Blue Gypsy Bluesfest: Success! Planning for Next Year!

The first annual Blue Gypsy Bluesfest was a success!!! We had 350 people at the event and we were able to raise money for both charities!

It was no small feat to put together an event of that magnitude all by myself, but as I've said before I had so much help from all the positive feedback and energy and ideas that were generated by those who participated. But only one person truly knows all the energy, effort and time that went into this event other than myself. That would be Chris, my very best friend in this world and wonderful life partner. When he said, "If I didn't know you did all this yourself, I would have thought it was an event that was done by a professional," That made me feel so good.

When another of my closest friends, Sonya Schweitzer, who also knew all the blood sweat and tears that went into it said, "Look around, you created all this." It was the the first time the whole day I actually had an emotional wave wash over me. (Unusual that it didn't happen sooner, for me who cries at dog food commercials...)

This was the first of many events I hope to put together for charity. And the common theme for me is one I used to teach to students on sailing and diving programs. The ripple effect. I feel that when we put forth positive energy in the world it circles out like the ripples in a pond when a rock is thrown. We never know who we may touch and what may be in store, but if we keep moving forward toward the greatest good, we can't go wrong.

That's what I hope to do in the future with more Blue Gypsy Bluesfests and other great events! So keep your eyes open and your ears pealed. We're about to do great things.

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The Energy Is Building! Can You Feel It?

It's amazing, the positive things that can happen when people come together under the umbrella of a great cause. Blue Gypsy Bluesfest is almost here. I can't believe this event that started with me saying, "Let's Have A Party and give back to Habitat for Humanity" Has taken on such a life of it's own.

It's funny. I've had people ask me if I'm the Promoter for the event. Well, I guess so...I mean I wrote all the copy on the website, have written all the blog posts, the tweets, the face book updates, wrote the press releases, sent them out to everyone under the sun, harassed people on facebook to get it into their feeds (I say that lovingly, I really hope no one felt harassed...rather I believe they "Caught" my enthusiasm.

But then there is the whole element of the event taking on a life of it's own. People caught the energy the enthusiasm and the focus of a great cause and took the ball and ran with it.

VBNightlife has helped me out so much and gave the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest a huge promo in the Weekend Update!

I've gotten to hang out on the Blues Traffic Jam twice now with Jerry Carter on WFOS 88.7. I never knew how much I'd love radio, but it's more about hanging out with Jerry. I'm so glad he'll be the MC for the event.

But it's more than that. Today I got a phone call from a guy who'd read about it in the "Navy" Paper....I'm still not sure which military publication it was that picked my press release up and ran with it....but Yippeee!!!

And then after running around all day picking up items for silent auction, signs and banners for the event, and talking on the radio (not to mention everything else) I was checking in at the hotel Because I just can't do one more drive back to Mathews County before the event, and the guy in line next to me said, "Blue Gypsy Bluesfest, I read about that in the Pulse today." WOW that's exciting!

Alt Daily put it in Reasons To Leave Your House This Weekend and the Beacon put it in their facebook feed since they weren't able to get anything in to the Paper this week. Several reporters will be out checking out this first time event.

It's just amazing how the energy is carrying this event on and each and every individual who is talking about it and getting the word out about it is adding more positive energy. That's what I'm talking about! Use that positive energy to create positive thoughts, Positive thoughts to create positive ideas, those positive ideas to create positive actions, positive actions to create positive results.

I hope everyone who can will come out this weekend and enjoy the festival. With Blues, BBQ, the Petting Zoo, Corn Hole, Amazing artists and businesses, and a growing list of great items in the Silent Auction you won't be able to help but have a good time.

Just mention you saw something about this event at the gate and only pay $40 at the door. That includes all your BBQ, two drinks and tons of fun. And you'll have fun while giving back to Habitat for Humanity and The Nachel' Blues Network.

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Do You Have your Ticket's Yet? I Have Mine!

Do you have your tickets yet? I have mine! In fact I was the very first ticket purchased online for the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest, and at the rate my procrastinating boyfriend is going, he'll be the last!

Here's the ticket site! Click here for Blue Gypsy Bluesfest Tickets. Use the discount code: habitat4blues and get 20% off tickets online.

If you are a last minute shopper the code will take $15 off the prices at the door (You're getting a better value if you buy them now!)

