Friday, December 30, 2016

Random Rambles | 3: It's Almost Over + Wishlist

Hey, y'all! Sorry for the absence. The holiday's are busy! I know that you guys feel the same way that I do: tired, but loving all the family and friend time. Today's post is just a rambley {is that a word? Who cares, you get what I'm saying πŸ˜‰} compilation of some random stuff that I have been thinking about lately.

Random Rambles | 3: It's Almost Over + Wishlist football playoffs hunter rain boots Kendra Scott glitter iPhone case Patagonia pullover vest Dressember


In other news, Dressember is almost over! Tomorrow is the last day! Honestly, I am going to miss only wearing dresses and advocating for those stuck in trafficking, but I am so ready to start wearing pants again! There is just something about a pair of jeans, am I right?

So, if you haven't had a chance to donate, I encourage you to prayerfully consider donating to Dressember to help free and rescue victims of human trafficking. You can do so here.

Also, I will be recapping Dressember along with Ada, co-hosting her Thursday Moda Link Up on January 12th, and we will be sharing our NYE outfits. Below is a sneak peek of mine!

Random Rambles | 3: It's Almost Over + Wishlist football playoffs hunter rain boots Kendra Scott glitter iPhone case Patagonia pullover vest Dressember


So, I have been thinking about writing a wishlist post, but I don't have quite enough items for a full post, so I will just talk about them here. πŸ˜‰

For years, I have wanted a pair of Hunter rain boots, but this year, my craving has gotten so much stronger. I want them in Bright Cerise, which is a bright, medium pink.

As a fashion blogger, Kendra Scott is "it". Pretty much, you are not a fashion blogger until you own something Kendra Scott. The thing that I want is the Elisa necklace. I'm not sure what color/stone I want, though.

I have also been eyeing to buy either this Patagonia vest, this Patagonia pullover, or this Patagonia pullover. They are so expensive though!

Who else is mesmerized by these phone cases? They are the coolest! When I get a new phone case, it's going to be one of these.

And the last item on my wishlist is a pair of black Nike Free RN tennis shoes. I run occasionally, so these would be great for that, but also just for casual wear.

I am a huge football watcher, so I am super excited for the playoffs! Who is with me?!

Random Rambles | 3: It's Almost Over + Wishlist football playoffs hunter rain boots Kendra Scott glitter iPhone case Patagonia pullover vest Dressember


What is on your wishlist?

See where I link up here.







Wednesday, December 21, 2016

When It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas

I'm not the only one. I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm not the only one who feels like it doesn't feel like Christmas. It's not just me. I have talked to a few friends and family, and they all say it the same way: It doesn't feel like Christmas and everything is going by so quickly.

When It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas Dressember random acts of kindness giving God speaking perfection hope joy love strength


I'm sure you've felt this way before. Like it doesn't feel like Christmas. Real talk y'all, as I was writing down the date on Sunday, I wrote September. No kidding, I seriously feel like it's still September. It's going by so fast!

Over the past couple of weeks or so, it has really been on my mind that it doesn't feel like Christmas. I haven't been able to escape it. It just looms over my head like a dark, gloomy cloud. I try to allude it, but it keeps coming up.

As I was chatting with my best friend, I said I hated that it didn't feel like Christmas. Like I literally was angry. Because I love Christmas. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I didn't want to miss it. I don't want to miss it. I desperately just wanted to fix it. I thought if I just fixed it, that all would be right in the world again.

But that's not true. My mom reminded me that I should try to listen to God's thoughts on the subject. On Sunday morning, before I wrote September on my sermon notes, I wrote this in my prayer journal:

"Jesus, help me not to miss the wonder of Christmas. The wonder of your birth. Keep my heart tender and sensitive to what you did and what you are actively doing, Holy One. Hold my heart and speak peace and whatever it is I need into the depths of my soul. It doesn't feel like Christmas, and I don't know why. I desperately just want to fix it and make it better, but maybe I just need to watch the miracles in the middle of the mess. Maybe this is all part of your plan. Maybe there's a reason for this. Maybe your just waiting for me to find you, when my tired eyes stop looking for 'Christmas' with it's red bows and reindeer, and actually look for You, Christ, with Your scarred hands and scandalous grace. Maybe, just maybe, that's it."

The very next day, I hit a hard realization. That realization was: "I missed it." And as I thought deeply about missing it, {by "it" I mean Christmas, joy, peace, the heart of Christmas, what it's actually about, etc.} God whispered, "No, but you might. You still have a few days left. It's not over yet."

