Thursday, December 20, 2012


Jcrew Factory is killing it! And for those who are looking for a deal, it is an extra 40% off today. JCrew Factory is basically their online outlet. Some of my picks below, I just bought this tunic, because that looks like something you would wear in Marrakech, right?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


T-5 days. Yikes. To say I have a lot to do is an understatement at the moment. I have pulled together a short list of priority things to do while in Barcelona. Anyone else have suggestions?

At the moment, I am looking forward to the obvious ones of course, Casa Mila, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, tapas, Las Ramblas, the Gothic quarter, and so much more...can't wait!

spider man.

If you need a little pick-me up this morning, go check out Pete Souza's Portrait of a Presidency on the Time Lightbox site. It is 125 of his photos of Obama. My favorite is this one below. Not just because Obama is awesome in this, but also because the parents let their kid wear his spiderman suit to visit the White House instead of forcing him into a sweater and kid khakis. And what do you get? An awesome moment wherein your son plays spider man with the President of the United States. Good stuff!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


If we can afford it, Ben and I are hoping to find a rug in Morocco. I would love to find something great. Alison sent me this link this afternoon, Morris, etc (she spent a summer in Morocco working for the MCC and is my source on all things right now!). I love these as possible inspiration for what we might want!

Monday, December 17, 2012

trick of the trade (vol. 5).

Been a while since I've posted in this series, and figured today was a good day for it in light of the serious online shopping that happens in December. My colleague at work, Melanie, taught me this a couple months ago about saving some dollars online with promotional codes. So, here you go, passing it on to all of you.

When you buy online and get to the payment page, most stores will provide a coupon or promotion code line. It looks something like this:

When you see this, open a new window and go to: At the top of the page, type the store you are shopping at in the search bar. As an example, I am using Jcrew. After you press enter, it will pull up a list of coupons. Scroll through and see if any of them apply to you. And to get the details and more information, you can click on them. Sometimes it won't have anything, but today for example, I went to buy a pair of shoes on Sole Society, did a quick search, and saved myself $20!

You're welcome!

blood lines.

Emily's birthday is coming up tomorrow. In celebration, Alison, Nasim, Emily and I commemorated the big day on Saturday. We started with a trip to the Corcoran. Emily really wanted to see the new Taryn Simon exhibit, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII. It was fascinating!  I am all about storytelling and Simon does this amazingly. She took pictures of bloodlines around the world, starting with one person in the family and then photographing and showing the descendants and then told their story. The stories she chose were so varied and interesting. One was about this man who was chosen to be the body double of Saddam Hussein's son, Uday. Another was about feuding families in Brazil and another about albinos in Africa. If you are in the DC area you should absolutely go check it out, so worth it!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh


Yesterday was heartbreaking. And while I obviously don't have my own kids, I have found myself thinking about how do you raise children in our age today with these tragic events and all of the media coverage. I hear some people say this is why I don't let my kids watch t.v. or to just turn it off. But, to me, I don't think that is practical for the world they are coming into. Fred Rogers said this about tragic events:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

I know I am resorting to Mr. Rogers on this one, but here is some more of what he said...

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, "What do you think happened?" If the answer is "I don't know," then the simplest reply might be something like, "I'm sad about the news, and I'm worried. But I love you, and I'm here to care for you."

If we don't let children know it's okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don't need to hear all the details of what's making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, "It's okay to be angry, but it's not okay to hurt ourselves or others."  Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we'll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds' future peacemakers -- the world's future "helpers." 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

prep time.

Couple months ago, Ben started inquiring what I thought James Bond would wear in the Moroccan desert. This morning, he sent me this picture in the NYTimes photo section.

And then, after I confirmed that we are indeed going to Ait Benhaddou he sent me this picture and said, " I will be talking like Russell Crowe".

Men are such interesting people sometimes. In this case, Ben is channeling himself as a Bond-Gladiator hybrid in preparation for our trip. Wish me luck.   

union market.

I got out of work last night a little later and decided to head over to Union Market. I have been meaning to go for months and realized if I didn't go last night, I probably wouldn't get there until late January. So, I jumped on the metro, made the walk up Florida in the dark to a very open, dark industrial lot. It is definitely gritty and isolated. Much better if you have a car but I was happy to see that the bus stop is right by there and ended up grabbing the 92 back to my side of town later.

Anyway, the Market is very very cool. It reminded me a lot of the Oxbow Public Market in Napa (click here for a Napa recap!). It is an open, very well renovated space with a lot of light and a great layout. There were great little bars/restaurants as well as farm counters for locally sourced produce. There was also a fantastic little store in there, Salt & Sundry (which happened to have these dishes from Poketo in the store). Right now there are 16 Artisans in the market, including a creamery, bakery, butchery, oysters and more. I recommend it! Go support local business and a great new venture and cool space in a developing area. Great stuff!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

street music.

You have to, have to go watch this on the NYTimes, 'Solo, Piano - NYC'. Ben just sent it to me saying that I would love it (very sweet in of itself!). Here's the thing, you have to watch the full thing. Amazing. Unexpected. Just beautiful. Simply brilliant. You won't regret it. Go. now.

all settled.

Can we all just take a deep breath and stop talking about 2016 until, I don't know, at least inauguration? Yes, HRC is going to run for president again. Now that we have established that, let's all settle down. We don't need four year campaigns and she isn't going to answer any of your questions before the new year. In that spirit, this piece from the New Yorker, Race for White House Wide Open After Hillary Leaves Office in 2024, hits it spot on! 


I just finished my annual honor of giving the Lea family their secret santa assignments for this year. Yes, that's right, part of my duty as Scott's best friend and since college has been working out the giving tree each year and emailing everyone to tell them who they are giving to this year. 
Anyway, that got me thinking. Our family is especially hard because there are so many of us. And now that we are getting older with partners and kids, the gift giving has gotten to be really quite a project. While home at Thanksgiving, my Dad suggested we stop giving gifts at Christmas. I was not having any of it. I think some kind of giving is really important in family. Not to mention all the reasons for tradition and cheer and love. But, I do agree that in the thick of holiday season, it can be a lot. What do you all think? It seems like there are all kinds of ways that families think of to celebrate but ease the burden of gifting. Do you all do anything special?

packed up.

I'm just going to come out and admit it, packing is not my strong suit. This has long been a challenge for me. In Bolivia and Peru, my bag was so big I had to pay to store it in Cochabamba because it was too bulky to take to Machu Picchu. For my summer in Honduras, I took one of those oversized, giant LLBean duffles. Very inappropriate for working on sanitation projects in a rural town. And in Vietnam, my house caretaker was truly astounded by the size of the bag I showed up with and used his hands to emphasize that to me after we carried it up the stairs.

Short story,  I am really making a concerted effort to mentally prepare and try to think ahead for this trip. Years ago, Huma who has traveled the world with HRC and goes everywhere with her, told me the secret to her packing was to pack in only three colors. For a 3 or 4 day trip, she would pack everything in, say, black, purple and beige and then she could wear everything interchangeably because it all matched. Very smart. But not practical for me. Someone else recommended these air tight bags that you can buy at Bed, Bath & Beyond to compress your clothes and keep them neat.

I am also facing some particular challenges. As of today, I don't have suitcase. Does anyone have one I can borrow?! How do you pack for the desert? Shoe recommendations? Morocco vs Spain?

Monday, December 10, 2012


I signed up for Everlane months back and then forgot to tell you all about it. Sorry! I talked it up to a couple different people and forced Alison to sign up so that I could see a "secret" section of their website after you get friends to join. Anyway, the general gist is they take the middle men out of the equation to make "luxury basics". No stores, all online. It isn't a big selection, but quality stuff. I can say this because Alison then talked it up to Emily (her sister) who showed up to dinner one night wearing the fantastic Everlane belt (click here to see it), super cute!

