No Shopping for 365 Days?! Katie of Sustainability in Style

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my blog, let me introduce myself.

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My name is Katie and I am an ex-fashionista now Environmental Scientist and Sustainability major on a self imposed 365 Day ‘Wardrobe Workout’ shopping ban. Abstaining from purchasing clothing, footwear or accessories for a year has been a great way to learn how to stretch my current closet contents and Graces Way has asked me to share some of my tips with you.

Do some homework:

In order to get the most out of what you own you need to work out your personal style. The most incredible tool I have found to assist in the process is into-mind.com. The genius behind it all, Anuschka, has step-by-step programs that will help you identify your personal style and streamline your closet and best of all its free and fun.

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Creating a mood board is a great way to have a visual reminder of the style you want to convey.
The finished mood board!
The finished mood board!

Go Shopping and leave your purse at home:

Heading in store or online and checking out the latest styles without intention to spend can be a surprising experience. So often we are drawn to things we already own. If you have a feeling of shopping déjà vu there is a good chance you will find something similar in your own closet. On day 191 of my challenge I was lusting over a cardigan in the store window only to realise I have a shawl identical to it in my closet and could easily replicate the look. Take inspiration from what you love in store and try to style something similar at home, you will be pleasantly surprised at what you can come up with a little lateral thinking.

Inspiration Look...
Inspiration Look…
...and my version!
…and my version!

Make a mess:

Being creative can be messy. Get some crates or tubs you have lying around and label them ‘recycle’ ‘rethink’ and ‘repair’ and start sorting anything you haven’t worn in the last year (or ever) into categories. ‘Recycled’ goods are ones you know you will NEVER wear; these can be given to charity, used for fabric scraps, or repurposed into cleaning rags. Your ‘rethink’ box is for things you like but for some reason aren’t quite right. Most items in my rethink box have changed colour or shape a couple of times throughout my challenge. If you use INTO MIND to determine your idea colour pallet and preferred proportions, you might find yourself with a whole new wardrobe of clothes simply by dying (look for a copy of ‘Eco Colour’ by India Flint for dyeing options) or altering a few hemlines. If you just like the fabric you could use it to make a cushion or a purse.  The repair box will be full of old favourites, the things you long to wear but need some TLC. If you’re not sewing savvy find a great local tailor. Its much less ‘expensive’ time wise to invest a little money getting your favourites repaired than it is to find a perfect replacement.

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Be thoughtful about your look, and don’t be afraid to plan!

Take some time to appreciate what you have:

Have you seen ‘THAT’ person, the one that turns heads with their seemingly effortless and authentic style? That person could be you and you don’t even know it. Being OK in your body and your life can give such a radiant and positive glow to your persona. If you don’t believe me spend an afternoon on Stylelikeu.com. It is the most wonderful collection of personal stories of style and has some great insights into how style is not about what we wear, its about what’s underneath, our spirit. I personally recommend the ‘What’s Underneath’ Project and the ‘Second Skin’ series (BYO popcorn as you will likely be watching for a while, its addictive).

By shopping your closet you not only save money, you will save time, liberate yourself from the constraints of consumption (and yucky department store fluorescent lighting), and find your own style ‘groove’.

If you be brave and have fun with your style then outfit compliments are guaranteed!

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Megan from Grace’s Way here! As some of you will already know, Grace’s Way is promoting a one year, buy ethical challenge with the hashtag #graceswaypledge on Instagram and Twitter. For an even bigger earth-friendly challenge, let Katie know you are joining her cause with the hashtag #sustainabilityinstyle and #365DayChallenge!

Also, for those of you who are having problems with the giveaway widget, you can also enter the Luminance Skincare giveaway though their blog. You can also leave question for Luminant Skincare on this post to be entered! 

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Belated Graceful Favourites- May!

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I am a few days late with this, but May has been an extremely busy month. It’s was my birthday month, and I’ve been traveling, working several jobs at once, and there is construction happening in my garden that disrupts my schedule. I will try to post my favourites in a more timely manner next month. And now, on to my favourite fair trade, natural, ethical, graceful things of the month!

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Beauty:

This month, I have been using two oldies but goodies quite a bit. One of them has been in my collection for years, and the other I received at the end of the month from my family.

