Take THAT, Billy!

There's a new guy in town, Mr. Mitchell, and his name is Hank Chien.

photo from here

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about or how a girl like me, who doesn't know the first thing about Mario Cart (sorry...but not that sorry) even has Donkey Kong on her radar, well, go see this documentary and then get back to me.

Seriously! DO IT!

And for those of you who have seen it--and obviously LOVE IT because who doesn't?!--don't you just want to imagine him meeting Steve Wiebe and becoming instant best friends?

Me too.


On thrifting, among other things.

Just finished my two granola-bar-and-leftover-surprise-cake lunch because THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LEAVE YOUR WALLET (AND BRAIN) IN JASON'S DELI!


The cake may be office leftovers, but it's left over from MY surprise party! I KNOW! Best co-workers ever! Even snuck my parents and Adam's mom in for the day! And I don't know if you've met me or not, but I've always wondered how I'd react to a surprise and all I have to say is, people, I DELIVER.

Annnyways, the point is I want to talk to you about my new favorite thing and no, it actually is not wedding related NOR is it about my cherry Carmex. Instead, let's talk Savers.

I don't know how you feel about thrift stores, but if you're like me they make you a little uncomfortable and suddenly, violently itchy. And you never really know where to roam within the dusty aisles but you're certain that you're the only materialistic moron who can't seem to find the treasures that others rave about because you're too nervous to touch anything.

And also--probably MORE SO--because there was a point in time when you actually started getting into the idea of thrift stores only to discover that the thrift store you were visiting had a mascot and it was a cat. And not a fake cat. A real cat. A REAL CAT I SAY! Just an icky furball LYING THERE by the LAMPS like it was at HOME. Because IT WAS! And when your piercing scream startled the sleepy teenage worker and you shrieked DID YOU KNOW THERE IS A CAT IN HERE?!...he said "Uh, yeah...it like, is always here...?" and looks at you like YOU'RE THE WEIRD ONE!


So that's my story and I didn't expect much to change when a coworker of mine told me about this new thrift store that opened up a few blocks away. But LO AND BEHOLD it DID!

(but not about cats. Puh-lease.)

There are aisles--aisles!--with arranged and ORGANIZED sections of QUALITY used clothes, shoes, household items, etc. The prices, I've been told, are a tad more than typical thrift stores but YOU GUYS. THERE ARE NO CATS! Just really nice people who give you 20% off your next purchase of $10 or more just by making a DONATION!


AND to seal the deal, and honestly, what really truly sold me in the first place was something called The Savers Cycle. Basically, Savers partners with local nonprofits and pays them for all the goods donated to their store (taken from their brochure). The Overland Park location, for example, benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City.

AND the checkout lady explained that while their selection process is quite involved, nothing donated goes in the trash (which according to her, happens a lot at other thrift stores). Unusable donations (such as stained, ripped, damaged-beyond-repair-goods) are sent to third world countries or reused in a variety of ways.

And that, my friends, is music to my kitten-hardened heart.

To learn more about Savers, visit here and here.

(and this little image is just because)



Homeless people make me uncomfortable. Sometimes I want them to just go away because then I won't have to see them.

But then again, I don't think I really ever see them even when they are standing right in front of me.

The truth is I (like many of you, I am taking liberty to assume) know very little about homelessness. Just enough to know that it becomes an issue of us and them about as quick as I can blink an eye because we are different, you and I and don't you forget it.

I have been to a shelter or two, read articles about various steps cities try to take to eliminate "the problem" and am guilty of passing many unfounded judgments on people I know nothing about.

Because that's the thing--there are people behind this issue/problem/challenge/opportunity and yet somehow it can be so hard to see those faces and instead see Addiction, Mental Illness, Government Handout or whatever other label I so rashly apply.

And sometimes with anger. Or at the very least, annoyance. Because what am I supposed to do when this guy is sitting outside my window at the traffic light and I have nowhere to go?!

I do realize that there are indeed very serious issues/problems/challenges/opportunities that our fellow brothers and sisters face and those are not to be ignored.

But neither should they replace the humanity that lies beneath.

Today, I ran across this article that has really given me a lot to chew on. Basically, it introduces this project, which consists of a man who travels the country to give those without homes a voice. A face. A story.

And I would really encourage you to check it out. Or at least meet Michael through his video posted below.

Mark Horvath basically searches the streets for those that may be homeless, offers them fresh socks and then asks if he can interview them. At the end of his short interview, he asks them to share give their three wishes.

It's simple. It's hardly earth-shattering. And yet, it struck a chord in me. Not only to challenge my own thoughts and opinions and judgments of people I do not know but who have just as much worth as me in the Eyes of the One who is Judge...but also to challenge myself to dig in to the world around me.

Whose stories am I overlooking because of my own blindness?

Michael from InvisiblePeople.tv on Vimeo.



I've been telling people lately that the stress of wedding planning is wearing off and that really, I've been feeling much calmer, thank you, and okay fine! still drinking that coffee intravenously but we all have our weaknesses NOW DON'T WE?!

But then I do things like completely forget to show up at an event despite an RSVP, a reminder email and a HIGHLIGHTED note in my planner.

And a few days later, tear apart two bags and retrace all my steps in search of my cell phone. You know, the one that was IN MY POCKET THE WHOLE TIME.

In my sleep, I have nightmares of angry guests throwing Donettes at me screaming, "We traveled all this way and THIS IS WHAT YOU SERVE US?!"...and wake up to heart-stopping thoughts such as Oh my gosh, I just know I bought the wrong dish drainer! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?! and Did his invitation spell his name with one "l" or two?! ONE "L" OR TWO?!

It's a wonder that I am not one big puddle of coffee grounds and Reese's eggs (this kind because um, HELLO, it is almost Easter and I've only had one bag so far this week season!).

And I have no doubt I would be if it weren't for the wonderful community of family and friends who have surrounded us in this whirlwind of a time and oozed such support and love, it really takes my breath away and makes me think Sally, girl, I feel you (minus the whole "second time" thing...).

It's the phone calls, the emails, the warm wishes, the sacrifices, the encouraging words, the excited smiles, the feeling that we are really not alone in this.

It's Grandma grabbing my hand and saying with a catch in her voice, "Honey, I am real excited for you and Adam. There is nothing that makes me feel more alive than seeing two people in love."

It's a dash into the furniture store two minutes to close to buy a chair--our first chair!--and as I run to the register, an excited, "SARA, HAVE YOU SEEN THIS HEADBOARD?!" from the man that is about to be my husband.

It's deciding that yeah, we may be caught up in it all, but you know what?

I wouldn't change a thing.


See also: lunch with Grandma, playing dress-up and senior year Wednesday nights.

"It's surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time."

-Barbara Kingsolver from here


In defense of progress.

I feel it is my civic duty to defend my hometown and its recent efforts that landed it on national news.

Because really, it could be considered progressive, people.

I mean, if you think about it.

You know, like "Oooooh! Look at that Midwestern town using such hip marketing ploys in order to woo Google the Internet Giant. That's, like, almost as cool as Google Chrome."

(Or something.)

And I mean, who else is changing their name in order to prove their Googledevotion anyway?!

Huh? Right?! You get me?! Google me that!

And further, towns don't just change their name at the drop of a hat.

--Okay, fine, I mean I guess there was that one time back in 1998.

But that was progressive too, in a way. I mean, Pikachu was like today's Twilight for crying out loud!

What's that? You don't believe me?!

Whatever. Bunten, I'm on your side. The capital city of fiber optics has such a nice ring to it.

...And if you don't know who Bunten is, then you can TOPEKA IT!

photo credit: CNN photo illustration from here



I enter the locker room to three tween girls gathered around the scale.

Nervous chatter gives way to giggles as they slide the weights, determining the fate of their leader.

She's long and lean and full of spunk but as her friend calls out gleefully "You weigh one-oh-three!!!" her face falls and her eyes cloud over and I catch her eye.

One slow blink then poof she tosses her long, pretty ponytail and shrieks dramatically "Oh nooooooooooooooo one-oh-threeeee?!?!" sending her friends into peals of laughter and they trot out the door, her friend saying "Why are your shorts rolled up so high?!"

And as I catch my reflection, I see a ten-year-old ballerina staring back at me, pointing her slippered toes and smoothing back the pesky curl that escaped her bobby pin.

She plies and pada berets and as the tinkling music stops, her smile freezes with these sharp words from Madame:

"Thanksgiving is coming up, girls," she said cooly, lips set in a hard line. "Enjoy time with your families but remember one thing--" her jaw tightened,

"We want pretty ballerinas on stage not hippos."

And with that, they all exit--a mass of rolling eyes and muffled laughter, all of them tugging at their suddenly-unforgiving leotards.