On Tech & Disconnecting

tumblr_n9jyg5jdtA1r1vjs5o1_1280I am settling back into my routine after returning from another wonderful trip to Ghana! I am so grateful for all of the amazing travel experiences my job with Touch A Life has afforded me, but this past week was one of my favorites of all time. The team, comprised of 22 volunteers and supporters, was just so, so wonderful. There were so many moments when we were at the Care Center that I found myself looking around at our incredible crew as they interacted with the kids and staff. We hosted a yoga retreat at the facility over the weekend, which was just the absolute best, and the children all had their medical and dental assessments completed thanks to our rock star volunteer physician and dentist. There was a fierce sand volleyball tournament, tons of crafting projects in the Art Center, and plenty of bonding with the kids. Our trips are always about the children we serve, first and foremost, but as I reflect on our week, I keep reveling in how stellar the team from the U.S. was, how passionate they are about Touch A Life and how a mentality of gratitude seemed to cloak every single person as they savored their time in Ghana. It was really special.

While I was there, my phone made itself scarce – whether it was lost or stolen or simply misplaced, I don’t know, but it went rogue halfway through the trip. I was annoyed, to be sure, mostly because I wasn’t interested in shelling out cash for a new device once I got home. But then a moment of clarity passed over me, and I felt pleased that I was able to disconnect from everything that tends to creep into my mind via my phone even when I’m in the most sacred of spaces. Sure, it made it easier knowing that I could get in touch with James or my family if I needed to by using someone else’s phone – I wasn’t totally stranded or off the grid – but I loved not having a device at my fingertips. I procrastinated on buying a new phone when I got home, and since I’ve returned, I’ve lost touch with the gravitational pull towards my social media feeds and text messages, which is something I’ve wanted to do, but failed at, for some time now. I even (finally) bought an alarm clock so I can keep my phone charging in a separate room at night (instead of using it to wake me up each morning), preventing any temptation to delve into the world of email before falling asleep.

Coincidentally (though not on purpose, lest you think I lost my phone as a social experiment), I wrote a post about social media usage for Darling Magazine that was published on Monday, the day I got back into action after recovering from jet lag, and I understood what I had written so much more acutely after having been disconnected with technology myself. I’d love it if you took a peek at the piece and let me know what you think. For now, here’s a taste of what’s in store:

“…if we’re relying solely on an online community to validate our character or our opinions, without having a real life community in place to balance out this feedback, we may be missing the point.

The point is that bonding with a group of people gathering in an online forum is important, but so is intimately connecting with the loved ones with whom we interact in real life, face-to-face. Relationships that withstand the test of time are the ones in which we’re honest and real, both online and in person, and solely relying on the commentary from those with whom we communicate through screens can be detrimental.”

For the rest of the post, hop on over to Darling’s blog!

Image via The Girl With The Curl

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Week & End

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe made it to Friday! This week felt especially long since I’ve been living in memories and whispers of last week’s trip to the California coast, so I’m really ready for a low-key and relaxing weekend. Tonight I think I’m going to make this soup – it’s going to be rainy here and this seems like the perfect thing to have for dinner. Tomorrow I’ll go to yoga and giggle with Kyla over lunch, then hopefully squeeze in a nap and maybe, if I’m feeling ambitious, some organizational projects. I’m so excited for Sunday, which is when we’re going to have a Friendsgiving celebration with our small group! I’m making stuffing and a harvest salad – yum. On Monday evening (which is certainly not the weekend, I know, but thanks to a short work week, it will feel like an extension of it), James and I bought tickets to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!

Happy Friday, and enjoy some fun links from around the web!

My latest post is up on Darling Magazine’s blog! It’s about ways to take in culture in your community. How do you get a dose of culture in your hometown? Dallas is full of museums that I love to wander through, and there are so many great ethnic restaurants that (literally!) give me a great taste of culture, too.

Given my passionate love for Mexican food, this cookbook would be the perfect title to add to my repertoire.

Speaking of food, this salted honey pie looks like an incredible addition to any Thanksgiving meal (via Camille Styles).

Okay, more food for thought – wouldn’t a popcorn bar be a fun feature to have at a party?

I need to hop into Goop’s pop-up shop in Highland Park Village soon and very soon! Probably not on Saturday when Gwenyth Paltrow will be there to sign her cookbooks – because it will be a ZOO – but definitely before the pop-up shop leaves Dallas in the middle of December!

Image from our time in Big Sur – more to come soon!