Category Archives: Fashion

Texas Wine Country

Even with masks and sanitizer and shields and distance… I was recently able to do the most normal, non-essential, but very essential, thing I’ve done in seven months. 

Four of my dear girlfriends and I got away to the Texas Hill Country over Labor Day weekend and visited several local wineries on that Sunday. Le sigh, it was wonderful. 

Main St. in Fredericksburg, Texas, with my friends Brandi, Jenny, Lisa, and Amy

When you think about Texas, your mind may first go to BBQ and beer. We like those, too. But search the web for the best wine regions in the US and Central Texas will pop up on every list. The Texas Hill Country wine region spans 9 million acres, making it the second-largest wine region in the nation. You read that right. So we had a lot of vineyards from which to choose.

We started at Grape Creek Vineyards, one of the area’s first. It’s gorgeous with its Tuscan decor and rolling hills of full of beautiful vines. Even on a busy holiday weekend, we were able to get into a tasting with only about a 10 minute wait. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and we had a lovely time. To me, Grape Creek is exactly what comes to mind when you think of a traditional winery experience. 

Wine tasting underway at Grape Creek Vineyards
Grape Creek Vinesand my girls ♡

Next up was my personal favorite, Barons Creek Vineyard. I loved the more modern European aesthetic and the open-air interior courtyard. The day we visited we enjoyed a live band, plus they had large patio games set up for a more festive feel. There was also plenty of outdoor seating available, even though they were quite busy. But the best part of all? They have villas you can stay in on-property, and they are stunning. I’m already planning a little anniversary getaway for me and the hubs next year!

You can see the villas behind us. They are the cutest!
Barrons Creek has a stunning courtyard area

We ended the day at one of the newest wineries in the area, Bingham Family Vineyards. In fact, they’d only been doing tastings for three weeks! Maybe because of the newness, or maybe just due to an emphasis on details, I felt this is where the most attention was given to our group by staff. The vineyard has also partnered with Yee Haw Ranch to provide a wonderful shopping experience for guests. I would highly recommend a tasting here for the friendly experience. 

We were seated at a roomy table for the tasting at Bingham Family Vineyard
Yee Haw Ranch and Bingham Family Vineyards share one property

If you’re thinking “wait a minute, she hasn’t talked about the actual wine yet!” you’re very perceptive. And that is because I can’t, ha! Full disclosure, I don’t actually care for wine. However that makes me a wonderful friend to have because I will gladly be your designated driver on a day-long winery tour! Also, all the money I save on wine tastings I get to spend in gift shops, and that’s my kind of high! 🙂 But I will tell you that my friends enjoyed all of the wines tasted throughout the day and purchased several bottles to take home of the Bingham wines.

Shirt and bag both purchased at the Yee Haw Ranch! Ballcap, on table, from Barons Creek.

So if you find yourself in Central Texas, I encourage you to take time to visit the Texas Hill Country and the many wonderful wineries and cellars it has to offer.

If you can do it with your girlfriends, even better. Thank you, beautiful friends, for bringing joy and light into my life. And thank you Chad, my love, for encouraging me to go. It was a good day.

Peace & hugs,
Kelli

P.S. All accessories worn in pictures are from the Sanctuary Project and you can get 15% off their entire site using code KELLIH15

Sanctuary Project Advocate

My love for Sanctuary Project runs deep. So please let me tell you about it…

It’s a “nonprofit social enterprise providing meaningful employment and job training to women who have survived lives of trafficking, violence, and addiction.” I can’t read that without getting emotional about what it means. These women are warriors. And now they have been given an opportunity to lead. The organization is completely survivor-run, offering “a safe community for women in transition to grow in practical skills while restoring their lives and hearts.” My heart beats for them.

The jewelry Sanctuary Project creates is hand-made and packaged by these women that are able to be empowered and employed because of your purchases. You can be a part of FIGHTING human trafficking! By simply shopping. That may sound trite, but 100% of sales goes directly to providing more job opportunity and job training to survivors. You really CAN make a difference!

I am THRILLED to announce that I have been chosen to be an advocate for Sanctuary Project!

What that means is one, I get to be an official cheerleader for these women I’m so in awe-of. And two, I get to share a discount code with you to use!

