OOTD - Under the Influence

I'm beginning to realize that the tiny humans that live in my house influence me more than I realized!  Any time I bring home new clothes for the girls, they immediately remove the tags and want to wear their new duds as soon as possible.  Which is exactly what I did with this dress!  I happened upon it on a shopping trip, and HAD to wear it the very next day.  At least I talked myself out of pairing it with light-up sneakers! (kidding... or am I?)


Well, Thanksgiving is over.  All the turkey has been consumed and it's on to the next holiday!  A lot of people have already gotten a jump on their Christmas shopping by participating in the Black Friday sales.  I personally didn't, since the idea of getting hip-checked into a rack of clothes over a pair of socks (this actually happened to a friend!) just isn't my introverted cup of tea.  There is one sale day I get excited about every year, though, and that's Fair Tuesday!  I wanted to share some of the sales with all of you, in case you're looking for some ethical gift ideas this year!  The best part? All the sales are online, so I don't have to get out of my jammies.

Ten Thousand Villages: Fair trade products made by artisans around the world.  They're offering 30% off all their jewelry today, and free shipping on orders over $50. (no coupon code needed)  This lovely is my favorite, and is only $27.30:

Queen of the Nile Necklace

OOTD - It's a Turkey Day Miracle!

You know who almost never wins contests?  Me.  You know who just won a super-cute new purse in a giveaway from one of her favorite companies?

OOTD - I'm Alive!!

Hi, ya'll!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  I did not intend to take such a long break from blogging, but the weather change (and health issues that go along with it) have knocked us onto our butts in the past few weeks!  Between sinus issues, kids' bellyaches, and Baby A having not one, but TWO viruses already this year, we'd almost decided to seal ourselves inside a giant bubble until March!  Thankfully, though, we haven't had anything too serious, and I believe everyone is on the mend and things can get back to normal.  Or, at least, whatever our version of 'normal' is!

Kidlet Style - Life Lately

OOTD - My Shadow

Sometimes, I get to take photos by myself... until this happens....

Fair Trade Friday - Sweater Weather

It's finally feeling like autumn!  I'll be honest, I've had a few days in the past few weeks where I've wanted to wear a sweater despite the still 80-degree temps, just because in my head, it should already be fall weather.  But, it's finally here!  Having to bundle up put me in the mood to do some online window-shopping for some knitwear, and I'd like to share a few favorites I found on Fair Indigo.

Pure Handknit Fair Trade Statement Cowl Neck Sweater

Thrifted Pinterest - Copycat

So, the world keeps turning, and I still have to get dressed every morning.  Such is life, and really, it's a great life!  I thought I'd share an outfit from a few days ago, that's basically a copy of a Pinterest outfit I pinned after finding a new dress at the thrift store.  Here's the original:


I was going to just write a quick post about my outfit today, but I changed my mind after checking my Facebook.  One of the first posts I read, as I sat down at my computer after an afternoon of chasing children, was this photo:

The photo itself wasn't what stopped me, because on the surface this looks like a happy picture.  What shattered and broke my heart was the caption: ' “I wish I could have done more for her. Her life has been nothing but struggle. She hasn’t known many happy moments. She never had a chance to taste childhood. When we were getting on the plastic boat, I heard her say something that broke my heart. She saw her mother being crushed by the crowd, and she screamed: ‘Please don’t kill my mother! Kill me instead!’“ (Lesvos, Greece) '  (Original post HERE)

This photo is one of a series of photos from the blog Humans of New York.  As you may have guessed, the photos are usually based on inhabitants of the city that never sleeps, but the photographer is in the process of traveling abroad and highlighting the stories of a small portion of humans mired in the multi-million person Syrian refugee crisis. (Also, the surrounding countries involved in conflict and those hosting refugees as well.)

I've been struggling with whether or not I was going to write about this wave of refugees escaping the war-torn confines of their home country.  There have been so many posts, opinions, words-words-and-more-words written about them already, and I'm not one to get involved in any issue that might result in confrontation with anyone around me (hence the reason you'll never see a 'political' post on my Facebook or blog).  There's already been so much good, truth-full, inspired writing as well.    There's just been so much that I didn't want to add another voice to all those already speaking.

But maybe we do need another post, because this issue has been on my heart for weeks now, beating along with my heart, with constant Holy-Spirit-urgings to tackle this topic.  Topic isn't even the right word, because Topic is too cold, detached, and clinical to describe this huge, hurting mass of displaced humans.  But of course, my stubborn heart and head had to fight back.

