Slow Summer

This summer is not really like my others, that's for sure.  I'm seeing some slow improvement, though.  I weighed in at 3 pounds heavier than my last visit and I'm 3 pounds away from normal weight.  (I've been warned that my weight gain will slow at this point so to continue to expect slow improvement.)  My appetite is improving but not all the way yet.  I'm still doing acupuncture and Chinese herbs and other medicine.  I'm able to get around by myself now, though, which I couldn't do before so that is a great improvement to feel like I can leave the house without my body f'n failing me.

I know it's the blogger cardinal sin to repost stuff from Instagram but I'm having a low content life lately so here you go --- headbands with salt & pepper roots, a DIY manicure (the first sign I was feeling better) and some picnic reading in the sun adjacent to a dog who really really wanted my sandwich.


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Basics - Threads 4 Thought Scoop Neck Tee

While I try not to buy new if I can help it, what I usually find myself buying new is basics.  I just saw Ecolissa post about a basic short-sleeve scoop neck top that I could see getting a lot of wear.  The Ecolissa product details just say "Imported" but I hit up the Threads 4 Thought site and they have a nice video that discusses where they manufacture, working conditions and waste water recycling. 

del t4t scoop neck

I'm skipping buying clothes these days and you won't see any outfit pictures on this blog any time soon since I'm still dealing with this stomach illness issue.  The interesting thing about still being really sick and being forced to work remotely (since I have to plan my specific meals at specific times) is that I rarely care what I look like and I'm content in the same pair of denim shorts and a t-shirt pretty much every day.  Granted, if I had to go to work, I'd be responsible for appearing more presentable and I'd need more put-together clothing without wearing the same thing every day - but for now I don't.  I wish I could say it felt liberating at this point but it really just feels like I still don't have the energy to stay on top of basic self-care needs.  It seems to be improving in tiny increments very very very slowly so I'm hoping that I am almost through this very soon.  

I haven't quite decided if I'm letting all my gray hair grown in or if I'll end up dying it again since I haven't been to the salon in so long.  (When the only time you leave the house is to go to doctor appointments and that's effort that messes up your eating, you don't prioritize the salon very much.)  On the pro side of the argument: wouldn't need to make hair dye appointments any longer and I hear catcalls decline when you have gray streaks.  Con side of the argument: I don't have cool platinum gray or nice Bride of Frankenstein streaks so I don't know if I really want the level of salt-and-pepper I have right now.  I might have to wait until I can trade up to a full silver fox bob later in life.


Mata Traders' Blogger Style

As you guys know, I had two posts about Mata Traders clothing and accessories recently and they've now posted them to their blog here and here.  I always like seeing how clothes looks on non-model people so I've liked looking at their other Blogger Style features and seeing not only how the Mata Traders stuff fits others but also how they wear it. 

Mata Traders also talks about their design and production on their blog so I've liked getting a glimpse of that as well. Just wanted to do a little shout out to that kind of transparency.

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How green is "one in, one out"? The Rag Bag "Solution"

I've seen a few posts about Uniform for the Dedicated's initiative, The Rag Bag.  Uniform for the Dedicated seems to be a clothing company that's dedicated to ethical and ecologically sound production and material sources (in their words - couldn't find any other details on their site).  The Rag Bag is a shopping bag that you can re-use to send used clothing items to a charity of your choice, postage-paid.

The video on The Rag Bag's site says the problem is not really that we buy so much clothing...but what happens to it when we are no longer using it.  Their solution is encouraging shoppers to adopt a "one in, one out" philosophy so when they buy something, they're expected to ship an old item off to charity -- to solve the environmental issue with our clothing.  

So, just wanted to break that down a little...and let's see what we think. (And by we I mean me.)

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1) The concept that it's totally not a problem to buy new clothes (asserted by an initiative put forth by a clothing company) is kind of a problem.  I don't need to explain this.  I'm not against buying stuff.  I'm against thinking it's no big deal and not at least part of the problem, though.

2) How green is "one in, one out"?  They don't outright say this is the concept they're putting forth but it's pretty much implied.  If you buy something new, you'll have something older to get rid of - and what better place than charity!  (Actually, we don't know that charity is the best place for old clothing.)  But more so, I'm not sure that the concept of "one in, one out" or being encouraged to get rid of older clothing is all that green.  And it might make people feel better about buying new stuff if they think giving an old item to charity makes up for it.

I think if you're just trying to create a manageable or minimalist wardrobe and you use it as a way to have a wardrobe while you shop for better-made pieces that better suit your style, great.  That's a good way to not divest yourself of your entire wardrobe and then fall into the trap of just buying anything to replace it.  What "one in, one out" doesn't do, though, is make sure that those clothes are used to the extent they could be whether that's with you for a while longer or you're matching them with future-owners who will get use out of them.  (I do think re-sale shops like Beacon's Closet and Buffalo Exchange are likely better at getting stuff into the hands of people who will use them since they're more "curated" while charity shops are a hodge podge, harder to shop and their turnover is usually faster.)  I always balk at people proclaiming that they're getting rid of all of their sweatshop clothing and replacing it with ethically-made stuff.  It's already there!  Just use it until you can't use it any longer!  Putting it into the stream of used clothing doesn't guarantee it's life here on earth will be more sustainable.

3) The positive! (I saved it for last since I'm usually such a critical mellow harsher at picking apart what I think is green-washing.)  An initiative like this might encourage shoppers to consider where their old clothing goes.  A lot of people just throw them in the trash instead of charity, re-sale shops or textile recycling.  So that would be an improvement. 

