Hey friends,

If you think the title of this post sounds a little extra, well, it is. This was the title of a presentation I gave recently for a student symposium within my college. There are six different majors in my college, the College of Human Environmental Sciences, and a student from each major was selected to give a talk the the college about a theme they have been studying. When I found out that I had been selected, I immediately knew the direction that I wanted to take for this. 

I really wanted to share on the topic of fast fashion to my peers. This is something that many people are slightly aware of, yet don’t really know exactly how to execute either on their budget or with their style. I am so happy about how the presentation went that I decided to share some of these things with you, because since I got good feedback, I thought you all might like to know about this as well. A little over a month ago, if you’ll remember, I posted something called “The Beauty of Transparency” where I discussed some companies that I feel do an amazing job of being clear about how their garments and items are made. 

What Even Is Fast Fashion? 

Fast fashion is considered to be —“an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers”.  And in the words of NYT columnist Lucy Siegle, “Fast fashion isn’t free. Somewhere, someone is paying.” I want to pose a question to you for you to think about for your clothing picks within your closet. —Are your clothes long lasting and high quality, or falling apart after their first night out?

To me, this is not only a sustainability issue in terms of the earth, but it’s also a human rights issue, since workers all around the world are being mistreated in the name of fast fashion. Companies like ZARA can come up with a design, produce it, and have it in store all within 10 days of the initial design. Thinking along those lines, do you think that these companies are really taking into consideration how ethically or sustainably these items are being made? Most likely not. 

That all being said, I want to share 5 ways that the everyday consumer can help tackle this issue. All of these can absolutely be done on a college student’s budget. 

1. Shop Second Hand. 

This is such an easy thing to do, and by doing this, you aren’t contributing to the tons of clothing that are being dumped into the landfills each day. There are plenty of stores in my college town of Columbia, MO where I can shop second hand, and I’m pretty sure that in almost every city there are places to find second hand garments. From Plato’s Closet to even Goodwill, the opportunities are usually endless. Not only will you get clothing at a cheaper price, but most likely, with enough searching, you can find some of your favorite name brands, too! I’ve found plenty of Madewell, J.Crew, and Free People at my Goodwill for a fraction of the original price! 

2. Create a Capsule Wardrobe.

I’ve done this for all of the times I’ve lived abroad, but I’m actually in the process of turning my current closet into a capsule wardrobe. The basics of this are simple. —Invest in a few long lasting, high quality pieces rather than many cheaply made items. Be more with less! Most capsule wardrobes suggest curating a 37 piece wardrobe including —shoes, undergarments, tops, pants, dresses, outerwear, etc. but you can adapt this to however you see fit. If you want further information on this, check out one of my favorite blogs called Unfancy to see how to create a more in-depth capsule wardrobe. 

3. Research Brands That Do Good.

—There are many out there that actually don’t cost a fortune, but it simply takes a bit of research! Some of my absolute favorites include Hiptipico, Patagonia, Sseko, Reformation, Everlane, People Tree, Eileen Fisher, Nisolo, Tribe Alive, Ethica, Symbology, Mata Traders, Naja, Elegantees, etc. —These specifically are ethically and sustainably made, however, even just investing in high quality brands is a great start in order to not be constantly realizing your clothes are getting worn out after one or two uses.

4. Use Your Resources. 

—There are multitudes of resources available to help you on the journey to shopping smarter. It simply takes purchasing a book or downloading an app that can make the journey towards a more sustainable life so much easier. I’m so thankful that we live in an age of the technology that we have in order to use these things to our advantage and learn so much more.

  • The Good Guide – Barcode scanning app that tells you how sustainably your clothing and home goods were made.
  • —Social Impact – An app that shows local boutiques, restaurants, stores, etc. that practice sustainability and ethical choices.
  • —The True Cost – A moving documentary showing the process of how fast fashion is changing our world for in terms of sustainability and for factory workers.
  • —Overdressed – A nonfiction book by Elizabeth Cline documenting the excessive buying habits of our generation and country in general.

5. Call Out Your Favorite Brands. 

Guess what? Brands will listen to their customers. I would be lying if I said all of my favorite brands are sustainable, because the truth of the matter is that there are just some really amazing companies with beautiful clothing…it’s just not ethically made. That being said, when we reach out to our favorite companies, they are willing to listen to us! —On every website you’ll usually find the company’s PR website or customer service email. Send an email or a tweet, asking for that brand to be transparent with how their garments are made, or even to work towards a more sustainable program. This does work, and in the cases of H&M and even Urban Outfitters, they have branched out to create more sustainable lines. Of course the entire company won’t change overnight but this is a great first step to bring about change in the companies that we love. 

