Saturday, January 23, 2016

a new season of "What I Wore" // pt 1

There is a season for everything, even taking time away from things. I havent done any What I Wore posts in ages -- although Ive been doing a little nod to it for over a year now on Instagram (#reflectionsessions) -- but Ive posted (irregularly) on unboxing my Stitch Fixes instead.
Like many other twenty-something women, I have acquired a substantial wardrobe. After hauling my whole wardrobe back and forth across the country in 2013 (#newjerseyadventure) I purged out tons of items I wasnt ever wearing. It was great. My style evolved in that season and I acquired new items that fit it over the past few years. Something has been eating at me though. Ive been aware for sometime that many brands I buy are a compromise of my morals and ethics. To put it in a very uncomfortable, but accurate, light, Ive been as hypocritical as the men who stand for justice and protection of women trapped in human trafficking and yet participate in porn. Ive supported human trafficking by purchasing from companies that "employ" slaves in sweatshops. And I know the arguements of the struggle: "But I dont have the budget to purchase Fair Trade items" and "Its really hard to find ethically sourced and supplied clothes that are my style", etc. Yet again I have to compare this to the equally compromising lifestyle of sexual immorality and say that men often have "justifying" arguments for their use of porn too. Lets face the ugly facts: its wrong. No "ifs", "ands" or "buts". More information is in the video below. Pardon the YouTuber's language. I tip my hat to her for this awareness spreading and exposure.

I have this dream of having a simple and satisfying wardrobe made up entirely of fair trade items -- everything from intimates and shoes, to clothes and sleepwear, to jewelry and makeup. It seems like a big undertaking, it feels impractical and possibly even ridiculous, but I really believe that its worth it. Because this isnt about me sacrificing my style or wardrobe, its about walking the walk and not just talking the talk about truly valuing human life. [For now lets just focus on this. Because, truth be told, this same undertaking should sift through every single item in my lifestyle and household -- from furniture and cutlery, to books and music, to cleaners and tools, to food and beverages, to paper products and pens. Everything we use comes from somewhere; was made somewhere, by someone, and with materials produced somehow. We support justice or injustice with EVERY purchase we ever make.]
Is it the "right time" for this? Well, if by that you mean "do you have the budget for all new clothes", we will answer that in time. If by it you mean "have you had enough of playing your part in injustice and are you finally ready to go another way?", the answer is a yes -- bearing in mind that it isnt fully "yes" until that "yes" really does affect every purchase in my world.

I dont know a lot but I know enough to start with. My style is evolving once again -- its very normal for this to happen again and again over time -- and it is a fitting transition season. So this is the goal: 1. I want to purge out my wardrobe afresh. 2. I want to have clearly in mind the looks that I am going for and a practical plan of what items to acquire in order to accomplish it. 3. I want to create a sort of capsule wardrobe, bearing in mind that Im aiming for a life of travel and prefer to travel light, and focus on quality over quantity when making my purchases.

Before we get to that lets just take a look at whats currently in my closet and where I want to take it.
KEY: bold are not fair trade, italic are fair trade, normal are unknown.
Intimates - bras (target, victoria's secret, naja, urban outfitters), undies (target, victoria's secret, naja), socks and tights (target) // Jammies (target, aerie) // Work out gear (target, old navy) // Swim suits (target, victoria's secret) // Sweaters/Sweat Shirts (goodwill, sevenly, target, walk in love) // Tees (sevenly, forever 21) // Tanks (sevenly, forever 21, target) // Pants (target, old navy) // Shorts (target, forever 21) // Skirts (target, forever 21) // Dresses (target, old navy, Etsy, victoria secret, Francesca's, Anthro, forever 21) // Jackets (target, StitchFix, ModCloth, Eddie Bauer) // Shoes (target, TOMS) // Hats (target) // Headbands (target, Francesca's) // Scarves (target, H&M) // Bags (StitchFix, target/FEED, No41, walmart)
Here are some visual compare and contrast examples I put together of non-fair trade vs fair trade items. Thanks to Google for making it easy to find all these images. Youll probably note like I did that the cheaper products actually look cheap in comparison. Although these are all brands Ive had a kind of affection for (*cough*, Target), it makes me wonder even more why Ive been so quick to put my money down on their things in the past.

