Fight Hunger. Spark Change.

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with The Motherhood.

I recently did some research on childhood hunger in my area. What I found made me sad and a little sick to my stomach. Over 30,000 children in my community are at-risk for hunger. 30,000. I can’t get that number out of my head.

I used to scoff at stores and restaurants that asked me, “Would you like to add $1 to your bill to help fight hunger?” How could $1 do anything to fight hunger?

Then I learned the stories and numbers. And I learned the power of doing something, anything, no matter how big or small, to help. I applaud any company who wants to partner with their customers to DO SOMETHING to help fight poverty or hunger or any injustice in our communities.

The Walmart Foundation recently launched “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.,” a nationwide campaign calling on the public – that means us! – to get involved in the fight against hunger right here in America. The goal of this campaign is to provide $3.7 million in grants to participating Feeding America food banks and local partner agencies that provide hunger relief to millions of people in need of food assistance.

Walmart Fight Hunger

As part of the initiative, Walmart is teaming up with acclaimed chef, cookbook author and TV host, G. Garvin, and calling on the public to support their local food banks by voting online through October 5th!

So here’s the deal about how YOU can get involved…

1. Head over to Walmart’s Fighting Hunger site, type in your state, and vote for your favorite local food bank! I’m voting for Food Bank for the Heartland! You can vote once a day and tell your friends to join you!

2. Join me and a few friends for a Twitter party next Tuesday, September 30th at 1:00 p.m. EST using the hashtag #Vote2FightHunger to spread the word about this important campaign! Five $25 Walmart gift cards will be given away during the hour and I want YOU to win one of them {or all of them}! Find all the details of the Twitter party here and I’ll see you there next week!

Do you know about hunger in your community? Have you donated to or worked with your local food bank?

 

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My Favorite Noonday Necklace + Giveaway!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson! I was also given this necklace to review!

I shared my fall ethical fashion favorites earlier this week, but I intentionally left a few off so I could feature them on their own. And today’s feature includes a giveaway, too!

Do you know about Noonday Collection yet? Noonday uses fashion and design to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. Jobs are created, scholarships and no-interest loans are provided, adoptions are funded…there is SO much good coming from this super-fashionable organization. And if you watched My Big Family Renovation on HGTV with the Hatmaker family, your saw a LOT of Noonday jewelry on mama Jen.

So here’s my current Noonday favorite – the new Tierdrop necklace

Noonday necklace 4

Noonday Necklace 3

Outfit details: t-shirt + leopard flats – Target, skirt – GAP, Star Cluster necklace – DaySpring

Beautifully handmade in India with glass beads, rhinestones, metal beads, and twisted rope, the Tierdrop necklace is gorgeous and way more versatile than I originally imagined! This first outfit was a late summer church outfit, but I could easily add some leggings or tights, ankle boots and a denim jacket to transition to fall!

And here is a full-on fall outfit featuring the Tierdrop…

Noonday Necklace 1 Noonday Necklace 2

Outfit details: military jacket {similar} – thrifted/GAP, white v-neck tee – GAP, jeggings – WalMart, grey ankle boots – Steve Madden, Crescent Moon earrings – Noonday

I love that the Tierdrop necklace can be worn with a fancy outfit or add a little spunk to a t-shirt! I know it will get LOTS of wear with my fall capsule wardrobe and beyond!

Would YOU like your own Tierdrop necklace? You can win one here now! Just enter below!

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What I Learned When I Visited a Children’s Hospital

This post is part of the Miracle Marathon campaign.

I had been on this children’s hospital campus once before.

Our youngest, known around here as Double J, had a slight heart murmur at his 18-month check-up and our pediatrician wanted an ultrasound done to check it out. We had an appointment in the outpatient clinic and everything checked out just fine.

I didn’t like that we had to be there, but everything about the place made our little one and me feel at ease – the bright, playful decor, the friendly staff, the child-friendly waiting area. For all of that and for the health of our boy, I was very grateful.

