Good Things to Read

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Photo by Paul Nicholson

Hey, gang! Hope you all are having a good week with no hurricanes, traffic, or unexpected bills. Here’s some good stuff I found to share with you today:

You guys know I’m all about imperfection. No matter how much I seek to live an ethical lifestyle, I can never check all the boxes. Leah from StyleWise shares the quandary of the ethical consumer and examines whether more flexible standards can make a bigger difference in the world in “Why I Quit Being an Ethical Purist.

One of my favorite fair trade brands, PACT Apparel, has expanded their range to include more apparel for men, women, and children. Their kids’ clothing is now available in sizes up to 5T and includes pajamas, undies, and leggings. New arrivals for adults include Henley t-shirts, cardigans, and jogging pants.

I recently learned about The Lighthouse for the Blind from the newsletter for the  Social Enterprise Alliance. The Lighthouse operates manufacturing facilities for aerospace parts, office supplies, and plastic injection molding, providing employment, training, and support for blind and DeafBlind members of the community. I love finding social enterprises that go beyond handcrafted gifts and provide essential products for industrial and everyday use.

Have you guys been following Walk Sew Good? These adventurers walked across Asia to find positive stories in the fashion industry. You can see their research and videos at the Walk Sew Good site and follow their current activities on Instagram.

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Back to School!

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I can’t believe summer is over, but this morning I sent my two guys off to school.

Our major purchase this year is a new backpack for my oldest son. We found a made-in-the-USA brand on Amazon  with a reasonable price and good reviews. I’m curious to see how it holds up against previous bags; our Patagonia backpack is still going strong after 3 years, but a licensed character bag from a big box store barely made it 12 months.

Since I’m busy helping my rascals through their first week of school, I’m throwing it back to a few of my favorite school posts from years past:

Do you love school supplies? I love school supplies. While I haven’t found much in the way of ethical school supply brands, I’m happy to know a few of these products are made close to home.
9 School Supplies Still Made in the USA

While we are waiting for WildyCo to produce a polo shirt or for Everlane to make kids’ clothes that don’t involve cashmere, here are a few other places to shop for standard school attire.
2016 Guide to Ethical School Clothes
Back to School, Sustainably

As always, one of my favorite ways to stay sustainable is to reuse what we already have. Back-to-school doesn’t have to include a new wardrobe or accessories when my kiddos already have what they need.

What are your tips for a new school year?

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Choose Love: Refugee-Made Gifts

A friend once told me that her immigrant father loves Valentine’s Day. He thinks the idea of a holiday that encourages us to love one another is beautiful. I usually dismiss Valentine’s as a commercial holiday designed to sell chocolates, but my friend’s story reminds me I can choose to find a deeper meaning.

With all the strife in the world right now, how beautiful to remember that we can show love through our choices and actions. Today we’re taking a quick break from our vegan series to share a few ideas for Valentine’s gifts that are made by refugees from around the world.

Valentine's Gift Ideas That Support Refugees
1. Chapati Box Candle from Prosperity Candle: Featuring a beautiful, hand-embossed box from India, this soy-blend candle is available with custom scents and fragrance strengths. Prosperity Candle is a certified B Corp working with refugee women in the United States and female artisans around the world to make hand-poured creations. $36.

2. Chari Necklace from MeltGoods: This delicate, minimalist necklace is crafted from raw brass with a gold-filled chain. MeltGoods employs women refugees resettled in the Dallas, Texas, area. $40.

3. Hammered Brass Bangle from FORAI: A beautiful cloisonne bead makes this bangle a stand-out accessory. Founded on fair trade principles, non-profit FORAI employs refugee and immigrant women in the St. Louis area to make high-quality jewelry through home-based business. $10.

4. Sisterhood Soap from Preemptive Love: Made by refugees in Iraq, Sisterhood Soap and Kinsman Soap are crafted from olive oil and other natural ingredients. Each bar of soap empowers men and women who have fled ISIS to support their families with the work of their own hands. $10.

5. Fatima Scarf by Liz Alig: These scarves are created in partnership with Sew for Hope, a Nashville organization providing low-cost sewing classes to refugees seeking marketable job skills. Each scarf is made from recycled t-shirts gathered from a local thrift store. $36.

Can’t decide on a gift? Consider Anchor of Hope, a monthly subscription service featuring curated collections of goods made by refugees, trafficking survivors, and others in vulnerable situations. $34 a month.

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