For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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Orange Harp 2015 Gift Guide (For Her)

Every year I make myself wait until after Thanksgiving to start thinking about Christmas. No Christmas decorations, no holiday music, no gift shopping until I have properly stuffed my face with turkey. And every year I find myself in a mad rush to find last minute gifts. This year I’ve decided to take a new approach. In respect for Thanksgiving, I will still keep the holiday tunes and décor to a minimum, but I am going to start thinking about gifts a little earlier to spare myself any last minute stress.

I thought I would help my readers out too by creating my first gift guide of the year. Last year my first seasonal gift guide revolved around a company called Orange Harp. For those of you who have never heard of Orange Harp, Orange Harp is a mobile app that serves as a marketplace for high-quality, ethically crafted, socially conscious products. They partner with brands that make things the right way. The thing I love most about Orange Harp is that they believe you don’t have to sacrifice quality or style to lead a conscious life.

Since my original gift guideOrange Harp has grown in many ways. They currently have partnered with 45 brands and sell over 4,000 products. Orange Harp has also updated their app with filter options for easier navigation. In my opinion, the coolest new addition is their Orange Harp Heroes program. They encourage users to send in their socially conscious tips and stories so Orange Harp can share them with the world. You can email you tips to life@orangeharp.com for a chance to win a $10 gift card.

All the products below are available on the Orange Harp app which you can download from the app store. You can click the links to learn more about each product and why they’re considered socially conscious. This is your lucky day because you can also save some money by using the code GREATERGOODS at checkout to get 15% off your entire purchase (valid through November 30, 2015). Happy shopping!

Orange Harp For Her Gift Guide 2015

1. Aasha Glass Cuff

2. All Natural Hand Cream Smoother

3. Arapahoe Red Button Down

4. Ring Holder

5. Presidio Tote

6. White Sage & Wild Mint Tea

7. Kiss Ring

8. View Sera Cosmetic Bag


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Splurge or Save: Shades

Welcome to my new installment: Splurge or Save. In these posts I will show you two conscious products in different price ranges. Sometimes it’s nice to splurge on a quality, high end product, but other times, like when you’re low on cash or trying out a new trend, it’s definitely nice to save.

So since the days are getting longer and spring is right around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to write about sunglasses. I am so happy that the sun is out when I drive home from work, but it’s kind of a new hazard I have to work around. I find myself constantly reaching for my sunglasses in order to avoid being blinded. Bet hey, I’d rather that than the depressing winter darkness!

 Stella Oversized Square

Today’s splurge is sunglasses from Stella McCartney. These sunglasses come from Sella’s sustainable eyewear collection. All of the shades from this collection are made from at least 50% natural and renewable resources. The frame of these glasses is made out of bio acetate plastic, which is made from wood pulp and cotton linters and is biodegradable. They will set you back a couple hundred bucks, but if you love em’, you can get them here.

Warby Parker Piper

The next pair is from the Warby Parker. There are a few cool things about this company. The first is, for every pair of glasses you buy, they donate a pair to someone in need. So far they’ve donated over a million pairs! The other cool thing is that they will send you up to five pairs (free of charge) to try on before making your purchase. These sunglasses still aren’t extremely cheap ($95), but the quality is definitely worth it. So if you’re trying to save today, check out these shades here.


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Tea Time

I’m switching things up today. You might remember back in September I had Karrie from Karrie Oasis write a guest post for my blog and I wrote one for her. Well we’re at it again!

Every Tuesday Karrie writes a Tea Time Talk post where she reviews all sorts of teas. If you’re a tea lover, you have to check them out. I wanted to get in on the fun and thought she’d write a great tea post for my blog. Karrie discovered a really cool brand called Numi and here is her complete review. You can also head over to her blog to see my post about a photographer who’s made it her mission to spread awareness and inspiration through art.

