Fashion, Featured, My life

Why The World Needs A Fashion Revolution

April 24, 2017
Why The World Needs A Fashion Revolution

On the quest to find something impactful to write about in honor of Earth Day, I began by assessing the sustainable practices I’ve implemented over the years. To lessen my environmental impact, I choose to eat a primarily vegan diet. In addition, I recycle religiously, compost viable food scraps, drive a hybrid and am never without reusable shopping totes. Staying informed on current and innovative ways to reduce my carbon footprint has become second nature. It wasn’t until I watched the documentary, The True Cost, that I realized there was a tremendous piece of the sustainability puzzle that I had long overlooked. Fashion.

Andrew Morgan, filmmaker and director of The True Cost, felt compelled to investigate the dark side of the textile industry after the Rana Plaza disaster in April of 2013. Morgan’s film premiered in 2015 exposing the aftermath of that April day when insufficient building maintenance caused the clothing factory to collapse, killing over 1,100 Rana Plaza employees and seriously injuring 2,500 others.  The documentary reveals more than just the unfathomable inequality and inexplicable working conditions that garment workers are subjected to, it also sheds light on the detrimental impact that the fashion industry has on the environment.

The data is staggering. Fashion manufacturing is estimated to be the second most polluting business in the world. In fact, the industry’s carbon footprint is so pervasive; its total impact has yet to be accurately quantified.

Environmental harm starts from the beginning of textile production when fibers are sourced. Natural materials (such as cotton) are water-intensive and heavily reliant on pesticides and fertilizers. The chemical runoff then pollutes groundwater and air and decreases soil fertility. Synthetic materials (such as polyester and nylon) also require colossal amounts of water. Synthetics are made from petrochemicals that are harmful to the environment and unable to biodegrade. Later in production, printing, bleaching and dyeing processes come into play. It is said that these are the three most chemical and energy intensive steps in the manufacturing line. Cloth is often bleached using dioxin-producing compounds and the dyeing process uses fixatives (usually heavy metals) that often contaminate sewers and then rivers.

Not only are scientists interested in understanding the negative environmental impact of clothing production, but also the effects the chemicals used to treat garments have on human health. Unlike chemicals used in food, no single U.S. federal agency is responsible for overseeing chemicals used in the clothing industry. Laborers working in textile factories are constantly exposed to a high volume of hazardous substances, toxic by-products and cloth particles.

Fast fashion companies are the biggest perpetrators of unethical garment production. Their business model thrives on pricing clothing and accessories at a fraction of the competitor’s price. This emphasis on high volume and low quality is pioneered by brands such as Zara, H&M, Forever 21 and Top Shop. Conglomerates such as these can sell $2.00 tank tops and $8.00 skinny jeans because they choose to outsource labor in countries where working wages are minuscule and the safety and well being of employees is not their responsibility.

Nina Garcia, fashion journalist and Marie Claire creative director, once said, “Style is a deeply personal expression of who you are, and every time you dress, you are asserting part of yourself.” If that’s so, I want to assert compassion; I don’t want the clothing I wear to be connected to unethical practices and the suffering of others. If that’s so, I want to assert consciousness; I want to know the journey my clothing took before it reached my closet. And if that’s so, I want to assert intelligence and choose clothing brands that align with my personal ethics rather than what’s in season or on-tend.

The perplexing and merciless wheel of textile consumption spins so quickly leaving us little time to reflect on our actions. This dizzying affect is a result of efficacious marketing designed to make consumers feel inadequate. The True Cost is a reminder that clothing is ancillary to our other and far more important traits. The traits that allow us to think critically, choose wisely and live with intention. Shifting values to conscious consumption is a positive stride towards a sustainable and more ethically responsible future.

T I P  &  T R I C K S:

Value and take care of the clothing that you already own.

  • 25% of the carbon footprint of a garment comes from the way we care for it. To assure your clothing lasts its intended lifespan, follow washing instructions on the attached garment tag. Also, reassess how often you need to wash specific pieces.
  • Choose a natural, plant-based detergent that contains biodegradable surfactants which are gentler on clothing and better for the environment.
  • Hang dry your clothes to extend their life, reduce energy and cut costs.

Choose quality over quantity.

  • Pause and ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” or, “How much use will I get out of this item?”
  • Buying fewer quality pieces will reduce the amount you spend on superfluous garments that rarely get worn.
  • Choosing quality pieces means saving money in the long run as you won’t be replacing them as frequently.

