Monday, 23 December 2013

Let's Have More Love & Less Stuff All Year Round!

No matter your religion or lack thereof - this time of the year carries with it a strong message of kindness toward others! For some people this involves their spiritual beliefs, for others it simply marks the end of a year and a time to take stock and appreciate those around us. 
This special holiday season post is inspired by Planet Ark's message of "More Love, Less Stuff". Here are some of my tips to keep that spirit of loving kindness going all year round!

is for cruelty-free

Every day feels like Christmas when you're making life better for our animal friends! The Gift of Kindness is a beautiful book by Pam Ahern from Edgar's Mission and a great reminder of the wonders of a cruelty-free life
is for hope

With a little bit of thought your purchasing choices can bring hope to those in need and beauty to your life. By purchasing this funky flamingo tea towel from Arthouse Meath for instance, you're supporting artists with severe epilepsy and learning difficulties

 is for reduce, reuse and recycle
It's so easy for us to get trapped in a cycle of consumerism, so it can be a beautiful relief to shift our focus onto more sustainable options. One small step would be to cover gifts given throughout the year with reusable wrapping such as the lovely options from ecoChici

is for inspiring others

Beautiful ethical fashion can be a lovely subtle way to inspire those around us! This chic top by Vaute Couture - made from a blend of organic cotton, recycled polyester, and naturally occurring rayon - carries the message that elephants are our friends and not our entertainment
is for sustainable fashion choices

When you feel you can't avoid a new purchase there are so many amazing ethical online stores to make finding a sustainably chic option oh so easy! You can find most of them by searching Kindness by Design :)
is for taking action!

There's no need to wait for the holiday season to consider the welfare of those less fortunate than us! If there's a cause that's near and dear to your heart - why not find a way to take action? One thing I'll be doing in 2014 will be to participate in Fashion Revolution Day to shine a light on the humanitarian issues within the fashion industry
is for mindfulness

Have you ever been entranced by the wonder of a sunset? Completely engrossed in a conversation? Fully aware of the taste and texture of a piece of fruit? Being mindful of even the smallest of blessings can help you create a kinder life. I've just joined the Happier site which encourages people to share the things that make them smile
is for artisans

There are so many benefits to purchasing items handmade by artisans who are working under ethical conditions and are being paid a fair wage. Not only do you end up with a beautifully crafted product, you also have the opportunity to support: (1) traditional skills and cultural traditions; (2) empowerment and financial independence for women; (3) education and health for the wider local community. AfriBeads for example, brings you stunning jewellery from female artisans living in Uganda
is for saving our threatened species

Next time you buy something I invite you to ask - how does this purchase affect wildlife? I only recently learned that a rare mineral found in most mobile phones is being mined in precious gorilla habitat! It's amazing how deeply our lifestyle choices can have far reaching implications. Thankfully there are options out there that actually make a positive difference, like these Orangutan Project Thongs from Etiko. They're made under fairtrade conditions using sustainable materials AND proceeds go toward reintroducing orangutans back into the wild :)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Checking It Twice Will Keep You Off the Naughty List!

Want to guarantee your place on the nice list this holiday season? Checking It Twice is a free service that will help you do just that! An initiative of Ethical Consumers Australia - this great site provides no-cost personalised gift advice for those who care about people and the planet.

According to their spokesperson Gordon Renouf, "Christmas is not just about getting, it’s also about choosing gifts which show you care. Gifts that send a powerful message about your values to the recipient and also have a positive impact on the wider world”. 

So how does it all work? Start by browsing their existing list of curated gifts for good. Then you can send the team information on: who the gift is for; your budget; the issues you care about; and even the sort of present you already have in mind. After that you can just sit back and relax and the team will contact you within a few hours of your submission with two or three gift suggestions which match your needs. These new ideas are then put on the website to help others make better gift decisions.

