Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wardrobe Challenge Days 14-18

I know...I've slacked off.


Day 14 began at 6 am with Matt trying to get the mirrored sliding door back on its tracks in our closet.


After asking sleepily yet nicely if he could maybe fight with that door after work (i.e. let me sleep!), I got a call from our receptionist who's baby had just thrown up... I needed to go in early to cover for her.
It was 6:20. In order to open at 7 I needed to leave by 6:30!

Needless to say I ran out the door before I could remember many things.

A. coffee
B. mascara
C. to take a picture of the outfit for the day.

Black top, gray pants, and the super soft Vera Wang scarf that made me feel like I was still wrapped up in blankets in my bed at home...sigh. I actually went home and slept for four hours after work.

Day 15 I woke renewed and refreshed...aided by the extra four-hour nap I had had the day before. I even had it in me to wear a dress, but I'm getting a little tired with the same old smile at the camera routine.
And I'm not that photogenic so for every picture you see there are about 12 in which I have a weird face/bad lighting/awkward smile/general non-attractiveness.
So I decided to jump on the couch and coffee table while waiting for the camera timer.

This also gives you a chance to admire our new piece of art hanging over our couch...a $17 steal from Target!

Oh, and my $8 dress from Target. I love Target.

Day 16...Friday at last!
And I forgot to clean out my mug again...ew.

This actually was the same necklace I wore on my first date with Matt...and he actually mentioned it in the poem he wrote for me entitled "Thursday" on our 6 month anniversary. Stay tuned and if you're really lucky and he says its ok maybe one day I'll post it...

Day 17

Matt and I decided to puddle around Issaquah, Maple Valley and that general region to scout for apartments. We're in no rush to move, exactly, but we are looking tentatively for a place with lower rent. However, with so much square footage, quiet and nice neighbors and a view to die for we're having a hard time convincing ourselves.

Nevertheless, if we could save a big chunk of change every month to put towards paying off debt/loans and then start saving for a home it would probably be a good thing. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

This particular skirt I wore I've had since high school. Its my hippie let-the-sunshine-in skirt. The kind that makes you want to run through a grassy field in the sunshine.

Only its January...and there wasn't much sunshine.
I kept swapping tops trying to make it both cute and warm and the best I got from my clothing critic (i.e. Matt) was, "That's not bad..."

Which we women know never means its good.

Oh well, checked off my bright pink hippie skirt and me at the salmon hatchery in Issaquah.

Can you see the little baby salmon in the glass behind me? Do you see me being a dork and showing my nifty boots? Yeah, not so cool I realized after Matt snapped the picture.

I'm realizing this was probably one that should have been deleted...

Day 18 at long last. Aren't you glad this is almost over?

Sunday, and once again I didn't leave the house except to walk Roy Boy. An hour and a half walk, mind you, yet he never once calmed down. Some days he gets like that...crazy and spooked and unable to walk like a normal dog. He was almost walking on his hind legs he was pulling so hard! I thought his trachea was going to collapse I kept yanking the life out of him! But he survived and so did my temper...

That night I reheated the beef bourguignon I had made the night before, whipped up some garlic mashed potatoes (and to my co-workers, if you read this, if I stink tomorrow blame it on the two whole HEADS of garlic that went into those potatoes!), and opened a bottle of Pinot Noir for a nice dinner with my hubby.

Since I don't think ratty cleaning pajamas count for this challenge this is what I changed into after I finally took a shower and cleaned up.

I had the apron on and Matt commented, "All you need are some pearls, now," so out came the pearls!

I'm not really a "pearls" girl...but sometimes there are exceptions.

I'm almost through my first cycle of bottoms...I think I only have two or three pairs of pants left and one or two dresses...things might continue to get interesting in this challenge!

Today's charity spotlight goes to...

