Archive - 2018

1
The Golden Years Box – Lux Monthly Subscription Boxes for Women Over 50
2
Ceibo Handbags- Vegan Arm Candy Made in Houston
3
Grit Grocery- Houston’s First Mobile Food Shopping Experience

The Golden Years Box – Lux Monthly Subscription Boxes for Women Over 50

When my dear friend and vintage fashionista- Dawn Bell, announced that she was launching a luxury monthly subscription box for women over 50, I was intrigued. Sure, there are thousands of monthly subscription boxes out there, and they range from a variety of themes and such, but they all seem to be geared more towards a younger crowd. Dawn noticed that, and was casually talking to her sister about it one day. Her sister then replied with, “Let’s start one!”

Her other sisters, Darlene and Angel, thought it was a great idea, and insisted they start one. So they started researching products that were designed and generally catered to women over 50, and found that there were actually a number of things out there. “Each of us are over 50. We range from 54 to 72, so we have an idea of what kind of stuff women our age need,” Dawn said.

For months they researched, planned, and sorted out the beginning details of the company. Angel recommended it to be called The Golden Years Box. “Each monthly box has a different theme. That theme will support the changing needs of women. We have found that women over 50 begin to go through menopause, and your body starts to change. You don’t sleep anymore. So we have a theme that’s the ‘Sleep Box’ , which supports anything you need to get a good night’s sleep. For instance, there’s an eye mask, melatonin, lavender essential oils, an atomizer for beside your bed with lavender, ear plugs, etc. It’s all really pretty stuff. We thought that when you get older, you want a product that works for what you need, but you don’t lose your passion for wanting something fun and pretty. We specifically kept that in mind when shopping {for products},” Dawn explained. “There will be a ‘Bucket List’ travel box because a lot of women in our age range begin to work less and travel more. We have a ‘Garden’ box because over 50% of women our age garden, but it’s some things they can use even if they don’t garden. Then there’s a ‘Strength and Flexibility’ box that will include some exercise things, hand relief kits, a pretty knee or ankle brace, fish oil… So we try to include vitamins in every box, as well as an essential oil, a fun item… ”

Every box will have five to eight items, will be beautifully packaged, and a certain color, so that it’s visually appealing. While the brand is currently under a soft launch (as of August 4th, 2018), people can still go online and place an order. If you want to buy a one-time gift purchase box , it’s $39.95 , which includes the $7 shipping. If you want to buy month-to-month (cancel anytime), it is $38.95. If you want to buy a six-month pre-pay, it’s $37.95. A one-year pre-pay is $36.95. The ‘Welcome’ box has all gold products, as well as a set of reusable, eco-friendly metal straws and cleaners. Free shipping is offered within the U.S.

The sisters have been quite pleased with the traction that the brand has already received. They have also done their fair share of reaching out to the over-50 Instagram influencers. “We want to be apart of the age revolution that’s already happening with all these women that have Instagram accounts that are bloggers who have huge following.”

“Being a woman of 50 has been pretty inspiring. I don’t have to sit down and slow down. That was always a problem for me because I’m getting older, but I don’t really feel like it. I still have a lot of dreams and aspirations… Age shouldn’t stop you. It’s just a number…Why should I just retire and not do anything? I should do what makes me happy. My sisters and I are just all in that boat together.”

I’m so excited for Dawn, and am glad that her sisters and she are helping to defy the stigma that once you reach a certain age, you “must” retire, slow down, and dress down. Aging shouldn’t be scary, nor should you have to be left out of certain pretty or fun products just because you are over 50. It’s your life- LIVE IT!!

Be sure to also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ceibo Handbags- Vegan Arm Candy Made in Houston

That gleaming gold metal circle handle… The buttery soft vegan leather… The strong and functional geometric structure…

These lovely handbags I’m describing have been seen all over Houston, on the arms of influencers, and at many a local market. Self-taught designer Maria Cadena moved to Houston from Ecuador just four years ago, and has already gained a good amount of traction in the local handbag market.

Maria learned sewing from her mother when she about about twelve. Her family also owned a handbag store, so that’s also where she hoaned her skills. When she was older, her mother and she discussed starting their own handbag line. They started out by doing simple silhouettes, such as an envelope handbag with a crossbody chain. A few months later, they further developed more designs, while also constantly learning the business. The business continued to grow, and they found themselves selling wholesale, and hiring on people to help make the handbags in order to meet the numbers.

Maria felt that the transition to Houston was somewhat tough, as she was starting over from scratch, and by herself. But she quickly learned to adjust, and decided to create her own brand, which she named Ceibo (pronounced say-bo). The inspiration for the name went back to her Ecuadorian roots- the Ceibo Tree. “I grew up seeing the tree, so I wanted to have something that reminded me of home.” (For a peek of a Ceibo tree, go HERE.)

Ceibo launched in November 2016, and consists of just Maria. She loves being able to do everything by herself, as she missed that while running the business in Ecuador. She enjoys the slower pace, and having a more personal and hands-on approach to the craftsmanship of the bags. When designing handbags, she believes that less is more, when it comes to interior pockets. Her bags only consist of one zipped pocket, or a removable pocket that can also be used as a coin purse. She also likes to create bags that aren’t so big, because we women tend to carry a little more than what is usually needed, and it only adds as extra weight on our bodies. “I make myself carry the things that I know I’m going to use,” Maria added.

Along with her signature structured, geometric handbags with the gold ring handles, she also offers small accessories. I’m also a fan of her belt bags. “It’s a small accessory that you can carry all day!” Oh, and she now carries handbags with zig-zag handles- the coolest thing EVER! I love that you can also get her bags in every color. She also appreciates experimenting with color-blocking, and it’s usually spot on.

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Oh, and REALLY great news… Ceibo is launching a collaboration with my fave Houston skincare brand- Rosehip Essentials this month! Stay tuned! In the meantime, here is a sneak peek…

Ceibo Handbags, made in Houston, handbags

Aside from shopping Ceibo online, you can find her locally at Collectivo, LAUNCH, Thinking Boutique, and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. You can also find her at many of the local markets that take place throughout the city. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

 

Grit Grocery- Houston’s First Mobile Food Shopping Experience

Grit Grocery‘s recent launch is one of the best things that’s happened to the Houston food scene. I was able to check it out on a recent Sunday, while I was in the city. It was parked at Levy Park, with a white and black striped awning, and a neatly stacked pile of shopping baskets beckoning shoppers. Fresh produce and an assorted batch of local seafood, pasta, milk, bread, etc., lined the shelves of the open-air store front. The friendly one-on-one service was also a great perk.

Dustin Windham and his wife were living in Azerbaijan a few years ago, while Dustin was in the Peace Corps and working on some food projects. He recollected that they would visit the neighborhood butcher, bakery, and fruit stands several times a week. When they returned to the U.S., they noticed that the concept of having local and fresh food readily available was not a really an option, especially in Houston. Co-Founder Michael Powell further explains, “[While Dustin was in Azerbaijan], he saw how people around the world shop for and consume food. People eat fresh, they shop often and there is easier access to food markets on the street or in small shops. In places like Azerbaijan, “local” is not a food trend, it’s a way of life. And that’s a radically different model than what we’ve become accustomed to in the United States, which relies on a giant food industry driven mostly by profit margins and processed food. Grit takes inspiration from how people have been shopping for food for centuries. We want to see more people making more trips to the store, but it has to be an easier and more friendly retail experience.The other side of Grit’s inspiration is from entrepreneurial startup culture, where people are making dreams a reality and where technology can facilitate solutions that society had never anticipated. Grit is using a range of high-tech solutions to make this old-school grocery a model of innovation.”

Grit Grocery was launched in 2015. The team found that it takes grit to take back your health, thus inspiring the company name. “It takes grit to farm the land and produce the nutritious products that make people live healthy. Oh, and we’ve quickly found that it takes some grit to start up a grocery store in the 21st century,” Powell stated.

