What the Heck Does Organic Cotton Even Mean?

When you first start diving into the world of “sustainable and ethical fashion” you instantly become overwhelmed. There are so many factors that go into being a sustainable and ethical product and come to find out it’s almost impossible to find something that has the whole package. When it comes to shopping more ethically I’ve had to evaluate what parts of ethical fashion I find the most important. For example, an item can be sustainably made (with organic cotton and dyes) but not be made ethically (fair wages and normal work hours). The five most common factors in sustainable and ethical fashion are ethical production, transparency in the company, made with natural fibers/earth-friendly dyes, gives back to a cause, and local manufacturing. I happen to care about these factors in the order in which they are listed. What do you think is most important?

With that said, let’s dive into the reasoning why it matters to have natural, organic fibers such as cotton.

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Although cotton takes up less than 2.5 percent of global cropland, 10% of all pesticides are used. 

Remember learning about organic food in high school and how bad GMOs were for your body? Come to find out that we’re all wearing something that is way worse than consuming GMOs. Your skin is your largest organ yet we allow a plethora of chemicals lay on our skin… well unless you’re a hippy and don’t wear clothes. The constant contact of pesticides can cause you to have irritated skin, rashes, and even can cause headaches and dizziness. Umm… no, thank you!

These chemicals are up and personal with your goods every day and night. Ever forget to wash your jeans before you wear them and end up with blue/black hands from the dye? I’m super guilty of this and have plenty of blue/black hands before. Although pesticides aren’t as visible as the dye rubbing off on your hands, the same amount gets stuck onto your skin and rubs against sensitive areas. So if you don’t buy organic cotton make sure you wash your item before you wear it so that it removes some of the pesticides before you wear it.

The Cotton Industry is notorious for human rights violations in India, the world’s largest cotton producer.

The problem with cotton that as soon as you start to treat it with pesticides it only needs more and more pesticides. As soon as the farmers start to use the pesticides, they need more and more in order to keep up with the crop. This causes them to be in tremendous debt and sell some of their land to the people who sold them the pesticides, Monsanto. All while these transactions are going on, local communities near the farms are born with birth defects and mentally deficient as a result of the extreme pesticide exposure. When pesticides are sprayed they can actually travel two miles from the air and waterways. If that wasn’t worse enough, the same people who are selling the pesticides, taking the land, and allowing neighboring towns to get sick are also selling the medication to help with the illnesses. It is one big money scheme.

This isn’t only happening in India. The Environmental Protection Agency considers 7 of the 15 pesticides used on conventional cotton as possible or known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents. Farmers in the United States are also suffering from the harsh pesticides and are dying from cancer.

Organic Cotton

What are the requirements to be considered organic cotton?

  • No pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals are used when growing organic cotton
  • To be certified organic the soil must be free from chemicals for at least 3 years
  • The land, and soil, benefits from crop rotation
  • Organic cotton gets a GOTS certification (Global Organic Textile Standard) to make sure that it is organic.

So how can I help this issue?

Cotton is in so much that we consume even away from our clothes. Our bedding, towels, money, tampons, make up wipes, q-tips, and so much more. So how can you help the cotton industry? By buying organic! So many companies are coming out with organic lines each and every day. Keep your skin and the environment happy by choosing to buy organic cotton. Here are just six of the many companies that have an adorable line of organic items:

Organic Cotton

You can even find some organic cotton in the sea of clothes at TJMaxx and Marshalls! I found these perfect casual t-shirts at Marshalls. They have been my go-to when I’m rushing to get out the door in the morning.

Do you own anything that is made out of organic cotton? Did you know that cotton was such a demanding crop? Let me know in the comments down below. 

As always,

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Fashion Revolution​ Week: What it is and Why it Matters

Guys, I admit… I’m a pretty obnoxiously optimistic person and this blog tends to be an extended arm of that. I mean after all, who really wants to read dreary stuff? But that is the problem. There is no way to say what I’m about to say nicely, positively, or without beating around the bush. I’m going to tell you guys the harsh reality of fast fashion, why we should care, and end with positive ways we can fix the industry. Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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Five years ago 1,100 lifeless bodies were pulled underneath the rubble from the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse.

After countless complaints the factory was unsafe, the factory was still operated in. Workers even asked to not return to work because of these unsafe work conditions and when they spoke up they were told that a month’s pay would be withheld if they did not return next day. The next day, more than a thousand of them lost their lives and 2,500 of them were critically injured when the building collapsed.

Brand name fast-fashion and designer brands such as Walmart, JC Penny, and Primark were finally in the spotlight for their unjust work practices and thousands of people were angered at the thought that their clothes were the reason for such injustices.

In 2013, I was a senior in college worrying about stupid high school things. I don’t even remember this being in the news and that is the problem. We all need to be informed about the injustices of where our clothes are made. Whether that be the environmental, social, or economic factors we need to know them all. By knowing more information about what happened at Rana Plaza and hundreds of other factories around the world we can make conscious shoppers.

 

So what is Fashion Revolution Week? 

