Thursday, April 14, 2011

even if you have nothing else to give, you can still give your time

A pic I took of one of my kids' scripts.

I've always been very passionate about volunteering. I love helping people of course, but there's something more than that. When you take a couple hours out of your day to do something for someone else, you're completely transported. I don't care what the project is. The feeling is the same.

For instance, I volunteer every semester for the Young Storytellers organization (check it out here: For that one hour, every Wednesday that I leave my job and go to an elementary school and work with a child, I don't think of myself or my responsibilities even once. What a gift. It's honestly rejuvenating. The program itself is awesome - I work with my "mentee" for about 7 weeks on a script of his/her choosing, work with the other mentors on teaching the whole group of 10 kids about storytelling and writing in general and then at the end of the program, we bring actors to their school who in turn act out all of the kids' screenplays. It's truly amazing to see their faces at the end when they see their imaginings come to life on the stage. I gain new insight on things just by being surrounded by kids, get to spread the love I have for reading and writing, and simultaneously I help a child realize his/her potential. How amazing is that? I love it and have been with the organization for 2 years now.

Which brings me to accounting for one of the things on my 30 before 30 list - at least 50 hours of volunteer work this year. Even though it's much more than the hours I'm going to allot myself here, I think for this session of YST, I'll say I get 10 hours of service. An hour a week, plus a few hours for "The Big Show" and not to mention the typing and editing of my kid's script at the end.

So for now, I'm 10 hours into my goal. Not too shabby and I have a bunch more projects in the works. Next week begins another so I'll keep you all posted!

In the meantime, get out there and volunteer! No matter what you choose to get involved in, you'll never be sorry you did. And, if you ever need help getting started or need an idea of what to do, feel free to ask me! I love this kind of thing so I'm more than happy to help.

One tip to get started: think of the things you like to do. Do you enjoy gardening or working outside, but live in an apartment and don't have a yard. Be good to yourself then while at the same time helping the environment. There are all sorts of tree-planting organizations out there (I know, I've done it before and it's awesome!) or maybe find a school that needs volunteers to help with their gardens. There are all sorts of projects out there for all kinds of people with all types of interests. Who ever said volunteering had to be all work and no play.

Have fun with it and be kind to your community. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

and the best picture goes to...

...some pretty strange movies. Ha. I've seen a lot of these, but if I don't remember what it's about, I've decided not to count it. My I have a lot of movies to watch. Good thing I have Netflix!

30 before 30

So yah...this whole blog writing thing isn't going as consecutively as I'd hoped. That being said, I've been doing a lot of "thinking" about writing (ha) and have some big plans. It's just that there is a lot of research involved and organizing to do. But hopefully this post will give me some purpose for stopping by this here blog more frequently while still giving me time to concentrate my efforts on some of the other projects I've already started as well.

Today marks 3 months since I turned 29. So that leaves me 9 months to accomplish what I am about to begin. I like a healthy challenge and I like to set big goals. Dream big friends. What I am about to propose for myself is a nice, long list of things that I want to do before I turn the big 3-0. I just want to look back and know that I made good use of my time. I know I have already, but there is definitely still room for improvement. So here goes...

1. Start taking an exercise class at least once a week
    - So far so good on the pilates front
2. Go on at least 2 hikes
    - I'm not much of a hiker, but there are a few beautiful spots I'd love to try out! Anyone wanna go? ;)
3. Cook at least 3 different recipes from 3 different cultures...ideas welcome!
4. Work on my writing at least 4 days per month
5. Try at least 5 foods I've never tried before
6. Successfully plant a variety of veggies in my vegetable garden and reap the "fruits" of my labor...
7. Go Vegan for one week
8. Eat at (at least) 10 new places in LA
9. Paint at least 2 paintings
10. Visit at least 10 new cities
11. Try acupuncture as a remedy for my allergies and acid reflux in hopes that I can ditch the pills
12. Learn how to more professionally use my camera in manual mode
13. Study my family's genealogy and learn more about my own personal history
14. Study Farsi and learn a little more than food terms and good manners ;)
15. Send 15 hand-written cards/letters in the good, old-fashioned post
16. Visit some sort of farm (thinking maybe cherries) where I can pick my own fruit off the trees
17. Watch the sun rise...honestly, I don't know the last time I saw one.
18. Leave 10 anonymous "smiles" in 10 library books for future readers to find
19. Give five people one of my favorite books and tell them why I love it and why I hope they will too
20. Read at least 20 books in 2011
21. Refurbish an old piece of furniture and turn it in to something beautiful
22. Take the hundreds of printed recipes I have, organize them and create a cookbook with my favorites
23. Go on a hot air balloon ride
24. Watch every movie that has won the Oscar for Best Picture
25. Find a new way to store and organize all of my books so that they don't succeed in their plan to take over our house.
26. Go horseback riding
27. Redecorate our bedroom
28. Pay off any looming credit debts
29. Go to the movies at a drive-in theater
30. Volunteer at least 50 hours in 2011

I'll document my progress as the year goes on and hopefully I'll be able to get all of the above completed by January 11, 2012!