Friday, September 02, 2011

Where Am I?

1. I'm 221 years old. 
2. I'm 2/3 male, 1/3 female (for now, at least). 
3. My face reads "Equal Justice Under Law." 

Where am I? 

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Don't Hate; Advocate

Last week, I had the great pleasure of participating in Save the Children's Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

What is Save the Children?
Save the Children (STC) is the leading independent organization for creating lasting change in the lives of children throughout the world. STC responds to disasters around the world, including tsunamis and civil conflict, with food, medical care, and education. They remain in communities to help build long-term recovery programs and resolve ongoing issues children face each day, including poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and disease.

What's Advocacy Day? 
Each year, STC (US) invites supporters, students, board members, staff, and partners to meet with senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill and advocate for children's issues, both domestic and abroad.

This year, approximately 200 attendees were broken into groups and each group was assigned one of two issues: federal education programs for children in poor areas throughout the US as well as maternal, newborn, and child survival programs throughout the world. My group lobbied for the latter topic. We spent the morning learning the facts in well-planned education sessions, and, in the afternoon, attended meetings with offices of representatives from both the Senate and the House to ask them to take action on these issues.  

The Facts: What's the Problem? 

  • Over 8 million children this year will die before their 5th birthday - over 20,000 every day - many from causes that are preventable or treatable. 
  • The largest portion of preventable deaths in these children are due to pneumonia, diarrhea, and newborn complications. 
  • Malnutrition is an underlying condition, contributing to more than one-third of deaths.   
The Expense: How much does it cost to treat these diseases? 
  • Pneumonia: less than US$10 per case
  • Malaria: less than US$1 per case and US$10 for one bednet 
  • Diarrhea: less than US$0.80 per case
The Federal Budget: How does it impact these issues? 
  • Though it is often one of the first areas to receive cuts, the US annual budget's allocation to international affairs comprises less than 1% of its total. 
While I sincerely hope our appeals were heard and changes will be reflected in the FY11 and FY12 budgets, Advocacy Day achieved its goal of educating me, along with 200 others, about critical issues facing the world today. That, in itself, is an amazing success and one that should be applauded!  

One Last Item
I cannot conclude this post without giving props to my friend - and frequent Ping pin-up boy - Ryan, STC staffer and Advocacy Day extraordinaire. Congratulations, Ryan!

To learn more about Save the Children's child survival campaign, visit

Have an issue close to your heart? Advocate below!  

Monday, January 31, 2011

Around the World in 30 Bytes: Super Bowl Sunday

"Around the World in 30 Bytes" is a recurring series focusing on what’s shakin’ in the food blogosphere and in my virtual recipe box. 

Now, I know I've mentioned my apathy towards American football. This is true. However, consider this to be an asterisk to that post because I do love Super Bowl Sunday. Food! Commercials! Food! Oh, yeah, and there's football, too!

It's time to get your sodium on, people. This edition of Around the World in 30 Bytes is dedicated to that American tradition: Super Bowl Sunday. 

Atlanta Byte: Bakerella's Super Bowl Oreo Truffles. Hard as I try, I'll never be able to bake gorgeous sweets like Bakerella. So, do me a favor - call me after you've made these and I'll stop over? Will travel for truffles!

Florida Byte: Big2Beautiful's Sweet and Savory Ribs. I have a special place in my heart for sweet and savory combos. 

Los Angeles Byte: White On Rice Couple's Honey-Sriracha Glazed Buffalo Wings. A delicious and sticky twist on a Super Bowl fave. 

Texas (via New York) Byte: Classic Pimento Cheese from the Homesick Texan. Simple. Delicious. Fattening. Perfect Super Bowl grub.

Oklahoma Byte: Sloppy Joes, sliders, and shrimp - oh my! The Pioneer Woman has dedicated a whole section of her site to Super Bowl Sunday. Thank ya, PW!

Packers or Steelers? Or, more importantly, wings or tenders? 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Feeling the Pull

"Well, I'm heading back to pack a bag, to head out on the road to take AWAY what I know is mine..."

Does music move you? Inspire you? Fill you with joy?

Me, too.

High five.

My iPod is always with me, be it flowing in my ears or on my desktop. Ninety percent of my waking hours are filled with music. (On a side note, I think I might need a hearing test soon, but let's not focus on that right now.)

Each time I hear "Feeling the Pull" by The Swell Season, it never fails to lift my spirits. I'm ready to pack my bag, head out on the road, and take away what I know is mine - yes, Swell Season, I, too, am feeling so small against the big sky tonight! It is, in my humble opinion, the perfect traveling tune.

