Holiday Shopping Labor Free – 15 Awesome Trafficking Free Companies

I challenge you to be more cautious of where you’re spending your money this holiday season. As the season of giving, I pray that you keep the hands of those creating your gifts in mind.

International Labour Organization says that “almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour – 11.4 million woman and girls and 9.5 million men and boys. Forced labour in the private economy generates US $150 billion in illegal profits per year.”1

The biggest problems are the fast fashion products cheaply made. Be aware of these companies and brands: H&M, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Nike, the Limited Brand (Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, The Limited, Express).2

Rather than making purchases which support companies that have been in yours and your families closets for years, why not try a few new brands?

  1. Tecovas boots – These are the most comfortable cowboy boots I have ever owned, and they’re both affordable and slave free. — https://www.tecovasboots.com
  2. Slumlove Sweater Company – an Austin local business woman is working with woman in Haiti creating beautiful sweaters fair trade and trafficking free. — http://www.slumlove.com
  3. Purses and clutch – Another Austin local brand making purses and clutches — https://www.purseandclutch.com
  4. Agathos leisure – Ethical, fair-trade AND organic athletic gear. — https://agathosathleisure.com
  5. NAJA – An undie company turning women from Columbia into micro-entrepreneurs. — http://www.naja.co
  6. Teysha- Austin boot company that makes custom boots. They focus on quality over quantity, and social justice. — http://www.teysha.is
  7. Toms shoes – Tom’s Shoe’s started the buy one, give one initiative. For ever item they sell, one is given to someone in need. — http://www.toms.com
  8. Krochet kids – They empower women to rise above poverty and transform their lives for both themselves and their families. — https://www.krochetkids.org
  9. Fossil – A beautiful watch company that strives to empower people and create community. — https://www.fossil.com
  10. PACT – Extra soft, organic basics for the whole family. — https://wearpact.com
  11. Everlane – Their goal is transparency and integrity with their brand and their factories. — https://www.everlane.com
  12. Girlfriend collective – These leggings are trafficking free AND good for the environment. They are fair trade, ecofriendly and each pair is made out of 25 recycled water bottles. — https://girlfriend.com
  13. Sseko designs – Bags, shoes and accessories made in east Africa. — https://ssekodesigns.com
  14. Being apparel – ethically sourced and created athletic gear. — https://www.beingapparel.com
  15. Frankie Jean – They have a beautiful collection of the best designers and creatives that are in Austin. They support local artists and sell everything from clothing to home goods and stationary. — https://www.frankiejean.com

These are all brands with incredible products and amazing quality goods for yourself and your loved ones. I’ve had the honor and privilege of speaking with and working with some of these companies one on one, and I’m amazed by their hard work and determination to change the world. Your purchase will help them continue along in their mission to promote change and raise the standards for those in manufacturing and the facilities where they are working.

 Learn more at http://www.IgniteLightNow.org

Sourcing:

  1. Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Slavery. Retrieved from  http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang–en/index.htm

  2. (Jan 1, 2014) 10 Companies That Use Slave Labor. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/cat1613/slavery-never-ended-it-grew-and-got-ignored-db1p
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Reality Checks

Reality checks always suck but i’ve found when the right person gives you the words you need to hear at the right time, they can be pro founding.

I regularly get caught up in the daily struggles and roadblocks that are thrown my way. Typically, I try to acknowledge them and move forward without letting them get me down, but like any other human being, sometimes that isn’t the case. The last 6 weeks of my life have been insanely frustrating, exhausting, and heart wrenchingly painful. Seeing everything that i’ve been through, in retrospect, it really hasn’t been that bad, but the combination of it all and feeling alone on top of it, is what has made it so hard.

I ended a relationship that I honest to God thought was the one for me. You know what I’m talking about. That relationship where you think this might actually be the last first kiss you ever have. The one where the relationship feels so easy, and perfect. On top of all of that, he had all of the qualities that I had asked God for in the perfect spouse. Unfortunately, due to circumstances in his life, i chose to end the relationship to allow him the space that he needed for healing. While I did care for him greatly, i’m the only one who can stand up for myself, and I realized that I couldn’t be in a relationship waiting for the other person to realize what I already knew. Walking away was hard, but moving forward has been even harder.

