Tuesday, November 29, 2016

simplicity 2016: dressember

"So wait, you're wearing the same dress. For the entire month?"

This is the question that I have gotten the most when I tell people about my plan for Dressember.

For those that don't know, Dressember is an anti-trafficking awareness campaign that takes place every December. Women around the globe commit to wearing a dress every day for the entire month. 

They take photos in their dresses and share on social media. They also raise money that goes to two grant partners that work to rescue individuals directly out of trafficking situations. 

It's pretty cool.

But the thing is, just wearing a dress doesn't rescue people.

Wearing a dress starts a conversation.

And by having conversations, we educate. And hopefully change some narratives and stories that are out there regarding women.

That is, where I believe, the power really lies. When we change the narrative in our head, and when we are more open to the action steps that need to happen, change occurs.

So why the same dress.

When I decided to practice a year of simplicity, I knew I wanted it to permeate every area of my life that it could. Even Dressember.

So, in keeping with my theme, I will be wearing the same dress for the entire month.

I didn't think I would care one way or the other if I wore the same thing. I mean, I wear the same jeans all week sometimes.

But in total transparency, I got up this morning and felt a twinge of sadness as I looked at all the clothes that were just going to sit there for a month.

Which sounds so silly. To be sad that clothes will be left unworn. But, silly or not, I felt it.

And that's one reason why I think this process will be good for me.I think it will be good to not focus so much on what I wear. But instead, to focus on the issue of human trafficking.

To focus on raising as much money as we can to fund rescue missions. To become more educated about how I can get involved with local organizations that are fighting this evil. To get outside of myself and realize my privilege. To ask questions and be curious about things that are happening outside my sphere. And work to change the things that take away the freedom and dignity of others.

And if wearing the same dress every day for a month gives me the space to do that, then I think it is a good thing.

The Dressember campaign has a quote, "The heart of Dressember is FREEDOM -- that every woman has the right to live a vibrant and autonomous life."

This is probably the single most inspiring thing about this campaign -- at least for me. The truth that every woman (man and child) has the right to freedom, dignity and respect.

And that's a message I want to share with the world. Because I think that mentality can change the world.


***if you are interested in participating, or in joining my team - click here for more info

Sunday, November 13, 2016

simplicity 2016: instant coffee is gross

Last post I blabbed on and on about how great it is to shop with cash and how much popcorn I eat.

This week I am going to blab about how I am a big fat liar and the cash keeps disappearing from my wallet.

Oh, and I am also going to blab about the fact that I will never give up popcorn.

Do you hear me?


Real talk though? I was seriously considering giving up on this paying in cash thing this week.

Because by Wednesday I had spent all but $5 of my weekly budget.

Yes, you read that correctly.

By Wednesday.

Sheesh. What is wrong with me....


With my aforementioned $5, I took myself to Target Wednesday evening because I needed some ish.

Some lady stuffs, some coffee cream, some coffee. Stuff that is super boring but I am telling you about it anyway.

So, you're welcome.

I honestly do not know why I walked so confidently into the store. Like, $5 wasn't going to get all that stuff.

Okay, I actually forgot I needed coffee when I first walked in, and that's probably why my walk was so confident. Because when I realized that I needed coffee after grabbing my other stuff, I panicked.

Because... coffee.... #neednotwant

Yeah, I almost broke down and bought some of those delicious beans with my debit card right then and there. They were calling my name. Loudly and quite provocatively to be honest. Skanky beans...

But NO! I made a commitment dang it! And I was going to keep it.....

Even though I really love coffee (insert lots of tears)

All of a sudden, I had this idea. What about sample packs of coffee? Surely Target had to have something like that.

And they did. Just not for a dollar. Which is all I had left. #dangit

Then I saw it. Smiling down on me with it's obviously cheap packaging and super affordable price tag.

Instant coffee.

Specifically, Cuban instant coffee.

Because it was $.25 cheaper than Folgers instant coffee.

I'll shoot straight with you guys... I should've paid the extra $.25

This stuff tasted like that instant cappuccino powder that your mom used to keep in the cupboard for "special occasions."

For four days I drank the kind of coffee you drink on a missions trip. Acrid, thick, really dark, and kind of questionable smelling.

I can also say that I have never in my life used so much creamer in my coffee. I am hands down going to have cavities from this experience.

