Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Educate a girl, and you will change the world.

It's been said that if you educate a girl, you will change the world. 
I have to say that I believe this is true. 
And this is one of the many reasons that I'm so excited about sharing this with you. 

Friends, meet Louisa. 
She lives in Congo.....the same Congo where my daughter lives. 
And I want to help send her to school. 

My friend Hallie is a world-changer. 
She's a girl after my own heart who desires to make a difference where she is with what she has. 
So, fresh out of college, she has recently launched her dream-- DOT (Do One Thing), where school supplies will work to change the lives of children around the world. 

Hallie has started her company by releasing three products-- 
a journal, a binder, and the most awesome pencils you've ever seen. 

But that's not the best part--- 

each purchase from DOT will provide a half day of school for a child in need somewhere in this world, starting with Louisa. 

Once Louisa's year of school is fully funded, Hallie will begin raising funds to send another child to school. 
And then another. 
And then another. 

Education is one way that lives can truly be changed. 
And you can help. 

I've seen the products myself. 
In fact, I helped Hallie make her final product and design decisions.
Hear me when I say the products are so well made, so visually appealing, and so worth investing in. 
The binder even has a child's picture and his or her story printed on the back. 
What a great way to remind our children to think of others. 
We all buy school supplies; why not buy school supplies that can help children have a brighter future? 

AND, Hallie is partnering with us to help bring Emily home!
So, when you purchase from her site and enter ALDRIDGE ADOPTION or BRING EMILY HOME in the comments section during checkout, a percentage of your order will go towards our adoption fund. 

In other words, you can help Louisa AND Emily while purchasing something your child will enjoy and use this school year. 
That's what I like to call a win-win. 

You can find DOT at
or on Facebook at DotforSchools

The binders and pencils are perfect for your little one and make wonderful teacher gifts. 
And the journals? 
Who wouldn't love on of those? 

And don't forget to check back here soon-- there may or may not be a DOT products giveaway in the works.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

These Girls.

These girls. 
Oh, how I love them. 

I'll admit that when I first heard there would be twenty-four of us headed to Rwanda together,
 I was a little skeptical. 
That's a lot of girls, a lot of personalities, a lot of luggage, a lot of bathroom stops, a lot of everything. 

And yet, it was wonderful. 
THEY were wonderful. 
I saw so much goodness in each of them. 
They were such an awesome display of what it looks like to truly give of ourselves for others. 

These are mamas and wives and friends and rockstars 
who all want others to know about the needs in this world. 
They all long for justice and equality and opportunities for men and women everywhere. 
They are women on a mission, 
and I feel so very blessed to have been included in this group of women with purpose. 

Time with them was truly a gift. 
It was good for my heart and refreshed my soul. 
And now, I'm left missing them terribly and longing for more time with each of them. 

These girls. 
The world needs more of them. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rwanda On My Mind

Oh, Rwanda, I'm missing you already. 

My bags are unpacked. 
I'm able to function and have slept well. 
I'm clean from head to toe. 

Is it time to go back yet? 

I promise there will be several more posts to come;
I just need a day or two to sort through my thoughts and pictures and heart. 

But for now, I'll simply say that Rwanda was good.....very, very good. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Buying kleenex by the bundle.

Two days-- that's all that stands between me and Africa. 
To say I'm excited is such an understatement. 
In case you didn't know, I love almost everything about this land far, far away. 
The thought of standing on African ground and breathing African air--- it's almost more than I can handle. 

And while I won't be seeing my girl, I will be closer to her than ever before. 

Please pray for my heart on this trip, as I'm sure being close to her will be hard on me. 
Please pray for my girls and husband at home. 
And please pray for our group. 

Oh, those Noonday girls. 
I CANNOT WAIT to spend time with them. 
And did I mention my best friend is coming along this time? 
It feels like Christmas. 

It's going to be epic, and I can't wait to share it all with you just as soon as I get home. 

You can follow along with our trip on Instagram at #noondayrwanda. 

And if you'd like to read more about how this trip is a dream come true for me,
 you can find that here

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stitch Fix July: My Third Fix

This week has been busy. 
Like crazy busy. 
Like stay awake until 3:30 this morning and still not get it all done kind of busy. 
But, I'm taking a break from busy for a few minutes to share my latest Stitch Fix with you. 
It's what friends do, right? 

Not sure what Stitch Fix is? 
No problem. 
 Stitch Fix is a site that pairs you with  your own personal stylist. 
You schedule a box to come to your door, insert your style likes and dislikes, and wait patiently (or not so patiently if you're like me) for your first five items to arrive at your door. 
There is a $20 styling fee, but if you keep even one item, that $20 is applied to your total.
Don't like anything? No problem. Just send all five items back in the prepaid envelope. 
Love it all? Keep it and take 25% off of your total. 

