Archive of ‘Latest’ category

Fertility Fundraiser Fridays: Vacation Renting

FFF - Vacation Rental

Ever thought about hosting a few friends to crash in your spare room for a weekend?

Yeah?

Okay, well how about starting a Bed & Breakfast?

The other day when I was having lunch with a friend, one of her Sorority sisters happened to drop into the same restaurant.  She sat down with us to catch up a bit, and we started talking about her use of this service that allowed her to rent out her condo to make a couple of extra dollars.  Using the money to feed back into the unit’s furnishings and appeal, she said it was one of the most unique but well-worth-it ways she’d come up with to supplement her Chicago teaching salary.

It made me think of you.

Air B&B sounded REALLY insane to me when I first heard of it.  Basically you create a listing through their company, allowing for guests to room with you.  If you live in a pretty cool or interesting place, it’s a cheaper lodging alternative for people, and they may look to sites like this before they book a traditional hotel room.

Safety was my first thought and concern, but, you also don’t have to be present while they’re there. The young lady I met who uses the service, sleeps over a friends’ house on the weekends, and rents her upscale Hyde Park Chicago apartment to parents visiting their University of Chicago students, or those looking to be within close range of the downtown area.

The company verifies your information through a mixture of online and personal identification measures.  They also encourage guests to provide detailed reviews, so that more renters will see your score and increase the amount of bookings you get.  From what I saw in my brief tour of the site, they’re pretty flexible with your reservations, so let’s say you have to go out of town for business suddenly?  You can open your house up to make a couple of extra dollars while you’re away.  They also explain pretty thoroughly how to become tax compliant and ensure that your money comes in pretty timely.

The Host Guarantee, is also listed and included to protect you from any damages incurred during a stay:

The Airbnb Host Guarantee provides protection for up to $1,000,000 to a host for damages to covered property in the rare event of guest damages above the security deposit—or if no security deposit is in place.

The Host Guarantee Program does not cover cash and securities, collectibles, rare artwork, jewelry, pets or personal liability. We recommend that hosts secure or remove valuables when renting their place.

I found this review of them online, and it sounded very much like that what I’d heard from the young lady I spoke to.

I think the program is excellent.

I’ve had no issues with AIRBNB either as a traveler or a host. The problems have been with the actual hosts of properties I’ve booked. They have been the misrepresentative ones and I now carefully read all reviews and identification process on the people I will be interacting with.

As a host, I screen the requests the same way. Read the reviews and decline ANYTHING fishy. People will try to go around the system to get to your home.

AIRBNB is a tool and with skill of your own it can work well for your purposes.

 

Similar options for using your home as a fundraiser include VRBO or HomeAway.

I still don’t know that I’m personally comfortable with this service, but hey, you may try it and love it!  Just a thought! Could be a pretty interesting way to make that one-day nursery pay for itself! As usual, go research it for yourself if it sounds doable, and  if you try it out, don’t forget to come back and let me know how it turned out!

Watching Our Words. Why Phrasing Matters.

Phrasing Matters

Famed percussionist and recording artist Sheila E. has released a new memoir.  As an 80’s baby, I’m inclined to love her. LOL  She reminds me of big hair and great music, and really, what’s not to love?  She was killing the game long before Beyonce, and she’d even had Mr. Graffiti Bridge himself, singing her praises on and off the stage.

Well, the New York Daily News did a write-up on Escovedo’s new book, with tons of juicy bits to entice us to check it out, and while for the most part, I was really pleased and excited, my spidey senses perked up unfortunately.  Since I’d seen her “Unsung” episode last year, I was really interested to see what else she was planning to share.  More info on her love affair with The Purple One, her uncomfortable but industry-changing sexual revolution, and then, her feelings on friend Lionel Richie’s adoption of her niece Nicole.

Here’s how it’s written up in Sheila’s book, which is co-authored by Wendy Holden:

“Then Richie’s wife Brenda, who had been hungering for a child, suggested adopting Nicole. “Lionel … would do anything to keep Brenda happy,” Escovedo writes.

The Richies convinced Peter and Karen to give up their child.” 

Come on man.  Stereotype much?  We gotta do better.

Now, it’s not all bad, as Sheila has always been very upfront about how difficult it was for her family when Nicole was adopted.  She generally comes from a place of love about it, I’m sure.  So, assuming that like many, perhaps Holden and Escovedo just don’t realize how the particular phrasing used in their book can be damaging, allow me to share four requests I have from just that short excerpt.

The Richies convinced Peter and Karen to give up their child.

1. PLEASE stop painting adoptive parents as baby-snatchers who want nothing more than to steal children from loving families.

“Lionel … would do anything to keep Brenda happy,

2. PLEASE stop painting WOMEN as the primary offenders, and portraying husbands as well-meaning dopes who move heaven and earth to fill their wives “ridiculous cravings” for children.

3. PLEASE stop painting birth-parents who choose to place their children for adoption, as idiots who are taken advantage of. The decision to place a child for adoption is not a light one, and it is a BRAVE one. Don’t belittle their bravery by wording things in a way which implies that they were basically tricked into doing what other people convinced them was best. This, I’m sure has been the case for some, especially as we go back a couple of decades, but it is NOT the case for all, and when you report on it that way, you perpetuate a stereotype that can hinder more than help.

4. PLEASE stop deciding that someone else’s story should be yours. No matter the auntie heartstrings she may have been feeling pulled from, or how she perceived the situation to play out, Nicole Richie’s adoption story belongs to HER, her parents, and her BIRTH parents. Your feelings about it, your momma’s feelings, the teacher’s feelings, the postman’s feelings, do not matter at the end of the day. No matter how old she is, this is HER story, and it should be respected and treated with a certain amount of care.  

Now to be clear, LOL I’m a fan, so I’ll still probably read the book, and I’m not encouraging anyone else not to.  All I’m asking, is that we start to pay closer attention to HOW we say things, and how those seemingly simple comments/statements can have dire implications for others.  For every one person who read that excerpt and said, “Oh, that’s interesting”, and moved on with their day, five more were just as likely to say, “Oh, see, I knew our people didn’t adopt, I knew there had to be a story there”.

While adoption is difficult for birth families, there is a time and a place to deal with it, and in my opinion, your memoir may not be that place, especially if you are still feeling some kinda way.  What we should take from this, is that there is definitely a need to do more in terms of supporting the relatives of adopted children.  There is obviously a wound there that should be receiving far more salve. I found ONE study that stated as much.

When you know better, you do better.  We need to get more people in the know.

Fertility Fundraiser Fridays! – Backyard Cinema

FFF - Backyard Cinema copy

Looking for a fundraising idea?  Here’s one on a smaller scale.  How about a drive-in movie?!

Supplies: A projector, dvd player, speakers clean garage door or white sheet, popcorn, beverages, candy

Who doesn’t want to watch a funny movie with friends?  Right?  Right?  This summer, my family and friends came together to do just that.  I borrowed a projector from work, borrowed a musical from a friend, and asked everyone to bring their own lawn chair.  We met up around dusk, my aunt made chilli dogs and popcorn, and we enjoyed a nice warm evening together in her driveway and patio.

Now, while we did it just to hang out and enjoy the summer, it dawned on me that this could have easily been a fertility fundraiser.  I don’t believe it’s legal to charge for the film, but If I’d asked people to donate $5-$10 towards “backyard admission”, or made snacks and run a “concession stand”, I could have walked away with at least $100 to throw into my baby fund, without having spent a dime! Thinking outside of the box, ya know?

To avoid too much of a startup cost, I’d ask around or rent a projector rather than buying one if you don’t already have one.  You never know who may have one lying around.  I’d also recommend making the snacks yourself rather than buying up a lot.  Also, resist the urge to go overboard cutesy.  It’s nice to have little knick-knacks to give away, but remember, you’re trying to raise money-not give it away, so maybe sending a nice Thank-You card over email, is better than purchasing paper ones or party favors.

If you do want to give something back, consider having a roll of raffle tickets.  Let people buy a few tickets and win a movie basket with a bag of popcorn, box of candy, and a couple of cheap DVD’s.  All of these things can be found at your nearest dollar store, and you’d make the money right back(and more) just in the sales of the tickets!

Theres a few more summer weekends to be had, so think about this one, will you?  And if you decide to try it, don’t forget to come back and let me know how it went!  Good luck, and happy fundraising!

The later it got, the better the picture got!

The later it got, the better the picture got!

Fertility Fundraising & The Willingness to Help Others!

Fertility FundraisingA few days ago, I witnessed a discussion on FB about people using crowd-funding sites.  Most of the comments were based around the idea of people who have taken to posting “Go Fund Me” pages for things that others have deemed frivolous.  Pay for me to go to hair school, or help us fund my sister’s babyshower, are some of the topics I’ve seen across my Facebook feed through the last couple of years.  For the most part, I tend to ignore the ones that I know I can’t (or won’t) fund.  No harm, no foul.

In this discussion however, my spidey senses began to tingle when someone’s response was close to saying that it’s “tacky” to ask others to help “fund your dreams”.

In theory, yeah, okay, I can see that on some level.  But then, as with most things, it made me think about those of us in the infertility fight, and how sights like GoFundMe have actually helped some of us do just that.  Is growing our families a “dream” that others should scoff at helping us fund?

Crowd-funding sites have helped many couples on the infertility journey find a way that they can allow family and friends who previously felt helpless, assist them on their way.  For many, the sites have given them the opportunity to take their own first steps into self-advocacy and find their voice.  Even if no one ever clicked the donate button, for a lot of couples, this was their way of boldly announcing just what their years of struggle had entailed, and how hard they’d been trying to work towards it.  I’m sure that countless individuals were able to at least send a message of support that was like a drop of water to someone dying of thirst.

Over the past few years, I’ve built up my skills at design.  When it was time for me to suck up my pride and work on raising funds for my own IVF, my husband and I decided that the best way for us to do that was to use my designs toward our dream.  I am also blessed to live in one of the few states that includes fertility treatment in health insurance.  Many times, however, I wonder what I’d do if I didn’t have that skill or that health benefit.  How devastated would I be if I had no money to start from scratch, AND no tangible thing to use as a fundraiser?

