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Fall Fashion Throwback to the 70s

You can tell from the back to school pictures on Facebook (1 1/2 weeks left!!) and the way the calendar refuses to stop speeding through August. I know you can’t tell from the weather (it is like 146 degrees here), but fall is right around the corner. While I am relishing every single second of summer, I must confess fall is my most favorite season. The falling leaves, the crisp air and THE FASHION!! I love fall fashion. There are some great trends around the corner.

One of my favorite fall trends is a throw back to the 70s. Check out these great looks:

 

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Kind of makes you want to grab a big floppy hat and a fringe bag doesn’t it? Don’t throw your skinny jeans away quite yet, but grab a few pieces that feel a bit groovy and embrace the flower child inside.

Many of these pieces are dry clean only, but don’t let that stop you from playing along with the latest fashion trend. Grab your Dryel and save yourself the hassle and the cash. You might remember I’m an ambassador for Dryel this year and I am still loving how easy it is to handle my dry clean only clothing. No longer do I have to live in fear of falling in love with an outfit in the dressing room only to put it right back when I see the care label. It also works perfectly to freshen up any vintage 70s finds you might hunt down that carry that nasty musty smell.

Still nervous to try it out? Grab a coupon for Dryel here and let me know what you think!

 

 

What I’m Watching in August #streamteam

We are officially back in the school swing of things and I must say, we were ready. Like REA.DY. We had such an amazing summer, jam-packed with awesomeness, but as it was winding down I was hearing way too much bickering, “I’m bored”-ing and, truth be told, a bit of yelling from someone who will remain nameless.

Also, I’m not even going to try to pretend that screen time got a little out of hand these past few weeks. I’m not proud, but I’m not all that ashamed lately. Thanks to Netflix, we got addicted to some new, awesome original programming.

We’ll start with Silas. Although he is growing up way to fast as evidenced by his starting Kindergarten this week #sunrisesunset, he still loves a good cartoon about superheros, dinosaurs or trucks. Dinotrux pretty much knocked it out of the park with a combo of all three. And it is by Dreamworks so you know it is going to be awesome. The only bummer is Silas quickly blew through all the episodes and is dying for more.

Dinotrux, premiering exclusively on Netflix Aug. 14, is a brand new action-packed original series featuring characters that are half-dinosaur/half-construction vehicle. Ty Rux and Revvit, two unlikely best friends, build a bigger, better world and battle against the biggest creature of all: D-Structs, who threatens to wreck everything they’ve built. Dinotrux mixes action, comedy and adventure while focusing on teamwork and friendship.

The girls have found their own “tween” show to love (and honestly Silas loves it too). I could not be more geeked about this show #punintended. After years of marketing to girls being all about dumbing yourself down to get a boyfriend, it seems Smart is the new Cool. Project Mc² has 4 female leads that my girls can totally look up to. The best part is that while brainy, and even a little nerdy, they are also fashionable and fun. Can I get a hallelujah?!!

Project Mc² is a fresh take on the typical tween girl show you’re probably familiar with. The series has S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) organically woven throughout the storyline, making it fun and breaking the stereotype that being smart, funny, stylish and capable are mutually exclusive. Project Mc² reflects today’s tweens in a relatable way, giving girls four empowered female leads to look up to.

As for me? Ryan and I FINALLY finished White Collar (the ending was perfection) and currently haven’t latched onto anything together. But when he isn’t around I am binge watching Ally McBeal and it is bringing back all the feels. I loved this show in college and grad school and it is so much fun to relive. Dancing babies anyone?

Here are a few more ideas of shows that will keep your kids brains from turning to mush as they head back to school:

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Netflix Original: Ever After High: Way Too Wonderland

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Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

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How the State Got Their Shapes

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Odd Squad

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Reading Rainbow

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Magic School Bus

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The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and have been given a complimentary year membership. Using it as an excuse to let my kids watch hours of television as “research” is just a side benefit. 

Change The World, Look Good Doing It #FTFClub

For some light summer reading (#sarcasmfont), I decided to finally tackle 7 by Jen Hatmaker. I can’t tell you how long I have had this book intending to read it, but absolutely terrified to do so. And I discovered that was for good reason. I cannot continue the same as before. Stupid convicting books.

One of the areas that hit home the hardest was fashion. I have never tried to deny that I have loved clothes for as long as I can remember. Honestly I still vividly remember a few of my favorite outfits from Kindergarten (sweater with little whales on it and jeans with rhinestones on the pocket-sigh). I had a jobs in retail in high school and college and I bought more clothes with my paychecks than anyone should ever admit in public. The trend continues to this day.

I justify it up and down, but I rarely stop to think about how much the money could be doing allocated in different ways (because I typically stay within budget, I can justify anything). I also rarely think about the truths behind my cheap fashion. Someone else is paying a very high price so that I can look cute. Sad.

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image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday

Well. What if I could use my love of fashion and do good? You guys!!! I CAN!!!!

Fair Trade Friday is the brilliant idea of one of my sweet blogging friends, Kristen of We Are That Family fame. If you don’t know her full story you should really read her book Rhinestone Jesus or read her blog which will make you laugh and cry on a daily basis or check out her amazing ministry, Mercy House (well her OTHER amazing ministry). Clearly you need to know her. But anyway, she felt God calling her to help empower women all over the world and Fair Trade Friday was born.

Fair Trade Friday is a monthly membership club different than most others. It delivers a box of high quality items to your door by the first Friday of the month. The items in the box are fairly traded and provide employment to women all over the world. 100% of the proceeds from each box goes to the empowerment of impoverished women as an avenue to introduce them to the Gospel. Currently they are working with 19 countries and helping over 1000 woman find employment, dignity and hope. Just one box employs an average of 7 women from around the globe!

I have been a member for several months (even before I was asked to be part of the blogging team) and I have loved knowing that the adorable earrings, bracelets and purses I wear are making a difference in someone’s life. Everything isn’t always my style but I simply pass on things to people I know will love them. And it isn’t always clothes in my subscription box either. I have received coffee, potholders, journals, notecards and more.

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Listen to these amazing words from one of the many women who provide their wares for your boxes:

“Probably one of the most profound moments for me was in a mud home in Kenya talking with a woman we were buying paper bead bracelets from for a Fair Trade Friday box. She grabbed my hands and squeezed them tight. She looked me straight in the eyes and said,‘Tell the women in America that we need them to keep buying what we make. Tell them it is feeding my son and two daughters. Tell them not to forget us.’ I will spend the rest of my life reminding these marginalized women they are not forgotten.” – Kristen Welch, MercyHouse Co-Founder

Old Navy isn’t going to do that for anyone. In fact, it is most likely doing more harm than good (this is not a guilt trip, I am learning right along with you and possibly still buying from Old Navy just this week….. #keepingitreal). My favorite part is that each item in my box comes with a tag that tells me where the artisan lives and often times even her name. And just for a moment, I am part of her story. And part of God’s big old giant redemption story for us all.

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image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday

Is it possible my love of fashion can change the world? Fair Trade Friday thinks so. They like to say, “Change the World, Look Good Doing It.” And even if I didn’t get a single item that makes me “look good”, I can think of a million other really stupid ways to blow $30 that doesn’t help a woman across the world put food in her child’s belly.

If you too want to be a part of making a difference, please consider becoming a part of Fair Trade Friday, either by getting on the waiting list for the original box subscription, by ordering a one-time box, or by joining the Earring of the Month Club. Or consider shopping other fair trade items in the Mercy Shop to benefit Mercy House. You really can’t lose.

I received a one-time box as part of the Fair Trade Friday Blogging Team in exchange for telling you about this service. I was a subscriber long before that and love the chance to get to share about such a great organization. 

On Sabbaticals, Fighting Hunger and ONE REPUBLIC GIVEAWAYS!!

*gingerly steps up to the mic*

*tap, tap*

Is this thing on?

Sorry I disappeared off the face of the earth. Blogging just hasn’t been high on the radar this summer. You know what has been? Sleeping in, hours at the pool, relaxing vacations, family time, lying around in the hammock, etc, etc, etc. I swear to you I have opened the computer less than ten times since school let out. It has been lovely and weird all at the same time.

So I think I am unofficially taking the summer off blogging. It clearly wasn’t a well thought out plan. But it seems to be going that way. EXCEPT.

I have a few commitments this month and next that I am popping back on to share with you. So this week and probably a few times in August I will dust off the old blog and see if anyone is reading anymore. And it just so happens if you are, there might be some great things in store for you (cough, giveaways, cough).

Let’s start with a BIG one right out of the gate.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but last summer I had the chance to check out a few events when the Meijer LPGA Classic was in town. I was excited when they reached out to me again and next week I will be heading out to a few things. I would love to have you join me if you are local. There is a 5K walk/run, jr. golf clinics, a celebrity chef cook off and a community concert to choose from. Those and of course, the main event, the LPGA Classic.

Now I gotta be honest with you. I don’t golf. I don’t watch golf. I don’t follow golf. But there are two things happening here that I can totally get behind.

One, as a mom of daughters, I am all about showing my girls women who kick butt in sports, especially ones that are typically male dominated. You better believe we gathered around watching the US women take the world cup and I love showing my girls the dedication and hard work these golfers put into their sport to come out on top. It is inspiring and I want them there on the sidelines with me seeing these ladies get er done. Last year we truly did end up loving it.

Two, for the second year in a row, thanks to Meijer’s title sponsorship, the mission of the tournament is feeding the hungry and improving the quality of life within this place I call home. If you have read this blog for more than a second, you know this is a cause we support time and time again. And once again, the tournament will coincide with the Meijer’s Simply Give program, which has raised nearly $14 million for food pantries across the Midwest since its inception in November 2008. So just like last year, proceeds from the tournament, and each of the week’s festivities including the community concert, will benefit the Simply Give program. Last year $600,000 was raised.

Sometimes giving is made just a little bit more awesome when you get something amazing in exchange for your gift. I mean giving completely selflessly is awesome, but giving and getting to see one of you favorite bands play some of your favorite songs is straight up amazing.

Community Concert

This year’s community concert is ONE REPUBLIC. We are huge fans and I was beyond excited when Meijer contacted me to participate AND give away two tickets to another couple of fans. Of course you must be able to attend the concert July 25th in Grand Rapids to enter. But we can be singing and dancing with each other!!! If you don’t win, please consider grabbing a ticket and supporting local food pantries with your purchase. It doesn’t get more win-win than that!! (This is a quick contest so don’t delay!!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is 40

Today is the day. I am officially in my 40s.

I get that some people dread birthdays. For me I never really have. I know some people might consider 40 old, but I guess it comes down to how you feel and I feel the best I ever have. Truly. 40s are a time of being secure in who you are, knowing what you want out of life (and what you don’t), and living for the things that are truly important. Never have I felt more sure of who I am and who I am supposed to be.

The 20s seemed like such an insecure time. A ridiculous amount of fun was had as a single and newly married girl living in the big city. No kids, little responsibility (outside of paying obnoxious amounts of rent). But it is also such a time of doubt about who you are, where your life is going, am I doing it right and how the heck am I supposed to do this adult thing??!! So much insecurity. No thank you. Goodbye 20s.

The 30s seemed like a bit of a blur. Three kids (plus a 4th through foster care). I don’t think I slept enough the whole 10 years. So much new responsibility it felt crushing at times. Still a ton of joy raising a family and starting an official, full blown, “grown up” life. But still a lot of insecurities about friendships, self-worth, body image (yowza body post kids) and all the ways I was likely messing my kids up. The 30s were very, very good to me, but I am happy to wave them goodbye as well.

40 feels so fabulous to me. My kids are at such awesome ages and I feel like I am pretty confident in my parenting abilities (talk to me again when I have full-blown teenagers). I know the things that make me happy and the things that drain me. I am done with toxic friendships and instead chose to invest in healthy people who love me for me. At the same time I find myself becoming much more generous with myself and my time, looking around for ways to bless others because I have been so blessed in life. After spending my 30s hunkering down and getting er done with little kids, I am finally looking outward again and it feels so freeing.

I was talking to Ryan the other day about this life we have created and how much joy it brings me. I love that we live life large and try to consume every day to the fullest. I totally recognize that my life seems overwhelming to many people. We stay busy, love to travel, take in as many theater and concerts and festivals and local events as we can. Nothing makes me get twitchy more than a blank calendar. I like it full.

I am done apologizing for it. I know living life on such a grand scale isn’t for everyone but I want to live a life of no regrets and for me that means saying yes to as many experiences as possible while making sure we are being responsible with our finances and not burning ourselves out. We don’t always get it right, but I also know I’m not happy still for too long. I think my 40s are going to be a grown up, responsible decade of YOLO (can you say YOLO when you are 40?).

So for those of you who have blazed the 40 trail ahead of me, thank you so much for showing me age is just a number and nothing to fear. I think because I have so many older and wiser friends in my life I look forward to every birthday knowing that it fully has the potential to be better than the last. You gals are definitely making 40 look pretty amazing.

And to those of you who are behind me in your 20s and 30s. Don’t waste a moment wishing for what was behind you or aching to get ahead. I know I have wished away years before and it is such wasted energy. Soak up every moment of every day as the blessing that it is. Stop apologizing for who you are, but always strive to end each day a little closer to the person God wants you to be. And most of all remember, life is way too short to be spent worrying. Grab yourself a square (or two) of chocolate, pour yourself a glass (or two) of red, look life square in the eye and say “I’ve got this.” It just keeps getting better. Cheers.