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5 Sustainable Purchases that Will Make a Difference in Your Everyday Life

As you are probably aware Earth Day is April 22, and while one of our values is to create a sustainable impact in the world, this month is a reminder that there are always something more we can do to build a brighter future.

I like to tell myself that my carbon footprint is fairly small, but I’m sure my roommates would disagree–yes, I know I take forever in the shower. But hot water aside, I swear I recycle! Ok, but maybe I’m not entirely sure where the milk cartons go (the answer is here, if you’re wondering). And maybe I purchase too many plastic water bottles, and maybe, they’re collecting in the backseat of my car.

I admit, there are definitely changes I should be making, so I did a little research and found some great sustainable products that will hopefully make the world a little safer from people like me.

Furoshiki ECOlunchwrap

Furoshiki_ECOlunchwrap_Tree__45027.1392234097.400.400(Pronounced f-ROHSH-kee) If you happen to be one of those people who makes their own lunch and brings it to work (good for you!), consider one of these eco lunch wraps. They are machine washable, reversible, and easy to tie. They are also incredibly colorful and come in a variety of patterns. A great alternative to using plastic lunch boxes or paper bags.

 

Oggi Bamboo Compost Pail

ogh14004-2I used to live in a house with five roommates and we tried to compost, but it turned into a nightmare. Instead of trying to find a solution, we gave up. Our problems would have easily been solved if we bought a compost pail. These can be placed directly on the kitchen counter or under the sink, and when it’s full you can either move it to your outdoor compost bin. If you live in an apartment and don’t have a garden, there are most likely composting facilities near you: FindAComposter can help!

Non-Toxic Cleaner

mrs_meyers_clean_day_4Having a clean home is important, but the chemicals in most cleaning products are not necessarily safe for you or the environment. Luckily, there are so many safe, eco-friendly options when it comes to cleaning supplies that are easily attainable at most stores.
Here are some products you might consider buying on your next shopping trip:
Simple Green, Green Works, Meyer’s, And there are many DIY options too!

Buy a Water Bottle!

Hydros Water Bottle 3I keep telling myself this! Stop buying plastic water bottles. If you’re super picky about the water you drink, I would suggest buying one of those fancy water bottles that come with a filter. Hydros is a good example. They are made right in New Jersey, they are BPA free, dishwasher safe, and they filter quickly. Hydros works with Engineers Without Borders to help fight the global water crisis; currently they are working on bringing clean drinking water to the villagers of Gundom, Cameroon!

Journals & Notebooks

floralfantasyjournals_grandeI use a lot of paper, despite the fact that I use my laptop for mostly everything. Believe it or not, I take a lot of notes in my classes… by hand! It’s crazy, I know. I found these beautiful floral notebooks that are by Eco-Friendly Papers. Wasim and his family in India have been in the paper industry for over 80 years; they make the paper out of recycled cotton rags and without machinery. Because they are handmade, it feels as if every page is important… which means I probably shouldn’t doodle all over them.

Hopefully I’ve encouraged some of you to look for more sustainable purchases! They are worth the investment, not only to save you money in the long-run, but to save the earth as well (yes, that was a little tacky).

Speaking of sustainable, we have many candles in our Eco-Living Collection, made from recycled and repurposed materials!

Beyond the Hour: How are you Celebrating Earth Hour?

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Almost everyone has heard of Earth Day, but have you heard of Earth Hour?

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2008, where 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses voluntarily shut off power in order to raise awareness and take a stand against climate change. Since then the number of participating cities has grown exponentially. In 2012 more than 6,950 cities across 152 countries participated in Earth Hour.

But how can turning off your lights for an hour actually benefit our planet? I’ll admit that I was wondering the same thing until I watched Earth Hour’s co-founder Andy Ridley’s Ted Talk, where he told his audience that Earth Hour strives for social change with the use of symbolism. Symbolism is the key that will target and inspire people to become change makers.

This year Earth Hour has gone blue. This just means that they are turning Earth Hour into a global platform to support other social and environmental projects. We all know that there is power in numbers, this digital platform will help bring together campaigns from communities around the world and generate the funds needed to make a difference.

