Friday, April 24, 2015

Happy Fashion Revolution Day! #FASHREV

What better a way to round out Earth Week than
  Fashion Revolution Day?!

I would happily be wearing my clothes inside out in honor of this important event were I not laid up in bed recuperating from a minor (but necessary) surgery on my left foot. However, I could not let today pass without making a post and sharing some links with you for some of my favorite eco-fashion folks!

Spiritex - This company is local to me and I own many of their products! I featured them on the blog in 2014 and am a huge fan! Though they have closed their Greenville shop, the Asheville location is a delight and the online store wonderful.

Sustainably Chic - Featured on the blog just a few weeks ago, this is the place to go for ethical fashion accessories! Also Natalie's blog is fabulous and I'm not just saying that because Pan Pan Studios was featured on it recently; it really is a great read! I love her products and her passion for what she does!

Globe Hope - I had to be Scandinavian in a past life; my love for all things Finnish is well-known to my friends and family, and Globe Hope is no exception. SaimaaLife turned me on to this fashion line via her amazing blog posts featuring their products and I've been hooked ever since. I can't wait to actually visit their shop (and maybe even their headquarters) when I'm in Finland again!

There are so many more eco-fashion options out there, including even thrift-shopping. Thrift shops recycle clothing and proceeds go to worthy charities - it's a definite eco-fashion option, as are clothing swaps and simply shopping less. Visit my post on thrift shopping as eco-fashion here!

After the Rana Plaza factory collapse on this date in 2013, a push for ethical practices in the manufacturing of clothing set off a tide of awareness campaigns, but it all comes down to where we as consumers choose to spend our dollars. In the Rana Plaza collapse, 1133 people - primarily young women between 18 and 20 years - working in hazardous conditions for low pay died making clothing for familiar, low-cost fashion brands. 

Safer conditions and fair pay for garment workers is only one step of the journey in the fashion revolution - the other is the environmental toll of cheap, fast fashion. 

But you can make a difference, starting today. For example, one organic cotton t-shirt saves 1/3 a pound - 1/3 A POUND - of pesticides from being released into our environment (thank you Spiritex for that information!) And that's just the beginning of how you can make a difference. 

Visit Fashion Revolution today and learn who made your clothes! 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rewild Your Life April Challenge: Update and Pics

At the beginning of the month, I joined up with the awesome folks over at We Are Wildness for the April thirty day Rewild Your Life Challenge! (For more information on this, visit my post from March 28)

For my son and I, this wasn't too difficult of a challenge as we spend a lot of time outdoors in nature. We're blessed to live right beside a wooded area with trails, a large creek, and nearby ponds. Wildlife is abundant, which is a good thing...for the most part!

We have not only been able to spend plenty of time in our garden, where I was crowned queen...

but we've also been out in the woods...

...and we were even able to spend a lot of time each day out in nature when we visited the coast for Easter weekend!

Here are a few more pictures from our rewilding adventures! I'll be honest, this week it's been a bit challenging with all the April rains, but we've managed!

I love mossy trails!

April showers bring mushrooms everywhere!

So. Much. Love. 

When my friend's family bought this land about 80 years ago, this post was there!

Nature in the city - an old Southern yard on my parent's street!

Beauty along the way
The junkyard dog and I!

Surveying his domain...
Are you participating in the April 2015 Rewild Your Life Challenge? If not, it isn't too late to join! Sign up here and rewild your life today!  P.S. you can follow on Facebook for more rewilding tips!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Opinions of Others vs. How We See Ourselves

Recently my friend Ginn shared a link on my personal Facebook page to an article concerning fashion for women over thirty. Actually, it was more of a 'what not to wear' kind of deal and she shared it with me for humor's sake. Like me, she subscribes to her own ideas ideas concerning age and fashion and all things such. It's just one of the reasons we're friends!

One of the no-nos for women over thirty, according to this article, was graphic t-shirts....which I love. So, to add to the fun, my response comment was a picture of myself at that very moment, wearing my favorite graphic tee, a bright red number featuring rows of bones.


I didn't think much more about it until a male friend messaged me later about the picture. He thought that the photo was not flattering and for my own sake, I should remove it. He then offered a bit of advice about my current look, primarily that he preferred my hair straight.

