Double Love: Valentine’s Day Give Back Guide

This week has turned out very differently than I planned. An umbilical hernia that needed surgical repair and made me feel super sick landed me in an operating room yesterday. And if paper gowns, nudity and pee cups don’t make things awkward enough… after admitting that I had been doing a cross-fit style workout the older nurses there, fascinated by the idea of cross-fit in general, insisted that I meet a certain doctor there who, oh my goodness, also does cross-fit.  I practically begged them to leave cross-fit doctor alone, but oh no, they pulled her off another case to meet me, the hernia suffering cross-fit super star. So we met, and talked about working out for a few minutes and the nurses kept saying we just knew you two would love to meet. It just got weird and I finally released her to go… you know, do her job. That has nothing to do with Valentines, or giving back, I just thought some of you might enjoy my weird, socially awkward interaction. Gotta love sweet nurses.

On to Valentine’s day, and giving double. Valentine’s is sweet, and although some say the pressure and commercialism is out of control, I still kinda like it. It’s fun. We rarely go out to eat or do a Valentine’s date but Calvin usually makes an effort to get me a little something. Gifts are also my love language so I suppose he doesn’t really have a choice. In an effort to continue a theme we love, giving double, here are a few suggestions that make great gifts but also give back to someone in need.


Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand based in Uganda. In addition to handbags and accessories, they make beautiful leather sandals with interchangeable fabric straps that can be styled in hundreds of ways.

Sseko began as a way to generate income for high potential, talented young women to continue on to university. And it is working! Every woman who has graduated from Sseko is currently pursuing her college degree or has graduated from university and is on her way to making our world a more beautiful place.

The everday essentials package: on sale!

The everday essentials package: on sale!

Ribbon Sandals

Ribbon Sandals

Light Gives Heat

LGH is a social entrepreneur that provides aid in an abundance of ways. Click here to read their full and inspiring story.

They are currently having a warehouse sale on several of their gorgeous hand-made accessories and t-shirts. Check them out for a frugal and give-back purchase. The beaded lanyard ($5!) would be a sweet gift if your honey is a teacher.

Beaded headband

Beaded headband

Parker Clay

For starters, we love Parker Clay because we are connected to the founders. We adopted our sweet Ethiopian babes from the same orphanage. And that truly connects you for life. Here is their story: Back in 2008 Parker Clay founders, Ian and Brittany Bentley, were moved by the number of orphans living in the world. Some statistics place the numbers at 163 million orphans worldwide. While those statistics are alarming, Ian and Brittany looked at these numbers and said, “What if that was Parker or Clayton” their two biological children. From that moment, the journey to Ethiopia started and in 2011 the Bentley’s brought home their newest addition, Selah who was 5 months old at the time. While in Ethiopia the Bentley’s spent time with a number of organizations looking for ways to address some of the root causes to poverty and the disruption of family. It was soon after this that the Bentley’s packed up their lives and moved to Ethiopia to help with development work centered around job creation and capacity development with vulnerable women.

They are now producing a line of gorgeous handbags that are high quality and have really made a huge impact on the sweet ladies who make them by hand.

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The name is so fun, and the “punjammies” truly reflect that with their comfortable shapes and bright colors. International Princess™ Project’s mission is to create pathways to freedom for women escaping the ravages of sex slavery to achieve lives of hope and dignity. To read more about their mission click here.

Multi Floral Print FrontSwathi capri front Veera capri front

About the author


Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.

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