As we continue to listen and learn amid this pandemic, we are committed to providing you with upbeat, thought-provoking content worthy of your time. How are you staying connected, enriched and inspired these days? Have tips or resources to share? Pass them along and we’ll include them in a future issue.
ISSUE 23 | FEBRUARY 13 | 2021 THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE
At Beth Singer Design we are BIG advocates for using recycled materials instead of buying wrapping paper. This Valentine’s Day, why not say ‘I love you’ with a homemade card? Not only will you be saving all that holiday waste from mountainous landfills, you’ll be exercising your brain in a way that helps grow new neuropathways! If you need some inspiration, here are 38 ideas and tutorials from Country Living, or check out Beth’s TV news spots (here and here) about “wrapping with scrap” from last Christmas. And be sure to follow us on Instagram @wrapwithscrap!
You know the moment we’re talking about. Like other inaugural attendees, the Vermont senator dressed for a cold day in Washington, D.C. Matched to his sensible insulated coat were a pair of patterned “swittens” — part sweater, part mittens — made for Senator Sanders by Vermont teacher Jen Ellis. As he sat socially distanced from others, Sanders folded his hands over his legs and, voila!, a boatload of internet memes were born. We love that Bernie has the ability to laugh at himself — and that Jen Ellis now has a line of swittens at the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
YOU MUST KNOW EVERYTHING
When schools closed due to the pandemic, father-daughter duo Jeremy and Rasa Smith turned their Q&A discussions into their own podcast: You Must Know Everything. “Rasa has taught me so much,” Smith told CNN. “Like, why fidgeting is actually good for you and then in return I teach her things like what to do when someone close to you experiences a loss.” Each 10-minute episode begins with a lesson or theory. They also read and discuss a poem, and end with a “vexing question” chosen from online submissions. “We plan to keep doing the podcast until life goes back to normal or we know everything — whichever comes first,” says Smith.
SPEAKING BRILLIANTLY WITH YOUR SLIDES
Want to be a rock star when you speak to your donors, followers, or students? Check out Beth’s latest article: 6 Tips for Nonprofit Professionals on Speaking Brilliantly with Your Slides — published by Nonprofit Tech for Good, the global resource for nonprofits with more than 1M followers on social media. Eileen Smith of Spokesmith adds her expertise, with advice to make your audience WANT to soak up your message — a tall order in this crazy, all-consuming, digital environment. Our piece has been shared over 3.4K times since it hits the streets. Not bad, eh?
“MADAM” VICE PRESIDENT WHISKEY
At D.C. brewery Republic Restoratives, “Madam” is a whiskey, and a portrait by talented local artist Lex Marie @thelexmarie. A blend of seven-year-old bourbon and five-year-old rye, the finished whiskey is slow-smithed before bottling to produce what we all strive for — a more perfect union. In honor of the first woman (and first African American and first Asian American) Vice President, it’s a celebration of the outspoken and disruptive, of those who inspire us to resist and persist. Available for curbside pick-up or D.C. home delivery — and check out their Valentine’s Day Cocktail Kit and other great offerings!
We are sending this issue of UPBEAT on the eve of what is normally a bustling holiday of travel, large family feasts, and many bear hugs. But since nothing about 2020 is normal, we're sharing a few items that remind us of what we are grateful for — like the first time listening to new music or losing oneself in the artwork of a master. Most of all, we’re grateful to you, our friends, clients, and partners, for keeping us curious, engaged, and focused on a brighter future for all.
— Yours in gratitude, from all of us at Beth Singer Design
ISSUE 22 | NOVEMBER 25 | 2020 GRATITUDE ISSUE
HEAR IT FOR THE FIRST TIME
If you don’t already know TwinsthenewTrend on YouTube, you must check them out! Tim and Fred Williams are 22-year-old brothers who listen to music they’ve never heard before, from all genres, and share their reactions. Through the twins’ ears, eyes, and enthusiasm, we get to hear those songs for what feels like the first time. And they are turning people of all ages onto classics like Frank Sinatra, Phil Collins, Janis Joplin, in addition to lots of contemporary artists. When they chose Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” from former President Barak Obama’s A Promised Land playlist — Obama himself paid them a surprise visit! Read more about the twins in People, where Alicia Keys responds, and also in the Chicago Tribune.
STARRY STARRY NIGHT
Climb inside Vincent Van Gogh’s head and lose yourself for just a few minutes. This amazing confluence of art and music, featuring Jim van der Zee’s cover of Don McLean’s “Vincent,” will open your eyes wider than ever to the genius of the artist. Van Gogh’s paintings are brought to life at Atelier des Lumières, Paris, in a new production that retraces the intense life of the artist, who painted more than 2,000 pictures during the last 10 years of his life. This pioneering immersive digital exhibition by Culturespaces highlights the chromatic richness of his palette, as well as the potency of his drawings and his use of impasto.
