Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Well, here we are- it is officially Christmas Eve and I wanted to wish everyone a very happy Christmas. For those who aren't celebrating Christmas, I hope you have a happy holidays too. Thank you for reading my blog and taking an interest in Project Smile. It means a lot to know that people care.

So what's new? Not a heck of a lot. I'm still working on the office and getting ready for 2010. I have done a lot of organizing though and finishing up a bunch of little things, so the office is definitely looking better. I probably will do some work next week because I have a lot of 2010 planning still to get done and I also want to do some research on ways to improve certain things- particularly emails and other marketing.

When I was a little girl and my father would act up about certain things, my grandfather would lean over and tell me, "do you know why the good lord gave you two ears? Because, it's in one ear and out the other." I used to love to hear him say that. Of course, when hurtful things are heard, it's never that easy to let them go. But still now, 15 years after his death, when I hear things that make me sad or angry- I think of him and imagine him sitting next to me and telling me those words. I heard some things tonight that made me extremely upset, but I thought of what Jimmy would say and I'm just going to let it go. Life is too short to be hurt and upset about other people's opinions of oneself.

Anyways, it's 2am on Christmas Eve and this is a time to be happy- a time to think of all the wonderful things in life. Right now, it is also time to go to bed. Merry Christmas friends!

Monday, December 21, 2009

2 Days Left

I have two days left to wrap things up for the year- translation: I have two days to produce a magically clean and phenomenally organized office and have a complete work plan for 2010. Will I get it done? I'm determined to get the office part done- minus the phenomenal part, but I know I won't have the 2010 plan completed. I know the year isn't over, but the plan is to take a complete break next week and not work. I don't know how realistic that is- it is really hard for me not to work, I get a little obsessed sometimes. But I also know that I need a mental break. I've been struggling lately and not getting enough accomplished, so it would be a good thing to take a week off. I probably will end up doing some 2010 planning though.

It is has been an interesting year- both personally and professionally. There were a lot of highs- continuing to grow despite the economic meltdown around us, the date auction, the anniversary event, the grants we received, reaching more police and fire departments, continuing our DCF donations, expanding our holiday donations, deciding to work with homeless shelters next year and meeting lots of cool people who support our work. Of course the were a few lows- I met quite a few rather lousy people, it was a lot tougher finding financial sponsors for our anniversary celebration and there is the tremendous pressure to grow Project Smile so that my vision becomes a reality. It's funny- now that I'm writing this and actually thinking about 2009, I can definitely say this was a good year. I've also learned a lot and I have an excitement to learn more. The good things that happened this year far outweighed the bad.

The lady came today to donate stuffed animals and books from the drive she organized at her office. She is the same woman that I wrote about last month- two of her children died of cystic fibrosis and another child is awaiting a transplant. Her daughter had wanted to donate her stuffed animals to PS, but had died before she got to make her donation. I was thinking about it for a while this afternoon- I can't even begin to imagine how one copes with losing two children and having another one sick as well. I thought about how strong this mom must be. It also made me think about how important it is to enjoy every moment in life. I do a lot of worrying in life, but I want to spend more time enjoying the present. One of the best things I did this year was my summer of fun. Every weekend for almost the entire summer, I did one new fun thing. It was awesome- one of the best things that I did. Things kind of fell off with my mom's accident in October, but I've decided that after Christmas, I will be officially back to my weekend adventures. I've never been one to take things for granted- maybe that's because I worry so much about things. Seeing this lady today and knowing that she lost two of her three children, reminded me of how important it is to enjoy every day and to cherish every moment with our loved ones.

Anyways friends, that's all for tonight. I'm off to write my list for tomorrow, then bed. Hopefully by tomorrow night I will be able to gush about my fabulously clean office! Until next time...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wrapping Up

Well here we are- still working on trying to wrap things up before the start of the new year. I didn't get to a lot of things today that I had wanted to. I had a meeting in the morning and then the trip to Boston to donate the stuffed animals took up a big chunk of the day. I'm so happy we donated to the Christmas in the City program. The people that I met were really happy about our donation. One of the guys told me that they usually provide for about 2,200 children, but this year they had an additional 3,000 apply. After he said that, I felt a little guilty that I hadn't donated more. It was about 145 stuffed animals and toys that we donated. As I was driving home, I was thinking about how things changed from the 2002 when all I could do was donate a Barbie doll to that program, to today when I can organize a donation for 145 children. Seven years from now, hopefully we'll be able to have our Christmas event that can help thousands of children. I would like to do something in the western part of the state too- there is a lot of poverty in some of the western towns and I think it tends to get overshadowed by the needs of the bigger cities. I would love to do holiday events for kids who really don't have any alternatives for gifts. Some of the towns that I've driven through when doing our donations have been so economically depressed it is shocking- and this was before the economy tanked last fall.

There is so much more that I want to write about, but I'm so tired right now. It was a late night last night and now I'm feeling it. I'm rather obsessed with getting prepared for 2010- I don't remember being like this before. I'm going to write my list for tomorrow- I've fallen off with my list writing recently. I need to submit our website updates and send off our newsletter to Lisa, as well as continue the office clean up and 2010 plans. I also want to take some time for learning- actually sitting down and studying various topics so I can keep improving. Every year has been a year of improvement for PS, but I want 2010 to be a big year. I want to fix the mistakes that I make, become more efficient and keep growing.

But tonight, there is no more growing- I'm off to list write, then sleep. Tomorrow night, I'm off to see The Nutcracker with my sister- I am so excited. My sisters are I saw it once about 5 years ago and it was so beautiful. We have good seats too, so it will be awesome! Until tomorrow friends..

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Late Night Energy

Well, it is 1:15am and I'm just starting to blog- I got a major energy rush around 11pm and have been going steady- sorting stuffed animals and cleaning. Tomorrow, we're donating stuffed animals to the Christmas in the City program. They provide holiday gifts for homeless and low-income children. There was an article about the organization in today's Boston Globe and it mentioned their need for toys for children. They provide gift for over 1,000 needy kids. I already knew about the program- I had donated a Barbie doll many years ago to their organization- before I even started PS. I always wished I could do more, but money has always been tight. I read the article as I was drinking my morning tea and thought it would be great if we could help by providing stuffed animals. I called and they were very enthusiastic about our donation, so I'm dropping about 200 stuffed animals and a few toys off tomorrow. I'm so glad that we've expanded our holiday donations this year. I wasn't even planning on doing more holiday donations, but it is so touching to read about the good work that group does (and so many others), and it makes me happy that we can help.

I got a nice email today from Morgan Memorial Goodwill, thanking us for our stuffed animal donation. Their party was on Saturday and it was a big success. The coordinator that I dealt with told me that she'd been reading my blog- I love to hear when people read my blog. When I first started, I thought that no one would ever read it. It's pretty cool to think that people actually find it interesting enough to keep reading!

So what else is going on? The major organization/clean up is still underway. I had Amanda, our fabulous intern, working on transferring the info that I had on my old desk calendars onto our excel database. It is really funny to look back at the calendars from when PS just started. They are a really nice momento as well- almost like freezing moments in time. However, now that all the important info has been transferred, I can toss them. It would be nice to keep them for sentimental value, but my office is overflowing and I need to move stuff out. It's also funny to look at how far I've come in learning how to run a business- these last couple of years, I've really grown a lot in terms of being more efficient and organized. There are probably lots of ways I could improve, but I've definitely grown a lot since we first started.

My energy kick is fading fast and my eyes are hurting now. I was going to blog and then get back to work, but I'll just go to bed. I'm really focused on getting things organized for next year- I want to run PS the best way possible and that means starting next year with a clean and organized office, everything from this year finished and a plan laid out for 2010. I know that I'm not going to get my 2010 plan finalized before Christmas, but I need to make some serious progress. I'm also taking a vacation between Christmas and New Years. I'm not going anywhere, but I need to take a real break and chill out for a while. I'd love to go away, but can't afford that. Well, now I'm officially tired and I'm about to start going on a tangent- so instead I'll say good night. Until tomorrow friends..

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Week

Well, here we are- the start of a new week and getting closer to the start of a new year. It doesn't seem real that we're about to start 2010 though. Usually, I don't think it is such a big deal, I think that happens because partly because we put together our 2010 calendar in the middle of the summer, so I've been at least looking at the new year since then. This year feels different though, I'm not sure why, but it definitely feels different. Maybe it is has to do with having a milestone birthday coming up soon. In a few weeks, I'll be back to work on our next date auction and anniversary event. I'm not really ready to think about that yet though. I also have a lot of planning that I want to do and I haven't even started.

Anyways, enough on 2010 plans- I still have a lot to do before we finish 2009. Our 2 big holidays donations are done- on Friday, we did our annual donation to Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries for their children's holiday party. I love donating for their party- they have over 400 children attend. Someday, we'll do an event like that, but for now I'm really happy that we can support their event. We get very positive feedback from Goodwill as well. One of the ladies who I dealt with this year told me that her boss had been asking her when our donation was arriving- they were really looking forward to getting our items.

Today, we did our holiday donation to the Dept. of Children and Families- stuffed animals, toys, puzzles, books and crayons (the larger crayons packages than we usually give out). Expanding to DCF is one of the things that I'm happiest about- it has worked out even better than I thought it would.

This afternoon, I actually made progress with cleaning up and organizing my office. Amanda, our intern, was working on my computer and I used that time to focus on my desk. With the new year coming, I want to make some changes and make my office more efficient. My desk still needs a lot of work, but progress is happening.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I'm tired- I went to bed too late again last night and was really busy today. I was going to have a grapefruit, (it is grapefruit season again- yay!) but I think I'll just go to bed. I was also going to decorate the tree I put up in my room too, but since it is almost 1am and I'm trying to go to bed early, that will have to wait until tomorrow. Until tomorrow friends..

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I don't know what's been going on today and yesterday- they haven't been the best of days. There is nothing dramatically wrong- nothing major has happened. I just feel in a bit of a funk and I don't particularly no why. I didn't get enough work done and that always bothers me. My desk is a mess and I didn't get to clean it. Yesterday, I thought I might be getting sick- I was super tired, but I didn't feel sick today- still tired though. I haven't been eating properly during the day and I know that makes me really tired. I've been eating breakfast late and lunch even later, so by the time I eat lunch- I already feel exhausted.

I love Christmas time, but I'm getting anxious about buying gifts. I have such a limited budget and I feel like I can't get anyone very much and it gets me a little sad. I know that it isn't all about buying stuff and no one is expecting any big gifts, but it makes me feel sad that I can only do a little. It was easier when my siblings were younger because money went further- for not that much money I could get them a bunch of toys and they were happy. They're too old for toys now- at least those kind of toys. I feel as the oldest sister, I should be able to do more. I've made mistakes before and went overboard at Christmas and I'm trying not to do that. I want to get gift for my friends too, but I don't think I can manage that. I know this has nothing to do with Project Smile, but it has been on my mind.

I'm feeling overwhelmed. I have a lot of police/fire departments that I need to contact, I have quite a few calendars left to sell, newsletter that needs written, web updates that need done, I need to work on a 2010 plan and a bunch of other things that I can't remember right now. I also have to sell the auction items that are left. I have those 2 beautiful large Christmas baskets that didn't sell. I think I'll put them on our FB page tomorrow and see if there is any interest in them. I really have no space to store them either. I also want to take some time and do a bit of studying- someone gave me a book about online social networking a few months ago- I had only looked at it briefly and didn't find it particularly interesting. I was going to put it in the silent auction, but as I went to do write the bid sheet, I flipped through the book again and there are actually some interesting points in there. So I want to take some time and study it some more. There are also some other online free courses that I want to sign up for. It is so important to learn ways to improve. One of my plans next year is to learn more about different topics, so I can improve the way I run PS- I don't want to spend money taking courses, but I'm sure there are a lot of free resources that I could take more advantage of.

Well, I'm getting a bit of a headache, so I should probably go to sleep. I've been trying to go to bed early, it is 12:15 now- lights were out by midnite last night, but I had nightmares and woke up at 3am with my hear racing, so maybe the whole going to bed earlier thing just doesn't agree with me! Maybe I am fighting off a bug again, I don't know. I know I sound like a Pathetic Polly tonight and I'm really not- just tired and overwhelmed. I did take advantage of the beautiful weather today and hung Christmas lights outside. It is a rather odd light display, but it makes me happy to look at it.

Tomorrow, we're donating stuffed animals for the Goodwill children's holiday party in Boston. We've been donating to that for the past 2 years now. I've never been to the party, but I'm really glad that we're able to help. Monday is our holiday donation to the Dept. of Children and Families. I would love to do a children's holiday event at some point, but that probably won't be for a while.
Anyways, off to bed. Until next time friends...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Well, here we are- back in the familiar position- unwinding and dissecting an event, just a few hours later. So how did it go? It was a very nice event, I'm glad that I partnered with Hello Stiletto for it- Felt had set up their Christmas decorations as promised and the placed looked beautiful, they had a large amount of appetizers available, our DJ played really good music, Santa Claus was awesome, the pink carpet walk-off was a hit as always- it was the type of event that I would have been happy to attend regardless. However, the turnout was lower than expected and the silent auction didn't do well. We had over 20 auction items- a nice variety of sports items, golf outings, jewelry, theatre tix and other things, but we only sold 3. I don't know what happened. Obviously, people have less money this year to spend and maybe with the holidays coming they are holding onto their money to buy particular gifts- even though any one of those items would have made a great gift. It obviously wasn't an audience that wanted to spend a lot of money. Our items were well displayed, in a central location, so there is nothing that I could have done better on that front. The sports items are being returned tomorrow and the rest of the items will be held onto. I don't have any events planned, so I need to work on another way to sell some of those items.

It is definitely the type of event that I can see growing. The firefighter who was Santa Claus had a wonderful time and is really on board with participating again. I am going to make this an annual event. It is OK to have small events- do I want 500 people at every event we have? Of course I do. But that isn't realistic. We had a very pleasant, very enjoyable event tonight- people really looked like they were having fun, so this is definitely something that I want to build on. Tonight was a good foundation- it opened my eyes to how cool Christmas events can be, even though it was smaller than I'd hoped for. Every event that I've done has grown over the years- two years ago, our first date auction had 350 people and we raised $3,800. This year it was 500 and $12,000 raised. So I'll think about how to make it bigger and we'll come back next year with another holiday event.

It's funny, although we had less people than I'd hoped for and we raised less money than I wanted- i don't view the event as a failure at all. We created a good foundation for future Christmas events and it was a really fun night. We raised awareness for Project Smile and although there weren't a ton of people- those that attended had a good time. And we did sell calendars and raise some money. This event was never intended to be big and I put a limited amount of time into it, so it wasn't like I expected a huge return. I don't know why the auction was so unsuccessful- perhaps coming off the big holiday shopping weekend didn't help either.

Anyways, that's it for tonight. I'm a tired munchkin. Last night was another 3am night. I was working on bid sheets and getting things ready for tonight. That's also it for events. Next month I'll be back to work on the date auction and anniv. event and starting work on events for 2011- I have a number of potential events in my head and I need to narrow them down and focus. Our most successful events have been singles events (date auction), so I might focus on bringing that to another city. But I also know that we need to spread our event wings some more and work in a couple of different events. Christmas 2010- plans will be underway soon.

This morning, it was so nice- I was trying to get organized before our intern Amanda showed up, but I was really tired and dragging- when a friend called me to wish me good luck tonight. It was such a nice surprise, I wasn't expecting her to call at all- moments like that make me feel so grateful that I have friends. We only chatted for a few minutes, but I just felt so encouraged after I talked to her. There is little better than knowing people care. Another friend drove in with me this afternoon and helped at the event and a couple of friends attended too. It really means a lot to me when my friends make an effort to support Project Smile. I hope they know how much I appreciate it.

OK, eyes are hurting a lot now- need to sleep. Tomorrow night is the grants award dinner which I'm looking forward to. Until tomorrow friends..

Monday, November 30, 2009

Night Before

Well, here we are- the countdown to the end of the year and the night before an event. I'm in the familiar position of printing up bid sheets for silent auction items, boxing up stuff and doing the usual pre-event prep. Of course, I'm nervous too- worried about a good turnout and always afraid of having a disaster. Things are looking fine for our Santa and Stilettos event, so I really shouldn't be worried, but I am. This is a lot smaller event and required a lot less time, but it is still important. I have a number in my head for guest size and $ amount raised that I would be satisfied with. Hopefully, by tomorrow night, I will have met our goal. The good thing is that financially, I'm only on the hook for the cost of the DJ- which is a reduced rate, so the break even bar is set pretty low.

There is so much going on in my head- I don't know where to begin. I've been thinking about plans for 2010, thinking about this year, thinking about all the things that I want to get done, thinking about turning 30 in a couple of months. It is funny to think that I will be turning 30- to be honest, I'm not sure what I think about it. For the last few years, every year has been better than the year before- both personally and professionally- and even this year, with its financial difficulties, has been better than last year. My life isn't perfect- there are a few things that I'd like to change, but I am happy and healthy with a family I love, good friends and a career that matters to me. How much more can a girl ask for right now? I've always been a girl with dreams and now, turning 30, I'm worrying that I'll never make those dreams a reality. I know that is a stupid way of thinking- to think that you're running out of time at age 30. Years from now, I'll look back and laugh. I was 23 years old when I started Project Smile- same age as my sister is. When I look at her, I think how young she is, but I never thought of myself as young. It's funny how self perception is- I look at my youngest sister and I think how small she is, even though she is the same height as me- she might actually be a little taller.

I've been thinking to about other people. I already know that you can't change people- I've known that for many years. I don't try to change people- I believe for accepting others the way they are, finding the best in people and not to judge. But that doesn't mean that there aren't times when you wish people would act differently, wish you could get them to see things differently. I always try to understand things from the other person's perspective, but sometimes I just can't. I know that one doesn't have to understand everything- that the most important thing is to look at people's actions, not try to read their minds. I've found some people's actions hurtful lately and while I know that they probably didn't intend for it to be that way- it still hurts. There is nothing that I can change to make things better and I don't want to tell them exactly how hurt I feel. I'm trying to let it go, trying to just think of all the good things, but it still hurts. I don't even know why I'm writing about this- has nothing to do with PS, but it has been on my mind for the last few days.

Anyways, enough on that topic. I did get some good news today in the form of a $2,500 check from a Texas based company. It was a donation that I hadn't even expected- those are the best. It was funny because this morning I woke up listening to more dismal economy news and I was starting to worry about fundraising again- I went to the post office later that day and when I saw the envelope, I knew it was a check. Before I opened it, I thought how it would be so nice if it was a check for a few thousand dollars- then I opened it as I drove and there it was- I had to look a few times to make sure that is was actually $2,500 and not 250. Sometimes, wishes do come true!

