Monday, December 23, 2013

day 139 : seriously, THE coolest planner for 2014!

i know everybody is all 'oh my gosh, its christmas this week!' ; but i am a little more on the 'woo hoo, its almost 2014!' train.
i work tomorrow & the day after christmas, so i wont be going home for christmas. {i worked a similar schedule for thanksgiving, so i didnt get home then, either.} 

i am such a huge fan of planning. of making lists & organizing thoughts & to-dos.
i love the feeling of making a list and checking it twice then crossing things off.
ive never had a 'fancy' planner, though. i usually purchase a notebook at the secondhand store or use a pocket-sized 'field notes' notebook.

a few weeks ago, heather wrote this great post about bloggers {who are also awesome business owners} you can support!
i clicked on all the links {i love learning about new things // artists // info} & found jessicas amazing 'fitting it together' 2014 planner. the colors & clean design totally caught my eye. i also love that each day gets an entire page. no way am i one of those people that can have a whole week on one page {two part-time jobs, one business & a million other things calls for individual pages!}

not too long after i checked out the planner, jessica signed up for the Be Nice Box! one day i reached out & said that i would be happy to trade boxes for the planner. she {so kindly!} replied that she would be happy to send me one with no strings attached!

it came in the mail the other day and i am in LOVE! seriously! there are sticky notes & food tracking sheets & fun stickers to mark events {ladies nights, parties, birthdays, doctor appointments}

also awesome : each day has a 'fit&fab tip' ; a fun food fact, a quick recipe, a reminder to take a moment for you, ect. on the bottom of each page is an inspirational quote {i love stuff like this}

if you are looking for a great way to keep 2014 organized and together, this planner is awesome! 
the colors & design are bright & fun ; the tips are awesome and there is tons of room to write about your food, health, fitness & life goals // to-dos!

head here to purchase the planner. head here to tell jessica that she is awesome!

*disclaimer : jessica DID send me this planner for free, but i really do love it & think everybody should purchase one!*

Friday, December 13, 2013

day 138 : kindness carousel {week 7}

you guys, its my last day of being 29!
i turn 30 {at 12:12am} tomorrow! its pretty cool to think about this brand new decade ahead of me..
i have family coming this weekend & i took the WHOLE weekend off work! tomorrow morning, a dozen of my favorite people are joining me for brunch!

lets talk about kindness!
{kindness carousel is a weekly feature where i link to some of the coolest stories // videos that happened recently!}

1) i love a good flash mob! to honor nelson mandela after his passing, this choir preformed a song {in a grocery store!} that was written during his incarceration during the apartheid.
2) this is what 'minnesota nice' is all about! this woman found $2,800 in a parking lot & then RETURNED IT!
3) want to make a new friend? mary is setting up a pen pal exchange! go here to sign up
4) hahaha ; 28 funniest notes written by kids this year

5) still looking for great gifts? here is a massive list of gifts for everybody!
6) this spring, zach sobiech passed away ; maybe you remember that awesome song 'clouds' that he wrote and preformed? two weeks ago, 5,000 people gathered at the mall of america {zach was from here} to perform his song. unbelievable! {seriously you guys, this is such a *must see!*}
7) a year & a half ago, we brought daphne into our lives to be the third member of our little family. before she was up for adoption, she was living on the street & trapped in a harness. here are 20 photos are dogs who are SO pumped to be headed to their 'forever homes.'
i took this photo the very first day we brought her home. it makes me all emotional to think about her scary 'pre-us' days & then to see how much she loved and trusted us as soon as she entered our family!
{and if you look at the bottom of the photo, you can see her scars from surgery, when they cut the harness off of her}

8) i was on the news this week! i had the chance to head to a local news station and talk about the be nice box for a couple minutes. the clip is below & you can read the article here!
9) jessica wrote two great posts about her december be nice box. here & here {this one is fun! she took one of the ideas & totally made it her own!}

have an awesome weekend!

Monday, December 9, 2013

day 137 : be on tv, bring a gift & don't throw up...

happy monday!
you guys! i go on LIVE TV today! i am so nervous! obviously, i know how to talk & i know how to talk about my business, but i am just nervous! my brain is silly ; sometimes when i am speaking, i become insanely aware of my words, my tongue, my fingers, ect & get tripped up. {tell me its not just me...} i have been practicing what i want to say, but not too much that it sounds rehearsed.
i will be on a 5 minute local news segment talking about the $1,000 business award i just won from Mutual of Omaha. i really want it to go well.

and since my parents always taught me to bring a gift when someone is hosting you, i put together two December Be Nice Boxes for the hosts.

wondering what was in the December boxes?
in this months box : 
a list of 15 acts of kindness to complete around the theme 'see change.'
also included in the box : a 'cold weather kit' to hand out to someone in need, 8 candy canes to hand out to strangers {the note says 'you've been candy cane-d' pass it on!}, 7 mini fair trade chocolates to restock someones chocolate stash, one handmade lavender bath fizzy and a template to make snowflake ballerinas.
the gifts for the subscriber this month : 3 handmade cinnamon applesauce ornaments & a code for a free download of Michael Charles Smith's rendition of the Nutcracker Suite on marimba!

if you want to sign up for january, you can do that here.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

day 136 : carry a coffee in a snowstorm

this one was fun & only took a second. AND it was totally unplanned.
{i dont really 'pre-plan' my good deeds, but i do usually have a few deeds for the week that i want to complete in the back of my mind. i find that having a 'kinda plan' based on my schedule, where i will be & my budget for the week, helps me stay on top of my good deeds.}

a few days ago, blake & i were waiting for the bus to go to the radiation clinic for my tests. it had snowed a few inches overnight & the roads were pretty gross. the bus stop is a block away & in front of a coffee shop. 

while we were waiting, a woman with crutches came out, with a coffee in her hand. the sidewalks were slick & her hands were full.
i asked to walk her coffee to her car ; to make sure she was safe. 
as i looked back to see if the bus was coming, blake took this photo..
the lady was grateful, it was a 15 foot walk and literally took less than 30 seconds.

my challenge for you is to do something similar! i know that not everybody has cold weather and icy sidewalks ; but do you see someone that needs help grabbing something off a high shelf? a grandma that needs help carrying her grocery bags to the car? did someone drop something without noticing?
all of these things show kindness & compassion. they take a second & cant be planned out ; but that moment will make a difference! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

day 135 : kindness carousel {week 6}

i have so many awesome links to share this week!
{ps : i had an ultrasound for my lump two days ago & everything is good! nothing to worry about ; which makes me so incredibly thankful!}

are you new to kindness carousel?
its a weekly post sharing positive & uplifting things that happened around the world!
you can see past weeks here, here, here, here & here!

1) my friend jen & her husband are in the process of an international adoption. her posts are so beautiful & make me so thankful to know people like her

2) you guys know Humans of New York, right?! i follow brandon {the photographer} on facebook, but the tumblr page is pretty great, too. he goes around New York & photographs {and mini-interviews} random folks. the pictures are always incredible & the stories are always inspiring. {the photo below was taken from the website ; credit goes to HONY}

3) obviously i am NOT a fan of stealing ; but the actions of this coffeeshop are pretty awesome! someone stole money from their tip jar & their reaction is awfully kind.

4) a friend of mine shared this article ; had me in tears! this little second grader created a 'buddy bench' at his school to help kids feel less lonely!

5) a waitress in vancouver got an awesome tip & can now follow her dreams! {LOVE stories like this!}

6) we got some snow this week & now its COLD! {like, wind chill of -17* when i took daphne out this morning!} this 98-year old twin cities man *still* shovels the sidewalk of his 'old' neighbors.' {i love this! my grandma is 85 & she gives art shows for 'old ladies at the nursing home.'}

7) anna has a list of 24 free {or super cheap} things you can do this holiday season.

8) j did a fun holiday gift guide ; lots of good ideas!

9) a couple malls in canada are offering special hours for kids on the autism spectrum to meet santa {without all the crazy lights, hustle & noise} ; i LOVE seeing this shift! i was a therapist at an autism school for a couple years & many of the families had never been able to meet santa // have traditional holiday cards because of how over-stimulating the mall can be during the holidays. bravo to canada!
10) lindsay reviewed the december be nice box here & you can go here to enter to win a free january box!

do you have anything awesome to share with us?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

day 134 : give a little money on #givingtuesday

i know, i know ; i have mentioned going to the doctors in every post this week..

over the past couple of years, 'giving tuesday' has become a 'thing.'
it always falls after 'cyber monday' ; the tuesday after thanksgiving.
it was created as a way to stop & give back after all the overindulgent spending we did on friday, saturday & monday.

you pick a cause you care about & give them some support. there is no limit on the amount ; the idea is to support people that are doing great things!

recently, i lost my health insurance.
i have always been covered under blake's plan at work ; but he switched jobs & his new plan doesn't cover me {since we aren't married}. i am pretty healthy, but have been waiting for january 1st, so i can be covered under the affordable care act {obamacare}
well, about 3 weeks after losing healthcare, i found this lump & *had* to get it checked out.
we have a planned parenthood nearby & they did all my preventive care // tests at no cost.
i know that some folks hate on planned parenthood ; but honestly, depending on what all of my tests reveal ; the fact that they offered me a free screening ; it could have saved my life!
{health care is definitely one of my 'soap box' issues! i wont go on ; but i could... ;)}

anyways, i am so very thankful for organizations like planned parenthood.
so, on giving tuesday, i took all the cash out of my wallet & gave it to the receptionist in hopes that another woman can receive the same care i did!

tell us : who did you support on tuesday?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

day 133 : cat food, kites & cheesecake ; oh my!

hi everybody!
thanks SO much for all your comments, texts & emails yesterday. i went to the doctor yesterday {she was so kind when i started *bawling* on the table..} and was referred to a specialist for more tests. after crying to the receptionist on the phone {seriously, so emotional}, she moved my appointment to today. i leave in a little bit & all my fingers are crossed, hoping for good news.

anyways, todays good deed involves donations & free cheesecake!
each year, tami {who runs muddy paws cheesecake} has a cheesecake sampling party! there is live music, awesome local vendors, TONS of free cheesecake samples {everything from beer to mint to *the best* vegan key lime!}
the only way to get in?
you have to bring in a new toy OR a bag of pet food to be donated.

this year, the toys are going to STEP Emergency and Perspectives Family Resource and the pet food is headed to Pet Project.
its such a great cause & we have been going since we moved here!

a few weeks ago, i received a klout perk from hills science diet. they sent me a bag of cat food & two bags of treats. i have no idea why i got cat food, but i am always happy to donate something to a good home. plus, this is my contribution to cat-society ;) 

we are donating a pack of wiki-sticks {these are SO awesome!} and they are made in the US! we also have a brand new kite {still in the package with the price tags on} that i purchased at a garage sale this summer.

blake & i have worked with kids for half our lives & a lot of toys bum us out. the lights, the spinning, the fact that they were put together by young kids in china... stuffed animals, books & toys like blocks, legos & other 'small motor' items are always good gifts!

if you live in minneapolis, the event is TODAY from 430-9pm! here is the FB event!
i am also super excited for all the great local vendors that will be there. everything from hot sauce to energy bars to candles ; people here are so creative!

tell us : have you ever been to anything like this before {bring a donation, eat something awesome?}
and ps : just so its noted, klout & hills science diet did not sponsor this post or ask me to post about them//their product. they provided me with free cat food and i am choosing to donate it to this event.

see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

day 132 : {a vague post on fear, biopsies & doctors appointments}

happy tuesday, everybody!
i know that i run two blogs & am all over the internet ; but for the most part, i am a pretty private person.
when {deep} things happen, i really dont share them outside of my mom & blake. the internet makes me nervous when it comes to spilling deep stuff. i know that people post pictures of their kids, birth stories, ect ; but for me, i like to keep a distance between 'screen life' & 'real life.'
people understand that, right?

i have debated about posting this ; i have gone back & forth {and back and forth}
by the time you read this, i will be at the doctor getting some {scary} tests done.

one of my 'good deeds' for this project was to 'schedule a check-up // doctors appointment.' i consider myself to be in pretty decent health. i dont eat meat or dairy, i work out {complete races // rides}, i dont use chemicals in my life {clothes, body or home} & i am generally pretty active. i have lost two grandparents to cancer & have three family members {myself included} who have had scary 'you have abnormal cells & could develop cancer' conversations with doctors. so, while i work hard to take care of myself, i know that no one is immune from getting sick.

last week, i found a lump {i dont want to share any more than that ; because hello, this is the internet!} & i am pretty scared about it. it might be nothing. it might be something. as soon as i found it, i got on the horn to get in for a check-up.
that check-up is today.

as you are reading this, i dont know any more than you do.
any good vibes you want to send my way would be greatly appreciated. 

a lot of times, we think of 'good deeds' as only being big things that we do for others, but the truth is, simply taking a minute to focus on our own health is also an incredibly kind {and necessary!} thing!

see you tomorrow!

Monday, December 2, 2013

day 131 : shop on black friday {yes, really}

i am not much of a shopper.
let me rephrase that : i dont like shopping.
the crowds. the grumpiness. the overconsumption. the idea that we pay young women in far-away countries *pennies* to create items that we dont even value.
{i digress...}
i avoid shopping at big box stores throughout the year {i havent been in a best buy, kohls or walmart for years & i only go to target a few times a year, if i can help it} ; so i definitely dont seek out sales the day after thanksgiving..

i DO, however, LOVE supporting local. we are really lucky to have some incredible small businesses here in minneapolis. we got up around 8am on friday to support a few of our favorites.
we have a local pet store a mile away & they had a great deal happening.

for each person that walked through the door from 7-9am, they donated one pound of animal food to a local food shelf. if you brought your pet, they donated another two pounds. daph cant handle places like that, so we showed her picture to one of the employees & she donated two pounds for daphne, too!
{seriously, you cannot get this experience at a huge box store!}
bonus : they had free donuts!
we purchased a toy, 4 bags of treats & 3 bags of dog food.

also on friday, we supported a small non-profit & two other local shops.
tell me : did you work? did you shop?

today is the last day to purchase a gift subscription & receive free boxes for yourself! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

day 130 : kindness carousel {week 5}

happy sunday! 
new month = new goals! 
one of my goals is to be better about documenting my good deeds. i was doing great when i first started this blog, but since i launched the be nice box, {sadly} i havent been updating as frequently.
that changes today! {also known as : please hold me to it ;)}

i am a few days behind, but here are a few of my favorite gems from around the internet :

1) this man has hosted thanksgiving for strangers for 28 years in a row! 
2) last week in minneapolis, a dog fighting ring was discovered in minneapolis. i think they found // rescued 18 dogs. {i hate stories like this} last year, a larger operation was discovered in memphis, tn & here is a short video update on the dogs.
3) heather put together a really awesome post {like always} of ways to support bloggers while completing your holiday shopping! 
4) want to make a new friend this season? emily is hosting her 2nd annual ornament exchange. you can sign up here.
5) hannah & jesse write a great blog ; i adore how rich their lives are & how they intentionally they live well below their means.
6) because everybody loves puppies! here is a {ridiculous} 3 minute video ALL about puppies learning to howl.
7) aundra always does such awesome things on her good deeds blog! my recent fave? she supported a school band by purchasing a box of veggies for the food shelf. when i was little, our fundraisers were wrapping paper & candy bars. i love seeing this charitable shift!  
8) i am loving this new shirt from sevenly! each week, they have new clothes that support new charities. $7 from each piece sold goes to support a great cause! 

9) are you still looking for some great holiday gifts? now through tomorrow night, we have a great deal over on the website! you purchase a gift subscription & we give YOU free boxes for yourself!
{ps : if you already have a sub, your bonus boxes will just be added on}

finally, while we didnt win the $10,000 grant from KIND Snacks, we DID win a $1,000 business award from the awesome people at Mutual of Omaha! because of that, i will be on the local news NEXT WEEK! {more on that as it gets closer!}!

what cool things did you read this week? share with us!

view other kindness carousel posts : 

Monday, November 25, 2013

day 129 : save a snowman {and that time i was really mad at a stranger}

happy monday, everybody!
can you believe its the last weekend of november?! then its december. and then 2014! i cant believe how fast the second half of the year flew by!

this weekend, i received a custom order for a winter hat {did you know that i knit?}, so i made a quick run to the yarn store. usually, i purchase my yarn at a small local shop, but that didn't work out this time.
anyways, we went to jo anns and it was PACKED!

as we were getting ready to checkout, i watched a woman {there with her husband & two kids} get her purse strap caught on an ornament display. one of the ornaments fell and shattered on the ground. the entire family watched it happen. the lady actually walked over & KICKED the broken pieces under the display and told her children that it wasn't her problem & she shouldn't have to pay for it. and then they all walked away!

you guys, i was SO mad! {i know ; obviously there are 'real' issues in the world that i should be using my energy on...} i was just so frustrated with this woman! she made an effort to hide the mess. her purse getting stuck was an accident ; but the consequence was that there were sharp pieces all over the floor. the cherry on top when the fact that she actually told her children that she wont pay for it or clean it up {i was standing a few feet away with my mouth hanging open, watching the entire thing} the whole incident was such an awful example that she set for her kids.

i feel like, a year ago, i probably would have confronted her. i would have tried to be calm ; but probably would have felt angry & gotten defensive. 
instead, i got down on my hands and knees & picked up all the broken pieces. i took it to the checkout counter & explained that a woman broke it & left it on the floor.

i think blake got annoyed with me because i was SO frustrated with this lady. i brought it up a few times throughout the night. it wasn't about breaking an ornament. it was an accident. those things happen. you put a million items in a store and then add thousands of customers {during the holidays, when people are sometimes grumpy & in a hurry} ; accidents will happen.
my issue was her gross attitude. this sense of privilege & entitlement. she broke something that someone made by hand {the fact that it was probably a young girl in china that received *pennies* for her work is another issue...}. she looked her children in the eyes & told them that she wouldn't pay for it, when i am assuming she has taught her kids that 'if you break it, you buy it.'

throughout this project, i have tried to have more empathy for strangers. i have tried to go out of my way to make the planet better with small acts. but, i am human. i have morals & values and can say that i was seriously offended by how flippant that stranger was when she broke something that didn't belong to her. so, while i feel like i completed a good deed by picking up the pieces on the floor, my thoughts & judgement of her were not very kind. 

tell us : 
has anything like this ever happened to you? i would love to hear your story // reaction // opinion!

Friday, November 22, 2013

day 128 : kindness carousel {week 4}

i have been keeping up with my daily good deeds ; but i am not always at the top of my game re: recording them!
yesterday, my best friend from middle school {who i havent seen in 15 years} was in town & we got to hang out. it was so great & i love that we were able to just jump in & catch up!

tonight, i am going to a cookie exchange party with some friends! i have 3 different types of cookies i am bringing ; should be awesome ;) {its never a bad time when people bring dozens of cookies to the same place!}

there are only 6 december boxes left, if you are interested! also, we are now in FIFTH place for the KIND Snacks contest {not good!}. pretty pretty please, run over & use up all 4 of your votes for us. PLEASE?!

lets share some awesome links!
{kindness carousel is a weekly round-up of some of the best, most inspiring news of the week!}

1) in honor of national adoption month, carla shared her daughters story {so beautiful!}

2) speaking of adoption, farm sanctuary has an adopt-a-turkey program! you can adopt {the cost} of a rescued turkey to guarantee they live a good life! even if you dont plan on adopting a turkey, the website is cute & there a lots of pictures {and stories} of the turkeys that are looking for new friends!

3) this is a great little article from the NYT about giving more & getting less for the holiday season!

4) janell did a review of her november be nice box {look at her dog!!}

5) do you live in the twin cities? kevin love {plays for the timberwolves} is hosting a winter coat drive! if you donate a coat, you get a free ticket to a basketball game!

6) im not sure why i cant pull any of the photos from the article, but PLEASE READ THIS! a father captures his son with autism through *incredible* photos. 

7) you know how much i love dogs ; 20 reasons why you need dogs in your life!

8) danielle did a really great post about how she celebrated world kindness day {all week long!}

9) do you know help ink? they are one of my favorite companies! they sell art prints. for each $5 you spend, $1 is donated. right now, they are offering 4 art prints for $15 each with ALL the money going to haiyan relief!

10) kate was kind enough to do a post about the be nice box!

dont forget to vote!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

day 127 : celebrate my grandmas 85th birthday

i have the day off today & to-do list is almost 2 pages long! i plan on putting horse blinders on & just knocking things out one-by-one!

today is my grandmas birthday! she is 85!!!
shes super creative ; i am assuming all of us in the family that have the 'creative, artist-y vibes' come from her!
she draws, paints and wood carves ; she is so crazy-talented!
a few weeks ago, she hand-drew 20 greeting cards for me to include in some of the future Be Nice Boxes. her work is awesome! she also walks 3 miles a day, every day! 
no doubt that keeping your body & mind sharp is the key to aging well.

anyways, since i cant be in iowa to celebrate with her, i sent her this card & will be calling her this afternoon.
she {my moms mom} & my grandpa {my dads dad} are my only two grandparents left ; and they both mean so much to me! 

a super-easy good deed for YOU today : call or write a parent // grandparent!
see you tomorrow ;)

Monday, November 18, 2013

day 126 : cupcakes for turtle

did you have a great weekend?
for someone who is working from home ; i am finding myself with a pretty packed schedule! i am enjoying the flexibility ; but also am really learning about balancing & creating my own structure..
this afternoon i have my first lunch event with a 'professional woman's group.' i am hoping to really make some great connections and also find a few awesome business ladies that i can look up to and learn from!

this weekends good deed? 
i ate cupcakes!

we have a super cute {not vegan!} bakery a few blocks from our house & they have done a couple fundraisers lately. they did one in the summer for a dog named franco. he was in really, really bad shape & they created a 'franco' cupcake {it had his picture on it} & donated a portion of each treat sold to his medical fund. they ended up donating $9,000! {so awesome!}

this saturday ; they did it again. this time, the cupcakes were to help support a super-cute wiener-dog named turtle. he was a puppy mill dog that had been mistreated so badly & SO over-medicated that he had become resistant to antibiotics. he was rescued from the mill, developed pneumonia & required tons of medical care. he is still on the road to recovery & his medical bills are over $11,000!! to help offset the cost, sweet retreat donated half of all proceeds from the 'turtle cupcake' and $1 from all other cupcakes to his fund. 

daphne was a rescue dog & she need some medical care when she was found {she was trapped in a harness & her entire body had grown around it}. she need surgery & i know what a huge cost that is to rescue groups. without groups like this, so many {most?} of these dogs would die. they wouldnt find homes and they would never get a second chance. {makes me all sad & teary just thinking about it}

if you live in the twin cities, sweet retreat is awesome! they are a small, local business. on both occasions, they have chosen to donate a huge amount of their profits to charity. i really appreciate that in an owner and in a business! 

ps : dont forget to vote here and sign-ups for the december Be Nice Box are still open
{also, we are only 15 votes away from 2nd place and about 80 votes from 1st. i know it sounds like a lot ; but each person can vote once and then earn three 'bonus' votes. if 30 folks each get 4 votes in ; we would be in 1st place. voting ends at the end of the month & this money would open so many doors for us!} 

Friday, November 15, 2013

day 125 : kindness carousel {week 3}

happy friday!
this morning, i had an appointment with my insurance guy. after talking about my lack of retirement funds {and my nearing 30th birthday} ; we came up with a plan for me to move around some money & make some investments! i turn 30 in *exactly* a month ; and one of my goals is to really focus on saving for my future. i have a couple savings accounts & other than my car, i am totally debt free ; but most of my time has been spent paying off debt, instead of saving for the future. SO, i have a plan. and a goal!
do you have a retirement fund? do you play the stock market? i would love your tips & insights!

lets talk about good vibes on the internet this week :
kindness carousel is a weekly round-up taking some of the best, most heartwarming stories from around the internet!
week 1 // week 2  

1) animal lover? this artist took photos of elderly animals to capture their dignity & beauty. seriously, SO beautiful!

2) i am SUCH a huge advocate for biking ; i think biking makes us all better! bringing bikes to more remote places in the world makes all the difference. watch this video!

3) aundra has her own kindness project ; a year of chestertown nice. last week, she hosted a free zumba class!

4) world kindness day was on wednesday ; but heathers list of things to do can be referenced all year round!

5) kelly {who runs 'orlando nice' ; another kindness blog!} honored veterans in her community this week by sending thank you notes! {this would be such a great 'good deed' to practice with young kids, especially for the holiday season!}

6) BAWLING! 6 super-heartwarming videos of dogs welcoming their soldier-humans home! 

7) rachel has committed to donating ALL proceeds in her shop to the philippines! the photos of the devastation is heart-breaking! any way you can help offer relief would be welcome!

8) do you live in the twin cities? are you free december 5 from 6-7pm? i plan on being here ; come join me! i cant imagine how emotional this will be!

BONUS : i am still in 3rd place for the KIND Projects award. if you havent voted yet, please do! if you HAVE voted, please share with a few friends!

DOUBLE BONUS : there are less than 15 december Be Nice Boxes left! if you would like a box, please go here! boxes will ship on the 26th! we have been receiving a lot of orders for holiday gifts! the box makes a great gift for the person who has everything OR the person that would rather give than receive.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

day 124 : GIVE TO THE MAX DAY!

its give to the max day today in minnesota! 
they have done a few surveys and studies and it turns out that when it comes to charitable giving, minnesotans are some of the most generous in the country! 
it really doesnt surprise me ; people here are pretty nice {as long as they arent driving. kindness on the interstate leaves something to be desired...}
anyways, today is the day! 
there is a really great website & pretty much EVERY group & organization in the state has a donation page up.
every year, blake and i sit down and pick 10 groups to support & then we give $10 to each. $10 might not seem like a lot, but we feel that giving small amounts to a large number of groups helps create a ripple of change.
because give to the max is such a big deal here {in 12 hours, people have donated OVER $9 MILLION dollars! and crashed the website!}, many groups have matching grants available! so, when you give $10, it is doubled // matched ; thats pretty awesome! 

if you live in minnesota {and even if you dont} ; head over and check out the website. there is a great search feature, so you can type in something you care about {kids, environment, dogs, ect} and you will find a TON of different options!
bonus : the site is up all year round, so if you are looking to donate stuffed animals or want to volunteer packing meals ; head over and find a group that fits your needs! 

day 123 : veterans day, world kindness day & the good deeds that could have been..

hey everybody!
look for another post to read after you finish this one {two posts today!}
but first : can you PLEASE vote for the Be Nice Box!?
we are still in 3rd place to win a $10,000 project grant from KIND Snacks!
vote here.

second : sign-ups for the december box opened up earlier this week! there will be about 50 boxes total & right now, there are only 20 left!
the december boxes would be a great holiday gift for someone in your life that would rather give, than receive!
also, i just secured a super-rad partnership & there will be TWO gifts in this months box. i am SO very excited to share a really incredible artist with all of you!
sign up here!

good deeds {or lack thereof!}
monday was veterans day and yesterday was world kindness day.
{i would love to hear your good deeds in the comments!}
on monday, i decided to purchase a few bouquets of tulips and bring them to the veterans hospital here in town. i wanted to send thank you cards, but didnt get them written in time. i called the VA first to make sure it was okay to bring by the flowers. 
the woman i spoke to said that in place of coming on veterans day, they would rather have me volunteer long-term. 
{just a note : i dont have an issue with that. i am not complaining about the VA or their policies!}

attempt #2 :
i recently started training for a new part-time job. i cant talk about it online & so far, i dont know if it is a good fit for me ; BUT, i had an all-day training yesterday.
before work, i drove to whole foods & picked up a whole, vegan apple pie. 
after work, i drove to our neighborhood fire station & decided to drop it off. i really appreciate them & all the work they do. also, with the holidays coming up, it always seems like there are scary house & christmas tree fires. its a dangerous job. i checked their hours to make sure they would be there.
i get there, their hours said they were open, but the lights were off and the door was locked! 

so, i took back my apple pie & its sitting in my fridge. i dont have a specific plan yet, but i will get there.

my point? 
sometimes we have really good intentions and they dont always work out.
one time, a woman let her dog poop in our yard, so i offered her a poop bag. instead, she cursed at me and walked away {without taking the poop or the bag..}
another time, i asked a man to stop texting and driving & he gave me the finger and sped off..

i think that days like world kindness day are awesome. they remind us to take a moment to reach out & share goodness. but, dont wait for specific days! dont wait for thanksgiving to say you are thankful for something. dont wait for a partners birthday to tell them you love them! dont wait for teacher appreciate day to tell your kids' teachers you appreciate them!
put 'be kind' on your to-do list & keep it there. reference it every day and make an effort {no matter how busy or broke you are} to be nice! every single day! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

day 122 : ask for a favor! {also known as : please help!}

hey everybody!
can i ask for some help?
KIND Snacks is hosting a project grant contest and the Be Nice Box is in the running!
currently, there are 77 organizations & we are in 3rd place!
voting started on sunday and ends at the end of the month.
the prize?
a $10,000 project award!

we could make SUCH a difference with that much money!
we will hire two part-time staff! we will be able to work with larger retail stores and sell our boxes to more folks. we will be able to make different 'limited edition' boxes {i have a few awesome ideas!}. that money would allow us to expand and create lines for kids, teachers and families! and most importantly, more money equals a larger audience. more boxes sold means that our $1 from each box will go a lot further! i have also been working on sponsorships from larger companies that would enable us to double {even triple} the monthly donations we make!

i am telling you ; this is a huge deal!
voting is pretty simple and doesnt take much time!
head over here. you are only able to vote once, BUT you get three 'bonus' entries when you share on facebook, twitter and email!
when you vote, please share & bring your total to 4.
every single vote counts!

thanks so much, everybody!
it takes a village to make the world brighter!

Friday, November 8, 2013

day 121 : kindness carousel {week 2}

lets end the week with a bunch of rad {and heart-warming links!}

1) did you follow the new york marathon last weekend? this article about the first man with down syndrome to finish is great!

2) firstbook recently tweeted this :
this holiday season, when you purchase a book for a child in your life, pick up a second one to donate.
every single child deserves books!

3) my friend kelly is hosting a 'holiday give & get swap' ; its a great way to send a sweet kindness package & make a new friend. bonus : everybody that signs up has a chance to win a subscription to the be nice box!

4) speaking of gift swaps : sign ups for the christmas city swap are open! this is such an awesome idea! you get paired up with a stranger and send them a gift // care package using ONLY things from your city! i love it! one thing i have learned about people from minnesota ; we love our state! it will be easy to come up with a package full of cool 'minneapolis' things!

5) this woman spent THOUSANDS of dollars on her dream wedding. with weeks to go before the big day, her fiance called the wedding off. her response? she donated the hall, the limo and the food to a non-profit, so their residents could hold a halloween ball!

6) fan of classical music? here is a video of a handel flash mob at the grocery store {i LOVE flash mobs!}

7) i want to give a shout out to a few awesome bloggers that wrote about the be nice box this week! kelly, heather, deanna, julie, lindsay

8) and finally, amanda & kiri {both be nice box subscribers!} posted a few photos of their good deeds this week! they are both super inspiring!!

*also, dont forget that monday is veterans day! is there is a vet hospital nearby? a nursing home? call & see if they will give you the name of a vet & send them a thank you card!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

day 120 : give a book, take a book

good morning, everybody!
yesterday, sign-ups went live for the folks on the waiting list for the be nice box & i am so very thankful for the response! my little dream is growing ; so fun to share it with so many people.
also, if you arent on the waiting list ; sign ups will go live on MONDAY!

todays good deed?
checking out little free libraries in my neighborhood!
i have written about them before ; but they are one of my very favorite ways to spread kindness.
in our neighborhood alone, i would guess we have at least 25 little free libraries. every day when i am walking daph, we pass at least 5-7 of them.

i recently finished this book and thought i would share it with someone else.
{ps : do you see that their entire library is painted like a peacock?!}

at the end of our walk, we found this kitschy library. {the sides are covered in chalkboard paint and there is a little ledge with chalk ; so cute!}{also, the inside of this one is covered in paint splatter. there is a lot going on here...}

i picked up this book to take home and read. diablo cody is best known for writing the movie juno. but before she moved to hollywood, she spent time here in minneapolis. this book is her memoir.
{also, the title is candy girl. i was unintentionally covering the title}

have you ever used a little free library? are they in your town // city? you can check out a map of all the libraries in the country {i think there are over 10,000!}

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

day 119 : support local & purchase gifts that support others

this weekend, i had a craft show, selling my knit cowls and hats. 
i havent been knitting much & my focus has been shifting lately. i have a lot of pieces i have created over time & was hoping to sell a bunch of them. 
{the show went really well & i actually did sell a quite a few!}

at each show, i like to walk around, meet other artists & support them.
throughout the year, i always purchase items & store them so i am never short when i need 'the perfect gift.'

i am a huge fan of local, handmade soap. i give them as gifts all the time & we have about 15 bars in the closet, waiting to be used.
i am convinced that once you start to use homemade soap made with REAL ingredients, you will never go back to the 'value pack' junk sold in stores.

i purchased 4 bars of hand cut soap, made with local honey. they all smell awesome! i will give three away & keep the pumpkin spice bar for the bathroom.
{if you want to purchase from myla, her shop is here}

{bonus : i told her about the be nice box & i have a few ideas on how we can work together!!}

have you started holiday shopping yet? 
do you have gifts that are always your 'go-to?'

Friday, November 1, 2013

day 118 : the kindness carousel {week 1}

happy friday, everybody!
todays good deed? 
i am going to share a few heartwarming // super rad stories with you.
on my other blog {which i havent been on in weeks...}, i do a weekly round-up of cool things {recipes, products, stories, ect}
i decided to bring it over here & call it the 'kindness carousel.'
the goal : each week, i will share awesome 'nice-ness' from real people from around the country.
sound good?
here we go!

1) have you seen this video? {i think ive watched it 6 times!} he is driving through rush hour traffic in LA & blasting 'build me up buttercup' ; encouraging folks to sing along. the guy in the truck gets me every time!

2) this guy in california runs a bakery & gives recovering addicts and ex-convicts a second chance! right now, he has 80 employees ; think of all the families he has helped! i also love when folks break down stereotypes like this!!

3) this is an older story ; but this disney security guard asks a little princess for her autograph!

4) this little boy {jack} is a huge nebraska huskers fan. he was diagnosed with brain cancer & the team let him come to a training game. they also let him take the field {bawling!}
{update : a couple weeks ago on the news, they said that jack is now cancer free!}

5) and have you seen this? a photographer put random people together & took their pictures. the photos are beautiful!

6) and did you see that twitter & starbucks teamed up? you can now send someone a $5 starbucks e-gift card through twitter. its a fun little 'thinking of you' gift!

any other awesome links to share?
put them in the comments so we can all enjoy them!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

day 117 : embracing the 'big-ness'

when i first started this project, i was all about it staying small and simple.
holding a door open, smiling at a random toddler at the coop, being really nice to my grandparents.
and obviously, those things are important.
those are things that we should all be doing, each and every day.

but, in the past few weeks, i have wanted more. more from this project. more from myself. more from strangers.

that night that blake and i were walking daphne, the night that the 'be nice box' was born, i was so outrageously inspired. i wanted to stand up and scream and work for a million hours in a row, only eating chocolate bars and popcorn {done and done}. i am thinking about this project ALL THE TIME! ways to connect people. ways to show others how important they are. ways for ME to grow as a human.

i have done a lot of things in my life. i have lived in europe all alone. {i got a tattoo from a guy in spain that didnt speak any english at all}. i have spent time in haiti, only a few months after the country was destroyed by a natural disaster. i have fallen in love. and then totally had my heart broken. i said goodbye to my grandpa & felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. i have had jobs that have been hard. jobs that i didnt love at all. moved across the country with $300 and a 2-door car full of my life.

my point is : i want to be a person that does big things. a person who jumps off the cliff when others are saying 'wow, that looks dangerous.*' i want to be a person that takes huge chances and continues to be inspired by people i have never even met.
i am totally convinced that a small group of humans can change the world.

today i was at the store {buying chocolate popcorn} and i got really overwhelmed. i feel so lucky. to live where i do. to meet so many amazing people. to have the opportunity to brighten the days of people i might never see again. to be able to listen to YOUR stories of changing the world.

in the beginning, this was just a project about doing one nice thing a day, but over the past 5 months, i realize that it has really become a part of my life. i am noticing that i am constantly seeking out situations where i can smile at a stranger or hold the door or send a handwritten note to a friend. and while i feel awesome doing good deeds for others, i am also realizing that being more aware of others feelings, emotions and situations has made me more compassionate.

so the good deed in all of this? realizing that all of us {YOU} really do have the ability to make the world better. its not about money. its not about who you know. its not about who you think you are.
the idea that we can change the world is totally life-changing in itself!

*just a note : i wouldnt ever jump off a cliff in real life. i dont like water and jumping to my death has always been a fear of mine. but, you know what i mean ;)