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Celebrating Inspirational Women: Jade Beall and her Beautiful Body Project

By: Michael Garcia Davila, Operations Manager @ Our Hands For Hope
Featuring: Jade Beall’s Beautiful Body Project Volume 1:Mothers

Just because it isn't the 1800's doesn't mean I can't be a bathing beauty

Just because it isn’t the 1800’s doesn’t mean I can’t be a bathing beauty

Growing up I remember watching my sisters fuss with outfits, makeup, hair and more outfits, before leaving the house. It was because of this long production of getting ready to just go to the video rental store to pick a movie to watch at home, that I decided to hang out with the boys, more so than girls.

When I was much younger I loved girlie things; like cutting my hair, painting my face, singing to the flowers, as if my life were a Disney musical.

As I neared sixth grade I began to realize it was ok to have a  bad hair day and wear clothes that I was comfortable in.

I was still self-conscious about my appearance. I had Napoleon Complex and when time came I even lied about my height on my driver’s license to make the 5′ mark. I was well aware of the perception others imposed about wearing certain items for certain body types, but I was rarely one to think that way.

I wasn’t immune to bad wardrobe blunders and hairstyles that were unattractive to my face shape, but I was glad to experiment and made it a rule to not stand in front of a mirror for more than a minute.

As an adult this has not changed. Society, media, and even some people I hung out with were constantly telling me I needed to lose weight, hang out in certain circles or go after certain jobs. Eventually, those people came and went, I stopped listening to the media, and I went after jobs that were interesting to me.

I’ve dealt with severe depression over the years but have used it as my  journey to rediscovering my own self-worth. So whenever I hear women like Jennifer Lawrence telling young girls to love their bodies, or Ellen DeGenres pointing out how photoshoping models has gone too far, I can’t help but smile and feel better about who I am as a woman.

photo: Jade Beall

photo: Jade Beall

When I came across Jade Beall’s work I got goose bumps and couldn’t help but be happy. I felt the same exhilaration when I jumped out a plane for the first time; l felt liberated. It was the approval and appreciation for my own journey as a woman. My genetics were no longer something to be ashamed of, but celebrated. I believe men and women, need to feel that same liberation and know that their journey is worth being acknowledged. Our bodies are not problems to be fixed with diet pills and unrealistic surgeries. It is because of this that I would like to recognize Jade Beall and all of her models as #InspirationalWomen.

Many women from all backgrounds joined Jade Beall’s movement to create a stunning book of photographs and life stories acknowledging and celebrating the journey of: motherhood, aging, cancer, still-births, miscarriages, weight-gain, weight-loss, dysmorphia, and more. Jade hasn’t stopped there; her next project features “Wise Women Over 50”.

You can buy a copy of the Beautiful Body Project, Volume 1: Mothers by clicking here

Please visit her site www.abeautifulbodyproject.com to see what other amazing projects she has planned for subsequent volumes and how you can be a part of her movement.

 

Celebrating Inspirational Women: Women In Art

By: Terisa Brooks-Huddleston, Owner/Founder @ Our Hands For Hope

As we move into this month of Celebrating Inspirational Women, I sat down today to write a piece about women artists, but found myself instead intrigued by “Women IN Art”.

art-faces of women

It struck me that inspirational women can emerge from art whether painted by a man or woman.

Gustav-Klimt-paintings-1

One of my favorite artists is Gustav Klimt. I have always been intrigued by his Art Nouveau style, (elaborate mosaic patterns and costumes that have glimmers of gold), but more importantly the women he portrays always evoke a strong emotional response in me.

Gustav-Klimt-paintings-4

The faces of the women in his art capture so many different qualities: strength, dignity, passion, nurture, courage, stability and creativity.

klimt-der-kuss-1908

There are reviews everywhere about Gustav Klimt the man and the art. As an artist, and an artist’s wife, I am continually amused by art reviews and critiques provoking an influence on how I’m suppose to respond. For me art is both subjective and objective. My first  intuitive reaction is to respond to it, jaded by my personal thoughts and emotions. I have an initial gut reaction of liking it or not.

klimt-die-hoffnung2-1907

But by practicing a “closer study” I can learn to respond with a more objective point of view. It’s through this objective appreciation that I can find a deeper meaning within a piece. Looking for this deeper meaning is how I/we learn to appreciate what we don’t understand; the same can be said for understanding a woman. Each of our individual stories is what give us the depth and complexity that creates our uniqueness.

So, may I encourage you as we Celebrate Inspirational Women to always look for the deeper meaning through the stories we share.

I am blessed to be a woman and I am grateful for artists like Gustav Klimt to have captured on paper the emotional complexity of what women are made of.

Gala, One of the Knitters at Our Hands For Hope.

By: Cinthya Rubio, Marketing Director @ Our Hands For Hope

Gala, age 50 from Trujillo, Peru was affected with polio as a child. This has left her with a life long, leg disability. She is a single mother with a 17 year old daughter, Michella. Despite her disability, Gala has always had a smile on her face and a very positive attitude, which she has gracefully passed on to her daughter.

Gala, knitter, trujillo, peru, our hands for hope

Meet Gala, she is one of the Our Hands For Hope knitters from Trujillo, Peru.

Over the years, Gala’s health problems have increased, one of her kneecaps has made it more difficult for her to move around. The only way for her to relieve some of the pain is to have knee surgery, but with a very limited income she has had to put this procedure off.

Today, with the help of Our Hands for Hope she is part of a network of women that have the sole objective of working together and helping each other. Violeta, our Peruvian coordinator, sent word about Gala’s need for surgery and asked if we would be willing to increase one of our orders by just five items… The women had come together offering to hand knit the extra pieces and donate their earnings to cover the cost of Gala’s surgery. Together, the women have created beautiful alpaca knits and have raised enough money to pay for her surgery!

Here is a video that Gala’s family sent to us:

Gala has received  the needed surgery and is recovering nicely. Gala’s story warms our heart, seeing how our knitting community came together to help her is priceless. But none of this would be possible without you. With your purchases, we are helping women help themselves.

Too cute DIY bracelets.

We found this great DIY and thought, “Wow, now that’s pretty stinkin’ cute!”

DIY-Easy-Summer-Bracelet

 Found it here; http://www.usefuldiy.com/diy-easy-summer-bracelet/

 

Shipping

Shipping from Peru

How many stamps does it take to get a package from Peru to California?
This many!

Cuddle Gram

Refining the logo. I am loving it!