My name is Mary Byrd and I am the voice behind Curlybyrdie Chirps; a fashion blog all about being fashionable on a budget. The blog has taught me many things, one of which is you never know where life is going to take you.
Three years ago, I was a 40-something single mother who needed a creative outlet, and that was the birth of the blog. But, what started as a simple idea of me sharing fashionable finds with other women quickly turned into so much more!
Just a year into posting my fashion chirps, a major opportunity came out of my hobby. I could hardly believe it, but J.C. Penny wanted to include me in their 2015 Spring Campaign. They flew me and four other fashion bloggers to New York City for a weekend, where we received the model treatment. And when I say model treatment, I mean I felt like Beyonce (minus the millions of dollars, Jay Z, and Blue Ivy). But, still, we were pampered by professional hair stylists, makeup artists, and worked with wardrobe stylists. It was a weekend I will never forget! Oh, and we got to keep the clothes! It really was amazing.
It was during this campaign I met the lovely Kimberly, of The Haute Life, and we hit it off right away! We had a lot in common as two fashion-loving, single moms. And, both of us were a little nervous in this new model world. Besides making new friendships, that weekend had an even bigger impact on me. It literally changed the entire course of my life. Spending that whirlwind weekend in the big city made this 40-something woman feel relevant, it made me feel beautiful, and most of all it made me feel confident; a feeling that I had never really experienced in my entire life.
After having that experience and realizing the impact a confidence boost had on my life, I wanted to give other women that same feeling. We all deserve to feel special. And so, I had a new mission: I wanted to give women that same sort of special day and change their situation, if only for a moment. But, maybe in that one day they would also receive that same confidence boost I did.
So, I met with a very talented photography studio, Casey Brothers in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We put our heads together and came up with the You Go Girl Project. In this positive project, we select one woman every month who has faced some sort of adversity or who is making an impact in her community by giving back and we reward her with complete makeover.
This includes a brand new wardrobe with a stylist (that would be me 😉 ) , a day at the spa, and a professional photo shoot with Casey at her fabulous Le Petite Studios. Our star for the day, even appears on local TV here in Fort Wayne.
We were so fortunate to receive the support of local businesses. It was heart-warming to see the Fort Wayne business community donate clothes; spa, makeup, and hair services; and even a local videographer who donates his time every month.
So far, we’ve featured twelve women and their stories, each of whom has inspired us in so many ways. Our first inspiration, Denise, was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She is now in remission. We were lucky enough to celebrate with her in her win over cancer and she continues to be involved with the project today.
We have met women who have survived domestic violence, a woman who lost her son to suicide, and a 15-year-old girl who had stage IV cancer who is now also in remission.
So many women with so many stories who have inspired other women in the community and have given a platform to so many issues.
As we head into 2017, we’re planning even bigger and better things for the You Go Girl Project! We are looking for a title sponsor, so we can touch even more women’s lives. Because, we really are our sister’s keepers and one weekend might just change a woman’s life. It certainly did change mine.