Well friends, there is lots more to write about, but I'm getting tired and I need to go back to work on bid sheets for tomorrow's auction. I only have about 6 more to do, then I'll go to bed. I've been going to sleep way too late for these last few nights and it is a bad habit to get into. I've fallen off with my timer use, but will get back into it tomorrow. Wish me lots of luck for Santa and Stilettos tomorrow night- I'm sure it will be great, just hoping for a good turnout. Until tomorrow friends..

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Thanksgiving Week!

Well, here we are- just a couple of days to one of the best holidays of the year- Thanksgiving! I love the days leading up to Thanksgiving as well- the food shopping, the cooking, siblings coming home, (my aunt and uncle aren't coming this year though which is disappointing)- it's all good. So what am I thankful for this year with Project Smile? I'm thankful that we're holding our own financially- in a year of vast economic troubles, we are doing OK. Of course, things have been difficult for us, but the fact that we have a small budget has really been a blessing this year. I'm also thankful for all the people that support our work- the people that have continued to support us and the new people that are now supporting our work- it is really wonderful. Personally, I'm thankful for my family and friends and all the fun stuff that I've been doing this year.

Anyways, so what else is happening? Well, I'm gearing up for our Santa and Stilettos event next Tuesday with the Hello Stiletto Shoe Club. It is going to be such a fun event, I'm really excited. We have some great auction items and I'm picking up more sports items shortly. We've book Santa Claus who is generously donating his time. Jessica from Leokadia is going to be one of our shoe judges and she is donating a special shoe prize too. I am worried about attendance, but that is hardly anything new. I've got the word out as much as I can and Melissa is promoting it to all the shoe club members. We should get a good turnout from them since it is a Shoe Club event. The only cost that I have is the DJ services, so it's not like I'm on the hook for a lot of money. I do have a lot of calendars that still need to be sold, so I really need a lot of people there. Each guest will receive a calendar with their $10 ticket donation at the door. My personal goal is to have 100 people there. It is totally feasible. I'm also concerned about the weather, but I can't control that, so I need to stop worrying about it.

Tomorrow, I am going to spend some time cleaning up the office. I'm not planning on making business calls tomorrow- a lot of people are away or trying to get out of the office early, so it isn't the best time to reach people. However, now that I'm thinking of it- I am going to make a couple of follow up calls to people who usually make annual donations. Hopefully, if I can reach them, they will be in a happy holiday mood and will commit to their usual donation!

I'm not sure how much blogging I'm going to be doing for the rest of the week. I'm taking Wednesday and Friday off work. I'm planning on blogging tomorrow, but in case things change- I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for supporting Project Smile.
Now, before I go to bed I need to get on the phone with Comcast and figure out why half my tv channels are scrambled. Hopefully it is a problem on their end and my much loved television is not going on the fritz. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Time Management

I hit a small animal on my way home tonight. I was driving along on a back road and I saw it moving slowly across the street, coming from the other lane. I braked immediately, but I still hit it. The noise was horrible. It is such a shock when something like that happens and such a reminder of how delicate life is and how things change in an instance. One minute I'm driving merrily along, thinking of the play that i went to tonight and making plans for tomorrow- then in a second, things change and I've killed an innocent animal. There was something even worse because it was moving so slowly across the road and I saw it coming, but couldn't do enough to avoid it. If it had moved faster or maybe if I had sped up, instead of hitting the brakes, it might not have happened.

Anyways, enough on that sad topic. What's new? Well, I've started a new time management system today. I've noticed that I can get distracted sometimes and not get enough accomplished. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to give myself a 15 minute time limit on a task- I was going to move really quickly and get as much done as possible in a short period of time. So I did that and it worked out great and I thought to myself that I should get a timer and do these short bursts of really concentrated activity more often. Something like interval training, but for the brain. Interval training is supposed to be one of the most effective ways to work out. For some unknown reason, I didn't follow through. Then yesterday I was reading the Wall Street Journal and they had an article about time management systems. The writer had tested 3 different methods- and there was one that was almost the same as my timer idea. It is called the Pomodoro method- you get a tomato shaped timer (honestly, it doesn't matter what kind of timer you get) and you give yourself 25 minutes to work on a task without any interruption at all. Then you take a 2-3 minute break and start another 25 minute session. I was so excited to read that. This afternoon, I broke out my cell phone timer and started doing it. My first task was cleaning 2 desks in my office. I worked very effectively and got a lot done. Then I did 25 minutes of email, that worked well, but I added in a bit more desk clearing which I probably shouldn't have done. But all in all, I think this is a system that I could really use- especially since it is almost the same thing that I thought of on my own. I don't remember what the other 2 time management systems were- one was too complicated and I didn't have time to finish reading the other, but it also seemed complicated.

What else is new? Not a heck of a lot- calendar sales are still going slowly. Hopefully we will be able to move a lot of them at the Santa and Stilettos event with the Shoe Club- which is less than 2 weeks away. There was some good news though- remember the grant application that I lost? Well, I received an invitation for their annual grant awards dinner next month (the day after shoe party)- that is very good because it means that you'll be getting a grant. Unless they suddenly decided to be very cruel and invite us to a dinner to watch OTHER people receive their grants! How dreadful would that be? A few days ago, I found the missing grant application neatly folded on my bedside table. See how much I love my work- I take it to bed with me!

Well friends, I'm getting tired. I've been getting to bed a bit earlier these last few days and it has helped me in the mornings. I am feeling less tired than I was, but still not back to my usual night time energy. I didn't blog last night because I wanted to read more of a thriller, but then I ended up opening the book, reading a paragraph and then fell asleep- definitely not the way I should be. Until next time friends..

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I don't know what went wrong today- it was a very tough day. I struggled from the very beginning to get going- even after exercising- and felt unmotivated and overwhelmed (a bad combination). I didn't write my list last night, so I didn't have that to help get me focused. I don't even know what caused it- I've been feeling really tired and like I'm fighting something off, so maybe that is to blame. I was also worried because I still have a lot of calendars to sell. Last night, after blogging, I think I started to get a little overwhelmed thinking of how much we need to grow if we are to become a national charity. I need people to help- to be more precise- I need staff. But without money, where does one get staff? I'm trying to get another intern. Volunteers are great for events and short term, but they are busy with their own lives and can't commit to what we really need. So I felt lost today- I had a lot of work but could barely get anything done. The struggle went on for a while, then I thought of what mom had told me a few years ago about the idea of winning the day- she got that from a training program she took and talked about it a lot. I wanted to get something productive out of the day, so I went back to my usual baby steps routine. I thought of 2 small tasks that I needed to get done- I did those, then I thought of 3 slightly bigger tasks that needed done and I did those. Then I went back to a couple of other small tasks. Things didn't suddenly become all peachy today, but I did get some work accomplished and that is the most important thing. The day started out like it would be lost, but it was salvaged. I know it is OK to have days like this, but I just wish it didn't happen. I wish I could be enthusiastic and motivated everyday and not get overwhelmed, how wonderful that would be!

I know there is so much else to talk about, but I'm tired again. I'm less tired than Ive been at night, so that is a good sign. But it is probably best if I make it an early night so I can be bright and focused tomorrow. It is 12:05 and my goal is to be lites out in 15 minutes. What an early night! I also have to write my list- that thing is so important to me, especially when I have moments like today. Until tomorrow friends..


Today was a busy day, but there was one thing that has stayed in my mind. I had a meeting with the marketing director at a venue. She is familiar with Project Smile and I've met her before. She asked about PS today and I gave her a brief update- she told me how I must wake up every morning feeling so rewarded with what I do. She joked about how she thought her job was only about getting people to spend money and buy alcohol. I told her she was being way too harsh on herself. It's funny because I hear that all the time- people tell me how I must feel so rewarded because of my work. As I was driving home, I started to think about what I actually do feel when I wake up every morning. Considering I'm such a non-morning person, perhaps the best question is what I think before I go to bed. I feel so many different things, it is hard to tell. Rewarded isn't really one of them though. Perhaps when the day comes that PS is a national charity or- before that- one that has a much greater impact- then I will feel rewarded (and rather relieved too). I've always loved Project Smile, there is no doubt about that. But my focus every morning, every night is on what we need to get done and frequently I get stressed about everything that I haven't gotten to during the course of a day. I rarely ever think of PS in terms of the good work that we do. My only focus is having PS grow. Sometimes, I do take a minute and think of how far we've come, but that is usually in the context of planning where we need to go. I can tell you that I do feel lucky quite a lot. When I hear friends talk about wretched coworkers and bosses, I feel very lucky for being my own boss and when I hear others talk about being afraid that they'll be laid off- I feel lucky that I don't have to worry about that. My financial stresses are great, but I don't have to worry about walking into work one day and finding myself jobless. I'm also lucky in that I have flexibility in my daily schedule. I'm also lucky to have a job I love, some of the happiest moments in my life have been because of Project Smile. So I think that's how I feel- not rewarded, but lucky. I know that some people don't believe in luck- they say that it is all self created and the product of hard work. I don't know about that- plenty of people work hard and don't get anywhere. I do work hard and I've been lucky in that I am getting somewhere. There were plenty of breaks that didn't necessarily have to go my way. It is flattering when people tell you how they wish they could have a job like mine. I don't know how many of them are serious of course, but it is always nice to hear.

Anyways friends, that's all for tonight. I'm feeling rather lousy and a little achy and tired (I slept badly last night which is highly unusual). I hope I'm not getting sick- I know I've been saying the same thing for over a week. I probably should have gone to bed earlier. I do have lots of other interesting things to write about, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Good night friends...

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Well, I don't have much to report tonight, but I didn't blog last night and didn't want to miss tonight as well. I was tired last night and had to finish up a few things when I got home, so that was why I didn't blog, but then I got an energy boost around midnite and didn't go to bed until 2:30. I had a meeting this morning, but took the afternoon off, but I'm still feeling tired. I do have other things to write about besides my tiredness!

I decided recently that we're going to be expanding Project Smile to work with homeless shelters and provide stuffed animals, books and coloring books for children living in homeless shelters and battered women's shelters. My mom had actually suggested it a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about it more and more and it makes perfect sense. I did some research online and there are over 3,000 children living in Massachusetts homeless shelters- isn't that so sad? If we can do one small thing to make their lives a little happier, then that would mean a lot. I get a little worried expanding Project Smile because we still have so many more police/fire departments to reach, but children forced to live in shelters are experiencing traumatic events and that is what our ultimate mission is. I've applied for funding with a grant that I submitted yesterday and I'm going to include it in other grants that I will be working on. We won't start this until January because there are a lot of other things that I want to work on before I start that. I also like the idea of launching our expansion with the new year.

In other good news- we were approved for the Capital One Project Smile card where 1% of each card holder's purchases will be donated to Project Smile. I am really excited for this. Now, I need to get it linked on our site and promote the heck out of it. The card is meaningless unless people sign up and use it. Of course I will sign up for it, but I need to get a lot of people to sign up. My goal is to get 5 people within the next month and ask them to ask 5 other people to get the card. We need more than 5 people obviously, but since I don't have any experience in trying to get people to sign up for new credit cards, I want to start with a small goal.

Well, I think that's it for tonight- my eyes are starting to fall asleep, it is almost 1am and I'm heading to bed. I have a long list to write for tomorrow. I am glad that I blogged tonight- it doesn't feel right to go to bed on a weeknight without blogging.

A special Happy Veteran's Day to everyone serving in the military and those who have served.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Strength of Others

I've been slipping with my blogging lately- I still have been unusually tired at night, so that's why I haven't been writing. I slept briefly earlier tonight, so now I'm a bit more energized. I decided last night that I definitely wouldn't be going to bed without blogging today.

I received a very moving email this afternoon- it started out as a fairly typical email from a lady who wanted to do a stuffed animal drive in her office, then the email became quite shocking- she wrote that her daughter had found out about Project Smile when she was 15 and had wanted to donate her stuffed animals and had a box ready to be donated. She then wrote that her daughter died last year of cystic fibrosis. I was so saddened to read that and touched too that a girl who must have been very sick would take the time to want to help others by donating her stuffed animals. I decided to call the mom, it seemed more appropriate than just emailing back. The mom answered her work phone and as we talked, she told me that her son had also died of cystic fibrosis in 2007 at the age of 18 and her only other child, a son, was awaiting a double lung transplant- he also had cystic fibrosis. I can't even begin to imagine the pain that this mother has suffered. Losing one child must be horrific, but to lose two children and to have another child so ill- I can't imagine there can be much worse for anyone to endure. Yet, this mother was so cheerful and anxious to help collect items for us, it was incredible. I don't know where she gets her strength from. When I got off the phone with her, I just stared out into space for a while, just trying to comprehend the magnitude of what she went through and how kind she is to want to help others. I don't have children, but I do know that I've always been worried of something happening to my brother and sisters- I don't know how I could go on living if I lost one of them- and if I lost two, it makes me cry just to even think of the magnitude of such a loss.

It is amazing the stories that people carry with them and the things that they overcome- one of the women that hosted an event for us emailed me last month about how she wanted to be more involved in Project Smile- she wrote about how she had dealt with trauma in her life. She had survived the Station Nightclub fire- a horrendous 2002 inferno that killed 100 people. Seven of her friends had died in the fire. When I read that, I tried to imagine what that must have been like. I go out with groups of friends all the time- and I couldn't even imagine the idea of going out with 7 friends for a night of fun and they all died. It is terrible just to think of it- I can't imagine living through something like that. I guess that no one can imagine these situations until they happen and you are forced to live through them- to find a way to carry on.

It is inspiring to think of the people that want to help Project Smile, particularly this lovely little girl who wanted to donate her stuffed animals to us and her resilient mother who is fulfilling her daughter's wishes. When things are tough and I'm feeling uninspired, I will think of her and all the other people that support our work- who believe in what we're doing.
Until tomorrow friends..

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Week, New Month

Well, here we are- into the first week of November. I feel slightly shocked because I don't know where the heck October went. There was so much that I didn't get done last month, it isn't even funny. But that's water under the bridge and now we're onto a new month and working on getting things done so we wind up the year on an upswing. I was working on our event next month with the Hello Stiletto Shoe Club- Santa and Stilettos (isn't that a great name?). It is a holiday themed party at Felt, the Boston nightclub. It is a lot smaller than our two big events, but it should be a nice fundraiser. Hello Stiletto is an awesome womens social organization based on women and their love of shoes. I've been going to their events for a couple of years and always have such a fun time. They are the reason that Sofft was on board as our date auction sponsor as well. We're working together for the holiday party. Melissa (shoe club founder) already arranged the venue and date. Today, I got a DJ on board and I'm still working on finding some fun, attractive men who would like to dress up as Santa Claus and greet the ladies and judge the shoe contest. The event itself will be fun and simple- most of the shoe club events are like that and that's one of the things that I've always liked about it. I also want to do a holiday ornament swap, but I'm trying to figure out the logistics of doing an ornament swap with a large crowd. I've only ever done it with 20 people or so. I also want to do small silent auction as well. It was kind of funny working on event related things today. I haven't done any event work in a month, so I actually enjoyed doing it today. Sometimes, I'm not sure how I feel about event planning- in a lot of ways I love it, but in many other ways it is very stressful and frustrating.

Anyways, other interesting news- it looks like we will be offering Project Smile credit cards for our supporters. Capital One just introduced a new program where people can get credit cards and 1% of their purchases will be donated to Project Smile. How cool is that? I applied on Friday to be in the program- it takes a couple of weeks to be approved. Of course, the big thing is to get people to actually sign up for the credit card, but it's an awesome program.

I was also working briefly on calendar sales- we still have a lot of calendars left to sell and only about 8 weeks left. I didn't get to contact any new departments today which was annoying- I got wrapped up in other things.

I am struggling with my new email plan and I'm starting to think that maybe it isn't the right plan for me. The goal was to respond to each email as it comes in. However, I can't seem to do that. A lot of times, I will read and email then come back to it later. The problem is that sometimes I never come back to it- very bad. so, I've been trying to take care of it immediately as was recommended, but I can't get myself to do that consistently. I think maybe that plan doesn't work with the way my brain functions. I usually need time to make a decision- I like to think about things before taking an action. I've been that way most of my life, so maybe that's part of the reason I'm struggling to respond to email immediately- my brain just needs more time. So instead of trying to fight myself, my new plan is to dedicate time at the end of the day to respond to the emails that came in. That way, I've already read them and had time to think. Obviously, if something urgent comes in earlier, I'm not going to wait hours to respond. It's important to come up with a plan that works for you- the original email plan sounds awesome, but it doesn't seem like it is awesome for my brain. It's kind of like how I'm a night person and really don't function well in the morning. I used to fight that and would force myself to start work earlier, even though I accomplished practically nothing. I stopped doing that and my productivity increased. The fact is that I can't think well in the morning- I can think great in late morning, afternoon and late night. It is dreadful if I have to do anything productive in the morning.

I have to go to sleep- I think I'm fighting off a bug because I've been amazingly tired for the last couple of days. I didn't blog last night because I was too tired. Hopefully, I can keep getting a lot of sleep and I won't be sick. It is only 12:35, but my eyes are hurting and I'm about ready to roll over and conk out. Until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Oh, I'm tired. I know that isn't exactly interesting news, but my energy level feels like its running in the negative digits right now. It is barely 11pm and I'm actually going to bed early tonight. I haven't had enough sleep for a while now and it is catching up to me. Last night made it worse because I didn't go to bed until after 2am. I'm also watching a very tedious World Series game (I'm a Yankees fan), so that isn't exactly helping raise the energy level. Anyways, enough of my griping. What's new? Well, I finally got my October newsletter done and sent out today. I changed the subject line to make it more interesting, so we can increase the open rate even more. It is so important to do a test email before sending out- there was a error in the test email that Lisa had to fix. It is embarrassing to send out things that contain errors, so I'm glad that was caught.

I went to a networking event in Providence tonight. It was an interesting event and I think I made some connections that have real potential. There are quite a few people that I will be following up with tomorrow. I went with a friend- I really enjoyed going with her because she does a lot of networking and she was also very encouraging. I find it difficult sometimes in large networking groups like that to approach people, so it was helpful to have a friend to be with and to keep you motivated. One of my goals this year was to participate in more networking events and I have done that, but there is definitely more that I can do.

Last night, I finished the grant which was due next Monday and emailed it over. I have 3 other grants that I need to work on in the next few weeks. I also need to contact more police and fire departments tomorrow. I've been working on trying to stay updated with emails by taking action immediately, but that hasn't been going so well. Some emails I do respond to as soon as I get them, but I wait to come back to quite a few- I'm trying to break that habit, but it is really hard.

Well friends, I'm sorry to be boring tonight- I'm awfully tired and need to sleep. Hopefully, with a good night's sleep I will be back at full force tomorrow. I have so much to do, so much to catch up on- this tiredness just isn't kicking it. Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wrapping Up October

Can you imagine this is the last week of October? It doesn't seem real. It has been a pretty interesting year so far- things have been picking up financially- mostly due to the success of our 2 big events, so that has definitely been a good thing. This has been a tough month and I'm not where I had planned to be after our events- I had a lot of things that I was going to work on that I simply haven't gotten to yet. Maybe some of it was a bit too ambitious (if there is such a thing), but mom's injury also really threw me- probably more than it should have. But, I can't worry about time lost and things that I didn't get done. The most important thing is that I'm getting back on track and will get to the things that I had planned to already have done. Mom is getting better too, so that has been a relief.

Things were moving along pretty well today. I was late as usual in working on our October newsletter, but I did get it almost all done. I just need to send it Lisa, so she can format it, then send it to our web host. Earlier this year, I set a goal that we would double the number of people on our email list- so far, we have already more than tripled it. It is such a great feeling when you set a goal that you're not even sure you'll get too and end up passing it. I usually do our newsletters at the end of the month, but I don't like leaving it to the very end like this.

I was also working on a grant which is due on Monday. It is a slightly different grant than ones we usually work on. We are asking for the maximum amount of $5,000. We are a perfect fit for what they fund, but I'm not sure how much of a chance we have. They only choose a couple of organizations to fund and they don't have a lot of money, but we would be ideal. They like to fund organizations that help children and smaller non profits as well- perfect for us.

I did read an interesting article today about dealing with email. I have a problem with my email- I'm sure it is a very common problem. I get a lot of emails everyday, I will read them, but don't always respond immediately, but then sometimes I will forget to respond. I know it is bad to respond late or to forget to respond at all and I need to fix that. The article was based on advice by a Google CEO. He responds to every email immediately- either forward, delete, reply or decide that you will never reply. I need to train myself to do that. I did try this afternoon, I responded to some, but then got distracted with other things (the grant) and told myself that I would come back to it later, but I still haven't and it is now 1:30am. It takes 21 consecutive days to develop a new habit, so I need some time. I think that's a great idea though and I want to improve my handling of email.

Well friends, it is 1:34 and I need to sleep. I was slightly traumatized with a super early wake up call this morning, but I survived and managed to get quite a bit done. Except right now, my eye is closing and I'm starting to think that I can just roll over and fall asleep without turning off computer, getting laundry from dryer, putting out lights, brushing teeth, writing my list for tomorrow- it seems like too much work. Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Must Blog

Well, this is going to be a short posting. I'm so tired, but I didn't want to go 2 nights without blogging. It's not like I even have anything fascinating to say, but it didn't feel right not to blog. I don't even know why I'm so tired, my day wasn't any busier than usual. I still feel out of my regular schedule and I think that is what makes me feel tired. The networking event that I went to last night was great- it was speed networking at the DWC Worcester chapter. I was helping out at the event as the time keeper. For most of the evening, I sat next to Donna, a professional photographer, and one of the group organizers. So I spent a lot of time listening to her talk to the other person at the table and I really learned a lot from her. I had already heard that when you talk about your business, you also have to say what you are looking for- what your needs are. I don't usually do that. I'm very clear when I talk about Project Smile and what our mission is, but I know that when I go to networking events, I'm not usually specific about what we need. When I'm working on fundraising events, then I usually do say what we're looking for, but that is the only time. Donna was very clear when she talked about what she was looking for and she also asked the other person what they were looking for. Donna came across as very professional and engaging. Listening to Donna, made me realize how important it is for me to specify what we need when I talk about Project Smile.

Anyways, I think that is it tonight- my eyes are hurting and I need to sleep. One of my goals tomorrow is to clean up my office- I have lots of little things piled up that I've been meaning to get to, but haven't. I have more auction items to get to some people before I can close the folder on that event. Tomorrow, I want to work on the grant that is due by the end of the month and I want to reach out to more police and fire departments. Well, I'm off to close my eyes and sleep. I'm glad that I blogged- even though it was brief- my nights don't feel like they end right if I don't blog during the week. Until next time friends..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting Things Done

Well, it's a new week and things are getting back onto the right track. I did have some family things to take care of during the day, but I also managed to get quite a bit of work done. I finished the grant that was due and sent it out overnight mail. This was the same grant that I lost the application for. On Friday, I emailed the my contact person there and asked her if she could email me another copy of the application. I didn't hear back from her, so I called the only other contact that I had this morning and he said that she didn't work for the organization anymore. He thought it would be fine to use last year's grant application form, so that's what I did. I also added a note explaining that I lost the original form and wasn't able to get a new one on short notice. I hope they understand and don't hold it against us. I know it looks bad to lose things and I've never done something like that before, but with all the distractions that have been going, I must have done something with it. I'm glad that I got it done today and I was also relieved that it was a simple application. Some applications are a lot more complicated and take a lot longer, so it is always appreciated when the grants are less intense.

I was also back at work on calendar sales today- there is a lot more that I need to do, but I did make some progress today. I also scheduled our next donation to the Dept. of Children and Families for Thursday. I also spoke with Morgan Memorial Goodwill about donating stuffed animals and other items again for their annual holiday party. We've donated to them for the past 2 years for their children's party and I'm always happy to be involved with them. I would also like to work with the Worcester Schools again to donate items for their children's holiday party.

It felt good to be making progress today. I still have a lot to do to catch up, but at least today was a good day and I got things done. My list for tomorrow is going to be really long, but I will be working in my office almost all day, so I should be able to get a lot done. I have a networking event in the evening, Downtown Womens Club, Worcester speed networking which I'm looking forward to going to. I'm also helping out at the event too.

Well, I am very tired. I haven't exercised in 3 days and I hate that- I always feel better when I exercise. I try to do it every day and I usually do, but I've been falling off my schedule lately and not exercising the way I should be. I also wanted to read tonight, but now I'm too tired. Anyways, off to write my list- then bed. Until tomorrow friends..

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Still Behind

Ah, so what's new? Well, I've been trying to catch up on the million little things that need done, but I'm still really far behind. This has been a rough week in terms of getting a lot accomplished. I also have a grant application that came in the mail a couple of days ago, but it seems to have disappeared. We received a grant from this Foundation for the past 2 years, so it is important to get our application done. I know I can probably ask for another application, but i don't like having to ask because it makes me look disorganized. I'm sure it will turn up tomorrow, it probably just got misplaced with the ton of other things that need attention. I also have a lot of web updates that I need to send in and I have to finish our October newsletter. I also need to get moving with calendar sales. I think that things will be better next week. My sister is moving out this weekend and with my mom being injured, I've been trying to help her out as well. Things are going OK with the move, but it has been really stressful. I feel really guilty because of all the work that I haven't got this week and last. I had so many plans for what I was going to work on once my big events were over and I haven't done any of them yet. Of course, i didn't plan on these other things happening that required my attention. I wish I wasn't missing work, but when family needs your help, you have to be there and I want to be there to help. I think that things will be better next week- my sis will have moved and even though my mom still needs help, I will get a better grasp on my schedule and really focus on getting my work done.

I'm tired. I know I should go back and work, but I don't think my little mind can focus. I am really proud of myself with one thing though- I listened to my instinct. I met someone recently and although they were saying all the "right things", my instinct told me that things weren't right. I don't know why, but I definitely felt it. So, instead of ignoring what I was feeling, I paid attention to it. A few days later, my instinct proved me right- I didn't even have to do anything. I know it doesn't sound like much and it was only a small thing, but I'm proud of myself for paying attention to my instinct. I do it all the time in work, but in personal matters it is a lot harder for me- so this was a really good thing.

Anyways friends, that's my story for tonight. I'm going to write my list for tomorrow- it will be a multiple page list, then I might read for a bit. I'm trying to read more, I have so many good books that I want to read, but it is hard to find the time. I might also just go to sleep- which, since it is already 12:20 and I'm tired, I should probably do. Ah decisions! Until next time..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nice Surprise and Trying to Catch Up

Well, not a lot has changed since my post last week. I'm still really behind on work. Things have been stressful with family issues and I haven't been working the way that I need to be. I am trying to do the best that I can, but it is not enough. I have a lot of work that needs attention. I need to be back in full work mode tomorrow, otherwise it is going to get overwhelming. I'm trying to balance everything that needs to be done, but work has suffered this past week. I know it is OK to take days off and I shouldn't feel so guilty- they are important things that need attention- it's not like I've been goofing off. It is just hard when you're not able to spend the amount of time on things that you need to. I should work more at night, but I've been so tired it is hard to get anything done. Anyways, hopefully tomorrow I will get back to an almost normal schedule.

I did get there was some unexpected good news today- we received a $1,000 donation from Curtiss Wright Controls. They donated to us last year as well- the employees donated at their annual summer event and the company matched their donation. I'm not sure if they did an event this year too, it wasn't mentioned in their letter. I was so happy to get their donation. I totally wasn't expecting it. Ongoing donations like this one are so important. We need to keep getting annual donations and continue to bring in new sponsors in order to really grow financially.