I went back to the same children’s hospital campus last week, not as a parent, but as an observer. I was invited on a tour of the hospital facilities to share them with you as we approach the start of the Miracle Marathon, a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals such as Children’s Omaha. And I learned more than I bargained for.

What I Learned at a Children's Hospital

As soon as I stepped in to the heart cath lab, our first stop on the tour, I learned my first lesson: it would be impossible to leave behind the parent part of me as I went on the tour. The child currently being observed in the lab was a six-year-old boy. I have a six-year-old boy. I was amazed to hear about the specialized work of the doctors and staff in this particular lab. The technology being used was incredible.

Children's Cath Lab

But I couldn’t stop thinking about this sweet boy whose heart was in a fast rhythm that couldn’t be controlled by meds and who needed to be observed for most of the day to figure out just what was wrong. I could only imagine being his parents, waiting to hear the diagnosis, but I could also imagine how thankful I would be to know my son was getting such great specialized care. The closest cath lab for children is three hours away, so this is an important service for children in a large geographical area.

My second big lesson came as we visited the emergency department, where 27,000 children have been seen in the past year. Emergency rooms need to be ready for anything, and a children’s hospital emergency room has to be ready for patients of any size. Laid out in the trauma room were the smallest and largest pieces of equipment that could be used on a patient – from a preemie to a high school football player…

Children's Trauma Room

When you hear children’s hospital, you might think of a child similar in age to your child. That’s how my mind viewed it until I saw this trauma room. Treating a sick newborn is very different from treating an injured high school athlete, but these hospitals are ready for it all.

Children's Cuffs

The different medicines that may be needed in the trauma room are even color-coded by weight to streamline the process of treating a trauma patient. I was in awe of how every detail has been thought of to take the best care of kids in need of medical care.

Children's Med Cart

My third lesson: I should have brought tissues. I was very emotional on the tour, for so many reasons. Touring the NICU, seeing the EMT team load up the ambulance to pick up a preemie from another hospital, talking to an interpreter who enjoys so much her job helping Spanish-speaking families and children at the hospital. It was very powerful to see so many people helping these sick and hurting children and loving on their families as well.

Children's Preemie Cart

Which brings me to the last lesson I will share with you today: Donations to this children’s hospital help fund pivotal positions in the hospital I didn’t even know about. One of the most interesting and important to me is the child-life specialist. A child-life specialist is there in the room to help the child feel more comfortable, to help distract them during a painful procedure, to make a sad, horrible, worrisome experience better in any way they can. This position is so critical, yet not reimbursed by insurance companies, which makes it a position dependent on donations.

A children’s hospital could be a place full of so much sadness, but I learned it is a place of love, specialized care, and hope, and I feel so privileged to share such a special place with you.

Children's Girl Heart

*****

The Miracle Marathon, a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, kicks off Tuesday, September 16th. It’s not a scary marathon – it’s just a mile a day for 26 days plus 1.2 miles on the 27th day. You can run, walk, bike – just move a mile forward each day. Do it with your kids. Do it FOR the kids. And I would love to have you join my team! You can donate to our local hospital or one local to you! Just go here to sign up and/or donate and get ready to move! {Yes, we have a long ways to go, but every donation – big or small – is important! Please give what you can!}

Have you ever been to a children’s hospital with your own child? What was your experience like?

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Be a Hunger Hero

I participated in this program on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

There are hungry kids in underdeveloped and third world countries. While I’m not ok with it, I’ve accepted this fact. I’ve told you about it here. I’ve mentioned the ways Compassion and many other wonderful programs are feeding the bellies and souls of these hungry children in Africa and Asia and Central America.

There are hungry kids here in the United States as well. Somehow that is harder for me to swallow. Hunger across the ocean has become ok to talk about because we have some distance from it. When I hear about the 16 million American children living in poverty and lacking nutritious meals, I don’t want to believe it. In this rich, extravagant country, I can’t bear the thought that a child in my own city could be going without dinner tonight or suffering from malnutrition. But it happens. Right here in America.

