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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Handmade with Purpose

Have you noticed the new button on my sidebar?
Scroll down a bit...and you'll see this one.

What is it?
A group of handmade shop owners who are selling their goods
for a profit & donating that profit to a charity
[of their choice] during the month of April.

Check out the full list of participating shops here.

How can you help?
Purchase goods with profits designated to benefit charities.
Donate directly to a shop's designated charity.
Spread the word via your blog, facebook, or twitter.
Become involved as a participating shop.

Want more info?
Contact Lindsay at

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I Love Wednesday

today, i'm linking up with krystina

better homes & gardens
most under-rated magazine. 
i've found lots of dinner inspiration from it lately!

red letter words
nesting place is hosting a giveaway for from red letter words this week!

coke zero
it keeps me going in the afternoons when i can't step out for coffee

eco-friendly mini dots bracelet set
by cotton lane
pssst... giveaway alert for this item hosted by yellow songbird

free spring printable
super cute, probably because i LOVE peeps!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Antigua, Guatemala

I finally get to share one last post from my time in Guatemala;
in case you missed the others read here, here and here!
On the last day of the trip, we visited the colonial city of Antigua
[about an hour's drive from Guatemala City].

The city is very quaint with cobble stone streets, 
 brightly painted buildings & earthquake ruins.  
There were a lot of tourists & many markets to shop.
We walked around the city to explore & do some shopping.
The photo below was taken in the town square.
The archway to Le Merced Church at night.
Sadly, I didn't get a photo of the many markets we visited 
and haggled for blankets, bags, clothing, jewelry & more.
But we did see street vendors setting up in the morning.
We enjoyed delicious coffee [& I brought some home]
...the archway is behind us, see it?
Annette even got her name on hers!
Our hotel was also beautiful; view from the balcony.
Courtyard of the hotel where we ate breakfast.

Antigua was such a beautiful city and it was sad 
to spend less than 24 hours there.  I hope to return one day!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

giveaway winner {Sandy a la Mode}

Thank you to everyone who entered the
giveaway for $20 shop credit to Sandy a la Mode.
...and the winner is:

Congratulations, Maria!
Please email me so I can connect you with Sandy!

A special thank you to Sandy for her generosity!

Happy Saturday, friends!

saturday snapshot: roommates

today, i'm linking up with kim 
from yellow songbird's saturday snapshot link up party!
my former roommates & i wanted a roomy shot
so we had a friend take some photos.
he caught this one while we were getting ourselves 'setup.'
i just love how happy we all look...
i was so blessed to live with those ladies my first two years in boston. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

BSU Blogfest {future}

Thank you for joining me for Social Media Week 2011
at Bridgewater State University,
I've enjoyed participating in Blogfest  and I hope
you were able to check out some of the other bloggers.
Today's prompt: future

I love blogging & chatting with colleagues on Twitter.
I'll even admit to perusing friends' photos on Facebook.
The benefits I gain from such technology are more than  I would
have ever imagined, which is why considering where 
social media will go in the future overwhelms me!
I have never considered myself an early adopter, but
I do like to hear about up-and-coming products & technology.
For me, I think the future will allow me to continue to learn
new technologies and how to integrate them into my life successfully.
While I sometimes doubt if I have been successful at finding a
balance & integrating technology into my life in a healthy manner
 [I'm so easily distracted by Twidroyd],
I hope to improve & use up-and-coming products purposefully.

Where do you think the future will take us?

Don't forget to enter this week's GIVEAWAY
from Sandy a la Mode.
[deadline to enter is 4pm EST today]

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BSU Blogfest {community}

Thank you for joining me for Social Media Week 2011
at Bridgewater State University.
I have enjoyed reading others' posts from the Blogfest.

Today's prompt: community

[I might be most excited about today's topic]
Community is something that is important to me,
so I have thought about it quite a bit and come to realize
BSU has a unique and vibrant community.
I hope no one takes this for granted.
I have been a student and worked at three other institutions,
so I feel fairly confident in my assessment of
BSU students, faculty and staff's ability to make people feel welcome,
 and more importantly make connections.
Not only are folks friendly and helpful around campus,
but they are caring and genuine.
Students on Alternative Break Trip to Guatemala
From my first day on campus on a hot June day in 2008 to
going on an alternative break trip to Guatemala with students weeks ago,
I find the sense of community among BSU Bears to be contagious.
In my work in the Campus Center, we aim to create community
by being welcoming, offering excellent customer service
and providing many spaces (meeting rooms, ballroom, lounges)
for students, faculty and staff to use from 8am-11pm daily.
In addition to the sense of community we see in person,
I have to hive a nod to the online community & its recent growth.
Since 2009, the BSU Campus Center has worked to
 engage students via Twitter, Facebook and its blog.
The Campus Center
Community is important and I am excited to see how it
continues to grow in my time at BSU. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BSU Blogfest {leadership}

Social Media Week 2011 continues with its events at BSU.
May I suggest attending "Building Your Digital Identity"
with @EdCabellon tonight in RCC 212?
 Follow the back channel on Twitter by searching #BSUsmw.

Today's prompt: leadership

There are a variety of leadership styles and theories and opinions.
I recall taking my first leadership course as an undergraduate
& getting acquainted with the vast literature from leadership realm.
We had to choose a leader to research & write about.
Herb Brooks was my pick.
He may not be the person that comes to mind
 when researchers & theorists make a Top 10 list.
Most people readily list names of politicians, CEOs
and even religious figures when considering leaders,
while coaches often get overlooked.
Herb Brooks, 1980
Effective coaches have the ability to guide a team.
They should lead by example, play by the rules, and
set clear goals for their team.
Characteristics that made Herb Brooks stand out:
- He believed in the team he selected
- He listened to the players & his superiors
- He had confidence in himself
- He inspired the team to work together
- He worked tirelessly to prepare the team for the Olympics

I was so excited to see the movie Miracle created
because it highlighted aspects of Brooks' leadership traits
and showed the team dynamics that many Americans
likely did not understand or know about in 1980.
This video was based on a scene where Kurt Russell,
who played Brooks, gave his pre-game speech to the tean.
It's especially inspiring from this guy:
Thanks for reading and considering some characteristics of
coaches & their ability to lead well. 

Don't forget to check the list of BSU students, faculty & staff 
taking part in Blogfest this week: complete list

Do you view coaches as great leaders?

Pssst...did you hear about this week's giveaway?
Read about it & enter here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BSU Blogfest {technology}

As I mentioned yesterday, this is an exciting week
as we hold Blogfest as part of our Social Media Week 2011
[to follow on Twitter, search #BSUsmw].

Today's prompt: technology

While I may not be the most up-to-date when it comes
to technology, I do my best to embrace it in my day-to-day life.
The thing that stands out to me most is the rate at which
technology has impacted and mostly changed our lives.

Considering the life of the average college student in 2011
and contrasting it with one from ten years ago, in 2001
[when I was still in college], I can find some pretty drastic differences:
- cell phone use has nearly doubled
[when I got my first cell, I was embarrassed to talk on it in public]
- access to email & the internet [and more] is now available
on a mobile device [it's common to have multiple computers in a home]
- social media networks have been introduced
[there was no  facebooktwitter or even myspace back then]
 - movies are available in disc form & online
[I remember going to pick out a movie to rent at a store]
- banking services are online, including deposits
[I haven't been to a physical bank to conduct business since 2008]
- music is still sold on a compact disc, but is often downloaded
as an mp3 & played from an iPod or similar device
- directions were usually to be found by looking up an address
[often in a phone book] and consulting a paper map
home work station in 2001 {source}
home work station in 2011 {source}
Just for fun, here's a list of the technology I used daily
{circa 2001}
- email to a friend from my desktop pc
- phone call on a landline in my apartment to my mom
- cash withdrawal from an ATM in the student union
- paper printed from the library & handed in hard copy
- call to campus bookstore to see if they stock a book
- episode of Dawson's Creek recorded on the VCR
- pizza ordered using my cell phone
my first cell phone circa 2000 {source}
..and technology used in the life of a college student today
- chat via facebook with a friend
- text message from mom
-tweet about the weather or clothing choice of the day
- deposit check into bank account using desktop scanner
- check-in to campus using foursquare
- quiz taken via Blackboard
- purchase book for class on Kindle
- watch an episode of Modern Family from ABC online
- order pizza online using mobile phone from Papa John's
iPad in 2011 {source}
While some would argue such changes bring chaos,
I believe the changes improve efficiency overall.
I can't complain about fewer trips to the bank,
ordering a meal from my computer, or
looking up directions from my phone & using my GPS.

Do you agree with this statement?

Monday, March 21, 2011

BSU Blogfest {learning}

This week is Social Media Challenge 2011 at BSU!
Each weekday, I will be sharing based on one writing prompt
provided by Bridgewater State University's Blogfest 2011.
Check out participants here.

Today's prompt: learning

Over the weekend, I shared some stories & images
about a recent alternative break trip to Guatemala City.
I learned a lot, but did not explicitly state it in earlier posts.
I also know the students who went on the trip learned
a lot based on their survey responses.
Not only did I learn about the culture & people
of Guatemala City through my experiences,
but I came to understand more fully the critical role service plays
in college student development.
In short, what can be gained from a week away from home
in another country, early mornings & long days in the sun?
- confidence in yourself & others
- new ways of communicating
- understanding & appreciating community
-  different approaches to getting things done
- friendships & team work
Thank you, Bridgewater State University for
allowing students [and faculty/staff] to
experience service both domestically & overseas.
I am so blessed to continue to learn in my job!

giveaway {Sandy a la Mode}

I'm pumped for this giveaway from Sandy a la Mode!
She has an awesome blog
Sandy a la Mode
and really sweet shop!

She has to be one of the most friendly
people I have met in the blog world and her blog is filled with
food & recipes, great handmade shops and more!
Let's get to know Sandy!
Tell us about yourself.
Hi! My name is Sandy and I’m in my mid-twenties!  
I was born and raised in Michigan (Go Blue!) 
but currently reside and work as a healthcare IT consultant 
in Missouri with my amazing husband. 
 I love taking pictures of everything which is why some folks call me 
“Picture Queen”. Besides being behind the camera, 
some of my other obsessions are drinking bubble tea, wearing dresses,
shopping, blogging, and looking at videos of cute baby animals. 

When & why did you start blogging?
I first started blogging in January 2010 
and have been going strong ever since!  
My original intent was so I would have a place 
for me to document my journey in learning how to use 
my SLR, baking, sewing, and crafting.  
While my blog is still about those things, 
I’ve also added other things such as inspirations, 
fashion and random stuff going on in my life!  
The best thing about blogging is all of the wonderful friends 
I have met from it!  The blog community is so inspiring, 
creative, encouraging and supportive!

When did you open your Etsy shop?
I opened up my Etsy shop in October 2010.  
I started with cabochon jewelry and have expanded to felt and fabric bows!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I find inspiration from just about anywhere!  
Whether it's my outfit, something pretty that I see 
that I must take a picture of,
or an apron in a store that I totally think I could make myself! ;)

What is your favorite city?
Ohh that's a tough one, but I am going to have to go with Taipei, Taiwan.  
That is where my family is from and 
I always have a good time eating up local foods when I'm there.  
And not to mention the shopping! :)

Now for the moment you have been waiting for...
Sandy is giving away a $20 shop credit to her fabulous shop!
Check out some of these beauties:
patty & penny: two bow hairpins
two vintage pearl button hairpins
strawberry cobbler silver filigree ring
How to enter
{mandatory entry}
You must be a follower 
via Google Friend Connect of the city &
visit Sandy's Etsy shop & tell me your favorite item.

