Here’s Why You Need to Buy Local, Buy Handmade

Support Local Farmers!

That’s the same sign I saw at least half a dozen times in every town I went through during a drive out to the country the other day. Signs for Farmer’s Markets and Village Malls and all these rustic, hand-painted calls to action. I stop as often as I can at these things, as well as one-off businesses and shops that offer everything from homemade pies and truffles to handmade soaps and lotions. Why? For me, it’s simple:

I would rather pay $12 for something that was handmade with a passion, and help a local family, than spend $3 and support some international conglomerate that’s making $2.99 of the item and paying a penny to some child in China or Taiwan or India or wherever.

Yep, It’s The Economy, Stupid.

No, this has nothing to do with the book, but rather it’s the epitome of why I feel the way I do. See, I know lots of people who are still unemployed after 2, 3, 5, even 10 years. They announced on the news (and are talking about it today) that for the entire month of August 2011, not a single job was created in the US. Not one. For my unemployed friends and acquaintances, I’ve done everything I can to convince these people that rather than let this get to them, find something they can do – creative, technical, or otherwise – and start their own gig. Build their own life. No one’s suggesting they’ll become “internet millionaires” or anything, but rather they’ll have something they can do with their time that results in an increase of their income. Maybe they’ll be able to pay every single bill they have one month. Maybe they’ll feel that sense of accomplishment when they look in their bank accounts and don’t see a negative balance. Maybe… just maybe… they’ll breathe a little deeper for once.

Even I’m doing it.

I love my new job with BlogWorld because I love connecting content creators and showing them that there’s a place they can go to learn, network, connect, and expand their dreams. I also love consulting and helping people find their passions and build an income with it, too. But what I really love, many days, is when I can steal away to my studio and just play with materials, coming up with something different and beautiful. And why shouldn’t I sell it? If I think it’s beautiful, someone else will. If I think it deserves a prominent place in my home or around my neck, someone else will. I’ve taken my time and skill, and made something that someone else will want. Hopefully, it’s someone who sees the value in owning something entirely handmade by a woman who really has a passion for what she’s doing, and is trying to build a life for the family she’s working to have.

Just like that 20-something young man who makes the beautiful handmade glycerin soaps, saving up money to buy a diamond for the woman he loves.

Just like that newly-divorced mom who is trying to give her kids the world by hand-painting silk scarves.

Just like the 62-year-old grandmother who crochets at night, selling her wares so she can soften the worry lines on her children’s faces when she sees them looking over their checkbooks.

I often joke with my friends, saying, “I just want to make a bajillion dollars by sitting in my studio and making art.” While I wouldn’t turn away a bajillion dollars (else I’d think you’d all have me committed), I don’t need a bajillion dollars. I need to pay my bills and have a creative outlet so my brain doesn’t go all kooky on me. I need to pour my heart into something I make with my hands and have other people enjoy it so much they come back to buy more. And they tell their friends!

See, if I need a new scarf, I head to Zibbet and find one. If I want to spoil myself and get some new bath bombs or lipgloss, I head to local shops. If I want to head out for coffee and a sweet treat with a friend, I’ll go to the family-owned pasticceria before I’ll head to Dunkin’ Donuts. This is because I know that these people, my fellow Americans, New Yorkers, neighbors… I know that they’re struggling sometimes, too. Everyone is. I know that I can help them by choosing to purchase from them. I know that when I cash out in a Zibbet shop, that the person I’m buying from will get an email and it will make them smile. Just like I’ll smile when I receive my package.

There’s a point to this… I swear it.

My point is that even though it’s cheaper to go to “Super Big Huge Box Store That Underpays Everyone” for food, jewelry, bath products, and scarves – it’s also keeping hard-working artisans and passionate people from one more sale. It’s putting money in the wallet of the fat-cats, so to speak. Heck, not even the young Chinese girl who’s slaving over those items is making a decent wage for it, but what’s worse is that the only people in America who are, are the ones who don’t care about anyone or anything but making their wallets fatter. That’s it.

My “day job” involves me getting to talk to people every day. Real, honest people who are just trying to make it through their day, week, or month. I care about them. Do I not care about that poor Chinese girl? Of course I do. But my responsibility lies to those who live “at home”. We’re in a horrible situation here, people. We need to take care of each other. Here, is my point:

Buy local, even if it’s not in your hometown, but rather anywhere in your country. Buy handmade and when you do, make sure you look over that item and picture that 20-something future husband, that struggling, single mom, that worried grandmother. Imagine the look on their face when they realize they just had another sale. You just gave them a deeper breath, and that should make it all worth the extra few dollars you just spent.

Dear Santa, I’d Love Some Tassimo T-Discs for Christmas This Year…

Okay, so here’s the rub. The boyfriend and I are enormous coffee drinkers in this house. I mean, all day, into the night. We’ve been through two coffee makers and an espresso/cap maker in the last 10 months together. When I told him that I was getting a Tassimo T20 Brewbot for us to try out, he immediately began Googling and researching out of sheer excitement.

I’m so totally obsessed in love with this thing, folks…

Okay so it doesn't really look like this... but how cute!

The one I received is white, and came with an aqua colored insert which I absolutely love…

I got the same set Gabe Taviano did, and am borrowing his photo of the set.

Okay, so as I sip on my homemade, Starbucks cappuccino, let me share with you some awesome details about this machine:

Introducing the new Tassimo T20 Brewbot by Bosch

  • Makes coffee, tea, cappuccino, latte, crema, espresso and hot cocoa
  • Makes drinks in about 1 minute
  • Includes an exclusive flow–through water heater for faster, quieter brewing
  • Space saving design ideal for apartments, dorm rooms and countertops
  • Smart bar code technology allows the brewer to adjust each beverage with the proper temperature pressure and amount of water
  • Weight: 7.08 lbs. Length: 11.0 “; Width: 7.9 “; Depth: 11.8 “
  • 1.5 Liter water tank
  • Retail Value: $129.99

SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase a Tassimo T20 Brewbot online here and save $25 and get 2 free T DISCS!
Also available at many fine retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Target, and more (but the special offer is online at the above link only).

T DISC Technology

Through patented technology developed and designed by Kraft Foods, the TASSIMO brewer reads the bar code printed on each T DISC to ensure optimal brewing conditions, including the exact water amount and temperature. Because the brewing takes place inside the T DISC, consumers can prepare different drinks, one after another, with no flavor transfer from cup to cup. This ensures first-cup freshness and consistent taste every time.

Drink Varieties

TASSIMO is the only Home Brewing system that gives everyone the drink they want, from coffees and teas to rich cappuccinos and lattes. Even hot chocolate. Tassimo offers more than 40 beverage and flavor varieties to satisfy everyone with 13 distinctive beverage brands including Milka, Gevalia, Maxwell House, Suchard, Mastro Lorenzo, Twining’s®, Kenco, Jacob’s, TAZO®, Nabob, Carte Noire and Seattle’s Best Coffee®. TASSIMO even satisfies your coffee-house coffee cravings with a great variety of Starbucks brands – including Cappuccino Primo and Latte Primo.

You know you want one. I mean, seriously… Any coffeehouse style drink, in your own kitchen, with no mess, in under a minute, for a FRACTION of the cost? Hello!

Guess what… I get one to give away! Just check out the rules and regs below and enter to win!!

Giveaway Details

Will choose ONE winner on Friday, December 17th at 8am ET. You’ve got 12 hours to get back to me once I contact you, with your shipping information or another winner will be chosen.

US Residents only, sorry.

Ways to Enter:

1. REQUIRED: Head over to the Tassimo site and find a drink you think you’d like to make, and let me know in a comment. Make sure I can contact you easily if you’ve won.

2. Follow @tassimotaster on Twitter. (Make a separate comment once you do this.)

3. Become a fan of Tassimo on FaceBook. (Make another separate comment once you do this.)

SO that’s it! Good luck, I’m off to make myself another cappuccino! ;)

Disclaimer: I was given a Tassimo T20 Brewbot to review for the purpose of this post. Opinions are solely mine, and were not influenced or guided by Tassimo in any way. I was not paid, except for receiving the machine.

We have a WINNER!

Angeli119 is the winner of the Tassimo T20 Brewbot! I’ll be in touch via email to get your shipping address!

Thanks to all who participated! Don’t forget you can get $25 off and two free T-Discs by clicking here ~>

Thankfulness 2010

I’m having a really emotional morning, and lucky for me (and you) it’s mostly happy emotions. I’m thinking about Thanksgiving, I’m thinking about all I have in my life to be grateful for, and I’m also thinking about people who maybe don’t have so much in life to be thankful about right now.

I try to practice gratitude daily. I try to take a moment every day to think about the good things in my life, no matter how big or small they may appear to anyone, even myself. I think about how at 33 years, I’ve finally found someone who loves me 110%. I think about my family, and how much I truly adore spending time with them, and how lucky I am to know how that feels. (So many people may love their families, but don’t necessarily “like” them, and thereby don’t get to experience the joy of spending time with them.)

In times where I find myself longing for things I’m feeling are lacking in my life, such as children or financial stability or a nice home, I work really hard to think about how much mutual love and adoration there is between my friends’ kids and me. I remind myself of my fabulous clients who support me and my work by calling on me time and again to do more. I take time out to try to make the home I have as comforting and clean as possible.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes, not so much.

But this time of year, it’s all I have to get me through.

Tis the season for frantic, hectic, time -crunching panic. Tis the season to begin stressing out about gifts, holiday meals, where you’re going to spend your time, how much (or little) money you have to spend on people to show them how much you care. Tis the season for cold, wet weather and crowded parking lots and grumpy people.

Tis the season for getting your head and heart working in tandem, showing forgiveness to those who didn’t mean to upset, annoy, or hurt you. Tis the season for making extra sure you’re showing the love in your heart to everyone you meet.

I’m thankful for so many things, far too many to seriously make a list. The things I listed above are those on my mind today, right this moment.I value making moments like these, each and every single day.

How do you practice thankfulness?

Black Friday or Cyber Monday – How Do You Shop?

I have a dear friend of mine who up until this year has been addicted to Black Friday shopping. I’m talking pouring over circulars, planning out her day to get to the right store at the right time, accounting for traffic, you name it.

I’m not saying it can’t be fun, if you’ve got a bit of a plan and decide you want to just get out in the madness of it all for some laughs and the chance of snagging a great deal. HOWEVER, I’m much more of a “Cyber Monday” kinda girl. In fact, last week was a really great week for a lot of deals, online or in store, and I grabbed a few items at record low prices.

I just have such little tolerance these days for the madness, I think. Add to that, you know damn well you can get the same or better prices online (even on Black Friday, if not on Cyber Monday), and it frustrates me.

Here are a few things I’m looking to snag online on Cyber Monday…

Matchless: A Christmas Story I’m a huge Gregory Maguire fan (and so is my Mom). I had the chance to meet him and go to a reading he did here in his “hometown area” of Saratoga, NY. I’ve seen so many copy-catters out there, and no one compares to Maguire. Matchless is the story of “The Little Match Girl” – revisited.

When the story was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, the match girl’s dying visions of lights and a grandmother in heaven were often interpreted as metaphors of religious salvation. In Matchless, Maguire adds a different dimension to the story, intertwining the match girl’s tale with that of a young boy, Frederik, whose own yearnings are the catalyst for a better future for himself and his family. Maguire uses his storytelling magic to rekindle Andersen’s original intentions and to suggest transcendence, the permanence of spirit, and the continuity that links the living and the dead.

Gregory Maguire is also the mastermind behind the famous book-turned-Broadway-musical Wicked, and other great “prequels”.

cutting-toolRockwell RK5102K Sonicrafter Deluxe 72-Piece Kit – Okay, so you’ve seen the infomercials for another product just like this, and I’m so not usually the kind of person to go nuts for infomercial products, but this thing is amazing (and on sale). You can cut through anything, and this one’s got 72 pieces! HELL-O!? Hehe Yes, I’m a home improvement junkie, but as much as I want this one for myself, I’m probably getting it for my Dad. (Hope he’s not looking!) I’ll borrow it, no doubt.

My friend Eva is a yoga junkie. She’s really gotten into it, and made a special request for Happy Yoga: 7 Reasons Why There’s Nothing to Worry About by Steve Ross, her favorite TV yoga dude. I’m telling you, I’ve tried yoga. Twice. I just can’t get into it. I don’t know what it is about it, be it that I feel like it’s too slow, or too tough, or too… I don’t have a clue. I just am not a fan. But my oldest friend is obsessed and has flat out put in a request for this one. Hey, it’s on sale, cool! LOL

I’m looking for a little bit of a better price on this, because I bought myself one not too long ago for $100, but the bottom line is that everyone I know who works on computers, especially those doing graphic design, photography, and the like can use one. It’s the Western Digital My Book Mac Edition 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive. Hopefully this one will go on a bit of a better price for Cyber Monday, no?

So there you have it – a few items on my shopping list for Cyber Monday – what are you getting? How are you planning to shop?

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