What is this new America?

As far as we know, D and I will still be leaving DC in a few short months for our next assignment, and I feel less and less safe with every passing day. Maybe even worse, I don’t feel the glowing pride I once had for my country. How will I be received as an American overseas? What do I say to the taxi driver who asks me why did America ban Muslims or why did America ban refugees? My husband and I are representatives of the United States. Will we now be targets of new anti-American sentiment? (more…)

Get comfy with Pretentious Mulled Apple Cider

This is one of my most favorite drinks for the holidays! It’s warm, spiced, and has the right amount of pretentiousness to give it that je ne sais quoi.

My recipe is based on the Barefoot Contessa’s regular/boring Hot Mulled Apple Cider recipe. To spike it, BC uses rum, but I like to use my mom’s traditional holiday go-to, Tuaca.

To make PRETENTIOUS Mulled Cider, you have to work with some really stuffy ingredients.


Remind me what I vote for, again.

wp-1479746792406.jpgI have this great t-shirt that I love to wear in the summertime that says, “Gnome for the Holidays.” It’s stupid, but I always get a kick out of it. Oh, if only I could actually be a gnome for the holidays. Wouldn’t it be great this holiday season to be an unresponsive, little hunk of hominoid plastic? I wouldn’t have to discuss politics, which for me has become so emotionally charged that I have cried nearly every day since the election. Do Americans have any


Work Vacay in Montpellier, France

Eiffel Aqueduct – the very same Eiffel that did the tower in Paris!

I just got back from an amazing work vacation in Southern France! I was there this past week to help put together a proposal for a global network for sustainable development in mountains! The workshop was pretty intense – three days to network with 40 people and build a program across 12 different countries! I came away from it with a better appreciation of European perspectives of development, and I got to be my usual advocate for biodiversity and conservation as essential pieces of sustainable development.

The workshop itself took place in  (more…)

DIY gold sneakers + being a thoughtful consumer 

I don’t know about you, but I tend to get really antsy every time the seasons change. All it does is make me want to buy, buy, BUY! I’m pretty fed up with the idea of consumerism, but now and again I cave to the unrelenting commercial pressure to buy—especially when it comes to clothes.

About a year ago I was really inspired by Caroline of the Un-Fancy blog to be more thoughtful about the clothes I buy. Now, I rarely buy anything the same day that I think I “need” it. I try to wait at least a week before pulling the trigger on a purchase. This alone practically eliminates any impulse buys.

My other trick is to personalize my clothes. It’s amazing how you can take something old and completely refresh it or something simple and inexpensive and make it unique. I love the chance to be creative while still keeping my spending in check. (more…)

All the beautiful horses

img_20160916_122548Ever since I could remember, I’ve always loved horses. I can’t even really explain why. They are absolutely magnificent animals, full of curiosity, strong but sensitive.

This year I caught nearly every equestrian event of the Olympics. And while watching I had a thought—I’m an adult now. There is nothing stopping me from finally learning how to do that! So I started English riding lessons at Not So Fancy Farm in Maryland. The experience has been so wonderful!