: Green Chic Life :

: exploring sustainable fashion, the great outdoors, and an eco-friendly lifestyle :

#SustainableSunday with Mata Traders...

Sunday, March 29, 2020

First: Just an FYI that these photos were taken in public before we were ordered to shelter in place.  

Next: Just because we are largely stuck inside and self-contained doesn't mean that we can't help others.  

We may be restricted to minimal adventures outside of our homes, but if you're anything like me, there is a good chance that you're using your homebound time to clean, refresh, and prepare for sunnier days.  That might mean that you are looking for a few new spring pieces to add to your wardrobe, and if you are, I greatly urge you to make intentional choices about those new garments. 

My spring wardrobe update this year, has been all about finding multi-functional pieces that were made in fair trade settings using organic fibers, re-claimed fabrics, and with handmade details.  With this mission in mind, I turned to a favorite fair trade shop, Mata Traders, to see what was new.  I have got to tell you that their current spring collection is probably my favorite collection out of any I've ever seen them create... and we've been partners for about 5 years now... and before we were partners, I worked with them when I was a fashion intern in New York City. 

The spring collection has a little bit of everything: unique handmade jewelry, super fun prints, and a plus size range.  Everything at Mata Traders, as always, is made in India and Nepal by women, which helps to fight gender inequality and provides quite a bit of empowerment, as the artisans creating these garments are able to earn a fair living wage, have access to healthcare and education, and have independence.  This production model also helps to combat child labor since working women are able to afford to send their children to school instead of needing them to go to work to help support their family. 

In these photos, I'm wearing a woven cotton maxi dress as a kimono.  This piece is from their winter collection, but the earrings, which are from the spring collection made it easy to transition this dress into a new season!  It was made using two contrasting prints, which give it a bit of pizazz, and the varying shades of green make it even easier to wear across seasons.  I cannot wait to wear it as a dress, paired with sandals on a hot summer day!  The "La Luz" earrings were made of thread and brass in a co-op in India and are quickly going to become a go-to accessory in my wardrobe for all seasons.  They are light weight, but the thread has a bit of sparkle, which makes them fun conversation pieces! 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 

: the kimono (actually a wrap dress) is fair trade and handmade
: the tank is fair trade and handmade of organic cotton
: the earrings are fair trade and handmade
: the bracelet is fair trade and handmade
: the booties were thrifted

March Mega Kind Madness and Charity Water...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

I've been planning to write this post for a little over a month now.  Restaurants were still busy, everyone was gearing up for spring break travel, and the grocery store was well-supplied with canned goods and paper products. At that time, the thought in my mind was that I could not really imagine living a life where access to basic necessities was impaired. 

Knowing that at any point in time, I could grab a sandwich, pick up as much toilet paper as I wanted, and lift the tap and have water come out has always been status quo for me. 

It is with these thoughts that the world today makes me a whole lot more grateful.  While we are down to our last 3 rolls of TP with a re-stock nowhere in sight and the only canned stuff we have were the picked over bits that were left in 4 different stores on 4 different attempts to shop, we're doing pretty darn well.  We've got the basics, and maybe most importantly, we have water. 

That cannot be said for something like 785 million (!!!) people in the world who do not have access to clean drinking water.  This is why I've reached out to charity: water for my final installation of March Mega Kind Madness.  

Did you know that in Africa, women spend 40 billion hours just walking to find water for their families? 

Did you realize that having access to clean water and proper toilets makes it possible for girls to go to school instead of being stuck at home for a week of every month? 

Were you aware that dirty water kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war? 

charity: water has set out on a mission to end the water crisis.  They do this by raising funds and distributing them to organizations across the globe that share the charity: water vision of ending thirst and improving the health of humans everywhere.  These partners are selected based on their expertise, their initiatives, and their indicators of sustainability.  Once partners have been chosen, charity: water works with them to determine project costs, best practices are put in place, teams work with local governments to ensure that proper timelines can be followed, and voila: water!  Using this method, to date, charity: water has helped to fund over 51,000 water projects to bring clean water to over 11 million people!  

