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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not Just Lip Service


This morning, while I was getting ready for work, I overheard a story on Fox 5 about cosmetics.  While I’m more of an au naturel girl,  I did pause and listen to the interview for a moment.  Having just had my make-up professionally done for my best friend Rach’s wedding, I know that good make-up can make a big difference. 

Getting my make-up touched up by the lovely bride.
I’ll spare you my before pictures, but as you can see the make-up ritual is an important component of modern weddings.  Even brides who might not normally wear much make-up often want to wear more for the big day so that their features "pop" in the pictures.  I know lots of women who swear that a little color on the lips goes along way in photographs. Well, what if I told you that there are lip gloss brands that are making their mark- and not just on the collar- but by benefiting others too?

It just so happens that the news story I hovered and listened to this morning was about Haughty Cosmetics, a local, Virginia based cosmetics company that donates 50% of their profits to domestic violence charities.  Michelle Doyle, the woman behind Haughty Cosmetics, brings experience working with nonprofits, as well as business savvy to her new philanthropic makeup line. She is also no stranger to domestic violence- a problem she sees as very prevalent in society, as it affects one out of every four women.

Haughty Cosmetics supports several domestic violence focused charities, including D.C.-based Becky’s Fund, an organization that focuses on raising domestic violence awareness and education. The L.A.-based Break the Cycle, which is the leading, national nonprofit organization addressing teen dating violence, as well as Leave Out Violence (LOVE).  LOVE's programs are in the US and Canada and they are designed to assist youth as they overcome violence in their lives and develop the skills to become leaders against violence. 

Currently, to raise money for these causes, Haughty Cosmetics sells 10 shades of lip-gloss.  The shades range from neutral tones to bright reds and rosy pinks. By the end of the year, Haughty Cosmetics plans to expand its offerings to also include a whole line of eye shadows, mascara and make-up brushes. 

Feeling haughty? Try one of these 10 shades....
Not only can you feel good about your purchase from Haughty Cosmetics going to a good cause, all their products are all natural. The lip glosses are made with Vitamin E and Pro-vitamin B5 and the formulas are handmade using all-natural ingredients, are paraben-free and they are never tested on animals.

In researching lip gloss for a cause, I also ran across Jill Kelley and Tina Hendricks. Jill owns a successful salon and permanent makeup business in Yarmouth, Maine and made a name for herself as a cosmetologist in Los Angeles. Tina is a model and practicing dental hygienist, as well as a former teen beauty queen.  These ladies not only share a love for fashion, and cosmetics, but for lending a helping hand. Over the years, Tina and Jill have donated their time doing hair and make-up for charity events and they are the co-founders of Lipgloss4lives

Lipgloss4lives raises money for various breast cancer awareness and prevention charities through sales of their lip gloss and products at retail stores and through their website. Since launching their lip gloss with a cause crusade, the ladies’ products have benefited many charities, including the Maine Cancer Foundation, Cancer Community Center, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Florence House-Woman's Homeless Shelter.


Their goal is to provide the consumer with high quality affordable lip gloss and apparel, while also fulfilling their charitable mission of giving 100% of all profit net earnings to charitable organizations or cancer research.  To shop you can visit their website, where you will find creative gloss colors like  "Breast Cancer Color" pink and "Berry Rock," which benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities. They also have an array of other merchandise available, including t-shirts and dog tags. Any purchases placed on the website, at Jill’s salon or at fund raising events, are given to a charity allocated by Lipgloss4lives after all taxes are paid.   The approximate or estimated amount of contribution of a purchase is around 50% of the consumer's cost.

I'd love to hear more from all of you about other cosmetics for a cause- mascara for a cause? Eyeliner that gives back? Email me at engagedwithacause@gmail.com with any hints on other beauty products that make you feel as beautiful on the inside as the outside.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Save-The-Date to Save the World

This week I will get my save-the-dates from locally based printer, Better Impressions.  I’m especially excited to see how they have turned out.  Not only are they personalized creations, but they were designed by my friend, Carissa Nee, who donated 50% of her fee for design work from my save-the dates to UNICEF for their work in Japan

Prior to the earthquake and tsunami, the Japan Committee for UNICEF was the leading institution for the advocacy of children’s rights in Japan and for the last five years, the Japan Committee was the largest donor of private funds raised for UNICEF around the world, contributing more than $100 million to UNICEF in 2003.  Now that Japan has been thrust into  turmoil and there is so much need, Carissa thought it was only right to make a significant contribution to their children through UNICEF.

