Monday, September 21, 2009

trash to treasure

people always say that when you're trying to find something you should stop looking for it. most times i agree with that (except when it's referring to a husband- come on now- what 27 year old single female isn't looking? but i digress...). i've been searching for a couple side chairs for the office that i work in. if you've forgotten or you're new to this blog then i'll remind you that i work for a non-profit and our offices are located in the basement of a church. i've done my best to fix up the offices and make them as comfortable and functional as possible on a pretty low budget. remember, non-profit basically means that there isn't much money for extras like side chairs. so my looking has consisted of craigslist (and even that's been too expensive), yard sales and thrift stores.

on saturday i found myself out with my mom on what was an incredibly beautiful day. we had breakfast at one of my favorite diners and then we stopped by a flea market at a church across the street. i came across some really cute charms that i intend on using in some necklaces (another one of my hobbies) and told my mom that i wanted to head to goodwill to checkout their jewelry selection. i've scored some really cute stuff there for way cheap. so we made our way to goodwill and as soon as i stepped through the doors i spotted them. there they were- 2 side chairs just sitting there waiting to be refinished and turned into something adorable for the office. i looked at the price tag and was delighted to find it read $2.97 each. $2.97!!! holy cow that's cheap! i grabbed them quick as i could before someone else got 'em, snagged a few finds from the jewelry counter and was on my merry way.

next stop was the friendly ace hardware store next door where i grabbed some sandpaper and 2 cans of black spray paint. i didn't get around to my project until today but i was so pleased with the results. here's what it looked like when i brought it home from goodwill:

pretty simple, nice comfy cushion, sturdy construction. it was exactly what i was looking for! i sanded both chairs and got to spraying. thankfully i spent the extra buck and got those new handy-dandy spraypaint cans with the trigger. so much easier on the fingers! after 2 coats and some time outside to dry i got to my reupholstering. now, i do not claim to know what i'm doing when it comes to reupholstering furniture, but a simple seat cushion i can handle. i was really excited, too because i used fabric that i brought back from zambia. i love the textiles there. the colors and patterns are so unique and different from what you find here. they sell the material in 2 meter sections and they call them 'chitenges.' they are usually worn as a skirt by wrapping and tying them around their waist, but i've found plenty of other uses for them here: pillows, picture frames, wall art and now furniture!

so i went through my collection of over 30 chitenges (yikes, did i just admit that?) and found the perfect one. it was just the right size to cover both cushions and i couldn't be more pleased with the result. i can't wait to put these in the office tomorrow and complete the little seating area. so fun! here's the after result:

i'll have to take a picture of them in their new home and show you how it looks. i love simple, easy and cheap (under $25 for both chairs) projects like this, especially when i get to use things i already have, like fabric and a staple gun! hopefully i've inspired you to tackle that project that's sitting on the back burner, cause we all know how good it feels to get something done.

also a big thanks to my sister kate for having me over for dinner tonight. i helped her out with some stuff so i know she was just returning the favor but it was delicious. don't let her fool you, her domestic diva-ness has come a long way.

hope everyone has a great day! keep your eyes open cause you never know- that thing you've been looking for might just show up today. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

odd musings

ever have one of those weeks where it feels like you're in the middle of a million things and you can't seem to get any of them done? yeah, i'm totally having one of those. my brain is on overload and i can't seem to focus on any one of the million things for more than 5 seconds. including blogging. therefore, this post will be short because i have a class at church in 20 minutes.

is is the weekend yet? i know, it's close and i couldn't be more ready for it. just need to get through another 24 hours and then i can turn my brain off for 2 days.

plus i've gotten migraines for the past 2 days! is anyone else going through this? i think it's the changing of the seasons. a few days ago it was 80 degrees and today it barely reached 60. that must be it, cause i rarely get migraines. i just wish fall would completely arrive. this part summer/part autumn thing is annoying. i'm an all or nothing kind of girl!

this post is so scattered, but i felt bad about leaving my blog so bare. haha. oh well. we all need a post like this every once in a while i suppose. hope everyone else is having a better week. hopefully i'll be back soon with something more interesting and cheerful. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


every once in a while you get the privilege of meeting someone who truly inspires you and makes you want to be a better person. in my last few years of traveling the globe i've come across some amazing people and i want to dedicate this post to one of them.

