Tag Archives: Alex & Ani

Give Love: 5 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas With Heart

Give Love: 5 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas With Heart

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and this year more than ever the need to spread the love is real. Here are five Valentine’s Day gift ideas with heart.

1.Heart of Haiti

In Haiti I stocked up on heart shaped art pieces while on my recent trip to visit artisans with the Artisan Business Network who create pieces for the Macy’s Heart of Haiti line.  The art of Haiti is beautiful, and the hearts depicted everywhere throughout are part of the reason that it resonated so much with me.  Haitian art is heavily influenced by Vodou veves, or symbols, and the heart represents the goddess of love, Erzulie. These pieces make perfect Valentine’s Day gifts because when you purchase them you are helping to support Haitian artisans and their families. It is like giving twice, and you don’t have to travel to Haiti to find them since Macy’s partners with the Artisans and carries Heart of Haiti products online and in their stores.

Heart of Haiti

2. FashionAble

While in Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow I had the opportunity to visit the FashionAble factory where I met women waving beautiful scarves and better lives. Since then FashionAble has branched out into leather goods and jewelry and I am in love with their new lines. Each piece gives back to those building a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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3. Roost Crate

Give your honey some honey!  My father was a bee keeper so I grew up harvesting and eating honey on everything. Honey and Honey bees have a special place in my heart so when I saw that the February Roost Crate “Farmer’s market in a box” was dedicated to honey I had to order one as a gift to myself!  A Roost Crate “you’re the Bee’s knees” box would also make a super sweet gift to your honey! If your sweetheart is a foodie you might just sign them up for one of the subscription options and keep the love flowing month after month!

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4. (RED)

(RED) always has fantastic partnerships and proceeds from (RED) products go to the fight against HIV/AIDS. My favorite this Valentine’s Day is the (RED) app! How cute are these emojis?!? A cute, simple gift to download on your Valentine’s phone.

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5. Alex & Ani

I love this local Rhode Island company that gives back globally. They have partnered with (RED) for a collection of bracelets that benefit The Global Fund. Perfect for your Valentine!

ALEX AND ANIl contributes 20% of the purchase price of each Heart of Strength Charm sold, with a minimum contribution of $25,000 between January 2017 and December 2017 to Global Fund to fight AIDS with (RED)®.

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The Alex & Ani #NewBeginnings Charm Bangle In Partnership With ONE

The Alex & Ani #NewBeginnings Charm Bangle In Partnership With ONE
The Alex & Ani New Beginnings Charm Bangle

The Alex & Ani New Beginnings Charm Bangle

 “The 8-sided sun represents the universal law that life’s outcomes are a reflection of your efforts and power as an individual. You have limitless opportunity to positively lead and affect others, to empower yourself to shine brighter than yesterday, to let your passions spark action. Embrace the energy of this powerful charm and create your own new beginning.”-Alex & Ani

I love everything about the New Beginnings charm bangle that Alex & Ani Charity By Design has released in partnership with ONE.  I love the design, the message behind it, and the ideals that a percentage of the proceeds go to support.   After all, life is really a series of New Beginnings; each new day brings us new possibilities, and change is the one constant we can depend on.  As a mother I often feel that as soon as I’ve mastered one stage of parenting, it’s time to move on to the next. Each stage brings new gifts and new challenges, and I suppose that has kept my husband and I on our toes. In the meantime we try to truly appreciate each stage knowing that it is fleeting. So as my children grow, my own identity shifts as well. I am no longer the mother of babies all consumed with their care, now as a mother of school age children,  I have broadened my energy towards not just positively influencing my own children, but the world beyond. This has opened up exciting New Beginnings for me, returning to my documentary background in a new digital platform by founding documama.org. This phase of new beginnings for my work life, is exhilarating, I’ve loved getting back to the global issues that spark my passion.

Elizabeth Atalay and Alex & Ani Founder Carolyn Rafaelian

Elizabeth Atalay and Alex & Ani Founder Carolyn Rafaelian

Like many other Rhode Islanders I have been cheering Alex & Ani on from the sidelines since the first store opened in Newport.  At a time when job prospects in Rhode Island faltered, giving us one of the worst unemployment rates in the country, Alex & Ani has managed to thrive and grow. Not only did the company add much-needed jobs to the economy, but the positive energy philosophy it espoused brought hope to the state as well.  In the spirit of New Beginnings, Carolyn Rafaelian had breathed new life into the family jewelry business, the Rhode Island economy, and singularly launched the charm bangle frenzy that has gone viral. Along with my love of their meaningful designs, one of my favorite aspects of Alex & Ani all along has been their Charity By Design commitment.  Through Charity By Design Non-Profits are supported in their mission to make the world a better place, and consumers are given the opportunity to use their purchasing power for social good. A portion of the proceeds for Charity By Design Bracelets goes directly to the organizations that they represent.

IMG_2317One of the first things I did upon launching documama.org was to become a ONE Moms community partner. I have since participated in grassroots campaigns on nutrition, immunization programs, energy, and foreign aid with ONE. ONE Campaign has been cultivating new beginnings for millions around the world in the quest to end extreme poverty and preventable disease through advocacy, and action for decades.  These actions have global impact both large and small. From the new beginnings of one tiny baby who will go on to survive due to health programs funded by the G-8 pledge ONE secured in 2005, or the massive impact the newly passed Electrify Africa Act will have on the lives of 50 million people gaining electricity for the first time. As a ONE Moms Community partner, and a Rhode Islander enamored by the Alex & Ani commitment to social good, I knew collaboration between the two would be a perfect match.

One of my favorite things is to connect amazing people and see what magic happens, so I connected the two organizations a couple of years ago in hopes of exactly that.  The New Beginnings charm bangle is the result of that collaboration, so to me it feels like a dream come true. The hope and possibility of new beginnings are what both ONE and Alex & Ani support on a daily basis, and the dynamic teams of ONE and Alex & Ani Charity By Design came up with a talisman so powerful and beautiful, that it sold out in the first two weeks it hit the stores.   The poignant message of the New Beginnings charm bangle not only symbolizes the positive energy of the wearer, but the positive energy put forth into the world when it is purchased.  Soon my New Beginnings charm bangle will be glinting in the African sun as it dangles from my wrist. As I embark on my International Reporting Project New Media fellowship trip to Ethiopia, it will be there to remind me:

“You have limitless opportunity to positively lead and affect others, to empower yourself to shine brighter than yesterday, to let your passions spark action. Embrace the energy of this powerful charm and create your own new beginning.”-Alex & Ani

10 Mindful Gifts To Give

10 Mindful Gifts To Give

Here are a few of my favorite Gifts to give this year:

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” -Mother Teresa

1. I Just love the idea behind The Giving Keys , AND the necklaces & bracelets are super cool!

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“When you get this Key, you must give it away at some point to a person you feel needs the message, then write us the story of why you gave it away.

We employ those looking to transition out of homelessness.” -The Giving Keys

2.  Along with being a hot trend, Alex & Ani Charity by design products donate a percentage back to designated non-profits, their products are made in the USA from recycled materials, and spread the message of positive energy! They have branched out from bangles to key chains, and candles, wine charms & more!

Alex & Ani Bracelets

Alex & Ani Bracelets

3. I constantly get compliments on my Mielie bag and love the mission of the company, I love it even more so after my visit to a couple of the townships in South Africa.

Mielie Bag Made in South Africa

Mielie Bag Made in South Africa

Our mission is to design and produce innovative, export-quality hand-crafted products using reclaimed materials – with the aim of creating employment and restoring dignity and financial independence to South Africans.- Mielie

4. I am obsessed with Babs felted bags that are  made by a local artist in Rhode Island, so many beautiful styles to choose from!

Babs Handbag

Babs Handbag


5. The Anchal Project Mission  merges design, business, and education to empower marginalized and exploited women living in India. Their scarves are gorgeous and the company was founded by two Rhode Island School of design Grads!

Anchal Scarf

Anchal Scarf

Anchal is an Indian word that means shelter, or refers to the edge of a woman’s Sari used to provide comfort and protection for loved ones.-Anchal Project


6. Ethiopian Textiles are stunning and FashionABLE Scarves drape you in style while helping to support women and families in Ethiopia.

Photo Credit: Hornick/Rivlin

Photo Credit: Hornick/Rivlin

“Through your purchase, you are ABLE to provide opportunity, and a woman is ABLE to have a new choice.”-LiveFashionABLE

7. Give the gift of music with the new Dance (RED) Saves lives Album. The 9.99 you pay will can provide 25 days of life saving medication.  100% of proceeds from all (RED) Products goes to support the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria.

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8. When you purchase gifts from UncommonGoods , which is a B Corporation (and my favorite gift catalog) you can choose which charity from their Better To Give program they will automatically donate $1.00 to on your behalf at checkout.

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9. Kids Books from Little Pickle Press, also a B Corporation, with the BEST books for kids!

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10. And for that person who has everything, Give A Goat! Two of my favorite organizations ONE & Heifer International have teamed up for a limited opportunity:

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Goats can help pull families out of extreme poverty by giving them milk to sell at the markets, providing a much-needed source of income.

Heifer International and The ONE Campaign have joined forces to help end extreme poverty. Heifer International works with smallholder farmers to promote economic self-sustainability and good health.  ONE is an advocacy organization of more than 3 million people who use their voices to influence policies that fight extreme poverty and preventable disease.

Happy Giving!

For more ideas Visit My Mindful Giving Gift Guide For The Foodie!

February is All About The Heart: Alex & Ani Goes Red For The American Heart Association

February is All About The Heart: Alex & Ani Goes Red For The American Heart Association

With my co-Hosts Audrey McClelland and Sherri Tracey at our Alex & Ani Party to benefit The American Heart Association

February is all about the heart, and The American Heart Association wants to raise awareness about the # 1 killer of women (& men) in America.  All this month through events like the Red on the Runway fashion show at Styleweek Northeast, Alex & Ani parties with a purpose, and the Go Red for women luncheon, the message of how to stay heart healthy is being spread.  

On February 1st to help kick off a month of Heart Health awareness for The American Heart Association , (deemed Wear Red Day by the AHA) ,  several  Alex & Ani stores held Parties With A Purpose.  Stores flooded with women in red shopping for a purpose, while awareness was raised about heart health, and the risks for women. The Alex & Ani Best Friends Bangle created in conjunction with The American Heart Association through Alex & Ani Charity By Design, which donates a portion of proceeds from each bangle to the charity.

Having lost my father to heart disease when I was 13 years old, this effort is near and dear to me.   I became involved with The American Heart Association last year, and before then had not realize that Heart Disease was the #1 killer of women.  I was also shocked to meet a couple of survivors who completely went against my perception of what someone who might suffer a heart attack would look like.  Both of them slim, fit, women in their mid-forties who eat right and exercise.

The most poignant quote that I heard from spokesperson Deb Kozial was when she asked her doctor if someone like her, in such good shape, could suffer a heart attack, then why bother doing all of the things she had been doing to stay healthy when it happened anyway? Her doctor replied that if she had not been in such good shape, the two of them would not be sitting there having that conversation, because her body would not have been strong enough to have survived.

The symptoms that women exhibit when experiencing a heart attack are different from what a men might experience, and are important to be aware of.   Women may experience chest Pain, Pain in Arms, Neck or Jaw, stomach pain or discomfort, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, light-headedness or fatigue. I love this short by Elizabeth Banks that so perfectly captures the mom mentality when it comes to her life.

The Go Red campaign intends to spread the message that women, who are so often busy taking care of everybody else, need to take care of themselves first, and remind other women they love in their lives, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends, to do the same. For more heart healthy tips on prevention go to the American Heart Association website. After all, in the month of February it’s all about the heart.

Giving Tuesday Helps To Balance Out Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Giving Tuesday Helps To Balance Out Black Friday & Cyber Monday


With the National Movement of Giving Tuesday being created I now know for sure that I am not the only out there who feels like the commercialism and excess of the holiday season in this country has gotten a bit out of hand.  It is not even Thanksgiving and I am hearing Christmas music playing throughout the mall.  We seem to have lost a bit of the message in the madness of “the giving season”.   Everyone is just so busy trying to keep up with the expectations that we have created, and I’ll admit that I am as guilty as the rest.  We want to stir up excitement and memories for our family, sometimes giving extravagantly to show how much we love each other.  I fall into the same commercial frenzy despite the pit in my stomach telling me we don’t need more.  There are many people out there who do need more, and this year I feel hopeful, because there are some new tools in place to help us turn things around, and head in the right direction. The inaugural Giving Tuesday is a great place to start.

“On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, the collective power of charities, families, businesses and individuals will transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday will create a national movement around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.”-www.givingtuesday.org

Giving Tuesday provides a way to harness all of the grateful energy amassed over Thanksgiving and transform it directly into the spirit of helping others.  Having lost both of my own parents before having my own children I know that nothing in life matters as much as your loved ones, and sitting around our Thanksgiving table I am always struck with deep gratitude for my family, our health, our safety and comfortable life.  These are not things that I take for granted.  Extensive travel through developing nations gave me an acute awareness of our good fortune to live in a place where food security, education and housing are the norm. There are still those even in this country to whom those basic needs do not come easily, and I feel that it is our basic human responsibility to extend a hand if we can.   There are so many positive ways to give to either family members or strangers in need, and this year, as always I will try to teach my kids the true meaning of “The Giving Season”.  I know I will still happily take part in picking out gifts for each of my family members, because there is true joy in finding something great to give someone you know they will love.  I will also try to be somewhat practical in my gift giving, and on Giving Tuesday make sure my family marks the day by giving back to others in need. Here are a few ideas:

There are still many on the East Coast who need supplies due to the storm, and we donated coats and canned goods to help fill three school buses that brought supplies from our town to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Our local food bank has many collections this time of year and I make sure each of my four kids brings in contributions to donate to the Girl Scouts Food Drive or Student Council, or whichever one of their activities is collecting.

We have adopted a family in past years where we get a list of family members to purchase gifts for so they have something to give their children and receive for the holidays. I have my kids think about and pick out the gifts for kids closest to their ages.

This year I feel like there are so many gift-giving options that are gifts that give back. Tom’s shoes for example, where for each pair of shoes you buy one pair is donated to a child who needs them. I am going to try to give as many of those types of gifts possible to family and friends. Other companies that offer some great gifts that give back options are UNICEF, FashionABLE, FEED, Alex & Ani Charity by Design bracelets.


What are some other ways that you can think of to help celebrate Giving Tuesday?

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

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