Shop smart:

  • Buy vintage or second hand pieces. There are now dozens of online retailers that sell gently used luxury clothing and accessories. I like: The Real Real, Tradsey and ThreadUp.
  • Support fashion brands with ethical practices such as Reformation, LA Relaxed and Alternative Appeal.
  • Purchase items that transition from season to season. For instance, a lightweight trench coat can easily be worn from late spring to early fall.

W H A T  C A N  Y O U  D O?

This week is Fashion Revolution Week which honors those who lost their lives in Rana Plaza tragedy and other garment factory disasters. The campaign slogan, ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ is a demand for greater transparency in the global fashion supply chain. Click here to learn more about how you can get involved.

Resources:

Books:



“Take two very simple actions that we perform every single day: getting dressed and eating. Now start a journey backwards – to where your food and your clothes come from. At the other end, you will rarely find happy people, treated with dignity and respect. Human beings working at the bottom of any supply chain – whether is strawberry picking, prawn fishing, cotton farming, garment workers – are often treated like slaves, without reference to our common humanity.  So “fashion” – i.e. what we wear every single day, has huge relevance and huge consequences on human, social and environmental capital.”

Livia Firth, Creative Director of Eco Age

Drinks, Featured, Food

5 Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipes

April 17, 2017
5 Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipes

Breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, but, it can also be the most challenging if you have a busy schedule. Eating a wholesome breakfast kickstarts your metabolism, digestion and provides your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health! I’m sharing 5 smoothies that are packed with the nutrients necessary to start your day feeling nourished and energized. The best part? They take 5 minutes or less to prepare and pack before you head out the door.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Power Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons creamy, natural peanut butter
  • 1 scoop plant-based, chocolate protein powder
  • 1½ teaspoons raw cacao
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup ice

Kale and Almond Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 packed cup torn kale leaves (discard the thick rib in the center of the leaf)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon soaked raw almonds (see note)
  • 1 date, pitted

Tropical Coconut Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh cut pineapple
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup ice

Peachy Clean Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup baby spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mānuka honey

Oatmeal Cookie Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 serving plant-based vanilla protein powder 
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup of ice

Instructions for all: combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container and store for up to two days.

 

5 Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipes

What are your favorite quick and healthy breakfast recipes? Share below in the comments!

Dessert, Featured, Food, Wellness

Healthy Treat Ideas for Easter

April 14, 2017
Healthy Easter Treat Ideas

‘Tis the season for Peeps and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs! Easter is a holiday practically dedicated to receiving baskets filled with sugary treats. While indulging during these special holidays is an important part of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, it’s also a great chance to whip up something equally decadent and indulgent but with a healthy twist.

So today, I’ve gathered five of my favorite recipes from fellow bloggers who know a thing or two about satisfying a sweet tooth healthfully.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies by The Roasted Root

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cup tightly packed blanched almond flour 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil melted and cooled

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the first seven ingredients (dry) to a bowl and mix together.
  3. Pour in the molasses and oil and mix well.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop out mounds of cookie dough. Form the dough into cookie shapes (they will bake to the same size and shape you form them into) and place them on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until browned around the edges.
  6. Allow cookies to cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet and enjoying

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies by Gwyneth Paltrow

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or light agave nectar)
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl.
  3. Whisk maple syrup, oil, brown rice syrup, coffee, almond milk and vanilla in another bowl.
  4. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  5. Pour half the batter into a greased 9″ x 11″ baking dish; top with half the chips.
  6. Pour remaining batter into dish and top with remaining chips.
  7. Bake until knife comes out with crumbs adhering to it, 30 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Banana, Date and Walnut Muffins by Jessica Sepel 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted.
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped/crushed
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven on bake to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a food processor, combine dates, bananas, eggs and oil.
  4. Add mixture from food processor to dry mixture in the large bowl and combine thoroughly.
  5. Fold in nuts.
  6. Spoon mixture into paper lined muffin tins.
  7. Top with chia seeds and banana slices
  8. Bake for  25 minutes.

Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge by The Minimalist Baker

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups desiccated (finely shredded) unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (best ingredients: just peanuts + salt)
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3–5 Tbsp maple syrup, or other sweetener of choice, i.e. stevia
  • optional: Pinch sea salt (depending on saltiness of peanut butter)
  • optional: 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Line a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. To a food processor, add desiccated coconut and blend on high until a creamy butter is formed – about 4 minutes. Scrape down sides as needed.
  3. Then add peanut butter and melted coconut oil and mix once more. Then add maple syrup 1 Tbsp at a time until desired sweetness is reached. If you add too much maple syrup, the mixture can seize up and get thick. If that happens, thin with a bit more melted coconut oil.
  4. Optional: Add sea salt and vanilla and mix once more. Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more salt or vanilla for overall flavor or maple syrup or stevia for sweetness.
  5. Transfer mixture to lined loaf pan and spread into an even layer. You can add crushed peanuts or coconut flakes on top, but I chose not to.
  6. Freeze until firm – about 15 minutes. Then use a hot knife to slice into even squares – about 21. Enjoy immediately and store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 10 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. If frozen, let soften at room temperature for 5-10 minutes for best texture/flavor.

Coffee Chocolate Chip Blondies by Cookie and Kate

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups gluten free all-purpose flour, or whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) Earth Balance, or unsalted butter
  • 2 cups packed coconut sugar, or 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons strong coffee, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ tablespoons vanilla extract (yes, tablespoons)
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. With the oven rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the Earth Balance, coconut sugar and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is hot but not simmering. Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee until well combined (if the mixture refuses to come together, let it cool for a minute or two and try again). Let the mixture cool to room temperature, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, pour the pecans onto a small rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until they’re nice and fragrant, stirring halfway. Set aside to cool.
  5. Once the butter and sugar mixture has cooled to room temperature, add the egg and vanilla and whisk until combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Add the pecans and chocolate chips and stir gently to combine.
  6. Using a spatula, spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan (this is a little tricky with the parchment paper, but you can do it, I promise). Bake for 18 to 24 minutes, until the blondies are set on the edges and the top is golden brown and just beginning to form cracks. A wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the blondies should come out with just a couple of crumbs.
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely. Grab opposite corners of the parchment paper and gently lift the blondies from the pan onto a flat surface. Cut them into squares (big or small, up to you) and serve.

Happy Easter, everyone! If you have a healthy recipe you’d like to share, please comment below!

Featured, My life

April Showers: Rituals For A Rainy Day

April 12, 2017

You know how the saying goes: “April showers bring May flowers.” And while I’m itching for some glorious spring weather, the reality of living in Seattle has set in, and I know I’ll be waiting until July (*sarcasm* kind of) to see the sun. In the meantime, I want to share with you my top tips for making the most of these wet and wild days. After all, some things are just better with rain tapping on the window.


W H I P  U P  S O M E T H I N G  D E C E D A N T

If the weather is discouraging you from venturing outside, you might as well swarm your kitchen with the smell of baked goods. I recently modified a classic cookie recipe infused with rosemary from one of my favorite cookbooks, “Isa Does It.” Don’t let the thought of rosemary and dark chocolate appall you. I can almost guarantee you’ll have to physically remove yourself from the kitchen to avoid inhaling these in their entirety.

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons molases
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Course sea salt for garnish

Method: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients, mix with a whisk and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, combine wet ingredients and stir well. Combine dry and wet ingredients and stir thoroughly. Fold in dark chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough by the tablespoon onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool for several minutes before serving. Best when served with an espresso crema or a smokey Earl Grey.

Note: cookies are intended to be soft and chewy in the center. 

 

C R E A T E  A  B O O K  L I S T

Perhaps there’s a novel you’ve been eyeing for months but haven’t had the chance to read it. Maybe there’s a topic that’s recently spiked your interest and you’d like to expand your knowledge on it. There’s no time like the present to start a book list! I designated a notebook to jot down my favorite authors, genres, topics and so on. Whenever I take a glimpse at something interesting on The New York Times Book Review or receive a recommendation from a friend, I write it down. Goodreads is also a fantastic tool for connecting with fellow readers, reading reviews and finding recommendations.

 

R E A D  U P  O N  S E A S O N A L  P R O D U C E

When I’m creating new recipes for the blog, I often reference Sustainable Table to find out what fruits and vegetables are in season. The interface allows you to select your state and specific season you’re interested in. From there, a list is generated where you can then individually choose the produce you’re interested in reading about or select the recipes provided by the site.

