Friday Finds: Summer Dresses

orla-kiely-daisy-heart-dress-aa2f86b604ed

$104

It’s hot here in Seattle.  When I mean hot, I mean about high 80’s.  Okay, it’s not Austin TX where it reaches 105 by 8am but for my weak Pacific Northwest body, it’s hot enough.  The kiddos and I were at the beach and I saw this really class looking mum wearing a beautiful tunic style dress and it got me thinking of the perfect summer dress that is stylish and can handle the wear and tear of being around kids.

Always a favourite in my bookmarks is People Tree based in the UK.  This Orla Kiely heart dress is super sweet and if you add thick black plastic frames, then you’ll definitely be the hippest lady in town. I was wearing my People Tree stripey shirt until someone had an explosive diaper.  Oops!  Well, a good washing will fix that right up.

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$40

It’s on sale! I like this dress because you can put a tie on and it looks like a completely different dress but you could also leave unbelted and it makes a lovely swishy kind of light summer breezy dress. I like the circle detail.  I would get it in the mauve colour.  This dress is from Fair Indigo.

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$45

I love me some stripes.  This is also the perfect 4th of July kind of dress or maybe France perhaps? I love the colour blocking, the colour combo and it’s made in the USA.  I found this dress on Mod Cloth. Looks like it’s a nice travel dress, doesn’t wrinkle up and has some give to the fabric.  Lots of good reviews on Modcloth.

I still have a pouch from my two babies but I’m determined to get slim and fit into one of my green retro looking Peopletree dress that I got eons ago.  It’s still a little tight but it’s getting closer!  I’ll have to show you all the results when I can just lose that last 10 lbs!

#FTSummer

New organic cotton bags

lilsoak totes-2

 

12.99

Summer’s here and it’s been hard to keep my regular work schedule now that school’s out. The 4 hours that Pax is in preschool really helped me get a lot of my blogging but you’ll see that in the summer, I’ll be posting at odd times of the day but I will keep you up to date on all things green and fair trade here at Lil’Soak.  I managed to post up a couple of new products  The small tote is perfect for an outing.  I use it all the time to bring an extra change of clothes for the kids, diapers, snacks etc.  Or else I bring it with me when we hit the library or a quick errand to the grocery store.  It’s handy to have and very sturdy. Made from organic cotton, GOTS certified in India.

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$19.99

This large messenger bag carries a lot of stuff.  There is a zipper pocket in the back and inside there is a small zipper pocket. It’s a great catch all carrying bag.  You can tuck your tablets/ipad into the back zippered pocket no problem. Sizing and dimensions are all available on the products link.  They are available now for sale through on ebay and soon we will send it off to amazon as well. We’ll keep you posted.

Right now I’m trying to pack and ship some cute soft dolls for both girls and boys for Amazon as well.  Pax likes to call them Mama and Papa because they kinda do look like us oddly enough but they are really lovely handmade dolls that were made by deaf/near deaf women in China.  Social benefits are not abundant in China so people with disabilities have a hard time finding solid work and this organization is doing a wonderful job of empowering these women.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a busy busy summer.  Time for my coffee break and a slice of the banana bread my kiddo helped me make. By helped I mean mash the bananas to smithereens.

 

“New organic cotton bags”  was first posted at Lil’Soak + Friends

Recipe: Paella

Late posting as my friend Jon came into town and he bought a paella pan, so I thought I would share the recipe with you all.  It was such a delicious dish!

Paella with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp

  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1 mild chorizo (for the kiddo’s sake)
  • 10-15 medium sized shrimp
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 cups of stock
  • 1 cup of wine
  • a couple of teaspoons of paprika
  • few threads of saffron
  • a cup of frozen peas/carrots
  • half a pint of grape tomatoes halved
  • half an onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic

paella-1

Since the paella pan we used served only 2-4, I used my handy dandy dutch oven (made in France!) to cook part of it.  It will feed about 6 people. Generously salt and pepper your chicken.  Place, skin side down on medium heat.  Let the meat work for you and it will lift off the pan when it’s ready to turn over.  I generally use dark meat with the bone in, skin on because it’s tastier.  I also split the drumstick and the thigh so it can fit better into the pan. Turn over and fry for about 4-7 minutes each side

Add the garlic cloves and chopped onion when the blood runs clear on the chicken.  Cook until translucent. Heat up your stock in a separate pot.

paella-3

 

We used Valencia rice which is a short grain spanish rice.  Add rice and let the oil coat the rice.  Add chorizo slices.  Add paprika.  Add more salt/pepper to taste.

