It is difficult to sum up into words what an incredible ride it has been these past [almost] 5 years at Schipul. It is even more difficult to express the impact each one of you has had on my life walking in these doors every day. You all have become my second [crazy] family which is why my decision to start a new adventure in my life has not come easy…
At the end of August, I will be moving to Austin, TX to start a new chapter and of course, keep things extremely weird. But no matter where life takes me, I will always be a Schipulite and remember everyone that has made my Houston world absolutely amazing. So with that…here’s a little gem [highlight reel] of some of my favorite Schipulite moments…queue Phillip Phillips….
Typically, I take a more light-hearted approach to my 30 Days of Thanks post, in the past professing my gratitude to our clients, the Dallas Cowboys and Kodak Moments. Topics that are seemingly less ‘tug at your heart stringsâ€ and moreâ€¦globally grateful.
This year is different, and no it is not because of the Mayan Calendar hoopla. This year, I am thankful for my parents, Laura (Lala) and Russell (Poppe) Pemberton. I have always been thankful for them and I believe they know that. But this year, I have truly felt the culmination of 26 years (and 11 months) of love, support, friendship and encouragement. These attributes span far beyond the parental definition and more into lessons that have paved my day-to-day life. And for that, I am incredibly thankful…
[Cue the montage]
My parents always communicated the bigger picture…beyond sports, beyond high school and beyond college. If you want something, you sure as hell better be willing to work for it. And let’s be honest, as a kid, you “want” A LOT.
I wanted to be lead-off batter in the line-up. “Ok, I will take you to Decker Prairie Elementary so you can take reps everyday outside of practice.”
I wanted the Docs [Martins] with neon lacing. “Ok, you can iron your Dad’s shirts at 50 cents/piece.”
I wanted to go to Washington D.C. for the Presidential Classroom. “Ok, let’s draft up a letter asking people for donations towards your travel expenses.”
I am thankful that my parents not only made me work, but made me work hard for what I wanted. They were preparing me for my future and unknowingly instilled an unwavering drive and determination that makes me want to do better every day.
Raise the Roof and Celebrate
The Pembertons celebrate everything. Have you ever heard of a non-birthday? Well now you have – Happy Non-Birthday anonymous reader! My parents have always gone out of their way to let me and my brother know how proud they are of us. Whether it was through their words or partaking in a death defying 21st birthday stunt, they were there with their party hats in tow.
I am thankful that my parents celebrated our accomplishments, and encouraged us to celebrate in others. It is amazing what someone can accomplish when they have unconditional support.
Don’t Forget to Laugh at Yourself
My dad is famous for getting a laugh through his grandiose stories. You know, the one where the ball rick-o-shays off 5 trees, gets swallowed by a Big Fish and somehow lands in the hole for birdie. And my mother, bless her heart, has heard each one about a 100 times and laughs just as hard like it’s his first rendition.
I am thankful my parents taught me to enjoy the “funny” in life, embrace humility and laugh at yourself. Yes, that even means laugh at the time you looked like a little boy in a tacky Christmas sweater…it’s makes for a great story right?!
This year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) was one for the record books. CiviCRM was a buzz, making open-source software the hero for a multitude of constituent management woes. Speaking of CRMs, have you ever heard of a SocialCRM, yep…it’s coming people! And of course there was Google, never one to show up empty handed, launching “Google for Nonprofits” with the most adorable chocolate bars in tow. There were so many new, and often misspelled, online fund-raising technologies being discussed that many might have walked away a tad overwhelmed.
So what’s an organization to do? What is the best way to raise money online?
One word – VIDEO. And let me tell you why…
While meandering around NTC, a session caught my eye called, “Videos that Raise Money” (See3 Communications). I like videos, and I like helping our nonprofit clients raise money so I figured this would be a win/win situation. Then BAM…statistics were thrown right in my face:
“In December 2010 ComScore reported that 85% of US internet users watched online video, 88.6 million people watched online video on an average single day and the average American spent more than 14 hours watching online video (ComScore, February 2011)”
Geez, whatever happened to playing outside, but I digress…
This data cannot be ignored, and with all of the inexpensive ways to produce videos, nonprofits need to utilize this growing audience to increase awareness and of course, increase online donations.
Ok, so where should an organization begin? According to the guys over at See3, fund-raising has a life cycle and video becomes increasingly relevant during each stage.
Video Fund-raising Life Cycle
Awareness & Identification
Get people to think about the problem and how your organization is dealing with it; and remember, simplicity can force someone to listen.
1. exemplifies a unique quality; awesome; incredible
2. An expression from the mid 1950s, which fell from favor by early 1960sâ€¦until now.
Used in a sentence: Fact –Women who love watching football are so boss.
In 5 days we are about to watch the two best teams in the NFL – the Packs and the Steelers – contend for Super Bowl XLV. While I am a Cowboys fan and utterly despise both teams, it is in fact a football game and what I believe to be the culmination of all things great in America – healthy competition, grilled meat, brewskies and Troy Polamalu’s hair. You might think to yourself, but Courtney, ‘You are a girl and you should be worrying about shopping, cleaning and cooking for the guys.â€ And I would politely respond with, ‘Sorry the game’s on.â€
As you can see, I was raised to schedule my activities around football, and more importantly around the Cowboys. Sometimes I feel there should be groups other than the Lingerie Football League where women get fired up about the game and perhaps engage in a dog pile or two. Unfortunately, I have not found such a group (I’ve checked), but there are some rockstar females making it happen online and I thought with the Super Bowl in our midst, this would be a perfect time to dig into my sports blog arsenal and introduce you to one of my favorites…
Melissa’s Blog – resident blogger for TheFootballGirl.com – is spunky, honest and above all else, knows the game of football. Melissa not only discusses the typical weekly matches, she is open about her opinions and doesn’t give a poop if she boldly announces that Tucker Carlson is an idiot. This woman is a little spitfire and if you don’t believe me, please indulge yourself in my top 10 favorite posts – useless commentary included:
1. exemplifies a unique quality; awesome; incredible
2. An expression from the mid 1950s, which fell from favor by early 1960s…until now.
Used in a sentence: Orange Juice is great, but Orange Juice and Biscuits is boss.
What is the most important meal of the day? Some classic folk might say Cocoa Puffs, a few dieters will admit to cold pizza, but pop culture, fashion fanatics will declare in unison, Orange Juice & Biscuits is where it’s at.
I believe any successful blog tells a story, and OJ&B does just that through the eyes of Jonathan Valdez – a hilarious, dapper young fellow who writes with such enthusiasm, he could make a 76 yr. old nun pumped about Gaga’s latest music video. In 2009, Jonathan was named Mashable’s Top 5 Best Bloggers to Follow and for good reason; it’s not just about writing for him, it’s about sharing an amazing experience with amazing people.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with creator of OJ&B, and close friend, Jonathan Valdez about the incredible growth of OJ&B and what sets it apart from all the other fashion and celebrity blogs.
“I believe OJ&B is funny without being snarky or mean. Yes, it’s fashion, yes, it’s celebrities but it’s also about supporting the great people I have met in New York. You never know who you are going to meet and where they are going…OJ&B has enabled me to show how much I value these relationships and I believe people respect that.”
Congratulations to our winners for best sweater and best caption!
Sweater Contest Winner: David Stagg “The Elf Playboy”
Caption Winners: Chilly- 1st Place | Nicole – Runner-Up
We here at Schipul don’t believe that Christmas sweaters are tacky. In fact, we’re of the opinion they’re just as trendy as Hammer pants, neon-on-neon, and JNCOs.
In honor of our attractiveness (and, really, our complete inability to be impartial in choosing the most attractive outfit), we’re putting it up for you all to vote on. Help us decide our winner! Peruse the candidates and vote at the bottom. Leave a comment with a caption of your fave Schipul sweater for a chance to win a $15 Starbucks gift card!
David Stagg – The Elf Playboy
David Stagg pranced in here with quite the vest this season, sporting multiple active Santas in a variety of sleepwear. Under the vest is quite the cozy cream sweater embossed with iron-on presents trimmed in fabric paint, and a large forest green Christmas tree made of ribbons, rubies and red bows. And to top off what is soon to be every girl’s fantasy, a hat with cut-out felt elf ears, a single jingle bell and lovely hand-stitched embroidery that reads, ‘Jingle This.â€ – assume what you must.
Aaron Long – Bad Santa
Aaron Long has taken a more traditional approach this December with the ever so popular cherry red coat and Santa hat. As you may have guessed, the suit is carefully lined with soft, white fabric leaving many to believe his presence is that of an angel. Bringing a more modern feel to the garment, he has added a silver zipper from the chest to the neckline which only solidifies the fact that everyone loves a good zipper. While he has foregone the beard this season, we believe that his golden salt and pepper locks have made up for his lack of facial hair.
