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Monday
Jun052017

HOPE FOR ERIN: PEDIATRIC CANCER AWARENESS

Social media has changed the way we give and raise awareness. It brings together desperate, passionate, like-minded people to rally behind causes and enact change. From where ever we are, with just a few clicks, we can sign a petition or send money halfway across the world. Heart wrenching stories fill our news feed, from human created catastrophes, natural disasters, sex trafficking, human rights atrocities, childhood cancer, abused dogs – the list is endless. We can't support every type of cancer research. We can't save every dog. We can't feed every child. We respond to the causes that strike a nerve, and tug at our hearts. We must speak up when it matters.

This matters. "Hope for Erin" is personal. Erin is my sister-in-law and the most courageous person I know. The hope and perseverance she maintains is super human. 

Erin has been battling brain cancer (optic nerve meningioma) since she was 8 years old. She lost vision in her left eye and spent the next two decades in and out of hospitals. Earlier this year, she was plagued with yet another more aggressive tumor. This time, the cancer is unresponsive to chemo and she is now completely blind. Erin is learning how to live as a blind person while simultaneously undergoing high-dose stereotactic radiation and immunotherapy to HOPEfully stop the growth of her tumor. F*cking brutal. Her story is one of perseverence, HOPE and strength. 

I can't take Erin's pain away, but hopefully I can give her a reason to smile. Erin is so grateful to everyone that has taken time to read her story and support her journey. You are not alone Erin. Your story of strength is a vehicle for awareness...

In childhood cancer is the number one cause of death by disease. In fact, it is responsible for more deaths than all other diseases combined.

Childhood cancer research is vastly under funded, receiving only 4% of U.S federal funding.

Thank you Erin, for shedding light on these facts. 


As you can imagine, Erin and her husband Pete are financially broken. In hopes of relieving some of their financial burden, I created and launched the Hope for Erin CharityRagg Dish Towel (As for Me, I will Always Have Hope Psalm: 71:14) January 2017. While the financial toll is exasperating, I could care less what they do with the money. As far as I'm concerned, if she decided to say "screw you' to her bills and buy a kickass dress instead, so she could see her beautiful reflection in the mirror one last time – that's WAY better.

I just added the Hope for Erin Yellow Ribbon (pediatric cancer) CharityRagg to her collection. Erin has dedicated her life to helping children as a dedicated teacher, a self-less volunteer, and a passionate legislative lobbyist for pediatric cancer research. 

We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone. 

Let Erin's story be a reminder to us all to hug our loved ones a little tighter, be kinder to each other and never take a second for granted. Breathe with your eyes – for Erin. 

EACH CHARITYRAGG IS $15 AND COMES WITH MATCHING GIFT BAG. $5 FROM THE SALE OF EACH CHARITYRAGG BENEFITS HOPE FOR ERIN. YOU CAN ORDER CHARITYRAGGS HERE 

 

Monday
May292017

Memorial Day 2017: Live Big. Love Hard. Be Grateful.

I don't come from a military family, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the sacrifice. Today I'm remembering Linda and the other military wives, whose husbands were all deployed, that took me in for Thanksgiving dinner (in Colorado) during my Girl Reinvented camping sabbatical in 2010. That experience, like so many others, opened my eyes to a world outside my own sheltered NYC bubble. I penetrated and absorbed one uniquely special subculture after another. Experiencing life through their eyes helped me understand the hardship and sacrifice those left behind go through. Most things are bigger and more important than me, and it's important I never forget that. 

Our time here on earth is so precious and short, and to think we are surrounded by men and women that walk directly into danger, willing to sacrifice their own short lives, so the rest of us can be free. We are so lucky. That level of courage, selflessness and sacrifice is unparalleled. It takes an extremely special person to be that brave. 

It was late November 2010 when I met Linda, a petite concert violinist, at NRA training in Colorado Springs, CO. Our paths leading to NRA training were different, but similar. Her husband had been deployed and her loving, safe landscape at home had now been replaced with unsettling echos. 

For me, the camping landscape had changed. The safety I felt surrounded by the busy laughter of families and crackling fires, had been replaced by the cold, empty and unsettling off-season. 

It was late October around 11pm. I had returned back to my campsite in Steamboat Springs when the .45 I had purchased from a traveling preacher in Coram, Montana, and swore not to touch before training, saved my life. As my attacker came toward me, it was my visceral reaction to lunge for my gun. I knew it wasn't loaded, but he didn't know that and I certainly wasn't going to tell him. Staring down the barrel of a .45 was enough to scare him off.

