Slow Living || Using Social Media For Good Around Your Kids

We interrupt our normal mess of fashion related posts to bring you a topic of a different kind. Something, in fact, that I've been holding off on writing about because, admittedly, I'm terrible at it. But if I've learned anything from blogging and the authenticity that goes along with it, it's that the posts that I avoid writing the longest are usually the ones most worth writing. 

I often sing the praises of "slow and intentional". And I believe in that lifestyle wholeheartedly. I try, as best I can in a world that promotes more/faster/better/haphazard, to slow down, make my choices from a place of intention, and to raise my girls to do the same. I'm an advocate for "boredom" and schedule as much intentional downtime into my 4 & 2 year old's lives as possible. But there's one area that I've always struggled to use intentionally, especially around my girls, and it's one that I already know I'm not alone in. 

Social Media. 

Of course, my girls are far too young to have their own devices or social media outlets, but the reality is that they've been born into the "digital age" and navigating that reality as a parent is far from easy. I think both my daughters understood how to work an iPhone from the time they were 18- months old. They both can run Netflix without help, answer my phone, and even like wasting time with Instagram filters with me. 

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It can seem harmless and, of course, to some extent it is, but raising children in a world so immersed in social media, connection, and immediacy means that things like comparison, discontent, self-loathing, and wandering into unsafe "online territory" can begin happening at younger ages than ever before. 

To give some balance to the fear that can drive parenting, I've determined to never parent from a "sheltered" or fear-based line of thought. So, of course, I'm not hiding my girls from all social media or pretending like it doesn't exist. However, I'm equally determined to "use social media for good" in my family - despite the times I've failed to do so. 

Here are a few habits I'm hoping to implement more consistently in my day to day to teach my girls that social media can be used for good, but that it's not the "be all end all". 


1. Set specific times to post/check social media

I put this tip first because it's the one I fail at most often. I'm on my phone around my girls ALL THE TIME and although I don't feel like I have to be off it entirely, limiting my own screentime, especially around them, trains us both to value each other's company and detach from social media all the more. 

This is one of the "cornerstones" of my Social Media Detox from several years ago and, starting now, I'm hoping to make it less of a detox routine and more of an everyday habit. 

2. Be intentional with who you follow

Although this may not seem to directly impact your kids, they'll pick up on more than you realize. If you follow accounts that cause you discontent or to compare yourself in unhealthy ways, those feelings will bleed into your day to day life. The occasional sigh when you look in the mirror or exclamation that you "wish you looked more like so and so" can stick with your kids longer than you'd ever intend. 

Instead, follow accounts that inspire and uplift you.

3.  Decide ahead of time how/when your kids can "sign on"

Having a plan in advance when it comes to social media and your kids is a simple way to reduce anxiety and parent intentionally. They'll know, as they get older, what your expectations are and how social media fits into their lives at a particular phase. 

4. Teach them from a young age to unplug

A balance that is easier to imagine than achieve, setting boundaries with screen time/social media is tricky regardless of whether your kids are in school or daycare, whether you work from home with them, or a combination of it all. For me, since my job is entirely online, I try to keep the days when I work while my kids are "plugged into" Netflix to a minimum. Instead, I let them play and make messes around me while I work - not simple, inspiring, or easy most of the time, but it creates a balance between work and play that I think is crucial for kids. 


How have you decided to use social media in your household? I'd love to hear all of the tips and ideas!

Transition to Clean || Beauty Brands Helping Me Along the Way

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I won't preface this post by saying that I'm not a beauty blogger (if you knew my makeup routine, you'd know how far that is from the truth), but I will say that my approach to skincare, makeup, self-care, and my own appearance overall has changed drastically in the past few years. 

Motherhood, for one, and simply "growing up" have both altered my view of how and why I take care of my body. In my journey towards a slower, simpler, cleaner lifestyle, skincare/beauty out of necessity, has to follow suit. However, much like transitioning from fast fashion to slow fashion, making the trek from conventional beauty products to cleaner ones is no small feat. 

This post has been years in the making, because, much like developing my personal style, it has taken a while to get to know my skin type, self-care style, and the way my body responds to what I put in and on it (thank you, Woman Code). Although it's not a comprehensive list of ethical skincare brands out there (not even close), it will hopefully provide a more in depth look at how and why I've chosen the products I use and an honest review of the brands behind them. 

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Questions to ask before buying: 

1. What is my skin type and what issue am I trying to address? 

2. Can this product be used in more than one way? 

3. How transparent is the brand about their ingredients/sourcing?

4. Is this product worth the investment? 

If a product answers yes to all four of these requirements, then it's an easy choice. 

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The Brands: 

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1. Curie

The story: Curie aims to create perfumes and body care products with zero chemicals and as few ingredients as possible. You might remember my obsessive review of their Bella Flor fragrance (a perfume with only 9 ingredients, as opposed to the industry standard of 70. It's a woman owned company creating artisans passionate about the trade. 

The products: Perfumes, hand soaps, & lotions. 

Why Curie: Curie's fragrances are unparalleled and you can feel 100% safe and confident about putting their products on your skin, knowing they're not created with harmful chemicals or synthetic fragrances. 

2. Dulce de Donke

The story: After learning that their daughter had a rare autoimmune disease that attacked her brain (called PANDAS), Saundra and her husband, the owners of Dulce de Donke, were told that their six year old would have to be on antibiotics for the majority of her life. Unable to accept that as the final answer, they turned to history, and ultimately to donkey milk, a substance known for its health benefits in many other cultures, but one that is rare in Western culture. The family has since created a brand aimed at helping other families in similar situations and spreading the word about the benefits of donkey milk. 

The products: Dulce de Donke has a wide range of products, but I tested out the Dulce de Deodorant , Eucalyptus Mint soap bar, and their best selling moisturizer

Why Dulce de Donkee: Aside from their incredible story, Dulce de Donke crafts products that are gentle on the skin and truly work wonders. I use their moisturizer on my razor burn prone legs after shaving and it's so soothing. Furthermore, their deodorant is the first all natural deodorant I've tried that ACTUALLY works. 

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3. Primally Pure

The story: Born out of a love for organic, pastured raised farming, Primally Pure evolved into a skincare brand that  uses only recognizable, natural, effective ingredients. They use expert recommended ingredients in their carefully formulated products that yield noticeable results. 

The products: Primally Pure makes everything from cleansing oils, to bath soaks, to dry shampoo. I've been using their Cleansing Oil, Everything Spray, and Jasmine Body Oil and can't recommend all three more highly. Will DEFINITELY be repurchasing. 

Why Primally Pure: If you're looking for high quality, all natural skin care products, Primally Pure is the perfect starting place. 

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4. Axiology Beauty

The story: Axiology was founded on the principle that women shouldn't have to choose feeling beautiful over feeling ethical. Their products are made with 100% organic and ethically sourced ingredients, are 100% vegan and cruelty free, and (get this) the packaging is even made from paper waste gathered around the island of Bali and then hand decorated, filled with a lipstick, and shipped to your door. 

The products: Lipsticks and lipcrayons in a wide variety of shades. I bought Vibration (the perfect bright red), and then tried out The Goodness, and the Bliss lip crayon for this post. 

Why Axiology: Although $26-$30 may seem expensive for a lipstick, when you consider the high levels of transparency, the longevity of the product, and it's effectiveness, it's well worth the cost. 

5. Berlin Skin

The story: Speaking to my minimalism-obsessed mind, Berlin Skin encourages simplicity, contentment, and a deeply ingrained sense of self-care with their multi-use products. Each product is made with sustainably sourced ingredients, made in small-batches in Portland. 

The products: Body and face oils, masks, creams, toners and more. I've been loving their Matcha Honey mask and their Geranium + Rose Toner

Why Berlin Skin: Perfect for the aspiring minimalist or anyone trying to pare down and simplify their skincare routine, Berlin Skin's products are nourishing and adapt well to all skin types. 

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6. Pouring Out Facial Oil 

The story: After spending time overseas in war torn Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pouring Out's founder wanted to craft a brand that combined their love for serving the marginalized with their passion for simple living and essential oils. Profits from Pouring Out are reinvested into supporting non-profits that restore and heal, much like their facial oils do for the skin. 

The products: A simple selection of a face mask and a face oil, Pouring Out uses all organic oils to hydrate, restore, and heal all skin types. 

Why Pouring Out: If you're looking for a safe, organic facial oil, Pouring Out is your new go-to, regardless of skin type. *Use code "simplyliv20%off" for, you guessed it, 20% off your entire order!*

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*This post was a collaboration between multiple brands and myself, combining purchased goods and gifted product. All opinions and photographs are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

Spring Cleaning Your Life || Guest Post

**This piece is a guest post from Katrina Gleason, the founder of Katrina Gleason Coaching.**


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Think of your life as a garden.

For a garden to survive, plants need the basic necessities, such as water, sunlight, and solid rooting. But for each plant to thrive, it needs space and an abundance of nutrients. If you prepare a small garden and pack it full of seeds, none of the plants grow very well. They compete for resources and tear each other down. The same concept applies to your life. When you have too many ‘plants’ in your ‘garden’, they rival each other for your precious time and energy. You end up with unhealthy plants and depleted soil. However, if you were to select specific plants and spread them out in your garden, they will all thrive! Examine the three areas of your life below. You get to choose which plants should stay and which plants aren’t the right fit for your garden.

