Monday, December 9

Fair Trade Gift Guides All in One Place

First of all, I have to say, working full-time and blogging is hard. I have so much respect for all the bloggers out there doing it! Even after writing all day, surprisingly, I have no shortage of post ideas. It's just the time it takes to put them together, when I need to do laundry, make dinner, eat, and all I feel like doing is taking a nap, drinking hot cocoa, and watching Christmas movies. 

For weeks, I've had the nagging feeling that I should be putting together fair trade gift guides, but I just didn't have the energy. But why reinvent the wheel? There's so many other great fair trade gift guides out there already! I hope you're inspired!

1. Cyber Monday, The Fair Way by Mercy Ink. Even though Cyber Monday has come and gone, this post contains a compilation of 10 amazing fair trade companies to shop from!
2. 25 Days of Gifts, Made in the USA from the Fair Trade Fashionistas. Stunning and unique gift options that create jobs and support local craftsmen, including those fantastic tablet and laptop cases above! In addition to this post, I think she's planning more gift lists in the future, along the line of this one for travelers.
3. Fair Trade Christmas Gift Links from Redemption Junkie. This mega list of 19 fair trade and ethical companies to shop from won't leave you empty handed. 
4. Oxfam's Christmas Lists. Shop for a Secret Santa present, a gift for "Mum" (if you're British!) or gifts for kids. 
5. Rage Against the Minivan created a link up of shops and businesses that meet the criteria of at least one of the following: handmade, eco-friendly and/or recycled or upcycled, fair trade, portion of proceeds benefit those in need, made by artisans in impoverished communities who are earning a fair wage, gifts that give back. 
6. Fair Trade Gifts Under $50 from My Caffeinated Mornings. I love this girl's style! 
7. Fair Trade Look Books. Gifts that Glitter, Merry and Bright, and more. 
10. Great gift basket ideas, for the cook in your life and that person you know who could use a little R&R. 
Of course, if you're looking for more, check out my Give a Gift That Gives Back Pinterest board.
Let me know what you find in the comments below!
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Monday, November 18

Create: Fall Feather Garland

My Valentine's Day garland has hung over our living room curtains since February. Every couple months Brian pointed out that it was still there, but since I didn't have a replacement, I let it stay. Saturday, I finally retired the doilies in exchange for a this painted feather garland. It took half an hour to make, tops. 

You will need:

First, paint designs on your feathers with your sharpie paint pens. You could use other paints too, but the sharpie paint pens were super easy to use. I stuck to dots and stripes, but here's some other inspiration:

Once your feathers are painted, cut the narrow ribbon a few inches larger than the length you'd like the finished garland to be. 

Next, tie on your feathers, evenly spacing them. I had more blue feathers than duck feathers, so I used three blue feathers between the duck feathers, with about four inches between each feather.

Hang it up!

I like the bohemian feel of the feather garland, with the extra glam of gold and silver.

I added a few leftover feathers to my fall flower arrangements to tie it all together. 

It feels Thanksgiving-ish to me. What do you think? 

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Friday, November 1

Faith: Worth The Wait

So, remember that waiting game I told you about?

It's over. 

And that's why I haven't been blogging. I've been too busy WORKING. Full-time. At a non-profit. 


When I first set up my social media profiles on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, I wrote a short "about me" that I repeated on all three sites. In it, I referred to myself as a wife, youth group leader, crafter, and writer. 

Later, I deleted "writer," and substituted "blogger," or "enjoys writing." Calling myself a writer seemed too pretentious for the author of a small blog with big goals of being published and changing the world. 

And as of October 21st, I am a writer. And as my boss told me this afternoon;"See, you're already making a difference!"

I still catch myself while I'm reading some of the neverending documents, style guides, books, and articles for my enculturation, staring at the logo, thinking, I can't believe this is real. 

And when walking into the courtyard, lit by the sunrise, I actually work here.

Even when leaving those same doors, with the hum of traffic in the distance, I get to come back and do this again tomorrow. And next week. And the week after that. 

I'm amazed. And humbled. Encouraged. And blessed. 

Thank you, for your kind words of hope and encouragement over the last two years while I wrestled with God over my future. I finally feel right where I'm supposed to be. 

Although really, I was where I was supposed to be all along. Moving across the country to Arizona. Going to this church, which led to an important connection to this job. Waiting. Trying and failing at other things. Waiting longer. All that waiting has led to this. God's hand was in all of it.

It was so worth it.

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Monday, October 21

STYLE: Made For Me

I describe my style as classic, with a touch of romantic. Case in point, this chambray dress, that I wore to church last Sunday. E-shakti, a company that specializes in custom made clothes sent this frock to me to try out and share my thoughts. I picked this one, in part, because it bears a resemblance to one worn by my style icon Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday."

