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Blog

Our little space to inspire, encourage, and share our heart for you and our company.

Travel Portugal Pt. 2

Emily Valdez

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Portugal

We are reminiscing on our Portugal trip this week in honor of the release of our Streets of Gold collection (coming next week!!). Streets of Gold was shot throughout the streets of Alfama by the one and only, Casey Liu. The photos below however are a little more personal. I took these snaps during the duration of our stay on our many adventures, and of a few random walls, doors, and colors that inspired me. I hope they inspire you in some way too, or just make you laugh, or smile. :) 

Who Made Your Clothes?

Emily Valdez

     I wish I was joking when I said the clothing you are wearing right now could have cost someone their life. The fashion industry is being poisoned. Some factories are working their employees to the bone for pennies an hour, in unsafe facilities, with no benefits. These people are basically slaves to the trade with no where else to go. For what? For us to buy a trendy dress for $14.99. Fast fashion is fast food. The good news is that you are the consumer which means YOU have all of the power. You get to decide where your money goes and which businesses you support. You may think your dollars are too small to change an industry, but you are a piece in this puzzle to eradicate this vicious disease. When you support ethical companies you sow into hundreds of families, into the development of nations, and into bringing some of the goodness back to humanity. You create change. 

    We want to be open with our manufacturing practices so that when you buy YIREH you know where your money went. YIREH is run by me, Emily Jaime, and I am the sole owner of the company. Our workers are paid fair wages, receive one-month paid vacation, religious holidays off, sick leave, and medical insurance. Surplus fabrics are given to local Balinese charities to minimize textile waste. We also give 10% of our profits to International Justice Missions, a social organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking.

   This post isn't meant to give ourselves a pat on the back for doing good, but to shed some light on the realities of the fashion industry that most aren't aware of. My hope is that we can all begin to recognize the trade off we participate in when we buy cheap clothing, and that we all become more conscious consumers.
 

Credit to Fashion Revolution @fashion_rev for the beautiful "I made your clothes" signage.

   

Turkey Photo Journal

Emily Valdez

For lack of better words, Cappadocia, Turkey was the coolest place I've ever been. From markets, to textiles, to amazing food, and breathtaking landscapes, this country is so special. The number one question I'm asked when people find out I've been to Turkey is if I felt safe. My short answer is yes, I felt extremely safe. My advice if you're thinking of going is to use your own discernment as to how comfortable you feel, and to always stay updated on the news. My number one recommendation is to hike and explore all of the ruins by foot. We found so many old cave paintings, old churches, and homes that blew my mind. I recommend you stay at The Sultan Cave Suites! We stayed in the King Sweet and had our own private balcony and view. It was amazing. Plus their breakfast buffet is bomb! As always, feel free to get into contact with any questions you may have!

