Bambootique Gift Certificates Make Great Gifts For Grads, Teachers

fair-trade-products-assortmI’ve noticed more gift certificate orders coming in lately and realized it’s that time of year when we give gifts to grads and teachers. If you’re stuck for a unique gift for someone you want to appreciate, consider a gift certificate for $25, $50 or $100 from Bambootique.  If you’re shopping for someone who’s concerned about women’s issues, the environment, sustainable living, or just likes to look great, then I can help you out. Click here for certificates in set amounts or contact me directly for a specific dollar amount.

Something To Put A Smile On Any Face

This delightful act of pure joy took place at Antwerp, Belgium’s train station at 8:00 am on a recent weekday. It was a promotional stunt for a local TV show but the message is still clear. Do something fun, joyful and surprising for a stranger (or for hundreds of strangers) today. I always wanted to live inside a musical…

Ah Spring, Thank You For Visiting

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Now please stick around, just for a little while?

Declare The White House A Fair Trade Zone

changeInspired by President-elect Obama’s campaign for “change we can believe in,” Change.org is running a campaign of ideas for Obama to implement once in the White House. As owner of a fair trade company, naturally my vote goes for the idea to “Declare The White House A Fair Trade Zone.” That would mean serving fair trade coffees and teas at official functions, using fair trade chocolate in desserts and generally giving fair trade the highest profile yet. For a president-elect with social issues at the top of his agenda, this idea doesn’t seem far-fetched at all. Register your vote through tomorrow, Jan. 15th at 5pm ET.

Toddler Politics

Here’s my 21-month old, Grace, declaring her choice for president. Maybe it was slightly coerced…

Gratitude For Today

In these uncertain times I’m grateful for so many things. Here are a few things I’m thankful for today.

1) The vibrant fall leaves.

2) My daughter’s giggles. Nothing is sweeter.

3) A drop in gasoline prices. It’s so nice to have good news come from somewhere, even if it is the gas pump.

4) Stroller Strides. I work out with this amazing group of moms who encourage me plus I get to spend that time with Grace.

5) Friendly neighbors on my street. I love it that we all wave at each other.

6) The UPS truck. It’s always exciting to see what that day’s box will bring plus Grace loves to watch it drive away.

7) Coffee. I look forward to two hot cups each morning. It’s a delicious, inexpensive treat I savor.

8) My supportive husband Steve. When I’m discouraged or anxious, he never fails to cheer me up.

What are you grateful for?

Voting In Oregon Is Fun

I love Oregon’s vote-by-mail system. About three weeks before elections our ballots come in the mail. Then we the voters get to pick when and where we vote. No long lines on election day. No hanging chads. No realization in the polling box that I have no idea how to vote on the Tigard-Tualatin School levy or who to choose for city council.

Steve and I have a long-standing tradition now of holding our own “voting party.” We don’t invite anyone else, just the two of us, take-out pizza, a good bottle of wine, the voters’ guides, a laptop computer and our ballots. We actually look forward to our “voting party,” which we held last Wednesday night. Online we referred to the Oregonian’s voter’s guide, the Oregonian’s endorsements, the city of Tualatin’s website and good ol’ Google.

It took about two hours to finish our pizza, wine and ballots. We had some hearty debate about whether to choose Gordon Smith or Jeff Merkley for Senate (they each got one vote from our household) and whether or not to approve Tualatin’s parks and rec measure (no – seemed to include too many unnecessary extras).  We shared our disgust with all of Bill Sizemore’s ridiculous measures.  We agreed that we needed to support the extension of the Tigard-Tualatin school levy and emergency services levy.

Voting in this manner turns the election into an informational process for me. I wouldn’t have known anything about our city council members but, because many were up for reelection, I read about them online and know what they stand for. If the levies I voted for pass, I’ll know where that part of my tax dollars are going.  I appreciate our state’s system which allows me to become informed in the comfort of my home, with my ballot in front of me and trusted resources at my fingertips.

No matter what type of voting system your state has, make sure you vote this year. It’s important for you, your community, and, more than ever, for our country.

What Small Step Will I Take Today?

This morning Dr. Laura Simmons shared in our Sunday service about her recent experiences in South Africa and Rwanda. She visited both countries to learn about some incredible efforts at reconciliation in places where hate and violence have recently prevailed. She reminded us that the acts of Hitler in Germany and apartheid in South Africa were legal at the time they were committed. How did atrocities such as putting Jews into ghettos or blacks into slums become law accepted by the majority? One tiny act of injustice at a time.

Laura met people in both countries who have found the strength to look beyond their tumultuous histories and extend forgiveness to those who hurt them. Some reconciliation activists she met are now working side-by-side with those who brought them incredible pain in the past. She pointed out that yes, it is a small minority who are involved in such dramatic work. Not every Tutsi who lost a family member to a Hutu machete is able to embrace the very person who harmed their loved one. But those who are remind us that, just as tiny acts of injustice lead to atrocities, so tiny acts of reconciliation bring about justice on a large scale.

I hope every day my choices bring me, my family, and any other areas of influence one tiny step closer to justice. What small step will I take today?

Happy Birthday Bambootique!

One year ago today Bambootique‘s online boutique went live, so I guess that makes it our birthday!  Happy Birthday to us!  It’s been a thrilling year for me and Tammy getting this baby to grow as a business. We’ve had some successes, a lot of challenges, but tons of fun along the way. The most thrilling part is knowing that hundreds of women’s lives have been touched around the world. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than that. Thanks to those of you who have supported and encouraged us in our crazy dream.

When my daughter turned one a few months ago we threw a party for close family and friends because we felt it was an event to be celebrated. We had made it through a full year as parents and Grace not only survived, she is a happy, healthy little girl! I suppose our birthday party for Bambootique is our trunk show coming up this Saturday, to which we have invited everyone who has been involved with us over the past year. We look forward to seeing many of you there and to celebrating many more Bambootique birthdays in the years to come!

Welcome to Everyday Just Living!

Welcome to my brand new blog! My name is Beth Sethi and I am your host in this small corner of the blogosphere. I am a mom, wife and small business owner and I am passionate about fair trade and justice issues, especially for women. Before I co-founded my online fair trade boutique, Bambootique , I worked for several international NGOs. I have seen firsthand the difference it makes in the lives of the poor when they are economically empowered. Economic empowerment of the poor is a global issue and the choices I make everyday have the power to do good or to do harm.

Poverty in our world is very real – nearly half of all our planet’s inhabitants live on less than $2/ day, according to the UN. Much well-meaning aid is thrown at it and some of it works, some of it doesn’t. Everyday Just Living goes hand in hand with care for the environment. The state of our world’s environment is only exacerbating the problem of poverty. I believe to truly make progress in the fight against global poverty, as well as to protect our planet, each of us can – and must – do our part. Our part is often as simple as what coffee we buy or which light bulbs we use, but sometimes more is demanded of us. I hope here to share my journey and bring you practical ideas you can implement immediately to live a more just life. Thanks for checking out my blog. I welcome your comments and ideas!