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Valentine’s Day is near, fair trade chocolate is here

Valentine’s Day is near, and fair trade chocolate is here!

Give true love to your valentine this year with

chocolate that is making world-wide impacts.

Fair trade chocolate

While we love to enjoy delicious chocolate, it’s important

to know who’s producing it.

In recent years, the widespread use of child labor, and in some cases slavery in the chocolate industry has been exposed.  We shared about some of the issues here and here, and you can find even more up to date information at: Food is Power.org

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Fortunately, we don’t have to dwell on the problems of the chocolate industry when so many great ethical options exist.

Here are our top chocolate picks for this valentines day:

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1.) We think Barefoot and Chocolate sounds heavenly.  They use fair trade chocolate and DO NOT use any GMO’s, artificial ingredients, hydrogenated and solvent extracted oils in their chocolate sauce. Our V-day pick: Dark Chocolate Almond

2.) We love that Equal Exchange works hard to ensure a fair trade production model that benefits each of their employees while also creating tasty chocolate!  Our V-day pick = Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries

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3.) Riot Bars are fair trade and organic, making it a delicious option when you’re looking to make a difference this Valentine’s day. Our favorite? Dark chocolate with a bit of Kickin’ Coconut.

4.) We are swooning over Divine Chocolate‘s worker owned philosophy that gives workers  a share in the profits, a say in the company, and a voice in the global marketplace. Our V-day pick, a classic: The Belgian Chocolate collection.

P.S. We also love their 3 minute guide to Mindfulness and the Art of eating chocolate

This Valentine’s day, purchase ethically made treats, and give love to more than just your sweetheart.

Want more fair trade love? Try this sweet treat from our friends at Equal Exchange!

Spiced Chocolate Oat Cookies

fair trade chocolate recipe

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Equal Exchange Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or demerarra sugar (regular white will do in a pinch)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups oats

Directions 

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

In the bowl of a double boiler, melt butter and water together. When butter has mostly melted, add sugar, brown sugar, molasses and chopped chocolate. Stir just until everything is melted you don’t want the butter to separate or the chocolate to get chunky, so remove the bowl from the heat when everything has melted, even if the sugar granules haven’t fully dissolved.

Off the heat, whisk in the eggs one at a time, whisking each time to incorporate. The mixture will start to look shiny. Add the dry ingredients, stirring just until they disappear. Add oats and mix just to incorporate. Scoop your cookies (by the tablespoon) onto parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to several days. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes until just done (they’ll still look quite soft when you pull them out). Use a wide spatula to transfer cookies onto a rack, and cool to room temperature.

 

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Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics: The January Collection

Living consciously is an everyday commitment.  The BB team has been striving to live out everyday ethics for quite some time now.  This journey is becoming easier and more exciting as the demand for ethical products increases.  We want to bring you all on our journey and share the items we love, use and are dreaming about every month.

We’re bidding January farewell with our favorite ethical finds!

 

Rebekah’s Picks:

Parker Clay leather tote

This bag is handmade in Ethiopia, transforming communities with social and economic empowerment.

I had been dreaming about this bag for a while when it appeared under the Christmas tree this year. Everyone needs an everyday leather tote, and this is one of my favorites.

Everyday ethical tote

The tassel

Our tassel necklace is handmade by artisans who are receiving dignified work and education in Costa Rica and Rwanda.

This necklace is my go-to accessory. It pairs well with both black and brown, while also adding a pop of color to any outfit.

Everyday ethical accessories

Fair Trade Footwear: Fortress of Inca

Footwear and accessories ethically produced in Peru.

I love the unique detail in Fortress of Inca’s booties. This pair is definitely on my wishlist.

 

Everyday ethical footwear

Hanna’s Picks:

Sasa Designs by the Deaf Wraps

Handmade bracelets by deaf artisans in Kenya

These bracelets have quickly become a favorite BB item for everyday wear, special occasions, and gifts.

everyday ethical jewelry

Everlane Tee’s

Ethically produced apparel from Peru

Your must-have striped shirt just got better with Everlane’s ethical production model.

Everyday ethical clothing

Jacob’s Hat

Accessories from Jacob’s Scarves support education for children around the world.

With its style and grace, this plum colored hat has stolen Hanna’s heart.

Everyday ethics accessories

Emily’s Picks:

FashionAble  Ring Bar

Customizable rings from Fashionable invest in women around the world.

I’m drooling over the customizable ring bar from Fashionable. So many rings, so little time.

Everyday Ethical Accessories

Etiko Shoes

Fairtrade footwear, YES please!