I can only imagine.

As people continue to exploit these sites for all kinds of reasons, that many will no doubt judge, I’m sure that those who were already debating whether or not they should move forward with fundraising for infertility will decide to go back into the shadows.  There is a personal fight that many of us have when financial issues come into play in infertility.  It is the fight that whispers, “If you have to raise money to even do this, maybe that says you shouldn’t do this”.  We cower behind it, and swallow our sorrow, and retreat into defeat.

I don’t want you to do that.  I want you to have a safe space to shout from the rooftops, “I’m struggling, and I would like some help.”  Even if you never get a dime, I have always been about empowering others to self-advocate.

Fertility Fundraiser Fridays, will be a weekly promotional kickstart on The Egg, where I will share an idea for a cool Fertility Fundraiser, or a link to one that stands out.  We’re in this together, and I hope your dreams come true.  Allow me to be your platform, and please, if you can, reach back and help someone else by sharing theirs.

Fertility Fundraiser Fridays

 

Mission In Progress. The Egg’s 5th Birthday!

It’s Tuesday.  And around here, Tuesdays are RealTalkTuesdays.  Today, though, there’s more than just the normal affirmations on my mind.  Today, I’m thinking about the five years that have gone past as this blog has grown, and just how monumental it actually is.

Five years ago, when I started my blog, it was out of a desperate need to do something.  My husband and I had fought our way blindly through this forest of uncertainty and I’ll just admit, shame, and I just wanted to do SOMETHING that would make me feel less than defeated.  I wanted to kick a door open, turn on a light, make the smart-ass comment that would get the classroom talking.

Five years later, I’m proud to say that the door is open and there are people walking through and towards their healing.  Not all of us have become parents, and not all of us are done fighting, but all of us have a place and a voice now.  A place to shout, and a place to be heard.  A place to be quiet, and a comforting silence to wrap us up in.

Five years ago, I was unemployed, uninsured, frustrated, and feeling hopeless.  I was barely getting people to visit my blog, let alone comment or even let me know I was making a difference.  Five years ago, when I started this blog, all I wanted to do was shout.  Five years later, I’m glad to listen.

I don’t take it for granted.

And I don’t want YOU to take it for granted either.

You should know, that five years ago, organizations such as Fertility Within Reach, Fertility For Colored Girls, or A Family Of My Own, did not exist and it was very hard to know where to start.  Especially if Resolve felt overwhelming.  So many groups have formed in these past few years, that it’s easy to forget how vast of a wasteland it once was.

You should know, that I felt lost in the sea of infertility blogs that I did find, because I saw absolutely no reflection of myself, and that the ONLY fertility related blogs for women of color that I could find, had either stopped being updated, gone in a different direction, or were morphing into parenting blogs.

You should know, that in the past five years, there have been ENORMOUS strides made in the growth of reproductive awareness in general, and attention to infertility in the African-American and minority communities.  So many people have responded to me, and told me how valuable this site(or the Facebook page or the Facebook group) mean to them, and it is humbling.  To know that people are choosing to allow me to walk with them through the most painful and private ordeal in their lives, is extremely humbling.

You should know that I am grateful.

You should know that I am not done.

What do you need?  How can I help?  You let me know.

I’ll be here.  Birthday

Proactive Hope

For the past few weeks, I’ve been going back and forth with a couple friends and family members about how to get over the hump that finances have placed smack dab in the middle of reproductive progress.  I had qualms about applying for grants, for fear of taking those resources away from someone else who needed them much more, and trying to save has really not gone over as successfully as one would hope.  I wasn’t too keen on the idea of crowdfunding, while it’s another great option, because I’m just not that great at accepting gifts.

As with most things in my life, on this journey especially, I decided that I wanted my needs to be filled by meeting the needs of others.  Even if it’s in a small way.  I wanted to do more.

So, without any more flourish, I’m pleased to announce the launch of the “Carton of Hope” Apparel and Accessories shop.

Carton of Hope header 2 copy

I’ve always hesitated about having Broken Brown Egg related t-shirts or other items because I know that people are particular and private concerning infertility, and would rather not walk around in clothing that shouts about it from the mountaintops.  The items found in The Carton. however, are each designed by me, and there was special care placed in creating subtle yet powerful statements which speak to the fight of not only infertility, but life in general.

It is time to put my faith, and my hope into action.  It’s painfully clear at this point, (and it really should have been clear years ago), that if we want ANYTHING to happen for us in this, we’re going to have to step out and get it done.  Or if we can’t seem to get it done on our own, that we raise enough of a rally cry that it just gets DONE.

This is my rally cry.

Please stop by and take a look around.  The designs are all original creations by me, and featuring thought-provoking and inspirational concept art.  Any purchases made, especially from The Broken Brown Egg Signature Series collection will go towards paying for our urology and IVF medication bills.

And even if you don’t buy a single thing, I just want to say Thank you SO very much for supporting The Egg.  I appreciate your company.

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