Friday Favorites: TOH Winter 2019

Trades of Hope came out with a Winter Look Book at the beginning of this month featuring 12 new pieces that are all about the holidays.  Today, I wanted to share with you my favorite pieces from the line. The pieces in this collection range from our very first beanie to some really amazing ornaments.  There is sure to be something that everyone loves.  I am obsessed with all of it, so it was hard to narrow it down to just 5 of my favorites. I really wanted to feature the whole line, but that would make this post go on and on forever.  What makes it even more incredible is that every single piece helps to empower women (and some men) around the world out of poverty and human trafficking.  

1. Stars of Haiti

My heart aches for the mamas in Haiti that have to leave their babies at orphanages because they cannot provide for them.  They actually love their children and want to keep them.  Trades of Hope’s partnership with artisan groups in Haiti allow them to do just that.  By providing these women with a sustainable business, they are able to not only keep and provide for their children but are also able to send them to school and get them medical care.  We are helping to break the cycle of poverty there.  I love the pieces that come from the artisans in Haiti because they have found a way to take the discarded and turn it into treasures.  These star ornaments are no different.  They are made from recycled cereal boxes.  These ornaments come in a set of 3.  You can adorn your tree with them or give them as gifts.  

2. Adventure Begins Journal

I am not typically someone who journals, but this journal may make me start.  It is made by our artisans in India, the home to ¼ of the world’s poorest families.  It is very difficult for women there to find jobs and are left living in the slums and unable to provide for their families.  Our artisans in India are given a sustainable job and are able to use their income to rise up out extreme poverty.  This journal is made from genuine leather and features 90 pages of lined, handmade paper.  I can tell you that the pictures do not do it justice.  It would make a great gift for anyone this holiday season. 

3. Farmhouse Star

I am completely obsessed with this star and am ready to ditch my usual angel on the top of my tree for this star this year.  It is made from whitewashed iron.  If you are into the farmhouse chic style, this is totally your jam. Our artisans in India also make this piece. Most of the poor in India lack education, which makes getting one of the scarce jobs even more difficult.  Through their partnership with TOH, these artisans are able to provide education for their children to break the cycle of poverty.  

4. Snow Top Beanie & Himalayan Mittens

These two pieces are sold separately, but I couldn’t choose just one.  I thought that they worked so well together so I might as well group them into one.  Haha! Both pieces are hand-knit by our artisans in Nepal.  First up is this adorable black and white beanie that is hand-knit with 100% wool.  It is lined with fleece inside and is sure to keep you warm this winter.  Next up are thes fun colored wool mittens that come in two sizes (S/M and L/XL). They are also lined with fleece and are super warm. Women in Nepal are often socially marginalized and discriminated against. By purchasing this beanie or mittens, you are helping them provide food, clothing, shelter, and education for their families.  These two pieces would make great stocking stuffers for anyone on your list. 

5. Sincerity Blanket

It is no secret that I was in love when our first throw was released in the spring and this one is just as amazing as it.  This new blanket features a black and off-white diamond pattern.  It is made from blended cotton and is handspun by our artisans in India.  It even gets softer with each wash.  It truly is gorgeous.  Sales of this blanket help to provide education for families and empowers these women to become the heroes of their own stories.  

How amazing are all of these? The stories behind them just make them that much more special.  We have several other ornament sets that are just as amazing as the Stars of Haiti including a set of puppies, mittens, and some gorgeous ones made from Capiz shells in the Philippines.  We even have a cool nativity made in Peru.  You can view them all here. Why not give the gift that keeps on giving this season?

