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There are 600 million adolescent girls living in the developing world – the majority living in poverty. By giving one of these girls a chance, you start the Girl Effect. When girls have safe places to meet, education, legal protection, health care, and access to training and job skills, they can thrive. And if they thrive, everyone around them thrives, too.

Did you know? (from the Girl Effect fact sheet)

  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
    (George Psacharopoulos and Harry Anthony Patrinos, “Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update,” Policy Research Working Paper 2881 [Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2002].)
  • Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
    (George T. Bicego and J. Ties Boerma, “Maternal Education and Child Survival: A Comparative Study of Survey Data from 17 Countries,” Social Science and Medicine 36 (9) [May 1993]: 1207–27.)
  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
    (Phil Borges, with foreword by Madeleine Albright, Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World [New York: Rizzoli, 2007], 13.)

The Nike Foundation and NoVo Foundation have a shared mission to create opportunities for girls and the world. They believe in the positive impact educating and empowering girls can have on a community.

Grow Interactive, a Norfolk-based interactive advertising and design studio, teamed up with leading independent advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy (from my home town), to develop the Girl Effect campaign. Brilliant. Powerful. Captivating. Regardless of your personal philanthropic beliefs or views of these companies, they should be praised for their creativity and remarkable use of typography.

Watch the video. Make a difference. Be significant.

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Yesterday we visited the French bulldog puppies. And OH-MI-GAWD. How can anyone NOT think these are the stinking cutest creatures eh-vah? I promise not to become a crazy dog lady or let this blog become all about French bulldogs but I could not resist posting these pics of them at a week old….The critters are now just beginning to open their eyes and desperately trying to get up off their chubby little milk filled bellies to check our their surroundings….I just want to squeeze them!

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Look who happily greeted me when I came home from work* yesterday.


Does anyone know what kind of climbing plant this is?

It is one of the most interesting flowers. The pictures show the double layered long spiky looking parts as blue but they are actually bright purple. I picked this guy up at a grocery store plant and flower section; however, I didn’t notice any of these plants blooming so I had no idea of how gorgeous this flower would be once it opened up. There was no tag (even in Swedish) indicating what species it is, but I liked it, so I plopped it into the cart. I like it even more now.

If you know what plant variety this is, please let me know!

*For those folks reading this from my former so called corporate American life: can you believe it’s officially been a whole stinking year since I left my briefcase at the door and suspended all 9-5 activities? But, even though I’m not shuffling into the office after a 20-mile-turned-into-hour-an-a-half-bumper-to-bumper-commute every effen day with my Starbucks cup glued to my paw, taking extra long lunches browsing in Bridgeport Village working diligently through lunch sleeves rolled up with my green visor on in the Lincoln conference room downstairs, organizing happy hour(s) drinking binges for every occasion imaginable, or bugging developing channel marketing strategies with Shiiki in his cube, I do actually work. *smile*

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Not something I would normally ever in a million years come in contact with back home in my Whole Foods Market, so you can imagine I was a bit jolted when I rounded the corner in the grocery store and laid my big brown eyes on this guy. He was marketing, Polar Bread or Polarbröd as it’s known in Swedish.

Polar Bread originates far north in Sweden – where reindeer are also born and raised. It is a soft flat bread with dimples, sometimes square but usually round, excellent for sandwiches. Extra tasty with a fresh slice of juicy reindeer….Oh, come on! Ease up. I would never consider munching on Santa’s helpers! At least not Rudolph anyway. But apparently, for fifteen pounds, you can get darn close to the red nose leader.

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Apparently, that’s all it takes to secure your spot in heaven. A quick visit to a website created by two Seattle boys and you can save your soul online. Take a peak at www.reserveaspotinheaven.com for a guaranteed spot in paradise or if you prefer going to the burning under-world try: www.reserveaspotinhell.com.

For a dozen or so little ones you’ll get:

  • “100% guaranteed spot” by way of a certificate of reservation, registered in the Book of Light
  • A first-class ticket to paradise (why climb stairs when you can fly?)
  • An official ID card
  • And the heaven 101 mini informational guide (your Fodor travel book to the place in the sky).

Without a reservation, the website warns heaven-hopefuls to expect long lines, thousands of steps on the stairway to heaven and haggling with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

But don’t forget to read the fine print. The site also states, “We have never been to nor are we affiliated with Heaven.”

Funny. That’s the part that made me giggle.

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One of the benefits of having an address in the sticks is the sticks.

After spending the evening hitting a round of golf (or in this case Fattie playing well and me gouging ginormous divots out of the earth while he patiently and ever so kindly waited for my three – four strokes to his every one) I walked over and cut two gigantic armfuls of budding branches to use as arrangements.

Living in the city you’ll need to get off your wallet for fresh cut twigs like this – over 3-4 feet in length with gorgeous green buds starting to poke their heads out. It feels so much better when you can pick as many as you want, whenever you like and they’re free.

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Seriously. How could anyone think this looks attractive enough to stick in your mouth?

I snapped this prized winning pic the other day while out running errands. The country is littered with these hot dog stands. They are in supermarkets, malls, gas stations, street corners, and pedestrian shopping streets. I just can’t believe someone in their marketing/advertising department had these photos taken, laid out this ad and then with certainty said, “Yup. It’s perfect Sven!! Let’s print up some posters straight away – they’ll be drooling over these puppies!”

In Sweden, they serve hot dogs as you see them here – shoved into this hollowed out tube shaped bun – but they also have this crazy concoction called the “Half-Special’“. (I haven’t actually slipped this masterpiece into my grill – but have seen it on the menus while walking by these joints).

The “Half-Special” is a grilled sausage way-too-long-for-the-bread slapped on an American style bun, with a scoop of mashed potatoes plunked on top. (Yup, you heard me right – mashed potatoes). For the “Full-Special”, you’ll receive two franks, a generous spoonful of spuds, a handful of shrimp salad, and occasionally it’ll be topped off with a just a wee bit of some cucumber mix. (I’m sorry for not having a picture of this heinous dish loveliness – you’ll just have to use your imagination).

I’m all for trying different types of food, have a very diverse palate, and usually jump in with both feet, ready to nibble on new dishes – so I guess I can’t say I’ll never try it……but I can’t say I really want to either.

My apologies to Sweden here – but am I the only one who thinks this sounds totally nasty?

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