Conscious Life & Style Mindful Media for Thoughtful Living Wed, 29 Dec 2021 12:09:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Conscious Life & Style 32 32 12 Eco-Friendly Luggage & Travel Bags for Your Next Adventure Fri, 30 Jul 2021 09:31:17 +0000 Find eco-friendly luggage and sustainable travel bags for whatever trip you're going on next in this roundup of suitcases, totes, and more.

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Whether you’re camping nearby, backpacking across an entire continent, or road-tripping in your country, this eclectic eco-friendly luggage guide will help you find the right backpack, suitcase, duffel bag, or carry-all that you need.

[Need some packing hacks? Check out this guide with tips for packing minimally.]

Secondhand Luggage Options

I always recommend shopping secondhand first to see if you can find something pre-loved. These items have already been produced, and therefore you are reducing the demand for making new items AND keeping things out of landfills!

It’s not always possible to find what you’re looking for via secondhand stores, but it’s worth taking a moment to look. 

You can check out your local thrift stores for this or check out some of the online resale marketplaces listed below.

1. Gear Trade

Gear Trade is an online secondhand store full of outdoor gear, sporting goods, and everything you need for your next adventure. You can find carry-ons, duffels, messenger bags, suitcases, camera bags, video gear cases, heavy-duty backpacks and more.

Price Range: $-$$

Check Out Gear Trade

Eco-friendly daypacks from Gear Trade

2. The RealReal

Find authentic designer luggage without the designer price tag on The RealReal. You can find pre-loved duffels, weekenders, totes, and suitcases from brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Kate Spade on the luxury consignment store.

Price Range: $$$+

Eco-friendly Louis Vuitton luggage from The RealReal

3. Local Marketplaces

You can also take a look through more localized secondhand apps such as OfferUp, Craigslist, Listia, or check out your community’s “Buy Nothing” group (these are often Facebook groups).

Eco-Friendly Luggage Brands

As mentioned above, you may not always be able to find what you need in the secondhand market, but there are quite a few brands making eco-friendly suitcases and other travel bags that may suit your needs!

4. Lo & Sons

Lo & Sons has some seriously functional sustainable travel bags! Their Catalina Deluxe Bag (recycled polyester or organic cotton options) is timeless, durable and built to fit all of your essentials with ease. If you’re looking for a spacious backpack, take a look at their Hanover Deluxe 2, or if you just need a compact carry-on, The Catalina Day Tote might be the one you’re looking for.

Price Range: $$

Check Out Lo & Sons

Eco-friendly travel bag from Lo & Sons

5. Paraval

Receiving numerous “Best of” awards, Paraval is quickly becoming a well-known name in the world of eco-friendly suitcases! The brand’s wheeled luggage is made with a recycled polycarbonate shell, recycled lining, recycled zippers, and a recycled aluminium handle. 

Price Range: $$$

Check out Paraval

Eco-friendly Suitcases, travel bags from Praraval

6. Samsonite Eco Collections

Samsonite actually gifted me one of their eco-friendly suitcases many years ago and it’s definitely my favorite piece of luggage — the suitcase is lightweight, functional, and easy-to-wheel. They’ve expanded their eco options made from recycled materials quite a bit since then!

Price Range: $$$

Check Out Samsonite’s Eco-Friendly Luggage

Sustainable blue luggage from Samsonite Eco Collections
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7. Solgaard

Upcycling ocean waste into useful products, Solgaard is another great brand for finding sustainable luggage. You can find carry-on and check-in wheeled suitcases, a variety of backpacks (large and small), and travel accessories like solarbank chargers and sling packs (or fanny packs).

Price Range: $$-$$$

Check out Solgaard

Eco-friendly black suitcase from Solgaard

8. Patagonia

Sustainable outdoor brand Patagonia is an incredible resource for finding camping and adventure gear — including eco-friendly backpacks and travel bags, from pouches to 55L backpacks! Most of Patagonia’s luggage is made recycled content and some is Fair Trade Certified sewn as well.

Price Range: $$-$$$

Check Out Patagonia

Eco-friendly red backpack from Patagonia

9. United By Blue

Another outdoor brand with great eco-friendly travel bags is United By Blue. This brand’s selection is a bit more limited, but you can find backpacks and duffels made from recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and/or organic cotton for shorter trips. (Or long trips if you’re really good at packing like a minimalist!) 

Price Range: $-$$

Check Out United By Blue

Sustainable yellow backpack from United By Blue

10. TUMI’s Recycled Luggage

Tumi is a ‘mainstream’ luggage brand that has quite a few styles made from recycled materials. Find backpacks, wheeled suitcases, and packing cases that are durably built and intelligently designed to fit as much stuff as efficiently as possible.

Price Range: $$$+

Check Out Tumi Recycled

Sustainable grey and black luggage from Tumi's Recycled Luggage

11. REI

As an outdoor retailer committed to doing things better, REI has a number of recycled travel bags (though not all bags they sell are recycled). The store’s Good & Used marketplace is also a great place to find gently used gear! 

Price Range: $-$$

Check Out REI

Eco-friendly green backpack from REI

12. OGIO

OGIO has wheeled suitcases, carry-ons, duffel bags, totes, and even golf bags made from recycled plastic. The bags are built to last too, even coming with a lifetime limited warranty.

Price Range: $$$

Check Out OGIO

Sustainable blue wheeled suitcase from OGIO

You May Also Want to Read:

Minimal Packing: How to Pack for Your Conscious Adventures

Eco-Friendly Beach Towels & Picnic Blankets

Affordable Sustainable Swimwear Brands

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Your Ultimate Sustainable Nashville Travel Guide: Best Spots to Stay, Shop, Eat & Drink Thu, 29 Jul 2021 18:13:00 +0000 In this sustainable Nashville travel guide, get recommendations for eco-friendly things to do, places to stay, and more.

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What does a sustainable trip to Nashville look like?

While I had originally thought that Nashville wouldn’t really be my kind of city — I’m not a fan of country music, crazy bars, or traditional Southern food — there really was something for everyone to enjoy in Music City. And this included plenty of eco-friendly things to do, eat and see.

I had an amazing time during my short trip to Nashville, so I wanted to pull together guide with a few conscious things to do in the city so that you can enjoy your time there as much as I did!

The city is an especially fantastic place to visit if you live in Midwest or South regions of the United States, because it’s easier to skip the carbon-intensive plane ride and drive an efficient car or (even better) take a train instead!

Where to Stay: Mason Lofts

Living Spaces at Sustainable Nashville Hotel Mason Lofts

If you’re looking for a sustainable stay in Nashville, Mason Lofts should be at the top of your list. Mason Lofts is an eco-friendly and low waste ‘aparthotel’ (apartment + hotel), which basically means they blend the best of both worlds!

I’m always a fan of smaller boutique hotels that offer a more personalized experience and I also like staying in apartments through sharing sites because of the affordability, space, and additional conveniences like a kitchen.

So, a boutique apartment hotel like Mason Lofts is basically all of this in one: you get the service of a boutique hotel plus plenty of space to cook, dine, relax, and even do your laundry.

And as a Proud-certified property with 3 ADA-friendly units (which feature stair-free access, roll-in showers, handicap garage spots, and accessible beds), Mason Lofts is also an inclusive accommodation.

Bedrooms in Sustainable Hotel in Nashville Mason Lofts


As you’ve probably experienced, eating out every meal when traveling not only gets expensive, but can lead to a whole lot of waste with single-use packaging if you’re eating and drinking on the go. So eating some meals at your accommodation can reduce waste as well as your travel expenses.

But Mason Lofts doesn’t have just any kitchen — they have a low-waste, fully equipped kitchen stocked with all reusable dishware, as well as refillable amenities purchased in bulk such as coffee, sugar, spices and oil + vinegar.

The coffee in the rooms is definitely a highlight as it is freshly ground from the local Three Brothers coffee shop! The team at Three Brothers did some tests to find the perfect coffee for a Keurig machine, so guests at Mason Lofts can have a delicious customized coffee to use in the reusable K-cups that are provided in the kitchens.

