Saturday, January 24, 2015

Meet your neighbors //

Ive called Milwaukee “home” for four Saturdays now. The first was carrying box after box up the stairs to my apartment with the help of some new friends and my parents. The second was spent completely with my Momma who generously came back to visit and to help me settle in. My third Saturday was my first weekend off of work at my new job and I used up those days by driving to Michigan to visit a friend. Number four, today, it seals the deal. One month in and this has been home from the first moment. Still unpacking, painting, settling — into my space and my community — but enough time has passed for me to feel comfortable here. Time to press deeper.

Last night Holy Spirit called me out of my comfort zone and into action. I groaned with the soul “stiffness” thats like limbs that have done nothing but sit for hours, but it was Friday night and I didn’t have plans. Ive decided He gets to make our Friday night plans from here out.

I had plenty of meals I could make but just really wanted to get something warm delivered. Pizza is always a good idea. A little research, a few questions, a phone line busy… “Ill just walk.” That stuck. I could’ve driven but He wanted to walk. So we did. And we saw many more souls through glancing eyes we rubbed shoulders with than you can from the street anyway. “Maybe I should just get a frozen pizza and take it home?” Nope. Hot, fresh, cooked for me. Okay. Down the street and around a corner, passing the building where French lessons are given — a little nudge of encouragement to keep at my own lessons in the language from Him on our way — and in the door of a whole-in-the-wall pizzeria with only two chairs to wait in and clear site to the very back of the tight kitchen. I still distinctly felt like I was supposed to get the pizza delivered so I said, “Maybe this is odd but could I order here, now, and have the pizza delivered to me? I don’t want to carry it all the way back.” “Of course! Whats the address?” I told her and she paused, “I live on the same block as you.” We chatted and wrapped up my order. Leaving the building and walking home though I burst into laughter because my heart is to meet my neighbors, to love my neighbors — from the crossing guard to the baristas, the grocery clerks to the people living in the apartments next door — I just haven’t met any of them, its been so cold out. But here was one! At the pizza place I was supposed to walk to but have delivered. 

Maria with the social german shepherd, as you said, Im sure Ill see you around!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Stitch Fix >>

In my second Fix I received an infinity scarf, a very modern cut blouse with cute sleeves, a blue knit hoodie, a knit sweater and this teal colored tunic top. I kept the tunic top. Its become one of my favorite go-to pieces in my wardrobe.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pacifica >>

My "beauty" story reads like this: When I was twelve years old and began to experiment with wearing makeup it became apparent that I was allergic to it. Around the same time I discovered my skin was too sensitive to tollerate scented lotion any longer or perfume and, while we were at it, any artificially scented or chemical-full substance used for cleaning or filling a space with scent. 

Friends felt sorry for me but honestly I was content being an "all natural" girl. Less fuss, much less expensive, and my skin was only being touched by the sunshine and fragrance-free, natural lotion. I wasn't complaining! At the age of twenty-two I'm still happy to be sporting my no-makeup face everywhere I go. So why are we talking about makeup all of a sudden? Frankly, because its winter in the Midwest and that means very cold, very dry and rather dark. It also means evening parties -- the only place that my natural face feels out of place. 

I was in Target and decided to look for a lipstick or gloss that would match my natural lip color and serve two purposes: save my lips from getting chapped and keep them bright even on days where the color was drained from my face. I'm a big fan of Burt's Bees and their products are in the "natural beauty" aisle of our store. While standing there I noticed Pacifica products for the first time. Having no knowledge of their products I got on my phone and began researching reviews on other women's blogs. Sufficiently convinced by what I was reading to give them a try I went home and ordered a couple products from their website. This is what I got >>

 Enlightened Gloss >> Opal
This is a very natural color, almost opaque. It goes on evenly and the shiny feel lasts for several hours.