Shorts Story by OPI is a lovely pink. It’s one of those colours that you just can’t look at with a frown, and it is a staple for me.

Bikini So Teeny by Essie is the most perfect periwinkle blue I have ever seen. I’ve been eyeing it for so very long, and I couldn’t believe it when I opened my birthday package from my family and found it there, wrapped in pretty polka-dotted pink paper. Thank you Mom, Emma and Beth for reading my colour-loving mind! The polish is a cream formula, with tiny shimmers in it. It does take some working with- I put on two coats one day, and a third the next morning for full opacity. But the colour is worth it. In the shade, it’s an almost-mod periwinkle leaning on the blue side. In the sunlight, it takes on a more sky-blue shade that I can’t take my eyes off of.

Both of these formulas are free of the main three chemicals that make nail polish toxic. I’ll be posting more about the levels of nail polish toxicity, and what you can do to keep your pretty fingers and toes from hurting the planet (and you!) soon.

Pink Blossom lip balm- Burt’s Bees lip balms are a cult favourite. This tinted formula is the perfect in-between for girls who aren’t into full-on lipstick or lipgloss. It’s buttery smooth, with a poppy-pink tint. Oh, and it’s almost totally natural.

EOS lip balm in honeydew melon- I’ll be honest, my first EOS (summerfruit) didn’t get that much use. But this one seems to be softer for some reason. My mom and sister bought the four pack in Costco, and asked me which flavour/sent I wanted. I’ve been using it a ton this spring, after borrowing my little sister’s strawberry one every night when I was home. Like the Burt’s Bees, it’s natural, plus it is sweetened with steevia. My only complaint is the excessive plastic packaging.

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Skincare:

I’ve been going back to basics at bathtime, and skipping the shower gel for the more traditionally made soap. This one is by Fragonard, a beautiful centuries-old parfumeur in Grasse, France, and a gift from my cousin Laura. I visited the factory while I was staying with Laura in Nice, and we got to see how they extract flower essences to make beautiful fragrances. This soap is a lot more natural than my Bath and Body works shower gel, and it feels so old-school glamourous. The delicate rose fragrance reminds me of Grace Kelly. I can picture her taking a quick jaunt to the Fragonard store to pick this up- the factory is only a few hours from Monaco. It came in a lovely keepsake box of four- lavender, verbena, rose and freesia. I only have the freesia left now, and then the box will hold trinkets and treasures.

I’ve been having some issues with dry patches on my face, and this Calendula cream from Weleda really soothes and heals them. It’s made to be used by all ages, so it’s very, very gentle. The whole Calendula line from Weleda is great if you have sensitive skin like me.

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Fragrance:

My first fragrance is not natural, per se, but I have been wearing it almost every day since I got it as a gift. Wild Bluebell from Jo Malone smells like a dew-spattered field of green grass and flowers, with a hint of sweetness. If you were a fairy, this is what you would wear. I’ve wanted it for years.

Since bluebells are an endangered wildflower, Jo Malone recreated their scent with lily of the valley, briar rose, orange flower and cloves. They also made a large donation to the Woodland Trust, to help preserve Britain’s beautiful bluebells. That sounds pretty graceful to me.

My natural fragrance pick of the month is Malibu Lemon Blossom by Pacifica. If you want to hear my full review of this fragrance, click here. It’s been traveling in my backpack, my purse, and my beach bag all month.

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Fashion:

When I like something, I wear it over and over and over. This was the case for my two fashion favourites this month. The first was a daisy dress that I bought at a used clothing market. It was originally from H&M, and I wore it every week. It got snagged on a nail, so it is in the mending pile right now, but it will be back for June! You can see more photos of it in my outfit post.

I received this necklace from my parents at the end of this month, but they showed it to me on Skype on my birthday. I have worn it almost every day because it matches EVERYTHING. I’ve never been a silver girl, always preferring gold, but this may just convert me. Thank you to Shakespeare’s Sisters for crafting such a unique piece, the lovely vintage-inspired Avenle for stocking it in their webstore, and my wonderful family for sending it to me!

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Food:

I am a tea addict, and this month, there have been tea that I have come back to over and over.

