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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