I don't like confrontation.

I don't like offending people.

I don't like people not liking me for my words.

I want to be liked, and this is not a 'likeable' topic.  Nothing about this is comfortable.  People, millions of people, are losing homes, losing family members, losing parents and children and siblings and aunts and uncles.  They're left with nothing.  The refugee camps don't have adequate supplies.  The transportation to other countries is scary, expensive, and dangerous, with no guarantee that they'll make it it their destination alive.  Even if they make it, it's a toss-up whether they will be welcomed or imprisoned.  I wish I could find a grey area, a politician's answer that everyone accepts, so I don't step on any toes.  I wish I could find some mutual understanding for the viewpoint of those clamoring, "Keep them out, we don't want criminals overrunning our country!"

As if crime is only found in one country and people group.

As if our lives are safer and more insulated if they don't come in.

As if they could just turn around and go back home.

To those screaming, "keep them out!" I apologize, because I think you are wrong.  I can't agree when the first words I read from my Bible this morning are these:

"Enlarge your house; build an addition.
spread out your home, and spare no expense!
For you will soon be bursting at the seams.

Be fair and just to all.  Do what is right and good.
For I [the Lord] am coming soon to rescue you
and to display my righteousness among you" (Is. 54:2-3a; 56:1)

The part that hurts and confuses me the most is that I'm hearing this from people who believe in the same God as I.  They cover their words in the wrapper of 'do what's right for our Country' or 'we can't have a Muslim takeover, just wait for the persecution.'  Bear in mind, Christ promised us persecution. To say, "we don't want you to live with us, and would rather you stay in suffering and homelessness because your religion is different than ours," is, from my understanding of the Bible, the farthest you can be from following Christ.  How can we show God's love to people if we keep them out?

I could, of course, just not talk about this at all.  I could get back to my Pinterest, Facebook, 'what should I wear?' and "I better check the weather and see if the kid needs a sweater for school" day-to-day routine, and forget about those who are fighting to survive.

It might even work,until another photo shows up in my news feed, or a friend shares an article, or another toddler's body washes up on the beach.  I could try to ignore the stories, until I feel a twinge of pain as I imagine being a father who put his children in a boat against all hope, only to see his child's photo on a screen or in the newspaper, and for me to imagine how hollow he must find it to know that his baby is the image that forced the world to wake up to the horrors going on.  Until I'm reminded of the first time I understood that there's evil in the world, at ten years old, as I internalized the image of a firefighter holding a damaged child after the bombing in Oklahoma City, and realize that evil is rampant, but God is bigger.  And until I really believe that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. (source)"

I don't want to be liked if it means choosing inaction.

I don't think my heart can handle the photograph of another child losing their innocence or life because we were too scared or apathetic to act.


If you'd like more resources to help, both here and abroad, start here:





Fair Trade Friday - All Ears

Well, we've made it through the week to another Friday!  To celebrate, how about some new ear candy?  I rounded up some earrings that are currently on my wish-list, and I'm sharing them with you!

Greenola Style Bolivian Stone Earrings

OOTD - SIA / Beza Threads

Ok, so, I'm back!!  I decided to take a while off from blogging (almost a month!), in order to think, focus on my family for a while, and answer a few personal questions I had.  One of those questions?  Why do I blog?  To be honest, I haven't really gotten to the root of the answer to that, because of so many varying reasons.  I love sharing my outfits, I have to get dressed in the mornings anyways, and I love the creative outlet, among many other things.  Another reason I began blogging was in order to share Fair Trade and ethical companies with you, and that reason has only intensified in the past few weeks.  Part of the conversation that starts with asking, "Who made my clothes?" is finding fashionable alternatives from companies committed to enacting positive change in our world.  I want to start re-focusing on that aspect of the blog, so expect a lot more Fair Trade Friday posts in the future!!

It seemed only fitting to come back from my little hiatus with an outfit featuring a scarf I received from Beza Threads, a company I recently wrote about in my Fair Trade Friday feature.  I love what Beza Threads is doing, as they join in the fight against human trafficking by caring for survivors in Ethiopia.  And, it seemed only fitting to include my new scarf in this round of Style Imitating Art, hosted by Salazar of 14 Shades of Grey.  Here's the painting that is the inspiration for the outfits:

Franz Kline / Painting Number 2

So, I haven't been blogging in a while, and I apologize for that.  I recently watched this movie, though, and it's given me a lot to ponder.... so I've taken a short hiatus to re-evaluate the direction of the blog.  If you're interested in watching this film, it is available on Netflix streaming, that's how I saw it!  You can also get more information on the website: http://truecostmovie.com/

Until next time!
Hey guys!  Sorry it's been so silent around here lately, we've been caught up in the Back to School madness... this is Big A's first year!  I can't believe my baby is going to start Kindergarten!!

