Happy Independence Day! I hope all of our U.S. readers are celebrating with family and friends and enjoying all things red, white & blue today. I thought today was an appropriate day to write about ethical shopping, supporting our local communities & also efforts to preserve our environment – to live a bit more intentionally with our families. My family is certainly not experts at this At ALL, but we strive to make big and small changes in our daily lives in order to make a difference in our world and with our kids. Here are a few ways we’ve done this recently:
1. Hanging our clothes to dry
Whenever Brad and I travel to another country we notice and comment on how everyone line dries their clothes. Recently, we discovered that dryers use up a lot of electricity—almost more than any other household appliance. This summer, we purchased a clothes line for our back porch and we’re having a blast with it. I enjoy hanging the clothes outside – it feels slower and more intentional (I know, I may not say this in a few months). We don’t dry everything on the line, but we hang a load every couple of days – it has forced us to re-wear things a bit more before washing them and encourage the girls to do the same. Also, it is so much gentler on our clothes.
2. Shopping locally
I’ve always been a fan of shopping locally for holidays, birthdays and events. Again, I’m not 100% there, but I feel so proud when I buy books at our favorite Independent bookstore Parnassus, body and home products at our amazing Thistle Farms or art from the dozens of local artists in our town. Nashville has an amazing Independent Business Alliance that promotes local businesses and events. Check out all of the participating businesses at IndyNash.com.
3. Riding a Bike to Work
My husband Brad has started riding his bike to work this summer. His offices moved closer to our house last December and we always joked that he could bike to work…and this summer he started! He doesn’t do it every day, but most days. We both love it for several reasons – he gets exercise, we use so much less gas, but the biggest benefit I’ve seen is that he comes home happy, tired and relaxed. He doesn’t listen to music or take calls when he rides, so he just zen’s out and these days, it was just what he needed after (and before) a long day at work. The whole family is riding more these days, as a result. And bonus, it has allowed us to change our mindset to do other things on our bikes. For example, Brad and my oldest rode their bikes recently to get milk instead of jumping in the car and I recently rode my bike with a couple girlfriends in my neighborhood for dinner and drinks. And one more bonus – who doesn’t feel like a kid when riding a bike?
4. Growing Food, CSA & Farmer’s Markets
We have always had a few things in our summer garden – some years we have more success than others, of course. This year, we’re working on herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, corn and peppers. I love that the girls participate in the garden too. In years past, we’ve also participated in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and we LOVE to visit and support our local Farmer’s Markets.
5. Ethical Clothing & Fashion
Embarrassingly, I am fairly new to the world of knowing and researching ethically made, fair trade and sustainable fashion. My friend Christy at Beyond the Fried has been a great resource for me here as I learn more about what this means and how to incorporate ethical and sustainable shopping into my everyday life. Recently, I discovered a company called Love Justly. Love Justly allows you to buy clothes and accessories that are beautiful and well made while also helping to provide dignified employment, and a better life for artisans around the world. Love Justly is an online place where companies and organizations can showcase the amazing handiwork of artisan partners. They rotate their products and companies on the site and they only work with fair trade, ethically sourced, and social mission companies, so you have 100% assurance that everything you buy provides a ripple effect of opportunity. I love discovering companies like this that sell things I love AND do good.
Giveaway: This Giveaway has ended! Love Justly has generously offered one reader a $50 credit to their online store. Simply comment here on what you might purchase in their shop if you win (I’m totally in love with this bike dress, Kimono dress and ceramic necklace – all perfect for travel too!) or share a way that you live more intentionally with your family! Entries will be accepted until midnight Thursday, July 6, 2017. You must comment on THIS post to receive an entry. Good luck and I hope your holiday is filled with sparklers, galore!