Even more ways to enter the giveaway...

2 - follow Sandy and me on Twitter [1 entry]
3 - Tweet or blog about this giveaway
and link to this post [1 entry each]
4 - Heart Sandy a la Mode on Etsy
and tell me your Etsy username [1 entry]

Giveaway runs through Friday, March 25 at 4:00pm EST

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guatemala City {3}

In earlier posts, I shared a bit of my experience on an
alternative break trip to Guatemala City.  We spent one day
working in a community,  preparing a foundation
for a house to be built in Zone 3.  Young Life has been
in Guatemala City  for over ten years and it was out of the relationships
built with adolescents there, that AbonOrgániCo began.
By spending a full day in a community that is not only impoverished,
but extremely close to the Guatemala City Landfill,
one of the world's largest dump sites at 40 acres [read more],
we saw firsthand what the poverty this area looks like.
Many of the people living in Zone 3 have grown up
scavenging in the dump, believing they are trash themselves.
The stories of the people I met there are heart-wrenching.
Our goal for the day was to prepare the foundation to be poured 
for a family's home to be built. She had been living on the cement
slab that was there for a year, but supplies had been purchased to
build a home from re-bar, mortar and cinder blocks.
Our group literally cut through concrete and dug 50cm down
for the new foundation to be poured. The house would be built
in the week after we were there by another spring break group.
As we dug through the concrete and dirt, we pulled out all kinds of trash
from a plastic Mr. Incredible toy to food wrappers to glass bottles.
Our group on the foundation of where the home will be, accompanied by Young Life staff & community members.
We also got to experience Vida Joven [Young Life] Club
in the community that night. It's very similar to Young Life Club
in the U.S. with music, games, skits and a talk from a leader.
There were probably 30 kids from the community
and a few of our friends who work at AbonOrgániCo came too.
A large group game during Club.
It was just like the Young Life clubs I've been a part of in 
Colorado & Maryland with the guys sitting in one part 
of the room and the girls in the other part 
[I found that hilarious and am bummer I don't have a photo showing it].
Annette explains another game.
Fito shared about Jesus Christ during his ten minute talk at the 
conclusion of the night.  He is passionate about telling
teens they are loved just as they are.
He grew up in Zone 3 & is now on staff with Young Life there.
Fito talks to the kids at the end of the night.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Guatemala City {2}

Earlier this week, I shared photos from our hike up M. Pacaya,
but I want to share a bit more the alternative break trip I went to 
Guatemala City for last week.  I traveled with eight students 
from Bridgewater State University and one other staff member. 
We spent four days working at AbonOrgániCo
a company that processes organic waste from
Guatemala's Central Market into compost used to fertilize the land. 
The business exists to create meaningful jobs
for adolescents who come from high-risk backgrounds;
it was born out of work Young Life has been doing there. 
sunrise at AbonOrganiCo [we arrived by 6:30am each day]
At the beginning of each day, we would split into groups
and work on two projects:
mixing & laying concrete OR readying garden space.
preparing the ground [via pick ax] for flower & vegetable gardens at the entrance
The priority of the week was laying a large concrete pad
that would be used to receive the produce & sort it for composting.
the concrete pad [in process] and Mt Pacaya is in the background
day 2 at the work site
Due to the heat [and lack of shade] we took frequent water breaks.
Each morning, we would break at 9 or 10am for bananas & fresh bread.
We also drank more soda than usual since we were working so hard
and our bodies needed the sugar for energy.  We went to the same
tienda at the marketplace daily to buy coke in a glass bottle.
bananas & water from a bag
The concrete pad was done in parts [seven in total]
and the group mixed the cement by hand.
While most of the group worked to mix & lay concrete, 
others worked to prepare the ground  for flower & vegetable gardens 
at the entrance of AbonOrgániCo, making it more appealing.
lots of concrete mixing
Susie got to make a tortilla at Central Market during lunch one day.
The whole group [Guatemalans & Gringos] on our last day at AbonOrgániCo.