Category Archives: News

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.

Give Mom a Memory: IfOnly Mother’s Day Gift Guide

We have been loving IfOnly since right before Christmas when we discovered their unique take on combining life lists and magical experiences with gifting and sharing.

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. For both Christmas and Valentine’s Day, they offered up decadent candy collections created by award-winning chefs. True to form, their Mother’s Day gifts set the bar for sophistication and luxury even higher.

Whether you would like to gift your mom with an incredible experience that will last a lifetime or an extraordinary gift that can be wrapped in a beautiful box, the IfOnly Mother’s Day Gift Guide is filled with stunning and exciting gift ideas that any mom would be thrilled to receive on her special day.

Women Winemaker Collection Curated by Debbie Zachareas ($175)

IfOnly Women Winemaker Collection

Share the gift of wine and enjoy the best from wine country’s women winemakers with a hand-picked collection from Debbie Zachareas, one of the Bay Area’s foremost wine experts and buyer for Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant.

Debbie’s selection includes three bottles of California wines representing varied styles from female winemakers who are at the top of their game. Your collection will arrive in a handsome tote bag with Debbie’s tasting notes.

Proceeds from the Women Wine Maker Collection Curated by Debbie Zachareas benefit Family House, an organization that provides temporary housing to families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital.

James Beard Cookbook Hand-Signed by Alice Waters ($100)

IfOnly James Beard Cookbook

Own a piece of history as the James Beard Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary with a legendary cookbook featuring past Outstanding Chef Award winners. Includes delectable recipes, beautiful photography, and profiles of these culinary masters. Hand-signed by Alice Waters, this one-of-a-kind publication is the perfect addition to any foodie’s library.

Proceeds from the James Beard Cookbook Hand-Signed by Alice Waters benefits the James Beard Foundation and its mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire.

Check out the IfOnly Mother’s Day Gift Guide for a wide variety of gift options mom will adore.

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

IfOnly Constellation Chocolate Collection = One Happy Valentine

IfOnly Constellation Chocolate Collection

A very good friend of mine, the only female in her household if you don’t count their dog, routinely warns her sons and un-husband (take two people who have been together for 20+ years and have absolutely no intention of ever getting married and you have yourself an un-spouse) that they are never to eat the last of the chocolate. The reason is simple: chocolate is a necessity for a woman’s ovaries.

What? How are they to know the truth? It’s innocent. Really. And this way, she (almost) always has chocolate when she needs it and no one’s the wiser. It all works out!

I have never went to such lengths to keep other people’s hands off of the chocolate in the house, but I think I would have to start coming up with a game plan if the IfOnly Constellation Chocolate Collection was in my life. Now that I think of it, I could totally see myself trying to convince my fiance that he is allergic to chocolate, or to some mysterious ingredient in one of the chocolates in this collection. The guy will die declaring that he is allergic to everything, or that any fluctuation in his daily routine at all gives him a cold. This could work. My wheels are spinning.

If luxury constellation treats sound familiar, the IfOnly Constellation Caramel Collection was the featured item of their uncommon holiday gift guide last year. 12 Michelin Star and James Beard Award-winning chefs created signature caramels for the collection and the outcome was beautiful and a real treat for those who were able to snatch them up. It only makes sense for 25 of the world’s top chefs to collaborate on a luxury chocolate collection for the biggest chocolate day of the year — Valentine’s Day!

The Constellation Chocolate Collection is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift and a once in a lifetime collaboration of such incredible culinary talent, including Alice Waters, Gary Danko, and Michael Tusk, just to name a few. This rare collection is a luxurious indulgence and unique glimpse into the creative genius of these legendary chefs.

For each curated chocolate box sold, $45 will go to bring safe drinking water to communities around the world as part of charity: water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

The IfOnly Constellation Chocolate Collection comes in an elegant gift box and quantities are limited.

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

IfOnly is Making Extraordinary Experiences a Star-Studded Reality + Uncommon Holiday Gift Ideas


We all have those ultimate, life-altering things we want to do, plan to do, but never get around to actually doing. Life lists, bucket lists, mental someday, someday, maybe lists… if only.

Taking the “if only” concept to a literal level, IfOnly is a marketplace that operates with the belief system that true luxury comes in the form of the experiences we have and will remember and share throughout our lives. They connect individuals with luminaries at the top of their fields to share once in a lifetime experiences while supporting meaningful causes, nonprofits, and charities.

Some of our favorites? Meeting Executive Chef April Bloomfield for an informative tour of the Greenmarket farmer’s market at Union Square with proceeds going to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand and a meet and greet with band Imagine Dragons and signed guitar to keep with proceeds going to support Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. Other stars on board for doing good for their fans and the charities close to their hearts are Miley Cyrus, Joe Montana, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, among many others.

