PINK in Bloom


It’s been fairly cold this winter with a lot of unexpected snow and ice, but this week I was surprised by not only warmer weather, but the coming of spring flowers. I couldn’t be happier! I had to go for a quick walk to get up close to the blooms and take a few photos.

It’s funny because the longer I blog the more time flies. My years are marked succinctly by the milestones I blog about. For the past few years I have written posts quite similar to this one where I am happy to see the flowers push forth seemingly out of nowhere after a frigid winter. The next thing I will blog about is an upcoming trip and then the summer and the cycle goes on.

Travel Awaits

This weekend I will be off to Chicago to speak at the IEG Sponsorship Conference. I will join SOS Children’s Villages and Johnson & Johnson on a panel: It Takes a Village to Build a Partnership. I’ll be happy to be in the Windy City again. It’s been quite some time! I have to admit, it’s nice to be speaking again after a long purposeful absence from conferences.

Have a great weekend!

Flowers

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I Actually Learned Something New About a Coffee Drink


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If you know anything about me it’s that I really love coffee! Love it! I drink coffee of all sorts all over the world. Just look at this post, My Best Coffee Moments While Traveling.

Right? It’s true.

But I learned about a new type of coffee drink on Friday afternoon just a few cities up the highway. Usually, my go-to coffee drinks are a macchiato (especially in Ethiopia), lattes, or my old stand-by, the cappuccino. But I learned about a new drink last week at Scratch in Durham’s swanky downtown district: the cortado.

A cortado? What’s that?

A cortado is primarily a cappuccino, but the steamed milk doesn’t have as much foam. And, friends, it was delicious. And I love that I learned something new. So, the next time you’re at a coffee shop, ask for a cortado.

Also, I love going to coffee shops that have actual cups. It makes the experience all worth it. In America, sometimes we just want to sit and have coffee that’s NOT served in a paper or plastic cup even if they’re recyclable! Give me a real cup or glass of coffee any day.

Reading 

In other news, I am actually reading a book! You know…one that you can hold in your hands, take in every word, flip pages, and fall asleep with. I am so used to reading everything online every day that I easily and repeatedly forget how gratifying it is to just hold a book. How ridiculous is that?

Anyway, I am reading Vive La Revolution by Mark Steel about the French Revolution. I am a history lover, so this book is fun and informative.

Have you had a cortado? Where? 

Photo: Shadowed


Today is my very first post for the Weekly Photo Challenge. Since I’ve been on WordPress for so long I figured I might as well become a part of the photography community as much as I post photos anyway. I thought today’s prompt was especially fitting since I posted a Shadowed photo just yesterday on Instagram.

This photo is from the very first time I visited Ethiopia in December 2012. We were driving over 100 mph through the Great Rift Valley. It was one of my most exhilarating moments in Africa.

So, here’s my contribution to this week’s photo challenge.

Driving through the Great Rift Valley. #Ethiopia #Africa #travel #latergram #photography

A photo posted by Jennifer James (@jenniferjames_) on

Photos: Babywearing in Africa


BABYWEARING
It’s no secret I love spending time with mothers and their babies while traveling. That, no doubt, is why I have a running theme of babywearing photos from Africa. I took these photos of moms and their little ones while I was in Tanzania and Zambia these past two years.

I always love seeing how snug the babies are to their mothers and how colorful and pretty the fabrics are.

I used to wear my girls when they were babies, but never this effortlessly!

Babywearing in Africa

Babywearing in Africa

Babywearing in Africa

Babywearing in Africa

Babywearing in Africa

My New Year’s Goals Because I Don’t Believe in Resolutions


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I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because I think there are just too many ways in which to break them. So I don’t even bother.

Instead I simply set clear and concise goals before the new year hits. Goals and resolutions are pretty much the same, but I am happy to work with goals because I can work towards them, tweak them in the middle of my journey, and then revel in the success when I have accomplished them. Or, even revisit them if I don’t reach one of my goals.

My goals this year are varied. I plan to travel more than last year even though I always vow to travel less. I also plan to read and write even more. Reading and writing go together. You can’t write well unless you read well. I wholeheartedly believe that. Always have. I already read an impressive amount (I really do!), but I want to start turning pages again instead of scrolling through endless Internet content.

One of the things I like about myself is I set fairly overarching goals for my life and then I leave ample room for new, short-term goals because you just never know what will come up or pique my interest in the months to come.

More than anything this year I look forward to spending more and more time with my family. My girls aren’t getting any younger and will be in college before I know it! I also look forward to traveling more and reporting more as I mentioned. Traveling keeps me on my toes and makes me work harder for the stories and the people I cover. I love it.

Happy New Year!

7 of My Favorite Food Moments in Ethiopia This Year


At the end of every year I tend to write a lot of recap posts so I can easily catapult myself into the new year, be a little reflective,  and also so I can remember everything I’ve done and want to improve upon the next year. I traveled a lot this year for which I am extremely grateful!  I spent most of my time abroad in Ethiopia. Who knows where I will travel to in 2015, but April and June of this year were mostly spent in one of my favorite countries in the world. Even though I haven’t seen nearly all of Ethiopia (which I very much intend to do!) I have seen a great deal of it in Addis and its surrounding area, the south to Arba Minch through the Great Rift Valley, and even the northern part of the country on Lake Tana.

I associate a lot of my memories in Ethiopia by what I ate and drank because the coffee and beer are so very good and so is the food! I love that you can easily find vegetarian meals if you’d like because so many Ethiopians fast from meat and dairy and I even love that you can find some pretty decent Ethiopian wine if you look hard enough.

Here are a few of my photos of some of my favorite moments in Ethiopia involving food. I can’t wait to go back. I miss it already!

Washington, Dulles (IAD)

I have my own little beloved ritual every time I fly Ethiopian Airlines out of Dulles. I eat sushi at my favorite Japanese spot in the airport and drink a cold bottle of Sapporo. I love this place because none of the sushi is premade. I sit and watch the sushi chef meticulously make my food to order.  I look forward to this every time I fly to Addis!

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Hotel Harmony (Addis Ababa,  Ethiopia) 

When the International Reporting Project trip I planned was over in June I took a quick trip to Johannesburg and then back to Ethiopia and spent a day and a half in Addis Ababa. After nearly two weeks spent with a team of nine journalists, two translators, one fixer, countless drivers, NGO liaisons, and IRP staff I couldn’t believe I found myself in Addis all by myself. This was my first dinner alone.

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Lewi Hotel and Resort  (Hawassa, Ethiopia) 

One early morning I got up at the Lewi Hotel and Resort in Hawassa, ordered a cappuccino, and just sat quietly and looked out at the lake. It was blissful before a busy day! It’s really hard in the midst of work to stop and reflect. I did more of this in 2014.

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Lake Hawassa

 

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My Favorite Photo of 2014


Last year I started my own annual tradition where I go through all of my photos from my travels and choose my absolute favorite. It’s always a hard task because I have so many to choose from, but there are always a few that really stand out to me. They may have special meaning because of where I was when I took the photo or I really love the subject!

Last year’s pick was my hands-down favorite photo of the year. I still love it to this day. I took this photo when I spent time with the Maasai outside of Arusha, Tanzania who live at the base of Mt. Meru.

2013

And my favorite photo of the year is one I also took in Tanzania right outside of Dar es Salaam. I saw this mother’s little one and couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He looked so peaceful and comfortable I wanted to be snuggled up just like that.

2014

Now that I look at both of my favorites from this year and last, they look very similar. I do love babies!