4 Friday Finds

1. My Root Collective Boots. You guys, permit me to gush for a bit. I’ve wanted these boots forever, but like most fair trade goods, the price kept me from pulling the trigger. After Christmas, I finally treated myself to them, and I don’t know what took me so long! They go with everything. Now that I’ve broken them in, they’re super comfortable. They were true to size, and I get compliments on them almost every time I wear them … which is basically every day.

And the best part – as I mentioned already, since they’re fair trade, they directly employ artisans, providing an escape from gangs and a dignified way of providing for families.


Every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. These boots are made for change makin’! And good news for you – when I bought my pair, I was given a special link that would allow my friends to get 10% off of their own purchase. Check them out, you won’t regret it!

 2. DIY Minimalist Videos on YouTube. I think this qualifies as an addiction. The last month was fairly stressful at work, and since I didn’t have time to do much creating myself to relieve the stress, I found that watching others create helped, plus it gave me lots of fresh ideas! I’m particularly enjoying the “minimalist” “Tumblr inspired” DIY videos. To show you what I mean, I made a playlist! Yes, there’s 45 videos in the playlist. Inspiration for days!

One of my favorites that I can’t wait to try:

3. Used Book Sales. I mentioned this on Instagram, but a few weeks ago I went to the VNSA Book Sale for the first time. All of the used books were donated and sold for charity – all half a million.

Yes, you read that right – half a million books, two days, in a warehouse in the middle of Phoenix. People started lining up and camping out the day before. My friend who told me about the sale got up at 4:30 am on a Saturday! I went with two friends at about noon, and still had to wait in line about half an hour to get it, but wow – was it worth it. I literally felt giddy – so many books, so little time, so cheap!

In the back of my mind, I wondered if there was any way I could find my favorite books from childhood – the Childcraft series, and the Junior Classics series. Both sets were old when I was reading them as kid, and when I’d looked for them online in the past, the Childcraft sets went for $100. So when I found BOTH, and the Junior Classics were $1 each, and the complete Childcraft set was $15 total – I about started hyperventilating.

Two boxes of books for $41 is about the best day ever!

4. Mom Made Market Finds. But my day actually got even better, because that same day, I went to the Mom Made Market in downtown Phoenix (shout out to AMP for driving!). We made it in the last few minutes of the market, and we made it worth our while. I brought home three prints, two tees, a romper, and a wooden cut out of of the state of Iowa.

Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the shop I bought the cacti print from. The “Low Maintenance” gray tee is from LaLa Threads, the pineapple tee and romper are from A Quiver Full (the company Edison brand reps for!) the wooden Iowa cut out is from The Treasure Hunts, and I can’t wait to make something with it.

Have you found anything lately you can’t stop recommending? Let us know in the comments!

How My Fall Capsule Wardrobe is Simplifying My Life

In October of 2012, I decided to change my shopping habits. I’d learned that the fashion industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and is also notorious for human trafficking and forced labor.

Child workers, alongside exploited adults, can be subjected to violence and abuse such as forced overtime, as well as cramped and unhygienic surroundings, bad food, and very poor pay. The low cost of clothes on the high street means that less and less money goes to the people who actually make them. – Victoria and Albert Museum

For 31 days, I blogged every week day about the exploitative labor issues involved with “fast fashion.” For those 31 days, I wore ten items of clothing, and auctioned off my other clothes to raise awareness and funds for a human trafficking rescue organization. After that month, I felt incredibly free. I’d realized that I used shopping as an emotional crutch to cover insecurity, and my goal going forward was to keep 100 items of clothing in my closet.

Fast forward to 2016.

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What’s On My Christmas List

For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted for Christmas this year. The idea of getting lots of “stuff” just was not appealing. But gift-giving at Christmas is such a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing to others – not just just the person you’re giving a gift to, but also the companies and workers you support by your purchase. 
In years past, I’ve shared gift guides for gifts that give back, but this year, I don’t really have time for that. You know those “what’s in my purse” posts? I thought I’d adapt that, and share what’s on my Christmas list this year. 
My Christmas List

1. Black Metallic Desert Wedges. I love, love, love every pair of TOMs I’ve owned, but I’ve never tried anything other than flats. I’ve also never ever worn ankle booties. I could really use a new black pair of shoes for work, and instead of getting another pair of flats, I’d like to add these shoes that give a pair of shoes to someone else.

2. Rose Gold Round Watch in Pale Pink. I love wearing a watch, and this classy handmade watch is is sustainably made from new scrap leather that would otherwise go to waste.
3. #GIRLBOSS. “In the New York Times bestseller that the Washington Post called “Lean In for misfits,” Sophia Amoruso shares how she went from dumpster diving to founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.” I think this is basically required reading for 20 something women these days, and it sounds fascinating.

4. Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms. Emily Henderson wrote a book! I’m an avid reader of her blog, and I’ve been awaiting this book release with great anticipation. 
5. Moscow Mule Mugs. Because, copper. I can’t get enough. Honestly, I could see myself drinking hot chocolate out of these. How cozy would that be? 
6. Causebox by Sevenly. This would be like Christmas every few months! It’s a subscription box filled with ethically made, goodies that give back. It’s not cheap . . . so a Sevenly Giftcard to go toward a shirt or print would also be much appreciated!
Not pictured: a lot more books, and some Disney/Pixar animated movies – namely, UP and Wall-E.

