Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Christmas Card 2017

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: Many sex trafficking victims end up resorting to drugs and alcohol to help deal with the emotional distress they are in (information found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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I waited to share this post with you guys until after our Christmas cards were sent out. One of our Christmas traditions is that year we take a picture with the dog to send out to family and friends. We try to have a theme/destination in mind and this year my parents brought Maggie out to Western Mass! We went to Forest Park in Springfield because I had seen that they had a covered bridge and who doesn’t love covered bridges.

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It was right after the first real snowfall, how pretty!

We started off by one of the red bridges…

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Then we traveled to the covered bridge…

Someone was still moody after the long car ride.

But we finally got the shot!
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This isn’t actually the version we used because this one is from my iPhone but my mom has the high quality camera version where Maggie’s actually looking at the camera.

Outfit details:

Dress is from Loft. If you’re looking to purchase this dress I would try going into your local Loft store… I got it for less than half of the online sale price!

Shoes are from L.L. Bean. They are the 8″ boots in tan/brown

Necklace is from Hampton Ivy. You can’t see it in the picture but it is the Preppy Gold Dainty Charm Necklace- Single Pearl. It is such a necklace when your outfit is busy but you still need a finishing touch. If you’re ordering anything from Hampton Ivy use the code “marissam15” for 15% off!

I hope you all had a great holiday season!

xox,

Marissa

 

 

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Style, Uncategorized

Weekly Style 10

Hello friends! This is the last weekly style post of 2017!

Still keeping with the Fair Trade theme, today’s post is all about Trove! All of their designs incorporate the cultures where the clothes are made. They follow the Fair Trade Federation and pay their workers based on the actual cost of production and the cost of living. They also make clothes from size 0-20, most U.S. clothing companies stop after 14.

Just a heads up I took screenshots of all of the clothes from Trove’s website but they didn’t come out too well. I suggest you all click on the links because their clothes are gorgeous!

The first few items are from their holiday collection.

First up is the Blair Skirt in white birch:

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This is the first item I saw from Trove and I fell in love with it! I think this is such a perfect skirt for any occasion. I love the pattern and fit and it is made in Rwanda by Claudine.

Next is the Hattie sweater:

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I love sweaters so much the pom pom details on the bottom are perfect. This sweater coms in black, cream, and eggplant and I love them all so much it’s hard to pick a favorite. This is made in India.

Then the Anastasia Skirt:

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Normally the only loud patterns I wear are Lilly but how fun is this skirt?! It is even embroidered with Shisheh, or small mirror pieces. This is also made in India.

Up next is a piece from their usual India collection.

The Nora Caftan:

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This gorgeous ankle length dress comes in blue and white, I personally would order the blue but they are both beautiful. As I’m sitting inside while the temperature keeps dropping outside this has me dreaming of summer days.

This last item is from their Nepal collection.

The Caroline:

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I’m a big fan of peplum and this is adorable! I love the pattern at the bottom. The pattern is called Aztec- Peach and there is only one left so if you’re as in love with this as I am head on over!

Hope you enjoyed this weekly style, comment your favorite piece below!

xox,

Marissa

College, Uncategorized

That Final Grade Report

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: “Sex tourism [going on vacation just to have sex] is a billion dollar industry that further encourages the sexual exploitation of women and girls (quote found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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It’s that time of year again… If your professors have not posted their grades yet they will be posting soon. It’s that time of year when you are rejoicing because those late night sat the library paid off or you’re sitting at home wondering what you did wrong.

I wanted to make a post out there for all my fellow perfectionists out there because sometimes we have to be reminded that we have really high expectations.

My goal this semester was to get all As…  not including A- though, I wanted all 93s and above. I thought there was going to be one class that would challenge my goal and  I was right. I was taking Physiology of Exercise this semester and it certainly made reaching my goal very hard. I tried as hard as I could but sometimes we can’t do it all. I didn’t get an A in that class and yes I’m disappointed but what can I do with that disappointment.

First, I have to accept that I did everything I could and I cannot change anything now.

Second, sometimes the odds are not in your favor. For this one class the midterm and final were 50% of our grade (25% each), the average of 10 pop quizzes were 25%, and our lab grade was 25%. I’m not an awful test taker but I am awful at true and false questions, I have the tendency to read into questions too much and wording throw me off. Both the midterm and final had more true/false than multiple choice so I had a disadvantage.

