Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Outfit Post - Color Rut

So I noticed the other day that I've been wearing pretty much the same color combination in almost every outfit I put together.  This is what's known as (in the extremely technical term that I just made up) a color rut.  Those colors happen to be some combination of black, purple, cream, grey, and sometimes gold.  Case in point:

In my defense, I did try to break it up with a nice little shock of green:

Expect to see more of these colors in the future.

On a related note, I've been in a inspiration rut lately as well.  It's a nice little combination of writer's block, monotony, and maybe a little bit of laziness on my part.  Any writers/creative types out there have any advice on how to break out of said rut?  I'd appreciate the help!  Love you guys!

Outfit Details:
Dress: thrifted, Gap, $10
Sweater: Charlotte Russe, $8 (old)
Boots: N Style, $15
Belt: my mom's closet
Scarf: mall kiosk, $5
Purple Tights: Target, $5
Earrings: Premier Designs (local ladies, the Spring catalog is out, ask me if you want to see it!)
Nail Polish: Pure Ice, 616CP Wild Thing, $2

Friday, January 27, 2012

FTF - Coffee

Today's Fair Trade Friday isn't going to focus on a particular company.  Instead, I'd like to bring up a specific product instead, a product that makes my mornings so much brighter.  A product that keeps me from falling asleep after Lexi has requested watching ANOTHER episode of Blue's Clues.  That product is coffee.  Now, there are a lot of Fair Trade coffee companies (which is Awesome!), so I thought I could focus on just the coffees available at your local Wal-Mart.  

Sam's Choice, Decaffeinated 
Some nights, I want coffee, like those nights that I make breakfast for dinner (because I'm lazy, or because it's awesome?  You decide.).  However, drinking coffee at night is usually a recipe for lack of sleep.  Thankfully, one of Wal-Mart's in-house brands, Sam's Choice, makes a really tasty Decaf blend.  And, all Sam's Choice coffee's are Fair Trade certified.  They're not available on the Wal-Mart website, but I haven't been in a store yet that doesn't carry the brand.

Now, my mother-in-law recently bought one of these bad boys:

Keurig Brewing System
This coffee maker, excuse me *cough cough* brewing system is really pretty cool.  It makes single serving beverages, such as coffee, hot cocoa, and tea, with these cute little packages you can get called K-Cups.  There are K-Cups of almost every type and variety, including a blend by Newman's Own that is also Fair Trade Certified.  I've had it before, and it's actually really good.  I say actually because it's an extra bold blend, and normally I don't like my coffee to be bold.  This is the exception, 'cause this stuff is awesome!
Newman's Special Blend
There was one more company that I ran across on the Wal-Mart website, called Full Circle Exchange, that I'm actually really interested in trying.  They're a socially conscious company that has the empowerment of women around the world at the core of their mission.  Pretty cool stuff.  And at only $7.88 a bag, plus $0.97 for shipping, their coffee is pretty affordable too!

Full Circle Exchange French Roast coffee

There's a coffee shop here in Fayetteville that are worth checking out as well, if you haven't already.  It's called Mama Carmen's Espresso Cafe, and it's pretty awesome.  If you want to know why, you should check out their website and see the story behind it all!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Outfit Post - Blue

Well, guys, I'm about to embark on an adventure this afternoon.  It should be fairly exciting.  It's going to be a "attempting to tie dye a few things for a project, and maybe throw in some jeans and even a pair of tights, and hope it all turns out and I don't make a complete mess of my kitchen" adventure.  Fun stuff.  In honor of my attempts, which involve a Rit dye named "Royal Blue," here's an outfit all in blue.

Outfit Details:
Shirt: was the hubby's, DIY alterations (tutorial here)
Sweater: thrifted, $4
Jeans: Wal-Mart, $12
Shoes: gifted
Earrings: $1 Jewelry Galore
Bracelets: Payless Shoesource, $6 (old)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Outfit Post - The Amazing Grace-ini

I'm pretty sure if I ever became a magician (which is improbable considering that requires at least a small amount of hand-eye coordination), this would be my on-stage costume:

Something tells me the act shouldn't involve any spinning.

