Noonday: Most Worn

A few months ago, I shared about my decision to become an ambassador for Noonday Collection. You can read why I made that decision here. As predicted, I’m totally loving it!

Because really, what’s not to love? I get giddy every time I get to share the stories of the Noonday artisans with new friends who have never heard. It’s truly amazing to think that I can help families in the poorest communities of the world earn a living and keep their families together! What a gift!

Oh, and I get to show off their creations every day (!!). It’s a win-win-win.

Now that I’m a few months in, I wanted to share the pieces I seem to keep coming back to. I’ve yet to find a piece I don’t like, but here are my tried-and-true favorites!IMG_6700

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  1. Gem Trio Studs $68 {made in Peru}- These just seem to go with everything. I tend to wear a lot of t-shirts, and these are so easy to pair with a casual outfit and add a little pop of color. Plus, with all the time I spent in Peru, I’m always partial to those pieces!
  2. Hanoi Necklace $52 {made in Vietnam}- I’ll admit this one caught me by surprise. I didn’t expect to love it, but I find myself wishing I could wear it every day. Can a necklace be comfortable? If so, this is it. I’m obsessed.
  3. Entwined Bracelet $28 {made in India}- Before getting into Noonday, I wasn’t much of a bracelet girl. This one helped me ease into bracelet stacking, plus it absolutely goes with everything. The simplicity & neutrality of it make it perfect for wearing every day! (Which I try to take literally)
  4. Calypso Earrings $30 {made in Vietnam}- These earrings are so versatile I even wore them to Six Flags. James and Betty forced me into riding those absurdly high swings (the ones you can see from the highway 20 miles away…) and as I sat up there spinning and screaming, I was really hoping my super cute earrings weren’t about to fall out. Thankfully, we survived. I kissed the ground and probably these earrings too.

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Above:

  1. Tierdrop Necklace $56 {made in India}- This necklace is SO PRETTY! I’m constantly trying to make it work with any semi-fancy outfit I own. Since it’s more of a statement piece, I haven’t worn it as much as some of the others, but it’s the kind of necklace I get reeeeally excited to wear. Love.
  2. Sofiya Wrap Bracelet $30 {made in India}- I’m not sure if a guy would ever understand this description, but this is my go-to piece of jewelry when I just want to feel girly & pretty. It’s pink and gold and wraps. Enough said.
  3. Cubed Studs, Gold $42 {made in Peru}- I have worn these earrings 10x more than anything else in my wardrobe. They’re simple enough to go with a t-shirt, but just bright enough to be noticeable. I rarely, if ever, go without earrings, so these have become the perfect pair! (they also come in silver, if you’re into that kind of thing)
  4. Everest Wrap Bracelet, Mint $30 {made in India}- I’m pretty into this bright mint color with the gold accents, so I love layering it with a few other gold bracelets. It’s easy to dress up or dress down, and that is the kind of versatility that will always win in my wardrobe!

Well, as I’m examining these pieces now, it looks like I’m pretty partial to the pieces made by Indian artisans… Check out Sofiya’s story here! (yep- she’s the name behind that bracelet I’m obsessed with too!)

So, what about you?! Do you have a favorite Noonday piece yet?

PS- if you’ve ever thought about hosting a Noonday trunk show, let’s chat! Fall/Winter is a perfect time for shopping for all those Christmas gifts! #purchasewithpurpose 

xo

More Noonday!

Every once in a while, there are decisions that just make sense. Maybe not at first, but as I mustered up enough courage to say out loud what had been rolling around my brain the past few months, no one was surprised. There are people who really know me well out there in the world, and when they heard I was thinking of jumping in further with Noonday, they patiently listened to all of my reasons why it might not work, and then they smiled politely and gently gave me the nudge I needed.Noonday  LOGO

I have become passionate about this idea of redemption in all areas of life. If I, a mess of a person, can be redeemed to be used for God’s Kingdom work, then why not everything? I’ve always been into fashion, sometimes admittedly to an unhealthy extent, but what if even fashion could be redeemed for Kingdom work?

It sounds crazy. It sounds “not holy enough.” (That’s not a thing, by the way)

But then I heard Jalia & Daniel’s story in Uganda.. [only 4 minutes long]

God has created us in the most amazing ways; He even designed work, which brings dignity to people’s lives unlike anything else. Certainly I’ve never lived in poverty, but I remember my job-hunting days as some of the lowest points of my life. Even then, I had incredible “support nets.” After visiting Uganda, I saw poverty and felt a helplessness I couldn’t shake. Surely there was something I could do?

Noonday Collection’s mission is to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. We partner with artisans in the developing world, empowering them to grow sustainable businesses. By creating a marketplace for their goods, we create dignified jobs at living wages.

This allows our artisans to earn more in order to support their families. We also offer no interest loans and make advance payments on orders. This way we are able to shoulder the costs of materials and build a lasting relationship based on trust.

