• beauty,  fashion,  food,  life

    Ethical consumerism: calculating your “slavery footprint”


    (Note: this post on modern slavery and ethical consumerism was originally published on June 2, 2013. It has been updated and edited for clarity.)

    Have you ever calculated your “slavery footprint”? When we use the term “slavery”, most Americans tend to think of something from a school textbook about the Civil War era. Sadly, slavery is alive and well in the modern world, and it’s lurking in places you might not think to look for it.

    My Slavery Footprint lets you calculate the amount of slave labor that goes into your daily life.

    While slavery is technically illegal across the globe, that doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent. In 2013 the SumAll Foundation, a data partner for nonprofits, reported that there were over 27 million slaves in the modern world. In 2020, that number is up to 40 million, according to Anti-Slavery International. A lot of people immediately connect modern slavery with sex trafficking, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. In 2013 a New York Times piece pointed out that first-world consumerism is a driving force behind much of the modern slave trade.

    For example, think of the clothes you wear. Do you know where they came from and how they were made? There’s a very good chance they were manufactured in a third-world sweatshop. The workers may even be children pulled out of school to go to work). What about your food? Workers often labor in unsafe conditions for little money to deliver items like coffee and fruit to your table.

  • life,  travel



    Our road trip to the Oregon coast was amazing in so many ways (and I’m excited to tell you all about it, in a series of posts starting later this week!), but it didn’t go very smoothly. Less than twenty-four hours in we were stranded on the side of the highway south of Portland. We had left late in the evening after work the day prior, had a rough night in a less than stellar motel, and discovered we’d given the wrong house key to the petsitter; breaking down seemed like the final insult when we’d only just begun our trip. After having the car towed to a local shop my partner and I decided to walk the dog to a local park to blow off some steam.

    I’ll willingly admit I wasn’t in good form that day. I was tired and grouchy, and grumbled to my partner, “I wish we’d never come on this trip.”

  • autumn,  Halloween,  holidays,  life

    Hello October, my favorite month

    Hello October, my favorite month
    (Photo credit: Autumn Mott via Unsplash)

    Hello October, my favorite month. Time for boot socks and scarves and cozy blankets, for piping hot mugs of cider and tea, for stacks of books and fireplaces to read them by.

    This is a month of chilly nights and foggy mornings that wrap the world in mystery, but also of sunny afternoons for exploring apple orchards and window shopping with best friends while sipping pumpkin coffee. This is the month between the hot, busy days of summer and the cold, dark days of winter, when the world slows down for a little while and everything seems perfect for a few short weeks.

    I’m so excited for the start of October. I know some people see spring as the season of rebirth and autumn as one of death, but I’ve always though October offered rebirth in its own way. It’s a time in-between the rushed seasons of summer events and winter holidays. There’s a chance to slow down, take a deep breath, and reset your focus. The air changes, the light changes, everything feels and smells different. It’s always felt very much to me like a season of renewal of a different sort, a season to let go of things, to change.

    I’m excited to go hiking, to explore a corn maze and carve a pumpkin, and to warm up the kitchen with fall baking. There’s a lovely TBR pile waiting for me and some cuddly cats to share it with! I have Halloween decorations to put up and a stack of horror movies to watch.

    Hello October, I’m so glad you’ve arrived once again!
  • life

    On my mind: the remains of who we were (May 2016)

    The remains of who we were

    The first few months of 2016 were not really the epic start to a new year that I had planned. I had a whole list of I want’s relating to my life, relationships, and work. But things came up that I didn’t plan for, and it seemed like time was flying by way too fast to tackle any of my resolutions or plans. And with each day that passed I felt more and more discouraged.

    I knew I wasn’t happy with my life as is in a lot of areas, and I knew where I wanted to end up, eventually—but I just couldn’t seem to get moving down that road. I was stuck. Then, last month, I read this blog post that just seemed to really address everything I’d been struggling with. It made me realize that if I wanted to make changes and become that happy future me that I was envisioning, I first needed to change how I went about making those changes.

    You’ve heard the phrase “old ways won’t open new doors”, and that’s true. I was weighed down with so many old things: habits, thought patterns, plans, self-perceptions. They had failed me a hundred times before and were failing me yet again, yet I was clinging to them because they were familiar and easy…and lacked any real commitment, other than a commitment to second-guessing myself. I felt paralyzed.

    I had to let go of who I was yesterday, complete with all her bad habits and flaws (or the perception thereof), before I could start working on a new me. No more excuses for my bad habits. No more negative self-talk or endless “what if”s. No more “plan B” because of the mistakes I made once upon a time. No more apologizing for who I am because I was once a girl who sought approval. Those old remains were holding me back from making the changes I needed, and once I laid them to rest so many decisions and changes I’d agonized about suddenly felt so simple.

    I won’t lie and say that I don’t still have days where I struggle. I have to hit the “reset” button on a daily basis and examine what my body and spirit are telling me that day. And I won’t say that it isn’t frightening to chart a course that’s neither easy nor guaranteed. Saying firmly “this does not work for me” can be hard when it’s something that you think should or could work for you, especially if other people are chiming in on that chorus.

    But I think it’s even scarier to settle for something you don’t really want just because it’s easy. Life is so short. I’m not willing to live it looking back.

  • life

    On my mind: spring cleaning (March 2016)

    "Wash your spirit clean" (John Muir quote) (spring cleaning)(Original photo by Caleb Wright via  Unsplash)

    March is usually the time when I start thinking about spring cleaning. It’s time to whisk away the dust bunnies, repot house plants, and generally freshen up the whole house. This spring I’m trying to get past the physical side of spring cleaning and do a little mental and emotional spring cleaning, too.

    I got really bogged down this winter with negative thoughts and useless habits. The start of spring, full of light and fresh air, seems like a perfect time to make a change! I’ve found that my spirit is happiest when I’m giving plenty of time to creating art and reading books and taking time out to visit nature, rather than cooping myself up with technology and too much “busywork”. I read somewhere that we take way too much pride in being “busy” and not in taking care of ourselves, and I’m guilty of it. I tend to put everyone and everything else first and not take time out for what my soul needs the most.

    So for spring, I’m cleaning all that away and and making a to-do list that includes lots of time in the garden, lots of time to read, and lots of naps with the cats. I think my body and spirit alike will be happier for it.

    What’s on your “spring cleaning” list?