Recently, we moved into a new apartment in Philadelphia, which means I went through my regular routine of trying to settle in while experiencing about a month of insomnia. It strikes every time I move, but this time I decided to be more pro-active. Lavender oil was incredibly helpful at helping me reestablish a night-time routine, and in my research I also stumbled upon this recipe for lavender tea (below) and had to try it. Ever since my pregnancy with my first baby, I'd been hearing about the magical, soothing properties of lavender. Here are a few of my favorites that I've learned about since then. Would you try lavender tea? Does it sound as good to you as it did to me?
1. Lavender Scrubs to Revitalize Winter Skin
Not only is lavender great for eliminating the nervous tension caused by, oh, childbirth-- before I gave birth every blog I encountered, insisted I had to pack lavender oil for my hospital stay-- but it improves blood circulation as well. Put a few drops of lavender oil into your next foot scrub or foot soak. Along with epsom salts and sea salt, just add a few drops! (Or check out this recipe for more details for an at-home spa soak.) Keep in mind the smell is pretty strong, so experiment before you dump in, say, a whole tablespoon the way I did to my diffuser the first time I used lavender-- oh dear God, that was an intense two weeks before the smell faded, which brings us to point 2.
2. Lavender for Insomnia
You can add a few drops of lavender oil to your diffuser if you're suffering from insomnia. Again, keep in mind and learn from Mama Izzy's misadventures. A little goes a long way. I love this
diffuser for only $23, because you can also use it as a humidifier and it's super duper easy to refill the water and keep it clean as well. My kids love the changing lights. It's one of my favorite possessions.
3. Lavender as an Ingredient in Dessert
One of the things I've loved most about blogging is having my world opened up to new possibilities. When I first started blogging, I mostly followed either poetry or fashion pages, but as I began to join blogging communities, lots of recipes and interior design inspiration got added to my daily blog intake. I love the idea that you can add lavender to honey and cheese or to cupcakes or to puddings. The result is so pretty a purple it's just guaranteed to be delicious. I pinned a bunch of the yummiest options that I can't wait to try myself. Just keep in mind, it's not lavender oil but loose, dried lavender, which you can ingest and purchase for about $20 a pound. If possible, maybe even find someone to share that pound with. A pound of lavender is A LOT of lavender.
3. Lavender Tea
I was so excited to hear of lavender as an ingredient in tea, because I knew about it's calming, soothing, and antiseptic qualities when applied externally. I had no idea you could also drink it! Lavender is an anti-inflammatory that also helps maintain cardiovascular health. In addition to its antiseptic qualities,
4. Lavender Candles
When I was looking into uses for my giant bag of lavender, one of my followers suggested I try making my own candles. One of my favorite memories from childhood is making candles at Busch Gardens when I was a kid, and I think my kids would really enjoy making candles with me! I love this Town & Country blog post for making your own candles. It sounds like a fun rainy Saturday afternoon activity.
5. Lavender Oil for Cleaning
The cat bathroom has to be my least favorite part of apartment living, although to be fair in our last house, the basement was only half-finished, so I ended up using the top floor bathroom for the kitty litter for the kitties' safety as well. (We have two rescue cats and one large Newfie... and two toddlers-- keeping the house smelling nice used to be, well, challenging. Lavender has really helped our situation!) When I heard I could use lavender for cleaning, I began adding it to the cat bathroom's garbage can after I washed them out and sprinkling it around the litter box. The smell is about 1,000% better in there!
6. Upcycling Garment Bags into Lavender Sachets
Most of the sustainable designers and secondhand shops where I shop, now send their items in little muslin sachets like the ones pictured above. Making sachets is probably not that difficult, either, but it takes about two minutes to gather your muslin bags and fill them with lavender from my pound bag. The kids watched Wreck-It Ralph, and I poured a glass of wine and listened to John Mulaney on Pandora's comedy channel. Maybe it was the soothing scent of lavender filling my nostrils, but it was one of the nicest, most relaxing evenings I've had in a while. And the first two sachets, went straight to the cat bathroom! Thankfully, cats aren't as attracted to lavender as they are catnip, which is kind of what the little bags look like. I've also been leaving them throughout the house.
Do you keep the bags your jewelry or clothes come in? Sometimes I reuse them for gift-wrapping as well! Any other uses for lavender that I should know about? Be sure to let me know in the comments below, and I'll do a follow-up post!
