Ethical shopping


I love shopping; I'll admit it. When I'm bored, I stroll my local boutiques or wander Newbury Street. I don't always buy something, but I love admiring all the goods. In the past year or so, I've shifted my shopping addiction quite a bit - I no longer shop at stores that contribute to harming our global climate, or stores that obsessively over-manufacture clothing and accessories in sweatshops and cruel harsh factories where employees fall ill and die from their working conditions. Some of the stores that I now avoid are:

  • H&M

  • GAP

  • Banana Republic

  • Old Navy

  • Athleta

  • Lululemon 

  • Target (I try not to buy clothes from here, but I do still buy some household items here but only safe, trusted brands like Seventh Generation)

  • Zara

  • Anthropologie (how I love you so but...)

  • Ann Taylor

  • Loft

  • Madewell

  • Urban Outfitters

& the list goes on...

I promise I don't feel holier-than-thou because I choose not to shop at stores that most of my friends and family actually do shop at. Whatever works for you, cool. For me, after watching The True Cost documentary, I could no longer justify my money and impulsive purchases to go towards the deaths of many people in other countries; I could not say in one breath that I recycle and care about the earth, and yet wear a garment that is made of new polyester and mass-produced on an obnoxiously large scale.

We all do what we can; we're even seeing now that recycling isn't even that great of an option to help our planet, but I digress... So back to my original point, I've started being a more mindful consumer in many ways. It started in March 2015 when I started this blog, after the painful loss of my beloved uncle. I revamped my beauty routine (all hail Follain and S.W. Basics!), started #spiralizing like crazy, completed that incredible life-changing Be Well cleanse, maintained an empowering and strengthening 4-6 day weekly fitness regime, and fell back in love with yoga. I started taking notice of what I was putting into my body, what I was putting on my body, and thus started to think about what I was wearing on my body. Did you know that polyester is one of the worst fabrics to wear? It's so scary to think that what we perceive as a harmless fashionable top can actually potentially cause cancer. And you may roll your eyes and say, "everything causes cancer these days." Yeah, wellp, you're kind of right. And it f*cking sucks. But we do have control over how much exposure we want to detrimental chemicals, as well as how much we want to engage in the decline of our climate, the decline in the health of our fellow humans in other countries creating our everyday products.

Before you say, "it's way too expensive for me to make that kind of shift!" Stop right there. Here's the deal - it will initially feel like you're spending more because you're investing more money up front on a piece that you will likely, ideally, have for years. 

However, take a look at your wardrobe. Maybe you have a lot of different pieces that you wear once every couple of months, but then you also have some go-to staples/well-loved pieces that you call upon often. You've heard about capsule wardrobes, which has been gaining popularity more frequently in the past couple of years. It's about having 25-40 pieces (clothes, shoes, accessories...) that you rotate within a season - you never have to stress over what to wear or agonize over what matches what, because ideally you've pared down your wardrobe to strong functional pieces that can be interchanged fairly easily. They're also quality pieces that will last you for years to come. Thus, you are initially investing more up front but it is on a quality piece that you will be able to wear again and again for years, and not have to go to the store every few months to buy something new. You save money in the long run, and value your pieces even more. 

Remember: Less is more! More is not [always] more.

So you've heard where I don't shop, so here are some solid companies to check out that I myself support:

Taylor Stitch
Gather & See
People Tree
& the ultimate go to: The Good Trade

This is a solid place to start, and I hope it's helpful for you!

Do what you can, which is more than you realize.

- S

Savor growth

It's been quite a June: I turned 30 on June 6th; my husband and I went up to Upstate New York for a weekend to celebrate the sweet union of two of our close friends; then I spent a blissful five days up in Stratton, Vermont with my friend Nikki - I practiced yoga for about four hours a day (give or take), meditated, drank in the sunshine and beauty of the mountain, danced freely in a black-light heated room and to the amazing tunes spun by awesome DJs...but more on all of that soon.

Since attending Wanderlust and being home (still soaking in it's afterglow), I'm noticing an increase in my own awareness of things more, specifically my reactions. I wholeheartedly credit this to my increase in mindfulness and yoga; I've started noticing that I am thinking more clearly to avoid that knee-jerk reaction.

Since 29 was my Saturn Return year and my pivotal shift into more of a healthy lifestyle, 30 felt more easeful. However, as I mentioned, June has been a busy month! But despite the business, all of these aforementioned factors have eased my human mind, which is susceptible to getting overwhelmed or anxious, or caught ruminating on useless thoughts. 

