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The Pace of Fashion

For the past year, I’ve discovered the term slow fashion and have been more active in promoting slow fashion. If you are reading this you may be asking “what is slow fashion?” You may have heard it but if not, let’s start with the opposite of slow fashion- fast fashion

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is a term that retailers use to explain how quickly fashion trends go from the catwalk to the racks. They focus on keeping clothing items trendy and are low in price. Think of stores like Forever21, H&M, Zara, and Target. Is fast fashion a bad thing?

Yes.

Although it is easy to fall for the pretty clothes and the low prices (I have fallen for it most of my adult, working life) the cost of trendy and cheap clothes is much greater than we think.

Laura McAndrew talks about four aspects of fast fashion in her interview on Adam Conover’s podcast series, Adam Ruins Everything (yes that is the same Adam from the TV show with the same name). The four aspects of fast fashion are cheap materials, the method and timeline are fast, the product is disposable, and clothing is trendy.

Here are the issues with these aspects:

  • The treatment of factory workers are not good
  • It plays an impact on the environment
  • We are left with clothes that are bad

Let me break down the four aspects in two parts

Cheap and Disposable  

Fast fashion is made of cheap materials, made from cheap machinery, the location of the factories are unsafe- therefore cheap, the wages of the factory workers are low, and in some cases, forced labor has been reported. McAndrew worked for Gap and it allowed her to see the clothing factories overseas and she did say that the company was looking for fabrics that were “lower/lowest quality fabric.”

McAndrew shared a story about how she visited one factory and ask where the bathroom was and a factory worker told her that it was “getting fixed.” McAndrew could tell it was a lie and said she never saw bathrooms in other factories. The cost of materials and location is not also poor but the wages these factory workers are earning is an average of $2 an hour. To earn enough money, many of the sweatshop workers put in long hours and most companies don’t provide benefits.  

Time and Trend

Because of the fast rate of trends coming in and out, there is a demand for factory workers to put in long hours and do it fast. Fashion used to have four seasons (autumn, winter, spring, and summer) and after every season, stores will receive new clothing items to match that season. There are now  11 to 15 seasons making the demand to produce more clothes to go up.

Companies are marketing clothes to catch the consumers eyes quickly. Consumers are drawn to the items and the hope is when the trend is over and the clothing item wears out, they will be caught in a trap of throwing away the item and getting a new one. This creates the cycle of buy, throw away, and buy more. This makes the factory workers put in the extra long hours for our demand to buy the latest trend.

The fast fashion model is pulling a toll on these factory workers and because of the low-quality material these articles of clothing are made out of, the environment suffers from discarded clothing items in the landfill as we the consumers go and buy more new trendy items.

This is where slow fashion comes to change the pace.

Slow fashion starts with the mindset of wanting to buy clothing that will last. We consider the material and think through if we’re going to wear that item for the long haul. We don’t always get what is trendy because you pick clothing pieces that are classy and will be stylish for many years.

Slow fashion recognizes the people behind the clothing. From the method of growing the materials to who ends up making the clothing. Slow fashion cares to use materials that are better for the environment. Some companies use organic cotton and others use recycled materials. The treatment of the employee and care for the environment is the most important value.

Ways to Participate.

Some ways you can start your slow fashion journey is to first study your closet. What clothes do you own that you wear and don’t wear? Donate those clothes you don’t wear to a local thrift store, swap with a friend or if you’re crafty, refashion those items! If you have any clothing items you wear, take care of it. Wear what you have first. If you feel you need a new item, buy from a local thrift store, or look for clothing companies that are fighting against fast fashion. You may have to spend extra but only buy the bare minimum and keep it. You may save money, in the long run, depending on how often you feel the need shop.

If you don’t have the option to buy secondhand or have the money to buy ethical clothing, try to find a clothing piece that you believe is better quality than the cheaper retailers and be mindful to buy it to last a while.

Lastly, we have a responsibility to keep companies accountable for the ethical practices. Gap has been called out since the 90’s and Nike is remembered for their lack ethical practices overseas.

We can not change fashion alone. We need companies to know we the consumers care who makes our products and we call those companies out andsupport other companies that are already practicing ethical principles. We must be mindful of our products, do research and care for our clothes. This is the start to change the way we do fashion.

Reference

11 Facts about Sweatshops- https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-sweatshops

Income in US dollar-http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/modern_day_slavery_facts/sweatshops_condition

Why Fast Fashion Fails Us- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC3jVZneuns

Slow Fashion

Do Not Shame Anyone For Not Buying Ethical.

This post is for those who are ethically minded or for those who try to be. I wrote a post a few months ago where I stated that I will choose to buy ethical items first before second hand because I want to support ethical companies as often as possible. On my journey to living a more caution lifestyle, I vowed to only buy new clothes ethically made or second-hand. I would casually buy second-hand because they were cheap and gave me the same feeling I would get from buying fast-fashion without supporting the companies. When I did a 3-month challenge this summer of not buying new clothes, I realized I wasn’t helping the garment workers by not buying anything. That’s what lead me to be more mindful to shop ethical first. Buying things that support an individual and gives them a livable wage is important to me.
I want to inspire others to rethink their purchases and who is being affected by it, however, I don’t want to my desire to live more ethical to not intimidate and shame someone when they aren’t able to live ethically.
When I was watching the Financial Diet video, 8 Financial Decision You Should Never Be Ashamed Of. Chelsea Fagan said that one should not feel ashamed when you have to buy fast fashion brands. She did acknowledge the problems fast fashion creates and how buying better-made clothes will last longer. With that being said, some individuals don’t have the privilege to buy ethical, good equality clothes, or have the luck to get an amazing well quality outfit from a secondhand store (secondhand shopping can be a hit or miss). I was not blinded to that fact but hearing Chelsa say that no one should shame another for buying fast fashion, made me have more realization of my own privilege to buy ethically made clothes. I do know that buying fast fashion, doesn’t make someone a terrible person, they are just someone on a budget- should they give up eating a meal to buy a shirt for $85? NO! I do know for many mommies out there, ethically made kids clothes seem like a waste because their little ones will grow out of it quickly. I know ethical living is hard. I dream of wanting more clothes from my favorite Fair Trade companies but stop myself because of my budget. And although I do believe being aware and buying ethical when possible can make a difference (slowly), I also know buying ethical isn’t going to erase the world’s problems.
Elizabeth L. Cline author of Overdressed said in her book, “Let’s talk about price. I’m not going to make a big argument that everyone should go out and overhaul their socks, underwear, and T-shirt drawer and buy slow fashion basics and underthings unless of course you can afford to and want to. Nor will I tell you to start putting your five-year-old in pricer, locally made fashion, only to have her outgrow it in a few months” (pg. 215-216). Cline interviewed, researched, and investigated the different parts of the garment industry to help readers know who is making their clothes and the impact of cheap fashion. However, I was encouraged by the end of the book when she said she’ll never tell anyone to buy slow fashion. Cline personally made the choice to buy more classy and well quality pieces, make some of her own clothes, and even will occasionally buy from fast fashion complains. She’s mindful of reducing her impact the way she can through buying less but will not preach to others to do the same.

Shelbi from Shelbzleee (YouTuber of eco and ethical living) said in one of her videos, to focus on your own habits, not the habits of others. I chose to only buy my new clothes from companies I believe match my ethics, and I buy secondhand when I’m not able to afford those clothing pieces. However, if you are unable to have the chance to do either of those things, I understand. Trying to find a good secondhand piece is a risk and if you are someone who isn’t lucky to get something great, don’t worry. If you can’t afford ethically made clothes or anything ethical, again no shame. Hopefully, those around me are encouraged to think more ethical if they can. Everyone is thinking what is best for them and their situation, whether that’s the mom with 3 kids, college student, someone trying to start their career and pay off debt, don’t break your budget because of a t-shirt. We are all trying to survive and no one should be shamed when they are trying to do what they can, with what they have.

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My Favorites of December

I’ve seen a few bloggers and YouTubers dedicate a post or video to some of their favorite things from the previous month, and I decided it was time to do it myself. I know January is halfway done and I wish I got this post out earlier in the month but there’s only so much one person can do. For this blog post, I will be talking about some of my favorite things I bought, made, and experience in the month of December, so let’s get into it, shall we…

My Favorites of December

Sseko x Dressember Event

The first week of December, one of the team members from Dressember, Marissa Peden, came to visit Portland and planned an event with Sseko (a fair trade company local to Portland, Oregon). The purpose of the event was to share the story of both Dressember and Sseko and to encourage one another. I’ve talked about both Sseko and Dressember in two separate blog post. Sseko is an ethical company that helps employ women in Uganda so they can earn money for college. Dressember helps bring more awareness about human trafficking through the month-long style challenge of wearing a dress in December. It was nice to meet other women who care both about ethical living and human trafficking (they do go hand-in-hand). I got to meet some Sseko Fellows (women telling the Sseko story by events and selling products) and other Dressember advocates in the Portland area. I felt encouraged to consider becoming a Sseko Fellow myself, to continue on blogging about ethical living, to learn and talk more about human trafficking, and to remember there is something we can do to stop modern-day slavery.

