New Beginnings: Generocity

As some of you may recall, back when Pete popped the question, I also had some other exciting things to celebrate that same day. Generocity, the Greater Philadelphia area’s source for nonprofit news and networking, had contacted me for an interview. To be given the opportunity to put the spotlight on the nonprofit world really excited me, so when I found out last week that I would be joining the team as their Content Associate, I was elated.

In addition to helping spot and tell stories, I’ll also be given the opportunity to represent the content visually, whether through photography or other visual mediums. As someone who (humbly!) considers herself a writer and photographer (and illustrator!), I’m often asked “Well, which one do you like the most?” in job interviews. Even though I know the interviewer wants to hear “Oh, of course I like ____ the most” (depending on the job’s focus), I never quite know how to answer. The truth is, being able to potentially blend provoking imagery with compelling content is very exciting to me. I enjoy the challenges writing and photography bring and look forward to growing stronger as both a writer and an artist.

With my first story for Generocity, the photos inspired the opening of the article, which is often the hardest part to write (at least for me, anyway). Having the visual experience gave me the opportunity to bring readers along with me during my tour of the Philadelphia’s Children Alliance. Ideally, I’m hoping to be able to touch people in small ways so they will be encouraged to give, whether through volunteering or even donating to some of these amazing nonprofits. That being said, I was incredibly inspired by the obvious strength at the PCA, both by the professional staff and the children who have the courage to speak up and tell their stories.

I look forward to sharing all of the stories I’ll be rolling out during my adventures as a staff member of Generocity. I encourage you all (especially Philly readers!) to check out the website, “like” them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter to connect with people who have the same interests, concerns, and passions. Anyway, that’s my little plug, I will be sure to share some insights into my daily work life once my position begins (on Monday!).

For those of you who are local to the Philadelphia area, what are some of your favorite nonprofits that you feel deserve some extra love?

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One Month Later: All Moved In

Supposedly two of the most stressful events in a person’s life are becoming unemployed and moving. I’ve had to deal with both of those situations within the past week and I’ve managed to come out of the experience pain-free (minus some shin bruises and paint in my hair). Last week I was told I would have to be let go at the magazine due to some changes relating to funding and management. I took this as a sign to hunt down the perfect job for my creativity and talents, somewhere I can learn from a group of peers who will inspire me to be better every single day. Luckily I have unemployment money coming in to hold me over, along with freelance photography and blogging work on the side. Despite the stress of moving into a new home and having to be creative with an entirely different budget, I am actually incredibly excited for this opportunity. I plan to challenge myself to find something where I can truly grow and allow myself to try new things.

A month has passed since Pete and I purchased our home together and we are finally settled in. We spent this past weekend moving in our belongings, with the help of Pete’s family who were sports for dealing with our massive amount of stuff. During my recent stint of unemployment, I spent the week before our move-in painting ceilings, trim and walls to make sure our first floor was live-able. We packed up nearly the entire contents of our apartment in one day, so needless to say, we started this weekend off completely exhausted and ready for a nap. Unfortunately, Pete and I are pretty obsessive about unpacking things before we kick our shoes off to relax. Today is the first day I’ve had a chance to just sit for an extended period of time, and despite feeling a bit lazy, I have to say it’s pretty darn nice. Our to-do list remains never-ending, but I thought it might be swell to share our progress with you so far. We are pretty proud with the achievements we’ve made in only a month and I look forward to tackling many more house projects with Pete in years to come. This weekend we will be removing the rest of the wallpaper in the kitchen, patching, prepping and painting the ceiling and walls.

I’m so lucky to have such a supportive boyfriend and family, I can’t thank you guys enough for all of your help over the past month with everything. It’s also really amazing having a second family just around the corner…I definitely owe Pete’s family a coupon for one month of free manual labor, especially now that I’m unemployed. Anyway, I can’t wait to share our future projects with you guys, but until then, here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

Betty White approves our new rust-colored rug, which has been unbelievably comfortable to rub our feet on after a long day of working on the house.

Here’s a look at our sunroom at the moment. Up until yesterday, it was filled to the brim with boxes and yard tools, but at least now the boxes have been unpacked and recycled. Eventually we’ll get patio furniture and all sorts of pretty stuff to fill this room with, but for now we’re just going to toss some beach chairs and garden tools around and hope no one judges us too much.

The sunroom door leads to our living room, which holds our new IKEA Karlstad sofa in Isunda Gray, courtesy of my way-too-nice parents who spoiled us with a new couch for our housewarming gift. They also surprised us with ceiling fans, which Pete managed to install on his own and impress me with his man skills. Another thing you may notice about this room is how shiny and new the floors look! Pete’s parents were super kind and chipped in for us to have the hardwood floors refinished as their gift to us…we really think it makes an incredible difference! Don’t forget to look at our last round of before & after shots as a reminder of what things looked like up until now. The white fireplace and trim really make the walls (and Betty White) pop. Speaking of walls, we had thought we selected a medium gray color for the room, until we actually ended up painting and discovered we had ourselves more of a blue tone. This just goes to show that purchasing paint samples is worth it if you’re a stickler for perfection, but we think it actually works out well in complementing the orange rug.

Painting the wooden door, windows and trim white was one of the most time consuming things, but definitely well worth it in the end. Betty White agrees, despite making her disgruntled “why are you using flash so early in the morning?” face.

We plan to get a floating shelf to put above the couch, which will have framed artwork and knick knacks resting on it, but until then we just have a lonely astronaut painting by one of Pete’s favorite artists, Scott C. You will also notice during this tour that we are lacking in curtains and decorative pillows, which will be resolved once we have some more savings for emergencies, such as one of us having to go on unemployment (ahem).

Pete gifted me these beautiful pop-up books by Robert Sabuda last Christmas and they remain to be one of my prized possessions. Robert came to my illustration class in college to teach us his ways, so it is extra special to have his work on display in the house.

The dining room area consists of a table I revamped with vintage family photos, along with a gossip bench and cabinet I refurbished.

I really like these framed prints by Berkley Illustrations above the thrifted globe and camera finds. Our BFF Laura Kicey created the colorful architectural composite above the owl chess set, which matches the chartreuse, yellow and purple tones in the room wonderfully. We have her work throughout the house, as we like to think of ourselves as two of her biggest fans, evah!

The bay window area with natural wood is one of my go-to spots throughout the house. It’s really nice to unwind and catch up on emails while listening to the birds chirp and cars drive by outside. The framed piece by Jeff Soto above the gossip bench is one of my favorites because of its sense of nostalgia and pop surrealism, with a little bit of robot love thrown in.

Sadly, the kitchen has been neglected during this entire process, but we will give it some much-needed TLC soon. The walls are half wallpaper-removed, half in need of major patching and repair, so it’s definitely a big project that will easily eat up an entire weekend. Our plans are to paint the walls a deep teal-blue and utilize black and white checkered vinyl tiles in addition to swapping out the sink for a birch and stainless steel, free-standing model from IKEA. We plan to remodel the kitchen as our first major project, but for now we are just making it work with our modest budget and some elbow grease. Ew. Whoever came up with that term needs to rethink that one.

There was an enormous amount of kitchen storage in our previous apartment, so we had to be creative when trying to make room for odds and ends in our new, much smaller space. We used this bookshelf by ikea to store things like tupperware, dish towels, random appliances and our treasured copies of Everyday Food.

Here’s a glimpse into our office/critter room, which is under construction for the time being. Pete was kind enough to treat me to a sweet drawing desk with a light box from IKEA for my birthday, which can barely be seen in these photos. Unfortunately, the desk legs aren’t back in stock yet, so my office area is kind of in shambles while we wait. I am so excited to start using the desk, it will definitely take me back to my days of making carbon copies of Ariel and my other favorite Disney characters.

This room is an especially difficult one to photograph, so bear with the terrible angles in this one. We’re not really set on the positioning of most of the artwork in this room, but I figured once the desk is assembled we’ll have a better idea of where we want to hang certain pieces. Willie Nelson, Cadbury, Maude and Applesauce are all pretty pleased with their new digs and window views.

Willie Nelson may look like he doesn’t approve of the new house, but I think he’s just putting on his game face. Don’t sass him, he is a feisty one (not really, he’s a big poof ball of cuddles).

Meanwhile, Betty White attempts to eat her foot off on our new horseradish quilt by West Elm and patterned sheets from Target.

The closet space in the bedroom is pretty much non-existant (you can’t even fit the width of a standard hanger in it), which is why we had to be creative once again about figuring out storage for our clothing. Thank goodness for IKEA’s green storage bins, which we had an abundance of in our apartment. Plus, this way we have an opportunity to showcase our knick knacks. Pete thinks the owls are way too cluttered in there, so we might end up shifting them to a floating shelf elsewhere, but for now they can keep us company when we go to sleep. One of my favorite owls is the one my brother gave me after his theater company toured in France. The owl actually opens up, so I suppose I could stash drugs in him, but Fun Dip sounds like a much more enjoyable option.

Betty White was begging for pets and flashing her Britney during these photos, so please don’t be too appalled by her exposed lady bits. She doesn’t know any better, honest. The lamp and dresser were inherited from my grandparents, which is the case with many of our knick knacks and artwork throughout the house. I really like mixing vintage pieces that have a lot of heart to them with more simplistic, modern styles. Laura Kicey’s contemporary construct photography matched the grey and yellow tones of the room, which made me happily flail because I was itching for some artwork above our bed. What looked like a light gray on the paint swatch has turned out to appear quite mauve on the walls at times, but we’re okay with it. We actually ended up purchasing a very pale gray for the walls, only to test it out and realize that it looked pretty much white. I decided to paint the ceiling, windows and trim with the nearly-white gray instead, to keep the room looking muted and serene. Lesson learned: stop being lazy and invest in some gosh darn paint samples!

The new bedding is really comfy and definitely makes it harder for us to get out of bed in the mornings. Betty White has deemed it her own, and is often seen flashing her pink “area” to innocent passersby.

I forgive her though, because she keeps me company while I listen to This American Life podcasts and wear pajamas until mid afternoon on days like this.

All in all, it’s been a pretty exhausting week, but I look forward to all of the change to come in the next few months. Be sure to stop by again soon for more progress shots and updates on my editorial/creative job hunt!