How to Look on the Bright Side

Gratitude jars, daily mantras, appreciation journals, happy hours… however you practice gratitude, keep it up. There have been loads of studies about how gratitude makes us happier, and in times of unpredictability and stress, a little hit of serotonin can do wonders.

On a recent Zoom-powered company happy hour, we went around and shared each of our shelter-in-place silver linings. It was just about the happiest hour we’ve ever had! 

Use these questions to jump start your mind to look on the bright side:

I have more time to… 

I reignited my love of… 

I spend more time with… 

I have a newfound appreciation for… 

My favorite part of my day is… 

We posed the same questions to a few Toads. From slow morning routines to tapping into the green thumb, their responses reflect a gleaming, beaming Bright Side. 

Sarah:

I have more time to… appreciate the mind of a 15-year-old. 

I reignited my love of… fresh air yoga.

I spend more time with… my 9-year old golden retriever…social distancing is NOT her thing.  #shadow

I have a newfound appreciation for… fresh herbs, they make the most boring dinner feel gourmet! 

My favorite part of my day is… happy hour, it truly feels happy!

Guin: 

I have more time to… cook

I reignited my love of… gardening

I spend more time with… pups

I have a newfound appreciation for… living in a rural area

My favorite part of my day is… lunch in the sun on my patio, sometimes with my husband Andy which we have NEVER been able to do before.

Lucinda: 

I have more time to… perfect my breadmaking technique

I reignited my love of… my community. Venturans are being so helpful and kind to one another, it touches my heart every day.

I spend more time with… my feline colleagues, but I think they might be getting tired of having me around so much. 

I have a newfound appreciation for… all the skills my mom taught me as a child (cooking, baking, gardening, knitting, sewing) that I am putting to good use these days.

My favorite part of my day is… after dinner when my beloved and I settle in on the couch to watch my latest Netflix obsession, The Protector.

Neil:

I have more time to… sleep in 😊

I reignited my love of… working on the house

I spend more time with… my wife and three kids

I have a newfound appreciation for… group activities

My favorite part of my day is… dinner!

Divas:

I have more time to… spend with my family.

I reignited my love for… gardening and movies.

I spend more time with…my extended friends and family circle around the world whom I have not connected with in a very long time.

I have a newfound appreciation for… how much my wife does for our home and family. 

My favorite part of my day is… evening when kids ride bikes in the front street.

Christina:

I have more time to… channel my inner Ina Garten (trying all sorts of new recipes, and yes, that includes supersized cocktails too)

I reignited my love of… carbs (never really went away, but stronger than ever in quarantine)

I spend more time with… my garden. My fiancé and I are proud parents right now – our vegetable and herb garden has never looked better.

I have a newfound appreciation for… technology. Spending more time catching up with long-distance friends and family via Zoom and Facetime has been a big bright spot.

My favorite part of my day is… after work neighborhood and beach walks. Feel like I’m noticing plants, trees, and architecture that I’ve never seen before.

Lucas:

I have more time to… get that extra hour of sleep I desperately need

I reignited my love of… laying on the couch and reading a good book on a lazy weekend afternoon

I spend more time with… my 6-year-old (although balancing WFH and Homeschooling is challenging)

I have a newfound appreciation for…. my daughter’s teachers (actually ALL teachers, but Mrs. Trac especially)

My favorite part of my day is… the slow morning routine

Steve:

I have more time to… enjoy a “slow” morning of coffee and breakfast taking in the day.

I reignited my love of… Santa Barbara. Being able to get outside and enjoy the neighborhood and the smells of spring.

I spend more time with… my mother-in-law. She has become part of our “family unit.”

I have a newfound appreciation for… my neighbors. The optimism in our community is so uplifting.  

My favorite part of my day is… walks, hikes, bike rides with my 2 year-old.

Kyle:

I have more time to… be present with and appreciative of those special people in my life

I reignited my love of… inventing new cocktail recipes from things found in our garden. I’ve also reignited my love affair with the push up. 💪🏼

I spend more time with… my diehard crew of beagle and husband

I have a newfound appreciation for… my meditation practice

My favorite part of my day is… walking the pup in the morning right after sunrise with a warm mug of coffee

Meet Sarah: Toad’s Master of Giving

When you count Jane Goodall as one of your high school mentors, you know you’re destined for a life of goodness. Lucky for us that’s Sarah Palladino, our Office Culture Queen and Master of Giving. Since she embodies the spirit of giving year round, we sat down to talk about how giving actually makes businesses stronger, what’s on her book list, and what Dr. Jane Goodall is like in real life (yes, we feel starstruck just talking about it).

Toad: Ok, Sarah – you do a lot of things at Toad. Give us a rundown on your favorite thing: 

SP: The best part of my job is getting Toads connected to our social and environmental missions in hands-on ways. Whether it’s planting trees or volunteering at Earth Day or hosting a Friendsgiving with members of Search, Inc, I love seeing Toads really feel the impact of “business for good.”

Toad: Feel it?

SP: Ya. It’s one thing to hear “we’re a sustainable company,” but when employees are planting trees to offset carbon emissions, they’re really feeling what it takes to offset one shirt or one factory or one cargo ship. That impact has a massive ripple effect well beyond 9-5.

Toad: Do you think it also has an effect on the business?

SP: Absolutely! I can tell you it makes a huge difference on the HR side – being a business that prioritizes volunteer days and community outreach attracts like-minded people. Those like-minded people become Toads and in turn make us better.

Toad: What about our customers?

