ethical living

Host A Handmade, Fair Trade Picnic with GlobeIn's Picnic Box

GlobeIn Picnic Box Review, ethical subscription box This is a part of a paid collaboration with GlobeIn and I received a Picnic Box for review.

Picnics are the best. 


I was looking for a thoughtful or profound way to start this post, but the nice thing about picnics is that they really don't require much in the way of profundity to be a success, so I decided a clear, uncluttered assertion was appropriate. Picnics are about enjoying the simple pleasures of warm breezes, green grass, and friendship. It only makes sense to seek out similarly meaningful picnic tools that contribute to the well being rather than the exploitation of the makers.

I had been wanting to find a suitable picnic blanket to bring to wineries and local summer festivals, and GlobeIn's themed Picnic Box provided that plus a handful of other picnic essentials to help make packing up and seizing the day easy.
  GlobeIn Picnic Box Review, ethical subscription boxGlobeIn Picnic Box Review, ethical subscription box
Pickled Okra not included (:

GlobeIn's Picnic Box contains items that were produced ethically and with eco-friendly practices.

The picnic blanket was produced by artisans at Peace Handicrafts in Cambodia, where workers are provided a living wage, safe working environment, and job training. The top layer is cotton plaid and the base layer is made with upcycled, waterproof bags to ensure that you stay dry even if the ground is damp. In rainy Virginia, this is a must.

The simple wood cutting board was produced by an artisan-owned co-op in India; the cup was hand painted by artisan, Dilshad Hussain, at his shop and produced in partnership with fair trade organization, Noah's Ark; and the bottle basket was handwoven from locally sourced palm leaves by indigenous artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico. You can learn more about the producers here.

I took my box to a friend's house for a picnic for one (she was leaving just as I got there, unfortunately). It gave me a chance to use each item and test its functionality. The cutting board is perfect for a sampling of cheese or fruit and the bottle basket will hold either a bottle of sparkling water or wine, whichever you prefer (here in Virginia wine country, we'll probably use it for wine most of the time). The metal cup is a good partner to the metal cup I already own and the hand painted finish is impeccable, but it would make more sense if they'd provided two cups (you can buy extra cups individually here).
 GlobeIn Picnic Box Review, ethical subscription boxGlobeIn Picnic Box Review, ethical subscription box

If you're already fully prepared for a picnic, GlobeIn sells other monthly Artisan Box subscriptions like this one and individual products from their artisan partners (I purchased wool dryer balls and soap nuts from them in the past).

What I particularly like about GlobeIn is their dedication to attractive, well curated fair trade products that make sense for everyday use. So often, fair trade marketplaces are full of gift-y items that are great around the Holidays but don't otherwise make sense for my lifestyle. GlobeIn sells the kind of stuff that will be used and enjoyed over and over again.

I'm partnering with GlobeIn over the next couple of months to review two other boxes, which will give me a sense of the way their subscription service works. Stay tuned for those, and let me know if you have any questions. In the meantime, you can check out the Picnic Box's 5-star reviews.

---

Get $10 off your first 3-month GlobeIn Artisan Box Subscription with code, STYLEWISE.


Follow GlobeIn: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Making the Case for a Vacation from Conscious Consumerism

Making the Case for a Vacation from Conscious Consumerism
Crashing waves near Point Dume

As a rule, when I travel, I don't network. 


There are hundreds of brilliant, inspiring women (and some men) who write on conscious consumerism around the country who I would love to meet someday, but when I go on vacation, I don't make plans with them.

I travel to visit with friends and family. I often stay at their houses, work with their schedules, and ride in their cars. I have limited vacation time provided through work, so I don't often get more than a long weekend when I visit loved ones, and it's just not worth it to me to carve out a space for friendly networking, no matter how beneficial or fulfilling it might be.

I also travel to get some perspective on my day-to-day. I spend nearly all of my spare time (and some of my work time) talking about consumer ethics, manufacturing, and sustainability. I write and photograph for this blog. I pitch articles and tinker with html and obsessively check Google Analytics. And, while I find it immensely gratifying, I also tend to get tunnel vision fairly quickly and it's hard to get a sense of what matters most.

Physically leaving my environment and visiting with people who know me outside of that context helps me better gauge my long term goals and better understand my role within the world I occupy.

Making the Case for a Vacation from Conscious Consumerism
Daniel and me at a dusty outlook over the city


Sometimes, the best thing I can do for myself is not be a "conscious consumer" for awhile. 


Now, that's not to say that I shouldn't be mindful of the things I purchase on trips, throwing my moral convictions to the wind. It's to say that I strive when I'm away to remember that I'm a person, first and foremost. It's healthy for me to separate the "consumer" part from the "conscious" part for a few days, to practice being considerate of others and myself without that being attached to want.

On my recent trip to Los Angeles, I explored desert landscapes, people watched at Venice Beach, admired modern architecture, ate cuisines not available to me in Charlottesville, watched the grandest ocean sunset I've ever seen, climbed to the top of Point Dume, chatted with the locals, binge watched all of Stranger Things with friends, and took lots of naps. I helped with the dishes and chopped the vegetables for dinner. I set the table and took twilight walks.

And I felt like I was able to get real clarity on what I want for myself and what I need in both a career and in a life. I was challenged by the task of living in someone else's home for a week and learned how to compromise and work through impatience, which reminded me that this task of just being with people harmoniously is something hard and worth accomplishing.

Taking a pause from conscious consumerism to practice self care
The sunset in Malibu


I think a lot of us conscious consumers and ethical bloggers think that if we can reach some secular humanist version of enlightenment and make ourselves perfect, that will have a ripple effect and the world will be forever better. 


But I think that's a lie. If I become a vegan who makes all my own clothes out of hemp I've grown and hand dyed with herbs, if I live on a homestead and sing to the animals and paint with all the colors of the wind, I might find some personal gratification. But that's just a drop in the bucket. The world is vast and it's not my job to change it by myself.

I believe I have a responsibility to act with intention in small and big ways. I believe that my choices matter. But if I burn out, what good am I to anyone? If I forsake intimate relationships for networking visits, if I visit a fair trade store instead of climbing a mountain to see the sea lions play in the water below, if I am nice on the internet and mean to my husband because I'm too tired to practice kindness, am I really succeeding at bettering myself in the end?

Some days, being a person is hard enough.

My advice to myself and to you is to be as patient and kind as you can be to yourself and others. Take a break from your personal brand and watch a sunset. Sometimes in the clutter of war, sweatshop tragedies, and political turmoil, I forget that life is actually still worth living. I forget why I'm fighting or what I'm fighting for.

But after time away, I remember that I'm fighting for my and everyone's right to laugh raucously with friends and binge watch Netflix and get soaked by the cold waves of the Pacific Ocean. 


I'm fighting for a right to live, and live well.


Additional Reading: