Conscious Magazine


About Conscious Magazine

Real stories with real impact. Conscious Magazine tells stories about culture, people, and community that make a difference. Through narratives, collaborations and interviews, the magazine profiles socially innovative brands, human interest stories, and highlights conscious culture.

Conscious Magazine is available at over 350 Barnes and Noble stores nationwide!


We care about global, local, and individual concerns. We believe great moments are born from acknowledging and acting upon opportunity. We are passionate agents of change, pioneers of benevolent innovation, and instigators of empowerment who seek the good of those around us. We believe everyone has a voice and the power to make a difference.


Rachael Baxter

Rachael was born and raised in NJ before heading to NYC. Rachael serves as Conscious’ Editor-in-Chief and oversees the editorial calendar and aesthetic branding of the magazine. After she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from The King’s College, Rachael worked in wealth management at Anchin, LLP. She then moved to the non-profit sector as a Program Director and managed communication with multiple U.S. city-committees while developing, directing, and implementing public relations strategies. Later, she began her social entrepreneurial career at Red Rover Public Relations, a social media / PR firm and communications agency. Rachael has directed numerous benefits for GEMS Girls, Albania Missions, the American Cancer Society, Rescued and Redeemed Ministries, The Hope House, Eden Autism Services, Build a Nest, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Tamika & Friends, The Dawson Scleroderma Foundation, City Harvest and the Toshi Now Foundation. She is also a First Lady of Diversity Ambassador with the Mary McLeod Bethune Humanitarian Network, and is on the host committee for F.A.B. NYC events. For her involvement in philanthropy, Rachael was recognized by Marie Claire, NYC Invitations, Womens Mafia, Lela Luxe, Ask Melissa, Rewrite Beautiful, and more. With a desire to spread the social good movement, Rachael spoke on Fashion and Social Good at Harvard’s Igniting Innovation Summit 2012. Committed to combating sex trafficking in her lifetime, Rachael frequently collaborates with organizations fighting against sex trafficking. Rachael resides in Long Island City with her husband, Jon and dog, Captain. She also loves photography, design, and singing.

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The holiday gift giving season is here! And yes that means many people are crowding into stores on a daily basis looking for deals or a special present. However, a few years ago during the economic downturn, many people had to start planning for the holidays a bit earlier than usual using the tried and true layaway plan to make sure there were those special gifts to give to loved ones.

As a reference point, layaway is a system of placing a deposit on an item or items to secure or hold them for later purchase. It is a practice that is often resurrected and becomes popular during tough economic times or recessions.

But even with the best of planning, there are still those that have a tough time getting their items out of layaway in time for the holidays. That is where Layaway Angels come in!

Have you ever wanted to do something for someone anonymously and as a surprise? Whether your answer is yes or even no, there is something you can do that would truly change someone’s life and ensure they had a holiday to remember.

You can be a layaway angel! You can ensure that a family has the best holiday by ensuring they have what they wished for when they initially put the items in layaway.

A few years ago, my family began participating in this trend of helping others. Initially, it started with my family making a last minute decision on Christmas Eve to pay for a layaway with all of us reaching into our pockets, billfolds and purses to find some cash. My brother was put in charge of the task of finding a store still open. His only request was that layaway be filled with children’s toys. He always wants to make sure children have a wonderful Christmas morning discovering many gifts and surprises under the tree.

From that day, it has evolved for my family into an annual Christmas tradition. We no longer purchase gifts for each other but instead putting those dollars we would have spent towards paying off a layaway…and yes, it must still be filled with toys.

Since 2011, the numbers of anonymous “layaway angels”—those who pay balances on store accounts and try make the holidays nicer and maybe even merrier for needy families—have grown developing this activity into a national phenomenon.

According to USA Today in 2012, Walmart stated that layaway angels visited stores from California to South Carolina, making donations from $40 to $27,000 in efforts to pay off someone’s dream.

So, some readers might ask how they can participate in this effort? Is there still time? Below are five steps you can take to becoming a layaway angel:

  1. Set a budget. Determine how much money you want to spend in paying off someone’s layaway.
  2. Ask family members or friends to join in the effort.
  3. Review the stores in your community; check online or via calling them to ascertain if they do layaway and what is the date all items must be removed [each store has different dates in which they request the items to be paid for and removed]. (Stores that have participated in the past include Kmart, Walmart, Toys R Us, Sears, Burlington Coat Factory.)
  4. Decide if you want to pay off one layaway item in full or put some money toward a number of layaways; either way is a win-win!
  5. If it is too late to pay off someone’s layaway in your community (meaning the stores have ended the program this year), then find someone in the community whom you could help. Check with any of the following organizations which usually know of families and children in need: YWCA, YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, VA Hospital, local hospital, senior center, senior residences, etc.  There is still time to be Making A Difference ® (MAD).

BONUS TIP: By doing this, you also provide a gift to the layaway clerk/manager who gets the delightful task of calling to inform the customer that their layaway has been paid off.  Having personally witnessed this, it is a wonderful gift to give to someone working in retail at the holiday season

There are so many things that tug at us this time of year…from making cookies, to purchasing and wrapping presents, trimming the tree and decorating to traveling. Let’s not forget those in need…and find a way to help. One way is layaway angels.

You can be Making A Difference® (MAD)



The holiday gift giving season generally starts after Thanksgiving as we watch the advertisements offering the best deals on popular toys, electronics, furniture, clothing – you name it. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are supposed to be the Holy Grail of deal-finding days, but a four year old phenomenon looks to change […]



Women – whether young or old, married or single, divorced or widowed–are truly changing the face of philanthropy. Their status doesn’t matter, but their work does. Women now control about half of the investment wealth in the U.S., and their philanthropic leadership and participatory roles have increased accordingly during the last 50+ years. However, less […]


BY SHELBY WELINDER, 4 WEEKS AGO Pushpa Basnet stands in the courtyard outside her damaged orphanage. A force to be reckoned with, she directs 40-some children about their daily chores and routines. She anxiously looks up at the neighboring and ominous three-story building that’s ready to collapse onto her home at any moment. Despite the looming battle […]



Lisa Dietlin, President and CEO of Lisa M. Dietlin and Associates, Inc. serves her clients as a philanthropic agent, assisting entrepreneurial individuals and nonprofit organizations in developing transformational philanthropic strategies. Lisa is also a regular contributor to Huffington Post’s Impact column addressing the world of giving and philanthropy.  In 2007 Lisa was named Charity Contributor […]