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Sustainable and Fashionable Vacation Dresses for Your Fall/Winter Travels

I escaped the cooler weather for a fall retreat in Colombia. It was an incredible trip filled with adventurous excursions, including taking a mud bath in the Totuma Mud Volcano in Cartagena and paragliding in Medellin. Colombia is a lovely country. The Spanish Colonial architecture in Cartagena is so romantic and the colorful scenery in Medellin made the perfect backdrop for memorable photos.

With warmer temperatures, averaging around 90 degrees in Cartagena during November, I packed my suitcase with bathing suits, sandals, and of course, tropical vacation-ready dresses. If you are planning a trip this fall or winter to warmer weather, check out my top picks for vacation dresses.

Kenya Dress

Sika Designs creates gorgeous dresses in colorful prints. Every garment is handmade in Ghana and the core of the brand is social and environmental responsibility. After seeing this dress for months online, I finally purchased it and it was more beautiful than I imagined.

I particularly like the cut of this dress, the fitted waist and large, flowing skirt. I felt like a princess walking through Comuna 13 while touring the graffiti murals in Medellin.

Midaxi skirt with thigh split two-piece

I wore this two piece set, purchased from Asos, during the summer to a festival. It makes a fun and sultry vacation look with the high slit and cropped bardot top. The exaggerated sleeves create endless volume and the perfect accent. The fabric is a mix of linen and viscose, which are more sustainable fabrics as well.

Paradise Midi

Bombchel is another ethical African fashion brand using bold prints purchased locally in West Africa. Garment production takes place in Liberia with the goal of teaching an all-woman staff, including Ebola survivors, survivors of sexual assault and violence, and individuals with disabilities, like hearing impaired.

The Paradise Midi, pictured below, is made with a stretchy knit fabric that creates a curve fitting and very flattering silhouette. I love this look for a night out on a vacation. I purchased the dress from the Bombchel store in Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Georgia, but they have limited inventory in their online shop as well.

 Denim Strappy Midi Dress

Finally, I wore this strappy, fitted denim dress for a night out in Medellin. It is another Asos dress and is a part of their sustainable edit. Medellin has endless nightlife options. We spent hours hanging out in Provenza and Park Lleras, so I opted for a more casual, but stylish dress and comfortable heels, which were perfect for our explorations.

I hope you enjoyed this list of sustainable vacation-ready dresses! Are you planning any winter escapes? Let me know which look is your favorite in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Instagram, @ayannainbloom, for regular fashion inspiration.

Fresh Takes: Knit Sets to Add to Your Fall Wardrobe

Cozy. Comfy. Cute.

Fall began and the weather changed almost instantly. I had my first pumpkin spice latte ever from my favorite tea spot along the Atlanta Beltline to celebrate. I’ve also been keeping cozy in knit layers, like this two piece set I’m wearing below. I purchased it from Zara last fall. It has been a reliable go-to for afternoons in the house curled up on the couch with a cup of tea with the fire place roaring, or even on a day of remote working.

Two- (or more) piece sets are a smart investment across all seasons. They simplify getting dressed on those days where you need to pull something together quickly and create versatility in your wardrobe because you can mix and match the pieces with other items. Whether you’re looking for something to lounge around the house in or something to wear on a night out, check out my favorite knit sets to add to your fall wardrobe.

Three-piece Cable Knit Set

This first look is very similar to the look I am wearing. It is another look you can wear around the house. The shorts have more coverage than mine, so I would also wear this for a casual daytime outing. Add a pair of thigh high socks and booties or sneakers to complete the look.

Cable-Knit Midi Sweater Dress

Sweater dresses are abundant every fall, but have you noticed the cropped pull-on shrug look for sweaters and dresses this season? If you watch Insecure, Issa wore the style in episode two of season five. I can remember wearing super cropped pull-on shrugs like the one pictured below over camis in junior high school. The style has apparently returned and is a popular look for the fall. It remains a piece that provides versality, whether worn over the knit dress, like pictured below, or with a cami and jeans. The look below is perfect for a date night.

