November 18, 2014

The Foundry Christmas Store

I try to give back all throughout the year, but I try to give a little extra especially around the holidays. Last year, I blogged about the Helping Up Mission which is something I first became interested in when I was in grad school.

This year, through a coworker of mine I will be helping The Foundry's Christmas Store. My coworker's church will be donating to their Christmas Store event and asked others in the department if we were interested in contributing too. This is the first I've heard of The Foundry, per their website:

"The Foundry is a church in Baltimore City.  We exist to see lives, neighborhoods, and the city transformed by the hope of Jesus and we are committed to making Baltimore an even greater place to live, work, and play. The Foundry is a community of people, coming together to pour ourselves out for our city.

We believe that church is not something to go to – it is something we are. We are modeled after the way Jesus lived – we want to serve people without reserve and without judgment, we want to love each other the way Jesus loved his friends and followers, and we want to help people experience God.

There are no secret handshakes, and no perfect people are allowed. If you are interested in God but not so sure about church, we invite you to check out the Foundry. We strive to create a safe environment where we can explore hard questions about God and faith, connect with one another, and act by serving the city together.

We meet on Sundays at 9:30 & 11 am at Tabrizi's"

It doesn't seem like The Foundry is the place to go to if you are seeking the traditional church or service, but the message is still the same- "to serve the people without reserve and without judgement" and I like that.

In the past I've participated in both Adopt-A-Family and Salvation Army Angel Tree. With those, you bought a gift that you thought the family/kids would like and wrapped it. I have no doubt in my mind that those families were grateful for the generosity of others, but I wondered, what if they didn't like what someone had bought them? Do the parents feel as if they couldn't provide for their children?

Much like them, The Foundry's Christmas Store is different than the other programs. The Christmas Store will be open weekends in December for people in particular parents to come to and shop for Christmas gifts for their families at a deep, deep discount. The items in the store are all donated and brand new. The Christmas Store allows them to actually do the shopping, buying, and picking out the gifts. I really think that this is an awesome thing.

I've bought a bunch of toys for the store, but if this seems like something you want to participate in here's how:

  • Donate new toys to The Foundry between now and December 7th. Toys, books, and games should be brand new and can be dropped off at he Foundry’s services on Sunday or at The Foundry office during the week.
  • Volunteer to work in The Christmas Store.
  • Refer Families to The Christmas Store


November 15, 2014

Our Trip to Austin, Texas

My husband and I just returned from our trip to Austin, Texas! Our reason for going to Austin was for the Formula 1 race at the Circuit of the Americas. I got the Mr. tickets to the race last year for Christmas. We stayed at a great place we found on Airbnb for a ridiculously amazing price. All of the area hotels were at least $300/night. If you haven't heard of Airbnb, I definitely suggest checking it out. We had previously used it when we went to Sonoma, California.

Austin in October/November isn't as warm as I had hoped but it sure did beat the weather Baltimore was having :) The race was super fun, watching the race on TV really doesn't do how fast the cars are going justice. Formula 1 is truly an international sport. I was really surprised to see so many people from other countries! I was also surprised at how diverse the fan base is.
Not only did we go for the race, we also went for the food! Oh, the food! Here, there are a lot of food trucks. In Austin, there were a lot of food trailers. The trailers typically are always located in the same spot. It was cool that some of the trailers had joined up with a bar and some were on their own property and then created a cool space for dining adjacent to the trailer.

Some highlights:

Detroit style pizza. I had never heard of Detroit style pizza, but it's a real thing! The husband said it was the best pizza he's ever had. That's saying a lot being that he is a pizza aficionado and grew up on Chicago Deep Dish in Illinois.
Detroit Style Pizza from VIA 313, The Rocket (near) and The Cadillac (far)
Tacos, tacos, tacos! I'm pretty sure we had tacos every day we were in Austin and I honestly don't have a problem with that. Another great taco place was Bomb Tacos located inside Bar 96 which just so happens to be a Ravens bar! They had a good selection of local craft beer that went well with the tacos.
Egg, chorizo, and cactus breakfast tacos from Veracruz All Natural
BBQ, because duh! A must in Texas.
BBQ turkey, brisket, and pulled pork from The Salt Lick
A few minutes from where we were staying was this adorably awesome restaurant called Sawyer & Co. that had a 50's diner style feel to it. It had a diner counter with stools and all! I would describe this as Tex-Mex meets Southern Comfort food which are probably two of my favorites. EVER.
Fried Pickles
Trailer Park Bene
Ham, swiss, and mushroom omelette with cheese grits and biscuit