The New Neighborhood

When I first started celebrate! RVA, I found myself in a somewhat comfortable environment. While it was certainly new to me, I was blessed to know numerous people working in the school. I had contacts and was taken under my mentors’ wings. I was taught the ropes of the school and the space felt natural to me, as I had toured it countless times and briefly volunteered for a different program in earlier years.

But this upcoming school year we are going into a new space, with new people. There will not be any familiar faces, no wings to be taken under, and no tours.

I won’t pretend I am not nervous to grow into new schools. Both the celebrate! RVA interns and I will be facing a huge learning curve. There will be plenty of pressure to make this programming as incredible, and as successful as our parties at Oak Grove.


However, I feel confident in and trust my phenomenal volunteers, board members, and donors to continue to support our mission and wrap their arms around our new school, the same way they have at Oak Grove Bellemeade.

I took the opportunity one beautiful Sunday evening, to drive around Gilpin Court + Jackson Ward, Carver Elementary’s zoned neighborhoods. I was admittedly hesitant. I didn’t know my way around, and no one was with me. I knew in my heart that I would never get to know new friends and faces if I didn’t take the chance to familiarize myself with the area. So, I drove. 

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I saw children running around outside. I saw families sitting out on their steps, talking and laughing. I saw an ice cream truck with smiling children eagerly awaiting a frosty treat. And I realized something:

Carver Elementary and the children there are full of the same potential joy, love, and celebration we discovered at Oak Grove. Where we thought little joy existed. we found that in that very place, joy was absolutely abundant. It just had to be encouraged. Children had to be given opportunities to celebrate their lives, and then they would find a place of love and celebration in their hearts, that they didn’t know even existed. We blossomed at Oak Grove, and will do the same at Carver. We will celebrate hundreds of children and will make sure they know just how loved and cherished they are by our community.

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Thank you for supporting celebrate! RVA during this exciting growth, and for celebrating our mission, no matter where we might be. Because no matter where we go, joy, love, and an enormous celebration will surely follow.Celebrate RVA 1.16.15-0925

Photos by: Steven and Lily Photography and Ash Carr Photography

Safe Harbor Celebration

On Saturday evening, after our awesome fundraiser at Endorphasm, we threw a birthday party for the sweetest 2-year-old at Safe Harbor RVA.

Because we go to great lengths to protect our friends (and take their privacy very seriously) that stay at Safe Harbor, we don’t take many photos and are very careful about what details we share. We couldn’t resist snapping one of the cutest Doc McStuffins table decorations!

IMG_7452 Our birthday girl was so excited to see one of her favorite characters, Doc McStuffins, on a few of her decorations. We are so thankful that we had these materials in our collection of donated party supplies. (If you’d like to go shopping and pick up some party supplies, email for our wish list!) We played in the sprinklers, ate pizza, sang happy birthday, and watched a darling little girl make a wish for the next year of her life when she blew out those candles on her cake.

At a celebration at Safe Harbor, we have a big job. Because we can only bring in a certain number of volunteers, we want enthusiastic, loving, and understanding people who recognize the sensitive situation we are entering into, but who are just as passionate about bringing joy and happiness into the space.

FullSizeRenderIt said it all when a little boy living in the home, when he saw that our time together was coming to a close, began to cry because we were leaving, along with the celebration. It’s our hope that he will continued to be celebrated and see just how deeply every child is loved by the folks at Safe Harbor and celebrate! RVA — but most importantly, the Richmond community.


Mark your calendars….This Saturday we are throwing a party at the most amazing gym in Richmond. I had a private training session with Miss Erica herself yesterday ( I figured if I was coercing all y’all to come out, I should probably know what you’re in for.) and now that I know…GET. EXCITED.

a) you’re doing to get an amazing workout and leave feeling like a badass.

b) you’re going to feel like the coolest Richmonder because you’ve found the gym Rocky {would have} trained in, had he ever visited RVA.

c) there is going to be free coffee (courtesy of Starbucks) and carbs (courtesy of Panera). Where there is free food, there is joy and most likely, a killer party.

d) We are giving a way a MEMBERSHIP to Endorphasm so you can feel like a badass for a whole year, Lululemon swag (I think it might a conflict of interest if I put my name on a raffle ticket and draw for it, so your chances of winning just went up!), and a few sessions with a masseuse (I have no qualms about “conflicts of interest” here. #sorryboutcha.)

We can’t wait to see you on Saturday, so put your party pants on and let’s celebrate! RVA at Endorphasm!


Emily Steffen Shop

I have found one of the sweetest, most delightful shops around and I am so excited to share it with y’all today! I found Emily on Etsy and immediately reached out, thinking that she may be able to make all my gold/sparkly/glitter/celebrating dreams come true and y’all DID SHE EVER.

I think I squealed for 3 straight minutes when I opened up this package and proceeded to take a billion selfies with the cutest cake toppers that ever did exist. Check it. (This also gave me reason to go to Pearl’s on Grove + Libbie and buy a cupcake decorated with confetti sprinkles so I could style these photos. Anything that gives me that kind of excuse is worth diamonds.)


IMG_0407(The next few photos are from Miss Emily herself! Girlfriend knows how to style a photo.)Spring 2015 EMILY STEFFEN SHOP 015I also think I may be ordering this topper soon. Because who doesn’t want a “happy day” cake topper. Every day should be a happy day thus giving you the excuse to eat cake every. single. day. (I’m pretty sure I am every dietician’s worst nightmare…..)
Spring 2015 EMILY STEFFEN SHOP 043So, to summarize, if you have gotten to the end of this post and a) do not have insatiable cravings for cake and b) have not visited Emily’s shop, please start from the beginning and try again because I don’t think you read the important parts like reasons to buy cupcakes and eat them every day.

We can’t wait to decorate our Celebrate Turns Two event (remember: tickets go on sale July 20th!) with these. Huge shoutout to Emily for fulfilling some of our wildest, glittery dreams and for supporting our mission to celebrate all the birthdays!