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Icing on the Cake & Selfies & Stuff

It's 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. I took a selfie in my room. Bed is made up with substitute blankets while everything that usually outfits it gets washed. Both kids ended up sleeping in it with me & that makes for some messes you probably don't want to know about. My mirror is kind of dirty and there is my new favorite Noonday necklace & scarf in one corner, a card from a dear friend stuck in the other side. I am freshly showered, no make up, wearing a Krochet Kids t-shirt I adore & am sporting a belly seemingly made of a batch of pizza dough, and am feeling pretty cute and good in my skin at the moment.

At the moment, I'm feeling I could stay a little chunky forever & it wouldn't really matter because I have two beautiful kids that stretched out that belly, I am learning to be free from so many self-imposed food rules, and I am working through the 30 day shred mainly because it's stress-relieving and I like to feel strong. I am spending a lot of time I would normally spend thinking about food on other things, and despite the fact that being alone with little kids for too long can be maddening, I'm sure I live a pretty sweet life.

I decided against posting the selfie, even though I like what it represents because I can picture the comments about not being too hard on myself. I know what we will do as women; we will compare; whether we think we look better or worse (which usually actually has to do with where we sit mentally); we'll make guesses about pounds or make it about the appearance of something.

I believe in presenting our true selves. I do.  You guys, I love bright colors. I love a simple look with a loud pop, bright red Toms, big earrings, and loopy scarves. Some times the "self" I am presenting is "hey, I'm tired and worn and I'm doing my best here." That's okay, too. But the clothes & the make up is just the icing. Let's make it good icing, but let's not make the whole celebration about it.

I'm excited about this whole intuitive eating and fair trade and learning to live a better, more ME version of myself in large part because my kids are going to see that. I want them to love every inch of themselves and use it for the best possible good they can come up with.

Speaking of which, Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass is on repeat over here.


This Week in Fair Trade: Jack Pot!

You guys.

I am hosting my first ever Noonday Trunk show tomorrow.

I am NOT a home party kind of woman, but THIS. This is different. I'm telling you.

Did you know that, by percentage, you and I are some of the richest people in the entire WORLD?! Yes, we are all on some kind of budget. Yes, most of us are concerned about our finances, myself included.

But you and I have most of the wealth. We do.

I don't know why you and I were born into this part of the world, with this many opportunities, and so much freedom. But we WERE, and so it seems to me that we should also be responsible for sharing some of that. For acting in ways that show love and compassion for those who aren't quite so rich.

Lately, I've been on the hunt for more ways to feasibly contribute to sustainable & dignity-building companies and lives or at least NOT contribute to the companies that tear people, families, and communities down.

This week, I hit the jack pot! Guess what?!

31 Bits is now offering a kids' line!

Noonday Collection just posted these fair trade finds. I have yet to comb through them all, but my guess is there's something for everyone here. (Custom leather boots?! Pass them over here!)

thredUp is offering 40% off until midnight tonight with the code 40SNP (so hop on it! I'm planning to!). Don't forget to use the mobile app for free returns (in case, you know, the clothes don't fit QUITE like you want them to.)

Annnndd...tomorrow, I get to talk all about fair and sustainable practices at my first in-person experience with Noonday. I also thinking of becoming an ambassador? Who knows. I know I need to work for fair trade somehow!

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Wildly Co.

I've been itching for a chance to tell you about another affordable & ethically-made clothing option I discovered recently.

Wildly Co. is a small company run by a single family (their 4 boys help, too!). They sell kids' clothes completely made by people who are paid and cared for fairly. Absolutely NO sweat shops or anything made by kids AND it's affordable.

6 styles of t-shirts are currently available in their shop, but Wildly Co. is currently running a kick starter that will enable them to offer more complete outfits in the form of a capsule project.

A capsule is a set of tops and bottoms that can be interchangeably mixed and matched.

Kick starter is a way to fund a project that involves a larger community. Everyone who chooses to contribute can give what they want and can afford. Financial contributors receive some kind of reward, usually according to the number of dollars given. As a way to protect financial contributors, no one's credit card or pay pal account is charged until the end date of the fundraiser and only IF the full amount has been pledged.

Wildly Co. has reached their first goal, which is to fund the boys' capsule. (Hooray! I plan on getting some for Nolan and/or requesting them as an alternative for the conventional clothes he often receives as birthday gifts.) They are currently trying to reach their stretch goal, which will make a girls' capsule possible.

Want to get help create an affordable, fairly made, and thoughtful clothing line for kids? Check out the kick starter here.

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On being healthy, spending money, and being in charge of human life.

When I talk about my body bouncing back, I am referring to what I can physically do. I am talking about feeling at home in my body sooner than I expected and sometimes feeling cute in an outfit I put together. This will never be a blog about pounds or weight loss. I won't be posting any "body after baby" progress pictures, although I do sometimes find those interesting on other blogs.

I think it's probably time for a blog face lift (new name, new tag line, an air-ier look, more resources). That may not happen for awhile, so in the mean time, here's what you can expect around here between now and the next few months:

Wellness. I am determined to live my life as best as I can. For me, that starts with what I put in my body. I've gone back to good old fashioned pen and paper food journaling because it makes me accountable to myself and it works for me. I also have a default setting of stress eating, which is triggered during times of stress. Because this fall is going to be a challenging season for our family, expect plenty of posts about living well (or not) when all of me is screaming,"just numb it with food!"

Spending. We all spend spend SOME money, yes? I'm always on the lookout for ways we can buy our products that don't come from children, slaves, and otherwise oppressed and abused people- even BETTER if buying those products would actually contribute to community,sustainable businesses, and quality of life. Oh! And I need to be able to afford said products. This is where my heart is. Expect lots of these posts.

Related posts:

Buying Less Crap while Still Looking Cute in Your Clothes

Follow up: Buying Less Crap while Still Looking Cute in Your Clothes

two things to check out now for more affordable slave-free fashion

Motherhood. Because I'm now the mother of TWO. This is new and different, and even if it wasn't, raising humans with their own personalities and otherwise unique makeup is a BIG deal. It's a lot of patience for them and for me, a lot of okay, let's try again. It's a lot of snuggling and listening and paying attention and energy. My kids are very much the biggest time priority of this season of life for me, so there will be plenty of these kinds of posts, too.

Do you blog? Please link up here! What do you write about?


two things to check out NOW for more affordable slave-free fashion

Okay, so I'm no fashion queen, and I've maybe a little bit (a lot) fallen out of the practice of being creative with my clothing choices. I enjoy fashion, but up until recently, I didn't think I could really be into it in a way I could afford, avoid supporting business practices I don't agree with, and even support the ones I really DO want to get behind. (My "being into fashion" may be very different than yours. I am talking about feeling good and like "me" in my clothes here).

I am slowly getting back into having fun with my outfits again. If you want to support slave-free and fair trade practices when you make fashion choices, too, I highly recommend hopping on the following ASAP.

Seriously, sign up for thredUp (link is my referral code). And get the app. I previously mentioned that  I opted to pay $20 to cover shipping for the entire year. I also discovered that signing up for the app means that return shipping is free, making purchases fairly risk-free. I posted my first purchases on Facebook, earning me $20 dollars in referral credits. So, this morning, when my very pregnant self needed a little pick-me-up, I opened up the app and ordered a completely FREE outfit for post baby days- larger than I would wear in normal, non-pregnant life because I'm not dumb. And I STILL have a few dollars in credit left in my account.

Have you checked out the awesomeness that is Noonday? I'm not an ambassador (yet), but the new line is launching on August 7th. Ambassadors and Noonday in general are looking to sell off last season's wares, so it's a good time to score some discounted gorgeousness while STILL being a part of sustainable fair trade practices and orphan care. Check out the sales at Noonday's main site here or a local ambassador's sample sale here.


Coffee Date!

I love, love coffee dates. I'm particular to those in my home because I'm not quite sure where to get a good cup of fair trade coffee around here ,other than Haute Chocolate, but they don't open til 11. It's 6 as I type this. Also, I really want organic half and half, too, and while I will admit to carrying my own with me from time to time just come over to my house for coffee, please. It's cheaper. Easier on my conscience. And you can stay as long as you want.

Once in a while, I like to host these virtual coffee dates. Maybe that's weird. But basically, I tell you some random stuff about me that I feel like spilling this morning and then it's your turn.  This works out because maybe you're not awake at 6 and/or maybe you're pretty picky about your coffee, too, but I don't make it like you like or I don't have your favorite creamer.


I should first tell you that I ate 3 giant marshmallows last night while sacked out on the couch with my exhausted son, watching Phineas and Ferb. Yes, I did. Those marshmallows were not the real food, homemade kind (although that needs to happen in our house!). They were the store-bought, grabbed for a trip to the mountains and stuffed in the back of our pantry kind. I tell you this not out of guilt, but because I want you to know that when I write my Real Food Fridays series, I'm not talking about perfection. I'm talking about the choices we make most of the time.

I wake up every morning wondering if this will be the day I meet my Selah girl. I am trying to keep making plans as usual, enjoy my one-on-one time with Nolan, and relax in the fact God knows the day and hour of her birth. My challenge is that the cramps and contractions I've been having don't let me forget for too long that I am about to give birth, and I've kind of stopped formally exercising because holy cramps (!).

My current obsessions include Noonday and Don't Waste the Crumbs.

Noonday is all about creating a sustainable marketplace for women around the world who are otherwise economically vulnerable or oppressed. The jewelry and accessories are gorgeous, the stories are compelling, and the work being done is redemptive and beautiful and it seems like the right place for me to be right now.

-Don't Waste the Crumbs is a blog/ website all about eating real food on a budget. I can't get enough and pour over the posts when I have the chance. As a stay at home mom (read: brings in minimal income) with a passion for quality, sustainable food systems, I am mining this site for all its worth.

Your turn!

What's something that you think about every day?

How do you like your coffee?

What are you obsessed with these days?


Follow up: Buying Less Crap while Still Looking Cute in Your Clothes

I did it.

I created an account with thredUp. I perused the maternity section and picked out 5 things in my size. Most items ended up being under $5 each and every item was less than $10 each.

No sweatshops involved:-).

My clothes arrived in a sweet little package, which OF COURSE I neglected to photograph because even after years of blogging, I still do not have the picture part of publishing posts down.Please trust me, it was cute, but not overly done in a why did they waste so many materials?" kind of way.

I tried everything on, and guess what?

Only one item fit over my massive pregnant belly.


Luckily, returning the items was pretty easy. I filled out an online form explaining the return, printed a return label, and shipped the too-small items back. I've already received my refund.

The downside? I did have to pay almost $10 for the return.

HOWEVER, I have since discovered that  orders received through thredUp's Android or IOS apps are eligible for free returns. I have an Android and promptly downloaded the app because I plan on ordering again after Selah is born. The clothing I received was in great shape. In fact, I couldn't tell that it had been previously worn. The service was great, and I love that ordering through them is affordable, offers me cute quality clothes, and doesn't support sweat shops.

With that said...

Not supporting the wrong stuff is good, but sometimes supporting the right stuff takes some investment. For example, buying chocolate from companies who don't use child labor and actually build families up costs a little more than your checkout aisle candy bar because the workers are getting paid appropriately. If we can afford to be buying chocolate that we don't need anyway, we can afford to eat a little less in order to get the right stuff and be a small part of laborers receiving a living wage.

I feel this way about jewelry. I like to get my accessories from sources that support job creation and poverty alleviation. I've recently discovered another company, Noonday, who does this, and I've fallen in love. The jewelry is a little more expensive than your average Target piece, but it has SO much more character, offers a better story, and will hold up better, too. I know it's a mind shift, but I think spending a little more on fewer of what we don't actually need so we can invest in what is good and beneficial for ourselves AND others is worthwhile.

Because of this, a good chunk of time is going to pass before I purchase another piece of jewelry or a scarf, but when I do, I'm going to try out Noonday. (I'll be sure to post a review!) In the mean time, a group of bloggers just left on a trip to Rwanda with Noonday and International Justice Mission. (I highly recommend checking out both organizations.)  They'll be visiting and telling the stories of "Rwandan women who have overcome injustice and have been empowered through economic opportunity." I'll be following along with Jen Hatmaker's posts, and you can also follow along here and with the #Stylefor Justice hashtag on Twitter. (If you're feeling inspired, you can also sign up to host a Noonday Trunk show. I really want to, but am pretty sure it's a *little* too close to Selah's estimated date of arrival.)


Where to next?

The boys are sleeping.

I'm not sure for how much longer, so I'm going to try to type quickly.

I've been sitting here, thinking about what to do with my fair trade efforts next.

I write once a week, but I really haven't had the structure of time set aside just to work recently. I think summer weekends tend to be quite busy, and since my working time was usually Saturday morning/afternoon (prime get-together/travelling/much-needed family time), my efforts have been kind of squished into the more empty spots of my days.

I know that I cannot change a system that is so often bent on "more for less" on my own. I don't despair over that, but I also am not quite sure where to go from here.

I'd love to host a screening of "The Dark Side of Chocolate," hold a little discussion, provide fair trade chocolate-based snacks, that sort of thing...but who would come ? And where would I have it?

I don't know HOW to change things, but I know that doesn't mean I get to give up.

There is no giving up on something I am passionate about.

Discouragement at times, yes. But no quitting.

I do know that I can make changes to what I do. I know that I can do something to make sure I am gracious and knowledgeable when someone does want to have a conversation about fair trade/small farmers/ workers rights/slavery.

I know that I can try things and fail and try things again.

Not only can but should and need to.

It's about time to try (a few new) things.



This Saturday is my first fair trade event!

I have business cards, a website and a Facebook page (both launch Saturday along with the event), info, helpful friends and family, and more than 1000 samples to give away.

There is a 60% chance of a thunderstorm.

The phrase "Do what you can with what you have (where you are)" (a Theodore Roosevelt quote) is my mantra.

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Hello, Monday

Thank you so much for the questions and comments on fair trade! Those I've received so far have given me some great food for thought. Now I'm pretty sure I have enough material for several articles. Please keep your questions/criticisms/overall thoughts on fair trade coming!

Monday has, once again, arrived a little too quickly. We just love weekends around here!

One way to combat the Monday blues? Think of, list out, plan more things I have to look forward to this week.


Hello, Monday.

Hello, walking with my mom and Nolan to hash out plans for Katie's bridal shower. (I love everything about this- the people in it, the walking, the planning...)

Hello, ordering (lots of!) chocolate for my first big fair trade- centric event.

Hello, Bob Harper Inside Out Method workouts (I'm feeling pretty "tough" lately, and I love it.)

Hello, hair cut! I need one, pretty badly.

Hello, meeting up with a dear friend who I feel like I just can't get enough time with. (She's the kind that is "like a breath of fresh air." )

Hello, extra day off for my hubby, my BROTHER coming home, and Easter egg dying with some pretty fantastic kids.

Your turn! What are you looking forward to this week?