Presenting My Non-Profit, Style Lottery

Check out my nonprofit, Style Lottery! Style Lottery combines my love of fashion with the desire to uplift young women in the community. Style Lottery, through nominations from community members, selects hardworking young women from low-income communities and surprises them with the gift of a free shopping spree.

Go to stylelottery.org to visit the site:

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Website Designed by Timi Komonibo & Featured Picture by Bunmi Ishola

Repost: 5 Zero Waste Tips from Style Lottery

I recently wrote an article for StyleLottery.com about the Zero Waste movement. I once went one a mission trip to Mexico where we visited a very poor slum where people basically lived in a landfill. To this day, I have a very visceral awareness of the impact my consumption has on other people. The idea of producing zero waste has been fascinating to me since I first heard about it a few weeks ago. It’s a interesting challenge that can overwhelm you if you try to do too much at once. 

Here is my article:    

So, what is Zero Waste? A Zero Waste lifestyle encourages individuals to live more sustainably by reducing, reusing, and recycling. It is an extension of minimalism and environmentalism. So of, course we’re all about it here at Style Lottery.

I see Zero Waste as a challenge for us to take a critical look at our consumption. Are our lives filled with things or do we focus on the people we meet and the experiences that we have with them? Sometimes we have to start small in order to lessen our environmental footprint without going insane. Here are some ways to start:

1. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush

Picture from trashisfortossers.com

Picture from trashisfortossers.com

I recently switched over to bamboo (Brush with Bamboo) toothbrushes and I loved it! Although I did feel like a hipster brushing my teeth with a wood handle, it felt good knowing that my toothbrush was compostable and would be returning to the earth from where it came. I’m so excited about these toothbrushes that I’m putting them in my family’s stockings this year.

2. Toss out plastic tupperware

As I was moving, I had to decide whether to keep my mountain of mismatched tupperware. I decided glass was a better option because it was more durable and could be microwaved without melting. I also find that glass containers look more aesthetically pleasing when filled with leftovers in the fridge. The price might be a bit higher than plastic, but at this point, I’m looking for a quality option that will last me for a longer time. Glass is it for me. (Hipster tip: Mason jars can also be a good alternative). If you’re someone who likes their food separated, you might want to go for a stainless steel lunch box with sections.

3. Invest in a reusable water bottle

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Hydrated cool kid alert!

I am a juice fiend. I don’t drink alcohol but I drink juice like it’s wine after a long day. I realized that I wasn’t getting enough water. At first, I would fish for some change and would buy some from the vending machine at school. Then I decided to invest in a reusable water bottle. I chose the Takeya brand because it was on clearance at Ross and it was glass! I was worried I would break it or chip my tooth on the mouth somehow, but I’ve had no trouble with it. The silicone case keeps it from slipping out of my grip. To help me drink more water and less juice, I got the free Water Your Body app. It’s the most annoying and useful app on my phone. It reminds me to…water my body and keeps track of how much I’m drinking every day. I’m very competitive with myself so I always try to beat my record for how early in the day I can reach my water goal. (Hipster tip: You can use a mason jar for hot and cold beverages).

4. Switch to a reusable shopping bag

My friend Julia got me stuck on reusable shopping bags. My mom had given me one a year ago and I always forgot to bring it with me to the store. Julia always had hers tucked away in a pocket of her purse. I noticed that she always got the right amount of food for one person because when her bag was full, she stopped shopping. I, on the other hand, shopped like I was feeding a family of five. Something else that helps in this area is going to farmers markets. Not only is it a great way to get the appropriate amount of fresh produce and veggies, it’s easier for you to buy what you actually need. If you need 3 apples, buy 3 and not the jumbo bag of 12. (Hipster tip: bring mason jars to fill with granola or nuts).

5. Swap your clothes

Shoppers at a Style Lottery swap event using reusable bags

Shoppers at a Style Lottery swap event using reusable bags

The hardest thing for me to down-size on was my clothing. In trying to fit all my possessions into 4 suitcases for the move, I realized I had too much stuff and most of it was clothes. It was so surprising and frustrating because hello I’m the sustainable fashion girl! I’m not supposed to have excess clothing. (Those of you interested in down-sizing your wardrobes should check out the Unfancy blog’s Capsule Wardrobe. It challenges you to pick 37 articles of clothing to wear for 3 months. Think you can do it? Check it out here.) I looked through my wardrobe one last time and donated clothing items that I knew I wouldn’t and shouldn’t wear anymore. Two huge piles later, I was finally able to fit all my things into my suitcases. Those of you attending the 2015 Style Lottery swaps will thank me later ;). Donating clothing is a great way to make room for clothes that you actually want. Swapping is an even better option because you give and you get. To check out Style Lottery’s past swaps, click here.

FYI: Trash is for Tossers has a great list of Zero Waste Alternatives. See the full list here.

Would you try some of these zero waste tips? Let me know in the comments which ones you like and which ones you’re already doing!

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Click here to read more about sustainability on stylelottery.org

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Pep Talk: Finding Your Success

This is a little encouragement for everyone who is out there looking to find their passion and place in this world. Our value does not come from our the degrees behind our names, careers that we have chosen or the zeroes in our paychecks. Our worth is in our impact, in how we touch the world and leave it for the better. 

Throwback Thursday: First Day of Grad School

Last First Day of Grad School (left). First Day of Grad School in 2013 (right).

Last First Day of Grad School (left). First Day of Grad School in 2013 (right)

This semester is the last year of my second year of graduate school at Syracuse University. It’s been a crazy fun journey and I’m looking forward to the adventures that are to come. Note: I forget it was picture day this year yet I somehow managed to wear a similar lipstick and hairstyle as the previous year!

DC Chilling: Dating Myself Part 1

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I have been in DC for about two weeks now and I’ve finally broken out of the watch-Netflix-in-my-room-all-day mode. I’m not much of a homebody, so that lifestyle got very old quickly. I decided I would make a conscious effort to see the city and all it has to offer. Thankfully, this is my third (and also my longest) time in DC so I could skip the typical tourist attractions. Thankfully, I bought the 7-day Unlimited Metro pass so I don’t have to worry about loading my card with train fare all week. My adventurous spirit often leads me down long rides on the metro to unfamiliar territory. I am mostly always by myself. On the 7:30 train to work by myself, venturing through neighborhoods looking for farmers markets by myself, trekking over to the Intro to Pole fitness class by myself, going to the Made in Hong Kong Film Festival by myself.

I am so accustomed to hopping on a train and not checking my plans for the day with anyone that it throws me off a little when I have to coordinate to meet up with people. I will say that it has been nice to occasionally meet up with friends for lunch or to hear a new band, but it’s also nice to just take myself out on cool dates. That’s how I see my adventures— like me taking myself out on the types of adventures I’d enjoy. I believe spending time with yourself teaches you your preferences and tastes. So far, I’d discovered a few things about myself:

1. My favorite spot in the movie theater is smack dab in the middle.

This weekend, I went to the Made In Hong Kong Film Festival and saw a great drama/comedy called “Aberdeen.” When I first got there, I was the only Black woman in the room. As the lights dimmed, everything around me faded away and I focused my eyes on the English subtitles. I laughed and gasped without shame, as did the movie-watchers on either side of me. And as the credits rolled, I clapped in appreciation. Yes, I’m that girl. I go to movies by myself, sit in the middle of the theater, and if the movie is really good, I clap.

2. I like enjoy a good Ethnic rice bowl.

Rice is the answer to world peace. It can bring together so many cultures . I’m a big fan of Chipotle’s rice bowls and I’m always looking to try out cultural equivalents. In DC, I have tried rice  Tom Yum District (Thai), Roti Mediterranean Grill (Mediterranean), TaKorean (Korean)My favorite, hands down, was the TaKorean rice bowl. I tried it at the Union Market and I fell in love instantly. I was feeling especially carnivorous that day so I ordered my bowl (on the left below) with steak, pork, and chicken, cilantro, sriracha (first time trying this and I loved it), and lime cream. My friend/classmate, who I randomly bumped into at the market, ordered one steak, chicken, and a pork taco. It was hilarious watching people drooling and straning their heads to see what we were eating. You can see why:

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 3. If I go to a restaurant and breakfast is still available, I will order breakfast food (regardless of the time of day)

Pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs…all day, everyday. That is my idea of a meal. My friend recommended I check out Busboys & Poets, which is a cool hangout spot/restaurant/poetry slam location. The service was good and so was the food. I had a classic french toast with eggs and fruit. I also ordered pomegranate lemonade! (Fun fact: I always get good vibes about a restaurant that serves pomegranate lemonade. It shows they’re open-minded and accommodating.)

