Missin’ you…

Hello dear readers -

I  wanted to send you a quick note, apol­o­giz­ing for the lack a posts lately.  I miss you! We have been work­ing really hard on some­thing really beautiful!

Don’t worry, you will be the first to know when it’s ready!

 

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It will be worth the wait.

We promise.

 

lots of love and big hugs–

em

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Word of the Week — Numinous

Numi­nous: super­nat­ural, mys­te­ri­ous; filled with a sense of the pres­ence of divinity

This week’s word leaves us in awe as we think about the divin­ity of the Lord.

Being filled with the pres­ence of God is often too intense of a feel­ing to define, but this word comes close.

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May you have many numi­nous expe­ri­ences with the Lord this week!

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Friday Favorites — Fall!

The sea­sons are chang­ing, we are lov­ing all things roasted, toasted, and cozy! Here are some of our fall favorites on this lovely Friday!

beet galette

 

 

 

 

 

Look­ing for a way to use all that garden/farmer’s mar­ket pro­duce?  I will be mak­ing this recipe over the weekend.

 

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We love chai no mat­ter the sea­son, but it is ESPECIALLY good when there is a chill in the air.

It gets even BETTER when you make it yourself! :)

You can try the recipe here.

With the approach of fall, we also get NEW and beau­ti­ful things from 31 Bits, Kro­chet Kids and Glo­rify Apparel!

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Have a great weekend!

 

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Seasons

Fall is com­ing. School is start­ing. Life is changing.

I’m always refreshed by a change in sea­son when it refers to the tem­pera­ment of the weather. Unfor­tu­nately, I don’t always see change as refresh­ing when it applies to the sea­son of my life.

Embrac­ing new sea­sons of life is some­times an unnat­ural response, but it becomes eas­ier when we dis­cover their purpose.

maps    The Lord gives us new sea­sons for the pur­pose of grow­ing us into bet­ter disciples.

How would we learn trust if we didn’t have a few unwanted sea­sons full of who, what, where, when and why?

How would we learn to ask if we never had any­thing to ask for?

There are sea­sons for chal­lenge and trial, but there are also sea­sons for restora­tion and renewal.

We need both to see the true char­ac­ter of God.

In the chal­leng­ing sea­sons, ask for strength and wisdom.

In the sea­sons of rest, praise Him for his love and faithfulness.

Change can be harsh, but it can also be beautiful.

YAY for a change of season!

yay

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How we shop BEAUTIFULLY

Sorry, it has taken me so long to write the sec­ond post in this series, besides the fact that I snuck away for a long week­end with my mom and sis­ters, this was a hard post to write!

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Here I am in NYC, rockin’  bor­rowed cloth­ing (Thanks, Jer!!), This is step three in the How to Shop Beau­ti­fully flow chart!

 

 

I entered into this series think­ing it would be really easy and straight for­ward to write; I would sim­ply share what we do, (which is still what I am going to do), but as I was writ­ing, I was con­fronted with the fact that what we do is FAR from per­fect, that there is a lot sub­jec­tiv­ity involved in the choices we make, and that we still have large areas for improvement.

For exam­ple, I as I was re-researching some of the com­pa­nies to give you tan­gi­ble evi­dence, I saw how mul­ti­far­i­ous the prob­lem truly is; for exam­ple, how can a com­pany like the Gap Inc.  simul­ta­ne­ously appear on the worst Human Rights vio­la­tor list and the most eth­i­cal com­pany list?  The Gap isn’t unique, you can find pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive argu­ments for almost every com­pany.   This dichotomy sheds light on the enor­mity and com­plex­i­ties of the prob­lem and the fact that it doesn’t lie within one com­pany or indus­try but with our culture.

We have a seri­ous con­sump­tion problem.

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The bot­tom line is we con­sume far more than our fair share of resources (The US makes up 5% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion but con­sumes 24% of its energy) and we do it with lit­tle human or envi­ron­men­tal concern.

