xoxo

I saw this video from the Harper’s Bazaar Facebook page yesterday, and I was memorized. Twenty strangers, meeting for the first time, and their first kisses captured in an artistic experimental video. Sound a little creepy? I found it to be the opposite. Maybe it’s the black and white approach. Maybe it’s the beautiful people. Maybe it’s those magical moments of hesitation before two people make contact, captured on film…whatever it is, I found myself smiling at the screen. Also, perhaps it goes without noting (but it’s me, so I’ll note it) the music – perfect song choice.

 

 

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Friday Favorites

Hello, there! Here’s yet another edition of my Friday Favorites. Let’s say it all together now, “TGIF!” That’s for sure. I am so looking forward to spending sometime with the family at the beach this weekend. (And I’m a nerd and look forward to the time jamming out in the car ride on the way there. Maybe getting some coffee because what beats a Friday afternoon caffeine high? OK, Friday Happy Hours in the sunshine are pretty fabulous as well.) Anyways, you’re probably wondering what I’ve got for you today?

All Tide Up will be getting new shirts (TANKS! just in time for summer) in the store this weekend. Get excited because I know, I am! Be sure to check it out, and if you haven’t already, give ’em a follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are giveaways and free shipping deals you wouldn’t wanna miss out on!

I’m not even gonna lie here, I might be pulling for some contestants that are not on Adam’s team. (Though I did love Caroline and was sad to see her go – she better get a record deal with someone else!) But oh, wow did I love this weeks performance of The Cure’s “Lovesong” by Adam Levine and his team on The Voice.

This Buzzfeed article “21 Kids Who Sold Out Their Parents” had me LOLing at the office. Who doesn’t love kid art? And if you need a laugh you definitely need to skim over this one.


My heart may have been breaking a little last night as we had to say goodbye to The Office but oh my goodness, talk about a great two hours of television. Before they aired the finale there was this awesome interview session and montage collection called The Office Retrospective. If you missed last night, and even if you haven’t been up to date in the current season (or since Michael Scott left) I recommend you watch it anyway. From the get go, (which this is how it works for this show with me anyway) I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Later there were tears rolling down. Some from that uncontrollable hyena laughter and from some the tugging on my heart strings. The dynamics on this show have always been incredible. They casted some brilliant actors who portray these characters like they were made to, and the writing is just top notch. Plus, I didn’t know John Krasinski was working as a waiter when he auditioned for the role of Jim Halpert (even though he’d been encouraged to go for Dwight!) that “THE KISS” was his first on-screen, or that Jenna Fischer was a temp in real life. Hello. Fabulous news guy. If that ain’t a ray of sunshine and light sending hope into your dreams, then what is? There are some pretty awesome moments in the finale, and the speeches at the end?! All incredible and quotable, and *sigh.* Just go watch it, ok? Endings may suck, but wow what a great run! And to know that the cast and crew are as close as they appear, in real life? Just wonderful. I love knowing projects like this exist out there, people love work that much out there.

OK, so there’s my shout outs to a portion of the awesomeness of this week. Be sure to check those out! Annnnd as we head into the weekend, have a safe, happy, wonderful one!

Just Do It

One of my favorite pages on Facebook, Distant Runners posted this image recently and I just think it’s great:

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this season I joined a training group that meets on Monday nights to gear up for the Springtime Tallahassee 10K. It’s been a great experience, and has given me the opportunity to meet so many new people. Prior to this the only time I’d run with others was on race days. There’s something special about hitting the road with a group. I find myself exerting more energy into the hills, picking up my pace, and I love being able to keep up a conversation when we’re running. I swear it’s what’s been shaving time off my 5K results lately. Unfortunately the past two weeks, I missed the group run. It’s crazy how much a difference it made in my week. Even throughout the day when I’m feeling sluggish and tired and would really rather go shopping or home to take a nap, when I pull into the parking lot of the park my stomach gets all full of butterflies with nervous excitement. You never know who you’ll see or what the run will have in store.

Yesterday, I finally made it back out there. Even though I was like ehh I don’t know, some of my normal running buddies lately wouldn’t be there, and I really took it easy last week so I knew the last long group run would be tough. The intermediates were going to run 5.5 miles, but I ended up running with a woman I’d met a few weeks ago, who also missed last week, and oh my gosh it was one of my favorite runs in so long. She really pushed me. We were keeping up with what’s normally my 10K race pace, and after a turn off we missed a turn and ended up tacking on extra mileage (we knew where we were so we just took a long way back to the park.) She was so encouraging on the hills, and it was really nice to have someone to chat with. It just reinforced all the reasons of why I go out there. And it felt so good to dominate that run. Plus, she works at the hospital and told me a crazy story about another woman we were running with in the beginning. Apparently she was her patient when she had BYPASS surgery a year and a half ago! She’s not even fifty! And you should see her run! She’s so healthy and fit, and it just blows my mind that she went through that so recently. (And it’s also scary to be reminded that sometimes it doesn’t matter how healthy or in shape you are, some kind of sickness can still attack.) It was just so inspiring to see and know.

Next week is our taper week and a little celebration leading up the race on Saturday. I’ll be disappointed when this group comes to a close! They announced that they’re starting up a Trailblazers group though that will run out at the Greenway (remember all those photos at sunset I used to post?) That area kicks my butt on runs, but I should probably suck it up and face the challenge.

Anyway, if you’re a runner (or if you’re not and you wanna get into it) if you’re feeling sluggish or slackerish just remember how good it feels when you get out there and do it. Happy Tuesday y’all and happy running!

Solemate Kinda Love

Happy Happy Thursday readers! I know, I know it’s Throwback Thursday but I couldn’t resist sharing with you a few “solemate” related images that popped up in my news feed on Facebook this morning.

This one is from the Distant Runners Facebook group. And let me tell you, I did take my solemates on a little morning date this morning. It was dark and chilly, but so wonderful. (Although, my body did decide to do that thing where it decides it’ll have a little mini-allergic reaction to the cold but that aside – fabulous!)

Then I came across this gem from Rather Be Running which might be one of my new favorite running phrases, just perfect.

And for all my non-running friends here’s another favorite Valentine graphic. Remember “RAWR means I love you in dinosaur.”

Whether you’re fan of today or not (I’m not real into it myself,) I hope you have a terrific Thursday! And if you want, go check out one of my favorite fictional crushes of all time over at MegSays.

Spend Less, Give More: Warby Parker

Hello, hello and welcome to another post in my Spend Less, Give More series! If you’re just now joining us,  here’s a recap: I’ve been using Mugs Life to spotlight some different organizations to consider contributing to during this Christmas season. If you’re going to give gifts anyways, why not try presents with a purpose? Give something that will have a lasting impact on someone’s life! The previous posts have highlighted different needs people face on a daily basis, both physical and emotional: : clean water (Charity:Water), food and sustainability (to put it simply) Heifer International, shoes and eyesight TOMs, mental health with To Write Love On Her Arms, and yesterday’s which is mental health in a different way where you contribute your time instead of money through the outreach of writing love letters with More Love Letters.

Today I’m shifting the focus again, and if you’re a vet reader of Mugs Life today’s post won’t be much of a surprise. I’ve been gushing about Warby Parker Eyewear for a while now. (I even enlisted your help when I was deciding on frames during the at-home try-on process.) Like TOMs, Warby Parker Eyewear is a one-for-one organization, with every pair of glasses you purchase, a pair is given to someone in need! Did you know that “almost one billion people worldwide don’t have access to glasses?” The people at Warby Parker believe that “everyone has the right to see.” Why don’t we join them in their mission, by improving eyesight and in turn improving the condition of people’s lives!

(Image borrowed from the Warby Parker Facebook page.)

I found out about Warby Parker from my friend Megan. I had mentioned at lunch one Sunday that I was on the lookout for a new pair of glasses, and she asked if I had checked out Warby Parker? She’d seen one of their pop-up shops before and said, she thought I’d really like them. So when I got home, I went to their website and was intrigued immediately. I’ve always loved funky frames, back in seventh grade mine were kind of Drew Carey style (just smaller for my twelve year old face.) And I have always wanted glasses that looked like something Lisa Loeb might wear – stand-out, bold, different. Warby Parker definitely fits all these adjectives. BUT what really sold me, and I knew I was in as soon as I read it, was that with every pair of glasses purchased, someone else would be getting a pair. They’re partnered with Vision Spring and other non-profits to make such distributions possible! AND I knew, that like other pieces I’ve mentioned (TOMS shoes, Charity Water shirts, etc.) that people would ask me about them, that once I had their attention I could gush about what a wonderful company they are. And I kid you not – that happens on a regular basis. I’m a proud owner of the Colton whiskey tortoise shell frames. Warby Parker is able to deliver their customers extremely reasonably priced eye-wear because they sell directly to you! Seriously, when you pay $95 for prescription glasses (INCLUDING frames AND lenses!!), and you’re essentially buying two pair does it get better than that? Warby Parker has a great at home try-on process, where they’ll mail you five pairs of glasses that you can keep for five days. Take pics, share with friends, wear around, get opinions and a feel for which pair you think best suits you! The return process is extremely simple as well and did I mention FREE SHIPPING? (Side note: international ordering coming soon! Share with your friends around the world!) And if none of those five pairs were the right fit for you? Try again!

(Me in my Warby Parker Coltons.)

I think it’s also extremely important to note that the Warby Parker Eyewear company has impeccable customer service. Honestly they are one of the best companies I’ve ever communicated with. They promptly respond to people reaching out on social media (Facebook & Twitter,) answer e-mails, are completely accurate with estimated mail times and it seems like their employees go out of the way to make your experience with the company all-together pleasant. I couldn’t contain my excitement about them, and as soon as anyone asks me about my glasses, or tells me that they need new glasses I start rambling about how awesome Warby Parker is. Warby Parker is constantly expanding their eyewear selection, now you can purchase prescription (and non-prescription) sunglasses, as well. This is great because you can still participate even if you have perfect eye-sight (lucky you!) If you want to share the gift of Warby Parker with a friend, but want them to be able to pick out the frames themselves, why not try a Warby Parker gift card? Fun fact time! Guess where Warby Parker got their name from? Any guesses? Jack Kerouac’s early characters: Zagg Parker and Warby Pepper! Also, there are some cool ways to interact with other Warby Parker fans, and the company out in real-life as they have a Class Trip Tour with traveling show rooms! Also, be on the lookout for pop-up shops! (PS: check out the blog, and they’re also on Instagram!)

Be sure to check out stories of lives being changed by Warby Parker.

Spend Less, Give More: More Love Letters

Good morning! Welcome to the Spend Less, Give More series here on Mugs Life. If you’re just joining us, I’ve been making suggestions over the past few days of different organizations to contribute to this Christmas season, encouraging giving gifts with a purpose. The first few organizations highlight supporting immediate basic physical needs: clean water (Charity:Water), food (to put it simply) Heifer International, and shoes and eyesight TOMs. Yesterday, the focus shifted a little bit with a spotlight on emotional needs and mental health with To Write Love On Her Arms. With all of these posts there’s been a push for monetary donations, but today is a little bit different. If you’ve got the money to buy a stamp, a pen, paper, envelope, and some kind words? The only thing else you need to give is a few minutes of your time! Today’s spotlight: More Love Letters.

It’s been less than a year since Hannah Brencher started sending bundles from The World Needs More Love Letters. Thanks to the I Heart Daily Newsletter in my inbox last week, I can say I’ve participated in this wonderful movement. Hannah‘s mom had written her letters for years, so like me, she already had a love for snail mail. It’s funny because the day I got that e-mail, I was in a rough place myself, and I thought “this is perfect” because for me: one of the best ways to push myself into the light when my love tank is running low, is to write to someone else in hopes of lifting their spirits. That’s what More Love Letters is all about. Back in 2010 Hannah living in NYC, was in a dark place herself, so she started penning letters to strangers she thought could use a boost of encouragement, and leaving them all over the city. After that she invited her blog readers to request a letter, if they were in need of one themselves. From there, More Love Letters became what it’s known as now – a global initiative. Hundreds of letters have been sent. You can sign up to join the team, where you’ll be emailed a request each month, you pen a love letter, mail it to the PO Box and a bundle of letters will be put together and sent to someone who needs a little love.  One of the things I think is really cool about More Love Letters are the requests. People write in to request letters for a friend in need. The request could be for a teammate, relative, friend, fiance, coworker, people from so many parts of life that someone has recognized could use some light in their life. This was the request for Madeline, the day I got the I Heart Daily e-mail, which was encouraging participation in More Love Letter‘s “12 Days of Letter Writing.”

Madeline, due to depression and anxiety issues, left high school last year to homeschool herself. She has made some progress but has fallen behind in her studies and really needs some motivation to keep going even though she is falling behind even more every day. Her letter request writes, “It was this time last year when she left school and I know she is very prone to become depressed again in the winter time. I try to involve her in social activities as much as I can, as she will isolate herself otherwise, but I think a little love from a stranger could really help her outlook on life right now.’ Scratch out “stranger” — we are about to bless Madeline’s life with a whole lot of love letters. Help us in showing her how very wonderful and capable Madeline truly is.

(My letter for the bundle.)

