Thursday, June 28, 2012


Lately I have run across so many inspiring/thought provoking videos and articles.  Here's a bit of a brain dump:

Amy Cuddy on what we tell ourselves with our body language:

Article by Liza Baron: How to Manage Natural Leaders
"In some cases, such as with natural leaders, traits which initially present as challenging behaviours can be turned into strengths. Or, looking at it a different way, the things you find most challenging in some people are so interlinked with their strengths that to try and eradicate them would be to lose the good stuff as well."

Hans Rosling on Religion and Babies and why the world will never have more than 10 billion people:

watch here

The wonderful Dr. Renee Botta speaking on a project I was a part of long ago that has evolved into a social enterprise and is changing lives!:

A documentary about a school whose mission makes my heart beat hard: "A Place In The World is a feature-length documentary about a small charter school called "The International Community School" (ICS). The school takes on an issue that plagues many communities: what to do for the refugee and immigrant populations whose children are falling behind in traditional public schools. ICS' conclusion: placing these kids together with local American children will allow for a trade-off that, if nurtured and encouraged, will benefit both parties greatly. The school is comprised of about half refugee children and half local American children."

and some Organizations that continually blow me away:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sunset hike up East Rock

Right down the street from my house, there is a littttle mountain called East Rock.  Yesterday evening I hiked up .
Just in time to see the sunset.
As dusk set in on the way down, hundreds of fireflies came out.  It was absolutely enchanting.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday morning breakfast

Blueberry pancakes from the grill at Romeo & Cesare's!

Celebrating Blaine on Block Island!

Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of one of my very favorite people by taking a little trip to Block Island, just off of the coast of Rhode Island.  The weather channels had predicted rain, but we somehow avoided that and it turned into a perfect summer day.
Here are some pictures of our adventure! 
The ferry from Port Judith, RI out to Block Island!

Blaine and Tim studying up for our adventure.
Some of us do better with early mornings than others.
Aly, Blaine and I. <3
Doesn't he kind of look like a grandpa?
Blaine had a little surprise for us for our transport for the day!  Yessssssss!
The front seat!  Getting us places!
We did a little shopping.  Tim especially liked that part and found a new hobby in the process.
I kind of thought this was going to look more creative than it does. ;)
After shopping, we did a little smoothie drinking...
And navigating (of which I had no part - the best for all concerned)...
And found ourselves a beach for napping /winning most stylish sunbathers contests...
And a beach for brunching/lunching...
And a beach for exploring..
The shockingly beautiful beaches of Block island.  I never anticipated to find such white sand or aqua-blue water on the east coast...
Aly taking it all in.
My toes were there too.

No celebration of Blaine could be complete without dark and stormies!  
The beautiful birthday girl.  I love how this picture captured her eyes.  She is one of the kindest people I know, and though a picture could never capture that - I feel like it comes across a little  in this one.
Big Poppa  pleased with life.
Stunning views on the ferry back to the mainland.
Capping the night off with a little back yard camp fire. :)

What better way to spend a beautiful summer day than celebrating one of my favorite people, exploring a new place, island, sun, beach, views, fabulous company, enough laughs to make your face hurt, and a camp fire....
just dreamy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How Willie Nelson helped me get over jet lag

So my Monday evening went something like this:
After an amazing ceviche and guacamole dinner, my friends and I walk out of the restaurant planning to go to the grocery store.
I was wondering how in the world I was going to stay awake long enough to beat jet lag.
Then we see Willie Nelson's tour buses all sitting outside.  
The next thing I knew, we had tickets in hand and were looking for our seats.
While we waited for Willie to come out, Tim and Liz played 'stay awake' games with me.. and then let me take a littttttle nap.  
But as soon as Willie came out and the house-sized Texas flag was dropped, I knew the jet lag was no match. 
Sing it Willie!

I didn't think it was possible to love these two people any more than I already did, but learning that my friends are up for an impromptu Willie Nelson night just took me to a whole new level of love, appreciation and respect for them.  

Thank you Tim and Liz for bringing 'stay awake games' Willie sing-alongs and spontaneity to Monday nights!
I've never had such fun beating jet lag!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Happy happy father's day to my daddio.  He's my dad, my friend, my travel buddy, my adviser, the one I most love to disagree about politics with, and my hero.  He taught me to love the outdoors, the piano, the blues, history, grilling, Mexico, a good game, New Orleans, Yellowstone, rafting, family history and family time.  He's taught me to value making time to sit down for dinner, leaving work at work, asking my elders about their stories, giving back to my community, and valuing lifelong relationships with friends and family.  He's the rock of our family and the best example of a father, son, grandson and husband that I can imagine.  Thank you dad, I don't know how I got so lucky.  I am proud to be your daughter.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Back in New Haven!

After 33 or so quality hours with Korean Airlines from Laos - Vietnam - Korea - NYC - New Haven......
I'm baaaaaaaack :)

Wild World

As we were walking around one evening in Luang Prabang, a restaurant was playing Joanna Wang's cover of Cat Steven's Wild World, and it enchanted me for some reason.  
Here it is:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Luang Prabang: Street Food Day!

Rachael and I decided to take the street food challenge and ONLY eat street food for a day.
The result: we ate for an entire day for under $10 (and we definitely didn't hold back!)
And... we survived!  Tummies are still good!
So if you add this up with the $3 we each paid for our hotel - it is possible to travel in Laos for $13 a day, officially making it the cheapest place I have ever traveled.  Awesome.

Breakfast: Waffles and bananas, bought from the morning market!

Lunch: Mango banana yogurt smoothie and egg sandwiches, from a street stall!

Dinner: buffet at the night market - noodles, spring rolls and dumplings!

Dessert: Oreo shakes from a street stall. YUM

A few reasons why I am IN LOVE with Luang Prabang

Our hotel room was $6.  As in, $3 each.  And it was clean.  

You can walk down the street and run into this.

And this.

There are photo ops in front of gigantic golden doors.

You can take self-portraits with mosaic-ed elephants.

Watch sesame chips dry, and then eat them.

Run into thousands of chili pepper drying on the street.

Cross a bamboo bridge to get to lunch.

Eat crepes with nutella and bananas a minimum of 2 times a day.

Climb these stairs...
to see this view....
and watch this sunset.
This is what your feet look like when you watch that sunset.

And when you come back down.. you can go to the night market.
And shop for a straight mile of souveniers.  And the shop keepers are actually really really wonderful to bargain with - friendly, funny and fair.
Buy coolest bags ever for under $5!
Hungry? Turn a corner and you have blocks and blocks of street food (more on that later.)
Awesome French-colonial architecture meets east.

Did I mention the bags at the night market?

The stop signs are the coolest ever.
These doors actually exist in this color - um.... best doors EVER.
Did I mention the crepes?  Did I mention that you can add COCONUT ICECREAM to the top?  
And to get to the airport?  You take a tuk tuk.