See Health Closer: 5 things I'm loving

I'm excited to be back for week two of my favorite things blog post and I realized I have so much health and wellness things I want to share I'm going to make the month of May all about it. Cheers to a great weekend and moving our bodies and resting well. I'm excited to try out a new trail in Missouri plus taking a nice Sunday nap - it's all about balance. :)

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Om and the City Blog

I randomly found Jules's instagram sometime within the last few months and I have become a quick fan of it and her website. I love the topics she covers, whether it's yoga, wellness, or her diet, and how she does it all in such an authentic way. I love following her daily insta stories and she might even get me to try match even though I hate green tea. The jury's still out. 

Motivate podcast

"After struggling with her weight her entire life, ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo finally discovered the keys to living a healthier, happier life, losing 90 pounds along the way. She shares her journey in her bestselling weight loss memoir “Thinspired: How I Lost 90 Pounds: My Plan for Lasting Weight Loss & Self-Acceptance.” Now, in this podcast, she takes a look at all things health, wellness, nutrition and spirituality with top experts and regular people."

It’s scary how much this podcast actually motivates me to be the best version of myself. Whether it’s helping me not go through the fast food drive-through or actually show up to yoga class that day, it has been a great podcast to listen to while I'm getting back into working out, reminding me that it really is good for my body even if I don't feel like it at the time.

The hashtag campaign #doingthings

Outdoor Voices is changing the game (no pun intended) in the athleisure trend. If you don’t know them, Outdoor Voices is focused on “freeing fitness from performance and not being so serious” about activewear, according to founder Tyler Haney, who launched the line two years ago in Austin.

I’m also pretty obsessed with their hashtag campaign ‘Doing Things.’ “It is a super non-prescriptive, inclusive, and approachable idea,” and having a day (and a hashtag) devoted to the phrase is about “seeing how people use our clothes, instead of telling them how to,” Haney said.

To me, I translate this campaign into a life mantra, to just get out and move your body. Don't worry about looking a certain way or being a certain weight — it's just a celebration of moving your body, and to me, that is how we change our mindset of working out. It’s not a fitness goal, but more about being healthy and the best version of our self we can be and loving the skin we live in!

The best part? They’re sustainable. I love this question that is on their FAQ section of their website:

How do you ensure OV products are ethically produced?

"Before we craft a single pair of leggings, our partners agree to abide by our vendor code of conduct. On par with industry leaders in sustainability and social compliance, we support places where employees are safe, paid fairly, given benefits, and work regulated hours.

Our team visits each factory and mill in person a few times a year. Start to finish, we aim for OV to have a positive impact on the people and resources that bring our gear to life."

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My new Swell waterbottle

I’ve been a S’well believer for a little over two years now and I haven’t turned back. When I first heard it keeps your beverages cold for 24 hours and hot beverages hot for 12 hours, I thought to myself, “Does that really make a difference — would I really care?” but boy, have I come to love it, especially during the hot, humid Midwest summers.

And, not only does it have personal benefits, when you purchase a S’well, you are helping to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles and supporting their Million Bottle Project. The Million Bottle Project helps demonstrate that we can create big change in the world by making small changes in our everyday lives, which I firmly believe in, and it’s an important step towards a zero waste lifestyle.

I also believe that if you get a water bottle you love, you will drink more water and treat the planet kinder along the way. Before you know it, you will completely replace buying plastic water bottles at gas stations, airports, and coffee shops because you're both stylish and you care about the environment. Win win.

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Thrive Market - Nut pods

I joined Thrive Market by default because I forgot to cancel my free month (lol) but I have currently saved $125 purchasing products on my grocery list I would be buying anyways. I have been shocked at how much I love Thrive Market. And, it's allowed me to try new products I see at Trader Joes or Whole Foods but don't want to spend full price on. My favorite finds so far have been the French Vanilla Nut Pods,  Siete Lime Grain Free Tortilla Chips, and the Cocokind MyMatcha Moisture Stick

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The Inside Scoop: Becoming a Noonday Ambassador

To celebrate my four year anniversary with Noonday Collection as a Noonday Ambassador, I thought I would share what it has been like being an Ambassador and why I've loved it and I'll start with introducing myself for any new faces around here.

I’m Brooke, wife to Aaron and a St. Louis transplant from Virginia Beach, Virginia — we moved here so Aaron could attend grad school and earn his Ph.D in Research Psychology. It’s been an adventure growing together in a city that is new to both of us! I work full time at Washington University in St. Louis for Olin Business School, but after work or on the weekends, you can find me partnering with women in St. Louis, sharing Noonday Collection with their communities, or cuddling with our labradoodle, Rosie.

Before sharing more about my journey with Noonday Collection, however, I should probably begin by explaining what it is for those who haven’t heard about the company before. Noonday Collection is a socially responsibly business that uses fashion and enterprise to create meaningful employment opportunities for people around the world. All of our pieces are handmade by 29 artisan business partners from 12 countries who earn a fair wage for their work.

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I’ve always loved jewelry. My first “real” job outside of cleaning my dad’s business growing up was at a local silver jewelry store called Hi Ho Silver. I loved helping my customers find that perfect piece for their friends or family and I especially loved the relationships we got to make with our repeat customers who soon turned into friends. Even though that job was only for a summer, it clearly left a mark on me as I embarked on my journey to be a Noonday Ambassador seven years later.

Noonday Collection first caught my eye at a local fundraising event at my church. There was a table set up with Noonday samples and lookbooks for us to browse the whole collection. I was immediately drawn to the creative ways the paper bead necklaces were made. I also owned multi-colored papered necklaces, but I had never seen them styled in the way Noonday was designing them: Solid color beads, some with gold accents, was a totally new way of designing artisan-made jewelry. I was hooked from the design aspect alone, but then I found out how it was made, how it was fair-trade and ethically made, and how it was helping break the cycle of poverty — and I knew I was done for.

I hosted my first Noonday trunk show a month later and had a blast. I gathered girls from my community group who I had just started getting to know and we had our very own grownup dress-up party, complimenting each other and changing the world right from my first little apartment in St. Louis, MO.

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A month after my first trunk show — and two months after the initial fundraiser at my church — my heart and mind wouldn’t stop thinking about the impact Noonday Collection was having on the world and how I could be apart of it: By purchasing Noonday for myself and for gifts, hosting a trunk show, or — best of all — becoming an Ambassador myself to share Noonday with anyone and everyone who would listen!

The first two options were simple. I love to shop, so purchasing Noonday was easy. I also love having people over and earning free jewelry, so continuing to host trunk shows was another no-brainer. But, becoming an Ambassador in a city I had just moved to eight months earlier? Now that was something I would need to think about.

Still new in St. Louis, I didn’t have the security of close friends and family to support me and show up at my launch party or host my first trunk show. What if no one showed up? What if I didn’t meet anyone to share Noonday with? I knew it would be a huge risk to begin selling this world-changing jewelry in a place where I was still building my new community — especially because I’ve always loved staying behind the scenes. Becoming an ambassador for Noonday would not only require me to push outside my comfort zone, but I would also need to find the courage to be vocal about the jewelry and share the vision and heart behind the beautiful jewelry I was wearing.

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After wrestling with my decision for weeks, I finally said “yes” to my new role as a Noonday Collection Ambassador and I can honestly say that my life has been changed forever for the better — and it is all because of one thing:

The incredible community of artisans that Noonday partners with around the world.

Over the past several years, two of my biggest highlights as a Noonday Ambassador have been the two opportunities I have had to travel to Guatemala and Peru and to meet our artisan partners who make our gorgeous jewelry in person. On both of those trips, I have seen with my own eyes and felt with my own heart the impact we can have when we decide to shop fair-trade with our money. Noonday also partners with leaders in the communities we work in, so we are empowering local leaders across the world to create change and help their artisans and employees break out of the cycle of poverty.

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To Americans, it’s a no-brainer that we earn at least minimum wage at our jobs, if not more, but in workshops and factories around the world, this is sadly an exception. Fair trade means Noonday artisan partners are paid minimum wage or higher, on time, every two weeks, and that they are only working 40 hours a week. This is a game changer in helping to alleviate poverty. Poverty often means living day to day, and doesn’t allow anyone to think about the future because they don’t even know if they will have money for their children the following day. Earning minimum wage or higher allows parents to dream about their future, save money for a house, and pay their medical bills.

The knowledge of Noonday’s impact never fails to give me fresh energy and encouragement. In the moments when I might feel tired of loading my Noonday Collection samples into the car one more time or asking again and again if someone in my community in St. Louis will host a Noonday trunk show, I simply think about meeting Ana in Guatemala and José in Peru, who are running incredible businesses in their communities. And I think about how lives are being changed by business — and by things as seemingly simple as earrings, necklaces and accessories.

