Monthly Archives: December 2012

Can’t Get Out? Don’t Want to Shop? Last-Minute Gift Ideas

I recently got an email saying that my Christmas gift would probably be kind of lame this year because the author was having mobility issues. Well, I’m not having a lot of holiday spirit this year, and it’s supposed to be the thought that counts, so the quality of the gift is really of no concern. The message, though, is worth looking at.

This year, my closest friends and I, having long ago concluded that we have too much stuff, decided to make contributions instead. Although I still harbor a not-so-secret desire to have a bunch of people chip in to send a llama in my name through Heifer International, there are plenty of less expensive options. I asked for donations to Occupy Sandy. One friend wants to put desks in classrooms in Malawi. Another will be receiving a thank you note from the Food Bank.

Habitat for Humanity can always use help. So can Meals on Wheels. The list is endless. One of my favorites is Africa Volunteer Corps. Do a quick search on anything that excites you. Another is Frogs Are Green.

Prefer sending a gift? Amazon is a no-brainer. You can send almost anything – or send a gift card with a suggestion. I’ll take all the Kindle gift certificates I can get, thank you. Or pods for my Keurig. Speaking of beverages, Starbucks is a great one-size-fits-all option. Practically every store has an online option – William Sonoma for the foodie, J Crew for clothing, and thousands more. Look for smaller, local merchants in your area. Shop museum stores. I like MoMa a lot.

Surprise someone with a membership or a sponsorship.

Make something. Bake something. I’ll be making chocolate truffles tomorrow for a select few friends and as a hostess gift.

Create a voucher. For my cousins who have everything they want (and who hopefully don’t follow my blog), I’m creating a voucher for lunch with (and hosted by) me.

Be creative. Get excited. What can you add to the list?

WoW – Dina Wilcox Lets Your Brain Explain Itself

Dina Wilcox, is publishing her first book: “Why Do I Feel This Way? What Your Feelings Are Trying To Tell You.” It’s what our brains would tell us about how our feelings work, if they could talk.  She’s a story teller with great stories to tell of how she learned the truth of what goes on with our feelings, emotions, memories, fear, love, joy—even dancing and embarrassment. It’s a nonscience book that has unscientific experiments and a lot to tell, and we don’t have to be scientists to understand any of it.  Ann Fry says:

I’ve read this book and in my opinion is is a trail-blazer — helping us understand “why” and to make sense of it.

Dina, creator of Raising Healthy Voices, explains her mission this way:

At Raising Healthy Voices, we’re out to get people all over the world talking about our brains and our responses to life, the things we have most in common with each other. Why? Because our brains build connections between us. There are the obvious ways–when we see and talk with each other–and there are the not-so-obvious: we dance, feel empathy, and we get embarrassed—yes, did you know that embarrassment, the very moment when your heart races and your face gets hot and red, when you might wish you would just disappear—you are transformed into a great teacher of empathy for the people around you. These connections happen automatically, without our having to decide to do anything. We send each other silent messages all the time. We connect automatically for the survival of the human race.

At Raising Healthy Voices and RHVGlobal, we’re taking connection to the level of consciousness. We’re inviting people all over the world to come together to talk about our feelings, fears, love, memories, thoughts, actions, even consciousness and reality. The more we talk, the more we tap into each other—and the more powerful we become, individually and collectively.

Let the dialogue expand!

Friends (of) … With Benefits

No, not that kind of friends with benefits. This is about the many wonderful organizations that give you wonderful free things in return for your support. On Saturday, I attended a percussion concert at Alice Tully Hall, courtesy of a friend’s contribution to the Julliard Association. Here’s what the membership includes:

Two complimentary tickets by mail for six performances per semester (12 per year). Selection can be made from orchestra, chamber music, and dance performances based on availability.
Access to the Juilliard dining hall in the Samuel B. and David Rose Building adjacent to the School
Advance ticket purchase by mail to Juilliard Opera productions, the Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Recital, and the William Petschek Piano Debut Recital
Advance ticket purchase by mail for special Juilliard performances, including Juilliard galas and Carnegie Hall concerts
A subscription to the Members’ Calendar of Events and The Juilliard Journal, published eight times per year

If you prefer art, the Whitney Museum allows you to curate your own membership. This can include

tickets to their summer opening cocktail reception to preview and celebrate our newest exhibitions with other members, curators, and artists
Invitation for two to the annual champagne reception in the Trustee Boardroom for informal mixing and networking
Ongoing invitations to cultural events throughout NYC, including receptions, gallery openings, and art fairs
Two guest passes so you can invite your friends or entertain colleagues
Invitation for two to a Behind-the-Scenes tour of the Museum, including access to normally restricted areas
Exclusive presentations by our curatorial staff with insights on the curatorial process and Q&A
Quarterly recommendations from curators and art insiders about cultural activities not to be missed in NYC

and more.

Interested in dance? Here’s what Alvin Ailey has to offer:

Priority notification of American Ballet Theatre’s Spring Season at the Met
Two (2) passes to a special ABT Working Dress Rehearsal at the Met
Two (2) passes to a Working Dress Rehearsal in selected tour cities
Subscription to ABT’s publication On Point and ABT’s member e-news

The list goes on – and it’s all one search away. There’s community theater; there are local music groups for every taste.

What can you find?