This year, Spider-Man has become Earth Hour’s first superhero ambassador. “Be a Superhero and Save the Planet” well ok, maybe that’s a little cheesy, but give me a second to explain before you roll your eyes. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was one of the most eco-friendly movies ever created by Columbia Pictures, which is pretty cool! The entire production was carbon neutral. Each actor has pledged to support one project and are encouraging fans to get involved.

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How to Celebrate
“Get Off the Internet”

says the intern sitting behind her laptop. Instead of reading blog posts, try picking up a book or a magazine for an hour and read by candle light. Plus, sometimes it’s a refreshing to get away from technology for a little bit. Checking your email every five minutes or refreshing your facebook newsfeed, isn’t the best use of your time anyway.

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Have a Lights Out Party

invite your friends over to play some board games, or maybe even have a little wine & cheese gathering.
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Discover Earth Hour Events Near You 

many cities and towns participate in Earth Hour by holding a community candle lighting. Find out if your town is holding an event, or even find out how to organize your own.

Need more ideas? Check out Huffingtonpost’s article about what to do during the hour of darkness.

15 Incredible Women Authors

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March is Women’s History Month as well as National Reading Month. We thought it would be a perfect excuse to share some of our favorite women authors!

Jane Austen— (1775-1817)

English author known for her books Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Her books make a social commentary on class, gender, family relations, and of course romance!

Recommendation: I’m going to be honest… I’ve never read Jane Austen! But Kim recommends Sense and Sensibility and I trust her tastes.

Comic by Kate Beaton

Mary Shelley—(1797-1851)

Daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft (author of The Vindication of the Rights of Woman) is the author of Frankenstein, which is one of the earliest examples of science fiction. During the summer of 1816, she spent the summer in Switzerland where she wrote with her husband Percy Shelly, Lord Byron, Jane Clairmont, and John Polidori.

Recommendation: Definitely Frankenstein!

Continue reading

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Stylish Gifts Made by Women

In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we thought that we’d share some of our favorite fashionable gifts made by women. These gifts are perfect to buy for a friend . . . or even for yourself!


Indigo & Lime Dazzle Clutch from Rubina.

dazzleclutchThese dynamic clutches are perfect for making a bold statement while still maintaining a professional vibe.

They are made by the Equitable Marketing Associate (EMA) which is a fair trade organization that is based outside of Kolkata, India. They work to assist marginalized groups in communities that are facing economic hardships. Several talented artisans work together to create these beautiful products: Anita Das and Rita Purakait (dye painters), Biswananth Mondal and Manoj Saha (embossers), and Sariful Gazi, Zahir Faikir (stitchers).


Sao Paolo Peplum from Greenola Style

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We’re loving vibrant patterns this spring! The puplum is made in Kampala, Uganda at Gulu, an all-women’s workshop. Many of the artisans have been directly affected by the conflicts of war and their workspace has become a place of healing.

Read more about the Gulu Workshop to learn more about these amazing women. All products use local, low-impact or recycled materials

 


 Taupe + Black Braid Print Pocket Dress from Raven+ Lily

shorttankWho doesn’t love a dress with pockets? This super comfortable dress is made from repurposed remnant jersey fabric by Srey Keo in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Many of the women working in the Phnom Penh workshop are HIV positive or have formally faced abuse and trauma from trafficking. Raven + Lily provides workers with a friendly and supportive environment to help them rebuild their lives.


Cascading Falls Necklace from Noonday Collection

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The cool thing about this necklace is that the beads are actually made from acai and pambil seeds that are gathered from rainforests in Ecuador. Each bead is unique in color and shape. The materials are sustainable and require very low energy, however the farmers have to climb high into the canopies to harvest the pods, which requires skill—and definitely not my fear of heights! The artisans, Nancy and Carlos work from their home and are saving for their children’s education.

 


Purple Silk Scarf from Global Goods Partners

Untitled-3This scarf is perfect for spring because of the lightweight material. It is made by the Artisans Association of Cambodia (AAC) which is a fair trade group that consists of 32 women; some are victims of landmines and others from trafficking. The money they make from their products go toward addressing issues of women’s rights, literacy, education and public health. Learn more about the artisans as well as the background of Cambodia on the AAC page.