Here are just a few of my favourite gift suggestions from the site:

Children's Workshop at Reverse Garbage - This program aimed at young kids shows how fun being green can be! Each child takes home an eco-toy that they've made themselves :)
Upcycled iMac Pet Bed - This example from Atomic Attic comes complete with slipcover and fluffy cushion for added kitty comforts!
Triangle Shard Skateboard Necklace by Deadwood Creative - These super tasty looking pendants have been lovingly hand-crafted from pieces of broken skateboard. They also come in their own recycled paper pouch!
Black Hitops from Etiko - A great choice for the chic man! Not only do these shoes look good, but they're a triple threat as well >> sustainable, fairtrade AND vegan :)

You can also visit Checking It Twice on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Kind Events: Fashion Hound's VIP Thrift Shopping Event #3

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of combining a few of my favourite things - thrift shopping, catching up with friends and giving back to the community - thanks to Faye De Lanty's 3rd VIP Thrift Shopping Event!

Catching up with Faye de Lanty and Ryan Collins for shopping and a good cause!
Photo: (c)
Bryan Marden

Held at the Red Cross Shop in Rozelle, Sydney, proceeds from the night's shopping go directly toward the amazing programs run by the Australian Red Cross

Red Cross stores sell fab recycled and new goods to raise funds for the everyday work of Australian Red Cross. Photo: (c) Ryan Collins

TV Presenter and sustainable fashion advocate Faye (also known as the Fashion Hound) has created this series of deluxe thrift shopping nights to show how fabulous 2nd hand fashion can be! During the evening Faye demonstrated her penchant for celebrity styling using items from in-store. 

This model has been given the Gwyneth Paltrow treatment.
Photo: (c)
Bryan Marden 
Here's a model rocking a Nicole Ritchie inspired look!
Photo: (c) Ryan Collins

If like me your style is a little less celeb and a little more eclectic - thrift shops can be treasure troves of quirky awesomeness. For instance I nabbed myself this cute little bee handbag :)

One of the highlights of the night was the photo-bombing bow-tie wearing pooch and his reluctant but dapper fellow fido. Faye always makes sure there's some real fashion hounds at her fabulous events!

Media savvy fashion pup! Photo: (c) Ryan Collins
A puppy photo-bombing moment :) Photo: (c) Ryan Collins
Some pups basked in the paparazzi glow, while others (left) merely tolerated it! 
Photo: (c) Bryan Marden
Buying something feels so much better when you know that all of the proceeds will be going to projects making the world a better place. By shopping at one of Red Cross's stores you're supporting worthwhile initiatives focused on pressing issues such as: food security; mental health; homelessness; social isolation; emergency services and much more. 

Photo: (c) Bryan Marden
Photo: (c) Ryan Collins
Photo: (c) Ryan Collins
Chilling with my fellow ecofashionistas Faye de Lanty and Julia Roebuck 
Photo: (c) Bryan Marden
You can keep up to date with Fashion Hound's events via Facebook and Twitter

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Kindness by Review: Vegan Treats for Lovers of LUSH Pampering!

“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them”
― Sylvia Plath

For as long as I can remember, a nice hot bath has been my mainstay for soothing both body and mind. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try three of LUSH's new 100% vegan bath time goodies. Perfect as stocking-stuffers this season or as an anytime treat for yourself!  

 1. Shoot For The Stars Bath Ballistic (AUD$6.75)

I wasn't expecting a simple bath product to bring to mind Vincent van Gogh's masterpiece "The Starry Night". But as the water in my bathtub swirled with shades of blues, a touch of yellow, deep purple and sparkling silver stars, I was already feeling enchanted and I hadn't even hopped in yet! 

Don't be alarmed when the water settles into a dark glittering purple - it won't stain your bathtub. I found this whimsical bath ballistic a charming mix of soothing and uplifting. Definitely a treat after a hard day's work!

2. Angel's Delight Soap (AUD$5.90)

If you're a fan of all things sugary sweet then you'll love this slice of Angel's Delight soap packed with tangerine oil, orange oil and gardenia oil. Using this was like cleaning myself with fairy floss - so watch out if you're not keen on soaps with fragrance.

One of the cool things about LUSH soaps is that they come in chunky slabs that last for ages! 

3. Sandy Santa Scrub (AUD$6.50)

Who knew that Santa's face could do such wonders for dry skin!  My skin felt amazing after using this Santa-themed combination body butter and scrub. Keep your body smooth and hydrated with this mix of coconut oil, murumuru and organic shea butters, as well as sugar and sand.

In Australia we're coming into summertime right now, so this scrub with its Brazilian orange oil is great for keeping legs beach-ready

You can find more LUSH vegan Christmas treats here!