Simply Styled || A Postpartum Pep Talk

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I shared on Instagram a few days ago that I’m learning (slowly and with lots of patience) to put clothes on a body that feels a bit foreign to me. I know the postpartum phase is fleeting, and eventually I’ll “have my body back”, but for now, in the immediate weeks and months following pregnancy and childbirth, things just feel a little abnormal.

I’m getting to know a new soft, squishy tummy where there was recently a hard, round belly, and before that, something relatively flat and fit. My thighs touch where they didn’t before, my hips are wider, my skin reacts differently to things it used to love, even my feet seem to have shifted just enough to cause a noticeable difference in the fit of my favorite shoes.

Pregnancy is beautiful and I’m loving the postpartum phase more now than ever before, but sometimes, dressing a body that doesn’t feel like home yet is strange.

Whether you’ve had a baby or not, chances are women of all ages and lifestyles can relate to the feeling. Period bloat, stressful seasons, a new relationship, a job change, a sickness or new diet — all of these things can affect our bodies in ways we never expected, causing us to embark on a new journey of getting to know ourselves in our present state and push towards health as we are now.

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It’s tempting to want to rush to the “get my body back” part of this. It’s tempting to want to try on my old high wasited summer mom jeans that fit a mere 12 months ago. It’s tempting to compare my postpartum body to someone further down the “recovery line”. But this time, the third time, I’m finally content. I’ve found more peace with my present body and have thanked it for not only sustaining me but for growing and sustaining my little Aria.

But there’s a learning curve nonetheless.

I’m leaning hard on wrap silhouettes these days. This top, the Simone Top from Pamut, has been on rotation lately for it’s versatile shape (it can be worn tucked in or out, or reversed) and easy access for breastfeeding (which is just about all I have time to do these days). It’s made of organic cotton gauze and is especially light and airy for the summer months (and for postpartum hormones).

One of my favorite things about this brand is the fact that, although their size chart already goes from a 00-16, they’ll make any customer a piece to fit their body if their measurements aren’t on the size chart. Size inclusivity is something particularly important to me, in addition to sustainable fabrics and ethical production (all of which Pamut achieves beautifully).

Shamless plug for this wonderful brand: if you’re in the market for some extremely high quality pieces that can be easily dressed up or down, use the code “simplyliv” for 20% off an order from Pamut (not an affiliate link, I just love it when you can save money on great clothes).

I paired the Simone Top with my trusty Aurorei linen pants — the pair I had been fantasizing about my entire pregnancy because I missed wearing them so much — and my Nisolo Ama mules.

The outfit looks more elevated than many a cozy-loving-mama’s go to of leggings and tee, but trust me, it's even more comfortable, breathable, and practical. It’s also great for the “getting to know you” phase of my body’s recovery. The silhouette is loose but feminine and it gives me lots of room to breathe and accept.

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I hope to share more of these “simply styled” posts and give raw, truthful peeks into my postpartum journey and what that looks like for not only my closet, but for my mental health as well.

What about you? Can you relate to the sentiment of not fully knowing your own body for a time? How have you given yourself grace to grow through those seasons?


Thank you to Pamut Apparel for sponsoring this post — as always, all photos, creative direction, and opinions are my own. Use the code “simplyliv” for 20% off any order at checkout!

Simple, Affordable, Organic Skincare with Bohemian Rêves

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When it comes to skincare, I’m a minimalist at heart. I’ve shared bits and pieces of my skincare lineup before (if you can call it a “lineup”…I really only use one or two products consistently), but each time I have the opportunity to work with a skincare brand I feel extra spoiled. There’s something about taking extra great care of my skin, bathing it in ingredients I can pronounce and trust, and supporting organic, sustainable brands that feels like such a win/win/win.

Pregnancy is a mixed bag when it comes to skin health — for some, they’re glowing like the proverbial goddess for 9 months straight with no concern about switching up their normal routine, for others, they’re battling more breakouts, dryness, and unevenness than they did when they were 14. I’ve been in both camps and have learned to listen to what my body needs (typically, more moisture) at each phase of pregnancy/postpartum/breastfeeding/menstruation, as well as to not stress about whichever “phase” my body is in at the time.

Bohemian Rêves is my newest skincare obsession and once you learn a little more about their ingredients, packaging, and mission, I think you’ll fall in love too.

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Last Spring I shared a post listing my “skincare criteria” when it comes to which products I try and which brands I support. If you missed it, here’s a quick recap of the questions I ask before committing:

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? 

I’d also add a note to consider the brand’s packaging, since this is my year of #InspiringZeroWaste…

When I consider Bohemian Rêves’ products in relation to these questions, I’m even more convinced they’ve earned their place in my natural (albeit minimal) beauty routine.

The brand crafts all of their products using organic, plant based ingredients. They use glass jars for packaging (which I love to reuse when I’m done), AND they’re much more affordable than other brands I’ve tried in the past. Featuring a beautiful line of body butters, botanical perfumes, face masks, rollers, and more, I’m already hooked on the sweet products they sent over for me to test out.

The Mask

Doing a weekly face mask has become a mini-ritual for me lately, especially at this phase in my pregnancy when rest is hard to come by. Bohemian Rêves’ Rose Clay + Ginseng mask is as luxurious as it sounds and their custom bamboo mask brush makes putting it on simple and mess free. I typically put mine on a few minutes before showering and then let it soak into my skin before washing it off mid-shower.

The Botanical Blends

One of the products I was most excited to try was Bohemian Rêves’ Botanical Blends. I love softer scents and knew that these blends would be just enough of a mood boosting perfume to lighten my mood and keep me feeling just a little bit fancy (I mean, how gorgeous are the bottles?!). I tried the Sol Dorado scent and it’s a fun, citrus-y, earth-y concoction that leaves me feeling awake and smelling fresh.

The Body Butter

Although I primarily requested this body butter for my baby belly — stretch mark prevention and all that jazz — I’ve been using it everywhere and on everyone. Mara is prone to super dry, eczema-like patches, especially in our ultra-dry Colorado winters, and this body butter has helped to keep her skin moisturized and non-itchy.

The Matcha + Green Tea body butter isn’t greasy, like many other body butters out there, and has a light scent that makes it perfect for everyday use.

The Deodorant

Although it’s not pictured, I also tried Bohemian Rêves’ Patchouli and Blood Orange natural deodorant. As someone who is extremely picky when it comes to natural deodorants (and have tried quite a few in my day), this one has come out on top as one my favorites I’ve tried. I’m waiting till I’ve used it for a bit longer to make up my mind officially, but for the first week or so, I’m wonderfully surprised. Instead of many alternative deodorants that use baking soda, this one uses arrowroot powder and magnesium to absorb odor, making it much gentler on the skin.

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If you’re on the hunt for clean skincare alternatives, Bohemian Rêves is the perfect one-stop shop for everything from candles to soap to lotions to cleansing oils. Their ingredients are thoughtful and non-toxic, their packaging is zero waste and reusable, they’re budget friendly, and have products for all skintypes, what more could you ask for?


*This post was sponsored by Bohemian Rêves. All photos, opinions, and creative direction are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

Introducing Findlay || Minimal, Sustainable, Elegant

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I’ve written before that bags seem to be the “gateway drug” for easing into sustainable shopping. They’re easier to integrate into your pre-existing wardrobe, don’t require as much planning, and, not surprisingly, there are lots of incredible brands making ethically made handbags. I’ve written about my fair share this year, but I wanted to wrap up 2018 with a post celebrating a newly launched brand that I believe in wholeheartedly and think you just might too.

Findlay officially launched in November with a Kickstarter campaign that highlights their minimal aesthetic, elegant design, and versatile function. I’ve been lucky enough to test out their Combo Crossbody Clutch before they officially “hit the market” and, also not surprisingly, I can’t get enough.

The Story

Findlay is the brainchild of Andrea, who fell in love with leather for it’s durability and quality. Her story is similar to many other brand owners and designers — as she struggled to find a bag that would transition well through all the hats she wore, she decided to try her hand at designing her own. Andrea designs and produces all of her totes in Los Angeles using vegetable tanned leather from an ethical factory in Italy.

Sustainability

Currently, only 10% of the world’s leather is tanned with tannins from tree bark and plants. This process, called Vegetable Tanning, is free from the harmful chemicals of Chrome tanning and is an “artisanal process” that’s safer for the environment, the workers, and the consumer.