If you do or don't have your ticket yet there's a lot of fun in store for you. If you hadn't heard, we've got Gordon Biersch beer at the event, along with Bud Light thanks to the hard work of Aimee, the Social Media Director for Gordon Biersch. She's going to be out there serving it, she's putting great items and goodies into your welcome bag and if that wasn't enough she's donating a "Year of Beer" to the silent auction. We just love Gordon Biersch, especially Aimee and Mike who have helped to make this an amazing day.

Wait your asking what's the "welcome" bag....

well make sure you get to the event right at the start because the first 500 people there, (not the first 500 who have purchased tickets because sorry folks we just can't track that!) will get a goody bag! In the interest of going green you'll get your drinking vessel, a nice plastic beer stein from the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest. And many of the businesses and people who have made this possible will be giving you goodies, coupons and info as well, all right there in your magic bag.

You'll also get a couple of other things when you check in. You'll get 2 free drink tickets, after that any beverages you buy, the proceeds will go to the charities. But really important, you'll get your punch card and voting ticket for the "Battle of the BBQ"

This card is your free pass to visit all 5 BBQ competitors - Mick's Too, Mojo Bones, Jake's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, Big Knife Cooking, and Smokey Bones. It's a punch card, so you can only visit each stand once, but believe me you are going to get plenty of food! They'll be giving you pork BBQ and 2 sides each. But remember, your picking your favorite pork! The side dishes are just the icing on the cake. OOOOh and speaking of icing, you're punch card will also have a picture of a cupcake, and Just Cupcakes on there. That gives you 1 free cupcake as well! (there will only be 500 out there so get your cupcake early!) When their gone, they are gone and we thank Carla at Just Cupcakes for her generous donation!

Each food stand will be punching your card so please be patient and make sure you keep it handy.

There's a vote ticket attached to your punch card and when your belly is full please detach your ticket and drop it in the vote jar for your favorite. This BBQ competition is serious stuff! The winner will get a plaque and bragging rights at least until next year.

We have so many wonderful businesses that have made this event possible. Sajo Farm, one of our sponsors, is the most award-winning community in Virginia Beach, featuring single family homes and paired homes boarding the shores of Lake Lawson. More man made lakes pepper the community to make it a beautiful retreat just 10 minutes from Town Center. You'll get an inside look at the community as a slide show takes you on a virtual tour while you wait in line for your BBQ.

We have other great folks out at the event that can provide you with more information on buying or selling a home, or they can help someone you know who is looking for great people to sell there homes. Two of my favorite Realtors, Chris Faircloth of Realty Executives and Lisa Burrow of ReMax Alliance will have information for you. (how I've rented my home in the past) is a great resource and they will be out there as well. Jim McNees of Union Mortgage will be out hanging around the Corn Hole (And possibly running the tournament for charity)

If you aren't going anywhere but looking to upgrade the home you're already in Bath Fitters will let you in on some inexpensive ways to make some changes and updates. While the Roofing Company and Remodeling Company won't be out there the day of, Jim Hicks has been great at getting the word out through his Radio Show, Hampton Roads Home Pros on WNIS.

There are actually a lot of great people who have gotten involved to get the word out for the event! Groupon ran a side deal for 5 days with great ticket prices. Nicole Maxino of VBNightlife and Norfolk Nightlife has put the word out all over her popular websites, and on facebook, and when I put out a call for more donations for the silent auction for Habitat for Humanity she was all about helping! The same goes for Fox43! We are so excited that we will have The Face Of Fox out at our event, and Sirece will be out there with the Hampton Roads Show Cube with some fun giveaways. Splash Magazine has published several articles in it's last two issues about the event and Jerry Carter on WFOS 88.7 the Blues Traffic Jam from 3pm-7pm weekdays has been talking up a storm about us.

There are ticket giveaways on 88.7, The Hampton Roads Show, and in Hampton Roads Magazine! The word is out! The cause is amazing, the day is going to be beautiful. I hope if you're planning on being there.

Not only will there be tasty BBQ, awesome Beer, and incredible Blues, but also we've got some great artists and vendors who will be out at the event. And if Beer is not your cup of tea, the folks from Holly Grove Vineyard on the Eastern Shore coming out to sell wine. They are also generously donating to the silent auction.