Sseko’s Carryall Travel Bag in Oiled Black

During the Sseko x Dressember event, Sseko was selling their products and donated a portion of their proceeds of the sales they made that night to the Dressember campaign. Before I went to the event, I knew I wanted to buy something from Sseko’s and one item I knew I needed was a weekend bag. I’ve been wanting a travel bag for a long time and thought about making my own. However, I don’t trust my ability in sewing a bag strong enough for how I tend to pack. I knew buying a good bag would be a better idea because it will be more sturdy and will last much longer. I knew a weekend bag from Sseko would last almost forever. When I was at the event, I saw the Carryall travel bag in oiled black and knew that was the bag I had in mind. It was a pricy purchase and I don’t recommend anyone buying it if they are struggling with money. Before I made my purchase, I knew the proceeds were going to a cause I love and I also was supporting women globally with my purchase.

Fuchsia Ballet Flats

Ethically made in a remote town in Pakistan called Sangla Hill, I first learned about the brand from Megan Forbes (YouTuber and ethical fashionista known as Too Cool for Middle School). Each pair of Fuchsia shoes are handmade by artisans in Sangla Hill in the traditional Pakistan way. The shoes are made by locally sources leather and when you purchase a pair of shoes, you will be surprised that there is no left or right shoe. The shoes will mold into the particular shape of your feet after a few wears. I only wore my flats a few times but from some reviews I look up, these shoes will last for a while.

I bought two pairs of ballet flats (classic black and these orange Zinnia design photograph above) on Cyber Monday and I didn’t receive my shoes unlit a month later. Before my shoes arrived, I was afraid they got lost in the mail but I discovered that when you place an order from Fuchsia, unless the shoes you ordered are already in stock, the shoes are made after your order is made. That’s why it took some time for my shoes to arrive. When I was notified my shoes came in on Christmas Eve, I look at it as my own personal gift.

This is the Gospel by She Reads Truth

This children book was one of the first children books to be published by the She Reads Truth community. They are a community that encourages individuals to read scripture through their paperback Bible studies, on their app (which is what I use), or on their website. This is the Gospel study was an overview of the story of creation, the fall, and Jesus coming to save us. The story was designed to help young children understand that. I was excited when they had a special 12 days of Christmas salt so I could buy it for my niece as a Christmas gift.

“Ask Me About My Dress” Button

This button is one of the ways a Dressember advocate can talk about the cause of Dressember. I’ve been wanting this button since last December (2017) but wasn’t able to get it in time. The button was helpful to get some conservations started. Wearing the dress is making a statement and I would talk about Dressember if someone made a comment about my dress but that wasn’t happening too often. Most people thought I was wearing a dress just because I felt like wearing one. The button was needed for me to share why my dress was about something bigger.

Homemade Face Lotion

I’ve been needing face lotion for almost a year now and yes it took me that long to get myself to make my own. I was using beauty oils like jojoba, sweet almond oil, and my homemade sunblock as a lotion. I found this lotion recipe from Pinterest. The original recipe was created by Coco’s Well, who is a mommy blogger who shares her DIYs.

Disclaimer: I did not follow the recipe a 100%. I was not going to buy aloe vera juice just for one project. I did replace the juice for argan oil because I actually use that oil in most my homemade beauty products.