For more gift ideas that give back, you have to listen to The Happy Hour Podcast’s Christmas episode. So many great ideas! And Jen Hatmaker. Seriously, it’s a gift just to listen in! And, I’ve got a Gifts that Give Back pinterest board for more inspiration. 
How’s your Christmas shopping going? I have started … sort of. The problem I have, is that I find cool things, and then I want to keep them for myself. Anyone else? Let me know in the comments below!

Five Friday Finds

Just a handful of things/blogs/shops/articles that I find inspiring, encouraging, or entertaining: 

1. Emily Ley Planners and All Things Office-y. Looking at Emily’s website makes my heart beat faster. It’s been awhile since I’ve used a real planner, and I think when the 2016 ones go on sale on September 9th, this is going to be the year. Also, if you watch the video – color-coding with washi tape? #Brilliant.
2. Periscope. In the last week or two, all my favorite bloggers joined Periscope at the same time, because they all said that their favorite bloggers had just joined. So, I joined too, although I have no intention of making any videos, I love watching the live videos from my favorite bloggers and being able to comment and participate in the discussion live. If you’re on Periscope, I’ve really enjoyed watching Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society and Gretchen Saffles of Life Lived Beautifully.
3. Grace in Style. I recently found this blog through Instagram. We share a passion for ethical fashion and Jesus, and she also writes about food and traveling – and takes beautiful photos. 
4. 31 Bitsies. 31 Bits is the ethical jewelry company empowering people to rise above poverty, making stunning pieces out of rolled paper. They recently launched Bitsies, kid-sized jewelry, to teach kids about the world and how they can change it for the better. 
5. Modern Burlap. Another Instagram find, I cannot tell you how much I want some of their muslin swaddle blankets. Especially this blanket, and this one. Plus, they have an option to add on a one-for-one, so for and extra $10, a blanket will be donated to someone in need. 
What have you found lately? Share it with us in the comments below!

Fair Trade Gift Guides All in One Place

First of all, I have to say, working full-time and blogging is hard. I have so much respect for all the bloggers out there doing it! Even after writing all day, surprisingly, I have no shortage of post ideas. It’s just the time it takes to put them together, when I need to do laundry, make dinner, eat, and all I feel like doing is taking a nap, drinking hot cocoa, and watching Christmas movies. 
For weeks, I’ve had the nagging feeling that I should be putting together fair trade gift guides, but I just didn’t have the energy. But why reinvent the wheel? There’s so many other great fair trade gift guides out there already! I hope you’re inspired!

1. Cyber Monday, The Fair Way by Mercy Ink. Even though Cyber Monday has come and gone, this post contains a compilation of 10 amazing fair trade companies to shop from!

2. 25 Days of Gifts, Made in the USA from the Fair Trade Fashionistas. Stunning and unique gift options that create jobs and support local craftsmen, including those fantastic tablet and laptop cases above! In addition to this post, I think she’s planning more gift lists in the future, along the line of this one for travelers.

3. Fair Trade Christmas Gift Links from Redemption Junkie. This mega list of 19 fair trade and ethical companies to shop from won’t leave you empty handed. 

4. Oxfam’s Christmas Lists. Shop for a Secret Santa present, a gift for “Mum” (if you’re British!) or gifts for kids. 

5. Rage Against the Minivan created a link up of shops and businesses that meet the criteria of at least one of the following: handmade, eco-friendly and/or recycled or upcycled, fair trade, portion of proceeds benefit those in need, made by artisans in impoverished communities who are earning a fair wage, gifts that give back. 

6. Fair Trade Gifts Under $50 from My Caffeinated Mornings. I love this girl’s style! 

7. Fair Trade Look Books. Gifts that Glitter, Merry and Bright, and more. 

10. Great gift basket ideas, for the cook in your life and that person you know who could use a little R&R. 

Of course, if you’re looking for more, check out my Give a Gift That Gives Back Pinterest board.

Let me know what you find in the comments below!

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INSPIRE: Fall Trends, Fair Trade Edition Part 3

Blue Fall Fair Trade Fashion

I channeled the grays of overcast fall skies and deep blues and teals of autumn lakes in this outfit.

One of the fall trends I mentioned in the first part of this series that I’m excited about is wearing hats – beanies in particular. Expect to see a beanie explosion as the weather cools off, and consider getting one for yourself that you can feel confident wearing, knowing that everyone with a part in making it, from picking the cotton to knitting the hat, was paid fairly. And as a result of your support, they’re now able to support themselves and their families.

If hats aren’t your thing, try some of the other pieces in this outfit. Not only will you be on trend with the fall blues and grays, warm, cozy, and comfortable, but you’ll also make an impact in someone else’s life. Hi-five!

