Life in the Fishbowl

Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."

Life in the Fishbowl - Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."

A relative’s switch to bluPLUS+ e-Cigs

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. Readers must be 18 years of age or older. All opinions are mine alone. #bluPLUS #CollectiveBias

A relative's switch to bluPLUS e-cigs

We have a relative who is tired of smoking cigarettes. She’s tired of the expense. She’s tired of the mess. She’s tired of smelling like smoke everywhere she goes. Our family is happy to help her make the switch from cigarettes to bluPLUS+ e-Cigs. Because we’re also tired of the mess. And we’re tired of the smell. Everyone in our household welcomes this change and we want to do whatever we can to help support her as she makes the switch.

blu PLUS+ e-Cigs Xpress Kit Close up

It’s pretty easy to buy bluPlus+ products. You don’t even have to leave your home. You can buy them online with ease. And that’s pretty important for us. We’re able to help provide this relative with a regularly updated monthly supply of vape tanks. What’s a vape tank? It’s the part of the e-cig that holds the flavor. It provides the most enhanced vapor and flavor available. You can find out more information about their tanks by clicking here.

When you order from the website, you have access to nicotine strength (anywhere from Non-Nicotine to High) and flavors that are not available anywhere else. It is a personalized shopping experience. The digital store also offers exclusive discounts and sales that are only available online. And when you sign up for the blu Nation Rewards program, you’re eligible to earn some pretty neat stuff. And you don’t even have to make a purchase to participate. You can earn points by reading specific articles or connecting your social accounts.

Ordering blu PLUS+ e-Cigs online

We’re starting our relative off with the bluPLUS+ Xpress Kit. It includes a long-lasting rechargeable battery and two flavor tanks. It also includes a USB charger so you can quickly recharge your e-cig’s battery while you’re on the go.  For a limited time, the kit is also bundled with a free pack of flavor tanks.  This means the bundle contains $30 worth of product and is currently available for only $14.99, while supplies last.

blu PLUS+ e-Cigs Xpress Kit charging

In addition to the online store, there are several other ways you can keep up to date with how blu is continually improving the e-cig experience. You can like their page on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram (@blucigs) and Twitter (@blucigs). If you want to hear what others are saying about bluPLUS+, this Pinterest board is a great place to look.

I’m glad we’re able to help our relative make the switch. With bluPLUS+ e-Cigs, we’re able to provide her with a smokeless experience that feels and tastes good. Our family welcomes this alternative to the smelly, ashy, expensive lifestyle she has been living.

blu PLUS+ e-Cigs Xpress Kit wood

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page

Star Wars spoilers and a new The Force Awakens trailer (with footnotes)

Star Wars The Force Awakens - no spoilers

A long time ago…

Back when they did the Star Wars Special Edition releases in 1997, I became a big fan of the website that was known as Red 5. The site leaked all kinds of information about the changes that were expected. I’m sure I visited that site several times a day in anticipation of this re-release. I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but when the movies were finally released, I almost felt a little bit of Star Wars fatigue.

I know. That’s borderline blasphemy.

But it’s true. And I think some of it had to do with the fact that I was following all of the leaked information so closely in the months and weeks leading up to the release.

Fast-forward to Episode I.

I pretty much knew the whole story before the movie was released, thanks to leaks, the song listing on the Phantom Menace soundtrack, and Weird Al Yankovic.

So I left the movie feeling…underwhelmed. While I know the film could never live up to the hype generated by the 16 year buildup of anticipation between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, the movie itself falls pretty flat (no, this isn’t a reference to the 3D re-release. I almost kind of liked that one, oddly enough). I’m convinced that part of my initial lackluster response to Episode I had a little bit to do with having been inundated with spoilers during the time leading up to the film’s release.

Don’t get me wrong. Episode I was awful. It’s still awful. But it was made even more awful-er because of the spoilers.

Yep. The spoilers spoiled the movie. That’s why they’re called spoilers.

No more spoilers.

When Episode III came around, I avoided spoilers like the plague. I did a pretty good job, for the most part. Still managed to find out ahead of time that Anakin becomes Darth Vader and that Chancellor Palpatine becomes Emperor Palpatine.* But other than that, I was able to attend the midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith without knowing very much about how this pivotal film was going to unfold.** I left the movie in awe at what I had experienced.

With the new onslaught of spoilers,‡ leaked information, and marketing overdrive that’s already happening, my Spidey-spoiler-senses are on heightened alert. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make it until December‡‡ without unintentionally stumbling upon some unwelcome spoilers, but I’m going to try.º And I’m convinced that this will make my Star Wars: The Force Awakens experience even more memorable as I watch it at the midnight showing with my family.ºº You’re welcome to follow all the spoilers/leaks/speculations that you’d like. It’s your prerogative. But please don’t share them with me. I’d like to experience this new entry into the Star Wars saga with as few preconceived ideas as possible.

Besides, this whole avoiding spoilers and leaks and all things behind the scenes from the upcoming film thing also makes days like today even more exciting. This little gem was released on instagram today. It’s a new The Force Awakens trailer:

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on


It’s only a few seconds long, but, oh man. This gets me excited. December 18th can’t get here soon enough.

It will be a day long-remembered.

* Yes. That’s a geek’s lame attempt at a joke.
** This experience did lead me to swear off midnight showings altogether because I had a final the next day. That was miserable.
In spite of my best efforts, I’ve heard a few leaks and theories about Han Solo’s role in the movie. I have an idea for a twist that few people would see coming. But I’m not going to talk about it here. I might save that for another post.
‡‡ Why, oh why wasn’t this released in May?
º Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you’re going to say:

ºº Did I just say that I swore off midnight showings? I’m pretty sure there’s a clause in that oath that exempts watching Star Wars releases with your teenagers who have never seen Star Wars on the big screen (except for Episode I 3D, which really doesn’t count).

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page

Mihret in the Spotlight

You know, Christy and I think that Mihret is a pretty special little girl. I know, I know. We’re supposed to think that way because she’s our daughter. But she really is. I promise. And I have proof outside of our own objective biased opinion.

You can ask the principal at her school. And you can also ask our district’s School Board.
Mihret in the Spotlight - Title

At the beginning of each School Board meeting, our district invites a school to shine a spotlight on one of their students. The schools rotate throughout the year. That gives each school two opportunities throughout the year to present a student to the School Board as one of their Spotlight Students.

The Principal at Mihret’s school chose Mihret as her school’s representative at this month’s School Board meeting. With the help of a friend, she opened the meeting by leading all attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Mihret helped lead the Pledge of Allegiance at tonight’s School Board meeting. #SpotlightStudent

A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Then her Principal shared a little about their Spotlight Student. He shared a few words about her. He said that she’s an exemplary student with a bright smile and an “I do it myself” attitude.

This really shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, she was named Most Determined in her class a few years ago. I promise. We aren’t that biased when we say she’s a remarkable little girl. It’s pretty apparent. Don’t you think?

The School Board President presented her with a special certificate for being her school’s Spotlight Student.

(Sorry the photo is a bit blurry. I wasn’t quite ready to take the picture. It all happened much faster than I expected.)

Spotlight student certificate

Don’t ask me why she’s posing like this. She insisted on doing it. I think she was just so excited about the whole thing that she couldn’t quite contain herself.

She’s definitely a remarkable little girl. And she marches to her own beat. Don’t you agree?

Spotlight Student August 2015

Just in case you weren’t convinced that her parents aren’t the only ones who are totally enamored with our little girl, she also had her own cheering section that showed up at the Board Meeting to support her. Mihret's adoring fans

I’ve had the opportunity to take Mihret to school on several occasions. It’s fun to watch her cruise the hallway with her wheelchair. She waves to everyone, like she’s in a parade. And everyone greets her like a celebrity. I’m pretty sure she thinks she runs that school.

She’s already in the spotlight while she’s at school. So it was pretty fun to see her spotlight’s reach expand to the rest of the school system.

Spotlight Student

Needless to say, we’re pretty proud of our little Spotlight Student.

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page

Please stop running bus stop signs.

Bus Stop SignOn the day a friend of mine received her driver’s license, she took her older brothers out for a drive. As they came up to an empty intersection, her brothers urged her to drive on through.

“You can ignore the stop signs that have a white border. They’re optional,” they argued.

She was convinced. And she rolled right through that intersection.

Her brothers were shocked. They didn’t think she’d believe them. But they were the experienced drivers and she was just getting started. So she fell for their joke.

In the end, it was just a silly prank that older brothers were playing on their younger sister. And no one got hurt. So, in the end, I guess you could say it was harmless. No blood, no foul. But my friend learned a valuable lesson that evening.

Stop signs are not optional.

Even if they have a white border.

That includes Continue reading

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page

Amazingly simple Peach Cobbler

Amazingly Simple Peach Cobbler RecipeThere are few things better than sharing a dessert while sitting around a campfire at the end of a long day of camping. When you think of desserts cooked by campfire, you might think of the common ones: s’mores or baked apples. They’re great treats to have on a campout, or even at home. One of my favorite desserts from my Scouting days was a little more fancy. In reality, though, this dessert might be easier to make than s’mores. It’s peach cobbler. It’s so good. And it’s so amazingly simple to make.

I learned how to bake this dessert in a Dutch Oven. But I don’t own a Dutch Oven. I might have to break down and buy one at some point, but that’s not in the plan any time in the near future. But I still need this peach cobbler in my life. Fortunately, there’s not much to change in order to be able to fix this at home. You just need to use a baking dish instead of a Dutch Oven. I used a 9×9 pan for this recipe. And you can use an oven instead of coals from a campfire.

You’ll be amazed at how easy this recipe is. But don’t tell anyone. Just let everyone think you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day long. In addition to how easy and tasty it is, it’s also highly adaptable. In addition to peach cobbler, I’ve used a variation of this recipe to make apple cobbler, blueberry cobbler, and cherry cobbler. You simply change the cans of fruit and the canned pie filling and you’re all set!

Here’s how you make this Amazingly Simple Peach Cobbler:

Ingredients:

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter
1 29 oz. can of sliced peaches
1 20 oz. can of peach pie filling
You’re welcome to make your own pie filling if you’d like. But we’re keeping this recipe simple. So you’re going to have to try that out on your own if you’re feeling adventurous. You can also add more cans of peaches if you’d like.

Optional: Vanilla ice cream. I mean, it’s really not optional if you’re at home. You really should have this with vanilla ice cream. It’s a little tougher to do when you’re camping, though. So we’ll just say it’s optional.

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Drain sliced peaches. When we were camping, we would set the syrup to the side and use it in our drink mix and called it “bug juice.”
  3. In a 9×9 pan, mix peach pie filling and drained sliced peaches.
  4. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the mixed fruit.
  5. Cover the dry cake mix with pats of butter. One stick of butter should cover the entire dessert.It should look like this:
    Butter on top of Peach Cobbler
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes until golden brown. The time is really an estimate. You bake it until it’s done. You’ll know it’s done because it’ll look something like this:
    Peach Cobbler

Serve warm with a scoop or two of ice cream.

See?

It’s really that simple.

Amazingly simple.

Peach Cobbler Title

 

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page

Then I watched God move a mountain. Again.

A “moved mountain” in Durame, Ethiopia

This adoption journey has been quite an emotional roller coaster with many unforeseen twists and turns. There might have even been a corkscrew or two thrown in there for good measure.

And it ain’t over yet.

But that’s OK. It’s kind of par for the course when it comes to international adoption. I’d imagine domestic adoption is a similar roller coaster ride.

