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Blog

Filtering by Author: karina diaz

‘Sultry, Sophisticated, Sustainable’: Lara Miller Designs

karina diaz

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A pioneer of sustainable fashion, Chicago’s Lara Miller creates her designs under the influence of the city’s architectural landscape, with a playful modernity perfect for the urban chick on the go! Her Spring 2010 line is “sultry, sophisticated, and as endlessly variable as the woman who wears them” (elle.com).

Because Miller has devoted herself to ‘being green’, each garment is hand-loomed from eco-friendly fibers like organic cotton, hand-loomed bamboo, hemp and vegan silk.  Most of her garments, in the spirit of reusability, can be retied or rewrapped to reveal a different look entirely, from a strappy minidress to a sexy knee-length halter.

“Acknowledging the impact that we all have on our environment, I aspire to preserve and respect our earth in every way that I can,” writes Miller on her website. “I see my company as a way to support my community- not only by using organic materials while adhering to a ‘green’ lifestyle and workspace- but also manufacturing locally and working to sustain the sewn products industry in Chicago.”

You can find Lara Miller’s designs at NYC boutiques BioKaightGomi, and Nimli Inc, and Brooklyn’s Camilla Boutique.  You can also check out her previous collections on her website, http://laramiller.net/ .

 

Erin Jane Jewelry: Feminine, Modern, Absolutely Gorgeous

karina diaz

Erin Jane, a Minnesota native, has been designing jewelry since 2006 from her headquarters in Seattle.  “My design philosophy,” she writes on her website, “is to create pieces that beautifully balance simplicity and femininity with a modern aesthetic.”

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Jane designs and makes her gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces by hand, and only uses high-quality materials; sterling silver, natural stone, and 14-karat gold.  In the spirit of sustainability, she uses recycled metals from eco-friendly refiner Hoover & Strong, as well as recycled packaging.

“I create each design with unique combination of colors, textures, and metals,” writes Jane, “ while at the same time retaining simplicity.”

 

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Boxing Kitten: Color and Print = Bold and Beautiful

karina diaz

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Boxing Kitten is a New York based fashion label uses 100% cotton fabrics with vibrant African wax block prints, making each garment totally unique. The pieces are woven by founder and designer Maya A. Lake (pictured at top), a Brooklyn native, and have been worn by superstars like Beyonce,  Erykah Badu, and Alicia Keys. “Her current collection is driven by the political and cultural climate of the Civil Rights Movement,” states Boxing Kitten’s website. “Each garment fuses bold print combinations with charmingly demure patterns and flawless construction”.

 

Life is Beautiful with KeoK’jay!

karina diaz

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A beautiful new dress does wonders for a woman’s self-esteem, and a beautiful,sustainable new dress does wonders for the environment!  But what if the way you dressed made you look and feel beautiful, help the environment, and support women in third-world countries with HIV? 

Well, look no further than KeoK’jay!

This socially conscious business was established in Cambodia as a way to provide safe and productive job opportunities for HIV-positive women.  Each employee (currently, KeoK’jay employs nine) works from home—which allows for extra care in their work and extra time with their family—and creates beautiful garments by hand from recycled materials, secondhand fabrics, organic cotton, and natural dyes.

Not only does KeoK’jay give these women jobs, they also provide for their health; through the company’s partnership with Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope, these women and their families receive free health care!  And their collaboration with Goel Community, KeoK’jay’s supplier of organic cotton and sustainable fabrics, makes sure that Cambodia’s economy feels the benefits just as much as Cambodia’s women!

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With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editors:  Jessica Smith and Eva Kuhn. Images courtesykeokjay.org.)

 

Lovetta Conto and Akawelle: “Also Known As Love”

karina diaz

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At 8 months of age, Lovetta Conto (pictured above) fled her native Liberia for a Ghana refugee camp, one of 47,000 men, women and children escaping civil war.  At age 14, she left the camp for America through the help of the Strongheart Fellowship program, an organization that helps children in need become leaders in social change.

Lovetta is the designer of Akawelle, a jewelry line made entirely out of spent bullet casings taken from the Liberian civil war.  Her jewelry has received rave reviews from Elle.comO Magazine, and the Huffington Post, to name a few—and is worn by celebrities like Angelina Jolie, who calls Lovetta “an inspiration.”

