We have started to really dig deep into finding small businesses to partner with that have a similar social mission as EllieFunDay - empower women, create positive change in the world, and curate quality products. We are so proud to have crossed paths with Prosperity Candle to bring you EllieFunDay’s first candle, Nuit (night). Each one is carefully hand-poured and wrapped with extra care by women refugees resettled in the US. We received our first shipment last week and they are just beautiful! Read on and learn more about how Prosperity Candle was birthed from our interview with co-founder Ted Barber.
What inspired you to start Prosperity Candle?
We were friends and colleagues working to alleviate poverty in developing countries. Over time, we had grown frustrated by the gap between building people's capacity to escape poverty and actually doing so. That gap was an absence of economic opportunity and sustainable impact. We started getting together to share ideas and spent two years developing the model for Prosperity Candle. Along the way had some profoundly bad ideas, but we knew we wanted to approach it from the private sector to force ourselves to be 100% market-based which we believed would lead to more sustainable impact. We also wanted the opportunity to be highly scalable - easy to grow - to enable people to not just survive but truly thrive. We chose to focus on women entrepreneurs because they are often the least supported yet best investment. We made the crazy decision to launch in a war zone (Baghdad in 2009) where few others were willing or able to go, which added to the complexity. Candle-making is one of the very few handmade products that fit all of our criteria: it can start in the safety of the home and it is a consumable product used in every country of the world, with both local and global markets. Most importantly, candle-making is a highly scalable business enabling an entrepreneur to prosper with low investment in equipment. That was the initial inspiration. Subsequently, we were in Northern Rwanda working with a women's cooperative. We looked around the room at the faces of women who were eager to change their lives, who wanted to reliably put food on the table and send their children to school. It was clear to us the women needed real opportunity that could enable them to thrive. That was when we decided to launch and dedicate ourselves fully to our social enterprise - Prosperity Candle. For more info, you can read our story.
Before Prosperity Candle was born, did you have previous experience with candle making?
We had zero experience whatsoever in candle-making. When we finally hit upon candles as the solution, we ran home and ordered a cheap kit from Amazon. It arrived 4 days later and started creating our first candles in the kitchen. We really saw the potential for candle-making to help women and families lift themselves out of poverty. With more molds, one could easily scale up to produce dozens, even hundreds of candles a day.
We immediately signed up for a weekend workshop and drove to Quakertown, Pennsylvania to learn the craft, then set about creating a business-in-a-box that could be shipped anywhere in the world, complete with training manual translated into Arabic. It was a commercial grade version of that first kit we purchased online.
What is your proudest moment so far? What has been your biggest challenge?
We launched our pilot project in 2009 at a time when violence was a daily occurrence in Baghdad, with 5 Iraqi women who then trained 40 more. A year later, after enduring endless naysayers and doubters, we drove a U-Haul van to Queens, NY to receive and inspect the first candles - and the only consumer product - shipped from Iraq to the U.S. There were 4,500 pillars handmade in Baghdad kitchens, each labeled with the name of the woman candle-maker. They were beautiful. That was our proudest and most emotional moment... we kept saying aloud "from their hands to ours."
What has been your biggest challenge?
Identifying our biggest challenge is not as easy given there have been so many. Raising start-up capital was impossible as no one thought Prosperity Candle was a good idea. Selling candles handmade by Iraqi women in 2010 was a marketing conundrum given feelings about the war. Perhaps the biggest challenge, though, has been resisting pressure to water down our social impact goals that prioritize positive change over everything else. When things were tough and there were resources available if you were willing to modify your values, that is when staying true to your mission is toughest. We never gave in.
How many refugee women have you hired to date? How large is the current team?
