Changing the Face of Beauty with Mighty Acorn Foundation…

It is difficult to put into words the magic that happened just down the road from my house a week ago.  So many emotions wrapped up in those 2 days and for me one of the largest projects I have had the opportunity to be a part of.  From beginning to end, I have to say, every step was a learning experience that I am grateful for.

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I met Denise DeMarchis, founder of Matilda Jane and the Mighty Acorn Foundation five short months ago.  She immediately understood what it meant to be seen in media and advertising.  She is a big dreamer and knew right away she wanted to do something to push the envelope.  She wanted to challenge her friends and the companies she worked beside for so many years to get on board and think about changing the way they advertise their designs.

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These companies not only got on board but they actually showed up!   None of us will forget those 17 girls who represented their designs with true and pure beauty.   I was asked what my hopes were for this project and a flood of emotion came over me.  There are so many hopes that run through my mind during every project but the outcomes are always far beyond what I could have ever imagined.  This project was no different, 17 girls left feeling strong, beautiful and important and 9 companies left questioning their future advertising campaigns.  That is pretty amazing.

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I know I talk about it all the time but I believe opportunities like these matter because what we see every day matters.  Although we might feel that imagery is superficial we are still influenced by it.  I know this world is a big place and the opportunity for change is vast.  I have to believe that each and every situation we have to influence another person’s perception and open their mind to something they never even thought about before is important.  That person might just take what they have learned and share it with someone else.  They might even consider hiring a person living with an intellectual disability.  That is what this is all about you know.  Futures, independence and opportunity for all people living with a difference.  I believe advertising is that powerful.

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all the worlds problem’s at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

I hope the mission behind this project grows and brings inspiration to others.  Individuals living with disabilities are the largest minority in the world and remain the most under represented in the media as well as the work force.  That needs to change and I believe it will change as long as we continue to talk about it.

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I can not thank Mighty Acorn Foundation enough for believing in the future of my daughter and yours.  I appreciate them standing up and investing in a cause that will change the world for our children.  They will be compiling the pictures into a beautiful look books that will be given to each participating company so they too can share the mission of inclusion with their consumers.

A special thanks for Kelle Hampton for attending the event and capturing on video the beauty and interactions of 17 girls from all backgrounds and abilities.

chicago from ETST on Vimeo.

 

Look for updates on Mighty Acorn’s website in the coming weeks.  They will be auctioning all the clothing and shoes the designers so kindly donated to help support future projects as well as help GiGi’s Playhouse Oak Forest rebuild after loosing their building they moved into last fall.  The gifts keep on giving!

OX Katie

I’m back!

This past week was a growing experience and today I am nursing a pretty sick little girl.  I think life just caught up with us today and we have spent a good portion of our day on the couch.  Me catching up on season 2 of The Fosters and her sleeping.  I have 100 things I could be doing but somehow this is where I should be.  Believe me I pushed the envelope but the moaning just finally got to me.  She needs her Mom and I am here.

I keep hitting the rewind on my memory bank.  Scrolling through all the memorable moments of this past weekend.  Friends from near and far coming together for one reason to help “Change the Face of Beauty”.  It really was a beautiful experience for all of us.4Q3B2548 copy

Just to push the anticipation of the event to the next level we invited Kelle Hampton and her 3 kiddos here for the weekend.  We were all sitting on the edge of our seats to see them including my friend and babysitter Molly.  So much so that we welcomed them with a hug and then threw the keys and said see you at 11:00pm my nephew is getting married tonight!  That was the prelude to our entire weekend.  I feel like it was a movie.  We packed in a trip to the American Girl store so the girls could have lunch with their babies, then we splashed in the fountain at Millennium, swung through Garretts and hit the road home to prepare for the 17 girls that would be on set Monday morning.

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These 2 were stuck in the seventies.  The lights, the egg, who would’t be.

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No one was leaving Chicago without memories to take with them.

Sunday night we had friends, volunteers and designers back to the house.  There were hugs and tears before the project even began.  Everyone was there for one reason to support a change.

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I can not tell you how many times tears flooded my eyes.  If you ask Mitzi, owner of Livie and Luca she will tell you that she cried 57 times on Monday alone.  I would have to say I was right there with her.

