Weekend Ramblings

And another week has flown by and I’ve barely written anything. Things have been uber busy here and the big news is it looks like I’ll be moving again. This “Temporary-House Wifey” name has begun to take on a self-fulfilling prophecy vibe. I’ve moved from Airstream to a larger trailer to a house to an apartment in 1 year. Now it looks like we might be moving into a house again which I’m both excited and anxious about. This better be my last move for awhile, and I might finally take the time to change my blog name (maybe to Permanent-House Wifey? lol just kidding, it’ll be better than that hopefully). Also I had a whole post written for this Tuesday and sitting in my post schedule for weeks about being on the FIRE track (requested by a reader) but now I’m thinking I won’t publish it because how can I talk about being on FIRE when I just took on a whole mountain a debt to buy a house >.< . That is definitely anti-FIRE and more like keeping up with the Joneses (though to be fair, we really bought this house to raise Emi in because a small apartment for a kid is rather cramped + better school districts). But I very much look forward to having my own bloffice (blog-office) again and maybe I’ll start taking regular ootds again. I also look forward to a yard and composting again in an effort to reduce my garbage output.

There’s a saying in Japanese about getting poorer from moving. And I think there’s definitely some truth to that. With each move we throw things out (especially when downsizing) and then sometimes buy new things to fit the new space. Well since we’re upsizing again, we are looking to purchase some new furniture and new appliances (the current ones in this 1970s built home is from the 80’s). I don’t know how we’re going to be FIRE through it all but we’re definitely going to be counting on some black friday deals and maybe I’ll get a job at Crate and Barrel or something to try to defray some of the furniture costs. We’ll see if they even hire me lol.

And lastly I sympathized Leah’s post about her sustainability fail when moving. I haven’t really tried too hard to be sustainable this year due to the baby (I’m just too tired y’all) but I definitely feel some of the guilt she feels. But sometimes we just need to cut ourselves a break. We can only do what we’re mentally capable of, and tbh individual efforts in sustainability is a drop in the bucket compared to what policy changes can do (though that’s not an excuse to stop trying).

Unsponsored Sarah Flint Review: Lana Flats

After seeing Sarah Flint flats on the feet of one of my favorite ethical clothing influencers, Meghan Markle, I decided I wanted to learn more about the company and try out one of their flats.

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Sarah Flint is a direct to consumer brand, designed by a woman (Sarah) that works directly with Italian shoemakers for their shoes. If we can assume that “artisanal” shoe factories in Italy pay their workers a fair wage, then this brand falls under the socially ethical realm. In a lot of ways, Sarah Flint reminds me of M.Gemi (reviewed here, here, and here). Maybe because they’re both direct to consumer and made in Italy. Though M.Gemi price points are about $100 less than Sarah Flint. Sarah Flint shoes will set you back about $300+. The particular flat I tried, called the Lana (which Sarah Flint is wearing below) is priced at $365.

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But rather than spending the $365 for brand new shoes, I decided to stalk the RealReal and wait it out for a used pair. And I was able to snag the Lana flats in my size for $76! So what did I think of these flats? After having tried it out, I can tell you Meghan Markle must have normal to narrow feet, lol. My slightly wide feet did not work for these flats. And keep in mind this is after buying it used (so someone got the initial joy of breaking it in). The length was perfect and the width might have eventually stretched out (on the website they claim that it would), but the outer edges that hug the foot rubbed like a mofo. Unfortunately for me the size 38 flats (my usual size) didn’t work for me. If I ever see a size 38.5 on the RealReal I might try it out (and I’ll update my review when I do), but I could see the length being too long for me and my heel slipping out. Just like with some Italian factories that Everlane uses, their lasts (foot molds) just aren’t meant for my feet (or at least for this particular Sarah Flint shoe).

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Speaking of Everlane’s Italian made shoes, I wonder what is the reason the price difference between their shoes and the ones by Sarah Flint is so great (almost $200 less for Everlane). For reference, Everlane’s Boss Flats, which look like some of the shoes Sarah Flint offers, costs $66 to make and Everlane prices it at $165. I wonder if the Sarah Flint shoes have higher end materials and trickier workmanship? Or do they just mark it up more because they can? Even M.Gemi is cheaper and with similar stuff. To me it’s not quite worth it. For just a bit more, you can buy the Martiniano glove flats (reviewed here) which are pure luxury.