A year after we launched Prosperity Candle, one of our most enthusiastic supporters encouraged us to find a way to have a local impact as well as an international one. At first we were skeptical since our focus was on working with women in war zones. But we explored the possibilities and learned that many of the refugees in our valley had been relocated from conflict countries through UN and federal programs. This is when we decided to open a small candle studio next to our office with the idea of developing product concepts for overseas programs. Then we received a call from eBay who wanted 350 custom candles for an event at their corporate headquarters... designed, approved, produced and shipped within a week. It wasn't something we could do overseas, so we quickly reorganized the studio for production and delivered on time. That was when we recognized that we could work with women both in and from conflict regions, offering candles and gifts handmade by women refugees recently relocated to the U.S. The team in our Massachusetts studio is usually 3-6 women at a time. To date, 17 have come to work with us, and typically it is their first employment.
Can you share the story of one of the ladies currently working at Prosperity Candle?
Like all of us, they have their most and least favorite scents.... it's always fun when an order goes up on the board. Every scent generates a range of reactions, from happy smiles to crinkled noses - fragrance is such a personal thing. But it's all with banter and laughter about who likes what and why. Sai Aye joined us in 2015 after living for 11 years in a refugee camp. She's Burmese and spent the first 10 years of her life moving from village to village to escape the Myanmar military and search for food, shelter and safety. She just gave birth a few months ago to her second daughter, Rose, and hopes someday to be able to visit her parents and siblings who are still in the refugee camp. Sai loves our holiday Blue Fir & Spice scent for reasons she can't explain. You can also read the stories of some of the other women Moo Kho, Naw, and Htoo.
What is your favorite scent?
My favorite scent changes with the seasons, and every year I think our fragrances are more complex and interesting. My current favorite is Grapefruit & White Floral, which has a gentle citrus base blended with lily, peony, geranium and rose on top of notes of amber and musk. It's somehow relaxing and invigorating at the same time. In the summer I love a fresh scent like Pacific Ocean that is like a seaside breeze, and in the fall I'm always drawn to our Chai Tea with its cinnamon and clove.
You can support this mission by purchasing our NUIT candle HERE.
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Our dear friend, Janine Crum is a momma of 3 (all EFD models!) has so graciously concocted for us her special essential oil recipes for keeping your babies healthy and you sane. She’s struggled with postpartum depression and has seen some amazing benefits to using essential oils for her entire family. We’re also partnering with her to giveaway some of this amazing goodness along with one of our lovies. Check it out below!
Hi friends, Janine here! I’ve got some fun and easy tips and tricks to share with you that will help keep your whole family happy and healthy during these long winter days. A couple of years ago, we started incorporating essential oils into our daily routine and they’ve made a huge difference in our quality of life. They’re keeping our babies from catching every little bug going around, helping them calm down and sleep better at night, and they’ve also helped me and my husband stay happy and healthy, too. Basically, I think it’s safe to say we have a pretty strong obsession with them over here in our house, so I can’t wait to tell you all about what we’ve been doing, I know you’re going to love it!
A really simple way to get the happy and healthy benefits of essential oils is to make these adorable, portable, rollers.
THE COLD BUSTER & MAMA SOOTHER :
HEALTHY MAMA + HEALTHY KIDDO ESSENTIAL OIL ROLLERS
(Purchase Essential Oils here)
Simply add desired Essential Oils to empty glass roller bottles and top with fractionated coconut oil. Add a cute label and apply to feet morning and night for immune support.
Because essential oils benefit our bodies most when they’re used on a consistent basis, having rollers like these on hand helps us apply our oils quickly and easily every single day to give our bodies the support they need.
First, we have to take care of Mama so she can take care of her babies. To make my ultimate Healthy Mama roller, you simply add 10 drops of Thieves Essential Oil and 10 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil to an empty roller bottle. Then simply fill up the bottle with Fractionated Coconut Oil, add a cute label, and you’re all set to go! I like to roll this on my feet when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed at night to keep my body in tip top shape.
Thieves is a powerful blend of Clove, Cinnamon, Lemon, Rosemary, and Eucalyptus Radiata essential oils that is specifically designed to support the immune system. Since Thieves is such a powerful blend of oils, we generally don’t use it on anyone under 2 years old, but I’ve got a special recipe to share with you that is gentle enough for a baby!
Our Healthy Kiddo roller is perfect for your little ones who are under the age of 2 as it harnesses the power and versatility of two gentle giants in the essential oil world: Lavender and Frankincense. We apply this roller on our kiddos’ feet and spine before bed each night. For newborns we only put 1 drop Lavender Essential Oil and 1 drop Frankincense Essential Oil in an empty roller bottle and fill it the rest of the way with fractionated coconut oil. For 6 months and up, we do 3 drops each of Lavender and Frankincense Essential Oil and fill the roller with Fractionated Coconut Oil.
Another one of my absolute favorite, favorite ways to use essential oils to keep our baby happy is to spray her Lovie with our Lovie Spray. This spray is simple to make and Young Living’s Therapeutic Grade Lavender and Frankincense Essential Oils not only relax your sweet one (so they’ll be in a good mood and able to fall asleep easily), but smell divine and supports baby’s tiny immune system as well!
Stress Away Spray
(purchase Essential Oils here)
Simply add your essential oils to a glass spray bottle with a teaspoon of witch hazel. Fill with distilled or filtered water, swirl ingredients together, and spray! Scent will last 1-2 days on fabric with regular use.
All you do is add 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil and 10 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil to a 2 ounce spray bottle for baby or 20 drops of Stress Away Essential Oil for mama, along with a teaspoon of Organic Witch Hazel. Then fill the bottle with filtered or distilled water almost to the top, gently swirling the ingredients together. Spray and enjoy! Since oil and water don’t mix well, the Witch Hazel acts as an emulsifier to help distribute the oil through the water.
I also love using this spray on our pillows before bedtime, on my Goddess Swaddle, and in the bedroom or bathroom as a room freshener as well! (The scent and therapeutic benefits will last on fabric for a day or two with regular use.)
There are endless ways to use essential oils to support our bodies. These simple ideas are just scratching the surface, and I’d love to chat with you about how to begin incorporating oils into your life! I’ll be posting more great ideas for you on my website and you can also follow me on Instagram!
Giveaway for one lucky winner! : one EllieFunDay lovie, one 5 ml Bottle of Gentle Baby Essential Oil and a Necklace Diffuser from For the Love
3 Ways to enter this giveaway:
1. Click on this link and enter in your information. You’ll also be rewarded with a little gift from each of us! (15% off EllieFunDay’s website!)
3. Share with a friend for more entries.
Contest ends Friday, February 3rd at 8pm PST.
Please note that this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook.Read More >
1. nomad packable hat, $250 / 2. loup slims coat, $133 / 3. bedford dress, $270 / 4. cognac alden peep-toe booties, $249 / 5. ruth geo block earrings, $48 / 6. urban chic scarf, $35 / 7. star charm bracelet, $169 / 8. nail lacquer, $18 / 9. colour block clutch, $55 / 10. sailor gloves, $25
1. yosemite shirt, $125 / 2. gold vario + black strap watch, $249 / 3. debar wool vest, $158 / 4. v-10 bmesh silver grey pierre, $105 / 5. wool socks, $28 / 6. autopoint mechanical pencil, $12 / 7. canvas backpack, $174 / 8. ceramic flask, $92 / 9. briefcase barbecue, $375Read More >
1. picnic basket, $52 / 2. coral burst plateau basket, $60 / 3. geo vacuum thermal jug, $90 / 4. adia planter, $65 / 5. diy modern yarn hanging, free / 6. mille feuille blanket, $118 / 7. glass juicer, $39 / 8. weather station, $79 / 9. wildflower honey, $29 / 10. modern bee-hive swarm box, $110
1. fox needle-point kit, $20 / 2. comet kite, $42 / 3. nativity kokeshi set, $80 / 4. paper ice creams, $18 / 5. opinel le petit chef knife set, $49 / 6. organic cat hat, $28 / 7. planets long sleeve, $39 / 8. wooden camera, $52 / 9. magnetic car blocks, $38 / 10. abc with imagination, $34Read More >
I love the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Mainly because I get to eat all things delicious and not have to worry about buying presents or rushing around. (and I can commence listening to all of my favorite Christmas songs...which you can listen here!) I get to be with the people I love with all of my favorite foods. To start off the holiday season, I really love to decorate and making a wreath has always been my favorite because before anyone enters your home they already get a sense of welcome!
