Treat Yo Self: Top 10 Ways to Escape Reality and Relax

Lifehacker is really great. Sometimes, they just provide simple reminders on how to stay sane. This post is a perfect example: Top 10 Ways to Escape Reality and Relax. My current faves: reading, writing and cooking.


Pixars 22 Rules of Storytelling

Writing well is hard. The most compelling writing is always a story, whether you are talking fiction or nonfiction. In my daily work as a fundraiser, I am always looking for stories that will interest alumni and donors. It's not the big, fancy building they want to hear about, but the way the big, fancy building will change students' lives.

To be a half-decent at writing, you have to do it all the time. The truth is, I have been a writer for a long time, but I always feel like I need to do it more often. Back in October, I came across Pixar's 22 rules of storytelling in a webinar. Sadly, it was just the other day I finally went back through my notes and I'm so happy I did. These rules are writing gold.


Robo-Bees. Pollination. Wuuut?

I about fell out of my chair when I read this little blurb from Scientific American about Robo-Bees could aid insects with pollination duties. I guess I forgot how advanced drones really are now. I was first reminded at the super bowl this year when 300 of them were in perfect formation for the halftime show. Amazing.

While I think this is a very innovative solution to this problem, two things come to mind:
  • Drones can literally become the flies on the walls. Pretty creepy. Pollination today, super spy technology tomorrow.
  • Why don't we figure out how to save the bees, too? We're innovative enough to do that, as well.


Banana bread & cookbook tip

One of my favorite cookbooks that I can pop open and get a great recipe each time is Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. The binder version is the one to get, but I got the bound copy and use it relentlessly.

Strangely enough, tonight I used a recipe that I DIDN'T get out of this book, but I can always make more than one banana bread loaf.


Movie: Hidden Figures

This movie is what I needed. You need this movie. This movie is what the United States of America needs right now. Everyone in the United States should definitely see this movie. That was the long and short of my night.

Also, I'm definitely going to read the book Hidden Figures so I can learn more and continue to be inspired by these women and others like them. I've been reading some pretty depressing stuff - WWII history, dystopian fiction, etc. - so it's time for some stories about amazing females. It's a perfect addition to invigorate my reading challenge for 2017. I mean, come on, NASA archivists were involved.

And this movie. 

I am so grateful that I got to watch the pre-screening of "Hidden Figures" tonight with my alma mater - the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I watched it with students and alumni, members of my family and many of my dear friends. It was a packed house and a great night in Dearborn.

"Hidden Figures" follows three awesome women who overcame all kinds of odds and, frankly, bullshit, to succeed at helping build up the NASA program. Katherine Johnson was a human "computer" and overall mathematical powerhouse. Dorothy Vaughan was the boss lady that wasn't paid like a boss, but learned, looked after her team and became THE boss lady supreme. And Mary Jackson, who fought to be able to become an aerospace engineer. 

I took a tally of how many times I teared up: 8. That is pretty high, even for me! This movie really, really moved me. It was a strange juxtaposition of widespread racism and segregation, but still had so much triumph, so much progress. Like, we wanted to reach friggin' space before the Commies and we really came together to do it. Anyway, it was inspiring to watch women influence science and technology, especially black women in the south. 

As I stated at the beginning, everyone should go see this film. The performances were great. It was shot well. It is especially great for families. Also, go to the library and get the book, too.


#GivingBlueday and that

I was asked: "Why does Giving Blueday matter? Why should people give on this day?"

We usher in the giving season together. That's why.

If that's not acceptable, I get it. But for me, it has been a single day of changing lives and making impact together.

Giving Blueday is the University of Michigan's Giving Tuesday. The university has participated in it, u-wide, for the last three years. Tonight, though, we had a lot of fun. Today is one of those days that I am just in awe of how fun it is to do what I do.

At Dearborn Brewing, I hosted a trivia competition. Not one team won anything beyond deciding what area of UM-Dearborn a $500 donation would go. It went off without a hitch, we catered just the right amount of food and everyone had a great time!

For a living, I engage with fellow alumni, host local events, support my city, my school, my team. At this point, it's not why I give. It's why I'm never going to stop giving. Have a good night and a great season of joy, gratitude and giving.


Why I give - Day 7 - It's my job.

I am a fundraiser for a living. Sometimes I'm a part-time librarian, but for my main bread and butter, I raise money for the University of Michigan-Dearborn, my alma mater. Being a part of the Michigan development family has be a joy and an honor and I've learned so much. Perhaps the most important thing I've learned is that I'm in the right place, doing good for an institution that I love very much. Sure, it gets busy and crazy sometimes, but I rest my head each night knowing that the work I do helps teachers teach and students learn. I help create great citizens of this world and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Tomorrow is Giving Blueday, Michigan's take on Giving Tuesday. A little over a week ago, someone asked me how to explain why one should give on this day. I stumbled and bumbled around, but in the end, I explained it was a way to celebrate the beginning of the giving season. However, my struggle to answer the original question made me want to reflect on why I have embraced this life so much.

Consider giving to the University of Michigan-Dearborn tomorrow!


Why I give - Day 6 - To make a political statement

Yes, it has been quite an election season. The results of it have made me realize that there are some things I stand for and support, including civil liberties, women's reproductive rights and public education. Philanthropy gives me an avenue to express some of my beliefs by supporting them monetarily. Better than getting trolled on Facebook.