I finally found a pair of casual fair trade sneakers! I am dreaming about chasing my kids around this summer in these adorable tennies.

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Rooted Beauty Moisturizer

Empowering women to escape extreme poverty and trafficking through natural skincare

Winter moisturizing is a must in my book. I can’t say enough about Rooted Beauty’s organic line of beauty products. This moisturizer is lightweight, non-greasy, and the perfect way to keep my skin hydrated.

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What Ethical Products are you loving?

Let us know in the comment section.

We love finding new brands to support!

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Real Women, Real Beauty, Real Impact

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Phew! Thank goodness for January with cold temps, dark nights and slower paced living, we are finally getting to a few things that went undone during the last few months of holiday craziness…like this blog post which was originally  planned to share in October!

When Bought Beautifully was still in the dreaming and planning phases, I would spend hours thinking about the more subjective aspects of the organization: how it would be and feel, what our guiding philosophies would be, etc.

One of the few thing we knew from the beginning was that we wanted to be about the things God was about (faith in action, justice, mercy, and LOVE), and we wanted to celebrate the things He loves and creates…like you, in all of your everyday, un-Photoshopped glory!

No Photoshop. No reshaping. No conformity.

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Based on our belief that we are all “marvelously made“, and our desire to celebrate and honor real people, making real differences, through our seemingly ordinary lives:

Bought Beautifully is committed to featuring real women.

We want you to know that we love your real natural beauty. The beauty that comes from your soul and radiates out. The beauty that is a result of your life story – scars, stretchmarks, imperfections and all!  We will not reshape or Photoshop (unless a model requests something like a small blemish to be adjusted so that she feels a little more comfortable …because we all know acne can still be hard!). We want to celebrate the real deal!

Last September, we had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with 7  amazing women from our community:

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Instead of embracing the world of editing and air brushing, we embraced THEM.

There were no professional hair dressers or make up artists on site – just real real women!

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We are each a unique creation – the handy work of the creator God himself – and we love showing off his work!

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So cheers to you, real women with the power to impact others around the world with your beauty, your lives and your purchases!

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This or That – Holiday Style with Impact

‘Tis the season for holiday style!

We compared some our favorite BB holiday must-haves with brand name pieces.

Look great and impact artisans all over the world with your style this season!

Plaid scarf – Anthropologie: $325.00

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– OR –

Support artisans in Honduras with a handcrafted scarf.

Teal Topaz Scarf : $40

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* * *

Statement Necklace – J. Crew: $148

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-OR-

Empower an artisan in Uganda with this statement piece.

Alice Necklace: $46

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* * *

Gold bracelet – Nordstrom: $190

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– OR –

Provide dignified work, education, and spiritual investment for artisans in Costa Rica.

Maria Elena Bracelet: $32

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* * *

Festive earrings – Kate Spade: $58

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– OR –

Partner with us to create sustainable jobs in Uganda with these earrings.

Marcia Earrings: $10

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Give back in style this holiday season.

Your purchase on Bought Beautifully empowers others around the world with opportunity, education, and discipleship.

Shop now!

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Flora Stationery – Funding Futures

Flora Stationery

Funding futures in Kosovo

Women in Eastern Europe, specifically Kosovo, lack the resources to fund a university education because of high unemployment, low economic development, and societal mentalities that discourage this access to higher education.

Flora Stationery works to support women in developing countries in Eastern Europe, specifically Kosovo, by providing financial assistance to pursue higher education. Scholarships are funded through the sale of stationery products to consumers who desire to be invested in the future of these women.

Our goal is to support women pursuing higher education in Eastern Europe through the sale of journals and stationery products.

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1.) Tell us about the history of your organization?

The idea of Flora Stationery started after co-founder, Ashley VanBuskirk, studied abroad in Kosovo. When she returned to the States, she decided along with her sister to create an organization that could sustainably fund college scholarships for young women in Kosovo.

The idea became a reality about 7 months after when Ashley and her sister jump started the team at the university she was attending, Miami University. The first semester, 12 women were supported, 15 women the next, and now 18 women are supported on full-scholarships to attend the national university in Prishtina, Kosovo.

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It was definitely a “God thing” that Ashley met Ema, the young woman who inspired Flora Stationery. Ema is a Christian and was attending a church service at the same church Ashley was visiting. After meeting briefly, they both decided to connect at a coffee shop later that week. Learning more about Ema’s struggles and daily life, Ashley saw not only her strong faith but her passion for earning an education. However, because of her economic situation, Ema could not afford to attend university full time. This inspired Ashley to support Ema through Flora Stationery.

