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one random act of kindness x 50

defined

Thanks again to all who have agreed to help celebrate my HALF-CENTURY milestone by performing a random act of kindness (RAK) in February! It makes me very happy knowing so many good things will be taking place. [If you missed the original post, click HERE to learn more.]

© Tina Vega Photography

I thought I would help get the ball rolling with a list of ideas. Please know that your kind act is not limited to this list, the month of February, or only one gesture. The only thing I ask is that you share it with me by posting a comment here or on FB, through Messenger, or by email/text!

1. Bless someone you do business with on regular basis. This is a great way to show appreciation to the people who regularly serve YOU! It could be:

=> your favorite cashier at the grocery store – after paying, let them know how they make your chore a little less painful and present them with a small gift (for example, one that talks about dogs all of the time would likely appreciate a PetSmart gift card or gourmet dog treats).

=> your local post office – if you frequent it as much as I do, faces become familiar on both sides of the counter; treat the staff to something special like a box of Mojo Monkey Donuts.

=> your favorite gas station or convenience store employee – whether you are a regular at Kwik Trip, Holiday, or the little mom-and-pop spot down the road, surprise them one day with a treat from Abdullah Candies.

=> your home delivery people – if you place a lot of orders online, consider leaving a basket of weather-friendly treats (granola bars, small bags of chips/cookies, bottles of juice/water, candy bars)  next to your front door with a thank-you-please-take-a-treat note.

=> your trash collector, mailman, newspaper delivery person – leave something that allows them to put their feet up such as a gift card to your favorite pizza place.

2. Brush snow off other cars in the parking lot.

3. Send a card to your pastor – let them know about the positive impact they have had on your life or how touched you were by a message they shared.

4. Remember those who are grieving by sending them handwritten notes – this is especially important around birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

5. Anonymously bless someone you do not know by paying for their meal at a restaurant – zero in on a table that tugs at you (an elderly couple, parents with young children, a group of teenagers, or someone dining alone).

6. If you regularly spot homeless people on your route to work, go prepared! Assemble care packages which include socks, mittens, protein bars, beef jerky, water, hand warmers, and gift cards to use at restaurants in the area. Make eye contact with each person you meet.

7. When making dinner or baking, double the batch and share with a neighbor.

8. If someone you barely know is struggling (illness, divorce, loss) reach out with a gesture of kindness – send flowers, cookies, or a handwritten note to let them they are not alone.

9. If you have recently read a book that inspired you to no end, share it! Gift your favorite book to anyone that comes to mind.

10. Pray for someone every single day this month. Send them a note (along with a cookie card) to let them know what you did.

11. If you are receiving treatment for a long-term illness, bless your care team with boxes of mini donuts from Sleepy V’s (formerly Rebel Donut Bar).

12. Before unloading your cart at checkout, take a look around. If you spot a person waiting with an armful (be it children or merchandise) let them go on ahead.

13. If you have children involved in dance or sports, bless their instructors or coaches with a gift card to Crisp & Green, Berry Blendz, or Truce.

14. Donate to your local food shelf.

15. Is there a teacher in your child’s life who appears to be especially gifted at what they do? Let them know how much they are appreciated and tell them what you see.

16. If someone around you is especially crabby, find a way to tangibly show kindness in return: let the road raging driver off the hook, put a bouquet of flowers in your child’s room, give your unfriendly neighbor the biggest candy bar you can find, or surprise your spouse with dinner out.

17. Be aware of the people around you, in person or online, and look for opportunities to show kindness through words, thoughts, and action. Kindness is about seeing what needs to be done and doing it!

I can’t wait to hear about all of your experiences!

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with your help 50 *will* be nifty

© Tina Vega Photography

I turn 50 next month and ever since his bash last May, my husband has been asking all sorts of questions about how to best celebrate. After mulling it over for some time, I finally came up with THE PERFECT idea! And it involves all of you.  Well, at least 50 of you.

© Tina Vega Photography

In lieu of gifts, cards, and birthday wishes I would love it if you would perform one random act of kindness instead. And I want to hear about what happens, big or small, because I’d like to put the stories into a scrapbook!

© Tina Vega Photography

Are you in? [If so post a comment here, on IG or FB!] I will be sharing ideas in the coming weeks but you are free to come up with your own. You are also welcome to share the random act challenge with friends and/or family.:DJust make sure you share your stories with me here, through Facebook, Instagram, or email!

© Tina Vega Photography

THANK YOU!

Jackie Malecha - January 9, 2018 - 6:08 pm

Im in!!!! What a great idea!!!

Lynn Peterson - January 9, 2018 - 6:56 pm

I am in, Tina! Count me as one of your 50. ????

Lindsey - January 9, 2018 - 10:33 pm

I would love to be added. Tina, your heart is so kind!! I love this.

Lynn Tentis - January 9, 2018 - 10:49 pm

I’m in!

