5 Companies You Should Give Your Business To This Season

5 Companies You Should Give Your Business to This Holiday Season

5 places you can feel good about buying gifts from this Christmas

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With the holiday season now in full swing, many of us are searching for the perfect gifts for those close to us. Here are 5 companies that you can actually feel confident purchasing from and giving your business to.

1. Love Your Melon

You may have seen people walking around with these trendy hats and beanies with fluffy poms and patches sewn on the front saying "Love Your Melon". Though it might seem like a cute saying and just another new fad, these hats are creating an impact that we should keep around for as long as possible. Created by two students in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas, this company gives 50% of their net profit from all their product sales, to the Love Your Melon fund, which supports their nonprofit partners fighting childhood cancer and organizes therapeutic experiences and charitable programs for patients and their families.

The company began its journey to put a hat on every child in America fighting cancer in October of 2012 and since has done just that. Surpassing their original goal of giving 45,000 hats (one for every child fighting cancer in the nation), to date the company has given over 149,000 hats to child cancer patients and 4.7 million dollars to pediatric cancer research.

Though they're known for their beanies, you can purchase headbands, apparel, blankets, home goods, and other accessories at https://loveyourmelon.com

2. Pura Vida Bracelets 

This popular bracelets company and their string bracelets have taken a lot of the world by storm. It all began when two college graduates Griffin That and Paul Goodman, took a celebratory trip to Costa Rica, where they encountered two native artisans who specialized in bracelet making.

The Southern California men talked to the artisans about their business, and how they were currently living in poverty with their families. requested an order of 400 bracelets, to take back to San Diego and sell. When the 400 were quickly gone, the partnership began. Now, the company named after the popular saying, and more importantly way of life, meaning "pure life", encourages their customers to enjoy the simplest things in life that bring them joy.

Every bracelet purchased on their website is handcrafted by artisans all over the world, as their community has expanded to over 350 countries worldwide, including El Salvador and India. They have also started a Charity Collection that has allowed them to partner with over 174 different charities and donate over $1,534,879.

If you're looking to purchase any accessories this holiday season for gifts or for yourself, visit https://www.puravidabracelets.com and use the code MICALAHBRUNDAGE20 for 20% off your order!

3. The Giving Keys

A hidden gem to many, this Pay It Forward company has managed to create 143,612 hours of work for people transitioning out of homelessness in Los Angeles, California. They provide people experiencing homelessness with full-time jobs at the living wage in LA, with benefits and paid time off for appointments regarding housing, education, and casework.

The company hires people who are homeless to create and sell accessories all incorporating keys, such as key necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Typically each key is stamped with an inspirational word, such as their 3 core values dream, create, and inspire. The company in the spirit of their purpose which is forgiving and pay it forward, encourage their customers to at some point, at their own discretion, pass on their key to someone who needs to be reminded of the inspirational message and the meaning behind this company in its entirety.

All this information and the accessories sold and created by The Giving Keys, can be found at https://www.thegivingkeys.com

4. Etsy 

If you want to support small businesses and their owners, Etsy is the perfect website to buy from this holiday season. With it's increased popularity over the years, many have heard of the site where individuals can create their own online "shops" and sell personalize or handmade goods and antiques. Etsy strives to allow creators of goods a place to connect with millions of potential buyers and keep the interaction between people, even when it comes to online shopping.

The possibilities are endless on Etsy, as there are shops pertaining to stationary, home goods, toys, art, collectibles, clothing https://www.etsy.com

5. Love+One International 

If you're a fan of country singer Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins like I am, you may have heard of this organization. The couple holds it near and dear to their heart, as it strives to help children in Uganda, where one of their daughters is adopted from.

Love+One was founded by Suzanne Mayernick, also a parent of a daughter adopted from Uganda, JosieLove. Upon the Mayernick's arrival to Uganda to bring their then 3-1/2-year-old home, they found her sick with malaria and tuberculosis and HIV positive. As her daughter received care and love back in their home, Suzanne Mayernick was inspired to help these children back in Uganda and other underprivileged communities.

She created her organization 147 Million Orphans, which later transpired into a charity operation focused on providing ministry, health and care needs to kids named Love+One International, named after her daughter JosieLove and using the + to indicate their support for individuals who are HIV positive. You can find more information, donate, and buy Love+One gear to support this awesome cause at https://www.loveoneinternational.org

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6 Tips On How To Be A Successful Restaurant Hostess

Don't let your fears get the best of you!
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Congratulations! You've just been offered your very first job as a restaurant hostess! Now what? I'll admit, I went home crying after my first day of training due to feeling very overwhelmed with a bunch of new information that I was expected to know immediately. However, while there IS a lot you'll have to learn in order to be a successful restaurant hostess, that doesn't mean you don't have what it takes to master the role.

To make you even more confident in your ability to succeed, check out the following list of 6 tips on how to be a successful restaurant hostess!

1. Know your table numbers!

As a hostess, you'll need to know the order of the tables in your restaurant so that you can seat your guests as quickly as possible. Note that the specific order of the tables may vary depending on how many people are in your restaurant.

Tips for success:

Remember, learning your table numbers takes practice, and you won't be expected to know all of them the first few times around. To help with the memorization process, make friends with as many of the other hosts/hostesses as you can. After you feel like you've gotten to know them a bit more, ask one of them to walk you around the restaurant to help you learn your table numbers. Finally, familiarize yourself with the order of the tables (i.e. ascending or descending), and you'll be all set!

2. Master the art of rotation.

While knowing your table numbers is one skill you'll need to have mastered, the art of rotation is another. This can be a tricky process only if you aren't given enough opportunities to practice it. Basically, when you're in charge of rotation, you're in charge of making sure that every server gets an equal number of tables assigned to them.

Tips for success:

If it's extremely busy, you'll have no choice but to seat whatever tables are currently open. On a more steady day, however, you'll need to base your decision on which servers to seat depending on what time those servers came in and how many tables they currently have open. To master the art of rotation, simply ask one of the other hosts/hostesses to walk you through their process of doing it, and then try practicing the same process on your own. You can even ask them to review your rotation and inform you of any mistakes you made.

Mastering the art of rotation will likely be the most difficult out of all of the tasks on this list, but it will become easier the more you practice it. Trust me.

3. Answer the phone like it's the best job in the world!

One of my favorite responsibilities as a restaurant hostess is getting to interact with people (which includes answering the phone.) No matter how you're feeling, you need to answer that phone like it's the best job in the world. Why? Because passion brings in business and brightens everyone's day. Not many people can pull it off, but if you love what you do, it will just come naturally.

Tips for success:

Take the initiative to answer the phone as many times as you can for practice. Don't feel bad if you have to ask the caller to repeat what they said if you didn't hear them clearly the first time. Sometimes you may even have to put them on hold to obtain answers to questions that you aren't entirely sure of – and that's fine too! Just make sure to let the caller know that you'll be right back with them and then follow through with your promise.

4. Become a "people person."

One of the most life-changing experiences you'll have as a hostess is learning how to interact with people from a variety of different backgrounds.

Tips for success:

Unfortunately, people can be quite vicious when it comes to food. Some of them will likely even try to make you feel or look bad if they don't get what they want. Don't give into that. Instead, stand your ground and respond diplomatically, or get a manager if you have to. Overall, be positive and try not to let your negative experiences affect the outcomes of your efforts in the future.

Remember, all it takes is listening, observing, and being considerate of how others around you are feeling. You'll get the hang of it!

5. Be dependable.

In other words, don't get comfortable with being responsible for only one or two tasks as a hostess. There will likely be a system that you and the other hosts/hostesses will follow. For instance, one of you might be responsible for greeting the guests, and one of you might be responsible for seating them.

Tips for success:

It's okay to have a system, but you'll eventually need to become as skilled with as many hosting tasks as possible. Both your managers and co-workers will need to know that they can depend on you to accomplish a variety of tasks without their help, and that means you'll need to do whatever it takes to get comfortable with doing those tasks on your own. Ask questions when you need clarification on how to do something. Watch and learn from the other hosts/hostesses around you. Learn to be dependable.

6. Believe in yourself.

Even if you're still not entirely confident in your ability to succeed as a hostess, remember this:

Your manager saw potential in you the moment the hired you, and you were meant to have this job. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gotten it.

Now, all you have to do is believe that you have what it takes to be successful with it. You're going to make mistakes here and there for sure. Fortunately, those same mistakes are what will make you even more confident in your potential to be an outstanding hostess.

While being a hostess is something that will challenge you, it is also something that will help you to grow in many ways that you wouldn't have expected initially. Overall, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Learn from your mistakes and be confident in yourself with everything that you do. You've got this!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Labor Unions Are Integral To Our Country, And They Need Our Help

Organized labor has been a staple of this country for generations, and its' decline is forever associated with various declines in our standard of living.

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USW, UAW, Teamsters, AFSCME. Those may just sound like odd names to many, but to me and many American workers, they are the myriad labor unions that have been integral to our country and its' blue-collar population. They have helped in many ways to defend workers, give them good benefits plans, and to protect their salary and ability to work from corporations.

Now? They have been in decline for decades, and sit at just 10.7% of all workers according to U.S. government estimates. This is a remarkably low number for the United States' workforce and is also another sad part of the economic stagnation of the U.S. since union membership began to collapse.

It might seem a bit odd to believe that unions and income inequality would be linked: you would expect that, maybe as a gesture of goodwill, corporation executives might offer better benefits to retain talent.

This could not be further from the truth. Studies have indicated that unions have a positive effect from members to nonmembers.

In a study conducted measuring average household income from 1973-2015, researchers found that there was a robust correlation between income inequality and union decline. In fact, the study found that the wages of nonunion workers would have been 3-7% higher if union membership rates were noticeably higher.

This dramatic increase in income inequality can be attributed to multiple factors: increasing automation, workers being reduced to performing increasingly less-intricate tasks, outsourcing, college-degree preference and so on. However, as time has gone on and research has been conducted, unions have been shown to benefit society and counter income inequality via actions such as fighting for broader access to healthcare, which has been a key facet of income inequality.

Though unions are far weaker now than they have been historically, we have still seen their power: In Los Angeles, unions were able to help negotiate better pay and funding for school teachers. In West Virginia, unions were center-stage as the many teachers who wanted more money were granted by the governor.

As one can see, unions still have a part to play in our country and its' economy.

Unions remain integral to how we function. Without unions, many of the benefits, payment plans, and healthcare options would not exist. And that is why I am partial to unions: unions allowed for socioeconomic ascendancy, a better life for families, and a chance to live a good life despite not having the luxury of a college degree.

In a time where the world is saturated with degrees and not enough trade school workers, unions might just become essential yet again. I, for one, would welcome that. As a kid from Ohio, union workers are prevalent, and protecting them now and later is integral.

Support your local to rebuild the American dream.

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