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Duke’s Dr. Sallie Permar Researching AIDS Vaccine, Devotes Her Life to Maternal and Children’s Health

SalliePermar

Duke has more than a championship basketball team. Even more amazing than Coach K is Dr. P.

The photo of Dr. Sallie Permar snapped by Bill Giduz of Davidson College perfectly captures her confidence, affability, and good nature. But don’t be fooled. Behind that smile is a bad ass.

Dr. Permar is an MD, PhD and a pedigreed pediatrician with degrees from Davidson, Johns Hopkins, and Harvard Medical School. What warms the heart of this public school advocate is that Sallie is also a product of Wake County Public Schools. She graduated from Broughton High School, just up the hill from my house.

Dr. Permar’s titles at Duke are impressive, if not a tish intimidating.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Assistant Professor in Immunology

Assistant Professor in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

I hope 60 Minutes producers are standing by to schedule an interview with Sallie. She’s one of the few lucky ones whose work is changing the world. Sallie is a decorated doctor and researcher working on vaccines for AIDS and CMV, Cytomegalovirus, at Duke. I’m warning you to not Google Dr. Sallie Permar, lest you feel highly unaccomplished. Or maybe that’s just me…

Sallie’s contributions have been recognized by the White House, among others. Just last year she was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Here’s the thing…Sallie Permar is jovial, funny, candid, and ever so approachable. She takes her work, but not herself, seriously. There’s no ego to bust through, and Sallie isn’t out to impress anyone with her accomplishments (I think I’ve already established that there are many.). She clearly loves what she does and is committed to maternal health and disease eradication.

Part of my advocacy work is with the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life program. I work to provide vaccines to children in developing countries, where a child dies of a vaccine preventable disease every 20 seconds. Let that sink in… I was fortunate to travel to Uganda with Shot@Life, where many mothers spoke of the horror of AIDS. Sallie’s work in Zambia and other parts of the African continent is leading to promising breakthroughs. There were mothers in Uganda who told me their wish for their family was that their children did not die of AIDS. That conversation has stuck with me, like a pin in my heart. Imagine how heartening it is to have met Dr. Sallie Permar, the woman who might be the key to making these mothers’ wishes come true.

 

 

Brewconomy Film on Tap to Showcase NC’s Beer Economy

Beer tourism is a thing. People flock to North Carolina for its beer. We are lucky to have a zillion breweries within arm’s reach. Hyperbole aside, there are breweries every which way you turn. And here’s the thing, quality abounds. This is not basement brewed swill I’m talking about.

The beer industry in our state is blossoming. It’s not just about getting hopped up on cans of cold beer at a backyard shindig. Beer is contributing to North Carolina’s economy in profound ways. The documentary film Brewconomy, to be released later this year, tells the story of craft brew and its impact on our state.

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“Through the voices of brewers, community leaders, government officials, scientists, farmers, business owners and others, Brewconomy tells the story of craft brewing’s affect on agriculture, community, and economy. These effects include providing jobs, increasing tax revenue, strengthening community ties, encouraging agricultural innovation and production, and generally improving the overall state economy.”

Filmmaker Camden Watts Roessler is a friend of mine and guest posted about this film venture on Dirt & Noise when the idea was in Kickstarter incubation. It’s been an incredible journey to watch unfold as Camden and her team took this rice grain sized idea and turned it into a film. Camden is a driven, creative spirit who sees a story where some might see none. From the first time I ever met her I knew she’s the kind of whip smart gal I’d like to enjoy a beer with.

Head to your favorite bottle shop to pick up a mix of North Carolina beers. Sit back and watch Brewconomy with an extra dose of satisfaction that you are helping our state’s economy. Let’s support both independent craft breweries and independent film makers! Share this trailer and help the film make its way to your community. Brewconomy will run first in the Triangle and make its way across the state with our help.

So tell me, what are you drinking these days?

I’ll start. I’m a fan of Trophy Brewing. It doesn’t hurt that I can walk there.