Bonus: When you eat seasonally, you’re opting for foods that are at the peak of supply and freshness. Seasonal eating can also save you money as it costs less for farmers and distributors to harvest seasonal foods and supply them to your local grocery markets.

C H A N N E L  B O R E D O M  I N T O  C R E A T I V I T Y

If you’re stuck at home on a dreary day and have already scrolled through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and your email (four times), it might be time to muddle up some creativity.

Some of my favorite boredom-busters include:

  • Browsing websites like Pinterest and The Chalkboard Mag for new, healthy recipes to try.
  • I recently immersed myself into oil painting and love playing with the rich colors and textures.
  • If you haven’t already, start writing in a journal. I recently came across “52 Lists for Happiness” and “Start Where You Are” which both contain unique and interactive journal prompts that keep you engaged.
  • Learn a new skill via YouTube. There are hundreds of how-to’s and DIY’s on everything from drawing to photography. Make a list of what you’re interested in and start watching!
  • Invite your girlfriends over for a book swap. Have each person gather a few books they enjoyed but no longer want and exchange them amongst each other. This is a great way to be introduced to new authors and topics.

W O R K  I N  S O M E  S E L F – C A R E

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a big believer in self-care. Sure, the term can sound kind of hippie-dippie, but really, it’s simply taking a few moments out of each day just for yourself.

It doesn’t need to be complicated. You can:

  • Head outside for a brisk walk.
  • Schedule a yoga class.
  • Start your morning off on a healthy foot with hot lemon and ginger water.
  • Take a long, hot epsom salt bath with calming lavender oil.
  • Make a list of 5 things that you’re grateful for and why.
  • Unplug from social media for a few days.
  • Read a book that you find comforting or inspiring.
  • Pack yourself a healthy lunch.
  • Treat yourself to a massage.

 

R E F R E S H  Y O U R  B E A U T Y  R O U T I N E

Make the most of your time indoors by getting a kickstart on your spring cleaning! Am I the only one who opens my makeup drawer from time to time and it looks like a hurricane flew through there? I’m talking piles of disastrous looking eyeshadow palettes, leaky skincare bottles and dirty brushes, folks. Not good.

I came across this article from the website Byrdie last week and I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s so important to sort, toss, clean out and care for your products – not only to keep the clutter at bay, but also to stop the spread of germs and bacteria that can collect on your tools and products over time.

A D D  A  S P L A S H  O F  C O L O R

Brightening a blah day can be as simple as adding a daring hue to your rainy routine.

Perhaps you can:

  • Treat yourself to a bouquet of your favorite flowers. After all, it is spring! ‘Tis the season.
  • Bring your dining table to life with brightly colored cloth napkins. (I love these marbled napkins from Anthropologie.)
  • Gloss yourself up with a bold lip color. I’m a big fan of ILIA Beauty’s lipstick collection.
  • Nosh on something vibrant like this recipe for a beet, citrus and chicory salad from The Bojon Gourmet.
  • Illuminate your space with a gorgeously scented candle. I can’t get enough of the Capri Blue candle line.

P L A N  A  C O Z Y  F E A S T  F O R  F R I E N D S

Gather your friends together for laid-back dinner complete with a delectable sprawl of food and plenty of great wine. You can keep it as simple as tossing a green salad, throwing together a few side dishes and grilling your protein of choice. Create a cozy ambiance by lighting plenty of candles, keeping a mellow playlist going and offering guests a relaxed, homestyle dining experience. The less overcomplicated and fancy, the better.

T A K E  I T  T O  T H E  S T R E E T S

Instead of avoiding the downpour all together, why not go out and enjoy it?  Take a stroll through your local park with an umbrella in tow or put on that hood and venture to the closest coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up. Here in Seattle, you’ll find the locals dealing with the rain in the (un)official uniform of a North Face jacket and perhaps a pair of Hunter Boots. Rain doesn’t even phase those born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, but should the downpour become unacceptable even for the locals, surely there’s a Starbucks to tuck into within a block.

Y O U  C A N ‘ T  G O  W R O N G  W I T H  M O V I E S  &  M A R G U E T

Lastly and often times the best option: Netflix and chill. Sometimes it’s hard to beat a glass (or three) of wine or champagne and an awfully written but undoubtedly funny movie. (Does anyone else love Bad Moms? I’m slightly obsessed.)

Stay cozy, my friends!