Category Archives: downtown

High 5 For Friday

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It’s SO hard to narrow down my top 5 favorites from this week! Looking back through the pictures* I’ve taken on my cell phone, I’m reminded of how blessed I am. May I never forget that.

1. Family. Spending time with my little cousins is priceless and even if they’re sometimes annoying, I love them to pieces! Autumn is such a sweetheart and is always so loving towards me. Every time I say bye to her, she squeezes me, kisses my cheek, and says, “you’re in my heart, Mere Mere.”

2. Spending time in the Word. Early mornings with coffee and my Bible are my favorites!

3. Exploring The Golden Belt area downtown and taking lots of pictures with Britt! (More to come on that later!)

4. Pad Thai and lunch with fun coworkers. We definitely had a case of the giggles yesterday and laughed throughout lunch.

5. My Valentine’s Day was truly great. My student cancelled class (I think he had a date!) so I went home to workout, eat leftovers, take a hot bath, and then watch Casablanca while chowing down on chocolates. Who needs flowers and a significant other? 😉 (although I do love flowers)

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*as I was editing this post earlier and trying to upload pictures, I found out that I have exceeded the 3GB of space that WordPress allows for free blogs. Now I’m torn between buying more space on here, or buying a domain. My biggest problem is that I have NO idea what I would (re)name my blog/domain! HELP!

National Literacy Action Week

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Did you know that January 28 – February 3, 2013 is National Literacy Action Week?

If you’re like I was a month ago, you probably have no idea what that means. Allow me to enlighten you!

National Literacy Action Week (NLAW, not to be confused with Next-Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon which is a real thing. Google it.) is a week in which individuals/organizations raise awareness for literacy in their communities and its link to various social justice issues. You’ll see some shocking statistics below that show the binds between the importance of literacy in regards to social justice. You can find more information about NLAW here.

The organization where I serve is participating in NLAW by chalking: going to local places and writing statistics about literacy, quotes about literacy, and promoting our organization by writing our website. I was hesitant at first about chalking and its impact, but it’s actually been really fun and a great opportunity to spread the word about literacy! If you follow me on twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen the barrage of tweets about literacy, #NLAW, and photos from our chalking adventures. I’ve enjoyed spreading the word and enlightening people in Durham about literacy!

Monday we went to a local bookstore and chalked on their front sidewalks. It was our test-run, so to speak, and although we were prepared, we weren’t very organized at first. However, it turned out well and we talked to a few passersby about how our organization is trying to help Durham!

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With one of my fellow AmeriCorps members after chalking!

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60% of America’s prison inmates are illiterate. Can you believe that?!

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Quote by Frederick Douglass

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Had to include this since it’s why we were chalking!

Wednesday morning we planned on chalking at a local Center but the weather had other plans. After a random drizzle over Durham, we set back out to chalk up some stats and quotes and promote literacy! We were on a long sidewalk next to a fairly busy intersection and we got lots of stares, honks, waves, runners running by, and “I don’t believe that”‘s. Apparently, they don’t know the alarming statistic that 20% of Durham residents are functionally illiterate. 

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20%!

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I know quite a few of adults that make up that 14%.

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love this quote!

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this one breaks my heart. I can’t imagine!

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mandatory foot + hashtag photo

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wohoo! #NLAW

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Literacy –> Self-Advocacy –> A better life!

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We had a lot of sidewalk space to fill in so I suggested this silly “HOP into literacy” hopscotch idea.

Other stats :

– 21% of US adults read below a 5th grade level. (National Institute of Literacy)

– 32 million US adults can’t read. (National Institute of Literacy)

– 19% of high school graduates can’t read. (National Institute of Literacy)

– 774 million people worldwide can’t read. (National Institute of Literacy)

– 85% of juveniles who enter the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate. (Begintoread.com)

– Low literary costs $73 million per year in terms of direct health care costs. (Begintoread.com)

 

You may not be a resident of my community, but I’m sure wherever you do reside there are literacy issues that cause other issues. What are you doing to spread the word about the importance of literacy?

 

Although National Literacy Action week is almost over, it doesn’t have to be! We can advocate for literacy year-round and help people in our community learn the invaluable skill set of reading & writing. Feel free to participate in the NLAW activities/conversations/tweets using the #NLAW hashtag!

 

 

Top 12 in 2012

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There is no way I could possibly end this year without a round-up or list of some kind. It’s no surprise that I love lists. With my forgetful nature it’s imperative that I have some sort of ongoing list on the back of an envelope with my enclosed bank statement (true story) whether it be a grocery list, my infamous mile-long to-do lists, or a list of blogging ideas. I am a list maker.

So without further adieu, I give you my top 12 from 2012: a random concoction of top memories, moments, images that stick out in my mind as being associated with this year.

12. Living in Durham

To the outsider, Durham may seem “ghetto” or “sketchy” or whatever other adjectives you might attribute to my city. But, to the insider and a Durham native her whole life, it’s a pretty great place to live. This year living back in Durham after college has been adventurous & interesting, to say the least. I’ve learned a lot about my hometown and explored new places, even started a new job in Durham. I wouldn’t trade this city for anything. 2012 has been fun, Durham, let’s see what 2013 has in store!

11. Turner Classic Movies

It sounds silly, but this year has been a great year because I’ve been able to watch TCM! I didn’t get the channel in college, and I had missed out on so many good old movies. This year, I’ve definitely upped my old movie watching and even started tweeting during some films, using the hashtag #TCMParty. It’s been so fun talking with other classic film lovers and learning all sorts of new facts about actors, directors, & films!

10. The Durham Bulls

I would be terribly remiss to post about my year and not include the Durham Bulls in some way or another. So many of my spring & summer memories involve a baseball game, or being around the ballpark. I’ve lost track of how many “girl’s nights” were had at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park with dinner before at Tobacco Road, Tyler’s, or Mellow Mushroom… how many bags of peanuts I purchased and devoured… how many tweets I tweeted to @DurhamBulls… how many parking passes I had in my car from parking before games. 2012 will be remembered as the year I learned to love the Durham Bulls all over again.

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9. Summit Church

After years of hearing great things about this body of believers, I finally visited one Sunday back in April. That church is huge, and despite my introvertedness, I have enjoyed going back and blending in amidst everyone. Each time I go, I learn so much. I can’t really describe it or put into words how thankful I am for a church like that and strong leader JD Greear. His messages challenge me, make me want to be a better follower of Christ, and make me long to serve overseas. All in all, The Summit has made a huge impact on my life in 2012.

8. Volunteering as a literacy tutor

This has definitely been one of the highlights of my year, possibly even my life. Giving someone the gift of literacy, who has gone their whole life without being able to read something as simple as a menu, is so rewarding and fun! Sure, it’s been challenging on both ends, but I think my student would agree that this year has been a huge blessing and learning experience! After all, he did read his first book ever just a few months ago!

I highly urge you to volunteer somewhere and make a difference in someone’s life! If you’re in the Durham area, let me know- I have a great place for you to volunteer! 😉  (shameless plug)

7. Live Music

As I’ve said before, there’s nothing more magical to me than live music. Ok, Disney ranks up there with magical, but I simply love live music. This year I got to see a few artists/groups in concert, and it was great! Jessie Baylin, The Fray, Lucius, and Milo Greene. Plus, every Sunday at church is like a mini-concert with the awesome worship music! 🙂

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MILO GREENE

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Isaac on the keys

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6. The NC Cow Parade

No, I’m not crazy. If you live in the Triangle area, you should have heard of the Cow Parade by now. If not, read about it here. I got to “meet” a few of these incredibly creative cows in and around the Durham area while they were in town. I think it’s so cool that something so big can be associated with my city this year!

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the Burt’s Bees cow!