Classic Hat, blue from Noonday Collection / Chevron Dangle Earrings / Teavy Upcycled Taupe Cardigan from Raven + Lily / Stina Top from Threads 4 Thought / Canyon Cord Pant from Prana / Cabled Cowl from 4 All Humanity / Dahlia Necklace / Pina Stamp Ring / Hi-Five Mitts 

Check out the first and second fall fair trade and sweatshop free outfit collages.

What are you excited to wear this fall? 

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INSPIRE: Fall Trends, Fair Trade Edition Part 2

Yellow and Gray Fall Fair Trade Fashion

Yellow and Gray Fall Fair Trade Fashion by econley featuring a bangle bracelet

Plaid, leather, chunky knits, and delicious colors are just a few of things I love about fall fashion. I especially love these items, because each of them was made by someone earning a fair wage, someone who can now support themselves, afford to send their children to school, start their own business, and contribute to their local economies. That’s what fair trade is about. 
Starting at the top left, going clockwise: 

What do you look forward to wearing when the weather cools off? 

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INSPIRE: Fall Trends, Fair Trade and Sweatshop-Free Edition

Now that the New York Fashion Week is over, fall fashion recaps are flooding my bloglovin’ feed. I love browsing photos of beautifully styled clothes with cozy textures, rich jewel tones, and classic patterns.

Some of my favorite fall trends this year include: 

  • Plaid – almost always a fall staple, this year we’ll see a lot of it. It’s classic, timeless, and versatile. The plaid skirt I wore over ten years ago would fit right into fall 2013. Depending on how you wear it and the colors involved, plaid can be western, preppy, or celtic. 
  • Booties – I haven’t taken the plunge to buy a pair of booties myself, but I do like how they look on other people. 
  • Coats – These were popular on the runway this fall. Trench coats, fur coats, military style jackets, and menswear coats were a few of the trends.
  • Hats – Particularily the humble beanie. 
  • Colors – The Pantone colors for fall are a mix of colors I would expect, like dark purple, red, orange, moss green, gray, and emerald, paired with unexpected colors like pink, almost-neon green, royal blue, and coffee brown. 
  • Fur, leather, and knits – The best part of fall fashion for me is the textures. Leather is still in, fur is popular, and thick chunky knits are back. 
Just to review, the ethical fashion movement is a response to the abuses that are a part of the fashion industry, such as environmental damage, excessive waste, and human rights abuses. So, in today’s post, I’ve created a few inspiration boards highlighting fair trade and sweatshop-free products that fit the fall trends. 
Plum and Gray Fall Fairtrade fashion

Carolina Fringe Scarf from Noonday Collection / Elegant Arrows Necklace from Noonday Collection / Teavy Upcycled Tailored Jacket (also in black) from Raven + Lily / Mug hand knitted cozy from Noonday Collection / Rocky Sweatshirt from Threads 4 Thought / Horn Triangle Necklace from Indego Africa / Infinity Rings from 4AllHumanity / Violet Horn and Paper Bracelet from Noonday Collection

I especially love the tailored jacket from Raven and Lily – it’s recycled, and it’s made by at risk women Phnom Pehn, Cambodia, allowing them to provide for their families. 

I’ve made two other inspiration boards, and I’ll share them with you soon! If you like the collage above, please pin it to Pinterest to spread the fairtrade love with others.

What are your favorite fall trends? Share them with us in the comments! 

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Beauty Find Friday: New Fair Trade Finds

Despite the still sizzling temperatures here in Arizona, I can’t help but longingly dream of sweaters, jeans, and boots. But whether you’re enjoying cool fall weather or suffering in the heat, you’ll love the fair trade and humanitarian shops I’m going to introduce you to today! 

Beautiful and Beloved Boutique

“Beautiful & Beloved’s vision is to make a simple path for you to support individuals freed from slavery who are now empowered to earn a living in a safe, clean and just way.

Not only is our merchandise beautifully made and unique, but each purchase will dignify a survivor of human trafficking or living in extreme poverty…

Each item is hand crafted by someone who is now free to earn and create.”

Find out more on Beautiful and Beloved’s About Us page. Here’s some of my favorite items:

Find your favorites at Beautiful and Beloved Boutique.

Give Bracelets

For each bracelet purchased, Give Bracelets feeds one child for one week (21 meals). 

“Bracelets with purpose. Give Jewelry is a sustainable movement to provide food for children in orphanages throughout Indonesia. The vision is simple: every bracelet purchased directly benefits kids in need. So no matter what type of bracelet you choose; friendship,charm, leather, beaded, cuff or any of our other bracelets, you’re really choosing to make a difference.”

Sports Bracelet- Red and Yellow (my school colors!)

4 All Humanity

This shop sells fair trade tees, dresses, accessories, and jewelry from artisans in India, Uganda, Peru, and Thailand.

4 All Humanity is an online private label that offers a finely curated and designed assortment of women’s apparel and accessories from artisans around the world. 4 All Humanity believes in the beauty of helping others, living fully, dreaming big dreams and loving what you do.

My favorites include:

You can always find more fair trade and ethically made fashions on my Fashion for Freedom pinterest board. Not sure what the big deal is with fair trade fashion? Start at the beginning. 

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