Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I'm moving,

said the blog.
Life changes and sometimes you outgrow your current situation. I intended to use Just Fair Fare as a venue for sharing products and lines, but more and more, I find myself wanting to blog about my life and work as well as product finds.  Because not everything I own is fair trade (hello thrift shop, hello diy, hello budget) and the focus is on JUST fair trade fare I end up not posting anything.  Incidentally, researching products and sourcing images and content takes quite a bit more time than I thought it would, as does reviewing products, because written content is laborious to edit.  That means when I am busy at work, when I am involved in a diy project, when what I am working on does not feature a fair trade element, or when it is just nice outside, I don't blog at all. Inconsistent blogging is no fun for anyone and it makes me feel neglectful.

I'm moving to a new platform and a new name, and like any move, it gives me the opportunity to begin incorporating all of my interests into one happy home.  I'll still be featuring fair trade lines, products, and news, but I'll also be expanding the content to include other aspects of my life and work, some of which include:

-visual merchandising
-home décor

My new address is: JustFairJuliet.com and I hope you'll come over for a visit.

Now please excuse me while I forward my mail and sort through which links to pack up.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mother's Day Look Book

I love the new style and direction that Ten Thousand Villages has been exploring in the past couple of years, increasing their jewelry and accessory collections to appeal to a style-conscious customer (me) while maintaining their 60 year commitment to transparent and authentic fair trade for consumers who place a high value on ethical sourcing (me too). They've just released a Mother's Day Look Book that features new trend-based styles in jewelry, gifts, and accessories. The lovely little catamag (catazine? magalog?) also features engaging stories from a few mothers in their artisan network. I'll be diving into it this weekend. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide

It is difficult to try and blog as a retail manager this time of year, since all the good stuff is coming out that I'd like to share online, and it is the exact time of year to find out about thoughtful gift-giving and cool fair trade finds, yet it is the season in which I have the least time to do anything but keep my nose down.  My life is all inventory management, holiday displays, marketing and events, and oh, yeah, I just moved into a new home.  In absence of a regular schedule of posts about cool gifts for this holiday season, please enjoy perusing the Fair Trade Federation's 2014 Gift Guide.  I love how it reminds me of flipping through the Sears Catalog as a kid, every year circling the moon shoes* I would never get.

 *I can't believe moon shoes cost $80!  No wonder my parents never bought them for me.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Its the most wonderful time of the year.

….well maybe the third most wonderful time of the year.

 I love when the first chill of fall begins to creep in to my dreams and ebb out again into early morning air.  Leaves that are not yet turning color begin to sigh down to the sun-hot pavement that has yet to pick up cues of season’s change.  Bright airy sundresses and barely-there sandals are replaced by cozy cable-knit sweaters and knee-high boots in shop windows, and the squirrels rush 'round gathering provisions.
I am drawn to songs like this onethis one, and especially this one, which all mark the passing of summer and the emerging crisp melancholy of autumn.
This time of year is also perfect camping weather where I live.  Looking forward to my first camping trip since the chilly June nights I spent on the North shore of Lake Superior, my mind wanders up to the mountains and away from the city, and I find myself instantly refreshed by the thought of outdoor living.   I even love the preparation of packing the car, driving through the winding mountain roads, stopping for apples at my favorite orchard, arriving at a shady campsite and even setting up the tent. 
Most people would find my camp activities boring, but I love falling asleep in the hammock while reading the same chapter over, and over, and over, taking a wandering walk down to the lake to watch the sun set, making a simple dinner and playing dominoes.  Hypnotized by the flames and dying glow of a campfire I will crawl into a tent smelling of smoke and citronella.  I love waking that first morning to the silent, un-cracked egg of dawn, suddenly broken by the first and inexplicably loud ZZZZZZZZZZIP of a neighbor’s tent.  No distractions, no worries, and no electricity, my phone dies while I recharge.

A few finds for your next camping trip:
I have had my hammock for years and take it everywhere, but I’m happy to see that there is now a fair trade option for lightweight travel hammocks, made by Soco Hammocks.  Straps and carabineers are also available.

Just seeing the stripes of a Hudson Bay blanket sparks something like a flashback in me, but it is not a memory of what has happened, rather an instinct about what should happen.  Hudson Bay blankets are meant for wrapping around oneself on a cold morning while you drink coffee on the porch of a lake house.  That idea is so vivid in my mind it must already be in a movie, right? They may be more suited to cabin life than camp life, but this one is lovely, woven from Peruvian Alpaca wool and available through SanYork Fair Trade.

My personal choice for camp dishware is something that collapses, nests and fits snugly into my pack, but if you’re car-camping or glamping this orange bird enamelware set would be charming.  Available in the UK from Fairwind. 

Ten Thousand Villages offers two citronella candles as well as a citronella incense set.  This nice-smelling little candle contains neem oil, neem extract, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil and basil oil to combat thirsty mosquitos.
I may not need another fleece, (ahem, 5 of them, 2 of which are identical) but I think this organic pima cotton one from Fair Indigo is lovely in burgundy, and available at a lovely price.

*All images provided by product's website unless noted.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Red, White, and Oooooohh!


I'll be totally honest.  I was going to post about a handful of objects perfect for the Fourth of July, and talk about how I generally don't love red, white, and blue as a color combination but get strangely patriotic this time of year and want to color-coordinate every detail of whatever festivities are going on with the American flag. That little plan was derailed when I typed the following sentences:

"There are 20 countries celebrating their own Independence Day sometime this month, and I feel humbly grateful that my biggest problem for the weekend is whether or not the store will be sold out of red and blue tablecloths and flag napkins.  The citizens of Belarus, Venezuela, and Malawi, also celebrating their national Independence Day in the next few days, cannot say the same..."

I mean, I could hardly go back to talking about strappy sandals and vintage-inspired print dresses after that, could I?  It is simply unjust that some people on the planet (me) have the personal freedom and luxury to grill some fat steaks, drink cold beer, and listen to whatever music they want, wearing whatever they want, with whomever they want on Independence Day while others mark their national holiday hoping they will someday see freedom from dictatorship, upheaval, war, famine, riots, and daily danger and struggle.

This weekend, I count myself so blessed and so thankful for the freedom I take for granted, and pray that those who live in strife today will see peace and freedom in their lifetime.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Don't worry 'bout a thing.

I seem to be seeing "Three Little Birds" everywhere these days, and maybe it is my soft spot for the classic reggae song, but whenever I see a trio of birds, I suddenly feel happy.  I haven't noticed the trend elsewhere yet, but I am seeing them all over the Fair Trade world.  A few of my favorites include:
$24, tenthousandvillages.com, Haiti
The papier mache Shore Birds from Haiti, available through Ten Thousand Villages, come in three color combinations and have lovely hand-painted details.
The town of Jacmel, Haiti has a long history in the papier-mâché artistic tradition, driven largely by mask-making for Carnival celebrations. Innovative twists and new forms, like the newspaper and water color used in this bird, create work for artisans and opportunities for their families. Ten Thousand Villages' order of these shore birds allowed artisan Raphael Christin to invest money for the education of his three children.


Also from Haiti, in classic metalwork art come a variety of birds in numerous sizes, styles and prices.  Available through FTF member Beyond Borders, they start at $8 each and look beautiful arranged in flight on a wall.

I have always loved these Freestanding Wire-wrapped Birdies from Serrv. The set of three sells for $22 and are made, quite appropriately, by the artisans of Noah’s Ark.  (Also available as a set of two, from Mira Fair Trade $21)
I love my pretty and very sturdy set of ceramic bird hooks from Asha Handicrafts, in India.  On either side of my closet, one holds my robe and the other serves to display my choice of jewelry for the day.  The third lives happily next to the fridge for kitchen towels.  $16 through Serrv. 

The first thing I plan to buy for my new home is this Chulucanas Songbirds lamp from Ten Thousand Villages.  It combines three of the things I love decorating with: watery blue, simple black silhouettes, and animal themes, into one gorgeous piece.  I only wish it were a vase so I could fill it with an armful of fresh forsythia branches.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Fair Four: Valentine's Day Gifts

While I eschew the observance of Valentine’s Day as a holiday which encourages one to stress about how to best show love through overspending, I am a willing recipient of flowers, chocolate, jewelry, and other tokens of affection any old time of time of year, including February 14th.
So for those want to think outside the chocolate box, here are four ideas for interesting and thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts, complete with a few malapropian titles for those who enjoy a little wordplay with their wooing:
 Coffee, Tea, and Sea (salt)
If the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, then the product developers at Equal Exchange are fluent in the gustatory language of love.  They offer a full range of delicious Fair Trade, and often organic, foods and beverages.  Coffee, tea, cocoa, dried fruits and nuts, chocolate bars, spreads, fresh produce such as bananas and avocados as well as baking products are available.
I always recommend Equal Exchange’s Love Buzz coffee to those who are looking for a little add-on gift or who are putting together a gift basket for their special someone.  It is my favorite organic coffee blend, with full city and French roasts that combine to create a dense, fudgy brew described as “dark and smoky [with] sweet velvety layers of chocolate brownie, caramel corn, malt and toffee.”  Organic Vanilla Rooibos Tea from Equal Exchange has a delicate vanilla flavor with aromas of cake batter and marzipan, and is refreshing with lemon, yet comforting with steamed milk and honey.  Rooibos, or red bush tea, is indigenous to South Africa and is loaded with antioxidants while being completely caffeine-free.  Equal Exchange has a delicious line of candy bars, and the favorite bar of everyone I know is, hands down, the Organic Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt bar.  The bar delivers what it claims to, “satisfy both your sweet and salty cravings. Crunchy caramel bits serve as the perfect complement to mouthwatering sea salt crystals and bring out the complex flavors of the smooth, fruity chocolate.”

