Thanks(4)giving

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Tag Archives: celebrity

Week 36-Birthday Week! Day 3-Neil Armstrong

Strap on your rocket boosters and space suits because we’ve got an astronaut birthday to celebrate!  Happy birthday Mr. Neil Armstrong!  You were the first to take those steps for mankind on the surface of the moon, and make us all swell with pride as Americans.  Even though he’s most well-known for his role as an astronaut, Neil has worn many hats during his 81 years of life.  He’s been a student at Purdue University, a member of the Navy, a husband, and a father.  People will always associate you with Apollo 11, but hopefully after reading this post people will realize there is more to the man on the moon than they thought.

Before he was putting on space suits and moon boots, Armstrong was suiting up in his Navy uniform.  While the men and women are busying taking care of the rest of us civilians, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is making sure they are taken care of as well.  Founded back in 1904 by Theodore Roosevelt the NMRS provides educational, financial, and any other assistance Naval members and their family needs.  With over 250 offices on dry land and some at sea, the NMRS has over 3,600 volunteers to help accomplish their mission.  Thrift stores, interest-free educational loans, financial counseling, and visiting nursing services are just a few of the programs the NMRS provides free of charge to those who serve in the Navy or Marines.  I know I say this every time I blog about military organizations, but the services our donations help provide for them is only a drop in the bucket considering how much they have done for us.  Armstrong is also a proud Boilermaker from Purdue University.  He received his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering back in 1955, and spent his free time playing the baritone in the Purdue All-American Marching Band.  PU is also where Neil met and fell in love with his first wife, who had three children with.  With almost 40,000 students the land-grant institution of Indiana has turned out lots of other famous alumni such as Super Bowl winning quarterback Drew Brees, Sully Sullenberger, and comedian Jim Gaffigan (hot pockets!).

Navy-Marine Corps Society Donation

Purdue University Donation

So here’s to you Neil Armstrong!  You are still an inspiration to this day to millions of people around the world.  You were just a small town kid from Ohio that made his dreams of walking on the moon a reality.  Thank you for showing us that there is no such thing as one small step.  Every step we take has the potential to turn into a big leap for mankind.

Week 31-To Meet List, Day 7-Brad Pitt

Seriously hot

I really want to meet everyone who has been on my list this week, but I think Mr. Brad Pitt may take the top spot.  He’s handsome, but that was already a given.  He’s a father, which always makes a man even sexier for some unexplainable reason.  He’s a philanthropist in every sense of the world.  He and Angelina donated over 8 million dollars alone to charity back in 2008.  I feel like I’m forgetting something…oh yea, he’s an extremely talented actor and producer who has been nominated for more awards than years I’ve been alive.  He’s always in the news for something, but he always keeps his head on his shoulders and does the right thing.  Thank you for making us all believers that good-looking men with big hearts really do exist.

Pitt has almost worked with as many charities as he has movie scripts.  One charity that is close to his heart is one he co-founded with Angelina, the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation.  “MJP is dedicated to eradicating extreme rural poverty, protecting natural resources and conserving wildlife. MJP promotes sustainable rural economies that directly contribute to the health and vitality of communities, wildlife and forests.”  Formally known as the Maddox Jolie Project, MJP changed their name back in 2007 to better reflect their evolving field projects.  All of the MJP projects are centered around reducing poverty, providing primary and secondary education, establishing good health care programs, protecting the environment, and empowering women in Cambodia.  It makes sense that you would want to protect and preserve the homeland your child is from.  If you don’t know where you came from, it’s always harder to know where you’re going.  Brad always has a warm house to go home to, no matter what country it’s in so maybe that’s why he wanted to give homes back to Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans.  Make It Right was founded in August 2007 by Pitt to raise the money that was needed to rebuild the homes lost in New Orleans’ 9th ward.  To get things started off on the right foot MIR’s first fundraiser, the Pink Project, raised over 12 million dollars.  Not a bad start.  Just this May MIR finished building 75 sustainable, LEED Platinum certified homes for Lower 9th Ward families. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, Make It Right is the “largest and greenest community of single-family homes in the world.”  They also have some awesome curb appeal.  I mean I would expect nothing less from Brad.  Pitt and crew aren’t just rebuilding houses, they are rebuilding a community and the lives of hundreds of people.

Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation Donation

Make It Right Donation

So here’s to you Brad Pitt!  Ironically, the list of good things I could say about you makes me speechless.  All the great qualities you posses only seem to get better with age.  You are the fantasy of thousands, and maybe even millions, of red-blooded women across the globe.  You’ve come a long way from Thelma & Louise, and we continue to thank you for taking off your shirt, I mean giving back.

