Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Shirt :: Eddie Bauer // Vest :: Gap // Boots :: c/o Rack Room Shoes
I remember when I first moved to the Pacific Northwest from San Diego I noticed a theme. Gray. Literally 50 shades of it. From the skyline to the fashion–Seattlites sure liked their gray. The longer I live here the more I’m about all the gray and all the flannel things. I’m loving these gray booties from Rack Room Shoes. They’re the perfect neutral boot to dress up or down. They pair perfectly with the quintessential PNW outfit; skinnies, flannel and a puffer vest.
It took a long time for this San Diego girl to be ok with putting my flip flops away for 10 months out of the year. But I do love boots, and it’s pretty much boot season 10 months out of the year in the PNW. If you’re looking for a pair, Rack Room Shoes carries an awesome selection of brands and they have fantastic promotions all the time.
Before moving here, I never owned a flannel or a puffer vest. Both are staples in the PNW. It’s crazy how the body acclimates. When I first moved here I was freezing ALL THE TIME. Andy gifted me a super warm down jacket our first Christmas together. I remember seeing people out and about without jackets and thinking they had to be from Antarctica. But I feel like I’ve adjusted. I no longer need to wear wool socks, long underwear and multiple layers before going out. A good puffer vest over a flannel will do just fine. And an awesome pair of boots of course.
Monday, December 15th, 2014
It’s hard to believe how fast the holidays have come upon us. Life has been a whirlwind since Pippa’s birth and my daily to-do’s have gone by the wayside. We got our Christmas tree up and that’s about the extent of Christmas decor that’s gonna happen in the Taylor household this year. And I’m perfectly ok with it. This season I want simple. I want less. What I want more of is time with my family. I didn’t take advantage of any black Friday sales or Cyber Monday sales because my parents were in town visiting. I did get around to purchasing some gifts last week, and I’m sure I paid a bit more but I wasn’t caught up in the frenzy of buying stuff I don’t need just because it’s 50% off. (The deal hunter in me cringes a bit though I must admit).
This is the first Christmas Andy and I are spending with just our own family in 5 years–no extended family. I’m kind of bummed about that, but I’m also relieved we don’t have to deal with traveling with a 2 year old and an infant. I’m looking forward to making our own Christmas traditions. It’s really magical to see how excited Parker is about Christmas (mostly Christmas lights)…and I love that she has no idea she’s even getting gifts.
I love this time of year because it’s a time of reflection. Of looking back and counting blessings, seeing where life has taken us, and goal setting for the future. 2014 has definitely been a memorable year; I’m truly looking forward to what the future holds!
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
**Have you entered the PURCHASE WITH PURPOSE GIVEAWAY!?**
My husband has wanted me to start a diet plan with him for awhile now; but the last year of my life has consisted of me being pregnant or nursing and dieting doesn’t go with either of those. Plus, I hate diets. I’ve struggled with weight issues the majority of my life and I’ve finally come to accept my body a few years ago.
But lately I’ve just felt blah. At almost 5 months postpartum I’m about 5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. It took me about 9 months to drop all of it with my first pregnancy–and postpartum round one I ate like a horse. I fully took advantage of the fact that I could consume extra calories while nursing. This time around I kept the same mentality, except I’ve been feeling like crap. Perhaps it’s because I’m a little older now (36), or the fact that I no longer really exercise, but whatever the reason, I knew my diet needed an overhaul–and after a bit of research, I found the Whole30 was compatible with nursing mamas. I’ve also seen some pretty stellar results with a few friends who took part in the challenge in terms of weight loss, energy, skin clearing, sleep, mental clarity and mood. My husband hopes to lose 20 pounds, I’ll be thrilled if I lose a few pounds but I honestly just want to feel better.
My husband and I discussed it and we started last Sunday. I had a lot of anxiety about it because it seems like a lot of work. Plus I have a toddler, a 4 1/2 month old, and 2 college exchange students living with us. Cooking for that many people and adjusting to everyone’s needs felt overwhelming. Plus, Christmas. Yes, we’re doing this in the season of cookies, eggnog and holiday parties. That’s just how we roll.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the book, but I feel like with the amount I researched it, plus having a degree in nutrition, I understood the premise fairly well. (I do intend on reading it). But what really convinced me was watching the documentary Fed Up. It was pretty eye opening and making me wonder if a lot of what I learned in my nutrition classes was a crock.
After watching that movie you can’t really help but want to change. I’ve read food labels most of my adult life, but rarely have I ever paid attention to how much sugar was in what I was eating…and now I’m appalled at the amount of sugar that is in everything. (How have I never noticed this before?).
