13 Gifts That Give Back

13 Gifts That Give Back

Consider giving gifts that bring a smile to those you love and those in need.
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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we often take the time to reflect on and give thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. As we move into the holiday shopping season, I want to challenge everyone to keep in mind how blessed you are and how you might be able to show your gratitude. I wanted to share with you a list of great brands you can give gifts from this holiday season who also give back in some way. These items are great, especially for those college students in your life.

1. Love Your Melon hats

As the weather gets colder this holiday season, warm the heads ("melons") and hearts of your loved ones with these cozy and beautiful hats. These knit hats are perfect for walking across a college campus in the winters and their ball caps are perfect for blocking the sun during warmer weather. For every hat bought, Love Your Melon donates 50 percent of the profit to fighting pediatric cancer and gives a hat also to a child battling cancer in America.

2. Alex and Ani 'Charity by Design' bracelets

Alex & Ani’s “Charity by Design” line of jewelry has simple and meaningful bracelets that are perfect for gifts. They are dedicated to a variety of good causes from UNICEF to the ASPCA. As a humanitarian company, they are donating 20 percent to each of these wonderful causes.

Paper Crane charm bangle donates to the National Network to End Domestic Violence ($38).

3. TOMS

Not only are TOMS so comfy, but you can feel comfortable knowing that your gift is helping TOMS to give shoes, sight, water, safe birth and bullying prevention services in over 70 countries around the world.

4. S'Well

S’Well water bottles and tumblers look good & do good. Made of stainless steel, these bottles and tumblers are perfect for college students and those always on the go who need to keep their drinks hot or cold. So by reusing these you are not only being eco-friendly by saving the earth from disposable bottles, but also helping S’Well to give back to their partners UNICEF USA, Breast Cancer Research Foundation and RED.

5. LUSH Charity Pot

Indulge yourself and the beautiful people in your life with a luscious beauty product from LUSH. Lush not only is animal cruelty-free, they also are committed to giving back through their Charity Pot! Charity Pot is a beautiful body lotion with 100 percent of the purchase price ($7.95 for 1.7 oz) going to support the charity you will see on the lid of the lotion pot.

6. The Elephant Pants

The Elephant Pants provide comfort for a cause: saving the elephants! From comfy harem pants to leggings, these are great for those who love lounging around all day. Since most college students practically live in cozy sweats and leggings, these will definitely be appreciated as an everyday essential. The Elephant Pants donate 10 percent of their net profits to organizations like Tusk in order to help protect and save the elephants in Africa.

These are the Hattie Harem Pants ($24) featuring purple elephants in the pattern.


7. Sevenly t-shirts

Sevenly is ideal to find a gift for world changers, individuals who want to support and advocate good causes by starting conversations. They donate 7 percent per purchase from their cause-themed collections to non-profit organizations such as Teachers Without Borders, Hope for the Warriors, and Water.org. You can even shop within your specific cause of choice! These make great gifts for those college students who want to show their support for their future fields (especially for future teachers).

The 'Life is Art' t-shirt ($34) supports Americans for the Arts.


8. Yoobi supplies

For all of the students and productive people in your life, load them up with superb supplies from Yoobi. For every Yoobi item you purchase, another item is donated to an American child in need to encourage their education. Since most of their items are less than $10, these make great stocking stuffers that you can even find at Target! (College students will be especially appreciative because school supplies are something we are always in need of.)

This is the Academic Weekly Planner in Aqua Sprinkles ($6.99). which is a fun and great way to prepare for the new year!

9. Pura Vida charity bracelets

Meaning “pure life” in Spanish, Pura Vida bracelets are perfect for the free and pure souls who live life to the fullest and appreciate life’s simple treasures. Although their regular bracelets also support artisans worldwide, their charity bracelet line donates 10 percent of their net profits to many organizations like the Oceanic Preservation Society, Never Ever Give Up! (NEGU), SAVE, and HoneyLove. While these are cheap enough to be stocking stuffers, they are priceless reminders of the causes you care about and great conversation starters.

This is the NEGU: Never Ever Give Up! ($5) bracelet, which donates to NEGU to support kids and their families fighting cancer to never ever give up!

10. Out of Print apparel

For the bookworm in your life, browse Out of Print’s apparel to celebrate their favorite stories while also promoting literacy in under-served communities. You can shop by genre or book titles with a long list of books from A-Z including To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby and Harry Potter.

This is the Great Gatsby unisex sweatshirt ($42).

11. BoxLunch

For the geek in your life, consider getting them apparel and accessories from their favorite movies or TV shows like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Rick and Morty as well as Marvel and DC Comics. With just as wide a variety and as cheap as Hot Topic, BoxLunch is a great alternative with their dedication to providing a meal to a person in need for every $10 you spend.


This is the Star Wars BB-8 Ugly Holiday Sweater ($47.92), which is festive and the ideal sweater for an ugly sweater party!


12. CAUSEBOX

As Anna Parker listed in 25 Things Every Millennial Woman Wants Underneath Her Xmas Tree, college students love receiving care packages and what better way to do it than with a subscription to a care package service like CauseBox! Delivering quarterly throughout the year, each box is filled w/ at least $150 value of products for $50 a box. Not only is the box filled with brands and products that give back in some way, but each box includes the stories behind those products and why they chose them in a magazine.


13. Donate in the name of someone as a gift.

As you have seen, many of these brands and their products donate to various charities. You can help to support these charities by buying some of these great products or also by simply donating to them directly in the name of someone as their gift. The options are endless with so many charities and organizations to choose from. For some animal conservation organizations and even some zoos you can "adopt" an animal in the name of someone else. Similarly, you can "adopt" a needy family or child so that your donation goes to help support them by buying supplies they need or covering fees they have like rent. Who knows how far your donation can make an impact!

I invite you this holiday season to give not only to those on your Christmas list but also to others in need. Maybe help out a local charity or your church by donating items they can give as gifts through programs like the Angel Tree that matches someone in need with Christmas gifts. As Band Aid 30 sang in “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, “in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy” this holiday season.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.theelephantpants.com/collections/harem-pants/products/hattie-elephant-harem-pants

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19 Struggles Only Girls With The 'Looks Thin In Clothes But Not In A Bikini' Body Type Will Understand

A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided one-pieces were cool again.
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We grew up thinking the world was black and white. There's tall people and short people. There's old people and young people.

There's fat people and skinny people.

But as you get older, you realize there is a lot more in between those two ends of the spectrum than you ever thought possible. Especially when it comes to weight. And you do a lot more realizing if you're in an awkward position on that scale... Literally.

1. People always tell you to stop saying you are fat

Obviously, your friends SHOULD prevent you from talking negatively about yourself. And if you only saw you when you were fully dressed, you'd probably tell yourself to stop saying you're fat, too.

2. And are kind of surprised by your actual weight

You've definitely had friends who are shocked by the number on your scale because you can carry it pretty well when you are fully dressed.

3. Sometimes you feel like a catfish

Have you ever changed out of your super cute, flattering outfit and looked at yourself in the mirror and thought... Wow, am I lying to people?

4. But you know this is probably true for most people

When you're wearing clothes, typically the parts of a body that bring about insecurities (stomach, namely) are covered. No matter the body type, you realize most people are more comfortable in clothes than out of them.

5. Your confidence is often contingent on the month

November? Yep, won't need to be in shorts or a bikini for about 7-8 months. I am good to go.

February? I'll need to be in a bikini soon.. I could use some work.

6. You are thrilled by the one-piece bathing suit making a fashion come back

A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided it was time to give one-pieces a try again. The stomachs of us in-between gals are appreciative.

7. Crop tops are 95% of the time not your top of choice

Yeah, okay, clothes are supposed to work for me and not against me.

