Minimal Bohemian || A Late-Summer Lookbook

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Natural fibers, neutral colors, easy silhouettes. These are a few of my summer-style must haves. 

Although I'm not one to shy away from bold colors or prints (ahem, my favorite MATTER Prints pieces), I've found that the days I feel most comfortable and "myself" are the ones when I'm wearing easy/versatile pieces that can be dressed up and dressed down with the least amount of effort. I've thought before about trying to "define" my style and although I feel like my personal style is constantly in flux, "minimal bohemian" seems to sum up my go-to style. 

When I thought about what kind of Lookbook I wanted to work on for Summer, these were the kinds of pieces that came to mind. Clothes that made me feel feminine. Clothes I could throw on and not worry about ruining or getting dirty/wrinkly as I chase around two littles. Clothes that were well-made and would last a lifetime. Minimal bohemian, classics with an effortless twist. And so, these four pieces are the ones I'm excited to spotlight. All from conscious makers, all handmade, all from brands I contacted specifically for this season and this piece. 

For me, these brands and their handiwork inspire a sense of whimsy and embody the carefree style I love, especially for real day to day living. There's nothing fancy, elaborate, or flashy about them. They're real clothes for real women, and I can't get enough. 


The Brands: 

Magic Linen

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Based in Lithuania, Magic Linen is a small, family owned business using only organic linen for their stunning array of home goods and apparel. Each piece, from their king-size bedding to their beautiful tops, jumpsuits, and dresses, are cut and sewn by hand, taking up to two weeks to create before being shipped to their new homes. 

We cherish classic values, at the same time being modern, opened to a world and new ideas, doing our best with a lot of enthusiasm and hard work. These principles reflect in the goods we deliver – we choose the most organic fabrics and enjoy the process of making items by hand than going to big factories.
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I'm wearing: 

Why I Love Them: 

These pieces are timeless and such high quality. The skirt transitions perfectly from warm weather to cold (I chose the color with holiday parties in mind). The dress is breezy, but thick enough to wear all year - I'm obsessed with the buttons and long sleeves. 

Magic Linen values the beauty of the process as much as they value the end result. I can't wait to pass these pieces on to my daughters one day. 

Aurorei 

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Dreamed of, designed, cut, and sewn in Brooklyn, New York, Aurorei creates pieces that are quite literally effortless. The one-woman show's goal is to create functional pieces that can be worn multiple ways through multiple seasons, both in the year and in life. Their linen and leather goods are durable and all made with ethically sourced fabrics from a traceable mill in Osaka, Japan. 

I've owned Aurorei's Multi-Way Shirt for almost a year and reached back out to them for this lookbook after eyeing the high-waisted pants for months. 

We hope to create design that is multifunctional, multi-gender, and simple to understand, that will truly become a “new companion” for your life.

I'm Wearing: 

Why I Love Them: 

These pants have a vintage feel while being endlessly flattering. I've paired them with crop tops, tanks, tees, sweaters, kimonos and more and I can't seem to find anything that doesn't work with them. Aurorei is the embodiment of slow fashion and supporting women owned businesses is so worthwhile.  

Arraei Collective

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You may recognize this piece from a few weeks ago on the blog (and from the sheer amount of times I've worn this tank in real life), but Arraei Collective has fast become a favorite brand of mine both for their beautiful designs and for their eco-friendly practices. 

I had been hunting for a versatile cami-esque tank for the summer and was amazed at how "above and beyond" this piece went. More than just a basic, it's reversible, crop-able, and made from a hemp/silk/organic cotton blend that is so easy to care for. Arraei launched earlier this year and I can say from experience that they'll be a brand to watch as their collection grows. 

The Arraei woman exudes confidence through graceful self expression, knowing that she is harmony with herself and the planet.

What I'm Wearing: 

Why I Love Them: 

Arraei creates pieces that flatter every body type and style and, even better, will never go out of style. Their fabrics are the definition of sustainability (100% plant-based and ethically sourced) and the versatility is unmatched. 