Since then the Rana Plaza factory collapse, people from all over the world have been using their voices to tell brands that things must change… and it is working. The industry is starting to change. With that said, Fashion Revolution Week is April 23-29th and the idea is it that people ask more questions and learn about sustainable fashion. This could mean asking leading brands in the industry where their clothes came from or even joining workshops about sustainable fashion. The end goal is both the same: we need to change the fashion industry for the better.

One thing that hit me really hard in this movement was the idea that there are 40 million garment workers in the world and about 85% of them are female. They are some of the lowest paid workers in the world and are constantly faced with unsafe work conditions. With that said, fast fashion brands like H&M, TopShop, and Zara all make feminist slogan t-shirts where their female garment workers are not paid equally, do not receive maternity leave, and constantly face unsafe work conditions. Does that really sound like feminism to you?

 

So what the heck can we do?

During the Fashion Revolution Week, we are asked to contact our favorite stores and ask them the simple question “who made my clothes.” Here are all the different ways you can ask fashion brands who made your clothes. Note: this isn’t meant to be rude to these brands. This is meant to create awareness and an ongoing conversation about sustainable fashion. Good things do not come out of negativity.

Write an email or send a postcard to your favorite fashion brands asking them who makes their clothes

It’s important to have an ongoing conversation with fashion brands. This is not meant to call them out but instead to inform them that you care and it matters who makes the clothes. Once brands know more people are caring about who is making the clothes and where they are coming from they will change their policies. You can write your own or print out Fashion Revolution’s premade cards here. You can also download the app Good on You to send emails directly from the app. It takes less than a minute on the app!

Post on your social media #whomademyclothes

You can follow the hashtag to see what companies are being asked and you can add your voice to it. The best part about asking companies on social media is that you’re getting more people aware of the issue and what is happening behind the store doors. The whole movement is really about getting people informed.

Become more informed on what is happening around you

I highly recommend watching the True Cost on Netflix for more information on the overall structure of what is happening behind the store doors. I also recommend listening to the podcast Conscious Chatter by Kestrel Jenkins to hear what people who are in the slow fashion industry are saying. Lastly, follow bloggers, read, research, and engage. The change starts with you. I’ll be showing a few of my favorite bloggers on my Instagram later this week and doing a blog recap next week with all of their blogs listed. Be sure to check back for that.

Lastly, support the brands who respond to your questions and are becoming more transparent… they are setting the example for everyone else. 

You can find companies that are responding to the movement with the hashtag #imadeyourclothes but you can also download the app Good on You to find out how your favorite companies are ranked. I was pretty bummed about a few of my favorite companies so I would definitely check that out.

I’ve been reaching out to companies all week on my Instastories and on the app Good on You. Here are two examples of how I’ve asked big companies on my Instastory:

 

Overall, we all are in this together. Whether we’re trying to help the environment or the social structure of garment workers, we have an obligation to put our money where it matters. Plus, it adds an extra conversation piece to your outfit which is always a huge bonus.

Have you heard about the Rana Plaza Collapse or Fashion Revolution Week? What companies do you want to ask “who made my clothes?” Let me know in the comments down below. 

As always,

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4 Reasons Why You Need a Linen Dress This Season

Over the weekend, I went to a blogging event with a few local Connecticut bloggers. It was so much fun meeting everyone and learning what their blog is about. Even though all 15-20 of us were at different ages and blog popularities, it was so pleasant to see what people were really passionate about. For example, Courtney from Betty Juliet Diaries blogs about her incredible vintage vibes and the history of the era associated with it. Kelsey from Kelsey Lynn B finds the best sales and knows how to have a killer workout. Lastly, Caitlyn from Confessions of a Northern Belle, the one who brought us all together, blogs about her adventures with her adorable children. All completely different topics but it was so pleasant to see how much joy they have from blogging.

As I talked to a few bloggers and even a few coworkers, I found myself lighting up when I talked about sustainability and fashion ethics. When a coworker compliments me on an article of clothing, like these white jeans, I find myself spewing knowledge about how denim is made or who makes the product. Sometimes it gets to a point where I say to myself “girl, calm down before they frame you as a psychopath”. Green Linen Dress and Everlane Denim JacketGreen Linen Dress and Everlane Denim Jacket

Everlane Jacket | Artisan NY (Can’t find anything similar) |Giving Key Necklace | Shoes

Despite starting my journey to more ethical shopping, I still find myself wandering through Marshalls and T.J. Maxx line no one’s business. Sometimes I’m able to find “Made in the USA” or “Organic Cotton” shirts whereas other times you can see where the quality is missing out of the garment. A missed stitching here… a spaghetti strap that was just slapped on… or jeans that have that weird chemical smell that you can’t seem to get rid of. We’ve all bought these products in our lifetime. As a recovering shopaholic, I have tons of pointless fashion items in my closet that barely see the light of day. With challenges like the 10x10challenge, I’ve been trying to use the items I already have more but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I love shopping. Which is why I’m slowly easing into the sustainability world by focusing on the quality of the items I’m buying and how often I will wear it. Thus, the reason why this adorable linen dress came into my life.

So why the heck is linen so great? What makes it better than other fabrics and why is it so darn expensive?

