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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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If you’ve been following my puppy posts (all four of them) you know I’ve been super excited to finally be in a good space and situation in my life to add a puppy in the mix (read: not working a gazillion hours, traveling around the globe, and generally just being too stinking busy most of the time). Fattie and I researched local Swedish breeders, sent a bucketful of emails, spoke to some over the top folks (memories of the hilarious spoof Best In Showwhich pokes fun at these ‘kooky dog show people’ who take themselves way too seriously came flooding in – check out this famous clip of Parker Posey ~ Where’s the Busy Bee?), and finally stumbled upon a wonderful breeder who was just getting ready to have a litter from one of her prized bitches.

After meeting with her and her family we reserved a baby French bulldog puppy who was born about three weeks ago. But like all good stories there is a surprising twist…..we have ultimately decided not to bring home one of those French bulldog puppies. I know, kinda sad.

But the really exciting news is………we opted to take home this little cutie instead.

We saw Jasper on our initial visit to the kennel to meet the pregnant mama, Esther, who was due to have puppies any day. We fell in love with this black bundle of cuteness (his current owners call him Jeppe, pronounced ‘yep-pee’, which is apparently a nickname for Jasper) but wasn’t aware he was available.

Attentive, kind, with deep thoughtful eyes, Jasper has an amazing pedigree with champion parents in Holland. He’s adorable. This dawggie is just under a year old so technically he is still a puppy – but comes with the benefit of already being house trained. (a MAJOR, MAJOR plus!)

And the extra bonus is……our cute new dawggie doesn’t even snore! Which I hear is pretty rare for a Frenchie.

We get to pick up Jasper (after some vaccines, a thorough health check, and some tedious paperwork) and bring him home next week.

We’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any great puppy advice or any how to welcome-home-&-acclimate-a-new-dog suggestions!

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Dr. Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon. On September 18, 2007, after just a month of being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, he gave his last lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” in a packed McConomy Auditorium. Inspiring others, he speaks about his life lessons and encourages others to achieve their childhood dreams. Randy passed away on July 25th at the age of forty-seven. He left behind a wife and three very young children. The gifted professor said the last lecture was meant to be a “message in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children.”

If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and skip So You Think You Can Dance to watch this instead. There’s a pretty good stinking reason it’s been downloaded over 10 million times.

And the best selling book…….

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I was fumbling through my iPod to resurrect some long forgotten tunes and I decided to give my older Jason Mraz CD’s a whirl again. I’ve been a fan of San Diego based Mraz for years but haven’t spun his older tracks in many moons. I’m sure you’ve heard his current hit, I’m Yours, that’s been circulating on the radio, from his recently released May 2008 CD, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. I just adore his sassy lyrical wordsmith style.

Listening to his earlier songs reminded me why I like him. He makes me smile. And smiling feels good. 

There are plenty of tracks you can sink your teeth into and hum over and over again. I heart Mr. Curiosity, The Remedy, You and I Both, Bella Luna, and of course who doesn’t love Geek in the Pink, made even that more famous by the American Idol contest, Chris Richardson. (But of course, Jason’s the real rhythm and rhyme master). Mr. Mraz will be in flapping his chops in Sweden this September and Fattie just surprised me with tickets! Yah! 

Here are just a couple videos to get you in the mood.

Jason’s current hit, I’m Yours

and one of my favorite songs, Life is Wonderful from his CD, Mr. A-Z:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkHTsc9PU2A

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l74d1fmZbw

 

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Oh, yeah. I’ll been know for taking risks. And when I caught those fresh broad beans eyeing me from across the produce section I knew I must scoop them up even though I had absolutely no plan for these tasty morsels. See, told you – I’m wild.

I ended up making some bean fritters (ala Naked Chef style) with refreshing mint yogurt sauce. (Think falafel here). They were a delightful surprise to the usual (well, nothings really usual around here) weeks dishes.

Whack together some cilantro, mint, cumin, cayenne pepper, fresh broad beans, half a spicy chili, lemon zest, salt, and flour in your Cuisinart and you’re ready to dunk these mini footballs in hot oil for a couple minutes. Crunchy on the outside yet so moist on the inside. And who doesn’t love to dip?

Here’s the short Jamie Oliver video:

If the video doesn’t play: click here

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Happy to be back in the states for a couple weeks and tonight I’m feeling so grateful for the abundance and availability (well, compared to where I’m currently living in Sweden) of decent live music here.

Last night we headed out to set our eyes and ears on the San Diego based, Augustana. I’m sure you’ve heard their song, Boston which sold a million digital copies and was featured on the TV show One Tree Hill or the catchy tune, Stars and Boulevards – both songs from their first album, All the Stars and Boulevards. I adore their sporty heartfelt style – kind of a mix between Keane, Train, and The Fray. Dan Layus’ voice is amazing and his soulful breathy vocals sound even more fabulous in person. And being extremely easy on the eyes certainly doesn’t hurt either.

The girls and I had a blast hanging out together but unfortunately didn’t snap any pix worthy of posting. Here are two versions of Augustana’s new single, Sweet and Low, to whet your appetite. Trust me, you’ll be humming this one in no time.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2D07wrBNMk

www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMUJiOveDGg

Augustana’s second CD, Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt just hit the stores on April 29th. For $9.90, it’s seriously worth the dough.

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Colbie Caillat - Coco

Colbie Calliat is the super cute 22 year old blondie singer-songwriter from California who broke records with her song, Bubbly – it’s been viewed more than 17 million times on youtube and upwards of 20 million on myspace.

Her CD, Coco, has been making the rounds in my iPod since last year and it continues to grow on me a little more every time I hear it.

It’s feel good music. Here’s her song, Magic.

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