I’ve worked on a number of Champions For Kids projects in the past couple of years. I really believe in this organization, because it shows how we can take small steps to do SIMPLE Giving service projects to help out the kids in our community.
This week I was delighted to participate in a personal-care SIMPLE Giving project through Champions For Kids, Kimberly-Clark and Unilever. Especially during this time of year, food drives are everywhere. This is a great thing, because food insecurity is a serious problem in this country. But sometimes we forget that there are other needs as well. Families who qualify for SNAP benefits often struggle to get items like soap, shampoo and antiperspirant, because SNAP doesn’t help pay for these items. Take out other expenses like rent, utilities and transportation, and even the most basic self-care items are left out of the budget.
Through Nov. 11, 2013, Walmart stores will have a donation bin for this drive. These bins are right near the entrance, and are attached to or near pallets stocked with Unilever and Kimberly-Clark items to donate. Items like Dial Soap, Cottonelle FreshWipes and Kleenex tissues.
When I arrived at my local Walmart store, I saw the donation box, but the pallet was empty. This can happen if other customers have purchased the items ahead of you. But not to worry!
I headed to the personal care section of the store to pick out some items for the drive. I was on a $25 budget and wanted to get the most out of my purchase.
One thing I loved about these Dial three-packs was that they were enough for a family to go through for a little while, and by purchasing them in multi-packs I was able to save some money. The $1.97 was very budget-friendly. I am ALSO very glad that Dial has broadened its variety from the orange antibacterial soap our parents used to many different types of soap. I picked up one each of the AntiOxidant and the Coconut Water soaps for donation.
If you’re on a budget or you want to get as many items to as many kids as possible, I suggest the travel section. I found tons of Tresemme shampoos and conditioners for only 97 cents!
And we mustn’t forget the Kleenex travel packs! These bundles of three were available for 97 cents each in the travel section. Every kid needs one of these!
Unilever also has travel-sized Degree antiperspirant in this section. A great help!
I headed over to the paper-products section of the store and picked up some Cottonelle Freshwipes, as well as some full-sized boxes of Kleenex. I’ll show you what I managed to purchase for around $25 again:
This is enough to get one or two families some products they need. I purchased these items and placed them in the bin as I exited the store.
To see what others participating in this campaign have purchased, check out this Simple Giving Pinterest Board for ideas.
The bins will be in stores through Nov. 11, 2013 for you to get out there and do some SIMPLE Giving.
Are you participating in any donation drives right now? Do you donate personal care items to local schools and charities?
My friend Slap Dash Mom recently wrote a heartfelt post about rape and rape culture. I encourage you to go over and read it. It has several real stories from rape survivors that usually included blaming and shaming the victim. Blaming women for drinking, for dressing provocatively, for basically doing everything but wearing a dress to her ankles and participating in a women’s knitting circle. Several more stories are in the comments section. Including mine.
Then there’s this know-it-all A-hole named “BMan” who wrote his own rules. Let’s see what this GENIUS has to say. I can’t even read it without clenching my fists, but you need to know that this is what we have to deal with ALL. The TIME:
Look…I feel for some of you ladies…especially the ones who were REALLY raped…like when you were a child or if you were VIOLENTLY raped. Those are real rapes. BUT….as bad as what you went through was…it does NOT change the facts ONE IOTA. WHAT FACTS? THESE:
1. YOU CAN REDUCE THE INCIDENTS OF RAPE BY BEING RESPONSIBLE AND NOT DRINKING
2. JUST BECAUSE A WOMAN CLAIMS RAPE DOESNT MAKE IT TRUE. (YOU MAY POSSESS BLIND HATRED FOR ALL MEN BUT THAT IS NOT EVIDENCE)
3. THE WAY YOU DRESS DOES IMPACT THINGS…BECAUSE IT CALLS ATTENTION TO YOU.
4 NO DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN NO (SAD BUT TRUE…SOME WOMEN SAY NO WHEN THEY MEAN YES…THEY LIKE TO FEEL IRRESISTIBLE… I KNOW THIS FROM EXPERIENCE…AND I HAVE NEVER ONCE HAD A WOMAN ACCUSE ME OF RAPE)
5. AS NOTED IN THE ARTICLE THE GIRL WHO WAS RAPED SHOULD WITHOUT A DOUBT BE CHARGED WITH UNDERAGE DRINKING…YOU WOULD WANT THE GUY CHARGED WITH IT IF THE GIRL SAID HE RAPED HIM…SO WE JUST WANT YOU LADIES TO FEEL “EQUAL” . SO WE CANT CODDLE A LAW BREAKER..HECK SHE MIGHT GO OFF AND DO THAT AGAIN…AND WE CANT HAVE THAT NOW CAN WE?