A young child in Japan following the natural disaster.
I met Carissa in graduate school at American University. We worked on a proposal together where she did the design work and I did much of the writing and editing. During our work together, I was struck by Carissa’s ability to transform an ordinary page of Times New Roman into a masterpiece- her layouts and images were fantastic. What makes Carissa’s philanthropic giving and design work even more amazing is that she does it in her limited spare time (she goes to school part-time and works full-time at a non-design job) and while we were working on our project, Carissa was also planning her own wedding and on top of that she was also designing her invites and other materials on her own.


Carissa is modest about her work and she is quick to tell you that she “sort of fell into graphic design" a few years ago when she was working as an event planner for the National Defense Industrial Association.

“When my director put me in front of a copy of InDesign- I was skeptical,” Carissa says of her first experience with graphic design, “I’d never used the software before, and had never created artwork on a computer platform before, but after a week or so, it didn't matter because I fell in love with the art, and I got hooked on it ever since!”  In the end, she enjoyed the designing of event collateral more than the actual event planning part of the job. 

Despite her hectic schedule, Carissa remains dedicated to doing pro-bono and discounted design work for not-for-profits, such as Minds MatterMinds Matter, Inc. is a national not-for-profit with chapters located in eight cities (New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco). Its mission is to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success. 

Minds Matter volunteers hard at work.
 Since its inception in 1991, Minds Matter has shown some pretty dramatic results. Students graduating from the program have an average GPA of 3.6, 95% of mentees attend competitive to highly competitive colleges and 100% of seniors accepted to four-year colleges. Today Carissa regularly volunteers her time to conceptualize and design materials for some of their fundraising events – including their Annual Spring Soiree, Minds Matter Date Auction, and the design concept for their 20th year anniversary. To learn more about volunteering for this great cause, or for more information, visit their website


Minds Matter Date party and date auction Invitation by Carissa Nee.
 Throughout the process of creating the save-the-dates, Carissa was an amazing talent and advisor. She even did research on soy-based inks and recycled paper so that my save-the-dates could be both charitable and eco-friendly. Because of the price difference I ended up going with traditional inks, but they will be printed on recycled paper. Above all, I appreciated Carissa's generous passion and enthusiasm for the idea behind "engaged with a cause."  By teaming up with Carissa, I feel like I got to be part of literally designing a better world. For more information on Carissa Nee’s designs please email her at carissamirasol@gmail.com


A preview of one of the "panels" from our save-the-date! More to come!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Charity: So Easy a Kid Can Do It

As I’ve mentioned before, I work for a not-for-profit in Washington DC. Every now and then I get to do site visits and interact with the elementary students and middle schoolers that we provide after-school programming for in some of DC’s most at-risk neighborhoods. Recently, I was able to visit the students who make up our CityDance Middle School Youth Board. The students meet on Monday nights and collaborate together on how to make their communities and our DREAM program better. Like me, they are avid bloggers and they use their Trustkeepers blog to address issues that affect their neighborhoods and to also talk about their dreams. 
Our Middle School Youth Board
 During my last visit to the Youth Board meeting the students asked me about fundraising. They had been informed that it was my job to "make the money" for CityDance and they wanted to know how I went about raising money. I asked the kids what they thought the best ways to raise money were.

“Car washes!"  "Bake sales!" "Walk-A-Thon!" "Talent shows!" "A dance!” 

“Well, I asked them- what do these things have in common?” After some pause, one girl, Janae, replied “They’re all events.”

The kids thought an event was a good idea, but they weren't so sure how it could be profitable. Buying ingredients to make baked goods would cost money. One of the students, Nick, wondered whether a bake sale would raise enough money after all the expenses.

Nick honed in on something that some adults don’t- physical events (silent auctions, golf tournaments, etc.), which have long been the gold standard for fundraising cost money. That's not to say that events aren't great for gaining publicity or even raising money - after all, my blog is focused around taking an event (a wedding) that is not traditionally considered to be a charitable one and making it just that.  It is often a good idea to build your fundraiser around an existing event- in my case a wedding, in their case, an end of the year performance. This ensures that you already have an available space and an attentive audience, which saves money. The kids decided that holding a bake sale at their performance might be a good way to make money since interested donors (their parents) might already be in attendance. Every dollar saved counts!

