Monday, December 20, 2010

Charity Navigator

If you are thinking about donating this holiday season, I have a great tip for selecting a worthy organization.

It's true that there are some scams out there and charities that take advantage of people's generosity. Others are just inefficient. Charity Navigator takes out the guesswork so you feel confident your money is being put to good use.

Charity Navigator rates charities from 0 to 4 stars, based upon financial information. It tells you what percentage of donations and the budget goes to fundraising, executive pay, and the mission. It also has articles to help you give wisely and to create a donation strategy, such as Top 10 Best Practices of Savvy Donors and Protecting Yourself From Online Scams.

I always check this site now before I donate. For example, one of my favorite organizations is Heifer Project International. From Charity Navigator, I learned that over 75% of each dollar donated goes to program expenses, 17.7% goes to fundraising, and 6.2% goes to administrative costs. That's pretty good!

Now there's no more danger of not knowing where your money is going, or worse, giving to a charity that spends 87% of donations on fundraising. (Seriously - That ain't right).

Why not sit down and spend a little time poking around to find an organization you are excited to support? You will feel that your heart and your money are in the right place! Take a look and be generous!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Don't Run to Catch the Train

Don't run to catch the train.

Every morning, Monday through Friday, I take the train to work. And every morning, someone tests the Survival of the Fittest Theory and decides to race the train across the tracks. 

Those of us who care about our lives stand on the south side of the tracks where we board the train. We arrive on time, park our cars and walk across the tracks to the platform, looking both ways. We wait for the train and huddle near where the doors will open, hoping to get on first and get a good seat.

Then come the runners. Usually there is just one on any given morning. Often, before you can even see him, we hear the slapping of his feet on the hot pavement. Plop Plop Plop Plop. Then we see him, eyes wide, messenger bag swinging wildly around his body. He looks to the right where the train is fast approaching, and, apparently, this is when there is a breakdown in his instincts to survive.

Compare: Giant train. Small man. Fast train. Slow man. If there is a contest, who will win? And yet, he runs to cross the tracks. This is no Kenyan sprinter we're talking about here. This is probably an IT guy or system administrator. The only other time he runs is to get to the Apple Store when the new iPhone comes out.

And just before the runner darts across the tracks as the train barrels east with a "Ding Ding Ding," the conductor sees his toe about to cross the plane into the crossing, he sounds on the horn. To say this is a rude awakening at 7:16 in the morning would be a severe understatement. The sound is so startling, I nearly throw my coffee into the air out of fright. It is so loud, I think I lose 15% of my hearing each time. The other commuters and I look at each other and cover our ears. My heart is pounding. "OK, I'm awake now. Who needs caffeine when you can have panic?"

Why do these runners risk their lives to arrive 20 minutes earlier to work? I think most of us would LOVE to be late to work. I'd certainly rather be late than dead.

Maybe these people have been late too many times. Maybe they love thrill of a race. I am merely speculating, but I would really wish they would exercise a little consideration or common sense. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For the ladies: Unbeatable patent leather flats!

Shoes that I like and you should try on

The link here: Ballet Flats

This weekend I went to Nordstrom and obviously went immediately to the shoe department. There was one pair of flats that I loved so much, I have to blog about them. They are Ruby & Bloom "Grace" Ballerina Flats, and I love them.

They are stylish, versatile and soooooo comfortable! 

My friend tried them on first and she would not shut up about how comfortable they are! Thinking, yea yea I'm sure they are just like any other flat. But then I tried them on, and they really are sooo comfortable and this shoe is great for any outfit. This is a staple item.

First, the style is great. Very classic, yet fun. They are cuter than a loafer and far more feminine.

They are patent leather, closed-toe. You could get them in black if you don't have a pair of black flats. The pink are girly and fun. The blue are classic yet not boring. Red - that's obvious. And banana yellow will give you that pop of color for summer.

To work, they look great with slacks and a sweater. On the weekend, a skirt and polo. They are great for walking to and from the train, and then you won't even want to take them off once you get to the office! And needless to say, they are cute with jeans. You can't go wrong!

Plus, the price is right. For $69.95, they are a great deal. Really - try these on if you need flats, or even if you don't!