6. IF YOU DONT SCREAM OR FIGHT ITS NOT REAL RAPE…YOU ARE JUST HAVING FUN AND YOUR REGRET LATER DOES NOT MAKE IT RAPE NOW. (EXCEPTION…UNLESS HE HAS A GUN OR KNIFE..AND YOU ARE GROWN UP)
7. IF YOU WANT EQUALITY WITH MEN THEN YOU MUST TAKE THE BAD WITH THE GOOD. TAKE YOUR LEGAL PUNISHMENTS LIKE A MAN…SO YOU SHOULD BE LOBBYING FOR WOMEN TO GET JAIL TIME THE SAME AS MEN DO FOR EQUAL CRIMES…AND DOUBLE TIME FOR FALSE RAPE CLAIMS
8 STOP MAKING EXCUSES AND MAKING STUPID CATCHPHRASES LIKE NO MEANS NO….IF YOU ACT LIKE A WOMAN AND STOP TRYING SO HARD TO BE A MAN THEN YOU WILL SEE THAT MEN WILL RESPECT YOU AS A WOMAN AND PROTECT YOU…AND IF A MAN DOES DO WRONG TO YOU …OTHER MEN WILL BEAT THE SNOT OUT OF HIM FOR YOU.
I’ll let you curse to yourself at this point.
Sadly, B-Man’s thoughts are shared by a lot of people – men AND women – in today’s world.
I shared my story on SDM’s page as a comment. Here it is. Only this time comes with edits and visuals!
It was the summer of 2008. I went out drinking with a good friend, her husband and some of their friends at the time. We had a
designated driver. I was going to stay at my friend’s house, in her kids’ room (they were off to see relatives). After we went out drinking, we had an after-party. There was a man there who was going up to the girls and lifting up their dresses.
Yes, I was drunk. And I went to him while everyone else at the after-party was there and I cursed at him, telling him you do NOT do that to women, that it is NOT cool at all.
Afterwards, that same man started pursuing me. I rejected his advances as I became more and more tired. And eventually I went to my guest bed to pass out. He came in and got in bed with me. Kept telling me he wanted to be with me. I still remember his lisp and the smell of cheap, heavy cigarettes on his breath. I managed to chase him out and lock him out of the room.
Then, I had to get up to use the bathroom. And he followed me again. Got in bed with me. Tried to arouse me. This time, I tried to run out the door and scream for help (all the other party guests were out on the deck). He held me back. And at that moment, I made the decision: “I’m not going to get out of this, so I might as well make the most of it.” I went back to bed as he locked the door.
He did things to me that I enjoyed – not because it was him, but because I was a woman and women get aroused. And I reciprocated. When he was ready to have intercourse, I told him he needed a condom because I had an STI. So instead of getting a condom, he decided to sodomize me.
Was he forceful on me? Did he hold me down? No. But I’d already tried that fight. I remember that as he was doing the things I enjoyed, he asked me if I wanted him to come by my place every day and do those things. I told him, “No, just get this over with.”
When it was over, he asked me to give him a ride home. I cursed at him again and went to sleep.
I didn’t remember most of these things when I woke up the next morning, because I was hungover. I just thought he was another one-night-stand. And of course I told friends who weren’t at the party about it, oh, ha-ha. But then as I started remembering more things, something in my gut told me he did something that wasn’t right.
I shared it with some friends who lived elsewhere and didn’t attend the party, and when the first one said, “I don’t think you were raped,” something in me snapped. My friends told the same things Bman was saying. I shouldn’t have dressed the way I did. “Oh, I was REALLY raped, you weren’t.” I shouldn’t have been drinking. “You’re just trying to draw attention to yourself.” I should be more careful who I hang out with.
Not being believed was more painful than the rape itself. I felt like the girl who cried wolf. I was dared to report it to the police – but I was a reporter at the time and I did not want my coworkers reading my sworn affidavit. I did not want news stories in the paper I worked for on the front page, even if they kept my identity private. I did not want the public to know about me. I didn’t want to talk with police officers that I had worked with in a professional capacity. And I knew that since he and I were the only ones in the room, that my chances of winning a case were nonexistent.
It’s been five years, and I’ve healed enough to the point in which I have no shame or regret in telling my story. People need to know. And something needs to be done. And if someone tells you they think they were raped, the first thing you do is BELIEVE them. If the person is making a false accusation, it will eventually come out. Then you deal with it. And never, but NEVER, tell someone whether they were “really raped” or not. Unless it’s your body, you do not know.
“If I am a woman and I am walking down the street naked, you still don’t have the right to rape me.” ~Dick Gregory
I have some exciting news, Bellesouth readers and friends: Since May, I have lost 32 pounds!!! Check me out!