The first has been a favourite of mine since moving to Egypt, but I just recently discovered the “more than fair trade” story behind their products, which you can check out here. Dilmah strawberry tea is lovely with honey and milk when I have a sweet craving. It reminds me of the first time I tried flavoured tea. I was eleven years old, at an American Girl doll (remember those?) tea party in Dakar, Senegal. I had always loved drinking milky tea with my Dad, but at this party, they served us raspberry flavoured tea with milk and sugar. It was a revelation to me. Tea can have flavours? I was hooked on experimenting with tea from then on.

My other favourite has been the chai green tea from local health food store Imtenan. I like to make a cup of iced tea with this in the morning to wake me up. It’s a little spicy, which is a nice change from regular green tea.

Incredible colours at Abdel Zaher
Incredible colours at Abdel Zaher

Lifestyle:

Notebooks, notebooks, and more notebooks. Put me in a stationery shop, and I may never come out. That’s what it was like when I visited Abdel Zaher for the first time. The store is in a little nook, off the beaten path near the historic Al Azhar mosque in Cairo. A friend steered me into it on my first visit to Cairo and bought me this notebook. I’ve been waiting till I use up some others, and now it is my little travel journal!

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This lavender and gold softcover is from another Egyptian brand called Colors & Shapes. Their designs are really cute, and they are made here in Egypt too. This one I am using to write down poems, quotes, and good things.

 

That’s all for now. I hope all you had a graceful May, and that June is even more full of wonder, beauty, and joy. There are exciting things coming to Grace’s Way this month. Sometime next week, a buyer for a not-so-average fashion brand will be sharing her incredible story with us of how she went from L.A. to Haiti- and loves it!

 

gracefully yours,

 

Megan

A Daisy Chain OOTD

“Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?”-Meg Ryan, You’ve Got Mail

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I have a slight obsession with flowers. Daisies are some of my favourites ever since You’ve Got Mail made it into my top 10 movie list. Who didn’t love making daisy chains when they were young, stringing them in their hair and pretending to be a fairy princess? There is just something about daisies that is so inviting and innocent.

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I’ve been looking for a daisy dress for quite a while. I was super lucky when, on my first trip to one of Cairo’s vintage markets, I found one! It was a grand total of six dollars Canadian. It’s so comfortable and easy to wear.

 

The trick with vintage markets, or any vintage store, is to keep an open mind, and look for colour and fabric first, not style. As you scan the racks, your eyes should be tuned to looking for interesting patterns and colours. I am always attracted to pretty pastels and floral patterns. According to your personal style, have an idea of the kind of thing you are looking for, but don’t get too detailed before you go. If you have a general idea of what you want- say, simple dresses- you will have much more luck than if you are looking for a specific colour or style. Also, if you do need a specific piece, you may need to go back on multiple occasions to get a sense of where things are, and when new pieces arrive. Have patience, and you will be rewarded with something unique and lovely.

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Dress- vintage

Belt- vintage

Locket, ring and pearl earrings- gifts from my lovely parents!

Flower hair clip- old: similar

Sandals- Birkenstock discontinued style: similar 

 

I’ve worn this dress at least four times since I bought it a couple weeks ago. I also took it on a weekend vacation to the Red Sea, and it was so easy to throw over my swimsuit. I love bringing dresses on summer holidays, because they save space in my suitcase, and they work at the pool, on the beach, going for a stroll in the garden, and at dinner jazzed up with some jewelry! In Cairo, I generally have to put leggings on underneath, for cultural reasons. But at the resort, and in my garden, with the flowers, I’m as free as…well, a daisy!

 

I’ve also uploaded a little outfit of the day and mini get-read-with-me video!

Do you guys like these short videos? I am still getting used to filming and editing, so they are nothing fancy, but I think they add a little something to a normal outfit post.

 

Also, this is not the only dress I bought that day. The other will be make an appearance in another post soon. Until then, happy sustainable shopping!

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If you have a beauty, fashion or lifestyle brand you think we should feature, or would like to do a guest post, please email me at contactgracesway@gmail.com! I have been in contact with so many of you, and some of those collaborations will be coming to Grace’s Way very soon.

 

PS- My favourite flower will be revealed on Instagram for this week’s #flowerfriday!

 

Photography by myself and Ahmed Badawi.

In My Dreams- A Wishlist

Graces Way In My Dreams Wishlist

 

For me, Pinterest is all about dreaming. Whether it’s a make-you-think quote, an interesting DIY, or a magical pair of shoes, I can spend hours finding inspiration in the pretty pictures. My birthday is in a few days, and since it’s a time when no one can tell me not to put my head in the clouds, I’ve put my In-My-Dreams Wishlist on the Grace’s Way Pinterest.

Here are some lovely things I am swooning for. Starting from the middle and then going clockwise from the top, we have:

 

Puff Piece Adornments Petal Flower Crown– $18

Designer Krystin not only makes these works of art incorporating upcycled materials, but she is also just a lovely person. Her hand-made crowns are sold on Avenle and Etsy. Plus, her prices are so incredibly reasonable for such fairy-tale items.

 

Mae Movement Roller Girl Set- $36

If you haven’t read our tell-all interview with Mae Movement founder Haley, click here! Her bracelets give women in Nepal a wage three times that of the average salary in their country. They also give them a way to stay out of the sex slave trade. Oh, and they are bright, fun, and adorable pieces! The pastel greens and corals in this set were basically mae-d for me!

 

One Love Organics Travel Set– $50

I have heard such great things about this brand, especially from Ashley of makeupTIA. Their products are pretty expensive by my standards, but very special. This travel pack comes in a cute little bag that says Love in pink letters. I think it would be a great way to see what all the fuss is about.

 

Mermaid Shampoo and Conditioner– $60 for the set

I’ve been looking for a new natural shampoo and conditioner. This is it. Coconut and orange blossom scented and sulfate-free, I want these to be my new best friends. Basically a dream in two bottles.

 

A ticket to a Staves concert– $?

This one fits into the lifestyle category. I have been loving the Staves for a couple months now, ever since I asked a friend in the music production business to recommend some musicians similar to Scarlett O’Connor on my current favourite show, Nashville.

The Staves are three sisters with hauntingly beautiful voices and melodies, and lyrics just as poetic as their sound. I would love to see them in concert one day!

 

Della LA Travel Bag– $24

Can you tell I have a thing for cute little travel bags? I am always traveling, so I can justify the many I already have. They are just so helpful for organizing the bits and bobs I bring with me. This pretty purple zip-up case was handmade by artisans in Ghana by super-chic up and coming fair trade brand Della. The lilac and aqua tie-die is one of my favourite colour combinations.

 

Sole Rebels tooTOOs– $65

This brand makes fair-trade, eco-friendly footwear. I am loving their adorable tooTOOs style- a fabric ballet flat. I’m not ashamed to admit that I want every colour, but I’m kind of on a lavender kick, and the light purple ones are calling my name. Then again, the grey ones look really practical…hmm…

 

Mermaid Perfume No. 1– $50 for the perfume spray, $25 for the mini oil rollerball

I definitely don’t need another perfume, but…just the name makes me want to close my eyes and dive under salty waves. From the makers of Mermaid Hair, Mermaid No. 1 is an orange blossom scent that so many lovely ladies have raved about. Meghan from Briar Rose Blog wore it on her wedding day.

Sarah from Vintage Magpies pranced in a field wearing a breathtaking cobalt dress with it in tow.

I already love it for it’s all-natural ingredients, mystery, and lovely aesthetic, but the scent of orange blossoms is also special to me for its presence in the picture-perfect town of Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. After climbing to the top of the hill, there is a little café where you can drink orange juice under the blooming orange trees. The town, with it’s white buildings and blue doors, coastal views, and laid-back atmosphere, was my very favourite place in Tunisia. I would love to have a perfume to remember it by.

 

RMS “Un” cover up– $36

RMS has been on my radar for a number of years. Recently I’ve been thinking I need to switch out the toxic, chemical-ridden stuff in my makeup bag with more natural fare. I have allergies around my eye area, and I have to be so careful with concealers and foundation. This one really intrigues me because it is meant to enhance your skin, not totally cover up- something I was never a big fan of with foundation anyway. It’s packed with lovely ingredients like coconut oil, which my dry skin definitely needs.

 

She And Reverie Mermaid Skirt– $148

Have I mentioned that I love mermaids? This gorgeous skirt by hand-made loungewear company She And Reverie is made of softest cotton and printed with beautiful mermaids and roses in pink, blue and aqua.

