Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Back to the Bunhead: Part I

ali campbell ballet
ali campbell christine tjahjadi lopez
guatemala ballet
ali campbell photography
beyoutiful hope ballet

I have recently found myself rejoining the ballet world, but this time as a teacher. I have pretty much accepted that my dancing days (aka experiencing dance through dancing and pushing myself my very hardest technique and physically) are over because my knees and hips just can't anymore. But hey, if you can't do it, why not teach it?

I also am super stoked that my ex roommate Ali Campbell was able to do a ballet photoshoot for me! I have always wanted to do a professional ballet photoshoot, and seeing these photos it was amazing because the feeling that I feel when I dance was actually what I saw in this photo- and it was amazing. I think these photos turned out so beyoutiful that looking at them I basically was super shocked that it was me! haha. I guess that's enough self-obsession for the day. God bless and happy Tuesday y'all!

Feeling whimsical,
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Interview with CORA Co-Founder, Molly Hayward #PeriodsWithPurpose

molly hayward organic cotton tampons

Happy Tuesday all!!! Today I go back to the subject of tampons and periods. However, today's post is a jump off of my CORA review post from last week. Last week I myself and two of my friends reviewed Cora's organic cotton tampons which resulted in a 4/5, 4/5 and 2.5/5 stars review. I also shared about their local job creation program (making pads) and pad donation program - which I put into conversation with a recent NPR podcast I listened to. The run down of that was that research does not support that programs which give out free pads to schoolgirls in rural areas of developing countries will increase girls' school attendance. However, the studies to conclude that further research is needed and that programs like this may do other things such as raise confidence in girls on their periods which may have an impact on school performance. That's something to think about.

Okiedokie, this week I decided to go for an interview. Part of being an ethical fashion blogger is understanding the production chain and investigating the who and why of a brand - so that you too can learn along with me! (#GroupLearning) And so, today I bring you an interview with Molly Hayward, co-founder of CORA! Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below!

Interview with Molly Hayward

1. Where is the organic cotton sourced?
2. Is the organic cotton from a group, cooperative, or company?
It's from a company that is certified 100% organic by GOTS (the Global Organic Textile Standard) which also ensures human rights/labor rights in the production of the crops
3. Where are the tampons manufactured?
In Europe
4. Why is the price point so much higher than normal tampons?
Organic cotton is more expensive to source, and we also offer a premium experience for our members. Plus, shipping is included in the cost. It's actually a great value.
5. What is your current target market?
Smart, conscious, sophisticated women (and they are typically metropolitan, aged 25-44)
6. Tampons or Diva Cup... why tampons?
Tampons are still the choice of the vast majority of women, which is why we set out to create the best high-performing 100% certified organic tampon that could reach the mass market. For those who love the cup, rock on. For the rest of us, there's Cora tampons. 
7. Where do you provide pads and how did you find these communities?
We provide pads to girls across India through our partner, Aakar Innovations. Aakar is a social enterprise that employs women to produce biodegradable sanitary pads called Anandi in local communities in India. Cora then purchases the pads they produce, thereby supporting their small businesses, and then distributes them to girls in local schools.
8. What do your pad production facilities look like? 
Below are photos of the production facilities.
9. How do you decide who to employ?
Cora does not employ these women, they are owner-operators of the mini factories through Aakar Innovations. 
10. What is the price range which these pads sell at? Do you also sell them in the communities? Is the price comparable?
Cora does not sell Anandi pads in India, we purchase them from the mini factories and then provide them at no cost to local students.
cora giv e back program
When we asked about her work with Aakar (a sustainable sanitary pad producer in India and Cora's partner in helping girls stay in school during their periods) Rinki replied, “I feel great and independent as this is for the first time I have moved out of my house to work...With this job, I have started saving and my family is equally happy.” 
Cora Facebook Page, May 2016 
Anandi pads
11. For centuries women have lived without pads, why do the young girls in this community miss school for their periods if they could just use cloths a bleeding protection?
Cloth is not as effective and will typically not be absorbent through an entire day of school. Likewise, many girls don't have access to a washing facility where they could change or wash a piece of cloth. In addition, a cloth used repeatedly may not be clean and can harbor bacteria that causes infections
12. How many communities are you located in now? Do you see this changing?
We are currently focused on just one community in India to ensure that we make a meaningful impact for the girls there. 
13. What is your 5 year goal for the company?
Our goal is to become a meaningful force for the empowerment of women globally--to have made significant progress towards our mission of ensuring that every woman on the planet can experience all aspects of womanhood safely and with dignity.  

