Five jumpsuits

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Jumpsuit, Target, here; Shoes, Catherine Malandrino; ethical alternative here; Earrings, Old Navy, ethical alternative here; Stud earrings; Madewell, here

Hi folks! So, I debated whether to post this jumpsuit as I bought it at Target (quintessential fast fashion) and I am trying to cut back/eliminate my dependence on this type of clothing. I was even thinking of returning the jumpsuit, but I just fell in love with it the first time I put it on. It is so comfortable and easy to wear (and take off :)). The floral pattern is lively, while the off-the-shoulder silhouette is dramatic. I have been resisting the culotte trend because I was not sure how it would look on me, but I am pleased with the way this version of the trend looks. To accessorize this look, I added hoop earrings and blush slides.

I think one of the major reasons I want to get away from fast fashion is my tendency to cycle through clothes and disregard the value of each item. In this case, I feel that I will be wearing this jumpsuit for a long time so I think that counts for something.

To further cosmically offset my Target purchase, I am highlighting four ethical jumpsuit alternatives below. These picks come from three stores that are new to me. AmourVert (which means “Green Love” in French) has gorgeous pieces that are sustainably produced. Cleobella features bohemian clothing and accessories that are handmade in Bali with recycled materials. Finally, River Island offers pieces designed in-house and boasts an ethical mindset toward manufacturing as part of their “firm belief that business can be both profitable and responsible.” This UK company is huge, which immediately makes me skeptical about their practices, but I was impressed with what they had to say on their site about their relationships with their manufacturers and their commitment to working against modern slavery. Check out the jumpsuits below and let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂

FOURJUMPSUITS

1 here; 2 here; 3 here; 4 here

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jumpsuit4xoxo Anna

Thursday’s ethical style

Today’s outfit pairs a cute pink tank top (which I actually bought recently) with a kicky skirt and sneakers. Tie a bandana around your neck to complete the look. I like how cheeky this outfit is. It’s sexy, yet playful. As always, the items for Thursday’s ethical style are sourced from retailers that report themselves to be ethical and/or sustainable. I have found that this can mean a lot of different things for each retailer, from engaging in fair labor practices to sourcing recycled materials to eco-friendly production practices. While this can all be a little confusing, I feel like it is a step in the right direction to start to consider these factors when it comes to the clothing we wear. Here are the links to today’s picks:

Sneakers, Tom’s

Skirt, ASOS Eco Edit

Tank top, ASOS Eco Edit

Bandana, Krochet Kids

Ikat Wallet, Fair Trade Winds

Necklace, Starfish Project

How about you? What do you think of today’s look? Are you trying to be more conscious of your fashion choices? What have your experiences been?

xoxo Anna

 

Six snaps

 

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Pretty but dangerous

If you follow my blog, you know that I have been spending the month of July in Phoenix visiting family. I thought I would share some snapshots that I have taken during my visit. This will be a recurring series where I share interesting snapshots and moments that don’t really fit into a set category. As you can see, I’ve been doing a lot of baking and cooking, observing local animals (chipmunks, lizards, quails) and plants (so many kinds of cacti!), and shopping at the local Goodwill. Every time I come out here I try to spot a rattlesnake, but no luck so far. I look under every bush when I go on my daily walks because I feel like that is where I am going to see one. On past trips I have seen coyotes and javelinas, but never a snake! Wish me luck 🙂

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Homemade dinner rolls
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Love the pastel shades on this prickly pear cactus
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Denim and red nail polish
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I made two strawberry rhubarb pies!

Desert blooms

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Shirt, souvenir from Mexico, cute ethical alternative here; skirt, Calvin Klein, thrifted, ethical alternative here; Sunnies; bought at drugstore, ethical alternative here; boots, Nine West, thrifted, ethical alternative, here; Earrings, Madewell, here

Hello from Phoenix! Even though the heat is crazy here, I still love the desert. I have always felt very connected to and energized by it. I like the stillness and observing the plants and animals that are so different from what I am used to in New York.

I’m so happy to have a new outfit post to share with you today. This outfit seemed like a natural fit for the desert landscape. Something about the embroidered flowers on the shirt reminds me of the cactus flowers I have been seeing. The denim and the boots give it a slight cowgirl look, which I am not mad about. I got this shirt in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico a few years ago. It has surprised me how functional it has been. It was one of those items of clothing that just feels like home, or the clothing equivalent of home. The Goodwill here in Mesa, Arizona has been very good to me 🙂 I found this skirt there. It was weirdly long until I cut it down to midi length, and I plan to let the hem fray naturally. The boots were another Goodwill find. I think they will be just as good for New York winters as they are for desert walks. I made a few other fun finds which I will be sharing with you soon. For all these pieces, I have offered ethical alternatives from around the web. How about you? Do you have any favorite clothing items you have bought on your travels?

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xoxo Anna

Thursday’s ethical style

Today’s ethical style combines a cute leopard t-shirt from ASOS Eco Edit with a simple, pleated skirt from Everlane. A colorful headband, crystal bracelet and stylish sandals, gives this classic look a little flair.