Well, I am hungry and tired. I went to my monthly DWC Providence networking event tonight, it was good as always. It is a really good group of women and I've made a lot of excellent connections. I probably don't need anymore food- I had dinner at home early, went to networking and then came home and finished off my cucumber/yogurt mixture, had some toast and salmon pate (from Ikea- love it!) and then a banana- which is quite an odd combination. Now, I'm craving cheese and a warm French roll. Doesn't that sound delicious? I think I'll heading towards the kitchen in a few- until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Need to Catch Up

Yikes, I am so far behind on things. It is funny, I thought that after our events were over, I could relax a bit and get back to normal work. Except, I still have a lot of people to contact that were involved in the event, checks to deposit, grants that need attention, bills to pay, a few more auction items to get to people and also I need to work on getting auction items sold that didn't sell at the event. I also have a lot of work to do to help Michelle with our NH efforts and also with Carolee and our CT efforts. There was a really sad thing that happened last week- the night before my big event, my mom fell down a flight of stairs at a house she was showing and broke 2 bones in her foot. She wasn't able to make it to our event and it was really sad not to have her there. We had such a great turnout and it was such a good event, I really wish she could have seen it. To make matters worse, she fell on Monday while using crutches and badly sprained her wrist. It is really hard to see mom like this- she has always been so active and energetic, so to see her laid up with broken bones is dreadful. I've been trying to help as much as I can to make sure she is comfortable and to help her out with her work when she needs. I know that things will be OK with her and on the grand scale of everything that could go wrong- a broken foot and sprained wrist is not so bad, but it is very stressful to see her like that. I know that work has been suffering these last couple of days because of everything that is going on. Usually I would stay up late to catch up on things, but these last couple of nights I have been so tired, I haven't had the energy to go back to work.

It was a horrible sight last week to see mom being taken to the hospital by ambulance. Ever since I can remember, I've always worried about something happening to her. I can't imagine life without my mother- it is such a lonely, painful thought. I know that in the natural progression of life, it will happen- but I don't know how I could ever be whole again without her in my life. I can't imagine going through my days without ever talking to her, without telling her all my silly stories and without all the encouragement she gives me. Just the thought of it makes me cry. I need to get off this train of thought- she only has a broken foot and a sprained wrist- it's not like we found out she has a serious illness. Hopefully, things will heal up quickly and in 4-6 weeks she will be off the cast and moving around normally. Someday, I will have to walk in this world without her, but hopefully that day will not be for an extremely long time and in the meantime I will enjoy the time we do have together- just like I always do.

It's been so nice how some of my friends have offered to help out if I needed anything. I really appreciate that. It means a lot to know that people are there when things get rough.

Anyways, what else is new? Well, today I went to pick up our auction items that were sold for way less than the min. bids at our Anniversary event. There was a guest who attended our event and towards the end of the night, wrote in bids on our silent auction items that were so far below the min bid listed on the auction sheet, that it wasn't even funny. The ladies volunteering at our payment table inadvertently allowed the payments to be processed and the woman left with our items. She bid $10 on a number of items which was just a tiny fraction of the min. bid. The items included golf outings, autographed sports memorabilia, theatre tickets, hotel stay, symphony tickets- really nice valuable items. I called her on Monday when I saw the bid sheet and explained that the items should not have been given to her since they didn't meet the min. bids- she told me she had already given them all away and got off the phone. I called her back a short time later because I wanted to come to a resolution, she didn't call me back. The next day I sent her an email and mailed her a certified letter asking for the items to be returned and we would refund her money or a donation made to cover the amount of the min. bids. I explained that businesses donate these certificates in order to help us raise funds (not to be given away as if we were running a flea market) and that the money that our items could have generated is extremely important for us. She emailed me back that evening saying she would send me back the items and I could refund her money. I picked them up today at her home. I didn't want to wait for them to arrive in the mail or deal with the whole "guess they were lost in the mail" excuse. I was so happy that the situation was resolved and we got our items back. I was so angry and upset that someone would attend our charity event and walk out with a gift certificate worth $225 that she just bid $10 on (as well as the 8 other items)- even though each bid sheet clearly stated what the min. bid was. I don't know why someone would do that.

I really made an effort to communicate effectively with her- I was as polite as possible, but also firm. I wanted her to understand why it was a problem that she spent so little for our items and to give her options to resolve the situation. I also wanted her to know that I was serious about needing the items back. I did tell that if I didn't hear from her or if she didn't return the items or pay the difference to reach the min. bids that I would take steps to have the gift certs. voided. In this situation, I wasn't going to give up until it was resolved in our favor. I work too hard to get all those items donated and also, it is my responsibility to protect Project Smile's interests. And it is in our interest that merchandise worth well over $1,000 is not sold for $140. The gift certs. can be used in other events or other ways to help raise funds.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. It is so early, only 11:53! I am going to go clean up in the kitchen, write my list for tomorrow and maybe read for a little bit. That was another of my self promises- that when our events were over, I would read more. I do enjoy reading, but it is hard to find the time. I'm so tired, I'm not sure if I'll actually get to the reading portion of the night- might be more like the usual- turn on ESPN and roll over and fall asleep immediately. Until tomorrow..

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


What a wonderful evening! We had our best attendance ever at our Anniversary event. It was so exciting and I was so incredibly happy to see so many people. I would like to thank everyone who attended- thank you for making it a successful night. Thank you also to everyone who donated and helped sponsor, our volunteers who helped and everyone who helped spread the word and made it such a great event. It is funny how it always starts out slow- it was 6:30 and there were maybe 10 people there. I was starting to get worried and had visions of a miserable event, but then it seemed like I blinked my eyes and the room was getting full. We actually ran out of food really quickly- something that hadn't happened before. The ballroom looked terrific. The Doubletree did a great job. Karen Swensen was absolutely wonderful, she gave a great speech and really tied it into Project Smile's mission. If anyone is looking for a speaker for their event, I would definitely recommend her- she is terrific. Miss Massachusetts Sweetheart was also very nice- she was very friendly and really did a great job interacting with guests and also showing off our live auction items. Our host, Dick Ferrucci, did a great job with the live auction- I love the way he does auctions. So what was the dollar amount? Well, we are at over $7,000. I still have more auction items to get to people and I don't count that until we get paid.

I'm so happy it was a success. I need to get some photos up on our site and on FaceBook too. There are also a lot of auction items I need to get to people. It was funny today not to have to work on getting auction items- it has been on my list since January. I don't miss it though. I have so many other things that need attention- contacting police/fire and grant writing in particular.

Well, it is 1:25 and I am very tired. There are some personal issues happening and it has been very hectic here lately. Until tomorrow friends...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hours to Go

Well, here we are- just a few hours away from the big event. This is going to be a short blog, because it is already 2am and I should be in bed. How are things going? The bid sheets are all done, everything is packed and ready to be loaded into the car tomorrow. We can't get into the hotel to set up until 4pm which is a little frustrating, but still plenty of time. I've been trying to get everything done tonight so that my to-do list tomorrow is very small. I do need to go to the bank in the morning and get small change. I also need to work on my speech. It is only a brief speech, but I do need to take some time and think about it more. I'm really nervous and excited. I hope that everything goes smoothly- that it all looks good, the slideshow plays properly, my credit card machine works, I don't drop the very pretty cake, our musicians and special guests and host show up and most of all- lots of people show up, have a great time and buy all our auction items. I know that I've put together a great event and I'm really proud of it. I couldn't have worked any harder to get great auction items and I don't know what else I could have done to get people to attend. Hopefully, tomorrow night everything will come together as it should and we will have a great night.

Anyways friends, I need to sleep- my eyes are hurting and I want to be fresh and glowing tomorrow night- not frazzled and exhausted! Wish me lots of luck and if you're anywhere near the Milford area or have friends near here- join us tomorrow! Until next time...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Almost There

Only a day and a half to the big event- can you imagine it is finally almost here? I can't really. I don't know what I'm going to do when I don't have auction items to keep following up on. Just kidding- I have a million things that I'm behind on because I've been paying so much attention to our events. Today, I was working on our bid sheets- they are almost done, I still have the sports items left to do and a few others. I'm a little worried because one big ticket item still hasn't arrived. I spoke to the business on Monday and was assured it was coming before our event, so it should be fine, I just wish it was here already. There is one other item that was promised and I haven't received. I spoke with them last week and they said they were sending out the gift certificate last week. It doesn't take that long for a certificate to arrive from the Boston area, so I don't think that will be in the auction. It is annoying though because I have them listed in our program as a donor. It is pretty crappy behavior to promise an auction item and then never deliver. It was small item, so it won't have much impact, but it was still a nice item to include and every dollar raised is important to us.

Today, I picked up some other cool items- 4 tickets to the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra (I have never been to a show, but I've always heard people raving about it, so I'm determined to go this year), a $100 Hannaford Supermarket gift card and another $50 one for the raffle, a lovely sewing box and gift certificate and tonight I picked up our Trader Joe's gift bag. Natalie finished our program, it would have been printed today, except that I forgot someone on the donor list and had to wait until Natalie got home to add it in. Tomorrow, I will pick up the programs, pick up our beautiful cake at Konditor Meister, write my speech, finish the bid sheets (I was going to finish them after I blogged, but my eyes are really tired), and tomorrow I'll send some last minute reminders and make some calls to keep reminding people about our event. We are looking OK for attendance, I heard today from some people who I didn't think were coming, but they are. If everyone shows up who has said they would and if people bring the friends they said they would, then we should be OK. I'm really nervous about everything, but I'm trying to stay calm and stayed focused on getting everything taken care of so we can have a smooth and successful event.

