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Friday, September 30, 2011

Accessorize to Save Lives

One of the best things about weddings is reconnecting with old friends. In my case, it was with my friend Shanna. I met Shanna when we both worked at Macaroni Grill back in 2002 and we instantly bonded over our mutual love of cute busboys (Shanna married one of them), Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief album, and our very similar sense of humor. Even though we saw each other less and less over the years, I’ve always considered Shanna to be a good friend.

So when it came time to get my flower girl dresses and to get my hairpiece and the hairpieces for my bridesmaids, I immediately thought of Shanna. You see Shanna not only has great taste in music, she has great taste in clothes and accessories as well – a skill she puts to excellent use via her shop Baby Eliza Boutique. (Named after Shanna’s daughter - the cutest kid ever!)


Her shop features specialty items like little girls’ tutu dresses and handmade flower hairpieces. There’s even an “Oma” flower in her shop, which is named after my oh-so-stylish grandmother, who just can’t get enough of Shanna’s accessories.

The "Oma" Flower
When I first chatted with Shanna about doing my hairpiece and the other hairpieces for the wedding party, I had no idea how big the project would become. I wanted to incorporate feathers in the girls’ hairpieces, but as a bird lover I wanted to make sure all the feathers came from cruelty-free sources.

Shanna dove into the process, researching vendors and ordering samples- even having feathers dyed to match my swatches. She really did a remarkable job!
 

I ended up getting pieces made for all the female readers, greeters and honor attendants too. No two are alike, but they all follow a similar theme and are in my wedding colors! 
 
In addition to finding socially conscious vendors to work with, Shanna also wanted to be a part of our charitable mission. In lieu of payment for my garter, (which she also made!), she asked that I make a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a cause that is near and dear to Shanna. She lost a longtime friend, Shaun, to the illness several years ago. Shanna wanted to do something in his memory that would also help others who are suffering from CF.


The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. They fund more CF research than any other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support.  CFF is a nonprofit donor-supported organization that focuses on supporting the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improving the quality of life for those with CF, and ultimately finding a cure.

In addition to the donation for the garter, Shanna is supporting CFF by donating 50% of each sale of her favorite feathered clip that she designed for my wedding (the one my friend Manda will wear) to CFF. Anytime anyone buys the hairpiece (featured below), which is made of natural guinea feathers, golden-olive dyed peacock feathers, bleached peacock feathers, and golden-olive dyed turkey feathers, and hand-trimmed and anchored with an amber faceted rhinestone- Shanna will donate $16 to CFF!

 As a result of this project, Shanna is also planning on launching a new eco & socially conscious line of hairpieces for brides and their gals. The line will feature more items made with cruelty free feathers and vintage materials.

I couldn’t be happier with how the hairpieces turned out – they really are perfect. I feel so lucky to have Shanna (and her ridiculous talent) in my life.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Got A Nice Ring To It

So we just picked my wedding bands- no, we are not having multiple performing acts –I’m talking about the ring, or in my case, rings. When we first started shopping for our wedding bands, I figured we’d go with something fairly traditional, maybe a ring that wraps around my engagement ring or a simple band. Well, it turns out the same things that make my engagement ring unique (and that make me love it) are the same things that make it difficult to pair with a wedding band.


My engagement ring is laced with intricate engraving and filigree, having a band that rubs against it would damage the delicate etching. Also, my socially conscious conflict-free champagne diamonds are not exactly cheap and having any in the band would up the cost even more. With honeymoon costs and everyday utilities adding up, spending two months rent on a custom wedding ring was not going to happen.

So, we began to explore other options. As a devoted Etsy shopper this was of course my first online stop. For those not familiar with Etsy, it is an online marketplace for buying and selling handmade and vintage items. You can search for “charity” in the search bar on Etsy and merchants who donate a percent of their profits to charity will turn up. You can also search "donation" to find artisans who donate 100% of their proceeds. In my search for “charity rings,” I found the Apache Moon Studio.




Apache Moon is run by Verge and Nee, who are both skilled artisans and passionate philanthropists. Their shop specializes in upcycled jewelry that is socially responsible on many levels. For example, the rings below are made from earth friendly material and use conflict free stones and in the month of September 5% of the sales of these rings goes to Africa RElief to help those suffering from the famine in East Africa. The remaining 95% benefits animal rescue organizations. Verge and Nee don't keep any of the proceeds for themselves!