His comments sent me into a momentary tailspin. All the mixed feelings I've always had about my appearance came creeping up, all the things I can not change and thus have made peace with - my height, my body shape, my curly hair. Then I woke up and realized, who was he to judge the way I look? His opinion hadn't been asked for and the more I thought about it, the more his actions just...I don't know...said quite a lot more about him than about my and/or my photo.

Honestly, I'd not paid the photo much attention. It was the end of a workday and I'd snapped it at the best angle I could to get the shirt as well as me. I had not posted it to garner compliments or praise; I posted it simply because I found humor in the fact that I was wearing one of the forbidden items featured in the article as I was reading it. My friend's negative comments about my appearance emotionally hijacked me because, well, most of us would be a bit sensitive to a thing like that. We're human. We're often vulnerable. And sometimes we get riled up over trivial things like the opinions of others, despite how hard we try to be enlightened.

How others see us is often more a reflection of how they see themselves. And more importantly, we can't control this. We can control how we react to it, however. I let go of my friend's unsolicited negative criticism about my picture and moved on with my day because in the end, his opinion was just that - his opinion. We have the choice of how much we're going to let the opinions of others control our thoughts, feelings, actions, and most importantly, our lives. I liked the picture and I would not remove it because this open person didn't find it visually appealing any more than I would chuck all my graphic tees because some random article writer said I was to old to wear them.

Here's a song for both of them and all the other naysayers out there who think they know better than us what's best for us. Kind of perfect, don't you think? :-) Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Naturally Curly Hair Care + a Wonderful New Blog to Share!

I have to admit, I've not always embraced my curls...

On any given day, my hair is messy, big, and pretty high maintenance. Or actually, pretty low maintenance when compared to the daily routines of straightening. Yes, I spent much of the past year engaged in a morning battle of straightening my hair, which employs a rather frightening list of hair care products to calm it, keep it calmed, and protect it from the heating damage of straightening devices that seem to be rimmed in 24 karat gold, given what they cost. All to avoid this...

Actually, this is a rather mellow hair day...
However, I decided recently to eschew trying to be someone I'm not. I can't explain it, but I feel less like myself with straight hair. While I love it on other folks, my often unruly curls just feel more familiar.  Much more like me. Naturally.

And I like to keep the maintenance of it natural. I cringe thinking of the layers of products I used to force straightness on my curls. And while it is possible to find organic and sustainable hair care products for straightening, the only thing I have to focus on with my curls is conditioning. My basic hair care routine these days involves getting out of bed, picking through my hair with a comb (never, ever a brush!) a few spritzes with lavender water, and deciding whether I'm gonna wear it up that day with a nice headband or scarf, or wear it down.


But back to the conditioning, which is so important for hair like mine. I discovered a fabulous natural treatment via the wonderful and wonderfully inspiring blog of Brooklyn-based stylist and creative mama, Latonya Staubs. Her recipe for a natural avocado deep conditioner has become a weekly routine for me. I'm addicted to avocados (and raw avocado chocolate pudding!) and there is always one or two around here that can be added to, well, everything! So whenever I feel the need to deep condition, I just step into the kitchen...

One half for my salad...the other for my hair! It's a great treatment that I can feel good about because it's all natural! Thanks, Latonya Staubs, for sharing this! And readers, I definitely recommend her blog!  You can also follow her on Instagram @latonyayvette and on Facebook!

And I also recommend you rock your curls, girls! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sustainably Awesome! An Interview with Eco-Designer Natalie Smith of Sustainably Chic

Sustainably awesome...that would be my opinion of Charleston, SC based artist and designer Natalie Smith's online shop, Sustainably Chic.

What is Sustainably Chic? Directly quoting from the site, it is, "A blog and online boutique dedicated to sustainability within fashion economics and culture. We can all make a difference by what we decide to purchase. Shop positive, shop small, shop sustainably."

Though Natalie is not too far down the road from me, I discovered her shop through a long-time favorite blog of mine, SaimaaLife! (Isn't the wide world of the web amazing? I learn about something local to me from a blogger on the other side of the world! Read Mari's posts on Sustainably Chic here and here!) I was hooked after reading Mari's first post, but this was during The February Challenge so I had to wait a bit to order my own Sustainably Chic items! However, they were well worth the wait!

Love my ivory headband from the organic linen & lace headband/bracelet line. Yes, it can double as wristwear!

This piece from her organic crochet and lace necklace line just has all of my heart!
I love my two pieces, and was able to chat with Natalie for this post and learn a bit more about her and her vision for the future of Sustainably Chic!

