Sweet Cause: Brave Woman #BraveWoman #CBias

Brave Woman

Last month I brought you guys a post about Brave Woman, a site dedicated to supporting and empowering the brave women who are in and are leaving domestic violence situations.  It is my goal to shine a light on domestic violence and spark conversation, and by doing so, accomplish a few things:

  • help those who might be in an abusive situation
  • provide resources for those who do not know how to help someone in an abusive situation
  • keep the conversation going so that we can work to end domestic violence, and
  • help parents realize how important it is for them to talk to their sons and daughters about domestic violence, why it’s wrong, what the signs are, and how to get help.

My Goals for 2012

 

As I mentioned in my “what’s coming up in 2012″ post, my goal is to have a regular posting schedule for Sweet Cause.  This is the main way I hope to take a stand and help others.  The posts will focus on warning signs, resources, material to use when talking to your children, stories from survivors, etc.

In addition, I have taken the Brave Woman pledge:

I pledge to honor and respect brave women and children who tackle the difficult journey of change from domestic violence to a new life. I acknowledge my own moment-by-moment bravery, will remain aware of what is happening to others around me, and speak up against violence in any form. I will stand up for human dignity and safety for women and children.

I would like to develop an eBook that takes parents step-by-step through the process of discussing domestic violence in an age-appropriate manner with their children.  Don’t wait till your child is a teen experiencing violence, start from an early age.

I would like to help the local safe house in my county.  Volunteering can sometimes be difficult due to the sensitive nature of the situation, but there are still ways to help such as making donations.

I would like to find other ways to help that are currently unknown to me, hopefully making an impact in someone’s life.

Why Am I Taking the Pledge?

 

I recently had someone mention to me that they couldn’t stand people like me who talked about domestic violence but who had never personally been abused.  While it’s true, I have never personally experienced domestic abuse from my partner {thank goodness}, I know all too well what it is like to grow up in a household affected by it.

While you are not scarred in the same way as someone being directly abused, you are still affected.  What you see, what you hear, what you experience, it sticks with you, especially as an innocent child who doesn’t understand what is going on.

We recently had a representative from the county’s safe house come and talk to a group of homeschool girls.  She gave each girl a sheet of paper and pointed out how nice and clean and perfect the paper was.  She then instructed them to crumple the paper up, as much as they could.  After the paper was crumpled, they were told to try to smooth it back out to it’s perfect state.  Of course, it was impossible to get it back to that smooth piece of paper.  While they could flatten it, and get it to look much better, the paper still had the remnants of the damage that was done to it.

She wanted to illustrate that abuse, no matter it’s form, leaves marks on a person, just like they had left on their papers.  We’re all imperfect, so we’re going to mark papers no matter what.  Some marks are worse than others, though, and despite not having been personally abused, I have marks from the situation nonetheless.

In addition to the horror of seeing your mother being hit, having alcohol thrown in her face while holding an infant, being yelled at, seeing holes being punched in walls, seeing things broken to pieces in a fit of rage, and many other things, I became hyper-vigilant, sensitive to situations in which people have been drinking a bit too much or doing drugs, uncomfortable around men, and have been diagnosed with PTSD.  I run the risk of putting myself in the wrong type of relationships, you know, “the cycle.”

It affects you, it just affects you in different ways.  This is why I’m so passionate about domestic violence prevention and awareness.  I know what it’s like, I just know it from a different point of view.

I encourage you to join me in raising awareness.  I encourage you to change the pledge.  I would love it if you followed along throughout the year while I shed light on this subject.  Also, please feel free to support Brave Woman on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, check out their site for resources, not just for those in abusive relationships, but for those who are looking to help others as well.

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.

Sweet Critique: Factory Direct Craft

Factory Direct Craft

One thing you won’t find very much here on Sweet Phenomena is original crafts. But, you will find me copying others’ crafty goodness. Or, you’ll find guest posts by folks that are craft geniuses.

I do love creating things, though, and that means we have a fairly regular need for craft supplies. Our area is not known for its variety as far as shopping and items goes, so I often find myself having to order things online. Until now, I’ve never really had a central source from which I got these things.

Enter Factory Direct Craft

 

How did I not know about this place before? They have everything. Like, seriously. Everything. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many craft supplies in one place.

The site is organized well, and has a logical structure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited a site looking for fabric, glue, specialty craft items, etc., and their headings/categories make no sense. Factory Direct Craft knows how to group like items together {you know, like we teach our kids when they’re little?}, and then sub-head things under that. Take a look at this:

Factory Direct Craft

To the point. That’s what I like. If I’m looking for general craft supplies {the stuff you just “have on hand”}, I see where to go. Painting supplies to go along with that awesome new art curriculum? Know where to go. Totally love it.

And while this might not be a huge thing, I love their pictures. They’re basic, but eye-catching. I was instantly drawn to that painting supplies picture. As we all know, pictures can make or break a site…

But How Are Their Prices?

 

Their prices are awesome! I’m not even kidding you. 9″x12″ felt for $.43? Everything I checked out was an awesome price. I tried to find things I’ve purchased in town recently, so I remember how much I paid. After you add in the gas and the hassle, this stuff beats it by so much, it’s crazy!