 

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The name Akawelle is a combination of two words:  ‘aka’, the English acronym for ‘also known as’, and ‘welle’ the word for ‘love’ in Lovetta’s native language.  Each necklace is made from the melted top of the bullet casing and refashioned into a leaf pendant, which is then engraved with the word ‘Life’; a symbol of the promise of new life arising from even the worst hardships.

The money from Akawelle goes toward Lovetta’s future and the creation of the first Strongheart House, a safe house in Liberia that will offer comfort, security, and eco-friendly education to orphans around the world.  “We’ll have a global family,” states Lovetta.  “My brothers and sisters will have different color skin but all one strong heart.”

You can support Lovetta Conto’s mission by visiting Akawelle’s website! For more information on the Strongheart Fellowship, you can click here for their homepage.

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editors:  Jessica Smith and Eva Kuhn.  All pictures courtesyAkawelle and elle.com.)

 

 

Buy a Purse, FEED a Child

karina diaz

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In a (completely unofficial) poll taken at PeaceKeeper, we discovered three reasons why we think reusable shopping bags are awesome:

1)     They’re an easy and inexpensive way to be eco-friendly.

2)     They can carry anything (and we mean ANYTHING) you need them to.

3)     They’re adorable, in that hippie-chic, I’m-saving-the-environment-and-I-look-darn-good-doing-it way.

So you can imagine when we found out that Lauren Bush, designer of the FEED reusable bag (and scion of the Bush family), was designing a new Guatemala line, we were absurdly excited.

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Since their 2005 debut, these bags haven’t just been saving the environment; they’ve been feeding children around the world.  With each bag purchased, the FEED Foundation donates to the United Nations World Food Programme.  The foundation has raised over 5 million dollars in the past five years alone—that’s funding for over 55 million meals!

The latest FEED bags are a collaboration with NEST, a non-profit organization that empowers female artists and artisans with loans, mentoring, and an online marketplace for their products.  The bags (in vibrant colors and prints, a reflection of Guatemala’s vibrant culture) were designed by Ms. Bush and crafted by female artisans in Guatemala operating under microfinance loans; as the bags are sold, NEST uses the profits to provide more loans for other women in need.

These bags will be sold exclusively at FEED’s official website and in-store at Lord and Taylor.  For the small zippered pouch ($19), $3.50 will be donated to UNICEF—enough to provide a year’s sustenance for one Guatemalan child.  For each large tote sold ($39), FEED will donate $10.50, which will provide sustenance for three children for a year.

Chronic malnutrition is the cause of 50% of deaths in children under 5 years of age.  By purchasing a FEED bag, you can help these children to grow up stronger and healthier!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editors:  Jessica Smith and Eva Kuhn.  All pictures

 

141 Eyewear: “You Buy, We Give.”

karina diaz

Imagine that you are sight-impaired.  Now imagine that you couldn’t afford glasses, contacts, or any kind of visual services.  How much more difficult would the simplest tasks be?  Would you even be able to enjoy your life?

Introducing 141 Eyewear, the latest company to use the “You Buy One, We Give One” philanthropic policy (see our post on TOMS Shoes for more info!).  Co-founders and power couple Kyle Yamaguchi and Shu-Chu Wu began their mission in Taiwan, where Shu-Chu works as an optician; in 2009, they donated over 200 pairs of eyeglasses to families hit hard by Typhoon Morakot, the deadliest typhoon to hit the country in history.

According to the World Health Organization, 153 million people–and 13 million children–require corrective lenses but cannot afford proper vision services.  This often results in little or no interest in education (since sight-impaired children cannot see the blackboard) and loss of job opportunities, which contributes to the massive poverty problems we face worldwide.

When you buy a pair of 141 eyeglasses, the company donates one pair to a child in need.  Their “One Four One” policy means that with just a simple purchase, you have made an immediate change to the life of another human being—and since 141 only uses the highest-quality materials for their eyewear, you know you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck!

 

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The company is based in Portland, Oregon check out their website 141eyewear.com or Facebook for more.

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer: Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith.  Images and video courtesy 141eyewear.com.)

 

Shop Smart with Annie O.

karina diaz

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Annie O. Waterman’s eponymous accessory line, Annie O, was inspired by the vibrancy and cultural beauty of traditional Peruvian textile work.   Her collection includes hand-embroidered handbags, belts, scarves, and jewelry, melding ancient weaving techniques with contemporary design.

