What has me excited lately?

I just love the visual of literally wrapping yourself up in joy!

Kelly Rae Roberts just launched The Wear Your Joy Project and eloquently explains why here. I was immediately drawn to to the idea of being more intentional about what I choose to wear. About the energy and atmosphere I create for myself and others.

Nowadays, we tend to downplay everything a bit, don’t you think? I’m a casual person, but every now and then I like to get dressed up. It makes you feel special and refreshed and marks a shift in time and events. Did you know teens wear jeans to Homecoming and Prom? (I’m just learning this now that I have a child in high school.) For me, it comes down to feeling worthy. What happened to celebration? Feeling special? To honoring yourself?

Ever since I was a child I’ve longed for the more formal dress of my grandparents’ generation. You know, the generation that took pride in their handwriting and dressed up to go grocery shopping. The hats the men and women wore make me swoon.

Perhaps that was silly and superficial, or perhaps they knew something we have let slip in our fast-paced lives – that details add up to be reflections of who we are. That they do matter.  That everything we do impacts ourselves and others – including the way we dress.

Margaret Maloney age 17

This picture of my grandmother, Margaret, has captivated me for years. I knew her as a devoted grandmother, but not as a young woman. How beautiful (and surprising!) is that top? It made me want to learn more about her. Which got me thinking…what messages do I want to leave behind to my children’s children? What messages do I want to send my children now?

When I began participating in The Wear Your Joy Project, I realized that my clothes are the keepers of stories, just as I’d love to hear the story behind my grandmother’s dress. It’s not about the clothes. It’s about the memories we make in them. And how they make us feel. And sharing our unique spirit and joy with others. I don’t have a lot of clothes, but the ones I have are picked for special reasons, just like the objects in our home.

This dress will always remind me of the time I met Jessica Swift and Michelle Armas in Portland for lunch. It's a symbol of dreams coming true and their kindness.

My children will probably always remember me wearing old clothes splattered in paint and furry slippers. And, I love this image that suggests creativity and comfort. They will remember the time we spent together in my studio – the talks we had, the art we created, doing their homework while I painted.

I’ll be honest I don’t dress up every day and am often in sweats, but I want to be more playful with my clothing. I hope my children’s eyes and hearts absorb these values/messages as well…

*Embrace creativity, originality, uniqueness. Be yourself. *Be Brave. *You can create joy by being inventive and without spending a lot of money. *Celebrate yourself and your life. Every day. Carpe Diem! *Labels are someone else’s values. Define yourself and don’t let others do it for you. *Do what makes YOU feel the most alive. *Stay young at heart, aka color is not scary. (Adults are always telling me they are afraid of color. What is up with that? I don’t even know how to respond.) *Take risks. *Don’t be afraid to try something new. *Surround yourself with objects that make you feel loved and alive.  Defining value in that way rather than in a monetary or superficial way. *Respect yourself.

I found this dress at a cute local boutique on Bainbridge Island the weekend I was honored for winning their garden poster contest. My parents flew all the way from Cincinnati to help with the kids. This dress will always remind me of their love and support.

Can you convey these messages through your clothing? I think know so.

Fashion is a form of self-expression and is a creative, artistic endeavor.  It’s also an act of self-love.

Like so many of us, I tend to put my needs on the back burner and neglect details. But, this seemed important enough to take notice and participate. In addition to the above, I am doing this…

1. To honor myself and remind myself daily that I deserve to surround myself with beauty.

2. To feel good. As the MLB baseball player Tori Hunter says, “When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you play good. When you play good, they pay good.” I want to “play good” and set myself up for my definition of success.

2. To encourage others to let creativity, playfulness and non-conformity shine.

3. It is refreshing to see pictures of women of all body shapes and sizes wearing clothes in fun and fashionable ways.

4. To share stories. These are what connect us to one another.

This sweater is a symbol of hope. Why? Because I thought I'd never be able to wear sweaters again when my heat allergy went berserk a few years ago.

So there you have it! How about you? Are you ready to wear your joy? To join, use #thewearyourjoyproject. Check out Kelly Rae’s Instagram feed here.

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