Thrifts and Tangles | Las Vegas Sustainable Fashion & Lifestyle Blog
I'm Tyler, a Las Vegas lifestyle blogger. In my spare time, you'll find me second-hand shopping at Savers, playing the card game Super Fight, or laying down watching Bob's Burgers. Over the years, I've developed an obsession with natural hair. I've also developed an obsession with thrift shopping. This blog is a collection of both my thrifts and my tangles.
Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between ethical and sustainable fashion? Or what is fast-fashion and why is it so bad? These were questions I asked myself at the beginning of my conscious consumer journey. Let’s dive into what I like to call the Ethical Fashion Dictionary.
To be conscious is to be deliberate, intentional and aware; to be a consumer is to be a person who purchased goods and services for personal use. Quite literally a conscious consumer is a person who is intentional in their purchases.
According to Jaya Ramchandani, “A conscious consumer is an agent of change who considers the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of their buycott and boycott actions.“
Conscious consumers ask important questions like: Who made this item? What resources were used to make this? How did this item impact local communities and the environment?
Eco (short for ecology) examines how plants and animals interact with the environment. Eco-friendly fashion means clothing that causes little or no harm to the environment.
According to STEP, “Eco-fashion also considers the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry.“
Some examples of eco-friendly fashion are items made from organic/raw natural materials (i.e. cotton, linen, hemp) or recycled materials; items made with plant-based dyes; items produced with little water.
Ethical fashion focuses on the social and environmental impacts throughout a garment’s lifespan. Basically, fashion and morals combined.
According to Allison Calabrese, ethical fashion considers “…the people, animals, and plants who live in the area and do not necessarily work at the factory or mill but, are still impacted by it. The ethical treatment of workers and the local community.”
Ethical fashion can be thought of as an umbrella term which consists of eco-friendly fashion, fair trade fashion, sustainable fashion, and slow-fashion.
Fair Trade Fashion
Fair Trade Fashion supports income sustainability, economic empowerment, and community wellbeing for farmers, workers, and their communities.
According to People Tree, “Fair Trade fashion is fashion created with a goal of empowering marginalized people while paying them a fair wage and ensuring fair working conditions.“
Trendy fashion that is being created quickly and inexpensively.
According to Will Kenton, “Fast fashion” is a term used by fashion retailers to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends…Today, it is not uncommon for fast-fashion retailers to introduce new products multiple times in a single week to stay on-trend.
In order to keep costs low to meet consumer demand, fast-fashion companies use cheap materials, cheap manufacturing (chemical dyes, improper disposal of waste), and cheap labor. Also, the items are often not designed to last very long.
The opposite of fast-fashion. Shopping for quality, long-lasting, timeless pieces and slowing down consumption.
According to Emilia Wik, “Slow fashion is also about returning to a personal relationship with fashion. One where trends and seasons don’t matter, but where your ethics and aesthetics seamlessly unite, and you can escape the stress of constant consumption, focusing on the style that truly appeals to you.“
The slow fashion movement focuses on shifting consumers’ mindsets from quantity to quality. It is making a long term commitment to the clothes we buy, opting to repair worn items instead of replacing them.
Similar to eco-fashion, sustainable fashion is focused on causing little or no harm to the environment. Long-term efforts towards sustaining the environment.
According to Rueen Amiriara, “Sustainable Fashion’ can be defined as a system in which supply, production, and consumption of fashion products have been designed in a way that ensures environmental, social and economic sustainability.“
Sustainable fashion companies are committed to reducing carbon emissions, landfill waste, and/or water consumption levels.
Saturday was my first time ever really shopping at a farmers’ market I have driven by or quickly walked past farmers’ markets in the past, but I’ve never actually bought anything or really even browsed for that matter.
The idea of shopping at a farmers’ market has always intimidated me. I wasn’t really sure how to buy things, who to talk to, what questions to ask, etc. Basically, my experience at the farmers’ market is what I imagine people who don’t enjoy thrifting feel like when entering a thrift store…OVERWHELMED.
Luckily, my new friend Savannahis a master farmersmarketer (similar to thrifter…I don’t think this phrase will catch on). She showed me the ropes and showed me how easy shopping at the farmers’ market can be.
Here’s what I bought from the Pasadena Farmers’ Market
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I talked to the farmer and he told me that these eggs were only one day old. My boyfriend boiled some for breakfast one morning and I scrambled some and they were freaking delicious! Him and I both agree that we are going to try to eat more farm fresh eggs. They were so fluffy and flavorful. In case you’re wondering, I paid $5.50 for a flat of 20.