Here’s how I made the lotion: http://cocoswell.com/homemade-face-lotion/

4 tablespoons of shea butter

1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

1 tablespoon of argan oil

1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil

A few drops of lavender essential oils

I melted all the ingredients but the essential oil in a melting pot. I let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Once chilled, I whip it with a hand-mixer as I was adding essential oils to it and it was ready to go 🙂

CauseBox Siizu Winter Poncho in Cream

Every season I receive a box filled with eco-friendly and ethical goodies from Cause Box. Similarly to FitFabFun, you recieve the box every season and you get to enjoy some items that helps promote your self-style, looking good, and feeling good. Every item in the Cause Box is from a company with a story that wants to give back to their community and to help the world to become a better place. One of the favorite items I got this season was the Siizu winter poncho in cream. The company’s founder wanted to start a company that would help people realize that sustainable and fair fashion can be stylish. The poncho proves it can be true. The poncho is made of renewable source wood and is biodegradable when ready to be discarded- no landfill needed! Also according to Siizu Instagram, when you make purchase, 10% of proceeds goes into planting trees. So much good this company is doing. Cause Box was giving away three different colors: charcoal, careberry, and cream. I was hoping get the cream color because I would be able to pair it with many colors and outfits. I was happy to open my box this season to see I got my preferred color.

Donuts from Doe’s

One fine day, I was really anxious with my Do-List. It was 5 days before Christmas and my anxiety was getting high. I ask my friend to go get me Doe Donuts because I needed a pick-me-up. Doe Donuts is an all vegan donut shop in Portland. They are known for their unique and delicious favors. My friend got both a sweet and savory donut. The savory one was the Buffalo Bleu and Cheese. If you are into meat and cheese alternatives like me, this is a great small meal to have. It’s similar to eating a HotPocket because of the cheese, meat taste, and texture. I felt like I was eating a slice of pizza and the donut hit me in the right spot. The sweet donut is probably one of my favorite’s and would get again before they discard them. I was a fan of the thin layers the covers the middle part of the donut and the pistachio nuts sprinkled on top the sweet almond glaze. I hope my description makes you want to try it 😉

Vanilla Body Butter from 100% Pure

I’m in-love with a lot of the 100% Pure products. I discovered them when I was curious about clean makeup and beauty products and they do live up to their name. I’ve brought their vanilla scented hand-lotion two times and I enjoy the nice warm smell. I decided when they had a special sale for the holiday’s, I wanted to buy myself some items. I was close to buying the lotion in the squeezy tube container because it was cheaper but I was thinking about the environmental impact. The body butter is packaged in a plastic tube but I can reuse the tube for a DIY project and decided the body butter was the better option. I tend to put this body butter on any chance I get, especially if I’m getting ready to go out- I do want to smell like vanilla.

My Dressember team raising over $1,000!

This was my 4th year of participating in Dressmeber and this was the first time I was apart of a team, in general. I ended up co-starting my team with a friend who was doing it also. We named our team Beauty For Change and we set our fundraising goal at $500. Seven ladies joined our team.  Within 5 days we were less than $6 away from your $500. I was amazed and extended the amount to $850. By Christmas Eve, you were at $934. I was blown away but did not extend the amount right away. After a few days, the amount we raised was above $1,000. I extended the amount to $1,400 and I’m happy to that my is team less than $100 away from our recent goal. If you want to donate, I’ll leave the link below 🙂

https://dressember-2018.funraise.org/team/beauty-for-change

There you have it folks, my favorites of the month of December. With Christmas, Advent, Dressember and other gatherings, there was a lot to choose from. We’ll see what ends up being my favorite in January.

Miss. Jackie

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2019: My Goals, Hopes, and What I’m Letting Go

It’s the second week of 2019, and I know a mix of people are either going strong with their New Year’s Resolution or slowly giving up on them. For 2019 I have a few things I want to improve on for the year ahead. Instead of doing the traditional New Year’s Resolutions, I set goals to become more mindful of certain practices I want to do in the coming year. I use to make clique resolutions such as, “I want to lose weight.  Be a better Christian” (whatever that means. Insist eye-roll emoji here). Making New Year’s Resolutions was setting me up to not succeed, but thinking through what I want to improve on has been something I’ve been able to do more successfully.

I started to slowly set goals I knew I could manage and reach. I started off with a reading list for 2015. I didn’t reach my goal for that year so I didn’t allow myself to buy new books for 2016 unlit I read those books. It did work for the most part. Bought a few books here and there but I got through my 2015 reading list a year later.

For the next year, 2017, I decided to do something I was already doing but do it more often, and that was to make more of own stuff. That included beauty products, nut milk, and food in general. I’m always inspired to create my own stuff for the fact of knowing what’s in my items and just for the fun and creative aspect of it.  The next year (2018), I told myself to create less waste. I was more mindful of not buying single-use items and stop buying produces in plastic unless there were no other places I could buy it without plastic (cauliflower for example). I also started this blog in 2018 and still going strong! 🙂

For this coming year, I have decided to set a few goals and hopes in my life to improve myself by being more creative and more “adult.”