 

Let us know what you think of these great gifts, and share your favorite woman-made finds on our Facebook page, or send us a tweet!

 

10 Empowering Quotes by Women

March is all about celebrating strong women, so we wanted to share a few of our favorite inspirational quotes by some truly amazing and influential women. We hope that these quotes will be uplifting, motivational, and will help remind us that we can be powerful too.

On growing up…


Amy Poehler

 

On writing…

Nikki Giovanni

On vulnerability…

Brene Brown

On love…

Ellen Page

On bravery…

Gloria Steinem

On feminism…

Jessica Valenti

On criticism…

Nikki Giovanni

On beauty…

Toni Morrison

On dreams…
Wendy Davis

On life…

Zainab Salbi
Do you have a favorite quote? Share it on our Facebook page. If you’re looking for more quotes, check out our Inspirational Travel Tin collection.

Help Empower Women Around the World

International Women’s Day (March 8th) has celebrated and honored the achievements of women since 1857. It is a day that globally connects and empowers women; it reminds us of our accomplishments, but it also reminds us to think critically and remember that there is still so much to work for in order to create a better and safe future for women all over the world.

If you’re still trying to figure out how to celebrate, consider supporting one of these great organizations that work towards empowering women:

World Pulse 

World Pulse: Connecting Women’s Voices to Transform Our World from World Pulse on Vimeo.

World Pulse is a global network that connects women’s voices through the use of digital and social media. It gives women all over the world the chance to make their voices heard and make a difference in their communities. World Pulse has amazing resources, including a magazine, training programs, and campaigns. Never doubt the power of social media!

Keep up with World Pulse   twitter facebook

Women for Women International 

Women for Women International is an organization that sponsors women victims of war by helping them rebuild their lives through financial and emotional support. They work closely with women who have suffered from trauma and conflict and help them become survivors and leaders. Women for Women International works with eight countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nigeria.

Follow Women for Women International twitter facebook

Prosperity Catalyst

Prosperity Catalyst is our sister organization! They strive to support women in distressed regions by providing necessary tools and training that help them become leaders as well as entrepreneurs. They value vitality, community, solidarity, entrepreneurship, and freedom. They have a project in Haiti and are currently working on setting up a program in Iraq.

Follow Prosperity Catalyst twitter facebook

Vital Voices

Vital Voices actively seeks to invest in “extraordinary women around the world”. This organization engages with women who have the potential to rise into empowering leaders by providing them with training in management, business, marketing, and communication development skills that are necessary for becoming advocates for their community and the world.

Stay updated twitter facebook

 Women Thrive

Women Thrive is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides a voice for women living in poverty worldwide. Although they are interested in the interests and opinions of women, they strive to create equal opportunities for both men and women to work together to create better lives for their communities. They focus on improving education, economic opportunities, food security, violence against women and girls, and making sure that the overall international aid budget is used effectively.

Make sure to follow Women Thrive twitter facebook

A Woven Thread: Healing the Past, Hope for the Future

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As a company that works with women refugees, we love finding other social enterprises who do the same, which is why we loved learning about A Woven Thread!

WEAVING FOR HOPE

A Woven Thread, founded by Beth Seremet and Katie Berube, is based in New Hampshire where more than 7,500 refugees have settled since leaving their camps in Malaysian cities. In Myanmar, many of the women were surrounded by violence and there were often horrific attacks on their communities. Beth and Katie’s goal is to help build a better future for these women and give them an opportunity to tell their stories.

CONNECTING WEAVERS & WEARERS

Their Artist Spotlights, give customers a chance to get to know the artisans. Salimah, one of the artists, tells us how A Woven Thread has finally given her the chance to work toward achieving her dreams, “I can feel my own dream being reawakened. I can continue my education as an adult and I believe I will still open my restaurant.”

FROM SARI TO SCARF AND BEYOND

A Woven Thread strives to create a better future for refugee women by creating beautiful hand-woven scarves out of recycled silk saris from cooperatives in Nepal. The threads weave together the stories of the women, or what they call “the four circles of empowerment”. The first circle being the artisans, the second their community, the third supports the cooperatives, and the fourth is the change that they strive for.