You see, the couple are devoted animal lovers. They are the first to tell you that they "have cats everywhere," including Bippy, the shop cat and her friends Polly and Barefoot, as well as a dog named Daisy and an Opossum named George.


Everyday, if not listed as going to another charity, 100% of every sale goes to animal rescue and shelter. With the proceeds from their jewelry sales, they rescued, and spayed/neutered 32 cats this year alone. They keep many of these animals themselves, and as a result, the cost of all the vet bills, shots, medications, food, and upkeep is completely out of their own pockets. They do accept donations of food and bedding for the animals that they rescue. You can feel good knowing that your purchase will help support animal rescue and rehabilitation. Not looking for jewlery at the moment? Apache Moon offers other options too - including custom engraved flasks and guitar picks that would make great gifts for the bridal party.


Apache Moon is a member of Etsy for Animals (EFA): Artists Helping Animals, as well as EFA’s sister organization Creative Animal Relief. EFA Artists Helping Animals is a group of 200 independent artists, independent craftspeople/suppliers and vintage suppliers that combine their efforts to provide charitable relief to animals. 

EFA can be found as a Team on Etsy.com. All members of EFA are also Etsy members. Each month, Team EFA designates one animal charity as our Charity of the Month (COTM). All EFA Charities of the Month is the charity of choice of at least one EFA member.
You can also find shops/items who are members of EFA by searching tags for "team_efa" or team efa.
"Canada" an Apache Moon Cat
The great thing about Etsy is that even if you don't find what you are looking for in one shop, you can keep searching in thousands of others and know that you are helping a small business. Also, more and more charitably focused shops are opening each day. In addition to Etsy For Animals, you can shop via Etsy For Charity (EFC) and find items and shops that benefit a bunch of different causes. Some give all their profits to charity and others feature a special charity item. I've purchased "charity items" from quite a few shops in the past year. Here are a few of my favorite charity items: Besem Natural Scents soaps, Bella Rose Craft thank you notes, Baby Eliza Boutique cruelty-free hair pieces, and of course, Apache Moon's rings.




Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dine Out to Help Out!


Each year, Share Our Strength's (SOS) food fundraising efforts engage millions of people across America Through their Taste of the Nation, Dine Out For No Kid Hungry (formerly Great American Dine Out), and A Tasteful Pursuit. These events raise money to support Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry® Campaign, which aims to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

Share Our Strength is the leading charity in America whose mission is to end childhood hunger here in the States. Currently, more than 13 million children face hunger in our country, and through innovative fund-raising opportunities - from holding volunteer-led special events to developing unique corporate partnerships - Share Our Strength works to make sure children have access to nutritional foods that allow them to “learn, grow and thrive.” Since its founding in 1984, Share Our Strength has raised more than $180 million to support more than 1,000 anti-hunger, anti-poverty organizations worldwide. For more information visit http://www.strength.org.



So, what does Share Our Strength's mission have to do with my wedding, weddings in general, or you? Well, I’ll start with our wedding. As you know, my fiancĂ© and I are registered through the I Do Foundation, so that a percentage of each registry purchase made for us goes to a charity. Our two I Do Foundation charities are Doctors Without Borders and DonorsChoose.org. This means that when our wedding guest buy us gifts from Target or Macy’s via our I Do Foundation website, donations are made to those two organizations. Our Crate and Barrel registry, however is a tad different, while you can still access it from our wedding website, it is actually hosted through weddingchannel.com. Any purchases made from this C&B/Weddingchannel.com link go to benefit Share Our Strength. There's the connection! For other couples out there looking to register and give back, you should check out both the I Do Foundation and Weddingchannel.com – there are a ton of options for stores and charities. 

Yet, you don’t have to set-up a gift registry to help SOS. I've long been a fan of SOS and their innovative partnerships that make giving fun and easy for anyone. It just so happens that one of their coolest events is this week. Today marks the start of this year's Share Our Strength Dine Out For No Kid Hungry event, where thousands of restaurants across the country participate and donate a percent of their earnings to SOS. The event runs from September 18 through September 24, 20ll.

So, how does it work? Well , you start by finding deals, or participating restaurants near you, by visiting the SOS website, which allows you to search by your zip code to find participating restaurants. Then you select a participating restaurant, go there, eat your dinner and help others purely by enjoying a night out. Pretty simple, huh? Additionally, an added bonus is that this week many restaurants offer special coupons and deals for those who dine out for others.

