Last year, as part of a discussion in the Collective Bias community, we decided to go a step beyond the traditional gift exchange. As I explained last year, I'm not a fan of exchanging things just for the sake of exchanging. Yes, it's only $5 but when you're talking about here, there and everywhere, $5 adds up. Besides, it's about the thought, not about the gift. So while some members of the community decided to exchange ornaments or do a Secret Santa or something, I wanted to share something more valuable to me. My space.
It was a neat experience last year - hearing about yourself through the eyes and words of one of your peers. So when they decided to do it again this year, I was pleased to join in.
We drew our virtual names for the exchange and I opened it up to see a name I am very familiar with. Brandi. I'll be honest and say that I don't recall the first time we crossed virtual paths... it's been quite a while. I've been to so few conferences, I can't even say that I've met her in person. Through various communities, but mostly through Social Fabric, I know her name and know it well. I have the utmost respect for her professionalism and work.
I knew her well because she participated in a campaign that I was leading for Clear American Flavored Water - and did a great job of sharing a Pay-it-Forward experience. It's funny how you can feel like you know someone so well but don't even know their blog name off the top of your head.
So I decided to really sit down and get to know more about Brandi. She's creative and sincere - sharing various stories, reviews and ideas on her blog. She also shares a weekly meal planning post. She's a reporter for iVillage, too.
I've discovered that Brandi is open for her readers just like she is in the community. She shares personal thoughts and feelings... for the world to read. She knows she's making a difference. Within our community, she's extremely caring and considerate and she lets her personality shine. Recently, when asked how she gives back during the holidays, she shared the following thoughts:
I work for a non-profit that serves impoverished families and children. One of the things that I do that folks seem to really enjoy is plan an outing for the people that we are serving. One year I took a group of girls to see “The Velveteen Rabbit” and to have hot chocolate. Last year, we took a group to see a dance performance. Over the years, I have found that the holiday season with all of its lights and sparkle can really make someone who doesn’t have feel super terrible. Being able to be a part of Christmas, EXPERIENCE Christmas, really means a lot my students and their families.
It really conveys who she is. THAT is Brandi. Mama Knows It All.
Brandi is an amazing author, wonderful mother and beautiful spirit. My virtual gift to Brandi - my readers. My virtual gift to you, my readers, - Brandi. Please stop by and get to know her.
To learn about some of the other amazing bloggers participating in this virtual gift exchange, check out these links: