Last weekend I attended my first #InstaMeet at TOMS on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA. A few days prior to it I had never heard of an Instameet. In case it’s new to you as well, it’s an event that instagrammers (IGers) put together to meet up and get to know fellow IGers. This past weekend, May 17th, was the 9th Annual Worldwide InstaMeet Day, or #WWIM9 in Instagram terms. I read about the event on facebook and was immediately interested. A huge fan of TOMS, I’ve been wanting to attend an event at their flagship store. Plus, we’d be picking up trash along Abbot Kinney, and I love the idea of spending part of my weekend giving back.


I clicked “join” and reached out to my friend Noelle to come with. Noelle, the perfect partner in crime, is always up to volunteer, and her instagram feed is impressive, photo after photo of her beautiful art and her unique glittery perspective. My instagram, however, needs help! I’ve yet to fully embrace it as a tool for imsooproudofyou, so I thought what better way to learn than to meet people who love instagram.

one for one tam and noelle

Obviously, I’m in the midst of a pretty big learning curve! Prior to this blog, I didn’t have a whole lot of social media experience. I used Facebook and Instagram privately to share photos with friends and keep up on their lives. Starting this blog and writing about the kick ass people that I’m proud of has pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to embrace social media.

Tam and Noelle

The first month of posting, I had some pretty big panic attacks. Once I became aware of just how much fear I have of putting myself out there, I spent some time facing it. Asking myself, what’s the worst that can happen from writing a blog about people’s accomplishments that inspire me? I thought about the subjects of my posts, about Rebecca and Cate and their non-profit Action Kivu. These amazing ladies are on a mission to empower women in the Congo. It didn’t take long for me to realize it’s time to let go of all this silly anxiety and use my voice to continue growing this blog. My hope is that imsooproudofyou will encourage people to notice some of the good things their peers are doing, and then take the extra step to tell them how proud they are.

“Becoming comfortable with fear, and acting confidently in its face, will not only give you more courage when facing it next time but also greatly increase your chances of achieving success and happiness.” Blake Mycoskie, TOMS founder, author “Start Something That Matters”

So, Noelle and I arrived on Saturday morning to a bustling store. We were initially apprehensive. A lot of these IGers have a huge instagram presence with thousands of followers. I have a handful and just a few pics up…but you have to start somewhere.

Petehalvorsen and Ryanhappygilmore hosting the event.

Petehalvorsen and Ryanhappygilmore hosting the event.

With the help of some TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee, we fueled up and jumped in to meet people. It was a great crowd! The event was hosted by Pete (petehalverson), an avid IGer, who has organized many an #instameet and Ryan (ryanhappygilmore) a TOMS employee. They enthusiastically welcomed us and led an exciting raffle of TOMS goodies. Their energy and excitement for bringing this community together was awesome. Eventually, we all dispersed to pick up trash. Noelle turned cleaning up the streets into an art project! This girl can find the HEART in anything, anywhere.

heartWhile Noelle was making art, I was chatting it up with strangers. Soon we met Tim (timshootsthings), Jeff (drfitnessnow) and Kai(kaiborgstroops).

Jeff and Kai

Kai helped Noelle with this piece of art.

Noelle street artSo grateful for everyone involved in this event. I had a blast! A HUGE #IMSOOPROUDOFYOU shoutout to Pete, Ryan, Becky from TOMS with her super welcoming smile, Tim, Jeff, Kai, Johnny_2point0, Noelle and all the faces that I didn’t have a chance to meet. Hope to see you at the next one. We’ll see where I am on this learning curve by then!

group pic

  I’m soo proud of you, #TOMSInstaMeet!

 Are you proud of someone? Know someone you would like to feature on this blog.  Contact me at imsooproudofyou@icloud.com

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