Stay Inspired.
xoxo,

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The Sahara Desert

Emily Valdez

The Sahara was an experience of a lifetime, mostly because we never knew what to expect. We took the slow route to the desert, a two day journey by car and camel. Our driver, Ahmed, took us to various sites along the way including an old castle where Gladiator was filmed. When we could go no further by car, we jumped on our camels. This was our first surprise. I thought we would be going with a big tour, but there were only two camels, actually they aren't even camels they were Dromedary because they only have one hump, but for writing purposes I'll call them camels. So there was one camel for me and one for Davin and our guide Moustafa would lead us by foot (the Moroccans don't actually ride their camels, because what we would find out is they are super uncomfortable).  So we jumped on and I figured we would be meeting up with a big group in the Deserts Dunes. We rode two hours into the desert, slowly watching all civilization disappear, until we were completely surrounded by amber colored sand in all directions. I asked Moustafa where we were going and he just pointed into the distance and said there. I looked at Davin, shrugged and went with it. We kept passing all of these luxurious camps with huge tents to house many people, and colorful pillows and Moroccan rugs. I began to get excited thinking this is where we were going. But we kept passing by them. Finally, I knew we had to almost be there but I could see nothing but ruins in front of me. Our camel started to slow down, and Moustafa stopped and told us we had arrived. I looked around, to my left was sand, in front of me was more sand, and to the right of me was a little sand/mud house. I was confused, where was the luxurious camp I thought I booked. I asked Moustafa knowing we had to have made a wrong turn, "Are you sure this is our camp." He looked at me and said, "Yes, tonight you sleep with nomad."  Nomads are small groups of people that wander around Morocco and settle for periods of time in certain places, and then move on. They are free, and home is wherever they go. Davin and I looked at each other confused but obeyed Moustafa. We got off and went up to the sand/mud house and were greeted by a toothless old man. We said hello and thank you for hosting us, and quickly found out he spoke no English. He showed us to our room, which had a blanket for a door and a one inch thick cot on the dirt floor for a bed. Then he led us into his sitting room filled with colorful pillows and a "window" without glass that overlooked the Moroccan sunset and brought us mint tea. I was immediately uncomfortable because everything was quiet, still, and slow. We had no phones, no wifi, no electronics, no books, and no one that spoke english except for each other. At this point in traveling I was so used to moving, and talking, and going, and seeing, and doing. Now, I knew these two days in the desert would be exactly what I was not used to, relaxation, and stillness. Davin and I shared a bottle of wine, and our camel guide Moustafa made us a Berber Pizza and Tajine which was some of the best Moroccan Food I've ever had. After, Davin and I watched about a million shooting starts pass by until we slowly went to sleep. We woke up the next morning and I thought I was seeing a mirage. Slowly from the distance hundreds of camels were appearing from the horizon line as the sun was rising. It was one of the coolest sites I've seen. Getting to stay with our new nomadic friend was probably the best part of our Moroccan trip. I learned so much in a night. He and Moustafa were so happy, they didn't have much, and their lives were very simple, but they were happy always. They even spoke of their happiness frequently, something you don't hear often in the USA. We spent the rest of our time in the desert sliding down Sand Dunes, taking naps in the hot hot heat, talking with our new berber friends. We did eventually get to go to the camp I thought we would stay at the first night. We listened to our Berber friends play the drums and sing about their life and freedom, we danced under the stars, and talked about life in the Desert. I had never been surrounded by so much joy. Everyone I met was genuinely happy and they never seemed to let the small stuff get to them. Our camel man Moustafa became our good friend, who we still talk to a few times a week. Our entire Sahara experience was a journey. We never knew where we were going, we never knew when we would eat, and we never knew where we were. Everything was new, and everywhere we looked we had no experience or image to compare it to. I learned so much about being present in every moment, as well as finding joy in the smallest of things from my new Desert friends.

Portugal

Emily Valdez

Portugal was one of those countries I wanted to go to "someday" but was never at the top of my list. Shame on me. This country was full of unexpected surprises. I had approached my good friend and main photographer for YIREH Casey Liu, about a year ago with the idea of flying her to Europe to do an international photoshoot. Casey didn't have to take much time to think about it, she immediately said she was down. She's a different breed that one. So over the course of the year we began planning a shoot and imagining which country would work best. First we thought Hungary, then we thought Morocco, then Denmark, then we ran out of ideas after they all fell through. We were a month away from leaving and still had no plan, no model, no makeup artist, and no location. Casey was then contacted with another opportunity in Portugal and threw out the idea of shooting there. I said why not, and it was settled. Little did I know that this would be the perfect location to shoot, with the detailed tiles layering the streets, nostalgic buildings, colorful pathways, breathtaking panoramic views, and friendly locals, we couldn't have asked for more. We spent our days eating pastel de nata's while roaming the streets, finding cheap restaurants owned by funny local "casanova" men, and drinking 3 Euro bottles of delicious wine. The shoot went seamlessly the model and makeup artist were perfection. This was country number 2 on Davin and I's 7 country 52 day list. It began the theme our trip would unfold into, be open, and have no expectations. We couldn't have asked for a better start with close friends, in an amazing country. We left with full hearts ready for the next adventure that would be Morocco.