February 29, 2012

Member Spotlight: March Edition, Group 2

Welcome to the JLPA-MP's 2012 March edition of Member Spotlight. Check out the first published group from this series on 2/27/12.

Name: Anne Delfino 
2011-12 Placement: Provisional Class 

1. What is the best place you’ve ever gone on vacation? 
Bora Bora 

2. What is one lesson you learned in school that you’ll never forget? 
Wait your turn to speak. 

3. What are you most looking forward to this league year? 
Meeting new people. 

Name: Emily Pino-Williams 
2011-12 Placement: Provisional Class 

1. What is the best place you’ve ever gone on vacation? 
New York City – beautiful city, great food, lots of walking, and wonderful discoveries around every corner. 

2. What is one lesson you learned in school that you’ll never forget? 
I learned to love literature. Books are much better when you read the whole thing rather than skim for answers to the worksheet questions. 

3. What are you most looking forward to this league year? 
The Holiday Home Tour. I’ll try to keep my house-envy in check! 

Name: Gemma Newlove 
2011-12 Placement: Provisional Class 

1. What is the best place you’ve ever gone on vacation? 
Whitsunday Islands Great Barrier Reef in Australia which I visited for my honeymoon. However, we didn’t have calm idyllic waters and blue skies - we had storms force gales and 20 foot waves. There was also a stinger alert (fatally poisonous jellyfish) on our trip – yikes! 

2. What is one lesson you learned in school that you’ll never forget? 
Never underestimate or undervalue your friendships. 

3. What are you most looking forward to this league year? 
Doing some great fundraising for the community while having fun, some laughs and hopefully making some new friends in the process!

February 27, 2012

Member Spotlight: March Edition, Group 1

Welcome back to another round of Member Spotlights. This is the first bundle of six total groups, so stay tuned and check back in for additional published spotlights!

 Name: Amanda George 
2011-12 Placement: Provisional Class 

1. What is the best place you’ve ever gone on vacation? 
A little family-run hotel outside Villa Nova del Milfontes, Portugal, where I went horseback riding everyday and ate amazing food every night. 

2. What is one lesson you learned in school that you’ll never forget? 
To love reading and look forward to every new book! Book fairs and summer reading assignments are fond memories for me. 

3. What are you most looking forward to this league year? 
Meeting new people!

Name: Amy Truel
2011-12 Placement: Communications Team

1. What is the best place you’ve ever gone on vacation?

2. What is one lesson you learned in school that you’ll never forget?
In one of my high school classes, the teacher would give us an inspirational quote each day. I still remember this one: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

3. What are you most looking forward to this league year? 
Being on the Communications Team and promoting the League internally and externally

February 24, 2012

Another great find at The Shop

By Rachana Shah, Communications Team

Last week I visited The Shop during their semi-annual sale. I transferred into the JLPA-MP this year, so it was my first time visiting The Shop. When I saw the announcement of their sale on my Facebook news feed, I thought it would be a good chance to check it out.

I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I am addicted to the show Storage Wars on A&E. For those of you who have never seen it, it is about several people in Southern California who make their living by buying abandoned storage lockers, sight unseen, and then selling the contents. They are always digging through the piles of boxes, hoping to find interesting antiques. It was with something with that feeling that I entered 785 Santa Cruz Avenue.

The collection was amazing. There was a gorgeous Horchow cabinet marked down to $300, Wedgwood China, vintage Ferragamo shoes. I wound up with a silver-plated serving platter with the hallmark W.M. Mounts (pictured right). It had been a prize for a Pro-Amateur Golf Tournament in 1937. It had a well-worn look that reminded me of one of those "found" items in the Pottery Barn catalog. Asking price? Five dollars!

As I took my score home and was generously applying the Wright's Silver Cream, I realized that this had probably once belonged to a League member, and I wondered who it was. It was interesting to think that I had a connection to the owner of this item. It made me feel connected to the League, like the Shop in some ways is like a giant "Big Sister's Closet" that we can raid at will.

February 21, 2012

Menlo Park Neighborhood Meeting

Rachana Shah, Communications Team

On Thursday February 9, I, together with around twenty league members (pictured right), went to the Menlo Park neighborhood meeting at the home of Board Member-at-Large, Anne Vitullo. Anne was the consummate hostess: she set up a Valentine's Day themed spread. The favorite item was the miniature brownies that she had made herself. After a long day at work, everyone appreciated being able to kick back with some wine and snacks and hang out in a relaxed atmosphere of Anne's living room.

