Conscious Consumption: Awamaki Labs

I went to Peru a few years after graduating college, and fell in love with it there, which is saying a lot considering I came home sick as a dog and having had my camera and wallet stolen on a bus ride. There was just something magical about every part of the country I visited. My time at the sand dunes and actual oasis in Huacachina, the seriously amazing (and cheap) guided horse ride taken in the hills outside Ollantaytambo, and of course, the truly miraculous sunrise hike up to Machu Picchu, had me dazzled. Maybe it was because we were backpacking, living on the cheap, staying in hostels and flying by the seat of our pants (which I don’t do often), but either way, I was completely charmed by the culture and color of it all. I’d share some photos to prove my point, but like I said before, I came home sans camera.

That being said, 5 or so years ago when I caught wind of Awamaki, “a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers Andean women with skills training, connects them to global market opportunities, and enables them to earn an income to transform their communities,” I was 100% in love. What is NOT to love about that mission statement? They have a lot of different programs to achieve this goal, but the one that I want to highlight is The Awamaki Lab, which pairs designers up with the weavers and knitters from these often tiny and remote villages in Peru to empower women, their trade and their communities through the sale of the goods produced. Some of the villages they work with are places I myself have traveled through, in utter awe of what a different kind of life a rural Andean woman has from an Angeleno woman. If I ever get a chance to go back, it is nice to think that these women might still be there weaving as they have for thousands of years. To know that they have an organization that cares enough to protect their way of life and make it even more sustainable, is nothing short of awesome. Take a look at the designs that are coming out of it all, and I guarantee you will most definitely want to support them too… xo Cait

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LLAMA BABY VEST ANYONE?! Yea. I thought so.

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we love to multi- task

Happy (belated) International Women’s Day!

Sam and I are fortunate enough to run with a tight knit crew of super talented, beautiful and powerful ladies here in Los Angeles. We get together often and chat daily. We are family. I’m truly lucky to have such a group of supportive, awesome women in my life. A few Sundays ago, we celebrated a little with our annual family photoshoot and some volunteering for the Downtown LA Women’s Center

WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN: PART 1
When the opportunity arose to do some “good” together, we jumped at the chance. The “Snack Pack” program through the LA Women’s Center was an easy, inexpensive and effective way for us to help less fortunate women in our local community. We bought enough food to fill 90 lunch sacks, each with a PB & J sandwich, bottled water, fruit, string cheese & granola bar. (The Center provides you with ‘menu guidelines’ for the sacks.) Then we got together to assemble them. I dropped them off at 2:30pm at the Center in Downtown’s Skid Row, and it was as simple as that! They were promptly handed out as a to-go dinner that the women can bring with them to wait in line for a bed at one of the other shelters for the night. Oftentimes a person that waits in line for a meal at dinnertime misses their chance to get in another line for a bed for the night. And honestly, that’s a choice no one should have to make.

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DSC_1017DSC_1018DSC_1059 Hi Charlie Girl. I see you peeking over Mommy’s shoulder! Something like this is an easy, fun way to get the kids involved with volunteering too. Ours were still a little young still for the job, but hey, they can claim they’ve been volunteering since birth on their college applications!

DSC_0995DSC_1060This is definitely something we will be doing a few times a year. Hopefully next time we can get more people involved and add more snacks to the bag! If you are interested in doing something like this yourself, contact the Center here!

WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN: PART 2
As an artist and photographer, I’ve always been inspired by strong, independent women and fascinated by the various ever-changing roles all of us ladies play everyday. And I regularly make this particular group of ladies model for me. They are always game to get dressed up and have a little fun, thank goodness. Usually there’s some sort of crazy costume or theme I have in mind, but this time, I wanted to celebrate us, as us. An annual portrait.16433713387_53e94535f7_k16615072716_a3c5e908f8_k16641003075_9941290380_k16639996602_cb5919eb4f_k 16640002912_a69b8e73b4_k16641010895_efa35eb1b3_k

It’s funny how hard it can be for me, who would rather be behind the camera or covered in makeup and a wig, to take studio portraits. But I think they came out great. And I know they’ll look even better to me when I’m 70. xoCait

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