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Monday, September 30

INSPIRE: Fall Trends, Fair Trade Edition Part 3

Blue Fall Fair Trade Fashion

I channeled the grays of overcast fall skies and deep blues and teals of autumn lakes in this outfit.

One of the fall trends I mentioned in the first part of this series that I'm excited about is wearing hats - beanies in particular. Expect to see a beanie explosion as the weather cools off, and consider getting one for yourself that you can feel confident wearing, knowing that everyone with a part in making it, from picking the cotton to knitting the hat, was paid fairly. And as a result of your support, they're now able to support themselves and their families.

If hats aren't your thing, try some of the other pieces in this outfit. Not only will you be on trend with the fall blues and grays, warm, cozy, and comfortable, but you'll also make an impact in someone else's life. Hi-five!

Classic Hat, blue from Noonday Collection / Chevron Dangle Earrings / Teavy Upcycled Taupe Cardigan from Raven + Lily / Stina Top from Threads 4 Thought / Canyon Cord Pant from Prana / Cabled Cowl from 4 All Humanity / Dahlia Necklace / Pina Stamp Ring / Hi-Five Mitts 

Check out the first and second fall fair trade and sweatshop free outfit collages.

What are you excited to wear this fall? 


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Wednesday, September 25

CREATE: 7 Must Make Fall Decorations


I'm guest posting over at Liz Makes, sharing a round-up of some of my favorite fall decor tutorials. Find out how to make this Dried Apple Wreath, leather pillows, leaf garlands, book page wreaths, and much more on Liz Makes.
Have you made any fall decor DIYs? Tell us about it in the comments! 

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Monday, September 23

INSPIRE: Fall Trends, Fair Trade Edition Part 2

Yellow and Gray Fall Fair Trade Fashion

Yellow and Gray Fall Fair Trade Fashion by econley featuring a bangle bracelet

Plaid, leather, chunky knits, and delicious colors are just a few of things I love about fall fashion. I especially love these items, because each of them was made by someone earning a fair wage, someone who can now support themselves, afford to send their children to school, start their own business, and contribute to their local economies. That's what fair trade is about. 

Starting at the top left, going clockwise: 



What do you look forward to wearing when the weather cools off? 

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Friday, September 20

Beauty Find Friday: My Fall Reading List


Books, pencils, and notebooks - ah, the signs of fall. After I painted this doodle, I felt like talking about books for today's Beauty Find Friday!

Currently Reading: 


Youth Ministry in Small Churches
I pulled this book off of Brian's shelf about a month ago. I've been digesting it slowly; it's packed with thought-provoking examples, useful tips, and practical ideas. 

I haven't made much progress in this one, but what I've read so far was challenging and convicting. As someone who fits the definition of "growing up Christian" by being raised by Christian parents, with Christian grandparents, home schooled and/or Christian schooled, and faithfully attended church my entire life, I can relate to the blessings and the struggles discussed in this book.

Wish List: 


The Hunger Games (Book 1)
Yes, I've decided to read the Hunger Games. I realized that I'm always late to the party when it comes to popular books. I read The Lord of the Rings books after the movies had come out, I read Harry Potter last year for the first time ever. I don't want to miss out on something good for so long this time. And after all, I do like dystopian literature. Let's hope this is the next Harry Potter, not the next Twilight.


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
I've wanted this book ever since I watched Brene Brown's TED talk, and I wanted it even more after I saw her segment with Oprah. According to the synopsis: "In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities."


This book just sounds like fun! "Using a simple doodle as a starting point, 18 artists take you on an inspirational, crafty journey! Filled with inventive prompts designed to fuel the imagination, these 75 exercises motivate crafters to pick up a pencil, brush, or marker, and explore their artistic voice. From quick “try it” ideas using shapes and patterns to doodled portraits and contour drawings, these step-by-step projects are wild creative fun."


I enjoyed Chip and Dan's innovative approach to marketing in Flip the Switch, and as a writer, I want my messages to stick. "Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)–the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick."

What are you reading now? What's on your list? Share it with us in the comments below!
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Wednesday, September 18

FAITH: The Waiting Game


I dropped my purse and keys on my desk, kicked off my black flats, and settled onto the couch. I sighed happily and smiled. Something good is coming! By this fall, I'll have at least a part-time job, if not TWO part-time jobs!

