Tag Archives: style

Update your wardrobe for free (or really cheap!)

12 May

One of my favorite thrift stores in my hometown!

If you’re a spoonie (someone with chronic illness,) you know how taxing it can be to go to a mall or big department store full of people. I personally thrift the majority of my clothing, and prefer the atmosphere of thrift stores to big chain stores. If you’re able to go on a weekday, there usually aren’t many people, the people who are there are generally friendly (it’s easy to strike up conversation when you find something fun, like a vintage embroidered mumu,) and the prices are great.  I’m fortunate that the stores in our city tend to have a large selection of good quality, vintage, and name brand and designer clothing and accessories. I occasionally enjoy hitting up local antique stores, too, where I can find really unique clothing pieces and accessories (if I can afford them!)

Lately, I’ve been on a closet revamp kick. I’ve always enjoyed wearing more “alternative” styles, and personally draw inspiration from rock and roll, punk, goth, and gypsy styles. Since I no longer live or work in a place where a certain image is expected, I’ve decided to revert back to the style I feel best suits me.  Alternative style cultures promote DIY and handmade looks, since it’s all about unique, individual expression, but you can incorporate these techniques into any style!

Why alter clothing?

1. It’s fun! Even if you don’t normally enjoy arts and crafts, there’s something really special about putting your mark on something you’re going to wear. When people compliment you, you’ll get to say that you did it yourself!

2. It can be a very inexpensive hobby. You can often find supplies like studs, embroidery thread, and patches online for much less than you find them in stores. Try searching eBay or Amazon.

3. You can use what you already have. Updating your wardrobe can be as easy as using what’s already in your closet. Cut a collar off of an existing button-up shirt, and use it as a necklace, or sew it onto another shirt. Cut an applique or image from a shirt, and sew it to a jacket or vest. Embroider a message or design on pair of jeans. Cut up t-shirts, and use the remnants to make bracelets or necklace. Draw on a pair of old tennis shoes with a Sharpie. Chances are you already have the supplies you need to start altering what you have. Just Google DIY clothing projects if you need a little inspiration.

I’ll post pictures of my personal projects to (hopefully) inspire you just as soon as the stormy spring weather decides to give me a little natural light for photos. Until then, check out my Smashin’ Fashion Pinterest board for ideas:

Old suits refashion.

 

Gentle hugs,

Chels

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Vote and win!

15 Sep

Hi, everyone! My mom and I have entered the second annual Martha Stewart Living American Made competition this year, and we could win anything from a gift basket and feature on the MSL Sirius Radio station, to the grand prize of $10,000 toward our business, Buy Me Love, and a trip to New York’s Grand Central Station for the American Made expo. There’s a week left to vote in the first round (one winner will be chosen from each category to go on to compete for the grand prize,) and you get 6 votes to spend every 24 hours.

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Click to vote for us daily through September 22!

Every time you vote, you enter to win prizes from MSL, like an American Express gift card, and now you can win prizes from us, too! After you vote, head over to our blog giveaway to comment and pin to enter to win a $25.00 Etsy gift card, and an awesome handmade prize package.

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Don’t forget to share the giveaway with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites!

Thanks for your support, friends.

Gentle hugs,

Chelsea

Celebrating ends and new beginnings.

5 May

These past several weeks have been an absolute blur!

I successfully planned and helped host our yearly spring banquet here at the center, all while Tom and I were searching for our new home, and helped decorate for our end-of-semester barbecue and karaoke party, while I wasn’t packing to move into our new apartment.

Here are some fun photos of the banquet, a few taken by me, the others taken by our pro photographer friend (and karaoke expert,) Caven Marsh. I had so much fun handing out our paper plate awards again this year, and taking goofy pictures with some of the dear friends we’ve made. We were also blessed with a parting gift from the board of directors, including a beautiful, eco-friendly bamboo plaque.

So, we did it. We found our new home, and it couldn’t be any cooler. While it’s bittersweet moving out of the Tri C, I’m happy for this next chapter of our lives. My mom is also in the process of finding a house, so it’s a really exciting time for all of us! Friends of ours from church referred us to the landlady who lives a street over from them in the historic area of downtown Arlington. They told us that she was going to be listing a duplex and an above-garage apartment soon, and that we should call her a.s.a.p. to view them. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about an above-garage space. I’ve never been in one, and I’ve never known anyone, that I know of, who has lived in one. I knew that it was small, and that it was behind a beautiful turn of the century house, so it was worth looking into. I was leaning toward the duplex, but when we met with the landlady, she told us that it had already been rented.

So, we made our way up to the little apartment, and we fell in love. It’s like a tree house! The garage below used to be a barber shop, and the original sink and mirrors still remain. The kooky contractor who helped renovate the house found a – no kidding – mummified rat in the walls that was so well preserved, they decided to create a memorial to him and name him Dougie. He now rests in a plexiglass window/shadow box in the wall between the garage and laundry room. Weird, I know, but when we began talking about pets, and mentioned we’d had rats before, she was so excited to show us the little guy! Wood floors, an archway, a claw foot tub, and lots of natural light later, we decided to apply. Granted, it’s not exactly what we had in mind; we still won’t have a dishwasher, but we’ve made it the past few years without one already. The bedroom is significantly smaller than the one we have now, but we were told our queen size bed would still fit (just not much else.) Fortunately, though, we can sell our chest of drawers and get creative with our limited storage space. It’s kind of nice to downsize a bit, anyway. Less to dust.

Soon I’ll be taking pictures and measurements to see what other furniture we can keep, and what needs to go. I’ll be weeding through our other things to see what needs to be donated, stored in the garage, or displayed in the apartment. I’m currently drowning in Pinterest boards about organization, small living spaces, and DIY bohemian-style projects, seeing as that’s the direction I’ve been going with our decor for a while now. Why not give in and make things gypsy-caravan-and-vintage fabulous?

You can take a gander at the rest of my “New Apartment” board here. There’s more boho inspiration and genius decorating and organizing advice.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

The history of why I chopped off my hair, even though some people think God doesn’t like it.

17 Sep

Hair is a really big deal. People cut it off and let it grow for so many reasons: vanity, to donate to charity, convenience, comfort, and religion. Some people shave their head to honor God, some people don’t cut their hair to honor God, and some people cover their hair with scarves to honor God. The interesting thing about Christianity is that people do all three of those things to honor God, depending on what they believe.

If you’d like to know, I believe that the scriptures that many people interpret to mean that a woman must not cut her hair actually mean several things. I believe these things based on what I’ve studied about language and history, and what I feel based on thought and prayer. 1) A woman should cover her head with cloth when praying or prophesying to distinguish herself from pagan women (who removed their veils in defiance of men and in worship of Dionysus.) 2) A woman shouldn’t shave her head (as was custom for the women who worshiped Dionysus to do at the time,) as she would be seen as pagan and that would dishonor God. 3) A woman should not rebel against her husband by presenting herself in a masculine way, or rebel against God by not embracing the femininity He gave her (cutting her hair short would be an easy and apparent way to do that.)

That said, I believe that the first two things, like many of the Biblical teachings (such as advising women not to speak in church, which was for their safety, not because God didn’t like it,) were culturally relevant, and used to distinguish people who believed in what we now call the Christian God from those who worshiped anyone or anything else, and were even practical self preservation tools. I believe that they can still be relevant today, based on your culture, your intentions, your relationship with your spouse, and should definitely be obeyed out of respect if you’re visiting a different culture in which they’re the norm. However, the issue of covering my head or cutting my hair is not relevant to me now. My culture no longer associates short hair with paganism, I don’t cut my hair short in defiance of God’s role for me as a woman our out of any kind of rebellious feelings, I considered what my husband thought about short hair before cutting my own (he absolutely loves it, and finds it beautiful and feminine on me,) and (with the exception of when I was young, before I developed a womanly body, and had short hair) I have not yet heard anyone say that I look masculine, or mistake me for a man.

Let me stop here and say that I respect and admire women who do or don’t cut their hair, or who wear veils or other head coverings in honor of their religion and their god, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or identify with any other religion. I think Mother Teresa said it well when she said that “a Christian should try to be a good Christian, a Muslim should try to be a good Muslim, a Hindu should try to be a good Hindu.” Much of that comes from our intentions and our own personal relationship with God. If your intention is to rebel against God or your spouse by shaving your head, then it’s not right that you shave your head, at least not until that spirit of rebellion is gone. It’s not my intention to demean anyone who is doing what they believe is right and good.

I have had long hair, and I have loved long hair. When Tom and I got married, my hair was the longest it had been in years. I’ve always been adventurous with my hairstyles, and I wanted to see what it would be like to have long hair as a woman (rather than the long hair I had as a young child.) I thought it would look pretty in our wedding pictures, and Tom wanted to see what it looked like long.

My long hair in all its glory! It was curled here, as I was getting ready for the ceremony, which took quite a bit of length away. Uncurled, my hair reached the middle of my back.

