Finding Our Humanity

When you manage social media accounts, the biggest setback to your work is getting distracted when you are on social media, which is all day. I am pretty good at scanning past news about politics and Kardashians, but lately, my newsfeed is full of so much pain and sorrow.

Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Dallas, Ballwin.

I think all of these events were exacerbated by social media, which spreads hate and fear easily, and gives users a feeling of anonymity and false courage. My first instinct is to hide; to disappear from social media. I sat in Mass the morning after the attack in Dallas, convinced that I should quit my job, move my son and myself to the smallest town I can find, and never turn on a computer again. I don’t want to read about it. I don’t want to see the faces of victims and murderers. I want to pretend it doesn’t exist and that it doesn’t happen.

And what if enough of us did that? Would it help anything? Of course not. It would leave the internet broiling with even more hate and fear, now unsubdued by messages of love, peace, and prayer.

Social media threatens to take away our beautiful, flawed humanity. When was the last time you posted a selfie with a bad hair day? Or a picture of your kid throwing a tantrum? Or a status about the ugly things you said to your husband out of anger? We are perfect robots on social media, hiding behind filtered photos, deep and witty quotes, perfectly posed children, etc. Not only that, but our bigger attributes are up front, for the entire world to see – choosing whether they like us or not solely based on these traits. We don’t know anything about real people anymore.

Hang on – let me choose a couple of my Facebook friends at random and tell you what I know about them.

  1. Subject A: I know he teaches high school, is a die hard baseball fan, likes classic rock, hates country music, prefers polos, leans Libertarian and hates Hillary Clinton.
  2. Subject B: She just moved, she loves Bernie Sanders but is campaigning hard for Hillary Clinton now, she’s super pretty, on a strict diet, and crazy about Pokemon Go and planning her wedding.

I haven’t spoken to either of these people in years. Because I once knew them personally, I could tell you deeper things about them, but this isn’t how we operate any more. If I was handed a piece of paper telling me what anyone likes and dislikes, I would find something to disagree with. Knowing both of these people just by their interests, I might not see any commonality. The point is, we have stopped seeing people as people. People cannot be boiled down to where they live, what they love and hate, the things they do, or even what they believe. These are all contributing factors, of course, but we are so much more than these things.

I would imagine that each one of us has someone in our lives that we love despite disagreeing with them on many things. So why do you love them? Because you have history with them? Because they’re family? Because you share a common experience?

When we allow identity to be a list of traits and preferences, we miss their humanity. We discount them without knowing them. We use blanket terms like Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Vegan, Hippie, Jesus Freak, Bible Beater, Black, White, Redneck, Hipster, Rich, Poor, etc.

I am working with a non-profit group that helps those who are homeless. They make a big distinction on calling those they serve “people who are homeless” and not “homeless people”. This small change allows the word homeless to be an attribute and not part of someone’s identity.  The traits I listed above are secondary attributes of who we are. Because who are we? People. Humans.

In Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Shylock declares that his Jewish faith and heritage do not affect his humanity. Read his speech now, more than 400 years later, with some small changes. Have we still not learned this lesson?

I’m a Person.
Doesn’t a Person have eyes? Doesn’t a Person have hands, bodily organs, a human shape, five senses, feelings, and passions? Doesn’t a Person eat the same food, get hurt with the same weapons, get sick with the same diseases, get healed by the same medicine, and warm up in summer and cool off in winter just like any other Person? If you prick us with a pin, don’t we bleed? If you tickle us, don’t we laugh? If you poison us, don’t we die? And if you treat us badly, won’t we try to get revenge? If we’re like you in everything else, we’ll resemble you in that respect.

With everything going on around us, I encourage you to look past attributes in both your speech and thoughts and add that word “person” back in there. Maybe by being more deliberate in remembering our shared humanity – the biggest thing we could possibly have in common, we will be able to treat each other with a little more love and kindness and let that spread, however slowly, into the greater world.

So where does this put social media? Well, I’m not quitting my job. I am going to stop reading comments, that’s for sure. And for every

 

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Blossoms and Blessings

 

Last summer, after selling my business to a company, working for that company, being really unhappy at that company, and leaving that company, I was at a crossroads.

I decided to throw my skills to the world and see what bounced back. I’m good at a few things: crafting, DIY, sewing, baking, marketing, and design. Now, months into this, I’ve had success in every area, but nothing more than my marketing and design business. I am so busy, in fact, that I know I’m going to need to hire additional staff to help me. It’s a great problem to have. But it’s also why you haven’t seen any updates here for months.

So, I’ve gone back to the drawing board on 12th and Blossom. More than anything, I’ve learned so much about myself in the last few years. And I like who I am. When you go through a divorce or a breakup, you imagine life is over. While many of my friends are having their 4th, 5th, or even 6th kid, I’ve allowed myself to compare my life to theirs, feeling small and several steps behind where I’d like to be. However, the journey I’m on these days has filled me with so much joy in being exactly where I am and doing exactly what I’m doing.