In the meantime, I did a guest post for Jen of Librarian For Life and Style while she's out of town, so if you're really missing me, be sure to check it out!

OOTD - Untitled

SIA - The Singing Butler

I decided to put together an outfit to participate in this installment of Style Imitating Art, so of course, it gets shared with you!  The painting was chosen this time by Jess of Animated Cardigan, and is a work by Jack Vettriano painted in 1992, entitled "The Singing Butler," and I couldn't help but be inspired by that amazing red dress!


I know you've been holding your breath since my little teaser earlier in the week, so today I'm going to introduce an exciting new chapter in our life!  I'd like to introduce (dun dun dun DUUUNNN!!!!) Purposed. Remade Creations.  (or just Purposed., for our friends :P )

As you may have noticed, I am quite passionate about companies that better other people's lives.  Well, my dear friend Andrea (who has the same passion) and I have formed ourselves into a team to support anti-trafficking efforts and orphan care through an already established organization.  We wanted to use our interests and abilities to raise support for an organization called Tiny Hands International.  A little more about them: Tiny Hands is on the front lines of the fight against human trafficking, specifically targeting the borders between Bangladesh and Nepal into India.  They help patrol the borders to intercept potential trafficking victims, rehabilitate trafficking survivors, and work with the justice system to prosecute traffickers. They also run several children's homes for orphaned or disenfranchised children in South Asia, and believe that "all children should have the opportunity to thrive, not just survive." (from their website)  Out of the many organizations fighting trafficking, all of whom are doing amazing work, we chose Tiny Hands based on their commitment to not only rescue all the 'least of these' from their physical distress, but to ensure that they are introduced to God's light of the Gospel.  Both the physical and spiritual needs of those being ministered to are addressed and met.

Now, a little about what Andrea and I are actually doing:

"The items we find at second hand stores are items that have been torn, stained, thrown out or in some way damaged and unwanted. We are messes before God calls us; we are thrown out and told we are useless which is the exact opposite of how we are seen by the Creator. He sees potential in every single creation and gives them the opportunity to shed their old self and be made into something new and wonderful! The Creator takes joy in seeing something broken being made new and has great love in His heart for each and every one!" (from our website)

We take unwanted secondhand items, and transform them into something beautiful! After two years, and both of us having our third babies, we have amassed a small stockpile of items for sale, and have set up a Facebook page in order to display and sell them, with a large portion of the proceeds going straight to Tiny Hands Int'l.  But of course, I couldn't help but highlight a few of my favorite pieces here on the blog!

One of the joys of working with re-claimed, usually vintage, clothing is all the buttons!  A lot of the buttons, although quite pretty, end up making the original garment look very dated, so we ended up looking for other uses for all the buttons we had left over.  They've shown up so far in necklaces, rings, and scarves, and I'm sure we'll keep finding uses for them!

There's also the repurposed clothing, some of which you might recognize, and some of which is new:

Original post HERE

Original post HERE
And of course, I have to highlight  a few of my favorite pieces out of all the amazing jewelry that Andrea has made!  If I had my way, that fringe necklace would be mine, but in the interest of fairness, I'll give ya'll the first chance to make it your own.

All of our sizes and prices are listed with the items on our Facebook page, so if you're interested, please click on over and check out what goodies we have to offer!  We're so excited to see what the future holds for Purposed, and hope you'll come along with us to find out!

Thrifted Pinterest - SUMMER!

In case you haven't noticed, it's hot outside.  It's the kind of hot that makes me only want to wear outfits that scream


There's nothing more summery than white paired with bright colors, so I decided to take a pair of capris I thrifted for 50 cents, and turn them into some summer-ific shorts (it's a word. Really...) using this tutorial:


Outfit Details:
Top: via secondhand shop, $5
Shorts: DIY, thrifted, $0.50
White Necklace: Wal-Mart, $1 (clearance)
Other Necklaces: DIY, $2.50 for materials
Shoes: Payless, $15 (now on sale for $12, get your own!)
Grand Total: $24

{Okay, here's the thing: I love the colors and pattern of this top, but my DIY side also wants to turn it into a kimono.  It should be easy enough, just cut down the middle and hem the edges, but I don't know which way would get more wear in my closet. I really can't decide, so how about I let ya'll decide for me!}

What do you think, cut it or leave it?  Let me know in the comments!