I met a great guy friend of mine for ice cream last night. This man has been in my life for 7+ years and has always been there for a good laugh and an honest conversation. He looked at me with serious eyes and said “for someone as religious as you are, I find it hard to believe that you can’t let go of the plan you have for yourself to allow God to do what He has planned for you.”

WHAT?!? Talk about a slap in the face of honesty. I tried to explain to him that I always thought at 26 that I would be married by now, maybe with a baby. And while the life that I have now is incredible and God has blessed me with way more than I deserve, i still wish for that life that i’ve dreamed of.

Its hard. Stepping out on faith and choosing to let go and let God. It really is and he looked at me and told me he understood. That it was a battle he also struggled with but he has decided to move forward everyday as best as he can and see what the Lord will provide for him.

Letting go and letting God is unfortunately always easier said than done. These are some verses that I found peace in, hopefully if you are fighting a similar battle, they help you as well.

Isaiah 43:18 “But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.

Job 17:9 the righteous shall move onward and forward; those with pure hearts shall become stronger and stronger.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Romans 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

With all my love,

Get off your butt & back into the gym

Get off your butt and back into the gym! Understand I’m telling this to myself just as much, if not more, than I’m telling it to you. As I sit here creating my meal plan for next week, I’m also eating mint chocolate chip ice cream out of the tub and drinking a glass of white wine. So to say that I view life as a balance is an understatement.

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Getting back on track for me is the hardest part. It’s not the staying on track that’s challenging, while it provides plenty of temptation, it’s getting started that causes me to immediately fail before I even begin. I have set a 5-6am alarm every morning for the last 7 work mornings and have only gotten up for one of them. Something has to change.

I have been an Advocare product user for 2+ years now and absolutely love the products. They have given me more energy, allowed me to cut out caffeine, helped me stay on track and made me love filling my body with healthy foods again. I’m starting a 24 day challenge on Monday and thought about the steps I’m taking to prepare for success. Maybe you can use one or two of them as well to help you on your journey to a healthier future!

1. Meal Planning – Make a list of the meals and snacks that you’re going to eat for the next 7 days. Also make the grocery list to match. This will help you to stay on track and ignore all of the items you’re craving while shopping.

2. Weekly Meal Prep – I always meal prep on Sunday’s after church. It makes the week easy for those on the go. With your meals already made, you know exactly what you’ll be eating without having to think about it and with the money already spent you’ll be less likely to stop for something different.

3. Refillable Water Bottles – I love my 32oz water bottle, as well as my Swell water bottle (which keeps fluid cold for 12+ hours). This lets me keep water with me at all times! I also recently heard about a 10 gulp rule. Every time you go to take a sip of water, take 10 gulps instead. This will keep you incredibly hydrated throughout the day!

4. Have a workout buddy – Find a friend who can keep you motivated and accountable. I take BodyPump and Spin classes with a girl friend and it helps get us both out of the house at 5am. Knowing that someone is counting on me helps get my feet on the floor and me out the door. It also makes it more enjoyable. Anywhere where you can laugh and be yourself is a great place to be.

5. Get outside – Rather than always working out in a gym, get outdoors. Run around the neighborhood, take a community yoga class, go paddle boarding. Switch up your routine!

6. Throw out the junk – Get rid of all the foods in your home that will cause you to get off track. For me its sweets, and chips. I have made sure to throw out all of the junk in my house so that I can be the most successful. Also, it requires me to go out of my way if I really want to get those items.

7. A good night sleep – I have found I’m the most productive if I get 8-9 hours of sleep, so going to bed early is essential.

8. Daily Journaling – Writing every evening about my day helps me clear my head before bed but also lets me list out my workouts. It also allows me to track my progress.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

The opposite of your expectations

Do you ever prepare yourself for how a situation is going to play out, and then it happen the exact opposite?

I’ve been dealing with hip pain for a few years now caused by distance running. I’m a half marathon runner and Tough Mudder participant. Injury is common, and almost expected. I’ve been dealing with my pain through a chiropractor over the years, and its been enough to allow me to train less than desired but cross the finish line of every race of signed up for.

I started dating a chiropractor earlier this year and he recommended that I have an MRI done to see what’s actually going on inside, especially since I’m turning 26 in the fall. Should I need anything serious, id rather my parents insurance cover the fees.

The results of my MRI Anthrogram caused my chiropractor to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon. My expectation for the appointment was that I was going to leave with answers, or a game plan for moving forward. I assumed that physical therapy would be recommended once or twice a week and that would be it. Unfortunately, I left with more questions, and no new answers. I’ve now been referred to a second orthopedic surgeon in the Austin area, and this one is the best in his field for my cases.

The words ‘rare’ and ‘never in my 43 years of experience’ always begins a downhill conversation. All of my scans combined show adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder, but mine is in my hip. The orthopedic surgeon I saw today has never seen a case like this before.

Rather than panicking and assuming the worst, which is the fight or flight happening in my head right now, I’m choosing to breathe and not think about it. At this point, surgery could certainly be in my future, but I wont know until I see this next doctor. Until then, I just have to wait.

Perspective

While being in my mid 20s has been some of the greatest times of my life, its also the time when all of my friends are getting engaged, married and having babies…including my ex’s.

My first serious boyfriend ever got married this past weekend. He married a girl that I was incredibly close to in college. And it put me in this weird mood. Not because I wish it was me he was saying ‘I do’ to, because I don’t. I know that God used the relationship he and I had to teach me a lot, and grow in more ways than I probably am even aware of, but it was still weird. I tried explaining the feeling that was distracting me to my mom, but she just couldn’t relate.

I know a part of me is sad that I’m not at that season of my life yet, but still sad isn’t even the right word. I’m very slightly envious, because I’ve been wanting to be loved by someone who wants to spend the rest of their life with me. But then I think about how much I’ve changed in the last year and a half. I think about the things that I thought were important in a significant other, and how different those “absolutely must have” qualities have changed.

J and I remind each other regularly that we don’t need each other. While to some that may sound incredibly insensitive, to me its incredibly empowering. Its empowering to be able to look at the man I care about and with 100% honesty be able to tell him that I don’t need him. But that I CHOOSE to have him in my life. I choose him. He’s in my life because I want him there, not because I need him to provide for me. Or because i don’t know what life would be like alone. Or because I can’t live without him.

When the guy that just got married and I broke up, we’d been together for 4 years – 2 in high school and 2 in college and I literally didn’t know what life would be like without him. I hadn’t walked through life alone in so long that I didn’t know what to expect, our how to function. Id lost friendships because he became my world so I had to start from scratch. Granted, I was 16 when we started dating, so I really didn’t know what I was doing, but it made starting over even more challenging. I had to establish a baseline for the woman that I wanted to be and grow from there. I had to recreate the tribe of people that surrounded me and occupied my time, and I had to figure out what it was that I wanted. I had the freedom to decide for myself what I was going to do with my future, as well as what I wanted to spend my free time doing and even simpler, where I was going to eat. I didn’t have to take into consideration anyone else’s feelings but my own and it was terrifying and exhilarating.

Now I look at where I stand, and its incredibly empowering to be able to look back at the growth that’s occurred. To be able to honestly and truly say, but also believe, that I don’t need a man in my life. I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of giving myself the most amazing life all on my own. That I can provide for myself and my dog. That I can have friendships all over the world and successfully make them important pieces of my life despite the distance between us. I’ve found hobbies and grown as a Christian woman and daughter. And I’ve managed two jobs and developed a relationship with an incredible Christian man, all while never once losing who I am.

Take a step back and look into yourself for a second. Do you depend on your significant other or spouse for everything in your life? Financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically? I challenge you to take some time to focus on yourself. YOU are the most important person in your life. And I think that is something that we regularly forget. Everyone needs a reminder, and i’m happy to be yours.

With all my love,

kristi