We went around the room and introduced ourselves. Many of the members hadn't met before, but the small group setting allowed us to make connections quickly. We discussed our highlights and challenges of our past League year. One thing struck me: we are some busy women. One of the most common concerns was finding time to participate in League activities. One women talked about having to travel for work frequently, another about having to entertain a key client at the Home Tour and then turn around and do a volunteer shift the same day, another about building their own start-up company, several about new jobs and new marriages. Everyone agreed that you get more out of the League when you put more in, but sometimes life happens, and that isn't possible for awhile.

We were all humbled and inspired when Anne shared her own story of being diagnosed with breast cancer, and having to put her League presidency on hold. She is cancer-free and looks radiantly healthy but she said that volunteering helped take her mind off of things during some of her year of treatments. In closing the meeting, League Administrative VP Marfrisa Gipner told us that it was ok if we weren't going above and beyond, because the Junior League is a volunteer organization, so anything we do is above and beyond. I liked that a lot. We need different things from the League at different times: a social outlet after a long day at work, a distraction during tough times, a place to meet friends in a new town, a chance to develop new skills and leadership experience. You give what you can, and take what you need.

February 17, 2012

Tiger Claw…Shinto…Jab…

By Summer Brill, Communications VP

POP QUIZ: You are flat on your back with Calla Griffith sitting on your chest yelling profanities at you with her right fist flying at your face, what do you do?
A. Close your eyes and start crying
B. Call your Membership Resources Liaison (Mary Grundy, where are you??)
C. Jerk your head to your left while using your left hand to swipe away her right fist while using your legs and hips to buck her over your left shoulder onto the ground

If you chose A, you are going to have a bloody nose. If you chose B, you are going to have a bloody nose. If you chose C, you attended a fun and informative woman’s self defense seminar put on by Membership Enrichment.

Membership Enrichment co-chairs Calla Griffith and Regine Nelson (pictured left), along with their fabulous committee members, organized a very useful and exciting evening at the Gatehouse with the United Studios of Self Defense. We learned some basic strike moves and practiced on each other while receiving individualized suggestions on how to best help ourselves in the unlikely event we are attacked.

Cat Carlton
We started right away with basic strike moves and spent most of the evening practicing on each other! We ended the evening mostly unscathed, the biggest injury resulting from my head connecting with Cat Carlton’s head as we were each dodging blows from Calla and Meaux Costello.

Our instructors are highly experienced and provided us with tips on how to avoid scary situations in the first place:
  1. Don’t walk and talk on your phone – more distracted and less aware
  2. Keep your keys in your hand to use to jab if needed
  3. Always be aware of your surroundings
And if we find ourselves in a situation where we need to defend ourselves, they gave us very practical and useful tips to remember:
  1. Strike, Strike, Strike – If you are being attacked, always keep punching, kicking, screaming and fighting
  2. Go for the soft spots – neck, throat, nose, eyes, sternum, ribs, groin
  3. If thrown to the ground, get onto your side as fast as possible and get your leg up for kicking
  4. Don’t forget about the backhanded jabs – if grabbed from behind, use your elbows and back of fists
We learned a few key strikes: Jab, Tiger Claw, Shinto (like a karate chop), punch. We learned to strike with purpose and to aim for the soft spots really hard and pull your hand immediately back for a second and third strike. Don’t stop…that is what is resonating with me, to keep going and keep striking until the attacker flees or help arrives.

I also learned something else that was quite counterintuitive…when going for a knee or punch, to step into your attacker, this gives you more power in your punch/knee.

POP QUIZ: 8 pounds of pressure can...
A. Smash a cupcake to smithereens
B. Pop a balloon
C. Shatter a knee

That was a trick question, the answer is D, all of the above! Remember that if you are on the ground, get on your side and kick at the attackers knee, it doesn’t take much to take it out.

Thank you to Calla, Regine and their Membership Enrichment committee. And special thanks to the United Studios of Self Defense instructors Gary Flickinger, Jay Mohan and Mary and Miya for taking the time to teach us how to protect ourselves.

February 15, 2012

I Shopped The Shop!

By Brittany Lothe, Communications Team

Prada. Gucci. Stuart Weitzman. DVF. Are you thinking I had an afternoon shopping at Niemen Marcus? Nope. I Shopped The Shop! And, this IS a shopping trip that I can tell my husband about -- check out the cute Ferragamo flats I found for 40 bucks!

The Shop is a resale store in downtown Menlo Park that serves as a fundraiser for the JLPA•MP. Since opening its doors in 1970, it has raised close to $4 million to support community projects through the sale of gently-worn, good-quality merchandise.