 There are several things I love about this dress:
  • The skirt. It's so twirly! And it has amazing pockets!
  • The fabric is a lovely dark navy with a beautiful sheen.
  • The collar and buttons add nautical flair, which I love.
  • It arrived crazy fast after I ordered it! 
But most of all, I love that this dress really fit me. 

As a big chested, small waisted woman, finding dresses and tops that fit well and flatter can be a challenge.

I think for the average woman, buying clothes that are made to fit all body types, lumped into general categories of small, medium, and large, is frustrating. Since most clothes are made to fit such a wide range of figures, they end up not fitting anyone perfectly. I can't tell you the number of times I've loved almost everything about a blouse or dress. Except for those cap sleeves, or an awkward ruffle, or the skirt was too long, or too short. 

I customized this dress by changing the cap sleeves to elbow length, and the skirt from below the knee, to right at the knee. It absolutely made the difference between an "ok" dress and a dress that I can't wait to wear again and again.

e-skakti allows you to customize skirt length, sleeve style, and even the neckline on most garments. And the extra cost? $7.50, for any number of changes to a single garment!

Another one of my favorite things about this dress is that I know that the people who made it were fairly paid. Initially when e-shakti contacted me, I was concerned by the fact that they manufactured their dresses in India. But I discovered some helpful information on their website that put my mind at ease: 
"No one who is not eligible to be employed under the Indian Government's minimum age policy is ever employed by our manufacturing units. The Indian government has been progressive, and with India's increasing affluence, they have been raising the minimum wage stipulation over time. And wages paid by eShakti are typically 50% to 100% over the Indian government's minimum stipulation.
The people who work to make eShakti's clothes are typically the main wage-earners of their families, and provide for them, including education for their children. eShakti is proud that hundreds of families enjoy the advantages of such employment provided by it. Indeed, it is a part of our organizational ethos and goal to contribute to the welfare of society in India as a responsible corporate citizen and employer, just as we contribute in the USA by creating new jobs as we grow.
eShakti's covenant with its customers is this: we will never allow anything that is opposed to human dignity or the laws of the land where we operate."
For more information, visit their about us page.

Whether or not you're going on a Roman holiday anytime soon, you'll find beautiful, high quality dresses, tops, and skirts to fit your style. Here's a few of my other favorites: 

And this one makes me laugh: 

Right now, new customers get a $25 gift coupon, so go check them out! Let me know what your favorites are. Who's your style icon? Share your inspiration in the comments below!

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Friday, October 18

Beauty Find Friday: Favorite Wedding Moments

Arrow Necklace
First, you might have noticed before I did, after I redesigned Scribbles, you couldn't comment. Now the comment link is working, but all of your past comments are not appearing on the blog. Again. I'm trying to get help from Disqus to get them back up, but so far, no luck. 

Second, from Oct. 2nd - 14th, I've been soaking in the fall weather in my home state of Iowa, assisting my younger sister with her wedding, and too busy to blog! So today's Beauty Find Friday is a list of my favorite wedding moments from last weekend, in chronological order.

1. Evi and I spent a few hours on Thursday baking 119 pumpkin muffins for the wedding reception. I'm glad we had that time to spend together before wedding business took over.

2. My older sister and fellow matron of honor, Elissa, and I ordered dresses from Shabby Apple originally, but the weren't the right color, so we returned them, and Elissa ordered a dress from a company in China. She ordered the wrong color, and they wouldn't let her return it. So we ordered a different dress in the right color. Mine arrived in Arizona a few hours after I left, so I had to wait for Brian to bring it a few days before the wedding. Elissa's arrived about the same time. Neither of our dresses fit, but Elissa's was at least "wearable."

I ran to the mall and tried to scrounge up something else, without much success. When I showed the dresses I found to Elissa, she suggested on a whim that I try on the dress she ordered in the wrong color. Elissa is several sizes smaller, so I didn't have much expectations as I stepped into the dress. But as I began zipping it up, miraculously, it fit! Even though it wasn't the same color as Elissa's dress, the two shades did look great together, so it worked!

3. Getting my nails done. For the first time ever! It was more relaxing and enjoyable than I expected, and I love the way they turned out!

4. Fast forward to the wedding day. After spending the morning decorating, we three girls went to the beauty school to have our hair done. Unfortunately, they didn't do what I wanted, and I ended up taking it all out and re-doing it myself. But, I did enjoy chatting with the photographer while he took pictures of us getting our hair fixed, and I enjoyed getting dressed in Evi's apartment with her and Abbi, the bridal assistant. 

5. One of my top three moments from the day was giving Evi a special gift. My sister-in-law gave me a necklace the day before my wedding, which I wear often. I wanted to give Evi a necklace, but I wanted it to have special meaning. I bought two necklaces and gave one to Evi right before we left for pictures. When I handed her the tiny box, I choked out that it was a gift to remind her of the special time we had as kids, when we pretended our dolls could go back in time to medieval England, and spent hours upon hours on adventures with Robin Hood's band of merry men in Sherwood forest. 