Before we move on Id also like to note that I am not scrapping every item I already own from non-fair trade companies. More on this in another post. Along with fair trade Ill cover my reasoning on also buying handmade, American made, or second-hand. My views may change on them but Ill share where Im at on them presently in another post.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Favorites >>

1. Amanda Cook's music 2. My friend Jessica's brand new YouTube channel (totally unsolicited plug -- I really am hooked on it) 3. Holey Moley doughnuts -- the BEST ones in town 4. My (last season) TOMS winter boots 5. Fodor's Travel guide to Italy has actually been my night and day reading material of late and Im loving it! 6. I have a mini Charity Pot of lotion from LUSH in my car and it is saving my hands in this bitter cold weather.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The thing about light //

The thing about light is that it alters an atmosphere by its presence, by its very self. The thing about the Holy Spirit is He does too. Death all around and then -- whoosh! -- breath of LIFE. It doesnt need to try really hard to bring change or to effect, its presence essentially demands a response -- accept or reject. And Ive noticed that the theology in the Christian community, in song and conversation and way of life, has seemed to forget this. We "invite" Holy Spirit to come when we gather, we ask Him to be with us, we pray that He go before and ready hearts for the words we will bring. But He is IN us. We ARE the light of the world. Our presence shakes things up wherever we go because we have authority wherever we are -- its been given us in and through Him. You know that the Word is all about revealing who Jesus (+ the Father + the Spirit) is and who we are in Him, yet multiple books barely mention Him. As Bethie once said, "He may not be IN it, but He is ON it." Our Jesus put flesh to the Word of Who He is. In our case we are flesh in His image, walking out the Word in us. Because He is IN us, He is also ON us wherever we find ourselves. We dont have to try and alter an atmosphere, it yields to our authority upon entering. We dont have to invite transforming power to join us, He is the initiator and the invite went out at the cross -- we're the ones who respond. We don't need to "make a place for Him" in building or meeting place. We don't need to beg His presence to show up as we gather or go. We don't make a place holy so we can bring people to it to meet Him. Dont you know that walking in the REST found in identity in Christ, living rejoicing because we know Who He is and what He does and His will in the circumstances of life we face, overflowing with the fulness of life we have from delighting ourselves in Him -- enjoying Him, it demands a response. With or without a conversation, no alter-call required, our presence, our very SELF, stirs the water and one mention of His name answers lookers-on's questions about the hope we clearly possess. You can never be light by trying or talking, but with Him in you you simply ARE light. They meet Him in us. Know it, and let it happen. 
[note: black and white photography is all about light. you dont look so much for color or even composition as much as for light when taking black and white photos. they speak for themselves.]

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stitch Fix >> year one

2015 >> year one of Stitch Fix

Fix #1

The 5 Pieces: Red blouse, blue sweater, green jacket, black and white dress, dark wash skinny jeans.
KEPT: The jacket and the dress >> These two pieces continue to be staples in my wardrobe and are worn a lot. The jacket is light enough to be worn in the summer but sturdy enough to be a practical layer in cooler weather. The dress is one I reach for when I want to be as comfortable dressed as I am in my sweats but want to look classier than I do in sweats. You know?
note to self: need more distance from mirror for a true full-body shot.

Fix #2

The 5 Pieces: Blue top, short sleeve blouse, black and white sweater, taupe scarf, and a blue sweater.
KEPT: The top pictured >> I love this top. It is super soft and falls in a very flattering way. It can be dressed up or down but more often than not I just pack it as a touch of class to break up my flowy-tee habits when I travel.
note to self: just because you dont like the other items in the "fix", and feel unattractive in them, doesnt mean dont photograph them.

Fix #3

The 5 Pieces: Multi-colored top, lace sweatshirt, purple blouse, blue corduroy skinnies, and a gold bangle.
KEPT: The cords >> Im not very adventurous when it comes to pants but these were a great investment. Ive used them for evening parties in the winter two years in a row now. My size has fluctuated a bit so they look more like a straight leg than a skinny this year but that's ok.
note to self: no ponytail. and work on consistent photo angle.

Fix #4

The 5 Pieces: Green top, elbow-patch sweater, plaid blouse, aztec patterned scarf, and black skinny jeans.
KEPT: The elbow-patch sweater >> I drooled over the sweater as soon as I unwrapped it in this "fix" and I continue to every time I pull it out of my closet. Its super soft, its cozy, and its so dang cute. 
note to self: wearing heels for the photos is a win.

Fix #5

The 5 Pieces: Floral tank, black and white maxi dress, white sweater, striped tank, and blue purse.
KEPT: The purse >> I had a black purse and a camel colored one in this style but they were retired shortly after purchasing this one. Its been my statement piece and I get compliments on it everywhere I go.
note to self: it can be good to experiment with new camera angles.

Fix #6

The 5 Pieces: Striped sweater, light green blouse, blue maxi dress, crocheted sweater, and leather bag.
KEPT: None of the above because of budget that month >> This broke my heart because I adored the maxi dress and I was in love with that purse. Oh my gosh. I mean really.
note to self: when you know your budget is tight, push your "fix" out a month or two.

Fix #7

The 5 Pieces: Fringe purse, wrap dress, black and white tank, striped sweater tank, and dark wash capri pant.
KEPT: The wrap dress >> Another amazing piece that gets a lot of use. Its very form-flattering and incredibly comfortable. I dress it down sometimes by putting a nice over-sized sweater over the top so it looks more like a pencil skirt.
note to self: dont skimp on photos -- these are literally the only ones from this "fix".

