The Fabulous Giver

Do A Little Good with Your Tax Refund

This year, I’ve placed financial responsibility at the top of my priority list. As part of this plan, I signed up for LearnVest, a pretty cool site that helps you with everything from budgeting to investing to setting financial goals. With today being Tax Day (dun dun dunnnn), I thought that I would share tips from a LearnVest article about ways to do a little good with your tax refund.

Here are a few of the tips below:

  • Donate your dime. Consider donating all or a part of your check to a charitable cause that you’re passionate about.
  • Shop with a conscience. Update your wardrobe with some of my favorite social good brands like TOMS and Warby Parker.
  • Take a volunteer trip. I’ve always wanted to get a little voluntourism under my belt. Maybe next year… NOLA, perhaps?

You can read the rest of the list here.

I plan to donate a few of my dollars to charity, but the majority will be going to credit cards and wedding expenses. What are your plans for your tax refund (if you’re getting one)?

On One Accord with the Soweto Gospel Choir

On Wednesday night, I went to go see the Soweto Gospel Choir with one of my favorite gals, DeeDee (The Sassy Peach). I was first introduced to the choir a year ago and since then, I’ve been in awe of their voices, their spirits, and (of course) their awesome performances. As they weaved their way through African spirituals, Black spirituals, and contemporary songs in Symphony Hall, I just felt happy. I felt blessed to be connected to such a beautiful culture.

The performance was beautiful. Even though I didn’t know the words to 90% of the songs, it didn’t matter at all. Everyone in the hall was captivated by each note and each word. It reminded me that music is a true common denominator. It has the power to connect people from different walks of life in an authentic way. A certain commercial previously ruined Sarah McLaughlin’s “Arms of an Angel,” but the choir restored my love of this song. The video is below is them singing the song at a different performance. SO GOOD.

The Soweto Gospel Choir is an amazing group both on and off the stage. While browsing the program booklet, I learned that they launched Nkosi’s Haven Vukani, a foundation to support HIV/AIDS orphans in South Africa. As they travel the world with their performances, it is clear that they not only carry a connection to their home country, but also a responsibility to it. There were several tributes to Nelson Mandela, summed up with a touching rendition of South Africa’s national anthem.

As we ended the night clapping and singing “Amen,” it was the perfect end to a great show. I definitely filed it away in my memory bank. I wish them much success on the rest of their North American tour and hope to catch another show in the future!

Birth Control Convos Don’t Need to Be Awkward

This post is sponsored by Bedsider. All opinions are my own.

As a gal who supports women’s health and empowerment (um, hello, Red Pump), my eye is trained to notice interesting campaigns that aim to educate women in smart and non-judgmental ways. That’s why I have been pretty impressed with the Bedsider campaign since first reading about it in the New York Times last year.

For those of you who aren’t as familiar with the campaign, let me give you the deets: Bedsider is an online birth control support network for women 18-29 operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. They teamed up with BET and the Ad Council to create a campaign that uses humor and relatable situations in order to get folks talking about birth control. Did you know that seven in 10 pregnancies among unmarried women between the ages of 18-29 are described by women themselves as unplanned? Eek. That seems like a lot!

I spend a good portion of my time discussing how women can take action to avoid putting themselves at risk for HIV or other STD/STIs. I actually think some of the same advice applies to the topic of preventing unwanted pregnancies.

“Don’t be intimidated by the topic, find a knowledgeable source of information, and make an informed decision that best protects your health and goals.”

Bedsider is a great site for anyone who is looking for the actual factuals on birth control. You can get started here.

While you’re on the site, check out some of the awkwardly funny PSAs. The spot with the grandmother??? Omg. No way. I would have to stop my Granny right there.

Have you ever had any embarrassing convos about birth control? Thankfully, I haven’t but I’d love to hear about your experiences!

GIVEAWAY: Limited Edition Aerie x Bright Pink Bra

There are many pink products taking over the market this month, all claiming to support breast cancer in one way or the other. I am usually skeptical of many of these products, but when one makes plans to donate 100% of the proceeds? Well, let’s just say that I’m a little more receptive.

