Friday, February 24, 2012

Good Deed # 37 - Babysit For Parents Who Deserve a Night Out

This is it!  My 37th and final Good Deed.  I'll be babysitting for Lucia's little buddy Maya tonight, so her parents can enjoy a night out.

It's been a really busy and fun five weeks.  I learned a lot along the way and definitely plan on doing this again.  I really want to help Lucia do it too!  I think this kind of project is such a great way to teach kids about the importance of giving.

I'm glad I started blogging before I officially started doing my good deeds because the 'administrative' side of this project was pretty time consuming.  I had most of my ideas planned out before my birthday which made things much easier.  The one thing I was sure of was that there was no way I would be all of my Good Deeds in one day, or even in one week.  Doing one a day worked out great and it kept me in a great mindset for over five weeks!

Thanks to everyone who left comments and wrote me such nice emails and shared their ideas.  If you plan on doing good deeds for your birthday, I'd LOVE to hear about it!

Winner Announced for Cuppow Giveaway!

Congratulations to Breanna!  You won the Cuppow giveaway.  Bottoms up!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Good Deed # 36 - Lend My Maternity Clothes to a Friend

Lucia and I had a great time going through all of my maternity clothes this week so I can lend them to a friend of mine as my 36th Good Deed.  There's not much to say here other than the obvious - spending money on something like maternity clothes isn't awesome.  You wear them for such a short time (although it feels like an eternity when you're actually in them).  I remember being thrilled to pack up all those clothes after Lucy was born.

And so, dear pregnant friend who is also short and small - you're welcome to them!  Maybe they keep you warm and stylish while to grow that amazing little baby!  Love you :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Good Deed # 35 - Box Tops for Education

I can't believe it has taken me so long to start collecting Box Tops for Education.  My mom handed me a bunch last week and said, "Here.  Use these for a Good Deed."  Done!  Each Box Top that you clip earns ten cents for the school of your choice.  It's ridiculously easy and if you eat cereal (or a billion other things), there really isn't a good reason not to collect them.

Box Tops for Education has helped America’s schools earn over $400 million since 1996. You can earn cash for your child’s school by clipping Box Tops coupons from hundreds of participating products. Box Tops also offers easy ways to earn even more cash for your school online.  It's cool, check it out!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good Deed # 34 - Donate Old Tees to Project Repat

For my 34th Good Deed, I donated about 40 left over tee shirts from an old company I used to run to Project Repat in Boston.  Project Repat encourages thoughtful consumption and creates fair wage jobs around the world by upcycling used t-shirts into fashionable products.

Did you know that a large percentage of old tee shirts are sold by thrift stores here in the United States to tee shirt middlemen?  These shirts are packed in giant crates and make the long journey to the center of the used tee shirt markets of the developing world where they are resold to local businesses in Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Haiti, and scores of other places.  Project Repat buys them back and then pays artisans there to reconstruct them into cool totes and scarves and revamped tees.

• Project Repat believes in the positive environmental impact of purchasing already existing goods, rather than a constant cycle of purchasing new goods.

•  Project Repat believes in paying a fair and living wage to all individuals making our products around the world.

•  Project Repat believes in supporting existing markets in the developing world by purchasing tee shirts from small business owners who rely on the used clothing industry to support themselves and their families.

• Project Repat does not believe in bypassing local economies by dumping free clothing on the developing world.

•  Project Repat believes in raising awareness about the journey of a tee shirt once it is donated to stores like the Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village and other thrift stores.

•  Project Repat believes in the positive environmental impact of purchasing already existing goods, rather than a constant cycle of purchasing new goods.

When I made my donation, I met with Ross Lohr, one of the Founders of Project Repat and Nathan Rothstein who handles their Marketing and Sales.  I was really excited to learn that they are working towards getting more tee shirt donations here in the US and hiring local artisans to revamp them here as well.  It's a great idea and I love that they're helping people near and far.

Want to buy a Project Repat tote or scarf?  We've got a great selection at Raspberry Beret in Cambridge.

You can also buy Project Repat items on their website HERE.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Good Deed # 33 - Letter on Behalf of Police Officers

I have a close friend who is a police officer. When I called to ask him if there was anything I could do as a Good Deed for the police department, like drop off some treats or something, he kind of chuckled and said, “Well, that’s a nice offer but we actually have to throw away any food that people drop off in case it’s been tampered with or poisoned.” He wasn’t kidding and that is an incredibly sad truth.

My friend said that if I really wanted to help I could speak up on behalf of   police officers.  So, my Good Deed - which is ridiculously small in comparison to what my friend does every single day that he puts on his bullet-proof vest and goes to work - is to write this letter.

It seems we’ve come to a place in our society where people have an extremely negative view towards authority in general. I personally feel that the media is largely responsible for this. We are constantly bombarded with bad news every time we turn on the television. Cell phone videos turn up everywhere and we all saw the clips of cops spraying students at UC Davis protest. But did you see the whole video - the one where the students, who were given multiple warnings to leave, trapped the officers and wouldn’t let them leave? There are always two sides to every story and I think it’s important to keep that in mind - especially when it comes to what we see on television.

A girl I went to high school with used to post all kinds of negative remarks on Facebook about how she hating seeing, “yet another cop standing around drinking coffee on a detail” and how it pissed her off that her hard-earned tax money was paying for him to do nothing. Her friends all piped in and perpetuated the negative comments until finally, someone spoke up and told her the truth - that our tax money does not pay for police details. Here in Massachusetts, a detail is paid for by the company doing work. Needless to say, she immediately deleted the comments.

Too often, I think people forget and take for granted what police officers see and deal with on a daily basis. While a rough day at work for most of us might mean that we had a boring meeting or a lost computer file, a rough day for a cop involves witnessing terrible crimes and violence including heinous abuse, tragic accidents, murder, etc. They don’t get ‘breaks’ between calls and they’re constantly walking into the unknown. Police officers have a tremendous amount of stress and responsibility and their jobs are made so much more difficult by people who already resent them.

I’m not saying all police officers are perfect - no one is. There are good and bad people in ALL professions. I just think we hear a lot more of the bad than the good when it comes to cops and it’s skewing our perspective. It’s causing a lot of damage. Police officers are public servants. They’re there to help us, protect us. They put their lives on the line for us. For that, I think their profession deserves our utmost respect, not our condemnation.

To my friend and his fellow officers - I can’t thank you enough for all that you do every day. The world is a better place because of you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Good Deed # 32 - Surprise Jason with a Guys Weekend Away

Jason has been working ridiculously hard on TurningArt for the past two years.  Crazy hard.  So when I started thinking about his birthday this year, I really wanted to give him the one thing I knew he needed more than anything else - a break.  And he's on it RIGHT NOW!  A guys weekend on the Cape with one of his closest friends, Sean!

Sean, lives out in California and he and Jason usually only get to hang out once a year around the holidays.  Sean and I have been in cahoots for weeks now, planning a big surprise visit that I'm actually really surprised we were able to pull off.

Jason's actual birthday came and went last week and it was really nice. I made him a big, yummy breakfast before he went to work and we had a wonderful dinner out with both of our families.  He was kind of confused when he opened an Xbox from his parents because we've had so many talks about why I don't want a game system in the house.  Little did he know, the Xbox was all part of my big surprise weekend and my 32nd Good Deed!

Yesterday was torturous for me!  I love surprising people and can totally keep a secret but the anticipation is just way to exciting.  I had made up a big, elaborate story about spending the night at a friend's house on Saturday so Jason wouldn't make any plans for the weekend.  Right before Sean showed up he actually said, "You know what babe?!  While you're away tomorrow night I'm going to set up the Xbox so I can play after Lucy goes to sleep!"  He was really excited about it which made me want to explode and just blurt out the surprise!

So, here's how it went down.  Jason and I were watching a movie and Sean texted me twice, once to say that he landed and was grabbing a cab and the other time when he was outside our house.  Jason thought I was texting with my friend Suzanne and even asked me to turn my phone off.  After the second text I acted like I just remembered something and said, "Babe!  I almost forgot!  I have one more birthday gift that I couldn't give you last week.  I have it in the car, I can't believe I left it out there.  I'm going to go get it!"  I ran and grabbed my coat and told him I'd be right back.  Sean came in with me really quietly.  I peeked my head in the living room and said, "Okay, are you ready?" and then in walked Sean!

It was great!  Jason literally jumped out of his chair.  He was definitely surprised and completely shocked.  He kept saying, "What?!  What's happening?  Seriously, what's going on?"  Ha, it was a riot.  It took a little while for everything to make sense, for Jason to grasp that Sean had come all the way from CA for guys weekend full of video games, pizza, beer, sleeping late and relaxing - whatever they feel like.

This was, by far, the best Good Deed I've done.  It was so much fun!  Jason is really fortunate to have such a great friend and I hope they have a fantastic weekend.