Pride

Pride is defined as feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.

Feeling pride is definitely one of those emotions that walks a fine line. When it comes to your own achievements or qualities, society only accepts so much. Just look at Facebook. If you post a picture of yourself running a race, say, people all respond with comments of congratulations. However, by the 4th picture you post with your medal, you can almost see the collective eye roll of your friends. One picture of your baby is cute. A picture of your child’s every waking moment is seen as obnoxious. It is a slippery slope my friends.

Last week I had a moment of pride and I just need to share it.

Like nearly all other 20-30 year girls in New York, part of my workout routine involves spending upwards of $30 for a 45 minute spin class. I put on my Lululemon capris and tank top, which are both FAR too cute and expensive to actually sweat in, and join the masses to either “bounce up and down on a bike to the beat of club music” or “fly to the top of the leader board.” Soul Cycle and Flywheel appear far too often on my credit card bill for my husband’s liking but what can I say, it is still cheaper than therapy.

After class, I often call my mom during my walk to the subway. She loves hearing about the class, particularly when I go to Flywheel where they rank your performance against others in the class. But when I go to Soul Cycle, which focuses less on competition and more on “spiritualness”, she has a hard time understanding that.

Mom: “Did you win?”

Me: “This wasn’t the one with scoring”

Mom: “Well, you can probably still tell if you were the best”

Me: “Yah… I was bouncing up and down and feeling the music better than anyone else.”

Even though my mom loves riding her bike outside, and she likes hearing about my spin classes, she had never taken a class herself. I constantly tell her that she should try it but, you know, trying new things after a certain age becomes more and more difficult. Finally I threw down the gauntlet. I told my mother that she needed to try spinning within the next few days or I wouldn’t’ talk to her for a week. Considering we talk AT LEAST once a day, that scared her.

The next thing I knew, she was signing up for an introductory spinning class at her gym. Unfortunately, she picked a day where she was already scheduled to play in two tennis matches. I though there was no way she was going to go.

Well, not only did she go, but she stayed after the 30 minute intro session for the 45 class! She called me after her class to tell me how it went. Hearing about her experience was ten times better than any class I’d attended myself. I was so proud of her for sticking to her commitment, stepping outside of her comfort zone and trying something new and a little scary. It’s a funny feeling to cheer on someone who has been your biggest cheerleader for 31 years. Funny but good.

Oh, and she’s already gone back for a second spin class. Pretty soon she’s going to be at the top of the leader board.

In summary – Mom, I’m proud of you. The kind of proud that is over the top, obnoxious and totally hated by Facebook audiences everywhere.

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Campus Taps

After Facebook’s worse than expected performance this week, I think everyone is a little more suspicious of internet websites and their valuation. However, I think we would all agree that even though Facebook’s stock has dropped 15 percent, their 80-90 billion dollar market value is definitely impressive. And while Mark Zuckerberg and I went to the same school, I am sad to report that I did not know him, the Winklevoss twins or anyone else involved with the creation of Facebook.

Believe me when I say, that is upsetting. While I was hanging out with my friends on the swim team, people were developing a multi-billion dollar website right next door. Well, I am not about to let that happened again – which is why I am happily promoting the newest college website out there: Campus Taps.

Matt and I both agree that the summer of 2010 was one of our best, as it was when we met the incredible Ryan Phillips. His most obvious contribution to our life are his unbelievable dance skills. In one fluid motion, he can turn a boring evening into a riotous dance battle. He gave us the gift of dance, first at Matt’s bachelor party and then during our wedding. Matt and I were so excited to share his skills with our closest friends and family!

However, while Ryan’s dance skills are impressive, we have realized very quickly that they are non-transferable (Although, he did give us a few VERY helpful pointers for our first dance; however, beyond a few spins and twirls, Matt and I are unable to replicate Ryan’s skills). But one thing that Matt has been able to replicate is Ryan’s sweet sense of style.

Ryan captured the “All American Gentleman” style with his Sperry boat shoes, J.Crew shorts and his croakies — apparently when you are a true gentleman you are always ready for yachting. Even in the middle of New York City. Matt’s (and Kinsella’s) sense of style has been fine-tuned as a result of their friendship.

And now, Ryan is applying his wealth of “bro” knowledge and sharing it with the world – while also providing a calendar of events for young “bros-in-training.”

Taken from their website, Campus Taps is described below:

“Campus Taps is a free online nightlife directory that provides access to bar events, bar and liquor store specials, and late night eats in the Baltimore-area. In addition, the site was created to be an open forum for students and young professionals to connect with their friends and favorite nightlife spots. The directory is free for businesses and users to join. Currently we are serving the greater Baltimore-area but we will be expanding to other major cities and college towns soon.”

The website had a soft launch this spring and hopes to expand to more bars and colleges next fall.

And who knows, maybe Mark will start reading Campus Taps — he really could use the advice, because let’s face it, while he may be a multi-billionaire, he is no bro. “Time to trade up those Adidas sandals for some Rainbows, bro!”


Two Years Later in Haiti; Aid Still Required

I am excited to announce that my favorite guest blogger has returned to “Focus on the Little Things.” Recently, Dan Parziale began working for a nonprofit in LA called Aid Still Required (ASR). This organization focuses on sustainable development in places that have been hit by disasters. The idea is that right after a big event, like the tsunami in Indonesia, international organizations and aid money pours into the country. A lot of this attention tends to move elsewhere when other disasters take place. What happens in these cases is that a secondary disaster takes place–recovery has not yet taken place, but the support has left.

Hunter and Andrea Herz Payne started Aid Still Required about 7 years ago with the goal of helping to “fill the gap” so to speak, and to shine the spotlight back on places that had left the headlines and oftentimes the public consciousness. Aid Still Required does not generally do most “first responder” work like emergency healthcare, providing water, food, and shelter. Instead, ASR is more focused on doing the things that should have a long-term impact on the ability of people in the country to support themselves. For example, the earthquake in Haiti led to hundreds of thousands of people still living in tent camps with very little government oversight. Over 100 rapes per day are reported in Cite Soleil, one of the largest encampments just outside of Port-au-Prince.

ASR partnered with the We Advance Women’s Clinic to provide free gynecological care to women and with Nouvelle Vie to support ongoing PTSD and rape victim therapy. At the same time, ASR is helping to reforest one of the most deforested countries in the world. Aside from the environmental impact of reforestation, it also has an immediate impact as it leads to greater flood control while reinvigorating the soil for farming and providing jobs.

If you would like to learn more about the work they are doing in places like Indonesia, Sudan, Haiti, and New Orleans, please visit their website at www.AidStillRequired.org.

Please Dan’s message below to find out what YOU can do to help.

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti and we are doing a massive social media campaign to raise money for the projects we are doing there and to shine the spotlight back on a country that has still not recovered from the earthquake.

We have roughly 50 celebrities (actors, athletes, musicians, authors, TV personalities) with a combined Facebook and Twitter following of about 150 million people. We have recorded PSAs from Maroon 5 and the LA Kings.

 

This campaign has the potential to raise an incredible amount of money and would allow us to expand the programs that have been incredibly successful in Haiti so far.

There are several things that you can do to get involved and I urge you to pass this along to others you think might be interested:

1) Post the tweets and Facebook updates (sample text included below) throughout the day. These are the same Tweets and Updates we are asking all of our celebrities to post so the more eyes on these the better.
2) Follow Aid Still Required on Twitter @aidstillreqd
3) Like Aid Still Required on Facebook by searching “Aid Still Required”
4) Go to any of the celebrities’ Facebook and Twitter pages listed below and either retweet or “like” their Haiti post
4) E-mail all of your contacts and ask them to do the same–a short explanation of what ASR is and what we are doing would be awesome. Include the Tweets and Updates listed below for them to put up as well
5) If you feel able to do so, go to www.AidStillRequired.org/donate and make a donation. Just as importantly, explore the site, learn about what we are doing and sign up to be on our mailing list.

Thank you so much and if you have any questions about what to do or you want to know more about Aid Still Required, let me know.