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You might think “discount?” I want to give them more money, not less. But actually, it’s the product quantity that’s important. The more pieces you are able to buy, the more dignified work these women have. So use my code! It will give you 15% off. Use it again and again!!! Share with your friends and social network! Let’s keep these women busy doing something they love!

Human trafficking is not an over there thing. Sadly, it’s a right here thing. But awareness is the first step to ending human trafficking because it can actually prevent it from happening! The more voices that are empowered with EXPERT information and resources the more those around them learn what to look for… so they too can reach out to vulnerable individuals before traffickers do to stop the cycle before it begins. 

To learn more about the realities of human trafficking, Sanctuary Project recommends the below resources:

Purchasing Power

I like to shop. I like pretty things. I like to shop for pretty things. I wear the things and decorate my home with them and give the pretty things away as gifts. And I’m not alone. According to Experian, the typical U.S. household today “shells out $12,800 annually on discretionary expenditures.” We spend more money annually on things we don’t even need than the majority of people earn in a year. Statista research shows “69 percent of the world’s population have a net worth of under $10,000 – they account for a mere 3 percent of global wealth. Meanwhile, 23 percent fall into the $10,000-$100,000 bracket and they control 14 percent of worldwide wealth.” What that means is that “in order to be counted among the wealthiest half of the world’s citizens, a person requires a net worth of $3,650.” You only need to earn $10 a day to be considered rich. And more than a billion people actually live on less than $1 a day.

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Hear my heart, I do not think money is bad. I do not think spending is bad. Remember the pretty things? But I believe there is a responsibility we have to be good stewards of our resources.

We are one global economy and with our spending power, North Americans can make a vast and lasting impact around the world. It’s about the power of partial solutions. A line I stole from the documentary “Living on One Dollar“, which I highly encourage everyone to watch. It’s only an hour and it will do dramatic things to your perspective. It shows you that small incremental changes can have a profound effect.
 

So let me ask. Where do you buy your pretty things? Target is an acceptable response, and you all know my love affair with Walmart. 🙂 But what about making a small change with some of your spending power and adding these, as well? These goods are fair trade, handmade; they’re empowering men and women and bringing entire families out of poverty.

2nd Story Goods: They understand how it feels to want to buy things that are good for the people who made them, the planet, and you. This is why they’ve been working on the ground with artisans in Gonaives, Haiti, for 8 years, creating recycled, handcrafted goods for a livable wage.

ABLE: An ethical fashion brand that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty. They are deeply devoted to quality – both in the products they make and the quality of life they aim to provide. They invest in, train, and educate women so they can earn a living, break the cycle of poverty, and thrive.

Eleganttees: Elegantees is for the woman who seeks to find a balance in quality and fashion, while enjoying the comfort and movement of a regular tee. Each item is sewn with integrity in Nepal, bringing entire families out of poverty.

Haiti Design Co.: Haiti Design Co houses and partners with production teams working in many types of artisan crafting, including leatherwork, sewing, jewelry making, aluminum casting, metal work, weaving, beadwork, horn & bone, tailoring, and shoe making. We work to provide consistent employment in-house in order to give job training and stability to individuals in vulnerable situations, as well as raise up artisan leaders to succeed as independent entrepreneurs in the community.

Haiti’s Jewels: Another social enterprise in Haiti, they partner with Haitian artist to design, produce and sell beautiful jewelry using materials like recycled aluminum, hand-cut goat leather, natural Haitian sees, stones, coconut husk and recycled glass. As Haitians develop professional artisan skills the buy land, provide food and shelter and an education for their children, pay medical bills, start their own businesses, make positive change in their communities and support their local economy.

Half United: A small, human-first company, passionate about fighting worldwide hunger. As a brand they make a conscious effort to give back, source, produce, consume, and dispose of resources ethically and responsibly.

Karama: Karama believes in dignity for everyone and believes that much of that dignity comes through creative, purposeful work. So its mission is to provide a market for high quality handcrafted African products and to build relationships with African artisans and businesses. They partner with small local African businesses and assist them in financing, designing and marketing their products in the US, things such as apparel, handbags, jewelry, home accessories and more.

Maguba Shoes: The Maguba concept was created in 2009 with the idea to combine Swedish design with the best traditional clog craftmanship. Natural materials, fun colors, and playful shapes became the trademark recognized by all those who are looking for a handmade, authentic, timeless piece of footwear.

Mata Traders: The Mata Traders mission is to ‘fashion a better world’ by creating designs that celebrate a woman’s originality and empower her to use her dollar for change. They merge uncommonly vibrant style with fair trade practices to make an impact on global poverty – bringing fair wages to artisans in India and Nepal.

Mercy House Global: Mercy House exists to engage, empower and disciple women around the globe in Jesus’ name. It provides for the rescue of pregnant girls in Kenya and provides a home for them, providing dignified work to redeem future generations. It engaging those with resources (us) to say yes to the plight of women in poverty by empowering women around the world through partnerships and sustainable fair trade product development.

Mission of Hope Store: Ethical goods supporting Team Hope across the country of Haiti. Part of the Mission of Hope ministry. 

Noonday Collection: Noonday Collection’s mission is to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. It partners with artisans in the developing world, empowering them to grow sustainable businesses and creating  dignified jobs at living wages. Noonday also donates a portion of sales from adoption trunk shows to place orphans in forever families. Check out their jewelry and accessories.

Papillion in Haiti in 2015

Papillon Marketplace: Shelley, a young mother of two wanted to add to her family through adoption. After spending a week at an orphanage in Haiti, she was surprised to find out that these children had mothers who were alive, but just too poor to care for their children. She set her heart on providing jobs for at risk mothers, so that they would be able to keep their kids. Papillon started because no child should ever be abandoned due to poverty.

 

Raven + Lily: Raven + Lily currently helps employ marginalized women in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia, Pakistan, Guatemala, and the USA at fair trade wages to give them access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, education, and a real chance to to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. Products include jewelry, gifts, accessories and apparel.

Sanctuary Project: A nonprofit social enterprise providing meaningful employment and job training to women who have survived lives of trafficking, violence, and addiction. It’s a survivor-run organization, offering a safe community for women in transition to grow in practical skills while restoring their lives and hearts

Slum Love Sweater Company: These sweaters are made in Nairobi, Kenya, by people living in one of the world’s largest slums called Kibera. The employees are treated with respect, paid fair wages and given the resources and opportunities they need to provide for themselves and their families.

Sudara Loungewear: Every purchase supports living-wage employment and skills training for women in India who are at a high risk or survivors of sex trafficking.

Synergy Organic Clothing: A family operated business committed to producing clothing with the highest environmental and ethical principles. At the core, Synergy is not only committed to creating clothing with a minimal environmental impact, but also empowering men and women through ethical employment practices.

The Root Collective: The Root Collective partners with small-scale artisan businesses in marginalized communities to promote change through dignified jobs. The artisans, most living in slum communities in Guatemala, own their own businesses and set their own pricing. You’ll find jewelry, accessories and shoes.

Thrive Causemetics: For every product you purchase, Thrive donates to help a women thrive. All products are vegan and cruelty free. 

Toms: Speaking of shoes, Toms’ One for One program started with footwear and has now expanded to eyewear, apparel and accessories. This is one of the companies that started the trend and has now given away more than 35 millions pairs of shoes to those in need.

Tribe Alive: Empowering women around the world to fin financial freedom through safe and meaningful employment at fair wages. Success is measured by impact, not profits. The model is moving the fashion industry toward a more humane approach, where the earth and maker as valued equality to the consumer (you and me).

Wanner Label: With the increasing environmental impact we all make on the planet we need to change our ways. There are so many used garments out there just waiting to be re-used so they find these garments and give them a new purpose. Wanner Label sources all materials second-hand and then takes them apart, cut them open and sew them together to create new garments, totally unique. 

ViBella: ViBella is a jewelry company committed to much more than just jewelry. More importantly, they’re committed to providing employment, education, and opportunity to artisans in Haiti, Mexico, and right here in the United States.

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Just a couple of the beautiful women I met at ViBella in Simonette, Haiti.  
 

We all benefit from a flourishing global economy so let’s do our part to make a good and lasting impact.

This is not an exhaustive list, just a few makers of goods I have enjoyed. If you have a company or organization you’d like me to add, find me on Instagram or email kelli {at} kellihuff.com.

Peace & hugs,
Kelli