Saturday, July 21, 2012

Building A Better America

I have always believed that one of our main purposes in life should be to help others in need; to make a difference in people's lives. One of my favorite quotes because it speaks so strongly to this belief is,

"In the end it doesn't matter what a great car you had, how much money you had in your bank account or how big your house was. What really counts is the difference you made in the world, the people you helped - that is how you'll be remembered."

So where am I going with all this?

The Great Recession is over. At least that’s what everyone keeps telling me, but I'm not quite feeling that this is the truth. Let’s face it, unemployment is running RAMPANT through the U.S. There’s one thing I don’t remember from all those economics classes long ago. If consumer spending accounts for the bulk of all spending and consumers are unemployed or scared to spend, how exactly is the economy pulling out of the recession? Anybody care to explain that to me? Uncle MiltyPapa KruggyZeidy Bernanke… anyone?

Let's do some math here. The numerical values are staggering! The U.S. population is approximately 313,244,975. The current reported unemployment rate is 8.3% – so let's make it easy on ourselves and call it an even 10% – that means that in OUR nation alone 31,324,497 people are struggling EVERY DAY to survive. Read the number again, let it soak in. Ya, it left me a bit speechless too!

A few months back I introduced you to my close friend, Steven Gantt (If you missed that post you can read it here.). There are many attributes about Steven that I simply adore, however the thing that always resonates so emphatically with me is his giving spirit. . .his desire to help those in need. 

It is because of his giving nature that Building A Better America (BABA for short), a 501c is being born!

So what is BABA? Who better to tell you than Steven himself?

Well in short, it’s a housing project – wait, wait don’t close the page yet. It’s built by and for all of the unemployed. Whether you’re a welder, glass maker, tile layer, housewife (they have to be decorated right?) everyone can contribute to this project. The best parts are: they are relatively cheap to build, give the unemployed work and a safe place to live while they get back on their feet. It’s so simple, storage container housing. Wait, what?

Here, I’ll show you but before I do let's do the math. They are cheap to procure, usually under $2,000 per 40ftx10ft container. They are fire proof, termite proof and very easy to transport and set up. (You can see an example on YouTube here.)

Aside from using these as a housing development, we will use the prefab, bare bones version single units to aid disaster stricken areas.

On the sidebar of I Look Good Today you will see a donate button has been added. I'm partnering with Steven and BABA to help make a difference. YOU can easily make an impact in people's lives today by making a donation to BABA by clicking on that donate button. The first thing to do if you want make a difference in the world is to look to what's going on right there where you stand - helping people begins with your neighbors.

For more information visit Building A Better America here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Arm Candy

Summer’s hottest trend - bracelet layering! Oh how I wish I didn't have the wrists of a five-year-old!!!

Need a little help putting together your arm candy?

Stick with one metal. Whether it’s gold or silver, stick to one color!

Add color. The most important part of an arm party is color! This really gives you a chance to keep your wrist looking unique. Go bold with neon, or stay neural with more earthy tones. The main goal of an arm party is to pile on the bracelets!

Shop the bracelets: 1. colored bead friendship bracelet  /  2. color stone friendship bracelet   /  3. mixed metal bangle set  /  4. two tone bracelet  /  5. 4 colored bangles 6. glitter and thread bangle set

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Flashback

{The most precious saying on this heart shaped box, perfect for keeping small jewelry.}
Happy Friday Gorgeous! What an amazing week this has been with the Fourth of July festivities going on. Our weather was a bit crazy on Wed, but thankfully it cleared up in time to be able to enjoy a gorgeous firework show! I also got to spend time with a new girlfriend who I just absolutely adore and this weekend I'm taking one of my favorite munchins to the zoo. I can't wait to see her little six-yr-old face light up when she sees all the animals. She's been excited over our outting for weeks (I won't lie, I've been excited too!). I also have a few other opportunities that have come my way that I will be sharing with you soon. In the meantime, here are some things making me particularly happy this week.

{A fabulous fireworks show!!!}
{The french fries at Five Guys}
{I Look Good Today. . .well me, being named a judge for the national Project Style fashion competition!!!}

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What I'm Wearing Wednesday

{Animal print top from Nordstrom, black pants from Lerner, Coach shoes, earrings gifted, Fossil watch}

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous for early evening walks, so recently my BFF and I took advantage and spent some time down by the water as the sun was setting. I have always been a fan of animal prints and this silky top from Nordstrom is simply perfect for the summer season!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Red, White and WOO HOO!

The Fourth of July — friends, fireworks and crazy delicious all-American backyard barbecue. What could be better? Looking fabulous, that’s what – in an Independence Day appropriate ensemble that a) won’t  have you melting in the crazy summer heat and b) doesn’t make you look like you ARE the Fourth of July parade on two legs.

The truth is, it’s totally fine and expected that you’ll sport the old red, white and blue, but there are ways to display your patriotic flair while still looking cute and current. Of course, what you wear depends in part on just exactly where and how you’ll be celebrating said holiday, so I’ve created some pieces for some likely settings in which you might find yourself scarfing celebrating the freedom of the good ol' USA.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stained Glass Jello

Are you still looking for that perfect something to bring to the 4th of July cookout on Wednesday? Well, look no further. This Jello is fun, festive, easy to transport and eat, a sure-fire kid pleaser and will make the adults nostalgic about the good ol’ days of Jello Jigglers (Remember those?). This impressive-looking Jello dessert couldn’t be easier to make and is a simple variation of the classic “rainbow Jello” layered dessert. You know, the one with all the colors of the rainbow with layers of white in between?

I was so intrigued when I first saw the picture of stained glass Jello on The Food Librarian. She had done hers up in purple and yellow to cheer on the Lakers, and it looked amazing. Of course the Pittsburgh Steelers were still battling for the Superbowl at the time so my first instinct was to make this and do it Steelers-style. The only problem, naturally, is that Pittsburgh's colors are black and gold. I’ve never seen black Jello, have you? I thought perhaps they would sell blackberry, but I couldn’t find any.

I had an “aha” moment and realized that with strawberry and berry blue flavors I could make a red, white & blue dessert for the 4th of July. And to be even more festive, I used a cookie cutter to cut the Jello into the shape of stars. This was fun to make and I think it’s a great presentation for a holiday picnic. While not in the upper echelon of gourmet desserts, I think this is a great one to keep in your back pocket. You could switch up colors to reflect school graduation, various sports teams, company logos – anything at all! And if you have some fun cookie cutters in your stash, the possibilities are truly endless.

So how do you make this festive treat?

Yield: One 9×13-inch pan

4 boxes (3-ounces each) Jello (or store brand gelatin dessert) in different colors

14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (Knox)


1. For each flavor, dissolve one box of Jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Pour into a square container that is about 6 to 8″ square and chill at least 3 hours, or overnight. (Try to use the same size for all four so that the blocks will come out the same. In this case the smaller the better – I used 8″ pans and felt my “blocks” were a little too flat.)

2. After chilling the flavors, cut them into small blocks.

3. Carefully mix the blocks in a 9×13-inch pan.

4. In a separate bowl, sprinkle 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin into ½ cup cold water. After the gelatin blooms, add 1½ cups boiling water and dissolve. Add the can of condensed milk. Stir and let cool. Pour cooled milk mixture over Jello blocks in 9×13 pan. Skim off any small bubbles that are created when you pour the condensed milk on the Jello pieces. Chill overnight or at least 3 hours until firm.

5. Cut into blocks or shapes and serve.

(Recipe adapted from The Food Librarian)