 Stay woman strong, Ladies!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

That Bloody Period!!! CORA Organic Cotton Tampon Review + Job Generation + Pad Donation Program

cora organic cotton tampon review
Just a few days ago I was driving home from grocery shopping and happened upon an NPR podcast on how young girls' periods in developing countries impacts their school attendance -- "Does Handing Out Sanitary Pads Really Get Girls to Stay in School"? In conclusion, because of various research factors, the study did not come to a clear conclusion of the initial question (which was based on attendance), but the study did show that handing out sanitary pads has a positive impact on girls' self -esteem. Further research should be done on how this impacts girls in the classroom.

I can only imagine how I would feel if I didn't have medicine or easily accessible menstruation sanitary "equipment." We have all had that one bloody period story where we didn't realize there was blood clearly visible on the back of our pants, on that seat we sat on, or on that white dress we shouldn't have worn that specially selected day. In society us as women are generally hushed on the topic of our bloody periods and the pain accompanies those many wonderful cramps where our uteri try to prepare themselves for a potential new life through a wonderful sloshing-off of membrane layers. *sigh* (but it's quite incredible when you think about it). This does impact our daily lives - whether it's because we need to excuse ourselves to change our sanitary gear or if it impacts our concentration because of the pain caused by our marvelous periods.

Anyways, a few months ago I was contacted by CORA to do a review on their organic cotton tampons and share the story of what they do. It's really cool because not only are their tampons and the applicators chemical free (leaving your lovely vagina a bit more safe from cancer-causing agents such as dioxins which are found in the typical tampon) but they have an awesome social program which creates local jobs which then provide free sanitary products to school-aged girls in rural parts of India! Aaaand these sanitary pads are biodegradable!

"Every sanitary pad is all-natural, sustainable and biodegradable, plus they’re produced in small-scale manufacturing units in rural villages and urban slums to support the local economy and employ the women who live there."
CORA tampon give back program

Time for TAMPON TALK! So, I am a huge fan of tampons because of their convenience, but I have also been skeptical of the health of tampons. No matter what way I look at it, periods suck (...well, they actually do the opposite.) Conveniences like sanitary products make them a bit better- and when that sanitary product makes you feel special and cute - it actually makes that your period a little less horrible. Thank God for sanitary products! I love how CORA donates sanitary products which are locally made to girls in developing countries where sanitary napkins are not accessible. I await more research to see the actual impacts this has on school attendance! 

Onward to the actual tampon review!!! When I received the CORA starter pack, I asked two of my friends, both long time tampon users to try it out too! Both of them are big fans of the tampon, its comfort and the fact that they are organic cotton. I, on the other hand, loved the packaging and that it's organic, however the application was not comfortable for me. This is because the end of the applicator is flat, kind of squared, similar to a Kotex tampon's end. I guess it's a preference thing. But, read the reviews below for yourself! :) I will begin with my friends' reviews!

"I was really excited to try Cora because of the great work the company does and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the tampons worked. I would say they are as absorbent as my usual tampons (Playtex sport). The insertion process is a little less than comfortable. The shape of the tampon tip is not as ergonomic as I would like. The cotton at the tip is also exposed which also makes it a little uncomfortable to insert. Once you do have it inserted though, it feels like any other tampon. It lasted the same amount of time as other tampons. Removal was also simple and easy. 
The packaging and presentation of Cora is amazing. It makes you want to display your tampons in your bathroom instead of stuffing them in some drawer. It's also a great feeling knowing your helping other girls around the world experience a simple and easy period experience." 
Over all I'd give Cora a 4.5 out of 5. The only issue being the insertion of the tampon. 
-- Jas, 24

"It's good! It's in there! I like packaging it comes in because it's quieter than other tampons do I don't feel weird opening it in the restroom and it's comfortable plus doesn't have all the chemicals that most brand name tampons have so I feel good about putting it in my body- I told you I use the diva cup and I love it but it is difficult to get it in the right position. haha. This applicator was easy to use except that you have to be a bit careful because I kinda separated the two pieces and I didn't even tug on it that hard. The regular size is perfect, can't feel it up there or anything! I like that the string is a bit longer too so I don't feel like it will rip off or get lost somehow and I will be able to get the tampon out."
Can I do halves? 4.5 of 5 only because of the applicator but could be human error haha 
-- Caitlyn, 25

"Love the packaging and the mission, but I did not like the end of the applicator. It is flat and the plastic is quite thick so it doesn't glide in like the Playtex 360 that I am use to. I made two attempts at this and was just not comfortable with the insertion. I will have to pass. After talking to my friends on their experiences, they didn't have the same issue, or at least the discomfort wasn't to the level where they wouldn't use the tampon, so they happily accepted my extra CORA tampons. haah. I suppose it's a personal preference." 
I'd say 2.5 out of 5 because although I LOVE LOVE LOVE the packaging and the jobs created and products donated, the applicator just wasn't comfortable enough for me. 
-- Christine, 24 

travel size organic cotton tampons
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organic cotton tampons CORA

Wishing happy periods this New Year,

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