31 Days of…

Y’all, it’s been a year since my very first blog post.  A whole year!  Some of my very first posts way back in yesteryear were part of a 31-day series called Fair & Square: A Fair Trade Crash Course, which were written because of Myquillyn’s challenge to write every day for 31 days.

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Thirty-one days is a long time, at least for me, but I am challenging myself to do it again.  This time without taking a break to give birth to a child who decided to arrive two weeks early!  You’ll have to come back here tomorrow evening to find out what I am writing about because it’s a surprise!  Hopefully you will love it as much as I do.  So hold onto your horses, October’s going to be a fun one!

Fair Trade & Handmade Picks For Fall

Today is the very first official day of Fall.  Y’all, it’s going to be 90 degrees today here in Idaho. NINETY.  First day of Fall indeed.  But cooler weather is coming this weekend and hopefully staying. I am counting down the days!

Anyway, to kick off my most favorite season I thought it would be appropriate to share a few fair trade and handmade Fall goodies that I have had my eye on.  Here they are:

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1. KROCHET KIDS // I love this cozy rust color hat! And seriously, pom poms are adorable.  Krochet Kids employs women in Uganda and Peru, helping them support their families and rise out of poverty.

2. CONNECTED GOODS // Again with the pom poms!  This super cute throw was handwoven under fair trade conditions in India.

3. PADDYWAX // A soy candle made the USA and poured into a recycled wine bottle.  These scents…I’m so intrigued.  Pomegranate and Currant, Rosemary & Thyme, Tobacco & Patchouli.  What do you think?

4. FASHIONABLE // Handmade in Ethiopia.  FashionABLE is commited to equipping women and creating job opportunities for them so they no longer have to rely on charity.  Good things.

5. THREADS 4 THOUGHT // I love that Threads 4 Thought carries reasonably priced basics that are also made fairly and ethically in China.  Plus 10% of the proceeds from this shirt goes to New Roots, a non-profit that helps refugees to America find ways to be self-sustainable through community gardens, education and more.

6. THE OLIVE TREE DESIGNS // Such a sweet and pretty print to celebrate this awesome season.  And it’s only $5.  And you can download it right away to hang on your wall.  You’re welcome.

Okay, now I’m seriously giddy about some cooler weather!  What is your favorite part about Fall?

Friday Feature: My Favorite New Fair & Ethical Finds

While I didn’t spend a lot of time writing this summer I did manage to squeeze in a lot of reading and um…internet browsing. At least I have some cool new (to me) ethical shops to show for it! Here are just a few of my favorites discoveries:

MITSCOOTS

Need new socks?  Well, here ya go.  Mitscoots has a clear mission – to help the homeless. For every pair of socks bought, they give a pair to a homeless man or women.  But they don’t stop there – they are actively involved in helping people off the streets by giving jobs to the homeless who are looking for steady work.  Plus, all their socks are 100% made in the USA.  I have my eyes on this athletic pair, since I’m training for those four half marathons next month.

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TELOS CLOTHING CO.

Telos is a brand new company with a mission to provide jobs for another group of marginalized people: women escaping sex trafficking.  Their apparel is produced in partnership with Nightlight International, an pretty incredible screen printing company that employs trafficking survivors.  Next month they are launching their inaugural line through a Kickstarter campaign.  Be notified of when their campaign begins and check out their clothing line here.

I love that there are several options for guys, since a lot of ethical and fair trade clothing is geared more towards women!

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MALIA DESIGNS

Speaking of trafficking, Malia Designs is another company that works with survivors to provide a better way of life and create amazing products along the way.  They turn traditional fabrics and re-purposed materials like rice and cement bags into purses, clutches and more!

Loving this recycled rice bag wastebasket!

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SONNET JAMES

I’m a mom (if you didn’t know that by now) and I keep returning to Sonnet James again and again to browse their collection of dresses. One day, one day…  I love that their company stands by fair trade and sourcing local.  All good things!

Does this not look like the most cutest/comfortable dress ever?!

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As always if you are looking for more fair or ethical choices go check out The Ethical List! It’s full of great companies and organizations that are choosing to care about others instead of just the bottom line.

Enjoy your weekend, y’all!
Jess

It’s a Whole New (Blog)

Hi you guys! Finally, FINALLY I am back on the blogging wagon. Welcome to the new space we are calling home: Notes From A Thoughtful Life!  When I first got the idea to change the name I did not expect it to take THIS long.  But you know, life.

As a quick PSA, in my stumbling through the blog transition I lost the email addresses of all you email subscribers.  So sorry!  Total newbie mistake.  So if you subscribed via email and want to keep getting new posts in your inbox, please re-subscribe!

Also,  if you run into any kinks or have trouble with accessing the blog through a feed reader or whatever, I would love if you sent me a short email and let me know what isn’t working (just click the contact button above). Thanks so much!

Now, on to the fun stuff!

Besides the obvious name change and a few little tweaks, one of the biggest additions to this blog is something I am super excited about. It has to do with that little button over there called “the shop”.

The SHOP, y’all!

“The shop” is a small collection of prints that are serving a super awesome purpose. Lemme explain.

Next month I am running four half marathons in four weeks. Yes, you read that right. Four weeks. Four half marathons. Next month.

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I am running the marathons with a great team for a pretty simple reason – to raise support for the orphan work in India, specifically kids with HIV/AIDS.

My church here in Boise, Calvary Chapel, has a network of orphanages all over India and one of their main focuses is to care for children diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. These orphanages provide a loving environment for the kids to live plus things like food, education, medical attention and more. They also take care of HIV/AIDS positive adults in the community. Their willingness to work with this need has opened up so many opportunities – local governments are allowing them into areas of the country that have been inaccessible to these types of organizations in the past!

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Every single penny we raise through these races goes directly to the orphanages. One hundred percent. The prints in the shop are part of my contribution. When you buy a print you are supporting the orphanages and giving me a virtual you can do it! high five (because, seriously, these races are no joke. I get a little overwhelmed just thinking about it).  Just like other race contributions, all the proceeds from these prints goes directly to the orphanages in India.

For me the coolest part of these half marathons is something that I’ve actually mentioned before: it takes something ordinary and turns it into something we can use to change the world. I can’t just pick up and travel overseas to serve those in need but heck, I can run and I can draw and I most definitely can use both of those things to make a difference!

So…go check it out! 

PS // It’s been awhile since my last Friday Feature so this Friday I am sharing some of the new fair and ethical companies that I have discovered over the summer. Can’t wait!

Favorites This Week (8/28)

Wildly Co. is an ethical kids clothing line started by Hayley (of The Tiny Twig) and her husband Mike.  They are running a Kickstarter campaign for their fall line (which looks super cute!).  It’s kind of cool getting to be a part of a little company that is trying to do something good!  You can get involved here.

9 Social Justice Books To Read This Fall // Relevant Magazine

Ethical Back To School Shopping (Part 1) // Intentional Jane

How To Live An Exceptional Life When Life Doesn’t Feel Exceptional // The Art of Simple

 

Enjoy your long weekend!

Jess

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Just Some News

I got some news, you guys! But first, this is where we were this weekend:

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This was when I was huddling by the fire soaking up a few minutes of morning quiet while the kids slept in the tent.  So thankful we live just mere hours from gorgeous places like this, though I think I’ve had my fill of winding, I-think-we-could-fall-off-the-side-of-the-mountain roads for a little bit.

Anyway. On to the news!

This blog is getting a mini makeover, in the form of a name change! Now that I’ve been blogging for almost a year I feel like I have a much clearer idea of what I enjoy writing about and where this blog is headed. For The Love of Justice is an alright name but I feel like it doesn’t encompass the things I am most passionate about – living simply and finding ways to be intentional and thoughtful in the everyday aspects of my life (at the grocery store, with those I love and so on).

Sooo…beginning in September this blog will become Notes From A Thoughtful Life.

Because apparently I can’t seem to pick short names.

The thing I like most about the new name is that it feels more open ended. I can (and will!) still talk about fair trade and living thoughtfully but I am also able to blog about the other things I love that don’t quite fall under justice type topics.

For the rest of the month I will be working on switching this blog over to the new name. Hopefully everything will go seamlessly but I’m still a total newb at all this website stuff so I sincerely apologize if you run into any glitches along the way!

While I am doing all the glamerous behind the scenes stuff, you can keep yourself entertained with a few of my old posts from when I first started blogging last fall!

Can I REALLY Make A Difference?

Our Clothes: Where They Come From And Why It Matters

Where To Find Sweat-Free Clothing

Embracing Normal (Because you need to read that Henry Drummond quote at the very end. So, so good.)

And my very first blog post ever…The Beginning

Favorites This Week (8/1)

My Beauty Routine // Unfancy 
I love Caroline’s take on balancing natural body care with the regular old stuff and her thoughts on body image.

Thirty In a Box // You Are My Fave 
In light of this week’s birthday post, I sorta love this idea!

7 Reasons Why We Should Stop Praising Excess // Becoming Minimalist 
Yes.  Just yes.

#BringBackOurGirls May Be Doing More Harm Than Good // Relevant Magazine
I really appreciate the perspective of this article and reminder to be intentional about social justice issues.

One Family’s Mantra & How It Has Shaped Them // Let Why Lead
I love, love, loved this.  So much I wrote “Do The Hard Things” on a piece of paper and hung it on my fridge.

Happy Friday, Y’all!

 

Ethical Birthday Gifts + Thoughtful Gifting Tips

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Is there an official birthday season? Because I feel like we are in it. Not only am I a summer birthday girl and so are three of my grandparents, my husband, my sister, my daughter and a long line of friends or their kids! I could list them all but we would be here awhile.

Mr. Google has confirmed my suspicions. September 16 is the most popular birth date for those born from 1973 to 1999. However, the months leading up to that day – June, July and August – rank as the most popular months to be born (you can check out this chart). All those holiday festivities and new year resolutions about nine months ago must’ve put everyone in the baby making mood (wink, wink).

In honor of all the summer birthdays (and all those birthday parties you are probably attending) here are a few fair and ethical gift ideas. They all sit nicely at twenty bucks or less so there is no need to shell out a lot of cash to gift thoughtful yet ethical presents!

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1. Owl Salt Shakers // Serrv $16

2. Chocolate & Beer Pairing Kit // Fair Trade Winds $20

3. Mustache Coasters // Greenheart Shop $13

4. Mr. Mustache Eyeglass Holder // Fair Trade Winds $18

5. Stitching Postcard // Oeuf NYC  $5

6. Terrarium Postcards/ wall art // Quill & Fox $7

7. Good Luck earrings // Mata Traders $18

8. Leather Journal // Light Gives Heat $20

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1. Eco Kids Modeling Clay // Fair Indigo  $19

2. Sammy Snail Whistle // Serrv  $5

3. Lion // Amani Ya Juu  $12

4.  Green Toys Fire Truck // Amazon  $20

5. The Pom Headband // Krochet Kids  $7.50

6. Lately Lily Activity Kit // Lately Lily  $15

7. Four magnetic cubes // Tegu  $12

8.  Green Toys Race Car // Greenheart Shop  $13

 

THREE TIPS FOR MORE MEANINGFUL GIFTS

Thoughtful trumps expensive and elaborate.
I love giving gifts. I’m not always perfect at it, but I really like searching for a gift that I know the recipient is going to love – not just something I threw together at the last minute (though that sometimes happens, not going to lie). Gifts, when chosen right, have this amazing quality of being able to convey thoughtfulness and appreciation without any words at all. How much they cost or how mind blowing they are has nothing to do with that!

Don’t hate the gift card.
The gift card sometimes get a bad rap. It’s so impersonal. It looks like you don’t care. Blah. Blah. Blah. HOWEVER, I love getting gift cards. I sometimes feel guilty about spending money on just myself so a gift card all to myself is seriously awesome. And I’m kinda specific about the things I like so again, the gift card! The key to making a gift card look like you care is really in how your present it.  Dress it up in a pretty birthday card or give it alongside another small gift, like a chocolate bar or their favorite pack of drinks!

Write a note.
Encouragement is the best, y’all, and my family is awesome at it. My sisters and mom write the nicest and most encouraging things to me and it makes. my. day.  One of the best ways to make a gift meaningful is to write a sweet note in the card. Kind, sincere words have a way to staying with you for a long time. Tell the birthday person what you love or admire about them. It might be even more memorable than the gift!

What are your gift giving tips?

One Thing At A Time

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I randomly picked up a book recently called The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. Well, I guess it wasn’t random since I will read anything I can get my hands on when it comes to minimalism and simple living. More like spur of the moment. But reading it couldn’t of come at a better time.