The Conduit Mission (thanks again Stephanie!)
According to their website, they are:
The Conduit is a Christian non-profit organization based out of Franklin,Tn. The Conduit was started as a Bible study September 16th 2007 with a goal of being a “conduit” of God’s power, God’s love, and God’s resources. The Conduit partners with organizations that are providing basic living needs such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care. The over head of the organization is kept low in order to accomplish the goal to “live simply that others may simply live”.

Mom, take note. They're based out of the town you and Dad are thinking of moving to and they were founded on your birthday...a sign? Maybe...
Back to the charity though.
On one of their posts (their website is set up almost like a blog with updated posts), it states, "This week we have 42,000 lbs of food as well as water filtration systems arriving in Jacmel Haiti for our friends at Restoration Ministries. "

You can donate to The Conduit Mission by clicking HERE.
As with all the charities I've spotlighted, donations over $100 are available to receive an end of year tax giving statement from The Conduit upon request. The Conduit is a federally recognized 501c3 non profit organization.

All checks should be sent to:
Conduit Mission
256 Seaboard Lane
Franklin, TN 37067
Anyone else got a charity to spotlight? Is your office doing something? Your church? Your knitting club? Let me know!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Challenge Days 12,13, Ode to Le Creuset and Krochet Kids

Ah Monday. The 25th of January.

According to Time Magazine and a researcher from Cardiff University the third Monday of January is supposed to be the saddest day of the year. You combine the dreary weather, debt from overspending during the holidays, failed New Year's resolutions and the fact that its a Monday and you've got one heck of a depressing day!

Le sigh.

Luckily it was a lovely sunny day for the most part yesterday, we'd been saving for Christmas since July and I didn't really make any New Year's resolutions to break so I'm doin' dandy!

That being it said it was still chilly so I wrapped up in my comfiest big sweater and headed off to work. Here's Day 12, ladies and gents.

I'm quickly beginning to realize that my number of work or dress pants/skirts far exceeds the number of jeans or casual pants I have. Leftover from days at a dressier office, they've sat in my closet on the forgotten side for a couple years now. Doing this challenge has helped remind me that there's always a place for good quality clothing in a person's wardrobe.

That being said I knew I had to face a skirt again head on. It is, though, one of the cutest skirts ever to have been made. Smooth front with just a bit of a gather in the back and seaming in all the right places...I would have taken a picture of my rear but I think that would be going a bit too far now.

So here's Day 13

I'm not exactly sure what's going on with my face. I think I was attempting to look cute and fell short. And you can't really even see the skirt, but what the hay. Whatcha see is whatcha get.

That night I met Matt at mall for dinner and for him to get fitted for his tux. I beat him there and decided to swing by Marshall's to see if by chance they had any Le Creuset cookware on a crazy deal.

Remember me telling you about having to "Crowd my mushrooms" and not having enough room in my pot to do enough chicken for the Julia Child recipe? (That was Days 7&8 btw) Well when I get my mind set on a larger enamel covered cast iron pan...I kinda get tunnel vision. Thanks to my lovely readers who remember to click on a Google ad every now and then on my blog or hub I had a check from Google and I knew that's what I wanted to use it for.

Now if you don't know what a Le Creuset pan is, let me explain a bit. Its the creme de la creme of cookware. The Queen of the Culinary Kitchen. Goddess of gourmet. Maybe I'm getting a little carried away, though.

In its most basic form, it is enamel coated cast iron cookware. That comes in beautiful colors. Not all of it is cast iron...some is stoneware some is enamel coated steel...but what they are all known for is their high caliber of quality. One Le Creuset Dutch oven will last longer than you will.

We got our first Le Creuset item for our wedding. It was an adorable red tea kettle--the enamel coated steel kind. Two and a half years of sitting constantly on our stove top and being battered by grease and whatknot and its still as durable and cute as ever.

The next member to our family was a little blue 3.5Qt Dutch oven. This is actually Matt's Dutch oven. We both started to really get into cooking about a year ago and this was a birthday present for him. He wanted to make sure it was known that it was his, so he chose the blue color since everything else in our kitchen was red.

Hi baby. Mama loves it.