GIVING EVERY STUDENT A CHANCE
Designing for nonprofits in the education field makes our hearts sing! We’re so proud of how our work for long-time client Advance CTE, a national organization that helps leaders in the Career Technical Education field create policy and resources so that ALL learners in every state are prepared for careers or college. Our recent update to the state profiles on their website involved interpreting and bringing their raw data to life through data visualization. We learned a lot about how to showcase important facts and results through infographics. It was a fun challenge to clarify the statistics and make them engaging to boot! Visitors can go to any or all of the state profiles using a clickable map, and can look at data across multiple states with a new comparison tool.
THE HAPPINESS LAB
We may think that more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations will make us happier. But according to Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos, we’d be dead wrong. In her podcast, The Happiness Lab, Dr. Santos walks us through the latest scientific research in positive psychology and shares surprising and inspiring stories that teach us new ways to find happiness. To combat increasing lockdown fatigue, check out her episodes on managing emotional burnout during the pandemic. And one of our favorites is “Help Others to Help Yourself.” Her popular (and free) online class, “The Science of Well-Being,” has enrolled more than 3 million people.
QUICK FIXES, NOT FAST FASHION
Makayla Wray is pushing back against the fashion industry. With her mobile sewing shop on the streets of NYC, she urges people to repair or revamp their clothes rather than buy more. “I would like to normalize people rewearing and saving their clothing,” she says. In SoHo, buttons are a big business for her small cart. “People get rid of things because of not having a button. And it’s such an easy fix.” Seventy percent of the fiber produced globally each year ends up in a landfill or gets incinerated — that’s more than 37 million tons of waste. Upcycling is a huge challenge for manufacturers, but Wray believes consumers have the power to change the fashion culture. Bravo Makayla!
Though many of us are breathing a deep sigh of relief now that the election is behind us, we know that managing stress is still a big issue. You are not alone! This issue of UPBEAT will help you exhale your way to happy and navigate with grace — no matter what the world throws at you. Our client for almost two decades, Loudoun County Public Schools, promotes mindful practices as a cornerstone of a wellness initiative for its 11,000 employees. Our latest effort is a piece called “Mindful Mondays,” which brings wellness ideas and practices straight to employees’ inboxes every Monday morning. And now we want to share some of this wonderful feel-good content with you!
— Yours in wellness, from all of us at Beth Singer Design
ISSUE 21 | NOVEMBER 10 | 2020
STOP WAITING TO BE HAPPY
Finding joy has been difficult in recent months. Preoccupied with all of our adult responsibilities during such challenging times, we grown-ups don’t giggle nearly enough. Laughing reduces stress, enhances immunity, and improves relationships — so try a comedy podcast or find some jokes online. And here’s another tip: hanging out with positive people can increase your chances for long-term happiness. Mindful Monday #4 has more great pathways to everyday joy.
THE POWER OF MUSIC
Did you know that when you hear music to your liking, the brain releases a chemical called dopamine that has positive effects on mood? That’s right — listening to music CAN reduce stress, lessen anxiety, improve your exercise routine, and even improve your memory. Want to know how? Check out Mindful Monday #10, written by Pfizer Medical Team.
FREE YOUR MIND
Rushing through your daily activities can mentally exhaust you and have noticeably negative impacts on your body and overall health. Shove your to-do list aside and try focusing on one thing at a time. Set a timer for 5 minutes and give the task the undivided attention it deserves — no phone, no interruptions, no multi-tasking allowed! Feel like you accomplished something? You did! For more mindfulness techniques, check out Mindful Monday #8, written by Healthline.com.
TALK YOURSELF INTO POSITIVE
Are those unspoken thoughts in your head mostly positive or negative? Your answer to this question likely reflects your outlook on life and your attitude toward yourself. Mindful Monday #3, written by the Mayo Clinic Staff, looks at the effect of positive thoughts on longer life spans, lower rates of depression and distress, and better coping skills during hardships and stressful periods (like now!). We positively recommend these easy tips for improving your mindset.
STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNITY — NATURALLY
Simple dietary changes have been proven to improve your body’s natural defenses and help fight illnesses. Zinc can reduce the duration of a cold by one-third. Olive oil is linked to a reduced risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. And fermented food like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir increase bacteria in your gut, to give harmful invader cells a good fight. Read nine ways to easily boost your immune system in Mindful Monday #7, written by Healthline.com.