Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fundraising Sunday: The One that almost got away

I have neglected to mention one raffle it's a small little thing, mini really.  More specifically an iPad mini. That's right, raffling off a white 16GB iPad mini and it can be yours

How?  Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy with a 5.00 donation to my St. Jude Heroes goal.  One 5.00 donation gets you one entry, 20.00 gets you five chances to take this baby home! The link to my St. Jude's page can be found here.  When you donate, please leave me a comment here and I will be sure to fill out a raffle entry for you and get you added to this raffle. 

The drawing is on Monday, July 8th.  So you have a week to get your name thrown in.  

As always, remember that your donation helps St Jude continue to provide free quality medical care for children battling childhood cancer, as well as lodging meals and transportation for their family. Every dollar donated helps St. Jude continue their groundbreaking research.  Every dollar counts with St. Jude, no donation is ever too small to help make a BIG difference. 

Thank you for helping me to reach my goal to help St. Jude. Together we can both be heroes for St. Jude. 


Friday, June 28, 2013

Fundraising Friday: Garage Sale

Short and sweet fundraising Friday update.  This week has been all about our group garage sale.  Somehow I have made it into my 40's without ever having a garage sale.  We had requested donations for the sale and to say that we were amazingly overwhelmed would be an understatement. 

Evidence A:

Evidence B:

We had a little bit of everything, clothes, books, furniture, toys, oh and chicken tending supplies.  Yes, you read that right.  Oddly enough, the chicken supplies have been a hit.  Who knew?!

Today started bright and early at 430 and we had our first customers shortly after 7a even though we weren't officially open yet.  Despite the heat advisory we had a very steady flow of people.  I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical about how a garage sale would go.  I also was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of goodies that we had accumulated.  My friends assured me that I would be surprised and surprised I have been.  

The garage end of day one;

The garage sale cynic may have been converted, and I may or may not have kept coming into  the house looking for things to put out for someone else to enjoy.  It was kind of fun in an odd sort of way to see how many things I could find and put out for sale.  I'm not sure that I will ever do a garage sale that is not charity tied, but I can sort of see the appeal now. 

As a reminder my Atutudes tutu raffle is still live.  For a small 10.00 donation, you can win a fabulous custom tutu from Kristal.  Low entries right now, great chances of winning your own dream tutu for an upcoming race.  :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fundraising Friday...Forward Progress

Here I am three weeks out from when I made the leap of faith and signed up to be a charity runner via St. Jude Heroes for Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  Being a cancer survivor and also being a Mom, St. Jude's has become one of my favorite charities and I am so honored to be representing them at Wine & Dine.

I waiver between being super excited and super scared.  I am excited because I am running for a charity that I believe in and the scared is because I'm having to step outside of my comfort zone yet again.  This is bold for me, I'm generally not good about straight out asking people for money.  I sort of like to hint, heavily, and hope for the best.  But I can't do that this time.  This is important to me and the children and families of St. Jude are depending on me for the support.  I am committed to raise 3500.00 for St. Jude and I will reach that goal.

I'm finding though as I'm trying to find my way in the world of fundraising that I'm getting discouraged by my lack of progress.  So I started thinking of the good things that have happened since I started and not so much on the what I don't have yet.  I wanted to share with you all as well the steps that I've taken too.  I know that if you know me on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter you have seen the pleas for help but not so much the results.

So here it is Fundraising Friday a brief overview of where I'm at and what's coming up.  I will keep most of my fundraising information to this post.

Probably the most bold thing I have done so far is to Tweet Lisa Rinna.  Why?  Because she is a huge fundraiser for St. Jude.  Also, it was more of a lark to see what would happen, and maybe subconsciously hoped she would donate.  See the hint heavily comment above.  The amazing thing is that I did get a response from her and a re tweet. That pretty much made my day.    Her advice to me was simple "Have no fear and hit everyone up! Ask".  Whenever I get nervous I go back to that.  It has become my mantra for this particular journey.  I'm finding it's particularly good advice for other things as well.

Less hinting, more asking =an uncomfortable Suzanne.  But every time I do step out it gets easier and have been pleasantly surprised by the results.

I have just wrapped up my first Thirty-one fundraising Party, where 20% of the proceeds will go towards my St. Jude fundraising goal.

I currently have my amazing tutu giveaway going on for all of my Princess friends courtesy of the lovely Kristal @atutudes.  Ten dollars ladies for a chance to win a one of a kind tutu.  It's never too early to think costumes.

Coming up we have a group fundraising Garage Sale at my house next weekend.  We've gotten some great things donated to us and I'm excited to see how it turns out.

I've got another really exciting raffle planned and this one is not just for the ladies.  I'm sharing the love on this one.  Stay tuned for more details on this one.

I'm also working on a personalized letter and including my initial blog post on why I'm running for St. Jude and mailing that out to friends on our Christmas Card list.  Also planning on mailing it to my friends that are not online and would prefer a more formal and personalized approach.

I'm trying a little bit of everything and anything and hoping for the best.  But the bottom line is that I believe in St. Jude and I believe in myself to not only reach my goal but to smash past it.

So as of today, I am currently at 16% of my goal.  I'm very happy with that as I have seen progress even since the beginning of the week.  I can only go up from here right?

If you would like to donate, here is the link to my personal page.  No donation is too small to help make a BIG change.

So what are some of your favorite charities?  If you have run as a charity runner or have done a lot of fundraising, what advice would you give a newbie like me?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tutu Fun

I'm taking a break from the Favorite Things Giveway, to talk about a couple of my other favorite things.  Tutus and St. Jude Heroes.

It's no secret that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED my tutu for Princess Half this year.  It's also no secret that I love "my tutu lady"  better known as Kristal from Atutudes.  You can check her out here .  I fell in love with her Snow White tutu from a blog post about a child's birthday party, I tracked her down on Facebook and asked her if she would be able to make that for me for Princess Half.  She obliged and this beauty was created:

I wasn't sure how it would work, I wasn't sure about tulle on a warm'ish day but it was fabulous.  The tulle was so so soft, not itchy and had just the right amount of sparkle.  The Apple decal was the crowning touch. It was poofy without being too poofy and most importantly it didn't get in my way.  Believe it or not I sort of forgot it was there.

I am super excited to announce that Kristal has offered to help me with my second favorite thing my St. Jude fundraiser.  Did you know for just $75.00, St. Jude is able to provide birthday and holiday parties and coming off a chemo parties?  That alone deserves to be celebrated.  Such a small amount that can provide such happiness and provide hope to the child and their family.  No donation is too small to make a big impact and this is where the two combine.

Kristal has offered me a Custom Tutu for one lucky Suzanne Ran reader who donates to St. Jude on my behalf.  For every 10.00 donation you get one chance to win a custom tutu valued at 55.00.  Hot on the heels of the Princess Half and Glass Slipper Challenge, I say it's never too early to start costume planning.  Here's a chance for an awesome tutu and the opportunity to help the children of St. Jude.  Kind of win, win right?

To enter just go to my personal donation page: and donate at least 10.00. Come back here and click on the RaffleCopter link to provide me the name you donated under so I can have everything tied together.  The raffle starts at 5p Central time and will run through Monday, July 15th at 5p.  Thank you so much!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 13, 2013

...and the Winner Is

The first winner of my Favorite Things giveaway is....

Congrats Jennifer.  Please email me at your mailing address and your Energybits sample and travel tin will be on their way to you.

Thank you to all who entered.  There will be another giveaway coming up next week.  Thanks again for helping me celebrate!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's a Small World After All...

When I was younger my family moved around a lot.  For awhile it was working out to every four years.  It wasn't a bad thing, it's just the way it was.  The disadvantage to that was of course leaving friends behind.  But with that came new friends, new adventures, so it was kind of a trade.  

Being a child of the 70's/80's, we didn't have the Internet.  If you didn't write letters, any hope of continuing on a friendship was toast.  I hate to say it but I was an awful pen pal.  I'm still not fond of writing actual letters (which has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion). I started out great but then communications would stop on one side or the other and when that happens you lose track of friends.

I had one friend that I always wondered about.  To the best of my recollections she was my earliest childhood friend.  We were in the same town from the time that I was four through my third grade year.  Her Mom was friends with my aunt, my Mom and her Mom became friends and we became friends too.  I have no pictures from back then just a lot of memories.  I seem to recall that we spent A LOT of time together.  I remember her house, her parents, her brothers, going to drive in movies, sleep overs, her Mom's pierogies.  Just lots of weird random things.  Sadly, either senility or just that is the way my mind works.  