Noonday Collection is not a charity and we do not believe that providing a hand out is a sustainable long-term solution to poverty. We aim to be a sustainable business that gives women across the United States a way to make a lasting difference in the fight against poverty and injustice.

-from Noonday Impact page

I’ve decided to jump in and be an Ambassador for Noonday, mostly because I’m already talking about it all the time, and it seems like a perfect opportunity to combine my passions & gifts. I already have an awesome full-time job, so it won’t have to be a stressful thing, but more of a fun outlet on the side. {more info on what it means to be an ambassador here}

Basically, it means if you ever want to host a Noonday trunk show, I’d love to help you! I’ll bring all the samples & you bring your friends. Together, we can share the vision of “purchasing for purpose” to impact the lives of families across the globe. Also, if you ever want to just buy a few pieces, you can buy directly from me here: chelseawilliams.noondaycollection.com

I’d also encourage you to spend some time learning about the Who, How, + Where of the Noonday impact. With partnerships in 10 different countries, from Guatamala to Vietnam to Rwanda, the stories abound. Be inspired!splash-map

{story of Noonday}

{shop here}

Noonday Party Recap

So, a couple weeks ago, I finally hosted a Noonday trunk show! I’ve been interested in the fair trade jewelry market for the past few years, especially loving 31 Bits & Sseko Designs. Ashley and I hosted a 31 Bits party pre-Christmas 2012 and LOVED it!

Noonday, like several other fair trade jewelry companies, hasn’t been around too long. I started to hear about it around the time I read Seven by Jen Hatmaker. Since studying through that book revealed so much of my materialism, I especially became interested in an idea of redeeming how I shop. 20140602-205441-75281069.jpg

Of course, I first needed to realize that it’s not my money (it’s God’s money that has been entrusted to me), and then I could focus on spending less. In an effort to buy less stuff, I realized there was a way to even make what I buy make a difference. Once I started really seeing the world, and seeing the incredible lack of opportunity for people born into extreme poverty, I became completely fascinated by companies seeking to partner and empower those most vulnerable.

{It also rocks your world when suddenly you meet your brother and sister who, well, would have been there. Everything changes when you know their names.}
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(photo from the noonday blog)

Still, I don’t want to waste my money on junk that I’ll never use (neither should you). Then Noonday comes along and has jewelry designed by former Anthropologie designers. Intentional fashion. Brilliant. No wonder I’m swooning over every collection they put out!

Finally, a few months ago, I contacted a noonday ambassador to host a show. The thing is, it’s tricky to invite people to things like this. I was a little intimidated. However, this isn’t some kind of pyramid scheme; they simply know the jewelry looks best in a home when you can try it on. Also? totally, completely, so FUN.20140602-205440-75280243.jpgNoonday party

We had the best time! I was the worst at taking pictures, so there are hardly any… but it was so great to have so many fun friends from several different Dallas circles in our home and learning about something I’ve become so passionate about. I loved getting to share a vision with them, and loved getting to see friends join in. For me, it wasn’t about how much people bought, I really wanted people to see and catch a breath of the vision.

It ended up being so simple and refreshing. We had the best time, and it has been so fun to see friends showing off their new jewelry! Even better: each piece has a unique story. I fully believe we can purchase with purpose, and help give life and opportunity to the world’s most vulnerable. Is it a small thing? Of course. I also can’t think of any big thing ever that didn’t start small…blog-03-07-2014-ethgroup(photo from the noonday blog)

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.”  -Isaiah 58:10

The 31 Bits Party

IMG_2261I must admit, I am still a bit giddy from the 31 Bits party we threw last night!

If you have talked with me much this semester, you know my mind has been in a million places. Set off by reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker, I realized I have way too much stuff, then when I do buy stuff, sometimes it is made by slaves, then there are people who live on less than $1 a day, and they’re stuck in these endless cycles of poverty.. and I have so much. I have so much stuff, yes, but also I have so much hope. How to bridge this disconnect? What can be done?

Ashley (mentioned in the 7 post above) and I have become research-extraordinaires during this season! We have googled, read blogs, read books, and learned an immense amount of information. We also have discovered a multitude of fair trade companies, that seek to bridge the gap and empower people in third-world countries. We found a lot, and most of them were cool, but we probably would not buy anything from them.

But then, we gasped. We found 31 Bits.

Indentity from 31 Bits on Vimeo.

The video above will give you a great idea of who these people are and what they do. In a nutshell, there is a group of very talented girls out in LA who made a trip to Uganda, and wanted to help empower the amazing women they found there. They decided they could use fashion and design to empower these women through business, and 31 Bits was founded.

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This jewelry is incredible. Not only that, but their website is also expertly designed, and the company is very well-run. I so appreciate all the details and thought they put into everything!

Eager to get involved, Ashley and I decided to host a house party for Christmas to display and sell some of their fabulous products. I love having friends and roommates who are always up for a party! We loved it!

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IMG_2320It was fun to check some gifts off our Christmas lists (and maybe snag a few for ourselves too), while simultaneously supporting Ugandan women. Since my new future brother and sister are in Uganda now, the cause is understandably close to my heart!

In the photo above, see the two sitting on the couch laughing at that book? That would be our always-a-hit coffee table book: Awkward Family Photos. We’re really mature. Oh and Mel had command of the camera most of the night. As evidenced below:

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We had some yummy snacks (of course), including my favorite shortbread cookies, peppermint puppy chow, stove hot chocolate, and peppermint whipped cream!

Ashley and I have always loved throwing parties, but I think this was one of our favorites. Be inspired. Go check out 31 Bits. (website, twitter, facebook, pinterest) You’ll love them. ((and so will anyone who receives them!))

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Realizing You Have 31 Scarves

Yes, I have 31 scarves, and I live in Texas. I also have over 60 t-shirts. I stopped counting things after that, since I wanted to throw up.

What could possibly drive me to count these items? Well, I recently read this book by Jen Hatmaker. If only she knew me, I know we’d be best friends..

I started following Jen on Twitter back during the Olympics, and cried laughing at just about every comment she made about the Games. The girl is funny! So naturally, in addition to other blogger’s recommendations, I went out and bought her book.

This was in the middle of summer, so I didn’t think much of it, and never expected to join in on the 7 journey, I just wanted to read it. Simple. Consumerism at its best.

Here’s my brief synopsis of the book:: Jen and her family realize they have way too much stuff. They realize they are on this continual quest for more, and in the midst of the excess she realizes the blind spots of her faith have been revealed. In an earnest plea for repentance, Jen comes up with some areas in her life to fast. She picks 7 areas, takes 7 months of her life (1 per month), and documents the journey in this book.

As a reader, I was intrigued. However, one of the areas she chooses is clothes. She wears just 7 items of clothes for a whole month. Obviously, I could never do that. Totally unrealistic.

Then out of nowhere, before we had even discussed the book, my dear friend Ashley texted me telling me she was going to do it, and she thought I should probably join her. The conversation went something like this:

Ashley: Someone recommended I should go on a fast from fashion, so she said I should read and follow this book called 7. I thought maybe you might want to do it with me..

Me: Oh cool! I’ve already bought the book actually! Love Jen Hatmaker. Except, I don’t think I could actually do it.. Some of it’s pretty extreme.

Ashley: Yeah, the clothes part makes me want to cry.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t really take this conversation seriously. Keep in mind Ashley and I bonded instantly over shopping and the lack of cool stores and fashions in east Texas when she moved her with her husband a year and a half ago. Ironic? A few weeks later, Ashley called again and said she was starting September 1. She didn’t force me into it, but I knew the Lord was gently urging both of us to begin the journey. Month one? Clothes.

Before you, dear reader, get too much of a big head about how easy you think this might be, I’d like you to stop and consider which 7 items you would choose from your wardrobe to wear for a month. Undergarments don’t count, and we both counted two pairs of shoes as one item (so does Jen in the book). Also, because of the nature of our jobs, I counted two pine cove t-shirts as one item, since I’m required to wear them while working weekends.

So, nine items all together:

Can we all take a second to marvel at how small that pile is? I typically pack more things than this for an overnight getaway! Also, Toms should probably use me as an endorser for their incredible ballet flats. I’m still not sick of them, and got loads of compliments on them!

… Slightly beside the point.

So I just wore those clothes for four weeks. Several things stuck out:

1. No one noticed. Sure, my roommates knew what I was up to, and I admittedly work in an office with all guys, but still. Maybe no one else is as obsessed with my appearance like I act like they are.

2. It was completely possible. I missed accessorizing, and I missed being creative in fashion choices, but I didn’t die. I never even got sad about it. Before the month began Ashley and I both laughed about our expected breakdowns. They never came. Instead, I realized I have an extreme amount of excess. I “need” another pair of jeans? I “need” that scarf? Trust me, I’m notorious for calling any clothing purchase an investment. I’d like to call myself out on that one.

3. Clothes and accessories are luxuries that I want for my own credit. I want certain clothes to make myself feel valuable, beautiful, and important. This is a lie. My value, beauty, femininity, purpose and worth come from my Creator alone.

4. Idols have always come in weird forms. In the Old Testament, people made idols out of wood, gold, and iron. Today I make idols out of fabric and thread. The items themselves are neutral. I am the one who makes idols.

Clothes and material things are not evil. I don’t plan on wearing burlap sacks for the rest of my life. Or ever actually. But my perspective has shifted. My definition of wants vs. needs has shifted. A massive closet clean-out is in the works.

What now? Ashley plans on setting a reasonable “cap” on the number of shirts/dresses/pants/etc. in her closet, then when she buys something new, one of the few remaining will have to go. I haven’t decided exactly what my method will be, but there will be change. My actions will follow my heart, and I have the feeling this journey is only beginning.

 

More 7 journey posts to come. In the meantime, check out the book for yourself. Or maybe do your own closet-count. Just for fun?