My husband and I will have been together ten years this fall. Ten years! A decade is mind-boggling when used as a relationship measurement. That's sooo much as my five-year-old might put it. Married six but dating ten. Still. It's much. However, six years ago, we didn't have a big wedding for a bunch of reasons. Most of all, my mother was battling cancer at the time. (She's doing great now and is in full remission!) I didn't feel deprived, though. I had worked as a bridal model at least a dozen times, so I experienced the gown and having my hair in a (painful) updo. I'd even posed for fake wedding photos with a fake groom! Also, deep down, I had never even thought about it: my father's family is French, and my mother is a hippie. Big weddings aren't a big part of French/ hippie culture, so I hadn't grown up with those wedding bell dreams, either. To top it all off: I was also conflicted about certain aspects of the wedding industry as I wrote here for Pank.
That's why, a few years ago, while walking down the street in Santa Barbara on our way to another friend's wedding, when we spotted the perfect engagement ring in a consignment boutique's window display, I realized maybe a diamond could work for me and my family's politics. I had no problem wearing a vintage ring, and I still love imagining the little old lady in a mumu that my 40s-era ring might have once belonged to. (I may or may not have named that old lady Muriel and given her my grandmother's Brooklyn accent.)
So I didn't miss not having had a wedding but ten years still does feel like something worth commemorating in some special way. That's why, while staying for free at a friend's club on the Upper East Side this past weekend, when we pushed our stroller past Cartier right there on the corner, it also felt like another solution had presented itself to us. As a Frenchwoman, non-flashy thrift is ever important in my brain, but we had saved money on a hotel in NYC and even better saved a subway ride down to the diamond district with two toddlers. However, before going in, we still did our research and we were delighted to learn that Cartier is surprisingly a VERY sustainable option! As eLuxe magazine puts it:
"...the House of Cartier is renowned for many beautiful things, but devotion to environmental sustainability is not necessarily one of them. However, it should well be."
The best part of the whole experience, though, had to be our salesman (jeweler?), Androtti. If Central Casting had been responsible for the perfect person to help us celebrate this special moment in our lives, I don't think they could have provided a better actor to play the part. Not only did he provide my Irish husband with all the champagne Ryan's Irish heart desired , but Androtti performed a sleight of hand magic trick WHILE WEARING WHITE GLOVES. Even better, when my ring was sold out in my size, he actually performed that bit at the end of a romantic comedy, where some sort of deadline comes into play: he ran to Cartier's store further downtown and hurried back with a ring that fits! (Since the store was closed for the rest of the weekend, and we were leaving on Memorial Day, we would have been out of luck otherwise!) He was affable, informative, charming, kind, and not pushy in the slightest-- my biggest fear when walking into a jewelry shop. I'm such a people pleaser I was terrified I would walk out with a ring we couldn't really afford or that I didn't really like "because it goes with your engagement ring." Instead, Androtti helped me figure out exactly what worked for me. Something delicate and pretty and not too flashy. And most of all conflict-free. It took ten years to find the right ring, but Cartier made it more than worth the wait.
Next, on a gloomy Sunday, on my French father's recommendation, we stopped by Maison Kayser, reputed to have the best, most Parisian croissants this side of the Atlantic. As someone who consumes a very low-meat, largely vegetarian diet, I live for bread. Actually, that's part of why it's taken me so long to go fully vegetarian. If you guys have any recommendation for helping me learn more about balanced, vegetarian nutrition, I'd love that! If left to my own devices, I will consume nothing but variations of bread and cheese to my heart's (but not general health's) delight. The best part of all is that our brunch was quite affordable & filling. You really have to be careful about that in NYC!! I once sat down at a café in Soho, ordered some eggs and coffee without really thinking about it and then nearly choked when I was served the check. $40!
To Cartier, I'd worn my black linen dress, which you can check out here on Instagram, but Sunday was cooler, so I donned a blue linen suit. I got a lot of surprised looks for being so dressed up on a Sunday morning (even in NYC!!), but you only celebrate ten years of marriage in one helluva romantic comedy of a weekend once*!
*The comedy part of our romantic getaway came into play as, fantasy aside, in reality we were juggling the world's orneriest two-year-old the whole weekend while trying to have a good time and pretend there wasn't a background of wails and constant demands for... bread and cheese of one variation or another. Definitely my son!
Weird looks for being overdressed on a Sunday aside, I loved wearing this blue linen suit! It was comfortable but still chic, and did you know linen is a great sustainable option even if you're not shopping from a sustainable designer? Unless dyed, it's 100% biodegradable. (Not too worried about that aspect as I'll be wearing this suit until it's rags.) Also, it requires far less water to manufacture than is required for cotton. It might be prone to more wrinkling, but, again, I find when the cut is so chic, I don't mind the wrinkles! We ran into Carrie-Ann Moss, and she definitely checked the suit out! Romantic comedy complete!
