Thursday, May 22, 2014

day 206 : Aladdin Soundtracks, player pianos & neighborhood gardens

i think i have used the word 'neighborhood' in every single post this week!

a couple of weeks ago, there was a small festival happening a few neighborhoods over. we were looking for a bike ride & this was a great excuse to get on the bikes. there were food samples, live music, screen printing demonstrations and tons more.

as we were walking around, we hear 'a whole new world' from the aladdin soundtrack being played on a piano. we followed the sounds & found a player piano.
do you know these? they are the pianos that automatically play! you put in a roll of music & pump the pedals, and the piano just plays.

i grew up playing piano. my mom is really talented & use to play for church services and weddings. my grandma plays, as well.
i had never seen a player piano in real life and hello, the aladdin soundtrack! {still one of my favorite movies of all time!}
for a $1 donation to the community garden fund, you could pick out any song and play it {by pumping the pedals!} the piano is owned by don barton ; who owns barton player piano company. i asked a million questions {not always my best quality!} and don gave us a tour of both his shop and all of his player pianos. it was really incredible. one piano had a full band inside. there was an accordion, a drum set & more ; so it sounded like a 'big band' performance.

of all the things we have done // seen in the city, hanging out with don & his pianos for 30 minutes is one of the coolest!

here is a 15 second video clip of one of the older pianos.
and the song i choose for my donation? uptown girl by billy joel!
{piano man is one of my favorite songs & i totally felt like billy for 4 minutes ;)}
{this clip is NOT of that song, btw! i was too busy pumping to record!}

have you ever played // seen a player piano?!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

day 205 : last call for June subscribers, a sneak peak & this months charities

happy wednesday!
i have mentioned {in the past two posts} about the neighborhood-wide garage sales that happened last saturday. the day after, our neighborhood hosted its annual festival ; used book sale, food trucks, a silent auction and a vendor fair. 
i took to the streets & had a table for the be nice box.
i met a lot of great folks in the neighborhood & got to talk about kindness {which, hello, my favorite!}

if you are looking to join us for the June box, please do! this months theme is 'full bellies' and all of our good deeds are about FOOD! i never like to 'spoil' the boxes, but this box is probably my favorite box second only to the Feb box! {we have a new feature on the website ; you can check out all of the past boxes here
we only have a few boxes left before we sell out! if you are looking to try the box ; this is an awesome month to do so! 

we have a few new items coming to the shop soon! we will be offering plantable seed coins {these are so amazing!}, grab bags {which will be a 'mini-version' of the boxes} and reusable tote bags.
also, the price of the 1-month boxes will be going up ; but the other three offers {3, 6 & 12-mon} will be staying the same.

each month, we give $1 from each box sold to charity! since the June box is all about food, we will be giving our money to TWO awesome organizations who have been working hard for years to end hunger both in children & older adults.
we will be splitting our donation this month between no kid hungry and meals on wheels. bonus: right now, all donations to no kid hungry will be MATCHED by the arby's foundation.
meals on wheels has a special place in my heart! when i was a kid, my grandparents delivered for MoW and i have quite a few memories of being really young & bringing plates of food to people in their community. 
it makes me super emotional just thinking about it ; but i feel so lucky to have been raised by parents and grandparents who were always going out of their way to make the world a better and kinder place.
ah, i am bawling right now! my grandpa would be so proud of this little business and our kindness movement! i feel really blessed to have been exposed to kindness when i was so young.
{go call your grandparents // parents & tell them you are thankful for the lessons they taught you!} 

if you have already subscribed to the June box ; thanks! you are going to have a blast spreading kindness this month! and if you are teetering on the edge ; come on over! this will be a great month to change the world! <3

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

day 204 : a garage sale & SUPER-PURGING our lives

another easy one!
well, not totally.
the purging is easy.
the organizing, pricing & setting up is a kind of a pain in the rear.

