Browsing Category

The Uncommon Life

The Uncommon Life

Horoscope Horrors!

January 18, 2011

I don’t know about you, but until last week I was a Scorpio.

Last week’s news suggested that not only have all our signs changed, but now we have to welcome a new constellation into our midst. I’m not even sure how to pronounce this new Ophiuchus sign. But luckily our sassy horoscope tiles will help you settle into your new sign, and get to know your new personality.

Since I got bumped from Scorpio to Libra, I thought I should get to know myself a little better. Turns out I’m now manipulative, self-indulgent and absolutely fabulous. Phew! I was worried there for a second.

Anyone else experiencing a crisis of identity? Our horoscope tiles are here to help.

The Uncommon Life

Local Glassware, Local Flavor

January 11, 2011

We just tried out our brand new geography glasses, by mixing up a local Brooklyn treat in a New York City glass.

You can make your own egg cream with just a few simple steps, or share your local drink recipe below for a chance to win a $25 UncommonGoods gift card.

Step One: Ingredients

Gather together milk, seltzer, and chocolate syrup. And a special New York City glass to mix them in!

Note: Many Brooklynites insist that an egg cream just isn’t worth drinking without the original Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup. I’m making do with Bosco’s, so if you’re a native New Yorker reading this post, please forgive me!

Step 2: The Syrup

Drizzle a layer of chocolate syrup into your glass.

Step 3: The Milk

Cover the first layer of syrup with a generous splash of milk.

Step 4: The Seltzer

Fill the rest of your glass with seltzer.

Tip: Keep your drink from fizzing over by pouring the seltzer over a spoon.

Step 5: The Egg Cream

Stir and enjoy!

Now it’s your turn! If you’ve got a drink recipe from your area, whether it’s southern sweet tea or Long Island Iced Tea, share it with us for a chance to win a $25 gift card. Need some inspiration? Check out our geography glasses, featuring scenic sites from across the lower 48 and Hawai’i.

Leave a comment to enter by Friday at 5 pm ET. And as always, you can increase your chances to win by tweeting @uncommongoods or posting on our Facebook wall. We’ll announce the winner around happy hour on Friday!

The Uncommon Life

New Year’s Giveaway

December 30, 2010

It’s that time of the year! Time to make your New Year’s resolutions. Learn a new language. Eat dinner with your family more often. Plant a garden. Whatever it is that you want to achieve in 2011– it’s time to set your goals.

And UncommonGoods is here to help!

Studies show that if you affirm your resolution in public, you’ll have an easier time making it stick. So leave a comment below and let us know what you’re planning to achieve in the coming year.

And how about a little extra something to help you start your New Year off right? We’ve got an Uncommon Good in mind for one of you, to help you keep your resolutions and achieve your goals.

Want to start composting? Find inner balance? Start writing that novel? We’ve got just the gift to help one or more of you get started!

Leave a comment below to enter to win. And as always, you can increase your chances by leaving a comment on Facebook or tweeting @uncommongoods.

We’ll announce the winner(s) in Tuesday’s email newsletter. So sign up now, if you’re not already getting our updates.

Happy New Year and may all your goals and dreams be realized!

The Uncommon Life

Partners In Health

November 3, 2010

If you haven’t heard of Partners In Health, you’ve probably heard of Paul Farmer, and the biography Mountains Beyond Mountains, which described his success in starting a health clinic in the poorest area of Haiti. Since the devastating earthquake in January, Partners in Health has been crucial to providing medical services to homeless and displaced Haitians, many of whom are still struggling to get back on their feet. And they continue to grow their medical work in Peru, Russia, Malawi and other countries around the world.

In their words:
“We provide a preferential option for the poor in health care by establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in poor settings. Partners In Health has two overarching goals: to bring modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair. We draw on the resources of the world’s leading medical and academic institutions and on the lived experience of the world’s poorest and sickest communities. We are dedicated to providing the highest level of clinical care possible while alleviating the crushing social and economic burden of poverty that creates obstacles to health.

At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone. When our patients are ill and have no access to care, our team of health professionals, scholars, and activists will do whatever it takes to make them well – just as we would do if a member of our own families, or we ourselves, were ill. We stand with our patients, some of the poorest and sickest victims of poverty and violence, in their struggle for equity and social justice.”

Partners in Health is making huge strides in health care for the world’s most needy communities, and changing the way that the global health community treats the poor.

Support Partners in Health by voting for them to become a finalist in our Better to Give contest.

The Uncommon Life

Opportunity Network

November 3, 2010

The Opportunity Network works to equal the playing field for high-achieving, low-income high school students by creating access for them to career opportunities, professional networks and college. They believe influential networks are essential ingredients for success not emphasized in career development programs for youth, so they take an innovative approach by underscoring the power of personal connections and professional relationships as vital complements to skills and experience. Through unique interaction with executives, intensive college counseling, networking training, coursework in careers, and paid internships, their students dramatically change the course of their futures.