The prices, coupled with the selection and the convenience of shopping from home? I’m too stinking excited about this place!!!

Final Thoughts

 

Run to them. Make a list of the craft supplies you need and visit Factory Direct Craft. Any place that has specific categories for googly eyes and glitter is OK in my book!

True Confessions: I partnered with Factory Direct Craft to bring you this post. All opinions are mine.

2011’s Top Content

  1. Sweet Plans:  Homeschool Planning – Where to Start?
  2. Wicked Workboxes
  3. Sweet Studies 2011/12
  4. Not Back-to-School Blog Hop:  School Room Week
  5. Ten Fun Food Endeavors to Do With Your Homeschooler
  6. Sweet Plans:  Homeschool Planning – Gathering Your Tools
  7. About Sweet Phenomena
  8. Not Back-to-School Blog Hop:  Curriculum Week
  9. If Homeschool Walls Could Talk
  10. Homeschool Blogs You Should Be Following

Sweet Critique: Taylor Gifts

Taylor GiftsTaylor Gifts is an online retailer that sells a variety of items such as gag gifts, As Seen On TV items, and tons of other things.

They’re celebrating their 60th year of business in 2012, and it’s easy to see why they’ve been in business for so long: they take customer service seriously.  They may not have a big flashy logo or appear on commercials everywhere, but they’ve got that whole understated awesomeness thing down.

My First Experience With Taylor Gifts

 

SIX COLORFUL MAGAZINE FILESThe first time I ever bought from Taylor Gifts was a couple of years ago when we started homeschooling.  I needed a way to keep each subject separate and organized.  We were also living in a hotel while waiting to find a house, so I needed something small.  The magazine files they sell were perfect.  They lasted quite a while and did us proud until we moved on to our workboxes {our homeschooling storage needs grew…}.

The price was great, the shipping was fast, and I had not one problem with the whole transaction.  I love companies that are like that: they do a kick-butt job on getting you the stuff you paid for really fast and in really good condition.  You better believe, though, if there’s a problem, they’re ready to make it right.

What Do They Sell?

 

Taylor Gifts sells a variety of unique gifts, perfect for anyone on your list, including pets.  I was excited to find they sell a ton of gifts for pets, such as cat toys and Kong toys for dogs {they’re just about the only thing that can stand up to Winston’s chewing}.

You know all those quirky, fun, interesting things you find and think, “Oh, so-and-so would so get a kick out of this!” or “Oh, so-and-so would so love this!”?  Taylor Gifts sells that stuff, and they sell them at great prices.  They’re committed to fast shipping, and they don’t like backorders {who does?}, and they do this crazy thing: they don’t charge you until your item is shipped.  Imagine that!

Final Thoughts

 

I definitely recommend you check them out, even if you’re not in the market for gifts.  They sell a ton of stuff that you can use in your home, yard, homeschool, and everything in between!

True Confessions:  I partnered with Taylor Gifts to bring you this post. I really do shop there and all opinions are mine.

Sweet Critique: Cookie’s Kids #LuvCookies #cBias

Cookies Logo

It is downright shameful how long I’ll wait to get Babydoll clothes. No, she’s not walking around in stuff that is way too small, and she always has plenty of clothing, but I wait till the last possible minute to go and buy stuff.

I think part of this is the homeschooling; she doesn’t need that many “wear out” clothes.  But, she’s a girl and she likes clothes, so I’ve been trying to be better about getting her a few things here and there.  This is why I was so excited to work on this particular campaign, and Babydoll was equally as thrilled!

What Is Cookie’s Kids?

 

Cookie’s Kids is an online department store for kids.  They’ve got uniforms, dresses, shoes, scarves, anything and everything.  Babydoll loved looking around the site and seeing what they had.  They have sooo much.  She, of course, wanted everything…

It was fun to see how excited she got; we sat there for quite a while as she looked at clothes and shoes.  She knew she had to narrow down her choices, so she ended up picking a shirt and a dress:

The prices were great, in my opinion.  Babydoll is a fan of stores aimed at girls her age, and some of the stuff is cute and age-appropriate, but it’s so stinking expensive.  She’s generally limited to one item per season because I just refuse to spend more on her clothes than I do my own.

Shipping was as expected, which was great considering it was over a holiday weekend.  I got my items on time.  Overall the process went smoothly, and Babydoll enjoyed it quite a bit.

The Clothes

 

The box came, and Babydoll was excited to get it open!  She modeled her new items for me:

There were a couple of things that we thought could use a bit of work.  The size charts were not complete.  We liked how they had some of the brands’ specific size charts {brilliant!}, but for brands not listed, the general charts were mainly geared toward uniforms.

Also, the colors on the site don’t necessarily match the item.  Babydoll’s shirt is a lot darker than we expected.  The dress shown on the site seemed to be party length, but when we got it, it was much longer.  I think they used a picture of a smaller size.

These weren’t huge things for us, but if you’re looking for something very specific, you might want to keep this in mind.

That said, I would probably shop here again.  I can get the styles Babydoll wants at a much more affordable price than other places, and I like that.

They also have a referral program, which many might like.  For every person who signs up under your link, they will get a $10 credit!  Also, when they make their first purchase YOU get $10 credit too!

I’ve got more pictures of our shopping experience here if you’d like to check them out!

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias