Friday, June 12, 2009

Favorite Things: Passage Consignment

So I live practically within walking distance of this little tienda I pass by every time I go downtown, Passage Consignment Shoppe...finally went in on my lunchbreak today (ok, and yesterday...I needed more more time to look!)

I've shopped thrift stores, and I've shopped second-string deparment stores like TJ Max and Ross....this awesome little store is like the best of both (and then some).

They've got home furnishings like you might find at an antique mall (though my first stop for that would be the Pirate's Chest in Cameron Village)....but the best part about Passage is, in my opinion, their consignment clothing (or their women's clothing, at any rate - didn't look at men's). Their clothing is by and large a lot prettier, cheaper and higher quality than second-string dpt stores, and they have a nicer variety to ruffle through than do most thrift stores I've seen (it's not as cheap as thrift, but that's because the clothes are a lot newer/nicer/in better shape).

It was such a find, in fact, that I declared to the owner (coincidentally, my old Alliance of AIDS Services colleague John Paul Womble, for those of you who know him) that this was my new favorite store! Seriously, if you are a Raleigh woman, and you like pretty clothes for cheap, you're missing out if you don't try this place.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Finding a Job In the Nonprofit World

I don't pretend to be a know-it-all when it comes to this topic, but lately I've had enough people asking me about it that I figured I'd post everything I've learned in the last couple years. (Some of this is obviously just for North Carolinians.)

In no particular order:

►Get involved in the local nonprofit scene through volunteerism, if you're not already. This helps begin to establish your cred with nonprofits, and it may open up some networking doors.

If you need some inspiration:

►Become familiar with the Philanthropy Journal. They are more or less the nonprofit news source in North Carolina, and if you want a job with a nonprofit, you should try to be reasonably in-the-know with the sector.

Consider a nonprofit fellowship. This is especially something to consider if you're looking for an entry-level position.
  • I did Public Allies (an AmeriCorps partner program) for two years, and not only did it change my life overall, it also led directly to my current job (PR & Communications Director for NCGives).
  • There are also fellowships at a few foundations in NC. (I don't know which ones off the top of my head; if you want to know, email me at work.)

Get your network on. The nonprofit sector is no different from the rest of the job world in this respect.
  • A cheap way to start this is with Philanthropy Journal's Lunch 'N' Learns (each one is in a different location around the state).
  • If you have a bit more cash to spare, you might consider the statewide nonprofit conference.
  • The NC Center for Nonprofits also lists several nonprofit networking groups throughout the state (I haven't participated in any of them but it's probably a place to start, if there's one in your area).

Get educated. I've personally done Duke's Nonprofit Management program and highly recommend it. There's also several degree programs at NCSU, and other programs around the state.

And of course,
Try ye olde internet jobsearch.

And finally, the headhunters at Capability Company may be a source to tap into, particularly if you're looking for a beyond-entry-level position.

Hope this was helpful!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Favorite Things: Amelia Cafe

If you find yourself in Durham looking for a cool cafe kind of place for lunch, drinks or dessert (and don't mind splurging on "cool cafe prices" - think Panera, or a little bit higher for some items), check out Amelia Cafe (in Brightleaf Square).

I had a meeting in Durham this morning, and another one this afternoon, with about four hours in between...thus, a cafe with wifi was in order. Luckily, I managed to escape the chaos and confusion that I usually experience when trying to find my way around Durham, and found myself at Amelia. It's one of those places where you imagine everything must be tasty - it sure looks like it! Their lunch menu isn't on the website but it's usual cafe fare plus some French crepe dishes...and their desserts look a-mazing. If I'm here long enough, my resolve just might weaken...

I wasn't originally thrilled with having to kill half a day mobile-officing it, but honestly, I've been sitting outside for the past few hours with gorgeous weather, free wifi, charming view (I'm sure there are differing opinions about Brightleaf, but you can't say it's not cute), and my laptop plugged into a lampost (yes)....and it's been the best working afternoon I've spent in a while!

Monday, April 06, 2009

One week!

Sorry for the lack of blogging [Nicole and Michelle]. My home computer is still refusing to connect to the internet. I'm going to start a new ad campaign and see if I can get royalties out of it: "I'm a PC...but I wish I was a Mac!"

