Colossal Art


For the past few evenings a luminous, sculptural art exhibit has been erected right beside our building. I have no idea who’s behind it or their purpose, but it’s been fun to see and it has been an interesting addition to the space.

I heard a few people say it will last a few more days and then it will be gone. It’s been nice to see people gather around the sculptures at night even though the temperatures have dipped into the low 40’s and also listen to the soft music that has accompanied the exhibit.

I always love to see people’s creativity become tangible. It’s a constant reminder to keep moving forward.

8 Beautiful Fair Trade Handbags


8 Beautiful Fair Trade Handbags

Shoulder bag
handbags.novica.com

Tote bag
serrv.org

Tote bag
handbags.novica.com

Eco-Leather Sleek Purse
tenthousandvillages.com

MIRELLE
ecoist.com

Handmade Peruvian Purse
globalgoodspartners.org

My Surreal Life as a Member of the #ONEMoms


Tonight I was sitting at my desk, going through my Flickr photos and then got all fidgety thinking about everything I’ve done this year as a member of the ONE Moms. I know Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago, but I am extremely grateful to ONE for showing me that I have a voice to help the world’s poorest.

And then I decided to go back through the year to chronicle all the work I’ve done with ONE. It’s pretty surreal. It is so important to me to not forget a thing.

  1. Met with ONE this February for the first time. I honestly didn’t know what that initial meeting would lead to.
  2. Traveled to Kenya with the ONE Moms. We met people health workers for HIV/AIDS as well as families who live with the disease every day.
  3. Traveled to Kenya with the ONE Moms. We visited Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums.
  4. Less than a week after coming home from Kenya the ONE Moms were featured as ABC News’ Person of the Week. We held a viewing party at Blogher.
  5. I spoke about social media and social good during Social Good Week in New York.
  6. The ONE Moms met Dr. Jill Biden in the West Wing of the White House.
  7. I was on the White House grounds. Still amazed by that!
  8. I, along with other ONE Moms, was excerpted on the White House blog.
  9. The ONE Moms footage was shown on Good Morning America’s jumbo tron in Times Square.
  10. I met with my state senator’s office during the ONE Moms’ work on the Hill.
  11. I attended ONE and Red’s The Beginning of the End of AIDS panel where Bono (founder of ONE) and Alicia Keys were there.
  12. I attended the ONE and Red The Beginning of the End of AIDS panel where President Obama gave a speech about ramping up HIV/AIDS relief as well as donor dollars. Look how close I was to him!

Thank you, ONE!

If you’re not already a member, be sure to join. They don’t want your money. They just want your voice.

My Upcoming Adventures


The next weeks are going to be amazing and I cannot wait. They’re going to require serious travel coordination and a lot of time living out of a suitcase, but I’m ready for it.

This Friday I will make my way to Washington, DC for Blogalicious! I love Blogalicious. It is by far one of my absolute favorite conferences of the year. I can’t wait to catch up with tons of my friends. This is going to be a phenomenal weekend.

Then directly after Blogalicious I will stay in DC for meetings with ONE and the other ONE MOMS. We’ll be meeting with members of the Obama Administration and our elected officials. I cannot wait to see everyone. The last time we all saw each other we were saying our good-byes in Amsterdam.

Then I am off to London for some meetings and meet-ups and a conference. It will be a whirlwind for sure as I’m not staying very long; just long enough to do everything and fly back home. I can’t wait. I think I’m secretly excited about flying Virgin Atlantic for the very first time.

And then yesterday I was asked to speak on the mom blogging panel at the Alliance for Women in Media Symposium on November 2 in New York. The panel moderator will be René Syler from Good Enough Mother. I will join Susan Getgood, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Blogher and Ilana Rosengarten, President, Mommy Shorts.

So excited! Will you be traveling anywhere soon? Will I see you at Blogalicious?

Meeting a Reality Star Fave + the Emmys


Last weekend I had the great privledge of covering the Project Runway reunion party at Fashion Week. Project Runway is one of my all-time favorite reality shows so I was more than thrilled to attend.

To read more about the party, be sure to hop over to Mom Blog magazine for my full coverage.

The highlight of my evening was to quickly say “hi” to Viktor, my favorite on Project Runway this season. I really hope he wins!

Plus, the Emmys come on tonight! If you’re into awards shows you’ll be in for a treat. I can’t believe it has been a year already since I covered Emmy weekend last year with Duncan Hines. That sure was fun! Have a great Sunday!

