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Wednesday
Sep132017

Sandy Hook five years later: Celebrating VICKI SOTO

This December 14 with mark the 5 year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. 26 innocent lives were lost that day, including Vicki Soto, the 1st Grade school teacher who sacrificed her own life to save her students. Twenty children died, but so many more could've perished if it wasn't for Vicki's selfless actions. I can't even imagine.

I've recently partnered with Donna Soto, Vicki's mom, to help her raise funds for the VickiSotoMemorial.com – an organization Donna founded to keep Vicki's light shining onto future generations. I am humbled and honored to help Donna celebrate her daughter's life and raise money to promote her legacy of learning through local and national scholarships.  

We have a choice: we can choose to channel our unimaginable grief into something positive and good or we can perpetuate the darkness by living with negativity. We attract what we project. Donna has chosen the path of Good Grief and I'm honored to walk it with her. 

GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK

$5 of every handmade Vicki Soto CharityRagg Dish Towel sold directly benefits the VickiSotoMemorial.com. Each CharityRagg comes with a matching, reusable gift bag.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND ORDER

Each CharityRagg design in the Vicki Soto Collection was a careful collaboration with Donna to thoughtfully capture Vicki's spirit. I am touched Donna has entrusted me to help her raise funds and keep Vicki's spirit alive. Each CharityRagg dish towel is handmade by me with love and respect for what it truely represents.

There are four designs to choose from:

We have a beautiful watercolor flamingo and a kitchy lawn ornament flamingo to celebrate Vicki's passion for the pastel, leggy bird. If you look closely, you'll notice the flamingo's legs are crossed to represent the #4 – Vicki's birthday (Nov. 4, 1985). Also too, her name has been added as a subtle daily reminder. 

Vicki perpetuated positive energy and that lives on through her favorite saying on the "Live, Laugh, Love" CharityRagg dish towel. The Team Vicki Soto flamingo logo adorns the bottom of the Ragg.

The perfect gift for teacher's everywhere, the "It Takes A Big Heart To Shape Little Minds" CharityRagg represents Vicki's love of teaching. 

Finally, a quote directly from Vicki's FB page that embodies her love of life so poignantly:

“Take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ve never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantee, no time outs, no second chances. You just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.”

The perfect hostess gift, holiday gift, and daily reminder... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Aug152017

Gunned down. paralyzed. unstoppable. Please help buy a computer for Jermaine. 

If you've followed my blog, then you're familiar with the Boys of Beth Abe  a better name would actually be The Lost Boys of Beth Abe (Beth Abe: the nursing home where they were living).

Anyway, leaving the "Boys" to go after my dreams and reinvent myself was the hardest thing I've ever done, but it was because of them that I had the courage to do it in the first place!! How about that for heartwrenching irony! 

It's been a decade since Jermaine was gunned down in a senseless robbery, followed by a decade of constant perseverence, strength and courage. He received his first computer in 2007 and earned his GED from his hospital bed in a nursing home where he had to live. Against all odds, he just graduated college and now he's going for his Masters in Psychology! (Brooklyn College fall 2017)!! Please click on the link to read more. 

The computer I purchased for him in 2011 just imploded, literally. It got him through college, but barely. He desperately needs a new computer, so he can continue to pursue his dreams! The money I am trying to raise is for a 13" Apple MacBook Pro with a 3 yr Apple Care Plan. 

I'm running a startup right now, so I really need the power of the people to make it happen for him. If 100 people give $20 we can do it! Every single cent goes directly to Jermaine. Please help my little brother from a differnet mother continue to pursue his dreams.

Please click on link below to read his story and DONATE! $20 will change his life. 

 

Monday
Aug142017

Coaching and giving back with the Saugatuck Rowing Club :) 

This summer I was blessed to spend 6 glorious weeks teaching Bridgeport (CT) inner city kids how to row. As you can imagine, the experience was so much bigger and more important than just rowing. We didn’t just have a responsibility to teach those 14 beautiful young souls how to row, we also had (and more importantly) a responsibility to make them feel welcome and deserving. Anything is possible. 

My new company is of course my focus, but if there’s anything I learned from my quit eveything, quasi-off-the-grid, Girl Reinvented American experience, it's that a truly happy life requires balance. I loved the life I had created for myself on the west coast, but after losing my dad (unexpectedly), I was drawn back home – to the east coast. It was hard leaving my friends, my yoga studio and my Dana Outrigger ohana, but I found a perfect (new) home here in Westport, CT at the Saugatuck Rowing Club. I’m on the water rowing, I’m teaching yoga and I’m coaching kids. I'm part of a family again and it feels so amazing. 

Rowing has an elitist stigma, but the Saugatuck Rowing Club is working hard to change that. From the outside, the rowing club seems inaccessible, but it's the complete opposite. We are, and always will be, an all-inclusive and accessible community of rowers and (your average/sometime above average) gym buffs. I love it here for that reason!!! 

Here's a great article that was written by the popular Westport blogger, DAN WOOG 06880 :) 

CLICK HERE TO READ DAN WOOG'S 06880 BLOG POST

 

 

 

Wednesday
Aug022017

BADASS BROOKLYN ANIMAL RESCUE! 

BUY A DISH TOWEL & HELP SAVE AN INNOCENT ANIMAL! 

#DISHTOWELSWITHPURPOSE

Introducing my newest animal rescue CharityRagg collection! Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue

Add a little whimsy to your kitchen or give the perfect gift, that #givesback! $5 of every Badass Animal Rescue CharityRagg sold is donated directly to them! Each CharityRagg comes in a matching reusable drawstring gift bag. :

 

SAVING BADASS DOGS FROM IDOIT HUMANS


To visit their collection, click here: BADASS BROOKLYN ANIMAL RESCUE COLLECTION

 

 

XOXO,

 

Tuesday
Jul042017

4th of July! My Independence Day

4th of July will always hold special meaning for me. Seven years ago today, July 4, 2010, was my #IndependenceDay. The day my life would change, on every level, forever. The day I threw caution and conformity into the wind, let go and trusted my net. The day I stopped caring about what was expected of me. The day I decided to go after my dreams and create new ones. The day I decided to throw caution into the wind (along with my bank account and company) slow down and put myself first. A year guided by trust, faith in humanity, unrelenting optimism and self discovery. I let go of everything safe and emptied my vessel, letting a new world of experiences envelope me. A blank page. Anonymous. Writing my own story wherever my heart guided me. The greatest unplanned adventure of my life. 328 Days exploring #America. 

Stop waiting for life to happen to you. Go after it and never stop lighting your own fire. No one else can do it for you!

#seizetheday #girlreinvented #stronglikeagirl #blazeyourowntrail #328days

 

XOXO,


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 wherever 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's taken time to read her story and support her journey. You are not alone Erin. Your story of strength is a vehicle for awareness.

FACTS:

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 fact. 


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. 


XOXO,

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 am a Beginner Rowing Coach. SRC (Saugatuck Rowing Club) is a world-class rowing program with unbelievable coaching. Their elite juniors girls are National Champions 3 years in a row!!  :)

 


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