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Mexican Independence Day Celebration and Outfit Ideas

Puebla dresses dressaraz

For those of you who don’t already know, Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th. The celebration starts on the night of the 15th when thousands of Mexicans gather in the Zócalo (main square) of their towns or cities to celebrate. The celebration is led by the president of each municipality, and it is characterized by “el grito” (the cry), which is the act of everyone shouting the words “¡Viva México!” consecutively, followed by a spectacle of fireworks.

This tradition dates back to 1810, when priest Miguel Hidalgo, with the help of Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, summoned his congregation in order to fight the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The war lasted 11 years. And in 1821, Mexico was declared independent.

In Mexico, people throw parties inviting friends and family to spend time together. People generally wear typical Mexican clothing, paint their faces with the colors of the Mexican flag, and eat mouth-watering Mexican food. One of the favorites is pozole! Other typical foods include chilaquiles, tostadas, and enchiladas. If none of this sounds familiar to you, here is a general idea of what that looks like!

mexican independece food
Pozole: McCormick recipes, chilaquiles: Supermercados Morelos, tostadas: My Latina Table, enchiladas: kitchme.com

Here at Dressaraz, we want to help you prepare your outfit for this very special occasion. That’s why we’ve selected our top 5 favorite pieces of clothing for the 15th and 16th of September.

1. Puebla dress.

This beautiful dress is originally from La Sierra Negra Puebla. It is hand embroidered with colorful floral elements. It’s one of a kind and so versatile. You can wear it with sandals, flats, or even boots. For the ‘15 de septiembre’ we recommend it in green, white, or red (the colors of the Mexican flag). But you’ll be a queen if you wear a Puebla dress in black.

ethical mexican clothing
Puebla dress in black

2. Puebla blouse.

Do you know the feeling after eating a good bowl of pozole (traditional Mexican soup)? Exactly. You basically just want to sit and wait for a bit so that you can go for a second round. Because of this, you’ll want to wear something comfy and loose to your Mexican party. We recommend a Puebla blouse! Wear it with jeans or a skirt, and complement your look with these huichol accessories.

Puebla blouses dressaraz-min
Embroidered blouses by Dressaraz
embroidered mexican blouse
Puebla Blouse in Black 3/4 Sleeve
huichol mexican accessories
Huichol accessories in yellow
ethnic look boho chic
Embroidered Mexican blouse and Huichol accessories by Dressaraz

3. Tehuacan dress.

This beauty also comes from the Mexican state of Puebla. It’s embroidered with silk thread which makes this dress look elegant and authentic at the same time. And the best part? You can adjust your dress to your liking since it has strings to tie on the back. Try complementing this Mexican look with these beautiful huichol bracelets.

mexican party dresses
Tehuacan Dress in Black
Frida Kahlo style puebla dress
Tehuacan Dress in Blue

4. Rebozo

Now that the weather is getting a bit colder, it’s a great time to wear a rebozo (a Mexican scarf). Check out these fabulous ideas from Pinterest:

rebozos mexicanos

5. Sombrero mexicano

And last but not least, you can’t go to your Mexican party without a good sombrero. You can find these online or at pretty much any party shop.

 

mexican sombrero
Giant Mexican sombrero

Bonus

6. Puebla dress for girls.

Since you might not be attending the party alone, you’ll need to find something fabulous for your little ones as well. How about these cute embroidered Puebla dresses? Check out our entire collection here.

vestido mexicano para niña talla 4
Puebla dress in white for 3 year old girls

This year, we have a special offer for you. A 10% discount on all of our Mexican dresses! Go check them out now, and ¡Feliz día de la independencia!

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Fall Back in Love With Your Art

Every so often I like to declutter my closet and get rid of clothes that are damaged, don’t fit, or that I simply don’t like anymore. Recently, I packed up a big bag of clothes to take to The Salvation Army. But before getting rid of it all, I had a second look at the clothing to see if I could save any of the items. Among the pieces in the bag, there was a beautiful Puebla dress in royal blue. So light and colorful. Ideal for the summer.

Here’s me wearing it last summer

This used to be one of my favorite dresses. Although the dress still fits me, the elastic on the sleeves was killing my arms. Since I had gained some weight over the past year, the sleeves were now too tight. It felt uncomfortable. However, I felt sad about getting rid of such a beautiful dress. It was still in good condition, and the colors on the embroidery were still vibrant. I suddenly had an idea. “If I could just get rid of these puffy sleeves, I could wear this again.” I said to myself.

So that was exactly what I did! Instead of getting rid of the dress, I got rid of what was bothering me. I have to tell you that when I wore my new sleeveless dress, it felt AMAZING. I felt like a queen in it. I was impressed by how such a little tweak could bring so much life into this garment again.

fall back in love with your art
Puebla dress by Dressaraz

This made me reflect on the following. Many times when we lose the love for something (or someone), it doesn’t necessarily mean the thing in question isn’t beautiful anymore. It might just mean that it needs a twist. For example, if you are an artist and you’re feeling a bit discouraged about the creative process, perhaps all you need is a little change in your environment. Maybe you can find a new place to execute your ideas, or you can try new techniques.

Or, if you are a writer who only writes blog posts, try writing short stories, poems, or a different genre altogether. This will bring excitement to your routine. As you might have seen, I sometimes write stories based on my own experience. But I also write how-to posts, and on some occasions, I’ve even collaborated with other bloggers and artists. I try to mix things up, and this is what keeps things exciting for me.

So, if you think you’ve lost the love for your craft, try thinking about ways to spice things up. Have some ideas? Let me know about them in the comments below. I hope you’re able to fall back in love with your art this summer!

Until next time,

Jessica

P.S Have you checked out our Puebla dresses?

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10 Tips to Help You Make the Most of Summer

10 Tips to Help You Make the Most of Summer

Summer is the time of the year when people go on long holidays. It’s also the time that we get to have a well-deserved break from work. But whether you’re packing your bags for the beach or staying in town, these tips will help you make the most of this summer. Enjoy. 🙂

1. Disconnect

Disconnect from social media

As much as hanging out on Facebook is a fun thing to do, try to minimize the time you spend on social media, especially when the weather is great.

If you’re on holidays, having your phone with you all the time will only distract you from the beauty around you. Appreciate the lakes, rivers, trees, and mountains. Make use of your senses. Look at the colors, feel the air touching your face, and taste new flavors. Be in the moment. You can always share the pictures of your adventures on Facebook or Instagram the next the day, or even after your holidays are over.

2. Sleep

Sleep more on summer

It’s summer baby! Allow yourself to be more flexible with your working times, while still being as productive as possible. Even if you’re an early bird, you could try adding one or two hours to your sleeping routine to help you feel rested. And once you go back to your normal routine, you’ll feel recharged and ready to work.

Besides, it’s been proven that sleeping between eight to ten hours a day improves your memory, promotes muscle building, reduces inflammation, and keeps you younger. Amazing benefits huh?

3. Read

Read magazines

One of my favorite things to do when I’m on holidays is read. I always bring a book with me wherever I go. I also like to read print magazines. I used to think magazines were a waste of money since you can find pretty much everything you need on the internet. But I’ve recently changed my mind about that. Reading a print mag is one of the most relaxing and caring things you can do for yourself. It’s a way to disconnect from the busy internet by focusing on one page at a time.

Lately I’ve been enjoying a magazine called In the Moment. I’m obsessed with it! There are just so many goodies in it, like articles on mindfulness, beautiful illustrations, and inspiring stories. You can subscribe to the magazine here.

4. Listen to Podcasts

Listen to podcasts

If you’re like me, you probably like listening to a good story. Whenever I’m doing an activity that doesn’t require complete focus on my part, like folding clothes, emptying the dishwasher, or editing pictures, I like to listen to inspiring podcasts.

Podcasts are a great way to learn something new and they’re entertaining too. Here are a few of my favorites:

Dear Sugars by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond
The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman
The Simple Show

5. Wear Less Makeup

wear less makeup in summer

I haven’t been wearing makeup for the last couple of weeks, and I’m loving it! And my partner loves it too. He actually told me I look more beautiful without makeup. Huge compliment right? I never thought I would feel this comfortable with zero makeup. All I’ve been putting on my face is a bit of aloe vera gel to help keep my skin hydrated on the warmest days.

Hear me out on this one, and forget about dolling up. At least just for this season. Allow your hair to run wild and your skin to breathe.

6. Wear Comfy Clothes

Maxi dresses by Dressaraz

You know what a bad combination is? Sweat and tight synthetic clothing. Try to wear light and natural fabrics, like cotton. One of my absolute favorite pieces for this summer is this Maxi dress by Dressaraz.

It’s been carefully handcrafted and comes in white and black. If you’re after a fresh and comfortable summer dress, this standout piece is the one.

7. Practice Guided Meditation

Guided meditation

One way to spoil yourself with more “me” time this summer is through meditation. If you’re new to this, you can even try guided meditation. With guided meditation, all you have to do is close your eyes, listen and let your mind and body fall into a deep relaxation. This practice is proven to boost happiness and health.

My favorite app for this is Insight Timer. It has guided meditations that focus on healing, happiness, self love, and much more. And the best part? You can download it for free! It’s available for both Android and iOS.

8. Exercise Outdoors

practice yoga outdoors

Even though I love working out from the comfort of my living room, summer has convinced me to get my butt outside. You can bring your yoga mat to the park or do your favorite HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercises outdoors.

And if you’re up for going jogging, try to do so either early in the morning, or in the evening when the weather is coolest.

9. Eat

summer food

My brother has a simple philosophy that “Life is better with good food.” And I couldn’t agree with this more!

Try eating seasonal fruit such as watermelon, mangoes, pineapples, and berries. If you are spending more time at home, try new recipes. Here are some of my favorite cooking blogs:

Clean & Delicious with Dani Spies
Laura in The Kitchen
Healthy Recipes by Dr. Axe
Mexico in My Kitchen

10. Drink Water

hibbicus water

With the heat being at its maximum, it’s important to drink lots of water to keep yourself cool and hydrated. And if you like a touch of flavor in your water, you can try adding natural ingredients such as strawberries, lemons, or cucumber.

One of my favorite summer drinks is agua de Jamaica (Jamaica water) which is very popular in Mexico. Jamaica water is also known as Hibiscus tea, and it is made as an infusion from the leaves of the of the Roselle flower. It is enjoyed both hot and cold, and it contains a good amount of minerals and vitamin C. In some countries it’s even used as traditional medicine.

To make this delicious drink, just soak some Jamaica leaves in a mason jar, let it sit in the fridge for an hour, and enjoy! If you want to drink it hot, the preparation is the same as regular tea. You can find Jamaica leaves in almost every Latin or Asian supermarket.  If you’re in Europe, you can order it online here.

So are you up for trying something new this summer? Then let me know which of these tips was your favorite. Let’s share our experiences in the comments below!

Fijne Zomer!  (Enjoy your summer!)

 

Photo credit: Featured image by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

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A Little Help Goes a Long Way

latinoamerican artisans

A little more than a year ago I was walking down the streets of beautiful Oaxaca in search of handmade clothing for my shop. If you ever have the chance to go to Mexico, you definitely have to visit this charming city. You’ll be amazed by its cobbled streets, colorful churches, food, and happy people.

Just a few blocks from el zócalo (the main square), I found a small stall on the corner of a street with a table full of embroidered blouses. The blouses caught my attention right away. They came in bright colors and had huge flowers on them. There was a little boy in charge of the business and I asked him if he could give me the price of the blouses. After he shared the price with me, I told him I wanted to buy ten pieces. And in that moment, he turned around to see his mother, who was sitting near the stall. He shouted at her, “You heard that mom? She wants to buy ten!”, to which the mom simply smiled and nodded.

street kid

The kid must have been between six and seven years old, perhaps older. I will never forget the kid’s face the moment I said I wanted to buy ten blouses. His happiness was contagious, and it immediately became my happiness. However, after I left, I kept wondering why a small kid like him was selling clothes on the street instead of playing with other kids. Although, to be honest, it didn’t really surprise me too much considering Oaxaca is one of the most destitute states in Mexico. It’s very common to see kids working on the street, either selling chewing gum or cleaning windshields every time the traffic light permits.

But that moment made me reflect on the importance of our everyday jobs. Perhaps for that kid, selling ten pieces meant going home with enough money to buy groceries the next day. Or maybe it meant that he was going to be rewarded for a good day of sales. I want to believe that we all work because we’re passionate about what we do, but many times the reason is as simple as wanting to have a better future. Perhaps you’re bartending because you’re saving up for college. Or waiting tables to be able to travel the world. Or maybe you are working on a 9 to 5 job so that you can buy food to feed your children. Whatever the reason is, those day jobs serve a purpose.

In the end, it’s not about how much money we make, but what we do with that money. I know there’s a popular expression that says that money can’t buy happiness. But I believe money can be used to help pay for basic needs, health services, and pathways to dreams.  And even when all our needs are covered, we generally feel the need to work because we are simply creative souls.

street artisans

Two years ago, my online business was just a dream. It only existed in my mind. I dreamed about having an online clothing shop that would support the work of Mexican artisans. Nowadays the shop is real! Dressaraz was built from scratch and with very little money. It has grown with the help of artisans, friends, family, and loyal customers who believe in our mission. Whenever I feel discouraged, I remember my “why”, and I also remember that kid and his mom. When I wake up to orders in my shop, just like that little kid, my face lights up. And it’s not because of the money, but because of what can be done with that money.

Our why is what makes our jobs beautiful. What we do matters. It’s our offering to the world, and a way to show love to others. If we stopped to think about people’s whys more often, perhaps we would value others’ jobs more. Just think about it, if we all supported the ones who have less, perhaps they wouldn’t have to cross borders in search of work, or young kids in other countries wouldn’t have to work.

we are all connected

And when I say support, I don’t necessarily mean giving your money away. Perhaps you could help someone promote their small business by telling your friends about it. Or you could cook a meal for a friend who is struggling financially. There are limitless ways in which we can make a difference.

We have to stop putting labels on people, and calling countries “first” and “third” because we all come from the same world. The happiness of others is our happiness, and so is the pain. This is because we are all connected. Can you feel that connection?

So let’s support the hard worker, the creative, the hungry, and the lost. Let’s value the work of the janitor, the dishwasher, the cashier, the street seller, and the artist. Let’s support each other’s vision. A little help can go a long way.

 

Photo credit: Featured image by Fancycrave on Unsplash

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5 Amazing Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is around the corner, and if you were raised in a traditional family, you know how important this celebration is. In Mexico, schools from different educational levels even throw festivals to honor the mothers of the family, and kids make crafts in their classroom for the especial women in their lives.

Mother’s Day is celebrated around the globe, and dates will vary depending on the country. But it takes place most commonly in the months of March or May.

If you would like to give your mom something special this year, here’s a list of five gifts she will absolutely love.

1. A day pass to a spa.

Treat your mom to a day out at a spa resort. If you are in the Netherlands, I can highly recommend Fontana Resort. You can buy a gift card online which includes access to the thermal bath, swimming pools, and sauna. And as a bonus, you can include a massage or facial. Mom deserves a day of relaxation for herself after all she does for us.

spa resort netherlands
Image via https://www.fontananieuweschans.nl/en/

2. A gift card from her favorite department store.

Ask your mom what her favorite shops are and buy her a gift card so that she can buy her favorite items. Just make sure to put enough credit on it! My favorite is Douglas – I buy all my cosmetics from there.

douglas gift card
Image via douglas.nl

3. A Julia dress.

Our Julia dresses are one of a kind, and one of our best sellers. Our clients have raved about these dresses, saying that they are fresh, comfortable, and make them feel beautiful. They come in beige, white, and black. And the best part? This Mother’s Day we have a special offer for you. Get 15% OFF at the checkout using the code MOTHERSDAY15.  Shop now!

plus size dresses
Julia Dress in Beige XL by Dressaraz

4. A surprise day trip.

Is your mom an adventurous traveler? Then a day trip is perfect for her! Get her out of the routine and take her to a nearby city. If you are on a budget, Spoordeelwinkel has special train deals. You can also check out FlixBus for really great bus offers. And if you’re feeling like driving, renting a car with Europcar is a great option too.

renting a car
Image via https://www.europcar.com/

5. A customized card.

If you want to give mom a handmade gift, then a customized card is ideal. Karen Ova makes beautiful customized illustrations. Just make sure to order in advance, since it takes a few days to be made, shipped, and delivered.

