Emma Lou Reads: The Everygirl News Now

One of my favorite things about my undergraduate degree in Political Science is that it has made me so much more aware and curious about the news and the world around me. I am not one to sit around and wait for the news to knock me over the head, I seek out news day and night, through all types of sources. Sometimes this becomes troublesome, during major news events I become all consumed by the 24 hour news networks, but I would rather have to rip myself away from the news than not know what is going on.

I’ve found that most of my peers are not incredibly informed when it comes to the news, but I don’t think it is for lack of trying. There is a lot of stuff out there and articles are often long and cumbersome for someone looking to quickly find out the highlights of the week.

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And that my friends, is where The Everygirl’s News Now feature comes in. I have been a huge fan of The Everygirl since their start in 2012, but one of their newest features, News Now, is my favorite for sure. Each week, Lacie and Brooke break down the week’s news into categories and then provide a brief blurb with the updates, as well as links to other sources. This system is genius, my friends, it uses an outlet that hundreds of girls already read, and makes it easy for them to stay up to date on current events.

I plan to start linking to these posts both on my Facebook page as well as on the blog as often as possible, and I SERIOUSLY encourage y’all to check it out!

Staying informed of what is going on in our world is the first step towards changing it.

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Emma Lou Loves: Sunshine

A quick one today, friends!

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Dreaming of sitting by the pool, or better yet the beach, while I’m at work today. Hope that some of you are getting some sun!

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Emma Lou Believes In: Gifts that Give

Over the last few years, I have started to stumble upon different companies around the web that promote the idea of buying ‘gifts that give.’ The most well known organization that follows this model is probably TOMS, when you buy a pair of shoes, TOMS donates a pair to someone in need.

This business model has really caught on and this year, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to purchase all of my Christmas gifts from places that promote ‘gifts that give.’ I’ve started a board to keep track of all of the great socially minded companies I come across, but I wanted to share a couple of them with y’all today.

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One of my favorite places to look for jewelry is at 31 Bits. Founded in 2008, the company employees women in Uganda to make the beautiful jewelry and accessories that they sell. They have multiple programs in Uganda to help the people there and they offer all types of products on their site. I received one of their necklaces from my family for my 21st birthday and I get so many compliments on it every time I wear it! Plus, it’s super cool when someone asks where it is from to say, oh, you know, Africa.

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This next business, Better Life Bags, is a more domestically minded organization. Rebecca, the founder of Better Life, describes how they operate on her blog:

We hire first generation immigrant women in our community who otherwise could not work outside the home.  We rent them a sewing machine and tools while teaching them a skill set that allows them to become a primary or secondary provider in their families.  Each bag is lovingly made with their hands and each purchase gives respect and dignity to their lives.

So cool, right? I’m OBSESSED with the bag above, and they make it in a black and white stripe as well that I’m dying over. This might be the big girl bag I reward myself with once I finally get a ‘big girl job.’

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And our last business for the day, Noonday Collection, sells all types of cool things! Of course, my favorite is this awesome chicken, but they have jewelry, accessories, home goods, and much more! Noonday started during the owner’s international adoption and was originally used as a fundraising tool, now they donate 10% of all profits to families that are adopting as well as towards orphan prevention.

Aren’t all of these businesses the coolest? It makes me cheese so hard to think that we can help change lives while doing something as simple as our Christmas shopping. So check all these out, and let me know of any other businesses that are doing something similar!!

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Emma Lou Writes: Milestones

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending my best friend’s graduation from graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Taylor earned her Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling and I am SO VERY PROUD of her. She is such a hard working, determined, woman and I’m proud to be her friend.

Sitting through my fourth graduation in three years (my own, Leah’s, and two for Taylor!) got me thinking about milestones and how our society celebrates them. And then at the same time, when we stop celebrating them. As children, we are literally celebrated for everything we do. I have heard the story of me lifting my head for the first time in the hospital nursery at least ten million times (strongest infant neck ever, over here!), my entire family still talks about it. And even after we become school age, we celebrate birthdays with HUGE parties, we count down the days until graduation first kindergarden, then elementary school, middle school, finally high school, and then we start the clock all over again to count down until the big kahuna, college graduation. And then, all we’ve got left are marriage and children.

Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to one day being married and starting my own family more than most know, but I just couldn’t help but think yesterday that it is a shame we don’t celebrate more of our lives as adults. Other than the occasional dinner out for a promotion or achievement at work, and milestone anniversaries, as adults we hear a lot less praise from one another. Why is this? Why don’t we celebrate each other more as we grow older, acknowledging that these accomplishments in our lives are even harder won than our first sneeze or our first giggle?

All I know, is that I want to celebrate life all the time, I want to pass out balloons left and right and pat my friends on the back for all the little things, just like we did when we were kids.

So today, I encourage you to celebrate someone, let them know how proud of them you are, because words matter, friends, they do.

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Emma Lou is Blessed: May 10, 2013

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I work, a lot. And I talk about it here, a lot. But I don’t want to give off the wrong idea, I’m not some sort of slave to my jobs. I essentially do this to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I need the money and I don’t work 6-7 days a week just for kicks, but I am notorious for scheduling every minute of my free time. Through high school, I was in class Monday through Friday and worked 20-25 hours a week. In college, I took classes full time and worked 30-35 hours, and always had at least one volunteer opportunity going on. After I graduated from college, I had two internships and my job, and then all of a sudden, my internships ended and I was left with just my 40-45 hour a week job. And I didn’t really know what to do with myself. So, in true Emily fashion, I started looking for extra work and found a family to babysit for part-time. Now I’m back to my usual, crazy busy self, and while part of me loves it, a lot of me is exhausted. In the month of April, I had one day off from all commitments, work or otherwise. And it was April 30. The last day of the month. What was I thinking?!!?

This month, by some bizarre twist of fate, I had two days off from work IN A ROW that I did not request off. This past Tuesday and Wednesday, I slept in (till 9am…my body cannot sleep any later, 9am was a stretch), I read my book in bed until noon (that part was not a struggle), I went for a run, I took a long shower, I treated myself to a hair cut. It was awesome, so awesome. It is what I imagine a real weekend is probably like.

The point of this long, work related ramble, is to say that this week, I’m thankful for the blessing of rest. And young adult novels about post-apocalyptic societies.

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Emma Lou Reads: Long Miles Coffee Project

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Dreams are scary, they are big and unknown and expensive and just down right scary. Everyone knows that, some people keep their dreams hidden far far away, some people tackle them head on, and others tip toe up to their dreams and knock on the door veerrryyyy carefully, seeing if anyone will answer.

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Kristy Carlson and her husband, of Long Miles Coffee Project, pretty much went running up to their dreams, barreled through the door, and announced WE’RE HERE. AND WE’RE GONNA DO THIS THING. They live in Burundi (in Africa) and are working on building a washing station for the coffee farmers there. You’ll have to check out their blog to learn more, Kristy explains it all much much better than I can, but just know that they are awesome.

One of my favorite things Kristy has ever written was a piece on Babble last October called “How I’m Launching a Big Dream.” I pinned the article way back then but hadn’t re-read it until today and I just had to share some of her ideas regarding dreams.

What if we die? What if we can’t eat? I can’t risk it. I can’t do it. What if we FAIL? I can’t live without… BELIEVE ME I’ve said ALL OF THESE. Here’s the deal: I know that this is scary. And yes, you might fail. Does that mean if you fail, that your dream was not worth it? ABSOLUTELY NOT. In the midst of a failed coffee shop, I learned valuable lessons that have shaped my future steps in ways that are more tailored to WHO I AM and the skills I possess. My fear of failure, and what people will think if I fail, has the power to immobilize me if I let it. It STOPS ME IN MY TRACKS and keeps me from ever starting. What gets me moving again is my friend Amy’s advice. She’s always telling me to get comfortable with my fear. To LIVE with it. To respect it. At first this sounded like a maniac’s quest, but then I realized that by labeling it “fear” we are already winning. Many people don’t even bother calling it “fear”… they just say they “can’t do it” and cite all the reasons why.

This part reminded me SO MUCH of a phrase that MTH alum use basically all the time: feel the fear, and do it anyway. Just do it. I repeat this to myself on a daily basis when I’m job/apartment hunting in D.C. Just do it, Em. You’ll find a job, you’ll be able to pay rent, just take the leap.

Find support in a community that inspires you, this even applies to the online communities you associate with. Will you hangout on social media to see what OTHERS are doing, or are you ready to start SOMETHING.

This is one of the many reasons I decided to finally share my blog with my real life friends, rather than just my internet ones. Because I love this community and it is such a beautiful place that I think everyone should be able to experience.

I just wanted to share Kristy’s words with you guys, to encourage anyone that is staring a dream in the face and feels a little frozen. Just feel the fear, and do it anyway. You got this.

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Emma Lou Loves: Whimsey Box

The word whimsey seems to pop up a lot on this blog, doesn’t it? Today, it comes in a little box, delivered to your house each month. Sounds pretty awesome, right?

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I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this company, and in full disclosure, I haven’t signed up  to receive my own Whimsey Box yet, this is just a little post musing about how awesome this idea is.

There are a lot of monthly subscription packages floating around right now, from Birch Box to Sock Panda, there is pretty much something for everyone. But this box? This one was totally made for me.

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Each month the subscribers receive project instructions, supplies, a reusable box, and an orignial 5×7 print. All for $15/month. What a freaking awesome deal!!! The really got me with the original print, I love nothing more than getting new stuff to hang on my walls.

They even have a projects section on their website where everyone can share their projects, I’m obsessed. And as soon as I can stop being in super saver mode for my big move, I’m totally signing up!

How bout you? Which of these boxes appeals to you the most? I feel like my friend Kate would love the Sock Panda box, am I right, chicken?

 

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