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thefabulousgiver

Wedding Favors with a Purpose

Living & Giving

Getting hitched?

Instead of the traditional wedding favors (i.e., chocolates, matches, a mix CD), many couples are making charitable donations in their guests’ name. You can simply contact your preferred organization to work something out. Some charities will even provide you with donation cards or reception table tents to give your guests, like the American Diabetes Association.

Or you can do a simple Google search to find examples of beautiful favor cards to provide your guests.

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I found these great donation cards over at Favors by Serendipidity . I’m a big fan of the pink organza envelopes!

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This classic black and white design, found in a Zazzle shop, also caught my eye!

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I like the rounded edges and ribbon detail of these donation cards from IDoTakeTwo.com!

Looking for other ideas?

  • Visit the I Do Foundation, an organization all about incorporating a “charitable focus into life celebrations.”
  • The Knot also has stories of four couples who added a charitable theme to their nuptials.
  • Here’s a great DIY wedding favor donation card over at Intimate Weddings.

I think this is such a great idea! Honestly, I can’t remember half the little favors that I’ve gotten at weddings. Yes, I know that’s not what my married friends want to hear, but it’s the truth. I know some of you future brides really want your guests to have a “Nick and Michelle Forever” keychain, but I think it makes more sense to give those $3-$5 dollars to a charity. Please quote me on that!

-kb

Turn Your Living Space Into A Giving Space

Living & Giving

Living Space to a Giving Space-3

Everyday, we stumble into the world to work, play, eat, and everything in between. But, no matter how much fun we have in the streets, there’s really is no place like home (Thank you, Dorothy). On most days, there is no place that I’d rather be than my house. Yesterday, I was sitting around trying to think of little habits that I could introduce in order to make my household a giving household. And, to my great surprise, I created a list of 9 small yet effective ways that you (and I) can “turn our living space into a giving space.”

1. Place a piggy bank in your front hall or on your bedroom dresser and empty your loose change on a daily basis. At the end of the month, donate the funds to your favorite charity. This bank (right) even has a slot for your “charity change.”

Money Savvy Pig, $16.99

Money Savvy Pig, $16.99

2. Give back to the environment. Throw those water/wine bottles and pop cans in a bag, and recycle when it’s full.

3. Whenever you purchase a new item of clothing, automatically select something in your closet to give away. Put the items to the side and donate on a monthly basis or at the start of a new season.

4. Decorate your home with items that benefit a great cause, like the beautiful pillow below found on BuildANest.com. NEST provides micro-loans to female artists in developing countries, sells their crafts in the US, and recycles the money back.

Lotus Blossom EcoArt Pillow, $68

Lotus Blossom EcoArt Pillow, $68

5. The lotion that you never opened? The makeup samples still in the package? Gather those things and give to a local women’s shelter. You’d be surprised how new perfume or lipstick can help lift spirits of women going through difficult times.

6. Next time that you host a get-together, ask your guests to bring a canned good. Then, take the items to a food bank in your area.

7. Give back to yourself by placing motivational quotes around your house. One of my favorites:  “Everything you can imagine is real.” – Kimora Lee Simmons

8. Incorporate awards, “Thank You” letters, and other “gifts” from charities into the decor of your home. Last year, a 5-year old sweetheart made me a card complete with a heart, glitter, and my name. That beautiful piece proudly hangs on my fridge. It always makes me smile and reminds me of our fun time together!

9. Like fresh flowers, fruits, and veggies? Purchase your goods from a community garden or co-op. Your patronage will not only help to support the garden, but also any other programs/services provided.

If you have any ideas to add, drop them in the comments box! I’d love to know what you guys are doing!

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VIDEO: Giving Back To Yourself

Fab Gab, Living & Giving

In today’s “Fab Gab,” I’m talking to you guys about the importance of giving back to yourselves! It’s honestly just as important as givng to others. You need to make sure that you’re taking the time to enrich and enhance your life. We only have one life… Make the best of it! The idea of today’s topic came to me while reading “Fabulousity” by Kimora Lee Simmons.

Check out my thoughts by watching the video below! Oh, and I think I coined the term “circle of giving.” Unless someone is already using it…

Have a great weekend, everyone! Talk to you all on Monday 🙂

3 Tips When Donating Items To Charity

Living & Giving

You know the routine. You look up one day and decide that you have too much stuff in your home and something must go! Maybe you’ll try and give the items away to family and friends. OR you may decide just to donate it.

While you may think that thrift stores and consignment shops should just take whatever you give them, I’m here to warn you that is NOT the case.

Here are three super simple tips for donating to charity thrift stores:

Check the store’s website to see what they can and cannot accept.

You’d be surprised at some of the things that can’t be donated. I once tried to give away plastic hangers and college textbooks and was denied! I couldn’t believe it. So, the hangers are still clogging the closet and the books are in a box until I find a good home for them.

Check to make sure that clothes aren’t dirty, ripped, or soiled.

When the staff is sorting through the clothes, any damaged (or smelly) clothes are thrown out because they don’t have the resources to wash or repair each item. Remember, the goal is to get the goods immediately on the sales floor and make some moolah!

