Getting excited for our Spring 2014 photo shoot this weekend!
Featured Mom: Melissa Plaskoff
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating inspiring moms who teach their kids to have a positive impact on the world. Melissa Plaskoff certainly fits the bill and is a mom we truly admire!
Melissa founded Lemons To Aid, a non-profit organization that uses simple, but memorable experiences of lemonade stands and other child-driven fundraisers to empower children to raise funds, to allocate funds, and to make giving a way of life.
Melissa’s inspiration emerged during one of those helpless moments many feel when a natural disaster impacts a place on our globe and the news stories following trigger that desire of wanting to help in a tangible way, but not knowing how.
Days following the tragic earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and wanting to shelter her two young sons, Hudson and Parker, from the heart wrenching pictures, Melissa attempted to keep a normal routine for the boys. So when Hudson asked one afternoon if they could host a lemonade stand, a big smile of joy and relief crossed Melissa’s face and she said, “Yes, and the money raised will go to the families and children in Haiti.”
That initial lemonade stand raised over $150.00 and garnered a local television story. Melissa shared the story with several other moms, which then launched the lemonade stand idea through social media. Within days Melissa was being notified of plans for children’s lemonade stands, read-a-thons, bake sales, etc. all over the country to raise money for disaster relief, and as a result Lemons to Aid was born. To date, over 350 events have been run worldwide by children for different charities and relief efforts.
Through these creative projects, Lemons To Aid hopes to instill the mindset of service and charitable giving in children at a young age.…because everyone at any age has the power to make a difference! (We couldn’t agree more!)
For more information, visit www.lemonstoaid.org.
CHOOZE LOVES MOMS!
Enter to win our Mother’s Day SPA + SHOE giveaway. Be sure to share directly from our Facebook page for your entry to count.
Here’s a fun way to style our new Breeze/Sweet Love sandals for spring!
[Visit our Polyvore page for all of the details of this look.]
A good friend of mine often points out that I am always so amazed by things around me. He laughs when I still marvel over the fact that I can Face Time a family member on the other side of the world. He smiles when I am blown away by a simple line drawing created by a two-year-old. It’s true that I find wonder in many things. It’s because I am a Creativity Junkie! I love that creativity is endless and that we each see the world through our unique vision.
Creativity is defined as “the act of creating or inventing art and solving problems using different approaches than the typical.” Every person seems to have this boundless ability to imagine. But I often hear people say, “I am not creative,” or my favorite, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” And that is the reason for my post.
I believe that we are all born creative. I am not only referring to creativity as artistry but also as originality and imagination. We can look around us and be inspired by other’s ideas, but it is our ability to take what we see and truly make it our own, that makes us unique.
I began my career as a children’s muralist soon after college. I painted whimsical scenes in baby nurseries and children’s rooms. I had learned about how colors, shapes, scenes, and characters can expand a child’s mind and how our moods are strongly affected by our environments. My goal was to inspire kids to find their creativity.
CHOOZE was developed out of the same desire to inspire creative thinking. As a mom, I have always focused on providing my kids with environments that feed their imagination. They are stimulated through art supplies, random scraps of recyclable objects, art books, movies, technology, etc. What is even more important is giving them the freedom to express themselves through art, fashion, music, cooking, and writing. I believe that parents and teachers have a responsibility to feed the creativity that lies within each child. We all know that, when schools have budget cuts, the first departments to go are the Arts. Meanwhile, when companies are looking to hire employees out of college, the number one quality they are seeking is creativity and ingenuity, the very qualities that are developed through the Arts.
Wearing two different shoes is a simple act that gives us the freedom to express our creative spirits. It shows that we have the courage to be different, to stand out, and to think outside the (shoe) box. My goal is to inspire kids of all ages to be open to new ideas and see the wonder that is all around us.
It’s a WONDERFUL world.
Send us your stories about how you inspire kids to be creative. You can email us at email@example.com or post a comment on our blog.
“I LOVE the Spin/Create shoes because it inspired a little girl in Guatemala to have enough “umph” to create something from nothing. She designed handprints and footprints because she “wants to leave a mark on the world” - and THIS is what it’s all really about. That is, how can we deploy the best of ourselves to leave the world better than how we came into it? Spin Create reminds us to do just that - imagine and then create what we want to see… and so it shall be…”
-Sue, VP of Sales, CHOOZE HQ
We spy CHOOZE shoes at Whole Foods Market in Plano,TX!
You can CHOOZE to wear both pink and purple with our Dance/Pure shoes! And as always, the profits from these shoes are invested in micro-loans to help women in poverty start their own businesses. #ChooseToChooze
“Another word for creativity is courage.” -Henri Matisse
Team CHOOZE at SXSW 2013
Last week, a few CHOOZE team members headed down to Austin, TX to set up a booth at the SXSW festival, and wee had such a blast!
Leading up to the event, we built shoe displays out of pallets [pictured above] and scoured stores for all things turquoise to decorate our booth. Sharon even painted an old desk CHOOZE colors! And if you follow us on Facebook, you know that our shoes went missing less than 24 hours before we were set to leave. We were about to pick them up from our warehouse when we found out that all 300 pairs of shoes were accidentally shipped out. Luckily we found them in time!
When we got to Austin, we set up our booth at The Market at Auditorium Shores. Our booth was near the Auditorium Shores stage where lots of great bands were playing, and our view of the Austin skyline and Lady Bird Lake from our booth was nice, too :)
The energy in the city was amazing and music was everywhere. From street musicians to emerging artists to some of the biggest names in music, the city was a stage.
Our favorite part? Meeting all of YOU! We are convinced that CHOOZE fans are the best, hands down. We had so much fun having hula hooping contests, giving temporary tattoos, and talking to you all. Thank you all for coming out to see us!
[Click photos to enlarge]
Meet Martha, a recipient of a micro-loan who is on her way out of poverty because of YOU!
Martha is 29-year-old married mother of two girls (ages 9 and 10) that lives in Santiago. She owns a store in her local community and sells items like juice, snacks, fruit, and candy. Martha used to only be able to afford to buy a very small amount of merchandise at a time to sell to customers. Once all of her products were sold, she would have to travel to buy more items. Traveling expenses left her profit margin very thin, which made it difficult to provide the necessities for her family.
Today, Martha’s business has changed dramatically due to microlending and training. With her current loan of 12,000 Dominican pesos (about $300 US dollars), Martha was able to expand her business and cut expenses. She saves money by buying in bulk and traveling less often to the marketplace. Martha says business is better than ever and she anticipates further growth.
Martha says it is no longer a struggle to provide necessities and her family has become closer and happier. It has impacted her entire community as well because her store is one of the only stores in the area. Now that she can purchase more products at a time, she can offer more to her community.
Martha is incredibly grateful for the opportunity that this loan has given her and she told us she wishes she could give everyone who made this growth possible a “big hug!”
We are so inspired by women like Martha who have the courage and strength to step out of poverty and create a better life for their families. At CHOOZE we believe that every woman in the world who wants an opportunity to support herself and her family should have that opportunity. That’s why we use the Good Returns business model. At the end of each business year CHOOZE invests its profits in microfinance institutions that provide loans, training, education, and support to women living in poverty. When you buy CHOOZE, you are helping women like Martha start their own businesses and lift themselves from poverty.
Thank you for joining our journey to empower and elevate people around the world. You make all the difference.
Sail Into Spring In Style!
Here’s a fun way to style our new Scout/Sail shoes - classic khakis paired with a striped graphic tee, a light jacket, and a navy nautical watch. We’re ready for warmer weather, sunshine, and sailboats.
How would you style these shoes?
Helene’s Pick: Dance in Sweet Love prints
”I can’t wait to give these shoes to my little girl tonight for Valentine’s Day because she’s my Sweet Love!”
-Helene, CHOOZE HQ
CHOOZE to share the love this Valentine’s Day!
LIKE & SHARE this post on on our Facebook page for a chance to win 2 pairs of CHOOZE – one for you, and one to share with someone you love! Contest ends at midnight on 2/14. Winners will be announced on 2/15.
[Tumblr friends: You may enter with LIKE AND REBLOG.]
[Twitter friends: You may enter with FAVORITE & RETWEET.]