•December 6, 2010 • 2 Comments

After moving to Portland, I really let myself go. From moving multiple times to the job search, I’ve been stressed and not had a ton of time for myself. I quit my yoga and running routine and started a new routine of watching TV (aka my computer) in my spare time. I forfeited preparing nourishing meals at home for restaurants. I also started a serving job which means free fried food, free beer, and plenty of cash on hand to go out for drinks.

In the past month, it dawned on me that I cannot keep this up. I need to do something to refresh my life and return to a more manageable lifestyle. Kelly, from the office, first planted the master cleanse seed in my head. It was cultivated when I started at the Red Cross, and a girl who works here was doing it. You’ve probably heard of cleanses before, but may be asking, “What on Earth is this ‘Master Cleanse’?”

The Master Cleanse

It’s a pretty simple cleanse and the goal is to eliminate toxins and chemicals from your body. For 10 days, you consume basically nothing, other than a mixture of maple-syrup, cayenne pepper, fresh squeezed organic lemon juice and water. You drink 6-12 glasses throughout the day when you are hungry or lacking energy. The mornings start out with a saltwater flush, which, I’m not going to lie, gave me the worst diarrhea of my life. After the first day, you get used to constant diarrhea. It’s part of the cleansing process. You end the night with a laxative tea.  Traditional Medicinals makes Smooth Move and Yogi makes Get Regular. They both use senna leaf as the main ingredient.

The elixir’s ingredients may seem like an odd combination, but they’re tried and true.

1. Maple Syrup. This is where your body gets energy for 10 days. It’s also full of minerals and sweetens the lemon juice.

2. Lemon juice. It’s packed with immune boosting vitamins and minerals. It also dilutes the mucus in your body.

3. Cayenne pepper*. I discovered this magical herb because of the master cleanse. For the purposes of the cleanse, it dilutes the mucus in your body (much more powerfully than the lemon juice) and improves circulation. That’s important, because circulation wanes during the cleanse and you tend to get cold. It also kills cancer cells (pancreatic, lung, and prostate) and acts as a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral. This is definitely the key ingredient.

I attempted the cleanse a few weeks ago and failed after three days. I wasn’t discouraged. Well, I was initially, but after talking to former cleansers, I was not discouraged. I was told that most people who start it for the first time don’t finish it. Try it a month later, they said.

So now, it is a month later and I’m already on day 5. I feel great. Not quite as chipper as usual, but I’ve been working all day and only had 4 drinks today.

I’m a little worried, because I have an interview on Thursday, day 9 of my cleanse. I reckon as long as I’m prepared for the interview, I’ll continue the cleanse as planned. I’m going to play things by ear though. I’ve never made it to day 9 and don’t know how my body will feel.


Text Donations

•December 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Texting for charities started with a text to give program in 2009, and was popularized in January by the Red Cross to raise funds for the earthquake in Haiti.  They raised over 2 million dollars within the first 24 hours of the program and raised over $30 million total. This sounded pretty great to other non-profits. What a great idea–raising money with virtually no work.

This was not so. Recently, I read an article in the New York Times, “Nonprofits Rush to Solicit Donations via Text, but the System Is Flawed.” The Red Cross is a large nonprofit, with a lot of funds, but smaller organizations won’t yield the same results. The costs tend to outweigh the benefits of using this fund-raising tool. There are three main reasons.


First, text donations are limited to $5 or $10 donations. People who may have donated larger amounts forgo donating larger amounts through traditional methods–direct mail, online, phone pledges.

The second issue is short codes. Short codes are 5 digit codes that you send the donation to. The Red Cross uses 90999. They cost $12,000 and are limited. Organizations can share short codes, but that can make it confusing for donors.

Advertising is the last issue. The Red Cross had the support of the National Football League (NFL) when they were raising money for Haiti. The NFL ran countless ads promoting the campaign. Here, at the Oregon Trail Chapter we have the Blazers to run ads for us during games. If a nonprofit doesn’t have that kind of support, they may not have a successful campaign.

In general, the text to donate issue is revolutionary. People under 30 use texting as a main form of communication. If they work out certain kinks, such as a $12,000 short code, I think that this would be a great way for nonprofits to rake in cash. Maybe if horoscope and date-texting businesses go out of business, it will leave more numbers/codes available for nonprofits at lower costs.

Just a side note and in the spirit of giving: text Gift to 90999 to make a $25 donation to the Red Cross!

Internship Extension

•December 1, 2010 • 3 Comments

photo credit: Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel

I’ve been at the Red Cross for 10 weeks now. Hard to believe; this term flew by faster than any other term in my college career. Yes, my first two years I was on the semester system, but still. I’m about to embark on the journey that I like to refer to as the rest of my life.

For now, I’m just extending my internship. Lise, communications director, said she’d love to have me as long as I like. This gives me the perfect opportunity to learn more as I continue the job search, and even though it’s been 10 weeks, I still think there’s a lot I can get out of (and contribute to) the Red Cross experience.

What’s in store next?

Well, after hours of signing letters and envelope stuffing, we finally finished mailing out the annual reports! Now, I’ve been putting my efforts on our blog.

We’ve been having/planning a lot of holiday fund-raising events.

Gracie’s Restaurant donated 20% of their proceeds to our chapter last night. We’re also continuing the texting fundraiser. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate.

Another fundraiser that we’re doing are candy-grams (no, I do not support them). I would have preferred to use flowers, but I’m not on the committee, so candy it is. They’re basically like in high school where you buy candy and write a little note to your friends in the office.

My personal favorite is buying days to wear jeans in the office. (Which is hilarious, because after I saw my supervisor wear jeans one day, I’ve been wearing them at least bi-weekly. Nobody mentioned anything yet.) You can pay $5/day or $20/5 days. We give employees stickers to wear as their “jeans pass” that has to be dated, so people don’t reuse them. We’re just doing it in our building, but I think it would be effective if we partnered with other businesses. Too late for this year, but I hopefully next year.

Thanksgiving Traditions

•November 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

When I was a kid, and was asked what my favorite part of the holidays were, I always responded with food, presents, decorating and even with special church traditions. I took my family for granted because I was with them whether it was a holiday or just an average Saturday barbecue.

I moved to Oregon about 3 years ago, and ever since the move, I haven’t been home for a holiday. I haven’t gotten to go to Grandma’s house for an Easter egg hunt, or go to church and see the last candle lit on the advent wreath. Being without my family on the holidays really made me realize how important they are, especially on holidays. My past two thanksgivings, I’ve poached dinner (and families) from friends, but this year, I started some traditions of my own. Now that I’m living in Portland, and reunited with my cousin, it’s about time.

Thanksgiving a day centered around eating, so why not have a thanksgiving breakfast tradition? These were the thoughts at the Red Cross, and we started the day at 10:30p with mimosas and pumpkin waffles. Not a bad start to a day of indulgence.

Later, I met up with my cousin for dinner and we got together with friends for dinner. We are coincidentally all Wisconsin transplants, so have little to no family in town, but it was neat that we all had a common background. We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (minus the canned Ocean Spray cranberry sauce). The ladies hung out in the kitchen in the men watched football. After dinner we all played sheepshead, a favorite card game. I felt more at home than I have in years and was very thankful to be with such a great crowd. All in all, it was a fantastic day, and I can’t wait to be done with leftovers.

Holiday Giving

•November 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The holidays are a time of giving, and like other non-profits, the Red Cross hoping for holiday gifts. December is the Red Cross’s busiest month of the year. We recently opened our emergency warming shelters, which have been much needed with last weeks freezing temperatures. House fires also increase both due to cooking incidents and holiday decorating (candles, trees, etc). Basically, we’re in need of funds more than ever, and the holidays also happen to be when people/organizations donate, so we have a perfect fund-raising opportunity.

We’re doing three things to take advantage of this opportunity.

1. We launched a holiday giving campaign. I sent out PSAs to local newspaper and radio stations and we put out a press release asking people to keep us in mind for holiday donations.

