Ethical Clothing Review: Part 2

clothing review

Last week, I shared reviews of pieces of clothing I’ve purchased over the past year.  Today, I’m reviewing the bags and shoes (starting with the black flip flops in the middle row, then bottom row left to right):

Indosole inner tube flip flops.  I wore these all summer, and currently wear them constantly at home.  They have worn in really nicely, and fit well from the beginning.  The soles came apart, but my husband glued them on and they’ve stayed pretty well.  Indosole is a new-ish company, and honest about the fact that they’re learning and continuing to improve their products.  I can appreciate that and would definitely order again.

Indosole kelapa shoes – I liked the shape of these shoes a lot, and wore them often right until the snow fell.  They have the same issue as the sandals with the soles coming off as you can see in the picture, but I’m sure a bit of glue would keep them strong for another summer.

Nisolo JoAnne bag – I am a little bit obsessed with Nisolo.  This bag was worth every penny.  It doubles as a diaper bag, fits enough clothes for a night away, and carries yarn and work supplies.  It’s a perfect every day bag, and the leather has worn beautifully over time.

Nisolo Delicias sandals – I only wore these a few times, and was nervous about buying them online.  I was really impressed with the fit, and how comfortable they were after about half an hour of wear.  I’m looking forward to summer partly so that I can break out these shoes again.

If you’re interested, here is a discount code for Nisolo.  It gets you 10% off your order, and me $10 off my next pair of shoes (it’s a win-win)!


An Ethical Christmas: Host Gifts


host giftsWith so many holiday parties happening this time of year, I thought I’d put together a roundup of some favourite host gifts (left – right, starting with top right):

1. Fair trade wine.  This is an easy thing item to have on hand and pull out when needed.  For a while I had a nice collection going, but I drank it.  I’m not very picky, and partial towards bottles with pictures of bicycles or sunbeams, so unfortunately can’t give any great recommendations.

2. Fair trade flowers.  Here in Winnipeg, beautiful fair trade roses can be found at Generation Green at the Forks.  Gift giving tip: bring the flowers in a vase or jar so the host is not rushing around to find a vase in the midst of other duties (there are exceptions, of course – as an event planner I have an abundance of vases).

3. Homemade fudge.  I found this delicious looking fudge on Etsy, but it would be easy to package your own signature dessert in a pretty way.

4. Chocolate is always a great gift.

5. Nuts are easy (nuts and chocolate tied up together would be a really nice small gift).

6. Craft beer.  Half Pints is a Winnipeg favourite, but every city has local food and drinks – if you’ve discovered something special, this is a nice way to share it.

7. Beeswax candles (these are my favourite).  And this brings me to my host tip: light beeswax or other unscented or lightly scented candles.  Anything scented can overpower the smell of the food you’ve prepared, and lots of people have scent allergies (vanilla is one of the top ones) which can make guests uncomfortable.


Skincare Shopping Online



Over the past couple of months, I’ve been sharing interviews from 3 fabulous skincare & makeup companies.  All have products I use regularly, and all are located in Manitoba.  The number of local, eco-friendly companies we have in the province amazes me.  If you missed them the first time, here are the links to the interviews:

Just the Goods, Part 1 & Part 2

Mama Pacha, Part 1 & Part 2

Pure Anada, Part 1 & Part 2

If you’re like me and planning to hibernate for the next 6 months or so, here are a few online shops to check out and have products delivered (in addition to their websites, which you can click on above):

Etsy (search for Just the Goods, Mama Pacha, and Pure Anada)

Greenwood Naturals

Generation Green at the Forks

My Farmers’ Market (Just the Goods – delivery within Winnipeg, no shipping) (Pure Anada)


An Ethical Christmas – Decorations

ethical christmas decorations

Winter has arrived over the past few days in Winnipeg.  As I type this, snow is lightly falling and it is putting me in a decorating mood! Over the next several weeks I’ll be sharing some of my favourite ideas for an ethical Christmas, from decor and hosting to gifts.  There may even be a DIY project or two, if I’m brave.

Here are some of my favourite decorations (left to right, starting with top right):

Star garland from Paper Notebook.

Cute pillows from Ten Thousand Villages.

For some reason, I only burn candles this time of year.  And my candle collection is entirely from Barletta Beeswax, because they are awesome.

Handmade wreaths from Anita Rex Designs.

Fun felt garland, from Azalea Cottage Crafts.

Paloma’s Nest has been on my radar since they started their gorgeous Etsy shop.  These personalized Christmas ornaments are stunning.

I’m into garland this year, apparently.  This one is from Ten Thousand Villages.


Ethical Clothing Review


clothing reviewOver the past year, about 80% of my clothing and accessory purchases have been ethically made.  I don’t buy a lot of clothes, and most of these have been reviewed just after I received them.  I thought it would be fun to let you know how they’re holding up after several months of wear.  For today I’ll review the clothes, and next week I’ll share about shoes and the bag.

