Amani Ya Juu Giveaway!!

UPDATE: Congrats to our winner Faith!! Thank you to everyone who spread the word!!

February is all about one thing: Candy hearts.

I jest internet, I jest! But man those little beasts are delicious and I don’t even know why.

But more than candy, we like to celebrate love during these 28 days and what better way than to help change the lives of others? Living out love is one of the greatest joys out there. It really is. :)

So today, I’m partnering with the amazing Amani Ya Juu to do a giveaway! Just in time for Valentine’s Day!


I’m giving away those lovely items pictured above. And this is when I wish I could enter my own contest. It’s like I need that bag (Mini Safari Fold Over Bag). And the journal (Mini Kanga Notebook Journal)? I’d just keep it in my purse to look cool.

In case you missed the last Amani post, here’s what they’re all about:

Amani ya Juu (“peace from above” in Swahili) is a sewing and training program for marginalized women established in Nairobi, Kenya, with sister centers in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Liberia. Women at Amani are learning to work together through faith in God who provides a peace that transcends all cultural and ethnic differences. Amani portrays a unique picture of diversity, with women coming from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mozambique, and other African nations.

Yep, they really are an amazing organization, changing the lives of women from all over Africa.

To enter, I’ll make things easy! Just fill out this form here.

Want more chances to win? Here’s all kinds of options!

  • There’s the option to get 5 extra entries by signing up for their newsletter, so you can be the first to know about new products, sales and all the cool stuff they’re doing!
  • Tweet away or post on Facebook. Please feel free to use this: Win beautiful @AmaniYaJuu products in this Valentine’s giveaway! Don’t miss out! via @jamielynne82
  • Follow Amani on Twitter or Facebook

Just let me know in the comments for all the extras!

Also, check out their products page and find something for yourself or your Valentine! In order to get your items before Valentine’s Day, order by this Friday, 2/7/14!

Be sure to enter by 2/10/14 11:59 CST. Thanks for spreading the word and the love!!

——> Enter here!! <——

Fun Finds for the Booknerd #12 | GoneReading

Fun Finds - January 2014I’m beyond excited about this month’s Fun Finds! Not only is it the first one of 2014, but this month I’m partnering with GoneReading, a website of all things book awesome. But there’s so much more to it! Check this out from their website:

If you’re like me, you just can’t imagine living in a world without reading. Unfortunately, for almost a billion people today, that’s exactly where they find themselves. There are countless villages, towns and vast regions of this planet where the power of reading has yet to shine its light.

Gone Reading International, LLC was founded to counter these problems and spread the magic of reading. We believe that when people have open access to great reading materials, life always changes for the better. When libraries and reading materials are made available, people and their communities thrive through increased opportunity and self-empowerment.
That’s why Gone Reading International has pledged 100% of our after-tax profits to provide new funding for reading-related charities. By purchasing GoneReading brand gifts and merchandise, you’re treating yourself and the world at large to a wonderful gift. All purchases from GoneReading help contribute to our philanthropic work.

We donate to great non-profits such as READ Global, Ethiopia Reads and BiblioWorks, amazing organizations with proven models, long track records, and dedicated teams on the ground. Such groups partner with local villages and communities in the most underdeveloped parts of the world to create new libraries that effect real change.

And guess what?! The lovely folks over at GoneReading have hooked y’all up! If you use the special Books and Beverages code bandb20 through the end of March, you’ll get 20% off! You can’t lose! So definitely head over to GoneReading and buy something :). They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

1. Reading Journal for Book Lovers. If I was left to my own devices inside a Barnes and Noble, I’d probably leave with 87 journals. Kinda like purses, they’re so hard to resist. So not only is this a cute journal to record thoughts and such, but it includes popular books lists (you know, in case I ever join a Classics club) and fun stuff like book discussions. $12.99

P.S. They also have a Book Worm Journal for Kids. I mean stop.

2. William Shakespeare Action Figure. Will’s done a lot for the world of literature. If you haven’t heard, he wrote a story or two. We can even thank him for some pretty important words, like majestic, zany and rant, to name a few. So why not have him hanging out at your desk? $12.99

3. Book Holder – Wooden Reading Rest. I can think of so many reasons to own this. Whether watching a show on an iPad or Kindle, having a recipe while I cook, or keeping a paperback book in its place, I feel like I need to make this purchase. $39.95

4. Flower Book End Set. How cute are these for the kid or teen in your life? Start her love of reading early with the perfect accessories! My nieces have no idea how many book-related gifts they’ll get in their lifetime. And I can’t wait! $36.99

5. Glass Candle – Inspired by Jane Austen. I want this whole collection!! The description just makes me smile. “From The Library Collection of elegantly scented candles and diffusers, this candle features a unique blend of scents inspired by the famed romance novelist, Jane Austen.” You know it’s probably awesome. Maybe if I light it, a Mr. Darcy or Edmund Bertram will show up at my door. It’s worth a shot. $25.00

Have you checked out GoneReading? What fun finds did you come across? Don’t forget to use the code bandb20 to save 20% (on non sale items)!

Making the World More Beautiful | The Help Experiment

Every once in a while you have the chance to be part of something that is changing the world. You connect with a group of people who are dreaming, building and changing lives in the process.

It’s encouraging.

It’s inspiring.

And it makes me want to continue to do all I can to change the world.

There’s something amazing to community. Connecting with people you may not know in person (yet), but already have a bond because y’all are on the same page.

Enter in The Help Experiment.

Help Experiment

I don’t even know if I can fully explain how incredible this group is. A group of people who want to change the world by simply offering different ways to help others. No fees, no strings, just living out a beautiful thing called love. Loving people where they are at and helping them in any ways they can.

From a home cooked meal, to help with a logo and branding, to travel help, to proofreading college papers (I would have been ALL over that in grad school); I’m not kidding when I say there are endless possibilities.

The Vision of The Help Experiment is this: “We are a collective of individuals joining together to help others. We do it because we can, we do it because we should, and we do it because we think… you would too.”

I know, most people don’t help for “free.” We surrounded, no attacked, daily by a world that says the only person you should care about is yourself. But I’m pretty sure if people dug deep, looked at their own hearts, they could admit that isn’t true. Life is meant to be more beautiful than that.

So now we’re spreading the word. We’re getting others to join in. So I invite you to join the group. Right now we’re connected through Facebook, but soon we’ll be beyond that.

Join me. Join my amazing friends. Be part of an incredible community.

Spread kindness.



Because those are the things that change the world.


It’s an Amani Party!!

Eeeek! This post makes me so happy! While I wasn’t able to last year, I normally host a Fall Amani ya Juu party, as a way to spread the word about this wonderful organization as well as sell their beautiful products. Most of the time I want to buy.them.all. Africa is a beautiful place (I’ve had the blessing of seeing Botswana and Zambia) and I love to partner with organizations working there in any way I can!

So count this as your official invitation! If you live in the Austin area, mark your calendars for Thursday, October 17, 2013! It’ll kick off at 7:00 and I’d love for you to stop by. There’ll be snacks and drinks and a chance to get some shopping done. All the money goes right back to the organization and the women who create these wonderful products!

So here’s some pics of some of the goodness that will be on sale. If you aren’t in the area, be sure to check out their online shop! More details at the bottom!

If you haven’t heard of Amani, well here’s a little info from their website: Amani ya Juu (“peace from above” in Swahili) is a sewing and training program for marginalized women established in Nairobi, Kenya, with sister centers in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Liberia. Women at Amani are learning to work together through faith in God who provides a peace that transcends all cultural and ethnic differences. Amani portrays a unique picture of diversity, with women coming from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mozambique, and other African nations.

amani africa

How cute is this bowling set???

How cute is this bowling set???

So many cute belts, bags, cases, kitchen stuff...I love everything!

So many cute belts, bags, cases, kitchen stuff…I love everything!

One thing I love, is each product includes a tag with the name of the woman who made it.

One thing I love, is each product includes a tag with the name of the woman who made it.

Amani began in 1996 with four women sewing placemats together in Nairobi. Since then, Amani has grown to over 100 women representing ethnic groups and experiences from all across Africa. As women return to their homelands, they carry Amani with them. Amani has established a presence of peace in five African nations (Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, and Uganda) and two US cities (Washington, DC and Chattanooga, TN). Each Amani center is locally registered and independently managed with support from an international leadership team.

They have the cutest kids stuff!

They have the cutest kids stuff!

I mean STOP. These are the cutest!

I mean STOP.

The stationary to me is new - so I'm in love.

The stationary is new to me and I’m in love.

So cute!

So cute!

I love their jewelry - it's so unique and beautiful!

I love their jewelry – it’s so unique and beautiful!

Amani is committed to holistic development. Women gain experience in stitching, quality control, purchasing, bookkeeping, management and design. As new women enter the program they are mentored in quality workmanship with strong emphasis on ethical business practices and harmonious relationships with people of different backgrounds.

Relationships built upon God’s peace transform even the most troubled lives. Amani women participate in singing, praying, and Bible study as part of daily activities. Visits to one another’s homes also help them care for one another. As women live out peace, they also pass it to their neighbors in need. The women extend Amani’s culture of peace by sharing resources with other Amani centers—mentoring new leaders, conducting skills training, and contributing toward start-up costs.

Have I mentioned how much I love their bags?

Have I mentioned how much I love their bags?

amani africa

If you need a scarf, they have fantastic options!

If you need a scarf, they have fantastic options!

Another new addition? Computer and iPad cases!

Another new addition? Computer and iPad cases!

amani africa

amani africa

Hope you can stop by!
October 17, 2013 @ 7:00 p.m.
If you can make it, let me know and I’ll pass along location details!
If you can’t make it, please be sure to check out their online shop. It’s full of even more beautiful stuff!


Why We Should Change The World

After reading the title of this post did anyone else bust out in dance to Captain E.O.’s “We are here to change the world….gonna change the world!” No? That’s odd.

While it is a worthy topic, MJ’s jams aren’t the topic of discussion today. I’ll save that for another time. As you might have noticed (or not at all ;) ), this “Why” series is full of posts I do once a month that discuss whatever my heart desires. Sometimes it’s related to books, but most of the time you find things like tv, sports and other such shenanigans. Today it’s about changing the world. Daunting no?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the rather annoying “YOLO” term (if I ever use it, please know it’s in a sarcastic/let’s make fun of this and it usually involves friends and I deciding to eat ridiculous amounts of candy), but I do have to admit, it’s true. You do only live once. So let’s make it count (If you ask me, speeding in fast cars or making as much money as possible isn’t making it count).

Instead I can’t express enough how much more life matters and comes alive when you invest and give to others.

One of the places and organizations I’ve recently partnered with is Reach Out and Read. It’s awesome. Each week I head over to a medical clinic and read to kids in the waiting room. They also get books too. While this might not seem like a big deal, statistics show it is. Having a book of their own, reading more can drastically affect how well they do in school. As they mention on their website: These early foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.


I love doing this. It’s fun and when the kids want me to keep reading more, my heart melts a little.

The program in central Austin is starting to gain momentum and it’s a blessing to be a part of! Sometimes there’s a ton of kids, sometimes just one. And don’t worry if you’re not the outgoing-let’s-get-this-party-started type, I promise if I can do it, so can you. I have yet to master the use of the puppet (y’all I.have.tried), but puppets creep me out (which I’m sure can probably be traced back to a creepy 80s film I stubbled upon).

To my fellow introverts, don’t you worry, most of the time when the kids see me, my first thought is “please like me! please come be my friend!” You know, just like any other 31 year old woman. I promise I survived my youth years with no major mishaps.

But internet! Once books start to be read, it’s a whole new world. It’s worth pushing myself beyond my comfort zone every single time! You want to talk about Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed? Got that one down like a lyrical gangsta. Clifford, Dr. Seuss and Llama Llama are my b/f/fs for life.

Seeing kids run to the bookshelf, anxiously picking out their next book, then coming back makes me wish my lunch hour was all day long.



I want to change the world. I have this crazy idea I’m working on of a fundraising Read-a-thon. I don’t know what it will look like, but why let that stop me right? :). And even if reading isn’t your thing, I bet there’s something out there waiting for you to join and change a person’s life.

So what about you? I’d love to hear what you think and if there’s something awesome you’re connected to!

If you’re wondering who the hey Captain E.O. is (a.k.a Disney’s greatest invention ever) please see below and you’re welcome!