This month, we’re catching up with Danielle Alvarado, the incredible CEO of our favorite blog, Sustainably Kind Living.
Danielle is a Neu Woman who truly embodies what it means to live a sustainable, thoughtful and conscious lifestyle. Sustainably Kind Living is a culmination of Danielle’s sustainable journey, which began when she was living in Europe and has blossomed throughout her experiences of motherhood. Now, Danielle’s blog reaches millions of people all over the world, helping them make small but significant changes toward sustainability.
On a personal note, Danielle has been a long-standing collaborator and champion of Neu Nomads since the beginning. We love to learn from her, every encounter with Danielle leaves us refreshed and inspired to create sustainably. It’s a treat to have her share her thoughts with us here in the Neu Woman spotlight.
Danielle, thank you for taking the time to join us. You’ve been part of the community for many years, so you’ll likely be a familiar presence to many of our readers, but for those who don’t know you, who is Danielle?
Hello, everyone reading this! Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to get to know me a little better.
My name is Danielle Alvarado and I am the CEO of Sustainably Kind Living, a mother of five-year-old twins, wife to the sweetest Italian police officer, and lover of all things homegrown.
Our family lived in Italy for the first five years together, but we just moved to Cyprus in 2022 so that I could fully pursue my career with Sustainably Kind Living. The move has been exciting and a huge adventure for our family.
What a move! Cyprus is a gorgeous island, and your posts certainly make us crave the beach and that Mediterranean spirit.
You mentioned your blog Sustainably Kind Living in your introduction. SKL is an incredible combo of a visual IG account @sustainablykindliving and an informative, educational blog. We always learn something new from your posts, and the blog is saved to our favorites.
Tell us a little about its origin story. What was the journey you went on to build that community? Why did you feel called to build that account?
The journey to SKL was quite an interesting one, to say the least. I was born and raised in Chicago, with little to no experience in anything dealing with “sustainability”. Our family was loving and super fun, but when it comes to living the green life, we were seriously lacking.
Anyway, flash forward many years, and I found myself falling in love with an Italian police officer while studying abroad in Austria. Little by little, this man, who spent his summers on farms with cows and endless mountain hikes, showed me what it meant to live a sustainable and simple life. A life with fewer material things, but with so much more of everything that mattered. We had children and his community taught me how to do everything, from living without a dryer, to composting my scraps, and even to making my own bread.
I was ecstatic about this way of life and wanted to share it with my family and friends back in Chicago, and so that’s how it started!
Fabulous! It seems that sustainability and living in harmony with nature goes hand in hand. We notice that after taking time to reconnect with green spaces and be mindful of nature, we can recognize the importance of sustainability more. Sometimes we get swept up in our busy urban living, and we forget to take the time to slow down and appreciate the beauty of our interconnectedness.
This is so apparent in the fashion industry. In one of your IG posts with us, you say you love ‘fuss free slow fashion’. We love that phrase – it really sums up our ethos at Neu Nomads. But what does it mean for you?
I love Neu Nomads so much because I feel like this is exactly what you are — fuss-free (but gorgeous) slow fashion. To me, this means that I can simply toss on one to two pieces and be ready to go. I know that the piece is well-made, looks great, and feels amazing. It checks off all the boxes!
Thank you! That’s certainly the aim of each piece here at Neu Nomads.
On your blog you mention that you want people to ‘empower their little circle’. What does empowerment mean to you? How do you suggest people ‘empower’ those around them?
I strongly believe in empowering our little circles. So often we can feel the weight of “saving the world”, but time and time again it has been proven that what truly changes the world is helping the circle around us. Our communities. Our villages. Our families.
Nobody is going to save the world - it will be a collective effort from a million different empowered circles. I really believe this. And we aim to empower our circle at SKL (and in our own personal community) every single day.
We often say at Neu Nomads that we’re not ‘trendy’. What we mean by that is that we don’t follow trends, we don’t make something for a temporary use, we look to classic, forever.
One thing that was very inspirational to us is how you lived these values on your wedding day. Tell us about your special day, and how you created style but without the consumerism.
Oh, thank you! My husband works as an Italian police officer in Merano, Italy (very north on the map) and our town has the most gorgeous castle that resides right next to his police station. It is very old and very well preserved - serving as a museum most days and also a courtroom! We were able to book our wedding there on December 21st for a courtroom wedding. We were wed on the first floor of the castle.
That day was made so extra special because of the very special pieces that we chose to wear on that day. The dress, which came from my own closet, was gifted to me years prior by an amazing sustainable linen brand. I remember taking photos for them and thinking “I just know I am going to wear this somewhere extraordinary one day”... And I did! My husband wore his dress police uniform as well — it paired beautifully. I also wore my favorite pair of heels from an amazing vegan sustainable fashion company (Bhava Studio), earrings that were in my jewelry box since I was 22, and a wool jacket that I found on Vestiaire collective secondhand.
Congratulations on your marriage, and thank you for sharing that story. We just loved every detail of your special day, from the iconic venue to how it encompassed your sustainable values — such a beautiful way to tie in your personality to your ceremony.
As well as sharing your wedding day, on your blog and IG you place a lot of emphasis on the home, family and nature. Where is your happy place?
My happy place is at home with my children, all cuddled up, with my husband making us tea from the garden.
My other happy place is on the beach near our home, cuddling up with my husband, while the kids are running wild and free — usually butt naked in the ocean!
You’re fantastic at creating a look. We LOVED your reel where you styled our LBD Easy Shift Dress every day for a whole weekend in Vegas!
Where does your fashion inspiration come from? Do you have icons you look up to, or do you draw inspiration from sources closer to home?
My fashion inspiration and only icons are random women from Paris. I lived there for a year in 2017 and always go back for more inspiration. There is nothing more fashionable, to me, than a Parisian woman.
One of the things that attracts us to your content is how you share your values so openly. You never hide from a difficult topic, yet the advice you give is thoughtful and free of judgment. You lift others up to make sustainable decisions, and recognise the joy in the experience.
How can people adapt your ethos of living slowly, sustainably and kindly? Where does someone get started on this journey?
Every journey starts with a choice. I say, choose wisely and with your gut leading the way. We know what is right and wrong. We know what is healthy and unhealthy. The best way to start is by making one conscious choice at a time, little by little and step by step.
A conscious decision is not an easy one, which is why it is usually stepped over for the “convenient” or “easy” choice. Stick with what feels right and not what feels easy or convenient.
With every conscious choice, you are rewiring your brain to be more kind, mindful, and sustainable.
NEU WOMEN QUESTIONNAIRE
Neu mantra: When in doubt, take a nap
Neu sustainable habit: We just started using an electric composter and it’s been amazing for reducing food waste.
Neu self-care/healthy practice: Hot baths with We Can Do Hard Things Podcast
Neu female voice: I listen to this podcast so much so I’ll just say Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, and Amanda Doyle
Neu inspiring book or news article: Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Neu song obsession: I’ve been on a real Oliva Rodrigo kick lately. The entire album. I’m 17 again.
Neu go-to veg restaurant: I go to Merakki’s cafe in Paphos, Cyprus weekly (and they deliver meals to our door!)
Neu spot to reconnect with: Beach. Always the beach.
Neu decompress routine: Bath. Cuddles. Nap.
Neu weekend retreat: I do not like to leave my home on weekends — weekends are for cuddles, swims, and books.
Neu travel destination: I am not the biggest travel lover since having kids, but I do like to go back to Chicago once a year to be with my amazing family
Neu style icon: Parisian women. Always.
Neu everyday look: It’s much too cold to be stylish right now, so sweat pants, a hoodie, and maybe even a beanie on top if it’s extra chilly. We don’t like to use the heat much, so we really pile on the layers in winter!
Neu sustainable brand you love: There are too many to choose from, but from my chair writing this, I can spot a Click and Grow garden, a Klean Kanteen water bottle, a Lomi composter, my Sondeflor wool jacket, and my bhumi organic cotton throw.
Neu Nomads favorite style: I am obsessed with my Madeira Jumpsuit - I honestly want one in every color. My husband even knows exactly what I mean when I jump out of the shower and say “do you mind grabbing my jumpie for me?” It’s been worn over a hundred times in a year.
DANIELLE IS WEARING