Aaaand We’re Back!

Prairie dog peeking out of hole

As this prairie dog emerges from its hole, so do we emerge from our fortress of solitude.

Whoa, so that was a bit of an unexpected hiatus. But here we are! There were a handful of factors contributing to our recent break from posting, so before we dive back into our regularly scheduled programming I wanted to share a little bit about what’s been happening since our last post.

First of all, the world changed in a big way with Trump’s election to the presidency. I’ve personally been struggling with how to wrap my mind around the overall significance of his win as well as the specifics of particular actions he has taken. I try to be cautious against rhetoric that paints any groups or perspectives with a broad brush—X is the only moral option, Y is inexplicable and evil!—and since that seems to be the popular tone of our time, I’m feeling overwhelmed by the task of finding levelheaded analysis of current events. I’m also trying to be cognizant of the difference between “things any Republican president would do” and “unusual things Trump is doing”—and trying to determine whether that should make a difference in how I respond if I don’t think the thing being done is good for the country.

Many of the topics of current national discussion (such as American manufacturing, environmental deregulation, and the treatment of refugees) are related to the responsible and connected lifestyle we want to promote here at Fair for All, but so far I haven’t felt sure about how to make our content contribute to those conversations in a valuable way. We’re not a political blog, and I don’t want us to become one, but I do think we’re in a time now when average citizens are becoming more socially and politically active, and I want us to continue providing resources to help people channel their convictions into meaningful lifestyle choices.

Second, on a personal note, I bought one of these:

Julia in front of her house

I’m a homeowner! (Or a person indebted to a homeowning bank, but same diff.) The timing of my home purchase aligned eerily with the political cycle: My offer was accepted on election night and I moved in the weekend of the Inauguration. I’ve personally been spending a lot of time on move- and house-related stuff over the last three months, but I’m finally settled in and ready to get back to a routine that includes writing. I’ve been brainstorming green home topics to add to our mix, since I’ll now have all new realms of energy efficiency and sustainable furnishing to explore. I’m already on a mission to furnish the house with as few brand-new items as possible, and I’m excited to share my progress.

While the future is distinctly uncertain, one thing we can be sure of is that there will be a lot to discuss, and we’re glad to be back with you to do just that. (We’re also glad to get back to our fun events, like our next clothing swap on March 15!) Let us know what would be helpful content for us to cover over the coming months, and we’ll do our best to bring the goods.

New Project: Sustainability in Events

Remember when I announced I was working a new, secret, scary, exciting project? I’m pumped to finally eliminate “secret” from that list!

Screenshot of Julia Spangler's sustainable event consulting website

I’m thrilled to share with you guys that I am starting my own sustainable events consulting business. The impetus for this idea came from several sources—my own love of events, my event experience from my day job, and the overall cultural shift in my generation toward valuing experiences more than possessions. As sustainability continues to become a more urgent global issue, event attendees (especially millennials) will demand that experiences are planned responsibly. Some brands are already doing this fantastically, but other companies and organizations need help to turn those sustainable ideals into reality. That’s where I come in!

A lot of the advice I offer is inspired by topics I’ve written about here on Fair for All. One person’s lifestyle changes at home can make a difference, but the impact is awesomely magnified at an event attended by hundreds of people!

If you’re interested in learning more, check out my official bizness website at And of course, I’ll be continuing to plan sustainable events for the blog, including our next style swap on Jan. 20. Posting may take a downtick in frequency as I shift focus to the business, but I also plan to share a lot of the new things I’m learning with you!

Thanks to everyone who knew about this endeavor for your support so far; you’ve been awesome. And if you’re in the process planning a festival, fundraiser, bingo night or bar mitzvah, drop me a line—I’d love to help make it more sustainable!

Vacation… and a Teaser

I’m on a quick family vacation right now with my dear sister (check her out if you like interior design and DIY projects). I’ll be back with a regular post later this week, but I wanted to take this random-post opportunity to foreshadow something new I have in the works.

Blurred out photo of new project

Coming soon!

It’s somewhat related to Fair for All but is also something completely different. I may be a little more hit-or-miss with regular posting as I shift some attention to this new project. It’s exciting and a little scary (for me, not anyone else, I hope) and I’m looking forward to when I can officially share it with you!

With that extremely vague teaser, have a great start to your week and try not to lie awake wondering!

Now Showing: Events!

I’m excited to announce that Fair for All is expanding out of the purely digital realm and into the real world with… drumroll please… events!