I’m not going to just be about making sure the hungry kids in another country have their needs met. I want ALL children, everywhere to have their basic needs met, at the very least. That’s why I’m joining Champions for Kids for the “Be a Hunger Hero” campaign.

Let’s start with the core values of Champions for Kids because that is where they got my attention:

All children should have: someone who cares; a place to belong; a hope for tomorrow; and provision for their journey. All children.

We can help all children and it doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as shopping at Sam’s Club during the month of August!

hungerheroes

Throughout the month of August, Champions for Kids, Tyson Foods, and KRAFT Foods can help you “Be a Hunger Hero” at Sam’s Club by purchasing any of these products at Sam’s Club, Tyson® Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets {5 lb bag}, KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner {7.25 oz} 12 pack, or CAPRI SUN Juice Drink Variety Pack {40 pouches} and help feed* a child in need.

Be-a-Hunger-Hero-logo_white

And we’ll be talking more about being a Hunger Hero on Twitter today! I hope you’ll join us to spread the word and maybe even win some prizes!

Join The #HungerHeroes Twitter Party

  • What: The Motherhood is joining Champions for Kids, along with Tyson Foods, Kraft and Sam’s Club, for a Twitter party to spread the word about hunger relief.
  • When: Thursday, August 21, 2014, at 1p ET / 12p CT / 10a PT
  • Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #HungerHeroes hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP right here!
  • Hashtag: #HungerHeroes
  • Prizes: Five prizes will be given to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $50 Sam’s Club gift card!
  • Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann
  • Sponsor: @Champions4Kids

Chat with us on Twitter, shop at your local Sam’s Club – do what YOU can to be a hunger hero for a child today!

*4 oz. of protein, 6 fl. oz. of CAPRI SUN, and/or 2.5 oz. of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinners

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fashionABLE Flash Scarf Sale!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Mark your calendars! Set an alarm! Some of my favorite fashionABLE scarves will be 40% off today from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. only!

 

 

This flash scarf sale will include the FrehiwotEtanesh StripesAlem, & Anchinalu scarves, each at 40% off while supplies last! Just use the code SEEYASUMMER2014 in your shopping bag to get this amazing deal!

 

I own all four of these scarf styles and they are each amazing! Here is the Anchinalu in action:

erin-2

Each scarf is skillfully and lovingly made by a woman in Africa who has sustainable employment through fashionABLE. With your scarf, you will receive a tag telling how your purchase has helped one woman change her life. You will treasure each note and every piece – they are amazing works of art.

Remember, the sale is for FOUR HOURS only TODAY – 2-6 p.m. CST – and you need the code SEEYASUMMER2014 at checkout to get the 40% off! Grab a few of these beauties before they sell out!

Come back and tell me which scarves you bought during the sale!

 

 

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Better Life Bags + What I Wore

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I took a little break from What I Wore posts but I’m thinking about bringing them back starting in August because I’m rethinking wardrobe and buying practices and I’d love to share more of that journey with you on a regular basis. I’m easing back in today with a business I’ve been giddy to share with you…

When the words ethical fashion and fair trade are mentioned, most people think of employment for men + women who wouldn’t regularly have jobs in OTHER countries. Rebecca Smith and her family saw a need for this kind of employment right here in the United States. Rebecca and her family live in a low-income area of Detroit. The unemployment rate is 20%. Jobs are scarce and many people in the community are first-generation immigrants with few connections to finding these jobs.

Better Life Bags logo

Rebecca and her company, Better Life Bags, are changing the outlook for many women in the Detroit area by renting out sewing machines, teaching sewing skills, and providing an income for these women to support their families. What Rebecca and her family are doing in Detroit is an amazing example of seeing and meeting a need right in her own community. We don’t have to travel far to make a big difference.

