Event Recap – Charity! TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors at the Disney 1/2 Marathon

Hi everyone!
Some of you may recall I mentioned TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors in Vlog #2 when Jeremiah & I went to Sevenly. For the sake of space/time, please watch Vlog #2 or go to the TAPS website, I linked both above, to read more about their mission. Long story short, they are a military charity that provides support to those left behind after a member of the military passes away. I was really interested in getting to know their program better, so I drove down to the Disneyland Resort to help out at their booth at the Disney Half Marathon. Below are a few pictures I took at the event!

Overall I had a wonderful experience volunteering with TAPS. I handed out race packets to the runners on Team TAPS, answered general questions, & helped out where I could. I learned a lot about the people behind TAPS, the survivors the program benefits, & the program itself. I appreciate that TAPS provides support no matter how the military member passed away, it doesn’t have to be battle related. It can be anything from car accidents to long term illness, etc. I also appreciate that TAPS reaches out to more than just immediate family. They support ANYONE who is suffering after experiencing a military loss, from unmarried partners to best friends to civilian coworkers to church friends, etc. That’s really important because for the most part, support goes toward immediate family, which obviously is not a bad thing, but there are more people to think about. I’m not talking about monetary support, I’m talking about emotional support. Death affects everyone differently & you never know who is able to handle these types of situations on their own or who might need more help. The person that sat next to a military member every Monday & Wednesday night for English 101 might be feeling their loss almost as intensely as the immediate family – & certainly not for the same reasons, but does that make their feelings less meaningful or make them any less deserving of help? I don’t think it does.

I truly feel inspired after this experience. I have previously volunteered with the Wounded Warrior Project & have met special people through those amazing events, but there’s a bit of disconnect because I’m not a veteran or really associated with the military other than through my volunteer work. With TAPS however, I got to meet survivors, a position I can identify with more easily. While not military related I’ve experienced the loss of members of my immediate family & for a brief time, I was part of a military family & lived with someone that was working through PTSD. I watched him struggle & I know how helpless you feel as a bystander. It’s hard to watch someone you love be plagued by demons brought on by something that’s a huge part of their identity, they can’t just shake it off, it’s part of who they are no matter how much pain it brings them. One of the families I spoke with this weekend lost their military member to suicide & it just broke my heart. A majority of the military members being remembered this weekend looked like they were around my age. It’s one thing to hear the statistics, but to be face to face with survivors that have lost someone I could’ve dated, been friends with, gone to college with, worked with etc…makes me cringe to think how much we all take for granted. These military members will never see a beautiful Southern California day, never volunteer for a cause they’re passionate about, never run, never see their families, never go to Disneyland, never go on vacation, & their survivors will never experience these things without a tinge of sadness for the person they’re missing. Yet all of those activities occurred this weekend for other people & they probably didn’t give them a second thought. It’s crazy to think that I could have met any of these people under completely different circumstances, yet we were brought together because of the tragedies in our lives which have shaped our lives & led us to this place. To me, that’s the mission of TAPS. Yes, bad things happen & we all experience loss, but we’re never truly alone, we just have to find people on a similar path.

With all of that being said, I am HIGHLY motivated to continue volunteering at future TAPS Events & even to join Team TAPS…as a runner! I know! Me, running!? If you know me at all, you’ll understand this event must have really been special if it’s motivating me to start running, haha! As soon as I get medically cleared to start working out again, I’m going to start the “Couch to 5K” Training Program & get my butt out there! Click here to Join Team TAPS if you’re looking for a team to join for an upcoming Race Event – maybe I’ll see you at a race! Thanks for reading 🙂

Vlog #2 – Melrose Ave Adventures Part 2

Hello all! Please click play on the video below to watch the continued adventures of my friends Jeremiah, Jeri, and myself as we do some shopping and explore Los Angeles! I’m still learning how to film and move around, talk to the camera, how long to make eye contact with the camera haha, things like that – so please bare with me as I go through this learning process.

A little explanation of our first stop – Sevenly. Sevenly produces unique “cause art” with profits going towards designated charities depending on what the product is. I have previously talked about them in my Veteran’s Day post. Normally they sell shirts for a week, then retire the style or apply the profits to the next Charity, so you have to act somewhat quickly if you like something or the specific charity it’s supporting. They don’t have a “Sevenly store” but for one weekend they decided to have a sale on old shirts. As I’m financially strained at this point in my life, I haven’t been able to support Sevenly or many charities as much as I’d like to, so when I saw the words “SALE” – I knew I had to stop by & see what they were offering. I ended up falling in love with 6 shirts & the causes they supported, but tough decisions had to be made and I only walked away with 3, descriptions are below!