The last few weeks have been rough, which is some of the reason I took a bit of time off from writing around here. While summer is fun it’s also draining – my kids think it’s acceptable to stay up until almost my bedtime, since it stays light here until after 10 pm. Afternoon rest time has been a struggle too and if you have kids you will understand me when I say no rest time and late bedtime is HARD. I was living on an average of six hours of sleep a night, on my feet all day with the kids and just struggling in every single area of my life. The laundry was an endless cycle, with piles of clothes all over the house. The dishes were never done. I was trying to break up fights and rock the baby and cook dinner and run errands and when I sat down for a minute I was just empty. I had no words or thoughts. Just tired and so weary. It was this endless cycle of striving and and wanting to do everything yet somehow not doing much of anything. And I wasn’t sure how to make it all stop.

Last week I was at the point where I could not take it one more day. Something had to change. I was trying to figure out what I could do to somehow balance the craziness of my family and home with time to myself and space to do things I love, like write here on this blog and read and create. That’s when I picked up The Power of Less. I’m only a few chapters in but already it is helping me refocus and be more intentional. The Power of Less is about eliminating the unnecessary so you can focus on what’s really important. It’s about cleaning up the clutter, rubbing the smudge prints off your sunglasses and paring things down to just the essential so you can live more clearly.

Leo Babauta compares simple living to a haiku, that short Hawaiian verse that is bound by 17 syllables and three lines. To convey the right emotion a poet must be selective and thoughtful with his words, choosing words that matter and express exactly what he wants to say. A haiku is beautiful because it has limitations. A simple life is beautiful because it has limitations. You don’t have to do everything all the time.

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“By setting limitations, we must choose the essential. So in everything you do, learn to set limitations.”

This thought, while not necessary new or ground breaking, has been revolutionary for me. Limitations. Simple focus. One way the author puts this idea into practice is by focusing on one thing at a time.

Stop the multitasking.

Focus on one goal.

Change one habit at a time.

So this week I am trying to focus on the essential, figuring out what really isn’t working and making one change to simplify and streamline. I started with creating a solid evening routine. By the end of the day I am tired so I’ve been really bad about leaving the the toys all over the living room floor, dirty dinner dishes in the sink and so on, which of course makes waking up the next day a joy and delight.  I love waking up to a messy house and having to wash dishes to eat breakfast, said no one ever.  I’ve been forcing myself to put away the laundry on the bed, clean up the kitchen, set out my running clothes and go to bed early instead of staying up bleary eyed to watch Fallon when I can just see him the next day on Hulu.

It’s funny, but making one well planned, intentional habit has had a big impact on how my day goes and my attitude towards my kids and my work. It is not always easy to stick to the plan and sometimes I just don’t get anything done but the nights that I do, it’s incredibly rewarding!

The thing about this concept is that it applies to more than just my crazy life with littles. We all probably have an area of life that is frustrating or overwhelming. Work. Social obligations. Buying ethically. Choosing a non-profit to support. Turning a dream into a business or blog or whatever. I encourage you to take a few minutes or couple hours or a day and figure out one thing you can do consistently that will make what you are dealing with less overwhelming. Focus on one thing at a time and when you figure that out, move onto the next goal. It’s not rocket science, it’s not even a new concept really, it’s just a little trick we (meaning me!) easily forget.

How do you work on your goals and deal with overwhelming issues? What are your tips (or frustrations)?

Favorite Reads This Week

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Now that summer is here for real my mind is always outside.  From setting up sprinklers for my kids to cookouts to pool time to loving on my garden, I have hardly opened my laptop for the last week.  That’s a good thing, right?  So if things fall a little silent around here this summer, you know where I am!  On top of our outdoor shenanigans  I have all sorts of dreams and ideas I am working on for this blog….which I will share with you guys soon!  In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite things that I’ve read recently:

Naming And Framing // The Art of Simple – sometimes all we need to do to solve a problem is just look at it differently.

Ethical & Adorable Swimwear // Purse & Clutch - if you are looking for fairly made swimwear this is a great place to start!

On July, Chuck Taylors, Silence & Seasons // Shana Niequist - love this so much!

Enjoy your week, guys!