While you sip your beer, your wine, or one of the Pepsi products that have been donated, then you can browse through artists like Bill Campbell and his amazing pastel drawings, Gail Cunningham and her peaceful paintings of the water, Timothy Trout's metal sculptures, Rita Cutler's amazing Whiskey Bottle Art glass windows (I wish I was as talented as she is) Mandy Oram-Smith, who doesn't make a piece of jewelry I don't want to buy will be out there with her Wild Flower Jewelry, Creations from the Heart will have some wonderful custom pieces commemorating your favorite teams. Via Creativa will have a wonderful sampling of all the hand made crafts they sell from artists in Central and South America and more.

Essential Wellness will have chair massages and good energy all around and they are donating a gift card to the Silent Auction so you'll be able to get a feel for what you will be bidding on. We have some other great vendors like The Flea Market at SONO who is not only donating a couple of great items to the silent auction, they will help fun it. And other vendors like Evelyn with her magic water beads great for your plants. We hope you will come out to enjoy the whole experience. The petting zoo will be available so don't feel like you have to leave the kids behind, there will be something for everyone!

See you at the festival!

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10 Days Until The Blue Gypsy Bluesfest: Giving Thanks to The BBQ Competitors

Six months of planning is coming to fruition in just 10 more days. This has been one of the steepest learning curves putting together an event of this magnitude. The thing that has kept me moving along is that it's for such an amazing cause. Habitat for Humanity.

I've met so many wonderful people who have put their great energy along side mine, not just for the advertising, but also because they believed in the idea and the spirit behind this event. What better way to give then to have fun while doing it!

So many things are coming together at the last moment. So many great local businesses and people are donating to the charity silent auction. We are definitely going to have Corn Hole there to play. We may even (If I can find someone to run it) Have a tournament...but honestly I know nothing about corn hole competition. But hey, I didn't know anything about BBQ competition either when I started this whole thing (errr still don't) But I felt strongly about putting together a friendly (Even though I was told there is no friendly in BBQ) competition with a people's choice element. And slowly one by one the BBQ restaurants caught my fever and joined in.

The first BBQ restaurant to throw their hat into the ring was Mick's Too. They are around the corner from my old house in Norfolk, and when I talked to Mike, one of the owners, on the phone and told him what I was doing for charity he didn't even hesitate. He was all for supporting habitat for humanity, and his wife and partner Angel has lived up to her name. I always feel a warmth of great energy wash over me when I walk in there.

The second BBQ restaurant to agree to participate, Mojo Bones, was another risk taker. It was a lot to ask the two restaurants to participate with out any security that more restaurants would join in, and Don, the owner of Mojo Bones, also in Ocean View, and now with a second location in ODU, was willing to do it no matter whether any other restaurants joined in, or not. The early competitors agreed to provide all the food.

Then Kevin over at Jake's BBQ just around the corner from Hunt Club Farm, where we are having the event, said sure he'd love to. Again such nice energy over the phone and even nicer energy when I finally met him in person only last week!

Number four. The Guys at Big Knife Cooking, just coming off a fundraiser of their own, Ribs for Kids for CHKD (Another of my favorite charities) also have such big hearts. Here they were just in one charity fundraiser and they didn't seem to think twice about saying yes to getting involved in ours! They cater parties, and do competitions and it looks like their BBQ may be coming to the snack shack inside the Flea Market at SONO. So great things are happening.

Our final contender in this year's BBQ competition is Smokey Bones near Town Center. I confirmed their entry while at a family wedding in Colorado. Talk about stress taking off for a week with less than a month to go before the charity event! When I finally sat down with Mike and Mike, two of the managers at Smokey Bones, I realized I was in the presence of yet more great energy. Everyone was excited and the energy keeps building.

So this is just the great folks who have gotten involved from the BBQ side! I can't even begin to tell you about all the other wonderful folks. At least not in this blog post because a long day of getting the word out about the event has me tired out. More information to come about everyone else involved in this spectacular event.

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Social Media Marketing: Like Herding Cats?

This just tickled my funny bone and I thought I would share it for all those social media marketing pros out there.

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From The Archives: Social MeetUps and TweetUps - Are They Like Online Dating?

Attending a meet up is a great way to meet people in-person who are interested and involved with social media in the Tidewater Area. It also reminded me a bit of the time I spent internet dating...

When I embarked on my social media exploration I began following people with knowledge and expertise in several fields of interest. The great thing was I was not bound by their locality. I could follow, friend, and learn from anyone any where. At first, being such a newbie, I didn't know how to find the local social media people.

