For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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Inspiring Individuals: Malala Yousafzai

This month’s Inspirational Individual is Malala Yousafzia. If you haven’t heard yet, last week ten people were sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the 2012 attack on Malala. And in other news, by some crazy coincidence, last week I also finished reading Malala’s book, “I Am Malala”. Honestly, it took me a while to get through this book. Not because I didn’t like it, but more because I dedicated most of my time this winter to watching Netflix instead of reading and being a real person. Over time I picked away at the book and learned something new each time I picked it up.

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For those of you unfamiliar with Malala’s story, get your head out from under that rock. No, just kidding. I’ll give you a little background. Malala is from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, which she describes as a “land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children”. But Malala’s father was different than most and raised her just like he raised his son. He strongly encouraged his daughter to go to school, study hard, and plan for the future.

As you can imagine, many girls in Swat weren’t given the same opportunities as Malala. Many dropped out of school because they couldn’t afford it, their parents’ beliefs, or they were forced to get married. Things became worse for the girls in Swat when Talibanization spread through the valley and girls were told they should be forbidden at schools. The Taliban began bombing schools, killing teachers, and threatening students.

Although many girls became afraid to go to school, Malala never let fear get in the way of her education. She continued to go to a secret school with her books hidden under her shawl. She began giving speeches, radio interviews, and writing a blog for BBC about her experiences in Pakistan and the importance of accessible education for everyone. The Taliban later targeted and shot her for speaking out against them.

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Her book gives you a firsthand experience of how war and radicalized religion can sweep through and destroy a region. Malala also gives you a look at the culture of Pakistan. She has great pride in her country and openly shows you the good, bad, and everything in between. One thing that really struck me was how ‘normal’ she seemed. She reads “Twilight”, likes to sleep late, has fights with her younger brother, and gets stressed over exams. She also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, but besides that, fairly normal.

There are also times throughout the book when it’s hard to believe she is just a teenager. Her book is so clearly articulated and promotes profound wisdom.  It is hard to believe she is only 16 when she drops incredible knowledge such as: “I’ve always been a daydreamer, and sometimes in lessons my mind would drift and I’d imagine that on the way home a terrorist might jump out and shoot me on those steps. I wondered what I would do. Maybe I’d take off my shoes and hit him, but then I’d think if I did that there would be no difference between me and a terrorist. It would be better to plead, ‘OK, shoot me, but first listen to me. What you are doing is wrong. I’m not against you personally, I just want every girl to go to school.’“. Her book is filled with inspiring tidbits like this.

There are so many lessons embedded in this book. Malala’s exuberantly positive outlook on life and sincere mission to promote accessible education are incredibly inspiring. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this incredible young woman.

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Fashion Foundation Gifts That Keep Giving

gift of education

A few months ago I did an interview with Amanda Munz about her wonderful non-profit, The Fashion Foundation. I think it’s about time for an update on some of the amazing things she’s been up to since then.

November 13th marked the one year launch of their website. After that The Fashion Foundation hosted their very first annual kick off fundraiser and I would say it was a pretty big success. They sold out! Over 130 people came and over $6,000 was raised for their next school partnership. They had raffle donations from some pretty cool peeps like Calvin Klein, Michael Stars, and Dream Hotel. They even had desserts donated from bakeries throughout New York. Sounds like a pretty great time to me!

Currently, The Fashion Foundation is working on their third school partnership, which is a middle school in Queens. Because of budget cuts, the art classes at the school struggle to supply students with the necessary materials. The Fashion Foundation is donating $750 worth of art supplies to allow the students a chance to freely express their creativity.

Once The Fashion Foundation reaches that goal, it just keeps going! They are in the process of finding two new schools to partner with. So far they have worked with one elementary school and two middle schools, but Amanda is hoping to extend all the way up to high schools.

The Fashion Foundation has also partnered with AmazonSmile, which will donate .5% of your Amazon purchases to The Fashion Foundation. It’s so simple! Just click here to get started. I know you’re going to buy one holiday item on Amazon this year!

Aside from making donations, there are two other fun ways you can help the cause. One way is buying gifts that give back. There are so many gift options available online and they’re all affordable options!

give that gives backBut if you’re like me and already finished your Christmas shopping because you are a gift giving nut case, then why not buy something for yourself? With holiday parties galore and New Years right around the corner (yikes!), you should treat yourself to a new outfit! If you’re looking for something fashionable, then you’ve come to the right place. Amanda put some awesome ideas together that might just get your creative juices flowing…

holiday looks

Michael Kors Red Dress $79.50 $24.00 / Starfish Necklace $32.99 $15.00 / Aldo Black Clutch $35.00 $9.00 / Elle Nude Heels $59.99$16.00 / Kenar Black Sparkle Top $42.00 $10.00 / Forever 21 Houndstooth Skirt $15.00

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7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike. Guess what day it is. EARTH DAAAAAYYY! If you didn’t already know, tomorrow (April 22nd) is Earth Day!!! And in honor of it, I have put together a list of 7 awesome things you can do to celebrate.

1. Walk/Bike/Carpool- Choose today to be conscious of your transportation. Walk to school. Or skip the gym and go for a bike ride. Or get all your work friends together and set up a carpool to work. I recommend listening to Backstreet Boys at full volume during your ride because nothing gets you pumped up for the day like belting out “I Want it That Way”.

2. Change yo light bulbs- If you don’t already use eco-friendly light bulbs, ride your bike (or drive if you must) to the nearest Home Depot and check out their light bulb selection. They have light bulbs that use up to 85% less energy than regular bulbs. That means you will be saving precious energy and $$$$$. Win win.

3. Buy a piece of the rain forest- When I was in 2nd grade we did a big unit on the rain forest. We learned about its importance and made up songs about unique rain forest species. At the end of the unit we put on a concert for our parents where we sang all the songs we wrote and at the very end we sang Amazon by The Nylons (I encourage you to take a listen HERE). Our teacher even brought in tissues because she said in the past the song had been so powerful it has made parents cry. I was oddly excited by the idea of making adults cry and belted out my part as emotionally as I could, but unfortunately no water works. Listening to the song now, I realize how powerful the words actually are. With that being said you can purchase and protect your own little piece of the rain forest HERE.

4. Go vegan for the day- Meat production generates large quantities of greenhouse gasses, which are bad for the environment. Therefore, cutting back on meat consumption is good for the environment.  I will award bonus points if you are able to make all your vegan meals without any electricity! Did you know Oreos are vegan…

5. Block your junk mail- Too many trees are being cut down and used to annoy everyone. But alas! There is a way to end the madness! TrustedID is an online service that can help you get your name omitted from mass marketing mailing lists. You can sign up and learn more HERE.

6. Plant something cool- I feel like planting a tree is the most common Earth Day activity. But this year, add a little flare and check out these crazy cool plants for some inspiration.

7. Donate to the Earth Day Network- Earth Day is more than just a day. It is also a network of over 22,000 partners around the world that organize, extend, and encourage the environmental movement. The current core programs they focus on today are: Greening Schools and Promoting Environmental Education, Accelerating the Global Green Economy, A Billion Acts of Green, The Canopy Project, Earth Day India, Campaign to protect the Asian Elephant, and The Green Cities Campaign. You can read more about these projects on their website. And if you would like to make a donation to the Earth Day Network click HERE.

So there you have it. Go out and have some fun while making the world a healthier place! And if you have some activities that were not on the list, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Earth Day