Thursday, February 25, 2010

Great Interview!

Well, the interview with Candy O'Terry at Magic 106.7 for her Exceptional Women show went great! She was so nice and I think I did a good job answering her questions. I love talking about Project Smile, so it's not like it's difficult. I also got to talk about mom as well, since she was the one who nominated me. It is funny- when I think about PS, I don't think about what we've achieved, but when I hear someone else talk about it, then it makes me stop and think that we have come along way and done good work. My voice held up thankfully. I still have a sore throat and not feeling all that great- I didn't go to the networking lunch today because I wanted to save my voice. I knew that if I went to networking, I would have to do a lot of talking and I didn't want my voice to be raspy for the radio. I didn't even make a lot of phone calls this morning because I didn't want to use my voice a lot. I was looking forward to the networking lunch, but the radio interview was very important, so I made the right choice. Candy has a special lunch in May for the women who were featured on her show, so I'm looking forward to that. Mom is going to come with me too. It seems like it's a pretty big event.

I was thinking recently about how important it is to pay attention to how the people around you treat others, because that is definitely the way they will treat you one day. I already knew that- having it heard it quite a few times, but I've really seen some sharp examples of that recently. The details don't really matter, but I would watch how they acted with other people and I always had a fear that I would end up being treated the same way and I was. I'm not writing about this to dwell on it, but it is a reminder in the future to really pay attention to how the people in your life treat those around them- both personally and professionally- because someday you will most likely be in their position.

Well friends, I'm off to eat a banana (not in the mood for grapefruit tonight!) and then to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be back to full functioning. It will be a day of sponsors and auction items tomorrow. Until next time...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quiet Days

So what's new? Well, I've been fighting off a bug/cold for the past two days. I definitely don't feel sick enough not to work, but I also definitely don't feel well enough to work with full energy. I've been trying to focus on things that don't require a ton of brain power and energy. I was focusing on getting auction items for our two big events, particularly working on the anniversary event. I sent a lot of emails and made some phone calls as well. I don't have much in terms of results, but that is hardly anything new- it usually takes a while. I did get a couple of commitments for gift certificates, which is a good start. We have a very long ways to go though. I need to do a lot of work for getting date auction sponsors and that has me a little worried. I need to reach more companies, but I need some help in identifying potential sponsors. It is such an awesome event and would be a perfect fit for a company that wants to target that young professional market in Boston. I'm also trying to get a beverage sponsor who will donate product for the gift bags. I've been trying to reach my contact who donated last year, but haven't heard back yet.

I reached out to one of our platinum sponsors for the anniversary event and he emailed me back almost immediately, saying they were back on board for the same level of sponsorship as last year, so that was a good beginning. Even though this would be their 3rd year sponsoring, I still hold my breath before I open their email- I never take support for granted.

I hope I feel better tomorrow- I can't be sick! I have a business networking lunch meeting tomorrow, then I'm off to Boston for a radio interview taping. It's pretty exciting, I'm being interviewed by Candy O'Terry from Magic 106.7 for her show, Exceptional Women. I'm really looking forward to that. I haven't been on the radio in a while and I find it really fun. I love talking about Project Smile and it will be great to meet Candy- I've listened to her on the radio for quite a few years! I don't know when it will air, but I'll keep you posted.

Well, that's about all for me tonight. There are lots of other things to write about, but I can't focus on much more. I hope this generally yucky feeling goes away. I think I'll go have another carrot cupcake that I made tonight- they came out really well and actually pretty healthy- no butter, not too much sugar, egg substitute, no frosting (I'm not a frosting fan), carrots, raisins, walnuts..
Wish me luck for my radio interview- no sick symptoms allowed! Until tomorrow friends..

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Date Auction News

This was a roller coaster of a day- it started out on the downside- I had sent quite a few emails to sponsor's from last year's date auction and hadn't heard anything back. I was also working on trying to get a company that had sponsored a couple of years ago back for this year's date auction. They've had a lot of turnover, so all my old contacts are gone. I called today and got a total run around. I got off the phone and felt so discouraged. I decided to then email my contact at Sofft shoes to ask for their support again for the date auction. The shoe offer is such a huge part of our event, so I was really anxious to have them back on board. I never take anyone's sponsorship for granted. Thankfully, she emailed back just a short time later with good news- they are back to sponsor our date auction with the shoe donation. I am so happy and relieved. So there I was, my day went from lagging to an immediate improvement. We now have 2 big components of our date auction set. It is so great to have Sofft's support again. They are really generous with their donations and so easy to work with- it's wonderful. For those that aren't familiar with Sofft's involvement- they donate shoes for the date auction so that every guy being auctioned off comes with a pair of shoes for the lady with the winning bid. The woman gets to choose from 4 different styles and orders them in her size. It is a really unique promo, that not only encourages women to bid higher since they are getting a pair of beautiful shoes too, but it makes our event special.

It's funny how things happen- I've been stressing about things a lot lately, particularly in terms of raising the funds needed for us to grow on a larger scale. Even though I love Project Smile and can't imagine myself with a different job, there are times when I discouraged. Yesterday, I was feeling that way when I drove to Dudley to drop off stuffies. That afternoon, a lady came over to drop off stuffed animals that her moms group had collected. She told me that the son of one of the mothers in her group had an emergency trip to the hospital recently and the paramedics gave him one of our stuffed animals and it really meant a lot to the little boy. It feels so good to hear stories like that- to hear the feedback from when our items are used.

Anyways friends, I'm off to bed- I already ate my grapefruit! Until next time..

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Date Auction Work

We have date auction hosts! Two well known Boston radio personalities- how cool is that! I am relieved to have that taken care of and to have two people who are well known in the Boston area. I think they will do a great job. I did a lot of work on the date auction. Lisa put our date auction sponsorship info into a nice looking pdf and I was working on contacting last year's sponsors to get them back on board. One start up company that sponsored last year is no longer in business, so that was rather disappointing. I need to work on targeting new companies. It is such an awesome marketing opportunity for businesses who want to reach that young professionals market in Boston. I also started work on getting date auction gift certificates and I've started recruiting single ladies to be auctioned< I asked one of the hosts from last year if she wanted to be auctioned and she is totally into it. She also is recruiting her single girl friends as well.

It is kind of funny- I woke up this morning feeling rather stressed out and not looking forward to working. I didn't write my list last night, I hadn't cleaned my office yesterday as I had intended to- it felt like it was going to be one of those not very productive days. But even before I got out of bed, I decided that I was going to make it a good day- I did my exercising and got going and made it a productive day. I've been rather obsessed with watching Olympic coverage- it is so inspiring to see how hard the athletes work to get to the Olympics. Watching these people who worked many years to get where they are and push themselves as hard as possible, it makes me want to be the very best that I can. I know that I can be better and I want to run Project Smile the very best that I can- I have my version of an Olympic dream. I know that it takes a long time to get there, but it can be done- there's no reason it can't.

I was reading a book tonight that I'm loving- The Friday Night Knitting Club and there was a quote in it that I wanted to share: "Life doesn't always turn out the way you think. Sometimes it's even better". I stopped when I read that and reread it a few times- it was a reminder that good things happen, many good things happen and it's important to hold onto that.

Anyways friends, I'm off to eat grapefruit, write my list, read a little more and try to get to bed before 1am (still doing terribly on the bed by 1am- blame it on NBC rebroadcasting their Olympic coverage starting at 1am, so I can catch up on what I missed earlier!)Until next time..

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chugging Along

Today was a chugging along kind of day- it was much better than yesterday. I still wasn't moving particularly quickly, but I did make progress on a number of fronts. I contacted potential hosts for the date auction, one person has expressed interest in hosting with their radio partner, so if that works out- it would be awesome. I would like to have that settled soon. I was also working on obtaining a special guest speaker for our anniversary event. One person that I really wanted won't be able to attend, that was disappointing, but at least I know that now. I also started work on auction items- I only did a couple, tomorrow, I will contact more. I'm working first on the big ticket items. I proofed the grant again this morning and mailed it. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. It would be great to get this grant. I also submitted our date auction updates to our web host and I need Lisa to do the finishing touches on our auction sponsorship package. I need to start contacting sponsors as soon as possible.

Tomorrow, I'm going to spend most of the day working on events and I want to spend some time on grant writing. I need to focus on getting up to speed with our events- it makes me very anxious when I feel behind on event work. It's funny how I am like clock work sometimes- I was searching for 2 old emails that I had sent to two sponsors last year (I needed to email them about this year's event)- it turns out it is almost a year to the day since I had sent both emails. That actually happens relatively frequently.

Well friends, it is 12:50 and I'm trying to follow the 'bed by 1am' rule that I've imposed. I'm also working on eating lunch earlier (I found that I wait too long to have lunch and get really tired) and also drinking an extra cup of tea during the day to help with energy. I did notice that I had more energy today, so I'm going to stick with my lunch/tea plan. I also used my timer today to keep me focused and used my list. I'm glad it was a productive day- tomorrow is going to be even better. Since tomorrow is Friday and I probably won't be blogging- I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Grant Slowness

Well, today will not go down into the record book as one of the most productive days. The biggest goal was to finish a grant that is due on Friday. It was a relatively simple grant, but for some reason, it took most of the day to write. I don't know what the problem was that it took so long. I haven't worked on grants for a couple of months, so I think my grant writing skills were rather rusty. I was annoyed with myself that it took so long and I was also getting stressed because I have to get moving with event planning for our two big events this fall- I've already started work, but I need to get moving with finding hosts for the date auction, sponsors for both events and auction items. There is more to do than that of course, but those are the things that need immediate attention. I know it seems like we have a while before those events, but it's not actually that long and things need to get moving. I thought I was going to get an energy boost tonight, but that hasn't happened and I think I might just head to bed. The good news is that the grant is done, it just needs to be proofed again before I print it out.

I'm sorry for not being more interesting tonight. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed because I feel so behind with work. There have been quite a few personal distractions lately and I'm trying my best to put them aside, but it can be hard to do sometimes. When I get overwhelmed, the most important thing is for me to go back to baby steps- write my list, follow the items on the list and take everything in small pieces- that is how I get things done. Too much focus on the big picture makes me overwhelmed and unproductive.

On that note, I'm going to eat a grapefruit and write my extensive list for tomorrow. Until next time friends...

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Week and Expanding

This is going to be a short posting- it's not even midnight and I'm so tired- heck, it's not even 11:30! I didn't want to go to bed without blogging though. So what's new? Well, today I did a donation to a homeless shelter in Brockton. I was supposed to do a donation to a shelter in Falmouth as well, but I'm going to mail those instead. It is a small shelter and they only wanted books and coloring books/crayons. I didn't have any other drop-offs scheduled in that area, so I figured it was more practical to mail. This is my first time mailing a donation to somewhere that I could have driven. I also mailed our donation to Columbia, SC police department as well. I was surprised how long it took to tape up and label the boxes for shipping- it's a lot more time consuming that just stacking them in the car. I might have overdone it a little with the tape- I was worried about boxes splitting open.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Connecticut for our first donation to the Dept. of Children and Families, for children entering foster care. I'm pretty excited about this expansion. I want it to be an ongoing partnership, just like it is with DCF in MA. I also did another donation to DCF on Friday.

I have 2 grants to work on. One of the grants is due this week, so that needs immediate attention. I kind of wish I didn't have to drive to CT tomorrow, so I could work on this grant, but I'll just have to do it when I get back. If I was feeling more energized, I would work on it now. I also need to work on the date auction and anniv. event. I have to finish the sponsor packs and then start work on obtaining sponsors and silent auction items. It's funny to think about how I'm already back to work on that.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I was going to have some blueberries and yogurt, but right now- that seems like too much to prepare (how lazy is that!). Until tomorrow..

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


A cool thing happened yesterday- I received a call from a Columbia, SC police officer. He was asking for some help in organizing stuffed animal drive in his community, so that Columbia officers can have them to give to children. Of course, I offered to send stuffed animals and coloring books and reading books to them so they can have them immediately. So we are now expanding to South Carolina- how cool is that? I also gave him so advice on how to organize collections as well, but we're more than happy to send items on a regular basis. Our goal is to become a national charity, so this is one small step to get us there. I was really impressed with how involved this department sounds with its community and they are really into having stuffed animals for children. I would kind of love to bring the stuffed animals down to SC myself so I can meet them, but that isn't really feasible.

So what else is going on? I need to promote our Project Smile credit card more. Capital One just increased their promo- now, when people use their credit card for the first time, we will receive a $50 donation, instead of a $25 donation. I have a nice link on our site to it, I've done a stand-alone email and I've included it in our newsletter, so I'm not sure what else I can do to promote it. I do have to keep getting the word out though. I know a lot of people don't necessarily want to sign up for another credit card, so that's an obstacle. But if we could get a least a small group on board, that would be great. There is no cc fee for the customer and the APR is pretty good and they can design their own card- and we get to benefit with every purchase they make- so it is a really good thing.

There were a lot of things that I didn't get to today. I got distracted with some personal issues. I was planning on going back to work after blogging, but now I'm too tired. I'm going to have a grapefruit and then head to bed. It isn't even midnight, so this should be an early night. Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Year, New Decade

Well, here we are- my 30th birthday is coming to a close. How do I feel? No different than I did at 29! I can't quite believe that I've started a new decade- I've left my twenties forever and here I am- starting something new and special. There were a lot of great things that happened and I want to keep that going. Of course, there were a lot of struggles too, but that is to be expected. I do know that I've learned a lot in my twenties and I'm really grateful for that. I also want to make sure that I hold onto that wonderful youthful energy that I had back when I started PS when I was 23. It's easier to get a bit more cynical, a bit more jaded as one gets older and I don't want that to happen to me. There is something so magical about the energy of youth and I want to hold onto that spark forever. I had a wonderful birthday weekend and I'm so grateful for my family and friends who made it special. It is wonderful to have people in your life who care about you.

On the flip side of that- there was a bizarre incident that happened on our PS Facebook page on Friday. I've been working hard to find an organization that we can partner with to donate stuffed animals for children in Haiti who were victims of the earthquake. I've been having trouble finding someone who will work with us and on Thursday, I spoke with one non profit that was extremely rude and dismissive to us. I shared our frustration on our Project Smile FB page- of course, I'd never mention the non profit that I spoke with, but I did write about the interaction I had. A number of people posted sympathetic comments about what happened. The next night, I went on our page and saw a comment that was written by someone. It was an angry, mean spirited, attacking comment- she said we needed a "REALITY check", that children needed emergency items, "not beanies", that we should consult a particular Hierarchy of Needs writing, we shouldn't name another non profit (we clearly didn't) because they've been doing it a lot longer than us. There was more, but I can't remember.

Now obviously, I know that the children need basic items and we're not trying to throw the medicine and food off the airplanes in order to send stuffed animals, but, according to news reports, there are large amounts of emergency items being sent to Haiti and there are thousands of traumatized children there who have lost all their personal belongings. There were images on TV of children making kites out of household items and of kids playing with sticks in the streets. What is wrong with trying to send stuffed animals to help comfort these children? Why would anyone not want to give them something soft and cuddly to hold? How anyone could have a problem with what we are doing blows my mind. I do know the woman and evidently she has a personal problem with me- I don't know what it is, but to attack the work that Project Smile has done- to trivialize our mission like that is heartless and completely uncalled for. I don't understand what motivates someone to be so mean. In the end it doesn't matter- we're going to keep doing our work, keep trying to bring a smile to kids who have been hurt and traumatized and we're going to keep relying on the kindness and generous support that we have received from so many wonderful people who believe in our work.

On that note, I'm off to write my list for work- it will be my first list written as a 30 year old! Then off to bed- I was going to read, but I'm getting too tired. Until next time friends..