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Right now I have a 4 year old that needs her Mamas undivided attention but I promise you more will come on Monday from not only me but Kelle and Mighty Acorn as well.  I think we are all forever changed by these 17 beautiful girls who are just that sweet little girls with big dreams.

TGIF friends! OX Katie

Lets do this

So today is the day!  Today is the first day that beautiful girls and their mamas board planes and get in cars to travel across states to be here bright and early Monday morning to help send the message that it is time for change.

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I have said it once and I will say it a million times.  The media and our advertising is a powerful source of influence.  They can literally change a perception in an instant.  This week in the break of errand, cleaning, errand I came across the recent Gap casting call.  Check it out!  Do you see what I see? Call them, email them, tweet them get in touch and let them know that you think they rock!

6 months ago I met Denise DeMarchis.  She founded a very successful clothing line Matilda Jane.  We met because I challenged Matilda Jane to give me a chance to show them what it looks like when their clothes are modeled by beautiful girls of all abilities.  As Denise sat in the room that day she instantly feel in love with the girls and their families.  Instantly because that is who she is. She loves people, all of them.  That day I found out that not only was Denise a successful business owner, her husband and her were the founders of a nonprofit that supports global projects for the good of mankind.  But the kicker was she got what I was trying to do instantly.  She too is a mom with a child who just happens to have a disability.  Yep, we have way more in common then I ever thought we would.

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So fast forward to today.  The eve of setting up for the project she dreamed up.  She wants change and she wanted to be part of influencing others to start #changingthefaceofbeauty.  She believes in the influence this can make for her son and the whole community of people living with disabilities.

“I wish I could easily explain how much the #changingthefaceofbeauty project means to me.  You may not know I have a son who was born with cerebral palsy.  Smart as a whip, beautiful as the sky above, a soul that would melt you but…..what you do not see is his hand that is smaller, his wrists that can’t turn, or the words he cannot say, his arm that is 5″ shorter or his foot that doesn’t flex or his toes that can’t wiggle.  We are all the same yet in so many different ways.” – Denise DeMarchis (Instagram)

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“We are all the same yet in so many different ways.” – Yes, maybe those are the words I have been searching for.  I think it is ok to be the same yet in different ways because that is what makes this world unique.

So here we go……Let the fun begin!  Over the next 4 days join in.  Check out @etst, @mightyacorns, @demarchis and @5boysand1girlmake6 on instagram.  Follow along!  Tag us and tell us your thoughts on #changingthefaceofbeauty.  We want to hear from you!  It takes a village, shoot it take a country to stand behind change so lets push together.  We all look forward to seeing your faces and thoughts on this campaign for more inclusion in the media!  So bring it folks!

Happy Saturday Everyone! OX Katie

Once upon a time…..

Once upon a time there was this mom of 5 boys, anxiously awaiting her 6th and final baby.  That Mom was me.  Almost 5 years ago I was anxiously awaiting a baby that would complete our family.  I knew the child was coming with a little more genetic material then most but my husband assured me this boy or girl would teach us way more then we would ever teach her.

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About the same time my father bought me my first DSLR camera for my birthday.  With our final baby coming I was going to use it more then ever.  Capturing memories has always important in our family.  This is shown in the books upon books stacked in our bookcases of real printed pictures from walgreens.  Some were dark, some were blurry but those memories are forever captured and safely tucked away for the kids to flip through.4Q3B2453 copy 4Q3B2474 copy 4Q3B2471 copy

Fast forward 5 years and here we are.  Anxiously awaiting probably the biggest project I have ever been personally responsible for.  A project with 17 gorgeous girls from all backgrounds and abilities.  17 perfect beings that will come together to help “Change the Face of Beauty”4Q3B2464 copy 4Q3B2512 copy 4Q3B2505 copy

I had a conversation this afternoon with my best friend Michelle.  She has been my friend since college and was there the day I found out my unborn baby would have Down syndrome.  We talked about a show that was recently put out on OWN.  A show called “The Specials” and outside of the name I am super excited to see it. I missed it when they aired the marathon.  She saw it.  She went into the story line telling me how awesome it was to watch these young adults live life just like everyone else.  She told me how one was boy crazy and the other a bit of a diva.  I listened and then I asked her, “Did it give you a glimpse into Grace’s future?”  she paused and said, “Yes.”  She told me that she liked that the show confirmed that people living with Down syndrome are not always happy.  They are just like everyone else.  Because they are.  Isn’t that funny we have to say that out loud?4Q3B2482

