Thursday, June 27, 2019

No.272: Read With Me // Overdressed (Part 4)

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Quick recap: I assigned myself a summer reading book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost to Cheap Fashion, to help me learn more about ethical fashion.  I'm jotting down some notes and thoughts as I read through it this month and sharing them here.  Maybe it will inspire you in a new way too!

I've divided the book into four sections.  (Find my notes on Part OnePart Two and Part Three.)  Part Four contains Chapters 7, 8 and 9.

Chapter 7: China and the End of Cheap Fashion

China's garment industry operates on an intimidating scale.  It's several times bigger than any garment industry that's happened anywhere in the world at any point in history.  They have more than 40,000 clothing manufacturers and 15 million garment industry jobs.  Compare that to the 1.45 million garment and textile industry jobs the United States had at peak employment some 40 years ago. (p.169)
 Notes and takeaways from this chapter:
  • Food for thought: "China's growing consumer class and incredible industrial output pose enormous sustainability issues for the global economy and the world's resources.  Giardina states, 'If every man, woman, and child in China bought two pair of wool socks, there would be no more wool left in the world.  Think about that.  So, yes, there will be problems with scarcity of resources.  And what's going to happen is prices will go up.' " (p.172)
  • Another unfortunate fact: "In 2010 America imported $364 billion worth of products from China, and according to the Economic Policy Institute, the trade deficit with China has cost the United States nearly 2.8 million jobs, or 2 percent of our domestic employment." (p.175)
  • China is prospering and raising its prices to the point where retailers are looking for even cheaper labor in countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh.  Unfortunately, these countries do not have the infrastructure, technology or labor supply and therefore often produce a sub-par product.  I looked in my own closet and the cheapest, most "fast fashion" pieces were all made in either Vietnam or Bangladesh.   

    Chapter 8: Make, Alter, and Mend

    Human beings have been sewing for thousands of years; some peg it to the last Ice Age.  It's store-bought clothing, in its inflexible, prefab form, that is the recent invention.  When we entirely gave up homemade and custom clothing, we lost a lot of variation, quality, and detail in our wardrobes, and the right fit along with it. (p.191-192)
     Notes and takeaways from this chapter:
    • This was such an inspiring chapter!  Loved this quote from Sarah Kate Beaumont: "There's a slow food movement; I will call the project to make the majority of clothing I wear slow clothes.  Mass-produced clothing, like fast food, fills a hunger and need, yet is non-durable and wasteful.  Home sewn garments, similar to home cooked foods, are made with care and sustenance.  In a sense clothing can be nourishing." (p.190)
    • A cool year-long experiment: The Uniform Project
    • "My mother learned how to sew from her mother and made an outfit from scratch in home economics class in high school.  My grandmother on my father's side didn't make entire garments, but she was very skilled at taking her family's clothes in and letting them out.  I never learned how to sew.  In a single generation the skill was lost." (p.193)
    • Inspiring: Elise's "Me Made May"
    • A book to request from the library: Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim & More

    Chapter 9: The Future of Fashion

    Fabric is the foundation of a garment and perhaps its most important component.  A good fabric should feel good next to your skin, wear and wash well over time, and have a certain texture and beauty that becomes recognizable once you start to look for it. (p.212)
    Notes and takeaways from this chapter:
    • This last paragraph had good advice: "I think we're all headed in the right direction if we keep these simple principles in mind: Buy clothes you truly love.  Don't buy too much.  And get the most out of what you wear.  In other words, it's become clearer to me that where you shop is less important than how you shop." (p.234)

    Final Thoughts

    I really liked this book!  While it did seem to ramble a little, there were countless quotes that I'm sure I'll be thinking about in the months ahead.  Elizabeth Cline also has a new book coming out in August called The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good.  Sounds like the perfect follow-up!  I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for reading along with me!

    Wednesday, June 26, 2019

    No.271: 20 Things I Love - A Gratitude Journal vol.12

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    waking up to a pink sunrise
    Lucy's excitement when she sees me in the morning
    pancakes for breakfast, made entirely by the big boys
    tiny wildflowers in the yard
    rearranging the kids' bedrooms (so clean! so much more room!)
    finding bookstacks by their beds, just like their mama
    a homily at church that felt just for me
    an unexpected compliment about my family from a sweet little old lady
    running again after many months off
    our mail lady, Linda, who sadly is retiring at the end of the month
    cold glasses of raspberry iced tea
    starting a new book
    homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream
    four Poshmark sales in one day (a new personal record)
    excited conversations with the kids about learning to play instruments this fall
    starting plans for the upcoming school year
    ceiling fans on hot, humid days
    watching baby birds being fed by their mama
    a water table that keeps the little ones busy for hours
    fireflies at dusk

    Monday, June 24, 2019

    No.270: Five Lucy Favorites

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    Lucy is four and a half months old and we're finally starting to get the hang of this puppy ownership thing.  I've been reflecting on the things I'm glad we purchased (and mourning the wasted money we spent on things we shouldn't) and here are my top five:

    Lucy loooooves this thing.  We portion out some of her daily kibble and she goes to town.  It keeps her busy for awhile, which is huge!  It's also one of the only toys she hasn't destroyed yet.  Five big stars.

    2 // WUBBA
    When we took her home from the breeder, she came with a baby Wubba that smelled like her littermates.  As she's grown, she chewed it to pieces.  We replaced it with a bigger one and while I still don't think it will last more than a few months, it's one of her favorites.  (I like it too except for the incessant squeaking.)

    Her favorite treats and our go-to when we really want good behavior.

    I'm starting to see a theme here that the biggest hits are the ones that deal with food, hah!  Another treat that keeps her busy for long stretches of time is filling a Kong with plain Greek yogurt.

    Since she's still a puppy, she obviously is crated at night.  After reading some horror stories about dogs strangling themselves, we bought her a breakaway collar and now can sleep without worrying at night, even with her silly shenanigans.

    Now for my SOS: I hope you fellow dog-owners will help a mama out!  What are your tricks for teething?  What toys are worth the money and hopefully won't be destroyed within minutes? 

    P.S. All of the links above will take you to Amazon, but I paid much less for almost everything over at  Highly recommend. 

    Sunday, June 23, 2019

    No.269: My First ScallywagAThon

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    Last month, I randomly came across a week-long readathon called the ScallywagAThon.  I loved the graphics and got all excited to complete it...only to realize that it was last year's challenge and 2019 had something entirely new.  Ahh, always late to the party.  Since I had already had figured out most of my books, I went with it anyway.  The goal is to complete at least four of the challenges in a week's time, which is way faster than I read, hah!  So instead, I've just gone at my normal pace.

    Here is the "path" I chose, the books and my short thoughts on each:
    I picked The Mermaid by Christina Henry.  This is a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who leaves the sea to become an attraction in P.T. Barnum's show.  The premise had a lot of promise, but the book itself was just...meh.

    I picked Big Girls Don't Cry by Connie Briscoe.  This is a coming of age novel about an African American girl in the 1960's.  I enjoyed how it explored her struggles and growth through the years.  Head's up though - there is quite a bit of sexual content.

    I picked Click Here to Start by Denis Markell.  This was a bit of a stretch, but both of my big boys read and loved it, so it's definitely popular around here!

    I picked These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner, an American saga told in journal entries about a brave woman living in an unfamiliar frontier.  I didn't realize until I started, but this would also work for Prompt #6, Treasure Map - A book that has a map in it.

    Have you completed the ScallywagAThon before?  What path would you take?
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