Showing posts with label Social Good. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Good. Show all posts

Monday, January 11, 2016

Is 'Cause Marketing' becoming the 'Stray Dog of the Internet' - something you have to stop feeding for free? #MotivationMonday

This is NOT a Sponsored Post.

Photo Credit: Steam Driven Media
Blogging seems to be the only industry I have ever worked in where people assume it's OK NOT to pay at all for the services they require or suggest that a barter of product suffices as payment. Social Good and 'Cause Marketing' are beginning to feel like that stray dog that you are warned never to feed under any circumstances.

And this is coming from someone with a Print (remember Newspapers? 'The Blogs on paper" that melted on your fingers when you read them) background as - get this - a 'Human Interest Reporter'. I went on to Television News writing and then did a brief stint for several Magazines before joining the 'Digital Influencer' side of the journalistic house.

My blog began in 2009 (I was actually Ghost Writing for a few brand blogs before then), and the first week we launched a simple empowerment post with an affirmation it got on the radar of a well known celeb - one whose roots began in Music and has become pretty much an empire - he re-tweeted that post. Simple enough right?

That simple 're-tweet' got picked up by his fellow celebs and was re-tweeted so often they temporarily broke our server.

Very much a blessing. One I was NOT prepared for. I got bombarded with un-solicited press releases and requests to 'run giveaways' and post what amounted to 'advertorials', with no compensation for me because the info was just so 'valuable' and 'informative' that my readers would LOVE it they assured. I scoffed. I have a strong communications background, a degree in mass media communications and these emails were nothing similar to the ones I received when I was in print or television. Not at all similar. I hid and was 'PR Free' for the first year of our launch. Those were the most blissful 365 days of my blogging career.

Then along came a household brand who had pitched me the whole time, invited me to events and really wanted a way to be presented to the community I worked very hard to build. I knew full well I needed to be careful in how I partnered with brands. It's why I avoided it for so very long.

This brand was persistent, they make products I actually use in my home daily and spent a year really reading my posts - most likely because I refused to snatch the dangling carrots.

They finally presented a charitable initiative. A very worthy one.and asked directly how we could partner.

Alas, my 'Good Heart' became both a blessing - and to an extent - a downfall. I enjoyed partnering with the brand. I certainly enjoyed helping them help a worthy cause. Doing good fits well with an Empowerment Blog that is run by a Life/Career Coach.

But don't cue the music and don't ride off into the sunset. Yet.

It opened up a flood gate of  'do me a favor' emails. A ton of 'why did you it for them and now won't do it for me?' questions that I face to this day.

I now have to tell them what I tell brands that pitch me other things:

When underwear brands pitch me about creating content or running a free giveaway in exchange for their underwear, I ask their reps pointedly 'Do YOU get paid in UNDERWEAR'? and when they reply 'No, of course not' I reply 'Why should I?' - Most have no answer. One agency rep forwarded my email to his entire agency with the subject - 'Who does this little bitch think she is?' I was 'accidentally' copied. Within minutes I tweeted the agency's owner and let them know I could post our email exchange and show their reps exactly who 'this little bitch' is. Needless to say they didn't want that to happen and I will never partner with their atrocious agency.

Sadly I now have to tell folks who pitch me 'Cause Marketing' something similar - I can't quite pay my bills with my 'good heart'. I can't give every cause free advertising just because it's a good cause. And the hard part is I have a background in Human Interest and Empowerment. That will always be 'my beat/my thing' but that does NOT mean I am REQUIRED to do anything for free.

It's an even bigger pet peeve of mine, when the rep will look at my site and tell me since you haven't posted for a day I thought you were in need of 'content'. I live in New York City where there are thousands of trade shows, theatres, art, and multiple events DAILY - I also Life Coach, run a Social Media Consultancy and mostly blog during 'Graveyard Hours', I will never lack content and at any given time - I average 14K in un-read emails on a 'good day'.

These lessons in Blogging and Cause Marketing have prompted me to take on ONE major pro bono cause per year and devote myself specifically and entirely to that cause, which I can opt to change the following year so that more Not-For-Profits can have a voice that are scrambling to get heard over the Social Media noise out there. I was raised by a very philanthropy driven family, and was taught that giving of time is as valuable if not more so than giving money, but the problem is - there is only finite amounts of time that one can afford to give away.

That means I have to turn others down and I refuse to allow myself to feel guilty for doing so. This is a business, I have always treated it that way. If you approach me like I am a 'hobbyist' - you are doing us BOTH a huge dis-service.

Call To Action/Soundoff:

Bloggers how do YOU approach Cause Marketing on YOUR Blogs? Readers, how do you feel about Bloggers 'feeding the stray dog'? Is it like any other 'advertorial' to you or does it make you truly explore the cause a bit more?

