My Favorite Things

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oprah has her post, and here's mine!

I have some new favorite spots for Christmas shopping. I do have thoughts on Christmas being over-commercialized, and no, Christmas is not all about the gifts. But I do think that giving gifts is a wonderful thing. I really enjoy it! It's a legitimate "love language," if you will. And until our culture becomes a year round-- I thought of you, and I picked this up for you!-- giving "happies"-- gift giving culture, I am content to be able to share this with people at this season. We can talk about this more if you'd like.

I've been trying to be more aware, though, of what I'm supporting this year when I buy gifts. If you're like that, I thought some of these ideas might be helpful.

1. Visit your local gift shop. I used to work in one, and you are supporting local business by getting off the computer, seeing a person face-to-face, and selecting gifts.
For the Boston area-- Casa de la Moda in Beverly has some of the most adorable, reasonably priced international items, kitchen things, jewelry, stationary, creative children's toys, etc.
For the Chattanooga area-- my friends Amy and Anna from college run an adorable shop in Cleveland that has all kinds of unique gift ideas. And you know we Southern women love all things monogrammed! They'll do it right there in the shop, called Paisley.
For the Memphis area-- Go antiquing in the Collierville square.

2. Consider your fair trade options. This is en vogue, and for a reason. There are many companies who are now selling fair trade options, which means the craftsman or farmers of the items are being paid a livable wage and have safe working environments. A lot of them are for a good cause, too!
For coffee-- The homes for orphans that a lot of you helped support me to build in college are now maintained by coffee sales. They buy the coffee from local farmers in Bolivia and roast it themselves. My mom tells me that the vanilla and hazelnut are very flavored. Drink your coffee and feel good about it by buying Bolivia's Best Coffee.

For India-- Sari Bari was at a local fair trade bazaar I went to here in the Boston area. They are making items like blankets, scarves, and purses from recycled saris. The items are made by women who have been brought out of the sex trade in India and are being provided legitimate work by making these items. Their online shop is low on stock now, but bookmark it for later!

For all over the world-- Ten Thousand Villages is an online and local retailer that sell items for fair trade co-operatives all over the world! Their selection is virtually endless.

3. The "don't fit into a category I just really like them" favorite things
Sephora-- I'm blessed to have a sister who works at Sephora, it's true. Because of that, I've gotten to try a lot of things! These are my favorites.

Etsy-- I wouldn't be surprised if it's already your go-to! These are my favorite sellers:

Kinie's for purses

Uccello Curioso for cards

The Ardent Sparrow for jewelry

I hope most of all that you've thought of someone to surprise with a happy today! I also hope you've found some new favorites. What would you recommend for me to check out?

using it up

Monday, November 8, 2010

One of my very most favorite things is when you get to the end of something and finally use it all up! For instance-- the very last drop of toothpaste, the last teaspoon of olive oil, the last bar of gasoline, the last bean of coffee, the last bit of shampoo (after adding water and shaking it up for a few more uses), the last chapter of a book (even if I didn't like it very much, I still have to finish it!), the last day before an anniversary becomes official (4 years last month!).

My friend Jill is one of the only ones before today who knew this about me. Which is why she gave me a tube of toothpaste that appeared empty unless you started rolling it up from the end. My mom likely intrinsically knows this about me, as she sent me a bottle of perfume last month that was on its very last dregs.

Why am I like this? I'm not sure. But I am enjoying the sensation of completion again this week. It's reading week at seminary. My first semester, I thought this meant vacation week. Nope! And by nope, I mean, how could I have possibly thought that?! So this week, I will be enjoying the completion of 5ish books, a paper or 2, and scholarship applications. It may seem like too much, until I get a little list going with boxes to check off. Ah......... completion.

There is something deeper going on here. I believe in a God who also longs for the completion-- the fullness-- of all the world, restored to relationship with him and to order according to his justice. "In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.'” - Micah 4:1-2