My Favorite Ethical White T-Shirts

For the rule-followers amongst us and with Memorial Day weekend now behind us, I thought it
would be fun to share some of my favorite ethical white t-shirts and blouses, as well as different
ways I like to style them. My most favorite ethical fashion company of all won't be a surprise to
those who've followed me for any amount of time, but — you guessed it — Everlane.

Everlane

I'll lay out a few of my top reasons I love Everlane and then we’ll get on to the shirts.

  1. They are known best for their "Radical Transparency". They believe in knowing who makes your clothes and that everyone deserves being paid a fair wage.
  2. They don't believe in the "mark-up" and are up-front about why they are charging what they charge. (see image below)
  3. A huge part of sustainable fashion is buying quality over quality and Everlane is just that. You buy clothes that last with Everlane and I can appreciate that about them.
  4. Their clothing is timeless and I love how most of their pieces are solid colors so they can be in my closet for years with no sign of "out of style".

With some of my favorite reasons why I love Everlane laid out, I'll now share some of my favorite white blouses/tees.

I'm wearing the The Japanese GoWeave Back-Zip Tee in White and I can't say enough good things about it. It's the perfect summer shirt as it is made from 100% triacetate—making it crease-resistant and cooling, perfect for surviving the heat with a subtle texture and silky drape. It also has a great weight to it that gives me the reassurance it will last for years to come.

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I am also a huge fan of scoop neck blouses and shirts and all the variety it allows when
accessorizing. I fully believe in working with a variety of textiles and materials when putting an
outfit together. With the subtle texture of this blouse plus the texture from my water buffalo horn necklace or bandana scarf from Noonday Collection, they compliment each other beautifully. 

I also love the creativity of the back of The Japanese GoWeave Back-Zip Tee, and how it elevates the style of the shirt.

My other favorite white t-shirts from Everlane are from their linen collection. Their lightweight linen gives you an easy drape and a breathable feel for warmer days. These are my go-to items when packing for a summer getaway.

Everlane also carries Men's and children's clothes as well so you can get your whole family amazing quality staples and ethical pieces in one shopping trip!

Other Favorite Ethical White T-shirts

I have other white t-shirts in my closet from a few of my favorite sustainable companies that I thought I'd share below - you might not need a new one now, but my hope is that when you have a gap in your closet and you need to fill it, you'll think of the companies I share here on my blog when you shop!

Live FashionABLE

FashionABLE has been a big favorite of mine as I have three of their purses, but they just came out with their new clothing line last week called .ABLE and I'm over the moon for it. I happened to be in Nashville over the weekend and got to try on and personally shop the new collection. I was like a kid in a candy shop. Their new clothing line is all handmade in Peru and is incredibly soft and could be mistaken for wearing butter. They are such great quality pieces and timeless. I'm a big fan of their color scheme and how I can have it in my closet for years to come.

ThredUp

ThredUp is a great second-hand online clothing company. A great way to shop ethically is to shop second-hand to give clothes a new life and ThredUp is my favorite avenue for shopping via thrift stores. You can filter by your size, type of clothing (tops) and color (white), and quickly scan to shop what you are looking for!

Krochet Kids intl.

Krochet Kids intl. makes their clothing line in Peru just like Live FashionABLE and considering I traveled to Peru last summer with Noonday Collection, that pulls on my heart strings. I love their Standard Tee and the Organic Tee.

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Made in the USA

Lastly, I encourage you to keep asking major companies #whomadeyourclothes and if your shopping at major companies such as Nordstrom or Macy's, don't forget you can search "Made in the USA" in the search bar! They make it so easy to make an ethical shopping purchase without even realizing it with the "Made in the USA" note in the details section! 

*this post is sponsored by Everlane, my favorite Ethical clothing line!

All in good time: Getting to know JORD Wood Watches

I've been slowly trying to create a more thoughtful closet over the last two and a half years that is full of more ethically made pieces that are also closet staples and will stand the test of time. Recently, I've begun the same process for my accessories and wanted to share a great company that I've recently learned about and couldn't love more. JORD Wood Watches is a local St. Louis company that makes beautiful watches almost completely out of wood! How fun is that?! 

I've worn the same watch for the last six years that has different materials and textiles so the simplicity of the Fieldcrest watch was quite a departure for me but I absolutely love it! This watch doesn't have any bells or whistles but instead is just a well-crafted, gorgeous, timeless (pun-intended) piece. I am not the only one who loves this watch; quite a few of my friends not only noticed I switched watches but complimented this watch. This Fieldcrest watch is a real head-turner!

