Category: Good Company

Kindness Mad Libs

By cwiesendanger on November 12th 2020

We could all use some more random acts of kindness in our lives, so lucky for us that November 13 is World Kindness Day. Download our Kindless Mad Libsand share some positively good vibes with a friend, family member, pet…because we could all use a little extra dose of happy.

Tips on Staying Well

By cwiesendanger on October 8th 2020

Pandemic or not, the fall and winter seasons can get stressful. Focusing on your mental health should always be a priority, but in 2020, you may be feeling more out of sorts than usual. Because October 10 is World Mental Health Day, here are a few Toad Tips (disclaimer: we’re def not doctors) for improving your emotional well being and keeping it together amidst the chaos. Be well, friends.

The key to accomplishing anything is making the time to do it.
Less commitments, less presents, less events… oh look, less stress.
Honestly, when has a grilled cheese (or any comfort food) NOT made you feel better? If you like garlic, give this recipe a try, and if you’re feeling a little gourmet today, try the Toad original Frankenfromage (you won’t regret it).
4. 4-7-8 BREATHING
Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7, breathe out for 8. Ahhhh.
Or a walk or a fresh air break — ignore your screens and connect with nature, even if it’s just for a few minutes. A little sunshine goes a loooong way.
Check up on friends/neighbors/family to let them know you’re thinking about them. A little ‘hey, how have you been?’ can go far for both parties. Because even in times of social distancing, social well being is just as important as ever.
Move, feel, stomp, jump, breathe, listen… let the music set you free, baby. Here’s a favorite Toad playlist for movin’ and groovin’.
If one day you feel like conquering mountains and the next you’d rather snuggle up in front of the TV….or if you said you were going to cook but decide to get take out…know it’s a-ok. Self-compassion (aka taking it easy on yourself) is a key factor when thinking about how to improve mental health. And self care can take all types of different forms.
If you’re a newbie, it might seem intimidating, but luckily there are many different types of meditation, and it’s a great way to improve your mental health. So if transcendental meditation sounds scary, the good news is that you can start slow with something like mindfulness meditation or yoga meditation. Check out this blog poston how to meditate for beginners, from our own Sustainable Materials Manager/resident meditation expert Natalie.
Expressing gratitude has direct ties to improving mental health. We think a gratitude journal is one of the best, tangible, ways to make this a priority.
So, there you have it. Some of our favorite activities and habits to help improve mental health and overall well being. Stay well!
If you’re worried about someone or would like emotional support yourself, the free Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United states. Call: 800-273-8255

Disability Employment Awareness Month: Person-First Language

By cwiesendanger on September 23rd 2020

By Sarah Armour, JJ’s List Business Assistant & Disability Awareness Player

The language we use often defines the way we think about things and people, including people with disabilities. When referring to people with disabilities, we at JJ’s List prefer to use something called person-first language.

What is Person-first language?

Person-first language is an effective and appropriate way to describe or to refer to someone with a disability. Person-first language literally means putting the person before the descriptor of disability when you are describing someone and you need to refer to their disability. It describes what a person has, not who a person is. For example, if you need to explain that a colleague has a disability, we prefer you say “my colleague with a disability” instead of “my disabled colleague.” And if you aren’t sure what to say, it is okay to ask the person how they’d like to be referred to.

Why is Person-first language important?

Person-first language is important for a few reasons. Using person-first language makes us focus on the person instead of the disability. It’s more respectful. I am a person with a disability, but I want to be known as someone who lives and works in her community. I don’t want to be labeled. It’s alienating and can make people feel less than. Plus, my disability doesn’t define who I am or what I am capable of.

Secondly, using person-first language makes good business sense. People with disabilities are customers, too! In fact, people with disabilities are the fastest-growing consumer base in the country. Treating them respectfully is good for business and good for your bottom line.

To be more inclusive, let’s focus on how we are similar to each other instead of focusing on our differences. You can start by using person-first language!

Author Sarah Armour is a social enterprise of Search, Inc that helps businesses meet the needs of customers or employees with disabilities by incorporating disability-aware marketing, customer service and employment best practices into core business strategies. Our small but mighty team is an integrated team with and without disabilities. We work together to spread disability awareness throughout the community with our Disability Awareness Trainings and to help individuals with disabilities build essential skills necessary for independence and employment with our Hop on the Bus to Independence Workshops. also provides a platform for individuals to self-advocate and bring about social change by posting reviews about a business’ disability awareness and to express themselves by blogging.

The Science of Smiles

By smatt on September 21st 2020

The “smiley face”…you know, that big yellow smiling ideogram that has become a worldwide pop culture reference used in daily (more likely every minute) communication to express how we feel? It actually has lots of meaning behind it, and when delivered in person as a “true smile” it has even greater benefits (than in a text, snap, post or email).

