Archive of ‘Living & Giving’ category

10 Ways to Do Good with Your Boo

A couple that gives back together stays together. While that may not be 100% true, there is something great to be said about couples who share mutual interests and activities. Giving back has a positive effect on us individually, so I imagine that doing good with your boo must double the benefits.

I’m not ashamed to admit that my husband and I haven’t had a date night in several months. However, that is something that I hope we turn around soon. While thinking of some outings for us, I started thinking of a few that have a charitable twist. If you are looking for some different date night ideas, I hope this list gives you some inspiration.

Date Night Ideas

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15 Valentine’s Day Gifts Under $50

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Ah, Saturday. A day made for brunch, naps, and some (online) shopping. If Valentine’s Day is your jam and you are still shopping for gifts, let me help you out. I’ve rounded up 15 fab gifts under $50 to help you spread the love to the special peeps in your life.

Happy shopping!

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{Giveaway} Faith, Hope, and Love Prints

Happy Friday! Sorry that this post is getting up pretty late in the day, but Caleb just wouldn’t let me be great. Now that he has simmered down a bit, I felt like this was a good time to whip out my laptop.

In Tuesday’s post, I talked about why I love visual reminders to help me keep the faith when life gets challenging. I’ve never been big on prints and that was mainly because I didn’t get the point of them.

“So, I just frame paper?” Hmm.

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These Beautiful Pillows Bring The Love Home

One of my goals this year is to do more to make my home feel more loved, lived in, and organized. So, I’ve been on a quest to find items that can help give a more personal touch. I’ve been finding that Instagram has been a great resource during this search. In fact, that how I was introduced to the beautiful calligraphic designs at Parris Chic Boutique.

What I loved about the items is that many of the pieces combined scriptures and positive messages with key household decor items, like these hand-crafted pillows. In fact, I’ve rounded up six of my favorite love-focused designs to share with you.

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Caleb’s Charitable Birth Announcements

I used to hate getting my mail. It always seemed like nothing but endless bills, junk mail, and random offers. Recently though, wedding invitations, thank you cards, and birth announcements have started to break up the clutter of blah being delivered by my mail lady. I love receiving these little bits of sunshine and have tried to step up my correspondence game. So, before Caleb arrived, I already knew what kind of birth announcements that I wanted to mail out.

Many of my friends and colleagues have used Tiny Prints for their cards, so I snagged a credit for the site on Zulily and got to shopping. I had no idea that when I was ordering Caleb’s birth announcements that I would be helping children in need. However, that is exactly what happened when I selected these cute cards from Tiny Prints for our friends and family.

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Tiny Prints has a collection of birth announcements and stationery that helps to support the work being done by Baby2Baby, a non-profit organization that provides low-income children, ages zero to 12, with diapers, clothing and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. While I didn’t intentionally select this particular design for that reason, it serves as an added bonus.

I am so grateful that our family was both blessed with items that we needed and also in a financial position to buy anything that we didn’t get as gifts. I can’t imagine the stress and worry that many parents face when it comes to preparing for a new baby. Organizations like Baby2Baby serve a very important role and deserve all of the support that they can get. To learn more about the work they are doing, visit their website baby2baby.org.

Learn more about Tiny Prints partnership and check out all of the items in their charitable collection here.

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When Spring Doesn’t Get the Memo

This morning, I woke up to a snow-covered balcony and plenty of flurries falling from the sky. *checks calendar* Yep, it’s March 23rd, but it’s also March 23rd in Chicago. As such, spring’s true arrival seems to be a bit fluid and totally up to Mother Nature. So, while I’ve been shifting my wardrobe to brighter colors and neutral heels, winter has not-so-politely asked me to pump my brakes.

Sigh.

In an effort to not be so bummed (or pissed) about this, I’ve decided to think about five things that I can do to keep my sanity during this transition period between winter and spring.

1. Load up on hot cocoa. Ever trying to wean myself from coffee, hot chocolate has become my go-to drink when I need to warm up and treat myself at the same time. The Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate Mix ($10.50) from Lake Champlain Chocolates is sure to make you feel warm on the inside while also supporting fair trade. Anyone else a fan of spicy chocolate treats? I’ll talk about my obsession with cocoa chili powder another day.

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Warmer days (and drinks) in Miami

2. Invest in an incredible throw. Curling up on the couch with a cozy throw is one of my favorite things to do. In fact, it’s basically a must-do on Sundays. While perusing Instagram the other day, I stumbled across some beautiful alpaca wool throws made by Sackcloth & Ashes ($99-$109). For each blanket that you purchase, they will provide one to your local homeless shelter.

3. Brighten my space with some beautiful blooms. I’ve been on a hunt for tulips and peonies to brighten the mood in my apartment. I’ve also been lusting after this bouquet from Flowers for Dreams, a Chicago company that makes a donation to local charity with each order. Pretty, right?

Medium Spring Bouquet, $55

Medium Spring Bouquet, $55

4. Flip off the frigid temps with a brightly-colored mani. After a season of “Lincoln Park After Dark” and similar shades, my digits are ready for lighter colors. I chose a stone gray polish over the weekend, but I’m eyeing something a little more fun like this yellow from Pear Nova for my next trip. If the sun won’t come to me, I’ll create my own sunshine.

"Heavy Meadow" by Pear Nova, $11.50

“Heavy Meadow” by Pear Nova, $11.50

5. Spread some warmth with cold weather supplies. If you still need to break out your gloves, hats, and thick socks, then you know that those without homes/living on the streets still need those items as well. Reach out to your local shelter or community housing group to donate any cold weather items that you can.

What’s it like in your neck of the woods today? If it’s still cold and snowy, how are you coping with this transition period? Any additional tips to share?

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Being “On Purpose” with Kate Spade

I’m not sure when it happened but I am slowly morphing into a Kate Spade accessory junkie. From the wedding shoes that I never wore to the my favorite leather sneakers or the office supplies slowly taking over my desk, I am a little gaga for KS accessories.

That’s why I was pretty excited to find out about the “On Purpose” line of items from Kate Spade and Saturday. Before you roll your eyes, I know that these products have been available for months. I just don’t get around to blogging that much, in case you haven’t noticed! Anyways, I was reintroduced to the collection last month when this adorable clutch was being shelled for Valentine’s Day.

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While I could have planned a couple of outfits around this cute clutch, my February budget wasn’t set up for such a treat. However, I couldn’t let that stop me from grabbing something from the collection. Aside from giving me a dose of cuteness, I really like the fact that these pieces promote trade and entrepreneurship in Rwanda. Did you know that the 150 people who make these pieces are helping to support their local community of 20,000? That’s good in action.

So, which piece am I going to purchase? Well, at this moment, Saturday is taking 40% off of everything (yes, everything) so I’ve decided to buy the yellow beauty below.

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On Purpose Beaded Bracelet, $25

 

I think that it will be perfect for curing my winter blues. Okay, I take that back. I don’t want to put too much pressure on my new bracelet. Let’s just say that it will be a great addition to my wardrobe.

To check out some BTS photos, check out Saturday Pinterest page.
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Gifts That Give Back Under $50

Happy Sunday! We’re in the home stretch now for holiday shopping, especially if you’re planning to purchase items online. In my second gift guide, you will find items that folks ranging from foodies to techies will love. My favorites? The Giving Keys sweatshirt and the LSTN wooden headphones. Check out the roundup below.

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1. This book is what happens when celeb chefs unite for children, $26

2. A must-have item for the resident do-gooder in your crew, $50

3. Of course charity:water designed a cool wooden phone case, $35

4. How about pairing these winter mugs with a hot cocoa kit, $48

5. These six lip colors help support the MAC AIDS Fund, $40

6. Smell good and do good with this perfume from Clinique, $38

7. Give the gift of snuggle with a cute throw, $30

8. A little pop of color in the home is always a good thing, $38

9. These chocolates are almost too pretty to eat (almost), $30

10. Zebra wood headphones make a great gifts for music lovers, $50

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P.S. Looking for charitable gifts under $25? Here you go.

Gifts That Give Back Under $25

Happy Holidays, everyone! With two weeks until Christmas, we are deep into gift-giving season. Every year, I come across gifts that give back, but I’ve never compiled an official gift guide. That ends today (obviously). I’ve compiled three guides designed to meet various budget needs.

First up, gifts under $25.

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1. The cutest moccasins for your favorite little one, $21

2. A little ankara makes this tee perfect, $18

3. Gold leather earrings perfect for a night out, $24

4. This handmade teensy beanie makes a great baby gift, $23

5. Kiehl’s is giving its famous crème the “Norman Rockwell” treatment, $18

6. May your note cards be merry and bright, $12

7. “Build your tomorrow” with a little arm candy, $15

8. Give these cool pencils and support Kenyan children’s education, $10

9. EOS and Nicole by OPI bring you the best stocking stuffer, $10

10. These unique coasters support Haitian artisans, $20

The UNICEF note cards are my favorite for sure. See anything on this list that you like? The next two guides are on their way. Stay tuned!

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Where Has The Passion Planner Been All My Life?

I like to make big plans. In fact, I make so many big plans that I actually have an execution problem. Meaning that, I probably only execute 25% of what I think about. This isn’t the blog post to discuss why that is. However, if you’re interested, you can read my post about my challenge with finishing what I start. Because of this issue, I’ve been trying all types of things to get me from the big idea to the actual “doing.”

I keep a day planner but have found that it doesn’t always help me work backwards from big idea to the little tasks that I need to complete. I keep a notebook for the doodling and idea brainstorms but then get annoyed that there’s nowhere to jot down dates and actionable timelines. I make weekly to-do lists broken down between home, personal, passion, and community but always end up with something falling through the cracks. So, here I am with one day planner, one notebook, one half-checked to-do list, lots of big ideas, and no true (paper-centered) way to keep everything together.

Until…

Last night, one of my Facebook friends shared a link to the Passion Planner project on Kickstarter. From the name alone, I was intrigued. I clicked the link and was led to the brilliant video below.

WHOA. My brain started shouting from the rooftops, “This is IT! You need this!” And, that brain shout was actually followed by a verbal gasp and loud “Oh my God. YES!” To break it down for you, the Passion Planner brands itself as “the life coach that fits in your backpack.” It is essentially a sketchbook, day planner, journal, and inspirational source all in one. For a notebook-loving, day planner-toting, scribbler queen such as myself, this idea is pure gold. I needed in.

Apparently, my reaction was not that uncommon considering that this project has received nearly $300K pledges and over 9,300 backers – including me. Last night, I immediately ordered one for myself and am anxiously awaiting its arrival in January 2015. I’ve never made small plans but I haven’t been to good about executing the large ones. I’m so excited to have this tool in my future world.

In the words of Daniel Burnham, Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.

Amen.

To learn more about the Passion Planner, you can head to the website. If you’re on IG, you might also be interested in their feed. There are lots of great motivational quotes shared on a regular basis (@passionplanner).

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