I am not point­ing fin­gers any­where but at myself as I am still part of the prob­lem. As I share below, please under­stand that we real­ize we are still oper­at­ing from within this cul­tural norm of con­sump­tion. At this point, I don’t have any real answers or solu­tions for that, except that we are sin­cerely work­ing on it :).  So please read with grace and under­stand­ing.  Also, I will be the first to admit that my meth­ods of research would not stand up in a sci­en­tific lab, they are based in part on research but also on instinct, expe­ri­ence and per­sonal preference.

The flow chart from yes­ter­day is a great start­ing point and there are apps you can use to scan prod­ucts, but so much of life hap­pens on the go.  For me it isn’t always real­is­tic to be going through a check list or read­ing a report on a prod­uct or com­pany in the 30 min­utes that I have to go shop­ping with two kids in tow.  We found that by tak­ing the steps below we make small but sig­nif­i­cant pur­chas­ing deci­sions before we actu­ally go shopping.

Note: Keep in mind that we have been work­ing at this for a few years now and its still a work in progress.  It might seem over­whelm­ing if you try to imple­ment all of these steps right away.  The way we approached it was to choose one thing at time, if some­thing that res­onates with your fam­ily and fits in your life and to focus on that.  Once this choice becomes sec­ond nature you can start work­ing on another.

1.) Know your stores:

The eas­i­est way to start mak­ing your shop­ping more eth­i­cal is to research your stores.  Start by look­ing at the 4 or 5 main places you shop and research their poli­cies.  Decide if what they stand for is what you stand for, if it isn’t, don’t sup­port them with your money.  This can be done from your home and won’t take much longer than 10 min­utes a store.   Since the Bangladesh gar­ment fac­tory col­lapse, most com­pa­nies have a cor­po­rate respon­si­bil­ity page on their web­site which will give you an idea of what they value and how they do busi­ness but keep in mind that they write these pages with the inten­tion of look­ing good, so it is a good idea to look a few dif­fer­ent sources.

Here are some of the more real­is­tic, larger fran­chise stores that we try to shop at and why:

Costco:

They pay their employ­ees liv­ing wages, offer ben­e­fits, don’t pay their exec­u­tives exces­sively, not to men­tion hav­ing fair trade choco­late! This arti­cle gives a few more details on why we sup­port Costco. I don’t think com­par­ing is nec­es­sar­ily good but in cir­cum­stances like this, it is impor­tant to see that the com­pa­nies’ prac­tices do have real impli­ca­tions for our com­mu­ni­ties.  You can com­pare the above arti­cle on Costco to this one about a com­peti­tor.  When we as a com­mu­nity use our dol­lars to show what  we value, we may see more changes in wealth distribution.

Ama­zon:

While Ama­zon can def­i­nitely improve their wages and envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, we have cho­sen to shop here over sim­i­lar com­peti­tors because of the Ama­zon smile pro­gram and the abil­ity to shop from home.  If you shop through ama­zon smile, they give .5% of your pur­chase to a char­ity of your choice.  We cur­rently sup­port Gam­bia Ris­ing, an effec­tive orga­ni­za­tion designed to keep kids in The Gam­bia, Africa in school (you can sup­port them too, its all vol­un­teer run so all dona­tions go directly to stu­dents!).  Even though ama­zon is far from a per­fect com­pany, another rea­son we choose to shop here is because  we can shop from home when my kids are sleep­ing,  that way I can spend a lit­tle more time to inten­tion­ally pur­chase prod­ucts or brands that I know are doing good work and being con­scious of the big­ger picture.

Tar­get :

I know some of you are think­ing, Tar­get, really? and Why Tar­get over Wal­mart? Espe­cially when research can show them both to be equally good or equally bad? To be hon­est, my pref­er­ence for Tar­get is based on per­sonal expe­ri­ence. Wal­mart is one of the largest employ­ers in our com­mu­nity, when I worked in afford­able hous­ing, many of our clients were Wal­mart employ­ees.  Wal­mart is the largest com­pany in the world, it’s own­ers are some of the rich­est peo­ple in the world (“…the com­bined net worth of the bot­tom 41.5 per­cent of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies equals that of the six Wal­ton fam­ily mem­bers”).  Even though they are work­ing to improve their busi­ness prac­tices and give back in some ways, from my expe­ri­ence they aren’t con­tribut­ing to healthy happy com­mu­ni­ties and their employ­ees aren’t exactly being paid a wage that allows them to thrive in the U.S.  I can’t sup­port this busi­ness model.   This may be true for Tar­get too but I haven’t expe­ri­enced that first hand…