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**This post is in collaboration with each brand mentioned. Although I wasn't compensated for promotion, I received pieces after reaching out specifically to partner with each brand. Thank you for supporting the brands who make this blog possible.**

Ethical Lingerie and the Slow Acceptance of My Body

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You are imperfect. Permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.
— Amy Bloom

Beauty is, as I've written before, a fluid concept. I'm quicker to notice the beauty in other women than I am to celebrate my own, but as I've "gotten older" (I can say that at 24, right?) I've slowly and surely learned to accept my own "inevitable flaws" and, if not love them, appreciate them for what they are. 

Today is International Women's Day. A day that symbolizes empowerment, progress, and the many (many) flaws in the "system" that women face in the workplace, home, and world at large. And while all of these things are incredibly important and need to be discussed, I want to use today as an excuse to share about a topic that I've written on several times, but never felt comfortable "donning" for the world wide web. Lingerie, yes, but more than that, insecurity. And, in turn, the way a beautifully made piece of clothing, even one that no one else sees (unless you're silly enough to post it on the internet...), can empower you in its own small way. 

When I've shopped for lingerie in the past, it's usually been for one of two reasons:

1. for practicality's sake, usually while I was breastfeeding (easy access and comfort are key...everything else can go to underthings' hell). 

2. for enhancement's sake. In an effort to "disguise" my reality. (Ie. you've had two kids and still have no boobs to speak of). 

Shopping ethically, for either of those reasons, is difficult in its own way. The first, for sheer lack of options and, because, nursing bras, well, they get destroyed.

The second, because most non-Victoria's-Secret slow fashion shops don't rely heavily on "enhancement". More clearly stated, my days of push up bras comprised of two-inches of sheer non-boob foam were coming to an end and I'd have to accept my body for the way it really was if I wanted to support brands who were doing things in a truly empowering (and ethical) way. 

Of course, not all ethically made bras have to be un-padded bralettes for A and B cups, but by and large, the majority of brands I've come across focus on celebrating, protecting, and appreciating a woman's natural form, not her enhanced "socially accepted" form. 

And although it has been a hard acceptance on my end, the correlation between my own self-esteem and the types of clothes I choose to buy isn't lost on me. That's not to say that you can't rock a Victoria's Secret push-up bra (because I still do from time to time), but when I feel the need to wear pieces that don't honestly reflect my body, I've learned to re-evaluate my "why". Is it because I'm unhappy with my body? Is it because I feel like I need to be "enhanced"? 

And so I've begun the slow process of accepting my body - disproportions, stretch marks, acne, hairy arms, small boobs and all. See that "stomach roll" in the next photo? I accept that too. 

I've learned that acceptance can be both practical and beautiful. Un-enhanced and feminine. Beauty doesn't have a definition or "type", so why should my underwear? 

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A few brands I've been wearing (and genuinely loving) lately that have helped me feel beautiful in my skin: 

Hara the Label: 

Hara is an Austrailia-based lingerie company selling body-positive, organic, unbelieveably comfortable underwear and bras made from bamboo. I'm wearing their Stella low cut bra in Ivory and I forget that I'm even wearing a bra when I have it on. 

AmaElla Lingerie: 

AmaElla sells underwear, bras, and nightwear made from organic cotton. Their bras (both bralettes and non-bralette) and underwear are all made from OEKO TEX STANDARD cotton. I have their Organic Cotton Brazillian Knickers and they're the perfect amount of sexy and comfortable (the perfect combination, if you ask me). 

Aikyou Lingerie: 

Aikyou is a label designing specifically for women with small busts (hallelujah, right?) Their pieces perfectly blend femininity, uniqueness, and comfort, without compromising support or fit. I'm wearing their Milla Triangle bra in mint/white. 


Click here for a larger list of ethical lingerie retailers.