Here is a list of all of the celebrities we have signed up to Tweet and Facebook for us today:
Adam Schefter, Alicia Keys, Blake Griffin, Bonnie Raitt, Chelsea Handler, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Deepak Chopra, Don Cheadle, Dustin Brown, Hans Zimmer, Hilary Duff, Hugh Jackman, Jackson Browne, Janet Jackson, Jarius Wynn, Jason Mraz, Jordin Sparks, Kathy Ireland, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Kimberly Cole, Lady Antebellum, Maroon 5, Martha Stewart, Mike Richards, My Chemical Romance, Nina Dobrev, Pamela Anderson, Paul Pierce, Rob Kardashian, Seth Green, Sheryl Crow, Slash, Solange Knowles, Stephen Collins, Sting, Thalia, The Killers, Tim McGraw, Tyson Chandler, Usher, Victoria Justice, Will Smith, William Shatner…

And here are the Tweets and Facebook posts that we are asking people to put up:

Tweets
•  Two years after #Haiti quake the number of orphans has doubled. I’m helping through #AidStillRequired. Will you?  http://bit.ly/wTtw7y 
•  2nd anniversary campaign for #Haiti includes you, me + 120 million others!  Chip in at  http://bit.ly/wTtw7y   RT   #AidStillRequired
•  40% unemployment in #Haiti. Join me + #AidStillRequired – plant trees, provide jobs, homes, food, education!   http://bit.ly/wTtw7y 
•  500,000 people in #Haiti still live under tarps and tents. I’m helping thru #AidStillRequired   http://bit.ly/wTtw7y  Hope you will too.
•  1000s of #Haiti women sexually abused – 100 rapes/day in settlements.  I’m helping thru #AidStillRequired. Will U?  http://bit.ly/wTtw7y
 
Facebook Post
Today is the second anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. Millions still have no home, no school, no job, and little food. We can help the people of Haiti.

Our support can plant trees, provide jobs, water cisterns and housing incentives. Our support can send supplies to orphanages overflowing with abandoned kids. Our support can bring trauma relief to victims of rape and PTSD. WE CAN CHANGE LIVES.

Join me and thousands of others by making sure those suffering in Haiti are not forgotten. Be the miracle in someone else’s life.

Go to Aid Still Required  http://bit.ly/wTtw7y
 
Stats
ON THE 2ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI, HERE ARE SOME FACTS…
FACT: Two years after the earthquake, over half a million people are still living under tarps and tents.
FACT: Half of Haiti’s children are illiterate… and most don’t finish 5th grade.
FACT: The number of orphaned and abandoned children has
doubled since the quake. …
FACT: Millions are suffering from PTSD, disease and hunger.
FACT: Haiti still needs our help and we can do something about it.
FACT: Aid Still Required has programs in Haiti which help reforest the countryside and provide jobs, which offer trauma relief and empowerment to women suffering from PTSD and rape, and which send supplies and teachers to orphanages.

Join me and thousands of others to ensure those in Haiti are not forgotten. Go to Aid Still Required: http://www.aidstillrequired.org/home

It’s amazing how powerful we can be when we join together.

I am incredibly moved by the work that Dan and Aid Still Required are doing. Like Robin Hood, they believe everyone, everywhere, is entitled to live in dignity, safety and health. They view post-crisis situations as opportunities to do just that.

Their work is needed – probably  more than most of us are aware. While Robin Hood’s mission keeps our focus on New York City, we are so thankful that there are other non-profits out there who are helping those beyond our reach. So thank you Aid Still Required, and thank you Dan. Your passion is inspiring and I can’t wait to see all that you are destined to accomplish.

Please join me and Dan by tweeting, posting to facebook, and spreading the word. Two years have gone by and the people of Haiti still need our help.

Happy Birthday from Your Friends

I have blogged about, or at least mentioned, Dunkin Donuts in 8 of my previous posts. Clearly I have a strong love for this company.

