10 Places to Buy Winter Clothes that Will Give Back (List-cember #2)

It’s safe to say fall is in full swing, which means the temperatures have dropped, and getting dressed in the morning now consists of tucking and buttoning and layering—and for some, layering and layering and layering.

The cool thing is, there are tons of places you can find those layers, plus accessories, shoes, and other winter survival gear that not only keep you warm, but helps those in need. And is there anything better than finding something cozy and knowing that buying it can help someone else feel cozy too? I think not.

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1) Toms

If you’ve heard of Toms, you might be most familiar with their slip on shoes, but they actually have a great selection of winter boots as well! Each pair you buy donates a pair to someone in need.

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Find this pair here.

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2) Love Your Melon

Initially started solely to provide hats for children with cancer, Love Your Melon now gives 50% of their net profits to support the Love Your Melon Fund, and the nonprofits they support in order to help children and families battling cancer.

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Find this beanie here.

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3) Twice As Warm 

Selling a range of hats, scarves, and gloves, Twice as Warm donates one winter clothing item for each item you purchase.

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Find this scarf here.

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4) Done Good

Done Good is home to tons of companies and products that support a wide variety of causes and charities. You can even search products based on the causes you are passionate about!

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Find this jacket here.

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5) Amazon Smile

We’ve all heard of Amazon and know you can find practically anything you can think of if you scroll long enough, but did you know that if you go to smile.amazon.com you can select a charity and have a portion of every purchase support that charity? You can either browse charities based on specific causes, or search for a specific charity you are passionate about. I currently have the Justin Turner Foundation selected which supports homeless veterans and children battling life-altering illnesses and diseases.

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Find this pair of gloves here.

 

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6) H&M Conscious Collection

H&M guarantees all clothing within the “Conscious Collection” are made of at least 50% sustainable materials. So if you are someone who is passionate about sustainable fashion, a.k.a fashion that is healthier and kinder to the earth, this collection is for you!

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Find this sweater here.

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7) Roma

Roma’s mission is to “give poverty the boot” and so with every purchase of a pair of boots, they donate a pair to a child in need.

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Find this pair of boots here.

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8) FAZL

FAZL sells tons of cozy socks, hats, mittens and bags, and each purchase helps provide food, shelter, education, and clothing to orphaned children in India.

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Find this pair of socks here.

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9) Happy Blankie

Not only does Happy Blankie match each purchase of a blanket by donating a second one to someone in need, they let you choose who you want that blanket to be donated to. You can choose a sick child in the hospital, a battered women’s shelter, or the child of first responder or military family.

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Find this blanket here.

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10) Tentree

Tentree’s mottos is “buy one, plant ten”, meaning for each item you buy from the Tentree store, ten trees will be planted!

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Find this pair of mittens here.


Check out more List-cember posts here. 

2019 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #1

Hello and happy December to you! I have made it a tradition on my blog that in December every post is centered around lists, and here we are again! If you can believe it, this is already the fourth year!

Over the last week, I have decorated not one, not two, but three houses for Christmas, giving me a full face dunk into the Christmas season. The first of those three houses was my grandpa’s house, and upon arriving there on a Sunday afternoon, I quickly took my place at the Christmas tree to fluff branches and hang ornaments, a job that has been mine for the last 15 years or so.

Similar to my parents’ tree, my grandpa’s hosts seemingly thousands of ornaments. Some cute, some questionable, many sentimental and a few downright strange, which is perhaps why I love it so much. So once we were finished, I decided to look around and hand out some superlatives and these were the results:

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Most Likely to be Mistaken for the Charmin Toilet Paper Bear

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Most Likely to Put the Bob the Builder Theme Song in Your Head

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Biggest Overachiever

(We get it, Karen, you can sew, but no one needs a stocking that big.)

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Most Likely to Ask Kids What They Want for Shredmas

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Most Likely to Make You Ask Questions Like, “Why?” and, “No, Seriously, Why?” and, “Aside from Everything Else, Why is this Giant, Terrifying Mouse Wearing a Headband?”

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Most Likely to Make You Do A Doubletake

(Things you might notice in your doubletaking: the horse has no feet, the horse is giving the woman incredibly sassy side eye—which could perhaps be attributed to the intense amount of overfeeding she has been doing, which could perhaps be the reason he has no feet, or more specifically that his feet have been swallowed by his belly—also the woman’s glasses are a disaster and can’t possibly be providing any assistance.)

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Most Likely to be Hung Front and Center

(because I made it and want your praise)

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This is a three time winner for: 

-Best Style

-Most Athletic Golf Ball

-Best Legs

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Most Likely to Make Me Jealous for the 31st (even though I’m only 29) Year in a Row

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Most Likely to be Out of Date Almost Immediately after this was Purchased

(As of now, if you include wives, husbands, grandkids and great grandkids, there should be upwards of 15 more stockings on this fireplace.)

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You can check out past editions of Ornament Superlatives here, here, and here.

Happy List-cember, y’all!

30 Good Things that Happened in November

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

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1) Red Bull announced the winners for its fifth annual Illume Photo contest

Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 Finalist

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2) This wheelchair bound man found a new way to hike

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3) This:

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4) USPS launched a website to adopt letters from Santa

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5) This jeopardy contestant showed some love for Alex Trebek

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6) These dogs rescued koalas from the brushfires in Australia

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7) And these women in the Netherlands knit mittens for the koalas

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8) This soccer player did…this

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9) This dog went driving

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10) This man expressed his love for toast

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11) This golfer hugged a fan that cost him a putt

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12) This boy supported his friends

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13) This woman donated hundreds of dolls with prosthetic legs to a local hospital

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14) This girl wrote an incredibly bold Christmas list

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15) This hospital surprised Mrs. Rogers on World Kindness Day

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16) These dad’s took a dance class with their daughters

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17) This man used his car to protect pedestrians

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18) This man played fetch

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19) Nike announced their plan to release a pair of sneakers designed specifically for nurses and doctors working long shifts

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20) This news anchor accidentally mass emailed an entire company that he would be out sick

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21) These cows were found after swimming for miles in the midst of Hurricane Dorian

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22) This dad went above and beyond to feed his daughter

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23) This fourth grade girl collected bottles to raise money for Operation Smile

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24) Charmin released the “forever roll” which contains a month’s worth of toilet paper on one roll

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25) This girl and her dog let off some steam

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26) This Arkansas teen with autism was recruited to play college basketball

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27) These friends hung out

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28) This college student won a year of free tuition by making this half court shot

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29) These friends continued what started as an accidental Thanksgiving tradition

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30) And this baby got a haircut

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what December brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

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About My Closet

I own a lot of jackets.

I realize this is ridiculous because I live in Southern California where our four seasons are spring, summer, subtler summer, and summer feat. wind and occasional rain, but alas, I’m a baby, I’m always cold, and so I continue to buy jackets.

I continue to buy jackets and yet I constantly stand helpless in front of my closet convinced I don’t have the right jacket for anywhere and everywhere I might be going that needs a jacket.

While getting dressed, the internal monologue usually goes a little something like this:

Is this warm enough?

What if the wind blows and I need something thicker?

What if it rains and I need something waterproof?

Is this fancy enough?

Is this too fancy?

What kind of jacket am I supposed to wear with a dress?

Will this be too warm once we’re inside?

What if we go outside?

I mean, how cold is it?

Should I bring two jackets?

Can I layer these?

Does layering these make me look pathetic?

How worried am I about looking pathetic?

Would I rather be pathetic or warm?

Why can’t I ever be warm and cool?

Why are all the cool jackets thin and terrible?

Also, why can some people wear said thin, terrible jackets, look cool and not be popsicles?

Does this match?

Has this jacket ever matched anything?

Will anyone notice or care if I just wear the same jacket I always wear?

Screw it, I’m doing that.

For next time though, I need a new jacket.

 

And so the cycle goes continues.

A Celebratory Massage (Adventures at the Spa: Part 4)

My sister just passed her comprehensive exams for grad school, making her a certified Speech-Language Pathologist.

*pause for much deserved applause*

To celebrate her accomplishment and combat the years of hard work leading up to it, as well as the weeks and weeks of stress she went through studying for the exam, I booked massage appointments for her, my mom and I.

If you’ve been around this blog for a little while, you might know that I have had an aversion/borderline fear of massages in the past, which is why on our previous trip to the spa I opted for being swaddled in a cocoon—which you can read about here. This time around however, I was determined to go all in.

Seeing as this year has been chockFULL of calendar events, and I had been sipping on secondhand stress for my sister, I was actually in a place where a massage sounded useful. Necessary, even. So as we sat at the spa that afternoon, clad in our luxurious white robes, and already relaxed after having spent a couple hours checking out the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, I was only slightly nervous. And when my name was called and I was led back to the room and asked to disrobe by my very nice masseuse, Rochelle, I only awkwardly giggled once.

