December 20, 2011

1,000 Happy Families for Christmas

One of things that is filling my heart with the Christmas Spirit is a simple wish on a child's list. My friends Brad and Vera are two of the most amazing people I have ever had the luxury of meeting. In their presence you feel an energizing peace. Even more so when you see them talk about their children, read the stories of their kids and know they're raising some amazing little spirits.

Their daughter, M, continues to grow into a empathetic and charismatic young lady. This is evident by the amazing wish on  her Christmas list asking for "1,000 Happy Families for Christmas". It brought tears to my eyes when I read this and more so when Brad and Vera began a Facebook group to "gift" their daughter. To show her that 1,000 Happy Families is possible. Right now they're about halfway there and with a few days to go, I know we can find another 500 Happy Families for Christmas. 

If you know me, you know I'd never ask you to like a Facebook page that wasn't important. This is deeply important. Help us show M that in this crazy world happy families are still celebrating the holidays. I think you'll find being a part of something so incredible will not only benefit a child and her family, but you too. 

December 12, 2011

Review: Timberland Canard Pull-On Waterproof Boot

Timberland has been a well-known name in outdoor footwear for a long time. Even though I was a late bloomer to the outdoor world Timberland was a brand I knew of as a child. Perhaps that's because their high-quality footwear is approachable. From casual shoes to more technical boots they're easy to recognize and most people would feel comfortable buying these shoes. You don't have to be a great outdoors adventurer to feel "qualified" to wear Timberlands.

Normally I love knee high boots. I have been drooling over Timberlands broad collection of tall Women's boots in lace up and pull-on styles. However, I realized what I really needed was a boot to pull-on with jeans and yoga pants that would keep me warm and dry. I was then floored by another large collection of ankle length boots available from Timberland. I ultimately decided on the Canard Pull-On boot in black.

I love the design of this boot. They look slightly rugged with the faux fur lining (toasty!) but they also have a very streamlined look. I wouldn't hesitate to go from work to a night out in these boots. These are definitely a great fit for the urban adventurer.

I have stated a few times that my feet stay warm and dry. The waterproof construction is top notch. While the warmth is great, they're not so warm that they can't be worn all day. A plus for those of us who don't want to carry around a second pair of shoes.

The boots are usually $135, a good investment for quality boots that will see you through years of the cold weather season. I noticed they're on sale at right now for $99.99 so that makes them an even better deal.

December 9, 2011

It Could Be You

I have a lot of friends who are very philanthropic and always share their abundance. I have always believed that if you come across a windfall of money you should give some away to someone or an organization that needs it. I am not sure if this is how I was raised. I don't give money to just anyone I see on the street but I have a certain empathy for people who have lost it all. I try to carry an extra piece of fruit or bar to share if I see someone who could use it. 

I think I learned this behavior from my dad. He's not someone who is a heart-bleeding liberal, at all. In fact he's practically a tea party member. But once, in high school, we were out to eat at some fast food chain (yes, this is before I learned to eat well). It was a very cold day, lots of snow and as we took our food to the table we both noticed a man who looked down on his luck, most likely homeless. Dad watched him for awhile and when he left, he said "Come on let's go" and we left quickly.

I had no idea what was going on but dad followed the guy and then got his attention and told him "You look like you could use some gloves." Dad gave him his gloves and some cash. That was it. He never made a big lesson out of it. Just briefly explained that sometimes you have to trust your gut.

I thought a lot about that. I have had a few times when I have been unemployed as an adult. Though those times were brief, I knew I would never be homeless or wanting for food.  I had my dad's support. As I grew older and have become better about saving money and looking after myself I know I could take care of myself for awhile. Yet, I still know in the back of my mind I have my dad. But what if I didn't. 

I have had an ongoing conversation with a few friends who tend to assume that homeless people are always alcoholic and addicts. So I always ask them a few questions:

  • How much money do you currently have saved?
  • If you lost your job and couldn't find work for six months could you stay in your home?
  • If you couldn't stay in your home would you have friends or family to turn to?
  • If your parents were deceased and you had no other family where would you stay?
  • When you overstayed your welcome at all of your friends house, where would you go?

My intention isn't to panic everyone or to ask you to donate money. It's just the introduction of an idea of empathy. My dad maybe a bit of a nut but he gifted me with the ability to look at things from another perspective.  It breaks my heart when people I love only see the homeless as people who screwed up and are too lazy to work. Sure, that's the case some times. However, just a few rolls of the dice and it could be you.