Ron Gutman did a great 7 minute TED Talk where he shares nuggets from many different studies on the science of smiling. It’s a quick watch but if you’re really pressed for time the short of it is, we should all smile more and here’s why:

  • • A famous yearbook study by Matthew Hertenstein reveals a correlation between yearbook smiles and better marital relationships as well as overall life happiness.
  • • Ernest Abel and Michael Kruger’s Baseball Card Study found those players who smiled in their pictures turned out to live on average seven years longer than those who didn’t.
  • • The good news is we’re born smiling. Babies smile in the womb and once born continue to smile, even when sleeping.
  • • Regardless of race and culture, smiling is a biological expression of all humans used to express joy.
  • • More than 1/3 of humans smile more than 20 times a day.
  • • Children smile as many as 400 times per day, which is why being around children makes us smile more.
  • • Darwin’s Facial Feedback Response Theory, the idea that smiling can make you happier and frowning can make you sadder or angrier — that changing your facial expression can intensify or even transform your mood.
  • • One smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2K bars of chocolate or receiving up to £16,000 / $20,000.
  • • Smiling can reduce stress enhancing hormones and increase mood enhancing endorphins.
  • • Smiling makes you appear more likable and more competent.

Based on all of this, it would seem pretty obvious that smiling is good for you. But beyond just you, smiling is also good for those around you.
We have something called mirror neurons which are brain cells that code the actions of other people and also our own actions, essential brain cells for reading social interactions. Mirror neurons act as an inner imitation to the actions of others that in turn lead us to simulate the emotion. So, when you smile at someone their mirror neurons trigger them to smile. That smile then triggers the positive feeling we associate with a smile, and all the benefits that go along with it. Basically you can think of the whole chain of events as a neurological cascade of good vibes…for everyone involved in the exchange.
So now to the question of in today’s world where we walk around in masks, how do we continue to spread happiness? It’s simple, keep smiling, even behind the mask.
Psychologist Paul Ekman, who studies facial expressions, described a “true enjoyment smile” as showing up in the crow’s feet or laugh lines area of the face, with the eyes narrowing and crinkling. A genuine smile — also known as the Duchenne smile — engages the orbicularis oculi muscle around the eye; a fake smile does not. As further proof of being able to see a smile even when partially covered, Janine Driver, a world-renowned body language expert, pointed out that when a baby smiles you still know it even when his or her mouth is covered by a pacifier. Net net, it’s all in the eyes.
So whether digitally or in person, smile more.

9 Podcasts to Listen To

By dweb247 on September 14th 2020

Something that continues to bring us together – WFH be damned! – is swapping Netflix recs, must-read books, new album reviews, and of course, podcasts. Since September 30th is National Podcast Day, here’s our list of the best podcasts to listen to this fall… or you know, forever.

Song Exploder

Music lovers, rejoice! Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Produced and edited by host Hrishikesh Hirway, this podcast is a love letter to music. Each episode is a deep dive into the creative process that went into crafting a great song, straight from the artists themselves. Episode 150, Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way is a classic, but you really can’t go wrong.

The NYT Daily

20 minute episodes that dig into one topic that’s dominating the headlines. Produced by The New York Times and told by journalists and subject matter experts (and excellent host, Michael Barbaro whom we’d love to get a slice of pizza with). Knowledge is power, so stay in the know. New episodes Monday – Friday, ready by 6am EST.


Stuck inside or just yearning for wide open spaces, this podcast focuses on the natural word and how we use it. With solid reporting and long-form storytelling, host Sam Evans-Brown draws you in from the first words (he’s a former environmental reporter). You don’t have to be a whitewater kayaker, an obsessive composter, or a conservation biologist to love Outside/In.

You Must Remember This

Miss heading to the movies? Listen to this podcast about the first century of Hollywood filmmaking. It’s a fascinating take on the glamor, glitz, and grit that built the silver screen scene over the decades.


This short podcast series is a must listen for all. This 2019 audio series from The New York Times was produced for the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. The 6-episode series, hosted Nikole Hannah-Jones, examines the long shadow of that first salve cargo that landed in Virginia in 1619 – and examines how historical oppression and systemic racism has affected the Black experience in America since.


If you love food, history, and science, you’ll love Gastropod. Recommended by Helena – our resident Podcast Queen – she loves Gastropod for its “cool food facts.” Ever wonder about the underbelly of the lobster industry? Or the real origins of pizza? Or what the most dangerous fruit in America is? (It’s the watermelon, FYI). Grab a snack and take a listen – “Dinner plate invasion” is Helena’s fave.

Code Switch

Named after the phenomenon of mixing languages and dialects depending on the context, the Code Switch podcast cranks out informative episodes about race, ethnicity, culture, and how they play out in our lives and communities. New episodes are updated weekly and hosted by Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Maraji. It’s a great way to listen to various perspectives on current events.

Pre-Loved Podcast

We love anything about the circular economy. This podcast is a weekly interview about rad vintage style with guests you’ll want to go thrifting with. Hosted by Emily Stochl, episodes cover style, running a fashion business, sustainability, slow fashion, the stories behind incredible vintage pieces, and why second-hand is the best hand.

Bear Brook

We couldn’t write a podcast recommendation list without a binge-worthy true crime podcast. This one comes from New Hampshire Public Radio and it’s a decades-long mystery that follows the twists and turns of a serial killer. It’s a cold case that calls into question human nature and criminal justice system. Someone call Olivia Benson!