So far, I've gotten three fixes, kept five pieces, and paid a grand total of $0.00. 
(You can see my first fix here and my second fix here). 
Yes, you read that correctly. 
My precious mama sent some Stitch Fix credit my way. 
I got my first fix, loved it, and blogged it. 
And then, you know what? 
People started signing up through my link. 
And each time someone signs up through my link, I get $25 when their first fix ships. 
The cool part? 
YOU can earn credit too!
Just sign up, schedule your first fix, and start sharing with your friends. 

So, no, Stitch Fix does not ask me to write these posts, 
nor do they pay me (although that would be fun). 
However, I do hope that my Stitch posts help you better understand the concept of a personal stylist in a box on your doorstep. 

For me, style is something I've really struggled with since having children.
I knew who I was in college. 
I had a definite style. 
And then had babies, and the college body I called my own was no more. 

I felt like I was too young to continue shopping in the places I shopped pre-baby, 
but I didn't feel old ENOUGH to shop at other places. 
Also, the size 2-4 body I was accustomed to? 
If you see it let me know because I've been looking for it since Libby was born.
 For the record, she's nine now.
 So yeah, there's that. 

For several years, I felt like I had a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. 
Can anyone relate to that? 
There were just so few things that I felt comfortable and confident in. 
Getting dressed was a challenge, and I don't know about you, but there are so many things I'd rather spend my time doing other than crying because I can't seem to get dressed without some sort of clothing drama. 
While feeling like a five foot tall toddler having a meltdown was fun and all, 
I'm so thankful that I'm FINALLY getting somewhere in the style department. 

And now, at age thirty-four, I am FINALLY finding my style. 
And Stitch Fix is seriously helping.

Let's see what they brought my way this week, shall we? 

Okay, so for this fix I told my stylist that it's hotter than the blazes here in Mississippi, 
so please nothing too hot or heavy. 
I also asked for some pants (always on the hunt for those. It's hard being short sometimes.) 
and another dress. 

And she delivered. 

The personal note in my box is one of my favorite parts of this process. 
I love hearing why my stylist picked what she picked. 

Item #1: UNDER SKIES brand Joya Floral Print Split Neck Tab Sleeve Blouse {$38}

There were several things I loved about this piece. 
Love the way it fits. 
Love the neckline. 
Love how breezy it was. 
Wasn't sure about the print and colors. 
I wanted to keep this one but just couldn't quite get past the pastel tones enough to commit to it and wasn't sure I'd really wear it. Also, I've kept a tab sleeve blouse from both of my previous fixes, and I want to save my credit for something I think I'd get a little more wear out of this Summer and in the early Fall.

Item #2: 41Hawthorn brand Anabelle 3/4 Abstract Chevron Belted Dress {$88}

Ok, so I didn't try this piece on for you...or the next two pieces. 
It was for your own benefit, trust me. 
This dress just wasn't doing anything for covering up all of my parts. 
However, I saw a picture of it on a girl who wasn't quite so....ummmmm.....full up top, and it was adorable on her. 
I like the print on this one, love the sleeve length (elbow length sleeves are my all-time favorite), and green is my favorite color. 
I just think someone at Stitch Fix underestimate the size of my......well, you know. 

Item #3: JUST BLACK brand Dean Ankle Zip Skinny Jeans {$78}

Again, I didn't try these on for you. 
They fit; it's just not pretty. 
I honestly thought these weren't going to go on, and I was even more concerned about getting them off. 
The word 'skinny' in the description-- apparently they are pretty darn serious about that. 
And the ankle zippers? 
Why must we go back there? 
Needless to say, while these were obviously very well made and soft as butter, they were a no-go for me and all of my thighs. 

Item #4: 41HAWTHORN brand Wrenn V-Neck Jersey Top {$48}

Remember that newfound style of mine I was just referring to? 
Well, 'clingy' isn't invited to that party, and neither is this shirt. 
It just did nothing for me and hugged me in all the wrong places. 
It was soft and could be a pretty versatile piece for the right girl. 
I'm just not her. 

 Item #5: COLLECTIVE CONCEPTS brand McKinley Abstract Printed Short Sleeve Blouse {$68}

Spoiler alert: I KEPT THIS TOP. 
In fact, this may be my very favorite top ever in the history of ever. 
It is literally the most comfortable thing I own. 
This top makes me want to find and excuse to get dressed and go somewhere and do something fun. 
So, while the rest of this fix may not have been rocking the free world, this top made me want to schedule my next fix ASAP. 

