Awakened Aesthetic - Organic Living, Ethical Shopping, Sustainable Lifestyle

This is Ned.

Jennifer Nicole's dog, Ned. (c) Awakened Aesthetic 2013.

Ned is a seven year old bullmastiff who stopped growing when he was less than a year. His paws and head are too big for his body and most people think he’s still a puppy. He doesn’t mind.

As I type this Ned is having a post-meal party: after he eats, he runs headlong into his dog bed, rubbing his face all over it and flipping onto his back, slamming against the wall repeatedly like he’s had eight beers and is listening to some really intense punk music.

Ned and I go on long walks a couple of times a week. He’s my errand buddy: we walk to the bank, to coffee shops, to explore parts of my neighborhood I haven’t seen (to trespass?).

Ned Walk 1 - Awakened Aesthetic

Ned wears a Cycle Dog Recycled Dog Collar with an attached bottle opener, which he loves because it makes him the life of any party. But not the life of quiet rural dog walks.

Ned Walk 2 - Awakened Aesthetic

Food. Ned loves it. Possibly too much. He’s figured out that if he pretends he hasn’t eaten, sometimes he gets fed again. We’ve taken to writing notes to undermine his subterfuge.

Ned Has Eaten - Awakened Aesthetic

Ned is allergic to one million and three things, so we have to feed him dog food made with salmon, sweet potatoes and berries. He probably eats better than we do.

He’s kind of entitled, but in a sweet, unassuming way. He’s an idealist. For example, he thinks that everyone in the world is here to give him pets. They must want to pet him; how could they not? He doesn’t understand when someone walks by without petting him.

I try to comfort him, but it’s not enough.

Ned is Despondent - Awakened Aesthetic

When he collapses like this, in a fit of despair, I use him as a footrest. I am a horrible dog owner.

But things get better for Ned and he forgets about those mean people. He was in a wedding this summer as both the ring bear(er) and a stand-in groomsman.

Ned at a Wedding - Awakened Aesthetic

But most of the time, he chooses to do a lot of this:

Ned Lays Down a Lot 1

Ned Lays Down a Lot 2

It’s pretty much his signature move.

I let Ned on a hotel bed once. ONCE. We spent three weeks retraining him to stay off the couch at home.

Ned Gives Hugs - Awakened Aesthetic

It was worth it.

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November 23, 2013 | File under: Behind the Aesthetic, Eco Lifestyle

I hope I never get sick of statement rings. They’re one of the easiest accessories in that they add quirk without altering an outfit’s original intention. You know how sometimes you get up in the morning and you feel unequivocally feminine (skirts and lace!) or hip-hop inspired (leggings and sneaker wedges!) or like you could totally win at life in The Walking Dead (all the lace-up boots!)? No matter which of those things I’m feeling I can probably find a statement ring for it, and that ring won’t take away from the whole vibe I’ve got going like a statement necklace or earrings might.

I’ve gone off on a tangent, but the whole point of that first paragraph is to say that it’s about time to start thinking about holiday party outfits, and for me that means fun, bobbly statement rings. The holidays can be fast-paced and let’s face it, stressful, and I like to wear “fun” outfits to try to combat that energy. It’s hard to be negative when you’re wearing bright colors and your jewelry makes noise.

People Tree Holiday Cluster Rings

People Tree’s blue cluster ring: $21.36

People Tree’s pink cluster ring: $12.46.

These cluster rings by People Tree make me happy. That’s it. They’re fun, and work just as well with little black as they would with leggings and a tunic. Fancy office party? Check. Get-together with friends where you drink too much spiked eggnog? Check. And, of course, People Tree is an ethical company, focusing on fair trade practices and organic materials.

People Tree’s blue cluster ring is currently full-price at $21.36, and People Tree’s pink cluster ring is on sale for $12.46. The pink’s my favorite, so score for me!

When it comes to the internet, I’ve been going backwards.

Or maybe not just the internet. I don’t know, guys. It’s late. I’m tired. No, wait, it’s only 9pm, but I’m tired because my physiology professor keeps giving me two tests per week and there’s a lot of material to learn, but it’s all very interesting so I find myself getting stuck on things that aren’t relevant to the test because I just want to know more and then I don’t sleep.

It’s a thing.

Back to going backwards.

I’ve spent less time on the internet lately (checking my email by phone doesn’t count) and when I do actually open a browser window I find myself thinking about using Twitter again or having a ~Tumblr presence~…two social media sites I stopped giving a damn about approximately two Jennifer-minutes after I first logged on. I’m also getting back into Etsy, the website that started the conversation that started this blog.

Handmade Mens Razor Bag

Here’s a monogrammed men’s razor bag for a friend who has been staying with me. He shaves with an antique metal shaver and just bought a brush kit.