Anchored,

Friday Favorites: Colors

By now you guys know that I frequently change my mind.  I had another favorite that I was going to write about today, but I changed my mind. I got dressed this morning and it made me think about something totally different.  Everything that I was wearing was all the same color…shirt, shoes, necklace, and earrings were all the same.  That got me thinking about my favorite color.  Going back to me changing my mind, my favorite color has changed more than once over the years.  When I was young, I am pretty sure that my favorite color was green. I know that is odd for a little girl, but I think maybe I wanted to stand out and be different. I don’t know. I just liked green.  Then when I was in my later years of high school and through my college years, my favorite color changed to blue.  I still liked green, but I would have told you that my favorite color was blue back then.  Again, not the most popular color for a girl to pick.  I would have even gone as far as telling you that I did NOT like pink. I honestly don’t know what I had against pink, but I was very much opposed to it back then.  Even when my oldest was born, I was dead set on not having everything pink, so I did the nursery in yellow and blue.  We knew she was a girl, but I chose blue and yellow for the nursery anyway.  I got a lot of flack about that from people too. Even her car seat and stroller were blue.  Of course, my husband was totally ok with that because he is a man; and just like girls are supposed to love pink, boys are supposed to love blue.  It is just a ridiculous rule that society has forced upon us all.  Maybe that is why my oldest hates pink and dresses and anything girly, which drives me nuts. Maybe it is my fault she is that way.  Even though I had something against pink, I was always girly.  I always dressed up, loved clothes, wore makeup as soon as my parents would let me, and was all all-around girly girl.  I was just one that didn’t like pink and loved blue instead. 

A few years down the road my favorite color changed AGAIN.  I don’t know why I can’t just stick to one color.  Anyway, about the time my second daughter came around, surprisingly my favorite color changed to PINK! Shocking, I know! To be so opposed to it for so long that it suddenly becomes a favorite is pretty crazy. Guess what color my youngest daughter’s nursery was…pink and green.  Going back to whether or not my nursery colors had an effect on my children’s personalities or not, my youngest is the girliest of girls.  She loves dresses, high heeled shoes, make up, you name it.  Is it a coincidence that they both turned out the way they did? Maybe, but who knows? I guess my color choices could have possibly had an influence on that.  You may have noticed, too, that my blog logo is pink and green. I think it is a tribute to my first favorite color and my current favorite. That all brings me to today’s outfit and the reason for this post, my outfit is all pink except for my jeans.  I am totally drawn to pink shoes, clothes, jewelry, bags, and more now.  I admit it; I love pink.  It is hard to say that when I was so opposed to for a huge chunk of my life, but it is true.

Top-Lularoe

Jeans-Target

Necklace-Trades of Hope

Earrings-Kate Spade (similar)

Shoes-Famous Footwear (similar color)

I will tell you, though, that my love for pink is wavering just a little these days.  I am starting to love purple more and more.  It could just become my new favorite color.  It really does seem to be hard for me to stick to one favorite color for very long.  Maybe I should just say that I love all colors and call it a day.  Is this normal? Do you all change what your favorite color is, or is it just part of my weirdness? I would love to know. 

In honor of my love for pink, check out Trades of Hope’s newest edition, the Valentía Bracelet, made by Artisans in Guatemala. This bracelet was created to raise awareness for breast cancer.  Each bracelet has a small silver charm with the fingerprint of the artisan that created it. With every purchase of the Valentía Bracelet, 10% of the net proceeds will be given to provide cancer exams to Artisans at Papillion in Haiti. You can also check out an old pink favorite made by Artisans in India, our Triumphant Earrings.  With every purchase of the Triumphant Earrings 10% of the net proceeds will be given to the Pink Ribbon Girls organization which provides the following services to individuals in the United States with breast and women’s reproductive cancers, free of charge:

  • Healthy meals targeting the nutritional needs of cancer patients, prepared by executive chefs and delivered to the home
  • Housecleaning by professional cleaning agencies
  • Transportation to cancer treatments by trained specialists
  • Peer support in the patient’s community for their whole well being

Anchored in Pink,

Friday Favorites: TOH Fall 2019 Collection

I know that you are all probably getting tired of hearing about Trades of Hope these days, but it is such a huge part of my life now that it is hard to not write about it.  I promise this will be the last time for a little while.  We just launched our Fall 2019 line entitled Shades of the Savanna, and I have to share with you my favorite pieces from the line.  They are all so good, but I have managed to narrow it down to my favorites in each category.  This line was inspired by a visit to Africa by our founders and is comprised of elements that could be seen on a journey through the African Savanna.  Things like feathers, various stones, hammered metals, and leather are seen throughout the collection. Each piece is beautifully handcrafted by our artisan partners who are working to change their lives every day. These pieces give them hope and power to rise up and live a better life.