Something I didn’t mention in the video – the location we were at is the Sevenly headquarters, but there is an actual store attached called “Share and Do Good”. They sell charity items as well, some from the Sevenly website & some from other brands that support specific missions. So if you’re in the SoCal/Orange County area, please don’t hesitate to go check out “Share and Do Good”!

I purchased these 2 shirts…
1. Black Flowy Tank – “Be the Change You Hope to See in the World”, one of my favorite quotes! This top supported Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program, which gives a cuddly stuffed animal to a child undergoing chemotherapy. This print is still available on the Sevenly website but I don’t believe Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program is a designated charity anymore.
2. Black Oversized Batwing Top – “It’s Not Okay” This shirt supports a charity called The Sheepfold, which helps women & children take shelter from Domestic Violence.

The following 3 items are the shirts from the video I did NOT purchase.
3. Grey Flowy Tank – “Slavery Exists when People Stay Silent” I’m not sure exactly what charity this supported but it was geared towards helping woman escape from Sex Slavery in the United States. I don’t believe this is available anymore.
4. Black T-Shirt with Eagle – “Fallen but Not Forgotten” This design supports TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors – a Non Profit that supports the families of fallen Military members. This shirt was insanely difficult for me to leave behind. Currently this design is still available on the Sevenly website – at full price $28 – which unfortunately for me is just not something I can pay for a shirt, especially knowing I could have purchased it half price. However, I’ve signed up to Volunteer with TAPS at the Disney 1/2 Marathon the first weekend in September, so I’m really excited!
5. Purple T-Shirt – “Destinies are Made When People Get Involved” Again, unfortunately, I’m not sure exactly what charity, but it was made to support families dealing with the loss of a child. I can’t find this design on the Sevenly website, so I’m assuming it’s no longer in production.

If you liked any of the shirts in this video & can’t find them on the website, please don’t be afraid to contact Sevenly. Mention that you watched my video, tell them which shirt you liked, & perhaps they’ll be able to help you. I am in NO WAY making promises for them, but I have talked to their Customer Service before & they were extremely polite & helpful.

So there’s a little background & more information for you. Hope you enjoy our adventure, FOLLOW me to stay up to date on all my posts! If you’re reading this on a mobile device, click on an individual post title (rather than looking at the Home Page), scroll to the bottom & fill out the email form. If you’re looking at this post on your laptop/desktop, the form will be on the top right of the page. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns & I’ll help you as best as I can. Thanks for reading!

Charity: Be Better Movement – Participant of the Week!

As y’all should know by now, I’ve been participating in the 52 Week Challenge with the Be Better Movement. You can read my previous posts about them herehere & follow my Instagram: @missal_leigh to see some of the previous challenges I’ve participated in! This week’s Challenge is to “Pay it Forward” – perform at least 3 acts of kindness like, pay for someone’s Starbucks, or donate your old blankets to your local pet shelter. Check out their website for more ideas!
Another reason you should head over to their website is…I was chosen to be the BBM’s “Member of the Week”. My interview is up now – click here or the picture below to read it! Scroll to the bottom of this post to read about the special treat we have lined up for 5 lucky MissAl-Leigh.com readers!
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Have you joined?! The BBM a great cause & the first FIVE people that contact me wanting to join will be able to use my very own special code to sign up for FREE! What are you waiting for? Hit that FOLLOW button on the top right to be notified of all my posts & message me here or through my email MissAl.Leigh@gmail.com to get that code! Thank you for reading & thank you to the Be Better Movement for this feature!

Charity & Review: Be Better Movement & Pantene Beautiful Lengths with Rachel S. at Classic Images Hair Design

Bye hair! Classic Images Hair Design in Livermore, Pantene Beautiful Lengths, Be Better Movement

Bye hair! Classic Images Hair Design in Livermore, Pantene Beautiful Lengths, Be Better Movement

Hello everyone!
Today I’m going to be talking about this week’s Be Better Movement Challenge, Pantene Beautiful Lengths, & my experience with Rachel S. at Classic Images Hair Design. For more info on the Be Better Movement, check out my previous post, here. A very brief reminder, the BBM is an organization that issues weekly challenges for participants to earn money for a monthly charity. For every challenge you participate in, you donate $1. If you post about the challenge on Social Media, you’ll donate $2! The challenges are supposed to help you better yourself in some way. Past challenges have included Phone Time Outs, Drink More Water, and Eat Ginger Root, among others.

