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What I’ve learned in three months…

Eating a strawberry. Image by (cc) Flickr user .craig

Eating a strawberry. Image by (cc) Flickr user .craig

Pregnancy (or the first trimester at least) is extremely limiting, disruptive and confusing. During the first three months your body takes over and tells you, at times by shouting and at times by stopping everything so that you will listen, what it needs and what it will not accept. As my sister notes, pregnancy is a time of great cleansing. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

– 2 eggs in the morning will start the day
– a tiny mid morning snack will keep you steady: I’m staying cool with 1 hard boiled egg
– a noon snack is a must: some favorites are baby carrots, cucumbers, radishes, grapefruit, oolong tea
– a small lunch will you sustain you: I’m staying strong with lemon flavored greens (lettuce, spinach, leeks, green beans) and a protein (chicken or salmon work for me) — or just a tasty cup of liquid skimmed from a delicious soup when I can’t take much more; peppermint or another tummy soothing tea
– a mid afternoon snack is a must: some favorites are baby carrots, cucumbers, radishes, seaweed, grapefruit, frozen fruit (bananas or mango)
– small dinners win: salad and a legume (beans or lentils) OR a simple soup; lemon and mineral water
– supplements are great midday or at night: prenatal vitamin, some sort of quality fish type oil, flaxseeds, homemade eggshell calcium powder
– a snack before bed will keep my hunger pangs away through 8am: yogurt and cacao powder OR Mestemacher rye bread; lemon and mineral water.

Exercise! Move! Laugh! Smile! If you can stand the nausea, nothing will hold you back. Move and travel as your heart desires. And forget absolutely everything else.


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Ajiaco Santafereño

Ajiaco Santafereño. Image by (cc) Flickr user El Agujero

Ajiaco Santafereño. Image by (cc) Flickr user El Agujero

Ajiaco santafereño, a traditional take on the basic chicken stew, comes from the Colombian capital city which also gives it its name, Santa Fe de Bogota.
This rich potato stew features four distinct potato varieties in combination with corn and guasca, a nutritious herb native to the AndesIt is great for pregnant women and for those healing from a cold or flu. 
Prep Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (serves 6):
2 lbs of chicken breast – or veggie stock and your veggie protein of choice
1/2 kilo papa Sabanera from the planes of Cundinamarca and Boyacá – or red potatoes
1/2 kilo papa Paramuna from the high plateau – or russet potatoes
1/2 kilo papa Pastusa from Pasto
1 kilo papa Criolla (a small yellow potato that in dissolving thickens the mixture given the stew it’s final consistency) – or small white boiling potatoes
4 ears of corn
5 scallions, white part only, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, washed and trimmed
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of guasca
salt to taste
capers/creme to dress the dish

3 ripe avocados


1. Clean and cut the corn in half. Cook corn on high with 2 litres of water. Peel and cube the papas Sabaneras or red potatoes and cook with the corn. Peel the papas Pastusa, slice them into thick tranches and add them to the mixture. .  Wash and cut the papas criollas or small white boiling potatoes in half. Add these to the first pot of of corn and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes start to disintegrate, giving the soup a thick but fairly smooth consistency, about 30 minutes.

2. Combine the chicken, half the scallions, salt and pepper in a large dutch oven and cover with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover; simmer until chicken is tender, about 35 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken to a platter and let cool. Remove skin from chicken and shred the chicken into thin strips.

4. Lower the temperature on the potato pot. Add shredded chicken and heat through.

5. Ladle into bowls and top with a spoonful of cream, a few capers and a few thin slices of avocado.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

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Simplifying is a powerful tool

DoNotFeedTheJargonWhat’s cool about coding? Everything. You not only get around a problem, you create a smooth, simple yet robust, system that works! and that opens up your options for even more interesting work. For me, coding is like creating your own concierge. Most recently I’ve been playing with macros to integrate different Google Drive tools. And, I’m now using IFTT formulas at home. Best of all, I’ve got my fiance using macros at home for calendaring and budgeting. This has been a great time saver.