Here’s what Seneca Iscove, UncommonGoods customer service supervisor, has to say:

When I was first introduced to The Opportunity Network, I selfishly wondered, “Where the heck were you people when I needed you?” I wish that there had been a place that I could go to that would not only help me with the daunting and sometimes frightening task of college applications, but also the tools to sustain a successful career once college ended. To go even further, The Opportunity Network has an amazingly successful program of internships that span from Fortune 500 companies to theaters and non-profits. The Opportunity Network recognizes students’ dreams, one at a time, right here in New York City.

I was a New York City high school student and regrettably, there was nothing like The Opportunity Network for me. I was a latch-key kid in a low income neighborhood, raised by a single mother who worked three jobs in order to care for my sister and I. Our focus was to get as far away from our neighborhoods as we could. The only alternatives seemed to be entertainment, sports and college. But the reality was, many kids in my neighborhood were unprepared for college.

Over worked and under paid educators began to speak to us about “realistic goals,” goals that did not include college for many of us. Although my mother worked too long and too hard to have much involvement in my schoolwork, I somehow made it through.

“On my own” is the theme of many high school students who struggle with getting out of their desperate situations and create a better life for themselves. Students like Eric, a Bronx native like me who was not only the first in his family to get as far as junior year in high school, but also the first in his school to be accepted to an ivy league school through the help of The Opportunity Network. The first in his school! Imagine that!

Imagine how many more can be helped through the dedicated work of The Opportunity Network? Now that I am a mother there is nothing in the world that means more to me than our children. They are indeed our future and there is no reason that they should continue to struggle and miss out on their dreams because of the misfortune that has befallen them. With the amazing work of The Opportunity Network, they no longer have to.

Vote for Opportunity Network on Facebook today.

– Seneca Iscove, UncommonGoods Customer Service

The Uncommon Life

World Wildlife Fund

November 3, 2010

Who hasn’t come across the renowned World Wildlife Fund (WWF) panda logo before? World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change.

I embrace WWF’s work because I see the organization as very caring, responsible and credible. I’ve learned from early on how important it is to conserve earth’s resources and that it’s more efficient to work with nature instead of against it. From the Amazon to the Arctic, WWF is building a future where human needs are met in harmony with nature. By 2020 their goal is to conserve 19 of the world’s most important natural places and significantly change global forces to protect the future of nature. Their experts are active at every level – from field work to government – conserving the largest tropical rain forests, the most diverse coral reefs, and the world’s most endangered species.

Some of WWF’s current projects include:
• advocating for the protection of Arctic species including the polar bear and western gray whale
• calling for moratoriums on gas and oil exploration in the Arctic, as well
• advancing grassland conservation in the Northern Great Plains by establishing conservation areas and protecting species, such as bison and prairie dogs
• empowering communities in Namibia to manage their natural resources
• creating protected areas in parts of Asia where tigers are losing their habitats due to deforestation

There are so many reasons why the work of WWF is so important and should win the Better to Give contest. Most importantly, conservation and restoration is something that needs to happen on a large scale and on a global level and WWF has the resources to reach out to and work with people all around the world. In order to achieve its goals, WWF partners up with different groups, such as other NGOs, governments, businesses, scientists, investment banks, farmers, fishers, businesses and local communities.

WWF also uses its resources to run public campaigns that are designed to influence decision makers and educate people on how to live a more sustainable life. Thinking about the big picture of our changing climate, it is apparent that a behavior change needs to happen on many levels and having a widely-recognized brand and strong public outreach programs helps in getting things done.

– Trini Gantner, UncommonGoods Sustainability/Product Development

Agree with Trini, our sustainability expert? Vote here to put WWF into the final round for the Better to Give contest.

The Uncommon Life

East New York Farms

November 3, 2010

East New York Farms is no regular farm. It is an “urban farm” that was created in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The organization literally transformed once abandoned lots into beautiful fields of fruits and vegetables. Its farmers are the young people who live in the community. The food they grow is sold at a bi-weekly farmers market, only to residents of East New York at a price they can afford. They also provide workshops and cooking demonstrations to make health eating more accessible.

They hire a small staff a folks who oversee the operations and development of the youth, including my friend Sarita, who is honestly one of the happiest people I know. It is clear to me she is fulfilled by the mission of organization.

I am passionate about this organization, because I too have been transformed by produce. I got interested in cooking ten years ago after discovering a farmers market across the street from my office. I made simple dishes based on quality ingredients, and slowly over time noticed my health improving. I eventually lost 30 lbs and had a number of health conditions clear up. My experience taught me that improving our food is the best way to improve our health.

It’s the unfortunate truth that poorer neighborhoods, like East New York, generally have higher incidents of obesity and diet-related health conditions. And I think a big reason for that is little access to fresh food and less education about the issue.

East New York Farms is the perfect model to address these issues. I encourage your support by voting for ENY Farms on Facebook.

– Ameet Maturu, Online Marketing Manager

Pin It on Pinterest