Last spring, all I could think about was boobs. And walking. And money.

Much of my spare time went into planning a wine-tasting fundraiser - plotting about food, publicity, raffle prizes, etc. I solicited prize donations from area businesses and strangers on Etsy. I even made a few brassiere purses myself (which I still think are super-cute). Food was a cheese and cracker tray, a fruit tray and a bunch of cute pastries from a local shop.

The event was held at a local wine shop, which charged me $5 a person and allowed me to keep anything above that in ticket sales. The owner was really nice and helpful, and he also donated a portion of the wine sales from that evening to the walk.

On the day of the event, I lived in fear that NO ONE WOULD COME. Except my aunt and (then) boyfriend, who kindly wore a T-shirt I had bought him that said "Real men wear pink." (Is that a relationship test or what?) Anyway, people came. 18 people. Not as many as I would have liked, but at least I wasn't standing there by myself.

In the end, I came home with most of the fruit and cheese and crackers and $465. $50 of that was money I had contributed for change at the door, and I took out another $100 for the food. So, that left $215 to fight breast cancer. Better than nothing, but certainly not as much as I had hoped for after weeks of work.

But, in retrospect, I could have used my resources better. If I were to do it again, here are some things I would keep in mind:

1) Publicity is king. I spread the word through Facebook, work friends and a short blurb in the newspaper. That probably wasn't enough, especially if the event is in a location that doesn't have much traffic. In retrospect, I would suggest using fliers, newspaper resources, church bulletins, friends, etc. at least 6 weeks before the event. Don't spend any significant amount of money on your promotional efforts, but make sure the materials tell people how to donate if they can't make it to the event. And repeat the publicity efforts as much as possible up until the day of the actual event. Publicize until you are sure you are annoying people. (Because, honestly, people are busy. You probably aren't annoying them.)

2) Apparently people buy wine in the fall, not the spring. The shop owner pulled my boyfriend aside half-way through the event last May and mentioned that he gets most of his sales in the fall leading up to the holiday season, when people tend to drink more wine and use it as gifts. So, depending on when your particular 3-Day event is, a wine-tasting might a good option for your first event of the fundraising season in late October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) or early November.

3) Don't go overboard on food. I could have done with half (or less) of the food I had. The food ate into the proceeds, and if I had run out, I'm not sure any of the guests would have been disappointed. They were there for wine and to support breast cancer ... and the wine portions were not so large that I felt people needed to consume food or risk leaving intoxicated.

4) Spend more time on publicity; less time on raffle prizes. I sold raffle tickets, so of course I needed raffle prizes. I ended up having 10 packages - and yes, because I had 18 people come, more than half the people who came won something. You need something for people to look at and talk about, but your time is probably better spent trying to get people in the door that trying to get prizes for the prize tables.

Of course, everyone learns through experience. And most 3-Day walkers do not have business or marketing degrees. My attitude throughout fundraising was to simply to keep at it and avoid putting all my eggs in one proverbial basket. After one fundraiser, I already knew I would be working on another so it was easy to keep the pressure light.

Anyone else have any suggestions on strategies to keep in mind while planning a fundraising event?

P.S. Want to make your own brassiere purse? I made a few more after stumbling upon a clearance rack at Wal-Mart. I'll post some instructions on how I put them together next Friday :)
Someday, I will point you, dear readers, to happy blogs. Blogs about cute puppies, fun craft projects and interior decorating.

If you know me at all, you probably know that is a COMPLETE LIE.

Happiness is nice for five minutes or so, but I generally figure it's only a small slice of the story. Real life is this big messed up mix of cute puppies AND bad economics; fashion AND discrimination; charity AND crime; interior design AND high-schoolers who for some reason think it's acceptable to manipulate the social spectrum and bully someone until they are suicidal or beyond. So, I am drawn to people and stories and situations that illuminate people who deal gracefully and courageously with life's more cruel and callous situations.

Bridget of My Big Girl Pants is doing just that. She's a five-year survivor of metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic is a fancy way of saying the cancer that started in the breast has spread to other less-than-nearby areas. It's advanced, and as far as cancers go, it's not good. So, when she says she's a survivor, she means that she's survived three recurrences in the last five years and finds herself in somewhat uncharted territory in that new and improving treatments are allowing more people to live with a cancer that in the not-so-distant past compelled discussions about exactly how much time was left.

Yesterday, she found out that the spot on her liver is cancerous. She and her husband went out for an insanely expensive dinner to allow themselves a night to feel sorry for themselves. Today, I gather, she plans to put her big girl pants back on...
After my internal temper trantrum last week about weight loss and clothes that are suddenly too big (yeah, I know, I'm not saying it was a rational tantrum), I figured I deserved a little brag moment to reflect upon how far I've come. Big accomplishments are really just a series of little accomplishments all strung together, right?

So, here's a picture of me taken at my parents' place last summer:

Here's a picture from the 3-Day in October. (I'll admit, the fanny pack was not an aesthetic improvement. It was purely functional.)

And here is a picture I took on Friday:

So, as some passerby commented a few weeks ago, there is less of me than there used to be. One pound at a time...
All the garage sales I've ever had essentially: 1) allowed me to get rid of stuff I didn't want to move, or 2) were exercises in carrying stuff outside ... only to carry it all back inside two days later. So, when I saw another 3-Dayer talk glowingly about her garage sale fundraiser, I asked for tips. Here's what Lynna said:

1) Make it a group project: "My neighborhood does a yearly giant yard sale, and we advertise in the local paper, hang fliers in local businesses and put out directional signs EVERYWHERE!!! I did start asking for items about 3 months in advance. I had people from church dropping off car loads FULL of stuff!! Granted, there was some weeding though that we did - one lady seemed to bring us all her old things that by rights, should have been taken to the dump. Some of it was usable, so I didn't argue too much. We got furniture from people, bikes, car seats, sooooo much!! It was crazy!! By the last two weeks, I was not able to park in the garage anymore, and we had to ask our neighbors if they minded us using part of their yards!!"

2) Advertise, advertise, advertise: "I put posts up all over Facebook, announcements in the church bulletin, my kids helped make posters to hang....it was pretty well organized."

3) Let everyone know it's for charity: "One thing that helped me also, was that I had posters up all over my driveway and tables what the proceeds of the sale were going for. I had copies of my credentials and donation forms so people would know I was being legit and not just "using" the name for my own gain!"

4) Make it easy for people to shop: "My husband (who is awesome!!) stayed up very late the night before and helped me get everything organized onto tables. We had "aisles" of kids clothes, kitchen appliances, Christmas/Holiday decorations, toys, etc. Everything was categorized and prices marked. Of course, we would bargain a bit, but we always made it clear that we were donating the profit, so most people backed down."

And for you McHenry County folk: Boobalicious Babes (yes, I did just have to check to make sure I spelled boobalicious correctly. It's not in spellcheck :) is hosting a big garage sale for the Chicago 3-Day at the Lake Julian Trout Farm in Cary on May 22. Each of the six team members will be contributing items for the sale ~ three are repeat walkers, and three are newbies.

So, next week, to conclude my Friday FundRAISER series, I'll talk about my wine-tasting fundraiser last year. I loved the idea, loved the actual event ... and was a little disappointed I didn't raise more money. So, I'll talk about what I would do differently if I were to plan it all over again. Have a good weekend!

I threw a bit of a temper tantrum this morning.

No one heard - I didn't ACTUALLY yell - but I was running late AND nothing fit right AND the damn scale told me I weighed exactly the same amount as I did last week. Despite eating properly (except for a Butterfinger yesterday... and that donut I discovered as part of a fundraiser for Special Olympics) and exercising (except for those two days I took off when I was busy).

See, I've lost about 25 pounds since January first.

Which is great and I bought new clothes and people said all sorts of nice things. Which one might think is a reason to celebrate. UNTIL I CONSIDER I NEED TO LOSE 25 MORE POUNDS. According to some chart in my doctor's office, taking 25 more pounds off would put me at the top range of "healthy weight" for someone my height. So, I suppose I really need to lose 30 more pounds so there's some sort of buffer. Whatever.

In a way, it's kind of like letting someone who has just run a half-marathon stop for water and stretch and then pushing them along their way. Of course, I realize that must be done if said runner is ever going to finish said marathon, but I might just start crying.

And even worse than the fact that the scale barely seems to budge anymore is the fact that these khakis I bought NOT EVEN THREE WEEKS AGO don't fit. Without a belt, they literally slide right off my hips while buttoned and zipped. Cinched up with a belt, they look completely ridiculous - like those boys who "sagged" their jeans so far in middle school that the principal gave them rope to use as a belt. My khakis were a little loose when I bought them but now -- can't wear them.

Of course, I realize something (not bad) must be happening to my body if clothes are fitting differently. And despite mentions of Butterfingers and skipped workout, I have been staying on track with a few little splurges - not falling off the bandwagon. But still, sometimes I can't help but feel frustrated that this isn't easier.

