A Stylish and Modest Wardrobe with the Chic Girl’s Guide

Elaine Hearn, fashion blogger at Clothed Much, interviewed Kristina Clemens, author of a new DIY style book.

1.  Tell us about your new book, The Chic Girl’s Guide to a One-of-a-Kind Wardrobe.
It’s a DIY style book with step-by-step instructions on taking uninspired clothing and turning them into beautiful wearable garments that fit your body and lifestyle. The Chic Girl’s Guide is workbook of tutorials, tips and guidelines on how to customize and embellish, but at its core, it’s a book of ideas meant to inspire young and old alike—to shine a light on the possibilities of revamping store-bought clothes into garments that can be as quirky and classy and girly as you want them to be.

 2.  Which comes first, faith or fashion?

For me, faith determines my fashion. I’m always approaching clothing–DIY as well as personal style—from the framework of my faith. I feel I’m responsible to dress by a standard that is higher than what is culturally or socially acceptable. If a garment can’t be made to work within the framework of how I want to present myself in public then I don’t even consider it. 

 3.  How has your faith played into writing the book?

It’s hard to completely separate personal style from your DIY projects because generally the reason women refashion clothes is to create something specifically tailored to their personal preferences. Yet for the projects to reflect only my personal style would have made the book very “one-note”, so I felt while I was creating garments from my point-of-view it was important to feature projects that appeal to readers of varied personal styles while being true to my platform.

4.  Where did you get your ideas for the book projects?
Since the time frame was so rushed, I was pulling from past ideas I’d had jotted down for clothes from my own wardrobe. The ideas for The Chic Girl’s Guide were meant to inspire readers on how to adjust hemlines, play with sleeve additions and add height to necklines in novel ways. The projects in the book were designed to help readers create garments that have a flattering fit, feminine detailing, and are utterly unique—designer duds at Target prices, as I like to say. I wanted the book projects to prove you can beautify with out looking gimmicky.

5.  What was the hardest part about writing The Chic Girl’s Guide?
Because I signed my contract late into the publication cycle of the publishing house, I had only ten weeks to complete the projects and write the book. there was a point during the process that I did one project a day for 22 days straight. I was having to make very quick creative decisions as well as
styling the photo shoots for the final project photos in the middle of winter, which really rushed the creative process. It was a quick write.

The Chic Girl’s Guide will be released August 13 and is currently available for pre-order at a discounted price on Amazon.
images courtesy of Cedar Fort Publishing

Live On! What It Means To Be a Survivor

Melanie Young (breast cancer survivor, and author.)

Sunday, June 2, is National Cancer Survivors Day. I’ve given lot of thought about the word “survivor” and to what it means to survive cancer in the years since I was diagnosed in 2009. Melanie small

Once you are diagnosed with cancer you ask yourself “When exactly do I become a cancer survivor?” I looked the question up online at several sites and found varying answers:

Some say you are survivor from the moment you are diagnosed

Some say you become a survivor five years after diagnosis

Some say you are a survivor after five years of being cancer free

Some say a survivor is one who remains alive

The Merriam-WebsterDictionary definition of “survivor” is “to remain alive”

Wikipedia states “A cancer survivor is an individual with cancer of any type, current or past, who is still living”

The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) defines survivor as “any person diagnosed with cancer from the time of initial diagnosis throughout his or her life.”

SEPT 2009 I contacted the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS does not have an official definition of “cancer survivor.” The woman I spoke with on the ACS hotline said the definition of being a cancer survivor is subjective and can mean something to different to each person. Some people call themselves a “survivor” from day one of diagnosis, and others never consider themselves a survivor. Others shy away from the word entirely.

It took over two years for me to be able to say the words “I Had Cancer’ out loud and publicly without choking up. I considered myself a cancer survivor after I completed the onslaught of surgeries and treatment to eradicate the cancer from my body. I continue to take the breast cancer fighting aromatese inhibitor drug, Arimidex, daily. I consider it preventative strike to fight a recurrence.

As a breast cancer survivor who also tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation I live with a tiny voice in my head reminding me that I am still at risk.

But I risk my life daily walking down the streets of New York, so I try to live without fear of recurrence. Yet, recently when a rare sunburn appeared on my left arm (the one at risk for lymphedema) I panicked as I applied topical creams to sooth my skin. “Will my arm swell? Will this lead directly to melanoma?” When I recently over indulged after a party and felt a queasy sensation in my bloated stomach I thought “My pancreas! Is it working properly?” The little voice was jingling.

I view my breast cancer survivorship and the scars and tattoos from my mastectomy as neither “scarlet letter” or a “badge of courage” on my body. They mark the physical and emotional battle wounds from my fight with cancer, and I know that scars, though permanent, are healing over time.

Some people view cancer survivorship as a calling to live life with more purpose and to pay it forward. Some see it as a sign to move onward and make changes. Others view survivorship as a way to return to and embrace the life they have with more appreciation.

What I learned from having cancer is to take charge about making choices on how I want to live my life and care for myself. Fighting cancer is about making important choices on treatment and care and how you want define your life with cancer. Whether you refer to yourself as a cancer fighter, cancer survivor or “a person who had cancer” is your choice.

Breast cancer survivor Melanie Young is author of Getting Things Off My Chest:A Survivor’s Guide To Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer(Cedar Fort Inc./September 10, 2013/ $14.99) Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1462113230

You can follow her at www.gettingthingsoffmychest.com/feed at Twitter@mightymelanie

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies, Wendy Paul

¾ cup raw sugar

1 cup margarine

1/3 cup agave nectar

(or 3/4 cup brown sugar)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. lemon extract

1 cup soy yogurt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. lemon zest

3 cups unbleached flour

1 tablespoon poppy seeds


Cream together sugar and margarine, adding agave nectar (or brown sugar). Add vanilla, lemon extract, and soy yogurt. Add dry ingredients and poppy seeds, and mix until combined.


Drop by cookie scoop onto oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool completely.


To purchase click here now!


Best-selling author Wendy Paul is back with a collection of fast, easy, and foolproof recipes sure to satisfy all your cookie cravings.

Whether you’re ignoring calories, watching your waistline, eating vegan, or looking for a gluten-free treat, you’ll find a cookie for you in 101 Gourmet Cookies for Everyone that not only looks great but tastes great too!

GLUTEN FREE! Chocolate Chunky Cookies, Wendy Paul

½ cup almond oil

½ cup agave nectar

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cup unsweetened applesauce

dash of salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1½ cups almond flour

1½ cups rice flour

3 tsp. xanthan gum

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup gluten-free chocolate chunks


With a whisk, stir together almond oil and agave nectar. Add vanilla, applesauce, salt, and baking soda. Gently fold in almond flour, rice flour, xanthan gum, cream of tartar, and chocolate chunks.


Drop by small cookie scoop onto parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Remove from oven and cool completely.


Variation: for chocolate batter, add½ cup gluten-free cocoa and increase almond oil to¾ cup.


To purchase click here now!

Best-selling author Wendy Paul is back with a collection of fast, easy, and foolproof recipes sure to satisfy all your cookie cravings.

Whether you’re ignoring calories, watching your waistline, eating vegan, or looking for a gluten-free treat, you’ll find a cookie for you in 101 Gourmet Cookies for Everyone that not only looks great but tastes great too!

Crock-Pot Honey Mustard Chicken, Suzy Roberts

You can substitute any of your favorite salad dressings in this recipe.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 family-size can cream of chicken soup

½ bottle of your favorite honey mustard salad dressing (my favorite is Paul Newman’s Lighten Up Honey Mustard dressing)

1 bag baby carrots

If freezing see directions below

Otherwise, put all ingredients together in slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Break chicken into small pieces. Serve over noodles or rice.

Freezing directions: Place all ingredients in a gallon-size freezer bag and freeze. Include a package of noodles with this meal.




To purchase clickhere

Family meals have never been easier! Give yourself a break with a Make-Ahead Meal Group to create delicious dishes that you can freeze for future dinners. With these home-cooked, kid-tested meals, you’ll have dinner ready in minutes and everyone will be asking for more. Let the simplicity and ease of Families on the Go untangle your life.