Season of Gratitude

It’s upon us once again… “holiday season.” That wonderful time when we’re all constantly reminded to be thankful for our many blessings, and begin to reflect on a year that’s almost at its close. Thanksgiving is fast-approaching, the most righteously gracious holiday of them all, where we sit around and think nothing of the native peoples who showed us hospitality and helped us survive in our harsh, new world, and instead spend the day shoveling food into our mouths, napping, and possibly watching some football. Ahh yes, the holidays.

As sarcastic and bitter as I may sound, I really really do love the holidays. Being a known masochist, I actually enjoy seeing my extended family and I truly have an astronomical amount of things to be grateful for.

Even though the past year has been full of mishaps and mistakes, and I’ve held seven (yes, seven) different jobs in last 12 months, and I’m still not quite sure what’s going to happen next… I am thankful for the year I had. From what I hear, your mid-to-late twenties aren’t supposed to be a cakewalk. Many of my friends are going through tumultuous times as well, and I can’t help but notice the parallels. Most of our lives are planned for us; we have school and family, then more school, then college, then maybe even some more school or something like internships or AmeriCorps. Our schedules are given to us, our game plan is outlined, and we can cruise along overcoming obstacles as they present themselves on our relatively neat timeline. Then, seemingly all of a sudden, the cruise is over, the training wheels are off, and adulthood slams down around you like prison bars in a cartoon. And it’s up to you to choose what you want to do. There’s not a course catalog, or a coach, or your parents, or anything dictating your decision except your own conscience.

The magnitude of that realization hit me about midway through the shit-show that has been 2018. I was about to quit a job I really enjoyed to take a different job that I was dubious about but figured would be good pay and good experience. Now that I think about it, I was right. It was good pay, and it was really good experience. Three months later, I knew that it was not right for me, on many levels, but I don’t regret it (blah blah, no regrets, blah). But I felt guilty for leaving another job. With no one around to scold you for your actions, it’s up to you to hold yourself accountable.

After a decision, there’s no one to blame but yourself if there happens to be an unwelcome outcome. Thats life, thats adulthood, and honestly, that’s good for us. No longer having a scapegoat leads to growth. Instead of dwelling on your mishaps and mistakes though, glean what you can from the experience, and use it in the future. So you hated your job? Pinpoint what about it you didn’t enjoy and use that to find your next position. We all have doubts after we make a decision, its a normal reaction; especially in regards to life-altering decisions. I sometimes do this super fun thing where I replay all my decisions in my head until I feel like I might explode. But the growth comes when we stop fixating on our past actions and instead begin to use them as part of our repertoire. The days of feeling sorry for ourselves are over, kiddies. It’s time to be THANKFUL for our mistakes and keep our lives moving forward.

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Brand Spotlight: Girlfriend Collective

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If you’re like me, every day you’re bombarded with new ads on your social media and web pages, maybe for companies you’ve never even heard of before, its just the internet doing its creepy mind-reading thing. (Yes, I understand it’s algorithms and targeted advertising, but it still feels like the robots are in my head sometimes). I usually ignore these ads out of sheer indignation of what feels like my computer assuming things about me; but every once in a while one catches my eye and I take the bait for one reason or another. Girlfriend Collective was one of the ads that caught me.

Yeah, the leggings are cute as hell, but it was the information about sustainability that made me click on the ad and look into the company (damn you computer, you do know me). After reading every single piece of manufacturing information on their website, and there is a formidable amount, I decided that this was a company worth supporting and I ordered a pair of leggings and a shirt.

Not only does this company use post-consumer recycled plastic and waste from the cotton industry, they brought to my attention the revelation that some companies do not use post-consumer plastics to make their “recycled” clothing. Meaning, in an impressive and terrifying attempt to greenwash, some companies manufacture NEW plastic bottles, make polyester from them, and sell the clothing as eco-friendly, recycled clothing. I don’t know why this came as such a shock, but that was truly mind blowing to me.

Along with their responsible materials, Girlfriend Collective explains everything about where and how their clothes are made. The factory they use in Vietnam is SA8000 certified, and no, you’re not supposed to know what that means. They go into detail about the certification, the owners of the factory, the fact that the workers are paid 125% of the minimum wage, and that they all receive free healthcare. SA8000 certification ensures all the workers are safe, well-paid, and most definitely not children.

As if alllll of that wasn’t enough, their cotton Cupro (that incredible “slubby” material that makes everyone feel like a supermodel) is made in a zero waste, zero-emission facility in Japan before being sent to Vietnam to be cute and sewn into their tops. This is the stuff made from waste from the cotton industry that has previously only ended up in landfills. It also hangs off your body in cascades of effortlessness that make you look like an off-duty model/magical unicorn. 

I could geek out on the ethical sophistication of this company all day, but it wasn’t until I tried on their stuff that I absolutely lost it. Y’all, it fits like a damn glove and makes me feel like a QUEEN. And btw, their sizing guide is basically just a bunch of different women that embody all the available sizes, so you can see how it will fit by comparing your measurements to the model wearing the size you want. Its fucking revolutionary.

Now, all these photos you’re about to see were taken with my phone’s self-timer, and I’m terrible at posing. But I DID IT BECAUSE THESE THINGS MADE ME FEEL LIKE I COULD. That’s saying something.

I personally enjoy being able to wear everything in my closet with almost anything else, so I gravitate towards grays, mauves, blacks, and other neutrals, especially for basics. I happened to be looking for a pair of basic black leggings to replace the 2 pairs of nearly see-through cotton ones that I’ve had since high school. When I add things to my closet, I take out at least double the amount I added. So, when I purchased these awesome leggings, I got rid of 3 pairs of black leggings that I either didn’t wear or were damn-near threadbare. As for the shirt… I admit, I didn’t need it. But I still managed to rehome two shirts that are in great condition to make room for the new one.

This whole capsule wardrobe thing is hard, and I hate the idea of dumping my clothes at a Goodwill, so I take my stuff to a local charity that has incredible turnover rates and takes care of their items and facilities much better. If you’re trying to change the way you shop, start by only buying some super sustainable staples, and try to pare your closet down from there.

The Verdict: Girlfriend Collective is my new first choice when I need staple items like leggings, sports bras, or t-shirts. They’re sustainable, ethical, and well-made products that make me feel like I stepped out of an closely-curated Instagram account. If you’re in the market for new workout clothes or basics to wear all the damn time, then I’d highly recommend this brand, ‘cause they’ve got their shit together.

~Sophia