Do you like to shop ethically? Or is this one of the first times you’ve heard about it? If you do currently shop ethically, what are some of your favorite brands? Leave me a comment below letting me know, so I can shop that brand too! 

Much love, 

Olivia

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Hey friends,

This post is a bit sassier than normal, but it is definitely needed. When I sat down to write this, I realized what a vital piece of the puzzle Instagram has been to my success as a blogger, but that also means that I have seen and experienced things that resulted in a rant…errr, list.

Ahhh Instagram. My favorite social media platform without a doubt, Instagram has become an incredible channel for influencers, bloggers, and brands alike. Some people really kill the Insta game and others…not so much. There are times when people really annoy me on Instagram. Here are 5 of my cardinal rules when it comes to Instagram. Do you follow/break any of mine?

  • Do: Enjoy the Community. 
    • I have met some really incredible people all simply by the fact that they reached out on Instagram. When I was studying abroad in Spain or living in Guatemala, I met up with some lovely friends who I had only known previously through Instagram. It’s a great place to meet other creative people, and I love and really want to exemplify the phrase “community over competition”. 
  • Don’t: Buy followers. 
    • This is kind of an obvious one, but one that is worth mentioning. I’m constantly surprised by friends who I’ve found out have bought followers. With the new algorithm for Instagram, engagement is key. This means that regardless of if you have 100k or 1k followers, it’s more about the likes and comments and consistency of your followers rather than the numbers.
  • Do: Stay positive. 
    • Really, people?! I am always surprised when I get on Instagram to find people ranting. What?! That’s really what you are going to do with your lives on social media. This really speaks to all platforms, but I especially don’t get it when people rant on Instagram. For me, I exclusively follow accounts that provide something for me. I’ll follow you for your fashion tips, DIYs, encouragement, etc. but there’s no way I’ll follow you if you’re spewing negativity all over the place.
  • Don’t: Ask Me For a Follow For Follow. 
    • Ok, children, are we 12? Because that’s what my brother did when he was that age. If you want to come across sad and desperate, please, continue posting “F4F?” comments on my pictures, but otherwise I’m going to need you to slam on the brakes real fast for that one. Not only does it get old, but I won’t suddenly decide that this comment is cute and endearing and decide to follow you.
  • Do: Set Goals.
    • Sometimes I do this weekly and other times I do this monthly. Regardless of the time constraints that you place on yourself, goals are vital for your success at the Instagram game. Usually, I give myself a weekly number of followers that I would like to get to. Some of the ways that I reach this goal are…having high engagement with other Instagrammers, getting reposted by brands that I tag in my photos, or even simply tagging locations in my Instagram stories, because then I appear on that location’s story as well! 

All that being said, let’s connect on Instagram! I’m always excited to meet anyone who reads my blog! Follow me at @oliviableeker and leave me a comment letting me know that you saw this post! I can’t wait to get to know you! If you have any other tips and tricks for the IG game, drop them below! 

Much love, 

Olivia

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Hey friends,

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about complacency and how it can impact our lives. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines complacency as “a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements”. For me, it can be so easy to get in this place where I’m happy with things and not really trying to set my expectations too high.

But, I’ve realized that when I get in this mindset, I tend to fall into a more complacent state of mind. I wasn’t made for this way of life, and neither were you. But when things are crazy busy and there’s really no time at all to add anything to the schedule for the day, it’s so simple to want to fall back into bed and give up. 

But, the good news is setting the bar high for yourself can incredibly boost your productivity and truly allow for the ability to grow and be the best you can be.

I have been so thankful for the goals that I have set, the lists I have made, and the accountability that others have provided me in sticking to those things. It’s truly been so great to have others who know the things I am pursuing who can hold me to them when I feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. 

For this reason, I made my 30 Before 30 List in 2012. Not only has it kept me in the mindset to always stay adventuring and to never give up on some of the things that I’ve always wanted to do during my life. I keep a copy of this taped on 

It also reminds me of my goals on a continual basis, so that I always have something I’m striving for. Maybe you don’t want such “fun goals” for yourself. But, for me, I figured that if I set fun goals, this would also ensure that I was working hard in all aspects of life, because otherwise I couldn’t make these goals happen. If I didn’t work hard with my grades or at my jobs, I would never have the money or the ability to travel or do some of the things on this list. This urges me every single day to fight the temptation of complacency. 

So many people lately have asked me about this list, and if I would be able to share it so that they would have an idea of how to make theirs, so finally, I decided to share! Here it is! 

  1. Participate in the Color Run or similar event
  2. Learn how to do a different dance (hip hop, breakdance, etc.)
  3. Kiss someone in the rain.
  4. Get married
  5. Study abroad
  6. Do something different to my hair
  7. Fly an airplane
  8. Go to New York Fashion Week
  9. Travel to Guatemala
  10. Travel to at least three countries in Europe
  11. Graduate from college with a degree that I’m proud of
  12. Learn to love myself for being white and pasty (don’t keep spray tanning)
  13. Meet either Lauren Conrad or Elsie Larson
  14. Crochet a blanket
  15. Write a letter to myself and open in 10 years
  16. Take surfing lessons
  17. Take a road trip with friends
  18. Throw a party just because
  19. Grow closer to the Lord
  20. Read 15 books that will help my life in some way
  21. Make on of my clothing designs come to life
  22. Buy or ride on a Vespa
  23. Sponsor a child
  24. Reconnect with a friend from high school
  25. Go skydiving
  26. Take a hot air balloon ride
  27. Ride a camel
  28. Sleep in a teepee
  29. Be a bridesmaid in someone’s wedding
  30. See the Northern Lights

Well, there you have it. There is the long-awaited 30 Before 30 List! I’m actively trying to work on a few of these right now and some of them are ones that are ongoing (such as my relationship with God and reading 15 books that will positively impact my life). Also, I wrote the letter to myself last May so I’m just waiting 10 years to open it. 🙂 

I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about what kinds of things I’m passionate about and are inspired to create your own 30 Before 30 List, or even your own 20 Before 100 List! 😉 Let’s fight against complacency together, friends! 

Much Love, 

Olivia

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How My Perception of Self Care was Completely Changed

Recently, I was involved in a speaking symposium where a student from each of the six departments within my University’s College of Human Environmental Sciences gave a presentation on a topic derived from their field of study. My presentation was called “Hacking Fast Fashion – Making Quality Purchases in an Age of Cheap Clothing”. That is something that I’ll speak to soon and I have another post in the works for. As you may know if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, I am very passionate about sustainability within the fashion industry and have a lot to share on the topic. However, that’s not what I’m going to be sharing this afternoon with you. Another speaker was from the School of Social Work and gave a presentation that really stood out to me. 

Her topic was on the importance of self care. Throughout the presentation, she outlined different reasons people typically give for not putting an emphasis on self care. Whether it was the fact that we often feel “too busy”, we don’t feel we need to be proactive, or a variety of other reasons, there are always excuses. However, she mentioned how self care can be done through things we normally do, simply with just a change of mindset. As I learned in one of my classes recently, we are part of the “always on” generation. We are always on our phones, signing up for more responsibilities, going out and about, and running ourselves thin. There is something about taking time out of our day for self care that for me in the past, always made me tell myself “I literally have no time for that”.

When we are going about simple tasks, if we change our motivation and look towards this action as intentionally setting this time aside as dedicated to self care, we will feel so much better. This really opened my eyes to how easy this could really be. Now, believe me, I’ve read my fair share of self help books and listened to oodles of podcasts on meditation, intention, and taking care of yourself. All of those resources have attempted to show me how I need to recreate my life and do everything different. But after listening to this presentation on simply going into the normal things with a bit more intention, I wanted to give it a go.

For me, creating a nightly routine of self care has been a game changer. Let me be the first to tell you, I am the worst morning person you’ll ever meet in your life. While so many people are all about self care in the mornings to start the day off right, I don’t know if I’ll be one of those girls anytime soon. Instead, I created a nightly ritual that I go into intentionally just for me.

Even after a few weeks of doing this, I feel exponentially less stressed out, even as finals week looms around the corner and I go through one of the busiest and most hectic times of the semester. Some of the things I do during this nightly routine are things I’ve been doing for years. But, they are so much more meaningful when I go into them with the intention that this is a time for me. 

What My New Self Care Routine Looks Like

For starters, I take a shower. How simple is that, right? I mean, we all have to bathe and stay hygienic individuals, so of course this is something we all do. But, instead of simply going through the motions and thinking about how I can take the fastest shower so I can get more homework accomplished, I prepare for my shower with the thought that I am going to give myself the next 10 minutes or so completely to relax and not stress out about all that I have going on. That in itself has completely changed the way that I take a shower. I listen to relaxing music, I take my time as I wash my hair, and I sometimes even have a candle in the bathroom. 