Findlay’s bags are also lined with organic cotton — a feature that, I believe, increases the elegance and functionality of the bags while prioritizing eco-friendly materials.

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Quality

Of course, with the materials mentioned above, Findlay’s products can be nothing but beautiful. I’ve had quite a few leather bags in my day and I’m still amazed at how each one is different. Findlay’s leather is sturdy, not floppy, with a gorgeous sheen that will wear well with time. The lining of the bag gives it an air of class and makes it perfect to dress up or dress down. I could just as easily wear my Combo Crossbody Clutch to a New Years Eve party as I could to preschool pickup.

Giving Back

Don’t stop now, because Findlay gets even better. As tempting as being one of the first to test their bags was, I was hesitant to accept this partnership because I’ve reviewed several other leather goods brands this year and didn’t want to appear repetitive or overly consumerist. I’ve even turned down other partnerships for the same reasons. But, when I read about Findlay’s mission, I realized the timing was perfect, and I’m so proud of the steps this newly launched brand is taking already to make an impact.

10% of all of Findlay’s proceeds go to non-profits in the LA area committed to ending human trafficking locally. With Dressember coming to a close, it’s an honor to highlight a brand who will continue to contribute to rescuing survivors, making a livelihood for victims, and funding the operations who make it possible.

Andrea told me that this focus on social justice is integral to Findlay’s business structure and it’s so exciting to see a brand prioritizing not only ethics when it comes to eco-friendliness and worker safety, but when it comes to using their business to contribute to a matter so close to my heart as well.

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It’s possible to find a brand that produces with eco-friendly materials. It’s also possible to find one that designs with minimalism and functionality in mind. It’s even possible to find brands who give back.

But a brand who does all three? That’s something worth supporting.

You can shop Findlay’s first collection of bags on their Kickstarter campaign until December 29 — after that, the prices will increase, so don’t wait too long. Each sale from their campaign will support their full production launch and, trust me, these bags are worth getting your hands on.

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*Thank you to Findlay for sponsoring this post (I don’t take it lightly when newly launched brands put their faith - and budget - in influencer marketing) — as always, all thoughts, photos, and opinions are my own.

Outdoor photos were taken by Shutter Story Photography.*


Outfit details: Striped top (Elegance Restored), Dress (Sotela — designed by me and Emily!), Booties (Adelante Shoes), White tee (The Great Beyond).

Zanni || Dresses for Whatever

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When it comes to versatility and timelessness, I can't think of any pieces that fit the bill better than the "LBD". A classic in it's own right, black dresses transcend seasons, events, life-phases, and can even accommodate changing bodies (hello pregnancy, or you know, period week). They can range from sultry and strappy to loose, modest and flowy, but if you've peeked inside my closet anytime in the past three years, you'll know that the t-shirt dress silhouette is my favorite for the LBD. 

Although until now, I've only owned one LBD. My trusty Sotela shift dress that I bought long before I ever partnered with the brand. The material of that dress, tencel, while great for dressing up and everyday wear, isn't stretchy or sweat resistant. These two qualities aren't typically on my radar when I choose a new piece for my closet, however, now that I've tried Zanni's "dresses for whatever", I'm hooked on a new kind of versatility that I don't usually consider. 

Zanni designs their dresses for quite literally anything. Made from a stretchy, workout apparel-like fabric, these dresses are meant to take you from a bike commute, to a meeting, to a post-work coffee date. Frustrated with the lack of "low maintenance" pieces in her closet, Zanni founder, Suzanne Brosnan, wanted to find a way to celebrate her love for comfort without sacrificing style or timelessness. So, she combined the two in the most dreamy way - stretchy, athletic-esque material with classic LBD designs that can take you just about anywhere. 

The Fabric

Sourced from an ethical and vetted fabric mill in Italy, Zanni's dresses are made with a blend of cotton, Polyamide, and elastane, giving them incredible stretch and softness. The fabric is UV ray resistant and waterproof to boot. 

I put it to the ultimate test by wearing my Zanni Wear on Repeat dress on a plane ride and, subsequently, several days in the humidity and heat of Omaha, Nebraska. No matter how hot I was, the dress never felt wet and actually did a better job of keeping me cool than anything else I packed for the trip. 