Private donations have actually 100% funded their overhead costs, so any personal donations go directly to the many projects they are working on across the world.  If you'd like to get involved, you can make a one-time donation, a monthly donation, or you can generate a donation by shopping in their store!  After chatting with their social media rep and a brand rep, I've also learned that it is possible to sponsor fundraisers and raise more awareness/get a bit more knowledge by reading Thirst, the book written by charity: water CEO, Scott Harrison. I haven't read it yet, but I have a copy from the library and am looking forward to cracking it open, because honestly... the craziest thing we can do is nothing! 

Sweater was thrifted
Beanie was handmade by me

Don't just survive, thrive...

Monday, March 23, 2020

Ok, ok... I know... you're sick of hearing about it, so I won't even call it by name, but this whole staying inside thing has definitely gotten the world turned a bit topsy.  As an extroverted introvert, I can usually go at least 48 hours alone at home without feeling like a crazy person, but I know that some of y'all are going a bit nuts.  I also know that there are lots of entities around the world that are doing all sorts of really cool free stuff to help pass the time, but seeing zillions of links every time I log in to Facebook has made me a week bit crazy.  With that in mind, I thought I'd compile a list of some of the coolest time-passers I've found... and you don't need to leave your house/yard to enjoy them!

: travel and culture

Online museum tours- Travel & Culture magazine released this compilation of museums around the world that offer free virtual tours.  I also know, because of a student question the week before we moved to remote schooling, that you can take a virtual tour of the Anne Frank House/Museum.

Virtual Disney rides- Since all of the Disney Parks are closed and many families have had to cancel their spring break vacations, a brilliant person somewhere has compiled these videos of several beloved Disney rides, so you can enjoy them from your couch!

Stream ballets- I grew up dancing, so I tend to find professional ballets kind of fascinating.  I haven't found any theaters that are live streaming productions, but the Royal Opera House has a Youtube channel that has lots of great ballet videos.

Stream operas- The Metropolitan Opera in NYC is currently streaming operas from their "Live in HD" series.  A different opera streams every night, and they just extended their run!

: TV

Amazon Prime: We are slightly obsessed with "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and are about to re-watch all of the episodes that are out. "Downton Abbey" is great escapism and I like that the entire series is done, so it is possible to binge-watch all the way from the beginning to the end. We also just discovered that you can stream "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" on Prime, which has been an absolute delight/reversion to childhood.

Disney +: Our current favorites are "Lost Cities with Albert Lin,"  "The Mandalorian," and The Imagineering Story."

Kanopy: This is a movie-streaming app that many public library districts subscribe to.  Download the app, make an account (usually linked to your library card), and get 10 streams a month.  This app is focused on indie movies, documentaries, and other thought-provoking films.  A few of our favorites are "On The Way to School," "Vanishing of the Bees," and "Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation."

Netflix: We have been loving "The Kindness Diaries," "The Chef Show," and "Love Your Garden."

: learning

Audit online courses- There are lots of sites that host free online classes through Harvard, MIT, and other Ive League universities.  You can audit for free or many of them let you pay for a certificate of completion.  Check these out on edX or Class Central.  Yale University also recently announced that they will be offering their most popular course, The Science of Well Being, for free!

DuoLingo- Download the app or login online to work on your language skills.  There is a free version and a paid version that removes ads.  You can set it up to get daily reminders to complete lessons!

Escape rooms- I will admit that I have never done an escape room before, but a friend posted this online Hogwarts escape room and I've left the tab open for days!  I'm trying to muster the courage to give it a go!

freerice.com- I wrote a blog post about Freerice a few weeks ago as part of March Mega Kind Madness, so if you'd like an in-depth run down of what it is, you can read it HERE.  Basically, you can learn new things while donating grains of rice through the World Food Programme.

: exercise

Find live classes- I have several friends who are fitness instructors and who have been posting live classes via Facebook TV.  I also just stumbled across this article about all sorts of fitness studios that are streaming live fitness classes for free while we are locked down!

Yoga with Adriene- Adriene is kind of the best!  Even if you've never done yoga before, her videos make it fun and easy to give it a go.  She also modifies things to increase complexity, if that's your cup of tea.  Her month-long yoga challenges are great ways to keep moving!

PopSugar Fitness- They have all sorts of workouts to target specific areas, but also have full classes.  This cardio workout kicked my booty!

