Friday Favorites: TOH Winter 2019

Trades of Hope came out with a Winter Look Book at the beginning of this month featuring 12 new pieces that are all about the holidays.  Today, I wanted to share with you my favorite pieces from the line. The pieces in this collection range from our very first beanie to some really amazing ornaments.  There is sure to be something that everyone loves.  I am obsessed with all of it, so it was hard to narrow it down to just 5 of my favorites. I really wanted to feature the whole line, but that would make this post go on and on forever.  What makes it even more incredible is that every single piece helps to empower women (and some men) around the world out of poverty and human trafficking.  

1. Stars of Haiti

My heart aches for the mamas in Haiti that have to leave their babies at orphanages because they cannot provide for them.  They actually love their children and want to keep them.  Trades of Hope’s partnership with artisan groups in Haiti allow them to do just that.  By providing these women with a sustainable business, they are able to not only keep and provide for their children but are also able to send them to school and get them medical care.  We are helping to break the cycle of poverty there.  I love the pieces that come from the artisans in Haiti because they have found a way to take the discarded and turn it into treasures.  These star ornaments are no different.  They are made from recycled cereal boxes.  These ornaments come in a set of 3.  You can adorn your tree with them or give them as gifts.  

2. Adventure Begins Journal

I am not typically someone who journals, but this journal may make me start.  It is made by our artisans in India, the home to ¼ of the world’s poorest families.  It is very difficult for women there to find jobs and are left living in the slums and unable to provide for their families.  Our artisans in India are given a sustainable job and are able to use their income to rise up out extreme poverty.  This journal is made from genuine leather and features 90 pages of lined, handmade paper.  I can tell you that the pictures do not do it justice.  It would make a great gift for anyone this holiday season. 

3. Farmhouse Star

I am completely obsessed with this star and am ready to ditch my usual angel on the top of my tree for this star this year.  It is made from whitewashed iron.  If you are into the farmhouse chic style, this is totally your jam. Our artisans in India also make this piece. Most of the poor in India lack education, which makes getting one of the scarce jobs even more difficult.  Through their partnership with TOH, these artisans are able to provide education for their children to break the cycle of poverty.  

4. Snow Top Beanie & Himalayan Mittens

These two pieces are sold separately, but I couldn’t choose just one.  I thought that they worked so well together so I might as well group them into one.  Haha! Both pieces are hand-knit by our artisans in Nepal.  First up is this adorable black and white beanie that is hand-knit with 100% wool.  It is lined with fleece inside and is sure to keep you warm this winter.  Next up are thes fun colored wool mittens that come in two sizes (S/M and L/XL). They are also lined with fleece and are super warm. Women in Nepal are often socially marginalized and discriminated against. By purchasing this beanie or mittens, you are helping them provide food, clothing, shelter, and education for their families.  These two pieces would make great stocking stuffers for anyone on your list. 

5. Sincerity Blanket

It is no secret that I was in love when our first throw was released in the spring and this one is just as amazing as it.  This new blanket features a black and off-white diamond pattern.  It is made from blended cotton and is handspun by our artisans in India.  It even gets softer with each wash.  It truly is gorgeous.  Sales of this blanket help to provide education for families and empowers these women to become the heroes of their own stories.  

How amazing are all of these? The stories behind them just make them that much more special.  We have several other ornament sets that are just as amazing as the Stars of Haiti including a set of puppies, mittens, and some gorgeous ones made from Capiz shells in the Philippines.  We even have a cool nativity made in Peru.  You can view them all here. Why not give the gift that keeps on giving this season?

Anchored,

Friday Favorites: Plum Paper Planner

Kind of piggy backing off of yesterday’s post, I wanted to share with you how I keep up with all of the things that go on in my life.  I have posted about my planner before, but I wanted to share it with you again because it is such a lifesaver for me. Plus, I just got my new one last month, and I wanted to show it off! LOL! I am definitely a pen and paper kind of girl when it comes to my calendar.   Yes, I do use the calendar on my phone for the sole purpose of keeping my husband in the loop of what is going on, but for day-to-day use, my planner contains my life. I would even go as far as saying that my planner is kind of like a journal for me as well as an organizer. I write EVERYTHING in it.  If I have an idea about something I want to blog about or do with my business or just any idea in general, I will write it in there.  Each month, I write down my goals for personal growth as well as for my business. All of my to do lists and notes are all in there, too.  If someone leaves me a message or I talk to someone on the phone about something important, I jot my notes in the planner.  It is honestly so much more than just a calendar for me.   It literally is my life on paper.