To manufacture her products, she turns to various female artisan cooperatives around the world.  The cooperatives are made up of female victims of domestic abuse and extreme poverty; by employing these women, Waterman ensures that they have job security, a market for their goods, and protection from the abusive practices of corporate sweatshops and wage slavery.

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This is a call to all the PeaceKeepers in the world:  Shop Smart To Save Lives!By shopping smarter (that $5.99 strip-mall top isn’t worth the unfair labor practices that went into making it), you can save lives—and by purchasing items made with care and skill, you’re saving money too!  Annie O’s collection is a perfect example of how one person, through even the smallest effort, can make a change for the better in the world.

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You can see more of Annie O’s pieces on the official website.  Or check her out onEtsy.com!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith.  All pictures courtesy annieoboutique.com.)

 

Peacekeeper Kiss of Approval – Eco-designer Auralís

karina diaz

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Auralís  Herrero Lugo's line Auralís comes out of Brooklyn, NY and is based in New York City and Puerto Rico. Pouring all of her creativity into this line, she is looking to rescue old artisanal and eco-conscious Puerto Rican crafts, along with making beautiful clothing. She divides her time between both places, making a family out of the community of workers on the collection.

Auralís creates timeless pieces for the modern woman full of eco-consciousness and a passion for beauty. She “designs for a better future, one garment at a time.” Using organic, sustainable, natural, or recycled fabrics like hemp, bamboo, organic cotton Auralís is changing the world for the better and keeping men and women feeling great about the choices they make and the clothing they wear.

We are so happy to be a sponsor of Auralís, with all of their beautiful dresses and skirts, shirts, and jumpers. Her pieces were inspired by her childhood, and as such, have a breezy summer nights feel. Modern, flirty clothing that treads lightly on the environment, while helping to build bridges and create community, Auralís is the kind of collection Peacekeeper likes to be front row and center for. My favorite piece from the Spring 2011 line is this flowy, yellow dress that has just the right about of romantic dreaminess mixed with sex appeal. I love the subtle hints of sexy with the surprising slit in the front and the openness of the back. Simply stunning!

Make Art, Not War: BUY BACK THE BOMBS

karina diaz

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Back in July, Peacekeeper gave the Kiss of Approval to Article 22 and their Peace Bomb Bracelets.  We really believe in what they are doing and the creative way they transform the metal into something beautiful!

Now, Article 22, founded by Elizabeth and Wallis Suda, has teamed up with filmmaker Sam Rowland to create a series of short travelogue films and photographs capturing the Peace Bomb journey in early November 2010.

When the project is completed, these films will be displayed on the Facebook pages of both Article 22 and BigBalls Films (Rowland’s production company), and a short film condensing all the documentary footage will be entered into international film festivals.  The goal, as stated on Article 22’s Kickstarter page, is “to raise awareness of the project while demonstrating how collaboration between media, designers, non-governmental organizations and traditional communities in developing countries can pave a path toward sustainable socio-economic development.”

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Above: two Laotian metalsmiths, creators of the Peace Bomb Bracelet molds.

In order to make this possible, Article 22 needs to raise $7000 by October 31.  The money will pay for the expenses for the three to travel to Laos and stay for seven days in the beginning of November. Timing is key in this project; the Suda sisters need to arrive in Laos in time for the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as the films will include footage of village artisans attempting to ban munitions with long-lasting consequences for small communities (e.g. shrapnel remnants, chemical leftovers, and the like).

Beginning with items like spoons and moving to jewelry like bracelets, Article 22 is here to give back to the communities of Laos by using bracelets made from bombs. They are taking the damage caused to the community and giving back. Help support Article 22’s journey and help the communities of Laos by visiting their Kickstarter and pledging as much as you can afford!  Even a dollar helps.

ALSO: don’t forget to Like this journal entry on Facebook or Retweet (at the top of the blog entry).  The more people who donate, the quicker Article 22 can help the people of Laos!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith.  Pictures courtesy Article 22.)

 

PeaceKeeper Kiss of Approval: Nicole Bridger Designs

karina diaz

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Today, Peacekeeper smacks our kiss of approval on Nicole Bridger Designs!   Nicole received her BAA in fashion design from Ryerson University in Toronto. From there she interned for the one and only Vivienne Westwood in London, where she learned the art of sculpting fabric.