: miscellaneous time passers

Finally read that bestseller that's been sitting on your nightstand for the last year and a half.

Get creative in the kitchen- Supercook is a website that allows you to enter the ingredients that you have on hand and then it spits out recipes that you can make with those ingredients.  Since grocery stores tend to be woefully understocked these days, this is a great way to use what you have.

Jump in puddles, play with chalk (or if you don't have kids, maybe experiment with drawing mandalas as a method of creative meditation), blow bubbles, get really good at hoola hooping, run around the yard with the dog, etc.

Kon Mari your house- You know, clear out the things that don't bring you joy and find new ways to organize the items that you keep.  Deep clean the house as you go!

Listen to podcasts- I love true crime and mystery.  Some of my current favorite podcasts are: "My Favorite Murder," "Criminal," "Lore," and "Case File True Crime."  I also recently stumbled across a short 3-episode podcast from The New York Times called "Jungle Prince" that was kind of a wonderful, yet heartbreaking story.  I'd love more suggestions.

Wrap up those pesky household update projects that have been hanging over you for months.

These are just a few ideas that I've come across online, had fun with in real life, or had friends who have enjoyed!  I hope that this guide will help you to thrive through this wonky time!

#SustainableSunday with Synergy Organic...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The postpartum body is a wondrous thing.  It is soft, but still very strong.  It is capable.  However, it will never be the same as it was before, you know... growing a human being.  
It is also something that I've really struggled with since Stellan was born in December.  I've always been rather small and quite active, so my pre-baby body was always toned and felt strong.  I kept up with fitness so that I didn't jiggle when I moved and if I didn't like the degree of tone I had, I could do a quick workout and get it all back. 

... my body no longer functions this way.  While I am still pretty small, overall, I squish, I jiggle, and no matter how much yoga I do or how many reps I put in with the free weights, it doesn't seem like the wobbly bits are going anywhere anytime soon.  There is extra skin everywhere!  It has taken me months to accept this fact and to start to feel at home in my new body and honestly, the clothes that I've been selecting for myself in my new role as mama have been truly helpful on this journey. 

My pals at Synergy Organic have been kind enough to send me several pieces from their new spring collection over the last few months, but I've been especially looking forward to giving this tie dye leggings and bra set a spin.  These pieces were made in a fair trade setting in India using organic cotton/Spandex and low-impact dyes and my hope was that they would help to inspire me to keep going on my fitness journey.  I don't know if it's because I'm slightly tie dye obsessed, because I love to wear slow clothing, or because I knew that taking photos of these pieces would mean going out into the world after several days of self-quarantine, but there was definitely a pep in my step. 

Yes, friends, standing barefoot on a rock in the creek after days of snow with my post-baby belly on display for the brave souls who had also ventured out was a breath of fresh air! 

... and the best part is that I was comfortable.  

If you, too, are looking for comfortable clothes in which to ride out this new shelter-in-place sort of lifestyle, I definitely recommend that you take a look at Synergy's spring collection.  Each and every piece in their new line was handmade using organic fabrics and organic dyes.  Everything is super soft, and as you can see, is quite body friendly, even if your body has been looking and feeling a bit different lately.  Oh, and if you're really into knowing what your impact on the world is, they've developed a really fun little impact calculator.  You can select different Synergy garments and see how much drinking water is saved per day by producing it organically instead of conventionally! 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 

: the bra is fair trade and made of organic cotton
: the leggings are fair trade and made of organic cotton
: the bracelets are handmade

#FreebieFriday with A Million Elephants...

Friday, March 20, 2020

What do you do when you live in the most bombed country in the world?  When barely 1% of the bombs dropped have been dug out of the dirt?  What if you are having a hard time finding ways to support your family?  If you're anything like the people of Ban Naphia, Laos, you just might dig up those bits of scrap metal and turn them into beautiful pieces of jewelry, like these peace sign earrings!

... and in fact, that is just what these truly ingenious people did and now these earrings, and many other pieces made of leftover bits of Vietnam War-era bombs and airplanes, exist.  Since peace signs have been a favorite symbol in my life since I was about 8 years old, I was overjoyed to find these earrings from A Million Elephants, and I am even happier, because they've agreed to share a pair with  : Green Chic Life : readers for this week's sustainable giveaway! If there's something that the world can use right now, it's definitely a little bit more peace!