"Ingredients: Carthamus tintorius (safflower oil), oleic/linolenic polyglycerides, euphorbia cerifera (candlila) wax, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) esters, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, silica, olea europaea (olive) oil, parfum (natural), tocopherol eupatorium rebaudianum bertoni (stevia) leaf extract.  May contain: calcium sodium borosilicate, eclipta prostrate extract (natural color), media azadirachta (neem) leaf extract, manganese violet c1 77742, titanium dioxide c1 77891,  iron oxides c1 77491, c1 77492, mica, tin oxide."

I learned from becoming a conscious shopper of whole foods to read the ingredients label. Its amazing what can hide in there. I care what I put into my body and I also care about what is being put onto my skin -- especially the most delicate places: lips and eye lids. Ingredients are listed in order from greatest to least content amount so the first item listed is what the product contains the most of, the last ingredient listed is what it contains the least of. I can recognize almost every ingredient on this list as something that I could grow myself which is a sign that we are definitely in a "natural camp".

Devocean Natural Lipstick >> Tenderness
Goes on like butter and lasts half the day. It really soaks in and keeps my lips moist and bright. This color was the nearest to my natural pigment.

"Ingredients: oleic/linoleic/linolenic polyglycerides (from sunflower oil), butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, diiostearyl malate, caprylic/capric triglyceride (from coconut oil), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) esters, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, euphorbia chinensis (candelilla) wax, cetyl alcohol, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, flavor oil (all natural), tocopherol (vitamin E). May contain: melia azadirachta fruit extract, mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, tin oxide, vaccinium macrocarpon fruit (cranberry) extract, coccinia indica flower extract, daucus carota sativa root (carrot) extract, lycopersicum fruit (tomato) extract, and beta vulgaris (beetroot) extract.

Coconut Oil- Absorbs easily and keeps lips soft and supple. Helps to slow down the signs of aging.
Shea Butter- Rich in essential fatty acids that are super antioxidants. Provides moisturization and hydrates lips.
Jojoba Esters- Provides a buttery smooth application.
Vitamin E- Helps minimize fine lines and fights free radicals."

100% vegan - cruelty-free - and a portion of each product's proceeds go toward clean water

Stellar Eye Trio >> 
This gift set was the perfect package to test the eye products on my skin. Though I would only use the shadow and liner for events a good mascara can be used any day of the week -- just for fun! I was pleased with how each item went on. The shadow was quite shimmery but was easily blended and softened with a finger tip. The pencil liner went on smooth and didn't feel chalky or heavy. It was also easily blended with a q-tip but lasted all day. The mascara was perfect, not greasy or clumpy. Washes off cleanly.
Unfortunately the products weren't natural enough for me. My eyes itched and watered on top of getting very dry during the day that I wore the products. Still, for under $20, I'm glad to have given it a shot!

Eye Shadow Duo >> Unicorn/Moonbeam

"Ingredients: Mica, caprylic/capric triglyceride (plant source), magnesium stearate, tridecyl trimellitate, polyethylene, dimethicone, silica, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylgylcerin, tocopheryl acetate. May contain: iron oxide (CI 77492, CI 77499, CIC 77491), manganese violet (CI 77742), titanium dioxide, ferroferric oxide."

 Natural Eye Pencil >> Jet
"Ingredients: iron oxide CI 77499, hydrogenated simmondsia chinenesis seed oil, caprylic / capric triglyceride, simmondsia chinenesis seed oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, butyrospermum parkii butter, sclerocarya birrea seed oil, mica, candelilla cerifera cera, glyceryl caprylate, copernicia cerifera cera, tocopherol, helianthus annuus seed oil, ascorbyl palmitate

Jojoba Oil - Helps keep skin around the eyes moisturized
Shea Butter - Helps protects and moisturizes skin
Vitamin E - Provides anti-aging benefits in addition to helping reduce the appearance of fine lines
Vitamin C Antioxidant - natural preservative that helps fight free radicals"

Stellar Gaze Mineral Mascara >> Supernova
"Ingredients: Aqua, glycerin (vegetable), glyceryl stearate se, jojoba esters, tapioca starch, stearic acid (vegetable), copernicia cerfera (carnauba) wax, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, arabic/acacia gum, acrylates, crosspolymer, potassium cetyl phosphate, microcrystalline cellulse (plant), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, panthenol (vitamin b), cellulose gum, gluconolactone, macrocystis pyifera (brown kelp) extract, hydrolyzed oryza sativa (rice) protein, sodium benzoate, iron oxides c1 77499.