5. Maximus Decimus Meridius AKA the puppy we call Max.

Gifted to Mom for Mother’s Day, this little fella has brought so much love, so many smiles, and lots of memories to our family. I love coming downstairs in the mornings to his sleepy self, and coming home in the evenings to a hyperactive puppy… it’s hilarious how excited he gets to see his family!

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November 2012

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July 2012

4. Cancer

This year, I was reminded just how much I want to kick cancer in the rear. I lost two dear souls to that horrible disease, and it breaks my heart thinking of how many other lives were lost to cancer this year. I know both of my loved ones are now with their Savior, but I wonder how many others are assured that their loved one with Him?

In honor and memory of my loved ones who lost their lives to cancer, I donate platelets as often as I can. It’s something so simple and easy, yet it can save someone’s life!

3. Disney World

I think everyone can agree that Disney is just so magical that it makes them feel like a kid. Disney truly was magical this past March as my crazy family paraded the streets of the theme parks, rode rides, and took too many pictures.

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2. My California Trip!

Clearly I have been way too eager and excited to visit the West Coast for the past few months, but this was the year that dream became a reality! I have SO many pictures and stories to share about the trip, and if you can’t wait for my dozens of recap posts, feel free to follow me on twitter and read my tweets from the trip!

 

1. Blogging!

Typical answer for a blogger, yes, but I have loved keeping track of my life with this blog, and finding other bloggers in my area! It’s been fun “meeting” other bloggers and I enjoy reading blogs as much as I enjoy blogging. Let’s see what the next year holds in store for me & this blog! 🙂

Month of Thanks

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All month I’ve been keeping a running list of things I’m thankful for… however small, silly, random they may be. It’s been a good exercise and I think I’m going to keep it up throughout the coming months. That way, whenever I feel I have something to complain about I can just look at all the little things I’m thankful for.

1- For a new picture for the monthly calendar in the office! And the ability/opportunity to participate in webinars and learn all sorts of things as an AmeriCorps member.

2- Thankful for running water, even if it is super cold at work when I wash my hands.

3- Thankful for dogs whom I love dearly,  and the fact that dogs know how to get back home! [they ran away. Post on it’s way 😉 ] Also thankful for my married friends whom I love and have so much fun with although I don’t get to see them often!

4- Time change and an “extra” hour of sleep. And caramel macchiatos. Read the rest of this entry

October in Review

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Whew, can you believe it’s already November?! 

October was a difficult month in many ways: losing a family member, trying to balance work and somewhat of a social life, trying to find interesting things to blog about (I’m really slacking!), and learning to manage my finances even more so than before. Being an adult is hard work, y’all. Looking back through pictures from the month though, it seems like it was longer than I remember. I guess time slips away sometimes, and other times it slows down.

The end of October signals more upcoming holidays, celebrations, colder weather…  and I couldn’t be more excited for the months ahead. 

Here are pictures & posts from the past month!

– the month started off on a good foot (literally) with healthy eating, cute outfits, running, and reading encouraging words

running with Britt

girl’s night food 🙂 paninis and sweet potato fries

rainy day attire

Ephesians 1 reading for She Reads Truth

Reading in my car
((like my sweet pen?))

– The 2012 NC State Fair! (It was my first time in years, so of course I had to photograph everything! 😉 ) You can see most of my pictures in the post.

Pappy’s Old Fashioned Ginger Ale!

deep fried Reese’s

Deep fried PUMPKIN PIE

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– lunches al fresco 

Noodles & Co with Padre

Lilly’s!

– an emotional visitation and coping with the loss of my aunt

– one of the highlights of the month was seeing Milo Greene in concert!

Andrew and I after the show
(he’s one of five members of Milo Greene)

– Why don’t you go and Meet Lucius ((the band that opened for Milo Greene!)) 

– I officially was able to welcome an NC Fall to Durham, even if it did bring freezing cold temperatures in the morning! I sure do love Fall!

– spending quality time with my little cousins

Gabby’s first Duke football game!

