Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Monthly Archives: April 2011

Week 22-California!, Day 3-Jewelry

Who else out there watched the royal wedding in the wee hours of the morning?  K and I took a little nap and awoke a few hours later to the fabulous hats and gorgeous gowns in London town.  There was also no shortage or beautiful bling either, which I loved.  So in order to celebrate we went shopping to get “something new” in the jewelry department for ourselves!  Who isn’t thankful for a little retail therapy every so often?  Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I have a slight problem when it comes to collecting earrings.  I remember being 8 years old and staring at my grandmother’s endless jewelry box full of earrings and wondering why in the world she needed so many.  Now I know.

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend then Diamond Empowerment Fund is a charity lover’s new bff.  Started back in 2007 by some VIPs in the jewelry industry, DEF helps empower the people of Africa.  Diamonds are a great natural resource for a lot of countries where it’s citizens are lacking a good education.  DEF works to raise money to support education initiatives for those in need.  There are also lots of celebrity power couples out there designing jewelry for charity.  Brad and Angelina have a serpent inspired collection with British luxury jewelry designer Asprey that benefits Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which was founded by Ang a few years back.  Even though they have recently separated Courtney Cox and David Arquette designed a line of jewelery adorned with butterflies for Satya which benefits children with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a rare genetic condition that affects the skin.  All the benefits from the jewelry sold goes to the EB Medical Research Foundation.  Let’s think about this for a second.  Buying jewelry to help adorable little children, where and how fast can I sign up?

Diamond Empowerment Fund Donation

EB Medical Research Foundation Donation (or buy the goods!)

So here’s to you jewelry!  You’re the addiction I never want to quit and the collection I am continually growing.  You can bring a smile to my face, remind of a great party, or help me remember that I got my love of you from my wonderful grandmother.  You help me express myself and be thankful that a little bit of you can go a long way.

Week 22-California!, Day 2-Milk

Got milk?  I did this morning as we awoke to our first morning here in Cal-i-forn-i-a.  I went old school style and enjoyed a delicious bowl of Rice Kripies with my usual morning joe.  The carton even has the words “California milk” on the outside, which of course made me immediately think of happy cows.  Obviously, because they come from California.  Milk helps you build strong bones, fight cavities, and have great hair and nails.  Plus its delicious, especially with a little help from Mr. Chocolate Syrup.  So sit back, pour yourself a glass, and cozy up with this little blog post.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Yay Taylor!

Ok, now that you’re back let me tell you about this charity called Milk + Bookies.  M+B teaches children how great it feels to give back and about the love of a good book all at once.  They have these great parties where children buy books and write little notes inside for the children they are going to donate them too.  They kids also get a story and of course, milk and cookies.  Founded in 2004 M+B by a mom with two young children, she wanted to make sure her kids knew the value of giving back to others.  In case you didn’t already love this charity for the creative name or awesome mission, big name celebrities like Pete Wentz and Jennifer Garner are big supporters.  I also learned today that MILK isn’t just something you drink.  Mainly I Love Kids Fund, MILK, is also a non-profit that helps develop disadvantaged children in Singapore and other countries overseas into contributing members of society.  MILK partners with the services that are already in places in these countries to help kids the best way they can.  They are usually focused on the fundraising and advocacy for the children and leave the direct services to the experts.  Teamwork, it’s how things get done.

Milk + Bookies Donation

MILK Donation

So here’s to you milk!  You make cereal, ice cream, brownies, and warm cookies scrumptious.  You help us achieve our daily intake of the oh so important Vitamin D.  You also come in great flavors like chocolate and strawberry for those who like a little variety in their life.  Thank you for helping build strong muscles and bones since 1984.

Week 22-California! Day 1-Sunshine

This week is all about the beautiful state of California because I am here for vacation!  Luckily I have a beautiful best friend with a fabulous, and generous family that welcome us whenever we need a little girl’s get away.  This is the third time I’ve been lucky enough to come to San Diego with K and the beauty still amazes me.  The weather is perfect, the houses are out of a movie, and this list of things to do are endless.  I’m also pretty sure that the sun loves it here, because it hardly ever leaves.  After being a rain-induced comma in WV the sun was sight for sore eyes.  I am so thankful for the sunshine in the sky and in my heart from quality time with quality people.

