31 Bits: Eliminating Poverty

June 23, 2015
Sophia Bush in Gulu, Uganda and the women of 31 Bits.

Sophia Bush in Gulu, Uganda and the women of 31 Bits.

Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw Sophia Bush in a long, white and black checkered skirt surrounded by a group of women in Uganda. I couldn’t help but read what her latest adventure was. She was and is still visiting the women of 31 Bits. She is a part of a project that will be telling the stories of these artisans.

31 Bits is more than just a jewelry company. It is a business that was founded by five women from California who saw a way to eliminate poverty with fashion. One of the founders, Kallie Dovel, returned from a “life-changing” trip from Uganda during her senior year of college. “Kallie brought a box of the jewelry back, and we fell in love instantly. We sold the jewelry to friends and ran out within weeks. That’s when it hit us. These women had a skill, but needed a market,” the founders state in their story.

Green accessories from the Summer Collection

Within a year or so of traveling back and forth and selling the jewelry, they implemented a five year development program where the women of Gulu receive health education, finance training, counseling, and business training. They knew that these women needed more than just a paycheck. “After five years in our program, the women graduate, leaving with an education, a career, social equity, confidence, and a voice.”

The beads of each piece of jewelry is handcrafted and made from recycled paper. 99% of the materials are from local markets in Eastern Africa. “All of our products are carefully crafted by hand. From the first cut of paper to stringing on the final bead, every detail was thought through. You might find tiny differences from bead to bead, but we call those the “perfect imperfections” of having a handmade product. Each piece is unique and tells a story because it was made by a real person.”

Summer Collection - the "Marrakesh" necklace

Summer Collection – the “Marrakesh” necklace

Arach Nighty grew up a child enslaved to the war traveling through Eastern Africa. She never had a chance to go to school, and didn’t think her own children would ever get to either.

Arach Nighty grew up a child enslaved to the war traveling through Eastern Africa. She never had a chance to go to school, and didn’t think her own children would ever get to either.

Sophia Bush sums it up beautifully with these words: “31 Bits was born to help rehabilitate a war-torn region. To help empower the most disadvantaged women. To return hope to families. And these amazing ladies have done it. Their stories will move you to tears, make you thankful for the sheer magic that is the human spirit, and bring so much joy into your heart that you’ll realize you’re clutching your hand to your chest just to feel it beating, and you didn’t even notice that you put it there. Being conscious of what you support, even through such simple actions as buying a bracelet or necklace for a loved one, can literally impact entire communities halfway around the world.”

Impact an entire community by supporting companies like 31 Bits. Every purchase is life-changing.

Article by Brittany Windle

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Hayden + John

June 10, 2015

Hayden and John of Tuscaloosa, AL wed at the beautiful location of Stonewood Farms. With a touch of southern charm, the chateau style home made for a lovely location. Blush pink was the feature hue of the event.

2b Photography2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography

2b Photography

The Details:

Photography: 2b Photography 

Florals: Connie Taylor

Venue: Stonewood Farms

Makeup: Anna Catharine Rutherford

Hair: Danielle Ivy

Wedding Planner: Taylor Crute of Mobile, AL

Favorite Four to Follow

June 5, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s why we love Instagram. These fantastic four inspire us from their healthy living tips and motivating words to their images that simply make us smile.

Heather Brown

A local blogger and social media expert, Heather has made her mark in Birmingham. My Life Well Loved is a lifestyle blog featuring healthy living, style, and recipes. We love her new “Style the Bump” series. We can’t wait for the arrival of Baby Brown!

My life well loved

My life well loved

The EveryGirl

Ranked by Forbes as a Top 100 Website for Women, TheEverygirl.com is the life map for Everygirls everywhere.

The Every Girl

Toast Meets World

Toast is a King Charles puppymill rescue. The instagram account is full of adorable pictures that will make you smile and remind you of such a great cause.