I took some time asking JORD some questions about the watches and I'm excited to share what I learned with you!

Could you tell me more about the artisans who make the watches?

"Though the watches are all hand finished, we do a great deal of the manufacturing with specialty tooled machines.  Wood is a fluid substance, and it will contract and expand to a certain degree based on its environment.  We can’t change that property of the wood so we’ve found that machine tooling allows us to create pieces to exacting standards so that even when slight expansion and contraction occur the fully assembled watch retains its structural integrity. If we were to do those processes by hand there would be the opportunity for variation that creates a negative effect further down in the assembly process and possibly in the future during wear.

"Part of the craft, we feel, lies with our team who choose the wood to go through the manufacturing process.  That cannot be accomplished by a machine! The grain of the wood, the coloring, the density – that all has to be evaluated prior to the process.  Even more challenging, almost like putting a puzzle together, is when the watches are being assembled.  A single piece of wood can produce a wide variety of grain and coloring, so our team sorts through the individual pieces, matching them for shading and the strike of the grain, and making sure that the finished piece has a natural uniformity."

Where are the watches made?

"Our watches are manufactured in China in a facility that we manage.  We have a team on site, who follow production and are in charge of quality control, as well as a team who works specifically on prototyping.  Our designers are here in St. Louis and after the initial drawings, specs, and materials are chosen our team in China evaluates the design, considering production and long term wearability, makes whatever changes are necessary, and builds out samples. Prior to putting a new design in full production, several of the JORD partners will fly to China to oversee the final design and approve the materials. 

"We wanted to ensure the people working on our watches were trained adequately, treated fairly, and paid appropriately for their positions which is why we choose the facility that we did that allowed us to manage it. And to top it off, all of our watches are treated with natural substances, no hazardous chemicals. Not only for the sake of the environment, but for those who work on the watches."  

Noonday Collection bracelets and JORD W

Lastly, I'm so excited to be partnering with JORD to offer See Things Closer readers a special $25 e-gift code! Once you fill out the form, you will instantly be emailed your $25 e-gift code. You will have until 12/18/16 to redeem the code. I can't wait to hear what watch catches your eye below and if you have a favorite! Here's to shopping locally and supporting small businesses this holiday - cheers! 

a noonday collection ambassador trip: guatemala 2016

It’s a Friday afternoon in Santiago, Guatemala—a small town with a large indigenous Mayan population on Lake Atitlán. I’m standing on a cleanly swept dirt floor around a long wooden table, watching a group of local women sit and sift through piles of beads before they string them into beautiful multicolored beaded cuffs. I’m here with eleven other Noonday Ambassadors, on a weeklong trip to visit four Artisan partner groups.

As I look back on our week in Guatemala, what I will be taking away from this experience are the people I got to meet and what I learned from them, especially from the leaders of our Artisan partner groups.

During our time with Ana, an amazing woman leader working in Santiago,

 I loved seeing the sense of pride she has in her work. 

She enjoys who she works with, laughing and learning alongside them. She is always trying to improve—from constructing a tin roof over their rear workspace to switching from a wood-burning fire to propane gas to heat their dye (which can be hazardous for their health and also enables them to produce more—and thus earn more). Ana is proud of the work she has created for her community and leads them well.

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On another day in the nearby town of San Juan La Laguna, we got to meet Cristobol, one of Noonday’s key Artisan partners in Guatemala. Cristobol 

has a passion for empowering others,

 despite the difficult circumstances he went through in his past. I was so moved by the way he has built a network of teams in his workshop—we met the eight women who each have their own team, allowing them to learn leadership skills, and they even share the various steps involved in the creation of each bracelet.

Because of the work they’ve received through Noonday, each of these eight women leaders in Cristobol’s team have been able to open their own personal bank account and he’s also currently training twenty-one additional women to have a trade and soon join his team. He’s looking out for his community and I walked away from our time together inspired to grow even more involved in my own home community.

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Finally, I loved meeting Rosario and her team. Rosario has a 

determination to pursue her dreams.

 She drives four hours one-way every weekend to attend university and is also putting her daughters through school right now. In a community where it’s often typical for a girl to only complete education through sixth grade, Rosario’s determination to see her children and all of her female Artisans complete their education was humbling and inspiring to witness. She said that Ambassador trips always bring her joy and peace. It was amazing to realize our connection was just as meaningful for both of us.

