Sunday, April 25, 2010

At the Moment: March for Babies

The blog post for this week was going to be a follow-up to last week's post, Back to Boards, and specifically address the involvement of Generation Xers and Yers in regards to board service; however, I just returned from the March of Babies walk, a fundraising event for the March of Dimes, and I wanted to briefly touch on the experience.

First, I overtly thank all of you who supported my participation in honor of my darling twin nieces, Lucia (pronounced "lu-see-a") and Amelia, who were born two months premature. (By the way, my posts on supporters' Facebook walls do not count as my official "thank you.") Because of people's generosity, I raised $1,825! This is a success for me considering my original goal was $500, and the first and last time I participated in such a fundraising event was at the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk 2003 when I raised $1,260.

Second, as just mentioned above, I do not generally participate in these types of fundraising events but a week after I returned from New York City last month when I met L&A for the first time, my company sent out an email recruiting employees to participate in the March for Babies walk. I took the timing of the communication as a sign for me to register.

Third, the event seemed very well-attended but I must admit, I was a little overwhelmed with all the people, strollers, and dogs. I guess working predominately from home has taken its toll on my once-developed social skills. :-) Anyhoo, the walk in the brisk air took about 70 minutes but it felt good to support the March of Dimes. To babies!

And fourth, there is nothing more satisfying after a baby walk like brunch with a Bloody Mary followed by a strawberry cosmo! I so desperately wanted the lemon-ricotta hotcakes but my dairy-free diet does not tolerate such brilliance. Alas.

So anyhoo, now that I am back on the community service wagon, I have been thinking about which fundraiser I shall participate in next year. I need something bigger. The answer: the Red Ribbon Ride! This commitment is 100% inspired by my dear friend A.J. Bates (the partner of Irvin, who I have introduced to you before – happy 10 year anniversary guys!) who has participated in AIDS/LifeCycle since 2000. AIDS/LifeCycle is a seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Oy! The Red Ribbon Ride is only four days in Minnesota – whew! But I will most definitely need the upcoming year to prepare mentally and physically. Perhaps I should start by attending a spinning class – better yet – how about I first buy a bike?! Ha!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

At the Moment: Back to Boards

… or at the very least, back to volunteering. My sabbatical from volunteering ends this year. When I look around, I see volunteer opportunities all around. When I moved to Minneapolis I told myself I would just focus on work, school, and nesting and I would resume volunteering after I graduated. I wanted to make sure the variables in my life were receiving the best of me. But graduation is in approximately four months, so the life where I thought I had no time has no more excuses.

Quite frankly, though, there was always time to serve on a board or volunteer but it was not a priority. I spent my downtime watching television, which just made me fat. But when I canceled my cable last winter and started thinking about things that were intrinsically satisfying, I thought about how much I enjoyed board service and volunteering. I also was reminded that as an educated person, it was my responsibility to give back to the community, which could come in the form of working for a nonprofit, raising a family, or as we are discussing, volunteering. Volunteering was always an opportunity to network, meet fabulous people who shared a common interest, and where I learned new skills. Do not get me wrong, though, I strive to donate 10% of my take-home salary but realistically these days it is around 4%. Giving money is a privilege but giving time is an honor.

But you may be asking, “How does one get involved in board service?” I have to admit that my board service experience fell into my lap. When I lived in my hometown of St. Louis, I was asked to join the young professional boards of membership groups at the Alzheimer’s Association and the United Way of Greater St. Louis. This is not always the case and sometimes it takes an increase of involvement with membership groups before being asked to join.

In my opinion, the most effective board service occurs when you genuinely resonate with a cause, a political, social, or cultural organization; can bring needed expertise or insight to the board; and are committed with your time and responsibilities. Last month when I started thinking about a certain cultural organization that I was really interested in volunteering for in a board or committee capacity, I consulted with my friend Robin Gillette, executive director of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and she said, “You’re smart to pick board service in an area you love.” Apparently my emerging passion for the Minnesota Opera and its young professionals group, Tempo, was evident. But the verdict is still out on whether or not and how I will be volunteering for Tempo.

So, while you think about how to incorporate volunteerism into your life, know that there are several organizations that would welcome your experience, insight, and relationships. But select an organization that is important to you. I prefer to focus on one to three organizations rather than spreading myself too thin, especially because board service usually requires time and possibly fundraising, and I do not want to dilute the level of my commitment.

Now, if you need help figuring out what type of organization to volunteer for, click here for some fun ideas about volunteering by your Zodiac sign. Oh, and did I mention that this is National Volunteer Week?! :-)


P.S. -- The above March for Babies badge is actually my walker page for this Sunday, April 25, 2010 come rain or shine or snow!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Leisure: Spring Mugs

Since I started working remotely more frequently, I have been drinking my morning tea from the comfort of my own home. However, the charming white, porcelain mugs that I drank tea out of (which were a part of my everyday dinnerware set) started to lose their efficacy. I found myself constantly reheating more water to make more cups of tea because the first 11 oz. went by too quickly. This was a problem for me since the basis of much of my life is about efficiency and effectiveness. So, in true Virgo fashion, I overanalyzed which kinds of mugs I was going to purchase and how many. But then the other week I walked into Crate and Barrel and was greeted with mugs of in an array of spring colors but I personally was drawn to the grass hue and an orange one. So, in a somewhat spontaneous, unlike-Virgo move, I purchased these 10 different mugs to spruce up my morning routine:

I am drinking from the blue one this morning as I type this blog post. :-)


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Leisure: OMGlysolid Skin Balm

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you the inexpensive yet highly effective Glysolid Skin Balm. During my last visit to Spalon Montage in Edina, MN, my nail technician told me to use a certain cuticle oil on my cuticles but the saloon was out of it so I opted for the .25 oz sized jar of Glysolid Skin Balm, a nice and inexpensive alternative.

For weeks, I had not taken an interest in this balm since it seemed disposable. However, this last week I have been using it and my cuticles have never looked better (and I would not say they were in a bad condition to begin with). This balm may be the most effective product I have ever used. Ever. It provided immediate results. Sometimes hand cream is just not enough. I assume it works for all skin types and areas of the body, as well.

This is a must have if you live in the Upper Midwest with these elongated winters or if your cuticles need some TLC!