Fashion Forward

Let’s be very honest with one another, okay? I’ll start. I had high hopes for homeschooling this year and I fell short. I thought I’d be SO GOOD at it. I was fine. Maria did her work, she completed 4th grade, but it was nothing like I’d envisioned it’d be. We took very few adventure field trips and there was a lot of “free read” time. Towards the end of the year, I accepted this, but wanted to go out with a bang so I told her I wanted her to do a big project. Something that required her to use all the subjects she had worked on over the course of her 4th grade year: Math, English, Art, all of that.

“Ooooooh. A fashion show. A fashion show for charity.” (if you don’t know this already, I want to tell you about the size of Maria’s heart. It’s giant. It doesn’t fit into one home, it spills out into many homes and covers all the people who need it)

She began by doing research on charities in our area. She had already done a lemonade stand for Willow Center, gone through all her clothes for House of Hope and raised awareness for animal rights (hilarious). I told her about Jackson’s Pay it Forward Foundation and she decided right away that this Jackson kid sounded like a pretty solid guy and she wanted to follow in his footsteps and pay it forward, too. So she came up with:


She knew right away she wanted to showcase fashion because if you don’t already know this (in addition to what you didn’t already know before), Maria is pretty fashion. Let’s just say….she gets it. This is where I stepped in. I emailed my favorite instagram, Etsy, and other online shops and told them what we were doing and requested a donation for the fashion show. You guys, people are good. And the people who are the best are usually the ones who aren’t quite as large and don’t make gobs of money like the big, huge businesses. Our most generous donations came from tiny little businesses. Moms who opened up their own little shops, selling their (really amazing) goods.

One of my favorites?

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Anna Rice. She owns Mina Loves Bows and I could not be more thrilled to have met her through this. Go to her shop RIGHT NOW. (1) Her bows are out of this world beautiful. The leather ones are my very favorite. (2) I think she has a heart comparable to Maria’s. She not only donated TONS of bows, she asked some of her friends if they might be able to help, too.

We got such an incredible response from that first go-around of emails and soon the donations came in. We had friends ask their friends for donations (Idahome anyone? Jackie Weibler contacted them for us without us even asking and they sent some of the best shirts and stickers!) and friends just offer up donations of their own. Danny’s downstairs workshop was full of children’s clothing and accessories with mama stuff thrown in there, too.

There was months of planning involved. We took a few trips to Costco to see what they had as far as food and how much it would cost. Maria recorded a couple videos telling about the event and asking for donations. She met with people to ask for money in person and she wrote to people, too.

Have you ever solicited for donations? It’s awful. Asking people for money is hard and can be nerve wracking and make you feel embarrassed (WHY IS THAT?!) but Maria did it like a champ.

She spent HOURS making thank you cards and reeled in some friends to help her, too. She painted fashion art that we used for posters and ads and colored banners and posters.

We decided a month or so ago that we were going to switch things up and do the auction for the clothes 100% online so that the items would be seen by a larger audience and we could get the most money out of them. SUCCESS.

And after I added up all the bids, contacted bid winners and organized clothes into bags (stuff that had to be done by me), it was finally the day.


Maria was so excited and only got more and more excited as the day went on. We got down to the event site at 11:00am to find all the chairs already put in place by the amazing Angie so we started unloading bags and getting decor set up.

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And then models started arriving. Our little friends are our favorites.

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While some models helped with food prep…


…others got their hair and makeup done.


[I have one word to say about this child and her hair: potential. Dude, that hair had POTENTIAL!!! Avant garde, high-fashion, super totes rad potential. But what did she do when she saw that poof? She threw a fit. I mean…crying, mascara running, a little feet stomping fit. She’s not a girly-girl and she does NOT like being the center of attention. That hair DEFINITELY would have been the center of attention. We tamed it, but it could have been AMAZING. It was just incredible.]


Makeup was done by the fabulous Natalie. She did just enough so the girls felt pampered and looked beautiful (they already were, obviously) but made sure they didn’t look too done up. Perfection.piff-3027 piff-3043

Hair was headed up (see what I did there?) by Whitney. Our friend Whitney is a hair stylist…like that’s her profession. Our friend Whitney gave up a Saturday and came down THE ENTIRE DAY to help us out. I’m not sure if you know this, but it’s wedding season. She could have really made some good money today but instead…she helped us. That’s a generous heart, too.


We set food out.

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Oh, the food? Provided by none other than Papa and Lala. Oh, you don’t know them? They’re from Awesome-ville. It’s a suburb of Support City, on the way to BestEverton.

Then it was 3:00.

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Everyone was seated and Maria began.


I’m not sure where she came from. She was incredible. When I get up to speak, my voice cracks. I make the dumbest jokes, laugh really awkwardly, and I stutter. I stutter every other word and I get super sweaty.

Maria spoke like she does it for a living. She was loud and her voice was clear and what she had prepared was perfect. I was so proud of her.

Our models were pretty great themselves.

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And by the end of the show, we had raised over $5,000.


I almost can’t believe it. And then I remember how much work was put into this. Not only by me and Maria, but by Papa and Lala. Tara, our very favorite who ran the front table the entire time while also wrangling small children. Danny who was our errand boy. Whitney and Natalie and Megan. Nina and Rachel and Jessica and Ellen and Lindsey and Witney and Liz and Katie and Kami and Abbi who let their kids model for us. Angie and Debi at the CAH who donated the space and got it all set up for us. All the shops who donated and all our lovely people who came to watch.

Thank you for all of your support. Sometimes it’s exhausting to know someone who is always doing something. Always has a cause they are raising money for, always asking you to either come to a party or come to an event or come help/give/donate. But we appreciate you. We appreciate you more than you could ever know!


2 thoughts on “Fashion Forward

  1. Barbara Robbins

    Ruthie, the pictures and descriptions were great I actually felt like I was there, I I had know all the work you were doing I would have been happy to help, if Maria does anything like this again let me know and I would really like to give her a hand, she did a great job.


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