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I was so excited when Annie asked me to do another guest blog post, and even more excited when she wanted me to write about tea! She asked me if I knew of any conscious-type tea brands. To be honest I hadn’t really thought too much about it before she asked, and I was surprised I hadn’t. When I was in Target one day, I decided to check out the tea isle to see what they offered. I was not expecting much, but to my great, and wonderful, surprise, I did find something–Numi. It is exactly what I was looking for–a brand that was conscious about their packaging, their tea, as well as the people that are apart of every step of the process.Numi 1

Numi’s vision is found on their front page: Numi inspires well-being of mind, body and spirit through the simple art of tea. Our company is rooted in the principle of creating a healthful product that nurtures people and honors the planet. In all of our company initiatives, we strive to foster a healthy, thriving global community while bringing you the purest, best-tasting organic tea.

Packaging:

The packaging of Numi’s tea is eco-friendly. They use recyclable cardboard, which is printed with soy-based inks, and natural biodegradable filter tea bags. Most items can be recycled or composted. They have even won a bunch of eco awards because of these actions.

Tea and People:

Their tea is organic, and what that means is that they don’t use chemicals. They use 100% real ingredients, and no artificial flavors. From the very beginning, in the gardens that these teas are grown in, they are nurtured and are made with love. Since there are no harmful chemicals, it means that not only is it good for the consumer and the environment, but it is also good for the workers. Numi values the people who work for them. They do this by having Fair Trade Certified and Fair Labor Practices. All the teas have different certifications and stamps on their boxes because many come from different gardens around the world, including in India, China, and Egypt. Every worker in each garden community can vote democratically on how they use their Fair Trade funds, usually for things like education, health programs and sanitation. Even if a garden may not be certified, Numi makes sure they get Fair Labor by direct sourcing, which ensures quality of the products and the fair treatment of the workers. Numi even allows their own employees to have 4 paid hours a month to volunteer-how awesome is that?Numi 2

One cool initiative that Numi is also a part of is called H2OPE. This is a charity in which they are trying to help people who are in need of safe and clean drinking water. They explain how important water is to people all over the world especially in 3rd world countries and what they go through to obtain water, which is usually not safe to drink. I think this is such a great idea, especially for this brand. Because what does it take to make a cup of tea? That’s right…water. You can donate money on their website, and you can even host tea parties to raise money as well. If you want to learn more, watch this video.

Now, on to the teas. I bought the Rooibos tea and the Chocolate Pu-erh tea. Both are delicious. The Rooibos comes from South Africa and is a type of herb that calms and has a vanilla-y type flavor, but, of course, no artificial flavors here-it’s all natural. Rooibos is also caffeine free which is great when you want a nice cup of tea before bedtime. The Chocolate Pu-erh is really good as well. Very velvety and yummy. It has a combination of pu-erh tea, organic cocoa, vanilla beans, orange peel, nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s a great combination of flavors. And hey, skip that bowl of ice cream and drink a cup of this for dessert instead-you won’t have any regrets!Numi 3

I love that you can find this brand at Target. It is easily accessible to most, which is really great. Although they don’t sell all their products here, including they’re flowering teas (they look so cool), and loose leaf teas, they do have a generous selection and I definitely want to try more. Can’t find them at your Target? Use their store locator to see if they sell it somewhere in your area. You can also order other products from their website, and the prices are truly reasonable.

I am so glad Annie asked me to do this post. I will now be more conscious about learning where my tea comes from and it truly is exciting to see what companies like Numi are doing to help the people and the planet we call home!


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The Yoga Post

I started doing yoga about 6 months ago and as corny as it may be, yoga has changed my life. I can touch my toes now! But aside from that, I also love yoga for its peacefulness. I love that during each practice I am encouraged to only do what serves me, be conscious of my body, and declutter my mind. And I still get a good workout in!

So for all you yogis out there, I have put together a couple of conscious products that embody the thoughtfulness of yoga by giving back in different ways.

The Yoga Post

The Mat

“I am Free” Mat- Affirmat

Get it? Affirmat… affirmation? Clever. Life gets crazy sometimes and Affrimats are here to remind you to relax and stay positive. Each mat has a different saying on it that can serve as a reminder or mantra throughout your day. These mats are made out of a non-toxic, high quality, biodegradable blend that creates an ergonomically friendly and no-slip mat great for any yoga practice. They’re good for you and the environment.

Cimarron Mat (Cow Skull)- Wildlings Yoga

How funky, cool, and amazing is this mat? Each of these eccentric mats are named after and inspired by national parks. This one is inspired by New Mexican traditional folk art.

Wildlings Yoga believes in making the world a better place and being an example for others companies to give back. They truly embody the whole “be the change you wish to see in the world” thang. $3 from every mat sold is donated to Free Arts for Abused Children, which is a non-profit in LA.

The Treads

I’m Just Here For Savasana Muscle Tank- Spiritual Gangster

I mean let’s be honest, savasana is half the reason we drag our tired bodies through the cold to go to yoga class. Or is that just me? Anyway, Spiritual Gangsters believe in giving back every chance they get. All of the quirky apparel from Spiritual Gangster give back to national and international charities such as the Cambodian Children’s Fund, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Children’s First Academy, and Make a Wish Foundation.

California Dreaming Leggings- Zuvi

Believe it or not, the craziest thing about these pants isn’t the colorful print. These pants are actually made out of recycled water bottles. Crazy, right? Zuvi hopes to help the Earth become more sustainable by reducing waste in landfills… and making awesome leggings.

The Bling

The Doreen Bracelet- The Neshama Project

I love jewelry that has meaning, whether someone special gave it to you or it symbolizes something meaningful. The hamsa hand on this bracelet represents blessings, power, protection and strength. You can wear it on or off your mat to serve as a positive reminder. Also, 10% of each bracelet purchase goes towards an orphanage in Kaliro, Uganda. 

Ganesh Om Necklace- Relevee

This necklace design is a merge between the ‘Om’ symbol and Ganesh the elephant. It represents Zen. Even when you’re off your mat, this necklace can serve as a constant reminder to remain calm. I wrote about Relevee in one of my first posts, but as a refresher, the company works with women who have been rescued from human trafficking and 100% of the proceeds go to supporting human rights.


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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.


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It’s Nice To Receive, But Nicer To Give

I remember one Christmas when I was really young, I had just finished watching The Grinch (the original) and began understanding the “real” meaning of Christmas. I then I began preaching to my poor younger sister about the importance of giving during the holiday season.

Over the year the message became more clear and giving gifts is easily my favorite part of Christmas. I love surprising people with something thoughtful. I even went as far as making an Excel spreadsheet for gifts this year.

And in the spirit of the holidays and of giving, I have realized how important it is to give back to those less fortunate. Any time is a good time to give back, but I find a special importance during the holidays. I love the idea of holiday miracles and that anything can happen.

Whether you donate time or money, try to add giving back to your list this year.

In case you’re not entirely sure where to start, I’ll help you out.

There are 3 different geographical areas I consider when I research charities and nonprofits, which are: local, national, and global causes. I’ve put together some examples of each one to hopefully give you some ideas and inspiration. Happy Holidays!

The Grinch

Local

Find a cause that directly effects your community.

Animal Shelters, Libraries, Homeless Shelters, Support Groups, After School Programs, Park/Beach Cleanup, Environmental Research, Hospice, Museums

You can also look into locally run non-profits. For example there is a non-profit called Safe Passage, which helps children in Guatemala, but is run in my tiny, little hometown in Maine.

National

These causes operate nationwide.

Make A Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. If you haven’t watched the Bat Kid video yet, you gotta check it out.

The Project Night Night gives homeless children care packages filled with a new security blanket, an age-appropriate book, and a stuffed animal.

No More is a public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault.

The American Cancer Society is the largest nongovernmental funder of cancer research in the United States. They are working every day to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

American Heart Association helps to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Donations help fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information.

Global

These causes make the whole world a better place.

Habitat For Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. You can donate or volunteer your time to help build a house.

The World Wildlife Fund is the world’s leading conservation organization. Their mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

Project HOPE delivers essential medicines and supplies, volunteers and medical training to prevent disease, promote wellness, respond to disaster and save lives around the globe.

GlobalGiving is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money. This one for the Sunda pangolin (one of the most trafficked mammal in the world) really pulled at my heart strings.

Help stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by donating to UNICEF.  UNICEF is airlifting essential supplies, distributing vital health information and caring for children and families.

Heifer International helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.  You can give an animal which can provide wool, milk, eggs and more. It’s almost like donating a small business to someone. You can check out their gift catalog here.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Do you have any causes that are close to your heart? Share them in the comments below!


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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

$5.00