  1. Leopard t-shirt
  2. Headband
  3. Leather card holder
  4. Pleated skirt
  5. Crystal bracelet
  6. Sandals

If you follow my blog, you know that I am in Phoenix for the month of July. It’s been hard to get a photo shoot in since my go-to photographer (my awesome sister) is 3000 miles away. But I think I have convinced my Dad to take some shots, so hopefully that will be coming soon. It has also been a challenge to come up with ethically-sourced outfits. I had some outfits planned before I left New York, but the clothes that I ordered didn’t look right. This week, I broke down and went to Target. It felt like an old friend and I got some pieces I really love, but ended up feeling bad about it and not wanting to post those clothes on the blog. Lesson learned, I guess.

I am finding that being more thoughtful about my purchases takes more time and results in a less spontaneous shopping experience, which is something that I am having a little trouble getting used to. Most of the ethical clothing I buy is from online retailers, so I also miss the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Still I think there is value in being more methodical about the clothing that I purchase both from a budget aspect and an emotional aspect. I think, deep down, I desire a connection to each item of clothing I wear. So when I get back to New York, I plan to purge and reassess my current wardrobe, which I actually very excited about. I think I will use some simplified version of the Marie Kondo method, but also put thought into the use of each piece and reintroduce myself to the clothes I own. I will be sure to blog about the process. It’s nice to know I will be coming home to a specific project as well.

Final note: If you like cacti and pie, you should follow me on Instagram 🙂

XOXO Anna

 

Feelings Friday

Feelings Friday is a semi-regular series where I take a break from fashion and lifestyle to share a little piece of my heart with you. It’s a little different every time. In the last post I talked about things that were inspiring me. Check it out here. This week I’m getting sentimental about small things…

Since I was a child I have been obsessed with tiny things. When I was young this meant that I spent hours in front of my dollhouse staging the perfect scenes. I was especially attracted to tiny food. In the dollhouse store, I would drool over intricately crafted miniature hams, delicate salads and iced cinnamon buns trying to decide where to spend my limited funds. I even crafted my own miniature food out of wax, glue and paper. I have to say, my sunny side up eggs were pretty cool.

Now that I am an adult, I still cherish small things both in the tangible and abstract sense. Through ever changing apartments, jobs and relationships, I have collected and carried a minuscule army of tiny mementos. Some were gifts, some found objects, some impulse purchases. Some have mysterious origins and some have origins I remember clearly. Now I look at them and I am awed that these little, seemingly insignificant items have endured without getting lost, falling out of favor or being broken. For sure, I have lost a lot of other things along the way, but it is reassuring that at least some things, no matter how defenseless they seem, will endure if someone cares. They also stand as a reminder, especially in times like these, not to forget the small things in everyday life and to bolster my hope that each tiny act of kindness we engage in will have impact.

xoxo Anna

Tiny things pictured: Eiffel Tower and “Love Wins” button, souvenirs from Paris; Tiny Lucky Cat, bought at Pearl River in NYC before it closed; Coral piece, picked up on a beach near Key West; Glass rune, Christmas gift from family member; Amethyst, found on a camp field trip to an amethyst mine when I was about 12. Feather and tiny dinosaur; origin unknown.

Thursday’s ethical style

Hi everyone 🙂 I’m excited to introduce a new weekly series. Every Thursday I will pull together some awesome ethical clothing items that happen to look great together! (at least in my brain). Let me know what you think of today’s look:

  1. How comfortable does this t-shirt look?
  2. Add a fun headband
  3. And maybe a delicate crystal necklace
  4. I love these pinstriped pants
  5. Slip into these slides
  6. Your underwear can be cute too! Bralette, here and undies, here

Black Impala

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Hat, Forever 21, similar here; Dress, Everlane, here; Belt, H&M, similar here; Shoes, H&M, similar, here

Hey everyone! I wanted to share my first ethically-sourced item of clothing with you today—this awesome black tank dress from Everlane. I am really pleased with the purchase. It feels great and I think it would be flattering for any figure. I recently wore it on the plane for a 5-hour flight and it will be my new go-to for traveling as it is super comfortable and I didn’t feel like a complete mess when I arrived at my destination. Speaking of traveling, I will be spending the next month in Phoenix and then I’m off to St. Croix for a wedding. I will try to share as much as I can from these great locations.

xoxo Anna

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Pretty polenta

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I feel like polenta is often forgotten when meal planning and I don’t know why. It is so good and relatively easy to make. I started developing this recipe years ago for my first food blog venture. Since then, I have made it many times and it has proven to be a crowd favorite. It is light, even with all the bacon and butter, yet tremendously satisfying. I’m also not sure if ragu is the right word for the vegetable mixture in this recipe but it seemed to convey the rich flavor and saucy texture of the vegetables when they are cooked. If there is another word for this type of vegetable mixture, definitely let me know. The whole dish comes together pretty easily, yet looks (and tastes) fancy (hello date night!). I hope you try it and let me know what you think ☺

Polenta with bacon and caramelized onion vegetable ragu (Serves 4-5)

Ingredients

Polenta

3 C water

½ t salt plus more to taste if needed

1 cup polenta (I used this)

3/8 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 T unsalted butter

4-5 slices of bacon cut into small bits

Vegetable ragu

1 large onion

4-5 T unsalted butter

2 medium zucchinis

1 can diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

 

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Make the polenta

Sauté bacon bits in a pan until crisp. Set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil. I happen to have a small casserole/loaf pan that just fits the amount of polenta made in this recipe but I think you could use almost any shape container as long as it isn’t too wide or tall. The idea is to create a solid block of polenta that can be cut into separate serving portions.

Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium stock pot. Slowly add the polenta to the boiling water, stirring all the time. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook polenta for approximately 30 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. (Note: this is what the package said. My stove runs very hot at the lowest temp so I ended up only cooking the polenta for about 15 minutes). The mixture will be thick and sticky. Stir in the butter, parmesan and bacon. Add additional salt to taste. Scoop polenta mixture into the greased loaf pan and pat it down/smooth it out to fill the edges so you have an even “loaf” of polenta. Cover with towel or plastic wrap and set aside to cool.

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Make the vegetable ragu

Slice the zucchini into thin rounds. I used the little slicer on the side of my cheese grater, but you can use a mandolin or other slicer. Set aside.

Cut onion in half lengthwise then slice into half circles.

I once read that it is important to use unsalted butter when you are caramelizing onions because the salt interferes with the caramelization process, so that’s what I do and it seems to work well. Melt 2 T unsalted butter in a medium stock pot over low heat. Add the onion and toss to coat. Add the remaining butter. Keep cooking the onion over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it turns golden brown (and smells caramelly). This can take a little while, but be sure to keep the heat low. You don’t want to burn the onion before it caramelizes. You can add more unsalted butter if it seems like the onion is sticking to the pan.

Once the onion is caramelized, add the zucchini to the pot and stir to coat with onions. Saute for a minute or two then add the can of tomatoes and mix to combine mixture. Simmer over low heat until the zucchini is just cooked through. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Plating

Turn out the polenta loaf onto a cutting board. Divided into four-five even servings. The shape will be dependent on the shape of your container. I used two slices per serving. Arrange your slices of polenta on a plate and top with the warm vegetable mixture. Garnish with some flakes of parmesan and a sprig of basil if you like. Enjoy!

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I had mine with a glass of rosé and I wasn’t upset ☺ This dish reheats very well, and I’m saying this as a person who doesn’t love leftovers. It is also versatile. If vegetables aren’t your thing, or you don’t have time to make the ragu, you can serve the polenta it with a simple red sauce. I was cooking with vegetable-averse person in mind when I made this, so I just reserved some of the caramelized onions for her (before adding the zucchini and tomato) and she ate them on top of the polenta with some parmesan cheese. One final note: If you want to take this dish a step further you can bake the polenta after you take it out of the loaf pan. Just cut it in to desired portions, place on a lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees until slightly crispy and lightly browned.

xoxo Anna

Au revoir spring

 

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Skirt, Madewell, here; Shoes, here; Tote bag, here; Shirt, H&M; Earrings, Old Navy

It’s been hot (like for-real summer) in New York City for the past week or so, which makes sense because summer solstice is only a few days away. There’s something about summer in the city that is so sexy. Time to break out the dresses and short skirts!

This denim skirt is from Madewell. I haven’t shopped there much as I think I was intimidated, maybe by the price point or because I thought the clothes wouldn’t fit… who knows… but I think I am going to shop there more in the future. From the research I did, it seems that Madewell is not considered a fast-fashion brand as they produce a smaller product line, so I feel slightly more comfortable shopping there. I kept this look simple by pairing the skirt with a white shirt, a pair of black heels and gold hoops.

And then there was this tote! I don’t know what it is about this bag, but it just makes me giggle. A friend at work came back with it from a sample sale around the corner. I hurried over to buy one myself. I felt pretty dumb running for a tote bag, but was happy because I got the last one. I haven’t heard of this brand before, but in addition to several similar totes with different sayings (I got one for a friend that says, “Nobody likes a shady beach.” 😉 Ain’t that the truth!) they had a variety of cute straw bags and clutches at the sample sale.

 

I’ve been doing some research on ethical clothing brands and I found that several great lists have already been compiled by other people. Guys, there is so much information out there! I got lost exploring the options. Many brands are surprisingly affordable, and surprisingly stylish. I think I expected to have to wade through a lot of high-price, low-style options before I got to something that felt right. But that was not the case at all. The range of styles and price points is vast. I learned about many new companies, and also found that some of my old standbys had ethical clothing options as well. I was aware of H&M’s Conscious line, but didn’t know that Urban Outfitters and ASOS have similar options. I ordered some items and will be featuring them in coming weeks. Can’t wait to share!

If you are interested, I found the following articles, here, here, and here to be helpful.

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