Sustainable Spring Fashion

Woman wearing a dress

The fashion industry has frequently been under attack for having a disregard for the environment, but, in recent years, this has begun to drastically change. This is largely down to consumers themselves, as they increasingly want to know more about the products that they are buying, from where and how it is made to the larger issues that each brand as a whole supports. All of these evolving consumer demands have led to incredible innovations when it comes to sustainable fashion, with experts predicting eco-friendly trends that are truly exciting.

Faux fur jacket

Guilt-Free Fabrics
There is no doubt about the fact that wearing animal products is not at all sustainable, which has led to the development of some beautiful imitation fabrics, often of a much higher quality than the actual original. Faux fur has always been a great alternative to fur, and brands are now experimenting more with these materials, creating faux furs in bright and vibrant spring colors. There are also fantastic arrays of vegetable leathers that look just as spectacular as the real deal. While cotton may not be a fabric that comes from animals, 16% of global insecticide releases come from cotton, making it the opposite of eco-friendly. This, in turn, has led to a growth in organic cotton as well as alternative plant-based fabrics, made from ingredients such as soy, bamboo, wood pulp and corn. Designers and brands are even looking to fruits for fabrics, coming up with products such as Pinatex, which is a fabric made from pineapples.

Vintage
The vintage trend has been around for a while, and it looks like it could be here to stay for even longer. Buying vintage is a great way to decrease your global footprint, while wearing a piece of clothing that has its own unique history. In terms of spring 2016, Victorian-style pieces are going to be extremely popular, whether it be layering a corset into your outfit or picking vintage pieces that feature exquisite florals and feminine details.

Hand bag

Ethical Bags
A bag is often used much more frequently than an item of clothing, which is why bags have received extra attention in terms of being sustainable and ethical. Thanks to the increase of guilt-free fabrics, as mentioned above, there are now some great alternatives to leather, many of which are just as durable and reliable. For those who want to begin making more sustainable fashion choices, bags are one of the best places to start.

Sustainable Online Shopping
In order to truly reach the masses, sustainable fashion needs to be available online, which is something that was previously lacking. There are now a variety of fashion websites out there that make it easy to buy eco-friendly pieces. Zedy and R.E.V focus on ethically made clothes and accessories, while the ASOS website boasts a Green Room that contains any items that have a certain eco-friendly element, be it the way that they were made or the fabrics that they are produced from. Mass market brands, such as H&M, have also been producing more sustainable lines, with their exclusive Conscious Collection already sold out in many places. This is a trend that other brands will soon adopt as H&M’s success is proof that fashion consumers are now much more eco-conscious than they used to be.

In order for sustainable fashion to really become mainstream, consumers today need to do away with “fast fashion”, choosing instead to invest in apparel for the long term, fixing it rather than replacing it if there is a problem. However, these spring trends are great steps forward when it comes to eco-friendly fashion, and it will not be long before even more brands begin to adopt sustainable strategies of their own.

“Totes” Necessary

Woman holding a tote

A cluttered work tote is all-too-common, and no one can deny the frustration that arises from hurriedly scrambling around inside a work bag, searching for a specific item that has been buried at the bottom. This disorganization is never productive, making it time to ditch all of the unnecessary extras and stock your work tote with these essential items.

Notepad and Pen
With all of the laptops, tablets and smartphones that are likely at your fingertips at work, carrying a notepad and pen around with you in your work tote may seem unnecessary, but there will always come a time when you need them. Whether due to low battery on your tablet or simply the need to quickly jot a few ideas down, a notepad and pen will always come in handy, and can be clipped together to ensure that they can both be easily reached for in your bag at the same.

On-the-Go Makeup Bag
Every woman should have an on-the-go makeup bag, containing the most essential products for a quick makeup fix that only takes a few minutes. The exact products that you include will depend on your own personal makeup style, but common items include a concealer stick, mascara, a dark colored eyeliner, and some tinted lip balm. It is also always a good idea to include a small bottle perfume, as this will help you to quickly freshen up during a busy day, as well as some hair items, such as bobby pins and hair ties. Keeping all of this together in one small makeup bag will help your work tote to stay clutter-free, and will make all of these small items much easier to find when you really need them.

Mini Sewing Kit or Safety Pins
A fashion crisis at work is never good, whether your blouse is missing a button or you end up with a tear in the seam of your skirt. Keeping a mini sewing kit in your work tote, or even just some safety pins of different sizes, will ensure that you are always covered for the majority of fashion emergencies, at least until you have a few spare minutes to find a more permanent solution!

Mini Moisturizer
The stress from a day at work can quickly take its toll on your skin, which is why it is always useful to keep a mini bottle of moisturizer in your work bag. Applying this during the day will give your skin an added boost of hydration, keeping it looking clear and fresh.

Headphones
Headphones are another one of those items that are always useful to keep nearby, and can be used both during the work day as well as during your work commute. Whether needing to quickly watch a couple of important work videos on your phone on the move, or simply listening to some tunes as you unwind on your walk home after a long day, you will always appreciate having a pair of headphones in your work tote.

Mini Umbrella
The need for a mini umbrella depends largely on where you live, but if you find yourself frequently caught in the middle of a torrential downpour, then this is an item that you definitely need to include. There are many stylish mini umbrellas available that are the perfect size for stashing away at the bottom of your bag, and while you may not use it that often, having it with you will make a huge difference on the day that you really need it!

If there are other items that you need to keep in your work tote, it is always a good idea to group these into categories to keep your bag from getting too cluttered. Having sections in your tote will help you to stay organized and know exactly where each item is at all times.

Understanding Skin Tone

types of skin

Whether it be trying to match with the latest foundation formula’s shades or picking out a concealer that you can use on a daily basis, the only way that you will be able to select the best makeup hues is … Continue reading

On-the-Go Makeup

Woman applying lipstick

When the clock is ticking and you only have five minutes to spare, it can be seriously frustrating rummaging around an overflowing makeup bag, haphazardly applying products to your face as you come across them. This is why every woman needs to have a few go-to makeup products that she can quickly turn to and easily apply in just a few minutes, but which still guarantee a polished and well-groomed look.

Concealer
A concealer is definitely a necessity in an on-the-go makeup bag, and your favorite concealer is the best product to go with, as you will already be confident in applying it. If you usually use a brush to apply your concealer, this is not something you need to worry about when you are in a rush. Instead, use your finger to dab it onto your skin, because while this may not be as precise as a brush, it will blend into your skin much quicker.

Woman applying mascara

Mascara
Mascara can quickly brighten up your entire face by opening up your eyes, and it takes less than thirty seconds to apply. A no-clump formula is always best, as you need to be able to simply swipe on a couple of coats as quickly as possible, and if you can find one that also gives your lashes a bit of a curl, then this will do away with the need for an eyelash curler.

Dark Eyeliner Pencil
An eyeliner is always useful when you need to quickly enhance your eyes. However, when you are applying your makeup with one eye on the clock, a liquid eyeliner should definitely be avoided, as any mistakes will eat up valuable time. Instead, a dark brown or black eyeliner pencil should be used, preferably one that is quite soft, as this will slide on easily and can quickly be blended if you are wanting a softer finish.

Woman applying lip balm

Tinted Lip Balm
You do not want to have to be dealing with lipstick when you are trying to be as quick as possible, which is why a tinted lip balm is a great product to turn to. This will keep your lips moisturized while giving you a subtle hint of color, and will only take a few seconds to apply.

Eyebrow Pencil
No matter how well-polished your face may be, untidy brows will always detract from your look, making an eyebrow pencil essential. Although a powder will give your brows a more subtle and natural finish, a pencil is much quicker to apply.

Needless to say, it is important to make sure that your go-to products are always in the best condition. This means keeping your eyeliner and eyebrow pencils constantly sharpened, and ensuring that no products are drying up or not working to their full potential, as this can be frustrating to discover at a time when you need them the most. Keeping all of your go-to makeup items together in a bag is the most convenient way to access them, and also means that the bag is easy to grab and take with you if you ever have to dash out in a hurry.

Results of Sleeping with Makeup On

Woman sleeping

Everyone has made the mistake of falling asleep and forgetting to remove their makeup, and while this may not seem as though it has caused much harm the next morning, doing this repeatedly leads to a world of damage. From premature aging to a dull complexion, this will all quickly begin to happen if you make the mistake of sleeping with your makeup on one too many times.

A Dull Complexion
Every night while you sleep, your skin renews itself, shedding any dead skin cells to reveal the fresh skin beneath. However, by sleeping with your makeup on, you prevent this natural turnover from occurring, because the makeup, oil and dirt that has built up on your face throughout the day remains on your outermost layer of skin, blocking the shedding of dead skin cells. This results in a dull and rough complexion, likely leading to even more makeup the next morning in order to brighten up the face.

