Give A Little Bit…

I’ve been reading a lot lately about doing little things to be more green, charitable and in general, kind to others. One of the things I think is so important in that category is community service. I think the perception is that this has to be a huge chunk of your day or week, but in reality, there are so many charities and organizations out there that need volunteers, but not for crazy amounts of time.

When we were kids, my mom, myself, my sister and our dog, Prince, volunteered with an organization called Pets On Wheels. We would take Princey and go to a nursing home for about an hour a week and just walk around and visit with people. We never stayed that long with any of the residents, but just long enough to talk about Prince or Ali and myself or whatever was on their mind. They always seemed grateful to talk about something other than why they were there.

I rejoined POW after graduating college and then again when we moved home to AZ from DC. And now I take Baylie with me to visit – she alternates between whipping Travis with his leash, shaking hands with the residents, looting their lunch trays and waving goodbye – most of them love it and I bail out before any of those that don’t love it say something. Travis sits sweetly next to each person we visit and accepts the pats and scratchies. I love teaching her that serving others is not only an important part of life, but a necessary one.

So if you don’t currently volunteer, consider finding an organization that is in need of volunteers and fits your time frame so that you can stick with it. Look for those that involve your pets or your kids so that you get to pull double duty: time with your family and time giving back.

Here’s a few websites to get ideas: – please note the much less tired and younger version of Travis and myself on the “young volunteers” page. And yes, I still count as “young”! – the crisis nursery can be a tough place to volunteer due to the situations that many of the kids are in. But they are always in need of diapers, clothing and toys. – Peter volunteers with Wills for Heros. If you have legal experience, are a notary or a law student, they need you! – Junior Acheivement is an amazing organization that teaches kids about business and entreprenureship at all academic levels. They need volunteers to help get items donated for chairity events and also help out in their super cool “JA Biz Town” (been there and I want to stay and play every time!). Bonus: many of the planning meetings have cocktails!

Check back with your favorite grade school teacher. Chances are they are still there and still teaching and in need of some help in the classroom. My sister Ali and I fulfilled our high school community service requirement spending 2 hours a week at our grade school. We would grade papers, clean out closets, read stories, whatever the teacher needed. And who doesn’t love a 1st grader giving you a drawing of yourself and saying  “thank you!”?

Because really, who doesn’t want a visit from this guy?!

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Like most people, I like to start the day and mid day and sometimes late afternoon with a coffee. And again like most people, going to Starbucks once or twice a week is not in the budget let alone three times a day. So I make my own delicious drinks at home.

At an after Christmas party last year, a  friend of a friend’s college (I kid you not, that’s actually the connection) began telling me about a great coffee shop in North-ish Scottsdale that roasts their own beans. She detailed how amazing each of the blends were and how unique each of the types of beans were in flavor, color and scent. I don’t fancy myself someone who knows a lot about all that jazz, but I do like a really delicious iced coffee. So Bay and I ventured out to the Village Coffee Roastery and were very pleased with the results. Not only is the shop its self adorable, but they offer a variety of pastries and sandwiches in addition to great beans. The best part is the coffee is really noticable better than something you buy in the grocery store or, dare I say it, Starbucks. I tried the Mexican blend this time and it has a very noticable chocolate flavor to it. It is delicious with some Truvia sweetener, two shakes of cinnamon, milk and ice for an afternoon jolt.

The manager is always there and might be one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever met. She knows about each bean and what it tastes like and is more than helpful with trying something new or bagging up your long time favorite. Try it for breakfast and take a bag home to keep your caffeine addiction fed.

Village Coffee Roastery