And, that is why I am not only purchasing one of these Aerie bras to support Bright Pink, but I’m also giving one away to you. Bright Pink is a Chicago-based organization that does amazing work to provide breast and ovarian cancer education and support for young women.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment below answering this question:

 How will you raise awareness about breast cancer this month?

I will announce the winner next Friday, October 11th. Good luck!

 

Oprah Spoke To My Soul with This Quote

I’ve blogged about the AOL and PBS Makers series before and expressed my genuine appreciation of the videos. Last night, I was digging around in the vault looking for a little inspiration when I came across the following quote from Lady O.

I say, determine for yourself how you are going to serve. And, then lean into that. Lean into that with your whole heart – to serve something greater than yourself.

In the video, Oprah discusses how you can find your significance in the world and the paradigm shift required to make that transition happen. Key takeaway: Determine how you can be significant through service. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why Oprah is Oprah. I can relate to that quote and feel like it speaks directly to my soul!

Watch it for yourself here.

“Tue” Fab: 5 Charitable Handbags You’ll Love

Give a little, carry a lot. Check out these bags that do a lot more than tote around your cell and your makeup. Each link will give you more details on the cause supported by each item.

1. Jana Feifer “Letters for Literacy” Tote, $49 | 2. IIIBeCa Thomas Street Tote, $198

3. FEED 2 Bag, $130 | 4. State “The Ashton” Backpack, $185

5. Angela Roi Classic Red Cross Body, $93

Real Women Give Tickets on Sale Now!

Hey, folks! Tickets to the Real Women Give Launch breakfast are now on sale. Whoo hoo. For the details, check out the invite below or visit the event page . To keep this event intimate and to allow for attendees to interact and learn from one another, the number of tickets is limited.

Feel free to spread the word. See you in a few weeks!

 

P.S. Did you miss the announcement? Find out what I’m talking about here.

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler at USCA 2013

Good morning from beautiful (and humid) New Orleans! I’m down here for this year’s United States Conference on AIDS and am super geeked for two reasons. First, it is my first work trip. That’s right. I’ve managed to complete the “elusive” task of landing in a job that I’m passionate about. Second, the conference is in New Orleans and I LOVE NEW ORLEANS. The music, the food, the people, the culture… Sigh. I could go on and on. Not only do I plan to get married here but I also wouldn’t mind setting up a part-time residence here later in life.

Enough about my future plans for NOLA. Back to the now. During my time here, I’m looking forward to learning some very useful information that I can apply on the job and with my work with The Red Pump Project. In case you have been living in a bubble, HIV continues to affect people of color at devastating pace so any and all solutions are always needed.

When I’m not at the conference, please know that I will be doing my best to completely pig out on NOLA goodies. I am obsessed with New Orleans cuisine and can always find a Creole/Cajun restaurant no matter what city I’m in.

My first stop when I got in yesterday was Café du Monde for their world-famous beignets. Oh. My. Gawd. They were so so so so good and didn’t last more than seven minutes. All I want to do is stuff my face with them.

As far as my other plans, here’s my NOLA checklist.

  1. Have a cocktail in the courtyard of the W French Quarter. I mean, look at this place.
       2. Try a piece of alligator.
       3. Complete an early morning jog around the Garden District.
Anything else that I should do while I’m down here? Let me know! I’m taking any and all suggestions. Just leave me a note in the comments or shoot me a quick tweet!

What Do Real Women Do?

I have an announcement to make…

I’m excited to share that I am currently working on a new project called “Real Women Give.” Over the past five years, I’ve met so many women who have a desire to make a difference. We have shared tips for cause efforts, cried over inspirational stories, and built a network to encourage and motivate each other. Then, it hit me. Whether it’s tips on supporting a girlfriend battling breast cancer or how to plan a high-profile charity event, this same sphere of influence should be available to women everywhere on a broader basis.

SO…

On October 5th – a week before my 30th birthday – I will make a long-time dream a reality by officially launching Real Women Give at a breakfast event in Chicago. I’m so grateful (and excited) that Diane Latiker, the Founder of Kids off the Block and a recent CNN Hero, will deliver remarks about the difference that just one woman can make when she takes her power and decides to use it for good.

Check back on Monday for more details about the breakfast and how to purchase tickets. As I embark on this new journey, please continue to send your thoughts, prayers, and ideas if you have them :-)

Have a FAB weekend!

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