Dressember 2017 – The How-To’s on Being a Beacon of Light this December

Welcome back! (Or just welcome for new readers!)

There are only 11 DAYS until Dressember 2017! I’m excited, can you tell? This post is going to be all things Dressember. What is it? (For those who missed previous posts) Who can participate? How to stay warm when it starts to get REALLY cold, as it does here in Wisconsin. How to participate with only a few dresses, and so on. So let’s begin!

First off, Dressember is a 501(c)3 (nonprofit) organization that raises money for anti-human trafficking efforts through their three current partners, International Justice Mission (IJM), A21, and new this year, the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. All three are working towards a world without human trafficking (the use of anyone against their will for labor or sexual acts). Only 20% of the money raised is retained for administrative fees, which is about average, maybe even a little lower. So you can be assured the money donated is making a difference in our world. Now, before you say that human trafficking isn’t a problem here, so you don’t need to worry…you do. All 72 counties in Wisconsin have cases of human trafficking. That’s just Wisconsin. The number of slaves worldwide (in a study done in 2010) was around 12.3 MILLION people, and only about 0.4% are ever identified and rescued (Check out the face sheet here.) So there’s no reason not to put yourself out there to help these millions of people in need of some good news.

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You may have heard of A21’s #walkforfreedom. I haven’t been able to participate yet, but I’m hoping to next year!

Next, who can participate? ANYONE! Being an advocate is SO easy! To check out the page to register, click here! For women, you wear a dress every day for the entire month of December and for men looking to participate just dress nice, ties and dress pants! That may not sound very appealing to some, but think about who you’re advocating for. You’re advocating for that 13 year-old girl forced to perform sexual acts with men twice her age or older. You’re advocating for that little boy across the globe who doesn’t know how to swim, but is forced to swim to the bottom of a murky lake to fish for the seafood we eat here in the U.S. You’re advocating for the young children being forced to work in diamond mines, or the young girls who are brought to the boom towns around these mines to pleasure the older miners. Suddenly wearing a dress for 31 days doesn’t seem so hard, does it? All those kept in slavery here at home, and worldwide, need our voices to save them and let their stories be known. The more their stories are shared, the more organizations like IJM and A21 can do to help make a change worldwide through rescue missions and work with government to change laws worldwide!

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My winter boots keep my toes nice and toasty throughout the month.

Now I know, it gets cold in December in lots of places. Especially in places like the Midwest. Wisconsin can get pretty darn brutal in December, but think about who you’re advocating for, and throw on another layer! I have found that putting sweaters over dresses, tights under fleece-lined leggings, scarves, and big thick socks with tall boots are the best of friends throughout December. You can even wear jeans under your dresses if you miss ’em too much, or want another layer! That leads me to the next step of how to change up only the few dresses that may be in your closet.

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Sweater dresses are always a good idea for Dressember!

Dressember has a “Meet Jaz” post up on their blog (Link here) and she goes into detail on how to make a few dresses stretch the ENTIRE month! It’s a great read, and I suggest you check it out, because my advice aligns exactly with that post. Lots of accessories, jackets, different hair-dos, makeup, and so on. The more creative you are, the more you’ll enjoy the whole Dressember experience.

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Change up your #itsbiggerthanadress posts by having guests, like my surprisingly cooperative pup in this pic!

I hope I’ve convinced some of you to join me this Dressember, either by dressing up or by donating to the organization to help their efforts. For my fundraising page click here!

I have a team already started with an old friend of mine, and we would LOVE for anyone willing to join us to click here and become part of our team!

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Courtney & me after CCD one night way back when I had braces. She’s now on my team, guys! Join us!

I will (try) to post a picture of my dress everyday for the month of December on Instagram, and you can follow along at home! My Instagram is tagged below or my handle is @amomentwithcami. Dressember has an Instagram and a Facebook as well, both @Dressember, and the hashtag to be on the lookout for is #itsbiggerthanadress or #youcandoanythinginadress to see what other advocates are thinking up!

If you have ANY questions, comments, concerns, if there’s anything holding you back from participating, or if you just want to talk about human trafficking and it’s effect on our daily lives, feel free to contact me through my contact page or my DM on Instagram! I’d be willing to talk to anyone with any hesitations or passions for ending the slave trade!

I hope I’ve stirred up at least a little flame in your heart, and that you take your time to participate in Dressember alongside me and countless other advocates in 11 days. I’m excited to participate and help make a change in our world, and I’ll be looking out for anyone willing to take the challenge and join me!

