Once upon a time in Australia

Throwback Thursday: My bestie Jenava and me, in high school. We were hanging out on my front lawn, skipping english, and taking photos for our photography class next period. This was a selfie, before #selfie's even existed. We were hip. Back then we even developed our own selfies in a dark room.

She's gonna hate this pic, but we both know there are worse photos out there, and she knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

The reason for my TBT is because someone just asked if we have a blog documenting the months we lived in Australia together, but that happened before online blogs even existed. I have an album, but no blog. Since my hormones are running a marathon, my sentimental self is feeling especially sad about this. It was a life changing time.  In Australia, Jenava made me stand naked in front a mirror each night and say 10 things nice about myself before I went to bed. Who does that? She then let me take off with a strange man I'd just met, and head down to Tasmania for a week. Who does that?  And in March, 14 years after our Australian adventure, she flew in for my wedding 10 days in advance, did ALL of the flowers, and set up the entire venue, staying up into the wee hours of many mornings. Who does that?

So now, my TBT has turned into a mushy, hormone-blamed love fest.  The reason for this post: To say hey! The two of us lived in Australia together!! We lived in Bendigo, in a home her father owns. It was amazing! At my wedding dinner, she spoke of the time she made me capture a humungous Hunstman spider off my bedroom wall. She felt it was time I got over the spider fears. I stood on a chair and she handed me the vase. (A glass was too small). I held her hand, and I went for it. The tears started streaming down my face. She felt horrible.  I felt like I had conquered the enemy. Thank you, Jenava.

Here is the only scanned photo I have of us in Australia. It was near Christmas.  This was back when photos were still taken by film. The cool thing is that Jenava still takes photographs with film. check it out: www.jenavatait.com  (she's still building the site. More to come!) I love her.

jenava. lauren. Melbourne.



Thoughts on a Wednesday, while taking a break from writing news releases

I have to take issue with something.

Yoga pants and leggings. And I don’t mean that they aren’t great. I mean, they’re great.  They’re so great, that I take issue with all of the people who don’t think we should be wearing them out all of the time. (For those that didn’t know this was an issue, go ask Google, or a BYU student, and be informed).

When living in Santa Monica this summer (also known as the Land of Lulu Lemon) I heard not one, not two, and not just three people (I’m serious, there were at least 4) say that they didn’t understand why women so often wore leggings/yoga pants (now known officially as the power-couple: yeggings).  I, being crazy surprised by this trending opinion, took to asking lots of questions. One particular gentleman, who is single and ready-to-mingle nonetheless, said: “Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I really like it when girls wear them, I just don’t know why they’d want to show so much. They’re pretty immodest.”  

[This is me taking a deep breath before continuing]. 

First off,  this statement objectifies women. It implies that it is a woman’s responsibility to make sure that they don't dress to turn him on, and that if a woman was dressed in something he considered immodest, (or “hot”, depending on the definition) she was doing this purposefully to get his attention. I’m not going to get too into this, but if interested in further reading, this blog post says it well. 

I took my yeggings questions to facebook, and emailing, and there, it was mostly the women complaining about the modesty issue, and not the men. As women, we should be giving men more credit: Men are not animals that can’t control themselves. They can turn away, or enjoy the female form—it’s up to them--but why modesty is even in the conversation when it comes to yeggings is beyond me.  Daisy dukes, hot pants, string bikinis … now yeggings join the ranks? Really? I feel modesty used to be a great word, but that it's become tainted by its focus on the female wardrobe. Now that it’s become a part of the yeggings convo, I want it banned. I'm all for teaching our youth (boys and girls) to dress with respect for oneself, but  I feel it should focus on the the individual, and not anyone else's possible reaction. 

With that out of the way, here are the REAL reasons women who wear yeggings wear yeggings.

They are comfortable. Hands-down, (or hands in the air to celebrate!) they are the most comfortable piece of clothing in a woman’s wardrobe. If it were between sweats, or yeggings, I’d pick yeggings. The tightness helps soothe my varicose veins. Have you ever tried on a pair of women’s jeans? They might look good, but no one is calling skin-tight demin cozy.  Yeggings, on the other hand—they’re like butter.

