Healthy Bodies, Inside and Out

This winter, as Spring is (hopefully) around the corner, you might be having a hard time holding onto those New Years Resolutions or even trying to stay healthy or active as a part of your regular lifestyle. I know for me, February is my “ugh” month, I often find myself with a case of the winter blues and really just “done” with the gray and the cold. I find it hardest to be motivated in February, and not just grab a bag of chips and pop on the Netflix. What to do? Try something new, a little change can often be just the thing you need, a little bump to get you moving.

DIY kits

Have you ever heard of Purple Carrot? You have probably  heard of similar ideas, pre-ordered meal kits delivered to your home that you cook yourself. This is the ONLY 100% plant-based meal kit company of the kind, where you can get pre-portioned ingredients and step-by-step instructions for cooking healthy, vegan meals at home. As we are learning, eating plant-based meals even if only one day or a few times a week, has a positive impact on people’s health, the environment, and animal welfare. The food is very good, but it definitely takes time to make, so prepare to spend some time in the kitchen. While not difficult, some of the items made were challenging and to me very unnecessarily time consuming, like making my own veggie burgers. But we learned new things, so that was something. I can honestly say, even as vegetarians, we had never made any of these recipes before, so they were interesting and new.  Find out more here-

Spring Fashion for a Cause #Education #InvestInGirls

Spring is in the air and Easter is around the corner, Olivela not only offers great spring fashion finds,  but a significant portion of every purchase goes to help educate girls worldwide (cause partners include Malala Fund, Too Young To Wed and CARE for Syrian refugees).

Olivela started when Founder and CEO Stacey Boyd joined Malala Yousafzai on a visit to refugee camps in Kenya and Rwanda. There she met amazing girls with extraordinary stories of overcoming poverty and war and escaping forced marriage to pursue their educations. She realized that the opportunities she and her two daughters are lucky enough to have—access to education and the ability to live life on their own terms—these girls literally had to risk their lives for. In that moment, it became crystal clear that while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. It was from that realization that a new kind of retailer was born, one with giving back built into every, single transaction.

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ActiveWear for being Outdoors/Winter Elements #ActiveWear #GetActive

If you are an active family who likes to get outdoors no matter what the weather, we have some great options for you to check out this season.

Brooks Running, a favorite of ours, has recently put out the “Dash Hoodie”, which I am completely in love with. It has become a go to for me, one of those tops you reach for every time it is out of the washing machine. So soft (much softer then I’m used to in running gear and feather light) it is also warm and wicks moisture quickly. The material is breathable, and machine washable and dryer safe. It has a loose but flattering fit. I personally prefer to hand it to dry, I think it will last longer that way, but personal preference. It has thumb holes on the cuffs, and there is a storage pocket over the left hand that can hold your key, cash, or whatever your prefer. The hood is perfect for cooler weather, so you can use it until you get too warm on your run, then toss it off. Prices vary depending on what color you order (some of them are on sale), get yours at https://www.brooksrunning.com

running gear

Trek specializes in biking, bikes, and bike gear, and also has apparel for all sorts of active lifestyles. I’m currently loving the “Bontrager Vella Women’s Long Sleeve Thermal Cycling Jersey”, which is quite a mouthful. It’s a half zip, long sleeve collared top that is soft, lightweight, (are you seeing a theme here? Yes, really love soft workout gear) wicking, ventilated and offers the warmth you need with the comfort you want. It is very form fitting, really hugging your body. If you like streamlined gear, this is the top you will wear again and again. It also has reflective elements so that you can wear it day or night with added safety. Washing machine safe, and again, I’d hang to dry, but it dries very quickly.  $89.99
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Valentine Gifting From Companies that Give Back #ValentinesDay #Sustainable

If you want to shop sustainably this year, support small business, or like to avoid big box stores, I’ve got a shop for you. If you just like unique and high quality products at a reasonable price- this is a shop you will love. Marketplace Africa has clothing, bath and body products (and I’m in love with some of these already), purses, bags,- really, gifts for everyone on your list. Thoughtful gifts anyone would love to receive.

African body works

This website lets Africans can sell their one-of-a-kind handmade goods to the entire global market.  Anyone looking for a unique gift for the holidays can feel as good as the products they are buying, since they are purchasing directly from the source. Buying from small business owners in Africa boosts not only the store owner, but also the economy.

For more information on Marketplace Africa and to choose some fantastic gifts,  visit www.marketplaceafrica.com

Sudara creates ethically and sustainably sourced clothing for men, women, and children. This brand came about because of a desire to help women escape sex trafficking in India. 12 years ago, Sudara’s founder partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for pants.The year prior, she had been to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery or were at high risk of being. The company was created to give woman the chance to have an education, a job with livable wages, and to be free.

ethical clothing

Sudara is a Certified B Corps company, which means they meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems”. You know, the best of the best- the “good guys”.

The clothing is beautiful, as well. High quality, unique designs with fun colors and patterns, lots of options available. If you have not yet shopped with Sudara, I hope you take the time to give them a look now. Check them out on social media while you are at it, see what they have to offer- sudara.org  facebook  twitter  instagram

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Dressing like Meghan Markle

When she was the star of the hit show Suits, Meghan Markle’s beauty and style were often the topics of conversation in many articles. After Markle became the fiancée and then bride of one of royalty’s most eligible bachelors, the public fascination with her evolving style became even more impassioned.

