Before I Say I Do, Life Lessons From A Single Girl On Marriage And Why A Secondhand Ring Is A Thing

If you hit a "particular" age group, tell me what your social media feed looks like? For me, I've recently been scrolling through marriage proposals, wedding pictures and soon to be parents. A time where friends are transitioning to another moment in life and that's a beautiful thing but not my thing. Everyone's path in life is different and I've discovered that fast. As a kid a would predict at what age I would accomplish a certain " life goal." My thoughts would go wild... at this age this, at that age that and so on.

No, I've never been married, yes, I've been in love (many times) before. Yes, I've been with the wrong and right guys and yes, I am single. Hence, I've gone through heartache, happy times, good dates, dumped, and all the dating scene in-betweens. I can tell you, I'm pretty sure I've experienced a lot of the good and bad in the dating world. If I haven't, my girlfriends definitely have. With that, there are lessons I've cultivated along the way and I've come out the other end stronger and more confident in my path.

So before I Say I Do (if that should ever happen, it may not) I've discovered a few life lessons that may shed some light on my life and possibly others in the same boat.

Marriage And The Single Girl

Live Happily Ever...Single

I've been asked all the above and more...will you get married? Are you dating? Do you want kids? Let me be clear to the outside looking in, ladies and gents... I am perfectly fine being single and you should be too. I do enjoy "love" and if you find someone you feel you are meant to be with that's awesome. On the other hand, I firmly believe marriage is not for everyone. I don't know if I will get married, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure I even want to. Beyond that, the idea of kids is far off my radar that I also don't know if that's in the cards for me.

I know what you're thinking or at least what you've been told if you can relate. Oh, it's because you're young you will change your mind later. No, you don't know that. If my mind does change cool, it means I'm moving to a different moment in life but what if it doesn't?

I've lived and traveled enough to know that I love to date. Furthermore, I also love being single, with people, free and sharing my love. I've told myself (and others) that I'm living life, taking care of what I need, exploring, creating a life I am happy of and doing me. Now if I find "Mr. Right" along the way cool but if he's stuck in that tree everyone jokes about well, then sorry, I don't have time for that either. Find your happiness alone, in your heart and soul. It's ok to be single, some people who get married really shouldn't. Don't feel pressured by any means to be with someone or have a family because you think it's "the next step."

Stay True To Your Path

That leads me to the second lesson, it's perfectly fine not to know if you want marriage and a family. In retrospect, it's also wonderful if you feel it's your time.  There's no timeframe. You are not broken or wrong if you desire something different than what your family, friends or society is doing. At the end of the day, it's you. Your heart, your soul, your being and you must stay true to whatever that path may be. Someone's not less or more of a feminist if they want or do not want to be married and have kids. I'm also not less of a woman if I decide to never have children either.

I've had people tell me you don't know what real love is until you have kids. Again, no one can measure that. How do you know I don't treat my dog better or have more love for him than some parents have for their child? Staying true to your path is the most important thing you can give yourself. It will allow you to feel full in your mind body and soul. Believe me, I'm still working on my path but I know that it's truly mine. Whatever may come or not in my life I know that it's meant to. So, if you want to be single do it. If you want to have a family then go out there but do things on your terms.

Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't

A Secondhand Ring Is A Thing

As I've explored and lived my cruelty-free life I've discovered that being ethical falls on all parts of my everyday choices. From being happily single to staying true to my path in life. I see friends beginning to get married and I've thought about sustainable ways to make a wedding more intimate and unique. No, it's not against the law to think, hey that may be a cool idea to incorporate into a wedding IF I do get married. Continuing to stay true to myself, you all know I have the love for secondhand but have you heard of a secondhand wedding ring?

No worries if you haven't, I really didn't either much less think of incorporating it into a marriage. Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't is the leading buyer of diamonds, jewelry, and watches from the public. This means sustainable jewelry in your hands without the guilt. Personally, I think this is beautiful. If you do decide to say "I Do"there are environmental consequences of diamonds and precious metal mining.  Did you know over 150 million carats of diamonds are extracted from the earth each year?

Also, it requires one ton of earth to be moved to source the equivalent of every one carat stone. This massive environmental disruption causes soil erosion, deforestation, and ultimately the collapse of entire ecosystems. - Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't

Some people may think a secondhand diamond is not romantic. Well, for me, whats not romantic is that fact that people, animals, and the environment suffer in some shape or form for a new ring.