My friends Yta and Carlos are also coding geeks and, they are also committed to sharing what they know. Right now they are doing this through their book, Lauren Ipsum.

From Carlos’ blog: “a crucial part of computer science is training yourself to think clearly. You can’t explain clearly unless you think clearly. And what is programming, if not explaining things to the computer?” And just to throw in some Spanish: “Es un mito de que se necesita una mente especial para entender la informática…” sequro que hasta los niños lo pueden hacer si no se les dice que es dificil.

Learning and teaching the art of flow, ahhhh, the future awaits.

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Top Social Media Tactics – public media style

Over the past six years I’ve worked on social media for various public media outlets.
Here are my favorite campaigns:

1. Launch and Sustained Growth – Oakland Local, community news site for Oakland, CA

KLOUT_OL post Launched in 2009, Oakland Local’s campaign to build a dedicated readership was simple — set up a stable stream of interesting local content and ask everyone involved to share the content with their lists. For every article or community voices blog entry published we set a Twitter and a facebook post. We then asked funders, bloggers, journalists, community partners and featured Oakland Locals to spread the news. We made this easy for them by inviting them via email to share the twitter posts we created. And we didn’t stop. We repeated this formula over and over.

In addition to making sharing a central part of the OL culture, we connected with local nonprofits and community groups at an early stage. We did this by asking groups to submit their content as community voices blog entries. And we did this by partnering with various groups on short-term news projects, capacity building workshops (where we provided tech expertise on their social media accounts) and community development initiatives. At every point we shared our mission and our knowledge and asked our partners to help share our content.



Started with funding from J-Lab at American University, Oakland Local reaches 76,000 unique visitors a month, all from the Oakland/East Bay. The site now has 6,700+ facebook followers and 5,500+ Twitter followers. Although Oakland Local is fairly new, it is a model for the future of news and community engagement. As a member of both The Investigative News Network and The Society of Professional Journalists, OL is committed to quality work; we’ve had stories funded by The Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Public Integrity, among others. Our stories are distributed through Yahoo! News, SFGate, New America Media and others.

2. Friend and Fund Raising – Making Contact, National Radio Project, in-depth public affairs weekly radio show
MC Klout Score

To connect Making Contact’s broadcast radio streaming listenership and its non-listening donating audience with its website, facebook and Twitter, we’ve integrated additional media into every blog post. For instance, short videos, audio web extras, photography, Thinglink images and webified versions of the audio are now included on every show page. We’ve also focused on search via AdWords and via cross linking with related news outlets. And we seek friends willing to share our content via one-to-one communications. This has led to campaigns like our 2012 MayDay public media online fundraising collaboration, MayDayMedia99, and our 2012 Valentine’s day campaign, Love Your Media Day. Both campaigns focused on friend and fund raising. To do this, both campaigns featured an AdWords Ad, a SoundCloud audio set and targeted mailings in addition to addition to our weekly radio show offering.

Our MayDayMedia campaign, a Media 99 Razoo collaboration with Media Consortium members, led to roughly 20,000 people visiting the Media 99 website. Our site, also benefited from focused MayDay work. If you visited our site that day you would have seen not only our weekly show but also Free Speech TV’s player, which we used for live MayDay coverage, and buttons that led to the Media99 event map and the Storify content. This added content and marketing via social media, phone calls and emails raised site traffic that day. Our Tuesday average is roughly 600 visits/day. On MayDay nearly 1,000 visited our site. And, time spent on our site doubled. Even better, many of these were first time visitors to our site. To note, most of those who came to our site on MayDay via referrals came from facebook. And we added 39 new online donors to our donor base during our MayDay collaboration.

Our Valentine’s Day AdWords ad garnered 1,350 clicks. And our facebook posts and tweets were shared among various key supporters. Throughout this Valentine’s Day campaign we used the #supportyrmedia day hashtag.

