I always like to tell myself, if I were rich, I would live in a relatively modern and plush home, but instead of cars and Hummercopters, I’d spend my money on traveling and donating to charity. As it is right now in my check-to-check state of this-ain’t-livin’, I wish I could donate to charities more. But I can’t afford to give a lot, or to promise a regular donation to any organization right now. So I try my best to do what I can when I can by donating small amounts (hello, Barack Obama car magnet!), and by buying products that I yearn for that also support organizations I can get behind. Here’s a few I’ve been checking out.
For product junkie bellas like myself who are always looking for the most amazing hair stuff on the market, but also want that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes from making a donation, I definitely recommend investing in some Ojon. I’m a new believer, bellas. If you’ve been on a hunt for THE product that will nourish and strengthen your thirsty curls, and you’ve been wondering, is this stuff worth shelling out $55 for a tub of Restorative Hair Treatment? I’d say yes, it’s worth it. Especially when you consider that the purchase of items from this incredible hair product line directly supports the Tawira tribe in Honduras.
Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment absorbed easily and made my hair super strong — this may have been the toughest comb-through hair conditioning product I’ve tried yet. But by the end of the Ojon ritual — restorative treatment, ultra moisturizing shampoo, and ultra hydrating conditioner — I was ready to preach the gospel. Ojon left my hair shiny, defined, and strong. If your hair is breaking or damaged, I think this could definitely make a difference — but click here to read The Beauty Brains breakdown first, if you don’t have deep pockets. Ojon rocks, but it ain’t cheap. If you want to wade into the brand without shelling out $100 for a full size range of products, I recommend the Try Me Kit. It comes with everything you need to figure out whether or not the line is for you or not, and knowing that you’re simultaneously donating to the scholarship fund of underprivileged youths is definitely a reassuring incentive.
After you’ve pampered and nourished your tresses, you can continue the charity supporting trend when you style your hair. Bellas, allow me to introduce you to Kudu Klips, a collection of gorgeous, beaded hair clips that are produced in South Africa, mostly by single mothers.
I was lucky enough to meet the owner of the company last week at the super fun Shop Miami event, and I was very impressed by the quality and beauty of these clips. I was pretty damn skeptical about them though — the sweetheart of a lady at the booth was white with long, straight hair, like the women used in the online demos. The clip looked gorgeous on her, but I instantly assumed the Kudu Klip wouldn’t work as neatly or easily in my thick, short mop of kinks and coils that only touches the top of the back of my neck. “Of course it will!” she assured me, before slipping the long metal spikes through my hair, close to the scalp. “Because of the way it clips in, it’ll actually make your hair look longer,” she said. And lo and behold, she was right. I wish I had a photo — I was already sipping cocktails at this crowded social event at this point, so that didn’t occur to me. But the illusion of an updo with a few escaping tendrils around the clip at the back, did indeed make it appear as though my hair was longer than it actually is. This will work even better for you bellas with hair that touches the middle of your neck, or longer. Kudu Klips retail for $35, and these are some of the poor and physically disabled folks who proudly make them.
I’m a flat shoes kinda gal, and as I grow older, I notice that my fashion taste is veering towards the classic/casual/cute than the trendy/edgy/look at me. My usual wardrobe is a pair of cute jeans and dressy tee, or a cute skirt, also coupled with a dressy tee (or a colorful blouse, if I feel extra special). Toms Shoes are just my style.
They’re super simple, but often come in funky patterns or textures, including gold and silver glitter, and suede. The tres popular new version of Keds support a righteous cause — for every pair you buy, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need. According to TOMS, they’ve thus far donated over 10,000 pairs to kids in Argentina, and 50,000 in South Africa. So when I splurge and spend $68 on this neon Gabe Lacktman web exclusive pair, I know that somewhere out there, a little kid with bare feet will soon be similarly outfitted. Click here to peep TOMS new summer line.
My friend and former coworker Rob Jordan wrote a story about the perishing bee population back in 2007, and the plight of the bumblebees has been making even bigger news this year. Thanks to the always informative Bug Girl’s Blog, I learned about National Pollinator Week, (which I just missed, darn it), and the incredible list of plants that are pollinated by insects. Click here to learn more about Colony Collapse Disorder and how it will affect us all.
A number of charities have been supporting bee research, and notable Haagen Dazs is putting its money where your mouth is by donating a quarter of a million dollars to study the disappearance of honeybees. How can you support the cause? By eating their delicious new Haagen Dazs vanilla honey granola frozen yogurt. OMG, it is the BOMB. If you love parfaits, granola, and fro yo, you’re in for a real treat.
I’ve been discovering some really interesting organizations worthy of support. For example, did you see American Gangster? If you saw and loved the award winning Denzel Washington drama, you should know about Yellow Brick Roads, a charity for children of incarcerated parents, founded by Francine Lucas Sinclair, daughter of the infamous Frank Lucas.
As a little girl who grew up on an island without knowing how to swim, I’ve always admired those who can. Like my cousin Jules, for example — who’s always swum like a fish and is now doing big things on the Howard swimming team. And Cullen Jones, the skilled swimmer who has made water safety for black children his personal cause. According to that MSNBC article, “nearly six of every 10 black Americans canâ€™t swim, and African-American kids ages 5-14 are nearly three times as likely to die of drowning as their white counterparts.” That is SCARY, and I didn’t realize that I was part of such a frightening statistic. Jones is the poster boy for Make A Splash, a child focused water safety initiative that targets ethnically diverse communities, where the youth drowning rate is more than double the national average. Click here to donate or to sponsor a swimming lesson for a kid in need, who may or may not remind you of yourself as a young un.