Friday, June 28, 2013

Giving back

Growing up I wasn't a big volunteer. I mean, of course I'd help out around my parents house, and when I needed service hours to graduate high school I was able to volunteer at the nursing home my dad ran...but giving back was never something that I did on a regular basis.

Rewind four years ago. I realize that the firm I was working for was getting painfully slow, so I started looking for ways to use my engery...I went to the SPCA website and hunted through their volunteer listings. One thing I knew I absolutely could NOT do was work with the animals. Why?

Because I would take them all home.

And then The Hubs would leave me.

And then I'd be that person who, rather than going out to eat with my family, I'd stay home and count my cats.

I didn't want that life.

So I decided to keep hunting through the listings and I found an ad for a Humane Educator. I did a little research on what that would entale and here's the big did NOT involve animals, instead it described talking to kids and sharing the SPCA's philosophy and how to be a good pet parent. Now that was something I could do!

I met with the director at the time and that started the ball rolling. Well, less of a ball and more of a tumble weed that turned into a bale of hay...which turned into a GIANT ball (...I don't know what its called when its bigger than hay, my point is that things snowballed.)

And in that snowball, we decided we should host a summer camp. Open to the public. And I would run it. Wowza.

I am an Interior Designer. Not a teacher. (Although I did a few semesters at the community college last year...but that's besides the point.) But I was up for the challenge. I dove into the books and binders and websites and found as much information as I could and our first summer camp was a huge success. Last year we had even more kids than the previous year and again, another HUGE success!

This year our eyes might have been bigger than our mouths. We hoped to have 100 kids in camp. (Typically we have like, 25!) And although we didn't even come close to the 100 (thank goodness, I mean I'm only one person, right?!) we did have 20 amazing kids come to camp this week who all got to play and learn about animals and get excited about pet care!

It makes me so happy to run this program. I'm so thankful to run my own business which allows me the freedom to take off a week from the typical workload, and pick up this awesome load of work!

Yesterday was exotic animal day and we had a great time meeting with a wildlife rescue expert who brought some of her animals including two baby raccoons, a skunk (who was de-scented!) geckos, a bearded lizard, chameleon, a tortoise named Bulldozer and a three month old groundhog!

Its amazing to see how big the eyes on my campers faces get when they see these animals and become passionate about animal care! So, while I don't clean out cages (which is so important) or walk the shelter pups, I am able to start planting the seeds of volunteerism into these kiddos heads!! Which makes me so thankful! Who knows, one day all my campers might end up being the best dog walkers out there!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No way, Jose!

I get a call yesterday from a lovely voice over at and guess what she'd like to ask me? GUUUUUUESS! If she could use a photo from my recent kitchen renovation in one of their slideshows! I was all "whaaa?" and then I was thinking, "I totally got prank called." Then I got upset (for like two seconds) thinking of some punks calling up designers saying, "heeeey, we wanna use a picture of a dart board!" (or something else really awesome) and then I realized, wait. That was a LEGIT call. From a legit person. For a LEGIT website! That people read.

Now let me explain something to you:
I don't write with the intention of people actually reading this...(so why do you write things Erin?) Because I like hearing the sound of my nails on the keyboard and because I have a lot to say and until I get my own tv show (HELLO? Would that be the most uh-maze-balls thing EVER?!) this is how I say what I wanna about design and stuff.

I was so excited that she asked for a picture of MY kitchen too. I mean, in a year I work on a bunch of kitchens. With budgets that are more than my new car. With all kinds of professionals brought in to help make it all fancy-pants. And she wanted to use a photo of MY kitchen. Wowza. (The total cost of our kitchen renovation was about $3000)

If you worked for a company (and not yourself) you would get quarterly or yearly reviews. You'd get a guide set forth from upper management telling you where your weaknesses are, where your strengths lie and setup goals with your manager to help you excel.

I work for myself.

This means I need to be honest with myself about how things are going. I keep a notebook that I write things down in for all my projects. I have another list (in my head) of weaknesses and things I learned on this project to not do on the next project...

So receiving a call like that from someone (who wasn't a punk teenager!) asking to use photos of MY kitchen just felt like drinking a warm cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter night. Warm and fuzzy. (Although this didn't leave a marshmallow mustache on me...)

Another warm and fuzzy I received lately was when I opened a account and asked my clients to review me...let's just say I started to cry a little bit. (And by a little bit, of course I mean uh-lot, while smiling the whole time!!)

All I gotta say is No way Jose! I'm so thankful for this and just super excited to keep doing what I'm doing and making friends along the way :)