This is probably our most used piece of cooking equipment, just the right size for a stew or soup for two people. For the first six months we didn't have a space for it because it went from the stove to the fridge to the sink to the stove. But it is not, I say, not big enough to do a decent size batch of browning or searing.

I toyed around with a substitute. After all, a medium size Dutch oven costs well over $200 no matter how you dice it, and I only had about $100 to play with. I looked at Mario Batali brand, Rachel Ray, even some really cheap knock offs. I even went out and bought a Lodge enamel coated Dutch oven. But as soon as I got home and took it out of the box...I knew.

There would be no substitute.

The Lodge 6 Qt one may have been large and in charge, but the whole thing curved down until the actual flat bottom of the thing was no larger than my smaller pot. It was like a bowl...and if you remember...I didn't want to crowd my mushrooms. Plus after reading some reviews I found out that after a year or so the enamel starts coming off.

I heard someone say once, "I'm too poor to buy cheap," and I think this is a great example.

So I put it back in the box, re-seasoned my non-enamel coated Dutch oven (which still makes great stuff but is way more of a hassle to use and you can't let food sit in it), and waited.

When I got to Marshall's on the aforementioned night, I walked to the back and saw one, sad, lonely braiser in the Dijon color sitting there without its knob surrounded by cheap imitations. I grabbed it and clutched it, praying it was withing my budget. I turned it over...$130. A bit over...but it was missing its knob, I could at least ask for a discount for that...

After a comical game of ring around the Marshall's with one deadbeat employee, a clueless cashier and a harried manager, the price was marked down guessed it...$100. Just a hair under what my check from Google was for!

I met up with Matt at the mall and we headed to That Kitchen Store where I showed him what kind of pot I got (it was $200 at that store!) and we got a replacement knob for $10!

At home I screwed the knob on, sat it on the stove and just stared at it.

I felt like a real chef. The kettle had whetted my appetite, the mini Dutch oven had been my training wheels but this, this was big girl stuff. Tons of surface area on this baby! I gazed at the trio of rainbow cookware on my stove...and sighed.

I pet it, called it my precious, and went to bed.

Sorry you had to read through my Ode to Le Creuset to get to this part, but here's the charity spotlight for the day.

Krochet Kids International

Their mission states: Employing this generation through the creation of products, and educating the next through their sale. Krochet Kids international works in developing nations to empower impoverished communities to rise above poverty.

Their history is actually pretty cute...three high school boys from Spokane, WA who crocheted hats to save up for their Senior can read about it, and see their awesome frilly shirted Easter egg colored tuxes HERE

Their turn towards a non-profit began with a trip to Northern Uganda in 2007 (hey, same time as me!) where they realized their hobby could be used to help empower women to learn to crochet hats that would be sold in the US for a profit.

With the recent earthquake in Haiti they've focused efforts there. As stated on their website:

Here is our humble effort toward reaching out in LOVE to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Our staff will be crocheting a premium line of hats that will each be sold for $100. All money raised through the sale of these limited hats will be matched by the individuals in this organization to make a great impact. Join with us, get a sweet hat, and double your donation to the earthquake victims.

To buy a hat, click HERE

I plan on doing this and I'll post pics of the hat as soon as I get it! Thanks for the info Stephanie! And the rest of you let me know of any other great nonprofits you may have heard of!

Monday, January 25, 2010

WC Days 9, 10 & 11

Well I haven't given up on my challenge--I just have been too lazy to post pictures!
Here was Friday, Day 9

Clients in town so at least that made some sort of an excuse for wearing my dress pants. The top was a gift from my ever-so-trendy brother many years ago and the bracelet was another $1 find in Target.

Saturday I spent most of the day cleaning (Matt had to work all weekend) so you can't blame me for not wanting to take a picture of myself in cleaning pajamas with rubber gloves and a work apron! That night I did go out for groceries and that gave me and excuse to get dressed. I decided to tackle one of the main things looming in my wardrobe one pair of shorts!