Here’s some of what we tweeted and some of what we heard on MayDay and on Valentine’s Day:

AdWords ad:
Spiced Valentines Day
Celebrate by fighting for
access to reproductive services.

SoundCloud set list:

Email Headline:
Show some love

Email Video Link:

Making Contact struggles with many challenges faced by public radio: a) a large portion of listeners tune in via their radio while driving or at home while away from the screen b) the audience is dispersed geographically c) the audience is dispersed thematically. But Making Contact is also a beacon in the nonprofit world with a funding pool composed mostly of small individual, recurring donations. Online, Making Contact reaches 6,000 unique web visitors a month. This is in addition to the 5,000+ who download the MC podcast via RSS feeds. An even larger group listen via radio stations nationwide and internationally. The site now has 2,350 facebook followers and 700+ Twitter followers.

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The American Way of Eating

In fact, All great deals come with a cost. Take Walmart where up to 142,000 items line store shelves and racks….

Today roughly one of every four dollars Americans spend on produce is spent at Walmart, says Tracie MacMillan, the author of The American Way of Eating. MacMillan spent one year undercover working in farms, at Walmarts and behind the scenes at America’s largest casual sit down restaurant, applebees. Here she talks about the dark side of American eating and the big business inefficiencies she saw along the way.

This is the third in a three-part Big Food series for Letters & Politics, a syndicated public affairs radio show out of Pacifica’s west coast station, KPFA 94.1 FM. This series investigates how the processed food industry came to dominate the American plate to become a top industry earning over one trillion in annual sales. The series digs into America’s food labs, food habits and food policy to detail how America became hooked on processed food.

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Education Voices: Safe Routes to School are Elusive in Oakland


Kahmaria Adams, 15, listens to gospel music on her commute to school through the harrowing streets of East Oakland. She takes two city buses to get from home to Piedmont High School. She’s got the hour-long routine down, but there’s one stretch of the bus ride that gets to her.

“I always have the feeling that something will happen. On the bus I feel like I need to stay alert and watch out for troublesome people around me,” she said.

Life in “Deep East” Oakland is dangerous for anybody. In a city that FBI data ranks as having the third-highest violent crime rate in the nation, this neighborhood has the highest incidence of homicide, gunshots and forced prostitution, according to City of Oakland crime reports.

Read the rest of the story.

Also, see these related stories written by student reporters that I trained:

Read  the first story in this package: Violence confronts students in Oakland 

This story and the entire Education Voices series were made possible through the support of The California Endowment. Our student reporters for this series are participants in programs at The East Oakland Youth Development Center in East Oakland. Many thanks to the Endowment and the Center for the support of this program, and to our wonderful coaches, trainers and student reporters.

Follow the entire series here:

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Education Voices: Violence Confronts Students in Oakland


Shots were fired through the walls of Castlemont High School by a drive-by shooter in April, causing students to dive under their desks for safety, and school administrators to order a lockdown. A few weeks later, Castlemont students mourned the Sunday night murder of a beloved classmate, Olajuwon Clayborn, who was shot down in front of his home in East Oakland. Across town that same night, 19-year-old Darvel McGillberry, popular at his former McClymonds High School, was shot and killed.

In “Deep East,” at Brookfield Elementary School, three adults have been held up at gunpoint outside the school in recent months: a parent, a school custodian and the husband of a teacher. “We work in a war zone,” said first grade teacher Tammie Adams, who no longer wears her wedding ring to school to avoid being a robbery target.

Read the rest of this story.

Also, see these related stories written by student reporters that I trained:

Read  the second story in this package: Safe routes to schools: Elusive in Oakland

This story and the entire Education Voices series were made possible through the support of The California Endowment. Our student reporters for this series are participants in programs at The East Oakland Youth Development Center in East Oakland. Many thanks to the Endowment and the Center for the support of this program, and to our wonderful coaches, trainers and student reporters.

Follow the entire series here: