cornflake dreams.


creating a conscious closet.

It seems the older that I get, the crunchier I get. This year I made the switch to natural beauty products. And after watching this episode of John Oliver (a favorite!) I want to change the way I shop for myself and my family. 

Deep down I always knew that something had to give when I got great deals on clothes, but I didn't always connect the human and environmental costs of my shopping habits. Fashion is the second dirtiest industry after oil. Clothing manufacturing uses huge amounts of water and then pollutes the ground and water with dangerous dyes and chemicals. And when I read about horrible working conditions and saw images of children sewing Old Navy clothing (for other children!) it really upset me. The International Labor Organization estimates that 170 million children are engaged in child labor. I couldn't help but picture my own daughter in a similar situation and it finally made me want to be more conscious about where I buy my clothes.

I gave up on "fast fashion" a few years ago after being disappointed by the poor quality of clothes from stores like H&M, Zara, and Forever21. But I still have a closet full of Gap and Old Navy, and the brand has a history of poor working conditions for employees and using child labor. I also own J Crew, and Madewell clothes, and (per their website) they cannot trace their manufacturing/production line, meaning they can't guarantee that the clothing was ethically made. I can do better. After doing some research, I found quite a few ethical companies that offer beautiful clothes and accessories at reasonable prices. Below is a list of shops that I have ordered from, and plan to support in the future.

American Giant - Manufactures premium 100% cotton sweatshirts, shirts, bottoms and more for men and women. All items are made in USA with American cotton. I love basics tees, so I want pretty much everything on this site.

Everlane - Classic wardrobe pieces without the typical retail markups. They are transparent with customers and share information about where a product is made and how much it costs to make it. They also work to ensure that the factories they use maintain ethical production practices. I've ordered from Everlane in the past and I'm never disappointed with the quality of their clothes. They have a great mix of casual and dressier clothes, shoes, and accessories.

GiGi New York - High end leather handbags, clutches, wallets and accessories produced in USA. I still use my Tan Tori Tote as a diaper bag for Vi, and love love their Jeni Saddle Bag!

Mata Traders - A design driven, fair trade brand helping to end global poverty and inspire ethical companies and consumers to change the fashion industry. Their colorfully original designs are made by artisans in India and Nepal, and provide a stable source of income for families in some of the world’s poorest communities. Their plaid shirtdresses are perfect for fall and winter.
Adriana Bralette in black + cornflower blue - Martina Lo-Rise Cheeky in black + cornflower blue

Naja - Luxury lingerie at fair prices. They empower and employ women and the line is eco-friendly. They offer a wide range of "nude" colors to choose from and I love all of the hidden little details they put into their designs.

Nisolo - Nisolo means not alone. They believe in ethically sourced, affordable luxury that bridges traditional craftsmanship & modern style for men and women. Nisolo shoes, accessories, and jewelry are all handmade in Peru. I have the Serena Sandals and I LOVE them. They are really comfortable and well made. I want to get a pair in black when they are restocked.

PACT Apparel - Sweatshop-free super soft organic cotton basics for men, women and babies that feel great and go easy on the environment. They sell cute tees, hoodies, undies, and socks.

PrAna - PrAna creates versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories that you can wear during every activity, every adventure, every day. They are one of the first major clothing companies to offer Fair Trade Certified products for men and women. I love their yoga tops and bottoms, and cute dresses (this is on my wish list).


Also I should note -- I'm trying to shop less in general as this is the best way to reduce waste and resources - not to mention save money! 

But when I do shop, I also want to support more small, independent businesses on Etsy, and purchase used clothing (especially for Vi) at consignment shops and on eBay. I will do my best to post Fair Trade and eco-friendly clothing and accessories on this blog in the future. I'm putting together another post with ethically made baby and children's clothing and toys soon!

Do you have any other shops to add to my list?


life lately.

Hi there! It's been a while so I thought I'd check in and let you know what we've been up to lately.
watching: My favorite show of the summer was Stranger Things on Netflix — it was soo good, and a little creepy. The show is set in the 80’s, so the character's clothing and hair is pretty amusing, and I love the soundtrack. I also finished the first and second seasons of Outlander - I read the first book and the show hasn't disappointed. The actors that play Jamie and Claire are perfect. I also loved Murtagh and Fergus!

enjoying: Spending time with Violet! She will be 18-months old next week and I know I've been saying it for a while now, but this stage is so much fun! I love seeing her grow and do new things. And it's interesting to see her develop an interest in certain things over others (she still loves shoes, and now she always carries around her baby doll). She has been talking non-stop -- she discovered Elmo a few weeks ago, so when she sees him, she points, and jumps and yells ELLLmo!!

making: Violet’s halloween costume! My mom always made our Halloween costumes when I was little, so I thought I'd get crafty and try a no-sew costume. So far it looks good!
reading: You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein was my favorite book of the summer! I found myself laughing a lot and it’s a really quick read. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper was a sweet story about an old man discovering more about his late wife's life before they met. H always teases me about being grandma and loving "old people love stories" so this one was perfect for me. And I just started reading The Good Girl -- it's reminds me of Gone Girl -- and it's totally creepy, but I can't put it down.

wanting: I really need some new shampoo — my sister-in-law recommended Big Shampoo from Lush, so I’m going to excited to try it!
looking: Tan booties for Fall, I have a great pair of black booties from Sole Society that are still going strong after a couple of years so I'd like to get another pair from there.

