december obsessions

December is quickly coming to an end, as well as 2012! I know everyone is doing end of the year recaps on their blogs but I didn't want to forget the December-specific things that I was obsessed with this month!  (I'll be back in a few days to post my 2012 obsessions! Should be fun!)

1. Christmas. Of course. 

2. Made By DWC. I recently participated in a fun little Christmas gift swap that Allison Lehman put together for bloggers & the challenge was that you had to buy something locally made from your city. Living in Los Angeles, the possibilities were endless. But I stumbled across the perfect gift: a precious soy candle in a teacup from the handMADE collection through MADE by DWC. I'll let them explain what they're all about:
handMADE is MADE by DWC’s line of unique products created locally by homeless and low-income women at the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles’ Skid Row community. Products are designed through collaboration between DWC program participants, staff members, and community artists. Product development workshops equip women with social and vocational skills in a supportive environment where women rebuild self-esteem, discover talents, develop skills and earn income. MADE by DWC's one-of-a-kind gifts are handmade using recycled and repurposed materials with a commitment to connecting social profit to environmental sustainability.
One hundred percent of proceeds from MADE by DWC go directly to programs and services for homeless and low-income women at the Downtown Women's Center. - From the website

How awesome is that?? I stopped by the MADE by DWC store in downtown and they had the cutest products, but I couldn't resist the darling soy candle in a teacup! Seriously, if you live or work in downtown, you MUST check this place out. I wish they sold items online because I think they would be a hit. I hope the blogger I sent this to loves this honey & oat candle as much as I do! It really felt good to not only buy local, but buy something that also supported such a good cause! Speaking of...

3. Trends that M.E.N.D. I wrote earlier this month about an exciting new venture that I'm involved in: an online clothing boutique where a percentage of each clothing purchase helps support an amazing non-profit! I am a proud Brand Ambassador for Trends that M.E.N.D. which means not only did I get to model the clothes for the site (as seen below!) but I also got to select one of the non-profit partners that we support! This is a project that I am so passionate about and so honored to be a part of! I love that Trends that M.E.N.D. not only encourages people to be conscious consumers but also celebrates diverse beauty.

The online boutique officially launched this month so head on over to the site and start shopping! You can also check us out on Facebook and Twitter


4. Things I Retweet. December was a little slower in the blogging world because of the holidays but there were still some fantastic pieces from around the web that I have been patiently waiting to share with everyone! I hope by posting these links every month that I help you all find some new blogs to follow. There are such talented writers out there and they truly inspire and challenge me every day!

On Women and Body Shaming

Women, Bodies, & Temples of the Holy Spirit by From Two To One

On Modesty and Male Privilege by Luke Harms
An Open Letter to the Woman Who Wrote ‘11 Qualities of the Perfect Woman’ by Lindy West (language warning)
It's What's Inside that Counts, Unless You're Really Pretty by Misha D. Fisher
On Privilege
Privilege and Low Expectations by Sparky
On Faith
Finding God in the Rituals by Caris Adel 
On Dating
to the girl who wants a boy for Christmas by Antonia Terrazas
On Funny Things
The Poptart Tragedy: Dumbest, Funniest and Best Story Ever by Luvvie
The 25 Funniest AutoCorrects of 2012 on Buzzfeed (language warning) (NSFW) (most hilarious thing ever)
On Sandy Hook
Thoughts on Stopping a Killer. Or, Shut the Hell Up, Huckabee by Caris Adel
Time to profile white men? by David Sirota
when i use the words i never use by Preston Yancey
God can't be kept out by Rachel Held Evans
 In which we need pragmatists and prophets by Sarah Bessey
Raising A Non-Violent Boy In A Violent World by Sarah Sophie Flicker
Of Heroes and Hype: Mass Murder and the Absurdity of the ‘More Guns’ Crowd
by Time Wise
What Obama Must Do About Guns by David Remnick
Gun Control is a Parenting Issue by Lisa Belkin
A Guide To Mass Shootings in America from Mother Jones

NOTE: The articles regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy are ones that I personally found helpful, enlightening, and challenging. They are not meant to be an unbiased, balanced representation of the commentary surrounding the tragedy. They resonated with me personally and in sharing them I am not suggesting that they are perfect or a definitive reflection on my personal views. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the families affected by this terrible loss

Any of these links really stand out to you? Let me know what I should have read this month in the comments! 

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