Hopefully, these items will allow your life to become easier, enliven the spirit, lighten your purse, or help you as you begin or continue to help yourself. This is now my chosen outlet, so maybe by helping myself I can help others.
First Item that has conquered my desire for flip-flops that match everything. Meet: The Switchflop! These are ingenious little shoes (my fave is the Lily Cork heel) that allow you to simply switch the look of the strap of the flop by means of ribbon, buttons, and velcro. Yes, Velcro! I know that I at least have 5 pairs of straps now to match my varying wardrobe, and all I have to do when packing for a week or short trip is throw the shoes in a bag with all the straps. Definitely saves space in the suitcase as well as energy in schlepping a separate bag of shoes. Now I think I might venture into the black pumps! Get your own @ www.switchflops.com
I love this brand of makeup applicators. Everthing from tweezers to mirrors, travel bags to kabuki brushes, this brand really keeps your face feeling and looking great! Every part of this brush is recycled alluminum, synthetic, or made of bamboo which is bacterially resistant. No animal testing is ever done and the company has joined 1% for the Planet! I have all sorts of these tools, but the retractable kabuki brush is my absolute favorite! It neatly slips into my Burt's Bees cosmetic pouch to use with my PurMinerals natural foundation! To top it off, you can readily get these items at Ulta or Target.
Moleskine Notebooks & City Guides
Have you ever wanted to journal, sketch, write music, paint, or document your life at a moment's notice? If so, keep all of your ideas in a Moleskine Journal. Ranging in sizes and designs, they are great for everyday use, especially if you are prolific in the method to your madness. Compact design, elastic strap, and pocket in the back keep everything handy. Plus, the company has recently created city guides that include tips, maps, and places of interest so that you can journal your entire trip to each city! This sure beats cutting, gluing, and praying that you remember each day's activities when you get home. I cannot wait to get to use one for this purpose!
Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer
This is the best lip gloss that I have ever purchased. As a matter of fact, last year I bought some for all of the women in my family. It contains a little bit of a minty tingle and a splash of color with sunscreen that makes the entire $4.99 that I paid for it worth every penny. I keep one in my purse at all times and love the variety of color that makes it possible for every person to enjoy and find a color that matches their tone and color pallette. This is a natural product made with natural ingredients. I enjoy keeping it around just to make me feel a little better on down days. Please buy one or several for all means and love each one as much as I do!
PurMinerals Face Makeup
This is one of the few foundational makeups that I can wear without looking "washed out" or even without having my skin break out and eyes water. It contains SPF and shea butter which gives the foundation an added benefit over all the others I have tried. Besides being a mineral and natural makeup, it goes on smoothly and leaves a flawless appearance. Combine this with your lip shimmer and use the kabuki brush above and you are ready to hit the town!
Pandora Charm Bracelet
This is the charm bracelet for a new age of women. However, it is for those with a well-stuffed wallet or access to Ebay. I have an old bracelet with charms that dangle for my high school and college years. Then, as I realized that I needed a new bracelet to show my identity for the things I experience, love, or have become as an adult, I sought out a new way to express my personality. Each bead slips onto this circular bracelet and comes in many charms, colors, types of beads, and even splitters allows every person to have her own custom bracelet to fit her identity. I constantly look for new beads and am thrilled when I find a cheap enough one on the web to add to my collection. If only they had a Latin dictionary!
I have not worn a watch in a long time; however, this is one that I might just have to go and buy. Made from organic cotton, bamboo, corn derivatives, and mercury free batteries, Sprout watches are 80% eco-friendly. They come in cute color combinations and can be bought through Amazon or through local retailers nationwide. To search for a store near you, simply visit their website at www.sproutwatches.com.
I am a die-hard fan of shoes. I have so many that I haven't even worn all of them yet. However, few shoes catch my attention so much that I am willing to forego others just to have them. In my quest to clean up my life, that includes clutter. Since I have sized down literally, it is time for a down-sizing in my wardrobe. Hopefully, I will find a way to stay green and fashionable at the same time. As far as summer flops go, this might become my new "go-to." Flippees are made from recycled PET or eco-friendly nubuck and can be found at www.simpleshoes.com. I am taking a second look at what will suit my needs and meet those of Mother Earth. Thankfully, all who are looking to do the same can find a vast array of shoes from sneakers to gladiator sandals from the good folks at Simple Shoes. And for $30, who wouldn't love a beautiful new pair!
Folds, we are officially in the digital age. This technophobe has an MP3 player, digital camera, a laptop, and hopefully soon, an eReader. What would you do if you were on vacation (or camping) and suddenly ran out of electronic things to do because all items had lost their charge? If you are addicted to these items, then simply pull out your powerstick (www.powerstick.com) which has been precharged by your computer and holds up to 8 hours of charge. Each powerstick comes with a plethora of adapters for almost any digital device you may have.
Unii Magnetic Make-up Palette!
How many cosmetic bags of makeup do you own? Do you have favorites that you would love to keep in one handy (flat) space? Try the Unii Magnetic Makeup Palette which allows you to attach magnets to your favorite glam (if not already metallic) and fits most of the upper-scale makeup lines. It is large enough to hold any products you might need for a night on the town not to mention a week at the beach. (www.uniicosmetics.com)
Chef'n Barbeque Branch Skewers!
In case you haven't noticed, it is hot outside. Nothing seems more like summer to me than grilling and barbeques with family and friends. Luckily for me, I found the Chef'n Barbeque Branch Skewer which will aid in the vegetarian grilling this summer. It is perfect for grilling veggies and hold twice as much as a single skewer by utilizing the space more efficiently. I will be ordering two of these pretty soon: one for veggies and one for my non-veggie family. I wonder how many marshmallows our little ones would be able to fit on this lovely skewer! It sure beat finding a straight twig and stripping the bark. (www.amazon.com)
Scratch-off World Map!
I have several friends (including myself) that LOVE to travel. Unfortunately, I don't have as many stamps on my Passport as I would like. Now this is the type of art that any traveler would love to have! With this scratch-off world map, the avid traveler can literally show which countries he has visited all over the world. (Add this to the Moleskine Travel Passions Journal and you have one lovely bon-voyage present!) Find this world map at www.urbanoutfitters.com.
Up-cycled Fabric Cosmetic Case!
Made from recycled automobile fabric, each cosmetic case is unique. The inside label lists the Make, Model, and Year of the car used to make these bags from the seat fabric. If you want one of these you will have to jump quickly. Plus, who doesn't love that slashed price of $11? Find your unique bag at www.uncommongoods.com
Birth Month Flower Necklaces!
You send your sister, mother, and best friend flowers for their birthday every year. Unfortunately, within 2 weeks, the flowers are dead. Keep your love alive year-round with these special necklaces. Each necklace is made with dried flowers representing each month. Did you even know that there were birth month flowers? Find these at www.uncommongoods.com for just a little more than the price of a bouquet of living flowers. How beautiful! (P.S. My birth month is August.)
Bloomsbury Book Bag!
For all of you who are bookish, love to read and write, or just like nice office accessories, then look no further than www.levenger.com. I have my eye on this Bloomsbury Book Bag filled with accessories for reading, note-taking, and writing. Each sturdy bag is filled with assorted reading accoutrements to make a satisfying experience even more pleasurable.
After delving into the world of personal adornment and a penchant for expensive tastes, I would like to take to delve into the spirit of one's self. We find many ways to fill our spirit...words, flowers, music, candles... that is the stuff that my friends say clutter my home, but I call them items which make the house feel like a home. Most of these items are under $15 and can be found at one of my new favorite online stores called Fern's Garden at www.fernsgarden.com. Not only do these goods bring aid to the spirit, but they are fair-trade, American-made, or globally minded.
These make great stocking stuffers, or if you are looking for a very special treat for a dear friend, I encourage you to make a memory gift box for holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries. I like to pick up small items whenever I am reminded of my little sister and combine them into one large box for her birthday. That way, every item is special. These also work for hostess gifts, presents for someone who is sick, or house warmings. Be creative in giving gifts by choosing those which give back to their communities. I encourage you to pick up a few for yourself because we never know when our own rainy day may hit. These are surefire gifts for soothing the soul.
Bee Well Pillowcase!
For that special someone who is sick, check out www.beewellwishes.com. This family-run company designs pillowcases, pj's, blankets, and plushies in the softest of fabrics made in the USA as gifts for sick people. Who needs more cards, more flowers, or more stuffed animals? I know that I just want to be hugged and lie around in my pajamas. Each gift is like a soft warm hug!
There is nothing that calms my soul more than delving into the pages of a good book. Now, in the digital age, the feeling of a well-worn book spine or the smell of aged paper is replaced by the cold metal of an mp3 player. But this does not mean that we should compromise on the quality or quantity of books that we read. Welcome to the makers of LibriVox, an online compendium of audiobooks in mp3 format which can easily be downloaded to a vast array of listening devices. Right now I have Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, Anthem by Ayn Rand, and The Heroides by Ovid all ready to be enjoyed at a moment's notice. This site is neatly divided by category and even carries a children's section. Do I hear the phrase "Family Road Trip"? This certainly decreases the weight of my pocketbook, but doesn't limit the amount of knowledge in my brain!
This site was recently referred to by the makers of Real Simple. Having a busy, stressful day a work? Simply visit this site to find a picturesque view where you can escape for a mini-vacation and participate in a guided breathing exercise to regain focus and serenity.
Do you need music for a rainy day? Cleaning house? Breaking up with a lover? Dancing in jubilation? This is the ultimate site for mood music. As an online radio site, Stereo Mood has playlists created for all of the moods that one can experience in a given year. Simply click on the tags of how you are feeling at the moment or the type of music you need to express your mood and a ready-made list of music appears. Pandora is great for finding music you love, this is genius at finding the music you need but haven't even discovered!
Are you in need of a guided physical workout? At www.itrain.com, you may peruse the database of workouts and purchase them individually or subscribe to have unlimited access to over 200 workouts and accompanying music which can be downloaded into any mp3 device. Who doesn't need music for working out? This will help you stay motivated without having to search through all of your own mp3 files and creating a playlist to accompany your yoga or cardio. Who has that much time? You can now have that personal trainer you always wanted without having to look at their perfect body or pay ginormous gym fees.
Do you have trouble figuring out just what to cook for your weekly meals, creating weekly grocery lists, or dividing a recipe by 6 to find the perfect serving size for you and your significant other? Then your day of delivery has come! For $7 per month, the folks at relishrelish.com allows you to do just that. Choose your weekly recipes and the number of folks to feed, and you automatically get a customized shopping list and scaled down recipes to fit every need and diet. I am not a very organized person anymore, so when the time comes for me to have a family and cook vegetarian meals on a daily basis, this is certain to be a service that I will enlist. Now, if only it would be customized to fit my grocery store aisles or come with a personal shopper and chef!
Have you ever wondered what to do with all of that knowledge inside your head? Use your free time and your "noodle" to donate grains of rice to the World Food Bank. For every answer you get correct from vocabulary and grammar to chemistry and art history, 10 grains of rice are donated to those who certainly need the nourishment.
Tired of using the same word over and over again? I know of one dear friend who is completely frustrated over my overusage of the term "amazing." I have registered to get my daily dosage of vocabulary needs through the word of the day email sent by this notable dictionary company. Now I will have more words with which to pepper this blog!
How many of you have vision boards at home filled with pictures of items you would like to own, projects you would like to start, or recipes you would like to cook? I have one physical board, one mental board, 3 photo albums, and an entire notebook in Microsoft OneNote. Use this site as a virtual tagboard to "pin" images you find while surfing the net. I like the fact that you can view images that others have "pinned" that you may have never found on your internet journey. The lovely folks at www.pinterest.com have already created several boards for each person which may be altered for your own tastes. Now, I can have a virtual board along with my physical one that will not be destroyed by fire or flood.
Do you keep a physical journal? Do you like to keep all of your entries, photos, recipes, etc. in one place for quick reference? Are you addicted to that little black notebook used by the likes of Hemmingway and Picasso? I know that I have about 4 I am using just now. If you are a Moleskiner like I am, then register here to download templates of all the paper styles (blank, grid, lined,storyboard, etc.) or even pages from the passion journals (recipes, travel, wine, books, favorites, etc.) in various sizes that can be printed and pasted into your own Moleskine. Plus, recently the makers of Moleskine have developed MSK 2.0 which allows you to type your entries on the pages (even inserting pictures) and save them in a digital notebook format. You can even turn the pages of your blog into the pages of your journal! Plus, there are always little cute freebies to add such as Resolution Dice and NCAA brackets.
Every person has a special cause. Mine is literacy (what with being a teacher and all). I love this site because with one click of the mouse, a donation is made to fund literacy projects. Plus, any goodie (most are fair-trade) that you buy donates a portion to fund books for those who have none. How many times have I taken reading for granted? After visiting this site, I realized that things we take for granted are longed for elsewhere.
Sign up to use this search engine (for free) and pick out the non-profit organization of your choice to which you would like to have money donated. You can pick a non-profit by cause or location. Every time you use the search engine, a small amount is donated to your non-profit. One may even apply to have their own non-profit listed if it is not already there. Searching costs you nothing. My searching funds go to a local literacy project. You can even visit the site to see how much money you have raised for your non-profit simply by doing something that you would already do in the first place.
Who doesn't love a handmade gift? If you are looking for that perfect little trinket or that undiscovered treasure, then head over to Etsy. Private artists create their own shops on Etsy to hock their wares and bring a bit of color to your life. I love that you can search by location, lifestyle, or even type of creation. I am a big believer that one should support small business as well as local business. Most artists take requests and many are full-time artists trying to support their trade. The items are all well-priced, and almost all are unique.