a retrospect: top + favorite posts from my blog

It’s interesting for me to look at which blog posts of mine get the most traffic vs which ones are my favorite. There is some overlap between the two. ¬†Part of my mission with this post is to bring to light some of my poor neglected posts that I think deserve a spotlight! I put my favorites in bold and added a few others below.

Some of my top posts (in order):

Some of my other favorite posts:

Dear Starbucks…

I have to write a blog post about this because my sister is sick of hearing me talk about it (seriously, just ask her).

Dear Starbucks Corporate (Panera Corporate- please take note):

I love you. You know I do. But I have to bring this up because it’s really bothering me.

I co-own a business. It is legally set up as an LLC but I wholeheartedly believe that it contributes social value to the Raleigh community. There is no doubt it that provides economic value as well: through taxes, as well as the fact that it provides a place for small business owners to grow their businesses so that they, in turn, can provide value to the community.

You may wonder where I’m going with this seemingly obvious clarification.

Could we have been set up as a 501c3? Absolutely. Some coworking spaces are. We chose not to be. Not because we are profit-mongering bloodsuckers, but because it was the right decision for us. If we were a non-profit, would we have been paid a salary? Yes. Would our fundamental model have changed? Almost certainly not. We would still have charged the exact same fees-for-service in order to pay said salary in order to continue building our coworking space in order to continue adding social value to the community. 501c3 or not, they would have been the same fees because our expenses are the same.

So why can’t I hang a flyer on your community board?

If you stand by your decision to only support non-profits, help me clarify another issue I have. Upon seeking clarification of your flyer-hanging policy, I was told by one of your employees that I could only hang a flyer for something where there was no charge.

Wait a minute. Do I have to be a non-profit or do I have to be offering free products and services? These are not the same.

Yes, non-profits often offer things for free. But non-profits also often charge for their products and services. They have earned income streams. They charge fees-for-services. They sell tickets to galas, block parties, and fashion shows. VisionSpring sells eyeglasses. The SPCA sells items emblazoned with the SPCA logo.

And yes, businesses generally charge for things. But they also often offer free things. They offer happy hours, seminars, and workshops. The Raleigh Forum occasionally hosts free events, like our upcoming Design Mixer with AIGA.

I appreciate your willingness to support social causes (no sarcasm there). I really do. But as the lines between business and non-profit blur, I urge you to reconsider your policy. But most of all, I urge you to encourage your employees to understand the intricacies of tax designations before making flawed arguments.

Sincerely,

Cristina (The Girl Who Single-Handledly Keeps You In Business By Buying Soy Mistos)

</soapbox>

Do you have a different opinion or think MY argument is flawed? Let me know! I’m interested in other people’s thoughts on this issue (I’m looking at you, Matt, Sarah, Peter, and Elizabeth!).

Edited: my friend sent me this article, which details Starbucks’ commitment provide loans to small business owners. I thought it was very relevant to the discussion!

Edited: I submitted an edited version of this letter on the Starbucks website and got what may or may not be a form email promising to pass it on to corporate. I then posted it on My Starbucks Idea, which seems to be a pretty democratic way of suggesting changes to Starbucks. Feel free to thumbs up my post ūüôā

Clearly I feel very inflamed about this issue, mostly because I see it as symbolic of the continuous divide between business and non-profit.

fall festivities

After a splendid last week and a marvelous weekend, I’m ready to take on Monday!

  • Lunch with two girls from Compass Partners. It was really interesting to be sitting in a snazzy conference room with two other girls my age discussing collaboration for our businesses and organizations. I love seeing other young individuals so involved!
  • Several meetings with individuals reserving The Raleigh Forum for events (including one woman who saw our flyer, walked over, and signed a contract!)
  • The Mayoral forum, where I gained a better sense of each candidate’s platform. We also met them in person after the event, which solidified my opinions
  • Welcoming new members to The Raleigh Forum
  • A hectic and awesome Friday- the kind where you almost wish it wasn’t the weekend because you have so much to do!
  • Friday@5 happy hour at Flying Saucer
  • A fashion show at Spy Raleigh
  • Volunteering at the Autism Society of NC’s annual walk/run, followed by bagels and mimosas at The Raleigh Forum. I met a lot of cool people!
  • Mid-day napping!
  • A random Saturday with a friend, which included going to the park with the dogs to watch a volleyball tournament (may or may not have packed a few beers), Chinese food, and lots of time outside
  • My first time at Mirage (can’t wait to go back and use my LivingSocial deal!)
  • SPCA event at Seaboard Station- dogs everywhere!
  • Draft house for dinner and drinks
  • A long phone call with one of my best friends
  • Butternut squash chili, gluten-free pumpkin pancakes, and several varieties of homemade gluten-free granola bars
My week was intense, which I find much more enthralling then a slow, monotonous week. And the weekend was a perfect balance of activity and relaxation- the kind where you feel chill but not guilty for being lazy.
The week to come:
  • Tennis with a new partner
  • Hopefully tennis with my usual partner- are you reading this, Harry?
  • Shabbat dinner at my place
  • Visit from an out-of-town friend, which will include a football game, a trip to the state fair, and LOTS of Taboo!
  • Lunch at Manta, the new downtown Indian restaurant
  • Welcoming visitors to The Raleigh Forum!
  • Signing those Raleigh Forum contracts ūüôā

another gluten-free week

This week was a delectable assortment of gluten-free meals. Yet another week of taking a proactive approach to my health!

Proving that gluten-free eating can be full of flavor ūüôā

I think one of my biggest challenges eating limited gluten will be modifying ethnic foods, because gluten is often such an¬†intrinsic¬†part of the recipes. For example, we are taking a coworking field trip to Mantra, Raleigh’s new Indian restaurant, on Tuesday. How am I supposed to have Indian food without naan?! Something to ponder…

does this mean i can call myself an entrepreneur?

 Kirk: Are you kidding me, Marnie? That guy?!
    Marnie: That guy is an en-tre-pre-neur.
    Kirk: Well, Ron owns a Pizza Hut.
    Marnie: That’s a business.
    Kirk: It’s not even a real Pizza Hut! It’s a Pizza Hut Express!

-She’s Out of My League

In some segments of society, the term “entrepreneur” is a not-so-discreet code for drug-dealer or, apparently, a Pizza Hut Express owner. Despite this, it seems that everyone wants to call themselves an entrepreneur- or better yet, a social entrepreneur.

In my opinion (and Mr. Webster’s), you can’t call yourself an entrepreneur unless you actually own and operate a business (whether it’s legal or not is a different question!). Having a great idea does not make you an entrepreneur. Supporting other entrepreneurs (well a very good thing to do) does not make you an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial, perhaps.

But now that I do co-own and co-operate a business, can I call myself one?!