Heart and Sole

Prince Charming had it rather easy, as he had only to find the woman to fit the shoe.  If he’d had to find the shoe to fit the woman, the fairy tale may would have been penned a tragedy.

Prince Charming:  “Fair maiden, I bestow this token of my love upon you.”
Cinderella: “Really?  Wow.  So what is it about me exactly that screams mustard yellow tapestry loafer?”   
Buying shoes for a woman, like slaying a dragon or wingsuitflying, is a quest few men ever attempt because of the extreme difficulty and possibility of death as an outcome.  The sad thing is that, like me, there are some women who would love for a man to buy her a great pair of shoes.
The highly intelligent and beautiful people at Sseko have created a special Valentine’s Day package that may well solve the problem.  The Crush Sandal package from Sseko costs under $80 and comes with a pair of sandal bases in your choice of brown or black leather, and a trio of straps in classic black and gold shimmer and chiffon ‘Crush’, which features red hearts on a field of black.  The components make endless styling options for a cool pair of sandals that fit wide, regular, and narrow width feet.  The package arrives wrapped in a custom shoe bag with a little love note.  Sseko Sandals are produced in Uganda and help enable young women to attend university.

How do I love thee?  Let me count the Sheas.


Everyone knows about the benefits of shea butter by this point, yes?  Winter is still going full force and shea butter does wonders for dry skin.  Available through Global Mamas and made by the women of Ele Agbe in Ghana, Lavender Slippery Slope Shea Butter, $12 and Lavender Trunk Scrub Shea Soap, $6 are a powerful moisturizing duo.
If my heart had wings
These diminutive winged wall sculptures are handmade from oil drums in Haiti.  Haitian metal work is a beautiful artistic tradition that began with metal crosses for gravesites and now has expanded to unlimited designs for wall art, small sculptures, and other decorative pieces. 
Beyond Border’s “It’s Cactus” is an organization that seeks to improve the standards of living of the artists families and their communities. Founded in 1992, Beyond Border’s has been a member of the Fair Trade Federation since 2007 and pledges to:
  • Pay a fair wage in the local context
  • Provide equal opportunities for all people, particularly the most disadvantaged
  • Engage in environmentally sustainable practices
  • Build long-term relationships
  • Provide healthy and safe working conditions
  • Provide financial and technical assistance to workers whenever possible
  • Fair Trade advocates agree that the producer should earn enough not only to cover materials and labor costs, but also to improve the standard of living.
At $9.50 apiece, their metal winged hearts are lovely as individual pieces, or as a collection.  They are all hand-made and come in a variety of designs, so each one is a surprise.

The fairest of them all…is free
Timothy Keller wrote, “to be fully known and truly loved… is what we need more than anything.”  The theory of “The 5 Love Languages” posits that there are 5 primary ways in which we express and perceive love, which are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.  Our default is to communicate love to others in a way which makes us feel loved.  A miscommunication can occur when we attempt to speak in one love language to someone who speaks a different love language.  My most memorable example of this is when I got my first apartment in college.  I was so excited about making it my own, and directly after moving in I left for work dreaming of how I would furnish and decorate it, where I would put everything, and what kind of roommate I would look for to help me share it.  When my mom surprised me at work in the afternoon, she was so pleased that not only had she unpacked and put everything away, but had purchased some furniture for me and even had my “new roommate” sitting in the car with her.  She was speaking in the language of “Acts of Service”, and was quite surprised by my response to her gift, which I did not perceive as loving at all.  We can laugh about the memory of that major miscommunication, because we now understand each other and the way we function in expressions of love.  You and your loved one can take a free quiz here to find out which are your primary love languages.
Why only four this week?  Well, unless taking a romantic Fair Trade vacation to South Africa with one week’s notice is a viable option for you, non-traditional Fair Trade Valentine’s Day gifts are quite hard to come by.  If I’m pressed for a solid “Friday Five”, I’d go against the tradition of a “non-traditional” list and encourage you to enjoy the week-long jewelry sale at participating Ten Thousand Villages stores throughout the USA, Feb 7-14, 2014.  Buy any piece of jewelry, and get another piece of equal or lesser value at ½ off. 
Lovely little keepsake pieces like this Mother-of-Pearl Heart's Desire necklace, also have matching heart-shaped stud earrings.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Fab for Fall Pinterest contest

Pin to Win!..... a gorgeous leather Hobo bag from Sseko.
Details can be found HERE

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

All Smiles: The Sseko Fall Collection

Hobos, wallets, and scarves, oh my!
Check out Sseko's new scarves, hobo bags, and clutches for fall, some of which are featured in this cute video with music by Jess Penner