It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: water

Week 51-Meet me in… Day 5-The Couch

It has been one of those lazy, rainy Sundays that I love.  It was filled with lots of catching up on TV shows, sleep, and quality time with my family.  Long story short, the couch has been my best friend today.  We bought this little love seat before we moved to New Jersey and it has served us well.  It’s the perfect size for the two of us, or the four of us, if the puppies jump up for a snuggle.  I think when you work really hard all week you can really appreciate the down time you get on the weekends.  When you have the hectic and unpredictable schedule of a graduate student, rest and relaxation is on the top of your thankful list.  Especially when you have the whole week off from classes because of Thanksgiving this week!

Music to my ears 🙂

We all have our favorite furniture in our homes, but what do you do with those items when you have loved them to pieces?  Donate them of course!  The problem is some of us don’t even know where to start looking when it’s time to donate items.  Luckily for you and me Donation Town takes all the guess-work out of donating.  Started in 2008, DT wanted to be sure that they were focused on helping people donate non-cash items.  DT also lets you know which charities will come and pick up your charitable donations, which is perfect for those of us who can never seem to make it down to Goodwill or Salvation Army.  Your donation is also still tax-deductible, and the bigger your couch the bigger the deduction you’ll get.  Lots of people are totally unaware that great charities have pick-up services.  DT realized this and decided they could get help get the word out.  It’s a totally free service run by people just like you and me.  One of my favorite shows to watch on Sundays is The Sopranos.  Lorraine Bracco, or Dr. Melfi as we all affectionately know her, has written a booked ironically called “On the Couch”.  She isn’t just at home sitting on her couch though, because she’s on the Board of Directors for the Riverkeeper Inc, which is devoted to protecting the Hudson River and it’s tributaries.  Despite what you might think, the Hudson is a healthy ecosystem that is full of life.  It also provides safe drinking water for 9 million people who live in and around New York City.  The Hudson is also a great place to play!  Millions of people go swimming, boating, and fishing in the Hudson every year.  When you live in a concrete jungle like NYC it’s nice to have a place to get away from it all.  Since 1966, RK has been an advocate for clean water through education, legislation, and enforcement.  I love the Hudson and miss seeing it everyday.  It’s nice to know RK is protecting it so it’ll be right where I left it when I go back and visit NYC.

Schedule a Donation Town Pick Up!

Riverkeeper Inc. Donation

So here’s to you couches everywhere!  You’re the place where we crash after a long day or week.  You come in as many colors and styles as our imaginations can come up with.  Sometimes you recline or can be pulled out, which makes you even more comfortable.  Thank you for being there when I’m feeling lazy, and not judging me.  Seriously, that’s hard to find these days.

Nap for one please!

2700 for 27!

Hello my lovely readers!  Just in case any of you guys weren’t aware, my birthday will be upon us in a month!  I’ll be the big 27 and I’ve decided to celebrate in a new way this year.  Even though I hate to admit it sometimes, I have plenty of stuff.  Probably too much, especially if you ask my husband, but the point is, I can’t think of anything I want or need in the form of a birthday present.  So in the spirit of this thankful journey I’ve taken over the past year, I’ve decided to start a birthday campaign for charity:  water.  Some of you might remember this charity from very first week of blogging last year.  It really touched my heart, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to help fund a drilling rig that will supply thousands of people in Ethiopia with clean water.  Tell your friends, family, neighbors, strangers in the street, tell everybody!  Help make my 27th birthday one that will be remembered forever by me, and those who will be provided with clean water.  Charity: water even gave me a nifty little website for my campaign where you can donate.  Thanks for giving me the best gift of all, your support and your money.  Hey nobody said being my friend was cheap. 🙂

This is what our money will help provide! Awesome, I know.

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 29-Sweet Summertime, Day 2-Thunderstorms

Some people, and a lot of dogs, are scared of thunderstorms but I love them.  We would always sit out on our front porch in the porch swing while the thunder clapped around us and the lightning struck the fields around us.  My mom would take pictures and we would try to guess where the next bolt was going to hit.  It was as if we were in the protective bubble from the storm beating down all around us.  Thunderstorms also bring the huge sigh of relief that the thirsty crops and farmers need from the sweltering summer heat.  I’m thankful for the rain that waters our soils, but I think I’m even more thankful for the nostalgia I feel where I hear those raindrops start coming down.

Rain is what gives us the food on our table and sustains our bodies, so why aren’t we out there with buckets every time it rains saving all we can?  The people from Save The Rain asked that same question, and decided  that’s exactly what they were gonna do.  STR teaches communities in need of clean water to drink how to collect roof and surface water and then clean it with sand filtration.  The smartest part is all of the systems put in by STR is that they are constructed using local materials and local labor.  This means that if one of the systems breaks the people of the community are able to repair it, therefore making it  sustainable.  Every fifteen seconds a child dies from lack of clean water, and the solution is falling from the sky, literally.  Think of it like this, for every 1 inch of rain fall on a 1000 square foot surface, 600 gallons of water can be collected.   Those are the numbers that change lives.  Even though the Canuks lost the Stanley Cup finals, and their fans lost their minds, they still have the great charity WaterCan to redeem their spirits.  Founded in 1987 WC is dedicated to helping some of the world’s poorest people gain access to clean water.  WC works exclusively in the four eastern African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.  WC is unique because they work incredibly hard to stay tuned-in to the needs of each individual community.  Their team works with local African advisors who manage the projects going on within the indigenous communities.  This gives WC the advantage of having team members who know the local language and customs, having existing relationships with African communities and governments, and are in a better position to asses and remedy any problems that arise.  WaterCan save lives.

Save The Rain Donation

WaterCan Donation

Bring on the rain!

So here’s to you thunderstorms!  You’re my happy place during the summer when I feel like the heat is going to melt me into a puddle of my former self.  You are also the reason we lost multiple VCRs and even a few TVs growing up, but don’t worry I forgive you.  Thank you for watering our crops, our beautiful summer flowers, the green grass we love to walk barefoot in, and our souls.  U2 know what I’m talking about. 

Week 20-Social Networks, Day 6-LivingSocial

Raise your hand if you like a good deal.  I’m imagining a sea of hands raised out there, because who doesn’t like to get things are bargain prices?  LivingSocial delivers great deals to your Inbox daily!  Do you love to go out to eat?  Oh well he’s a deal where you can get twice as much food for half the price!  Maybe you’re more into drinking your calories, they have deals for that too.  The best part, they give back to charities too!  Some of you may have even purchased the $5 donation to American Red Cross, which LS matched, for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.  You probably could have guessed that though based on what this blog is all about.  I am extremely thankful anytime I can be social and give back all at once.  And if I can do it with a glass of wine in my hand all the while, then kudos to me.

Hand washing station in Malawai (photo courtesy of

LivingSocial was started in 2007 by a few smart people including Steve Case, who is the co-founder of AOL.  Yes, the AOL.  Steve and his wife Jean also began their own philanthropic effort, The Case Foundation, ten years prior to LS.  TCF has an great program called Gear Up for Giving which offers miniature tutorials on how non-profits can utilize social media to spread the word about their cause.  They even have seven “giving gurus” who help answer any specific questions you might have about social media and how it can help your charity.  TCF is like the Gates Foundation in that they have more money than God, and therefore don’t need our money.  They do support lots of other charities though like Water For People.  Like you already know by now, I have a passion for charities that bring clean water to those around the world.  It’s such a basic necessity that we, myself totally included, take for granted constantly.  Since they officially began in 1991 WFP works off four basic principles that all serve one basic need.  We also need to learn to all get along.  TCF also supports the Buxton Initiative which facilitates real conversations between people of different faiths and backgrounds to promote understanding, trust, and friendship.  After the tragic events of 9/11 the tension between Christians and Muslims was at a all-time high, and something needed to be done.  Two former ambassadors, one Muslim and one Christian, started this candid conservation with just the two of them and then the BI grew out of their relationship.  Sharing is caring, and giving is living.

Water For People Donation

Buxton Initiative Donation

So here’s to you LivingSocial!  You have helped me get great deals on movie tickets and Amazon gift cards.  I can always count on you to send me an email every morning and see if I want to purchase anything from skydiving to a donation to help those in need.  You may be in the business of making money, but your heart is already made of gold.  Thanks for helping us live social, and live selflessly.

Week 17-Music, Day 6-Music Videos

Yea I do!

Music videos may seem so 1990’s to you, but let me be the first to let you know, they are coming back in a major way.  Even better, they are coming back for great causes.  I mean seriously who didn’t love watching cutie Carson Daly on MTV’s Total Request Live?  He was the video jockey, and had everyone asking, “Have you seen the video for that song?”.  Videos bring the songs we love to life and help us put faces with the names of new artists.  If music and charity go together like peas and carrots that makes music videos the butter on top.  A little slice of heaven that makes the dish of donation perfect.

H to the IZZO otherwise known as Jay-Z made a video of a different kind to support UNICEF.  Instead of having sexy girls with minimal clothing fogging up the television screen, the video chronicles his journey through developing countries where he met with young people who didn’t have access to clean water.  There are over 2 million children who die unnecessarily due to unsafe water and poor sanitation.  In “Water for Life” he also walked some of the routes with the kids who fetch clean water for their families every day.  Water is such a basic need that we, myself majorly included, take for granted multiple times a day.  It’s one of those causes that will never get enough attention or support.  It’s that important.  Nowadays you can’t think of music videos without the band OK Go popping into your head.  Their video White Knuckles is a great example of them flexing their creative muscles.  The video is full of lucky pups who were rescued by loving families, and OK Go donates the proceeds from the sale of their single to the ASPCA.  As far as I’m concerned, rescuing innocent animals that have been abandoned or born in shelters ranks right up there with providing clean water to children.  We are the voice for the cuddly, innocent, dogs and cats that aren’t able to speak up for themselves.  So whenever you get a chance just add rescue an adorable animal and provide clean water for the world to the top of your to-do list.  No biggie.

Go ahead. Write it at the top...

UNICEF Donation

ASPCA Donation (or go adopt an animal!)

So here’s to you music videos!  You taught us the proper way to get down to our favorite songs on the radio.  You were the reason thousands of people were glued to their TVs at 4 o’clock every day when the MTV video countdown began.  You give artists the creative license to make the vision in their head come to life, and share it with the world.  You have gone through a transformation since your inception, and now you are teaching people to give back instead of getting down.  In the 90’s people may have wanted their MTV, but now they want their GBTV (give back TV).

Week 1-Food, Day 6-Water

Once again I realize that water is not food, but it is obviously essential to our everyday survival.  I think it is also one of the easiest things to take for granted living in America.  We walk right up to our sinks and wash our hands, rinse off our dishes, and fill up big glasses of water to drink.  I know lately I’ve been trying to drink less soda and more water, and today it hit me what a luxury this is.  There are close to a billion people across the planet without clean drinking water.  I don’t know about you, but I was genuinely shocked by this number.

Luckily there are lots of great organizations out there who are two steps ahead of me, but I’m going to focus on one in particular.  chairty: water was founded in 2006 and has raised almost $20 million dollars and funded over 3100 projects to bring clean water to 1.4 million people!  It’s easy to see why if you visit their website.  A single donation of $20 will supply one person with clean water for twenty years.  Or you can buy a sweet t-shirt, new year’s eve tie, next year’s calendar, or a gelaskin for your latest apple products to help give people clean water.  I have to admit I am totally obsessed with this charity.  The story of how Scott Harrison started the company four years ago was enough for me to well up while reading it.  I want to buy all of their lower east side inspired merchandise and wear them all at the same time to spread the word about charity: water.  But most importantly, they remind me why I wanted to write this blog in the first place.  They are changing the world and I want to support them however I can.  You can find the link to donate below and a few other links that echo charity: water’s mission.

charity: water donate

Water Aid donate

Water Charity donate

Tonight as I run my dishwasher, take a hot shower, and drink my Yogi Bedtime tea I will continue to be thankful for good, simple H2O.  Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen, and always a part of life.