This would also be a perfect housewarming gift that is easily made in less than one hour. All of the supplies can be found at your local craft store and the greenery at a your grocery store or even ordered online.
14" Embroidery Hoop
Eucalyptus is a common filler you can find at your local grocery store or even foraged in your neighborhood. The frosted moss, pinecones and foliage I found at my local Michaels. The Silver Brunia is a little harder to find unless you find a florist that will sell it as I learned it's indigenous to New Zealand! Some alternatives would be white tallow berries. I like heading to California Flower Shippers for the most varieties.
Before starting you'll want to trim your foliage down to about 14" to keep them manageable. You'll trim off the excess as you add them to your wreath.
You'll start with your Eucalyptus Gunnii branches. I like to start with laying out the branches to get an idea of the balance and shape of the overall wreath. The key to this wreath is actually it's simplicity and letting the foliage stand out alone as opposed to densely packing it. I'm going with a slightly assymmetrical look where the left side will be carrying a bit more visual weight.
With your wire cutter, clip off about 10" of the floral wire and wrap your Eucalyptus branches to the embroidery hoop. Allow some of the leaves to hang loose.
Now take your seeded eucalyptus branches and use them to fill the gaps. It doesn't take much to make it work. The key to this wreath is "less is more".
Take a couple of your pinecones to create a visual focus. I like to match a large one with a smaller one for some variations. Cut some pieces of your floral wire and wrap them to your embroidery hoop. Then choose a nice bunch of the silver brunia (or other pale colored berries) to fill in the gaps.
Next take your cotton twill tape and cut off enough to hang at the right height for your door and then double it. I use a simple cow-hitch knot and thread my tape through the center gap of the embroidery hoop.
And there you have it! It's as simple as can be and will also dry beautifully if you'd like to have it for the entire year! I think that adding some gold leaves or sparkle will definitely give it a nice holiday feel to them! The variations are endless. I'd love to see what you guys do to yours. Tag us @elliefunday #modernwreath
For more holiday inspiration check out my Pinterest Board. I can't wait to see what everyone makes.
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We know all of you mamas and papas are busy and don't have time for elaborate Halloween costumes. So we thought we would share with you an easy way to turn our bear, bunny and cat hats into the cutest Halloween costumes ever. All you need is a color printer, scotch tape and scissors. (the rest of the accessories, you are free to add yourself!)
Hello Kitty was one of my favorite cats growing up as a child. (I had a serious Sanrio obsession and would collect tons of stickers and erasers!) To complete the look with our Cat Hat, dress your little in pink or blue overalls with a striped shirt and you're good to go! Click here to download the Hello Kitty DIY Halloween costume.
Pooh Bear is too adorable, especially when his milk bottle is converted into a HUNNY pot! Add a red onsie (Colored Organics makes a great one) with our Bear Hat and you're set to go with this easy Halloween Costume. Click here to download the Pooh Bear DIY Halloween costume.
Even time won't stand still for this adorable White Rabbit. Make this Halloween a memorable one with this easy White Rabbit Costume. With our Bunny Cap, this costume is sure to please even those in a hurry!
Click here to download the White Rabbit DIY Halloween costume. Don't forget to tag us with your photos #elliefunday #halloween. We can't wait to see all the littles in these adorable outfits!