When asked about why they chose to have a mobile truck, instead of a brick n’ mortar, Michael explained, “I’ve actually been working in the food retail design industry for the last 12 years, which is how I connected with Dustin. I have a PhD in cultural anthropology and have been working with a design firm as a consultant, studying shopping behaviors, food culture trends and food brands. In that time, I’ve consistently found that most people are less than satisfied with their grocery shopping experiences. It’s a time-consuming chore. While food culture is blowing up around us, the grocery store is mostly stuck in the mid 20th century. And that’s largely because people don’t have many viable alternatives. So it’s no wonder that as soon as online grocery or alternative stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods came along, people jumped the grocery ship quickly. But those experiences are lacking, for a number of reasons. Grit offers a more social and neighborhood experience. Our merchants don’t just stock shelves, they’re passionate advocates for local food, and the value of cooking and eating together. And the products that Grit offers are not just local, but we don’t carry any of the processed junk that has now come to fill the shelves at many of our competitors. The truck is a flexible, convenient platform. It allows us to go places where our competitors can’t or won’t go. The numbers make sense, too. A new ground-up grocery store can cost upwards of $15 million, and then they have to employ 200 people and maintain the 50 thousand square foot building (and 100 thousand square foot parking lot) 24-7-365. Grit trucks cost a fraction of that price, and maintenance is much lower. So basically, the cost of a few grocery stores could fund enough Grit trucks to be in most Houston neighborhoods, not to mention effectively ridding Houston of food deserts.”

They have quite a variety of locally-sourced product, including, “In produce, our main suppliers are Gundermann Acres in Wharton, Lightsey Farms in Mexia and Sustainable Harvesters in Hockley. Meat is supplied from Three Sisters Farm in Tomball, Liberty Provisions in Richmond and Rocking 711 Ranch in Edna. Seafood from Katie’s in Galveston. Fresh pasta from Fabio’s in Montrose (Houston). Ice cream from Fat Cat Creamery in the Heights. Baked bread and cookies from Cake & Bacon in Houston. Brazos Valley Cheese from Waco. The list goes on. We also produce a lot of products in-house, so you can look for our Grit Grocery brand on: juice, hummus, prepped salads, soup and a few upcoming items.”

Ah….yes…. let’s talk about those cool meal bundles. I personally got the Pasta Salad bundle on my first visit, and it did not disappoint! I’m not really a cook, but I was able to understand the simple directions that were included, and it probably took me about a half-hour to prepare. I also added a pinch of my favorite See Salt before I added the sauce and veggies.

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Michael adds, “Meal Bundles include all the ingredients you need to make a simple, healthy, local meal. 2-3 servings per Meal Bundle. Local products are featured. We aim for classic crowd favorite recipes that take 15 minutes or less. No chef hat necessary. This is for your busy Tuesday evening dinner. Because the products are good, that’s going to make your meal taste great. Oh, and substitutions are always welcome. So when you visit the truck, talk to our Truck Merchant about the Bundles and make sure everything works for you.”

Great news, ya’ll! They plan on adding more trucks, which’ll mean more locations. “We are also developing technology solutions to make shopping the truck easier, including a “Chatbot” on the Facebook Messenger platform which will allow people to shop and pay for Meal Bundles before they leave the office, then come pick it up at the truck.”

Be sure to follow them on social media- Facebook and Instagram for further updates. Or check out their website.

Where and when to shop:

~Levy Park (3801 Eastside) on Sundays from 3pm to 8pm

~The Circuit Apartments in EaDo (2424 Capitol) Mondays and Wednesdays, from 4pm to 9pm

~Aris Market Square by Historic Market Square Houston (Downtown, 900 Preston), Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4pm to 9pm

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

Grit Grocery, meal bundle, Houston, clean eating

“We’re always trying to learn more about our customers and what they want, what would help them in their daily lives when it comes to eating healthier and making local shopping easier. What kinds of Meal Bundles would you like to see? Or what kinds of products are you seeking? How can we make it easier to make weekday dinners more interesting? What kind of everyday food problems pop up–big or small–that we might be able to help solve? Grit Grocery is a flexible platform that’s always open to new ideas for how to improve food shopping,” Michael finished.

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