Be sure to check out my friend and Project Smile board member, Michelle's blog. I just put a link to it on my blog. Michelle's blog is about supporting a non profit- Project Smile! She is working hard to expand Project Smile in the New Hampshire area. It is a cool blog, so please be sure to keep checking it out.

Well friends, I'm off to bed. It was funny- I ended up going back to work after I finished blogging the last time and didn't go to bed until after 3am. Last night, I was so tired, I was in bed by 12:15- so early. Anyways, until tomorrow friends..

9 Months Became 4 Days

I can't believe we are here- only 4 days to our big event. It seems like yesterday that I started working on it- heck, last year's event seems like yesterday too. How are things going? They're OK. A friend came by today to help work on the bid sheets for the auction and our intern stayed late tonight to keep working on them. I've lost count, but I think I have about 30 more to go- that's not bad since we have over 100 items. Our intern also did the calendar photo montage that will play at the event too. I picked up a very pretty Tupperware gift basket tonight. Tomorrow, I'm picking up a salon gift basket, then I'm off to Boston to pick up the Beija Rum for our event. On Wednesday, I have two more items to pick up- our Trader Joe's gift bag and another item. There is also another item that I need to follow up with and there is a big ticket item that hasn't arrived yet, I followed up with that one this morning and was assured it would arrive before the event. I was planning on finishing the rest of the bid sheets tonight, but I acted like a bit of a bum tonight and really didn't do anything except waste time on Facebook, chat with my sis and watch a bit of TV- not exactly the Productive Polly that I was intending to be.

I'm really nervous about getting people to the event. We're doing OK, but I wish it was better. A number of friends have said they're bringing people, so as long as they do, things should be fine. I wish it wasn't so difficult to get people to attend. I don't know what else to do. We have a wonderful event, I chose the best date possible- I know some people say that Milford is out of the way, but it makes sense since this is where we are based and because many of the people in our calendar are located here. I don't know where else to have it- I know if I moved it to Boston, a lot of our supporters wouldn't go because they don't want to drive into Boston. There's really no point in thinking about this now since the event is 4 days away. I've tried to cut costs with our hotel bill, but haven't been able to lower it from last year. We're not over budget, and I have saved money with having Natalie do our program, but then I had to spend money on our invitations that I got printed for free for the last few years. The event is going to cost about the same as it did last year. I couldn't figure out a way to cut cost without sacrificing some of the event. It is really important to have a consistently good quality event and I don't want to risk people thinking that it wasn't a good event and not wanting to come back next year. I don't know why I'm getting all worried about things- especially things that are already set. I did a good job with planning the event and I made the right decisions, should there is no reason to second guess. The sponsorship dollars cover the cost of the event and that is important. Last year, we had double the amount of financial sponsors, but the economy was in better shape last year.

Anyways, I'm getting tired and when I get tired I get anxious. I don't know if I should just go to bed or go back and work on those bid sheets. If I start working, I probably won't go to bed until 3am- when I start working, I can get somewhat obsessed and keep going until things are done. So, it is probably best if I stick to a normal bedtime and go to bed now- 12:21. I haven't exercised in a few days and that's throwing me off too. There are also some personal things happening too which has made things pretty turbulent. Anyways friends, I'm off to bed or work- I'll let you know tomorrow...

Friday, September 25, 2009

So much to do

Here we are- just over a week to our next big, and very important event. How are we doing? Well, we have over 100 fabulous auction items. Seriously, this is the best silent auction I have ever been to. There is something for everyone and the vast majority of our items are very affordable. I was at the hotel finalizing our menu- it is similar to last year with a nice selection of appetizers. I wish we could do more, but I can't afford it. Now, I need people. We are struggling to get a good turnout. I know this happens every time, but it seems to be even harder this year. I know things are difficult with the economy, but our event is only a $10 ticket- people get free food, a free rum cocktail and a calendar- i think that's a really good deal. I've been asking everyone who is coming to spread the word and bring friends. I've been getting the word out to people as much as possible. Tomorrow, I'm back to work on the phone- following up with people. It is so nerve wracking to get people to show up- really, really difficult. I don't know what else to do. Tomorrow, I also need to start doing the bid sheets for the auction and get more info to Natalie for the program. There are a lot of other things that need attention to- our newsletter, grants, police/fire contacts and more. I just need to spend a lot of time on this event, because this is our last big event of the year and the money from this event is extremely important.

There was an encouraging thing today- I was on Constant Contact (our email marketing tool) earlier, sending out our Anniversary event invitation again. I always look at the open rate for our emails and I always thought that they were really low. Then I saw that CC had a tool where you could compare your open rate to other related companies. The open rate for other non profits averaged 12% lower than Project Smile. So we are doing better than average with the success rate of our newsletters. Once this event is over, I want to do some online training that CC offers to help improve the open rate of our newsletters and email marketing even more. Our email database has more than doubled in the last few months, so I really want to work on reaching out to those connections in a successful ongoing way.

So what else is going on? I can't remember. My little brain is fixated on trying to get people to our event next week. I need to relax and just keep working methodically on contacting everyone. If you can help me, please spread the word to get people to come to our Anniversary event- Friday, October 2, 6:30pm, Doubletree Hotel, Milford. See our events page for more info. It is a terrific event, I really do need help in getting people there though.

I'm going to take my worried self and go to bed- actually before that, I'm going to have more non fat Trader Joe's European Style yogurt with oj. I just tried it tonight and it is delicious! Until tomorrow friends..

Monday, September 21, 2009

12,000 Successes

Date Auction Success to the tune of $12,000 raised! What a night it was! The funny thing was that we managed to raise almost 30% more than last year even though the winning date auction bids were significantly less than last year. This year most people went around the $100 range- the highest was a woman for $400 and a few men went in the $200 hundred range. We had absolutely beautiful and accomplished people, so there definitely wasn't an issue with the bachelors/ettes and we had some very hot fire fighters. The lower bids were definitely a sign of the economic troubles- people have less money to spend. So how did we increase from last year? We raised our ticket prices and we sold a lot more tickets in advance. Our silent auction items did well too, we actually increased the profit margin on some of our sports items and the airline tickets went for $600.

Almost as important as the amount of money raised was the awesome feedback we received. We had 500 people at Gypsy Bar and I heard so many good things from people that attended or were auctioned off. Katie, from Sofft Shoes, was able to attend and I think she really enjoyed the event. Our presenting sponsor, Table for Eight, was also in attendance for the first time. I was really happy that they could see our event firsthand and just how cool it is. We also got really good feedback on our gift bags. I wish that Axe and some of the other donors could have been their to see it. One of my personal highlights was to see our bright green Project Smile bags walking down Bolyston Street after the event. When we walked over to get my car, two girls that got in the elevator both were carrying their Project Smile bags and it made me so happy to see. In terms of marketing Project Smile, the date auction is awesome.

Our volunteers also did a great job, we had about 20 volunteers helping. It really makes a difference when you have reliable people helping. I spent a lot of time Saturday following up with people to get their silent auction items to them, thanking people (I still haven't finished) and following up with the ladies to get their Sofft Shoes order form. It was kind of funny to wake up today and not have to work on getting gift certificates for the date auction. I am working on getting already promised auction items for the anniversary event next week though- we still have a lot of items that were promised, but we haven't received yet. I also need to keep working on getting people to attend- we are really short on that so far. I did get some fabulous jewelry pieces in the mail today from Melissa- she sells jewelry and also helps sponsor our calendar for the last few years.

In other good news, our calendars are ready! I am picking them up tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to seeing them. I'm also dropping off a sport auction item in Boston after I pick up the calendars. Then, I'm back to work on getting people to our big event next week. It is such an awesome event, it really should be easier to get people to attend. I really need people to bring their friends with them- that is the best way to get people to attend. One of our highlighted auction items hasn't arrived yet, so I'm getting a little worried about that.
Anyways friends, I am really tired- it will be an early night tonight- it is only 12:12. Until tomorrow friends...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Here We Are

Well, here we are, our biggest event of the year is only 18 hours away. Nine months of work, countless hours of stress and it all hinges on 2 1/2 hours tomorrow- one chance to make it all go right, one chance to have hundreds of happy guests who can't wait until next year's event. Just a little bit of pressure wouldn't you say? Whatever happens tomorrow night, I do know that I've worked my hardest on this event. I've done everything possible to market, to recruit good people to auction, obtain sponsors and other donations, volunteers, I've stayed on budget, I've planned out all the details- I don't know what else I could do to prepare, I honestly don't. So I just hope that it is enough. Last year, it was enough, can we please do it again this year? And how about doing it a little bit better? The thing is, I know it can be good, when I close my eyes, I can see tomorrow being absolutely fabulous. It was wonderful last year, it can be even better. I hope that I have everything covered, I hope there are no disasters that I have no control over.

The signs are there that the event will be good- we have sold more than double the amount of tickets that we sold last year. That is tremendously good news, especially with the economy the way it is and we did raise our price $3, but also included a gift bag. I'm also really happy with the cool items that we have for our gift bags. We did have some awesome promotion for our event- Boston Event Guide is always a great marketing source. Yelp had our event featured in their newsletter last week, Going.Com is promoting it- it is even listed at the #1 event that Bostonians are attending this weekend! Our Stuff magazine ad that they donated looked great. Tomorrow, the Globe should have a nice promo in the G section on our auction, so that would be great for people looking for a last minute Friday night activity.