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Hey folks! It’s Davina here, and I’m back to share some tips I’ve followed during my last few pregnancies (yes, we are expecting a third: a baby girl this time!). I have to admit, dressing a growing bump can be rather frustrating when you already have the challenges that come with being pregnant, but it doesn’t have to be a chore! And just because you have a new “accessory” to dress, doesn’t mean you’re confined to a potato sack bag. Sure, there are days when the thought of getting dressed in the morning can cause you to shrink back under the covers, especially during the final months, but it is a temporary challenge. I have put together some tips that have helped me get dressed (currently still) each morning. I hope that you will find some of these tips helpful!
Many maternity tops involve a ton of loose, flowing fabric, which tends to overemphasize your bump in an unflattering way. The key is to flaunt the bump without causing you to look or feel larger than life. Try to keep one part of your outfit fitted if another part tends to be looser.
Example: Boho-style blouse over pencil skirt or a fitted top paired with a flowing skirt
There is no need to avoid prints or stripes completely when you’re pregnant, and prints keep your outfits from looking drab! The cut and fit should matter more than the prints themselves. However, try to keep the prints on top, while keeping the rest of your outfit simple and solid.
Swedish-based company Boob (most appropriate), sells ethically and sustainably sourced clothing for pregnant and nursing mothers. On their website, you can find tons of adorable basics and undergarments for use during and after your pregnancy.
This is a no-brainer, as we all know that black tends to slim, and white tends to magnify! Before you decide to go all Goth or NYC Fashion Editor during your pregnancy, look into other colors such as neutrals, army greens, rust colors and grays. A monochromatic look works too!
After having a decline in wardrobe options from your closet as your bump grows, look to accessories (like the Goddess Swaddle) to help prevent you from feeling like you are wearing a uniform. Play with various printed scarves (vintage stores are a great place to score some for inexpensive prices!), unique jewelry pieces, playful sunglasses, etc. But at the same time, try not to overdo it; or risk looking like a one-woman-circus!
You can never go wrong with Soko jewelry, and their beautifully made pieces. I especially love the unique take on these hoop brass earrings. Each piece is lovingly made by a woman in a developing country.
Like accessories, statement pieces help make an outfit stand out without feeling like you are stuck in a wardrobe rut. Have fun with your bags and shoes, because you can never outgrow those (with the exception of widening or swelling feet towards the end of your pregnancy)! Depending on how comfortable you feel on your feet, heels do not necessarily need to be banned. Low block heels and wedges are comfortable options when you are tired of wearing sneakers and Birks all day. And if you’re bold enough to wear high heeled stilettos, more power to you! Just be sure to use caution, as pregnant women are notorious for having a lack of balance.
Union & Fifth is a great site that sells gently used luxury items for less. All purchases go towards a selected charity—upcycle and do good all in one purchase.
Unless you plan on having more children, you probably won’t be wearing much of your maternity clothes post-pregnancy (but they do come in handy as you wait for your belly to return to a decent size ^^). With that in mind, try not to go all out in buying an entire new wardrobe for the span of your pregnancy. And if you’re like me, you probably won’t want to touch the clothes you wore during pregnancy after you’re through with them!
Mommy + Baby consignment stores do exist! The first one I stumbled upon was Chloe’s Closet in San Francisco, and I found out they have a few other locations in the Bay Area. They mainly specialize in pre-loved books, toys and clothing for children, but there is also a good-sized maternity section that also includes nursing covers! A trip to your local thrift shop may also allow you to score some finds perfect for maternity wear. I am also very thankful to have other Mamas in my life who have handed down their maternity clothes to me, which is a huge blessing.
Depending on which stage of pregnancy you are in, you can probably get away with wearing what you already own (at least for a certain amount of time). Purchase a belly band to wear over your jeans, skirts and shorts, or use the ole’ hair-tie through the button hole trick to hold your jeans together until it’s time to purchase a pair of maternity pants. Clothing made with light, stretchy materials are more forgiving and flexible, so take advantage of those pieces.
Above all else, try to remember that you are carrying a real living being inside of your belly, which isn't an everyday occurrence-- so wear it proudly and enjoy this stage while you can!Read More >
When I was in primary school, my mom would hide notes in my lunch with encouraging quotes for me to share with my friends. With the new school year already here, what better way to show your children you miss and love them than with quirky notes in their lunch boxes?
Here is a FREE printable PDF of six encouragements and two blanks for you to write your own personal message to your loved ones! Simply print, cut along the dotted lines, and sneak it in a lunch box (or two!) for them to find.
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photo by Amelia Fullarton
We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Courtney Adamo from Babyccino, who sold most of her family’s belongings and decided hit the road for a year. Her family of six has been traveling the world since 2015, fully submerging themselves in the city’s cultures and customs. Below are several questions we’ve asked her:
What inspired you to take a year off traveling with your family?
A family gap year is something I’ve wanted to do since I was young. I have always loved the idea of traveling with our children and introducing them to different people, places and cultures. I’ve also always been attracted to a simple, bohemian lifestyle – barefoot children and carefree adventures. After twelve years in London, with our eldest turning ten, we felt like it was the right time to take a year off and to explore different parts of the world, hoping it would inspire a different way of life moving forward. We welcomed a slower pace of life, and hoped this year of travel would open up opportunities to find a new place to settle.
photos by Courtney Adamo
What has been the greatest joy in traveling with your kids?
Spending all this time with the kids and Michael has been the greatest joy. Time was a huge motivating factor in taking this journey. Kids grow so quickly and modern life is so busy that it’s easy to miss vast swaths of their childhoods. Having this time together as a family has allowed us to really understand the kids individually and to connect to them in a deeper way. Homeschooling, though challenging some days, is also incredibly rewarding. It has allowed us to get to know our kids as students and to understand how they each learn.
And of course there is the travel. We have learned so much during the past eight months, and it has only just whetted our appetite for travel. The world is so big and the differences between countries are so great that we just want to experience and learn more. When you travel between countries in South America, for example, and see the differences in the people, in their language, their homes, their traditions and their landscapes, things start to make sense in a bigger picture way. We see people enjoying simpler lifestyles, making more of less, and that has provided inspiration for our lives.
photos by Courtney Adamo
What has been the hardest part of traveling with them?
Being with the children every single second of the day can have its downsides. Apart from trying to squeeze in 20 minutes of yoga in the morning (or on the beach while they’re playing), I have hardly had any time to myself. And Michael and I have only had one date night in the past eight months! We are literally always all together! This means that if one of us is in a grumpy mood, it affects all of us. Or if it’s been raining a lot and we’re all cooped up inside together, it can feel quite cramped. We try to have perspective on these ‘grumpy’ days though -- it’s not easy, even for a three year-old, to spend every waking second with five other people. I think we would all benefit from a few hours of alone time here and there, but it’s just not always possible.
Our journey with homeschooling has also had some challenges along the way. Our eldest, Easton, has responded really well to being taught by his dad, but Quin and Ivy, both great students in the classroom, have been difficult to teach at home. It’s also challenging to teach three students at the same time when their levels are so different and they each have different areas of need. We’re slowly getting the hang of it though and it has been extremely rewarding to watch them learn and progress. I would even dare to say that their progress has been more noticeable than any other year in traditional school!
photos by Courtney Adamo
What is one piece of advice you would give to parents traveling with young children?
Just do it! Don’t overthink it. Don’t overpack. Don’t worry about what you’re leaving behind or what you might need while you’re away.
In terms of planning, we found it helpful to stick to a theme. Ours was ‘follow the sun’ (from the northern hemisphere south and back again). This insured a year of warm weather and outdoor activities. We also decided to favour rural/quiet places over cities and to stay in each place as long as we were able -- usually around 3 weeks.
Nothing feels better than relaxing by the beach on a beautiful summer day. Below is a curated list of nine essential (and ethically conscious!) items for the perfect day at the beach: