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Blogging ethically: our favorite ethical lifestyle blogs

We’re a little bit addicted to lifestyle blogs.

What can we say? We love beautiful interiors, clever ideas for diy projects, and all things lovely. What we love even more is discovering amazing blogs focused on covering ethical brands and providing thoughtful alternatives to traditional purchases. Below are a few of our favorite ethical lifestyle blogs — we’d love to know yours!

Buy Conscious

Bringing you “daily inspiration for conscious living”, Buy Conscious is the passion project of Rose and Julia, two women lending their voices and efforts to making consumers aware of the power of their purchases. Right now, we’re loving their ideas for holiday gifts that keep on giving through Oxfam America’s Unwrapped program. And we were honored to be included in their recent write up of conscious candles!

Ecocult

Based in New York City but reaching far beyond, Alden Wicker’s Ecocult is a great resource for sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives. Showcasing amazing brands doing good, with an eye for highend style and design, Ecocult consistently covers items that end up on our wishlists. With holiday season madness approached, Alden recently wrote a open letter to her family on present-buying . . . a great thought piece and conversation starter for any of us feeling that the over-consumption of Christmas needs to be scaled way back!

Life Style Justice

Hannah’s heart and soul is in social justice — she works with non-profits and for-good businesses, and identifies as a social activist and conscientious consumer. Life Style Justice is her outlet for sharing the many ways she aligns her values with her purchases. Filled with posts on ethical fashion, homemaking, and more, our favorite feature is Life Style Justice’s Ethical Style Files, a gorgeous lookbook of Hannah’s fair trade, thrifted, made in the U.S.A., and otherwise ethical wardrobe.

Let’s Be Fair

Dominique’s internet home was one of our first ethical blog discoveries, so it holds a special place in our hearts! Working from the belief that a “thoughtful  and ethical lifestyle can be stylish, affordable, and fun,” Dominique covers a wide range of topics relating to ethical purchasing — from beauty to ethical good for little ones to how to throw an ethical wedding (her recent post showcasing ethical engagement rings was full of stunning rings that would light up any proposal).

Many Sparrows

Kayla’s goal is to inspire women to find a story worth sharing, and she does so through thoughtful, personal essays on her blog Many Sparrows. From sharing stories of motherhood (her letter to her son Joseph about the joy of being his mother brings tears to our eyes) to reflections on her faith and values, Many Sparrows is an uplifting read time and time again. We were lucky enough to have Kayla share our story with friends at the Influence Conference, and her passion for our work touched us deeply!

Did we miss an ethical lifestyle blog you love? Drop us a comment and let us know!

Little Known Methods for Reducing Holiday Stress

At Prosperity Candle, we are constantly searching for new ways to help our friends and customers (okay, and ourselves!) to relax and unwind. With the holiday season approaching, there’s a whole lot of joy and merriment around the corner . . . but additional stresses, too! Our to-do lists seem never ending and the season always has a surprise or two in store (an newly-instituted end of year report at work, an unexpected holiday guest at home . . .).

Sometimes we all need to take a breath and remember to celebrate what the holidays are all about: joy, genuine connections with family and friends, beautiful moments to cherish (if only we could unwind a bit).

If you’re feeling stressed this fall and need to get your mind back on track, here are 5 often overlooked ways to keep focused, disconnect from stress, and unwind during the holiday season.

Keep a journal

Keeping a journal is an excellent way to take a step back from your life, get your thoughts in order and clear your mind for a moment. A cluttered and hectic life will suddenly seem much more manageable once you’ve got it all down on paper.

5x7_OwlBlueWhile it’s easy to keep a journal on your laptop, or even on your phone or tablet, we really recommend buying a notebook and writing out your thoughts by hand. It doesn’t have to be fancy (although there are plenty of fun options out there). Maybe it’s because we so often associate typing with working, but letting your feelings flow through a pen and onto paper will often relax you in a way that typing doesn’t.

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The making of the Forever Candle

It all starts with the perfect glass.

Our dream of the Forever Candle started with the beauty and symbolism of an egg. The shape came to life through a collaboration with expert glassblowers in Poland: thick walls, a heavy sham, and delicate curves. Every one handblown, our team of artisan candlemakers clean and prepare each glass, carefully affixing cotton wicks by hand.

It all begins with the perfect glass Htoo carefully wicks each glass by hand

When it comes to candlemaking, getting the recipe right is key. We think of it as part chemistry, part art. Fragrance is measured and added to our soy blend wax, mixed and melted by hand. And before candles can be poured, the glasses need to be heated to the right temperature, ensuring a beautiful appearance and candle performance.

Fragrance and wax come together to create the perfect mixture for pouring. Heating the glass to prevent unsightly bubbling

Once the blended wax & fragrance has reached the perfect temperature, the pouring can begin. Each glass is slowly filled, ensuring no spattering of wax on the glass walls. As the wax flows from the pitcher, it begins to solidify almost immediately, transitioning from crystal clear to milky white. It’s beautiful to watch — definitely the part of the process that most feels like magic!

Htoo checks on wax Wax flows from pitcher to Forever Candle glass

Before the wax can cool, wick centering tools are used to hold the wick perfectly straight. To ensure the wax cools correctly, candles are covered while the wax solidifies. Finally, candles are inspected for quality — we often re-melt wax to ensure a lovely, level candle. Designed to burn beautifully, at first and every light.

Wick centering tools keep wicks from sagging Moo Kho checks a Forever Candle for any imperfections

We take pride in every candle we pour, but the Forever Candle is particularly special to us. Every one comes with a lifetime of complimentary refills, for a lifetime of impact — every pour provides living wage work for women artisans building a brighter future after years as refugees.

Shop the Forever Candle

images by Meg Haley of Meg Haley Photography

Prosperity Candle for The Little Market

photo by The Little Market

We’ve long been fans of The Little Market, a beautifully curated online marketplace of ethically sourced handmade goods changing the lives of artisans around the world. (Their mission aligns with the Prosperity Candle mission so perfectly!) And we’re honored to be their very first U.S. partner! We collaborated with them to create an exclusive line of hand poured candles in scents perfect for holiday entertaining (like Pumpkin Pie and Holiday Spice) or any time during the year (like rich, sophisticated Vetiver, a personal favorite).

Head over to The Little Market’s blog for a Q&A with Prosperity Candle founder Ted Barber. And don’t forget to check out our candles in their shop!

photo source: The Little Market instagram

What’s the real environmental impact of a candle?

It’s a question we ask ourselves all the time. As a socially responsible business, we also have a responsibility to our planet. We strive to minimize our environmental impact in every way possible!

Prosperity Candle's ingredients

Soy versus paraffin

At first glance, soy wax or beeswax seem like the obvious raw materials to use when thinking about environmental sustainability. Surprisingly, this is not always the case!

After much research, we have concluded that our custom paraffin-soy blend is the most sustainable choice we can make today. Paraffin is a material that is available regionally in large quantity, so using it means a much lower carbon footprint than with other waxes that must be shipped in.

Paraffin is also a by-product, which if not used would go into the waste stream. We’ve found that most soy wax is sourced from agribusiness, where large amounts of petrochemicals are used in carbon-intensive cultivation methods. Paraffin can actually be a more sustainable option than soy when you compare total environment impacts.

Healthwise, food-quality paraffin burns as cleanly as other high quality waxes. At Prosperity Candle, we use only the highest grade candle waxes with natural cotton wicks (no lead or zinc) for a long-lasting, clean burning candle.

Smoke & soot

It’s an unavoidable fact: all waxes emit some soot. If made and burned correctly (yup, trimming your wick actually matters!), a flame should not emit smoke. And here’s the good news: waxes burn cleanly if they are high quality, highly refined, and the production of the candle is technically correct.

Our candles and fragrances meet the strict California Proposition 65 for indoor air quality, and contain none of the performance enhancers that low-grade, very fragrant candles use.

Production standards

When looking at how ‘green’ a candle is, you have to also consider the environment in which it is made and the candle container.  We are proud to be a certified B-Corp for our environmental and social sustainability practices.  We make our candles in a clean, healthy environment for both our candle artisans and the candles themselves.

In selecting our vessels, we always aim for recycled, recyclable, repurposed and fair trade.  We hate the idea of a candle vessel being thrown out when done, which is why we have a section of our site dedicated to reuse and repurposing, which is many times better than simply recycling.

Moo Kho centering a wick in our production studio

Sustainable business values

Our team consists of locavores in both spirit and practice. We eat produce from New England farms shares, buy local dairy products, and support artisans in our neighborhoods. But we also recognize that not everything we use can be made locally – and that there are people living in distant places who can greatly benefit from trade.

While working to improve the lives of women in places of conflict and disaster, we strive to minimize our carbon footprint wherever possible. We consolidate shipments, select routes with the smallest carbon footprint (we are a strong advocate of ships using wind power to reduce fuel use), minimize packaging and waste, recycle & reuse everything we can, and regularly purchase carbon offsets.

We are committed to tracking and continually reducing Prosperity Candle’s carbon footprint over time.

Have a question about our environmental impact? Get in touch via Twitter or Facebook!

GOOD

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Empower Women

Women Working
Empower women. It’s a powerful statement, a two word sentence that says so much more than the sum of its letters. And it’s what we’re about. What we believe in. Empower women.

Empower women. The women we work with here at Prosperity Candle. They’re new to the United States, refugees from Burma, and in need of support. Not charity, but sustainable economic opportunity. They’re raising families, learning English, acclimating to a new climate and a completely new way of life. For them, empowerment starts small: living wage work in a supportive environment, where time off is readily available, sick kids are welcomed in (one great thing about having a nap-ready couch in our studio!), and candles are made by their hands, designed to share their light with the world.

Empower women. The women our nonprofit sister organization, Prosperity Catalyst, works with in Haiti. They’re moms, they’re daughters, and through their work they’ve become friends. While their budding business is still small, selling locally in the markets of Cap Haitian, their spirit is huge. Each woman pools a portion of the income she makes into a savings fund, and the women regularly distribute that pool to one of its members. This extra piece of income has allowed for small, previously unavailable luxuries like a new haircut or outfit. It’s also allowed for children’s schooling to be paid for upfront. Investing not only in the women entrepreneurs, but in the next generation of women as well.

Empower women. And empower future women . . . empower girls. Show her Wonder Woman. Show her writers, and businesswomen, and teachers, and doctors. The world will show her princesses. Show her Malala Yousafzai, show her Half the Sky, show her the world beyond the tiny boxes, the gender roles she’ll be pushed into. Show her how to consume media messages with a cautious and critical eye. Empower her, show her the world of possibilities that lies ahead of her, and you’ve made a mighty investment into a brighter future for us all.

Adding an Artisan Touch to Perfect Interiors

I’ve been spending an exuberant amount of time on Pinterest admiring all of the beautiful interior design photos lately. So, I thought I’d make use of all that time by pairing some of our candles with my favorite rooms. While putting these pictures together, I realized that our candles fit pretty much any style!

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Our Splash Recycled Glass Candle matches the colors of this adventurous & purple dining area perfectly.

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The Silver Surprise Wave Bowl candle pairs nicely with this modern yet earthy living room.

 

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Our Peaceful LIght Recycled Glass Candle is a simple , but elegant addition to this classic chic kitchen.

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Our classic Prosperity Pillar was practically made to fit with this bedroom set and it’s rich purple tones.

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These repurposed Dry Soda Bottle candles add a fun & quirky touch to this beautiful outdoor dining area.

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These hand-painted Red Blossom Bowls are a fun addition to this colorful and fun living room.

Women we Love: Amy Poehler

Her character Leslie Knope teaches us that the three most important things in life are:

Friends

Waffles

Work

But off the screen, Amy Poehler has proven to be a strong and inspiring role model. Here are the top 10 reasons why we love Amy:  Continue reading

Designed to do Good: Lallitara

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I’m really picky when it comes to buying purses. This is mostly because I have awkwardly shaped shoulders and so I need to wear crossbody bags, or they’ll just slip right off of my arm. I know, it’s a weird problem to have. Anyway, back to the point of this blog post… I stumbled upon Lallitara’s Elephant XL Wristlet and fell in love with all of the beautiful designs and colors. Not only are they perfect for casual and formal outings, they share our “designed to do good” mission.

Bijal Shah, a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and M.I.T. decided to pack her bags and travel to India, where she worked to help impoverished communities access electricity. Shah joined a sewing class as a way for her to make a connection with the women that she worked with. This is where Shah began sewing saris into dresses and where the Lallitara story began.

Lallitara creates stylish and colorful clothing and accessories from secondhand saris from India. Over the years, India’s economy has improved, however that means that collecting used saris has become increasingly difficult because people are leaning towards buying new rather than used goods.

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Why are the materials important?

“Every year, 13.1 million tons of textile waste is going to landfills in the U.S.A. alone. Just try and begin to imagine how much that means around the world! The textile industry is also one of the top contributors to global green house gasses and waste water. By reusing these fabrics, we are not only saving them from landfills, but we’re also limiting the environmental harm caused in their creation.”

- Bijal Shah

17-20% of industrial water pollution is caused by the chemicals and dyes used by the textile industry. These chemicals that make their way into local waterways can cause serious environmental and health hazards to communities. Textile waste makes up about 6% of every landfill, but 95% of this waste is recyclable!

Giving Back

5-10% of Lallitara’s sales go towards supporting organizations like SAATH–a non-governmental group that works towards improving the quality of life in poor regions of India.  All of their products are made in sweatshop-free facilities, located in New York City, Fall River, Ma, and Lawrence MA.

Products you should check out…

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Elephant XL | Emerald 

 

 

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The Felix Bow Tie

 

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Striped Fern

 

15 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts

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Every Mother’s Day I try to get something nice for my Mom, and every year she yells at me, “Don’t spend your money!” So here’s a secret that you probably already know… Mother’s love handmade gifts. But since you’re probably too old to be making macaroni art, we’ve put together a handful of DIY projects (like this cute Flower Pot Necklace) that Mom will love.

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