The Do Good Gift Guide

 

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Instead of buying unnecessary crap like this, consider doing some good this holiday season. I thought about putting together another round of traditional gift guides, but with the state of our country and the world right now, it seemed fitting to do something a little more meaningful. And the older I get, I find my list isn’t as long as it used to be and the idea of giving and receiving a ton of material things seems silly when so many people truly need help. So I’ve put together a list of my favorite (and highly rated/accredited) charities that could use some love this holiday season.

Veterans:
Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust
About: The DAV Charitable Service Trust supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs that provide direct service to ill, injured, or wounded veterans.
Donate

Puppies Behind Bars
About: Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.
Donate
*This helps so many people and animals from all walks of life. How can you go wrong?

Families and Children:
National Pediatric Cancer Foundation
About: The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research to eliminate childhood cancer. Our focus is to fund research to fast track less toxic, more targeted treatments by partnering with 20 leading hospitals nationwide.
Donate

Ronald McDonald House
About: Our network of local Chapters has been making children happier and healthier by keeping families close – giving them a place to rest and refresh. A place that feels like home. These programs, tailored to meet the urgent needs of each community, can now be found in more than 63 countries and regions across the globe.
Donate
*This was our sorority’s charity during college and seeing the smiles on the families faces when we’d show up to clean, cook (or just listen) at the RM Houses was priceless.

International:
American Refugee Committee  
About: Providing humanitarian assistance to millions of beneficiaries for over 35 years. We help people rebuild lives of dignity, health, and self-sufficiency.
Donate

Amigos International 
About: The Vision of AMIGOS is “A world where each young person becomes a life-long catalyst for social change.” AMIGOS works towards this vision by inspiring and building young leaders through collaborative community development and immersion in cross-cultural experiences.
Donate
*My sister did this program and my mom has volunteered for them for years.

Pencils of Promise:
About: We believe every child should have access to quality education. We create schools, programs and global communities around the common goal of education for all. 100% of online donations go to PoP programs.
Donate

Animal Welfare:
ASPCA
About: Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization.
Donate

Susie’s Senior Dogs:
About: Susie’s Senior Dogs is 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to bring awareness to and increase senior dog adoptions. Homeless senior dogs have one of the hardest times getting adopted simply because of their age. People fear adopting an older for a variety of reasons, but we’re here to tell a different story. Senior dogs have so much love to give!  And although it’s true that you might have less time together than you would when adopting a puppy, a senior dog makes up for it with their appreciation of being given a second chance. There’s nothing like earning the love an older animal.
Donate

City Dogs and City Kitties:
About: City Dogs Rescue rescues adoptable dogs and cats in overcrowded and high-kill shelters, where resources are severely limited. We offer a lifeline to as many of these wonderful animals as possible. Sadly, many of the dogs and cats that City Dogs Rescue takes are just days — and sometimes hours — away from being euthanized for no reason other than lack of space. By finding these animals permanent and loving homes in the DC metropolitan area, we can enrich lives of humans and their pets.
Donate
*This is a local rescue organization in DC and it’s where I adopted my dog, Plum!

CARE: 
About: The Center for Animal Research and Education is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to education, research, rescue, and long-term care for exotic animals. Located on 20 acres in Bridgeport, TX, CARE currently provides a permanent home to over 40 animals including mountain lions, African lions, tigers, black and spotted leopards, bobcats, ring-tail lemurs, llamas, and a coati.
Donate

Where to find more worthy causes:
Charity Navigator

Charity Watch

If you still want to get a physical gift but donate to a cause while you’re at it, consider companies that do so as part of their business operation:

Live Fashionable
Toms
Warby Parker
The Company Store
Pura Vida
Feed
Global Goods Partners
House of Light
Ten Thousand Villages

OR shopping through Amazon Smile. 

2015 Christmas Decor Part II

If you missed yesterday’s Christmas Decor Part I post, check it out here. Now, onto the bedroom decor and most importantly, the tree!

The Bedroom: Kept it pretty simple and minimalist in here, just a tiny tree, a few ornaments and a wonderful-smelling candle:IMG_9679IMG_9676

IMG_9685 IMG_9686    IMG_9688  If you haven’t already seen on Instagram, this is my first real ‘normal sized’ tree! The past couple years in my old studio apartments, I’ve only had space for the tiny 2-3 foot tabletop trees. They were easy and adorable but I was so happy to have the space this year in my new place.

Hauling it in a zipcar, then up to my apartment, getting it in the tree stand, etc was a bit of a nightmare but after the tree decorating was finished, I’m happy to say it was well worth it ! Here’s a little peek from my dining room mirror:

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This was what it looked like when I finally hauled it in and managed to get it upright!