The signs that I must keep going are all around me. Yours Truly Trayce called upon a Janis Joplin quote when she wrote about being in a similar place: "Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got." She's right; I can't give up on myself just because things get harder. (Sigh).

And then Leanne talked about drinking tons of water. I HAVE been choosing coffee and Diet Coke over water too often lately. So much so that I bought Visene because my eyelids seemed to be sticking to my contacts after 6 p.m. or so. Surely that's a sign of dehydration, right?

And then another 3-Day blogger wrote about not accepting excuses. And so did MakeUnderMyLife. And I know that even though I haven't been living unhealthily, I don't have anything but excuses for not digging deeper and trying harder. So, yeah, I'll shut up and get on with it all ready...
Last year, one of the lovely Ms. America Tatas from California shared a Tatatini recipe. And I think Tatatinis are meant to be shared, don't you?

A true Tatatini with a kick:
Rub lemon slice around rim of martini glass and dip in pink sugar.
Add 1 to 2 tsp. of Raspberry puree to the bottom of the glass.
In shaker with ice, mix:
Two parts Raspberry Vodka
Two parts Pink Lemonade
One scant part lemon drop mixer
Dash of Raspberry puree
Pour into glass.
Top with a dry rose sparkler.
Make a toast to all the ladies walking for the cure and enjoy!

And if a mocktail is more your style:


  • Tonic Water
  • Citrus Juice
  • Lime Juice
  • Cranberry Juice

Quantities for one drink:

  • 1 Oz Tonic Water
  • 1/2 Oz Citrus Juice
  • 1/2 Oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Oz Cranberry Juice

Blending Instructions:

  • Shake tonic water, citrus juice, lime juice and cranberry juice vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass, garnish with a lime wedge on the rim, and serve.

I grew up in a 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath old house on Michigan Avenue in Saline, Mich., where a patchwork of new subdivisions encroached on good old farming territory. It's just a 45- to 60-minute commute from the major automotive employers in Detroit and Dearborn and a 15-minute drive from Ann Arbor.

It was a nice house, lots of hardwood inside. Across the street was the gas station where a dog collected cash and credit cards at the pump, and a block away was a historic-looking mansion that took up a whole block and was doomed (through someone's will, I think) to be repainted the same greenish color for eternity. When I was 12 or so, I delivered newspapers throughout the neighborhood to pay for horseback-riding lessons and holed up in my bedroom reading for hours. I kind of wanted to BE Anne of Green Gables.

The house wasn't exactly energy efficient. My hamster once went into hibernation when I pushed its cage too close to a drafty window. My mom assumed it was dead and tossed it in the garbage; the little guy warmed up, snapped out of it, and bit my brother when he discovered it after school. We called the detached garage a barn because, well, it looked like a barn, complete with wooden doors that swung out. The upstairs bathroom toilet had no tank on the back; instead, the tank was in the basement. I don't really understand how that worked, but sometimes the water pressure or SOMETHING got off kilter and water shot out of the toilet.

With all its 1920s-era quirks (and a rabbit, several hamsters, fish, and a mixed-breed dog named after the Dow Jones Industrial Average), the house was still big enough to shelter all the insecurities and self-loathing of a teenaged girl who secretly - and sometimes not-so-secretly - thought she was never good enough. There, three siblings fought over whose turn it was to use AOL to connect to the Internet. Our parents paid for the Internet by the minute. We shared one computer. And one phone line. Cellular phones weren't accessories for teenagers yet, but I definitely remember marveling at three-way calling and call waiting. Can't remember if we had caller ID; we did have a fax machine, though.

Now, (I think) my house houses some sort of business accounting group, whose owners ripped out my mother's gardens to make room for a parking lot. But they saved the barn. I vaguely remember standing outside the house a few years after my parents moved away, staring at how different everything was and feeling something indescribable between annoyed and irate. Someone (I don't remember who) mentioned that the secretaries who worked there got freaked out because they thought they heard noises coming from the basement, where a concrete cistern collected rainwater.

We used the cistern water to water outdoor plants. There was a time I figured the cistern would be a good place to hide a dead body or two, so I could see how housewives-turned-secretaries could get the heebie-jeebies. But I figured anyone loosely associated with the people WHO PAVED OVER MY BACKYARD deserved an eerie feeling every now and then. Those voices would be the SOUNDS OF MY LOST CHILDHOOD, folks. (In reality, noise likely carried through the large heating vents in an old house that was never updated. But really.)

