Review: Wear No Evil

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Hubby recently picked up a copy of Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan to sell for the book business. Unfortunately, the price wasn’t right for us to make money off of our copy. The book looked interesting, so I ended up reading it this week.

wear-no-evilHere is the synopsis on Amazon: ‘Have you ever wondered, “How can I inherently do good while looking good?” Wear No Evil has the answer, and is the timely handbook for navigating both fashion and ethics. It is the style guide with sustainability built in that we’ve all been waiting for. As a consumer, you regain your power with every purchase to support the causes and conditions you already advocate in other areas of your life (such as local or organic food), while upholding your sense of self through the stylish pieces you use to create your wardrobe.

‘Featuring the Integrity Index (a simplified way of identifying the ethics behind any piece of fashion) and an easy to use rating system, you’ll learn to shop anywhere while building your personal style and supporting your values- all without sacrifice. Fashion is the last frontier in the shift towards conscious living. Wear No Evil provides a roadmap founded in research and experience, coupled with real life style and everyday inspiration.

‘Part 1 presents the hard-hitting facts on why the fashion industry and our shopping habits need a reboot.

‘Part 2 moves you into a closet-cleansing exercise to assess your current wardrobe for eco-friendliness and how to shop green.

‘Part 3 showcases eco-fashion makeovers and a directory of natural beauty recommendations for face, body, hair, nails, and makeup.

‘Style and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. They can live in harmony. It’s time to restart the conversation around fashion—how it is produced, consumed, and discarded—to fit with the world we live in today. Pretty simple, right? It will be, once you’ve read this book.

‘Wear No Evil gives new meaning—and the best answers—to an age-old question: “What should I wear today?”’

Eagan kept part 1 short because most people who pick up her book already know about the problems with the fast fashion industry. Her integrity index gives factors by which to judge whether a clothing purchase is ethical. These factors include: natural/low-impact dyes, natural fibers, organic, fair trade, recycled/upcycled, secondhand, local (country you’re in), social (linked to a cause), zero waste, convertible, vegan, low water footprint, transparent, cradle to cradle (ability to have a second life cycle as clothing), slow fashion, and style. Since finding a piece of clothing which matches all 16 factors would be nearly impossible, Eagan also came up with the diamond diagram.

The diamond diagram is shaped like a baseball diamond where style always takes the home plate position. Style always takes the first position because if a person doesn’t like the style of the garment, that person is not going to wear it very often. The rest of the diamond is filled in with what the shopper considers the most important factors. Eagan also encourages her readers to have a reserve factor. These 3-4 factors can be arranged in any order on the diamond. In order for a purchase to be considered ethical, it must meet the style factor and one other. My diamond diagram includes: style, natural fibers, secondhand, organic, and fair trade or local.

I really enjoyed this book because Eagan included eco-friendly brands in various price ranges. She put together sample outfits for various occasions (dates, job interviews, weddings, cocktail parties, etc.) and included the brands for these outfits. Eagan included brands for pretty much every category from pants to shirts to jewelry to makeup to skin care products. The book also includes a chapter for men, who usually get left out of books targeted for ethical fashion.

Eagan does focuses entirely on fashion. She does not have a capsule wardrobe, nor does she write about them in her book. Although, she does include a short section about doing an initial closet decluttering. This is one area where I find her system lacking. I think one of the best ways to be eco-friendly is to own fewer clothes. Some of the wardrobe basics Eagan suggests also don’t apply to my stay at home mom lifestyle.

While I purchase the majority of my clothes secondhand, some ethical brands I have purchased/want to purchase from include:

  • Ten Thousand Villages: fair trade, usually natural or recycled materials, supports artisans in developing countries (purchased jewelry, coin purse would repurchase from this brand)
  • Changnoi: fair trade from Thailand, uses handwoven materials from local tribes, hand sewn & embroidered products (purchased crossbody bag via Amazon would repurchase)
  • Econscious: sustainable fabrics, certified organic cotton (purchased basic tee via Amazon want to order more)
  • Fair Indigo: fair trade, some USA made products, some recycled products, some organic cotton products, some vegan products (purchased OkaB shoes via Amazon, want to purchase 100% cotton jeans and cardigan)
  • thehungersite: fair trade, portion of purchase goes toward providing food in third world countries (purchased a top, jewelry would repurchase)

2016 Reading Challenge: October

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Confession: I didn’t actually read a book for this month’s category. One of my friends chose “a book you have previously abandoned.” Since I had expected to welcome baby #2 by now, I did not really feel up to picking up a book I had abandoned. I usually give up on a book for good reasons. I did almost give up on finishing Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo at the beginning of October. I picked it up out of curiosity at a book sale because I have seen things about it pop up on the internet.

Here is Amazon’s description: “It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry — and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.”

