Sunday, October 30, 2011

Joy of Life 2011

Every nonprofit has their "signature" event and for Cancer Care Services that is Joy of Life gala. In the past Joy of Life has been held on a Thursday evening, had a guest speaker and focused around good food/wine. When I was hired one of the things I was tasked with was taking Joy of Life to the next level. My goal is to build Joy of Life into a great party that everyone cannot wait to go to each year verse just another charity gala. So while the basics of the event remind the same, it saw LOTS of changes. Plus we were working with a venue that most in Fort Worth had been to a million times, so I had to get creative to give it a fun and festive vibe so they didn't feel like just another event at the country club. (all this on a VERY tight...and I mean TIGHT budget!)  

So began my creative research for ideas...and then figure out if we could afford to make them happen! All the event materials have had a purple feel to play up the wine emphasis and we just rebranded making our logo purple and teal. I decided that was the perfect direction to go in to help people really start to identify Cancer Care with the purple and teal, while remaining true to our pre-event marketing materials.   

After a lot of research I figured out it would be much cheaper for me to purchase everything for the centerpieces, rather than go through a florist. The best price I was able to get from all the florist bids was $75 a centerpiece. I was able to do them for $38 each and Cancer Care Services owns everything to use for future events! Granted my office did look like a mess for quite a while because of this plan! :)

Color palate of the feathers and the vase filler with the led lights! To get the lighter colored feathers we died white ones....this is NOT something I would recommend. Dying them, combing them out, drying them and getting them to fluff is a lot of work. If we wouldn't have already owned the white feathers we would have NEVER gone this route! 

All in all I am extremely pleased how everything turned out and we had a lot of fun putting together the centerpieces and candle holders! Plus I received a ton of compliments on how elegant but still really fun everything looked! (mission accomplished!)

The addition of a live band and dramatic lighting really helped set the mood of the evening! It was great seeing people having such a wonderful time enjoying good food and wine, with wonderful friends, while raising money for a great cause!

The Live and Silent Auctions were both a HUGE success! We had over 120 lots in the silent auction and it was the first time we have every had a live auction, which raised over $33,000 with the 6 items!  

And to top all of that off we DOUBLED what the event raised in 2010!! That means more money to help those in our community who are dealing with cancer! But the best part of it all was I got so this with some of my dearest friends by my side helping me out each step of the way!

Now I am sure Mel is going to shoot me for ending with this picture, but the randomness of this shot makes me crack up every time I look at it. (Kipper did good capturing this one!) But I guess I love it because it sums us all up so well!
Cheers to all the joys in your life! :) 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lala's 21st Birthday!

Earlier this summer I wrote a short recap blog about Lauren aka Lala. Needless to say it has been a long, hard journey filled with more tears and visits to the hospital that one should ever have to endure. But with all the pain, Lala touched lives all over the world.

Just several months before a girl who said she would rather DIE than lose her hair had found a new confidence in her bald head. She refused to let cancer keep her down and she lived her life according to HER rules. But most of all she showed the world just how powerful love and prayer can be.  And she sure as heck wasn't going to let cancer get in the way of her 21st birthday celebration!

Then it happened, the words came that everyone was waiting for, "Lauren, you are done!"   The chemo worked and she beat her nasty cancer! She had done what the doctors never thought she could do! Birthdays are about celebrating life and with those words, Lauren's 21st birthday celebration took on even greater meaning!

INCREDIBLE photo of Lauren's before and after CT scans:
 The scan on the right was taken in April (the huge white blob was her "grapefruit" tumor). The scan on the left was taken a week ago. Notice a big white blob? NO!!!!!!!! It's gone!!!!!! The scan on the left is the scan of normal lungs

Kipper and I were extremely honored to be invited to be a part of Lauren's 21st Birthday Celebration! And what was more fitting than a good old fashion costume party for the Queen of Halloween! (it is her favorite holiday!)

The love, emotion and celebration that filled the party that night made it like no other party I had ever been to. But the best part was seeing Lala bounce though her back yard in her Hello Kitty costume with the biggest smile on her face, surrounded by friends and loved ones. Here are a few of my favorite photos for that evening!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Toga! Toga! Toga!

 One of our all time favorite mixers in college was the annual Toga Party with SOS. I remember all of us trying to come up with creative ways to make our togas far more than just a bed sheet. Everything from sequins, to matching jewelry, hair accessories right down to customizing flip flops! Each year we always were more excited about our outfit over the year before. Yet looking back it is sort of funny because my creations were no where near as fabulous as I remember!

Fast forward several years. Who would have ever thought that I would ever need the toga making skills I learned in college again? Well, good thing I sort of retained some of them since this year's JWC informal party was none other than a toga party!  (which I should have known since the theme is "Going for the Gold")

I had been swamped getting ready for Joy of Life and a few other things, so I didn't put NEAR as much time into my outfit as I did in college. Basically I bought some fabric on clearance because I liked the color and then the night of went "Oh Crap! What Am I Wearing??" To make matters worse....I never bought any fabric for Kipper's toga so he was left to fend for himself.

I was actually sort of pleased with how my last minute look turned out. I would also like to remind everyone before you see the photos: Kipper came up with this look ALL on his own...out of things he found in his closet!  He was super proud of his crazy, creative look and to feed his ego even more, every guy there kept telling how awesome it was. (at least Daddy would be proud! lol!) 

Even though we are a "little" bit older and no longer have them time to spend hours planning for the perfect toga, one thing hasn't changed from our days in AXiD and SOS. No matter where we go or what we are wearing, as long as Kipper and I are together we always have a great time! (As sweet as that sounds..cause it is...don't think for a minute that I didn't tease him about the hunting socks with his dress sandals! haha!)

AXiD and SOS Toga Mixer 2002

JWC Toga Informal Party 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shop Til You Drop

Yesterday morning Kipper, Momma and I loaded up and headed off to Canton for a jam packed day of shopping and fun! Plus we were going to meet up with Tammy, the girls and her parents so I was really excited to spend time with them as well!

Sometimes when we go to Canton I have a list of exactly what I am looking for, other times not so much. This month was sort of a blend...I knew I was not, repeat NOT leaving without a Beyonce for my backyard....but other than that I was just browsing for good deals to create my crafty magic with! :) I always love to see what kind of treasurers and deals we come home with!

I had a feeling it was going to be a good day when I found the first gem of the day within 10 minutes of being there! Kipper and I have been trying to figure out our costumes for Lauren's big 21st birthday Monster Mash. Tricia and I wanted to go Toddlers and Tiaras, but at the same time I wanted Kipper and I's costumes to go together too. Of course Kipper wanted to do something with a chicken. His suggestion to me was I could go as a farmer...really? Well yesterday it all clicked and I found a way to do both! I am going to do Toddlers and Tiaras with Tricia, but instead of doing a "beauty" dress I am going to do a "wow wear" costume. I am going as a cute farmer and Kipper is going to be my chicken! :)  I found this vintage petticoat for $20 and I can't wait for everyone to see my creation once I am is going to be CUTE!!!!!!

Canton was CRAZY crowded this weekend since this is the first nice Canton weekend we have seen since the Spring. While the crowds made it a little harder to search for those hidden treasures, it was actually a good thing for negotiating. Since the vendors were having such a good weekend, coming off of a summer of bad ones they were willing to wheel and deal!  Like this adorable pink, hard sided suitcase that was marked $20, but the vendor said she would part with it for $15, but I got her down to $12! It was in perfect condition, inside and out, so this was a really super deal! I am always looking for creative, fun storage solutions and this suitcase is going to look adorable in my craft room/puppy room when I am done with it! :)

Even though I wanted to see what kind of hidden treasures I could find, my mind was focused on finding my Beyonce! Which didn't take too long! This lady even had Beyonce on a stick to put in a planter! I liked these, but I really wanted one a little larger and this was the first place we had seen with them and I really didn't want to tote it around all day either! lol The search continued!

The variety of things you see out at Canton always crack me up...but that is what makes it so much fun I think!  We were so busy shopping neither Kipper nor I took many photos but we did snap a few of some of the randomness. :)

Several hours later and right before we left I found it! The perfect Beyonce for our backyard, with a moving head to boot. Originally $50, but marked $40. After seeing the prices at a few locations I knew $40 was good, but I was still able to talk him down to $30! So in the words of The Bloggess, "That was like $20 worth of FREE chicken!" HA!

And of course Kipper was happy because 1) the search for the perfect stupid metal chicken was over and 2) he got to hang out with his little buddy, Lilyana, (aka the original Tutu Baby) all day!