2.) What are some of the trials and triumphs you have faced in bringing your organization to where it is today?

One trial has definitely been balancing the time put into running and growing Flora Stationery along with our lives both socially and professionally. However, it can be nice to have a lot of things to do with very little time to accomplish them, because it creates a laser-like focus on the most important tasks to finish first.

A triumph is most definitely all of the support we have received and continue to receive from individuals who hear about our work and want to be involved. Most notably, our collaboration with Keds, to create shoes featuring Flora Stationery designs!

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3.) How have you seen God provide/move/blow your mind?

Growing Flora has been a lesson of letting go of control and allowing the Lord to lead the organization where He intends. From day one, both my sister and I created the organization to champion not our own names, but His alone. Placing a focus on working towards His will for our lives and the organization places both trials and triumphs into perspective.

4.) As an organization what are you most excited about right now?

We cannot wait for the shoes we collaborated with Keds on to come out in Spring 2016!

5.) We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. What are some of your hopes and goals for 2015?

For the rest of 2015, our goal is that individuals will see Flora Stationery as an incredibly thoughtful gift to give their friends and family to share the message of hope and help us continue to fund futures. In the future, we’re working on developing new products with new designs from our artists in Kosovo as well as we’re continuing to build a mentorship and job training program for the women we currently support in Kosovo. Our ultimate goal is to expand and replicate this model to another country.

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Join us as we fund futures through Flora.

Shop now!

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Rooted Beauty – Project Rena

Project Rena

When you purchase Rooted Beauty skincare products, you provide vocational training for a specific woman through theWoman2Woman Project. This August, Rena’s project was completed!

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Meet Rena

Rena’s husband passed away just a few months after their baby was born. Without a job or formal education, Rena was left in a very difficult situation. In order to survive, she moved in with her husband’s mother, who is 65 years old. Rena’s mother-in-law was not able to take care of herself anymore, and Rena was left responsible not only for herself and her baby, but also her mother-in-law.

Rena desperately wanted to learn a skill so that she could provide for her family and after connecting with one of our partnering organizations, this dream has become a reality for Rena.

Thanks to all who purchased Passionfruit Lip Butter from November 22, 2014-August 31, 2015, Rena was able to open and operate her own shop to sell vegetables in the local marketplace. Thanks to your help, Rena will now be able to provide for herself,  her child, and her mother-in-law!

Play a part in completing a woman’s project!

Shop now!

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Rooted Beauty – Skincare with Impact

ROOTED BEAUTY

This week’s featured BB vendor works to positively impact customers, the environment and women around the world with innovative and healthy natural skincare products.

Each Rooted Beauty skincare product helps a woman escape from extreme poverty and trafficking through the Woman2Woman Project.

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1.) Tell us about the history of your organization

Rooted Beauty started in late 2012 as a different business called Ripe Naturals. In early 2013, the Rooted Beauty brand was born and shortly thereafter, we started selling our first lip butter products. In 2014, we launched additional facial care items and were looking for a warehouse. Through a casual conversation with a friend, we were able to find a great warehouse partner, locally in the Western, PA region. This partnership has been a huge blessing as well as many other partnerships we have had throughout the Rooted Beauty journey!

2.) What are some of the trials and triumphs you have faced in bringing your organization to where it is today?

Trials: My founding business partner decided to move into a different direction. I moved 4 times in the first 2.5 years of the business and I got financially taken advantage of by a sales rep.

Triumphs: Empowering 32 women to escape a life of extreme poverty, trafficking or abuse, getting products into regional and national chains, creating healthy products that are frequently met with “this is the best I have ever tried!”

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3.) As an organization what are you excited about right now?

Following God’s leading, helping as many women as possible, continuing to work on creative projects that promote positive, gospel-centered change.

4.) We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. What are some of your hopes and goals for 2015?

I am trying to live one day at a time. The first 3 years of the business, I was trying too hard on my own strength and getting too caught up in my own plans for the business. My goal for the rest of 2015 is to take some steps back and let God guide the strategy over time.

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We love being able to connect with the women behind Rooted Beauty’s skin care products, and help complete their projects!

You can play a part, too!

Shop Rooted beauty here.

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Fashion with Impact – Fashion Week

Happy fashion week!

It’s our turn to share our ethical style with you!

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WE ♥ PRODUCTS WITH PURPOSE

These Bought Beautifully products each make a unique impact on the person who made it.

Keep scrolling to see our friend Emma showcasing some of our favorite BB products!

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Omiyo

The Isabella necklace from Omiyo is ethically made in Uganda. Not only does it provide a week of school for a child, but it also provides work for the woman who made it.

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Sasa Designs by the Deaf

Emma’s Merina Earrings and beaded wrap bracelets are handmade by Sasa Designs by the Deaf. The focus at Sasa Designs is helping the Deaf use their hands to speak louder than they ever have before. Each piece they create allows them to share their story, and in turn, change lives. Deaf women have faced a lifetime of discrimination, being told from a young age that they are “worthless”. As fully employed women, they learn their true value.

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 Want to see more fashion with impact?

Follow the loop to see the next post from

Style Wise tomorrow morning!

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How to: Encourage on the Go!

UPwords cards are the perfect way to

encourage someone on the go!

This week, we set off to do just that!

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After sharing Sydney’s story with you, we decided to take action! With the help of some beautiful UPwords cards, we stepped out of the office, and into the mission field.

People’s desire for connection, real connection, is so tangible.  The most common phrase I hear from others is, “This is just what I needed!” – Sydney

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Sometimes all it takes to brighten someone’s day is a kind word of encouragement — even from a stranger!

I’m excited about how simple, daily encouragement can bring life to people in our daily circles.  That is thrilling! – Sydney

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What an incredible feeling it is to write uplifting messages to friends and strangers alike. Go ahead, give it a try!

Nearly every day God blows my mind as I see how He will so simply touch the life of just one person if I make myself available. – Sydney

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Don’t be afraid to step out and encourage others. You never know how God will use you.

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UPwords – Encouragement on the Go!

Happy Monday!

The start of a new week means a new vendor intro!

Meet UPwords – your go-to cards for encouragement on the go!

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1.) Tell us about the history of your organization? 

The idea for UPwords was sparked 20 years ago when a friend was facing a life crisis and I wanted to encourage him. What started out as little sticky notes on his kitchen cabinet led to the distribution of hundreds of mini cards. It all grew from there!

God has provided places to go and people to be with – gifts of transportation, places to stay and one-on-one experiences with others have been just some of the surprises He has given to me.  Oh, and He was also faithful to provide the funding to start the ecommerce portion of the business last year!

My Mom says it this way, “I don’t have the need for a plane ticket.  I have a need for a big freezer for food.” What she meant is that God gives us what we need to carry out His call.  She needed a freezer to help feed the hungry and God provided. God provided me the necessities to make UPwords a reality to others.  Over and over, I have experienced how He provides what we need as we are on the road of obedience!

2.) What are some of the trials and triumphs you have faced in bringing your organization to where it is today?

Trials never feel good, but I will admit that through them, my vision for UPwords continues to be clarified and solidified.

I hope I’m not being too candid, but here goes. In my 1st year of getting my business off the ground, I was scammed by my web designer & product designer.  To add to that disappointment, I lost quite a bit of money by participating in a trade show that was hugely misrepresented.

BUT God promises that in all things we are more than conquerors through Him. My dependency on the Lord grew, and many opportunities with others were birthed during this difficult time. I now get to work with a fabulous web designer (Cathy) & graphics designer (Josh).  They have been amazing cheerleaders for UPwords.

3.) How have you seen God provide/move/blow your mind?

Nearly every day God blows my mind as I see how He will so simply touch the life of just one person if I make myself available.

One evening, my friend and I were checking out at the register of Publix.  My friend made a ‘fan’ of the UPwords cards in her hand (about 6 different cards).  She said to the cashier, ‘Pick one. They are different cards of encouragement.’  Angela, the cashier, pulled out the ‘STRENGTH’ card and began to read the scripture on the inside of the card.  I will admit, I was not ready for the response – she began to cry and tell us that we did not know how much she needed this.  There was a line of people behind us, but it was like time stood still because Angela mattered! :)

People’s desire for connection, real connection, is so tangible.  The most common phrase I hear from others is, “This is just what I needed!”

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4.) We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. What are some of your hopes and goals for 2015?

It has been a blast introducing our innovative mini cards to the public, but looking ahead, we have a few more standard greeting card lines, and unique gift ideas in the works!

Many folks have the mindset that greeting cards need to be sent through the mail.  In 1994, we were introduced to another type of greeting card, the e-card.  And today?  I’m excited to present to you a face-to-face experience through giving mini encouragement cards.  You might say UPwords is returning to the grassroots of communication.  :)

My hope is that God would give me the nations for my inheritance. I pray that His word would go throughout all the earth.

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We are excited about God’s ability to use a card of encouragement to impact the world, and the opportunity we have to participate!

Shop UPwords now on Bought Beautifully!

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