Tag Archives: Tom’s Shoes

Mindful Giving Guide: Gifts That Give Back

Mindful Giving Guide: Gifts That Give Back


10 Gifts That Give Back:

1.FashionABLE  Scarves: The scarf pictured here was exclusively made for ONE by fashionABLE out of 100% light weight African cotton. The Feleku scarf was created when the ONEMoms (Including my amazing sister-in-law Jeannine Harvey) were on their recent trip to Ethiopia. ONE has partnered with FashionABLE, a company that works to create economic opportunities for women in Ethiopia by creating handmade scarves.  Each style is named after the woman that designed it and includes a tag describing what she is able to do as a result of having a job. This scarf is named after Feleku, who is now ABLE to face new challenges.

2.Lollie Beads Bracelets are created from fair trade recycled glass beads made in Uganda. So they are not only gorgeous (the glass beads look and feel like sea glass) but they are good for the environment AND help support sustainable livings in a developing country.



3.I first heard of The Anchal Project at the Rhode Island School of Design Student and Alumni Art sale where I bought a small moleskin notebook to support it.  Since then they have branched out into an incredible array of crafts including these beautiful quilts to support  their mission: “Anchal merges design, business, and education to empower marginalized and exploited women living in India.”-Anchal Mission Statement

4.These Tom’s wedges are at the top of my teenage daughter’s wish list, so you know they are cool! Tom’s keeps its designs fresh while still managing to provide shoes and glasses to those who need them. I know I’ve said this before, but I love their One for One business model (and pledge to support it with as many shoes as I can get away with!)

5.Whenever I carry my FEED bag I get compliments and inquiries about it, and I love promoting their wonderful program.  Products from

FEED Project make perfect gifts that give back, each product tells you how many kids you are feeding by purchasing it, and you can choose the product based on what efforts you wish to support.  This season I’m lusting after the DKNY collaboration Survival Tote and  NYC  hoodie sweatshirt that supports relief efforts for hurricane sandy victims.

6.Sari Bari  Sari Bari is a safe place of employment where women who have been exploited in the sex trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking can experience a new life in the making. Gorgeous Indian textiles are woven into clothing, accessories and home goods. Tee-shirts, bags and jewelry all help these women live free lives of restoration and hope.


Alex & Ani jewelry is a favorite gift of mine to give, not only is it made from recycled materials, locally owned and founded by a woman, but has a Charity By Design division where a percentage of proceeds from each Charity By Design bracelet goes to a specific cause.You can also customize your gift to the recipients personality or interests with their amazing selection of charm bracelets and charm necklaces.



7.1000 ShillingsUgandan Paper bead necklaces.  The women artisans earn capital for their own small businesses by making limited-edition products for 1000 Shillings. Each product sold through 1000 Shillings helps a woman establish a small business, which enables her to support her family. We also aim to tell the in-depth story behind each artisan.  The company works with six single mothers in the Namatala slum, Uganda.


A Gift As A Gesture:

Sometimes it is hard to find the perfect gift for someone who has every material thing they desire.  Still you want to give something as a token of your appreciation to them and the below gifts are the perfect solution that everyone can feel good about.

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

8. Heifer International :

“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.  It all started with a cow.  Moved by the plight of orphans and refugees of the Spanish Civil War as he ladled out meager rations of powdered milk, Dan West, an Indiana farmer, volunteer relief worker and Church of the Brethren member, grasped that the people needed “a cow, not a cup”—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.” – From the Heifer International Website

9. Save A Life This Christmas with Maternity Worldwide :  “No mother should die while giving birth. By ordering a Safe Birth Certificate you will enable a mother in a developing country to safely give birth to her baby.  Long after the bubble bath has been used and the Christmas hampers have been eaten you will have given a lasting gift which will save a mother’s life and enable her baby to grow up with their mum.”- From the Maternity Worldwide Website

10. UNICEF Child survival Food Pack: “One amazing gift, that does it all. The Child Survival Food Pack has everything needed to save a severely malnourished child, from the time they are brought into an emergency feeding center on the brink of death, till when they are healthy again.  Therapeutic Milk and Therapeutic Food are the miracle supplies that treat severe acute malnutrition. Water Purification Tablets provide clean and safe water and prevent water-borne diseases. Multiple Micronutrient Powder and High-Energy Biscuits give a child the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy.  Your precious gift can bring a child back from the brink of malnutrition, with enough supplies to nurture them to good health for several months.”- UNICEFUSA.org


I am a proud member 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. Some of the suggestions for this post came from the Global Team of 200.   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.  Follow along with us here on Tumblr, on TwitterPinterest, and Facebook for the latest Global Team of 200 news.

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.

Follow along with us here on Tumblr, on TwitterPinterest, and Facebook for the latest Global Team of 200 news.


What Am I Going To Be When I Grow Up?!

What Am I Going To Be When I Grow Up?!

My friend Allison gave me an incredible opportunity last year. She invited me, along with a group of friends, to contribute to her blog www.amomknowsbest.com.   As a successful newscaster Allison Alexander came with legions of followers. She was tolerant, and helpful with my steep technological learning curve.  For a mom who had been out of the work force for over a decade, it was a perfect way to catch up on new  advances in technology, and social media, and to hone my latent writing skills.  I am still learning, and technology seems to be evolving as quickly as I can begin to grasp each new tool.  It occurred to me that it is not entirely unlike Motherhood, I’m just now catching on that as a mother your identity has to shift every few years.  You are not just a mother, you are a mother of a newborn, or a mother of toddlers, a mother of school kids, a mother of teenagers…and so on and so on!   The technology keeps changing just as I learn it!  I can see that I’ll need to evolve with the kids various stages.   Maybe I’ll be prepared by the time I hit the High school, college and empty nest stages……(o.k, bringing that up puts me in a full fledged panic, but I digress).    I’ve been eagerly anticipating my current stage of motherhood, finally getting all my kids in school for a full day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love m children from the depths of my heart, but come on ladies, if you have small kids at home, you are flat out lying if you tell me you haven’t fantasized about this moment too.  So now I have time to ponder the yawning question of    “What do I want to be when I grow up!?!   I know, as a married mother of four in her mid-forties, I kind of am grown up.  I also know that I am not the only one out there with an inner 21 year old, who looks around baffled some days thinking  ”and who thought it was a good idea to give all of this responsibility to me exactly?!”.  Despite that delusional youthful inner being, I do seem to find myself with all evidence pointing to truly, and actually being an adult!  I suppose the lines that have taken up permanent residence on my face are Nature’s gentle reminder of such.

So here I am, a mature woman, almost thirteen years out of the work force, with finally some time to start thinking about what I’d like to be, along with wife and mother.   I allowed myself to savor the first half of the year, and see what it really felt like to have time to myself again.  I found the need to relearn time management in the paradigm of my new schedule, so that I could efficiently balance time for myself with accomplishing the day’s practical tasks.    Entering the second half of the school year, I now feel it is time to start figuring out what I am able do for a job.  There are a few parameters.   Namely the aforementioned kids who need shuttling around in the afternoons, and said husband with primary career of varied schedule. Whatever it is I do, has to take place between the hours of 8:30am and 2:00pm.   That pretty much rules out my previous work in Film Production and renders my Masters degree in Ethnographic filmmaking as obsolete. (a documentary on the anthropology of childrearing in the suburbs, I’m sure would fascinate the masses) So of course I’ve been reading a lot of Oprah and More magazine lately, and taking those quizzes to “find my passion”.    (Off the bat, I’d just say, my husband, eating and drinking, travel, reading, skiing, movies…..)But I don’t think that’s what they mean.  These magazines are full of women who turn their passion into fulfilling moneymaking careers!  They are so inspirational, and yet that whatever it is going to be for me thing seems just beyond my cognitive grasp.  Some of the tips the articles I’ve read advise things like; Figure out what you love to do.  Think of something you loved to do as a kid.  Look around your house and write down the things that point to a certain passion, such as books, art,travel, or antique collection. Once you figure out what you would love to be doing, research ways to make money on it.  My Google search for “how to make money shopping” turned up at least seven legitimate ideas for how to do so.  Other tactics include writing lists of the things you are good at, the things you would do if you were sure not to fail, and all the things that make you happy.   Now cross reference your lists to formulate a plan.  The things I tore out of magazines (this is a great method for formulating your decorating style as well) were all articles on socialpreneurs (I use this to describe  socially conscious entrepreneurs, not social media entrepreneurs who also claim that title)  such as Lauren Lauren and her FEED bags, Tom’s shoes, and Alex & Ani Charity by Design bracelets.  My role models were real life moms who have found careers where they are making a difference globally, such as Navyn Salem and Edesia , the factory she founded that provides global nutritional solutions.  I realized whatever it is I end up doing; I would like it to have a positive impact, not just a financial reward.  I decided for my first step, to create this blog to explore my passions for travel, food, family, and global issues in one place.  This is clearly a process, and work in progress, and as a Mom, I have a feeling that just when I get this part all figured out….it will be just in time for another Maternal identity shift!