That was July. This is September. 

After starting out so full of promise, the story of my summer 2013 became one long waiting game.

In the spring, I applied for variety of jobs, and mailed a pitch for an article and a corresponding item to a craft magazine. I received rejections for most of my job applications, and eventually I gave up on the rest of them.

In June, I applied for and landed a summer internship position that, although unpaid for the summer, could turn into a part-time job. At the same time, a law firm contacted me about a part-time administrative assistant position I'd applied for months ago. I interviewed over the phone, then in person, and then I made it to the final round - interviewing with 11 people for a full 8 hour day. Intense, exhausting, and yet, tired as I was, I felt almost positive that this was going to work out. 

Finally, I'd not only have a job, but a job that would give me the opportunity to make a difference in the world, plus allow me to pursue my other passions on the side. And, combined with a the part-time job in social media from my internship, I could actually make a full-time income. 

Then it all fell apart. Due to some restructuring, they eliminated the position and wouldn't be able to hire anyone for the job. But they contacted me August 1st because they had a full-time opportunity available. I spent that weekend with the youth group trip to California, and the roller coasters we rode at Knott's Berry Farm couldn't compare to the emotional roller coaster I was riding.

So on August 14th, I interviewed for the fourth time. The last time I heard from them was Labor Day weekend. Right around this time, it turned out that the business I was interning with couldn't afford to hire me part-time in the fall. On Monday, my internship ended. And now, I'm just waiting. 

The warm, promising glow of summer has given way to gray clouds of disappointment and cold, cold rain.

At first, it looks like all a waste. What was the point? All those interviews, all that work, and I'm right where I started. 


Last week, I came across an old favorite passage of mine. I hadn't read the whole passage since 2009, but one verse was set as my desktop background, a friend shared it during small group, and I read it again the next day in a Bible study book. I knew it wasn't coincidence. Lamentations 3:19-33:

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”


The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.
Although at times, it still seems like this summer was a waste, I know that God doesn't willingly bring me affliction. This waiting period is shaping and molding me. A few good things that have come out of this job process include:
  • I'm better at interviews! Not only have I had a lot of them over the summer, I've had a lunch interview and a panel interview for the first time
  • I'm confident that I can present myself professionally, and be a serious candidate at a company with very high standards
  • I had to overcome my fear of driving on the interstate, three times
  • I grew my design portfolio and experience by designing a website, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, and YouTube channel.
  • I learned more about social media scheduling, and how to increase interaction
  • I learned to deal with disappointments, even though I didn't always handle them well at the time
  • Through all of it, I've developed more patience and perseverance
And remember that back in the spring, I sent an article to a craft magazine? I got to preview the spread yesterday! They accepted it, and I'm going to be PUBLISHED! I'll share more details with you as it gets closer, but suffice it to say that "excited" is an understatement!

I've been thinking a lot about what I'm doing during this waiting time. How am I using this time while I'm not working? How can I make the most of the time I have? 

Have you ever experienced a time period of waiting? Did you you make the most of it, or looking back now, what would you do differently? I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments!

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Monday, September 16

INSPIRE: Fall Trends, Fair Trade and Sweatshop-Free Edition

Now that the New York Fashion Week is over, fall fashion recaps are flooding my bloglovin' feed. I love browsing photos of beautifully styled clothes with cozy textures, rich jewel tones, and classic patterns.

Some of my favorite fall trends this year include: 
  • Plaid - almost always a fall staple, this year we'll see a lot of it. It's classic, timeless, and versatile. The plaid skirt I wore over ten years ago would fit right into fall 2013. Depending on how you wear it and the colors involved, plaid can be western, preppy, or celtic. 
  • Booties - I haven't taken the plunge to buy a pair of booties myself, but I do like how they look on other people. 
  • Coats - These were popular on the runway this fall. Trench coats, fur coats, military style jackets, and menswear coats were a few of the trends.
  • Hats - Particularily the humble beanie. 
  • Colors - The Pantone colors for fall are a mix of colors I would expect, like dark purple, red, orange, moss green, gray, and emerald, paired with unexpected colors like pink, almost-neon green, royal blue, and coffee brown. 
  • Fur, leather, and knits - The best part of fall fashion for me is the textures. Leather is still in, fur is popular, and thick chunky knits are back. 
Just to review, the ethical fashion movement is a response to the abuses that are a part of the fashion industry, such as environmental damage, excessive waste, and human rights abuses. So, in today's post, I've created a few inspiration boards highlighting fair trade and sweatshop-free products that fit the fall trends. 
Plum and Gray Fall Fairtrade fashion