Earrings: Trove Earrings

I am totally obsessed with these earrings created by women in Asia who have been rescued from brothels and sex trafficking. They feature tan, brown, and black shades to mimic the pattern of a leopard or tortoise shell in this cool geometric shape. They are extremely lightweight and very much on trend right now. We even have a Trove Cuff that matches them perfectly. 

Bracelet: Sanctuary Bracelet

Women in Haiti create this bracelet with its vibrant colors. These women are now able to keep their own babies instead of dropping them at an orphanage because they had no means to care for them.  This bracelet is created with hand-rolled cereal box beads and hand-painted Haitian clay. This clay is the same clay that they have had to use to make cookies for their children because they didn’t have anything else to feed them. Through this sustainable business they are now able to provide real food for their families and provide for them in ways they never could before.

Necklace: Radiant Necklace Set

While this set is more on the expensive side of our products, it is absolutely gorgeous.  It features 3 separate necklaces of varying lengths that can be worn together or apart.  They feature hammered discs, labradorite stone, and a blue topaz crystal drop.  These necklaces are handcrafted by women in India rising up out of extreme poverty. 

Scarf: Patrika Scarf

This scarf is so unique and versatile.  It is created by women in India using a hand blocking method.  Wooded blocks are carved to created the desired design. Then using natural dyes, these women use the block to stamp the design onto the fabric. How cool is that? Each scarf has slight variations due to the hand blocking technique.  This scarf is large in size and can be worn as a vest, bathing suit cover-up, head wrap, or as a regular scarf. 

HandBag: Rabia Bag

Women in India who are escaping extreme poverty handcrafted this gorgeous genuine leather bag. It comes with a detachable crossbody strap. The inside is lined with a beautiful blue-stripped fabric. It features an interior slip pocket and a zipper pocket. This bag does not even look handmade, but it is.  It looks like any designer bag you would get at a department store, but this bag is handmade and sold through fair trade to empower these women out of poverty. It is so beautiful.  Check out these adorable giraffe and zebra handbag charms that you can add to this bag made by our artisans in Guatelmala.

Home Decor: Batwa Basket Set

These baskets are handcrafted by women from the Batwa Tribe in Uganda who have been forced out of their native land as a conservation effort to protect the mountain gorillas. These people are treated like animals. Their partnership with TOH has given them dignity and a means to survive. These women weave each basket by hand using tall grasses and natural materials as dyes.   It takes 2 weeks to complete one basket!   Aren’t they adorable?

To check out the entire Fall 2019 collection and more, you can visit my website.  These truly are some of my new favorite things and the stories behind them melt my heart.  Aren’t they all so great?

Anchored,

Friday Favorites: Summer Capsule 2019

Many of you know that I recently joined a company called Trades of Hope, and I am super passionate about their mission.  TOH’s mission is to empower women out of sweatshops, slums, abuse, human trafficking, and extreme poverty all across the world by providing them with a sustainable business.  We employ artisans from 17 different countries including the US to create beautiful handmade, ethically sourced jewelry, bags, home décor and more.  We market and sell the gorgeous pieces that these women create so that they can in turn provide for their families.  I am so passionate about helping these women fight injustice. I truly feel like this is what God has been calling me to do.  We work to give back to these women by providing them with things like baby chicks, fruit trees, water wheels, education, and more so that they can rise up out of the dire situations they have been living in and ultimately change their lives and that of their families and communities.  TOH just released a summer capsule collection, and I wanted to share with you my three favorite pieces from that collection because they are not only gorgeous, but the stories behind them are truly touching.  Purchasing any of these products directly impacts women around the world.  