Then it began.

After lying on my stomach and tucking myself under the sheet, Rochelle walked back into the room and promptly pulled the sheet all the way over my head. This immediately made me feel like a corpse, which wasn’t exactly relaxing, but then I thought, is there anything more relaxing than being dead? So I went full rigor mortis and let her go to work.

Looking back at my first massage, I compared the work of the masseuse to that of a baker kneading bread. I remembered this as Rochelle started massaging my back, and I had a sudden realization that I was the bread. And when I accepted that, I realized the true key to surviving and thriving your way through a massage.

Be dead. Be bread. Get read.

That is: allow yourself to melt into the table and, for lack of a better word, DIE. Then embrace your temporary identity as a batch of dough needing…kneading. And then let the masseuse read you, i.e. go hunting for everywhere you’ve been hiding and holding stress, anxiety, and those cringy, awkward moments you’ve been trying to forget about.

Be dead. Be bread. Get read.

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Following this mantra, it was no time at all before Rochelle was telling me our 50 minutes were up. As a testament to her work, when I stood up, my legs felt like jello and my hair was sticking out in seemingly every direction. And since I was still naked, I realized I was the perfect embodiment of a troll doll.

But alas, with a smile on my face, my rubber band back in my hair, and my robe securely fastened, I walked back into the waiting room a new woman. I was relaxed, I was moisturized, and I was now a massage person.

Trust Me, it Works

When I was six years old, my parents gave me a Nintendo 64 for Christmas. And for many many weekend mornings after that, I would wake up early, sneak into the living room, and play Zelda: Ocarina of Time alongside my brother and sister for as long as our parents would let us hog the television.

Now, if you’ve ever played Nintendo 64, you’ll know that it takes a very delicate touch to get a game to work. Unlike many video games today that don’t even require discs, N64 games were thick, plastic bricks that you had to blow into the bottom of before you pushed them into the top of the console at just the right pressure. If it didn’t work the first time, you would pull the game back out, blow on the bottom again, this time in a harmonica like fashion, and then place the game back into the console, perhaps with only two fingers or with a series of delicate taps. Even at age 6, I quickly learned the series of techniques that worked for my particular console, and will utilize them in exact order, even to this day, without fail.

It’s funny how we can become inadvertently trained to operate things in a specific way without ever realizing that it’s peculiar, ridiculous or borderline ritualistic.

For example, my back door has a tricky doorknob. In order to lock both the knob and the pad lock, you have to shut the door, then pull and twist the knob, not so much that it reopens the door, but enough to engage whatever didn’t engage when you initially shut it.

To get my phone to play music in my car, I plug the auxiliary cord into the bottom, unlock my phone, then press play, pause and then play again.

I once had a hairdryer that only worked if you held it at a certain angle, so I would rotate my head in accordance with the limits of the hairdryer, which was great for stretching my neck, but terrible for giving me any kind of acceptable hair style.

To put on my favorite pair of jeans, I squat down into a catcher-like stance, and then jump up, repeating until they wiggle their way up into place. If I choose these jeans when I’m getting ready in a hurry, this process could almost be considered a round of cardio.

We all have a part of our house or our work that we’ll walk towards or lean against in order to get the best Wi-Fi signal, we’ve all had that phone or television that still worked if you banged the side of it, and we’ve all had a window that you have to prop open with a cup, aptly named the “window cup”, when you’re looking to let in a cool fall breeze.

Okay, that last one might just be my roommates and I. But you know what I mean.

Somehow, some way, we fall into these routines and methods that we only realize are strange when we have to explain them out loud to somebody else. And even then, even after we hear it back and think maybe we should, I don’t know, get a new hairdryer, we just shrug it off and move on, because starting a new routine, even if it might be easier, sounds way more complicated than just keeping with what’s familiar.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to turn my ceiling fan on level two, because on level one it clicks, and then I’m going to tip toe my way to the bathroom, using precise footing across the floor so it doesn’t creak, because it’s late and I don’t wake up my roommates.

It’s not weird, it’s polite.

Say it & Keep it

It’s not always easy to say what’s on your mind.

Personally, I thrive at having entire conversations in my head. I can work things out, make plans for later, overthink something from 10 years ago, and make myself laugh—sometimes accidentally out loud.

There are times however, when I’ll be with a person or group of people, and I’ll find myself walking away from a conversation or situation where I wish I would have said something. Maybe it was a compliment I wanted to give, a joke I wanted tell, a story I wished I had the courage to share, or simply a hello, how are you?  But for whatever reason, it just sits there on the end of my tongue and doesn’t budge.

So, I’ve been trying to do better.

The way I see it, if you have good intentions, and especially good jokes, you should do your best to share them with other people. You should share you with other people. Even though sometimes it’s scary, and sometimes your friend just went to the bathroom and left you at this table with a bunch of random people you don’t know and you wish you could hide under your chair until they get back.

I’m not saying you have to make awkward, miserable small talk, or say things you don’t mean, but if you find a compliment forming or a relatable story coming to mind, go for it.

Say it.

Make your mark on a conversation, or on that stranger whose ______ you really like.

Say what you’re thinking, even if it’s just hello. You never know what kind of internal dialogue someone else is having, and you never know how much you can put their mind at ease. Maybe you can make them laugh or tell them something they’ve never heard before or simply make them feel noticed. Maybe you can inspire them to try something new or be inspired yourself. Maybe you’ll make a new friend who might feel just as uncomfortable as you are in a certain situation, and who might even offer you contraband snacks. You never know.

On the opposite side of this whole situation, it’s also not always easy to receive compliments.

Personally, I thrive at deflecting, rejecting and passing them along so I don’t have to bear the weight for even a second. Compliments make me uncomfortable, and sometimes overwhelmed. My toes curl up inside my shoes and I usually change the subject as fast as I can.

But again, I’m trying to do better.

For as uncomfortable as compliments might be in the moment, they’re not going to hurt in the long run. Like on those days when you feel like a troll who doesn’t dare leave the house looking like such a disaster, or when you feel rejected or sad or alone. It’s times like these when we could use a compliment or two, some motivation and encouragement that we are more than we are making ourselves out to be, and deserve more than we’ve led ourselves to believe.

So, when someone tells you look nice, or when they compliment a project you’re working on or a blog you posted or a meal you made, keep it. When someone thanks you for being a good friend or for a good gift or for a great day, keep it. Keep those compliments and tuck them away for later. For when you need them most.

Say the good things and keep the good things. You deserve them, someone else might need them, and sometimes there might be snacks. It’s a win win win as far as I’m concerned.

September/October Favorites

I am probably definitely biased, but I found some good stuff over the last two months. Which might explain why they flew by so fast and we are suddenly in the November! (?!)

Here’s hoping the next two months are just as exciting, though a little slower, because CHRISTMAS.

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Podcasts

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I have only seen The Office all the way through one time (so far), but I can imagine that if you are a diehard fan this podcast will truly be something special for you. Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey are rewatching the series from the beginning and sharing behind the scene facts and secrets from each episode. It’s super fun to listen to and there have only been a couple of episodes so far, so it’s easy to catch up!

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Books

These books couldn’t be more different if they tried, but they both easily top my list for the last two months. Where the Crawdads Sing is a fiction book that follows two different timelines. One describes the life of a girl named Kya who lives on her own in a house on a marsh in North Carolina, and the other investigates a murder in the same town. As the book progresses the timelines slowly weave together and I was hooked the whole time. Beautiful on the Outside is a memoir written by Olympic medalist Adam Rippon. It chronicles his incredible journey to the Olympic stage and is honestly one of the funniest books I have ever read.

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TV Shows

I don’t consider myself someone who watches a lot of TV, but when I was trying to figure out a favorite or two for the month, I realized I’d watched so many good things over the last two months! If you’re looking for a comedy, I recommend Fleabag and The Politician. If you’re looking for love (in many forms), I recommend Four Weddings and a Funeral and Modern Love. If you’re looking crime/suspense, I recommend Mindhunter.

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Music

I have also found a bunch of new music over the last few months, namely new artists (to me) that I have been listening to on repeat. Some of my favorites include: Free Yourself Up by Lake Street Dive, Stranger in the Alps by Phoebe Bridgers, Cheap Queen by King Princess, and Sing to Me Instead by Ben Platt.

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This Leg/Butt Workout

Remember when I recommended that arm and back workout? Well, over the last two months I’ve also worked this workout into my routine that focuses on your legs and butt and HELLO, I. AM. SORE. But that’s a good thing. I think.

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Dark Chocolate Oreos

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This last one technically shouldn’t be on this list because I tried them in November. But I feel like it would be more disrespectful not to tell you about these immediately than to abide by a rule that absolutely no one is enforcing. They are just so chocolatey and delicious. Definitely one of the best new Oreo flavors in a while.

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

31 Good Things that Happened in October

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

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1) This man walked 800 miles to raise awareness for veteran suicide

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2) This mom created a custom skateboard for her son

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3) These girl scouts made “bee hotels” to fight the depopulation of bees

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4) This little guy wrote a note to his coach

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5) Kellogg’s released a limited edition cereal box to help tackle LGBTQ bullying

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6) Michael Jordan opened the first of two clinics to help those with little or no health insurance

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7) This dog got adopted

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8) This group of people jumped into action when they saw their longtime friend had become homeless

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9) This heat seeking drone found a missing boy

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10) This little one hosted a dance class

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11) Former NFL player DeAngelo Williams paid for 500 mammograms to honor his mother who died of breast cancer

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12) This dog (accidentally) helped his owner unlock his car

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13) The city of Las Vegas allowed people to pay for parking tickets with food donations to help people in need during the holidays.

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14) This boy caught an incredible fish

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15) This bus driver saved her third life

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16) These kids surprised their classmate with toys after he lost everything in a house fire

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17) The New Jersey Devils had “Kids Day”

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18) This cheerleader jumped off a homecoming float to save a choking boy

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19) Alaska held fat bear week

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20) Lyft launched this program

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21) This veteran got his dogs back

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22) These kids helped the police find a missing elderly woman in their neighborhood

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23) This man showed incredible forgiveness

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24) This girl made a skirt out of rejection letters

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25) This prank was pulled:

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26) This man had “Jesus Saves” printed on his race bib and then had his life saved by a man named…Jesus.

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27) These sisters were reunited after a long school day

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28) And these sisters were reunited after decades

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29) This boy made a wheelchair out of Legos

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30) Poppy got into the Halloween spirit

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31) And then Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake won Halloween

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what November brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

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You Already Know What You’re Going to Do

I was watching a television show the other day and at one point in the episode one of the characters went to therapy. During the session, the therapist looked at the character and said, “You already know what you’re going to do. You’ve already made up your mind and you know what you’re going to do.”

This stuck with me—even after I binged a few more episodes.

It made me think of those mornings you wake up in a bad mood or with a bad outlook, and you more or less decide that you’re going to have a bad day.

Or when you are obligated to go somewhere but you’d rather stay home because you won’t know anyone or will know too many people, etc., and so you decide that it’s going to be awful.

Or, on the other side of things, when you are so excited about something and are so determined for it to be as wonderful as you hope, that you can look past almost anything in order for it to live up to your expectations.

There are many days and even moments when we decide how the future will play out far before it ever happens. I think we do it as both a defense mechanism, to protect us from being disappointed, or sometimes just because we don’t have the energy to change our way of thinking. It’s hard to wake up in a bad mood and then convince yourself that your day will turn around and be great. It’s way easier to settle into that grouchiness and ride it out until tomorrow (or beyond.)

The same goes with taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone. I think with most things that scare us, especially things we’ve never done before, we have a tendency to believe that the end result is going to be bad or humiliating or irredeemable, and so we talk ourselves out of the risk all together. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, we set goals that we know we are going to quit, either because they’re too big, too hard or too scary.

But then, sometimes we find something that makes us keep going. We find something inside us that gives us an extra push, an extra burst of courage and suddenly we are farther than we thought we could be.

This is why I think the therapist’s words stuck with me. Because on the one hand, I agree. I have seen firsthand my half-hearted attempts to try something new that I never actually wanted to try, or to do something brave that I’ve already decided I’m too scared to achieve, or to set a goal that I know I’m not motivated enough to complete. I’ve gone into situations, desperate for them to work out, and all but convinced they are the end all be all try for me to move forward with my life, all the while knowing that I don’t have the passion, motivation, or courage to carry them through to the end.

BUT.

I have also gone into situations with the same fears, obstacles and doubts, and I have found the will to overcome them. Even on days I woke up feeling foolish for even trying, even on nights I lie awake wondering how I could ever achieve what I’d set out to do, even when it would seem that I already made up my mind and I already knew what I was going to do. Somehow I did the exact opposite. And you have to.

We are a resilient bunch, us humans. And while our minds our powerful tools, they aren’t fortune tellers. Our fears can’t predict the future. Our doubts can’t predict the future. But our hope and determination can change it. So, when we are able, let’s not settle into autopilot, let’s dare to work against our assumptions. Let’s reach down deep and find that extra something and go places we never thought we could.