Small Shops, Big Gifts – Shopping Small for the Holidays

It’s officially December and christmas shopping is already in full swing. I’m sure tons of you have already done a lot of your shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but if you still have a few people on your list, or if you’re like me and still have your whole list to shop for, I’m here to encourage you to shop small this holiday season.

Shopping small is important all the time, but I really feel like at this time of the year it can make a big difference to the business owner. It could mean extra presents under their own tree, a christmas bonus for their employees, or  maybe even being able to keep their business open another month. That is why I’m dedicated to doing all my gift shopping at small businesses this year.

I know we live in a world of conveinence and going to an actual brick and mortar store doesn’t always fit into that world, but instead of scrolling mindlessly on Amazon for hours or heading to target to stroll up and down every isle, why not stroll in an out of that row of small shops downtown (or wherever they may be)? By shopping small you get a more personal shopping experience, better customer service, and will be able to find unique gifts for everyone on your list.

Also, did you know that when you shop small you’re actually doing a huge favor for yourself? When you shop local you actually help to lower taxes and use them more efficiently within your community. It also helps increase your own and your community’s wealth!

So, when you’re shopping this season keep in mind shopping small and local. You can get a tree from a small farm or tree lot instead of Lowes or Home Depot, pick up some baked goods at the local bakery instead of that big grocery store’s, shop the holiday pop-up markets (if they have any in your area), or grab that perfect personalized gift from the small shop on the corner.

Happy shopping and happy holidays!

 

 

 

 

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“Millennial” Election Day Pep Talk + Resources

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ahh, the so-called “life motto” and Instagram bio of millions of young women and men all across the US. Though, out of all these young Ghandi wannabes, I can guarantee the majority won’t actually do the ONE important thing they have the right and ability to do to “be” that change they supposedly want to see in the world… VOTE.

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Yes, I get it. I can totally relate to the above. I was that 18 year old that didn’t believe my vote mattered. I remember telling my dad and sister over dinner one night, that I NEVER planned on voting. They said, “Ok, but that takes away any right you have to complain.” At the time, I was totally ok with that. I wasn’t politically aware enough to complain about anything anyway. All I did know was politics was messy and I didn’t want to be a part of it. But, each year that I got older, I started to become more politically aware and form opinions on political issues; the environment, human rights, the economy, healthcare, the list goes on. So when I was 21, I registered and voted in my FIRST election, because these things really started to effect me and I wasn’t going to stand by and not at least TRY to change things or keep them the same.

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Warning I’m about to get really real with you….

Millions of “millennials” (a term I personally hate to use, but for the sake of this post, I will) have the ability to vote and are even registered to vote, but don’t. And ya know what?! If you have the ability to register and vote and you don’t, it’s simply because you’re L A Z Y! (I warned you I was about to get real…) People can come up with more excuses of why they don’t, won’t, or can’t vote then the number of people who actually vote…

  • “I’m not registered.”
  • “I don’t know how to register.”
  • “I don’t know where to go to vote.”
  • “I don’t know anything about any of the candidates.”
  • “Who even are the candidates?”
  • “My vote doesn’t matter.”
  • “Me not voting isn’t going to affect anything.”
  • “I don’t have the time.”
  • “What even are the poll hours?”
  • “I don’t know how to actually vote.”
  • “What am I suppose to do with my kids, I don’t have anyone to watch them just so I can go vote”

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These excuses are ALL BS and you know it! We live in a world where we spend multiply hours, if not nearly our whole awake day, looking at a phone, laptop, iPad, computer and you’re telling me you can’t take 20 minutes to look up how to register and do it, or look up where to vote, the options of how to vote (absentee, early, Election Day) or the candidates and their platforms? That’s LAZY!! All I’m saying is if you can take the time to vote on Instagram story polls, you can take the time to vote on a real poll.

So, if you’re still reading this and everything I’ve said so far hasn’t gotten through to you, I have one more thing I want you to think about:

Think about the fact that you probably went your whole adolescent life having your parents, or whoever took care of you, tell you what you can and can’t do, say, believe and you hated it! Am I right?! And you couldn’t wait to be an adult so you could make your own decisions… I was right again, huh? So my point is, you’re an adult now, why are you still letting them be the majority to control, not only things that impact you, but our whole country??

At this point you probably think I’m just some crazy, rude, ranting chick that called you lazy, let me try to end this on a positive note… Voting is one of the best feelings! I can’t really explain it, but there is a sense of pride after you vote and that’s why I’m writing this because election day is November 6 (4 DAYS AWAY) and I want to remind you that your vote is IMPORTANT and your vote DOES matter and you NEED to voice it!

It’s time to actually, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi


Resources

I Am A Voter: Great resources and information or Text VOTER to 26797.