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FTC Disclosure:  This is NOT a compensated/sponsored Post, All opinions are 100% my own! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Monday, September 7, 2015

{#MotivationMonday} Leave a Prayer/Good Vibe - Get a Prayer/Good Vibe

Have you ever noticed how easy it is for you to 'kick it into gear' when you are helping someone else? Some deem this a 'helpers high' - where you feel better when you are doing something good for someone else.

Many people feel their prayers work the same way. They feel when they are praying for someone else that their prayers seem 'more powerful' - but not so much when they pray for themselves.

I can't say this is or isn't true - but I can say as a Life Coach the weight you put on that perception can certainly sway your outcomes.

In my humble opinion I think that when we pray or send good vibes to/for other people, we tend to be incredibly precise, it's a focused prayer, when we pray for ourselves, we often feel the need to 'explain ourselves' to explain why we are praying for a specific outcome and tend to include what we have tried to do on our own but felt we failed on, we throw in too many 'additionals/variables' - they say the Universe is very specific, and so our prayers and affirmations should be specific AND very concise.

I agree.

While I love hosting a Weekly Moment of Gratitude on Ascending Butterfly (and I still recommend keeping a daily gratitude journal where you end each day and list three simple things you are grateful for - these are my favorite journals to re-read), I thought I would mix things up a bit and offer a leave a prayer/good vibe request and take a prayer/good vibe request. I have seen these on the interwebs in various places and I have been amazed at how it's brought disparate communities together on a global scale.

Please note this is NOT a 'lets get into a religious debate' post/thread.  You can participate in this even if you are an atheist, hence the reason I used the term 'prayer OR good vibe'. It doesn't matter what religion you are (or aren't), I believe our words have tremendous power, let's use them to HELP one another.

Can you imagine what a better place our world COULD be if we took a moment to pray for a stranger instead of bullying, teasing or watching a fight video on YouTube?

Do you think you need prayer? Ask yourself these questions:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Is there a roadblock you are experiencing?

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Do you feel like you are at a crossroads in some aspect of your life?

Crossroads are a great indicator that you are in fact ready for change. Let's surrender it all to prayer/good vibes.

This week I Leave a Prayer and Good Vibes for:

The Family and Friends of Dr. Wayne Dyer who passed away on August 31st. Our world lost a tremendous spirit, so I take a moment to pray for his passing and for the next phase of his journey. I think the best way we as a society can honor his life is by becoming 'change agents' and being that change that we wish to see in this world.

And I seek a Prayer: 

Recently I experienced  the shocking and very eye-opening experience of having been followed into my apartment complex. My both hands were full (heavy bags of groceries in one hand a large pizza box in the other) and I live in a walk up with no elevator so I had to think quickly. I short stopped suddenly and stared the person right in the eye, he was confused by my decisiveness I'm sure and then turned and changed his mind, but obviously did NOT have good intentions. I want to move out (I have actually been toying with re-location and changing cities for awhile now) but financially that is not in the cards at this very moment, so I seek prayer for a financial breakthrough - an area I am sure many of you can relate to.

To make it easier, pray for the poster above you (If the thread gets big enough it may hard for you to pray for everyone, but you can at least tackle the request immediately above you), if you want to let them know you did, by all means do so, if you just want to pray for a few and keep that to yourself, that's OK too.

Feel free to leave your prayer, know that I will be praying for and sending good vibes to EVERYONE who posts here. (Your responses will let me know if this should replace the weekly moment of gratitude!)

What Prayer/Good Vibes are YOU Leaving? May your Motivation Monday and Labor Day be filled with good company and great memories.

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FTC Disclosure: This is a NON -compensated post, no monetary compensation has been received. All my opinions are 100% MY OWN. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I am a Ronald McDonald House Charities #Blogger Brand Ambassador - Check out my photos and recap of my #Chicago Immersion Experience! #RMHCVoices

Ronald McDonald House Charities Logo

I know things have been unusually quiet around here, to say I have had a lot to process would be an under-statement. This summer has been a bit of a blur, a flurry of events and activities and I had hoped September would bring a little stillness to what has been a chaotic past few months, but it didn't. It didn't slow down one bit. Latinista Fashion Week melded into Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City and I ducked out on the last half of Fashion Week in my hometown New York City this year for a very good cause.

I am a member of the Ronald McDonald Family Arches Community and awhile back they put out a call for the community members to apply to become a Blogger Brand Ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Out of a community of over 6,000 members, I was selected to be one of five Ambassadors. And while I am indeed proud of being selected, understand that this is a huge commitment. This is NOT a paid role, it is a voluntary mission to help support the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities and the families who seek their services. I thought long and hard before applying. Lately I haven't had time to breathe let alone think and I didn't think at first that I had room on my plate for one more commitment.

