When I was growing up in San Antonio, the local Levi’s Jeans factory closed and relocated to Costa Rica, putting thousands of San Antonians out of work. My family, along with most of the city, boycotted Levi’s for years afterwards.
During that same time period, my sisters and I became friends with two neighbor girls who lived down the street from us. Their mother worked long hours in her garage, sewing blouses for a local clothing factory. I remember playing in their house while she worked at her sewing machine, and we would sometimes take a peek at the things she produced. I can remember seeing the product labels lying in a neat pile, ready for my friend’s mom to sew them into each blouse, just below the collar. When she met her quota, she would bundle up the blouses and drop them off at the clothing factory. I think I even got to ride along a time or two.
In college, I worked for a large department store, and occasionally, I was assigned to the warehouse, where I unloaded clothing directly from trucks, shipped straight from the factories where it was made. Many items were wrapped in plastic, which had to be removed, but some were simply packed in boxes.
I’ve always had an interest in clothing and fashion, and my early experiences helped me realize that, though we never see them, our clothes are made by real people somewhere. I love to shop and I pay attention to fabrics, but it was my search for cotton clothing that marked the beginning of my entry into the fair trade market, something I’m still learning about every day.
October Rebel, one of my favorite fashion bloggers, is on a quest to purchase only thrifted and fair trade clothing, and through her blog, I’m learning more about the industry, which works to provide clean, safe work environments and fair market wages for the employees of clothing manufacturers. Around the time I wrote about cotton, a clothing factory in Bangladesh literally collapsed, killing more than 1,000 people. After that, I really started paying attention to where my clothing comes from.
Though I consider myself a frugal shopper and I’m not particularly attached to my clothing, I’m guilty of buying a cheap top or skirt on a whim, just for fun. I’ve often glanced at the label, wincing with a tinge of guilt when the item was made in some far off place. But now, I’m actively trying to be conscientious about my purchases, and I’m thinking about the people who make them. As I’m learning about fair trade clothing and buying it periodically, I’ll be sure to share it with you, too.
One of my hopes for my boys is that they will grow up to be caring and compassionate men, and I want to set a better example for them when it comes to purchasing things we use every day, like clothing. In our house, we’re pretty good about buying local foods when we can, and this just seems like the next step for me. I won’t say it’s become my mission, but it is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, so I will write about it from time to time and share resources with you as I find them.
I hope you’ll enjoy these posts and maybe learn a thing or two. Please also feel free to share your own information about fair trade products.
Today’s question is: Do You Think You Will Keep Blogging 5, 10, 15, 20 Years From Now?
I’m not very good at predicting the future, and I never would have pegged myself for a blogger a year ago, but I can honestly say I hope I will be blogging then! Who knows how social media and the internet will change, but as I’ve said in earlier posts, I love connecting with new people, both online and in real life, and I’ve found a good writing rhythm, so I hope I can keep that up for years to come.
I’ve been writing here for almost a year, and I still feel excited and inspired each day. One of my goals is to keep up the momentum, and I’d love for my blog to become a possible springboard for writing gigs, maybe as my boys get older. I also realize I’ll soon assume the position of their chauffeur, and my quiet time in the afternoons and evenings will become limited, too. I guess that’s all part of motherhood, but hopefully it will also provide some interesting fodder for my blog.
I think my current place in life is pretty common among bloggers, and it will be interesting to see how we all change and grow as we get older. Maybe one day, I’ll be writing about the awesome trips I’m taking, or even about my grandchildren, but we’ll just have to see!
Shayla’s life is going to change in a few months when her first baby arrives, so check out her response to today’s question at Northern Exposure, and be sure to share your experiences, too!
This week was pretty quiet, and we are gearing up for the start of summer soon. We’ll be spending the weekend with friends and enjoying the weather before it gets too hot. Here are a few things that caught my eye this week.
Our local school board election was last Saturday, and the good people of my little city spoke loud and clear! Here’s a great editorial by the local paper.
The fight for deregulation of Interior Design services in Texas continues. Kelly Barnett, who spearheaded the campaign, explained via email: The Senate voted on our bill this morning. The exam requirement was preserved, but the Senate will now give 4 years for NCIDQ (exam) passage instead of 3. While it was not exactly what we had hoped for (deregulation), at least all Texas RIDs (registered interior designers) will now have to “qualified by exam,” no more “grandfathering.” If you are a “grandfathered” designer, or know one, encourage them to join us in 2 years, when we fight for deregulation again, when the playing field will truly be “level.” From here, the Senate and House bills will be reconciled, and Governor Perry will sign the bill as it becomes law September 1, 2013. Not bad for our first “rodeo!”
