Magazine Feature

If my fav News Agent (@NewsVP) hadn't tweeted this article out, I'm not sure I would have even seen it! 

Thanks so much to Broadcasting Cable Magazine for featuring me in this story, along with my Telewise/EXTRA family.  Telewise really has paved a new way for TV / brand integration and I'm so happy to be a part of the team!

To check out the article via their website, CLICK HERE, otherwise you can read it below. :)

My Trip to Skid Row


I have to admit.  The thought of going into one of the roughest neighborhoods in LA freaked me the heck out. 

Today's event was put together by my friend's charity - Two Cents Project.  It's made up of a small group of friends traveling the US with the sole purpose of loving the poorest of poor in the cities they visit, and telling their stories.

When my friend Briauna invited me to take part in this outreach, I jumped at the opportunity without giving it much thought.  This morning the reality set it.  I was fearful, nervous, and anxious about what the day would bring, but I knew that I couldn't let that stop me.  


We would all meet down on Skid Row, set up a table, hand out snacks, play music, paint nails, and just hang with the residents there.  It's funny because I set out today with the mindset of "we're going down to Skid Row to bless people, to love on them, and to encourage them," which is all fine and great, however, after spending literally all day chatting with the people there and hearing their stories I am the one who left blessed, encouraged and forever changed.

I heard so many stories today.  From a guy who grew up living in tents on the streets, to a published author who was down on his luck and homeless for the past 6 months.  What moved me most was what I saw in their eyes.  Not darkness, or even sadness... but hope.  Literally we were standing on what the locals there called "the most dangerous street in Skid Row" and here I was being blown away by the love that THEY were showing ME!  

Proverbs 31:8-9 says "Speak up for those who can not speak for themselves."  These are a few of the stories from today that left me completely changed.

Meet Theresa.  


A mother of 7, grandmother of 7, and very well acquainted with the streets of Skid Row.  She seemed to know everyone that passed us by.  We chatted, we snacked, and painted nails as she told me about her life.   She was so proud of her kids - 4 of which are currently attending college.  "Spread joy" - that was her slogan.  Joy in the midst of her troubles, no matter what.  Why?  Because that's how God's love is shown.  "Joy and love cast out hate," she said, "hate can't live where love lives.  So I chose joy." 

Meet Zakia.  



10 years old, aspiring dancer, teacher and doctor.  This little girl had a strength and courage that I saw within the first 5 minutes of knowing her.  "Can I paint your nails?" I asked her as she came down the street, curious as to what we were doing there..."Can I paint YOURS?" she said back to me... and this was the result: 



Zakia stuck around all day, playing music with us, dancing, singing, and eating lots of popsicles.  Playing on the streets of skid row is a daily occurrence for her as her mom hung out in the park nearby.   There was not one ounce of fear in this child's eyes. The fact that she was pretty much left to roam around the neighborhood didn't phase her one bit.  "You're a strong girl aren't you?" I said to her.  "Yeah... I had to toughen up.  My mom said I would act too much like a little baby so I had to learn how to be tough."  UGHHHH so heart wrenching to hear from this precious spunky girl. All she wanted was a big sis.  Someone to watch her silly dance moves, to play with her hair, and to listen to her stories from school.  I feel like I gained a little sister today.

Meet Sonia.  


Her street name is "Lonely" but after talking to her, I came to realize she is anything BUT.  Sonia is a former drug addict, current Jesus lover and mother of 6 - 3 children by birth and 3 adopted.   I spent a couple hours with her and still felt like it wasn't long enough.  No doubt she lived a rough life.... but all that came out of her mouth was praise to God for all He has brought her through.  She was anything BUT lonely, as the Lord has truly been her best friend.   In God We Trust was tattooed across her chest as a reminder of where she's been, and how far she has come.  

She walks the streets with her adorable dog (WHICH YOU KNOW I FREAKED OUT OVERRRR), and her mission is to love those around her.  "So many people out here are protective of their stuff, because it's all they have.  But I like to bring my dog down here and just let other people hold him..."  at this point she passed her pup to a woman who was deaf and happened to be walking by. The woman seemed surprised to be handed the dog and suddenly a HUGE SMILE came across her face...  "see the smile that it puts on her face," Sonia said to me, "that's priceless."  What a beautiful mission - to make people smile.  Such a simple concept but wow, so powerful.  
 
The Bible talks about those who are poor being rich in faith (James 2:5), and that verse has such a tangible meaning to me after today.  I feel like I had the opportunity to meet some of God's greatest treasures.  Their names will not be forgotten, nor their stories.  My prayers for Theresa - that God will continue to protect her children and provide for them as they further their education.  My prayers for Zakia - that her sweet spirit will not be overshadowed by her surroundings but that God will continue to shine through her.  My prayers for Sonia - that she will be blessed beyond belief for her faithfulness to God, and that her entire family will come to know the love of the Lord.  Gosh, even just writing this I wish I could be back down there to hug her once more.  She was so special.  

This blog can't even begin to scratch the surface of the depth of what I experienced today, but I hope that these stories encourage and inspire you, just as they have for me.    So often it's not physical things that people are truly in need of.  It's a moment of time... a compassionate ear... someone who will stop to listen. 

So thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of Two Cents Project's outreach today.  What a world changing group of people.  If you would like to be a part of one of their upcoming events as they travel across the country, check out their website (linked above) and Facebook page.

The photos below tell a bit more of today's story.  All pictures were taken by @JonVolk.

 




Isaiah 61:1 // The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
 

Shop my INSTA!

Hello Lovelies!  Hope you all had an amazing week... and weekend.  This just so happened to be an absolutely INSANE past few days for me, and if ya follow me on insta you've probably seen me bouncing from one thing to the next. :)

Thankfully this next week is going to slow down a bit, but I wanted to take some time to share my outfit details and give ya a chance to shop the looks!



So these first two looks I'm grouping together because they're basically the same outfit with a few lil tweaks. These Bella Dahl shirts have quickly become an OBSESSION for me.  Summer is HOT here in Cali, but as soon as the sun goes down, things cool off.  It's important for me to wear stuff that is versatile and can effortlessly take me from day to night.   Now typically I'm not a huge fan of button down shirts.... they tend to make me feel bulky, especially up top!!!   These shirts are made of 100% sheer cotton which keeps me cooler during the days, warmer at night, AND as an extra bonus, they've got a great feminine fit.  I just discovered Bella Dahl recently and I don't know how I've lived without them for so long! Shop the looks right here:




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Okay, I'm realizing this blog post is going to quickly turn into a gab sesh about Bella Dahl since I seem to have incorporated pieces from their collection into most of my looks this week... but lets chat about this lil shorts/blouse combo.

Whenever I go to brunch events I feel the need to up my "girly" factor, and these shorts just jumped out at me when I saw them.  They're by Girls on Film (I found almost the exact pair and linked them below... plus some of my other floral favs) and I paired them with a Bella Dahl blouse.  This coin necklace has been a staple in my wardrobe lately so I figured why not throw it on!?!

Lauren Scruggs (pictured next to me) is wearing a Bella Dahl sundress.   To shop our looks, see below! :)




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Ya know how when ya hang out with someone a ton you start to kinda look alike?!?!  Well that's definitely happening with my bestie and I! :) Lyndsay (@LyndsayZMakeup on IG) and I both showed up to an event over the weekend wearing ripped jeans, gray booties, blousey shirts and our fav jacket.

Shop our look right here:

SUMMER ESSENTIALS


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