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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Week & End

325348c2dc8ccaf7872e680798ef5960Happy Friday! We’ve had dreary weather here in Dallas lately but the forecast has taken a turn – the high is supposed to be in the 70s for the next week! So that means tomorrow Callie is going on a long walk at White Rock Lake with her furry friend, Franklin (Kyla’s sweet pup). Tonight I’m meeting my girlfriends at Mi Cocina for our favorite Mambo Taxis, which I think is just the most perfect way to cap off the work week.

Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy some links from around the world wide web!

Last week, the daughter of Touch A Life’s co-founders, Tatum Cope, wrote an incredibly moving blog post about meeting her birth mom in Vietnam this past summer. You’ll have to keep reminding yourself that she is only 16 years old – her wisdom definitely transcends her age.

I enjoy maintaining a healthy lifestyle, one that focuses on consuming wholesome, quality, unprocessed foods and exercising daily, but I always like to treat myself (see: Mambo Taxis). In this day and age, it sometimes feels like a crime to enjoy an occasional dessert, a beautifully-garnished cocktail, or, my favorite, a glorious pizza binge. So on that note, Sarah Yates’s hilarious definitive guide to healthy eating cracked me up. The blogger is actually a very clean eater (her healthy diet is a tool she uses to fight against Crohn’s disease, a condition from which she suffers) so to see that even she is annoyed by the contradictions present in everyday media was a relief. I think she sums it up best here: “There is no one right answer, no one right way, no one size fits all approach to health.” Amen!

Kyla was the first person to tell me that, in spite of my (mostly) outgoing personality, I am actually an introvert because I gain energy from being alone (vs. being with others). I found this to be quite the revelation, so I’ve shared the insight with others, including Korena, who realized that she is an outgoing introvert, too. She sent me this hilarious link and I confess that it. is. so. me. Especially #3, #4 (sorry, Mom!), #6, and #7.

I have been slowly but surely making the transition to using more natural beauty products, and based on this recommendation, I snagged Thayers Witch Hazel Toner with Rose Petal. I love it already!

Last night we made these black bean burritos and they were delicious (we also learned how to make quick-pickled onions – who knew it was so easy?!). The bean filling would be good with just about everything. In fact, I used the mixture to make a quick breakfast taco this morning – so tasty!

Image via lark & linen

Touch A Life + Black Friday

TAL on Black FridayHow was your Thanksgiving? Ours was just as phenomenal as anticipated, filled with food and laughter and joy and togetherness. I’m so glad James and I will be in Chicago for a few more days! On the agenda – heading to the gun range at our country club (a first for our family!), hosting a pizza & wedding video outtakes viewing party, getting foot massages, and celebrating my birthday a few days early. I’m so happy!

In between all of our fun activities, I’m sure I’ll be checking out some awesome Black Friday deals, including the fabulous one that Touch A Life is offering. For a $50 donation, we will send you a signed copy of Pam Cope’s memoir, Jantsen’s Gift, along with a set of five beautiful Artifact Uprising prints of our children and Care Center in Ghana taken by photographer Nancy Borowick.  This is a limited edition item – only 16 sets are available!

For a $20 donation, we will send you a set of 10 Christmas cards with illustrations drawn by five Touch A Life children in Ghana. These are perfect to send to your family and friends as a Christmas greeting!

Visit Touch A Life’s website to make your donation and select the item that you’d like to receive. Your purchase will make a difference in the life of a child in Ghana – there’s not much better than that!

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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Three cheers for short work weeks! We are putting in lots of hours helping with the garage sale that my friend Jessica is hosting to benefit Touch A Life this weekend, so we’ll certainly be celebrating with some ice-cold cocktails after our hard work is done tomorrow evening. Our small group took a summer hiatus and we’ll be starting up again on Sunday, so I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into a routine of getting together after church for lunch and fellowship. Other than that, there’s not much else on the agenda! Do you have big plans? I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Just for fun, here are some great links from around the web:

This post and this post make me want to take a trip to Big Sur as soon as possible. Like, tomorrow? I’m craving some ocean air in a major way.

These fresh peach and yogurt biscuits look so delicious! They’d be perfect with a hot cup of coffee for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

I love reading the blog Sugar & Cloth, so I am super obsessed with this tour of her studio space – it’s so gorgeous! This is totally the look I am going for in my own office at work, which you may get to see online soon and very soon…(teaser!).

I am stoked about the impending release of Camille Styles’s entertaining book! I’m also hoping she’ll come to Dallas during one of her book tour dates.

In the mood to do some Christmas shopping in September? We just posted our Christmas wish list for the Touch A Life children in Ghana! Visit our list on Amazon.com and select a gift to send to a child in West Africa. Your contribution will truly make a child’s Christmas a memorable one!