I have tried many different planners over the years and have found THE ONE.  It will be my go to from now until I die.  I really love Plum Paper Planners.  I love how I can customize them to my exact needs and specifications.  Plus, they are sturdy and hold up really well.  Now, because I write everything in it, I always order a full sized  (8.5” x 11”) one.  This only becomes problematic when I need to carry it around.  It doesn’t just fit in my purse, but I am willing to live with that sacrifice because of everything else it has to offer me.  Ninety percent of the time, it sits open on my desk and isn’t a problem anyway.  They do come in smaller sizes if that is more your jam.  They also have 5.8” x 8.3” and 7” x 9.” 

First, you begin by choosing the size you want.  Then you move on to choosing your cover. To me, choosing the cover is always the hardest part because there are so many cute ones.  All covers are sturdy and waterproof, and each planner comes with a clear plastic overlay.  Once you choose your cover, you can personalize it. You can put a saying on it or your initials or both.  As you can see, I chose to put the year at the top, my initials in the center, and my blog name at the bottom.  Once you have your cover the way you want it, you move on the choosing the customizable layout you want. Plum Paper offers several layouts that you can choose from.  They have student layouts, teacher layouts, vertical layouts, horizontal layouts, grid layouts, daily layouts, and monthly layouts. I like the Vertical ME Planner, which includes the following:

  • 7 Customizable Sections (I customize mine with each family members name, my blog, and Trades of Hope.  Then I left one blank this year so that I could add extras.)
  • Choice of what month to start (I love that you can start at anytime during the year. You don’t have to have one that just runs from January to December.  Mine currently goes from September to August)
  • Choice of 12-18 months
  • Month and Weekly Spreads
  • Monthly Highlight Pages
  • Monthly Notes Pages
  • Double Sided Pocket Folder
  • Durable Aluminum Binding
  • Durable Mylar Coated Tabs
  • Tear Pexroof & Water Resistant Cover with a Plastic Protective Sheet

Once you have chosen and customized your layout just the way you want it, you can then choose to add on pages.  I really love the options they have for add-ons. This year, I chose to add the Direct Sales Add-on to help keep my business organized.  I considered the Blog Add-On, but decided against it for now. I may add it next year, though. Other add-ons (including stickers) you can choose from include:

Home

  • Meals
  • Family
  • Budget

Business

  • Direct Sales
  • Blog
  • Social Media
  • Photography
  • Business Tools

Lifestyle

  • Fitness
  • Self-Care
  • Travel

Teacher

  • Grade Level
  • Tools

Student

  • Assignment Tracker

Notes & Lists

Stickers

Page Protectors

Once you have selected your cover, layout, and the add-ons that you want, you are ready to approve and order your creation.  Orders typically ship in 5-7 days.  It arrives all nicely packaged and ready to use.  I am such a nerd that it is like opening a present on Christmas morning for me. I really am obsessed with it.  I honestly would be lost without it. It truly does keep me organized and on track.

Anchored,

Book Club: The Orphan’s Tale

It is Book Club Friday today, and I am excited to share my review of this month’s book, The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff.  I really liked this book a lot.  It certainly held my attention, and I was very attached to the characters.  I actually finished it early in the month, which is unusual with my crazy schedule, but I couldn’t stop reading at night and stayed up way later than normal to keep reading.  It was a great historical fiction tale, which is probably my favorite genre.  The story takes place during World War II and revolved around 2 women who became an unlikely pair.  One was a young teen, Noa, who had become pregnant by a Nazi soldier and then was cast out by her parents as a result.  She was sent to a center where she delivered her a baby boy and was forced to give him up against her will.  She was living and working at a train station when she came across a train car full of Jewish infants, some of which had already frozen to death.  Reminding her of the baby she lost, she snatched one little boy and fled on foot in the snow to escape being discovered by Nazi soldiers. The second woman, Astrid, was the daughter of a Jewish family that ran a circus in Germany and around Europe for many years. She had left home and the circus life to marry a German Soldier.  When the war got worse, her husband was forced to cast her out for fear of his own life.  Her family was nowhere to be found and thought to have been killed, so she found refuge with a nearby German circus that used to be her family’s rival.  The head of that circus knew her and her family and gladly brought her in to give her safety as the circus’s lead aerialist.  It was understood that all circus performers were like family no matter what circus you came from. When Noa was discovered passed out in the snow with the baby near the circus by one of its top performers one night, they took her and the baby in.  While Astrid was forced to teach Noa how to be an aerialist in order to also provide them with refuge, their relationship, strained at first, eventually became one of survival and sacrifice.