But what if you don’t have an end of the year performance or a wedding to raise funds through? Well, that is the beauty of the internet. We can publicize, promote and even sell goods online.  For the past few years physical auctions have begun migrating online. Whole sites, such as Bidding For Good, have become dedicated to running your auction for you on the web.  Other events can be done online too now...even bake sales...

The food blog The Tomato Tart is doing just this. Sabrina, the woman behind the blog and the online bake sale, has gathered an army of food bloggers to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan by holding an online bake sale auction.  The auction will take place on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Those interested will be able to preview the goodies starting a few days before. All proceeds from the sale will go to Second Harvest Japan, which is a food bank that is working on the ground in Japan to respond to the immediate needs of people displaced by this disaster. 


 If you know any food bloggers who would like to participate in this bake sale, they can visit the Tomato Tart for more information. You don’t have to be food blogger to participate- anyone can donate a baked good. If you are not interested in baking you can bid on an item (as I have mentioned before I'm not a baker). There is also contact information for Sabrina if you have questions that are still unanswered after visiting the site.

There are lots and lots of ways to help others, particularly in a time of need like this. The Japanese people are in mourning and will be for some time. They will continue to need help far after the media stops showing footage of the destruction.  I’ve seen the time it takes for a place to recover from a disaster firsthand and I know it is important to be in it for the long haul. I’ll be looking at more ways to help Japan through my wedding over the next few months. For now check out The Tomato Tart’s bake sale and maybe even purchase an earthquake relief bracelet designed by Lady Gaga…As I told the kids- every dollar counts.

Here are just a few of the charities that are on the ground and working to help Japan during this crisis:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waxing Philosophical


This weekend is my best friend Rach’s wedding. I’m literally over the moon excited to see Rach and Johnny tie the knot.  In all my preparing for the wedding- packing, making the wedding gift, trying to think of what I will say for the toast- I forgot one thing- grooming. Since moving to DC the winter has become a hibernation period for me. I seem to lose my razor, forget how to apply make up, and even my brush has been conspicuously absent as of late.

It hit me last night that I would be heading to the sunny south- with temperatures expected to approach 80 degrees. I would have to put away my winter uniform of boots and black leggings- and the over sized sweater. This week will include a rehearsal dinner (dress required), a bridal shower (dress also required) and of course, the wedding (bridesmaid dress required). So shaved legs and some attempt at hygiene will also be required.

Every day on the way to my office I walk past the Fusion Day Spa.  It seems fairly typical- manicure stations, people getting their haircut.  Nothing too out of the ordinary. So, I scheduled an appointment there for a wax.  Due to unforeseen events, my appointment got shuffled around and I ended up seeing Lidia, a manicurist who also does waxing and other beauty treatments.

I quickly learned that Lidia was not your typical esthetician/manicurist. Somewhere during our discussion about the benefits of lavender wax the conversation turned to Lidia's home country of Ethiopia. She had just been back home visiting for 45 days. What took Lidia to Ethiopia for a month and a half? Well, because she built a school there – of course.

Students in Feres Mai, Ethiopia.
 Lidia is actually Lidia Schaeffer, CNN hero, Larry King guest and the founder of the Lidia School in Feres Mai, Ethiopia.  So, how did this happen? How did a mother and manicurist raise enough money to build a school in Ethiopia- and why? 

Well, when Lidia returned to Feres Mai, her native village in northern Ethiopia, she saw children walking three hours each way to attend school (which was held outdoors, under a tree). Keep in mind that this was in the mid-1990’s, not so long ago. In 1998, after her trip home,  one of the children that Lidia met in Ethiopia was attacked and killed by a hyena during the long journey home from school. Saddened by the news, Lidia was spurred into action.   

She began to put aside 1/3 of her salary and ALL of her tips to save money for a school. Meanwhile, Lidia was also raising her own two children and working 12-hour days, six days a week at Fusion Day Spa.  As Lidia put it in one interview, "I was working two days for the school, four days for me.” Her co-workers and even her clients joined in her cause, holding raffles and making contributions. Many of Lidia’s customers donated books and school supplies and Lidia's friend and salon hairstylist John McNett even designed a T-shirt the salon sold, which raised more than $2,000 to buy classroom desks.

 Knowing she would still need more help, Lidia petitioned the Ethiopian government to donate land in a central location, which would allow the school to serve children from several villages. She also decided to include a secondary school in the project, since the nearest one was over 18 miles away.