If you can’t find the time this week to dine out, you can always make a direct donation on Share Our Strength’s website and know that you are helping feed hungry children all across America. The funds raised through Dine Out For No Kid Hungry provide critical program support for SOS’s state/city partnerships. Share Our Strength is unique in that even though it is a national organization, it works together with regional nonprofit organizations and key government agencies and officials to develop comprehensive and measurable plans, with real on-the-ground tactics.


Last year, the money raised via the national Dine Out For No Kid Hungry event enabled Share Our Strength to invest in more than 150 organizations in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The funds went to numerous things, such as helping afterschool programs provide nutritious meals and snacks through partners like the Farm 2 Kids program that provides fresh produce to 7,000 children attending afterschool programs at schools in low-income neighborhoods. SOS also helped to feed kids during the summer, when school lunches are not available. In summer 2011, because of the Dine Out event, SOS funded CitySquare expanded its mobile summer meals program to reach more than 18,000 kids with more than 700,000 meals in both Dallas and Austin. The money raised also allowed more kids to have access to school breakfast. Last year’s Dine Out helped the Illinois Hunger Coalition, New York City Coalition Against Hunger, and the Center for Public Policy Priorities expanding the availability of free breakfast for thousands of elementary and middle school students in Illinois, New York, and Texas.

If you're like me and my fiancé, you spend a lot of your time in the kitchen. We cook almost every night together. I'm grateful that we have the luxury to do this even though we're on a budget like most young couples. It's also nice to know that the pots we cook with and the plates we eat off of - helped others to enjoy a nutritious meal too. If you're like us though, and you are less than a month from the big day, it's also nice to take it easy and have someone else do the cooking for a change. I'm looking forward to dining out this week guilt-free - this is the type of dinner that will always fit in our budget. Happy dining!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Auction for Wedding Wishes


In my January post, “Making Wedding Wishes A Reality,” I profiled a relatively new organization called Wish Upon a Wedding. I learned about this fabulous organization through my wedding coordinator, Emily Sullivan of Get Polished Events, who served as a board member for the New Orleans chapter.

Officially launched in January of 2010, Wish Upon a Wedding is a nonprofit that provides weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness or other serious life-altering circumstances. The organization is non-discriminating, as it helps couples have the wedding of their dreams regardless of their sexual orientation. Often, couples that are facing difficult situations, like terminal disease, do not have the time, energy, or finances needed to plan their weddings. Wish Upon a Wedding handles all the wedding details, offering couples a chance to enjoy their special day while being surrounded by their closest family and friends.

In less than two years, Wish Upon A Wedding has been quite busy, growing and granting lots of Wishes (30 of them) since their launch. The organization now has 20 city chapters and dozens of new applications being received every month. Currently they grant weddings free-of-charge to couples battling terminal illness, but their ultimate "dream" is to be able to fly and pay for hotel accommodations for up to four family members for every wish they grant. In many cases, the weddings are the last time these families have to be together, since many of the Wish Recipients pass away not long after their weddings. 

Founder Liz Guthrie explains the human impact of receiving donations for travel, saying “One of our couples is going to be granted a wedding soon in Ohio. The bride is currently undergoing chemotherapy, due to a variety of terminal illnesses she battles and the groom is a lymphoma cancer survivor. We are disheartened that his parents cannot afford airfare from California to attend the wedding.” Guthrie continues, “Wish Upon a Wedding must secure enough funding (or donated miles) to secure airline tickets for every single Wish we grant, so that it is fair to all recipients. It’s the only way we can ensure these families will be brought together in such situations.”

So, how can you help couples like the one Guthrie described? Well, now there is an easy way to get involved and help Wish Upon A Wedding raise the needed funds. It just so happens that anyone who wants to help out this great cause can easily do so starting today - September 15, 2011 - through October 31, 2011. During this time, Wish Upon a Wedding will run its second annual Bid Your Wish for Wedded Bliss, an online charity auction offering hundreds of items for couples about to be wed, with many items starting as low as $50. There’s pretty much everything you need to plan your wedding, from the gown to the favors to the calligraphy and everything in between!  To view the entire auction click
here.

A beautiful gown available on the Wish Upon A Wedding Auction
If you're searching for the perfect way to be a conscious consumer, and want to incorporate charity into your wedding plans – this is a great chance! I know a lot of my readers are brides-to-be, and this is a great way to give back in a very meaningful way to others whose wedding day will in many cases be one of the last days they have to celebrate with their loved ones. It’s also a nice way to knock off a lot of items from your wedding checklist via just one website! Also, some of the items are available to "buy now," so you don't have to wait until the auction ends.

If you're not getting married or your wedding date will have already passed when the auction ends, there are still some fun items with multiple uses. For example, who says you only need a cake stand on your wedding day? The cake stands featured in the auction, by Sarah’s Stands, come in some really fun, lively colors and make a great gift for any occasion. They are also available to "buy now."

And you definitely don’t need to be a bride to enjoy the 24 piece Chubby Wubby (cookie) collection, which includes Classic double chocolate sandwich cookies with a variety of fillings from sweet and tart raspberry ganache to salted caramel to mint ganache. The winner of this item is treated to six cookies in each flavor.
 

Yes, honeymoons are a big deal, but we all travel otherwise as well and we know how expensive travel can be. The auction's travel deals offer a great opportunity for those who are planning an anniversary trip or even a family vacation, to get a great price on trips to a variety of places – from Atlanta to Waikiki



Even if you don't find the perfect item, you can make a direct donation to Wish Upon A wedding.  You can also check out other auctions for a cause on BiddingForGood’s site. Bidding For Good is a charitable e-commerce company that connects fundraisers, shoppers and businesses. Since 2003, online auctions powered by BiddingForGood have generated over $125 million for nonprofit organizations and schools. Many of the top private and public schools and nonprofits in the country use the BiddingForGood platform. The auctions offer unique items that all support important organizations and causes, which means you're sure to find both causes and items that you are passionate about.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tunes Toward A New Day

Today's post is by Candace Comeaux, my roomie of two years, bridesmaid extraordinaire, and go-to-gal on all things pop-culture. You might remember her from last week's post where I wrote on her love for pickles, particularly charitable pickles. Candace has many other passions - she loves music and dancing just as much as pickles. This week's post by Candace is on how your fave tunes can help others.

Although I love many, many things, pickles being one of them as Julie mentioned in her latest post, music is something I could not live without. Not only do I love just listening to it, but I absolutely love busting sweet moves to great tunes! And what better time to put on your boogie shoes and get down than on the dance floor celebrating two people coming together in marriage!  
Candace and her girls get down at her friend Karen's Wedding
I have helped a number of friends and family members plan their weddings in the last couple of years, and one conversation that always comes up is whether to have live music or go with prerecorded music. After attending many weddings over the years, I'm still not even sure which I prefer. But whatever you decide, there's a charitable option. 

In a guest post in June, Andrew shared with you different bands you could hire that give back, so I thought I'd give a little guidance should you choose a different route of either having a DJ or creating your own wedding playlist on your iPod.  There have been many moments in history when an artist or artists came together to record a song or release an album in memory of an event that has occurred. A lot of these singles or albums are then sold to support a charity dedicated to those events, and here is where your wedding comes into play. You or your DJ can download songs that when purchased give a little back.
 

I went to a wedding last weekend where the bride and groom chose the hit Adele song "To Make You Feel My Love" as their first dance song. This very song can be found on the 'Songs for Japan' album. This 38-track album was created to support the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and each cent earned from its sales goes directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society. Although not all songs of this nature are wedding-appropriate, this is one album that has a number of good dance floor ditties including "Only Girl" (Rihanna), "Firework" (Katy Perry), "Better Life" (Keith Urban), and "Born This Way" (Lady Gaga).
 

If you want to add a little Louisiana flare to your reception, maybe you want to use some of the tunes from the 'A Celebration of New Orleans to Benefit MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund 2005'. The proceeds from this album go directly to MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund to help musicians and others in the music industry who have been directly affected by Hurricane Katrina. (I especially like "Second Line Melody: I Done Got Over/Iko Iko/Hey Pocky Way" by Irma Thomas on that album.)

There are a numerous albums, like the ones mentioned above, that give to a number of efforts and causes. But, if you aren't interested in purchasing an entire album, there is another option that gives you a lot more variety in your songs choices in support of a good cause. Fairsharemusic.com, which holds the tag line "You download, we donate" was launched in 2010 by Lee Cannon and Jonny Woolf.  The UK-based website allows you to choose from thousands of mp3s to download and half of the websites profits are split between 15 charities in the UK.
 

Music is a powerful tool that brings people together every day. This topic is most appropriate  as we remember those lives lost in the tragic 9/11 attacks ten years ago. Even as I wrote this post, Beyonce's song "I Was Here," inspired by 9/11, played on my TV as images from the present and from September 11, 2001 flashed on the screen. It reminded me that it's through music that we push forward, and through music that we can pay it forward. While music allows us to remember others, it also allows us to celebrate together. So, take the opportunity to find some tunes that will help you party it up at your wedding and spread the love to many! 

Editor's note:  Here are some more shots of her busting moves on the dance floor ;)



Candace raises the roof!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gifts For My Gals: What A Pickle!

My friend and bridesmaid, Candace, loves pickles. During our two years living together I learned a lot about Candace – and this was one of my favorite things about her. I don’t know many people who can eat a jar of pickles in what seems like minutes, but Candace can. She especially likes the sour ones.
Far from being sour herself, Candace is quite the sweetie. In addition to being a great friend to me, she’s an avid baker, a musical (& arts) enthusiast, and a semi-professional babysitter – basically she rocks with kids. She was also instrumental in planning my bachelorette party. As the only District resident assisting in the planning of the DC-based fiesta, she was the go-to-girl for all DC questions. She also designed the world’s cutest invite for me and decorated some pretty sweet chicken cake balls.


So, where was I going to find Candace a thank you gift that both 1) helped kids or supported the arts, and 2) was of a pickled variety? This might have been my toughest challenge yet, but then I ran across Crazy Steve, Crazy Steve’s Pickles and Salsa that is.

Crazy Steve’s pickles truly are a labor of love. Founder of Crazy Steve’s Pickles & Salsa Steve Zielinski began his pickling pursuit began after accidentally buying too many cucumber seeds. After repeated gifts of cukes and pickles to both friends and food kitchens, Steve realized he could use his pickles for good.

They offer three palate-pleasing varieties: “A Little More Than Half Sour Barrel Pickles,” ‘Let the Sunshine Pickles” (both sweet and habanero style), and “Cajun Cukes.” The pickle varieties couldn’t have been more appropriately titled for Candace – a Cajun gal who just so happens to love the soundtrack to Hair (we saw it together actually).

The "A Little More Than Half Sour Barrel Pickles" are a combination of cucumber, fresh dill and garlic with a special blend of pickling spices.



The “Let The Sunshine Pickles” are a sweet variety, that mix Kirby cucumbers with yellow, orange and red sweet pepper strips, sugar, and Turmeric into what Crazy Steve calls “a one of a kind psychedelic experience."


Last but not least are the Cajun Cukes, which are a combo of cucumber, jalapenos, and red onion together with a hint of celery.


Crazy Steve also sells salsa with flavors including Mesquite Fire-roasted, Mango Raspberry, Cranberry Habanero, “Green Smokin” and Black Bean and Corn. So what makes these pickles and salsa good? Well, in addition to producing delicious, healthful products, the self-proclaimed mission of Crazy Steve's is to “help make the world a better place.”

The company has established the Crazy Steve’s Foundation, which donates to a wide array of charities that focus on everything from education, the environment, health, human services, community development, international causes, as well as arts and culture. A portion of the after tax dollars from all sales of Crazy Steve’s Pickles and Salsa are donated to the foundation.

In addition to donating a percent of their profits to charity, Crazy Steve’s also “highlights a hero” on each jar. The hero on the jars I ordered was Father Mychal Judge (1933-2001), a chaplain in the New York Fire Department, who was one of the nearly 3,000 people killed ten years ago on 9/11.

The foundation also pioneered the pickles against world hunger event. In celebration of their first year of bringing pickled concoctions to the people, they wanted to give back in a big way. So, Steve’s crew created 10 super size jars of pickles and salsas to be signed by Celebrity chefs, such as Mario Batali and Maria Liberati, from now until Thanksgiving eve, when the jars will be auctioned on ebay, with all the proceeds going to whyhunger.org.

Founded in 1975, WhyHunger is a leader in the fight against hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. WhyHunger is convinced that solutions to hunger and poverty can be found at the grassroots level. The organization advances long-term solutions to hunger and poverty by supporting community-based organizations that empower individuals and build self-reliance through job training, education and after school programs, etc.

Even if your not like Candace and you can’t eat a whole jar at once, or maybe pickles aren’t your thing, but you love chips & salsa, you can be sure that when you buy from Crazy Steve’s, you are buying condiments with a mission!

Editor’s note: Just after receiving her “thank you” pickles, Candace confirmed that the Half Sours were her favorite and that they were in a matter of minutes, more than half gone.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gifts For My Gals: Sweet Charity


My little sister, Caroline, is my maid of honor.  We’ve been best friends for years – it happened somewhere between when she was old enough to stop chewing on my Barbies and I was out of the “too cool for anyone, but my friends junior high stage.” I can’t imagine not having her in my life.

Even though we have fairly different styles and taste, Caroline has gone above and beyond to make sure everything for my wedding fits my style. She truly made my bachelorette party special with little details from hen party themed napkins to charitable favors. I wanted to do the same and find a thank you gift that fits her taste. As you might remember from her past posts – on cake, truffles and the like, Caroline has a sweet tooth and a knack for baking. Yet my little sis has a sassy side too. I wanted to get her a gift that matched her feisty personality, as well as her love for the sweeter things in life. 

Then I found Feed Your Soul Bakery’s chic mugs featuring Anne Taintor's witty, contemporary humor and retro graphics. (Did I mention that my sister love’s all things retro?) The mug also came filled with Feed Your Soul’s signature crispy chocolate chip cookies. I chose the mug that said “why do dishes when you can do daiquiris?’ It is appropriate for Caroline on many levels. 

Feed Your Soul Bakery donates three percent of its net profits to charity. Not only that, they give you the option of what charity you would like to contribute to. When checking out, you designate how your 3% will be donated. The charitable options include the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Livestrong Lance Armstrong Foundation, New York Cares, Children of Fallen Soldier Relief Fund, and the Young Survival Coalition.

The oh-so-sweet idea of a charitable bakery belongs to CEO Mya Jacobson. Jacobson started baking and selling her homey cookies, with flavors such as honey oatmeal raisin and chocolate-chip graham, from her Hoboken apartment in 2004 after leaving her job on Wall Street in search of more meaningful work. Feed Your Soul bakery has since grown into a charitable online cookie enterprise that offers 20 or so types of cookies that are sold both wholesale (Dean and Deluca, etc.) and to individual clients for a variety of occasions and events.

After perusing their site, I also discovered that Feed Your Soul offers options for the socially conscious bride, including a favor coo
kie bag that includes your choice of either 10 buttery miniature crispy cookie bites, or two large soft cookies, packaged in a clear cello gift bag for $3.50 per bag. You can pick the color of ribbon you want and they are baked the same day that they ship out to you. You can choose a ribbon color online and even get the ribbon custom printed ribbon with names and dates, or in custom patterned bags. There is a minimum order of 20 bags for the cookie favors. 


You can also purchase cookie boxes (above) or rather, cookies that are packaged in Eco Friendly Kraft, Matte Brown, Silver, Gold or White boxes. These tiny boxes can be great hostess gifts for showers or sweet treats for your bridal party at just $4.95 per box with a minimum order of 20 boxes. Each package includes five adorable mini crispy cookie bites or three mini soft cookies, which are sealed in bags to maximize freshness. This option also includes a personalized ribbon with names and dates available upon request.

For out of town guests you can make them feel at home when you welcome them with a gourmet tin of oven fresh cookies. The tin comes includes 18 miniature crispy chocolate chip cookie bites, or six oven fresh soft cookies. Feed Your Soul also offers signature keepsake bridal shower and wedding favor "minis." These mini tins include five adorable mini crispy cookie bites or three mini soft cookie bites (sealed in bags to maximize freshness).
Additionally, the company offers cookie products that are packaged and presented as employee incentives; business gifts with the company logo on the ribbon, tins and cards; student care packages; and even a cookie-of-the-month club. With so many cookie flavors and ordering options, it would be hard not to find a gift for someone special. After all, nothing says love and thanks like a batch of fresh baked cookies. 

I'm proud of my sister's work for others through the LSU student-run organization, FOCUS, which provides arts education programming to underserved youth in hopes of widening their experiences and showing them the benefits of college. In addition to FOCUS, Caroline has done her share of volunteer work at hospitals, nursing homes and more. Despite her tough exterior, my little sister really is a softy at heart and I knew she would find joy in the fact that her thank you treat was helping others. I also knew she'd enjoy some cookies :)

My Lil' Sis and her FOCUS buddies :)