I Do Now I Don't... And That's Ok

Whether you are single, a paw mom, married or have kids it's important to stay true to what feels right. Not everyone was made to be single just like not everyone was made to have a family. Also, the way you decide to live your life should be with love. Love for yourself and then spreading that love to whatever you touch. For me, that is nurturing my calling to live a cruelty-free life and yes, supporting sustainable secondhand jewelry like Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't fall into that aspect. Hey, who says you can't buy a ring for your single self, right? I do it!

Now, no matter where my life ends up, I know I will be great. You know why because what matters to me is using my talents and abilities to lead a life full of love towards animals, humans and the environment. Be proud of what you ARE and what you are NOT, it's what makes the world a colorful place.

To learn more about secondhand diamonds and jewelry from Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't click here.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


5 Unique Sustainable Valentine's Gift and Date Ideas

The universal "love" day is just around the corner. Valentine's Day, if you walk into any shop right now you will see flowers, chocolate, stuffed animals, and balloons. You won't miss it. The array of pink, red, and white colors just bursting from the seams and then, you can't help but fall in love. Or if you're like me, fall in love (for a moment in time) then snap yourself out of it... fast! So what's a "lover" to do when you want to be unique and not buy into Valentine's Day Specials? In order to help you out a bit, I thought of 5 Unique Sustainable Valentines's Gift and Date Ideas that will be special, affordable and most of all sustainable.

 

 

1. Write Your Own Love Note

Take it old school, get a pen and paper then pour your heart out. This note can be really romantic or funny depending on the person you give it to. Creating your own Valentine's Day card is meaningful and shows you put time and thought into a gift.

2. Let's Picnic Together

Yes, please! Cook your own meal, snacks and purchase a bottle of organic wine from your local supermarket, count me in! This is such a romantic gesture, you and your loved ones can enjoy being outside and soaking in the day. If the weather is not on your side, take the picnic indoors. I've done both and organizing a picnic is a simple way to actually "be" together.

3. Pick Your Own Flowers

Go on, you can do it. If you have access to a beautiful garden pick several and tie them together. You can add this to your love note or be really romantic and place them around the house. There are also local flower shops where you can pick your own flowers as well. The main idea here is to buy (or pick) local. Valentine's Day is the moment you can really showcase your cupid side. Happy picking!

4. Make Your Own Valentine's Gift Basket

Let's "real" talk right now. A stuffed animal will only last so long and serves a limited purpose. Unless you're my dog, he still plays with all his stuffed animals. For me, I've learned that creating a custom gift basket with goodies that specific person loves is a more sustainable gift idea. It can be their favorite, soaps, baked goods, a book or beauty products. Goodies the person actually needs (or wants) is a guaranteed win.

5. Gather Together

Instead of a party for 2, why don't you gather together as 1? This could be a Valentine's with all your pals, single, married or family members. You may gather together and craft Valentine's Day cards, cook together or buy a piñata (we did that one year) then celebrate the love together. Don't forget your fur babies too!

Remember Valentines's Day is about love. You don't have to buy diamond necklaces, spend $100 on flowers or get the latest gadgets. So let's drink (or eat) to these Unique Sustainable Valentine's Gift and Date Ideas where we honor the true meaning of love.

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar


The Power of Sustainable Fashion with IconaWear

What does sustainable fashion mean to you?

It's a question that some people may or may not be able to answer. Before I became an Ethical Fashion Advocate it was fair to say I really didn't know the answer either. That's perfectly fine to admit because it led me to my beliefs now.  I’m naturally a curious person. So I decided to educate myself on the topic with a combination of research, from documentaries to articles in hopes of answering this very question. What I found out was that every single piece of clothing has a consequence on people, animals, and the environment in its own way. Some consequences are positive while other fashion goods have a negative outcome. For me, sustainable (or ethical) fashion is cruelty-free, meaning, no animals or humans were harmed in the making of a fashion item. Sustainable fashion also means the fabrics are eco, upcycled or sustainable, the brand believes in a sustainable business model, local or handmade and there is a charity or positive cause that benefits from a purchase. There are a lot of aspects that you can consider (and that a brand can consider) as you decide to go the ethical fashion route. Now, by all means, I’m not saying brands (or you) have to consider every single aspect I mentioned above (some do) but as a start, you can decide which aspect means the most to you.

So after asking yourself what does sustainable fashion mean, it's then important to learn what brands are doing in order to call themselves ethical or sustainable. One of my favorite practices is upcycling. I create things and I have a special place in my heart for brands that do as well. Always on the prowl for the perfect upcycled piece, I came across IconaWear and let me tell you it's as if you fell into upcycling heaven. You "upcycle junkies" know exactly what I mean.

