Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Week 31-To Meet List, Day 2-Sarah Jessica Parker

SJP ♥

It’s no secret that I am a huge Sex & the City, and Sarah Jessica Parker fan.  Just tonight I was watching some of SATC season 2 as I relaxed on the couch.  Some people meditate or do yoga to relax, I watch SJP.  My first choice is always reruns of Carrie and her friends, but I could watch any movie Sarah is in a million times over.  Part of my admiration for her goes back to her timeless beauty and grace, but her big heart and generous spirit really makes me a fan.  I could go on and on about how much I love her, but SJP’s actions speak a lot louder than my words ever could.  Get ready to fall in love.

Even though she’s not Carrie Bradshaw in real life, SJP does seem to share a lot of the same characteristics of the character that made her iconic.  Number one on the list, fashion.  So it makes sense that SJP would be a supporter of Shoe Revolt which is a non-profit that is fighting human sex-trafficking with fashion.  SR raises money by selling shoes online that have been donated to their cause.  Most are only $10-15 so really anyone can revolt!  What are they gonna do with all that money?  I’m glad you asked.  Their goal is to build 51 shelters, one for each state and D.C., where victims are provided with long-term care for up to 24 months.  These shelters will help provide basic needs in a loving environment, and offer mentoring and counseling for these courageous survivors.  SJP has donated some blue Frye boots, some taupe heels, and even some sequined flats.  A diverse group of donations for a diverse lady.  Buying shoes is fun, but standing up against sexual exploration is serious business.  SJP has also been an ambassador for UNICEF since 1998, but she is also an avid supporter of the Food Bank For New York City.  With over 3 million New Yorkers having difficulty buying food FBNYC provides over 400,000 meals a day.  Food prices are only getting higher, and food supply is only getting lower so charities like FBNYC will be needed more and more in the future.  For 27 years they have been distributing food, helping individuals with income support, and providing nutritional education to families.  FBNYC also received the Mighty Apple Award, for the most fresh produce collected from Feeding America for distribution to the network, for the fifth time in six years.  Hey when SJP picks a charity, she goes big.

Shoe Revolt Donation or shop the Shoe Revolt Boutique

Food Bank For New York City Donation

So here’s to you Sarah Jessica Parker!  You won me over many years ago, but you’ve kept me coming back to see what good and loving project you will support next.  You’re a mom, a wife, an actress, a volunteer, an advocate, and an inspiration.  Thank you for being fabulous in fashion, movies, television, and life.

Week 31-To Meet List, Day 1-Stevie Nicks

For any of you out there who missed it, Javier Colon is the winner of the first season of The Voice!  Honestly, I really wanted Dia Frampton to win but Javier does have an amazing voice and got to sing with the legendary Stevie Nicks tonight.  Ah-maz-ing.  I have admired Fleetwood Mac and their gypsy lead singer for years, but her performance tonight solidified the fact that I need to meet her.  She has a timeless voice, style, and generosity that makes her easy to love and hard to forget.  Thank you NBC for this season of The Voice, and more importantly, for putting some more Stevie in my life.

Beautiful gypsy

In case I needed more reasons to love Ms. Nicks she is as into her charity work as she is decorating her mic stand with scarves.  Even though she supports a variety of causes, it comes as no surprise that music is at the heart of her off-stage passions as well.  The Elevate Hope Foundation has been giving abused and abandoned children an alternate means of therapy through music and the art since 2001.  EHF also raises funds in order to provide programs and special services for the needs of these kids.  EHF is also in the process of building a Compassion Care Center of the Arts in the heart of L.A. where they plan to provide intervention services to both the abused children and their non-abusive parents or caregivers.  There will be music therapy, a dance studio, gym, arcade, recording studio, and the list goes on and on. Stevie so eloquently summed up her support for EHF by saying, “Angels are found in the soul of a child, where love and laughter lives. I support the Elevate Hope Foundation as they are dedicated to fill the hearts of these children, to enable them to spread their wings and fly.”  Nicks also got behind New Orleans and the non-profit Music Rising after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.  Let me tell you, they have done some serious work since they first began their mission to rescue the unique musical culture in the Central Gulf region.  MR was the recipient of the 2005 Gold Halo Award for Cause Marketing, and was honored in November 2006 when it received the prestigious Billboard Humanitarian Award.  During Phase 1 of MR they were able to replace 2,700 instruments to professional musics all over the Gulf region who had been displaced to 34 different states.  Phase 2 began in September of 2006 and is focused on rebuilding and restoring the music programs of schools and churches affected by Hurricane Katrina.  Over five years later MR is still helping musicians big and small get back on their feet and march to the beat of their own drums.

Elevate Hope Foundation Donation

Music Rising Donation

So here’s to you Stevie Nicks!  You keep proving over and over again that true beauty and love for others is always in style.  You embody the meaning of an icon.  Your ethereal looks and touching lyrics are unforgettable.  You may have been afraid of changing but you are never afraid to leave all of yourself on the stage and in your charity work.  Thank you.

Get it Stevie

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 7-Money

Even though I hate to admit it money is a basic of life.  It’s how we buy groceries, live in our houses, drive our cars, and give back to our favorite charities.  And even though it may be the root of all evil, it sure is a heck of a lot better than carrying around clams to trade.  Sure, there are a lot of things you can do in this life without money but you can do even more with it.  We had a great meeting today with a financial adviser about our planning for our future, including our retirement which was really obscure to think about, but it made me realize how thankful I am for money.  Even when all we have is cents and not dollars, it’s a good day.

Even though I wouldn’t recommend gambling your hard-earned dough, Ante Up For Africa is a great way to wet your poker whistle.  Founded by Don Cheadle, Annie Duke, and Norman Epstein founded this non-profit and poker tournament to help raise not only money, but also awareness for Africans in need.  AUFA helps support organizations that are making a tangible effect on the ground in Africa.  Refugees International, Enough Project, and Darfur Peace and Development are the charities that benefit from half the winnings of the celebrity poker players.  Since it began in 2006 AUFA has helped to raise over $3 million to fund its quest to find a permanent end to conflicts like those happening in Africa.  AUFA believes that solutions are possible, but it takes moola to make them happen.  Over 300,000 innocent people have died in Darfur.  That just goes to show you that a little pocket change can make a big difference.  Robin Quivers of The Howard Stern Show is no stranger to money, or giving it to worthy causes.  As the founder of the 15 Foundation, she knew she wanted her radio talk-show earned money to go to causes that are really making a difference.  Even though 15 only began in March of 2010, they have raised over $150,000 in that short time.  I love 15 because we share a common goal; to spread the word and support the charities out there in the trenches getting life-changing work done.  It can be easy to forget that it’s always possible to have too many Chiefs and never possible enough to have too many Indians.  There is nothing more basic than getting behind the charities you believe in and donating your bones to them.

Ante Up For Africa Donation

15 Foundation Donation

So here’s to you money!  There’s really only one thing left to say, give big or go home.

Did somebody say give big?

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 6-Wheel

The invention of the wheel changed the course of man forever.  It’s the reason we can drive to work, get some much-needed exercise on our bicycles, and mow our grass during the summer.  This came to my attention today as I pushed our hand-me-down lawnmower up and down our little side yard.  One wheel is extremely wobbly and therefore basically useless.  Instead of being angry because I had a bum wheel to deal with, I refocused my thinking and became thankful for other three perfectly good wheels.  It’s all how you spin it.  Pun intended.