**This post was sponsored by Hara the Label, Aikyou Lingerie, and AmaElla Lingerie. I received product for review but wasn't compensated. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this site running!**

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Simple Ways To Clean Up Your Coffee Routine

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If you've read my blog or followed along for any length of time, you know that SL&Co primarily focuses on ethics within the fashion industry - a topic with more than enough subjectivity and sobering statistics to keep me busy for a while. However, another realm that I'm equally invested in, with an equal amount of corruption, pollution, and confusion, is the coffee industry. 

Whether you work in coffee, are just beginning to dip your toes (or, mug?) into the world of specialty coffee, or you fall anywhere in between, most conscious consumers would agree that, like any other industry, there are ways to "do coffee" well, and there are ways to do it poorly. I'm not just talking about whether your coffee tastes like it should or whether you know how to brew it properly (both of which, I would argue, are important as well), but about all of the "unseen" aspects behind your morning pour over. 

It's estimated that more than 40 hands and over 2,000 hours go into make a single cup of coffee. From seed, to plant, to processing, to roasting, to brewing, coffee, like most things in life, isn't simple. And crafting excellent, ethical coffee is even more complicated. 

This post is by no means as in depth or exhaustive as it could be. Instead, it's meant to be a "gateway" to cleaning up your coffee routine, for the sake of craft coffee, the livelihood of the hands who produce it, and for the environment, with simple steps and basic statistics. I've implemented all of these "steps" into my daily coffee routine and I would love to hear how you make them work in your day to day life too!

1. Swap Your Beans for Direct Trade and Certified Organic Coffee

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This piece is first on my list because, like sourcing with textiles or food, the supply chain behind each bag of coffee is incredibly important. And, incredibly varied. It probably comes as no surprise to learn that slavery, forced labor, child labor, unsanitary working conditions, pesticide use, and scant wages are all fairly common among coffee farms all over the world. 

According to Coffeelands, extreme poverty (and lack of education and ability to gain better jobs), demand for coffee, and cheapening prices of coffee per pound all contribute to the slavery-like conditions that plague coffee workers around the world. 

However, there are ways to make sure your morning cup isn't contributing to slavery (a statement that sounds loaded and emotionally charged, but a quick look at the facts shows that it really isn't). 

With the growth of Fair Trade Certification, more standards are being put into place to ensure that the working and living conditions are safe, that the coffee is grown in pesticide-free land, and that it's a higher quality of coffee than non-certified coffees. In fact, the FTC reported that of the 400 million cups of coffee that Americans drink per day, if each person switched to just one fair trade cup per day, an additional $2 million would be re-invested into the farmers, helping them address the issues that cause the vicious cycle of poverty and forced labor. 

To take it a step further, opt for Direct Trade Coffee over Fair Trade. 

What's the difference? In a word, Direct Trade gives control to the roasters, allowing them to directly interact and support the farms that grow their coffee. It eliminates the third-party middle man, so to speak, and actually allows coffee farmers to make more money as a result. 

Click here for an excellent infographic on the difference between Fair Trade and Direct Trade, (of course, buying fair trade is far better than buying non-certified coffee, but if you can, find a roaster who works directly with the farmers via Direct Trade!) 

(See the bottom of this post for a round up of a few of my favorite roasters and coffee companies!) 

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2. Ditch Single Use Filters (or Opt for Compostable Ones)

When it comes to at-home coffee, chances are you're using a single-use system like a Nespresso or K Cup. If you're not using one of these, you're likely using a drip brewer. According to Statista, single use coffee makers generated retail sales of almost 4 BILLION dollars. However, Business Insider noted that the vast majority of these pods can't be recycled, meaning that the amount of discarded K-cup and Nespresso pods could easily circle the Earth more than ten times, if stacked side by side (source). 

Although, luckily, there are more eco-friendly options out there (like compostable and re-usable pods) I'm a fan of manual brewing methods combined with reusable filters to ensure the least amount of waste and the best tasting cup. (Coffee snob alert, I know, I know). 

I recently picked up a few organic cotton/hemp filters from Pinyon Products and have been loving them. They don't alter taste (my biggest concern), are as easy to use as paper filters, and last for years and years and years. Pinyon sells cloth filters for drip machines, Chemex and more. 

(Extra-Coffee-Snob note: using non-paper filters can yield a bit thicker cup- less clean than you might be used to, so to compensate, I suggested using a coarser grind if you're using a Hario V-60 like I am). 

If pour overs aren't your style, there are recyleable and compostable paper filters available too. 

3. Invest in a Reusable Mug

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Similarly, single use coffee cups are generally not recycleable due to a thin layer of polyurethane on the inside to insulate and waterproof the cups. (Ew, I know). However, this poses a huge problem, especially if you enjoy frequenting your local cafe. There are recycleable single-use cups on the market, which is great for the shops that actually use them. But unless you're going to call up each shop ahead of time to ask what kind of cups they use, bringing your own mug is a simple way to reduce waste. 

It's no secret that I love my KeepCup, but it doesn't really matter what brand or style of cup you use, as long as you remember to bring it ;) You could save an average of 158 disposable cups from landfill (source). 

 

 

4. Support Local Cafes That Value Farm-to-Cup Transparency

It's no fun to drink coffee in your kitchen all the time. I'm a bit of a coffee shop addict and love discovering new shops. But before I head to a new shop, I like to research a little bit beforehand about what roaster they use, and how transparent that roaster is about where and how their coffees are sourced. 

Small, local shops are usually the quickest way to find passionate shop owners passionate about transparency. 

5. Re-use Your Coffee Grounds

Although coffee is rather acidic, the used grounds are almost pH neutral and are perfect for composting, DIY fertilizer, and even using in body products. 

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Brands to Support: 

Roasters: 

In a very non-exhaustive list, here are a few all-time favorites. (Some fair trade, and some direct trade). Leave me a comment and I'll help you find great roasters in your area!

Equipment/Gear/At-Home Products: 

Products that I use at home or admire. 


*This post was sponsored by a few of my favorite coffee brands. Thank you to Ethical Bean Coffee, Pinyon Products, and NotNeutral for making the coffee industry a little bit better and more beautiful.*

No matter how you take it, your morning coffee comes with a dark side. From slavery to pollution, there is a dark side to the coffee industry that's hard to ignore. Luckily, cleaning up your coffee routine is possible and much less intimidating than you may think!

Ethical Holiday || Gift Guide For Kids

Ethical Holiday  || Gift Guide For Kids

The last of my gift guides for the year has been the most fun to put together. It's possible that kids are even harder to shop for than men, especially if you're trying to do so ethically. Although I try to always keep our Christmas gifts (very) simple and affordable for my two girls, I went a bit over the top with this guide. I include gifts for a wide age range and an even wider range of budgets ;) 

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10 Products Made By Survivors of Human Trafficking That Support Their New Life

10 Products Made By Survivors of Human Trafficking That Support Their New Life

It's Dressember day three, and fittingly, it's also International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. 

Slavery is far from abolished. In fact, there are 30 million people worldwide trapped in some kind of slavery. That is more than any other time period in history. 55% of modern day slaves are women and children and 45% are men and boys. 26% of them are children under 18 years old. 

These stats seem hopeless, but luckily, there are many organizations working night and day to abolish slavery, both overseas and in your back yard. 

It can feel like there's nothing you can do, but supporting the brands who employ survivors and aid in rescuing those still enslaved is a small, but highly effective way to join in the fight. Each one of the products included on this list were made by a survivor of trafficking or someone who is at risk for being trafficked. Each product provides sustainable income, a safe workplace, and care as the men and women transition back into the "real world". 

Voting with your dollars is one of the easiest ways to take a stand and shopping with brands like To the Market and the others in this list makes a difference on so many levels.  

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