We love the scarves unique style and rich colors, not to mention their determination to create opportunities for the Rohingya women.

Here are a few products that we’ll be wearing this Spring:

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1.  OZ, beautiful emerald scarf that will definitely boost your confidence. // 2. Soft Petal Bangle Set, perfect springtime colors!

Check out their blog to learn more about how it all began and show them some love on Facebook!

 

5 Ways to Treat Yourself This Winter

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We’re in the middle of February, which means that the holidays are over and the charm and magic of the first snow falls are long gone! It might be hard to imagine that spring is just around the corner, but we have some ways to help bring some warmth and happiness to your life on these cold winter days!

1.       Embrace the Power of Sleep

This may seem incredibly obvious, but a good night’s sleep or a nap is the body’s natural reset button. During the winter months, while you’re stuck in doors it’s easy to forget that rest is important. Even though you might not be as active outdoors, your mind is constantly at work! If you need help relaxing, try lighting one of our signature candles, the soothing scents will help put your body and mind at ease.

2.       Drink Tea

It’s cold outside and drinking a hot cup of tea will lift your spirits and keep you warm! There are so many different kinds of tea you can explore. Herbal teas that have echinacea and valerian root can even help boost your immune system.

3.       Your Skin Needs Love Too!

Winter can be harsh on your skin. If your skin is dry and your lips are cracking it might be time to invest in some rejuvenating spa treatments. Pamper yourself with our Peace of Mind at Bath Time gift set, which includes fair trade bath salts and lotion from Good Fortune.

 4.       Curl up with a Good Book

As a student, I know that reading can feel like a chore, but after a long day at work sometimes it can feel great to put my laptop, cellphone, and other electronics away and escape into a good story. Reading is also a great way to keep your mind and imagination active. Not to mention, it’s fun to explore local libraries and small bookstores!

 5.       Laugh a little

Did you know that laughing can actually make you healthier? Laughing can improve your immune system, your blood pressure, it relieves stress and eases anxiety, and because it’s so contagious it can even strengthen our relationships! Watch a funny movie, go to a comedy show, make faces at yourself in the mirror, allow yourself to be silly, and maybe check out laughter yoga!

And most importantly, remember to treat yourself!

Let us know what keeps you feeling good during these cold months by posting on our Facebook, or sending us a tweet!

 

 

We’re Now B-Corp Certified!

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Prosperity Candle is now B-Corp Certified—a stamp of approval for sustainable businesses. From day one, our company has been built on social impact, so we’re thrilled to have our designed to do good mission recognized by the folks at B Corporation.

You might be wondering: what exactly does B-Corp certification mean? Well, it’s not just a certification – it’s also a movement striving to support businesses that benefit and give back to society.

The B-Corp movement sets a new standard for socially conscious and responsible companies that are designed to make a difference. Think of it as similar to what Fair Trade means to coffee — B Corp looks at how the business treats its employees, distributers, consumers, and the environment.

Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B-Corps, believes that businesses should increase their positive role in society and become part of the solution, not the problem.

In his Ted Talk “On better businesses”, Gilbert discusses how today’s capitalist system works towards benefiting shareholders, when it should also benefit the stakeholders. Even though the government and non-profits do help give back to the community, they often don’t have the resources to make a dramatic difference.

Gilbert says that we need to “harness the power of business” in order to solve societal and environmental problems. It’s the same principle upon which our company was founded – check out our company history to learn more!

We are very proud to be a part of a growing community of over 800 businesses that have the same dream: to redefine success in business.

8 DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

 Rather than spending your money on boxed chocolate and cards this Valentine’s Day, grab your scissors and hot glue gun and add a personal touch to your gifts with these adorable DIY projects.

Be sure to check out our Valentine’s Day Collection for more gifts that your friends and loved ones will enjoy.
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1. Cute Soda Case Wrap // 2.  Floating Heart Backdrop // 3. Crayon Heart Valentines // 4. Friendship Bracelet Valentines // 5.  Arrow Cookie Picks // 6.  Cherry Shirley Temples // 7. Wooden Heart Coasters // 8. Library Card & Journal

 Looking for more ideas? Follow us on Pinterest!