 

The Grace's Way Pinterest Board
The Grace’s Way Pinterest Board

Whew! I thought this was just going to be a few, but when I sat down and thought about it, there are so many lovely things I’ve been checking out lately. For more details on where to buy them, click through to my wishlist Pinterest board! Some of these are a little pricey, but hey, I get one blow-out-my-candles wish right? Now which should I choose…

 

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Let me know what’s on your wishlist in the comments below, or with the hashtag #gracesway on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram! Happy pinning 🙂

gracefully yours,

Megan

A Desert Adventure

Since I was a little girl, the desert has intrigued me. We lived in Senegal, West Africa for five years when I was growing up, just on the edge of the vast Sahara, and I always dreamed of living with the Bedouin like a character in 1001 Nights. When I was a teenager, Hidalgo and Sahara were my favourite movies.

I’ve had my fair share of desert forays, from sleeping in a Moroccan-style tent, climbing sand dunes and riding camels in Senegal, to baking bread under the sand in Tunisia- both in the Sahara-not to mention, one harrowing but memorable ride on horseback at 2 am near the pyramids.

These particular snaps are from a quick adventure on the way back from Sahel, Egypt’s North Coast.

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Photo by Ahmed Hossam Badawi

 

Everything I’m wearing, except for jewelry is vintage. The shirt, skirt and belt are all from the vintage market in Tunis, and are unknown brands. My burgundy Keds are from a Value Village on the Danforth in Toronto. The wooden necklace was a gift from my parents, from Senegal. The dolphin earrings were made out of a seed pod by the Malika Monkeys- a group of artisans in Senegal who mostly make African drums. Check out their website here for more fun jewelry and gifts- their skirts are especially gorgeous! I liked wearing these Senegalese pieces on this particular trip, because they remind me of my dreams as a child- and how I am living them now!

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By the way, along the road we saw a herd of camels! I wish I had taken a video, because it was amazing. There were so many of them. Here is a blurry photo I managed to snap out the window!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetBy way of an update for those of you who have been following Grace’s Way on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we had some issues with the camera on the trip, so there won’t be a lookbook video per se. However, we did manage to get photos, so I will be posting more of those soon. Once I get comfortable with video editing again (it’s been years!) and work out the camera kinks, I will try to post a lookbook. I have a very special idea in mind, so keep an eye out!

Also, if you are a fair-trade-loving, sustainably-living type person- or just trying to give it a go- send me your photos, post ideas, or experiences! This site is definitely not meant to be just me. Like with Haley’s interview, I love featuring people and brands who are making beautiful things, for the good of our planet and the people living here. So email me at contactgracesway@gmail.com, tweet @thisisgracesway or post on Instagram with the hashtag #gracesway.

That’s all for now, Graces. Have an adventurous day!

PS- It’s Audrey Hepburn’s birthday today!

PPS- It’s my (Megan’s) birthday month!

 

 

Grace Talks: Haley of Mae Movement on arm candy and fair trade

Today I am super-excited to share with you an interview that I have been wanting to do for years now.

Haley Cairo is a college student and the co-founder (with her mom) of Mae Movement, a line of bracelets made by artisan women in Nepal. The bracelets give the women a safe, enjoyable trade, and keep them home and safe, away from the rampant sex slavery trade that plagues many Asian countries.

Haley’s bracelets are beloved by YouTube stars and girls around the world for their trendy colors and incredible cause. Haley is one of the most positive women I have ever interviewed. I couldn’t have asked for a better conversation to have on Fashion Revolution Day! Here’s what Haley had to say about fair trade, shopping, and beauty!

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Dee and Haley

(GC- Grace’s Way founder Megan, MM- Haley Cairo)

GC: Tell us about how you came up with the idea for Mae Movement.

MM: I have always been passionate about helping others and finding the bracelets and my lifestyle change to be fit and healthy happened at the same time. I was a junior, or 11th grade in high school, and was a part of the state student senate. I used my personal story as a platform to speak to youth about achieving your goals and dreams even at a young age. It really motivated me to take this globally ! We thought making the bracelets a part of it was a perfect fit because they empower women in Nepal, plus we did fundraisers to start selling the bracelets, and donated a portion of the proceeds to different organizations.

GC: You got a lot of support from YouTube stars like missglamorazzi. How did that happen? Were you surprised that the bracelets caught on so quickly?

MM: Omg thinking About this still MAEks me excited! Dee (Mama Mae Movement ) and I were in New York for IMATS, which is a makeup trade show that all the beauty gurus attend. I went to share our bracelets and give them as gifts to some of my favorite YouTubers. I gave them bracelets and my card. Dee and I were walking back to our hotel that night and Ingrid (missglamorazzi) texted me! She and the other girls loved the bracelets and the movement behind them, so we planned to meet up the next day and have a little hang out and bracelet party at the Mercer in SoHo- it was so much fun! I really could not thank them enough for sharing our bracelets!

Haley's Springtime Accessories
Haley’s Springtime Accessories

GC: Wow, that is so great that they jumped on board like that. So, from all this, what kind of things have happened for these women as a result of Mae Movement? Have you been able to check back with them?

MM: Yes ! Most definitely! These women are earning a fair trade wage 3x the amount of the standard salary in Nepal. Not only can they afford to take care of their families and provide a good home for them but our artisans are provided with two free meals a day, and health care. We are also able to continue to employ more women!

GC: So obviously, brands like yours really make a difference. Have you noticed that there is a movement among young entrepreneurs towards creating social change?

MM: Absolutely! I think it’s human nature to want to feel like you are giving value to this world, and so much of what we are fed on television and the Internet is junk. I have seen such a trend lately with people who start off promoting themselves, their brand in a more worldly almost superficial way, and are now trying to bring on a more philanthropic aspect to their work, whether its with life advice or hosting fundraisers on their social media platforms.

I hate to say that giving back is trendy but in all honesty it is and it should be because there is so much in this world that is swept under the rug and goes unspoken. That why I am so passionate about Mae Movement, because there is no limit to what or who we are MAEking known 🙂 it could be an issue in a third world country or right here locally, like bullying.

GC: On the fashion side of things, how do you design the colours and patterns for the bracelets? (My favorite this season is the Cotton Candy set!)

MM: I LOVE that one too!

I grew up wanting to be in the art and fashion industry so I was always paying attention to trends and forecasting for the upcoming seasons. So I take a similar approach to creating our collections. I can tell you, Mae Movement is about to get a little MAEkover with our collections – we will be launching them faster and will have some new products !

The Mae Movement Cotton Candy set- love!
The Mae Movement Cotton Candy set- love!

GC: I’m excited to see what’s next. You sound super busy- What do you do when you are not working on the new Mae Movement campaign…or do you have any spare time at all?!

MM: Oh boy haha I am always working. I am also a freelance illustrator and photographer, so I am either working on a commission or doing a photo shoot. Another huge part of MM is my YouTube so I film and edit videos. Then I have my schooling. I am currently a student at the Institution of Integrative Nutrition! We will be launching personal health and lifestyle coaching very soon! I am also training a lot I wake up anywhere from 4-5 am to go to Crossfit or the gym.

GC: On that note, we know you are a fan of the Tone It Up girls. I’ve been watching them since college, by the way- love their videos! Who or what are some other influences on your personal style and lifestyle choices?

MM: Well, for lifestyle, my number one is my savior Jesus Christ. He has brought me through some of the hardest times, and I know he will always be there.

My Mom. I have never met anyone with more love in them then her. Not kidding, and anyone who meets Dee would tell you that I am so blessed to have her, she is my biggest cheerleader.

My grandmother “Nonners”, she is the my best friend – she has given me life advice that I will always reflect on. She is my absolute fashion icon. She introduced me to Vogue when I was little and she continues to give me her issues after she reads them. I use to play in her closet, and we definitely have had one or two…well a lot of bonding time over shopping. She always told me to be elegantly understated, and I would say I dressed older than my age in high school. I appreciate a good leather driving shoe and a killer bag.

As I have gotten older my style has developed and I would say I get a lot of inspiration has come from being so into fitness. I wear a lot of casual basic and dress them up with statement jewelry and cool shoes. I love how Victoria Beckham has mastered wearing black. And Nicole Ritchie is great at being a chameleon with her styles. Then of course Rachel Zoe the queen of accessorizing. Those are currently some icons of mine.

GC: Speaking of style icons, shopping is a huge part of following our fashion idols. Why do you think it’s important for young women to think about how the things they buy affect others?

