If you can believe it, this past week I celebrated my 28th birthday! For the last four years, I’ve used my birthday to raise donations on behalf of nonprofit organizations I’m passionate about and serve.
This year, I raised funds on behalf of EdenMade, a ministry within Because Justice Matters (BJM). EdenMade provides relationship-centered care and outreach, connecting women who work in the adult entertainment industry to holistic resources, support, and referrals and exists to champion and empower every woman as a leader to live fully and freely in her true identity.
I hosted this year’s Benefête (benefit + fête, which translates to “party” in French) at a Neyborly space in the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco. We feasted on delicious Mexican food, had fun with a floral workshop, listened to live music, and heard from the Director of EdenMade. In total, we raised $1,000 for EdenMade in support of the amazing women in our community.
Thank you to all of the incredible individuals and vendors who supported and believed in this event and the work happening in our community! Feel free to share the photos from the event below but be a pal and tag the vendors and please refrain from applying filters and/or Facetune (you and the photos are beautiful as you and they are!) Note that the photos are the property of the respective photographers.
This year’s festivities were hosted in the cutest Neyborly space in the Mission. Neyborly, creates vibrant and unique venues for events, meetings, parties, and popups all around the Bay Area. The space featured high ceilings, skylights, a custom-designed mural, handcrafted wooden tables, a bar area, a unisex restroom and full suite of AV amenities. As the venue is a part of a larger network, renters also get to take advantage of a 10% DoorDash discount. They also offer a 10% discount to non-profits! Need to book a space for your next event or meeting? Visit Neyborly or book through Peerspace.
Tag @neyborly when sharing on social media.
I met Jennifer of Mercado Lula when I attended a gala a few weeks prior. After one bite, I knew I needed her to cater the event. Mercado Lula was born out of Jennifer’s love for Mexican cuisine and culture. Jennifer, the owner and chef, was an absolute delight to work with and even extended a discount as her personal contribution to the cause. The menu included:
Crispy Queso, fried cheese crisps with salsa
Esquites, grilled corn off the cob with chipotle cream, cotija cheese, and lime zest
Lula Chopped Salad, romaine, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, cotija cheese, grilled corn off the cob, pepitas, crispy queso, and cilantro pepita dressing
Tag @hellomercadolula when sharing on social media.
Food and Courage
I discovered Rachel of Food and Courage serendipitously a few weeks before the event on Instagram. I slid into her DMs and after meeting up in person, we both knew that we had to partner! Rachel, a food stylist by day, bakes and sells cookies to raise money for charity. For the event, she baked up a big batch of her signature cookies as a special treat for the guests. Want to order a batch for yourself or a family member or friend? Visit her bake shop here.
Tag @foodandcourage when sharing on social media.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with local brand Olipop for the past couple of months as a brand ambassador. Olipop, for those of you who haven’t been able to get your hands on a can yet, is a sparkling tonic with plant based ingredients that support digestive health. When I reached out to ask if they’d be interested in donating a few cans to the cause, they immediately offered to send over a few cases. Visit your local Whole Foods or their online store to taste test it for yourself!
Tag @drinkolipop when sharing on social media.
U & I Flowers
In honor of the theme, planting purpose, I immediately knew that the event needed flowers and lots of them. I reached out to my friend, Tina of U&I Flowers, and not only did she offer to donate her expertise to ensure that the venue was beautifully decorated but she also offered to host a floral workshop. Everyone had an amazing time creating something beautiful to take home in memory the night.
Tag @uandiflowers when sharing on social media.
My greatest honor of the evening was hosting Lynae Byler, Director of EdenMade, who spoke about the incredible work she’s leading in our community. EdenMade, a ministry within Because Justice Matters, provides relationship-centered care and outreach, connecting women who work in the adult entertainment industry to holistic resources, support, and referrals. Feeling called to give or get involved? Learn more about the organization and how you can get involved here.
Tag @becausejusticematters when sharing on social media.
Hey honey photography
When I first put out a call for help with the event, one of the first people to respond was Anna, one of my dearest friends, incredible artist, and owner of Hey Honey Photography.
Getting married? Need a new headshot of maternity photos? Anna has a great eye for capturing your most important moments. Learn more about and book Anna here!
Tag @heyhoneyphotography when sharing on social media.
Shortly after meeting, Jonny, a recent transplant to the Bay Area, he offered his talents to make sure every moment was captured so we could cherish the memories of the night forever.
Whether you’re getting married, need a new portrait, or someone to snap shots at your upcoming event, you’ll be in good hands with Jay. Learn more about and book Jonny here!
Tag @jayradriguez when sharing on social media.
Believe it or not, I met Chris Songco only three days prior to the event. He had performed at a charity event I organized for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation the weekend prior and after following each other on Instagram, I slid into the DMs, asked if he’d consider performing at a second event and he graciously agreed! Chris is a super talented musician and improv performer and if you’re looking to level up your event, look no further! Learn more about and book Chris here.
Tag @chrissongcomusic when sharing on social media.
What do you do for your birthday? What organization should I raise funds for next year? Tell me in the comments below!