The Simple Good: Creating Hope Through Art

Today I’m excited to start the week off on a positive note! I have been following Chicago non-profit The Simple Good for a while now, after hearing founder Priya Shah’s inspiring story. Through our six degrees of separation – or as I like to say 3 degrees if you are South Asian – I got a message from a blogger friend of mine Ameera to see if I’d like to help her promote their upcoming fundraiser. Of course I said yes, and I even got the cool t-shirt I’m wearing in return!

The Simple Good is a non-profit organization committed to connecting the meaning of good from around the world through public art projects and art programs for at-risk youth.  Giving people something positive they can do to feel empowered and at the same time connecting them with others with the same goal.

Here are the details: On July 29th, The Simple Good is hosting its 4th Annual City of Big Dreams Fundraiser which they describe as: a collaborative pop-up showcase uniting different mediums of art under a single inspiration – “the simple good of Chicago.” Through a curated selection of street artists, poets, musicians and dancers, we demonstrate the strength and inspiration that has begun to transform “The City of Big Shoulders” to a “City with Big Dreams.”

Through art, those in the most need can feel hopeful even when they are in difficult circumstances.

 Art programs are usually one of the first things to go when school budgets are cut. Anyone who has personally experienced the transformative power of art can attest to the value of programs like this.

There are a few ways you can help support The Simple Good. You can buy my tee, which is one of a few styles available, check out more styles here. Or, you can get your tickets to the fundraiser here. Of course you can always donate anything you can spare, or simply spread the word – every little bit helps!

Thanks for visiting as always ~ Have a great week xx

 ‘The purpose of art is to wash the dust of daily life off our souls’ ~ Pablo Picasso

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Back To School With Redbubble

Growing up, back to school shopping was one of the few times my parents gave me the green light to shop ’till I dropped’. Now I’m paying it forward.

To my parents, education was priority number one and no expense needed to be spared in preparation. I piled up the folders, protractors, hair scrunchies, new purple tops (my favorite color), and new shoes into the cart with little regard for the price tag. The day before the first day of school, I would iron and plan a week’s worth of outfits, knowing full well from previous experience that would be the only week I would actually go through the trouble. The excitement and anticipation of a new school year starting never waned for me, year after year, even in Jr. High when I cared more about touching up my makeup and decoding messages on my pager than studying.

Since I’ve been out of school for a few years now, I’m living my back-to-school fantasies vicariously through Adam. He’s getting so independent and opinionated about what he wears though, I have had to start including him in the shopping decision making process. So when the opportunity to partner with Redbubble came about, I thought it would be a fun way to do just that.

Redbubble is an online marketplace which crowdsources designs from over 400k independent artists around the world. The selection is both unique and vast, priced perfectly for a student budget. With items ranging from vintage cool to quirky, it is amazing the cultural niche you might find represented. For example I found an artist called @thepakistanimarthastewart – she creates hilarious pop-art memes with a South Asian twist – I didn’t even realize that was a thing until now, and I am officially obsessed.

The difference between Redbubble and other independent artist platforms is the delivery. They don’t carry inventory, nor do the artists ship directly to you, so when you order something it is regionally printed, making it a smooth and consistent shipping process. By printing after the order is place It is also reducing waste and therefore making for a much smaller carbon footprint.

Adam and I went through the website and picked a few new tees for his back to school wardrobe for first grade. We had a lot of fun reading some of the funny designs and choosing our favorites, and I even let him add his items to our virtual ‘cart’. I’m hoping one day maybe he will even look back on our back to school shopping experience fondly like I do now. Or is that just wishful thinking on my part? *sigh* Oh well…

If you love supporting independent artists designers and also finding one of a kind things, you need to visit Redbubble. Get 15% off your order with my code: zahra_sandberg15

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5 Life Lessons I Learned From Blogging

It has been five years yesterday since I started this blog (thanks Facebook memories!) Five years equals about ten thousand hours, which according to Malcom Gladwell, makes me an outlier, right?! Does that mean I’m getting rich soon??

I’ve learned a lot over the past five years, so I thought I would round up five of the most important life lessons being a blogger has taught me.

  1. Know Your Worth. Don’t be afraid to ask for fair compensation for your work, even if you are a new blogger with a small following. Figure out what it takes you to get the job done and price it out where it makes sense for you. (I’ve actually had PR Firms tell me I should ask for more money!) Of course there are lots of opportunities to collaborate, support a small business or charity you love, and in that case you can always reduce or waive your fee. If you don’t value yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? 
  2. Don’t hate, collaborate! I can’t express how important this point is. I personally love supporting my fellow bloggers and friends. I genuinely want to see my friends succeed, and trust me somehow the universe always gives it back to me. Also, it is important not to fall in to the comparison trap which can turn you in to a bitter unhappy being that no one wants to be around. If someone you know has landed an amazing project, or if they just bought your dream Chanel bag, be happy for them and just focus on creating great work. You have no idea what’s in store for you in the future, so just do you! Or if you want to compare, look at those who have much less than you do.
  3. Make it Work. Bloated? Cold Sore? No budget? It is so easy to make excuses for why you shouldn’t – but if you truly want to be successful you will need to make it happen despite the challenges. A few years ago Adam broke a glass on my face and I had to get stitches and wear a bandage on one side of my face for a month. As a result, my outfit pictures were all pretty much taken from the side view or with a hand strategically covering it – see example in this post here – but please don’t judge the outfit (cringe!). If you can’t afford a great camera, you can offer to promote a local photographer on your blog in exchange for their work. In regards to finances, let’s face it there are always going to be people who have more than you – it just forces you to be more creative, which is a good thing!
  4. Never stop learning. (You can learn anything on YouTube!) When I started I wasn’t tech savvy at all, nor did I have a clue about photography or editing. I also got my first Macbook as a gift after I started so I even had to teach myself a whole new operating system! Many many hours of trial and error, banging my head against the wall in frustration, and youtube tutorials later, I am now proud to say I’m a self-taught digital content creator! Keep an open mind and always try to improve yourself and your skills.
  5. See yourself in your best light. I got this one from my friend and blogger babe Zunera. We often criticize ourselves the most harshly, and often unfairly. Comparing our unedited to someone else’s photoshopped is just not fair. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to anyone you love. Put simply by Big Sean, ‘if you love yourself just know you’ll never be alone.’

Oh and here’s a new outfit for you! Details below ~ Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss a post ~

  1. striped-trouser-pants-gucci-bag vertical-striped-pants- vertical-striped-pants-bodysuitstripe-pant-gucciPants | Top (linked similar- actual top is a swimsuit) | Shoes: Thanks to M.Gemi (exact ones sold out) Similar Style | Bag| Choker/Long Necklace: Thanks to Kendra Scott | Bag: Gucci