Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The lady with the long blonde hair...

Hello Eyewear Konvoy sunglasses, Birds of a Feather Designs raw opal necklace, entre2et7 Asian-inspired earrings, Lazuli Handcrafted raw stone stacking rings, Amy Waltz Designs stacking rings, sustainable outfit, casual outfit

The weirdest thing happened the other day.  I was at work and was looking for my mentor, who was in a meeting.  While I was on the search for my mentor, I ran into another teacher who said she'd send my mentor my way if they crossed paths.  This is not all that weird in itself, but about 5 minutes later, I could hear this other teacher in the hallway saying, "Hey, that new teacher lady with the long blonde hair wants you."  

Now, I wasn't blogging back in 2011, but in 2011, I had kind of a weird life experience and I chopped off all of my hair a la Emma Watson.  I wavered between feeling super chic and French-ish and feeling like an awkward teenaged boy with my pixie cut, but the long and short of it (haha) was that I decided never to cut my hair that short ever again.  I've been growing it out ever since.  

When I lived overseas and made quick trips home, my pals were always totally shocked by how long my hair was, but I didn't really see it.  It's just been something that's attached to me, I see it every day, but I tend not to think much of it... until this teacher totally overlooked the fact that I have a name and used the length of my hair as my one defining characteristic.  

And then I took these photos.  And my jaw dropped, because wow... my hair is getting pretty long!

And hey... how cool are my new shades? 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 

: the tie dye top was thrifted
: the necklace is handmade
: the rings are handmade
: the earrings are handmade

Monday, January 16, 2017

We are in this together...

Wakened Apparel

As I wrote yesterday, the documentary "Minimalism" has really stuck with me through the week.  I started listening to "The Minimalists" podcast each morning while I get ready and I think that the message of it all is really bringing meaning to my life.  "The Minimalists," Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, talk quite a bit about having things that add meaning to your life and getting rid of the things that do nothing to enhance your quality of life.  They don't say that minimalists should embrace a monk-like life, but that one should not be bogged down by useless stuff.  

I've always been pretty good about having what I need at a given time and when I feel the urge to get new things, I replace them, sending old or unused things on to another life instead of just adding the new to the old for a bigger collection.  As I've pondered this "minimalism" concept more and more and spent hours cleaning my closet and finding things to get rid of, I've been faced with choices.  What to keep?  What to get rid of?  And I decided (with a little help from the "Gilmore Girls" trailer... still haven't seen "A Year In The Life") that I only want to keep the things that are useful or bring me joy.  

When I open the kitchen cabinet and see 2 shelves full of coffee cups (too many, since I don't even own a coffee machine), I decided to keep the ones that give me joy (i.e. I have a memory tied to it, etc.).  When I look at the shoes collected under my bed, I got rid of the ones that I only wear once every several months or so.  Even as someone who is usually very good about only having what I think I need, I've found that I have more stuff than is really necessary. 

Also, building upon the concept of things that bring joy, I mentioned yesterday that I don't talk much about depression or anxiety, but that these are things that have plagued me for the better part of my life.  Lately, due largely to job dissatisfaction, I've found myself feeling down.  And I don't like to feel down.  And so, I've started trying to find joy not just in the material things that I've decided to keep, but in the natural things around me: sunlight, a warm day, plants, hummingbirds, the sound of a child laughing outside.   

Perhaps simplicity really is the way that we can all get through this thing called life... together... 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 
: proceeds from the tee go to charity
: the bracelet is handmade
: the ring is handmade
: the sweater is second-hand


Sunday, January 15, 2017

#SustainableSunday handbags and a life of minimalism...

Manos Zapotecas Gloria tote, The Tote Project Free to Grow tote, Ixchel Triangle fringe backpack, Better Life Bags patchwork Nicole tote, sustainable handbags

Ladies and gents, on a recent Netflix binge, I found myself totally and completely absorbed in the documentary, "Minimalism."  I was taking a hot bubble bath while watching it and when I got out and went over to SB's house for dinner, we watched it again (ironic?).  This documentary couldn't have come into my life at a better time.  While I don't often talk about mental illness here, depression and anxiety have been influential in my life and have been gaining more power over me lately than I really like to publicly admit.  

Anyway, the premise of the documentary is that 5 years ago, these two pals were working fabulous jobs, had 6-figure incomes, luxury cars, and big houses full of stuff, but were totally miserable.  One of them discovered minimalism, shared it with the other and then both of them started to downsize.  This snowballed into a blog that turned into social media outlets that turned into several books that turned into a documentary and a podcast and lots of long tours and now these dudes are much happier living a more intentional life.  

Now that I've binged on the documentary several times, I've gotten into the podcast and started doing some research of my own.  As it turns out, there is not just one form of minimalism, but many different recipes that will look different for each person who has a go at it.  I've written here, quite often, that I've always wavered between making sustainable choices and going on mad binges of mass consumption.  When I worked retail, I inevitably got caught up in fast fashion, just as I did when : the daily savant : started gaining attention from wholesalers.  

I grew up with parents who liked to consume things.  They still like to consume things.  When I went home for Christmas, my mum was often encouraging me to buy things while shopping in downtown Chicago.  Heck, when I moved out of her house and into my own apartment, I'd planned to get everything I "needed" second-hand, but she ended up totally furnishing my apartment with all new goods.  My dad is similar.  I'm always trying to watch my budget, but if we're wandering around the California coast and he sees that something in a boutique has caught my eye, it often finds its way into my suitcase or mailbox in the near future.  I love them, but gosh do they make the minimalist/sustainable lifestyle a bit tricky.  

That being said, I go back to this minimalism concept.  Since moving into my tiny apartment, I've had to get rid of lots of stuff.  There is simply nowhere to store it all.  My dresser drawers are full, the space under my bed (which feng shui proponents would be ashamed to note) is where I store my shoes and other goods that can't find a home anywhere else.  The shelves of my closet are stuffed, as is the floor space under my clothing.  The outdoor closet where my hot water heater resides is also packed with boxes of grade-school work, family photos, and that stuff that I just can't bear to part with.  

But, even according to minimalism, this is ok.  I have done some extensive house cleaning since watching the documentary (and made some extra cash selling off the things that I just haven't been using), but minimalism says that you should use the items that bring function or joy to your life.  

That being said, I'll step off of my soapbox to talk sustainable fashion.  I've already shared these items and brands here, but I figured that since I was talking about holding onto items that gave joy, I may as well tie back into these (what I consider) wardrobe staples.  Most gals love a good handbag.  As a traveler, I'm always looking for ways to stylishly, safely and comfortably transport the essentials  along with me on my adventures and so, I decided to round up a few of my sustainable favorites! 

^ This is the Gloria tote from Manos Zapotecas.  After owning this bag for a year, I stand firm on my belief that it is a piece of wearable art.  This bag was hand-woven using traditional Mexican Zapotec methods, on a bi-pedal treadle loom.  The leatherwork is done locally and then sent back to MZ so that the weavers can complete each bag by hand. The people making these bags are paid a fair living wage, which helps to sustain the small village community in which these bags are made.  The Gloria tote is incredibly durable and has followed me to the beach, into the desert, on airplanes, and to work, all with equal measures of style.  This is one that I'll be holding onto for a LONG time to come! 

 ^ This sweet little pouch is a product of The Tote Project, a company driven by the need to help survivors of human trafficking become empowered and rise beyond the challenges set before them.  Each bag in their shop has been hand sewn in India by a woman who has chosen to leave the sex trade.  Each bag is lined with up-cycled sari fabric, given a braided tassel also made from up-cycled sari fabric and is emblazoned with a positive message.  20% of all proceeds from each purchase goes directly to Two Wings, a US-based charity that helps victims of human trafficking reach their dreams. 

^ This fringed gem from Ixchel Triangle makes me happy.  This bag was hand-made with ethically-sourced leather and the emblem was hand-beaded.  This bag is durable, has adjustable straps and is great for travel.  This backpack is kind of an out-lier for Ixchel Triangle, who is largely known for up-cycling traditional Mayan huipils into handbags.  Each product turned out by the brand is handmade by local artists who are paid above market wages.  Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from each purchase go directly to the artisans! 

^ This adorable patchwork tote from Better Life Bags is a favourite for me in the spring and summer.  The bright colours are perfect for the seasons.  This brand is based in Detroit, Michigan and gives jobs to women who have various barriers to other forms of employment.  These women are taught to sew and learn to create both ready-to-ship bags and custom designs.  I've chosen to include this brand in my #SustainableSunday roundup because this is a company that gives back to the community and helps people jump over the many hurdles of life. 


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The most versatile piece of clothing in my closet...

Nomads Clothing 6-way poncho, Swallow's Heart gold dipped arrowhead necklace, ART Designs gold ear pins, Amy Waltz Designs bangles, sustainable outfit, work outfit, teacher outfit

As you know, sustainability is something that very much interests me.  I'm always on the search for the greatest new sustainable product, whether it be something made from recycled materials, something up-cycled, or something organic, making ethical choices where consumables are concerned is one of my top concerns.  

That being said, this 6-way poncho from Nomads Clothing has got to be one of the more sustainable staples in my wardrobe.  Not only is it ethically made AND fair trade, it's called a 6-way poncho for a reason!  You can, quite literally, wear it 6 different ways.  I've already worn it as a chunky scarf for the chilly Chicago weather a few weeks ago and today, I styled it as a classic poncho for a hectic work day.  It can also be worn as a number of different cardigans and wraps, but I am on a personal quest to find a few new ways in which to style it!  Stay tuned!  