Texas’ craft beer bills go before the House today, and they could drastically change the way craft beer is sold here.
Clothing retailers need to step up and demand safe factories for production.
The last survivor of the Bangladesh factory collapse shares her experience.
And Angelina Jolie was in the news this week, for choosing to undergo an elective mastectomy. Here’s a glimpse, through pictures, of another woman’s journey through treatment for breast cancer. (The photos are graphic, but so powerful.)
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
I’ll be totally honest. I hate exercising. I don’t get excited doing it, and you’ll never find me at the gym or training for a marathon. I have lots of respect for people who work out regularly, but it’s just not something I like to do. I don’t like to sweat, and I’d rather be in air-conditioning, doing something like reading or blogging.
But I know I need to exercise to stay healthy for my boys, so I’m trying. A little.
I’ve always been a walker, and that used to be enough for me. After James was born, I’d put him in his stroller and we’d take long walks together practically every day. I kept that up while pregnant with Rhys, even in the heat of the mild summer when he was born, and I was probably in the best shape of my life then. But newborn Rhys didn’t like to go for walks, and though I spend most mornings outside with the boys, playing and walking as they ride their bikes, it’s just not enough physical activity for me.
With my autoimmune issues and breastfeeding, I always lost my post-baby weight easily. But since I stopped nursing Rhys last fall, my body has definitely changed and I’ve gained some weight. I’m sure it’s a combination of several factors, but I know I need more exercise in my life.
Last month, I saw a sign for Jazzercise near my hair salon, and on a crazy whim (I’m prone to those, I guess), I decided to check it out. I bought new workout shoes and an outfit, things I didn’t even own, and on an unseasonably cold and rainy day while the boys were in school, I headed to the dance studio for my first class. Unfortunately, the instructor was out sick with the flu, and I haven’t had an opportunity to go back yet.
I could have given up, but instead, I dusted off my old walking pilates DVD by Stott Pilates, and gave it a try. I originally bought the video and its second level companion last summer, but then I started that blogging class, and, well, you know the rest.
But this time, I put it on and worked all the way through the 20 minute walking cardio and the 15 minutes of pilates toning. And you know what? I actually liked it!
I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to workout programs, and I have a hard time jumping on bandwagons, you might have noticed. I don’t like cheesy gimmicks, and I can’t stand someone barking instructions at me, so that’s probably why I haven’t been back to Jazzercise. But the Stott Pilates program is my cup of tea. It’s quiet and calm, sort of like me, and the instructors are nice and helpful, but not what I’d call perky. Since I’m a walker, I love the idea of walking exercises, and I LOVE the fact that I can do them in the privacy of my own home, directly under my ceiling fan, with the air-conditioner on full blast.
I haven’t moved up to the second level yet, and for now, I’ve committed to the 20 minute walking cardio program most nights after the boys go to bed. I make myself do it before blogging, and it’s a great stress reliever. I haven’t done much of the toning section, but already, I can see and feel a difference with my body. In fact, I’ve come to look forward to working out, which is really bizarre.
I’m also making a few small changes, just here and there, to what I eat. Nothing drastic, just healthier choices, though I will never be able to give up carbs, or cheese, or chocolate. I just don’t see the point. I’m a wife and mom, and I’ll be 35 this summer. I have no desire to look super young or to be super thin, and I’m totally fine with looking my age. I will never run a race, and at this rate, I’ll probably never do Jazzercise, either.
But I’m doing something to stay healthy, and that’s enough for me.
A few months ago, as I redecorated my mantel with a touch of Steampunk-inspired decor, I discovered this whimsical hot air balloon from BHLDN. I originally planned to hang it in a small art niche in the hallway by the boys’ bedrooms, but Ryan was afraid that it was too heavy and would quite literally fall flat. For months, it sat by my computer, as I decided what to do with it.
Now that the weather is warming up and my plants are in bloom, my patio is a pleasant place to be during the day, so I thought the balloon would work quite nicely nestled among my hanging garden. It’s actually the same size as the hanging pots, and it blends in very well.
I tried putting a small plant in its basket, but it wasn’t very balanced and I didn’t want to lose the plant. It might work to put some cut flowers there to enjoy for a few days, before the weather gets too hot. I also need to spray the basket with some clear spray paint to prevent rust.
Overall, though, I’m thrilled with my little balloon and so happy it’s finally found a place among my flowers.
*The title of this post comes from a popular toast said by hot air balloon enthusiasts upon landing, usually with champagne. (I totally looked that up!)