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The Feel Good Gift Guide

CHARITY WORDCLOUD It’s that time of year again – giving gifts either out of obligation or love. It’s really hard to tell the difference sometimes, right? Anyway, with so much going on in the world lately, I thought this year would be a good one to list out ways that we could share our humanity, by helping out others in this world. You may want to do this as a way to incorporate people into causes you believe in. You may want to do this to spite the racist family member that you drew in the family gift pool. You may even want to use this a a last-minute gift guide. No matter how you use this guide, just know that you are doing a good thing, and helping your karma along the way.

Planned Parenthood: This one really needs no explanation.

Cure Batten: This donation will help the Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray Foundation accelerate the research into finding a cure for Battan disease and to save the lives of all children impacted by Batten disease.

The Jane Goodall Institute: The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global nonprofit focused on inspiring individual action to improve the understanding and welfare of great apes and to safeguard the planet we all share. Their mission is based in Dr. Jane Goodall’s belief that the well-being of our world relies on people taking an active interest in all living things.

Water.org: For more than twenty years, Water.org has pioneered safe water and sanitation solutions that give women hope, children health and communities a future. Their vision: Safe water and the dignity of a toilet for all. They do really strong work in areas that are devastated by natural disasters.

No Kid Hungry: No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. The No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day by connecting kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. A well-fed child does better in school, which starts a domino effect to a better life.

Habitat for Humanity: There are nearly 2 billion people around the world who live in slum housing and more than 100 million are homeless. Habitat helps by building or renovating simple, decent houses in partnership with those in need. They also have helped many people rebuild their lives after natural disasters, like they did for so many folks after our many devastating tornados here in Oklahoma.

Brady Campaign: Gun control. Enough said.

Common Threads: Through their cooking and nutrition programs and curriculum, they help prevent childhood obesity and reverse the trend of generations of non-cookers, while celebrating our cultural differences and the things people all over the world have in common.

Chrohn’s & Colitis Foundation: The mission of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.

Diabetes Research Institute: Flat out dedicated to cure Diabetes.

Epilepsy Foundation: The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and SUDEP, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies.

Refuge UK: Refuge is a safe-house in the UK for women and children escaping domestic violence. I became aware of them when helping with Give and Makeup, a great initative for beauty bloggers, and others, started by Caroline Hirons. (*As it is a national organization, it covers more places. Here in the US, please think of giving to your local shelters.)

Crisis Text Line: Many, MANY folks (*especially teens!) do not feel comfortable talking live to someone when they are in distress. This avenue provides a way to help people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy. The average text chat lasts *3.5* hours. THAT is dedication.

World Literacy Foundation: Seriously, reading is FUNdamental. Their mission is to lift children and youth out of poverty by delivering effective and sustainable programs aimed at eradicating illiteracy. Education is a basic human right. Knowing how to read and write not only enables others to overcome the barriers of poverty, it unlocks the door to a lifetime of learning.

Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation: Music in schools! Music in schools! Music in schools! MHO helps keep that going by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs, giving youngsters the many benefits of music education, helping them to be better students and inspiring creativity and expression through playing music.

Karma Dogs: This organization helps provide former shelter dogs, now trained specially trained therapy dogs, to programs to provide comfort to folks to improve reading skills, life skills, autism needs and teach about proper animal care.

Girls Who Code: STEM! Their vision is to reach gender parity in computing fields. They believe this is paramount to ensure the economic prosperity of women, families, and communities across the globe, and to equip citizens with the 21st century tools for innovation and social change. They believe that more girls exposed to computer science at a young age will lead to more women working in the technology and engineering fields. And that can only be a damn good thing.

RAINN – Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

Now, if you want some ideas for beauty gifts, don’t worry – I received plenty of information about lots of those, I just thought I would provide a charitable guide, instead of a pretties guide this year. Just hit me up on SM or email for suggestions on those.

And, yes, I know that this list is just a drop in the bucket of worthy organizations, and I tried to keep them as national/global as possible, but please do not forget the charities that support your own community. (Don’t harass me over the listed ones, as each one was picked their causes due to touching the lives of people that I know. Just POLITELY let me know if a particular organization has an issue that makes it questionable, please.) That said, if you have some charities that you would like to support/give attention to, just leave me a note in the comments for others to see, too.

Happy Holidays, no matter how you celebrate!

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Oklahoma Tornado Victims Charity Event

You guys know that I have lived in Oklahoma my whole life. That means that we grow up knowing tornado precautions and what to do when the sirens go off. It also means that when a devastating one comes thru here (*like they have too many times these last two weeks!), we know that we will rebuild and continue to be “Oklahoma Strong”. But we need help and that is where charity and disaster relief services come in.

I know that many of you have wanted to find a way to help, but you are so far away you can’t do anything on the ground here. In fact, I was approached by beauty social site “Pampadour”, (*on which I play a bunch), to find out how they could help. So, we came up with a way that would help people around here, and still have a bit of beauty fun, too. On Tuesday, June 4th, from 8pm to 10pm EST they will donate $3 for every user that signs in or registers to Pampadour.com and connects with me! All of the donations will go directly to the Oklahoma Chapter of the Red Cross, to ensure that the money is used for all of the victims around the OKC metro – of which there are so very many.

So, if you are free on Tuesday night, I encourage you to come connect with me on Pampadour and help the victims of the OK tornados. We’ll also be tweeting about it over on twitter with the hashtag #Pamp4OK, too.

I know many of you have been curious, so, here is a pic of where I was, and work, when the tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th, 2013:
May 20th Moore Tornado and Where I Work .

Also, this is what we saw before we went into the shelter before the tornado hit:

Thank you for all of your support these last couple of weeks!

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October is for Pretty Pink Things – 2011

This post was originally posted here, but I want to repost it as October is here again already.

Today is October 1st, which, for the last 25years has been recognized as “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month”. It’s also the day that my friend say, “Cool – I can get lots of pink things at Target now.”. Yep, that’s what it has come to, in my opinion – a month known for the proliferation of pink things, but not really the cause behind it any more.

And you know what? I’m kind of okay with that.

Of course, I don’t diminish the impact that breast cancer can have on a woman and her family – my son’s grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, in fact. Nor do I ignore the need for awareness for a disease that has the second highest incidence rate to prostrate cancer (2006 most recently data available), affecting nearly 200k women directly, each year. I just have a problem with the monetization of the awareness.

Have you guys ever heard of “pinkwashing”? It’s a controversial variation of cause marketing that focuses on breast cancer & how *some* of the companies using the pink ribbon & BCA may not be doing it for pure motives. I emphasis *some* because I want to impress that not ALL companies releasing special products for BCAM have ulterior motives – but you know what they say about “bad apples” and all (*did you know that metaphor is actually true?). Anyway…

In no way am I telling you not to purchase a specially branded product – I’m just asking that you educate yourself of the brand’s intentions with this marketing. The “Breast Cancer Action” organization has come up with a site, “Think Before You Pink” to help consumers challenge themselves to ask questions before purchasing a pink branded item. I don’t see anything wrong with purchasing a product because it is pink and you like it, but please do not say you bought it only as a way to support the cause. Own your purchase and if you are sincere about wanting to help, please donate directly to a reputable breast cancer charity – the most notable being the “Susan G.Komen for the Cure” organization, or give of your time in your local community ANY TIME OF YEAR, not just in October, because we all know cancer doesn’t only strike one month a year. And wear your pretty new pink product when you go. 🙂

(*This post was inspired by this post by Shannon from “A Girl’s Gotta Spa”.)

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