Saturday, March 31, 2012

photo diary: Black Mesa, AZ

Apologies for the photo dump--I have over a hundred more, but these are my favorites. 

The week after graduating, I returned to Black Mesa, AZ for a week of service on the Navajo reservation, exactly a year after my first trip there. We lived, learned, and loved at a church called Tse ee gai, House of Joy. I got to return to a place where my life was changed, where I fell in love with the Navajo people and with the others on my trip; a place where the vastness of God is more apparent than any other place I've traveled. 

We dug trenches, mixed cement, and laid cinder blocks to make the foundation for a respite for weary travelers. We taught children about the fruits of the spirit (Galations 5:22-23), and we let the children be children: playing and running and kicking up dirt, coloring and giggling and teasing. We lived without running water, without the luxuries that we hardly give a second thought to at home. There was eight inches of snow, and then there was sun and mud and wind and dust. Our clothing was dirty and our hair was worse. We ate fry bread for dinner and s'more for breakfast. Cowboy coffee flowed all day long. We sang worship songs as we watched the sun peak over the canyon, and we met a calf minutes after it was born. 

We saw the Grand Canyon, and I got yelled at by a French man for standing up on that ledge above. We ended the week with $12 airport margaritas at 11:30 am, and we landed back in Seattle feeling sleepy, blessed, and ready to face everything we'd left at home. Big changes keep happening in my life this month, but my week at Black Mesa, among people that love fearlessly and without pretense, has me filled up enough to be brave and ready for each one. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to return to the Mesa, and I hope to return as soon as possible. If you want to know more about the organization I went with, see their Facebook page. They are a PNW organization and I have nothing but good things to say about them! 

Note: I know this post has nothing to do with style, but many of you expressed interest in hearing more about the trip, so here you are! If you want to know anything else, please feel free to email me at I've got lots to say. ;)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

guest blogging at Shy Scout

I am guest posting over at the Shy Scout blog today, while the lovely Allison is in Japan (um, jealous). Go check out the post here to hear about this snake print dress I thrifted recently! xoxo Charity

Monday, March 26, 2012

back in style

In case you haven't been reading, I spent the last week volunteering on the Navajo reservation in Arizona with a group of other college students. It was a wonderful, challenging, life-changing, service-filled week & I had a fantastic time. That being said, yesterday morning was the first time I got to shower, do my hair, and put on pretty clothes (at one point last week, I worked in baggy denim overalls--jealous?) and I was verrry happy to do so. This is one of my favorite skirts, so I went straight for it in the morning. 
Thursday night, several of the Navajo women brought their handmade jewelry for us to purchase. I fell in love with this bracelet and can't stop admiring it! Knowing the personal story of the woman who made it, Linda, makes it even more special. I bought a few necklaces too, can't wait to share them with you!
also, I believe that spring is here. here's to bare (pale) legs, floral prints, pastels, and freshly blonde hair! 

I was eager to get an outfit post up, so will share trip photos next. And please, feel free to email me if you have any questions about what kind of work we did or the organization/people we worked with there! I have much to share about the experience. xoxo. 

dress: thrifted, shirt: Forever 21, belt: Target, boots: Charlotte Russe

Sunday, March 25, 2012

home: sweet home.

I'm home, & it feels wonderful. 
After a week of no running water (read: no showers), snow, mud, dust, sunshine & everything in between, digging trenches, mixing concrete, dicey short-cuts, running and playing and puppet-ing with the liveliest of children, Navajo tacos, PB&Js, exploring the Grand Canyon and exploring what God wants for my new life as a college graduate: I am home, and thankful to have a bed to sleep in and a shower to take. Lots more photos to come when I get enough sleep to function normally. 

A big THANK YOU to my guest bloggers from the week! Catching up on the posts and comments last night was so fun. If you haven't read them yet, do so! I'll be back tomorrow with more to share. xoxo! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

guest post: Bridget of Deer Circus

My last guest post of the week is a dear one. Bridget, blogger at the Deer Circus blog, is not only unimaginably stylish, a wonderful photographer, and a fellow lover of literature; she is also a friend. I got to know her at our university here in Bellingham, but she unfortunately (for me) left for Colorado this summer for an adventure with her (equally stylish) husband. However, she is still a PNW girl through and through! Bridget and I have fun plans for intertwining our blogs in the future, so look forward to seeing more of her. Thanks for posting, Bridget! xoxo Charity

hi charity's readers! 
for those of you who don't know me, i'm bridget from the deer circus. i was tickled when charity asked me to guest post for her!
i have a lot of sacred beliefs when it comes to dressing. but above all, i believe dressing should always be fun. experimental. inspired. feminine, but juxtaposed. often, when i wake up, i feel an intense pull to fulfill a character sketch in how i dress; maybe i want to be an equestrian, a french shop girl, a painter--not a costume, but creating a feeling. 
so, last saturday, when colorado was sunny, i felt like being a free people spread. living in the city means there was no idyllic backdrop...but then again, it's great for days when i feel like an editor, or garance dore, or a girl in a brick-faced flowershop...

Go visit the deer circus blog for more loveliness!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

guest post: Angela of Garden and Sea

Angela of the blog Garden and Sea & I have lots in common: we're both Creative Writing majors, bloggers, DIYers (though she is much more dedicated than I), and lovers of style, thrifting, coffee, and short stories. We also happen to live together. You may have been me rocking some of the pieces from her etsy shop several times, because I just can't take her scarves off. Go look at her blog to see her gorgeous designs! Thanks for posting, Ang! xoxo Charity

Hi, c'est la belle vie readers! I'm Angela and my blog Garden and Sea is all about arts+crafts, my crochet shop, fashion and design trends, and anything else that inspires me to be creative. I also happen to be Charity's roommate! When we first met, we were delighted to discover that we were both getting more serious about blogging :)

 While Charity's gone having an amazing time on her mission trip, I'm here to post about my favorite hobby: thrift shopping!

I honestly believe everyone who doesn't buy second hand could use a liiiittttle lesson in thrifting. So, if you know anyone who doesn't go out and hunt down at least some of their own clothes, you may want to teach them just a few things:

1. Don't buy retail what you can get at a thrift store. 

Lace is one of the biggest spring trends right now. I'm sort of obsessed.  But since it's a delicate material, buying it at the mall can get expensive. However, if you walk into a Goodwill- you're almost sure to find some cute lace top such as the one I'm wearing here! Because just like clothing, trends are often recycled. This one was $5.
2. If you can, try it on! 

Charity was just telling me about her friend that wanted to buy all new clothes. Her advice: try things on, even if it's not your style. He came back with new cardigans and nice jeans that he loves. It can't hurt :)

Going along with that, is rule no. 3, be specific in what you want, but don't limit yourself.  Because I used to run a little Etsy shop for vintage (and because I should have been born in a different era), I always think "I want vintage!" when I thrift shop. But being practical is good too. The sweater I'm wearing is so similar to one I bought at Nordstrom, and when I found out it was $4 I had to have it too.
Those are some of the basics, for me anyway.

Are you inspired? I think it's time to grab some Starbucks like the iced caramel macchiato shown below (and my boyfriend's kitty's legs...) and get thrifty!

sweater: thrifted, $4, lace top: thrifted, $5, orange tank: forever 21, aeropostale jeans: thrifted $8, flats, old navy