Gifting the Good: The Gift of Time

It was such an amazing experience to stop for a few minutes and ask some women in our community what their favorite experience was being gifted time.  Each of the women gave us a different answer, each one had a unique and specific experience.  That is one of the most exciting things about non-traditional giving – you have to be specific, it is about thinking deep about the other person, empathizing with their life and then making the gift about them.  Here are 5 ideas that we came up with around quality time, with our FAVORITE Route gifts to give when you spend time.

  1. Gift time AWAY – watching someone’s children, doing their dishes, walking their dog, or doing anything that carries someone else’s load so that they can have a minute to themselves or doing a special activity that they don’t have time for.  Maybe helping someone with phone calls or doing some organizing for them.  Try using your time to give someone else a little more time.
  2. Spend Time TOGETHER – This only works with the most special people.  Who is the friend or family member who comes to you for advice, help, support?  Give those people your time and listen to them.  This simple act makes people feel TAKEN CARE of and ENCOURAGED.
  3. Gift your Expertise – what can you do, that would be a gift to others.  This may mean teaching someone something that you know, maybe it’s helping someone with their business or fixing something in their house.  What do you know that could bless others?  Give them your time this year.

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4. The Esther Vest – Our current favorite layer.  An alpaca blend that is at once warm but not too bulky.  You will love layering this beautiful piece with light or dark colors and will feel so great knowing that it was made ethically and your purchase supports each maker in Bolivia.

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5. The Athena earring – gifting the good means giving with out purchasing AND purchasing with purpose.  Each of our pieces has great purpose, the Athena is not alone.  But these recycled glass earrings that are hand pieced have a special place in our hearts.  They are the creation of an amazing women, Christine who was so moved by women that she has known come out of trafficking that she has used her expertise and time to create a jewelry line that helps others into a safe life and healthy employment!  Try them out for you or a gift.

More next week on gifting words of AFFIRMATION!  Have a wonderful week and happy ethical gifting!

XOXO,

Christina

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Gifting the Good – A New Kind of Gift Guide

Everything at Route is uniquely found, thoughtfully made and lovingly brought to you.  We are so excited to extend the same kind of effort to encourage our community in their gifting this season.  We could think of no better way to do that then to think about how people RECEIVE gifts and what makes people feel loved.  

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We thought the best way to think about gifting was through than the 5 Love Languages.  If you aren’t familiar with them click through the link to learn A LOT more.   Instead of thinking through the love languages and asking ourselves “how do I like to receive love”, we want to use each of these to ask “how should I be gifting with love”.

The 5 Love Languages are:

  1. Gift of Time
  2. Words of Affirmation
  3. Physical Touch
  4. Gift Giving
  5. Acts of Service

We are going to take ten days or so for each love language, consider it and talk about it, ask our friends how they have experienced it, give YOU ideas for how you can gift in those ways and (of course) have ethical gifts you can purchase from Route for those amazing people in your life, for every way that they feel really loved.

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We are so excited.  Follow along as we journey through creative gifting that shows love.  Along they way we will have promotions and specials for all of our ethical gifts.

Happy Holidays and as always,

Happy Ethical Shopping!

xoxo,

Christina

 

 

 

Nothing I’m Wearing is Ethically Made

Some days everything I have on was bought from a major retailer, is in synthetic fibers (in intense colors that probably required several washes to dye) and was possibly even purchased off the sale rack!

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Yes, I am here everyday posting about all of the beautiful things I’ve found for you to buy that were safely made and relieve poverty and empower women and help, sometimes even relieve stress and harm on the environment.  AND I want all of that to be true about EVERY piece in my wardrobe.  But it’s only in the last year or two that I made that a commitment and I have a closet full of things that were purchased before that.  So what do I do with them?

Mostly, I keep them.  I try and restyle them in ways that are fresh and repair them or spot clean them when needed.  I do my best (I have young messy children) to wash them as infrequently as possible so that they last (and to conserve water in general).

But mostly, I have GRACE for myself and I walk tall, knowing that I’m trying and sometimes being good to others and the environment means keeping what I have, even if it’s story is not exciting and I really just ordered it from Zara (my skirt in the picture).

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I’m also really excited for our upcoming clothing swap in October!  Follow the link here for more INFO. Several of the pieces in my closet that fit the description above will be out that day.  I’m hoping I can switch for something new without completely getting rid of what I have.

So where ever your journey to a conscious closet is at…it is ALL GOOD.  Keep trying, being creative, rewearing, hunting, thrifting and know that you are not alone in it.

As always: Happy Ethical Shopping!

XOXO,

Christina

This Should Change Your Life

In the last month I have been excited, shocked, surprised and maybe a little annoyed by how many posts on plastics I have seen and read.  Excited because this is definitely something that I have thought about and have had concerns about for a while. Shocked because of what I’m reading. Surprised that so many people at once are getting on this trend (some trends are so valuable, right!?) and Annoyed because do I really want one more thing to avoid!  One more stream to swim against…IMG_2719

Even though avoiding plastics, or trying to minimize them in our clothing, and just in general is so difficult and takes time, energy and resources.  I am watching all of these amazing people who really care, who inspire me daily and I’m starting to feel like maybe I can do this.  I think it’s time our life should change.

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That being said, I have three children, I run two companies and let’s just be real –  I don’t have time for this.  But, my children are now eating the plastic that I’m washing when I wash our synthetic clothing.  Every straw or spoon or cup that I throw away contributes to 6 MILLION tons of waste a year.

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At Route, I am ready for us to start making small changes.  We already purchase pieces made with environmentally sustainable or recycled materials as often as we can.  We use cotton bags to store and wrap our jewelry instead of plastic.  But there is so much more we can do.  After much thinking I have three goals for my family and 3 for Route:

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  1. Switching all shipping packaging to recycled paper products within the next six months.
  2. Finding at least one new partner group that uses organic clothing to include in our line.
  3. Purchasing at least 30% of our jewelry made with recycled materials.

 

My Family (this is so much easier!)

  1. Start bringing metal straws or not use straws at all when we go out.
  2. When I need to buy more plates or cups keeping them plastic free.
  3. Never using disposable plastic wear in our kitchen.

Well, we will see how this goes!  I hope that you are also feeling inspired to think through plastic consumption in your life and that Route can help with that.

Happy Conscious Purchasing!

XOXO,

Christina

A path to rural sustainability

There are countless problems that can be countered by employment.  Each partner group that we work with has identified specific needs in the communities that their makers live in and uses creative, thoughtful technics to build their business model around the needs in those communities.

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One of our favorites (because it harnesses technology in a really thoughtful way), is Soko.  we have just started carrying one or two of their pieces but have been following their work and impact for years.  They identify traditional artisans in rural areas, communicate orders and designs for their jewelry via cell phones and build relationships with their artisans remotely.

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There are so many exciting things about this model, but the biggest one is that it allows these artisans and their families to stay in their villages if they want to, keeping them out of dangerous and unhealthy slums in the cities and building their income and therefor impact on their communities in some of the poorest rural areas on Kenya.

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We will be bringing a few of Soko’s pieces in at a time and hope that you find things that you like and joining us in spreading the word about their effective work.

Happy Ethical Shopping!

XO,

Christina

Getting Behind A Worthy Goal

So many of our partner groups have grown slowly over the years.  Their product and process is finely honed and now they are taking “next steps” to grow their impact and influence.  We were so excited to bring Purpose Jewelry into our line this Spring, because of the work they do every day, but also because of the goals that they are vigilantly working towards.

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The Sade, Rahim and Latrice necklaces.

Purpose Jewelry comes out of International Sanctuary, a collection of safe houses that balance income, education, healthcare and community for women coming out of trafficking.  Their current goal is to have 10 communities for women in the next two years.  An exciting and extraordinary goal.

This is where Route comes in.  Every time we buy a larger selection of their jewelry, we are able to help them forward quickly towards their goal.

Whenever you purchase any piece of Route jewelry, you are doing this type of work.  Fulfilling dreams and goals for these amazing visionary people who are diving into the world’s hardest and most dangerous situations.  Their work permanently gives hope for a safe and healthy life to women who did not have it before.

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The Latrice Necklace.                                  photo: Purpose Jewelry

Most of us can’t travel constantly across the world to those who are in most need, or start organizations or even spend large quantities of time volunteering.  But there are so many ways that we can help people who CAN do those things and who are choosing to.  What is so exciting is that we can do that through our purchasing!  We are buying anyway, let’s make the choice to purchase products that make dreams come true, and accomplish big goals.  Products that give dignity, safety and amazing life opportunity to the people who make what we purchase!

Enjoy Purpose and their beautiful designs.  Happy Ethical Shopping!

xoxo,

Christina

A Peek Into My Closet

Here I am again, sharing something new going on around Route.  Purchasing ethically and having a closet with the least social and environmental impact is COMPLICATED and takes a lot of work and thought.  I’ve been working on it for at least the last four years and I feel strongly like I have SO far to go.

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Somedays jewelry is just a simple bar necklace like our Sade.

So after all of this time I’ve learned a thing or two and I finally feel ready to share a little bit about my journey, how I dress now and some of my closet goals as I’m going forward.

A few things to know about me that might be helpful:  I’m a (in some ways reluctant) stay at home mom.  Getting dressed and putting a passable outfit together daily is just one little way that I stick it to this crazy season that keeps me home all day chasing children.

I consider clothing trends optional and classic Parisian style a closet must.  I don’t wear one clear style, but mix it up and am always passionate about clothing that is flattering, well tailored and intricately designed (even if the finished product is simple).

Follow along on our instagram stories for more and if you like what I have on for any feature keep track of the “One Of” collection on our website.  I will be featuring pieces that I’ve found for Route and after I style them will pack them away for you to purchase.

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Today’s Outfit: Stephanie Cardigan from the Route shop and a second hand Eileen Fisher linen dress!

I hope this is helpful and fun for you and as always: Happy Ethical Shopping!

Much Love,

Christina

One Of – A New Route

Hi Everyone!!

I am SO EXCITED to announce a little adventure that we are embarking on at Route.  For a while we have been talking about how to make ethical fashion more accessible, but still stylish and fresh.  I love shopping second hand and recognizing great finds, I love buying local from artisans and designers that are doing effective and creative things in my neighborhood and I love buying ethically.  Bottom line, I just love shopping in alternative ways that make the mainstream seem boring and “basic”, and I’m passionate about putting together outfits from all of these different sources that are functional, beautiful, and classic.

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This Black Jumpsuit is our first One of for sale!  Click the link HERE to purchase.

Sometimes buying ethically can be hard–either the pieces are boring, or the fantastically designed ones are out of an average person’s budget. Here’s where I want to come in:

In all of my second hand shopping I often come across pieces that are LEGIT finds.  Things that I cannot believe I have gotten my hands on, or pieces that are just so beautiful that I can’t leave behind.  So instead of keeping them for myself, I’ve decided to start sharing them with you.

Stay tuned for more blog posts and our instagram changing over the coming weeks as we add new sections and styles mixing in ethical with secondhand.

I can’t wait to share,

xo, Christina

 

 

To Change a Life with Dignity

The process of choosing which companies we will partner with and what products we will sell consumes so much of our work and conversation.  This is not a small process.  The goal is to put together a collection of well made, fashionable, well priced and deeply impactful products.  We want to choose the best of the best for you.  When you buy from Route, you can trust that these are pieces that people will compliment and ask you about.

When we start in on a new relationship (or in this case pick back up on an old one), we take that very seriously and approach it with care.  Years ago, Starfish Project came to visit our shop in Columbia.  We were thrilled about the work they were doing.  Literally bringing women out of brothels and exploitation into every level of their business.  Their goal is not just to teach women how to make jewelry.  They put women quickly into training and education programs to teach them computer skills, management, logistics and a slew of other seriously marketable skills.  These women will forever have careers that will safely keep them out of the situations that came from.  All of this while housing, caring for and helping to heal each women.

We have chosen not to buy from them in the past because we did not think the jewelry they were making had a wide enough appeal or that the style was updated enough to sell on it’s own without the story.  We are THRILLED that that has changed and recently found three gorgeous pieces to offer you from their current line.

 

Order one or two (scroll over image for link to purchase) knowing that the women behind these products are working hard to change the direction of their lives and you are helping to make that possible (and looking fabulous in the process).

Enjoy!

Love,

Christina

The 5 Best Ways to Clean Out Your Closet

So I throw things away compulsively, sometimes it’s a problem. When it comes to keeping my closet organized, it’s really helpful. I clean my closet out at least twice a year and have several different methods to approaching this project.

Sometimes I clean out just because it feels good to have less stuff, but more often I clean out with two goals in mind:

  1. What do I need to get rid of?
  2. Where are the holes in my wardrobe that would make styling and dressing easier and less stressful?

I don’t have a lot of time for clean so I try and make it quick and efficient. Here are five different approaches to cleaning out. There is definitely overlap between them, but they are a great place to start. Try one and let me know how it went.

Organize by Color – Everyone has their favorite colors to collect. Start by separating your clothing by color. Any outliers that you NEVER wear? Toss them. Do you have 8 black tops? If you wear them all, keep them, if not. See ya.clothing swap card

Side not: this is a great way to get an idea of what you may want to look for when you do your Spring purchasing this year.  Some questions to help you decide what should go on your list and what should go: What colors do you have too much of?  What colors do you love that you don’t wear enough?

Organize by Wear – Day/Night/Casual/Business – It’s helpful to do this and then ask yourself which clothes you spend the most time in. What pieces do you have that cross over? For me, my casual and business clothes often cross over. I try to dress up my casual and dress down my business look enough that I can combine those pieces.   I find cross over from day to night difficult because I LOVE having really special tops or dresses when I go out (it doesn’t happen often). So I try and keep them updated and find that, I wear them infrequently and if I am careful to buy only what I love I keep them for years, often until they wear out.

Organize by Age – Speaking of keeping pieces for years. Sometimes we just love a piece to death and it is time to say goodbye. I nearly came to tears a few weeks ago when I bent over to pick up the baby off the floor and the back of my five year old black skinny jeans just ripped all the way up!

Other times, we have piles of clothing purchased years ago that aren’t relevant anymore. Maybe they were not well made to begin with or in a color that didn’t work for you, or a style that was really fast and looks odd now, so we just never wear them. My strategy is that if I did not wear it more than once the year before, I toss it.

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Organize by Type – Start with each type of clothing. Shirts, pants, coats, etc… Look at the group of each and ask yourself: What do you wear often? What is outdated? What fits and what doesn’t? Keep everything out as you go through and use this strategy to create outfits. Sometimes older pieces in my wardrobe end up getting put into my rotation to wear because I take the time to find outfits for them during this process.   Don’t hesitate to take pictures and keep them organized for inspiration when you dress in the morning!

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Basic vs. Statement – The capsule wardrobe is an illusive goal in my life. I like wearing one-pieces, skirts and unusual tops that really only match one other piece or one pair of shoes. I’m hopeless. That being said, it is so much easier when the vast majority of my clothing can be mixed and matched to quickly throw on in the morning. When you are cleaning out to analyze how flexible your wardrobe is and find the holes in your wardrobe I would start by pulling out all of your basics. Consider each piece to decide if they work: Do you wear them all the time? Do they fit? Then clean out accordingly.

Ok, now I’m feeling ready to get started. Good luck and happy Spring cleaning!!

 

Love,

 

Christina