I never saw myself becoming a thrifter. I used to be among those who wondered why someone would willingly shop second hand fashion. I had this vision in my mind of hoards of ragged, outdated clothing. And the germs? Oh my, the germs! You know what? I was wrong…dead wrong! One weekend, a friend asked for my help with finding outfits for an upcoming trip. We went to a few stores and then she suggested that we go to Goodwill. We perused the racks and I came upon this gorgeous African print dress. It blew my mind that this beautiful, apparently handmade creation was sitting there with a tag on it for $5.99. I examined that dress inside-out, convinced that something had to be wrong with it. I put the dress back on the rack, still skeptical, but it kept calling my name lol. I could not leave it there…a perfectly beautiful dress. My friend could not fit the dress, but it ended up being exactly what a client was looking for as a birthday outfit. I was hooked! I knew that if this treasure was sitting at the thrift store, there had to be so much more to be found. The treasure hunt was on for me.
Along the way, I let go of my hang-ups with second-hand shopping. The germs? Here’s the reality. I haven’t found this to be a problem. In fact, when you consider the lax return policies of most retailers, we are probably wearing second hand clothing more than we even realize. Furthermore, the vast majority of thrift/resale shops that I’ve visited have been just as clean and organized as any other retailer. I recently visited Seeds Resale Store in Woodstock, GA. The store is beautifully organized and offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The store has a wonderful selection of fashionable items (home décor and nursery items, too) at very reasonable prices. I can’t wait to visit again! Needless to say, thrifting has become a new way of life for me. Read on to find out what I enjoy most about it!
You will often find new items
How many dresses, blouses, or pairs of shoes do you have in your closet with tags still on them or that have only been worn once or twice? For many of us, the answer is “a lot”. These unworn and gently used clothing are very likely to end up donated to a thrift store or sold in a garage sale. During most of my shopping trips, I find clothing with tags still on them. Like this Doncaster dress pictured below. MSRP $295
The Thrill of the Hunt
I’ve known people to decorate entire homes with items found while bargain-hunting. You never know what you may find…from home décor to sporting equipment and so much more. What I have found is that you have to have an open mind. If you go shopping for a very specific item, you can become frustrated and disappointed. You’re likely to be more successful if you are shopping for a certain category of item (e.g. special occasion dresses versus looking for a purple mini dress, living room decorations versus shopping for a gold lamp). My favorite finds are usually retro looks like these dainty pink dresses by Talbots.
Yes, you can save lots of money by shopping thrift/resale shops. My expenses for wardrobe for photoshoots and fashion events have decreased substantially. However, be careful. Some shops brand themselves as resale shops, but their prices are more in line with standard retail stores. Another fact that you should keep in mind is that consignment shops generally have higher prices (though usually still reasonable) than most thrift stores.
When evaluating your thrifting haul, be aware of items designed by high end designers who have produced lower priced fashion lines in collaboration with mass market retailers. Still great finds, but know that the value isn’t the same as high-end pieces by these designers. Here are a few examples:
Simply Vera by Vera Wang available at Kohl’s and Macy’s
Christian Siriano for Payless
Stella McCartney’s sustainable fashion lines with Gap and H&M
Karl Lagerfeld for H&M *In 2004, Lagerfeld became the first designer to collaborate with H&M
Alexander McQueen for Target
If it’s what you like, pick it up! But make sure that you’re knowledgeable of the actual value of various fashion lines.
I enjoy hunting for fashion treasures so much, that I have transformed my online boutique into a resale shop. If you’re not up to the bargain-hunting escapades, I have done the work for you! Shop Charmed Life Apparel for new, gently used, and always fashionable women’s clothing!
I look forward to sharing my thrifting stories with you along the way, so stay tuned!
Do you enjoy thrifting? Tell us about your favorite thrift story!
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This summer, more than any other, I have noticed an emergence of women chopping it all off and rocking short, cropped hairstyles. In these looks, I see power and fearless beauty! In a previous post (HERE), I told you what my hair means to me. For some of us, hair is an accessory. For others, it's so much more. Read on as seven stunning beauties tell us their HairStory and give us advice on embracing beauty with confidence.
Alexan S. Green
Lake City, SC
What inspired me to go natural was after having so many issues with weave. My hair wasn't healthy and I was experiencing breakage. In 2011, I decided to do the "Big Chop" to start a new look. Of course it took me a while to adjust and embrace the style that I chose to wear, but I grew fond of it. The first look was the afro and wearing a lot of up- do's. Then, I decided to do a tapered look. I chose this look because it was FIERCE, BOLD and SEXY! This was definitely the look for me. It represents who I am as a black woman.
