Category Archives: Uncategorized

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday

I love that there is now a Giving Tuesday. When I worked in non-profit, we didn’t have something like this. We appealed daily, weekly, monthly, yearly; whenever we could, to raise funds and awareness for our organization. Giving Tuesday originally seemed like just another new non-profit marketing tool and I never thought much of its true significance until today.

After an amazing Thanksgiving spent with loved ones, our attention has now shifted to the craziness of the holiday shopping season. How did we go from being so thankful to being so material within hours? While I’m not a Black Friday shopper, I did spend a majority of Cyber Monday on a laptop looking for Christmas gifts. I went to what seemed like every website imaginable looking for the perfect gifts for my daughter, my nieces and nephews, my sister-in-law, my mom. I didn’t even get to my husband, my in-laws, or my brother. And while I truly LOVE buying gifts for people, wrapping them up and seeing the excitement on their faces when they receive them, I literally feel like I wasted so much time on my computer looking for presents.

They say you should be thankful for your health, your family, and so forth; that gifts aren’t important. Yet we’re all still making Christmas lists and trying to find the best deals to make the holidays special. After a shitty time last year with my dad’s illness and my mother-in-law recently hospitalized, coupled with all the Facebook posts and news coverage about Giving Tuesday, I literally stopped to think how much all this “stuff” doesn’t really matter. Yet we’re all here, shopping and scurrying, trying to find all the best things.

So this Giving Tuesday, why not take a moment and move on from Target’s website,  ToysRUs, wherever you’re shopping, and make a donation to an organization that really helps those in need. Then head back to your 1-click shopping on Amazon.

#GivingTuesday

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It’s Official: Girls Can Literally Rule the World Thanks to Hillary Clinton

No matter where you stand politically, whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent or just sick of the political system as a whole, you can’t deny that last night’s presidential nomination of Hillary Clinton was monumental.

I hate hearing all these women (and men) bash Hillary Clinton while ignoring the huge fact she has done something amazing for women and girls in our nation. You may think she is a liar, dishonest or stupid for staying with her husband for cheating on her many years ago, but you can’t take away the fact that she has done something that no other woman in America has ever done. She is the first woman nominee for President of the United States of America.

Are all the people who hate her forgetting that she has broken this glass ceiling we hear so much about? I have to be honest, that glass ceiling thing was never of much interest to me, until last night. When I saw that graphic on television of the glass cracking, I felt proud. I’m no feminist, but that was a moment that all women and girls, no matter what your party affiliation or political stance is, should feel empowered, proud, and strong.

So while Donald Trump goes on to makes some silly speech today and people continue to bash Hillary all over Facebook, take a moment, whether you’re a man or a woman, and realize that Hillary Clinton just made it possible for your wives, daughters, granddaughters, nieces and friends to literally rule the fucking world!

Chaos on Mute

I woke up at 5:20am this morning to the sound of an awful alarm. My 100-year-old alarm clock recently broke and the radio function doesn’t work so I’ve had to resort to waking up by the sound of a horrific buzzer to get me up. It is very unappealing and not a sound I enjoy waking up to. Nonetheless, I’m up and the day has started. And even though it began with such screeching, ear-piercing sounds, the quiet and calm it has allowed me is undeniable.

I’ve already been to the gym and had a nice full workout so I’m ready to get the day started. I knew there was a good chance my family might be awake when I walked through the door but to my delight, everyone was still sound asleep. I changed out of my sweaty clothes and into my “mom gear”(i.e. yoga pants and a t-shirt). I immediately tackled the pile of dishes in the kitchen sink, which I was too tired to handle yesterday (which normally is so unlike us). Laundry has been folded, more laundry is already started and the dishwasher is ready to run. My library book has been renewed. Birthday gifts are wrapped, lined up for weekend events and camp classmates. My morning tea is by my side as I type to the sounds of news in the background. And, it’s the beginning of a long holiday weekend.

I’ve written about getting up early and having ample time to myself before, but today it seems different. People are here, yet no one is bothering me. No one is asking me to play or if they can take the last $20 in my wallet for parking.  No one needs me to do anything for them right now. This will likely change within the next hour, if not sooner, and I’ll welcome it, but for now, I’m enjoying a house full of love and the chaos on mute.

The Breaking News Concept

I’m a news junkie. Always have been. In the past, if you came to my house or got in my car, you’d likely find a TV or radio station tuned to the news. Local news, national news, you name it, I was informed.

I think I got this way partially because of my dad. He’d religiously watch the evening news each night when we were growing up; still does to this day. The other side of me believes my background in Public Relations played a large role too. Always being “in the know” for trends and current events, tracking coverage, and pitching reporters makes you interested in everything that is going on the world, whether it’s close to home or half way around the globe.

Recently though, I’ve started to hate the news. Every time I turn on the TV, there’s “breaking news.” When I would see that bright red rectangular box come across my screen, there was typically urgent, informative news to tune in to. Not anymore. These days, “breaking news” is two inches of snow in Northern New Jersey; or childish jabs from political candidates. Long gone are the days of real breaking news, like what happened in Brussels in this week.

When I turned on my TV Tuesday morning, I saw tons of “breaking news.” I assumed it was just something silly again that CNN or MSNBC deemed “breaking” just for ratings or to grab attention. Probably something about Trump and the violence at his rallies or Hulk Hogan’s sex tape scandal. Sadly, this really was breaking news and I was tuned in, just like I used to be; glued to the television, with news on in the background as I made lunch, cleaned the house and drove in the car.

I am so disappointed that networks try and grab our attention with these breaking news scrolls about celebrity couples breaking up or that there is rain in the forecast. What happened to the news that actually drew people to the channel? I don’t want bad things happening in our world, which is typically when your regularly scheduled programming is interrupted, but I think it’s time we take a closer look at what is really considered “breaking” the days to get people to trust our news sources once again.

Is Your Employer Really Matching Your Charitable Gifts?

I’m a big giver. Whenever a friend, family member or colleague is asking for support, I try my best to participate in some way. Typically, it’s through monetary donations, and I am happy to do it. It helps a cause that is close to someone, is tax deductible, and sometimes, companies match your donation, doubling your gift. However, in my experience, that last part wasn’t always the case.

One of my employers was huge on giving back. They were always touting corporate social responsibility and encouraging us to help and give back to others. One of the ways they did this was through corporate matching gifts. What are matching gifts you ask? They’re extensions of corporate philanthropy by which companies support employee’s charitable giving to a wide range of non-profits.

Every time my husband or I were asked to make a donation, I was pretty psyched that it would be doubled by my employer. It was free (and more!) money for so many well-deserving charities. There was definitely some extra leg work I had to do, like fill out some basic information and get a tax ID number for the cause I was supporting, but it was a small price to pay for free money in my opinion. It was only later that I found out my company wasn’t really matching any of my donations.

I did some investigating after a charity I was closely affiliated with told me they had no record of my company matched donations. I figured it must have been a mistake or maybe just slipped through the cracks, but sadly, it wasn’t. Turns out, every donation I made while on the company’s payroll was never matched. How could that have happened?

Well, apparently there was never really a formal process for matching donations at my company because, unfortunately, not a lot of people took advantage of the program, even though it was highly promoted. So while I kept submitting matches, no one was really doing anything about it. Thankfully, I had saved all the forms I filled out, was able to resubmit them, and the charities I donated to finally received my matching gifts.

If your company offers a matching gift program, take the extra steps to participate. It’s FREE money to support great causes and goes a long way. But, do your due diligence and make sure you receive documentation that your corporate matches were actually made. And if you’re company who matches gifts, first, kudos to you! More companies should be like you. Just ensure you have a streamlined process in place so everyone wins.

Christmas Break Never Gets Old

Doesn’t matter how old I am, Christmas break never gets old. Nearly two whole weeks off to celebrate the holidays with family, ring in the New Year with friends and essentially do whatever we want.

By the time Christmas is over, I don’t even know what day it is. I lose track of all sense of time and purpose. Even with a small child in tow, we sleep late, stay in our pajamas far longer than we should and sometimes don’t even get our day started till well after 3pm. And we love it.

With all the routines and schedules we adhere to all year long, Christmas break is a welcomed opportunity to snuggle on the couch a little longer, disconnect from the rest of the world, and indulge in all the things we will complain about as the new year rolls around. And it’s so nice to have our family be together for so many days, while also having a little time to ourselves.

Over the last two weeks, I have probably put on countless pounds from leaving my gym routine to stuff my face, been a little MIA from my friends, and will have a hell of a reality check come Monday, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here’s to a happy, healthy New Year!

Mom’s Holiday Office Party

I love parties. My husband and I are actually really good at throwing them if I do say so myself. We have barbecues, birthdays, even an annual ugly sweater themed party. So when the holidays roll around, I always get nostalgic for the office Christmas (or holiday for all those politically correct ones out there) party. Free booze, raffles, food, music, and presents! However, when you stay at home, there’s none of that. Until this year.

While my daughter had a school party, my husband attended a few work parties and even my retired dad went to his old office’s party, I started to wonder, where is the party for those of us that stay home? I complained to my husband about this and presto, Mom’s Holiday Office Party was born. While there weren’t any raffles, we had food, booze, balloons, played games, wrapped presents, and watched The Elf on the Shelf. And I got a very special message from my 2-year-old CEO, which was the best part of the whole shindig. Hats off to my team for throwing me such a fun and festive little party, full of all my favorite things and people and no boring power point presentations!