So far we’re 3 days in and I’ve felt a noticeable difference in my energy. I’m kind of flabbergasted by it. I haven’t felt hungry and overall I just feel great. My husband feels the same. We both however have intense sugar cravings in the evenings after dinner. That seems to be the only real struggle currently; we’re hoping those subside soon!
Have you done the Whole30 challenge? What did you love/hate about it?
Monday, December 8th, 2014
**There is still time to enter the PURCHASE WITH PURPOSE GIVEAWAY and take advantage discount codes! **
There was a lot that happened while my Purchase With Purpose Holiday Gift guide was featured last week. My parents flew into town and met Pippa for the very first time! It was so, so sweet to see my parents interact with their grandkids and see how much Parker loved playing with them. Having our family so spread out is hard, so I truly treasure these moments. The day after my folks flew back home to Texas, my sister in law flew in for a quick visit with the girls. I love the age that Parker is at…she’s so interactive and communicates so well and really recognizes and remembers family even though she doesn’t see them frequently. (Thank God for Skype and facetime). I’m loving this time of year…and we visited Zoolights for the first time! Another pretty big thing happened this week:
I officially became a soccer mom. I’m pretty in love with this minivan ya’ll. Sliding doors…that’s all I have to say.
In other news, Andy and I decided to jump on the Whole30 bandwagon. We had our last hurrah at Andy’s company Christmas party Saturday night, ending the evening with a very decadent cake. Everyone thinks we’re crazy to start during the holidays; but I really think it’s a great time to start, otherwise I know I would overindulge in holiday baked goods. My dairy intake is already limited because milk really bothers Pippa; it’s the carbs and sugary sweets I know I’m going to miss. I’m anxious, nervous and excited about the journey and I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel once I reach the 30 day mark. I’m not too concerned about losing weight, I really just want to feel better. I’m constantly exhausted (I know a lot of this has to do with a 4 1/2 month old that sleeps terribly at night), but I’m pretty sure my diet exacerbates it. I’m 5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight…so it would be an added bonus to lose that weight and fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. My husband wants to lose 20 pounds. Wish us luck!
Have any of you completed the Whole30? Any tips, suggestions, advice is appreciated!
Friday, December 5th, 2014
If you missed any of the businesses I featured over the week, make sure to go back to find special discount codes specifically for Discovery Street readers! The posts were categorized by Fashion, Jewelry & Accessories, Children, and Home.
I am so honored to have partnered with such amazing businesses who incorporate giving back. Many have generously offered an item to giveaway; you can win over $500 worth of merchandise for the holidays! Giveaway includes:
Enter below! (Valid for US residents only) Winner will be announced next Friday, December 12th.
Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Lovely Little Whimsy // I actually met Carina, the owner at a blogger meet up a few years ago in Portland. She is passionate about adoption (2 of her five children are adopted–and she is in the process of adopting her third) and 10% of her monthly income generated from the prints and cards sold through her shop goes to an adoptive family or a chosen charity. Discount Code: HAPPY20 for 20% off
Soapbox // I love the concept behind this company…they want to change the world through every day purchases. For every bar of soap sold they give a bar through Global Soap Project and SoapBox. For every hand soap sold, a month’s supply of clean water is provided through RainCatcher. For every body wash sold , a year’s supply of vitamins is provided through VitaminAngels! Thier giving spans over 4 different continents. (My personal review is at the bottom of this post) Discount Code: DS15 for 15% off
Humble Pen // The goal of Humble Pen is to reignite peoples love for writing, and in doing so they want to help provide access to education for children in Haiti, Cambodia, and India. They sell handcrafted pens that are made out of bamboo, complimented with artist inspired stationery. For each Humble Pen purchased they provide a Humble Pack for children at three schools in India, Haiti, and Cambodia. The Humble Pack includes school supplies, a healthy meal, and help with tuition and teacher’s salary. They also manufacture all of their products in India with the help of an NGO. This manufacturing facility works with villages in the area to help provide sustainable jobs and fair wages. Discount code: Holidays for 15% off
Prosperity Candle // Prosperity Candle employs women artisans building a brighter future in the United States after years in refugee camps. Their products are ethically sourced and they strive to share their positive impact as well. Their mission is to empower women; every woman who works at Prosperity Candle makes at least 30% above the Massachusetts minimum wage and their most experienced candlemaker and production manager makes about double minimum wage.
I love that this company made a simple, every day item, into something that can really impact the world. First, I loved the packaging. On every side of the box there was an infographic about their product and how it’s making a difference. I was sent the apple liquid soap and cinnamon bar soap…two of my favorite scents. And these soaps don’t disappoint–they smell and feel wonderful. Soapbox soaps are palm oil free, made in the USA, and cruelty free. They also have a subscribe and save option which is awesome knowing that you are regularly contributing to their mission.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for a huge giveaway worth over $500!