I told her that I knew what it felt like to look at the future right in the eyes.  It stings sometimes.  I am 100% realistic when thinking about how Graces employment opportunities look when she gets older.  I know that she has a very little chance of landing a full-time fulfilling job unless I know someone.  But when I think about her personally, on the outside I believe that she will overcome all the obstacles placed on her because of that tiny extra chromosome.  But on the inside, some where I rarely go I know that it is highly unlikely that she will over come them all.  Even typing this yanks at my very guarded heart.4Q3B2517 copy4Q3B2528 copy

Next week I will come together with 9 popular children’s brands and celebrate the uniqueness of being a little girl.  All because the founder of Mighty Acorn Foundation believed that everyone should be included in every day advertising as well.  I am able to share this with a person I have admired from the beginning of the journey with my daughter, Kelle Hampton.

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So regardless of the future tonight I have a full heart and a whole lot of gratitude for the people who have and continue to be placed in my path especially my big ol camera.  With out that I would not be writing you this note before bed tonight.  So that tells me that anything under this big starry sky is possible.  There are no limits and continuing to dream is just fine.  So I will continue to do just that, dream of a more accepting world, filled with  TONS of opportunity for all my children.

This weekend will be exciting as we set up for this fabulous shoot and welcome our friends Kelle and her 3 children, Livie and Luca, and Matilda Jane!  Stay tuned and feel free to follow along over on Instagram!

OX Katie

Forever learning and growing

We are an entire week into our new schedule and even with the running from 4pm – 6:30pm for soccer and martial arts things are feeling good.  Lunches are packed and tucked into backpacks every morning with time to spare for a little kick around with the soccer ball before the bus comes.  That means success to me.

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I can’t say this week has been the smoothest for me.  There have been a couple big bumps in the road.  Life lessons that smacked me right in the face.  Actually took the wind right out of my sail.  They were unexpected and they were my fault.  I am constantly learning not to put the cart before the horse, check my “i’s” and cross my “t’s”, and pay  attention to detail as my lawyer husband would say.  Something consistently forget to do.

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Along with….the back to school bumps in the road and a preteen who is now shaving (how that is possibly I do not know??) life seems just a little over whelming right now.  Hence the need for a 4:00pm ice cream stop / dance party.  It was a necessity.

Thank goodness for new opportunity to do better and lets face it…something else to think about!  I am SO excited about The Mighty Acorn and Changing the Face of Beauty project scheduled for Sept 15 and 16th.  17 gorgeous girls who will prove that all children of all abilities are beautiful especially when they are given the opportunity to be photographed together.  These girlies will knock your socks off!

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I am looking forward to the opportunity to come together with most of the people behind the scenes working and planning to make this event special for these little girls.  It takes a village to stimulate change and I will be working with a pretty strong one.  I can’t wait to see how many people these girls influence.  More to come so stay tuned!

So tonight after a little impromptu date with my eldest and youngest. I am invited to Kim Kardashians wedding (thank you on demand) with my chocolate/carmel candy bar and my pjs.  Happy hump day! OX Katie

 

Good ending to good stuff

Weekends….I love them.  I look forward to the anticipation that starts on Wednesday.   Planning what we will eat and where we will go are some of my favorite parts of every week.  This weekend was free from extra curricular’s and so the anticipation was even higher.

I packed as much grocery shopping, organizing and working into the 3 days proceeding so we were free to go and do what ever came to mind.  Michigan is always number one on our list and the neighborhood there was filled with the neighbors and friends ready to send off another eventful season of beach and late nights around the fire.  I had to meet our nephew and his family for an early morning photography session on the local beach and that was like the cherry on top of everything.  Being there with their kids, as the sun rose on a beautiful beach that was empty for miles, well…..my adrenaline started pumping.

The day ended at our neighbors house for one pretty crazy and awesome lobster boil.  It was mentioned the night before that they were holding the second annual boil in honor of the local “Lobster Fest” at the grocery store Barneys.  So at 8:00am I texted them and basically it went something like “Hey I am getting 6 lobsters now can we boil them with all of you?” I didn’t even wait for the answer.  I stopped in, found the man dressed in the lobster costume and asked which direction I go to get myself a live lobster.  He pointed to a small table with 2 huge coolers.  The ladies wearing lobster hats grabbed 6 threw them in the bag and off I went.  Worst case scenario I knew the kids (and my husband) would have a fantastic time playing with them.

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Sister was not into getting friendly with our new friends.

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Success!

I arrived home and instantly my husband lined them up on the table.  At that moment I knew a new tradition was born.  Lobster would be had by all on Labor Day weekends from now into the future.

Memories and traditions just like lobster fest are what keep me engaged.  These opportunities to make memories with the kids are what I hope they remember most when they grow up and have their own children.  I seriously sit around and think about what they will say on Labor Day weekend 20 years from now.  Will they tell their kids that every Labor Day their Mom got up early and picked up fresh lobster to cook with the neighbors?  Will they till them their crazy Dad lined them up and took picture after picture with them all in crazy positions? “Lobster Selfies”?  I hope so.

Here is just a snip-it of the goodness that packed our weekend.

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Date night painting session. 

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Lunch with new and old friends.

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Lots of these beautiful moments.

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Breakfasts on the deck.

Happy Tuesday friends! K

End of one chapter and the beginning of another

Well it is over. Summer of 2014.  Over and done with.  I miss it already.  The 3 boys were up and out yesterday and my 3 homeschoolers were left here with me.  It is crazy to have a family of children split down the middle 3 go and 3 stay but it works for now.  So the past couple of days have been a whirl wind of getting adjusted to just about every corner of our life but we are surviving.  Life keeps ticking on and I am just happy to be here to participate.

So with all the changes and challenges I just don’t have a whole lot to say right now.  More will come but for now, the ending of our last chapter of summer goes something like this.

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I wanted to share the sweetest session I did for Sweet Petunia.  I have known the designer for a couple years now and she 110% believes all children should be represented in advertising.  She treats her customers like family!  It is always a pleasure working with her.

Sweet Petunia Fall 2014 from katie driscoll on Vimeo.

 

Last week I had the pleasure of being featured on the People Magazine website! Thank you People for believing in change!

Happy end of the week folks!  We are headed to Michigan to put an exclamation point at the end of a fantastic summer!  More to come soon! OX Katie

Ice, Water, Buckets….bring it

SO I know I am not the only one who has a social media feed filled with videos of the ALS ice bucket challenge.  One after another. Some creative and some just, ” I take your challenge”.  It started with friends and family of a very creative man, Pete Frates and it cruised across social media like a wild fire to some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  This creative challenge has raised more then 24 million dollars for ALS research.  Never, ever has ALS had such a successful fundraiser.  I would bargain to say that most of the people dumping ice water on their head didn’t even know what ALS was until this challenge.

I sit in conversations all the time where people talk about social media and what a time waister it is.  They grieve the days when you actually had to pick the phone up and call your friend to find out how their first day at the new job was.  I can agree with some of those feelings.  I do believe our society has grown a little less physically connected because of the status updates. But WOW, never in our life time has it been easier for one man to set out and challenge his friends to dump water on their head turning the challenge into a viral frenzy of fundraising. Millions of other people, my family included have now connected to his passion of finding a cure for this horrible disease.

So I say go for it!  Grab a bucket of ice and dump in on your head and if you are able make a donation to the ALS foundation.  Honestly my heart bursts every time I see a new video of someone I know.  Especially when they say not only are they dumping but they are donating too.  Imagine the changes that could happen if we could all rally around each other more often.  Lets help the ALS community find answers to a disease that right now has no answers at all.  Lets continue to celebrate with all the people who are living with ALS by letting them know that we see them, we see their struggle and we are pulling for them.  A little creativity goes along way.  It changes perceptions and the world.  Here is the perfect message from someone who is living with ALS explaining just how much Pete Frates challenge has meant to her.

Click here to see Lorri Carey.  You will not be sorry.

The Driscoll family not only donated and completed the ALS Ice bucket challenge (here and here) we have also grabbed a couple more summer memories before our vacation comes to an end.  This is the last full week home and we are already half way though.  More fun to come but here is our week so far in images.

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Someone in our family took a chunk out of the cake before we even sang “Happy Birthday” so much for any kind of perfection.  I did make this amazing cake from scratch which felt really good and tasted even better!  Happy Birthday Tom! OX

 

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I took my kids to lunch in China town today.  Something I have wanted to do for the last 2 summers.  We made it and it was great but I am not going to lie.  It was hot, Grace was under the weather and the boys complained up until they ate their first bite.  So here we are in this amazing place and i have no pictures!  Just memories.

Happy hump day! OX Katie

 

Fair time…..

These last couple weeks have been and continue to be jam packed with work, school preparations, organizing and cooking.  YES!  We are eating more meals that have actually have been prepared with a little more then add water and stir.  Anyway my parents live in Springfield which happens to be the home of the State Fair!  Yes!  I grew up going to the State Fair every year.  Last summer my 2 oldest boys experienced it with my parents for and ever since have been asking if they could go again.

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Back to we are busy……  I literally have days smashed full of schedules to get everything in before the end of Aug when everyone returns to school.  But during the preparations, the planning, the shopping and working my kids are doing a whole lot of nothing.  To them the only thing that matters right now is getting to that State Fair.  Wednesday night I decided to make it happen.  Thursday afternoon we were in the car and on our way to Grandma and Grandpas.  We had 1.5 days to make it happen and that we did.

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I walked all six kids + a nephew in that fair with the help of my parents.  It is funny to return to something that was so grand when you were a kid.  Everything looked so much smaller then it did back then.  The rides the and the animal buildings.  They are all still there.  It reminded us that farming is very much alive in our state.  Something we do not think about when we live in the city.  Something we should think about.

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My kids got to milk a cow along with the 6782 others.  Cool right?  They filed right up there and grabbed an utter like they had been doing it all their life.  Afterward you get a free carton of milk. Bonus for all milkers.

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The highlight for them is Happy Hallow.  The area of carnival rides that make me nauseous watching but they love them!   By the time we left my feet were killing me and my nerves were on over drive but the kids were happy and although the thought of taking them was completely overwhelming we did it and I am so glad we did. They love going to places my husband and I went as kids.  They ask questions like is that your school?  Did you come here every year? Is this your favorite place to eat?  Do you miss it here, Mom?

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While we were in the thick of growing our family, trips like these didn’t happen often.  In fact if we made it home for Christmas that was good.  As the kids are growing that is changing and we are venturing out.  Trips are more enjoyable and it feels good to be going home more often.  That is where I am from.  They are the reason I am who I am today.  I am grateful to have places to call home.

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OX  Katie

Times a changin’

What a whirl wind this past week has been and continues to be.  Between work, and back to school preparations there has been very little time to enjoy the last days of this amazing summer.  My kids are ready for school to start.  They need the new chapter of learning to begin whether they think so or not.  It is the eb and flow of life that actually makes our years interesting.  They don’t know that right now but they will.

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Over the past week my “”Back to School” imagery has flown all over the country and spilled into others.  I am beyond thankful for all the people who continually believe that this message and these images are worthy of being talked about.  There are so many amazing people out there fighting for equality in the media and the fact that I can be a part of their movement makes me a happy lady.  There ia strength in numbers and I am lucky to be standing with all of them.

My husband asked me last night what it feels like.  He wanted to know if I ever in my wildest dreams thought that magazines like People, Redbook and news programs like The Today show would catch on to my imagery and the answer was no.  I am a Mom first and foremost.  I worry about my kids, all of them, and the thought of any of them being excluded breaks my heart so what ever I have to do to stimulate the change needed for my daughter to feel equal to the rest of the world I will do and for me that challenge is with  the media.

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All kid of all abilities are heading back to school this week and over the next month.  They deserve to feel represented.  They deserve to open a magazine and feel included.  I want that for all of them.

Off I go with my kids on a road trip to the Illinois State fair!  It is time to grab a couple more memories for the bank before the next chapter begins!

You can check out my images on a lot of great sites included here!
Whattoexpect.com

Good Morning America

Huffington Post

Baby Center

Autism Speaks

Buzzfeed

Austrailian Womens Weekly

Babble

More to come!

OX Katie

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