Fix #8

The 5 Pieces: Denim jacket, patterned tank, red skinny jean, beaded cuff bracelet, and red knit dress.
KEPT: The dress >> I'm a sucker for a cute dress. I know this about myself so I try and limit myself. However, this one just brought the little-girl up inside of me. It fit so perfectly. The color was marvelous with my skin tone. The crocheted back made it special. I get a lot of use out of this piece as well as my other Stitch Fix purchases.
note to self: dont settle for iPhone photos when your camera is four steps away.

Monday, January 11, 2016

To my future children,

my black, white, brown, red, yellow, adopted, fostered or biological precious ones.

There is so much to teach you about the world around you -- things you'll see plain as day and things you wont. Especially when it comes to meeting and interacting with new people. As a parent I'll want you to be kind and cautious, just like my parents wanted me to be. But babies, you're not going to learn to associate caution with certain skin pigments. Race is a topic both deep and wide but its not one to be afraid of or avoid. Humans don't all look the same but we don't fear people because of their appearance. Differing races sometimes hurt each other because of the fear that ignorance produces. We are going to be braver than that. I want you to have the strength that shows itself through kindness to others. I want you to have the courage to stand for truth, and that will mean being willing to listen as well as to ask questions. We want to love our neighbors. I want to teach you how by example. When you have the wisdom to judge character and to discern what circumstances and surroundings need caution then I'm sure you'll teach me by example too, because I know I'm still learning. Its something we can grow in together all our lives. We can encourage others to do the same, because your friends and family and cashiers, etc. will have things to say about race. Media, society, and history have a lot to say about it. We can listen to those voices but they're not ultimately the ones that matter. Jesus' voice is the one that matters -- the one that speaks truth, the one that's set on loving. I'll teach you how to listen to that voice, darlings. We'll grow in that together, too, all our lives. It's marvelous.

Life is for learning, living, and loving well. Cant wait to share it with you all!

your [white] momma

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Love, Me | 3.

Prophesied of for hundreds of years, long awaited and looked for by a nation, expected by generations, yet His arrival went practically unnoticed. Jesus, born to a little woman on the road to her betrothed's home-town. Brought into the world by just His parents with some on-looking livestock. Lay to rest in a trough, clothed in available rags. No crowds, no gifts, no glory. This is how He arrived, how His earthly purpose began. Later, those who did celebrate His arrival were the hosts of heaven and the outcasts of society, as well as a few men who had read the signs of the time as an invitation to once-in-a-lifetime birthday party.

I hear Him say, "Baby girl, dont despise small beginnings to your great callings. There is no shame in going unnoticed, uncelebrated. Our Father sees. His armies celebrate. The outcasts of society will take note of you, because theyre hungry for hope and your presence radiates it. If there are no crowds, no gifts, no apparent glory, rejoice! It isnt evidence that youre far from your calling, its evidence that youre Mine."

And thirty years later our Father thundered over Him His identity: "Beloved. Son. Well-pleasing." The Devil tempted Him to prove it but He didnt need to because He was resting in it. Then He began to walk in His purpose. For three years He now couldnt escape the crowds. He gave Himself fully -- to the point of death. There was much glory. Stripped and humiliated and brutally killed like a criminal, few cared. Three days later, resurrected and few ever knew. The biggest events in the history of the world went largely unnoticed. This purpose, this mission, that only One could ever fulfill, to restore all creation to its original intent... this forever change of everything just so we could have the opportunity restored for unity with our God... went without a party, without announcement, and without honor, except for a few.

He couldve come and recruited twelve-million but He came, walked about, and recruited twelve. Just a dozen compelled to spread the good news of restored access to unity with the Father by the Holy Spirit. They were hated and hunted by many, welcomed by a few. And the cycle continued for each child of God. Two-thousand years after the silent night in the tiny town outside of Jerusalem, the Firstborn of Many's small beginning, and today its estimated that one-third of the entire world is made up of sons and daughters of God.

"Abraham was promised he would be the father of many nations but only lived to father one child. It only took one. A small beginning to many nations, but a beginning none-the-less. Foolishness to the world's wise are these little starting points, but I am the God of life -- I created it to begin unpretentiously divine. I treasured you as a full-being when you were newly conceived. I saw you before you were perceivable to any human eye. I knew you before your mother knew you were in her womb. The start is never the pinnacle, its the forerunning messenger of all that is to come. When I said, 'Let there be light,' it wasnt the culmination of what I was doing, it was the start of the preparation of a place for a people, and an amazing story of how those people would be united with Me forever and share in a great Wedding Feast in the fulness of time. So dont despise small beginnings, baby girl, celebrate them."