This trip was a beautiful picture of how no matter what your role is in life and in the world, you matter. Whether you’re a Noonday Artisan partner,

Ambassador

,

Hostess

or customer, every role is vital and dependent on each other. I am so thankful to now have that perspective.

Now when I see our pieces, I see more than jewelry—I see the faces behind them, and the stories they shared with us. Just as the women in Rosario’s workshop transformed individual glass beads into wearable works of art, I now feel an

even stronger

connection with the story of Noonday—all of our individual stories, of Artisans and Ambassadors, woven together across the world.

So Worth Loving

I think we all struggle with the inside voice that tells us we are not worth loving. I think our media tells us every day that we need to be skinnier, wear more makeup, work harder, and do more. But, I often think what would our world and our personal life look like if we all believed we were “so worth loving”? What If we all ran our own race, didn't compare ourselves to others, celebrated each other’s successes, and truly believed we were beautiful. All bringing something unique and special to the table.

I’ve seen this cultural in the Noonday Collection Ambassador community and it’s so life giving, y’all. Our founder, Jessica, said it best. “Because, when you allow yourself to shine, you give others the permission to shine too.” When you focus on your own race and you run at your own pace, not the pace set by the world’s standards, life gets a lot easier. We begin believing we are worthy of love and living into our full potential!

This isn’t really a new concept, but it’s a concept many of us struggle to put into practice. Surrounding yourself with a community who believe this is game changer.  This environment enables you to really shine. You're able to really believe you're “so worth loving”. I pray that this continues to be the heart beat of my Ambassador community with Noonday and that it is put on women’s hearts all over the world. If you haven’t heard of “So Worth Loving” or Noonday Collection before, I encourage you to check it out. They are changing the game, one person at a time. Don’t forget you matter and your "so worth loving".

2 0 1 5

Well, after about three months of writer's block, I'm excited to be writing again! I took some time off focusing on the holidays and time with family but I'm back and ready to take 2015 by the horns! My holidays were filled with friends and family -- like the pictures below (ice skating in Forest Park). For the second year in a row our best friends visited us during Christmas and it was the best time. I'm so grateful for friends who encourage, pray and love you through hard times. 

I love January and this special time of year. It is a great time for reflecting to set goals and dream how you want to spend the next year of your life. There is something about it that just feels so new and fresh. And, to start my year off focused on God and my goals, 

I took part in a social media fast with my church. I had no idea how wonderful it would be. If you know me, you know I LOVE photography and Instagram. Border line obsessed. Along with half with world. 

I was expecting to really, realllllly miss instagram and facebook. Like dread being away. Have extreme fomo (fear of missing out) and totally fail. At best, I thought I'd only make it halfway through the week before getting "back on." BUT, I'm proud to say... I stood strong and have learned so much about myself and our culture during the week I was "off the grid."

I learned how I fill every spare moment checking my latest feed on Instagram and how obsessed I was with how many "likes" and comments I was getting on my latest pictures. And, most importantly, I realized just how much anxiety social media was causing me. It's hard for me to admit that I am/was struggling with anxiety but it's the truth. But, this week... I feel like a weight had been lifted off of me. Filling my minutes and hours looking at other people's lives whether good or bad, has slowly began giving me anxiety -- daily anxiety to be exact.

Discussing this with my mom earlier this week, we chatted about how social media and it's far-reaching network gives us a way to see into the lives of so many people and how that just isn't normal. We are not meant to be that hyper-connected. It is just too much to take in on a daily basis. No one's heart or soul can take in that much information about every little detail of everyone's life. 

So...all that to say, I'm excited to share my thoughts on how I'm going to take this week and apply it to my life moving forward in 2 0 1 5. 

Social Media Boundaries:

1. Get all my instagram notifications turned off so I'm not 

constantly reminded of what is happening on instagram. 

2. Keep my instagram app hidden on my phone -- meaning, it will 

help me avoid constantly opening the app when I have a free moment. 

3. Delete the facebook app completely off my phone. 

Because honestly, that will cut down 90% of the time I am on facebook. It will make me open my laptop(which isn't everyday) 

in order to get on facebook.

4. Leave my phone in another room when I get home from work every night so I can focus on my husband who I haven't seen all day & actually get things done and not be distracted by phone.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this social media hyper connected and consumed world and what/if any, actions you take to be in control of it and not let it control you.  And, don't get me wrong, I think that instagram specifically is wonderful and it has given me new friendships I wouldn't have otherwise, but it's all about boundaries and finding a balance. 

I'm so grateful to have friends like Courtney and many others who encourage me along the way. I pray that if you don't already, you find your "tribe" who can keep you accountable and love you during this journey we have here on earth. 

