Redefining The Greatest Show On Grass

You have all heard of the greatest show on grass, right? Some say it is a golf tournament happening this week at the TPC, but I might argue that it happened this past weekend at Ed and Heidi Baker’s home in Tempe, AZ.

Their 9th annual charity Bocce Ball Tournament raised more than $14,000 for the Tempe Community Action Agency on Saturday, bringing the total amount raised at this private backyard event to over $57,000 in the past 9 years!

Ed and Heidi’s Charity Bocce Tournament is a private fundraiser held annually on the last Saturday in January to benefit Tempe Community Action Agency.

Greatest show on grass

See the photo below? It is a group shot that was taken by Agnes Art & Photo just before the first round of the bocce ball tournament began. 64 teams and more than 130 people gathered together for the chance to be called the 2018 TCAA Bocce Ball Champions. From there, some pretty amazing things happened. New friendships were made, old friendships were celebrated, people ate food together, drank beer, wine, coffee, and soda together, talked to strangers, had fun and were happy to be sharing the common goal of helping the TCAA do more great things in our community.

You know what was noticeably missing from most of the day? People staring at their phones and scrolling through random crap while not being in the moment. It was as if we actually went back to a time where being nice to strangers was ok. It was an awesome few hours. Want to talk about the greatest show on grass? This was it for a Saturday afternoon in Tempe, AZ.

greatest show on grass Tempe AZ

Photo by Agnes Art & Photo

Proud to be one of many winners of the day:

This was the first year that my friend Jack and I attended Ed’s TCAA bocce tournament. Of course we had heard of the the event in the past, so when the opportunity arose for us to be able to attend, we gladly and quickly registered to do so. (The event quickly “sells out” each year.)

Once I had us registered and our spots secure, I remember jokingly telling Jack that we “might as well go win this thing!”

When we got to the event, Jack and I talked about the real possibility of being beat in the first round as we had never played the game. Our thought process was to enjoy the day, have fun with some friends and just go with the flow. We did succeed at having fun, but, as LUCK would have it, we kept winning. We ended up playing people who were having as much (maybe even more?) fun than we were, and we even played a couple of people that seemed to take this thing pretty seriously. Miraculously, at the end of the tournament, two rookies were the last ones standing. And miraculously, those two rookies took home the 2018 #bocce9 tournament trophy! We will proudly hold on to the trophy until next year, when we return to try to keep the cup!

While I’ll never know what it’s like to win a Green Jacket or to help win the Territorial Cup, I’m pretty sure I’ll always remember the day when two jokers beat some really long odds to come home with the trophy for the 9th edition of the annual Bocce Ball Tournament benefiting the Tempe Community Action Agency. For us, it really was our own version of the greatest show on grass…


**Like many great events, this wouldn’t be nearly as successful without volunteers, community partners and event sponsors. BIG thanks to Even Stevens for bringing sandwiches and salads, as well as D’Electables Cupcakes, Doc’s Artisan Ice Creams, Cartel Coffee, Action Wine, Flagstaff Extreme Adventure and more!

Tempe’s First Crush Charity Gala

I remember my first Crush. She was fun, elegant, had great taste in food and always looked to give back to others. Thankfully, that has never changed. If you’ve never been to the First Crush Charity Gala in Tempe, you really are missing out.

** Update: Starting in 2017, First Crush has been re-branded as Vicinity: Internationally Tempe – Please check out the new and improved event!

There is a NEW venue for First Crush this year! The 2016 First Crush Charity Gala will be held at the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park. The museum is located at 1300 N College Ave Tempe, AZ 85281.  The event will feature Four Peaks brews, local wines, and tasty food favorites from places like Whole Foods, M Culinary Concepts and Snooze. There will be live, local music, as well!

The raffle and silent auction items at First Crush are always awesome! The 2016 auction is full of trips, activities, gift certificates and one-of-a-kind experiences that are totally Tempe.

The event will also feature a raffle item where the winner will get to choose their favorite getaway. Which will you choose if you win?? the Ultimate Pro Sports Fan Getaway, a Puntacana Resort & Club Caribbean Paradise Getaway, or a Fairmont Chateau Whistler Ski Getaway?!