I posted a bit about it in last week's 'Weekly Moment of Gratitude', but I needed some time and distance from everything to really take it all in and put the entire experience in true perspective. I am also very much an incredibly visual person, and looking at all the pictures has also helped me to remember not just what I saw, but how the experiences made me feel.

The trip was equally exciting and emotionally exhausting. It wasn't easy to steel myself to walk back into a hospital. To walk into a room, to hear the sounds of the machines and smell that smell that is so distinctly 'hospital'. Seeing the children fighting for their lives, yet walking the halls (IV and all) with a nod, smile or hello. Families and parents that were emotionally spent yet took time to share a meal with us are moments I know I won't soon forget.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago walk through Photos, Lurie Hospital, Hyde Park House, Ronald McDonald, Butterfly Fractal
Photo Collage of Lurie Hospital Walk Through - These photos will be also posted on our Pinterest Page with captions!

Our visit started with a walk through of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, formerly Children's Memorial Hospital, it is a facility that provides superior pediatric care in a setting that offers the latest benefits and innovations in medical technology and research while offering super family-friendly design. Each floor has an 'animal theme' that is very child friendly, but also makes things a bit easier for the families to remember which floor offers which service. Even the elevators are not only numbered by floor, but by their animal theme and there are interactive buttons to press to keep the little ones entertained during the elevator ride too!

Fire Truck Cab, Chicago Fire Department, Pierce Manufacturing, Engine 98
Actual Fire Truck Cab donated to Lurie Hospital by Chicago Fire Department Engine Company 98 and Pierce Manufacturing

I loved that the decor of the hospital turned out to be a true community effort, with the massive whales in the lobby being donated by the local Aquarium and a real firetruck that the Chicago Fire Department convinced Pierce Manufacturing to donate. In 2009, Pierce Manufacturing donated a custom cab complete with child-friendly switches and games. And you really do see the children's eyes light up when they see it and the cute dalmation dog statues that complete the real fire department feel. The hospital is a true labor of love that took many donors and community partners to help make come to fruition.

View from one of the Sleep Rooms on 12th Floor of Lurie Hospital

And if you are wondering how the hospital ties in with Ronald McDonald House Charities, they operate nine Sleep Rooms on the 12th floor of the hospital near the Family Life Center. The complimentary Sleep Rooms whose bedding and decorations were donated by Denihan Hospitality (operators of the Mile North and James Hotels - the hotel the Ambassadors stayed in during their time in Chicago) are reserved for families of children in critical care who have been referred over by a Social Worker.

We followed our tour of Lurie with a walk over to the Downtown Ronald McDonald House on East Grand Avenue where we were greeted by J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, President & CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities who shared about his own personal journey with McDonald's and how came to hold his current position as well as answering our questions about RMHC and it's connection to McDonalds. (One of the main takeaways for me was that the charities have McDonald's as one of its major contributors, but not it's SOLE contributor, it is the donations made by individuals in both money and time that go a long way to helping the charity help families stay together during such a critical and challenging time!).

J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez,  President & CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities

We also had the chance to have lunch in the Downtown House (Various Corporations donate meals to the houses) and we had the chance to not only have lunch in the Downtown House but to also interact with families who were having lunch as well. Families whose children are actually able to come down for lunch giving them the chance to interact with other families, and for the kids to know that there are other children who are experiencing the same challenges they are. I thought it was incredibly generous of House and the families to allow us to share in a meal with them!

During our tour of the House we passed one of the family rooms where a young girl was playing so beautifully on the Piano we had to stop and listen to her!

We decorated Sugar Cookies with the families staying at the Downtown House, of course I made a butterfly cookie!

Her family and others also joined us in decorating Sugar Cookies for the families to enjoy and I think this activity definitely brought out the little kid in us all. Of course I had to make a butterfly cookie, but I think the pretty butterfly fractal art I saw in the hallway during my tour of Lurie Hospital was still in my head. (The picture is in the Collage of photos at the top of this post, it was designed by a 20 year old patient.)

Thought this paratrooper light fixture in the toy room was pretty cool!

We also got the chance to meet Rick Wion, McDonald's US-Communications Director of Social Media who shared about his role as well as how the Ambassador's would also utilize Social Media in their roles, we even had an impromptu hashtag jam session and the hashtag #RMHCVoices was ultimately decided upon as the way we will share our posts and experiences during our year long journey on Twitter.

We had a brief moment to decompress and then change for dinner, and I think the emotion of the day didn't actually hit me until I had that moment to stop. It was such a non-stop day that in the brief moment of not being immersed in it I realized how emotionally tired I actually felt. While Lurie Hospital and RMHC downtown Chicago offer so much love and hope to the families, I couldn't help but really see the exhaustion behind the tired eyes of the families and the instant total recall I felt when being back inside a hospital again so soon after my own harrowing experiences.

We had a group dinner that night at Rosebud on Rush Restaurant where we shared great appetizers and wine, and I had that night's seafood special which was definitely delish!

Left: Clara L. Carrier, PR & Marketing Manager RMHC and Right: Nick Karavites, Restaurant Owner/Operator and founder of Rock The House annual event. Photo Credit: Melanie in the Middle Blog (I cropped myself out, but you can see me on her site in this photo!)

The next morning we had breakfast at a local McDonald's Franchise owned by Nick Karavites who spoke to us about "Rock the House", a charity event hosted annually in Chicago that is now in it's fourth year! I hope that all my butterflies in Chicago will help support this event! If you do attend, please tag us on facebook so we can see your great pictures!

Hyde Park Ronald McDonald House South Drexel Avenue in Chicago. Photo Credit: Melanie in the Middle Blog

After Breakfast we visited the Hyde Park Ronald McDonald House on South Drexel Avenue where in addition to a tour of the House we had the opportunity to help assemble Welcome Bags to distribute to the families. The Welcome Bags contained a great mix of items to help the families feel at home, keep the little ones entertained, and even some snacks to help them keep their energy up. And while we were there to help them, I thought it was super sweet of the House to give us a copy of their Recipes from the Heart Cookbook, proceeds from this book benefit four Ronald McDonald Houses in the Chicagoland area! I'd be happy to email anyone that would like to order the book a copy of the order form!

The picture of me in the collage with Ronald was taken at the Hyde Park House!

Flying home on 09/11 for me as a New Yorker was a bit of a scary idea, but thankfully I made it home safely. There was a lot to take in and I have decided to split some of the stuff I learned into different posts, and I will do a Wordless Wednesday next week with my pictures of the things I got to see during my downtime!

Ultimately the most important thing I took from the Houses I got to visit was that the dedicated staff and array of devoted volunteers work hard to make such an awful time for families a whole lot easier. The Houses do more than just 'keep the families together' and under the same roof, they work tirelessly to give the families a space that truly feels like home, so routines don't have to be more disrupted than they already are. Some families who have stayed at the Houses said you sometimes arrive there with nothing more than the clothes on your back (some families have experienced the fear of their child being transported by emergency helicopter to a hospital) and the Houses literally take care of every need they could possibly imagine so they don't have to worry.

I can only hope and pray that none of you have personally experienced the fear of not knowing, the fear of having a seriously or critically ill little one. Of not only having their life hang in the balance, but then wonder how you can keep your family in one place so you can keep track of everything and everyone. These Houses provide Love, Hope, Comfort and Care in an environment that is truly family-friendly. Can you put a price on Hope? on Love? on Comfort? or Care?

As part of my commitment I will be helping to volunteer at my local Ronald McDonald House and I of course will share that with you, and hopefully find ways to involve you and make you part of the experience as well. But there is a super simple way you can join me in helping, you can put your change from your next McDonald's purchase in that collection box by the register. It's money you won't miss anyway and it will provide a world of good for a family going through a very difficult and trying time in their lives!

I know seeing the Houses gives me a different perspective, but I just visited a local McDonald's over the weekend and noticed that people had thrown their receipts in the collection box instead of an actual donation and it really made me super mad! I was once told that the only explanation for hard times and struggles is to make us more empathetic and open-minded to the suffering of others. I come from a long line of 'givers' but my year seeing life from the perspective of a hospital bed has certainly made me more sympathetic and empathetic to those currently in the same situation.

I'm not even sure this post does justice to all that I've learned, but I hope you will all join me finding a way to support your local Ronald McDonald House Charities as well. There are so many ways to help, as an individual you can donate time or money or hopefully both, and if the organization you work for is looking for ways to give back you can point them in the direction of their local chapter!

Do you have experience with your local Ronald McDonald House Charities? Have you volunteered at your local House?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated post. My RHMC Ambassadorship is a volunteer role. My trip to Chicago and hotel stay were provided for the immersion experience however this did NOT influence my opinions! All opinions are 100% my own. Ascending Butterfly appreciates those individuals and brands who give back. Please note that due to editorial and time constraints we cannot provide editorial space to each and every initiative that reaches out to us.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ascending Butterfly Featured #Handbag in the Spotlight: See why the @ElliottLucca Cordoba Flap Tote is our one to watch! + Learn about the 'Choose Your Karma' Campaign! #Fashion

I hope it's no where near as hot where you are as it is where I am. The summer heat is coming on strong here but that doesn't stop us New Yorkers from enjoying the City and all it has to offer! 

Things have been super busy around here and I just realized that our Featured Handbag in the Spotlight has gone dormant a lot longer than usual. So while you search for a cool breeze, I am going to share a HOT bag with you!

I know most people think casual tote bags when summer arrives, but for me, I still have business to do, so while a casual 'summery' tote is what I enjoy during weekends, I need a bag that says business during the week, but won't be too out of place when I attend events in the evenings straight after work.

The bag I have been loving pre-summer and so far right through it, is Elliott Lucca's Cordoba Flap Tote in the color 'Teal', exotic . You know how when you first change bags over it takes you awhile to get used to the new one? I didn't experience that with the Cordoba Flap Tote, it's all Fashion and it's just the right size, I also love the inner organizational compartments!

About the Cordoba Flap Tote:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Exterior: Leather

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Shiny Gold Tone Hardware

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Magnetic Closure

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Two Interior Compartments: Front Compartment features two multi-use, open pockets. Back Compartment features back wall pocket with zipper closure

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - 13 in L X 5 in W X 9 in H

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Drop: 7 in

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Strap: 16 in

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Fringed Leather Tassel Accent

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Top Handles for hand toting or Leather and chain link Shoulder Strap

Ascending Butterfly, White Cardigan, Jaclyn Smith Collection for Kmart, Trouser Jeans, Coldwater Creek, Denim, Cordoba Flap Tote, Teal Exotic, Handbags
Ascending Butterfly is carrying the Elliott Lucca Cordoba Flap Tote in Teal Exotic, White Cardigan is by Jaclyn Smith Collection for Kmart and Trouser Jeans are by Coldwater Creek 

My Take:

I have been wearing my Cordoba Flap Tote in Teal Exotic everywhere, it's laid out in the inside just the way I like it, and there is room for a 'real camera', phone, tablet, sunglasses, and MORE! It's super roomy without being bulky, well organized and I love how versatile it is, it goes just as nicely with a suit as it does with jeans!

Get Social:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Follow @ElliottLucca via Twitter
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Like Elliott Lucca via Facebook
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Be Pin friends on Pinterest

Choose Your Karma, Sakroots, The Sak, Elliott Lucca


As you know The Sak, Sakroots, and Elliott Lucca are all sister brands and Sakroots is currently offering a "Choose Your Karma" promotion where you pick your art of choice among a variety of beautiful prints including 'Peace Print', 'One World', 'Flower Power', 'Dreamland', 'Bambu', 'True Love', 'Water Nation', 'TreeHouse' and then you will have the choice to donate to one of the partner charities associated with each print and Sakroots will match ALL donations received!

If you pick Peace Print you can help The Nature Conservancy (one of my favorites! As you guys know I am a Wildlife Conservation Society Blogger Brand Ambassador here in New York City), One World styles go to Elephant Nature Park, Flower Power goes to NABA - North American Butterfly Association (and needless to say I LOVE that!), Dreamland print proceeds can be donated to NPH USA (Raising children. Transforming Lives), Bambu goes to World Bamboo, True Love goes to The HoneyBee Conservancy (as you know they are endangered, and while they can be annoying when they sting you, they serve an important purpose to our eco-system!), Water nation goes to the Whale and Dolphin Conservancy and last but not least, Tree House style bags go to Plant a Billion Trees! So you can express your style, AND give back which in my opinion is all the more reason to add a new handbag to your collection!

Sorry Butterflies we couldn't arrange for a giveaway this time around, but we hope to have Elliott Lucca back soon!

Tell us Butterflies, which 'Choose Your Karma' style would you choose and why?

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FTC Disclosure: We were provided with the Elliott Lucca Cordoba Flap Tote to facilitate our review, no monetary compensation has been received in exchange for our review. All opinions are 100% my own. See our full disclosure policy for any questions.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Are YOU Ready to "Give a Girl a BREAK"? + We asked a Life Coach the 'big 3' life questions! @Always @maria_marin #Empowerment

#ad: This post is brought to you by Always, a Procter & Gamble Product however no monetary compensation has been received!

Each and every single day women are trying to pursue their dreams and realize their passions. Unfortunately, oftentimes, they are held back by other women which is way more hurtful. This year when I attended the #StrongMomsEmpower summit we were asked to take the StrongMoms Pledge and promise to help one another, not criticize, judge or hold each other down or back. So when P&G shared their current "Give a Girl a Break" initiative with me I knew I had to share it with all of you!

Research shows that helping others and being in the supporting company of other women actually reduces stress and makes women healthier, not to mention happier. We all know the rush that we get when donating or doing something good. That feeling is actually due to the release of oxytocin. So physiologically you actually feel good by DOING good!

