Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Noonday Collection Ambassador Trip: Guatemala 2016

It’s a Friday afternoon in Santiago, Guatemala—a small town with a large indigenous Mayan population on Lake Atitl├ín. I’m standing on a cleanly swept dirt floor around a long wooden table, watching a group of local women sit and sift through piles of beads before they string them into beautiful multicolored beaded cuffs. I’m here with eleven other Noonday Ambassadors, on a weeklong trip to visit four Artisan partner groups.

As I look back on our week in Guatemala, what I will be taking away from this experience are the people I got to meet and what I learned from them, especially from the leaders of our Artisan partner groups.

During our time with Ana, an amazing woman leader working in Santiago, I loved seeing the sense of pride she has in her work. She enjoys who she works with, laughing and learning alongside them. She is always trying to improve—from constructing a tin roof over their rear workspace to switching from a wood-burning fire to propane gas to heat their dye (which can be hazardous for their health and also enables them to produce more—and thus earn more). Ana is proud of the work she has created for her community and leads them well.

IMG_0847 
IMG_0821
On another day in the nearby town of San Juan La Laguna, we got to meet Cristobol, one of Noonday’s key Artisan partners in Guatemala. Cristobol has a passion for empowering others, despite the difficult circumstances he went through in his past. I was so moved by the way he has built a network of teams in his workshop—we met the eight women who each have their own team, allowing them to learn leadership skills, and they even share the various steps involved in the creation of each bracelet.

Because of the work they’ve received through Noonday, each of these eight women leaders in Cristobol’s team have been able to open their own personal bank account and he’s also currently training twenty-one additional women to have a trade and soon join his team. He’s looking out for his community and I walked away from our time together inspired to grow even more involved in my own home community.

IMG_0572 
IMG_9988 

Finally, I loved meeting Rosario and her team. Rosario has a determination to pursue her dreams. She drives four hours one-way every weekend to attend university and is also putting her daughters through school right now. In a community where it’s often typical for a girl to only complete education through sixth grade, Rosario’s determination to see her children and all of her female Artisans complete their education was humbling and inspiring to witness. She said that Ambassador trips always bring her joy and peace. It was amazing to realize our connection was just as meaningful for both of us.

This trip was a beautiful picture of how no matter what your role is in life and in the world, you matter. Whether you’re a Noonday Artisan partner, Ambassador, Hostess or customer, every role is vital and dependent on each other. I am so thankful to now have that perspective.

Now when I see our pieces, I see more than jewelry—I see the faces behind them, and the stories they shared with us. Just as the women in Rosario’s workshop transformed individual glass beads into wearable works of art, I now feel an even stronger connection with the story of Noonday—all of our individual stories, of Artisans and Ambassadors, woven together across the world.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Noonday Collection: So Worth Loving


I think we all struggle with the inside voice that tells us we are not worth loving. I think our media tells us every day that we need to be skinnier, wear more makeup, work harder, and do more. But, I often think what would our world and our personal life look like if we all believed we were “so worth loving”? What If we all ran our own race, didn't compare ourselves to others, celebrated each other’s successes, and truly believed we were beautiful. All bringing something unique and special to the table.



I’ve seen this cultural in the Noonday Collection Ambassador community and it’s so life giving, y’all. Our founder, Jessica, said it best. “Because, when you allow yourself to shine, you give other’s the permission to shine too.” When you focus on your own race and you run at your own pace, not the pace set by the world’s standards, life gets a lot easier. We begin believing we are worthy of love and living into our full potential!




This isn’t really a new concept, but it’s a concept many of us struggle to put into practice. Surrounding yourself with a community who believe this is game changer.  This environment enables you to really shine. You're able to really believe you're “so worth loving”. I pray that this continues to be the heart beat of my Ambassador community with Noonday and that it is put on women’s hearts all over the world. If you haven’t heard of “So Worth Loving” or Noonday Collection before, I encourage you to check it out. They are changing the game, one person at a time. Don’t forget you matter and your "so worth loving".




Chambray Shirt: Madewell


Friday, June 26, 2015

Noonday Collection // Brunch Beauties

One of my favorite things to do since moving to St. Louis in July of 2013 is to explore. Not growing up here, I've taken upon myself to get to know the city and to love where I've been planted. After a hard first year of not having people we knew, I finally got connected and met some wonderful people from our church, The Journey! Some of those people are the girls below. God has given me some great friends here and I'm so glad He hears our prayers! 



When you visit St. Louis, you need to stop at Bowood Farms and have brunch. Bowood farms is a natural greenhouse-style facility that has a cafe inside. Cafe Osage is "located within Bowood Farms, and features fresh vegetables and herbs grown directly on-site." It has the ability to transport you to another world inside the city limits. It's such a fun 'girls day' spot and does not disappoint. 



Eight months after moving to St. Louis, I began my journey as a Noonday Collection Ambassador, and, to be quite frank, I was nervous due to not knowing many people at all. The girls in my community group at church were such a driving force at giving me the strength to go for it and the support I needed to "take the plunge" to be brave! Their support has meant the world and they wear it SO well. I love how everyone has a unique style and how Noonday still offers variety to fit everyones different styles! Emily totally rocks the Quito Necklace with her stripes. Swoon.


One of my favorite pieces is the  Rustic leather tote. It is handmade in India out of goat leather and is the perfect size. I love that it can go dressy or casual too. We are best friends forever.


Krissy is rocking the gorgeous black diamond earrings. They are just what Krissy needed to finish off her outfit. Perfect mix of edgy and sparkle. I love how see connects with the pieces made in India. It's so special seeing your friends and family connect with a certain country that our artisans are from!



I am grateful for community and that I get to explore St. Louis with these beauties. Friendship is so special to me and it's so great when you meet others who value the same things you do!









Lastly, Erin just rocks this vintage Noonday piece. She is such a support to me and has even hosted a Noonday trunk show. God knew what He was doing when he placed us as neighbors and I'm so glad he did.




Moving to a new place where nothing is familiar is hard. Growing up is hard. But find people who encourage you and can walk beside you through it and I think you'll see alot of growth. Take the risk and be brave. Now, go enjoy the weekend and never stop exploring!



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Noonday Collection Hostess / Lindsay

I am so excited to introduce you to another one of my wonderful Noonday Collection hostesses, Lindsay! Lindsay and I met when she filled out a form online to host a Noonday trunk show. Yes, you read that right. We didn't even know each other before Noonday! That is seriously one of my favorite things about being a part of this world changing company. It allows me to meet so many great people I wouldn't meet otherwise. Lindsay is such a great hostess and everyone at her trunk show felt comfortable and friendships were formed. It's such a great feeling walking into a room where others are excited to see you and that's exactly the kind of hostess Lindsay was! Smiling and welcoming her friends and family in for a world changing evening!



It was great to hear about her "why" of being a Noonday hostess and why she believes her purchase makes a difference. Lindsay shared that we vote with our dollar every time we spend it and I thought that was such a great and tangible way to see the phrase "purchase with purpose." Lindsay's passion is also being passed down to her daughter, Delaney. She gets SO excited about how her purchases are helping men and women in other countries and loves learning about where each piece was made.  




Now...here's a little about Lindsay. :)



What made you go from a Noonday customer to a Noonday hostess?

As soon as I heard what Noonday was all about, I immediately knew I couldn't keep these wonderful products all to myself! A quick tour of the Noonday website led me to know I HAD to host a Trunk Show. I am usually VERY reticent to host parties...I don't like my friends to feel guilted into purchasing, but every Noonday purchase has purpose. Beautiful products made by beautiful people. It's a Win-Win.




What was your favorite part of hosting a trunk show? 

The best part was beginning a new friendship with you, Brooke! Seeing your heart and knowing how like-minded we are was even better than trying on all the pretty things.
(I couldn't agree more, Lindsay! :) Loved getting to know you!)



What is one piece of Noonday you think every women should own? And, your favorite piece you own and why?

Every woman should own a big bold piece like the Luxe Horn Necklace made in Vietnam (limited quantity), because it is eye catching and people will notice it and comment about it.  This is the perfect way to share the mission of Noonday with others!  My favorite piece is the Water Drop Prism Earrings made in India.  They are big and bold - not a style I would normally wear - but they make me feel confident.  They are lightweight and are the perfect touch to dress up my favorite outfits.

Is there a Noonday country or artisan story that sticks out to you?


In my opinion, the artisans of Ethiopia who take the ugliness of war (spent artillery shells, etc) and turn it into something with beauty and purpose is one of my favorite stories; it really embodies Noonday's purpose.

(Some of my great world changing St. Louis hostesses!)

If you would like to host a Noonday trunk show to share these stories like Lindsay did, all you have to say is "
yes." You have the opportunity to change lives through fashion. Let's have a fun girls night! And, from now until July 31st - the hostess rewards are INCREASED! Email me at brookevg.noonday@gmail.com to get your date reserved! xoxo



And lastly,  Lindsay's favorite trunk show recipe is.....
Crab Melts Appetizers

Ingredients: 

  1. Thomas' English Muffins (original)
  2. 2 cans crab meat
  3. 1 jar Kraft Old English Cheese
  4. 1 stick softened butter
  5.  garlic powder
Directions:
  1. Drain water from crabmeat
  2. Cream together cheese, butter and 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  3. Add crabmeat
  4. Spread mixture onto muffins halves, then cut halves in to quarters.  Broil until golden brown. 
  5. Serve warm. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Noonday Collection Hostess / Jillian



I am SO excited to introduce you to my good friend and Noonday hostess, Jillian! Jill and I met through serving at our churches children's program together at the Journey Tower Grove. I love how God uses instances like these to bring people together. I am so beyond grateful for Jill and her friendship these last few months. She is such a gatherer and makes everyone feel loved as soon as they walk in the door. As you can imagine, Jillian's trunk show was nothing shy of amazing. Her friends know how to have a good time and there was so much laughter and joy at her trunk show. 



It was great to hear about her "why" of being a Noonday hostess and why she believes her purchase makes a difference. Jill just "gets" Noonday, so much so that her roommate just signed up to be an ambassador! I love when you can see the tangible example of someone saying yes. 

Now...here's a little about Jillian. :) 


What made you go from a Noonday customer to a Noonday hostesses?
I wanted to share my experience with my friends. I knew I could talk to them about it but there is something about trying on the collection and hearing the stories of artisans that really makes an impact. 


What was your favorite part of hosting a trunk show?  
THE WHOLE THING! I loved bringing my friends together for a night of community, a night of feeling beautiful and bold trying on jewelry, a night of empowerment as these ladies used their purchasing power to impact people across the world. 



What is one piece of Noonday you think every women should own? And, your favorite piece you own and why? 
Definitely a Noonday bracelet. There are so many to pick from! You can really dress them up OR down. My FAVORITE piece is my first purchase, the Metallic Pearl Earrings. From the start I was unsure if I could rock noonday jewelry but I took a chance because I wanted to support Brooke and the company’s mission. Turns out, I LOVE THEM. They are simple. They can go with any outfit. They make me feel beautiful AND they have a story. The artisans in Ethiophia used artillery from war in the hoops. It is a beautiful reminder to me how God can take something so broken and make it new & beautiful
          Is there a Noonday country or artisan story that sticks out to you?
I really love the story behind the Rachel necklace. I love that due to Noonday, a mother and daughter can continue to thrive as a family together. Mother-daughter relationships aren’t always easy but I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my mom.  Her birthday was on the day of my trunk show which makes it even more coincidental & special. 

Jillian is wearing the Rachel necklace in her pictures -- Rachel is the name of the daughter of our artisan partner Olivia. Before Noonday, Olivia almost had to give Rachel up for adoption but when Jalia, the leader of our artisan group in Uganda, heard about this, she hired Olivia to make paper beads for Noonday Collection. This allowed Olivia to be able to care for Rachel and Noonday provided scholarships for Rachel to attend school. Noonday believes that together we are creating a flourishing world where Children are cherished and the Rachel necklace paints that picture just perfectly. 

If you would like to host a Noonday trunk show to share these stories like Jillian did, all you have to say is "yes". You have the opportunity to change lives through fashion. Let's have a fun girls night! 

And lastly,  Jillian's favorite trunk show recipe is.....





Coconut Lavender Lemonade
Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice, from about 9 lemons
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 8 cups coconut water
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 recipe Lavender Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
Directions:
  1. Place lemon juice, sugar, coconut water, and water into a pitcher and shake or stir vigorously until all the sugar is dissolved. I prefer to shake because it aerates the lemonade and makes a nice head on top.
  2. Pour 1/2 of the lavender syrup into the pitcher and stir. You can add more or less lavender syrup to your personal taste. I personally find that 1/2 of the lavender syrup recipe is a good balance.
Lavender Simple Syrup Recipe
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons dried lavender
  • a few drops of violet food coloring (optional)
Directions:
  1. Combine the sugar, water, and lavender in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil on high heat, and boil for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from the heat, cover, and let the lavender steep in the syrup for 20 minutes.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lavender, add the food coloring (food coloring is optional and is just used for presentation purposes).
  5. Set syrup aside to cool.
  6.  Once cooled, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
-garnish with lemon wedges or slices, lavender flowers, or rim the glass with yellow or purple colored sugar. Maybe rim the glass with some sweetened toasted coconut

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Noonday Collection & WH Clothier Collaboration


I am SO excited to share a company that is so dear to my heart, Wholehearted Clothier! After becoming a Noonday Collection Ambassador last May, it's completely opened my eyes to how we have purchasing power and can actually play a part in changing the world through our purchasing!

I found Wholehearted Clothier on Instagram and loved what they were about. Sunny, the founder, was tired of the corporate world and knew she was born for something bigger. WH Clothier was born out of her passion! You can read all about her here on her blog.


Sunny mentions on her blog that her "dream for this company is to celebrate fashion and individual style while supporting our neighbors both locally and around the world. How do we do that? Well, here at WHC, 10% of EVERY PURCHASE is set aside for a family, person, charity, or organization that is in need. To date, our world changers have raised almost $1500 which has gone to help a teen mom purchase a car and to CASA of Collin County."

This goes hand in hand with what Noonday is all about. The moment I found out about WH Clothier, I knew I had to be apart of the work they are doing.



This black pleated skirt is my current favorite in my closet and comes from Whole Hearted Clothier! It is for sure the most comfortable skirt I have ever owned; it's like a fancy sweatshirt!

It was such a fun skirt to style and I love how it gave me a french vibe with the stripes. It would also look so cute dressed down with a graphic tee and converses! The sky's the limit!


Just how Noonday Collection's name was named from Isaiah 58:10 "When you satisty the needs of the oppressed, your light will become like the Noonday" 
Wholehearted Clothier was also named after a Bible verse:

"Driven by Jeremiah 29:11-13, WH Clothier intends to seek God wholeheartedly in this venture and encourage others to do the same."


Another thing that immediately drew me to WH Clothier was how Sunny pairs Noonday with her pieces on her Instagram! I love how it's such a beautiful example of women empowering women and how when we support each other, everyone wins. 


If you know me and follow me, you know Noonday continues because of women joining hands with their local ambassador, and creating a marketplace for our artisan partners by opening their homes and inviting their friends over. If you're in Texas, WH Clothier has trunk shows as well! I mean, world changing accessories AND clothing? At the same place? Yes please! 

If your in Dallas, TX (or surrounding areas) learn all about having a WH Clothier
trunks show here!


I should probably not leave out my current necklace crush too. The Quito Necklace made in Ecuador is my surprise favorite from the Noonday Collection Spring line that launched last month
! "This gorgeous necklace combines natural tagua seed and coconut shell with a graphic Ecuadorian fabric. When Noonday discovered this printed fabric on a trip to Ecuador, they knew it would be a perfect addition to this special piece."


p.s. because of the fabric, it is SO comfortable! The red tagua seed is the perfect pop of color this summer.


I am just so excited to introduce you to 
Wholehearted Clothier and all they are about. And, as a huge thank you for shopping ethically and continuing to learn more about fair trade, Sunny at Wholehearted Clothier has given you a 10% off coupon to shop

At checkout, use code BROOKEJVG10 to take 10% off your order until March 31, 2015. I can't wait to see what you purchase. Make sure to tag me (@brookejvg) and @whclothier on instagram to show off your newest, world changing outfit! 


p.s.s. TOMS Jutti flats are my favorite. They give one pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased. And, the Black Jutti flats are currently on
SALE! Bonus! 


Now, I'd love to continue shopping ethically and find out about new fair trade brands. Write below with your favorite brands! 


xoxo, 



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Noonday Collection // It's a jungle out there...

It's HERE!!! The new Spring Line is finally HERE! I have been drooling over these new pieces since last month and just itching to share something so dear and special to my heart!



In November, I was approached by Noonday's home office to be in the Spring 15' Look Book"! You can imagine my excitement and shock at this out of the blue opportunity. I was totally blind sided and completely humbled at the same time. They shared that they loved the pictures from Aaron & I's wedding and wanted to feature a newlywed. I'm so honored that they choose me! It is a pretty special feeling when someone values something you hold so close to your heart. 


This season, Noonday had the brilliant idea to feature an ambassador next to an artisan to show that even though we are different we are also the same. Each artisan story pairs with an ambassador who has a similar story. I must admit, when I realized they paired me with Fanny from Rwanda, another newlywed, tears flooded my eyes. I just kept repeating "no way, NO WAY" in my head. No way, I get to live this life? Man, what an honor. I am so excited to carry Fanny's story with me to trunk shows this season and for all my St. Louis customer's to see our city, nice and big, at the top of my page.




I found this hidden gem in St. Louis called "The Jewel Box". It is a green house that doubles as a wedding venue. Would you believe me when I told you it is two minutes from my apartment? I am one lucky gal. When I walked in I knew it would be the perfect location for this blog post. The theme of the Spring 2015 look book is Jungle and I found my very own jungle here in St. Louis. Let's escape the snow storm and dream of the tropics together! 



This seaon I'm so excited to also announce we are partnering with THREE new countries! One of my newest favorite artisan group is in Mexico! Artisan entrepreneur Mario and his talented seamstress team are located in Jalisco, Mexico. They use traditional Otomi embroidery, featuring animal and nature motifs in vibrant colors. Each bag is hand embroidered and sent to Guadalajara to be finished with luscious leather and I might not just let this bag out of my sight this summer... ;). 



I am just so excited the day is finally here for you to see the new line for yourself and I hope you love all the new pieces that have been HANDMADE just for us. Together, we are creating a flourishing world where children are cherished, women are empowered, people have jobs, and we are connected. 


The new Tushabe necklace, handmade in Uganda, is a for sure favorite. Purple has and will always have my heart and it's the perfect color for spring. Bonus tip, the Ivory drop earrings from India pair nicely adding a little "shine" to your outfit. 



Thank you all for your support and I'm so excited to announce this gorgeous new line with you. If you'd like to see it all in person, contact me today at brookevg.noonday@gmail.com to book your trunk show today! Join hands with us and continue the impact Noonday is having on men & women all over the world by creating a pathway out of poverty through shopping online. I mean, it was just Valentine's right? Treat yo' self! ;) Happy Launch, everyone! 


Tushabe Necklace (Uganda) 
Ivory Drop Earrings (India)
Bazaar Bangles (India)
Birds of Paradise Purse (Mexico)