Posts tagged Giving Back

Wreaths Across America: Not All Family Events Go As Planned


Life does not go as planned - Live Fit and SoreWanting to give back this holiday season and also get my kids out of the house, out of their normal weekend routine, I made plans to head into DC to participate in the Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery. The plan was to meet up with my friends Pam and Foxy at 815 at ANC and start spreading the joy.

Well, like I have said before life is all about surprises and learning how to be comfortable when uncomfortable things arise…

The kids got up well for once and although we hit the road a bit late, we were on our way. As we traveled down the street that led directly to the cemetery, we got stuck in a huge, standstill traffic jam. Seems most of the DMV area had the same idea and were on their way to the same parking lot. After about 45 minutes of hardly moving traffic, we noticed smoke coming from the front of the car. At first, I thought it was the wind kicking up the exhaust smoke from the car in front of us… Well, no – that was not it.

It was our car! The car starts to overheat and smoke starts to quickly thicken and billow out our car hood. It became even clearer that it was us when people started to look and point. Scotty didn’t miss a beat. He pulled over to assess the situation and a random nice guy pulled over as well to see if he could lend us some help – A big thank you to that guy! You rock!

Unfortunately, the car issue was not something fixable on the spot. Fortunately, we do have AAA!  Scott told us to go ahead to the cemetery while he took care of the car and waited for the tow truck. 45 minutes later, the tow truck guy arrived and took Scotty and the car back near home to our mechanic and then on to home. And not to get into the details, but it of course is not a cheap fix – but the car is fixed and we are picking it up this afternoon.

But that’s not where the story ends…

When the kids and I arrived at the gates of the cemetery, I had to hit the restroom. Well what a shocker that the women’s rest room had a line –but not just any line – a mile long line. Imagine an event like this, open to the public, and the weather was pretty darn good. Then add in having only 8 bathroom stalls available for the women??? The men’s rooms had urinals (I am told) and had NO LINES – and 40 minutes later, I took my turn. When I left the rest room, the line was as long, if not longer.

And the friends I was supposed to meet? Well we never did meet up. They were in that same long car traffic jam and after a long time, were directed to park at the Pentagon and then had to take the metro over. When they finally arrive, they had to stand in that rest room line.

By the time they were ready to start, my kids had had enough. They did enjoy the first hour or so of walking the grounds – and putting wreaths down, when they are done, they are done. So we started to head out of the cemetery…

How will we get home?

As we were walking out, the reality of having to take the metro hit my son. And when he heard it would take over an hour to get home, well he was not a happy camper. All I said to him – calmly “Well, what would you like me to do?” and of course, he had no answer. Just shrugged and started trudging down the sidewalk to the metro station.

Which is where we encountered yet another line…a long line. It didn’t help that the metro card machine broke down while I was trying to use it. Which meant I had to wait for the mechanic to reset the machine. It took me a while to figure out what stop, because I have not been on the silver line before. But I found my destination on the map and bought my 3 tickets. The lady behind me asked me – with panic in her voice – if I could help her please because she had no idea how to buy multiple tickets. As frustrated as I was, I took the time to help her out – you have to be kind to expect kindness in return.

Then we have to get into a long line to go through the turn style – and head up to catch the train. As we are about to board the train, my daughter says “Mom, I lost my metro ticket down there…” (Between the escalators i.e. unreachable) “But don’t worry Mom, I have been on the metro before and we don’t need it anymore.” WRONG. I said in a very frustrated and even a bit angry tone – “Yes you do. How will they know where you get on when you get off?”  You know kids know everything…

I had no idea what the deal would be when we got off the train, but we got on and headed towards home. When we arrived, Scotty was waiting for us, had already talked to the metro guy and they let us through with no issue.

Family  - Live Fit and Sore! A great husband…

Let me take a moment to share how much I love Scotty.

He had been really looking forward to this event and because of the car, he couldn’t. Not only did he take care of the car issue without getting upset, he was waiting for us at the metro station, had already talked to the metro attendant, so we didn’t have to wait to deal with the lost fare card and further more, when we got to the car – he had picked up lunch from one of my favorite places because he knew I would be hungry.

Keep this story in mind, when you go on Facebook and look at all the wonderful pictures I took from this event. Social media does not tell real story behind experiences… Wreaths Across America photo gallery

So, that’s what happens when the Hoaglunds try to get outside of our comfort zone and do something different. It never goes off as planned – but as Scott and I remarked later in the day, things could have been so much worse in this situation and in life in general. It’s all about perspective…

Trading Halloween Candy for A Good Cause



Halloween Candy!Last night was so fun — there is nothing like the sound of kids running around the neighborhood. It is the sound of the pure joy of childhood.  Scott went around with Hannah, while Nate decided to hang out with his neighborhood friends and I passed out candy. I love seeing all the kiddos costumes and seeing how happy they are when they come to your door. I also love seeing the kids that are not encumbered by the social mores and just go in for the candy they want while you are doling it out. The call of their parents to not do it -and their carefree attitude about the whole thing. It really defines childhood to me.

The point when they get home and go through their candy and then proceed to eat more than they should that late at night is not a parent’s dream but we all have done it.  Both of my kiddos got way too much candy — Scott’s company is doing a Candy Exchange–

Your kids can exchange candy for movie tickets!

Starting on November 1, you can bring your kids’ candy to the Steve Case Center reception desk. The candy will be added to the care packages that our friends in the Military Support Group are sending to military personnel overseas.

We want to encourage kids to donate so we’re offering one movie ticket for candy donations between 1 – 3 pounds, two movie tickets for 3 – 6 pounds, etc. Kids can keep a few favorites and trade the rest in for a free movie or two.

I love this idea and both my kids will be participating. They have more candy then they will ever eat and since we don’t let them graze unsupervised, it will take them over a year to even make a dent. Last year, I took the remaining candy into my workplace four months after Halloween because they didn’t even remember they had it. It’s a good thing!! 

Lots of places around offer this type of thing to encourage kiddos to not consume all that junk –check your local pediatric dentist to start!

I am heading off for a quick weekend girls trip with Hannah starting tomorrow. Airfare was so good a few weeks back that I bought two tickets to San Fran to surprise her. I missed my little niece and family after being with them in June, that I just felt the need to go back and visit. Things have been going a mile a minute at home –with work, CrossFit, family, kiddos– that I need a break.

San Fran is one of my favorite cities in the world and it has some of the most important people in my life living there.  I need to recharge and do some thinking about what changes I want to focus on in the upcoming year. And I get to spend some alone time with my HB.  She’s growing up so fast and I am enjoying every moment of time before she decides she doesn’t want to be around me anymore.


  • 100 single jump ropes
  • 3m double under practice
  • hamstring PNF Stretch



  • 12×2 Deadlifts 135#
  • dead hang pull up progressions
  • tabata double unders/single unders (least amt of reps=60)
Hannah Halloween

A Crayola Crayon box – created by hand by Hannah

Nate the Ninja

Nate is a stealth ninja


American Cancer Society Relay for Life


It was another proud moment yesterday watching Hannah up on the stage sharing our family’s story. She worked hard to improve her presentation and it really showed. Remember, she’s only 9!

It was a touching evening overall –the videos and the stories really touched my heart. I can relate to much of it and it’s comforting to hear from others going through the same thing. It’s sad that we all are a ‘family’ because we have had to deal with some scary challenges in our lives, but it is what it is and you come together to help one another the best you can. This year they are also going to honor caregivers.

As a caregiver of a cancer fighter myself — I know it’s a really hard job in every way. So honoring those that care so much is so worthwhile!

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life sounds like a very fun event —

  • Overnight relay-style event
  • Teams of people camp out around a track
  • Members of each team take turns walking around the track for the duration of the event
  • Food, games and activities provide entertainment and fundraising opportunities
  • Family-friendly environment for the entire community

Because it’s a Relay, you’re not required to be there the entire time…but it’s so fun, you’ll probably find it hard to leave!

Now – we all have charities we support, so when looking into one –make sure that it meets your own goals and also look into how they spend their money. I am often dismayed to find out how Non-profits use the money we all donate. Be a smart with your donations and make sure they are doing what they said they were going to!

I like events that give people the opportunity to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease.

Locks of Love


I’m beyond proud of my little girl HB. She decided today to donate her hair to Locks of Love. Snip, Snip, Snip 12 inches gone. She looks beyond beautiful and hasn’t had a second thought about it. She told me – now she doesn’t have to brush her hair.

love her.


Susan G. Komen Foundation Elbows Out Charities Over Use Of The Word ‘Cure’


I am hoping this is a case of misreporting — I often tell people to make sure they know where their donation money is going. Every non-profit is required to publicly account for their money. We owe it to the cause and ourselves to ensure that our money is indeed going for its intended purpose —

In addition to raising millions of dollars a year for breast cancer research, fundraising giant Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a lesser-known mission that eats up donor funds: patrolling the waters for other charities and events around the country that use any variation of “for the cure” in their names.

So far, Komen has identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred of these Mom and Pop charities, including Kites for a Cure, Par for The Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure–and many of the organizations are too small and underfunded to hold their ground.

via Susan G. Komen Foundation Elbows Out Charities Over Use Of The Word ‘Cure’.

SweetGreen Hosts Free Yoga Sessions FTW!


I love companies that really give back what they are ‘selling’ — SweetGreen in Reston Town Center is hosting free yoga weekend for their neighborhood at Down Dog Yoga — which happens to be super close to where I work.  What a great idea – host a free yoga session to promote healthy and fit living! SweetGreen FTW! (means For the Win!)

free yoga weekend headline
free yoga weekend image

We’re continuing the free yoga trend and spreading the love to our yogis by our store in Reston, VA! We partnered up with Down Dog Yoga Herndon to provide free classes to our neighbors on Friday, December 10th and Saturday, December 11th. That’s right – classes at one of the best studios in the area, entirely covered by sweetgreen!

Come join us for an OM-azing session using these easy steps:

1) “Like” us on Facebook!
2) Go to Down Dog Yoga’s website for the schedule and register for any class on the 10th or 11th (make sure to click on the Herndon tab!). Drop-in spaces are also available for those who aren’t into online commitment.
3) Get your free sweetgreen gift bag from the instructor after class and fill that post-yoga tummy with sweetgreen salad and frozen yogurt at sweetgreen Reston Town Center!

Breast Cancer: How much pink turns into green?


Breast Cancer: How much pink turns into green?

How much pink turns into green?

It can be hard to know what good comes from buying products that promise profits to breast cancer causes. The American Institute of Philanthropy gives out grades to help clarify the choices.

Pink toothbrushes, pink bottles of wine, pink debit cards — there’s a chance to donate to breast cancer pretty much everywhere you shop. But how can you tell how much good comes from each piece of pink?

It’s a reasonable question, considering the complexity of charitable giving and the millions of dollars involved.

“People of every age are very sympathetic to breast cancer and willing to help, and fundraisers take advantage of that,” says Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, a nonprofit organization in Chicago that helps donors make informed giving decisions. “They are motivated to help, but may not look into whether or not they are being efficient.”

The makers of some pink products donate proceeds only for a limited time, says Borochoff. These products may command a higher price tag, and sometimes they will remain on sale after the donation period ends — even with the higher price.

Companies often place a cap on the amount they will give to a breast cancer cause no matter how many items are sold. And while some manufacturers promise to give a percentage of total profits, in a poor economy, those profits may be scarce.

“It’s really tricky because there’s a lot of fine print,” Borochoff says.

The American Institute of Philanthropy gives grades to charities so that donors can see which ones will use their money most efficiently. The highest grades are awarded to organizations that spend most of their revenue on their mission — not on fundraising itself.

The top breast cancer charities include the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (A+), the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund (A), the Breast Cancer Fund (A-) and Susan G. Komen for the Cure (B+). The Fs went to charities with similar-sounding names: American Breast Cancer Foundation, United Breast Cancer Foundation and Coalition Against Breast Cancer.

To earn an A, charities had to spend at least 75% of the money they raised on the mission they claimed to support, with the rest going to fundraising activities and employee salaries. C-range companies devote about 60% of their revenue to their stated mission. But there’s a gray area — sometimes an organization counts a fundraising plea as part of its mission to educate by tacking on a reminder to get a mammogram.

“As long as direct mail includes some kind of ‘education,’ then they think they can count that as one of their programs,” says Laurie Styron, an analyst at the American Institute of Philanthropy who combs through the finances of charities to separate fundraising from programs.

To Styron, the most surprising grade went to the Avon Foundation for Women, which sponsors the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The organization gives 69% of its fundraising dollars to programs, but it was penalized for blurring the line between the foundation and the beauty products corporation.

“The bottom line is to buy the best product for the best price,” Borochoff says. “Any money you save you can donate to charity, and then you get the tax deduction.”

Billionaire challenge: China’s wealthiest


The next billionaire challenge: China’s wealthiest – Sep. 10, 2010.

The gap between the have and have nots seems to be getting wider all the time and on one hand it’s great that Gates and Buffett are trying to persuade others in their tax bracket to give back — it’s also shocking to see just how much money some people have. I mean jaw dropping sums of it while there are many many many more that don’t have enough to buy food for tonite’s meal.

Giving back not only helps others, it feeds your soul. Everyone should take some time & think about ways they can give back – whether it’s time, money, food, experience, clothing — even writing notes to armed forces is a way to give back.  You don’t need to be a billionaire to make a difference – so while Gates and Buffett try to persuade the rich folk to give dollars, we can all give in ways that fit our ‘middle class’ lifestyle and it will still make a difference — i guarantee it!

Gates and Buffet are coming to push their pet cause — the so called Billionaires Pledge — trying to persuade the rich, no matter where they may live, to donate half of their wealth to charitable causes.

Loudoun Interfaith Relief Food Pantry Items being collected in Ashburn


Part of living a healthy and fit life is doing things for others — giving back. Here’s an easy way to help that I found out about via LivinginLoco

The Ashburn Library in Ashburn VA is currently taking donations of cereal, juice, canned meat, and canned fruits for the Loudoun Interfaith Relief Food Pantry until September 30th.

Give back when you can —

Welcome to the Kindness community


Welcome to the Kindness community

Thought this was a good site even though it is filled with annoying ads. Reminders on a regular basis of the kindness that happens around the world.

Wish you could find more positive stories in the news — stories that inspire and uplift you? You’ve come to the right place.

Kindness is your daily source of inspiration and guide to making a difference in fresh and exciting ways, no matter where you are. Each day, this site will unearth unique stories of giving with exclusive interviews, fresh takes on news stories, plenty of tips, and links to interesting resources.

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