photo + sticker by Grace Chin
We've explored fair intimates a time or two before here (most of them linked in this post). This time, I want to share my favorite bras...which seem to be a lot of people's favorite bras...for good reason.
The first time we discussed fair intimates, a question was raised about those of us with more supportive needs when it comes to bras. Ethical brands seemed to start out offering bras made mostly with smaller cup sizes in mind. These days, the rest of us have a couple of good options too.
My personal favorite bra is the Pansy Full Bra. This bra just might have lured me away from underwire...for good. First of all...it fits. (yay!) It feels soft, comfortable + supportive enough for everyday wear. Pansy bras are made of Texas-grown, North Carolina-milled, organic cotton...Rhode Island-made, natural rubber + cotton elastic...and organic cotton thread. They are designed, sewn + dyed within forty miles of each other near San Francisco, California.
I also admire Arq for their fair bras which are made from USA-manufactured, organic cotton + sewn in the USA. I tried the wide strap bra, when it first came out. It didn't work for me, but I'm certain my issue is fixed by the newer full-coverage version. I prefer the strap style of the Pansy Full, but imagine that the Arq Full straps could provide a little bit more support for those who desire it. I would very much like to try the crop tank as an option for combining bra + tank into one piece.
One more note on bras: We get to decide what we put on our bodies + that we like how we look. These bras do not create the exact same effect as my underwire ones did...and that is ok with me.
Bra fitting can be difficult + I've had women help me out a time or two in a shop. These women would always bring me bras that were more padded + more pushed up than the ones I was looking at + would try to convince me that I needed at least a couple of these. Needed? Why? They would come back in a few minutes + ask if I'd tried the ones they brought + didn't I see the difference? Were they telling me that men would expect me to have them? or that "real" women needed to have them to be sexy or look good in their clothes?
Our bras/the way we look in our bras/what our bras do to "enhance" us...do not make us worthy humans. That sentence on its own sounds utterly ridiculous...but most of us know what message I'm trying to address. We get to decide what is comfortable...what is attractive (+ if that matters to us at all)...what values we want our clothing to embody...what values we want to embody. I have absolutely nothing against any style of bra, I'm just reminding myself that I can choose to wear any style of bra + not have to feel "less than".
Not one of us comes out of the womb thinking cleavage is attractive...it is nourishment. We learned (mostly unhelpful + harmful) messages about what we should strive to look like. We can teach our partners + sons + daughters what is truly attractive. I bet none of us would intentionally choose a message that involves push-up bras. Let's be just as intentional with the messages we allow ourselves to believe + act upon (whether we choose to wear underwire or not). :)
All lovely photos via links. More fairdare favorites right this way.
Thoughts I had while picking + eating these strawberries from our garden:
-I don't care that it hasn't stopped raining. I really want to eat some of these for lunch.
-A penchant toward questioning the meaning of life may be extinguished by eating strawberries.
-The verse...Taste + see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)...might have something to do with strawberries.
-I wish I could share one of these little treasures with each of you, because then you'd all be convinced to plant some of your own (if you don't already). ;)
Have I convinced you yet? :) If you have access to a sunny patch, plant strawberries. :) It doesn't take much effort or expense...they start like the picture on the left. (Look for strawberry starts in the early spring.) We've even gotten a few strawberries off these starts.
Next year, those starts will have sent off their shoots + filled in + will look more like the picture on the right. All it takes is watering them every so often throughout the summer. We don't cover them with straw or anything during the winter...though it might be a good idea in places where there is more snow or much colder temperatures (though we do get a few feet of snow at a time + very cold temperatures too).
These plants produce fruit for three or four weeks + look pretty the rest of the time. I think they would look nice in a front yard or as ground cover on the side of the house too. I feel like it's totally worth it to devote a little space to strawberries.
If you have to wait until next year to plant those starts, look for a U-pick farm in your area. In less than an hour you'll have enough deliciousness to eat to your hearts content + also to make some jam + to freeze some for later in the summer.
These strawberries are nothing like the ones in the grocery store. They are much sweeter + softer...which is probably why they wouldn't travel well from field to store shelf. I love them straight off the vine...or as a part of my very favorite lunch...with homemade yogurt + granola (homemade or from the bulk bins).
When there are too many to sit down + eat right then (because there will be more to pick tomorrow)...I really feel rich + freeze some. The frozen ones make amazing smoothies or ice cream treats later in the summer!
When Jo ate her strawberries, she mused, "I wonder why more people don't grow their own strawberries!" And I said, "I'm writing a post about that right now!" :)
A few fair finds I'm loving right now ::
The system of laundry baskets we currently use leaves our dirty laundry on full display in our bedroom. I've been craving something that keeps all the socks + underwear a little bit more disguised...and also adds a little warmth to the space. These fairly traded baskets are made by artisans in Ghana using native grasses (+ are on my wish list- maybe just two will be enough).
I still appreciate the tomboy style of Madewell. They offer a few denim pieces that are made in a fair-trade factory...including these white shorts + denim overalls. Anthropologie offers a few made-in-the-USA pieces....including these linen overalls. These pieces are pretty classic, and I can imagine wearing them on repeat for years to come. A myriad of secondhand pieces from each of these brands can be found online (try eBay or Poshmark).
Everyday Oil is one of those brands that has stuck to doing one thing with great care (which I love). With the advent of Covid-19, they decided to make hand sanitizer using 100% plant based ingredients. I had no qualms about ordering some of this as soon as I heard about it...and I kid you not...I could wear it as perfume! The scent is amazing!