They are flattering. Combining “comfortable” and “flattering” in a piece of clothing made for women is nothing less than miraculous. It’s essentially the equivalent of a unicorn and a liger mating. The end result: a high-quality pair of yeggings. Yeggings have had their history since the 80’s, but it hasn’t been until the past decade that the flattering element has been done so brilliantly. Now, across America, (thanks to China), women are pulling on a ridiculously comfortable piece of fabric, while also losing 10 pounds, and gaining an hourglass figure.   With yeggings, we’ve discovered that the muffin top we’ve been dealing with for years wasn’t actually necessary. We’ve learned that crack doesn’t have to show when we sit or bend over. We’ve learned that being bloated doesn’t mean we can’t fit in our pants—talk about freedom!

Some shared the opinion: skinny girls look good, but I don’t think overweight women should wear them.  I say: You try being an overweight woman, and see what you would want to wear. A pair of high-quality black yeggings can be much more flattering for a women who is carrying some extra weight, than a pair of skinny jeans. I promise. Not to mention, she’ll be comfortable, and stylish. When I’m at my heaviest, yeggings are my go-to. No need to body shame, and decide who should and shouldn’t be wearing yeggings. Big or small—a woman should wear what she feels good in. 

They’re functional. It’s not every day that you find something you can wear to the office with black boots and a dressy tunic, then switch to running shoes for your lunch break at the gym, and then put on a pair of heels for a night out, and call it good.  (Depending on your schedule, showering in-between is optional). There is never an easier way to pack a carry-on bag then by rolling up a pair of leggings as your essential piece. They work in all four seasons. A good pair lasts forever, and they fit as you gain or lose weight. 

Consider the scenario of a mom bending over 264 times a day to pick up her baby, and helping her toddler, all while getting spit up on, and having food thrown at her. Ten years ago she might have submitted herself to a pair of Hanes sweatpants, but no longer! Now, she can actually feel comfortable, and cute. June Cleaver, your pearls don’t mask your jealousy.  I’m not a mom, but I’ve had enough years of nanny experience to know that you can’t leap over a kiddie gate without the help of spandex.

They’re stylish. If comfortable and flattering wasn’t enough, add to it that they are in fashion.  Did I just kill three birds with one stone? I think Duck Dynasty just called.  

They’re affordable. When I talk high-quality, my favorite pair of yeggings is 50 bucks. Fifty dollars, you gasp! Whoa, hold on. How much was your last pair of jeans? I thought so. For 50 bucks I know my yeggings are slimming, comfortable, quality, washable, won’t wear out, won’t be see-thru, and will go with everything in my wardrobe. For the past 7 months, I’ve been wearing something from a thrift store every day, and I won’t buy clothing unless it’s 2nd hand.  I’ll be honest, if it weren’t for the reliability of my leggings, most thrift store finds wouldn’t work as well. The 50 bucks I spent on my great pair make thrift shopping for everything else possible.   And if 50 bucks isn’t your cup of tea, my cheaper pair (15 bucks) works great with a longer shirt.

They go with everything. EVERYTHING. (EOM)

There ya go. Those are the reasons. So where is all the yeggings backlash coming from then? I think I know. I’ll be the first to admit that yeggings have been a part of many wardrobe malfunctions. There was the Lulu Lemon scandal (the recall of see-thru pants made national news), metallic yeggings have made an appearance on www.thepeopleofwalmart.com more than once, and I too have my limits on what I want to see in public, and seeing ones underwear print through their pants makes me uncomfortable. But let’s not make someone’s mistake of wearing tights as trousers, a comparison to another woman’s choice of wearing a well-made, flattering pair of yeggings that she feels terrific in, and allows her to live the way she wants to live.

In Conclusion: To all those blog posts bashing the leggings/yoga pant trend: you’re the reason this unnecessary post just became necessary. For all those bashing the mini-van driving moms in their zella gear: Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. For all those women who say, well, I can’t wear them: Think again. For the ladies who say they’re only for the gym and house cleaning: Who told you that?  For all those who think they’re immodest:  I know you are, but what am I?

Next week, we’ll discuss the ahhh-bra. Okay, not really. But really though, have you tried it? Ah-maze-ing. And then next month: Bringing back the female community bath.

Until then: #yeggings


bring it, 2014

On New Years Eve, we invited our friends to join in our tradition: putting the past behind us by burning a list of 2013's sorrows.

We became official Cambridge residents! We were so excited, the lady behind the counter asked if she could take our photo.

and this weekend, I celebrated my birthday.