I should mention, I am an emotionally driven person. I rely on my emotions to get me ready, excited, etc. So if I don't feel it, it doesn't/shouldn't happen. And through all of this, I kept thinking, "You should just make it. You should just make it feel like Christmas."

And here I am, writing this post at 4:48 pm on Tuesday, December 20th, and God is still speaking to me. I am not there yet. It still doesn't feel like Christmas. But God just {literally like 10 seconds ago} reminded me that I don't have the power to do that. I don't have the power to make it feel like Christmas. Only He does. He's the One.

When It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas Dressember random acts of kindness giving God speaking perfection hope joy love strength


I can't make it feel like Christmas. You can't make it feel like Christmas. None of us can make it feel like Christmas. Only God can do that. Maybe that's not the point. Maybe it's not supposed to feel like Christmas. Maybe God is using this mess to make a miracle. 

Perhaps, God is teaching me something. Because I am not on the other side yet, I don't know what He's trying to teach me. But that's okay. I used to think that it all had to be good. I was so obsessed with everything being alright and perfect, but God has been showing me that that's not the way that life is. Life is a mess. It's time for us to allow others to see our messes. 

So here I am, broken and far from perfect. Totally unknowing of what God is going to do next, but anticipating what might come. But I'm here, and I am sharing. And that is all God is asking.

But the real question is, how can I/we focus on God since He's the one that we are supposed to see? How can I focus on Him instead of the fact that it doesn't feel like Christmas? One way that I feel God is through worship. A favorite worship/Christmas song right now is Receive Our King by Meredith Andrews. It keeps refocusing me on Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Son of God. Also, go listen to Christy Nockels's new Christmas album called A Thrill of Hope. It is SO GOOD.

And the other thing that keeps me focused on God is service. I find that when I am focused on serving and helping others, I get joy, I get peace. The ways that I have been really trying to give is through random acts of kindness and through Dressember. Molly Stillman has two {one and two} great and comprehensive posts full of amazing random acts of kindness. 

If you would like to learn more about Dressember. Go here.

I pray that you would experience God in a mighty and lasting way this Christmas. That you would know God in such a magnificent way. I pray that you would feel God and know God. And that you would give, that you would worship, that you will focus on God even if it doesn't feel like Christmas.

When It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas Dressember random acts of kindness giving God speaking perfection hope joy love strength


See where I link up here.






Monday, December 19, 2016

An Inspiring Survivor Story & Grace + Lace Link Up

Happy Monday!! Today, I am sharing with you guys a story of a trafficking survivor. This whole story and the pictures are from A21, which is an organization that works to end human trafficking. The money that you give to Dressember goes to A21 & IJM to help end trafficking and save those enslaved.

“Having the opportunity to share my story with other women, and hopefully save even one from similar abuse, makes me genuinely believe that it’s better that I went through this experience than not having lived it at all.”

These are the words from a twenty-five year old American survivor of human trafficking. This brave declaration seems impossible, unutterable, and astounding to anyone who knows the horrors of human trafficking. But this confession speaks to a young woman who has found her purpose, strength, and hope after an incredibly painful ordeal.

Her story is not unlike others we’ve heard, but one of her distinctive and remarkable qualities is that she identifies herself as a survivor, not a victim.

As a 10-year-old girl, she was abused at the hands of a trusted family member.

In her words she says: “This abuse changed the way I saw myself in the mirror, and in the way I presented myself to other people. My self-esteem deteriorated, and my relationships with men were completely skewed. As I grew up I fell into a battle with drugs and an eating disorder.”

Her life was spiraling out of control, and she decided to move to a different part of the United States to start fresh and find healing from her past.

In her vulnerability and constant battle with drugs she met a young man who befriended her, and in her words was, “very giving of his time emotionally, and presented himself as really easy to talk to.”

This man pitched an idea to her that seemed like a way out of her troubles.

The business proposition was to offer massage services out of this young man’s home, along with his girlfriend who had already been offering these same services. Everything seemed legitimate so she went for it.

She quickly discovered that what seemed like a dream was really a nightmare. She had been manipulated and lied to, and worst of all, she had unknowingly come face to face with the sobering reality of human trafficking.

 

In the middle of one of the wealthiest and  “safest” places in the United States, this young woman was held against her will and forced to sleep with multiple men a day, no matter the day, the hour, or whether she was sick or tired. With each client she was forced to service she lost not only her sense of dignity, but also a piece of herself.

The abuse and conditions became worse, and she desperately longed for a way out. Every threat imaginable was thrown at her-- threats of violence, withholding of the drugs to which she was now completely addicted, and harm to her family.

One day after being allowed to send a package to her family, she came back to find that a shipment of drugs had been delivered to her apartment. The drugs must have been very strong because her trafficker and his girlfriend had completely passed out.

She knew this was her only chance to reclaim her life. Without hesitation, she grabbed her keys and ran for her life.

After making a call to her mother and friend, she was taken to a remote detox facility and began what would be the longest and hardest road to recovery she had ever known.

It has been three years since she decided to face every possible fear and obstacle and find her life again. Today, she is a sponsor for other women with drug, alcohol, and trafficking backgrounds.

She says, “For the most part, I walk around fearless of the past. It took courage to heal--letting go of the fear of men, and rebuilding my self esteem so I could open myself up to be loved again.”

As human trafficking often seems like a distant and far off epidemic, this young woman’s story proves that it’s just as pervasive in the United States as anywhere else in the world.

In sitting down with Grace* and asking some questions, these are just a few of the many things we can learn from a story like hers.



 

A21: From a Survivor’s perspective what would you say is the biggest misconception about trafficking in the U.S.?

Grace: “Like many others out there, if you had told me that trafficking would be an experience in my life, I would have likely shuddered and turned my thoughts to something more pleasant.

The biggest misconception is the clichΓ©, “I believe it happens, but it won’t ever happen to me.” I fell into it in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. There is not one specific stereotype for a trafficker. In my personal experience, my captor ended up being someone whom I’d once regarded as a friend.”

A21: What would you say the biggest struggle was right after escaping and what is it now?


Grace: “My biggest struggle was adapting back to the mainstream flow of life. I suffered from extreme paranoia and fear for the first three months. I felt trapped by my mind and like an outsider that I couldn’t find joy in the day-to-day activities like I was witnessing with others.

Today the struggle is flashbacks and differentiating between vocalizing my struggles and falling into a victim mentality.”

A21: What are some therapeutic outlets that you have found when memories or feelings from the past come to your mind?

Grace: “Developing a relationship with a higher power has been my saving grace. It reminds me daily that I am not alone, no matter the circumstances. I also enjoy practicing yoga and cultivating rich and meaningful relationships with my friends and family.”

A21: What would you want another survivor of human trafficking to know?

Grace: “You will make it through to the other side of all this. You’ll no longer look in the mirror and only be able to see the things you’ve done—you’ll be able to carry your head high again.”

A21: Tell us what you can about life now? What are you doing and what are your dreams and goals for the future?

Grace: “Life now is a fairytale come true compared to what it was. I never thought I had any reputable skills to offer the world. But after recovery I was able to go back to school, develop my career, and form meaninful relationships. I’ve learned how to forgive myself, which was the biggest thing for me.

In the future I want to be able to share my story with no inhibitions. I find the greatest joy is sharing my struggle and hopes with other women who need support. You are never alone.”

If you want to help more people like Grace, you can donate here.

*Survivor's name and picture has been changed for her protection. 

See where I link up here.

Let's get to the link up!





1. Karen from Lady in Violet linked up a super great post full of 10 winter outfit ideas that are so cute!


Houston Fashion Blogger Lady in Violet shares winter outfit ideas with sweaters, boots, and jeans.

2. Nicole from Courage Hope Love linked up an amazing post about three things that we can learn from Mary. All of what she said is full of truth and I love the whole concept of her blog.

faith and courage to follow God's call



-Link back to Spreading His GraceBows & Clothes, or both

-Subscribe to both blogs and follow each of us on at least one social media.

Mackenzie: Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Sarah: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin'

-This link up has no theme, so we encourage you to link any of your recent posts. Also note that we have to right to delete your link if it is inappropriate. However, we are super excited to read about your passions, and are so glad that you've decided to join us!



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Deck the Halls Holiday Ornament Exchange 2016

Happy Tuesday! Usually, I post on Wednesday's, but I participated in Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me's holiday ornament exchange, and we are all sharing what we received today.

Liz from Ellie and Addie was my partner for the exchange. She so graciously gifted me two ornaments that I love so much. And, to top it off, she sent some candy as well which I really enjoyed. πŸ˜‰ 

Deck the Halls Holiday Ornament Exchange 2016 tree snowflake reindeer glitter monogram pink green

Deck the Halls Holiday Ornament Exchange 2016 tree snowflake reindeer glitter monogram pink green

I mentioned that I liked pink and green, and Liz totally nailed it with this sparkly reindeer. I love glitter, so this ornament is perfect! 

I also told Liz my monogram, and she gave me this adorable monogrammed snowflake that I believe her husband made {correct me if I'm wrong}. 

I love each of these! They are so cute! Thank you so much, Liz.

See where I link up here,








Monday, December 12, 2016

7 Reasons Why You Should Donate to Dressember + a Simple Outfit & Grace + Lace Link Up

Happy Monday! I hope your weekend was amazing! I spent mine resting, and on Saturday, I volunteered at the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. I had a super great time! I highly recommend it!

Today, I've got a super cute outfit, and  reasons why you should donate to Dressember for y'all! Also, a new link up is live at the bottom of the post! 😊

7 Reasons Why You Should Donate to Dressember + a Simple Outfit & Grace + Lace Link Up grey cocoon hem shift dress navy puffer vest light pink necklace taupe desert lace up booties outfit inspiration fashion style human trafficking

7 Reasons Why You Should Donate to Dressember + a Simple Outfit & Grace + Lace Link Up grey cocoon hem shift dress navy puffer vest light pink necklace taupe desert lace up booties outfit inspiration fashion style human trafficking

7 Reasons Why You Should Donate to Dressember + a Simple Outfit & Grace + Lace Link Up grey cocoon hem shift dress navy puffer vest light pink necklace taupe desert lace up booties outfit inspiration fashion style human trafficking

7 Reasons Why You Should Donate to Dressember + a Simple Outfit & Grace + Lace Link Up grey cocoon hem shift dress navy puffer vest light pink necklace taupe desert lace up booties outfit inspiration fashion style human trafficking

7 Reasons Why You Should Donate to Dressember + a Simple Outfit & Grace + Lace Link Up grey cocoon hem shift dress navy puffer vest light pink necklace taupe desert lace up booties outfit inspiration fashion style human trafficking
DRESS: Old Navy {similar, similar}
VEST: Clothes Mentor {similar, similar}
BOOTIES: JC Penney {exact, similar}
NECKLACE: Charming Charlie {similar, similar}

So, you may be thinking, "Why should I donate to Dressember?". You should donate to Dressember....

1| …because an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, 80% of which are women and half are children.

2| …because the average teen enters the sex trade in the US in 12-14 years old.

3| …because 83% of victims in confirmed trafficking incidents were identified as US citizens.

4| …because many victims of trafficking are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children. Haven’t they already been through enough?!

5| …because there are more slaves alive today than at any other point in history.

6| …because every 30 seconds someone is trafficked, and less than 2% of those who are trapped in slavery are ever rescued. 

7| …because last year, instances of human trafficking were reported in all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C.

Those seven reasons {there are so many more, though} are why you should donate to Dressember. The money that you give goes to perform rescue operations to free those enslaved. They are also put into counseling programs and programs that get them back on their feet and into a job. You don't have to give much; it all adds up. If we all do a small part, and work together, we can change the world.

If God leads you to donate, you can do so here.

Shop this post below:




See where I link up here.

-Link back to Spreading His GraceBows & Clothes, or both

-Subscribe to both blogs and follow each of us on at least one social media.

Mackenzie: Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Sarah: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin'

-This link up has no theme, so we encourage you to link any of your recent posts. Also note that we have to right to delete your link if it is inappropriate. However, we are super excited to read about your passions, and are so glad that you've decided to join us!



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gift Guide to Purchase with Purpose

Happy Wednesday! Today, I am sharing with y'all a gift guide full of gifts that are ethical and fair trade. I chose to feature only gifts that are ethical because I am learning {mainly from Molly's Business with Purpose podcast} just how awfully treated and underpaid many workers are. Also, some of these companies employ women that are coming out of slavery which goes along with Dressember

Each item is made with care, most of them handmade, and they are pretty affordable as well. They are perfect for any lady!


Gift Guide to Purchase with Purpose ethical dressember fair trade
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.

Which of these are your favorite? Personally, I like the fuchsia flats! 

See where I link up here.









Monday, December 5, 2016

Dressember Outfit 2 | Chambray + Blanket Scarf & Grace + Lace Link Up

Happy Monday! I hope your weekend was super great! Mine was pretty restful and relaxed. How was yours? Today, I have a super cute fall outfit and a new link up for y'all! Even if you aren't a blogger, feel free to click around and find some inspiration!