Sunshine does a pretty good job at warming my heart, but it does a really good job and warming houses, schools, and hospitals.  SolarAid is working to bring clean, renewable energy to the poorest people in the world by installing solar panels.  Clinics, schools, and community centers in remote areas of South and Eastern Africa are now benefiting and thriving from solar power due to SA.  Africa is a perfect place to harness solar energy because many regions receive the highest levels of sunshine in the world!  Even though it’s hard to believe after today, they eve have San Diego beat.  They have also started Sunny Schools in London which is a program that is educating children on the issues of climate change and solar power on a global level.  If we don’t teach our children about it now there will be no one to lead us into the future.  The Solar Electric Light Fundis right there with SA working hard to provided energy to the developing world.  They stand behind their belief that energy is a human right.  Their projects help to provide power for pumping water, drip irrigation, homes, street lights, and wireless internet.  Founded over 20 years ago in 1990, SELF empowers people and communities to become active participants in the installation of the solar power systems.  Both village men and women are trained to install, maintain, and repair the systems that are installed.  Talk about being SELF sufficient.

Such power in a small package.

SolarAid Donation

Solar Electric Light Fund Donation

So here’s to you sunshine!  You are my only sunshine, and you definitely make me happy when skies are gray.  I think you know how much I love you, so please don’t take my sunshiney vacation away.  I promise I’ll bask in you and be thankful for all the energy you are providing for people around the world.  I have a feeling this week is going to be filled with bright, bright, bright sunny days.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 7-Yo Body

If it’s important for us to green our homes then it must be doubly or triply important to green our own bodies.  They are the one thing that we each have total control over day in and day out.  You’ve always heard people say you are what you eat, or you’ll get out of your body what you put into it, so why not make it green?  No, I’m not telling you to go on a diet of broccoli, asparagus, and green tea.  What I am telling you to do is think about what you put in and on your body.  I’m so thankful that we have the choice to be green without sacrificing being beautiful.

Atta girl Kate!

Luckily there are people like Kate Hudson, yes the famous actress, that feels the same way.  She teamed up with stylist David Babaii to create these awesome natural, cruelty-free, environmentally free hair products that benefit WildAid.  Kate and David realized that looking good feels fabulous and doing good feels even better, so they wanted to find a way to combine the two.  WA is a charity that is dedicated to end illegal wildlife trade during our lifetimes by both educating the public and providing protection for marine wildlife.  WA has also garnered the attention of other celebrities like Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, and Harrison Ford for their public service announcements that reach millions.  So before you go pick up your next bottle of shampoo or mousse from Wal-Mart think about all those cute cuddly baby animals you can save AND look awesome.  As a woman one of the biggest parts of our beauty is our hair, just ask any man.  The only thing more beautiful than long, flowing hair is cutting it all off for Locks of Love.  LOL is giving self-confidence and normalcy back to children who are suffering from hair loss by making high quality hair prosthetics from the generously donated ponytails they receive.  Started back in 1997 LOL has been providing hair pieces to underprivileged children who are under the age of 21.  Hair is one of those things most of us take for granted on a daily basis.  Just try to imagine reaching to pull your hair back into a ponytail and finding nothing there.  David Babaii said it best, “It’s beautiful to be good.”

WildAid Donation or Buy some DB4 WildAid hair products!

Locks of Love Donation or Donate your hair!

So here’s to yo body!  Be sure you treat it good cause it’s the only one you got.  You are what keeps all our internal organs inside and helps us be awesome at sports, well some of us.  Thanks for helping us walk upright and be at the top of the evolutionary food chain.  It’s not easy being green, but somebody’s gotta do it.   

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 6-Home

Well ain't that cute!