I pinned some linen options below! Do you own any linen pieces for summer? What are your favorite brands? I also just discovered the brand La Causa! I'll be posting about them to my Instagram @IsabellaDavidVintage or use my code "isabaiae20" for 20% off a linen piece of your choice at Baiae here.
My linen suit is available from Revolve here.
My vintage Chanel bag is from Tradesy. Similar here.
My sandals are old. Similar vegan pair available here from Beyond Skin.
Use code "Flash25" for an additional 25% off!!
A couple weeks back, I did a round up here of some of the lifestyle changes I made this past Earth Month. My focus was overall a change in mindset. I had encountered the idea of a zero waste challenge on a fellow blogger's page but doing the same didn't feel practicable for me, at least not with my current responsibilities.
Two toddlers. Three animals. A household of mayhem, etc.
However, that same day, maybe inspired by some of what I'd read, it occurred to me to try an alternative to all those wads of paper towels for picking up our home's infinite balls of animal fur & trails of toddler crumbs. I tried the dustbuster instead. A true lightbulb moment. (Sad or not to say.) It was a small change but an incredibly easy one. Still, it made a big impact on the amount of waste my family created that day. I began to wonder if there were other small ways to reduce our family's waste that simply required conscious thought processes before I unconsciously reached for instantly disposable items. You can read my fellow blogger's much more intense adventure (which I think she ought to turn into a book) here.
While part 1 of my own zero waste experiment focused on the mindset change, part 2 is more about the inexpensive purchases that have helped make waste reduction practicable.
Here are some of my favorite eco purchases that have proven to be inexpensive, easy ways to reduce our family's waste! Plus, they're purtyier than their evil, single-use step-cousins.... win, win! (Sorry I have fairy tales on the mind. I just watched the Royal Wedding on CNN. I find Meghan Markle's humanitarian work (not to mention fashion sense) so inspiring! I promise to control myself and remain very serious-minded for the rest of this very serious post.) Ahem, here, in no particular order, are 5 life-changing eco products that will help you feel like you are saving the world:
1. Reusable Dryer Balls $9.98
These are so cute I hang them on the outside of our laundry closet's door rather than tucking them away as I did with our Bounce dryer sheets. Plus, they're hypoallergenic, smell great, and work perfectly well. I've been using the same ball since I bought the bag, so I think my $9 and my bag of reusable dryer balls will go quite a long way. Here's a link to the $9 ones I bought on Amazon.
2. Reusable Cotton Pads $15.98
A couple months ago, I discovered the eco brand Glossier, and I've been hooked on this magical toner ever since. That also means I've been using and discarding cotton pads every night. It didn't even occur to me how wasteful I was being. A very simple switch it is indeed to begin using washable cotton pads. An added bonus is that they feel softer on the face, more like a facial at a spa! The ones I like also come with this washable laundry bag, although I'm using the little bag for storing the pads as organization is more important than laundry sorting, which I have to do anyway.
3. Reusable Metal Straws $9.99
We use so many straws in our house! Since we've made the switch to metal straws, we've definitely cut back, although it's annoying that so many so-called green places send their drinks with straws or the ways straws come with juiceboxes. We've also used paper straws, which at least have the virtue of disintegrating. Still, it feels good to do something. After all...
"Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That's 46,400 school buses every year! Americans use these disposable utensils at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day."
4. Reusable Utensils Travel Packet $9.99
This kind of falls under the same rubric of reusable straws except a zero-waste friend of mine made an excellent point: why not make a little packet that you take with you everywhere? I already try to remember my reusable bottles and cups, but why not try to bring my own reusable spoon, fork, straw, and napkin all tucked up together? Even if I don't remember all the time, (which I don't sadly) the times I do remember will help me start to cut back on really useless kinds of waste. I've just begun doing this. So far, I've remembered zero times, but that's how I was with my cups too at first, and now I almost always have a cup or bottle with me. The trick there for me was to purchase bottles and cups I really like. On that note, I really like this handy, bamboo travel set for $9.99 or this cool reusable lunchbox set with a bamboo carving board for $24.99 if you pack your own lunches every day.
5. Reusable Tampons $15.95- $29.14
I also listed these in part 1 of this blog series, but I can't stress enough how easy these are to use and what a game-changer they have proven to be in my life and the life of many women. According to the Guardian...
