30X30, for a Purpose.

Sometimes, or possibly most of the time, I like to daydream.  My mind wanders into these alternate futures for my life, where I've become a fashion designer, or best friends with Jennifer Lawrence, or the mother of an adopted child.  I smile as I dream of how I would've gotten to those places, what the journey to get there might look like.  I daydream about the outfits I would wear, the runway collections I might have made, or the places I might travel to.  And then there are the days, like today, when my imagination is overtaken with a more frightening reality.

Yesterday was a day to Shine a Light on Slavery, and literally thousands of people participated in End It Movement's campaign.  There were red X's all over my Facebook feed, news stations interviewed people participating, and modern day slavery was at the forefront of many people's minds.

But it was just one day, in the days and years of exploitation many of these victims endure.

Sometimes, even in my attempt to keep most of my blog content light-hearted (it's about clothes after all!), there are days that I don't want to write about my outfits.  Today is one of those days.  I don't want to sit in front of my computer and try to find light-hearted words to describe what I'm wearing.  I want to scream and rant and cry and possibly punch something because there are so many huge issues to tackle in our world today.  I want to buy a one way ticket to Nepal and break into brothels and protect these children.  I want to wander the streets of New York and show real love to the 12 and 13 year old girls that have believed the lie that their pimp loves them as he sends them out to do his 'business.'  I want to buy each and every piece of jewelry that Starfish Project offers, so that the women that have been rescued from a life of exploitation can support themselves in their new life.

But, instead, I am a (mostly) stay-at-home-mom with two kids to raise and love, with limited financial resources.  One thing I can do?  Get dressed every morning.  A good friend and I are starting a 30X30 Clothing Challenge tomorrow, and continuing through the whole month of March.  Basically, we each picked out 31 (we added a freebie in there, since there's 31 days in the month!) pieces of clothing, and that's what we'll have to choose from when we get dressed every day.  Another part of the challenge is that we aren't going to buy anything new during this month.  It's a practice in being happy with the contents of our closet that we already have, as well as learning new ways to mix the pieces we picked instead of relying on the same combinations every time we wear them.  We're saving up our shopping money throughout the month, and at the end, we're planning on making a donation to Love146 to help support those that are going out and rescuing these precious lives. 

I'll go ahead and share with you the clothes that I picked out for these 31 days, as well as a few caveats:

What's Not Included: Belts, undershirts, tights, scarves, jewelry, and coats (I really only have 2, and never really consider them part of an 'outfit,' they're just for warmth!)

What is included: pretty much everything else, including shoes!

My freebie: I am allowing myself a little wiggle room, in that if I manage to finish one of my sewing projects, it can be added into the mix.  I only have like 3 or 4 things in the works right now (or 5, or 100...):

Seriously, it's like a fabric explosion in my craft corner right now!!
So, here's the rundown:

Here's all 31!

L to R: Aeropostale (clearance), black leggings from Wal-Mart, thrifted NY&Co jeans (DIY'ed to skinnies)... I didn't include a picture of a dark wash pair of flares, they were my #31 freebie added later!

Nude heels, black boots, and leopard flats all from Plato's Closet resale, studded loafers from Rack Room Shoes (clearance), thrifted Red BCBG Girls wedges

Clockwise from top: DIY circle skirt from thrifted fabric, gifted houndstooth skirt, thrifted Cato floral skirt

L to R: Print dress via 1/2 of 1/2, thrifted polka dots (DIY alterations), thrifted blue dress

Clockwise from top L: Target (clearance), JC Penney, thrifted, Old Navy LS tee, turtleneck from clothing swap, American Apparel tee via Plato's Closet resale

L to R: thrifted Coldwater Creek button-down, Ann Taylor top via 1/2 of 1/2, NY&Co white button-down

Clockwise from top L: grey sweater from Harp's (local grocery store, randomly enough!), thrifted black Banana Republic sweater, leopard Chaps sweater from Kohl's (clearance), striped sweater from Sears (clearance)

L to R: insanely old Old Navy jacket (DIY'ed to sleeveless), Aeropostale top (clearance), thrifted cape/sweater thingie
And that's it!  I went with mostly black/white and blue, with some other colors mixed in... I'm curious to see how all of these will come together (as well as how I'll dress myself for warmth when this impending ice storm hits)!

I'd love it if you'd join me in this campaign!  If you don't want to remix your wardrobe, maybe consider a shopping hiatus, and just saving up the money you would have spent this month?  It can be as little as $1 per day, and every little bit helps!  A recent blog post on Love146's website sums it up perfectly: "a red ‘X’ [or a bunch of outfits] won’t end slavery. But the people who wear it might." Be a part of this movement, and help to end slavery!

Thrifted Pinterest - Blacked Out

Apparently I'm a trendsetter.  I put today's outfit together, and didn't see my inspiration photo until afterwards!  The inspiration was actually from a recent runway show:

I saw that, and remembered I just recently wore an all black outfit as well, complete with textured tights and ankle boots.  See?

You'll have to excuse the awkward pose I've gotten myself into, I was trying to show off my purple fingernails.  Instead, I just look uncomfortable.  Oh, well!  Oh, and funny story: when I wore this, we went after church to go visit my brother and sister in law's new baby girl (and them, of course!).  They also are the proud parents of two pugs.  Let me tell you, all black is the wrong thing to be wearing when you're getting pug cuddles!

Outfit Details:
Dress: free via clothing swap
Turtleneck: free via clothing swap
Tights: Wal-Mart, $2 (clearance)
Necklace: Plato's Closet resale, $3
Boots: Plato's Closet resale, $8

Grand Total: $13

Okay, time for some random stuff:

Have you guys HEARD this!?  The original song is amazing, but this version?  Gave me chills.

Today, February 27th, is Shine a Light on Slavery Day.  Check out End It Movement's website to see why people everywhere are drawing red X's on their hands.

In that same vein (kind of), I'm starting a 30x30 outfit challenge in March!  I'll give you more information about that tomorrow, including how I'm using this month to do some fundraising for Love146, another great organization shining a light on the darkness of slavery.

OOTD - Style Imitating Art

Well, I've been doing some blogsploring lately (Wait, you don't know what blogsporing is?  That's because I just made it up!)  It's where you go exploring for new blogs to read and find inspiration from, of course!  I'd seen Salazar's outfit posts from her blog, 14 Shades of Grey, on the main page of Go Chic or Go Home a few times, and even followed her (on the site, not in real life, that would be just crazy!), but never had a chance to check out her blog.  Then, on the recommendation of another blogger, I made my way over there, and loved it!  My favorite part of her blog is that she's collaborating with a group of bloggers, including Jess from Animated Cardigan and Jen from Librarian for Life and Style, to bring a series of outfit posts called Style Imitating Art.  Basically, these lovely ladies draw inspiration from pieces of artwork as a base for an outfit.  Some pieces of art that they've used in the past are:

Untitled by Larry Poons

An illustration from "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats
Can I just say, I'm so excited to run across this idea!  I'm always looking for new ways to pull an outfit together, sometimes a bit more thought-out than "ooh, this other blogger wore this so I'm totally going to copy her" or "red and blue can match, right...?"  So, I took this month's inspiration and went with it.  It's a fairly iconic painting, so it was a lot of fun to see how it translated into a 'real-life' outfit.

"The Milkmaid" by Johannes Vermeer
I knew as soon as I saw this that I had the perfect skirt!  I had made one a while back out of a laundry bag (yes, really), that was the same asymmetric hem and vibrant blue as the painting subject's apron, and I used my accessories to pull in the rest of the colors from the painting.  Oh, and full disclosure, I try to always post outfits that I actually wear, but this one was a blog-only outfit!  I had to go to work that night, and the skirt just wouldn't have worked for that.  One trip up a ladder, and everyone involved would have been embarrassed (I feel like there's a pun there...)!

Outfit Details:
Shirt: NY & Co, $13
Skirt: DIY
Booties: Payless, $12 (old)
Necklace: DIY
Bracelet: gifted

Grand Total: $25

Be sure to check out Jess's blog, Animated Cardigan, to see how the other bloggers styled their outfits!

OOTD and Kidlet Style

Some days, you just want to take pictures.

You throw on a colorful scarf...

...maybe a handmade personalized necklace you got from a friend....

...when the kiddos whose names are on said necklace decide to join the party!

Then, another one shows up!

So, being the flexible, understanding mommy that I am (HA, if you know me, you know that's not true!), I just roll with it.

Good thing I've got these little ones around to remind me to SMILE!