It only makes sense to make the place you rest your head at night green.  It’s where you cook your meals, pay your bills, do your laundry, and play with your children.  Going green in your home can also be a lot easier than you think.  You can buy environmentally friendly flooring like bamboo and switch out your old Einstein light bulbs for those curly cue energy-saving ones.  If you feel like you still can’t go green enough you can buy this book to help you make sure your home is as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly as the Jolly Green Giant.  Whether you want to start your own compost or put solar panels on your roof, Mother Earth is thankful for any and all you do to help her out.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a part of a community that supports your decision to go green?  Well look no further because Earth Island Institute is perfect for you!  EII acts like an incubator for groups and individuals with ideas, programs, and long-term goals to promote ecological sustainability.  The well renowned environmentalist David R. Brower founded EII in 1982 as a non-profit, public interest, membership organization that welcomed and supported people creating all types of solutions to help the planet we all share.  The list of projects EII supports is as extensive and broad as the Earth itself.  They have something for everyone, and if they don’t, they’ll be happy to support your idea.  If this week has really inspired you to go green then you should look into joining Green Corps.  Founded in 1992 as a graduate school for environmental organizers, but with a twist.  Sure they would still get a great academic education but they would also be given the opportunity to gain field work and make connections as well as relationships with those in major organizations they hope to work with.  GC believes in training leaders and teach graduate students to be able to fight the environmental battles that lay ahead of us.  Those who learn from GC today will be the ones who are greening our homes, offices, malls, and work places tomorrow.

Earth Island Institute Donation

Green Corps Donation

So here’s to you home!  You’re the first and last place we see in a day, which is all the more reason we should green you immediately if not sooner.  In your defense you do make it pretty easy for us.  All you ask is for a little less waste and a lot more love.  You give us a roof over our heads and place to call our own, so making sure we take good care of you and protect our planet at the same time is the least we can do.  Thanks for taking us in and helping us realize green is where the heart is.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 5-Your Ride

Gas seems to be doing that thing is usually does this time of year.  Going up, up, and away with all of our spending money.  We are in the thick of spring with summer’s temptations of longer days and endless nights starting to pop up more often than not.  So more of us are trying to figure out if we can walk to work, bike to work, or at least get in on a carpool with some folks.  I used to love the show Pimp My Ride, which had sadly gone off the air, but these days people want someone to green their ride.  Thankfully that’s all something we can do ourselves.  It’s as easy as walking a little further, biking a little longer, and being a little smarter.

Who didn't love Xzibit?

While it’s true that making our transportation a little more green can put a lot more green back in our wallets, we also get by with a little help from our friends at the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy.  ITDP works with communities worldwide to come up and implement sustainable transportation solutions that overall improve our quality of life.  Founded 25 years ago ITDP is the go-to non-profit for cities in developing countries that want to cut greenhouse emissions, reduce poverty, and increase equitable transportation.  All that is great for the city, but you may be wondering how they are helping us little people.  Well, they are also working to initiate bike share programs, car free days, build safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists, and improve the overall quality and affordability of bikes.  ITDP is big enough to make real changes, and small enough to touch the lives of individuals.  Walking is great but sometimes you need a jet plane to get where you need to go.  Angel Flight West is a great charity that makes sure money never prevents a child with cancer from getting treatment, or a father from being reunited with his family after being separated from them because of a natural disaster.  AFW has flown over 40,000 missions since they first began their goal of providing free flights to deserving individuals back in 1983.  All of the AFW volunteer pilots donate their time, aircraft, and fuel for every mission they fly and give hope back to someone who needs it most.  Red Bull may give you wings, but Angel Flight West gives you your life back.

Institute for Transportation & Development Policy Donation

Angel Flight West Donation

So here’s to your ride!  No not that gas guzzling SUV you own, those two feet on the bottom or your legs or that bicycle you have stashed out in your garage.  You are what really moves us from place to place and we’re starting to realize that you’re not only greener and good for us, but you also save us a whole lotta dough.  Now’s the time to lace up those tennis shoes and pump up those tires, cause we ain’t getting no younger and gas sure ain’t getting no cheaper.

I don't know about you but I can't afford those prices!

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 4-Groceries

We all have to go grocery shopping to fill those empty stomachs we get about every four hours.  With food prices on the rise and people’s waistlines expanding everyone is trying to find new and better ways to eat healthy.  We may not called them victory gardens anymore, but home gardens still represent a big win for the health of our communities and our planet.  And in case you’ve never tasted any type of home grown vegetables, let me be the first to tell you that you are missing out.  I’m so thankful for all the delicious home grown food I’ve been able to eat over the years, and the appreciation I have for how much work truly goes into a meal.  Those peas and carrots didn’t just grow themselves.

