Wednesday, April 24, 2013

philanthropy post :: Headbands of Hope

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="466"] Image courtesy of Headbands of Hope[/caption]

Gosh, stories like this get me jazzed. I love hearing about someone seeing a problem and rushing in with a solution. Headbands of Hope does just that. Jess at North Carolina State University came up with an idea of creating headbands for children in need after an internship with Make A Wish Foundation. She saw how low a girl's self-esteem can be after shaving her head for chemotherapy. Her solution? Give them headbands!

With each headband purchased through Headbands of Hope, a girl facing cancer receives a headband of her choice. AND $1 is donated to St. Baldrick's Foundation to find a cure. Their motto: "Headbands of Hope aims to start with awareness and end with a cure."

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="605"] Image courtesy of Headbands of Hope[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="217"] Image courtesy of Headbands of Hope - Skinny Shabby headband[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="219"] Image courtesy of Headband of Hope - Black Rose Beaded Headband[/caption]











I love what this company does. Who wouldn't want a cute headband and on top of that, who wouldn't want to help a sweet little girl facing something that no one should have to face? I hope you check them out and even purchase one! You can also sign up for their newsletter too!

Friday, April 19, 2013


My heart is heavy. This week has been brutal. First, Boston; next, the West explosion.

We felt the explosion ourselves in our town that's 60 miles away. 60. That's over an hour away. The doors of the church swung open abruptly, then slammed shut. No one understood why; there hadn't been a gust of wind. Looking back, now we know that catastrophe had hit.

I was going to do an update on my current projects. But today isn't really a day to focus on those kinds of things. Today is a day of mourning, reflecting, and gratitude for what has been given to us.

Here are a few articles from around the web that I've found to be comforting and encouraging. May they be the same for you:

Why Gosnell, God? Why Boston?

When the Bombs Exploded in Boston

Three Things to Hold Onto When the World Is Falling Apart


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

philanthropy post :: Help Boston

I don't have much of a connection to the city of Boston. I went there one time and loved it. But that's about it. Even still, as I read the horrific accounts of what had happened, I couldn't help but tearing up. As a runner myself, I can only imagine the elation of crossing the finish line in one of the premier races of your life to come face to face with one of the most horrific. But even more than that, I'm a human being. I can connect with those hurting on this level too. People are dead and lives are forever changed. It's horrific, devastating.

We've all seen or heard the accounts of runners, after completing one of the most difficult races, still plowing ahead to give aid where they can. Firefighters, police men, regular Joe citizens ran into chaos to bring order. I'm grateful for people like that and I hope that I would have done just the same.

In honor of those in Boston, I've dedicated this philanthropy post to how we, even those far away, can help others in Boston. The smoke is still clearing in the wake of the devastation and more businesses are hopping on board to help, but here is a short list of businesses donating proceeds to the One Fund or the Boston Red Cross.

Of course, be careful of scammers taking advantage of this disaster and people's charity. Read the BBB's Tips on Avoiding Charity Scams.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="682"] Image courtesy of Ball & Buck[/caption]

First up, Boston-based Ball & Buck will be donating a percentage of their online and store sales on Monday, April 22. They have an assortment of really cool stuff for "the sporting gentlemen."


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1130"] Image courtesy of Hold On Another Day website[/caption]

This unique group of musicians are putting together a compilation CD with proceeds to help the Boston victims. Their mission: "Our hope is to give hope to others - to give people a reason to Hold On Another Day."

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="283"] Image courtesy of Ink to the People[/caption]

Here's the first of many T-shirt designs benefiting those in Boston from Ink to the People. All proceeds from this shirt purchase will benefit the One Fund.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="607"] Image courtesy of Erica Sara Designs[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image courtesy of Erica Sara Designs[/caption]

Erica Sara Designs is offering 100% proceeds from both of these necklaces until the end of April. They are even holding a giveaway for people who donate to any charity of their choice. You can find more details on her blog.


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="379"] Image courtesy of Old Try[/caption]

My friend Ginger from Let's Give Today informed me of this beautiful print from Old Try. Again, all proceeds will benefit Boston. The print is based on the first flag of New England.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="294"] Image courtesy of Rue La La[/caption]

I found this T-shirt from Frugal Coupon Living that's from Rue La La. You have to sign up for Rue La La, but it's at no cost to you. You just get put onto their email list, which you can unsubscribe to at any time.

[caption id="attachment_1588" align="aligncenter" width="312"] Image courtesy of[/caption] is donating 20% of all proceeds to the One Fund. They have a huge assortment of Boston-related items.