I think I lost interest in it because some things just hit a little too close to home for me. My parents separated, divorced, and remarried during my elementary school years. In the book, Flora’s parents are also divorced in the book. It just reminded me too much of a time in my life I don’t like to dwell on, but I managed to push through and finish the book.

Books my friends chose include:

  • The Orphean Passages by Walter Wangerin
  • Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

A Year of Capsule Wardrobes

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I just realized I have dressed with a capsule wardrobe for more than a year now. I started this journey last fall after researching capsule wardrobes. I originally intended to use capsule wardrobes to further discover my style and minimize my closet. While I did accomplish this goal to some degree, I feel like I still have more to do in these areas. The limited availability of maternity clothes contributed to this immensely. I also think my body will change yet again after I have this baby.

Here are some things I did learn:

  • I don’t really like the way infinity scarves look on me. I think they make my face look rounder and my torso shorter.
  • I prefer cardigans to sweaters.
  • I really like the way grey pants look on me. In desperation, I bought a pair of grey maternity pants at the thrift store and discovered I really like them.
  • I don’t like black clothes. They don’t really work for my skin tone and coloring.
  • It’s hard to find a good pair of navy or grey shoes. Most shoes come in black or brown, which makes finding shoes to match the clothes in my capsules difficult.
  • I like fall/winter clothes much more than summer clothes. I like the darker colors, scarves, and cardigans. (I have a hard time resisting the urge to buy scarves and cardigans at garage sales and thrift stores.)

Goals for the next year:

  • Pare down my wardrobe to the point where I can include jewelry in my fall and winter capsule wardrobes.
  • Support more ethical and sustainable brands.
  • Make more mindful purchases for my capsules. (I usually buy something close to what I want at the thrift store because of the cheap price. Then, I end up donating it a couple of months later. This prevents me from investing in the higher quality items I actually want.)

2016 Reading Challenge: September

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Last week was banned books week, so I chose banned books for this month’s category. I also got to choose the book for September’s meeting for the large book club I’m in. Everyone reads the same book for that club. I chose Fahrenheit 451 for everyone to read. Since three out of the four other people participating in the Reading Challenge are in the same book club, most of us read the same book.

451Here is the book synopsis on Amazon: “Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

“Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

“When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.”

I read this book for the second time for this category. In some ways, the book reflects the time it was written: almost everyone smokes cigarettes, women stay home while men work, the popularity of the beetle, etc. However, I think Bradbury’s warning about technology replacing meaningful relationships remains relevant to today’s culture. Bradbury also purposefully made most of his shallow and lacking in dimension. They are meant to represent ideas and things rather than real people. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

What I Packed in My Hospital Bags

Baby #2 is due to arrive sometime in the next month. Since I like to plan ahead, I have already packed my bags for the big event. I plan on taking two bags with me to the hospital: one for the baby and one for hubby and me to share. This time around, hubby will probably spend more time at home with our older child and not all of his time at the hospital. He won’t need as much as he did with our first child.

Baby’s bag:

  • Fox hat
  • Blue hat
  • Lightweight swaddle
  • Fleece swaddle
  • Light sleeper (newborn)
  • Fleece sleeper (0-3 months)
  • Receiving blanket
  • Big brother present
  • Little brother present

The weather can be a little unpredictable at this time of year in the Midwest, so I packed one set of things for warmer weather and one set for cold weather. I also have a car seat cover I will keep in the car in case we need it for the ride home. I decided to include presents for the boys to exchange when they meet for the first time. My hospital provides diapers, wipes, clothes, etc. for the duration of our stay, so I only needed to pack things for the trip home.

Carry-on bag:

  • Change of clothes for hubby
  • Travel deodorant for hubby
  • Snacks for hubby
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Going home outfit for me
  • Hair brush
  • Comb
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Nursing pads
  • Slippers (hospital floors are gross, and I want something I can slip on and off)
  • Tablet (loaded with ebooks)
  • Camera & charger
  • Phone charger
  • Liquid stool softener

My hospital provides most toiletry items, so I don’t need to pack much. The liquid stool softener is completely optional. I have a hard time swallowing pills, and the hospital didn’t have a liquid option for me last time around. I decided to pack my own. I also didn’t like the hospital socks last time around. They made my feet way too hot. My hospital does not provide meals for hubby, so I packed him some snacks to have while at the hospital. I will also grab my boppy to take along to the hospital. Since my chances of having another c-section are 50/50, I really wanted to have a nursing pillow to take with me to the hospital. This helps keep the baby from putting pressure on my incision. It has also been a little while since I have had to hold a baby for long stretches of time.

I could have fit everything in one bag. In fact, I currently have baby’s bag inside my carry on. I wanted to make sure I had room for the things the hospital will send home with me (such as an open package of diapers, wipes, leftover pads, etc.) This is all I have decided to pack in my bags. Let me know if you think I forgot anything important. As I said before, my hospital is great about providing most things I will need for the duration of my stay.

Fall 2016 Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

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October has arrived, and with it starts a new season of Project 333. I made several changes to my summer capsule wardrobe. I mostly changed out my jewelry when I received some new jewelry for free when I hosted a jewelry show in July. This actually turned out to benefit me in unexpected ways. I ordered long necklaces from the jewelry party, and these have regularly entertained my toddler during church services for several minutes at a time. I can even use one of the necklaces as a belt. This capsule wardrobe will probably see several changes because the weather starts out in the 80s and cools off into snow weather. I also don’t have many fall maternity pieces and plan to experiment a little this season.

I plan to breastfeed my baby and won’t have many opportunities to wear my dresses after baby #2 arrives around Nov. 1. I replaced my black sandals with a pair of black dress shoes and my brown sneakers with a grey pair. Both of these shoes just got too worn out and needed to be replaced. I may switch out my maternity pants for regular pants and leggings and swap my maternity shirts for regular ones before the season ends. I decided not to include jewelry in this capsule because I have to include so many transitional pieces and layers. Here is what I’m starting with (as always, items in bold carried over from previous capsule wardrobes):

  1. Teal dress
  2. Grey dress
  3. Cream dress with floral pattern
  4. Pink and purple floral skirt
  5. Black skirt
  6. Denim shorts (maternity)
  7. Jeans (maternity)
  8. Grey pants (maternity)
  9. Navy jacket
  10. Trench coat
  11. Navy cardigan
  12. Grey cardigan
  13. Black short-sleeved cardigan (maternity)
  14. Tan and black sleeveless top (maternity)
  15. Navy t-shirt (maternity)
  16. Black and white striped top (maternity)
  17. Pink top (maternity)
  18. Black and gingham top (maternity)
  19. Purple top (maternity)
  20. Floral top
  21. Burgundy long sleeved top (maternity)
  22. Navy belt
  23. Blue flats
  24. Black wedges
  25. Grey sneakers
  26. Brown boots
  27. Stiped scarf
  28. Purple floral scarf
  29. Red and blue floral scarf
  30. Grey cabled hat

Let me know if any of you are interested in learning which items I decide to get rid of throughout the season. Sometimes, a piece just doesn’t fit in well with the rest of my capsule wardrobe or doesn’t fit well anymore (bodies change during and after pregnancy). I’m also still discovering my personal style. I hope some of you will try out a capsule wardrobe this season, and let me know if you do.

 

2016 Reading Challenge: August

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I can hardly believe October is almost here. Some life changes and disappointments have distracted me from writing blog posts. For August, one of my friends chose “a book you’ve been meaning to read” as the category for us to discuss. I actually read three books for this category: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany; Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson; and The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson.

cursed-childHere is the summary for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Amazon: “It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

“While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

I did not enjoy this book as much as I expected I would, probably due to the play format of the book. I have a difficult time reading plays when I haven’t seen them before. Maybe I would enjoy this book more if I saw the play, which isn’t likely to happen.

I also felt like this story did not quite fit with the rest of the Harry Potter universe. For example: I doubt Hermione would have become Minister of Magic at such a young age. All of the other ministers we know of have been much older. I also doubt Harry and company would have called Headmistress McGonagall “Minerva.” It seems much too forward of them.

Overall, the book was OK. I’m glad I read it. For no other reason, now I can participate in conversations about the book and stop covering my ears every time someone brings it up. I would recommend it to anyone who really enjoyed the original seven books.

bandsI also read Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. These are the two most recent additions to Sanderson’s Mistborn series. I actually read these back to back. I enjoyed The Bands of Mourning more than Shadows of Self because it moved the plot along a lot more than the latter. The Bands of Mourning also introduced some new technology, which I really enjoyed. Both books worked on building the supporting characters and didn’t focus quite so much on Wax. (I’m comparing these to The Alloy of the Law.)

I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys sci-fi/fantasy with an industrial era twist. The first set of Mistborn books are also good.

Books my friends chose for this category include:

  • Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton
  • The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
  • Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia

2016 Reading Challenge: July

My book club met later in the month this time around, so I haven’t procrastinated writing this post too much. We had a small group this time around due to busy schedules and computer problems for our member who moved to Texas. In the spirit of back to school season, we read “a book you should have read in school.” For this category, I chose to read The Giver by Lois Lowry.

The GiverHere is the synopsis on Amazon: “The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.”