By 2002, Lidia had raised enough money to begin construction, but she knew that she didn’t have enough to finish the project.  So she did something extraordinary- she sold both her car and her house and with the $258,000, she had raised through devotion and sacrifice, the "Lidia Secondary School," was dedicated in 2007. 


The campus consists of an eight building school system with 16 classes, as well as a science lab and a library. Over 1,500 students are enrolled at the school, which has brought jobs to the community. Lidia’s altruism has also inspired Ethiopian communities across the country to raise money for more schools.  To date, they’ve raised enough to build 12 more schools.

Even now, Lidia is continues to raise funds for much needed additions and supplies, such as a proper ceiling and floor and computers for the classrooms.  Lidia wants the students to have computers so they can “speak to the whole world.” 

While I sat icing my brow to reduce the redness, I contemplated the real meaning behind the tiny framed news article about Lidia and the images of children in Ethiopia that adorned the walls. They tell Lidia's story for her- that though it might sound cliché - one individual really can make a difference. Lidia is modest and humble and I never would have gleaned that one person was capable of so much without being able to read her story and see the pictures myself.

While I have sought out charitable vendors from the start- it was refreshing to find one by chance- one just down the street.  To learn more about Lidia's go to her website, http://www.lidiaschool.org/.  To help Lidia with her cause, you can schedule an appointment with her at the Fusion Day Spa in DC or you can find out how to donate supplies or contributions on her website.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Don’t “Trash the Dress!”


The trash the dress trend has become increasingly popular. Brides pose in their wedding gowns, but instead of the typical pose in a botanical garden or outside a church, they are often featured in waist deep water or in a pile of leaves. While I understand the opportunity for getting some pretty interesting images in these shoots, the idea of destroying the dress does leave me wishing there was a better option.  
Maybe she'll donate the fabric?
And there is!  Instead of trashing the dress, find out how you can donate your bridal gown to someone who would otherwise not be able to afford it.  In my post "Helping Others by Saying Yes to the Dress," I wrote about my visit to NYC’s not-for-profit bridal salon, the Bridal Garden, which accepts lightly worn gowns and resells them to educate and care for under-privileged children in Brooklyn. In the same post, I briefly mentioned a very special organization that operates on a similar premise- Brides Against Cancer.

The Brides Against Breast Cancer - Nationwide Tour of Gowns is a fundraising project for Making Memories, which aims to “make a difference” in the lives of people who are battling terminal breast cancer. Like Make-A-Wish or Wish Upon A Wedding, their wish-granting service is designed to help patients who are dealing with the realities of fighting a terminal illness. Making Memories tries to give these patients the chance to put the issues that arise when dealing with a terminal disease aside, even if just for a few days, in order to allow them to spend quality time with their families. In essence, Making Memories name is very appropriate to its mission, which is to ensure that every metastatic breast cancer patient can “pass from this world comforted with the joy of having left his or her family a final beautiful memory.”

So, how does your wedding gown fit in? It’s pretty simple: donate a gown, make a wish come true. For more information on how to donate your gown visit their donation page. You can also help Making Memories by purchasing a lightly used or designer donated gown from one of their bridal shows.  

Find the gown of your dreams and make a wish come true.
Brides Against Breast Cancer (BAC) gown sales are crucial fundraising events for Making Memories. Every year, BAC holds about 30 shows featuring lightly worn and never used wedding gowns. In turn, brides-to-be have the opportunity to find their dream gown (at a highly discounted price), while also making wishes and dreams come true for those who are losing their fight against breast cancer. Most gown prices range from $99 to $799, including hundreds of brand-new name designer gowns valued at around $8,000. There are even some exclusive designer and couture gowns valued up to $20,000 that are available at 25% to 75% of their original prices.

More than half the gowns presented during each event are new designer gowns that arrived directly from designers, manufacturers and bridal retailers. While these designers, manufacturers and bridal shops make the nationwide tour possible, it is truly inspiring that individuals choose to donate their gowns to help make wishes come true for others. 


BAC sale in Arlington,VA.

To date, the Brides Against Breast Cancer program has received more than 50,000 wedding gown donations, with an estimated resale value of over $4 million dollars.  Until recently, BAC accepted all gowns from all eras and in any condition, but due to their rather extensive inventory of vintage, antique and retro gowns, they now recommend that donors with vintage dresses withhold their contributions until they have more room to accommodate vintage garments. 

Still not sure you can part with your dress? That’s okay too. Wedding gowns are often heirlooms in families and many brides want to save their dress in hopes that it will be part of their own daughter or even their grand-daughter’s big day. Whatever the reason, it’s okay- it is after all your dress!

One option that might work for those who want to help a good cause, but still keep their dress is to help locate a donated space in your area where BAC can hold its traveling charity wedding gown sale. Since BAC travels across the country, they are always looking for places to hold their 32 yearly stops. Their site says that a 4,000 – 6,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space is the best size to accommodate the show.

Not sure you can locate an event hall? If you would like to volunteer during a Brides Against Cancer event in a city near you, click here.  Still dress shopping? You can also check out their schedule for an upcoming BAC show near you and register for one in your area.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

King of Cakes


So, I want to start off by saying Happy Mardi Gras! I'm sad to be away from the festivities for yet another year!  Last night, since we were both missing Mardi Gras, the fiance and I decided to make a King Cake. For those of you not from New Orleans, King Cakes are a New Orleans tradition that are as much a part of the Carnival Season as beads and parades. They are served between Epiphany (January 6) and Mardi Gras day. Inside each King Cake is a hidden plastic baby. Whoever gets the baby has to buy the next cake.

Our homemade King Cake
 Neither of us are great bakers, so our little King Cake came from a mix, but it tasted pretty authentic.  Ultimately though we prefer to leave baking to the professionals- especially when it comes to our wedding cake. 

You might remember my sister’s February 3rd guest post on Cakes For Cause. Well, I’ve found another great organization with a similar mission- to create and sell cakes that benefit others. Here’s the confusing part- this organization is called Cakes for a Cause.  Similar title, similar mission, but they benefit different charities and Cakes for a Cause is based in Canada and Monaco- not necessarily right in my backyard like the Maryland based Cakes For Cause.  

Cakes for a Cause is a bakery that is dedicated to doing good works. They donate not only their profits, but 100% of all their revenue is also given directly to charity. They even pay for all the ingredients themselves.  Chefs who were trained at Le Cordon Bleu make the cakes and the bakery itself has received numerous awards and recognitions. Despite the complexity of their cakes and the skill of their chefs, the model is pretty simple. Here's the five step process they list on their website:
1. You ask them for some baking
2. They give you the baking
3. You write a check to one of their chosen charities
4. You enjoy the baked goods with friends
5. Repeat!

Cakes for a Cause uses only the best and freshest ingredients available. Fresh sweet butter, cream, fresh fruits and nuts are always used. They use absolutely no artificial flavorings and are open to any and all special requests.  They make all types of cakes, including “flower” cakes, chocolate-layer cakes, traditional wedding cakes“heart” cakeskeepsake cakes, cupcakes and ornamental cakes

A fabulous wedding cake by Cakes For A Cause.

Currently, all of the money raised Cakes for a Cause goes to the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation, (NYOF). The Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation oversees a scholarship program for girls in Nepal who are too poor to afford schooling otherwise. In many cases the families are unable to support their children, and the young girls are contracted into indentured servitude far from their homes and families.  NYOF helps students, some of which are orphans and or have developmental challenges by sending them to school. Students supported by NYOF are able to attend day school in remote villages and urban Kathmandu, boarding school, and college. Additionally, NYOF's Vocational Education and Career Counseling center enables youth to identify their strengths and find rewarding careers. Entire communities are helped by NYOF, which builds schools and classrooms, trains teachers, and contributes teaching materials. These services vastly improve the quality of education that students receive and thus reduce the number of children who drop out from school.

In Monaco, Cakes for A Cause supports the Monaco Aide et Presence (MAP). Monaco Aide et Presence is a Monaco-based charitable organization that provides schools, hospitals, homes for orphans, medical care and basic necessities for children in developing countries world-wide. 

So not sure you can get your cake shipped from Monaco or Ottawa? Well, Cakes for a Cause also sells delicious walnut caramels and cookies. The caramels all come in very special little packages, so no two are alike. Each caramel is about 4cm (1.5") wide, depending on the container. The cookies and the caramels are ideal treats for any occasion: cocktail parties, wedding favors, hostess gifts, corporate events or just because. You can order them in any quantity and they can be customized with your choice of color palette or they can be themed for special occasions. 

A very fancy container for some very fancy caramels.
 Buy purchasing your next special occasion treat from Cakes for a Cause you really do have the chance to “buy a cake and change a life.” I'd say that makes the very noble Cakes for a Cause "king" of cakes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Something Old, Something New


This morning, as I struggled to decide what post to publish- an idea hit me.  Every Friday, my two best buds from Grad school and I have an email ritual.  It's called Friday check-in. Basically, we email each other an update of all the weeks ups and downs. It's a way to catch up and still feel like we are seeing each other on a regular basis. Since we are all busy with full-time jobs, social media endeavors and planning our weddings, it is a nice way to stay on top of all the things we do in between emails and phone conversations. Today's post will be a true Friday update – I  attended some great events this week and a lot happened regarding past vendors and new ones as well. So, I present for your reading pleasure- Engaged With A Cause’s first Friday check-in.

Monday
My fiancé and I, along with some friends, went to the Dear New Orleans event at Bayou here in DC.  I am happy to report that the evening was a lot of fun and that Bayou’s po-boy bread is 100% New Orleans authentic (it is shipped from NOLA daily).  But I digress, Dear New Orleans did a fantastic job and we are thrilled to have them do our rehearsal dinner in New Orleans in October. The proceeds from Monday’s event, and those from our dinner, will go to evacuteer.org. For more on evacuter.org, see Monday’s post or their website.

 If you can’t tell the group had New Orleans food on our minds...
Tuesday
Tuesday shoesday- I finally found some comfortable shoes for my friend Rach’s wedding, which is in just about two weeks!  While the shoes don’t benefit a charity, they are environmentally friendly and ultra comfy. The shoes are from Naturalizer’s new eco-friendly line, Naya. Naya is committed to softening not just your personal footprint, but our collective global footprint as well.  The Naya collection strives to include vegetable-tanned leathers and linings, natural or recycled content fabrics, water-based cements, footbeds containing natural cork, outsoles containing natural materials, boxes made with 80% recycled paper pulp, soy-based inks and water-based glue and reusable shoe bags and shoe forms made with recycled PET.
Cute, huh? shoes that my feet, and soul will feel good about (cheesy, I know).
Wednesday
The bridesmaid dresses are all ordered! In my February 13 post, I mentioned that the bridesmaid dresses, which are being custom designed and hand made by designer Elizabeth St. John, will go to building women’s schools in countries such as Afghanistan and Haiti. Ten percent will help these worthwhile causes. In talking to Liz about her charitable work I uncovered her passion for all things apes- so, we also ordered two trial skinny ties for my fiancé, 20% of which will benefit the Red Apes. 

Thursday
A special shout out to Kristin at Rose Pedals vegan wedding website for her great article on Engaged with a Cause that came out yesterday.  While I am not vegan, I think vegan weddings represent many of the principles of holding a socially conscious event- less waste, eco-friendly products, not to mention the obvious benefit of having a healthy, cruelty-free event. Kristin just launched her website last month and it is meant to be a go to guide for all things Vegan and wedding related, including vegan wedding planners, bakers, cosmetics and much more. Whether or not you are vegan, Rose Pedals will give you great ideas on how to incorporate veganism into both your wedding and your daily life. Also, keep an eye-out for her Engaged With A Cause inspired charitable resources page, which is coming soon.

NEST-  I first mentioned NEST in my December 28th post on gifts that give back. Since then, I have joined the local DC chapter of NEST, which is almost entirely run by volunteers. Last night, NEST held a spectacular event at the Moroccan Ambassador’s residence here in DC. All proceeds from the event went to helping NEST fulfill its mission of empowering female artists and artisans around the world by helping them create successful small businesses and giving them a fair marketplace to sell their goods. I had the privilege of meeting NEST founder Rebecca Kousky at the event and hearing her speak about all the women that NEST is empowering.  The whole night was inspiring to my fiance and I.  Check out some of NEST’s Moroccan made products here.

The Moroccan made Hayat tote.
Friday
Also in my December 28th post were the very unique, Falling Whistles. If you recall from my previous post, my best friend Christin bought me a falling whistle necklace for Christmas and 100% of the proceeds benefit rehabilitating child soldiers from the Congo (DRC). Christin just filled me in this morning on Falling Whistle’s new campaign, which is designed to raise awareness about the DRC's decision to hold elections in November (only the third election in the DRC’s history). As part of this campaign, Falling Whistles just released two new color whistles – bronze and copper. 

The Falling Whistle necklace in Copper.



I hope this weekly round up was informative and that it inspires you all to re-visit some of the causes I've already blogged on and discover some new ones too. Happy Friday!