charity

belly style: every mother counts

i’ve talked about my frustration with maternity clothes (or lack thereof) before. it’s so silly to even complain about it, i mean, womp womp, so i have to wear the same clothes over and over. like that’s the worst thing that can happen to an expectant mom. i made the mistake of complaining about this to a friend of ours who is a priest, and he looked at me and deadpanned, “yea, i have no idea what that’s like”. oops.

the major item that i was sick of in my maternity clothing repertoire was my one pair of jeans. because i work an office job, i decided that one pair was enough, since i never really wore them during the week. but oh boy, did i fail to take into account how many weekends there are in a pregnancy. so when i found out about the citizens of humanity x every mother counts maternity collaboration for a pea in the pod, i jumped at the chance to try out a pair of the jeans, especially because of the great cause they stand for.

maternitycitizens1for those of you who don’t know, every mother counts is a non-profit started by christy turlington burns. the goal of the organization is to improve global maternity and reduce maternal mortality rates. this year, citizens of humanity partnered with every mother counts to create an exclusive line of maternity denim for a pea in the pod.  for each jean sold, a pea in the pod will donate $15.00 and citizens of humanity will donate $25.00 to every mother counts to support its efforts.

maternitycitizens3like i said above, i was so happy to have the opportunity to support this collaboration. these jeans are so comfortable, one of the best additions to my maternity wardrobe yet. thanks to every mother counts, they remind me to not take my situation for granted. i’m thinking that it may be hard to get me out of them even when i’m back in my pre-maternity clothes…they’re that good.

maternitycitizens4[t-shirt: c/o a pea in the pod || jeans: CoH x every mother counts c/o a pea in the pod || sandals: havaianas || glasses: forever 21 || belly: c/o Mister Man and me]

maternitycitizens2

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christmas treasure.

we’re all pretty lucky aren’t we? you’re probably reading this on a computer (or your smartphone). maybe you’re doing it while sitting at work, or on the couch in your warm house. you may be pinching pennies, or you might be rolling in cash, a la scrooge mcduck, but either way, i bet you’re going to have a christmas this year, however small or large.

and that’s part of our christmas treasure. the ability to celebrate in comfort, and maybe even give a gift or two to the ones we love. but as Mister Man reminded me tonight when i was trying to think of what to write, not everyone is so lucky to have that type of treasure.

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i work for a company that makes giving back to the community a priority. so much so, that i can leave work for an hour once a week to go volunteer at a local school, and they encourage it. recently i started volunteering as a reading buddy at a charter school in the city, a school where 95% of the kids get free or reduced lunch and breakfast. a school where half the students speak english as their second language. a school where some of the kids’ families are so transient, they might switch schools multiple times in a year.

so it might not surprise you to hear that most of the kids at the school don’t get christmas presents at home. they don’t get excited when you ask them what they want, because it doesn’t seem real enough or possible enough to them.

this year the school is doing a toy drive for the kids, and my division at work is participating by bringing in toys, stocking stuffers and hats and mittens for these kids so they can have a christmas experience that all kids should have…opening something up that’s just for them and knowing that someone thought of them enough to give them their own christmas treasure.

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this christmas, let’s remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to sharing our christmas treasure. you don’t need to make a big gesture of donating to charity instead of buying physical gifts for people, or donate all the gifts you receive to charity (although if you do that, more power to you!). $5 buys a lot of canned goods for the food shelf. a small toy isn’t so small to the child who doesn’t have any toys of their own. an hour at the nursing home visiting residents may be the thing that brightens a whole month of someone who lives there.

and i know none of you needs ideas of where to share your treasure, you can find organizations anywhere! but in the spirit of the season, and if you’re looking for new ideas, here are a couple of organizations that i think are especially wonderful places to start, especially at christmastime.

Feeding America Logo JPG

feeding america. people always need food. and at christmas, when photos of food and songs about food and people talking about food are everywhere, it’s especially hard for those who are going hungry. and right now, every donation you make is matched dollar for dollar thanks to a grant from unilever.

Toys For Tots Logo

toys for tots. who doesn’t want to make sure a little kid has a toy on christmas? it’s a no-brainer. if you normally give to toys for tots, remember that the tots have lots of options (it’s fun to buy little kid toys!), but that the older kids and teenagers are sometimes forgotten. consider donating a “toy” for the older aged kids, like a hair straightener or makeup for a girl, or a football or a new wallet for a boy.

as Mister Man said to me as i started to write, “sometimes someone’s christmas treasure is something they received from a complete stranger.” sometimes to make sure everyone has a christmas treasure, we need to be thoughtful in what we’re doing with ours.

for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. matthew 6:21

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE THE 12 DAYS OF BLOGGING CHRISTMAS.
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i love this city (and a giveaway!).

last week i had the opportunity to attend an event through work for the united way. the event was put on by a group called “emerging leaders”, essentially a bunch of young people from minneapolis/st. paul who care about philanthropy and doing good things for the community. the theme of the event was “tap’d in”, so there was a bunch of local breweries doing beer tastings (i highly recommend third street brewery’s jack’d up…), and tons of good oktoberfest-style food like brats and pretzels. not a bad way to spend a thursday night.

as i stood there listening to the speakers discuss the importance of giving back and getting involved, it dawned on me that i was in a room full of hundreds of my peers, and that they all liked beer and charity (like me!). these are the people who make up my community.

my goodness did i ever get a feel good rush for my city at that moment. there’s something about realizing that you love the place you live that just puts you in a good mood. and i do. i might live in the tundra, where it’s winter for 7 months out of the year, but you know what? we have culture and philanthropy and wonderful food and even better people. and that makes the cold pretty bearable if you ask me.

i am so lucky to live here.

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now i get to introduce you to yet another lovely lady who sponsors this blog. ashten is a girl from southern california who now lives in the south. hotlanta to be exact. and she is a spitfire. i’ll let her tell you that though.

Hey girl heyyyy! I’m Ashten and I HAVE A LOT TO SAY. To spare most people the pain of having to listen to me, I started a blog called alwaysashten. There, I blog about my life: the good, the bad and the sarcastic. I believe “classy, sassy and little bit smart-assy” is not just a phrase, but a way of life and I live it well. Come visit me. I will keep you entertained with my awkwardness and my sass. My dog is also really cute. 

she’s not lying about the sass people. or the cute dog. you have to go see for yourself. warner wears the crap out of a football jersey.

you can find ashten here:

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and because she is a classy lady, and knows just how to make me happy, ashten is doing a little giveaway for you all today!! since she’s a newly southern gal learning to love her city, and she also really loves her starbucks (she’s a gold card holder!), she thought she’d share both with you! you guys, she’s giving away a $10 starbucks gift card and an “atlanta” coffee mug (so you can add it to your mug collection or tell people you’ve been there even if you haven’t!). all you have to do is enter below for a chance to win. the giveaway is open to everyone and i will announce the winner on monday, october 14. good luck!ashten's giveaway!

(mustache keurig not included.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE WHEN MY SPONSORS GIVEAWAY STUFF.