Courtney Pemberton – Grandma Coco
Courtney Pemberton has channeled her inner grandma this Christmas and opted for the classic red cardigan with two sequined, embroidered snow globes. Each snow globe has been carefully sewn to tell a story about a jolly man named Santa embracing his best friend Rudolphâ€¦who of course, can stand upright due to his sweet dancing skills. Adding a bit more pizazz to the garment are 20 fabric-glued snowflakes accompanied with individual brooches that include a dog holding a bone, an assumingly drunk Santa Claus, 2 bears playing footsy and a cat tangled in Christmas lights. To bring the outfit together, a Grinch T-shirt resides under the cardigan and of course, the beloved Trapper hat has been placed upon the head for final effect.
Ben Gillin – Creepy Christmas Neighbor
Ben Gillin in channeling his inner redneck this year wearing a somewhat smoked, cherry red, house robe. You can’t miss this flamboyantly styled A-line hem with Santa Claus, candy canes and gum drops galore lining the inner fabric. The hood reflects an Avant-garde mood and is a perfect addition for fetching the newspaper in the rain. If conservative is more your style, this outfit offers flexibility with a built-in belt to keep everyone guessing at all times.
Derek Key – Wise Ol’ Candy Cane
Derek Key is relating to young and old alike this season with his hand woven sweater vest accompanied with an abnormally small pocket detail. The sweater comes just above the belt line proving that this garment can be purchased at 10 and worn till you’re at least 35. Iconic images of sailboats, stockings and Christmas cheer add just enough spunk and that abnormally small pocket – well, it’s perfect for holding pennies.
After you vote – leave a comment with a funny caption of the Schipul sweater of your choice. The Schipulites will pick their favorite on Tuesday, December 28th and send off a $15 Starbucks gift card!
Anyone that knows me, will tell you I like to tell stories – some make complete sense others are borderline bizarre – but one thing I know for sure, they are best accompanied with a photo. That being said, a lesson I am grateful to have learned was to always carry your camera in your purse, pocket, fanny pack and yes, even that beloved man satchel.
Because let’s be honest, if you don’t carry a camera with you at all times, how can you tell people…
How beautiful your mom is.
That you were there.
That your baby looks brilliant in a Trapper Hat.
That your baby nephew will be the most stylish kid on the block.
How you hugged a giant macaroni.
That you kissed a baby giraffe.
Or that you patted a dolphin on the head.
That you have been a human crayon.
That sometimes, you must forego your Cowboys gear for the one you love.
That it is not a joke how much your family loves miniature schnauzers.
And that you really do have the best friends in the world.
1. exemplifies a unique quality; awesome; incredible
2. An expression from the mid 1950s, which fell from favor by the early 1960sâ€¦.until now…
What does August mean to you? If you said football season, well I’d say you just earned yourself a gold star. Simply put, the world is a better place when you spend 10 consecutive hours, every Sunday, watching the gridiron madness.
This year more than ever, we have the ability to be a part of the game via Twitter- witnessing a player’s thoughts pre-huddle, during the 60 and after the stadium has cleared. We are not just following bloggers who love the sport; we are following the guys down on the grass, feeling the pressure in the red zone. You will find that some players will inspire, others will talk trash and the majority will misspell common wordsâ€¦but collectively, their micro blogs Twitter streams are most definitely boss.
Terrill is the Defensive Tackle for the Seattle Seahawksâ€¦and let’s not kid ourselves, he’s a whole lotta’ man. While he is not on the football field, he plays in a band surprisingly called, The Craig Terrill Band.
Seahawk bowling day. I am on track for a perfect 300 right now. Poundsâ€¦that is.
If Sanchez doesn’t pull this game out he always has ‘Entourage’ to fall back on.
If you loved him on Dancing with the Stars then you will most certainly love following Ochocinco – a lover, fighter and designer shoe connoisseur. While I commend his efforts, there will never come a day where I will take a man seriously with a reality show called, “The Ultimate Catch.” Get it? He’s a wide receiver and he catches the ball…you’re so clever Chad.
If you are living in Houston and want to literally follow a local player – Brian Cushing is your man. He will keep you up-to-date on exactly where he is at all times which leads me to believe he is unaware of his 10,777 followers . Come on Cushing, we all know there is only one bowling alley in Bellaire (Palace Lanes).
Bowling w/ the team over in Bellaire.
Ok, your turn – tell me about an NFL player that keeps you entertained via Twitter!
1. exemplifies a unique quality; awesome; incredible
2. An expression from the mid 1950s, which fell from favor by the early 1960sâ€¦.until now...
When I was introduced to Natalie Dee, I wanted to hug her. Granted, we were not formally introduced and to digress from creepy status, I can tell you one thing – she is a satirical comic genius who totally digs Wu Tang.
I bet you want to hug her now too.
Nataliedee.com has become my daily affirmations – not necessarily by definition. Through her comics she expresses her real life encounters, vulnerabilities, conversations and of course, her addiction to diet coke. Browsing through her unique art you may even think to yourself, “maybe I’m not the only one with a screw loose…there really is someone else who enjoys Turban Tuesday.”
And over the past couple of years, I have come to realize that her comics serve a dual purpose. Because Natalie Dee is seemingly well rounded, her comics come in handy for any and all human exchanges (use of comic’s impact is likely greater if you are at a loss for words). I have created real fictional instances below in hopes that you will recognize why Natalie Dee is so BOSS.
Are you in an altercation?
Instead of lying down like a coward in the fetal position, use this little gem. Your nemesis will walk away out of mere confusion. This is also an ideal time to holler, ‘Booyah!â€
Do you own a cat?
Me either. So if you find yourself surrounded by cat lovers in deep conversation about LOLzâ€¦attempt to relate.
Did your sister-in-law just get pregnant?
Nothing will express your excitement more than a rainbow.
Are you running late for work?
Turtles are slow’ how could your boss ever refute that one?
Are you awkward?
This one is great for the time you held the door open for a complete stranger and they proceeded to call you ‘awkward.â€ You turn-around and you show them awkwardâ€¦
Not into politics?
There will never be a winner of a political debate held down the street at your local pubâ€¦until you prance in the door.
Enjoy the Moutain Dew/Nerd combo?
Dew the dew bra! That’s all I really have to say about this one.
Did you make a bad decision?
While explaining the situation to your parents, ease the mood with a cupcake. Hey, it could always be worseâ€¦
Overwhelmed by technology trends?
No need to worry your pretty little head about it. Reply to the office email about iPhone 4 discrepancies with this farcical treasure’ Nutella does wonders my friends.
Do you like adorable creatures?
When saying it in words won’t do you justice, this princess works for all occasions.
When I think of all of my vacations, only one comes to mind’ the month I studied aboard in Costa Rica’ where the luxury of the latest technical gadget involved 2 cups held together by fishing line. While this may be an exaggeration, the fact that my Motorola Razor traveled well was nothing to balk at. Do you remember those thingsâ€¦thin little boogers weren’t they? Needless to say, it is obvious that I wasn’t a trend setter when it came to traveling ‘well-equipped.â€ I arrived in Quepos naked internet free, not knowing a single person in hopes that I could survive with little to no communication tools. While many speculated, I made it out alive and consequently wrote a 7 step guide to vacationing gadgetless:
1. Let the locals be your Facebook
The first step is getting to know the locals and in some cases, actually living with them. I resided in a beaten down house on the outskirts of Quepos with Mi Madre Mirna, and el perro Negro dejas de Club Bananaâ€¦for those of you who do not speak broken Spanish, this means I lived behind a Club named Banana. I was able to expand my network by simply talking to everyone I ran intoâ€¦Mirna’s neighbors, taxi drivers, the owner of Mango Bangos, surf instructor, cops, etc. It’s amazing the amount of free ceviche one will obtain by befriending Pepino the bartender.
2. Play games without a controller
If you follow step 1, you will find yourself being invited to participate in local activities that do not involve a computer screen. Some games might include, Toothpicksâ€¦
Other games might involve putting a cup on the groundâ€¦any location will do, and grasping a quarter between your butt cheeks. The ultimate goal is to make the quarter in the cup, but be prepared, this game attracts many spectators.
Then there is everyone’s favorite…Spanish Twister…
3. Let the sun be your clock…watches are for cowards
Marinate if you will and imagine your days where the sunrise and the sunset are your alarm clockâ€¦that’s Tico time baby. I realize it’s difficult to comprehend, but you would be shocked at the amount of stress that is lifted when your life is not run by a clock. So on your next vacation when someone asks why you left the Rolex at home, just smile and say, ‘Pura Vida!â€
4. Do not wait on a Yelp review, try the food
Let’s be honest, sometimes it is just better if you don’t know.
5. Waving with purpose will alert taxi’s much quicker than a phone call
It is understandable that without a mobile device you will be experiencing text withdrawals, so I urge you to put that energy into waving down taxis. If you are confused, please revert back to step 1.
6. Use your internal Google Map
It is amazing the things you might find while aimlessly wondering about the area…
7. Put down the iPod and sing-a-long
There is nothing better than experiencing new music, especially if you are traveling outside of the country. Find opportunities to join in, even if it does involve holding a piece of wood while flicking a single string.
You do not have to try all 7 steps at onceâ€¦I do not want to send anyone into culture shock. But try one every once in awhile, I promise it will make your vacation that much more fulfilling.