Tag Archives: hannah katy

February Discoveries

Because I have been drowning in goodness lately, this month’s Discoveries list is – hopefully – particularly beautiful. I hope you find some gems of wisdom and inspiration and hold them close on this leap year.

Because I am an intern. Kelsey, or “the lion-haired girl,” wrote a beautiful post about the things we do not for money but out of love and the desire to learn and soak up all that we can. It’s heartbreakingly true and ultimately encouraging.

Leap Year Project. Based on a simple premise—that 2012 is the year to leap feetfirst into our big dreams and desires—the site is a network for individuals doing just that. If ever you needed a little push into the scary unknown, have a look.

20 Essential TED talks for Future Leaders. It’s no secret I am a TED talk addict. While I haven’t watched all twenty, I highly recommend Seth Godin’s talk on standing out and Ron Gutman on the hidden power of smiling.

It Gets Better Project. This non-profit organization centers on that simple sentence: “It gets better.” Vloggers from around the world record their messages for bullied youth, particularly LGBT teens.

Things That Change. I love me some Hannah Katy posts. This month, she crafted this memory and brought it to life for us, forcing readers to reconcile with the things that change and things that go unsaid when life splits two people toward opposite places.

It Only Takes A Girl. Started by a highschooler, this video project tells the startling story of girls around the world who are mistreated and missing out on a deserved life.

It is about us. Haley Kristine’s post on Good Women Project invites us to consider the male perspective in taking a leap and entering a relationship.

Colour Lovers. I am beyond addicted to this website. It has tools for creating color palettes for web design, print design, logos, banners, interior decoration, and so much more. And it includes hex codes for corporate brands, too.


September Discoveries

In case you are new, each month I list my favorite discoveries from the last 30 days. Some months are more fruitful than others. September was a rush of getting back into classes, balancing home life and work and now I have a little less to show for it, but hopefully you still enjoy.

20×200. I didn’t fall in love with art until my sophomore year of college, but I’ve always considered it ridiculously expensive. Now that I’m almost ready to be a grown up and decorate, I’m grateful to have discovered this site. As the name suggests, they have more than 200 pieces at $20 apiece and it goes up in price from there.

Pura Vida bracelets. GetMilkshake is selling these earthy, thread-and-metal bracelets and giving back to charity. I am a for-profit sucker. Go check them out.

Knoword. OK, I confess. I’m addicted to this game. It’s the word nerd in me. Gives you the first letter and the dictionary definition. It’s timed. I’m still totally sucking at it, but I got up to 37 words earlier without running down the clock.

Lauren’s Letter to My 18-year-old Self. I wrote a similar post back in the summer and encouraged her to do the same. She got around to it after her crazy life (oh yeah, and marriage this month to Max – who also made the list). So much insight in one post.

Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. Local hole in the wall with the best burgers I’ve had. They’re melt-in-your-mouth good. If you’re ever in Harrisonburg, seriously go to Jack Brown’s.

It’s A Wawa World. I love Wawa. We know this. Read this article by Philadelphia Magazine and begin to understand the cult surrounding the glorious convenience store that I have to live without nine months a year.

Max’s Letter To My Future Son. Only a true blogger would get married, live tweet it, and then put up a post dedicated to his future son and all the things he wants him to remember. It’s beautiful. I hope all fathers think this way.

Hannah’s take on using real-life people in her writing. I found myself nodding endlessly as I read this, daring myself to go sit outside the local Walmart or Target and take notes. My poor friends and family are forever waiting nervously, praying I don’t turn them into a blog post.

[View the previous discovery lists.]

What did you discover this month?

August Discoveries

It’s that time of the month again. And I was blown away by August. Really, just mystified by all the beautiful things it sent sailing my way. So I hope you all can appreciate and relish in this list.

[If you missed my previous discoveries, find them here.]

