Tag Archives: Austin

TEDxAustin 2013: A LOVE Letter

The event is tomorrow, and I cannot be more excited to connect, re-connect, and jump in headfirst into one of the most intense and immersive experiences.  It isn’t a secret that I’ve been a huge TED fan for years, but this year, this post isn’t going to be about the actual event.  It will be a LOVE letter.  A LOVE letter to all those who taught me so much during my tenure on the TEDxAustin production team.

Being on the TEDxAustin production team is no easy feat.  We are challenged regularly.  We’ve gotten so good at creating experiences, spaces, and connections, that many on the team should probably add miracle worker to their list of occupations.  Thank you to everyone on the team who contributes their time, energy, ideas, and hearts to this huge endeavor.  Photos by OutboxMail.

I’m quite proud of my TEDxAustin 2013 project.  Shawna Butler called with a question: how can we share the love?  One of the things that Shawna and I talk about frequently are LOVE letters.  When she says, “Write a LOVE letter,” I know the purpose is to connect, give thanks, and to show our appreciation to our partners.



I must give thanks, as well, to Shawna for teaching me about the art of writing LOVE letters.  She tells me often that I’m pretty good at it, but my unspoken response is that I learn from the best.  Thanks, Shawna.  Thanks for being the glue that keeps our TEDxAustin family together.

This project never had an official name.  I always just referred to it as the LOVE letters, and it came to me as I was driving to work, ruminating about our wonky phone systems at work.  I was to call Evan at Outbox to discuss an interactive way to integrate their products into our experience.  Somehow, the idea of mail, phones, and missing connections turned into this idea.  

My idea was to send LOVE letters to our sponsors.  I genuinely do love our sponsors – I’m pretty huggy around them.  The plan was to have our attendees write LOVE letters to them at our pre-event, the Tuesday prior to TEDxAustin.  I spearheaded the pre-event, so that was pretty easy. I invited a dear friend of mine, Lydia Fiedler, and amazing stamping queen to provide our materials.  And I had Outbox provide a “mailbox.”



After the event, Outbox created a video of these LOVE letters to be shared with the world.  We’re not particularly shy about our love and gratitude.  At the event, these letters were stuffed into badges at random, and our attendees were given the following instructions:

“We’re about to start the day with words of wisdom, nuggets of insight, and catalysts for inspiration.  As you go through the day, we also ask you to dive deeply into gratitude and share it in a letter that conveys appreciation to those who committed their time, talent, and resources to making this immersive experience a reality.

During our community catalyst event at TreeHouse, attendees were inspired to write LOVE letters. Through the magic of Outbox they’ve been digitally delivered and you can view these letters of LOVE at http://www.TEDxAustin.com.  

We invite you to share our love. If you find one of these letters in your badge, please personally deliver the letter to its addressee.  Spreading the love, as it were. Fearlessly.”



My wish for this project was to introduce the idea of LOVE letters – how can we show our love and gratitude to others.  Now that it is done (you’re probably reading this after the event), we have documented our love, encouraged others to share declaration of our love to other attendees, and then to connect with our partners.  Post event, we have videos and photos of these love letters to be shared far and wide.

Many thanks to Evan Baehr from OutboxMail, Lydia Fiedler from UnderstandBlue, Stacy Weitzner our TEDxAustin voice, and Shawna Butler for giving this oxytocin-filled project life.  My heart is full thanks to you.

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Cupcake Smackdown 2.0 – Let the Fun BEGIN!

It is true.  Cupcake Smackdown 2.0 is in full swing, and the details are finalized. You and your family are invited to attend Cupcake Smackdown 2.0. Activities will include:

  • Enjoy noshing on some sweet morsels from local bakeries
  • Challenging the current Guinness World Record for Most Jaffa Cakes Eaten in One Minute (short list of rules below)
  • Participate in setting the World Record for Most People Simultaneously Frosting a Cupcake
  • Check out local arts and crafts
  • Let out some energy by whacking the cupcake piñata
  • Launch some cupcakes from the cupcake cannon

Admission to the event is free.  Donations for the activities suggested (cash please). Proceeds from Cupcake Smackdown 2.0 will benefit Lights, Camera, Help, Mobile Loaves and Fishes, and Keep Austin Dog Friendly.


Hashtag: #CupcakeRiot

Webaddress: www.cupcakesmackdown.com

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=108137959240524

Tweetvite: http://tweetvite.com/event/cupcakesmackdown

Date: Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time: 11 am – 3 pm.  Schedule Follows.

11: 30 am & 1:30pm – Attempt to break Guinness World Record for Most Jaffa Cakes Eaten in One Minute (2 rounds) at LCB

11:30 am until 12 noon – Check-in and set-up for Most People Simultaneously Frosting a Cupcake at LCB. Please arrive at this time to participate.

12 noon – Setting World Record for Most People Simultaneously Frosting a Cupcake at LCB.

12:30 pm to 3 pm – Cupcake Cannon and Cupcake Piñata at The Westin’s North Parking Lot


Location: Le Cordon Bleu, 3110 Esperanza Crossing Suite 100 and The Westin, 11301 Domain Drive.  Both venues are across the street from each other.

Venue details: Vendors and activities located the Le Cordon Bleu will be held indoors.  The Cupcake Cannon and Pinata will be held outdoors at the Westin.  There will be ample parking in the street, The Westin parking lot, the Le Cordon Bleu parking lot, and the parking lot behind the Westin.  When parking in the lot adjacent next to the LCB building, only park in spots marked LCB.

Vendors: Cupcake vendors will be selling cupcakes at Le Cordon Bleu.  Gluten-free cupcakes and vegan cupcakes will be available.  Keep in mind that in order to use the cupcake cannon, you’ll have to get your hands on some cupcakes.  Cupcake Smackdown 2.0 tee-shirts will be available for $10 each.  Please bring cash for the vendors and activities.  Full list of vendors are:

Other details: While we love puppies and other cuddly creatures, the August heat might make the day uncomfortable for your pet.  Please give your pet a hug before you leave them at home.  Also, please wear sun block and drink plenty of water before you arrive.  This is a Cupcake fest, not a Lobster Fest.


Let’s Give some love to our Sponsors and Partners (Twitter list here):

Jaffa Cake Eating Contest Details (Per Guinness World Record):

  • Please sign up 15 minutes prior to each round (11:30 and 1:30).
  • Each entry costs $10.
  • The current record is 8 whole cakes in one minutes.
  • Each cake must be eaten individually and swallowed completely.
  • No water in between cakes.

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