BD uses fabric from all natural and renewable resources like organic cotton, linen, hemp, wool and bamboo.  All buttons on her clothes are made from tagua nuts (similar to coconuts), and her labels are delicately embroidered with the words I AM LOVE.

All designs are made in their factory in Vancouver, Canada, so fair and safe labor conditions are guaranteed.

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Check out more from NBD at Nicole’s website and let Peacekeeper know what you think!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer: Renee Estey.  Editor: Jessica Smith.  All images courtesy Nicole Bridger Designs.)

 

Are Progressive French Women As Liberated As We Think?

karina diaz

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Ah, France!  The land of endless chic, where gorgeous Parisian women stroll along the Seine, their Chanel 2.25 bags in one hand and a smoldering cigarette in the other.  The birthplace of such icons as Brigitte BardotCatherine Deneuve, and Audrey Tautou.  Surely, a country with such timeless, charming women must be as forward-thinking in its politics as in its fashion, n’est-ce pas?

To a certain extent, yes.  Women in France are educated and they are highly capable of providing for their families; eighty-two percent of women aged 25-49 are employed, while women make up 59% of university graduates.

The French government is incredibly conscientious when it comes to the family; last year alone, 97 billion euros were spent on family benefits alone.  Pregnant women receive ten half-hour sessions with a personal trainer to improve post-partum health—completely free of charge.  Mothers receive monthly allowances according to their number of their children (123 euros for 2, 282 euros for 3, and 158 for every child after).  Public preschool is free as well, and guaranteed when a child is three years of age.  The low cost of childcare means that even single mothers can balance their familial duties with their career aspirations.

However, despite all this aid, women have not been able to shake off the roles of their gender:  namely, as a wife and mother.  In a New York Times interview (“Where Having It All Doesn’t Mean Having Equality”, October 11), one woman stated that she and a friend, both mothers and part-time office workers, are the only two at their job who have not received a raise in the past two years.  Add this to the fact that French working mothers earn 26 percent less than their male counterparts—while spending twice as much time doing domestic duties as their husbands–and it becomes clear that all the free preschool and monthly allowances still aren’t giving women an easier time in the workplace.

As in the U.S., the French are finding that there is much more to be done in the struggle for gender equality.  However, the romanticized image of the gorgeous, intelligent, independent French woman has blinded much of the world to their social inequality.  We have to remember, regardless of where we live or who we are, that it is incredibly important for women to continue to prove their strength and to not give up the struggle.

Check out these links for more information on the struggle for gender equality in France:

WikiGender:  “Gender Equality in France”

Observatoire Des Inegalites (“Observing Inequality”) (translated with Google Translator)

NYTimes: “Where Having It All Doesn’t Mean You Have Equality” (Oct. 11, 2010.)

Les Papas = Les Mamans (“Fathers = Mothers”) (translated with Google Translator)

What is your opinion on the current gender norms in France?  Do you think that American laws (e.g.  the Paycheck Fairness Act)  would work as well in a European context?  How would you help a single French mother facing inequality at her job?  Leave a comment below!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editor: Jessica Smith.  Image of Audrey Tautou courtesyMaxine Turnock.  Statistics courtesy The New York Times.)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

karina diaz

October 15th, 2012

Founded in 1987, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a chance to bring together people around the world to join in the common cause of ending violence against women and their children.

The 2012 Day of Unity was celebrated Monday, October 1, and was commemorated with events across the country. Here are a few of our favorite events, activities, and thoughts about DVAM:

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How have you celebrated Domestic Violence Awareness Month?  Leave us a comment sharing your stories.

With Love,
The PeaceKeeper Team
www.iamapeacekeeper.com

PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics is the first cosmetic line to give donations to urgent human rights issues globally.
Want to become a PeaceKeeper too? Take a peek at our products and check outthe causes we support.

Last-Minute Tips for Hunting Down a Halloween Costume

karina diaz

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Most of us have already decided on our Halloween costume and put it together, anxiously awaiting the moment we get to unveil their costumed creativity—here in NYC, we at PeaceKeeper are already seeing witches, goddesses and ghosties patrolling the streets!  However, some of us (or a lot of us) have lost track of time and are now scrambling for costumes.

It is easy to go into the numerous Halloween stores that have popped up all over the place; however, the idea of spending so much money on cheap material that you will only wear once before discarding is distasteful to a lot of us. If you do find yourself having to purchase a last-minute costume, though, why not give it to charity or lend it to another person for next year?  It’ll probably still be in great condition!

If you’re strapped for cash, though, the cheapest thing to do is take a look at your closet and use what you have—a whole world of costumes could exist in your home!  Why not cut that orange muumuu to knee-length?  With a strand of pearls and a little sass, it’s an instant flapper costume!  If you’ve got some serious sewing skills, you could take in that old sheath dress so that it hugs your gorgeous curves; voila!  A seductive retro look a la Joan Holloway—just add red lipstick and a beehive hairdo!

You don’t have to limit yourself to just your clothing, either!  Old sheets and curtains might provide the perfect drape for a Grecian goddess, a sweeping floor-length skirt for a medieval queen, or a flirty asymmetrical dress for a gypsy costume!  Another possibility is purchasing cloth from a fabric store and making your own costume from scratch, but this can be time-consuming and hard to finish without spot-on sewing skills and a super-fast sewing machine.

Of course, if you have a little cash to burn and your sewing skills are a little lacking, you can try my Halloween costume approach:  thrift store shopping!Since my apartment lacks a lot of older-looking items, I raided every thrift shop in the city (and every friend’s closet) until I pieced together my costume.  Not only was this easier on my wallet than buying new, but it felt like a great accomplishment every time I picked out a new perfect piece; now, two days from the big day,  I’m all ready to dress to impress!

What are your costume ideas?  Leave a comment below!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer: Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith.  Picture courtesy Dezign Wizard.)

 

Fairness and Equality Denied: The Paycheck Fairness Act Fails to Pass the Senate

karina diaz

November 20th, 2010

On Wednesday, November 17, the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that pushed for the closing of the wage gap between genders, failed to pass the Senate with a vote of 58-41.

While the House of Representatives voted in favor of the act two years ago, the Senate has refused to push it through. “This was a missed opportunity to make history and jumpstart real economic change for American women and their families,” stated AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman (Equal Pay New York).

These days, with the economy being what it is, many families rely on a woman’s income just as much as a man’s; however, the average woman makes $.77 cents to the dollar that an equally educated man makes for the same work.  Statistics show that the wage gap costs an average American woman $500,000-$1,000,000 over her lifetime.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, in closing the wage gap, would have not only been a watershed victory for women all over the country; it would have helped impoverished families afford the necessities of life that they deserve. With the failure of the Act, however, loopholes in the original Equal Pay Act of 1963 will still allow employers to pay their workers unfairly based on gender, race, or creed and that employees will still be intimidated by their companies into staying silent about their wages—both of which the Act sought to eliminate.

Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor, stated that her department will “redouble its efforts to ensure America’s women are not treated as second class citizens by employers who refuse to compensate them in a fair and equitable manner.” (EPNY)

We at PeaceKeeper find the failure of the Paycheck Fairness Act unfortunate and unfair. We are thankful for the acknowledgement the Act has received and the many brave men and women who supported its passing.  Hopefully one day this Act can be passed, but until then we need to be grateful for what we have and hope that things will change for women in the future.

One of these days, women will be acknowledged as equal to men in the eyes of the American government.  Until then, we will continue to fight for a woman’s right to equal pay. We need to keep spreading awareness and fighting for equal pay and no discrimination!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith.

​ PeaceKeeper Kiss Of Approval: Prada’s “Made In” Collection

karina diaz

November 17th, 2010

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This week, we’re giving the PeaceKeeper Kiss Of Approval to Prada for their new “Made In” series! The luxury brand has created four capsule collections from four different cultures, teaming up with their native producers and using their regional skills, materials, and techniques–luxury items made by locally sourced artisans. It is a statement against ‘fast, mass-produced, globalized fashion’.

Scroll down for a preview of each collection!

 

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Prada Made in Scotland is a collection of tartan wool kilts from United Kingdom workshops. The kilts are made from traditional manufacturing and weaving techniques.

 

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Prada Made in India features gorgeous handmade shoes and handbags (pictured above) crafted in Chikan workshops in India (Chikan is the most ancient Indian embroidery).

