What I’ve learned from 2014

It’s mid February already (scary I know)!  2015 is well into full swing and I’m surprised to have already learned a few key things since looking back on my year of 2014.  I am sure the learning will continue however a quick list of the most significant revelations are:

  • I won’t die if I don’t have the latest & greatest things.  And I don’t seem to be influenced so easily and are making much more informed purchases.
  • Family always comes first…no matter what!
  • The fullness of your life isn’t measured by how many parties you attend, how many friends you have or how big your bank account is.
  • Social media should be used in moderation…and cautiously.
  • Technology is great however don’t let it make you complacent…or impatient!
  • Having a career & a business is a privilege … But don’t forget number #2

Looking through this list even as I type this, I know will resonate with me for a long time to come.

What things have you learned in 2015?

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Christmas is for giving!

iStock_000014394121XSmallOur family don’t tend to go crazy when it comes to ‘gift giving’ over Christmas.  We had decided a long time ago that we didn’t really need presents once all the kids in the family grew up. So for the last 10 years or so, we’ve celebrated Christmas by spending it with family; eating, drinking and being merry.  We also partake in the annual ‘Secret Santa’ gift giving tradition.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, each person picks a random name and buys a present for that ONE person only.  We also set a limit however I will admit, we all normally exceed the limit a little bit. Normally, each person would also make a ‘gift lift’ suggestion to assist ‘Santa’ and also ensure the purchase of gifts that ‘nobody would ever use’ are avoided.  We’re all about saving them dollars and limiting consumption.

Anyway this year, I was really stumped for gift ideas. I didn’t/don’t really need anything.  Do we ever? However, I didn’t want to leave a blank ‘gift list’, essentially making my Santa’s job even harder. So I found myself in a bit of a conundrum?! What to do?

Thankfully…with the growing awareness of fairtrade, conscious living, ethical, eco-sustainable brands etc etc (buzz words I am sure many of you have heard of late) there were a selection of great products out there that are not only cool and practical however also give back to worthy causes. So, in the spirit of giving, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite brands for Christmas and even future gifts:

 

1. Clothe you Neighbour – Clothe Your Neighbor as Yourself is a nonprofit brand that lets you decide how 100% of the profit is given based on the cause you care about.  Check out their really funky clothes and accessories. I have my eye on the jumper and messenger bag.

2. Days of August –  Sustainable designed accessories and jewellery.  Their colour wheel necklaces are to die….

3. Sea Shepherd – The classic Sea Shepherd merch that is not only cool…totally worthy of the cause! I am saving for the one piece swimmers 🙂

4. Sseko Designs – Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that hires high potential women in Uganda to make sandals to enable them to earn money through dignified employment that will go directly towards their college educations and ensure they will continue pursuing their dreams.  Their loafers are a must have.

5. Frank Stationery – For you stationery lovers out there – Frank Stationery: Socially conscious stationery.

6. Sackcloth & Ashes – Homewares – S&A vision – We are a company that sells high-quality blankets in the United States. With every blanket you purchase, we will give a blanket to your local homeless shelter.

 

Another go-to resource that may come in handy is the ‘Give Generation’ twitter and site that provides a comprehensive list of some of the best, newest and lushest brands available that will surely satisfy your socially conscious + lifestyle needs.

Happy shopping!!

I had a date with lace doilies and leather….

Instagram is a lovely thing…it allows us to stalk…I mean view other people we don’t even know and have a glimpse into their world. 🙂  Even better, it also allows us to find great little niche businesses and people who have some great talent to share. Over the weekend, I found the insta account of Amy Lawrence.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing about Amy Lawrence she makes, “intriguing knitted neck wear”.  It really is something you have to see to appreciate.

For me, I love knits.  I own about 1 million knitted jumpers and cardigans because I just can’t get enough of them.  So to stumble across Amy who creates wonderful knitted accessories…is happiness!

The inspo!
Image courtesy of instagram / @amylawrencedesigns

 

Part of her other range that also caught my eye is her BITZA range.  Basically these are up cycled lace and crochet doilies that have been reworked into cute creations of lace, leather, cotton and ribbon.  Again, something you have to see to believe. I was so taken away with these designs…that I was inspired to make my own.  Let me tell you, it was a fiddly task that required the utmost patience and perseverance…however I managed to stick it out and make 2.5 lace pieces for myself.