in september of 2007 i took my first journey to zambia, africa- a place that has since captured my heart. after flying 18-hours and driving another 9 in-country, i reached the little village that was my destination. at the end of my 2-week trip i met a woman in a nearby town named Joyce. Joyce was a spunky Zambian full of life and joy. i learned that she ran an NGO (non-government-organization) called PVCW (short for Program for Vulnerable Children & Women). that first year i had no idea if i would ever see this woman again. at that time i had no idea why God had sent me to that country, only that He said "GO". and for the record, i was a bit intimidated... i mean your first time in africa can be a little scary when you have no idea what to expect and the only images in your head are from movies that mostly depict the tragedy of the continent.

when i returned to zambia in september of 2008, this time staying 3 months, i made it a point to go and visit joyce again. my philosophy is that the more people you know in a foreign country, the better. it can't hurt to know people and trust me, this theory has proved itself over and over as i've found myself in strange situations. when i would take my weekly trips into town for the necessities (cold coke, chicken and internet access) i made it a point to stop by joyce's office and chat with her. during one of those chats she invited me (and the friend who was living there with me) to accompany her on a trip to a strange place called Nbwalya (pronounced nuh-bwal-ya). you can read all about that crazy trip here. while the experience was interesting to say the least, it cemented my friendship with joyce. it was on that trip that she shared with me her love for the women & children of Zambia and the dreams God had given her to help them. she told me stories of villages that she regularly visits and the ways she trains and empowers women to provide for their family by teaching them farming, hygiene, sewing, food-making and much more. "but" she said to me, "i always teach them to read first and then have them study women in the bible who God used to do amazing things." it might seem strange, but it's exactly what they need. many women in rural Zambia are treated lower than men and it has perpetuated this cycle of women believing that they are only good to cook, clean and make babies which couldn't be any farther from the truth.

to put it simply, the work Joyce is doing is wonderful and very needed. she is a single woman who has become a spiritual mother to many. every time i sit in her office numerous people drop by just to say hello to her. this year while i was in her office i met a young man named abraham who was deaf, which led me to learn about the needs of the deaf school and ultimately to the incredible story you can read about here. abraham, was quick to tell me (by writing it) that Joyce is like a mother to the deaf children in the community. when they have a need, she does her best to fill it. Joyce does all of this work with absolutely no salary. whatever donations are received for her organization get put right into the needs of the communities. she lives completely on faith that God will provide for her. i am so humbled by her committment and her service.

before i left Zambia Joyce told me that she would really like a King James Bible. i couldn't find one there so i just purchased one here at home and had her name inscribed on it. it will be put to good use. Joyce is up from 4-6am every morning leading a group of people in her village in a prayer meeting. now that is dedication. like i said, i'm humbled. so i'm going to send that to her along with some pictures and few other things i purchased for her. it's a small gesture of appreciation for the love she's shown me over the past few years and the inspiration she has been to me. i only hope i can leave a legacy of love like she has. thank you Joyce for the sacrificial love you have shown to the people of Zambia and to the foreigners who pass through your town.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

bye bye 26

i have to give major kudos to my mom for my birthday present. now i know it might not seem creative and heck it was easy to do, but for me it meant a lot!

yes, gift cards.

now i know how easy it is to find gift cards these days. gas stations all over the country are allowing us to be last-minute shoppers thanks to those handy-dandy gift card stands, but i must say that getting a bag full of gift cards was so much fun! here's what i got: kohl's, applebees, wawa, amazon, starbucks, chili's, itunes, panera bread, subway, and cvs. let's just say it was a lot of money and this present is going to last me weeks!!! plus, another friend gave me a starbucks gift card, too and my bff gave me one to a local spa so i can get a facial! my lovely sissy gave me a shirt, shoes and earrings. had to return the shirt cause it didn't fit but i got a super cute sweater instead!

my parent's had a business dinner in philly tonight so i went out with some of my siblings and a few friends and we had fun. we were supposed to go to on-the-border for some good old mexican food but they were closed!!! apparently they had some plumbing issues. we ended up at applebees instead which is a sad replacement, but it ended up ok. they sang to me and i got a hot fudge sunday that my lovely niece kyra shared with me. she was literally feeding me with the spoon and even managed to keep me clean!

a quick target run with my sis-in-love ended the evening and it was fantastic. and we all know how much i love target. :)

27 is looking good so far.

they say it's my birthday

today is my 27th birthday, but that's not what i'm writing about. last night as i was lying in bed attempting to drift into dreamland i realized that my mind hadn't gotten the memo and was still moving way too fast. so i started wondering why it is that this always happens to me. almost every night before i fall asleep i'm consumed with thoughts of things i should have done that day, things i need to do tomorrow and everything else in between. many nights i find myself on the verge of a panic attack because of all the overwhelming feelings i have. i think i discovered why this happens. distractions.

or perhaps i should say, lack-thereof? unless i zonk out to the tv (which i hate doing) my time in bed right before i fall asleep is one of the few times during the day when i'm not distracted by something... tv... internet... books... other people. it's the only time that my mind actually gets to sit and process and reflect.

i really need to be better about taking time first thing in the morning to just listen and reflect on what needs to be done instead of pushing it off until the next day which i am oh-so-good at. i need to motivate myself to get moving and start crossing those things off my to-do list. how wonderful would it be to start every day like that?

but today is my birthday. so i think i'll start tomorrow. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


what is about that store that sucks me in every time?

it could be the starbucks perched right inside the entrance with the soy chai latte sweetly calling my name. let's face it, perusing your favorite store only gets better when you've got your favorite drink in hand. has such a calming effect on me.

it could also be the dollar spot that i spent the first 15 minutes scrutinizing. do i need more random office supplies to clutter my desk? no, but they're just so darn cute. however, my niece kyra definitely needs the sesame street coloring book, stickers and figurines that i scored there today. what 2 year old doesn't?

i guess it could also be the trendy clothes section that leaves me drooling to be a hipper version of myself. with it's $5 leggings and always-full clearance racks i'm often in trouble. did i mention shoes? does it matter that i own 10 pairs of flats? but the ones i found are just so cute and at $12.99 i almost don't have to feel guilty! let's not even talk about jewelry... ok well maybe just a little bit. cutest earrings and necklaces ever and i convince myself that 1 necklace won't hurt even though there is absolutely NO ROOM left on my super-cute jewelry board my sister made me.

i suppose it could also be the home-decor section that leaves me longing for my own house. today i actually contemplated buying a clearanced ottoman and storing it in a spare bedroom in my parent's house. in fact i'm still considering cause at $59 it was a steal.

basically target has it all. including my heart.

did i just admit that on my blog? yikes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

we all need our sisters

so i've been home for a few days now and my body is slowing starting to adjust to a new time zone. i really can't complain, the jet lag hasn't been near as bad as it could be. for the most part i'm doing quite well. i pushed myself pretty hard this weekend and did way too much but there were just so many people that i wanted to see!

yesterday i got a text from a friend and she asked me to come over while her and another friend made and canned tomato sauce. so i went and i ended up having an amazing time. it's so funny how God knows exactly what you need and who you need at certain times. conversation flowed so freely and i felt so encouraged knowing i wasn't alone in my thoughts and feelings. at the end of the conversation i was thanking my one friend for being there and she said, "we all need our sisters." it's so true. female companionship is such a beautiful and special thing. i don't know what happens when most guys get together other than beer-drinking, sports-talking and noise-making, but i know that a lot of 'girl time' is spent in heart-to-heart conversation. God gave us females this uncanny ability to express our emotion through verbal communication and while some are better at it than others, it's still an integral part of our relationships.

last night around 8:30 i felt myself again needing some quality girl time and my sister and best friend were right there when i needed them. they dropped what they were doing at that moment, met me and assured me i wasn't crazy in my feelings at that moment. they gave me my sanity back and for that i am forever grateful.

there are a lot of times where i enjoy being alone and don't want to be bothered by people, but the truth is that i need them. especially all my sisters.

besides, everyone needs a good vent over ice cream once in a while, right? ;)