The events of that day led me to take an immediate detour, and that's where I met Linda, in Paradise (Paradise gun training that is). I'm grateful to be alive and I'm grateful for meeting Linda and the other military wives. I'm thankful for all of my experiences: the good and the bad, collectively, shape my new outlook and approach to life. This story isn't about a gun or the NRA (so don't judge), it's a metaphor for taking control of your life and embracing every single moment. Be fearless and be empowered. You can either be a spectator or a participant. Life is too short to waste time sitting on the sidelines. Linda and I both chose to be empowered. 

This Memorial Day let's take a few minutes to pause what we're doing and remember how lucky we are. We must never take our freedom for granted. I'm able to write this blog and run my own company because of the sacrifices of others. Let's honor the fallen by being kind to each other and grateful. And if you don't experience it already, train your brain to be content. I think the ability to be content is by and large what we're missing most as a society. Appreciate what you have right in front of you and stop wanting and judging. Life is too short to waste time on appearances, material things and what other people think. 

Keep your circle close and love them hard, but remember to step outside your bubble too. We are all more alike than we are different.  

Live big. Love hard. Be grateful. 


Friday
Apr282017

GIRL REINVENTED + SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY

Introducing my newest CharityRagg Collection: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society! $5 of every CharityRagg sold aids in their commitment to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans. I'm so proud to partner with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, one of a very few organizations that use direct-action tactics to save innocent wildlife. 

NINE (9) CHARITYRAGGS AVAILABLE. SHOP THEIR COLLECTION HERE: DISHRAGGS.COM

We love Sea Shepherd! 

Btw: to clarify, I'm an "Assistant" Beginner Rowing Coach. SRC (Saugatuck Rowing Club) is a world-class rowing program with unbelievable coaching. Their elite juniors are top in the country!!  :)

 

Wednesday
Apr262017

Shop Camping World! Buy my dishtowels & why I blame Richard Branson & Martha!

It's Springtime and that means it's time to go camping! My Girl Reinvented® line of DishRaggs Dishtowels are available at CampingWorld.com!!!! I did it! Handmade in the USA!! Perfectly imperfect!!! :) So much love, sweat and tears (literally) went into each one so please go buy them and hold onto them -- they'll be collector's items some day!! What's it really like to start a company from a garage and land a huge account before selling your first towel? Oh my! I've learned so much in this process! I love you Camping World :) 

Visit my online store for my full line of dishtowels and charitable dishtowels, CharityRaggs.com ($5 of every dishtowel sold goes to charity!) DishRaggs.com & charityRaggs.com

Thursday
Feb162017

MEET HEATHER BAKER • ELUSIVE MUSE JEWELRY{

[Interview] Over the next year, you will see the Girl Reinvented paradigm change (as well as an updated website), as I gravitate away from talking about a singular (my) reinvention, to celebrating bad ass women everywhere who are boldly and bravely reinventing their lives – one courageous stiletto at a time! 

Sitting high in the food chain with her coveted law degree (the apogee of scholastic achievement), Heather decides to throw caution into the wind (along with her bank account) and pursue her true north... jewelry design. #LionHearted

Vintage beading, lustrous hand woven silks and rich suedes are just a few of the raw materials used to create Elusive Muse handcrafted wearable art. 

Meet #GirlReinvented Heather Baker, of Elusive Muse Jewelry, and be inspired... (promo discount at the bottom!)

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb142017

How to cut a pomegranate (SORT OF)! 

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! 

In honor of V Day, I thought I'd repost this extraordinarily corny "how to" video of me cutting a pomegranate (I made last year, during my consulting days for Blue Ice Vodka) with a very dangerous knife! Ready to make a festive pomegranate martini for your honey, but don't know how to cute the confusing fruit? Here's my video. I'm not sure it will actually help.... but I tried. xoxo

 

Wednesday
Feb082017

Bao Bao Panda Dishtowels that #GiveBack!

Did you know there's less than 1,800 Giant Pandas left in this world?!

In partnership with Pandas Internationalour newest CharityRagg is in honor of beloved Bao Bao, the first surviving cub at Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute​, who will be moved to China in a couple weeks for a cooperative breeding program with China Wildlife Conservation Association. As per their agreement with CWCA, all pandas born at the Smithsonian National Zoo will be sent to China before their 4th birthday to breed.

Bao Bao has won the hearts of tens of thousands of panda lovers around the world who've watched her grow up on the zoo's panda cam. She will be dearly missed, but her contribution to the global giant panda conservation effort is immeasurable! Thank you, Bao Bao!

$5 of every #SaveThePandas Bao Bao CharityRagg purchased will benefit Pandas International​! #panda #baobao #dishtowelswithpurpose #girlreinvented #stronglikeagirl #startup #pandaconservation #giantpandas

ORDER YOUR BAO BAO CHARITYRAGG HERE

More Panda CharityRaggs will be added in partnership with Pandas International so stay tuned! 

CLICK HERE FOR BAO BAO'S DEPARTURE FAQS 

Monday
Jan022017

Drink more water with the Waterlogged app! 

Because not everything can be about #DishRaggs (as much as I'd like it to be), I'm sharing a new app (new to me anyway) that I LOVE! It's the perfect & healthy way to kick off the 2017! We all know drinking enough water helps our skin look brighter, our hair softer and our hangovers less aggressive, yet we still struggle to drink enough! 

Alas, I introduce you to the Waterlogged app! I copied this handy dandy cheat sheet from SlenderKitchen.com to give you an idea how much water you should drink on a daily basis. Obvioulsy drink more if you excercise, and if you live in a high altitude, but this is a good baseline formula! 

Here's a link to the Waterlogged app http://waterlog.gd/


Here's the a slightly more detailed formula: 

  1. Your weight: The first step to knowing how much water to drink everyday is to know your weight. The amount of water a person should drink varies on their weight, which makes sense because the more someone weighs the more water they need to drink. A two hundred pound man and 100 pound woman require different amounts of water every day.
  2. Multiply by 2/3: Next you want to multiple your weight by 2/3 (or 67%) to determine how much water to drink daily. For example, if you weighed 175 pounds you would multiple that by 2/3 and learn you should be drinking about 117 ounces of water every day.
     
  3. Activity Level: Finally you will want to adjust that number based on how often you work out, since you are expelling water when you sweat. You should add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out. So if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you would add 18 ounces of water to your daily intake.
Friday
Dec302016

Scariest moment as an entrepreneur?

The scariest moment as an entrepreneur launching a new product?

That moment your product finally goes live.

You wait.

Will people order?

You hold your breath.

And you keep holding your breath. 

You're starting to turn blue. 

Then it finally happens. 

The shopify alert goes off on your dashboard. Your FIRST order. 

Wow, it's really happening.

Nervous butterfiles mixed with excitement as you drop your first order at the post office.

What will they think? Will they love it as much as you do?

You wait.

And wait.

Everything you've worked for hinges on this moment. 

You hold your breath some more.

And wait.

Will they tell you what they think or do you have to ask. Awkward. 

More waiting.

Finally, unsolicted feedback. 

OMG they love it! They really love it! 

Wow. This is really happening. Big sigh and breathe. There's no better feeling in the world.  

 Here's a few photos of my #DishRaggs shared by happy customers. I feel so blessed. :)  

DishRaggs.com

 

Thursday
Dec292016

2017: Challenge yourself, set goals and be specific! 

It's New Year's Resolution time and that means it's time to write down your goals!

If you charge through life in a positive direction with a positive attitude, setting positive goals – good things will happen, organically. Most times that philosophy has worked really well for me, but now that I'm running my own company, I'm realizing how crucial it is to set specific goals. Not just goals, but specific goals – that are measurable and achievable.

A business plan? Never in my wildest dreams did I think my brain could muster such a thing. 

This past May I traveled down to visit a friend in Philadelphia. My new business idea was in its early embryonic stage, but I was excited to share my vision nonetheless. This man, who shall remain nameless, has always been one of my biggest fans and harshest critics. Our debates are always colorful, thoughtful, and contrapositive – each taking our own opposing, circuitous route to get to the same conclusion (usually). Me, a big bright ball of sunshine, and him, Darth Vader. We are wildly different, but I've learned to appreciate his unrestrained pessimism, even seek it. No matter what, he'd always tell me the truth. To be successful, you need a good dose of healthy criticism. "Healthy" being the operative word here. 

Click to read more ...