Illustration by Karen Ova
Illustration by Karen Ova

There you have it! I hope you liked these ideas. But if you’re still wondering what to give her, just make sure to give lots of hugs and love. Let her know how special she is to you. In the end, it is not about the gifts we give, but rather the quality time spent with our beautiful moms.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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The Beauty of The Embroideries from Jalapa De Díaz

blusa jalapa de diaz multicolor

This beautiful blouse is originally from Jalapa de Díaz, a town located in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is 50 km west of Tuxtepec, the principal city in the Papaloapan region and the second largest in Oaxaca state.

This blouse or huipil originated around the 20s. It is embroidered on the front and back with elements of birds and flowers, which are characterized for their vibrant and happy colors. In order to create these pieces of art, the artisans first draw their ideas on the fabric (rayón), and then embroider each of the elements by hand. The embroidery itself takes approximately 20-30 days, hence the high cost of these blouses. They also embroider dresses like the one in this picture.

Vestido jalapa de diaz
Unfortunately, the region of Papaloapan isn’t safe at the moment, and the fights between cartels (drug dealers) have killed many innocent people. There is also a risk of being kidnapped if you happen to be on the street late at night. A lot of people have gone missing over the last couple of years, which is why many artisan women don’t dare to travel to the city anymore. Instead, they send the men in their families.

Every day, José travels from Jalapa de Díaz to Tuxtepec to sell the blouses and dresses that the women in his family make. He gets up every morning with hope that it’s going to be a good day, and that he’s going to sell enough dresses and blouses to bring money home.

artesano jalapa de diaz

I was raised in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca and happily lived there for many years. It’s sad to know that nothing is being done to end the insecurity in this beautiful city. However, the people have gotten used to living among danger, and they have hope that this will pass.

Before I moved to the Netherlands, my grandmother gave me a blusa bordada (embroidered blouse). I was happy to receive such a special gift, because at that time, I believed that wearing one of these blouses meant you had a good socioeconomic status, or that you worked very hard to buy it. When I moved to the Netherlands I brought it with me, and it’s now one of the most valuable pieces I have in my closet.

One day, I was walking down the street in the center of Groningen, and a couple stopped to tell me how beautiful my blouse was. They were amazed by the colors, and told me that they had never seen anything like it before. In that moment, I felt very proud of my roots, and the fact that I was wearing something made by people from my hometown. It wasn’t the first time someone “chulea” (praised) my blouse. Wherever I go people ask me where I bought it, and I’m always happy to say that it’s made in Mexico.

It was only after moving abroad that I became passionate about my own roots. That’s when I decided to start my own clothing business, Dressaraz. Our goal is to promote handmade traditional Mexican clothes and encourage slow fashion.

We believe that we can help others live a better lifestyle simply by supporting the work that they do. When you buy hecho en Mexico, you’re helping create a steady source of income for these artisans and their families.

So what about you? Do you have an embroidered piece in your closet too? Which is your favorite garment? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Check out our Jalapa blouses and dresses!

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Puebla Dress

Our Puebla dress is Dressaraz’ signature dress and our customers’ favorite without a doubt.

This dress is originally from the Mexican State of Puebla. It is hand embroidered with floral elements in different colors. Even though the dress might look similar to others of its kind, the embroidery isn’t always the same. What you get is a unique design that came from the imagination of the artisan who created it. They sometimes embroider baskets with flowers, and other times birds.

The embroidery process takes approximately 20 to 30 days. Due to its popularity, the elaboration of this dress has expanded and it’s been plagiarized. At Dressaraz, you can rest assured you are acquiring a quality product, made by the artisans who make the original dresses.

When you buy made in Mexico, you’re helping to spread the beauty of Mexican textiles, and to improve the quality of life of the artisans who make these clothes.

Our hope is that this dress makes you feel comfortable and beautiful.

Care: This dress is made of poplin, a fabric mix of wool, cotton, and rayon. Since it is a strong fabric, you can put it in the washing machine (30°), and in the tumble dryer. Of course, hand washing helps preserve the embroidery for a longer period of time.

Love this piece? Check out the Puebla dresses we have available in our store!