The nice thing about shopping at the farmers’ market is the fact that the fruits and veggies do not have any unnecessary (wasteful) stickers placed onto them. I was so happy to place these sticker-free, nectarines into my Reusable Produce Bag *.
I paid $2 for 3 for these organic white nectarines. These bad boys were the juiciest nectarines I’ve ever eaten. I would have bought more, but I was running low on cash by the time I came across these.
My boyfriend and I love broccoli, so I bought 3 crowns for $5. We haven’t eaten these yet, but I am planning on steaming some tonight. Check back next week for my thoughts on the brocolli.
What is your favorite thing to buy at the farmers’ market?
Shirt Gifted from Remake | Skirt – $5 from Savers Thrift Store
Okay guys, I am freaking out because I was featured on one of my favorite podcasts recently. My friend, Barbara Lee, the host of the sustainability podcast, Trash Talking With Eco-Warriors, invited me to speak about my experience as a thrift shopper. I was super flattered by her invitation and super nervous as well since this was my first time ever being interviewed!
At first, I felt doubtful in this space of sustainability and questioned whether I was worth interviewing about this subject. I even suggested that she interview someone else because I felt like an amateur in this space. Luckily, Barbara is freaking amazing and convinced me to share my voice and my story. So although I was nervous, I sucked it up and did the interview anyway.
When the interview was over I felt doubtful…and even worse, when the interview came out, I was too afraid to listen to it. My cousin is actually the one who convinced me to listen to the podcast episode. And guess what?! It was actually good! I couldn’t believe the crazy things I told myself. I was so nervous and so doubtful that I failed to realize that I KNOW what I’m talking about. I belong in this sustainable space and my voice deserves to be heard. And if I know anything, I KNOW thrifting! It’s so weird the things we tell ourselves and try to talk ourselves out of.
Overall, I’m glad this experience happened and glad I shared my story. The podcast episode covers my thrifting background, sustainable swap ideas, and helpful thrifting tips. I want to take the time to say if any of you feel like you’re not worthy enough or your perspective isn’t helpful and interesting, just know that none of those things are true. You are important. You are worthy. Your voice matters! <3
Some of the Thrift Shopping Tips Shared in This Episode:
Press play to listen to the podcast episode
Use Yelp to search for the best thrift stores in your area
Bring a friend to help you pick out items
Don’t believe the stigma that thrifting is “dirty”
Don’t dig through the racks, instead browse down the aisles until something catches your eyes
Thank you so much Trash Talking with Eco Warriors for having me on the show!
I’m so excited to be sharing this girly’s hair journey with you on the blog today. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mallory (aka MJ), she is an amazing lifestyle blogger based in Las Vegas. Her blog, Life By MJ, shares her journey of being a millennial mother, a curly-haired fashionista, a food enthusiast, and everything in between.
In her Curl File interview, MJ shares her journey of how she learned to love her curls, even though they weren’t the “bouncy, large, flowy” curls she envisioned.
Photo Taken: December 2018
1A) Please introduce yourself
Hey everyone! My name is Mallory Hank-Johnson but around the internet I’m known as @LifeByMJ. I’m a millennial wife and mother trying to live my life as real, authentic and peaceful as possible by honoring the highs and lows of my journey. You can follow my life on my blog, LifeByMJ.com and on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest under @LifeByMJ.
1) How long have you been natural?
I have been relaxer-free since 2003 and I stopped exclusively straightening my hair in 2010.
2) What made you decide to go natural?
I wish I could say I had a revelation of wanting to be more natural but that is far from the truth. Honestly, I just got tired of going to the salon and having to get a relaxer. I was always one of those girls who would go a few weeks to months without a touch up so eventually one day I told my stylist I’d rather get my hair straightened via the hot comb and flat iron.
Now the latter wasn’t a great idea for my hair at all. To maintain my hair I felt I had to hit it with a flat iron almost daily and get it professionally straightened at least every 2-3 weeks. Washing it myself never really happened as straightening it myself was never as good as the salon. Basically, I traded chemicals for heat and my hair suffered, especially when I attempted to go blonde. Thankfully short hair was the look around this time (a la Victoria Beckham and Rihanna).
I started noticing a curl pattern around 2007-2008ish but my curls were completely heat damaged plus the mass array of products available now didn’t exist. Still, I played around with my damaged curls, sporting a fro hawk for the better part of 2009 but still straightening my hair often.
