In honor of a Valentine’s Day a group of us are guest blogging on other sites musing about something we love. My talented and wonderful friend Lee Sullivan, author of the blog Purrfectlee Purrceived Ponderings of leelee is posting here today while you can find me at Lindsey Goodall’s blog: sh*t, f*ck, d*mn. Visit us all if you have the chance and make sure to leave Lee some love.
When I was asked to join in this Share the Love blog swap I thought it was a great idea. I loved the idea of a group of us bloggers creating guest posts for each other and sharing the love among our various blogs. This whole thing was my husband Gil’s idea and his thought was that we would each write about something we love, something we are passionate about. The key word there is some THING we love and not someone we love. I went back and forth with some things I love and each of them brought me back to one common denominator. I’m a planner. I love to plan things.
I’m not sure when this obsession started for me, but I can remember moments in my childhood that hinted this behavior was developing. I would be the one that organized sleepovers with friends and birthday parties with family. As I grew older I became the go-to person for bringing friends together on the weekends. I once planned a party when my parents were out of town that brought over 200 people and several policemen, but I’m not sure I should list that one on my planner resume.
During the last couple of years I have had a few opportunities to plan some pretty big things in my life. My most successful planning came when I won the L3 Employee of the Year honor and received a travel voucher for $5,000. Gil agreed we could go anywhere I wanted to go, for as long as I wanted, but we could not put any of our own money toward the trip, other than normal travel incidentals. I guess I took that as a challenge because I managed to plan an incredible vacation for 15 days across 2 countries with all excursions and most meals and beverages included for $4,999.36. Yep, you read that right. I used it all but $0.64.
That amazing vacation led to my next foray into the planner world, but this time as my own wedding and party planner. Gil proposed to me on that vacation and we planned almost immediately to get married exactly one year later on the same day he proposed. We had always discussed how neither of us wanted a big wedding but we knew we wanted one big ol’ party so that we could celebrate our new life as husband and wife with our friends and family. I, along with Gil’s help, spent the better part of that next year doing just that, planning one of the most unusual wedding celebration parties ever. And it was pretty successful. Everyone had a great time, no one went hungry or thirsty and crazy fun was had by all.
Almost one year later I would be invited to help plan a charity event, and this is the moment I realized I could turn something I was pretty decent at into something that could help someone else. I could use this crazy little talent of mine to affect change and do good for others. The planning of this event, Epic Thanks Tampa Bay, was unlike anything I had ever been a part of before. We faced some pretty difficult challenges, such as losing our venue less than three weeks from our event date. Within 48 hours, as a result, in part, to my belief that this event would be a success, we had secured a new venue and made all of the necessary arrangements to move to the new place. The event went on without a hitch, and it was indeed a success.
My participation in Epic Thanks Tampa Bay helped me realize that what I am most passionate about is my desire to plan charity fundraising events. I helped plan something that did good, and doing so was like a drug. I knew that night that I needed more. My eyes had been opened to the joy that comes from giving of my time and talents to help benefit and positively impact the lives of others.
With only one event under my belt, I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert at charity event planning. Still, I hope to hone this talent in the years to come. My successful involvement in ETTB opened a new door for me, and I was fortunate to be invited to join the board of directors for Rock by the Sea, an annual music festival that serves as a vehicle to raise money and awareness for various causes.
I’m so excited about this event because it’s a chance to not only learn from people who have done event planning for years, but it gives me a chance to do more positive work for the benefit of others. Not only do I get to be a part of an organization that’s sole purpose is to raise money and awareness for a select group of charities, I also get to help plan an incredible musical experience. I’ve attended previous Rock by the Sea events as a spectator and paying participant and I’ve always thought RBTS is one of the best weekend music festivals in terms of organization and event planning. I know that I’m going to learn so much from these unbelievably selfless people.
This year, RBTS is going to be very different for me and I can’t even begin to say how much I’m looking forward to it. I am looking forward to the long days and sleepless nights leading up to the event. I’m looking forward to all the crazy things that can and will go wrong during the event. But, I’m looking forward to watching the money come in and seeing the money go out to the three selected charities this year. I’m looking forward to hearing what these three organizations are able to do because we sacrificed many hours and maybe even some blood, sweat, and tears to plan an event that supports their missions. I am so honored that I get to be a part of this. I am honored that I get another opportunity to help plan something incredible.
Lee is an animal lover, music junkie and wife of @danaCreative. I’m on a mission to find my authentic self. Love supporting worthy charities and causes however I can.