Category Archives: Interesting

Friday Links 2012: Week 5

This week was so crazy. I hardly had time to check email and read my morning websites. In fact, I don’t think I read my normal allotment of sites a single day this week, so I apologize for the lame links.

As I said in my other blog, I’m not quite ready to share everything with Cyber Land yet, but I promise it will happen within the next few days.

Anyway, here you go:

And a picture from today just because I thought this tea was pretty.

(**Squeals!!**)

I hope your week was productive and that your February started out wonderfully!

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Friday Links 2012: Week 4

Hello Readers,

So sorry I didn’t post my Friday Links yesterday. This week has been pretty crazy. I haven’t really had time to relax, take a breath, or even think. I don’t want to tell you about it because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m crossing my fingers that some things come through for me.

Anyway, here are my favorite Tweets of this past week. Hope you enjoy them. You can see photos and different links on my other blog here 🙂

What stuck out about this week for you? Did anything exciting happen? Any big news?


Friday Links 2012: Week 2

Hope you had a fantastic week!

Click here to see more friday links (the non-professional ones… the “fun” ones if you will) and my photos of the week.

And just because this is so incredibly important, I have included it on both my blogs.


Friday Links 2012: Week 1

Welcome to the first Friday Links of 2012! I have just started using BufferApp which helps me schedule Tweets throughout the day, even if I’m not signed on to Twitter. That way, my Tweets aren’t all posted at the same time – in the morning when I do my big daily news binge.

Because I am now posting on Twitter a lot more, I will try to limit myself to 10-15 of my favorite links for the week, that way my readers aren’t inundated with every single post I put on Twitter. That would defeat the purpose, now wouldn’t it? Plus, if you want to see all of my Twitter posts, you can just follow me 🙂

P.S. If you like my Friday Links posts on this blog, you might want to check out my Picture-A-Day posts on my other blog: Rachel Discovers Happiness.


In Defense of Toms

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost a week. How lame am I?! I couldn’t let this blog go untouched for an entire week and have two Friday Links posts in a row – that would just be pathetic.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but couldn’t really find the words (plus I wanted to take some photos for it). It’s about the shoe (and glasses) movement: Toms*.

If you aren’t familiar with Toms mission statement, it’s simple: One For One. With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.

One of my Christmas presents from my mom was a pair of women’s “ash” Toms. Everybody I know has a pair of Toms. I liked the idea of receiving a pair of Toms for Christmas because not only can I wear them anywhere, but they are comfortable (oh so comfortable!), “cute” (I think the other benefits make them cuter than they would be otherwise) AND they help out kids who don’t have the means to purchase their own shoes.

I was so excited when I opened them, and my mom felt really good about gifting them to me. That is, until the first day I wore them in front of Philo. When I pointed out to my mom that I was wearing them, MJD piped in and mentioned that Toms are just about all his girlfriend wears – she likes how cute and comfortable they are. Then, Philo piped in… like he always does.

He started in on this rant about how Toms isn’t actually as great as everybody thinks it is. That the organization may help children, but actually harms the shoe producers and stores in the area that the shoes are handed out.

This is a habit of Philo’s that annoys us all, but have all learned to ignore. One of us says something and Philo jumps in with how we are wrong, then he informs us of the correct way to think about whatever situation we are talking about, and all of it is based off of some article that he read once. Eating meat? Humans are not built to consume meat, also, it’s not sustainable, also, you are consuming a carcass. (I’m sorry for that mental image, but imagine hearing that every time you eat meat) Donating to a charity? That charity isn’t as good as you think it is, the money doesn’t go where you think it does, plus, here is a list of all the vegan charities that actually make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Blah, blah, blah, blah… he goes on and on. Nobody else’s opinions are valid. He always finds a counter argument for everything we say. I could say that dogs like to be pet and wag their tails, and he would come up with a reason why I’m wrong.

Anyway, so this conversation thoroughly bothered the rest of us. When my mom and I got home, we sat down and did some research on Toms, their mission, and where the shoes go. I downloaded the Toms Giving Report and read it beginning to end, then saved it on my computer. I read blogs, articles, and opinion pieces on not only Toms, but other charities as well.