Christy finally met “W” face-to-face. It’s been great for the soul and I hope that it will continue to warm his heart after she returns to the States.

Jeremiah 29:11. I’m sorry you had to wait so long…but I am so thankful God blessed us with you.

A photo posted by Christy Ooley Todd (@ooleytodd) on

Two more trips are required before he comes home with us. Sometime in the Fall, I hope to be able to meet “W” for the first time. During my stay in Ethiopia, I will appear before a judge and declare that yes, he is the child we’ve been trying to adopt. If all goes according to plan, “W” will then be declared our son in the eyes of the Ethiopian government. Then I’ll return home shortly after that court date. A few weeks later, we should have an appointment with the US Embassy in Addis. Christy and I will fly to Ethiopia, meet with the Embassy, and bring “W” home after that. Hopefully that will happen before Christmas of this year.

That’s the way things are supposed to happen. That’s the way the timeline generally goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how it happens for us. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t happen that way, either. Because here’s what we’ve learned during this journey: God is writing this story. We are not. And the Author is going to weave this story together in whatever way He sees fit.

In high school, I wanted to do something “big” for God. I never knew exactly what it was, but I was going to shock the world with the gospel. So I kept searching for that big thing I could “do” for Jesus. I don’t think I was wrong in my desire. I might have been a little misguided in my approach. But hey, I was a teenager. I think we all were a little misguided as teenagers, weren’t we?

For I know the plans I have for you bracelets

This desire to “do” something big for God continued into my preaching years more than a decade later. I firmly believe that God can work miracles. I’ve seen them happen. It was my hope and prayer that I could somehow put God on stage and allow the congregation to see what God had done. It was almost as if I was expecting Him to perform some great act so I could shine the spotlight on Him.

Again, not a bad desire. But maybe the wrong approach. After all, God is God. He doesn’t have to perform a miracle in order for us to shine the spotlight on Him. He is worthy of worship because He Is who He Is. And that’s enough.

Then we saw God move a mountain.

God orchestrated things in such a way that He provided for Mihret’s adoption in exactly the right way at exactly the right time.

So when we started pursuing “W,” I kind of expected things to work out in a similar way. I mean, that was a pretty cool story the way everything was woven together so perfectly.

But that organization didn’t award us a grant this time. No worries, I thought. There are other opportunities. So we applied for more grants. And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

We had the yard sale that was hugely successful. But it wasn’t enough to cover the rest of the fees.

So we waited some more.

And waited.

And waited.

Then things started to get a little…oh, what’s the word?….tense…around here. If Christy was really going to make this trip before the courts closed in Addis and school started here, we were going to have to figure out a way to cover the rest of the fees and travel costs. Maybe we were going to have to make this thing work on our own.

Then it happened. God moved mountains.

Not only did God move the mountains, He obliterated them. He caused them to melt like wax.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord Psalm 975

We were confident that God was going to use the matching grant from Hand in Hand to make a big dent in the need. But we didn’t know how much was actually going to be donated. There was still a lot of uncertainty. And maybe some doubt.

But the donations that were contributed to the matching grant were over the amount necessary.

Then we started getting notifications of approval for grants that I had totally forgotten about. And I’d definitely forgotten that we’d applied for their assistance. But they started sending in money.

And the next thing I knew, everything was paid for. The agency fees. Christy’s plane ticket. Even the in-country travel fees. Everything was covered within a matter of days.

Yes, God is in the mountain moving business.

As I sat and watched the whole thing unfold, I started to realize something. Sometimes “doing” something big for God simply means being obedient and stepping out in faith. You do what you’re supposed to, planting seeds as you go along the way. But in the end, you sit back and watch God do what you couldn’t even possibly imagine what would be done.

All week, I’ve been humming this song. It makes sense when you look back on the events of the last few weeks.

God is writing a story, friends. And it is bigger than any of us even realize.

If you get a sense that God is calling you to “do” something, then go do it. By all means, do.it. But if you think God is calling you to go and watch and listen, then do that. Watch how He works. He’ll let you know when it’s time for you to do your part. Because He’s already at work. He’s already telling the story.

 

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page

7 must-have apps for international travel

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #Tips4Trips #CollectiveBias

7 Must-Have Apps for International Travel #Tips4Trips #ad #cbias

As mentioned earlier, a lot of moving pieces finally came together at just the right time in just the right way in order for Christy to be able to meet “W,” the teenage boy we are in the process of adopting. Late Sunday night/early Monday morning, I drove Christy to the airport. Nearly 18 hours later, she landed in Ethiopia. There were times where I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to pull the whole thing together. With my full time job, Christy’s responsibilities at her school, and taxiing the kids to and from sports practices, church activities, and camp, it just felt like too daunting of a task to get together all of her necessities plus a bag full of donations in less than two weeks’ time. I honestly don’t think we could have done it without our unlimited talk, text, and data/web from Walmart Family Mobile.

Ethiopia or Bust #Tips4Trips

If you’re looking for the lowest priced unlimited plans with access to a network that covers over 280 people, Walmart Family Mobile is the place you should look first. Their Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data service plan starts at $29.88 a month for the first line. In addition to unlimited talking and texting, you also get access to up to 1G of 4G LTE data per month. Plus, they have a variety of phones available at some pretty incredible prices, including the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro for only  $64.88.

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to this link or your local Walmart for current pricing.

#Tips4Trips Store Collage at Walmart

While we’ve taken several vacations in the States, I think it’s safe to say that we’re no world travelers. And we definitely haven’t made a habit of jet-setting around the globe. So when it was finally decided that Christy was going to make this trip by herself, life became a bit more hectic. And life was already hectic with the kids’ activity schedules.

We had travel agents to call. And social workers to call. And our adoption agency to call. We had to make sure my work schedule was arranged in such a way that I could be home as much as possible. We had doctors to call. We had family to contact. We had to collect items – diapers, wipes, educational supplies, DVDs – that we were going to donate to the Care Center. The to-do lists kept piling up, adding more and more chaos to this whirlwind.

You know what we didn’t need during this mad rush to get everything done and ready for Christy to get on a plane? A phone service that dropped all of my calls. Or a phone that was so slow that it would be easier to send documents via passenger pigeon or the Pony Express. Been there. Done that. Not going back.

Ever.

Luggage and phone at the airport #Tips4Trips

That’s what I love about using Walmart Family Mobile. I don’t have to worry about wonky Internet connection. And I can be confident that I’ll be able to have an actual conversation on my phone without worrying about how many minutes I’m using. That’s pretty important when you’re in a time crunch.

And the phones are pretty cool, too.

In preparation for this great journey, I discovered some pretty cool apps. I think these are some tools that every traveler should have in their digital suitcase. They’re very helpful. And they’re free, although some can be enhanced with in-app purchases.

7 must-have apps for international travel:

Android Apps SmartTraveler #Tips4Trips

SmartTraveler

Provided by the U.S. State Department , SmartTraveler gives a plethora of information about countries around the globe, including local customs and laws, political climate, and the location of the U.S. embassy. It also keeps you up to date on travel alerts and warnings that have been issued by the State Department.

 

Android Apps iBlueButton #Tips4TripsiBlueButton

You never plan on having a medical emergency while traveling. But just in case the unforeseen does happen, it’s a good idea to have iBlueButton. It keeps all of your medical information and medical history in one place so you can access it with just the swipe of your finger.

 

Android App Google Hangouts #Tips4TripsGoogle Hangouts

This was pre-installed on our Androids, and although it’s gotten some negative press in the past, Christy and I have been using it to communicate over the the thousands of miles between us. You can use it to send text messages. You can also use it for free video calls via wifi, too.

Christy checking the phone at the airport #Tips4Trips

Android Apps iTranslate #Tips4Trips

iTranslate

With over 90 languages available on this app, you can translate words and phrases in a matter of moments. With an extensive dictionary library, you’ll be able to discern contextual clues and dialects. It’s easy to use and essential for a world traveler.

 

 

Android App Google Goggles #Tips4TripsGoogle Goggles

Let’s say you’re overseas and you see a landmark some 30 miles away but you don’t have any idea what it is. It looks important, but that’s about all you know. With Google Goggles, you can take a picture and search the web with that image. This app has some serious potential.

 

Android App FlightAware #Tips4TripsFlightAware

FlightAware was the perfect app for me to use while Christy was up in the air. No matter where I went that day, I could check the app and track her flight. And if you’re using it while traveling, you’ll be able to keep up to date on the flight schedule and which terminal you have to go to. That’s amazingly helpful if you have a short layover.

 

Android App XE Currency #Tips4TripsXE Currency

You can keep up to date on the exchange rates with this app. It’s a great way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your currency.

It’s also helpful if you’re trying to plan and budget your trip.

 

There are so many apps available that are related to travel. I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones. Now that Christy’s begun her journey, I can start planning for my trip to Ethiopia, which should happen within the next few months.  What apps should I add to my list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

#Tips4Trips Phone and suitcase

 

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page

Partner with Fair Trade Friday and help change the world!

BloggingTeamFBcover

OK, here’s the deal. I had heard about Fair Trade Friday before. I had heard of Mercy House before. But I don’t think I’d really heard about their ministry. When I agreed to join the Fair Trade Friday blogging team, my eyes were opened and I am in love.

fair trade necklace

While they do have to occasional Box that’s geared towards men, I’m not likely to wear many of the accessories that come in a Fair Trade Friday Box or Earring of the Month shipment, I know my wife loves them. And if she loves them, I love them. But that’s not all that I love about this effort. The beautiful products are actually just a tiny part of why I love Fair Trade Friday.

I am in love with what they’re doing. I’m in love with the fact that they’re empowering women around the world. I’m in love with their passion. I am in love with how one person’s vision and obedience to God’s calling has changed the lives of countless people.

transbanner

I know what you’re asking. What’s Fair Trade Friday all about? It’s about empowerment. It’s about it’s about opportunity. It’s about ending the cycle of poverty. It’s about uplifting women who feel like they’re forgotten.

It’s about changing the world.

A ministry of Mercy House Kenya, Fair Trade Friday has partnered with 27 faith-based organizations in 19 countries. The primary purpose of these faith-based organizations? The empowerment of marginalized women.

Mercy House from Petro Studios on Vimeo.

These partnerships have provided steady jobs for over 1,00 women.

Like these women in Ethiopia.

ethiopian woman creating

One bag for the Earring of the Month Club provides work for three (yes, THREE!) women. Something so small. Something so seemingly insignificant. Something so life-changing.

EOTMbag

THAT’S why I love Fair Trade Friday. Ethiopian woman making beads

 

That’s why I think you should, too.

One of the taglines that Fair Trade Friday uses is “Change the world. Look good doing it.” It’s really that simple. And by doing this, you’re helping to change women’s stories around the world. How amazing is that?

Convinced? Here’s what to do.

There are several ways you can help change the world with these amazing products:

  • Join the Fair Trade Friday ClubEach month, you’ll receive a box with three to four surprise goodies, like stylish accessories, organic soap, or a bag of coffee. This club is kind of exclusive because there’s only so much product to go around. But that’s OK. They have a waiting list! Cost: $31.99/month. You can cancel at any time.
  • Try a One-Time Box! It includes all the cool stuff from the Fair Trade Friday Box for you to enjoy. You can order it for yourself or send it as a gift! Cost: $35.00 + $10 shipping.
  • Join the Earring of the Month Club! You’ll receive a high-quality pair of earrings and a beautiful reusable bag every month. If they’re sold out? Join the wait list!  Cost: $11.99/month.
  • You can always purchase something from the Mercy Shop! They have some pretty amazing products over there. Like t-shirts, jewelry, and fundraising opportunities.Oh.

    And this framed art:

Rolled Art -AfricaSo what are you waiting for? 100% of the proceeds benefit maginalized women around the world. It only takes a few bucks to change a woman’s story. Start partnering with Fair Trade Friday today.

transbanner

 

Note: With the exception of the necklace photo, all images appear thanks to Fair Trade Friday.

 

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page

These Minions cards can turn a mailbox into a dance party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendSmiles #CollectiveBias

Turn Your Mailbox into a Dance Party #SendSmiles

When I was a kid, I loved getting the mail. Every day, I would wait  in anticipation of the mail’s arrival. Once it arrived, I would rush out to the mailbox and throw open its doors, eager to discover what treats had been sent my way thanks to the Postal Service. I rarely retrieved mail that was addressed specifically to me. But when I did, it was such a magical experience. And if I received a special greeting card from someone? Well, that would just make my whole week!

We live in an age of instant everything. We have access to instant news. We can stream almost any movie or TV show with just the click of a few buttons. We have instant connection with people all over the world thanks to social networks. The world keeps getting smaller and smaller thanks to the digital revolution in which we now live.

Thanks to this digital revolution, we get reminders every day about people’s birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant life events. And thanks to the instant connectivity that’s available at our fingertips, we’re able to flood the timelines of friends, family, associates, and acquaintances with well-wishes on their special days. It’s a pretty cool phenomenon.

I’ve found that as we move more towards digital relationships, however, the need for physical connection is even greater. Don’t get me wrong. Receiving a birthday message online is pretty fun. But when you get a card in the mail? I don’t know about you, but my inner six year old wakes up and does a little dance.


There’s just something extra-special about receiving a card in the mail. I think it’s because you’re able to touch it and feel it. Now you’re even able to listen to many of them. In a world full of digital connections, there’s something about getting a card in the mail that makes you feel even more connected.

Cards available at Walmart #SendSmiles

As much as I love getting cards in the mail, I love sending them even more. Unfortunately, I’ve kind of run into a problem. You see, it appears that I’ve forgotten how to use a calendar. I know, I know. That’s a pretty good sign that I’m not very organized, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, getting organized is a process, not an event. I’m working on it. I promise.

In the meantime, however, I’ve found myself in a conundrum. Since I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with my calendar, I usually don’t figure out that it’s someone’s birthday until the very last minute. By the time I realize it’s someone’s birthday, I don’t have the time to rush out, buy one, and get it in the mail. And that leads to all kinds of heartache and disappointment on my end. After all, I want to share in the joy on someone’s birthday!

#SendSmiles Walmart CollageSo I’ve decided to get proactive while I’m working on my organizational skills. I visited my nearby Walmart, went straight for their Hallmark section, and stocked up on cards – lots of cards. Now I have cards for all kinds of people for all kinds of situations.

The highlight of my new stash of cards?

Minions cards!

Minions Party Cards #SendSmiles

These Minions cards are the perfect card for that Minion fan in your life. And who doesn’t love Minions? They’re sure to put a smile on someone’s face – even on the gloomiest of days. Many of these cards come with their own little Minion that you can carry around with you wherever you go. How cool is that?

It’s enough to make your inner six year old break out into a dance party.

Stock up on cards at Walmart #SendSmiles

Now I don’t have to scramble to find that perfect card when it suddenly hits me that a friend or family member’s birthday is right around the corner. I’m ready. Are you?

If you’re looking for some creative ways to share your cards with the people you love, Hallmark has you covered. Their Pinterest boards are chock-full of creative ideas. They also have some great ideas on Facebook and Twitter (@Hallmark). And if you want to keep up to date with all the things they have planned, their Instagram is pretty remarkable.

Mailbox #SendSmiles

Your mailbox is waiting. It desperately wants to host a dance party. Which card will you be sending to make someone break out in a dance? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Share the loveShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on RedditBuffer this page