January 16, 2014, Cambridge

 ... I originally wrote this January 16th. They're still my thoughts. I had a wonderful birthday--truly memorable.

"Tomorrow I’m 34.  It feels very different than 20, or even 28. Instead of a full set of dreams before me, I have to start wondering if there is time left for some of them. I have to realize what my 20-year-old self didn’t fully understand: Years fly. It’s going quickly. Even if I want to keep treating life like one of those  “choose your own adventure” novels I loved as a kid, I no longer get to keep my fingers stuffed in the pages of other options; just in case, the way I like it.

Tonight, I realize I’m still young—young enough still for some big dreams, but old enough to know I might have missed a chance or two. At 34, I’ve learned about regrets. That’s me tonight—thinking about my regrets.  As Frank Mackey said in the movie Magnolia: “Don't ever let anyone ever say to you, 'You shouldn't regret anything.' Don't do that, don't! You regret what you want! And use that, use that, use that regret for anything, any way you want. You can use it, okay?”

In my 34th year, I’m gonna use my regrets. I’m holding them close, trusting what they’ve taught me, and listening to their lessons. To use another Frank Mackey quote, one that seems fitting for the 34-year-old that I am: “In this life, it's not what you hope for, it's not what you deserve — it's what you take.” I believe that. Here’s to “taking” it all—every bit—including my regret. Here’s to another 34 years complete with even more regrets, dreams with an added time crunch, and being grateful I know more than I did when I was 20."

loved spending the day with Vanessa. We even went and saw Brian speak in his persuasion class--he was awarded as best persuader! 

... later in the evening Lucia planned a birthday dinner with our many Boston friends. 
Hosanna Norphy Lucia Lauren Clara Lily
Dave, Vanessa, Lauren, Brian


Saturday, also known as yesterday, Brian and I made the trek to the Peabody Essex museum in Salem:

The French Impressionist and Asian Fashion exhibits were my fave's--(I was alone in loving that last one). And here we are today. It's Monday morning now, Martin Luther King day. I have wet hair, and it's freezing outside. not a good combo to walk to work, and so I stop. blogging. now.


World Wide Web alert: Statement of the Family, by Spencer Conard

Maybe my Google skills could be better. Maybe I'm not as savvy of a googler as I thought. Maybe I ought to give Bing another chance.  (good one).  But maybe, just maybe, this quote below really hasn't made it onto any page of the innerwebs ...until now. I've carried this quote in my scriptures for 14 years now. It's glued between pages 1226 and 1227 in my Bible. It's Matthew, Chapter 22--next to pretty much the most important scripture verses I've ever read, where God tells us how it is with His two greatest commandments: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul .... and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thy self. On these two commandments hangs all the law."  What. Is. Up.

Thus, this is where the quote below has been sitting. And  every time I read it, it makes such sense to me. I have attempted to recite it in numerous conversations with friends (always a recite-fail), and then I always tell people I will forward it ... until Google tells me she can't find any results. (yes, I just assigned Google a gender). ...Once the "no results" shows up, I give up, since I'm never in the mood to type the whole thing out ... until this morning. So here it is: my contribution to the www and Google's search results.

"Families would be more successful if each member would try to make the members happy rather than good. But, making our family members good is a great temptation. We don't live with someone very long before we see their faults, trip over their inefficiencies, their sloppiness, suffer for their moments of selfishness. We are stunned by outbursts of anger and things that are left undone. It doesn't take a genius to see how they could improve our lives if they would only change. So, we make our list, create improvement programs and remind them frequently of their faults. Others may nag, but we gently suggest and see ourselves virtuous all the while. After all, our efforts are only for their good. Well, there is nothing that does less good in families than vowing to change the other.  Families ought to be a sanctuary from the painful world.  A place to soothe our feelings and gain strength to run another day. But it cannot be, if one is trying to change the other. Then, instead, there is discomfort, a feeling that the home is a briar patch of thorns where one does not quite measure up. Worst, improvement programs we design for someone else rarely work, growth is self initiated, it is an inner striving to be more. We can not make people kind or thoughtful, fat people do not lose weight because someone else tells them to. We can no more mold someone than to tell a flower to bloom.  We have to give up the frugal idea of making our members good and concentrating on making them happy. That starts by excepting others, faults and all, with unconditional LOVE. It means noticing the good things they do every day and offering praise for them. No one lives with the perfect person, so we ought not to be surprised that we don't. For every change we would make in our partner or family member they would list a change they would make in us. So, when we feel the urge to make someone good, we should start with ourselves. When we want to make someone happy, we can look to our families. Ironically, if we make them happy, we'll go a long way towards making them good. "  -Spencer Conard

Hope everyone has a great day, week, and year. Love your families. Peace. Joy. Blessings. Love.


Can't think of a title. Might come back tomorrow when i do?

“I write to free my tearing soul, because paper is my greatest friend. It understands me. It shows me where to go, and what to be. ” –Lauren Johnson, age 14.

“I gotta start writing, or Imma gonna go crazy.” –Lauren Johnson Henderson, age 33

Not much has changed. I’ve always known that writing down my thoughts helps me to feel alive. Dolly Parton writes songs, Dustin Hoffman acts, Donald Trump builds pretend empires, my sister-in-law paints, Miley Cyrus twerks, and I write. I like to think that being alive means being brave enough to delve deep into my soul, and being honest with who I am,: allowing myself to do what makes me feel most whole.Writing and sharing is a definite. 

Howard Thurman, a Civil Rights leader, minister, and philosopher said it best: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman

In other words, I can feel relief knowing I don’t have to be everything the world needs. I simply need to be honest with what makes me come alive, and my benefit to the world will take care of itself.  My POWER comes from being alive. I save the world by being alive.  I become alive by doing what the deepest part of my soul craves, and by being authentically me.

Isn’t that magnificent?! Can I have an amen!?

When it comes to being happy, and feeling “alive”, our world often talks about “escaping” or finding an “outlet”.  Restaurants and spa ads encourage us to take an “escape”. We encourage each other to “escape”.  But being truly alive—to be able to feel the inner workings of our joyful soul—is so much more than “escaping”. To me, escaping involves things we do to avoid feeling deeply alive. My escapes are not limited to my smart phone, chocolate and carbs—the overeating of both, and a newbie this last year—The Bachelor. For others it could be alcohol, facebook, under eating, porn, an unhealthy relationship, and again, twerking. Escaping is what we do when soul searching sometimes seems too hard, when sitting with reality, or being alive is too difficult. It happens when we’re overwhelmed with our responsibilities, or negative emotions such as guilt, insecurity, hopelessness, a low self-esteem, anxiety, or shame.  It happens when we’re not doing what we love. Thus, we escape.    Escaping isn’t always bad. Sometimes we need to be gentle with ourselves and allow a healthy escape.  Spa facial? Yes, please! A healthy escape allows us to sit with our emotions and take the time to remember what we desire the most, which in turn can allow us to seek after those desires.  If our escape is an addiction, nothing can turn around a controlling habit more powerfully than daring to discover what really makes us feel alive.

I’ve been turning to escapes more recently; rather than being alive.

Since April, I’ve been dizzy with three moves and being a newly wed, working on getting my jewelry company launched (www.vandeparel.com) , continuing my makeup work, and discovering what this new chapter means personally for me. I’ve also been trying to be gentle with myself, allowing for a few escapes, not feeling guilty about it, but instead just listening and being mindful enough to wonder why--giving myself the time and space I need to get my “alive” game on.

And here we are—circle of life.  I thrive living a deliberate, full and busy life, but I am prone to sidetracking sometimes. Despite being a tad dramatic, my14-year-old self was a wise one. I actually wrote that little blurb above after coming back from a stint of home schooling my freshman year of high school. (Talk about an escape). I knew that if I was going to be able to be alive and happy, I had to be my authentic self—I had to write.  I wanted to feel more. I knew I was more than I what my 14 year-old self was presently able to express. I knew I could express those feelings through paper. And I did. High school was grateful. 

I do believe I am to the point of wanting to write again.  I have the desire to really feel alive. I have much to say … so much to say, that I actually look forward to the fulfillment that awaits me after I spew thoughts onto digital file.  (that sounds so much less romantic than: pouring my heart out onto paper. Jane Austen would be so disappointed in 2013).

Here’s to feeling alive. Not escaping, but being ALIVE.

On a sidenote, I’m sitting in Starbucks, but it’s not just any Starbucks. It’s a two-story Starbucks, complete with antiques. I’m listening to a live musician play the piano and sing—he’s good! I imagine he is serenading me. I imagine he is ME serenading ME. (Because that’s the perfect way to hear the lyrics right now: ”I won’t give up on us…. Even if the skies get rough, giving you all my love, when you need your space, I’ll be here patiently waiting to see what you find.” It's nice to be sung to.

Lastly, I am in Cambridge, MA! I can also refer to it as home, and I feel blessed to be here. (I might feel differently come January). 

Everybody, let's take to heart the wise words of Howard Thurman. What makes you come alive? The world needs us.  xo lauren


Thrift For a Year

Technically, 11 months left, because I made the  personal commitment on June 25th.  I just had to meditate on it for a while, and know why I was really going to do it. The decision was made because I want to save money, and be creative at the same time. If you want to know more ... here ya go.

The Why's:

1: If it's about money, why not just stop buying clothes for a year?   
I've done that before ... OK, it was 4 months, but still. I know others that don't ever buy clothes. I commend them. As for me:  I like clothes. I like fashion, style, and the creative aspect that goes along with getting dressed every day. I believe in doing something creative each day--for my well being, for my happiness, for my mind, and for the benefit of those I love in my life.  I want to prove to myself, and maybe to others,  that if your passion is fashion (annoying rhyme I didn't intend, but refuse to edit), it doesn't cost the money that people think it does. 

thrift store shopping IS a creative process.  This ain't no T.J. Maxx. Thrift store shopping takes some major creativity because of the serious lack of flattering marketing ploys that other shopping centers use. I have to use my eye to see the diamond in the rough. I have to imagine how something could look if I just added a belt, or cut the sleeves. I actually get to prove to myself that an amazing window display does not control my spending habits.

I don't think deciding to not purchase any clothes is the easy answer. In this rough economy, many have stopped purchasing a lot of things they used to purchase, but I don't want to simply just "stop".  Thrift stores benefit the community. it serves my creative needs, and allows for self expression. It takes time and effort. It teaches me artistic skills, helping me have a sharper eye, and not rely on the stick-thin mannequin or perfectly dressed store associates telling me what I should buy. 

Memorial Day Thrift OUTFIT. Pants: No brand. Shirt: Splendid. All from Goodwill. Eating the Best gelato I've ever had in the U.S.! Grom in Malibu.

2: Don't you feel you're taking away from great clothing that other people could find, who are really in need?

Thrift stores are a tremendous service to communities, and they thrive when people shop there--whoever they are.  Those who work at thrift stores are given an opportunity to build their resume and get an excellent career start. Deseret Industries--the LDS-owned thrift store-- often hires people who have special needs, or those who just arrived in the country and are learning English. Many people work there as volunteers. For some --it's rehabilitation. My friend suffered a terrible brain injury, and as part of his physical therapy, he volunteered at Deseret Industries to prepare him to go back to work. The money spent at thrift stores goes back into the community. Whether it's for veterans, helping people find a job, or feeding the hungry - thrift stores support numerous programs that help.

Thrift stores thrive when people shop there. They thrive when people donate. I'll be doing both. I have often purchased clothing there, enjoyed it for a time, and donated it directly back. I believe strongly in supporting thrift stores by buying, and by donating. I am not including consignment shops in my thrift store goal ---only stores that benefit charitable organizations.

"thrift shop:  n.  A shop that sells used articles, especially clothing, as to benefit a charitable organization."

3: Doesn't it make you feel concerned about wearing used things, not knowing where they've been?

I'll answer this one with another question: Do you use hotel towels? 

4: Aren't you worried about becoming a clothes hoarder?

Ah, yes, the issue of hoarding is all the rage, and it always begins with an innocent garage sale shopper, or a thrift store connoisseur. Ironically, I already joke about being a clothes hoarder, and this is EXACTLY why I am doing this--to stop the madness! When I spend money on clothing, I  put more value and attachment on it.  Sometimes it's memory attachment to a few things that I can never get rid of --I still have my high school prom dresses, and a scarf I wore every winter day during my mormon mission in Ohio, but beyond those occasional pieces I don't want give my clothing high value. I want clothes to be a creative expression, but not a valued possession. I want to know that if everything I owned was taken from me, the last thing I would mourn, would be my clothes. If I can spend the same amount on a shirt that I would spend on a burger, then I can enjoy the temporary pleasure it gives, and say goodbye without the least bit of concern. If I accumulate too many clothes, I can donate half of them back to the stores where I originally purhcased them.