Finally, in 2010, I started wearing what resembled an afro, although my hair was cut for a straight haircut. It was uneven and the shape was terrible but by this time I really wanted to “go natural” as it was building momentum with products like Miss Jessie’s, Carol’s Daughter and DevaCurl hitting the marketing.
On April 2010, I stopped exclusively straightening my hair after meeting my future husband and him telling me he preferred my hair curly. He was the first man that said he liked my crazy hair and I haven’t turned back since.
3) Did you do the big chop or did you transition?
My first time around I did not do a big chop but I knew if I wanted a better shape to my hair I would need to get it cut. So I essentially rocked my damaged curls for a bit and then got a shape in 2011. I found a curly hair stylist in town and she cut it WAY short, much shorter than I preferred but it definitely provided me with a great foundation.
4) What was the hardest part of going natural in the beginning?
The hardest thing with going natural in the beginning was my texture and the evolution of it. In the beginning, it was very damaged so it was loose and would barely hold a curl. As it grew out, it was two different curls, from root to end. When I cut off the damaged ends, I really didn’t know how to handle [or how to] style my more kinky texture. It was also not the texture I envisioned. I wanted bouncy, large, flowy curls whereas my hair was strong, dense and stood up. It was hard getting used to it especially after coming from straight “neat” hair.
Photo Taken: 2010
5) Did you care what others would think about your hair? Do you still care?
I totally cared what others thought about my hair early on. Hair is such a big part of a human’s identification so drastically changing it, especially texture-wise, is huge especially for those who have known you for a long time.
Now, I really don’t care what people think of my hair. I love my hair for me and no one else because it’s the way God and nature intended it to grow out of my head.
6) How did others react to your hair in the beginning? How do they react now?
I remember early on I had a boss who asked me if I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. I felt so self-conscious already and then for him to say that made me feel worse. Additionally, I had family members suggest that I wear my hair straight so it [would] look “neater”.
Now people love my hair. Most compliment how wild and curly it is and the bigger the better.
7) Have you faced any struggles from being natural in school or in the workplace?
I definitely faced having a rude boss as well as even customers just reaching out and trying to touch my hair without asking. It’s just something you don’t get used to. I’m not a dog so I definitely don’t want to be petted!
8) What is your current hair regimen?
I typically wash my hair in a wash and go. I shampoo it each time I wash it as I use silicones on my hair from a heat protectant as well as purple shampoo to keep my hair an ash color and remove any yellow. I also deep condition my hair at least once a week due to my bleached hair to help increase the integrity of it. Once I’m done, I rinse my hair with cold water to seal the moisture and cuticle of my hair. I then twist the top of my hair and ring out any excess water. I don’t use a towel or t-shirt because I need water to help style my hair. I also don’t detangle my hair in the shower as I prefer to do it while applying my leave-in. My leave-in has awesome slip and helps get the job done with the use of a Tangle Teezer. I shingle my hair for definition which means I section and apply product on my hair.
Once I’m done with all that, depending on my time, I will either air dry or I will sit under my hooded dryer. When my hair is at least 80% dry, I then stretch my curls with my blow dryer using the diffuser or just the nozzle attachment. I make sure to stretch at the root to keep my ends curled. This helps increase my length significantly as I have super curly texture and my shrinkage is incredible. Stretching my hair also allows me to shape my hair.
To maintain my shape I get a cut every 3-4 months. At night I place my hair in a pineapple using a hair band or a satin scrunchie and cover my hair with a satin bonnet. In the mornings I shake out the pineapple and refresh my hair with a mix of water, hair milks, and manipulate the shape with my hands or with a wide tooth comb (like a hair pick). Sometimes I will use oils such as coconut to add more moisture but usually not.
Photo Taken: January 2019
10) What is your favorite hairstyle?
While my go-to style is a wash and go, I love wearing my hair in space buns. I sometimes feel too old to wear it this way but it’s such a fun and playful look.
11) What is your hair motto?
Treat your hair like silk. I haven’t always listened to myself but curly hair is super fragile and deserves to be treated gently and kindly like your favorite silk piece: low heat, simple cleaning, and it’ll be smooth to the touch.
12) What’s the best part about being natural? What is the hardest part?
The best part of being natural is the ability to do so many styles. You can do anything: curly, straight, wavy, you name it. The hardest part is that it takes SO long for my curls to dry. Seriously if they could dry faster, I think that could make things so much easier.
13) What tips or advice would you give others that are starting their journey or thinking about starting?
PATIENCE and being open to the fact your curly hair won’t be anything like your straight hair. Know that your curly hair will likely grow out and down, not just down like straight hair. It will feel and seem “messy” and “undone” at first, but the sooner you let go of those ideas of what you think “regular” and “neat” should look like, the sooner you will embrace what nature blessed you with. Lastly, have fun! Curly hair is so unique. Embrace it!
What was your favorite part about MJ’s hair journey?
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this crop top has made so many appearances on my page. I just love how simple and versatile it is.
Usually I wear this top with high-waisted jeans, but since it’s spring, I figured, why not wear it with a cute little skirt? I thrifted this skirt a while ago, but this is my first time wearing it (mainly because it is so prone to wrinkles).
This outfit was entirely thrifted. The crop top from Savers Thrift store was $4, the skirt from Savers was ~$4, and the bracelet from Thred Up was $4.80. I’m always psyched when my outfit comes out to under $20. Woot woot!
Recently, I read a post by Bethany Paige Austin listing all of the ways she has not been completely ethical on her conscious living journey. I think it’s important for those of us trying to make strides toward living a more conscious lifestyle to acknowledge our shortcomings so we can figure out ways to improve on them. I know being a 100% ethical consumer is almost impossible, but making the attempt towards living a more ethical lifestyle is what’s important. So even though I’m on this conscious living journey, I am still human.
Here are 5 ways I’ve failed at conscious living:
1. I am a meat-eater
Yes, I know that the meat industry is a major contributor to our environmental problems and there are many much-needed improvements that need to be made regarding the overproduction of meat. But I think moderation is key when it comes to eating meat, therefore, I aim to adjust my diet to include more meatless meals throughout the week.
2. Sometimes I use plastic produce bags
I’m guilty of using the single-use plastic produce bags at the grocery store. I avoid using these bags for some produce, but the thought of my apple or cucumber touching the grocery cart freaks me out. One of these days I’m going to attend a local farmers market where I can buy produce from a local farmer and not deal with this dilemma. I also need to get better about carrying my reusable produce bag.
3. My wardrobe is not completely ethical
I did a wardrobe breakdown and it turns out that a good amount of my wardrobe is not actually thrifted or ethical. This includes mostly undies and socks. But luckily I have since found ethical places to shop for these items for my future purchases.
4. I quit fast-fashion but not fast-food
I am a sucker for In-N-Out and the Hat, which creates a lot of waste. From the plastic straws to the paper bags and single-use condiments. I am making an effort to eat out less, especially because eating out is what contributes to probably the majority of my waste.
5. I drive pretty often
My city is not very walkable and I do not have anyone to carpool with. Driving is not very eco-friendly, especially when there is only one passenger in the car. I am getting better about walking when things are not too far.
How can you improve on living a more conscious lifestyle?
Last weekend I went thrift shopping at Goodwill in Pasadena, California. I came home with this super cute off the shoulder top by the brand Kamiseta that cost a total of $3.99! Gotta love Goodwill for their super affordable pricing.
I love this top because of the pattern. For those of you who don’t know, I am a sucker for stripes and floral prints. So the fact that this shirt has both of those things is a win. I also really like the style of this shirt.
The best thing about this shirt is that it still had its original tags attached! I love finding items that are still new at the thrift store. The original cost of this shirt was $30.00. I got it for 80% off the original price! *Happy Dances*
To keep with the spring vibes, I paired this shirt with my Levi’s jeans from Savers Thrift Store ($6.00), Shoe Dazzle shoes from Savers (~$8), necklace from Veteran’s Village ($1), and bracelet from Thred Up ($4.80).
This will be one of my go-to outfits for the spring and summer, although as it gets hotter, I’ll probably swap the jeans out for a pair of white or denim shorts.
One of my favorite restaurants since moving to Southern California has been the Dive SKC. They are a Cajun inspired restaurant located in Temple City, CA. We are regulars here and visit literally once a week. It’s sad because we were considered regulars, BEFORE my boyfriend even moved to SoCal.
The style of food served here is steam kettle cooking. For anyone who has been to Vegas, think Palace Station Oyster Bar (but personally, I like the Dive SKC better). My boyfriend and I always order the chowder fries and the house pan roast.
The chowder fries are deliciously seasoned french fries covered in clam chowder, topped with onions, tomatoes, and bacon.
The house pan roast (our absolute favorite) is what I describe to be a tomato based gumbo; filled with lobster, crab, mussels, clams, and shrimp. We prefer to order it with a high spice level, but my tummy can’t handle it, so we have been settling for medium spice lately.
This place is one of our favorites. If you’re ever in Cali, I suggest giving this place a shot. The staff is awesome and the food is super tasty.