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Linen as an environmentally friendly product.

When linen is made, the entire part of the flax plant is used to make the linen yarn. The by-product, Linseed Oil, is even used and can be used to preserve wood. Flax uses 13 times fewer pesticides than potatoes but is only approximately 1% of the world’s apparel fiber consumption.

It is easy to grow, but not easy to make the yarn. 

Although Flax seeds can grow in poor soil while using less water than cotton, the process of making the linen yarn is very laborious and time-consuming. This what causes linen garments to be so much more than other items. Although it is time-consuming, to spin the yarn it is more durable than cotton which is the big benefit of having linen clothing.

Unlike polyester or acrylic, it is 100% biodegradable when it is not dyed.

This dress is actually dyed so it is not 100% biodegradable. But if this is something that is very important to you buy linen that is colored in its natural form which is ivory, ecru, tan and grey. This means that if you grow out of the dress in a few years or it just isn’t the same style you fell in love with, you can actually compost the dress! So forget clothes piling up in the landfills, if we wore more linen we wouldn’t have this problem.

On hot days it will keep you cool. 

Even though here in Connecticut I don’t have to worry about the warm weather just yet, I know I have this linen dress to fall back on once it gets warm. Since the linen fabric is built differently than cotton, it actually allows more airflow. It also is less likely to cling to your skin because of the how stiff the fabric is naturally. It is the perfect fabric for the spring and summer because of this.

Green Linen Dress and Everlane Denim JacketGreen Linen Dress and Everlane Denim Jacket

So, be like linen. Be easy to adapt and stronger when things get you down. Okay, that may be stretching it but I think it works well.  Next time you’re walking through Marshalls and you pick up that adorable t-shirt, look at what the item is made out of. If it’s made out of polyester, nylon, or acrylic (otherwise known as straight up plastic), you might want to put it back on the rack. Hey, this trick has been helping me save up for this adorable jean jacket (check out the factory it is made in and you’ll be hooked on this company).

What do you think about linen as a textile? Do you like wearing linen in the spring/summer? Have you ever meet up with local bloggers in your area? Let me know in the comments down below. 

As always,

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P.S. This week is Fashion Revolution Week where sustainable bloggers from all over the world are calling out big named companies and asking who makes their clothes. For more information about this week check out my Instagram to see how I’m raising awareness for the garment workers all over the world (40 million garment workers and 80% of them are female).

Double PS: Thank you for Amy from Amy Marie Blog and Lindsay from Lindsay Demo for making me laugh during these photos. We’re definitely going to have to back to Conspiracy to watch a drag show or hit up a cidery/brewery! 💕

Everything You Need to Know About Buying and Selling Clothes on eBay

eBay rocks my world. It allows me to make money without even having to move from my bed… okay, sometimes I do have to leave my bed to mail out a package. But other than that, it’s smooth sailing. If you haven’t tried to sell or buy clothes on eBay or you just don’t know where to begin, this is the post for you.

A few years ago my cousin started selling tons and tons of clothes, comic books, action figures, etc. on eBay and I didn’t think twice about it. It just seemed like unnecessary work for “little” return. Little did I know that he made way over a thousand dollars just from selling clothes on eBay. My green eyes turned a little bit greener when I thought of the cash I could make just by selling the clothes in the back of my closet. Not only could I make money from selling my clothes, I would be giving my clothes to someone who will appreciate them instead of throwing them away. After all, only 10% of clothes donated to charity get sold… the rest gets thrown away or shipped to countries who don’t need any more clothes. Also, if I wanted to donate money to charity I could donate my earnings directly to charities through eBay. So instead of throwing away your clothes let’s put them to good use.

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Selling Tips

When I first started selling clothes on eBay, I was a little overwhelmed. Where do I begin? I called up my cousin and asked him for some tips and tricks and this is what we came up with.

Start off by looking what other people are pricing the same items for.

Before I list an item, I always look what other people are selling the item for and if they include shipping or not. I usually end up putting my item $1-$2 cheaper than what other people are selling their stuff for. This way people are more likely to buy my item for cheaper.

Measure everrrrrryyyythaaaanggggg. 

One thing I was absolutely clueless about was making sure all of the measurements are listed on jeans, belts, and so forth. Make your life easier and just look at this guide to figure out how to measure your pants. For shirts, make sure that if you think it runs a little small or large you put that in the description. It’s all about behind honest on eBay.

Take pictures of every corner of the item.

Take pictures of labels, pattern, tags, buttons, hemlines… if you think of it you should take a picture of it then do it. Also, if you are selling something that has a rip or stain (which I personally do not do) make sure you take a picture of it so people understand what they are buying. If you don’t you could get a bad review and people will become more hesitant to shop from your store.

Add personality into your captions. 

This is my absolute favorite thing to do on my eBay page. I love mentioning what someone can wear an item with and how fabulous they will look. I can just picture a total stranger reading my words and being super amused. Plus, this might make someone want to buy more because they can relate to the buyer. Make sure you include descriptors like “only worn once” or “it was the back of my closet since 2009 and has never been worn before.” The better the description, the better the outcome.

