I also took a Pinterest class taught by the amazing Anna Luther of My Life & Kids. I learned about Rich Pins and putting descriptions on all of your pins and using images instead of just text. And then my brain exploded.
Once I was able to pick up all the pieces, I partied like it was 1980 (my middle school years) at the NickMom MiddleSchoolAwkward Dance Party. TREMENDOUS fun was had by all and as much as I'd like to say that I danced my ass off, sadly, when I woke up Sunday morning, it was still there.
|Slow dancing with Alyson of The Shitastrophy|
I had the pleasure of recreating one of my very favorite photos from the previous year's blogging conference with my sexy girlfriend Kerry Rossow of House TalkN.
It was an absolute blast to get to meet new friends and hang out with old friends. Plus the always amazing Joy from Evil Joy Speaks spent Sunday at my house! We went for a run together on Monday and had an obscene amount of fun as roomies.
You can read about last year's BlogU14 recap here!
One REALLY cool thing I'd like to mention is that Giant Foods generously donated a swag bag filled with all sorts of yummy foods to all the attendees who stayed in the dorms at the university. Also in those bags were $20 Gift Cards which could be used at any Giant, Martins, Pea Pod or Stop & Shop. Now, Giant is a regional supermarket in my corner of the states but it's not nationwide. The attendees of BlogU15 WERE from all parts of the country and even the world!
This means that some of those $20 Gift Cards would go to waste. And you know I'm not having any of that nonsense. So I contacted many of our BlogU15 attendees who do not have any of those grocery stores where they live and offered to collect them to donate to charity. I'm pleased to say that right now, at least a dozen of those awesome and generous bloggers have come through and are right now as we speak sending me their unused gift cards.
I'll be donating them to my friend Siobhan who works at the Catholic Charities in Martinsburg, WV. In her words this is Catholic Charities:
....a non profit social service organization. (No, one need not be Catholic - or any religion, for that matter, to receive services and there is no proselytizing either.) We provide emergency assistance for people who are about to lose electric, gas, housing, etc who are already living well below the federal poverty guidelines, which is about $24,300 for a family of 4 to give you an idea of how many are living. We also, as you know, have a personal care closet - again for those who can't afford the basics and are struggling. In conjunction, we offer case management and programs for those who come in need. Our goal is to provide the resources to help those in need work towards a better life, without having to rely so much on others. The gift cards would be wonderful because we are updating our personal care closet guidelines beginning July 1, we will begin to automatically distribute toothbrushes and toothpaste to clients who need to access the closet. There's a limit to how many items they can request and can access twice a year. But dental hygiene is so very important as a health issue, so being able to keep these items well stocked is imperative. The other thing they would be awesome for is this: as clients move through case management and learn how to better themselves. For example being able to provide a small gift card to a single parent, trying to raise children, work and make ends meet on minimum wage can make a tremendous difference!!
We are not a shelter, but we work closely with the existing ones. We provide a place for those in need to take a shower/do laundry. The cards could also help pay for prescriptions at Martin's, which is a challenge for some of our older clients. So many great things could be done.
Here's what I'm hoping may happen. The folks at Giant were kind enough to donate these gift cards, and for each gift card that is donated to Catholic Charities, I'd be THRILLED if Giant would match the donation. So right now I've got 12 gift cards coming my way to give to Catholic Charities. That's $240. How awesome would it be for Giant to match that $240 so that Catholic Charities could receive $480? No pressure, Giant folks, I know you were awesome enough to donate all those gift cards and all the yummy treats to the swag bags, but $480 would go a lot farther than $240. Just saying.
And just so you all know, I was not paid or compensated at all to write this post. I just want to say how awesome my fellow bloggers are for donating the cards they cannot use to this awesome organization, and how even more fantastic it would be to see Giant match these donations.
EDIT: Here's where I tell you that it PAYS TO ASK!!!! Giant has been in touch with me and they are offering $260 in additional gift cards to bring the total donated from the BlogU15 gift bags to $500!!!! THANK YOU GIANT for your generosity. The folks at Catholic Charities are very grateful to you and to the other bloggers who are donating their gift cards!