by Jen Hatmaker on July 31st, 2014

Our show airs one week from today.
 
Please excuse me while I breathe into a paper bag.
 
Before it comes out and things get weird, I wanted to make sure I told you a few things. Mainly, we had a blast filming this thing. We really sincerely did. For some reason I need you to know this because TV often (deservedly) gets a bad rap and I want you to know another side. Like I told our crew during the wrap party: “This whole experience was 83% awesome!” The other 17% was reserved for such delightful moments like the video clip below when I lost my mind over green paint like a psycho:

My favorite part is when our designer cheerfully says, "These are some pretty bold colors in here!" and I answered, "They are." Like a dead robot.

I want you to know a couple of things before you watch us on your actual TV set. When HGTV came knocking last summer, our little family was really wobbly. As I’ve told you, my travel schedule had taken a real toll on our marriage and kids. We were super, super shaky. I, personally, was on the verge of disintegrating. So much time apart. So much emotional, public work for a mediocre speaker and introvert by nature. So much phoning it in at home.
 
At the close of our show, Brandon and I sat down to evaluate the experience, and he looked me dead in the eyes and said:
 
“This show saved us.”
 
It really did. Because we worked side-by-side together all day, every day. We had a blast. We laughed and giggled and enjoyed each other to shreds. While renovating a house we lived in was disastrous horrible freezing challenging, we were home. We were Team Hatmaker again. We were saved.
 
And our crew? Precious to us! We spent more time with these people than anyone else on earth for five months. They are now grafted in to our extended family and friend group, too. We took every moment seriously and acted professionally at all times. At no point did all the guys have pull-up contests on Remy’s gymnastics bar or stage jump rope competitions with the kids. We had dozens and dozens of lunches on our patio together, which comprise my favorite memories of the whole show. We discussed it ALL: travel, dreams, religion, ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, impending weddings (one of which Brandon is officiating!), books, family, God, movies that certain men tried not to cry during but finally broke down and sobbed in front of their bro’s (I’m looking at you, Christopher).
 

It was just fun. I remembered how good Brandon and I are together. I remembered how hilarious our kids are. I remembered the value of home; a place I’d been so absent from. I remembered how much I love my little community and what it means to be a good neighbor again. I planted my feet back in my life, and it was so very healing. Every benefit was already realized the day the show wrapped.
 
Then I kind of forgot you guys were still going to see all of it. I guess that is how TV works? Yeah. This next part, the TV part, is just a whole ‘nother thing. HEH HEH HEH HEH!! (That is my nervous fake laugh.) People are posting screen shots of their DVR Recorded Shows with “Our Big Family Renovation” scheduled. Omg. That is our big family. HEH HEH HEH HEH!
 
Well, at any rate, the whole show is in the bag and is definitely coming to a TV near you a week from today: Thursdays starting August 7th, 10:00 and 10:30pm CT on HGTV: My Big Family Renovation. All the voiceovers are done by yours truly, and the first one is the worst because I am an author, not a professional voiceover person and I didn’t know what I was doing. (In the studio with the HGTV people in my ear as I’m reading the scripts: “Punchier. Less punch. More like a friend. More like a host. Conversational. Less conversational. Sarcastic. Too much sarcasm. Brighter. Quieter. Louder. Happier.” Just, I don’t know, you guys.)
 
Three fun things:

  1. I wore my favorite cause t-shirts, accessories, and jewelry in every show. Be watching my blog each Thursday for giveaways from featured orgs! Great stuff from Noonday Collection, The A21 Campaign, Krochet Kids, Help One Now, and more…
  2. HGTV will be posting your live tweets on the show the night of the premier! Brandon and I will be tweeting that night too. So follow along live on Twitter, post something awesome, and get famous. Use the hashtag: #MyBigFamilyReno - You can follow me on twitter here and Brandon here.
  3. Our Producer Extraordinaire Adam, who thinks himself a funny pants, tucked the goofiest gray ceramic fox and squirrel he insisted on buying into every single room reveal somewhere. He and I went tearing through the house looking for them on more than one occasion, lest a revealed room be left out of the game. Watch for them on the show! Even I had a hard time spotting them, and I was an accomplice.
 
