6 Ways to Celebrate Earth Hour

Today is the day, the day we turn our lights off, to shine light on our planet! At 8:30pm (your local time) join the world in dedicating one hour without electricity and bringing awareness to climate change! Each year, millions come together to make Earth Hour happen. Coordinated by World Wildlife Fund and other volunteer organisations, together we’re shining a light on the need for action on climate change.

Around the globe, millions of people, businesses, and landmarks set aside an hour to host events, switch off their lights, and make noise for climate change action and the 300 billion + individuals that live without electricity every day.

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Here are few ways to have fun with Earth Hour, today and throughout the year!

1. Invest in Solar Powered Jars (Consol Solar Jar) and go on a hike (or just hang out outside, around the soft magically moody solar light source)!

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2. Create a romantic dinner by candle light.

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3. Camp out at the beach and share spooky stories around solar jars, or by the fire!

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4. Grab a couple pillows and blankets and spend the evening star gazing!

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5. Find a couple kids, or kids-at-heart, and organize an epic battle of Flash Light Tag!

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6. Take it back to the old school days and start a glow stick dance party!

Here is some inspiration we found on Youtube, via Moke Jacobs.

For more ways to get involved visit Earth Hour to take action and shine a light on our planet!

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All images sourced from Unsplash or Consol Solar Jars.

Giving Back When You Don’t Have The Time, Via MG Hair and Makeup

Giving Back When You Don’t Have the Time
By Megan Garmers, MG Hair and Makeup

**Editor Note: Thank you MG Hair and Makeup for your ongoing support as a National Partner and believer in the BSB Mission.**

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Spring is coming up soon and it serves as a great reminder. It is a time for new life, new opportunities and second chances. No, this is not a plea for you to carve even more time out of your already busy life, but rather a note of encouragement to find a few hours on a couple days throughout the year to make a difference with your talents and time.

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One of the ways we (MG Hair and Makeup) like to give back is through volunteering at Covenant House. They have a program for homeless teen moms and we sponsor a fun makeover night for these ladies. These moms have been through a lot during their short life and are forced to grow up quickly. Covenant House does a great job at helping get them off the streets, provide a safe place for the moms and babies to stay, and also provide life and job skills for self-sufficiency.

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While the world of beauty can seem full of superficiality, to these ladies, it means something different. Many have never had their makeup done before so sometimes even just some lipstick and being pampered helps restore their self-esteem and confidence to face other life issues. We also help volunteers paint nails and provide polish or makeup samples for the teens to take with them. Something small that can serve as a reminder and be functional to uplift their mood is important when they have so few physical possessions.

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There are lots of ways you can volunteer with your skills, even if you’re not a hairstylist or makeup artist. These girls just enjoy having someone make them feel special and beautiful to inspire self-esteem and confidence. Whether it is at a teen shelter or other program, there are lots of ways you can be involved in special events throughout the year. Volunteering your time and talents this way allows you to give back without a weekly commitment many don’t have the extra time to give. Even though it might be one or two nights a year, never underestimate the reach of your kindness and how it encourages another in their own journey.

Learn more about MG Hair and Makeup  and Covenant House by visiting their websites today!

More of What Matters, Featuring: SoKind Registry

More of What Matters, Featuring: So Kind Registry

**Editor Note: Thank you SoKind Registry for your ongoing support as a National Partner and believer in the BSB Mission!**

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Friends and family. That’s what wedding receptions boil down to, right? It would be a lot less work and cost if a wedding consisted solely of a ceremony. No need to worry about finding a venue or coordinating entertainment. No need to worry about menus or seating arrangements. Yet despite the hassle, many people still choose to commemorate one of life’s biggest events with a celebration.

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Why? Because, as humans, we’re hardwired for connection. Connection is what gives our lives purpose and meaning. And connection is what we crave when we celebrate momentous occasions. We want our loved ones to share in our joy and to support us with their presence.

Yet U.S. consumer culture has created an expectation in this country that weddings must be extravagant affairs in order to be special, thereby distorting some of the most important milestones of our lives. Celebrations that should be joyful and meaningful are now often occasions that generate stress, waste, and debt.

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SoKind Registry is a registry service designed to provide options for those of us who want to plan celebrations that reflect our lifestyles, promote our values, and enhance our lives. SoKind is for people who want to host more environmentally friendly celebrations, as well as for folks who simply refuse to start a new chapter in their lives with a mountain of debt. It’s for people who don’t view their wedding as an opportunity to impress, but rather as an opportunity to involve their friends and family in one of the most important occasions of their lives.

