It’s The Little Things: Worldbuilders

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Worldbuilders is one of my favorite charities.

And. Okay. It’s not so little. But I did not know where else to put this post. Time is a tickin’. I also I realize as I type this that this post is weirdly going to be situated between a consumer post and a recipe post that is going up tomorrow. It couldn’t be helped, because I really want to spread the word…

For the approximate price of two mocha frappuccinos and none of the calories, a donation could be made to an awesome charity with a simultaneous entry into a drawing for some amazing prizes.

What?! That’s crazy talk. But it is true…

I love me a bearded man. My husband has a beard and there are so many pluses to this that I cannot go into here. But I love a beard.

And Patrick Rothfuss has a big ol’ beard.

Wasn’t this post supposed to be about charity?

Let’s reel this in.

I have posted about meeting Patrick Rothfuss, my favorite author, previously here and more recently (and more embarrassingly) here. He even came to a book signing near us two weeks ago, but I did not attend because I cannot bear to face him again. I love the words he puts to paper. His powerful verses of threes. They just make me happy.

Worldbuilders is his charity. But I would support this charity even if Patrick Rothfuss had absolutely nothing to do with it. All of the money collected from their fundraiser goes directly to Heiffer International. Heiffer International is a charity that has always been close to my heart. They are the charity that gives people goats, chickens, honey bees, etc. so that they can actually earn money or get more from what is given to them. The chickens will continue to lay eggs. The goat can produce milk. And the honey bees, well, you get it. It helps make generations of people’s lives better. One year our book club bought a goat through Heiffer International together in leu of exchanging Christmas presents with each other.

If you donate to Worldbuilders, you will not only be helping to make the world a better place, you have a chance to win some fabulous prizes. Seriously I would rather win one of the prizes (the favor ring) than win the state lottery, that is how awesome it is. There are fantasy books and games that are in the lottery for anyone to have a chance to win with a $10 donation. The fundraiser ends on December 8th. I wanted to share about this charity and fundraiser, because I think it is so cool that they have a lottery for people who donate and their mission is so pure. My husband and I donate every year to this charity. We have never won anything, but we never expect to. Just knowing that our donation is going to such a good cause is a good enough feeling for us.

Of course, this year Patrick Rothfuss is putting in three of his favor rings into the charity’s lottery. This makes my greedy little heart yearn for one of them. For every $10 donation you make, you are entered one time into the lottery. So if you make a $50 donation, you are entered five times into the prize drawing. I can hear you thinking, Okay, Jenni, I get that. But what the heck is a favor ring? Why, it is just that. You can trade the ring in for a favor from Patrick Rothfuss at any time (you can read more about it here). Last night the one favor ring he had up for auction on eBay went for $12,850 and all of the money went to charity. And all of my jealousy went towards that winning person. Ahem.

I do not know what I would do with that ring…

But I can imagine.

Time to reel it in again.

It’s the little things: making the world a better place. One chicken. One goat. One beard at a time.

Free People’s Annual 4 Hour Sale

UPDATE: Sorry. This sale is now over. Enjoy your day! : )

It has begun! The once a year sale from Free People! They are offering 20% off orders of $200-499 and 25% off orders over $500. It is only from 7-11 p.m. EST. You get early access through their app at 6:30 p.m. EST. Update on 11/21/2014: This sale is now over. Last year I sat out of this one. This year, I might ask my husband for a few things. Meaning I may or may not get something for me for Christmas. I hardly ever do these types of posts, but I do not feel as though Free People advertises this sale very well. So here are the things I love right now at Free People:

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The Eyelet Duster. I actually purchased this at the beginning of the year and was bummed because the buttons fell off. I returned it, but I do think it is worth it for the sale price. This is one I will probably be getting.

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I do not wear my White Romance Embroidered Maxi Dress often, but when I do, I feel completely magical. I would get married in this in a heartbeat.

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Red Boots (so rad. So rad. So rad). There is nothin’ more to say about these. I mean, come on. They are the epitome of cool.

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My Mix Print Tunic is one of my favorite things in my closet.

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I adore this Carolina K Dress. It is so amazing. Hand crocheted. Enough said.

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I own three of these Miles of Henley Dress. I love a vest thrown over them. Perfectly bohemian casual.

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This jacket. On sale. Gorgeous. Mommy wants.

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I have recently realized I never posted the post for The Shadow Hacci Top. That is because I took pictures of this outfit as part of a recipe post. Trouble is, I did not like the recipe. And I only post recipes I truly love here. I will have to post the pictures minus the recipe soon. The top is fabulous over a slip (use any lingerie. It will look pretty) and jeans or a long maxi. This top was sold out for a very long time and they just restocked it. I don’t expect it will stay in stock long. I ordered a medium and I like the slouchy fit. The small was fine, too, but I liked the ability to wear one side off the shoulder in the larger size. I actually scored this top last week for $10 on a popback and wore it on Tuesday with this sweater. I did not get a picture of it, because I had antibiotics and ibuprofin for breakfast and tylenol and sudafed for lunch that day. But I swear it happened. It wasn’t a fever dream.

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And I also love these trapeze slips. I own only one (shown worn in different ways above), but I see girls wearing them everywhere. When I was in Maui, I saw three girls wearing them as swimsuit coverups.

Are you going to splurge on anything? And would you do red boots? I might also pick up this dress in indigo, if I can figure out what size to get. Oh! This sale is too open-ended good! My wee little heart can’t take it.

“Is Your Mama A Llama?”

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Did you ever read that book? If you have children, I can recommend it. Although it might remain in your head for all eternity. Especially of you purchase this llama skirt.

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This Anthropologie llama skirt embodies everything that I adore about Anthropologie. It is fun. It has bright colors. And the pattern is unique and different. I was able to get it for 25% off because when I went to a holiday workshop they offered all of us girls that discount. It was sweet and I happily used the discount on a few items.

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I paired my skirt with a top that I scored this summer for $8 and a necklace that I recently picked up (and gave away an additional three during my blog giveaway last week). The wood bracelet and turquoise beaded bracelets were both recent clearance finds at Macy’s.

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The tights are those fleece tights and I want to live in them. I purchased mine for $8 at Nordstrom Rack and I am going back this week for more.

I love them.

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And these boots… Well, these boots I hope to have forever. Someone once wrote something nasty about them, but I do not care. These vintage boots have been around longer than those nasty words, longer than that person and longer than me.

I think they have a pretty tough skin.

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Do llamas have tough skin?

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I am not sure that I want to know.

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All I know is that I adore this skirt.

And that I am, indeed, not a llama.

It took me awhile to figure that out, but I checked. Turns out llamas can’t stick out their tongues. Poor dears. And as many folks around here know, I… Can.

Have you jumped on this llama trend? Did you purchase anything with llamas on it this season? I have seen the animal at Anthropologie and Modcloth. I am keeping my eyes peeled for more examples.

The Girl With Three Thumbs

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It is funny the memories one’s mind chooses to hold onto. A smidgen of information about childhood formed in a handful of brief flashes. I cannot recall to mind the first day I started school. Nor the last. I cannot remember the shape of the dining room table we ate at, night after night in those early years. But I can recall with a vividness beyond what should be, the formation we sat in in our kindergarten class.

Our names written on masking tape marking the spot on the ground where we were to sit. The first few days, the letters meaning nothing and then over time, they became as part of the every day as the nose on my face.

I was Jenni. This was different than the other Jennis in class. We also had a Jeni and a Jenny. My mother was always adamant that my name would end in an “i.” And so it was that it became and so it was that it is to this day.

We would sit quietly on the mat. Our legs criss-crossed, and called a politically incorrect term. One of the first things taught to all of us children was to sit upon the ground with our legs folded. A formation that continues in our current schools with a slightly different name.

I have no idea who sat to the left of me. It was not one of the Jennis. I do not know if it was a boy or a girl. I do not remember our knees touching or our shoes colliding. My focus was entirely upon the girl to my right. I do remember her name, but we will not use it here. I shall call her Charlotte. For reasons only I will know.

I am sure while we were all sitting on the ground with our knees in salute, our teacher must have been teaching us something. But the entire time I sat there, my focus was upon one thing. And it had nothing at all to do with school. My mother had always told me that it was impolite to point. I am sure she also taught me that it is impolite to stare. However, a five year old stumbling upon something from a fairy tale seated right beside her, could not help oneself.

I was mesmerized.

Charlotte had two thumbs. Oh, yes, I know. We all have two thumbs. However, Charlotte had two thumbs plus one. Upon her right hand, she had two thumbs. One was much thinner and smaller than the other. A shriveled twin to its functioning sister. I loved it. I was insanely jealous of her gift. For to me, it was a gift. An abnormality to be sure, but so different. So wonderful. I had no idea that nature could go awry. I did not know that human beings could be created differently other than in books.

Because Charlotte’s thumbs were upon her right hand, and I sat upon her left, it was at an awkward direction that I would have to turn my head to stare at her appendage. Thankfully, in addition to crossing our legs, our teacher frequently also had us cross our hands. And so I could gaze down at Charlotte’s wonder with ease whenever our teacher felt we were in need of structure.

Sometimes this would be difficult. At the time, I was Charlotte’s only friend. She was a quiet girl who whispered answers and even then it would take much prodding for her to do that. She had long coarse black hair that curled at the ends. Even though it was long enough that she could sit upon it, she never did so. She took to putting her head down at such an angle that her hair would almost completely cover her face. Hiding in its stringy shadows, she could escape from inquisitive children and ignore curious eyes.

This actually proved to be beneficial to me, because I could stare at her hands without her noticing. Although looking back, she obviously knew what I was doing. I probably provoked her into her solitary cave of hair with my rude envy, but I did not think about it at the time.

Every day I would sit next to Charlotte. Charlotte with her wonderful thumbs. I never asked her about them. To me, they were simply there. She had more than the rest of us. She had extra. And more is always better. And extra did not need to be explained.

One day I went to school and Charlotte was not there. You would think this would mean I finally paid attention to my lessons, but alas, that was not so. With Charlotte gone, her name sat all alone on the floor. The tape peeling at the corners, collecting bits of black fuzz and countless specks of dirt. I would stare at the letters of her name. She had more than I did. A different variety. The girl seemed to be blessed with an abundance that the rest of us were lacking.

Charlotte was gone for a week. I was relieved when she finally returned. I had begun to pay attention to my lessons and there was no fun in that. She sat down on the floor beside me and that is when I noticed she was different. On her right hand, she had a white bandage. It covered where her small, innocent extra thumb had laid. I stared at the gauzy covering with alarm. And for the first time all year, I felt eyes upon my own. I looked up and Charlotte was staring back at me. Her stance was defiant. Her mouth was set. And I knew in that moment that she did not like my attention upon her hand. That she never had. I felt the heat of embarrassed shame creep up my neck and I averted my eyes from Charlotte’s penetrating accusation to our teacher’s back.

This did not stop me from stealing glances each day at the hand. I was not sure what was under the bandage, but I had a heavy sick feeling in my stomach that I knew. I was terrified of the gauze being removed. I did not want to see what mysteries it held.

But as the saying goes, time does heal all wounds. And one day, Charlotte came to school without a white bandage.

I nervously looked down at her hand. Instead of the dainty, precious appendage that had once lay next to its stronger, more useful digit, there lay instead an uneven furious red jagged scar.

It was appalling.

The hows and whys were too numerous for my young soul to count.

Why would someone remove a perfectly wonderful abnormality?

What happened to it?

Where did it go?

I could not bear to look at the empty space where a miracle had once existed. After that day, Charlotte began to wear her hair clipped behind her ears. She still whispered when she spoke but did so more frequently. She became best friends with another little girl in class. A louder girl. They became inseparable and the last time I saw either one of them had been at our high school graduation. I was not invited into their fold. And if the truth were to be told, I did not want to be.

For Charlotte’s differentness had never scared me. I found it fascinating. I found her an enigma crawling with unanswered questions of the universe. But from the moment she removed her special, she alarmed me. It made me unexplainably angry. She became just like the rest of us. Which as an adult I imagine was greatly to her relief and exactly the reason she had her surgery. But to me, the odd child searching for the eclectic among the mundane. Hoping that the tedious normalcy I had begun to view in the everyday world was a deceptive barrier from the truth. I wanted the fantasy of magic. The wonder. The infinite answers. To be more. Charlotte had had more and she chose to remove it. What did that mean? Why would one choose to be normal when you could choose to be more? Charlotte once had two thumbs plus one. Eleven appendages upon her hands. Twenty one digits to count with. One more finger than all of the rest of us.

At the age of five, I grieved for her loss. And for my own. I had never had the opportunity to hold her hand in my own. To stroke the small little marvelous irregularity. To ask all of my questions and dance in the happiness of the unknown. I hastened to try to make sense of what she had done. And I couldn’t.

Charlotte had once been The Girl With Three Thumbs.

And now she was minus one. Just like the rest of us. Just like me. Just.