Gifts that Gift Back: A Philanthropic Gift Guide

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Today I'm sharing my favorite gift guide of the season: Gifts that Give Back. This is my favorite because it helps me remember the reason for the season and reign in some of the craziness. I'm fortunate and blessed to have a great family; both mine & hubby's are awesome and we enjoy holidays together. I realize this isn't the case for everyone. Know that I will be praying for families this season that might not be looking forward to spending time together. Back to presents, if you are struggling to figure out what to buy for some of your friends or family members, I've got you covered! Below are several great local and two national nonprofits that offer everything from jewelry to education and clean water to body scrub.

 

This coffee Body & Face Scrub made from natural and organic ingredients from fair trade farms and compassion organizations leaves you feeling soft and invigorated all over! Sizes vary, 2oz is $9.95 (the PERFECT stocking stuffer!)

This coffee Body & Face Scrub made from natural and organic ingredients from fair trade farms and compassion organizations leaves you feeling soft and invigorated all over! Sizes vary, 2oz is $9.95 (the PERFECT stocking stuffer!)

These fun bracelets with various inspirational words are created to keep for yourself for a time, then give away when you feel someone else could benefit from having them. Register them online and watch as they travel and encourage others! Breathe bracelet $24

These fun bracelets with various inspirational words are created to keep for yourself for a time, then give away when you feel someone else could benefit from having them. Register them online and watch as they travel and encourage others! Breathe bracelet $24

This delicate bangle stack of three makes a great statement! And it benefits Fashion & Compassion projects in Central America. #winwin Gold Bangle Stack $48

This delicate bangle stack of three makes a great statement! And it benefits Fashion & Compassion projects in Central America. #winwin Gold Bangle Stack $48

This gorgeous bag is handcrafted by vocational students in Honduras and available December 19th at Fashion & Compassion. Cecelia Tote $160


This gorgeous bag is handcrafted by vocational students in Honduras and available December 19th at Fashion & Compassion. Cecelia Tote $160

Made from deerskin and recycled bullets, these fringed beauties are handcrafted locally in Charlotte by women overcoming injustice. Fran earrings $18

Made from deerskin and recycled bullets, these fringed beauties are handcrafted locally in Charlotte by women overcoming injustice. Fran earrings $18

Purchase clean water, education, shelter or even Jesus Loves Me lambs for children in crisis. Prices vary. (I've been doing this one for years and it's the best gift ever for anyone on your list!)

Purchase clean water, education, shelter or even Jesus Loves Me lambs for children in crisis. Prices vary. (I've been doing this one for years and it's the best gift ever for anyone on your list!)

If you are getting a pet for the holidays, please consider getting one from a shelter. Check your local shelters for great info on dogs and cats that need forever homes. You will NOT be disappointed! Shelter pets are truly the best pets!

If you are getting a pet for the holidays, please consider getting one from a shelter. Check your local shelters for great info on dogs and cats that need forever homes. You will NOT be disappointed! Shelter pets are truly the best pets!

5 Easy Fashion Tips for New Moms

While I'm not (yet) a new mom my mind is constantly there. Every clothing item I've purchased in the past year has been moving towards soft fabrics, comfy dresses and lower-heeled shoes. If you aren't in the know, we are in the process of adopting (read more here) and currently are waiting to be chosen by a birth mother. We've been told by our agency that birth mothers typically present in their last trimester, so once we're chosen it's quite possible we'll only have a couple months before we have a baby! We already have the nursery ready (see pics here!), have been given tons of great hand-me-downs, are registered for some other things and are doing a fundraiser in October to offset the cost of the loan. Being the fashion-lover I am, I've been thinking a lot about what my "new mommy" style will look like. I'm prepared to pretty much look like a zombie for the first month (and probably several months beyond that too!) but want to keep some semblence of looking put-together, at least when I go out. And with having worked from home for the past 7 years, I absolutely understand the hazards of getting too comfortable and not changing out of pj's, yet also the need to be comfortable because - let's be honest - sometimes I set up shop on the couch!  So I decided to make my own list of things I personally do now that could help me later when I'm sleep deprived and not feeling so creative. I'm sharing that list with you today and would LOVE to hear your thoughts! *

1. Shoes/Boots/Booties – Make your shoes the standout piece. Maybe pre-baby you invested in some fabulous OTK boots but never think to wear them now? How about those red loafers that get compliments every time you wear them? And honestly, you can NEVER go wrong with leopard flats. Shoes are a new mommies best accessory. Keep your outfit simple, put them on before you walk out the door and kick them off once back in the house!

Choose a sweater that incorporates neutrals with a pop of your favorite color. I can't tell you how much mileage I've gotten out of this kimono! I found it over a year ago at Marshall's so Cost Per Wear has been amazing! Seen here with a white summer dress, this could easily be thrown over a white, gray or black tee and jeans. Add in boots for cooler days and you're G2G!

Choose a sweater that incorporates neutrals with a pop of your favorite color. I can't tell you how much mileage I've gotten out of this kimono! I found it over a year ago at Marshall's so Cost Per Wear has been amazing! Seen here with a white summer dress, this could easily be thrown over a white, gray or black tee and jeans. Add in boots for cooler days and you're G2G!

2. Printed or Patterned Sweater – Having a go-to patterned sweater to add to a white tee or tank plus jeans you can pull your look together in less than 30 seconds! Once again, this is a piece that can be taken right off once you get back in the house or slipped into your bag if you get warm while out (those new babies are like little heaters!)

To make a half-bun ("hun?") go around hair twice with the pony holder then only half-way the third time so it creates a bun-like look.                                                                     

To make a half-bun ("hun?") go around hair twice with the pony holder then only half-way the third time so it creates a bun-like look.                                                                     

3. Ponytail or half pony – Here's a simple tip on how to make a ponytail "fancy": After you've secured all your hair, take a small piece from the underside of the ponytail and wrap it around the holder, then fasten with a bobby pin. Another option is to use a barrette that has fake hair similar to your own color. Bonus points: create a small braid with your bangs and use a bobby pin to clip it the side. Default trick: If it's Day 2 hair and there's still some hope for the ends, here's another option: add a fedora or wool floppy hat. This one step makes casual items appear intentional and takes them from individual pieces to pulled-together outfit.

Blazer_tee.JPG

4. Blazer - Blazers have long been the fashion star of the corporate world but I love taking them in a more casual direction by pairing them with jeans and a graphic tee.  Going with a basic black blazer, white tee and jeans can take you immediately to cool girl status. OR you can really have fun with this and add more than just the basics to your blazer collection. They don't have to be your stuffy work blazer, either. Try a blazer/sweater combo with leather sleeves. How about a striped collarless one, like this one below?  Or, find one in a soft cotton and it's as comfortable as wearing a sweater! (Editor's note: both of these pairings will look fab with or without the necklace....keep reading for a baby-friendly necklace option!).

 

5. Jewelry – While I know you aren't able to wear dangly earrings (shop some great studs here), you can wear bracelets & baby-friendly necklaces! (Whoever had this great idea was a genius!) Buy them for either you to wear or baby. ) Personally I like the ones you wear because....#accessories. 

zooey-closeup-circle_large.png

There are SO many shops making these great baby-friendly non-toxic necklaces now! This one is from Mama & Little but I've also found a bunch on Etsy

And a final tip: Add a tunic or dress over those leggings! OK, here's the deal with leggings. First - and MOST important - they are NOT pants. Repeat after me: NOT PANTS. SO - while I understand sometimes you have to run to the store right after the gym (and that's ok), anytime other than this do not substitute leggings or yoga pants for real pants. If you are wearing leggings, make it intentional with a long (must come past your ladyparts!) sweater, furry vest, long tee or a cute dress that might be a tad to short on its own. Add some booties or fun flats and voila - outfit ready. 

This cold-shoulder dress is long enough to wear on it's own but I added leggings just for fun. Switch out the sandals for booties or flats in colder weather and off you go!

This cold-shoulder dress is long enough to wear on it's own but I added leggings just for fun. Switch out the sandals for booties or flats in colder weather and off you go!

*Here's a bonus tip from a super stylish mommy I know: "Find a bag/tote/purse that works for you and add your baby gear to that. Most diaper bags are clunky and ugly or EXPENSIVE (although I know a few fans of the Petunia Picklebottom brand, but again $$$).  Instead, use this handy travel case for diapers, wipes and pacifiers. You can also easily move it from purse to purse! Check out my super stylish mommy friend's instagram feed for even more great style tips!