Knit Pants and Rib-knit Top

A knit top and wide leg pants creates a casual, but chic look. If you are looking for a cropped top, similar to the one I am wearing in this post, the Rib-knit Top in H&M’s Conscious Collection is a great alternative. Again, there is versality since you can layer the top (e.g. layer it over a white button down top for a business casual look). It pairs nicely with the knit pants, which are also from H&M’s Conscious collection. I especially like the oversized cardigan to complete the look. The pants will pair well with a fitted turtle neck as well.

Boucle Textured Pointelle Sweater Tank Top and Knit Skirt

The sweater tank and knit skirt by Current Air creates another business casual or date night option. Midi knitted ribbed skirts are curve hugging and very flattering. Both pieces can be worn to create endless looks in your wardrobe.

I hope you enjoyed this post with my favorite knit sets and found some looks and ideas to try this fall! One final thought, although these sets are all in neutral colors, don’t be afraid to add a pop of color, like in my look below. Subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates and follow me on Instagram, @Ayannainbloom, for regular fashion inspiration.

Happy Fall!

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Vegan Make-up Products to Try Now

Non-toxic beauty because plant-based is a lifestyle

“Plant-based is a lifestyle” is a phrase I’ve used on Instagram. As much as possible, I strive to use products that are made with plant-based and non-toxic ingredients. Over the years, I’ve found great alternatives, including everything from cleaning products to beauty products. From foundation to mascara and highlighters, I am sharing my favorite vegan beauty brands and my top products from these companies.

MERIT Beauty

MERIT is a clean beauty brand with vegan and cruelty free products. My usual make up routine is very simple (usually eyeliner and lip stick or lip gloss), so I appreciate their minimalist approach for every day wear. The highlighting balm, pictured below, creates a dewy glow. I like how easy it is to apply and I tried it without foundation and loved it. I also like the tinted lip oil, which is made with shea butter, jojoba oil, and grapeseed oil (my favorite oil to use on my skin). The lip oil is perfect for the days where I want a glossier look and a little color, without wearing my typical bold matte lipstick. I am wearing the Cava Day Glow Highlighting Balm and Cara Cara Shade Lip Tinted Oil in the picture below.

The Lip Bar

The Lip Bar is a vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand and has been my go-to for lip sticks and lip glosses for years. The Vegan Matte Liquid Lipsticks are unmatched in my opinion for lasting wear. They provide an all day wear and have limited smudge when I wear them underneath my masks. Boy Trouble, the color I am wearing in the picture below is my absolute favorite lip color. Hot Mama is a close second.

Too Faced

Too Faced is a cruelty free beauty brand that includes a number of vegan products. Prior to Too-Faced, I had trouble finding a foundation that I liked and I thought finding the perfect vegan foundation would be a challenge. I primarily wear foundation for special occasions, so although it is not a daily part of my make up routine, having a great foundation in your make up bag is a beauty essential. I’ve been wearing “Born This Way” for a few years and it gives me a flawless complexion every time I wear it. It looks completely natural and is undetectable (I am wearing it in the picture below), while providing full to medium coverage. It is also oil free, which works well for my combination skin.

Too Faced has other great vegan products as well. I have shorter eyelashes, so for a vegan friendly mascara that provides length and volume, I recommend “Better Than Sex”.

Urban Decay

Last but not least on my list of vegan make up products, is Urban Decay. Urban Decay is another cruelty free make up company. It was founded in 1996, so it is a well established and well known brand . While Urban Decay is not entirely vegan, they have a line of vegan products as well. Since I love all things with glitter and sparkle, I have enjoyed their cream-based eyeshadows, especially the vegan moondust eyeshadow for a glamorous look and their vegan eyeshadow palettes, which can be used to create a softer or bolder look.

I hope you enjoyed my list of vegan make up products and found some products to add to your make up bag. Let me know which product is your favorite in the comments below. You can follow along on Instagram, @ayannainbloom, for more regular style inspiration and subscribe to my newsletter for updates.

Be well ❤

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Shop Show-Stopping White Dresses for Summer

Cut it out

I spent five beautiful days in Puerto Rico last month and packed a dress that reminded me of everything I love most about summer – the beach trips, the sunny weather, the outdoor events, and of course, the summer dresses.

A white dress is a staple summer wardrobe piece as we navigate graduations and reunions, summer travels, and all-white attire events. With so many options for white dresses, this post features my top picks for statement white dresses. I am sharing ethically made pieces, so it is fashion that you can feel good about. I am featuring some indie designers as well, so shopping with them makes a big impact.

1. Gael Dress Oat

The Gael Dress Oat is by The Line by K, which features ethically made pieces that are made in Los Angeles. This dress is made from a heavy ribbed cotton, so it accentuates your curves and is a flattering, fitted look for a girls’ night or date night. I wore it with strappy nude heels, but you can also pair it with flat sandals for a more casual daytime look.

2. White O-Ring Maxi Dress

The White-O-Ring Maxi is a chic summer look that is perfect for a dinner party.

3. Ceren Ocak Cut Out Bass Dress – White

This look delivers business on top and party on the bottom. You can transition from your Zoom meeting to an after work cocktail event in this dress. It is made from organic cotton and linen, so it is breathable and will keep you cool.

4. Crudo Maxi – V Neck

Pack this piece for your water filled vacation (imagine a picnic on the beach). It makes a beautiful cover up and is handmade in Mexico from organic cotton.

5. Dale Linen Dress

Sometimes a simple, sleek silhouette is ideal for the occasion (and a subtle statement as you walk away). I love this look for a summer picnic in the park. It’s made from 100% organic linen, so it will keep you cool at outdoor gatherings.

I hope you enjoyed my top five picks for white statement dresses. Comment below and let me know which look is your favorite. Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Juneteenth! Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the US, when the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas on June 19, 1865. Check out this book list to learn more about Juneteenth.

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Women-Owned Brands to Shop with Now for Women’s History Month

Alexa play Lizzo “Like a Girl.”

Historically on Style in Full Bloom, I have highlighted brands that promote women’s empowerment, a close tie to the work I am most passionate about as a public health researcher. In recognition of Women’s History Month, I am celebrating a few women-owned brands and my favorite pieces from their collections.

Shade AkanbiDesigner and Founder, The Printed Pattern People

Shade Akanbi is the Designer for and Founder of The Printed Pattern People, a brand celebrating cultures through fashion and goods and using textiles created by artisans from around the world. You can find everything from kimonos, kaftans, and saris to wax print sneakers and accessories. Shade recently designed this gorgeous pajama set, which is available exclusively at Anthropologie. The “Shadé Akanbi Harvest Pajama Set” fits as beautifully as it is designed. It’s made with viscose fabric, so it is super soft and comfortable. I’ve spent the entire day lounging around the house in this set and I seriously cannot get enough of it. The translation of traditional ethnic designs into modern looks, including from her Nigerian culture, is a part of Shade’s design aesthetic and translates seamlessly through these pieces.

Dani Nagel – Designer and Founder, Dazey LA

I was excited to see Dazey LA recently featured in Anthropologie as well. Dazey LA is a sustainable fashion company aiming to empower women and promote positivity. I purchased this mug at Anthropologie (it is on sale now) and you can find the matching tee (pictured below) on the Dazey LA site. The brand features a variety of products, including tees that “stand for something”, which designer Dani Nagel designs by hand in Los Angeles. Tees with quotes like “People for the planet” and “Mental health matters” take a social stance, are conversation starters, and I also love the artistic design. As a slow fashion company, everything is made in small batches. Use my ambassador code “BLOOM333” to receive 10% off your purchase at Dazey LA.

 Angel – Owner, Tēm N(y)o͞oˈMənē™

Tēm N(y)o͞oˈMənē™ is another Black-woman owned apparel company featuring apparel made from 100% organic cotton. You can find your basics with this company, like sweats, hoodies, crewnecks, and tees – perfect casual wear and lounging pandemic options. My “I am my ancestors wildest dreams” t-shirt was custom designed by the company, so they are a great option for the custom designed apparel needs for your brand or for personal customization as well.

Akosua Afriyie-Kumi – Designer and Co-Founder, AAKS

I first learned about this brand on the “Women who Travel” podcast by Conde Nast Traveler. A A K S was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with the goal of “introducing the world to her favorite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa.” Her story is also inspiring. She discussed her early childhood interests in art and design at a time where career paths in the visual arts were not typically appreciated and celebrated.

The handmade bags are colorful and stylish and Baw Pot Natural bucket bag (pictured below) is my favorite style from the collection. A A K S recently launched ‘Weaving for Change’, a weaving initiative benefiting refugee artisans in Burkina Faso through fair and ethical work. I can picture the stunning Ihaya Lamp (pictured below) in my new home. It is a part of the limited edition collection of home décor products featured through this initiative.