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But if you want to try them out for yourself and you have normal to narrow feet then this referral link will get you $50 off your first order (I will also get $50 but will probably give them to readers in giveaway contests like I normally do).

kowtow Review: Black Cotton Romper

kowtow is an ethical brand that I only know about because of Grechen. They’re a New Zealand brand that takes their sustainability and ethical manufacturing seriously. They use fair trade organic cotton or tencel, use harm-free dyes, and are also working on circularity with a take back program. In many ways, you can’t get a more ethical brand. But I wouldn’t love them if they’re clothes were also not modern and chic. If Eileen Fisher and COS had a baby, it would be kowtow. The only drawback to them is that their shipping and returns are coming from New Zealand so it’s not so easy for us in the US (though shipping is free when you spend over $200). And of course the price point is not cheap (though it shouldn’t be when they’re doing all these things right). But because of these last two points, I hadn’t tried kowtow even though they were on my radar for quite awhile.

Kowtow Clothing Review
 

{Wearing: kowtow Romper, Chanel ballet flats (from TRR), thrifted hat}

But I noticed that the RealReal (TRR) carried quite a few items from kowtow, and usually a lot of the same items (which makes me think they’re getting it from a boutique that is trying to offload items and not from individual sellers). Also since this was in “pristine condition”, it was basically new. So when I got some TRR credit I decided to give them a shot (even though TRR’s own shipping and return policy aren’t great). But the price point of the items can’t be beat. I got this romper for a total of $52 (the 20% discount included)! Since their dresses go for about $200-$300 new, this is quite a steal.

Kowtow Clothing Review
 

{Wearing: kowtow Romper, Everlane Boss Mules (reviewed here), Nano Celine Belt Bag (reviewed here)}

As for sizing, I’m wearing a small here and it’s the perfect size. It’s pretty slim on top so if you’re bigger in the chest you might need to consider sizing up, depending on the garment. But since this romper is belted at the waist, it’s really forgiving around the midsection. Looking at their site, I do notice that a lot of their items are made for tall people so if you’re on the shorter side like myself, some of their stuff might not work out so well. Or you’ll have to do some hemming.

Their label reads designed in New Zealand and made ethically in India from organic cotton. The cotton poplin fabric is midweight and smooth. It feels like something Cuyana would use. And the construction is flawless. The bottom part of the romper has hidden pleats on the sides to give you a bit more volume on the bottom overall without adding volume around the waist. The collar at the neckline is slim and minimal. It is in the details of a garment like this that you know that the design and production are top-notch.

So if you’re looking for a simple, modern and ethically-made quality item I can’t recommend kowtow enough. And even more so if you’re tall. As for me, I’ll still be stalking TRR for kowtow items to add to my closet!

Weekend Update/Ramblings

Hi y’all, a personal ramblings post here today. July was a brutal month for me (#mercuryretrograde?) with an AC condensation line leak that ended up leaking into our bathroom (well first it leaked into our closet, then the bathroom). This actually had been going on for years (before we purchased the apartment) because there was mold under the flooring and on the drywall behind the mirror. Glad we got it all removed but it’s been quite a trial. Now we have to rebuild our bathroom and on a budget since our home insurance deductible is so high it doesn’t make sense to file a claim. Oh and now that we’re using our second bathroom consistently for the first time, there’s a leak at the tub faucet. Aaaand the kitchen sink disposal was leaking too (luckily my husband has decided to tackle these things with a little help from YouTube so we’re not paying for these smaller fixes).

On top of that my fibroids have grown very large again so I look like I’m back in my second trimester of pregnancy (I could probably continue posts about pregnancy outfits at this point lol). I suspect it’s all the hormones now that I’ve stopped breastfeeding (yep I’ve given up—I tried my best but when I only produce a third of her needed intake despite all the work and grief, I decided it just wasn’t worth my mental health). Anyway it looks like a hysterectomy is pretty evident and it’s just a matter of when. I have a whole slew of thoughts and emotions about that but I’m not quite ready to unpack them here.

And lastly I’ve been thinking more about my dad (who passed away in December). Maybe it’s because we finally booked our flights back home to Hawaii and now I have to face that 1) he won’t be there (this will be my first time back since he passed) and 2) I have to clean-up and donate/throwaway most of his belongings at his apartment. I’ve read several articles about grief cleaning to prepare myself. I know the stuff does not make the man so I only plan to keep a couple of his things (especially since it’ll have to fit into a suitcase to bring back to Cali). But we’ll see how that goes.

Sorry if that was all a bit heavy, but August is a new month and I’m ready to face my challenges head on!