I’ve been wanting to host events for a while so I’m excited to finally have two on the schedule. Through these events I hope to spark a conversation about ethical and sustainable lifestyle choices in central Indiana.

Here’s what’s on the docket!

Film Screening: The True Cost

Film Screening: The True Cost

Tuesday, Aug. 18 from 6:30-8:30pm
Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company

Join Fair for All at Thr3e Wise Men in Broad Ripple for this free documentary screening. Enjoy dinner and/or a local brew while we watch the film, followed by a brief discussion. You’re responsible for your own food and beverage purchases, but everything you order within the party room helps cover the cost of the event, hooray! The screening will take place in the Fermenting Room and is limited to 20 attendees per our arrangement with the filmmaker.

Learn more about the film in my review or at

Want to attend? RSVP on Facebook to secure your spot!

FairSwap15 Women's Clothing Swap

FairSwap15 Women’s Clothing Swap

Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 6-8pm
New Day Craft Cider & Mead

Everyone loves the thrill of getting a new outfit, but today’s fast fashion industry has high human and environmental costs. Factory workers are exploited, water supplies are polluted, and discarded clothing fills landfills at an alarming rate.

Join us at FairSwap15 to celebrate the fun of fashion in a socially- and environmentally-conscious way. Swap your unwanted clothing and accessories for new-to-you items. Who knows, your castoffs could become someone’s new favorite outfit!

Want to attend? Registration will open soon for this free event.

I’m excited about forming a stronger connection between this blog and the local Indy community. If you’re local, come hang out! For those of you not in central Indiana, I encourage you to find or host your own clothing swap. (You can also find screenings of The True Cost on their website, but they appear to be mostly done for now.)

I’m not sure how to end this post other than saying I’M SO EXCITED a bunch of times… Hope to see you at an event soon! (!!!)

Greatest Hits: Volume 1

Sometimes you feel like writing a blog post, sometimes you feel like revamping your blog’s whole layout. This weekend was the latter for me, so ta-da! If after you’ve bathed your eyes in the refreshing new layout you still want to take in some actual content, I thought this would be a good time to share some of my favorite posts from the last several months, in case you’ve missed them:







I used to occasionally read through my old diaries from middle school, and I was always shocked to realize how much the same person I was then as I am now. My personality and writing style and things I was concerned about… It’s weird to feel like you’ve grown but you’re the same person at the same time. Anyway, that’s how I felt comparing the Carrying Less post to my recent post Why I’m Not a Minimalist. It’s cool to go back a whole year and see the philosophical threads that carry through.

How do you feel when you look back on older things you’ve written?

Find Pretty Much Anything Ethically with These Directories

Ethical Shopping Directories header

Once upon a time, the Fair for All Guide was the Fair for All Shopping Guide, and it was our dream to create an all-encompassing directory of ethical products and brands and to be a one-stop shop for anyone who wanted to make any kind of ethical purchase.

Our plan ended up being a little bigger than our britches, and we retired our directory in 2014. However, there are many other blogs and websites that feature ethical shopping directories, which we share on our Resources page. We recently added the following new directories to the list—check them out to help you find what you’re looking for!

Note that each directory is maintained according to its owner’s ethical criteria, which may differ from Fair for All’s. Be sure to look at the ethics of any specific company before purchasing.

EcoCult screenshot

EcoCult Shopping Guide

Includes several categories like clothing, jewelry, accessories, lingerie, men’s, beauty, and home.

Shop Conscious screenshot

Shop Conscious

Shop Conscious focuses on fashion brands and enables you to filter by a plethora of conscious factors including Handmade, Fair Trade, Empowering Women, Recycled Materials, Made in the USA, Vegan and more.

Top 10 Fashionable Fair Trade sites screenshot

Top 10 List of Fashionable Fair Trade Companies

Looking for some chic wearables? This top ten list (actually featuring twelve items!) is for you.

Global Stewards screenshot

Global Stewards Directory of Online Fair Trade Shops

Lists fair trade websites only. Categories include the usual plus some more obscure ones like toys/hobbies/entertainment, seasonal items, food, and flowers.

One of a Kind Sustainability screenshot

One of a Kind Sustainability Where to Shop Directory

Focuses on environmental sustainability rather than human rights, but several brands cover both bases. Includes categories for clothing, shoes, accessories, beauty and home, plus helpful notes about the product style or ethics/sustainability of each link.