Toast Meets World

Toast Meets World

Kayla Itsines

Kayla is a personal trainer and author of Bikini Body Guide. She has been seen in magazines including Marie Claire and Elle. Her motivation helps women of all walks of life from those desiring to lose weight and those like she who struggled with being underweight. Her account is sprinkled with inspirational quotes, before and after pictures and yummy recipe ideas.

Kayla Itsines

Kayla Itsines

Article by Brittany Windle

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Summer Serve

June 1, 2015

 

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“Summer is usually a time in which we pull back. We vacay. We relax. Rather, let this be a time in which we push forward and serve others,” Pastor Aldger Armstead of the Woodlawn campus of Church of the Highlands stated yesterday.

This has echoed in my heart ever since. Summer is obviously a more laid back time of the year. You envision yourself on the beach, sipping your favorite drink and catching up on your much anticipated reading list. It’s a selfish time, but shouldn’t it be? We all deserve a break from the monotonous eight hour work day.

But how often do we serve others? And what does it truly mean? When I personally think about the term, I have to put myself aside for a moment, lay down my personal agendas and look to the needs of those around. This is a counter culture mindset. This goes against the idiom of “every man for himself.”

Our minds are often cluttered with daily obligations, career goals and what we’ll eat for dinner. Believe me, I’ve seen it on the Facebook feed. But when was the last time, you took an opportunity to help someone in an unfortunate situation?

Sometimes we need a reminder that our problems really are not problems at all. Sometimes we need to look beyond ourselves, reach down our hand and help lift someone to a better position. I just wonder if we did this more often if it would create a beautiful ripple in the body of water we are in.

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I don’t typically affiliate myself with a particular group of people. But I can’t deny the inspiration I gather when at Church of the Highlands, no matter the reservations I had when first attending a large church. On July 11th, Church of the Highlands will be serving the Birmingham community through various ways, whether it be mowing the grass of an elderly person’s home, volunteering at women’s shelter or helping create a clean and safe area for children in the inner city. The last Serve Day consisted of 16,000 individuals serving the Birmingham area. Imagine what impact 16,000 people has on a community? “That’s 16,000 paint brushes,” Pastor Chris Hodges said in the Sunday message.

As a Christian, the purpose of using one’s gifts in service is to show others the love of Christ:

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen1 Peter 4:10-11

Does serving help one’s immediate needs? Of course. Will those problems still exist? Of course. However, the impact of serving can create a lasting impression, hopefully a change in a person’s heart. We as mere humans do not have the power to make an everlasting difference with a paint brush. Through Christ we can. To shed light in a dark world and offer hope through a message of grace is why we serve.

I just wonder if this summer while you are planning your yearly vacation, if you would pencil in a time to serve.

Article by Brittany Windle

Spring Cleaning: Give Back

March 30, 2015

picture from lemonstripes.comWhile the winter was a cozy time of warm layers and comfort food, the cold weather has made us ready for spring. We are excited about this new season, and what better way to get prepared than to do some spring cleaning.

As you begin the challenge of cleaning out closets consider these options:

1: Host a Clothing Swap 

Host a clothing swap at your house! What you consider trash, your friends may consider a treasure. This is a fun way to get rid of items you no longer want but find ones that you love or may need (free of charge, of course.)

In the past, we have partnered with Heather Brown of My Life Well Loved and have had a blast!

Here are a few tips we have discovered along the way:

- Invite friends with similar taste

- Be clear on what is swap worthy in your invite

- Organize the shopping area in categories: dresses, jeans, blouses, jewelry, purses, etc.

- Donate leftover items: Goodwill and Salvation Army are among the numerous places to donate.

2: Donate 

Donate unwanted items that are in still good condition. Here are a few local nonprofits that are specific to women in the Birmingham area.

1. Operation Prom Dress – Their mission is to provide fashionable formal gowns to  girls who are unable to purchase their own dance attire.

2. Jessie’s Place- A safe haven for women and children, this shelter welcomes clothing of any kind.

3. My Sister’s Closet of the YWCA – This clothes closet is designed to assist women who are in need of career clothes for job interviews and new employment.

Ask yourself these questions when cleaning out your closet for the spring:

the-everygirl-closet-cleaning

 image via TheEveryGirl.com

Article by Brittany Windle

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Beauty Picks: Under $20

March 25, 2015
Beauty Picks

1. Elf Cream Eyeliner - The cream formula creates smooth lines that are defined and precise. Smudge-proof, budge-proof and water-resistant coverage for all day wear to combat against sweat, tears or rain!

2. Elf Contouring Blush & Bronzer – This product is the perfect duo. The blush reminds us of Nars Blush Orgasm.

3. ipsy glam bag- Delivered to your door for $10 a month. Receive a variety of products based on your personal interest.

4, Ion Color Brilliance- Utilizes pure ionic micro pigments for deeper, more intense color

5. NYX lip treatment- Pamper your lips with a hydrating kiss of smooth Butter Lipstick in 22 luxurious shades. The delicate texture of satin fused with the high color saturation creates an even finish on lips that’s long-wearing and beautiful.

6. Pantene Heat Protection Spray- Shields strands from heat and provides a glossy finish
Never go without protection. Shield your strands against damage while sealing in shine.
Article by Faith Grizzard
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Dar + Matt

March 12, 2015

2b Photography

Spring is around the corner and that means wedding season is in. We are excited to begin a new series of Birmingham brides and weddings. There are many unique and beautiful venues to choose from in the city, and we want to share with you what other Birmingham brides are doing.

Our first feature is of a multicultural wedding featuring Darshika and Matthew. “The wedding was the perfect blend of American and Indian tradition and celebration! The photography style followed suit of the ceremonies with a beautiful dance of candids and portraits. A peacock inspired color pallet, delicately beaded gowns, sapphire studded ring set, and the golden rays of the sun made for an elegant day, ” said Becca Bell of 2b Photography.

The Details:

Photography: 2b Photography
Wedding Planning & Design: Tres Beau Weddings
Venue: Aldridge Gardens
Catering: Happy Catering
Florals: Studio Flower
Cake: Magic Muffins
Wedding Henna: Blue Lotus Mehndi
Hair & Makeup: Morgan Ashley Salon
Cinematography: Main Street Productions
Officiant & DJ Services: Dr. Kelsey Graham

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Article by Brittany Windle

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Timeless Beauty

March 2, 2015
modernlace

My grandmother and mother

I love words! What can I say? I’m an English teacher. I love the juxtaposition of old and new, which is where the name Modern Lace was derived. Over coffee, Brynlea and I knew exactly what modern and lace meant to us.

How do we live in this modern world yet keep the values and ideals that our grandmothers and those women we admire taught us?

I love “old” things from furniture to small nick knacks. I keep them. I look at them, and I imagine who once used them. As a matter of fact, my great grandmother’s cookbook sits atop the antique curio cabinet in my dining room.

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My grandmother taught me grace. She taught me how to move forward joyfully when things didn’t always turn out the way I expected. She would often recite poetry and sing sweet songs to me when I was a child. Sitting in her front yard on a handmade quilt with my sisters, we would look at the clouds and feel the warmth of the sun on our hot skin. She taught us how to appreciate the small joys of daily life.

To be truly beautiful in a modern world full of new technology, photoshopped images and unrealistic expectations of body images, we must remember and never forget what those timeless beauties taught us.

What women do you admire? What have they taught you?

Brittany Windle

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Lauren Walsh

February 18, 2015

Lauren Walsh- 2b
Lauren Walsh

When meeting Lauren Walsh, the first thing one may notice is her contagious smile and positive attitude. You may recognize her on Birmingham’s ABC 33/40 News. Originally from Florida and moving from Augusta, Georgia, Lauren made a career move to the Magic City.

We admire her ambition and were excited to have a coffee date with her and her precious pup, Sophie.

What days/times can we find you reporting? 
My normal schedule is Monday through Friday at 4,5 & 6 in the evening. You can follow my stories on Twitter @LaurenWalshTV.

What was your transition like from Florida to Birmingham? What do you like most about the Magic CIty? Can you give any advice to those who relocating for a career?
Birmingham is MUCH colder, especially this week! I miss the Florida sunshine and the beach but I love Birmingham. Everyone is so nice and friendly.

My first reporting job was in Augusta, Georgia, so this is my second time moving to a new, unfamiliar place for my career.  My advice is to get plugged into a church. Volunteer. Join activities like Young Professionals or a kick ball league (I’m doing both here). Building a network of friends in a new place is essential to make it feel like home.

Lauren Walsh- 2b

Lauren Walsh- 2b

What is your favorite part about your job?
A reporter’s day is spent in the community, meeting new people and sharing their stories.  I never stop learning. It is something new each day. Yesterday I did a story explaining the judicial process ahead for gay marriage. Today I interviewed the most adorable four year old for a story about the Transplant Center at Children’s of Alabama.

One of my favorite journalism quotes is from Mike Wallace: “It’s astonishing what you learn and feel and see along the way. That’s why a reporter’s job, as you know, is such a joy.”

What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter?
There are too many to list! I will always remember my first trip to Washington D.C. to report on Capitol Hill. I am a nerd for politics! When I was in Augusta, I also had the opportunity to cover the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. It is beautiful beyond words! I became a golf fan my first day on the course.

What advice can you give to other women who are pursuing their dream job?
Persistence is key. Rule out excuses and do not accept no for an answer. There were days in college where I worked at the coffee shop in the morning, then went to intern at a local TV station until 11:30 at night, then went home to study for class the next day. You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. Also, find a way to set yourself apart from others competing for the same job.

 

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Lauren Walsh 2b

What quality is most beautiful in a woman? How do you define beauty for yourself?
A woman who loves Jesus is a beautiful thing. One of my favorite bible verses is Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

When you love the Lord, you can’t help but host more beautiful qualities, like confidence and kindness. I love women who are confident in who they are, and don’t feel the need to compare themselves to others.

I believe being beautiful is being able to love yourself through your flaws. Nobody’s perfect.

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Lauren Walsh 2b

What’s in your purse?
My purse is big because it doubles as a camera bag! It totes equipment like microphones and batteries during my workday. You’ll usually find it with a Clinique chubby stick, two iphones (personal and work), a hair brush, my Kate Spade Wallet, a notepad and a pen (a reporter’s best friends), mints, hand lotion and business cards.

What are your can’t-live-without beauty products?
My Clarisonic. They are expensive but worth every penny. I use it with Clinique’s skin care line.
My friend Meaghan recently gifted me fiber lash mascara. It is magic in a bottle! There are two steps. First you put on a gel as you would regular mascara. The second step is brushing fibers on! It makes your lashes look so long!

Lauren Walsh 2b

Lauren Walsh- 2b Lauren Walsh 2b

What’s the story behind Sophie? 
I had been planning on adopting a dog for a while. The weekend I planned to go to the humane society just so happened to be three days after a tough, completely unexpected break up. I got Sophie from a group called Two by Two, which had a booth set up at Pet Smart. They found her in the woods covered in mange. Even though I adopted Sophie, she actually helped me more. She gave me unconditional love during a time of heartbreak. She’s my best friend!

Article by Brittany Windle

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Photography: Becca Bell of 2b Photography

Location: Thanks to Hart & Soul in Homewood, AL

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For Him

February 11, 2015

Finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift can be challenging, especially depending on the length of the romance. Here are five gifts that are perfect no matter the intensity of the spark.

1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails

A definitive catalog of the most suave cocktails. To shake or stir? Muddle or mix? The Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails answers all of these questions and more.

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2. J. Crew leather phone case

J Crew Leather phone case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Zoraab Socks

Sock subscription that will keep him stylish every month!

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4. Night Owl Paper Goods

From cutesy to romantic, Night Owl Paper Goods provides one-of-a-kind cards.

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5. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club couldn’t be simpler. Select one of their great blades, pay only
for the cost of the blades, and they send them right to your door every month.

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