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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One, Two, Three

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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One, Two, Three

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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One, Two, Three

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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One, Two, Three

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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One, Two, Three

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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One, Two, Three

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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One, Two, Three

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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One, Two, Three

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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One, Two, Three

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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How to Style Masculine Accessories + Five Shoes Under $100

The day has finally arrived. I can finally wear my chunky knits and be appropriately dressed for the weather. Woo-freaking-hoo. You might have actually recognized this sweater (one of my favorites) from one of my favorite winter posts from last year, How to Make a Dress Warm for Date Night. Instead of the feminine approach, I decided to go out and try to make it a tad bit more masculine. So I picked out an army jacket, a fierce pair of shoes, and a loud necklace.

Army Green Vest and Leopard Shoes

Add traditional masculine textiles such as army jackets, dog tag necklaces, and oxfords on top of neutral clothes for the biggest impact.

Now, I admit… no matter what I do I’m never going to look masculine. Although I prefer dressing more feminine, I’m a sucker for incorporating different styles into my outfits. I normally style this cable knit sweater in a feminine way due to the fabric’s woven texture. However, the sweater can fit in well with masculine items when paired correctly. This army vest covers up most of the cable knit’s texture so only a little amount of the woven texture is peaking out. This necklace also resembles a dog tag traditionally worn in the army, thus adding another masculine element. The inclusion of multiple masculine elements creates a cohesive look.

To create a more masculine style stick to darker, neutral colors in your outfit.

Color to fashion is like water to the Long Island Sound… it is beyond necessary. When I’m styling an outfit, I focus on one item and then build the rest of the outfit around that color. These shoes are pretty hard to pair with many colors so I typically throw in a few neutral, dark colors such as army green, black, navy, camel, and white. If I’m feeling brave, I’ll throw on something red.

Army Green Vest and Leopard ShoesArmy Green Vest and Leopard Shoes

If you’re scared of wearing a masculine element make sure it incorporates something you feel comfortable with.. aka leopard print. 

Thankfully, not a lick of snow has fallen so I’m still proudly wearing these adorable, Steve Madden shoes (currently on sale for $49.98). Since I purchased them, I’ve literally been wearing them nonstop. It’s something about the fun, bold print mixed with a masculine styled shoe that gives me all the feels. Plus, they look fantastic with a pair of black jeans so it has been super easy to get dressed in the morning. If you’re fearful of styling leopard, play it safe by pairing the pattern with colors you’d normally see in nature. Last year I talked about 5 Reasons Why You Need Leopard Print in Your Closet. Check out that post some leopard print motivation.

For my jewelry, I’ve been wearing a Half United necklace I picked up a month ago. I rave about this company in this post. 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. This necklace is made out of a recycled bullet casing to show a physical symbol for the fight against hunger.

Army Green Vest and Leopard ShoesArmy Green Vest and Leopard ShoesArmy Green Vest and Leopard Shoes

If you think you or your friend is bold enough to try a statement shoe here are five bold shoe ideas for the holiday season. Bonus: They’re all under $100.

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Shoe 1,                       Shoe 2,                   Shoe 3,              Shoe 4,                     Shoe 5

What do you think about incorporating masculine accessories in your style? What would you add and how would you wear it? What do you think about bold, masculine shoes? 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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5 Awesome Stores That Give Back to Others

Hello darling! Christmas time is the perfect time to help others. By shopping at any of these five stores for your gifts you’re not only giving someone you care about an awesome gift but your helping someone else in need. I’ve listed five amazing companies that sell beautiful products while giving back to others. Not only can you find amazing products from their websites, but you can help someone who needs help during this joyful time of year. There is nothing more stylish than giving back.

Tribe Alive

Tribe Alive employs impoverished women and gives them the opportunity to make a sustainable, living income and chance to make their own future. Each product is handcrafted meaning that none of the products are the same. Each product not only changes a life but is also environmentally friendly. Any of their jewelry pieces would be a perfect gift, but I particularly adore the necklace in the third picture.

 

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Half United

Half United started in 2009 by a brother and a sister. They had little to no money but they knew they wanted to help people in need. They decided to sell graphics and jewelry in order to feed people in need. With each purchase you are helping feed 7 meals for a child in need. They have a wide selection of bullet necklaces because it represents the fight against global hunger. They state that they have taken something that is us usually seen as “a symbol of harm, and turned it into a positive symbol of hope.” If you think gifting jewelry is difficult I would definitely look at their graphics because they’re incredibly witty.

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Feed Project

When Lauren Bush Lauren was traveling the world, she noticed all of the impoverished children in many countries. She then created this brand in 2007 in order to feed the children of the world. The Feed Project creates unique pieces that state how many meals the item provides on the bag. For example, the brown cross body has a “75” imprinted on the back of the bag. The 75 represents all of the meals the bag feeds. These products are incredibly elegant and useful. Not only are these products beautiful, but they also help people from countries like Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico and Peru to provide sustainable livelihoods for themselves.

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Sseko

Sseko hires young women who want to go to college. Every woman who had graduated from Sseko has either graduated from university or is pursuing her college degree. Since most women in impoverished countries lack the necessities to go to college, companies like Sseko can help change their lives for the better. By purchasing these unique gifts you can also help females go to college.

 

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Branded Collective

The Branded Collective employs survivors of human trafficking and helps them spread their story. What some people may not know is that many victims of human trafficking are often branded by the people who capture them. They are often marked forcefully through a branding iron, tattoo, or a knife. Each of the pieces are given a different number meaning that you are branded when you wear the piece. As you wear the piece you are spreading the message that these women are not alone because we stand by them. Branded’s slogan is “Together we wear the story, share the story and change the story.” By informing others about the horrors of human trafficking you can help change the story and hopefully make others aware.

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Let me know what you think about these 5 different brands or if you end up purchasing anything in the comments. I definitely see a bangle from Branded and a bullet necklace from Half United in my future…

As always,

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