That's where I landed.  I think it's more "feel-good" than "solution" but at least it's admitting there's a problem...sort of.  Agree? Disagree?


Screen Printing Class - a test to print on finished apparel

This post is a bit of a blast from the past - from days when I was feeling better.  (These days I would not have the energy for a full-day class.)  I never got around to posting it, though.  My friend, boyfriend and I took a screen printing workshop at Shoestring Press back when it was weather where you could wear a flannel.

I was curious to see how it worked but also curious to see how it might be applied to DIY clothing.  First we made stencil-prints (the dog below) and then moved on to actual screens.  I brought a repetitive pattern to screen onto my army surplus laundry bag so I could see how screen printing interacted with ready-made items that have seams.  I was trying to compare the laborious work of block-printing a pattern on a solid piece of apparel and screen printing a more uniform design onto the same.

^ learning how to use pressure to apply the ink ^

Screen printing 
^ our finished result - dogs! ^

 Screen printing 
^ the design I brought to have burned onto a screen ^

Bag screen print

^ how it actually came out on my bag ^

Bag screen print
^ the final bag - and some lessons learned ^

It was challenging to line up the repetitive pattern so one screen print lined up right next to the other.  I didn't realize that I'd have to keep rotating the bag under the screen to get all areas covered so I had to be strategic with that so all areas could be printed on.  (Clearly I wasn't entirely successful.)  While block-printing would be challenging to manually line up (or strategically place) as well, screen printing didn't have a lot of clear advantages either except for the crispness of the print.  

There was no perfect way to re-do the areas that came out lighter as I didn't tape the bag into place every single time.  If I'd been more careful, I could have fixed those lighter areas.

A lot of people brought tote bags or t-shirts (or underwear) to print on using one design for the middle and those came out pretty well and looked really nice. I think I just picked something that screen printing is not really made for but it was an interesting experiment.  I'll be trying block printing in the future, I think!  Once I get some energy back anyway.  (The good news is that I seem to have gained two pounds back between 5/21 and 6/4.  The bad news is that my "elimination diet" meal plan, which is very limited to see what foods I'm having a reaction to, was upped to 1800.  Healthy-Me would have had no trouble with that by noon but Compromised-Me is having a really really hard time with it.)


Vegan style: maxi skirt weather

Hey everyone!  Not too much has changed since my last health update.  I am working with a nutritionist now who has me on a very strict elimination diet to see if we can figure out what is triggering my stomach issues.  When I say strict, I mean STRICT.  The three vegetables I can eat are:  boiled baby carrots, peeled and de-seeded boiled zucchini and canned beets.  The only fruits I can eat are canned pears, canned peaches, bananas or frozen fruit but only if it's pulverized by my Vitamix. Very limited fats and oils (so stuffing myself with hazelnuts and brazil nuts was not so smart because they're hard to digest - in fact I can't eat nuts at all unless it's 1 tsp of nut butter).  The meal plan clocks me in at 1500 calories per day (although usually less) and I have a horrible time trying to get that much in me.  I'm still 8 pounds underweight, which means I lost 7% of my bodyweight and the goal right now is to not lose any more and eventually try to gain it back.  I am also still working with my general practitioner, gastroenterologist, and any other expert who might be able to offer help.  That and watching copious amounts of Gossip Girl on Netflix.

So mostly I've been focusing on my trillion doctor's appointments, keeping up with work and wearing leggings and tunics or leggings and loose dresses with black canvas slip-ons all the time.  It's the only thing I can guarantee will fit.  I'm ready to walk into American Apparel and buy like 5 of those shapeless baby doll dresses and 2 more pair of black leggings to make sure I never have to think about what to wear again.  I know I've always valued a "uniform" but never as much as I do now.

This was one day previously where I was still getting sleep (oh, yeah, did I mention I've had insomnia weeks now?) and woke up a little hungry!  That's a rarity these days.  It lasted for half the day and then I immediately felt full again but it was nice to feel normal for half a day.

^ shirt/vintage Loretta Lynne Dude Ranch t-shirt, tailored by me ^
skirt/vintage via Mousevox on Etsy
shoes/cotton Kandals slip-ons made in Spain from Mooshoes

Reclaimed home

Reclaimed home

^ a "get well" gift to myself ^
cute small bag from a salvage shop

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^ tulips at the garden ^


Vegan Style: with Mata Traders

This post features Mata Trader's Tied & True top in blue floral. I'm participating in their blogger program, which you can read about in my previous Mata Traders post.  I had already purchased stuff from Mata Traders when they contacted me so I feel pretty confident in accepting and featuring their stuff on this blog.  I don't take such matters lightly and it's why you rarely see c/o anything here.

Mata Traders produces apparel and jewelry hand made in India and Nepal by women's cooperatives and and has a good description of their work here! Mata Traders is not exclusively vegan (some jewelry has bone) but the large majority of their offerings are vegan.

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shirt/Mata Traders
skirt, bag, shoes/re-use either vintage or thrift stores

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shirt/Mata Traders
skirt/American Apparel
shoes/Cri de Coeur (sweatshop-free vegan line)

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shirt/Mata Traders
cardigan/American Apparel
Saturn hand-painted brooch/wandering genie via Etsy

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shirt/Mata Traders
black jeans/US-made BDG cigarette high-rise jean
shoes/Cri de Coeur (recycled eco-"suede")