fan mail

fan mail

Disney Fact: In 1933, Mickey Mouse received 800,000 pieces of fan mail–more than any other star in Hollywood.  The first letter I ever wrote was to Santa, letting him know that I wanted all the Nancy Drew books and a Skip-It.  After making my Christmas wishes clear, the second letter I sent was to Melissa Joan Heart.

“Dear Melissa,  Clarissa Explains It All  is the best show on television, and I watch with my sister almost every single day. Unless my brother is watching Ninja Turtles , because they usually come on at the same time.  Luckily he is usually busy playing outside because we only have one TV.  Anyway, I wish I had a friend like Sam that crawled into my bedroom whenever he wanted.  I have to share a room, so you’re doing pretty well for yourself.  Anyway, I think we’d be friends, and hopefully we can meet someday. XO, Jen.”

After that initial letter went out, I received an autographed postcard from Clarissa thanking me for watching the show.  I pinned the postcard on my wall, and then I wrote to Kelly (Saved by the Bell), Alex (Mysterious World of Alex Mack) and Ashley (All That).   Time to grow my list of signatures from famous celebs (aka, best friends).

I’m a huge fan of fan mail.  The concept is just so great — take a moment to share generous thoughts and send kind words.  I got behind the movement when I was 9, and I’m still practicing the trade at 26 (that’s like.. let’s see.. 17 years of fan mail  from yours truly.)

Anyway! This whole post is really just a plea for my readers to let someone know that you appreciate their work.  The web makes it easy to contact almost anyone you admire, so no excuses.  Jot down a couple people who inspire you (designers, photographers, writers, fashion icons, comedians, teachers, etc) and then send them a piece of fan mail.

For example, I’m a huge fan of designer/illustrator Shannon Kirsten.  She has no idea that I scope out her Etsy shop when I’m bored, or that I pin almost all of her designs.  I’m ending all that today with this fan mail addressed express from me to her.

targeted kindness with babycakes

ImageWhen was the last time that you were overwhelmed with kindness?  It’s happened to me a number of times, but more often than not, it’s the goodness of a loved one that inspires me.  Today, however, I was almost brought to tears by the generosity of a stranger.

Samantha recently opened an Etsy shop to sell gifts that she makes by hand with the help of her family.  She read about my random acts of happiness on the blog, and she wrote a letter asking if her Etsy shop could support the project.   I said yes, of course, and waited to see how the collaboration would evolve.  A couple days later, Samantha sent me half-a-dozen baby outfits designed to look like cupcakes.  She included the sweetest note:
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Despite the title of the random acts of happiness, I decided to go a little targeted with this donation by giving the gifts to women in need.  I feel like this is a new rule of thumb:  commit random acts of happiness unless targeted happiness will provide a greater good.  In this case, I knew that the Minneapolis nonprofit Birthright would be grateful for the thoughtful gifts.  Image
Minneapolis Birthright provides one-on-one counseling for pregnant and expecting mothers.  The nonprofit works with single, married, divorced and widowed women to dispense quality information regarding medical care, financial assistance, and childcare.

I spoke with a Birthright representative, and she told me that volunteers usually go yard-sale shopping to find baby items for expecting and new mothers.  She commented that “it is very rare, if ever, that Birthright children own something brand new. “

And so, I decided to break the cycle of giving Birthright women secondhand apparel.  I brought Samantha’s customized gifts to the center, and I told the volunteers to provide them to the women most in need.
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ImageImageImageImageImageImageDear readers, if you want to make someone else happy, try an act of targeted happiness.  Families in need are a great place to start, and a simple Google search with “donations + ‘your area code’” will display a variety of places that would be grateful for your donation.

And, finally, if you’re thinking of donating baby goods, why not start with something from Samantha? You can check out her Etsy shop KaeLilyBoutique, and show her just how quickly good karma comes back around.    And remember:
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