Wednesday, April 2

Autism Awareness with Sevenly!

This week I've partnered with Sevenly + Autism Speaks to talk about autism awareness. 

If you've noticed, there have been quite a few posts recently related to charity and certain causes. I have been feeling kind of blah about blogging, and so I've been trying to blog about things I truly care about that are bigger than me. It has given me new energy to focus on blogging and it makes this time spent on the computer much more enjoyable and I actually want to spend time doing it. 

Also, if you haven't read about sweet little Charlie yet...go do it!

"Shine a Light" tee available here

So today, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day (pretty appropriate day for the post, right?). I think it's safe to say that since autism is so common now (1 in 68 children), lots of us have experience with ASD to varying extents. I want to share a story with you quickly about what made me passionate about this cause. 

In high school, I got the opportunity to be a tutor in a Life Skills class and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. All of the kids in the class were about the same age as me. Actually, the boy who I became the closest with, we'll call him Kyle (I like to keep people's privacy!), was a year older than me. One of my favorite parts of my day was going to hang out with Kyle. Even though he couldn't communicate with me verbally,  we got to know each other. 

He had this cool computer (forgive me for not knowing the real term) that he could type into to let us know what he wanted, and almost every day he'd ask to go get chips out of the vending machine. The sheer joy on his face when he opened the bag instantly turned any bad day upside down. We want on walks to open his locker, walks for exercise around the hallways, worked out in the gym. Hanging out with him was the only thing that ever made me like routines. I loved watching him do his circuit on the strength training machines and was ever in awe of the way he whipped out a math worksheet before I could even get my calculator out to check the first problem.

He liked to go swimming at his family's lake house and I even got to go to a graduation party for him at school a couple of years after I graduated. 

I want to be able to connect with people in that way again. Not so much as an educator, but as someone who can hang out and enjoy life with some of the most amazing people this world has to offer. 

I have this dream of one day being a stay at home mom when Carter is in high school, and having the ability to decide that instead of going out and getting a "real" job, I will go volunteer all of my time away. Who knows if that will ever work out, but it's a pretty good dream to have (at least I think it is).

And now let me segue into something not so smoothly. Being a parent is terrifying, but I think it can be even more scary with a child with special needs. Wandering is a behavior associated with ASD. 48% of children with ASD wander from a safe environment (this is a rate about 4 times higher than children without ASD). 58% of parents said that wandering is one of the most stressful ASD behaviors. 

The good news? This week, your purchase at Sevenly provides locating devices that will help keep children with autism safe. 

Find the shirt I styled here.

Visit Sevenly's website for more information.


Thursday, March 27

Meet Charlie!


Hey friends! I want you to meet one of the most adorable little girls on the planet. Charlie is the little cutie in the bottom left of that sweet photo!

I went to high school (and elementary school too!) with her beautiful momma, Katie. Today we have a little opportunity to help them out! Charlie was born with hydranencephaly. If you've never heard of hydranencephaly, you can learn about it here. Because of Mobility Awareness Month, they have the opportunity to possibly get a van that would be able to fit Charlie's wheel chair and would open up several opportunities for them.

Here is their story:

Our beautiful daughter Charlie was born with Hydranencephaly, a rare condition in which 80-85 percent of the cerebral hemispheres in her brain are missing, it is a grim prognosis. When she was diagnosed, we were told that what makes a person human is absent in her, we were also told that she absolutely would not see her first birthday. Charlie will be four in August and is as stubborn as they come. Because of her primary diagnosis she also has Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes Insipidus, Blindess and is unable to do many seemingly simple tasks such as sitting up on her own, walking, speaking or maintaining head control for any great length of time.
 

Because of her prognosis and many daily needs her father and I decided it would be in her best interest if I were to stay home with her while he works. I am so grateful to be able to spend this time with my beautiful girl because every moment with her is so precious and I know that I won’t get it back. Unfortunately, because we only have one income, we only have one vehicle which her father needs to get back and forth from work. This makes it difficult to coordinate appointments and to arrange for transportation especially when traveling to Boston. When we can use our vehicle, our car is too small for her wheelchair which means I usually need to carry her everywhere. Needless to say, at forty pounds, Charlie is no longer easy to carry especially when I have to haul her fifteen pound diaper bag as well! Within a very short period of time, Charlie will no longer fit in a safe and appropriate car seat, making transporting her seemingly impossible.
 

We would so greatly appreciate any mode of safe transportation in order to provide Charlie with the best care, quality and longest life possible. It would mean so much more to us than simply making our life more convenient, it would open up much greater possibilities for our beautiful little girl.

If you can spare just two minutes (seriously, I did it, it only takes 2 minutes!), can you vote for them here? You can vote every 24 hours (until May 9th) if you're so inclined! Also, if you click the "answer a question" button, you'll be qualified for two votes if you get the mobility-related question correct.

I would take it very personally (in a good way!) if all my good blogging friends could take the time to do this (you know who you are!)

Thanks so much for stopping by and listening. Don't forget to vote!

And if you can't spare two minutes right now, share the link!

Monday, March 24

Let Them Be Free {human trafficking}

This week, I'm partnering with Not for Sale + Sevenly to rescue children at risk of being trafficked

I heard about Not For Sale for the first time in college. The president of Not For Sale spoke at commencement at my school the year before I graduated. I remember first really understanding what human trafficking was when I was in college. Listening to speakers, watching documentaries. It was something that really grabbed my attention. Previously, I was one of those people living in my own little bubble, forgetting that such horrors exist; thinking they only happen in far off, obscure places. But they don't. Human trafficking occurs here, in the US, in your city. And those people living in far off places...they're people just like us, and are often more vulnerable to trafficking because of dire economic circumstances. 

30 million people are currently enslaved around the world. Modern-day slavery is currently growing. While most people are aware of sex trafficking, slave labor and debt bondage are also types of modern-day slavery. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world (tied with arms dealing and only preceded by drug dealing). {Source} {Check the US Dept of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet if you're interested in additional information}

find this shirt and similar styles here

So what can you do about it?
  • Take a look at the t-shirts for sale  at Sevenly. Purchases this week will go to support Not For Sale and the work they are doing to fight modern-day slavery.
  • Download the app Free2Work (it's available for both iPhone and Android). This app allows you to scan barcodes of clothing so that you can be aware of the origin of the products and materials used by manufactures. It will help you figure out which manufactures are committed to addressing human trafficking.
  • Buy fair trade. Yes, it's a little more expensive. But is the cost of unsafe work conditions and meager pay  worth the 30 cents you'll save by purchasing a cheaper brand?

 

Not For Sale works to fight modern-day slavery. They provide direct services to victims of human trafficking and people vulnerable to exploitation, and attack the root causes through education, skill development and job creation.

Sunday, March 23

Recent Essentials: Carter + Amy

Carter recently had a huge growth spurt and had no. clothes. I've been procrastinating because we're at that awkward moment where it isn't winter, but it isn't spring either. I wanted to wait for warm weather to revamp his closet, but the high waters just weren't cutting it. The number of times he tried to pull his pant legs down over his ankles was starting to become hilarious.

I love that he's at the age now where he can pick out his own clothes. These are a few recent things Carter's acquired. Since it is still in the 40s here he's rocking his Toms with socks. New fashion statement? Not something I would wear, but I'm all about letting him make his own outfit decisions. Now that he's this little person with an opinion, I think he needs opportunities to express it.

Carter Approved

Tiny Toms (ours are from Zulily) >> Sweatpants from H&M >> Angry Birds hat from H&M
V Necks--this one is from Nordstrom >> These Nikes are at Kohl's >> Vans at Kohl's

A few things have been making my days easier recently. I am in a complete funk where I feel like I can not go on if we don't have a day above 50. I am waiting (not so patiently) for it.  I know, you really wanted to come over here and hear me complain about the weather. I'm done, promise.                                                         
Amy Approved

>>I love Lea Michele. My favorites so far are Cannonball, Battlefield and Thousand Needles. 

>>This perfume just makes me feel happy. But I'm too cheap to buy it so I just buy little samples here and there online! 

>>My Breville juicer. The love of my life besides Tom and Carter. It's been making it way easier to get my veggies in. How hard is it to eat healthy when it's cold and cloudy?! Extremely. 

>> I'm wearing this Zoya nail polish right now. 

>>Yes, the Plasma Car is on my "approved" list. It keeps Carter occupied for a large portion of the day, it doesn't scratch our hardwood floors, and I may or may not whip around the house on it when Carter's otherwise engaged. It is so much fun! 

(not pictured) is my new best friend.

*Here's to surviving this dragging cold weather. I'm going to go down some vitamin D, see you tomorrow!*

Wednesday, March 12

On Gendercide in China {and something you can do about it}

Today I'm teaming up with Sevenly and the charity All Girls Allowed to talk about Gendercide in China.

Up until this point, I knew gendercide was widespread in China, but when I heard the following statistic: 1.1 million girls are lost every year due to sex-selective abortion, abandonment, or infanticide it really stuck with me. It is one of those topics that was in the back of my mind, lingering, I need to do something about this. But I didn't really know where to start.

Sevenly contacted me not long ago to ask if I'd like to participate in this campaign and I'm so glad they did.

Parents go to extreme measures (like sex-selective abortion, abandonment, and infanticide) because of the strict One-Child Policy in China as well as a strong cultural preference for boys.  Even if participating in this blog campaign is a super small step in the right direction, it's a good place to start.
If you'd like to participate in this campaign take a look at the fashion-friendly tees on Sevenly's site.

Find the Beauty Tee here (it's the one below). There are also other styles on Sevenly.org



Your purchase saves the life of a baby girl in China at risk of being discarded or killed. 
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope you'll consider purchasing from Sevenly.

I'm so happy I can use this blog as a platform for things as I believe in, as well as to share unfortunate things that happen to me at Walmart (stay tuned--it's a good one). It's a nice little juxtaposition we have going on here.

**More about the charity: All Girls Allowed provides food, clothing, and medical aid to at-risk baby girls. They also work with mothers to keep and care for their baby girls, and seek to restore the value of girls in the community.



Tuesday, March 4

Our Week + More Le Tote!

Tonight is one of those nights where I sit down and have nothing interesting to say. Let me tell you about the excitement that is my week. Monday, Carter had his first dentist appointment. He was a champ. Got those little teeth cleaned and no cavities! That was huge. Gave me some courage that maybe I'm doing something right (do you know how hard it is to brush a 2 year old's teeth?)

Today, we went to his first gymnastics class (well first of this session and first at this new place). It was....interesting. He did cool things (climbed a cargo net, parallel bars, rings) bbuuuttt his listening skills really weren't all that engaged. I think there was too much to look at, climb on, and just too much general excitement for him to feel like listening to me was any type of priority. Tomorrow's a new day!

In other news,  I got a second tote from Le Tote and it was another success. I was definitely feeling this navy lace top. I've decided that Le Tote is my dream come true because it's like constant shopping without the insane expense. 

You only have to pay $49/month for the Boutique Box (3 garments, 2 accessories) and you can get as many totes per month as you want (and 2 day shipping both ways so you never have to wait long for another tote). Basically you never have to wear the same thing twice. 

Sounds good to me. I no longer possess the time or effort needed to have new regular outfits to wear, so I need someone else to do all the work for me. 







Venetian Lace Blouse here
Marie Peasant Top here
Taupe/Gold Cocktail Ring here
Gold Link Bracelet here



Sunday, March 2

High Waisted Skirt + Documentaries

Talk about juxtaposing topics. Let's talk fashion first because probably most of you think that is more fun than the latter.




This skirt was made custom at eShakti. You want to know the best part besides the adorable gold bicycle print? Pockets!! I need pockets with my skirts because where else would I keep my favorite chapstick?
top is from Le Tote
skirt c/o eShakti: similar one here

If you haven't heard of eShakti, it's time to get acquainted. I've also talked about them here and here.

When you order from them, you can customize the piece (length, embroidery or not, pockets or not, etc). For this skirt, I chose to get it a bit shorter than the one shown on the website, and I kept the embroidery and pockets (how could you not?!) My most favorite thing is that you can order according to your measurements. And we all know how I think sizes are the worst thing since sliced bread. (Why does sliced bread have to be the best? It's usually unhealthy and it doesn't even taste that good. Sorry to be miss negativity. I realize this isn't Negatively Amy).

So, anyway--eShakti. Order by measurements. Customize. Win for all.

*  *  *  *  *  *

My new favorite thing is to watch documentaries. I've always enjoyed watching them, but lately it's been going on quite frequently.

There are two, that even though I watched them some time ago, I can't get them out of my head. Blackfish and Bridegroom.

First of all, we're never going to Sea World (poor Carter, boo hoo). Second, the interviews with the grandmas in Bridgroom were the only times that allowed me to compose myself before another bout of bawling. The grandmas are super awesome morphs of Yetta from The Nanny and Sophia from Golden Girls. You just want to give them five million hugs.

Let me just tell you that if you haven't seen these, you're going to need a whole heck of a lot of tissues--so stock up.

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