2. Campaign Red is a fund-raising event that we are holding with our donors. We are having a raffle and silent auction. Now, we’re working on requesting prize donations from businesses. We sent out request letters last week, after only getting a few responses, it’s time for follow-up phone calls.

3. The Clara Barton Society (CBS) is a group of our most important donors, those who have donated at least $1,000 within the year. This month, it is more important than ever to “cultivate” donors at this level. The Maybelle-Clark Lewis Foundation offered to match the donations of any new members of the CBS. We’ve just sent out our second “reminder” mail-out this week, and hopefully will get some donations back before the end of the month.

It’s fun to be part of such a large fund-raising endeavor. As always, I hope we can gather enough donations to serve the community this winter.

Marketing of the Future

•November 22, 2010 • 2 Comments

Neuromarketing, the latest marketing phenomenon used by Google, CBS, Disney, and Frito-Lay. I read about this new type of marketing that markets to your subconscious during some downtime at the ARC. The article “Making Ads That Whisper to the Brain” discusses how instead of using old-fashion surveys and research groups, marketers measure levels of brain activity that consumers have in response to ads.

photo credit: alles-schlumpf,

The newest technique uses EEG sensors and eye-tracking devices. This system connects the brain patterns with exact images from ads to gauge specific responses to ads. They can see if the ad reaches the

subconscious part of your brain, because, as pointed out in the article, only 2% of the brain’s energy is spent on conscious activity. By measuring subconscious activity, the researchers can reveal emotions, attention and memory.


To a marketer, I see how this could seem to be a godsend. If you measure brain waves, you don’t have to worry about variables regarding human error. It just seems a little unethical to me.

Ads are being programmed to stick in our brains. We are being convinced to buy products based on our brains subconscious responses. Day after day our society is becoming more robotic. Human to human interactions are minimized with constant cell-phone and computer use and now, advertisers can tap into our subconscious.

This made me think of my media ethics class and the different ethical theories. I thought about it, and what makes it unethical to me, is that certain brands are using it and others aren’t. If you don’t have enough money to do it, you just can’t. If every brand was able to use the technique, I think it would be okay, because we still have to option to choose the products we prefer. We’re not being programmed to like a single product. According to the theory of universalism, this would be ethical, but for all practical purposes, I think these advertisers are going over the top.

Agency Tour

•November 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

photo credit: Cuba Gallery,

I’ve toured more agencies in the past three weeks than I have ever before in my life. In the course that I’m taking to compliment my internship, we toured Edelman, a multi-national agency. The agency was beautiful. Everything looked brand new and was tastefully decorated.  We also got a lot of advice from former ducks about starting work at an agency and what they look for in interns. I thought it was neat that from the first day, the interns felt like contributing members of the team, not like lowly interns.

Wednesday of this week, I attended a PRSA event for new pros at Maxwell PR, a firm I’d love to work for. They do tourism and consumer PR for reputable brands such as Whole Foods, Yogi Tea and Kettle Chips.

Although they seemingly never hire, so I no longer have my heart set on the agency, I had the opportunity to meet a few members of the board on PRSA. The pros also offered some good advice for up and coming PR professionals.

Here’s some advice that I took away from the night.

1. Agencies look for someone with original, fun and clever writing and thinking.

2. They want someone detail and results oriented. This seems a little counter-intuitive, but it’s important to see both the big and small picture at the same time.

3. Target your job search. Don’t just send your resume out to every agency or every open position. Making sure that a position fits you is just as important as you fitting in at the company or agency.

4. Stay in touch. If you are seriously interested in an agency (like Maxwell), don’t give up. Keep sending them your media placements and show your continued interest.

5. Consider options other than an agency. I’ve been set on working at a sustainability-oriented agency, but a PRSA member suggested that I don’t limit myself to agency work, but look into corporate PR. Currently places like Portland General Electric (PGE) are looking for people who can promote sustainability with their brand.

All in all, I’m glad I went to the event. I was a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but I took away some valuable advice and learned what Maxwell is really about.