Category Archives: News

5 Fun Flower-Worthy Occasions in September

We all know the holidays in which flowers are the only acceptable form of gift. While these days are special and we can feel good about greeting our loved ones with a bouquet of beautiful flowers as a small token of our appreciation for everything they do, there are other unique occasions that hardly anyone thinks to celebrate the same way. Here are five out-of-the-box flower-worthy occasions coming up next month where a bouquet of flowers would certainly brighten up a family member or friend’s day.

National Courtesy Month

September is National Courtesy Month! It’s OK, we had no idea, either, but we can all use September as a way to help convince the pessimists of the world that common courtesy is indeed alive and well. We’re sure we can all agree that giving one of your favorite people a beautiful bouquet of flowers would certainly be seen as a courteous act.

Self Improvement Month

yellow rosesSeptember is also Self Improvement Month. If a friend or family member has been wanting to make a positive change in their lives, or mentioned trying something new that they haven’t gotten around to doing yet, give them a little token of encouragement to get started.

Grandparent’s Day

Grandparent’s Day falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day, making this year’s Grandparent’s Day September 13. If you don’t visit your grandparents often enough, pick up a bouquet of flowers and drop by for a visit on this day — they’ve earned it.

National Women’s Friendship Day

Our female friends play such important roles in our lives, hopefully throughout the course of years. Do something special for your closest friends on September 20 to celebrate National Women’s Friendship Day. Maybe host an intimate dinner at home or go out to your favorite meeting spot — whatever you do, choosing a small bouquet for each of your girlfriends to show them how much you appreciate them being a rock for you when you’ve needed them will definitely be appreciated.

World Gratitude Day

September 21 is World Gratitude Day. Originated in Hawaii and celebrated since 1966, this is a day where flowers from Sydney could have a positive impact on someone day. World Gratitude Day centers around the notion that we are happier people when we take the time reflect on the amazing things we are privileged enough to have in our lives. Share your appreciation for all that is good in your life on World Gratitude Day with a bouquet for someone who has consistently made your life better.

Forced to Become Dads Too Soon: The Child Grooms of Nepal #ChildGrooms #ad

Nepal child marriage
Photos: © 2015 Carey Wagner/CARE | Illustrations: Stephen Purnell/CARE

It’s Father’s Day weekend and while many of us will be celebrating the dads in our lives who have been there to shape us into who we are today, there is a devastating and widely hidden cultural pandemic occurring in the South Asian country of Nepal.

I love Father’s Day. I was raised by a single dad committed to his family and who always tried his best to do what was right. He introduced me to and instilled in me a lifelong love of video games, and he encouraged my curiosity when I began to teach myself how to design and code websites — a skill that I have retained and built upon throughout my adulthood and have even shaped my career around. He validated my passions, supported me as I found my voice and got involved in social justice activism, even if he didn’t fully understand or agree with my point of view himself, and he forgave me unequivocally each and every time I disappointed him.

For all intents and purposes, my dad became a father relatively young. He might not have been fully ready to put on the badge of ‘dad’ when he did, but he had the privilege of being an adult with a high school education and access to a job that paid well enough to financially support his family. But the child grooms of Nepal do not know this privilege; not even close.

Over the last several years we have been given intimate, soul-crushing depictions of child brides and the bleak lives many of them face after being forced to marry much older men. Their stories are heartbreaking, and they make us wonder how we can live in a world where this not only happens, but is a deeply ingrained part of a culture. But in some areas of the world, like in western Nepal, child brides marry child grooms.

CARE, a leading humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting global poverty with a commitment to empowering women and girls, has released a shocking report this Father’s Day that shines a light on the fathers some are more comfortable to leave in the dark and others don’t know exists. “Dads Too Soon: The Child Grooms of Nepal” is a multimedia report on the misfortunate and suffering of forced child marriage and the plight of boys who are forced to marry as young as 7, doomed to stay in poverty with their families, and the families they have no choice but to begin themselves as soon as possible.