More Love Letters. The oh-so-awesome Hannah Katy Brencher launched her love letters site earlier this month. If you are a talented writing fiend with a knack for making someone feel special and worthy of praise, head your little butt over there and sign up to receive love letter alerts. She’s bringing the handwritten note back to us, baby. And if you need a little uplifting or just a note of encouragement, request a letter.

Get Milkshake. I just signed up a week ago, but I am sure this newsletter will become my No. 1 source of all things GOOD (besides GOOD.is, of course). From eateries to clothing to going ‘green,’ this is your daily dose of companies and individuals doing something wonderful with their lives.

Zen at Play’s 23 Things. Not sure how I wasn’t a Zen At Play lover until now; it’s a shame, really. Get on over there and download the free e-book. What 23 things do you not know about yourself but are ready to discover? Only the e-book will tell.

Tara Sophia Mohr. If you like free stuff and worksheets, go to her website, click on the resources tab, and start some serious self-discovery. I recommend the 10 Rules for Brilliant Women workbook. Start asking yourself the tough questions, kids. Come on, now.

NateStPierre.me. He’s done it. The founder of ItStartsWithUs launched his own — finally — website. No ties to any organizations or crazy inspirational business plans. Just Nate, this cool guy who blogs and tweets and (just so you know) enjoys Betty Crocker boxed brownie mix. He’s real and his blog is minimalist and all about the writing.

Kristie Colon’s ‘Why I Love Social Media’. It’s not a terribly long list, but it hits all my reasons right on the head. A resounding chorus for the introverts of the world and the rest of you who just like to dig deep and connect and engage and ohmygosh I’m getting carried away with my social media love.

Pie for Mikey. I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. I love ice cream. The food bloggers of the world united this month when one of their own lost her husband, Mikey. Hundreds of them baked peanut butter pie in his honor this month. Talk about a beautiful tribute.

We Stop Hate. I hope I start an anti-bullying nonprofit when I’m 17-years-old. Oh, wait, that already passed. This girl blows my mind with her passion and determination to end teenage bullying — online and in-person. And she’s selling bracelets and t-shirts, which I almost definitely have to buy.

Wear You Live. This Kickstarter project prints an image of your major metropolitan area on a t-shirt. The funding ended this morning. Oh, and they sell prints and throw pillows, too? How cute. The premise is that people will want to talk about where they live and they’ll get involved in the local community.

And of course, if you have awesome August finds, leave ’em in the comments section below. 🙂

20SB Guest Post: As Simple As Writing A Letter

I guest posted Tuesday on the 20 Something Bloggers official blog — TwentyTwenty — and had to share it with you all because I adore this girl and her project. When I read her first Love Letters post, I ran downstairs to tell my roommates I’d seriously met the next Mother Teresa.

via weheartit.com

When Hannah Brencher answers her phone, the first thing you notice is the way she spins the conversation so it’s not about her—it’s about you.

“How are you?” she says. “How is your summer?”

And she wants to know. She’s not asking because that’s what people do. The genuine question threads through her voice like syrup dripping all over fresh-griddled pancakes.

That’s Hannah’s MO. She believes that helping others as much as we can helps us lead a fulfilled life.

Last year, Hannah volunteered for the United Nations and commuted on the 4-train every morning from her residence in the Bronx to the U.N. headquarters in Manhattan.

It was on one such train ride that she picked up her pen and never set it back down.

She wrote a letter to a woman with a red hat on and didn’t know what to do with it. She said she left it on the seat and felt like she’d left a piece of herself on the train.

“I started on the train because I needed something to do so I didn’t break down crying,” she said.

That first love letter sparked 30 or 40 more until they became, she said, her cure for loneliness.

“I know how it feels to be lonely, and people seem so lonely in New York City,” she said.

She hoped the love letters would work their way into the hands of someone who desperately needed them.

She left each one somewhere different but intentional—on the shelves at the New York Public Library, behind saltshakers at restaurants, on sinks in Starbucks bathrooms. She didn’t want anyone to accidentally throw the letters out.

After all, they were just scribbled on notebook paper.

And she didn’t sign them.

Then, she did what she does best. She wrote a blog post about it, opening up the love letter requests to her readers.

“At most, I thought I’d get 20 requests from readers,” she told me.

Within a week, she had 200 requests. She called her mom, completely baffled, asking her what to do.

“I just need to start writing them,” she decided. And so she did.

A week later, she got the opportunity of a lifetime: meeting her favorite author, Courtney Martin, for coffee in New York City. She emailed Martin on a whim and asked for 5 minutes of her time. What she got was so much more.

Martin gushed about Hannah’s blog. She’d shared a link to the love letters post on her own blog—Feministing—and that’s why the requests took off.

Hannah opened up for requests in October 2010. By Christmas, she’d written 250 love letters. Some of them were just from people who thought the project was cool; others wrote her heart-wrenching emails about the lives they were living, asking her for a letter.

“The last person I would think to reach out if I’m going through something tough is a stranger,” she said. “If they’re not getting a love letter [from someone else], I’m gonna get it done for them.”

And now she’s doing what she always wanted.

“I always said when I was a little girl, the world needs more love letters,” Hannah told me.

It seemed too simple.

“If you asked me a year ago if I was just gonna write love letters and that would be enough, I’d be like, ‘What are you talking about?’ she said. “God threw me a left hook.”

And so she’s bringing back the handwritten note—love letter style—because she thinks everyone deserves a love letter. Since then, she’s written 368 letters covering residents of 5 continents, 43 states.

“We don’t need to be best friends. You don’t need to do anything for me. I just want to help you in whatever way I can,” she said.

It’s as simple as that.

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.”

day 30 – a letter to your reflection in the mirror

Look at yourself in the mirror. You look almost the same as you did three months ago, don’t you? You cannot always see the progress that results from ninety days’ time, but it’s real.

via weheartit.com

I am a result of a collection of the wonderful human beings who take a few seconds out of their day to acknowledge my presence. To admit that I exist. I’m a part of their life. I don’t think any of them realize how wonderful that it.

I have a best friend who calls me every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:30 in the morning. Sometimes, I reach for the phone and it starts ringing.

I have a sister who keeps me looking (somewhat) fashionable. Parents who believe in the power of a liberal arts education but wouldn’t stop me from doing whatever my heart desires after college.

I have dreams that reminded me to roll out of bed on last Tuesday at 7 in the morning when I didn’t have class at all that day. And strangers who offer advice and insight in 140-character segments.

I have an ex-boyfriend who taught me how to fall in love and heal back together.

I have a friend in the middle of the Bronx who has offered writing and sheer strength to heal my wounds of depression and self-hatred.

I have a musical idol whose heart-on-her-sleeve attitude reminds me to do the same. To write these words now.

I have a God who keeps me from careening into oncoming traffic. A gymnastics coach who taught me how love can change the world.

I have been bullied by girls who remind me why I love being different.

I have a best friend who keeps me in her life despite all the strings tugging her into the Real World. A roommate who decided to love me before she even met me. A friend in Canada who taught me that age doesn’t matter when it comes to friends and that wisdom is invaluable.

I have friends from my childhood who taught me how to be a flexible parent someday and how to take giant risks.

I have a friend in Ohio who taught me how to take initiative if I want to see the world change and reminded me of the power of verbal affirmation.

I have friends in North Carolina who love my sister the best way they know how.

I have a friend whose indecisiveness about me has taught me how to be firm in my own feelings and actions.

I have a track team who taught me to believe in magic, persistence, and the power of the underdog.

I have a best friend who deserves to live in California, far away from the destructive people in her life.

I have three beautiful and talented cousins who taught me to believe in miracles, and a stranger who showed me the power of a mother’s love. A friend in Wisconsin who changes the world each week in less than 15 minutes.

I have a best friend who’s been a big part of my life from 300 miles away and who is always there for me without question.

And I have me. I am the only Kaleigh Erin Somers you will ever meet. I’m almost sure of that.

What do you have? Who are your people? What are their lessons?