fabulous friday #33

Happy Friday, friends! This morning started off bright and early with a bowl of fresh fruit & vanilla greek yogurt — my favorite breakfast right now!

yogurt and banana

Before I move on, just a little reminder: tomorrow is the last day to grab a copy of my ebook “Lost and Found” for FREE! I’d love for you to read it! Here’s the link: 

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Last night I got to see Erica for dinner — I always love getting to catch up with this lovely lady! We went to a terrific Italian restaurant called Giannfranco’s Trattoria and split two of the chef specials of the night: ricotta cheese & sausage ravioli and veggie risotto with cream sauce. YUM! Neither of us had any room left for dessert, but the selection looked so delectable that we decided next time, we’ll just split a salad and then have dessert! Or maybe just skip the salad altogether 😉

2. Oh my goodness, YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK. My mom leant it to me and I finished it within two days. It’s called One Plus One and it’s by JoJo Moyes, the author of another book I loved, Me Before You. This is one of those books that makes you feel better about the world. I smiled, cried, and felt like I became close friends with the characters — I was sad to say goodbye to them all at the end.

jojo moyes one plus one

3. Speaking of crying… this video made me cry. It’s only three minutes, but I guarantee it will stick with you: Compassionate Homeless Man Shares Meal With Stranger When Others Wouldn’t.

4. Homemade applesauce! I made it for the first time based on this recipe from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean, and it turned out really well! It was much easier than I thought applesauce would be to make… all I did was peel and chop some apples, dump them into the crock pot with a bit of water and loads of cinnamon, cook on low for four hours, and then mash it all up with a potato masher. I was happy to use up some apples that were getting wrinkly and turn them into a really great, healthy snack!

homemade applesauce

5. These super-cool upcycled wallets, bags and totes made from former street banners by the company Upcycle it Now. They’re being offered as perks in a neat IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign that my sweetie Allyn & some of his classmates are holding to raise money for a humanitarian trip they are taking to Kenya with the nonprofit organization Zawadisha. You can snag one of these upcycled goodies by making a donation to the campaign through the end of September.

upcycled wallets

mens wallets

I’ll sign off with this from Murray: “Have a wonderful weekend!”

murray paws

Questions of the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

fabulous friday #32

Happy Friday! We have a busy weekend in store around here — an end-of-summer pool party, a book-signing event for my dad’s book Wooden & Me, cheering on my Trojans, plus the usual errands and weekend catch-up activities!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. My parents come home from Ireland today! I didn’t want to mention anything on here while they were gone, but I’ve been house-sitting/Murray-sitting for the past two weeks while they took a special anniversary vacation. From our brief email exchanges and Google Hangout chats, it sounds like they had an incredible trip and I can’t wait to hear all about their adventures and see their photos… and, of course, give them ginormous Welcome Home hugs!

lovebirds guinness

2. Early morning walks with Mr. Mur-dog! He is so excited about his walks, it warms my heart. His jaunty stroll down the sidewalk is so cute!

me and murray walk

I’m also loving my new running/walking shoes!

walking shoes

3. Big salads — I’ve been craving lots of veggies lately and these have been my go-tos for lunch and dinner lately. I’ve been throwing in some black beans and chickpeas for extra fiber and protein. Yum!

big salad

4. This fascinating article: “11 Things Humans Do that Dogs Hate.” I’ve definitely been guilty of a few of these {i.e. #2}… sorry, Mr. Mur! Now I know!

5. Just ordered this book on Amazon — HEADS YOU LOSE — and I’m really excited to delve into it this weekend! It’s a really neat twist on the murder mystery genre.

When collaborators Lutz and Hayward (former romantic partners) start to disagree about how the story should unfold, the body count rises, victims and suspects alike develop surprising characteristics, and sibling rivalry reaches homicidal intensity. Think “Adaptation” crossed with “Weeds.” Will the authors solve the mystery without killing each other first?

heads you lose

Questions of the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

clear out your closet clutter!

In the coming weeks, one of my goals is to get my bedroom closet organized! {I confessed earlier that I am a huge culprit of hiding my messes away behind cabinets and closet doors … like under my kitchen sink}

Here’s a “before” picture:

My first step has been sorting through my clothes, jackets and shoes and clearing out stuff I no longer use or need. My rule: if it’s in season {i.e. summer weather clothes} and I haven’t worn it in three months, it goes in the “donation” box. If I decide after a week or so that I want to keep it, I can keep it — but in my experience, once something gets out of my closet and into the “donation” box, I never miss it.

{If you have clothes in good condition, you could always try selling them on Craigslist, but since most of my clothes would probably only go for a couple bucks I prefer to save time and go the donation route.}

A tried-and-true donation option is your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store. I’ve also rounded up some charities that are looking for specific items that might be waiting right there in your closet for a new purpose:

Blouses, Blazers, Suits, etc:

  • Dress for Success: “The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”
  • Career Gear: “From its inception in 1999, Career Gear earned a reputation for helping men who are low income enter the workforce by providing business appropriate clothing. The basic offering of a suit was simple, but also powerful. For those men who were improving their work skills and employability, a clean, appropriate suit of clothing was another important tool in finding a job. To date, over 30,000 men have been served through the job readiness program.”

Dresses:

  • DonateMyDress: “The first national campaign designed to encourage girls around the country to donate their prom and special occasion dresses to those who cannot afford them for prom, sweet 16, quinceañera or formals. The site features a directory of local dress drive organizations across the U.S. that will enable girls to easily find out where in their local markets they can donate or receive a dress.”
  • The Fairy Godmother Project: “Help students in the Houston area who cannot afford to purchase a prom dress or tux. Each year we provide hundreds of students in the Houston area with free prom, graduation and Homecoming dresses and tuxedos. We collect donations year-round.”
  • Ever After Gowns: “A Minnesota based 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting Twin Cities-area young women by providing them with new and gently used formal gowns, shoes, and accessories to be worn to their high school prom. Our clients receive all the attire and accessories free of charge. The ‘Ever After Experience’ is not just about getting a free dress, we aim to provide a warm, friendly environment where each guest feels like a princess”

Shoes:

  • Give Running: “Give Running teaches youth, through running, the character traits and skills that serve as a foundation for success in all aspects of life. We share our love for running as well as the many benefits and opportunities running fosters — such as improved health, self-confidence, and new friendships — by collecting, cleaning, and then donating new and used running and athletic shoes to disadvantaged youth in developing countries and local inner-city communities. Together, we can make a world of difference to deserving youth from Los Angeles to Haiti to Africa by giving them a chance to lace ’em up and empowering them to take a step forward — and never stop running!”
  • The Fairy Godmother Project: dress shoes, heels, flats, etc.
  • Dress for Success: dress shoes, heels, flats, etc.

Bras:

  • Free The Girls: “When you donate a bra, you give a former slave a job. It is that simple. We work alongside safe houses around the world that rescue women from sex trafficking and provide rehabilitation services. Your donation helps survivors of human trafficking make a living selling used clothing while they recover and build their new life. We accept gently used bras of all sizes and styles, including athletic bras, nursing bras, and camisoles.”
  • Bras for a Cause: “We have an ongoing bra donation recycle program. We are a distribution center that sends out bras to shelters, breast cancer survivor support groups, charities and others all over the world all year long. Now you can recycle and find a home for your bras. No matter the size, type or condition we can find a place for them.”
  • The Bra Recyclers: “We are a textile recycling company focused on doing our part to recycle and reuse bras (textiles) that unnecessarily go to landfills. We have created and support a network of Bra Recycling Ambassadors who assist us in providing deserving women with used or unused bras as they transition back to self-sufficiency.”

Clearing out your closet clutter AND helping others? Doesn’t get much better than that!

Do you know of any charities that should be added to the list? Please let me know! Happy organizing!

-Dallas