 4: Why just clothes?

Clothes will be my focus, but I will also be trying, as a whole, to thrift store shop as much as I can this year. When in need, I will look to a thrift store to see what I can find.  It will be a year of thrift living. I'll try consignment or flea markets for items other than clothes before trying a store that sells new stuff. #thriftliving

5: Do I think everyone should do this? 

I think MORE people should do this, yes. But everyone? Nah? Those who shop at the mall stock our thrift stores every year, so thank you consumers! I do think thrift store living gets overlooked. I think people might throw away their old items rather than take the time to donate them, not realizing how many people thrift stores benefit. I think many have no idea just how many great things they can find there. I'm curious what would happen if more people donated to thrift stores, and if more people were willing to shop there.  I'm very excited to see what the answer to this question will be after I do this for a year. I'm excited to see what I will learn, or how my opinion forms.

6: Does it really save you money? Don't you find you buy more things you don't need, rather than just getting the exact pair of pants and shirt you need?
This is somthing I really had to think about, because I have been a big preacher on a theory that might contradict what I am about to do ...
I'm a firm believer in the "Dollar per wear" value system. Why buy a shirt that's on sale for 10 bucks if you're only going to wear it 8 times? And why in the world would you buy a pair of jeans for 200 dollars? Uh, cause you're gonna wear them 1,145 times! (totally worth it).  It's also likely saving you money from buying 6 pairs of jeans you only sorta-like, but were cheap.) I justify special occasion pieces because, technically, your wedding photos last for generations, thus why not splurge a little on the dress? (Welcome to the inner workings of Lauren's mind).  ... should I keep going? I carry a Louis Vuitton handbag most everywhere I go. (disclaimer: it was a gift). Some call it pretentious. I didn't know what to think until I owned one, never imagining I would until it showed up in the mail one glorious December morning in 2006. Seven years later, it still goes with every outfit I wear, it looks better than it did when I first received it, and I  hope to use it for the next 7 years and beyond.  Before I owned it, I'd probably spend 100 bucks on cheap, trendy purses each year. 20 bucks here, 30 dollars there. But I don't worry about purses anymore.  I don't buy purses. It makes complete sense to me now why someone would buy a classic designer purse, and use it for years--SIMPLICITY.

so ... how does my belief in buying more expensive basic pieces I'm going to wear a lot  go with my thrift store plan? I'm not completely sure, but I'm excited to find out. Maybe I'll prove this long-held belief of mine wrong after a year of thrift store shopping, or maybe I'll realize that a few things should just be purchased new--getting exactly what you want. I'm not sure. I don't have the complete answer ... yet.

 I do know though that I want to take this project further than a "dollar per wear", because it technically means I am spending at the very least 3 dollars getting dressed every morning. Sometimes 5 or 6.  What if getting dressed was free? Or 25 cents?  What if I MADE money getting dressed?? I'm going to try to  prove to myself that not only is thrift store shopping totally doable--even for the fashion conscious,  but also see if I can't EARN money doing this. I've been loving Santa Monica's thrift stores the past couple months! But for every dollar I spent on something for me, I'd try to find something I could also sell online.  I always check the mens department, and  kids department. In the end, I did spend money last month, but not a lot! I got about half of it back selling some name brand items and vintage finds online. So ... I'm going to keep a tab of all money spent, all money earned, and see how this all plays out.

With Aunt Ruthanne. Thrift store Levi Jacket. Found at Goodwill.  From Urban Outfitters.

7: If you're only shopping at thrift stores for a year, are you actually going to only wear thrift clothes? 

 Quick answer: no. Better answer: I am going to try to wear something I bought at a thrift store every day. I'm also going to try to wear items I bought at flea markets, consignment shops, etc that I already own, just to be more thrift-minded in my fashion choices. But last month, my grandma bought me three shirts at Macy's. I felt the love, and you better believe I'm going to wear them!
Thanks for the shirts, grandma! (shorts are thrift store).

In fact, I'm wearing one of those shirts right now. But my shoes are from Goodwill:

Hanging at Starbucks. Bought them at Goodwill. Brand: Banana Republic.