This weekend I was added to a Facebook group that originated from the love of Princess Half (if I understand this correctly, I'm still a newbie).  So it was right up my alley. Some of my favorite blog people were there and my friend that I know from another message board that I finally met at Princess this year were a part of it as well.  

In typical Suzanne style, I kind of kept a low profile and responded here and there.  Yesterday, I responded to a post about power songs, and someone liked my song choices.  If you are curious, my favorites are now Fall Out Boy's "My Songs Know What you Did in the Dark", Flo Rida (& Red Foo) "Run" and Rob Zombie's cover of "Brickhouse".  Go figure on the last one but Rob Zombie covering Lionel Richie and the Commodores is some kind of awesome.  Anyway, I just happened to click to see who liked my songs.  And there was a name.  Upon further inspection she was from the same town that I happened to live in.  

I did something very unlike me and I posted to her in this group that I had only been a part of a day or so.  It was very cheesy, hey, I think we knew each other, blah, blah, blah...and I waited.  People commented, I felt silly and slightly stalkerish.  Then she responded and guess what it was her!  My friend from so very long ago.  Or to make us feel slightly better, only a few years ago. ;)  So so stinking excited, though I still feel somewhat stalkerish and cheesy about it.  hmm...think I'm getting good at that.  lol  I told my Mom, she told her Mom, both Mom's were excited and we all became Facebook friends.  I am hoping that we can catch up and be friends as adults too.  

Seriously, what are the odds?  How many runDisney and Princess Half related Facebook groups are there and how bizarre is that we ended up in the same one.  Also fairly cool that she liked at least one of my musical picks from last night.  

It truly is a small world.  Yet another reason I will love and continue to support and be slightly obsessed with runDisney and Princess.  So many good things, new friends, and now an old friend have come out of it.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Let the Fun begin

Today was another big day in my world.  It should almost be a holiday.  I think next year it will at least rate a vacation day.  Today was early registration for The Princess Half Marathon if you are a DVC Member, Annual Passholder or a Disney Visa holder.  Do you hear the trumpet fanfare?  I did.

Because this happened.

Can you see that?  That's right, not only am I registered but I registered for the Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge.  A 10k and a half in two consecutive days, with the very real possibility of a 5k thrown in for good measure.   Super excited and as you probably can assume costume planning is in full force.

So since it is a happy day, I think I will go ahead and start my giveaway tonight as well.  My first giveaway ever on my blog is coming to you courtesy of the lovely people at Energybits.  It's no secret that I love my bits for so many different reasons, plus one I have yet to share about but will be forthcoming.  How do bits tie in with Princess Half?  Easy that was the first major race I had used them  during.  Yes, I had used them prior but never actually for a race.  I took 15 in the morning before I left my room and carried them in a pocket somewhere.  I hauled them out again at the ten mile marker and had 15 more, at that point I was dragging.  I may or may not have had green fingers for a bit, and I'm sure anyone who passed my while I was on the side of the road digging in a black plastic baggy was wondering what I was doing.  All of this to say I perked back up and finished my first half marathon strong.  

If you haven't tried bits, here is your chance.  If you have tried them but want to indulge again, you have another chance to revel in the awesomeness of algae.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's a party...Suzanne Ran style

It's my blogiversary and you all are invited.

I've come a long, long, long way since I started Suzanne Ran a year ago.  When I started this blog I was not sure about anything I was doing.  Well, except for Princess Half, that I was sure about. I was not even sure anyone would be around to listen to me obsess about my dream race, the costumes, my daily life.

As I got more sure in my running, I got more sure in myself and the more sure in myself the more I tried different things.  I went from running, to playing with kettlebells, to plank-a-day'ing, to attempting 30 day challenges and run streaks.  I have gone from Pepsi and coffee everyday, to coffee maybe once and twice a week, soda only when I go out to eat and at least 64 oz a day of water.  I've gone from being squeamish thinking about algae to singing its virtues any chance I get.  I went from 5k's and being scared of running my first half to running three half marathons in two'ish months and earning my half fanatic status.

While lots of things have changed over the year.  The one thing that hasn't has been my love of runDisney.  Last year, I was in love with the idea.  Now, I'm in love with not only the idea, but the the reality.  I am thankful for the friends I have gotten to know due to my runDisney obsession. I can't wait to meet more as this journey goes on. I also love that I'm bring some of my BRF's into the obsession.

As with any party there are presents.  I am so excited for what's coming up.  I've lined up some giveaways of some of my favorite things.  I will be staggering them out a bit over the next week or so but stay tuned.  I should have the first one up tomorrow.  What could it be?  It's something small, but boy is it mighty.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Stepping Out

It's no secret, I love runDisney.  It's also probably no surprise that with all of the activity around recent race news that I've been salivating over running at Disney again.

A funny thing happened last night.  My running accomplices for Princess 2014 and I were texting back and forth yesterday about Glass Slipper registration.  Talk then switched to Tink.  Then switched to charity running and by the end of the conversation this happened

St. Jude Heroes

Dear Suzanne,
Thank you for registering to be a St. Jude Hero in the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. You registered as a member of Will Run for Wine. Things are always more fun when you do them together, so you're on the right track!

Yes, that's right.  We have signed up to run for St. Jude for Wine and Dine this year.  I am super excited, but mostly terrified.  This is such a great organization and I am proud to be a part of their team.  But this is my first major fundraising attempt.  Even in school I was never the go-getter.

But this, this is important.  Running has always been a refuge for me, it's been a source of hope and encouragement.  It's a reminder to me that I am stronger than I think I am and that while I may be on my own during my run I am never alone because I'm part of a community that supports me and encourages me along the way.  I'm a part of something way bigger than myself.  

St. Jude provides hope and encouragement to the families that need it.  Through St. Jude's there have been strides made in research and they are there to provide quality medical care for children with catastrophic illnesses regardless of their circumstances.  Every child can have hope through St. Jude.

When reading through the St. Jude Mission Statement this passage jumped out at me under the values section.

  • A commitment to provide our patients with the highest quality of medical and supportive care, and their families with the level of information and support necessary for them to make informed decisions and to become active participants in the care of their children.
  • A commitment to respect the ethnic, cultural, religious and lifestyle differences of patients, their families, our colleagues and our supporters.
St. Jude not only cares for the patient they are there for the family as well.  To support, to encourage and to guide.  
As a mother of two little people, St. Jude is one of the charities that holds my heart.  So to that end I am stepping out and saying I will do this and I will not be shy about about my efforts.

If you would please consider making a donation on my behalf, I would greatly appreciate it.  My personal fundraising page can be found here.  

I've committed to raising funds as a St. Jude Hero to support St. Jude's lifesaving mission of finding cures and saving children. I need your support to help me reach my fundraising goal for the kids of St. Jude.
It costs $1.8 million a day to operate St. Jude. Did you know that 70% of the funds come from the public? That means your donation, no matter what the size, will help!
How your donation helps:
  • Thanks to donors like you, no family ever pays St. Jude for anything, including lodging, food and travel.
  • St. Jude will continue to improve treatment of childhood cancer and other deadly diseases through it's groundbreaking research.
  • For every child treated at St. Jude, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries.

Every Dollar Counts

Every dollar donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital counts! Take a look at some of the possibilities that your donations could provide to the kids and families of St. Jude.
Infant Care Supplies for 10 Babies: $50
These supplies help parents and nurses care for babies in treatment and include items like diapers, baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, footies and heel warmers.
Wagon: $70
Wagons can make traveling through the halls of St. Jude easier for parents and more fun for a young child.
Parties to celebrate birthdays, holidays and “coming off chemo”: $75
St. Jude provides parties, decorations, cakes and more to keep spirits high during the holidays and to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and a child’s completion of chemotherapy treatment.
Creative Toys: $100
Play is an essential part of every child’s life, and it’s important for the children to have fun as often as possible. At St. Jude, colorful, toy-filled play areas are just as plentiful as exam rooms.
Delicious Meals: $210
St. Jude provides meal cards so that patients and families can enjoy the comfort and convenience of good, nutritious meals in the Kay Kafe, our cafeteria.
One Day of Oxygen: $447
Oxygen is key to keeping the immune system strong. A gift of oxygen can help a young body thrive and help fight cancer at the cellular level.
Child-sized Wheelchairs: $700
These special wheelchairs help children move easily through St. Jude.
Airfare for a parent and child: $1,000 average
For a patient referred to St. Jude, the hospital covers the cost of airfare for a child and one parent or guardian.

If you would like to support me by encouragement that would be greatly appreciated as well.  As it has been my goal this year to step outside of my comfort zone this is truly testing that goal.  But St. Jude is something I stand behind, something that I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and do all that I can to support them.  

Won't you join me?