Shipping Tips

The hardest part about selling clothes is figuring out how to do the shipping. However, once you figure it out it will be second nature to you.

Don’t include free shipping with your jeans.

Jeans are typically heavy so they cost around $5-$7 to ship. This can be half of what you’re selling the jeans for so make sure that you calculate the cost of the shipping in the cost or just say shipping “$6.99” or whatever it is to ship. Sometimes I sell my pants for a super low cost because I know shipping is going to be so much. It all depends on if they’ve never been worn before or if you just bought them directly from J.Crew.

Shirts typically cost between $2.50-$4.50 to ship.

Since shirts are typically lighter you can make the shipping costs much lower. If you buy a scale (which I highly recommend you do) you can measure it the shipping cost before you put the listing up. It also helps when you do have to finally ship the product.

High priced items: include free shipping. 

Personally, I think it is polite to include free shipping when someone is buying a big priced item. I sold a pokemon card for $150 and didn’t charge the customer shipping. Obviously, a little card didn’t cost that much to ship but I think it makes the sale go through that much easier.

 

Buying Tips

You know that awesome feeling when you return something that you weren’t really sure that you loved or not? You then get store credit or your money back and you feel this odd sense of power. Okay, maybe just me. The best part about selling clothes on eBay is that you have money you can either save or you can put back into finding something super cute.

Make sure you read all of the descriptions! 

I almost bought a shirt that had a stain on it without even knowing. Just as I was checking out, I noticed the little description saying that there was a faint stain on the front of the shirt. That was definitely enough to deter me from buying the shirt. Also, sometimes the titles get mixed around when you’re posting so make sure that you’re actually buying the right size.

Play around with bidding wars.

This one is very new to me and it’s oddly thrilling to play the little dancing game. I’m currently in a bidding war on a beautiful Free People top. Fingers crossed that I win it because it is the cutest thing in the world. My tip would be to wait until the very end to bid the shirt up.

Search your favorite companies with descriptors you might be looking for. 

Instead of just searching the name search key things you may be looking. This may be the textile-like “lace” or it could be a vibe like “edgy”. This will help narrow down the search and hopefully weed out the sellers that you’re not looking for.

What is currently on my watch list:

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Free People Top, Vintage Belt, Feed Bag, Button Skirt, White Madewell Jeans

What do you think about selling or buying clothes from eBay? Have you ever done it or do you use sites like postmark? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

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Rethink the Way You Buy Jeans

Let’s talk about America’s favorite piece of clothing: jeans. I’m jean obsessed. Growing up my brothers used to mock me because of my different colored jeans. They even had a song for when I wore my pink pair… “Logan pink pants Porter” still rings in my ears to this day. Nonetheless, my love for the classic pair of jeans has never faded.

It didn’t occur to me how jeans were actually made until I watched the Trust Cost. I figured cotton and a little bit of stretch make the ideal jean. I knew so little about how much jeans and the cotton production ruin the environment surrounding the factories and cotton farms. I never knew that although cotton is only planted on 2.4% of agriculture land, it accounts for nearly 11% of pesticide sales in the world. I never even though of the beloved plastic elasticity in my jeans being the exact reason why it is so hard to recycle jeans. The more I researched the more I started to feel guilty about the cheap pair of $12 jeans I found at Marshalls. Who made those jeans and what conditions were they made in? I started asking myself more and more questions and found myself researching until the wee hours of the night. That’s when it occurred to me that needed to make a vow to stop buying cheap, fast fashion jeans and either thrift of invest in ethical jeans that will last. So when I was looking for a new pair of white jeans, I found Everlane.

Everlane White Pants

Jeans | Boots | Sweater (Sold out… Similar) | Jacket (Similiar) | Belt (Same on eBay)

Everlane is a slow fashion company that focuses on basics with a touch of creativity. The reason I found this basic store so incredibly comforting is that they show the factories that make their clothes on the website and then break down the cost of the item directly  (see their jean factory here). I know, wild. So let me take you through the process of making these jeans and explain to you why these ones, in particular, are the white jeans you need for spring.

“Belly” washing machines that are used in standard denim manufacture plants waste up to 1,500 liters of water per pair of jeans (about 132 Gatorade coolers).

Depending on where you live water may not seem that important because it always seems like it is raining or snowing (ex: these snowy pictures). But 35% of the world’s population doesn’t have proper access to clean water. Instead of wasting all of that water, Everlane’s factory, Saitex, uses a closed water system and super-efficient jet washing machines. The result? Only .4 liters of water is lost due to evaporation. By being conscious of the water consumption, Everlane is making a difference in jean production and the community around the factories.

Often times factories in developing countries dump polluted water back into the waterway, which directly affects the surrounding communities. 

Saitex recycles 98% of all used water and when it comes out the other side, it’s so clean you can actually drink it. You don’t have to worry about Everlane’s factories polluting the surrounding areas. Instead, you can have a clear conscious buying a pair of wicked cute jeans.

IMG_0112.jpgIMG_0126Most denim factories use an insane amount of energy for their factories because they have to constantly dry the jeans. 

Saitex airdries 85% of their jeans and the rest of the jeans are dried with energy coming from solar panels. This has allowed their factory to reduce energy usage by 5.3 million kilowatts of power and reduce CO2 emissions by almost 80%. Kudos for clean energy!

All denim creates a toxic byproduct called sludge.

No matter how clean a denim factory is, jeans will still create a byproduct called sludge. This byproduct is nearly impossible to get rid of until Saitex found out that when you mix sludge with concrete the toxic material can no longer leech into the environment. The factory uses this method to make concrete bricks to build affordable homes. So far, Saitex has built ten homes with these bricks. So not only are they creating jeans but they’re actually creating homes from a byproduct!

Everlane White PantsIMG_0137My top four picks for your white jean wardrobe:white jeans.jpg

Everlane ($68) | Able ($128) | Amour Vert ($178) | DL1961 ($188)

So if you’re ready to buy another pair of white jeans for this spring and summer why not buy a pair that is better for the environment. When you’re buying a pair of jeans that are better quality make sure to check what the jeans are actually made of. Look for the ratio of cotton to spandex and make sure that you’re not just buying a cheap pair of jeggings that will only last a few washes. A good pair of jeans will be made out of either 100% cotton or 99% cotton with 1% spandex. Staples, like jeans, that you wear again and again deserve to be invested in.

What do you think about Everlane? Did you know how jeans were produced? Let me know in the comments down below. (Also, I’m very curious if you think it’s wrong to wear white before Memorial Day… I clearly have no shame).

As always,

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Clean Reserve’s Citron Fig: an Ethically Made Perfume (Review)

If you saw my post from Tuesday, you know I’m pretty much diving into the world of sustainable, ethical goods blindly. No actually, you could probably put a blindfold over my clueless head and I’d be in the same exact spot. But one thing I do know is that I need to start researching more and more about what and how I’m consuming products.

During the Christmas season, my boyfriend gave me Clean Reserve’s Citron Fig perfume and not only did I fall for the delicious smell but I fell for the company itself. (Props to Rob for really knowing how to give good gifts). The more I researched Clean Reserve and their sustainability practices, the more I started to love the company. They not only use reusable materials, clean energy, eco-friendly oils, but they even pay their workers fairly. Literally, what more could you love about a company?

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Citron Fig by Clean Reserve

Fragrance Notes: Ginger, lemon oil, cardamom, mandarin, mint, copaiba, sandalwood, cedarwood, and musk.

What it Smells Like: Having a really good dream and then waking up to the soft glow of the sun on your cheek. It also has the possibility of taking you back in time to the moment where you were first able to ride a bike without training wheels. Hey, I warned you.

The Perfume’s InspirationInspired by a free-spirited confidence that awakens when you realize your true potential.

Perfect forThe up and comer (aka totally me because I’m still trying to figure out the big, bad adult world).

How long does it last: 6-8 hours

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Sustainable IngredientsThey procure Cardamom from a local supplier in Guatemala who works directly with native Guatemalan farmers. This allows Clean to guarantee that the local farmers receive a higher profit for the essential oils and a steady income. Working directly with the communities in the Amazon and providing them with technical and financial support ensures the sustainable sourcing of Copaiba Oil and an increase of income for the farmers.

There are so many reasons why I think this is such an incredible company but the main one is that they are actually paying their farmers a living wage. My mom grew up on a dairy farm and from this, I know how hard farmers have to work in order to get the job done. Most of the time farmers are undercut by big corporations even though the farmers are doing all of the hard work. You often see this in any type of farm work from cotton farming to milk production to even essential oils. Companies like Clean Reserve are putting a stop to this unfair practice. I couldn’t be happier to wear their playful scent because of this.

For more information about their sustainable practices including their packaging I decided to pull this super informative picture from their website:

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Now that I know more about their company I literally want to try them all… is that bad? If I had to try another one next it would definitely be the Sueded Oud because we all know how I feel about patchouli (if you don’t definitely check out my weirdly obsessive blog post on this candle. But Sueded Oud is apparently for “the boss” so I might have to wait a while until I get to that level!

Have you ever heard or smelled perfumes from Clean Reserve? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

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5 Ways to Stop Buying Fast Fashion Today

Vent. Okay, so originally this post was going to be about my weekend and how wonderful it was visiting Terrain with Juliette from Julietteful (which by the way was all kinds of wonderful). But before I sat down to write this blog post I watched The True Cost on Netflix and I couldn’t focus because I was so unbelievably frustrated and overwhelmed. For those who don’t know, The True Cost is a documentary that explains negative impact fast fashion has on the social, economic, political, and environmental structures of developing countries. That was a mouthful. In short: fast fashion is ruining everything around us. But what really resonated with me were the following statistics:

  1. The fashion industry is the world’s second-largestpolluter. (Oil is the first).
  2. The world now consumes a staggering 80 billionpieces of clothing. (And we throw clothes away just as quickly as we consume them).
  3. One-in-six people work in the global fashion industry. (The majority of them are women and are being paid less than $3 a day).
  4. Only 10% of the clothes people donate to charity or thrift stores get sold (When the clothes are not sold, they are shipped to various developing countries where they are bought by the box and kill the local textile industry).

