For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


1 Comment

2015 Gifts That Give Back

Tis’ the season for giving! I’ve curated a fun list of gift ideas that give back in more ways that one. By giving these gifts, you’re also giving back to a great cause.

2015 Gifts That Give Back

 

1. The Gemma Hat by Krochet Kids: Krochet Kids supports women living in poverty in Northern Uganda and Peru by providing them with jobs, an education, and career counseling in order to create long lasting, sustainable change. This classic, gray pompom beanie is perfect for colder weather.

2. Dime Collection (tortoise frame with gold mirror lenses) by Diff Eyewear: These shades not only keep you from squinting on bright, sunny days, but also help to supply eyeglasses to rural areas in Africa. For every pair of eyewear that is bought through Diff Eyewear, a pair of eyeglasses is given (at no cost) to communities that do not have access to vision care.

3. Resilience Necklace by Made By Survivors: Made By Survivors provides jobs, education, and shelter to thousands of human trafficking survivors in Nepal, India, Cambodia, and Thailand. This particular necklace is inspired by vines that grow in Northern India. Like the women who make these necklaces, vines are very resilient. When you cut them down, they grow back even stronger.

4. Black and Gold Striped Vase by Ten Thousand Villages: Ten Thousand Villages is one of the world’s largest fair trade organizations. They are the founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization and strive to improve the lives of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. This vase is made with a traditional Peruvian technique, but the black and gold stripes give it a modern twist.

5. Nine West Cross Body from The Fashion Foundation: Recently Nine West donated over 300 bags to the Fashion Foundation. So if you want to get a good quality bag for a fraction of the cost while also supporting a good cause, this is the place to do it. The Fashion Foundation has donated over $10,000 to schools in need of basic supplies like pencils, crayons, uniforms, and basic gym equipment. You can read more about The Fashion Foundation in this interview I did with the founder, Amanda Munz.

6. Maria Poncho by Moorea Seal: Moorea Seal is an awesome store that donates 7% of profits to a variety of causes. This poncho combines comfort and style and gives back to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I call that a win-win-win. You can also check out my Moorea Seal gift guides from last year: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

7. Dark Chocolate with Peppermint Crunch by Endangered Species Chocolate: There’s no better winter combination than chocolate and peppermint. 10% of the proceeds from each bar go to one of two foundations Endangered Species Chocolate is currently partnered with: African Wildlife Foundation or The Xerces Society.

8. On Purpose Blue Leather Tote by Kate Spade: What girl doesn’t want to find a Kate Spade bag under the tree? This particular bag is from the On Purpose collection, which provides jobs, heath care, and fair wages to 150 women in Masoro, Rwanda. The end goal is to positively transform the entire community of over 20,000 people.

9. Tiny Treasures Lil’ Zip by Dogeared: The makers of this adorable pouch are a little different than the rest of the companies on this list. Dogeared is a certified B-Corp, which means it is a for profit company that is certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

10. In-Ear Wired Sport Headphones by SMS Audio: These headphones help support Feeding America, which is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization. SMS Audio was founded by 50 Cent so you know they’ll be stylish, yield high quality sound, and will be appreciated by the music lover in your life.


Leave a comment

How to Make Halloween Spooky AND Sustainable

Like many holidays, Halloween is not the best for the environment. Many of the things we buy prior to Halloween end up as waste once they serve their purpose for a night. Below I have curated some ways you can incorporate sustainability into your Halloween celebration.

Candy

Candy is the star of the Halloween show (or at least in my eyes it is). This year be conscious of your candy choice. But whatever you do, don’t give out raisins. No one wants raisins. Here are a few lists to help you pick out the perfect treat for your tick or treaters:

Sustainable Palm Oil

Organic Candy

Not into candy? Not a problem. Give out little treasures like festive pencils and erasers.

Trick or Treat Bag

Unfortunately at my age it isn’t socially acceptable to go trick or treating, but back in the day I was all about using a pillowcase for my trick or treating bag. While I didn’t do it for the sake of sustainability (I used it because it held a stupid amount of candy), without realizing it I was doing the environment a small favor by not using a plastic bag. But rather than using your mom’s nice, floral cases without her permission, make it into a fun DIY project. Get a blank, white pillow case and some decorations at your local craft store or use some supplies you already have at your house and go wild to create a fun, unique bag that you can use for years to come.

Costume

Remember that awesome costume your friend wore last year? Ask to borrow it! It will save money and the environment. Don’t like that awesome costume your friend wore last year? Make your own! Making your own costume is so fun and rewarding. Try using things you already have or going to a vintage store to find unique pieces. But the most important thing is to have fun with it. And when all else fails, just slap a pair of animal ears on.

Mean Girls Mouse

If you have a bunch of old costumes in need of a new home, you can donate them to WEEN DREAM which is a nonprofit that gives free Halloween costumes to children in need. I hope these tips will help you have a happy Halloween. Leave your Halloween tips and tricks in the comments below!


1 Comment

Friday Finds

Friday Finds 3.6.15

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

1. Love is love.

2. Northern California may be known for its wine, but it is also home to some awesome, natural beauty brands. 

3. After watching this I not only want to eat a massive amount of jelly beans, but I also want to make the most of my day. 

4. Fast fashion is out and slow fashion is in.

5. So what are you up to on Sunday around 1 o’clock (EST)? The correct answer is watching Emma Watson’s #HeforShe and Gender Equality discussion live on Facebook. I’ll bring the popcorn!


1 Comment

Lollipop Lollipop Oh Lolli Lollipop

What if I told you there was a lollipop that tastes good and is good for you? I know, I know. I’d be skeptical too, but hear me out.

I had no idea such a thing existed until my boyfriend’s mom (hi Theresa!) introduced me to Dosha Pops and the Ayurvedic lifestyle.

Now, I’m not a doctor and I’m still fairly new at this, but I would love to share with you what I have learned so far. I think it is exciting stuff.

The Ayurvedic lifestyle is all about being conscious of your individual body and needs. It is a 5,000-year-old science of natural healing with the theory that health exists when there is a balance between the three doshas, which are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Three Doshas

The doshas are dynamic biological energies found in the human body and mind that govern physical and mental processes. They constantly change in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, foods, the seasons, and any other sensory input that feeds our mind and body. To figure out your doshas you can take a quick quiz here or an extended one here.

Now how does all of this relate to lollipops? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Whether or not you follow or believe in the Ayurvedic lifestyle, Dosha Pops are still a great candy alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth. Dosha Pops was founded with the vision that candy doesn’t have to simply be a guilty pleasure. Instead it can be a way to lead a balanced lifestyle by having healthier indulgences. All of the lollipops are handmade with ingredients that support a healthier lifestyle and balance your doshas.

The lollipops are made with Non-GMO pure cane sugar, which may get you thinking, “Uh sugar? How can this be healthy?”.  While cane sugar is still sugar, it offers essential nutrients and minerals that refined and white sugars do not, such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron and B12.Cane sugar is also easier to digest and lacks the harmful chemicals often used in the refining process. On top of that each flavor hosts its own benefits from a variety of wholesome ingredients such as hibiscus, pomegranate, turmeric, and chai to name a few.

I tried the Chai Me Up pop and thought it tasted great! It was unlike any lollipop I’ve ever had. It definitely gets my stamp of approval. And while I may not be a health expert, I am a candy expert.

Dosha Pops

Dosha Pops also believes in giving back. In the past it has been a sponsor for the Women In Entertainment Luncheon, Mount Holyoke Club of NY, the New York Methodist Hospital Red Stocking Soiree, and Women Organized Against Rape. Last fall the people at Dosha Pops decided to run a non-profit nomination campaign to find an organization that best aligned with their company. They discovered Bent On Learning, which teaches yoga to public schools in New York City, and decided to give their end of the year donation to this organization.

So if you’re trying to get healthy this year, try incorporating Dosha Pops into your diet to satisfy sugar cravings. It’s much better than having a Snickers! And if you’re interested in learning more about the Ayurvedic lifestyle and diet, the book Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra is a great place to start.


Leave a comment

The Endangered Species Chocolate Ranking

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m kind of a chocolate expert (toot toot). My credentials don’t go beyond the fact that I eat A LOT of chocolate, but believe me; I know what I’m talking about.

I’ve seen these Endangered Species Chocolate bars every time I go to the grocery store and I thought it was about time I tried some. Yes, not just one, some.4 barsYou can probably tell by the brand name that Endangered Species Chocolate has something to do with endangered species. 10% of net profits go to species conservation, habitat preservation, and humanitarian efforts. Currently the donations go to the African Wildlife Foundation and the Xerces Society. But that is not the only great thing this company is doing.

They are Rainforest Alliance certified (ethical business standards), USDA Organic certified, and 30% of the packaging is made from recycled materials. Endangered Species Chocolate also tackles a problem I wasn’t aware of: palm oil. Below you will see the impact conventional palm oil production has on the world.

palm oil

Endangered Species Chocolate uses Agropalma, which is a certified sustainable palm oil committed to zero deforestation.

So after hearing all of these great things, the real question here is, is the chocolate good? And the answer is yes.

20140718-110621-39981527.jpg

Here is my ranking of a few (six!) that I tried from my most to least favorite:

Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans: I was a little surprised by how much I liked this one because I’m not usually drawn to coffee flavors. The sweetness of the chocolate and bitterness of the coffee compliment one another very nicely. 

Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint: This one was a close second. The mint flavor is subtle, but adds another dimension to the smooth, rich dark chocolate. I really like that the mint flavor is natural and doesn’t taste overly sweet or artificial.

Dark Chocolate with Raspberries: I will admit the raspberry flavoring isn’t very predominant, but the pieces of raspberry do add extra sweetness. I think this bar would be great for someone who normally indulges in sweet milk chocolates, but likes to mix it up with dark chocolate once in a while.

Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Toffee: This one has so much potential! The sad part is that the toffee bits are few and far between, but when you get a piece with a good amount of toffee in it, it’s goooooood.

Dark Chocolate with Blueberries- I may be a little biased on this one. Being from Maine (the leading U.S producer of wild blueberries) I have high blueberry expectations. Chocolate covered blueberries are sold by the carton up here and I was a little disappointed in the low blueberry to chocolate ratio. 

Dark Chocolate with Cranberries and Almonds: This is the only one I was actually disappointed with. The almond pieces are very, very tiny. Normally when I crave chocolate with almonds I’m looking for that extra crunch. You don’t really get that with these little shreds of almond. The cranberries add a little bit of flavor, but like the almonds, are very small in size.  

20140718-110620-39980881.jpg

There are a lot of other flavors available, but I had to limit myself to six. You can check them all out at the Endangered Species Chocolate website. If you try a flavor I didn’t get a chance to review, I would love to hear what you think!


4 Comments

Chocolately Responsible

Welcome to my first blog post!

First of all I will let you know that I probably love candy more than the next person. I have an abnormally massive sweet tooth. I could eat candy all day errrryyyday and I’m sure there have been days where I have. But of all the candies in the world, chocolate is usually my sweet treat of choice.

Sadly, there are some major problems with the chocolate industry, which include forced labor, human trafficking, and child slavery. If you would like to learn a little more you can watch a documentary called The Dark Side of Chocolate that came out in 2010. More recently there has been a social movement towards fair trade certified chocolate, which ensure that the chocolate is produced in an ethical manner. And that is precisely what Madécasse (pronounced MAH-DAY-KAS) does.

Madécasse is Fair for Life certified, but what makes it different from other fair trade companies is the fact that Madécasse grows AND manufactures their chocolate in Madagascar. Over 50% of the world’s cocoa is grown in Africa, yet roughly 1% of the world’s chocolate is made there.  Madécasse aims to change that and strengthen the economy in Madagascar by:

  • Creating well-paying jobs and market stability
  • Cutting the supply chain to decrease costs and increase farmers income
  • Training farmers and production technicians skills to increase quality and value of products

The founders claim that by keeping all of the production within Madagascar, their products create 4 times the economic impact than other fair trade chocolate producers.

Great stuff, right?!? Now let’s get to the fun part, how does the chocolate taste? I tried the Toasted Coconut on a whim. I’m normally not a huge fan of coconut (unless it is on my Caramel Delight Girl Scout cookies) and I must say I was pleasantly surprised! The bitter dark chocolate and the sweet coconut really create a great combination.

I’ve seen this chocolate at my local Hannaford and Shaws, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were sold at other grocery stores. The chocolate is a little pricey at around $6 per bar, but definitely worth it for the occasional treat or possibly a gift. If you can’t seem to find them in store or find a flavor you like, you can order the chocolate from their website. There are a bunch of cool flavors! To me the Citrus and Winter Spice both sound amazing and I hope to try them soon! What chocolates sound good to you?

Image