Premature Aging
As mentioned earlier, sleeping with your makeup on traps all of the dirt and impurities into your skin, and this will soon begin to cause oxidative damage to your skin cells, breaking down their protective barrier. Without this, the rate of aging is drastically accelerated, resulting in wrinkles and fine lines that will be difficult to eradicate. After a while of sleeping with makeup on, you will notice that your skin will start to lose its firmness and tightness, and this is because the makeup will have caused your collagen levels to deplete, leading to sagging skin that nobody wants.

Woman having acne issues

Pimples and Acne
Leaving makeup on your skin while you sleep will clog your pores, which, in turn, can lead to chronic inflammation, resulting in pimples. Those who suffer from acne will notice an increase in breakouts after sleeping with makeup on, as thorough cleansing is especially important for those who suffer from such skin conditions.

Infections
Since sleeping with your makeup on compromises your skin’s protective barrier, your skin will be much more prone to infections. This is especially the case when it comes to mascara, as leaving this on overnight creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and, if the bacteria is allowed to build up, this can soon lead to conjunctivitis. To top it all off, sleeping with mascara on will also cause eyelashes to become much more brittle and susceptible to breakages. Sleeping with other forms of eye makeup on can also lead to infections, as they clog the hair follicles and oil glands, once again creating the ideal environment in which bacteria can thrive.

All of the above issues usually arise after a more prolonged period of sleeping with your makeup on, whether this be a week or a month. While forgetting to remove your makeup for just one night may not cause any visible long-lasting damage, you should still be sure to cleanse your face thoroughly in the morning, before assessing your skin and examining its condition. A face mask is a great way to counter this mistake, as it will give your skin a deep cleanse, nourishing it from within, helping it to recover from the degradation that a night of makeup would have caused.

Healthy On the Go Breakfast

Morning can often be quite stressful and rushed, and the importance of a healthy breakfast is usually swept to the side. Fortunately, even if you do not have time to sit down and enjoy a full morning meal, there are plenty of healthy and quick alternatives that are perfect for eating on the go.

Muffin

Breakfast Muffins
Breakfast muffins have always been an extremely popular on the go breakfast option, because not only are they easy to make in advance, but they will store in the fridge for up to three days, or up to a month in the freezer. The fillings that you add can be completely up to you, whether they be your favorite fruits or whatever you happen to have lying around the kitchen. From mashed bananas to blueberries to cinnamon to honey chopped nuts to dried fruit, this on the go breakfast can be packed with so much goodness. If you have made a batch to freeze, simply pop one in the microwave to heat it up and it will quickly be ready to dash out of the door with you.

Fruity yoghurt

Dressed Up Yoghurt
While a pot of yoghurt is a great on the go breakfast, it lacks a certain level of nutrition, and the artificially sweetened flavors that have become popular do not contain many benefits. If you tend to find plain yoghurt too boring, try dressing it up a bit each morning. Rather than grabbing a pot to take with you, open it at home and top it with a sprinkling of fruits, chopped nuts, seeds or anything else that you would like.

Smoothie

Breakfast Smoothies
Breakfast smoothies are the ultimate in portable breakfasts, because not only are they easy to drink with just one hand, but they are packed with all sorts of body-boosting vitamins and minerals. Strawberry and banana is a classic flavor combination, but you can throw just about any fruit into the mix. Adding some nuts will give you some extra protein, and will make your smoothie even creamier, while adding some kale in with your sweet fruits will help to balance out the bitterness of the greens.

A`vocado sandwich

Avocado Toasted Sandwich
Avocado toast is another healthy breakfast classic, but, if this is too difficult to eat on the go, turning it into a sandwich is a great alternative. If you would like an extra dose of protein, quickly fry an egg to add to the sandwich, either wrapping it all up to eat on the go or storing it in a plastic box to eat a bit later. Don’t forget to opt for wholemeal bread rather than white bread, as this will give your body some extra fibre and minerals.

Healthy breakfasts can be easy, with just about any classic breakfast having a healthy, and portable, alternative. From a breakfast smoothie that you can sip while driving to a toasted avocado and egg sandwich that you can enjoy once you get to work, these on the go breakfasts will ensure that your day starts off with all of the nutrition that your body needs.

Risks of Body Shaming

Woman looking at her body in the mirror

These days, women, and an increasing number of men, are constantly under pressure when it comes to their bodies. From being told that they are not thin enough to feeling as though they do not look young enough, body shaming can come from both the outside as well as the inside. While this may not seem like too big of a deal, researchers have recently discovered that body shaming can be extremely detrimental, not only psychologically, but also in terms of physical health.