With some of the last available days for holiday gift shopping upon us, IfOnly has a wonderful selection of uncommon gifts that you simply won’t find anywhere else. I can’t imagine a foodie out there who wouldn’t go completely gaga over their superbly decadent Constellation Caramel Collection.

IfOnly Constellation Caramel Collection

The unique product of 12 Michelin Star and James Beard Award-winning chefs, the Constellation Caramel Collection includes flavors like Maldon Sea Salt with Vanilla Bean and Brown Butter Bourbon.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this limited edition box of caramels goes to support the James Beard Foundation.

If super impressive caramels aren’t your thing, IfOnly has put together a very uncommon holiday gift guide that includes 10 unique holiday gifts ranging in category and price, from the practical, fun, and affordable to only in the grasp of millionaires.

Check out IfOnly to shop the most coveted gifts and experiences of the year and as an added holiday bonus, orders placed through December 19 will receive free upgraded shipping.

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

Do Some Good in Your World: Random Acts of Kindness $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Event [Closed]

do good
potentialpast / Flickr

The holidays are a wonderful, magical time of year for a lot of people, but for those who are struggling, the holidays can simply be a reminder of all of the things that they are not able to do or make happen for their families. That is precisely why while it is so important to do good in the world around you all year, it is especially important during the holiday season.

Last year, Athena over at The Stuff of Success created a really great project all about performing random acts of kindness and doing what you can to make a positive difference in the lives of others. It was a huge success, so she brought it back again this year and we’ve hopped on board to help spread the word.

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway EventAthena is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, which you can enter to win daily, from now until December 31. The entry form is below.

This giveaway is unlike any other event you’ll see. There is no sponsor, there are no Facebook pages to like, no blogs to visit, no promotional statuses to post to Twitter. All you have to do to claim your entry into the giveaway is perform one act of kindness for someone else and come back to tell us what you did. Just love your neighbor, people in need, friends, family, and so on, every single day throughout the month of December, and claim your entry.

Need some ideas?

  • Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  • Donate your old clothes to someone in need. Your old is someone else’s new.
  • Write a positive review of a local business, artist, musician, author, etc.
  • Listen to someone. REALLY listen.
  • Donate blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
  • Give the gift of your time by volunteering at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, nursing home, hospital, etc.
  • Share your umbrella with a stranger on a rainy day.
  • Check up on someone who looks lonely or who lives alone.
  • Let someone with only a few items go before you in line at the grocery store.
  • Give words of encouragement to someone about their dreams, no matter how big or small they are.
  • Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.
  • Babysit for couples or single parents who don’t get out much so that they can have some precious alone time.
  • Look for ways to save a few extra bucks throughout the month and then donate that money to a charitable organization you support.
  • Shop locally so that the money you spend can help support the family who owns and operates that business.
  • Spend a few clicks of your time at Free Rice.
  • Pay for the person in line behind you.
  • Put together a care package and send it to an active duty military unit.
  • Create a box of Christmas cards and send it to Holiday Mail for Heroes (guidelines can be found here.)
  • Redirect gifts. Instead of having people give you birthday or holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
  • The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire or car trouble, stop and ask if you can help, or simply keep them company until help arrives.
  • Become a mentor or tutor to someone in need.
  • If your family, friend, or neighbor is sick, bring them some soup, tea, and tissues.
  • Put some change in an expired parking meter.
  • Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
  • Bake some Christmas cookies for your mail carrier and delivery people.
  • Donate pet food to your local animal shelter.
  • Teach someone a skill.
  • Instead of accepting payment from someone, ask them to pay it forward.
  • Tip more than you normally would.
  • Be extra nice to customer service reps — especially if they seem stressed.

No incentive was provided for this publication. Woman Tribune is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Opinions are my own.

The Secret Language: In Which I Discover Just How Intense and Heavy I Really Am #SLNME #ad

My family — my aunt and grandmother in particular — have a way of introducing me to people that I have always found really hilarious.

“This is Holly. She’s a writer. She is very opinionated. Don’t talk to her about politics or religion or we’ll be here all day.”

What a shining first impression, right? I think after that kind of forewarning that I have actually surprised people who have met me for the first time by being a real person, rather than a walking, talking political ad.

They aren’t wrong, though. I am a writer, and it is my fiercely-held belief system that afforded me the ability to take what I love to do and turn it into a career — at least at first. Before I began Woman Tribune, I was a political, feminist and human rights blogger; but that subject matter gets intense very quickly, and I, like many others in that field, suffered a severe case of social justice blogger burnout that I never recovered from.

As a writer, I could easily hold a doctorate in introspection. I know who I am and have even used my admitted not-so-great qualities as ample blog fodder. But it was through my several-year stint as a confessional-style feminist blogger that I was really given a look at how I come across to people whose only contact with me was through the words I wrote on a website day after day. I have even had people write entire articles of their own about me and who they perceive me to be. It was very bizarre, and also kind of enlightening at the same time.

I think that how other people view you as a human, especially those closest to you, is very telling. To my family, I’m the snarky, opinionated politico of the bunch. To those who knew me only from my website and social media interactions, I have always been intense, heavy, and have even been told that I can take emotional writing to a whole new level.

I don’t know whether or not that was (or is) considered a positive attribute or not. I guess it just is what it is. I am who I am, and after today, I have an even firmer grasp on what attributes, good and bad, make up who I am as a person, all because of my new-found fascination with the Secret Language website.

The Secret Language is not based in astrology, but is a distillation of personality traits found during a 40-year study of more than 20,000 people, organized by birthday. The website instantly delivers a person’s Secret Language Name, along with a list of traits and information about that person’s natural identity. It is truly fascinating, not to mention a lot of fun.

My birthday is November 2nd and my Secret Language Name is Discovered Transformation. My traits? Influential; powerful; adaptable; smothering; manipulative; heavy… yeesh! But (mostly) accurate. I wouldn’t consider myself to be smothering, but then again how many people would really admit to a trait like that?

Secret Language Name

It is timely to be writing about the Secret Language, and particularly about this transformative state of being that I exist in. I turned 27 two days ago and when I mentioned on Twitter that my birthday, and this birthday especially, was filled with ample amounts of self-induced pressure, I got a prompt reply from one of my favorite Twitter acquaintances about how I am coming up on my “return to Saturn,” which explains the pressure I am putting on myself to be better and do better in all areas of my life, but especially in my writing. Wouldn’t you know that the Secret Language website went right into that in their assessment of me via my birthday.

November 2 people generally arrive at a crossroads, often around age twenty-eight (first Saturn return), forty-four (Uranus, Saturn opposition) or fifty-six (second Saturn return) when they must drastically redirect the course of their lives. Should they be able to effect an internal change, becoming aware of their needs and ever more determined to realize them, then the chances of them succeeding on their path are great indeed. If they are not able to accomplish the necessary changes inside them, then they will begin to stagnate, eventually growing frustrated, angry and depressed.

Well. Welcome to my brain.

I am Holly’s perpetual self-reflection.

And, as for often being told how intense of a human I am, my birthday falls into what is called the Week of Intensity. Yeah.

Not only can you learn a ton about your personal Secret Language Name, but you can also look up your Relationship Name! How cool is that? Well, it’s all fun and games until you look up your eight-year (and counting) relationship, again, by you and your partner’s birthdays, and are greeted with an assessment that immediately tells you that your traits are problematic for marriage. Oh yes, it did.

Secret Relationship Name

Evidently me and my fiance’s Relationship Name is An Underground Labyrinth, with me being born during the Week of Intensity and him being born during the Week of Leadership. According to the Secret Language, we would make awesome friends, but our future marriage is doomed.

Our traits: trusting; beauty-loving; creative; troubled; complex; repressive.

Well, Secret Language, here’s hoping you’re wrong about something.

Whether you believe or read into the information of the Secret Language or not, there is no denying how interesting and entertaining it can be to read through, either for yourself or following your partner around the house reading theirs to them and then repeatedly asking if they feel that was an accurate assessment of them. Yep, I did that.

Check out the Secret Language website and look up your Secret Language Name. It takes mere minutes and the information is compelling. Was it an accurate representation of you as a person? Leave it in the comments!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

First Ever Jessup Art Loop and Capra Collina Winery — Jessup, Pennsylvania

Capra Collina Winery Jessup Art Loop

This past Saturday was the inaugural event of the Jessup Art Loop, a community outreach event that showcases original local businesses and talent in Jessup, Pennsylvania on the second Saturday of the month from 3-8pm.

Allen, doting fiance, was asked to play at the event, being a local(ish) guitar badass, which worked out since I wanted to check it out anyway. So while he did a little something good for the community, I went off and had an awesome and eye-opening time at the Jessup Art Loop.

Allen played outside Capra Collina Winery on Constitution Ave, improvising over several backing tracks for an impressive four and a half hours straight. Man is intense.

Allen VanWert

Here’s a video of just a few minutes of his playing:

Capra Collina Winery is a small, family business completely deserving of their reputation in the area for quality, delicious wines. Their recipes are created the artful, old-fashioned way in the basement of their retail location, a quaint and adorable house-turned-winery with a separate kitchen and stairs that lead to a second (non-business-operational) floor.

Capra Collina Winery

Capra Collina Winery wine

The winery is seriously one of the coolest businesses I have visited. The people are friendly and genuinely appreciative of every single person who walks through their door. Of course, I also have to add that their wines are phenomenal. I walked out with three bottles of my own at the end of the day.

Naturally, Allen and I wasted no time opening a bottle for ourselves upon returning home that night. Here’s a quick picture we took enjoying a bottle of Niagara in his recording studio, located in the basement apartment of our house. Like his super bright green walls? Me neither.

Allen and Holly with Capra Collina Niagara

Also out to lend their unique skills and talents to the Jessup Art Loop festivities were:


Tim Calachino
Tim Calachino, artist
Tim Calachino art
What Tim was working on
Autumn K Granza photography
Autumn K Granza, Autumn Breeze Photography
Autumn Breeze Photography
A closeup of some Autumn Breeze Photography shots
Janina Peters
Janina Peters, artist and art therapist. Also one hell of an awesome, insightful person I wanted to immediately claim as my new BFF
Janina Peters art
Some of Janina Peters’ work. Holy shit, am I right?
Timmy Walsh Camera For A Cure
Timmy Walsh, incredible little boy who created Camera For A Cure to benefit the Lung Cancer Alliance


Gingers Pies
Free pie and cookies from Ginger’s Pies


Goats from the Black Horse Farm Petting Zoo
Lydian and Rylie with donkey
My stepdaughters, Lydian and Rylie, chilling with the donkey

More Music!

In addition to Allen shredding it up at Capra Collina, these musicians were also playing at various businesses throughout the Jessup Art Loop:

Rick Jones
Rick Jones, singer/songwriter, playing outside Hopscotch Children’s Boutique
The Caverna
I don’t know the name of this band (I tried to find out but came up empty), but they played at the Caverna and were pretty awesome!

The inaugural Jessup Art Loop was a huge success. All of the business owners I had the chance to speak with as it was winding down were nothing but enthusiastic about the outcome and the amount of support that people had for their community and the businesses people have started in it in order to provide a life and legacy for their families. As someone who was merely a visitor of the Jessup Art Loop, a participant in all of what the businesses, musicians, and artists offered during those five hours on the second Saturday of the month, I walked away with a slightly different, yet humbling view of a town I grew up around but hardly ever visited.

When you are born, raised, and now live within 45 minutes of the same general area, you can start to believe you’ve seen all that area has to offer. Especially when it is a blue collar, working class area best known for coal and hours away from an actual large city. When you don’t fit perfectly inside the routine 9-to-5 box that eventually comes to be expected of the best of us — when you watch your neighbors get up in the morning, go to work, and come home at the same time everyday — it’s easy to feel disconnected and like maybe you just don’t fit in.

What the Jessup Art Loop showed me, however, is that there are amazing and talented people all around me doing great things. They are continuing their family legacy in the wine-making business; they are running bake shops in the hope of being able to pass it down to their children; there are people spending months on one drawing with the hope that someday it means as much to someone else as it does to them; there are people writing songs and baring their souls to a crowd looking for the person it will speak to; they are taking pictures of the beauty of life through a camera lens. Even more, there are people who can relate to you right outside your door, who care about the things you care about and who have also maybe felt as if they were on the outside looking in to their own community.

This is precisely why community events, such as the Jessup Art Loop, are so important. Everyone benefits when a community works together to do something fun and great. Businesses bring in more revenue (and then use those revenues to provide for their families and strengthen the local economy) and the people of that community realize that their home, the place that they thought they had seen and experienced everything they could in, does in fact still have a lot to offer them.

#Give on Social Media Giving Day and Make Your Social Media Matter — Prize Pack Giveaway [Closed]

Social Media Giving Day

Twitter’s birthday is July 15, and Givver is rallying the social media community in a big way to help celebrate the occasion, with Social Media Giving Day. Our collective mission? To set a world record for the most donations given in one day via social media.

Givver is an easy-to-use Twitter tool on a mission to transform charitable giving by enabling individuals to support their favorite causes in seconds by using the power of social networks. Whether it’s a nonprofit, educational, or political organization you want to help support, Givver can help you fund and raise awareness for the issues that matter most to you — all in a single tweet.

How to donate on Social Media Giving Day July 15:

Join the Givver movement

Once you have signed up with Givver, donating is quick and easy. All you have to do is sign in to Twitter, then tweet:

$ (Amount)
@ (Organization’s Twitter handle)

For instance, if you wanted to support fee medical services in Honduras with a $10 donation, you would tweet:

#Give $10 @ochoorg

Check out the Social Media Giving Day app below to learn more about some of the organizations you can help support on Givver. You can also take a fun quiz to discover your Twitter personality. I’m a Breaking News Nut, what about you?

Social Media Giving Day Givver Prize Pack Giveaway

Social Media Giving Day prize pack

One lucky reader will win a Givver prize pack: 1 #Give limited edition t-shirt and sticker.

This giveaway is open to US and CAN entrants ages 18+ and will end July 18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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