Signature Mix Marketplace is less thank a month off, and I cannot possibly be the only one who is getting excited. The show itself offers so much promise and inspiration, but since the locale is New York City, there is of course so much to do off the floor as well. In addition to booth invitations, I’ve started getting off-site, evening party invitations and am scoping out some NYC shopping & sightseeing spots I hope to somehow fit in.

One of them is the newest Pink Olive in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which Grace Kang opened on Saturday, April 12. I am sorry to have missed the party — it featured swag bags, sweets & drinks, and raffles all day long, plus plenty of amazing product. Grace blogged about it here, and also check out this adorable video above or below to see the newest venue in all its glory. I love that shade of blue, and the space looks like beautiful and meticulously merchandised, of course. Congratulations, Grace!

Sunday, May 18 not only marks the beginning of the show, but also AIDS Walk New York, the country’s largest AIDS fundraising walk. According to the AIDS.gov, more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 6 (15.8%) are unaware of their infection. About 1 in 4 new AIDS infections are amongst those aged 13-24.

This year, all of NYC is getting into the spirit in the week leading up to AIDS Walk New York with Light Up New York. As of now, the following buildings will go red for it at night: the Empire State Building, with a lighting ceremony hosted by Isabella Rossellini on May 15; 7 World Trade Center; Bloomberg Tower; Time Warner Cable Center; The New York Stock Exchange; and The Helmsley Building.

AIDS Walk New York is not only the world’s largest fundraising event for AIDS, it is for a cause very dear t0 me and my fellow board members at Gift For Life. GFL was founded in 1992 by a small group of gift industry professionals who felt compelled to respond to the loss of talented friends & colleagues. Since then, we have grown in numbers, gaining visibility in the gift, home, and stationery industries. More than $5 million has been raised for life-saving AIDS research & education.

For the third year in a row, Gift for Life is partnering with the National Stationery Show to participate in the country’s largest AIDS fundraising walk. Here is a shot of a portion of our group last year braving the rain. Of the business-based teams walking, our group ranked fifth.

2013 AIDS Walk NY_Central Park Walkers

Last year we also had a “virtual walk” through the rows of Javits Center — which means I could participate & fundraise. Here is a shot of the portion of the group that I was with, (thankfully) inside with my fellow walkers. We’re upstairs at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, in the press room overlooking part of the show floor. You can see through the crystal palace windows that the day was decidedly dark & dreary!

2013 AIDS Walk NY_Javits Center

I am doing this once again, so I am inviting all TPC readers to help this amazing worthy cause by donating here. As I write this, my fundraising page looks a little sad, so I am hoping you can help. No amount that is too small — $25 purchases two AIDS tests; $50 buys two weeks of groceries for a family affected by AIDS; and at the other end of the spectrum, $500 buys 125 hot meals at the Gay Mens’ Health Crisis (GMHC). And if you are attending NSS, or will be in the city that day, our team is seeking two more walkers — please email me if you are interested!

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