S2 Eats + Awareness Project: Entering New Waters

In the next coming months, I’m going to launch a HUGE project. And I mean HUGE. And it involves food. If you know me, or have gotten to know me, then you shouldn’t be surprised by this at all.

This past Saturday, I found myself in a magical place. It felt like a home actually. It is a shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, named Archestratus, that is part cookbook and cooking related books book shop and also a cafe/restaurant. They host Blue Plate Dinners every Thursday night and a monthly Cookbook of the Month Club. The owner, Paige, is incredible and so nice. We got to meet her yesterday and talk to her and well, can we say “friends?!” all together?

I told her quickly about this project I’ve been working on and said to her pretty confidently as we continued talking, “when my project is ready, I’m calling you.” She was completely for it. And I now know where most, if not every event I host in NYC for “CIC” will be located.

I should also mention that I was with a friend of mine and a teammate for a project I’ve been working on as part of a program called Do Tank in NYC. Sana is her name and she is a fellow food lover. We talked and walked around the books and carried a ton to a table and shared food while talking to Paige. Sana is going to end up being a much larger part of this project than even I am aware of right now. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know yet what her role will be, but she will have a role. It may even be in the form of representing Pakistan.

Anyhow, this idea that I’m vaguely sharing with you now has a ton of moving pieces and a few people, all whom I trust with my life involved. I have a cousin helping with logo and branding design, my brother and his best friend involved in videography, another friend and past roommate willing to help with web design, my mentor as a board and planning member, and my Mom, too – she’s cooking. I’m sure I will bring on many, many more people, both trusted and untrusted. That is how you bring about change, after all.

This project has been in the works since the summer of 2014. That is the summer that Israel and Palestine were at war and the summer of the massive influx of migrants traveling from Central America to the US to get away from heavy gang violence and crime. Those migrants were children, many of them traveling alone, whose parents probably took loans out that they still cannot afford to get their child(ren) across the border to saftey. With both of these instances, for the first time in a long time I looked at the world and thought, “what the fuck is going on?” It may also have been the first time that I truly felt as though I needed to get involved. That my voice needed to be heard in a constructive manner. It was also a point when I realized that no matter what I do in life, my life has to be used to help stop the injustice of others.

Now, I’m not promising to change the world completely. No, that requires collective force. I am, however, proposing to use my stationery company, design skills, and extensive communication background to help shift and shape appreciation, acceptance, and change. This is daunting. It cannot be neatly designed. I am bound to offend many. I hope to impact many more.

To get this started, I’m sharing a collection of photos of foods that I’ve recently created over the past few weeks and months of putting “CIC” together. I have a long road to go, but food is the of the main focal points of this project. From this post onward, one a week will be dedicated to a recipe – some food(s) I’m devouring religiously, experimenting with as I develop and perfect, and/or am inspired by – I cannot promise that these recipes will coincide with exactly what I’m working on, but they will help build connection for when it is ready to be released into the world.  (SOON!)

Saturday night, as I walked around Archestratus, I thought about my life and the wild ride it’s been thus far. I thought about how food has always been a focal point in my life. I carry a lot of weight because of my relationship to food, both good and bad, but this project isn’t about that. No this project is about the nourishment food brings us all, across cultures and countries and religions. My unofficial slogan for this project is: “Even the most immigrant hating Texan eats tacos.” This project is about that element that brings us together even in our fear, differences and hate.

Walking around Archestratus allowed me to remember my abuela Herminia, who was a strong and rebellious female who created change in her own way. I thought about being a three and four year old helping make Honduran tamales with her and my mom. By helping, I really ate most of the ingredients and would annoy her, but my abuelo always had extra as backup. I still help my Mom make tamales every Christmas and the legacy continues. If I ever have children, they will learn and my soon-to-be three year old niece, will learn soon.

This is what life is all about. It is about the changes we make individually as well as collectively. It is about passing down our histories, cultures and family stories. It is about connecting over the pieces that make us all human. I hope you’ll join me for this journey. I hope you’ll help me share these stories and cultures and histories. I hope you’ll help shift your conscious as well as the greater conscious. Most importantly, I hope you’ll enjoy this.

