Speaking of #StrongGirls…


 Image taken by photographer Kate Parker of her daughter as part of her series, Strong Is The New Pretty.

you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

~Winnie the Pooh


Image via Lipstick and Politics


Our mission here is to empower girls by spreading ideas about their own abilities… Their courage, their power, their strength. And it seems we are not the only ones! Along with these personal projects, posts and independent images, my friend and writer, Amy L. Sullivan is hosting a special summer series for girls on her blog, called “Strong Girls Can”. A few posts into it and I can see already that this series will be packed with fun things for girls. So far, Amy has offered up a list of adventures, some advice for teens and tweens on social media, and a photo contest, and she’s asked me to help.


 Image by photographer Andrew Rich, via Getty Images.

Her objective is “to encourage tween and teen girls to think about the attributes which make girls strong. Is it physcial attributes? Knowledge? Loyalty? Skills? Faith? Do strong girls speak with boldness, take risks, ride skateboards, read?”  We will be looking to see if your image captures the spirit of a strong girl? In addition, theme, color, composition, and light will all be factors in determining the winning shot.


Image by photographer Jamie Moore, as part of a personal project titled  Not Just a Girl.

It’s easy to participate and Amy’s friend and photographer offers some photography tips to consider before you begin. Be sure to check them out! And even if you decide to not officially participate, you can help us spread this idea that Girls Can by using the hashtag  #StrongGirlsCan on your images on social media.

o-STRONG-GIRL-facebook Image via Huffington Post.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if you like mascara and lip gloss and pink. It’s what we have inside and what we do, not what we wear, that defines our strength.




Images via adidas, enespanol.com, and kids.nationalgeographic.com.

Good Luck!


BE Strong

#ONEcampain *

 *“This song is part of One’s poverty is sexist campaign, which calls for targeted investments to overcome the barriers that disproportionately affect women, not least in education and health.”  TheGuardian.com




Be the light.







it’s been a long winter.

we haven’t abandoned this project; we’ve just been hibernating. :)


we’ll be back soon to finished some unfinished projects and to bring you some new. meanwhile, finish the school year out well. do good. be kind. be a good friend. know you are beautiful. serve others.


8/31 :: Plan A Spa Day

Over the last three days, we’ve shared with you ideas for spending some time with your daughter over spa-type activities, including Chocolate Facials, Manicures and Nail Art, and Moisturizing Avocado Hair Mask. Put them all together and add a few things to create a spa-type atmosphere, and wah-la… Spa Day. It has been hands down the favorite day for girls who participated in Pearls For Girls Confidence Workshops over the past two summers, and it gave us the opportunity to discuss real beauty with our girls. You can read this, this and this first so that you have some ideas about real beauty to discuss with your girl. DSC_0383 Add aroma therapy candles {my favorites for Spa Day have herbal scents, like lavender, verbena, and especially sage} and new age instrumental music {try Spa Radio and other stations on Pandora} to create the perfect spa atmosphere. DSC_0403
Add cucumber slices to decrease eye puffiness, and clean, moist clothes heated in the microwave to open pores before facials. {Be careful with the heat… warm your wet clothes slowly in the microwave, increasing the time in small increments to be sure not to burn your fingers or nose!} DSC_0405
Encourage her to wear a comfy robe and hold her hair back with a fun elastic or cotton hair band. Don’t forget the fluffy slippers, or flip flops if you are planning for a pedi! DSC_0410
Take turns applying each other’s facials, nail polish and hair mask. Remember that your openness to these activities will give her the freedom to enjoy them, too. Don’t worry if your polish isn’t perfect or your hair mask has too much green goop… none of these treatments are permanent. Criticism and disapproval will destroy her confidence and trust. What matters are the moments you are sharing and the opportunities it gives you to have meaningful conversations with her… moments for you two to connect.



And even if your polish is a bit gloppy, I would encourage you to wear it anyway… Praise her. Let her overhear you praising her efforts, her work, and the time you spent together. This might be the most important part of your time spent together… that she knows you value it, that you are grateful for it, and that you look forward to doing it again.


{our models are all girls who attended our first Confidence Workshop in 2013}



7/31 :: Moisturizing Avocado Hair Mask


Spending an hour or two with your daughter doing activities that interest her is one of the best ways to connect with her. These mini spa treatments are perfect for your tween or teen, and will have the added benefit of making her feel beautiful and pampered. We already showed you how to make a Chocolate Facial and gave you some ideas for Manicures and Nail Art. Today we’ll show you how to make her hair soft and shiny.


Moisturizing Avocado Hair Mask



1  banana
1/2 avocado
2 Tbs honey
1 egg
3 Tbs olive oil

DSC_1553 Drop into blender and mix until fluffy… DSC_1554


DSC_1555 …if not somewhat foamy. DSC_1556  Apply generously, from root to tip {despite the fact that we started from tip and progressed to root}. :) DSC_1558 Twist hair up, and smooth it down on top of your head. DSC_1564 Cover with a plastic bag and let sit for 30-45 mins.

Shampoo twice to cut through the oils; condition and style as usual. Repeat once or twice monthly for smooth, silky hair.



6/31 :: Manicures & Nail Art


image: my own

fun to do with any age… i STILL like to meet my besties over a mani, and i’m like, way old. 😉

search “nail polish ideas” or “nail art” on pinterest for a plethora of ideas… let her choose from your choices to avoid conflicts over appropriateness. you can find tools to help with her manicure like “polish markers”, glitter, sticky patterns, gems, etc at your local big box store or drug store. i bet even the dollar store has fun manicure items.

15 Interesting Nail Ideas

Creative Nail Art Designs for Valentine's Day 2014__12

Creative Nail Art Designs for Valentine's Day 2014__13

Creative Nail Art Designs for Valentine's Day 2014__42

Creative Nail Art Designs for Valentine's Day 2014__25

{images above via pinterest}


have fun!

{and be sure to have nail polish remover on hand!}



5/31 :: Chocolate Facials

connect with your daughter

first of all, connecting over anything chocolate? how could we go wrong?!

connect with your daughter

this is my daughter {left} and her sweet friend, who had spent the night and unwittingly became fair game for a blog post. 😉 the girls found the recipe on pinterest {i traced it back to Gourmande In The Kitchen, and quickly fell in love with her whole site} she describes the ingredients and the benefits of each ingredient, as well has all the how-to’s here.

All Natural DIY Chocolate Face Mask from TidyMom for GourmandeintheKitchen.com

{image : gourmande in the kitchen}

supporting her attempts for an out-of-the-ordinary experience with her friend, helping them gather the ingredients and  work through the {very simple} process, photographing, and helping cleaning up afterwards earned me serious cool-mom points. plus, i am permanently attached to these memories the girls shared.

connect with your daughter

a fun way to connect, for sure.

{plus, did i mention the chocolate??}



not much tops summertime s’mores.

smores3 so when her dad casually said, i wonder if anyone’s ever made a s’mores cake?,  she decided a s’mores cake would be the perfect father’s day surprise. she found the recipe online and we gathered the ingredients and planned an afternoon in the kitchen while he was at work.


though the cake cracked a bit under the weight of the upper layers, and we struggled to keep the layers from sliding off each other, this dense, sweet cake was indeed the perfect surprise.


affirming her idea for this father’s day surprise, helping and encouraging her to plan for it, and spending the afternoon with her baking all served to nurture her self-esteem, but it also provided opportunities for us to connect. she felt encouraged by my support, excited to present her dad with this unexpected, personal surprise, and proud that she made it herself.

what surprises have you helped your daughter pull off?



3/31 :: Attend Her Functions

functioneven if it’s not your thing, even if it’s inconvenient and difficult to schedule, attend her activities as often as you can. i know it’s difficult with all you have to do, and especially with multiple children or with a busy, working spouse, but attending her activities nurtures her self-esteem. it tells her you care enough to make those sacrifices to be there for her. try to alternate with your spouse if you can. having her father present is just as important. in an article addressing dads, lela davidson wrote,

Attending your daughter’s school functions, sporting events, and social activities will make her feel loved. It can help maintain good grades and increase her enjoyment of school. Although she may ignore you at the time, she’s secretly proud to see you watching her.

if it’s still impossible to attend, there are a few things you can do that will still send a message that you wish you were.

|| o n e ||  text her beforehand and express your regret again about not being able to make it. wish her good luck.

|| t w o ||  ask someone to take pictures of her at the event and forward to you. especially if it is a one-time event, ask someone to video record  it for  you, then ask her to sit with you while you watch it so she can tell you about her experience of it.

|| t h r e e ||  if it is a one-time event, like a performance in a concert or play, or a significant birthday, presentation of award, etc, take her shopping to buy a special outfit, shoes, makeup for the event. or take her to have her hair styled or nails done at a time when you can sit there with her and visit.

|| f o u r ||  take her out after the event for dinner or ice cream to celebrate if it’s a one-time event. if it’s an ongoing activity, like a sport, take her out to celebrate a victory. ask her how she did, what suggestions her coach made, if she was successful at something she’s been working on, etc.

|| f i v e ||  make a scrapbook or photo album to commemorate the event or season. display it openly, where guests will see it and perhaps comment on it. or give it to her as a gift {and then ask her if you can keep it on the coffee-table or other highly visible place}.


i have three, very active children, and one busy spouse. attending ALL of their functions ALL of the time was impossible. when we could, we’d attend as a family, bringing both parents and siblings to the event.  but usually, we tag-teamed, with my husband going to one event and me to another. when you do this, though, it’s important to switch with your spouse so that you both get to go to each child’s function at least occasionally.

have you ever found yourself struggling to attend your daughter’s function? what creative resolution did you find?