The inspiration for this summer capsule collection is the beautiful, unpretentious wildflower. Wildflowers are vibrant and gorgeous. They can survive and grow in the harshest of environments just like many of our artisans.  Our artisans have faced adversity, yet they have grown despite their challenges. This collection showcases pops of color and the vibrancy of the wildflower.  Altogether, nine new products were released, but I want to highlight my three favorite ones.

Maya Wallet-Guatemala

Guatemala has the highest poverty rate in Latin America.  Nearly half of the children there under the age of five are chronically malnourished, which is one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. Many of the women in Guatemala are uneducated.  TOH’s partnership with the artisans there has empowered them to rise up out of poverty. These women are given the opportunity to attend school and learn basic principals that will help them move ahead in life, become self-reliant, and financially independent.  The Maya Wallet is just one of many products that TOH carries from Guatemala.  It is absolutely gorgeous. Each one is as unique as the artisan that creates it as they come in a variety of colors, patterns, and motifs.  Our artisans in Guatemala use fabric from their traditional blouses called hupil to make these wallets and then line them with beautiful denim. Each wallet is then trimmed in genuine leather. How gorgeous are these colors? I love the fact that you wait in anticipation of what yours will look like! So pretty!

Catalina Necklace-India

India holds the largest number of poor people in the world, many of which live in rural areas. Twenty-two percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Women and children in India are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.  Many are forced to sell their bodies or work in sweatshops to support their families. While India has made great strides in reducing poverty, it is still painfully high. Through TOH’s partnership with several artisan groups in India, women are given a chance to work from home while they take care of their families. These artisan groups are now able to provide education for their children and support their families. The Catalina Necklace is one of the new pieces from the artisan group in India. It is made from sterling silver, reconstituted turquoise stone and sillimanite. It is so dainty and just beautiful.

Limitless Earrings-Haiti

Did you know that in Haiti, many women are forced to leave their children at orphanages just because they cannot feed them? This is the case for the majority of the 500,000 orphans Haiti. A young couple that traveled to Haiti to adopt learned that most of the orphans had mothers that really wanted them but that couldn’t care for them. They were so moved by this that they decided to create the “Unorphanage.” This group now employs hundreds of women and allows them to make an income and keep their children! One of these women, named Gina, is now able to give her daughter the life she never thought she could. Her daughter, Christnelle plays in the onsite daycare while Gina creates beautiful products like these earrings.  She is no longer is forced to feed her daughter cookies made from clay just to fill her belly. These Limitless Earrings are made from upcycled aluminum and are hand cut and hammered into these modern shapes by our artisans in Haiti. They are super lightweight and are a gorgeous statement piece. 

I hope that you are able to see the beauty in these pieces and the incredible stories behind them. Each of our artisans is a true inspiration of perseverance and how you can change a life with determination.  To check out the entire summer capsule, you can preview it here.  If you are interested in learning more about the mission of Trades of Hope or want to hear more stories of our artisans, you can request to join my Facebook group, Anchored Hope.

