Wednesday, April 23, 2014

30/30: Malawi

I hope you all got a chance to check out the 30/30 Project, if you haven’t yet, I encourage you to take the time to read Teresa's post from yesterday about her family’s incredible story- how her mom, Julie, has been HIV+ for 30 years and the project that’s come out of wanting to commemorate her survival. Obviously, it’s a cause very close to Teresa’s heart, and mine as well and something we will be continuing to post about this month.

Jason and I just returned from visiting the area in Malawi where the 30/30 Project’s first clinic will be built. We got to meet and photograph some of the many women, men and children that this clinic will serve.

Malawi's Neno District is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited, with small villages of thatched roof huts on scattered about on picturesque hills. They look like something out of a storybook. However, the downside to living on beautiful hilltops- health care is at least a 2 hour drive away on incredibly bumpy and sometimes very muddy dirt roads and cars are few and far between out in these parts.

 Once it's complete, this new clinic will be run by Partners in Health in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and will bridge the gap in health care by providing services and medicine within walking distance for the many residents in this remote area.

PS. This morning Julie and Teresa's brother Ryan were interviewed on CBS's Morning Show, you can watch that online here. 

Photos all shot by Jason and via @jkoephoto

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

30/30 Project

I'm thrilled that today I get to share with you all an exciting project that my family has been working on for the past few months (with Jenny and Jason who are like family!). There is a part to my life that I haven't written about on this blog that I'd like to fill you in on to give some context to the 30/30 here goes!

When I was born in 1984, my mom had a miserable labor and received a blood transfusion due to hemorrhaging. Unfortunately, the blood that she received was infected with the HIV virus. Miraculously, my sister and brother, who were born after me, and my father were not infected with the virus.

This March we didn't just celebrate my 30th birthday, we also commemorated the 30 years that my mom has lived with HIV/AIDS. Despite the doctors only giving her a few years to live when she was diagnosed, she has survived partly due to the access she has to powerful medications. To commemorate this monumental moment in her life, my mom said it wasn't enough to just be grateful, she wanted to do something to give back...and so she came up with the 30/30 Project.

For the past few years my mom and Jenny have volunteered their time working for an organization that you've heard a lot about on this blog, Construction for Change. Working alongside local leaders in developing communities, CFC constructs clinics, community centers, and schools that will last for a least 30 years. Jenny and Jason have been traveling and photographing their projects for over five years now. The 30/30 Project brings together Construction for Change and Partners in Health to build a clinic in the Neno District of Malawi. This clinic will provide healthcare for a community of people who formerly had to drive two hours to get medical attention. It will also provide lifesaving medication to the 10% of their population that is infected with HIV/AIDS. Pretty great huh??

Every mom out there deserves to have access to cutting edge healthcare like my mom does. I only dared to dream as a young girl that she would live to see my life as an adult and it's hard for me to describe how grateful I am that she is in Mylo's life and my own 30 years later. It's time to pay it forward.

Jenny and Jason just returned last week from Malawi where they spent a week meeting the people of the Neno district and photographing the site where the clinic will be place (amazing photos on their way!). We are all so excited about this project and the impact that it will have on this community. I am asking all our readers to watch the video above and consider giving to this initiative that is so dear to my heart. Click here to learn more. Let's build a clinic!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Roundup

Happy Friday! Do you have big plans for Easter weekend? I'm looking forward to watching some Game of Thrones on Sunday since Lent will officially be over! Hoping the sun makes an appearance so we can get outside a bit. Enjoy the weekend!

Here are a few links to get us started:

Grown up Easter gifts. (Asparagus shaped chocolate?!)

Delicious and healthy Easter casserole.  Or if you have a sweet tooth like me, Oatmeal Butterscotch Blondies.

This might be the best video ever. (ATTN JENNY)

Would you ever paint a door neon?

Awesome illustrated guide to NYC.

Hilarious spoof on The Newsroom staring my favorite, Will Gardner, er...Josh Charles.

This hotel in LA looks like an interesting and unique place to stay.

Am I the only one that is excited about this sequel?? Apparently. 


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Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Gmail Tip & A Pretzel Story

Hello again from another airport, OAK to be exact. Gate 26 next to the Auntie Anne's Pretzels.  I have two things for you this morning.

1. For all you Gmail users out there, have you enabled Google's Search Field Trial? It is THE BEST. No more frantically searching through emails on your iPhone to find your flight details. All you have to do is a google search for "my flights" and the top of the search will bring back ALL of the flights in your Gmail. It works on a computer as well, as long as your logged into Gmail.

2. Did you know that Auntie Anne was Amish? The smell of pretzel goodness has broken me down, I'm about to go get a pretzel from Auntie Anne's, while I do, here's the story of Anne Beiler, an amazingly strong woman- and if you want more, she even wrote a book about it!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WW: Library Week

In honor of National Library Week,  I bring you wedding photos outside of the gothically gorgeous Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington. I love this spot for wedding photos, especially with a larger wedding party as there is a lot of space to spread out and a variety of backgrounds, even on a drizzly spring day like it was for Nick and Sarah's wedding a few years back.

 Photos by Studio JKoe

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An Update on Lent

I may have been a little to ambitious with my Lenten resolutions. Not consuming sugar proved to be a bit too much to handle with crazy times at work and baby at home. I did however scale back a lot and am happy to say that I'm no longer addicted. 

I am proud to announce though that my resolution to watch no TV for the Lenten season has been a success! I only have five days to go and I can't say I've even missed it very much (although I'm VERY much looking forward to getting caught up on Game of Thrones). I've had more time to read, think, clean, exercise, cook....and play Candy Crush. Ha. 

But in all seriousness I've been surprised how little I've missed binge watching television. Not to say I'm done with it forever but it does feel nice to scale back and get some perspective. More on the three books that I read later this week...

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