Day 10

It was 44 degrees outside and riding down the elevator with a neighbor who was bundled in a hat, scarves, gloves and an overcoat I got some odd looks. In the grocery store the strange looks continued--whether from thinking what an idiot I was or admiration for my ability to withstand the cold (haha)--I'll never know. But when I handed my CA drivers license to the cashier she did make an "ahh" sound as if to say, "Ah, she's a Californian, that explains the shorts in January."

At least I can check that one off my list.

And yesterday, Day 11, I never technically got dressed (besides pajamas) at all! With all that good football goin' on it was hard to want to leave the house! (gotta insert here that I'm bummed for Favre but at least now I know who to root for in the Superbowl--go Peyton! But then again the Saints have never been...maybe its not so clear...)

I did, however, go for a run with Roy. It was only drizzling when we left but by the time we got home it was pouring...but if people never ran in the rain in Seattle, they'd never run at all!

Day 11

I'm going to have to cycle through my workout clothes, though, otherwise in the whole two months (or however long I can go) this takes I'll only workout 5 times!

Charity spotlight for today goes to Churches Helping Churches - thanks to my dear friend Stephanie Larsen for speaking up!

Started by Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll and Pastor James Macdonald, their "mission is to help rebuild destroyed churches in Haiti, and help plant new churches in Haiti."

For some reason I can't get the webpage to open today and the link to Mars Hill to donate to Haiti isn't working, but you can find more information about it on the Mars Hill blog:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wardrobe Challenge Day 7 & 8

First of all I'd love to hear from you on which chaitities you donate to or volunteer with!

Two nights ago I got a text from my coworker that she was sick and I needed to cover the front desk...for the early shift. If you know me and early we do not get along well. But, grateful to even have a job I hit the hay early so I wouldn't be a complete zombie the next day.

Here's Day 7

nothing extraordinary, a gray thermal, jeans, and a luxuriously soft purple Vera Wang scarf that I got for Christmas. Did you know Vera Wang is designing for Kohl's now? Helloooo Vera.....
Oh, but I'm not wearing the scarf in the pic...that's a purple coat I got for last year's Christmas...but hey I made the effort to take a picture of myself at 6:30 in the morning driving in the pitch black darkness to work...give me a break!

On a completely different topic, the night before Matt had surprised me with my very own copy of Julia Child's The Art of Mastering French Cooking! I've been reading her biography and hearing about all the hard work that went into it I had been dying to get my hands on a recipe or two. Now with the whole 730 pages of it, I didn't even know where to begin! So many new things to try! Did you know she has a whole section on brains? They sure didn't mention that in the movie, although that would have been a funny one to see her try to cook!

We walked Roy to the store and I loaded up on mushrooms, shallots, heavy cream, wine, a baguette...all the things necessary to make a gourmet French meal (don't worry, we had plenty of butter at home).

At home I got to work on her recipe for chicken breast with mushrooms and shallots in white sauce. Reading her cookbook really is like having here there over your shoulder giving you little tips. I can completely see how one would get very attached to her without having ever met her--her voice just shines through the text. I can just hear her saying "Now, you must dry the chicken thoroughly or it will not brown, dear!" or
"Wait until the sauce looks positively syrupy before adding the cream."

As I began to add the shallots and mushrooms to the foaming butter I realized all too late that my Le Creuset casserole dish is altogether too small. I was (please say this in her voice) "Crowding the mushrooms!" So I tried my own variation which involved doing them in batches. Which involved me schlopping mushroom juice all over my stove top and hot mushrooms on my toes as I clumsily tried to transfer them to and from a plate.

But then she instructs you to cook everything all in one dish in the oven...but my little chickenies were completely covered with mushrooms! Hmm...eventually I did make it work and removed to the chicken to a warmed (boo-yah-yeah it was warm) plate to work on the sauce. A bit of bouillon, dash of wine, reduce reduce, add the cream, add a few drops of lemon juice and voila!

According to Matt it was one of the top 5 things he's ever tasted in his life and he dubbed it, and I quote, "phenomenal." Thanks Julia!

We have decided to make Wednesdays our "no TV" nights so we actually ate dinner at the table, played a card game and I took a bath. I think we need to do that more often!

Today I got the early shift again (feel better Carol!) and was bound and determined to wear a skirt. You know the rules, I have to cycle through bottoms (skirts, slacks, jeans, etc) before I can wear them again and the skirt section in my closet has just sat there staring at me menacingly. Our workplace is a bit more casual than some of the more suit-like stuff I own, so trying to dress it down was going to be a bit of a challenge. But hey, that's why its called the Wardrobe Challenge, right?

So here's Day 8

Thanks to my purse hanging on the coat rack for the substitute tripod...

The pencil skirt from my suit I paired with a graphic tee, sweater and a hat. Whaddya think? My boss said he liked it and when I told him about the challenge got inspired to get rid of all the shirts he's bought and never that's a good thing!

Today's charity spotlight goes to...Doctors Without Borders. Or, since I made a French meal last night, Medecines Sans Frontieres.

Rated 4 stars (the highest) on Charity Navigator, its mission reads:

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters.

Here is an excerpt from an article in the Wall Street Journal that was written by two women stationed in Haiti with MSF when the quake struck:

Five minutes after the quake, people were banging on our door in need of help. There were four of us, including a fourth year nursing student with minor injuries, and we worked all night. The janitor helped with bandages. It was quickly overwhelming from a medical standpoint: Within a few hours there were hundreds of people in need of surgery.I see some people and can't believe they are alive. They have extreme crush injuries, partial amputations, and open fractures. A mother helped me bandage her infant, whose left hand was gone. It took an hour, but once the baby was bandaged, she was calmer. I can't imagine what the mother is going through. I changed the bandages on a little girl and it took me a while to see the wound, but part of her skull was missing. She needs immediate reconstructive surgery.

You can read the article in its entirety
HERE, but I warn you its pretty graphic.

To donate to Doctors Without Borders, click

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wardrobe Challenge Day 6

Quick pic of clouds clearing over Rainier on my way to work this morning...

Before I plunge into where I got my $1 earrings or how Roy's incessant itching is driving me up the wall, let me pause a moment and relay a few thing I heard last night on the situation in Haiti.
First, a miracle story I heard on NPR radio. A woman was visiting Haiti from Florida and was in a grocery store when the earthquake. Amazingly, most of the people in the store survived because they could eat the food off the shelves. When rescuers finally reached them and began to dig them out, you can imagine the woman's surprise when the firefighter who pulled her out was her neighbor from Florida.

Amazingly, people are still being pulled from the rubble alive. A two-month old baby was pulled from the rubble in the hillside after surviving 4 days buried. A two-month old.

Most of you have heard about the texting $10 donations to the Red Cross or other organizations. As of last night (before the Larry King show) over 13 million dollars had been raised via texting alone. That's a crazy amount of $10 texts! So for those of you who think you can't afford much, even a $10 donation is helping make a huge difference.

Here's a good article from the New York Times on Tips for Safe and Efficient Haiti Donations.

So here's today's outcome of the Wardrobe Challenge:

Yes the earrings were $1 from Fred Meyer (I think Fred Meyer...or Target...), shirt's from Express (love those bin sales), sweater from a H&M trip while I was in DC with my parents and Matt, and pants are from Limited (you should see my butt, it's spectacular).

Haha, ok just kidding about the butt part...I need more coffee...

For today's spotlight I'm highlighting World Vision. Matt and I both sponsor a family (you can do that now, how cool is that?) with them. I actually sponsor a family in Romania, which is really awesome cause their handwriting is better than the translator's and I can still semi-read Romanian (dictionary in hand)!