As I said, I was very wrapped up in the characters and loved seeing how the two women’s relationship went from rivals to a tender, caring and protective relationship.  Their struggles for survival and strong urge to protect the baby and each other at all cost brought the two of them together in a way that neither of them ever dreamed was possible.  The horrors that the Jewish people faced as a result of the war was depicted in a way that made you feel deep emotions for the characters and what they faced during that time.  It truly gives you a glimpse of what life was like during that time period and what a family the circus performers are to each other.  The descriptive language allowed me to visualize what it was like under the big top of that circus as they all feared for their lives and tried to maintain their composure during each performance.  If you like historical fiction, you will really enjoy this book. It is filled with extreme sadness, heartbreak, and loss; but it is also filled with love and triumph.  I highly recommend The Orphan’s Tale as one you should read.

My pick for October is a new release by the best selling author, William Kent Krueger, entitled This Tender Land.  This book became an instant New York Times Best Seller just after its release earlier this month.  It is another historical fiction novel that will take us on the journey of 4 Native American children in Minnesota in summer of 1932 during the Great Depression. These 4 children became orphans when they were forcibly removed from their parents and were sent to be educated.  It is said that fans of Where the Crawdads Sing and Before We Were Yours will love this book. I really enjoyed both of those novels, so I am hoping this one will not disappoint. Will you come along and read with me?

Anchored in a Good Book,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items through these links, I may earn a small commission.

Friday Favorites: Colors

By now you guys know that I frequently change my mind.  I had another favorite that I was going to write about today, but I changed my mind. I got dressed this morning and it made me think about something totally different.  Everything that I was wearing was all the same color…shirt, shoes, necklace, and earrings were all the same.  That got me thinking about my favorite color.  Going back to me changing my mind, my favorite color has changed more than once over the years.  When I was young, I am pretty sure that my favorite color was green. I know that is odd for a little girl, but I think maybe I wanted to stand out and be different. I don’t know. I just liked green.  Then when I was in my later years of high school and through my college years, my favorite color changed to blue.  I still liked green, but I would have told you that my favorite color was blue back then.  Again, not the most popular color for a girl to pick.  I would have even gone as far as telling you that I did NOT like pink. I honestly don’t know what I had against pink, but I was very much opposed to it back then.  Even when my oldest was born, I was dead set on not having everything pink, so I did the nursery in yellow and blue.  We knew she was a girl, but I chose blue and yellow for the nursery anyway.  I got a lot of flack about that from people too. Even her car seat and stroller were blue.  Of course, my husband was totally ok with that because he is a man; and just like girls are supposed to love pink, boys are supposed to love blue.  It is just a ridiculous rule that society has forced upon us all.  Maybe that is why my oldest hates pink and dresses and anything girly, which drives me nuts. Maybe it is my fault she is that way.  Even though I had something against pink, I was always girly.  I always dressed up, loved clothes, wore makeup as soon as my parents would let me, and was all all-around girly girl.  I was just one that didn’t like pink and loved blue instead. 

A few years down the road my favorite color changed AGAIN.  I don’t know why I can’t just stick to one color.  Anyway, about the time my second daughter came around, surprisingly my favorite color changed to PINK! Shocking, I know! To be so opposed to it for so long that it suddenly becomes a favorite is pretty crazy. Guess what color my youngest daughter’s nursery was…pink and green.  Going back to whether or not my nursery colors had an effect on my children’s personalities or not, my youngest is the girliest of girls.  She loves dresses, high heeled shoes, make up, you name it.  Is it a coincidence that they both turned out the way they did? Maybe, but who knows? I guess my color choices could have possibly had an influence on that.  You may have noticed, too, that my blog logo is pink and green. I think it is a tribute to my first favorite color and my current favorite. That all brings me to today’s outfit and the reason for this post, my outfit is all pink except for my jeans.  I am totally drawn to pink shoes, clothes, jewelry, bags, and more now.  I admit it; I love pink.  It is hard to say that when I was so opposed to for a huge chunk of my life, but it is true.

Top-Lularoe

Jeans-Target

Necklace-Trades of Hope

Earrings-Kate Spade (similar)

Shoes-Famous Footwear (similar color)

I will tell you, though, that my love for pink is wavering just a little these days.  I am starting to love purple more and more.  It could just become my new favorite color.  It really does seem to be hard for me to stick to one favorite color for very long.  Maybe I should just say that I love all colors and call it a day.  Is this normal? Do you all change what your favorite color is, or is it just part of my weirdness? I would love to know. 

In honor of my love for pink, check out Trades of Hope’s newest edition, the Valentía Bracelet, made by Artisans in Guatemala. This bracelet was created to raise awareness for breast cancer.  Each bracelet has a small silver charm with the fingerprint of the artisan that created it. With every purchase of the Valentía Bracelet, 10% of the net proceeds will be given to provide cancer exams to Artisans at Papillion in Haiti. You can also check out an old pink favorite made by Artisans in India, our Triumphant Earrings.  With every purchase of the Triumphant Earrings 10% of the net proceeds will be given to the Pink Ribbon Girls organization which provides the following services to individuals in the United States with breast and women’s reproductive cancers, free of charge:

  • Healthy meals targeting the nutritional needs of cancer patients, prepared by executive chefs and delivered to the home
  • Housecleaning by professional cleaning agencies
  • Transportation to cancer treatments by trained specialists
  • Peer support in the patient’s community for their whole well being

Anchored in Pink,

Friday Favorites: Television

Before I dive in to my Friday Favorites today, let me tell you about how Friday the 13th and the full moon are shaping up in my house.  As a former teacher, I can tell you that all of the teachers you know will have a tough day today.  We will all swear by the full moon.  It really does make kids go crazy.  Add in the fact that it is also Friday the 13th, and you are just asking for a disastrous day. To all teachers, I am sorry and will pray for you today! Anyway, I may not be in the classroom with crazy kids anymore, but our dog is more than making up for it.  Let’s just say that she got very sick starting right at 12:00 AM, and we spent the night and morning cleaning up nastiness from both ends. I know you don’t care, but it really was so gross.  We are pretty sure she ate something she wasn’t supposed to eat and it made her sick.  We are all really tired today because if it. My poor oldest child got the worst of it since it all occurred in her room.  I’m not sure she got much sleep at all, especially with the horrible smell. As you can see, we have had a great start to the day. Oh, and let me not forget to mention that it is dark, gloomy, and rainy outside! I can hardly wait for whatever else this day will throw at us.

Now, I am totally changing topics, and I have to make a confession. I know some of you are going to be surprised by this and some of you are going to judge me, but that is okay. I own it. My own husband thinks I am insane when it comes to this favorite of mine.  He shakes his head at me all the time about it.  I can’t help it, but I love reality TV. There, I said it. It is totally true. I don’t know why it fascinates me or why I get some kind of entertainment from it.  I know that most of it isn’t really real, but I watch it anyway. I sit there watching it sometimes and think about how dumb it is or how fake it is, and I keep on watching it. Sometimes I even feel like I am getting dumber by the minute, but I can’t stop.  My husband always says, ‘I don’t know how you watch that trash.” I really don’t know how I do either.  I’m just drawn to it. Some of my favorites are SurvivorBig BrotherThe Real Housewives of New YorkProject RunwayAmerican Idol, and Southern Charm.  There are tons more but they aren’t all coming to me at the moment.  I used to watch The Bachelor and Bachelorette, but I have grown tired of them and haven’t watched the last couple of seasons.  TLC, Bravo, and HGTV are like my favorite stations. I can turn to any of them and watch all day long if I had the time.  I guess it is like a guilty pleasure or something. I never talk about it with anyone so it’s not like I get joy from chatting about it to my friends.  Maybe it is because it is all so out there and so far from my real life that it allows me to escape from reality for a bit. I don’t know.  I just like them all. 

