Friday, October 22, 2010

It gets better

I saw this video put together by Google employees and I thought it was really moving.  I think that the message is the same for most of what's painful about being a teenager (not just sexual orientation) - it gets better!  And it gets better over and over again as the guy in the video says.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

It's that time of year again - Blog Action Day.  Today, bloggers around the world will write about water issues today.  When thinking about how to approach this topic, I thought about our dear friend Jake who two years ago founded an innovative social venture called Nuru International in Africa to address the roots of extreme poverty.  One of the five focus areas for Nuru is water and sanitation.  What they've been able to accomplish is staggering.  Check out some of their videos from the field.  So today on Blog Action Day - I'll let Jake and his Nuru team do the talking.

We Will Walk from Nuru International on Vimeo.

For more on Blog Action Day:|Start Petition

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

my wedding Wednesday: changing my email address & tutorial

I should start by saying that I consider myself a super-user of most Google products (I have an obsession).  Anyway, I recently got the following email from a friend who had recently gotten married. 

I needed some help with Gmail and was hoping that you could help me.  How did you change your gmail address? Do I need to open a new account or could I link a new alias to my existing account.

She said my response was helpful, so I thought I would reprint the same tutorial here for others:

You have several options, so it depends on what you want to do.  The steps below will 1. get you a new account and 2. make it look like your email is sent from your new account, all while bringing it into your same inbox you have always used with your old account.  
Here are the steps for the route that I took:
  1. Do you want a new email that includes your new name somehow (let's call this Mrs. S)?  
  2. If you want a new email address, then go on gmail and open a new account with a new handle ( or LS@gmail or whatever you want).
  3. Go into your new account and hit "settings" in the upper right corner
  4. Then choose "forwarding and pop/imap"
  5. Then under forwarding (the first box) - select "forward a copy of incoming mail to" and then follow the instructions from there.  You might not want to have the email in both accounts... so you can delete the copy in your new account, archive it, or keep a copy in your inbox, it is up to you.
  6. Then come into your old account "miss.S@" and then click "settings"
  7. Click "accounts and import"
  8. Select "Send mail as" and enter your new address.
Does this make sense?  If you want to do a variation of this, feel free to ask! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

covering new ground

My husband loves to play the game The Settlers of Catan.  I used to make fun of tease him for it until I played it about two weeks ago with two other couples.  I have to say that now I am addicted.  It is simple to play, but complex enough to get under your skin.  I felt the same way when I played bananagrams and sodoku for the first time.  I'm slowly getting better at Catan (I force my hubby to play with me), but I have yet to win a game (of the 5 or so times I've played).   Baby steps... 

A losing game board for me (in red)... 
An interesting side note, I was reading the wikipedia page for The Settlers of Catan and smiled at this part: "The game is very popular among the technology crowd in Silicon Valley.[8]Who knew I was so trendy!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

try to say no...

My sister-in-law is about to pop!  She is expecting her first child (a girl) very, very soon!  She had a baby shower last week and I was debating what to get for the baby who has everything (gorgeous accessories and clothing given by generous friends and family).  Then, I thought about the fact that she will be born in the month of October - and every baby/kid needs a halloween costume!  Done!  I take my aunt duties seriously - they can count on me for impractical gifts and ice cream. :)

I saw this pea pod infant costume at Target and couldn't help myself!  It is SO cute.  That curlicue on the hood is too much!  Now I just can't wait to meet her!

cutest costume ever

Although browsing the infant costume section of to find the link for this post, they have LOTS of amazing options.  I must say that if they had had this penguin costume at my local store it would have been tough to chose (her dad-to-be loves marine life).  To be honest, a baby in any costume is the height of cuteness regardless of which costume they are wearing. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

A dear friend of mine works for a law firm.  She sent this email to me last week and I thought it was worth sharing in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month:

I just returned from a really poignant conference on domestic violence today and since Friday marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month I thought it was important to share a few things.  I routinely represent clients who have experienced domestic violence ("DV") in their relationships with incidents ranging from repeated name calling to GPS stalking to rape.  And unfortunately, sometimes I feel that I have become numb to the horrors people endure in their most intimate relationships.  Today, the family of a victim that died in a murder-suicide in 2007 talked about the warning signs that they missed and the importance of educating women, particularly teenage girls, about how to form healthyrelationships.  It was a welcome reminder about how DV impacts not only the victim but the family and the community as a whole.  DV doesn't mean just physical abuse.  And the family today said that the first time the husband was physically abusive (or at least that they know about) is when he murdered his wife.  When I got home, I ran a Google search for an article about the crime, found one, and remembered being moved by this article a few years ago:

