Brilliant

Just thought maybe you’d like to see part of the presentation we did today at the Boys N Girls Club, Smart Girls Luncheon. Yup, Sam and I were the Brilliant Women speakers. It was so AMAZING. The girls were so SPECTACULAR

Here’s my opening…well, my notes…you can ramble through…
PS they are just little notes we read from so..you know…lots of typos.

I’m still wondering why I was asked to talk. My guess is that Heather thinks I’ve done great things by building a beautiful company, starting an orphanage and being generous and kind.

Truth is, I’ve only done what I know how to do. I’m not anything spectacular.

I just wake up every morning, try to gather myself so I can make others smile even if I’m not smiling inside,
then I go about my day trying to make others happy cuz that is the one thing that creates a spark in my heart.

For me to me standing here today is probably close to one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. So When I was asked to speak I said no. I said no way.

I got home thought about it for a couple weeks. I had recently just left my job at Matilda Jane Clothing. A company I founded all based upon a guy telling me I would never amount to anything.

For the past 7 years to many people that’s all I’ve been is “Matilda Jane”. I had lost my identity.

I was time to become Denise DeMarchis again.

I also knew I would never stand here alone.

There’s a girl named Sam McDonald that is muse, inspiration and side kick. Sam helps me to stand up here a little taller, a little braver and a lot more true to myself.

When you look at us you may see us as mother and daughter, coworkers, or a young girl and a very old lady. But what you do not see and I hope that you will feel by the end of this talk is the love we have for each other.

I was looking for extra help to pack orders. Sam walked in wearing jeans, a simple white t-shirt, her eyes sparkled and she rolled in like a ball of sunshine.

And this girl Sam is exactly what I needed in my life.
Little did I know I’m exactly what Sam needed in her life.

There’s a song, that goes ….

“When all of your flaws and all of my flaws
Are laid out one by one
A wonderful part of the mess that we made
We pick ourselves undone”

And it was so true my whole life I was embarrassed of my flaws. I was constantly looking at others comparing myself. Comparing myself to my friends to my family to you and to Sam. I was never smart enough, skinny enough, funny enough… My teachers thought I was never good enough to be in art class . I struggled for so long that I was never to complete package, the amazing package that so many of my friends were.

The package that Sam was when she walked through the door that day.

As I got to know Sam I saw her wearing her flaws upon her sleeve. She showed me it was okay to be me.
Sam showed me that my crazy little flaws made me who I was. These flaws defined me.

I am Denise DeMarchis and this is Sam McDonald.

And of course Sam’s BEAUTIFUL notes….
Memories are like little lasting impressions you make every single day of your life. I have a thousand that I’m proud of and probably a little more than I’d like to admit that I want everyone to forget. One of my fondest memories is when I started at Matilda Jane. I walked in for the first day of work and was trained by Chris to make every single package feel incredibly special. From the tissue it was wrapped in, to the way the sticker was placed on the brown paper bundle, it had to have heart and all of that taught me that the little things matter just as much is the the order itself. I think that’s partially, actually I think that’s TOTALLY why Denise was so successful with Matilda Jane. She never underestimated the little things. The power of the smallest detail can change the way you feel, or in Denise’s case, change the world.

Relationships have always been something I’ve struggled with for a long time. Whether I was hanging out with my best friend enough or if I spent too much time with my boyfriend or if I ever saw my family. Have I spent any time with them lately? Am I a horrible daughter for being away so much? These are things that I’ve always thought about, constantly worried about and never felt like I was doing correct. I have a best friend of 15 years, I have Denise and so many others who loves me and value my relationship but I just worry so much that I don’t give enough of myself to the people who give of themselves to me.

It’s funny to talk about talent when I stand up here next to my mentor, one of my dearest, bestest friends who just happens to be an absolute creative genius. So yeah I’ve felt like I wasn’t talented enough a lot in the past, but how is that this person that I hold on the highest of pedestals (sorry Denise) sees something so valuable in me? I think that’s talent. I think talent is what you have inherently in you that with the help of someone else you can really showcase it and share it with others.

In the video you saw that I slid my way through high school. I wasn’t saying that to be cool because I don’t think it’s cool. I was just too embarrassed and too nervous to be the best at anything. To be good at sports or to try to be athletic was a chance to let someone on the team down. Being smart in class gave me a chance of failing. It’s frightening to be good at something. Because the moment you are, that’s when you start comparing yourself to others. So I took a different route. I took the path of being nice and goofy. I was approachable and shared my silly self with everyone around me. It wasn’t the typical way of succeeding in high school, but it is the way that’s made me who I am today. And I dont think I’d change that for anything.