This really is a can’t miss event!

Tempe First Crush Tickets

For more information, please visit or contact them at 480-858-6525. Tickets for First Crush will be $100.00 per person. Early bird pricing is available until September 15th. Early bird pricing: Buy 6 tickets for $450, 4 tickets for $320, 2 tickets for $165 or purchase them for $85 each!

Surround yourself with hundreds of great people, enjoy great food and drink, a super-fun charity auction and awesome entertainment while helping some of the least fortunate people in our communities. This is truly a wonderful event that Lori and I look forward to attending each year.


Great Food and a Great Cause: Give Back by attending the First Crush Charity Gala!

What: 12th annual First Crush Charity Gala & Silent Auction

When: Friday, October 21, 2016 from 6:00-10:00PM

Where: Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park – 1300 N College Ave Tempe, AZ 85281

Dress for the event is casual. But nice.

The First Crush Charity Gala supports the mission of Tempe Community Action Agency, a nonprofit leader in providing human services to East Valley residents since 1966. First Crush features one of the best silent auctions around a delicious array of menu items, Wine and there will be a LOT of Four Peaks beer along with some great musical entertainment .

Proceeds support the programs and services of TCAA, a nonprofit leader in providing human services to East Valley residents since 1966. TCAA programs that help alleviate hunger, poverty and homelessness.

For 50 years Tempe Community Action Agency has provided a variety of essential social services to Tempe’s most vulnerable residents including providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, delivered meals for the homebound, socialization for seniors and several children’s programs.

The Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Please join us in helping to raise money and awareness for this amazing organization.

A very special thanks also goes out to all of our friends at the TCAA for all of the work they put in to this great event.

Check out the TCAA on Facebook.

I look forward to seeing all of you there!

Tempe Community Action Agency


Time To Take Some Action

I am super proud, humbled, excited and anxious to say that I am one of the new board members at the Tempe Community Action Agency.

I have a great deal of respect for the work that the TCAA does, and I am thrilled with this opportunity to assist them in serving the needy in our community.

Who is the Tempe Community Action Agency?

The TCAA provides education, stability, and advocacy to working poor families, children, seniors and the homeless. We help those who are struggling to obtain adequate food and shelter, as well as seniors and disabled adults working to attain their highest level of independence. Acting with financial support from the community we serve, TCAA operates a food pantry, three senior centers, aging programs, the Tempe Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP), pre- and post-natal services, two community gardens, and other projects and programs that serve our most vulnerable residents.

Tempe Community Action Agency

Lori and I have been involved with various parts of the Tempe Community Action Agency for several years. I think our first introduction was via I-HELP. As a family, we served meals to homeless people at our church. We have participated in the annual I-HELP walk for the homeless and some of their other community events.  Please know that I will be much more vocal in my desire to have you join us at the next walk for the homeless! 🙂

One of the committees I currently serve on at the TCAA is the planning committee for the annual Vicinity: Internationally Tempe Charity Gala. SO, please mark your calendar for October 21st, 2016 as you’ll also be asked to join us at this amazing event!

This position on their board of directors is a wonderful opportunity for me to be more involved with some awesome things in our community and to work with some amazing people to help make our world a better place. Of course, I would love to let you know about some really cool ways you can help, too!

The TCAA is here “to improve the quality of life for the underserved in our community.” How cool is that?!?!

I sincerely hope you will join me in supporting this special organization!

Looking Forward to Another NAR Tech Edge in AZ

OK, so I’m a bit of a geek. Not really a full fledged geek, but a geek none-the-less. This may be why I was excited to hear that NAR Tech Edge is  coming back to the Phoenix area. Basically, Tech Edge is a day where geeks like me get to talk about fun and effective ways to grow or maintain their real estate business.

NAR Tech Edge rocks


For anyone outside of the real estate business, NAR is the National Association of REALTORS. This year, they are once again bringing this series of conferences to seven different cities, and I get to be one of the presenters here in AZ!

