education and more

Fair Trade Federation Holiday Gift Guide 2015

fair trade federation gift guide

It's here! The moment you didn't know you were waiting for. The Fair Trade Federation just published their 2015 Holiday Gift Guide chock full of ethical gifts for everyone on your list. Just click on the Isuu reader below to start reading.

I support Fair Trade Federation shops whenever I can, because I believe in their mission and find them to be a trustworthy source for fair trade goods. The FTF isn't a third party certifier - it's a business association that provides networking and other resources for companies that believe in ethical, transparent supply chain practices.

A few of my favorite FTF brands are Mata Traders, Education & More (support them via their sidebar ad), Manos Zapotecas, and Ten Thousand Villages.

I know it's a bit early to be talking about the Christmas holiday (at least I think so), but it's hard for fair trade companies to compete with big box retailers if they don't start the season early like everyone else. We're only a couple weeks away from the biggest fair trade sales event of the year - Fair Tuesday - so I'll be busy researching sales and creating lists and gift guides for you all.

Are you looking for anything specific this Holiday season? Let me know in the comments and maybe I can find an ethical version for you to include in a guide.

review: Fouta Towels from Education and More

I heard about Fouta towels a few months ago on another ethical living blog and I was intrigued. Made out of woven cotton, the fabric reminds me of what I'd typically find in a scarf or lightweight throw. But according to Karen at Education and More, who kindly gave me a towel to review, the Fouta (or Hammam) style towel has been around for a long time in Mediterranean countries (it is most recognizable as the towel of Turkish baths) and is wildly popular in Europe right now. And I mean, if the Europeans think it's the bomb, I guess it's worth a try.

I gave the towel a wash and dry before using it to soften up the fibers and get the wrinkles out. It's a huge piece of fabric that feels luxurious compared to a standard towel.

I quickly found out that the large size lends to its effectiveness. The fabric is super absorbent, but it's very thin compared to a standard terry towel, so the added area is essential to dry off your whole body. There was a bit of a learning curve, as I realized I needed to shuffle around the towel as soon as a section soaked through to ensure a thorough drying-off. It took a few extra pats to get the water in my hair all sopped up, but it did work!

The real benefit is that the thin fabric and larger surface area means it dries super quickly and requires far less time in the dryer, which is great for the environment and my utility bill. I'm anxious to see how I feel about it with continued use. I think it would be a great alternative to a standard towel when traveling because it takes up less space, dries quickly, and can be used as a wrap, picnic blanket, and towel. I plan on styling it in an outfit in the next few weeks to give you all a better idea of its multiple uses.

Education and More's fouta towels are handmade by women under fair trade guidelines. Education and More's mission is to support the education and well being of children by providing sustainable employment for their mothers and local educational support.

Have you tried a fouta towel? What did you think?


Shop Fouta Towels from Education and More here.
See my previous post on Education and More here.

giveaway: win a set of Bracelets 2 Educate friendship bracelets

bracelets 2 educate giveaway

Happy fall, y'all. Charlottesville got the memo about the season change this year and is keeping things cool and sunny this week.

And now for a giveaway! Bracelets 2 Educate is Education and More's bracelet line that gives back 100% of profits to education programs in Guatemala. Check out my last post for more information about the company. Today they're offering a set of friendship bracelets in shades of blue to one lucky Style Wise reader! My birthday is Saturday, so think of this as a party favor!

You can enter two ways...

Option 1: 

Subscribe to the Education and More newsletter (find the subscribe box at the bottom of the homepage here), then come back here and leave the email address you signed up with in the comments.

Option 2: 

Find the above graphic on my instagram and follow the entry instructions.

The Fine Print: You can enter using each option once. Open to US readers only. Giveaway will end Wednesday, September 30 at 11:59 pm EST. 

Best of luck to all of you.

If you have more than one friend you want to give a bracelet to, you can use code, birthday, for 26% off your purchase at Education and More!

the moral wardrobe: Bracelets 2 Educate

education and more bracelets 2 educate

When Karen of fair trade organization, Education and More, asked if I would review their new friendship bracelets for Style Wise, I got excited. I'm not much of a bracelet wearer, but my sister and I were always begging my parents to buy us little macrame bracelets at souvenir shops in our coastal hometown as kids. Even though we didn't get along until late high school, we wore our matching friendship bracelets all summer long until the sun and chlorine wore them down. I didn't have time to send a bracelet along to my sister before getting this post together, but I do intend to send one to her soon!

Education and More is a Christian nonprofit working in Guatemala to raise women and children out of poverty through fair wages and education. The Bracelets 2 Educate line is unique in that 100% of profits go back into their education program in Guatemala. Plus, the bracelets themselves were fairly made by artisans employed through their program. The friendship bracelet idea is such a fitting one for a project that treats people with respect and love.

education and more bracelets
bracelets 2 educate
Ethical Details: Top - Everlane; Sandals - thrifted; Bracelets - c/o Education and More

The great thing about these bracelets for me, a small-wristed individual, is that they're adjustable. And the ends of the braided thread are waxed so the macrame clasp stays in place once you've gotten it where you want it. If you like layering bracelets, you can buy a few and stack them. Bracelets 2 Educate are reasonably priced at $5.00-7.00 each. If you're already thinking about stocking stuffers, these might be a good choice.

These bracelets might be simple, but they're really well made, streamlined, and great for everyday wear.

Since it's my Birthday Week (the big 2-7 on the 26th), Education and More is offering 26% off your order with code, birthday.

And stay tuned for a giveaway later this week!


Shop Bracelets 2 Educate here. Follow Education and More on twitter, facebook, and instagram