MM: This one is huge for me because a lot of people don’t think about. One of my goals is to really push a new type of ” haul ” video on YouTube, with more fair trade or even USA and locally made products. These products may look glamorous, but if they saw the conditions of the factories and how the workers are treated it would give them a whole different perspective on what they buy.

Cosmetics is a huge one too. I love finding new fair trade beauty products I am currently loving my face lotion by Everyday Coconut. They are empowering the people of Togo with their products and they use local ingredients, it so awesome.

Haley's Girl Power Video on YouTube
Haley’s Girl Power Video on YouTube

GC: Personally, how do you decide on whether you will buy something or not?

MM: I am a quality over quantity so I will spend more on something knowing it came from a good source. Since starting Mae Movement I have become much more aware of it. I would say I especially pay attention to this with food! I try and buy organic and locally and I love supporting companies that use fair trade ingredients. I would love to say everything I have is some kind of empowerment product, but I do have some favorites that are not.

I am also a supporter of small businesses and independent designers. If you follow me on Instagram I post a lot of photos with shirts that say Dyer Brand on them. My cousin Mason is an incredibly talented surfboard shaper and men’s fashion designer. All of his clothing is American made and high quality. I probably wear his shirts more than anything else.

GC: That is so great. So, besides Mae Movement, do you have any other fair trade brands that you enjoy?

MM: I am in love with the Nena and Co bags from Guatemala I do not have one yet but I am planning on splurging for my birthday in June! These bags are made by women artisans in Guatemala using a traditional weaving technique. They have a ” peace pilgrim” that gives back to these women and their families providing fresh water and education.

GC: I’ve never heard of them, I will definitely check them out!

MM: Yeah, and I also love Wakami, another Guatemalan product! Their jewelry is awesome ! They have a great team of people who are really passionate about life and giving back to these people.

One that is special to me is Nepali by TMD. They have women artisans in Nelal who make the most beautiful scarves I have ever seen. They are super popular right now and I am so happy to see them getting mainstream attention!

GC: I am a scarf-aholic, so that sounds right up my alley. So, we’ve covered fashion…what is your favorite beauty tip?

MM: My favorite beauty tip?!?! That’s so hard I have a few ! Haha.

My grandfather is an orthodontist so my whole family are teeth freaks! A smile can change someone’s whole day so why not let your beauty affect others?! Take care of your teeth!

But on a more glamorous note….Beauty really comes from the inside out so having a diet high in vitamins and antioxidants will give you radiant skin! I drink a lot of green tea and lemon water! My grandmother always made sure I took care of my skin so sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen everyday !

Lastly people always ask me how I do my “no makeup” makeup look…. My secret is gold toned highlighter. I use Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in radiant light, but I not only high light my cheekbones but my eyelids to! I know it sounds weird but you look like you just got back from a vacation in the islands!

Mae Movement Arm Candy!
Mae Movement Arm Candy!

GC: Our final question: What’s next for Mae Movement, and for you?

MM: This is an exciting question! So many things! We are launching an apparel line! We have some new jewelry concepts but most importantly our involvement and community will be taking on a whole new role in Mae Movement! Really aim to have our day MAEkers our “movers” have a place to find not only awesome products with a purpose but a place where they can get life advice, health and wellness coaching, recipes, fashion tips, everything! A full on lifestyle brand! We will have a much more active blog and will be having some pretty exciting collaboration too!

GC: You really do have exciting things ahead! We’ll be following them for sure, and looking for how Grace’s Way can partner with you. Thanks Haley!

MM: Thanks so much for featuring us!

You can shop Mae Movement here. Be sure to follow Haley on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

MM Daisey
The Daisey bracelets, inspired by The Great Gatsby, are 1920s glam!

Let’s dress like Grace Kelly and save the planet!

My closet full of vintage lovelies.

Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Grace Kelly, Daisy from the Great Gatsby- what do all these women (real and imagined) have in common? They were born into an age when your favourite dress came from a shop down the street, or was tailor-made for you and worn for years. It wasn’t mass produced in a factory across the world, where the people who worked on it are payed less than your lipgloss cost you. It didn’t fall apart after a couple summers. It stayed beautiful for years. Maybe this is why we can still buy dresses from the 40s, 50s, 60s- even 20s- today, and continue to wear and enjoy them.