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I hope you enjoyed this post and found a few new brands to support. Follow me on Instagram for more fashion inspiration (@ayannainbloom) and subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates.

Be well.

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Shopping with Black-owned Brands at the Village Market Retail

Seasons greetings! I hope your hearts are filled with joy and gratitude as we prepare for the New Year. If your new year resolutions include supporting more Black-owned businesses, then this post will set you up for success.

I stopped at Ponce City Market about a month ago during my Saturday morning run and visited a new store called the Village Market Retail. I’ve been looking for stylish activewear and was thrilled to find this spicy leopard print outfit by J Dow Fitness. J Dow Fitness was created by Jacqueline Dow, DrPH, MSPH. It’s an athleisure apparel company that promotes “holistic wellness, fitness, and self-confidence among women of color.” The sports bra provides great support and I love the quality and comfy fit, which has been perfect for my outdoor runs and also for lounging around the house.

The Village Market Retail is a concept store that features Black-owned brands. Long before opening the store in Ponce City Market, the Village Market held pop-up shops, or markets, in Atlanta featuring Black vendors and coined the phrase “Support is a verb”. The mission of The Village Market is to “empower entrepreneurs through education, purpose-driven events, and community engagement.”

– Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon / Creator of The Village Market

It is exciting to know that the brands featured in the store will be rotated every few months to maintain a growing list of businesses to support. I consider this store to be a one stop shop for unique apparel, lifestyle, and beauty products. From the camo jackets to the brimmed hats pictured below, there were so many stylish pieces I wanted to purchase. Check out some of the products I saw during my visit and other photos from the store below.

I look forward to patronizing this store in the future and finding additional Black brands to support. You can learn more about the The Village Market here.

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Black-Owned Designer Hand Bags to Shop this Holiday Season and Beyond

Normalize Black-owned luxury

Last month, there was a social media uproar over a comment made about Hermès Birkin bags. If you are not familiar with Birkin Bags, they are the most expensive handbags in the world, costing up to $500,000 and a starting price around $40,000. While Hermès and other iconic brands that are synonymous with luxury have earned their status, there remains a population of Black luxury handbag designers that are underrepresented and under-acknowledged in the fashion industry. Here is my list of luxury Black handbag designers and brands to know.

Brandon Blackwood

Brandon Blackwood launched his first handbag collection in 2015. The materials used to make his handbags are ethnically sourced and constructed by craftsmen in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. under fair trade standards. His signature Kendrick trunk style bag (pictured below) is my favorite. I also like his recent exploration of fashion and activism with the “End Systemic Racism” tote bag.

Minku

Forbes’ 30 under 30 honoree, Kunmi, began Minku as a bespoke leather goods brand. All items are made in Nigeria and the Eleko Wave™ leather finish adds an interesting floral-like texture to the leather pieces.

Ibaka Weekend and Work Bag by Minku

Dr. Pachanga

Dr. Pachanga’s brand features vegan leather handbags with bold wax print accents, designed by high end fashion designer, Jean Rene Tosomba Onyangunga, also known as Dr. Pachanga. The Congolese designer, based in South Africa, designs colorful handbags with unique styles and in a variety of silhouettes. Each style in Dr. Pachanga’s line is produced in limited quantities, and while in South Africa, I anecdotally learned that each handbag is also named after women in his life. The Vanessa is pictured below.

Anima Iris

Cameroonian-born, Wilglory, is the designer behind the brand, Anima Iris. The website states that they are “redefining luxury by including Africa in the narrative, once and for all.” Another sustainable brand with social responsibility at its core, each piece is handcrafted in Dakar, Senegal. Each bag is exquisitely designed and the holiday collection is glorious, including the Zaza bag pictured below, complete with the signature twisted handle.

Whether you are shopping for others during this holiday season or shopping for yourself, I hope you found a few new Black handbag designers to support. Which designer is your favorite?

