As someone who eats peanut butter in one way or another every day at breakfast, the concept of Peanuts4Peanuts strikes me as an awesome way to regularly (and easily!) do my part to help those who are less fortunate.  Haven’t heard of the organization?  Perhaps that’s because it’s an awesome start-up that recently launched here in Boston!  Co-Founders Lizzie Faust and Kendra Wilkins have started Peanuts4Peanuts to combat chronic malnutrition in Haiti.  It works just like the name suggests…You buy a jar of peanut butter here in the US, and a dose of medicinal peanut butter is given to a child in Haiti.  Peanuts for peanuts.  The concept sounds simple, but getting a start-up off the ground isn’t.  Lizzie and Kendra need our help getting their operation up and running.  Here’s what you need to know:

What is Peanuts4Peanuts, in a nutshell? (pun intended, sorry I had to)
L&K: Peanuts4Peanuts is a Boston-based start-up that helps to treat malnourished children in Haiti through a sustainable economic model built around the concept of selling peanut butter. We use U.S. grown peanuts and produce our peanut butter in a facility right outside of Boston.  For every jar we sell, a dose of micronutrient fortified peanut butter will be provided to a malnourished child in Haiti. We all love peanut butter! But now, with Peanuts4Peanuts, there’s more to love!
What stage are you currently at in the process of developing the organization?
L&K: We are in discussions with potential partners in Haiti who will help us distribute the peanut butter. Our manufacturer is all set to produce the Peanuts4Peanuts peanut butter once we give them the green light. And we have stores lined up in the South End excited to sell our product! All we need is the initial capital to get this moving!
Why Haiti? 
L: I have done economic analyses for Partners in Health and Gheskio HIV/TB Clinic, non-profit organizations that are based in Haiti. Last fall, I went to Haiti and was introduced to medicinal peanut butter. Medicinal peanut butter has really revolutionized the way children are treated for malnutrition because it doesn’t require water, a scarce resource in most developing countries. Over 80,000 children die from malnutrition in Haiti each year, but with proper treatment, this number could be zero.
What kind of impact can Peanuts4Peanuts have in Haiti?
L&K: If left untreated, chronic malnutrition can have a serious impact on the country as a whole, because it results in increased risk of contracting HIV, low school attendance, and decreased productivity. Peanuts4Peanuts will not only help to directly treat these children, but through the employment of Haitian farmers and factory employees, we will be generating income to help reduce poverty and food insecurity across the country.
What can we all do to help?
L&K: Spread the word!  Check out our IndieGoGo campaign and LIKE us on Facebook. If we reach $10,000 by the end of the week, one of our Facebook fans will win a FREE Peanuts4Peanuts t-shirt or tank! 
Is there anything else we should know?
L: Kendra and I were recently accepted to an entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley. We’ll be heading to California for 7 weeks this fall to work on Peanuts4Peanuts. We are doing everything we can to make sure this company is a success and we can’t thank our backers and Facebook fans enough for all the support!

Their fundraising deadline on IndieGoGo is September 13, and they only receive funding if they reach their goals.  So hop over and help them (and really malnourished kids in Haiti) out!


DIY Doloris Petunia

I discovered Doloris Petunia while reading Cupcakes & Cashmere.  The particularly sparkly statement necklaces featured on C&C are inspirational, but a little too over the top for me.  Not to mention pricey.  But they did prompt me to visit her site, where I found some fun pieces featuring colorful, matte stones.  But again, a bit too much going on, at way too high of a price point. So I decided it would be fun to DIY some jewelry a la Doloris Petunia (Tom Binns also makes some pretty awesome stuff that has a similar feel).

1) Nail polish (here, and here)
2) Tooth Picks
3) Earrings (like these, or these, or just do an Etsy search for “rhinestone drop earrings”)

Nail Polish SelectionChoosing ColorsI tested out a couple of color palettes on a piece of poster board to see which I liked best.
Mid-PaintDip a toothpick into your first color of polish and dab it onto a rhinestone.  I did a bigger dot of paint on top that I then spread to the edges using the tip of the toothpick.  Splurge and use a new toothpick per color, per earring for precision’s sake.  There are no photos of me actually painting.  Sorry but I only have two hands.
Finished product!Final product! Let them dry for a half hour or so before wearing.