And if you need to go shopping for some food, Mason Lofts also provides reusable shopping bags so you can avoid using plastic bags, even if you don’t remember to pack your own reusables!

Plus, you can toss food scraps, coffee grounds, tea, and compostable products in the compost bin at your aparthotel room! Mason Lofts has partnered with Compost Nashville, which is a service that can compost all types of food scraps, even including meat and cheese.

Perhaps the coolest highlight about Mason Lofts’ kitchen though is that they have a pollinator-friendly edible garden that guests can go outside to pick from and cook with! (And they let a part of the lot remain ‘wild’ so that wildlife can have a safe space.)

Kitchen in Sustainable Nashville Hotel, Mason Lofts

Compostable Products + Composting:

All too often, I’ve seen restaurants, hotels, and other locations offer compostable products… with no where to actually compost those items.

Mason Lofts, though, not only offers compostable paper products (like tissues) but actually has a compost where you can discard them.

Through their compost, as well as recycling efforts, Mason Lofts is able to divert over 90% of ‘waste’ from the landfill!


In addition to refillable bulk amenities in the kitchen, you’ll find refillable shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion in the bathroom sourced from closed-loop brands.

Even the toilet paper at Mason Lofts is low waste. They source from Who Gives a Crap, which is a brand making their toilet paper out of recycled paper.

Bathroom in Sustainable Nashville Hotel Mason Lofts

Supporting Local:

Another great part about supporting smaller boutique hotels is that they are often very intentional about supporting the local community.

Mason Lofts offers quality products as well as optional curated add-on packages with items sourced from local businesses such as Village Bakery + Provisions and Three Brothers Coffee.


The largest environmental impact of traveling is the transportation. So in addition to prioritizing lower impact travel to Nashville, there are also ways to choose more eco-conscious transportation while you’re here.

Mason Lofts makes eco-friendly transit around Nashville a whole lot easier through their partnership with Earth Rides.

You can get discounted rates on bike rentals for exploring the nearby area. And for longer distances, Mason Lofts has partnered with Earth Rides which offers a Tesla black car service, so you can get around the city 100% electric.

While Mason Lofts is located in a quieter part of the city in the West End neighborhood, the aparthotel is just a 10 minute drive from the downtown area.

Check Out the Apartments at Mason Lofts

Where to Shop: Ethical Fashion Stores


Going to ABLE was undeniably my number one stop on our whole trip! We got to not only see the ABLE retail store, but we got a behind-the-scenes tour of the whole ABLE operations, including their jewelry workshop. The tour is open to the public and is $40 per ticket. The ticket price actually includes a free piece of personalized jewelry which is worth more than $40, so it’s totally worth it.

Here’s a glimpse at the beautiful store and their jewelry production process:

ABLE Ethical Fashion Store
ABLE’s retail store in Nashville
ABLE Jewelry Workshop
ABLE’s jewelry workshop in Nashville
ABLE's Fair Trade shoes
The beautiful collection of shoes at ABLE’s Nashville retail shop
ABLE Fair Trade denim jeans
ABLE’s ethically made denim at their Nashville retail store
ABLE Fair Trade leather bags
ABLE’s gorgeous fair trade leather bags


I’ve been a fan of Nisolo for years, so I was really looking forward to seeing their flagship store in Nashville. I even wore my trusty Nisolo Serena Sandals for the occasion. Unfortunately, the store was closed when we got there because we went on a holiday weekend, but at least I got to snap a pic in front of the store!

Nisolo ethical fashion store in Nashville
The Nisolo Nashville retail store
Nisolo Ethical Fashion store in Nashville
In front of the Nisolo store, wearing my Nisolo sandals of course!

BATCH (in the Nashville Farmer’s Market)

This stop was actually a bit of a surprise. We visited the Nashville Farmer’s Market and happened upon the “Market House” area with food, drinks, treats, and shopping.

One of the stores I enjoyed visiting in the Market House was Batch, a shop with products made locally or from Nashville-based brands. I spotted bags and jewelry from ethical fashion label ABLE there, as well as beauty products from Thistle Farms, a brand with natural home and beauty products made by women survivors.

Batch locally made store in Nashville

Other Things to Do

Nashville Imagine Recordings Studio Tour

This recording studio tour was my second favorite activity we did in Nashville (after the ABLE tour)! We got a rare glimpse into the process behind making a new record right in the heart of Music Row in Nashville.

And what was unique about the tour we went on was that we didn’t just get to watch what was happening, but we felt like we were really part of the process. We sat inside the glass doors of the recording studio, got to be inside the control room, and ask the artist and musicians questions directly.

Recording Studio Tour Nashville

Centennial Park

We were only here briefly, but it’s a beautiful park to relax and get a little dose of green in the city!

Farm-to-Table and Veg-Friendly Restaurants


Adele’s is a farm-to-fork restaurant with fresh dishes made using seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients.

Their menu shifts based upon availability of ingredients, but I had a salad with kale, pecorino, anchovy dressing, breadcrumbs and shared a side of JW potatoes with my parents. Both were delicious!

Adele's Farm to Table restaurant in Nashville

Jeni’s Ice Cream

I had heard fantastic things about Jeni’s Ice Cream and wanted to visit for a while, so I was excited to happen across a Jeni’s location in the Nashville Farmer’s Market!

Jeni’s has a few vegan options, including the Texas Sheet Cake flavor that I tried made with coconut ice cream and chocolate cake crumbles. (And yes, it was just as amazing as it sounds!)

Jeni's Ice Cream in Nashville

Acme Feed & Seed (Vegetarian Options)

First, I have to preface this by saying, Acme Feed & Seed wouldn’t be the top place I’d recommend for folks passionate about sustainability. We went here because we heard great things and seen fantastic reviews of Acme, plus I spotted quite a few vegetarian options on the menu.

And the food was great! However, what I was not expecting, was that the utensils and cups were single-use (who knew I had to bring around my own reusable cup and utensils to a sit-down restaurant!!). It was also unbelievably crowded and loud when we went—which I suppose is to be expected given the restaurant’s location on the busiest, craziest street in Nashville!

Acme Feed and Seed - Nashville Tennessee


Another spot we found because of its great reviews and vegetarian options, Merchants was a nice conveniently located spot for lunch or dinner. My black bean veggie burger wasn’t fantastic, but the place was nice and the service was friendly.

Merchant's Restaurant - Nashville Tennessee

Other Recommended Spots That We Didn’t Get to:

The Wild Cow – vegan and vegetarian restaurant (with some gluten-free options)

The Café at Thistle Farms – fresh food, coffee, and tea made with locally-sourced ingredients. Thistle Farms is a social enterprise that employs women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction.

If you’re looking for some more conscious things to do, spots to eat or drink, and places to stay, I recommend also checking out the EcoCult’s Eco-Friendly Nashville Guide and Terumah’s Nashville Guide.

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You May Also Want to Check Out:

Conscious in Chicago: Sustainable Shops, Restaurants and More in the Second City

The Conscious Style Travel Guide to New York City

Munich Sustainable City Guide

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Minimal Packing Tips & Tricks for Low-Impact Travel Fri, 09 Jul 2021 08:16:00 +0000 Pack less. Travel more. Get tips for minimal packing so you can reduce your luggage and have more time to explore new destinations.

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There are a lot of reasons for minimal packing…

It will save you time: less time spent packing & unpacking, more time making memories!

It will save you stress: no need to worry about if everything will fit and less overwhelm figuring out what to wear once you are at your destination.

And, it might even save you money, particularly if you are traveling by plane, or if the train you’re taking charges for extra baggage.

BUT, it isn’t always easy to pack minimally and efficiently while also making sure you have what you need. So this guide will give you some tips and tricks!

1. A List Will Be Your Best Packing Friend

You might be thinking, ‘ugh, I don’t want to spend time on that’ but hear me out!

Spending a bit of time upfront on creating a list and then narrowing it down or adding to it will take far less time than the alternative.

If you don’t make a list, you might take everything you need out of your closet, then realize you don’t need certain things and have to spend all that time re-folding / re-hanging them.