“This one-day, high energy conference is geared towards agents who are eager to learn how current web-based and mobile technologies can benefit their business and clients.”

I’m fortunate to know most of the people that I’ll be hanging out with at Tech Edge. They are an awesome group of speakers, and I’m pretty sure none of them are doing it to sell something to the attendees. One of the things that drives me nuts about so many industry events is the fact that someone is almost always trying to get in our pockets. NAR Tech Edge is different. It’s a bunch of people from our industry sharing tips, tricks and ideas to help each other learn new things or different ways to do them. I promise, no one will be pitching the latest and greatest way to effortlessly get you to page one of Google in 5 seconds. You probably won’t hear anyone say that “for today only, your subscription to our super duper service is only $19.99 per month!” What they will be talking about are proven ways that agents have been using to build their real estate business. Just honest, up-to-date, and accurate information.

What: NAR Tech Edge
: Wednesday, September 24
Time: 9:00 AM to  4:30 PM
Where: SEVRAR Conference Center
1363 S. Vineyard, Mesa, AZ 85210
Register: NAR registration page

I’ll be sharing  my thoughts on social strategy, blogging and online branding. While these are three different topics, I believe you can use all of them to help build your real estate business, and I’ll talk about specific examples of how I’ve done that. To me, these topics are a lot of fun. We hear people talk about this stuff all the time, but I’m going to try to put a slightly different spin on it.  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all of the answers. Heck, the rules seem to be constantly changing and the competition to be found online seems to get more sophisticated each day, but there are things you can add to your business plan to effectively enhance the online portion of your business.  For instance: Is social media just about what you had for breakfast? Can a blog help your business? What is YOUR brand? Do you own it? Do you control it? Let’s talk about this stuff.

Here’s a list of topics that will be covered, straight from the Tech Edge agenda.

Connecting With the Online Consumer 
10 Things to Know About Data Security
Email – Friend or Foe?
It’s a Mobile/Tablet World
Photo & Video Tips for Building Your Business
There’s an App for…Everything!
REALTORS Property Resource
Social Reputation, Ratings and Rankings
Business in the Cloud
Facebook for Fun & Profit
Content That Sells
Tweets, Pins, Check Ins & Social Strategy
Getting Your Blog On!
Learning to Love LinkedIn
OnLine Branding

I’ll be sharing some ideas about social strategy, blogging and online branding. While these are three different topics, I believe you can use all three of them to help build your real estate business and I’ll talk about specific examples of how I’ve done that. To me, these topics are a lot of fun. Many people hear people talk about this stuff all the time but I’m going to try to put a slightly different spin on it.  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all of the answers. Heck, the rules seem to be constantly changing and the competition to be found online seems to get more sophisticated each day.

This is a list of the speakers for the 2014 NAR Tech Edge event in AZ. I always learn things when I hang around people who eat, sleep and breathe this stuff, and I think you will, too.

2014 President, Evan Fuchs
Nick Bastian
Dru Bloomfield
Amanda Sue Eberson
D. Patrick Lewis
Holly Mabery
Paula Monthofer
Terry Nolan
Bill Risser
Melanie Wyne

Tech Edge is Emcee’d by internationally known and world famous Bill Lublin. Heck, just come to hear what this dude has to say and you’ll be way ahead. He’s just cool like that. A BIG thanks to AAR, SEVRAR and AAR for making this all happen!

I hope you will join us, it is sure to be a lot of fun. In a REALTOR geek sort of way…

NAR Tech Edge AZ

Cub Scout Fun at Mac’s Broiler and Tap

The annual Blue and Gold banquet is this weekend and the boys were assigned the task of finding donations for the annual Cub Scout Silent Auction fundraiser. One of our favorite restaurants near our home happens to be Mac’s Broiler and Tap

Mac’s is an awesome family-owned neighborhood business. We’ve been fortunate to get to know the McDonnell’s over the years and felt like it would be fun to ask them for a small donation to help the kids out. What do you think? I bet it will work like a charm…

If you know these kids, you know they are rarely at a loss for words. Apparently, the camera had them a little shy for a brief time. In the end, they got their point across. And for a good cause.