In a small dry pan, heat up saffron threads on medium until fragant.  Pour the white wine and cook until bubbling and then take it off the heat.

paella-2

 

Keep adding hot stock until the rice is just covered and turn down the heat to a barely simmer. Add the white wine.   Place the vegetables on top and and push it into the rice/stock mixture. Let it sit and simmer until the rice cooks, for about 15 minutes or until liquid has disappeared, and rice has cooked through.

Just before the liquid disappears, add the shrimp on top.  We added it just before it was finished cooking through the liquid because shrimp cooks fairly quickly.

paella-4Doesn’t that look so yummy?  If your rice hasn’t cooked through, add more hot stock. I tended to add stock and then check on it if it was too low but my rice wasn’t quite cooked through. It’s not a risotto so you do not want it to be too runny.

It was so delicious!

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Nom nom nom.  The pan was made in Spain, the meat is all organic and gluten free. The veggies were also organic.   All the flavours blended so well and it really didn’t take that long to have it on the table. I would say it took about 1.5 hours from start to finish.

#FTsummer

 

Friday Finds: Feather Earrings

I love the look of feather earrings because it’s delicate and well, light as a feather.

Zia Feather Ear RL-1

 

$23.99 Zia Feather

We have lovely Raven + Lily feather earrings.  The one thing I love about these earrings is that they are made from recycled leather but has the look of metal so it looks really heavy but it’s not.

 

$18.00

From In Exchange, a fair trade shop in New Orleans.  I like the dark green jewel and the detailing.  Very pretty.

 

$18.00

Handmade in Guatamala.  Love the overly of feathers on this one.

 

$41.00

Natural coque feather earrings.  Handmade in Denmark.  I love the just the touch of mustard yellow in these earrings.

Happy Friday!  Enjoy your weekend. It’s my son’s last day of preschool so there will be some busy times for me this summer as I need to set him a schedule to enjoy summer and not waste away watching the tele.

#FTsummer

First posted at Lil’Soak + Friends.

Ergo Baby: Every Mother Counts

 Photo courtesy of Ergobaby website

I love my Ergobaby.  Out of all the baby related things I have — this is probably my most cherished, useful and favourite.  I have tried other baby carriers but none of it is as comfortable as this one.  All my babies love to sleep in it. I was doing a little research into it and I didn’t realize that there are copies made of ergobabies and they look really similar.  I mean, I have heard of fake Louis Vuitton but who would have thought that would carry into baby carriers of all things?

Ergobaby is made in China — but you need to make sure they are authorized Ergobaby carrier sellers or else get it from the website as I think they are only a select factories they work with to design their carriers.  It isn’t fair trade certified but they have limited editions of special patterns in their  “Every Mother Counts” series.  The former supermodel Christy Turlington Brown started this non-profit which is advocates maternal health benefits worldwide. It retails for about $165.

I think all these partnerships with non-profit groups and companies like Tom’s shoes are great at bringing to light poverty and slavery around the world. While fair trade is probably the most favourable route as instead of aiding, you are empowering.  It’s like the bible says about making fishers of men instead of just giving them the fish. Hopefully these kinds of companies and businesses will get other businesses to do the same or even shed some light to the consumer about where their goods come from.

There are baby slings like something like a Moby  wrap  where it’s basically a one long scarf and you can probably buy fair trade certified cotton and make a sling.  Most of the more padded baby carriers like the Ergo are made in China.

 

Happy Monday! I want to ride my BICYCLE!

What did you do this father’s day?

It was Papa’s birthday and we went to have gluten-free pasta at Maggiano’s.  Boy.  Was it busy there! My pasta was yum num num and I love getting the classic pastas and bringing one home.  Yes!  I have lunch options the next day.

conquer cancerWe also went to cheer on my brother on his ride to conquer cancer.  Epic bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle.  So happy to see him roll in.  He’s the one holding his camera phone to the finish line.  It’s pretty cool to see how he has really gotten into this long distance bike riding.  He’s eating healthier, working out and looks great!

There were some fancy looking bikes and it even got me all excited about biking.  How about a handmade bamboo bicycle made in Seattle?

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Photo courtesy of Monsoon Cycles

There is this company called Monsoon Cycles in Seattle that makes these cool bamboo framed bicycles.  There is a huge bike culture here in the Pacific Northwest and I think this would be a cool bike to test out.  Made in the USA, using renewable materials, and reducing your carbon footprint.  What’s not to love?  I first saw this bike at local shop as a displayer and it looks oh so very cool.  I have yet to test it out.  I think that would be something T has to check out since he’s more of a bike rider than myself.  I’m more the leisurely stroll biker.

First posted at Lil’Soak + Friends

#FTsummer

 

Friday Finds: VivoBarefoot Shoes

I have a hard time finding trainers or runners that use the barefoot method for our family.  I keep looking at VivoBarefoot shoes and I love all their styles for men, women and kids.  Right now our family wears Merrell barefoot shoes but I’m not sure how “ethical” they are. They are made in China with the Vibram sole.  I have had such a hard time finding runners for my family that are barefoot and not made in China.

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1. Ladies $115      2. Men’s $115      3. Kids $40

These VivoBarefoot shoes are made in China as well — but they make their shoes vegan which means they use as little glue as possible and using recycled materials. They have an ethical policy section and it states that their main tannery partner is rated ISO 14001 which is the highest environmental standard accreditation for shoes.  It’s tough — I mean, unless you know these factories personally in China — it’s hard to say. I know there are ethical factories in China — in fact we carry bags and toys made in China by near deaf or deaf women but that’s only because we know these factories through personal referrals.

Does anyone out there have more info about VivoBarefoot?  I love that they use recycled materials but would love to know if their shoe makers are paid a fair wage and have decent working hours as I would love to get these shoes for my whole family.  They are freakin’ cool!

#FTsummer

First posted at Lil’Soak + Friends.

 

Fair trade nursing covers shipment

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Our small sewing co-op in Davao, Philippines just shipped some more robot and paris pattern nursing covers.  We sell them at Amazon and Ebay.  If you choose to get them through ebay or our site then we can offer you free shipping.  At Amazon, we use their fufillment centers so you can choose the method of shipping and if you are a Prime member than you can get free 2 day shipping which is an awesome bonus.

We are starting to run low on stock in our patterns — which is a great thing because that means you are helping out empoverished women in Davao!  We want to design new nursing cover patterns so we thought we would ask you for your input on what patterns/shapes/colours/animals you would like to see.  We also received some great feedback on how we can improve our nursing covers so we will address that as well. We want to continue to empower these women with skilled work.

What has been your favourite pattern?  I would say that my favourite is the purple bears and the cherry blossoms.  I like the colours, they cover my giant baby — and well, I like the cute little bear and girl the purple patterns.  I’m a sucker for illustration.

We do have a sample sale of our nursing covers at Etsy while supplies last.  They’re a great deal at $10.  Fabric is the same but there are some flaws like sizing may be a bit off (shorter, two  wide, too long etc), incorrect thread or areas where the sewing may be a bit off.

Happy hump day!  I’m still dealing with kids under the weather so they are a tad clingy to Mama.

Spotlight on Fair trade Necklaces

My kiddos are under the weather today so I am going to get this quick post out as I seem to be in demand for comfort, nose wiping and cuddles.

We carry an assortment of beautiful jewelry but my season’s favourite is Raven + Lily’s Tigist  necklace.

tigist model-1

 Tigist Necklace $108

It’s lovely, delicate and makes a statement without being completely overwhelming.  I love the designs that R+L comes up with season after season.  Made with recycled materials by Ethiopian women artisans.  So pretty. Can be dressed up or down.

I also have my eye on this:

gold_arrow_necklace2_large

 

$24

I’m into simple jewelry.  I love the statement pieces but I can’t carry it off.  I just don’t have that kind of swagger.  I do love ths triple arrow piece made by women artisans in India.  Designed by 4 all Humanity, an ethical fashion brand.  Pretty cool stuff.

I only have enough time to link a couple of things.  Family duty calls but I’ll be sure to spotlight more necklaces.

 

Friday Finds: What would I buy for my dad?

family portrait-1

starts at $40 for an 8 x 8.

Have you all heard of Woodsnap?  They put prints and illustrations on wood. I can attest that it’s the most awesome personal gift you can give to your dad.  It’s a good way to involve your kiddos too.

Our 3 year old loves to snap photos from our phones and also my DSLR.  He has taken some pretty good snaps, and I think it would be great to take a few of those and get an 8 x 8 print done on wood to put a collection together.  Your kids would be so proud to have their art up and it’s something personal for the whole family.

I got one done for T for his birthday which happens to hit right on Father’s Day.

We don’t have any family photos and so I asked my good friend Lil to illustrate our family and it turned out so good!  I already gave it to him early because I was just too excited to wait until his birthday.

$59

I would buy this for my dad.  Mend has a line of bags and accessories made by women in Northern Uganda.  100% of the profits goes towards Invisible Children‘s mission.  Sweet.  Check out their goodies because it’s really well made and stylish.

I hope we gave you some good ideas for your dads on his special day.  Enjoy your weekend!

#FTsummer

 

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