 

Elegant and put together with a bit more flirty flare than Kate Middleton, Meghan’s style was as approachable as it was enviable. As she transitioned from Hollywood starlet to the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan’s style changed as well. While she was always stylish and beautiful, Meghan’s style became more muted and elegant when she started to be publicly seen with Prince Harry. Her jewelry became more understated and simple (though much more costly), her cleavage-baring dresses were stashed away for good, as were the bodycon dresses she wore to show off her stunning figure.

 

In their place, Meghan began to wear timeless dresses in solid tones—with navy being a particular favorite for 2018. Knee-length, boat neck, and crew neck dresses are some of Meghan’s favorites, which is why it’s no surprise that she chose an open boat neckline for her first wedding dress.

 

Described as “timeless, minimal elegance,” Meghan’s debut dress was a silk, quarter-length sleeve, A-line wedding dress without any lace or visible embellishments. This dress launched a thousand copies around the world as brides scrambled to replicate that elegant, simple beauty. Meghan’s dress was all about paying homage to the woman wearing it and not using Meghan as a mannequin for the dress. It elevated her natural beauty instead of distracting from it.
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Magic buttoning shirt helps kids with disabilities dress up on their own

Buttons can be hard for little fingers to maneuver into button holes, especially for kids with developmental delays and disabilities. Maura Horton created a magnetic closure system for clothing when her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and lost mobility in his hands. Now, she is growing the MagnaReady clothing line with the introduction of MagnaMini shirts for boys. Available in white and a red tartan plaid for the winter season, the MagnaMini shirts are easy for boys to put on. All they have to do is put their arms in the sleeves, line up the two sides of the shirt front and with a click, click, click the magnets will “button” the shirt for them like magic! The shirts are machine washable and have the standard white buttons on the front for a decorative finish and classic look.
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Sudara Clothing – ethically made and helps women #GiftGuide

If you are anything like me, you like to shop as ethically as possible. Most companies and stores don’t give a fig about you, me, the environment, or anything other then profit. So, when you know brands that give a darn, they are ones you tend to do your shopping with.

give back

I’ve recently discovered Sudara. This brand came about because of a desire to help women escape sex trafficking in India.  12 years ago, Sudara partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for pants. The previous year,  founder, Shannon Keith, had returned from a trip to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery. She also heard stories of women who were at a high risk of being forced into the sex trade by their families or picked up off the streets by local pimps. The reasons they were at a high risk? Because they lacked an education or the resources or the skills to, truly, have a choice.

She returned home from that trip and formed a small team of family and friends. They have since made 10 sewing centers and hundreds of women have found both freedom and living wage employment.

The pants are awesome. Comfortable, easy to wash and wear, pretty, and unique. The are no sacrifice to wear, and it’s great knowing that my purchase is helping other women and supporting a company that does good in the world.
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Gifts for the Active Men in Your Life #GiftGuide

If you are anything like us, you want to be active and outside as much as possible. Colder weather complicates things, but not to worry. You can get outdoors and enjoy your vitamin D year round, just bundle up a bit. Check out these functional and eco friendly cool-weather options we are loving right now- they would be perfect for the active men in your life this holiday season.

eco friendly clothing

Stopping off at Trader Joe’s on the way home- active wear that is great as any wear

The perfect slip on shoe for indoors or out, the Original Stegmann is not only comfortable, but also functional. They are great for camping, running errands, and everything in between. They have fantastic arch and toe support, so if you have aching feet, issues like Plantar Fasciitis, or a bad back, these might be worth considering. They have free shipping and exchanges, so nothing to lose. Made with a Tyrolian & Merino wool blend into a single piece, it is then paired with an anatomically contoured cork sole that is balanced for both arch and metatarsal support. These shoes have a gentle slope which helps reduce ankle and back pain as well. These shoes as a whole are designed for comfort, so if that’s your thing- and honestly, whose isn’t- check them out at https://www.stegmannusa.com . Prices vary.

A brand we have really fallen in love with over here is Mountain Khakis. Not only are the products soft and durable, but the environmentally friendly fabrics and practices have completely won us over.  Take for example the Rainmaker Jacket. It’s all sorts of wet-proof (rain, snow, mud, etc), and it’s strechy as well. It’s also warmer then some raincoats, without being swelteringly-sticky-hot like so many can be. A nice medium-to lightweight, and easily layered. It has a removable hood, with welded seams and snap-closed patch pockets.  It has a relaxed fit and hits about the hip area. Best part? The eco-friendliness of this jacket. Polyurethane is a greener alternative to the traditional raincoat’s vinyl. It’s also more durable and is better for the environment in long term care and use. Polyurethane does not require the chemicals used to soften vinyl in the manufacturing process, and is eventually biodegradable, where as PVC (vinyl) never breaks down, and is usually incinerated.  This leaches toxins into landfills and emits carcinogenic dioxin into the air. Any reason to choose PVC over PU? Not in my book. Check out https://www.mountainkhakis.com for your jacket, available in several colors, for $139.
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