The shirts on the top row are all from People Tree.  The yellow striped shirt is really fun, and looks great with jeans or tucked into a pencil skirt.

The middle shirt has stretched out nicely, and I’m sure it’s the most-worn piece in my closet.  It was my casual, at home or at the park shirt.  I loved the shape, and it comes in other colours and patterns as well, so I’ll definitely be ordering another shirt in this style with my next People Tree order.

The third shirt was my favourite online, but unfortunately doesn’t fit quite right.  The fabric has no give, and the stitching hits me at a weird place.  For next summer I’ll try it with different pants, or look at getting it tailored.  The colour and pattern are great.

The shirt on the left in the middle row was purchased at Costco, and I’m including it just to say that made in Canada clothing can be found at an affordable price.  That said, there was no information on where the fabric itself was sourced from.  As you can see by the paint smudge, this was an at-home, crafting shirt.  I’m looking at this shirt from Everlane as my next basic shirt (although I won’t be painting in it).

And finally, my Prana skirt.  I purchased it at MEC and also wore it a lot over the summer.  It’s made of a sweatshirt material, and so it loses shape quickly between washes.  It also attracts cat hair like crazy and wrinkles easily.  But I wore it tons over the summer, and into the fall with leggings.  I will probably wear it all winter, too.

Tomorrow’s post is the first in a series on having an ethical Christmas.  See you then!

Ethical Fashion: Jewelry Edition

jewelry edition

I’ve been on a search for a dress to wear to a wedding, and finally decided to wear my own dress, similar to this one from ModCloth, and add jewelry.  Here are a few of my favourite bold and beautiful pieces that can dress up or dress down an outfit (ethically made, of course):

1. This necklace from Made.

2. This ring, from Made.

3. And this bracelet, also from Made.

4. I wish I had thought ahead and bought this bracelet from 31 Bits.

5. These earrings from Soko would be easy to dress up or down.

6.  And this necklace, also from Soko.

Looking for a little black dress to wear with these fabulous pieces?  Check out a roundup of my favourites, here.

Happy Friday!


Interview with Pure Anada: Part 2

pure anada 2

If you missed Part 1 of my interview with Candace, owner of Pure Anada cosmetics, check it out here.  I have been using their makeup for 5 or 6 years, and love everything I’ve tried.  Sherry at Generation Green at the Forks is great at picking colours and very knowledgeable (if you’re in the Morden area, you can also stop by Pure Anada’s shop), Kristen from Pure Anada posts wonderful tutorials online (link in article), and the makeup lasts a long time and looks great.  Thanks very much for sharing, Candace!

What is your favourite product in your line?

The loose mineral foundation is my favorite. I made it to suit my own skin years ago. I need a lot of coverage because I naturally have an uneven skin tone. The loose foundation allows me to layer the product so it provides full coverage without feeling heavy.

What are the benefits of mineral makeup?

The benefits of mineral makeup is that the ingredients are simple. There is less chance for irritation because there are less ingredients!

The application can be adjusted to suit your needs and desires when it comes to makeup. You can apply it lightly for less coverage, or in layers (misting our Marine Mineral Hydrating Toner between each application) to achieve full coverage.

How do you come up with ideas for new products?

New ideas and products come from customer requests or requests from our private label clients. We may not make it immediately, but every time someone requests something new, I file it away in my mind and ponder on how I can make it happen “naturally”. I research formulation ideas and then start producing samples.

Do you have any makeup advice?

If people aren’t sure about how to apply makeup properly, the first tip I would advise is to keep it simple. Less is often more! Once you get comfortable with a simple application, feel free to venture out into new, fun ideas! Youtube is a great place these days to find advice for your skin type or to replicate seasonal trends. Our on-staff makeup artist, named Kristen does a fabulous job on our youtube channel.

Some of our retailers offer personal consultations to assist people with choosing makeup best suited for their skin tone. If you are ever visiting Morden, Manitoba, you are welcome to book a consultation with Kristen in our boutique!

What advice do you have for someone looking to choose more natural makeup?

Be aware of “green washing” which has become so common in the past few years. Commercial brands attempt to appease consumers with natural-looking packaging. Many times, these brands are not much different than any others, aside from the green leafy graphics on their boxes.

Where should they start and what is important to look for?

I feel a good place to start looking for more natural makeup is at a retailer you can trust. Most independent eco-friendly retailers put a lot of care into offering products that are healthy and safe for their clients. It’s like they’ve done the research for you!

Educating yourself is also beneficial if you have the time. Two books we feel are great resources:

There is Lead in your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon

Ecoholic Body by Adria Vasil

Both books are loaded with information regarding how to choose products that are healthy and clean, including which ingredients to avoid.

A common standard of ingredients to avoid in cosmetics is called the “Dirty Dozen”. A description of these ingredients as well as a shopper’s guide can be downloaded here.

Where can we find your products?

