Sunday, May 29, 2016

Weekend Reading

Happy early Memorial Day! I hope you all are having a lovely extended weekend. I will use part of the weekend to catch up on some reading. Here are a few things I hope to read, in case you're interested.

10 Facts you might not know about Memorial Day. HERE
125 Recipes to help fight food waste. HERE
Tips for keeping it real and engaging in meaningful conversation. HERE
How technology is rewiring our brains, and why we sometimes need to unplug. HERE
Stop pretending you're perfect. HERE

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Taking a Moment to be Thankful

How often do you pause and take a moment to be thankful? I'll admit I don't do this often enough. Sometimes I let my life get overrun with seemingly important things, that at the end of the day are not all that important. I find myself busy, too busy in fact to step back and be thankful. Luckily for me, I always seem to realize the error in my ways, and come back to a place of gratitude.

The other day I was taking a stroll with my daughter and stumbled upon the scene pictured above. It made me thankful. Thankful that I live in a nice neighborhood that's relatively safe with beautiful gardens. In Baltimore, there are many people living in neighborhoods that look like this

And here I was walking around my neighborhood so many times, not remembering to thankful for my surroundings.

Later in the day I began to notice other things to be thankful for. It was amazing how one moment of gratitude could become contagious and begin to illuminate all the other things I had to be grateful for, that often go unnoticed. Do you take out time to be thankful? What have you been thankful for lately? Please share.

"It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." ~Deitrich Bonheiffer

Friday, May 13, 2016

Community Announcement: Lake Walker Plant Exchange

Photo: House in Baltimore's Lake Walker neighborhood

Hi neighbors! This Sunday at 10am Deb Pickett will be hosting the Lake Walker plant exchange. All are welcome to come, even if you don't have plants. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Around the World: Dakar, Senegal (Part 1)

Hello, from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean! Our family was fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to Senegal. I'm always taking virtual vacations via Youtube and blogs so I thought I'd return the favor and take you on a trip to Senegal. Here are a few things I recommend doing while visiting.

1) Village des Arts.  Dakar the capital city of Senegal has an AMAZING arts scene. The fact that the society values artists is immediately apparent as you see beautiful public displays of art everywhere. I could not get enough of the hand painted public buses found riding around town. Local artisans from the Village des Arts paint the buses and work with local children to make mini toy buses. The colorful creations offer an instant pick-me-up if you are having a bad day. In addition to painters the village houses sculptors who create breathtaking installations using scrap materials. Their ingenuity will blow you away.

2) Try the Local Cuisine. Sengalese food is delicious, in fact, I'm missing it already :-( As a coastal country they eat lots of fish, especially thioff (pronounced choff). The hubs and I could not get enough of it, and had it many times. Our favorite fish dish was poisson yassa. It comes with a wonderful onion sauce that is finger lickin' good.

They also have very tasty beverages. Be sure to have a cup of bissap, gingembre, and the local coffee (you will be seriously wishing this was on the menu at Starbucks).

3) Ngor Beach and Island. Senegal is blessed with tons of natural beauty. You can see spectacular views while on their beaches. I highly recommend visiting Ngor Beach.

 Baby Z had a ball playing in the sand.

After spending time at the beach you can hop a 5 minute boat ride to Ngor Island. This is where you can get a tour, talk with local artisans, watch the sunset, and learn about the celebrities who inhabit the small island.

 Throughout the island you'll see lovely mosaics made with recycled glass by local children.

 There's also a nice hotel filled with local art for purchase.

Before leaving the island be sure to stop by and see this man, he offers the finest meal in Senegal, and right on the beach no less.

4) Goree Island. Goree Island is a world site that has lots of historical significance, as it was the largest slave trading post on the west coast of Africa.

The hubs inside of a cell where slaves where held as a form of punishment.

A look out into what's known as the "point of no return", because it was the last place where many slaves saw their family members before being packed into ships to head to various countries.

Baby Z inspecting the point of no return.

5) Lake Retba (aka Pink Lake). We headed out to rural Senegal to visit what is known as the Pink Lake. The atmosphere is beautiful and really something to see.

We made friends with a precious little girl named Umi.

Baby Z was unfortunately ready to unfriend little Umi after dad held our new friend for too long :-(

Dad and Baby Z were brave and rode a camel. I chickened out at the last minute and got down after mounting :-(

Baby Z shopping for jewelry with a local artisan.

Workers do the hard and dangerous job of extracting salt from the lake. This works causes severe skin problems, but many of the workers do it anyways in order to feed their families.

The boats used by fisherman are super cool, just like the buses in the city. In Senegalese culture, fishermen buy a boat to honor their wife. I told the hubs I loved this idea, and he should immediately start boat shopping for me. He agreed to take me to Toys "R"Us when we got back to the States :-(

Well that's all for now. I'll share a second post with more details about Senegal when I get a chance. I hope you enjoyed.

"Oh, the places you'll go." ~Dr. Seuss

Monday, May 9, 2016

Around Town: Dovecote Cafe

I hope you all had a fabulous Mother's Day. Mine was wonderful, as the hubs took me to brunch and Baby Z took an extra long nap for me, which is always a blessing :-) The place we went to for brunch, DOVECOTE CAFE, was delish and I want you all to checkout if you get a chance. I've been twice and both times, I really enjoyed my meal. This last time I had crabcakes with greens and mac and cheese, and felt like I'd experienced culinary heaven. The menu changes every month so you can't get too attached to a dish, which I imagine is a good and bad thing. Also, every second Sunday they have a "chef takeover", where a guest chef takes over the kitchen. The restaurant is not too far from MICA, so an added perk is awesome people watching as the establishment attracts lots of creatives.