Tag Archives: charity

Pre-vacation purchase – TOMS shoes

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A trip to Hong Kong in 2011 for my cousin’s wedding taught me something — people in large, Asian cities do not wear sandals. No matter how all-occasion appropriate they seem in Southern California (and all of California, weather permitting), they are just not appropriate for walking around a congested, dirty, Asian city, no matter how hot it is.  I bought a pair of cheap, Hong Kong flats to wear while I was there, but they were not particularly comfortable.  We leave for Vietnam this week, and I refuse to make the same mistake again!

In L.A., I live in flip-flops and boots for day-to-day wear, and wear tennis shoes for working out.  None of these seem appropriate for traipsing around Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where it’s going to be 90 degrees and often wet. I just bought a pair of TOMS, and my hope is that these no-socks-required slip-on walking shoes will solve all of my travel problems!

I’ve never really jumped on the TOMS bandwagon (much like the Uggs bandwagon, I’m such a fool), but after taking a look at their website, they’ve convinced me!  For anyone not familiar with their campaign, they donate one pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair purchased. What really gets me, though, is that the founder was inspired by a trip to Argentina in 2006!  Paco and I lived in Buenos Aires, briefly, in 2006, and volunteered at a battered women’s shelter. Many of the children were shoeless, and Paco’s dad generously donated funds so that we could buy them all shoes. The TOMS cause is much closer to my heart than I would have suspected.

If they can get me through this trip without slipping (both of my ankles are currently injured), coming into practically barefoot contact with a rodent (happened in Kowloon), or contaminating my foot with the treacherous surroundings of the dreaded Asian squat toilet (don’t get me started), I will be a satisfied customer!

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What to do with old eyeglasses and contact lenses?

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After getting LASIK on Friday, I immediately knew that I needed to find somewhere to donate all of my old supplies–glasses, unused contacts, unused contact cases, unopened solution. I usually hang onto things for weeks/months after I need them, just in case, but in this case, it really makes sense to donate everything as quickly as possible. Contacts and solution both expire, and even if I do need glasses down the road, I will definitely need a brand-new prescription.

Prescription glasses are easy. You can donate your gently worn (i.e., not broken or scratched) glasses at any Lenscrafters location. Partnered with OneSight, they run clinics in developing countries and distribute glasses to people who otherwise would not have access to them.

Contact lenses are a little bit harder to donate. You can usually return unopened boxes to the store, but I had two almost full but not unopened boxes. They’re about $30/each, so I was sure someone could use them, right? MADRE accepts contact lenses, glasses, etc., and distributes them to women in developing countries. They accept all sorts of other stuff as well (check out their wish list), but you have to ship the items to New York. I am going to ship my old contacts and glasses there later today!