Something's Coming.....

Be sure to stop by the blog this Friday for the big reveal!

Fair Trade Friday - Rethreaded

Can I make an obvious statement?

People are not property.

It seems like it should be a simple concept, but considering the fact that human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, it would seem there is a large portion of the population that doesn't agree with that statement.

Fortunately, there is also a large portion of people fighting back, including a great company called Rethreaded.  From their website:

Rethreaded provides a four-month holistic job training program for women in the Jacksonville, Florida area who are coming out of lives of addiction, violence, human trafficking, and prostitution. Many of these women leave prison with felony records which create significant challenges to employment. Rethreaded is a safe place where women are paid a living wage to become artisan seamstresses and “upcycle” donated t-shirts into beautiful creations for sale.
Locally, Rethreaded has directly helped 13 women through providing jobs in the Jacksonville, Florida area.
I love what these lovely ladies are doing!  They've combined some great loves of mine, including fashion, anti-trafficking, and re-purposing, and created a beautiful space to change lives.  Plus, their products are gorgeous.  Take this scarf:
Hand Dyed Basic Grace Scarf
This scarf is so pretty!  It's also hand dyed, comes in a variety of colors, and did I mention it has an awesome name...? ;)
Harmony Necklace
If you would prefer a piece of jewelry, they also have these necklaces, and some braided wrap bracelets.  Both would be a great addition to your wardrobe.  I personally would have trouble picking just one color to take home, but this pink one is a front-runner for sure!
Team Headband Set of 2
So, if you know anything about Northwest Arkansas, where we live, you know that the Razorbacks reign supreme in the sports world.  You'll know if it's game day when there's a sea of red in our town!  I'm thinking I might need these headbands to show some support to our Hogs!  Plus, they're so cute that I probably would wear them every day in between!
What's your favorite item from Rethreaded?  Are there any other amazing companies fighting trafficking that I should know about?  Let me know in the comments!

Wordless Wednesday

Hey guys!  Be sure to head over to Arkansas Women Bloggers' main page today to see a guest post from yours truly for their Wordless Wednesday feature!

OOTD - Medieval Torture Devices

Ya'll.  These shoes.

I spied them on the rack at Potter's House (a local thrift store), tagged with the color that happened to mean that they were only 50 cents.  FIFTY CENTS!  (Sorry, am I yelling? :D)  So, of course, they went home with me.  And, I immediately worked them into an outfit.  However, I underestimated how my feet would react to wearing heels after taking an unplanned break from them.  So I spent the day following this progression:

Leave the house and walk to the car.

Take the shoes off.

Put shoes on and walk to my seat.

Take the shoes off.

Put shoes on and walk back to the car.

Take the shoes off.

...and so on and so forth.  Oh, well. At least they look cute!

Outfit Details:
Dress: Kohl's, $10 (clearance, old)
Earrings: Old Navy, $2 (clearance)
Necklace: gifted
Shoes: thrifted, $0.50
Grand Total: $12.50

Thrifted Pinterest - Who?

I have a new obsession.  I just started watching Doctor Who, and haven't been able to stop!  It appeals to my nerdy side, and I can't get enough.  It also inspires some DIY's, like mimicking one of the main character's, Rose's, open-shouldered tee shirt from the beginning episodes:

See, isn't it a cute update to a basic tee?  I had a grey tee I had gotten with a referral credit from ThredUP, and with the help of this tutorial, re-vamped my shirt.  It paired great with a new skirt I recently found, and I went all-out with the accessories to complete my 'updated hippie gypsy time and space traveler' look.  Now, if only my closet were bigger on the inside like the Tardis!

Outfit Details:
Tee: free via ThredUP
Skirt: thrifted, $4
Necklace: Payless, $2 (clearance, old)
Bracelet: don't recall (old)
Sandals: Sseko Designs, $55
Grand Total: $61


(This is written in response to a thought-provoking message given at my church by Matt Mooney of 99 Balloons.  If you have a chance, you should take a listen!  In place of Fair Trade Friday, which I would usually post today, I felt like this needed to be shared.)

The girl in the middle is my sister, Teresa.