My goals for 2019 are:

  • To buy no books this year. If I want to read a book I don’t have, I must to go to the library or borrow it from someone else.
  • Create clothing I know I have the ability to make. If I’m shopping around for clothes and think, “that looks like something I can make…”  then I’ll make it. I want to be a better seamstress and that only way to be better is to keep practicing.
  • Write once a week. 2018 was the year I wrote the most since leaving college. I’m counting all the blog post I wrote in 2018. So for 2019, I want to write more. I’ll write a personal essay, short story, blog post, anything. Doesn’t have to be shared if I don’t want to share it. I just have to write once a week.
  • Buy less plastic. Last year I focus on reducing my waste and for this year I will try to buy as many items as possible without being stored in plastic. I know it’s not realistic to be 100% plastic free but before buying something I will think, “Can I buy this item without plastic? Can I reuse the plastic if I buy it? Can I recycle the plastic?”
  • Understand what it means to invest and do it. I’m not a money wizard and want to understand how to manage money better.
  • Experiment with lotion recipes to find a good one to sell. I love lotions and been more of a lotion enthusiast within the last few months. I always wanted to own an Esty shop and selling lotion through that platform seems like a good fit.

Hopes for 2019

When I talk about my hopes, they are not as focused on my goals. I don’t have a strong desire to create a plan to achieve my hopes, but it is something I want to be more mindful of. So if that being said, my hope for 2019 is:

  • Read from a book once a day. Doesn’t have to be much. Just any book.
  • Learn to go to bed at a decent time and wake up earlier. For Lent season, I want to wake up early and have a quiet/devotional time and I need to build myself up to do that now. I’m terrible at waking up and struggle with falling asleep. Wish me luck.
  • Continue to add more ethically source items in my closest. I would love everything to be ethically made and I budget allows I will look shop at an ethical store first.

One thing I’m giving up

One thing for 2019 I decided to give up is my personal expectation of baking more. Here’s the thing with my relationship with baking. I love to bake but I rarely do it. I’m usually telling myself I should bake more because I had ingredients I got just to bake. If I bake, I want to give my baked goods away but I tend to fail to find the right place and time do it. I’ve discarded many ingredients I collected over time (may I add they were needed to thrown awhile back). I had to throw away the different types of ingredients I collected in the compost. I would have felt bad if I did that a few years ago but I felt freer letting go of those ingredients and thinking, “I don’t have to plan a baking session that still hasn’t happened any longer.” I  freed myself from my guilt of collecting ingredient for baking and not baking enough. And honestly, I would rather have a donut or ice cream if I want something sweet. Fewer food items will be collected that will not be eaten and I will have one less thing to worry about.

There you have folks, my 2019 goals, hopes, and what I’m letting go. I’m looking forward to seeing how the year turns out and what I end up finding to be an important commitment to keep. Happy New Year’s everyone!

Goodies With Miss. Jackie

 

Human Trafficking

A Month of Dresses- What To Know So Far

It’s that time of the year! Yes, it’s the Christmas/Holiday season and many are excited for what the season brings. For me, December is not just giving and receiving gifts for Christmas, it’s a chance for me to advocate for those without a voice. Dressemeber is a month-long style challenge of wearing a dress every day for the month of December to bring awareness that human trafficking is still an issue we are currently facing. There is also a chance for those conversations to lead into a donation for an advocates page that goes straight to non-profits that fights human trafficking.

(The blue dress I am wearing was one of the dresses from the Dressemeber collection, which was designed by a survivor of human trafficking. I’m standing next to my friend Kathryn, who manages a non-profit bridal shop I volunteer at. The non-profit fights human trafficking locally in Portland Oregon. I love all these connections.)

But Why A Dress? 

Dresses are seen as weak and soft, Dressember wants a dress to stand for freedom and dignity. That’s why I’m wearing a dress. Just a month to wear a dress in the coldest time of the year, (I’m always cold by the way) is worth it if it brings awareness for others without freedom.

What Do We Need To Know About Human Trafficking Right Now? 

Purpose Of Blog

I wanted to use this blog post specifically to focus on what the United States is doing about human trafficking and how we are still having problems with it, but finding the right and accurate information is going to take some time. Instead, I’ll be informing you about what to know about human trafficking right now.