in my post yesterday, i mentioned our neighborhood-wide garage sales were this past weekend.
we don't have a ton of lawn space {apartment living!} ; but a local woman who was having a sale, offered her space to us {thanks Jean!}

blake and i are known for our desire to live well below our means. a few times a year, we totally purge our lives. things we haven't worn lately, things we no longer want, items that others could use {how many pie tins does one person need?} ; you name it.

since we both have worked with kids for a billion years, we have accumulated a ton of stuff! toys, books, play areas, ect. we went though everything ; clothes, rooms, closets & pulled out lots and lots of stuff.

i spent a day organizing and pricing everything & blake was in charge of manning the garage sale {i had to work all day}. we didn't sell everything {you never do} ; but we brought 11+ reusable bags FULL of stuff & only returned with one IKEA bag-full. some things are vintage & worth money, so i will try to sell them. most other things will be donated to local non-profits around the area.

we didn't make a ton of money, but enough to make a small credit card payment {which is never a bad thing!}

do you 'do' garage sales? host your own? go to them?

Monday, May 19, 2014

day 203 : help a neighbor

happy monday!
this one was super easy!

each may, our neighborhood has a neighborhood-wide garage sale on a saturday & then a small festival on sunday.
there are TONS {and tons} of garage sales & then a few thousand {more?} folks come to our local park the next day for food trucks, a book sale, silent auction and a maker fair.

i had to work all day on saturday, but before i left, b & i helped out a neighbor.
there is an awesome neighborhood website called ; do you know it? you can start one, if it doesn't exist or you can join. its like a facebook // craigslist hybrid and everything is neighborhood-related. so, if someone a few blocks away is looking for some help raking leaves, or a family is looking for a summer nanny or maybe someone across the street wants to purchase a secondhand bike trailer ; you can use the site for all of it.

we love it! i check it every day & its definitely made me feel more connected to our area.
a couple weeks ago, a woman posted that she was looking for help on the morning of the garage sale. shes 85, lives in an apartment, and was hoping someone could help her move her stuff onto the lawn.

turns out, she lives a block away, so we called her & signed up. another local woman came, as well. we each made a few trips in // out with some heavy boxes and furniture ; but got everything set up in about 45 minutes.

and look at these imported perrier bottles {and carrier!} from the 60s! these came home with me!

my grandpa passed away almost four years ago {gosh, how has it been that long?!} ; and my grandma lives alone. my family lives nearby & i never worry about her not getting help ; but if my grandma needed something, i would like to think that some younger folks in her town would step up & help.

have you heard of next door? ever used it?
if its in your area, i would highly recommend it!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

day 202 : VACATION RECAP {day 5}

this is it ; the last day of our vacation!
kelly spent the day with us {hooray} and we were total tourists!
our first stop : the tupperware museum! its actually a really beautiful event center, with a small 'history center' towards the back. the set up was really futuristic & interactive {touch screens for everything!}
for a $1 donation, you received a keychain! you had this shape-sorter when you were a kid, right? there is actually a yellow shape in there that moves around!

from there, we headed to dundee groves; which had a million types of honey, jellies and candies. we purchased a quarter-bushel of oranges & a jar of honey {which blake accidentally put in his carry-on bad, which was confiscated and tossed at the airport..}

after, we headed to the world headquarters for florida's natural orange juice! the space was interactive, with screens, old pieces of history & a video. you could sample juices and we purchased an orange slushy {just frozen oj!}

we also stopped at a chocolate factory. i am a HUGE fan of chocolate! this stuff? not great! it was cheap milk chocolate & just didn't taste awesome, at all.

for our last meal in florida, we headed to the food truck fair. each week, tons of food trucks gather in different parts of the city. there was also live music and local vendors {we got free toothbrushes!}
most people {myself included} see orlando as mouse ears and overpriced attractions ; but it was super-cool to see rad bike trails, nature conservatories, local brews & other pieces of sustainability making a mark!
we had vegan cupcakes and falafel!

thats it, folks!
huge thanks to kelly & jeff for being SO awesome to us while we were in florida!
thanks for reading and sharing our trip!

Friday, May 16, 2014

day 201 : VACATION RECAP {day 4}

im going to take today & tomorrow to finish up our florida vacation trip round-ups! {you can check out day 1, day 2 & day 3}

after two days of amusement park food {cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, funnel cakes!} and thousands and thousands of people, we got back to 'our kind of vacation' ; a 45-mile bike ride! 

blake & i love biking {you totally knew that, right?} we bike year round & get super-nerdy when it comes to talking about bikes.

we pulled on our padded bike shorts & kelly dropped us off at the west orange bike trail. we rented bikes & we were off. we had some bike trouble that set us back about 90 min, but we met some really awesome people, as they came over to help! the bike rental place had to replace my bike, but then we were off! the trail was pretty flat & well-shaded. the spots that weren't quickly made us forget how long its been since we have biked in 85*+ weather.. 

after the ride, we headed to east end market! this was one of the items on my 'must do while in orlando' list! its a 2-story space with a bunch of different local shops inside. everything from a coffee roaster to a vintage // flower shop to a bakery.
it also blows my mind that there are places in this country where food grows year-round! im a bit jealous, if we are being honest..

after the market, we headed down the road & ate at bikes, beans & bordeaux ; a bike cafe // coffeehouse. the food was great & blake, jeff & kelly got to sample a bunch of local beers!

tomorrow i will finish up & post about our last day on vacation!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

day 200{!!!} : the instagram picture that made me all goosebump-y {and stuff}

day 200!
{that means i have 165 days left of this project!}
there are about 230 days left in 2014 ; so, if i keep my act together, i should be able to finish BEFORE the end of the year!

so, since 200 is kind of a milestone number, i wanted to share a milestone-type of post!
a couple of weeks ago, i was getting ready for bed & decided to check the #benicebox hashtag on instagram. i see photos that i have posted, pictures from subscribers handing out items or completing good deeds and then i come across this photo! {you can see the whole convo + photo here}

YOU GUYS! i was so pumped! 
this girl, jacqueline, FOUND one of our good deeds! 
in the March box, everybody received a stationary kit. inside each one, was a stamped card, stamped postcard & a few stickers. there was a note that said 'send someone a card on me.' each subscriber was then suppose to leave the kit somewhere for someone to find.

so, i wrote jaqueline and asked where she was from & where she found the kit. {remember, we are sending boxes out to folks all over the country!} 

it turns out that my sweet friend vanessa left this kit at an in-and-out burger outside of reno, nevada and jaqueline found it! she said she was so excited to find it & that it made her entire week.

ahh ; goosebumps, you guys! i put about 65 of these kits together and sent them to cities and states all over the country. from there, my friends {and complete strangers} passed these kits out ; left them in coffee shops, put them in books, ect. and FROM THERE, complete strangers picked them up. strangers looked at them, touched them, opened them up & took them home. each kit contained two cards // postcards. if each stranger sent both, thats almost 170 folks who had smiles put on their faces by these cards.

ive said it a billion times {and i will say it again} ; spreading kindness and doing good deeds will absolutely change the world. YOU can do this! you can put a stamp on a notecard & leave it for a stranger to find! 

i had no idea that a year ago, i would start this project. i had no idea the impact it would have on my life. i had no intention of starting a business because of this blog. i am so incredibly inspired by the folks who help make this world a better place. thanks for following along on this incredible journey!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

day 199 : energy exchange with Modo Yoga

lets talk about energy!
one of the most amazing things about this project has been the opportunities that have 'landed on my lap.' i have met incredible people {seriously, people who have changed my life & who i want around forever!}, i have found more confidence in myself, i started a business that i LOVE {!!} and i have learned the beauty of connecting.

last january, b&i purchased a 30-day deal for modo yoga ; which is a hot yoga studio, a mile away from our place. we went {not often} & then our deal expired. last summer // fall when i was training for my duathlon, we would 'friday night date' at the studio. each friday, they offer a $5 karma class. you pay $5 {or whatever you can}, the money goes to charity and you get to enjoy a 60-min yoga class in 105* temps.

you guys! i LOVE modo! the staff, the community, the intentions ; all of it! i have been to a handful of yoga studios, and i have never felt like this! the instructors know your name, the space is sustainable & you never, ever feel like the 'fat // lame // old // new // uncoordinated' kid in class. each instructor meets you where you are & NEVER pushes. also, this is the least judgmental health // wellness // fitness space i have ever been in.

fun news: i am the newest member of the modo yoga energy exchange program! that means, every sunday morning, i spend 4 hours at the studio doing everything from taking the garbage out, washing the towels, straightening up the retail space to cleaning the hot yoga studio after each class. in exchange, i receive unlimited free yoga classes.
this is such an awesome deal! 

as a new business owner, my brain is constantly swimming with a billion ideas! being in the studio is inspiring ; being around all these amazing folks is inspiring ; AND being able to spend a few hours a week sweating out my issues, ideas, triumphs and failures is so powerful!

if you live in the cities, and want to take a class together ; let me know!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

day 198: plant a tree for arbor day

this one was so easy! 

i remember planting a couple trees in elementary school, but it wasn't 'real' planting. the teachers dug the hole & we all threw a handful of dirt on the pile..

a couple weeks ago, blake & i spent the morning volunteering on the midtown greenway {which is a 6 mile 'bike highway'} for arbor day.
there were over 100 volunteers, who planted 75 trees! the trees all came from tree trust ; who i would LOVE to work with in the future!

we got to plant our very own tree! all of the volunteers got a lesson on how to properly plant {i always just thought your 'dug & dropped' ; WRONG!} and then we were off!

within 2 hours, over 75 trees had been planted! thats pretty neat! we know which tree is 'ours' and are excited to watch it grow!

Monday, May 12, 2014

day 197: MAY Be Nice Box Reveal

hi everybody! 
i hope you are awesome! 
can you believe that we are almost HALFWAY through may?! 
i still have two more days of our trip to recap, but i am going to push them back! i have a bunch of great good deeds i want to share with you! 

lets talk about the May Be Nice Box! 
the theme was 'feathers & fur' and all of the good deeds were about ANIMALS! 
this months good deeds : 
1) plant something awesome! bees and other pollinators rely on plants & flowers // INCLUDED clay seed bombs 
2) tell someone how sweet they are // INCLUDED honey sticks
3) hand out treats to your favorite pup // INCLUDED dog treats 
4) May 10th is National Letter Carriers Food Drive! leave out food for your postal worker to donate to your local food shelf
5) May 11th is Mother's Day! flowers are essential for bees! buy a bouquet for your favorite lady!
6) support your local animal shelter. donate dog food or kitty litter, offer to run dogs, clean cages, take intake photos and/or donate old towels!
7) May 16th is National Bike to Work Day! get on your bike! 
8) head to ; answer a trivia question & they will donate 10 pieces of food to dogs in need.
9) May is Endangered Species Month! head to to learn more. we CAN make a difference!
10) share a tasty treat with your favorite animal lover // INCLUDED sweet potato fruit leather
11) show kindness to ALL bugs & insects! avoid squishing or killing bugs & spiders ; they really are important.
12) May 30th is 'Water A Flower Day.' either inside or out ; be sure to dive your flowers a drink! 

items included in this months box : 
clay seed bombs handmade by janell mooney // honey sticks from MN Honey Company // sweet potato fruit leather from VegThisWay // dog treats from Barkley's Bistro // everybody also received hand-poured beeswax candles
most of the items in this months box were generously donated! be sure to check out their websites & support them!

there are still spaces available for June! our theme is 'full bellies' and everything is FOOD-related! head here to learn more & sign up!