The photo on the left is one that I took right before heading out to a cocktail party at SoFabCon back in May. I’m wearing Spanx, so while I may look cute, I feel like a sausage and am thinking, “I am going to die before the night is over.” The one on the right is me right before celebrating the last day of Summer by going out to the lake with some friends. I am very thankful the shorts I’m wearing have a drawstring, because they are two sizes too big for me!!! You really don’t see the difference until you compare photos of yourself.
Lots of my friends have asked me what program I’m on, or what I’m doing. Here’s my secret: It’s this AMAZING breakthrough plan called “Counting Calories and Exercising.” It really works, and I use a handy app called MyFitnessPal to help me out. I’m not on a “diet.” I don’t deprive myself, and I don’t beat myself up if I go over my daily calorie limit. As a result, I’ve dropped a shirt size, am about to drop a second pants size, and I’m really feeling better about myself. I was given the opportunity to try out a new line of healthy meals called Honestly Good 100% Natural meals by Lean Cuisine. These meals are ready in about four minutes, and are extremely tasty!!!
At around 350 calories each, these meals are a great way to watch your calories, eat good-quality foods with delicious and healthy ingredients, and definitely NOT feel like you’re depriving yourself.
These come in six varieties and are available in some Walmart stores. One of my favorites is the lemongrass salmon pictured above, which features a whole coconut-crusted, wild-caught salmon filet, ginger-lemongrass sauce in a separate pouch, a vegetable blend of snap peas, orange and yellow carrots and edamame, and brown rice with wheatberries. Sounds NOM, right? Trust me, it is – and it’s only 350 calories for the whole thing. That’s a good, healthy lunch or dinner.
Each meal comes in steam-friendly packaging and is accompanied by a sauce packet to complement your meal. You defrost the sauce packet under warm water during Step 1 of your cooking process, and pour the sauce over the meal before you put it back into the microwave to complete it.
When it’s done, you have a beautiful, steaming-hot meal that just needs your fork and your mouth. Let’s watch the magic happen.
Bite after bite of consistent yumminess!! An absolutely GORGEOUS meal that cost less than $4 and was just as tasty as it looks. I loved the coconut crust, and the salmon has a light taste, which was surprising since normally salmon has a very strong, pungent smell and taste. The vegetables were an amazing blend; I LOVE edamame and the addition of the other veggies really complimented the fish and the wheatberry rice quite well. Even in spite of the mishaps, This meal gets an A+ from me. I’ve already tried two of the six varieties – the Salmon and the plum-ginger grain-crusted fish, and these are some of the best frozen meals I’ve had.
Other flavors include: Honey Citrus Chicken, Pomegranate Chicken, and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Chicken. You will find these meals in the “Healthy Meals” section in your grocer’s freezer; close to things such as organic meals and vegetarian dishes. I hope the rest of these are as honestly good as the other ones!
I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I’m sure I will struggle with it for the rest of my life. But all I know is, when I’ve lost weight, I’ve never lost more than 30 pounds at a time. And yet I keep losing. And this is my philosophy: Don’t deprive yourself. If you want that slice of pizza, eat it. Just put it in your daily calorie intake. Get outside and take the dog for a walk, or chase him around the house if it’s too cold outside.
Don’t think there is a food you cannot eat UNLESS, of course, you are allergic to it or have an intolerance for it. And if you splurge over the weekend, do not beat yourself up over it. Just go back to counting your calories, and eventually you’ll make better food choices, such as Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Frozen Meals.
Most importantly, if there’s someone in your life who is not helpful to you along your journey, or, worst yet, criticizes you on how you “still look” while you’re on that journey, either tell that person not to speak of it again, or remove yourself from that person. Because they will only hinder your journey. Surround yourself with people who will cheer you on.
And, of course, always consult your physician before beginning any type of diet or exercise program.
I tell people – I don’t know if this will last. But so far, this has been the easiest and most reasonable way I’ve done this. And I feel like I am LIVING. I’m trying to beat diagnoses of Type II Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. I’m winning so far. I’ll check back in with you in a few more months to see if I’ve made any progress.
Disclosure: As of September 16, 2013, I am employed as a pet sitter with Solgave Animal Solutions, a provider of professional dog training in Northwest Arkansas. When this behavioral coaching session happened on 8/2/2013, I was not an employee, nor intending to become one. Solgave Animal Solutions provided me with this session in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own unless indicated otherwise.
It’s true. I really do have the most adorable pumpkin in the world for a pet.
But beneath that cute facade is a face that means business that is really hiding a lot of anxiety. Here’s Sebastian, sitting in one of his favorite spots in the home – on top of the loveseat, looking out the front window with the blinds open. It allows him to get some sun, and also allows him to check out what’s going on in the neighborhood – when the neighbors walk by to get their mail, when the kids ride along on their bicycles, and moments that particularly excite him, such as when the Black Lab across the street comes out to do her business. Or when I return home from wherever I’ve been; Sebastian just knows I’ve been gone. Or when delivery drivers ring the doorbell.