Fat Shaming Causes Weight Gain
Fat shaming is one of the most common forms of body shaming, yet many believe that, by fat shaming a person, they are doing them some good, providing them with motivation to lose weight. In reality, this could not be further from the truth, as a number of different studies have proven that fat shaming only causes the victim to feel ashamed, resulting in higher stress levels, which then drives them to seek out more calories.

An Increase in Infections
Studies have shown that women who have higher levels of body shame tend to experience more infections than those who are comfortable with their body image. One of the reasons behind this is that, when women are ashamed of certain aspects of their body, they tend to pay less attention to them, meaning that they miss out on vital signs that an ailment or an infection is taking root.

Depression
It comes as no surprise that those who suffer from body shaming are at a much higher risk for depression and other mental illnesses. Children that are body shamed while young are more likely to suffer from depression as teenagers and adults, putting a focus on weight instead of nutrition, which is always detrimental but especially so at that stage in life when the body is still growing. Of course, one of the common consequences of depression is suicide, and while this may seem extreme in terms of body shaming, it happens all-too-often.

Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can seriously affect general health, especially when they persist for a long period of time. From bulimia to anorexia to binge eating, body shaming has been linked to just about every eating disorder out there. Anorexia is believed to be one of the most fatal eating disorders in the United States, mostly because the rates of suicide connected with eating disorders are much higher than those linked to other psychological illnesses.

Body shaming can come about in many forms, from criticizing your own appearance to criticizing somebody else’s appearance. Whether just a subtle comment or extreme verbal bullying, body shaming perpetuates the idea that people should be judged by their personal appearance, and this is most definitely not the case. The best way to combat body shaming is to begin with yourself, working on developing a positive body image and encouraging others to do the same. If you are guilty of body shaming someone else, it goes without saying that it is time to stop, and remember that a positive comment can go a long way.

Healthy Mind and Body

When it comes to enjoying a long and happy life, having a healthy mind and body is key. There is no longer a debate about the connection between the mind and the body, and, in order to truly enjoy your life, it is essential to keep both of these healthy.

Woman meditating

Daily Meditation
Meditation is a tool that can significantly boost both the mind as well as the body, and at the same time too. Studies have shown that just eight weeks of regular meditation not only helps people to feel calmer overall, but also results in changes in certain parts of the brain, including a growth in the areas that are responsible for empathy, stress regulation and memory. When it comes to the more physical aspects of the body, meditation has been linked to a decrease in a number of issues, from hypertension to depression to heart disease to addiction. If meditation is something new to you, do not feel intimidated by it. There are plenty of well-written guides online that explain the different meditation techniques that are best suited for beginners, so take a look and set aside some time today for your first meditation session.

Woman resting after exercise

Daily Exercise
Exercise is something else that benefits both the body and mind at the same time, and there have been plenty of studies throughout history that document the many benefits of daily exercise. Not only does physical activity help to slow down the aging of the body, but it also increases the brain’s ability to learn and adapt, while reducing stress and helping to eliminate depression. The daily exercise that you do can be chosen based on your interests. If you want something quick that you can do at home, take a look at aerobic exercises. However, if you like to be outdoors, and this in itself has its own additional benefits, then there are plenty of outdoor activities that will be able to get your heart racing.

Women laughing

Laughter
When it comes to the connection between the mind and the body, laughter has managed to baffle researchers for many years, as it affects both in a unique way. A hearty belly laugh not only slows down the production of stress hormones within the body, but it also gives the immune system a good boost.

Woman sleeping

A Deep Sleep
When it comes to good health, the quality of your sleep is important to consider, as this affects both your body and your mind. A lack of quality sleep causes the body to fall out of balance, leading to a weaker immune system, weight gain, faster aging, and depression. A healthy sleep is achieved without the use of pharmaceuticals or alcohol, and, when you wake up in the morning, the vibrant feeling you experience will let you know that you have had some quality rest.

A healthy mind will lead to a healthy body, and vice versa, but there is nothing quite like tackling both at the same time. From meditation to laughter, these tips will ensure that your life is filled with health and happiness.

Vintage Klompen

Golden shoes

goga18128 / Shutterstock.com

Whether you consider them to be stylish or not, there is no denying that klompen, known as clogs in English, are a significant part of Dutch heritage. While the debate is still ongoing over where these unique shoes first originated, the vintage clogs that used to be seen all over the Netherlands have made klompen a true icon for the country.