As the year evolves,  I'm going to try to take on the challenge of only wearing thrift clothes, but I can't commit to that just yet.
thrift OUTFIT. Pants: Vince. Shirt: Abercrombie. Belt: Vintage. Necklace: gift, but purchased at estate sale. Everything purchased at Deseret Industries and Good Will.

Thrift OUTFIT. Shirt: no brand tag, but real silk. Pants: also no tag. Rolled up to cover a large rip, and be a better length. Shoes: same one's as above: banana republic. Everything purchased at Good Will.  Hair: Bantu knot tutorial at LoveMaegan

8: Any free passes as the year goes on?

I'm always a believer in free passes, because attempting to be perfect is a call for failure, imho. BUT ... I am not planning for any free passes, no. Creativity in emergencies, sure. Last month, for my brothers wedding, three days after fully committing to this,  I had nothing to wear, and not a lot of time.  I borrowed a dress from a local designer, because I had two days and needed some specific shades. It was a stretch, but I didn't purchase anything, and I supported our local artists. (www.georgeparkinson.com) .

Ella and I w/ designer George Parkinson above. With our now-married brother below. And with Paula at the wedding dinner in another of his original dresses. Necklace on left was my grandma's. Vintage necklace on right found at Idaho flea market.

And although I might not have found my outfit at a thrift store, I'm proud to say I found my mom's wedding outfit for her at Good Will.

thrift momma J. at the wedding. vintage lingerie top. no brand cardi. Isn't she pretty?

I want to help others find outfits at the thrift store, give tips, and hook others on thrift store living.
Monique had never been a thrift store shopper until I spent 5 hours with her at Goodwill! She's been converted! She found the Juicy Couture sweater she is wearing this same day, and I am wearing the same vintage lingerie top pictured above, and a suede jacket, both found at thrift stores. 

When I was first seriously thinking of doing this, I was considering a few exceptions I could have throughout the year: underwear, swimsuits, special occasions, job interviews ... but really, what's the point of "Thrift for a Year" with exceptions? That's like a freeway having a car pool lane, but allowing single drivers in it every time there's a traffic jam. (not cool).  It's having NO exceptions that make this project worthwhile. ... For those freaking out about the underwear thing, don't worry, I'll buy my own. (my undies: the one and only exception). For those freaking out about swimsuits, refer to question # 3.

I think that sums it up for now! Any questions, ideas, thoughts, or inspiration, I hope you'll share them with me on this journey.  I'm excited to record the process here throughout the year.

One last thought: I wish I had a nicer camera than my phone to document this journey more effectively. Alas, this is a year of thrift living, and I don't.  soooo .... I have a goal. Any money I can make from this project will go towards that camera I've been dreaming of. Your positive vibes will help! Send them my way.




Update from the last post ... a rant.

Here is the video again. probably watch before reading ...

 Deseret News wrote an article about this because the 2011 interview with Mr. Hoffman has now gone viral. I read the comments under the article, something I have said in the past that I ought to stop doing, because it's like reality television for the newspaper reader, but since I didn't take my own advice, my eyes rolled when I read a couple of the things people were saying. They totally missed the boat ... and it was a ship. And the ship has sailed. It's faaaaaar away now. Nuthin's gonna bring that ship back. 

It reminded me why I have a place where I can go and talk to myself.  When people say crazy things, rather than try to bring their ship back, because it ain't happening, I can go to my blog and rant.

Thus, I begin.

ignorant commenters [I.C.'s] were making points like this under the aforementioned article: "The best candy bar still requires an appetizing wrapper."

Or how about this one:  "... enough whining! ...woman should take care of themselves. It's the tough truth. Women judge men on their jobs. Men care about women's looks. So there. it's a tough world, but women's looks matter, and everyone gets judged on stuff. It's just the way it is!"

What I gathered from the above points is that women are judged on their looks. So I think what I.C.'s are trying to tell us is that Adam liked Eve for more reasons than just that apple.  Wow. I'm so glad I'm finally in the know. Peeps, women are judged on their looks.  Seriously, an I.C. just told me.

The I.C.'s make me think I need to emphasize what Mr. Hoffman is saying. So let me put it in layman's terms. (although I felt Mr. Hoffman already did that quite nicely, I.C.'s seem to need some help.)

Mr. Hoffman said in the video that he was excited to know what it was like to be a woman. (Tangent: I find this aspect of being an actor very interesting. You have to feel what another person must feel, in order to act as they would act. It's what makes me think movie stars are a bit less selfish than we sometimes perceive them to be. End of tangent.)  Anyway,  Mr. Hoffman said that it was AFTER they dolled him up, and he looked like a woman, that he then requested the multitude of Hollywood  hair and makeup professionals, along with wardrobe stylists, to make him a BEAUTIFUL woman. That is when these professionals (surely at the top of their fields in making people esthetically pleasing) informed him that they could do no more. They had used their magic wands, AND rubbed the lamp, and Mr. Hoffman's beauty was as good as it was gonna get.   It was after that effort that Mr. Hoffman had the Ah-ha moment: that AFTER spending so much time in the makeup chair, he looked like a woman that he would not find attractive if he met her. And not only would he not find her attractive, but that opinion of her would affect how he treated her.

Now, he did not say: I wouldn't have asked me out, or married me. This wasn't about if he would date the woman he saw in the mirror. He actually realized that he would have ignored the woman in a social situation, when he KNEW that the woman in him would have such interesting things to say, and that she would be an incredibly interesting, worthwhile woman to get to know. 

And Mr. Hoffman's ah-ha moment was touching. It is how many women have felt--those who are born lovely, and those who are not as "auto-blessed"--have all felt at one point or another that their worth to others is beyond their control.  It was a humble sincere moment on camera that Mr. Hoffman shared. And *Boom* it's gone viral! Validation at it's finest.

So, I.C.'s, this is not about whether or not women are judged on their beauty. We know we are. And guess what? Most of us are trying,  just like Mr. Hoffman, to be the most beautiful women we can be. Some of us have time for the gym, while others barely get 4 hours of sleep. Sometimes we slip and wear our yoga pants too many times in one week, or we get tired of putting on mascara every single morning, or we finally just rebel, and shave our heads (I've been so tempted).  But either way, it is very apparent to us that our looks will be assessed,  and dang it, we try.

But there also comes a point when we realize we have tried hard enough, and can do no more.  It's an empowering and freeing place to be when we can look in the mirror and understand that we're beautiful despite any visual faults we can't change ... or when we decide to stop trying to change them. And gosh dang it,  we're even interesting AND we're smart! Heck yes! And look at that, our mom's were right: we're beautiful inside too!  But just as we start to feel we're doing OK--confident in who we are on the inside, and confident with who we are on the outside--an IC-type of real life person can come into our life and ignore us, or treat us less than who we really are, simply because we don't live up to their visual standards of what a female should be. This happens in the workplace, within social circles, in school, church, and beyond. Nobody knows the type of profiling one might suffer until they walk in their shoes. And Mr. Hoffman said it well: I walked in a not-so-attractive woman's shoes--one who TRIED to be attractive, and it hurt. 

To the  I.C. who complained that men are judged too, but just for different things, you're right. No one said they weren't. But this is a moment of realization of what women go through. It was compassionate, and it was true.  One step at a time everyone. Perhaps, soon, we can all have a moment of empathy in the sun for our male counterparts who are judged for different reasons. But until then, it's Mr. Hoffman's moment, and what he's telling the world  is what he's learned about being a woman.  We should all take care to listen, have a little bit more compassion, and  best of all--an internal conversation about whether we are making the world easier or more difficult for the women of the world who have been, and always will be,  judged on their appearance. 

Go Hoff! Three cheers for yoga pants. End of rant.



thank you dustin

I've always liked Mr. Hoffman. 
And Tootsie ... shoot, I love Tootsie.
It's a beautiful moment when we can feel, 
even for just a glimpse, what someone else might feel.  

Now I wonder what his thoughts are about makeup and high heels?
Speaking of makeup, it's time to go take mine off, and I'm feeling soooo lazy.
 I just want to smear it all over my pillow.  Just take it off, Lauren. Just do it. You can do it!
Your pores, your headaches, your pillow, your health, & your dignity will thank you when you wake.


a wedding


"True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of one's companion."  - Gordon B. Hinckley

 I love him. 

A few fun facts and memories:
Bouquet and boutonniere: gift from my bridesmaids Jenava Tait  and Kate Lasson. 
(their first time doing flowers--and they did our whole wedding! )
Bracelet: found with my sister on the shopping streets in Seoul, Korea.
Veil: found at Deseret Industries Thrift Store in Pocatello.
photographer: Rebekah Westover
Makeup: Yours truly


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