A brief history of the American prom

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I’ve always loved history and learning more about things around me. The past is fascinating! Did you know that although many other countries have a celebratory end-of-school party or ball, the “prom” itself has been distinctly American? I spent some time researching the origins of prom, but quickly found that there’s a great deal of speculation surrounding its beginnings and development, which isn’t surprising for a tradition.

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The word “prom” comes from promenade, defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary as to “walk in a public place for pleasure” and the “ceremonious opening of a formal ball consisting of a grand march of all the guests.” Although it’s unsure when proms actually began in the US, by the 20th century many high schools were holding formal co-ed events where attendees would dress up in their Sunday clothes and dine together.

Prom, as we know it, didn’t become a grand affair until after the Great Depression and World War II. A better economy meant families and schools could put more money towards events like school banquets and dances, that may previously have been thought superfluous. It’s also possible the growing Middle Class saw proms as their own version of the debutante ball.

Whatever its beginning and reason for growth, schools across the States hold a prom, or their version of a prom, every year. One thing that is well known- the expense involved. Last year, a Visa study reported the average prom costs each student (or their parents, anyway) $1,139. Crazy, isn’t it?!?

The truth is you don’t have to spend several hundred dollars (or more) on your daughter’s dress. Check out JJsHouse for affordable prom dresses, most costing between $100-200 USD. If that still makes you cringe a little, JJsHouse has a section on their site just for dresses under $100! I spotted numerous cocktail dresses for $65-90 that I would love to have hanging in my closet.

Here are some of my favorites (many of them available in additional colors, other than what’s shown). You may notice that none of these dresses show a lot of cleavage. That’s my personal preference. JJsHouse does have a wide variety of styles available.

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Which one is your favorite? What do you see at JJsHouse that you’d love to have hanging in your closet?


  • BBC America: http://www.bbcamerica.com/mind-the-gap/2013/04/30/a-brits-guide-to-high-school-proms-in-america-2/
  • Los Angeles Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/25/business/la-fi-mo-prom-costs-20130425
  • Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/promenade
  • Random History: http://www.randomhistory.com/1-50/004prom.html
  • Time Magazine: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1987594,00.html

Note: I was compensated for this post. All photos courtesy of JJsHouse.com.

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JenJenHouse for bridal and special occasion dresses

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Although the polar vortex may have pushed this thought from our minds, Spring is actually heading our way next month! March 20 is the first day of Spring. With warmer weather comes weddings! Of course people get married year round, but statistics show the most popular month for weddings is June.

If planning a wedding, you’re probably looking for a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. Maybe the mother of the bride and mother of the groom still need dresses too. Or maybe you’ve been invited to a wedding, and you’re looking for something new and flattering to wear.

A one-stop shop for special occasion attire, JenJenHouse carries dresses for the entire bridal party as well as accessories, shoes, and even favors for the reception.

Here are some of my top choices for wedding guest dresses. Short and flirty, but still appropriate and flattering for different body types. Some of these styles are available in multiple colors too.

To go with your new dress, you of course need a formal handbag to go with. Check out my picks for evening clutches (some of these are also in multiple colors!):

If you’re not a fan of clutches, there are other handbag styles available like wristlets, cross-body bags, and shoulder bags.

The site is well-organized, and you can easily search for dresses by color, seasons, embellishments, and more. There are similar search options available for the handbags and other accessories. They have headpieces, veils, shoes, and even fancy umbrellas and parasols!

JenJenHouse has weekly sales as well as a section that features dresses under $100. The sales aren’t just for dresses. Find deals on wedding or party favors, accessories, and more.

Whether you’re shopping for a wedding, a prom, or looking for the perfect little black dress, check out JenJenHouse to see the hundreds of styles they have to offer.

Each dress is made to order. Whether you choose a standard size or submit your custom measurements, your dress will be tailored after you order. When you order, take into account tailoring, processing, and shipping time. Fortunately, JenJenHouse has a guide to explain how it all works. They’ll even ship internationally!

Which dress or bag is your favorite? What do you like from JenJenHouse?

Note: I was compensated for writing this post.

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Review: Handmade, Upcycled “Grace scarf” by Rethreaded

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it’s difficult to ascertain exact statistics of how many people are trafficked every year. The office states a “conservative” estimate would be 2.5 million victims at any given time. Human trafficking affects every area of the world. Horrifyingly, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry for criminals.

The overwhelming amount of those trafficked are women, but statistics show men, boys, and girls are also trafficked. Although some of these victims will be forced into manual labor, the majority will end up in the sex trade.

Rethreaded is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help those affected and exploited by the sex trade, whether that’s trafficking, pornography, strip clubs, or prostitution. Based out of Jacksonville, Fla., Rethreaded helps local women through a four-month holistic training program. The training gives women (some of whom have trouble finding employment due to felony records) the chance to earn a living wage while becoming artisan seamstresses. The women at Rethreaded “upcycle” donated t-shirts into items like scarves and skirts. On a global scale, Rethreaded distributes products from around the world made by women affected by the sex trade.

The folks at Rethreaded sent me one of their beautiful Grace scarves to review. This scarf is the Original Grace Scarf in pink. When a woman enters the Rethreaded family, the Grace scarf is the first product she makes. The scarf is upcycled from a t-shirt. Each cut strip stretches into curled strands, that are then tied together. To the Rethreaded family, the scarf symbolizes grace.

“Only when we are able to give and receive grace are we able to come together as one team to make something beautiful.” -From Rethreaded.com

The scarf is comfortable and versatile. I can wear it in different ways and with both casual and dressier clothes. I love the concept behind Rethreaded. Not only are you giving money to help victims, but the scarf (or whatever item you purchase) can be a great conversation piece. I can use my scarf to open a dialogue with others about human trafficking and what they can do to help.

If you live in the Jacksonville area, you can visit the Rethreaded warehouse to shop. For the rest of us, you can shop online at Rethreaded.com, as well as learn how you can help. Click HERE to view Rethreaded’s partner organizations. (There are some gorgeous handmade products from around the world: bags, jewelry, coin purses, scarves, stationery, etc.)

Which item from Rethreaded or one of its partners would you love to own?

Note: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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