None of these stores are per­fect and in all of them you will prob­a­bly still find prod­ucts that were made with slave or child labor and/or in unsafe work­ing con­di­tions (this is where the next step will come in) but as a whole these com­pa­nies offer some­thing we value or tak­ing steps in the right direction.

2.)  Know your brands/products:

I rec­om­mend start­ing with a sin­gle product/category that you know you will be reg­u­larly buy­ing then spend a lit­tle time research­ing this item to find a few brand who make this prod­uct in a way that aligns with your values.

For exam­ple, we started with socks and under­wear.   The Free2Work app makes this process super easy, as they have already done the research for you.   All you have to do is choose your indus­try, for socks it would be apparel and then find a brand that makes the prod­uct you are look­ing for and has a rat­ing you are com­fort­able with.

Socks

We found that Mag­gies Organ­ics, Hanes, and Fruit of a Loom make socks and under­wear that are ranked in the A range.  I have writ­ten about Maggie’s Organ­ics here, they are cream of the crop and we want to sup­port them when we can.  How­ever, Hud­son grew 4 inches last year!!! At this sea­son in our life it isn’t finan­cially real­is­tic to buy his socks there, so for him I look for Hanes or Fruit of the Loom.  Granted these won’t always be the brands that are on sale or carry the style I would ide­ally choose, BUT we have decided that to pay a few dol­lars more or decide not have the trendi­est socks is a small choice that we can eas­ily make out of love.

You can also work back­wards by choos­ing brands you wouldn’t sup­port based on their rat­ings.  There is one pop­u­lar kids cloth­ing man­u­fac­turer with a D– rat­ing.  As a fam­ily pol­icy we sim­ply don’t buy cloth­ing from them, and with the mul­ti­tude of cloth­ing options out there, we see no rea­son to pur­chase from them.

You can apply these strat­egy to any brand or prod­uct.  I think you will be sur­prised how quickly you remem­ber the high rank­ing com­pa­nies. Once this became rou­tine, I found that it actu­ally sim­pli­fied shop­ping by nat­ural elim­i­nat­ing some choices.

The Free to Work App doesn’t have every brand but it is an easy start­ing place. Here are some other resources and arti­cles that may help you get to know your brands and products:

Good Guide

Eth­i­cal Consumer

Know­More

3.) Know your values:

Cer­tain prod­ucts carry higher risks for human rights vio­la­tions or envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, so depend­ing on your pas­sions and val­ues you can start by focus­ing on the areas you care most about and then find prod­ucts that align with your beliefs.  That’s how we dis­cov­ered the dark side of choco­late indus­try, we knew we dis­ap­proved of child labor and when we started research­ing the prob­lem, we real­ized that our choco­late addic­tion was likely fuel­ing the calamity, from there we started being more inten­tional about where we pur­chased our chocolate.

Next week, I will share more about how I am per­son­ally (im my wardrobe) work­ing to rec­on­cile my love for fash­ion with the harsh real­i­ties of the fash­ion industry…WARNING it is another work in progress!!

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Word of the Week — Fernweh

                            The human heart longs for adven­ture. This week’s word of the week describes just that.

Fer­n­weh: (n) an ache for dis­tant places; the crav­ing for travel

Syn­onym — wanderlust

 

travel

To roam the earth and see the beauty in cre­ation is to know the Lord’s sov­er­eignty more inti­mately than ever before.

God has intri­cately designed the world, not only for his enjoy­ment, but for our amaze­ment.

So, next time you get a fer­n­weh, embrace it and enjoy what the Cre­ator has created!

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Chal­lenge:

Use fer­n­weh with the hash­tag #word­ofthe­week on Face­book and Insta­gram this week.

We will repost our favorite!

 

 

Friday Favorites — Summer Specials

Hello again, and happy Friday!

For this week’s favorites we thought we would give sum­mer one last hoorah!

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If you’re plan­ning one last get together for the sum­mer, add these cut­lery tags from Eat Drink Chic to your set up! It’s an easy way to dec­o­rate for FREE. You can down­load yours here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who doesn’t love s’mores?

They are easy, deli­cious, and the fla­vor com­bi­na­tions are endless!

Try adding a s’mores sta­tion to your party! Our favorite add ons are: peanut but­ter, caramel, and fruit!

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Sum­mer wouldn’t be sum­mer with­out… ICE CREAM! Our final Fri­day favorite is this plum ice cream recipe from Brook­lyn Sup­per. Try your hand at ice cream­ery! See the recipe here.

 

 

 

Happy Week­end!

 

 

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We can’t do it all…and that’s ok

A few days ago I had a won­der­ful con­ver­sa­tion with a dear friend. We talked a bit about Bought Beau­ti­fully.  I have thought about one of her com­ments, and wanted to share with you all about it in greater detail. Here it is:

I want to be inten­tional with my pur­chases, but am often dis­cour­aged by the time and expense that this involves.”

She is so right. Being inten­tional with our finances is hard and often times over­whelm­ing!  We have so many demands in our lives and pock­et­books, not to men­tion options. Buy­ing local, organic, nat­ural, sus­tain­able, fair trade, etc., com­bined with meet­ing daily needs and sav­ing for emer­gen­cies, col­lege and retirement.

PHEW, just think­ing through all these things can be drain­ing and guilt rid­den, and act­ing on them is time-consuming and expensive!!

So, how do we choose where to spend our time, energy and finances, when the real­ity is — we can’t do it all?

First, I think it is really impor­tant to acknowl­edge and accept that when it comes to eth­i­cal shop­ping (and life in gen­eral) we can’t do it all AND that is ok!  We are cov­ered by the GRACE of an amaz­ing sav­ior who has already done it all.  All we have to do is respond to the gifts that He has given us with love and the rest will fall into place.  I expanded more on how I learned this les­son in my post Con­fes­sions of a Choco­holic.  Ulti­mately, in this jour­ney I have learned that:

Being over­whelmed by the mag­ni­tude of the world’s prob­lems is from the enemy.

Small thingsBeing moved by our abil­ity to make small choices that pos­i­tively impact those in the world and around us, is excit­ing, empow­er­ing and joyful!

 

When decid­ing how to use our finances, it boils down to doing small things with great love and trust­ing that the love in which that action was done will go out into the world with a rip­ple effect.

 

This week I will share a series of posts explain­ing how we try to pur­pose­fully apply this con­cept to our shop­ping.  I’m call­ing it How to Shop Beau­ti­fully.  This is by no means a com­pre­hen­sive guide on eth­i­cal shop­ping ‚but rather me shar­ing how our fam­ily has decided to approach these chal­lenges and how we guide our shop­ping deci­sions.  Like all great con­ver­sa­tions, this one will be so much bet­ter if it is two-sided. We have so much that we can learn from one another. So, please teach me along with other read­ers!  Share what you do and the ideas you have with us in the com­ment section!

How to Shop BEAUTIFULLY!

Let’s start at the begin­ning, the First Step we take before buy­ing some­thing new is to run through this series of ques­tions. I made this sweet flow chart for your view­ing plea­sure, but keep read­ing because I elab­o­rate on these ques­tions below.

How to Shop2

1. Do I need this?

We have found that ask­ing this ques­tion reminds us of our pri­or­i­ties and helps us keep per­spec­tive.  Many of the things we pur­chase aren’t basic neces­si­ties (food, water, shel­ter). They might be impor­tant or nice to have but they aren’t nec­es­sary for sur­vival.  Answer­ing no to this ques­tion does not mean that we won’t buy the item, but it reminds us of our good for­tune and helps us stay moti­vated to buy it beautifully.