P&G and their products are definitely a household staple for us, and I'm sure it's the same with you! So I had to admit that I found it very fitting that one of their brands that is there for women during a time they feel pretty vulnerable, hormonal and many times downright crummy, would partner with three teams of passionate female filmmakers who created short films showing how support from other women can make a difference!

About "Give a Girl a Break" and Always:

P&G's leading feminine protection brand, has been empowering women through it's products and education programs for 30 years. Always champions women who support each other and they will carry out this mission via the "Give a Girl a Break" program which encourages women to lend a supportive hand to other women and help support them in realizing their dreams.

You can join "Give a Girl a Break" to support other women at

A Life Coach gets to 'Ask the Coach'

Many moons ago I was an IT recruiter, and it eventually led to Career Counseling, (which I love) and then Life Coaching just organically followed. As a Life Coach, there are three questions that come up quite often, and P&G gave me the chance to pose any questions I wanted to motivational guru and life coach Maria Marin. (Fellow Subscribers to Latina Magazine may already know who she is!) But for those who don't, Maria is one of 25 most powerful women selected by top publication People in Español in 2012. She was also recently named one of the most influential women in radio by Radio Ink Magazine (2013). Maria's mission is very similar to my own: 'To help others believe in themselves'.

María partnered with P&G to film her answers to my questions! Want to get answers to the biggest three questions most women beat their heads against the wall to figure out? Then WATCH:

Get Social With It:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - "Like" Always on Facebook
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Follow @Always on Twitter
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Follow @maria_marin on Twitter

My Take:

If you are old enough to remember life before wings you know just how far we've come! Thanks Always! I think this is a fantastic initiative and I'm happy to see Always doing something so creative to empower young women to achieve their dreams and pursue their passions. And a very special thanks to Maria Marin for being brave enough to let a fellow Life Coach give her the hard questions!

Butterflies, visit the initiative on Facebook and come back and tell us which team got YOUR vote!

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FTC Disclsosure: No monetary compensation has been received to share this Social Good Initiative with our readers, product samples were sent to us and all opinions expressed herein are 100% my own!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

#ad: I am joining @AmericanCancer Society to #finishthefight against #Cancer, because for me, it's very much Personal! Learn how YOU can help too!

Let's Finish The Fight {Sponsored Video}

Disclosure: I am honored to have this opportunity to tell my story as part of the American Cancer Society's 100th Birthday Celebration. While this is a Sponsored Post that includes a Sponsored Video Message, all opinions and stories contained herein are 100% my own. This post is Sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

It's no secret that 'The Big C' has been a major part of my life. I lost my Great-Grandmother to a Brain Tumor, my Grandmother to Uterine Cancer, my Dad to Liver Cancer, and my Mother has battled Ovarian Cancer twice and thankfully is here to tell her tale. Last year I was diagnosed with end stage Lung Cancer despite the fact I have never touched a Cigarette in my entire life. My ongoing battle, (as it stands I am being told by one hospital it's not while another is very sure it is) has not been an easy one. My Godmother, (who is also by blood) my Great Aunt, lost her battle to skin cancer.

I HATE Cancer. There I said it. Hate is not a word I use lightly. I don't use it carelessly. Since I started blogging I have taken as many opportunities as I possibly can to share about initiatives that aid in the fight against Cancer, not just Breast Cancer, but ALL Cancers equally. The fight against Cancer is very much a personal one for me.

In College I helped to put together a Fundraiser Concert for the American Cancer Society, it combined two passions of mine, my love of music (you listen to a lot of music and do a lot of praying while someone you love (or while you yourself), is undergoing testing and treatments) and my desire to aid in the fight in some way. The way fellow students on campus rallied to help is something I have never forgotten.

Will there be a cure in our lifetime? I can't answer that question with total certainty one way or the other, but what I can tell you with 100% certainty is that Cancer does NOT discriminate. It doesn't care how young you are, how much life you have yet to live. It doesn't care if you have a family that needs you. It doesn't care how important you are, it doesn't care what you have done nor does it care what you haven't yet accomplished.


Close your eyes and imagine hearing a Doctor tell you that you have end stage cancer and that you are 'on borrowed' time. How would you feel? What is the first thought that crossed your mind? Was it the loved ones you'd be leaving behind? Something you really want to achieve in life that you haven't had the opportunity to do yet?

About The American Cancer Society:

The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization that is dedicated to eliminating cancer, they help save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer, by detecting it early, by being there during and after a diagnosis, by finding cures through investment in ground-breaking discoveries and by rallying lawmakers and communities worldwide to join the fight.

The achievements of this organization are amazing, they have contributed to a 20% decline in cancer death rates and have helped to save 1.2 million lives. Their efforts have directly lead to a 50% drop in smoking deaths since the 1960's, contributing to a drop in overall lung cancer death rates.

The Fight Continues:

Despite their impressive accomplishments the fight continues! Some current goals include the undertaking of a historic research study called the 'Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), the goal is to enroll at least 300,000 adults from various racial/ethnic backgrounds from across the US by the end of THIS year. They want to be sure that people facing Cancer have the help they need including a free place to stay during treatment and a ride to get there (I can't begin to stress how important those two things really are when you are facing such an emotionally, physically and spiritually draining process). In addition to the continuation of giving everyone access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air and more! The Society currently operates 31 Hope Lodge Facilities around the country, each offering a home away from home for patients and their caregivers traveling for treatment at no cost.

Where my online persona and my real one meet:

On Twitter, I am 'The Official #TwitterPartyDJ' as I'm a Twitter Party online hostess, and I'm also a music lover who shares fun tunes and audio accessories that make music sound better because music, and travel are two of my biggest passions. Online, I may be the TwitterPartyDJ, but offline I'm a lucky survivor, and I was super excited to find out two musicians I really like are joining in the fight too, check out these videos by Mary J. Blige and Josh Groban:


Silence Won't Finish the Fight AGAINST Cancer:

My Take:

Will YOU take a moment against silence? You can sign up on the American Cancer Society website to join the boldest move yet in the fight against cancer and I hope you will take a moment to do so. Let's help the society with their effort to help people celebrate more birthdays. After you sign up check out the tab that reads '100 Stories of Hope'. If reading those stories don't put your day-to-day temporary worries into perspective, nothing will. Silence never helps anything, let's make noise, let's give this issue a voice online, talking about it raises awareness and raising awareness is the way to get closer to a cure!

Just like I took the StrongMoms Empower pledge, and shared with you recently about #MoonWalkNYC, I have also taken the pledge to help the American Cancer Society to make NOISE to finish the fight against cancer and I hope you will too!

Sixty years ago, 1 out 3 people diagnosed with Cancer survived. Today, thanks in part to the work of the American Cancer Society, 2 out of 3 will survive. Let's make it 3 out of 3!

How has Cancer or the American Cancer Society affected your life Butterfly? Please share your story. Together we can add 100 more stories of hope! 

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FTC Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of the American Cancer Society. All stories and opinions are 100% my own. I am a survivor and it's important to me personally to empower others with my story!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A quick way to make a difference for multi-cultural children with #Autism

The one thing many people are very surprised to find out about me is that I was a Special Education Teacher. I taught a class with students that had a very wide variety of Special Needs. Childhood Education issues and the needs of Special Ed students is something I still keep track on the pulse of despite the fact that I no longer teach.

It was an amazing learning experience for me. I learned to sign because I had students that were deaf, I taught a class that was multi-cultural and my lesson plans were conducted in both English as well as Spanish. I could reach most of my students, but sadly not all. I had one Autistic student. A student who was a challenge to reach. And the fact the student's parents both told me their child really loved my class, made me want to try harder to reach him.

I didn't have the tech resources available to me then as I do now.

I recently participated in a contest, a very important one, AT&T put out a call for entries for an 'Autism Speaks App Idea Contest' and on a whim I entered. Well I forgot all about that whim until I got an email telling me my entry made the final round, and is up for voting. It brought tears to my eyes, while I was happy I am in the running for winning, I thought about that one student I could never fully reach.

The winning App will be featured at an upcoming AT&T Hackathon, the voting ends SOON on February 17th, so if you could take one second to vote for my App idea I would greatly appreciate it. Resources to reach Autistic children are crucial, and there isn't a ton out there for bi-lingual children either, this App would be a great resource and a great learning tool for children with Autism, their families and their teachers!


1) Press here, you will go to another window
2) You will land on the Autism Speaks Facebook Page, like them if you are not doing so already
3) Press blue tab that reads 'view entries'
4) copy and paste this into search box: Bi-lingual Autism Feelings App then when the entry loads on the page
5) on the right press the blue button that reads VOTE!


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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post, no monetary compensation has been received in exchange for sharing about this contest. I do not get any extra credit for sharing about it either, but if I win, I will win a non-cash prize.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A win/win way to help in the #HurricaneSandy Relief Efforts via @Sakroots!

Like most of you, I get tons of  'PR Noise' in my inbox (especially at this time of year) and I rarely share emails I receive in their entirety here, but this one was too good not to share. Since 2009 I have been sharing about Brands that give back. In fact for my first year of blogging I wasn't even PR friendly, I wanted collaborations to be meaningful in ways that are bigger than the obvious, and one of the first brands to ask what if what I was asking you to cover was part of a give back initiative? That's when a light bulb clicked and I made my first brand collaboration. The same still holds true now, you have never once seen a 'what the celebs are wearing' post here. I live in New York and cover Fashion Week as an iconic part of what being a New Yorker City based Lifestyle Blogger sees, but what celebs wear, don't interest me, unless it's something they wore when they were giving back.

Ascending Butterfly has come a long way since 2009, we have collaborated with numerous brands, but a select core group are featured more often by us than others. The long term relationships I've built with some brands is because I believe in the quality and durability of the products they offer and that I respect and admire the company's principles. I love Brands that give back, especially ones that do so year round. And when a Brand I love does something that helps MY own community, I have to help them spread the word!

I tried to enlarge the graphic in the post, but it goes beyond the screen width for text so even though you can press on it to make it bigger, I wanted to share the message so it didn't get lost! The Sak Brand Group (who have collaborated with us often throughout the years for our regular feature 'Featured Monthly Handbag in the Spotlight'), is a New York and New Jersey based company, to assist in the Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts, they are donating 10% of online sales to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, where 100% of donations are dispersed to relief efforts and organizations! How cool is that? You get a fab brand new handbag that you wanted anyway AND you get to make a difference for people who really need it. Right now there are so many New Yorkers in Shelters after getting hit by BOTH Hurricane Sandy and the Nor-Easter snow storm 'Athena'!

My Take:

People think of New York City as the 'Fashion Capital of the World', and I can tell you waking up in a shelter doesn't feel so 'fashionable', but helping people in such a simple way certainly is. Please consider The Sak, sakroots and Elliot Lucca for your holiday gift giving this season. You are getting your family and friends amazing gifts they will love and that will last (let's face it accessories not only make the outfit but expand your wardrobe), but you will also be making a real difference!

Get Social With It: 

Not buying right now but still want to help?

They have posted this message on their Facebook Page and Twitter Stream @Sakroots, please consider a social media share to your own networks, the more we spread the word, the more help displaced families due to Hurricane Sandy can receive.

Let's call this Give Back Friday Butterflies! I thank you in advance for spreading the word about this message!

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. This post has not been compensated, nor am I Brand Ambassador! We collaborate with the Sak Brand Group on a frequent basis, however all opinions are 100% my own and we have featured brands with giving initatives since 2009.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

There are some animals that REALLY need YOUR Help! - New York Aquarium Devasted by Hurricane Sandy!

While I know a ton of people have taken time to personally text to donate to the Red Cross, and some who donated during the Hurricane Relief Fundraising Televised Concert, I just wanted to post about a New York Landmark that was very hard hit, and desperately needs help! (and yes I am well aware with a Gas Shortage in the City everyone's budgets are already stretched a bit thin!)

All 14 acres of the New York Aquarium were overtaken by surge waters during the storm, creating significant and long-lasting damage throughout the park. Located just off the beach at Coney Island, the 14-acre aquarium was completely overtaken by water. They are working on restoring life support systems and have restored power to two exhibits. Water is still being pumped out of areas that house crucial operating systems.

The primary concern remains the health of the thousands of animals, many of whom will be relocated to other aquariums if power cannot be restored within a safe time-frame. Next comes the long process of repairing and rebuilding.

Mitik, orphaned Walrus Calf being cared for by NY Aquarium Staff during Hurricane Sandy 2012,  @Julie Larsen Maher @WCS

During Hurricane Sandy, 22 dedicated aquarium staff remained on duty throughout the storm (24 hours a day!), working nonstop to protect and care for the animals as the waters rose and the winds battered the coast. This was especially crucial for the safety of Mitik, the orphaned walrus calf who only recently arrived and whose pre-existing health issues require constant attention.

Flood waters engulf the New York Aquarium's Sea Cliffs exhibit. Hurricane Sandy 2012. @Julie Larsen Maher @WCS

That same staff has continued to work around the clock to restore operating systems critical to thousands of animals in the Aquarium's care. They have established temporary life support for the aquatic systems, are pumping flood waters out of basements and mechanical areas, and are working to restore filtration and other life support essential for the exhibit and holding tanks.


New York and the United States at large are always quick to send aid to others and now we sound the alarm, one of our Major Landmarks (and a fond part of most New Yorkers childhoods, cherished moments with family as well as visitors to our fair city) is in JEOPARDY! Please click HERE to help the animals, no donation is too small!

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FTC Disclosure: I am a Wildlife Conservation Society Blogger Ambassador. However this is NOT a sponsored post, this post is entirely non-compensated and all opinions expressed herein are 100% my own. I am an Avid Animal Lover, and Life Long New Yorker and want to see this cherished landmark get the help it needs!