Sebastian is a great dog. He’s very smart and intuitive, he’s great at listening to commands and even solves puzzles like the one above! He went through three training classes and did well in all of them. But sometimes classes aren’t enough, and there are behavioral problems that still need to be corrected. We’ve had a lot of problems with Sebastian being a barker, a door-dasher and a jumper. The jumping and barking can typically be stopped, but the door-dashing is the scariest – especially because we live adjacent to one of the busiest streets in town. So while I’ve been concerned about his barking and anxiety at the window, I want to make sure he is safe.
Through a friend, I was connected with Sunniva and Jared Ritter, owners of Solgave Animal Solutions in Fayetteville, Ark., for the opportunity to experience a behavioral coaching session for Sebastian. I was so relieved, because I really needed these issues addressed.
I cannot find an English translation for the Norwegian word “Solgave.” But as Jared describes it, “Solgave as a philosophy is about healing, understanding relationships, and connecting people back to the Earth through a variety of ways.” I asked Sunniva about her experience in animal behavioral training, and she said that she just grew up around dogs in Norway and has basically been caring for them since she was a young girl.
So I wanted to see if Sunniva’s experience in Norway could help Sebastian. As soon as the door was opened, of course, Sebastian ran toward the front to greet Sunniva, who ignored Sebastian as she walked in. As he attempted to jump on her, Sunniva simply snapped her fingers at him and he stopped.
It was then that I became pretty confident that Sunniva was going to help me and Sebastian. Sunniva explained that since Sebastian is part Schnauzer and part pug, he has two different personalities: The Schnauzer is a guardian and a hunter, while the pug is sweet and submissive. She also noticed that Sebastian is insecure – something I’ve known since I adopted him.
The Black Lab across the street instigates fear in Sebastian, and also brings out the sense in him that he needs to put up a protective front by barking at her. As the pack leader, it’s my job to keep Sebastian away from such distractions, and also to let him know when he starts barking out the window that I can handle whatever he’s afraid of; that his role is not to protect me. I’m the alpha – and it’s something I have to remind him of every day.
The next thing we worked on was Sebastian’s horrible habit of door-dashing. You have no idea how many times I have driven along my street, pretending to leave to try and convince Sebastian to get in the car with me; telling neighbors not to go after him because he will think you’re playing chase, and literally SQUEALING as I saw him on the edge of a busy road, checking out some roadkill as an enormous van flew past him. The thing is, Sebastian always knows to come back, because he knows he will be treated with love and good things to eat. We NEVER scold him, because why would a dog want to return to a place where someone’s going to be mean to him?! Also, dogs have very short attention spans.
So our goal was to get Sebastian to stop running toward the door in the first place. I decided that our tiled entryway was a boundary he could not cross as anyone walked in the door. He could stay on the carpet; that was it. Jared and Sunniva and I did a lot of exercises, including creating potential scenarios. If his paws were on the tile, I simply told him “no-no-no” nicely but firmly, and would reward him whenever he was where I wanted him to be. We worked on this for quite a while.
I am SO excited to report that since Jared and Sunniva came to visit me in early August, Sebastian has not run out the front door ONCE. This is SUCH a relief to me, because the thought of my little pooch being hit on the street absolutely horrifies me!
I actually made a video just to show you the progress Sebastian had made. I had been out of the house, running errands for approximately two hours. I had NO idea what he was going to do. This is what he did:
IS THAT NOT THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER?! He didn’t even run up to me! He ran straight to his spot on the couch, where he knows he will get pettin’s from his mom. And that’s how it’s been.
Solgave does not just do behavioral coaching; they offer a number of other services, including animal care,dog boarding, dog walking, pet-sitting, dog kennel, cat-sitting, dog day care and even pet photography! Compared to other similar services in the area, their prices are very competitive.
This is the end of my sponsored review. Read below about how I joined the team at Solgave Animal Solutions.
Jared and Sunniva knew how good I was with animals, as they’d seen how I worked with my own dog as well as other dogs in various dogsitting gigs. They have recently branched out their services to the Rogers/Bentonville area, and I have joined the team of two here! I will provide dog-walking, dogsitting, dog errands (such as taking your animal to the groomer), and lots of love. And if you are going to be gone for a few days, I’ll be sure to update you with photos and videos, because that’s my way, as well as Solgave’s way. Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats, so I will not provide services as a cat-sitter. But if you’re interested in hiring me or any others at Solgave to take care of your pets, click here to book now or call (479) 871-9013. Be sure and tell ‘em Bellesouth sent you!!
If you want to meet the team at Solgave, come out to Gulley Park in Fayetteville for Solgave’s sixth Pack Walk at 2 p.m. Sept.29. Bring your dog; we’ll have ours, and there will be lots of activities for the whole family, followed by a good and healthy pack walk in some great weather. Hope to see you there.