2. Can I find it used?

Buy­ing used prod­ucts is a great way to save money and be envi­ron­men­tally respon­si­ble (recy­cling at it’s finest!).

3. Can I bor­row it from a friend?

This is a great solu­tion for items that you use for lim­ited amounts of time; such as baby items, one time events (wed­dings, show­ers, trips), house projects, etc..  I will be the first to admit that this one is harder to do. It is hum­bling to ask, and bor­row­ing isn’t a cul­tural norm (but we can change that).  How­ever, I urge you to give it a try as this has prob­a­bly been one of the most impact­ful finan­cial changes we have made. Bor­row­ing car seats, infant toys, power tools, etc. from friends has freed up the money we need to meet some of our other finan­cial goals; sav­ing more and buy­ing Birth­day presents beau­ti­fully.

4. Can I buy it Beautifully?

Once we decide that we are going to buy a prod­uct, we strive to buy it beau­ti­fully.  This doesn’t look the same for every prod­uct, as we know, all too well, that you can’t always find a fair trade, green, pur­chased locally Bas­ket­ball Hoop/Coffee Maker/any prod­uct here.  In gen­eral, we look for our prod­ucts to meet at least one of the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria: Fair Trade/ Liv­ing Wage, from a com­pany we respect, a prod­uct that is built to last, or that is Made in Amer­ica.  Your list might look dif­fer­ent based on your val­ues and what you are pri­or­i­tiz­ing in your life at this time.  In the next posts I will explain and give exam­ples of how we actu­ally shop.

What steps do you take to be more inten­tional with your purchases?

 

 

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Noonday Collection = Quaintrelle

If you are fol­low­ing the Noon­day Col­lec­tion Blog train, wel­come to Bought Beau­ti­fully.  If you are a reg­u­lar reader, Happy Wednes­day!  I hope your day is as going as great as mine.

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Today is the last day of our fam­ily vaca­tion in won­der­ful Min­nesota.  Need­less to say, the word vaca­tion has an entirely dif­fer­ent mean­ing and pace when vaca­tion­ing with chil­dren under 4! It has been an action packed but won­der­ful week.

Noon­day Style = Quaintrellequaint definition

If you missed Monday’s post, this week’s word of the week is Quain­trelle.

I can’t think of a bet­ter word to describe the women behind Noon­day Col­lec­tion (the founders and employ­ees, the ambas­sadors, and the arti­sans).  All these women are chang­ing the world for the bet­ter.  They find their plea­sure, not in self­ish pur­suits, but in sup­port­ing and encour­ag­ing one another, fight­ing for jus­tice, pro­vid­ing eco­nomic oppor­tu­ni­ties and look­ing good while doing it!

 

To cel­e­brate all that is good about Noon­day Col­lec­tion, we are giv­ing away one of my cur­rent favorite Noon­day pieces.

What I love about Noon­day is that they live out Romans 12:2 (Don’t copy the behav­ior and cus­toms of this world, but let God trans­form you into a new per­son by chang­ing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleas­ing and per­fect. — New Liv­ing Trans­la­tion).

NoondayPartner

They have seen and responded to our culture’s desire for fash­ion and style but they have done it in way that hon­ors God by lov­ing and car­ing for His peo­ple — totally Bought Beau­ti­fully!  So, today is your chance to win the Noon­day Col­lec­tion Ele­gant Arrows Neck­lace (actu­ally, all month is your chance to win if you fol­low the Noon­day Blog train!).

ElegantArros

Classy, isn’t it?

To win this neck­lace, sign up to receive Bought Beau­ti­fully Posts via email:

1. Enter your email below.

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For more Noon­day Good­ies and to hear from some amaz­ing women, fol­low the Noon­day Blog train, you can read this morning’s post by Wayne here and tomorrow’s post by Leigh here.

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Word of the Week — Quaintrelle

It’s a new week, and we thought this new word might change the way you approach it! 

quaint definition

 

Liv­ing life is easy.

Liv­ing a life of pas­sion is often forgotten.

 You were cre­ated to be unique. Make the most of your pas­times, your charm, and your style.

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So…

Are you ready to become a quaintrelle?

 

 

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