Saturday, January 30, 2016

{simple pleasures} twice as nice: vintage + vegan

"there is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness"

mahatma gandhi

{today's simple pleasures}

billy jean: this little vintage denim jacket. i layer it under my moto jacket on cool days or over my loose-fitting tees on warmer days. at first i wasn't sure if i liked it, but it's grown on me, so it's officially "love at second sight"

blank canvas: according to vogue magazine, no dipping temps could curtail the style of the french, and it's true. this winter i've learned all items in one's wardrobe can + shall be layered. i thought i might have to put away my fave eco footwear including these olsen + haus canvas platforms for the winter, but as it turns out, the gals here in paris simply wear tights with their warm-weather kicks and voila! my winter shoe collection just doubled.

{photos by f+d}

Friday, January 22, 2016

{paris travel guide} in the bag: the things we carry

i honestly do think a lot about what people carry around in their handbags + satchels.

what is it that we find important enough to pack with us and carry on our arms or backs throughout the day? i personally never leave home without my beloved camera.

the book the things they carried is a fascinating read about what soldiers carry in times of war {both the the tangible + intangible}. i told a new friend here in france recently that i felt naked without my camera + their surprise at this revelation surprised me!

is there something you wouldn't leave the house without each day besides your keys?

before i head out each day to traipse all over this tranquil + scenic town, i carefully pack these items:
1} lonely planet's french phrasebook + dictionary: i once asked a man to lay an egg for me; i meant to ask him to take a picture of me. but somewhere, something went wrong. that day i'd forgotten to bring my petite helper {and pronunciation is key, my friends; luckily this guide includes a pronunciation of all content}. i reference this daily. i highly recommend this little phrasebook {it was a gift from one of my best gal pals + i never leave home without it}. when my fractured french fails me, this book always comes to the rescue. numbers, days, months + social conversation coexist alongside very useful survival phrases. it's small, but mighty.

2} eco journals: i actually don't journal, i love to post thoughts to instagram and i often save my observations for my blog here. but there is so much to take in when moving to a new country; i'm constantly getting information from various sources + taking notes about new museums + sites i'd love to visit. journals are super handy when i'm on the metro + i see a billboard informing me of a tantalizing exhibit or a friend recommends a charming, new bar or cafe {the journal pictured above is a gift from my coworkers}. for a compact, eco-friendly option, i absolutely love the products + mission of these forest-friendly journals, they're handy as ever.

3} nikon camera: i'm well aware that there is a nikon camp + a canon camp! i say, whatever camera you feel most comfortable with, go with that one. this camera was recommended by my professor of photography at the school of the art institute of chicago. from the first time i wrapped my hands around the body of my d7000, felt its weight in my palms + listened to the singular sound of the shutter clicking, i was certain this was the one. i have no regrets {after all, life is too short to live with any regrets!}. in terms of performance + quality, i couldn't be happier. i will forever be a nikon girl.

4} le map: the map above is the actual map i picked up at a kiosk in the 15th arrondissement. this was two years ago before i spoke a lick of french. i was armed with my french dictionary/phrasebook + i pointed to the word "map", and a gentleman behind me said he spoke english + would like to recommend the paris monuments 3d map. sometimes you don't get service on your phone, or you're simply tired of staring at a screen, so i carry this with me wherever i go. today it's highlighted and circled, held together with tape, but it's a fantastic map. because, not all maps are created equal my friends.

*honorable mention: i also never leave home without a healthy snack. organic apples + bananas, juices + nuts can be found at naturalia*, all-natural food markets found throughout paris with great customer service!

{images by f+d}

Saturday, January 16, 2016

{simple pleasures} angels above + below

“traveling, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” 
ibn battuta

{today's simple pleasures}

montparnasse cemetery: this placid angel watches over the many french intellectuals, distinguished authors + renowned artists buried here

musee d'orsay: the railway station turned museum housing a magnificent collection of nineteenth and twentieth century artwork by ingres, couture, courbet, gerome, delacroix + bouguereau

{images by f+d}

Sunday, December 27, 2015

{eco challenge} fashion for change: the 30 wears challenge, part II

the 30 wears challenge: when buying an item of clothing, do you consider whether you'd wear it more than a handful of times? would you wear any of your clothes 30 times? livia firth has challenged consumers to do just that, and i am in, boys + girls. 

global retail chains sell mass market clothes at low prices, with 97% of apparel now made overseas {including india + china} and over 40 million garment workers in the world: many of these workers do not share the same rights + protections as people in the west and are some of the lowest paid workers in the world*. but there are many companies + individual designers creating sustainable options {see right sidebar on this blog for eco options that consider both garment workers + our natural resources when designing + manufacturing their goods}.

i loved the idea of being challenged to be a conscientious consumer + to use our purchasing power to support ethical companies. i sent a text to my bestie back at home in chicago, letting her know i was going to partake, and she replied, "great! love the idea! i don't think i've ever worn any of my clothes 30 times." 

most of my wardrobe pieces are well-loved {meaning, they are worn multiple times}, and as i packed to move to france i enjoyed asking myself the 30-wears question about each item in my closet in order to determine what made the great voyage across the ocean, and what would be donated. i'm happy to partake in this 30 wears challenge. i really do love a good challenge. 

i've chosen this cotton, cropped top by jacob + esau to wear around town here in paris, i've been wearing this easy little piece myriad ways + it's been fun to get creative and dress it up for job interviews and dress it down for a night out of dancing with friends or scooting around town with my camera. 

follow my eco journey on instagram, join the 30 wears challenge + learn more about how your purchases impact communities far + wide. 
get creative: layer summer or spring items under cozy jackets + scarves to transition them easily into cold weather seasons
same top, new day: this top was perfect for formal occasions {i layered it under a blazer for an interview, and i got the job!} as well as casual days of loitering in libraries, museums or cafes + exploring paris. to learn more about the fashion industry, click on over here + watch true cost, the movie
{images by f+d}

Saturday, December 26, 2015

{eco challenge} fashion for change: 30 wears challenge, part I

the guardian christened her "the woman who turned the red carpet green": livia firth is an eco fashion activist who has challenged consumers to ask themselves the following question before buying an item of clothing: would i wear it a minimum of 30 times? livia's 30 wears challenge implores men + women to make purposeful purchases rather than buying fast fashion items on impulse. firth asks consumers, "why not care about the clothes we wear? where they were made and what they really cost in human and environmental cost?" 

what exactly is fashion fashion? when i told my mom i was participating in the 30 wears challenge, she was pensive, then she asked, "what constitutes fast fashion?" i explained that not all brands offer transparency in the manufacture + production of their garments. apparel workers often labor for long hours in unsafe conditions + our waterways + ground soil are being polluted in the process

my mom was quiet; i understood she was taking a mental note of her wardrobe. "well," she said thoughtfully, "i don't know if my clothes were produced ethically, but the clothes i do own, i wear again and again. how do you know if something is produced ethically?" i replied, "ask questions." it's okay to be curious, it's okay to ask questions, my friends. this lets companies know that as consumers, we are watching, we care.

interested in learning more about the 30 wears challenge? hop on over to eco-ge's instagram account, then hashtag your way into the challenge! i would love to see who is participating and what items you've chosen for the challenge. you can follow my own eco fashion journey on instagram. learn about the slow fashion movement at eco age or read more at ethical fashion forum.

{images via livia firth/eco-age}

Saturday, December 12, 2015

{simple pleasures} the river runs through it: la eiffel + la seine

"all journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware."
martin buber

{today's simple pleasures}

la tour eiffel: fun facts about the french monument right this way! the eiffel tower was the main exhibit at the 1889 exposition universelle {world's fair}  held to commerate the centennial of the french revolution. architect + engineer gustave eiffel designed this french monument as well as interior elements of the statue of liberty

left bank + right bank: la seine river, once called sequana by the romans, was used throughout history for commerce + transportation, oh, and as the backdrop of many a romantic movie + book of course. the seine flows through the paris + borders ten of the twenty arrondissments

{images by f+d}

Friday, December 11, 2015

{eco socks} bare essentials: a green sock guide

green sock groupie: i'm a sock gal, i admit, if i'm in a shop browsing, and i see a cleverly designed pair of socks, i will stop in my tracks to inspect said footwear. is that a guava print? i'll take it! i love a designer who is generous with color + adds a dash of humor to their creations. here is a guide for organic + ethically produced socks for happy feet!

1} i love lowie: when it comes to bundling up during winter months, my friends + i are always on the lookout for well-made, warm socks. the lowie turkish socks were the first product ever sold in 2002 at online ethical retailer i love lowie + is still one of their most popular items. every pair of socks is hand knit using traditional methods from surplus acrylic yarn making each uniquely colorful. find lots of other fun, quality items designed + handmade by creative boys + girls at i love lowiemade in turkey

2} conscious step: crafted from the highest quality GOTS organic cotton for undeniable comfort that is as soft on your feet as it is on the environment. manufactured in fair trade certified conditions to ensure safe working conditions and fair wages for the garment workers involved {people with hopes + dreams just like you + me}. each pair of socks is partnered with a reputable non-profit dedicated to addressing social issues like poverty + hunger, as outlined by by the united nations millennium development goals. this classic navy + mustard design is my fave d-good pair from conscious step. made in india

3} pact: this brand has been shaking up the apparel industry for a while now. their boldly colored, printed socks are made with non-gmo organic cotton {that means no harmful pesticides or fertilizers}; they're also made in factories that treat workers well + compensate them fairly. the masterminds behind this ethical label remind us that "robot's don't make our clothes, people do." they make utilitarian basics like camis + undies too. find them online or at your local whole foods. made in india

4} zkano + little river sock mill: fort payne, alabama was formerly known as "the sock capital of the world" with 300 knitting mills employing half of the town's residents. outsourcing has taken away from the textile industry, leaving only 7 operating mills in the small town of fort payne, however a gal with a heart for green living, gina locklear, a second generation "socker", had the bright idea to make this simple + organic product in america once again. gina's irresistible designs include polka dots, stripes + color-blocking: get 'em while they're hot! made in the u.s.a.

from seed to sock, many hands touch finished products. learn more about the farmers who make our apparel. why fair trade + organic? learn more here

{image via i love lowie}

Saturday, December 5, 2015

{simple pleasures} flora + fauna: jardin des plantes

{today's simple pleasures}

nature lover: jardin des plantes is an expansive 17th century botanical + medicinal herb garden in the heart of paris. did i stay so late, that i got locked into the garden? why, yes i did {time flies when  you're a plant nerd!}. did i pluck a few medicinal herbs + try some of these magical plants? just maybe

{images by f+d}

Friday, December 4, 2015

{style observations} french style: inventive design experiments

sometimes i stare.

i admit it's true. i don't mean to, but ever since i moved to france, i just can't get help myself. i stare. i can't get over how artfully disheveled + naturally stylish the french are.

i don't like to engage in generalities, but i've detected some patterns. here listed are some of my favorite style observations from the land of très bon.

{ flowers / fleurs } on my daily walks to work or while exploring the 20 districts of paris, i see this: lasses on bikes ride by with colorful blooms in baskets + girls on scooters whiz past with bundled flowers in tow; the prettiest accessory in france is the bouquet. french gals do not wait for flowers to be brought to them. always in heels. always.

{ hair / cheveux } so i noticed, every gal on the metro, in the bookshops, at the famers' markets, they all embrace the frizz. nobody is straightening or fussing with their tresses. shortly after arriving to france, i sent a text to my bestie in chicago proclaiming, "i loooove the sexy french frizz! i can get used to this!"

i read an article in elle belgium in which french beauty caroline de maigret explains why she doesn't use conditioner: "conditioner makes the hair smooth. if you don't use conditioner, you keep your volume." in other words: flat is not welcome here. no one is waving a banner for big hair here, but these gals are au natural, and i like it. who wants to be bothered with boring shiny, smooth hair anyways?

{ lips / lèvres } as a self-proclaimed town boy, i have never worn much makeup. and neither do the french. natural is key. however, you better believe lips are painted. often times red, sometimes shades of berry, but never bare. i went into a makeup shop here in paris and tried on a lipstick color that could best be described as . . . well, as the same color as my lips. i asked the sales clerk what she thought, and she knit her eyebrows together and said in a consolatory way, "well, it's natural. . . ." i'm a creature of habit, so there was no julia roberts/pretty lady transformation moment, so i'm content wearing my w3ll people gloss or hurraw lip balm. but i dig the old-school hollywood starlet look. young and elderly alike always have lacquered lips.

{ vintage + layers / vintage + couches } i see lots of big coats down these cobblestone streets. while the guys are wearing perfectly tailored jackets, the gals are wearing oversize, borrowed-from-the-boys outerwear. what i love are the layers of scarves and chunky sweaters worn under vintage coats, mixed + matched: there are no rules here. bold colors, subdued palates, graphic patterns + sophisticated designs intersect in the most beguiling way. worn with tees, jeans + booties or layered over skirts + heels: simple, yet cozy ensembles with oversize coats are always winsome. i get the feeling that french style is one grand experiment in which the streets are a personal runway for the daring, the creative + for inventive souls. and i like it.

really, the most beautiful part of french style is this: confidence. the most stunning women i have met + chatted with are really those that are comfortable in their own bodies, who really appreciate their many assets, who are strong + clever, witty + warm. because we all know the beauty, confidence + kindness go hand in hand!

{image by f+d / wearing cropped top by jacob + esau and in a rate instance, boldy-hued, cruelty-free lipstick by aromi}

Saturday, November 28, 2015

{simple pleasures} history + human emotion

"go to museums as often as you can." 
maira kalman

{today's simple pleasures}

centre georges pompidou: within the belly of this multicultural complex you'll find hidden treasures including the musée national d'art moderne, which is the largest museum for modern art in europe + the bibliothèque publique d'informationa {a public library}. thought-provoking art work on every floor + this edifice with its inside-out, high-tech architecture is in and of itself a masterpiece

journey through time: dubbed "the museum of the people" in 1848, the louvre is the world's largest museum with artwork from over eight centuries. awe-inspiring antiquities, paintings, sculptures + drawings by masters such as giotto, raphael, leonardo, rembrandt, rubens, delacroix + vermeer from a spectacular collection

{images by f+d}