Anchored in Hope,

Friday Favorites: Trades of Hope

Well, due to unforeseen circumstances I am late getting this post started today.  Better late than never, right? Anyway, today I wanted to share with you something that I am very passionate about and that is probably the number one favorite thing in my life right now.  At the end of January I made the decision to join a company called Trades of Hope.  I have shown you pieces from there before, but I was not really a part of it then. Other than maybe seeing me mention it here, most of you have likely never heard of Trades of Hope.  I had never heard of it until a few months ago. I was actually introduced to it by a friend.  The more I learned about the company, the more I fell in love, and the more it pulled at my heartstrings.  I know you are questioning how a direct sales company could really pull at my heartstrings, and I will tell you that it is because this company is changing the world.  Two women and their two daughters started this company several years ago.  They have a belief that every woman should have the opportunity to change her life, and I completely agree. Because of this, they had an idea to empower women across the globe out of sweatshops, slums, sex trafficking and extreme poverty by creating jobs and a sustainable business.  Around 70% of people living in poverty around the world are women.  The men in their lives and countries treat many of them poorly.  In some countries, they are treated as second-class citizens. Some are even sold as bond slaves in order to pay their family’s debts.  Statistically, we have learned that empowering women has a rippling effect on not only her family, but also her community.  A woman will typically invest her money, use it to feed and clothe her family, send her children to school, and use it to help her community. The founders of Trades of Hope (TOH) made it their mission to empower these women out of poverty through job creation and education. Trades of Hope now partners with women all over the world (in 17 countries, including the US) to help them market and sell their beautiful handmade products which include jewelry, scarves, bags, and home décor.

Here are just a few of the things that these women face daily:

*Women in Haiti are forced to give their children to orphanages not because they don’t want them, but because they are not able to feed them. 

*Women in Pakistan are treated like second-class citizens and are often sold as bond slaves to pay their family debts. Just this week I was able to sit in on a live video chat with the leaders of the artisan group there along with two of the artisans. Just hearing the horrible things that they face and the danger they are in daily just because they are women blew me away and totally broke my heart.  However, this artisan group is now providing these women with a safe space to work and an education so that they can better their lives and that of their children. 

*Many women have to sell their bodies on the street in order to feed their children. 

*Some of these women are forced to work 16 hours a day and are forced to leave their young children home alone. 

*Women in Costa Rica are struggling to raise their families in a gang and drug infected area.

*Women in Cambodia are often the victims of acid attacks, which are used as a form of punishment typically passed out by an authority figure who feels disrespected. One of those women named Ya had this to say about her opportunity to partner with TOH:

“I am gradually trying to rebuild my life and to make a future for myself, but the only thing that gives me the courage to do that is that I know that I am not alone and that I may be able to do something to help others. I am starting this small business to make goods by hand so that other women in my condition, many of whom are left to raise their children on their own, can have the chance to earn their own living in safety and some measure of self-respect.”

If you have never watched or heard of the film, Poverty, Inc. (available on Amazon Prime Video), I highly encourage you to watch it. You can see the trailer below. It talks about how we always see these countries in desperate situations and people in poverty and our first instinct is to offer charity.  We send money; we send clothes; we send food and water. All of that is great, but it doesn’t fix the underlying problem of why these people are poor in the first place. These people don’t want our charity. They want a way to help themselves. They want an opportunity to be able to provide for their families themselves. They want a sustainable income. This is where Trades of Hope comes into play.  By giving these women small business loans, giving them opportunities for education, and by teaching them a skill, these women are able to get themselves out of dangerous and dire situations.  These women, our artisan partners, are able to create the most amazing pieces that my fellow Compassionate Entrepreneurs and I are able to see to all of you through fair trade.  Our artisans are paid 3-6 times more than they would be paid in their countries. We pay them 100% of their asking price up front. 

Here are some of the things that I have been able to do through this company already just in my first month of joining. While they may seem small, it really does have a huge impact on these women’s lives. I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone and create a ripple effect by sharing the mission with everyone I know. Together we can make a difference.

  1. Help empower women in India, Uganda, Peru, Asia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan, and Kenya
  2. Plant 4 fruit trees for families in Africa that can be used as food and a source of income
  3. Provide 12 baby chicks whose eggs can soon be used as food and a source of income to a family in Africa
  4. Provide a school uniform for a child in Haiti
Waterfall Necklace made in Uganda

I have been so impressed by this company and its mission.  It truly touches my heart.  If you are interested in learning more about this company or the pieces these artisans create, check it out here. You can also ask to join my Facebook group where I share artisan stories, my favorite pieces, and newly released products. I am sure that I will also be sharing some of the gorgeous handmade products in my future Friday Favorites here because I love them and the stories behind them so much!

Anchored in Hope,