Carolina Fringe Scarf from Noonday Collection / Elegant Arrows Necklace from Noonday Collection / Teavy Upcycled Tailored Jacket (also in black) from Raven + Lily / Mug hand knitted cozy from Noonday Collection / Rocky Sweatshirt from Threads 4 Thought / Horn Triangle Necklace from Indego Africa / Infinity Rings from 4AllHumanity / Violet Horn and Paper Bracelet from Noonday Collection
I especially love the tailored jacket from Raven and Lily - it's recycled, and it's made by at risk women Phnom Pehn, Cambodia, allowing them to provide for their families. 

I've made two other inspiration boards, and I'll share them with you soon! If you like the collage above, please pin it to Pinterest to spread the fairtrade love with others.

What are your favorite fall trends? Share them with us in the comments! 

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Friday, September 13

Beauty Find Friday: My Favorite Online Magazines

There's something to be said about the pleasure of finding a magazine in the mailbox, or flipping through the pages in a coffee shop, or whiling away the hours of a long flight with a glossy stack. With that said, the internet has blessed us with online magazines. Now, we can enjoy magazine articles for free, and on our phones. 

I'll always love physical magazines, but today I'm sharing a few new loves of mine in the online magazine realm. 

Dean Street Society - Dean Street Society covers style, life, and entrepreneurship with a graceful, plucky spirit that makes me feel like I could be totally at home having coffee with Hilary and discussing what humidity does to our bangs and how to set reasonable business goals.
Clementine Daily - Hilary introduced me to Clementine (she's the style editor), a new magazine whose every article so far I've loved. Their sweet video makes me want to wear dresses every day, buy more flowers, ride a blue bike, and learn to play the ukulele. And dye my hair red. Check out their manifesto here.

Matchbook - I've followed Matchbook since their second issue, and it just gets better (Although, I do miss the hand drawn illustrations they used to have). It's eye candy extravaganza with style, decor, art, parties, and more. In their words: 
"Brimming with intriguing interviews, stately homes, captivating memoirs and swoon-worthy fashion spreads, matchbook seeks to inspire women around the globe to design a life they adore. From lipstick to letterpress, gelato to grosgrain, and Paris to Peru, consider us your field guide to a charmed life."

The Beauty Department - If you're on Pinterest, chances are that you've seen, and pinned, some of the photo tutorials from The Beauty Department. Everything you ever wanted to know - the right way to pluck your eyebrows, how to create the latest nail art or  braided updo - this is the place. 


Darling Magazine - Even though Darling Magazine has a print edition, there's still great content on their website. The departments are divided into personas - The Achiever, The Dreamer, The Hostess, etc. Their mission says it all: 


Your turn - do you have favorite online magazines? Share them with us in the comments below!


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Wednesday, September 11

MAKE: No Bake Fresh Peach Pie


When I think life-changing, I think of people, words, books, phone calls, long nights, and now, Fresh Peach Pie.

I experienced this pie for the first time at my church small group potluck. I'm indebted to Star H. for the recipe. It's unclear if there is a written version of this anywhere, or who originally invented this recipe. I like to imagine it's been passed down at church potlucks from one Southern woman to the next for generations.

Once you try it, you'll agree with it's life-changing status. Why? First, this pie is not baked. No heating up the apartment, no running the risk of your hard work resulting in a singed mess. 

Secondly, the steps and ingredients are few and simple, belying the finesse of the finished product's taste. So, you can look like a great baker, even when you're not.

Thirdly, besides the peaches and cream, the main ingredient in this pie is butter. And sugar. But since it uses two fresh peaches, it tastes healthy. Southern magic!

Speaking of magic, I made you a gif of magically appearing ingredients:


You will need: 

  • Two fresh peaches
  • Half of one stick of butter (the original, as relayed to me, calls for one whole stick, but we found that was too much for us. Clearly, we're not from the south.)
  • Confectioners sugar
  • One graham cracker crust (I bought mine)
  • Whipped cream (I used almost a full tub)


Start by melting the butter. Once the butter is completely melted, slowly add powdered sugar until the consistency is similar to chunky frosting.


Spread the butter and sugar mixture around the pie crust and up the sides. If you're using half a stick of butter, yours won't look as thick as it is in the photo, but trust me, it will be plenty. 


Layer on the sliced peaches, filling the pie crust. Add a final layer of whipped cream, and garnish. Star H. topped hers with blueberries, and I used the kiwi I had on hand. 

Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.


So easy, and soooooo delicious.


Now I wonder, what else would taste good with this magic butter + sugar formula? Would it be as good with fresh strawberries? Bananas? Pears? Plums? So much fruit to try!


Just a word of caution - if you attempt to eat two pieces in one sitting, you may get a stomach ache. I may or may not have learned this from observation. 

How are you using your fall produce? Share with us in the comments below!


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Monday, September 9

Recent Projects: Woodland Nursery Decor Gifts

In addition to the easy cross pillowcase, I've been working on two other projects as baby gifts. Back when I was on that interior designing kick, I volunteered to help my expecting friend decorate her baby nursery. Since she wanted to incorporate green, especially forest green, she liked this collage I put together for a whimsical woodland nursery. 


My favorite elements of this nursery are the animal print alphabet poster and the felt fox pillow (I love that pillow so much that I included it in my 10 Back-to-School Crafts post). Unfortunately for me, I couldn't find the alphabet poster for sale, and I didn't have any felt. 

So, I incorporated the fox using supplies I already had: embroidery floss, fabric, and a small hoop. I downloaded this free fox pattern. Here's the finished result:


Isn't he cute?! I'm thinking about making a second one, after all, Young House Love might be right about the fox becoming the new "it" animal, replacing birds, owls, and giraffes.

The animal poster posed more of a challenge. Since I couldn't buy it, I recreated it.


I used a few different animals than the ones in the other poster. 


Turns out, a Xenops is South American bird. 


Framed and ready to give! 

I always feel nervous when giving things that I've made, especially art, but in this case, my worries were completely unnecessary. My friend, and her kids, loved it. 

What have you been working on lately? I'd love to hear about it!

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Friday, September 6

Beauty Find Friday: New Fair Trade Finds

Despite the still sizzling temperatures here in Arizona, I can't help but longingly dream of sweaters, jeans, and boots. But whether you're enjoying cool fall weather or suffering in the heat, you'll love the fair trade and humanitarian shops I'm going to introduce you to today! 

Beautiful and Beloved Boutique

"Beautiful & Beloved's vision is to make a simple path for you to support individuals freed from slavery who are now empowered to earn a living in a safe, clean and just way.

Not only is our merchandise beautifully made and unique, but each purchase will dignify a survivor of human trafficking or living in extreme poverty…

Each item is hand crafted by someone who is now free to earn and create."
Find out more on Beautiful and Beloved's About Us page. Here's some of my favorite items:







Find your favorites at Beautiful and Beloved Boutique.

Give Bracelets

For each bracelet purchased, Give Bracelets feeds one child for one week (21 meals). 
"Bracelets with purpose. Give Jewelry is a sustainable movement to provide food for children in orphanages throughout Indonesia. The vision is simple: every bracelet purchased directly benefits kids in need. So no matter what type of bracelet you choose; friendship,charm, leather, beaded, cuff or any of our other bracelets, you're really choosing to make a difference."

Sports Bracelet- Red and Yellow (my school colors!)



4 All Humanity

This shop sells fair trade tees, dresses, accessories, and jewelry from artisans in India, Uganda, Peru, and Thailand.
4 All Humanity is an online private label that offers a finely curated and designed assortment of women’s apparel and accessories from artisans around the world. 4 All Humanity believes in the beauty of helping others, living fully, dreaming big dreams and loving what you do.
My favorites include:






You can always find more fair trade and ethically made fashions on my Fashion for Freedom pinterest board. Not sure what the big deal is with fair trade fashion? Start at the beginning. 

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