Sep
09

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A friend posted this article on Facebook yesterday from the Wall Street Journal and I just couldn't get the images out of my head of people who are sick and dying of Ebola being turned away because there isn't any more beds. Then I read this article from the MSF blogs and I was in tears. There needs to be more action. Here is a little insight from Julie Thwing MD, a CDC doctor here in Dakar:

"On August 29, Senegal confirmed a case of Ebola in a Guinean student who had come to Dakar from Guinea following the funeral of his brother, who had died of Ebola. In the 10 days since, the Senegalese government has responded very actively, identifying all his household contacts and health care workers who had come into contact with him, asking them to stay at home, and having teams visit each contact twice daily to monitor for development of symptoms. They have put together a Crisis Management Committee and numerous sub-commissions all charged with various aspects of the response that meet daily, and have been meeting with external financial and technical partners as well to mobilize resources and coordination.
The World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and numerous other organizations are supporting Senegal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sent a team to support the Ministry of Health. All are very impressed by the response of the Senegalese government and believe Senegal is in a good position to handle the threat of Ebola well.
Things to know about Ebola:
1)    Symptoms include high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, profound weakness, and general pain.
2)    People who are not symptomatic are not infectious.
3)    If a person who is ill with Ebola is identified and given supportive care early on, it increases the chances of survival.
4)    If the contacts of a person with Ebola are all identified and followed carefully, and isolated at the first sign of symptoms, the chance of it spreading further are near zero.
As long as there is Ebola in surrounding countries, there will very likely be more imported cases of Ebola in Senegal. This is not a failure. Success is identifying, isolating, and caring for people with Ebola, identifying and following all their contacts, and preventing transmission beyond their immediate contacts. Ebola gets out of control when people are scared, lie about their contacts, or refuse to allow teams to visit them daily (or flee). We need to speak out against fear, and to help people understand that it’s so important to tell health care workers if there are any contacts that may have had Ebola or any travel to an affected country in the past three weeks. We need to encourage confidence in health authorities."

 

Julie Thwing MD

CDC Senegal

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Here are ways you can help:

Doctor's Without Borders
Support Dr. Dan Kelly from UCSF as he travels to Sierra Leone to provide assistance
Americares Ebola donations
Aug
27

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Our very first art print is up on Brickyard Buffalo today through August 29th! These sweet 5x7 art prints are featured at 50% off! My first attempt at hand lettering! The print was designed for the May Happy Mommy Box and I thought it would also make a great addition to the shop. Happy Hump Day!

Aug
21

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Last September I had the pleasure of designing Matt & Sabrina's wedding paper goodies as well as their invitation sent earlier in the year. Sparkles, navy, pink, seriously Sabrina was after my own heart. Love all the gorgeous details and I cannot believe it took me this long to get this on the blog!

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So many fun goodies in their invitation suite including monogram tags, custom postage, illustrated map, and mini enclosure cards. Menus and programs were done for the big day and we loved changing up their monogram on the menu to reflect their new married initials!

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We designed several fun signs Sabrina used throughout the ceremony and reception.

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Escort cards to place in mini succulents that doubled for a wedding favor. We also included symbols for meal choice on the escort cards.

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Beautiful images byLaura Ivanova Photography | florals by Munster Rose | wedding design & coordination by Denae Brennan

Aug
04

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As soon as school ended this year we packed our bags and headed for the good ol' US of A. Our first stop was Anna Maria Island, Florida. A cozy 7 mile stretch of white sand and teal waters. A local hotspot and mostly unknown to tourists which is a huge bonus! Having lived in the Tampa Bay area for 3 years we loved loading up the car and making the short drive to Bradenton. Not much has changed on AMI  and I was in heaven eating fish tacos, sipping margaritas, and sinking my toes in that pretty white sand. We even got to meet up with old friends for a day. To say it was the most relaxing time of our month long stay in the states is an understatement. It was so nice to be unplugged with family. Away from the stress and obligation of seeing everybody and making plans. As much as we love coming home, it is never quite a holiday. Mental note that all holidays must consist of a beach, a cocktail, and a good book.

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We rented a great beach house right on Bradenton. You can find the listing here. The couple who owns the beach house was right next door and was such a big help. The 3 bedroom house had everything we needed: beach toys, a pool, a gas grill, and fabulous patio where we enjoyed our coffee every morning listening to the waves crash with a killer ocean view.

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The sweet couple even let us borrow their new kayak. If you are in the area we highly recommend this little beach house! We cooked several nights at the beach house. Publix was just down the street off the island where we found some local fresh catch. However, if you want to know my favorite  spot on AMI to grab the best seafood in town go to Starfish Co. 

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This little dockside seafood shack accepts cash only, serves the food in paper boxes, and has no waiters (you place your order by the bar), but that doesn't mean the food is subpar. The best seafood in the area hands down. I always get the crab cakes, but the hubby tried the grouper and it was delicious. The hushpuppies. Amazing. Crab cakes and Stella. A match made in heaven.

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Nothing beats a Florida sunset and cotton candy skies. xo.

Aug
02

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There are really only two times a week (despite what you think) that I look cute and put on mascara: weekly coffee date with my girlfriends and date night with my husband. We determined that this would be a great starting point for our 24 hour #igtruth challenge. Essentially, the challenge involved 24 hours of letting our walls down or in this case, allowing our followers to see what is really happening behind the scenes of our otherwise seemingly perfect Instagram accounts. I do kind of feel like I cheated. I'll be honest my house was pretty clean that day (aside from the OCD nightmare at the end of the hall otherwise known as the kid's room), because we had dinner guests coming. I was diligently following my ducks around to keep at least the dining room free of Legos and pirate ships.

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Exhibit right is what I posted Thursday but on the left is what was really happening. My drooling, no napping side kick helping me do everything BUT set the table properly. She loves taking selfies already. I am so not ready for the teenage years.

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No nap means early bath time for this baby in her awesome reptile/snakeskin tiled bathtub. *No animals were harmed in the making of those tiles, just your eyes. 

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It's 5 o'clock and in the Ergo she goes white we show the world just how messy my older children can be.  It actually got worse before the night ended. In fact, I am pretty sure 3 days later it's still a mess. I try to have blinders on when I go in their room carefully tip toeing the lego land mind.  They should probably pick up their toys and put them in their respective places but there is more to life than organizing toy bins.

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Back to where we started. The ugly paisley couch and my post-wine lazy self. Big Warby Parker glasses hide the dark circles. So does the Pic Tap Go App. And in case you were wondering we were interrupted during dinner twice by my middle child because he had and I quote a "real big problem" because he discovered a rip in his sheet. Bébé fell asleep for an hour and was awake until our guests left around 10. Real life.

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By Friday I was back to pretty photos of Chinese knock off French Monopoly. xo.

How did you ladies do? Loved your post Khady!

http://instagram.com/kmasson | http://instagram.com/jenndeatley | http://instagram.com/danielleliebenow

Jul
30

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Something has been weighing heavy on me before I even read this (Thank you Kari for sharing) and while I giggled at the accuracy I also cringed at the ridiculousness of it all. Thankful for friends and followers who challenged me to an #igtruth day, but maybe it shouldn’t be one day, maybe it should be more often than that. When we moved to Senegal a few years ago I really wanted to blog about my experiences: the good and often times the bad. What it feels like in the throes of culture shock so I could look back on this journey and see how far I had come. I wanted to share these experiences on Instagram as well. I wanted people to see that beauty is everywhere. That life is this incredible canvas. I wanted to inspire.

Unfortunately my posts were met with some pretty nasty comments. Obviously from people who didn’t know my heart, (or that I had just moved to Dakar), and thought I was just a silly privileged white girl. Granted, I did arrive with a suitcase full of preconceived notions, and I was pretty damn naive, but I was open to learn and to grow and to allow myself to be shaped by this experience. However those comments left a lasting impression and since I’ve censored what I put here on the blog and on my Instagram feed. I've convienently used the excuse: it’s for my business and  I can’t be too personal. However, when I look at the posts that gain the most interaction it's where I am being open and honest, the ones where I am a mother, a person, someone that is relatable. Yes I have a messy house. Ahem, 3 kids. Yes I have breakdowns. No life isn't just a bunch of styled cocktails. Additionally there is only one room in our house that has any natural light and it’s only between 3-6 pm so that is my window (literally) to get pretty airy iPhone photos. My apartment came furnished. You should see the red and gold paisley number in the playroom. Which is why I don’t post photos where you can see that unsightly couch! Can you believe I just said that? Who am I? Who are we? Why does everything have to be perfect? The sweet Lara Casey just posted this on her Instagram feed and it couldn’t come at a better time. Purpose over perfect. My purpose is to inspire women over shared experiences: as mother, as wife, as designer, as business owner. My purpose is not to portray a perfectly styled life. Don't get me wrong, I love Instagram feeds that are cohesive and aesthetic, but I want my social media presence to reflect my desire to make connections and create a sense of community. So, while I will still post pretty food and cocktail photos on Instagram, my hope is to fill my feed with more #igtruth moments: the screaming baby, the messy kitchen, my fears, my frustrations with Dakar but at the same time the beauty of Dakar. I want to scroll my feed and know I'm presenting not only the best, filtered version of myself, but also the messy version of myself. So to those of us who take 20 photos to get that perfect one, let's challenge one another to find that balance. The pretty and the messy. xo.

Jul
10

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Just popping in to share my homemade salsa recipe. We made fresh salsa all the time when we lived in Germany but I became lazy in Florida and then I just settled for what I could get at the American Store here in Dakar after we ran out of my favorite store-bought salsa (Hell on Red- it's soooo good!). Well I thought hey let's just make our own today and maybe I should you know write it down so I can easily remember next time! Wahoo for thinking ahead despite jet lag and an all-night nursing bébé.

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Fresh Salsa

1 large can of whole tomatoes less 3 or 4 (28oz can)

1 jalapeño

2-3 small garlic cloves

3/4 cup of fresh cilantro

1/2 of a large white onion

Fresh lime juice (1.5 large limes)

1 tablespoon of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Throw it all in a blender/food processor and pulse until it's the consistency you would like and everything is chopped pretty well. I left the garlic gloves whole but chopped the onion in a couple small pieces same with the jalapeño (I left the seeds for a kick-remove for something more mild).

et viola!

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xo.

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