Blowing Out My Birthday Candles

There I am, little Janine, blowing out my big girl candles on my birthday with a stack of presents that weren’t wrapped in Christmas gift wrap.

I’ll never remember what was inside of those boxes or what I was wishing for at that very moment but when I look at a picture like this, it makes me so oh-so fortunate to have these kind of memories; to be raised in a household of love and comfort with a homemade birthday cake and even pink icing. Through the years, my friends and family have always been so supportive. I have the world.

This year, when I blow out my birthday candles, I’m going to be wishing for health and peace for all of those that need it most.

Here are a couple of my favorite charities [if you feel the urge to donate]:

  • Pencils of Promise:  Pencils of Promise believes every child should have access to quality education. They create schools, programs, and global communities around the common goal of education for all.
  • Reach Out and Read: Reach Out and Read prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
  • My Stuff Bags: The My Stuff Bags Foundation provides new belongings, comfort and hope to thousands of children each year who must be rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment across the United States.
  • Canines for Disabled Kids: Canines for Disables Kids supports the creation of child-canine service teams to promote independence and social awareness.

And while we’re talking about giving back, I should tell you that I’m going to be starting a new series on my blog soon called Benevolence. It will feature charities that could use our help and my own experience with volunteer opportunities around Columbus. This will be sprinkled in with the regular blog posts on business, travel and fitness. Can’t wait to share!

The Birthday Girl

Holiday Activities in Columbus Ohio

It’s no secret that I love the holidays. From baking cookies to decorating to spending time with family, it’s my favorite time of the year. I wanted to share some of the fun activities going on around Columbus during the holiday season and also a few ideas for you and your family or friends.
  1. Buy a real Christmas tree & decorate!
  2. Listen to holiday music.
  3. Bake Christmas cookies.
  4. Shop & wrap presents.
  5. Roast chestnuts on an open fire.
  6. Make homemade eggnog.
  7. Hit the slopes! (in Ohio… Mad River Mountain or Snow Trails)
  8. Donate coats and toys to shelter.
  9. Send out Christmas cards.
  10. Go ice skating.
  11. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  12. Make a gingerbread house.
  13. Browse through the Bookloft for hours with a coffee in hand!
  14. Go sledding and drink hot chocolate.
  15. Write a letter to Santa.
  16. Host a Christmas cocktail party, cookie baking party or gift wrapping party.
  17. Curl up on the couch and watch holiday movies.
  • A Christmas Story
  • Christmas Vacation
  • Polar Express
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Home Alone & Home Alone 2
  • White Christmas
  • Santa Claus
  • The Holiday
  • Love Actually
  • Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Elf
  • Four Christmases
  • Scrooged
  • Christmas in Connecticut
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Family Man
  • Die Hard & Die Hard II (added for Dad)

What are your favorite movies, activities or events to do during this holiday season?

Dreamforce Conference Intro #DF12

With over 90,000 attendees bustling through the city wearing matching conference badges and laptop bags, Dreamforce took over San Francisco’s downtown with the largest and most energetic cloud conference to date.

Dreamforce Plaza was full of bean bag chairs with suits on laptops, multiple coffee stands lining the area and stages booming with music from local bands. In the center of the action were zones where you can pedal on a stationary bike to provide power to charging laptops and cell phones and in another area of the main lawn, you would find volunteer stations set up so each attendee can create care packages for victims of disasters.

Whether you are a small cog in a major corporate engine or a solo startup entrepreneur, this conference will help add value to your business.

In the next couple blog posts, I will feature:

  • Takeaways and notes from my favorite sessions
  • The best marketing material and techniques at the Cloud Expo
  • Tips for attending Dreamforce
  • Keynote thoughts: Richard Branson, Tony Robbins & Marc Benioff

Welcome to Dreamforce 2012!

Enjoy my iPad video of MC Hammer’s performance before Marc Benioff’s Keynote.

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30 Before 30 with Halle Murray