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Prada Made in Japan features premium denim produced by Dova, a leading denim manufacturer. The jeans have four varieties of cloth and seven washes and can be custom ordered.  (P.S.  If the insides of the jeans look this cute–check out those embroidered pockets–we can only imagine how cute the outsides will be!)

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Prada Made in Peru uses Alpaca wool knitwear from traditional workshops in Peru.

The collection has been slowly but surely making its way into Prada boutiques, and is scheduled to officially launch in 2011.  We at PeaceKeeper think this collection is so cute that we want to take a stroll around the style globe ourselves!  What do you think?  Leave a comment below!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith.  Pictures courtesy Fabsugar.

I WANT MY MILLION BUCKS!

karina diaz

November 11th, 2010

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In 1963 Congress passed the Equal Pay Act so that women and men were ensured the same pay rate for the same work; however, almost 50 years later, women are still making 76 cents to every dollar made by a man. The Paycheck Fairness Actwas introduced in January 2009 by then-Senator Hillary Clinton and Representative Rosa Delauro to eliminate loopholes in the Equal Pay Act—and to eliminate the wage gap between genders.

 In January 2009, the Paycheck Fairness Act passed in the House of Representatives,  but not through the Senate.  On Wednesday, November 17, the Senate will vote again on this historic bill.

              We at PeaceKeeper are asking you to join us in telling the Senate to “Vote YES!” on the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Because of the pay gap, working women can lose up to one million dollars of hard-earned wages.  The average working woman in America loses $500,000-$1,000,000 over her entire lifetime;  that’s money that could feed an entire family for years, all lost because of wage discrimination.  In the new economy, the woman’s income has become as important as the man’s; without that extra money, entire families are suffering.

With the Fairness Act, corporate pay loopholes will disappear and businesses will need a legitimate reason for paying women less than men. The act will also stop employers from intimidating their employees into staying silent about their wages, so that female workers will understand how their pay corresponds to their fellow employees without fear of losing their jobs.

Here’s what YOU can do to support the Paycheck Fairness Act:

–Sign this petition to tell Congress to make the Paycheck Fairness Act a law!

–You can research more about equal pay advocacy by using this handy Equal Pay Toolkit.

–In support of the Paycheck Fairness Act, Peacekeeper has launched a light golden “Fairness Gloss,” which is perfect for all skin types.  Your purchase is donated to groups for equal pay advocacy!

–Since the Act will take effect 6 months after it passes, you can act now to start your workplace moving in the right direction!  Visit PeaceKeeper’s Paycheck Fairness Act page to find out more about the Act, how to research your fair wage, and more!

              What are some of your experiences with the wage gap?  Have you been a victim of pay discrimination?  Let PeaceKeeper know in the comments section below!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith. 

For more information about PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics, visitwww.iamapeacekeeper.com.)

PeaceKeeper Kiss of Approval: Extraseed Ballet Flats

karina diaz

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November 4th, 2010

In the spirit of Vegan Month, we at PeaceKeeper aren’t just limiting our meat and dairy intake—we’re keeping it off our shoes too! Our latest shoe addiction are the brightly colored, eco-friendly ballet flats from Extraseed Shoes, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ballet flats are a timeless classic, perfect for the chic urban girl on the go, and these joyous pairs are the perfect pop of color amidst a sea of black and brown boots.

Extraseed Shoes travel thousands of miles to get to you, but the shoes are beautiful and custom made to your foot size; just send out your measurements! They are unique and beautiful flats “built with longevity and style in mind”; the soles are made from recycled car tire rubber, and used scraps of fabric (considered waste in garment factories) are used for the uppers.

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These eco-friendly satin shoes are a PeaceKeeper favorite–perfect for the office or a Girls’ Night Out!  Made from new scrap satin fabric, faux leather, and recycled car tire rubber.  (The plaid pair at the top of this post can be found here).

 

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Vegan linen shoes are the perfect way to stay eco-chic in the summer!  Try these out with a pair of black shorts and a white t-shirt as a stylish alternative to flip-flops.

These shoes are affordable, too- most styles range from $38-$55, well worth it for comfort, style, and sustainability. Visit Extraseed’s Etsy page for more of their excellent flats!