"The average woman uses roughly 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. The time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade in a landfill is centuries longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it, particularly when wrapped in a plastic wrapper or bag. In addition, the process of manufacturing these products – turning wood pulp into soft, cotton-like fibres – is both resource- and chemical-intensive."
Even though half the population deals with their period every month, there's still a taboo that keeps us from talking about it. The feminine hygeine industry therefore thrives even though there's a cheaper, safer, easier, WAY more eco option available out there: diva cups. Or Luna Cups or Goddess Cups or whichever brand works for you. Just be sure to get an undyed one. Some of the dyed ones are tested on animals. I hope that doesn't make me sound wacky to mention, although I don't really mind sounding wacky. This is why: I could not be a more ordinary woman. I'm a stay-at-home mother who loves Starbucks and shopping. I'm happily married, and we even have one boy and one girl. I love Target, and I have been known to rip a romance novel read in the bath. What I'm saying is: I'm exactly the type of totally ordinary, basic woman who needs to be speaking out. So here goes.
Ladies, GO GET YOURSELVES A DIVA CUP. It is not gross or weird. The environmental savings are huge, but so are the savings on your wallet. It will also make your life infinitely easier. No more leaks. You can sleep through the night if you have a heavier flow. Most of all, it's just common sense: if you wouldn't stick a tampon in your mouth and suck on it because of all the chemicals, WHY would you put a gross, chemical lollipop in your vagina?
I personally love the Diva Cup, but I've heard friends say they prefer other brands like Luna Cup.
Next up for my family is cutting back on paper towel use. A friend recommended we try Norwex Cleaning Cloths. They retail between $14.95- $24.95. These are all easy, inexpensive changes, but I don't want to pretend it's all easy. Paying attention to our waste also brought home the limitations on any real changes we can make. Our worst waste is from food containers, and there's not much we can do about that. Real change is going to have to be institutional. Renée's post does an utterly amazing job delving into the more difficult work necessary to make more lasting changes. I think what I've tried to emphasize is so much of this is simply a change of habit. And these aren't centuries-old habits that we'll have to break! They came about only two generations ago when production values changed. Our great-grandparents and maybe even grandparents did not live like this, and we shouldn't be, either.
I'd love to keep the conversation going below! What are some ways you've learned to cut back on foolish waste in your own lives? (Please no one say "by not wasting time reading this blog!" haha. That said, I've been working very hard at improving this blog the past few weeks, but I always value feedback! Thanks!)
In the outfit above, I'm wearing:
a secondhand Anthropologie skirt. Similar here.
An old Missguided gingham top. Similar here.
A reusable basket from Robertson's Florist. Similar here.
Soludos espadrilles. Available here.
1. It Can Be
I think most of us with even a modicum of interest in the slow fashion world know about Reformation now (both the dresses pictured above are from Reformation and are both are secondhand), so I'll leave these pictures here, because the proof is in the pudding and Reformation dresses celebrate my curves like no other brand. Reformation can be pricy, which leads me to my next point, but first, something else I love about Reformation is their push not only to sell vintage clothes on their own site but the way they partnered with DePop to sell their OWN CLOTHES secondhand on another site. They're really the rare company whose ethics and aesthetics match up. (Quoting journalist Rosalind Jana in that last line.)
2. Sustainable Fashion is Expensive
Image care of Pretty Little Fawn by Courtney Halverson
Not only are there a plethora of secondhand options from the very cheap on eBay or Depop to the pricier ones on Tradesy or treasures to be found in carefully curate vintage shops, but there now exist more and more mid-price retailers like Sézane, who go out of their way to craft high quality pieces at pretty affordable prices considering. (My Sézane and Rouje embroidered blouses that come in at around $115 are as nice as Ulla Johnson, which retails for more like $300.)
People Tree UK and Everlane are two other retailers in the same midway to expensive price range, and Everlane has even run "name your own price" sales! I think paying about $100 for a dress isn't too crazy, once you start factoring in what it costs to make cloth ethically and to treat the person making the actual dress just as ethically as the cloth. Not to mention that special care is reflected in the splendid quality of the garment. My sustainably made clothes are genuinely my nicer clothes, no two ways about it. I am not such a good person that I would reach for them as often as I do over more expensive (but probably thrifted tbh) clothes if they weren't!
3. Sustainable Fashion Is Minimalistic/ Boring
Kate Arnell Wearing a People Tree Dress. Click on the image to visit People Tree's blog.