Outfit Details for me:
Sweater: Banana Republic, thrifted, $4
White Tank: Wal-Mart, $4 (old)
Jeans: thrifted, DIY'ed to skinnies, $5
Shoes: Target, $7 (clearance)
Scarf: local shop, $3
Earrings: Claire's, $2 (old)
Various Bracelets: don't recall

Grand Total: $25

Outfit Details for Big A:
Dress: Cherokee, $4.50
Sweater: Crazy 8, $4.50
Tights: $1.50
Shoes: $6.50

Outfit Details for Little A:
Dress: OshKosh, $4.50
Tights: $1.50
Shoes: TOMS, $12

Grand Total for girls: $35

All the girls' clothes are from our local Once Upon A Child.  You should stop by and see me sometime!  Not only do you get great deals, but you can also bring items in to re-sell and get store credit for new stuff!  I didn't have to pay out of pocket for anything the girls are wearing here, I just brought in the items that they had outgrown, and used the store credit to get their new stuff.  It's a pretty great system.  (Disclaimer: yes, I work at the store, so I might have a biased opinion, but I honestly do think it's a great system.  Try it out sometime!)

WorldHelp February - Home

Have you guys seen "The Blind Side?"  It's an amazing movie, based on an even more amazing family.  It's one where if I'm going to watch it, no matter how many times, I know I'll need the box of kleenex right next to me because I'm inevitably going to need it!  There's one scene in particular that I can't watch without bawling like a baby, not because I'm worried about the outcome of the movie, but because it's about a situation that's just too real in lives all over the world.  The scene is where Michael, a boy in high school that's homeless, is moving into the Tuohy's home, and he pauses in the doorway of the room where he's going to sleep.  Leigh Anne Tuohy, the wife and mother of the family (and also one of the coolest people around.  Really.), asks him what's wrong.  He replies, "I've never had one before."  "What, a room to yourself?"  "No," he answers (and at this point I'm bawling), "a bed."

There's a reason this movie won an Oscar and received such critical acclaim.  It shows a type of love and caring for other people that is missing in so many parts of our world.  The scene I quoted highlights another, very saddening fact: there are children that don't have a home or a bed to sleep in.  There are babies that are abandoned at birth.  There are other children around the world that may have loving parents that were just too destitute to care for another hungry mouth.  As a mother, the idea that I would ever have to choose between giving up my children or watching them starve is one that I can't fathom.  It makes my stomach turn and my hands shake.  There are parts of the world where even if a child is able to stay with it's parent, it's physical and mental health might be irreparably stunted due to poor nutrition and medical care.  (There's an infographic on Upworthy about this that breaks down the different areas that stunting affects.)

Today is World Day of Social Justice according to the UN, and I can tell you, children without food, shelter, or medical care is not justice.  The fact that "approximately 11 million children live in the dirty, dangerous streets of the Ugandan slums near Kampala, Uganda, [...] that are desperate for help and have little hope for survival" (quote courtesy of WorldHelp) is not justice.

There are people bringing hope to children like these.  I've had the privilege for a while of blogging for WorldHelp, and bringing you guys, my readers, a chance to help as well!  WorldHelp is currently working on fundraising for an incredible project: a Baby Rescue Center, with group homes that can house and care for 10 children each.  Right now, there are three Rescue Homes that are funded that will provide food, shelter, and medical care for 30 abandoned babies and children.  WorldHelp wants to go farther.  They're currently in the process of funding the construction of a fourth Rescue Home, a space that can house 10 more children.  That's 10 more lives changed, 10 more babies that will be rescued, 10 more humans that will be shown love that they might never have experienced otherwise.

Plus, there are items available for sale that help support this project!  You know how much I love shopping that does good, and there's a necklace, tee shirt, and baby onesie that you can purchase to help fund this project, down at the bottom of the campaign page.  Or, if you just don't need another thing in your home, there's always the option to support this project through a financial gift.  Just click the image below, and you'll be taken to the campaign page with all the information you'll need!

Please, please consider changing these kids' lives.  I know sometimes it seems like there's a new program or campaign asking for your money every other day, but if these houses don't get funds, these kids won't be helped.  They'll live life on the street, probably sick and malnourished.  And I don't want you to think I'm trying to do the whole "you should feel guilty and horrible because you don't want to give your money away" trick.  I just want you to have a chance to be a part of changing lives.  Be a part of justice and give needy kids a home.