Friday, April 25, 2014

day 193 : kindness carousel {week 15}

woo hoo!
we come home from vacation tomorrow ; i am super excited to recap everything for you!

enjoy another round of the kindness links from around the internet!

1) you have seen this video, right? if not, *promise* me you will watch it! {and get ready to start bawling!}

2) you know i love a good rescue story! check out 50 {one from each state!!}

3) i am participating in a mothers day giveaway over here. {you can also find an *EXCLUSIVE* Be Nice Box coupon code!}

4) this is a beautiful story from the #30DOB {30 days of biking} blog about the power of getting on a bicycle!

5) mark your calendars! May 10th is the Annual Mail Carriers Food Drive! {you leave food by your mailbox and your postal worker picks it up and it gets donated to local food shelves!}

6) Julia did a really awesome write-up of the Be Nice Box! also, her blog is really great!

7) Jennifer created a free 'take what you need sheet.' you can download it here. {also, i LOVE that these are becoming a 'thing.'}

8) love this post about kara goucher and oiselle teaming up! so classy.

9) have you been following this story? there is a bill in California that, if passed, would BAN all Sea World shows.. animal rights are such a huge part of my existence and i would LOVE to see this happen in our lifetime!

10) and holy beautiful! this was done in the name of TV advertising ; but its SO amazingly beautiful!

see you on monday!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

day 192 : send letters to my grandparents {and a coupon code for the cutest stationary EVER}

on april 10th, it was national siblings day {which you probably noticed because EVERYBODY on facebook put photos up}

for the april be nice box, everybody received a card from smock paper and was encouraged to send their sibling a card for national siblings day.
i didnt send one to my sister {but thats because shes getting another rad surprise that i will share next week!} ; but i AM sending cards to my grandparents. 

i LOVE smock paper!
i first discovered them at my favorite eco-boutique here in town. i purchased some thank you cards and after they were gone, i knew i wanted to partner with them for the box!
they use veggie oil-based inks, recycle EVERYTHING to keep it out of landfills, reuse and recycle all packaging materials, donate surplus paper and envelopes to local public schools, the packaging is tree-free, and everything is made from BAMBOO!
you guys KNOW that i love this stuff!
everything is made in new york and everything is made using wind-power!
all employees receive bus passes AND a 20-week CSA share at the expense of the company.
they also donate 1% of profits to the planet.

if you are looking to make a difference AND to send out super-cute notes, cards and invites, i *highly* recommend smock paper! 

also, if you type in the code CONSCIOUS at checkout, you will save 15% on your order!
connect with smock!

its also not too late to sign up for the may be nice box

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

day 190 : cash in change {and then spend it on ME}

this one is easy.

in 7th grade, at a church party, someone gave me a glass jar filled with strawberry candies. 
the jar is about half-gallon size and since i was a kid, its been the place to collect spare change.

since we pay for laundry in our building, the quarters go into a different 'laundry-only' jar ; but everything else goes into the strawberry jar.
blake and i decided that once it was full, we would cash it in and do something nice for ourselves.
and since its all dimes, nickels and pennies, we knew it wouldn't be a massive amount, but cashed in change is cashed in change ;)

we took the jar up to the bank, dumped it all in the change-sorter and placed bets on the total.
not a ton of money, but we will use it this week on our trip! 

do you have a change jar? 

Monday, April 21, 2014

day 189 : the post that started this all {and thoughts on 365 days of kindness}

hi everybody!
as you read this, blake and i are on vacation for SEVEN days!
i am super excited to recap and share everything when we get back home.
we made a pact that we would be as 'technology-free' as possible this week.
we wont be instagram-ing each moment, i took facebook off my phone a few weeks ago and we wont be live-tweeting our trip.

we have been planning this week away for the past 4 months and i want to be in the moment as much as possible. its so important to me to step away from the magic of technology for the week.

some of you have been following this blog since the beginning {whoop!} and some of you are new-er! either way, i just wanted to take a minute today and reflect on this project.

when the boston bombings happened one year ago {last week}; i was so bummed. the sandy hook school shootings happened the day of my birthday and i remember feeling sick for WEEKS. just so sad. and hurt. and pissed off.

the day after the bombings, i wrote this post on my other blog. i created a list of 26.2 acts of kindness to complete in honor of those affected by the blast. as i was writing it, it made me think.
we always do this.
every time something happens, we always say 'okay, i will call my mom more often.' 'i won't be such a hardass on my husband for leaving his socks on the floor.' 'i will be nicer to the person who serves me coffee in the morning.'
and we try. for a week or so, we try to be less nag-gy, a little nicer, more considerate.
and then we go back to normal.
until, a couple months later, yet another tragedy happens...

in the days that followed my 'good deeds' post, i decided to issue a challenge to myself.
can i complete one act of kindness, every day for an entire year?
could i do it? would i run out of ideas? is it really possible to be nice every single day?
so, i took the challenge.

on may 1st, 2013, i launched this blog. i spent HOURS compiling a list of 400 good deeds. i asked my friends and people on my social network.

i still have 176 days to go {because i didnt blog weekends and went stretches where i didnt blog anything at all}
there have been tons of small acts of kindness that i have completed that i have never blogged about. some seemed too easy. sometimes i just didnt have the time to record them. other times, i wanted certain acts to be completely anonymous.

you guys, this project has changed my life!
i know that it sounds silly.
when i first started, i would plan out my good deeds and was so worried that i wouldnt be able to be 'nice enough.'
and now that i am almost 200 days in, it just feels so natural. each situation i am in, it just feels so easy to smile and be genuine.
this project has given me the confidence to say 'how can i help?' 'what can i do to make things better?'
and dont get me wrong. i am not always kind.
i use the f-word quite often. i recently quit a really horrible job. sometimes i get really mad at blake.

i am not perfect. 
but this project has given me such an amazing eye for kindness.
all i want is to make this planet better.
i dont have a lot of money. i dont have a lot of power. i will never be a world leader or a famous actress. there is a huge chance that millions of people will never know who i am.
BUT, i have kindness.
each day, i am able to make a moment better for someone or something else.

thanks for joining me on this journey, everybody!
i would love to hear any fun good deed story you have to share {whether its something YOU have done, something you have SEEN or something that has happened to YOU} 

Friday, April 18, 2014

day 188 : kindness carousel {week 14}

its been quite a few weeks since i posted a round-up of awesome links!
we leave for vacation on sunday ; so, while i work on packing {and getting everything ready for daphne's dog sitter}, enjoy these heartwarming links!

1) have a bunch of extra coupons laying around? do you receive the Sunday paper & throw away all the coupon inserts? chloe glazer is a 10-year old who created coupons help ; a site where you can donate unused coupons and they will be sorted and donated to local food shelves. this is such a simple and easy way to make a difference!

2) my friend katy made 'thank you' cookies for her neighbors after they helped get her car out of a snowbank.

3) have you seen this? this mom added a sandbox to her infant sons grave, so her other son could still play with him. {tear jerker!}

4) for the April BNB, we helped support CTC International ; who empowers women in Africa, who have children with disabilities. this is a really beautiful NPR article about what it means to live with special needs in Kenya.

5) missy wrote a post about good deeds and the increase in #payitforward that she is seeing!

6) sarah outlined 19 teeny tiny things you can do to make the world better! {i love all these posts about good deeds!}

7) love TOMS shoes? they recently launched TOMS Roasting! each pound of coffee you purchase gives clean water to someone in need!

8) my sweet friend Vanessa was in Redbook magazine talking about what it means to 'live richly,'

9) this is so fun! our friend nicholas sells buffalo ; on his bike! that means that he pulls a 300 pound trailer to different farmers markets around the city! totally worth reading the article!

10) because you know i cant resist a good 'pit bull success' story : see where Michael Vick's fighting dogs are today! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

day 187 : hand out a stationary kit

i really love letters. and cards. and small notes.
i love what a small note {to a friend or stranger} can do.
its by far, one of my favorite good deeds to complete.

in the march be nice box, everybody received a 'stationary kit' to hand out to someone or leave somewhere.
each kit contained a stamped postcard, a stamped card AND a few cute stickers.
the goal is to hand it out or leave it where someone can find it.

daphne and i had to walk up to the bank, so i left one next to the ATM.
theres a little note on the front encouraging strangers to pick it up!

the may boxes are shipping out at the end of april ; you can head here to join us!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

day 186 : reuniting a lost dog with her owner

a few months ago, i did this same thing.
but, it happened again this weekend.

blake & i were taking daphne for a super long stroll.
about a block ahead, i see this really beautiful dog and shes just running in and out of traffic.
nobody is stopping.
i didn't want to scare her, so i went into the backyard of a house {the garage door was open and a guy was out raking} & asked if she was his dog.
nope. not his.

he came out front with me and the dog starts barking // growling at him ; and wagging her tail at me.
{afraid of guys?}
{daphne is with blake on the other side of the street since she cant handle other dogs...}
another neighbor guy comes out and says 'oh, that dog lives across the street. shes always out, we don't do anything about it. she usually goes back home.'}
i am sitting there, stunned.
you dont do anything?!?
what if she gets hit by a car?!

so, i take some treats, and walk over to her house and she follows me.
i ring the doorbell, no answer.
i sit down on the step and she comes closer.
finally, i was able to see the phone number on her tag and call her humans.
no answer.

so, we sit.
{and daphne is working SO hard not to freak out at the other end of the block!}
and *finally* this woman comes running from the back of the house, looking for her dog.
hooray ; reunited!
as we were walking away, the 'its not a big deal' neighbor waved and said thanks for helping her out!

i would hope to goodness if it was daphne that got loose, someone would hang with her and keep her from running into traffic and getting hurt.

it takes a village to save the world, folks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

day 185 : quitting things that suck {and why its okay}

lets talk about it! 

a couple weeks ago, carla wrote this post about how its totally okay to be a quitter.

i am not a quitter.
as a kid, i played certain sports, even when i wasn't very good. 
in band, i kept playing, even though i didn't always love it.

as an adult, i have never quit a job.
i have left jobs because i moved, or nanny jobs that ended because the kids went to school ; stuff like that. but, i have never gotten up and walked out.
until last week.

this post isn't entirely about that, though...

not too long ago, i took a job that *sounded* perfect. it was a position that would be awesome for me. a location that was easy to bike and bus to. it was 20 hours a week, which meant i would still be able to work on the Be Nice Box, while also making a decent amount of supplemental income.
sounded great.

you guys, NOT GREAT!
i won't be the guy that blasts an employer on the internet {hello, this is a kindness blog!} BUT, i will say this ; that environment was toxic.
the space, the leadership, the energy ; all of it.
it only took me a few weeks to realize how NOT ME this position was.

the day i quit shouldn't have come as a surprise to the owner. she totally steamrolled me and bullied me in front of the entire staff.
after i finished seething and calmed down ; i composed a professional email and quit.

so, how is this a good deed?
its a lesson in staying true to YOU.
i have a lot of really amazing people in my life. people who are doing unconventional things. people who are leaving lucrative {but awful} jobs to try to follow their own dreams. people who are selling things {homes, cars} so they can fund businesses they dream about every minute of the day.

this life is way too short to be doing things that you hate. things that make you feel sick. things that honestly make you feel like you are having a heart attack.

i know that some people disagree with me {even if you hate something, you should suck it up and do it, anyways...} ; but right now, where i stand and what i stand for ; its so important to do things that have value, meaning and make me feel like i am doing the right thing in the world!

tell us : have you ever quit a job? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

day 184 : spread 'positive change'

this one is super easy!
in the March Be Nice Box, everybody received 10 pennies ; all with smiley face stickers on the 'heads' side.
the mission? 
drop the pennies. hand them out. leave them random places.
spread positive change {get it?} 

they see a penny {with a bright yellow smiley face!}, they pick it up, they feel better {even if its for a second!}

i had a few pennies leftover, so i dropped them on the bus, on the sidewalk, and at the entrance to the library! 
so easy!

and, because its never a bad time to be reminded : 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

day 183 : April Be Nice Box REVEAL

hi everybody! 
happy thursday!! we hit 70* yesterday in minneapolis {first time in 6+ months!} and all the snow is gone! the bike trails are finally clear, which means i can put away my heavy bike with snow tires & get moving on my race bike {woo hoo!}

lets talk about the be nice box! 
the april boxes went out a couple days behind schedule {one of the packages was stuck in illinois for d-a-y-s!} & now that everybody has had time to unbox & share photos on social media ; i thought it would be a perfect time to show you everything that was in this months box! 

Be Nice Box : April Edition! // this month we sent boxes to folks in 17 states {including first-timers Kentucky, Alaska and Oklahoma!!} 
our theme : Tree Huggers & Planet Savers {each good deed this month has to do with taking care of Mother Nature!} 

this months good deeds : 
1) all month long : make an effort to lessen your impact ; use less & recycle more
2) see a piece of not-super-gross garbage? pick it up! {it takes a village!}
3) feed the birds! INCLUDED // bird feeder
4) April 10th is National Sibling Day. send a sibling or friend a rad card! INCLUDED // card from smock paper
5) SELF-CARE! drink more water! {avoid plastic bottles}
6) measure your carbon footprint & share the small changes you will be making
7) April 16th is National Librarian Day! head to the library check out a book or donate one of your favorites
8) offer someone a breath mint. INCLUDED // pack of mints from Project 7
9) attend a community event ; a food drive, school place, sports event, ect
10) April 22nd is EARTH DAY! find a way to volunteer and be involved in your community
11) grab a friend & spend time in nature! refuel with trail mix! INCLUDED // Enjoy Life Nut-free trail mix
12) use a reusable bag wherever you go ; leave it in your car, take it shopping, ect. ask if your store will give you a bag discount

items in the boxes include : bird feeder to hang up // nut-free trail mix from Enjoy Life // breath mints from Project 7 {for every purchase you make, they donate to awesome causes around the world} // bamboo Thank You cards {made in the US, with wind power!} from Smock // handmade coffee sleeve from the women at LIFEline

the april box is one of my favorites! all of these companies are doing really incredible things & i am so happy to be able to share them with our awesome subscribers! 

if you are interested in joining us for may, you can head here to sign up!