I’m in a happy place. And I want to take this site and let it be a reflection of where I’m at. A reflection of the blessings and blossoms I’m experiencing every day.

I’ll post when I can, and when I’ve got time to create, I may even add an occasional limited time product to my store. And in the meantime, if your small business needs design or marketing help, let me know.

 

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March 2016 Phone Wallpapers

Forgive me, forgive me! I’m laaaaate! Thank you, everyone, who helped make the February relaunch a great success for 12th and Blossom – you’ve kept me happily busy sewing and sending!  Check back soon for new products! In the meantime…

March Phone Wallpapers are here!

To download, visit this page on your mobile phone, press your desired wallpaper image until “Save Image” appears. Then, visit your “Photos” icon, select the image, and choose “Set As Wallpaper”.

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Ten Great Places to Find Unique Gifts Online

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If your family is anything like mine, Christmas gifting can be quite a competition. We don’t do lists. Instead, it’s almost a contest to see who knows each family member the best and finds something completely unique and different. My older sister usually wins. She somehow always finds the most imaginative, out-of-the-box ideas.

You may have all of your Christmas shopping done already, and if so, I applaud you. For the rest of us plebeians, here’s a list of online retailers with creative, curious, and (sometimes) weird, but perfect gifts!

The Grommet

I am so excited to have found this shop. It’s sort of a cross between Zulily and Etsy, helping smaller companies launch incredible products. My favorites (in case you want to send me a present) include the Nervous System Puzzles and Jewelry, the Origami Top and Patent Prints.
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AandGMerch.com

I just discovered this site today, while prepping this list. I love it all! It’s got quirk and quality! The merchandise here may be best suited for the creative people in your life, but the nice balance between class and whimsy doesn’t disappoint! I love the Cast Iron Whale Bookends and the Blue Bird Plates. But the Star Wars enthusiast in your life may just fawn over the large Chewbacca Wall Plate.
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Kikkerland.com

The lovely people at Kikkerland have been traveling the world since 1992 to find ingenious and clever items to make life easier and more enjoyable. Check out their Mondrian-inspired Dry-Erase Board or the Moire Coasters. There’s also a good mix of excellent gifts and stocking stuffers.

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PerpetualKid.com

I hesitate (a little) to add this site to the list, because a few of the gifts on PerpetualKid.com are a little more crass than I’d prefer, but there are definitely some cute and interesting finds here, too. If you’re looking for something different for a teen or young adult relative, stocking stuffers, or even a little gift for your cubemate, you’re likely to find it here. While the quality doesn’t seem as high as some of the other sites I’ve featured, you don’t necessarily look for quality when you’re shopping for stocking stuffers, right? Check out the Water Drop Rainbow Bathlight or the Tiny Prince and Princess Knit Crowns…too cute!

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VivaTerra.com

The items on this site are just beautiful! If you can’t think of someone in your life who would love the things on Viva Terra, then you have the wrong kind of friends! I’m more relaxed just browsing through their shop. They have a gorgeous selection of wreaths (my favorite is the Organic Segmented Herb Wreath), plants and planters (Wine Crate Vertical Wall Garden – !!!), apparel (I would live in these pants), jewelry, decor, furniture and so many more wonderful things. If you are listening, Santa, I’ll take one of everything.

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GlobeIn.com

I’ve been following GlobeIn on Instagram for a long, long time and I’m just in awe of the beautiful things they find across the world. These are purchases you can feel good about. The company mission states, “We empower remarkable artisans in remote areas with the tools to build sustainable businesses. Providing connection and guidance, we help our partners feel stronger, more confident and in control of their lives through the expansion of their craft. As servant leaders, we improve the lives of our artisans so they can take great care of themselves, their families and their communities.” You can purchase items individually in their online shop (like beautiful baskets made by indiginous Oaxacan artisans, and rice grown on volcanic ash), or you can purchase monthly subscription baskets. Either way, you’ll thrill a loved one and feel good about helping artists all over the world.

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PinkOlive.com

I mean this in the best way, but PinkOlive.com is the perfect place for your sorority friends, past and present, and for the sorority girl inside us all. Just about everything they make features that zeitgeisty omnipresent calligraphy and it’s working for them. No really, it’s stinking adorable, and you can’t deny it. From peppy mugs to cheer you on to lovely artwork to oldschool BFF friendship bracelets, your girly side will giggle with delight.

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PokeTo.com

The people at PokeTo.com have an obvious penchant for minimalism in design, and it’s gorgeous! In fact, they call themselves “purveyors of design-driven wares.” Fancy! You can find all sorts of unique things on their site, including this incredible brass desk set, this set of Japanese porcelain mugs, and (for the food enthusiast in your life) a kit to make your own hot sauce!

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PopChartLab.com

From their website: “In 2010, a book editor and a graphic designer joined forces with one modest goal:  to render all of human experience in chart form.” Their charts and infographics are now housewares, puzzles, posters, and more! You’re sure to find something appealing for almost anyone – kid to adult) on your list (even your own Broadway Baby)!

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Mignon

At Mignon-Shop.com, you’ll find a nice spectrum of products that look more expensive than they are – and let’s face it, that’s a key to successful gift-giving. The style reminds me a lot of Anthropologie, without the ridiulous prices and without the clothing. Check out their gorgeous Lucky In Blue Earrings, or one of their adorable cookie cutters and bakewares. Your book-lovers will love their vintage-style bookplates, too!

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Happy shopping!

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Your New Holiday Tradition: Peanut Butter Bon Bons

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Good afternoon, friends. I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite holiday recipes and traditions: Peanut Butter Bon Bons (aka, The Extra 5 Pounds I’ll Gain This December). It definitely doesn’t feel like Christmas at our house until we make bon bons. These are delicious! My mom found the recipe many years ago in an Avon Christmas Book, of all places.

The recipe is really easy! In the pics below, I doubled the recipe, but the textures and everything else should look about the same when you make it at home.

INGREDIENTS:
Butter (1 cup/2 sticks)
Peanut Butter (2 cups)
Powdered Sugar (1 pound)
Rice Krispies (3 cups)
Almost Bark, any flavor (2-3 packages)

A single batch yields about 8 dozen bon bons!

STEP ONE: Mix the powdered sugar and Rice Krispies together in the largest bowl you have.

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STEP TWO: In a microwave safe container, melt the butter and peanut butter together until it’s smooth. I usually heat it for 30 seconds at a time and check in between.

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STEP THREE: Pour the hot butter/peanut butter mixture over the Rice Krispies and powdered sugar mixture and stir well. It’s a little difficult to mix very well, so once it starts to look like the photo below, it’s time to mix the rest together by hand. Don’t forget to get into the bottom of the bowl – this is where most of your powdered sugar will end up, so you’ll want to make sure you get to it so your bon bons won’t be too gooey when you roll them up.

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STEP FOUR: This is where it’s fun to include your kids (maybe….I don’t know your kids. I don’t let my 4yo participate just yet!). Roll the mixture into little balls, about the size of bouncy balls, I guess? Smaller than golf balls, but larger than marbles.  Put the finished balls into a bowl and put them in the fridge for about an hour.

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STEP FIVE: After the balls have been chilled, microwave some Almond Bark, checking every 30 seconds until it’s completely melted. Dip each ball in the chocolate, and put on parchment paper to dry.

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Aren’t they beautiful! Try not to eat to many at once! Who am I kidding? That’s impossible!

ENJOY eating them and gifting them – they’ll become a holiday staple at your house, too!

 

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Painless Project: Salt and Sugar Scrubs

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It’s the holidaaaaaay season! Which means you might already be cringing when you think about what December’s bank statement might look like. Not to mention how hard it is to find just the perfect gift for people you care about. I’m trying to do a homemade Christmas (or as close to that as I can get) and one of my favorite projects is making Salt and Sugar Scrubs for my friends and family. If nothing else, these make great stocking stuffers, as well as perfect giveaways when a neighbor drops by unexpectedly with a plate of holiday treats.

These scrubs are easy (painless, really), and you can have a little fun experimenting as well!  Here are two of my favorite recipes.

You should be able to find most ingredients in your grocery store, or craft store cosmetic section, but I’ve added Amazon Affiliate links to some of the items for easy ordering.

SEA SALT AND PEPPERMINT BODY SCRUB

Ingredients:
Sea Salt (26 oz./One Canister)
Shea Butter (8.5 oz.)
Cocoa Butter (4 oz.)
Safflower Oil (2 tbs.)
Vitamin E Oil (1 tsp.)
Peppermint Essential Oil (5-10 drops)

Mix all ingredients together, adding more salt or oil depending on the consistency you prefer. This mixture should make four to five small jars of scrub.

VANILLA SUGAR FACE AND BODY SCRUB

Ingredients:
Granulated Sugar (2 cups)
Brown Sugar (1 cup)
Coconut Oil (1 cup)
Vanilla Exract (1 tsp)
Almond Extract (1 tsp)
Vitamin E Oil (1 tsp)

Mix all ingredients together, adding more salt or oil depending on the consistency you prefer. This mixture should make four to five small jars of scrub.

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So there you have it. In the picture above, the Salt Scrub jars are on the left and the Sugar Scrub jars are on the right. Feel free to play around a little bit – you may want to try different essential oil scents or different extracts in the sugar scrub. Let me know how they work out!

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December 2015 iPhone Wallpapers

Happy Holidays! Here are four new iPhone wallpapers, best suited for the iPhone 6 screen. To download, visit this page on your mobile phone, press your desired wallpaper image until “Save Image” appears. Then, visit your “Photos” icon, select the image, and choose “Set As Wallpaper”.

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