Two recommendations, while you're in the midst of holiday shopping...
Do you like music? Do you like Harry Potter? Do you like helping children?
Of course you do.
Which is perfect, because my wonderful, thoughtful, kind husband has spent the last few months putting together something that I am VERY excited about -- Siriusly Smiling, a compilation to raise money for the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction.
To paraphrase their mission statement: The NFFR helps children with facial disfigurements by supporting treatment, research, psychosocial support and medical training. They founded the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, which diagnoses and provides medical treatment and psychosocial services for over 1,700 patients every year, regardless of the severity of their condition, the length of treatment or the family's ability to afford care (72% of the patients seen at the Institute are uninsured, Medicaid recipients or clinic care patients).
Pretty incredible, right?
And what would you get? Well. I'm glad you asked.
For $9.99 on iTunes, you get NINETEEN NEW SONGS (!!!) by the funniest, smartest, cleverest, most talented wizard rock bands out there -- bands like Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Remus Lupins, and The Whomping Willows. (For my wizard rock primer, read this.)
So if you have a Potter fan in your life -- no doubt depressed by the delayed release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (as I am) -- cheer them up by downloading Siriusly Smiling! They'll LOVE it, and you'll feel good about where your money is going.
Plus, it's funny.
Really really funny.
I mean, how can you NOT love a song called "Werewolves > Zombies"? Or "Creepy Mustache," a rap about Lupin's John Waters-esque facial hair? And Oliver Boyd & the Remembrall's "Give It Up" is just. plain. good. You'll happily hum this for the rest of December.
Plus you MUST hear my husband -- Gred and Forge -- take a very naughty joke waaaaay too far in "Brotherly Love" ("I saw them there by the light of the moon/Bill was riding something but it wasn't his broom").
I'm so proud of Jarrod for creating and organizing this charity album, and we're both thankful for all of the amazing musicians who contributed.
So. Siriusly Smiling! On iTunes! YAY!
(And how great is that cover art, by the way? Made by the fab Frak Franco.)
***On a related note, Jingle Spells 2 -- a wizard rock holiday compilation raising money for Book Aid International and the HP Alliance -- is on sale now too. Last year they raised more than thirty-five THOUSAND dollars for literacy!
See these beautiful women? Do you want to know why they're so joyful?
They're the ladies of Bead for Life, a group that's working to (and I quote their website): "[eradicate] extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads, and people who care open their hearts, homes and communities to buy and sell the beads.
The beads thus become income, food, medicine, school fees -- and hope. All profits from Bead for Life are invested in community development projects that generate income and help people work their way out of poverty."
Pretty amazing, no?
I went to a Bead for Life party (think Tupperware, but a billion times cooler) this week and was blown away by the gorgeous jewelry. Look at these colors!
I bought sooooo many gifts for my friends, family, and myself.
(I, um, bought a LOT for myself.)
But unlike shopping at the mall, there's no guilt. Because look who you're supporting!
The jewelry -- and there is SO MUCH TO CHOOSE from -- is very affordable and available online here, along with more beautiful photography and music and videos.
Happy shopping, everyone!