12/08/2008 09:08:00 9:08am December 8th, 2008 By braceletseeds
As an update to my previous post "Get out and Spend......at your local charity" I decided to list a few resources for better gift-giving this year.
1. I found a great website called changingthepresent.org, a nonprofit website offering gifts that change the world. This year, why not give a gift that will make a difference without breaking the bank. It's a nice change from last year's portable dog toilet or The Hillary Nutcracker. Here's a list of other great websites that offer charitable gifts.
2. Knit a scarf. As outdated and granny as this sounds, imagine the feeling you get receiving a stylish scarf or hat that someone knitted themselves. Emphasis on the word stylish of course. My mother recently took up this hobby and has been churning out the cutest scarves in this season's styles and colors. She even made one in the colors of my alma mater. So pick up some knitting needles and knit your way through your list of family members while watching Jon Stewart.
3. There have been some crazy rumors swirling around that Wal-Mart will be selling the 4GB iPhone for $99 after Christmas. If there's one piece of technology I would vouch for it would be the iPhone or iPod touch. There are so many things you can do with this little gadget, it's endless. You can even plant real trees. I know many out there are strong anti-Wal-Mart activists but this deal may render that title temporarily unavailable according to some. So go out and buy a $100 Wal-Mart gift card and pray. Either way they get a $100 gift card out of it.
4. Find out what someone really needs. And I don't mean those perfect pair of Manolo Blahniks. I mean something that they really need. Something that they may not even realize they do. Example: your grandparents live alone (and you're against the belief of placing them in a nursing home.) Why not pay for cleaning services for a full year to make life a little easier for them? Make sure you know the person enough to know that they would truly appreciate this.
5. Books. You can never go wrong with a good read. Find out what the person's passions or intellectual pursuits are and then find the relevant title. Even better, get an audiobook. A constant commuter would truly appreciate this gesture.
6. Pay for one class of lessons. Cooking, language, self-improvement, dance. Depending on their passion, there are endless lists of options to choose from. Do they religiously watch Food Network's Ace of Cakes? Sign them up for a cake-decorating class. Be creative!
7. You can never go wrong with gift cards, especially in hard economic times. And it doesn't even have to be over $50. But be careful of hidden convenience fees, particularly from banks and shopping malls. Make sure the recipient knows to use the gift card as soon as possible to avoid late usage charges. Or better yet, choose an online store like Amazon, Ebay or Lottay to help them get more out of less.
8. Chocolate! Chocolate makes everyone feel better. Make sure to get a purer form of chocolate to get the full benefits. A gift that is good for you and yummy.
9. And the perfect gift this season? Security. This can range anywhere from positive thinking to get through hard times, to a software security suite for their computer, to a USB drive to guarantee the safety of their content.
In the end, however, I believe helping your gift recipients participate in helping those less fortunate than themselves could easily increase their feelings of well-being and security.
12/05/2008 00:19:00 12:19am December 5th, 2008 By braceletseeds
I realized today how much I've been increasing my organic intake now that there's a Whole Foods conveniently located down the street. Atleast once a week I stop by to pick up some fresh organic juices, or sample the delicious array of cheeses and breads. And then my conscience kicks in and I begin to think about how smart my decisions to pay so much more for supposedly healthier items are.
With all the rumors swirling around about the potential benefits of switching to organic, I can't seem to make up my mind of how far to go down the rabbit hole. I at least try to avoid the dirty dozen of produce and Iike to buy my milk organic, though the label says that it's no different than regular milk.
So it's very possible that my purchases just help me get closer to attaining the ideal health/fitness lifestyle I strive for, though I've got a long way to actually reach my perception of ideal. It's also quite likely helping the illusion of health we all like to wrap ourselves in to sleep better at night knowing full well that we can't stop the pollution we're breathing or the chemicals we're exposed to (atleast not fast enough to age gracefully in our adulthood.)
After those fleeting thoughts, I then turn to the assumption that somehow my expensive organic shopping is helping the environment, local farmers, or animals in some way. But again those pesky rumors surface claiming many of the same methods or problems exist. The debate rages on and there seems to be no clear-cut answer, especially depending on who you ask.
So it's quite possible that it may all just be a clever marketing ploy by the big boy companies that have duped me once again (Damn you Crystal Pepsi!)
Just please don't make organic pancakes in a can!