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The Uncommon Life

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Loann Camden

June 29, 2016

LoannCamden
Loann Camden – UncommonGoods Junior Graphic Designer, Creative

My hometown…
I was raised in Camden, New Jersey.

I’m inspired by…
When I was 10 years old, I got to go to a school field trip to DC. We got to see the White House, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Smithsonian Museum. That is when I fell in love with art and history. Later I learned that I wanted to be more creative than just learning about it, so I became a graphic designer.

An uncommon fact about me…
I’m skilled in general cooking. Since I used to live in Texas, I’m very knowledgeable about most things BBQ.

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The Uncommon Life

Twice a Refugee: A Visit from the IRC

June 24, 2016

After recently partnering with a new Better to Give partner – The International Rescue Committee (IRC) – UncommonGoods was lucky enough to have an audience with Omar Almashhadani, a refugee client of the IRC. Omar describes himself as being a refugee twice in his life. In 2006, Omar was living in his native Iraq, studying prosthetic dentistry, and was hoping to continue his studies and move into practicing – but his life was in danger. The security situation in Iraq had collapsed, and his family fled the country to what they thought at the time might be a beacon of safety—Syria. They lived in a refugee camp, and Omar and his brother couldn’t go to college or work because of restrictions on refugees. Given the bleak outlook for their futures in a refugee camp, Omar and his family decided to apply for refugee resettlement in the United States, and in April 2008, were granted resettlement in the U.S. With help from the IRC, Omar became a U.S. citizen and has been going to school and working in New York City ever since. Here’s a look at our conversation with Omar.

Omar and Family

Omar (far right) with his family, who are now living in the United States

What was your life in Iraq like before the war?

It was peaceful, quiet, and I could go outside to hang out with my friends and family. We had many different communities and different religions, but we were all very happy and peaceful.

How did your family decide it was time to leave Iraq?

In 2003, the war drove me and my family out of my hometown and into the center of Baghdad where we stayed with my uncle. Unfortunately the conflict continued to escalate with suicide bombings and rumors of people being kidnapped. Then in 2005 my brother was shot in the leg, and we realized it was too dangerous to stay any longer. We knew we had to leave as soon as possible, so we applied for an Iraqi passport – which can take a year to be approved. Finally we fled to Syria in 2006. At that time, Syria was considered safer than Iraq.

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The Uncommon Life

Why it’s Better to Give with The International Rescue Committee

June 20, 2016

“The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities.                                                                                                     –The International Rescue Committee 

There’s a lot of information packed into that mission statement, and it’s difficult to actually sum up everything it means, because the organization behind it, The International Rescue Committee (IRC) does so much to help those in need. Humanitarian crises include war, natural disasters, famine, drought, and numerous other man-made and environmental tragedies. The IRC’s responses to those crises include education, vocational training, economic support, emergency medical care, and countless other programs to empower those impacted by situations they had no control over. While it’s hard to outline all of the fantastic work IRC does in a blog post, it’s less challenging to express the pride and honor we feel as we welcome them to our Better to Give program.

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The Uncommon Life

A Visit from Secretary Perez of the U.S. Department of Labor

May 31, 2016

In early May, UncommonGoods was fortunate enough to host U.S. Labor Secretary, Tom Perez. He spoke with a handful of team members about their experience working for a company that values “conscious capitalism,” praising UncommonGoods for investing in team member development, paying a living wage, and actively listening to team member feedback. He also took a tour of the warehouse space, eagerly chatting with individuals out on the floor about their daily tasks. You can read about Secretary Perez’s recent visit to New York in The Guardian, and see for yourself in the photos below.

BAT Lobby

UncommonGoods Founder Dave Bolotsky (left) with U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez in the Brooklyn Army Terminal Lobby.

Secretary Perez listening to feedback from UncommonGoods employees

Secretary Perez listening to comments from UncommonGoods employees.

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The Uncommon Life

Vintage Wisdom: 10 Uncommon Facts About Wine

May 25, 2016

Wine is bottled poetry ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food. ~ W. C. Fields

Whether you’re a sophisticated sommelier or just enjoy a nice glass of vino with friends and a good meal, wine is a storied substance with a fascinating history. It can be daunting to uncork the subject, so to begin, may we suggest this vintage collection of ten uncommon facts?

Wine has a Long History

Wine production began in the Ancient Mediterranean around 6,000 BCE. The mood-altering properties of the alcohol in wine were soon associated with mysticism and religion, from the hedonistic rites of Dionysus and Bacchus to the sacraments of Christianity. But the fermented grape products of the ancient world left something to be desired. Wine as we know it today was born circa 1091 CE with the Cistercian order in Burgundy. They planted grapes at Clos de Vougeot and are credited with organizing vineyard parcels based on how the wine tasted, the modern mode of vintages followed to this day.

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The Uncommon Life

How Jessica Hamel Cures Her Insatiable Hunger for All Natural Frosting

May 18, 2016

Natural Coconut Oil Frosting | UncommonGoods

Jessica Hamel, creator of our new Natural Coconut Oil Frostings, has always had a sweet tooth and always knew she’d be an entrepreneur. When she took up the sport of ultra-marathoning–as in running, say, 100 miles–not only could she get away with eating sweet snacks, but her body really needed them, to assuage her insatiable hunger from hours of ultra-running in the Boulder mountains. She wanted frosting. All natural frosting.

Natural Coconut Oil Frosting | UncommonGoods
Inspired by her grandmother, she’d always loved baking. She liked to experiment with original frosting flavorings, but didn’t always have time to make them from scratch. There are lots of canned frosting options in grocery stores, and it would have been oh-so-handy to use them–but have you read the ingredients of those things? Unless Distilled Monoglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Polysorbate 60 and GMO corn syrup are your favorite things, you’re not going to want to eat them. Jessica didn’t either. She wanted natural frostings she could eat on the go, but they didn’t exist. So she invented them.

Natural Coconut Oil Frosting | UncommonGoods

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