Outfit Details: Skirt: SHIFT Style House || Knit Coat: Zara || Handbag: Dr. Pachanga

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A Mural Crawl in Atlanta Celebrating Black Girl Magic

In so many ways, 2020 has been a year that amplified the social and racial injustices that have been overlooked and unaddressed for decades. The silver lining for me has been to witness and be a part of social actions, both in my professional and personal life that are aiming to bring about change. I have also enjoyed using this time of social distancing to connect in creative ways with others.

Last weekend, I was invited to attend a mural crawl in Atlanta with Black Girl Magic Tours. It was a fun-filled and educational few hours, a complete cultural emergence through art that highlighted the political and social contributions of Black women in Atlanta, while celebrating all things Black Girl Magic. It was also a breath of fresh air to connect with other women, to celebrate and pay tribute to Black women, and to bask in and celebrate our own magic. Continue reading to learn all about my experience on this tour and to see the various murals and sites we explored throughout Atlanta.

I arrived at our pick-up location around 11:30 am to board our luxury tour bus. Each attendee, six total and our tour guide, wore face coverings on the bus. Before entering the bus, we also had our temperatures checked. Black Girl Magic Tours was founded by Tarika Saada, PhD. Tarika is also the tour guide and was very knowledgeable about each mural we visited as well as other historical events in the city. She greeted us with a Black Girl Magic Bellini. Then we were off to our first stop, CamiCakes, a Black-owned gourmet cupcake shop where each attendee received a free cupcake. While I did not have a cupcake during the tour, I have enjoyed my fair share of these delicious treats in my pre-vegan days.

As I mentioned, we spent the tour visiting and discussing the historical importance of each mural. We also stopped by the Freedom Parkway Bridge, one of the most photographed places in Atlanta. Of note, each tour with Black Girl Magic Tours is different, so attendees can enjoy a different mural experience with each tour they book. Here are some of my favorite mural moments.

The photo opportunities are plentiful on this tour, the playlist during our bus ride was the ultimate Black Girl Magic hit list, and my absolute favorite part of the tour was meeting and getting to know the other attendees. COVID-19 rates are again spiking, so it was also a plus that the tour group on the bus was small and that we spent a lot of time outdoors, which of course is a safer option for any type of social gatherings. If you are interested in exploring the art murals in Atlanta (a blogger’s dream, right?), but also would like to learn more about the history of Atlanta, I highly recommend adding Black Girl Magic Tours to your Atlanta bucket list.

Our tour guide began the tour with this question and I invite you to answer it as well.

What makes you magical? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

Outfit Details || Halter Knit Top: Zara, Knit Midi Skirt: Zara

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Leather Weather – 4 Pieces to Add to Your Fall Wardrobe

Well hello! Like the rest of the world, I have been adjusting to telework and virtual homeschooling over the last few months and in the midst of racial injustices and a global pandemic, I’ve had absolutely no inspiration to talk or blog about fashion. It has been nice to take a break, even from creative outlets. I am very excited, however, to share new posts in this season.

First up on the fall list is leather. For me, leather (or faux leather) is a closet staple for autumn and the cooler days ahead. Check out my leather picks to add to your wardrobe now.

1. Leather Joggers

Leather pants are nostalgic and these Black leather joggers are serving 80s style. It’s the high waist and tapered pant legs that I prefer over straight and slim fit leather pants. It’s a look that can be worn casually, as pictured, or dressed up as well. I paired my joggers with snake skin boots, a tan knit crop top, and duster for a chic fall look.

H&M, Faux Leather Pants – $34.99

2. Leather Mini Dress

Anthropologie, Greer Faux Leather Mini Dress – $99.95

There is something about wearing red leather pieces that makes you feel like a power house. How adorable is this puff sleeve mini dress? The length is flirty and fun and it has a flattering shape. This dress would be perfect for a socially distant date night out (or date night in), paired with strappy heels. You can also wear it with lace tights and black pumps. It is an edgy statement piece and is currently on sale at Anthropologie.

3. Leather Midi Skirt

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you know that I love a nice midi skirt. It is my favorite skirt length and this cream faux leather midi by Zara is another piece on my fall list.

Zara, Faux Leather Midi Skirt – $39.90

4. Leather Button Down Shirt

Last, but not least, leather button up shirts are everywhere this season. I particularly like the long shirt look. You can style this look with skinny jeans, leggings, or even Black leather slim fit pants for a bolder outfit.

H&M Faux Leather Shirt – $39.99

These four versatile leather pieces can definitely add some edginess to your fall wardrobe. Which piece is your favorite?

I hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks for reading!

Celebrate Juneteenth – Shop with Black Designers and Support Organizations on the Front Line for Achieving Racial Justice

On June 19th we celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Africans in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it was nearly two and a half years later when enslaved Africans in the Galveston, Texas were declared free.

In moving towards achieving social and racial justice for Black lives, investing into organizations founded and led by Black people, that are also on the front lines doing the community work, is one strategy to ensure lasting and sustainable impacts in the lives and well-being of Black people.

If you are shopping today, foremost, consider supporting Black-owned brands. Also, consider these brands that are donating 100% of profits today, or throughout June, to Black-led organizations working to achieve racial justice.

Other Wild

Other Wild offers a collection of goods and products created by artists, jewelers, designers, and herbalists amongst others. The curation of products offered through their retail store are selected with special consideration for sustainability and being made with care. Juneteenth sells will be split between the organizations listed below. The impact of the organizations range from improving black maternal health and addressing maternal health disparities (Black Mamas Matter Alliance) to providing meals and resources to Black Trans People (The Okra Project).

ASAI (Actively Standing Against Injustice)

Asai is selling the iconic Rihanna dress pictured below by personal order through info@asaita.co.uk. All profits from the sales will be donated to Black Lives Matter and other organizations. I could not access their website, so visiting their Instagram page, @asaitakeaway, is the best place for updates.

Peter Do

Peter Do is donating 100% of net profits from online sales during the month of June to black founded organizations and frontline charities who fight for black equality and racial justice. The organizations receiving donations include Color of Change, The Black Youth Project 100, and Black Visions Collective.

Image by Peter Do

Lady White Co.

Image by Lady White Co.

Lady White Co. is donating 100% of sales from the LWC x ROF sneaker (pictured above) to Minneapolis based, Reclaim the Block. Reclaim the Block is an organization that focuses on redirecting funds allocated to police to community led safety initiatives.

Make an economic impact by directly supporting Black-owned fashion brands and Black designers as well. The list below includes Black designers and brands that I have featured over the years on Style in Full Bloom:

Clothing
Studio One Eighty Nine
Samantha Black NYC
Whitney Mero
Fei Mancho
Fe Noel
She The Collection
Loin Cloth and Ashes


Handbags, Shoes, and Accessories
Dr Pachanga
Love, Cortnie
Beaded Souls
Thandos


Athleisure

Rochelle Porter Design


Modest Fashion
Louella by Ibtihaj
Neicy Shop

I hope you take some time today to celebrate and reflect on this important day in history. I also hope you consider ways in which you can contribute to achieving racial justice.

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Shop Fashionable Face Masks for a Cause

Repurpose. Recreate. Reimagine. Refashion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

I made a few masks using scrap fabric leftover from old projects. There are tutorials across the internet with step-by-step instructions for non-medical, reusable cloth masks. It is a pretty simple diy project and you can make them with or without a sewing machine.

Thankfully, if diy is not your preference or if you prefer to purchase face masks instead, there are many options available online. There are also a variety of options if you want to shop sustainably or support businesses that champion a social cause. Whether it’s supporting artisans, caring for our environment, or donating purchased masks to others in need – check out these companies and my top picks for fashionable and sustainable masks that also support a social cause.

For the Pattern Lover Rochelle Porter (Shop here)

Rochelle Porter Design’s are created using beautiful hand drawn prints. The usual collection features active wear and the company has expanded their collection to include  face masks in their characteristic bold print. Like the other products, the face masks are made with organic cotton and printed using eco-friendly dyes, which is important considering that we wear the masks over our nose and mouth. The Mali Mask, shown below, is my favorite. These masks are also a great pick if you prefer masks made with elastic bands to fit over the ears.

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Photo by Rochelle Porter

For the Versatile FashionistaVelvet Lamb (Shop here) 

Velvet Lamb is a California-based clothing line that focuses on short supply chains, ethical production, and zero waste. Each piece is designed with versatility in mind, so you can wear them in a variety of ways. Their face masks, for example, are designed to be worn as headbands as well. My favorite is the mask below with the cheeky six feet physical distance reminder.