After watching this film, I feel so overwhelmed. I have been so blind to what was happening right underneath my nose. More than half the products I own I don’t even know where they came from. I don’t even know how my clothes came to American or the processes in which they were cut, dyed, or sewn. I love shopping and the “rush” of finding a good deal but I’m quickly realizing how wrong that is. Do I really want a cheaply made garment that will unravel after a few washes? Do I really want a garment that people have made with their own blood, sweat, and tears? I think it’s time I drastically rethink the way I consume, which is why I plan on implementing these steps into my daily life.

Recycled Fashion - Thrift ShoppingIMG_9387Sell your clothes on eBay. 

I know it feels great giving your clothes to charity and thrift stores but the harsh reality is that only 10% of those clothes are actually being sold and the majority of those profits aren’t going back to charity. Some second-hand stores even have a 30-day cycle so that if they aren’t sold in the 30 days they are removed and either thrown away or shipped in a box to a developing country. Once the box arrives at the developing country, buyers pick random boxes without knowing what exactly is inside. Those clothes then flood the textile industry in that country and diminish work opportunities.

By selling clothes on eBay you not only make a profit, but you can potentially donate that money to a charity that you choose. You then can know how much of your proceeds are actually going to the charity. Or you can simply just keep the money and use it to purchase clothes that are sustainable. I’ve been selling clothes on eBay for about a year now and have made a decent amount of money. It is a great way to have a little extra cash and I often use that money to buy sustainable alternatives. Let’s face it, I own a good amount of fast fashion clothes but I’m not going to just throw them all away because that would just be adding to the problem. Instead, I can think of different ways to reuse these items and get the longest life out of them.

Shop on eBay or go thrift shopping. 

Now, I know this idea might deter a few people but hear me out. This adorable dress was actually found thrifting. Since the cut of the dress is way too rebellious for my taste, I just threw on a simple turtleneck and called it a day. When I go thrift shopping, I really need to be in the right mood or else I won’t find anything. You really need to be open-minded to different ways you can style something. If you are, you’ll find endless things.

This is a great way to find vintage clothes and clothes for DIY projects. Plus, you’re helping cut down the impact of clothes that would be going to landfills and adding to our pollution problem.

IMG_9496Research the products and companies you’re buying from. 

This is something I’m still trying to get used to. As an American and a blogger, I love consuming countless things I really don’t need. This is why I’m trying to refocus what I’ve been putting my money towards and seeing if it is really worth it. For example, instead of spending $50-70 bucks on a pair of cheap boots that I knew my awkward, pigeon-toed feet would ruin, I decided to buy a pair of high-quality boots from Thursday Boot Co. I did just as much research on these boots as I would on a camera. I looked up what type of leather they use, where they manufacture the boots, and what other consumers say about the boots. Since we live in such a technology-driven world, there is really no excuse to not researching a company before you buy from them. Plus, this really helps cut down on my impulse shopaholic habits.

Quality over quantity. 

Just like my boots, you really want to make sure the products you’re buying are worth it. Are your boots going to last walking around three airports at top speed? Will that white shirt still look white after the 20th wash? Will that seam stay pull or unravel after the third wear? These are all questions I am starting to ask myself as I shop. I admit, I still shop and Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack. The only difference is that when I buy products from there I really want to make sure they’re really good quality. I no longer buy a $5 cotton shirt that is thinner than a piece of paper because I know that I might only get a few uses out of it. Plus, if the shirt is $5 think of how much the person making that shirt is getting paid. I’m hoping that as I start this journey I can start developing a sense of what is good quality and what isn’t. IMG_9401Lastly, just be aware.

Since fast fashion is so ingrained in our lives, it is so hard to quit cold turkey. I totally get that and I’m right there with you. But now that I’ve opened Pandora’s box for you, you’re going to start hearing a little nagging voice in the back of your head every time you want to buy a cheaply made shirt. Sorry! But, hopefully, your bank account will thank you.

If you want to know more about fast and slow fashion I highly recommend watching The True Cost on Netflix, listening or reading the book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Fast Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline,  listening to the podcast Conscious Chatter by Kestrel Jenkins, and downloading the app Good on You. The following blogs are also great resources for finding more information on companies: Ecocult, Sustainably Chic, The Good Trade, and Ethical Unicorn.

IMG_9382Recycled Fashion - Thrift Shopping

Now I know conscious shopping isn’t for everyone, but I hope this makes you just a little bit more aware of where you’re getting your clothes. What do you think about fast fashion/slow fashion? Have you seen The True Cost? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

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5 Eco-Friendly Products You Need in Your Travel Bag

As some of you already know from my Instagram stories, I’ve been traveling a little bit more for work. I recently went on a trip to Houston, Texas and I’m currently in Anaheim, California. I’m seriously living the dream. One of my goals this year was to find more products that are better for the environment and have fewer chemicals in them. I recently wandered to target to find a deodorant without aluminum and came across Target’s natural products aisle. I was floored to find so many natural products in one area. Here are some of the natural products I found for traveling.

Thayer’s Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner

I’ve been looking for a toner to put into my daily routine to tighten my pores without drying my already dry skin. I was super happy to find this alcohol-free toner from a family owned farm in Fairfield County, Connecticut. This toner is alcohol-free, paragon-free, pthalate-free, and cruelty-free. It also includes rose water to help soften and calm your skin. Since using it, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin’s quality. The directions recommend applying the toner with a cotton ball but I find that very wasteful because you constantly are throwing them out. Not to totally promote my company, but I’ve actually been applying it with a swab so I can reuse it instead of constantly throwing out in the trash.

Java Truly Skin Care Body Serum

This is actually the only product in my eco-friendly list that wasn’t purchased at Target. I talked about this product before and felt the need to bring it up again because of how much I love it. The delicious coffee grind oil has rejuvenated my skin in ways beyond belief. It has the power to improve the appearance of wrinkles, firmness, redness, and texture all while protecting against skin damage. And it does all that while smelling like drops of heaven. Plus, this company is cruelty-free and they exclusively import all of their green coffee from Smithsonian Certified Coffee Farms and then it is stone milled in Rhode Island.

Shea Moisture Sensitive Skin Facial Moisturizer 

I’m obsessed with not only this product but the mission behind this product. Every time you buy this facial moisturizer from Shea Moisture, they donate 10% of their profits to support empowerment in entrepreneurship, education, and equity. They do this by investing in communities through funding, infrastructure, and safety programs to sustainably source indigenous ingredients, grow local manufacturing of high-quality goods in their own villages, and provide fair prices for their goods and labor. They sum it up through their slogan, “It’s not a donation. It’s an investment in an equitable world.”  If that wasn’t enough to make you say “oh, heck yes” then let me talk about how it smells. Think about getting your favorite flowers and chocolate on a random Tuesday. Yes, it smells that good. It has a sweet, subtle rose fragrance with hints of palm and camellia extracts.

Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner

In my quest to find products that were chemical free, I found a few duds. I recently tried Love Beauty and Planet shampoo and conditioner and I wanted to love it so much. I tried it for three days and it made my hair knotty, frizzy, and curlier than you can even imagine. Because of this, I was very hesitant to try Maui Moisture. Nonetheless, I persisted and bought travel sized bottles to try out on my business trip. After using it for a couple days, I absolutely love this product! It is made with aloe vera juice, shea butter, and coconut water so you know it smells amazing and makes your hair feel like a mermaid’s locks. If you’re looking for a product that is silicone free then definitely check it out! Plus, the plastic is all made from post-consumer plastic.

Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser 

Yes to has been on my radar ever since I tried their face masks this past summer. All of their products contain at least 95% natural ingredients, are free of parabens, cruelty-free, and are made with recyclable materials (literally everything I want to hear). This is a very similar product to the chemical collector Boire. I love Boire, but I felt it was time to find something that wouldn’t be as harsh on my skin. If you haven’t already, I recommend checking out Yes to’s product line and face masks.

What eco-friendly products do you love? Let me know in the comments down below (I would love to try some out)!

As always,

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Gift Guide for the Socially Conscious (Part One)

The holiday season is by far my favorite time of the year because of how kind and genuine people are. On Tuesday, I was amazed by how many people were donating to amazing causes. With that in mind, I decided to come up with 20 of my favorite companies that support causes that are near and dear to my heart. There is something so special and personal when you know more about the company you’re buying from. Every day I wear some of these items and I get this warm, fuzzy feeling that I’m making some kind of difference. The best part about all these companies is that they create unique, one of kind items that will instantly create a conversation about not only the item but the cause you’re supporting.

Let us start this big conversation with my first ten companies:

Feed

Cost: $$

With every purchase from Feed meals are built into the item. When you buy each item you know how many meals you are giving to a child in need. Sometimes that number is even stamped on the vegan leather. Feed provides sustainable livelihoods to underserved populations in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, El Salvador, and Peru. I’ve been saving up to get the first bag pictured. I also will buy this tassel when I do. This is the perfect gift for the fashionista who wants to make a statement while giving back. Plus, the middle clutch is perfect for the Girl Boss in your life.

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Half United 

Cost: $

The idea behind Half United is that customers are doing their half by uniting together to make a lasting change in children’s lives. Each product has seven meals built into the cost. These meals go to children in the USA, Haiti, Fiji, and Cambodia. After every three months, Half United divides the funds into four charity partners. I own the first necklace and have been wearing it constantly as seen in this post. Half United is perfect for someone who likes to style edgy, masculine pieces.

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United by Blue

Cost: $-$$$

United by Blue is a new store that has just started to catch my eye. I found them on Instagram a few months ago and fell in love with their adventure lifestyle. For each product sold United by Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. Some of the items are sustainably made out of that trash. They also have a men’s line that I’ve been eyeing for gifts.

