Sunday, December 29, 2013

Two Days to Go!

I am clearly missing photos for 10 days right now, but that situation will be fixed by (probably) tomorrow!

Two days to go! Time to jump for joy, and since you can do ANYTHING in a dress:

I wanna re-iterate: Dressember is NOT about what I'm wearing, it's about raising funds and awareness for victims of international sex trafficking. So far $115,000 has been raised! Visit to donate, and support International Justice Mission!

Friday, December 13, 2013

5 - 13

Fact: You CAN wear dresses in a snow storm.
And under sweatshirts when it gets too icy and you have to work from home….

As of yesterday, $56K has been raised on the US campaign, $11K on the Canada campaign! Take part and donate to IJM! #dressember

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

1, 2, 3, 4

I've never yet taken a photo where I knew what to do with my hands. Hashtag Dressember2013

P.S. - The overall fundraising goal of $25,000 has already been exceeded as of YESTERDAY. Ridiculous.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Frivolous Femininity"

I did "Dressember" last year and had a ball.

Check out the official website!

It's a fashion challenge started by a friend-of-a-friend in Southern California, (where going bare-legged during the winter solstice is no biggie...) the goal being to wear dresses every day for a month.

Since I'm a bit of a dress fiend during a regular month, it seemed like a natural choice to jump on the bandwagon with my friends, posting pictures occasionally and getting to see what the other girls were coming up with on a daily basis.

Honestly though? At times I worried that the whole thing came across as shallow. When we can? We try to avoid shallow.
When I found out that this year, Dressember was partnering with International Justice Mission, (a human rights agency working to fight slavery & sex trafficking) I was super excited, then scared, then excited again.

My feelings have flip flopped throughout. Dressember's founder- (Blythe Hill) addressed my hangups a little bit the other day- that
some people are finding the connection between girls in dresses & international social justice issues a hard sell.

But here's why it's not:

  • Beauty is valuable. We're wired to think that if you can't define it, put it in your bank account, or hang it on the wall in a walnut frame, it's somehow of lesser value. But a life void of sunsets, Christmas lights, and trips to the Grand Canyon would be a bleak one indeed. Beauty is a good thing. One that motivates us, inspires us to create, and sometimes to be better people.
  • Authentic femininity is a concept totally at odds with the slick, sexualized, pre-packaged womanhood that gets sold to American consumers year round.  We're lost for words on what it means to be a woman. The idea that femininity has to do with sexual value is very close to a given in our culture. A priest in my college once said that women are forced to choose "Seduction" or "Production" as their M.O. for identity. There's very little room to define yourself outside those two options.  
  • There are clear and discernible links between pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking. You can look it up for yourself, but some info to get you started can be found in this article, and this video.  People justify porn's harmlessness by arguing for the freedom of a consenting well-paid women to do what she wants with her body. But the reality is that your casual viewer knows nothing about the situation of the woman (or man) they find themselves observing, and how they came to be in front of that camera. 

Is putting more girls in dresses going to stop porn addiction, international slavery and sex trafficking? Definitely not.

But I really think that
men and women making choices that deliberately celebrate beauty, femininity and creativity can only create positive and healthy change in our culture, and in the climate worldwide.  Putting yourself forward as a an example of beauty: highly flawed, un-airbrushed, and fully clothed, is scary. Very scary. But it's a push-back against the idea that femininity is frivolous, or somehow for sale. 

All that to say: Dressember 2013 starts today! It's not too late to participate, or if dresses just aren't your thing, follow on social media, donate to ISJ and support the (literally) hundreds of women participating.

Here's a video of founder Blythe Hill talking about the partnership with ISJ:

Check out 
my Dressember campaign on the ISJ website and think about joining in, or donating to support the cause!

Happy Dressing!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Freelance Dissected- St. Joseph's Catholic Church Pt. I

I'm freelancing long distance this month for my old parish in Vancouver, WA: St. Joseph's. I'll be doing a few projects for them, but the first was to design a new header for their redesigned website- the old one was stretched and pixelated and didn't fit the space.

Here's some evolution of the graphic:

The winner!
The "Before" and "After" look.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My New Portfolio

I've been hard at work in the past month re-designing and updating my Multimedia Portfolio- used to showcase my professional Graphic Design, Social Media, and Video Production skillzz. Check it out, but
watch your head- (as I anticipate a veritable DELUGE of job offers to come pouring my direction....)


Monday, February 4, 2013

2012 was an Adventure.

This post has been in the works for a while. And we're ALMOST to the point where I wasn't gonna publish it... but I need to put the wrap on 2012. Cause it was important!

My life motto last year was: "2012 is an Adventure".  For some reason, I put a lot of pressure on 2012 to be this fabulous, life-changing year...and it actually was.

I made a solo move to a part of the country I had never visited, where I had no friends or family.
It was terrifying. It was lonely. I sat crying in my car at LEAST once because I was so overwhelmed and dying for something / anything that felt familiar or comfortable to me.

MARCH 2012
It was fun. It was exhilirating. It was freeing. It allowed me to be completely myself, with nobody's expectations or pre-conceived notions to box me in. It allowed me to be truly stripped of all my baggage in a way I haven't been in years.
APRIL 2012
MAY 2012
I started completely over.  I allowed people to surprise me. I learned how to be alone, and how not to be scared of being alone. I explored. I planned adventures for myself. I took risks. I let people in. I had nothing to lose. I don't know if I fell in love, but I think I came close once or twice.
JUNE 2012
I learned how to like myself again.
JULY 2012
I really did. I caught myself thinking more than once- "Emma Olwell, you are not so bad. Maybe I've been wrong about you."
Looking back it was so undeniably good. And ordained. And meant to be. The truth is, I look back at the girl I was LAST Christmas and I almost don't recognize her. And I feel good about what I've left behind and what I've replaced.
Looking ahead, I guess that's the attitude I want to bring into 2013. My life is my own and I get to make of it what I want.  I never need to feel trapped by anything: change is as simple as choosing who I want to be and doing things differently.
I want to continue doing things that scare me, going places I haven't been, making choices that reflect the fact that I value myself; that I am good, holy & worthwhile. I'm not gonna fear crashing and burning in any area of my life.
I'm gonna search out the things I truly want rather than feeling like I need to accept whatever comes along. I'm gonna choose to see beauty and goodness in the people I meet.  I'm going to be content with and grateful for the things I have, and the blessings I've been given.

"2013 is Authentic". Or FIERCELY authentic, depending on how badass you may be feeling at the moment. In four short weeks this has already proved to be mightily true.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Last of the Dresses.

My mom finally mailed me the memory card I left behind in Arkansas over Christmas. So here it is- PROOF that I finished dressember!!

dress- Target. Oh, Goodwill FROM Target. Of course.
dress- H&M via Goodwill.
dress- my one & only Anthropologie dress, (aka my pride and joy...)
dress- Target!
Christmas dress! Banana Republic, via Goodwill. 
dress- Target!
BOOTS- Vintage from my mother in the '80's!  I wore holes in them in college, and my parents had them repaired for me for Christmas. Needless to say, I haven't taken them off since.

I can't believe I'm even posting this picture. No Shame. Target dress, red socks not included.

(My sister's bridal shower, dress from- you guessed it- TARGET.)

dress- Old Navy. (New Year's eve!)
I didn't cheat, but I AM missing a couple photos. So really....this is just proof that it was way harder to get out of sweatpants while being home for Christmas than I anticipated....and that a dress worn OVER sweatpants is just about as photogenic as you might imagine.

Can't wait for next year!!