Tom thought my long hair was beautiful, and especially loved that I curled it for the wedding, because my hair is naturally wavy and a little curly. During our engagement, though, I couldn’t help noticing the severe scalp pain I experienced any time I put my hair up, and even when it was down, because my hair was so heavy. Soon, I was diagnosed with fibro, and all those weird pains I had started making sense, including the scalp pain. I quickly learned that low, loose ponytails or a few clips on the side of my head were about as much as I could take, otherwise the pain and headaches were so bad they literally made me cry. I still wanted to grow it out, but I started to seriously think about cutting it after the wedding. About halfway into the growing out process, the thought occurred to me to donate my hair to Locks of Love. They take healthy human hair and created wigs for children who have lost their hair due to illness. My grandmother died a couple of years before I got married from lung cancer, and since we were already doing things in honor of my deceased grandparents at the wedding, I thought donating my hair afterward would be an extra way to honor her and those who had survived the horrors of cancer and cancer treatment, along with honoring my own body by alleviating the pain my hair caused. (Little did we know that my mother would soon go through cancer treatment, and that I would discover precancerous cells of my own.) When I told Tom what I wanted to do and why, he was really supportive. I think he was a little tentative, because he had never seen what my hair looked like any shorter than almost shoulder length (though I’d had a pixie cut in junior high and high school,) but he assured me he thought that I would look beautiful with short hair, and he understood the amount of pain I had been in. I assured him that if he hated it, my hair grows really fast! I just wouldn’t be able to grow it as long as it had been.

The closer it got to cutting my hair, the more excited we both got about donating it. I had to have at least twelve inches to donate, and by the day of our wedding I had enough hair that I would need to cut it to a chin length bob in order to donate the rest. Two days after our wedding, I went down the street, told the stylist what I wanted to do, and they were happy to do it. I started with a really simple straight bob, which I knew from experience wasn’t my favorite haircut, but just in case I wanted to grow it out I knew it would be easy to do from that length and cut. The instant that hair fell from my head, I could tell that the pain I had experienced over the past couple of years wouldn’t be as severe. My head felt so light! It looked like this:

When I came home, Tom’s eyes lit up and he got this huge smile on his face. He wouldn’t stop talking about how much he liked it during the honeymoon, so I told him I’d like to have it styled a little differently (at an angle,) and he said he thought that would look cool. I’ll never forget the series of cuts I got after that, because every time I came home, he would say that he didn’t think it could get any cuter until he saw the next cut! I went from an angled bob, which I kept for quite a while, then an asymmetrical bob inspired by Selma Blair, and then, eventually, I let it grow again. It got nearly to my shoulders, and I was reminded of that terrible pain again. It was difficult to find a way to keep my hair out of my eyes without causing migraines and stabbing scalp pain. So, finally, after a series of more short cuts, I decided to do something I’d been wanting to do for a very long time. When I say that, I mean that I’ve wanted hair like this since I was a young kid, but no one ever had the guts to cut it for me.

I wanted a mohawk.

Yep, I said it. I wanted a mohawk. Now, I have to say that I didn’t want the kind of mohawk you douse in Elmer’s glue and spike to the heavens. They look cool, but that style would look pretty dumb on me. I wanted the kinds of mohawks you see in pictures of Native Americans, or on episodes of “So You Think You Can Dance” when Sonya Tayeh would choreograph routines. I knew that I couldn’t stand the top of my hair to be that long, though, so I started looking up pictures of ‘flophawks,’ and found some cuts that were short enough to suit my fibro needs, but feminine enough that I wouldn’t look like a “SLC Punks” poser. My friend Paige was kind enough to give me my first cut. She was terrified I would hate it, and therefore hate her, but I convinced her that everything would be fine. She cut it a little longer than what I asked for – just in case – and I knew immediately that I would have this haircut, or a version of it, for a very, very long time. Tom came with me to her and her husband’s house for the whole process, and, just as I was getting a little nervous  halfway through the cut, I looked over to see that same look he had on his face when I came home from donating my hair. The fact that he liked it reassured me that I was doing a good thing, and I couldn’t be happier.

This is the most recent picture of me, taken two days ago. I decided to try a poufy mohawk style for our double date that night! (Also, I just bought that awesome pillow from my friend Stephanie of Longoria Studios – isn’t it pretty?!)

Honestly, guys, I feel blessed by this hair. I’ve since cut it a little shorter, and started cutting it myself (it’s a pretty easy haircut to maintain,) and I’ve never felt more free. My head hurts the least it ever has, and I get compliments on my hair every single day I go out in public. I feel beautiful, and my hair has even helped me with some other insecurities I have. Women see my hair and tell me stories of chemotherapy, hair loss, and I’ve even had some say that my hair may just be the inspiration they need to cut theirs. Men see my hair and comment on how classy it looks, and tell me stories about how they’ve lovingly cut their wife’s hair. I can count on one hand the few slightly negative comments I’ve received, but in the end I always try to respond with a smile, because I know that this is not for everyone. It is for me, though, and now it’s even become trendy. I can see myself as an old woman, though, long after this trend has worn off, wearing this haircut proudly and with thanks for all the good it’s done.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

P.S. – This article explains much more eloquently and in depth what I feel about what the Bible says about women and their hair, if you’re interested in doing some research, too. If you have a story you’d like to share about you and your hair, please comment below! I would love to hear your story.