Third, I have to realize that I have gained so much from this class. My professor for this class is very old school, he lectures without a powerpoint and will only post the very key concepts after we go over them in class. I have always been a note taker, there is only one class in the past two and a half years I have relied on the powerpoints for and even then I still ended up taking notes on my print out. But when you do not have those to fall back on you really learn how to listen. You also learn how to figure out what the most important parts are. I also learned a skill that is going to be integral to my next few years in school- the art of using knowledge you already know and connecting it to what you’re learning now. In high school I was a master at memorizing things before a test, I mean who wasn’t? But once I got to college I learned that this whole “integrating former knowledge” would pay off big time. Did I always do it though? Nope. Sometimes it is just easier to put that knowledge in short term memory and call it a night. But for Physiology of exercise I really sat down and looked at my notes and connected that puzzle together, with notes from that class and from my memory of biology and anatomy (and kinda chemistry but I’m not too great at that). In any class that is designed to challenge students you should be proud of every point you earned. I have always been a firm believer that it is better to be challenged and get a lower grade than to float by taking easy classes and getting As. You are going to grow more and learn more when you are faced with a challenge so be proud of every point you fought for.

Fourth, I have to realize that there is nothing bad about a B. I’ll be honest I didn’t really want one, and at first I did not want to even write what grade I ended up getting, but then I realized there are worse things. I know I set really high expectations for myself so when I feel this disappointment I have constantly remind myself that I still did not fail, I just didn’t meet my sky high expectations.

So this was a specific example, but you can relate these steps to any perfectionist problems you face:

  1. You cannot change reality.
  2. Sometimes the odds are stacked against you.
  3. You will grow more when you challenge yourself.
  4. You probably have higher expectations than most, so be proud of what you accomplished.

So if you are not rejoicing when you look at your final grade report, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your grades are not the only thing that define you. They do not show how great of a person you are they just show how well you can show you learned material in a certain way.

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, wellness

Wellness Wednesday: Pilates

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: Most traffickers are from Asia, followed by Central and Southeastern Europe, and the fourth region with the highest amount of traffickers is Western Europe (information found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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My first Wellness Wednesday post is all about Pilates! If you missed my first Wellness post you can find a short yoga flow here. I chose Pilates to start out the weekly series because there is a super easy YouTube series that can get anyone to be a Pilates expert in just 21 days! More about that later though…

First some history: Joseph Pilates created this form of exercise while he was in an internment camp in the first World War. He actually used fellow internees to help him develop his ideas. While Joseph Pilates never said there were a certain number of ideas to keep in mind, many people now break Pilates into nine principles: breathing, concentration, control, centering, flow, postural alignment, precision, relaxation, and stamina. If you’re looking to get serious gains this is not the exercise method for you. Pilates helps with muscle toning, flexibility, and balance.

And now my history with Pilates: The only time I have taken a true Pilates class was during my freshman year of college. I went to a dance festival and saw they were offering a Pilates class and I remember leaving class and being like “that was hard!” It’s not that I hated it or anything I just found some of the exercises (SEAL!) really hard. Going into the class I had assumed I would be good at it since it seems similar to dance but Pilates makes you move your body in a new way. Fast forward about a year and the friend I had taken my first class with told me she had an awesome Pilates challenge video we should do. I thought “Yeah right I can’t imagine doing that again.” I’ve done the Pilates challenge like 6 ties since then and I can definitely see an improvement over the 21 days. If you stick with it, it will not be as hard at the end I promise!

So here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouv_isD5mZ8

I just restarted the challenge yesterday so feel free to join me!

It is by Boho Beautiful and she is so fabulous! I’ve done the challenge two different ways: 1. following the directions in the comment section on the video                                               2. just doing the main video for 21 days

Remember it only takes 21 days to form a new habit! Even if you do not want to try it for 21 days I challenge you all to try it at least once!

Good luck!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, wellness

Wellness: Yoga

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: Women often get passed around from trafficker to trafficker before they arrive at a final destination. This can mean they go through several different countries which leaves women confused and isolated (information found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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Starting this week I am planning on having a new posting schedule! Check it out below:

Monday: Lifestyle

Wednesday: Wellness

Friday: Weekly Style

 

I wanted to give you a little sneak peak into the wellness category because the holidays can be stressful!

I’m currently working on my 200 hr yoga certification I wanted to share a quick yoga flow with you guys! Unfortunately my WordPress account does not support videos but I can send it on Instagram (@sunflowersandseersucker) if anyone wants the visual.

This can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes if you stop in each pose for a few breaths but feel free to repeat this as many times as you want. Poses are in bold so you guys have an idea of where to stop and hold. And remember just because we’re holding a pose does not mean we aren’t actively engaging our muscles!

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Start in forward fold

Walk your hands out to a high plank

Bend at the elbows (hugging them into the ribs) and lower yourself down to  chaterunga

Straighten your arms and look up to the sky for an upward facing dog

Bring your chest back down to your mat, engaging your cores push up through a high plank and send your weight back into your hips for a downward facing dog

Stay here for a moment bending the knees one at a time and together. Focus on keeping a flat back and sending all your weight into those hips trying to get your heels as close to the floor as you can.

Then lifting your heels, roll through your spine one vertebrae at a time until you are back into a high plank

Then push back into downward facing dog. Repeat rolling through to high plank as many times as you want. I typically do it for 3 or 4.

Once you’re back in downward facing dog try stretching out that spine by reaching your left hand to your right ankle. It doesn’t matter how close you are just try and feel a stretch! Then reach your right hand to your left ankle.

Coming back into downward facing dog, bring your right knee into your chest and then extend it out long behind you into three legged dog. You can repeat this motion a few times, I do 3 to 4.

Bring your right leg back down to your mat and then bend your knees into a child’s pose. You can walk your hands to one side of the mat to stretch out your sides.

Then push back up into downward facing dog to repeat the three legged dog sequence on both sides. Bringing your knee into your chest and then sending it out long being you.

Coming back into a downward facing dog walk your hands out to a high plank again.

If you want to add little core work into your flow you can do plank drifts. Here you’ll shift your weight forward so your shoulders and past your wrists and then back again. I typically do 10 plank drifts.

This part should look familiar:

Bend at the elbows (hugging them into the ribs) and lower yourself down to  chaterunga

Straighten your arms and look up to the sky for an upward facing dog

Bring your chest back down to your mat, engaging your cores push up through a high plank and send your weight back into your hips for a downward facing dog

Walk your hands back into your feet for a forward fold

Bend at the knees and lift your arms and chest for chair pose

Exhale back into forward fold

Roll up one vertebrae at a time into mountain pose

And congratulate yourself on taking tie out of your day to do something for you!

Here’s 10 minutes worth of music to get you in the zone:

Billie Jean- Kodaline cover

My Mind is for Sale- Jack Johnson (one of my fav people to flow to!)

Silhouette- Aquilo

Happy flowing!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: It’s not all men, in 30 % of countries that reporter the gender of traffickers it is women who make up the larger portion of traffickers (information found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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Just a little background on how I got this book first because I think it is the coolest story ever. My family and I were walking around Boston and I saw a Little Free Library. I had seen one before while I was driving but I had never got the chance to visit one so I had to stop this time. It was so adorable and it was modeled after the children’s book Make Way for Ducklings. You can see the full library here.

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Now I am on a quest to start a Little Free Library but that’s a story for a later day.

Now onto the book! There are a lot of lessons we can learn from dogs and Garth Stein lays them out for you in The Art of Racing in the Rain. 

This book takes you through Enzo’s life with his family. I loved how the book is told through Enzo’s point of view. He tells it like it is and although sometimes it was too honest for my liking, I still loved it.

I do not cry at books or movies but if I did, I definitely would have shed some tears at the end. If you are looking for a feel good story this is it. The ending of this book had one of the most satisfying endings I have ever read.

While there are certain parts of the plot that seem unnecessary, the thoughtfulness in the storyline more than make up for it.

Here is my favorite quote from the book: “You should shine with all of your light all the time.”

Happy reading!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Sun and All Her Flowers

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: Sex traffickers often get women to join them by promising a glamorous job in a new and exciting country. By separating the women from their families it easier to take all of their documents and force them into trafficking.  (information found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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So in an effort to relax after studying for finals all morning, I started, and finished reading The Sun and All Her Flowers. This is somewhat of a sequel to Milk & Honey but you do not need to read them in any certain order.

The same friend that got me Milk & Honey for my birthday had me for our Secret Santa so she definitely knew the perfect present.

I was not as amazed by The Sun and All Her Flowers as I had expected to be. There were so many poems in Milk & Honey that caused me to stop and think a little more but I did not have the same feeling with this one. It took me a little over an hour to read it and I was expecting it to take a little longer for those “oh wow” moments.  Don’t get me wrong I still thought it was great and there were poems that really resonated with me but I think that some of the “newness” to this style of writing had rubbed off. To me it seemed like some of the poems in this book were similar to poems in her first book with different words. I think part of that is just the simplistic style of Kaur’s writing.