Friendships/Relationships

We all have toxic people in our lives. Forcing yourself to interact with those who make you constantly unhappy is a waste of your time and theirs. You could be investing that time into so many different endeavors. Why spend special moments with a person or group that makes you miserable?

If you’re feeling guilty about distancing yourself from someone, please consider this. Do you add more value to the world by being around them? If not, there’s a good chance you’re far more irritable and negative after spending time together. It isn’t fair to the people closest to you when you take this negative energy out on them.

Human connection is powerful and it should never be taken lightly. Find the friends that mean the most to you and invest in them with your time and energy. There is always a give and take in friendship, but when someone is only taking and never giving, you need to examine your relationship.

Commitments

We all have commitments. Whether these commitments are to people, companies, or organizations, everyone is constantly taking on MORE. The best way I can illustrate this is with my own story.

For years I had been a teacher at my church’s Wednesday night program. My schedule was already packed with work and courses I was taking, but I signed up anyway because I had done so in the past. I felt obligated, even though no one was making me do it. The first evening, I had no time to prepare and I was so frazzled that something enjoyable became a very stressful night. At the end of my lesson, I decided I couldn’t teach on Wednesday nights anymore.

I felt like a failure for not being able to uphold my commitment, but when I really thought it through, the problem wasn’t letting go; the problem was saying yes in the first place. My initial reaction was that this would just be another plate to spin. If I’d just listened to myself from the start, it would have saved everyone involved a lot of stress.

If your commitments are draining you then do what you have to do to let them go.  Have those tough conversations, I promise it will all be worth it. And next time someone asks you to make a commitment, big or small, go with your gut on accepting. You don’t owe anyone a yes.

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Habits

We all have bad habits. Most of us are 100% aware of unhealthy habits, yet choose to do nothing about them. Look at your habits and pinpoint the ones that don’t serve you well. Maybe your bad habits are drinking too much, overeating, sleeping in late, binge watching Netflix, or playing mindless games on your phone; these habits have consequences! They STEAL your time and energy. It’s easy to view these as no big deal, but they are the weeds of your garden. You can never get back the hours wasted on silly endeavors, but you can change your habits so that you make the most of the time you have left.

I recommend replacing these bad habits with new, better, and healthier ones. Maybe you start getting out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off. Maybe you strive to do at least 5 minutes of exercise every day. A small step in the right direction is all it takes to get your positive momentum going.

Removing weeds from your garden will leave you with so much extra time and energy. Now, the key is to say NO to the things that you don’t want in your life. Take that free time and start doing the things you’ve been wanting to do for yourself! Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or just have some nice alone time.

Eba Totes || Functionality Meets Sustainability

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After having kids, I don't think I've used a "normal" sized tote. I steered clear of diaper bags and backpacks and, instead, opted for totes with ample room for all of my mama paraphernalia. Even though the days of diaper bags and packing a pound of cheerios are coming to a close for us, I still find myself loving oversized bags now more than ever. 

I've had a crush on Eba Totes for years after seeing many blogger buddies showcase their own vegan, sustainably made tote, and when Emmaly (the brand's founder) reached out to me, I said yes in a heartbeat. 

What makes Eba Different?

In an effort to merge style and functionality, Emmaly designed her totes to be as versatile as possible, taking you effortlessly from work, to the gym, to a playdate, to the airport, or anywhere in between. All of the totes feature a waterproof lining to prevent damage and staining, two large sections inside the tote, smaller pockets for phones, cards, or keys, and (my all time favorite feature) an elastic cup holder in the bottom to keep travel mugs or water bottles upright. 

Their bags can easily fit a 15" laptop, books, planners, journals. Or, a change of clothes, snacks, diapers, and a coffee to keep you sane. 

The exterior of the bags (the leather portion - mine has a small amount of leather), is made by Ultrafabrics, a Greengaurd Certified producer of vegan leathers. The woven material is a blend of ultra-sustainable linen. Their bags are also USA made. 

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Why Choose Eba?

If you're not already convinced, the sheer versatility of their totes is enough to win anyone over. I've had my Herringbone tote for three months now and have used it almost everyday, swapping it out for a smaller clutch for date nights or "special occasions". 

It served as my carry on during my recent trip to the UK and easily held my DSLR camera, water bottle, coffee cup, wallet and travel documents, a jacket, and so much more. 

I've also used it for weekend trips, to carry clothes for my girls, or as a work-bag for coffee shop work sessions. 

There are certainly a lot of great totes out there (and I've blogged about my fair share), but if you're looking for one that is literally designed to make your life easier, Eba is perfect. 

Eba Totes is launching a Kickstarter campaign (in 4 days!) for their second line of totes - there will be new styles (a cork tote and a denim tote), new colors, and all of the same beautiful features as the first line. You can see the new styles here, but they won't be available until the 2nd, so stay tuned!

