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becki Utley - 1Style is more than the way a woman looks or the clothes she wears.  It’s more than the way she carries herself.  It’s about who she is.  A couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to sit down with Becki Utley, and extraordinary woman.  She’s got style.

I found Becki almost by accident. Her Facebook Page popped up by some algorithm in the system. What a great idea, I thought.  People post “ISO” (in search of) what they need, and others post what they have to give away.

It all started when Utley needed things to help a friend. She tried Freecycle, but items got snatched up so fast, it seemed pointless to Becki. She decided to take matters into her own hands, so she started a Facebook page. Now she and Renée administer their Page together.

Becki began “rehoming” her baby clothes and furniture when she decided four children were enough for her. That was a little over two years ago; when she still lived in the affordable housing.  Now, she and her friend, Renée average 30 to 40 hours a week picking up, sorting, washing, and distributing clothes, furniture, and supplies to those in need. Renée has five children. The women also provide resource referrals for people who need assistance.

They have one rule:  Nothing gets re-sold. It’s all free.

Last week I attended the Writing Chicago conference.  I had a crazy busy week last week for many reason.  It was the end of the month.  I faced both newspaper deadlines and I had to get everything done two days in advance, so I could be in the moment at the conference, with no interfering brain waves or competing agendas.  I’m also preparing for a flute duet at a local music festival. It’s just a little thing, but I want to do well.  As [tweetthis]Loved-One likes to point out, “You’re not happy unless you have one more thing to do.” [/tweetthis] (I’d beg to differ, but it is all in my control, now isn’t it?)

So, I trusted everything would work out.  It did. In an unexpected way. Being here NOW has it’s ups and downs.


I mapped out my route to Writing Chicago on the Metra.  It would take me as long on the train as by car, if I had smooth sailing through traffic.  That’s a no-brainer.  It’s Construction Season. I’d be traveling during rush-hour.  Metra is by far my best bet. Transfer at Oglivy Station, take the northbound to Evanston.  I’ll easily get my 10,000 steps in to meet my FitBit goal. Plus, lots of time to read, while I’m on the train.