It makes me laugh because Abby (my sister) has a serious love hate relationship with Dunkin Donuts. While she likes their vanilla chai tea, she used to date a boy who worked at Dunkin Donuts. She first started dating this boy her senior year in college. After graduation she moved to upstate New York to coach swimming at Hamilton College. She tried to break it off with this boy countless times, but he was blinded by his love. He moved to upstate New York to be near her and when he couldn’t get a job, decided to settle for a position at Dunkin Donuts. He would work during the day and come over to visit Abby after work. When she first told me this, I thought “wow, that is awesome. Free donuts and coffee delivered to your door.” What I didn’t account for was the fact that the smell from Dunkins lingered on his clothes and would fill her apartment. Soon, she was bathed in the sweet smells of donuts and coffee. Apparently, this is NOT something that you want your apartment to smell like day in and day out. Unfortunately for Abby, she had totally captivated this boy’s heart, which was realized fully when he gave her “the deed to his heart” for her Birthday that year (yeah, I can’t make that kind of stuff up). No matter how much disgust she expressed for his odor (and eventually just for him in general), he wouldn’t go away. He was like a lost puppy.

Thankfully, Abby was finally able to end things with this boy. I am not sure how she did it… He was like a child who had to be told “no” over and over before he fully grasped the concept. I have a theory about this boy, but I will save that for another time… (don’t worry Abby, I won’t embarrass you THAT much) He eventually found a girl (now his wife and mother of his child) who appreciated his unmatched loyalty and devotion. It is worth mentioning though that she didn’t have to deal with his Dunkin Donuts “cologne”… however I don’t think that was the only thing Abby had taken issue with…

Thankfully, my relationship with Dunkins has always been a positive one. And now, we are taking our relationship to the next level. I received this early Birthday present in the mail last week. If this isn’t true friendship, then I don’t know what is. I can’t wait to use it one day on my way to work!

Thank you friends at Dunkin Donuts, for not only remembering my Birthday without the aid of Facebook, but also for the sweet present!

Lazy Weekend

Growing up in a cable free household, I cherished Saturday morning cartoons more than most children. Sunday through Friday, my tv was limited to Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Square One and 3,2,1 Contact! While my peers were watching Rainbow Bright, Jem and Inspector Gadget, I was desperately messing with the rabbit-ear antenna to bring into focus Tiny Toon Adventures and Ducktails. After 5 minutes, I often gave up entirely.

But on Saturday mornings, it was a different story. The channels that normally only contained soap operas, Jeopardy and the news showed hours and hours of child-friendly cartoons. So after Saturday morning swim practice and quick stop at Dunkin Donuts, I would return home and drag my comforter from my bed downstairs and plop myself in front of the tv for hours. I would start off with Garfield and Friends, then Muppet Babies, and Carebears.

 As I grew older, the line up changed to Doug, Pepper Ann, and Recess.

 

I would become so absorbed in these shows, that I wouldn’t even realize that I had spent hours in front of the tv. I would come out of my cartoon coma as soon as coverage of various bowling tournaments started. Sadly, my day was 1/2 over and my brain was fried. I have said it before, but this is what happens when you don’t have cable and have to make up for lost time.

This weekend, I didn’t spend hours in front of the tv watching cartoons, but I did have a very lazy weekend. After 3 weekends in a row of weddings (all requiring travel) I figured I deserved it.

I started my weekend off by taking a 1.5 hour long nap on Friday afternoon. I should preface this by saying that I was pretty sick with a cold and certainly could use the extra sleep. Matt and I then went to see Social Network that evening. It was surprisingly good and I think they depicted two ends of the social scene at Harvard pretty well (a little exaggerated, but not much…)

Saturday morning I worked at the newly named TasteBuds (formerly Cupcake Kids) where I helped teach a Birthday party that had 45 two and three-year olds. Needless to say, even though I had slept for nearly 11 hours the night before, I needed a mid-day nap to recover. Saturday night, we went out for dinner with some friends and I went home early, getting another 10 hours of sleep that night.

Sunday was the pinnacle of laziness. Although I did leave my apartment for a low-key workout, I didn’t leave the apartment building (or go outside) all day. I spend the day relaxing, cleaning and watching a movie (Remember Me). While I don’t think I could do this EVERY weekend, I also don’t feel too ashamed of the quality pj time that I had this weekend.