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The Garage Sale Challenge Part 2

The Garage Sale Challenge is underway. I am so excited to share the next few posts and can’t wait to hear from you! If you did the garage sale challenge SHARE your pictures and stories with us at happy@boughtbeautifuly.com or if you blog share on the linky tool below.  If you haven’t done the challenge, it isn’t too late to start!

M friend Jeriann and I came across an amazing Estate Sale.  We both found some truly AWESOME finds.  My finds included thesee beautiful hanging baskets, a door mat, and some ski pants.

hangingbasket

I have been wanting to build window boxes to add some dimension and interest to the front of the house (as you can see, it needs it!) but these beauties were too good to pass up and we already had little hooks in the roof. So done and done.

Garage Sale Hanging Basket

Garage Sale Hanging Basket

Sticking with the flower pot theme Jer and I decided to have our almost 3 year olds paint and plant a few pots to deliver to a local Senior housing.  I wasn’t sure how they would respond when I called to see if they would be interested BUT they were head over heals excited to have us come visit.

H painting

The kids had a ball painting pots.

H painting 2

3 kids heading in

The kids walking in. I am pretty sure H is thinking, “Ah, mom I can’t believe you forgot to bring the cards for our new friends and the snacks for us!”

In hindsight, I wish we would have decorated more pots! I forgot to take a picture of the finished project but they turned out really sweet and the residents seemed to love them.

Sharing flowers with residents

It was hard to get good photos while managing the kids, breakable pots, and interacting with our new friends, but as you can see there were lots of smiles and I think everyone’s day was brightened. The pots were definitely a nice touch but I think the kids were by far the biggest hit!

Sharing flower pots

Flower pot day

Fe's flower pot

The residents just loved seeing and flirting with the little ones and it was really special to see the two oldest interacting with the residents, saying things like, “What is your name?’ and “Have a good day!”  It really was PRICELESS!

H being a little gentleman!

H being a little gentleman! Completely melted my heart!!!

Jer and I both agreed that this was a super easy and quick to way to get our kids (and ourselves) out of our normal routine, engaged in our community, and interacting with a different demographic.  It was also really good reminder that it doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day and that it is so worth doing.

Have you done the GARAGE SALE CHALLENGE yet? If so please share your story with us by email – happy@boughtbeautifully.com or on our facebook page – www.facebook.com/BoughtBeautifully or if you blog, link us up below!  If not, we would love you to Join us!!  You can read what it is all about here!!!

Have a great weekend!

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What They Wore Wednesday

It is Wednesday again. I am having a harder time writing this post  today and not because my subjects aren’t adorable, wonderful, and precious THEY ARE! Just look at them!  It’s not because I am not excited about the subject matter, I am, two sisters sharing the love, not many things make me this excited!

But when people close to me are experiencing stress, pain, and loss, it feels hard and superficial to be writing about things.

Haz & Ruby

 However these two little munchkins are a good reminder of what is all about.

We were in Colorado Springs last weekend during, according to CNN, the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history.  We had family who were evacuated from their homes.  I kept thinking about the tornados that ripped through Oklahoma earlier in the summer and how much loss and destruction there was for so many people.  Then I woke up this morning to see that my home town, Prescott, is burning up.

Phew that is a lot of hard stuff. People have lost lives, homes and memories as a result of all of these occurrences.

As I mourn for them and pray for them, it causes me to reflect on life and remember that our stuff is just temporary and should be secondary to people and relationships.

Haz & Ruby 2

However, I am encouraged that my stuff can be more than just stuff because of how and who I purchase things from and that these purchases can have real tangible impacts on people. That motivates me to write Bought.Beautifully and to share about organizations that understand and apply the principal that PEOPLE MATTER MOST, and that by making their products they are providing livelihoods, hope and opportunities for people.

But I also want to always remember that stuff is just stuff and that maybe less can be more.  That we don’t always need new things; it is the people behind the things that matter most.

So, today our sweet little Hazel Mae and her adorable sister Ruby are wearing hand-me-downs. Clothes that have been passed on from cousin to cousin and sister to sister.  Along with the passing of clothes comes the sharing of memories and love AND that is what life is really all about.

Hazel so clearly proves that her clothes don’t have to be new to make her happy!

IMG_3393

And this precious gem, rockin’ her big sister’s clothes and clearly loving every minute of it!

IMG_3392

So your Bought.Beautifully encouragement and challenge for the day is to share some of your love by sharing some of your things and sharing a bit of your life with someone.

Look around and see if there is something in your house that you no longer use or need and see if someone comes to mind who just might love using it. Give hand-me-downs a try! They are a great way to lessen your environmental impact on the world, no new materials being used here (expect for laundry) and they are a great way to connect your life to someone else’s whether it is a sister, cousin, friend, or total stranger.

A special thanks to Jessica, Hazel, and Ruby for sharing the photos and hand-me-down inspiration!

 

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What She Wore Wednesday – Made in America!

Want to know how you can do good while you look good? Read on.

It’s Wednesday! I am just loving Wednesdays and getting to see and share so many fun unique styles that have positive impacts.  Doesn’t it feel great knowing that we can look good and do good all at the same time? Today’s gorgeous guest feature comes from The Big Apple, so get ready for a little New York City style.  Natalie, my little sister, is giving us the perfect example of looking good and doing good at the same time.

Natalie in Noonday

Natalie’s stand out clutch and necklace come from Noonday Collection.  These accessories do more than just accent her outfit, they contribute to the world in positive ways. In addition to providing jobs that create a path out of poverty for families in other countries, Noonday also helps USA families raise money for adoptions by giving 10% of hosted trunk shows and they give towards orphan care and prevention.  Noonday doesn’t stop there, they make shopping on their site fun and informative by telling you about who, where, and how your products were made.  Read below to find out about where Natalie’s funky clutch was made.

Noonday Collection Accessories
Noonday Collection Accessories by happy-iii featuring patchwork handbags
We know that accessories can make an outfit…but you have to have an outfit to make.

We also love Natalie’s outfit because her clothes  were Made in America.  

What makes clothes that are Made in America so great? Well, there are several reasons, which we will be elaborating on in detail in a future post, so stay tuned for the details. But here are 3 quick reasons to shop Made in America.  Even though the United States is far from perfect, the U.S.A does a fairly good job of creating environmental and social standards and regulations and monitoring those standards. Which means that, in general, when you buy clothing made in America you know that the workers received a fair wage and worked in safe working conditions, that certain environmental standards were met (typically higher standards than  developing nations), and that you are supporting local and national jobs.

3 Reasons to Buy clothing made in the U.S.A

    1 – Fair Working conditions and wages

    2 – Company’s comply with environmental standards

    3 – Supporting local and national economy

Natalie in Noonday and Made in America
Natalie’s dress (by AQUA available at Bloomingdale’s) jacket (by Go Make Noise) and underwear, YES her underwear, (by Hanky Panky) were all MADE IN AMERICA. Way to Go, Natalic, thanks for sharing your style and your impact with us! We appreciate it. – xoxo
Do you have any favorite brands or products that were made in America? If so, please share them with us in the comment section.
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What She Wore Wednesday – Sak Saum

Do you know a young girl who loves to shop?

Help her experience a different kind of shopping, a kind that will make her feel beautiful on the inside and on the outside.

It is with great pleasure that I get to share a post today featuring my friend Rebekah.  I have known Rebekah as a youth leader since she was a wee little 8th grader and have watched grow into an inspiring young woman of God.

Young little Rebekah

Young little Rebekah

It is so special to have relationships like this, where you get to be a part of a young person’s life and then watch them transform into an adult.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Rebekah and how she will impact the world!  Not only is she cute, folks, but she is smart, compassionate, and has a heart for justice. Watch out world!

Rebekah wear Sak Saum and 31Bits

Rebekah, Sak Saum and 31Bits necklace

Today, Rebekah’s outfit features products from Sak Saum (wallet), 31Bits (necklace) and Goodwill (shirt).  Three organizations who have awesome missions and make or sell great products.

Sak Saum Wallet

Sak Saum Wallet

Her wallet, from Sak Saum, is not only stylish and fun but it is also precious to Rebekah because she has a personal connection and relationship Sak Saum.  In the summer of 2012 Rebekah had the opportunity travel to Cambodia and work with In His Steps International, which is the larger organization that runs Sak Saum.

Rebekah’s experience in Cambodia impacted her life and gave her a new perspective:

“After seeing all the women working for Sak Saum you can’t forget about it.  When you are buying something from Sak Saum, it is like you are on the mission field in some sense.  Because you are playing a part in something bigger than yourself, you are helping a woman gain freedom and giving them a sense of value as a human being.  They are use to being treated as items, being sold or bought and now they are their own person. The whole experience is something really special”

I know we can’t all take our daughters and the young women in our lives on mission trips to help them gain perspective on life and things.  But we could introduce them to a new and different shopping experiences that will expand their horizons.

Shopping experiences that will leave them feeling good about themselves (in my opinion, 100% better than when leaving a mall – ugh.) and empowered by knowing that their choices can make a difference in someone’s life.

Don’t we all want the girls and women in our lives to believe that our choices matter? I know I do.

So next time instead of heading to the mall for our shopping, let’s open up the Sak Saum or 31Bits websites and read the stories behind our products and the women who are making them.

And then let’s celebrate the fact by purchasing these types of products we are investing in something bigger than ourselves for the girls in our lives and women across the globe.

Sak Saum wallet and 31Bits neckalce

Sak Saum wallet and 31Bits neckalce

Rebekah – Thanks so much for sharing your outfit and bit of your story with us today. We appreciate it!

What did you wear today?   If you have an outfit or specific pieces that you believe make a difference and glorify God, We would love to feature you on our site!  Email us to let  us know happy@boughtbeautifully.com! Don’t forget to check out all the other What I Wore Wednesday’s over at The Pleated Poppy.

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Crushed

Woman Sewing

By Her Sewing Machine (Ellie Van Houtte) / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I can’t stop thinking about the recent garment factory collapse in Bangledesh.  Simply devastating.  It is crushing on so many levels and for so many reasons.  Devastating on a physical level with the crumbling of a building in a community that doesn’t have the proper resources to effectively deal with this kind of destruction, devastating for the workers who were forced to work in unsafe working conditions and now devastating for the community and family members that are left to clean up the rubble, the broken lives, and missing pieces.  It has been crushing for me spiritually, because it has caused me to question, Am I at fault or can I be held partly responsible for the garment factory collapse?

2013 savar building collapsePhoto by Sharat Chowdhury

This has been a difficult revelation for me over the past few days because, I believe the answer is yes, even thought I wasn’t directly involved in any aspect of the building collapsing, nor had I ever even seen the building, nor I have never even been to Bangladesh.

bangladeshphoto by joiseyshowaa

And as soon as the list of the companies who were purchasing products from this factory came out (JC Penney; Cato Fashions; The Children’s Place; The Dress Barn; Benetton; Primark) I read through them and thought ok, I don’t regularly buy clothes from any of these places, so I am in the clear, right?  But my conscious kept telling me, no you aren’t in the clear. And the truth is I am not. Neither are you…we all play a role in the economy that produces and perpetuates these types of factories, unsafe working conditions, and unfair wages, simply by consuming the products it produces.  True, the stores I typically buy from weren’t listed as culprits in this case, but it’s a safe bet that just down the block, there’s a similar factory, with similar working conditions, similarly atrocious wages and all in the name of cheap buys for westerners.  The CNN News headline captured the problem in only a few words, “Cheap clothes lead to danger and tragedy“.  The rich people of the world’s desire and economic pull to have cheap clothes as conveniently as possible creates these kinds of conditions, AND, our disinterest in caring or wanting to know what the real price of these clothes allows these types of structures to thrive. We don’t want to know that the average worker in the garment industry in Bangladesh makes between 10 and 30 cents an hour, in buildings without windows, fire escapes, or emergency exits (CNN). And we don’t want to see these pictures, or read these stories, which put real faces and real hands behind the clothing we wear.  We just want to look really cute in our sweet new $22 t-shirt, that we will be replacing in the next 6 months for the latest new style.

It is easy to ignore the realities and justify our choices by looking around  and saying, “but everyone is doing it”.  It is true, everyone is.  But that doesn’t make it right, and it certainly doesn’t mean we should do it too.

Is it possible that as people of God, He might be calling us to something different?  After all He says in Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

I recently read an article on Relevant, called The Socially Acceptable Sin, by Jason Todd .  Jason claims that, “At its simplest, gluttony is the soul’s addiction to excess. It occurs when taste overrules hunger, when want outweighs need.”  When we look at American consumerism, it is gluttonous, our wants really out weigh our needs, especially when it comes to clothes.  Not to mention most of us under the age of 60 don’t have an understanding of real “need”.  We tend to have more clothes than we can wear in a week, maybe even a month.

Is the garment factory collapse a metaphor for our life?

And why we need to slow down, look at the cracks in our lives, take the time to think about them, why they are there and what needs to be done about them. And then start fixing them.  Do we as Christ followers need to stop bowing to the cultural norms of our 1st world lives and observe the demands of our God, who calls us much more:

To share and perpetuate His love to the world with everything we have, including our purchases.

So, let’s not wait for the next headline grabbing story to change how we follow our awesome God.  Let’s take a few more minutes and think through what we are buying, why we are buying it, and what our purchases show the world.  Realize that buying something because its cute and cheap might even be sinful, when we consider the ramifications behind its production.  We need to consistently make different choices. We can choose a product because it is fair trade and hand made by a person who is receiving a fair wage for their work.  We can choose to use our financial positions to support products that connect with ministries with the goal of giving life, not taking it.  And that is something beautiful. Something that may take a little more time and purpose on our end, which is a hard change to make in this age of convenience, but a choice that is so worth making when we consider that this age of convenience will soon end and eternity will be knocking at our doorstep.

I will be the first to admit, that this type of change is not easy but it is possible!  It doesn’t have to happen over night either, it can start slow, make the goal of researching and know the story behind one thing you purchase each week. I think you will find that you like knowing more about the products you buy and the stories behind them and that you love feeling like you are making a positive impact with your money.  So my challenge for you this week is to try to buy one thing in a different and beautiful way. Here are some resources to get you started:

SeekJusticeNotecard

Above is a free little notecard I made that you can down load, print, and keep in your wallet or by your computer (if you are an on-line shopper like me) for a little encouragement when you are about to make your purchases. Click here to download and save the PDF file.

Consumers in Christ, Shopping Directory – This is a long list of smaller organizations that are making beautiful products that provide livelihoods for the producers and support awesome Christian ministries (ok this is a little plug for ourselves, as this is the non-profit we are working on starting :) it is still very much a work in progress, please excuse the typo’s as many things were lost in uploading and we are still trying to fix them).

Free 2 Work, The Story Behind the BarCode – This site is amazing and the work are doing to provide consumers with information on how products relate to modern-day slavery is truly awesome. If you really want to learn block off an hour to read through this website and become informed about the policies and practices of many large corporations.  If you have less time, download their app and start scanning bar codes to see what you can instantly know about where and how the products you are about to buy are produced.

Pure Charity – This one is sort of a catch22. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to shop at big chain stores and could purchase products directly form the producers and know all the details about where they came from and how the profits are used.  But we don’t live in that world yet, and I get that sometimes your kiddos just need underwear.  So, the next best thing we can do is sign up for Pure Charity to help direct where some of those profits go.

 

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What is Bought.Beautifully??

What is Bought.Beautifully? That’s a great question.  Bought.Beauifully is a blog that exists to help people find beautiful products that give glory to God.  The story behind it is rather long, years in the making actually!  But, ultimately, it is a part of our response to following God and His call to us in Micah 6:8, to:

 act justly, seek mercy and walk humbly with our God.

There are thousands of different ways that this verse can be lived out everyday in everyone’s life.  However, several years ago God starting revealing to us that one way we can live this out is through our purchases and how and where we spend our money. We started to realize that the economic choices we make matter.  And that choosing which purse to buy, can and should be decided based on a lot more than what color or pattern I liked best. Because behind each purse or purchase there is a story and these stories have social, environmental and even spiritual implications.  We realized that every time we put our money behind a product that is mass produced in China with no regard to the environment or a product that was made Asia by child labor we were supporting these economic and societal structures.  So we realized we had to change.  But change is slow.  Really slow if you are someone like me and you really love cute funky products and fashion and convenience and you have a busy full life and making purposeful changes takes time and energy  and that sometimes is just hard to come by.

However, we continued to slowly change our spending habits, thinking before purchasing, seeking to know the story and impact behind the products that we bought, and striving to see that our money and our purchases had a positive impact.  But it was hard!  There were a lot of companies out there doing good work and creating beautiful products but they were hard to find or hard to order from.  The ease and convenience of traditional shopping was always luring me back.  It was clear to me that there was a need to make this type of shopping more convenient and easy.  But It wasn’t as clear that maybe we could do something about it.  Believing that we could  “why don’t we be part of the change we want to see in the world? “(Thanks for the inspiration Ganhdi, what a brilliant idea!) And now here we are. Dreaming big. Trusting God. And trying something new. Wanting to love and support our brothers and sisters who are doing good, beautifully work by sharing their products with the world or at least our friends and family :0

So welcome to Bought.Beautifully!  We are so glad you are here. And we cannot wait to share all the truly beautiful that we find with you.

 

 

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