The Power of Being Seen | The Power of Being Enough

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Everyone wants to be seen and everyone wants to be known. Growing up in a world with countless social media outlets and apps that filter pictures has created a whole other level to feeling worthy and accepted. I’m not saying all social media is bad, or that at 38 I don’t appreciate a good filter! But I am saying that many of the images we see can skew reality and create goals in the lives of young women that are not only unattainable, but unnecessary.

Top Buttons recently hosted our “Building Up Girls” Event. These events are some of my favorite because all of the girls we serve are invited to come together to receive training from phenomenal women who are excellent in their fields of expertise. While the girls receive important life skill information such as budgeting/financial planning and physical wellness, they also hear important life truths that pertain to who they are as individuals.

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Throughout the morning of our most recent event, it was reiterated over and over to every young lady that she was created with and for purpose. Created intentionally by a Creator who sees her, knows her, and loves her.

Many of the girls we serve come from hard places and many would be labeled “at-risk”….meaning there is likely a lack of support and stability that make them easy prey for those who do not have God’s best in mind for them. Over and over again, we have seen how these life dynamics diminish self worth in the lives of young ladies who were wonderfully and fearfully made. It is not hard for young women to fall victim to lies that their life must have been a mistake, doesn’t matter, or has no value. Believing these lies can lead to dangerous behaviors - but as the girls who attended this event heard truths that combated these types of lies, a spirit of liberty could be felt across the room.

The final speaker of the event was Lisa Kirk and she made things personal for the young ladies in attendance. One at a time, she called several up….looked them directly in the eye and spoke into them that they are seen and that they matter - just as they are. She then made each of them own that truth by speaking it for herself.….not whisper it, or mumble it…but speak it confidently to a roomful of other both impressionable and valuable young women. The first young lady who stood up had tears running down her face as our speaker locked eyes with her, SAW HER, and said she was enough. Tears started streaming down many faces in the room as the silence was only broken by the sound of spoken truth as these young ladies acknowledged and verbalized that they mattered, they’re loved, and they’re enough. WOW. It was powerful!

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Following Lisa, Sarah Powers closed by sharing her own testimony of overcoming hardship, feelings of failure from not living up to God’s standards, but yet how He saw and rescued her in the midst of it. The girls were given the opportunity to allow God to do the same for them. Heads were bowed and hands were lifted as the girls were asked if they wanted to surrender their lives and strongholds to a God who loves them, wants good for them, and will never leave them. It was a powerful ending to a beautiful event.

We know the young ladies we serve need life-skill training and we love providing it, but we also know these young ladies need the hope and acceptance of a Savior who DOES want God’s best for them. …and they don’t even need a perfectly filtered Instagram page to receive it.

They are seen as they are. And they are enough.

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Join SOZO At The Run 4 ONE 5k This January


The Sozo Initiative would like to invite everyone in the Lakeland, Florida area to participate in the 2nd annual Run 4 One on January 17th, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. around Lake Hollingsworth. Run 4 One is a 5k that exists to raise funds to help rescue and restore victims of human trafficking and is a wonderful opportunity to do your part to end modern day slavery. Runners and non-runners are welcome and it will be a chipped time race. To register to walk or run go to the official website. If you do not live locally or are unable to participate in Run 4 One you may still give by going to the registration page and clicking on the donation button. There will also be a children’s fun run.

All of the proceeds from the event will be given to their three beneficiaries listed below:

The Porch Light A division of Florida’s Baptist Children’s Homes, Porch light is the first safe house in Lakeland that is specifically created to house victims of Human Trafficking. Porch light works to help restore these girls physically, mentally, and spiritually. The Porch Light is also supported by Top Buttons and The Sozo Initiative.

Project Rescue Project Rescue provides physical, emotional and spiritual rescue and holistic restoration to women and children in sexual slavery. Their multifaceted programs aim to provide a safe environment for transformation and growth. Their initiatives include aftercare homes, vocational training, after-school programs, night care shelters, HIV/Aids medical clinics, red light district churches and Sunday schools, and awareness and prevention programs. Project Rescue is also supported by the Top Buttons and The Sozo Initiative.

Belbin Family. The Belbin’s are a missionary family who work in the children’s homes of Northern India. These homes are where the sons and daughters of the women working in the brothels live. Through building relationships, supporting staff, and facilitating art projects designed to bring emotional and spiritual healing, they are impacting young girls in a significant way. This year we are raising funds to provide a playground for one of the homes.

To learn more about Run 4 One visit their Facebook page

Our Favorite CMA Red Carpet Looks


On Wednesday, November 5th, the 48th annual CMA Awards aired on ABC. This event, known as "country music's biggest night" brought in a total of 16.1 million views. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley returned as co-hosts on this popular show. The fashion is always glamorous at these events, and this year did not disappoint. Here are four of our favorite red carpet looks from this eventful night.

2 carrie1. Host Carrie Underwood looked beautiful as always in a golden ombre Lorena Sarbu gown with intricate crystal embroidery. This high low dress was the perfect way to show off her Jimmy Choo shoes.

lucyhale2. New country starlet, Lucy Hale looked classy in this red Romona Keveza silk crepe gown. We love her choice of a bright red lip to complete the look.

meghantrainor3. Pop sensation Meghan Trainor wore an elegant lacy, blue dress by Monique Lhuillier.

cassadeepope4. Cassadee Pope wore Aidan Mattox. This chic black top looks absolutely gorgeous with her metallic skirt and statement necklace.

 Did YOU have any favorite looks from the night? Let us know in the comments below!

(photos 1-3 provided by USA Today, photo 4 provided by E!)

Miss America 2015 Best Dresses


Miss America 2015 was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Sunday, September 14, 2014. The winner was Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, making it the third year in a row that a Miss New York won the Miss America crown. Take a look at two of our favorite dresses from the evening. The new Miss America winner just happened to be wearing one of our favorite dresses. She wore an elegant white gown with a high top and an open back.

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Host Lara Spencer, of Good Morning America, was another favorite of ours. She wore a lovely dress with a solid black top and a white bottom with floral print.

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(All images provided by Hollywood Life)

Join Us at The Porch Light's Shine A Light Weekend


Among the three anti-human trafficking groups that Top Buttons initiative Sozo United for Freedom has partnered with, we'd like to take the opportunity to spotlight The Porch Light's own efforts to end human trafficking. The Porch Light is Lakeland, Florida’s first safe house for sex trafficked underage girls. Along with providing housing, girls are provided with education, medical care, counseling, and spiritual discipleship.  On top of that, the organization is continually taking the time to educate the public on prevention and working to change laws surrounding this issue.

Sozo United for Freedom wants to invite everyone in the Lakeland, Florida area to join us in shining a light on human trafficking during Porch Light’s Shine a Light fundraiser weekend. If you desire to do your part to help end human trafficking we ask you to join the Top Buttons team on the weekend of the 24th.

The Shine a Light weekend events include the following:

Shine a Light 5k

Friday, October 24 at 6:30pm Lake Hollingsworth 175 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland $30 – after October 3 Register under team top buttons

Shine a Light Festival

Saturday, October 25 from 10am – 1:00pm First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland 175 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland FREE

Shine a Light Gala

Saturday, October 25 at 6:00pm • Florida Southern College Branscomb Auditorium 111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland $50 – tickets include a performance featuring internationally-renowned recording artist Jason Castro, a former contestant on American Idol.

Regardless of whether or not you live in the area, there are several more ways to get involved with the porch light, from financial donations, to volunteering your time.  To learn more about the porch light and ways you can get involved visit The Porch Light's home page.

Sozo encourages you to find ways in your local community to get involved and do your part to end human trafficking. Perhaps there is an anti-human trafficking organization where you live where you can volunteer your time.  On the other hand, if you are already involved in ending modern slavery, we would love to hear from you and what you are doing to help end this issue!


Styling Teens from Afar


Hello Top Buttons family! I am so excited to be here today! My name is Ahndea May, I am a daughter of the King, raising 5 little ones with my high school sweetheart and best friend Nate in Atlanta, GA. I love when God  brings opportunities for me to align myself with mission and purpose. A way to give back and help others. I first met Sarah Powers, founder of Top Buttons, in Rockford, IL.  She is energetic, connective, and man does she light up a room with her smile! We have stayed in touch over the years and followed each other through social media. I love the heart behind Top Buttons online magazine: "express more, reveal less," a modest twist on fashion and much more.

As a stylist, my heart is to help tell a story, your story through wardrobe, fashion and creative elements. Style is simply the outward way to express your inner self.  When I was young, I remember laying out my clothes the night before and being so excited to show off my new United Colors of Benetton outfit.  My clothes and appearance became what I focused on until God really got a hold of my heart and helped the searching for others approval fade. I then knew who I was in Christ and my appearance became a reflection of me not an image of me.  Now my business is to help educate, inspire and curate style through many different avenues.

I am thrilled to be a style contributor for Top Buttons Magazine as well as a sponsor for the upcoming Wardrobe Makeover Event this September. Here is what Sarah had to say about this fantastic initiative.

“At Top Buttons, we recognize many young women who might want to dress in more proper fitting attire often don’t have the money to go out and buy clothes as needed. Through our “Fall Wardrobe Makeover Event for Teenage Girls in Need” we are working to offer these young ladies with styling tips from our Top Buttons personal stylists and provide them with gently used clothing to replace or enhance their current wardrobe” — Sarah Powers. Founder & Director

My role is to help curate style boards, catering to many different vibes from street style to Boheme. This will help the Top Buttons hands-on stylists utilize the donations in the most effective way.  We want each girl to feel like they are receiving a custom experience.  We want them feel special, and also walk away with some quick tips, clothes and a full heart.

Want to know to get involved? Top Buttons is currently taking donations

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Another way to partner with us is to PURCHASE a Top Buttons t-shirt.  One for you and one for a teen girl nominated for the makeover experience. We are pre -selling these t-shirts starting now so grab 2 for $30 and help support us as we open up new possibilities for these young girls.

Here is one way to style your new Top Buttons tee!



Click HERE to Purchase your Top Buttons T-Shirt!  We'd love to see what you pair it with.  After you get your tee, be sure to Tag Us…. @topbuttons and use the hashtag #mytopbuttonstee

The Young Women's Conference You Must Attend For 2015


On April 10-12, The Church of Rockford First hosted an event called Original Women's Conference where nearly 2,000 ladies were in attendance. This three day span of time was jam-packed with several sessions centered around God's Ever & Always kind of love.

Enjoy this brief recap video as seen on the Original Conference website.

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Top Buttons had the honor of bringing a fun and dynamic team of ladies to this conference.


After a long morning of travels on Thursday April 10th, our TB team went straight to the conference site at Rockford First to set up our promotional booth.

Taylor at BoothWe not only offered information about our organization, but we also sold hand-crafted button earrings and consignment clothing. All proceeds went straight to the Top Buttons' fund.

Clothes Rack

Our booth was conveniently located right next to the Teen Room so tons of young ladies were constantly stopping by our table. In addition, we neighbored another amazing organization called Sak Saum. They sell a variety of hand crafted accessories in efforts to raise money to fight against human trafficking. "Sak Saum exists to set captives free through rescue, restoration, rehabilitation and transformation," says their website.

Sak SaumNight one's sessions kicked off the conference with inspiring every lady to make a "In It For Good" commitment to Christ. Just as lover's forever latch locks onto Lover's Lock Bridge in Paris, each lady was provided with a lock and key to initial and forever lock upon fences labeled In It For Good.

Betsie's lock


Day two held just as many adventures as day one. We came across so many stylish ladies, we just had to document their outfits. Here's just a few:

Chicago OutfitsSarah (pictured top right) was visiting Rockford on a pastor's wives retreat when she came across this red Jones New York maxi dress. She shared with us that she wasn't purchasing anything new for a whole year, so it was to her luck that our items were all consignment. Scared that the red dress might clash with her hair, she tried it on anyways and came out glowing with excitement. It was made for her!

When night two finally came, our Top Buttons team had the opportunity to speak about fashion and modesty at the scheduled After Party in the Teen Room. Each team member passed out book marks with pictures and information on where to purchase key items in their outfit.

Teen Room


We loved connecting with so many new friends over common interests like our love of God and fashion. Amanda (pictured below in the hat) recently started her own consignment shop called Worth Royalty where her goal is to provide an affordable and appropriate shopping option that shows young women that they are worth royalty.

Photobooth with Amanda


Day three included life-changing sessions; last-minute sales; and lots of coffee, good-byes, and travel.

Our very own Molly Dodd and Alexis Gauthier got to meet and hand deliver custom button earrings to one of the guest speakers named Charlotte Gambill.

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For outfit details on what our Top Buttons' team wore to the After Party, here's the scoop:



Taylor Murray fashioned what she likes to call a "Tomboy-meets-Feminine" look! Growing up, Taylor always leaned toward her tomboy tendencies, however, as she's matured, she's learned to incorporate her unique flair and sophistication to create a wardrobe similar to this outfit.

To purchase key items from Taylor's look:

Blazer | Boyfriend Jeans | Silver Necklace | Tortoise Watch


Betsie Amendola keeps it simple by representing her every-day "Tribal Print-Chic" look. On a typical day, you can find Betsie wearing neutral colors paired with over-sized sweaters to stay versatile and comfortable. Betsie loves shopping at Ross because it offers a more affordable selection of trendy name-brand clothes.

To purchase key items from Betsie's look:

Aztec Cardigan | Riding Pants | Bangles | Wedges


Alexis Gauthier's style changes almost as swiftly as her moods. To let you all in on a secret, for this "Classic Black & White" look, Alexis actually purchased all her items at thrift stores! Her black jumpsuit was 50% off at Salvation Army, which tallied up to about $3. While on Spring Break, a white blazer made it to the top of Alexis' Spring Must Have list, so she quickly grabbed this one off the Goodwill racks for just $6. Thrifting may take a little extra time, but with the added effort you can get current trends (as linked below) for just a fraction of the cost.

To purchase key items for Alexis' look:

White Blazer | Black Jumpsuit

There you have it! Three completely different styled looks from the hearts of the Top Buttons team to yours!



All in all, attending the Original Women's Conference in Rockford, IL was a magical experience. From the performances, to the decor, to the sermons and worship, every detail was intentionally taken care of. Our Top Buttons team had such a blast attending the sessions, representing at our booth, and even speaking to the ladies in the Teen Room at their Friday night After Party.

We had a blast, left feeling empowered, and want to encourage all of you to be at the Original Women's Conference in 2015!

Trendy Tuesday: Spring Prom Dresses!


The search for the perfect prom dress is upon us... What kind of styles are you going for? Are you all about the glitz and glam, or do you rock a vintage vibe? In honor of the beauty of Spring, we're obsessing over bright and beautiful prom dresses. Here's a few we found that you should check out:


This sweet baby pink gown from Loving Dresses oozes sophistication... Not to mention the sheer top provides a little extra coverage without being too obtrusive. $130



This showstopping gown keeps it light for Spring in a beautiful light turquoise - and is also available in a multitude of other colors! Again from Loving Dresses, the 3/4 lace sleeves add an air of timeless grace and beauty. $170



This bold hot pink gown is full of sparkle and is sure to show just how pumped and ready you are for prom! The empire waist will flatter many figures, and the cap sleeves add a touch of modesty without being too much! $140



Talk about a princess dress! This modern day Cinderella blue ball gown can be your perfect prom dress - and you don't even need a fairy Godmother! $180



This BEAUTIFUL rose gold dress is feminine and fun, and is perfect if you're looking to shake it up by not wearing a floor-length gown! $124

We know this can be one of the biggest decisions you have to face during the school year... And we hope it's been helpful! Just remember: Keep it Classy, and Be You!

Our Best Picks from the Golden Globes


This year's 71st Annual Golden Globes Awards was a night to remember when it came to select celebrities dresses. Top Buttons was very excited to see what these stars were going to wear down the red carpet this time. Our team selected three of the most beautiful dresses that were worn at the event. Mila Kunis. Photo by Wally Skalij.

Our top favorite was a shimmering ombre Gucci dress worn by actress Mila Kunis. We can tell that she knows how to dress to impress at an event as important as this. This floor length dress attracted all eyes to Mila as she arrived at the awards.

Jennifer Lawrence. Photo by Jason Merritt.

Another one of our favorite dresses by designer Christian Dior was worn by well-known actress Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence was presented a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress in the famous motion picture "American Hustle". We loved how she graced the stage in her white gown looking flawless as she accepted her award.

Taissa Farmiga. Photo by Jordan Strauss.

Last but not least, Taissa Farmiga made her red carpet appearance in a knee length, lace Elie Saab dress. She accompanied her dress with Stuart Weitzman sandals giving it a more casual yet classy look for the awards. She was one of very few who decided to be different by wearing a short dress for the event.

Central Florida Ladies, Join us for the First Ever Top Buttons Swap and Shop!