Photo by Velvet Lamb

For the Artisan SupporterStudio One Eighty Nine (Shop here)

Studio One Eighty Nine, co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, works with artisans in Ghana to produce their sustainable clothing line. Their masks are also produced by artisans in Ghana using cotton grown in Ghana as well. I like that these masks are three layers and there is also a pocket for filters.

Photo by Studio One Eighty Nine

For the Bulk Shopper – Reformation (Shop here)

Reformation is one of the largest sustainable fashion brands. They offer a pack of five cloth face masks for $25. You cannot choose your pattern with these, but you will receive a variety of masks for yourself or your family. These masks also tie in the back.

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Photo by Reformation

For the HumanitarianZel Haiti (Shop here)

Zel Haiti works with artisans in Haiti to produce medical scrubs. Please note that you won’t actually receive the mask(s) that you purchase from Zel Haiti. Instead, each $5 mask that is purchased is donated to a child or family in one of the remote feeding programs that Chances for Children supports in Haiti. Your mask purchase therefore supports someone who has less resources to buy or make their own mask, while also living in conditions that make it more challenging to remain physically distant from others.

John Hopkins University offers the following information when choosing a mask.

“Look for masks made with at least 2 layers of fabric. It should cover your nose and mouth without large gaps. The mask should have ear loops or ties so you can adjust it. For people who wear glasses, look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging. Professional masks should be reserved for health care workers on the front lines caring for patients.”

I am not sure how long we will be wearing face masks, but I plan to build a fun rotation of masks while supporting others in the process. I hope you enjoyed this post and found some brands to support as well.

Be well.

Super Food Beauty Products and Food Items to Add to Your Trader Joe’s Cart

These products are essential…

Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to shop for groceries. In addition to a pleasant ambiance and a great selection of quality produce, they won my support with their pledge to never include artificial flavors, additives, and GMOs in their private label products. From skin care products to smoothie boosters, my Trader Joe’s shopping list includes these four plant-based superfood products.

First, what are superfoods? Super foods are nutritionally dense foods that contain a variety of nutrients, like antioxidants. Antioxidants work wonders in our bodies, fighting off free radicals, which can cause cellular damage and lead to oxidative stress in the body. My plant-based diet is packed with super foods.

Here is the list of items to try during your next visit to Trader Joe’s.

  1. Blueberry and Acai Facial Scrub09640E76-3EE4-4886-988D-2B61C14BE37F

Trader Joe’s has introduced a number of skin care products over the last few years. I recently tried the microdermabrasion scrub, a few face masks, and this blueberry and acai facial scrub. This scrub is a spa quality product, but it is under $10. It also smells delicious. You’ll feel a slight tingle as you scrub your skin (It’s the alpha-hydroxy acids).  I use it a few times a week and it leaves my skin looking and feeling refreshed.

    2.  Golden Berries

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I recently posted about golden berries on Instagram.  I have only seen golden berries at farmers’ markets in the past, so I was excited to see them at Trader Joe’s. In addition to their high antioxidant content, they also have anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties. They are absolutely delicious and their sweet and tangy taste is a unexpected treat.

3. Matcha Green Tea

Matcha Green Tea

I rarely drink coffee, but I have been incorporating Trader Joe’s Matcha Green Tea Powder into my smoothies or other beverages when I need an energy boost. As others mention, I like that matcha does not leave me feeling groggy, like I sometimes feel after drinking coffee. My favorite matcha tea smoothie recipe includes blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, a tablespoon of peanut butter, agave nectar, flaxseed or almond milk, and matcha tea. I call it my Green Light Berry Blast Smoothie. I also prepare it latte style with warm flax or almond milk and sweetened with agave nectar. The Trader Joe’s Matcha Green Tea is also conveniently packaged in single servings. It is a little pricier than the matcha tea I buy at the farmer’s market (about $7), but it is worth it.

4. Hemp Seeds

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For a vegan or vegetarian, being intentional about essential fatty acid intake, e.g. omega-3s and omega-6s, is important. Hemp seeds are high in protein and also provide these essential fatty acids. They have a light and subtle nutty flavor. Try sprinkling these hemp seeds over a salad or adding a spoonful to your smoothie for a nutritional boost.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned about some new super food products to try during your next visit to Trader Joe’s! Happy Shopping!