I'm sitting here stunned by the outpouring of love and positive wishes I've received over the past two weeks because of two extremely exciting pieces of news!
Firstly, and most relevant to the usual content of this blog, I was chosen as the first everWild Sister of the Year by Wild Sister magazine! Wild Sister is an uplifting publication that encourages women to follow their dreams, believe in themselves, and inspire others to do the same. I was nominated by my dear friend Christen Brandt, the Director of International Operations for She's the First. Christen nominated me because of my photo and video work for the girls' education nonprofit, and I'll be using my winnings to visit East Africa with her to document the lives of She's the First scholars there. These young women are the first in their families to attend secondary school, and I'm so thrilled that I'll be able to help them share their stories. That trip is still in the planning stages, and I'll keep you all posted as we solidify the project.
As part of my award, I received membership to the Wild Sister community. I'm particularly excited about getting started with this sisterhood - I think surrounding myself with such strong, creative women will really inspire me as I continue to build my storytelling business. Particularly while working at a daily newspaper and working on so many tragic stories, it's wonderful to become part of a community based on positivity and love. I'll also be a contributor to Wild Sister Magazine about my work with nonprofits worldwide - stay tuned!
The past two weeks have also been incredibly exciting for a much more personal reason; after eight years together, my boyfriend Thomas proposed to me on the college campus where we met. (UNC-Chapel Hill - Let's go, Tar Heels!) I am so incredibly thrilled to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend! I've already started thinking about the wedding, and am now finally starting to understand what all my brides and grooms go through before the big day!
Beth Ely, photographer-extraordinaire and one of my best friends in the world, sneakily shot photos during the proposal:
And so I'm ending this post as I started it: with huge thanks to all my friends and fans who have sent me emails and facebook posts and real-life hugs in the past two weeks. It's been a whirlwind of excitement, and I'm so glad that I'm able to share such great news with all of you!