Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Song: "Renaissance State of Mind" by Ro Spit and Monica Blaire

I am really digging this Detroit rendition of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" fittingly called "Renaissance State of Mind." Be sure to listen to the lyrics - great mentions of some of metro Detroit's finest land marks. Plus, this girl Monica can SING. Holy cow, these homegrown talents are going out world, Detroit's about to takeover!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Help Operation: Kid Equip Empower Local Students

I'm proud to let you all know that I've partnered with some rad female bloggers from the Detroit area to spread the word and raise money for a really neat program.

The program is with Positive Detroit and Operation: Kid Equip, a metro Detroit organization looking to help provide 25% of Oakland County Schools with dictionaries for third graders.

With the assistance of Operation: Kid Equip and its participation with The Dictionary Project, we will work to distribute dictionaries specifically written for third graders who are at the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn.

Erin Rose of Positive Detroit, Becks Davis of Detroit Moxie, Nikki Stephan of Creativity, Love, Happiness & All That Falls Between , Jennifer Wright of Looking Glass Lane are the other rockin' bloggers participating in this. The initiative is important to all of us because we want to help give the same opportunities to local students as we were given in our writing classes as children. And, we want to encourage local students to become better writers.

Through March 15, 2010, we're working to raise money to provide approx. 2,700 third graders in Oakland County with new dictionaries. To give you an idea of the impact you can make, for a $20 donation, you can supply at least 8 third graders with dictionaries.

Also, an anonymous donor has graciously offered to match donations, dictionary-for-dictionary, up to the first 100 dictionaries. Just think, your donation today can double the amount of children that are being served tomorrow!

Literacy and writing are two things I feel very passionate about when it comes to children. I vividly remember having a giant blue Webster dictionary on our bookshelf as a kid. I would often use it to play a game...I'd flip through the pages, land on one, stick my finger on a word and read about the word and its meaning. I learned something new every time I played! I plan to teach my children the same game with the hopes that one day, they too will understand the power of words.

Children are the key to our future -but how can they succeed without the ability to read and write? A dictionary is the perfect educational tool to start our children on a path toward success.

Here is how you can help the organization:

1. Click here to make a PayPal donation for $100, $50, $20 or $10

2. Mail a check to:
Operation: Kid Equip
PO Box 364
Royal Oak, MI 48068-0364
Be sure to write Dictionary Project in the memo line.

3. Contact to make a credit card or other form of payment outside of PayPal.

4. If you would like to join the female bloggers collaboration, contact Erin Rose at

About Operation: Kid Equip
As an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit community benefit organization, we realize that to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness, we have to meet some very basic, yet overlooked needs. Operation: Kid Equip acts as a conduit for collecting and distributing tangible educational and school supplies to school-aged children. Operation: Kid Equip effects long term improvement in the community by providing at-risk kids with the core necessities they need to prosper in school and in life. Visit our website at

About The Dictionary Project
The Dictionary Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The goal of this program is to assist all students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing students with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Five Smiles

My co-worker asked me today why I've been so happy lately. At first I said "no reason" and then I got to thinking...what is it really???

I am sure the holidays have something to do with it...I am one of the rare ones that will admit to actually liking this time of year. But really, I'm just thinking that besides the normal routine stresses, I have been feeling pretty lucky lately. I have been blessed to have a lot of opportunities to smile during these past few weeks...

Smile #1: Recently my job has allowed me to make two unemployed people happy. Person #1: I gave circus tickets to my neighbors a few weeks back. I didn't think anything of it but came home one night to three adorable kid drawing thank yous and a heartfelt card saying they hadn't had the money to do anything as a family in 8 months due to unemployment, so they appreciated the tickets. I had no idea the dad was unemployed.
Person #2: One of my clients is hosting a holiday giveaway. During the contest, we draw winners and contact them about their prize. Well, one of the entrants won $50. I emailed her to tell her the good news and she responded to me by saying she was unemployed and could really use the funds this season to get presents for her family. I'm so glad she was picked as a winner.

Smile #2: I rang bells for The Salvation Army this past weekend with one of my life's leading ladies, Nikki. We always have a good time making people laugh as we sing and bop to Christmas music while ringing. We didn't get any $5s or $10s this year, but it didn't seem like many people passed up our kettle either. It was a happy realization to see that people are still giving back to nonprofits in need, despite the economy.

Smile #3: I saw the 10-voice male a cappella group/You Tube sensation Straight No Chaser with my girlfriends and mom at the Royal Oak Music Theater. They are ammmmmazing and I was so happy that we got to see them live. They sang a lot of great Christmas music, but my fave was a rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers "Under the Bridge." Check it out here (sorry for the quality of the vid). They are supposed to come back to Michigan in the spring, so hopefully I can go...Until then, I am buying all of the music of theirs I can find!

Smile #4: My husband has been a MAJOR helper these past couple of hectic weeks, even despite his own crazy work hours. On top of putting up Christmas lights without a single complaint (I know he hates it), he even did laundry. And folded it. Without me asking. Sounds silly, but it's those little things that remind me that my life would fall apart without him...(or I'd at least be out of underwear!)

I sang at an apartment complex for seniors with my choir last night. The acoustics at the place were horrible and I'm sure we didn't sound our best, but the seniors didn't care. In fact, they LOVED it. We sang carols at the end and I was amazed at how many of them knew all the words to the songs. After we were through performing, an older gentleman came up to me and said how much he loved our singing. After hearing his German accent, I asked what brought him here and he said he wanted to come to America since he was 6. After serving in WWII, he was finally able to come over and he explained how he has loved our country since.

These 5 thing together have made me smile lately. And, like the saying goes, it's not the years in your life, but the life in your years....and sometimes I just need a reminder of a few of the things that make life peachy: helping others, being loved and loving in return and being proud of your roots.