The best thing about The Shop – inventory is driven by donation from the public and members of the League so you can always find something that is new to you.

Need an extra incentive to check it out? How’s up to 85% off sound? The Shop’s end of season sale is going on NOW. Guess where I’ll be again soon – Shopping The Shop!

February 10, 2012

Checking in ~ Reminder of Active Member Obligations

By Ansley Jentz, Member Resources Committee

The Member Resources Committee wants you to continue to have a fabulous year – AND have a fabulous next year too! We are reaching out to everyone at this point of the year with a reminder of membership obligations. This is to ensure that you are eligible for committee placement in April 2012. Please visit our FAQ page for more details. There is a link to the Active Membership obligations at the top.

Please make sure that you have fulfilled the obligations by April 1, and if there are any questions or issues please contact your MRC liaison. You can find a list of committee liaisons on our web page, as well. If you have not heard from your MRC liaison, please contact Gabriella Cirelli, Chair of Member Resources. We appreciate all that you do for your Committee, your Council, and our Community!

February 07, 2012

Provisional Class Superbowl Social

By Lisa Hammon, Provisional Committee

Provisionals enjoy the
Superbowl Social
Who can believe we are half way through our provisional year? The time has certainly gone by fast, and we have been very busy. Last Thursday, Merrill's mentor group hosted a Superbowl Social for the Provisional Class. About 20 provisionals and mentors gathered at The Tied House in Mountain View for food, fun, and cocktails. We snacked on fried zucchini, quesadillas and slider bites while chatting about the upcoming Superbowl. Angie Klein couldn't be more excited for the New England Patriots; she and her husband are huge fans. While some are excited, others are still mourning the fact that the 49ers will not be in it. "It's a little like salt in the wound," said provisional Jessica Christian.

Overall, this was a fun gathering to celebrate the end of the week and a great opportunity to meet new people. "The Junior League has provided many fun opportunities to get to know local ladies and broaden my network. At times, I work from home so I crave social interaction in the evenings. I always enjoy meeting new, interesting people. Since this happy hour was such an informal setting, it was nice to be able to bring significant others," said provisional Beckie Callahan. We reminisced over previous events from our Provisional year - cookie exchange, home tours, etc. - and are looking forward to future ones, such as Stilettos and Self-Defense and Kids in the Kitchen. Can't wait to see what the rest of our provisional year has in store for us!

February 03, 2012

A General Meeting that Inspired Action

Brittany Lothe
By Brittany Lothe, Communications Team

As a recent transfer from the Chicago League, I am just getting up to speed about the Community Placements of the JLPA-MP. What’s great is that there are so many opportunities to learn about our partners – including at our quarterly General Membership Meetings.

Well, who would have known that at the most recent GMM on January 18th, I would have been inspired to action by one of our speakers. Karae Lisle, Executive Director of the Shelter Network -- the Peninsula's largest provider of housing and support for homeless families and individuals -- made time from her incredibly busy schedule overseeing six housing facilities with an $8 million budget, more than 80 full-time staff, and thousands of volunteers to talk to me and 200+ Junior Leaguers about homelessness in San Mateo county. 

Did you know that:
  • There is an estimated 6,737 homeless people in San Mateo County each year 
  • 12% of the county’s homeless are veterans 
  • The county has a commitment that “no child sleeps on the street” – if you have a child and you are homeless, a safe place will be identified for you 
  • This safe place may be part of the motel voucher program -- an emergency program for families and individuals on the waiting list to enter Shelter Network's shelter-based programs.

I didn’t. Nor did I realize that there was a Shelter Network facility less than 3 miles from my home in San Mateo. It seems natural that you would have such a facility in a big city like Chicago or Washington, DC or San Francisco, but poverty in a county like ours can be hidden. In order to address the issues, we need to face them straight on.

Karae and her team shared so much insight on the plight of the homeless in our community as well as many success stories. With more than 90% of families graduating from Shelter Network’s transitional shelters to permanent housing, they have a pretty amazing track record of helping those who need a hand up gain the skills they need to create a brighter future for themselves and their children. Check out some of the success stories for yourself here.

Each of us has something to offer to those who may need a boost at a time of need. For me, I learned about an organization supported by JLPA-MP volunteers in my community, was able to go to one of the facilities on Sunday for a tour and found a great organization to which I could donate our household items, clothing and toiletries. Some small steps but I’m looking for ways I can volunteer. Maybe I have a new frontrunner for the May placement fair. Time will tell!