Register to vote here (too late for this election, but never too late for next one!):https://register.vote.org/?campaign=IAmAVoter

Rock the Vote: Scroll to the bottom of the homepage to find great resources and information. Click “Get Ready to Vote” to get information specific to your state.

Ballotpedia: Enter your home address to see what your sample ballot will look like, candidates in your district, and more!

Facebook is also a GREAT source for elections! Go to the “3 lines” icon in the bottom right corner, click “See More” and click “2018 Election.” Mine already had my home address listed, but you can edit it if it is not correct. This will give you the ability to look at all the candidates and learn more about them.

Carolina Strong

“There’s a Place Where Everything’s Better & Everything’s Safe..” -OTH

Nothing says, “Welcome to coastal Carolina” like the most threatening hurricane the area & state has seen in years, am I right?? Moving to Wilmington we knew we’d be subject to hurricanes but we didn’t realize how quickly it would happen! We evacuated to Virginia to stay with family the just a few days before Hurricane Florence made landfall less than 10 miles from our home, after having just moved there about two weeks prior!

Thankfully because of social media & the amazing community that is Wilmington, we were able to keep updated & know that we were VERY fortunate; our apartment & complex had minimal damage. We still don’t know the state of our specific apartment, but we have high hopes no roof leaks happened & all of our stuff is sitting pretty and waiting for us to come home..

While we were very lucky, others in Wilmington and surrounding areas of North & South Carolina were not so lucky. Below is a list of awesome groups and charities that you can donate to to help the Carolinas rebuild after the massive storm and flooding wiped away almost everything some people had. Personally, I am very selective with what charities or organizations I will donate to because not all of them are transparent in where the money actually goes! I wanted to make this list to give people (like me) the opportunity to make a difference without having to worry about if their money is actually being used for the right causes!

Cajun Navy – The Cajun Navy is an amazing non-profit & has been putting in WORK in NC!!!

Cape Fearless Challenge– The amazing women of the show One Tree Hill (which was filmed in ILM) are raising money to support wilmington disaster efforts! You can also get a “To North Carolina with Love” t-shirt which 100% of the profits will go to the Random Acts’ relief efforts!

We Wilm Rebuild – Started by a group of students from UNC Wilmington that want to help their home

North Carolina Community Foundation – All funds raised for their disaster relief fund are  given to other non-profit organizations working to help those affected by Hurricane Florence. Make sure to designate “disaster relief” your donation will go to help Hurricane Florence relief.

Team Rubicon – International non-profit that prepared and sent volunteers from all across the southern united states to help aid those affected by the hurricane. You can donate directly to Hurricane Florence efforts with this link!

Diaper Bank of North Carolina – All babies should have access to clean diapers!!

We are still stuck in Virginia for the time being. Road access to and from Wilmington either doesn’t exist at the moment or is very limited & still extremely unsafe. I wish I could make it back to help those in need in person, but since I can’t I want to do what I can from afar!! Please consider donating or volunteering to help the hurricane disaster relief efforts!

Ultimate Fall Activity Guide 2018

HELLLLLO FALLLLL! This list is filled with fall themed ideas for couples, to-do with your gal pals, or the fam! Keep this list bookmarked to refer back to in when you are trying to make those weekend plans but just can’t think of something!

  • Pick out the perfect pumpkin at the patch
  • Go to a Fall Festival (check your local/surrounding area)
  • Go to a football game OR host a football game viewing party
  • Go apple picking
  • Watch the 13 Nights of Halloween
  • Have a bonfire & make s’mores
  • Eat Halloween Oreos
  • Light fall candles
  • Go on a haunted hayride (or not haunted, if you have kids)
  • Visit a petting zoo
  • Find a haunted wine tour at a vineyard near you
  • Carve or paint a pumpkin
  • Drink hot chocolate
  • Visit a farmer’s market
  • Drink apple cider
  • Spend time with your family on Thanksgiving (Extra points if you turn your phone off for the day!!)
  • Go to a brewery
  • Find a Renaissance Festival and spend the day back in time
  • Eat & Drink all the pumpkin flavor things
  • Tell a ghost story
  • Go to a local Oktoberfest
  • Decorate for Halloween
  • Eat loads of candy
  • Make an apple pie from scratch
  • Update your fall wardrobe
  • Visit a haunted house
  • Go on a ghost tour of your town
  • Have a photoshoot in a pile of leaves
  • Have a scary movie marathon

Note: Most of these activities you will have to search in your local or surrounding area for them! Great places to look for local activities is Facebook Events, the local newspaper, or simply googling fall events in your city. Comment below if you find any fun activities in your local area that aren’t listed above!

Keep calm and fall on!