There was a time, when I was younger than I am now, that I would not have publicly claimed her as a sibling.  I used to be an angsty teenager that loathed being related to someone so obviously different.  I was focused on that lofty goal of being accepted by my peers, and her disabilities, and the stares and comments that went along with them, were in my way.  Before I accepted Christ’s love and redemption, I was a selfish being.  I still am, but He is continually wreaking havoc on my old nature in order to bring me closer to Himself.  In his love, he gave me an opportunity right after I accepted Him to beg her forgiveness for my unfounded anger when she passed away a few years ago.

My sister came into our family when she was six months old, after being violently shaken by her birth parents.  Her brain had been damaged, and so as her body grew, her brain remained stunted at an infant’s level.  She relied on a wheelchair, as her legs and left side were paralyzed from the trauma.  She couldn’t see or speak, but retained light perception and her hearing.  She needed constant care, which my parents lovingly provided for the two decades of her life.

I wish I could say that despite my childish distaste for growing up as the weird girl with the weird sister, everyone else we met was more understanding.  Quite a few people were, and offered loving support to my family.  However, there were the people that stared.  There were those that wondered very openly whether we were wasting our time.  My dad shared a story once of some elder in one of our churches who asked, in so many words, “Why bother? You could stick her in a home, since she doesn’t even know what’s going on anyways.”  My mother would often stay home from church, since Teresa was apt to make loud, inopportune noises during the service, and mom didn’t want to be a bother.

As Matt mentions in his message, those church services, the meetings where the body reconnects with God and each other, were not complete without Teresa in attendance.  Every part of the body (whether human, or church) is essential.  Take away one part, big or small, and the whole structure fails.  As to whether or not Teresa was aware of her surroundings, I witnessed so many times where her functioning ears would hear my parents’ voices and her face would be almost split open by her giant smile in response.  She knew she was loved.

I write all of this because I had a recent realization, while trying to explain to lovely, curious, big-mouthed, 5-years-old-in-all-her-glory ‘Big A’ about the differences in people.  She’s hit the age where she publicly (and loudly, hence the big-mouthed comment) asks questions when she seems someone ‘different,’ whether it’s skin color, physical ability, or age.  My usual response, said loud enough for surrounding people to hear is, “God made everyone different, because life would be boring if we were all the same.”  Or, “You know that even though we have different outsides, an X-Ray would show that all our insides are the same.”

The thing is, people ARE different.   We all have different attributes. The problem arises when one certain attribute is deemed ‘worthy’ while those that don’t have it are deemed ‘less than.’  I don't know if you follow Humans of New York, but you should.  One of the most impacting series the photographer has done was when he toured poor or war-torn countries on a trip with the UN, chronicling the people he met through quotes and portraits.  He managed to show the similarities in people, removing that idea of 'other' that we so often see in our media's portrayal of other countries. For example, when I think of the Middle East, the images I've seen are almost always turbans, camels, beat-up cars, and sand.  But HONY's photog, Brandon, was sharing photos of parents and children, shopping malls, and daddy's who spoil their kids by bringing them dolls.  He removed the 'other' and just showed people.

The heart-breaking shooting that just happened in Charleston came about from the shooter believing that belonging to his race was superior, therefore anyone that was different wasn’t deserving of life.  As I attempt to raise my babies to be loving individuals in this world full of craziness, I have to figure out for myself what I believe about the rest of the world.  If I don’t process this for myself, how can I impart any teaching to that volatile and impressionable next generation?  Sesame Street did a great job, at least in order to start a discussion, with this clip:

 It may not seem like a big deal, but in this clip, Elmo (the philosopher/monster that he is) comments on race in the most matter of fact way possible.  We have differences, but that doesn’t determine our worth, our character, or our right to life.  Skin is just skin, and the abilities we have or don’t have are all just part of being human.

I’m still learning, but I have made a few realizations.  Most I’ve believed all my life, but have never taken the time to outline for myself or others.

Different isn’t ‘less than.’
Different is human.

Different is beautiful.

A person is not less worthy of respect, less worthy of love, or less than human just because they don’t fit into a social group’s ideas of ‘normal.’  You can’t determine a person’s worth by what category they fit into.  And, if we remove ourselves from anyone simply because they are ‘different’, we render ourselves incomplete.

“So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

(Genesis 1:27, 31a, emphasis added)

OOTD - Tiny Photog

So, guess what happens when you ask your 5-year old to help take your pictures?


And this.

But also, these little gems:

Kid's got potential. :)

Outfit Details:
Top: JC Penney, $5 (clearance, old)
Skirt: thrifted, $4
Necklace: DIY, $3 for materials
Ring: Payless, $1 (clearance, old)
Shoes: thrifted, $4
Grand Total: $17