We are throwing a huge party next Thursday, because not only is it the premier but I am turning 40 that day. I will officially be in possession of All The Feelings on August 7th, and the only helpful factor is that my adult braces are off. Thank you for being excited with us and for holding all constructive criticism until August 8th or later when I am in control of my wits again. Just say nice pretty things and I’ll pretend you mean it.

 
Who is watching next Thursday??? Anyone piggybacking with an awesome Noonday Nationwide Trunk Show?



by Jen Hatmaker on July 18th, 2014

It was just a few short years ago that I dipped my pinkie toe into the waters of international community development. (I didn’t know a hill of beans about it at the time…that was back when I was still giving a conference talk entitled, “How To Be A Woman of Confidence,” God bless us each and every one.) But Jesus had sufficiently interrupted my life and there was no going back.
 
It was then I ripped through a giant mountain of books to help educate my sweet little dumb-dumb mind about issues of systemic oppression, economic empowerment, justice structures, and a whole bunch of other stuff I was happily in the dark about, including Countries Other Than America. Bless my heart.
 
Among my reading material was “Half the Sky.” For you who’ve read it, you just inhaled a big breath. This was a Pulitzer prize winning book written by journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn. The title comes from the Chinese proverb:
 
Women hold up half the sky.


I remember exactly where I was sitting in my upstairs, reading about the plight of women globally, specifically the practice of female genital mutilation in certain African regions (having already endured the descriptions of throwaway daughters in China, forced prostitution in India, and sex trafficking in Eastern Europe), and I threw the book against the wall, laid face down on my carpet, and cried my eyes out for twenty minutes.
 
Women have suffered for so long.
 
They suffer still, sisters. Let’s funnel into one issue: economic empowerment. (Stay with me, because if you have ever earned one dollar for one ounce of work or expertise, you are on the winning side of a very important equation.)
 
This is important to start from: women comprise 70 percent of the world’s poorest people. They suffer not only from unequal access to education and training, but discrimination by their employers. The majority of women earn on average three-fourths of the pay men receive for doing the same work.
 
BUT LISTEN TO THIS: Studies have shown that when women hold assets or earn income, the money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine, and housing, and thus, their children are healthier. For every dollar a woman earns, she invests 80 cents into her family. Men, on the other hand, invest around 30 cents and are more likely to squander money on alcohol and other vices. (Half the Sky)
 
If greater income equality is achieved, this could decrease poverty generationally.
 
This correlation cannot be overstated. When women have access to income, their children are more likely to go to school, stay healthy, and eventually become earners themselves…which affects other global development advances: lower birth rate, less victimization, land ownership, and marriage stability. The effects are drastic.
 
Do you hear what I’m saying? Much international data suggests that when you support a vulnerable woman, and it pays forward generation to generation, lifting families out of poverty, empowering children, increasing health and life longevity, and turning victims into champions.
 
Surely you know where I am going with this: NOONDAY.
 

If ever there was an easier way for women to raise up women, I haven’t seen one. What do we rally around? Jewelry and accessories, the universal language of women. Don’t imagine for one minute that Americans love the pretty and the international artisans make our goodies with rolled eyes toward our vanity. These Rwandan women are dressed to the nines, stylistic and gorgeous, coifed and manicured. If these women don’t love beauty, then no one does.
 
And, um, they had some “opinions” about our designs for the Style For Justice Collection. (As she was personally designing 38 EXTRA FAB FEATURES for our product, our team leader Charlotte said quietly, with head bent over her sewing machine: “I want to win first place.” Well then. American competitiveness need not show up. We have Charlotte, for the love.)
 
In Rwanda, only 300 companies in the entire country can employ over 30 people. So even with education on the rise for girls, jobs are still scarce. Noonday offers long-term trade and sustainable income for life. I can hardly think of anything more valuable.
 

The Rwandan artisans now have:
 
Children in school.
 
Marriages restored.
 
Homes purchased.
 
Debts paid.
 
Medical bills covered.
 
Dignity restored.
 
I’m not sure western women understand the power of restored dignity through work. We often disparage work; a luxury of the already empowered. But in a context like Rwanda, work is honorable and coveted, strong and transformative. It literally changes lives.
 
And you have such a role to play. In the Noonday context, every Trunk Show, every order, every new Ambassador, every time you tell someone about your beautiful Annie’s Feathered Earrings (I will not even attempt to conceal my obsession), YOU PROVIDE WORK to women who were once disempowered, devalued, abused, invisible. Then, bag by bag, necklace by necklace, they become new mothers to their children: empowered, valuable, redeemed, seen. You also provide work for nearly 700 Ambassadors in America who now have meaningful careers too, contributing to their families, rising up strong.
 
It is such good work! Don’t imagine for a minute it is only about your gorgeous Angelica scarf (hand-woven, four hours of labor per scarf): this is about women for women, connecting through the bonds of motherhood, family, dignity, strength, beauty.


So sister, go ahead. Book that Trunk Show. Sign up to become an Ambassador. Purchase that Bethe Rope necklace. If your husband balks, tell him THIS IS FOR THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD. I AM SUPPORTING MY SISTERS. TAKE IT UP WITH JESUS, MAN.
 
These girls thank you. And we thank them.
 

by Jen Hatmaker on July 17th, 2014

Pull up a chair and grab some coffee. I’m going to tell you a story. It is a story about systems, but please don’t let that stop you from reading, because it is ultimately a story about the dignity of human life. It is an important story and you matter in it.
 

Because we aren’t trained to appreciate systems, I will bold them when mentioned. It goes without saying that our western systems are terribly imperfect; there are holes, weak spots, gaps, catastrophic failures. People fall through them, absolutely. I know this, dear reader. I realize our structures have failed some of you, and that grieves me. Hear me say that. But this story isn’t the moment to cry foul on our systems (we can have that important conversation later), because though our structures are imperfect, THEY EXIST. Though the following progression is the way our systems are designed, it doesn't mean they always work. Yet...they exist. 
 
This is the story of Jamie, an American 14-year-old girl. Jamie goes to ninth grade at her local school and comes home around 4:00 one day. While waiting for her mother to get home from work, her neighbor sexually assaults Jamie. She goes to another neighbor who immediately calls 911 on her telephone, and within five minutes, highly trained paramedics and police officers are at her doorstep. (For the love, if your toddler accidentally dials 911, the cops are on their way. Bless.)
 
She is taken to the hospital by ambulance where a rape specialist conducts her exam with sensitivity and attention to evidence collection, because already at this early hour, our systems are attuned to a conviction. Before she leaves the hospital, Jamie is visited by a trauma counselor and is also referred to a specialized adolescent therapist and group counseling. Her bills are entirely or partially covered by either private insurance or Medicaid.
 
Jamie’s safety is addressed either by the neighbor’s immediate arrest or her relocation until the investigation is complete. If she cannot afford one of her choosing, Jamie is given a public prosecutor to represent her in court, and he works in tandem with the officer on the scene, investigator, hospital and trauma staff, and witnesses.
 
One of the major TV networks regularly runs a show during primetime called “To Catch a Predator” targeting online child predators, because our society won’t have this. Should Jamie’s case end in a conviction, if her neighbor ever gets out of jail, not only must he comply with a restraining order, but he must register as a child sex offender for the rest of his life, so every neighbor, boss, and coworker will know his history.
 

Jamie is real, and this would have been her story had she been born in, say, Atlanta, but she was born in a country without the justice system we take for granted.
 
It is hard to believe, but Rwanda was absolutely decimated just twenty years ago by genocide. From April to July in 1994, this country lost one million teachers, store owners, policemen, pastors, children, mothers, leaders, doctors. Every structure collapsed. So Rwanda is a young justice system, still rebuilding many major infrastructures while diverting much energy to convictions related to the genocide. Great strides have been made in a very short amount of time; you would be moved by the beauty and order already restored.
 

But in such a fragile system, the first to go are the poor.
 
After Jamie’s assault (many details omitted because the atrocities against her cannot be borne), her government was not structured to grant her physical and emotional care, protection, safety, advocacy, justice, and healing. Virtually every system listed above was too underdeveloped to provide the scaffolding for prevention, justice and repair. She was a poor, vulnerable girl in a society where once abuse is reported, passing the baton through the various necessary systems – from immediate care to police enforcement to the law – is clunky and lacks cohesiveness.
 
With less than 1000 attorneys in the entire country of 11 million, unfair laws (children are not allowed to testify in court), few victims rights, and lack of police and lawyer training regarding child sexual assault, the systems you and I depend on were simply not available for Jamie and other children like her (approximately 10% of Rwandan girls were sexually assaulted in 2009).
 
Enter the work of International Justice Mission (IJM) and Noonday Collection.
 
IJM understands that the threat of violence (and lack of prosecution and justice) cripples the world’s poor. Schooling a young girl is to no avail if she fears permissible rape on her daily walk. Without access to basic human safety – neither protected from everyday violence or from broken systems – millions of people live in fear and abuse every second of every day.
 
We met with the IJM team here in Kigali (all Rwandans) who explained their structures, challenges, and interventions. I could not have been more starstruck if I was sitting in a room with Bono. They are lawyers, former investigators and police officers, psychologists, social workers, church and community educators, and administrators. They are heroes and there is no other way to say it.
 
Isn’t it a simple concept? Accountability for perpetrators through the legal system. While violence is universal, justice is not, and where lawfulness breaks down, violence, instability, and oppression reign. The correlation between poverty and lack of justice is astronomical – it shakes the foundations of human security, fostering abuse, fear, victimization, and despair.
 
But like the IJM team explained, no community need convict every crime to affect change. Engineer one, then four, then ten convictions, and you If predators begin to fear prosecution from their legal system as well abegin changing the equation of fear: Who will be afraid? The abused child? Or the perpetrator? If predators begin to fear prosecution from their legal system as well as outrage from their community (IJM educates churches, local leaders, healthcare workers, and parents toward this end), then justice for the oppressed is absolutely within our reach.
 
These victims will rise up to tell a better story.

 
Enter Noonday. Because nothing provides dignity like sustainable employment and economic independence. Noonday helps restore what has been stolen, a partner in the curative work of justice. A likeminded organization, they not only employ vulnerable women from the community but also former IJM clients who are in the difficult process of rebuilding their lives. Women move from simply surviving injustice to thriving.
 

The Rwandan artisans (and all 28 Noonday artisan groups) operate as an independent business in which they call all their own shots. They voted on their internal leadership positions (“El Presidente Grace!”), interviewed and added two women in the last three months, supply loans to one another as needed, do all the material shopping/ordering/organizing/executing, and hired a cook for the co-op, cause ain’t nobody got time for that. Women who did not know how to turn a computer on three years ago are now supplying handmade products to hundreds of thousands of consumers through more than 600 American ambassadors.
 
I can’t even with this.
 
The partnership of justice and economic empowerment is so strong, so extraordinary, it is fundamentally transforming not only precious lives but entire systems, whole communities. It is changing the conversation from hopelessness to strength, surviving to thriving.
 
I am seeing it with my eyes. I see it in Jamie (whom IJM walked with through each solitary step to justice, filling in every structural gap), bopping her head to her favorite musician, Chris Brown (God help). I see it in Teresa and Solange, IJM clients and Noonday artisans who’ve survived heartbreaking abuse and now live in dignity, businesswomen and providers, counselors to their sisters.

I see it in the Rwandan IJM team, some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, working tirelessly to bring justice to their country’s poor, working not against their systems but within them, the strongest approach for societal change.
 
They want you to know they are strong. They want you to hear their stories, affirm the injustice, and celebrate their triumph. In fact, Jamie said this as her parting words to us yesterday:
 
“Give your friends my greetings. Tell them thank you for listening. Tell them I pray for them. I want them to know I can walk by myself. And I am in school…ninth in my class…” and she paused for a few seconds with her head down, looked up into the eyes of all us mothers who loved her precious self, tears wobbling in her eyes and ours, and said:
 
“Are you taking my message?”
 

Yes, Jamie. By God, yes. I am taking her message to you. I am taking Teresa’s and Solange’s message. We can do right by all the Jamies and Teresas and Solanges, even from our cozy couches in our orderly lives. We don’t even have to innovate a thing, because the innovators are already here, bringing order out of chaos and strength out of powerlessness. We need only equip the rainmakers; take the message of the redeemed.
 
Equip the rainmakers:  Become an IJM Freedom Partner for $24/month, so IJM can show up 24 hours a day in developing countries around the world. Are you taking the message?
Equip the rainmakers: Become a Noonday Ambassador, which drives handmade product orders, which provides work, which sustains businesses, which empowers women, which financially transforms their families, which turns mourning into dancing. Are you taking the message?
Of course we can do this. It is too easy. BUT IT COUNTS. These simple measures are the fuel that keeps the fires of justice burning.
 
It matters so much. You matter so much. These are our sisters and brothers and Jamie is our daughter. Mothers the world over must demand justice for our children, our sisters. Security for us and ours is not enough.
 
The message has been delivered.
 
Let’s receive it.

Are you with me? What fuel will you add to the fire? It counts, sisters. It all counts. Let's use our power and influence for all its worth.

Follow the #StyleForJustice Story Team Trip here.

by Jen Hatmaker on July 9th, 2014

I have never had an office. I had a desk for awhile, but my children used it as an art table. I've written all of my books in very glamorous places like the corner of the couch, my unmade bed, the kitchen table, and my bathroom floor.

When we moved to the farmhouse, there was this extremely nasty outbuilding off the patio. We used it for a kitchen and Holding Cell For Garbage And Vermin during the renovation (I'm playing fast and loose with the term "kitchen" here). But now that we have a real kitchen inside, I started eyeballing this crappy little room for an office. Apologies to the ants and mice. It looked something like this:
I don't know what's going on with Remy's hair. Be kind. It's summer.

So we hired a guy to make it inhabitable (this involved tearing the rotted floorboards down to the dirt...good times), and I turned my attention toward the fun part: DECORATING. And just in the nick of time, like a gift, Myquillyn Smith's book landed in my hands - "The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful." Well good thing, because this little room is a lemon.

Myquillyn's approach to design is what we've all been waiting for. I'm serious. She moved 13 times in 18 years of marriage, 10 of them rent homes including the one she lives in now, at the writing of her book. So go ahead and strike the idea that she makes a home beautiful because she crafted every last architectural detail to her liking. Myquillyn wrote:

"Now on my thirteenth home, I've realized that home is wherever we are. I'm not going to waste time waiting for the next house we buy to create a beautiful place to live. I can't afford to wait until we have our life all perfectly organized and presentable to start enjoying it."

Her style combines thrift and quirk and opposing textures and inexpensive ideas that pack a lot of punch. And The Nesting Place gives you such permission to just try something, for heaven's sake. Just put it up, just paint it, just layer those two rugs, just use that weird signature piece. She somehow takes the fear and hesitation out of it all and makes you want to throw forty unrelated pieces on your feature wall and hang hats on a set of antlers. Why not? We're not curing cancer; we're just making pretty rooms that we love.

So I set to work with her book in hand. And I mean that literally; I actually took her book into the stores and thrift shops. I felt like I needed pictorial guidance. So once the office started taking shape, looking less like a hovel and more like a room, it was time to steal copy take inspiration from Myquillyn's house. From The Nesting Place: This is the feature wall in her living room. Pay attention, because I lifted exact ideas right off this page.

I LOVE the idea of repurposing junky pieces, making your own stuff, using something unexpected, mixing different styles and textures. It's like Myquillyn crawled into my head and made sense of everything that makes me love a room. Please note the image of Napolean Dynamite on the opposing page on the TV. I can't even. Here is how her tutorials played out in my office: 

I measured the wall, professionally marked it off on the floor with flip flops, books, and trash, and laid the feature wall out before I hung it. I would like you to please note the level and tools, and by "you" I mean "Brandon" because I did this while he was out of town and I've been known to "eyeball" things like this, which occasionally results in no less than but possibly more than 32 extra holes in the wall. I USED THE TOOLS, BRANDON. Which means I only ended up 15 extra holes. Thank you for acting impressed.
 
I have a couch in my office because sometimes writers need naps. OUR LIVES ARE HARD.

One of my favorite ideas from The Nesting Place was using something random in a functional way. Why can't antlers be a hat rack? Why can't a ceramic head be a planter? Why can't plastic spoons become a wreath? I particularly loved repurposing sawed off tree stumps as end tables:

We are crawling with tree stumps on our property, so this was the easiest, free-ist piece in my office. Because Myquillyn said I could mix and match elements at will, I did. I combined old wood, ceramic, and a rusted metal egg basket, because it is a free country. I also shamelessly copied her book wreath. And I do mean copied. As in I emailed her and asked for explicit instructions. I MADE A CRAFT, PEOPLE. Like I said on Facebook at 2:45am that day: "On her blog she said it took her 'a little less than an hour.' Hello. This craft took me every second of five hours working nonstop. I clearly love Myquillyn's ideas but she is obviously into witchcraft if this took her less than an hour."
 

Because apparently I lack originality, when I saw her Dr. Suess pillow, I put the book down, picked up my laptop, and ordered one too. One that fit my particular brand of tomfoolery.
 
Repurposing is one of Myquillyn's big themes. Sometimes a coat of paint changes an old piece from grody to fabulous. Or you can reimagine its purpose altogether. We aren't locked in to buying a matchy-matchy set of furniture from a box store. With that perspective in hand, I set out to find a desk and ended up with this old drafting table I found from a janky welding warehouse. It is irregularly worn and interesting and beautiful and I love it with my whole heart. I'm using an industrial rolling cart for my printer and office supplies, and I also found a bedroom dresser to use as storage under the TV. I have a TV in my office because sometimes writers need to take a break from their excruciating work and watch their shows. OUR LIVES ARE HARD.
I tested the limits of our marriage by ordering a chandelier to go above my desk which came in 238 unassembled pieces. Because I was feeling warmly toward limbs and stumps, I also asked Brandon to drill branches into the wall above the window, sent off some favorite Instagram photos to Walgreen's for printing (like 14 cents a print), and hung them on twine with little clothespins. Why not?
BEFORE:

AFTER!
Thank you, Myquillyn, for your relaxed, warm approach to decorating. I felt like you were holding my hand throughout this whole project! For anyone who feels stuck in your style, unable to make decisions, or just enjoys having a lovely home where people feel welcome, grab a copy of The Nesting Place stat. You'll find every solution to your weird spaces, great ideas for any budget, and you'll walk away with not just decorating ideas but life ideas, because truly, in every way, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.


Do you have any home projects you're working on this summer? Have you found any great ideas or deals you'd like to share?

by Jen Hatmaker on July 8th, 2014

Being a part of a global movement is hard work. It is gritty and complicated, exhausting and overwhelming.
 

Supporting women in other countries is so draining. It will plumb wear you out.
 

I mean, international advocacy is a tough road, but someone must do it.
 

Making an impact toward a bigger, worldwide mission is so much work, but life is hard.
 

Or maybe it is more like a really fun party with really gorgeous accessories made by really fabulous international women. Have you been to a Noonday Trunk Show? Because I’ve hosted one in my own house with local Noonday Ambassador Krista Box (benefitting the Austin New Church adoption fund) and it was basically the best thing ever. The thing is, most creatives and artisans in our country have easy access to the marketplace: social media, Etsy, galleries, shows, boutiques, word of mouth, and of course, a client base with purchasing power.
 
To make that sort of economic empowerment available, Noonday Trunk Shows create a marketplace for artisans around the world who come from vulnerable communities. By giving them access to our western market, they build jobs and support entire families and communities. Noonday creates a pipeline of opportunity for women to help other women, which is pretty much the best work I can think of. As a host, you support the career of Ambassadors here who then support the career of artisans in nine different countries. You touch women near and far to empower one another and create economic opportunity, which transforms whole lives. 
 
And let’s be clear: you get to have a party and buy pretty things, so… no martyrs here.
 

So easy: contact your local Ambassador to coordinate your event, throw open your doors to your friends, make some yummy snacks and set your drinks out, and your Ambassador will do the rest. She’ll bring the entire collection over (clear a table, man) and she’ll tell the Noonday story. Your friends get to buy beautiful products and you are a hero.
 
So you know I’m leaving Friday to go to Rwanda with Noonday and meet the artisans on our #StyleForJustice trip. The Rwandan team is small but mighty. Not only do they make all the packaging that Noonday comes in (you wish all your doorstep packages looked like these), but they have given us pieces like these:
 
Look at the Rwandan team. I get to meet these women in one week. I am outside of my mind. I hope the two on the end will let me hold their hands too, because I am like that. As you know, I’ve kissed a stranger’s baby on a plane. They are so beautiful, so strong, so good at what they do. You can get a feel for their tenacity here. I cannot wait to get to them.


These women are skilled artisans and we are a bunch of clunky writers, but with their leadership, together we are creating a #StyleForJustice Collection while we’re in Rwanda! Like, design work! New products specifically in honor of our time together! Oh my gosh. I am dying. I don’t know much but I PICK YELLOW!!! AND GREEN!!! Probably shouldn’t let me near a sewing machine, but I can cut patterns! I really want to impress the artisans, so I’ve learned some relevant sewing language like “interfacing” and “seam allowance” and “twill tape.” I plan to use my vocabulary with reckless abandon.
 
Here is what you get to do: host a show! But not just any show on any old day…join women across the country on August 7th for the first ever Noonday Nationwide Trunk Show! On that day only and only for trunk show attendees, we will roll out the #StyleForJustice collection we designed with the artisans and you get to vote on which pieces make the cut (and I’m just saying pay special heed to the YELLOW and GREEN submissions…I suspect they will be so winning). Voting is that day only by participants in the Nationwide Trunk Show. Isn’t that fun?
 
Please note that I will then be calling myself a designer and you can’t stop me. BECAUSE I HAVE A COLLECTION. WITH A SEAM ALLOWANCE.
 
All the Ambassadors are standing by, ready to plan parties with you on August 7th!
 
Speaking of August 7th, that is sort of a biggie. You might recall my family has a little show also coming out that day on HGTV. And that I also turn 40 that day. August 7th is producing ALL THE FEELS. So maybe you can use the TV show as incentive for your friends: Come to my Noonday Trunk Show, get pretty things, eat free food, and then we can watch “My Big Family Renovation” with the crazy Hatmakers at 10:00 and 10:30pm CT! I know that’s late, but here is the moment I am begging you to watch the first two episodes live with me or I might die of terror. 
 

Fashion Party + Watch Party all in one!

Word is that I am wearing Noonday pieces in both episodes…SYNERGY.
 
Oh yall. So much. I hope you’ll follow along on our trip next week! You can sign up for our emails here (and enter to win some goodies for the next two days) if you want to keep good tabs on us. We’ll be heavy on Instagram, so go do a little follow over there if you haven’t (“jenhatmaker”) and be sure to follow the other storytellers too, because some of them will be posting pictures that weren’t taken with their iPhones, God bless.
 
I plan to fall madly in love with the Rwandan artisans. Be warned.

WHO WANTS TO THROW A PARTY ON AUGUST 7TH???
 





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