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So go ahead, be creative. What gifts do you truly want? Donations to your favorite charity? Home renovation help? Catering help for the big day? A museum membership? Through SoKind, you can register for gifts of time, experience, and skill, as well as traditional material gifts and secondhand items. The registry is entirely customizable, so the possibilities are endless!

Here’s to more fun and less stuff… to more joy and less stress… and to more love and less waste!

For more information about setting up your wedding, or milestone, registry visit SoKind Registry today! 

Your Honeymoon Could Save Someone’s life- TraffickCam App

The best part of wedding planning, hands down, is the honeymoon. It’s a time to grow closer together, relax and renew your relationship for the new marriage journey ahead of you. What if I told you, you could quite literally save someone’s life within the first few minutes of your honeymoon arrival, and it would literally take you less than 2 minutes to do so.

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Did you know: Among couples that plan a formal/traditional wedding ceremony and reception (excluding elopements and courthouse ceremonies) 99% of them go on a honeymoon, estimated around $4000 for an average of 7 days long. With over 1.2 million couples traveling domestically and internationally 78.3% of those honeymooners are spending their first wedded days in Hotels, Motels, and Resorts. The growing (social media obsessed) honeymoon industry brings in over 12 billion dollars annually. (Source: Wedding Clickers)

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TraffickCam is a web app that uses crowdsourced images of hotel images across the world to compare and identify where sex-traffickers are holding their victims.

Traffickers regularly post photographs of their victims posed in hotel rooms for online advertisements. These photographs are evidence that can be used to find and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. In order to use these photos, however, investigators must be able to determine where the photos were taken. The purpose of TraffickCam is to create a crowd-sourced database of hotel room images that an investigator can efficiently search, in order to find other images that were taken in the same location as an image that is part of an investigation. You check into your room, open the app, identify the hotel name, room number and snap 4 images of the room’s interior and surroundings and submit.

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TraffickCam was created in 2015 by the Exchange Initiative. The Exchange Initiative is committed to combating commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Their mission is to provide resources, information and networking solutions to combat sex trafficking in the United States.

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Download the free app today:

TraffickCam for iPhone and iPad at the App Store

TraffickCam for Android devices at Google Play

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Let’s start actively using our privilege and engaged/newly married love to start loving others!

40+ Easy Ways To Give Back

40+ Easy Ways To Show LOVE To Others 

In honor of Valentine’s we wanted to take a moment and recycle one of our all time favorite posts, devoted to easy ways to GIVE BACK and love others!

{If you’d like to add to the this list, please feel free to email me at hello@blacksheepbride.com with your awesome suggestions!}

Here are some ideas, just in time for the new year!

Teach someone your trade, craft, knowledge, skill

Volunteer at a food bank – Feeding America

Feed the homeless

Share your birthday presents or organize a birthday party for homeless children with The Birthday Party Project 

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(Photo below : Chloe Austin Photography, Surprise Proposal of the Founders of Cup of Love – a Jax based homeless outreach charity)

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Mentor a child at your local school

Sign up for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Clean up trash at the beach, or around your community

Make furry friends at the Humane Society

Help out at a nursing home, VA Hospital, retirement community

Share your own story of obstacles, brokenness with others… Help people see they aren’t alone in their battles.

Volunteer at a hospital, Cancer Center, Ronald McDonald House

Run in a charity race

Invite a refugee family, foreign exchange student, veteran, to your holiday dinner.

Donate your hair, so child with illness and disease, that causes baldness, can have a wig- Wigs for Kids

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Make sweet encouragement cards and leave them in random places around town, like my friends at Hello Happiness Card Company

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Go on a mission trip/humanitarian trip (locally or internationally)

Help fix up/build a home – Habitat for Humanity, like my friend Angie from Pop Goes The Party.

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Deliver for Meals of Wheels

Collect left over wedding flowers and deliver them to hospitals, nursing homes, etc- Floranthropy, Petals with Purpose,

Random Acts of Flowers or Repeat Roses (Photo below courtesy of Repeat Roses)

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Organize a food/shoe/clothes drive

Go to a charity concert

Babysit for a single mom

Go to a public place and gift strangers with balloons or flowers

Serve at a Horse/Animal Rescue

Join a Surfers for Autism event

Help give people clean laundry, with Current

Serve at an organic garden (Photo credit: Beyond the Ordinary Photography)

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Go grocery shopping for someone in need

Participate at a silent auction

Volunteer together at the Great American Teach In

Go Flea’ing (Flea Market) and decorate your home with some recycled swag

Make baked goods and deliver them to your neighbors, or donate a cake to someone in need of a pick me up with Icing Smiles

Clean someone else’s yard, that might not be able to.

And there you have it…

Want to share the ways your give back with us? Tag us on Instagram : @theblacksheepbride !!!