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Being part of Noonday Collection has done more than help me be more connected to my local community in St. Louis — it has opened my mind, widened my worldview, and given me a passion for making every purchase count. Every sale matters — no matter how big or small — and they all help towards making positive changes around the world. So when you wear fair-trade jewelry in the future, you should always smile, knowing you are helping to end poverty right where you are.

If you would like to support myself & Noonday Collection, you can purchase through my Ambassador page here. Thank you for supporting fair trade & artisan made goods!

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See Health Closer: 5 things I’m loving right now

When I started my blog, See Things Closer, my hope was to share more about how I was learning what an ethical lifestyle looked like for me. But through some recent health setbacks, I have also really started looking into what a “healthy” lifestyle looks like for myself and learning more about how to naturally heal my body, so I have decided to add health and fitness to something I am also seeing closer.

Health is so unique to each person, so know that I certainly don’t plan on giving you any medical advice on what you should or shouldn’t do. Rather, my idea is simply to share about what I’ve found joy in and how it’s bringing meaning to me personally.

Another goal in these new weekly “things I’m loving” posts is merely to blog more. I hate writing (I know, I know…ohh the irony that I started a blog), but these posts will hopefully be a quick way to give you a few things every week that I’m enjoying and that I think you might enjoy, too.

So, to start us off this week, I’m focusing on 5 things in the “health/wellness” category that either make working-out more enjoyable or are helping me lower the noise of this busy world we live in. I’d love to hear topics you would like me to cover in the coming weeks, or if you’d tried any of my first 5 wellness ideas below in the comments! Here’s to being the best versions of ourselves possible.

Oh, and rest assured that none of these are sponsored ;)

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The Catalina Deluxe Tote

For a simple canvas tote, it’s kinda embarrassing how much I love this bag and find purpose in it. I sold my previous weekender on Facebook Marketplace and used the money to purchase the Catalina Deluxe Tote from Lo & Sons because it works as both a weekender and a workout bag.

The bottom pocket provides a separate storage compartment from the rest of your things, so I love that you can keep the germs from your shoes off your clothes. The best part, though? It has a convenient pass-through sleeve on the side that slides onto a suitcase handle, so no more worrying about wearing out your shoulder when you travel. Yes, please.

Apple Cider Vinegar + Lemon water in the morning

Now I know I said I wouldn’t offer any medical advice, so consult your doctor before you start this, but — my doctor recommended drinking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of lemon juice in six ounces of water every morning, 30 minutes before you eat. It not only helps hydrate your body after a full night’s sleep, but it also helps clear out toxins and gets your gut off to a good start every morning.

I can honestly say it feels like I just drank a shot of espresso after I drink this. Game changer.

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The Mindbodygreen Podcast

I think we all know the health and wellness category is trending BIG right now, but if you’re like me at all, you really don’t know what to believe. And that’s where the Mindbodygreen podcast comes in. It shares “motivational interviews with the people shaping the wellness world: pioneers, cutting-edge thinkers, and entrepreneurs who are changing the conversation. Topics include health, fitness, nutrition, self-help and more.” I love the insight it gives you into trending wellness topics.

Highly recommend. I’m hooked.

Pilates

My chiropractor and doctor both recommended I start Pilates classes to build up my core strength to help manage my scoliosis. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but it has helped relieve so much of my back pain that I am shocked. Then again, the whole class is almost all abs so am I really that surprised? I have never done so much ab work (send help) but the relief I feel is worth it!  

Floating

I’ve been hearing about “Floating” from friends for a few years and my husband even tried it before me last year, but I finally took the plunge (pun intended!) in February and danggggg, it was incredible.

Here’s how Sean Lavery from Float-Toronto has described the experience:

“You are floating in 850 pounds of epsom salt so you won’t be fighting gravity and the water is kept at 93.5 degrees which is skin-receptor neutral, which means you lose track of where your body ends and the water begins. Your ears stay just below the water, and the tanks are insulated against sound. After you shut the door and turn off the light, you float in total darkness. During your float the outside world is gone, and amazing things happen. It turns out that when you’re not fighting gravity or constantly taking in information your body has a lot of extra resources at its disposal. Your mind is free to mull things over without distraction, your brain pumps out dopamine and endorphins, and your body gets to rest, de-stress, and heal.”

Needless to say, Floating is 100% worth the hype. I have literally never experienced something where you can truly escape from being overstimulated completely. No sound, no gravity, no light. For living in such a tech-heavy world, the gift of disconnecting from all the stimulation is really surreal.

And, if you’re in St. Louis, I loved my experience at Float STL and they will give you $10 off with this code: pb-640692

Let me know if you try it and what your experience is like!

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!

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".

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