Hottie with a body even back in 1991

Week 31-To Meet List, Day 6-Tina Fey

Being beautiful and funny is not an easy thing to pull off, but Tina Fey makes it look easy.  This funny woman isn’t just another ditzy Hollywood star either.  She has some serious staying power.  Tina also has serious mother, writer, and producer power.  She is a jack of pretty much all trades, and master of them all.  Even though all that makes her an extremely desirable candidate for my to-meet-list, I just think she would be fun to hang out with.  Can you imagine seeing her Sarah Palin impersonation in person?  It’s not all fun and games for Fey though, she also likes to roll up her sleeves and get her charity on.  Thanks for being living proof that it pays off to love what you do, and do what you love.

Just a couple of years back Fey was honored by the non-profit Love Our Children USA with the “Mothers Who Make A Difference” award.  LOC has been protecting children from all forms of violence and neglect since 1999.  LOC has always been focused on delivering a positive message filled with hope that strengthens families and protects innocent children.  In this day and age that means protecting our kids from all forms of bullying, which is why LOC created the Stomp Out Bullying program.  SOB teaches children of all ages to be tolerant, kind, and respectful of everyone they meet.  Sometimes the most simple concepts are the best ones.  LOC is helping to end the cycle of violence against kids by empowering the public with the knowledge they need to identify problems and report them, and giving America’s youth the voice they need to be heard.  Life’s not always fair, but LOC is.  As a mother Fey knows how strong the bond between a mother and child is, and that’s why she is a supporter of Worldwide Orphan Organization.  WWO transforms the lives of orphans by making them feel one of kind, and helping them to become healthy and productive members of their communities.  Founded in 1997 WWO makes sure that children are cared for in all aspects of their life.  Their physical and mental health is of utmost importance, as well as their education and ability to plan for their future endeavors.  Children who are suffering from HIV/AIDS in Vietnam and Ethiopia are alive today because of the life-saving treatment WWO supplies.  They work in rural countries helping some of the most vulnerable kids in the entire world.  I’m sure Tina’s desire to help WWO is growing just as fast as the new bun in her oven.

Love Our Children USA Donation

Worldwide Orphan Foundation Donation

So here’s to you Tina Fey!  You have made us laugh on Saturday nights and get in line at the box-office to see what kind of shenanigans you and Amy Poehler can get into.  You have more awards than I can count on my two hands and the chops to back them all up.  Maxim, People, Forbes, and Time have all had you on their top lists for years, and I think it’s safe to say you’ll be there for a while.  I know it’s gonna take a lot for you to get bumped from mine.

Week 31-To Meet List, Day 3-Ellen & Portia

Even though I would settle for meeting half of this couple, I’m pretty sure they’re a package deal.  I love watching Ellen in the mornings.  She’s such a positive influence on the rest of my day.  I know how incredibly corny that probably sounded but it’s true.  I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with people and things that bring joy into your world.  Life is so short and it seems so fruitless to focus on the things that bring you down.  Sure, life is life and there will be bad days but Ellen and Portia are great examples the good things that happen when you never stop pursuing your passions.  If you need a little sunshine in your life use that space on your DVR to record Ellen.  You won’t be sorry.

Ellen monkeying around

Ellen and Portia are both huge, huge, huge supporters of animal rights and support several charities that work to end cruelty against animals.  A couple of weeks ago we talked about the big role they play in giving back to The Gentle Barn, but they don’t stop there my friends.  Another one of Ellen’s favorite animal related non-profits is Animal Tracks, Inc.  ATI works to give rare and exotic animals a new place to live when they can’t be returned to their natural habitat.  These animals aren’t just laying around all day eating fruit either.  They are educating the public about their specific species, and what they can do to conserve wildlife around the globe.  Their education super stars range from Pebbles the kookaburra to Erma the Burmese python.  ATI also has a very hands-on approach to teaching and learning.  There are no spectators in their presentations, only participants.  For over twenty years they have made learning what it should be; FUN!  And if anyone knows how to have some fun it’s my girl Ellen.  Another passion that Ellen and Portia share is helping children.  Project Zambi was started by the toy giant Hasboro (think Mr. Potato Head, NERF, and Monopoly) to help support programs that help children who have been orphaned by the AIDS virus in Africa.  Nearly 15 million children under the age of 17 have lost one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS.  This event alone is traumatizing enough but it also puts these children at risk for a declined standard of living.  PZ helps financially support programs for these children, but they also encourage children here in America and other countries across the world to get involved with this fight.  It means so much to these orphaned children to know that they have friends who care about them, no matter how far away they may be.  If kids learn the joy of giving back early, they are much more likely to be life-long givers like Ellen and Portia.

Animal Tracks Inc. Donation

Project Zambi Donation

So here’s to you Ellen and Portia!  You’re not afraid to be who you truly are, and people adore you for that.  Luckily for the world, who you are is helping to make the people around you and better.  Your spirit is contagious and your laughter could bring a smile to anyone’s face.  Your genuineness is palpable, even through the TV, and I’m so thankful that you’ve opened your hearts and lives to us all. 

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 28-When I grow up… Day 4-Ballerina

Being a ballerina was cool long before Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis starred in the award-winning Black Swan.  Anyone who’s seen Black Swan will probably agree that they don’t exactly what to grow up like those two girls, but wearing a tutu and prancing around the stage for your job has to be awesome.  You also have a killer body as a ballerina, and what women doesn’t want that?  I took ballet when I was in elementary school, and I always wished I’d stayed with it longer.  Even though my ballet career was cut short at the tender age of 5, I’m still so thankful for all the memories and adorable photos my Mom still has to prove it.

I think that every child should have the chance to follow their dreams and explore as many hobbies as the possibly can.  Rosie’s Theater Kids is doing their part in making that happen.  They provide professional teaching in dance, music, and drama and a professional theater experience to kids who would have otherwise not had the chance.  If you’re wondering if the Rosie in the RTF is Rosie O’Donnell, then your hunch was right, she is masterheart behind the project.  The mission of RTF is to “inspire excellence, motivate learning, uplift the human spirit, and to instill a lifelong appreciation of the arts.”  No easy task especially with little human beings who have the attention span of a goldfish.  They must be doing something right though because RTK is reaching over 5,100 children and their families, eighty percent of which are low-income,  in the New York City area.  They are rehearsing for life, and succeeding I might add.  Another dance phenomenon that has swept that nation is Dancing With The Stars!  Judge Carrie Ann Inaba may be tough on-screen, but she’s a softie when it comes to charity.  She is national celebrity spokesperson of The Andréa Rizzo Foundation which helps children with special needs and cancer through the power of dance.  The foundation was formed in memory of Andréa who survived childhood cancer, and tragically lost her life to a drunk driver when she was only 24 back in 2002.  Her friends and family have made sure that her dream to give back some of which she felt so fortunate to receive didn’t end just because her life was cut too short.  ARF provides funding for expressive movement dance class and provided trained Dance/Movement Therapists to work one-on-one with children in pediatric center across the country.  Sometimes our hearts lead our feet to the place where we can help other the most, without us even realizing it.

Rosie’s Theater Kids Donation

The Andréa Rizzo Foundation Donation

So here’s to being a ballerina!  You have inspired many little girls, and some boys, to embrace leotards, lace-up slippers, and lots of pink stuff.  Without you there would be no Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and even Cinderella.  Thanks tutu you for making tights and leg warmers an essential part of every girl’s wardrobe.

Tutu cute!

Week 25-Celebrity Apprentice, Day 6-John Rich

And the winner of Celebrity Apprentice season 4 finale is….John Rich!  That’s right folks John had himself a big and rich time all the way to the end when he heard The Donald say, “You’re hired.”  He’s not only an extremely talented singer but also an award-winning songwriter who has written some favorites like “Redneck Woman” and “Here for the Party”.  I actually had the opportunity to see Big & Rich in concert many moons ago, and let me tell you, they put on one heck of show.  Plus, I can never get the words of “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy” out of my head once I’ve heard had it blaring from my car radio.  I’m thankful that this cowboy showed the world that Southern hospitality extends beyond sweet tea and apple pie.

John was playing for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which all you avid blog readers out there will remember that I’ve already written about in Week 8.  Honestly though, I would write about this great charity a million times over because how can you not love St. Jude?  I mean they are so loved that they are the main charity for country music, which is why John chose to play for them on CA.  I think he hits the nail on head when he said during his Q&A session that, “…I believe that the most important thing in this world is the kids. If you have the chance to help them, you always should.”  He raised over $1.2 million over this season to help the hospital that never turns away any child because they can’t afford the treatment they need.  Country Cares For St. Jude Kids gives country starts an outlet on the radio that has resulted in over $385 million over the past thirty years.  I would be a fool to try to compare any other charity to St. Jude, so I’m not going to, but I am going to tell you about Whatever It Takes.

Big smiles for Rich

WIT has gathered 660 world leaders that range in occupation from writers to Nobel Peace Prize Laureates to create original artwork that feature “Symbols of hope for the 21 century.”  All of the money raised from the auction of the artwork goes to many different causes that address issues we are facing in the 21st century like poverty, environmental conservation, and protecting children.  St. Jude is among the list of charities that are a party of this unique and fascinating project.  If you’re looking to redecorate your house or buy a one-of-a-kind present for the graduate in your life please check out their shop before heading down to Target or TJ Maxx.  You’ll be one thanking me this time.

Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Donation

Whatever It Takes Donation

So here’s to you John Rich!  You are known for your signature hat and handlebar mustache, but now you’ll forever be the Season 4 Celebrity Apprentice winner!  You played with integrity, heart, and passion for one of the greatest charities there is.  Trust me, your loyalty and hard work have not gone unnoticed.  You may have done it for the kids, but you’ve touched the lives and hearts of a lot of grownups too. 

Week 25-Celebrity Apprentice, Day 5-Marlee Matlin

First of all, can we just talk about how this is week 25.  Really?  That means that next week marks the official half-way point in this labor of love.  I wouldn’t be here without the push from you guys out there reading, so thank you.  Ok, now on to this season’s finalist Marlee Matin.  She has been acting since the tender age of 7 as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at a children’s theater company in Chicago.  Totally a girl after my own heart.  She has been in The West Wing, The L Word, and of course Dancing With the Stars.  Oh did I also mention that she is a mother of four?  If you’re wondering if she doubles as Super Woman when the sun goes down, then we’re definitely on the same page.  I’m so thankful for strong women of integrity in the entertainment business who are amazing role models for girls.

Marlee has already raised over $1 million dollars for her charity of choice, Starkey Hearing Foundation.  Founded almost 27 years ago, SHF is supported by the likes of Bill Rancic, Miley Cyrus, and Patricia Arquette in their mission to change the social consciousness of hearing through education and research while providing the gift of hearing to those in need around the world.  They have given almost 500,000 hearing devices to those who couldn’t afford them by themselves all across the globe.  Even though that is a great accomplishment SHF is not resting on their good merit and taking a break.  There are still 63 million hearing impaired children around the globe who still need the gift of hearing.  SHF is also in the business of educating young people about how they can protect their hearing from a young age.  The House Ear Institute is also using education to improve the quality of life of those suffering from hearing loss.  HEI has been pushing the research envelope since 1964 to explore the auditory system all the way from the ear canal to cortex of the brain.  A real life Dr. House was the founder of HEI over 60 years ago and has watched it grow from a one-person office to a five-story building with over 180 staff members.  They are working to improve hearing aids, auditory implants, and clinical treatments for this generation and the next.  They have turned up the volume on what we should expect from research.

Starkey Hearing Foundation Donation

House Ear Institute Donation

So here’s to you Marlee Matin!  You are beautiful, talented, and my new role model.  I’m not even going to try to form some witty sentences or play on words to express how thankful I am for this woman.  She is already a winner, but hearing Donald Trump tell her she is hired would be the perfect cherry on top of the sundae.

Week 25-Celebrity Apprentice, Day 4-La Toya Jackson

You may have heard about this family called the Jacksons.  They’re a pretty big deal.  La Toya has been at the front of the entertainment-driven family since she was a wee tot.  CA gave her the perfect opportunity to keep carrying on the charity work started by her late brother Michael.  She may be lumped in with her very famous family but La Toya has made a name for herself by having her own solo music career and a very infamous Playboy magazine appearance.  She may be the fifth of ten children but she was never one to hide in the crowd.  Usually I’m not a fan of people using their names to get where they want to be in life, but because La Toya wants to be in place that helps people, I’ll let her slide.

The charity that La Toya is playing for on CA is the AIDS Project Los Angeles.  This charity was close to her heart because Michael was such a big supporter before he passed away a couple of years ago, and she can honor his memory while she helps those in need.  La Toya has helped APLA by visiting with patients who have AIDS, bringing them food, and assisting them in any way she could.  APLA is dedicated to improving the lives of those with HIV/AIDS and reducing the incidence of this terrible auto-immune disease.  Founded back in 1982 APLA uses education to empower LA and realize there is nothing more important than protecting yourself.  Another great charity that is fighting back against the AIDS epidemic is Keep A Child Alive.  I actually found out about KACA because they started following me on Twitter!  I knew that week of blogging about social networks would pay off.  There are so many great things about KACA but I absolutely love their Daily Inspirations page.  It gives the public a place to see why they do what they do day-in and day-out.  KACA knows there is a profound difference between life and living.  They work in South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and India to save lives of innocent people by giving them anti-retroviral medication and endless care and support.  The best part is, you don’t have to go to any of those places to save a life.  You can just buy it.  Seriously, when you donate to KACA you are buying a life.  “Because the more  you buy, the more you save.”  Simple, inspiring, and powerful.  Amazing.

AIDS Project Los Angeles Donation

Keep A Child Alive Donation

So here’s to you La Toya Jackson!  You may or may not have had too many surgeries, but we all know that beauty is not only skin deep.  Your heart and your pocketbook are both made of gold, and you love to give of them both freely.  You and your brothers taught us ABC was as simple as 123, and tonight I’ve discovered that it is so simple for you because charity is number 1.