Yesterday I bought coffee beans and this morning I almost wept with joy as I poured liquid gold into my tumbler.

It was a truly spiritual moment. Angels were singing. Harps played backup. It was a good cup of joe.

In all seriousness, it really hit me hard when I only had a $1.00 leftover to buy coffee.

It hit me because people in America, and in other countries, live like that all the time.

They don't have the luxury of choosing dark roast or blonde roast. They don't have the choice of french vanilla or hazelnut. Grande or Vente.

Their choices are based on what they can afford, down to the very last penny.

The rest of the week felt pretty humbling. Because even though I have money in the bank and could totally buy coffee and be fine, I was pushing myself outside the comfort zone I have created.

I thought about that every time I opened a packet of that instant coffee.

It was a really interesting place to hang out.

I realized I am so much more blessed than I thought. I have so much more accessible to me than I acknowledge. And, I really have such a greater capacity to give back than what I have been telling myself I did.

So, if I have a clearer picture of what is entrusted to me financially because of a box of instant coffee, then it was $.94 well spent.

It was so gross. But it taught me well. And for that I am thankful.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

simplicity 2016: #nospendnovember

When I was 8 years old, my mom took me to the bank, and we opened my very first savings account.

I would say that this is my earliest memory surrounding the concept of money.

The second was when I started getting an allowance and my parents used that to teach monetary responsibility.

Then I saved my money to buy my American Girl doll.

I later started babysitting and buying my own clothes.

High school came and I created a budget and was able to save up and buy a car.

And basically since then, I've been fairly good with my money. At least I thought so.


Like I mentioned in my previous post, I'm practicing No Spend November. Or at least a Limited Spend November.

Because I wanted to see where my money was really going.

I wanted to challenge this belief that my finances didn't really need any work. That I am so good and solid I don't need to work on it.

Oh hey pride...

Anyway....when I started thinking about lessening my spending, I started to think about how I used to spend money when I was younger.

When I opened that bank account. When I saved for a my doll. When I paid for my clothes and saved for a car.

I payed mostly in cash.

Which is fascinating when you think about it in contrast to how we typically spend today.

Credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc....

There is this interesting thing that happens when you pay with cash. When a physical transaction occurs.

You pay attention to what is being handed over. You pay attention to what you get back.
You feel the deficit, the lightness in your wallet and you are more aware of what is left over.

With these thoughts in mind, I trudged forward into Week One of No Spend November #cashonly



I eat out a lot and buy ALOT of popcorn.....

Now I didn't do that this week. I just realized how much I was doing it when I was spending with my debit card.

And because I am not bouncing checks or overdrawing my account each month, I wasn't really paying attention.

I mean sure, I would notice my spending was up on Mint.com, but since I was consistently saving and putting money aside for the future, I figured it didn't really matter.

How very foolish that thought process was more me....

You see, this week gave me some "aha" moments:

  • I have believed a lie about what the amount of money I make means for me and my lifestyle
  • Meal prepping is a thing and it's super good for me and my stress levels.
  • I'm checking my bank account balance less
  • The act of being able to purchase food is really powerful


That last one stuck with me. And because it did, I want to share a story from this week.

I stopped by the store on saturday to pick up a couple things.

Yes, one was popcorn. But don't stress. I used cash.

Anyway, the couple in front of me were trying to pay for their groceries, but were having trouble with their card.

Which, is a super hard spot to be in. Especially when a line of people are forming behind you.

So I asked if I could pay for their groceries. They said yes. They got their OJ. It was cool.

And after I did, the cashier said, "Well, looks like you did your good deed for the week."


Doing good and being kind shouldn't be a weekly task we check off. It shouldn't be something we do to feel better about ourself.

I truly believe that Jesus calls each of us to a constant spirit of generosity. An immediate willingness to give back to those who may or may not be having a tough time.

I didn't pay for their groceries because I wanted a high five. And I didn't share the story for praise.

I shared it for two reasons:

  1. I can totally relate to not being able to pay for something due to lack of funds.
  2. I think we all can be more generous and aware of others needs than we are.

And really, that's what I want this month to be about. I want it to be about discovering how much farther my dollars can go towards doing good. I want my life to be more about other people and less about me.

I don't think I am going to stop doing fun things, traveling or occasionally eating out. But, I definitely don't want those things to financially define me.

I just want to do some good.