This week’s BBM Challenge was to “Spoil Yourself”. The charity being supported this month is the UNICEF Tap Project. A lot of ideas sprung to mind when thinking about how I wanted to spoil myself this week – a shopping spree?! A mani/pedi?! A massage?! ALL OF THOSE THINGS?!? To keep my budget down, I decided to stick with an activity I already had planned – a much needed haircut. I kicked it up a notch by cutting off a good chunk of my hair and donating it. What better way to spoil yourself than by enjoying the feeling of helping two charities & getting a fresh new look?! On the recommendation of my friend Sara, I chose to get my hair cut at Classic Images Hair Design in Livermore with Rachel S., which I will review below. I have donated my hair to Locks of Love several times in the past, but this time chose to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a collaboration between Pantene and the American Cancer Society. So far they have donated over 24,000 free, real hair wigs to the ACS Wig Bank to help cancer patients across the US! You must have at least 8 inches of strong, healthy hair that has not been bleached, permanently dyed, or chemically treated. You put your hair in a ponytail, or several smaller ponytails, and CHOP! Then you follow the mailing instructions, send your hair to PBL, and a few weeks later they’ll mail you a thank you card. That’s it! If you’re brave enough or don’t care about the length of your hair, this is a really wonderful way to help someone. Hair might seem like a silly thing, but remember, the things we take for granted, someone else is wishing for.

Back view. If anyone is wondering, I have very thick but fine hair with somewhat of a wave to it. I asked for an above the shoulder cut with soft, blendable layers, that was full & bouncy & didn't frame the face too much as I have a very round face which doesn't often work well with short hair.

Back view. If anyone is wondering, I have very thick but fine hair with somewhat of a wave to it. I asked for an above the shoulder cut with soft, blendable layers, that was full & bouncy & didn’t frame the face too much as I have a very round face which doesn’t often work well with short hair.

Even though I have donated my hair several times, I’m always nervous about making such a big change. I’m so glad my friend recommended Rachel at Classic Images. She took great care of me, I couldn’t be happier! She was trained at the Paul Mitchell School in Santa Barbara and has worked in a salon for 5 years. She is a Redken Color Certified Hairstylist & a Make-Up Artist. Check out her Instagram: @hairbyrachs for pictures of her work!
I appreciated Rachel’s willingness to walk me through every step of such a big hair style change. In the past, I’ve had stylists get annoyed as I scrolled frantically through my Pinterest Hair Board attempting to show them every inspiration picture. Click here to look at my Pinterest & see what I showed Rachel. (Please feel free to follow me – I’d love to be Pin Pals!) Rachel was patient and understanding. She looked at the pictures carefully then explained how she interpreted the style & how she was going to make that work for my hair. Rachel also does a great job with brow waxing. After I left the salon someone told me my brows were on point – literally one of my top 3 compliments to receive, haha! Overall, the salon is clean, has a nice atmosphere, & decent prices. I would highly recommend Classic Images and Rachel, I have left them a 5 star Yelp Review.

What do y’all think – are you a fan of my new hair? Have you ever donated your hair or will you now? Do some research on Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths and see if donating is something you’d be interested in. Please sign up for the Be Better Movement 52 Week Challenge by clicking here – it’s a really wonderful organization! Also, please visit my new friend Rachel S. at Classic Images Hair Design in Livermore next time you need to change up your hair or get your brows waxed – she’s also great at color, she did green & purple peekaboo highlights on my friend – so awesome! Tell her I sent you & be sure to tag me on Instagram/Twitter: @missal_leigh when you post your Before & After pics. I can’t wait to see what y’all do! As always, thanks for reading!

Charity & Event Recap! #YellowForSeth @bethematch & @lushcosmetics #freshlypicked Scavenger Hunt! 

Hey all!
I have a couple things to talk about today. Today I went out to San Francisco to participate in the Lush Cosmetics “Freshly Picked” Scavenger Hunt. More on that below…

My mom & I with the Lush Cosmetics Bunny  wearing Yellow For Seth during the LUSH Freshly Picked Scavenger Hunt!

My mom & I with the Lush Cosmetics Bunny wearing Yellow For Seth during the LUSH Freshly Picked Scavenger Hunt!

I also participated in another activity that hopefully some of you participated in as well. Today was “Wear Yellow For Seth”, a day of support for a 5 year old boy named Seth. He was born with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder (SCID), which basically means he has no immune system – no way to fight off infections. His only chance of survival is a successful bone marrow transplant. He had his first transplant at 7 months old, but his body rejected it. He’s now preparing for Round 2.  I’ve heard different stories but I was under the impression that Seth and his parents made a video asking his friends and family to wear yellow (his favorite color) today and send him the pictures so he can see how many people support him as he prepares for this next set of procedures. The video became viral and the hashtags WearYellowForSeth & YellowForSeth started popping up everywhere! I’ve also heard that the family made the video with the intention for it to go viral and spread awareness of SCID and the need for bone marrow donors. Either way, I think it’s a really sweet gesture we can all take the time to make for a sick little boy. They aren’t asking for any money or donations of any kind. They just want to see how far their message will spread and show Seth some support!

I’ve always been a big supporter of spreading awareness for the need for more bone marrow donors. I’m a registered bone marrow donor – although unfortunately I’ve never been called upon to donate. As soon as I turned 18, I signed up with Delete Blood Cancer DKMS & they added me to the Be the Match national bone marrow donor registry  – click here to read Be the Match’s FAQ & see if donating bone marrow is something you’d be interested in!

So today, in honor of Seth, because he is so brave in the face of so much adversity, my mom & I traipsed around San Francisco to participate in the Lush Cosmetic’s Freshly Picked Scavenger Hunt while wearing bright yellow shirts! The Lush Scavenger Hunt was really cute – I only wish it had been more of an adventure! They posted a pic on their Instagram: @lushcosmetics of their employees in an unnamed location somewhere in San Francisco & a secret code. If you figured out the location, you met up with the employees, told them the code, and they gave you the next clue which eventually led to a Lush goodie bag! I’ve been a fan of Lush Cosmetics for easily, about 10 years. I don’t shop there as much as I should or want to, but I have a feeling that’s about to change! For those that don’t know, Lush Cosmetics makes fresh, organic, hand made, 100% vegetarian, bath, body, and makeup products. Some of the products are completely vegan. They believe in packaging that can be recycled, no animal testing, and ethical buying of ingredients. The packaging and products are extremely creative and unique. I really feel like they sell something for everyone. Anyway, my mom & I figured out pretty quickly that the location was Union Square, so we headed out there to grab the next clue. In a kind of disappointing turn, the next clue wasn’t really a clue so much as a thank you note for participating. I was looking forward to figuring out clues and hunting around the city a bit, but it simply directed us to the nearest Lush store to pick up our goodie bag. This is where my disappointment turned around…

Peace Massage Bar, Miranda soap, Karma Komba Shampoo Bar + tin, American Cream conditioner

Peace Massage Bar, Miranda soap, Karma Komba Shampoo Bar + tin, American Cream conditioner

After a quick chat with a really sweet employee about the Lush products we already owned and what kind of scents we liked, we were given our goodie bags. These goodie bags were SUPER GENEROUS! I received a 3.3 oz bottle of American Cream hair conditioner and a Karma Komba shampoo bar PLUS a tin to keep the bar in. The Shampoo Bar & tin cost $12 & $4, respectively, I was extremely grateful to receive these amazing products basically for free! My mom received a healthy chunk of Miranda soap and a FULL SIZED Peace Massage bar – which retails for $14!! All in all, while I was slightly disappointed about the lack of adventure, Lush more than made up for it with their wonderful goodie bags. Thank you Lush Cosmetics!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Friday! If you didn’t wear yellow, there’s still time! Before you head out tonight, add something yellow to your outfit – it doesn’t have to be big! Snap a pic, tag me or mention me, @missal_leigh (on Twitter, Snapchat, & Instagram), and don’t forget to hashtag #WearYellowForSeth and/or #YellowForSeth. Also, let me know in the comments below what some of your favorite Lush products are – I need to start a shopping list! 😉 Thanks for reading, until next time!

Charity: Be Better Movement!

Hello all!
Today I wanted to showcase a Charity Challenge I’m participating in, the 52 Week Be Better Challenge, part of the Be Better Movement. You sign up for a 52 week (1 year) program & each week they offer up a Challenge to help improve your Health/Well Being in some way. For each weekly Challenge you participate in, Be Better donates $1 to the Charity of the month – March & April is the UNICEF Tap Project. If you post a picture of yourself participating in the challenge to any of your Social Media, they’ll donate $2! Check my Instagram: @missal_leigh & theirs: @mybebetter for pictures of previous Challenges such as Phone Time-Outs & drinking Herbal Tea!

Sugar/Calorie free Strawberry Green Tea flavored water...drink up! I aim to drink a gallon of water a day - that's only 2 of these adorable jugs!

Sugar/Calorie free Strawberry Green Tea flavored water…drink up! I aim to drink a gallon of water a day – that’s only 2 of these adorable jugs!

Have you ever participated in a Challenge like this? What do you think of this one? If you’d like more information or are considering signing up please let me know. One of my best friends is an Intern with this company (how I found out about this) – so I might be able to use my “inside connections” to your benefit, or maybe I’ll send you a little thank you for participating in such a great cause 😉