Leslie Norman - January 9, 2018 - 11:23 pm

I’m in!

Tina - January 9, 2018 - 11:59 pm

YAY!!!!!!! We are up to 21 so far!

Tanya - January 10, 2018 - 9:29 am

Me, me, me!! You are such an inspiration! For real. :)

Susie - January 10, 2018 - 9:53 am

Love this Tina!!! I will help

Tina - January 10, 2018 - 6:21 pm

Thanks, Susie!

Tina - January 10, 2018 - 6:21 pm

Yay, thanks Tanya!!!!

Crystal Satnik - January 10, 2018 - 8:08 pm

Love this!!! I’m in!

Melissa Grell - January 10, 2018 - 11:16 pm

I’m in!! What a great idea, the gift that keeps on giving!

Jodie - January 10, 2018 - 11:48 pm

Tina, I’m in- an awesome way to celebrate your nifty 50th!!!!

Tina - January 11, 2018 - 8:33 pm

Thanks Crystal, Melissa & Jodie! We are up to 36 people in so far!!!

Beth Galles - January 11, 2018 - 10:19 pm

I’m in. What an amazing idea. Wish I had thought of it. Happy birthday.

Tina - January 11, 2018 - 11:43 pm

Yay!!! Thanks Beth!!

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beauty as an inside job

Lake Superior Barn Retreat 2015

Ever since hosting our 10-year anniversary crafting retreat at Lake Superior Barn, I have had the desire to go bigger. Unfortunately, all of the locations that interested me had longstanding groups locked in. So I let the idea go. Until two friends gave up their spot at The Trails Retreat last February and Beautiful Girl 2018 was born!

beautiful girl 2018 retreat

But it’s really much more than that. The idea for an entire series of girl-themed retreats was born. I began with Beautiful Girl because beauty is something most women struggle with at one time or another. We are inundated with messages about what defines beauty and are promised that if we only lose a few pounds, get in shape, have surgery, use the right makeup, avoid certain foods, or purchase the perfect pair of jeans we will finally have what we are looking for.

But those messages are rooted in perfectionism and stir up nothing but continual dissatisfaction. I learned this the hard way with my eating disorder a long time ago.

While there are things that we can do to care for these lovely vessels, the key to contentment is learning the value of true beauty and coming to the realization it’s primarily an inside job. I am sure all of you can think of at least one person you know who had all of the right features, was stylish, and “the right size” BUT… was cruel, selfish, and shallow. And what is on the inside, eventually rears an UGLY head.

The same could be said for someone who is kind, encouraging, and filled with joy. Grandma Schrec is the first to come to mind. She oozed beauty. Grandma Schrec was my Social and Family Living teacher in high school. While she didn’t fit the world’s definition of beauty with gray hair, wrinkles, and long dresses she still managed to captivate the young women in her sphere of influence.

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She taught us about healthy relationships, encouraged us to dig deeper, and showed us true beauty by the way she lived every day. She made an unforgettable impact on my life. I am sharing this today because her influence is about to be unleashed at Beautiful Girl 2018.

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Warm Fuzzies were her thing. A way to acknowledge and connect with others – especially those you were just getting to know. I thought our girl-themed retreats would be the perfect place to introduce the Warm Fuzzy. Not without incentive, of course.

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The coins pictured above will be used as a form of currency at all of our girl-themed retreats. And warm fuzzies (among other things) will provide everyone with an opportunity to earn coins. And the coins can be used to purchase an assortment of items from the “Beauty Boutique” – an adaptation of Camp Craftalata’s canteen (Kelli and Crystal provided the inspiration). A teeny tiny peek is below:

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On that note, I will leave you all with a regifted Warm Fuzzy from Grandma Schrec (1985):

The more you give, the more you get;
The more you laugh, the less you’ll fret,
The more you do unselfishly,
The more you live abundantly;
The more of everything you share,
The more you’ll always have to spare;
The more you love, the more you’ll find
That life is good and friends are kind;
For only what you give away
Enriches you from day to day.

Have a great week!

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hello new year

© Tina Vega Photography

I wasn’t even aware of holding my breath until I felt myself exhale.

2017 in pics

It’s over. Madison, my hectic schedule, the holidays, uncertainty, and loss => OVER. Last year’s word (reimagine) served its purpose. I spent a lot of time looking ahead while simultaneously trying to make sense of the present. And towards the end of 2017, the fog began to lift.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

My word for 2018:

© Tina Vega Photography

I am ready.

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we squeezed in a bit of holiday fun | minnesota family photographer

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

I met up with this darling family shortly after Thanksgiving for a quick session in and around their home.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

It was a gorgeous weekend in Minnesota, perfect sweater weather.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Not to mention, great timing with the start of the holiday season.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

It was a pleasure working with all of you.:)  Merry Christmas!!!

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