Outfit Details:
Blazer: thrifted, $5
Dress: Kohl's, $19 (clearance)
Leggings: Target, $8
Boots: N Style, $15
Earrings: Icing by Claire's, $1 (clearance)
Flower pin: vendor at NWA Boutique Show, $2

Friday, January 20, 2012

FTF - Mata Traders

Today's fair trade company I'd like to share with you is one of the first companies I discovered when I was introduced to the concept of fair trade. Their name is Mata Traders, and they feature beautiful clothing and accessories (with some home decor items thrown in for good measure). I love their mission statement featured on their website: "At Mata Traders we believe that giving women economic power and viable working skills can transform a community (and so the world) and is the surest way to combat poverty. That’s why all of our fair trade clothing and accessories are handmade by women’s cooperatives in India and Nepal. We work with local communities and use traditional artisan skills to create products that make the world a better place - and make YOU look good too!"  And they're not lying, their products are beautiful!  Like this dress, for example:

Oak Park Dress
Seriously, how adorable is this dress?  I'm a big fan of the color too, I can't seem to get enough of teal/turquoise tones lately.  Which brings me to this necklace:

Macrame Necklace
Let's face it.  Statement necklaces are here to stay.  I'm actually pretty happy about that, since they are definitely the easiest way to help dress up a look.  And what's better than two million beads in a gorgeous hue to adorn your neck?  (Well, umm, I can think of a few things, but that's not my point!)

Ravinia Top
Since I started this turquoise train, I might as well continue to ride it.  I love this top.  I love the color, the cut, and the hand appliqued details along the neckline.  I also happen to love that it's on sale for about half the original price. 

There's so, so, SO much more on the Mata Traders website, and I found out a few weeks ago, there's a local store here in Fayetteville that carries some of their jewelry, including the Macrame necklace I featured here.  Anyone in the area that hasn't been to The Mustache is missing out!

Well, that's all for me today, I hope you guys have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Outfit Post - Overdressed

So, you remember that one post where I mentioned I'm always overdressed?  Like, wearing a dress and heels to Chili's overdressed?  Well, how about a maxi skirt and blazer to Red Robin?  Was I overdressed?  Yep.  Did I get a few funny looks? Absolutely.  Does this outfit make me extremely happy despite all that?  Well, the proof is in that last photo...

Outfit Details:
Blazer: thrifted, $5
Shirt: Target, $5 (clearance)
Skirt: DIY from fabric on hand
Necklace: Premier Designs
Flower Pin: NWA Boutique Show vendor, $2
Shoes: Wet Seal, $8 (old)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Outfit Post - The Blues

Some days, it is impossible to get dressed.  Usually, it's because I've put entirely too much thought into what I'm going to wear, and I'm then stymied when the outfit I'd planned on wearing just doesn't work.  I'm then thrown into panic mode, where I'm forced to rely upon a tried and true outfit equation to get out the door on time.  Want to know the secret equation?  (It's really not that cool, but okay... if you insist.) Printed shirt + cardigan + belt + jeans + boots = succeeding in getting fully dressed before I leave my home.  Conclusion: I have entirely too much free time on my hands.

Outfit Details:
Shirt: Wal-Mart, $5 (old)
Sweater: Target, $8 (old)
Belt: Plato's Closet resale, $4
Jeans: Wal-Mart, $12
Boots: thrifted, $4
Earrings: Icing by Claire's, $4 (old)

Friday, January 13, 2012

FTF - Novica

Happy Friday everyone!  Thought I'd share a really cool website with you guys today.  The website is called Novica, and it's a virtual forum for artisans from all over the world to share their creations with the world.  Reasons this website is cool: a) it was founded by National Geographic, b) it has EVERYTHING!  Literally, they have sculptures, home decor, rugs, men's and women's clothing, jewelry, and even more, and c) they have testimonials from quite a few of their artisans on their site that are amazing.

Now, normally at this point, I would show you pictures and links to my favorite items on the site.  But with so much to choose from, I thought I'd do things a little differently today. With all the choices out there of where you can shop, and knowing the fact that you can buy similar items for a lot less through other companies, I want to share with you the story of how Novica has changed one artisan's life.  When you get down to the core of fair trade, that's what you get to participate in: helping a person on the other side of the globe make a living.  And, in the process, you get to buy a beautiful piece of art.