What’s your favorite Extraseed shoe?  Leave a comment below!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith.  Pictures courtesy Extraseed.)

 

Go Vegan for Vegan Month!

karina diaz

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November 2nd, 2010

November marks the start of Vegan Month 2010! It’s a chance for all the vegans out there to prove to their meat-eating, cheese-loving, butter-spreading friends that there are many ways to enjoy delicious food without being cruel to our bodies, animals, or the environment—and if you’ve ever been curious, it’s the best time to get yourself started on a vegan diet!

The easiest way to ease yourself into eating vegan is to get your hands on some tasty autumn vegetables!  Try adding squash, dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, or sweet potatoes to your daily diet.  Add fruits like apples, pears, cherries, cranberries, figs, and dates for a meal that will fill you up with hearty fall flavor—without a hint of meat or dairy!

For a main dish, try this recipe for Butternut Squash Pie It has egg and Parmesan cheese, but those are easily replaceable—for eggs, you can try silken tofu, bananas, or even applesauce!  For the Parmesan, you can try out this substitute, made from organic walnuts and sea salt.  To make it a true vegan masterpiece, try adding some herbs and garlic for that perfect flavor ‘kick’.

If you can’t live without your sugar fix, it’s easy to vegan-ize some of your favorite classic fall deserts like apple pie and pumpkin pie just by switching out some of the ingredients (see above for eggs!).  So long as you keep the signature fall spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, your non-vegan friends won’t know the difference!  This Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe is a great starter recipe for the amateur vegan cook.  (The recipe for those mouthwatering cupcakes at the top of this post?  You can find it here.)

Veganism is not for everyone, so we’re not telling you to drop all eggs and milk immediately.  But adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet supplies you with nutrients like vitamin A, calcium, iron, and fiber—without the extra fats and empty calories you get from meat and dairy. Also, eating vegan is not only healthy for your body, but healthy for the environment too—since you’re not eating as many animal products, you’re not contributing to animal cruelty!

Experiment with old recipes and make them new, or look for something completely unusual.  Taking the small steps to add vegan dishes into your diet goes a long way to protecting your health and our planet.

What are some of your favorite Vegan dishes?  Leave a comment below!

With Love,

The PeaceKeeper Team

(Writer:  Renee Estey.  Editor:  Jessica Smith.  Pictures courtesy Whole Foods Market and Vegtimes.)

 

Peace = Future. The Math is Easy.

karina diaz

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September 21, 2010 marks the International Day of Peace. Peace Day provides individuals, organizations, and nations an opportunity to create acts of peace on one shared date. And while we at Peacekeeper devote our time and energy to peaceful living everyday of our lives, moments like this really bring this into focus on a much larger scale.

This resolution was established on September 21, 1981 and the first Day of Peace occurred in 1982. During the U.N. General Assembly, they concluded that “it would be appropriate to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as of the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals peace and giving positive evidence of their commitment to Peace in all viable ways.”

In 2002, 20 years later September 21st became the official Day of Peace. This year is extra special, because it is also the International Year of Youth. Here in NYC, youth peace activists, youth religious and youth artists will meet in the Chapel of the Church Center at the United Nations at 2:00pm on Tuesday September 21st.

This year, the world’s largest anti-poverty campaign, Millennium Development Goals occurs on September 20-22, meaning the Day of Peace falls in the middle. The goals of the MDG are to slash poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child death by 2015.

The UN website states that “Peace enables development, which is critical in providing opportunities for young people,” and therefore, youth, peace, and development are closely interlinked. The Security-General believes that it is the potential of our youth that will have these goals met.

Because of the summit; however, the International Day of Peace will be observed this Friday September 17, 2010 on UN Headquarters, but will be observed on the 21st outside of Headquarters. The schedule begins at 8:45am with the Peace Bell Ceremony in the Rose Garden and then there will be a student conference from 9:30am-12:30pm. These events are not open to the public but will be broadcastedhere.

To find out what other countries around the world are doing for Peace Day, click here. And if you are in the City, swing by the Bandshell in Central Park between 9am-6:00pm on Sunday September 19, 2010 for a VIGIL to “awaken humanity to harmony and peace through the power of intent and celebration and heal and bridge our lives and communities in order to achieve divinity alignment and recognize the oneness in all.” Tell us what you are going to do for the International Day of Peace!