I read this book quickly and mostly enjoyed it. I think Lowry did a decent job showing how a utopian society usually ends up being a dystopian one. In order to acheive the ideals the founders set up, sacrifies have to be made. In this case, in order to stop war, hunger, pain, etc., the people in Jonas’ community gave up intense feelings (including love, joy, and hate), color, music, and several other things. I didn’t like the the way the book ended. I later found out Lowry wrote three other books and I could find out more about what happened to Jonas, but I just don’t want to dedicate the time to read them right now.

The books my friends read for this category include:

  • The Confessions of Saint Augustine by Saint Augustine
  • As You Like It by William Shakespeare

2016 Reading Challenge: May and June

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I feel bad for falling so far behind on my Reading Challenge posts. We have had a busy summer around here. Hubby has gone to several book sales in the past two months, which means we have had a lot of books to list and get out the door to Amazon. My father also passed away on Father’s Day. While my dad had not been in good health for about twelve years, he had been doing very well lately. So, his death was a bit unexpected. I feel like I’m still playing catch up on some things as I go through the grieving process. All of this combined has left less time for blogging lately.

Anyway, back to the Reading Challenge. For May, one of my friends chose the category “a book you own (preferably for a while) but have never read.” I try to keep only books I plan on re-reading sometime in the next five years or books I haven’t read and plan to read in the next few months. I had already ear-marked my unread books for other categories for the reading challenge. This left hubby’s books for this category. Most of hubby’s books fall into one of three categories: comics/humor (think Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side), non-fiction, or music.

FreakonomicsI chose to read Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephan J. Dubner. Here is the summary on Amazon: “Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?

“These may not sound like typical questions for an econo-mist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.

“Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics.”

I found the information the authors presented interesting, but I think they left out some potentially key information in some of their conclusions. For example, the authors neglected to mention some of the negative side effects women can experience when they have abortions, such as guilt and decreased fertility. To me, this decreased their credibility. Overall, I found their theories interesting and would recommend this book.

The books my friends chose for this category include:

  • The Sandman series books 1&2 by Neil Gaiman
  • The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
  • Apologetics Beyond Reason by James W. Sire
  • The Simarillion by J.R.R Tolkien

For June, one of my friends chose the category “a book published before you were born.” I intended to read A Midsummer’s Tempest by Poul Anderson. I tried to read this book about a week after my dad had passed away, and I just couldn’t get into the book. I just wasn’t ready for it. I ended up reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (read my review here) during that week instead. Once I finished reading Kondo’s book, I remembered I had read Agatha Christie’s Murder at Hazelmoor (also known as The Sittaford Mystery) at the beginning of the month, which was definitely published before I was born.

The_Sittaford_Mystery_US_First_Edition_Jacket_1931Here is the summary of the book: “Mrs Willett and her daughter host an evening of table-turning, a séance, on a snowy winter’s evening in Dartmoor. The spirit tells them that Captain Trevelyan is dead. The roads being impassible to vehicles, Major Burnaby announces his intention to go to the village on foot to check on his friend, where he appears to find the prediction has come true. Emily Trefusis, engaged to Trevelyan’s nephew, uncovers the mystery along with the police.”

I enjoyed this mystery. I was completely surprised by the ending. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a well-written mystery.

The books my friends chose for this category include:

  • The Sandman series books 3-6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
  • The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
  • The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis

 

 

 

Review: The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up

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Earlier this week, I finally managed to read The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I originally wanted to read it last year, but my attempts to get it from our library always failed. I didn’t want to pay to read it, so I scratched it off my to be read list. Well, I found a copy in a box of books I listed for our book flipping business. I managed to read it in about 48 hours.

KonMariFor those of you unfamiliar with the book, here is the description on the back of the book: “Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

“Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

“With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.”

While I can see the merit of the “KonMari” method and how the author came up with it, I disagree with her Pocahontas attitude in thinking inanimate objects contribute to the energy around us. I do plan on trying to do a large purge using the order and category method suggested in the book. (Maybe this will help make room for baby #2.) I also see the benefit of touching every item when deciding what to discard. When I actually have to take all of my books off my shelves or clothes out of my closet, I’m more likely to get rid of more things than if I had just done a quick glance at what I have to choose things to discard.

One thing I found missing in this book is how to work around the people I live with. Since my son is not quite two, I can still get away with decluttering for him. However, this won’t be the case for too much longer. Several items in my home also belong to hubby. It’s difficult to find time to go through things together, and I stay motivated to tackle decluttering tasks for much longer than he does. Since Ms. Kondo is not currently married, I understand why this aspect of decluttering is mostly missing from her book. (She does devote some pages encouraging readers to only concentrate on their stuff and to ignore other people’s belongings.)

I  would definitely recommend this book to anyone willing to do a large purge. In order for the “KonMari” method to work for people, they have to be willing to put in the time and work to go through all of their possessions. This process can take weeks, months, or even years to finish.