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*This post is sponsored by Eba Totes in promotion of their kickstarter campaign. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this site running!*

How to Be Patient With Yourself on Your Sustainable Living Journey

**This piece is a guest post from Emily Folk, the editor of Conservation Folks. See below for her full bio!**


You may be familiar with the age-old expression that patience is a virtue, but that doesn't make achieving it any more desirable or easy. When it comes to altering your life drastically by
embarking on a sustainable journey, you may find that your patience is even more outside the
realm of possibilities. Yet you still want to meet your goals, but you don't seem to have the
restraint or reliance to get there, so what are you supposed to do?


While achieving patience may seem impossible, it's simple to overpower any lack of restraint with
a determined mindset fixated on fulfilling your goals at hand. Whether your goal is to reduce
your environmental footprint or to improve your everyday level of sustainability, you'll find that a
little bit of self-control, grit, and driven power can go a long way.

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Kickstart your journey by taking a look at our five simple steps towards maintaining a positive
mindset and patience on your goal towards a more sustainable future below.

1. Reframe Your Focus

When you reevaluate your life values and goals, it’s important to start off your newfound journey
by establishing what truly matters.


The most crucial piece of advice to take when learning patience is to focus on the positive and
what’s within your realm of influence and control. You can’t immediately eliminate your financial
debt, but you can choose to focus on reducing your everyday spending and waste production.
Instead of trying to master unobtainable acts such as perfectionism or forgoing shopping entirely,
reshape your daily focuses to prioritize more straightforward actions that are much more feasible.
When you vow to commit to smaller, less extreme acts, you'll find yourself achieving even higher
results in the long run.

2. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Sometimes, it takes a bit of effort and time to obtain our goals — sustainable living included. You
may make some mistakes along the way and it’s important to realize that your dedication will one
day pay off.


Did you know that forming a habit requires a few weeks? Scientists estimate that a habit is
formed after roughly 21 days of continuous willpower and efforts to be exact. And that’s only an
approximation — changing your lifestyle toward complete sustainable living may take even
longer.


The best part about venturing on your new life journey is knowing that others are in the same
boat as you and there's no rush to meet your daily goals along the way. Whether it takes a few
days or months, remember to pace yourself and realize that even the most significant things in
life take a little bit of time.

3. Be Comfortable With Saying No (When Necessary)

Sometimes, it isn’t always easy to say no — especially when you’re used to saying yes. But one
of the most important parts of living sustainably is learning to say no to the products and junk
that cause unnecessary clutter in your life.

The next time you're in the market for a new product, ask yourself if you need that latest gadget
or appliance. You'll find that the answer is likely no — and learning to say no may just be the key
to leading the sustainable life you hope to achieve.

4. Be Grateful for What You Have

You don’t have to go to the store or surf the internet for a brand new product to receive
something new. In fact, we're betting you have something laying around in your house at this
very moment that could provide you with a fresh and different product — through a bit of
repurposing, of course.


When it comes to sustainable living and being grateful for the possessions you already own, take
a note from the Amish community. The Amish, known for living a slower lifestyle than many
people today, also live a far more sustainable lifestyle.


Part of how the Amish live so sustainably is achieved through intelligently managing their
finances and possessions. The Amish cultivate a sustainable lifestyle by repurposing the materials
they already have and making the most out of the goods and materials currently in their home.
Repurposing also requires a lot less energy than working, shopping, and indulging in more goods.
Pace yourself and make an evening of transforming something old in your home into a new and
refreshing product — you may just find yourself enjoying the relaxation and picking up a new
hobby, too.

5. Reward Yourself Along the Way

Putting too much pressure on yourself to succeed or obtain your goals can drain you — both
physically and mentally. That’s why it’s so important to congratulate yourself for your dedicated
efforts and to reward yourself along the way on your sustainable living journey.


Research studies show that we’re much more likely to see an act through to fruition when we
have an incentive — such as a reward — pushing us toward achievement. A little bit of positive
reinforcement can cause a wave of impact on your resulting decisions and actions.


If you find, for instance, that you’ve met your goal to cut back on water and electricity usage for
the month, consider rewarding yourself with your favorite meal or dish. Once you achieve any
goals you’ve established, it’s important to pat yourself on the back as you work toward a more
sustainable future.


Plus, your newfound dedication to sustainable living will become apparent in your everyday
lifestyle and decisions — an incentive we’d say is a reward in and of itself.


In the end, it’s crucial to take a moment to reflect on your future life journey. Take a deep
breath, focus on your goals, and push forward toward sustainability. The most important thing to
remember that the process is a part of the journey — so pace yourself along the way.


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About the author: 

 

 

Emily is a sustainability writer interested in finding new ways to reduce her footprint and be kind to the earth. She is also the editor of Conservation Folks, and you can find her latest updates on Twitter.