To enter to win these happy gems: 

: like the giveaway post on Instagram
: follow @greenchiclife
: tag at friends in separate comments 
(You get an entry per tag, so feel free to tag lots and lots of pals!)

This giveaway is open to US entrants and will end at 23:59 PST on 27-March-2020.  The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via direct message on Instagram.  This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram.  By entering this contest, you are confirming that you're at least 18 years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram's terms of use. 

Good luck! 

March Mega Kind Madness and "The Kindness Diaries..."

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

If you're like me, you probably end up sort of, semi-accidentally on purpose having a bit of a Netflix binge once in a while.  When I find myself super fried after a day of trying to help my middle school students regulate their behavior, pumping, attending meetings, attempting to contact parents, complete special education paperwork, seeing Stellan at lunch, and remembering to feed myself, a good Netflix binge is just what I need.  Oh, and now that we are semi-stuck at home during this pandemic (whoa... that's a sentence I never thought I'd write...), a good binge-watch is definitely in order.

The catch?  I usually need to watch something that will teach me something.  My brain tends to still be firing at a zillion miles per minute and craves knowledge, human connection, and reminders that there is good in the world.

It was with this brain craving that I semi-accidentally stumbled across "The Kindness Diaries" back in the fall.  It is a reality show starring Leon Logothetis, a motivational speaker and wanderer who gave up his job as a broker in London to explore the world.  In each of the two seasons of "The Kindness Diaries," Leon makes a long road trip relying solely on the kindness of others.  He has no food, no money, and no shelter, but is able to make connections with the people he meets along the way, and in return for their kindness, he ends up helping them make many of their dreams come true.

He has helped people build schools and shelter animals.  Leon has been able to provide meals for people in need.  He has paid rent, sent children to school, and provided seed money for some of his new friends to start their own non-profit organizations.

SunStars and I have enjoyed following Leon's travels and have each shared them with our students.  I've been lucky to have exchanged a few messages with Leon via Instagram and wanted to help him help others as much as I can.  Since he designed a line of t-shirts and other goodies, I picked us up a few.  The proceeds from the sale of these goodies go right back to the projects Leon has helped to fund!

Welcome a waste free spring with spring & vine...

Monday, March 16, 2020
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Spring & Vine for MMI Agency. All opinions are 100% mine.

Lately, I have been all about ditching the plastic and saying "hello" to all sorts of soaps and cleaners that come in bar form. I've been lucky to try a whole host of face bars and body bars lately, but today, I got to give spring & vine shampoo bars a test drive.

These new shampoo bars were made for Target stores and for target.com. They are free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, dyes, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances, which means that they are a great and responsible way to get your hair clean. Because they are packaged in a recyclable cardboard box, they also eliminate up to 95% of the plastic waste that comes with your typical bottle of shampoo, but these bars lather just as well and last just as long as the shampoo that you're probably used to.
Their introductory collection includes a shampoo bar for pretty much every need. There is a moisturizing oatmeal bar, a volumizing grapefruit & rosemary bar, a scalp soothing tea tree & mint bar, and a balanced clean lavender & orange blossom bar. The oatmeal bar actually functions as a 2 in 1 bar because it conditions as well as cleans.

After giving each of these shampoo bars a try, the grapefruit and rosemary bar came out as my favorite. I have naturally thin hair and can use all the volume I can get. This bar left my hair feeling clean and light without weighing it down with extra moisture. The scent of this bar was also my favorite as it is quite invigorating. I like to shower at night, but I kicked off my Sunday morning with it and WOW! Was I awake and ready for my day, just because of the happy scents of the essential oils in the bar.

If you want to give these a try, but have never used a shampoo bar, don't overthink it! Just lather like you would with bar soap for your body and work into your scalp the way you would with a shampoo. Making this switch is an easy way to eliminate some of the single-use plastic waste in your bathroom and helps you out even more because these bars aren't loaded with crazy chemicals. Oh... and I mentioned that you can buy them at Target, right? It doesn't get much easier than that!
I challenge you to make the shampoo swap and check out Spring and Vine at Target. If you do, leave me a comment with which bar is your favorite and why you love it!

#springandvine #sponsored