I am glad I found Amy’s page as it reignited my love for crafts and beautiful textiles. So much so that I visited my beautiful mother’s sewing studio and raided her secret stash of silk ribbons, lace and other goodies to restart my collection.  Thanks mum!!

The weekend was spent toiling away and creating the below pieces that I am quietly proud of.  Of course, it pails in comparison to the wonders of Amy Lawrence designs however for a novice…I think this DIY project turned out okay.

 

 

Images courtesy of: amylawrencedesigns.co.uk & instagram

 

 

 

‘The happy moment jar’

I was inspired by the above idea of capturing your happy moments in a jar. The idea is, each happy moment you have during the year, you write it down, save it in your jar and come New Year’s eve 2014, you read each happy moment you’ve had, remembering what a great year it’s been, appreciating the moments and hopefully inspiring you to have even bigger and better happy moments for 2015.

I loved this idea!! So much so, that I started one of my own jars.  I’ve blogged on enough about my shopping addiction and how I have amassed so many clothes over the years and I couldn’t think of anything more fitting than to take my acts of reducing and culling my wardrobe down to a more manageable size, selling my clothes and recycling them to people who need them one step further and instead of amassing and collecting even more clothes….amass and collect my happy moments.

 

Wondrous Weekends…

The first two weeks of January have been quite stressful for me. Working, the business, running around, launched my much anticipated charity cause.  However, this weekend and the next couple, have been solely dedicated to relaxing and enjoying. (You’ve got to make the time sometimes.) On the agenda this weekend, celebrations for my nephew’s, twin sister’s and my birthday.  I still can’t believe we all share the same Birthday ;).   Plenty of scrumptious food and good times catching up with good friends were in order.

I also had a chance to dust off a couple silk dresses I haven’t had the chance of wearing yet. Since commencing my little campaign, I’ve been busy sorting out my wardrobe and apart from freeing up space and donating, I am also rediscovering old clothes to wear.  I love it!  I am finding pieces that I forgot I had.  It’s like having a new wardrobe all over again.  In spirit of the occasion, I matched my happy mood with a kaleidoscope of colour 🙂 An old Kookai singlet in a beautiful coral pink. A pair of floral garden Mink Pink shorts. A Tigerlily denim pigmented dress, and a silk slouch dress that always reminds me of carnival for some reason?!

Grateful for time with old friends, family, dinosaur parties with a piñata and the most yummy high tea spread I’ve ever seen.

The 90 day challenge!

I was so inspired by the 365 Day Personal Challenge by Christina Dean, Founder of Redress Asia, it had inspired me to attempt this challenge myself.  I initially stumbled across the challenge via Eco-Vintage blog, written by Katie Thomas who herself have some very inspirational posts.  One of the things I have loved during my research into sustainable and ethical clothing is finding these great bloggers and sites that support this movement also, who inspire me even more on a day to day basis.

However, back to my 90 day challenge…I knew, and anyone who knows me would also have an inkling, that this would be an extremely difficult challenge for me.  I am after all a self confessed shopaholic, the proper kind,  however on a mission to reduce my slavery footprint.   After watching the video almost over a week ago however, I still had the message firmly impressed on my mind.

The solution?  I am embarking on a 90 day challenge.  This personal mission is to not shop for 90 days.  The rules: I wear what I have in my wardrobe and can only purchase from second hand stores if necessary. The reason: To reduce my consumption, recycle my current resources and promote sustainable practices through purchasing already manufactured clothes.

I will keep you posted on my progress…this will NO doubt, be one of the biggest challenges for me however I am committed to doing this.

Fast Facts

Approximately 500,000 tons or 1 billion items of clothing are sent to landfill each year – that’s 114,000 per hour and an average of 16 items per year per person. Source: http://www.treehugger.com

Another great initiative

http://prexamples.com/2012/04/ms-and-oxfam-collaborate-to-launch-shwopping-campaign/

http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/marks-spencer-shwopping-camapign.html