I adore Rebecca’s heart {and her cute family} and her mission…and then I saw the selection of bags made by the women of Better Life Bags and I just fell in love. While there are ready-to-ship bags in the Better Life store, the real fun and beauty is in the custom bags, where you pick the colors, fabric, and finishes!

I was looking for a bag to travel with – not too big, but able to hold my laptop, Day Designer, and a few other travel essentials. Rebecca pointed me towards the Brynnda and it is JUST PERFECT.

Meet my Brynnda…

Better Life Bags Brynnda

I knew two things when I was picking out the custom features of my bag:

  1. It had to include green somewhere.
  2. I wanted fabric that wouldn’t show dirt easily.

At first, I thought the pattern I chose was in black, but Rebecca clarified it was actually navy and I didn’t know if I would love it…but I do. I love it. It is like no other bag I have ever owned. The size is just what I wanted – big enough to travel with, but small enough to use every day.

Better Life Bags Brynnda Inside

The interior is a heavy-duty navy canvas which will hold up to my abuse very well and I’m SO glad there is a zippered interior pocket! The clasp on the outside is super strong, so I’m not worried about my bag accidentally falling open on an airplane! There is also a shallow pocket on the front {the green fabric is the top of that pocket} and a deep pocket on the back exterior of the bag – places for everything!

Better Life Bags All

Because I switch bags a lot during a week – gym bag, diaper bag, purse – I decided to get some matching nesting pouches as well! Aren’t they adorable?!

Better Life Bags Nesting Pouches

I’m currently using the small one for lip gloss and the medium one for the ridiculous array of pens I like to carry everywhere for my planner + Bible study. The reinforced leather bottom is so gorgeous and each pouch also has the same heavy-duty canvas as the interior of my bag.

Better Life Bags Styled

This gives you a better idea of how big the Brynnda is – such a great size! I’m wearing it here with my She Does Justice “Speak Life” shirt {designed with Jessi from Naptime Diaries}, Levi’s skinny jeans, The Root Collective pink striped peep toe flats, fashionABLE Teshome bracelets {and my Fitbit!}, and Johari Creations earrings!

I’m obviously head-over-heels about my new bags, but the best part of the whole package was this…

Better Life Bags Nadia

I know this post is about beautiful bags, but it is also about beautiful life change that happens when the bags are purchased. Nadia is just one of the women who are employed because of Better Life Bags, but hers is the tag and story I will carry with me.

Which bag and story will you carry? Find the Better Life Bag that fits your lifestyle and needs on their site! There are literally bags for everyone – diaper bags, camera bags, pouches, purses, phone cases, laptop sleeves, and more! Make your way over to Better Life Bags and create your own masterpiece to support the women of Detroit today!

UPDATE: Through the end of July, use the code ENJOYJULY to get 15% off your order! Expires at midnight, July 31, 2014!

Which Better Life Bag would you love to carry?

 

I received the Brynnda bag to review from Better Life Bags. I was not compensated in any way for this review and all opinions are 100% my own!

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The Leather Tote That Changes Lives

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

A leather tote that changes lives?!

Mamuye Tote 2

I promise you I’m not being overdramatic and I’m not just talking about how much you’ll love this bag for yourself. The Mamuye leather tote from fashionABLE is not just any bag to add to your collection and empty your wallet. This piece literally changes the lives of the women who make it. And your purchase makes that change happen.

Mamuye Tote 3

the wind would just not cooperate, so I didn’t fight it 🙂

The Mamuye leather tote is made of 100% Ethiopian leather and handcrafted by women who wouldn’t have jobs without fashionABLE. Every fashionABLE item comes with a tag that tells how you have changed one woman’s life with your purchase. I can’t help but support an amazing organization that employs women and moms just like me in a different part of the world. The tag for this tote said, “Because of you, I am able to work hard and get promoted, too!” Love. that. You can read more of Mamuye’s story here.

