Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Prayers for Haiti

Photo cred: from the Christian Science Monitor.
Read the story behind the photo here.
It's beautiful.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dictionary Project Update: Some Delivered, but Still a Great Need

There we were. Standing in the library of John F. Kennedy elementary school in Ferndale when all of the sudden...massive amounts of 3rd graders come at us.

This only means one thing: we reached our goal of being able to provide dictionaries to every third grader in the Ferndale school district!

Last Wednesday, the gals from the Operation: Kid Equip (OKE) female blogger collaboration and Menachem, the co-founder and brains behind OKE came together to deliver dictionaries to our first school.

The experience was nothing short of amazing. The principal announced us and explained to the children that we were sharing our passion for writing with them by giving them a great tool - a dictionary.

The children crowded around us, each getting up to receive a dictionary of their very own. We received many thanks, but the cutest of all were all the HUGS we received. Once seated again, the students thumbed through the book, which was easy to navigate for a 3rd grader and they all quickly found other nuggets of wisdom in the book such as sign language and the longest word known to man. I showed a little girl how I sign my name and encouraged her to learn how to sign her own name and then look up words in the dictionary and figure out how to sign those. Here she is signing away:

Following the distribution, the principal asked the students how receiving a dictionary made them feel inside and the students were quick to raise their hands to share: excited, happy and LOVED. To think a simple act of giving away a dictionary could make a child feel loved was the best feeling ever. We all departed feeling pretty darn good about ourselves.

The need train doesn't stop here though. We still need to distribute many more dictionaries to area children. And our next stop is Hazel Park, an Oakland County city that has been hit very hard by the economy.

To those asking "Why Oakland County and not Detroit proper?" listen up:
Oakland County is often noted as one of the "richest" counties in the state. However, that really isn't true these days -- not in Michigan's economy especially. However, because of this notion, many times children in Oakland County are overlooked. As OKE's research has shown, many school districts have gone up dramatically in the past few years with the school's free and reduced lunch program, which generally is an indicator of the need. One district in dire need is Hazel Park, which has recently surpassed Pontiac's need.

Helping out is simple. For a $20 donation, you can supply eight third graders with dictionaries.

1. Click here to make a PayPal donation.

2. Mail a check to:
Operation: Kid Equip
P.O. Box 364
Royal Oak, MI 48068-0364
*Write Dictionary Project in the memo line*

3. Contact menachem[at] to make a credit card or other form of payment.

So on this Martin Luther King Day as we reflect on how our country has progressed through the years, let us also reflect on something very important he said many years ago:

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

Special props to the other Detroit-area bloggers making this possible: Erin Rose of Positive Detroit, Becks Davis of Detroit Moxie, Nikki Stephan of Creativity, Love, Happiness & All That Falls Between and Jennifer Wright of Looking Glass Lane. If you'd like to join the collaboration, contact Erin at positivedetroit[at]

Thanks to Becks Davis of Detroit Moxie for the adorable photo in the middle of the girl with the dictionary.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Song(s): Songs About Detroit

Check out this sweet Wikipedia entry of songs that were written about Detroit. I had no idea our fair city was so popular!

**Wiki entry on songs about Detroit**

There's your standard Detroiters on the list - Eminem, Kid Rock and a pleuthora of Detroit-area bands, but there's also a whole slew of other random artists as well.

Glad the city provides inspiration to some rockin' musicians! I feel a new playlist coming on...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Looking for Rad Places? Try

One of my favorite discoveries this year has been Yelp.

Dubbed as "Real People. Real Reviews.", Yelp gives registered users the opportunity to dish about everything from restaurants and bars to salons and dry cleaners.

Since I didn't grow up in the D, this site has been crucial in finding new places to nosh and play.

Before Yelp, I stuck to dining in my neighborhood or relied on friend's suggestions. Yelp has pushed me to look elsewhere....and has proved that sometimes the way places look on the outside do not reflect the vibe within. (i.e. after reading a few good reviews, I'm excited to try my neighborhood Chinese restaurant, even though it kinda looks creepy on the outside.)

The site has also been extremely helpful in planning trips. If I know I am going to be traveling to a certain town, I always check Yelp first. I'd much prefer to hear from someone else about a great place then search local news sites.

Thanks Yelp for helping me, or shall I say yelping me out.

Read real reviews on Detroit-area places here. And if you check out a place, be sure to write a review yourself -- you never know, your suggestion/complaint may be addressed by the business owner. Check out my reviews or friend me here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Song(s): Jill Jack is where it's at

My dear friend Nikki and I have been wanting to see Detroit folk singer/songwriter Jill Jack and her band for months and last night we finally got the chance to do that with our Twitter friend Stacy at Callahan's in Auburn Hills.

Wow, am I ever glad we got to go! The concert was for the release of her newest CD, Songwriter Sessions, which features a variety of songs that she's written over the years but has never released on CD.

Jill definitely has a captivating appeal to her. Not only is she gorgeous (she looks absolutely fab for 47 years old!), but she's a natural storyteller, which to me, makes the music much more meaningful. She revealed what each song meant to her - from broken hearts to empty nest syndrome to insomnia and beyond. Each lyric is deeply personal and she isn't afraid to reveal her inspiration behind each song on her Web site, which just makes me love her even more.

I can't quite place who she sounds like since she's just unique and herself, but a cross between Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow came to my mind. And those are some lady singers I adore, so it all makes sense why I enjoyed her concert. :)

I've listened to her stuff on her site and plan to buy the CD/DVD combo for sure once its on iTunes, but if you get the chance to see her live, that's where the sweetness is. She's a great live musician and I hope to see her many more times in the future.

Thanks Jill and the band of talented folks for making Michigan proud!

*Image from

Thursday, January 7, 2010

These Things I Wish For You Story

I am typically not a fan of email forwards, but my mom sent me this one and I loved it so much, I felt the need to share!

This was written by Lee Pitts and was read on-air by Paul Harvey in 1997. The words are most likely meant for the boomer generation, but I see a lot of truths in here from my generation as well.

Here's hoping my generation's kids turn out OK...

These Things I Wish For You
By Lee Pitts

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse.

For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him. When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days, when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays. I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.

Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I'm here for you. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Self Improvements for 2010

Resolutions, no matter how silly they are to some people, are helpful to me to benchmark things I want to do to continue to improve my life. Here's a few I'm hoping to work on this year...

Stay in better touch with family. It's tough because the majority of my family is a few timezones away, but as I learned in a recent trip to visit my Arizona family, it's important to keep the ties, no matter how much time passes. This also applies to family close by. I hope to have more nights this year where I can babysit my nephews. I have so much fun doing it and I love bonding with them. I only wish I had more aunties nearby when growing up!

Do something every day to help someone out. It might be a small act, like letting an elderly person go in front of me at the grocery store or it could be bigger like participating in a day of service to help an organization. Just a little something to make someone out there smile.

From my list last which I failed...learn to sew. It's going to happen in 2010! Another one from last year is I'd like to continue to do more things to engage the creative side of my brain. One thing I've always wanted to learn to do is to create a mosaic. I hope to buy some supplies soon to try it out.

Get financially smart. This one shouldn't be hard with an accountant husband there to guide me. He can help explain terms, but it's up to me to learn things on my own. I need to stop skipping over the news articles talking about mortgages, interest rates, 401Ks and investing and actually learn something. I want to set a budget and see if I can stick to it...saving money and clipping coupons is sexy and there certainly are enough blogs and websites out there to help me along the way.

We'll see what comes of this short list during 2010. Life is a work in progress and I'm thankful to still be chipping away. Cheers to 2010!

*image from*