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The Giving Keys

Cost: $

This is by far the most worn item in my life. I currently wear the small necklace in the middle almost every single day. It serves as a reminder to keep my head up and dream as big as I can. The Giving Keys is my favorite company because of how they affected the Los Angeles community they are based in. The company hires homeless people to give them an opportunity to change their lives. They give people a second chance. These necklaces are perfect for any person who needs that extra reminder to love, laugh, dream, believe, hope, be brave, let go, be fearless, inspire, have strength, create, and breathe.

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Bombas

Cost: $-$$

Okay, socks may sound like the lamest of lame gifts (unless your my mother or dog but that is another story), but socks make perfect stocking stuffers. Yes, stuff your socks with some more socks. This company is near and dear to my heart because for every sock you buy the company donates a pair do a homeless person. One of the most requested item in homeless shelters are socks. Plus, they have such fun, colorful pairs.

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FashionABLE

Cost: $-$$

As a strong woman, I get this intense feeling of hope when a company goes out of their way to change the lives of women. FashionAble is a brand that employees women directly in communities that they wish to impact by creating jobs and ending the cycle of charity dependency. Instead of donating to communities that need help, FashionABLE is trying to create a system where women can drastically change their lives for the better. Through working with women, FashionABLE is moving one step closer to the end of generational poverty. These high-quality pieces will fit in well in a feminist’s home who aims to help women overcome extraordinary circumstances.

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Serenge Tee

Cost: $

Don’t be fooled by this simple tee, it has a huge impact.  Serenge Tee supports 32 different causes ranging from education to ending sex trafficking. Each shirt comes with a different pattern that is linked to a specific cause. This is perfect for someone who is very outspoken about a particular cause. Chances are Serenge tee has a shirt for them.

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Krochet Kids

$-$$

Krochet Kids employees women in vulnerable environments so that they are able to care for their families and send their children to higher levels of educations. Each item that Krochet Kids produces hand signed by the person who created the item. On their website, you can visit each employee’s online profile to learn more about her and her family. This unique idea of connecting the consumer to the actual person making the garment is something that has been lost in the rise of fast fashion. Gifts from Krochet Kids is perfect for anyone who wants to know more about what goes into their item.

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Noonday Collection

Cost: $

Noonday sells handmade products from all around the world giving artisans opportunities to make a livelihood off the products they create. By connecting artisan businesses to a growing market for their goods, Noonday Collection enables them to create more jobs for people in their communities who need them. The products sold by Noonday are perfect for anyone who wants a unique, eye-catching statement piece.

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Cause Box

Cost: $$

Cause Box is a subscription service I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. The boxes are around $50-55 depending on which subscription you pick and they come with $150 with of socially conscious products. Cause Box comes out with a new box every season with all brand new items. Some of the items on this list have been featured in these boxes in path months. This would be a perfect gift for anyone who loves giving back and getting mystery items in the mail.

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What do you think about these companies? Have you ever purchased from them or will you in the future? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

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Half United: Sustainable Fashion that Gives Back

I hope your day is going wonderfully. The holiday season has been on my mind all week. I even filmed a holiday video for work on Tuesday. With that said, I wanted to talk about a great gift that not only is cute but gives back. The last time I was in Albany, I stumbled upon La Luce Boutique. It was an adorable shop filled with sustainable fashion projects and they even had products from few companies I talked about last year. I was thrilled to find a Half United necklace hanging in all its glory. When I saw it, I knew I had to have it.

The idea behind Half United is that customers are doing their half by uniting together to make a lasting change in children’s lives. Each product has seven meals built into the cost. These meals go to children in the USA, Haiti, Fiji, and Cambodia. After every three months, Half United divides the funds into four charity partners.

The partners and locations explained in more detail:

USA: Helps implement farming programs into schools. This allows meals to be packed for the hungry, food to be planted, and community gardens maintained. Half United works with the local communities to help improve daily lives.

Haiti: Each beaded item from Half United is supporting the livelihood and well being of artisans in Haiti. Each beaded item is created by men and women in Papillon. The beaded item is then hand-signed and completely unique.

Fiji: The funds sent to Fiji go towards supporting sustainable, thriving feeding projects at the “NCTC” primary school. Half United has funded sweet potato farms, student garden projects, honeybee farms, chicken coops, and more.

Cambodia: Half United has teamed up with the EAI orphanage in Phnom, Penh Cambodia. EAI focuses on empowering children emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Half United sells different products ranging from slogan tees to jewelry. One item they sell the most is the necklace I’m picturing in this post. The necklace is made out of a recycled bullet casing to represent the fight against hunger. Every time a customer purchases a ‘Fighting Hunter’ necklace, they are peacefully fighting hunger all over the world by providing seven meals to a child in need. Personally, I love this idea of using something that is usually aggressive and harsh and showing it used in a way that can help others. Plus, Half United is recycling metal that would otherwise be thrown away.

This holiday season, when you’re filling up your bellies and dragging yourself out to the madness of Black Friday, think about how you could help others with your gifts. Be on the lookout next week for a full list of sustainable fashion that gives back to communities in need. Afterall, isn’t part of the holiday season helping others? I’ll also be showing how I style this necklace soon.

What do you think about Half United? What do you think about wearing a bullet casing? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

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