True Vintage Klompen
The true vintage clogs from the Netherlands have either a black or a yellow base. The black base was chosen by those who would be wearing them on soil, while the yellow base purchased by those who spent more time on sandy ground. This way, the shoes would never appear too dirty. While the clogs that you see around the Netherlands today usually feature some form of decoration at the top, this is something that few farmers would have been able to afford back in the day, which is why vintage klompen are usually much plainer in color.

Who Wears Klompen?
Up until recently, klompen were worn by just about everybody in the Netherlands, although they were particularly favored by farmers, gardeners, fishermen and tradesmen. It is these groups of people that tend to still wear clogs today, while those in the cities mostly opt for more modern styles of footwear instead.

The Benefits of Wearing Klompen
The majority of doctors would agree that klompen are actually better for your feet than the shoes we wear today, and this is for a few different reasons. Firstly wood absorbs perspiration, which means that feet are kept nice and dry throughout the day, with the klompen acting as their own personal air conditioning system. Klompen are also much safer than work boots, because when they are struck by a large object, they crack rather than dent, protecting the foot and allowing for its easy removal. In fact, the way in which it is such a sturdy shoe has earned it a CE certificate, meaning that they have been certified by the EU as appropriate safety footwear.

Internationaal Klompenmuseum
The Internationaal Klompenmuseum, otherwise known as the International Museum of Clogs, is situated in Eelde in the Netherlands, and is a must-visit museum for those wanting to see, and learn more about, vintage klompen. Not only is this museum where you will find the largest collection of wooden footwear in the world, but there are also displays featuring clog making equipment and machinery.

Sadly, the tradition of wearing klompen has been drastically dying down, and there are only a handful of authentic klompen manufacturers left in the world. While the streets of the Netherlands used to be filled with these wooden shoes, they are now only mostly seen in the windows of tourist shops, being purchased as souvenirs rather than practical footwear. However, there are plenty of initiatives that are working hard to keep the craft and traditions of klompen alive, hosting festivals, clog-making workshops and more, so be sure to support these the next time you are in the Netherlands.

Dutch Inspired Weddings

Bride's dress and flowers

Weddings are events that are treasured for a lifetime, with every country and culture around the world having their own set of wedding traditions and customs. From a fun and unique twist to the ceremony itself to floral arrangements that are traditional to the Netherlands, there is plenty of inspiration to be taken from the Dutch when it comes to planning a wedding.

Bride holding lily of the valley bouquet

Flowers
Flowers play a huge role in many Dutch weddings, from forming a carpet down the aisle to decorating the wedding venue. Before the ceremony begins, the bridesmaids traditionally fill the bride’s basket with garlands and flowers, using the garlands to also decorate the groom’s pipe. A bed of flowers is then laid out for the bride and groom to walk together on down the aisle, and, when the married couple is departing from the venue, flowers make another appearance, being tossed over the couple for good luck. One traditional flower that is commonly seen at many Dutch weddings is the Lily of the Valley, as each time the plant blooms, it represents a return on happiness. Whether you incorporate the flower into your big day in similar ways, or plant it in your new home for good luck, this is a great Dutch tradition that everyone can embrace.

Cocktails at a wedding

The Ceremony
Dutch wedding ceremonies actually begin with a mini reception, usually a small cocktail party just prior to the wedding ceremony. This is a tradition that mirrors that of other cultures around the world, and is a beautiful way to start the day. Another unique aspect of a Dutch wedding ceremony that could easily become a truly touching part of yours is the way in which the Dutch are asked to share their love story with their guests. From the moment that they first met to the ways in which their love for each other has grown, this part of the wedding never fails to draw a few tears from the guests.

Wedding table

The Feast
Feasting after the ceremony is a huge part of Dutch wedding traditions, as well as of those of many cultures all over the world. Whether it be a sprawling banquet or an eight-course meal, the post-ceremony feast is always highly anticipated. Another aspect to the Dutch wedding feast are the five sweets that are wrapped in tulle and given to each guest. These sweets represent happiness, prosperity, love, loyalty and virility, and are a touching tribute that can easily be replicated at your own wedding. “Bridal Tears” are another Dutch wedding tradition that hold significant meaning, and consists of a spiced wine that the bride usually gifts to her guests in small bottles. In addition to the spices, the wine also contains gold leaf, symbolizing the bride’s tears.

Weddings are a joyous affair, and, if you are in the stages of planning your own, it is always a good idea to explore traditions from other cultures, as you may find one that particularly resonates with you, making your big day even more magical.