She opened the box, and the tears started. "That's my favorite childhood memory," she said as we hugged. The necklaces are golden arrows from Apple Latte on Etsy, which if you know the story of Robin Hood, you understand the connection.

6. As we left for pictures, I snapped a few pictures of Evi crossing the street in her wedding gown. Another of my top three favorite moments.

7. As it turned out, I spent most of the wedding day running around, solving problems. But for a stretch after the pictures, we all had to sit tight and wait. The sound guys forgot a few things, and had to run back into town for them. I'm actually glad, because this was almost the only time I had all day to relax, and catch up with my relatives. 

8. I almost missed going down the aisle! Because I was running around all day, I HAD to go to the bathroom before the ceremony. The bathroom was in the lodge, and the ceremony was outside, quite a distance from the lodge, with mostly open lawn between. When I emerged from the restroom, I saw that not only had the wedding started, but that the ushers were seating the groom's mother! Mom was next, and then it was my turn! I sprinted across the lawn, and made it just in time to walk down the aisle, breathing a little hard. It wasn't funny at the time, but I've laughed about it a lot since!

9. Just before I walked down the aisle, I turned and looked at the nearby shed that the bride and assistant were hiding behind. Both of their heads were peeking around the corner. It was a picture perfect moment that I'll always remember. 

10. After the reception, I tried to sneak out of the lodge to find Evi's purse before they made their grand exit. My Grandma and Grandpa caught me, and Grandma grabbed my hand. She told me that she appreciated my speech, in which I mentioned visiting Evi and Christian in Oregon and observing how perfect they are for each other. My grandparents hadn't met Christian until a few hours earlier that very day. "We grandparents worry about these things you know," she said. "But I told Grandpa, if Emily thinks it's a good match, then that's good enough for us!"

Sorry for the extremely blurry shot. Here's a good picture to make up for it, taken by the professional photographer, of course. Not only is John Allen extremely talented, but also, he's the nicest guy ever, and so great to work with! Even though he lives in Iowa, he's willing to travel, so check him out!

Happy Friday!

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Friday, October 4

Beauty Find Friday: Five Things

1. New Blog Design!

Yep. I did. And I'm ok with that.

This photo and the corresponding color scheme inspired me to try something watercolored, clean, but just a little more whimsical and warm.

I simplified the sidebar, got rid of some ads and widgets, and moved things around. I also added an Instagram widget.

I have a few more ideas for some tweaks to this design, including adding some new pages. Any suggestions? What would you like to see? 

2. New Glasses! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I ordered a second home try-on from Warby Parker. I didn't take a bunch of pictures of me wearing them this time, instead, I painted you a picture of them. Well, actually, I just painted them because I needed something to paint, they were handy, and they looked really cool.

I chose the Nedwin, in amber, which seems a lot darker than the try-on pair, but I love it even more. I'm still adjusting to my new prescription, but wow, these are fantastic glasses. They feel made to last forever, and I love, love, love how they look on me. They're the perfect blend of nerd-chic I hoped for. 

3. Guest Post on Yellow Elm 

You know how much I love thrifting. But I know that not everyone does...yet. Thrift store shopping can be overwhelming, and sometimes you bringing home stuff that just ends up going back a few months later. So, when Elizabeth of Yellow Elm confessed that she wasn't the best at thrifting, and asked me to share some how-tos on her blog, I happily obliged. Here's Five Steps to Thrifting Success.

4. 30 Day Shredded!

In 2012, I made a New Year's Resolution of doing Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred DVD. And I did it three times a week, for a couple weeks. I never got past level one. I decided during the last week of August to do it for real this time. 

My sister-in-law suggested staying on each level for only 10 days, and then moving on. Having a set time to move on, and doing it every day, made all the difference. And figuring out how to mute Jillian and still play the background music. Seriously.

I actually enjoyed it this time, and I'm SO much stronger then when I started. I actually have a little six pack! I finished it last week, and now, I'm training for a 5K. Talk about CRAZY. This is the girl who hates exercise and most especially, running! I'm really motivated by my weight loss last year, and by my husband, who has now adopted a healthy lifestyle and lost about 30 lbs. in five months. He wants to do a triathlon... I'm sticking with a 5K.

5. My Sister's Getting Married!

I'm in Iowa right now for the occasion. Tonight is the bachelorette party, which will consist of camping... in the backyard. No need to sacrifice flushing toilets! That's my kind of camping! 

I'm writing this on Tuesday, leaving tomorrow morning, and procrastinating from packing. I can't believe my little sister is actually getting married. Got to try not to think about that yet, and save the tears for the reception. Ha! 

I'm hoping to convince her that we need a photo booth, like the one we made for my besties wedding last summer. If not, I'm sure I'll find some other hair-brained last minute crafts to make! In the meantime, I'll be soaking up the cold weather, changing leaves, and eating s'mores. 

Happy Friday! What beauty did you discover this week? Share it in the comments!
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