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32 CANDLES: THEN and NOW [Tote Bag Challenge]

Dearest Everyone,

So this week’s tote bag challenge is a little different. I’m really excited to announce a big initiative that we’re starting next Monday called THEN and NOW. Basically we’re asking you to submit a picture of yourself from high school, a picture of yourself now and answer three questions. For every submission we receive, 32 CANDLES will make a donation to FFAWN, a non-profit organization that promotes good decision-making, problem-solving skills and self-esteem in young girls. So by telling us your THEN and NOW story, you’ll be doing both yourself and the women of tomorrow a boon.

And here’s the really big news. Not only will we give away our usual tote bag to the winning THEN and NOW submission next week. We’ll be giving away 20 T-shirts to the first 20 people who submit!!!* So if you haven’t won a 32 CANDLES T-shirt yet, submit your THEN and NOW here sooner than later.

Meanwhile check out the inaugural THEN and NOW submission by yours truly after the jump.


Did you consider yourself an ugly duckling in high school?

I was such an ugly duckling in high school. I was awkward, could barely keep my hair together, and my mother refused to buy more than two or three new school outfits every year. I remember wanting to crawl out of my skin my first year of high school. It felt like everyone was cooler and dressed way better than me.


When and how did you officially “swan?”

Strangely enough, I officially swanned while still in high school. My sophomore year, I joined the school’s Thespian troupe and received major roles in school plays, not because I could act, but because I “spoke well.” It was very interesting to go from huge nerd to commanding the stage and hobknobbing with the popular kids. I wasn’t a great (or even good) actor, but I loved working with language. And since we were such a poorly-funded troupe, I was allowed to direct and even sell space in the program to local businesses. What great life lessons. I also went natural and learned to embrace all of the qualities that had made me feel awkward before. Now I fully represent for fierce nerds everywhere — though I have since invested in designer jeans and a few Anthropologie items to offset my mostly H&M and Target wardrobe.


What advice would you give to the Before you?:

I often think about what I would say to my past self if I had a time machine. And I always come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t give myself any real advice, because I just love where I’ve ended up, and I wouldn’t want anything to change that.

*If you’ve already won a t-shirt, we would still love for you to submit, but you cannot win another T-shirt.