I've hung my pictures and clothes in several cities since then, many which left enduring marks on my personality. But that house housed me back before I really knew anything and was eager for everything new.

That was back before I knew small towns operated under false (but entrenched) perceptions. Back when I loved the smell of ink as the press printed the Saline Reporter just hours after we slapped the stories on the page using a wax machine and roller. Back when I wrote poetry in honor of coworkers' birthdays and unabashedly gave it to them. And crushed on guys who never seemed to crush on me back. (OH! And a girl was run over by a tractor in my high school parking lot on Take Your Tractor to School Day. She recovered, but seriously, my high school had Take Your Tractor to School Day.)

I haven't been to Saline in years. They built a mammoth new high school a few years after I graduated, and now my high school is the middle school. And somehow I doubt anyone drives tractors there. I'm sure nobody would know me from Adam, or remember the girl who angered old ladies by referencing Barenaked Ladies lyrics in the first sentence of a newspaper article. And I certainly haven't been tempted to use song lyrics as a lede in at least a decade. But Miranda Lambert's song kind of makes my mind wander...
This is the final weekly giveaway, and it features a little cell phone charm left over from several I gave donors the first year I walked. It has a silver ribbon charm and two pink beads. 

(Please excuse the less-than-good photograph. I'm a bad photographer to begin with and seem to have misplaced my digital camera. So, this came via my cell phone's camera and my limited understanding of proper lighting. Seriously: The keychain is sitting on an olive green sofa in real life, but not so much in the picture...)

Here's how to enter:
- Leave one (and only one) comment here. If you comment on the Quilt Raffle fundraiser post, that will count as an entry, too.

- If you tweet about this week's Friday FundRAISER post go ahead and enter again in the comments section here. 

Example: 3-Dayers: A quilt raffle can be a wonderful way to raise money and showcase a friend's or loved one's talent. http://bit.ly/9BWJO7

- If you post about this give-away/fundraising tip on your blog, do the same and enter again in the comments section here.
- The giveaway will be open until next Friday. Then, I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner. Make sure to leave an e-mail address or some other way for me to get ahold of you if you win. 
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I kind of wish I could quilt. An ex-boyfriend bought me a sewing machine for my birthday last year - and it was the perfect gift. But I've only used it once, because I've been too busy to dedicate myself to any major craft project. Especially one that involves learning how to work new equipment. (Just figuring out how to thread the thing involved about an hour and harassing my roommate's grandma.)

But I secretly suspect I will be involved with the 3-Day in one capacity or another for years to come. So, I asked a former Ms. America Tata how she handled a quilt raffle last year, JUST IN CASE I have tons more time next year. Here's how it went, in Shelli's own words:

My Mom makes beautiful quilts, so I decided to ask her if she would be willing to donate a handmade quilt for my raffle. Instead of making a donation she donated the materials and her time, so we raise funds that would be equal to or greater than the value of a home made quilt. Those of us who have been lucky enough to receive a quilt, made by loving hands, appreciate the time and effort that goes into it. She made a beautifully crafted Pink Breast Cancer Quilt.

It was so much fun to sell raffle tickets for this quilt. I sold tickets at work, to my neighbors, to family and friends. I even took the quilt to a family campout. This was a great place to raffle off the quilt. There were lots of people with us which made the event so much fun! I sold the tickets for $5 each or 5 for $20; everyone loves a bargain!! I didn't want the price to be too expensive. I figured it would be better to sell more tickets and hopefully make more money that way, than to discourage the buyer before they even got a good look at the quilt! I think the key is to raffle something that you and the buyers can be passionate about.

I met my goal and raised over $500 for my 3-Day Walk. I was also able to talk with a lot of people and hear their stories of why they wanted to support such a great cause.

I really like Shelli's point about raffling something you and your buyers can be passionate about. A word to the wise, though: Check with your local municipality about their gambling laws, especially if you are raffling something of significant value. Some areas require permits and have specific criteria for how charity raffles must be structured to protect people from scams, and the last thing you want is the have a successful fundraiser shut down because you didn't plan ahead.

Next week's Friday FundRAISER will feature advice on hosting a successful charity garage sale. And I'm hosting my last weekly giveaway this week. Details are here, but you can enter by commenting on this post, too. Be sure to leave an e-mail address or something so I can contact you if you win :)
It is NOT.

Just ask the people who had to listen to me complain/vent/whine about the person who expressed surprise that I am in my LATE 20s. As in, this person thought I was much younger. I did not ask this person what gave him/her that impression, but suffice it to say, this person has been around me enough to: 1) gather I have clearly graduated from college, 2) be familiar with my professional work, which I HOPE implies a certain amount of experience, and 3) note my wardrobe choices.

See, even writing that list made me worry that I walk around masquerading as a journalist for 7.5 hours a day and everyone I encounter thinks I'm completely clueless. And an immature dresser. And concludes that I'm somehow 18 or something.

Apparently insecurity doesn't go away with age, either. (Never fear, I went to a Big 10 university, was a White House intern, and have won several journalism awards. I even have a 401(k). I AM competent, even if I don't have a husband and kids and an SUV.)

Anyway, I bring up age because Cari, the fabulous lady from California who organized my team for the breast cancer walk last year, is looking for votes for a looking-fabulous-and-gorgeous-after-40 contest in More magazine. (You may remember her from such blog posts as "Friday FundRAISER: Just ask for a donation" and "Tatatinis and Teammates." She writes:

During my late forties I survived breast cancer, a double mastectomy, back surgery, and a rare reaction to Botox. All of these experiences enlightened me. I will never take good health for granted again. My husband of 27 years and my two beautiful daughters, along with many wonderful friends, made me realize I am truly loved.

She's 50.

Yes, click here and look at her picture. She does make 50 look great, right? As long as you're looking at her picture and how fabulous she is, scroll down and vote for her. The top 100 vote-getters move on to the second round, and three prize winners get money and a photo shoot in New York. Hmm, I wonder what she'll do with that prize money....
If you are quasi-obsessed with Black Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston like I am (I know you probably aren't), then you probably know the fairy tale of Alice Walker revitalizing interest Hurston's work in the 1970s, years after the books fell out of print and after Hurston's death. Between Walker and Oprah Winfrey, Hurston's works were thrust into the literary canon more than a decade after she died in 1960, too poor to provide for a funeral or headstone herself.

So Walker went to Fort Pierce, Fla., in search of the grave site, waded through waist-high weeds that probably hid snakes in a neglected, segregated cemetery. She had Hurston's grave marked with a headstone and an epitaph declaring her "Genius of the South," which was a phrase borrowed from a Jean Toomer poem.

Walker wrote about this adventure in an article Ms. Magazine published in 1975. I tracked that article down in a compilation of essays and other writings by Walker called In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose. (Walker uses the term "womanist" to describe "a feminist of color.")

The reality (for me, anyway) wasn't as great as the fairy tale. I found it hilarious that Walker falsely told several people that she was Hurston's niece to get them to open up about the impoverished author who had died 13 years before. Walker's continued shock and outrage that fewer people remembered Hurtson in her hometown of Eatonville (which was the first all-black incorporated town) and in Fort Pierce is alternately endearing and annoying.

Perhaps part of Walker's outrage stemmed from the fact that she, herself, was a less-than-rich black female writer (or perhaps I am too reliant on socioeconomic stereotypes of my own time), but I personally don't find it that shocking that folks living on the same street in a VERY modest neighborhood had no idea that a literary genius lived across the street until her health failed more than a decade before.

Consider: 1) Hurston was not widely known at the time; 2) the folks Walker met hadn't lived there at the same time as Hurston (the only reason I have any clue who lived in my neighborhood 10 years ago is because it's new construction - it was a field 10 years ago, I believe); and 3) one can easily imagine that lower working class families with multiple young children don't have time to consider or appreciate many cultural gems around them.

Anyway, once you get past Walker's disappointment in the local population, you get to embrace her reaction to searching for Hurtson's unmarked grave in "Garden of the Heavenly Rest" with a hand-drawn diagram and an employee from the funeral home:
"I stand still for a few seconds, looking at the weeds. Some of them are quite pretty, with tiny yellow flowers. They are thick and healthy, but dead weeds under them have formed a thick grey carpet on the ground. A snake could be lying six inches from my big toe and I wouldn't see it. We move slowly, very slowly, our eyes alter, our legs trembly."
Walker struggles to align the map with the actual cemetery she sees before her, but finally decides on a place for the headstone based on a depression in the ground in what seems to be the right spot (and a few rounds of simply shouting Hurtson's first name. To the relief of the lady from the funeral home, no one responds.) Then, she laments on her inability to afford an extravagant headstone but buys a more modest stone from a "monument man" who sends her back with a flag to mark the proper spot.

This entire narrative begs one major question, for me anyway: If Walker was willing to spend the time and money to fly to Florida, meet up with a (white) student writing her dissertation on Hurtson, and wander around until they found her likely gravesite, WHY didn't she just take it upon herself to clear the weeds out of this one-acre cemetery to make sure they found the right burial site? If no one has maintained the cemetery, how much trouble can one really get themselves into for taking a weedwacker to the weeds? And maybe burning them in a nice little bonfire?

As a dorky side note, Walker indicated on the headstone that Hurston was born in 1901. She wasn't. She was born in 1891 but lopped 10 years off her life when she was 26 and wanted to finish public high school, according to this bio.

As another dorky side note, you need not fear that the town of Eatonville does not appreciate its most famous one-time resident any more. A local association started an annual festival in Hurston's honor. It was part of a larger effort in 1987 to prevent a road-widening project that would have destroyed much of the small town's historic area. As of the 2000 census, Eatonville had about 2,400 residents, 89.3 percent of whom were African American, according to Wikipedia. About a quarter of the population lived below the poverty line.
This week's giveaway is a pair of pink shoelaces I bought two years ago from Shop Komen. I got 10 or 15 pair and gave them to various friends and teammates, but I still have a few left. The pair in the giveaway (obviously) have never been worn.  :)

Here's how to enter:
- Leave one (and only one) comment here. If you comment on the Perfect Mother's Day Gift fundraiser post, that will count as an entry, too.

- If you tweet about this week's Friday FundRAISER post go ahead and enter again in the comments section here. 

Example: What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than by donating to the fight against breast cancer? http://bit.ly/9m9glX

- If you post about this give-away/fundraising tip on your blog, do the same and enter again in the comments section here.
- The giveaway will be open until next Friday. Then, I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner and post another giveaway. Make sure to leave an e-mail address or some other way for me to get ahold of you if you win. 

Last week's giveaway: A cooling headband

Pamela Croft won last week's giveaway for a cooling headband/neck tie. 

And another commenter was kind enough to let me know I hadn't remembered where our team got these items. Apparently, the Cooldannas were kindly donated by www.zanheadgear.com. Looking at the Web site, I see there's no need to freeze the bandana; simply soak it in cold water for 10 minutes to activate the crystals. 
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What better way to tell your mother (or the mother of your children) that you love her than by donating to fighting a disease that will strike one in eight women? Really, who needs flowers? Donate to a Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walker instead!

I tried that pitch last year with admittedly limited success, but I still really like the idea. You can offer personalized letters, cards, or other small gifts for people who make donations in their mother's (or someone else's mother's) name. That way, the person has something to physically hand the special lady on her special day.

Mother's Day is May 9 this year, so you have about a month to plan and execute this fundraiser. Here's a sample of the letter I used last year. Good luck (and happy Mother's Day!)

P.S. If you are a loyal ChaiLattePlease reader and aren't raising money to walk in the 3-Day yourself, may I suggest donating to one of my lovely team members? Linda, Molly, Vicky, and Jennifer are still working to reach the $2,300 minimum goal.

P.P.S. I'm running a little late this morning, so I'll post the new giveaway later today. But as always, you can comment on this post to enter the giveaway (if you're eager to enter before you know what it is :)

Next week's Friday FundRAISER will feature a pretty successful quilt raffle.
I've been kinda behind (read: busy/lazy/mostly busy) and didn't really pick winners for the Friday giveaways UNTIL TODAY. To be all formal and official, I set up an account at Random.org and used their Third-Party Draw Service.

For the pink frame: Shannon from Texas is the winner. (Her odds were incredibily good, seeing as how she commented twice and there were only four qualifying comments total.)

And for the pink toggle bracelet: Rhowena is the winner out of nine entries.

And for the pink New Balance keychain: Becky Gibbs. (Some super-nice person left an anonymous comment saying they really liked my blog. Which made my day. But anonymous comments cannot be entered into the giveaway. For what should be obvious reasons :)

This Saturday, I'll pick a winner for the Cooling Headband giveaway. Then, I'll have two more giveaways: a pair of cute cell-phone charms and two pairs of pink ribbon shoelaces.

Thanks for reading my blog.  :)
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Okay, so maybe my score shouldn't be zero - I've been wearing contact lenses for a little over a week. I've actually been WEARING them up until Sunday evening, when I dislodged one while rubbing my right eye. It was later at night so I figured I'd just take them out and call it an evening, but my hands were coated with puppy love and food (having eaten and played with BlackJack since last washing my hands).

So, I closed my right eye and went to wash my hands before I touched my eyes. Somewhere in the process, I involuntarily blinked and MY CONTACT FELL INTO A SINK FULL OF DIRTY WATER. Curses. I put on my glasses, turned on the lights and looked for the darned thing everywhere, but alas, found nothing.

I gave up.

The next morning, when it was light again, I drained the sink and LO AND BEHOLD, there was my contact, resting peacefully in the drain strainer. I plopped it in solution and pondered whether I could still use it. By ponder, I mean I called the Walmart Vision Center and the lady who answered the phone asked me a series of questions prompted by a computer program. It ultimately informed us that soft contacts tend to absorb whatever they are sitting in. So, if the dish water had soap and random food particles in it, I MIGHT feel some burning if I put the contact back in my eye.

I elected to just toss that contact and open a new package. I swear, I had NO IDEA these things were so complicated. ;)
So if this isn't a fundraising idea that will RAISE you up, I don't know what is. It might, in fact, inspire you to host a PG-13 rated bake sale ... but I guess the world could use a few more of those :)

From my walking buddy Mandy:

Bubbles for Boobies: A fundraising success (and a lot of fun too)!

Last year I was at a complete loss for fundraising ideas for the 3-Day. Finally, I decided to have a party! I have lots of parties, and I enjoy planning them. But what kind of party? And how would I ask people for donations at a party? The ideas came together slowly but eventually it all worked out…

I LOVE to have parties and my usual method is to have a fun theme, provide lots of food (I like to cook) and ask guests to bring whatever they like to drink. This way I get to enjoy cooking and everyone gets good food and exactly what they like to drink.  I thought it would be a nice idea to make food as usual but ask guests to bring a donation in the amount they normally would have spent on liquor/wine/beer/soda. My plan was to use up all of the leftover liquor from past parties and buy whatever was needed to supplement that. This way I wouldn’t be spending much more than I normally would for a party, and I felt good about providing all the food and drinks for people who were so kindly bringing donations.

I sent out a “Save the Date” to friends and what happened next gave me the inspiration for the party theme. One friend had another commitment on party day so he sent me a check for the cost of a case of pink champagne. In honor of this gift the party became “Bubbles For Boobies”! Pink champagne for everyone! Another friend who couldn’t make it offered to help pay for the food. 

 Even better, I went to Girl’s Night Out at a local cafĂ© where there was a massage therapist doing chair massages for $1 per minute. I told her about my party, and she offered to volunteer her time and donate all of the massage money to the cause. She called me a few days later and said that another massage therapist wanted to volunteer also! Before the party even started I was completely blown away by people’s generosity.

I had so much fun decorating the house with pink ribbons, and I even replaced the light bulb in the front porch light with a hot pink one! I also made boobie cookies using a heart-shaped cookie cutter and a boobie cake with a heart-shaped cake pan. For a party game I taped a pink posterboard on the wall and asked people to write down all the names they could think of for boobies. They got VERY creative with that!

The party was a complete success! The massages generated a lot of money, and people stuffed the donation box with a LOT more money than they would have spent on drinks. Bubbles For Boobies raised about $1,400 including donations from people who couldn’t make it but sent a donation instead. It was a great experience!

From Jillian: Come back next week. Friday FundRAISERS will feature the perfect Mother's Day gift. And don't forget to enter this week's giveaway!
Last year, one of my 3-Day teammates made these cute headbands. They have crystals in the inside, so you just soak this in water, pop it in the freezer, and then take it along for a long walk in hot weather. Nice to wear along your neck or as a headband. You also can press it along a pressure point (wrists, etc.) for increased coolage.

Update: A commenter was kind enough to let me know I hadn't remembered where our team got these items. Apparently, the Cooldannas were kindly donated by www.zanheadgear.com. Looking at the Web site, I see there's no need to freeze the bandana; simply soak it in cold water for 10 minutes to activate the crystals.

Whew! And after this, there will only be two more weeks of giveaways. Unless more giveaway items magically appear as clutter in my closet :)

But the rules remain the same:

- Leave one (and only one) comment here. If you comment on the Bubbles for Boobies fundraiser post, that will count as an entry, too.
- If you tweet about this week's Friday FundRAISER post go ahead and enter again in the comments section here. 

Example: Check out http://bit.ly/b5vK72 for advice on hosting a Bubbles for Boobies party to raise money for breast cancer research

- If you post about this give-away/fundraising tip on your blog, do the same and enter again in the comments section here.
- The giveaway will be open until next Friday. Then, I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner and post another giveaway. Make sure to leave an e-mail address or some other way for me to get ahold of you if you win. 
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I Google people all the time. I guess part of being a reporter/curious person is cyber-stalking people. Never know what you need to know about someone until you know it, right?

