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2013 Christmas Gifts That Give Back

4 Dec

gift-giving

It’s that time of year again… Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas shopping is in full swing for many as they try to wrap up their holiday shopping. I definitely fall into that category and find myself thinking about my gift list too many times throughout the day while I should be working. If you’re like me, you want to find something special for each person on your list – something that you know they’ll love and appreciate. Over the past few years, I feel like I’ve realized the value of charity more, and of supporting a cause that you feel strongly towards. So this year I’m going to try to incorporate that as much as I can into my Christmas gift giving. And I’d like to encourage you to do the same!

So, how do you give a charitable gift? There’s always the traditional way of making a donation in someone’s name, which is an excellent way to directly support a cause. However, I like to have something wrapped up that my friends and family can open – the best part of gift giving for me is watching their delight while they open it!  I sought out items online that, when purchased, give back to a charitable organization but that are also sparkly enough to light up someone’s face when they receive them. Here are my suggestions for 2013 Christmas gifts that give back.

Sevenly

Sevenly.org has become one of my absolute favorite websites this year and I can’t say enough good things about this company. They are an organization that chooses a different charity each week, sells merchandise to support that cause for seven days, and donate $7 from each purchase to the charity. From child sex trafficking awareness, to ending teen suicide to supporting adoption in children with down syndrome, they support so many worthy causes, and help bring awareness to the growing needs of our world. Sevenly has some pretty awesome inventory, like the most amazing graphic tees, some fab prints, notebooks, jewelry, accessories and baby goods. You should be able to find something for anyone on your list from Sevenly – a cool tee for the guys, some beautiful jewelry or a print for the girls, and a onsie, tee or stuffed animal for the kids! Their current charity is  Operation Christmas Child, and remember to check back every week to see what they’re selling and who they’re supporting next!

(Bonus Facts: Your Sevenly package will arrive in the coolest designed packaging imaginable – they have some serious graphic designers over there. And each purchase comes with a nifty Sevenly sticker, asking the recipient to snap a picture of them in the product and tag themselves on one of Sevenly’s social media sites. How fun!)

Sevenly-tees

Sevenly cause tees

Sevenly-Prints-and-Jewelry

Sevenly charitable gifts including jewelry, bags, and prints.

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Sevenly home decor, note pads, note cards.

Toms

Ok, let’s be honest – everyone loves a good pair of Toms! This is a real easy gift idea. Toms makes groovy shoes for women, men and children, and the best part is their motto: One For One. For every pair of Toms purchased, they donate a pair of shoes to a person in need. So you can walk around in comfort knowing that somewhere in the world there is another pair of shoes on someone’s feet who appreciates it more than you can imagine – all because of you. I recently received the leopard print pair as a gift (best gift ever!) and am currently crushing on the serpentine pattern.

But Toms is no longer just offering shoes; they’ve now added eyewear to their wheelhouse. And with every pair of Toms glasses purchased, you give sight to one person by way of prescription glasses, sight-saving surgeries, and medical treatments. There is also a Marketplace page, where you have access to tons of charitable gifts from organizations benefiting various causes. Jewelry, apparel, ear buds, this page has it all!

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Toms Men’s Classics

Toms-eyewear

Toms Women’s Eyewear

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Toms Marketplace

West Elm

I was recently looking for a birthday gift for one of my dearest friends, and this particular girl (along with her wonderful hubby!) is very involved in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital charity work. So, when I stumbled across the glass bird paperweight on West Elm’s site which benefits St. Jude, it was like serendipity! While on their site I found some other really nice charitable gifts. They have mugs with the designs on them that benefit various charities including ASPCA®Architecture For HumanityOceanaTeach For AmericaDoctors Without Borders, and It Gets Better. Seriously, something for everyone!

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West Elm charitable gifts benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

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West Elm charity mugs benefiting multiple organizations

Some other great sites to check for charitable Christmas gift ideas are Project7, Sephora, Grounds For Change, and Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Do you have any suggestions for charitable gifts? Happy Holidays!

Hiatus Over + Etsy Shop Coming Soon

1 Oct

I’m back from what turned out to be a longer than expected Summer hiatus. I took some time to myself and also started a long overdue project that I’ve been telling myself I’ve needed to launch for quite some time now (why yes, I am a procrastinator, thank you).  For the past few years I have been tossing around the idea of doing something creative, and I think I used blogging as a stepping stone. I finally decided I was ready, and have spent the past few months working on tweaking my graphic design skillz with the intent of opening an Esty shop by the end of the year!

Print

I am sticking with what works for me and going with the name “Good Girl Graphics” with the idea of incorporating my shop into my blog. I’ll continue to do posts on whatever I feel like blabbing about but will throw in some posts on my latest graphic projects, as well.  Good Girl Graphics (GGG) will feature party supplies like invitations, thank you cards, and cupcake toppers, as well as announcements and prints. All items will be sold as digital files to be printed by the customer. My goal is to have my shop open by Christmas.

So what do you think? I am constantly looking for inspiration in the form of party themes for invitation ideas, so if you have any please leave me a comment below! Did your child have a birthday party or go to one that had a cute and popular theme?

Oh and by the way…

Happy October!!

Mama Always Said…

11 May

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day! Tomorrow we celebrate Mom and everything that she has done for us. All our lives she has loved us unconditionally, hugged us tight and made everything better, told us we can do anything we set our minds to, and been there for us through thick and thin. Mom is the person who made us who we are today, and I think a day of celebration is definitely in order for this wonderful woman.

Everyone learned pretty much everything they needed to know from their mother, right? Her words of wisdom have echoed in our heads  when faced with tough decisions throughout our lives, and today I’d like to remind you all of some of those wise words. Don’t forget – Mom knows best!

Audrey Hepburn’s Beauty Tips

8 May

Audrey Hepburn

I received an email from a family member a few weeks ago with a poem that was said to be written by Audrey Hepburn. The poem was so beautiful and captivating that I wanted to share it with you all on my blog. To do so, I did a little digging and found out that it was actually not written by Audrey Hepburn but by writer Sam Levenson. Titled “Time Tested Beauty Tips”, Levenson wrote it for his grandchild, and it just so happened to be one of Audrey’s favorite poems. It is said she read it to her children on her very last Christmas Eve.

Hepburn submitted this poem to a member of the media when asked to share her beauty secrets. Known for her beauty and charm, I think this poem gives us a clear picture of the type of person Audrey Hepburn really was. Please take a few minutes to read it and take to heart what it conveys – that the true beauty and grace of a woman is not seen with the eye, but felt with the heart. It is measured by the good deeds she does for others and by  random acts of kindness. Let’s all strive to be better!

Time Tested Beauty Tips

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived,  reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the  figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Sam Levenson 

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Dove Shows Women We Are More Beautiful Than We Think

24 Apr

Dove Ad

Alright, ladies. I’ve got a bone to pick with y’all. A new advertising campaign from Dove called “Real Beauty Sketches” demonstrates how we often think less of ourselves in terms of natural beauty and self-image than what complete strangers think of us when they first meet us. Have you seen this commercial yet? If not, please take a few minutes to watch it below.

Pretty powerful, right? The sad thing is, I think that all of us can sympathize with the women in this ad because we all feel this way about ourselves in one way or another. Who doesn’t wish there was something they could change about their features, their face or body? And what woman doesn’t have a makeup bag full of synthetic material that will easily cover up any trace of her natural beauty? Whether big or small, we all suffer small self consciousnesses.  I think that just as the women in the commercial were taken aback to find out that complete strangers thought more highly of them then they did of their own selves, this Dove campaign will catch female viewers by surprise in the same way when they realize they are guilty of this, too!

So why do we do this to ourselves? Sure we can take the easy way out and blame it on the media and fashion magazines who have conditioned us to think we all need to look like supermodels to lead happy lives. But that doesn’t fix the problem. I think what we need to do is take a step back from all of our criticism and negativity, and focus on the positive things about ourselves. Make a list of things that you like about your face and body, and once a day when you look in the mirror pick one to focus on. Be thankful for your natural beauty.

And since we are all in this together we should make it a point to tell other women in our lives that they are beautiful.  Compliment them on something specific that they may take for granted about themselves – you never know when someone may need it.  I think you’ll find many women will be surprised and grateful to hear someone compliment them on a specific feature, and it will definitely boost their confidence. And who doesn’t need a confidence boost every now and then?!

All in all, I think Dove was right on with this advertising campaign, and I’d like to thank them for reminding me (and countless other women) of our natural beauty.

Wedding Anniversary Traditions To Try

3 Apr

Wedding Bands

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our six-year wedding anniversary. 6 years! You hear people say “time flies” all the time and don’t really take it to heart, but I can honestly say the past 6 years have flown by in a blur. It’s so easy to fall in to a routine with work and home life that when an anniversary sneaks up on you there isn’t much time (or money) to plan some big extravagant way to celebrate. My hubby and I celebrated this year by just spending the day together, starting with breakfast at our favorite cafe and a romantic dinner at a special place for the two of us. And it was perfect.

However you celebrate your wedding anniversary, below are some very simple, inexpensive things you can do to make the day a little extra special. I love all of these and aside from our tradition of always buying each other something off the traditional or modern wedding gift lists each year, my husband and I have done several of these in the past and plan on doing others in coming years. Hope these ideas inspire you to do something memorable on your big day!

  • Dance to your wedding “first dance” song. Most likely, the song you and your significant other danced to at your wedding is a pretty romantic, meaningful song for the two of you. And every time you hear that song, you think of your wedding. What better way to remember a special wedding moment than to relive that first dance at home, to that exact song?!
  • Toast each other with your wedding champagne flutes.  Chances are you still have those champagne flutes you used on your big day when you shared your first toast as husband and wife. Why not break them out and pop some bubbly? Toast the number of years you two have been happily married, toast to your future, or just toast to the fact that you two haven’t strangled each other yet.
  • Go back to the place where you got engaged. Whether it’s a vacation destination, your special spot, or a romantic restaurant, it’s fun to take a stroll down memory lane on or around your anniversary and reminisce on a very important day for you and your spouse. Especially at the place where it all started. If it’s too hard to go back where you got engaged (like in my case – we can’t just sporadically take a trip to Las Vegas every few years, unfortunately) try going to the place you shared your first date, or recreate the date. Either one would be a romantic way to spend time together.
  • Take a photo holding your framed wedding picture. My best friend told me about this idea (probably something she saw on Pinterest!) and a few years ago when I went to visit them around their anniversary, I took the picture below of them. You probably have a framed wedding photo hanging somewhere in your house, so just grab it and have someone take a picture of the two of you holding it. It’s a great way to capture a “now and then” moment of your love story.

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What are some of your wedding anniversary traditions? 

New Year’s Resolution Inspiration

1 Jan

Happy New Year! I hope your 2013 is off to an amazing start. I’m sure many of you are thinking about your New Year’s resolutions today, as I am. Our resolutions are made when we are full of hope and determination for what’s to come. I hope you feel that anything is possible, and look at today as a clean slate for the year that lies ahead of us.

From weight loss to getting organized, make your resolutions count and stay positive! Here is a little inspiration to help you get started and stay focused. Good luck!

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