The Do Good Gift Guide

 

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Image Credit

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 🙂

Christmas 2015 Inspiration

I refuse to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving (one holiday at a time kind of gal) but I have been getting that little Christmas decorating urge lately. Now that I finally have a one bedroom apartment, I’ll actually have room for a full sized tree! As much as I’ve loved my tiny trees for the last few years, I can’t wait to have a 6 foot one in my living room. I want to mix it up a bit from past decor, but do want to incorporate a few elements from last year.

So, I’ve rounded up some lovely Christmas inspiration from my old apartment, my parents’ home, along with the lovely holiday charm of DC and NYC.  Lastly, I’ve searched for a few tree decorating ideas since I’ll have a few more branches to cover this year 🙂 Check it all out below.

2014  Studio Apartment Decor:
2014-12-04 18.55.15-12014-12-18 13.22.332014 KC Decor:
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2014 Christmas time in DC:
I’ll be visiting the capitol tree, white house tree, union station and all the holiday staples around the city over the next few weeks for my annual Christmas in DC post 🙂

2014-12-11 17.18.40    2014-12-11 17.40.11 2014-12-18 18.33.57

2013 Christmas time in NYC:
Also heading back to NYC in a couple weeks for a quick weekend trip! It’s been two years since I’ve seen the city in December, so I can’t wait! 2013-12-14 15.17.42
2013-12-14 15.05.302013-12-14 15.06.532013-12-15 11.18.21

I want to go with something fairly simple and incorporate a few metallic elements in my tree decor this year. These two images are gorgeous and will serve as great decorating inspiration.

Christmas tree inspiration:Christmas-Tree-at-night-2Image via 

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Image via

Check out all things holiday related here, including DIY projects, decorating tips, gift guides and more.

I’ll be posting a bunch of 2015 gift guides next week, so keep an eye out for those!

 

2014 Holidays in DC: White House Christmas Tree

The next (and last) post of 2014 Holidays in DC is the National Tree behind the White house. If you missed 2014 Holidays in DC: Capitol and Union Station, click here. The National Tree and surrounding little trees for every state are decorated differently each year and I especially loved the lights for 2014. Photos below, hope you enjoy!

2014-12-18 18.30.26   2014-12-18 18.31.05 2014-12-18 18.31.10 2014-12-18 18.31.15 2014-12-18 18.32.56 2014-12-18 18.33.53 2014-12-18 18.33.56  2014-12-18 18.34.02  2014-12-18 18.35.22 2014-12-18 18.36.03 2014-12-18 18.36.57 2014-12-18 18.38.48 2014-12-18 18.38.50

2014 Holidays in DC: Capitol and Union Station

Continuing with my tradition of checking out the gorgeous trees, lights and wreaths around DC during Christmastime. The Capitol tree has a slightly different backdrop this year with the rotunda under construction. Although the scaffolding does look a bit better when it’s lit up at night. I’ve also made the rounds at Union Station this year (my personal favorite holiday display) and photographed the giant wreaths. Stay tuned for Christmas around the White House and the National Tree coming soon! Hope you enjoy the photos. I highly recommend visiting DC during the holidays.

2014-12-11 17.14.24  2014-12-11 17.15.062014-12-11 17.15.10      2014-12-11 17.18.34   2014-12-11 17.18.43        2014-12-11 17.39.53     2014-12-11 17.40.53 2014-12-11 17.41.00   2014-12-11 17.41.35 2014-12-11 17.43.28

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Whole Family

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Collage: Studio Style Blog // Image Credits Below 

The last post in the 2014 Studio Style Blog Gift Guide series is here… for the whole family!  I carefully selected all of these gifts, but somehow almost every single one of them can be found on Amazon, so at least that will make for easy shopping. Hope you found the whole series helpful and can wrap up your holiday shopping with these guides. More new posts on the blog next week, so stay tuned and have a great weekend.

1 Baggu Reusable Shopping Bag, Amazon

2 NatureBox Subscription

3 Mister Tea Infuser, Amazon

4 Google Chromecast, Amazon

5 Champagne Bottle Stopper, Amazon

6 Cards Against Humanity, Amazon 

7 Captain Wood Server, CB2

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: For Teens

gift guide teens

Collage: Studio Style Blog // Image Credits Below 

Next up in the Gift Guide series… holiday gifts for teens. These are mostly geared toward girls but the same products can easily be altered for boys. Storage, subscription boxes, tech gloves, iPhone cases, etc. in a different color scheme  or pattern will all make great gifts for any sibling, cousin, friend, etc.

1 Rugby Stripe Bins, Container Store 

2 Birchbox Subscription

3 Magnetic Gold Frames, CB2

4 ThinkFun Gordians Knot, Amazon

5 Monaco Stripes iPhone Case, Amazon

6 Tech Knit Gloves, West Elm

7 Chevron Print Infinity Scarf, Amazon