Vi is loving: SHOES! The girl is obsessed, unless she's sleeping or in the bath she always has shoes on. I recently bought Vi her first pair of Mini Melissa mary jane shoes after I saw a few little girls at the library wearing them— the jelly shoes smell like strawberries! They are sold at Nordstrom, Zappos, and Amazon.
loving: Piñatagrams! The mini piñatas come filled with candy and they are delivered without a box. I really love getting mail so this was a fun treat! Vi was a BIG fan too, she keeps the empty piñatas with her stuffed animals. You can enter to one below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

What have you been up to lately? 


17-month toddler favorites.

I originally titled this post 17-month baby favorites -- but Vi isn't a baby anymore. She's growing up so fast and it's been really fun to watch discover new things -- like playing with play-doh (she kept trying to eat it) or going down a hill on dad's bike (she put her hands up and said whooohoo just like mom and dad). She is talking more and more everyday, and she's really social with other kids and adults. Vi is little Miss Independent and she certainly plays favorites with her toys, books, and food. Here are her current favorites:
BOOKS: Vi still loves story time and we read about 10-20 books a day. To keep things interesting I added quite a few new ones to the mix. These are her favorites:

-Curious George and the Rocket - She LOVES 'grshh' right now, so she brings this one to me to read multiple times a day.
-Shake a Leg - This book encourages little kids to get up and get active. It also helped Vi learn her body parts (fingers, toes, head, tummy etc.).
-I'll Never Let You Go - This story is so sweet and it encourages a big hug at the end.
-Little Blue Truck - A folksy rhyming book that teaches an important lesson -- be nice and help others.
-Brown Bear, Brown Bear - A classic and a great way to introduce animals and colors.
-Pirates Don't Take Baths - H bought this one and it's totally cute and quirky. 
-ABC Party Animals - Vi loves to hear the alphabet at the end of this book
-Goodnight Charleston - I find myself getting a little sentimental whenever she picks this one out, and it makes me look forward to visiting someday with her.
-If I Could Keep You Little - Get the kleenex! This one is bittersweet and forces you to think about your baby growing up.

TOYS: Vi is still playing with a lot of toys that I've blogged about before. The one toy she seems to always play with is her Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket -- she loves to "feed" her stuffed animals. She also likes her Little People Surprises and Sounds Home -- she usually makes the little mom and dad kiss! She likes to stack her Mega Bloks and play with her puzzles. And Bernie the Jellycat Owl is her favorite stuffed friend :)

CLOTHES: Ok let's be honest she doesn't really care what she wears right now -- as long as she has her "shews" on she's happy. But I love the Cat & Jack line at Target -- especially all of the non-traditional "girl" patterns like space and dinosaurs. The flowers and stripes are cute too :)

EAT: Feeding a toddler is tricky. She'll love something one day, and then she won't touch it the next day. She still drinks three small glasses of milk everyday, and she gets some protein with fruit and yogurt smoothies. She likes carbs and avocados (like her mama!) and my homemade vegetarian chili. We're still working on finding new ways of getting her to eat more veggies (mamas share your secrets!) and meat (which is really difficult for us since H and I don't eat many meat meals). 



WaterWipes at Target (and a giveaway!)

Full Disclosure: This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams. All opinions are my own.

Like a lot of stay at home moms I can get a little stir crazy if I don’t get out of the house at least once a day. We usually meet up with friends on a playdate, go to the library, a park, the grocery store, ikea, and of course TARGET!! Sometimes it’s really nice to shop at an actual store instead of doing everything online, especially when I need to pick up something quick for the baby like diaper wipes.
I still subscribe to Honest's monthly diaper bundle delivery service, but it seems like every month we run out of diaper wipes. And over the past year I have tried other popular diaper wipes, but they are usually made with a ton of ingredients that I can't pronounce. With those wipes I’m not sure what I am putting on my baby’s skin or how she'll react to it -- and that really bothers me. I've been trying to change my own beauty regimen to include more natural products, so I want to be sure that I am protecting Vi from excess chemicals too. I'm really happy that I finally found a safe and natural option at Target.
WaterWipes are the world's purest wipes. They are chemical free with two only ingredients -- 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. WaterWipes are unscented — which is a huge positive for me — I’ve gotten nauseous just smelling the “baby powder” fragrance with other brands. I feel totally comfortable using them on Violet and they are really gentle on her sensitive skin. I love using WaterWipes for diaper changes, and to clean Violet's face and hands after a messy meal. I even keep an extra pack in my car for cleaning emergencies -- like the pouch fail last weekend that left her car seat covered in applesauce (!!)

Learn more about WaterWipes on Facebook and Twitter, and find them at your local Target.

Bonus -- I'm teaming up with I-C to host a giveaway! Please enter below, this giveaway ends August 18th. I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).


summer favorites.

hello there -- I hope you're having a wonderful summer! I've been busy with the boss lady (Vi) at the library, park, and bike rides on the weekend. We've had playdates with friends and visits from grandparents, uncles, and cousins. I am loving every minute of it -- but miss this space!! So I thought I'd share a few things that I am loving lately:
beauty picks- My hairbrush that I've owned for over ten years broke a few weeks ago, and I considered splurging on this iconic brush -- but then I found a much cheaper alternative. The Sephora gloss dual boar paddle brush has a ton of great reviews and I love the mix of nylon pins and boar bristles. So far every time I use it my hair feels really shiny -- beauty experts recommend brushing your hair daily with a boar bristle brush to release natural oils.

I finally threw away my old eyelash curler and upgraded to the Shiseido eyelash curler (also here) and it is sooo good. I think curling your lashes makes a huge difference and it's the one beauty tool that I'd never want to give up. This curler is easy to use, it doesn't pinch and my lashes stay curled for hours.

I'm kind of obsessed with Smith & Cult Nail Polish -- they are a formulated without the five main toxic ingredients found in most traditional nail polishes (read more about that here). I'm slowly trying to replace all of my old nail polish (which I'm pretty sure are expired anyways) for safer alternatives. I have (and love) these red and pink polishes: Kundalini HustlePsycho Candy, and Pillow Pie
read and watch- I take Violet to the library at least twice a week, so I finally picked up a few books to read myself. Attachments by Rainbow Row was a really sweet, quick read about an unlikely office romance. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub is about a small group of friends and former college bandmates who reflect on growing up and getting older. Straub is also the author of The Vacationers my favorite book last summer. And if you are even a little bit a feminist and/or raising a daughter consider reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein -- it was a pretty eye opening look at the princess culture and little girls. also watch: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - I'm not sure why it took me so long to get onboard with this show, but it's HILARIOUS. H liked it too and it didn't take us long to finish the first season.  

baby favorites- Vi has been wearing her Salt Water Sandals all summer. These leather sandals are sturdy enough for her to run around outside and in the playground. They can also be worn in water, so they are perfect for summer splash pads.  (I also like this style). I'm so happy we started riding bikes again on the weekends (YAH!!) and we love the iBert bike seat for Violet. She tolerates her helmet and seems to like to go for a ride around our neighborhood -- especially if we stop at a park for her to play. 
Nordstrom picks - The #nsale picks are probably flooding your inbox, but I love online shopping just as much as the next blogger so here are my favorites: 

I need to stock up on more sweaters for Fall and Winter -- I like this this basic one (paired with a plaid blanket scarf), this cozy cardigan, and this soft cashmere sweater (under $100). These slippers are going on my Christmas wish list. I already have this tee in a few colors but I'm tempted to buy a few more (I like this one too!). These suede booties are perfect for Fall. And I really like the simplicity and the price tag of this bag. I really should buy a new warm winter coat -- but I wish I could get by with something lighter (this one reminds me of the cocoon coat at j crew).

As for workout gear -- everyone has great things to say about these leggings. This pullover has a cute scoop back (more colors here), and I like the color of these sneakers.

There are a few good beauty items on sale too -- including my favorite eyeliner and an eye shadow set with pretty bronze colors. 

What are you loving this summer?


birthday wish list.

Ok I know I said I was going to take a blogging break, but when your husband asks you what you want for your birthday you make an exception and do a little wish list post :)
I'll be honest it was kind of hard for me to come up with a list of things I wanted for my birthday this year. These days I find myself more focused on Violet and things I want to do for her -- I guess that's being a mom right?!  But I guess there are a few things that I've had my eye on lately... 

I recently purchased a new record player, so I really need a place for it -- I'd love another 2x2 for our living room. I also think this silver mirror tray would be perfect for our dresser in our master bedroom. And I've been searching for the perfect summer tan crossbody bag forever -- this one is really cute. These books are on my summer reading list: when breath becomes air modern lovers - we should all be feminists - the girls. And I'd love some of my favorite beauty products that I rarely buy for myself: smith & cult diary of a beauty junkie nail polish set - shiseido eyelash curlerand whish shaving cream. Of course no birthday is complete without cake, and I'm already craving chocolate cake from Portillo's!