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Suzanne has designed a wide range of dresses, including a maxi dress, a classic A-line, a tank dress, and more. The material is flattering, clinging where you want it to and falling away from where you don't. I've worn mine alone with sneakers, dressed up with flats and a statement necklace, or casually with my Tradlands denim jacket and Sseko slides.   

As someone who generally steers clear of "athleisure" fabrics for my day to day life (you'll rarely see me in leggings unless I'm doing yoga, going to bed, or having a really off day), I'm genuinely in love with the ease and low-maintenance feel of this dress. Although I love getting dressed, I appreciate any brand that helps me achieve a no-fuss, simple yet classy look and Zanni does it all with ease. These truly are dresses for whatever. 

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*This post was sponsored by Zanni LA. All photography, opinions, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog alive.**

Why Even Bother? || Strides in the Slow Fashion Movement

It's been nearly two years since I first announced my "transition to slow fashion" both to myself and my blog, and in that time, although my resolve hasn't lessened, I've learned a lot about the reality of the fashion industry, broke promises I made to myself, and, have seen a lot of growth in the slow fashion movement. 

But, as engrossed in the "industry" as I am (in just a few years, ethical fashion and promoting it has literally become my job), there are days when I question whether it's even worth it - whether things are really changing. Of course, I know, deep down, that my purchases matter and that buying a GOTS Certified white tee from a brand who can trace their supply chain and pays their employees fairly is a better choice than running to the mall and finding the first one with a clearance tag. 

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Whether you're the only person you know who strives to shop ethically or, you, like me, are a part of a huge community of people committed to the notion, it's easy to get disillusioned, or even forget that what we're doing matters. 

So today, in honor of Fashion Revolution month (with FashRev week creeping up the 22-29th), I wanted to share an encouraging post of progress within the slow and ethical fashion community. These things are hard to document, and it may be years before there starts to be wide-spread change within big name brands, but I truly believe in the impact this revolution is having, even if it's just t-shirt by t-shirt. We can (and we are) building a better industry. 

Regardless of what human nature may be predisposed towards (and what this particularly discouraging and not entirely untrue piece from the Conversation would have us believe), the idealist in me is encouraged by the growth I've seen in the ethical fashion movement in the short time I've been involved. 

Here are a few notes from the 2017 Fashion Revolution campaign and a lot of other resources (linked, if you want to check them out) that all "rev-ed" me up even more: 

  • In 2015 less than 200 brands responded to the social media campaign asking "#WhoMadeMyClothes"? Last year, more than 2,400 brands answered questions and responded to customers' pushes to do better. How many will there be this year? 
  • As of June 2017, Fashion Revolution counted 106 fast fashion "mainstream" brands who disclose at least some information about the facilities making their clothes (read the full list here). 
  • There is a "small but perceptible shift" towards the use of sustainable textiles in mainstream brands, collectively reducing waste and resource use. (source). 
  • There has been a push for more strict and all-encompassing regulation for brands, in everything from plant growth/harvesting, sourcing, resource usage, recycling, employee treatment and more. According to Global Fashion Agenda, this kind of collaboration can have industry changing effects by 2030. 
  • A host of regulations have already been introduced and implemented, encouraging consciousness among brands. For example, the "The Cradle to Cradle Certified™" standard by Fashion Positive ensures products can be perpetually used and reused, creating the beginnings of a closed loop system. 
  • The UN includes Sustainable Fashion in their Sustainable Development Goals for the fashion industry's power to affect change. 
  • Business of Fashion noted that 2018 is bringing to fruition the "next level" of sustainability, led by big name and small brands alike who value "sustainability across the entire value chain". 
To truly close the loop of the fashion value chain, both the technology and economics of recycling need to improve dramatically, ideally with a single standard to help with scaling up to commercialization. Getting there will require technological disruption, industry-wide collaboration and, hence, willingness to invest to truly move the needle.
— Global Fashion Agenda

Obviously, this is far from an exhaustive list, and I've barely scratched the surface. But, whether you're an blogger in the ethical fashion space, you own a sustainably minded brand, you're just beginning to learn what these terms mean for yourself, or somewhere in between, know that purchase power is real. And the small, seemingly insignificant changes we make in our day to day life can affect real change. 

Here's to an even more impactful and awareness-raising Fashion Revolution month!