Rising Phoenix Journal

And a brand new journal with a rising phoenix, for a friend who wants to start “really writing again” after using the internet for her thoughts for years.

Knitted Yarn Ring

A knitted yarn ring for my friend who knits, sails and is working toward her captain’s license.

Geode Earrings

Geode earrings for someone who likes her jewelry raw, without precision cutting or smooth lines.

An old shaving kit, hand-written words, knots of yarn and raw stones…I guess we’re all going backwards in time in one way or another.

It’s raining. It’s windy. Autumn is here.

Autumn is my favorite season. I am one of those people that lives for the first heavy rain after a long summer, who loves watching the leaves change color and blow into the street. I don’t even mind when they stick to my car and make the sidewalks slippery. (Okay, I mind a little.)

Awakened Aesthetic - autumn leaves

The first fallen leaf of autumn. Follow me on Instagram, why don’tcha.

I’ve been culling my wardrobe to prepare for fall, and got rid of a ton of old sweaters I don’t wear anymore. I decided I should reward myself for my good work by looking for a new sweater, namely a cardigan so I can continue to show off all of my awesome graphic t-shirts because I don’t have a day job anymore and can wear whatever the hell I want. (Yes, good Jennifer, get rid of clothing to minimize your wardrobe and then fill it up again, meaning you’ll just have to cull it again, great logic, good job, have a cookie.) First I searched using the term organic cardigan. Then bamboo cardigan. Then eco-friendly cardigan. The results were all boring and/or expensive. I submit exhibits A, B and C:

Expensive and boring.
Expensive and boring.
Expensive and boring and also kids clothing…except one.

Rosel Shrug Maliblue

Well hello there. *clicks link* SOLD OUT, WHYYYYYY. It must be because I’m really not supposed to buy a sweater right now. But it’s on, which means I can set a reminder email and know if ever becomes available again, especially since it retails for $315 and Fab sells it for $125. (Related: join Seriously. It’s the only “daily sale” site I use anymore, because it is the best and most neatest and has great customer service.)

So we’ve established that I like autumn and sweaters, and don’t like boring and expensive. I think that’s all I’ve got for you guys today. K. See you later.

I’m too busy watching Breaking Bad to think of anything else. This show is going to give me a heart attack, I swear to god.

Heisenberg Ring by Peacock Taco -

Unf, give them to me. I want to wear them all at once. I don’t care how problematic it is or whether I can type. Just…Breaking Bad. Forever.

Peacock Taco makes jewelry using the official ‘blue meth’ prop from Breaking Bad. You can buy the above rings for $50 each, slightly flawed Breaking Bad rings for $40 each with free shipping, or other jewelry off of her Etsy page. All rings are adjustable – one size fits all – and each ring takes 2-3 weeks to ship (unless it’s already made; see the notes in the description) so you’ll have it just after the finale.

Yeah, bitch.

(Further proof of my love for Breaking Bad: me proclaiming my love for Jesse in 2011. I never fangirl like this, but, I mean, I…I JUST CAN’T YOU GUYS OKAY.)

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September 15, 2013 | File under: Fashion, Jewelry, Women's Fashion

I follow J. Topolski, a New York Etsy designer, on Facebook (click here!), and recently she posted a new ring design that I must have.

No, really, there’s no option here. No choice. I need this.

Rhino Ring by J. Topolski

It’s a rhinoceros ring. HOW DO I NOT OWN IT ALREADY.* The world is a confusing place.

*It’s not yet available for purchase, that’s why.

I already have something by J. Topolski, a gorgeous whale skeleton necklace etched in copper that I wear all the time. It isn’t like I’d buy you and keep you in a dark jewelry box, rhino. I’d wear you. I’d show you to the world.

Copper Whale Necklace - Awakened Aesthetic

(Sometimes my whale is diving and sometimes it is surfacing. I like to make up stories about it when I notice it. Is there a squid down there, waiting to be eaten? Did you get an A on your exam and are you about to breach in celebration?)


I want it. I also want these papier-mâché rhinos, which are hand-made of recycled materials in Port-au-Prince by Caribbean Craft, which creates jobs in Haiti.

Papier Mache Rhinos

All the rhinos. Give them to me.

When I am looking for dresses with a vintage feel, ModCloth is my jam. Always.

I’ve been looking a lot lately, actually. After I dyed my hair purple at local Seattle salon Spectrum House we did a little photoshoot, and one of my “looks” included some gorgeous victory rolls. (I’m even featured on their Facebook page!) I am also a bridesmaid in a wedding that has a distinct retro bent and, when we went out for the bachelorette party, the theme was pin-up. My hair was styled in victory rolls yet again, and I was hooked.