Image via Glitter Guide

The Science of Sleep

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What a whirlwind of a week it’s been. Due to the heart-wrenching Ebola outbreak in West Africa, our upcoming trip to Ghana has been cancelled. Touch A Life, in conjunction with our amazing Medical Advisory Board (comprised of five physicians and one pharmacist, all of whom are equipped with immense knowledge, wisdom, and international travel experience), has decided to cancel the trip for the protection of the children in our care and for the safety of our travelers. Though Ghana is currently not one of the affected areas, its proximity to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea prompted our staff and medical team to have concerns about volunteers traveling to the region. The Ebola virus has not spread to Ghana (so the children and staff at our Care Center are safe and healthy) but the Center for Disease Control recently placed Level 3 restrictions on the affected countries, asking travelers not to take any nonessential trips to those spots. After tons of prayer and deliberation, we agreed that it was unnecessary for our large team of volunteers to take this journey, less because we are worried about the disease itself (though we are still praying hard for those affected, as Ebola is very serious and scary) and more because we are concerned about the instability of the region and the high likelihood of travel delays, flight cancellations, and quarantines in the areas surrounding Ghana. You can learn more about Ebola and the impact of this outbreak, the largest recorded instance in history, from this excellent NPR podcast – this gave me so much additional context for exactly why this specific outbreak is threatening the stability of West Africa. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people and communities who are fighting the spread of this disease, as well as to the brave medical personnel who are fighting alongside them.

On a (semi) lighter note, did anyone else have to read The Hot Zone in high school? The book, about Ebola and its horrifying ability to spread rapidly, was terrifying on its on but even more so when the subject matter actually came to the forefront of our lives last week. Though Ebola has been present in many regions in Africa since the 1970s, last week’s outbreak was extremely notable because the disease, normally contained to rural areas, hopped into urban areas and across country borders, exponentially increasing its ability to spiral out of control. As you can imagine, this shift led to many sleepless nights as our staff prayed fervently for friends in West Africa, for guidance about the decision to cancel the trip, and for the safety of the children in our care. It also brought back the hilarious nightmares I had while reading the book in high school, which were so vivid then that I can still remember them to this day (let’s just say they involved a blue tiger, my history teacher, and a few non-threatening dinosaurs). I like to read before bedtime, as it makes me so relaxed, but I normally stick to books that don’t make me scared to go to sleep, things like chick lit, faith-based books, and magazines. While reading my most recent issue of Real Simple last week, I came upon a fascinating article about sleep called “While You Were Sleeping.” The premise of the article was this:

“‘A lot of people think of sleep as an inert state, like a laptop switching off,’ says Jessica Payne, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and the director of the Sleep, Stress, and Memory Lab at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana. ‘But during sleep, your mind and body are actually highly active with processes critical for your physical and mental health.” In fact, your body even performs certain tasks more efficiently and thoroughly when you’re at rest than when you’re alert.

This felt like a personal victory to me, as I’m one of those people who requires a good 10 hours of sleep per night and loves any article that justifies this behavior. I can (and do) go on less, but I know my optimal performance comes after a really restful night’s sleep, so I silently applauded the article’s author, Jennifer King Lindley, for penning such a great piece that didn’t just regurgitate everything we already know about sleep (including the things that we wouldn’t have to read about to know – like, duh, if we get a good night’s sleep, we know that we don’t feel tired the next day) but instead focused on some new, interesting points that illustrate how sleep makes us more efficient, thoughtful, diligent people. The main points of the piece emphasize that:

  1. Sleep heals.
  2. It enhances memory.
  3. Sleep boosts creativity.
  4. It keeps weight in check.
  5. Sleep helps conquer stress.

To those of you who think this topic is a little tired (badda bing), pick up a copy for yourself – this article is worth the read. And if you aren’t crazy about it? At least maybe it will put you to sleep.

Image via Modern Hepburn

Week & End

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It’s Memorial Day Weekend, eeeeee! Exactly one year ago yesterday, James & I got engaged – so cool! To celebrate, we headed to Chicago for a mini-Johnson family reunion, which was a total blast. This year we’re spending the weekend in Dallas doing lots of fun things with friends. Last night we were at a benefit concert hosted by the Cones & their friends from their church community, the Kellums – The Black Frames played (and James got to do a cameo on his fiddle, so fun!) and the proceeds of the event benefitted Touch A Life. Does it get any more awesome than that? Tonight we’re having friends over for a backyard barbecue, and on Sunday we’ll meet more friends for dinner at Hopdoddy & a game night (where a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity will definitely be involved). I plan to soak up the sun on Monday and convince James to take me out for a Mambo Taxi (or two). Three cheers for three day weekends!

And now, for some fun links from around the web…

Everyone (including myself, clearly) has been posting gorgeous pictures of peonies & I don’t blame them – they’re in season right now and they make me so happy! I picked some up at Trader Joe’s for our house and my office and I need to read up on how to care for them so they last for as long as possible.

I am obsessed with Daily Greens juice (made in Austin but widely distributed in Dallas, even at my yoga studio) – I drank a bottle of the Harmony juice every day while we were in Austin for our wedding festivities, even on the big day itself! When I read that they are opening a juice bar where they’ll also serve cocktails, I nearly fainted – what a delicious concept.

There are so many good new restaurants cropping up around town. I want to try Pecan Lodge, Top Pot Doughnuts, and Stock & Barrel.

Wouldn’t it be fun to host a build-your-own sliders party?

These sandals! Swoon. So perfect for summer!