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Brunch at Busboys & Poets


4. Bikeshare only makes me miss my Schwinn bike

I’m quite envious of DC bikers. One, because I’m nowhere near brave enough to ride on the road in DC traffic. Second, because I left my beautiful Schwinn bike at home and I’m forced to rely on things like Capital Bikeshare to get the feeling of the wind running through my hair. Don’t get me wrong, the Bikeshare is an ingenious idea and it definitely is a great way to see the city. I just don’t like how clunky the bike feels between my legs and underneath me. The membership fee options are not terrible, if you do it right. I like that you can drop off your bike at one of designated bike rack that is closest to you. Also all trips under 30 minutes are free. It makes biking a very convenient option. I like that DC is training people to get into the biking mentality. If you’re interested in biking through the city, check out the Capital BikeShare website here.

5. Lesser known musicians rock my world

I’m the type of girl who enjoys cover bands and thinks YouTube artists are some of the best musicians because they have a type of drive, raw talent, and desperation that makes a beautiful sound. On Saturday night, I heard a new band called Marlee in the Mixx. Their sound is Neo-Soul/Go-Go groove plus a lot of other stuff too. As I was listening, all I wanted to do is tilt my head back, sway, and raise my drink in the air. But being the musical creep that I am, all I could do was bob my head with wide eyes and sip on my water in appreciation. The lead female singer (Marlee) has a crazy mane of curly hair and she sings and raps. The extremely talented 9-member crew jammed together on the crowded platform. They seemed to be enjoying making the music as much as we enjoyed hearing it. The show was great and the atmosphere was grown and chill.

Click the picture to check out music from Marlee in the Mixx

Click the picture to check out music from Marlee in the Mixx

 In addition to the ones above, this week I also took myself out on a date to Trader Joe’s and to Pole Pressure. My stomach is thanking me for introducing it to Cocoa & Cookie Butter and my neck is cursing me for trying that one move at the end of the pole class. I had a good time. Would I go out with me again? I sure would! I can’t wait to see what I come up with next.

The Intern’s Closet

I recently got an internship at an office in Washington, D.C. As I was packing and preparing myself for my life as intern, I took a look at my closet to see what I had that could work for an intern’s closet. My internship has a “business casual” dress code, so I knew I already had some items in my closet that could fit the bill. I didn’t want to buy and entirely knew wardrobe but I wanted versatility, so I was looking to add a few pieces that I could dress up and dress down. I scoured the internet for clues on what most professionals considered business casual. I stumbled upon this photo: business casual photo Here are the recommendations from the post,:

Pants (solid colors are best), Skirts (length that lands at or above the knee), Tailored dress Tailored shirts, blouses, knits, sweaters and cardigans, Blazers and jackets, Both closed toed and open toed heels are appropriate, Jewelry and accessories (such as belts, scarves, watches) should be classic and conservative

One of my biggest problems with D.C. professionals is that they look great at work, but everywhere else they look a little…interesting. I often tuck my heels (if I wear any at all) into my bag and wear cute, sensible flats on the train. I think more brands in the DC area need to invest in comfortable flats, because the market out here is serious! There are women in beautiful skirt and blouse ensembles with neon Nike sneakers on and men in well cut suits with New Balances on. For me, comfort is paramount. I enjoy getting dressed for my internship and I also enjoy the fact that I can leave work and go meet up with friends without having to change. I am comfortable and I look put together. My office seemed to be pretty casual, which explains why my wardrobe leans more on the casual side. Here are a few of my outfits and some tips for the first few weeks at an internship with a business casual dress code.

Tip #1: Show some personality with some color.

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I find most traditional black boring so I opted for a pair of cobalt blue skinny pants from F21

Tip #2: Wear a sleeveless top and bring along a sweater or jacket to adjust for the weather.

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I used online shopping websites to introduce cute inexpensive tops to my closet.

Tip #3: Use statement necklaces to make your outfits a little more interesting

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Statement necklaces tend to dress up outfits and make them appear more thought out

Tip #4: Invest in a bag is both cute and functional

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This bag is sturdy and spacious to hold my work, heels, and my lunch kit.

Tip #5:  Pair solids with patterns to break up the monotony of an outfit

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My houndstooth skirt

Tip 6: Substitute uncomfortable slack for jeggings 

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I’ve worn these wine skinny pants into the office multiple times and no one has realized they’re jeggings!