I have never had to use a wheelchair, other than for recreational purposes, anytime during my short life.  Even though I had quite a bit of fun playing around, Wheels For Humanity isn’t kidding around about getting refurbished wheelchairs to those in need.  Founded in 1995 WFH comes from humble beginnings out of a garage in California, where they were able to donate 130 wheelchairs to people in Guatemala during their very first year.  WFH is providing disabled individuals around the world with mobility, self-sufficiency, and education no matter what religion or race they may be.  WFH also makes sure that each wheelchair is specially fitted to each new owner by healthcare professionals who have graciously volunteered their time to this great cause.  Over 50,000 people in 68 different developing nations have been given the ride of their life all because of WFH.  Oh and don’t hassle the Hoff about this charity because he’s a huge fan.  Most people think that the two wheels on motorcycles put lives at risk, but the non-profit Riders For Health actually need those wheels to save lives in Africa.  RFH is working hard to make sure that all health care workers in Africa have access to reliable transportation so they are able to reach isolated patients with regular treatment.  RFH trains drivers and riders who deliver assistance to patients, perform regular maintenance on vehicles used, make sure parts are available for repairs, and accurately calculate the cost of running the fleet of vehicles.  We could donate all the drugs in the world to help those who are sick, but if there is no way for them to be delivered to the sick then this problem will never be solved.  Vehicles and the harsh climate of the African deserts do not mix, but over the past 20 years RFH has created an effective system for managing these rugged vehicles.  Gives a totally new meaning to ride or die huh?

Wheels For Humanity Donation

Riders For Health Donation

So here’s to you wheels!  You’re there for us when we need to scoot around town or just skate down the street.  Sometimes you are made of cheese and other times of color.  You have stood the test of time, and I think I speak for all of us when I say, thank you for teaching us how to rock and roll.

Rock and Roll Wheel!

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 5-Beans

Billions of beans

You guys remember that fun little diddy you used to sing back in elementary school, “Beans, beans, they’re good for you heart.  The more you eat the more you fart.  The more you fart the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal!”?  I know you do.  We weren’t really allowed to sing it in front of company but it still puts a smile on my face to this day.  The bean soup we had for dinner also put a big smile on my face and in my tummy.  Beans really are great because there are so many varieties, they go with everything, they’re a great source of protein, and they’re cheap!  Beans are a basic and a staple when it comes to food for everyone around the world.  Thanks beans!

Eating beans is great, but a being a part of BEAN is even better.  BEAN was founded back in 2003 in Seattle Washington to encourage young professionals to form friendships around charitable causes.  BEAN brings young people together and gets them to have fun while they give back to their communities.  Over the past eight years they have grown from one chapter to 22 chapters across the globe with over 10,000 members.  BEAN members can get together to volunteer at the local food shelter or play a little friendly game of softball.  All BEAN members unite in devoting their time to the two main annual initiatives: Think Global Act Local (TGAL) and the Scholarship campaign.  Over $75,000 has been raised by TGAL campaigns to help fight serious issues like AIDS orphans, clean water, and child soldiers.  Oh, you don’t see a BEAN chapter in your area?  Well you may be just the person to start a new chapter in your area!  You may not give a hill a beans about making random friends, but you may want to give a hill of beans to a family in need.  Literally.  Oxfam America Unwrapped lets you buy tangible gifts for those who are living in poverty.  You can open a can of worms, give someone crabs (the edible kind), give someone a camel, or save a lake.  You pick the gift, Oxfam sends a card to the person you choose, and you help save a life.  Just think about how excited your best friend will be when you give her an Alpaca meadow instead of a stupid ‘ole CD again for her birthday!  Oxfam is a great charity that is working in the United States and more than 90 other countries to spread the wealth and end hunger, poverty, and injustice.  It’s a tall order but somebody’s gotta do it.

Join BEAN!

Buy a gift from Oxfam America Unwrapped

So here’s to you beans!  You are green, black, and some of you are even in the navy.  You are found in cultures all around the world and you are a chef’s best friend.  You were magic for a little boy named Jack, and somebody had the bright idea to make you out of jelly!  Beans, beans, they’re good for the Earth!  The more you give the more they’re worth!

