Friday, February 21, 2014

Ballet Fundraising Powers Activate

In today's American society, there seems to be this exaggerated expectation that children should be involved in at least one extracurricular activity. Billy must be enrolled in youth football as soon as he's old enough, so that he gets all the experience that he possibly can, so that he can earn a scholarship, otherwise he's never going to get into college. At least, that's the impression I get. For boys it's football. For girls it's cheerleading. That's always bothered me.

If my daughters want to be cheerleaders, that's a different story. But I don't want society pushing onto them this idea that the only way they'll ever get into college and be worth anything is if they are popular and captain of the cheerleading team. I'd rather them dance to the beat of their own drum and be girly on their own terms. That's why Your Future Overlord is enrolled in ballet class.

September 25, 2013 - she's the only one without a tutu.

I don't even remember where it came from. I think maybe there was an episode of Sesame Street she watched once that featured ballet. One of the Muppet characters takes ballet classes and is always wearing a tutu, twirling around the neighborhood. I think I vaguely recall her twirling around the living room mimicking the people on the TV. I tilted my head, watching her and all the joy she was expressing in the process, and asking, "Would you like to do that, honey? Do you think maybe you'd like to do ballet?" Of course she said yes. I'm not sure she fully understood my meaning, but that paved the way to where she is now.

Shortly after moving into our house and getting to know our neighbors, I learned that the girl next door is in ballet. I asked her mom which studio she goes to and got some information. Next thing I know I'm signing my eldest up for a summer class so she can test it out to see if she even likes it. She didn't like it. She loved it! So we signed her up for the youngest class for 2-3 year olds and have been going back every week since. Her first recital is in June. I am SO stupidly and girlishly excited, which is completely abnormal for me.

October 30, 2013 - Halloween Week. Pictured with class helper Miss Rachael.
I love this studio so much. Her instructor, Miss Elizabeth, is the sweetest, most tolerant woman in the entire universe. It takes a special kind of somebody to be able to direct the attentions of five rambunctious little girls and teach them the basics of ballet every single week. And I know mine is the most challenging and energetic of the entire bunch.

Lilah gets so excited every time we go to the studio. She runs down the hall to put down her bag, tear off her outerwear and shoes and put on her ballet slippers. She loves all of her "friends" who are in her class with her. She gives them hugs and squeals in delight when she sees them. I don't know if it's because we don't go out much during the winter, and don't socialize a whole lot with the outside world, or if she really does just genuinely love ballet class. I'm glad she still likes it, though. I'm glad she's sticking with it. I'm not so sure how I'm going to feel about it if she sticks with it for the next ten to twenty years, though. Haha! I've watched dozens of documentaries on the matter of ballet and learned that it's an expensive industry!

Which is a wonderful segue into my original purpose for this particular post. My daughter's dance studio is hosting a fundraiser.

This year the studio is working with a locally founded popcorn company that sells over 65 delicious and original flavors of gourmet popcorn. The name of the company is Nom Nom Popcorn. Come on. How can you not want to buy popcorn from a place geeky enough to call themselves NOM NOM? In addition to helping cover recital expenses, though, the top sellers can win some wonderful prizes, of which I have my sights set on being #1.

That's right. The number one grand prize for the number one top seller is a $150 tuition voucher for Tiny Tutus II, the next stage evolution of Your Future Overlord's beginning ballet career. I don't know if she's going to stick with it, but it would be wonderful to not have to pay a large chunk of her future tuition. Though I'd be perfectly satisfied with 3rd place, too, because that's $25 I won't have to spend on a recital DVD which I absolutely must have.

So this fundraiser takes place 100% online. There's no door-to-door sales. I don't get order forms. They did give me a stack of fliers to hand out to people, however, with the website printed on them and a step-by-step guide on the back that doesn't even really tell you how to do it. Turns out to be a little more complicated than it seems. I had to have my husband walk me through the process, and have since had someone else tell me they couldn't figure it out, so I am here to provide you with a handy walkthrough!