Infused with coconut oil and Vitamin B for healthy lashes.
100% vegan. Cruelty-free. Formulated without FD & C color, parabens, talc and mineral oil."

Pacifica products are well-priced and there is usually a sale going on. There is free shipping on orders over $50. When you join the loyalty program you earn points with purchases and by referring back to  Pacifica on social media. When you earn 100 points you get a free sample. My free sample was of a solid perfume Pacifica makes as well as a bonus eye shadow duo.

"Pacifica’s Island Vanilla Solid Perfume contains organic cocos nucifera wax (coconut wax),  organic glycine soja wax (soy wax), parfum (Pacifica’s own perfume blend with natural and essential oils), prunus armeniaca wax (apricot wax), caprylic/capric triglyceride (coconut source). No parabens, animal testing, animal ingredients or artificial colors. 100% VEGAN and Gluten-free."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An open love letter to Milwaukee //

An open love letter to Milwaukee —

They told me: “be careful, you’ll fall in love”. I said, “I wouldn’t mind.” Here we are.
I never would have pictured myself with you, but I choose you irrevocably. I’m bringing myself under your name, your reputation, and pouring all of myself into you. Hard, good, painful, worth it. 

People have some very black and white comments about you, no pun intended. I take them all with a grain of salt because theres grace — for us, for them, for me, for you. They say you’re beautiful, they say you’re dangerous, they say you’ll steal my heart. 

Honey, I see who and what you are, and you’re right: I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, but I’m choosing you for all you are and all that may come. I will love you at your darkest. I look at you and I see you as you’re meant to be and I can look your ugly square in the face and say, “you are SO loved”. The best is yet to come and I’m excited to journey through the days ahead with you.


Note: I’m moving to Milwaukee to partner with a handful of other people lovers, game changers, who bear Holy Spirit’s passion about their city. While I will, by my Father’s sweet favor, be working and living in a very low-crime area of the city, my heart is for the at-risk and needy. I will be safe but my calling is not to stay safe, it is to love — and to love is to be vulnerable, to risk it all because you see worth. My Father’s evidenced Love is an atmosphere-changer, a heart-toucher, a mountain-melter. He has a Body filled with His heart so that He can touch people with it. I’m just willing to be made willing to move in sync with it. This is not meant to be incredible. It’s, quite simply, reasonable. His love is what’s radical, not our moving in it. 

MKE is one of the most segregated cities in all America and that eats at me. Unity is my dream. There are a lot of stories to be told — hearts to be heard — in the barrier-breaking process. I want to listen. I want to see. I want to share. Regardless of what side of the river I’m found on I want to be found serving someone other than me and loving with that unearthly, lavish Love. As far as I’m concerned, Milwaukee is chuck full of family I’ve yet to meet — and this family is multi-ethnic but we all share the same Father. Family dinners are gonna be epic.

You can find this letter and others on:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Stitch Fix >>

I signed up for Stitch Fix this season because I needed some pieces to round out my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. A $20 fee secures a delightful little package in the mail with my name on it and five pieces of clothing. Being that this was my first "Fix" I anticipated that the pieces would be close to a good fit, in the same vicinity as my style sense, and a little too expensive to afford. I was pleasantly surprised! The items fit like a glove, the styles -- though simple -- were my style, and the prices were too high to purchase every item but not outlandish.

There weren't any hidden fees. The $20 styling fee for the "Fix" is put into my Stitch Fix account and counts as a credit toward any piece that I purchase from the box. I don't remember paying anything extra for shipping, a prepaid bag to send back the pieces I decided not to buy was included in the box, and the price listed for each item was the price I paid when I checked out online. It was a convenient and fun experience -- being able to try clothes on in the comfort of your own home, with all the undergarments and accessories or layers you could want to see if they would go with -- and my next "Fix" is scheduled for mid-November. Can't wait!

>> Daniel Rainn // Burgundy Heart Print Henley Blouse
The neckline and 3/4 sleeves are exactly what I look for when purchasing blouses. How specifically ideal that was to me for my stylist's first time styling me amazed me! I didn't purchase this item because it was entirely polyester and I don't like how that feels in a blouse.

>> Mavi // Freida Tall Skinny Jean
These dark-wash skinny jeans were the perfect length and were crazy flattering. They looked SO good on but were made of a stretch material that I just didn't feel comfortable in and, as I already have a nice pair of skinny jeans, and as they were the most expensive piece in my box, I passed on them.

>> Veronica M // Bellatrix 3/4 Sleeve Chevron Print Shift Dress
When I pulled this dress out of the box I wasn't swept away by it but when I tried it on I never wanted to take it off. It fit like it was made for me -- the neckline, the waist line, and the 3/4 sleeves. It is so flattering! The amount of ways I can style this dress with the rest of the pieces in my wardrobe makes me excited. This was one of the most expensive pieces in the box but this first "Fix" came shortly after my birthday and I had funds specifically to get myself a birthday treat.

>> RD Style // Annie Navy Ombre Striped Sweater
I was excited to find a chunky, knit sweater in the box. The sleeves were perfect, the neckline amazing, but the way it lay on my waist wasn't my favorite so I didn't keep it.

>> Market + Spruce // Chaplin Hooded Anorak Olive Cargo Jacket
Opening up such a quality piece and ideal layer made me feel a bit giddy. It isn't my typical style but I decided to be adventurous and adopt it into my wardrobe. All the little details are great. The deep pockets, the thick draw-strings, the contrasting zipper. I just like it. And, once again, this piece fit just right. The price tag surprised me pleasantly for such a nice layer. Worth the investment for sure.

>> Stay Tuned <<
What I Wore post to follow with the pieces I kept fully styled!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What I Wore >>

There isn't a person you wouldn't love if you could read their story. // unkown

sweatshirt - Target // shorts - Target // 
flip-flops - Old Navy // wrap bracelet - Noonday Collection

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Writing the next lines //

The lines from yesterday have dried, there is no un-writing what is past. I'm glad. I like it as it reads. Tomorrow, though, the pages of tomorrow are unwritten. What should we write? More faith, more risks, more extravagant love, more adventure, more forgiveness, more challenges, more steps into the unknown with the Beloved, more broken hearts, more experiences in new cultures, more stretching out of hands, more dancing, more deep drinks of this messy + marvelous life with all its troubles and miracles. I want that. Let's keep writing that. If I get anything as rich and wild and wonderful and hard as I've gotten up to this point, I'll be a blessed woman.

"Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind." 
- Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations

See, I want to keep growing, want to keep learning, want to keep seeking, want to keep knocking, want to keep changing + becoming. I don't want to cover up my gray hairs or touch up my scars or tuck away chapters of my life. THIS [read: life] is exactly, beautifully good -- every bit of it -- because the Author knows how to spin every line -- past, present, and future -- together so that the story turns out for my good, no matter what comes. I'm following Him. Fearless. I want people to see it written all over me. I want them to be able to read the unfolding story of my life in my closet, and art, and friends, and music. I want them to see how it built over time, layer upon layer. How the tides washed bits away and redistributed the other bits, again and then again. How the waters smoothed and polished the edges of me. At the end of my days I want people to say they knew me well + that I wasn't the same girl who came into this world when I went out of it... That I took life as it came -- truly lived it to the hilt -- and that I left beauty behind me everywhere I went.

// dedicated to some other adventurers, a few of many dear souls I have the privilege of journeying with in this, my one and only life //