Natalie Smith of Sustainably Chic
"Sustainably Chic actually began as a school project," says Natalie. "It was a filler for my portfolio. I studied fashion, and the last two years of school, I found sustainable fashion and became obsessed. All my projects became dedicated to sustainability within fashion economics. Towards the end of my studies, I wanted to create a business plan for my own store. Faqara was the name of the business, which means ‘love’ in Amharic. It was a fair trade store that sold accessories and home decor from all over the world - and my professor hated the idea. She didn't understand the concept of Fair Trade and thought there was nothing special about the store - no niche. That’s when I realized I needed to change the minds around me and educate people about their purchasing power. I started La Petite N-Kay to add to the mix and relate to my immediate peers. The name ‘Faqara’ dwindled off in my mind, but then Sustainably Chic came about and the conversation got bigger."

Organic linen& lace headband in grapefruit, $12
"The name La Petite N-Kay derives from two things: we are from the canton Vaud in Switzerland so there is a lot of French speaking in the family. My Grandmaman calls me her Jolie Petite Fille. N-Kay is short for my first and middle name, Natalie Kay. I’m pretty small, 5’1’’ and three quarters, so it fits!"

Organic linen turban headband in light forest green, $22
"The main thing I want to do with both La Petite N-Kay and Sustainably Chic," says Natalie, "is to create awareness for positive consumerism. I think it’s safe to say we all love to get something new now and then and a lot of us enjoy being trendy. There is a sustainable alternative to purchasing, however - buying organic, upcycled, recycled, fair trade, ect. can make all the difference in the world! In my world, and Sustainably Chic’s world, sustainability is in fashion, and now it’s all about letting others realize the impact they can make with their own purchasing power."

Gloria tote in multicolored diamond + teal by Manos Zapotecas, $130

     Like Natalie, I have a passion for sustainability. In the past few years,  I've learned so much about the true cost of cheap clothing and accessories in America and it has made a profound impact in how I shop and how I view the fashion industry. It is nice to have a discussion with someone who not only shares my views, but has an insider perspective on what it might take to change things. 
    "I read so many terrible articles, throughout college, about unethical treatment and waste that it made me sick," Natalie stated. "I took a few courses where I focused heavily on sustainability and my career in fashion took a totally different course. I was never really into trend reports - I loved style and construction that lasted. The fashion industry creates so many unnecessary wants. While I enjoy the art behind fashion, the industry pushes the trends too heavily on consumers which is why we have stores like GAP, H&M, Forever 21, ect. But every purchasing decision you make affects someone else in the world, and with ‘fast’ fashion, it is not in a positive way. The more people we can get to say no, the less terrible working conditions and waste there will be. Consumers have the ultimate say, and it’s important to discuss that power."

Eyelet Necklace in Easter Candy by SoloHope, $25

     The desire to be a conscientious consumer and also the desire to be fashionable do not have to be mutually exclusive, however! "Don’t get me wrong... I do like to purchase new items throughout the year (after all - I do own an online store), but you will never see me posting a different outfit everyday just because I have to keep up with the latest trends. My style and the items I purchase are a positive alternative to all the ridiculousness. I have had some amazing sustainable fashion designers, specifically with clothing, on the blog this past year that I look up to. Everyone I have featured is extremely talented and I only feature people or businesses I really stand behind, such as FROCK Los Angeles designer, Victoria Tik. She has taken the celebrity world by storm, which is one of the best ways to spread the idea of sustainable fashion."

Organic crochet and lace necklace in Bluebird, $20
Natalie includes both the work of sustainable companies that promote empowerment through creativity as well as items she recylces/upcycles/creates herself. I was particularly drawn to the delicacy of her necklaces and headbands and asked her to share a little about her creative process as an artist/designer. "I love anything dainty, so I always start with lace or vintage buttons and figure it out from there," she stated. "I do a lot of making and taking apart. Normally it’s when I’m not thinking too hard about it something good actually comes about! Nothing I make is difficult, but it also isn't something I've seen before."

As for Natalie's personal creative goals, she says "I really want to be a professional tatter and make lace. When I get there, I’ll feel much better about my other creative processes!"

You can follow Sustainably Chic's blog here, and I totally recommend doing so for beautiful imagery as well as insightful information on sustainability and creative living! In addition, you can follow Sustainably Chic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

***All shop photos and image of Natalie Smith courtesy of Sustainably Chic.