30 November 2011

last day of november

...which only means one thing:

I can't believe it.

the flight

If there was one thing that I was most nervous about before the trip, it was the flight. And, I was nervous about a lot of things as the trip approached, but the 18 hour flight took the cake. Thankfully, I was completely wrong about the flight and spent a lot of time worrying for no reason (no surprise there). In some ways it was one of the most enjoyable parts, especially on the way back to America. I had time to think and process and rest after being on the go the whole week. I can't promise that I looked fresh at the end of it, but I made it and won't be scared to embark on a long flight again. Dinner, breakfast, endless refreshments, and more movies than I knew what to do with...

South African Airways!

South African Coke. Calories measured in joules of energy.

More good movies than I had time to watch! And, Harry Potter 7 Part II. Ahh.

We stocked up on People and US Weekly.

Our team all sat together which  made the flight more bearable, too.

More to come!

point community church

To give some context of my trip and the people we were working with, I should start with Point Community Church since they are the reason we went in the first place. We were paired with them to serve Cape Town (their pastor, Jacques, requested Redeemer to send a group), and if this had been the only group we worked with it would have been enough. They were the most gracious hosts, wonderfully fun people and truly a family. Since the church was only started in January 2010, it is still in the growing stages but has a terrific foundation of about 20 to 30 people.

I found this picture on Point Community's facebook page. You can easily tell from this picture what a fun group we had to work with. They made our time in Cape Town feel like home.

29 November 2011

thoughts on cape town

I'm back in New York and exhausted and completely jet lagged, but my heart is full and encouraged. My time there was better than time well spent. It was refreshing, invigorating, eye-opening, sobering and life changing. And now, I'm back in the daily grind and missing my team of 16 that I spent every waking moment with over the past 10 days, the people of South Africa, summer (!), and the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.

One thing I hadn't completely anticipated was how difficult it would be to tell people about my trip. In so many ways, words won't do it justice. I've decided that since I took over 1,000 pictures, and since apparently a picture is worth a thousand words, that I'm going to post short, small posts over the next several weeks, so bear with me as I slowly get all of my thoughts up. Consider yourself warned, there is more beauty to behold than you can possibly imagine!

28 November 2011

back in the us of a

Our team arrived safely back in New York this morning around 7 am, but I'm currently still operating on Cape Town time which means it's about 3:15 in the morning for me. I'm getting ready to call it a night, but I couldn't stand not posting at least one picture before I went to bed. Many more to come!

[I took this picture from Robben Island looking over to Cape Town and Table Mountain. Paradise!]

27 November 2011

i'm coming!

I've been away in South Africa for 10 days....but I'm coming back! I'm hopping on a plane tonight to bring me back to my homeland. Don't worry, I'm coming!

[photo credit & thanks to Brendan]

24 November 2011

happy thanksgiving!

Missing all these folks on Thanksgiving this year (plus the people not in the picture: Mom, GG, the siblings that are spread far away, and Maggie).

with love, in honor

This is the first time in 26 years that my granddad and I haven't celebrated our birthdays together. To help ease the abruptness of that transition, I'm celebrating in a new way this year: in Africa! I doubt this will be a yearly tradition but I did think it the perfect way to celebrate this time.

Plus, without GG's ever-changing math formula to help me out this year, I'm not even sure how old I'm turning...something like 26 maybe? (yikes.)

18 November 2011

ghost posts

While I'm gone to Africa, I've scheduled a few surprise "ghost posts" to keep my blog going. Don't worry, though, I won't be spending any of my precious time in Africa looking at a computer screen. But there were a few events I just couldn't miss so I arranged the posting ahead of time!

leaving on a jet plane

bye, bye NYC. hello, cape town.

[photo found here.]

i love:

the night before a trip! All of my things are perfectly in order and ready to go for the next morning. My clothes are neatly laid out so that I don't have to think about anything except getting out the door. And because I've usually gotten in bed way too late the night before (ahem) and because I'm leaving at 6:45 in the morning, I definitely need this kind of fool proof plan. Ready or not, it's almost here!

17 November 2011

this makes me excited

In a mere 36 hours, I'll be looking at this beautiful sight!

[Thanks Amy for sharing on facebook when you arrived on Monday.]

16 November 2011

in the spirit

Lindy (our fashionista team member!) and a few others from our South African mission team left for Cape Town this past Monday. I saw this picture of Lindy at the airport on Monday morning with the South African flag painted on her nails. She's ready! And it makes me even more excited too...

15 November 2011

so far,

...not so good. I set out to get a lot of packing done tonight, and now it's 11:02 PM and this is all I have: my swimsuit (because I only have 1 option to pack) and my pajama shorts (again, only 1 option). I guess it's better than nothing, but I fear I have a long way to go...

14 November 2011

borough coasters

Every New Yorker (and everyone else, as well) needs a set of coasters with the 5 New York City boroughs, right? I love the great combination of colors together and think the theme is pretty cute, too.

