I am so thankful that the youths of today do not seem to be as materialistic as my generation. Even though Y2K trends are totally in style right now, the one thing I do not see making a comeback is the "Keeping up with the Joneses (Kardashians)" mentality.
When I asked my niece, Isabelle, what she wanted her for 4th Birthday she responded with "an umbrella!" An umbrella? Like the kind used to shelter from the rain? Yes!
Bless. This. Child.
Even though I couldn't write lists when I was four, I do remember asking for a Barbie Corvette (not for Barbie, for myself obvi,) a Barbie Fold 'N Fun House and ofcourse a Hollywood Hair Barbie.
A couple of years later, I was really into Lisa Frank. I remember getting a magalog every quarter where girls my age (approx. 7-10 yo) would send in pictures of themselves with their collections of hundreds of Lisa Frank items. We're not just talking about folders and Trapper Keepers here. We're talking shirts, overalls, jackets, jewelry, posters, plush animals, journals, stickers, sleeping bags, comforter sets, towels, soap on a rope and so much more stuff. I would then go through and circle pretty much everything in the catalog so that my Mom could see all of the beautiful things I desired and hopefully it would inspire her come Christmas season, Birthday time or any time she wanted to give me a present. Spoiler alert: She was not inspired.
Then came the Limited Too years followed by the Hollister and Abercrombie era. Watching the documentary 'White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch' made me feel so embarrassed for my teenage and young adult self. What was I thinking? I try not to be too hard on myself, because I realize the social pressures to have the newest and nicest things was very real during this time. Not just for me, but for a lot of people. However, I do wish I would not have created so much unnecessary stress for the sake of things. Stuff comes and goes, but family and love lasts forever.
I hope my Mom in Heaven can see the work I am doing now; selling used clothing on the internet and buying most of my own possessions on the resale market. Whenever she tried taking me to a thrift store back in the day, I would legit bust tears at the thought of someone from school seeing me near a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Nowadays, thrift stores are filled with kids looking for "vintage" t-shirts that we bought brand new 20 years ago. It really is like a treasure hunt sorting through all of the fast fashion and people to find the best quality items. What a time to be alive, buying second-hand is the cool thing to do and I am here for it!
I have always been into fashion. Yes unfortunately, there was a time when I did think the $80 sweatshirts at Hollister with the ginormous spellout logo on the front was fashion. My original major in college was fashion, and I ended up changing majors because so many people expressed concern for my future studying such a thing. My Mom, the Jill of Smiles + Co by Jill, may have not fully supported my Lisa Frank addiction but she completely supported my dreams and she thought fashion was the perfect subject for me to study. My degree may not be in fashion, but I am truly thankful that I have learned so much and gained real-world experience to do what I love and sell sustainable second-hand clothing.
I also design and sell gifts, because my Mom put so much thought into gift-giving. She preferred sentiment over quantity and experiences over things. This small business started as an idea of a way for her to share her positivity, inspiration, strength, faith and sense of humor with everyone while she was going through her second battle with cancer. She is the most selfless person, and I felt like there was so much she could share with the world about the art of gift-giving. I did not anticipate she would pass away before Smiles + Co ever sold one thing.
It has been an honor to design gifts with my Mom as inspiration, and very meaningful to me to reflect on her life and what was important to her. I continue to learn so much from my Mom, especially to collect memories more than things.
At the rodeo in my Mom's hometown of Laramie, WY for Laramie Jubilee Days