Purple Pin-Up Hair -
I still need to learn to create victory rolls on my own – I’m going to use this tutorial to practice – but along with that I need to start supplementing my wardrobe with more vintage-looking and pin-up style dresses. Where to find vintage style clothing…hmm…definitely ModCloth! (FYI: If you click that link and end up placing an order, you’ll get $15 off your purchase and I’ll get $15 off a future purchase. Win-win!)

ModCloth doesn’t only stock eco-friendly items, but they do stock a number of them. Here are my favorite eco-friendly dresses of the moment: some are pin-up, some are vintage-ish, and some are just plain great.


Eco-Friendly Pin-Up Dresses

ModCloth Eco-Friendly Vintage-Style Dresses
Top Row: Plaid a Good Time Dress by People Tree; I Crane, I Saw, I Conquered Dress by Mata Traders; You Feather Believe It Dress; Why Nautical Dress in Navy and Red.

Bottom Row: Journey Through Momentos Dress in red and blue by Mata Traders; Champs-Elysees You Do Too Dress by Bibico; Riviera Romance Dress in Navy.

That Gorgeous Dress in the Middle: Floral in All Dress by People Tree.

Don’t forget: you can use this link to get $15 off your first ModCloth purchase of $50 or more. (You’ll want to sign up using said link, then add the above items to your cart.) Enjoy!

Not Very Romantic

You can buy this birthday card from Etsy seller The Frantic Meerkat. And also lumberjacks, and also superheros planking.

And alcoholic deer, because who doesn’t love alcoholic deer.

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August 15, 2013 | File under: Eco Lifestyle, Etsy Daily, Paper Products

I get tons of emails about sunscreen during summer (hello, August!) but if I can impart one thing to you with this post, it would be to wear sunscreen all year. You don’t need anything crazy – SPF 30 is just fine, even on your face – but you should wear something, otherwise the sun will beat you up and it will be all your fault.

Dude, seriously. Sunscreen. Use it.


I was sent – gratis, and thank you! – a bottle of Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Sunscreen to review not only as a natural face sunscreen but also as a tinted moisturizer. I prefer wearing tinted moisturizer (if anything at all) as opposed to foundation because really, I like my face and if I’m going to have it for the rest of my life I might as well get used to what it looks like without a cake of makeup, thank you very much. I also have mild rosacea, so I need something minimal that lets my face breathe while protecting it from sunlight. Rudolph Red is not my favorite color.

Suntegrity review

Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Sunscreen was featured as a “best sunscreen” in the Environmental Working Group’s 2012 Sunscreen Guide, and with good reason: it’s a healthy, more natural sunscreen option than most of those on the market, with a lower hazard score and excellent UVA and UVB protection. Here are some other neat points about Suntegrity’s 5-in-1 tinted moisturizing sunscreen:

  • It’s TSA-friendly (I took it on a plane to Ontario, in fact);
  • The active ingredient, zinc oxide, is non-nano, which is less scary on the cancer-causing side of things;
  • It’s free of: Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oils, Synthetic Dyes, Sulfates, Paba, Titanium Dioxide, Nano-Particles and Chemical UV Absorbers;
  • It’s vegan;
  • It’s cruelty free (rated by PETA & Leaping Bunny certified)

Here’s my big thing: Suntegrity 5-in-1 Moisturizing Sunscreen is a moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation in one. It’s basically a BB cream without having an irritatingly trendy name. It applies evenly and smoothly (pro tip: use a makeup sponge for any base makeup to achieve more even application), makes my skin look more uniform in color, does not cause breakouts or rosacea flair-ups and is easy to layer over with powder and bronzer.

This stuff has been a godsend when I’m hungover with my hair in a bun, out grocery shopping or buying drain cleaner, and a friend calls to invite me out. A little Suntegrity evens out my blotchy post-vodka face and makes my messy bun look less “I haven’t regained the use of my limbs yet” messy and more “I intended it this way” messy…or at least that’s what I convince myself of while we’re out at lunch eating biscuits and gravy, because biscuits and gravy are the best hangover food in existence.

The only problem I’ve found with Suntegrity is that it’s not available in stores in my area. (It’s mostly available in sunny locales. AKA not Seattle.) It is, however, available everywhere if you buy it online…and since you’re reading reviews online you might as well. You can buy Suntegrity products on or buy the tinted sunscreen at Dermstore: both websites have three tones for different skin types and cost $45.

In case you’ve been under a rock, here’s your under-three-minutes synopsis of why Abercrombie & Fitch has been getting a whole lot of shit lately.

Will you give up your AF clothing to the homeless?

…do you even own any AF clothing?

Does anyone?

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May 14, 2013 | File under: The Corporate Connundrum