Here's to 2 0 1 5! I am so hopeful for what God has in store this year. If you haven't already, I encourage you to take a social media fast too. It's such a great time to focus and set some goals for yourself. I don't think you'd regret it. And, if you do, let me know how it goes! You got this -- it's not impossible to go a week without it. Trust me. If I can do it.... you can too. 

Complete our looks:

Brooke's Look (left) 

Red Cozy Zip Scarf

 - handmade by Noonday Collection

Crescent Moon Earrings

 - handmade by Noonday Collection -

current obsession

Delta River Bangles

 - handmade by Noonday Collection

Milly Lace Boot Socks

 - Grace and Lace

Lines and Stripes Catch All Purse

 - handmade by Noonday Collection 

Courtney's Look (right)

Bright Stripes Arm & Leg Warmers

 - handmade by Noonday Collection

Gem Trio Studs

 - handmade by Noonday Collection

Hand knit scarf - by Janell Rardon

----------

Both dresses from

Twice

. Second hand clothes - game changer. 

Happy New Year, y'all! Let's make it a good year.

xoxo

Blog Train

Welcome to the Noonday Collection Blog Train. If you're new to the blog train, it's 30 days of giveaways and blog posts featuring storytelling and styling advice. Please be sure to drop by 

Carmen's

blog post from yesterday and be sure to check out

McCall's

 post tonight!

I have been anxiously awaiting this blog post for about a month now. It's the first post of the new

FALL LINE

with Noonday Collection and it is also the 3rd day of the Noonday Ambassador Blog Train! 

Before Noonday, my jewelry box consisted of jewelry from your typical stores such as Target, Charming Charlies and others alike. I loved a good deal. But, what I didn't realize was that "good deal" came at a human price. I was able to buy that necklace for $15 because of the sweatshops that were making cheap clothes and accessories with a price of someone's life and rights. 

Noonday opened my eyes to the unseen. I didn't realize how when you're aware of your purchases, it can either 

change for good or bad. I highly encourage you to read Kelsey Timmerman's book 

"

Where Am I Wearing: 

A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes

"

  as it goes into this subject a little more in depth. 

I now wear jewelry that is made from seeds in Ecuador

, recycled paper in Uganda and ethically harvested water buffalo horn in Vietnam. Hello, what?! I seriously love it so much. Now, I invest in one necklace that may be a little more than I'm used to so that someone's life can be changed from it, instead of saving a few dollars and ignoring the injustice. And you know what, it feels better than a clearance sale ever did. 

And now, let me introduce you to my newest favorite from the Fall line, the

Monaco Necklace

. This gorgeous statement necklace is made out of ethically harvested cow horn from India. Noonday's artisans do not harm the cow in order to make our jewelry. 

Both the 

Monaco Necklace

 and 

Featherweight Cuff

 I am wearing are either made out of the 

ethically

 harvested cow or water buffalo horn. They are for sure, some top new favorites of mine. I never thought I'd have jewelry made from India or Vietnam in my jewelry box or let alone, made from cow & buffalo horn, but I 

absolutely

 love it. It makes me feel apart of something so much bigger than myself. 

Noonday began working with a group of Vietnamese artisans in 2013, after seeing some of their beautiful designs at an artisan craft show. The village we work with, Thuy Ung, has been carving bullhorn into unique pieces for over 400 years. Once created only for royal families, these pieces are now crafted for Noonday customers. Our partner group provides business training for the artisans and ensures fair pricing for their goods. This ancient craft continues to provide the people of the village with a reliable income and the chance to share their pieces with the world. 

So, who's up for a giveaway?!?! Who wants to add this gorgeous 

Monaco Necklace

 to their jewelry box today? You can be apart of what Noonday is doing and wear this gorgeous piece proudly. Enter below to win and I will announce the winner tomorrow! 

(Due to each horn being different and handmade, each cuff comes slightly unique. A wonderful Noonday touch.) 

This Look: 

Necklace:

Monaco Necklace

 (Noonday Collection)

Earrings:

Arched Arrow Earrings

 (Noonday Collection)

Bracelet:

Featherweight Cuff

(Noonday Collection)

Shirt :

You-So-Fancy Tee

(Free People)

Purse:

Rustic Leather Tote

(Noonday Collection) 

Pants:

The Diva Skinny Jean

(Old Navy)

Shoes:

Jessica Simpson Roelle Sandal 

 (Belk)

a Rafflecopter giveaway