You can support World Vision in two ways. One, by donating to the general cause. Their staff is already established in Haiti and has begun handing out bottled water, food, blankets and health kits. Two, sponsor a child in Haiti. When the dust settles and the world has moved on to newer headlines, the country will still be in shambles with most likely more orphans than there were before. Sponsoring a child will help ensure their continued care, health and education.

Click HERE to donate to World Vision.

Clidk HERE to sponsor a child in Haiti.

The sermon on Sunday night was on James 1:19-27. The verses that stuck out to me were the two at the end:

26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

And I know the banner below is for Singapore but its the only one I could find that I could make work...

Life Changing Gift

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wardrobe Challenge Day 5

Last night we had an awesome windstorm. Those of you who live in So Cal and know the Santa Ana winds will understand what I mean, but I've never heard anything as loud as it was last night! Near deafening! The highest recorded gust was 55 mph, and with us living on the 5th floor on a hill we felt the full brunt of that! Of course Matt slept right through it all...

Last night I watched Coco Before Chanel...she wasn't the happiest of ladies but for anyone who loves fashion and good cinematography its definitely worth your while. Anyways, whever I watch one of these fashion era movies I get inspired in my own dressing. So here's a little 21st century version of Coco's fishermen influence.

Although I doubt she had a 90 lb slobbering dog wanting to play tug-o-war with her all the time.

Today's charity spotlight goes to Hope Force International. My mom has trained and served with them, and in her words:

They have one of the best crisis counseling courses I have ever experienced. Not the pat "Christianese" answers but training on listening and asking questions and responding appropriately to bring emotional and spiritual healing while also meeting tangible needs such food, water, shelter and medical attention. It is a well rounded organization that responds to the whole person - not just spiritually and not just physically. They are centered in Nashville but have a huge presence in Orange County. They believe in preventive training - so they are ready BEFORE disaster strikes and because they are so well respected and are relatively small in comparison to the Red Cross they have been able to get into places quicker and with far less red tape. They were first responders to 911 ( where the organization had it's origins from a group of Pastors who worked directly at ground zero), at Katrina, the Tsunami and countless other natural and man made disasters around the world.

To donate to Hope Force International, click HERE.If there's a charity or organization that you support and want recognized give me a shout!

Also, on a much lighter and more frivilous note, you can place your vote on whether or not you think I should include jewelry in this challenge by clicking HERE and voting on the left hand column.

Wardrobe Challenge Day 4

Today I lucked out because we spent most of the day lounging around in our pajamas. When evening came, however, it became clear that pajamas just wouldn't do for church or a going away party at an Irish pub for two of Matt's coworkers.

Dressing for going out with REI people is a bit tricky. You see, they, like Matt, live most of their lives in REI gear. When Matt wears the occasional button up shirt to work he's teased to no end. On Friday he got a haircut, wore his new jeans and shirt and had 5 people ask him if he'd had a "makeover."

Thus I donned my faithful North Face pants and an Old Navy thermal. Ironically the last time I went to Old Navy I must have tried on 15 long sleeved shirts but they all fit so awkwardly! Tight arms and room enough in the stomach to have been 7 months pregnant! Finally I found this lovely teal number that had some shape to it. You can imagine my shock, however, when I got home and saw the tag "Maternity" on it. Oh well.

We went to church then were off to Kirkland (yes, like the Costco brand...that's where it started) to go to Wild Rovers Pub. We got there and I did my best to be social though in those situations I can't think of a thing to say and can't hear in a pub atmosphere anyways so I spend an hour and a half smiling pleasantly and trying not to look too awkward. Funny thing, though, is out me in charge of a party and I'm the social butterfly. Mental block, I guess.

That's all for Day Four!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wardrobe Challenge Day 3

Ah the weekend. Matt and I had a date to go to the Licensing Dept and get our Washington driver's licenses (finally). So it was time for my fugly jeans (so I don't have to wear them to work) and a cute top to make up for it! Here then is the daily picture taken as a snapshot of what I hoped my Washington license to be...

Thanks mom, for the fabulous indie shirt and slouch brown boots for Christmas! Love 'em! And earrings are from...I don't even remember where. I got them in high school...that's all I remember about that.

And don't forget to cast your vote on whether or not you think I should include jewelry in the challenge!

Only when we finally drove all the way up to Lynnwood...45 minutes going 30 mph...we found that...
it was closed. On Saturday...for MLK Day. Think they should have put that on their website? I do.

Well, as Matt put it, "The worst thing that happened was we got to spend more time together."

We then headed over to the mall to find a 2010 planner when I spotted a Nordstrom Rack across the street.

Now before you get all uppity, I know I started this whole thing to go through my wardrobe completely but I never set any rules on buying new clothes! That being said I did find two pairs of jeans for super cheap that both actually fit me without looking like a soccer mom or a ghetto fabulous chica and I did purchase them.

This challenge wasn't meant to guilt anyone into never buying anything or doling out tons of money to charities. It was meant to make me more aware of what I have versus what many people don't, and put money aside towards a cause while hopefully bringing your attention to it as well. If you think I've abandoned the cause by buying jeans I'm sorry.

Hopefully, though, you'll forgive my lapse of strength and my need for the staple of American wear.

That being said, the charity spotlight today goes to Compassion International. My Aunt Wendy and my best friend Charissa both sponsor children through Compassion and reminded me right away to mention this great organization.

Compassion describes itself thus:

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

Known primarily for their ministry of sponsoring individual children, Compassion also extends aid and relief to disaster regions like Haiti. With personnel already on the ground they are able to coordinate efforts quickly and efficiently. When I was looking them up on Charity Navigator (they have 4 stars, by the way), I saw a news article from the Denver Post that one of their contractors is still missing.

To read about the latest happenings in Haiti with Compassion you can read their Haiti blog.

To donate to Compassion International, click Here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wardrobe Challenge Day 2

Today dawned cold and very very rainy. I resisted the urge to pull on my comfy sweater and one of two pairs of jeans I own and instead put on what I had laid out the night before instead.

As Tim Gunn said (or maybe it was What Not To of those shows), it takes just as much time to pull on a sweater and jeans as it does a nice shirt and pair of slacks. And if they fit right you'll still be comfortable. And ya know, I actually am.

Here's Day 2. Right before Matt snapped the picture I was approached by Mr. Pet-Me-NOW-please so you get to see him too

Here, folks, is the shirt that started this whole thing. The $15 Express shirt, plus coincidentally pants from Express and my Nine West boots Matt got me for Christmas. I could run a marathon in these things.

On Haiti: Here's two charities two of my friends have donated to already

Yele--an organization started by Wyclef Jean. Their latest post reads:

Yéle Haiti has pulled together a group of like minded organizations and first responders in order to help coordinate the delivery of emergency services and materials needed by victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Each or the organizations will undertake their own fundraising and on-the-ground operations, but have agreed to share resources, collaborate when it makes sense and avoid duplication.

The members of this new Haiti Earthquake Alliance are:

Yéle Haiti
Friends of the World Food Program
ONExONE Foundation
Pan American Development Foundation
Airline Ambassadors
The Belinda Stronach Foundation

Just formed in the last day, the Alliance has already pulled together four airlifts of medical supplies, food and other emergency supplies – along with teams of doctors. These airlifts will go out beginning Saturday.

Click Here to donate to Yele

Thanks for the info, Nadine.

And Jill donated to Samaritan's Purse. Many of you probably know them from Operation Christmas Child where kids receive a packed shoebox for Christmas, but they are providing assistance and relief in Haiti right now, as well.

Click Here to donate to Samaritan's Purse

Keep up the good work, people!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wardrobe Challenge Day 1

And so it begins.

Challenge: go as long as I can without duplicating an outfit.

Pants, skirts and sweaters I can cycle through, but I must wear them all before I cycle through again. Tops and dresses I can only wear once.

Should I make this harder on myself and try not to wear the same piece of jewelry or an accessory twice? Place your vote.

Here, for your viewing pleasure (cause I'm so sure it is), is a peek at my wardrobe.

Left side of the closet has sweaters, slacks, skirts and dresses

Right side of the closet has shirts, blouses, scarves and jewelry.

And both sides have shoes.

I know, mock if you will.

And here is Outfit Day 1:

Hat and necklace and shirt from Target. Jean jacket I stole from my mom while I was in high school. Pants from Limited cause they're one of the few places that makes pants that actually fit me and I nearly cried when they stopped making jeans of the same fit. Shoes are leopard print ballet slippers from a little store in Chico.

Oh, and my new eco cup--a porcelin and silicone replica of the kinda of carryout cups you get at Starbucks. Minus the plastic/cardboard taste and a plus for not having to throw it away when you're done.

I added it up this morning and I should be able to go 65 days without repeating an outfit. Add that to the $15 I'm going to be donating towards the Red Cross and while that may not make even a tiny dent in the massive recovery in Haiti, hopefully it will help.

If you want to join for today, you can send a $10 Donation by Texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999. If you are skeptical you can check their website and donate there, on the phone, or the old fashioned way by mailing a check.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Challenge...of a different sort

Tonight I went shopping for jeans and I came home convinced my body is an anomaly of societal norms. There are just flat out no jeans that fit me and don't look like something a ghetto hoochie mama would wear. I did, however, find a new top that was on clearance.

I came home and put my new shirt in my closet and gazed at my abundance of clothes. Now, for the "typical" woman I probably don't have as many clothes. In fact, a few months ago while doing laundry I was amazed at how many more shirts I was hanging for Matt than myself and I added them up. I own less shirts than Matt. Dresses are a different story...but I'm getting off topic.

I have more than enough things to clothe my body with, regardless of whether or not I have more than one flattering pair of jeans. I thought, why don't I see how long I can go without wearing the same thing twice? Pants I'll have to duplicate or I'll get arrested for indecent exposure, but I'll make myself cycle through all the pants, trousers, skirts and dresses I own before I repeat them. Shoes will definitely have to repeat, but a pair of leopard ballet flats goes a long way in making an outfit. But tops I'll only wear once.

And then I had another thought. Just an hour ago on the news they were covering the Haiti disaster. A woman was sitting outside a hospital and showed the camera her leg. Her femur was clearly fractured though it had not broken the skin, and she had been waiting for over a day to get into the hospital. I have so much more than 99% of the people in the world. I bought my new shirt tonight for $15 at Express. Then I thought:

What difference could I make by donating $15 to a nonprofit that assists in Haiti for each day I'm able to wear something I already own?

I did a little research on Charity Navigator--a website that rates charities. In their words:

We rate charities by evaluating two broad areas of financial health, their organizational efficiency and their organizational capacity. We use a set of financial ratios or performance categories to rate each of these two areas, and we issue an overall rating that combines the charity's performance in both areas.

If you go to their home page, there is a section on the recent Haitian crisis and a list of top rated charities that help that area. I'm still not sure which exact charity to donate to...for now it will probably be the Red Cross. From what I've heard from my mom who's worked with them a lot they're a great organization.

So now as I come to the end of this post and the end of my day in which I should have gone to bed hours ago, I challenge you to look in your closet. If you can go longer than a week without repeating an outfit then consider joining me in donating to a nonprofit during this challenge. Heck you may even want to try the challenge yourself.

And no ideas are ever truly original...after I thought about wearing all my clothes I remembered The Uniform Project and her mission to raise money to educate kids in India. Check out her site--she has an even harder challenge to wear the same exact dress every day for a year! Its impressive!

And now I'm going to bed. Stay tuned for the first day of the challenge, and perhaps a peek into my closet and of things to come...

Any suggestions for a name for this Challenge? Rock Your Wardrobe? No...too reminiscent of election '08. Wearing is Caring? Nah, too preschool. All You Can Wear? Hm, that makes me want to sidle up to a buffet....I'll think of something later....