If you would’ve asked Denise and I a year ago if we liked Pinterest we would’ve said no we don’t use it, we don’t go on it, it’s just kind of scary and makes us feel like “well dang we thought we were doing a good job but look at that”

Being authentic isn’t easy these days. Everyone’s talented or cool in their own way, and you see it on the Internet, if you don’t see it in real life. But how do you find your own way? You’re own way to prove yourself. To prove that you have something to bring to the table. Well, Denise has taught me to listen to my gut and my heart, which have more than once been the same thing. And we all know your conscious always knows best. So my thoughts are…be silly, be outgoing, or be quiet and listen or be the humorous one that everyone is inevitably drawn to, but no matter what just be yourself and never compare who you are to someone else. We’re all just different and that’s how we were made. It’s what us unique and special. And I think that’s pretty darn cool in itself.

Ha ya I just Check my Instagram right before I got on stage 🙂

Gran

What a great big blessing to so many you, Denise DeMarchis, and Sam McDonald are!

Katherine

beautiful women with beautiful souls doing beautiful things felt daily by so many…

Bridgette Lott

LoVe it!!

Erica S

In tears. I love your hearts. The line about learning to give your entire life is what choked me up the most. I feel like such an inadequate mom most days. The house is a mess. I rarely pull things off the way I envision them in my head. I’m getting older and wider (no typo) and don’t look like myself when I look in the mirror, but the one thing I can say is that I know my kids learn to give. It’s an example I try to set every day. If they carry that with them through life this journey will all be worth it. Thank you for reminding me of that.

courtney

Beautiful

Theresa Lakin

Thank you for the work you are doing. I recently found out about this organization and I am in awe.

Lauren Marcu

This nearly brought me to tears. What a beautiful difference you are making. Thank you so much for all you do.

Melissa T

Blessed to know about such a wonderful team!

Ashley E

I love this! You don’t have to be “special” to do something great. We all become special by the work and love that we put into life. God bless!

Jennifer

Love this story… I feel blessed to of found Denise and her team ~! 🙂

Sandra K

What beautiful words from two beautiful ladies. Thank you for sharing your not with us!

You Can Take Part

AUCTION-COVER

Watch as the auction unfolds at http://hyenacart.com/stores/Mightyacorns/. then on November 4 it’ll be time to bid on your favortie items. New items are being listed almost daily while we get ready.

This time around, we are focusing on a state-side project. Gigi’s Playhouse serves children and adults of all ages by providing therapeutic and educational programs at no charge to families, focusing specifically on individuals with Down’s Syndrome. All programs aim to maximize self-confidence and empower individuals to reach their achieve potential….a mission that falls right in line with the mission of the Mighty Acorn Foundation.

Seventy-five percent of the proceeds of this auction will go to Gigi’s Playhouse located Tinley Park, IL. These donated funds will be used to help offset the costs of the services they provide to their clientele. The remaining 25% of the auction proceeds will be used to sustain our continued efforts at the Mighty Acorn Orphanage in Kitale, Kenya.

 

Randomness

I am dying for a creative project. It seems I’m caught up doing wedding, political signs, contractor signs, and funeral place mats. Yes a wide array of lots of silly things. But all very important at the same time. I am dying to be creative again.

Luckily the Mighty Acorn/Change the Face of Beauty Auction is coming up and I’ve had a chance to make some pretty cool items. I was able to go into Matilda Jane and make a few dresses, bags, just cute stuff. I did a little crafting at home and I’ve been surrounded by beautiful donations from so many artisans. But I’m really dying to get back into the swing of things. I’m not sure what is going to be but something’s got to give.

I get to go over to Kenya over Thanksgiving with one of my really good friends since I was just a little girl. I’m pretty excited about that. Oh and Becky. The girl I’ve known forever, will also have some pretty cool TOMS in the auction. We both painted several pairs. Maybe she’ll have a creative game plan for me.

LOVE

You know I have to fully admit being scared, feeling a little nervous of competitors back in the day when I worked at Matilda Jane. I was always confident of the company and what we stood for, for giving, but sometimes I was self conscious of my designs and I would see others and their amazing beautiful pieces and it kind of stressed me out. I think it’s just me.   I sound like a fool, but to know there are people out there who are way better than me. People who could put me out of business in 2 seconds. And therefore I felt threatened by them.

Doing this Auction has taught me a lot. Doing the Changing Face of Beauty has also taught me a lot. But what they have both taught me,  is that you are much stronger when you embrace all the people and competition around you. As I’m photographing, uploading, or just folding all the clothing from so many different companies I am honored to be part of this. I am flattered to see so many people join forces to help Change the Face of Beauty.

So with that said, let’s not busy ourselves watching and comparing ourselves to others. Let’s be the best we can be. lets be the best we ever imagined and then let’s go out and join forces and do some pretty amazing things. We only get better by surrounding ourselves with great folks, great talents and great hearts.

Thank you to all those (you know who you are) for participating in this auction but equally so, thank you for helping me to set aside all those jealousies and replace them with admiration. Crazy how we grow each day. Thank you.

– Denise

Brea

Great post! So excited (and very jealous) you are going back at Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to get back there, it’s like a part of me is missing since I’ve been back. I simply can’t wait.

Sam

…always saying what needs to be said/read. Love you.

What a wonderful post! I’m so thrilled to be able to donate something handmade to such a great cause. And yes, I can totally identify with you Denise. The auction is going to bring smiles to present and future who really need Gigi’s Playhouse. With respect and tons of admiration ~ Kim

How do I donate? What do you want? Clothing, pillow, blanket? What can I do?

Gran

You say so much about all of life. Be the best we can be and join others to help others be the best they can be. Hugs……even though you are not the hugger, I am.

tracy thomson

This post was so absolutely perfect!!! If you only knew the trauma I went through trying to get my dress ready for the auction!! When I was asked to be a part I had NO IDEA!!! and I do mean NO IDEA of the amazing artists that would be involved and I only had a couple days to get something together…I was and still am a nervous wreck but this post helped.. we are each individuals and I am honored to be a part of such a great auction.. I don’t need to compare my items or worry about no one bidding!!!! Thank you for having me!!and thank you for this wonder post!! Tracy

Carolina Gonzalez

Such a powerful message.

Jay Conley

“If it is both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it.”
Erada

Aspire to Inspire

I am often asked who my hero is. Who is the one person who’s shoes I’d like to walk in for a day. Who is the person I aspire to be. Or sometimes, I am even asked, who was my mentor, who taught me to give, who taught me to be a selfless person.

aaaaThat answer is pretty simple and spoken without hesitation. The tall, handsome man on the right. My grandpa.

My grandpa has been getting ready to go see God for a few months now. And as of the past week, he is definitely ready to go. And I am so excited and so…almost in awe of what he will see, feel and just be. I try to imagine the most beautiful, happiest day of my life x1000 and I get goosebumps. It is beyond amazing.

A few days ago I wrote this on my phone….

I don’t want my grandpa to die. I always say it’s okay, I understand, he’s lived an amazing life, as long as he doesn’t suffer, I totally understand when it’s his time to go. But I don’t want him to go. And I know it’s just for selfish reasons because I will miss him so much. It’s hard not to be selfish because he’s always been in my life, he’s always been the person that I aspire to be, he’s always been the person that I want to make proud of me, he’s always but my grandpa. So I can be selfish because he’s mine. My grandpa.

When I get phone calls and I hear he’s been sleeping all day or when I hear he’s a little bit confused and isn’t sure of things around him. When I hear he’s having a hard time walking or he’s lost his strength I get scared for him. My grandpa is the kindest, most gentle, caring person I’ve ever been around. He smiles all the time. And I mean all the time. He makes me feel  loved and happy and safe. He makes me feel like I’m still 7 years old and I don’t  have a worry in the world because I know he will take care of all the worries for me.

I don’t want my grandpa to leave because I love him too much. Because I don’t know what it will be like without him in my life. Because I’ve always had him here.  He’s always been mine. I don’t want to share him with anybody else and I don’t want to forget the way he sounds. I don’t want to forget the way his eyes light up when he sees me, I don’t want to forget how soft his shirt is when he hugs me, I don’t want to forget all the great stories or the funny stories he shares. I don’t want my grandpa to leave. I don’t wanna walk in his house and he not be there. I do want to sit at his kitchen table and he not be next to me  to me forcing me to eat chocolate. I don’t want to see the napkin on the table that is empty, that is empty because he’s not there to draw a picture on it for me. What am I going to do without him. Who am I going to want to be. Who’s going to be the person that I aspire to be.

I know I’m being selfish. I know I am. But he’s mine and no one loves him more than I love them. I don’t want him to be scared, frustrated, or is sad. I sat next to him last weekend I told him that was going to be ok. He told me he was not scared to die. He told me that a couple years ago he was scared but he’s not scared anymore. I looked at him, and smiled is said with complete faith that Heaven is an amazing place, the most beautiful place, with the most love that you’ll ever feel.  I’m so excited for him and he’s going to be so happy. And at that time I thought I would be happy too. To know that my grandpa will be safe, surrounded by beauty, with the feeling of joy. Pure happiness. But I’m not happy.  I’m scared.  And I hate feeling selfish but I’m scared for me too loose him.  I’m not scared for him. He deserves the best place ever and I know God will make that happen. But I want to be with him.

TODAY

My grandpa is only saying very few words daily and is in his final days. We drove up last night. The only words I heard him say were “Hi, Dave” to my husband. But I did see his eyes light up and hi

s face fill with color when I said hello. I saw his arms open up to give me a hug. And what I did hear, most of all, was his heart full of love while he held me close and rubbed my back. I love this man whit my entire being.  I told him, “I will always think of you when I smile. When I smile it will be because you taught me to give and love like no other. Every smile I see on someones face will remind me of him smiling back at me. “

And when I go home again in 2days I will make you some very special pieces from his workshop in his basement. My grandpa fixed watches and made me amazing jewelry while he could. It was all jimmy-rigged of spare watch pieces and beads. I made a few today for his nurses and I’ll make some more when I go up for the auction. I know my grandpa would want to help.

AND THIS ONE GOES OUT TO ALL YOU GRANDPARENTS….WE LOVE YOU

John Buchanan

Denise–you could not have stated this any better. We have all been so blessed to have him for our Grandpa!! I feel the same way you do, the same way your brothers and sisters feel. The same way my brothers feel, as well as all of our kids. When grandpa goes to Heaven,he will be the best one earth has set up in a long, long time! He is as close to perfect as a man can get.
John

This One Goes out to the Kids

It’s kind of crazy the things that trigger crazy memories. I was just going through the McDonald drive thru and it quickly tiggered the memory of picking up knot dresses from Chaings long before anyone knew what a Knot dress was.  Probably about  10 years ago. I used to be so busy, so crazy busy, that the moment I would pick up the dresses I would have them in front seat and  on my lap to tie knots on them as I drove. The drive thru reminds me the most of that because it was then I got in trouble. I was holding up the line behind me because I was too busy to  realize it was my time to move forward. I can laugh now but at that moment I wanted to hide my head between my knees.
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There are days that I miss that passion. That passion that drives you to work until your bones are raw. But today the passion is there. I’m on my way to design some of the most fabulous pieces I have made in a long time. I’ve been collecting fabric since last summer just for this.Just for the Mighty Acorn Auction.

I’m so excited for the Mighty Acorn Auction for many reasons. One, because every knows my passion to work. Two, because we are raising money for  Gigi’s Playhouse so they can continue to welcome and open their doors to the sweet faces of the children. And three, soem of the funds raised go toward a dining hall for my children in Kitale. Currently they are eatting on a floor or the dirt ground.

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There are so many great causes for all of us to be passionate about. Yesterday, I met with two pretty amazing women who wanted to help and feel the love. I loved watching their eyes light up and ask how they could help.  It reminded me a long time ago when I would shy away from giving.  Shy away from helping/giving because I felt like  what I could give would not make an impact. Now that we have foundation, now that I’m a little bit older, I realize it takes so little each of us to change lives of so many.

Gosh, I’m trying so hard to stay focused and write this blog but all I can do is think about my grandpa. It’s all I can do. There’s never had a stronger love, respect, and just plain ‘ole pals. I love that man. I’ve loved him my entire life.

Back to the auction. Once you see the photos and the catalog with all these amazingly beautiful children  from the Changing the Face of Beauty Campaign, I think you will see the reason we do what we do. I’ve spent probably about 10 hours working on this catalog. It’s not 10 hours of pure work. It’s 2 hours of work and the other 8t looking into these little girls eyes and falling in love. I hope this becomes success and I hope this summer we get to travel to a few cities and spoil all these kids like crazy.

Sorry for the crazy rambling. My mind is everywhere tonite. Don’t forget the auction is November 4. Watch the blog and Facebook for updates.

Abby

Love this Denise! It comes from the heart, and that is what means the most! I can’t wait for Nov 4

Carrie Gugger

Looking forward to the catalog, auction and seeing your inspired pieces for inspiring places.

Lindsey

It was a magical day! Ellie still talks about her friend Franny and when is she coming over for a sleepover…