Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My trip to Akron & The LeBron James Family Foundation

This past weekend, I made my annual August trip to Akron, Ohio - the quaint little town put on the map quite literally by its most famous native, LeBron James. I always love working with the LeBron James Family Foundation because there are some truly amazing people there that are really making a difference for kids and families across Akron. My role on the LJFF team is to oversee all media relations for the Foundation, and at their popular annual summer event, this is no small task! I managed crews from Good Morning America, ESPN SportsCenter, the soon-to-launch Fox Sports 1 and every single local Cleveland outlet. I'm still gathering all the stories that ran 4 days later!
This year, The Foundation was feeling quite ambitious and planned two events in one day. The first was the I Promise Family Reunion BBQ, celebrating the start of the new school year with the program's Wheels for Education students and their families. You may or may not have noticed the black "I PROMISE" band that LeBron wears every single day, but that promise he made is to these kids in Akron, who in return, promise to go to school, be good sons and daughters, and to live active, healthy lifestyles. During this event, the kids got their school uniforms, bikes, and Samsung tablets for the school year. We spent several hours the night before setting these babies up!!
Following the morning event, we transformed the football stadium into a fashion show for the St. Vincent-St. Mary fall sports team uniform unveiling. LeBron has designed and donated brand new Nike uniforms for all of his alma mater's student athletes. They knew they were getting their new, amazing uniforms, but they had no clue the surprise that was waiting for them behind the black curtain...
Once the final student athlete had made her way down the runway, the music faded out and the event MC's began to thank everyone for coming, and you could almost feel the disappointment that LeBron did not show up lingering in the air. Just as people started to pack up their stuff and head for the exits, Eminem's "Lose Yourself" started playing over the stadium's sound system. The music gradually built up until it was blasting and before the crowd knew it, LeBron emerged from a cloud of smoke on the stage wearing the football team's brand new all black uniform. The crowd immediately erupted with cheers and the football team literally rushed the stage. It was a pretty awesome moment that these kids will never forget... and neither will I!
It was a busy couple of days, but I'm just thankful that my job has taken me to places across the country, and allowed me to be a part of really helping these kids chase their dreams. My friends at the LeBron James Family Foundation are truly changing the world one student at a time!

 All photos are courtesy of my good friend Erika at the LeBron James Family Foundation.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z Concert

I'll start by admitting I really wanted to label this post with a fun, clever, attention-grabbing headline that I knew existed, but as I fumbled with awkward "Mr. JT and Mr. Jay-Z" references, I could feel the coolness being ripped from the post even before it began. But I digress. This past Friday night Corey and I made the quick drive to San Francisco to see Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z perform at Candlestick Park. I had never been to a stadium concert before, so I was blown away by the amount of people packed into one venue to see these guys. And they did not disappoint.
I'm not a huge rap fan, but Jay-Z played all of his good ones. One week later, I can still feel the base booming in my heart from "99 Problems" and I really loved the live version of "Empire State of Mind." I'm still walking around responding to every question I'm asked with a deep, Jay-Z-inspired "YUP." May not be my genre, but the man is good at what he does!
Oh Justin. I've always loved me some JT, but I managed to marry a man that may love him even more than I do! It's quite enjoyable to be able to blast Justin and old school N*SYNC in the car without my husband telling me to turn it off. Better yet, he is more likely to turn it up even more! So it's always fun to see Justin live with him. Corey had the biggest smile on his face the whole time during "Mirrors," which is Corey's new favorite. And no matter how many times we see him live, it never gets old. He has so many good songs, and he played almost every one of my favorites this time around.
Nick, Kari, Corey and I may not have had the best seats in the house, but it was still a darn good show!
I'll be rotating all three JT CD's in my car for the next month or so!
Hope everyone has a great weekend!