What I found out about IconaWear is that they create small batches of a variety of pieces. The great thing is they serve to a vast range of styles as well. I was fortunate enough to chat with Fashion Designer & Stylist of IconaWear, Sophia Marie and got the scoop on the brand and her beliefs.

Here's what she had to say...

This Is The Life Jacket

What does ethical fashion mean to you?
 
Well, after being informed of the critical conditions the world is in and knowing the impact I make as a contributing factor to the issue, I believe we have to take responsibility for our actions. We have the power to make those choices. No matter how big or small, it is up to the consumer. It is up to us to invest in the well-being of mama nature. 
 
What made you start IconaWear?
 
January 2017, I was practicing detachment. I cut off all my hair and purged my closet of all its excess. I saved some of the better quality items and thought to open an online shop to sell these secondhand pieces. Once the store was up, I asked my friends what they thought of the site, and they said: "Ehhhh, there is nothing special about the clothes." There was always that voice inside of me that wanted to add, tear, or mend clothes to make them more unique. So after that feedback, I started reconstructing the clothes I had on the site. After a month of putting together the first collection called Rebel Rose, February 2017 I saw the documentary, The True Cost. This film was a HUGE eye-opener. It gave me goosebumps down my spine. I felt betrayed, lied to, cheated by all these fast fashion companies and honestly just this industry as a whole. When those feelings occurred, I didn't want any part of the fashion industry. Then my brain started stirring and I thought of a quote, If you don't like something, change it. I realized that what I unintentionally was doing can be a positive contributing factor in fast fashion! After that film, I have yet to step foot in another fast fashion retailer. I started watching Ted talks, attending panel discussions and educating myself on the topic and what it means to be sustainable in the fashion industry.
The voice behind IconaWear is powerful, stimulating, and gets your blood boiling. It is meant to ignite the fire within us to get up and do something. This is what drives me, that this voice can lead others into the same way of thinking. This voice can influence your choices when it comes to your buying power and overall morals. Sustainable fashion is a sprouting topic. Similar to the organic food wave. Once people started finding out what GMO's and pesticides were, they didn't want anything to do with it. People need to know what certain textiles are made of (oil, toxins, etc.) and understand the "life" of a garment. How exactly did that garment travel through the world to then end up in your closet? It is going to be a long road, and all of us are still learning. It all starts with education, which then leads to awareness. As long as people are aware, it is up to them to make the final (ethical) decision.
 
What does IconaWear mean?
 
IconaWear's end goal is to be a symbol of influence, direction, and change. This name came to me as I was brainstorming for an image for the brand.
 
 I (as a dress form) - I (as a person) - I (as the information symbol) 
 
The power of I.
 
 Spring semester 2017 I took a class called "Icons of the Fashion Industry"
 
In that class, we went through the time periods, 1800's to current years, and talked about the different silhouettes of the decades and what influenced that particular style. For example, the exchange of cultures from East to West, War, Women's Liberation, T.V., Hollywood, The Hippie Movement, Style Tribes, Celebrities, Presidents Inauguration and their wives. Each event, person, place, and thing contributed to the way society dressed. People who were on the front pages influenced trends and styles of the decade. IconaWear will speak through the wearer. As a wearer, there will be understanding (even just a little) of the change that they are making by investing in upcycled garments. This, in turn, will create a cultural movement towards a more sustainable industry.
 
Why is upcycling fashion goods important?
 
The amount of stuff we have, as individuals and as a collective, reach beyond our needs. The majority of it takes thousands of years to decompose too. So, why don't we just be resourceful with what we already have? Giving items a second chance leads to a more sustainable future. 
 
What has been your favorite piece you created?
 
It is hard to choose just one! I love all the jackets, they are always fun to play with and style. I can't wait to try new techniques such as patchwork this coming spring collection, April 2018. We will debut the collection at San Francisco Sustainable Fashion Week. IconaWear will also be organizing a DIY event, including fashion show/panel discussion for Fashion Revolution Week (April 23rd - 29th 2018) in San Francisco, California!
- Sophia Marie
 
How I styled my IconaWear, This Is The Life, cruelty-free jacket

 

I fell in love with the brand and their ethics, so if you are thinking of buying ethically this Holiday Season below are my Top 3 Picks from IconaWear

  1. Avoir Embellished Jacket
  2. Wallflower Chain Necklace
  3. Deceiving Lace Thigh High Cavallini

Discover more Sustainable Pieces at IconaWear

Shop Sustainably! Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar