Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And the Results

The results are in, our judges have spoken, and TBG is ready to wrap up. The winner is...


In the words of guest judge Peter DeWolf, "Absolutely epic. So impressive. Megan's knowledge and passion and caring... I just want to give her a hug now. Great idea. A Big Give that will keep on giving."

You can see the whole project (start reading at the bottom) complete with vlogs and photos. But I do suggest you end up reading The Big Give That Keeps On Giving. Meg will share with you her passions and inspiration. In the end, that's what this is all about.

She started blogging as part of this contest initiative, so please do check it out!

We also have a gorgeous runner-up. Jami sent a package to a friend serving in Afghanistan and you can see her dance moves (the association is a little blurry, but wonderful none-the-less). Jami's Trashcan is the blog, and excellent on so many other levels, Highly recommended!

I would like to especially thank all our readers. You've made the contest worthwhile, and I hope we've inspired us. Please feel free to e-mail us at goaheadmaketheirday@gmail.com with any stories. We hope to occasionally have more quality content on the blog, so I hope you continue to follow.

And to our contributors, you've been amazing. Inspiring myself and everyone else. Not to mention the team that helped promote, build the site, and spread the word. You are all incredibly awesome. Thank-you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wow. July sure has gone fast. The Big Give is almost done for 2010. In a couple of days we'll be posting all of the submissions from our Givers, and then our judges will go to work on the challenging task of choosing a winner.

Don't forget to visit each of our entrants blogs (you can find a full list here) to check out what they've been up to with their $20, and don't forget to always give with a smile on your face.

In the meantime, we asked the amazing Wade Johnston to answer Three Questions on video. Wade is our music guru, and the lucky rabbit who wins TBG will get the chance to chat with him in IM about all things related to making music on the internet.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Giver updates and Three Questions with Una LaMarche

I have two very exciting things to announce today.

Three weeks in, we've received our first progress report from one of our Givers. Megan posted the first part of her Give, and you can read it over here. Remember to check out The Givers page to meet all eleven entrants in TBG, and visit their blogs to check on their progress.

Secondly, the wonderful Una LaMarche has answered Three Questions for us. Una blogs at The Sassy Curmudgeon and is our blogging guru. For more of what that means, check out the Prize Pack section of this blog.

Remember to check out TBG's Youtube channel and subscribe/like/comment as if you mean it. www.youtube.com/goaheadmaketheirday

Thursday, July 15, 2010

TBG on Youtube

Phew. It's been a crazy couple of days with processing the registrations for TBG, but I'm excited to announce that we have eleven Givers, and you can follow their progress right here, with regular updates.

I'm also excited to announce that TBG is on Youtube. The channel is something we'd been planning since the launch of TBG, and after several false starts, multiple computer glitches and a crashed laptop in Ireland, we're finally good to go with Three Questions from the lovely Nel from Finding Rabbit. Check out her contribution to the TBG prize pack over here, visit Nel's blog here and watch this little clip here:

If you love us, head over to our Youtube Channel, http://www.youtube.com/goaheadmaketheirday, and follow, subscribe, like, poke or whatever it is you do on Youtube.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Compliments also count

My city is full of "windshield cleaners", you know, those guys (or girls but those are rare) that clean your car's windshield when the traffic light is red...OK, so some of you have never heard of them? It's OK, maybe it's a third world thing, I am not sure.

Anyway, we live about 10 kms away from the downtown area. It doesn't seem that bad but believe me, it's a lot. Of course there are a lot of traffic lights on the way, and that means "windshield cleaners"...so basically they wipe your windshield and they get a tip. The problem is we live so far away that our windshield gets cleaned at least 4 times until we reach our destination. My mum always says she ends up spending more money tipping these boys than on parking, however, she always gives them some money.

Last Sunday, we went to the movies to see "Prince of Persia" and there was a windshield cleaner at the mall's traffic light. Mum didn't have any change but I did, so when he was done I handed him the money and told him : "I'm tipping you only because you have dreadlocks" (which I find very cool). He looked very surprised and his face lit, while flashing a great smile, the lights turned green and he said "Yay for dreadlocks!" and so we left.

I know it is a very silly story, but my point is that you don't need much to make someone happy, to make someone smile. It goes beyond tipping someone who is trying to make a living (I often tell mum that, "you know, they could be stealing but they're not, they're working"), sometimes being honest and complimenting someone help us make their day too.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Own Big Give: Kris, Part 3

So, here's the part where it all plays out.  And, know what?  It was fun!

Step one: Shopping.
This part was kinda boring.  You know I already that I had flour.  So my budget looked (roughly) like this.
Gallon milk : $4.50
Yeast:            $5.00
Margarine:  $4.50
Now, I realize this doesn't equate quite my $20 budget, but it eases the guilt I was feeling for using all sorts of ingredients that I had on hand.  I also bought a bunch of bags, but they didn't end up fitting a full loaf, so I had to scrimp some up.

Step two: Baking.
Here I managed to be efficient and skilled.  Every batch I made met with success.  Hopefully there wasn't a batch with ten-fold salt or something.  I'd never know about it.  Unfortunately, I had to bake in sets of two since I had only two pans.  And since bread is fairly time consuming this was a long process.  This is a picture of some of my healthy bread set out to cool.  Check Pt. 2 if you're interested in the recipe.

Step three: Delivery.
Now this was the fun part!  I've always enjoyed leaving secret surprises for people.  I seriously met some small adrenaline sneaking through people's backyards and popping loaves of bread on their porch railings.  I included brief handwritten notes with their names (for the ones I knew), so they wouldn't be creeped out, and a bit of nutritional info.  Wouldn't want somebody with a severe dairy allergy cutting into my fresh loaves...

I was discovered on occasion.  It would be hard not to be.  But just ripped the note off, stuffed in in my pocket and said, "Here.  My recipe makes two and I can't eat both!"

And, here's what I think.  It's true!  I can't eat two loaves.  But I love homemade bread.  So in the future that extra loaf will be finding it's way onto porches and door stoops around town.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Where's the (internet) love

Maybe it's all the Big Giving love that's been flying around, but the internet just seems like a brighter place of late. It seems that everywhere I turn, there's someone else who wants to make someone's day and is using the interweb to do it. Here are a couple that I've come across. Remember, if you read and don't click, you're doing it wrong.

Tweet love to haters - I discovered it while listening to Triple J last week. Triple J morning radio presenter, Tom Ballard is both the youngest ever host of Triple J Weekday Breakfast, and openly gay; a sure-fire recipe for some serious online hate. And that's why Tom's started to #tweetlovetohaters. When the hate starts flying, Tom will send out a tweet like this one to his 7000+ followers...

... with the aim being to fight hate with love. Oh and guess what? It works, even to the extent where Tom's received apologies from haters who have been showered with love by the Twitter-verse.

Love Bombs Any blogger worth his customised layout will tell you that nothing has the power to brighten our day like logging in to Blogger (or Wordpress. whatever) to find that someone has left us a shiny comment on our latest post. The clever rabbits at ItStartsWith.Us were well aware of this, and thats why they started Drop a Love Bomb. Each week they put the call out to drop a love bomb on someone in the form of hundreds of comments to someone who could use the encouragement. Uh, hello! Where do I sign up?

I mean sign up to give comments. Sheesh.

Dares for Good -

Here's one for all you bloggers who just love to tag each other in your blog posts. TBG contributor and all round darling, Dori from Dori the Giant has started her own viral blogging campaign, Dares for Good. Dori says that she wanted to create tags for things that make a difference, and she's succeeded with dares such as donating to the Haiti appeal and turning off unused lights to help the environment.

We'll be seeing some serious action from our Givers in the coming weeks, but in the meantime remember, The Big Give is not a spectator sport, so get out there and do something!

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Own Big Give: Kris, Part 2

The decision, and my justification of such:
Anyone who read my last post will know that I'd dedicated to baking bread.  I believe in homemade food.  I think it's healthy and appreciated, so we were off to a good start.  I started to dream big, like we're asked to do.  What if I sold this bread for a reasonable price at our local farmers market and donated all proceeds to buying seeds through World Vision?  I believe in this organization, as well, and believe it's one of the better options for charitable donations.

However, I quickly ran into budget issues.  To enter the Farmers Market costs ten dollars, and half my budget.  Even with the flour I already own, this makes baking more then a few loafs of bread virtually impossible.  I also am having some major time issues.  As summer comes, and I'm sure most of you will agree, my spare time dwindles considerably.

So, when my sister started to make fun of me when I'd rant off about having to give big, I knew it was time to calm down the stress.  In the spirit of just because shouldn't be grudging, am I right?  The excitement is back, and I'm glad.

So, I've made a few loaves of bread.  As much as I originally played with the idea of asking people to donate if they felt so inclined, I've decided this is really not a very good idea.  I know people who don't have the time or ability themselves, and will appreciate a loaf of homemade bread.  I really just want them to be able to appreciate that.

It has got me thinking, though.  I still believe in World Vision, but I'm taking this opportunity to reach out to the people I know.  The single girls, the amazing old couples, people I know will appreciate a fresh loaf of bread (and, yes, they're turning out well).  I can't being you photos, because on top of this all my computer has crashed.  What I will share with you is the bread recipe I'm using, in case you feel like you have the time to learn to make it yourself. 

6 tbsp marg (or butter or lard)
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar (I use brown)
3 cups milk (I use 1/2 water)
Add in multi grain (or raisins, or spices, or whatever)
8 cups of flour... But don't stir!
Create a dent in the flour and put in,
4 tbsp yeast (instant or slow)
sprinkle this is 1 tbsp sugar
Pour in 1/4 cup warm water.  Moisten yeast with tip of knife.  Let sit well yeast rises.
Once yeast has risen (about ten minutes) stir together and knead on floured surface for about ten minutes.  Create dough into ball, return to bowl, cover with  clean dishcloth and set to rise in warm area until doubled in size.  About 20 minutes.
Once risen punch dough down, and form into loaves.  Set them to rise, again until doubled in size.  Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees until brown.  Approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and rub with butter to keep soft.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why I won't be entering The Big Give

I'd like to start by saying that this whole project is completely mindblowing. I know the women who've put The Big Give together, through their blogs and thwhatever other social networking we young folk do nowadays. They're all forward-thinking, compassionate, sweet, decent humans. So, of course, it's no big surprise that they've come up with this but... seriously, where do they find the time?! These four ladies are the reason the world is going to be okay in another fifty years: If nobody else saves us all, they will.

Anyway, I can't enter The Big Give. I'd like to, because I think it's positive and it's brilliant and, more than anything, it's needed. But here's a story about me and my life and why I can't participate...

I was a bad kid. I did a lot of terrible things. Drugs, thievery, lies... that was my modus operandi. Many of the times I lied, I was simply trying to make people think I'm interesting or "cool" or dangerous or... any number of things that i didn't think I already was. I bought a crack rock in 7th grade, just so I could tell people I tried smoking crack. No, I never tried it (gave it to a train station bum), but I told everyone I did. I made up all kinds of stories about older cousins in New York City and recording sessions with make-believe punk bands, and all of that. It's embarrassing to admit, even all these years later.

And I stole. For years. I mean, the compulsive lying was MOSTLY given up like... by age 18ish. The stealing, well I still like to shoplift sometimes, if we're being honest (Now, I only steal from big companies that make money by exploiting peoples' stupidity and obedience). But I used to REALLY steal. I did a bunch of burglaries... even into age 20. No, I'm not proud at all. One moment that has haunted my existence forever and ever was... well, I stole $400 from one of my best friends. When I was a homeless 19-year-old sociopath. Anyway, yes.

As one might guess, I'm basically a walking guilt factory nowadays. And that's why I won't sign up for The Big Give.

I will be participating, however. Silently, selfishly. I've been reading the blog every day, and I am feeling really inspired. But... I operate a little bit differently. I do my best to give now, as I've taken so much. But it's very important to me that I don't talk about it. When/If I give, it is between me and the person I'm giving to. And sometimes, whenever I can, I prefer to give without anyone knowing at all. For example, have you ever found $20 taped to the bottom of a table at your local cafe, or perhaps you woke up early to shovel your driveway but it was mysteriously done already? Yeah, that was me, maybe. I like to give, but I think talking about it is wrong for me. Because there's a very good chance I will start lying again, and I don't want to do that.

So. Day to day life for me is usually ALL about giving back, or paying dues, or repenting (no, not to Jesus, just... to the universe) for my wrongdoings. Even the no-big-deal things like holding doors open, giving up my bus seat, smiling when I talk even though I hate my teeth... I try to give of myself, the best I can. Yes, I am motivated by guilt... which makes me feel more guilty. I mean giving and giving, to avoid guilt, but then realising I should be giving and giving for no good reason at all? I don't know, I haven't got it all worked out.

But I do want to say THANK YOU to Risha and Mel and Kris and Ella. For coming up with The Big Give., I won't be entering, but if there's anything else I can do, let me know. And GOOD LUCK to all the contestants! I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. This is a beautiful thing, and I'm truly happy that it exists.

This was written by Robert Boylan. He is 28, living in America. Pretty weird, but pretty awesome. He has a blog called The Stir-Fried Dinosaur. Also pretty weird but also pretty awesome.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Three Questions with Cassie from Little House of Limes

Cassie is the talented bunny behind Aus-based stationery designer, Little House of Limes. We asked her to answer Three Questions for the TBG blog, and this is what she came up with.

You can check out more of Little House of Limes on our prize pack page.

1) What's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for you?

I'm so blessed to have such a great family and friends circle who always shower me with cute suprises or are there ready to support and believe in my dreams. whether its a bunch of lillies from mum because she knows there my favourites and ive had a hard day, or a fishing rod from dave n steve because they know that ive always wanted to take up fishing, or a trip to Melbourne with all costs paid for by dad ....

2) If you could makes someone's day, what would you do?

I would pop down to my sister in Sydney whos doing her first year at Uni and would go exploring, finding cute boutiques, old bookstores and small cafes which made quality chai soy lattes.

3) Tell us a little about your contribution to the TBG prize pack.

My small gift consists of cards, tags and writting paper, all made from recycled materials. All goodies are unique, hand designed, hand crafted and have details such as stitching, buttons and water colour brush strokes for that handmade, just for you feel. The cards are perfect for sending a smile, hug or thankyou. The writting paper is ready and waiting for you to start scribbling sweet love letters, jotting down thoughts and planning some grand adventures. The tags are a perfect, personal touch for a gift for that special someone. enjoy these little pieces of my heart x

hello my lovelies! im cassie, a 20 something chai sipping, book reading, tree lovin gal with dreams of bringing back the warm and fuzzie feelings you get when the postman rocks up at your door with a note from a loved one. snail mail makes you want to sing, dance, scribble and give... thats why im so passionate about it! I love this amazing planet called earth so thats why all my goodies are made from recycled materails, so they hug trees as well as hearts x
Check out Little House of Limes at MadeIt.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dori here! Today I get the honours of talking about a little project I started. It's called Goodfiti, and that's because it's a graffiti project that's only aimed at good & positive things. This means that there is no pointless graffiti involved.

Its main purpose is to replace all bad graffiti with good graffiti on places which get tagged very frequently. Especially at public places such a bike paths, where people walk by every day, even young children. I hate that they are being exposed to curse words and dirty images, and I want to prevent that or at least help minimize that.

The things I hope to use the most are positive words, phrases and quotes. Little things that have meaning but aren't extremely long. I make all of these words using bristol board to create stencils. This way they're neat.

Here are some photos of what I've done so far. It isn't much, but everything starts out small. I'm looking forward to doing a lot more soon, and I could use some help! If you'd like to send me some positive words, phrases, or quotes, post them on this post and I might end up using them.

Wall of 6 words


There are plenty of similar projects out there and I hope it spreads all over the world. Do you think this could make a difference? Let us know your opinion.

Thank you!


Dori is a 19-year-old girl from Canada who likes anything creative. She likes to post most of her ideas and projects on her blog, as well as her photography. She is soon going to attend college for a photography course in hopes of becoming a professional photographer. She also wants to use her art to try to make the world a better place.

Visit her blog at dorithegiant.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

one more cup of coffee 'fore I go to the valley below...

There was a universal fact that existed at the Starbucks in the Portland, Oregon airport. Soldiers never paid for their drinks.

“Hectic” doesn’t even begin to describe how busy those mornings at the airport could get. There were no less than 30 anxious travelers in line between 5 and 11 AM, and they were by and large unpleasant folks. Understandable, since we were the first stop after the demeaning and ridiculous security check, and these people hadn’t yet had their coffee. Add the stress of travelling, and you have yourself a train of grumpy, demanding customers.
But when there was a man or woman in uniform, hostilities were put aside, as proved to me by Ruth.

“I want a mocha,” she told me tersely. She was an older lady, impeccably dressed, probably on her way to Hawaii or something.

“Of course!” I chirped, in the most over-caffeinated, sugar-coated voice I could muster at 5:30 AM. “What size do you want that mocha? Do you want whip?”

This was met with an exasperated stare. “I said grande. And no.”

I sucked it up, got her name, called it out, and gave her the total. As she reached behind her to grab her purse, she saw the soldier a few paces behind in line. She stopped. When she looked back at me, she handed me the money to cover her drink. She looked back and smiled when I gave her the change.

“Thank you.” Her voice was noticeably softer. She paused before opening her wallet and pulling out a five dollar bill. “Can you make sure this goes toward his drink?”She gestured to the soldier. Hesitantly, I nodded, took the bill, and slipped it under the register.

In due course, the man in desert camo gear came up. He was tall, blue-eyed, and looked young. He was studying the menu board intently.

“Can I please get a...white mocha? In a…venti size?”

I found it hard to coat my voice with that fake sugar and extra caffeine. I looked at him and smiled. “Of course. Whip?”

“Uhh, yeah. Sure.” He reached for his wallet.

“It’s been taken care of, don’t worry about that.” I blushed as he looked up, a little confused.

“Another customer asked that this cover your drink,” I explained, waving the bill.

“Oh, no, that’s okay.” He opened his wallet. I panicked a little – I already felt moved by Ruth’s tiny, selfless little gesture, and now it was slipping away.

“Well, to be honest, I really don’t deserve a tip this big, so it might as well go toward your drink.” I completely ignored his own bill he was holding in front of me.

“What’s your name?” I asked, dropping his change into his hand.

“Josh.” He looked at me, then my nametag. “Thanks, Jami.”

“No problem.” I hesitated. “Best of luck, Josh.”

The pattern repeated all summer in that concourse. Soldiers, on their way to who knows where, always had a warm, familiar drink paid for by one of the customers ahead of them. They were always a little embarrassed (as I was, being the middleman) but they were grateful.

In the international arrivals concourse, which was never as busy, I met another soldier. Matt was tall and really handsome in his desert gear. He quickly came up and ordered a caramel macchiato. I’d never seen someone so excited to order a drink, and said as much.

He smiled, “I haven’t had good coffee in eight months.” I gave him a quizzical look as I started making his drink. “I’ve been in Afghanistan,” he explained.

No one had been there to pay for his drink. I frowned, and looked to the supervisor in the back. I asked if he wanted an extra shot (big smile and nod), and handed him a cookie before he left. He thanked me, took a drink, and then stopped.

“It’s so good to be back!” I've still never seen someone so happy to be drinking a mediocre macchiato.

I don’t support those stupid wars these men and women fight in. But I can’t stop them, so if they have to go, I’m glad I could play middleman and at least send them off or welcome them home with a warm drink.


Jami is 24, blonde, but a little on the bright side, with an infallible hope for the future marred by her relentless laziness that makes her wish that she was in Mexico about 90 percent of the time. She's currently a politico working in Olympia, Washington, which leaves her a little bored. She spends a lot of her time daydreaming and she thinks the world would be a much better place if everyone listened to The Beatles and followed their mantra, "And in the end, love you take is equal to the love you make."

Jami blogs at Jami's Trashcan.


Read. Think. Discuss. Act.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Three Questions with Stella from Ganbayo

Stella is one of the generous bunnies who has contributed to our prize pack. We asked her to answer three questions so we could get to know her a little better.


1) What's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for you?

I can't think of any specific thing, but I feel lucky enough to have people near me, who love me and care for me. What can be nicer than that?

2) If you could makes someone's day, what would you do?

the first thing that comes to my mind is taking care a homeless person. I would like to give him or her the opportunity to have a home, to eat homemade food and have a hot bath. I wish this could be true and not only for a day.

3) Tell us about the necklace you've given to the TBG prize pack.

This necklace is one of my favorites creations. I love the soft fabric, the circles and this blue color! Since I was a child I've been observing my grand mother and mother creating traditional cypriot knitwear.These women have inspired me to put my own creativity into use. My intention is to express myself through my jewellery with the hope that a part of my sunny disposition will reach the people who own them!

Ganbayo aka Stella was born in Nicosia, Cyprus. She is 24 years old and is studying agricultural biotechnology. Stella lives in a small flat in the center of Athens. She has always loved creating things, but first decided to open her own etsy shop in 2010. You can visit her store at http://www.ganbayo.etsy.com/.

Get to know her at her Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/tourloutourlou

and follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ganbayo

Now it's your turn. Comment us your own answers to our Three Questions:
1) What's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for you?
2) If you could make someone's day, what would you do?
3) In the next 24 hours, what are you going to do to make someone smile?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

TBG Coaching Session Part 5, Presentation

Welcome to part five of TBG Coaching Sessions. We're looking at the final step, and how you should bear this in mind throughout your give. Take a look at some of the points worth remembering for presentation.

There's one point left for consideration. Maybe you've initiated world peace, made your mom cry tears of happiness, and single handedly saved baby pandas from extinction. We're impressed. Or, we should be. You still have to convince us of this.

How are you going to present your Big Give for judging? You are limited, in one sense, in that it must be presented through a medium that can be sent online. But let's consider this, you want to do a skit? Film it. You have a series of interviews? Record them. Take photos of your art... There's not much that can't be captured within writing, film, and photos. Bear these points in mind.

1.) Think about presentation throughout your project. A photo journal won't do much good if you've failed to document your give in any way. Remember to keep note from the planning stages throughout the outcomes. We want to see how your give grows.

2.) Be creative and visual. Think about this, we recieve one e-mail. It says "I raised $200 through selling my cooking and donated it to charity." In the other recieve an interactive video with colour and dialouge. It introduces us to yourself, and we get to see you selling your jam at a farmer's market. We get to see your smile, and the excitement as you present $200 to your local food bank. A clear choice, I think.

Also, remember, our judges are talented bloggers. They're passionate, artistic, young, musical, and positive. They know the power of writing. I can guarantee you they will appreciate a strong imagination and a presentation that sufficiently appeals to their senses.

3.) Show us all sides of your give. Get excited and show us your passion. If your watching somebody's kids tell us about how the kids had a great time as well as the parents. Take those kids around collecting bottles, and you can tell us about how you also helped save the environment and donated the recycling money to filling a shoebox to mail off at Christmas. Whatever it is, if you're willing to get involved you clearly clear about the cause.

There you have it. We're not asking for a Tony winning documentary, or art gallary photography. We just want a clear, concise, and contageous idea of what you're about. Communicate this to our judges and your chances improve. Give like you mean it, but nothing wrong with lusting over the prize pack just a little bit.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gifts that keep on giving. With special guest blogger: Una LaMarche

An interpretive dance performance

Cost: Free, excepting your dignity and, possibly, costumes

Keeps on giving by… providing the giftee with a visual experience that will be permanently seared into his/her brain forever (perhaps a pas de deux to Purple Rain, or crumping to Justin Bieber?); raising awareness of the magical art that is dance.

Just let the emotion out.

A DVD of Pay it Forward, starring Haley Joel Osment

Cost: New, $14.98; used, from $0.25

Keeps on giving by... duh, paying it forward. Also by letting giftee finally watch their Kevin Spacey-Helen Hunt sex fantasy play out onscreen.

That kid is a total cockblock

20 virtual pints of beer on Facebook

Cost: $20 (Yes, really. Jesus, Facebook, for that kind of money I want a REAL hangover)

Keeps on giving by... giving giftee virtual alcohol poisoning, which is totally a life lesson; making all of giftee’s friends feel good about the fact that they did not just waste $20 on pretend booze.

Zero calorie beer. EAT THAT, Michelob Ultra!

A copy of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Cost: $11.55

Keeps on giving by... revealing to the giftee that The Giving Tree is actually about unhealthy dependency issues, which will then lead them to dump the boy- or girlfriend who has been taking metaphoric apples from their branches for years; introduce the giftee to phrases such as “slide down my trunk” and “sit on my stump,” which make great double entendres.

How do you like them apples, you selfish little dipshit? Don't let it hit you in the ass on your way out.

Fishing rod, reel, and line

Cost: $19.99 (cheapest model, through Amazon)

Keeps on giving by... um, feeding giftee for life (assuming they can figure out how to use it, since lessons go over the price limit, and also assuming they can catch a fish without any hook or bait)

Oh, don't worry... if he gets hungry he can go to McDonald's


Una LaMarche is a writer, editor, and karaoke enthusiast living in Brooklyn. She is the managing editor of The New York Observer and her writing has appeared in BlackBook, The Huffington Post, Strut, and LA Confidential, among other publications. When she's not trolling the internet for new Lost theories or bidding on old Sassy magazine issues on eBay, Una documents her life, pop culture obsessions, and occasional political rants on her blog, The Sassy Curmudgeon.


Una is also our blogging guru. Read more on the Prize Pack page of this blog. for the chance to win 15 minutes in IM with Una, don't forget to register for TBG. Less than a week to go until rego's close!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

TBG Coaching Sessions part 4, selling the vision.

Welcome to part four of TBG Coaching Sessions, a series designed to equip you to go above and beyond in your Big Give. Check out the previous coaching sessions here.

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

So you have the dream, you even have the beginnings of a plan, you're vision is growing at an alarming rate and you couldn't be more excited. You're buzzing with creative energy, which is great, but with your grand schemes capped by a USD20 budget, there's a good chance you're going to need some help. And getting the people you need on board can be the trickiest part.

So the question is, how?

I want to go right ahead and say the key to getting people on board is to learn how to sell your vision. It's great that you're through the ceiling excited about your project, but it's one thing to have a vision, it's another thing to be able to communicate it in a way that gets everyone else as excited about it as you are. So how do you do that? There are a lot of possible answers to that question, but a good starting point is:

Communicate clearly your vision - if you can clearly share three things you'll be well on your way to getting people sold on your vision:

1) what are you doing?

2) how are you going to do it? People like to know that there's a tangible, realistic plan in place. Basically, they want to know this is more than just a pie in the sky dream. Make it clear that you're serious about making it happen!

3) Why are you doing it? Share your heart for the subject of your Give. Let them know what this means to you, and why you've chosen the person you're giving to.

Start there and let me know how you go. xoxo

My Own Big Give: Kris, Part 1

This is the story of my own Big Give. Not smooth, flawless or selfless as you'll see. In fact I'm still in the planning stages, so let me give you a glimpse.

I had the same reaction you probably did when I first heard about TBG. It certainly is thought provoking. Creativity is not my biggest strength, but this isn't opportunity for excuses. I've written Big Give Coaching Sessions on how you can pull off an amazing give. No reason I shouldn't be able to practice what I preach.

So, my mind first jumped to bread. I am good at making bread. It's a basic staple, fairly cheap to make and labour intensive enough that I'll look good for putting in the time. See, told you I'm not selfless.

Originally I thought of people around the community I could "bless with bread." Not many people have the time or ability to have fresh homemade loaves in their kitchen (and, indeed, even I generally just grab a loaf from the grocery store). But, The Big Give has this effect where you start thinking of what could really be achieved.

So, I have another plan. I'm not too sure if I can pull it off, but it still involves bread. At the very least, I figure, I'm promoting eating local healthy food which is a concept I believe worth supporting on it's own. The budget could be a barrier, but so it's meant to be. My creativity needs the stretching, and I've remembered a bag of whole wheat Non-genetically-modified flour I already own.

I've decided on the skill, have ideas on the inspiration, and have planned out my budget. Finding time in my schedule will be the next big challenge, but one I'll overcome. Watch for my next post as I concrete my plans in place, and share some of the details.

Regardless, TBG has opened a mindset. The posts I read from others are nothing if not inspiring. I've been reminded of the little things I can do every single day to improve on someone else's. And that, my friends, is what The Big Give is all about.


Monday, June 21, 2010

What does your USD 20 mean?

What does your USD 20 mean?

USD 20. With all our talk of currencies, foreign exchange rates and ubiquitous (over) use of the word, “recession”, our ideas of what USD 20 translates to, what it means across the world has shifted. Between the impact of the global currency collapse (hi there, Euro!) and the slow trudge of economic development, what USD 20 means has dramatically altered.

Almost half the world- that is to say, three billion people- lives on less that USD 2.50 a day. USD 20 is equivalent to the daily living allowance of eight people: you could ostensibly feed and shelter for one day, eight people across the world (or one person for eight days).

Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than USD2 a day, with one in three living on less than USD1 a day. With USD 20, you could help at least five people (at USD 4/person) have access to clean water for a day.

For every USD1 in aid a developing country receives, over USD25 is spent on debt repayment. In theory, your USD 20 could repay up to 95% of a country’s debt on every dollar it receives.

Yes, everything has its price and apparently USD 20 can get you a whole lot:

In the Philippines (where I currently live), USD 20 is equivalent to PhP 915.400. The new poverty line for Asia Pacific stands at USD 1.35/day. 27 million Filipinos live below it. With PhP 915, you can buy nearly a week’s groceries or two 3D cinema tickets and popcorn or a nice date at a semi-fancy Greek restaurant or get your hair cut at the ever-so-fancy Toni & Guy, with change left over for a huge bowl of pasta. Or, help 670 Filipinos (approximately) hit the minimum poverty line for one day.

USD 20 is more than just a bunch of green bills, it means more than that. What does USD 20 mean in your world? What do you do with USD 20? What kind of things do you buy? Would you miss USD 20 in your daily life?

Read, Think, Discuss and Act!

Source: Global Issues- Poverty Facts and Stats;

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Encounters on a London Bus.

Let me take you back to a rainy April evening. London is shivering in the drizzle that characterises late spring, early summer, and the rest, and my bus home is finally approaching the bus stop. An orderly queue forms and a long line of sodden commuters boards. Just as the doors close and the bus is about to leave, a man runs alongside, shouting to be let on. He's a man I recognise - not because I know him but because he gets this bus at the same time every day (oh, how sad my routine has become!). He's around forty, I would say, and he has a mental disability. Although he manages to get on, he spills some tea as he pays for his ticket. The driver tells him that the bus isn’t going anywhere until he finishes, or gets rid of, the drink - “in the interest of health and safety“. The man has just bought the drink and doesn‘t want to throw it away, so stands by the driver‘s seat downing the boiling hot tea as fast as he can. A surreal situation to witness; in fact, not just surreal, but really, really awkward.

So, the man finishes his tea. A sarcastic old coot pretends to cheer. I find this unnecessary and shoot her an evil look. However, ashamed as I am to admit it, as the man walks up the aisle towards me, I’m really hoping he won’t talk to me.
[I promise you, I am intensely ashamed of myself, and beg you not to think too harshly of me. I'm actually tempted to start this post again and paint myself in glorious, saintly light - but I've started, so I'll finish.]

He stops in front of me, wedging himself into the only bit of standing room left. And he does talk to me. My first thought is that I have my earphones on and so could quite easily pretend I can't hear a word he’s saying but, although my cunning earphone plan has worked in the past, something stops me from ignoring him this time. .

What‘s stopping me? Common decency, perhaps? A flicker of life in my heart of stone?

Finally, I decide not to be a complete . I take off my earphones and engage in conversation.

"Anything for a quiet life," he says, and rolls his eyes. I laugh. Minutes later we’re chatting about football, about where he used to live and the time he saw David Beckham. In all honesty, I can't hear a lot of what he’s saying - I think it’s the damage to my ears caused by the near constant wearing of earphones - but he chats away and I can just about cling to the gist of the story if I try.

A few minutes later, I reach my stop. I tell him I'm getting off and he tells me to have a nice evening. And I did have a nice evening - mostly due to having cast aside my miserable outlook on life and engaged in conversation with someone who I would normally, in ignorance, have avoided. I suppose that what this post is actually about is what he gave me, rather than what I gave him. Yes, I spoke to him and nobody else did, but I’m not arrogant enough to assume that this made his day. He did make mine though, by reminding me that I don’t have to be another stern face among a million commuters - another grey suit on another grey day. Since then, inspired by this one flash of colour in an otherwise monotone month, I’ve tried even harder to bury the city cynic I’ve become, throwing myself whole-heartedly into being a friendlier, more helpful and less selfish man about town. So thanks for your help, Mr Bus Man.


Tom started a blog on his 25th birthday so that he could record the weird and sometimes wonderful things he thinks about but never articulates in real life. He loves London, where he lives and works, as well as reading, procrastination and the feeling he gets when somebody out there understands the drivel he plucks from his brain. Tom blogs at TBR Tangential.

Read. Think. Discuss. Act.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

TBG Coaching Sessions Part 3, How Far Can You Make $20 Stretch?

So you've read parts one and two.  You know how to choose your inspiration and you know how to work with your abilities.  Now there's that little issue of the budget.  In part three I'll help you out with that.

What can you buy with twenty dollars?  You could take someone out for dinner, maybe.  At least if they're interested in McDonalds.  Not something we recommend to up your global-awareness cred.  Here's how to think above and beyond in three simple steps.

1.)  Fundraising.  This is an option we don't want you to overlook.  It could be as simple as buying bulk candy and reselling it in the staff room.  But think a bit farther.  What about hand making some of your famous cookies and offering them for sale?  Here you're investing your skills in exchange for saving some of your budget and still expanding it.  You could see that twenty dollars double, triple, or beyond.  Just remember, for the challenge, to fund raise with ethics.  Find a way to take people's cold hard cash from them without making them bitter about it.  In short, offer them something in exchange.

2.)  Be sure to use what you have.  Yes, I mean your mad skills.  However, I'm also all about utilizing your physical resources.  Maybe you want to advertise those staff room cookies in a catchy way.  You could, of course, spend five bucks on glossy construction paper, glitter and rhinestones.  Or you could dig into the depths of your art supplies and find some excellent and useful leftover from your third grade art project.  Feel free to use what you have around the house.  Reduce Reuse and Recycle.  

3.)  Use that imagination.  Even if you don't grow your twenty dollars there are lots of ways you can focus it in your give.  Watch your neighbor's kids.  Take your little brother and his friends hiking.  Then turn that bigger.  Give the parents a movie night, or the mothers afternoon tea.  Both of these are tiny cheap little ideas with big payoffs I guarantee our judges will love.

So, maybe twenty dollars won't buy a lot.  But it can create a great deal.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's the little things that make a big impact.

Something really simple can really make a persons day.

Is there a small act of kindness you can pay someone in your life that would make them a happier little bunny, if even just for a few moments? Do you have a house mate stuck in their room trying to finish their thesis or so busy with work that they don't have time to do simple things like make a nice proper home cooked meal? Do you live at home with your mom or dad? Is there something you can do for them like run them a bath and take your little brother or sister off their hands for half an hour so then can soak and relax? Do you have a friend who has stuff going on and needs to be distracted for an hour or two just to unwind, couldn't you just take them to the cinema, or to the beach, or for a coffee or a walk or a drive or something?

To me, that's what TBG is about, just as much as the stuff that you can do to help an entire community or area, you can really really make someones day by doing something really simple and just help them relax and unwind for a few minutes.

We all go through times in our lives where stuff is just piling up on us and we don't have time to think let alone do something nice for ourselves and lets be honest, if someone did something as simple as bring us a cup of tea and a sandwich during these times, we'd be extremely grateful. So put yourself in your parents, your friends, your sister or brother or even your neighbours position and try to think “if that was me, what would make me smile?”.
Hell, if it's a hot day, just buy them an ice cream, I swear, they will love it.
The little things in life really do make it worth living.

Be a giver, make someones day, it will make you feel good too.


Seán is a pretty normal 25 year old guy.He lives in Galway in the west of Ireland and likes listens to a lot of Hiphop. His blog doesn't have a theme and he just writes about whatever is happening in his life at the time.From misadventures of the heart to surgery, the flutter you get in the lead up to first date and going cliff jumping in a quarry with friends, it's all in there. Check out his blog "Three Rounds and a Sound..." at http://seaninho.wordpress.com/ and if you like it, leave him a comment, he'd appreciate the feed back.


Read. Think. Discuss. Act.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


It started out as a rant about her obsession love for Twilight and all things Twilight. Krysten, a fellow blogger, talked about how, since losing her job, she and her husband are getting by but there is no money to spend on ‘fun’ stuff! Every girl can relate to wanting to buy ‘fun’ stuff even if it’s just a new color nail polish or a latte, so I suggested she start a PayPal account to take donations towards her obsession and that I’d gladly throw a few bucks her way. Shortly after, there were several bloggers suggesting the same, not to mention many bloggers offering to buy her the books, DVD’s and movie tickets that she was missing. A little while later she had a “Donate” button up on her blog! I followed through with my promise and donated $5.00 towards her obsession. Thinking that was the end of it, I went about my day.

A few days later she posted suggesting that she was not going to be using the donations towards Twilight stuff, but something more…

Another few days later Krysten posted about turning the “Donate” button into a monthly charity feature; on the first of every month she would post about the ‘featured charity’, tell us a little bit about it and for the entire month all money donated would be given to said charity. Her dream is to be able to match donations once she is out of financial hardship. That’s amazing!

It’s amazing to me the community that goes into blogging… and I love that even though Krysten wasn’t asking for anything, she was offered more than she expected; true kindness. My donation was meant to help-a-sista-out and now is being turned into something above and beyond my own dreams! Even if Krysten can’t match every donation, I’m inspired to now make a monthly donation as often as I can, knowing that each month a different charity will benefit from it!

Ang is an amateur blogger and dreams of a life as a professional photographer. From Minneapolis, MN she loves her Minnesota sports teams, her friends and her life! Exploring life as someone in her late 20’s, she’s pretty confident in the person she’s become! She’s very excited to see how far The Big Give can go!


You can learn more about Krysten's "Charity of the Month" project, and donate at her blog, After "I Do".
Read. Think. Discuss. Act.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TBG Coaching Sessions, part 2: Use What You've Got

Here it is. Part deux of the coaching series written especially for those who are planning on competing in TBG. You can check out part one of the series over here.

And if you haven't already, don't forget to register for TBG. We all love to do nice things for the people in our lives, but how often do we get the chance to win prizes for it?

You've chosen the recipient of your Give and now it's time to start planning. You have big dreams of going all out to make your Givee's day, but there's one thing standing in your way...

The budget.

When planning your Give, remember that although your starting budget is US$20, we never said the value of your Give needed to be limited to that. With just US$20 to work with, it's time to start thinking outside the square. And remember, resourcefulness and creativity will both be considered in your entry.

With this in mind, it might help to ask yourself three questions when planning your Give:

1. What do you have? Look around you. What do you already have at hand which could be used? Remember, every dollar you don't spend is a dollar you have to spend on something else. Er... yeah.. you know what I mean.

2. What can you do? That philanthropic knitting-spree you've been dreaming up is sure to melt some hearts in theory, but the fact that you've never picked up a set of knitting needles in your life may be a problem.

Make the most of your skills and talents, whether you feel most at home in the kitchen, on the sporting field or under the hood of a car, there's bound to be a million ways you can use your passion to make someone's day.

3. Who do you know? Making the most of what you have is one thing, but if you can get the right people on board, you could potentially have a whole world of resources and talents open up to you. Think about the people in your life. Is there anyone who might feel as appreciative of your givee as you are? Perhaps the best use of your $20 could be taking someone out for coffee and sharing your vision with them.

Happy Giving!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stepping out of comfort zones.

This story of a random act of kindness is actually about my mother.

She came home from Hawaii the other day and upon asking her how her trip was she turned to me and said, “well, I just have to tell you that you inspired me to do something…”

Immediately I was like oh no, what did I do…

She told me that on her last day in Hawaii, she was lying on the beach and saw a man a few towels over struggling to pack up his stuff. He was an elderly Hawaiian man who clearly had back problems, among other issues which made it nearly impossible for him to bend over and pick anything up. She said it was painful to watch this poor frail man, but at first that’s all she did, in thinking that obviously someone else, much closer to him, would surely help. But no one did.

She waited another few minutes, still thinking that any second one of the people who were already close enough that they literally just needed to lean over a few inches to help him would jump up, because how could they not?But no one did.

Now to fill you in, my mom is very self conscious of her body on a good day, so take that put her in a bathing suit and she basically just wants to hide under a rock. Despite this, she got up (draped in a towel) and walked right in front of all the people on the beach over to the man, forcing herself every step of the way. She got to the man and worked up the nerve to ask him if he needed any help. He looked up timidly and in a heavy accent, said no, no! I'm okay! And shewed her away.

My mom immediately turned around panicked, and basically ran back to her towel, feeling horrible but still proud that she had at least asked (or at least trying to convince herself of this)

Finally, on his own, the man finally managed to pack up his things and take off.

Awhile later my mom was ready to leave, so she too packed up and left the beach. On walking back, she saw the man standing in the parking lot with a huge basket. He walked over to my mom and gave her this package full of homemade goodies fresh from his farm. He explained that he so greatly appreciated her offer to help, and could not believe that she had been so kind. He had gone home and packed up a whole basket full of fresh baked food and Hawaiian treats , each wrapped up beautifully.

My mom was somewhat embarrassed at the time but it obviously meant a lot to her (in her telling me the story, she had a huge grin on her face). It proved that even pushing yourself a tiny bit to do something kind for someone else can have more of an impact than you would ever imagine. And on top of making someone else feel good, you get that warm fuzzy feeling in your heart too. And who knows, you might just get some delicious treats out of it!


Brandi is a blogger from Vancouver, British Columbia who writes about her adventures, or rather misadventures, in love, school, cupcakes and her delightful obsession with rollerskating. Outside of blogging she is a full time nursing student and part time collector of bows and other things properly doll-like. In trying to balance her real life with the time she spends in her head, she tells some fun stories and adds some randomness to the idea of random acts of kindness.
PLEASE NOTE: TBG is not a spectator sport. This post is intended to spark something bigger.

Read. Think. Discuss. Act.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Small things

This post is an ode to small things and the power of a thoughtful gesture to turn someone's day around. I'd love to read and share your stories. If you've been surprised by a simple gesture, or if you've been inspired by TBG to make someone's day, let me know. Email goaheadmaketheirday@gmail.com.


My friends have impeccable timing. They seem to know exactly what it will take to make me smile, and they always seem to nail it right when I'm in need of some serious TLC.

Jealous? You should be. I am one very lucky girl. Case in point...

I was having a not so great week, when I got to work one morning and found Kurt from Glee waiting in my office.

For those who are planning their own Big Gives, the best place to start your scheming is with a solid knowledge of your givee. My Kurt standee was from Friday's contributor to the TBG blog, the luminous Cat, who knew that nothing would make this Gleeks day like a cardboard cutout of Kurt Hummel in his Single Ladies outfit to keep her company.

PLEASE NOTE: TBG is not a spectator sport. This post is intended to spark something bigger.
Read. Think. Discuss. Act.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

TBG Coaching Sessions, part 1: Find Your Inspiration

We thought it would be a great idea to give you an advantage some inspiring examples. Watch this blog over the next couple weeks for a five post series touching on all the different topics related to your Big Give. Today...

Who Inspires You?

When you first thought of giving, who popped into your mind? We tell you to "choose someone who you appreciate." Hard to narrow it down, isn't it? Let me give you some examples.

Think about the people in your personal life. It might be someone obvious who may have given so much to you. Your Mom, say. Or maybe it's the quiet co-worker who probably thinks that no-one notices that she always has the coffee going in the morning. What about someone you haven't connected with in too long? How about looking up your high school sidekick on Facebook and finally finding a way to thank her for the times she stood up for you?

Another option is the aspiring folks in your community. There are total strangers who probably have a deep impact on your life, or the lives of others. By this I mean volunteers and public service employees. Maybe your Grandma is in a nursing home, and the staff there do an amazing job of keeping her comfortable, and going out of their way to do their job. Think outside the box. Did you have a high school teacher who taught you to love her subject? What about fire fighters, soup kitchen staff, ect?

My final example isn't quite so personal, but maybe it's something that's close to your heart. We're going to look a little bigger here. What about an organization that means a lot to you? Possibly you want to focus your efforts into a cause you really believe in. This means throwing your give at an issue that inspires you. Ending world hunger through sending a food package to a charity you care about. Or raising awareness for the aids epidemic in Africa. And, you know what, maybe it can be personal too. Let's say you have a friend struggling with cancer, and you want to raise funds to help obliterate the disease all together.

Everything you do counts. This is your chance to ask who really calls your attention, and give it your all. Mostly I just want you to take a minute to ask yourself, "Who do I really want to give to?" Begin by answering that question and I can guarentee your give give will be a benefit, not only to them, but to you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Say something... and make it good.

Just in case no one has said anything nice to you today...

“Promise me you'll always remember:
You're braver than you believe,
And stronger than you seem,
And smarter than you think."
- AA Milne

Your turn. Go say something nice to someone.

Mucho Amore



Todays contributor is Cat. Cat resides in beautiful Sydney. You can read her delightful and profoundly frivolous ramblings at Oh, The Places You Will Go.

If you're interested in contributing to the TBG blog or being a part of the Youtube Channel (coming soon), make our day and email goaheadmaketheirday@gmail.com.


PLEASE NOTE: TBG is not a spectator sport. This post is intended to spark something.

Read. Think. Discuss. Act.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Welcome to The Big Give

In the spirit of “just because”. For the sake of generosity. In the name of random acts of kindness. Because we are lucky enough to live in a world where a lot of rad people do a lot of good things regardless of the fact that they are rarely thanked for their efforts. And because sometimes it’s just nice to make people smile. For all these reasons, we have created The Big Give.

TBG: The Internets First Ever Random Acts of kindness contest
The challenge: lavish the most extravagant, over the top act of kindness that you can on someone or a group of people who you think deserve to be spoiled.

The twist: you have just US$20 start up capital to play with.
Think you have what it takes to be the biggest giver? Go here to register for the contest.

You are here - TBG Blog
So you know about the contest, but what about the blog? This, where you are right now, is the space to go for all things TBG related. Home not just of the contest, but of the heart of TBG, every time you visit this blog, you can expect to be challenged and inspired to go out and find ways to make someone in your life smile. We have a stellar lineup of guest bloggers planned for TBG over the next seven weeks, so watch this space.
Play your part
TBG is NOT a spectator sport. The contest may not be for everyone, but the spirit of TBG is.
We want to know how you've been inspired by The Big Give. Send stories of little ways you've made someones day to GoAheadMakeTheirDay@gmail.com.
We're so excited to have you here, at this the first TBG. Look around, follow, register, or don't, but be sure to join in the conversation. We hope you enjoy the ride!