A few of the fair brands that I loved in the late 90's are still out there making lovely linen pieces. CP Shades has been making their lovely pieces in their own San Francisco factory (now powered solely by renewable energy) for over 40 years. Flax has made their pieces in the same worker-owned factories in Lithuania for over 25 years. Cut Loose makes their pieces in San Francisco, where they began selling at craft fairs in the 70's. (Again, secondhand pieces from these brands can be found on the sites above + also on Etsy.) The current ethical fashion favorites have surely taken quite a bit of style inspiration from these longstanding ethical trailblazers.
All lovely photos via links.
Last night Julia told me about seeing someone's homemade pretzels online, which reminded me of one of the reasons that I'd been on the lookout for yeast. Last week, I finally got my hands on some yeast, so we made plans to make some pretzels of our own. The last time we made pretzels was for Julia's birthday, at her request, quite a few years ago.
This time the pretzels had to be gluten-free + rather than searching for a gluten-free specific recipe, I used this one (substituting Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 GF flour for the regular flour). We also kept the baking soda/water solution boiling while dipping. Our dough lacked stretchiness, but it worked.
We lack many of the special tools we saw used for pretzel making online. Rather than going out + buying things or deciding we couldn't make the recipe, we made do just fine with what we have. No standing mixer with dough hook...a wooden spoon + a little extra kneading by hand works fine. No nifty wooden handled wire straining spoon...our regular spatula worked fine. No egg wash brush...our fingers worked fine. No coarse sea salt...regular table salt tastes just as salty. Our minimal kitchen keeps us creative + reminds us that we have enough.
I'm a big fan of brands that choose to do a very small number of things very well. By focusing on one thing at a time, a brand can be uncompromising about detail, quality, sourcing, sustainability, working conditions, materials, pollution + waste.
FOUR Objects is focused on creating four exceptional pieces per year for four years. In adopting this slow, deliberate production model, this woman owned brand is able to take a critical look at how well they are serving customer, maker + environment. FOUR addresses their customers as collectors. I love the awareness of the power of words. Clothing is meant to be carefully chosen, kept + worn repeatedly for years to come. (Repair + resale services are in the works as well.) The slow + deliberate nature of this collection allows one to pause + consider the details + craftsmanship that goes into each piece...and the value of each piece thoughtfully added to one's own clothing collection.
All lovely images via FOUR Objects.
what about microfibers?
crisis :: there are microfibers in the fish we eat
climb in cotton for the planet :: + in the air we breathe
a human issue :: and in our drinking water
for our children's future :: less is not enough
save the planet
raise the bar
there are enough fleece jackets :: microfibers shed during every wash ::
less microfibers are still too many :: be a leader :: no more microfibers ::
action. soil power. regenerative agriculture
Just repurposing this Patagonia catalog in order to ask Patagonia to reconsider their approach to reducing plastic microfibers in our environment + in our bodies. They've done the research + acknowledge that "textiles shed between 31,000 to 3,500,000 fibers per load during normal laundering in household washing machines." Patagonia's current goals in regards to microfiber shedding seem to be more based around understanding the microfibers themselves, decreasing the amount customers produce by washing + creating synthetic fabrics that shed less...rather than pivoting away from producing them at all. They continue to produce mostly plastic-based + microfiber-shedding clothing...including fleece, recycled polyester + nylon. Recycled or not, these fibers shed plastic that is showing up in our air, drinking water, oceans, fish, soil + rain.
I'd like to challenge Patagonia to innovate in a different direction...away from plastic fibers altogether. I love Patagonia + all the work they do to advocate for + enable us to enjoy nature. I know they are leaders in this work + that they influence the entire outdoor industry. I'm hoping that using their own imagery + words will make some sort of impact.
Today looks to hold a full schedule of rain + darkness. I was planning on tolerating today + looking forward to warmer temperatures (but also more rain) tomorrow. But this morning I decided to get out in our backyard + see what I could just (as Josef Albers said) open my eyes + see.
Rain was just starting to fall + the low light makes for beautiful photos. Isn't that just sort of the way? Sometimes the bleakest circumstances allow beauty to stand out in all its garish glory. Things we may not have taken notice of under normal circumstances conjure deep feelings. This plant weathers the winter + all of the squirrels that share our yard (note the acorn top) + persists with greater strength year after year.
Last year, I thought this plant had died, so I dumped it out + repurposed its pot. Instead of dumping the dead stalk, I planted it where it dropped. I'm a pretty lazy gardener. This year it is a lovely mass of green + flowers. Sometimes a little space + time works unexpected magic.
I thought this bed of strawberries was winding down after a number of years of producing, but it's looking pretty promising. I honestly do nothing for these treasures, besides watering them a bit. Sunshine + rain + plant power know their own way.
These chives have been seasoning a lot of our meals already this spring + offer the best flowers too. I think those white bits are the seeds forming. These flavorful beauties will multiply endlessly, if we let them.
I can't remember if this is brussels sprouts or cauliflower, but either way, I'm not sure it is going to actually provide before it gets too hot. Gardening offers lots of opportunity to practice not being a perfectionist, to temper our expectations + to realize that we are not in control. I tried something new. I'm learning. I am completely at peace with whatever happens here.
On my way back inside, I noticed these last two mangos sitting out to ripen. Spring is a terrible, beautiful testing ground...cold + frost + rain + clouds + sun. Somehow delicate seedlings break ground + fluffy bumblebees reappear + mangos juice drips down our chins + we feel the sun on our shoulders again + we see that life is good.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time