GUEST POST: Kylie Bollwitt

"Fashion is nothing but clothing and accessories until you place meaning to them. It is then that fashion will take its true form..."

I am so blessed and humbled and thrilled to have more than a handful of super-talented people willing to guest-post on my blog while we prepare for/adjust to life with our new little bundle of joy!  This week I’m super-stoked to introduce you to Kylie Bollwitt.  Kylie is a personal stylist from Omaha, Nebraska, with a heart of gold…as you’ll see in her post.  Today she’s talking about a recent project that was very dear to her.  Take it away, Kylie!


I have always had a love for fashion, but it was not until circustances that were presented this year that I truely found my passion for fashion.

A photographer and personal friend of mine was running a promotion on her Facebook page for a free session with her, all you had to do was write to her and tell her why you thought you deserved it. I saw her promo and instantly asked her if she wanted to incorporate my personal styling services into the package deal. I could help the winner choose their outfits as well as help style and pose them the day of the shoot. She WENT for it, so we RAN with it! Entries were coming in like crazy, but in the end we both felt emotionally connected to the same person’s response as to why they deserved a free photo shoot with a personal stylist.

Us with our GORGEOUS contest winner.

A mother had sent into the contest on behalf of her 14 year old daughter. This mother cared nothing of herself, only her daughter and trying to uplift her and make her feel beautiful. You see, her daughter was being bullied in school. She didn’t feel beautiful and was going through a dark stage of depression. She was carrying all of this extra weight on her shoulders from those hurtful words and gestures her peers would say and do to her as if that was what she was expected to do. I dont know about you, but that cut deep down in my soul. I hurt for her and so badly wanted to just run to her and comfort her; to tell her that I have been there and to hold on because she is so much more than what her peers want to think of her. My photographer friend and I didnt even hesitate; we both knew this young lady was our contest winner.

So as I’m in my room thinking about how we can possibly make this work… 2 college students, starving artists’ budgets already giving away services and materials for free… Thats when it hit me! We can take care of their hotel room cost from the help of my photographers mothers discount at a hotel in the city, can you say meant to be? I decided I wanted to take her shopping and help her pick out an outfit that I would then buy for her. Not only that, but I wanted to get a hair and makeup artist that would be willing to help us make this young lady feel strikingly beautiful.

The weekend quickly approached and eagerness and anxiousness quickly set in! Is she going to like me? Will I be able to help her break out of her shell? Will she hate every outfit I put her in? When we first met each other at the mall, it took everything I had to not bust into tears (in our family we claim to have a crying disease). I was overwhelmed with joy and instantly embraced all of them. Just as I had suspected she was very shy and reserved and it took a lot of me being a complete dork to get her to open up even the tiniest bit to me. After 3 stores of looking and trying we found some great pieces that she loved!

At the studio, we instantly started getting the young lady into photoshoot mode. She got her hair and makeup done by a professional and LOVED IT.  Then it was time to get into her new outfits and start rapid-fire picture taking. It was wonderful to finally see her open up and begin to break out of her shell. She looked stunning, we all had a blast and I really hope to have made a difference in her life. I hope that she can see that there is more to this life then bullies, that there are people who care about her… people who didn’t even know her until this promotion. I hope that she can be inspired by this expeirence and in turn inspire others with the amount of strength and integrity she posesses.

It’s not just those that are being bullied that struggle with self-worth and confidence within themselves… that happens to everyone at some point in life. Sometimes its hard when we hear people say things about us that arent true and present a negative outlook on our personality, ego, morals, and intergrity; but the only opinion that matters and that we should concern ourselves with, is God’s. I know all too well it’s easier said then done in that circumstance, but this adventure has proved to me time and time again to trust in God and everything else will fall into place.


For more information on Kylie and her services, check out her Facebook page here.

For more information on Chelsea Nielsen (photo-shoot photographer), check out C. Nielsen Photography’s Facebook page here.

For more information on Ashley Robinson (hair and makeup), check out Ashley J Studios Facebook page here.

And finally, for more information about Jim Lamb (behind-the-scenes photography), check out Blacksheep Photography’s Facebook page here.


I Am Beautiful…Because I’m a Girly-Girl!

Did you know that March 20th is Barbie Doll Day?  Yep – an entire Tuesday in March devoted to Barbie and friends, celebrating Barbie-type values: Perma-tans, pink convertibles, Barbie mansions, skimpy fashion, things-things-things, and of course, the ever-elusive – utterly unrealistic – hour-glass figure.

As I was researching the theme for this month’s I Am Beautiful campaign, I came across tons of Barbie facts.  Most of them looked like this:

Peaches and Cream Barbie - my FAVORITE growing up.

*Barbie’s full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts. She is from Willows, Wisconsin, and went to Willows High School.

*Barbie was named after the daughter of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler. Their son’s name is: Ken.

*The first Barbie doll sold for $3.

*The first Black, and Hispanic Barbie dolls were introduced in 1980.

*Barbie’s first career was as a teenage fashion model. She has since had other careers including astronaut, rock star, paleontologist, presidential candidate, and Olympic ice skater, as well as many others.

*Barbie introduced a rap group in 1990 called “Barbie, and the Beats.”

*More than 105 million yards of fabric have gone into making the fashions of Barbie, and her friends, making Mattel one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world.

*Placed head to toe, Barbie dolls, and her friends sold since 1959 would circle the earth more than seven times.

Then I came across an interesting list at  Check this out:

Click here to read Galia Slayen's article about Barbie's dangerous body image in the Huffington Post.

*The target market for Barbie doll sales is young girls ages 3 – 12 years of age. 

*A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.

* If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9” tall, have a 39” bust, an 18” waist, 33” hips and a size 3 shoe!

*Barbie calls this a “full figure” and likes her weight at 110 lbs.

*At 5’9” tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.

*If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.

*Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight” with directions inside stating simply “Don’t eat.”

Those are some pretty rattling, ugly facts.  Not exactly a role model I want my daughters to emulate.  But here’s the thing.  Barbie, for all her faults, does have one thing I totally am on board with: girlie-ness.  What woman doesn’t like to get dressed up, slap some lipstick on, rock some glam eyeliner and go out on the town?  Even the most modest, outdoorsy, or homebody-ish woman likes a reason to pull out the pretty, rarely-worn things gathering dust in the back of the closet from time to time.  The same is true for little girls, too.  My darling SweetZ LOVES to dress up.  She believes tutus go with everything – including jeans and hiking boots – and will gladly take her brothers to the mat wearing a pink princess dress and a tiara.  She’s as rough and tumble and willing to get dirty as any boy her age…and she loves to do it looking as girly as possible.

So out of all Barbie’s blech, the plastic blonde bombshell did tap into that.  A girl’s need to be a girl.

With that in mind, March’s theme for I Am Beautiful… is Because I’m A Girly-Girl.  Now, don’t wag your head at me and say, “But, Myndi.  I’m not a girly-girl.  Never have been.  Never will be.”  Sorry, but I won’t buy what your selling.  I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a girl who’s not girly – it’s just the definition of girly has been skewed by popular culture.  Every girl is girly.  It’s intrinsic.  It’s in our nature.  We are different than guys in oh-so-many blessed, beautiful, awesomesauce ways – and that, in and of itself makes us girly.  NOT whether or not your favorite color is pink, or your favorite hobby is giggling over hot guys while bedazzling your brand-spanking-new pair of skinny jeans.  We are girly because we are girls.

So, here’s your assignment.  Go getchyer girly on.  Girls’ night out, girls’ night in.  Date night with your sweetie.  Cozy night at home.  Mani’s and pedi’s, or shopping at the mall.  Hiking, skiing, shooting guns.  Crafting with your besties.  Wherever and whatever you do when you are at your most girly – I want pictures of it!  Let’s celebrate the part of womanhood Barbie got right – the fun that’s wrapped up in being a girl – and let’s torch the rest of those skewed Barbie-isms, Burning-Man style.  Let’s do it for ourselves, and for our daughters and granddaughters – a celebration that says Womanhood rocks, and not because some freaky-ass plastic doll says so.

Please send your pics to myndishafer [at] rocketmail [dot] com, with the phrase Because I’m A Girly-Girl in the subject line.  I need your submissions by March 18 so I can get your lovely pics up in time for Barbie Doll Day!  Don’t forget to spread the word – the more the merrier!!

Much love to you,


P.S.  In anticipation of Shafer #4’s arrival, there won’t be any I AM BEAUTIFUL posts for April…but there WILL be lots of fabulous guest posts, so be sure to stop by and check ’em out!