Mamuye Tote River 1

I have the cognac tote and I think it goes with just about everything, which is great because I carry it everywhere. It works as a purse but can also carry much more if needed. And leather is always in style. fashionABLE is now offering the tote in black and chocolate brown as well! Cognac is on backorder {not for long} because it sold out super fast, but black and chocolate brown are available now!

Oh, I almost forgot! This tote also comes with a detachable leather pouch with a snap closure! This is where I keep my lip gloss or change or other small things that I don’t want rolling around the bottom of the bag.

I know this bag is an investment, but it is also an investment in the lives of hard-working women in Africa. It provides financial stability, freedom, and purpose for these women. I see lots of leather totes all over Pinterest, but with the Mayume tote, I know it was made ethically and is changing a woman’s life.

If the leather tote isn’t your thing, make sure you check out the fabulous line of scarves and bracelets being handmade and sold through fashionABLE with the same purpose! I love EVERYTHING I have from them!

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Join Me for the Miracle Marathon!

Before you run away because I mentioned the word “marathon,” take a minute to read about this unique and MUCH easier marathon that everyone can do!

I’m thrilled to share that I’m serving as a lead blogger for this fall’s Miracle Marathon, specifically in support of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska! Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raise funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. When a donation is given it stays in the community, helping local kids. Awesome, right?!

Miracle Marathon

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I would be excited about an event that involves running and helping children! I started running just over two years ago and it is a major part of who I am now. I love that the Miracle Marathon gives me a chance to use my love for running to benefit others! And I want you to come along with me, whether you’re a runner or not!

The Miracle Marathon is a 27-day virtual fundraising campaign in which participants run/walk (or achieve forward motion of any kind!) one mile per day at their leisure. The first 26 days are completed at your own pace—wherever and whenever you want. On Day 27, the final 1.2 miles will be started as a group at 2:27 pm EST. Get it? It’s a marathon, plus a mile, for the kids! And it’s perfect for those of us who like the idea of completing a marathon but would rather not complete all the miles at once!

Please join me and register to support Children’s Hospital & Medical Center or another Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, and tell your friends, too! And if you register as a Miracle Maker (you’ll receive fun swag!), you can use my special code MiracleErin to get a 10% discount off registration!

Did I mention we have a team?! I would love to have you join Team Home with the Boys, either as a Miracle Maker or as a donor, and help us raise $5,000 together! Just sign up here to join the team in one way or another and we’ll help kids together!

I’ll be sharing lots more about this as September 16th approaches, but let’s get the ball rolling with some donations and registrations for the kids this week!

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Miracle Marathon.

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Let’s Talk About Socks, Baby!

A post about socks? Seriously?!

Yeah, I know that’s what you’re thinking, but just hang with me here and you’ll see why I think this is worth sharing with you.

First of all, I didn’t know how much people could love socks until I met my husband. He just loves the feeling of a brand new pair of socks. I did NOT get that at all. Until I started running. Then I discovered just how magnificent the right pair of socks can be.

I can’t remember how I first heard about Mitscoots, but being a person who loves to purchase products that give back, I loved hearing the story behind Mitscoots…

WHILE VOLUNTEERING ALONG THE STREETS OF AUSTIN, TEXAS CIRCA 2008, WE DISCOVERED THAT RIGHT AFTER FOOD AND WATER, THERE WAS NO GREATER REQUEST AMONG THE LESS FORTUNATE THAN FOR A CLEAN PAIR OF SOCKS.

I was just floored by this. I had no idea how important socks were to those living on the streets, but it totally makes sense to me now why socks would be requested so often. Socks make me feel comfortable, warm, safe.

Mitscoots logo

Mitscoots is taking this lesser known need and doing something about it… and then some.

FOR EVERY PAIR PURCHASED, WE GIVE AN EQUAL QUALITY PAIR OF SOCKS TO SOMEONE IN NEED AND TAKE PRIDE IN EMPLOYING THOSE LESS FORTUNATE TO GET EACH AND EVERY PAIR OF OUR SOCKS PACKAGED UP AND READY TO GO.
MITSCOOTS ARE SOCKS WITH A MISSION:  GET + GIVE + EMPLOY

Not only does your purchase of Mitscoots socks provide socks for someone in need, but your purchase also helps to employ a man or woman who was without a job before they connected with Mitscoots. I get really excited about this kind of model.

We haven’t even talked about the socks yet! Mitscoots sent me two pair of my choosing to try out and I L.O.V.E. them both! The socks are 100% American made – just another reason to love everything Mitscoots is doing.

Mitscoots Performance

Of course I picked out a pair of their performance socks to try for running. The Margaret is a white, low-cut, moisture-wicking sock and it is currently my favorite sock for running! The fabric is breathable and lightweight, but also strong and supportive. And they have a little green detail on it and green is my favorite color, so there’s that…

The other pair I’ve been sporting is the The Linda. Well, I haven’t been able to wear them as much as I would like because it is summer and it is HOT, but I just adore these polka-dot beauties. I knew the nights would get chilly around the campfire at the lake over the Fourth of July, so I was giddy about packing these socks! They are fun and well-made and you need a pair.

Mitscoots Linda

Maybe you wouldn’t normally spend this much on a pair of socks, but I know high quality running socks can be $12 a pair or more, so I have no problem paying $13.99 for pair that will also give back to the community AND employ someone. I think Mitscoots socks would make a great gift for the athlete in your family or a fun girlfriend gift just because!

I was given two pair of Mitscoots socks to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

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What’s New From fashionABLE!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

fashionABLE is one of my favorites. I love everything I own from them and the mission behind it all makes each product that much more special. My freakin’ awesome friend Scarlett captured this photo of me in my Anchinalu scarf

erin-2

Scarlett Crews Photography: click on the photo to go to her website!

If you don’t know much about fashionABLE yet, this is their heart…

Your purchase of a fashionABLE product creates sustainable business in Africa.  We are committed to long-term solutions to fighting poverty, and our main focus is creating opportunities for vulnerable women.  That means that your purchase creates jobs, so that the women are not dependent upon charity, but instead are a vital part of a developing economy.

So our strategy is two-fold.  We work with women to help them start small business cooperatives, and we partner with and require manufacturers to also employ women with fair wages & fair hiring practices.

The scarves, the leather products…every piece is beautifully made and has a story behind it. And fashionABLE has some beautiful new pieces just being launched!

First up is the gorgeous Mehari blanket!

Mehari-Beach-Blanket_Natural-Strawberry_floor

This lightweight blanket is beautiful as a throw, comfy for a morning snuggle on the couch, and perfect for your picnic in the park! I’m selfishly keeping this one to myself right now because I love it so much.

Mehari Collage

The Alem scarf is now available in this amazing strawberry color…

strawberryscarf-250x365

Isn’t that just swoon-worthy?! Handwoven in Ethiopia, this lightweight 100% cotton scarf is perfect for any season. I need this color in my life.

Finally, it’s time for a fashionABLE arm party…


The Teshome leather wrap bracelet is fashionABLE’s first jewelry accessory! These 100% Ethiopian leather bracelets come in five different colors with contrasting thread detail and a metal closure. I can’t even decide which one is my favorite! And if you can’t decide either, there’s a great deal for you right now!

Each Teshome bracelet is $24, but if you buy two, you save $8 total! OR you can purchase four bracelets and save $20 total! PLUS, enter the code ARMPARTY in the shopping bag BEFORE you check out and get free shipping! This deal lasts through July 1st!

Shopping with fashionABLE is just one way you can make a difference with the way you spend your money. I always know I am getting high quality, handmade items AND creating opportunities for vulnerable women when I buy a fashionABLE scarf or blanket or bracelet. You really can’t beat that!

What is your favorite fashionABLE product from the new releases?

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