8. You honestly don't understand jean sizes

I have fluctuated in weight a lot of my life, most recently losing 25lbs, and I still did not budge in jean sizes.

9. You wonder what other people think when they see you

Do other people see me as thin in clothing? Or fat in a bikini? What size am I perceived as?

10. Shopping is kind of a nightmare

Have you ever found about 27 items you liked, added the prices and thought, ah, it is going to be so tough to choose from all of these items? Only to go into the fitting room and realize only 2 of the items fit you well? Yep, me every single time I go to the store.

SEE ALSO: 7 Struggles Of Being The Girl Who Is "Not Skinny" But Also "Not Fat"

11. You're thankful that at least you've got boobs

You can kind of hide them in clothes, and then let them steal the show away from your tummy in a swimsuit.

12. You have a hard time setting weight-loss goals

You aren't really sure how overweight you are (if you are, at all) and you don't want to be at an unhealthy weight on either side of the spectrum.

13. Body positivity comes and goes

There are days, weeks or even months when you feel like the most beautiful person on the planet, and then something happens (old jeans don't fit, you try on a new bathing suit, etc.) and you convince yourself that all of that confidence was wrong and undeserved.

14. You always try on the biggest size first

Either this or you're in a weird limbo between the smallest plus sizes size and the biggest generic sizes size.

15. Half of you knows every body is a bikini body, and half of you is convinced that yours is not

You know that your body is worthy of wearing whatever you want to wear, but looking at yourself and seeing what society (and you) sometimes deem as unattractive can eat away at that knowledge.

16. But you also know self-love and confidence are key to beauty

Even if you have to fake it, you know that feeling confident is going to carry you pretty far.

17. Being in a bathing suit is a constant game of readjustment

Okay, I am sitting. Pull the bottoms up to cover as much as my stomach as possible and the back of the top down to cover any back rolls.

18. You've avoided the mirror after a shower before

You know that you are just going to lose all the comfort you felt in your body during the day when you see yourself, so sometimes it is best to just avoid it.

19. Ultimately, you know your beauty is not contingent on what you are wearing

The goal for everyone should be to get to a point where it doesn't matter if you're in a snowsuit, a bathing suit or a birthday suit... You can see your beauty no matter what and feel confident despite what you have on. It'll take time, but falling in love with the way you look is worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Warm Weather Is Finally Here And That Means Seasonal Depression Can Go Fly A Kite

Like seriously, get out of here.

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Any form of depression flippin' sucks. Like something major. Mental health is wicked important and sometimes crazy hard to maintain. The cold weather of winter does absolutely nothing to help either and ends up making it a lot harder to stay motivated, want to get out of bed and to ever go outside to be productive and active. Vitamin D is so detrimental to the health of our bodies. The sunshine lets us soak that up, but it's almost impossible to do when it's sub-zero for four months straight (ok, a bit of an exaggeration, but not really).

Seasonal depression brings out the worst moods during the long winter months and drags us down. What we can do is to busy ourselves and push ourselves to be the happiest we can be with enjoyable activities. Make sure you do fun things that will help you avoid being stir crazy. It's a vital time of self-care and making sure you are physically and emotionally healthy.

Once the icy force field of the winter breaks, spring flourishes and so do we. The heavyweight that was hanging on our shoulders is lifted off. We instantly feel lighter. It's an amazing feeling and so relieving. Getting through the winter in one piece feels so successful.

So, have fun now. Enjoy the fresh air and let the sunshine kiss your skin. Embrace your happy and positive thoughts. Cherish not having to wear a jacket and the fact that you need air conditioning in your car instead of heat. Roll the windows down and blast the music. Make your days include some form of outside activities and exercise. Celebrate every single aspect of the spring and summer because when winter rolls around again, you will want memories to keep you going so that when you have to do it all over again, it will go smoothly.

So, goodbye seasonal depression, we won't miss you.

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