‘Til next time & Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Cami

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The Gift of Your Time

Welcome back readers!

Now that the craziness that is midterms is over, I’m back to write to you all about something very close to my heart; giving back. With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s easy to get caught up in how much money everything costs, and getting everyone that perfect gift. Sometimes it’s not the perfect gift that matters most, it’s the time you spend with the ones you love, and maybe even the ones who need help. So here are a few of my ideas on how to keep the holiday spirit by giving of your time instead of only your wallet.

  1. If you have to give gifts, make them thoughtful. Not every gift needs to be this elaborate piece of technology you got on sale during Black Friday. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you buy from Dollar Tree and assemble yourself. They mean just a little bit more because you put the extra time and effort into making the gift, instead of buying something thousands of other people may have.

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    My friend made this sugar scrub for me. One of my favorite gifts. 🙂
  2. Have a Friendsgiving or a Christmas dinner instead of exchanging presents. I do this one year-round for birthdays and other special events. Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is a lunch where you just sit and catch up. Now that I don’t see some of my great childhood friends on the daily, I cherish those lunches with them more than anything they could send me in a package.

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    Friends who eat La Tolteca together, stay together.
  3. Donate your free time to someone who needs it. It’s easy to get caught up in me-me-me during the holiday season, but really it’s the perfect time to give back. There are TONS of charities that need volunteers during the holidays for things like bell-ringing, feeding the people in their shelters, giving gifts to the young ones in need, the list goes on and on. I participate every year in Dressember, which I’m sure you know if you’ve read some of my other blogs, because I am passionate about ending Human Trafficking and it’s a way to remind myself every year that there are people out there that need my help. Every morning in December when I put on my dress and tights, I think of the young girl trapped in slavery either across the globe or just the next town over, and it makes me feel like I’m helping and that’s a great feeling.

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    Dressember 2016
  4. Fundraise for your charity listed above and maybe even donate a little yourself! Charities are constantly looking for donations, but especially during the holidays. If you’re going to volunteer, why not donate a little, and maybe even convince others to do so too! If it’s a cause you genuinely believe in, and you’ve done your homework about the organization, go for it! I fund raise with Dressember because I believe in the work they do in their organization and their partner organizations.

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    Dressember 2015 
  5. Remember that the holidays shouldn’t be a stressful time. The holidays are meant to be fun and a chance to spend time with the ones you love. You shouldn’t have to stress out over how much money you are spending, when really all the other person may want from you is the gift of your time.

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    Dressember 2016 ft. My best friend B

The most important gift you can give this holiday season is the gift of your time. I’m giving my time to Dressember this year, (Check out my page HERE, or join my team HERE) where will you give yours?

Sincerely,

Cami

P.S. If you have any questions about Dressember, comment below or fill out the contact me form on the contact page and I would love to talk about it!

 

Being a Voice for the Voiceless – Dressember 2017

Welcome back, readers!

This week I would like to introduce (or re-introduce) a movement near and dear to my heart for the past few years. That movement is a little something called Dressember.

You may have read a little bit about Dressember in my very first blog post (Check it out here!), and it’s that time of year again! Dressember 2017 registration opens October 1st and I’m more motivated this year than any year before to participate and help in any way I can.

Dressember is a movement lead by the Dressember Foundation (Click here for their website) to raise awareness and funds for anti-human and sex trafficking efforts around the world. During the month of December women wear dresses every day for the entire month. Men can also participate by wearing dress clothes as well. The point is to raise awareness. Now, for those of you who think it’s a silly idea, especially in cold states, let me explain to you my experience with this movement so near and dear to my heart.

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I had always known that human trafficking existed in our world, but never could I have imagined the scale on which it occurs all around us on a daily basis. My friend Paige brought human trafficking into a whole new light for me during my first year of college. I participated in the second half of Dressember 2015 alongside Paige and her leadership and passion for such a worthy cause lit a flame that I have now begun to share with the world as well.

Dressember 2016 I participated for the full month and, let me tell you, it was not always easy. I live in Wisconsin where winter can be brutal. There were days when the news would tell me it was going to be -30 degrees or less. Local schools would be closed because of the wind chills, but since I’m in college classes aren’t cancelled unless professors absolutely can’t get to class. So I would be afraid of how cold I would be if I were to wear a dress and my tights outside, but I never quit. Now let me explain why.

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Human Trafficking is a $150 billion industry with millions of slaves worldwide and less than 1% of victims are ever rescued (Facts from A21). There are many different types of trafficking such as labor trafficking, bonded labor (forcing someone to work for a low wage to pay back an impossible debt), child labor trafficking, and sex trafficking of men, women, and even children. These victims are taken from their homes, from shopping malls, from elementary schools through college campuses, and the list goes on and on. The life of a victim can vary depending on what type of work they are forced to perform, but the typical path is as follows: They are kidnapped and then “conditioned” to fear their owner(s) so they won’t try to escape, they are then either sold or transported to where they will be performing their forced duties, and that’s how the majority end up living the rest of their lives. It’s a sad story with a bad ending that I, as well as millions of people around the world are standing up to spread the word to end (Half the Sky).

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This year I’m challenging each and every one of you that read this to make an effort. Talk to someone about human trafficking, read an article, or even participate alongside me in Dressember 2017! I try to recruit friends and family each year to at least participate for a few days to help spread the word.

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Something like Dressember is the least we can do to help speak out for those who don’t have a voice. When you think you can’t do something like Dressember because you don’t have enough dresses or it’s too cold, think about the young boys and girls living without food, without proper clothing, without their families and friends, all while being forced to perform labor or sexual acts against their own will. Or think about the families that are searching for their loved ones kidnapped and not yet found, and ask yourself if a little bit of a chill is really that inconvenient. It’s for them that I will continue to participate and speak out every year through the form of Dressember and everyday conversations.

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I hope to see many, many more people join the movement to end human trafficking and join me in Dressember this year! Even if you don’t fundraise like myself, participation and starting those tough conversations can have a ripple effect. Two years ago I had no idea human trafficking existed so close to my hometown and it took my friend Paige to open my eyes. If I can be that person for someone else, then that’s one more life we could save from a life of slavery.

If you have any questions, or just want to discuss what I’ve explained above, don’t hesitate to contact me through my contact page! I would love to share what info I have with anyone interested. Also be watching on October 1st for Dressember 2017 registration! (Here’s the link!).

As Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Until next time!

Cami

10 Ways to Find the Best in Each Day

Hello, friends! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted for many reasons, most of them college related. It’s week 11 of a 16 week semester, so the essays, projects, and exams are starting to pile up, making it hard to write on a regular basis.

This week I’d like to talk about how important it is to live everyday to its fullest potential. A few weeks ago, the world lost a kind and passionate soul in a 19-year-old man that I had known fairly well since, at least, age three. The news of his death hit me like a semi truck, as this is the third funeral I’ve attended in the past 5 years for kids near my age. As an almost-20-year-old, I shouldn’t have to attend funerals for my peers, but each time I’ve learned a different lesson. At the first two funerals I learned the importance of attentive driving and not letting the road get away from me, but this time it was different. This time I was absolutely inspired by the life of my friend, Austin, and I want to share some of the ways I have been trying to change my attitude towards life since his funeral.

Step 1: You are what you eat

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After hearing the news of Austin’s death, my diet went completely down the drain. I turned to food for comfort and, in doing so, started to feel worse. I was tired all the time, I couldn’t sleep at night, and my daily life suffered. What you eat is SO important to keep track of, for it affects everything you do. Eating comfort foods is okay in moderation, but in the end moderation is always key when it comes to comfort foods. I am now back to keeping track of what goes in my mouth and I’m almost 100% back to normal! Today I made these mostly-keto tacos and my stomach, and body, is happy to be back to normal.

Step 2: Exercise

As I over-consumed comfort foods and wasn’t watching my carbs and sugars, my ambition to exercise declined rapidly. I have spent the last two weeks sitting in front of the TV during my free time, because I lacked the energy to do anything else. I wasn’t reaching my daily step goal of 10,000 steps (I usually meet this goal). I finally got back into a workout routine yesterday and I’m SO sore, but I’m super proud that I’m finally getting back to business as usual. Exercise goes hand-in-hand with food and the more you exercise, the better you’ll feel!

Step 3: Take care of yourself/Put yourself first

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I am guilty of putting others first and thinking of what I want last. The majority of people I’ve met are the same way. However, no one is going to take better care of you, than yourself. I am slowly learning how to put myself first and come to terms with what I actually want from MY life, not what others want/expect from me. As I come to terms with this step, I feel my anxiety and stress levels dropping dramatically. I’m learning that I only get one body, and taking care of myself is assuring that I can be around to help others long into the future. If this means pampering yourself every once in a while, go for it! My friend, Brittany, and I did exactly that a few weeks ago (my first EVER pedicure, SO fun.)

Step 4: Make an effort to cross things off your bucket list

This goes hand-in-hand with putting yourself first. Generally, the things on your bucket list are going to be things that will put yourself first. My first ever pedicure was something I could cross off my bucket list. Nothing huge, but something I can now say I have done and enjoyed.

Step 5: Keep in touch with friends

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This picture includes some of my friends coming together to celebrate the birthday of one of our mutual friends. Your friends are your legs when you can’t stand, and my friends have been by my side every step of this process that has been the past two weeks of my life. I try to have dinner with my two good friends at least once a week, and I usually find myself keeping in touch with them through Snapchat, text message, or otherwise basically everyday. Friends are there to make life in this crazy world of ours a little bit easier, and they should be embraced, and thanked, with open arms and lots of thank you’s often.

Step 6: Don’t be afraid to reach out to old friends

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This is my friend, Megan. We’ve been friends since third or fourth grade. We don’t talk as much as we used to because our colleges keep us busy and about five hours away from one another, but we still try to meet up when we get home. Old friends can sometimes be the best friends, and sometimes you just drift too far apart. Either way, reaching out to an old friend you miss is never a bad endeavor. I find that a lot of people at the funerals I have attended in the past few years have always said, “I wish I would’ve just reached out like I always thought about doing.” I’m very guilty of this line, and I can understand the difficulties a person can face when trying to decide if that message should be sent, and the answer is send the message anyway. Never be afraid to reach out to an old friend, even if it’s just to say, “Hello. I was just thinking of you.”

Step 7: Forgive and forget

If you don’t reach out to that old friend, don’t get hung up over it if they happen to leave the Earth too soon. Forgiving yourself and moving forward is how you can best live for them. This applies to other areas of your life as well. We’re all guilty of holding grudges, and I’m no exception. However, I’m learning to forgive and forget for my health, and it’s like a HUGE burden being lifted off of my shoulders.

Step 8: Stop complaining so much

This step is my biggest downfall. I tend to just keep talking and not realize I’m complaining until I’m three text messages deep and hoping I didn’t write anything too drastic. There’s complaining about something when you have a bad day, or something you actually have an issue with. Then there’s complaining just for the sake of talking bad about someone or something. The second is what I’m trying to stop doing, and, like forgiving and forgetting, I’m feeling much happier.

Step 9: Change how you look at the world

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They say that if you change how you look at the world, the world will start to look different. While some people may find a storm or a hindrance in this picture, I find a wonderful act of nature that is made to be feared, but admired. Many times, even in my case, it takes a huge event to change perception and sometimes it’s too late. Try to find the good in everyday, and I’m sure that good things will find their way to you.

Step 10: If you don’t like something, change it

Whether this be something about your hair, your personality, your makeup, your daily routine, or your current situation in life, you always have the power to change your future.

I hope you stuck with me through this long, emotional post. I also hope that you can all take something from my ramblings to improve your life, or the life of someone around you and that you share your experiences with those who love you.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on A Moment with Cami!

Signed,

Cami

A Month of Dresses #itsbiggerthanadress

Hello Readers! For my first post I thought I would share one of my passions with the world, the end of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act, aka modern-day slavery. (Source: Blue Campaign) Approximately 800,000 children are reported missing each year and the average age of an individual taken by trafficking is 12-14 years old. I was floored when I encountered these statistics just about a year ago. It’s also amazing to me how many people I’ve talked to who have no idea that human trafficking exists! I want to help these young boys and girls find a way out of a nasty situation and see the end of modern-day slavery in my lifetime.

So I have participated in a movement called Dressember for two years now. The concept is simple. Women wear a dress everyday for the month of Decemeber, and men can dress up as well. The point is to raise awareness for those stuck in the trade in a creative way to make starting the hard conversation about modern-day slavery much easier.

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Living in Wisconsin, this is definitely not an easy feat. December tends to be cold and snowy, so fleece-lined leggings and tights become a girls best friend, along with the thought that even though I may be cold, there are girls somewhere who are suffering way worse and I simply want to be their voice.

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This year I had a team with one of my best friends and we were SO close to making our fundraising goal. Next year I am hoping to expand my team both member-wise and financially. I can’t wait to see what happens and I hope some of you, my readers, would consider being a voice for the voiceless!

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Thank you for following along so far, I hope you stick around for some of my other adventures. If you have questions, comments, or ideas for future writing topics, leave a comment below!

‘Til then,

Cami