[caption id="attachment_1590" align="aligncenter" width="412"] Image courtesy of Kess In House[/caption]

Kess In House will be donating 100% of proceeds from this Boston print all this week. It comes in both a throw pillow (as shown here) and as a shower curtain.


[caption id="attachment_1591" align="aligncenter" width="439"] Image courtesy of Packer Shoes[/caption]

Need new shoes? Now's the time to buy some quality New Balances for a cause! Packer Shoes will donate 100% of the proceeds on the NB 990 and NB 890 shoes from April 18-22.

[caption id="attachment_1592" align="aligncenter" width="317"] Image courtesy of Greta Bean[/caption]

The cute design company Greta Bean will be offering 100% of proceeds towards the One Fund for the letter "B" charm.

Hope this helps you as you search for ways to help the Boston victims. Of course, you can always donate directly to the One Fund or the Red Cross in Boston.

Have you heard of other businesses using their products to help others? Tell us in the comments! We want to hear!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

philanthropy post :: Better Life Bags

I stumbled across this fantastic woman-owned business several weeks ago when I joined the Influence Network. And I am oh-so-glad that I did! Rebecca Smith is a mom and entrepreneur of Better Life Bags that has creatively woven her own creativity into her business to make it not only grow, but help others.

Reading all about her business' mission made me giddy. Not only does Better Life Bags give 10% of all their purchases towards, but she also employs first-generation immigrants in her town to make the bags. It's truly a win for everybody!

Another unique aspect of the business is that customers have the option of custom-making their own bags. Customers can choose from e-reader/tablet covers, leather bags, laptop sleeve, even a DSLR camera bag. Before ordering, you can choose what fabric you want to make the bag specially yours. You can even pick black or brown leather on the leather bags.



I l-o-v-e these bags. I think I might even order one for myself here soon. You can even buy prayer cards for yourself during pregnancy, your husband, or for your children.

The next time you're thinking of buying a purse or diaper bag or even an iPad sleeve, make sure you check out Better Bags! They're cute and they help people in the process! Better Life Bags shows that it is possible to enable creativity and entrepreneurship for not only our good, but the good of so many others.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Over the past few days, God has been pushing this idea of a human being's worth into my heart deeply. I've always known that human life is precious, worth fighting for, and a gift. But I confess that I don't know if I truly connected that to my own life and more specifically, to my own actions.

This idea was impressed in me even further when I read Carolyn Custis James' Half the Church. She discusses the root meaning of the word "woman", which in Hebrew is translated as a military term, ezer. So, God created women to be soldiers. Soldiers, warriors! To be armed with a weighty sword, with a purpose. God created us to be strong, to fight.

So often, however, I don't act this way. I resort to gossip, to piddling in my own puddle of mud, complaining that my sword isn't as big or sharp or shiny as the next woman's.

What a tragedy! Armed with the very living God inside of me, I could join the rest of the women and the human race, to take this world by storm. I am a child of the same God who creates earthquakes, builds and tears down nations, who uses the whole earth as his footstool. We are all vessels of His glory. How can we not shine or create or love fully if we have this God dwelling inside of us? We are human beings; we are women, masterpieces of His hands. This isn't simply a feel-good message. This is a life-altering call to radically move.

I ran across this quote from Marianne Williamson the other day that only reinforced the principle.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson

We are children of God. So let's go change the world.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

philanthropy post :: smile squared

This is a part of my weekly businesses giving back series. Click here for more of them!

Their motto is "Rethink Buying." And I love it. "We believe even small, everyday products, like toothbrushes, can have a big impact on the world."

Do I even need to be writing? Perhaps you would be better off just going to the website yourself.

But I'll indulge myself and keep on going.

Smile Squared sells toothbrushes. They're a one for one company. So for every toothbrush you buy, someone who doesn't own one gets one too.

Seeing this company made me realize that we take something as simple as a toothbrush for granted. In fact, I typically get my year's supply of toothbrushes in my Christmas stocking from my mother-in-law (She is just fantastic like that). But when I think about what it would be like if I didn't own a toothbrush, it can be kind of a big deal. Think of the diseases that can grow within your own mouth. Your overall health can dramatically deteriorate. The solution is so simple: give them a toothbrush!

And that's what these lovely people do.

I even am in love with the packaging. Nice and simple and still lovely all the same. It's even earth-conscious with a 100% recyclable box. The toothbrush handle, too, is biodegradable!

And if you already have enough toothbrushes, but still want to help out, there's an option to buy two toothbrushes for the same price as one and donate

Thanks for what you're doing, Smile Squared! You're making a difference!