Wayan Rendah
wood sculptor, Bali
"Times were so hard before I joined Novica. I couldn't afford to pay the hospital for my wife giving birth to our daughter. I had to give up my motorbike, the only thing we had left, to pay the hospital and take my wife and daughter back home. God answered my prayer, and here I am now living happily with my wife, a daughter, and a son. Regular income from Novica means so much to the life of my family, and the lives of other carvers in our village - I am now working with 20 carvers! We started with nothing. Now we have savings, and are building houses. My place is full of statues we're working on for Novica customers. It feels as though the Novica office is my own office, yet I don't have to pay for Novica, or Novica's employees, or any packaging or shipping expenses. I just get 24 hours of promotion every day, internationally."

There are so many more testimonials on the the Novica website.  There are even links underneath each artisan's story where you can shop for items made by that person, like Wayan's beautiful wood sculptures.  My favorite piece of art that he is created is this carving, named "A Mother's Love."

A Mother's Love
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Outfit Post - Personal Stylist

Have I ever mentioned how much fun it is to dress a little girl each day?  Especially when I'm working with one as cute as this:

Seriously!  How cute is this kid!  (I may have a biased opinion on this...)  The great thing is, I can put her in pretty much whatever I want, and she'll wear it, even leggings as pants.  Generally she ends up pantsless at the end of the day anyways, so it all evens out.

She's not even the least bit concerned with VDL either (visible diaper line, of course!)

Bonus points if you can name what show she's watching!
 And now, some indoor shots.  I hate doing pictures indoors, but according to the Weather Channel the temperature was 19 degrees, but it feels like 4.  I love you guys, but maybe not enough to brave the frozen elements just for pictures...

Outfit Details:
On Lexi - 
Shirt: consignment sale, GapKids, $6
Leggings: Wal-Mart, $4
Boots: consignment sale, GapKids, $10
On Myself - 
Dress: Plato's Closet resale, $6
Sweater: Aeropostale, $6 (clearance, old)
Tights: Target, $5
Boots: N Style, $15
Belt: Forever 21, $2
Earrings: Icing by Claire's, $3 (old)
Legwarmers: Acumen Brands, $1

Oh, and because I'm picture happy, I just wanted to know: why is it so hard to get a decent close-up of the belt you happen to be wearing?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Outfit Post - THE skirt

You know when you manage to find THAT skirt?  The "I don't know how often I will wear this, but I want to wear it every day, and look it has pockets, and it's purple, and does that tag say Talbot's and IT'S ONLY ONE DOLLAR AND FIFTY CENTS AND EEEEEEEE!!!"  (Full disclosure: there may have been more unintelligible squeaking when I was in the store.  People stared.)  Here's THE skirt:

Outfit Details:
Shirt: Wal-Mart, $8 (old)
Skirt: thrifted, $1.50
Belt: Forever 21, $2
Tights: Wal-Mart, $5
Shoes: Wet Seal, $8 (old)
Earrings: Church silent auction, $5

