Mindful Living · Uncategorized

Reflections on the 44th Annual Carolina Balloon Fest

My husband, Dan, and I made plans this year to attend the 44th Annual Carolina Balloon Fest in Statesville, NC with his parents in late October.  I had never been to a hot air balloon festival, and found myself looking forward to this new experience in a North Carolina town we hadn’t yet explored.

Well, we all had a wonderful time and found Statesville, NC to be a very welcoming & charming town.  The festival itself was very enjoyable and made for a memorable experience.  So much so, that I wanted to devote a blog post to it and share some beautiful pictures with you!

The first day of the festival, we went to the Evening Glow, which was a stunning display of over 20 balloons inflated at sunset as if they were going to take off.  The balloons glow simultaneously like huge lanterns, which is a spectacular display.  Below is a picture we took of this experience.

Evening Glow Window

The next day, we enjoyed some lovely music from local bands, North Carolina wine, and viewed the equally stunning Mass Ascension.  The Mass Ascension is a launch of all the participating balloons, done in several waves.  The variety of balloons and colors made for a beautiful visual display.  It was quite an experience to see this!  Some pictures of the balloons and Mass Ascension are below.


Mass Ascension


Te'Amo Air

At the festival, I couldn’t help but think about how the hot air balloon pilot really has to “go with the flow” in terms of piloting the balloon.  While the pilot has a general idea of where he will go, the hot air balloon essentially goes wherever the wind takes it.  The pilot can seek higher or lower altitudes to find wind currents and sail in various directions.  Watching this in person really made me think about the saying “life is a journey, not a destination.”  There is a joy in savoring the present moments, and “going with the flow” as new challenges present themselves.

Sparkle & Shine!

~♥xo, Ruth~

~ Ruth.TradesofHope@gmail.com~

Mindful Living

Tips for Shopping Intentionally

Shopping intentionally and with purpose is a growing movement, and for good reason.  Realizing that with every dollar you spend, you are casting a vote about what you are willing to accept from companies is very empowering.  It means that collectively we have the power to change company practices we find unacceptable through spending our dollars elsewhere.

I still struggle with shopping intentionally at times, and thought it would be helpful to share with you some tips I’ve found useful on my new style journey so far.

~ Prepare by Researching Companies ~

If there is a clothing store or boutique that has caught your eye, before stopping in do some research online into the brands that they carry and the company itself.  Many boutiques have a separate page on their website that lists the brands that they work with and carry.  If your favorite boutique doesn’t have a listing, send an email to request the information.  Once you have a listing, you can look further into each brand online and reach out to them individually if you are unfamiliar with their corporate practices.

~ Distinguish between a Want vs. Need ~

Ask yourself why you want to buy the item in the first place.  Will the item add value to your life, or is it because you just want something new?  Get honest with yourself about your motivations for the purchase.


~ Consider Quality ~

Buying a higher quality item may cost a little more than something found at the big box retail stores, but it will last longer.  It will save you time and money in the long run if you focus on quality over price, especially for classic pieces.

~ Shop Local, Fair Trade, and/or Ethically Sourced Products ~

Purchasing some quality pieces from a local boutique and/or company representative is a great way to start putting money back into your own community.  It’s even better when you can find Fair Trade and/or Ethically Sourced products.  Fair Trade products are designated as such by a label.  Buying a Fair Trade item not only puts money back into your own community by supporting a local business, but also gives back and empowers others around the world.

Stories Collide

~ Consider What the Item is Made of ~

What are the materials used and are they sustainable?  Many Fair Trade fashion accessories use recycled materials and are a great way to make an empowering fashion statement, while being kind to the environment.  For clothing, check and see if the item is made of organic cotton.  The main benefit of organic materials is that the crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms. These toxins are harmful for farmers and workers, us as consumers, and entire wildlife eco-systems.

~ Does the Company/Brand Give Back? ~

There are so many ways to give back, and one is through purchasing and supporting brands that incorporate “giving back” into their company culture.  If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that I work as a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope.  Trades of Hope is not only a fair trade certified company, but also gives back through a program called Gifts of Hope.  This is one of the reasons I’ve chosen to represent the company as a CE.  More information on Gifts of Hope can be found here.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have about shopping intentionally.  You’re welcome to share your tips in the #StyleSlowlyGratitudeCollective as well by clicking here.

Sparkle & Shine!

~♥xo, Ruth~

~ Ruth.TradesofHope@gmail.com~

Mindful Living

My Gratitude List

As I write this I’m sitting outside on the patio of my home in Raleigh, North Carolina sipping some iced tea….I breathe in the fresh air and smile.  What an abundance of blessings I’m able to enjoy and be thankful for in my life.  I am blessed to be blessed, and  realize there is responsibility that comes with those blessings.


I decided to take some time to make a list of some blessings in my life for which I am grateful.  I challenge you to take some time to do the same.  It helps keep the daily annoyances you face in perspective.

My Gratitude List

  1. I am thankful for my husband, who is my biggest supporter in everything I do.
  2. I am thankful that I have a loving family.
  3. I am thankful that I am healthy and have the ability to enjoy regular workouts and peaceful walks in our beautiful neighborhood.
  4. I am thankful for the wonderful community we live in, that is full of opportunity and interesting people to meet.
  5. I am thankful for being able to have work that positively impacts others around the world.
  6.  Most importantly, I am thankful for the Creator that made me who I am, and allows me to inspire others in my own unique way.

Feel free to join the #StyleSlowlyGratitudeCollective here and share some (or all) of the items that made it onto your Gratitude List today.

~♥xo, Ruth~

~ Ruth.TradesofHope@gmail.com~