first day of school.

Last year I experienced a lot of hesitation in sending Gunner off to Mother's Day Out. You can read my initial post on that here, but it ended up being the biggest blessing for him and us. It was an incredible opportunity for us to reach out and love on his teachers, and his growth in all areas, most specifically speech, was exponential.

This year was a different story, although I miss my biggest boy plenty when he's gone at "school," I'm relishing in the routine and knowing that he's getting a chance to grow and learn. 

Here are a few pictures of Gunner on his first day a little over a week ago...


fall fashion trends + maternity style

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, InStyle, Vogue and Elle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #inspirefallfashion

One of my favorite things about the arrival of fall (besides the fact that I stop sweating even inside my air conditioned house) is the change in fashion trends. I'm a girl who loves warm colors, comfy layers, chunky scarves, and boots. 

I've been pinning fall fashion inspiration images way before what's probably considered socially acceptable; so, I was super excited last week to see that the new fall fashion magazines from ELLE, InStyle, and Vogue had hit the stands at Target. Plus, now through September 13th, if you buy any two fall fashion issues, you get a $5 Target gift card back to spend on your next purchase.

After grabbing my two magazines last week, I spent a few evenings perusing them (these things are BIG + packed with goodness, y'all!) and I'm really excited to see that denim on denim and "blanket style" cardigans (think oversized, knit, and belled sleeves) are back. 

I love the coziness that both of those trends bring. Plus, denim pieces are such great investment pieces because they can be dressed up or down about a million different ways. You can also find great denim tops at thrift stores for next to nothing. I found the one I'm wearing below for only a few dollars at our local Goodwill and its' looser fit worked well with my 32 week, expanding bump.

top: thrifted // maternity jeans: Liz Lange from target // boots: target, last season // scarf: noonday collection // earrings: noonday collection

It's still too warm here in Texas to sport a blanket style cardigan so I went with a boot and scarf that I think mimic the pattern and coziness typically found in those pieces. I could also picture this outfit with a pair of colored corduroy pants that scream fall...maybe a burgundy or a mustard color!

What fashion trend are you most excited about for fall?
Have you purchased any of the fall fashion magazines yet?

Noonday Collection: Fall Launch + A Giveaway!

If you follow me on social media, you know that I recently became a Noonday Collection Ambassador! I'm so incredibly excited to represent the Noonday artisans and the work that they do. 

Noonday uses fashion and design to create opportunities for the vulnerable. They provide dignified jobs, emergency assistance, no interest loans, and long term partnerships. As an ambassador I will work to create a marketplace for the artisans so they can earn a sustainable income that keeps their families together.  


And how do YOU help? What is YOUR role in all of this? You purchase with a purpose! You buy and wear fabulous jewelry and accessories made by our artisans, and YOU make a difference! 

We'll be using the money made through my Noonday Collection ambassadorship o 

Yesterday was a big day for Noonday Collection as it was the launch of our gorgeous Fall 2014 line and yesterday was a Noonday first as ambassadors all over the country hosted Nationwide Trunk Shows. I didn't receive my samples in time to share in on the fun, but I didn't want to just leave it there...

I'll be hosting my official launch party as an ambassador at the beginning of September; but, to share in on the fall launch fun, I've opened up sales for my launch trunk show! And if you order any piece (it doesn't have to be a new fall piece!) through my Noonday Collection website today through this Sunday evening, you'll be entered to win a $25 Noonday gift card to use on a later purchase! 

Here's how to make sure your order counts toward my launch trunk show + the giveaway opportunity:

1) Head to + choose your favorite items!
2) At check out, be sure to select CARLY SKINNER as your Noonday Ambassador from the drop down menu. 
3) Manually type in CARLY'S LAUNCH PARTY in the trunk show name box. 
4) Anxiously await your item + then tag me in all of your pictures so I can see your beauties. 

I can't wait to see what all of you order! Also, if you're local to the DFW area and would like to host a Noonday Collection trunk show and get FREE jewelry, shoot me an email! xo

titus is home.

Well, a lot has changed since I posted over a month ago. As of today, Titus Stephen is one month old. The little man we long dreamed of is finally home with us.

Titus was born on July 6th at 9:07 am, two weeks before his due date. He weighed in at 5 pounds, 11 ounces and was 18.5 inches long.

We received a text around 8:30 the morning of the sixth that our birth mom (I'll call her "T" from here on out) was in labor. I was loading Gunner into the car to go to church and Cody was on shift at the first station. After quick bag packing and babysitter drop offs, we were on our way to Utah and landed around 3:30 that afternoon. We picked up a late lunch/early dinner for T and headed to the hospital. 

Meeting Titus for the first time was an incredible experience and so much of that had to do with meeting our birth mom at the same time. There's a lot of that story, of her story, of Titus' story that is ours and will just be ours forever. I hope that makes sense. We love her and will always, always be grateful for her, indebted to her and her sacrificial decision.

We officially signed our papers on July 7th, brought Titus "home" to the hotel on July 8th, and spent the rest of our week in Salt Lake City, UT. 

Gunner has adjusted incredibly well to his little brother. He is fiercely loving and protective of him, which is all I could have hoped or dreamed for. I posted on Instagram about it yesterday, but I truly think the Lord knew that I needed my little helper to adjust well. Life is going to continue to be busy around here with Pacey arriving in November so my Gunner adjusting so well is just the amount of grace I need.

As for Titus, he's the little boy we always dreamed of. He is our Titus. We're dealing with lots of tummy issues the past few days but he really is an angel baby. As of his one month check up yesterday, he's gained almost three pounds and grown an inch or too. He sleeps a lot, lets his big brother roughly love him, and is becoming more and more alert each day. But, he still likes his sleep...which his momma loves too. ;)

Here are just a few pictures from our first month at home, but I'm always sharing more on my Instagram account so be sure to follow us there too!

style: johari creations

Our experience with international adoption opened my eyes to a lot of things, and while it's not currently the road we're traveling, my mind can no longer choose to "innocently" ignore the hardships that people in developing countries often endure. 

I strongly believe in the Biblical mandate to love our neighbors -- those literally right next door and those countries away -- as ourselves; but sometimes, especially in situations involving developing countries, I begin to feel a little stuck. Right now, I can't afford to travel and serve, BUT I can make purchases that help provide artisans in developing countries sustainable incomes, work, and holistic development.

Today, I am so excited to introduce my friend, Lindsy, and Johari Creations to you. I first met Lindsy through the Influence Network and our connection as mommas adopting Congolese children. Her precious Glory is still stuck in Congo, and while she is working hard to bring her home (on top of raising her four other children!), she also works hard to bring opportunity to artisans all around the world. 

Johari is Swahili for "jewel" and I can't think of better way to describe the artisans that create these items. Are the items beautiful, jewels in their own right? Absolutely. But the people behind the items? Even more beautiful.

Below I'm wearing the Acai Rope Necklace (in turquoise) and I love how versatile it is. I often throw it over a simple tank top and shorts (my favorite pregnancy outfit), but it works well layered over a more intricate shirt too. 

Check out the Johari website and their market to see some of their beautiful, hand crafted, fair trade items from places like Ghana and Ecuador. They also have an adorable Johari Jr. line that I can't wait to purchase pieces from. The Afro Gypsy Romper is a personal favorite!

I'm also super excited to share that Johari Creations is donating 15% of all sales that come through me toward our adoption funds. All you have to do is leave my name CARLY SKINNER in the notes section at check out and 15% of your purchase will be sent directly to us to help bring Titus home.

I hope you find something beautiful to purchase so you can support these beautiful artisans!

Acai Rope Necklace c/o Johari Creations