My favorite tip is the last one. I never would have thought I’d be wearing jeggings to work, but after the first day I realized my desk job requires me sitting for hours! I realized, I might as well be comfortable while I sit and work. When I decided to wear jeggings, I made sure they were the type that actually looked like regular pants (with a zipper, button, back pocket, etc.). I also both them a size up, so they wouldn’t be inappropriately tight. There is a wide variety of jeggings online and most of them are inexpensive. I know that there will come a day when I have to become a real person and buy an entire wardrobe of designer pants, but for now I am just a humble intern who wears stylish jeggings to work.  Those are my tips for dressing to impress as an intern. Are there any other interns out there? What do you all wear to work?

My TEDx Talk: How I Found My Heart in a Walk-In Closet

In April 2014, I was one of 15 speakers at the inaugural TEDxSyracuseUniversity event.

Here is my bio: Timi Komonibo is a graduate student at Syracuse University from Missouri City, Texas. Timi has a fashion and lifestyle blog (NaturalChronicles.com) where she discusses topics ranging from fashion to travel. She recently started a fashion nonprofit called STYLE LOTTERY, where she advocates for sustainable fashion and fashion philanthropy.

Day 1: Brooklyn Street Art

 

 

For the 1st day of my post-birthday celebration, my brother and I headed over to Brooklyn to check out the sights. We found art everywhere. Enjoy the picture:

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Today was a simple trip, where we spent little to no money. It was nice to just walk around and soak in the city.

Our one regret was that we couldn’t find the Prospect Park Zoo. Everyone we asked had no clue where the hidden jem was. If we come back to the area, we’ll definitely look for it again.

 

Style Lottery wins a Fast Forward award!

Here’s a little about the award:

Thirteen entrants—both individuals and teams—have been selected as winners in the Fast Forward competition, in which the University will fund student projects that demonstrate how Syracuse University and its students can have a positive impact on the world. The winners presented their ideas for the Chancellor, Board of Trustee members and fellow students at the Fast Forward event as part of the Chancellor’s Inauguration. The student projects will be awarded grants of as much as $1,500 to fund the completion of their projects.

This award has been just the time of encouragement Style Lottery needs. I have been hosting closet swaps for quite a few years now. It’s been a lot of work to coordinate, but they’re always worth the “trouble.” Cheers to bigger and better swaps in the future! Following the presentation, I ended up in the Daily Orange newspaper: Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 10.13.03 AM

Sunday Best: Bold Blazer and Polka Dot Blouse

Brands With A Conscience: Warby Parker

Ever since I started my nonprofit organization, Style Lottery, I have been thinking about the role of fashion/apparel brands play in philanthropy. To be honest, when the marketing team at Warby Parker approached me about doing a post about their new sunglasses my first thought was to decline. Yea, they are a super chic glasses company but what made them different than the other brands?

I headed over to their site to check out their merchandise. Their website is a beautifully designed blog. I kept scrolling down their page, looking at their gorgeous layout and design. I stumbled on their new sunglasses line called the SPECTRUM Sun Collection:

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I love the look of the frames from Warby Parker. I can spot them from a mile away. They’re so unique and have a classic retro feel to them. My current prescription glasses fit into this style of frames. I especially like the DEAN English Oak and the DOWNING Striped Sassafras.

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Warby Parker has a Try-On methods. A guy I met last week told me he’s taken advantage of the Home Try-On option and had worn different frames for every day of class. I would love this option. I like changing things up. But it wasn’t even these hipsteresque frames or even the Try-on options that sold me on this company. It was their Do Good efforts. For as many times as I’ve seen these glasses and admired them, I never realized how much philanthropy Warby Parker was doing for people around the world.

Warby Parker has a “buy a pair, give a pair” system, much like that of TOMs shoes:

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I have started realizing that impacting the world through fashion may require me to buy more expensive items in order to do more good. I have bought two pairs of TOMs shoes, not just because of the aesthetic but because of the heart behind it. Some may criticize brands with this “buy one, give one” model but I would argue that these companies are addressing issues that would otherwise go unnoticed. At the very least, they are raising awareness. A few months ago, my church did a donation drive of old glasses to send to widows and orphans overseas. Prior to that moment, that issue wasn’t even on my radar. I’m attracted to the look of this brand and the heart behind it. I look forward to seeing more brands take up philanthropic causes.

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