What's that? You've never heard "Feeling the Pull"?! Well, You Tube to the rescue, my friend! Check out the video above to view a live performance. In case you're wondering, that's Swell Season's charming frontman Glen Hansard giving his charming song introduction in his charming Irish accent.

I'm charmed. Is it obvious?

If you want to buy their entire album, Strict Joy - which boasts an astounding 32 tracks, both live and from the studio, and is quite possibly the best album I've purchased this century - you can do so here. (No pressure, of course.)

Feeling the pull? Which artists and songs inspire you on the road or at home? Share the music! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Drunk and Hungry? Hey, It Happens.

{Photo by katmere}
So you’re on the road. You’ve imbibed on the area’s local hooch. It’s 10 o’clock, and, gee whiz, you realize that street kebab you had at 6pm just didn’t fill you up.

What to do?

Here are a few places that serve up a mighty tasty late-night nosh. Get out your notebooks and pencils, class. Ready?

D&H in Brussels, Maison Antoine: With over 30 sauces to choose from, ranging from mayonnaise to hot pepper to hot pepper and mayonnaise, Maison Antoine is saucy frite heaven. You can get your hands on these double-fried bites of happiness until 1:00am on weeknights - 2:00am on Friday & Saturday because they clearly know their audience. Do I really need to elaborate? 1, Jourdan place, 1040 Brussels (Etterbeek), + 32 2 230 54 56.

D&H in DC, Star & ShamrockJewish deli meets Irish pub. Mad love ensues. Pan-fried matzoh balls and house-roasted corned beef are born. Shalom. Open until midnight daily. 1341 H Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, +1 202 388 3833. 

D&H in London, MaozOpen until at least midnight every night (2:30am on Friday & Saturday - take that, Maison Antoine!), their all-vegetarian menu will fill you up on fairly healthy grub after a night of burning calories in the discos of Soho. 43 Old Compton St, Westminster, London W1D 6HG, UK, +44 020 7851 1586.

D&H in MontréalFrite Alors!: What's better than deep fried spuds? Deep fried spuds smothered in cheese curds and gravy. Don't like cheese curds? (Clearly, then, you don't like me.) Try fried onions, green peppers, bacon, or even dried venison sausage. Hey, different strokes... Ten area locations. 

Drunk and hungry at home or abroad? Tell us where to go! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Global Spotlight on Booze: The N’Awlins Hurricane

To me, traveling and drinking go hand in hand. After all, what better way to experience a city/town/hamlet than with a bevvie in hand, enjoyed by locals for decades, sometimes centuries? (No, really – I dare you to find a better way!) Recently, I paid a visit to The Big Easy: New Orleans. There, I discovered the Hurricane.

Not just any Hurricane. Like the kind I’ve sipped on at DC’s Pour House (no offense, PH). No, this was the original Pat O’Brien's Hurricane. 

Tucked in the French Quarter, Pat O’Brien's has been serving this famously fruity - and famously strong - drink since the 1940s. There was a shortage of liquor in New Orleans at the time, with the exception of rum – there were bottles to be had and then some. A little experimentation and, voilà, the Hurricane was born. Why do they call it the Hurricane? Well, it may flatten you and leave you with a sizable clean-up job the next day, but that’s besides the point: it’s served in a glass the shape of a hurricane lamp.

So, how do you make a Hurricane? Well, according to their napkin…

“Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane mix”…yes, apparently, Pat hasn’t lost his sense of salesmanship. Unless you’re a stone’s throw from NOLA and can get your hands on Pat's punch, here’s a recipe from chef Emeril Lagasse to create a Hurricane of your very own.

And don’t forget to garnish with an orange and a cherry! Pat wouldn’t have it any other way.

"Hurricane" survivor? Tell us about your Pat O'Brien's experience! 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sign Language

I keep my trusty Cannon Rebel XSi with me when I travel. Still a rookie shutterbug, I shoot literally hundreds of photos in the hopes that maybe 20% of them work out. As of late, I’ve been attracted to shooting signs.

Why signs, you ask?

Signs give direction (literally).

Mark history.



(In this case, without needing to elaborate).


Remind you where you’ve been.
(After a few of Pat O’Brien’s Hurricanes, you’ll need the help)

Make you laugh.

Beat you over the head.
(and teach languages!)

Surprise you.
(Well, Bubba Gump at the top of Victoria Peak surprised me)

And, of course, showcase local flavor.

Many of these photos were taken in the great city of New Orleans over the holidays, which is likely the reason why “Peace Y’all” hung over Royal Street. Though, I must say, the sign makes me quite happy so it would please me to no end if it were a permanent fixture.

That's all for today. Peace, y'all. 

Send me a sign! What's the most unique sign you've encountered?