Career Feature on The Everygirl

www.nbarrettphotography.comI am so, so, so excited to share that I am featured on The Everygirl today! I am still pinching myself that this dream has become a reality. I read The Everygirl on a daily basis, so, without sounding like a total narcissist, it’s unbelievably exciting to see myself on the home page. Most importantly, I’m thrilled that this post showcases Touch A Life, the amazing organization for which I serve as the Director of Project Development. I hope readers will be inspired by the story behind the foundation, and maybe even a few people will want to get involved!

I am so totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for this post – thank you to my amazing family and friends for cheering me on today! Thank you, too, to the incredibly awesome and talented Natalie Shelton for taking these special photos. And, of course, thank you to The Everygirl for being such a wonderful place where women can be encouraged and inspired every single day.

Head on over to The Everygirl to read the post and my interview, and check out some of Natalie’s fabulous photos below!

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Swiss Avenue Historic District

Swiss Avenue

I’m back from Nashville and I have so much goodness to share from my time in Tennessee! But first, it’s back to the grind. Actually, I’m super excited to be back at work in Dallas because I’m enrolled in a really interesting grant writing workshop at the Center for Nonprofit Management. I’ll share some of the input that I learned here on the blog next week!

The Center for Nonprofit Management is located in a sweet little oasis tucked away in Deep Ellum. Though this hip neighborhood is known to be more on the industrial, up-and-coming end of the neighborhood spectrum, the Center is located in a nook with a different vibe – on Swiss Avenue, a historically beautiful tree-lined street that is home to a host of gorgeously restored homes. The best part? Thanks to The Meadows Foundation, these beautifully maintained properties are now where many local non-profit organizations are based. Is that a sweet deal or what? Now I’m dreaming of Touch A Life having an office space in this pretty part of town…

Week & End

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Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? We are heading to James’s family’s ranch in Cross Plains, and, as always, I’m excited for fresh air, home cooking, and lots of relaxation. Also, word on the street is that the local rodeo will be in town…

Enjoy your days off as well as some fun links from around the world wide web!

I can’t wait for Wit & Delight’s party collection to debut at Target on Sunday! I am so excited to see what fun, decorative, and creative pieces that Kate Arends came up with for her personalized collection, Craft Social. I am not-so-secretly jealous of everyone who got to attend the Wit & Delight for Target launch party this week – it looked amazing (especially that pie bar, reminiscent of our wedding desserts!).

I finally took the plunge and purchased this lamp (in white/gold) from One Forty Three for my home office. I had seen it on my friend Natalie’s blog nearly a year ago and had been waiting for just the right time to purchase it. I sold my previous office desk lamp at last week’s garage sale (where we raised $5,238 to benefit Touch A Life’s Fence Fundraiser campaign, exceeding our goal of $5,000 – so exciting!!), partially because I wanted to accumulate as many items as possible for the sale and also, subliminally, because I wanted an excuse to buy the One Forty Three lamp (if I don’t have a desk lamp anymore then I have to buy a new one, right?). I also snagged two of these Ikea lamps (in white as well), after having observed them all over the blogosphere and admiring the minimalist style and cheap price tag. I got one to top the dresser in our master bedroom and one for my office at work. Let there be light!

So many good movies are coming out soon! After reading This Is Where I Leave You, I am stoked to see the movie, and I also am looking forward to seeing The Skeleton Twins. Kyla and I have plans to check it out the latter film on Monday – we’ll let you know what we think! P.S. If you haven’t seen Chef yet, you absolutely must – it may very well be my favorite movie of the year!

This really well-written article about the Ebola virus a bit of a somber link but it’s a really important one. Reporting on the epidemic in West Africa has really lessened over the past few weeks, and in some ways, that’s a good thing. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that this is the worst Ebola outbreak in the history of the world (according to the article, “there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years”) and we need to start being proactive instead of reactive. Some good food for thought.

Let’s end on a positive note! Las week on A Cup of Jo, Joanna Goddard shared this post about the most brilliant Friday night tradition. I immediately e-mailed it to James with the subject “LIFE GOAL.” I so want to replicate this at our house someday!

Five Years

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Five years ago today I piled up my car, said teary goodbyes to my best friends, and began the long road trip from Los Angeles to Dallas. I was moving to Texas for my job at Touch A Life and though I was totally daunted by the transition and anxious about what lay ahead (I had only been to Dallas a handful of times, and I knew hardly anyone besides my coworkers), I knew that taking this step would allow me to live out the plan that God had set out for my life. And now, looking back, I see how vivid and rich that plan was, and I truly can’t imagine my life any other way. By moving to Dallas, I furthered my career, came into my own as a woman, and, most importantly, met my husband and made some of the very best friends in the world, establishing community that I truly could never live without, regardless of where I live.

Of course, I know that September 11th marks a very sad time in our country’s history, and I’ve been thinking about and praying for those affected by the terrorist attacks continually throughout the day; nothing could ever change or trivialize what this day means to us as American citizens. But as far as my personal journey goes, September 11th has come to mean something else, something about trust and hope and promise. I’m reminded to live every day with intentionality, following in the path that God has laid out before me. I’m reminded to never take a single second of this sweet life for granted and to trust that everything, indeed, can be redeemed and made beautiful in His time.

Photo via Heather Hawkins from our engagement photo shoot last year – click on the link to check out more photos from that fun session!

A Portrait of Forgiveness

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Nancy Borowick, a dear friend of the Touch A Life Foundation (and me!), is currently at our Care Center in Ghana, West Africa. Prior to heading up to the facility to spend time with the children and shoot some gorgeous images of the property, she stayed in Accra, Ghana’s capital, where we have several teenage girls living communally and learning trades. Many of the girls are becoming seamstresses while one is learning to be a chef and Forgive, pictured above, is learning to be a hairdresser. I have known Forgive and the other girls since they were young, so this photo that Nancy sent me of her was particularly striking – she’s so beautiful, isn’t she? She’s really growing up.

Gosh, how I love this girl’s name: Forgive. I am so bad at offering forgiveness and grace, but Forgive tangibly reminds me of the power inherent in forgiving others and giving grace to those who need it (myself included). Forgive, like the other children in Touch A Life’s care, was exploited at the hands of an adult who stripped her of her identity and worth. In spite of the darkness she has lived through, Forgive is a light in her community and in the world. She is a hard worker who is determined to grow into a woman who can make a difference in her lifetime – and I know she can do it. She inspires me, and I hope that today Forgive inspires you, too.

Week & End

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Friday already?! I guess time really does fly when you’re cooped up in the house for a few days – once I got back into my routine after I started recovering, I feel like I blinked and each day was over in a flash. What’s on your agenda for this weekend? Tomorrow James & I are going on a Stand Up Paddleboarding adventure at White Rock Lake with some friends (preceded by breakfast tacos and followed by margaritas), and then I’m heading to Victor Tango’s for a birthday dinner to celebrate my dear friend Kristen. James & I embarked on a major closet clean-out last week, and we’re nearly finished – I think on Sunday we’ll have just the time we need to conclude the decluttering process. It feels so good to be organized and not weighed down by so much stuff, don’t you think?

Have a great weekend and enjoy some fun links from around the web!

I saw the poster above on Bri Emery’s Instagram this week and I wanted it for our house (the reminder is so, so good and I love the color scheme)…then, lo and behold, I discoverd that it’s available for free in Yield Design Co.’s shop – FOR FREE, PEOPLE! All you have to do is pay $2 shipping. What are you waiting for?!

I have been longing to check out two fabulous-looking new(ish) coffee shops in town: Weekend Coffee & The Wild Detectives. I need to hit up these spots soon (and very soon).

I love this peek into the refrigerator of Courtney McBroom (of Momofuku Milk Bar fame).

As a celebration of the closet-clean out (I seriously got rid of so many shoes – I can’t wait to sell them at our garage sale), I figured that these gorgeous Joie sandals had to find their way into my collection (thanks, Mom!).

Got a birthday coming up but not quite sure how to celebrate it? Consider donating your special day to Touch A Life. In lieu of gifts, ask your loved ones to support Touch A Life’s work in Ghana. Host a party so you can celebrate your birthday and thank your family & friends for their giving spirits!

Image & poster via Yield Design Co.

Week & End

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Happy weekend! How was your week? Mine was full of lots of goodness, including a fabulous dinner with the Viegers & Bakers on Tuesday evening (restaurant recap to come!), our book club’s movie outing to see The Fault in Our Stars on Wednesday, and Thursday night’s Bites, Sips & 31 Bits soirée, which was a total blast. This weekend is going to be low-key again, with just a pool party at Heather’s house and margaritas on a sun-filled patio with girlfriends on the books.

Now onto some fun links from around the web! But first, I leave you with a great summery quote I read in this month’s issue of Real Simple magazine:

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – Sir John Lubbock, The Use of Life

I’m copying Shauna Niequist and making it my life goal to ensure that people feel loved, known, welcome, and enough. Shauna and her poignant blog posts, man – she gets me every time.

Lauren & I made a super cute coffee filter garland for our 31 Bits party on Thursday (photos to come!) but for my next party I think I’d like to make this neon bead party garland. So pretty and definitely versatile enough to keep on the wall after the fiesta ends, don’t you think?

Speaking of DIYs, I am adding this midcentury-style plant stand to my crafting list. Love!

Fish tacos are amongst my most favorite meals on the planet (especially enjoyable during summertime), so I think that I need to make this spicy version of the dish (with cabbage slaw & lime crema) very, very soon.

If you haven’t already, register for AmazonSmile – 0.5% of your purchases will go to the nonprofit of your choice. Touch A Life is on the list of non-profits to support, so sign up and choose the organization in Irving, Texas. Your contributions will head our way the next time you buy something online. So easy!

Image via Pinterest

Garage Sale Fundraiser

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Today I did a bit of heavy lifting along with some sorting and organizing and shifting and moving for a garage sale that my friend Jessica and I are hosting in September. We’ve signed up to participate in a Fence Fundraiser campaign to help Touch A Life  build a fence around their Care Center in Ghana, a beautiful space where formerly trafficked and exploited children are free to live, grow, and heal. As the Director of Project Development for Touch A Life, I can confidently say that this Care Center is making an enormous difference in the lives of the children in Ghana, and also (maybe even especially) in the lives of our U.S.-based staff (myself included) and supporters.

I love the idea of hosting a garage sale to raise money for a cause – you simultaneously get to declutter your home while making a difference in the lives of others. We’re starting our collection process early, gathering tons of goodies that we hope people will be anxious to buy. Our families and friends have our sale on their calendars (September 6th!) because we are going to need all the help we can get.

The best part? You can host a sale, too! Sign up at Touch A Life’s website to have your own garage sale to benefit this project. Gather up your gently used items, collaborate with your family and friends and community, and commit to hosting a sale that will raise money to support some of the most beautiful children on the planet. Join us, won’t you?