G’s first Starbucks frapp!

– an honest post about how slow Sundays are for me… and how I feel on Sundays. 

– random Hey Guess What post

– two Friday Favorites posts sharing links, news stories, recipes & other random things. (here and here)

 – an afternoon in Central Park spent exploring, taking pictures, and eating lots of delicious sweets!

– a Halloween post

– post about Life and how it sneaks up sometimes

Starbucks: fail.

dinner of champs 🙂

the Burt’s Bee cow

Mischievous Max chewing on my brush

visited the new downtown Durham Cupcake Bar!

Froyo, enough said 🙂

– I bought moccasins!

I so wanted to buy these.

Instead, I got these and I looooove them!

– my parents celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary! 

25th Anniversary flowers

bro, me, cousin Ryan after our aunt’s funeral

Silly memory of me and my aunt on a family vacation back in the day!

I got to snap this photo early one morning

dark chocolate bar!

cookies in da oven

– Ashley & I began planning a trip to California over the New Year!!!

CALIFORNIA TRIP PLANNING with Ashley!!!

more CA planning on a Saturday night

the aftermath of a stressful lesson with my student

My moniker at Which Wich. Appropriate for this week, no? #Sandy

I like flowers. I like flowers in my room a lot.

snuggly puppy!

– What would you caption the photo below??? 

[I’ve always wanted to snap a photo of it and I finally did yesterday! It’s on the walkway at UNC to the hospitals and means “no pedestrians” but I don’t think that’s as funny as it could be]

*Insert witty caption here*

If you’re feeling adventurous, check out other months in review: July, August, September.

How was your October???

An Afternoon in Central Park

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Did I catch you off guard with that title? Were you thinking perhaps I was magically in New York City perusing the sidewalks of THE Central Park? Sorry for the befuddlement 😉

Durham Central Park

No, I’m talking about the Durham Central Park. Home of the Durham Farmer’s Market, various Food Truck Rodeos, and there’s even a skate little park!

The only times I had ever really been to this area of downtown was for the Farmer’s Markets this past summer. Sure, I had photographed the “Durham Central Park” painting on the brick (that I adore), but I had never walked around without a purpose (like trying to find which stand was selling the most colorful flowers/tomatoes/peppers!). Actually, that’s a semi-lie: there was a purpose in going downtown on Friday… it involved fulfilling a requirement for AmeriCorps but that’s another story. Read the rest of this entry

Meet Lucius

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I love introducing people to “new” music. Take for example my posts about Milo Greene, Of Monsters and Men, my Durham Bulls soundtrack, and the random recent favorite tunes post. And you may remember how I simply love live music. It moves me. Despite the fact that I have zero musical talent (besides the fact that I can play a few songs like Fur Elise on the piano, and sing loudly in my car), music captivates me.

Call me a nerd, but I love music. Hardly a moment of my day goes by without something playing in the background of my day-to-day activities. And whether it’s classical (WCPE, what’s up?!), a youtube playlist, trying out new albums & artists on Spotify, or listening to beloved tunes on iTunes, I seem to be surrounded by music for most of the day.

My love of music is ever-growing, too, and that’s something I love. I’m not one of those people tied to any genre or era of music… I’m constantly on the look out for new groups, artists, musicians, tunes to listen to. (So send any suggestions my way!)

Just last week, I discovered yet another group. They fall into the Indie category, which I am learning to enjoy more and more.

Meet : Lucius.

Read the rest of this entry

September in Review

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Adios September, Hola October!

Whew, the month of September FLEW by. Already, fall has made its presence known in the great state of North Carolina, and I couldn’t be happier. I really love fall.

It seems like I didn’t blog much during September. Well, not many memorable posts at least. Here’s what I got for ya, plus lots of cell phone pictures 😉

I blogged about the wreck my family and I were in. 

September 11 – Remembering

Three “new” restaurants I’ve discovered in Durham!

a slice from Lilly’s

Read the rest of this entry