The key is: I NEVER TELL the person I Googled them.

Because that would just be weird, right? YES, YES, IT IS! I was talking with a new/unfamiliar source for the newspaper a few weeks ago when, suddenly, in the lull in the conversation, he said: "I see you're quite the little writer." I had no idea what that meant, so I made some non-committal sound in case he was going to start criticizing me about something. As embarrassing as misunderstood sarcasm is, the moment I realized he had found my blog, read it, AND WAS NOW TEASING ME ABOUT IT left me speechless.

No worries. He was willing to fill the dead air space. "I have to tell you, I will not be buying a boobie beanie." And then he asked if I was vegetarian! (Apparently not understanding that my post about "vegetarian hamburgers" was really about brownies and cupcakes.)


The conversation ended okay, the article was okay, and I've talked with this source again without incident. And I've been almost obsessively Googling myself ever since then.

The results aren't that disastrous. I've resisted the urge to post anything on this blog that I wouldn't want a future employer to read (with the understanding that this is a light-hearted personal blog, of course, and not some sort of online portfolio. Rest assured, I do not consider this some of my better writing.) I'll admit there's been the occasional Facebook status update that could be misconstrued if you don't know me or my sense of humor, but those fade away into Cyber Nowhere Land (from what I can tell). No embarrassing or inappropriate pictures.

But I honestly could polish my online image a bit. My Twitter profile could be a little more professional. LinkedIn is one of the first things that pops up; that's pretty innocuous. Then Brazen Careerist, which I'll admit I'm only lukewarm about as a concept. I should probably either cancel my account or beef up my profile there. It's meant to be a career advice/networking site for 20-somethings, but too often I find it bogged down by the worries of 20-somethings who don't have any firm knowledge or experience upon which to base their advice. Unless they are looking to network laterally or in a new field, most 20-somethings are probably better off trying to network with older, more experienced people, right? I don't know. But I should probably decide soon and respond accordingly.

Then there's Blog to Lose, a networking site for bloggers who are trying to lose weight. My profile is set to private there, so that's also innocuous. What woman hasn't tried to lose weight at one point or another?

The rest is just stuff that comes with being a reporter: a few mentions from local political bloggers (not all favorable, but as I said, it comes with being a reporter) and old articles (including this gem on a pet cemetery and this contributing line I got while interning at USA Today).

How conscious are you of your "online image" and Google search results?
Update: All the cards and candles have now been claimed. But I have more stuff posted at:

I don't know about other three-peaters (er, people who have done multiple 3-Days), but I've accumulated a good pile of unused fundraising STUFF. I'm crewing (not walking) this year, ergo I have no fundraising minimum and admittedly have permanently abandoned some fundraising ideas/efforts.

But there is some stuff that you might find useful if you're doing some major 3-Day fundraising. So, in true garage-sale style, please peruse, pick it over, and comment or e-mail me at jillianduch at hotmail dot com if you're interested. The money I'm asking for each item covers my expected shipping costs (and maybe a little left over for the materials involved in the items) but trust me, this is not a fundraising effort for myself. The funds most likely will be funneled back into this blog or into 3-Day efforts.

I accept Paypal, but if you don't do Paypal, I'm sure we can figure out something :)

Handmade notecards
After setting these out at a few craft shows last year, I have an odd assortment left over. But they'd make perfect thank-you cards or stationery for encouraging notes.

MOM: You give such great support
I have four individual cards that each come with a bright pink envelope. 75 cents each

Let's find a cure for breast cancer before I grow boobies
Hehe... I did indeed use a picture of myself as a child (look what cute blonde hair I used to have!). Comes with white envelopes. I have a set of nine. $4

Fight like a girl!
Comes with white envelopes. Two sets of five. $4/set

Peace, Love, Happiness
All spelled out in little pink bubbles. Comes with white envelopes. I have two sets of seven. $5/set.

Save a 'pear'
Support breast cancer research. Still my favorite slogan! I'm left with a set of eight in this lavender/tan print. $5

Save the ta-tas!
White cards decorated with pink paper flowers. Two sets of four. $3/set

Miscellaneous babies with pink ribbons.
Various images with slogans like "Find a cure" and "Join the fight" Set of seven pink cards with white envelopes. $5

As I said, if you're interested, simply comment below and send the funds via Paypal to jillianduch at hotmail dot com. I'll update the listings as items are claimed. Good luck with all your fundraising and awareness efforts!
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