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Then, after the lights were added…

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And the ribbon…IMG_9596 IMG_9597

And finally, the ornaments! I love how it turned out and I wanted to keep it fairly simple this year, without going too ornate.

IMG_9610IMG_9627 IMG_9625 IMG_9621 IMG_9616 IMG_9618 IMG_9613 IMG_9615 Notice anything missing? I’ve had a bit of a tree skirt saga…

I ordered one from Target for store pickup several weeks ago, then was told it was no longer available, then I was out of town for a bit, finally decided on ordering something completely different from Overstock and it’s taking forever to ship… hopefully supposed to arrive this weekend. It will be a miracle if I get it on before Christmas at this point! Anyway, I love how this tree turned out and with all my travel this month, I definitely plan on keeping it up for a couple weeks in January 🙂

2015 Christmas Decor Pt I

Finally finished my holiday decor for this season! I meant to do it about a week earlier but I’ve been traveling a bunch lately so it got shoved to the back of the priority list. In this post, I’ll be sharing the kitchen, dining area and living room decor. Tomorrow, I’ll share the tree and bedroom decor.

Starting off in the kitchen with two cute little towels:IMG_9706Dining area is simple but pretty, with my annual DIY staple of fake holly and berries paired with pine cones:IMG_9692IMG_9694
Into the living room: the jingle bells moved to the credenza this time and I love them here!
IMG_9645IMG_9648IMG_9642IMG_9650Moved the plaid pillow from the sofa to the accent chair and brought out another favorite Christmas pillow that was hidden away in storage, along with an adorable tiny silver tree:IMG_9640IMG_9636IMG_9637IMG_9632The bar area got a few ornaments hanging around in the trays:IMG_9675And a funny little framed print:IMG_9666IMG_9668IMG_9672Here’s a little peek at the tree! The side table next to the sofa has some college Christmas love and an Oh Joy for Target goblet filled with candy:IMG_9630IMG_9631The coffee table got a few more quick and easy DIY decor items too:IMG_9655IMG_9656IMG_9660IMG_9663IMG_9664That’s it for today! Check back tomorrow for the tree process and reveal, along with a few more little decor staples!

Month in Review: November

This post is a week overdue but I didn’t want to interrupt the gift guide series last week, so here we are! November was full of apartment updates, Project KC progress, design inspiration and a little seasonal content. I have some great holiday content lined up for December and a few more exciting apartment updates coming this month as well.

Check out everything from November below! 

Design Inspiration Series:
The Entryway: Black, White and Gold
The Living Room: Traditional with a Twist
design inspiration the living room traditional with a twist

 

Seasonal/Holiday:
Christmas 2015 Inspiration
Interview with the Kitchn: Small Space Thanksgiving
Black, White and Gold Thanksgiving Table4Jtj-oI00Zce4gOjlJdGs5rPLEJpIA2Mbid1Go-zLUc

 

Project KC Series:
Living Room Progress Part II
Kitchen Progress
Dining Room and Entry Progress
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Decor, Updates and Organization:
New Additions and Accessories
Closet Solution with Room Dividers Now
Organize Your  Medicine Cabinet with Three Easy Tricks
Apartment Progress: To Do List Updates and Additions
New Bedroom Lamp from Parrot Uncle
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Studio Style Blog 2015 Gift Guide: For Her

This might selfishly be my favorite gift guide from my series this year, but there’s a little something for every lady in your life. Mothers, aunts, daughters, sisters, friends, etc. These products are not only functional, but all are uniquely beautiful! Check out the rest of the gift guides here and stay tuned for one more coming tomorrow.

Links to shop all the products are below. gift guide 2015 for her
Shop the Look:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 //
11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16 // 17// 18 //
19 // 20 // 21 // 22 // 23 // 24 // 25 // 26 //

Interview with The Kitchn: Five Smart Ways to Host Thanksgiving on a Small Dining Table

So excited to announce that I have a small interview feature on The Kitchn today! Chatting about ways to host Thanksgiving in a small space. I’ve included a portion of the article below but check out the full version and great tips from other small space experts here!

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The Kitchn
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Studio Style Blog
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The Kitchn

I am honored to be deemed one of their ‘favorite small space experts’! My photo wasn’t in this article but I decided to throw it in here since the theme fits. If you missed my Thanksgiving table post, check it out here. Thanks again to The Kitchn for reaching out featuring my small space advice!

All text, headline and logo from The Kitchn article. Thanksgiving table image credit: Studio Style Blog