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
HAITI BABI // Haiti Babi creates beautiful baby blankets and hats. The business was created to help moms support their families to keep their children out of orphanages. Over half the population in Haiti lives in abject poverty and Haiti Babi is one solution that helps mother’s support their families. (See my personal review at the bottom of this post) Discount Code: DISCOVERYHB for 20% off
OWEN & ABI // I love the heart behind Katy, store owner of Owen & Abi. She designs beautiful children’s skirts and bows, and she donates one skirt for every skirt sold in her shop to the Northwest Children’s Outreach in Portland OR. During the winter months when skirts aren’t as practical for children in need, she donates $4 for each skirt sold to the organization to purchase items for moms and babies. Discount Code: DISCOVERY15 for 15% off (Code only valid through Dec. 7th).
ME OH MIGHTY // Owner Ali created a new business that makes clothing for children and mamas and every purchase supports a child battling a serious illness. Discount Code: CARE4KIDS FOR 20% off
Haiti Babi generously sent me one of their beautiful baby blankets to review. First, I’m a sucker for beautiful packaging. It was beautifully wrapped and such a treat to open. The quality and feel is superb and I love their earthy color combinations to choose from. I can say with great confidence that this blanket would make a fantastic shower or holiday gift!
Be sure to check back Friday for an amazing giveaway with over $500 in products!
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
**Welcome to my 2014 Purchase with Purpose Holiday Gift Guide. Did you miss yesterday’s post? Check it out here.
TEMPER // I actually had the privilege of meeting one of the owners of Temper, Anna Mischke, while she lived in Tacoma, before she made the move to Cambodia. Each piece of Temper jewelry is crafted by artisans working through a fair trade organization in Phenom Penh. The artisans all come from backgrounds that are less than ideal and are now given benefits, fair wages, and a working space that is not only comfortable, but conducive to happiness, well-being, and self empowerment. Their jewelry is made from recycled bombshells and bullet cases from eras of war and loss and transformed to beautiful pieces of jewelry which represent the past and the future. See my personal review at the bottom of this post. Discount Code : TEMPERTOGETHER for 10% off
JACOBS’ SCARVES // Jacob’s Scarves started to fund the education of a little boy in China. Since then they’ve grown and expanded and currently fund the education of six children in two countries, China and Uganda, and aim to expand and reach out to as many children as possible. They sell scarves that are responsibly sourced, supporting small communities and businesses whenever possible. 50% of their proceeds are distributed to help send children to school to receive an education. Discount Code: ruthyandjacob for 15% off
SOKO // Soko provides a way for artisans to improve their livelihoods by removing the middlemen to directly access global consumers online. Soko and Soko artisans follow the principles of fair trade. Their artisans get the price they ask for the goods they produce and, through their artisan selection process, they work to ensure their artisan partners are provided safe working conditions and fair wages. In total, 25% of their proceeds go to support artisans living in underserved communities in the developing world. All of their pieces are ethically produced using sustainable, recycled, and upcycled materials. (See my personal review at bottom of post) Discount code: DISCOVERYST for 25% off
NOONDAY COLLECTION // Noonday Collection’s mission is to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. They partner with artisans in the developing world, empowering them to grow sustainable businesses. By creating a marketplace for their goods, they create dignified jobs at living wages. This allows Noonday artisans to earn more in order to support their families. They also offer no interest loans and make advance payments on orders, this way they are able to shoulder the costs of materials and build a lasting relationship based on trust. They also offer scholarship programs and emergency assistance and donate a portion of sales from adoption trunk shows to place orphans in forever families.
REMNANT INTERNATIONAL // Remnant International is providing employment to a specific group of Congolese women who end up in Uganda after marrying into a lie and are alienated, shunned, homeless and caring for their children on their own. Prostitution used to be the means of survival for many of these women, but now they are gainfully employed and able to provide for their families by learning the trade of screen printing and sewing. They also tend to the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of the women through mentorships, financial training, health seminars, and many other programs. In addition to headbands and totes they sell a few great t-shirts! Discount Code: discoverystreet for 10% off
REVIEWS BELOW ::
I really love these pieces from Temper. They are simple and understated but represent so much. Having traveled through Cambodia and visited the museums, I’ve witnessed the dark history…the pieces owners Anna and Jesse have created are influenced by their everyday surroundings and they’ve literally taken pieces of history and transformed them into something shiny, new and beautiful. I love that the pieces go perfectly with my casual daily attire but could easily be statement pieces with a more elegant look.
What woman doesn’t love jewelry? But what’s even more beautiful than a gorgeous piece of jewelry is when there is an amazing story behind it. Because I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old I’m limited to the amount of jewelry I can wear that won’t get yanked off my neck or ears, so I opted for this beautiful cuff bracelet. It pretty much goes with everything and is an elegant touch to my simple wardrobe as of late. I’m looking forward to when I can wear necklaces again because their options are truly stunning!
Make sure to come back Friday to enter the group giveaway worth over $500!
Monday, December 1st, 2014
I’m so excited to share my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. I’ve partnered with some AMAZING companies…companies who are truly changing the world with their products. You can feel great about every single holiday purchase knowing you are not only buying a quality product, but you’re supporting businesses that are ethical, socially conscious and are all about giving back in a big way. I have just snippets of what each company does here on the blog; be sure to follow their social media accounts and visit their websites to learn the ins and outs of these purposeful brands.
AND, make sure to come back every day this week to see businesses featured in categories such as jewelry and accessories, babies and children, and home products. And then be sure to come back friday for a HUGE giveaway with over $500 in gifts to win!
PUNJAMMIES // International Princess Project is a non profit which provides above fair trade wage employment and empowerment to survivors of sex trafficking in India. Through the sale of PUNJAMMIES™ , over 150 women in their sewing centers remain free from sex slavery, provide for their families, and afford the resources to send their children to school. (See my personal review at the end of this post) Discount Code: FREEDOM for 10% off
IXCHEL TRIANGLE // Ixchel Triangle employs indigenous Mayans who practice the cultural tradition of weaving on a back-strap loom to create unique, vibrant and beautiful handbags, clutches and camera straps. Their artisans are are paid an above market wage and a percentage of their profits are given back in the form of educational sponsorships. Discount Code: discovery for 15% off
HOODIE LOVE // What is not to love about hoodies? Owner Jann designs comfortable and fashionable hoodies. 5% of their profits go back to organizations that help and support women in need. This past year their donations have gone toward anti slavery, education, and sanitation for woman around the world. Discount code: LOVEHOODIELOVE for 25% off
Instagram // Facebook
BOUGHT BEAUTIFULLY // Bought beautifully is an online retailer that sources vendors who share their values. Vendors must qualify through an application process and know their supply chain, pair fair wages, prioritize safe working conditions and practice wise stewardship. Their vendors sell clothing, accessories, home goods and art.
I pretty much fell in love with the pair of Punjammies that was sent to me. They are just way too gorgeous to only be worn to bed. They are beautifully detailed, are literally as comfy as wearing PJ’s all day, and easy to style for every season. I will definitely be ordering more and it’s wonderful to know my purchase is helping truly make a difference.
Don’t forget to come back every day for new featured businesses, and Friday for the HUGE GIVEAWAY!
Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
I’m in this tug of war state of wanting “stuff” but wanting to get rid of everything. The advertising leading up to the holidays totally makes me want to vomit–especially corporate black friday advertising and businesses choosing to open their doors on Thanksgiving day. Is the lure of saving a few dollars really worth waking up at 3am and facing the reality of literally getting trampled over? News reporters stand by to record grown adults acting like animals…and we watch the evening news to learn of how many people were injured or even killed trying to get into Wal-Mart.
I really feel compelled to scale back. And not to sound cliche, but to focus on what this season is truly about. It’s about Jesus, contentment, family, serving, and loving one another. I want to set the tone for my children that the holidays are not about making mile long Christmas lists and accumulating stuff. I know they aren’t capable of understanding now, but I need to preach this to myself too. Because, yeah, I want stuff. But I don’t need stuff. In fact I really need to get rid of stuff.
The struggle is real.
And next week you’re going to see a Holiday gift guide on my blog. BUT, I was intentional about posting it after Thanksgiving, and my focus was finding businesses that were about more than just profit. These businesses are doing absolutely amazing things; life changing, impactful things. So when you shop this holiday season, consider purchasing from businesses small and large that are intentional about using their gifts and talents for something greater than the accumulation of their stuff. They’re helping change the world, one product and one person at a time. The Purchase with Purpose gift guide goes live on Monday. I’ll be featuring businesses in the categories of Fashion, Jewelry & Accessories, Children, and Home.
I know this post seems a bit contradictory. It reflects where I’m at…I want to buy all the things and donate all the things. I feel like I’m getting to the point in my life where I want quality, meaningful things in my life and I want to purge the piles of cheap crap, and the things sitting unused in my closets.
Anyone feel me?
***I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with their loved ones. And if you’re a black Friday shopper, I mean no disrespect; these are just my current reflections.***