Little by little through involvement with various groups like The Hampton Roads Marketing and Technology Group, New Media Conventions and Now Social Media Club Virginia Beach, I've met some amazing people who have taught me so much in just a few short months. (Don't worry I'm still not an expert nor a guru, but I am quite a bit more informed)

Some local people I know in person, like @socialsonya of Wave Marketing -- I've learned buckets from her! Other people I've only followed through true SM channels such as facebook and twitter.

Social networking MeetUps and TweetUps remind me a bit of the 3 phases of online dating.

Phase 1: The Detective
- You find out about people in online dating the same way you would in SM networking. Most people use some variation on the list below to decide if they are worthy enough for you to follow, friend, learn from...or date?

  • A Picture - Funny, goofy, serious, or otherwise this is what we picture when we read posts, write responses etc. This is the vision we are talking to in SM.
  • A Profile - Entertaining, intelligent, professional, intriguing...depending on what we are looking for profiles help us decide if we will fan, follow, retweet or contact.
  • Sources - Once we make contact we may use different media outlets to see if people are who they say they are. Remember, Google is your friend. People do research.
  • Followers - Do friends, fans, and followers overlap our own? Often times you are judged by the company you keep in the REAL world and online.
  • Do Things Match Up - Does your language and the way you carry yourself online match the bio, profiles, and information on the web for public consumption? Or are you a stack of contradictions?

Once you narrow down the pool with the techniques used above, reading profiles, finding similar interests a couple scenarios unfold. In both SM and in online dating, you may find the person lacking and unworthy of your attention and energy. No harm no fowl. Or you may want to move on to phase 2 Getting To Know You.

Of course in both online dating and in SM we meet in virtual spaces first during the getting to know you phase. And for many reasons in both situations we never meet in person.

Phase 2: Getting to Know You
- With online dating, through trial and error I devised these 3 rules, almost in complete contradiction of social media networking.
  • Rule 1: Keep Your Emailing And Online Chat To A Minimum - (I know sounds crazy! Aren't we talking about socializing online?) But back in my internet dating days, when I sent too many emails and had too many chats with people online before talking with them on the phone, I'd put my own intonation on their words. It is very easy to read your own ideas into other peoples writing. Good in social networking...maybe not so good in dating.
  • Rule 2: Talk On The Phone But Not For Hour Upon Hour, Weeks And Weeks - Putting a voice to the words and really listening to how they are spoken is important. But still there is the trap of pouring your heart out when you can't even see a person's face. You are missing a key element of communication. Body Language. It may be easier to bare your soul like that...but not really wise. Again you build up an image in your head that may not match upon a true in-person meeting.
  • Rule 3: Meet Early On In The Online Dating Relationship - Okay so you've sent a few emails, had a few conversations, now it's time to set the online dater's MeetUp. While in social media and networking this 3rd rule really never has to happen it is essential for the internet dater. This is where you find out if all the words, both spoken and written, fit the body language and are compatible.
In social media you aren't necessarily preparing for phase 3 The Meeting. The point of SM is to have these rich dynamic trust filled online communities with people you may never meet. Ah if dating were only that easy, trusting, and we never had to meet in order to be SM you can be caught in this euphoric loop in rule number one, never talking on the phone and never meeting.

But phase 3 does take place in both situations.

Phase 3: The Meeting - The MeetUp, TweetUp or Date can have similar -- great...or disastrous -- results.

Things we can find out pretty quickly when meeting in person is were the pictures real. This will give us the first indication as to how seriously, or truthful we take people. Then we watch their body language, do actions really match online words. In MeetUps and TweetUps this is where you know if they've just been regurgitating other people's information all along, or if they are real innovators. In dating you really find out if they are genuine.

In all reality TweetUps and MeetUps are far less pressure than online dating because there isn't that Is He Or She The One factor. In online dating you can build up so much significance upon this one meeting and that's why so many online dates fail. At TweetUps and MeetUps, unless you are coming in with an agenda, it should be a relaxing learning sharing environment. Are you there to meet people so you can sell them your stuff? Are you trying to figure out how this can make you money? Then it will show on your face and in your body language.

Most important is, that if you are who you say you are from the very beginning stages of phase one, if your message is consistent and genuine, and if you aren't afraid of letting people in you'll be successful in MeetUps and TweetUps and it won't feel at all like online dating.

But hey, even that's not so bad, 3+ years later I'm still with my online MeetUp!

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