The Double Chin Diary Charitable Holiday Gift Guide

Ahh, the holidays. A time of year when cinnamon scents the air, your jeans are tight, traffic is worse and family fights are abundant. Just kidding! I actually love the holidays. Even though they can be stressful, I love the idea of a season of giving, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying some time off. This weekend I was lucky enough to have all of my family come down to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. There’s nothing like a good meal with those you love. This year, I’ve decided to focus on gifts that have a “good for you” angle, and not just in a health and wellness sense. This year, I wanted to focus on gifts that have a “good for the world” angle. It’s easy to get caught up in the “oooh! I want that!” type of consumer mentality that abounds, believe me, as someone who enjoys shopping, I know the temptation of glitz and glam quite well. However, sometimes you want to give a gift that’s more meaningful and has a special meaning. In this case, enter the five gifts below that are good for YOU, and good for the world. I was gifted two complimentary items (Dancing Deer Cookie and Brownie Pack and Prosperity Cinnamon) in exchange for review. You have a chance to win your own Prosperity Cinnamon from WorldVision at the end of this post 🙂

1) Madres Jewelry

Madrews Jewelry Simplicity Necklace

Madres, which means “mothers” in Spanish, empowers low-income women by providing fair wages and dignified employment. My sister has been a longtime supporter of this jewelry, and they have some beautiful pieces. How gorgeous is this “Simplicity” necklace? It’s Sterling Silver with Apatite beads and is only $25.00.

2) WorldVision Prosperity Cinnamon

Prosperity Cinnamon from World Vision

Prosperity Cinnamon from World Vision

I’m a big fan of cinnamon. In fact, when Christmas is over, I hoard those cinnamon-scented pinecones from the clearance section because I love the way they make my house smell. Cinnamon is also a “wonder spice” in that it can reduce inflammation in the body and is even thought by some to help you metabolize fats more quickly. Have you ever tried some cinnamon sprinkled on a sweet potato with a drizzle of coconut oil? Wonderfully delicious! However, this cinnamon is more than just sweet spicy goodness; it’s Vietnam’s renowned sweet cinnamon, a renewable resource collected from the Cassia tree, sold to benefit generations of hard working families. This beautifully carved cinnamon bark box contains 3 oz. of cinnamon and bears a common Asian character for prosperity. Don’t panic by the suggested price of $85 on WorldVision.org — you can donate whichever amount you’re most comfortable with, less $19 as the fair market value for the cinnamon. This gift is awesome because not only do you get an ecletic yet totally useful thing, you’re giving a direct contribution to a family or community in need. It may help fund microloans, it may feed a small family in a remote village, or it may help provide clean drinking water. You have a chance to win your own prosperity cinnamon at the bottom of this post! Looking for another charitable gift? I’m in love with this Giraffe Christmas Ornament made out of glass beads. So cute — and such a thoughtful way to gift!

3) Dancing Deer Baked Goods

DancingDeer_WinterHolidayGiftPack_Cookiesbrownies_Doublechindiary

Sometimes, you just have to give someone sweet something sweet! Baked goods are wonderful gifts for people you have a little bit of confusion over what to buy; everybody loves dessert, so in my mind, these are perfect gifts for neighbors, babysitters, colleagues, hair dressers, and more. I was sent the Dancing Deer Winter Holidays Gift Box that includes four chocolate chunk brownies, award winning Molasses Clove cookies, and 14 peppermint snowflake butter cookies. With the first bite of brownie, I knew I was sold. These brownies and cookies are truly fresh-baked, and the brownie had such a wonderful, dense texture, with big chunks of dark chocolate. To prove a point, note that none of these items were photographed like I usually prefer; and the embarrassing reason is that they were so good, they didn’t last long enough in our house to get their own photo shoot! The giftbox comes with everything nestled inside a festive red box, tied with a brown ribbon and carefully packed in brown krinkles. It’s a no fuss gift – send it and you’re done with your giftgiving. This gift box is $26.99, and Double Chin Diary readers can score 20% off with code KITCHEN. The charitable aspect I love about this company is their Sweet Home gifts, that give 35% of all profits to to scholarship programs through One Family Inc to help homeless and at risk mothers further their education. Sweet taste, sweet gift, sweet initiative – sweet all around! Check out this one that comes with a great red gift basket. These cookies and brownies truly tasted fresh-baked!

4) Shop Taffy Plus Size Activewear

ShopTaffy_PlusSizeActiveWear_DoubleChinDiaryI’ve already professed my love to ShopTaffy because their clothes are cute, high-quality, reasonably priced and best of all, they really “move” with you as you workout. Until December 31st, 10% of all proceeds of ShopTaffy are going to Unicef Philippines. Have a stylish sweat sesh AND give back to a community in need of some help? Sounds good to me. (PS: Use code LLBLOG for 25%  entire site until 12/31/13)

 

5) My awesmoe friend Virginia (who hangs around this blog often) walked recently to help raise money for the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This dish towel, pot holder and oven mitt set are not only adorable, but after the production costs, 100% of profits goes to St. Jude’s. This would be a great gift for a foodie friend who loves to cook! $24.00.

St. Jude's Kitchen Gift Set: 100% of profits help fight childhood disease

St. Jude’s Kitchen Gift Set: 100% of profits help fight childhood disease

Now that you have a few ideas of some “Good for you, Good for the world” gifts, it’s your chance to win one! For a shot at some WorldVision Prosperity Cinnamon, please follow the instructions and use the rafflecopter app below. This giveaway is good through Saturday, December 14th at 11:59pm PST. US Only, 18+. Good luck!!!

1) Visit WorldVision’s Gift Page and tell me in a comment on this blog post, which gift you like best.

2) Once you’ve done that, mark the “leave a comment” option on rafflecopter app as DONE.

3) That’s it! You can do the extra entries if you like but don’t feel obligated.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Taffy Activewear for Plus Sized Gym Goers

Happy Monday, everyone! Can you believe there’s just three more days until Thanksgiving?! Yikes — I need to get my butt to the grocery store to load up on Turkey and all the fixins. Matt and I are hosting this year; but that’s another blog for another day. Today, I’m excited to tell you about Taffy Active Wear, stylish activewear for women with curves. My love affair with Taffy began a couple years ago when I won a pair of workout pants from Taffy on Authentically Emmie. These pants quickly turned into my every-day-after-work pants and my all-the-time-on-weekends pants. They were soft, but had enough structure to suck in the less than desirable pouchy parts of my belly. Plus, they had the perfect amount of flare in the leg. As a tall gal, I like a basic flare, but I don’t need bellbottoms nor am I looking for a straight-legged taper. These are the best pants ever, basically. (I’m so obsessed with these pants I wore a hole into them. Don’t worry – a fresh new pair is on its way. My weekend wardrobe requires these pants. For serious! Pssst. They’re on sale for $22.99 right now too!)

In conjunction with the Latina Lifestyle Blogger Collective (I am an honorary Latina!), I was sent a full Taffy outfit to review. Here’s my review in one word: excellent. You know how sometimes you buy exercise clothes and they’re cut like normal clothes? That doesn’t work for activewear. Especially when you’re plus sized. You need clothes that move with you, that bend and crease, that don’t give you horrible wedgies or VPL. You also want them to be cute! Case in point: the Taffy Wide Waistband Fitted Capri, the Essential Tank Top and the Taffy Essential Jacket.

Rockin' my Taffy Activewear at the Shoulder Press

Rockin’ my Taffy Activewear at the Shoulder Press

1) The Capri pants are perfect for basically any kind of exercise, because while they help you suck it in, they also don’t ride up (or worse – fall down). These were so comfy I ended up wearing them the whole night after I finished at the gym. I also like the mesh detailing along the sides, which adds a sporty contrast.

2) The Essential Tank Top is adorable with the dove imagery on the front. I actually would wear this as a normal shirt! It’s super soft. One note is that it has a little bit of sheerness, which was actually sort of sassy and sexy with the neon sports bras I favor. I also like the “Work of Art” messaging, because all of us are truly a work of art!

3) The Essential Jacket is my favorite of all three items. I normally don’t wear white, and this jacket may have converted me (You can get it in black, too). The 2X fit me perfectly – enough to feel like I was downplaying the areas I’m self conscious about (tummy), but enough to be nipped in at the waist and show off my hourglass figure. I really liked this fabric, too – it was warm without being stuffy, and I was able to wear it on the treadmill without feeling too hot. I loved how it tied together the whole outfit, and I’ve actually worn this out shopping several times as just a cute, sporty jacket. You can also tell that ALL of these items are really high quality. The zipper pulls, seams and linings are all deluxe feeling. As much as I love Old Navy activewear, I can tell sometimes that its low price translates into low quality. Not the case with Taffy. One more small thing — each piece has a cute little candy logo on it. My galpal Susannah actually noticed it and pointed it out, saying, “Is that candy?!”. It is, indeed, and it is adorable.

If you want to give Taffy a try (you won’t regret it!), you can save 25% with the code LLBLOG for 25% off entire site until Dec 31, 2013. That also includes free shipping — AWESOME deal. (I may need to do a little more shopping. Don’t tell my husband. I mean, how can I resist this adorable tunic tank? It’s only $14.99. Old Navy prices — Taffy quality!) Taffy would be perfect for a gift for YOURSELF (don’t forget to gift yourself this season — we all need a lil’ pampering) or for a wonderful, health conscious gift for plus-sized ladies in your life. I happen to know somebody who’s getting a special Taffy gift from Santa this year! One other thing I also really love about Taffy that you’ll read more about in my upcoming Double Chin Diary giftguide is that from now until December 31, Taffy is giving back 10% to Philippine relief via UNICEF. Giving your money to a socially-conscious company is a great way to give back this holiday season.

Do you have any questions about Taffy? What activewear do you usually find yourself wearing?

FTC Disclosure: I was chosen for this opportunity by the Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Collective in conjunction with their annual Holiday Gift Guide. All opinions expressed are my own.

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