amandafrances.com exsists because I desired a space to show the world what I love. Between the many moves I’ve made around the country, I’ve learned what it’s like to create things you really love and have no one to recognize their importance to you: especially in the area of personal style. I haven’t always immediately found friends who consider fashion a creative outlet. Without any encouragement or validation from those with similar interests, the creativity you put into your personal style can start to lose meaning.
With this in mind, imagine my excitement when I first discovered Coast to Coast Challenge. A place for girls to try new trends, show what they are wearing, and have other girls share in their excitement. There are many apps and social media outlets that attempt to do this, but they all seem to focus on money, labels and exclusivity. Coast to Coast Challenge has a completely different energy about it. The intention to connect and inspire can literally be felt as you scroll the the Instagram feed marked #coasttocoastchallenge. Although we all lived and went to college in the same city at one point, I had managed to never meet the gems behind it. I quickly became so obsessed with what they were doing that I just had to ask for an interview.
*I hope you enjoy*
My Interview with the Ladies behind the #coasttocoastchallenge
On a random Wednesday in August Lauren Palomares sent her best friend Lindsey Clark a text with a picture of the new hair style she had tried, the crown-braid. Lindsey, wanting to try it herself, did the same. Both girls uploaded their photos to Instagram. The next day they decided to take on a different challenging look. When Lindsey posted her photo to Instagram that day she casually marked this photo #coasttocoastchallenge.
Little did they know that a within the next 11 weeks girls (and a few daring guys) from 21 different countries would upload over three thousand photos using the hashtag #coasttocoastchallenge.
These two best friends,who had worked together in the midwest, had moved to opposite coasts. When the girls, who affectionately call each other Lin and Lou, moved – Lindsey back home to San Diego and Lauren to Orlando with her husband – they were connecting on various social media outlets throughout their days. The original picture was simply a girl showing her best friend something new and fun she had tried. The evolution was organic. By the end of the week, 6 or 7 girls back in Tulsa wanted to join – so Lindsey and Lauren began sending group-texts with the next challenge. The numbers grew so quickly from there that it soon became impossible to text the challenge out to everyone wanting to join. They began to post an image on Instagram showing the challenge with the simple text, “Join Us” to spread the word.
They credit the quick growth of Coast to Coast Challenge with their willingness to be inclusive and their consistency. “That’s something we learned working together at Go International in Tulsa. Inclusivity and consistency,” Lauren said. Every single Monday and Wednesday a new challenge hits Instagram and their WordPress blog to be tried the next day.
Which has been exciting to many. No matter what is going on in one’s life, those participating are guaranteed a fun challenge to partake in with girls around the world twice weekly.
As shining your light and spreading your love ALWAYS causes people to do the same, many are feeling the inspiration.
“A couple weeks back I received a message from a girl who had been watching Coast to Coast Challenge play out on Instagram,” Lindsey stated, “She stated that she was inspired by the Coast to Coast Challenge blog. She said that it’s been on her heart for a couple years to start an outreach organization, but has never done it. Seeing Coast to Coast Challenge and the blog – gave her the confidence to finally do the things that she had in her heart.”
Lauren described another inspired woman, “One of my favorite stories is of a mom who wrote that the challenge was helping her to be excited to get ready every morning. She said that it was helping her try out new trends with confidence from all the ladies who comment on her pics and let her know how beautiful she looks. It’s something she looks forward to every Tuesday and Thursday- just like we do!”
Though the function of the challenges is to try new trends and reinvent your wardrobe, the loving intention behind it continues to emerge.
“We all need a boost of confidence when trying out new things, and that’s what C2C is for. Not only does it inspire, but it helps us connect with other amazing girls we might never have come in contact with,” Lauren said, “We love empowering women to take risks in fashion, and then uplifting them once they do. Every girl likes to hear they look beautiful, and the Coast to Coast Challenge is an organic way for girls to genuinely speak into one another’s lives. It also connects them with other people doing the same things across the globe. We may all have different interests with different zip codes, but fashion is something that we all share. We love to hear stories of people making new friends and even meeting up for coffee when they realize they live in the same area and are both connected by Coast to Coast.”
Lindsey adds, “Coast to Coast Challenge has become a community. The culture is warm, inviting, encouraging, and non-competitive. It seems like in our society today, everyone is in competition with each other. Women especially are guilty of this- always comparing themselves to one another. C2C has eliminated the competition between women and instead it allows women to inspire and be inspired. We have this false idea that making things exclusive makes things better. If that was our mindset C2C would not exist. I’ve always been an inclusive person, but coast to coast has taught me to always welcome people with open arms when they want to join. If Lou and I had chosen to be exclusive about our little tradition, it would be just us two. We wouldn’t be making an impact or giving ladies the opportunity to inspire each other.”
I can vouch that this connection is happening.
On the blog, which is an extension of what began on Instagram, the girls merge their talents to spread the love further. One can find more than just the Tuesday/Thursday challenge, but interviews, fashion finds, and tips through out the week. They also regularly post pics of those who participated in the C2C Challenge. There seems to be a continual flow of inspiration and creativity coming through all these girls do.
“Our minds are always spinning with ideas,” said Lindsey. “There’s never a lack of ideas- it’s just deciding which ones to carry out!”
With their heart to inspire, create, serve, and spread more love through all they do, the possibilities seem quite endless.
“We never see anything as impossible,” Lindsey said. “Lou and I are always dreaming up possibilities- we never see anything as impossible. If we can dream, it we believe that it can happen.”
You can find Lin and Lou at
To read my Instagram how-to click below: