Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Charmed by Charity at Alex and Ani Rye!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting a 'Charmed by Charity Evening' to benefit My Sisters' Place at Alex and Ani in Rye!

I fell in love with Alex and Ani earlier this spring. I've never had much luck with bracelets in the past, but Alex and Ani bangles are adjustable so that anyone can wear them. They also have great meaning behind them. I love picking up a bracelet, checking out the charm, and reading the information card--it always inspires me!

The Alex and Ani team set up this absolutely perfect display featuring their Skeleton Key bangle. Not only does it match the My Sisters' Place logo perfectly, it represents power, choice, and liberation--a philosophical match as well!

The Alex and Ani team in Rye was SO welcoming! They set up a beautiful display table for us, and provided some delicious treats for guests to snack on as they shopped. We also had the opportunity to display My Sisters' Place brochures, including information on Team MSP!

The sparkling water was were the cookies!

I cannot thank my wonderful family and friends for coming to shop with me! Your support meant so much to me, and to My Sisters' Place

With Mayra, Miss Westchester 2014. She picked up a crown bangle, which I also was wearing!

 With Jen, a fellow Sister-In-Law Volunteer. She always looks so fab!

With Tyson, the unstoppable energy behind Team MSP!

I had been counting down the days until this event, and had a list of bangles on my radar. I ended up purchasing a few that meant something special to me: the 'Zest for Life' bangle, the 'Paw Prints' bangle, and (of course!) the 'Skeleton Key' bangle among others. 

Thank you again to the lovely team at Alex and Ani in Rye! It was a pleasure to get to know you all, and I can't wait to shop with you again in the future. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Donating Blood for the First Time!

This month, I did something I've never done before...

...I donated blood!

I really can't believe it took me twenty-three years to become a blood donor. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while, so when my mother told me about an upcoming local drive, I told her to make me an appointment. 

Working in the world of healthcare, I am all too aware of the many situations in which someone urgently needs a blood transfusion. As the American Red Cross puts it, most people have blood to spare--so why not donate to those who are in need? After all, a single blood donation can benefit as many as three different people! I made my donation at St. Bartholomew's church in my neighborhood. Since 1981, St. Bart's has had 78 drives and collected 5,885 units of blood, which has, by average, saved over 17,500 lives!

I'll admit it--I was a little bit nervous when I sat down in the donation chair! But honestly, the experience was practically painless. It also took far less time than I expected--I was done in under ten minutes. I experienced a low blood pressure moment towards the end of my donation, but the donation staff took excellent care of me, adjusting my chair and bringing me a bottle of water while my body recovered. Then, I headed to the snack area where they had one of my favorite snacks, Pop Corners, waiting!

I wasn't the only donor at St. Bart's on July 11. 84 donors came to the drive and 78 units of blood were collected (60 regular and 9 double red cell). 11 high school students and 7 St. Bart's parishioners helped as volunteers throughout the drive. Thank you to all of the volunteers who were so kind, and special thanks to Mr. Tony Sciacca who is the chairperson of the St. Bart's blood drives. This was my first time donating, but I know from my family's experience that he takes the time to personally call and schedule blood donors for each and every drive.

I plan to donate blood again in the future, and you can join me! Here are a few ways to do so:

Donate at your convenience:
If you wish, credit your donation to St. Bartholomew's Church by specifying Group #7747

Donate at St. Bartholomew's next drive for parishioners and friends:
Friday, November 28, 2014
(St. Bart's holds three drives per year: one around Easter, one around the 4th of July, and one around Thanksgiving)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Team MSP - Corporate FunRun 5K

Yesterday, Team MSP took on the Westchester Corporate FunRun, hosted on the beautiful campus of SUNY Purchase.

Team MSP before the race got started

The Corporate FunRun is a new race in town, and we wanted to get in on the action! The goal of the Corporate FunRun is to encourage workers to engage in physical activity while also promoting employee engagement and providing an excellent time to be social with coworkers at an after-race party.

Before the race, Team MSP had the opportunity to set up a table with information about the services My Sisters' Place provides. We also had flyers on Team MSP, and how we are working to support the mission of My Sisters' Place! It is always great to engage with our fellow athletes at these events. While some people have heard about the work My Sisters' Place is doing, many have not. You never know--seeing our table, having a quick chat, and grabbing a pen may make the difference for someone who is in an abusive relationship or knows someone who is. Awareness is key, and it's fun to be part of a team that is getting the word out about domestic violence in such a visible way.

How do YOU move for change?

Before we knew it, it was time for the race to begin. Full disclosure--I haven't ran AT ALL since the North Avenue Mile back in early June. I knew that this race was going to be a rough one, so I didn't set any high expectations for myself. In the end, I had a blast jogging about half of the race and walking half of the race. I spent much of my course time chatting with Tyson and Francine from Team MSP, and our laughter made the uphill stretches much easier to get through!

My second favorite part of any race...mile markers! (My favorite part is the food afterwards...don't judge me)

In the end, I finished the race in about 45 minutes. It may not be a time to write home about, but I had a great time and, most importantly, was able to support Team MSP while doing so!

Mission Accomplished!

I can't wait for next year's Corporate FunRun, because I imagine that it will only get bigger and better. Now if you'll excuse's time to get training for September's Triathlon!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Team MSP Updates

Things are supposed to slow down in the summer...right?! Apparently, my life missed that memo! It's okay--I've always enjoyed a busy life and my current commitments to work, family, friends, pageants, and volunteerism are no exception.

One of the projects I'm excited to be dedicating more time to currently is Team MSP! Our leadership committee is working hard to foster new community connections, plan fundraising events, and prepare for our fall races. Here's what I've been up to...

Charmed by Charity
While Team MSP is committed to raising awareness about domestic violence and the work that My Sisters' Place is doing, we are also committed to raising funds to support My Sisters' Place financially. We have decided to focus our fundraising efforts on the incredible services that My Sisters' Place provides for children.

With over $30,000 raised already (woot woot!), I'm hosting a fundraiser with the wonderful Alex and Ani Store in Rye next Tuesday, July 22. By shopping that evening between 5 PM and 7 PM in store, you'll be supporting My Sisters' Place, as 15% of the evening's proceeds will be donated to MSP! If you can't make it, please let me know--there will be an option to call in your orders as well.

I have always loved to swim. I learned as a child, swam competitively in elementary school, and worked as a lifeguard in high school. Yet I have always hated the ocean. Don't get me wrong--I love visiting the beach, playing in the sand, and even dipping my toes in the water. I just have an (irrational) fear of sea life. The only time I have ever felt comfortable swimming in the ocean was in Hawaii. While there--we visited a cove where the water was so crystal clear, I could see straight down to the ocean floor. You don't find that in New York!

I recently began working on a list of 25 things I'd like to do before I turn 25 next August. One of those things? Overcome my fear and swim in the ocean. And what better way to check that off my list than completing another challenge--conquering my first-ever triathlon?! And so, I am officially planning on participating in Westchester's Super Sprint Triathlon with Team MSP!

I'm definitely nervous--but the Super Sprint is very short, and with the right preparation, I know I'll be physically ready for the challenge. It's the mental hurdles that I'll really need to overcome! I've also started shopping for race day gear--yes, the only way you'll get me into the ocean is in a wetsuit. For all of the experienced triathletes out there...any tips for this newbie?

And more...
As Team MSP continues to grow, we will be partnering with local schools and organizations to get the community moving this fall! I'm hoping to schedule a Team MSP softball tournament, so stay tuned for more info on that. And, in addition to the Super Sprint Triathlon, Team MSP will be racing at the Run the Farm Five Mile Trail Race in October.

If you're interested in joining Team MSP, head over to our website! I would love to have you on my team, the Empire Stars.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Savor and Support

Delicious food, great company, and a fabulous cause--what more could a girl ask for? That's what I was thinking when I arrived at Savor and Support for My Sisters' Place yesterday!

This was my second time attending the annual event, which Mercedes-Benz of White Plains graciously hosts. It is always a wonderful evening, with restaurants from throughout Westchester bringing delicious food to sample. I couldn't get enough of the biscuits, corn pudding, and chilli from the Great American BBQ! Thankfully, I don't have to compete in a swimsuit anytime soon (and I've been working it out daily with the lovely ladies of Pure Barre in Bronxville). 

There were also vendors on hand showcasing beautiful jewelry, workout clothing, and spa services! I only ended up making one purchase, amd I love it--a new My Sisters' Place tee! I can't wait to wear it as I begin training for my first-ever triathlon (more on that in a future blog post) that I will be participating in to support Team MSP.

Of course, I had to take a moment to pose with my future car before leaving the event.

I had a lovely evening, and was delighted to find out this morning that Savor and Support raised over $10,000 for My Sisters' Place! There are few things that inspire me more than a community coming together to raise awareness about the importance of preventing domestic violence. Bravo!

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful sponsors, restaurants, and vendors that made this event possible. I'm already looking forward to next year!
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