I do think minimalism and sustainability go hand in hand, but there are different ways to approach the minimalist philosophy. For my part, I appreciated the idea that we should value collections that bring value to our lives but eschew a mindset that mindlessly collects objects which you don't actually need or want. While I do have an enormous collection of vintage and thrifted pieces with some new designer brands thrown in and a growing presence of sustainably made pieces, I still consider myself a minimalist, because I try hard not to waste money or energy on thing I don't need or want or that don't bring me as much immense joy as I feel when I immerse myself in my collection of clothes or books. My clothes closet, which is currently housed in my office, is such a special space that the entire family, barring the dog, likes to go in there and nap or rest!
4. Sustainable Fashion Is A Fad
Check out the gorgeous Natalie Kay (above) if you want an expert take on the current state of sustainable fashion affairs. You can follow her here or on Instagram @sustainablychic.
There's a great piece at Mochni arguing that one day (soon) sustainable fashion will one day simply be called "fashion". It makes three strong excellent points about why. You can read it here.
5. Sustainable Fashion Can't Catch On
On Instagram @dearlybethany spent 365 days showcasing fair fashion outfits that managed to be minimalist, chic, and still very pretty. Check her out for some fashionably sustainable inspiration!
Before I bought my last pair of jeans, a pair of Levi's famous wedgie icon jeans with an unfinished hem, I researched the company, and I was SO excited to discover that such a big company is making such big changes! You can read more about that here.
It's happening, folks!!!! I don't know about you, but I find it thrilling to be part of a brighter future for our children and our planet.
What are some of your favorite sustainable brands? Do you like thrifting or does the thought turn you off? What bothers you about it? Is it the fact clothes are pre-owned or is it the hunt that dissuades you?
In both pictures (of me) above, I'm wearing:
A secondhand, two-piece Reformation dress from Tradesy and an apron Reformation dress from Tradesy (while sitting outside the Reformation store no less! The cheek, ha!)
My Louis Vuitton tote was also gently pre-loved from Tradesy.
I pinned some similar cute two pieces below or follow me on Pinterest @IsabellaDavidVintage.
A Gottex hat from Bloomingdales available here .
Wearing an older pair Rebecca Minkoff espadrilles.
There are some gorgeous, handcrafted ones from Spain available on Amazon here.
I also love delicate ones from Sézane here.
This past Earth Month I was inspired by several zero waste challenges featured on eco activist accounts I follow on Instagram. At first, my inspiration was in name only, but thinking about our household's waste in this new way helped me adopt a doable (read: toddler-friendly) version of the "Earth Month Zero Waste Challenge". I particularly admired model Renée Peters' daily demonstration of traveling the world without leaving behind a snail trail of crumbs and snack packages, but with two toddlers and three pets (read: a zoo) that's simply not feasible.
However, that didn't mean there weren't some easy and very feasible changes I could make; it simply hadn't occurred to me to even try to make them before!
Actually, my whole slow living blog has been about adopting as green a lifestyle as possible without creating more stress in my hectic, mommy life. If I can make these changes anyone can!
Not only that, below I rounded up 7 reasons why you should consider implementing these easy changes. We can even put environmental arguments aside, because I guarantee you will have a nicer, better life the greener you make your day! It's mind-blowing really. If you're like me, you imagined an environmentally-friendly life as one of spartan pleasures and monastic drudgery. No way! Times have changed.
Actually, instead of feeling sacrificial, if anything our family's lifestyle improved. Going green no longer requires you to forgo anything from chic style to yummy eats. Instead, it has so much more to do with resetting a consumerist attitude that is poisonous not only for the planet but for the psyche (and wallet) as well.
Here's 7 switches away from single (plastic or paper) use I learned from my easy Earth Month reset:
1. Buy a Dustbuster To Lessen Paper Towel Usage:
I would love to cut paper towels out entirely, but at least we've come pretty close this past month! We have a lot of creatures in our space and picking up their fur balls is kind of a hobby of mine. Not to brag or anything, but I'm an Olympian of dust. Maybe it came from reading Renée's post advocating zero waste, but that morning, paper towel in hand, I suddenly put two and two together and realized just how many paper towels and diaper wipes I was throwing out on a daily basis. It's beyond easy to zoom a dustbuster over the patches where crumbs and fur collide instead of reaching for a single use wipe. I'm sure there's an argument to be made against the energy a dustbuster requires. If that bothers you, I think you could probably also use a broom to similar effect, but overall, dustbusting has greatly reduced our daily waste. I really love our Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. I find it very easy to recharge and use daily. The new Queer Eye also made a great argument for the robot ones that do that dusting for you. (I pinned both options below.)
2. Buy Dish Towels You Actually Like and Lessen Your Paper Towel Usage Even More:
You can find really pretty ones on eBay. I found some I love on Amazon. I find I use (and wash) them more when I like how they look hanging in my kitchen. That way, I also reach for paper towels far less often. In my opinion, Maison d'Hermine makes the prettiest ones. I pinned some options below!
3. BUY A MENSTRUAL CUP:
I cannot stress enough what a gamechanger this is. I cannot believe how long it took me to switch. This past Earth Month, I happened to see an ad for a reusable tampon applicator that made an argument against single use tampon applicators. The idea of a reusable applicator still seemed absurd to me, so I checked the comments to see if anyone else felt the same way. There were so many women who agreed with me and suggested a menstrual cup instead. However, like a lot of women, I thought the idea of a menstrual cup was, well, disgusting. Even weird. Ladies, it is gross and weird NOT to use one. The average woman uses around 11,000 tampons in a lifetime. Not only is that a drain on your wallet and the environment, but tampons are filled with toxic chemicals. You are packing your poor vaginas with carcinogens. Think of it this way: if you wouldn't put a tampon in your mouth, why would you put one in your vagina? If the thought of a little mess grosses you out, a. it's not that messy and b. wash your hands, wash the cup. Voila! No more mess. It's as easy as that. Also, research which option will work for you, so that you don't pick something you're uncomfortable wearing and give up too fast. I picked the Diva Cup, because it's the most popular (for a reason I figured) and not tested on animals. (Some of the dyed ones are tested on animals.) I've heard good things about the Luna Cup as well. If you're interested in even more reasons to use one, the list goes on. Please feel free to DM me and I'll be happy to discuss why they are not weird or gross and why you will love using them at greater length! I promise. Life. Changing. Magic.
4. Buy or Collect a Few Different Reusable Bags and Baskets:
I have a basket I love to use for grocery shopping. It's pretty and the handle is easy to grip, even when I've made a whole cart's worth of purchases. I have several pretty, printed bags from Free People that I was given free with purchase and I've kept as reusable bags, because I like them. The more pretty, little bags and baskets I have lying around the more I use them.
5. Buy or Keep a Few Reusable Cups:
The same goes for reusable cups as it does for baskets and bags. I find I'm much more likely to use them when I like carrying them and they're easy to find. Instead of tossing those gift bag cups because they make for clutter, keep 'em! Having a few options is a good idea. I just invested in a slightly more expensive, stainless steel reusable water bottle, because I broke my last reusable plastic cup. Also, I couldn't resist its biggest selling point: you can also use it to keep a whole bottle of wine cool at the pool or beach!
6. Reusable Lids:
This one's an oldie but goodie. A couple years back, while visiting my sustainably-minded sister I learned about using reusable lids to store leftovers instead of Saran wrap. Not only are they about a thousand times less torturous to use than digging Saran wrap out of the box and spreading it against its will over your plate, but they represent a really easy way to cut back on single use plastic waste. I pinned my sister's pick!
7. Buy Secondhand:
If you follow my slow fashion diary on Instagram, you'll notice I'm into trends and love fashion. You can buy secondhand these days without having to cut back on style. There are so many options available online now, whether it's shopping other cuties' gently used clothes straight from their closets or scavenging Tradesy or eBay. Most of my posts are on this topic, so I'll expand on this one another time!
My next adventure will be resetting my brain to carry reusable straws and silverware. (I've pinned a few that I plan to buy.) I think paper straws, while still wasteful, aren't the worst idea, because at least they're biodegradable. I think you can agree all the above stuff is pretty easy. It's more about a change in perspective, and, if you're a woman, the menstrual cups will also help you not only save the environment but yourself.
What are some changes you've made to your lifestyle that you feel like other people could or should easily adopt? Please be sure to share in the comments below, and I'll include them in another roundup!
Shop This Look:
I made our hair ribbons myself out of an old, thrifted dress.
My bamboo bag is from Cult Gaia.
My hat is by Rag & Bone from a few years back.
My cardi is from a DVF sample sale. Similar here.
My dress is available here.
In my research into the sudden popularity of bamboo bags, I was surprised to learn that the term "It Bag" is such a recent one. Its coinage is as fresh as the 90s, when it was first being used to describe high-priced designer bags like those signature bags by Chanel or Fendi or Gucci. The concept of branded bags came about even earlier, though, back in the 1940s when the designer Roberta di Camerino created the first instantly recognizable bag, using artisan-made hardware and distinctive textiles. However, the It Bag didn't explode until the 90s for whatever reason. Maybe it was, as Wikipedia drily claims, because there was suddenly, simply this huge market for handbags.
That explanation leaves me with more questions than answers, personally.
Think about it: the market still exists. The fashion industry is a 1.2 trillion dollar annual industry, but by 2011 the concept of the It Bag was in decline.
Did the It Bag disappear because bargains became fashionable or because fashion is changing too quickly to make a huge investment in one expensive, transitory piece worthwhile? (Also, here is a great piece by Celia Walden on why she's glad the It Bag is over.) Or are It Bags over because It People are in now? Never mind It Bags. What does the "It Bag" mean now in an era where it's not only handbags that are branded but people themselves through their very own social media pages?
That's probably too deep a question for a slow fashion diary blog to address in 300-500 words. However, it did delight me to spot a different kind of "it bag" on many, many Instagram feeds. That same site that encourages people to brand themselves like fancy handbags. Now, it's not a humble bamboo bag you might suddenly notice every fashionably minded person sporting. Baskets in general are suddenly as ubiquitous as the Coachella wheel-- the sight of which, like fringe paired with cowboy boots, western belts, and a joyous grin, now signals spring as surely as cherry blossoms.
But let's put my seething envy for all the people who got to see Beyoncé live at Coachella aside and get back to bamboo.
Bamboo is potentially the most renewable resource for fabrics, even more so than hemp. What does put hemp ahead in the race for title to the future's most sustainable fabric is that rendering bamboo into cloth is still often requires the use of lots and lots of chemicals. Again, though, that means the news about bamboo "it bags" is good!
1. Bamboo bags are made with the Earth's most easily renewable, least-water consuming crop.
2. And, even better, unlike bamboo cloth, bamboo bags take no (or at least) very few chemicals to transform into a chic piece of arm candy.
I've linked to a few, beautiful bamboo and other fair trade, 70s-inspired options on my Pinterest page (see below).
Do you own a bamboo bag or a cute basket that can be used for shopping or paired as an accessory? When you think about it, straw baskets and bamboo bags and patched, cloth textile bags are actually the original Birkin bags! What do you think of this 70s-era trend? Do you think you'll buy one for summer?
My sandals are (old) BCBG ones. Similar here.
My wrap skirt is available here.
My Free People sweater is sold out but a similar one is available here.
My bamboo bag is a reproduction of a classic Japanese picnic basket! It's available here.
FYI Cult Gaia, who originally made the bamboo bags such desirable Eco It Objects just made their first (stupendously gorgeous) clothing collection out of deadstock! AND they're committed to treating workers fairly! Check them out!
Every spring, from the same mysterious source through which the green fuse drives the flower maybe , I feel the need to refresh my wardrobe with a simple white blouse. I know I've probably been brainwashed!! However, I no longer feel guilty indulging the urge, as there are endless beautiful pre-owned or vintage options like my thrifted Ulla Johnson blouse in the pic above.
Another item that makes me think of spring is a trench coat. I don't feel a similar urge to refresh my closet, though, because I found The One a few years back at Think Closet. A boutique in New York City stocked with independent Korean designers. My oxfords are thrifted from Monk's Thrift on 1st Avenue. I'm thrilled I held onto them. One of my best, tried and true cleaning-out-your-closet rules is this: if something is really good quality and still fits, NEVER get rid of it. Fashion is cyclical but slow. Eventually, patience pays off! I wore these oxfords all the time about eight years ago, and now they feel relevant again.
The only truly new item in this picture are my Levi's. Suckered by marketing, I bought them at a low moment this winter. I had to stay home, snowed in with a sick baby most of the winter and could rarely make it out to the gym. These "wedgie icon" jeans promised to deliver a perky tush at a time when I was feeling less than perky in general.
My take: I looked around online, and I feel like other women in the big butt tribe also felt as if these particular Levi's pushed their behinds more flat than up. However I did like the similar, flattening support in the front. I still have a bad tendency to stand like I'm pregnant with my tummy out. These exert a gentle pressure on my tummy and remind me to stand tall. I like them a lot. I'll wear them a lot, but they're not my favorite jeans.
