Me and my friend Lauren in High School, probably circa 1998. I'm finally back from Iceland! Truth is I have been for the past week or so but took some blog time off for the holiday. I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend. Jim and I had our usual low-key vegan "Thanksliving" celebration at our place. We stuffed our faces and watched movies all day. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, this Thanksgiving really helped me re-think what I'm thankful for. I am extremely fortunate to not have been directly affected by the storm, nor my family. My friend Lauren however was not as lucky. First, let me tell you a bit about Lauren. We met back in elementary school while at a Brownies event. We were six at the time. It went something like this: Me: "Cool shirt. I like palm trees." (she was wearing a tee-shirt with a palm tree on it). Lauren: "Thanks!" Me: "Want to be friends?" Lauren: "Sure." Our friendship continued on throughout all of elementary, middle and high-school. We even shared a locker in high-school since I only went there half day due to an art magnet program I was in so the school wouldn't assign me a locker. After high-school, I stayed in the States for college and she actually decided on a program in Europe being she was a foreign languages major. Despite being an ocean a part, we still continued to stay in touch. She soon after met her now husband, and the two of them lived in Denmark up until they got married. Not too long after the wedding, they purchased a home on the south shore of Long Island and moved back to the States. Their home unfortunately was totally devastated by Hurricane Sandy. It's currently uninhabitable, and at the current moment due to the extent of the damage it will probably cost less to knock down and rebuild than it would to repair it. They lost everything and are currently trying to pick up the pieces. I put together an online campaign to try to raise some money to help them with the overwhelming costs to rebuild their home. Considering it's Giving Tuesday, if you haven't given to a charity or cause just yet, please consider donating to help them. By donating to the Help the Norinders campaign, you have the satisfaction of knowing exactly where your donation is going, how its being used, and how it's impacting it's beneficiaries. Every little bit helps Lauren and her family, including their two young sons. In the event you are unable to donate, if you could please share this campaign with your friends and family it would be so appreciated. I also have a list of items that were destroyed in the storm that they are looking to replace. In the event you'd prefer to send them something on that list (which includes toys for their boys), please email me and I'll let you know what they are looking for and where to send it to. Thank you!