Let’s NOT grab a drink…

the beautiful Boston skyline

the beautiful Boston skyline

That title sounds weird, I know.  But it’s a serious goal I’ve started setting for myself.  With ever-changing, ever-busy schedules, it can be pretty tough to find a free minute to spend with friends.  And when we do find free minutes, the default is to grab a drink at a local bar.  Now, don’t get me wrong, that can be an absolute blast.  But it can also be expensive and pretty unhealthy.  I’m no Miss Fitness (I can easily eat an entire party-sized bag of Cape Cod Salt & Vinegar chips in one sitting), but between cocktails with coworkers and boozy weekends, I sometimes like my dates with girlfriends to be alcohol free.

SO, if you just so happen to agree with me and live in the Boston area, here are a couple of activities I’m hoping to take part in during the next month:

St. Anthony’s feast is this weekend in the North End!  Not healthy, but still fun.
Boston has an interesting Street Seats art exhibit going on now in the Fort Point Channel.
Have you seen the Cool Globes yet?
Boston Ballet’s FREE Night of Stars is Sept. 21.  I’m so excited to go see ballet outdoors!
DIY projects can be intimidating but Darby Smart makes it easy, fun, and cheap (does anybody else accidentally spend hundreds of dollars at Micheal’s buying supplies?).
FREE pilates/yoga/bootcamp classes at Normal B. Leventhal Park in P.O. Square (financial district)!

Boston Bloggers Summer Soiree

I attended the Boston Bloggers Summer Soiree at the Sinclair in Cambridge last night, and it was an absolute BLAST.  There was a great mix of veterans and newcomers and I had a fantastic time chatting blogs and life with such an awesome group.  Unfortunately I had so much fun at my first Boston Bloggers event that I neglected to take any pictures.  Whoops.

our program for the night

our program for the night

I had initially planned on wearing white jeans with these woven booties, as the weather has been chilly in Boston.  But of course a late August heat wave is hitting the city, so I decided to take full advantage and wear a fun summer outfit (subtext: I panicked about my outfit before deciding and ultimately left my room looking like a pack of 6th graders had just used it to get ready for a middle school dance).

Top, Skirt (H&M-old, similar), Necklace, Earrings (Vintage, similar, similar), Bracelets, Watch, Ring (loulou Boutique)

Top (in black), Skirt-old H&M (similar), Necklace, Earrings-vintage (similar, similar), Bracelets (bought at Crush), Watch, Ring-loulou

shoes-old Enzo Angiolini (similar), nail polish

shoes-old Enzo Angiolini (similar), Bikini So Teeny Polish

I arrived only a few minutes late, and met a fellow blogger on my way in the door (and she was wearing a shirt that she had made…so cool)!  The rest of the night was full of meeting new people and putting faces to a few Boston blogs that I already read.  I had a moscow mule, obviously.  And the Sinclair made some tasty apps for us all to gorge nibble on.  All in all the soiree was definitely a success…thanks to Kate and Alison for hosting!

Here are some of the fun blogs I learned about last night: Forever and a Recipe, Like So Pretty, Pam Sahota, Books and Liquor, Gluten Free Boston Girl, My Sunday Dress, Alone with a Cupcake, Another Clean Slate, Hogger & Co, A Drink with a Stranger

Hanging on a Star

We have a hallway in our apartment that leads to a back staircase in the building.  It’s a short hallway with an industrial-looking light fixture, and it has always been pretty boring.  One of my roommates added a curtain on an extra tension rod a few months ago, and that was good for a while.  It hid shoes and looked cute.  But the rod has since fallen, and we can’t get it to stay up anymore.

boring, empty hallway

boring, empty hallway

And so, after one of our lovely mothers donated some cool star-shaped wall hooks, we decided to spruce up the hallway. (It should be noted that she gave us these hooks a solid 6 months ago and we fiiiinally got our acts together).  We measured the width of the wall and did a bit of math to determine spacing.  After marking the spots, I hammered some nails into the wall to hang our star hooks.

hallway with fun star hooks!

It’s a simple addition but it adds some color and texture to an otherwise bland hallway.

aren't they awesome!?

aren’t they awesome!?

Plus, they’re perfect for hanging our plethora of scarves!  Interestingly enough we thought we’d have no trouble fitting all of our colorful wraps on 7 hooks.  We were wrong. Bulky winter scarves had to be relegated to the mitten bin.

we have way too many scarves

we have way too many scarves

If you’re looking to add some hooks to your decor, Anthropologie always has fun options.

Salary Savvy Silk

A silk blouse is my go-to item for creating a pulled-together look.  Whether I’m going to work, a baby shower, or out at night, a silk blouse always looks polished (as long as it’s not too wrinkly).  Unfortunately, some silk tops can cost an entire day’s worth of my paycheck (if you’re as addicted to shopping as I am, don’t do the math or you will cringe).  So as I was prepping a list of ultimate fall desires, I decided to do some digging.  I scoured a few of my favorite shopping sites to come up with some silk tops that are great for fall and all cost under $100!

(images taken from respective sites)

(images taken from respective sites)

Top Row (left to right):  Daniel Rainn Silk Contrast Blouse ($69, Piperlime)Michael Stars Sandwashed Silk ($78, Revolve Clothing)Daniel Rainn Silk Tee Blouse ($74, Piperlime)Funktional Fold Front Top ($51, Revolve Clothing)Michael Stars Maldives Silk Button Down ($89.99, Piperlime)

Middle Row: Tinley Road Silk Olivia Blouse ($32, Piperlime)Rachel Zoe Lila Wrap Blouse ($75, Cusp), Swildens Ileon Silk Blouse ($95, ShopBop)Tucker Collared Silk Tunic Blouse ($86, Piperlime)GYPSY 05 Bianca Top ($93, Revolve Clothing)

Bottom Row: Joie Rancher Snake-Print Top ($94, Cusp)Funktional Lens Cut Out Front Silk Top ($86, Piperlime)Rachel Zoe Gjelina Cowl Neck ($64, Cusp)Maison Scotch Beaded Shoulder Silk Top ($76, Piperlime)Daniel Rainn Silk Emma Drape Blouse ($74, Piperlime)

Happy Shopping!

Blister in the Sun

Another weird post from yours truly…but one that’s actually quite helpful.  We’re still a couple of weeks away from fall weather, but that doesn’t mean we’re weeks away from fall shopping.  And with fall shopping comes breaking in fall shoes…and blisters.  Stay ahead of the game this year with a couple of tricks that I learned during my ballet days.

1) Break in your shoes early (duh).  I wear them for a few minutes at home to identify potential rubbing points, then throw on a pair of thick socks and walk around my apartment for a while.
2) Tape your sore spots.  Once you’ve tested your shoes a bit and know where your skin might rub, use some tape to eliminate the friction.  I use 3M Transpore tape because it rips easily (both across and if you want to split the tape to wrap around a pinky toe).  But electrical tape does the trick as well.  Vaseline also helps to eliminate friction, or even ChapStick will do in a pinch (just apply to the area that’s rubbing).
3) If you’re going to be walking around a ton doing fall sightseeing, you might want to use some blister powder.  2Toms blister shield is designed for runners (also great for breaking in new soccer cleats), but if you dust your feet with it you’ll be good to go.
4) In the unfortunate case you forget to take any precaution when breaking in new shoes and feel like tiny unicorns are stabbing your feet, put a dab of Orajel on top of your blisters.  It’s meant for numbing toothaches, but does wonders for blisters  (I just use regular strength or even baby Orajel).