I need these beans!


Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 4-Time

Sweet Saturday is finally here!  My favorite thing about the weekend is the time you get to catch up on all the things you were either too lazy or too tired to get done during the week.  Time is another one of the very basic things in life that we have taken for granted at some point in our lives.  Let’s face it, the time we have here as we know it is seriously limited.  We go through life like everyday is promised to us when in reality we should be thankful for every sunrise and sunset we are lucky enough to see.  The other tricky thing about time is that we have to pick and choose how we spend it.  There are only 24 hours in a day and what we make of them is up to us.  You’ve heard this a million times, but sometimes a friendly reminder is exactly what we all need.

As humans it’s only natural for us to try to plan out the best time for us to buy a house, switch careers, or have a baby.  The truth is, there is no good time, but there’s also no time like the present.  A Time To Help is a Detroit based charity that knows how to make the most of each day.  ATTH was founded in 1997 by Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesday with Morrie and The Five People You Meet In Heaven, to help the people of Detroit volunteer on a regular basis.  They have had over 100 successful monthly projects that have ranged from building houses to packing food and running adoption fairs.  Albom also founded S.A.Y. (Super All Year) Detroit in 2006 to fund projects to help those who are homeless in Detroit.  Albom even spent the night in a homeless shelter to raise awareness about the charity, and he was able to bring in over $35,000 in donations in less than two weeks.  See, even famous writers can volunteer their time for good.  Famous rappers like Master P and his son Romeo like to volunteer their time to the non-profit It’s Time KidsITK is helping inner-city kids realize that it’s time to “fatten our brains and not our bodies.”  They have programs to help kids focus on the three “E’s”: education, eat right, and exercise, as well as prepare our children mentally and physically to be the leaders of tomorrow.  They even give a great visual guide for parents on how to get their kids the nutrition they need throughout the day.  ITK also has some fun games on their website so kids can learn and play at the same time.  You always hear people say time is money, but I really think time is charity.

S.A.Y. Detroit Donation

It’s Time Kids Donation

So here’s to you time!  There never seems to be enough of you in the day, and we always wish we could turn back your hands.  You’re so popular you even have a magazine named after you.  We can’t stop you and you seem to fly when we’re having fun, but you are most definitely of the essence when giving is concerned.

Oh look, it's give o'clock!

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 3-Safety

I was sitting on my couch thinking about all the basic things in my life that I’m thankful for, and I realized that I’ve already written about a lot of them.  Food, water, clothes, the internet, the list goes on and on, but I was forgetting one very important thing.  Safety.  I have taken that one for granted since birth.  I have always lived in very safe places and can honestly say I have been in very few situations where I felt unsafe.  I wish everyone could say that, but I know that’s not anywhere close to true.  It’s so easy to forget about all the good things we have in our lives that can’t be displayed, worn, or eaten.

Good tip to remember

The Child Safety Network has been making American a safer place for children since 1989.  They are determined to reduce the incidence of child abduction, abuse, exploitation, and injury.  CSN works with local, state and federal agencies to implement their educational safety programs worldwide.  CSN helps parents stay abreast of what products are being recalled, and what new products can make their lives easier and their children’s lives safer.  CSN also has the PG Key to help parents protect their kids from all the not so child friendly things lurking on the internet.  CSN also has the support of over 250 U.S. representatives and some pretty cool celebrities like Hillary Duff, Celine Dion, and Tony Danza.  We all know that our children are our future, so we need to be sure and protect them to the fullest.  Another place where we can take safety for granted is on the road.  RADD (formerly known as Recording Artists, Actors, Actors, and Athletes Against Drunk Driving) is better known today as “The Entertainment Industry’s Voice for Road Safety”, is dedicated to saving lives and reducing road injuries through entertainment.  RADD was founded back in 1986 on non-judgmental, cool, and positive messages.  They advocate the use of designated drivers, seatbelts, safe driving, and making responsible behavior the rule not the exception.  Obviously they are doing something right because they are the proud two-time recipient of the US Department of Transportation’s prestigious Public Service Award.  So put down those adult beverages and those cell phones and just drive!

Child Safety Network Donation

RADD Donation

So here’s to you safety!  You’re that feeling we get when someone we trust wraps their arms around us.  You’re that blanket we’ve grown up with, and the night-light we still sleep with (shh don’t tell anyone).  You should always come first, occasionally you come in numbers, and there are even goggles who take after you.  Thank you for protecting us in more ways than we can count.

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 2-Toilet

Now that's a cool toilet

That’s right we’re talking toilets today people!  The porcelain throne, the super bowl, the john, the head, the….I think you get the point.  For anyone who’s ever been out of the country they know how to be thankful for a toilet.  In a lot of public places in Europe you have to pay to use the restroom.  Yes, that’s correct, if you need to relieve yourself you better have some change.  Personally I have never experienced using a “toilet” which is simply a hole dug in the ground, but those are out there as well.  More than 2.6 billion people across the world do not have a proper toilet system.  So when you flush your commode tonight, remember how lucky you really are.

I know what you’re thinking.  How in the world am I going to relate toilets to a charity?  Lucky for me, the World Toilet Organization made it really easy for me.  This very unique non-profit is committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions around the world.  Makes sense right?  There are a lot of organizations out there who focus on water instead of toilets when the subject of sanitation is brought up.  Back in 2001 WTO was founded by 15 members who believed in the power of bringing sanitation and dignity to the poor and needy.  Ten years later WTO is going strong with 235 members and has dubbed November 19th as World Toilet Day!  WTO is also great because they understand that knowing about the problem is half the battle.  Even if you have no money to donate you can always support them on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, and don’t forget to tell your friends.  Even though WaterAid America does focus on the water part of sanitation they are still in the business of helping people learn about good hygiene.  WAA is helping people realize that even though there’s no easy solution to this huge dilemma facing countless countries, a simple and effective latrine can cost as little as five bucks.  Poor sanitation can transmit cholera, typhoid, dysentery and potentially fatal diseases, and as a direct result a child dies every 20 seconds.  I remember playing Oregon Trail in elementary school and thinking what is dysentery and why do all of my people keep dying from it?  Now I know why, and in this problem is definitely not a game to the people who are living in these conditions.

World Toilet Organization Donation

WaterAid America Donation

So here’s to our toilets!  They flush, they fill again, and they make sure that we stay healthy and happy.  I mean I really can’t say enough good things about this basic that we could-but-really-wouldn’t-want-to live without.  So sit back, relax, and be thankful for your toilet…even if somebody always forgets to put the seat back down.

Yea we know who you are...

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 1-Bread

As I type this Scott is currently baking away in the kitchen like Chicken Little.  Remember that story?  It used to be one of my favorites growing up.  Anyway, my Dad has another massively productive garden again this year so we came home with loads of spoils including about 10 pounds of zucchini.  In our household that means only one thing, zucchini bread.  Well it can also mean fried zucchini but tonight, it means zucchini bread.  Seeing all the ingredients out on the counter and knowing the goodness that awaits in just a short hour makes me extremely thankful…and a little hungry.  Bread is such a basic food that so many people around the world live without.  I am a lucky girl.

My bread art! I called it, I ♥ NY

I really had no idea what kind of charities I would find when I went looking for one to represent bread, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  The Bread Art Project is one of the coolest ways I’ve seen to be a part of ending hunger from behind your computer screen.  If you visit their website you can create a personalized piece of bread art for free that you can share and download, but that’s not even the coolest part.  For every bread art that is created until June 30th, $1 will be donated by Grains Food Foundation to the charity Share Our Strength.  That’s right, by toasting a piece of bread with your picture or design you can help end hunger for kids out there.  GFF and SOS have teamed together to make sure that child hunger is a goner by 2015.  Even though I’ve already written about SOS they have so many innovative and fun projects that they deserve to be written about again.  Bread and healthy grains are staples of a nutritious diet, so you it’s obviously something everyone needs in their life.  Let’s make it happen captain.  Bread for the City has been providing the vulnerable people of Washington D.C. with bread and other basic needs since 1974.  This includes clothing, medical care, legal and social services in a way that they are always respected.  BFTC provides its six main programs to over 10,000 D.C. residents every month from their two main centers in Northwest and Southeast D.C.  BFTC has a vision for Washington D.C. to be a community where all the residents have access to all their basic needs and is able to not only survive but thrive socially, emotionally, and spiritually.  When you start providing people with their most basic needs don’t be surprised when more than their stomachs are fed.

Join the Bread Art Project and Share Our Strength Donation

Bread for the City Donation

So here’s to you bread!  You’re there every time I turn around.  You’re essential for sandwiches, croutons, french toast, and bruschetta.  And don’t even get me started on how many things we eat have grain in them.  It really is one of the simple basics of life.  Thank you for being so simple and so vital all in one.  Oh, and thanks for being so delicious.

Week 29-Sweet Summertime, Day 7-Fireworks!

Summer is officially here! Bring on the fireworks

Happy first day of summer everyone!  It has been so much fun to write about all the great things that summertime brings to us every year and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to light up the sky with some fireworks!  Okay so I’m not really gonna light any fireworks tonight but I do love to enjoy them for all the summer holidays.  Last year Scott and I got the chance to watch the incredible fireworks show on the Hudson River with the Manhattan skyline in the background.  It was something I will never forget.  I also have so many great memories of watching the fireworks with my family every year in NC.  I’m thankful for all the fireworks shows during the summer, and all the great celebrations that are worth all that gun powder and lead.

Katy and her mold for KAB

Katy Perry’s hit song “Firework” has been blowing up the charts and inspiring people to let their inner confidence shine for months now.  Katy is also doing a little inspiring work with The Keep A Breast organization.  First of all, I’d just like to say kudos on the name, because the double entendre is amazing and it’s one of my favorite charity names of all time.  KAB is on a mission to totally get rid of breast cancer by exposing young people to ways in which they can protect themselves, detect problems early, and get help.  You would expect a charity with a such a creative name to have some creative ways to raise money to support breast cancer awareness and education, and KAB doesn’t disappoint.  They have convinced some pretty famous um, chests, to get plastered in the name of breast cancer.  The plaster female upper bodies are then customized by artists and then auctioned off.  This is probably one of the few times getting “plastered” is a good thing for a charity.  Katy has even inspired the all-male acappella choir at Ithaca College in NY, better known as Ithacappella, to lend their voices to charity by covering Firework.  All of the proceeds from the iTunes sales of their rendition went to The Trevor Project, which is the leading national organization for providing crisis and suicide prevention for the LGBTQ youth community.  Before TP there wasn’t any type of support line for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth to reach out to if they were feeling rejected and by their peers and needed someone to confide in.  Thanks to the magic of the internet TP has also expanded its reach to LGBTQ youth everywhere by creating an online community called Trevor Space.  This social-network was created specifically for LGBTQ individuals aged 13-24 to meet new friends, and find out where resources for them lie within their own communities.  Katy is right when she sings, “If you only knew what the future holds.  After a hurricane comes a rainbow.”

Keep A Breast Donation or buy their cool swag because you know you ♥ boobies too!

The Trevor Project Donation

So here’s to you fireworks!  You light up the warm summer nights and the hearts of big and little kids everywhere.  You’re the quintessential celebration signal that we all know and love.  We all have a little bit of explosiveness inside of us that you’ve inspired.  We’re ready to let our colors burst and show ’em what we’re worth!  Thank you for showing us the way to make ’em go, “Oh, oh, oh!”, and let them in awe-awe-awe.