[from Kate Spade's Give Colorfully series.]

a little visitor

This weekend I had a little visitor. Actually I had a few, but one especially tiny visitor. Abbey! My sister and Abbey came to New Jersey and New York for a few days. They were able to come to New York on Saturday and get a quick tour of the city. We fit in Shake Shack, Central Park, FAO Schwarz, and then they finished out with the Empire State Building, American Girl Doll store, and dinner. When I met up to say goodbye in Penn Station, they looked like they had survived a very long, fun (and tiring) day.

Don't mistake Abbey's lack-of-smile as not having fun. Pictures aren't her thing; she was having a blast!

Magic fairy dust in Abbey's hair at Alice's Tea Cup

She asked if she could take the leaf home!

Not amused by the man in gold. Even though his cane was make of sequins...

Checking out the seals at the Central Park Zoo.

13 November 2011


I still can't believe I'm going here. And, in less than a week! I'm not completely sure of what awaits me in the next week, but I am getting more excited by the minute.

Cape Town, South Africa

12 November 2011

11 November 2011

roy g biv

I was partially switching out my winter and summer clothes last night when I inadvertently hung my sweaters like this:

I stepped back and was jubilant at what I saw. I had hung my clothes in rainbow order without even trying. I guess this is the moment when someone who has worked so hard to rainbow-fy her life feels like she's made it big.

10 November 2011

an easy, surprise dinner

This is what happens when you suddenly remember at 6:45 PM that you actually have all necessary ingredients to make a delicious & easy dinner.

ground venison

marinara sauce

half a box of elbow macaroni noodles


09 November 2011

packing party

My trip to South Africa is so close! On Monday night we had our last team meeting before we all depart. And we spent a couple of hours packing up supplies, toys, goodies, snacks into our 17 bags. We bought a lot of toys, art supplies and gifts to donate to the church and organizations we are going to be working with there. As for food, we'll be enjoying a lot of the local fare; but for the long and tiring days, Elisabeth Hasselbeck generously donated her nogii bars to our entire team! They filled up an entire suitcase as you can see above (and I tried one at our meeting - they are delicious and you should check them out!). I think we will be completely set on snacks, huh?

It's getting so close I can hardly stand it...

08 November 2011

dinner from a foodtruck

I usually try to stay away from the food trucks for my meals, but tonight I passed a new and enticing truck that I literally couldn't pass by. I tried, but then the smell and menu pulled me back. It was called The Frying Dutchmen and it was only their 2nd time in my neighborhood, and they had a steady crowd so I took that as a good sign. Especially at 5:45 pm. I must have been craving Chick Fil A because I got the chicken sandwich. And the Belgian fries were even better than I expected. Overall, the meal was great. I'm glad I made an exception and will be on the lookout for these folks in the neighborhood again!

And as they say, "get rich or die frying."

so festive.

If this doesn't get you in the Christmas spirit, I don't know that anything will.

07 November 2011

more celebrations

This weekend for Brendan's birthday his parents made a quick trip down to NYC. It was fun getting to catch up with them over dinner on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. We went to a delicious french restaurant on Saturday night called Raoul's, and all of us got the exact same thing: steak (it was their specialty)! Brunch on Sunday at Le Monde (for Brendan's actual birthday) was terrific too. It was a fun time celebrating with the whole crew.

They brought this dome out and attempted to sing 'happy birthday' to B in french, spanish and english.

However, we never quite figured out exactly what this dome was...

fighting crime.

...until the little sleepy batman could fight crime no more.

06 November 2011

cheers to the birthday boy!

...not one, but two birthdays of special people today! B and I had a fun day (which consisted of at least 4 hours of him watching the Patriots vs Giants game and me browsing Pinterest, which were both perfect for the first dark Sunday afternoon after daylight savings ended yesterday!) celebrating with his family, hanging out and, lastly, eating dinner, above. Cheers to you on your birthday,

the birthday girl

happy 8th birthday sweet McKay! this is the adorable little birthday girl right on her big day today. I wish I was there to see her, but so very thankful for camera phones.

05 November 2011

fall photo shoot

Remember 3 weeks ago when I said I was headed out for a fall photo shoot? 353 pictures later, we called it a day! If you don't like looking at pictures of beautiful autumn park scenes, you can stop reading now. But if you do, this is the post you'll want to read. We got some really cute (and super cheesy + touristy) photos. I've narrowed down (majorly - don't worry) and these are a few of my favorites.

Katherine did a large majority of the photo-taking - she's good behind a camera. Also, she began the day as a bit of a naysayer (it was her first year), but finished the day strong when she expressed how much she loved doing touristy things in the park and capturing it on camera! Most of all - more than just taking fun pictures with your best friends - it reminded us to slow down and actually enjoy the beauty of New York, especially in the fall. We were reminded that not everyone here is in a hurry and we found some really wonderful people as we asked strangers to take photos of the 4 of us. Good to be reminded of those things. Now...I'm pushing for a winter wonderland shoot. We'll certainly see how that works out for me...