Author Archives: Kathy

Buying Hand-Crafted Products & Gifts That Directly Help The Poor

Whether you’re buying clothing, gifts, or every-day products, most items you buy are made in countries like China, India, or Mexico these days. In fact, it may look as if manufacturing in the United States is vanishing, but, according a New York Times article in 2009, “the United States remains by far the world’s leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It is moving upscale…becoming more efficient. For every $1 of value produced in China factories, the U.S. generates $2.50.” Because American business owners and their employees also profit by selling inexpensive foreign-made products, it appears this trend is here to stay. With so much of your money going over-seas, it’s important to know where your money goes and how it is spent.

Foreign Factory Worker, Sweatshop Owner, or American Retailer: Where Does Your Money Go?

It’s easy to imagine some poor children slaving away in a sweatshop in India, frantically sewing the hem in your new jacket in place, but because of recent discoveries, measures have been taken to uncover and eliminate this practice. In 2006, for example, after receiving a tape of children working in a New Delhi, India, sweatshop, The Gap, Inc., “ceased business with 23 factories due to code violations” in India. They now have people located around the world “whose job is to ensure compliance” with their Code of Vendor Conduct.

Today your clothes are most likely manufactured in a modern factory, like Morinda International Co., Ltd, in Hong Kong, China, that supplies knitwear to many American retailers. They are easy to locate online, complete with photos of factory workers laboring in proper conditions. Because American retailers are able to purchase clothes or products at a low cost, they can mark up the price and make a profit for their company and its workers. The retailer profits further when they offer a store credit card to consumers, profiting on interest rates and other fees.

So, whether your money goes to a foreign factory worker or an American retail worker, you can’t argue that it isn’t money well spent, but what if you want to use your purchase to help an impoverished person with the very basic of living essentials?

How To Buy Products That Directly Help The Poor

Women Thrive Worldwide is the leading non-profit organization that advocates for policies that foster economic opportunity for women living in poverty. The organization focuses on helping women because “whether self-employed or earning wages, working women help their households escape poverty.” On their web site,, there is a list of places where you can order merchandise that was made by impoverished women, many items made by hand, from all over the world, including the U.S. These include, World of by ebay, which sells items like silk pillows from India, The Women’s Peace Collection, selling things such as baskets made by weavers from Northern Darfur, and FOAR.US selling American-made t-shirts with designs that promote world-wide human rights.

Macy’s also has their Rwanda Path to Peace program, where you can buy beautiful hand-woven baskets on the Macy’s web site, and the profit is literally changing the lives of small villages in Rwanda by making it so they can afford purified water and mosquito nets. There are more programs out there, like Beads for Life, that you will no doubt come across as you research.

These days, when every penny counts, buying products or holiday gifts that directly help provide basic living essentials to the world’s most impoverished people, is one way to make a big difference with a small amount of money. Items coming from the places listed above, come with cards telling about the program and the people that the purchase helps. Not only do you have a beautifully hand-crafted gift to keep or give away, you have a wonderful story to go with it, and the knowledge of the great joy it brings to the person who receives it as well as the person who made it.


The New York “Is Anything Made in The U.S. Anymore? You’d Be Surprised.” “Gap: Report of kids’ sweatshop, deeply disturbing.”

Women Thrive “Who We Are: A Catalyst For Transformation And Change.”

Copyright Kathleen Pfeiffer. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.




A Look At The Problems & Benefits of Permanent Make-Up Tattoos

Thinking of getting permanent make-up tattoos? Find out about problems with getting tattoos, how permanent make-up is applied, and safe places to get tattoos.

As the majority of the population becomes middle-aged, more and more people are looking for ways to hide the signs of aging. Our hair thins and our bodies sag, leaving us with a faded image of what we once were. An easy way to regain our youthful appearance is to add definition to our features and shape. Push-up bras and stretch jeans can make the body appear younger, but what about the face?

New make-up products like cake eyeliner and eyebrow gel work well to define the eyes and draw attention to them, but they can be messy and frustrating to use. With the growing popularity of body tattoos among young people, many older folks are now considering tattooing procedures like eyeliner tattoos as a permanent way to highlight the eyes. It sounds like an easy, low maintenance solution to achieving a younger appearance, but it has many people wondering about the risks and dangers of getting a tattoo, especially so near the eyes.

Some problems, risks, and regrets about getting tattoos.

Even though permanent make-up is not a traditional tattoo, it is a permanent commitment that carries its own set of risks, and therefore should be approached with caution. Many people hesitate to get tattoos because they don’t want to find themselves in a situation like Ashley Smith of Batavia, Ohio, for example, who had a skull design tattooed on the back of her neck when she was 21 years old. Now she is a 27-year-old nurse and she regrets her decision. Not only has she outgrown the appreciation of such a design, she is required to cover it while at work as a nurse. This means she has to apply a large bandage on the back of her neck every day to cover it, which she finds annoying and unattractive. Tattoo removal is painful and expensive, and applying make-up to cover tattoos normally doesn’t completely hide them. Permanent make-up tattoos may not be something you would need to conceal, but, according to the FDA’s report on tattoos, permanent make-up can fade after time, take on a blurred appearance, or become dated and embarrassing.

The FDA does not regulate tattoo ink because of “other public health priorities and a lack of evidence of safety concerns,” but it continuously evaluates and researches inks because of concerns raised by the scientific community regarding pigments used in the inks. Some of the risks the FDA believes consumers should be aware of are as follows: infection caused by unsterile tattooing equipment or an unsterile facility, removal problems, allergic reactions, nodules that may form around the tattoo because the body perceives the pigments as foreign, or MRI complications such as swelling or burning in the affected areas and distortion of the quality of the image. To reduce the risks of complications from a permanent make-up tattoo, Mitchel Goldman, MD, clinical professor of dermatology, recommends you thoroughly check out your technician ahead of time and remember that less is more, you can always return to thicken lines later.

Where are safe places to get permanent make-up tattoos?

If you don’t know anyone who can recommend a good tattoo technician to you, do some research. Someone like Halina, an aesthetician who has been doing permanent make-up for nearly 20 years, is listed in the “best of” magazine in her area. She has a large scrapbook to show customers that is filled with photos of before-and-afters, and she has her own perfectly lined eyes to show off, as well. By finding a clean facility, someone with an excellent reputation and examples of their work, you stand a good chance of getting your permanent make-up applied without complications.

What to expect when getting a permanent make-up tattoo.

According to Oprah Magazine, Oct. 2010, Alison Gwinn found her permanent eyeliner procedure much easier than she expected. She picked out the color, asked that a thin line be applied, closed her eyes so a numbing cream could be put on, and 90 minutes later, it was done. She said the procedure was painless, but it “tickled” her eyes in a weird way. Her eyes were a bit tender and swollen for the following 24 hours, and she was told to treat her eyelids tenderly, and she might experience some tightness or itching. Prices range from $300 to $1000 per treatment, depending on the training of the person performing it, the quality of result, and the number of areas being tattooed. Alison was so pleased with her procedure, she went back a month later to thicken up the lines.

Permanent make-up can therefore be an easy way to enhance your appearance if it is done in a safe, clean, professional manner. After some thought and careful research, it may be just what you need to put the sparkle back in your eyes.

Sources: “Tattoos & Permanent Makeup”

Info Plastic “Permanent Make-up”

Oprah Magazine, Oct. 2010. “Permanent Makeup”




The London, Ontario, Public Library: A New Mega-Library

The London Public Library opened its doors on Nov. 26, 1895, in London, Ontario Canada, under the Free Public Libraries Act of 1882. Since that time it has grown to include 16 branches, special programs for kids and teens, computer equipment for people with special needs, a visiting library, and a free tutoring program for children struggling with literacy, among other things.

With information easily accessible on home computers, you would think libraries would be a thing of the past, but mega-libraries like these are not your grandma’s library. The London Public Library offers author readings, discussion groups and book clubs, computers and technology, movies, shows and concerts, workshops and classes, and extensive collections of material for enjoyment, learning and growth. Its goal is to be the community hub with resources to help you, “whether you are looking for parenting advice, need to know how to build a deck, or need a quiet place to read or connect with people.”

As engaging and helpful as the London Public Library branches are, in today’s fast-paced life style, many people enjoy the convenience of downloading information for use at home or on the road, and find libraries, therefore, an antiquated resource. With a growing collection of free downloadable media, the London Public Library not only meets these needs, it exceeds it by supplying links to resource material and informative web sites as well.

Using The London Public Library From Home

It may not cost much to download movies and ebooks from bookstores, but in today’s tough economic times, when every penny counts, you just can’t beat something that is free. By going to the London Public Library web site home page, and clicking on “download,” you have access to audio books, ebooks, and videos that can be downloaded to your home computer or iPod, iPad, Kindle, you name it.

The process begins by setting up an account online and following the instructions that advise you to first download and install their free software. You then activate the software and check out and download your selections. When your borrowing time is up, you will not be able to activate your selections any more, and then have to delete the title from your media player. This works great for everything from loading audiobooks to your iPod to listen to during your next vacation to downloading Cliff Notes to use on your next term paper.

Researching Information On The London Public Library Web Site

When researching information on the London Public Library web site, you not only have access to books and downloadable media, you are also supplied with links to web sites and articles on your subject of interest. Their information databases include links to magazines, newspapers, academic journals and encyclopedia articles. If you are researching the subject of fine art, for example, you immediately get your choice of reference books, books, recommended web sites, and community information web sites on the subject. This instant access to the pertinent links not only supplies you with useful information beyond your request, it speeds up your search time tremendously.

Like any library, you can reserve a book online and then pick it up to enjoy at home, from everything from Beowulf to The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, but unlike any library, the London Public Library is a place that strives to make a difference in the community by enriching and empowering individuals, families, and neighborhoods. Lucky for us, because of modern technology, this community extends and includes the world.