 

Vintage shopping is nothing new, but it’s gaining popularity with trendsetters from Taylor Swift  to Violet magazine creator and star stylist Leith Clark (who has dressed Kierra Knightley, Clemence Poesy, Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams to name a few).

 

One designer who is vintage inspired is the iconic Orla Kiely. In a video on her collaboration with ethical clothing producer People Tree, Kiely talked about “fast fashion” vs. quality designs: “The race to buy cheap clothes…and you know, they don’t last, they fall apart, and I just think there’s so much to be said for quality now.” Kiely encouraged customers to “invest in pieces that they love and that will last,” and to “think about what they’re buying.”

Orla Kiely People Tree SS14 Dress

Of course, we often don’t think they have the luxury of buying ethically, because of how much we think it will cost. On her blog, Wildfox Couture designer Kimberly Gordon gave us some advice about this. “When I was younger I shopped at places like Forever 21, now I realize what that company has to sacrifice to keep their prices so low, including low pay for their employees, bad fabrics (in many ways), cheap factories, and the stealing of other people’s creativity and hard work,” she said.

Kimberly
Kimberly Gordon of Wildfox

As an alternative, Gordon suggested “looking for local brands or vintage.” “If you regularly shop somewhere cheap check out its history and make sure you aren’t supporting something you don’t believe in!” she warned.

 

Those things that you may not believe in include art theft, in other words, when brands like Anthropologie and Forever 21 steal a struggling artist’s work and use it for their own profit. As the sister of an artist, that does not sit well with me.

 

An even bigger problem with high street fashion, is that the less you pay, the less wages and rights someone on the other side earns to get them to you. According to the Guardian, hundreds of people have been involved in making the shirt you are wearing. Many of them were paid $2 a day. Last year, the Rana Plaza Disaster in Bangladesh made use realize the impossibly high cost of of high street brands like River Island and Primark. Though most of the brands whose clothing was being created in the factories have signed The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, many are wondering if they will actually change their ways. Horrible things like Rana have happened before- fires, the discovery of factories without washrooms, of children working long hours…and little to nothing has changed.

 

Here’s the thing- by investing your money in quality pieces, you actually save in the long run. You won’t have to buy as much, or as often, since your clothes won’t fall apart. Get creative, and wear what you have, adding a fair-trade statement piece or a new pair of recycled sole shoes.

 

Quality is another pro of second-hand shopping: if a dress is in a vintage shop, chances are its been loved enough that if it hasn’t gone to piece by now, it’s not going to for another long while. Plus, there is always that shot in a million that it once graced the beautiful frame of one of your fashion inspirations.

Marie Claire’s 8 favourite online vintage stores

Buying used clothing is also a way to keep our planet beautiful. The process of making your t-shirt the colour of your favourite flower is actually one of the most serious threats to that flower. You know the sweet “Fabric of My Life” ads with a celebrity twirling in a cotton sundress? The industry that made that dress is responsible for 25% of the insecticides used worldwide.  That’s a lot of chemicals going into the plants and animals around us. By buying a similar dress at a vintage store, you cut down on those chemicals and save our natural resources. Plus, you look unique and adorable doing it.

 

Grace once said, “ If there is one thing that is foreign to me it is shopping for pleasure. On the other hand, I believe that it is right to honor all those who create beautiful things and give satisfaction to those who see me wearing them.”

 

In buying cheap products, are we really honoring those who made them? Or are we saying, “My desire to look pretty and own pretty things is more important than your life?” Do you, like Grace Kelly, want to be remembered as someone who did her best to help others, or as someone who just looked pretty?

 

This is what Grace’s Way is about- following the example of women like Grace Kelly. It is about resisting the urge- and the incessant marketing- that pushes us to buy more, at cheaper prices (and lower quality), rather than save up and spend more for pieces that will last long enough to become our favourites. It’s about acknowledging the beauty of the world and people around us, and loving enough to protect them.

 

I believe that beautiful things can be ethical too. Starting today, Earth Day 2014, I am making a commitment to the earth and the people on it. I commit to buying only vintage and sustainable clothing for this year. Will you make the pledge with me, and believe that beauty can do good? If you will, tweet or post on Instagram with the hashtag #gracepledge2014. Let’s join the movement of fashion for good!

What would Grace Kelly do?

Happy Earth Day 2014 from Grace’s Way! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!