To learn more and stay up to date, you are invited to sign up for our the newsletter on the Awareness page of the S2 Stationery website. (Scroll to the bottom!) You’ll get the good, juicy bits when you do…think of it as the fond at the bottom of a pan of caramelizing onions, or from a roasted chicken. Yum!

Until next week, keep your stomachs a bit empty, your hearts full, and your mind open to expansion and food. And don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter!!

 

 

 

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Reaching 40% – The Girls Love Mail Give Away

Last night, I watched Monday night’s episode of “How I Met Your Mother” and it focused on time. How quickly we think it’s moving and how slow it really is moving. It left me thinking about how I perceive time and how time is  moving. The philosopher in me could spend hours thinking about this topic, but the reality, or at least my reality, is that I don’t have the hours to spend thinking about this topic. As I’ve always felt, I have to DO what I can with the time I’ve got.

Which brings me to this great project that I’ve been working- a partnership with the non-profit organization, Girls Love Mail. This morning, I woke up, put on the Matt & Kim album, “Sidewalks”, and finished signing, tying and sealing the remaining 20 gifts I didn’t finish last night.

So where does time play into all of this? Well, I’ve been busy. And I had to make all of these cards. By hand.

The original offer, which still stands until the last day, December 1st, is for 100 gifts to be given out to the first writers of letters to Girls Love Mail. I detailed all of the program and S2’s involvement in this partnership in a post back in September, on the 15th of September to be exact. We didn’t officially launch the program until October 1st, hoping that Breast Cancer Awareness Month would help push the effort and with my complete awareness that I didn’t have as much time as I had hoped to dedicate to promoting this awesome offer, but tons of optimism that I would and could get it all done.

Focusing on using tools already established in the S2 Stationery arsenal-I stuck with tweeting the offer, writing about the offer on Facebook, using emails I sent to friends and family about my marathon fundraising,  contacting the English department at my alma mater, The George Washington University, to include it in their e-blast, including the information in my own newsletter, and the great word-of-mouth technique. Could I have done more, most definitely, and yet in all of the tools I did use, I got tons of responses from friends who had forwarded the initiative to their friends via email, or boards they frequent. They also reposted my Facebook posts and tweets. They were incredibly supportive.

Please know that I am not at all being critical of myself or my promotion above. I’m simply thinking out loud of how I’ve thus far worked on this project. I think it’s great that out of 100 free gifts that I am offering, we have 40 to send out. Granted it’s only 40%, but it’s still something!  It’s  incredible, rather!

Which brings me to the production and completion of the 40 thank you gifts to send to some lovely volunteers. This afternoon, I will be taking them to the post office to ship to Gina Mulligan, the founder and administrator of Girls Love Mail. On her end, she’ll mail out the gifts to each of the 40 writers and we’ll be done with this first batch. Hooray!

This morning as I sat on my floor, signing each note that I typed and printed yesterday, I sighed contentedly. Two months after contacting Gina and talking about the project I’ve managed to complete the first round. Two months of being annoyed at myself for not having my life and time together enough to work on my commitment, I tied bakers twine around each little note and gift of thanks and then sealed each envelope with an S2 label and felt my connection to time more than ever.

See, I like seeing my projects completed. I like knowing that I’ve finished something and met my commitment (explains why I like marathons, right?).  I enjoy knowing that my two hands put together something awesome, cute, and most importantly that will make someone’s day a bit brighter. Brighter because they got something that made them feel happy or loved, or any other sentiment that letters, notes, gifts, and small tokens of appreciation provide.

I debated this morning whether I should post pictures of the gifts ahead of them being sent out, but I decided that I don’t focus enough on the products that I do on this blog and so I wanted to share (I need to work on this and I intend to and it is part of my strategic planning for 2012). My sense of pride in this project is bigger than usual because I’m not getting anything other than a feeling of doing something good. I’m proud to say that I am offering these gifts as a way to thank others for being good citizens.

I am not receiving a dime for this project, nor do I expect to, that was never my goal or intention. Instead, I wanted others to feel happy that they did something good and aware that their time and efforts are appreciated. I am not one to ever believe that volunteerism should ever be rewarded, but I’m not naive enough to think that people do not want to feel appreciated. That’s why even with the time I lost in the two months between launching the partnership and now, I knew that I could not send ill-crafted items or dedicate the proper time to the production of these cards. They are cards like the ones that I sell in sets on Etsy and therefore had to send them the same way I would to a paying customer.The photos below do not show how I created the fortune cookie cards, but they do show how I sealed them up and sent them to Gina for distribution. I think they’re really cute and I wish I could mail myself one of these and be surprised!

When I contacted Gina initially to discuss how S2 could partner with Girls Love Mail, I really had no clue what I was doing. I initially thought that I’d create a new card specifically for these volunteers in addition to the stationery sheet you can download when you sign up. With my lack of time, I realized I could not afford to do that, and instead opted for sending an existing product (although not a full set as I sell) in the S2 repertoire.

I also didn’t know how I was going to package them or send them out to the volunteers.  I just knew that I was awed by Gina and her organization and I wanted to help. I’m glad that I was able to put my skills together to create the packages you see above. I really hope that the volunteers love them upon receiving them (I’m also hoping none of them read this blog before they get them in the mail).  I am incredibly proud to have my hand and stamp on all 40 of these packages!

I mention to my friends all the time to never underestimate how powerful your help can be to someone else; this is the simple rule I follow, even when I’m not being my best. When I learned about Gina all I knew was that her and Girls Love Mail to be as successful as S2 Stationery. She’s providing hope, I’m providing hope and when you give hope, you give the greatest gift of all. 

Gina has said that I’m doing all the work, but really SHE is doing all the work. She’s doing something positive and I’m just someone helping her get her voice across a bit stronger.  That is what I want S2 Stationery and Design to be and mean. When someone thinks of my company, I want them to know that yes, I am a for-profit business with huge goals, with the biggest being to help the many out there get their voice and thoughts across through standard written and spoken communication. While that means I can’t help every person like Gina, I hope it helps millions and billions all the same accomplish a lot of positive things.

Chasing After A Mentor

Ahhh, the elusive mentor. Actually, it’s more like the famous mentor. Also can be known as the “in demand mentor”.

When I started working, I was on the hunt for a mentor. I wanted someone who not only I could look up to, but from whom I could learn from; who would guide down the correct career path.

One of my greatest frustrations with my current job is the lack of having a mentor. See, ever since graduating from college, where I had this incredible academic career, full of amazing education and professors that I not only respected, but looked up to, I’ve been hunting for a mentor.

Every job I’ve ever worked has left me feeling a bit deflated about ever finding a mentor.  I’ve had such high expectations in all of my bosses that I’ve often been left disappointed when I’ve found out they were not mentor material nor realistic.

I thought I had found him/her when I started working at my current 9-t0-5, but I didn’t and I had to deal with the anger and the emotions that came with it and eventually led to having a low morale for the work I do and my career. However, in all of that, I have found other mentors, but they are mentors in another way. They are people who inspire me to be better and to keep going after my dreams and aspirations.

One of those mentors is someone I call my BFFI (Infinite BFF). He’s definitely inspired me with his work ethic, but what really inspires me with is his open-mindedness.  I think I’m a fairly open-minded person, but Mark, well, Mark IS open-minded. He’s the definition of it. He can speak (and sing in!) Japanese, English and Spanish fluently. He dances like no other. He travels with amazing abandon and zest and he constantly reminds me that “today, I have the ability to make great things happen if I choose to move past the small things that are bothering me”.  He’s incredibly inspiring.

My second mentor is my coworker, the same one who I wrote about yesterday, who although frustrates me sometimes, reminds me that being fair and not so hot-headed is worth developing and practicing. In the past four years, I’ve watched her grow and change in ways that have inspired my own growth. We know that I’m always going to be true to Sara, but having someone close to me grow has helped shift my perspective.

The two above are personal growth mentors. Which is a good thing to have (I don’t have to pay for a life coach with the two above plus all the other amazing friends I have), but they aren’t helping my career path.  Well, actually they are, but that’s because I’m going after my own career path. I’m now chasing my dream and that happens to be the path of my career. Which is super and amazing, but what about all the people out there still seeking a mentor to call their own?

Well, I have a bit more of a cynical, but hopeful take on this. I don’t believe that they can or will ever find a mentor until real leaders start to show their faces around not just in business, but the world in general.  I firmly believe that the world is missing genuinely good leaders. Whether they are good, or bad (take a President or Prime Minster, who may have to choose war over peace) the world is hungry for leadership that is exactly that, leadership. Not dictatorship. Not tyranny. Not the kind that is micro-managing. The kind that is challenging and engaging. The kind that is open, honest, and changing. The kind that is also intelligent. The kind that requires that everyone else around them be intelligent, too. The kind that is trusting. Finding leadership like this is so far and few in between, especially when you consider economic, social and cultural issues, and rampant distrust, but I don’t think it’s impossible. Actually, I think it’s in the next wave of entrepreneurs. Once they develop their businesses and hire employees, they will create nurturing and inspiring environments for people of all backgrounds.

These are the entrepreneurs not just focused on wealth and money, but focused on creating products that are built on awareness. On the idea that “Everything touches Everything” (Thanks, Borges!). On the same idea that doing transparent business that educates and is good for the environment and the people is not far fetched and definitely not an after thought. That also considers the environment and the employees/individuals in other countries (where they get pieces of their product from or who do the actual assembly) as stakeholders as well as entities that have the same basic right to respect and a good, happy, and healthy existence  as vital to their own business and personal development and growth.   

I know, I know. I sound like a crazy hippy. I kind of am. I’m a creative type, even in my Type-A-ness.

What I’ve realized is that I’ve not only been searching for a mentor, I’ve been looking for a job that inspires me to be a better and greater person through my work.  Not a bad thing. Some thing else I believe is that while we all want to be comfortable and successful lives, we also want lives with meaning. How we go about finding and making that meaning is different as we are each unique and different individuals, but it runs through us like the blood in our veins.

Which is why I’ve stopped looking and started creating!

Now, instead of looking and seeking a mentor, I’ve been able to construct the idea of the mentor I want to be for others and for myself as well as the work environment I would like to have one day when my shop is not just a space in my apartment and I have employees, maybe even just one.  I wouldn’t have gotten this far without my lack of a mentor and my jobs.  In fact, while I haven’t been able to find the boss that is my mentor, I’ve discovered that my jobs have actually been my mentor.  They have each, inspired actions that I have taken with my own business. I can not even begin to express how grateful I am to have that knowledge alone.  Furthermore, it shows me that every step of the way, all the unhappiness and unfulfilling jobs have not been in vain. They have all been huge in the development of my desires as I cobble together this stationery company.

So what about finding a mentor?  

Well, here’s the funny thing – it would seem as though I have found little pieces of  mentor in the people who surround me. What I mean is that while I’m focused on becoming a mentor that I would want in myself, I’ve also surrounded myself by people who help me piece that constantly. I realized this Tuesday evening as I sat in my printers office, counting and recounting seating and escort cards for an order they completed that day.  Patty, my printer, was super patient and even counted the cards herself to see that I wasn’t just off on my counting. She then printed the files for me to use to check against and we found the two missing cards.  It was a late night for her and her husband and the shop, but as we fixed the problem and chatted about life I realized that she is a piece of my mentor search. She’s someone who knows her stuff, is strong-willed and tough, but not too tough. She took me to dinner, even after I protested and told her I should be taking HER to dinner.  As we sat at dinner, we talked about printing and teaching and she said to me, “you know Sara, I help you because you want to learn. Because I show you what you did wrong and you watch me and you fix it the next time you bring something in for me to print.”   That’s hardly the best compliment I’ve ever been told, but when you compare it to being told, “there’s no room for you to sit at the table during the meeting, but you can sit in a chair in the corner, if you want”- it’s encouraging, supportive, and helpful.

It is why I’d rather sit in the print shop and watch Patty work her magic than sit at my own desk and work. I’m learning! I’m being nurtured and engaged about stuff in my industry!  I’ll take that same lesson and share it with someone else because I believe when we educate people, we give them freedom to take something and turn it into their own. As a result you, the teacher, are rewarded in appreciation and sometimes even loyalty and commitment. That’s what a leader and mentor does. 

While I would not categorize Patty as the “mentor” I’ve spent the past 9 years seeking, I have definitely found something in her that is what I’ve been looking for and I’m so glad I have, too. I’ve got a lot to learn from her and I’m excited for the experience and for what she can and will show me. I’m also excited to see how I use that information to mentor myself and others.

I guess what I’m saying is to not give up looking for your mentor, but be open to learning bits and pieces from lots of different people. Then use that to build yourself a mentor within that shines through and inspires others, even if it is in just some small way. That small way will undoubtedly start something much larger.  

Introducing Gina Mulligan AND Announcing “Girls Love Mail” + S2 Stationery and Design Volunteer Partnership

As many of you know, S2 Stationery and Design is committed to social good, eco-responsibility, positive change, and snail mail. We are always on the look out for organizations and people doing good things and how and where we can collaborate and I can help, which is why I am oh, so excited to announce this partnership between S2 Stationery and Design and Girls Love Mail.

It should be no surprise that as S2 Stationery and Design has evolved, the stationery world has exploded. There are tons of stationers out there making a name for themselves by creating gorgeous product and trying to bring back the art of letter writing.

While I am definitely proud to one of those stationers, I am also proud that I can commit a certain amount of my business and work to organizations that are in sync with the basic premise S2, “Live well write often – love, laugh, smile and be.”

Several weeks ago, I happened (thanks to twitter) upon an article about Gina Mulligan, a writer and mystery lover, who also created a program called Girls Love MailGirls Love Mail (GLM) links women together through the art of hand-written letters.  The goal is to “give the gift of a hand-written letter to a woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer”.

GLM was created while Gina was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and working on her epistolary novel “From Across the Room”, a novel comprised entirely of letters. While undergoing treatment and writing letters for the book, she received over 200 letters and cards-many filled with personal stories and well wishes from people she had never met. The letters were uplifting and from that feeling of having a wonderful support system she had an “a-ha” moment and was inspired to create a system for breast cancer patients suffering alone, without a support system of their own. The program encourages women from all backgrounds to sign up and share a story or simply encourage another woman during the difficult times that come with the breast cancer treatments.

As someone who has known a great deal of women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer, and has had a grandmother pass away from the disease, I was completely touched by Gina’s program and mission. I contacted her immediately via email and twitter with big ideas and offers to help and a relationship was struck. We’ve thrown some ideas around about ways to promote the program.  Our goal is to get 360 letters written and delivered in the next few months.

S2’s part in all of this is designing stationery for writers to print out and write on and helping get the word out about this great program and recruit volunteers. I’m a helper, not a taker-over when it comes to projects like these. I tend to see them as opportunities to help others achieve more and in the process learn from the project, the people and myself. With that in mind, we are offering a “thank you” gift created by S2 Stationery and Design to the first 100 writers who sign up and submit a letter.

Can you tell I’m excited about this? I’m extremely excited about my new developing friendship with Gina, but I am so excited for the opportunity to help Gina’s amazing charity really take off and share the beauty and art or letter writing with those in need. We have pledged to be snail mail buddies, but at this time all of our correspondence has been electronically. However that will change!

For more information about Gina, I suggest you check out her welcoming website. You can also read about Girls Love Mail there, too! If you’re interested in signing up to be a Girls Love Mail writer, please contact Gina. You can contact me too, but your information will be forwarded to Gina.

Once you sign up, we’ll send you a PDF (yep, GLM has personalized stationery!) for you to print out and use (or not use to) to write your GLM letter.  The first 100 women to sign up and complete their letter (we’ll know it’s been completed once you mail it to us) will receive a special thank you gift from Gina and Sara. That’s it! Easy! All we ask is that you write from your heart.  We don’t promise that your hand won’t cramp (it happens when you haven’t written in a while), but we do promise that you’ll enjoy yourself and the woman who receives it will, too. Also you never know what may come of this—inspiration, but maybe even friendship.

At this time, we’re creating a list of volunteer writers. When the GLM stationery is ready, we will email everyone the PDF. From there the magic comes from you! So come on sign up and share the news with your friends and loved ones

Silent Auction Night

Last Thursday night, I participated in an event for the Earthwatch Institute.  There were two major things about the event that you should know:

1. I was on the Junior Board for the event.

2. I donated a 50 piece custom designed order to help raise money for the Earthwatch Institute.

Above are pictures, that I took after setting up my area and of the silent auction table. The photos are all centered on me and my item, but there were some great things for auction including a three month pass to a yoga studio, a condo to rent in Colorado for two weeks, jewelry, tickets to Yankees and Mets games, etc. It was such a great feeling to be part of such awesomeness.

The night was not only great because I had my items on display for some of NY’s high society to view, but because I was overwhelmed by being surrounded by seven lovely and amazing people. I had some of my dearest coworkers attending as guests representing our company , but I also had two of my dearest friends whom helped to celebrate the evening. The entire time they were super supportive and kept going to where my item was placed to see if anyone had bid. One of my friends even placed a bid to get the night rolling.  Their expressions and constant support was enough to make me feel like a million dollars, enough to say, “keep on, keeping on, Ms. Sara!”  I can not thank them enough.

Over all, the evening was a HUGE success. I learned just today that the evening raised an additional $100K for the organization. Which is amazing! I’m so glad to have been part of that. So glad.  I was also notified today who placed the winning bid for my item and I am looking forward to working with them.

All I can say is YAY! YAY! YAY! I think I can say cloudy skies are gone for today.

Rolling With The Punches, Sort Of

I have quite a bit to say. It seems as though my blogging ebbs and flows the way life does. Some days, I really struggle for topics to write about and then other days, I’m bombarded with thoughts. It’s amazing how that happens, isn’t it? I wonder if other people experience the same thing. If I were a smarter blogger, I would jot the thoughts down and space them out for those days when I am struggling. E viola! I just gave myself an organization tactic. A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

Now because I am not going to apply this organization tactic today, or this week for the matter (Hooray, it’s Friday!),  keep in mind that this post may be a bit long and have a ton of thoughts racing through it (much like my mind), but there are a lot of gems in here.

First:

While perusing/reading Mashable yesterday, I came across the following article: “11 Recommendations for the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf.”  The first book suggested is “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac. Considering that it is one of my all time favorite books, I immediately decided to like the selections.  I try to follow reading books for business owners and entrepreneurs, but there are a million books and between trying to get through “War and Peace” and “Tactics for New Businesses”  (not sure if that’s even a real title, I just typed it), I tend to choose “War and Peace.” Either way, I will commit to reading as many of the 10 books I haven’t read this year.

Second:

You know that moment when the lighting bolt flashes above your head? I do! I’ve had it happen once before, when my business came into focus and now, this week, again. I’ll only state now, this week, again for the two ideas that just hit my face the way an egg might a door on Halloween. That may have just been a bad analogy, but you get the point.  The idea didn’t leave a mess of yolk and whites running down the door, but it did muddle my brain a bit. The fact is both ideas need a wee bit of planning and fine tuning. BUT they are both doable and in the works.

I apologize for being so cryptic, but the fact is, I kind of have to be. I don’t want to release too much too soon.  Either way, one of the lighting bolts will see me across the world, learning, engaging and exploring. I will be documenting it on this blog. I have a tentative schedule right now and a HUGE plan to save money because I’m going to need it. But the reality is that it IS going to happen now. My brain is submerged in the thought of it and where it will take me and I can’t wait to formally announce it and share it with my family, friends, customers, readers and maybe even the world?

The second lighting bolt will take me on an exploration of mail and sentiment. This one I can be a bit more open about. I am still working out the fine details of how I can make this work, but it’s essentially the resuscitation of snail mail. I know, you’re wondering where did it go? Well, electronic mail is a HUGE factor, but really, I think people have just gotten lazy and they don’t know how to write.  Either way, I just can’t imagine a world without stamps and letters. I LOVE stamps. I collect stamps. Even international stamps and I think nothing is greater than getting a real piece of mail with a stamp and looking at the pattern and design. Nothing says, “I love you” like a nice piece of solid stamp.  There will be way more on this because I really genuinely believe I’m on to something here, but you know…stay tuned!

Third:

Because I am a promoter of social good in business, I want to announce that my Valentine’s Day themed items on sale now at Etsy are under a promotion. 25% of all sales made through the love collection will go to an organization working in Haiti. Ideally, the organization will be helping to create a sustainable Haiti, not just work with the people. If I find an organization that is working to plant trees, recycle materials to help build hospitals, houses and businesses, even better, but those are my requirements.  I want a stronger Haiti that can live with a natural Haiti.

Valentine’s Day for me, a single woman in her 30th year, is not a dreadful day. It’s a great day, full of love. There are so many ways to achieve love aside from serious/partner relationships. I am not inadequate or less because I don’t have a boyfriend. Heck, I have at least 100 friends that love me and my mom and my brothers and the rest of my family. Hardly lacking. More importantly, the day is a day to share love…with people that are lonely. It is a day to show the world that we do care and that is why the Valentine’s Day collection is supporting Haiti. We must care about our fellow brothers and sisters.  You can view my collection on duh, Etsy.

Whew, that’s that! Again, stay tuned…

Social Good

Last night I attended a gala for an organization that is near and dear to my heart – Everybody Wins! It was wonderful! I was a guest of Everybody Wins! and I couldn’t have been more happy to attend.

My history with Everybody Wins! dates back a couple of years ago to my days in DC.  I worked for a wonderful non-profit called American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and one of their offerings was a weekly volunteer program where employees would walk down the street to the local school and read with a child on his/her lunch break. I immediately signed up! After all, I’m a book loving nerd. I love to read and the idea of passing on the love of reading to a child that is disadvantaged immediately made me happy.

Every week was different and there were definitely days where I wanted to not be reading with Joquan because he wanted to be outside with his friends instead of inside reading, but he was a sweet kid with a great heart and quite bright and so I enjoyed my time with him. I believe I still have all of his cards and thank you notes from the two years that we shared.

Now, as I attempt to build a better volunteer program for my current full-time job, I’ve contacted Everybody Wins! to see if I could create a partnership with them. Of course that requires more work from my company than Everybody Wins!, but as someone who believes wholeheartedly in this organization and has seen firsthand the benefits of the program, I’m willing to work to make it happen.

Last night, I attended the gala as a guest, yes, to definitely help build a working connection between my full-time job and this non-profit, but I was also there as an individual that has strong passions and commitment to my fellow countrymen and society.  This individual  Sara, was a representative of S2 Stationery and Design just as well. And I’m glad I was there as an individual because after listening to Tony Roberts and Barbara Feldon read a chapter from their favorite children’s books aloud,  I walked out and bid on a silent auction item and won!

The items on the auction included several selections of books donated by Random House Books, including the President Obama’s book, “Of Thee I Sing.” I would have bid on that, except that I was more compelled by this print titled “Dollhouse” by Katy Brash, a wonderful artist located in Bermuda. I’ve contacted Ms. Brash and it turns out that she reconnected with an old school mate who got her involved in donating the print to the gala. Her words to me were, “I love reading to kids.”  That same statement rings so true to me, too.

And that’s when I realized that my auction win was really a donation to a great organization that has reached out to me via my full-time gig, but will truly be enhanced by my part-time (and soon to be full-time)stationery business.  This may not be a one-to-one business like the wonderful TOMS company, but it will be something where I give back to them. Where I design a line of cards that helps raise money to be donated to Everybody Wins! And by that I will be helping an organization that means a lot to me and offer the future a chance at something that they deserve.

Which all ties in so nicely with what I love…reading and writing. After all, it takes a certain literate individual to pursue a stationery dream. I want the generations that follow to know that same sense of literacy, sociableness and dream as well.