Nominee Reception | Emmy Awards 2010

My Recent Stay at an Aloft Hotel


I’ll finally admit it: I am slightly obsessed with hotels. On a pit stop last week  in New Jersey before inching our way into New York City for Fashion Week we opted to stay at an Aloft property. I have been wanting to stay at an Aloft hotel for quite some time, but just haven’t had the opportunity to do so. Enough StarWood points plus a need for a hotel room for the night made for an enjoyable night at the Mount Laurel, New Jersey Aloft.

Branded as a “Vision of W Hotels” Aloft hotels are not trendy and chic like the W hotels, but for a mid-tier hotel chain it definitely offers more than comparable hotels in the same price range and is considerably hipper.

I loved that the Aloft offered Wired and SPIN for our reading pleasure and based on their magazine options I definitely know who their targeted customers are.

And who doesn’t love the small details? On their coffee cups it reads, “Gulp and a-go-go.” Clever.

Even though we didn’t stay at the Aloft for long I did get a true sense of the hotel chain. It’s for those who want a “W” experience without having to pay the “W” prices. It’s for those who want to stay at a hotel that comes with little surprises like this analog clock. I don’t know when I have ever seen an analog clock in my hotel room. I thought it was quite charming. And in fact I loved it so much I searched for it online. It’s a classic 1950s Moonbean alarm clock by Westclox. It retails for $37.99 showing that hotels don’t need to spend a fortune to make a lasting impression.

The next time you travel check to see if there is an Aloft property where you’re headed. You won’t be disappointed.

Our First Day in Kenya: Harsh Realities, Solid Improvements


Today was a day filled with many hard truths that we had to face along with endless possibilities and improvements that are already happening in Kenya.

Our day started with a quick 30 minute flight from Nairobi to Kisumu, a sleepy town on the shores of Lake Victoria. We went to Kisumu to visit the KEMRI/CDC Research and Public Health Collaboration home-based HIV testing and counseling. My site partner Cooper Munroe, co-founder of The Motherhood, and I were invited to visit the home of a couple who was getting retested for HIV. We were able to see and learn everything about home-based HIV testing from the counselor walking through the procedure to pricking their fingers to draw blood to also offering counseling for care and treatment.

Using the rapid test model we were able to see right away along with the couple what their HIV status was even though they had been tested previously. For me, the results were shocking and I had to recalibrate to get my bearings. The husband was negative and the wife and mother of five was positive. In that moment when the counselor turned their strips around to show us the results the entire dynamic of the room changed. The mother, while quiet and reserved, wiped away a tear even though she tried to be discrete. And their oldest daughter, a pre-teen, who had been sitting calmly beside her mother the entire time laid back behind her mother as if she wanted to hide from the HIV positive result.

Although millions of Africans have HIV particularly in Kisumu where the concentration is the highest, the disease Africans call White Teeth because of its tendency to erode people to skin and bones, still has an enormous impact on people’s lives even while the stigma of the disease wanes. The good news is this couple knows their status along with 130,000 others who have been tested in their homes. In fact, the mother is going to get treatment tomorrow and the father was counseled on ways to protect himself and was given 60 condoms.

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The second part of the day took us to the Siaya District Hospital, a bumpy hour-long ride away from Kisumu. While there we were told about the clinical trials and studies they are conducting on site like the malaria in pregnancy study where 300 HIV positive expecting mothers are helping researchers determine if antimalarials can be given to expectant moms in the tropics. I was also given the opportunity to talk with a woman in the study through a translator. The woman was happy to be receiving free prenatal care for her fifth child. And like all expectant mothers she was nervous, yet excited about the birth of her baby.

We also visited the maternity ward and pediatric unit at Siaya District Hospital. Expectant mothers are able to receive quality care at the hospital, but sadly it is cost prohibitive to many and the sheer distance to the facility for mothers in the rural countryside make giving birth at Siaya impossible. Most women still birth their babies at home which dramatically increases the rate of maternal and infant death.

Finally we toured the pediatric unit at Siaya. It was gut wrenching to see such sick children some of whom could literally die at any moment. While there were very ill children we saw children walking out of the unit as well. Not every ending is a bad ending with access to quality care. We were also assured that just a few years ago things were much worse. But US funding has helped Siaya District Hospital hire more staff and buy better equipment. And while the pediatric unit is often over capacity, there are many more success stories than in previous years.

I’m learning that while the need is great here in Kenya there are also many successes through well managed programs that work.

Daily Action: Yesterday we visited health clinics that receive direct funding from the United States. Sign ONE’s petition asking Congress not to cut funding for these effective programs that are saving lives. Then ask 5 friends to do the same.