Fair Trade holiday shopping

Sigh!  Relief!  Football season for my 10-year-old   officially ended last Sunday.  The season finished with my son playing on the offensive line representing the All-Star team for the West Division of our league. His team won against the East 25-6. The next day at the Banquet he won Defensive Lineman of the Year!  We’re all smiles!

All Star Playerer 12/2012

All Star Player 12/2012

I took one week off to do nothing. Well, not quite nothing, but my actions felt like nothing compared to rushing off to practice 6-8 p.m. several nights a week.

Today I was supposed to begin my holiday shopping.  Well I did.  Sorta kinda!  I could not resist and bought for myself.  Does that count? I attended a  International Fair Trade Gift Fair  at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. The event was hosted by the South Fair Trade Alliance and  “builds social economic, social and environmental justice through Fair Trade.”  The vendors are socially conscious, warm, friendly persons, who share a common passion of helping others.

“Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized.  These producers lack economic opportunity and often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods.

Fair trade is much more than just trade.  At the core of the fair trade model is a direct, cooperative, and in-depth relationship between buyers and sellers that keeps all of the principles of fair trade at the forefront.”Fair Trade Federation

The best part about the shopping experience at the Fair Trade Fair is that you learn while you shop! An abundance of literature is available at most tables, so if you take your kids with you, the shopping experience will be educational and enlightening.

The vendors are socially and environmentally conscious, warm, friendly, knowledgable, and are dedicated to Fair Trade.    Of course, I love the endless supply of unique, handmade, and cool merchandise for sale.

redEarringI love dark chocolate and could not resist buying this treat.


Original pieces like this zipper necklace is the reward for patronizing the Fair.  I cannot wait to wear this one!


Many of the jewelry pieces are made with natural and recycled materials.  I was so excited at this vendor that I forgot to ask about these earrings.  They are extremely light and rich in color.  Ooh la la!


Nag Champa oils and an assorted package of some of my favorite incense (Sandlewood, Patchouli, Nag Champa) and two new ones to try (Frankincense and white Rose).


For nearly two years, I’ve been hooked on merchandise with the peace symbol, so I had to add this bracelet to my collection.

 Click here to learn more about the South Jersey Fair Trade. If you are not from the South Jersey area, check out the Fair Trade Federation here.

Allow the energy to emerge from within you

Yogurt. Shrimp. Lobster. Salmon. Asparagus. Kidney beans. Broccoli rabe. Soy milk. Skim milk. Oatmeal without milk or sugar. Brussels sprouts. Sea bass. Pomegranate. Garbanzo beans.  Tomato juice, and a few other items.

These foods have at least one thing in common. And that is, before the age 30 or 35, I didn’t eat any of them. As I was fixing one of my new favorite snacks, non-fat Greek yogurt with honey, walnuts, and blackberries or strawberries, I thought about how far I’ve come and laughed.

Before I started eating yogurt I watched others, with envy enjoy it.  This may sound crazy but because it is such a healthy snack, I insisted on learning to eat it, but continued to gag at the slightest scent of the cool and creamy treat. Through diligence and help from a few great friends; I got past the gagging stage and now enjoy indulging in the snack.

I say all of this to encourage you to try something new in 2012 and for the rest of your life. Anything! Just something that you haven’t eaten, read, visited or experienced before… within reason! Skip the illegal and immoral stuff.

Enroll in a class at your local college, learn a new hobby, try a new exercise, travel to a new city, just do something out of the ordinary for YOU. Go it alone without the security blanket of a friend or family member to encourage you along. Push and encourage yourself. Allow the energy to emerge from within you. Experiencing a new adventure solo will keep you focused on your personal experience and will further empower you, as well as, give rise to your personal satisfaction.

“If you do what you always did, you get what you always got” – Unknown

I’ve latched on to this quote because it is a cue to periodically switch things up. The wording of the quote may not be exact, but the meaning is the same. If you are looking for new results, try something different!

To grow we have to experience new, different, or change. To evolve, we have to step outside of our comfort zone to the unknown. It is that unknown that can unveil a gigantic and exciting new world.

In 2011, I took a Rags Sharqi (belly dancing) class and had a blast! I didn’t know anyone in the class, but met a few hip funky divas old enough to be my mom. They were cool and encouraging and probably a little surprised that this black chick didn’t have the “natural” moves needed to make the bells on my skirt sing like theirs. When my schedule permits, I will return.

My natural hair journey has also opened up a new world to me. I’ve learned about and now respect the importance of Fair Trade. I’ve made new friends and have learned to educate myself on the products that I consume and use daily. Most importantly, I’ve discovered new things about myself and sometimes feel as though, I’ve begun to shed a layer of transparent skin that desensitized my life experiences.

This year, I will set out again to wet my appetite with more newness– Newness in terms of discovering new foods, new places, new events, new talents and whatever out there awaits me. As I sit here and type this, I’m pondering the idea of adding a “Newness” page or category to my blog. I’ll mull over the idea for a bit and either it will appear or it won’t. Lol! I really am… Either case, I will positively share my new experiences in ’12.  Good luck!