Hi, my name is Chelsea, and I’m a swapaholic.

19 Jul

My friend Paige has been giving me clothing she doesn’t wear anymore for a while now. She realized a year or so ago that she didn’t know half of what was in her closet, and has been going on sporadic cleaning sprees ever since. We started out exactly the same size, but I’ve lost a little weight over the past year, so, as my friend Allison put it, my clothes were “falling off” of me. So, guess who got them? She did, lucky girl. Half of them I had received from Paige. It’s like the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, only with cuter shoes.

Along the same lines, I’ve been following Punky of Haberdash Vintage, a traveling trailer of vintage awesomeness, and also of The Swapaholics, a team of women to put together giant swaps all over the place, for years. Needless to say, I’ve been hoping, wishing, and praying for a streamline trailer and a good clothing swap to come my way. My craving has been satiated by the occasional swap with friends, and my compulsive trips to the local thrift shops (hey, it’s as close to free as you can get!) I even suggested hosting a swap to a couple of gals at church last year, but it seemed that the idea hadn’t caught fire yet, and no one was very interested.

Imagine my glee when, a few weeks ago, a friend, who I just happened to have shared my maiden name with (no relation as far as we know, but it sure was confusing for people in high school,) piped up on our small group board and suggested we hold a swap at the church! I instantly gave my two cents of yes, then offered to help with decorations and planning. She, another friend who just happens to be her sister in law, and I got together last night over Mexican food to hash out the details, and came up with a plan.

So … drum roll please … I’m proud to present to you our very first swap:

There’s a whopping $1 entry fee to cover the initial costs of supplies to host the swap, and ladies of all sizes, styles, and ages – from teen to the most seasoned fashionista – are invited. We’re hoping for a big turnout, since you don’t have to be a part of the church to participate. It’s also right around the time school will be starting again, so it’s the perfect time to find some new clothes to wear to classes, whether you’re the student or teacher. I’m so excited, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

If you’re in the DFW area, click on the memo to visit the Facebook event page for more info and RSVP.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

Websites for a BPD (Bad Pain Day)

17 Apr

I’m right in the middle of a fibro flare, and after a couple of days without anxiety meds, things were starting to get a little nuts. (Thankfully, I was able to get that scrip today, so no anxiety attacks.) Needless to say, I’ve spent the past few days at home, but even with meds, I can’t really go anywhere unless the hubs can drive. So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite places to travel to in the web world on days I’m stuck inside and don’t feel up to doing something more physically productive.

It’s good to have a support system, right? Not just through the bad times, but through the good – everyone needs a cheerleader or two. I know that if you’re home bound, sick in a way that keeps you from interacting with people often, or just don’t have many family members or friends, though, your support group options are minimal. A few years ago, I found a great site, Daily Strength. Just about any illness or issue you can think of has a section on this site, filled with people who understand where you’re coming from. If you have multiple health problems, you can be a part of multiple groups. You can even click on emoticons to let your friends on the site know how you’re feeling that day.

It’s also good to laugh, and one of the sites where I can always get a heaping dose of that medicine is Hello Giggles. The actress Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) and a few friends came up with the site, which is mostly geared toward women, but I think there’s plenty of stuff on there that guys would get a giggle (a manly giggle) out of.

Of course, there’s Pinterest. If you’re new to the site and aren’t sure where to start, you can always follow me and repin to your heart’s content.

If you feel up to getting a little crafty, or at least checking out some painfully crafty ideas, Dollar Store Crafts is where it’s at. If you want to add to your wardrobe, Threadbanger is the place to go.

Like architecture, interior design or decorating? Check out DwellingGawker.

For those who dig indie movie projects, or just enjoy Joseph Gordon Levitt, I recommend hitRECord.

If you’re feeling uninspired, or want to tickle your brain a bit, Ted.com has tons of videos featuring intelligent, creative, innovative, and often funny people.

I follow quite a few blogs, but my most favorite would probably have to be Advanced Style. Even if you’re not into fashion, I know you’ll appreciate this celebration of the greatest generation, and some of the beautiful stories these people have to share.

If you have a website where you like to hang out on a home bound day, please share it in the comments below!

Gentle hugs,

Chels