Before I wrote the review (above), though, I looked into Levis' sustainable practices and I was very pleasantly surprised. I rarely buy jeans new. Like pretty, white blouses, there are infinite options available pre-owned and vintage. Plus, growing the cotton to craft one pair of jeans can require TEN YEARS of drinking water. (Three for tees!) Good on You, which is both a website and an app, rated Levis as overall "good", noting:
Levi’s have made strong commitments to sustainable denim production, including significantly reducing their water use. By 2020, the Levi’s brand aims to make 80 percent of its products using Water<Less™ technique. Levi’s have set a 25% reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 for its direct emissions and consumed electricity. They are also pioneer members of the Better Cotton Initiative.
Levi's are making continued headway in many areas, including reducing hazardous chemical use and encouraging customers to think about their own water use in caring for their Levi's as well as thinking of their Levi's as a longterm investment. These are my first pair of jeans, but I know I've had my Levi's cutoffs for ten years plus, and they're still just as cute now as they were ten years ago! (It probably helps that I couldn't fit into them due to two pregnancies for four of these ten years, but still!) I felt really optimistic after learning such a big company is making such a big effort to change their manufacturing and distributing practices!
Do you own any Levi's? Which number works for you? I know the 501s are pretty iconic... I'd love to find a vintage pair next!
Wedgie Icon Jeans are available here.
Another secondhand Ulla Johnson blouse is available here.
For some reason, (read: the election), I've been on a poetry fast for about a year now. Knowing April is National Poetry Month, I had to read some poetry, but I felt unable to crack a book of poems just like that after a whole year away. A whole year without touching my heart in the places poetry touches it. It's like when you've been sitting on your foot. You've got to shake your foot out first before you try to run.
So I grabbed The Poetry Lesson by Andrei Codrescu, a Romanian born poet who writes more beautifully in English than 99.99% of native-born speakers. The Poetry Lesson is ostensibly about an older poet teaching an introduction to poetry class to some young, naive things, but it's really a windy, fun ride. A sort of syllabus of the poet's own experience of being a poet in a world that doesn't just put aside poetry for a year but sometimes seems to have put it aside entirely.
"Intro to Poetry Writing is always like this: a long labor, a breech birth, or, obversely, mining in the dark. You take healthy young Americans used to sunshine (aided sometimes by Xanax and Adderall), you blindfold them and lead them by the hand into a labyrinth made from bones. Then you tell them their assignment: 'Find the Grail. You have a New York minute to get it.'"
So I settled into my pink, foamy bath made from an adorable cupcake bath bomb by Sky Organics. A person needs a warm, cozy place to delve into the terrifying depths of the soul. The book is only 117 pages, but by the time I'd finished it, so was my list of poets I wanted to read or re-read.
My favorite conceit from the book is that we can each pick a poet, dead or alive, as our ghost companion-- or G-C as Andrei calls them. For the sake of simplicity, he assigns a poet to each student based on the letter of their last name. My list cum Andrei's vision would look something like this: Emily Dickinson, Rita Dove, John Dryden, Bob Dylan, Camille Dungy, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Guillaume du Salluste du Bartas, Annette von Drust Hölshoff, H.D., or, maybe best of all, Jane Draycott-- because she's 1. living, 2. a woman, and 3. British.
(I'm an anglophile, because I'm half-French, and we're perverse that way. (The English famously loathe-- "Your mother smells of huckleberry!"-- but also love the French and vice versa.) Also now, thanks to my husband's last name, I'm Irish, so the English have become even more forbidden fruit to me.) Or maybe I will simply choose Andrei... at least for this bath. I feel like he would get a kick out of his book being put to such pink, frothy uses by a languid woman immersed in a tub.
Do you have a writer who's like a soul mate or an imaginary friend or who seems like they could be a friend? I used to feel that way about so many writers when I was younger, including, of course, J.K. Rowling, the whole world's imaginary, magical writing pal. I especially feel that way about her now, because she's even more amazing on epigrammatic Twitter than she might even be in novel form. Do you follow her?
Also, P.S. I linked a bunch of green beauty treats I like to indulge in on Saturdays or Sundays when I treat myself to a (quarter-full) bath. P.P.S. This K. Bunni Cosmetics mask that I adore is only $10 and works so well! You can use my code "greenbeauty" to get an additional 10% off.
On our way to the flea market last year! We seem to have skipped right over spring this year and gone from the bitterest cold straight to 70 degree weather, so I thought it would be nice to ruminate on the perfect spring (last year's!), the perfect (thrifted!) spring outfit, and the Clover Flea Market-- one of my favorite spring events in Philadelphia.
It was already held in Chestnut Hill this spring, but here are some upcoming dates in and around the city:
Spring 2018 Schedule:
A Slow Fashion Diary