Human Trafficking and Slavery: How They’re The Same And Different. 

First I want to define human trafficking and slavery.  Human trafficking is the illegal act of using someone for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and/or forced labor. Slavery is the system as which someone is treated as the property of another person against their will. Both terms of used interchangeably and I will be using the term “human trafficking” only but felt it was important to define those terms first.

The Different Types Of Human Trafficking Situations

Dressemember gave 5 different ways people are trafficked:

  • Sex Trafficking- the use of force, fraud and coercion for a commercial sex act.
  • Forced Labor- sweatshops and other forms of employment where the individual works long hours for little to no pay.
  • Forced Marriage- not every country classifies this as human trafficking. Being married without the willingness of both parties. Usually, young women are the victims of forced marriage.
  • Child Soldiers- the same methods used to manipulate a human trafficking victim is also used children soldiers (will need to research this more at a later time).
  • Debt Bondage- someone who is serving another in order to pay off a debt.

How Do People Become Victims?

There are a few ways that an individual can become a victim of human trafficking. Often the may target of human trafficking victims are individuals who are in a vulnerable state, e.g. individuals in the foster care system, who are homeless/low-income, individuals with disabilities, refugees/immigrants, and anyone who struggles with self-worth. About 85% of victims are traffic from someone they personally know. There are stores of children and adults being kidnaped and forced into the human trafficking, however, from my research, those kidnap children are usually runaways or throwaways (being forced to leave the home without any plan or support). A 2014 statistic I found said that 1 in 6 runaways are likely sex trafficking victims.

A more subtle and common method someone becomes a victim is through a relationship between the perpetrator and victim (common in sex trafficking from my research). When the perpetrator is looking for a victim, they will find out what the victim’s needs are and see if they are willing to fall for those tricks. The perpetrator will make the victim feel valued and provide for their needs. Later the victim is put into a situation they are not comfortable with but stay because they believe something good will come and/or they don’t know a better way.

Some Overlooked Areas Of Human Trafficking

  • Domestic Work- usually a live-in nanny or housemaid. They are forced to work long hours with little to no pay. There’s a high possibility of physical and sexual abuse and identifies can be taken away from the victim.
  • Traveling Sale Crew- those people knocking on your door selling you stuff, that could be a victim of human trafficking. Runaways are most likely to be victims of this. A victim believes the perpetrator will provide them with good pay and security but will use force and coercion and takes away basic needs like food and healthy sleeping condition if they victim fails to make sales.
  • Construction- construction workers who are being taken advantage of are migrants or immigrants (often with documentation) from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The employer of the construction company classifies the worker as “independent” without the victim’s permission. This means victim to reserve no benefits will working long.
  • Carnival Workers- Victims work for long hours and are paid little to nothing. They also travel in unsanitary trailers for months. This is happening both in the United States and outside of it.

What Can We Do?

Of course, you can donate to Dressember or any non-profit fighting against human trafficking.  Researching more on human trafficking and telling your local and federal government to do something helps put more laws and policies in place to help victims become survivors. Buying more ethical products helps break the cycle of human trafficking. You can also volunteer at a local non-profit that helps fight against human trafficking or the other issues that to human trafficking (foster care, homeless, refugee care, etc.).

I believe the real solution to the the issue is to help build an individual to become more comfortable and confident with themselves. There are a few different issues that lead to human trafficking from homelessness, the foster care system, lack of support for refugees/immigrants, and lack of mental wellbeing care. The root of the problem is the lack of needs and support and as a community (locally and globally), we should care and support one another. Helping one person can give them the value they need to prevent them or their loved ones from being in a situation where they can be a victim. We must be people who care and build others up, it can one person life different.

References

https://sharedhope.org/the-problem/what-is-sex-trafficking/

http://www.pollyklaas.org/about/national-child-kidnapping.html

https://webwise.ca/human-trafficking/stages-of-trafficking/

http://childrescuenetwork.org/know-the-facts/child-abduction-facts/

https://www.dressember.org/blog/how-does-human-trafficking-work

https://www.dressember.org/blog/the-overlooked-types-of-modern-slavery

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Nashville: The Trip I Didn’t Expect

On November 1st, I headed out on a solo adventure to Nashville. Some questions I know people are going to ask “Why Nashville? Why a solo trip? Was it Worth it? Recommendations?”

(This is in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I didn’t go in, however. I just needed this photo to happen)

Why Nashville?

My travel history is pretty light compared to some people I know. I did travel to Europe as a child but my memory is vague and I didn’t appreciate it as much as I would if I went there now. I wanted to visit a city that was different from the culture of my hometown (Portland Oregon) but still had a similar vibe. Nashville sounded like the ideal place to visit.

(South Nashville)

Why a Solo Trip?

I felt like being on a solo trip would be the best option for a few reasons. One of them was not having to wait for someone to go on this trip with me. I don’t usually wait for others. I also thought a solo vacation would be fun because I don’t have to make decisions around someone else. Also, I’m a strong introvert and thought I would enjoy the long solitude.

Was it Worth It?

Yes, but that was not a quick answer.

There were some good moments. I got to go to the Capital State Museum, went to a free art show, learned the history of Nashville and a little bit of Tennessee itself. I was amazed by the beauty of the state of Tennessee and I did get to check out a few local shops and restaurants. However, with Nashville being known as a music city, there was a bar/party scene I was not aware of until my first night. My hope for the trip was to find the Portland inside Nashville, and there were parts of it that reminded me of home- not their coffee, however (I’m spoiled with good coffee in Portland). I will say that the party and bar scene made me feel out of place and I did question whether or not the trip was a mistake.

(Pieces I found at the art show)

The Loneliness of a Solo Trip

Before leaving for my trip my mom asked, “why do you want to go alone? You have no one to talk to.” I did hope that a solo trip would be refreshing and give me the recharge I needed to come back but I was mistaken. Being by myself for five days was making me feel lonely. I was not expecting to feel that way. On my second to last day of the trip was when that lonely feeling was creeping in.

By my last day, I was sitting alone at a restaurant wanting to talk to someone I know in person. I’m not one to start a conversation with strangers and question how some people feel so comfortable doing that right away. I didn’t want to bother strangers. I notice a sign across from me saying, “Enter as strangers, leave as friends.” After reading that sign I felt an overwhelming amount of loneliness. I was questioning my motivation for doing this trip solo and allowed myself to think no one wanted to go on this trip with me in the first place, which is why I went on the trip by myself. I know that’s not true, however at that moment it felt like the truth and those thoughts took some time to go away when I got back to Portland.

The Portland Inside Nashville

After I left that restaurant I went to a donut shop and was asking the employees about the city of Nashville. To my surprise, they were not happy with the amount of tourist and party animals Nashville brings in. I learned that Nashville was not the greatest with safety and didn’t use to be as trendy as it is now. It surprised the employees how people would hang out and visit certain parts of Nashville (East Nashville) which was known to be an unsafe area when they were growing up. That was the Portland inside Nashville, becoming more of a cool place to visit and live at the cost of the goodwill of some (or most… maybe all) locals. I was informed of some local coffee shops that do live music but I remember being told some of them were outside of Nashville. I knew there had to be a Portland vibe but not having a specific location made it challenging to find unless I was a local.

Would I Go Back?

Tennessee itself is a beautiful state and many locals told me about other cities such as Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Franklin. I would go back to Nashville but I don’t want to limit myself to that city.

Recommendation

Of course, if someone I know wants to go visit Nashville, I will pass along some of my favorite spots.

  • Thistle Farms- an ethical cafe and boutique employing women who were survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. (The yellow mustard scarf is from Thistle Farm)
  • Wild Cow & Sunflower Cafe- two vegan restaurants that have a plant-based twist on southern favorites. (Sunflower Cafe’s veggie wrap and chickpea salad 😋)(This was the Wild Cow special for that day I went)
  • The Well Coffee House- a coffee shop providing clean drinking water with every purchase of coffee you buy.
  • The Five Daughters Bakery- a Nashville local donut shop that makes their own unique donuts and they even have donuts for special diets (vegan and paleo donuts!!!).
  • Mikes- I went there twice! It’s an ice cream shop that makes their own ice cream and they have multiple flavors.(Firework show outside of Mikes)
  • The Americano Lounge- This was the last coffee I went to in Nashville. I sadly miss a chance to watch a live jazz concert but they do give tourist and maybe some locals a break from the loud party sense of Nashville and just enjoy some coffee, food, and jazz music.
  • Tennessee State Museum- it’s a free museum so no excuse in not go. It’s a good way to learn about the history of Tennessee
  • Old Town Trolley- the trolley bus is designed for tourist but it’s a good way to know downtown and be inner-city Nashville. Also, you discover a little about some local shops and eaters.

(Downtown Nashville. This is a historical building that’s also a hotel)

Uncategorized

A Day To Remember To Always Be Thankful

We remember to be thankfully for one day a year,

often we forget to be thankfully throughout the year.

This year really is no different I will admit,

however, I’m reminded of the things I have forgotten.

I’ve taken for granted of my security,

forgetting of those who live in fear for their safety and dignity.

I’ve taken for granted of my basic needs,

forgetting those who worked hard to create them for me.

I’ve taken for granted of my freedom,

forgetting of those who fought the good fight.

I’ve taken for granted of those of showed me care and kindness,

forgetting those moments when I feel forgotten.

This year, I remember those who live in fear,

being thankful for my security and praying for theirs.

This year I remember those who created my goodies,

being thankful for their hard work for my needs and wants.

This year I remember those before me,

being thankful for their hard work for my freedom today.

This year I remember those who showed me kindness,

being thankful that I am never forgotten.

This year I remember these things and remember to be thankful every day.

Slow Fashion

3 Months of No New Clothes: My Take Away

In June 2018, I decided to participate in Fashion For Good summer challenge of not buying any new clothes. I posted about my first month and failed to post my second because life can be busy. I saw the post for the challenge the first Saturday of June and decided I wanted to do it and grow more in my ethical lifestyle and journey. Did it help change anything? To be honest, this summer was busy and with personal things getting in my way of wanting to blog and research, I did not center my summer around this challenge. No one had an expectation of me following through with the challenge but I wanted something to keep me accountable.

(PS: I made the top from ethically sourced fabric from Offset Warehouse during the challenge and my skirt is ethically made also)

During the 3 months, this challenge did get me thinking, “Does not buying clothes really help people?” Fashion for Good promotes ethical and sustainable living- clearly, something I care for. I saw the good in taking a break from buying new items of clothing, creating less of a demand to produce more products (therefore using fewer materials) and causing sweatshops to slow down. However, the challenge had some failures. The failure in the challenge was not that I didn’t get new clothes for my personal gain but I was not supporting companies that were going against fast-fashion, by creating livable wages for employees overseas and creating a model for the fashion industry to follow.

A Few of My Favorite Companies:

Elegantees– Employing human trafficking survivors from Nepal.

(The mustard yellow skirt is from Elegantees)

The Tote Project– Hiring survivors or women vulnerable to human trafficking. 10% of their profit goes to Two Wings, non-profit fighting against human trafficking by providing educations to high-risk areas.

Krochetkids– Providing skills and livable wages to employees overseas instead of aid and goods.

(This top is coming in the mail 😏)

Ssekos– Empowering women by employing them to help fund their way through college.

Symbology– Artisans across the globe, making a livable wage by creating clothing in their tradition.

(Received this pink kimono from my Spring Cause Box!)

There’s are more companies out there but those are the ones I’m familiar with and have some items from already.

Is it possible to only buy Fair Trade clothes?

Yes and no. Having a six-figure salary will guarantee me of only buying Fair Trade clothing and really Fair Trade everything. I have bought second-hand when I really needed a particular item and could not find it from an ethical company or was not able to pay the cost. However, I can choose to buy more ethically made clothing when I chose to buy something. I can buy Fair Trade clothing when they are on sale and enjoy a discount for signing up for their Newsletter (which is what I did with KrochetKids as I was writing this post). When I want to purchase new clothing, I will find the ethically made option first.

If you have the chance to buy an ethically made item, do it. Do your research, find a company that uses sustainable materials, is known for respecting their employees, and values their craftsmanship. You may be surprised that some of the ethically made items are the same price or slightly more than the standard retail vision. If second-hand is the option you have to pick because of a budget, then do that. If you somehow you can’t do either, buy something and make it last.

Most conscious consumers would say buying ethical should be second or third to secondhand/using up what you have. Those are good options and I recommend them as well. I just would love to see more people go the ethically made route because it is giving an individual a livable wage. It will create more opportunities for people and my hope is those individuals who were once working in sweatshops will be able to work for a Fair Trade company. We vote with our wallets, I will be voting for more respect and livable wages. I will choose to buy ethical products when I can before buying second-hand. This is the thing I will be taking from Fashion for Good summer challenge, being mindful to buy ethical first.