Just like Milk & HoneyThe Sun and All Her Flowers is broken up into sections. The sections are wilting, falling, rooting, rising, blooming. I wanted to share my favorite poem from each section with you guys just like I had done last time.

Wilting

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Falling

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Rooting

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Rising

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Blooming (here’s a bonus one because this section was my favorite!)

Kaur is definitely an amazing writer and I have said before, I admire her openness to let millions of people into her lives. The best part of this book for me was that it addressed different themes. Prior to receiving this book I did not think too much of it, I had assumed it was about the same topics she had already addressed.

The theme that really stuck out to me is immigration. It seems like recently a lot of people in the U.S. have forgotten that unless you are 100% Native American, you got here through immigration at some point. In the spring I will be doing an Alternative Spring Break trip focusing on the refuge population in my area and I am so excited to learn more about it. The Sun and All Her Flowers started teaching me about that already, it explains the life of an immigrant in a few short lines scattered throughout the book.

Another theme that I loved was feminism. Kaur ties this theme in with her culture and I think she does that beautifully. She writes about her mother a lot and she also includes all of her other female ancestors. I think that is a really cool way of looking at feminism.

If I had to pick my favorite section I would pick blooming. That’s the section that I had dog-earred the most pages and it is one I will reread if I am never needing a little inspiration.

I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, especially if you have read Milk & Honey. I think it gave me a deeper understand of Kaur’s family history and dynamic. Although it did not leave me as speechless as I had hoped, I think it was a great read.

If you want to read my reviews of Milk & Honey you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

If you have any book recommendations leave them in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

 

Style, Uncategorized

Weekly Style 9

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: In certain parts of West Africa all human trafficking victims are children  (information found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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This week’s fair trade company is Krochet Kids. Krochet Kids employs women so that they can provide for themselves and their children.  One of the coolest things about Krochet Kids is that each item is signed by who made it and then you can check out their profile on the website!

Scarlett Dress

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The first thing that catches my eye about this dress is the color! With a nice cardigan this dress would be perfect for holiday parties. I love how flowy this dress is and I also love the neckline!

Alyssa Wrap

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This headband is adorable! I’m not a hat person but I’ve recently taken to ear warmers and this one is no exception.  I love the braiding across the front and I love the winter white!

Ridgeview Backpack

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Did your backpack barely survive the first half of the year? Then look no further. There are four patterns available and my personal favorite it Pistachio.

Harper Scarf

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Oh look, something maroon made it into this week’s Weekly Style! I love infinity scarves and I love maroon so this is a winner all around in my book!

I hope everyone is enjoying getting a weekly look at ethical companies! I feel like I’m learning so much about fair trade this year and I’m happy that I get to share it with you guys.

xox,

Marissa

All of these images come directly from the Krochet Kids website. I do not own any of them!

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: Tuesdays with Morrie Pt. 2

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: Sex trafficking is a major contributor to the spread of HIV.  (information found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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This post is long overdue but I have been going back and forth on how to present my thoughts. This is such a good book and it is one I plan to read over and over again.

Tuesdays with Morrie is one of my favorite books I have ever read. It gave the same honesty that Still Alice gave but this was a true story. In an effort to hold onto the memory of his old professor, Mitch Albom recorded the meetings he had with Morrie so you know all the quotes in there are truly Morrie’s words.

Something that I did not realize before reading was that Morrie had ALS. This is close to my heart because I have run the Sharon Timlin 5k every year for the past few years. While I love running through Hopkinton (the town where the Boston marathon starts), and meeting Mike Timlin and whoever his star guest is, my favorite part of that race is reading the posters they have that give you a look at people who also had ALS.

There are a lot of life lessons thrown in here that I think are important to hear multiple times. I do not want to give too much of the story away so I will be sharing some of my favorite life lessons instead…

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Now, I never usually highlight in books, not even in my college textbooks. I do not like to “ruin” books but I highlighted every life lesson I thought was important in this book. Anything that spoke to me I highlighted, I think there were a ton of great lessons in this book and I do not want to lose them down the road. This gives me the freedom to go back later on and flip through quickly if I need a simple reminder. 

Happy reading!

xox,

Marissa

Style, Uncategorized

Dressember Part One

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: “More than 31,600 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the [National Human Trafficking] Hotline in the last eight years” (quote was found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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I wanted to keep you guys updated on how Dressember is going so here are my first few outfits…

Day One

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Day Two

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Day Three

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Day Four

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Day Five

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Day Seven

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I’ve had so much fun picking out outfits (or letting my roommates do it for me) these past seven days and it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Let me know you’re favorite outfit in the comments below!

xox,

Marissa