I was talking to one of the attorneys at the conference today who had just switched from working in a poorer county to a wealthier county.  She said that in the poorer county, you can easily tell who is the petitioner, who is the respondent, and who is the attorney in DV cases because of the way people dress and act.  She said that in the wealthier county, its harder to tell the difference and yet the same abusive behaviors happen in those households.  Appearances aren't everything and the most abusive individuals are often also the most outwardly charming.

With technology, DV victims are easily traceable.  Some things I learned/had my memory refreshed about today:

  • there are companies that let you unblock "blocked" telephone numbers as well as record the call and if calling from a landline can reveal the caller's address (TrapCall); 
  • there are companies that let you call someone and you can have the telephone number show up as any other number you want (ex. Billy calls Cindy but punches in a number that when Cindy looks at her phone she thinks its her mom instead of Billy) (Spoof Card; Phone Gangster); 
  • computer software exists that not only spies on your keystrokes but can make your computer say things to you [good for making people think they are losing it]; 
  • OnStar can never be completely disabled from your car once installed and can be used to open it w/o a key; 
  • if you buy a pre-paid phone or calling card with a credit card and/or a store's "bonus card" your name may be linked to your phone or calling card and when you call someone, your name may appear; 
  • some sites allow people to send emails that disappear after a certain period of time (;
  •  you can send anonymous emails that bounce from country to country so the email is harder to track ( and;
  •  there are "family locate" functions on many cellphones that can work like a GPS to track a person's whereabouts.  GPS are also small enough to be unobtrusively placed on the undercarriage of cars or in a purse; and
  • if you think your technology is being monitored, change your passwords along with your password reset questions as well as voicemail passwords.

I have had at least one client get tracked via GPS on her phone and another client receive calls from her "mom" or "boyfriend" when really it was her ex using a SpoofCard-like software.  So it happens.  And some of the most unsettling cases I have had was where there wasn't a whole lot of physical abuse but the threats, controlling and/or stalking (appearing outside of her house, at her job, talking to her friends to find out what she had been up to and on and on) behavior made the opposing party far more unpredictable and made the client feel vulnerable.

I'm sending this email because DV impacts so, so, so many women and all of us have friends, sisters, mothers, aunts, etc. that may be affected by it and its important to look out for the warning signs.  Here are a few good websites:  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

opposites attract

My hubby likes skim and I like chocolate. Match made in heaven.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

my wedding Wednesday: setting the mood

I love mood boards.  Of all the wedding stuff I saw, the board below is still at the top of the pile. It was put together by one of my favorite bloggers at Snippet and Ink and helped me to imagine our wedding during the planning process. I love everything about it - and chose navy and lavender to be our colors based on this image.  My friends Emily and Mike recently got engaged and as I sent her the link to this blog, I fell in love with it all over again.  

my favorite mood board from snippet and ink

Here is the caption from the original post on February 12, 2009 (just two weeks before we got engaged!):
"Top row from left: bouquet photo by Leigh Miller, photo from Navy & Lavender, garden table photo by Lisa Hubbard, plates via Toast & Tables
Row 2: church photo by Jenny Ebert, cake from Martha Stewart Weddings, lily of the valley boutonniere photo byLaura Negri via Southern Weddings, bouquet photo by Eleise Theuer
Row 3: bridesmaid dresses by Vera Wang, invitation by Hello! Lucky, flower girls photo by BB Photo
Row 4: Sascha dress from J.Crew, sweet pea bouquet from Brides, envelope from Martha Stewart Weddings

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Our friend Ben was recently on Oprah!  He is the principal and founder of the New Orleans Sci Academy, a charter school in New Orleans.  Oprah invited Ben and representatives from 5 other charter schools around the country to join in a discussion about the state of education in the US.  This discussion was prompted by the new documentary Waiting for Superman (I'll be seeing it this week!) about the US education system.  At the end of the show, these 6 schools were awarded $1,000,000 each from the Oprah Angel Network!

Check out this video of Ben receiving one BIG check!

Congrats to Ben and the New Orleans Sci Academy!!
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