What's sustainable about this outfit? 

: the poncho is fair trade
: the necklace is handmade
: the earrings are handmade
: the bracelets are handmade
: the ring is handmade and fair trade


Monday, January 9, 2017

A manic Monday in Wakened Apparel...

Wakened Apparel lotus tank, Vespe Studio Hamsa hand necklace, A Spoonful of Colors ice dyed yoga pants, Global Groove Life yoga ball cover, yoga outfit

Oh, friends, today was the most manic Monday I've had in a long time!  Between my assistant being gone to children having crazy temper tantrums all day, trust me... I was ready to come home and pass out.  But first, I had to stay an extra hour after school to help with Pep Squad.  

And when that was done, I was really ready for bed.  At 1700.  Without dinner.  

But alas, I had a feeling that my body might feel a bit better if I gave my soul a boost first.  I put on my new lotus tank from Wakened Apparel, my favourite ice dyed yoga pants from A Spoonful of Colors, and rolled around on my stylish yoga ball (thanks Global Groove Life).  I've already introduced you to A Spoonful of Colors and Global Groove Life, but this is the first opportunity I've had to share Wakened Apparel with you!  

I love that Wakened Apparel is an online boutique with a ".org" instead of a ".com" in their link.  That's always a good sign that what they do will go to help others, and that's just what my Lotus tank (and all of the other goodies on their website) does!  All purchases generate charitable donations to worthy causes.  The sale of my Lotus tank creates a donation for Room to Read, a charity that helps children in communities around the world have a brighter future through the means of education.  As a teacher myself, this just makes my heart happy! 

Also, how cute is this tank?  It is super soft, and I went up a size so that I'd have a bit more room to wiggle around.  My favourite thing about this tank is that around the super hippie boho lotus design are empowering words, like "honest," "brave," and "powerful."  I think every gal can use a bit of encouragement, especially on a manic Monday, even if it comes from her clothes! 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 
: the tank generates charitable donations
: the yoga pants were handmade
: the necklace was handmade


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Head to toe sustainable fashion...

Mata Traders Blue Empress earrings, Mata Traders stella top, Ash & Rose Kantha bead bracelet, sustainable fashion, ethical fashion, fair trade outfit, fair trade fashion, winter outfit, casual outfit, teacher outfit

Ok, for real... raiding my mum's closet has got to be the greatest thing ever (and it's sustainable).  I think I may have managed to put together one of my most sustainable outfits ever here!  I am wearing a shirt and earrings from fair trade company, Mata Traders; a sweater and shoes that I stole from my mum; handmade and fair trade jewelry; and jeans that I got second-hand.  

There you have it, friends.  Head to toe sustainable fashion! 

What's sustainable about this outfit?
: the top is handmade and fair trade
: the earrings are fair trade and handmade from reclaimed metal and bone
: the colored bead bracelet is fair trade and handmade from recycled sari fabric
: the jeans are second-hand
: the sweater and boots were snagged from my mum

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monochromatic chic...

Nomads Clothing 6-way poncho, Ethic Goods Half Moon necklace, Amy Waltz Designs stacking rings, monochromatic outfit, chic outfit, casual outfit

It's 3 days into 2017 and already, I am behind schedule!  Golly, I hope that this isn't any indication of the way the rest of the year is going to go!  

And now, I have to tell something of a sad fashion sob story.  

 With all that is going on with my new full-time teaching job, I fear that I have lost my style.  I was so incredibly into all of the embroidered, brightly-coloured, patterned boho trends of the last few years and now that they've kind of gone onto the back burner/I became a real-live teacher, I've ended up selling or packing away lots of my super fun clothes in favor of more practical pieces. 

I still go on those wonderful Pinterest binges, but now, instead of actually re-creating and wearing many of the ripped-jeans, maxi skirt, fabulous jewelry outfit, I find myself constantly reaching for a pair of leggings, flat shoes, stud earrings, and whatever tops happen to match all of the other pieces I've collected.  

While it is helpful that more simple, streamlined clothing is on-trend at the moment, I tend to miss the fun, hippie pieces that have been my go-to's for years.  

Alas, I managed to put together this monochromatic outfit (totally out of my comfort zone) and spice it up with a fair trade necklace and my new 6-way poncho from Nomads Clothing.  I wanted to wear it as an actual poncho on this day, but we were in and out of so many buildings and with the chilly weather outside, and crazy heat inside, I was in and out of my jacket and just found it easier to unbutton and style as a scarf.  

It kept my neck warm when I was bundled up outside and added a change of colour while I was wandering around various museums and going out to dinner! 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 
: the poncho is fair trade
: the necklace is handmade and fair trade
: the rings are handmade