STEP 1:  Go to Look at all the delicious flavors and varieties of Nom Nom-alicious Popcorn. There is a large selection to browse through that is separated into categories. I suggest clicking the "Show All Products" option at the top of the page.

STEP 2:  Place an order. To do this you have to register an account, just as you would if you were signing up on any other website forum or email service or whatever. I know. It's weird. It's extra complicated. I have no idea why they set it up this way, but they did. To register, there is a link in the upper right hand corner of the page under the time limit ticker labeled "My Account." 

I have circled the link in the image above in red, drawn an arrow to it, and indicated that you should click it, as you can plainly see. Clicking on that link will bring you to a second page that looks like this:

You are a New Customer, unless you've actually bought product from the Nom Nom Popcorn company, which I doubt. For the purposes of this exercise, you are new and should fill in the form on the right accordingly. All the fields with a red asterisk beside them are required. You must input something there. I recommend you input your real name if you're going to have me deliver it to you personally. Otherwise feel free to have fun with the postal service. Or unless it's a nickname or inside joke I might possibly know. After you have filled in all the required fields, click the "Create Account" button. The screen will then change slightly to look like this:

I'm seriously going to find the person who created this website and slap them. I mean, really? In any case you will now be using the left hand forum. Type in your email address and the password you made up and click "Login." On the next screen you will see something like this:

STEP 3:  Go Shopping! You want to click that link to take you back to the page where all the delicious choices are. The rest sorts itself out. You click on something. You drool over its tasty image. You decide if you really want to spend $10 on a measly 6 cups worth of Cookies & Cream, aka: "Slam Dunk," gourmet popcorn, or if you want go calorie crazy on the $60 worth of 40 party favor bags! You may also decide you want more than one type of popcorn. Believe me. I know. There are so many tasty options, I want to eat them all. I'm sure you and your pocketbook will have to have a long talk, though. 

So you browse. You choose. You select your size. You select your quantity. You click "Add to Cart" if that's your final decision. And then you can either "Continue Shopping" or "Proceed to Checkout" like just about any other online store in existence. This is where it gets more complicated than it really needs to be. Your checkout screen will look something like this:

I've highlighted some key selection areas in red for you. As I said, there are two ways in which you can get your order. The default setting is to have your order "Ship to Group." This means it will be sent to the studio where I will have to pick it up and then personally deliver to you. If you are ordering from out of state, clearly this is not an ideal selection for you. If you select "Ship Directly to Me," the screen will change a little, deleting that block of text I have highlighted and replacing it with a new form to fill out for your shipping information. You'll also notice the receipt changing to include a shipping cost. For the purposes of this walkthrough, I selected a $10 item only. The shipping fee set itself to $7.95. I would assume that if you order larger quantities of delicious popcorn that the shipping fee will still only be $7.95. So if you, my out of state friends and family, really, really want to help out Your Future Overlord's dance studio and gorge on popcorn, go for it. I'll love you forever. Wait. I already do. Tell you what. As an added bonus, I'll make her draw you a thank you scribble. Of course, you'll have to tell me you ordered. Up to you!

Second Very Important Thing. You'll see where I also highlighted "Choose a person to receive credit for this sale:" in the picture above. After you fill out your name, address, credit card information, all that... make sure that you select a name from that list. Likely you're doing this for me, but if someone else you know directed you to my walkthrough here then by all means use them! If me, however, select "Miner 1" from that drop down menu so that I can get credit for the sale and hopefully win Lilah's next year tuition!

Once you've done all of that, click "Submit Order," and voila! You're done. The campaign ends in 17 days. If you're having your order shipped directly to you, it should arrive sometime during the week of the 10th of March. My experimental order form says 2-4 days after the end of the campaign, which is the 10th. I'm not sure if they got that calculated right, though, because if you selected ship to group it tells me I'll be getting my stuff to pick up on the 19th. So I'll just say you'll probably definitely be getting your popcorn by Spring, and that should cover it nicely.

Seriously, though. Don't do it for me. Do it for Your Future Overlord's love of dance.

January 29, 2014 - Your Future Prima Ballerina

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