The Dinner Garden is the modern day version of yesteryear’s victory gardens.  This non-profit is helping people realize that the answer to hunger can be found in their very own backyards.  TDG provides seeds, gardening tips and tools, and supplies for free to anyone in the good ‘ole US of A.  There’s no way that 5 measly dollars could feed a family for a year right?  Wrong.  You have got to check out the list of produce seeds that TDG will send your family, because it will blow your mind.  You would think eating the food you grow would be your favorite part of having a garden, but a lot of families find that the time they get to spend working together in the garden is even more delicious.  It’s also really important to teach our kids how to be environmentally responsible and what better way than a school garden?  The Environmental Media Association launched their organic school garden programs a few years back with the support of famous faces like Nicole Richie and Amy Smart.  We teach our kids about math, science, and literature so it only makes sense that we should also educate them on ways to protect the Earth.  This program is so great because pretty much every kid in the world loves to get their hands dirty, and it gives them a real opportunity to learn in a “living” classroom.  Even though I was/am a die-hard Oregon Trail fan, it didn’t really teach me how to forge a river or kill a buffalo in real life.  Growing a garden seems much more sensible and green for kids today.  And they won’t die of dysentery after five minutes.

Nicole doesn't deserve that...

The Dinner Garden Donation

Environmental Association Media Donation

So here’s to you groceries!  You can be picked up from the grocery store or grown in our very own back yards.  You are what stocks our refrigerators and our bellies.  During both of world wars you were more likely to have come from a victory garden than a Whole Foods.  Thankfully we haven’t forgotten that we still have the power to transform a small seed into a big meal.  Growing your own groceries isn’t the new green, it’s the green that never faded away.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 3-Earth Day Fashion

Happy Earth Day!  Today is all about giving back to our planet, but you don’t have to do it in your beat up old jeans and scrubby t-shirt.  There are lots of really fashionable brands out there who are stepping up and making their clothing lines green.  Everything you wear from top to bottom can be recycled, renewed, or reused in some way, shape, or form.  Clothes are essential for all of us, unless you live in a nudist colony, so we might as well make sure we’re responsible about what we put on everyday.  Just be thankful I didn’t ask you to wear fig leaves.

Urban Outfitters has a great line of clothes called Urban Renewal that is made from vintage, deadstock, and surplus materials.  They have taken the taken the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”, and ran with it.  Theses pieces are  handcrafted and all unique.  Making up a story about how your cute frilly dress came from a set of vintage bedsheets is also an added bonus of this fun line.  It’s also fun to turn your old flip flops into new playgrounds, which is exactly what you can do when you take them into your local Old Navy store.  ON has partnered with TerraCycle to celebrate the 41st World Earth Day and do their part in reducing waste, cause let’s face it, who can resist their great deals on flip flops!  TC has been working to outsmart waste since 2001 by collecting your non-recyclable or hard to recycle waste products, usually for free, and turning it into affordable green products.  Over 19 million people in 11 different countries are helping TC eliminate the idea of waste by creating new products and solutions for things we normally throw away.  Smart and green, what more could you ask for on this beautiful Earth Day?

Flip your flop into a new playground!

Buy some cute Urban Renewal clothes and accessories, or take your flip flops to your local Old Navy

Sign up for TerraCycle…sometimes the time you give is much more valuable than any money you could every give.

So here’s to you Earth Day fashion!  You have inspired me to take those dingy old flip flops collecting dust in my closet down to Old Navy and help build a new playground.  And not that I needed any inspiration to shop, but the Urban Renewal collection is too good to pass up, especially those cute vintage earrings.  Thank you for reminding us that love means never having to buy anything that hasn’t been recycled.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 2-Water Conservation

Water has been a topic of discussion on this blog more than once, but we’re talking about conserving it and not providing it today.  Only 1% of the Earth’s water is drinkable so it’s obviously really important for us to make sure none of it goes to waste.  You can start going green and saving water in your very own bathroom right now!  Well maybe not right now, but after you read this blog.  You can start taking shorter showers, or a bath instead of a shower which can use less water.  You can also take the advice of Bernie Focker, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”  Hey, we all gotta do our part in the name of saving the planet.  I think you all know by now that I’m really thankful for my clean water, but I’m also thankful for the chance to provide water for future generations.

The Center for ReSource Conservation is on a mission to empower our community to conserve natural resources, like good ‘ole H2O.  Founded in 1976 CRC gives people easy tips and tricks to conserve water in their home, office, and your town.  They have even come up with a Garden-In-A-Box program where you can have beautiful flowers in your backyard and use half the water (at half the price!) you would with a traditional landscape design.  CRC also wants you to Slow Your Flow Indoors, and get your free indoor water use inspection if you’re a resident of Colorado.  In about an hour you can have a professional water auditor breakdown how you use your water, and what you can do to reduce your use.  Reduce your use, that’s pretty catchy.  If you think conserving water in our homes is important, then you’ll probably agree that conserving our oceans is pretty high up there on the list as well.  Oceana is the largest international group focused entirely on ocean conservation.  Over one million known species of plants and animals live under the sea, and scientist estimate that there could be upward of 9 million species yet to be discovered.  Oceana may be celebrating their ten-year anniversary this year but that doesn’t mean they’re slacking off.  Just last month they helped pass new conservation measures that will protect 16.1 million square miles of sea floor in the North Pacific Ocean from bottom trawling.  In case you don’t already love them, major celebs like James Cameron, Nicolas Cage, and Morgan Freeman are big supporters of this water-loving organization.

Center for ReSource Conservation Donation

Oceana Donation

So here’s to you water conservation!  You are the reason we still have clean water to drink and running water to take a shower with.  Without you we wouldn’t know the beauty of the creatures living below our vast oceans.  You are actually pretty easy to do if we just use our heads and make an effort.  Thanks for helping us make waves when our planet needs it most.

I'd say that pretty much sums it up

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 1-Parks

What a great idea!

Get out your reusable bags and Nalgene water bottles cause it’s Go Green Week!  Spring has finally sprung here in West Virginia and Friday just happens to be Earth Day so there’s no better time to get your green on.  There are lots of ways to be more Earth friendly but I can’t think of a better place to start than protecting all the great parks we have across our nation.  Whether they are big or small, national or local, parks give us a place to remember how amazing nature truly is.  I’m so thankful that parks give us a place to picnic, throw a Frisbee, take a nature walk, or go camping.  Sure there are lots of trendy ways to go green, but sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that make the biggest impact.

The National Parks Conservation Association was founded in 1916 to help protect and enhance America’s National Park system for both present and future generations.  NPCA values the history and culture that our national parks are steeped in.  Americans expect their parks to have clean air, healthy wildlife, and well-preserved land marks.  NPCA has been fighting back against air pollution, climate change, and underfunding to make sure these natural gems survive.  NPCA is unique because it is the only private non-profit organization in the nation dedicated solely to protecting our National Parks System.  I don’t know about you but there’s some national parks I still want to see in my lifetime, and definitely want my children to see one day.  Growing up in the South with a huge yard we didn’t have to go to a city park to see grass, but kids in New York city do.  City Parks Foundation helps support over 750 parks in all five boroughs in NYC that don’t have access to private funding.  CPF helps to revive parks by creating free creative arts, sports, and educational programs that the communities around the parks flock to.  Over 600,000 New Yorkers are reached through CPF’s programs which revitalize and rejuvenate some of the most under served areas in the city.  CPF also has a great program called SummerStage where they present a diverse line-up of free performances that introduce the people of New York to budding new artists.  They have held outdoor performances for all ages, races, and backgrounds for over 25 years, and the people just can’t get enough.  Seriously, what’s better than live music, good weather, and a beautiful park to experience it in?

National Parks Conservation Association Donation

City Parks Foundation Donation

So here’s to you parks!  You are the heartbeat of America.  Children can run, play, collect bugs, and get dirty all within your boundaries.  Sometimes you are extremely vibrant, lush, and  green and other times you’re full of red rocks, dust, and scorpions, but both are equally as beautiful.  You help us remember that a little dose of nature goes a long way, and provide a haven for us to think, talk, and be thankful.