Page from the Toms Giving Report

My conclusion after all my research? Toms was about the best of the best as far as charities go. Your donation goes where they say it goes, and I can’t find anything to suggest otherwise. They aren’t asking you for money, they are asking you to purchase a pair of shoes for yourself so that you get something as well as the children you are helping. Children. NOT adults. Local shoe stores aren’t going out of business; Toms shoes go to children who wouldn’t be shopping at those shoe stores in the first place.

Shoes have value beyond being critical for physical health. Many schools in developing countries require shoes for attendance. And some soil-based diseases not only cause physical symptoms, but create cognitive impairment too, crippling a child’s long- term potential … Children who are healthy are more likely to be successful students, and access to education is a critical determinant of long-term success.

– Toms Giving Report

The shoes go to kids whose families don’t have the means to purchase shoes on their own. If the kids don’t have shoes, they aren’t able to go to school. If they aren’t able to go to school, they aren’t able to get an education. If they can’t get an education, they are less capable to pull their families and their countries above the poverty line. Toms makes sure that the shoes given to children follow their school’s dress code/uniform in order to ensure that the shoes accomplish what Toms wants them to. Toms also only makes shoes in sizes that are required by the children in need.

School children in Nairobi, Kenya wearing their Toms. (via: http://www.facebook.com/Toms)

Toms is not only giving these children shoes, Toms is giving them a future.

That might sound cheesy, but I firmly believe that it is true.

Toms gives shoes in places such as Argentina, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zambia, to name a few. These locations aren’t picked at random. Toms and its affiliates do lots of research to make sure that the the children receiving the shoes are deserving and that the shoes will make a difference. Toms doesn’t use any child labor in the production of its shoes and the organization works with its partners around the world as well as businesses where the shoes are delivered whenever possible.

Recently, Toms has expanded from shoes to glasses. I guarantee there will be further expansion in the future. I’d keep my eyes open if I were you.

Anyway, I apologize for this rant. It just really frustrated me and I thought that I would share my thoughts with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Have you done any research on Toms or other charities? Where are your favorite places to donate? Do you have any opinions that parallel Philo’s mentality?

*FYI: TOMS stands for “Shoes For a Better Tomorrow”

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Toms or any of its affiliates. The opinions stated in this post are 100% my own.  


Powerful Images Of 2011

As part of my morning news ritual, I always go on my phone first and look at the articles that are listed as the morning’s top stories. I then bookmark them, move to my computer, and read the news stories that get sent to my e-mail account. One of the stories I saw this morning caught my eye, but then I got distracted and didn’t have a chance to read it.

When I got home from dinner with my step mom, a friend had posted the link to that exact story on my Facebook wall. I’m so glad that she did. Not only did I get the chance to read the article: The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011 published by BuzzFeed, but I was blown away by the impact each of the images made on me.

Now, you probably don’t know this about me because, well, this is only the fourth (?) post on my blog, but I really like to take pictures. I believe that pictures can convey emotion and say so much that an article or even a video can’t. It’s so powerful to look at a photograph and feel the strength of whatever emotion floods you when your eyes first scan the image.

As I was scrolling through this photo article, I was flooded with so much raw emotion as I reflected on the biggest news stories and events that occurred during the past year. Not only is it dumbfounding how cruel human beings can be to each other (terrorist attacks, pepper spraying protesters, etc.), it is also amazing how much love pours out for that same exact race (gay marriage laws being overturned, the dedication of a dog to his fallen owner, etc.) I also find it fascinating, that amidst all that hate, love, and destruction, something always comes along to make us feel small again, unify us in the human race, and put everything into perspective… and no, I’m not talking about Harold Camping’s predictions about the Rapture. I’m talking about the earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, and malnourishment that touches the lives of so many around the world.

My heart sincerely goes out to all the people pictured in the photographs (with the exception, maybe, of Harold Camping… I kid, I kid).

I strongly encourage you to take a bit of time out of your day to look at these pictures. You will not be disappointed. Here is the link again, just in case you missed it before: The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011


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