I'd rather get one piece I absolutely LOVE and can't wait to wear in each fix than get several pieces I like but won't want to wear very often.


While this box may not have been perfect, they were certainly on the right track, and there were definitely things I liked about each of the pieces. 
I was honest and thorough in my feedback (I think that's key), and for my next fix I focused on directing my stylist to what stores and styles I'm loving now rather than requesting certain types of clothing. We'll see if that brings about good results when my next fix arrives at the end of July. 

Wanna join in on the fun? 
I'd love to refer you. 
Simply follow this link to sign up. 
And let me know if you have any questions. 
I'll be watching the comments and will answer any questions there in case others have the same thoughts or concerns. 

And, just for the record, the photos in this post were taken in my backyard by my husband while I tried not to sweat buckets and get carried away by the mosquitoes. They may or may not have been the size of small birds. Yes, I'm serious. I felt like a buffet. The things we do for the sake of fashion. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bunkbeds and bug spray for the win.

Next to Africa, summer camp is probably my favorite place in the whole world. 
I spent eight summers at camp growing up and then worked at camp for three summers in college. 
It's my happy place. 

I literally love everything about it-- the hiking, the swimming, the bugs, the flashlights, mail call, all of it. 
And so does Libby.

She literally looks forward to it all year. 
This is her fourth summer (we started her early), 
and I won't be surprised if she stretches it out through college. 
She gets it honestly. 

I have always loved her independence. 
She loves me. 
I love her. 
But she also loves meeting new people and having adventures and doing something this is just for her. 
This is one of my favorite things about my girl. 
I love that she's confident enough and secure enough to step out into the world
 and do her own thing for a few days. 

I hope she giggles until her sides hurt and comes home on Friday all kinds of dirty. 
Dirty means fun was had. 
And fun is always a good idea. 

Were you a camper? 
Did you love it? 
Favorite camp memories? 
Do tell. 

And did I mention that I'm leaving for Africa in seven days? 
Because I am. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

She Does Justice (#bringemilyhome)

A few things before we get started-- 

1. We have been crazy busy. I haven't been home much, and we've been going in twenty different directions. It's been nuts....and lots of fun. 
Being busy is my jam. 

2. I leave for Africa in NINE days! AHHHHH! I may or may not already be packed. Yes, I'm serious. 

3. Emily. Oh, my Emily. No, I won't be seeing her on this trip to Africa.
 I do hope that's coming soon though. 
And this post relates a little to that. 

So, it's no secret we're adopting. 
It's also no secret that adoption is all kinds of costly
And this mom-- she is tired. 

However, my work is not finished. 
We still need about $2000 to cover our court costs and then an additional $10,000 or so for travel and the final adoption costs. 
In case you're keeping track, that's a lot of pennies. 

How do we plan to raise the additional funds we'll need? 
Great question. 
However, I do know one way. 
Friends, let me introduce you to She Does Justice

In their own words: 
"She Does Justice is an advocate for those who need one. It is a space where organizations who are working for the good of others are recognized. It is a community of people who want to show love to the 'least of these'. A place where we strive to show those in need that they are known and loved.
We have made it our mission to support organizations who are working to reach those in need, near and far. It doesn't matter how big or small the organization, if we believe in its mission then we want to help support it. Each month we will spotlight an organization. At the end of the month we will write a check to that organization taken from the overall sales in our shop that month. Each month we will donate at least 10% of our gross profit to an organization to help further their mission. Check out our cause for this month on our blog!
Our shop is focused on items that work with your lifestyle. Most of our items are handmade and are made by us or other small business owners who have partnered with She Does Justice. These items are made with you in mind. I hope you love them just as much as we do! Our shop operates as a boutique in how we make and stock items. Our fabrics are special ordered so our scarves and headbands are offered in limited quantity. If you see something you like, don't hesitate to purchase it because once it sells out we may not be able to reorder the fabric. New collections will be introduced throughout the year, so check back often!"
And She Does Justice is partnering with US to help bring Emily home! 

Let's check out some of their cuteness, shall we: 

Love, love, love these products. 
The t-shirts? So soft. 
The headbands? So fun. 
The She Does Justice stretchy headbands may seriously be some of my very favorite things. 

Here are a few of the other items you'll find in the She Does Justice online store

For every item ordered through our link, a portion of that order will go towards our adoption.

Here is our link: 

Thank you in advance. 
Thank you for shopping for a cause. 
Thank for you for supporting adoption. 
Thank you for loving us and our girl. 
Thank you.