Fair Fashion Finds screenshot

Fair Fashion Finds

This Tumblr shares sales, discounts and deals from ethical shopping websites.

With the addition of these links, our Resources page is becoming a kind of mega Frankendirectory, which is pretty wicked if you ask me. If you have a favorite ethical shopping directory that isn’t listed, tell us about it and we’ll add it to the monster!

Iceland Iceland Baby

I just got back from a trip to Iceland and my brain is full of beautiful sights like these!

Valley with stream and distant mountains

Mountain in morning sunlight

Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland

Julia and friend with four wheeler

My travel buddy Valerie and I agreed that four-wheeling in Iceland is the best thing we have ever done, ever.

I’ll be back next week with a normal post after I catch up and slowly ease out of my mountain dream state.

New Year, New Name

As the ethical consumerism movement has grown and evolved over the last year, we started thinking about the name of this site: the Fair for All Shopping Guide. We’re entering a landscape where there are many more ethical shopping options than there were even five years ago, but it’s also a landscape where some brands are beginning to engage in “ethical-washing” to appear more socially responsible (the same way that many brands now engage in “greenwashing” to appear more eco-friendly). Even the purchase of an ethically-made item has implications on overconsumption, natural resource use, and a range of other issues.

We realized it’s important to avoid giving the message that shopping can be the solution to the world’s problems. Shopping differently can make a real positive impact, but it’s not everything. As such, we have decided to remove the word “shopping” from the Fair for All Shopping Guide name. We are now simply the Fair for All Guide.

Our name is now the "Fair for All Guide"

Does the name change mean our content is changing? Yes and no. We still plan to cover fairly made products and ethical brands, because we do truly believe in the power of individual purchases to make a difference. However we will also explore other ethical lifestyle topics that are not related to shopping, like living with less, upcycling, reducing waste, etc.

We’re excited about this change and hope you are too! Conveniently, our URL and Facebook and Twitter handles remain the same. Let us know if there are any topics you’d like to see us cover this year!

News Roundup: September 2013

It’s official: summer has come and gone. I’m already looking forward to October for Fair Trade Month, some ethically-sourced chocolate, and a thrift-store Halloween costume. Before I go full pumpkin, here are some of the articles and links that caught my interest in September:

All You Need Is Less quote image

All You Need Is Less, via Fair Trade Quilts & Crafts on Pinterest

The Business of Fast Fashion – This short video examines the role of fast fashion in the fashion industry as a whole. Interesting to look at it from a broader perspective, instead of just through the lens of labor rights violations. (Minute MBA)

Fair Trade Gold – Fair trade certification is coming for gold! Very cool news for consumers and gold mine workers alike. (In Tandem Fair Trade Weddings)

4 Unexpected Energy Creators – Read about clever and innovative ways that inventors are working to generate energy. My favorite is definitely the kinetic dance floor! (Triple Pundit)

The History of Denim – An interesting look at denim throughout American culture including a brief history of how and where it has been manufactured. (Zady)

New addition to the Fairly Friendly directory – AWAZ offers apparel, accessories, home décor, gifts and more made by small artisan groups in India and Nepal.

What were your favorite finds this month? What are you looking forward to in October? Share in the comments!

Changes coming to the Fair for All Shopping Guide

Change is in the air at the Fair for All Shopping Guide! After being live for a little over a year, we have reevaluated our approach and will be making some exciting changes to our format.

Since we launched the site in early 2012, there have been some excellent advances in the world of ethical consumerism. Several online retail outlets have emerged with a dedicated focus on stocking ethical products, and non-profit initiatives such as Free2Work have begun releasing more resources on how to shop your values. The topic of ethical consumerism has also gained traction in the news media and blogosphere.

Because of these shifts in the ethical shopping landscape, as well as a realization of the limitations of our small team, Fair for All is going to alter its format in the coming weeks. We’ll be switching a blog-centric format, moving blog posts to the main page of the site and posting about a variety of topics related to ethical consumerism. We’ll highlight specific retailers and products; share stories about challenges and successes in ethical shopping; discuss resources published by fair trade organizations; explore vintage, thrift, and handmade items as ethical options; and more.

Our existing directory will remain available, and we’ll continue to add stores to it as we feature them in the blog. However our primary focus will be on sharing current, relatable, and helpful content to help our readers make shopping choices that align with their values.

Posts may be less frequent while we transition to the new format, which will also include a redesign of the site. We hope you’ll bear with us as we move ahead to create an even more valuable resource. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!