So, about this time next week I will be rolling into Moncks Corner, South Carolina, home of Mepkin Abbey. I'll be spending about four days of retreat among this community of Trappist monks (along with, possibly: random parishioners, tourists to their acclaimed gardens and maybe fellow retreatants...I'll be taking up one of their 9 guest rooms).

I have very little idea of what to expect, but I'm actually very fine with that. My plans are very limited (kind of on purpose), and thus far all I've thought about is this:
  • Bring: my journal (of course), Robert Benson's Living Prayer and In Constant Prayer, and possibly Mere Discipleship and something by Thomas Merton (whose monastary founded this one)
  • Buy: an iPod adapter for Lucy's auxiliary input (Lucy being the new Element...when did I grow up enough to have a real car??)
  • Oops: Probably should have scheduled to have that initial new-used car maintence done this week. Oh well.
  • Don't: use technology any more than absolutely necessary next week. Phone calls for emergencies only (I think I'm just going to turn it completely off, except for maybe a few minutes at night to check messages). Ipod for car trip only...maybe :) Will still bring headphones, perhaps...
  • Spend: a lot of time outside (hopefully it will not rain as much as has been predicted), and not much money in the gift shop. (Yes, there is a gift shop at the monastery...monks have to support themselves somehow!)

I've gotten more or less the same response from every one I've talked to about this: "that is so cool! I don't know anyone else who's ever done that!" So that makes me a little curious, and I have a question to put to you, if you're reading this: if you were in my shoes, what do you imagine you'd be thinking/doing in the week leading up to such a journey?

Of course, most of you are probably reading this on Facebook, and so I probably won't see your response until Easter when Lent is over. :P You can always reply directly on my blog, you know ;)

And, come to think of it, feel free to say a prayer for me this and next week!...for safe traveling and good health...that I will somehow adjust quickly to being quiet (in many senses) so as to make the most of my time there, sans distractions...that my heart and mind will be in an open and ready state for whatever God may have for me...

I can hardly believe it's already, suddenly, this close. I'm excited :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Contemplative Adventure

In just less than five weeks, I'll be spending about four days at Mepkin Abbey, hanging out (by myself?) and doing who knows what. (If you know who Thomas Merton is...Mepkin is the Trappist monastery founded by Merton's own brothers from Gethsemani in Kentucky).

I am so, so looking forward to this... work stress.. demands for my time.. computers.. media or advertisements or commercialism.. distractions but my own mind (which is distracting enough, for sure)..

Just me, nature, God and a bunch of monks. Who don't generally talk. (The monks, that is...I'm counting on God talking.)

I'm especially glad to be going for Easter Week - it just seems like a good ending for this season of Lent.

I'll also be giving the world a play-by-play of monastic life via Twitter.

(So just kidding...i don't think Hugh reads this but that was for him :P)

Thursday, March 05, 2009


As a try-to-be-socially-conscious chocolate freak, I was excited to see this (from the Not For Sale blog):

In a landmark announcement Cadbury Chocolate, one of the major chocolate manufactures primarily operating in the U.K. stated that they would certify that their dairy-milk chocolate is Fair Trade by the end of summer 2009. In a statement issued Today, Chief Executive for Cadbury, Todd Stitzer said:
"This is an historic moment for our company. I am proud that the nation’s favourite chocolate bar will display the FAIRTRADE Mark. I was in Ghana last month and saw how vital it is that businesses support their partners and the communities they live in. We believe that by joining forces with the Fairtrade Foundation, we can further improve living standards and conditions for farmers and farming communities, and create a sustainable supply of high quality cocoa for Cadbury."

I think it's kind of strange that they're so proud about it and yet are only doing this for one of their lines...but, a step in the right direction is better than no step at all!

Now if only America's biggest brands would get on board...check out the 2009 Chocolate Co. Scorecard.

Monday, March 02, 2009

videos are fun.

This first one is from Valentines' Day dinner...Julie was demonstrating to Julianne, Robyn and me the many languages in which one can say "I love you" (from a card she had been saving for two years):

And this second one is quite historic - a peek at the first ceremonial ritual conducted by two founding Shannonites of the new religion Shannonism...(you'll have to forgive the camera-shaking; despite the awesome solemnity of the moment, I couldn't help but be moved):