Our products can be found in natural product retail locations across Canada. The full list is on our website.

We prefer that consumers support the retail locations that stock our product since makeup is best seen in person! However if there isn’t a location near you, we also have some online options listed on our site as well.

Interview with Pure Anada: Part 1

pure anada












Today I’m excited to share part 1 of my interview with Candace of Pure Anada.  Most of my makeup is from this Manitoba company, and I love it.  Read on for some background information on the company, and check back tomorrow for Part 2 and some fantastic makeup tips!

How did Pure Anada get started?

My first career was hairstyling. I enjoyed the creative aspect of working in a salon, as well as the relationships I built with my clients. However over the years, I developed sensitivities to some of the products and chemicals we were using on a daily basis. Eventually, I was using prescription creams on my hands, and couldn’t make it through the day without respiratory allergy medication.

That’s when I began to research some of the ingredients that were in the products I was using as a hairstylist. I was surprised to know that the cosmetic industry is not highly regulated and that many ingredients are NOT tested for their long-term safety. By using a plethora of ingredients in our personal care products, we are simply participating in a giant experiment! I was not interested in being a part of it any longer.

That was in 2003. I had two small children and decided that it was time to live a more holistic lifestyle. I changed many household and personal care items to healthier, more environmentally friendly alternatives. The last products to go were my color cosmetics. I was accustomed to using high-quality, salon brands and could not find “natural” makeup on the market that met my expectations. I have always had an insatiable desire to “make it myself”. As child, I learned to sew, bake bread, and craft just about anything and everything. Surely I could make my own makeup!? I researched the prospect and jumped in with both feet! I remember the days when I would tuck the kids into bed, and bring out my stash of ingredients. I was hooked!

I made colors for myself, friends and family. I was surprised to learn how many ladies were sensitive to traditional cosmetics. It seems as if our bodies are just saying…”enough already with the chemicals”! Even more fascinating was that the products I was creating from organic botanicals, and food-grade minerals didn’t irritate their skin at all! I started to see there was a demand for a more natural alternative to traditional cosmetics. As the years have past, consumers have become more educated and aware of what they are putting on their bodies. This is a good thing, and we are pleased to offer consumers a line of products that can make them feel fabulous, without compromising on the safety of the ingredients.

Tell us about the progression of your company since it began.

Pure Anada started out as a little hobby; something I did when my kids went to bed, and my husband watched sports highlights!

One year, I brought my excess creations to a local craft sale and it was there that I realized there was a demand for cleaner, healthier cosmetics.

Over the past 10 years, the business has slowly grown. Exposure from being mentioned as a “Best Brand” in the Canadian best-selling book, There is Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon, helped to propel our brand to the next level it seemed.

Just from word-of-mouth advertising, our products are now in almost 300 retail locations across Canada! We appreciate Canadians who are dedicated to supporting locally made brands. Without their support, we wouldn’t be in existence to this day.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the people who work with me! Among them are family and friends. Employees with extreme talent and positive attitudes are rare to find, and I’m proud to have them on our team!

What challenges have you faced?

The biggest challenge we have faced as a manufacturer is the consistency of our ingredients. When using more natural ingredients such as minerals, opposed to dyes, and plant oils/waxes as opposed to silicones, the consistency of the products we produce can vary from batch to batch, depending on the supply of our raw materials.

What has been the most surprising thing in starting this business?

To me there have been quite a few surprises along the way. I never intended to start a business in the first place, and so to see how far reaching Pure Anada has become is surprising, and humbling to say the least.

I’m also surprised at how much work there is to do “behind the scenes”. Returning emails and phone calls is a lot more involved than I ever expected! Unfortunately I don’t get to play in the lab, or apply makeup all day as I once thought would be the case. ;)


October Review: Out from Behind the Scenes

2014-10-15 08.18.55

October was all about getting the blog moved over to a new host, which took way longer than planned even with the help of my husband, who is fantastic at things like reading instructions and following them.  We had another great interview, with Tara of Mama Pacha (check out part 1 and part 2, as well as our interview with Milena of Just the Goods part 1 and part 2).

November is an exciting month on the blog, beginning with my interview with Pure Anada (I buy most of my makeup from them and love it all) and ending with gift guides and lists of eco-friendly and fair trade companies running great Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

I have a personal goal for this month, and it is….to tell someone new about this blog (in person)!  Over the weekend I was asked where I work, and I said “I used to be an event planner, and now I’m a stay-at-home mom.” Which is mostly true, but I do still plan events on a limited schedule, and I also write this little blog (and make about the same amount of money at each).  For some reason, it’s difficult to get back into talking about my work and hobbies after feeling like I’ve been out of the loop for a while.  When I was 21 I went around confidently pitching my event planning services to political parties and large non-profits (and getting hired).  Here’s hoping I can tell a stranger I write a blog :).  Check up on me!

Also, remember this post from last week about little black dresses?  Great news – Modcloth is running a 30% off sale!

Happy November!