And then, even after you pack, you may think of additional things you need or realize you don’t need something that’s already in the bottom of your suitcase and you’ll have to unpack and re-pack all over again.

It can really become quite a headache!

When you make a list, you can create a rough draft, then come back to it and realize ‘oh, I actually don’t need X’ and cross it off. Or realize that ‘hm, I actually will need Y for X occasion on my trip’ so you can add that to your list.

A minimal packing list

Once you’ve created a packing list you’re happy with, I HIGHLY recommend creating a template out of that list!

You can do this by just creating a Word, Pages or Google Docs document, depending on what software you have available to you.

Or, you can use a checklist / to-do style app to create a packing list that you can reference on your phone again and again.

If you want to get fancy, you can create an entire packing “project” in a project management software like Asana, Hive, or Trello.

I personally use Asana, since it’s something I already use regularly for my business. The basic version is completely free!

You can even create multiple lists, such as “Summer Trip Packing List” vs. “Winter Trip Packing List” or “Camping Packing List” vs. “City Travel Packing List”.

2. Plan Out Outfits

One of the most common things that leads to overpacking is that we bring everything we might possibly wear instead of what we KNOW that we are going to wear.

I can totally understand the hesitation to limit ourselves. We want choice and freedom to pick out our outfit when we are on a trip. But, you can do this without bringing a ton of stuff!

The key is to bring pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to pick a color palette to stick with. Note that this does NOT have to be all neutrals! Most people think that minimalism has to be just black and white or neutral hues — and it’s understandable why because that’s how it’s often portrayed — but that does not have to be the case.

As long as you are selecting colors that can all be worn with each other, it will be easy to mix up the combinations and stick to a minimal packing list. This post has tips for creating a closet color palette.

Another thing to keep in mind is proportions and silhouettes. Try to pick styles of items that can be easily interchangeable within a category.

For example, maybe the silhouette you’re picking is flowy bottoms and more form-fitting tops. Then you could pack flowy skirts, shorts, and dresses while sticking to more fitted shirts and tops.

Alternatively, you could pack looser shirts and more form-fitting shorts, pants, skirts, and dresses. You get the idea!

3. Be Intentional About Footwear

Shoes tend to contribute the most to both space and weight in luggage so this is a good area to be extra vigilant about.

As a general rule of thumb for longer trips, pick out one pair for walking and getting active in, one comfortable non-performance pair for casual occasions, and one fancier pair for going out at night.

This could look like sneakers, sandals, and wedges for a warmer weather trip.

Or, hiking boots, riding boots, and booties for a cooler weather trip.

Of course, this will vary widely depending on the type of trip you’re going on! If you’re camping in the woods, you probably can leave out the fancier pair of shoes. 🙂

Versatile shoes from Munjoi for minimal packing

You can also look for multi-functional footwear.

These eco-friendly plant-based shoes from Munjoi can be converted into sneakers, slides, mules, or sandals!

These would be perfect for trips where the weather might vary throughout your time there.

This is also where it comes in handy to have a color palette. If your clothing is all in a similar color family (hues, tones, or shades), then it will be simpler to select footwear that can go with anything you’re packing.

4. Pack Versatile and Multi-Purpose Items

Something that helps a lot with making outfit combinations is choosing versatile pieces that can be worn multiple ways.

For example, basic tees, a denim jacket, or a pair of black pants are pieces that can be easily dressed up or down.

Or, pieces that can actually be worn multiple ways, like a reversible top, a dress that can also be styled as a skirt, or a button-up shirt that can also be worn unbuttoned or tied at the bottom.

Versatile shirt from Vetta for packing like a minimalist
a versatile shirt from Vetta

This tip also applies to toiletries! See if there are items that you can use for multiple functions.

I personally LOVE Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap because it can be diluted in different ways for very different purposes. You can use it as a facial cleanser, shampoo, makeup remover, body wash, laundry soap for hand washing, dish cleaner, and more.

Another idea is to find an all-purpose oil that’s both good for your hair and skin.

BB and CC creams like this one from 100% Pure (my favorite clean beauty brand!) are also versatile beauty products that can be your moisturizer, facial sunscreen, foundation — though they’re usually more like a light tint — and anti-aging cream.

Dr Bronners Castile Soap and 100% Pure BB Cream

And, you can get creative using items designed for one purpose in other ways.

One great example is using your conditioner as shaving cream as well!

5. Freshen Up Clothes On the Go

Another common reason for overpacking is packing extras of items in case they get dirty or smelly.

If you’re going on a longer term trip, a far more efficient way to prepare for this is to pack tools that will help you freshen up your clothes.

If you’ll have a washing machine at your destination or one of your locations, then packing a bit of natural laundry detergent might be a good idea.

You could even hand wash items if you don’t have an accessible washing machine.

But, if you don’t have a way to wash (or don’t want to spend the time washing clothes), there are also ways to freshen up clothes without washing them.

I have a guide to easy ways to get smells out of clothes without washing them. Of course not all of these ways will work on the go, but simply airing out your clothes before you put them back in your suitcase can help with faint odors.

You could also pack a miniature/travel-sized non-toxic air freshener spray.

6. Pack Fabrics That Won’t Stink!

Another thing to keep in mind is the TYPE of fabrics you’re packing. Some fabrics tend to start smelling faster than others.

Polyester has been found to hold on to smells the worst, while natural fabrics like cotton are a bit better, and wool is the best because it’s porous.

So, if you have merino wool, organic cotton, hemp, or linen clothing, that would be great to pack!

There are also specialized fabrics designed to minimize odors like SilverTech from Organic Basics.

Black loungewear set from Organic Basics

7. Pack Efficiently in Your Bags

This tip isn’t so much about how to pack less as it is about how to pack better.

Once you’ve minimized the number of items you’re bringing, you probably still want to pack them efficiently.

There are a number of folding techniques you can use to ensure your clothes take up the least amount of space possible. Lifehacker tested a bunch of different methods to see which ones worked best and found that a smart combination of various methods will lead to best results.

Bundle wrinkle-prone clothing, roll up other pieces of clothes to maximize space, use compression bags for bulkier items and throw in some packing cubes (these travel cubes are made from recycled polyester) to keep smaller items more organized.

8. Minimize Souvenirs

So, you’ve packed minimally on the way TO your vacation or adventure, but to make sure your luggage stays light on your way back, try to minimize or opt out of souvenirs.

The reason I say minimize instead of eliminate is because realistically, there may be a couple of really thoughtful items that you want to purchase as gifts or to commemorate your trip. And I don’t think that’s wrong — you don’t have to be extreme to be minimalist.

Of course, as a conscious lifestyle blogger, I’d advocate for only buying locally, sustainably, and ethically made pieces, and not those mass-manufactured souvenirs built to break.

You may see jewelry made with locally sourced natural materials by artisans in the community, for example. Or maybe there’s a neighborhood bakery with delicious treats you want to bring back home.

Something that may help is to set a budget or item allowance before your trip. This way, you can invest in something intentional without going overboard OR without feeling guilty!

In Summary

My top tips for minimal packing are to:

  1. Have a packing list
  2. Plan out smart outfits in advance
  3. Be very intentional about footwear
  4. Pack versatile and multi-purpose items
  5. Prepare to freshen up clothes on the go
  6. Pick fabrics that won’t stink
  7. Pack efficiently in your bags
  8. Minimize or avoid souvenirs

Are there any other tips you’d add to this list?

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12 Ethical, Eco Beach Towels & Picnic Blankets for Sustainable Summer Fun Wed, 08 Jul 2020 13:10:01 +0000 Splash into summer with these vibrantly hued organic, fair trade, and eco-frinedly beach towels & picnic blankets made with natural and/or recycled fibers.

The post 12 Ethical, Eco Beach Towels & Picnic Blankets for Sustainable Summer Fun appeared first on Conscious Life & Style.

Splash into summer with these ethically-made and eco-friendly beach towels and blankets perfect for picnicking and lounging by the pool or sea. There’s really nothing quite like a vibrant oversized towel or bright blanket to instantly put you into vacation mode and these conscious towels and blankets absolutely do that!

This guide features towels made responsibly with all-natural or recycled fibers towels — including many organic beach towels. Those that are not made with organic fibers have met high standards for ethics and are working to preserve traditional crafts at-risk of being lost to mass production and also support the livelihoods of craftspeople.

P.S. If you’re looking for bath towels, check out my guide to Organic Towels here!

Note that this guide includes affiliates and partners. As always, I only feature brands meeting high standards for ethics and environmental responsibility that I truly believe in.

1. Anaskela

Eco-Friendly Beach Towels from Anaskela

Anaskela creates vibrant and versatile towels for heading to the beach, the mountains, or on a camping trip in (sustainable!) style. Each eco-friendly travel towel — made from recycled PET bottles — is soft, absorbent, and lightweight, making it the ultimate accessory for warm-weather adventures.

And, for the outdoor enthusiast or beach lover on your gift list, Anaskela has adorable gift box sets!

Price Range: $39 – $64 (Gift Sets are $74+)

Check Out Anaskela

2. QuiQuattro

Colorful eco-friendly Turkish towels for the beach

Handwoven from 100% Turkish cotton on traditional looms by women in Turkey, QuiQuattro has exceptionally made, authentic Turkish towels. QuiQuattro’s vibrant and uniquely patterned towels are lightweight and absorbent, making them the perfect towels to use as a beach towel or wrap around like a sarong for a swimsuit cover-up.

This small-batch, women-owned brand operates with transparent practices (meet their artisans here!) and gives back, donating 10% of their profits to an educational fund for young girls in Turkey.

Price Range: $15 – $60

Use code CONSCIOUSLIFE15 for 15% off!

Check Out QuiQuattro’s Turkish Towels

3. Delilah Home

Organic cotton beach towels from Delilah Home

Organic home textiles brand Delilah Home has 100% organic cotton sunset beach towels and plush pool towels perfect for packing for your next trip to the the pool or beach. The luxe towels are made from long-staple Turkish cotton and are loomed into two ply, double loops. And with a high thread count and weight of over 400 grams (500 grams for the pool towels), these towels are thick, durable, and absorbent.

Delilah Home’s GOTS-certified organic towels are made responsibly in the brand’s family run factory in Portugal that pays above Fair Trade wages.

Price Range: $79.99

Use code CONSCIOUSSTYLE15 for 15% off!

Check Out Delilah Home’s Beach Towels and Plush Pool Towels

4. Coyuchi

Colorful striped organic beach towels from Coyuchi

Sustainable bedding and bath brand Coyuchi has oversized towels designed with bright splashy colors. Each towel is made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton that’s been grown and woven in Turkey.

Coyuchi’s line of eco-friendly beach towels have been specifically designed to be lightweight while also being ultra-absorbent, making them the ultimate sustainable beach accessory. 

Price Range: $68 – $98

Explore Coyuchi’s Organic Beach Towels

5. Nipomo

Eco-friendly picnic blankets with California-inspired colors and traditional Mexican patterns

Founded by a California-based mother and daughter duo with Mexican heritage, Nipomo creates blankets designed with Cali-inspired colors and patterns that are woven using traditional Mexican techniques.

All of Nipomo’s summer-y blankets are woven by skilled weavers in Central Mexico using upcycled yarn made from remnants left over by the garment industry. All weavers work in healthy, safe conditions and earn fair wages for their crafts. 

Each Nipomo blanket also comes with a vegetable-tanned leather strap for carrying it around to the beach, park, or wherever else your warm-weather adventures take you. 

Price: $86

Explore Nipomo’s Recycled Blankets on Made Trade

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6. Boll & Branch

Organic, Fair Trade and GOTS-certified beach towels

Boll & Branch’s medallion-printed eco-friendly beach towels are bound to put you in a vacation state of mind. Crafted from Fair Trade and GOTS-certified organic cotton and made in Fair Trade Certified factories, Boll & Branch’s towels meet some pretty exceptional standards.

And the standard for quality is just as high — the brand’s towels have an ultra-plush velour side for laying and lounging on and an absorbent terry cloth side to dry off with.

Price Range: $60 – $110

Explore Boll & Branch’s Organic Fair Trade Beach Towels

7. AnatoliCo

Artisan made Turkish towels for the beach

Woven with care by artisan families in Turkey using traditional techniques, AnatoliCo creates authentic high-quality Turkish towels. AnatoliCo’s all-natural 100% cotton towels (they do use conventional cotton) have designs that will bring in some laid-back Mediterranean vibes to your everyday life. All of AnatoliCo’s pieces are ethically made by master artisans.

AnatoliCo also has kaftans for the pool or beach and robes for lounging around your house — Mediterranean style.

Price: Towels start at $55

Explore AnatoliCo on Made Trade

8. Home & Loft

Ethically-made striped Turkish towels

Another brand with soft, expertly crafted Turkish towels is Home & Loft. All of the brand’s pieces are hand-loomed, handspun, and handwoven by skilled artisan weavers using traditional techniques that have been passed down generation after generation. Home & Loft towels are handcrafted slowly, ethically, and completely electricity-free in small batches in Istanbul, Turkey.

If you love the aesthetic of Home & Loft, they also have kaftans and tunics to wear as swimsuit coverups.

Price: $50

Explore Home & Loft on Made Trade

More Ethical and Eco-Friendly Beach Towel Brands

9. Sand CloudTurkish cotton towels, including some organic cotton options | Price: $47

10. Sustainable Travel StoreEco-friendly beach towels made from 50% regenerated cotton | Price: $40

11. The Tartan Blanket Co. – Recycled wool blankets with straps perfect for picnicking | Price: £75.00

12. West Elm – Absorbent beach towels made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton | Price: $30

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Munich Conscious City Guide: Sustainable Shops, Vegan Restaurants, and More Fri, 07 Dec 2018 18:12:42 +0000 A sustainable guide to Munich, Germany. Here are the eco and ethical fashion stores, vegan restaurants, and other conscious places.

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I must admit… I used to think Germany was all beer and bratwurst.

So it was quite a pleasant surprise during my first trip to Germany in April to discover how many conscious spots there are to see in German cities! There is no shortage of vegan cafés and restaurants or secondhand, Fair Trade, sustainable and ethical fashion stores.

And certainly Munich was no exception—in fact, Munich had some of the most exciting sustainable spots I’ve seen (including one very unexpected one, but more on that later.)

Here are the eco-friendly and ethical spots we visited during a two-day stop in Munich.


Ethical and Sustainable Stores


Manufactum locally made goods

While we originally just stopped in this store to find quick refuge from the cold, I was quickly impressed by the collection of goods in Manufactum. The store is dedicated to selling only the highest quality products, meaning what’s sold here is made from durable materials, made with high skill, and will outlive any trend.

And while buying long-lasting goods is a more sustainable approach to begin with, they also have a section dedicated to natural, eco-friendly and Fair Trade certified products as well.


Oxfam is widely recognized as a charity fighting for human rights around the world. What’s a little lesser known is that the nonprofit also sells ethical, sustainable goods to generate revenue that helps fund their work.

The UK-based charity has a couple locations in Munich with secondhand clothing, accessories, and books, along with a small curation of their Fair Trade chocolate and tea.


Freitag sustainable fashion store

Probably my favorite of the conscious spots we visited, Freitag is a sustainable fashion brand with bags and clothing for men and women. The Swiss brand uses recycled truck tarp for their bags, and a combination of linen and hemp for their clothing. I loved that they clearly communicated the sustainability of their products right in their store.

As you can see in the second image, they have a great image showing the circularity of their garment production. Freitag uses fabrics from nature to craft their clothes, and then once the consumer can no longer wear the clothing, they can compost it and return the garment back to nature. Fascinating, right?!

Vegan Restaurants and Cafés


Vegan restaurant in Munich

Schmeckerling is an adorable vegan restaurant we visited on our first day in Munich! They have a vegan brunch buffet (which is what we did) as well as a normal menu. The vegan spot sources organic, locally-grown, and Fair Trade ingredients as much as possible. And they have delicious smoothies—that come with a reusable metal straw!

Lost Weekend

Vegan cafe in Munich

Lost Weekend is a vegan café and coffee shop, working space, and small hub for cultural events. We had the coffee and cappuccino to drink and the white chocolate croissant and the sandwich with mushrooms to eat—and we loved it all. Even my boyfriend, who isn’t a vegetarian or vegan, really enjoyed the all-vegan breakfast here.


Viktualienmarkt is a daily, year-round market in the center of Munich. The market has over 100 shops with produce, baked goods, honey, flowers, plants, among other delicacies and essentials. It’s definitely a fun place to walk around, though we didn’t stay long since it was so cold the day we went!


This bakery is in the Viktualienmarkt. The bread looked delicious here, but we were full from lunch so we didn’t get anything. However, I wanted to still share it because it’s a very sustainability-minded company.

Hofpfisterei bakes natural bread without artificial additives or chemicals and operates completely carbon neutral. They also have a yearly sustainability report they publish. (Though, to be honest, I’m not sure what it says since it’s all in German!)


… and One Last (Unexpected) Conscious Spot

BMW Welt (BMW World)

A car showroom is a conscious spot to visit in Munich? (I told you it was unexpected!) Before you think I’ve gone crazy, let me explain.

BMW has an impressive amount of ultra fuel-efficient and electric-powered vehicles. (Of course they also have some gas guzzlers, too). And the BMW World showroom is an opportunity to see the most innovative electric vehicles and technology the automaker is developing, like a wireless charging station!

And you can ask one of their “geniuses” (a.k.a. customer representatives) for explanation on these battery technologies. I went with my boyfriend who’s studying mechanical engineering and an avid car fan, so he was my “genius” for the day!


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    Photojournal: Traveling to The Eibsee and Zugspitze in Germany Thu, 06 Dec 2018 03:10:37 +0000 A photojournal sharing images from our trip to the Eibsee and Zugspitze in Bavaria, Germany.

    The post Photojournal: Traveling to The Eibsee and Zugspitze in Germany appeared first on Conscious Life & Style.

    This is my first time doing this kind of thing—I usually focus on writing about fashion and travel more than the photography—but the scenery at the Eibsee and Zugspitze in Germany were just too stunning not to dedicate their own post to!

    I was honestly in awe when we got to the Eibsee. I had seen photos of the lake online, but I figured they were all edited images from professional photographers, so I kept my expectations in check. But wow! When we got there, the Eibsee exceeded all my expectations and then some. It was such a stunning landscape, and there weren’t many people visiting the area when we got there, so we got to truly soak in and experience all of the beauty this lovely lake had to offer.

    The Eibsee
    Eibsee Germany
    Eibsee Germany
    Eibsee Photojournal

    Right by the Eibsee is Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany. Seeing the mountain from below was pretty incredible and we got to savor these sights for quite a bit.

    Zugspitze Germany

    But being on top of the Zugspitze might have been my favorite experience of our entire trip, if not the year! Funnily enough, I almost didn’t even want to go up the mountain at all. The ticket for the train ride up the mountain was a very steep 50 euros. But after nearly half an hour of deliberation at the ticket center, we went ahead and splurged on the tickets! And I was sooooo glad we did. These views were unbeatable.

    Zugspitze Germany

    I’m from and still live in the Midwest of the United States, so I’m not used to being around mountainous areas and this was something quite different for me. But even my boyfriend Max, who’s surrounded by mountains where he lives and who has gone skiing quite a few times in Switzerland, was impressed.

    If you’re headed to southern Germany, definitely budget in 50 euros for this top-of-the-mountain experience. I’ve yet to see anything quite like it.

    Zugspitze Germany
    Zugspitze Mountain

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    Conscious in Lucerne: Ethical Fashion Shops and Sustainable Spots in the Swiss City Fri, 07 Sep 2018 21:24:32 +0000 A sustainable guide to Lucerne, Switzerland. Discover ethical fashion shops, sustainable things to do, and vegetarian, vegan and/or organic restaurants.

    The post Conscious in Lucerne: Ethical Fashion Shops and Sustainable Spots in the Swiss City appeared first on Conscious Life & Style.

    Lucerne (or Luzern as it’s spelled in Switzerland) is such a lovely city with beautiful sites, views, and plenty of conscious things to do! It’s a relatively small city, so we only spent a day here, but definitely plan on a return. Here’s what we did during our one day in the Swiss city:

    Places to See in Lucerne

    Kappelbrücke, or “Chapel Bridge” in English

    Probably the most iconic site in Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge. Many people walk across it, but it was pretty crowded when we went so we were perfectly happy just looking at the gorgeous structure!

    (In these photos, I’m wearing Fair Trade certified Athleta leggings and tank, Veja Wata canvas sneakers, and an old jacket I’ve had for a few years.)

    Things to do in Lucern Switzerland - Chapel Bridge

    Incredible Views

    With beautifully clear water and the mountains in the background, Lucerne makes for a lovely spot to just find a bench or other spot to sit and soak in the views! I easily could’ve spent all day just staring at this picture-perfect scene behind us if it wasn’t for my pale skin + a particularly sunny day.

    Lake Lucerne


    Ethical Fashion and Fair Trade Shops in Lucerne


    Starting off with my favorite spot, Changemaker is an all Fair Trade store with 7 locations around Switzerland, including Lucerne! They have two floors filled with beautiful, ethically made goods, including home decor, books, candles, accessories, chocolate, tea, books and much more.

    Fair Trade shop in Lucerne Switzerland

    Fair trade chocolate, home decor and other goods in Lucerne Switzerland


    G-Star Raw

    Mainstream denim brand G-Star Raw is going green! The brand has been working on their sustainability practices since 2006, and has made major headway in the past few years. They’ve joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, launched a range of denim with “EarthColors” that are colored with natural dyes from recycled plant waste, AND they released a Gold Level Cradle to Cradle-certified denim fabric. They’re also continually monitoring and improving their supply chain, ensuring facilities are safe spaces for their workers and the environment.

    G Star Sustainable Fashion in Lucerne Switzerland


    Revendo is a used and refurbished electronics store focusing on Apple and Android products. There’s no question that electronic waste is a massive issue, so it was nice to see this store with a commitment to helping reduce this waste, all while providing affordable electronics options to consumers. They have 7 stores across Switzerland, including this one below in Lucerne!

    Eco friendly store in Lucerne Switzerland


    Sustainable and Vegan Places to Eat and Drink in Lucerne

    Diechi Gelataria

    For a special mid-day treat, we stopped by Diechi. With a view of the Kappelbrücke (Chapel Bridge) and delicious flavors, I can highly recommend this spot! I had sorbetto – which has no diary – in a cone! According to their website, they do not use preservatives and work to include local and sustainably-sourced ingredients where possible.

    Vegan sorbet in Lucerne Switzerland

    More Restaurants

    We actually didn’t end up eating a full meal in Lucerne since we had a large breakfast in Interlaken that morning, but here are some vegan and vegetarian options we had researched:

    Blend Teahaus

    Blend Teahaus is a completely vegan and organic restaurant with lunch, dinner and oriental brunch on Sundays. And, of course, they serve a variety of teas from around the world.

    Karl’s Kraut

    Vegan, all-natural restaurant, Karl’s Kraut also serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. They also source local and seasonal ingredients, and avoid using additives or conventional industrial sugar.

    The “first healthy, and purely vegan restaurant in Lucerne”, Peacefood is a self-service spot for plant-based eats and treats.

    Sommer Café

    Located right outside of the Richard Wagner Museum, Sommer Café is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly spot open seasonally during… you guessed it: the summer!

    Crazy CupCake Café

    Crazy CupCake café is a cute spot with vegan brunch food, desserts, and ice cream.


    Tidbits is a buffet-style vegetarian and vegan restaurant with over 40 dishes to choose from. Additionally, all of their bread, pastries, eggs, and diary are organic.

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    Conscious in Chicago: Sustainable Shops, Restaurants, and More in the Second City Mon, 03 Sep 2018 15:02:18 +0000 A guide to sustainable restaurants, ethical fashion stores, Fair Trade coffee shops, eco-friendly things to do and green transit in Chicago.

    The post Conscious in Chicago: Sustainable Shops, Restaurants, and More in the Second City appeared first on Conscious Life & Style.

    If you’re planning a trip to Chicago (which is increasingly likely considering the city’s growing tourism numbers) and want to do it sustainably, this is the guide for you. I’ve listed out plenty of sustainable restaurants, stores for ethical fashion, green modes of transportation, and outdoor, eco-friendly things to do in the Midwestern hub.

    After living in three different neighborhoods in the city—Roger’s Park, Edgewater, and Gold Coast—and an hour outside of Chicago for the rest of my life, I’ve slowly but surely expanded my collection of favorite conscious spots I love.

    And now I’m sharing those all with you!

    I’ve also included the neighborhood that each spot is located below. As the 3rd largest city in the U.S., Chicago is quite a large, diverse area to explore so it can be overwhelming if this is your first time here. And of course, if you have any questions, always feel free to email me or DM me on Instagram!

    Ethical Fashion and Eco-Friendly Shops in Chicago

    Ethical fashion and sustainable eco-friendly stores in Chicago


    There are a LOT of secondhand shops around the city. And a quick online Ecosia search will tell you that! But here are my favorites among the bunch:

    Buffalo Exchange

    Neighborhood: Wicker Park

    This fun and eclectic secondhand shop has unique pieces for guys and gals. And it’s located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, Wicker Park!

    Crossroads Trading Co.

    Neighborhood: Wicker Park, Andersonville, and Lincoln Park

    Crossroads is a secondhand shop with a pretty strong collection of women’s and men’s clothing and accessories.

    Designer Resale of Chicago

    Neighborhood: Gold Coast

    Designer Resale of Chicago is a luxury consignment shop with a range of high-end designer goods. There are some pricier finds here, but if you look hard and long enough you may just find an incredible steal! (I got a St. John Knit’s skirt that was originally $400 for only 20 bucks from here!)

    Myopic Bookstore

    Neighborhood: Wicker Park

    This store is magical! With more than 70,000 used books in every category you can imagine, this is the place to go if you want some books to add to your reading list cheaply and sustainably.

    Ethical Fashion and Other Goods:

    The Shudio 

    Neighborhood: Pilsen

    The Shudio is a boutique in Pilsen with eco-conscious jewelry handcrafted locally in Chicago from vintage and recycled materials, unique, handmade cards, and natural, gender-neutral fragrances made with essential oils.

    Andersonville Galleria

    Neighborhood: Andersonville

    Andersonville Galleria hosts over 100 independent artisans in their space. This is a great spot to support locally-made goods in a convenient spot. The galleria is open 7 days a week.

    Milk Handmade

    Neighborhood: Andersonville

    Milk Handmade is a women’s boutique with handcrafted goods and pieces from independent designers. (Recommended to me on Instagram by Rebecca R.!)

    Dearborn Denim

    Neighborhoods: Andersonville and Hyde Park

    This denim brand makes all of their jeans right in Chicago and uses materials from the US—like Texas-grown cotton. (Also recommended by Rebecca!)

    North Shore Exchange

    Neighborhood: Downtown (Michigan Avenue)

    North Shore Exchange is a luxury consignment shop on Michigan Avenue that donates 100% of their profits to chartiy. They also have an online boutique if you want to shop from somewhere else in the world!

    Organic, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Chicago

    While known for our deep dish pizza and Chicago style hot dogs, there are also a growing number of vegan, vegetarian, and farm-to-table restaurants in the city.

    Organic, vegan, vegetarian, and farm to table restaurants in Chicago

    Chicago Raw

    Neighborhood: Gold Coast

    All vegan and all raw, this spot has healthier versions of all of your traditional favorites, like lasagne, burgers, and chocolate. The raw raviolis are really good, and they also have delicious smoothies!

    Uncommon Ground

    Neighborhoods: Lakeview and Edgewater

    As the first certified organic rooftop farm in the US and first organic brewery in Chicago, Uncommon Ground is leading the way for sustainable restaurants and bars. They’re open for brunch, lunch, and dinner.

    Chicago Diner

    Neighborhoods: Lakeview and Logan Square

    Since 1983, Chicago Diner has been serving meat-free cuisine at it’s traditional-style diner. They serve brunch, lunch, and dinner, plus some pretty incredible desserts, including their (rightfully) award-winning vegan milkshakes.

    Original Soul Vegetarian

    Neighborhood: Park Manor

    Just as it sounds, this restaurant has your typical Southern soul food in vegetarian form. Their menu of comfort foods include items like meat-free chicken wings and burgers. (Haven’t been here myself, but it sounds delicious!)

    Le Pain Quotidien

    Neighborhoods: Downtown (on Michigan Avenue), Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, West Loop and Old Town

    My favorite spot for brunch in the city! Le Pain has fresh, delicious pastries, dishes, and drinks made with fresh and many organic ingredients. The international chain also has a few vegan options on the menu.

    Farmhouse Chicago

    Neighborhood: River North (they also have a “Farm Bar” located in Lakeview)

    Farmhouse Chicago sources their ingredients sustainably and locally in the Midwest. The brunch, lunch, and dinner spot is much more approachable than a typical farm-to-table style restaurant.

    The Kitchen

    Neighborhood: River North

    The Kitchen is a beautiful, chic restaurant using organic, sustainably-sourced and local ingredients in their fresh dishes. If you’re making a stop during a warmer time of year, request a table outside overlooking the Chicago River.

    Blue Door Kitchen & Garden

    Neighborhood: Gold Coast

    This Gold Coast spot is a farm-to-table restaurant focused on seasonal, sustainably-sourced ingredients. Blue Door Kitchen & Garden serves lunch and dinner, plus weekend brunch. If you’re in Chicago during the warmer weather months, definitely request to sit outside—they have a gorgeous garden seating area!


    Neighborhood: River North

    Ema is a Mediterranean restaurant with fresh, fine cuisine. They have a good variety of vegetarian and even vegan options. (Recommended by @tediusandbrief on Instagram! I’ve also been to Ema, and can vouch that it’s absolutely delicious!)

    Bad Hunter

    Neighborhood: West Loop

    Bad Hunter is a veg-forward, high-end restaurant with absolutely delectable dishes. One of my favorite dinner spots in the city. (Just note that although they have many vegetarian options, it’s not all vegetarian, so just confirm with your waiter/waitress when you order that the dish you’d like is meat-free if you are a vegetarian!)

    Frontera Grill

    Neighborhood: River North

    Frontera Grill is an award-winning Mexican restaurant by Top Chef, Rick Bayless. They source many local, seasonal ingredients, they compost, and the building is LEED certified. While there aren’t a lot of meat-free choices on the menu, I did have two vegetarian dishes here that were incredible!

    For a complete list of restaurants that source farm fresh, local ingredients check out Chicago Farm & Table.

    Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Shops and Cafés in Chicago

    Organic and Fair Trade coffee in Chicago

    Intelligentsia Coffee Bar

    Neighborhoods: Old Town, Wicker Park, Logan Square, South Loop, Lakeview, and Downtown (by Millennium Park)

    Intelligentsia is a Chicago-based roaster and coffee shop chain that purchases their coffee beans direct from their growers. (No middlemen means more money in the pockets of the coffee bean farmers!)

    Lula Cafe

    Neighborhood: Logan Square

    A cute, yet sophisticated café with many local farm-fresh ingredients and plenty of vegetarian options. (Haven’t been here yet, but I’ve heard amazing things about it!)

    Metropolis Coffee Company

    Neighborhood: Edgewater 

    USDA organic and Fair Trade certified, Metropolis Coffee Comapany is dedicated to serving ethical, sustainable and high-quality coffee! Their café in Edgewater is super cozy, and often filled with students from nearby Loyola University (my alma mater!). Metropolis also sells their coffee in many other cafés and restaurants around the city that you can find here.

    Sawada Coffee

    Neighborhood: West Loop

    Small coffee shop with matcha and espresso drinks with beautiful latte art. They have dairy-free options like soy and almond milk. (Another spot recommended by @tediusandbrief!)

    Outdoor Things To Do and Places to Go in Chicago

    Urban vacations don’t usually correlate with outdoor activities, but with more than 8,300 acres of green space, nearly 600 parks, 70 nature and bird sanctuaries, and 29 beaches, there’s certainly plenty to do outside in Chicago! (Assuming that it’s not winter and there isn’t a blizzard with 10 inches of snowfall!)


    Millennium Park

    As one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the United States, you’ve likely heard about and seen photos of this iconic park. But trust me, it’s still worth a visit! I’ve been there upwards of 30-40 times and still find it’s beauty breathtaking. (Just be advised that there will be large crowds on the weekends, so try to plan to check it out Monday – Thursday if possible.)

    Sustainable things to do in Chicago - Millennium Park

    Grant Park

    Just a few steps away from Millennium Park, you’ll find another gorgeous–and slightly less crowded—green space, Grant Park. This is a really lovely spot to explore during the spring and summer when the flowers have bloomed!

    The 606/Bloomington Trail

    Set along an abandoned rail line, the 606 is newly restored and renovated park with nearly 3 miles of recreational trail and open green space.

    Lincoln Park

    This area encompasses nearly 7 miles of lakeshore and includes the Lincoln Park Cultural Center and the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which is a beautiful (and completely free) space filled with exotic plants. There are also paths for walking and biking in the area.

    Garfield Park Conservatory

    A conservatory I’ve been meaning to take a trip to for a while now, this spot includes 2 acres of green space under glass and 10 acres outside. They also host interesting events such as a bee demo and composting workshop.


    Despite being known more for its blizzards than beaches, Chicago is actually a great city for laying on the sand.

    There are 29 beaches along Lake Michigan to choose from in the city. Some popular beaches with amenities (like restrooms, kayak rentals, beachside bars, etc.) are Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach, Montrose Beach, and Ohio Street Beach. For a more quiet, out of the way spot, Loyola Beach is worth checking out.

    Chicago sustainable things to do - beaches

    Chicago Riverwalk

    The Chicago Riverwalk is my favorite place to walk along after work or place to hang out on the weekends. The mile-long path along the Chicago River has restaurants, bars, boat tours and kayak rentals. I highly recommend City Winery for enjoying a glass of wine by the water.


    One of the best parts of being in the city during the summer (besides the rooftop bars) is the Grant Park Music Festival – a FREE series of outdoor concerts June through August. And these aren’t just any old concerts, they feature leading classical vocalists and instrumentalists in the city. (Including my Aunt who’s a singer with the Chicago Symphony Chorus!)

    Getting Around with Sustainable Transportation in Chicago

    Great! So we have all of these fun things to do, stores to shop in, and restaurants to eat at… but how do we get to them? Here are three sustainable ways of getting around in the city.

    Sustainable transportation in Chicago

    Public Transit

    Chicago has a reliable and affordable public transit system with hundreds of bus routes and numerous L lines. “L” is the nickname for elevated trains—they run on tracks over the city like the photo above. You can buy an unlimited one-day pass for $10 and a one-week pass for $28 through the Ventra vending machines available at the various train stops. (Note: These passes are NOT sold on the buses.)

    You can find schedules and transit times here on Chicago Transit Authority’s website. Google Maps also generally has pretty accurate times and navigation for getting around on Chicago buses and trains.

    And Chicago is one of the few American cities with a convenient train system from the airports. If you’re getting in from Midway Airport, take the orange line, and if you’re getting in from O’Hare International Airport, take the blue line. It’s only $5 to get anywhere you want to go in the city from the airports, and just $2.50 to get anywhere from the city to the airports.


    With 303 miles of bike lanes in the city, Chicago is also pretty biker-friendly. But no need to haul your bike over, there’s a popular rental system throughout the city, called Divvy. Bike rentals are $3 for a trip or $15 for a day. While you may be a bit nervous to ride through a city you’re unfamiliar with, there are 19 miles of bike path right along Lake Michigan.


    And of course, if it’s nice weather, Chicago is a beautiful city to walk through. I still discover little gems when I decide to take the “long route” and walk instead of riding the train or bus.

    Do you have any questions about your trip to Chicago? Any places you’ve been that you think should be added in the list? Let me know in a comment below or DM me on Instagram!

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    The Conscious Style Guide to NYC

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    The Conscious Style Travel Guide to NYC Tue, 24 Jul 2018 02:36:07 +0000 Explore New York City consciously with this sustainable city guide to the best green shops, restaurants, bars, and sites to visit in the big apple.

    The post The Conscious Style Travel Guide to NYC appeared first on Conscious Life & Style.

    The city of high fashion, corporate America, and miles of concrete may not necessarily conjure up thoughts of conscious travel…

    However, the city also has a big sustainability scene, with plenty of ethical shops, green initiatives, slow food restaurants, vegan bakeries and the like. I especially noticed the availability of Fair Trade & organic coffee options and the farm-to-table dining spots!

    During the week my boyfriend and I spend in New York City, we came across quite a few photo-worthy and review-worthy spots. So without further ado, here are my highlights from our trip. I hope that this list of of the conscious places we saw and activities we did, along with the sustainable-minded places we dined and sipped at will give you some ideas for your trip to NYC!

    Sustainable guide to New York City

    Ethical Fashion Shops

    Probably one of the first things you think of when you hear NYC is fashion (just me?). The number of stores in New York is pretty staggering and I was happy to see quite a few ethical fashion storefronts here too. We didn’t dedicate a ton of time to shopping in New York since there were so many other things we wanted to do in a short period of time, but here were a few of the sustainable shops we paid a visit to:

    Reformation (SoHo, Lower East Side, LES)

    This Los Angeles-based sustainable fashion brand has been on my must-visit stores to shop at for quite some time. So needless to say, I was stoked to go to one of their locations and try on a few pieces. The experience was a bit disappointing — nothing ended up working out well enough and the customer service felt more off-putting than welcoming. Turns out many people have reported similar experiences.

    Reformation shop review

    Allbirds (SoHo)

    Albirds is a shoe brand making sneakers out of natural materials. And with their claim that they have “the world’s most comfortable shoes”, we had to give them a try. While I can’t say I’ve tried on all the shoes in the world, their sneakers were definitely the comfiest I’ve ever put my feet into! I decided to not make any purchases here because I have enough sneakers at the moment, but Allbirds will be my go-to brand when I do need a pair. (note: these are made with wool, so if you’re looking for vegan shoes, check out my guide to 14 vegan, eco, and ethically made shoes.)

    Restaurants & Bars

    Westville (West Village, East Village, Dumbo, Chelsea, Hudson and Wall Street locations)

    Westville was my favorite restaurant that we went to! They had plenty of vegetarian options and some vegan options too.. I chose from a variety of vegetables and tofu, along with some sparkling rosé! We went to the one in Dumbo, and there are quite a few Westville locations throughout the city as well.

    Westville New York City

    Superiority Burger (East Village)

    Okay so going beyond the unassuming exterior, this veggie burger spot definitely had one of the best meat-free patties I’ve ever had. I ordered their original “Superiority Burger”, which was delicious, but a bit smaller than I was expecting. If you’re hungry and want to make a full meal out of this spot, I recommend ordering the “Mega Mouth”.

    Superiority vegetarian and vegan burgers

    Narcissca (East Village)

    Narcissa is a New American restaurant with seasonal items from their own farm in Hudson Valley. A bit on the pricier end, but worth it if you’re looking to splurge on some high-quality, fresh, and unique food. Their garden seating is beautiful, so be sure to request an outdoor table if you head there during the warmer months.

    Narcissa farm to table restaurant NYC

    Sadelles (SoHo)

    Sadelle’s is ranked as one of NYC’s best brunch and bagel spots by a few media outlets and is highly rated online, so we decided to give this spot a try. Unfortunately it’s not super vegetarian-friendly, but the food is good and the interior is gorgeous!

    Rosemary’s (West Village)

    Italian cuisine from fresh ingredients from their own rooftop garden? I was immediately sold on this restaurant the second I read their “About” page! We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the wine was absolutely incredible.

    Rosemary's farm-to-table dining NYC

    Goodseed (Midtown)

    The fast-casual salad spot makes for a quick and healthy bite if you’re walking around Manhattan. Nothing super special, but my salad there was good. They do have a few vegetarian options.

    Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company (Astoria, Chelsea)

    We heard this was the best spot in NYC to grab a bagel, so obviously this was one of the first stops on our trip! I don’t have a ton of others to compare to, but the bagels were definitely delicious. It was pretty easy to go vegetarian here, but I don’t believe there were vegan options.

    Cafés, Smoothies & Sweets

    Van Leeuwen Ice Cream & Vegan Ice Cream (Numerous locations around NYC)

    Van Leeuwen’s was easily one of my favorite stops in NYC!  They have dairy and vegan choices made from coconut milk. I opted for their vegan “Planet Earth” flavor both times we stopped by this artisan ice cream shop.

    Vegan ice cream new york

    Dunwell Doughnuts (East Williamsburg, Lower East Side)

    Dunwell is New York City’s first all-vegan doughnut shop and it’s definitely clear they’ve mastered their craft! Loved the cute shop they had and the variety of flavors offered. Since most doughnut shops just have a couple vegan options (if that), this is definitely the spot for vegan breakfast pastry lovers.

    Grounded Coffee House (West Village)

    Grounded Coffee House is a chill and café with organic and Fair Trade options. I loved the calm vibe here and all of the plants they had in the sitting area!

    Joe & The Juice (Numerous locations in Manhattan area)

    This juice and smoothie spot is global but they have quite a few locations in NYC. To be honest, I mostly went here for the free, reliable WiFi, but the smoothies and juices looked really good too.


    So these spots aren’t necessarily sustainable, but I wanted to include them because make for a really fun way to spend the night out in the city…

    St. Cloud (Midtown)

    Living in Chicago, the main skyscraper-type sites of New York City are relatively similar. So, we opted out of the going to the top of the Empire State Building or other observatories. However, one can never tire of rooftop bars! And with a view of Times Square and an ultra-chic lounge, St. Cloud hit the mark. (Well, minus the sky-high prices… but what can you expect at a rooftop bar in the heart of NYC?!)

    rooftop bars NYC

    Left – Top of the Strand. Right – St. Cloud

    Top of the Strand (Midtown)

    Top of the Strand is another rooftop bar in Midtown with some seriously sweet views. You can have a look straight out at the Empire State Building from the bar at this spot. I enjoyed our view (and the lack of crowds!) at 6pm, but I imagine the experience goes up a notch at night when the buildings are lit up.

    Dear Irving (Gramercy)

    This speakeasy has a stunning interior, top-notch cocktails, and best of all… reusable metal straws! This was the first bar I’ve seen completely switch over to reusable straws. I definitely could not keep my cool and was was way too excited about a straw for how chic this spot was. But hey, we gotta celebrate the small wins, right?!


    Designing Waste Exhibit

    Designing Waste was a fascinating exhibit that we stumbled upon while we were heading to Washington Square Park. The spot immediately caught my eye so we headed in, and to our surprise, the exhibit was completely free!

    The project from the Center for Architecture was all about the structural changes that will be required in order to meet New York City’s goal to become zero waste by 2030. Essentially, the goal is that by having the proper waste infrastructure, the right items will be sent to recycling and compost facilities instead of ending up in the landfill. There’s a lot to learn here so stop by if you’ll be in NYC before September 1st when the exhibit closes!

    Zero Waste Exhibit New York City

    Central Park

    And saving the best for last… I have to profess my love for Central Park! I actually didn’t have super high expectations—how great can some trees in the middle of a huge city be? Well, I was definitely wrong. On the outskirts it’s (obviously) filled with plenty of people, but once you get far enough in, it feels as if you’ve been transported to a completely different world. It was a pleasant surprise to find such tranquility amongst all the hustle and bustle. It really made me wish that Chicago had a park of this size!

    Eco Conscious Luggage

    Do you have any conscious NYC recommendations to add? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram!

    You may also want to check out:

    Can Air Travel Ever Be Green? 9 Ways to Fly More Consciously

    Vegan, Vegetarian, and Organic Restaurants in Paris

    When in Rome, Be A Responsible Traveler

    Luggage for the Conscious Traveler

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    Luggage for the Conscious Traveler: Samsonite® ECO-Glide Review Fri, 13 Jul 2018 15:42:17 +0000 Samonsite's eco-friendly luggage is ultra-light, functional, and durable. This post takes a deeper look at the brand's line of sustainable recycled luggage.

    The post Luggage for the Conscious Traveler: Samsonite® ECO-Glide Review appeared first on Conscious Life & Style.

    Travel is my favorite way to spend my time—exploring diverse cultures, meeting new people, trying out unique foods, seeing the area’s special sites.

    But travel can have a hefty price tag for our planet. Which is why I’m always trying to discover ways to travel more consciously, such as working to minimize the impact of flying, being a responsible traveler in tourist-ridden areas, and making smart packing choices.

    Next on my list? I’m shifting to more sustainable travel products when it’s time to replace what I have.

    So, when I learned that Samsonite had a new line of suitcases made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, I was thrilled. (Note: this post is sponsored, but as always, I only share brands and products I believe in, and all opinions are my own!)

    Eco Conscious Luggage

    There’s no question that a suitcase is pretty much a must when traveling for longer periods of time, so to have an eco-conscious option to choose from is HUGE!

    Using fabric made from recycled plastic bottles means that producing these suitcases requires fewer new resources.

    It also means that all of those plastic bottles getting recycled are getting put to good use! Finding ways to use discarded plastic bottles is increasingly important as the demand continues to grow worldwide. A recent figure estimated that 1 million plastic bottles are bought every single minute.

    So, this new eco Samsonite line, ECO-Glide, can have a massive impact on the travel and retail industries.

    After all, the luggage industry is worth over $31B USD and Samsonite is nearly 10% of that market—pretty major, huh? [Source]

    Okay so it’s clear that this collection is a good move for the environment. What’s more, though, is that these suitcases are functional too!

    luggage made from recycled plastic bottles

    “Green” products sometimes get a bad rap on quality, but after carrying this baby around, I can tell you that this ECO-Glide bag beats any other suitcase I’ve used.

    • The pockets were smartly designed and placed on the suitcase to accommodate for a variety of items in different sizes and weights. I could put my necklaces in the smaller pockets, socks in mesh pockets and a pair of nice shoes in the side slots.
    • Super lightweight. The suitcases in this collection have a wrap-around frame design which means that these bags are light as a feather. Lighter on the earth and lighter for me to carry around… pretty nice!
    • Well-designed wheels means that I never had to tip the bag on two wheels and could always roll it around next to me on all four wheels. I’ve had other suitcases that have claimed this feature, but this one definitely does it best.
    • The hidden expansion system. My boyfriend and I packed 10 days worth of stuff for both of us—heavy shoes and all—in this bag when we went to NYC and I was kind of nervous about having enough room. I needed professional work clothing and plenty of casual outfits since unfortunately it was super hot the week we went and we didn’t have a washing machine, so I didn’t plan to re-wear too much. (Though, I still did adopt many of my minimal packing strategies that I used in Paris!)

    Clearly, I’m both impressed by and excited about the future of this line.

    Eco-conscious + high-quality, useful and functional is the perfect match in my mind. It means that not only the product was produced responsibly, but also, I’ll need to buy fewer things and be a responsible consumer because I’m getting an item that will last a long time.

    I’m looking forward to using this suitcase for the years to come and definitely anxious to see this eco-friendly collection expand, making the luggage industry more sustainable suitcase by suitcase!

    Check Out Samsonite’s ECO-Glide collection at Bed Bath & Beyond.

    The post Luggage for the Conscious Traveler: Samsonite® ECO-Glide Review appeared first on Conscious Life & Style.

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