Make sure that you get a receipt for the value of the items.

Yes, of course, most of us donate out of the kindness of our hearts, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of the tax benefits. When you donate items to a thrift store run by a charitable 501(c)3 organization, you can deduct the “fair market value” of the items when you prepare your taxes. “Fair market value” essentially means that you estimate the value of that item today. So, don’t list your 2000 Gap blouse with the missing button at the price you paid, especially since we all know it’s not worth that anymore! For more guidance, ask your accountant or visit irs.gov!

Okay, so you’ve given your stuff away and are probably wondering what to do with the unacceptables. Well, my suggestion is to look around for nonprofits or shelters that take items in and give them away, not sell them. And, if that doesn’t work, then just take them to the trash. I ended up giving my chipped table to the junk man. Hey, sometimes it happens…As long as you tried to donate, that’s all that counts in my opinion!


Look Good…Feel Better Turns 20!

Beauty & Style, Cancer, TFG Spotlight

Look Good…Feel Better (LGFB) started in 1989 when a physician “prescribed” a makeover for a cancer patient who experienced depression related to her change in appearance. Twenty years later, the organization has helped many women offset appearance-related changes from cancer treatment through makeovers and one-on-one beauty sessions.

While treatments such as chemotherapy are an essential part of fighting cancer, no one denies that it can and will change your appearance. And, of course, outer beauty isn’t everything, but things like the loss of hair or skin changes definitely have some effect on the way some women see themselves. And, studies have found that addressing the non-medical effects of cancer can be just as important as addressing the actual physical symptoms.

The cornerstone LGFB small group program is offered in all 50 states and DC. There are also international LGFB programs as well! The show doesn’t stop there. In select cities, individuals can also participate in bilingual (Spanish) or teen programs.

Participants spend two hours in a hands-on workshop that includes a 12-step skin care/make-up application lesson, demonstration of options for dealing with hair loss, and nail care techniques. Additionally, the ladies receive advice on wigs and scarves, along with free cosmetics kits! Each year, More than 50,000 individuals participate in the program. That’s a whole lot of beauty for a great cause.

look good feel better cancer beauty treatments

There are three main organizations which serve as a partners in making all of this happen. There’s the Personal Care Products Council, the nation’s cosmetic industry leaders; the American Cancer Society; and the National Cosmetology Association, which encourages member cosmetologists to volunteer their services. Each year, cosmetic companies, such as Mary Kay, Elizabeth Arden, and Benefit, donate over one million individual products (valued at $10 million) and raise more than $2 million for LGFB.

To celebrate their partnership with LGFB, OPI has designated a portion of the proceeds from the sale of its Bubble Bath Nail Lacquer in July and August to benefit the organization with a minimum $25,000 commitment.

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OPI Bubble Bath Nail Lacquer

LGFB is always looking for volunteers. Whether you’re a licensed cosmetologist or just looking to do more general service, there is an opportunity for you. I could probably go on and on about all the great things that Look Good…Feel Better is doing across the country, but I’ll let you explore it for yourself! If you head on over to www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org, you will find studies, videos, photos, beauty tips, and MUCH more!

You can also follow LGFB on Twitter at twitter.com/lgfb! Happy 20th birthday to such a great cause!

Bobbi Brown Discusses Giving Back

Beauty & Style

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Entrepreneur and beauty maven, Bobbi Brown, is involved in many charitable causes, including Dress for Success. She recently chatted with Forbes.com to discuss how she balances her career with giving back, and why it’s important for women to make a difference.

Here’s an excerpt:

Why did you want to get involved?

Just look at what I do for a living and who I am as a person. I can help a woman take care of herself and help her to get a job. Keeping her looking and feeling confident is what I’m all about.

I heard the stories of the women who were involved with the Dress for Success program and how it was really able to help. I saw that I could make a difference.

What do you say to women who claim they simply don’t have the time, energy or money to give back to their community?

I don’t believe in excuses. I believe in choices. It doesn’t matter what you do. Just do it.

You can read the entire interview on Forbes.com.

KB's Journey: Meetup Success!

HIV/AIDS, KB's Journey

Hey, folks! How was your weekend???

I had a BLAST here in Chicago. The weather is finally heating up, and there are so many events to attend 🙂

On Saturday, The Red Pump Project hosted a meetup/fundraiser at the lovely Three Peas Art Lounge. The event was designed to raise funds for the Chicago Women’s AIDS Project AND welcome the beautiful Afrobella to Chicago. Let me just tell you all that we had a ball mixing and mingling for a great cause.

Afrobella and KB

Afrobella and KB

It was great meeting so many bloggers in town for Blogging While Brown, talking to CWAP board members/staff, and telling folks about The Red Pump Project. We were pretty amazed when Rev. Rae Lewis-Thornton, renowned AIDS activist, stopped by our event and chatted with our guests. Our raffle winners walked away with some great gifts, including condom cases from Just In Case, Inc, a delicious chocolate mousse cake (donated by a bakery), some great jewelry, and an AKIRA gift certificate. Yay!

At the end of the night, we’d raised over $500 for CWAP, and emptied an undocumented number of wine bottles. 🙂 Thanks to the 50+ people who escaped the heat for an evening of cool conversation and cold drinks! We had FUN!

I didn’t take that many pics personally, but I threw in a few below!

CIMG0833 Luvvie, along with CWAP staff

CIMG0848 Blogging beauties!

CIMG0839 Crowd shot!

-kb

Goodwill (Dress) Hunting

KB's Journey, Living & Giving

This weekend, my sister and I drove down to Alton, IL to watch our aunt and uncle renew their vows in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary. The ceremony was beautiful and we had a great time getting reacquainted with our mother’s hometown. Yesterday, we decided to do some exploring and check out some of the shops.

Across the street from our hotel was a Goodwill store. While we went in there just to look around and possibly shop, we ended up falling in love with one particular section of the store…The wedding gowns! Did you know that you could find wedding dresses at Goodwill? We didn’t!

wedding dresses at goodwillI don’t know if it was the nuptial theme of the weekend, but we spent more time fawning and feigning over those gowns than anything else in the store! When many women dream of walking down the aisle, they never think of walking down the aisle in a stranger’s dress! But, with times the way that they are, and the growing recycle/reuse movement, there is a growing number of women who have no issue purchasing a second-hand gown.

The first thing we noticed in the section was that some of the gowns in the store were very dated. There were definitely some poofy sleeves and crazy necklines. The second thing we noticed, and the most important thing, were the amazing trains and beading on a few of those gowns. So intricately designed…and at such GREAT bargains! Of course, any one who purchased a gown would need to have it worked on (i.e., altering, cleaning, etc). That is with the exception of one gown…

There was a gorgeous Cinderella dress that was my size and absolutely beautiful. I tried it on and was borderline obsessed with it. My sister almost bought it for me! It would have definitely been my reception gown.

wedding dresses at goodwill

Here are some more pics from our excursion:

CIMG0817             Another Gown

We didn’t buy any wedding gowns, but at the end of the day, my sister snagged four dresses (including the silk Banana Republic dress below), two wrap sweaters, and a pair of sunglasses for about $34.

All purchases at Goodwill stores benefit the job training and other programs supported by Goodwill Industries. You can find your nearest Goodwill store by visiting www.goodwill.org!

To TOMS or Not to TOMS?

Beauty & Style, Charitable Companies

I love TOMS’ commitment to donating one pair of shoes to children for every pair sold, BUT I’ve struggled with buying TOMS because of the style options. For the most part, the ultra-casual slip on has not managed to impress me. When I gathered opinions from my Twitter peeps, the majority of the responses centered around “great cause, not-so-great style.” Nooo.

What’s a girl to do? Well, enter my friend, DG. I hung out with her yesterday and noticed that she owns the glittery TOMS in silver and gold. So, of course, I had the this same conversation with her, only to find out that she’s low-key obsessed with the shoes! She owns four pairs, bought a pair for her son, AND a pair for her brother. So, in honor of DG, I am re-examining the TOMS collection and digging up a couple of pairs that I would be interested in. You know, for the ultra-casual days!

Of course, there are the sparkly options:

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Gold Glitter TOMS, $48

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Silver Glitter TOMS, $48

And, a couple of ones perfect for the spring/summer time.

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Egg Yellow Stripe TOMS, $44

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Gabe Lacktman TOMS Neon Aqua Fade Womens, $68 (web exclusive)

DG made me a believer as she talked about how the shoes give her a comfy break from the 4 and 5 inch heels that she loves to wear. I think I’m starting to drink the Koolaid because while writing this post, I’ve wholeheartedly convinced myself that I need the neon aqua fade TOMS in my life immediately!

For those of you all who still don’t believe that the company donates a pair of shoes to children for every one sold, BELIEVE IT! Since 2006, they’ve donated 140,000 shoes to children around the world, and this year, their goal is to distribute 300,000 shoes! It’s hard to argue with numbers like those. You can read all about their commitment here. They also have tons of videos from their “shoe drops” on their YouTube channel.

You can either buy the shoes online at tomsshoes.com or at a boutique/retailer near you. For my Chicago peeps, the AKIRA women’s shoe store (North Avenue) carries them!

So, are you all thinking of buying TOMS now? I’ve always loved the cause and now that I’ve found some nice styles, I’m sold! All thanks to DG 🙂

Happy Birthday, TFG!!!

KB's Journey

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OMG…I’m such a bad blog mommy! The Fabulous Giver officially was “born” one year ago on May 13th! I’m so happy that I’ve been able to share these events and my journey with you guys! I’m very grateful for each of you who takes the time to read my blog, retweet an entry, or tell your friends to check me out! 

Seriously, you all keep me working and trying to build my vision. I plan on really turning things up a notch in this new year. So, be on the lookout for a site redesign, interviews with some AMAZING individuals, events, vlogs, and MORE! 

Again, THANK YOU for all of your support and please continue to spread the word about The Fabulous Giver!

-kb