Friday, July 26, 2013

Socially Responsible Brands: Raven + Lily

I have been drooling over the pieces above for quite some time now. The beads used in the pieces above are  not only beautiful and very intricately, they are actually made from old bullet casings!

Raven + Lily is a really cool, socially responsible company based out of Texas that works with women artisans all over the world. They achieve this through collaborations with various organizations around the world. To learn more about them and their products, check out this article that I wrote about them for the Culture-ist! It was a lot of fun to research & write; promise it's worth a peek :)

To make things even better (for everyone except my wallet), they just added a collaboration with Maasai artisans in Kenya, with whom they will be creating these beaded bangles.

Unique and gorgeous pieces that employ women with talent and dreams for a better life for themselves and their families? What's not to love?! Check out their full campaign here and the video from their page below:

// What are some of your favorite socially responsible & sustainability-minded brands?
*I have not been asked or compensated to write this in any way. I just like spreading the word about cool and sustainability-minded organizations :)

New Series, Need Title

They say that as a consumer, you should vote with your wallet. I'd like to start a series where I introduce some awesome companies and what they are doing to create socially responsible products as well as those that promote socially responsible ideas. I don't know what to call it, though... "Sociably Responsible Sunday"? That seems like too much of a mouthful. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Instagram Addiction

As you can probably tell from the squareness of posts, I finally caved and got instagram. I also just discovered this as a draft in my Blogger dashboard. Oops. Better late than never?

I have a serious Instagram problem. It's so much fun take even the smallest bits of life and to describe them as an artsy little square. My blogging, particularly my travel blogging isn't quite real time (partially for security reasons), but my Instagramming is. 

I find that I tend to rely on the same filters. I'm not sure if that reflects my personal style, or my inability to branch out artistically. Hmmmm.. what do you think? 

Leave me a link to your favorite instagram photo that you've taken!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Product Review: Nivea Lip Butter

I was a bit skeptical of this at first, since I'd tried other nivea lip products before and never found to be very moisturizing. I actually remember the disappointment. I was in France on a short-term study abroad program while I was in high school. I got 2 Nivea chap sticks- one with shinner, one without- because I had this impression that Nivea was a special brand and I was on a trip (and therefore able to get things I normally wouldn't). They smelled so good, but remember being really disappointed that they didn't really work. Regardless, I used them with pride at my luxurious products. Many years later when I was living in Japan, and found myself with chapped lips and no chap stick. I wasn't quite sure what chap stick to buy, so I went with a familiar brand. I remembered the disappointment so many years ago, but also hoped that they'd changed the formula during those years. It had not. I was sad.

However, after hearing some Youtubers rave about them, I decided to give the brand another try. Plus, these lip butters were relatively new, so perhaps they were the formula change that I'd been hoping for all those years!

Thankfully, the lip butter is amazing. It smells really, really sweet in the tin, but is actually fairly faint once it's on your lips. I think it's just the perfect amount of scent for a lip product. Even better than that, it keeps my lips moisturized for quite a long time.

It's in a small tin, which is cute and thin so it fits into clutches without bulking them up, but it also requires you to apply it with your finger. Recently, I've started to just touch one of my lips to it, so it kind of looks like i'm taking a bite out of it. Not the classiest, but I figure that it's better than smearing public transportation germs all over my lip butter!

As a softer product, I was worried that it would melt and run everywhere, since I'm sure we've all had that happen once of twice with chapstick. Though we're in a heat wave now, and I've left it in a relatively hot car before, it has yet to go runny on me. That being said, I wouldn't really risk it, because that would be one sticky mess to clean up. It seems to work for what I need it to do. One huge downside to this, however, is the lack of SPF. This girl doesn't want sun burnt lips!

Once I've finished it all up, I'm not sure that I'd repurchase it immediately (especially because it lacks SPF), but I will eventually, just to have on hand at home.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fashionable Friday: Subway Cuffs

Unfortuately, I don't own one and can't pull a picture off the website to show you, but you need to see these cuffs for the travel-chic girl. Ok, they're a little ridiculous, but actually pretty wearable at the same time.

These stainless steel cuffs are engraved with the subway maps of a city of your choice including London, Paris, Milan, NYC, etc.

I'm going on a trip to Europe soon... perhaps I should get one for every city. Then I could put them all on at once and look like a robot! *does a poor imitation of the robot dance*

Check out the cuffs here!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

DIY: Book Safe/Clutch

Ever since I saw this DIY by Erica from Caught on a Whim, I have been wanting to make it. I also saw something similar at Top Hat*, a boutique with cool knick knacks from around the world, in the Lower East Side for $70, so I'd say that it's definitely worth at least attempting to DIY.

While I wanted to make Erica's Nerdy Chic Book Clutch, I was definitely a big ol' sloth and went with the Book Safe, which i figure you could use as a clutch if I wanted.

Here's what I used:

  • Hardcover book from a thrift store
  • 1 sponge brush
  • Regular modge podge
  • 1 thick plastic bag or waxed paper
  • Utility Knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Folder
I was lucky and found a hardcover book in very good condition for $2. I meant to read it before I started cutting it up, but well...

Step 1: Measure!
Measure the outer edges out. I went for 1" on each side (1-1/4" on one side on accident, but I just went with it), mark out where you want to hollow out the book.

Step 2: Cut!
Use the utility knife to cut along the lines.

Step 3: Trace, Cut, Repeat
Trace the inside of the cut you just made so you know where the make the cut for the next several layers. Alternatively, I created a template to place down to cut along. I actually found that a combination of the two techniques worked best for me.

Step 4: Glue!
Once you have reached the desired depth, modge podge the bottom few pages down, using a very thin layer. Modge podge is water based and will warp your pages if you are not too careful. It also dries quite quickly so you'll want to work swiftly.

Step 5: Place Waxed Paper
Place a piece of thick plastic or waxed paper (I suggest wax paper or a non-colored bag. some color transferred onto my top sheet. oops) in between the last page full page and the first page with a cut-out.

Step 6: Glue Some More!
Close the book and paint a thin layer of glue along the edges of the book from the waxed paper down. (You can totally glue the top part as well, I just decided to leave those loose.) Repeat 3-4 times until it seems nice and sturdy. Don't forget to glue the edges of the hollowed out part of the book, too! Erica suggested sanding it before gluing. I may or may not do this, depending on how lazy I feel.

What do you think?

With a business card holder I use as a wallet & a bit of chocolate :)
And that leaves just enough space for a pen and my phone!

End Note:
So I ended up with a bunch of paper from when I hollowed out my book and it seems to be a waste to just recycle them. Does anyone have any ideas of what I can make this these guys? I love the old school look of the paper and would love to do something with them!


*Online boutique here:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Had a Bad Day?

If you had a tough day, feel free to laugh at mine. 

45 minutes before I was supposed to meet a friend for happy hour, I get sent out on a shoot for an upcoming news program. I had already had to cancel going to a yoga class for work, so I was not very pleased with this request.

It was cooler than the day before, but by that I mean you didn't immediately sweat upon going outdoors. More like, 5. Carrying a tripod to move locations, I heard "plop, plop." I've heard this sound before. More than the average person, I'm sure. I look up and my fears are confirmed.Crowded on some street lights were not one, but two rows of pigeons. The suckers had hit my beloved Longchamp and dress in one plop.  

Our shoot took longer than expected, but we have finally gotten the shots we want. Just as we started looking for a cab to take back to work, we got a call saying that the material had to be sent in 40 minutes to go on air. We kept trying to catch a cab to no avail. Finally, we decided to start moving toward the office while keeping a look out for any open cabs. 10 blocks of fast walking while awkwardly carrying a tripod and I was sweaty. I could feel the sweat dripping down my back, and I started debating how large pit stains had to be to no longer be considered pit stains. 

Finally, finally, a beacon of light and we jumped in a cab. Though I was thankful that it was much cooler and I no longer had to lift weights while jogging (soft j*), I had one major problem. And that was that I have a tendency to sweat in the most inconvenient of places. That's right. When I stood back up after climbing out of the cab, I had a solid butt sweat mark. 

The cameraman handed me the disc, took my tripod, and I sprinted to our office, bird poop on the side of my dress, a sweat stain on my butt. A correspondent hung up the phone to say "I was just calling you. And, uh... looks like you got a workout afterall."

Thanks, guys. 
If you don't think the news is very exciting these days, try working in it. 

*Please refer to Anchorman for the correct pronunciation.
Note: My friend was patiently waiting at happy hour, where I was able to relax over a glass of wine, chilled tapas and a very fun exchange of upcoming travel plans, so it didn't end all too bad. I just made sure to shower the moment I stepped through my front door.