Category: Travels

Buy an Item; Save the World

Fish and Cars“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.” — Pearl S. Buck

Outer Beauty + Inner Beauty

As a consumer, I attempt to shop consciously. I purposefully avoid spending money at companies that exploit and/or violate the human rights of mankind to make a dime. Thus, I was happy to meet a number of social entrepreneurs at Magic Marketplace in Las Vegas, Nevada whom have started something that matters – and allow you to save the world, one item at a time.

I truly believe that their products will allow you to show your outer beauty, as you will feel wonderful wearing their comfortable, beautiful creations, while, at the same time, empower your inner beauty to shine, as you are saving the world just by purchasing their products – by choosing to be part of something that matters.

1.   José Alejandro Flores, Founder & Jimmy Flores, Marketing, VOS Flips.

José and Jimmy both intended to attend a panel on social media at Magic Marketplace, where we accidentally met. Thinking that they were from the Silicon Valley, I asked, “Are you from San Jose?” No, they are not from San Jose! From Texas and with the motto of “afford to care,” VOS Flips creates soft and comfortable flip-flops made out of genuine rubber from Hevea Brasiliensis (natural rubber trees in Guatemala).

VOS Flips allows you, the consumer, to change the world, to care about the world around you, to make your world a better place. In fact, VOS means “you” throughout Central and South Africa. Thus, you are empowered to make a difference – by simply purchasing a pair of flip-flop.

VOS Flips saves the world not only by aligning with the United Nation Global Compact in its business practices, but it also cares by building on site schools in its sourcing community, providing educational supplies, establishing its first health clinic and of course, making sure everyone’s feet is happy.

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(A pair of 
VOS Flips)

Providing School Supplies
(Source, VOS Flips, providing school supplies).

Educationd
(Source, VOS Flips, educating children in the community)

2.   Christian and Steven Cremer, Founders, B Frog.

I asked Christian and Steven the meaning behind “B Frog” when I first met the brothers at Magic Marketplace. In the Mayan culture, frogs are a symbol of good luck. Therefore, “B Frog” means “Be Lucky.” I was lucky to have gained deeper insights into the company, as Christian perfectly arranged the positioning of each piece of clothing for a photograph, proudly displaying his creation.

Because the brothers desire to mix contemporary designs with traditional textiles and fabrics from around the world, they launched first with traditional Mayan handmade textiles as they were born and raised in Guatemala. And the apparels are nice. I would wear a B Frog polo with dashes of the colorful and silky fabric of the Mayan culture in the pocket details – for work or for play. And I would be proud that by purchasing this polo shirt, I am vicariously giving back to the community, as Christian and Steven were inspired to care after reading “Start Something that Matters” by TOMS’ founder, Blake Mycoskie.

With a motto of “You Buy We Give,” B Frog provides fifteen (15) meals to children in need for every product sold. And the company provides the meals directly to the children in Guatemala, a country where one of every two children under the age of six suffers from chronic malnutrition, one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. It implements a School Feeding Program that delivers meals with high nutritional value along with training and supervision for its staff. It asks us to “B Caring!”

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(Polo and Bag – B Frog)

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(Christian at its B Frog Booth, Magic Marketplace)

B CARING (8)
(Source: B Frog, Christian and Steven in B Frog shirts, providing meals to children)

B CARING (12)
(Source: B Frog, Christian and Steven in B Frog shirts, with the children in the community)

3.   Steven Weinreb, Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer, Civic Duty

The sneakers at Civic Duty stood out among millions of shoes at Magic Marketplace crying for attention.  Not only are they cool, they are made out of Tyvek – a lightweight, waterproof and recyclable material. I carefully studied a pair of the Civic Duty sneakers: comfortable, light and durable.

But beyond the shoes is a man who cares about the world we live in.  I could sense Steven’s passion as our conversation led to a discussion on the pursuit of the things we love.  Every year, Civic Duty, with a motto of “conspire to inspire,” designs an exclusive shoe for an American social cause and donates 100% of its profits to the charity.

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(Sneakers – Civic Duty)

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(Steven at the Civic Duty Booth at Magic Marketplace)

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(This year, Civic Duty donates 100% of the profits from the sale of this pair of shoes to Common Ground Relief)

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

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Stories | Exploring Magic Marketplace

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I drove hundreds of miles passing farmland, windmills and Joshua trees to be part of the press for Magic Marketplace held in Las Vegas, Nevada last week. It was a writer’s dream. No, it was this blogger’s dream. And it exceeded every ounce of my imagination. These are my stories:

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From almost a block away, the term “confidence comes from within” captured my attention. I stepped toward the poster; introduced myself and told the company about my blog.  According to yummie by Heather Thomson, confidence is “about more than knowing you look your best, it’s about feeling that way too. You need to feel free to move, to breathe, to run to your next activity, to get their attention at work, or to dance the night away.” I completely agree.

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Pink roses are always soft and pretty, just like these dresses from La Mouette. The company designs beautiful dresses for sizes 12 – 28. I love the smooth and soft jersey materials combined with the simple yet sophisticated cut. And I am proud that this company creates dresses as pretty as the pink roses for plus sized women.

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This summer, I learned a lot about Minecraft, Gary’s Mod and Roblox from my nephew, whom spent one month with me.  I am still amazed by the wonderful creations of our children – the cities they built, the world they created, when given the pixels to do so.  When I found Jinx, I thought my nephew would love this company. Not only did he love this photograph, he wanted to know where he could find this Minecraft cardboard Enderman head.

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I woke up early every day to Magic Marketplace, excited. After interviewing a few merchants and absorbing the design of a number of brands and after my pair of Jimmy Choo wedge sandal has cut into the skin of my feet on the second day, I stopped at Saxx Underwear for resting. The folks at Saxx were hospitable – They charged my out-of-battery iPhone; told me the story behind the invention; even gave me a sample of the underwear. I felt at home.

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“I like your dress,” Sarah, the designer of Paradigm Shift Jewelry said to me.  “Anthropologie,” I said. “I ended up wearing different things every day.” Like Michael and Sarah, pictured above, the question (after confirmation that you are attending Magic Marketplace) was: What should I wear? I brought five (5) pairs of comfortable shoes, a few dresses, two (2) pairs of jeans and a blazer. We laughed as we all agreed that we ended up dressing like ourselves, what made us happy, what made us feel good. That’s what matters, after all. ❤

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Folks were joking with me at the Art Skool Clothing booth, and there, I discovered that Anna got talents! She offered to cut a T-shirt for me. I was beyond thrilled. It was an act of kindness, a creation of wearable art, which I will cherish forever. Thank you!  ❤

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After cruising through jewelry and apparel, I stumbled upon Chase & Chloe branded shoes and met Grace Lim, its designer. I collected a few that I would wear with skinny jeans and romantic tops; spring dresses and pink cardigans; and cut-off jeans and v-neck tees. I love the beautiful colors, the cut outs, the contours. I was in heaven.

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It was 5:30p.m. on the last day of Magic Marketplace, and I was still strolling the shoes section as the merchants packed up to return home.  Amazonas Sandals eagerly introduced its shoes to me, allowing me to feel and bend its sandals. As I touched its sole, I imagined walking in the forest of South Africa, wearing a pair of green Columbia shorts and soft BCBG t-shirt, listening to lions roar in this pair of orange sandals. And I am truly grateful as this is the first pair of shoes given to me as a blogger. I feel “official” – a badge of honor. Thank you! ❤

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Lorena Saravia was the first booth I visited at Magic Marketplace. It was where my stories begin. It was where I found beautiful red dresses with the finest cut. It was where two beautiful women smiled at me, giving me permission to step into their world, imagine myself in their creations and step out to find many talented designers just like them, each unique, each beautiful, each different. Thank you, Magic Marketplace, for giving me this opportunity – with all of my heart. ❤

Let your outer and inner beauty shine! everyday.

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Travel | In Love with San Juan

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(Dress – In Love with Fashion, Earrings – Betsey Johnson)

This floral dress from In Love with Fashion is perfect contrast to Fort San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The aged stone, the imperfection of beige and the stain from the rain all appeal to me.

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(Dress – In Love with Fashion, Earrings – Betsey Johnson)

There is something inherently romantic about Renaissance arches, peeled layers and benches.

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I could imagine a couple simply holding hands here.

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The view from Castillo San Felipe del Morro is gorgeous.  I love the yellow mixed in with the blue combined with the natural blue of the sky and the green of grass and trees.

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(Dress – In Love with Fashion, Earrings – Betsey Johnson)

The fort is so beautiful that I could not imagine that war is fought here.

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I could read an entire book in one of these small domes right by the blue of the ocean and sky.

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Use Your Courage to Follow Your Heart

Fish and Cars
(Dress – Free People, Shoes – Cole Haan, Necklace – Nordstrom)

Photo by Raj.

“And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005.

Outer Beauty

A knit dress is usually flattering because it fits your body perfectly. Good tailoring and a proper fit could emphasize a person’s most attractive features. Here, I am wearing a red knit dress by Free People, one of my favorite brands. The knit in this dress is not too thick or too thin – just perfect. To match the dress, I am wearing a red necklace made of crystals by Nordstrom.

I love this pair of nude heels by Cole Haan with Nike Air technology as it is made for comfortable walking.

Inner Beauty

Courage is the ability to face fear, danger, difficulty, uncertainty or intimidation. In other words, one chooses to act regardless of one’s fear.

1. Leave your job if you are unhappy. If you are unhappy with your job but you are afraid of uncertainty and a lack of financial security, first be assertive by asking for more responsibilities or a raise and begin searching for a better opportunity. Find an opportunity that aligns with your personal values. You may be a lot happier as a result! If you are looking into a career change, begin research into the new career now. Take small steps to reach your goal until you are fully there. You will demystify the process and will become more confident as you step closer to your goal and and your dream.

2. Have courageous conversations. No relationships are going to be perfect and thus, resolving conflicts will be imperative throughout life. Personally, I prefer deep meaningful relationships over shallow ones, and in order to have deep meaningful relationships that last, one must maintain them. Instead of cutting people you love out of your life, openly and honestly discuss these conflicts, put yourself in their shoes and find resolutions to the conflicts so they will not repeat in the future. Most importantly, while having courageous conversations, remember the big picture – you want to maintain and deepen the relationship out of and with love.

3. Face your fears head on. I am afraid of heights. Thus, I was not thrilled to go zip lining in Costa Rica. However, I faced my natural fear of heights by first admitting that I was afraid. In conversations, I told people that I was afraid of heights and asked for advice that may help me face my fear. Some people told me that they were afraid too but after zip lining a few times, they loved it.  “Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad!” I thought. In addition, I considered other aspects of zip lining that may alleviate my fear such as safety wires and additional precautions that the company uses, encouragement from tour guides and written experiences of other people whom were also afraid of heights. Knowledge is power, and I had fun zip lining in Costa Rica despite my fear of heights!

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.