SP: Doing right by people and planet is the heart of the Toad ethos, and our customers are right there with us. I think they’re looking for companies that are doing good (like giving 1% back or making sustainable products) because THEY are doing good.  

Toad: It sounds like a movement…

SP: It totally is! The Do-Gooder Movement!

Toad: So where did this love of philanthropy come from?

SP: I think it started in middle school. I was always that kid with thousands of hours of community service. I just loved feeling like I was contributing to the greater good. My first experience working with at-risk youth made me realize that giving back needed to be ingrained in my life. After that I joined pretty much every club to help organize more people to give back.

Toad: Every club seems like a lot. Any favorites?

SP: I loved working with Dr. Jane Goodall as California’s chapter leader for her non-profit, Roots and Shoots.

Toad: Did you just say you worked with Jane Goodall?

SP: Yes, and she’s amazing. So inspiring. Her motivation behind everything she does is to foster a better understanding of nature, and thereby create a deeper connection between people and planet.

Toad: Wow. That sounds amazing.

SP: She’s my idol. It’s not just about animals and humans – it’s about equality. In Jane’s eyes, everyone and everything is equal. We’re all equal and we can all do good and impact the world.

Toad: What else do you draw inspiration from these days?

SP: I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama and she’s just a good human. I’m also really into this local lecture series right now where cross-disciplinarians talk about creative ways to think about problems and solutions, like an artist depicting climate change. Then there are always the classics like Silent Spring and The Lorax

Toad: Switching gears. Let’s say Toad wins the lotto and we (YOU) get to finally execute your giving pipe dream. What do you do?

SP: Commit 99% for the planet! I would love to start a whole education branch of Toad with the sole goal to inspire people to pursue environmentally friendly practices – the Toad Academy! I think we could have the biggest impact by investing in teaching future generations about sustainable lifestyles and communities and cultures… it would be amazing.

Toad: Okay, back to reality. What do you want your Toad legacy to be?

SP: My goal is to inspire Toads (whether it’s employees or customers) to look at how they can contribute to their communities and give back in areas that THEY love. I want to create a perpetuating cycle of giving back.

Designed for Good Diaries: Tracey

 

In 1997 we co-founded the Planet Access Company (PAC), a full-functioning warehouse that trains and employs adults with disabilities. We offer top-notch career opportunities in our warehouse and take folks on life-changing trips to the great outdoors. A portion of every Toad&Co purchase goes toward supporting this cause.

Meet PAC employee Tracey Beesley. She’s been a QA Returns Specialist at PAC since March 2015.

Q: What do you like about your job?
A: I love it! I have good hours and got a good raise. I like being on a team, I like having my own workstation and having my own key for the gate. I like working with my team members and I like my boss.

Q: What is different for you now that you have a job?
A: I have more friends now. I am making more money and I feel proud of myself every day. I am learning more and new things and have something nice to do every day. Having my job makes me proud and makes me happy to smile.

Q: Why is it important for businesses to hire people with disabilities?
A: Because we are good workers and I am one of them. We work hard and always try to make our goals. We will get done what needs to get done.

Designed for Good Diaries: Kristina

 

You probably don’t give much thought to warehouses. But we don’t have your average warehouse. In 1997, we co-founded the Planet Access Company in Chicago to provide adults with developmental disabilities with job training and career opportunities in a full-functioning warehouse. We’re proud so say we’ve had hundreds of PAC employees and apprentices over the last 20 years, and the warehouse now serves multiple brands. From new shipments to returns, every Toad&Co item is processed with unmatched enthusiasm by the PAC warehouse crew. Meet Kristina, a Returns Specialist since October 2015, and one of our stellar PAC employees.

Q: Tell us about yourself. What do you like to do for fun?
A: My name is Kristina and I live in Skokie, IL. I like to go bowling, hang out with friends, go to movies and go to sleepovers. I like to exercise and celebrate the holidays with family.

Q: What do you like about your job?
A: I like to work with the co-workers – I like to process the clothes and try something new. I do web returns, process clothes, and put them in the right bins. I make sure they are not damaged. I make sure there is no mistake and I highlight the information on the paperwork and put them in my folder – I try to double check it each time.

Q: What is different for you now that you have a job?
A: Well, I am learning a lot of new things and learning new stuff on the computer – and it pays good money.

Q: Why is it important for you to have a job?
A: Because then you can apply for different jobs in the community. That’s why it is important to listen to your boss and not argue with them and you have to clock in at the right time and clock out at the right time.

Q: Why is it important for businesses to hire people with disabilities?
A: Because it is good and makes sure that they can learn something.

A portion of every Toad&Co purchase contributes to creating opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. From opportunities at PAC to outdoor adventures, when you shop, we give. Learn more about Designed for Good.

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The Power of Your Purchase

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Every purchase of Toad&Co is powerful. Every item of clothing sold contributes to creating opportunity for adults with disabilities through our partners at Search, Inc. When you shop, we give. And this Tuesday you can double your impact.

B_PAC_520x520-1Save Your Pennies on Black Friday, Donate Them on Giving Tuesday, December 1st

 

For 24 hours only, the Coleman Foundation is matching your donations to Search, dollar for dollar. So help us give back to an organization that gives us so much to be thankful for.

Search, Inc. is a non-profit organization that empowers adults with disabilities to achieve their full potential. Since 1997 we’ve proudly partnered with Search to offer clients job training and work opportunities in our warehouse, the Planet Access Company. Every Toad&Co item is picked, packed and shipped with unmatched enthusiasm and reliability by our warehouse crew. So it’s our turn to give back and say thanks.

Join us on Giving Tuesday, December 1st and see how powerful your purchase can be.