You wanna know something a little crazy? I had just finished penning my letter for Madeline’s Bundle, around 10:30am last Friday morning. It was only about an hour later when I started seeing the news reports of the horrific tragedy taking place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. The innocent beautiful children’s lives ending far too soon, and the brave teachers who’d lost their own protecting them. (Just to note – I’m not trying to loosely combine these two things, or breeze over such a significant event, that has forever changed so many people.) I had just finished expressing how, even though it’s hard to see it sometimes, how true the words from one of my favorite songs are: “This world can be ugly, but isn’t it beautiful?” (“There, There Katie” Jack’s Mannequin.) Seriously. It kind of caught me off guard because one of the first things that flashed through my mind, despite the shock of such a tragedy was: more love. We need more love. And I knew in my heart it wasn’t a coincidence I wrote the letter that morning. It was like God whispering in my ear, encouraging me to follow through knowing of course, when you spread love you can feel love.

And now in recent days, we’ve seen a community come together, we’ve seen people reaching out, we’ve seen love being spread. In the face of such tragedy, we’ve seen compassion. Like six year old Emilie Parker who’s dad has shared how Emilie constantly was coloring pictures, and writing notes to cheer up people around her whenever she saw someone looking down. Robbie Parker said himself: “(that the tragedy) not turn into something that defines us, but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people.”

So, today that’s what I’m encouraging you to do. More Love Letters is a simple, but extremely powerful way to contribute to making the world a better place. I know, that you know, someone on this planet who could use a little love. We could all use more love. Pick up that pen, and get writing. It’s a small gesture, that can make a world of difference and have such an impact on turning around someone’s day.

Here you can watch the TED Talk video of Hannah discussing More Love Letters:

 

Stay connected to the journey of More Love Letters: find them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, read the blog. Be sure to share with you friends too, that’s how a movement of love grows!

 

Spend Less, Give More: TOMs

(Disclaimer: I do not own any of these photos or media, the rights belong to TOMs, I’m just borrowing them for informational purposes.)

I don’t always blog on Saturdays, but I’m posting today to share another Spend Less, Give More spotlight (previously featured – Charity:Water and Heifer International.) By now, I am sure you have heard about TOMs shoes, a one-for-one company founded by Blake Mycoskie. While TOMs now has eyewear and clothing – it all started with shoes. Why shoes? Because barefeet are just the beginning of a chain reaction of things that prevent children and adults from healthy, positive lives. Barefeet put everyone at-risk for “soil-transmitted diseases.” These diseases can cause long-term problems, and in some cases lead to death. Imagine being barefoot all the time, walking, running, playing – you’re bound to get simple scrapes and cuts (especially kids just being normal playful kids,) but even small wounds like those can lead to full-blown infection in developing countries that don’t have access to treatments. Here’s another angle you might not have thought about – many schools require students to wear uniforms in order to attend, and shoes are a mandatory part of those uniforms. Without shoes the kids aren’t able to go to school, thus preventing them from receiving an education which bars them from all sorts of opportunities in life! Do you see how simply lives can be changed through a pair of shoes? So many people have closets full of shoes, but all around the world there are people who have never owned a single pair. TOMs operates under the one-for-one model. With each pair of shoes purchased, a pair is given to a child in need. TOMs shoes are available in men, womens, youth, and even TINY TOMs sizes. TOMs are another charitable gift that’s been given in my family several times. I own multiple pairs, and it’s great knowing that when you buy a pair someone else is getting a pair! Like the Charity:Water shirts, TOMs shoes were a conversation starter from the beginning, and what a great story to tell.

My first pair of TOMs, in the wild in Key Largo.

The TOMs team participates in shoe drops, and going into communities in need and giving them the shoes personally. You’ve probably thought about how fast kids feet can grow, and wonder what happens when the kids shoes don’t fit anymore? Well, once communities in need are identified TOMs works to keep those kids in shoes that fit, as they grow! (See TOMs How We Give page for more info.)

Blake has been all over the world, and visited so many different impoverished communities while giving out shoes. He’s seen so many people who don’t have the ability to fulfill basic needs. Recognizing other needs that could also be helped, he decided not to limit TOMs to just shoes, but expand on the one for one model. So, they launched TOMs Eyewear. They’ve got tons of different styles of sunglasses for men and women, and each purchase can benefit someone with the gift of sight in one of three ways: someone might recieve a pair of prescription eyeglasses, have a procedure that literally saves their sight, or receive medical treatment.

So, you’ve got some options. TOMs is another gift-giving idea this holiday season. Consider giving gifts with meaning, contributing your money to something that will help better lives this season!

You can like TOMs on Facebook, follow on Twitter, read the blog, and even find them on Pinterest to follow them on their one-for-one journeys, keep up with TOMs news, and even submit your own content!