Now, they have these great silk shirts. I love the blue!

royal fix.

You know what you need sometimes on a gloomy Monday morning? A royal fix. Go take a look at these photos by Christopher Wahl on his website.

Emmy and I both spotted them on Cup of Jo last week and have been loving them. Don't fight it, love them or hate them, British royalty is fascinating! Not to mention they are brilliant photos!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

charity works.

Kristof has a piece today on Gifts That Change Lives with recommendations for places to donate. I meant to do a posting like this last week and then lost track of it, so here we go...
  • Like Kristof said, Heifer International continues to do great work. They are fighting hunger and poverty and your gift provides an animal to an individual or family. The mission is sustainable and empowers. 
  • Give money to the International Rescue Committee. Having worked for them in the field and in the U.S., I can attest to the quality of the people and the effectiveness of their projects. From humanitarian relief to development and post-conflict work, they are supporting refugees throughout the world.
  • Let's not forget about Haiti. Hopital Albert Schweitzer was started by Gwen and Larry Mellon. Grandpolly went to school with Gwen Mellon growing up in Philadelphia. The Hopial Albert Schweitzer, starting in 1956, aims to improve health and quality of life. Before Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health became what they are today, it was the Schweitzer Hospital who partnered with them on all of the TB tests. They continue to provide critical healthcare today. You should support them. 

books a million.

Ben sent this to me, Hannah and Jordan this morning, Bookshelf Porn. I am love with this site. Click on the images to see the places and caption - some of them are simply fantastic! Just some book porn to get your Thursday morning started...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

lucky number 7.

I have been running a little dry on things to write about of late. But in the ongoing series of Morocco trip updates, we are making progress. Obviously, we are both looking forward to a lot of couscous and tagine and we are really excited to try the food stalls in the Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech. We also decided today to make a reservation at this relatively new restaurant in Fes, Restaurant numero 7.  It is obviously a black and white theme and the reviews are great and the concept is interesting. T-19 days to departure!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

critics review.

I forgot to mention that I saw Lincoln this weekend! For the past posts on this, click here and here. Back to the point, it was great. Daniel Day Lewis is absolutely brilliant. Who was I to doubt?! If you haven't seen it, go now!


I thought I would pass along some gift goes!

These West Elm mugs look solid and classy! I love love my Le Creuset Stockpot and use it all the time. And I just bought Hannah a pair of these french sneakers, Bensimons, for her birthday. They are supposedly super comfortable!
West Elm
Le Creuset
I love these handmade ties and bowties from Fox & Brie on etsy! Hannah gave me a pair of JCrew pajamas last year and I love them, and if you act quickly you can extra-personalize it with a monogram! If you are in the DC area, Proper Topper always has good books, jewelry and great candles for the taking.
Proper Topper
Fox & Brie
Cup of Jo put this great rasberry bush on one of her lists and I thought it was such a good idea. Rasberries in the backyard, yes please! Heath Ceramics, based out in San Francisco, apparently does amazing stuff. I love their ceramic tiled numbers for houses, great house-warming present. Expensive but your great-grandchildren will be able to serve you soup in whatever it is!

White Flower Farm

Heath Ceramics

Last but not least, Moleskin is putting out some great colors and as you know, I live and swear by my calendar (see here for previous post). I also love these longer gloves from Gap.

Monday, December 3, 2012

cow bell.

At home in Colorado last week, I came across this old cow bell that Grandpolly had given me years ago when I was visiting her in Philadelphia. I am not exactly sure where it came from. I like to think she brought it back from her trip to Austria with her sister way back in the 30s. We have pictures of her in the mountains on a hike. It looks like she is on the set of the Sound of Music.

Anyway, I love it. I'm not sure why. And, I can't see where I would put it in a hypothetical house right now. But that doesn't matter really, right? I have been circling it in my apartment for the last week. I am thinking on the best way to clean her up and revitalize it. Any thoughts? Suggestions?!

I'll keep you posted on this DIY. I am no rush on this one and just mulling it over at this point.....