Well, I don't know what else to say. I should probably go to bed. I have to pack up my little bedside lamp to take with me tomorrow. The lighting is pretty dim at Gypsy in certain areas, so I always bring additional lights. I'm waiting until after 9am tomorrow to print out our guest list, in case we get an early morning ticket sales. Our web host has it programed so the ticket link is disabled at 9am, people are then directed to buy tickets at the door. I have a bunch of volunteers coming tomorrow, so that will be a big help. We should be good- I just wish I could relax, but that's OK. Jeff at Boston Event Guide was so happy for us with our ticket sales. It's sound refreshing to talk with enthusiastic people.

OK, I'm starting to ramble. So I'm going to stop now, write my list of things not to forget tomorrow, then going to bed early (1am is the goal), and be ready for tomorrow. Wish me luck friends!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Count Down

OK, this is going to be an eleven minute blog- it is 1:49 and my goal is to have the lights out by 2:05. I'm trying really hard to keep on a good sleep schedule so I'm not totally exhausted by Friday. I'm really tired anyways. So how are things? Going pretty well. I picked up some gift certificates this afternoon and I bought a bunch as well- some friends had donated money to cover the cost. Then I got back to work this afternoon and had two emails confirming that we will be getting their gift certificate donations for the event. It was kind of funny, since I didn't need to go and buy all the ones that I did. But I couldn't have predicted that was going to happen and I wanted to get things covered. We sold a lot of tickets today which is really good, we've sold 40% more tickets than we had sold this time last year, so that is pretty awesome. Tomorrow, I have a lot of small things to take care of and I need to stuff our bags with our latest items. A friend is coming over tomorrow evening to help with that.

I also need to keep getting the word out for our anniversary event and following up with auction items that I haven't received. I am so nervous about everything. I'm trying my best to relax and stay calm and focused on getting all the details taken care of. The most important thing right now is to pay attention to the small details- because that is where things can go wrong. I think I have everything covered, but I keep worrying that maybe I'm missing something. I did my walk thru at Gypsy today and everything was looking good.

Well, it is 2:01 and I'm off to bed. I know this wasn't exactly the most fascinating post and I'm sorry about that. I need to sleep and write my list for tomorrow. Until next time friends...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

4 Days and Pressure

Well, here we are- 4 days to our biggest event of the year, nine months of work comes down to 2 1/2 hours on Friday night. Will it be a success? Will it bring in the dollars we need so much? Will it run as smoothly as it did last year? I don't know yet, but I'm hoping that it is yes for all three. How do I feel? It is hard to explain- I feel nervous, jumpy, exhausted, anxious, happy on a certain level that we have a really good event planned and excited too. I haven't been sleeping well for the past couple of nights which is really unusual. However things end up on Friday, I do know that I have worked as hard as I could to make this event a success and I am proud of what I've done. We have 41 awesome guys and ladies being auctioned, we met our sponsorship goal, we have done a lot of marketing, we have awesome gift bags, good hosts, good venue, some really cool auction and raffle items- I've been doing everything that is necessary to have a successful event, but that doesn't really help me feel any better. I got a lot of prep work done today- did bid sheets, bought table covers, checked our credit card machine to make sure it was working (it is), got our table lamps out, pens, raffle tickets, etc. I'm trying to get as much done as early as possible. Sometimes, that is easier said than done. Tomorrow was the deadline for gift bag items, so I could do one final stuffing tomorrow night. I just found out this afternoon, that one of our sponsors is bringing gift bags to the event on Friday that we will have to stuff that day. I'm glad they are including items, but I wish we could have had it all done before event day. Our program was finished tonite, but I'm still waiting for the info from 2 fire fighters who said they were participating. I can't wait much longer. The program is so important, I really want it printed and ready to go by Wednesday.

And what about our other event in 2 1/2 weeks? It is moving along slowly- we really need help in spreading the word and getting people to attend. I am so afraid of our lovely room with its 98 auction items all around, great food, live music, free cocktail and just a couple of people there. How utterly awful would that be? I'll end up waging a bidding war with myself for auction items. I did get an email from a woman today through Volunteer Match. She offered to help at the event and also spread the word to her friends/family. She sounded very nice on the phone and was enthusiastic, so hopefully she will be able to bring some people with her.

Anyways, my eyes hurt and I have a headache, I really should go to bed. My friend and board member Michelle just started a blog about supporting a non profit (Project Smile) and I need to put a link on our site to it, but I don't think I can concentrate anymore. It is a really good blog too. She is one of our best board members- always so generous and helpful and full of good ideas. I know that sometimes I'm a little slow about getting back to her about things, I'm working on improving that, but she is always patient. She wants to do a road race for PS and I think that would be a wonderful event. Hopefully, we can do it next year, but perhaps it would be the following year- I don't know yet.

I wish I could get rid of these nerves- I keep trying to relax. We're doing well in ticket sales, we already have more tickets sold than we had the night before the event last year. I'm so glad that I booked extra people for the auction- we had a guy drop out today which was disappointing since he was quite attractive, but since I overbooked, we are still OK. It amazes me how someone can drop out of a charity event this big only 4 days before, but at least we were able to get him out of the program. I hate having people in the program who don't show up.

OK, enough writing- headache and eyes getting worse. I'm off to Gypsy tomorrow to do a run thru and pick up gift certificates. I do have to buy some for the couples which is disappointing, but two friends donated money to help cover some of the cost and one of our volunteers donated money too- I love my friends and volunteers!
Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Closing In

Well, here we are- only a week (and a night) before the date auction and 3 weeks to the anniversary event. How are things going? Well, before I go into all that, I just wanted to share something. I was in Boston at a Meet Up dinner at La Verdad, an absolutely delicious Mexican restaurant near Fenway- after dinner, I stopped next door to check out a venue that wants to hold meet up events with us (it was a very nice place), as I walked back to my car, I kept thinking how happy I was just to be- I was happy that I was alive and healthy and happy just to be myself. Maybe that happy feeling was rubbing off, because I noticed that random people smiled at me as I walked up Landsowne Street. It is so nice to have that feeling of contentment.

OK, so back to the latest. Well, things are going OK. I sold 13 more date auction tickets today which was great. We only need 33 more to match what we sold the night before last year's date auction. I definitely think that we are on the right track. The only thing I'm worried about is that a lot of the marketing has already come out- Yelp and Going featured us in this week's newsletter, the Stuff magazine ad already came out (that does stay on the shelves for all of next week too) and our dedicated BEG email has come out. We do have our big newspaper promo on the day of the event, so that is great as a reminder and for people looking for something to do that night and BEG is making us a hot pick next week. So far, we have 138 peeps signed up to attend on FB, that includes a bunch of people being auctioned. I have this event in as many places as possible. Melissa from Hello Stiletto left a comment today about how she is seeing our event everywhere, so that is good. I'm still way short on gift certificates. We've added another 2 bachelors- one who I thought had dropped out, but he just sent me his info (he's very good looking, so I have to include him) and another firefighter. I'm still waiting on the profile info for 2 guys before I can get our program finalized and I'm waiting for our last sponsor ad- I've been waiting for that for a few months now and I really can't wait much longer.

I've also been working on the Anniversary event- that needs a lot of help in getting people to attend. I've been sending out a lot of invitations, I posted it on FB today and tomorrow, I'll post it for my meet up groups. I only have a few people confirmed to attend so far, that's normal, but it is so stressful. I don't understand why it is so difficult to get people to attend. It is a wonderful event- we have 96 awesome silent auction items, including Southwest Airline tickets, Direct Air tickets to FL, round trip transportation for two on LimoLiner, the luxury bus company to NYC, tickets to the Colbert Report and Jimmy Fallon shows, golf outings, restaurant gift certificates, white water rafting trips, kayaking, lots of autographed sports items, Celtics tickets, ice cream cakes, Sharks tickets and signed hockey stick, the TV Diner "Diner for a Day" certificate which gets you featured on the Billy Costa show, autographed Jay Leno t-shirt, children's book and photo, Patriot Brewer cert. from Sam Adams which gets you a case of Sam Adams beer per month for an entire year- there is a long list of things on our website. I've been working for 9 months to get these items.

We have an awesome speaker, Karen Swensen, the NECN news anchor and we have Miss Massachusetts as well. Tickets are only $10 and include a calendar. We have live music, complimentary Beija Rum cocktail, delicious appetizers and of course the debut of our 2010 calendar. This is the type of event that if I saw it, I would love to attend. It has been such a tough year fundraising, so we really need this event to be a big success. I wish there was a magic solution to get people to attend. I did meet with a woman that I met at DWC who helps business people network, she was very excited about helping us promote the event. I liked her a lot, hopefully, she will be able to get quite a few people to attend.

It is funny how important it is to keep following up- there are some businesses that promised items months ago and I have had to leave 5 or more messages following up to get the items. Most of these items, I have finally received. If I didn't keep being so persistent, there would be no way I would have received the donations. It is so important to keep following up with people. There are still two big items that have been promised that I haven't received yet, but I'm going to keep following up with them tomorrow.

Well, that's it for tonight. Tomorrow, I'm back to work on date auction and anniversary event. We need more gift certificates for the couples, I'm losing track of how many we need because I had counted in people that had promised items, but those items haven't materialized and so now, the gift certs. that I have gotten recently- some of them are simply replacing the ones I already thought I had- it is quite frustrating.

Anyways, I'm off to bed at a decent hour, it is 12:30- an early night. Until next time friends.. please wish me happy gift certificate hunting.