Are Women’s Colleges Disappearing?

I began my post-high school education at a women's college in Virginia. That college no longer exists, however not in the way it did nearly two decades ago (ouch, am I really that old now?). In 2007, Randolph-Macon Woman's College (RMWC) became Randolph College, opening its doors to men for the first time in its 115-year history. That change was a sign of the times. Today, there are less than 50 women's college in the United States. It's a disappearing educational tradition. I have mixed feeling about this. The reason I chose to attend a women's college still holds true: it fosters a learning environment that supports and encourages women to become strong, confident leaders in their fields and in their communities -- the alumni network is a force to be reckoned with. I remember my first visit to RMWC. I was there for a Prospective's Weekend, an overnight open house for interested students to get a feel for life on campus. My host was a sophomore student. Her sister, an … [Read more...]

4.5 Reasons to Attend the Gaithersburg Book Festival Instead of Preakness

For the past four years, I've faced an awful dilemma: choosing between Preakness and the Gaithersburg Book Festival, two stellar Maryland events held on the third Saturday in May. Well, maybe not such an awful dilemma... Since its inception in 2010, the Gaithersburg Book Festival has been on my list of must-attend events. The first two years I wasn't able to attend because of a work commitment to the Preakness. That changed last year. This year, I'm not just attending the festival; I have the honor of introducing author Beth Kanter, photographer Emily Goldstein and their book, Washington, DC Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Nation's Capital. I will also be working at the Washington Independent Review of Books booth. Stop by and say hi! If saying hi to me isn't reason enough (kidding, that's my half reason), here are four reasons (plus a bonus reason) why you should forgo the Preakness infield for the Gaithersburg Book Festival. The Authors and Their … [Read more...]

How Slow Food Benefits Food Allergy Families

May is Food Allergy Action Month. This initiative from the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization strives to raise awareness about food allergies and inspire actions to improve the lives of people with food allergies. One way that my food allergy family is taking action is by embracing the Slow Food movement. What is Slow Food? The Slow Food movement began in Italy in 1986 in protest of a popular fast food chain. The philosophy of the slow food movement is simple -- its back-to-basics. Its all about slowing down to enjoy life's simple pleasures, like gathering around a table to enjoy a good meal. It's about enjoying the kind of food your grandmother made. The Benefits of Slow Food There are three pillars to the Slow Food movement: good, clean and fair. For food allergy families, like yours, these pillars are key. Good food, the first pillar, means locally-grown, seasonal food, like strawberries harvested from a nearby farm in late spring rather than … [Read more...]

Is Letter Writing Lost? The Random Cards of Kindness Project

The idea was born at a social event for women in journalism. We were chatting about networking and our guest speaker shared what works for her: handwritten notes and personalized emails. I thought back to the letters I used to write -- to a friend I made at summer camp, to another friend who went to boarding school -- and letters my grandmother wrote to me -- always about her health -- and decided I wanted to write more letters in 2014. It was in that moment, sitting in a living room full of writers, that my Random Cards of Kindness Project was born. Each month, I write and send one handwritten note to a friend, family member or colleague, either to say thank you or to offer encouragement. I'm inspired by random acts of kindness, especially the particularly creative ones, and the stories behind those acts. The Random Cards of Kindness Project is my way of filling the world with a little more kindness, of using my writing gift to spread a little cheer, to do something … [Read more...]

Book Review: Reasons Mommy Drinks

I recently read the hysterically funny book Reasons Mommy Drinks by Lyranda Martin Evans and Fiona Stevenson. I laughed out loud from the very first sentence of the introduction. I even tweeted that. Reasons Mommy Drinks chronicles a new mother's journey from the baby shower, "a painful rite of passage, cleverly disguised with adorable pink or blue ribbons that later become an embarrassing hat," through 18 months postpartum and drinking the Mommy Kool-Aid. This pint-sized book includes 100 chapters (if you call a hysterical, one-page vignette a chapter) accompanied by 100 drink recipes -- that's 100 drinks to snarf through your nose for every belly busting chapter about the first 18 months of motherhood. The drink recipes are just as funny to read as the vignettes. The instructions for "One-Hit Wonder" suggest listening to Vanilla Ice with a shot of Irish cream to drown out all the questions about baby number two when baby number one isn't even one yet. And the … [Read more...]