Mud Houses, Pineapple Fiber, Crazy Big Plans: August

It's time for another "month in review" post! Let me know if you find these more personal posts interesting, I love having feedback from readers. 

August was a busy month filled with learning, planning, and catching up with local friends that we hadn't seen in awhile (between our US trip and India/Sri Lanka/Bangladesh it had been almost two months since we'd seen some of our crew). 

Andrew and I have been working hard on our Tagalog skills. I am nowhere near fluent yet, but I know most of the "essential phrases" plus over 1000 words and can put some sentences together (though my grammar is often a bit off). I've spent a fair bit of time in the past few weeks having awkward, halting conversations with anyone who will humor me. Apparently word has spread among the staff (guards, maintenance, etc) in Andrew's and my apartment building that "the American can speak Tagalog" because they've all stopped using English when talking to me. 

I've been getting into speaking a bit on minimalism/ethical fashion/sustainability thanks to my BFF local blogger friend Jella's networking (and her "volunteering" me for events!). Jella and I got to speak at our friends' organic farm out in Tagaytay earlier this month, after a mud house building workshop and farm to table organic dinner. It was really amazing to watch how a sturdy and beautiful eco-friendly home can be made from just dirt, sand, dried grass, and bamboo! 

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Another really cool learning opportunity I got to have this month was visiting the Philippines Textile Research Institute. Jella and ER (a dear friend who happens to be an AMAZING fashion designer) and I got to tour the entire campus and learn all about the natural fibers that are being used to develop new types of textiles in the Philippines. 

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The fibers above come from water hyacinth, bamboo, sugarcane, pineapple, and more! All of the clothes on the rack below are 100% natural and 100% Filipino made- from fibers to dyes to sewing! 

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The month of August brought a bit of a life change, as Andrew and I went vegan! We've been eating nearly entirely plant-based for well over a year now, with meat and dairy maybe two or three times a week, but we've cut out even the occasional animal product. 

Eating vegan is extremely tough here in the Philippines (many restaurants don't even have ONE vegan option), and especially tough to do zero-waste. I've decided I'm okay with consuming just a bit of plastic in order to purchase items like beans (the only way to buy black beans here is in plastic bags- there are no beans sold in bulk and the only canned ones are "salted" and pretty inedible. Any plastic we have to bring into our home will be turned into "eco bricks" to be used for construction. 

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I'm still working on that "big expansion" of ABR that I mentioned in last month's recap post, and will be ready to share more details soon. 

AUGUST BLOG TRANSPARENCY REPORT
Below is a record of the monetary and in-kind compensation I have received for sponsored posts on my blog.

AUGUST: $130
- A cotton dress from Matter Prints 

Recap: In the past month sponsored work on Life+Style+Justice has brought in $130.00 and I have added one new item, a dress, to my wardrobe.