Empowering yourself and helping others
Do you know what I feel the best about being on the cooler side of my 40s? It is the confidence to be who I am. I don’t fight with myself anymore. This is me, an uptight, serious Chinese lady with a weird accent when I speak English. But those attributes also made me a hard working person and maybe a bit more memorable one to stand out in the crowd. 😉
It took me my whole life to find who I am and now finally I am fully empowering myself. Below is the poem my dear husband wrote for me based on my life story. It’s all true and you can follow my journey of awakening.
I was born in China, child number two.
My brother was first, more popular too.
The culture has said that boys are the choice.
Girls like me don’t get a big voice.
Because girls are below and boys are above,
I really don’t feel I got my mom’s love.
When I was young, I was poorer than poor
Straw was our roof and dirt for our floor.
The kitchen was special, it held our one pot.
But we had little food more often than not.
Money was tight so we couldn’t buy rice.
My brother and I stole soybeans from mice.
My mom and my dad worked every day.
No time for weekends. No time for play.
Farming and factories, iron and steel.
That was the way we paid for our meal.
Never heard of vacation. Hard work’s all we knew.
That’s what I learned. I still think it’s true.
I played with my friends, but that was hard too.
We moved house so often, every neighbor was new.
Another new month, another new house.
Another new school. But same worn blouse.
Times were quite hard, when I was a kid.
I’ll never forget of the way that we lived.
We didn’t know birthdays or parties like here.
Our one celebration was Chinese New Year.
The only sure time I knew there’d be food.
Some small lucky money. And new clothing too.
The rest of the year was day after day.
Of too much to do for too little pay.
I hated the mud. I hated the dirt.
I hated the way that my feelings would hurt.
When I think of my childhood, I remember my fears.
And the terrible words that came to my ears.
“You’re ugly, you’re stupid, shut up you can’t sing.
Don’t waste time pretending you’ll be anything.”
So I knew sometime later, in several more years.
I’d leave this behind. This place of my tears.
It started with high school, I lived in a dorm.
And being away from home was my norm.
But the tears didn’t stop, I often was sad.
And to make matters worse I now lost my dad.
But I got through high school, university too.
I now was a teacher with a job to do.
But I still didn’t feel my life was my own.
I had to go further. I had to leave home.
I had a big dream, Shanghai was its name.
So I packed my one bag and got on a train.
I showed up alone, no place to stay.
No one to talk to and no way to pay.
It was far from easy but I first found a bed.
And then got a job to get myself fed.
I was determined to be a success.
At least not to fail, so no time to rest.
I wouldn’t go home until I could prove,
My decision was good, I’d been right to move.
The years came and went but finally I knew.
Now I could visit, and this time I flew.
I went back to Shanghai, and made some new friends.
You might be thinking the story now ends.
But over in China the sun also rises.
On days filled with hope and sometimes surprises.
I’d sort of accepted it might stay just me.
When I went out to eat with two friends, just us three.
We sat at a table and ordered some food.
Then three men sat beside us, I thought it was rude.
One thing quite different about the big city.
It’s the first place I heard I might just be pretty.
It seemed that one of these men thought so too.
But he was American so what could I do?
It started quite slowly. But before we knew.
I thought I’d stay one. But now we were two.
I’d never left China, for even a day.
Now home’s in America and that’s where I’ll stay.
So many things have changed in my life.
I learned how to drive, and learned how to wife.
I’m still learning English, more all the time.
Now I speak it in dreams so I think I’ll be fine.
I guess those hard times I went through when young.
Have made me the woman that I have become.
You can’t have your now without the before.
You won’t see what’s rich without knowing poor.
I’ve come so far from that place that I hate.
I still can’t believe life could be so great!
Every time when I wear this tee from MLE Empowering Apparel I get a little bit emotional. As you read above, I am from a small village in China. We were poor, hungry, and girls were not valued by society. But I always believed that I am NOT worthless and I can accomplish so much in my life. Now as a 40s+ woman, I am still chasing my fashion dream.
Are you empowering yourself and others to live the life that you were meant to have? To live life to its fullest, it’s about being proud of our true identity and proclaiming it to those around us. By purchasing this MLE Empowering tee, you are empowering small scale entrepreneurs in Africa to change their lives for the better. 10% of every shirt’s profit will go straight towards enabling a woman to get a micro loan to help grow her business.
Are you living the fullest life you can? If not, what are you waiting for? The only one that can stop you is looking at you in your mirror every morning!
Ok, let’s talk about my outfit. The booties I am wearing are from Toms. They are not just super comfy. And I mean I can wear them the whole day for walking or working kind of comfy. But also Toms does some really awesome things. They will help a person in the world who needs a pair of new shoes because of my purchase. The unique tie bow and the black sheer vest I am wearing are both from Michigan local fashion designer Cheryl Zemke. And you can see this green and pink dress from her too which I wore on my last week’s post Adult Summertime outdoor Play Trends.
Below are some suggestions for the open toe booties for summer.
All videos and photos if not credited to a certain person, are by Robert Buck and Grace Liang.
You can follow my Youtube and Snapchat (colorandgrace) to see more behind the scenes. Thank you for reading, and if you like what you read, please comment below or share it with your friends. Follow me on FB and IG for daily updates!:) Have a great day and see you soon!
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http://colorandgrace.com occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorship for mentioning their products.
The total tie keep review as seen on Shark Tank
There are two TV shows in America that always get me pumped up! One is Project Runway, and the other is Shark Tank. I guess because they share something in common, the American Dream. Those two shows are perfect examples of how an average person, just like you and me, can become successful by working hard and having a creative mind. Unfortunately, I just don’t seem to have that special kind of talent to design and make my own line of clothes. And it seems the only ideas I get for some invention were already thought of by someone else. It’s not fair really, someone stealing my million dollar idea even before I have it! But anyway, I don’t think I would ever have the guts to go on Shark Tank because of that mean Uncle Kevin. 😉
Luckily, not everyone is as chicken as me. If so, we would never know about a lot of cool and convenient products that got their start by either being funded on Shark Tank or even just being seen on the popular show. One such man came up with the idea of the product I’m featuring on today’s post. I’m talking about the very creative and stylish The Total Tie Keep founder Dwight Littlejohn. He was brave enough to jump into the Shark Tank to show his invention, and men everywhere should be happy he did.
When you have a creative mind, inspiration can hit anywhere and at anytime. They say necessity is the mother of invention but it could also come from some very minor inconvenience that happened at just the exactly wrong time. Honestly I have no idea how Dwight came up with this clever device to help tame the wild necktie. But I do know that I’m a bit of a perfectionist so when I see anything that helps bring order and control to an otherwise chaotic world, I love it so much! When Marilyn Monroe’s skirt was blown around above a subway grate, it became a world famous and classic scene. But if it happens to be your necktie that blows into your face, your food, or worse, the face or food of that big client you are hoping to land, your dream scene just turned into a nightmare.
The Total Tie Keep website describes some of the more common bad necktie behaviors: The slider or crooked tie, there’s the blowin’ Bennie which happens when the tie blows over your shoulder. The decidedly unstylish peeping Tom (where the rear apron is peeking out). And of course, the messy Marvin, when the tie flies forward while eating etc. Marvin is especially malicious as he can cost you quite a bit in dry cleaning or even a replacement tie if the stain is too deep. I’m guessing you have seen them all and maybe even have a few funny stories you could share.
But now, you don’t have to worry about any those potential disasters. You see, The Total Tie Keep is kind of like a little cloth super hero you can own! Elegantly simple in design it is one of those new products you wonder how you got along so long without. So what’s the concept? Thanks! I was waiting for you to ask that! Basically it connects your tie to your shirt to help correct, straighten and control it. But unlike what’s been out there for decades if not longer, this product is happy to stay behind the scenes. Yes, you read that right, the real beauty of this accessory is you do not see it! Are you sure I didn’t have that idea a few years ago? It sounds so familiar. I really need to start writing this stuff down!
The Total Tie Keep is cleverly designed in that it uses what’s already there. It’s anchored by the buttons on your shirt. Hey, they were just sitting there anyway and are probably happy to be even more useful than they were just yesterday. Then it simply relies on you, the wearer to tie your tie. OK, I know that sentence sounds silly, I mean you don’t hat your hat, shoe your shoes or shirt your shirt. Well, I guess technically you could watch your watch but that’s completely different. Anyway, that’s the right way to say it. Hey, don’t blame me, I’m Chinese. I’m still learning the language; you guys came up with it! Now where was I? Oh yeah, after you tie it, you just thread the thin end through some loops, make another button happy and voilà! A newly tamed necktie! Wait a minute you say. Aren’t there already products to do this? Yes there are. There are also other motors that can move your car. They burn coal to make steam. They were quite popular 100 years ago, just like those tie control products you’re thinking of. Are you still using the tie bar? Heavy, usually on the ugly side and can wrinkle your tie. Tie tack or pin? So, do you really want to take your expensive designer 100% silk tie and stab a hole in it with a rusty old pin? I thought not. My husband owned several of these tie torture devices but I’m happy to say they have all been donated to charity long ago. It is now time to get with the times. Really? Again? Ugh, English! Don’t get me started again. 😉
You know how they say a picture is worth 1,000 words? Well then a video must be worth like 50,000 at least. But for you, I’m throwing it in with the price of reading my blog! Below is the video to show you how The Total Tie Keep works.
I always believe in the philosophy: Details decide everything. In this “Dress for Success” world, our appearance is our best marketing tool. Most people are already pretty good at picking out the right clothes and colors for themselves. So now, it all comes down to the details to make you stand out. It’s the same for both men and women. The Total Tie Keep is one of those details. And just like other essentials, the perfect length pants, the proper fitting undergarment or shirt, or the just right amount of makeup, these all work together to help us look our best.
I always like to personally try the product I’m reviewing and this was no different. I chose my outfit, took custody of my husband’s brand new panda design tie and put the Total Tie Keep in action. That day was quite windy when we took these photos of this outfit. I have to say, my hair is very messy but my tie is right where it should be. The Total Tie Keep definitely helped. One thing I need to point out is that the Tie Keep fits with most of my shirts, but not several of my husbands. I’m talking about the spacing of the buttons on his shirts compared to the button holes on the Tie Keep. In fact that was the case with the shirt-dress you see in the pictures. I was able to make it work, but had to do a little inventing of my own. Luckily my husband is an engineer so after he studied the issue a little bit, we found an easy and satisfactory solution. We attached it at the top as directed. Threaded the tie as shown without any problem. But the bottom of the Tie Keep had to be folded back and up to catch the nearest button. A very small detail I think and the product still functioned and looked exactly as advertised.
So who might like this product? Well take a look around. There are still a LOT of workplaces and jobs where the necktie is standard dress code. Most professionals, those in the service industry, a good percentage of people trying to sell you something, all those honest politicians hoping for your vote this year. Really, they are everywhere!
Nowadays, fashion is more gender neutral than ever and the line between men and women’s fashion is more and more blurry. There are a lot of women who started to wear a necktie as well. Are you going to give it a try? I did anyway and I love it. 🙂
Now you can thank me later for giving you a brilliant, unique gift idea for the upcoming birthdays, weddings and holidays (uh, hello! Father’s Day?). 😉 Also don’t forget to enter the giveaway and join my fashion linkup below. Have a great day guys!
Below is more of my new OOTD for today. Oh, and that’s not all! I am also running a new giveaway. If you are a resident of the United States please enter to win a bottle of Nicole Lee perfume. Details are below. Again, this giveaway is only for those living in the US. And please note that the post office only allows ground shipping for perfume so if you’re the lucky winner please be patient!
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