golden waffles, of course. i also read about the adventures in veggie restaurants that await intrepid travelers. what does the vegan restaurant scene look like and does a crispy vegan version of the legendary belgium waffle really exist? today we explore the eateries that offer healthy fare to keep voyagers' energy levels naturally elevated + spirits sky high:

just as the sight of fantastical castles saturates the landscape {i learned that belgium has more castles than any other country}, the light scent of cake batter, warm waffles in the making, permeates the air in brussels, a truly palatable + pleasing combination indeed. prior to my arrival, i searched high + low for a vegan cafe/resto guide to brussels, asking fellow bloggers + reaching out to instagram friends. there were several tips, but no definitive guides; i did stumble across this vegan eats guide unexpectedly, a gift from the great google gods, but the truth is, the vegan waffle seemed only a myth until i ventured out of brussels. this is a selection of veggie cafes, offering plant-strong vegan options and yes, the fluffy, fabled belgium waffle does exist:

{ C H Y L }

chyl cafe: {vegetarian + vegan}: chyl is a one-stop shop, offering a charming cafe {reservations highly recommended} and a grocery store chock-full of bath + beauty products, dry goods sold by the bulk, fresh + organic produce, and fun snacks + mealtime ingredients from a plethora of sustainable food companies. i discovered that chyl also offers housing; move over airbnb. if you like sleek minimalism, check out their bright + stylish rooms. chyl cafe promises "a bright spot in the middle of the city where time stands still, if only for a little while." 62 rue de belle-vue, 1000 brussels / +32 2 648 34 76

{ D O L M A }

dolma restaurant {vegetarian + vegan}:  serving vegetarian + vegan cuisine since 1973, dolma restaurant's motto is "infinietely veggie" and they have a beautiful buffet, with a seemingly limitless reserve of local + organic ingredients. menu offerings include in-season vegetable tarts, soups and + salads and of course tasty desserts. dolma also has a grocery store nearby offering bath + beauty products, household products, and fresh fruits, vegetables + healthy ingredients for those who want to cook up nutritious meals in the comfort of their own home. 329 chaussée d’ixelles, 1050 brussels / quartier flagey / +32 2  649 89 81


{ M O O N  F O O D }

moon food {fully vegan}: touts itself as the first vegan cafe in brussels. this is the place for raw, vegan + gluten-free options including veggie wraps + lasagna as well as freshly-baked breads. detox juices + snacks for take away available. desserts include sweet treats like orange + apple pie, cheesecake + pistache matcha crumble. 58 rue des colonies, 1000 bruxelles / +32 2 303 43 32




{ A M I }

ami cafe {vegetarian + vegan}: serving gourmet, modern vegetarian + vegan cuisine, ami offers sandwiches, croquemonsieurs, mixed salads, soups, veggie burgers and more. their motto is "a contribution of freshness and originality." this is a charming cafe with a warm atmosphere + quaint outdoor terrace. 13 rue lesbroussart, 1050 brussels / +32 2 646 88 41


{ L A  G R A N E R I E }

la granerie {fully vegan}: la grainerie is a grocery store specializing in superfoods and dried products by weight, all sans packaging; a small coffee shop onsite offers snacks + refreshments. also a 100% vegan caterer offering a range of plant-strong options for special events + occasions. 112 rue de tenbosch , 1050 brussels / +32 2 217 98 27

**the belgium waffle in vegan form does truly exist. it is like the white giraffe, rarely seen but surely non-fictional. a short trip to antwerp revealed a little vegan + gluten-free bakery crafting cloudlike waffles with deep pockets that i recommend to every traveler who wishes to partake in this delectable delicacy {gluten-free version available}. more travel adventures + healthy eats tips to come fellow voyagers.

{don't forget the tip} it's important to remember that the restaurant landscape changes often, so call ahead to make sure each eatery is open. holiday closings might coincide with your lofty eating plans}.

next week we'll be bouncing around brussels' sustainable fashion landscape. stay tuned!

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{images by ev // interiors via happy, veggie cafes}