Parashuram, a child groom of Nepal, was forced to marry when he was 9 years old. He wet himself at his wedding because he had no idea how to untie the ceremonial garment that was placed on him so that he could use the bathroom. When he was 12, he was pressured to produce a child, even though he hadn’t hit puberty yet. Speaking about his experience he blamed himself, saying, “I couldn’t do what was expected of me as a married man.”

Soon after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25, CARE was able to reach tens of thousands of people with life-saving relief due to the relationship they have sustained with the people of Nepal since 1978. One of the fears the poverty-fighting organization has is that the natural disaster will further isolate rural communities, and it could intensify the economic pressure many families feel that fuel forced child marriage.

Nepal child grooms
Photos: © 2015 Carey Wagner/CARE | Illustrations: Stephen Purnell/CARE

In Nepal’s Kapilbastu District, 12% of boys are married by age 14; 62% by age 19. Like child brides, child grooms endure psychological and physical trauma and usually drop out of school, pressured by the immediacy of having to support their wives and families. As painful as their stories are, former child grooms have become powerful voices in the movement to end child marriage in Nepal.

Emerging as key allies in the movement, former child grooms like Pannilal Yadev is sharing his story of how he was so young when he was married that he can barely recall it. Today, he works with CARE’s Tipping Point program, lending his story and life experience in hopes of changing people’s minds about child marriage, striking at the root of the pandemic to finally put an end to the custom of forcing children to trade their childhoods for marriage, a family, and poverty that they will never be able to rise up out of.

Forced child marriage is a human rights violation. Lend your support to CARE’s initiative to end child marriage by sending a letter to your Representative and Senators to make fighting child marriages a priority.

Your Taxes are Done! Treat Yo Self with Some Tax Day Freebies and Deals


Tax season is the worst season, and why can’t it be in the winter when we’re stuck inside anyway instead of interfering with our beautiful spring weather?

Now that your taxes have been filed you’re over the one bummer spring brings with it, and it’s time to celebrate. We’ve tracked down some ways you can treat yo self today (and the next few days for some) with Tax Day freebies and deals.

  • When you buy one Whopper at Burger King, you’ll get another one free with this coupon.
  • Participating McDonald’s locations have a buy one, get one for a penny deal on Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. No coupon needed.
  • When you buy one Individual Meal at Boston Market, you’ll get a second Individual Meal free.
  • Hard Rock Cafe will make you sing for your supper, but if you’re willing to take the stage and belt out a tune you’ll get a free Local Legendary Burger.
  • Say “Taxes Schmaxes” when you place your order at California Tortilla to get a free order of chips and queso.
  • Olive Garden is offering a coupon for $6 off a dinner for two now through April 19.
  • Outback Steakhouse will take 15% off your check when you present this coupon now through May 3.
  • Participating Hydro Massage locations and select Planet Fitness Centers are treating tax payers to a free massage now through April 17. Just call your nearest location to schedule your massage and enjoy.
  • Save $8 on Pampers or Huggies value boxes of diapers at Babies”R”Us with this coupon, valid through April 30.
  • Use coupon code X8W8L3A at Barnes and Noble for 20% off one item now through May 1.
  • Participating Office Depot locations are ready to take all the paperwork of tax season off your hands with a coupon for free paper shredding for up to 5 pounds of paper.

Know of any other Tax Day freebies or deals? Share them in the comments!

How to Make a Difference in the Lives of Military Families and the Direct Energy Military Portal #DEcares #ad

I come from a fairly small, exceptionally tight-knit family. A calling that has been passionately pursued by many of those in my family is that of military service.

My great-grandfather traveled all over the world as an ambassador of his country while providing for his family. He always brought my grandmother back a small token — a piece of jewelry, a charm — indigenous to the area he had just returned from. He passed away in the late ’90s of complications from Alzheimer’s, and while I was a young child at the time, I can still remember him telling stories of his time in the military, even when he was no longer capable of recalling my name or who I was.

My great-uncle learned invaluable skills through his time in the military, and as a result holds a prestigious job because of that knowledge. His eldest son, my second-cousin, followed in the footsteps laid out before him and also joined the military, using it as a vessel for his music and now plays in the U.S. Army band.

My aunt joined the National Guard right after graduating from high school, around the time I was born. She then transferred to the Army Reserves and retired after 26 years of service as a Sergeant First Class.

Aunt Jenn James R Minicozzi Memorial Run
My aunt finishing the 3rd Annual James R. Minicozzi Memorial Run in honor of a fallen soldier and friend.

I have always had a great deal of pride in my aunt. It isn’t just because she served in the military for 26 years, but because she proudly did so in the face of adversity as a woman soldier. She proved herself to be just as strong, hard-working, and worthy as her male counterparts, and it is through her experiences that I find strength in myself in whatever I do.

Her military career is an inspiring story of perseverance and defying odds, and I could not be more proud of her and of the life she has had.

Aunt Jenn military awards

You don’t have to come from or be part of a military family to care about those who serve our country. Here are some simple things you can do to give back and say ‘thanks’ that will have a meaningful impact on active military, veterans, and those who love them most.

Make Your Voice Heard for Military Rights

Almost exactly one year ago, it was reported that at least 40 United States Armed Forces veterans had died while waiting for care at the VA hospital located in Phoenix, Arizona. An investigation into the matter in June 2014 uncovered a harsh reality that veterans around the country were facing unrealistic wait times and unusual restrictions to their benefits. President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff reported on the situation saying that there were “significant and chronic system failures” and a “corrosive culture” inside the Veterans Health Administration.

While Congressional legislation was signed into effect in August 2014 by President Obama regarding VA funding and implementing reform within the Veterans Health Administration, there is still a lot to be done in order to truly support and lift up military servicepeople.

It is cruel to expect our military personnel to be there for us when we need them, to go to war if they are asked to do so, and to selflessly give their lives in the name of our freedom, and then deny them the benefits that they have earned once they can no longer deploy or serve as active duty.

When you hear of news regarding retiree benefits for veterans, ensuring that these men and women receive quality health care and have access to higher education in order to secure a civilian job once they are no longer active duty, educate yourself. Take a look at these initiatives and stand up in support of them. Call or write your local politicians and ask them to support initiatives on ensuring your community’s military and veterans are happy, healthy, and secure, sign a petition, and spread the word on social media.

Thank a Serviceperson

Whenever me and my aunt go out anywhere — shopping, to the movies, out to a restaurant for lunch, anywhere — if she sees a military serviceperson in uniform or wearing a veteran jacket or cap, she approaches them to thank them for their service. It is a gesture that takes less than 30 seconds of your time, but means everything to someone who has dedicated their life, or part of their life, to serving their country, and serving you.

Support Military Charities

There are many military charities out there that have a direct impact on the quality of life of our military and veterans. These are just three of the charities making a difference:

  • Hope for the Warriors: Founded in 2006 by military wives after they witnessed first-hand the effects of war on spouses and their families, Hope for the Warriors helps to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty. Through them, service members can receive access to career transition and education programs, health and wellness counseling, and community building initiatives for military families as they transition into civilian life.
  • Wounded Warrior Project: The Wounded Warrior Project serves veterans and military service members who have incurred physical or psychological injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001. Armed with the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, the Wounded Warrior Project works to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new, personal victories and triumphs, and are equipped to service military service members and veterans with every type of injury — from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.
  • Pits for Patriots: Founded in May 2011, this organization trains qualified, rescued pit bulls from various Chicago area dog rescues and shelters to work as service therapy and skilled companion dogs for United States military veterans and first responders. By providing a rescued dog (at no cost, at that) Pits for Patriots saves two lives by uniting military servicepeople in need of repairing their lives with a dog given a second chance to serve, protect, and heal.

Direct Energy Military Portal

Direct Energy Military Portal

There are many companies and brands out there who offer a little something to U.S. military and veterans, like discounts year-round and a free treat on days of significance, like the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. I can’t tell you how many times a year my dad, a woodworker by trade, asks my aunt to accompany him to Lowe’s or Home Depot to gain access to her military discount, and our periodic shopping trips at Old Navy (also known as the only place with jeans that fit my unique shape) are always just a little bit cheaper. Direct Energy recently joined the ranks of thanking military personnel around the country by helping them save on their home energy needs.

Direct Energy is one of the largest retail providers of electricity, natural gas, and home services in North America. As a company committed to giving back to those who have given so much, they have recently launched the Direct Energy Military Portal, a dedicated space where active military and veterans can find discounted energy rates for their home energy needs.

To be eligible for the discounted military rates Direct Energy offers, you must enter your valid military ID into the Military Portal. Once it verifies, you will then be directed to a dedicated military plans page where you can view the plans available in your area.

Once you’re a Direct Energy customer, you will gain access to other time- and money-saving features, including the on-the-go Online Account Manager, on-time bill payment rewards program, and the Refer-a-Friend Program.

If you’re a U.S. military serviceperson, veteran, part of a military family, or know someone who is, spread the word about the newly-launched Direct Energy Military Portal where money is just waiting to be saved.

What do you do to say thanks to military service members and veterans?

CARE Knows How to Fight Poverty and Empower the World #CAREKnowsHow #ad

This post is sponsored by CARE, but my passion and support for making the world a better place for everyone is all my own.

We are all familiar with the term “care package,” but do you know where it originates from?

CARE package was founded in 1945 after the end of World War II. 22 American organizations and thousands of people, including President Harry S. Truman, banded together to send lifesaving packages to starving survivors of the war in Europe. On May 11, 1946, the first 20,000 CARE packages arrived at the battered port of Le Havre, France, delivering supplies and a respite to the war-torn area and the vulnerable people who called it home.

Since then, CARE has grown to become a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting global poverty with a commitment to empowering women and girls.

I have been committed to social justice issues for as long as I can remember, and have always wished to live in a world that is equal, fair, compassionate, free from pride and greed, and with respect for culture and the melting pot of traditions all people have. I have been called an idealist for my legitimate wondering as to how there could possibly be people in this world who don’t prioritize peace and equality, and I have been called naive. All I can say is that if I am still naive about the world around me at 28, then I hope I never lose that.

I think more people would realize that radical change could happen around the world if they knew how — how it happened, how they could make it happen, how it is happening. Luckily, CARE Knows How.

CARE stats

CARE facilitates lasting change for people all over the world by thinking outside of the box and within the constraints the people and communities with whom they are working. They have a proven track record for coming up with strategies that really work to solve problems and change lives. They do this by:

  • Strengthening the capacity for self-help
  • Providing economic opportunity
  • Delivering relief in emergencies
  • Influencing policy decisions at all levels
  • Addressing discrimination in all its forms

CARE has proven that it is possible to lift the world’s poorest people out of extreme poverty. Unlike what many people here in the U.S. are told and tend to believe about the poor, people living in poverty do not want handouts, they need a helping hand. These are human beings who want to provide for themselves, but are unable to start. CARE’s innovative work has given families and entire communities back their dignity.

In Ecuador, they implemented a system that saves people time and eliminates hard labor by harvesting water for drinking and washing from fog. Through this system, people are able to collect up to 200 liters of water that is filtered and safe for home use.

In Malawi, the CARE Village Savings and Loan Association was established to give people micro-loans so that they could start their own businesses and become self-sufficient. One woman, Biti Rose, joined the association and was given a $2 loan to purchase ingredients she needed to make donuts. Her donuts become wildly popular, earning her several dollars a day so that she and her husband could provide for their family, reinvest their profits into their children’s educations, and care for their farm. CARE literally found a way for this family to beat poverty with donuts. How amazing is that?!


In December 2014, the Water for the World Act was passed. This piece of legislation improves access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene for 750 million people around the world who lack access to safe drinking water and the 2.5 billion without access to adequate toilets. The Water for the World Act was informed and advocated for by CARE, with their citizen advocates playing a critical role in its passing after the bill confronted several barriers to passage.

CARE is helping heal and empower the world through their tireless work — work that spans so many different areas of life and wellness in immeasurable ways. Visit to learn more about what they do to fight poverty and injustice while empowering the world, and please consider making a donation to their cause if you can.

Teaching Your Kids to Give: Establishing the Mentality of Lifelong Giving

youth volunteers

While raising kids has never been easy, it can be one of the most rewarding things that some people do — especially when children grow up to be productive, contributing members to society, and that includes knowing how to give back and enrich the communities in which they live.

When should children start participating in the giving process? As early as possible. Even if they are still toddlers, observing charitable acts that happen regularly and eventually understanding them will leave a big impression. Learning how to give and developing that skill set is a lifelong journey.

Giving is more than a task, it’s a mindset. A way of life, a way of looking at the world and asking, how can I help? How can I make connections between needs and time and resources? How can I bring awareness to specific needs and evoke action?

  1. Ask Your Kids How They Would Like to Help.

    If giving to a cause is new to your household, involve your kids as early as possible; tell them that your family has the chance to give back. Then, engage them in a conversation about the types of causes they may feel strongly about and ways they think they can help.This could involve helping families, working to save open spaces, caring for nature or a community garden, helping to save an endangered species, or helping those in need.

    Once you’ve identified key topics that your family is interested in (make a list, as this helps visualize everything) start researching specific local organizations (add them to the list).

    • Food kitchens
    • Pet shelters and animal rescues
    • Nature conservation efforts
    • Fundraising for various activities for low-income kids, like camp
    • Zoos, museums, and aquariums
    • Schools and local libraries (these days, even they need as much help as they can get)
    • Visitation of patients in hospitals
    • Visitation of the elderly in nursing homes
  2. Make a Game Plan

    Get creative about how your family can help the organization(s) you choose. Bake sales are traditional, but there are other ways to help. Talk it through with your family, map it out, and post the results somewhere in the home that is highly visible.

    Gamify it to some degree with tasks that turn into goals that turn into accomplishments, that result in stickers.

  3. Quick Tasks and Ideas That Can Make a Big Difference

    Clear the clutter. Every 6 to 12 months, have a household closet cleaning day (that includes the toy chest, and maybe even the garage). Get everyone in the family to help.

    Make a donate box. Put it out where your kids can add to it. Donate often, even if it’s small.

    Make detours to giving. When shopping, make a trip down the canned food aisle. Ask your kids to pick a can of food to put in your donate box at home.

    Find ways to raise money for donations. Hold a yard sale and give all or a portion of your sales to a selected charity. Do the same with a bake sale, an art sale, etc. Involve your kids at all stages.

    Associate getting with giving. For birthdays and holidays, aside from their other gifts, give your kids a hand-written gift “certificate of giving” with a specified amount of money that they can gift to their favorite charity. Take your child to the charity to donate that money in-person if you can. For non-location organizations, write a check and have your child include a letter.

    Volunteer time in your local community. From public gardens that need weeding, to historic buildings that need painting, or food banks that need help, find something age-appropriate that can engage your family.

  4. Growing the Mindset

    Tell stories. There are lots of real-life stories about kids or groups of kids who have found creative ways to give back. Encourage empathy. Share appropriate stories of struggle. Ask kids what they would do in a certain situation, and how they would want people to help them.

    Walk them through the cycle. If your kids are young, say, “We’re going to give this can of food/winter coat/gift to ______.” (Then explain the results.) “It will give them something to eat/keep them warm this winter/help them __________.”

    Explain why you are doing it and what you’re looking for. “We don’t need to store all this stuff when someone else could really use it.” Or, “I bet there is a kid out there who would really enjoy playing with that toy. I know you used to love it, but how about if you pass it along to someone else so they can enjoy it as much as you have?” Keep the focus on the people in need and your child’s ability to share an experience through an item. Establishing an impermanent relationships to “things” can help kids better understand the importance of relationships over acquiring goods.

    Develop a language of giving in your household. Find creative opportunities to incorporate it into regular conversation. Nothing is permanent. We are stewards of the planet, and the things we think we own. Everything is in change, and it is our duty to help those in need when we have abundance. If ever there is a time when we are without, we hope that others will think of us and help us.

Teaching children about the struggles of others not only develops a lifelong giving mindset, it also helps children understand how their words and actions impact those around them — a lesson that bears repeating.

This article has been republished with permission and provided to Woman Tribune by the authors. Read more about them below.

Jennifer L. Jacobson is the founder of Jacobson Communication and an advocate for organizations looking to make a positive difference in the world. She currently serves on the board of several influential nonprofits and organizations focused on conservation, education, and community. For more, visit

Gretchen Barry is the Director of marketing and Communications for NonProfitEasy; the all-in-one data management software, created by nonprofits for nonprofits. From CRM and database management, to events, donor engagement, fundraising, and more, NonProfitEasy offers a one-stop, affordable, integrated software solution that is changing the status quo for the greater good. For more, visit

Meaningful Gifts for a Cause That Are a Win-Win #ad

This is a sponsored guest post from Reed and Barton.

Reed and Barton Gifts for a Cause

It’s rare to come across a charity purchase that helps people in need help themselves, but the Reed and Barton Gifts for a Cause project does just that in a unique and special way.

This collection of hand-blown and heirloom quality gifts feature designs by young patients in the Children’s Art Project at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, handsomely recreated and gift boxed for holiday giving. These gifts are empowering to the giver, the gift recipient, as well as the child artists themselves, as a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these gifts return to MD Anderson Cancer Center to fund patient-focused programs that ease and enrich the lives of young patients.

Some of the charming gifts include:

  • Santa Angel Ornament by Victor, featuring a whimsical winged Santa flying in a starry sky on a stunning teardrop-shaped glass ornament
  • Santa Angel Snowglobe by Victor finds Santa Angel dodging falling snowflakes to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in a globe atop a gleaming, tarnish-resistant silver-plated base.
  • Bethlehem Ornament by Carlo, a bright and colorful street scene in the Holy City, backed by a dramatic black sky. 14-year-old Carlo’s design encircles an egg-shaped hand-blown glass ornament that glistens with glittery and Swarovski Elements, and is topped with a Reed and Barton coat of arms charm.

Reed and Barton Santa Angel ornament

For Woman Tribune Readers ONLY!

For a limited time, when you purchase any item from the Reed and Barton Gifts for a Cause collection, you will receive the Santa Angel by Victor silver-plated ornament FREE with code MDGIFT.

The Santa Angel ornament must first be added to your cart. Once it is added to your cart, the retail price ($25) will be subtracted from your order. Offer valid while supplies last.

About MD Anderson Children’s Art Project

The MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital’s Children’s Art Project has helped generate more than $30 million in worldwide sales toward programs that benefit over 26,000 pediatric cancer patients and their families.

LEGO Finally Ends its Long, Nonsensical Partnership with Shell Oil Company

Shell LEGO playset

LEGO is one of the most beloved toy brands ever, and has been since the 1950s. Interlocking bricks gave way to thousands of playsets in every theme any kid could possibly think up, including towns and cities, space, robots, scientists, pirates, trains, Vikings, castles, dinosaurs, scientists, undersea exploration, superheroes, the Wild West, and even a minifig-scaled Star Wars Millennium Falcon in all of its 5,000+ piece glory.

These prized toys have branched out to make up an entire wildly in-demand franchise. There are 90 LEGO retail stores and six LEGOLAND theme parks worldwide. Numerous popular characters have undergone LEGO makeovers for branded video games, and “The LEGO Movie,” the toy line’s first full-length animated feature, was released in February 2014 and has grossed nearly $258,000,000 in just the US.

The Wall Street Journal reported just last month that LEGO had dethroned Mattel, makers of Barbie, as the world’s top toy maker.

With all of its marketing and branding efforts and worldwide commercial success, it seems odd — nonsensical, even — that LEGO would carry on a several decade-long “strategic partnership” with Shell Oil Company.

LEGO collaborated with Shell from the 1960s through the 1990s. They rekindled their partnership in 2011, creating branded minifigs, cars, and trucks as a direct ploy to advertise to young children.

Shell has spent billions of dollars in attempts to convince the public and brainwash children that they are a company that cares. Their money speaks loudly, but their actions speak louder.

Shell Oil has one of the worst safety records [PDF] of any company operating in both the United States and the United Kingdom. They have repeatedly showed a brazen disregard for worker safety, for the rights of local communities and human rights, and have a lengthy record of significant environmental violations.

In the United States alone, Shell Oil Company has paid nearly $1 billion in fines for safety and environmental violations, settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for $450 million for fraudulent crude oil trades, were fined $500,000 for five toxic releases near schools in Texas, and as of 2007, they hold the #1 mortality rate of any large western company. Not to mention, it is Shell who recklessly spilled 10 million gallons of oil in Nigeria in 2008 and 2009 and 4,380 barrels of oil in the North Sea over the course of 10 days in 2011.

Shell has long had plans of drilling for oil in the Alaskan Arctic, a plan that has faced criticism since 2012. Not-so-coincidentally, during the time Shell was facing public outcry about their drilling plans, 16 million Shell-branded LEGO playsets were sold or given away at gas stations across 26 countries. This PR move didn’t just help Shell’s public image, but it also accounted for a 7.5% worldwide spike in LEGO sales. This made Shell a major contributor to LEGO’s global sales. But while this business arrangement may be lucrative for both companies, it is a partnership that is bad for kids, bad for the environment, and bad for the wholesome, family-friendly image LEGO has worked hard to maintain.

Greenpeace LEGO blocks Shell

Shell’s strategy to partner with a beloved brand to clean up its dirty image as an environmental destroyer came to an end when Greenpeace launched a successful 3-month campaign to get LEGO to block Shell.

The campaign kicked off with the most viral video in Greenpeace history: an Arctic environment made entirely of LEGOs, a devastating oil spill depicting the very real consequences of Shell drilling for oil in such a uniquely stressed and fragile ecosystem, and the most depressing rendition of the song everyone knows from “The LEGO Movie,” “Everything Is Awesome.”

The video gained audiences and momentum all over the world.

Children staged a playful protest as they built giant Arctic animals out of LEGOs on the doorstep of Shell’s London HQ. Miniature LEGO people from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires held “small but furious protests” against the partnership, some recreating famous protests at international landmarks. LEGO climbers were placed to protest at a Shell gas station at LEGOLAND in Billund, Denmark. Finally, 1 million people made their disapproval of the strategic partnership heard by signing petitions, creating their own protest signs, and showing up at the flagship LEGO store in New York City dressed in costume.

After a fierce 3-month campaign by Greenpeace and their supporters, LEGO broke up with Shell Oil Company for good. Now it’s time for Shell to leave the Arctic in peace.

Due to scientifically-proven climate change, the Alaskan Arctic sea ice cover reached its lowest point on record this year. Shell still plans to drill for oil there in 2015, even though they have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted to do so safely. When they attempted to drill in 2012, its rig ran ashore, one of its ships caught on fire, and the Environmental Protection Agency found that they had violated the terms of their permit.

You can donate to Greenpeace here to help them in their efforts to put an end to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans once and for all, and to protect other fragile ecosystems around the world.

Soxfords ‘Hooray for Boobies’ Socks Benefit Breast Cancer Research and Awareness — Giveaway [Closed]


October is, as most of us know, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Like years past, brands, companies, networks, and people alike are going pink in an effort to have authentic conversations, raise awareness, and crowdsource for a cause.

Soxfords is a unique sock company all about big personalities and embracing the quirk. They “toe the line” (puns!) between fun and fashion, creating socks with colorful styles while still maintaining a level of class and professionalism. For the month of October, they have launched a brand new style as part of their “Signature” series to benefit breast cancer research and awareness.

Soxfords’ limited edition “Hooray for Boobies” socks are whimsical, eccentric, and a fun way to display your ‘FU cancer’ activism.

Soxfords Hooray for Boobies socks

Soxfords Hooray for Boobies socks closeup

Carefully crafted in Colombia out of a Peruvian Pima cotton blend, these socks are incredibly soft with just the right amount of thickness to keep your toes warm and cozy throughout the fall. And, while it really goes without saying because just look at them, they are awesome. Who wouldn’t want a pair of socks adorned with boobies? What a conversation starter!

For each pair of “Hooray for Boobies” socks sold, Soxfords is donating $5 towards breast cancer research and awareness efforts. These donations will go directly to benefit various national breast cancer research and health advocacy organizations through Susan G. Komen®.

Soxfords Hooray for Boobies socks tag

Each pair of Soxfords “Hooray for Boobies” socks retail for $25, but you can score them now for $20 as part of their pre-order sale. Shop quick, though, because these socks are set to ship October 15.

Soxfords + 1% for Humanity

One Percent for Humanity

Soxfords was created with an emphasis on quality and community engagement. Their limited edition socks benefiting breast cancer non-profits aren’t the only way they are giving back. Soxfords is a partner of 1% for Humanity, a movement of individuals and businesses committed to giving at least 1% of their gross income to fight extreme poverty and injustice. Donations made to 1% for Humanity go where they are needed most around the world.

Soxfords ‘Hooray for Boobies’ Socks Giveaway

Soxfords Hooray for Boobies socks giveaway

According to Soxfords, socks are one of the little things in life that can put a smile on our face and a spring in our step. We are inclined to agree, and because of that, we are giving one lucky reader a pair of Soxfords limited edition “Hooray for Boobies” socks.

This giveaway is open to US entrants ages 18+ and will end October 15 at 12:00am ET.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway was made possible by Soxfords. No incentive was provided and opinions are my own.

IfOnly Father’s Day Gift Guide for the Dad who Has it All

Father’s Day is just days away. If you’re still on the hunt for a great gift you know dad will actually love, head on over to IfOnly.

IfOnly connects individuals with luminaries at the top of their fields to share once in a lifetime experiences while supporting meaningful causes, nonprofits, and charities. The IfOnly Father’s Day Gift Guide is full of gifts unique from all the rest from $48 to $4,800,000 (wowza!) and everything in between.

Here are some of our IfOnly experience and gift top picks:

IfOnly Cocktail of the Month Collection ($125)

IfOnly Cocktail of the Month Collection

A collection of 35 total recipes created by a roster of star mixologists. The collection debuts with an elegant polished lacquered recipe box, a hand-signed recipe from Master Mixologist Dale Degroff, and 11 classic drink recipes. Each month, two seasonal recipes from master mixologists will arrive in dad’s mailbox to complete the collection. A truly unique gift for the cocktail connoisseur in your life.

Proceeds from the IfOnly Cocktail of the Month Collection benefit The Museum of the American Cocktail, a nonprofit dedicated to education in mixology and preserving the rich history of the American cocktail.

Afternoon Apprenticeship at Barbuto ($3,000)

IfOnly Afternoon Apprenticeship at Barbuto

Work side-by-side with Chef Jonathan Waxman for an afternoon at Barbuto. Learn to craft the casual, rustic Italian food that Chef Waxman is famous for and soak in the pace and rhythm of a famous kitchen. Leave the kitchen inspired to make your next great meal and return later in the evening with a guest for a celebratory dinner at the restaurant. Take home a personalized and hand-signed cookbook as a memento of your experience.

Proceeds from the Afternoon Apprenticeship at Barbuto benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand, an American pediatric cancer charity.

Shopping for dad is hard. The IfOnly Father’s Day Gift Guide makes it easier.

This post contains affiliate links. Incentive was provided and opinions are my own.