Archive of ‘Living & Giving’ category

Prioritizing Self-Care in the Summer

Summer Sunglasses at the Beach

With summer brings endless invitations to cookouts, festivals, weddings, happy hours, and more. That’s not to mention your own personal plans to take the kids on field trips, complete projects around the house, and whatever other plans are on your agenda. Even though summer is the perfect time to slow down, it can be so hard to actually do that because who wants to waste a beautiful sunny day?

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How to Build Your Tribe of Creative Women Who Do Good

Yellow Collective Empowerment Box
Photo: Yellow

Last year, a friend introduced me to the Yellow Conference, an event for creative women who want to do good. Both inspired and intrigued, I logged on to their site and the rest has been history. I haven’t been able to make it to the conference yet but I get to enjoy the next best thing: membership with the Yellow Collective community.

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Donating Baby Clothes in Chicago

Motherhood has taught me many lessons. Among them is the fact that kids will outgrow clothes in the blink of an eye. I count it a true blessing that Caleb has more clothes than he needs and doesn’t want for a thing (besides this shirt). When he can no longer wear something, I decide if I want to save it or donate it.

When I have adult clothes to give away, I usually take them to the Goodwill. However, I feel differently about baby clothes. If a mom needs baby items, I want to make sure that she can find them for free.

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How One Bra Is Helping Restore my Body Confidence

ThirdLove 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra

Last week, I was showered with love and fuzzy feelings as I celebrated my second Mother’s Day. Motherhood has brought me so many incredible moments but I have to admit that I am still struggling with some of the physical aftereffects of carrying Caleb.

Thanks to Whole 30, I’m below my pre-baby weight, however parts of my body just aren’t the same as before. One of the biggest insecurities had to do my how poorly my bras fit post-baby. After breastfeeding, my girls just weren’t themselves anymore.

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6 TED Talks to Help You Change the World

I love a good TED Talk. Whether it’s checking them out on the website or catching snippets during the TED Radio Hour on NPR, I look to these engaging videos to inspire me, educate me on a new topic, and introduce me to new perspectives from some of the smartest folks on the planet.

Whether you volunteer at a community center or are leading a non-profit organization, it’s important that we stay motivated and reminded of the beauty that comes along with making a difference. As such, I’ve rounded up 6 inspirational TED Talks to give us the right amount of motivation as we pursue purposeful living and seek to change the world.

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Monday Motivation: Sticking with a Gym Routine

Taking a run outside is an easy way to get your heart going!

About three months ago, I walked into the fitness center at work, reactivated my membership, and started on a journey to a stronger and more confident me. Over the past few months, I’ve seen awesome weeks where I have gotten in five workouts and then I’ve had not-so-great weeks where I’ve clocked zero sweat sessions.

However, I never stopped. When I went in for my 90 day check-in last week, I was super happy to see that I was making progress. My body fat has dropped by seven percentage points and I lost fat and gained muscle. The overall number on the scale hasn’t changed but I’m stronger, getting leaner, and my capacity for cardio is getting better.

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Leave These Three Things Out of Your Donation Pile

Donate

Everywhere I turn, it feels like there are just piles of stuff in my house. It has always been this way but the addition of baby items has just added to the collection. These piles aren’t unruly but I could stand to create a more organized home. In fact, that was one of the goals that I spelled out on my Powersheets. Over the weekend, I started with the room that I can’t keep organized to save my life: my closet.

My go-to method for clearing the clutter has always been to create three piles for the stuff: keep, donate, or trash. In the past, my “donate” pile has always been bigger than my “trash” pile because I have this thing about throwing away clothes. It has never felt right unless the item was totally destroyed. So that means that I have donated some things that weren’t in mint condition. It’s not something that I have done often, but I’m all about doing better as I get older.

This time around, I made sure to keep these things out of the donation baskets.

Any old college/event/freebie t-shirts – I should be ashamed of the number of t-shirts in my drawers. However, I know that I’m not the only one. Over the years, these have often been the first to go during a wardrobe purge. However, I skipped putting these in the donation pile for now and just trashed them. If you prefer to go a more eco-friendly route, you could always make a t-shirt quilt or use them as rags.

Shoes in less than ideal condition – “Less than ideal” means having damaged heels, worn leather, or stained suede. I’m not going to trash these shoes but decided that I would do my best to get them in better shape before donating. We all know that shoes can make or break an outfit so I want the recipients to feel that magic as soon as they receive a pair from me.

Clothes from the previous season – I’ve always been one to purge my wardrobe at the end of a season which means that I’m donating summer dresses while everyone is preparing for another Chicago winter. Given that most charity thrift stores and shelters have limited storage spaces, many of these locations do not accept items out-of-season. An easy solve for this will be to go through my closets at the beginning of winter or summer so I know that the clothes will be of use at that moment.

Do you have any donation tips that you want to share?

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It’s All About the Lemonade, Baby

When someone brings up the word “lemonade” now, Queen Bey comes to mind. But, long before her album was released, a young girl named Alex started a lemonade stand to help raise money for childhood cancer research. In 2004, Alex passed away after her own battle with cancer, but left behind a legacy and an organization that is doing incredible work for this cause.

GapKids and babyGap have collaborated with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to create a line of tees that give back. When you buy one of these supercute onesies or t-shirt, 100% of the profits will go to the nonprofit.

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Why don’t they have these shirts in my size? Hey Gap, can you make this happen? I’ll be waiting patiently…

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Give This: Mama’s Morning Survival Kit

 

One of the things that has made my transition back to work easier is the support of a couple of friends who are in the same boat. Their babies are a few months older than Caleb and so they have been great about warning me what’s next (hello, sleep regression), celebrating small victories with me, and making me laugh with their tales of working motherhood.

While tackling a pretty demanding week recently, I decided that I wanted to send these ladies a little something to let them know how much I appreciate them. This care package is pretty simple but full of three things that working moms love and need.

  1. Words of encouragement
  2. An eye or face mask
  3. COFFEE… Well, a gift card for coffee

Oh yeah, there’s confetti too.

The best thing about this idea is that it is budget-friendly, cute, and personal. If you know anyone who is tackling long nights and early mornings, send this as a reminder that you are thinking of them and help make their day!

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