The other kind of TV shows that I may have a mild obsession with is real-life crime shows like Dateline, 20/2048 Hours, and anything on the ID channel.  No, I do not want to commit a crime or find out how to get away with murder.  I am just fascinated by these shows.  Any Lifetime movies that are based on real cases like JonBenét Ramsey or Casey Anthony fascinate me too.  I was also totally into Making a Murder on Netflix.  I guess I also like fictional crime shows, too, because I love Criminal Minds.  It is one of my favorite shows ever. I just love trying to figure out the mystery and looking at all the evidence.  Maybe I could have been an investigator or detective in another life.  Who knows? 

There you have it. You now know 2 of my guilty pleasures when it comes to television.  I’m not proud of the fact that I get enjoyment from murder and insane reality TV. There are so many other things that I could do with my free time instead of indulging in that, but I guess it is what it is.  I guess I can’t help what I find entertaining.

Anchored,

Friday Favorites: Top 5

Today we are having our first taste of fall.  It is a cool 67 degrees out right now and the high is only expected to be around 70. You guys know that I love the cooler temps.  Unfortunately, it is also rainy out, so it is kind of dark and gloomy.  It looks like the perfect day for me to curl up on the couch and finish reading our book club book for this month. Today for my Friday Favorites, I am sharing 5 things that I am loving right now. Check them out! 

1. Essie Nail Polish-S’ll Vous Play

If you have been reading this blog for a while or know me well, you know that I despise glitter. I absolutely cannot stand it.  I hate how it gets everywhere and then you can’t get rid of it ever.  It seems to multiply.  However, I do like the look of glittery things.  As long as it is contained like in my new favorite nail polish color.  I love this color for several reasons. One is that it is pretty neutral color. I would describe it as a light pink color with a little shimmer.  It can go with most things I wear without majorly clashing.  It is subtle, which I really like too. Surprisingly, I really do like that is has a little sparkle to it.  

2. Portable Straw

I don’t know about where you live, but many restaurants around here these days are doing away with straws altogether.  I get he reasoning behind it.  My youngest will tell you straight up how bad straws are for the sea turtles and we need to save them.  However, I am a germ-a-phobe and have a serious issue with drinking out of a glass or paper cup from restaurants without a straw.  I don’t want to put my mouth where someone else that I don’t know has put their mouth.  It really grosses me out.  This has become a huge dilemma for me now that so many places don’t have them.  My solution is this nifty travel straw that folds up nicely into this little case and fits right in my purse.  Anytime I am out and there is no straw, I can just pull out my own to use.  Then when I am ready to leave, I dry it off with a napkin and fold it back into the case to wash later. 

3. Pampered Chef Mix ‘n Chop

I have had this Pampered Chef tool for years, and I use it multiple times a week to chop and mix food.  It is really great when cooking ground beef or ground turkey.  It helps me to separate it into smaller pieces.  I love Pampered Chef products as a whole, but this is definitely one of my favorites that gets used the most. 

4. One Bars

A friend introduced these protein bars to me several months ago, and I really like them.  I have tried so many different bars over the years and have never found one that I really liked and had really given up trying new ones.  I am kind of a picky eater, so finding a bar for me to eat on the go or when I need a boost has been difficult until now.  I really do like these One Bars.  There are so many different flavors, and I haven’t even tried them all yet.  In fact I just ordered a variety pack from Amazon the other day so I could try some more flavors.  My current favorite is Birthday Cake followed by Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough as a close second. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake is also pretty good.   Some of the other flavors include Lemon Cake, Maple Glazed Doughnut, Salted Carmel, Chocolate Brownie, Almond Bliss, Cinnamon Roll, Blueberry Cobbler, Peanut Butter Pie, Cookie ‘n Crème, and Red Velvet Cake. I love that there is such a huge variety because it keeps me from getting tired of them.  Each bar contains 20 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar. Oh, and they are also gluten free!

5. Jogger Sweatpants

These joggers are super comfortable, affordable, and cute. They are perfect for lounging around the house for days like today when it is dark, rainy, and cool outside.    

Anchored,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items through these links, I may earn a small commission.

Friday Favorites: Top 5

It has been a while since I have done a top 5 post.  These are the top 5 things that I am loving right now.  Some are totally random, but they help make my life easier.  

1. HGTV Magazine

I have been obsessed with this magazine for a while and always buy it when I am standing in line at a store and see it.  I finally broke down and got a subscription with some of my airline rewards points. I  just got my first one in the mail, and I’m in love.  I have a slight obsession with the HGTV channel anyway, so the magazine is just the icing on the cake.  I love looking at the decorating ideas, the bright colors throughout, the tips and tricks, and so much more.  

2. Toothpaste Tube Squeezer

I told you all yesterday how the OCD person in me doesn’t like toothpaste tubes because I can’t stand the half squeezed tube.  My solution is this tube squeezer thingy.  It keeps the tube squeezed at just the right level and prevents you from wasting any toothpaste.  I add it to the end of the tube and press it forward each time I brush.  It makes it look much more orderly.

3. Shark Rocket Vacuum

I love this Shark vacuum to clean up quick messes, all of my hair in my bathroom and closet, and for the stairs.  It is so lightweight and easy to use. The top piece comes off and can be used almost like and old “dust-buster” my mom had back in the 80’s.  It is also easy to lift and use for high spaces.  This is such a great vacuum.

4. Young Living Easy Breeze Awakening Shower Steamers

I am obsessed with these.  I love to use them on the mornings when I wash my hair because that means I take a longer shower.  They are super relaxing to me and just amp up my shower time.  Smells of eucalyptus and peppermint permeate the shower, and it smells so good.  I think they really help with my migraines too on mornings like today when I wake up with one. They come 4 to a pack and are totally worth every penny to me.  

5. Fiskars Paper Trimmer

I use this thing all the time.  I use it when I am crafting, working on my vinyl creations, making things for the girls, creating fliers or invitations, and so much more.  It is much easier to use this when I have to cut something in a straight line than it is to use scissors.  Again, my OCD comes in to play here with making things perfectly straight. 

That’s a wrap on my current top 5 favorite things. What are you loving these days?

Anchored,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items through these links, I may earn a small commission.

Friday Favorites: TOH Fall 2019 Collection

I know that you are all probably getting tired of hearing about Trades of Hope these days, but it is such a huge part of my life now that it is hard to not write about it.  I promise this will be the last time for a little while.  We just launched our Fall 2019 line entitled Shades of the Savanna, and I have to share with you my favorite pieces from the line.  They are all so good, but I have managed to narrow it down to my favorites in each category.  This line was inspired by a visit to Africa by our founders and is comprised of elements that could be seen on a journey through the African Savanna.  Things like feathers, various stones, hammered metals, and leather are seen throughout the collection. Each piece is beautifully handcrafted by our artisan partners who are working to change their lives every day. These pieces give them hope and power to rise up and live a better life.

Earrings: Trove Earrings

I am totally obsessed with these earrings created by women in Asia who have been rescued from brothels and sex trafficking. They feature tan, brown, and black shades to mimic the pattern of a leopard or tortoise shell in this cool geometric shape. They are extremely lightweight and very much on trend right now. We even have a Trove Cuff that matches them perfectly. 

Bracelet: Sanctuary Bracelet

Women in Haiti create this bracelet with its vibrant colors. These women are now able to keep their own babies instead of dropping them at an orphanage because they had no means to care for them.  This bracelet is created with hand-rolled cereal box beads and hand-painted Haitian clay. This clay is the same clay that they have had to use to make cookies for their children because they didn’t have anything else to feed them. Through this sustainable business they are now able to provide real food for their families and provide for them in ways they never could before.

Necklace: Radiant Necklace Set

While this set is more on the expensive side of our products, it is absolutely gorgeous.  It features 3 separate necklaces of varying lengths that can be worn together or apart.  They feature hammered discs, labradorite stone, and a blue topaz crystal drop.  These necklaces are handcrafted by women in India rising up out of extreme poverty. 

Scarf: Patrika Scarf

This scarf is so unique and versatile.  It is created by women in India using a hand blocking method.  Wooded blocks are carved to created the desired design. Then using natural dyes, these women use the block to stamp the design onto the fabric. How cool is that? Each scarf has slight variations due to the hand blocking technique.  This scarf is large in size and can be worn as a vest, bathing suit cover-up, head wrap, or as a regular scarf. 

HandBag: Rabia Bag

Women in India who are escaping extreme poverty handcrafted this gorgeous genuine leather bag. It comes with a detachable crossbody strap. The inside is lined with a beautiful blue-stripped fabric. It features an interior slip pocket and a zipper pocket. This bag does not even look handmade, but it is.  It looks like any designer bag you would get at a department store, but this bag is handmade and sold through fair trade to empower these women out of poverty. It is so beautiful.  Check out these adorable giraffe and zebra handbag charms that you can add to this bag made by our artisans in Guatelmala.

Home Decor: Batwa Basket Set

These baskets are handcrafted by women from the Batwa Tribe in Uganda who have been forced out of their native land as a conservation effort to protect the mountain gorillas. These people are treated like animals. Their partnership with TOH has given them dignity and a means to survive. These women weave each basket by hand using tall grasses and natural materials as dyes.   It takes 2 weeks to complete one basket!   Aren’t they adorable?

To check out the entire Fall 2019 collection and more, you can visit my website.  These truly are some of my new favorite things and the stories behind them melt my heart.  Aren’t they all so great?

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Friday Favorites: 90’s Movies

I heard a conversation on the radio the other day about the best movies of the 90’s.  That got me thinking about my favorite movies from that decade.  Well, when I went looking to refresh my memory about all of the movies from the 90’s, I found it was harder than I thought to pick my top 10 favorites. There really were some good movies made back then.  If you are a guy reading this, you probably won’t agree with many of my choices as most of these are what I would consider “chick flicks.” It took me a while to narrow it down to these 10, so I had to add a few extras to the list as well.  Now, I will mention that Tom Hanks is one of my all-time favorite actors so you may see more than one of his movies on the list.  I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t help it.  I probably could have made the whole list Tom Hanks movies, but I didn’t. Maybe I will do another post one day just about that.  I was a big Julia Roberts fan back in the day as well. You may see more than one with her in it too. Without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite movies that came out in the 90’s followed by a few honorable mentions.

10. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

As I mentioned, I like Julia Roberts movies.  This one was a cute romantic comedy that I could watch a 100 times and still love it. It stars Julia Roberts, Dermont Mulroney, Rupert Everett, and Cameron Diaz.

9. The Hunt for Red October (1990)

You may be surprised by this one as it’s not nearly as popular as some of the others on my list, and it certainly isn’t a “chick flick”. I actually never watched this movie in the 90’s and probably had never heard of it until I married a submariner.  This is one of those Jack Ryan movies staring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin.  

8. Braveheart (1995)

This movie staring Mel Gibson is full of drama, romance, tragedy, historical fiction, and more. It is a long movie, but worth every second of it. 

7. A League of Their Own (1992)

This movie with an all-star cast is the first of the Tom Hanks movies on the list.  Along with him, Geena Davis, Modonna, and Rosie O’Donnell portray a heartfelt story of women stepping up to the plate when the men are off fighting in a war.  

6. Toy Story (1995)

I couldn’t leave this movie off the list with the release of the new Toy Story 4 movie recently. This is the movie that started it all and is one that many love the most, including me.  It is the only animated film that made it into my top 10.  This story staring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen is certainly a beloved classic.  

5. Father of the Bride (1991)

This movie staring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Martin Short is one of my favorites for sure.  It makes you laugh and cry all in one story.  It is such a great movie. 

4. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

This is another one of those long movies that is worth every second.  I love this storyline and the meaning behind it all with the horrors that war brings.  It stars Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, and Vin Diesel. 

3. Pretty Woman (1990)

How could I not put this movie staring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere up near the top of my list? Most women will tell you that this is one of the best movies of all time.  

2. Titanic (1997)

The great, tragic love story staring Leodardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet is certainly at the top.  I mean, who doesn’t love this movie?

1. Forrest Gump (1994)

Not only is this my favorite Tom Hanks movie and my favorite 90’s movie, it is also my favorite movie of all time.  I love this movie so much that I have watched it a million times and can just about recite the entire movie from memory.  If you have never been to a Bubba Gump’s restaurant, you don’t want to go with me. They always throw out trivia questions from the movie and I dominate! I love, love, love this movie so much! 

Honorable Mention:

*Silence of the Lambs (1991)

*Hope Floats (1998)

*Outbreak (1995)

*Jerry Maguire (1996)

*Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

*Twister (1996)

*Step Mom (1998)

*You’ve Got Mail (1998)

*Legends of the Fall (1994)

*The Lion King (1994)

I really do love a good movie. To me, if it is one that I can watch over and over again, it is considered one of the best. I could be flipping through the channels and come across any one of these movies and stop and watch it, even it the movie is already half over. That’s what makes it a good movie. What do you think of my list? What movie from the 90’s would you add? Now I think I may go try to find Forrest Gump or any of these others and watch it this afternoon.

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Friday Favorites: Bedroom Slippers

I am so glad that today is Friday.  I long for the weekends in the summer because competition season is over, we don’t have to travel anywhere, and our girls don’t have practices on the weekends in the summer.  That means we don’t have any obligations and can do whatever we want to do.  We can stay home all weekend and do absolutely nothing, work on projects that need to be done, go shopping, watch a movie, or even plan a little mini vacation.  Our weekends are so jammed full of things during the school year that we never really feel like we have days off or can get a lot of things done.  That is why summer weekends are the best! 

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite things, but it is a thing I get picked on for loving all the time. I know that it won’t be a popular thing, but I use mine every single day. I will start by saying that I do not like to walk around barefooted.  I never have.  I think that part of that comes from having hyperhidrosis where my feet sweat extremely bad.  My mom says that even when I was a baby, I would have little droplets of sweat on my feet all the time.  It is something that I have lived with my whole life.  Now, though, it is well controlled thanks to my migraine medicine.  Drying me out is one of the side effects of my medicine and the one side effect in the world that would make me happy.  Anyway, I guess I didn’t like going barefooted because my feet were always sopping wet and now it is just a habit.  That means that I either always have on a pair of socks, or I have on one of my favorite things…my bedroom slippers.  That’s right, I wear bedroom slippers all the time! If I am at home, I have them on at all times. I very rarely will walk around without them unless I have socks on, even in my own house.  As I am getting out of the bed in the mornings, I step right into them.  When I get out of the shower, I immediately step into them.  I wear them all the time. Whenever I am traveling, I pack them in my suitcase.  I certainly would never walk around in a hotel without them because that is just gross to me.  Because I wear them so much, I have to replace them frequently (about every 2 years) because they just get worn out easily.  I do wash them a lot too, especially after we have traveled, which I think speeds up the wear and tear.  Anyway, I have purchased a million different bedroom slippers over the years and have found some that I love and some that I just didn’t like.  I prefer the ones that you just step into like a slide or clog versus ones that fit like a shoe with a back to them. Those make my feet too hot and cause me to sweat even more.  The ones with memory foam soles are my favorites, but I also like the ones that just have an extra padded sole. Over the years, I have found that my favorite brand is Dearfoams. Now, these are not about style and cuteness. They are 100% about function and comfort. I admit it…I just love bedroom slippers. I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but if you do like them, here are some of my favorites.

Dearfoams Quilted Terry (Amazon) These are the ones I am currently wearing.

Dearfoams Memory Foam (Amazon)

Dearfoams Chenille Clog (Amazon)

Dearfoams Chunky Knit (Amazon) I don’t really love these because they are too hot for me, but they are super comfortable.

As you can see, they aren’t the most attractive things in the world, but they are super comfortable and no one ever really sees them except my family. I am totally ok with the fact that my love for bedroom slippers is not stylish or something that most people would agree with. They are a necessity for me and I love them! We are actually a bedroom slipper loving family. Everyone in my family wears them, even my daughters. Try them out. Maybe you will become a bedroom slipper family too!

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