For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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Monday Motivation

Because Mondays are hard and sometimes we need a little inspiration…

Irreplaceable- coco chanel

In business terminology this is called “finding your niche”. In regular terms it means “finding yourself”. Everyone is unique in their own way and the only way to find out what makes you different/special/irreplaceable is to be unforgivably you. Be weird. Be crazy. Be random. Be yourself. And don’t be afraid to stand out. 


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Friday Finds

Check out what I’ve been checkin’ out this week…

Friday Finds 6.26.15

1. Whole foods has a new rating system that has people questioning what is “good” and what is “best” for our bodies, farmers, and the environment. 

2. A look at South Africa’s fishing industry and its effect on locals and the environment. 

3. An inspiring article about the importance of traveling and breaking down barriers caused by distance (geographic, cultural, etc.) “The more people that go out and see the world, the better a place it will be. Ideas and concepts are shared, prejudices get smashed and that’s a good thing.”


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Splurge or Save: To The Beach

Summer is officially here! To me summer and the beach go together like peanut butter and jelly. I would go to the beach everyday if I could. The sand between your toes, the fresh, salty air, the soothing sound of crashing waves, looking for shells and wildlife, warm sunshine, even taking a dip if its hot enough (although it is very rarely hot enough in Maine). I love it all. I grew up around the ocean and since I am a seasoned veteran, I know how important it is to be prepared for a day at the beach. You gotta remember sunscreen, a towel, water, a good book, maybe a Frisbee, and most importantly… snacks! Now with all of that stuff, you’re gonna need a hefty beach bag to carry it all around. Lucky for you I’ve picked out two super cute, functional, and socially responsible beach bags for this month’s splurge or save.Mar y Sol Tote

The first bag is made by Mar y Sol, which is a company that enables families in Madagascar to gain economic independence. The founder, Laurel Brandstetter, traveled to Madagascar in 2003 for a community development project and while she was there she met many talented artisans who dreamed of making their products available in the global marketplace. So Laurel did just that and works as a liaison between local artisans and global buyers. Mar y Sol also promotes environmental conservation. This bag is made out of responsibly sourced agave leaves with organically tanned leather handles. You can learn more about Mar y Sol in this video. Each step of making these bags is done locally and by hand which means these bags don’t come cheap. This particular bag costs $125 and can be found online at Nordstrom. 

World Market Beach Tote

This second bag has a VERY similar look, but is blue and will only cost you $30. Apparently pom poms are “in” when it comes beach bags. This bag is sold by Cost Plus World Market, which actually has a very similar mission as Mar y Sol: to make unique items from around the world accessible to a global market. It began in the 1950s when a San Francisco businessman turned traveler began selling shiploads of hand-woven wicker he found along his journeys. People were enthralled by the unique treasures and the business took off. This bag is particularly unique because it is made out of recycled plastic bottles. You can buy it here at the Cost Plus World Market Website (also available in orange).


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Monday Motivation

Because Mondays are hard and sometimes we need a little inspiration…

change

Change is hard. And change can be scary. But change is also necessary. Change can be good. Change can be exciting. So rather than fight it, try to accept the ever changing adventure ahead of you.


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Friday Finds

Check out what I’ve been checkin’ out this week…

Friday Finds 6.12.15

1. Jack Black + Red Nose Day = This.

2. Nobel Prize winner Tim Hunt thinks science labs should be segregated by gender because women are too distracting and male scientists can’t help falling in love. Ummm, what? Women have cleverly responded. But I think men should be equally insulted.

3. Allow me to introduce you to the Ecocapsule, a portable, eco-friendly home. Think you could live in one?

4. And last but not least, rescued baby orangutans.


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Buttered Up

If I were to say, “I love peanut butter”, it would be a bit of an understatement. It is more like “I cannot survive without peanut butter”. Growing up I played a lot of sports, but since I was also a picky eater, I only had a few options when it came to fueling up before games and practices. Peanut butter was always my go-to. And even though I don’t eat nearly as much as I used to, I still eat it fairly regularly. And I don’t know what I would do without it.

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When used correctly nut butters can serve as a really healthy snack. They’re packed with protein and healthy fats, but sometimes nut butters can also be packed with tons of sugar and weird ingredients. But not Justin’s.

One day at the grocery story I came across Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and was initially intrigued because of the simple ingredient lists. But as I began doing more research about Justin and his company, I realized the company does so much more than produce delicious nut butters.

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This is a great alternative to Nutella. There is half the sugar and (in my humble opinion) all the flavor.

Hazelnut

The founder, Justin Gold, started concocting nut butters in 2004 in order to support his active and vegetarian lifestyle. When he perfected his concoctions, he started a company that values passion, innovation and corporate consciousness. He utilizes sustainable practices by “sourcing the highest-quality, local ingredients, simplifying the supply chain, and initiating environmentally friendly office practices”. In addition to that Justin’s pays-it-forward by supporting the Conscious Alliance, a hunger relief organization, and the Whole Planet Foundation, a poverty relief organization.

This one is my favorite. Simple PB. Doesn't get old. There is also a plain peanut butter spread available, but I like the subtle sweetness that the honey adds.

This one is my favorite. Simple PB. Doesn’t get old. There is also a plain peanut butter spread available, but I like the subtle sweetness that the honey adds.

Honey PB

All that being said, it probably isn’t a surprise that Justin’s products are a bit more expensive than your average nut butter. They cost about $10. But in my mind, I like knowing that I’m eating something that is better for me and better for the environment. I like supporting a company that is conscious in its practices.

“Our products are made with common sense. A sense that cooking in small batches ensures higher quality. And that selectively choosing fine, all-natural ingredients will make it taste better.”

Of all the almond butters I've tried, this one is the best. And you know I'd never lie to you.

Of all the almond butters I’ve tried, this one is the best. And you know I’d never lie to you.

Almond

If you still need a little inspiration, check out all the recipes on Justin’s website. There are tons! I was looking some of the recipes after I ate a huge plate of lasagna last night and wasn’t even a little bit hungry, but I would have willingly stuffed my face with some of those. They look amazing! Justin also makes nut butter cups that I think I need to try soon. Like maybe right now…

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Inspiring Individuals: Larissa Gavin

This month’s Inspiring individual started Lola’s Lucky Day, which is a non-profit dog rescue group in Houston. I know I know I know. I’ve already mentioned Lola’s Lucky Day in a couple of posts (here and here), but I just can’t help but be inspired by Larissa and her mission to help dogs. Although I’ve mentioned Lola’s before, I never really explained exactly what they do.

There are approximately 1.2 million homeless animals in Houston. Shelters are full, which means many dogs are put to sleep or left to fend for themselves. So where do you turn when there is nowhere else to go? Wisconsin. At least that’s what Larissa did. Larissa realized that although the shelters in her community were full, that wasn’t the case in other areas. So to Wisconsin she went with a van full of dogs. And just for a reference, it takes 18 hours to get from Houston to Milwaukee. 18 hours. Three women. 18 dogs. And one mission.

I had the opportunity to ask Larissa a few questions about Lola’s Lucky Day. I think you’ll find her pretty inspirational…

What inspired you to start Lola’s Lucky Day? And how did you take your idea and turn it into a non-profit? 

My sister adopted a dog from Corridor Rescue in November of 2013.  In December of that year we wanted to give back and find out where Fiona came from, learn more about the program.  That was a pivotal changing point in my life – to see the problem first hand with my own eyes when we toured the area where she was found.  I did not know just how bad the problem was here in Houston.

There is an area (like many pockets of Houston) 10 minutes from my office downtown where literally hundreds of dogs are homeless and fending for themselves on the streets.  I decided I had to do something about it.  Knowing that the problem in WI was nothing like this; in fact some shelters had very few dogs!!  (mainly due to education, laws being enforced, spay/ neuter programs, their mentality on how they value animals) I teamed up with my good friend Erin Housley from my hometown in Fort Atkinson.

Erin began Paddy’s Paws as a way to help facilitate finding great adoptive families for homeless pets not only in WI; but also to help these poor animals who would otherwise never have a chance in Houston.  Initially it started out as everything being personally funded.  However, we were running it like a rescue program and several people encouraged me to form a non-profit.  Lola’s Lucky Day became a reality and a 501c3 officially on January 8, 2015.

I decided on the name because whenever we are able to bring a dog into our program; it is truly their Lucky Day – it is the day their lives change!  I chose to make it Lola’s because she was one of the first puppies that I rescued and was adopted to an amazing family here in Houston.  She is the perfect example of a rescue pup’s life being dramatically changed for the best by our organization and she just so happens to be very photogenic as well.

Have you always had a passion for helping animals?

Yes I have always loved animals and helping them.  Our parents would never let us get a dog, so I think I might be making up for that now.  They have now also adopted a dog from me too!

I’m sure you’ve seen some heartbreaking situations while rescuing dogs. How do you stay positive and find the courage to keep doing what you do?

It can most definitely be heartbreaking at times; but I try to stay positive!  I recently saw something that said; If not you, who; if not now, when?  Knowing that we are making a difference for these pups, families that adopt them and changing the overpopulation problem in the city of Houston is my motivation to keep on doing it.  Nothing beats rescuing a dog and giving it a chance they never would have gotten.  Dogs know when you save their lives and don’t forget that.

It’s my passion and I will follow it!  Wine also helps 🙂

What has been your favorite moment with Lola’s Lucky Day?

Hearing from adoptive families and seeing pictures of pups we rescued; living amazing lives.  That is the most rewarding part of it all.  Here are some of the “soda pop” puppies who we rescued from underneath a vacant house.  They overcame mange and parvo and have amazing families in WI.

Lola's Lucky Day Rescues

Those faces!!!!!

What’s it like to travel from Houston to Wisconsin with a car full of dogs? What’s the biggest challenge? I’m guessing there are a lot of potty breaks…

Exciting!!  We are really excited for our first trip in our own vehicle.  The dogs actually do really well and sleep most of the way.  The biggest challenge is all the planning that goes into these trips!

What are a few things anyone can do to help the homeless dogs in their community?

Adopt/ foster/ donate/ volunteer/ advocate/ spread the word 🙂 

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Today Larissa has saved 125 dogs! This goes to show how much of a difference one person can make. Will you be the one?