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Shift in Focus

Can I confess something to you guys?  There was a time in my life, a couple years back, where I wanted to be done with anything fashion-related.  I've wanted to be a part of the fashion industry, either as a designer or shopowner, since I was 15, but I was fed up with the unreachable standard of beauty that's peddled by the media, and tired of trying to keep my clothing choices "up-to-date," "current," and "on-trend."  I was caught up in a game of comparisons, which wasn't any fun since in that game, you always lose.  Even more importantly, I couldn't see how faith and fashion could be intermixed.  Until I realized that I was defining fashion the wrong way.  I looked at it as reaching a standard instead of getting dressed.  My definition excluded me from a world I coveted, instead of freeing me to express myself in my clothing and shopping choices.  But, since starting this little blog, reading other women's thoughts in their blogs (two of my favorites being Dress With Courage and Already Pretty.  Those women are amazing!), and researching and discovering Fair Trade companies like the ones I feature every Friday, my focus has shifted.  Getting dressed is a part of life, and since I have no intentions of joining a nudist colony, it's inevitable that I will be wearing clothes on a daily basis.  With the amount of choices available, not only can clothing be expressive, it can be beneficial.  When I first discovered Fair Trade clothing, I wanted to buy it all.  It wasn't necessarily the products, as beautiful as they are, but the story behind the items that was inspiring.  I had a friend tell me after I had ranted and raved to her against corporate America (not my best stage, let me tell you!) that she could see me in the future being "that person," the one who had a story for every piece of clothing she was wearing.  She had meant that humorously, but I love that picture!  I want to be able to say, "Yeah, this shirt paid for a child's meal, my jeans are from a thrift store that supports the battered women's shelter, and my shoes help to fund a university education for a woman in Uganda."  I want to use fashion as a type of social activism.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the direction I'd like this blog to go.  It honestly started out as a creative outlet for a bored housewife.  I'd really like it to be more than that.  It will always be a forum for me to share my life, pictures of my daughter, and my thoughts on how God is working in my life.  But more than that, I want to become "that person."  I would love my wardrobe to revolve around something other than my appearance.  I want my clothes, and the tiny amount of my budget that goes towards buying them, to help support people in need. I want to be a part of what's talked about in Psalm 72:12-14:

"[God] will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.  He feels pity for the weak and the needy,  and he will rescue them.  He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him. (NLT)"

What this means for you as a reader is this: if I find a particularly awesome thrift store or socially conscious company, I want to share it with you.  I'm also making the commitment to you now, just so I have a sense of accountability, that for the next three months (until my birthday), I won't purchase any clothing or accessories that aren't either thrifted, from a resale/consignment/local shop, or from a socially conscious company.  I'd like to extend that promise out for a longer length of time, but since I am the queen of unfinished projects and promises, it's probably best if I set my goals low for now.

I don't want you to think that I'm preaching, despite the rant I'm going off on.  I'm not a better person because of the places I shop.  In all reality, I'm a very insecure, self-absorbed woman who wants all that to be different. My tendency has been to choose what I buy based on which figure flaws I can hide or what piece of clothing will look the coolest, and for that to change, my buying habits have to change.  I want my focus to be off of myself and on the person I am helping. I want to live like I believe God's command to take care of the poor and impoverished is true.  I want every part of my life to have that focus; this is just the start.

FTF - PeaceKeeper Cause-metics

You guys, I love makeup.  Makeup is fun.  I like playing with makeup, especially with new colors of lipstick and eyeshadow.  Earlier in the week, I was told about this makeup company that not only donates its profits to fighting human trafficking and slavery in Thailand, but also ensure that their employees, both here and overseas, are paid a fair and liveable wage.  A lot of products are also mostly organic, some are vegan, and none are ever tested on animals.  Their slogan for their cosmetic ingredients is “No nasty anything!”   The company's name is PeaceKeeper Cause-metics, and I'm so excited I found them!  There's so much information about them on their website, and I'd really encourage you to check them out.  For now, I'd like to share with you some of their items that are now on my ever-expanding wishlist:

Paint Me Free

There's a whole cavalcade of lip paints that are offered on the site, including this color described as "rich fuchsia with a hint of playful pink.  The perfect everyday lipstick - with an edge."  There's one more color I absolutely wish I had, named "Paint Me Compassionate," and it's an absolutely beautiful, bold red.

Paint Me Compassionate
The other product that is just so cool to me is their 'Eco-Easy' Vegan Nail Polish Remover, which is made completely from natural ingredients, without any alcohol or acetone.  On top of that, it smells like mint!  What more could you want?

Nail Polish Remover

Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend, and (no offense to any Kansas State fans out there), GO HOGS!!  Win that Cotton Bowl!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Outfit Post - Space Invaders

I love this scarf!  Not only did I score it at an after Christmas sale for $5 at a mall kiosk, but it has this awesome eggplant-y deconstructed houndstooth pattern that looks like something out of a classic video game.  It injects just the right amount of nerdy into the outfit for my taste.

Pew pew pew!!
Outfit Details:
Shirt: Wal-Mart, $8
Skirt: Gap Outlet, $11
Tights: Target, $5
Scarf: Kiosk, $5
Boots: Christmas gift
Earrings: $1 Jewelry Galore