Dressember Outfit 2 Chambray + Blanket Scarf & Grace + Lace Link Up chambray shirtdress wedge booties taupe fall outfit style fashion inspiration fitbit monogram

Dressember Outfit 2 Chambray + Blanket Scarf & Grace + Lace Link Up chambray shirtdress wedge booties taupe fall outfit style fashion inspiration fitbit monogram

Dressember Outfit 2 Chambray + Blanket Scarf & Grace + Lace Link Up chambray shirtdress wedge booties taupe fall outfit style fashion inspiration fitbit monogram

Dressember Outfit 2 Chambray + Blanket Scarf & Grace + Lace Link Up chambray shirtdress wedge booties taupe fall outfit style fashion inspiration fitbit monogram

Dressember Outfit 2 Chambray + Blanket Scarf & Grace + Lace Link Up chambray shirtdress wedge booties taupe fall outfit style fashion inspiration fitbit monogram
Outfit details:
DRESS: Charming Charlie {similar, similar}
SCARF: Amazon {similar, similar}
BOOTIES; JC Penney {exact, similar}
FITBIT MONOGRAM: Treasured Sparrow Designs {exact}

One thing that I love about my blog and blogging community is the fact that I feel comfortable being honest and vulnerable with you guys. And If I am being honest, Dressember this time around has been pretty difficult. We are literally 5 days in, and I have already had some trouble with my outfits. Last year, it was fairly warm in December, even for South Carolina, so it wasn't too difficult to style a dress. It was was in the mid to high 70's on Christmas Day. But, this year, it has been a bit colder, and I don't think I was prepared.

All that being said, I am willing to spend a few more minutes getting dressed in the morning and feeling a bit cold if it means that women and children will be freed from their bondage. To me, that is a small sacrifice.

Amazingly, Dressember has already raised close to $300,000 as of Saturday afternoon. This is enough to fund around 40 rescue missions! Thank you so much to all who have donated! If you haven't already, I encourage you to prayerfully consider giving to free those who are in slavery.

How would you wear a dress during Winter?

See where I link up here.

Now let's get to the link up!



1. Sarah from Trendy & Tidy shared a great post of two super cute outfit ideas for Thanksgiving. My favorite one would have to be the first one, although I love the color of her second sweater.


2. Natasha from Moody Girl In Style linked up an extensive gift guide for the beauty guru in your life. I love the eyelashes bag that she featured!


-Link back to Spreading His GraceBows & Clothes, or both

-Subscribe to both blogs and follow each of us on at least one social media.

Mackenzie: Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Sarah: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin'

-This link up has no theme, so we encourage you to link any of your recent posts. Also note that we have to right to delete your link if it is inappropriate. However, we are super excited to read about your passions, and are so glad that you've decided to join us!



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dressember Outfit 1 | Pink + Periwinkle & Thursday Moda Link Up

Happy Thursday! I usually post on Wednesday's but since today is the first day of Dressember, I decided to post today instead. Also, Ada invited me to co-host her Thursday Moda Link Up since we are working together for Dressember.

dressember elegantees crochet black lace dress leopard flats pink cardigan periwinkle bauble necklace Thursday Moda link up coupon code outfit style fashion inspiration

dressember elegantees crochet black lace dress leopard flats pink cardigan periwinkle bauble necklace Thursday Moda link up coupon code outfit style fashion inspiration

dressember elegantees crochet black lace dress leopard flats pink cardigan periwinkle bauble necklace Thursday Moda link up coupon code outfit style fashion inspiration

dressember elegantees crochet black lace dress leopard flats pink cardigan periwinkle bauble necklace Thursday Moda link up coupon code outfit style fashion inspiration

dressember elegantees crochet black lace dress leopard flats pink cardigan periwinkle bauble necklace Thursday Moda link up coupon code outfit style fashion inspiration

dressember elegantees crochet black lace dress leopard flats pink cardigan periwinkle bauble necklace Thursday Moda link up coupon code outfit style fashion inspiration
Outfit details:
DRESS: Elegantees {exact} Use the code "BowsandClothes" to get 10% off!
SWEATER: Target {similar, similar}
FLATS: Target {similar, similar}
NECKLACE: Charming Charlie {similar, similar}

I decided to post this particular outfit with this dress because I purchased it from Elegantees. Elegantees is a company that sells fair trade clothing made by women who would previously be jobless. This year, Elegantees partnered with the Dressember Foundation to create 3 Dressember dresses. This dress is not one of them, but they have a wrap dress, a maxi dress, and a swing dress that each come in two colors. They are all so beautiful and I love the fact that they are handmade!

Also, you can use the code {BowsandClothes} for 10% your order from Elegantees!

Shop this look below:



See where I link up here.

Now let's get to the link up!




"Ada has been blogging at Elegance and Mommyhood for four years. Her blog is about affordable everyday style for casual mom days, polished work looks, the weekend and in between. Vivian, her adorable little toddler and a girl after my own heart, is currently digging the color pink. She loves to compliment her mommy’s beautiful style."