Embracing Your HairConfidence
The best advice to women who are struggling with embracing their beauty is to first start with self. Make sure that you are in love with the person who you see in the mirror every day! If you find yourself struggling, then make sure you seek why and get the help you need to love every part of you. It's a must to embrace who you are!
I have been wearing my short hair since I was 19 years old. I am now 36 years old. I went through a stage of low self-esteem and trying to figure out what makes me happy and confident as a woman. One day. I looked in the mirror and told myself I was FINE! My hair, to me, means empowerment, strength and courage.
Embracing Your HairConfidence
My advice to women seeking to embrace their own beauty is to just go for it. Find what works for you. Find your niche, and make it great. Never allow anyone to define or dictate how or what you should look like. Only you can stop you!
I’ve always been really particular about my hair. I’ve always wanted my hair to be what it wasn’t: long, thick, silky…well you get the point! It took me a while to come to terms with myself, with the fact that I wasn’t blessed with luxurious hair. But I was blessed with what God intended for me to have. After trying numerous times to be naturally content, I decided in March of 2017 to be FREE in ME and wear my natural!! It was the best hair decision I’ve ever made! I feel bold and beautiful and simply free being me!!
Embracing Your HairConfidence
To anyone of you beautiful ladies reading this that’s having the same struggle, let it go! Be happy and free, naturally how God made you!!
You are not your hair!!
I have been rocking my cut off and on for 5yrs. I have always wanted to do it. I made it happen in 2013. I LOVE IT! I feel so free with my cut.
Embracing Your HairConfidence
My advice to other beautiful Queens who are considering cutting their hair: DO IT! Embrace your beauty and continue to live your best life.
They say that women cut their hair when they are going through something. Well, that could be true for me. I started cutting my hair after separating from my ex-husband. From there… chop, chop, chop and it feels great. I started to like it the more I cut it.
Embracing Your HairConfidence
My advice is to just do it and don't look back. Embrace your face with a short cut, you will feel and look thinner.
Manning, South Carolina
In 2011, I was diagnosed with Alopecia. After receiving this news, I began to get treatments to help my hair grow. During this transition, I found it difficult to go to the salon or receive any services that would force me into the public’s eye. The embarrassment was overwhelming.
As confident as I am, I would hold my head down and close my eyes so that I wouldn’t be noticed. One day I decided to start learning how to make wigs and watched some YouTube tutorials. I then began to wonder what people would say about me wearing wigs. I found myself becoming depressed and insecure. Nowhere else to run, I was forced to lay my burdens down, literally, on the altar.
In January of this year, I wrote everything down that was holding me back from moving into my destiny. I prayed and asked God for guidance. I looked in the mirror and said “you are beautiful”. I began to repeat it over and over. That was the beginning of my healing. I became stronger and it was invigorating. July 13th is when I took my wig off. I felt free!
Embracing Your HairConfidence
My hair does not define who I am. I am beautiful, with or without it. God loves me unconditionally and that's all that matters. Practice loving yourself. Admit to all that hurts so that you can start healing. Embrace your now!!!
I really don’t have a hair story. I just always admired natural, short hair, so one day I up and cut all of my hair off. I was 15 years old. Yes, I cried in the barbershop chair in front of everyone. I lost a lot of my confidence, but once I got a lot of compliments on how it fits me, I most definitely started getting my confidence back.
Embracing Your HairConfidence
Do what makes you feel comfortable. No matter what anybody says or feels, you are beautiful in your own way. Seek it. Find it. Embrace it.
When I decided to write this post, I never imagined how powerful it would become. I absolutely LOVE when we love ourselves. Yes, these ladies are beautiful with their chosen hairstyles but they also inspire confidence! I'd love to read your HairStory. Comment and send good vibes to our featured beauties, but don't forget to share your HairStory!
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They understand you and all of your uniqueness, and you wouldn’t trade them for the world. They are your group of sister-friends who hold it down for you like no one else could. The beautiful thing is that you mean just as much to each one of them. Whether the group is small or large, everyone in the crew knows her role and plays it very well. Read on. I’m sure that you’ll be reminded of someone dear to you in one or more of these ‘squad roles’.
Did you recognize yourself or one of your sister-friends? It’s a myth that women never get along. It actually makes me cringe to hear negative blanket statements about relationships among women. In actuality, we need one another. I’m certain that most women would agree that their ‘squad’ is a valuable and irreplaceable presence in their lives. It’s our inner circle that can help to center us. It’s our inner circle that we can count on to help us navigate this crazy world. Give a shout out to your squad in the comments section! Share the post and tag your girls!
Here’s one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou: “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time”. I know that I’m not the only one who needs this reminder from time to time. A loved one tells us something that causes that gut instinct to kick in, but we don’t protect ourselves by acting on it. We don’t want to face the aftermath of a failed relationship or we can't fathom the idea of starting over. For the sake of our peace of mind and emotional well-being, we should listen to what we’re being told by our significant others and evaluate the situation to prevent entertaining a relationship that will only cause pain in the long run. Here are a few ways that they may be telling you that they’re not that into you:
I can recall an ex once telling me that he tends to be indifferent about things (meaning: emotionally unavailable). I ignored the red flag and ended up being miserable because he showed very little care or concern about my feelings or the things that were going on in my life. Why would I entertain such a situation? Sometimes we become so comfortable with the familiar that we fight for it long after it’s dead. We dread the idea of nursing a broken heart…the idea of starting over. You know what? That’s no way to live and you and I both deserve so much more.
Here’s a challenge. Listen to what the other person is telling you. Don’t twist and turn their words to make yourself comfortable. Are they telling you all that you need to know to determine that the relationship is not for you? Are you ignoring your gut instinct? Live your life in such a way that you only have a space for those who want to be there. Entertain healthy relationships and those things that make you happy.
What's a sign that someone may not be that into you? Finish this in comments: Believe 'em when they say...
Previous Post: Charmed Life-Let the Children Teach Us
Fashionistas! Check out my Charmed Life style posts HERE!
I am honored to feature Miranda Burton, child sexual abuse survivor and awareness advocate, as our newest Charmed Life Gem. Miranda is a shining example of how we can rise from our tribulations and help others to become triumphant along the way. Miranda is a champion for those who have survived child sexual abuse and an educator within her community. Read on to learn more about Miranda Burton and her nonprofit organization, Marion’s House.
Meet Miranda Burton…
I am a native of Louisiana, but I currently reside and work in Charleston, SC. I am a graduate of Coker College (Hartsville, SC) and a certified Darkness to Light Facilitator. I am a two-time survivor of child sexual abuse. This is why it is now my life’s work to protect child from being preyed upon and to educate adults in how to protect our children from child sexual abuse. I partner with the local school system through my nonprofit organization, Marion’s House.
About Marion’s House…
I established Marion’s House to benefit children and families around the world that have been impacted by child sexual abuse. Marion’s House is named after my grandmother, Marion Burton. She was a fighter and loved helping others. I just want to be half the woman she was while here on this earth.
Through Marion’s House we give an E.A.R. (Empowerment, Awareness, and Recovery) to the topic of child sexual abuse. On a monthly basis I provide Darkness to Light training sessions so that adults will know how to react responsibly when they become aware of instances of child sexual abuse. During these sessions, we discuss the community resources that are available to sexual abuse victims. I also conduct Marion’s House workshops and do book readings with youth groups to help start the conversation.
Miranda’s Charmed Life…
I have been able to overcome the effects of abuse by sharing my story and being an advocate and educator as a certified Darkness to Light Facilitator. I am currently in graduate school and I am proud to say that I have maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout my studies. I am grateful for the many opportunities that I have been granted to spread my message regarding child sexual abuse, including being featured in the Pain to Purpose broadcast, Women of Fruit Magazine, and numerous other media outlets.
Not every day is perfect for me. One thing that I have fought against is fear. Fear of how my family will react, fear of all the mistakes I have made and whether people will take me seriously in my adult life, fear that I cannot do everything that I believe I can do. There are times when I say am I thinking a little too far beyond the now, and then I have to remind myself that it is my season and I need to be here for those in need.
Every day is a new day. I am a survivor, but I struggle with staying in survivor mode. Through prayer, music, and sharing my story, I continue to survive.
Miranda’s Advice to Anyone Who’s Currently Working to Overcome…
Don't focus on your stressors. It's easier said than done, but no trial lasts always. Focus on what you need to do to get yourself out of the situation and accomplish your goals
Marion’s House survives on donations alone. We would greatly appreciate your financial support. You can email MarionsHouseSurvivors@gmail.com to request a PayPal invoice or donate via our GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/6jxe84. Follow our Facebook page for all announcements and upcoming events: https://www.facebook.com/MarionsHousePCSA/
There is no doubt that child sexual abuse awareness is a very worthy cause. Please use the links above to donate to Marion's House. Help me to thank Miranda for her selflessness and the amazing work that she is doing through Marion's House by leaving a comment below.
Are you interested in sharing your story on Truly Charmed? Email TrulyCharmedOne@gmail.com
ICYMI! Read about Charmed Live Gem, Alexan Green, HERE
Great things happen when we share our stories. The saying “you never know what the next person is going through” is the absolute truth. Another thing that could be said is that we don’t really know how much we have in common until we begin to share our stories. I am so grateful to the women who will be featured throughout the year on Truly Charmed. These are women who have beaten unbelievable odds to claim their charmed lives. Up first…Alexan Green. I have been cheering Alexan on from afar for a while now. She’s one of my Facebook friends who is always working…always spreading empowering messages. I had to share her story with you. Read on to meet survivor and advocate Alexan Green.
Hi, my name is Alexan Green. I am a 38 year old mother and wife from Lake City, South Carolina. I am the founder of Women Against All Odds (WAAO), an outreach organization/ministry designed to support women during their toughest challenges. At the age of 6, I was sexually molested by a family member who lived with my great-grandmother. This senseless act took place for quite some time until the relative decided to move back to his hometown. I kept the abuse a secret for many years. The aftermath was horrible. I dealt with a lot of changes over the years: struggling with my sexuality, dealing with multiple men, fear of telling, not knowing what would happen if I did, struggling with loving myself, and the list goes on. At some points I felt like giving up. I endured. Through age and with God, my experiences strengthened me. I began to know that I had a voice and needed to speak up and out to help other women.
I started my non-profit, Women Against All Odds, in 2013. The mission statement sums up the purpose of WAAO: “Helping every woman live through adversity in order to conquer, survive, and thrive”. I hope to inspire and empower women during the greatest challenges in their lives. WAAO has hosted a networking mixer on the third Thursday of each month in my hometown of Lake City S.C. at the Railway Restaurant from 6-9 p.m. During the meetings, ladies would network and chat about their business, fellowship, pray, and share stories of survival. With the restaurant being under new management I'm looking to move to another location. The journey has been challenging, but I'm believing and trusting that God will continue to send women to help me build this amazing organization.
Alexan’s Charmed Life…
I still have days in which I wonder will I ever be able to put the aftermath of molestation behind me. I came to the decision that no matter what I was going to keep moving forward. I met a wonderful lady by the name of Jennifer Robinson, whose outreach program, Empowered To Heal, helps women who have been sexually molested. I meet with her monthly for counseling sessions to chat about some of the adversities that I still deal with. Now a mother of three and a wife of eleven years, I feel like I have more support and love than I have ever had. I'm glad that God saw fit to spare my life so that I could give life to my children. I am inspired by being connected to women with the same purpose and drive. My advice to anyone who may be going through difficulty is to keep fighting until your victory is won.
To say that I was moved by Alexan’s story is an understatement. I am so grateful for her transparency. This will, no doubt, be a blessing to the lives of those who read it. If you are a survivor of child molestation, look at Alexan’s story as inspiration. Speak up. Speak out. You are not your circumstances. Share this story. You never know who may need it.
Protect Our Children!
Talk to your children about molestation. Let them know that it’s not ok.
Make your children feel confident that they can confide in you. Keep the lines of communication open.
Listen to your gut instinct!
Do not force your children to show affection to others, relatives or not.
Be cautious about who you allow to spend time with your children.
The greatest lessons can be learned from our little people, our children. In my case, they’re not so little anymore (ages 15 and 17), but over the years my children have enriched my life in so many ways, including teaching me some very important lessons. In general, children see possibilities where cynicism has caused us to go blind. They find hope in circumstances that life’s upsets and fumbles would cause us to give up. They dream big. They have fun. Unfortunately, “adulting” and all that comes with it has left some of us jaded and it may become necessary for us to take a step back and look at life through the hope-filled and unadulterated eyes of our children.
My son, Zy, is currently in the last semester of his senior year in high school. Yes, a SENIOR! It blows my mind to think about it. My daughter, Chris, is 15 years old and a freshman in high school. They have grown up so quickly on me. I often find myself thinking about our journey, the wisdom that I have strived to instill in them, and the ways in which they have made me a better person. Here are a few lessons that I have learned from my children.
Because of my children, I travel more and I have become more open to new experiences. I was motivated to take my goals off of the backburner and pursue my blogging and modeling careers. I am more confident in my own abilities and beauty. I could go on and on about the ways in which my children have caused me to widen my horizons and to check my perspective when it comes to certain things in life. I look forward to witnessing their growth into adulthood and their bright futures. I know that a lot of you who are reading this are parents, educators, aunts, uncles…in what ways have the children in your lives taught you lessons? Comment below.
What is the cloud? “The cloud” is anything that interrupts life, anything that keeps you from wanting to do the things that you must do in order to thrive, including the things that you enjoy doing. “The cloud” threatens your quality of life. For you it could be naysayers, negative people in your circle, or your own negative self-talk. In my case, I deal with the dual burden of anxiety and depression. I have dealt with this for many years, but a name wasn’t given to my struggle until I was diagnosed with chronic depression in 2006.
I had no idea of the number of people who also live with these conditions until I became transparent and began to talk it. Most days are fine. On my worst days, it feels like a battle just to get out of bed—as if I’m being held down by a boulder. It takes so much resolve and an iron will to thrive in spite of the pitfalls of anxiety and depression. Maybe your cloud is the same is mine, maybe not, but here are five ways to say no to any cloud and claim your charmed life!
I hope that this post helps you in your effort to push forward and live a happy, healthy, and prosperous life. Never allow negativity or any other hindrance to stop you! Let’s claim our charmed lives. Comment below and let us know how you thrive despite the clouds of life.
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of performing arts, so, last month, I was nothing less than pleased to attend the Pee Dee Community Arts Team’s performance of Restored III: An Inspirational Dance Musical Production. The Pee Dee Community Arts Team is comprised of a diverse group of young people who are immensely talented. The group is headed by the very inspiring Minister Leya R. Elijah-Eller. I had been looking forward to this production for a while and I was oh so glad that I attended.
As described on PDCAT’s Facebook page, Restored III is “a moving and soul-stirring story of life and living in a very real world”. It was exactly that. Segments of the production addressed a variety of relevant issues, including personal salvation, police brutality, domestic violence, and more. There were very touching moments. There were through-provoking moments. There were humorous moments. One thing is for sure, there was not a dull moment throughout the show. One of the many highlights of the evening: award-winning vocalist Carlett Martin performed and brought down the house.
Read on for tidbit and pics...
Michael, a member of PDCAT's musician team, got the show started very nicely.
Restored featured the music of Take 6, Sounds of Blackness, Karen Clark-Sheard, John Legend, Kirk Franklin, and more. Very entertaining!
Watching these young people perform reminds me of my own daughter on stage when she was enrolled in dance classes. She studied tap, jazz, and ballet from the age of 4 until she was 9 years old. I was overjoyed to see the poise and confidence in my baby and the other students. Though she decided on sports instead of dance, the benefits of dance have stuck with her until this day. This is why I strive to support the arts in my community.
I am certainly looking forward to PDCAT's next production which is expected to premiere in April 2017! Follow Pee Dee Community Arts Team on Facebook for future show dates.
Are you a fan of performing arts? How did your love of the arts begin? Comment below!
Read on to enjoy tidbits and pics from the Beautiful SistersUnited Meet and Greet Luncheon.
On Saturday September 17th there was nothing less than sheer power in the room at the Beautiful Sisters United Meet and Greet Luncheon. Beautiful Sisters United is an empowerment organization based in South Carolina founded by Audra Blyther. Audra orchestrated the event with the intent to bring awareness to breast cancer and domestic violence, issues that require our attention year-round. The luncheon featured inspiring speakers, spoken word and liturgical performances, and a fabulous fashion showcase.
I had the honor of participating in the event in two capacities: official event blogger and as a model for Outter Wear Boutique and Infinity Boutique during the fashion showcase.
I won't go into detail about each individual speaker for fear of leaving anyone out. One thing is for sure: each story was awe-inspiring. There are so many women who have endured and found the courage to escape domestic violence relationships. There are so many of us who have either directly or through a loved one, witnessed the fight against various forms of cancer. The women featured at this event are those who had the insight and courage to champion for others who may be experiencing the struggles that they once endured.
My Take-Aways from the Event
The fashion showcase featured fall looks from Infinity Boutique and Outter Wear Boutique.
Congratulations to Audra Blyther on a successful event.
Follow Beautiful Sisters United on Facebook!
Antoinette C. is a blogger who delights in all things that foster unity and growth in women. After all, if the woman is happy and fulfilled, so is her family and community. Through Truly Charmed, Antoinette will introduce you to women who have inspired her, and who will, hopefully, do the same for you! Here's to your charmed life!