Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes: Little J's Homecoming Celebration

I could not be more proud of Reilly Johannsen and all she had accomplished over the last 4 years. When they called her name the new Miss Texas Outstanding Teen it went back and forth between bawling and hyperventilating! It is a moment I will always hold dear, watching her achieve a dream she has worked so hard and long for!

Needless to say when it was time to start planning her homecoming/MAOT send off celebration, I was more than willing to do whatever was needed to help make that day extra special for her!  The whole experience of a homecoming had got to be one of the most stressful things on a local organization, especially the smaller ones! You have limited dates you can hold the event, and the organization foots the entire bill!! So basically you have just spent a week and a small fortune at Miss Texas, your girl wins and now you have to throw together a party for 100-150 people in a few weeks! And of course you want to give your girl the most amazing celebration ever....yep..stressful!

After talking with her current director, Ed, and of course her amazing sissy, Jordan, we came up with some ideas of things that Reilly wanted, that we could do etc.One of the things Reilly said she would like was a candy table like several former Teen Texas' had at their homecoming celebrations. After talking to the Irving Board and our current titleholders, we decided we would offer to do this for her as our gift.

Since Reilly is a lover of all things Cinderella it was decided to theme the event "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" and the color scheme would be lavender (the color of Rei's evening gown) and a light turquoise blue to pull in Cinderella. With this decided it was time to start brainstorming for my inspiration! :)

One of the projects I did was a shabby chic platter to use as table decoration and the for Reilly to have as a  memento of her special day. Here are some photos of the progress of the project:

 I really wanted to do was to make sure there were some personalized touches that could be used as a memento if wanted. So I incorporated Reilly's Teen Texas crown shot into water bottle labels and little stickers for the mini cotton candy bags.

Since one of Reilly's favorite cookies is chocolate chip and homemade woopie pie's are huge right now - I decided to take a spin on that and do mini chocolate chip cookie sandwiches. I was overjoyed that they were such a hit and they ran out very quickly!!

You have no idea how happy I was that the cookie sandwiches were a hit, because the first of my "homemade" projects didn't go so well.

I kept seeing these adorable marshmallow pops all over the internet and people talking about how easy they are to make. So I found a recipe and decided to do a try a trial run a few days before hand. I think the pictures speak for themselves - They what should have been and the result. Needless to say they didn't make an appearance at the actual event! :)

After a few weeks of preparation and planning here are some shots of the final product!

Reilly loved it and the guests enjoyed it, so my mission was accomplished! The best part of the day was seeing the room packed full of people who were there to support Reilly!

I said it in my speech and I will say it again: Reilly Johannsen is everything the Miss America's Outstanding Teen program is about. She can stand up and talk to groups from little kids up to adult about her platform, turn around and bring people to tears with the beauty and grace of her dancing, yet through it all she is ALWAYS Reilly. She is a real teenager, who enjoys normal teenage things, yet she is so much more than a normal teenager.

I love you Little J more than you will ever know! You had a dream and no matter what road blocks got in your way, you kept on working towards that dream. Next week is a new chapter in that dream and I can't wait to see what God has in store for you!   Now go to Orlando and show the rest of the country what Texas already knows! :) 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rebranding Makeover

I am sure you have all heard me talk about it a zillion times over the last 8 months and are sick of hearing about it! Well guess what? There is light at the end of the tunnel because on August 1st Cancer Care Services kicked off our month long roll out of our new logo/brand. This has been a labor of love for me at work for the last 8 months and I am SO excited for it to finally be happening!

Luck would have it that our August Board Meeting fell on August 1st so I wanted to make sure we had as much done at the office to really kick off everything, but at the same time I wanted it to be a surprise for the majority of the staff as well. With that said, a lot of the little things I needed to do in preparation for our office makeover had to be done at home and I came into the office for a few hours on Sunday, July 31st to make all the changes.

We have actually made a few more changes since our kick off date, which I will post pictures of later but this will give you an idea. :)

BEFORE - Reception Window
Things randomly get taped up to the window and then they just seem to stay there...long past their due. Or they are things that don't really pertain to the majority of our clients so it can be confusing. 

AFTER - Reception Window
No more taping random announcements up to the window. We have an organized, defined place to post crucial information clients might need when coming in!

AFTER - Reception Window
Added our new icon heart for a little punch of color! 

BEFORE - Client Activities Information 
This board/table is one of the first things you see coming into the house. It has become a random catch all  for people dropping off random fliers and our information was a mess. This area has been a pet peeve of mine since I started last November. 

AFTER - Client Activities Information
This is still a work in progress and we have made a bunch of changes since this was taken, but still a great improvement. Now the calender has a defined place to be displayed each month and we are no longer allowing non Cancer Care Services materials to be posted here. Each week, our Volunteer and Activity Coordinator, Jen,  will pick 1 or 2 programs/activities to be featured on the board next to the calender. 

BEFORE  - Random  Wall Space

AFTER - Random  Wall Space
Just because we didn't want to post non Cancer Care Services  events etc on our information board doesn't mean we don't want to be able to allow clients and volunteers to share those things. Introducing our community board! This is a place clients, volunteers, staff, community members etc can post special events, programs, fundraisers/benefits for clients etc

Gives you an idea of the bigger picture! :) 

I also had a few other little "crafty" projects I did for our big kick off day, such as some "party favors" for our monthly staff and board meetings and a new donation bucket. Several of our support groups pass a bucket and people through in their spare change to donate (something the clients came up with on their own!) so I decided to make them something to celebrate the new look too! 

 "Party Favors" pre-set on the table for Monthly Staff Meeting

 "Party Favors" pre-set on the table for our Monthly Board Meeting 

New donation pail to be used for support groups and other community events 

There are so many more wonderful changes/additions with the launch of our new logo/brand that I am sure I will start sharing on facebook shortly. I just wanted to share my crafty moments I was having to keep secret until after the big reveal!  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Welcome To The Looney Bin....

Also known as Allie and Kipper's life! :)  We take turns coming up with and/or doing nutting things. Many of you have heard one of Chris' favorite stories about me and the lawn mower. (I will never live it down...)

In case you haven't heard it let me give you the skinny: Right after we got married I was so excited to finally get to mow the yard since Daddy never let me mom the yard growing up. Chris was at the fire station and I was home mowing the yard when the lawn mower ran out of gas. I proceeded to try and get the lawn mower into my mustang convertible to take it up to the gas station to gas it up.  When that didn't work, I called Chris to bring home the Explorer so I could take the lawn mower up to gas station. He just laughed....and rightfully so in retrospect. 

But this week was Kipper's weeks to be a nut! If his idea for us to raise chickens in our backyard for eggs and meat wasn't enough (it isn't going to happen) this is what I came home to this afternoon:

In order to help keep the house cool in this million degree heat wave we are experiencing Kipp decided to cover our back door windows with foil. Thank goodness none of the neighbors can see our back doors. And if the police show up after a random tip about a drug house we all know why. 

The tonight we were in the backyard watering the peppers and as I was walking back inside I see the real gem to Kipper's little foil project. 

He cut a little "port hole" so we could see into the back yard. I just shook my head. Kipp on the other hand was super proud of his little project. I am counting down the days till the temps start going down so I don't have to remind myself that we aren't a drug house. And the babies are just want to be able to keep a look out on their backyard again.  But with all that said, I love my crazy life and I wouldn't have it any other way! 

(But we are still NOT raising chickens!!!!!!)