I embrace the whirlwind that life can become, and I am giving myself permission to go with the flow.
My priorities have shifted, I'm holding my head up higher,
I'm trusting myself,
and I'm remembering myself, my purpose.

Ok, pause: are you totally judging me? It's ok! It's normal. You might be thinking, "this is bullshit," or maybe "um, this girl is weird," or "so you turn 30 and spend a bunch of $$ on a yoga festival and now you're all enlightened?!" I'm not sharing this to sound haughty or to brag about myself. I'm sharing it because I want to celebrate it, acknowledge it, own it, and pass the good word along to anyone who may benefit from it.

I'm not saying drop everything and go on a yoga retreat. I'm not saying go spend money on anything, actually. What I am suggesting is remembering how much power you have. You can embrace the whirlwind, and you can do so without getting swept up. 

Practice something you love, and maybe try to do it every day. This can be reading, cooking, drawing, this act fully, allow yourself to do only this one task (e.g., please don't multitask!). Be fully present and make the time for it! Reflect on how you feel after a few days, notice the shifts in your mind, in your soul. Notice how you're able to stop and breathe before reacting; notice how your thoughts are more evenly-paced and more healthy; notice the lightness you now embody.

In addition to incorporating something we love into our lives on a daily basis, it's also helpful to reconnect with nature, especially if you're an urban dweller like myself. Even if I can't readily kick off my shoes and walk barefoot in the grass, just strolling and admiring the thriving green growth of summer is enough for me to feel reconnected. 

Now that you've finished reading this, go outside. Go take five deep, nourishing, skin-breathing breaths. Walk through nature, admire the trees cleansing our air. Sit and watch, whatever is around. Be present. Be kind to someone. Smile at someone random! Just be, just do it, and don't judge yourself or the outcome of the act. It is what it is, and that's ok. Give yourself permission to pause and take a moment to inhale and exhale while in the whirlwind.

- S

Zady: The New Standard

Everything about this site and what it stands for is amazing. They also have a great collection of ethically sourced clothing brands, jewelry, dreamy!

If you're curious about how to make smarter choices with clothing purchases, or just interested in educating yourself, watch this video - you'll learn a lot!

Wellness Wednesday

At the end of this past February, my beloved amazing uncle passed away. It is still a very delicate subject for me as I was very close to him. Without going into further detail, this event caused me to start to try and radically change the products I use daily. My friend Zoe actually pointed it out to me, I hadn't really put two and two together. As you've read, I started recently swapping out most of my beauty products, and now home products as well. I have started to try and change my diet into eating more local foods, less meat, less dairy, and less processed (to which I mean not zapping so much in the microwave or ordering take-out as often). I am trying to protect myself now from all of the toxicity and carcinogens that are in our every day products, and yes, it certainly stems from fear, but also I want to promote my own health and wellness. (If you'd like more information on educating yourself about this stuff, look here and here)

I've also, slowly but surely, started paring down my wardrobe. I want quality versus quantity; I don't want to have my drawers overflowing with things that fit "OK" or will fit if I lose three more pounds. It's silly! I admittedly have this slight quirk (for lack of a better word) that if I donate something - even if I haven't worn it in over a year - I'll have that day come where I'm like, "where's that shirt I love...OMG why did I donate it?!" It has happened to me before, and it’s frustrating. Realistically, I'm happiest with quality pieces that lasts for years, so why do I keep spending tons and tons at H&M and even Gap/Old Navy?!

Yesterday I finally watched the documentary "The True Cost" on Netflix, and I hate to sound naive but I had no idea the damage I have been doing to the environment and to human lives. I cried several times while watching, it hurts my heart and my soul how much these poor people are just trying to survive and yet they are so mistreated. We in America live in this sheltered little world where we sometimes turn a cheek to what happens in other countries. It makes me feel sick to type this, but it's almost like thinking I love this mass-produced dress, I'm not going to think about the tired hands and sore lungs that went into making it. Ugh, how sick! I strongly believe we have a responsibility to take care of one another - we are all human beings. We also have a responsibility to care for our beautiful earth. Educating ourselves on where things come from is the first step.

So I realize this is a bit different than my typical Wellness Wednesday posts, but I hope it sparks some thought and action. I also hope it is a good reminder for me to go further with this idea of living consciously fully - not just half-assed with diet and products, but truly fully. I do not receive a feeling of fulfillment from anything other than what is within, and therefore I will survive without the latest outfit from a major chain!

- S