After I get out of the shower, I take off the remaining makeup that didn’t come off in the shower and cleanse my face with the Nip + Fab Glycolic Night Pads. Then, I put on the Glycolic Fix Radiance Shot, which I leave on until the morning. When I wake up, my face is so bright and moisturized as a result. I’ve never been one for any kind of nightly or morning routines in the past, but honestly it makes me feel so pulled together with my life when I take a bit of intentional time to do something that is good for me.

 

While I’m doing all of this, I am sure to be listening to lots of music that I love. While I do love a good rap playlist myself, this time is all about staying relaxed and getting rejuvenated, so I tend to stick with my more calm and classic faves like The Avett Brothers, Rend Collective, and First Aid Kit. 

Then, in true Olivia form, I read a book with either a cup of coffee or some tea. I’ve been drinking a lot of tea ever since I got back from studying abroad and I don’t see my love for it dying down anytime soon! I also love to scroll through Pinterest while listening to a few of my favorite podcasts. You can check out a few of my favorites here! However, I tend not to look at Pinterest too much before bed because I’ve been making a conscious effort to limit my screen time right before bed, because I truly believe it is what’s helping me feel so relaxed right before bed and able to sleep well. 

Like I said towards the beginning of the post though, the key factor of self care is all about intention. When you go into anything you do with the intention as treating it like self care, it can be, and it honestly changes your mindset so much! 

I hope you are able to find the things that work best for you as part of a self care routine and can begin something perfect for you soon! 

Happy Friday! 

Olivia

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Throughout the later part of this past week, Columbia was hit with some of the best weather that we’ve had in a long while. With 75 degrees and full sun, I was able to spend some quality time with a few great friends. I had some coffee dates, a photo shoot with my lovely friend Brea of Ciao, Brea, and a trip to the Farmer’s Market. It was a much needed weekend especially in the sense that the last week was a long week of recovering from the jet lag following my spring break trip to Spain and Portugal! 

After some really quality conversations with important people in my life, I began to realize how thankful I am for the gift of transparency, and in this instance, the fact that such wonderful people have been placed in my life who can be so open and honest with me and that I can share with them in return. Coming to college, I was always afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find people that I’d be able to share everything with. Not only did I leave high school with some extremely close friendships, I also feared that these kinds of relationships would be harder to make in college since no one from my core friend group in high school came to the same school as I did.

Thankfully, within my first few days at school, I met several people who would become extremely important roles in my college career, including one of my absolute best friends who later became, and still is, my roommate. Then, sophomore year, I chose to study abroad in Spain. There I met another one of my now absolute best friends and we were able to become so close over the course of a few months simply because we shared everything with each other.

Those kinds of relationships are the ones I thrive on. The ones where everything can be out in the open and we can share our hearts without fear of judgement. The quality of transparency in a friendship is a vital one and thankfully, I have been blessed with a handful of friendships where this quality is prevalent. My favorite author, Brené Brown, said something that I feel sums up these friendships quite well. She said, “Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.” 

How would it feel to be connected to brand in such a way? That’s what I longed for…to be able to connect with a brand like a friend. To know the stories of the items that I purchase in such a way that I feel deeply connected to the items as I use them each time. That’s where Hiptipico came in. I found out about the company a short while after I came back to the U.S. after having spent some time living in Guatemala. 

Upon following the brand and their founder Alyssa on Instagram, I realized that this was exactly the kind of transparency that I wanted in a company. From behind the scenes stories and trips to meet their Guatemalan artisans, there is an instant connection with the brand. Ethical fashion to me isn’t about the trend. It may be something that’s a popular idea right now and a lot of people seem to be excited about it, yet I want this momentum to last. This movement not only provides transparency as to where our garments and accessories are sourced but it also can connect us with people around the globe who are using their dignified job as a means out of poverty.  

My outfit details include the Utz Backpack from Hiptipico of course! 

Thankfully, there are companies out there that really do go above and beyond in regards towards sustainability, fair wages for their workers, and quality product. That being said, it really does bring transparency full circle. I strive to be transparent in much of what I do; whether it be in my friendships or in my shopping habits. I just want to encourage you to pursue the same! 

Happy Sunday, friends! Enjoy the rest of your day. Now that you know all about Hiptipico, feel free to go buy yourself some goodies and use the code oliviaxxhiptipico for 25% off your purchase! 

Much love, 

Olivia

 

 

Thank you to Hiptipico for the beautiful backpack. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Thank you to my photographer, Brea Cubit.

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