Camden tells me she’s enjoying Raleigh Brewing, Trophy, Crank Arm, Fullsteam. Her partner Shane Johnston is indulging in Raleigh Brewing, Nickelpoint, Fullsteam, and Crank Arm. You should know that Shane’s Ignite talk about craft beer’s impact on North Carolina’s economy sparked this film. I was at that talk and I think about it every time I buy an NC brew. Cheers to all the great things brewing in North Carolina!

Fill Your Easter Basket With NC Treats

The Easter Bunny is a procrastinator. You’d think all that sugar fuels him to hop around like…well, the Energizer Bunny. Alas, he lacks organizational skills. If your Easter Bunny needs a boost this season, hop on over to fill your basket with state fare.

If there’s one state that can boast the motherlode of locally made Easter basket gems, it’s North Carolina. We have curated some ideas to make your bunny’s job easier. Shopping locally bolster’s our state’s economy, of course, but filling your basketwith  local fare truly makes for a unique gift that makes a difference.

Fill your Easter Basket with NC Treats

Piedmont Candy Company is one of the last vestiges of a family owned candy company with production in the United States. It’s based in Lexington, NC, home of more than barbecue. Try the Puffs in the citrus and fruit flavors.

Piedmont Candy Peppermint Puffs #HandmadeNC

 

Chapel Hill Toffee, Videri Chocolate Factory, and The Secret Chocolatier will satiate your chocolate cravings way better than a waxy, hollow chocolate bunny.

Videri Chocolate Factory #HandmadeNC The Secret Chocolatier #HandmadeNC

Chapel Hill Toffee #HandmadeNC

Crude Bitters & Sodas has a wonderful selection of unique bitters and shrubs. I cast my vote for the Pineapple Ginger schrub. Serve it up with some Topo vodka for the grown ups. I mean really, Easter baskets aren’t just for kids, right?

Crude Bitters Pineapple Ginger Shrub -- #HandmadeNC

Big Spoon Roasters’ Peanut Cocoa Butter isn’t a body butter but it is a balm for the soul. Eat it off the spoon. Founder Mark Overbay’s favorite snack is a big ol’ spoon of peanut butter straight from the jar. Mine too.

Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Cocoa Butter #HandmadeNC

Tonya’s Cookies are the best kind of homemade treat…they are made in someone else’s home! Tonya comes from good kitchen stock; Chapel Hill’s famous Mama Dip’s is her grandmother’s restaurant. The ever so tasty White Chocolate Pecan Crisp is my favorite.

Tonya's Cookies White Chocolate Pecan Crisp #HandmadeNC

Counter Culture Coffee will be a hit among the adults who woke up for a sunrise church service. Try the #46.

MISSING CHILD – Help Find Jewel Fitzgerald

We never imagined human trafficking would hit so close to home, literally and figuratively. Our friend’s cousin is missing. It is believed she has been kidnapped by a ring in North Carolina, and she is suspected to be as far away as California.

Jewel Fitzgerald

14 years old (Let that sink in.) Birthday May 5, 2000

5ft 3 inches tall, 112 lbs

Last seen on the way to Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC on Wednesday, March 25

Jewel was last seen leaving home for school but never made it there. Please share this post this far and wide. If you have info please call 917-209-4851.

Resources

We Help the Missing

National Human Trafficking Resource Center

 

Stanbury, Where Nothing Disappoints

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There is one problem with having dinner at Stanbury.

Every meal you eat thereafter pales in comparison. Such was my plight last weekend. My husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a marvelous dinner at Stanbury. We found ourselves indifferent to every other meal option for the rest of the weekend. Nothing sounded appetizing. We are normally pretty eager eaters so it took a while to realize that what we were experiencing were the lingering effects of dinner at Stanbury.

I began my journey on the Pineapple Express, a delectable cocktail that was ever so balanced to be both perfectly sweet and tart. Goldilocks would have approved. My husband had the Stanbury Gin & Tonic. Who knew that celery, the wallflower of vegetables, could be so divine? And to think we relegate those stalks to tuna salad, never giving it a stage to shine on.

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We enjoyed the most delectable, creamy oysters with our cocktails. They were served on a bed of rock salt and presented ever so simply. To have dolloped a bit of cocktail sauce would have been a culinary crime. You might have heard audible gasps if you were seated at the table next to us.
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The charred broccoli in chili sauce was also divine, though it could be a tish spicy for the uninitiated. I’m from India and embrace spicy food so I thought it was sublime. My husband loved it too, though he might have ordered another cocktail to quell the heat. We devoured it so quickly I didn’t even capture a shot.

The first time we visited Stanbury we lamented the fact that we ate so much that we didn’t have room for the marrow. We weren’t newbies this time and knew to prioritize this indulgence. We shall never visit Stanbury again without ordering the marrow. When we told our sons about the melty, richness of this dish, they clamored to go to Stanbury right away. Never mind that it was 10:00 am. Your senses will be delirious with one bite of this goodness. The zing of the capers and parsley cuts the richness of the marrow, while the crunch of bread completes the medley. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t daydreamed about this dish.

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To finish off our meal, my husband and I shared the ribeye. We had been hearing accolades about the ribeye so we decided we must finally give it a go. This is one more thing our sons are dying to try. It’s delicious in its simplicity. The ribeye is generously topped with truffle butter and is certainly large enough to share. I’m pretty sure the truffle butter is what sold our sons on this dish. I swear, there can’t be 11 and nine-year olds on the planet who devour more truffle salt. The ribeye is also served with fries and an arugula salad. We also eat more arugula than any family in America so this too excited my boys.
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The light was dim so apologies for the photo. I admittedly didn’t fool around too much because I just wanted to dig in. Stanbury does not disappoint. The service is attentive and friendly, a nice departure from the oft uptight atmosphere that this caliber meal is usually served in. It’s a relaxed vibe that makes you feel chill, not out of place. There’s not need to dress up or stand out, though it’s cool if you do. Next time I’m going to kick back on the patio with the cocktail menu and indulge in oysters and marrow. Join me.

Where is Stanbury located?

Stanbury is located in Raleigh at 938 N. Blount Street.

Type Mache Makes Letters an Artform

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I collect the letter E and have variations from the flea market and other places where serendipitous finds can be had. I love words. I love letters. Imagine my giddy surprise to have discovered Heather Ng of Type Mache. Heather, artist and mother of three in Cary, NC, is a graduate of the renown Rhode Island School of Design. There she studied 3 D art, and her work makes that apparent.

Heather is at once creative and earnest. There are no cliche artist airs about her, despite her pedigree and talent. What I appreciate most is how Heather literally and figuratively rolls up her sleeves and gets her hands in the muck to create art that is one-of-a-kind indeed. In a strange twist, Heather thanks her parents for not letting her putz in paper mache as a child, sparking the desire to plop her hands into the gluey muck at first chance. Who knows what talents our children hide all the times we say no? As a mom who eschews a sticky mess of any sort, I can totally identify with Heather’s parents.

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As a lover of words and an appreciator of type, I positively drool for Heather’s large letter pieces. The process is quite in depth, starting with hand cut stencils made with the piles of corrugated cardboard knowing neighbors leave on Heather’s porch (way to be green!). How amazing is this example paper mached in maps? I also happen to love maps, ironic considering I have a lousy sense of direction. But I digress…

The ways Heather can make a letter personalized are as vast as your imagination. Sheet music, maps, menus, concert tickets, comics, dictionary pages, sewing patterns, newspaper clippings, vintage ads, the list goes on… Heather is more than a doer; she’s a thinker too, a tinkerer. She’s bursting with elan and can give you ideas to help guide you. You see, artists like her don’t stop creating, and their brains are always click-clacking away. There are seeds for new ideas pollinating in Heather’s creative spirit. Her new 3D texture tiles are the most recent thing to bloom. I covet a collection of the Wave and Petals to hang as a series on my wall.

All of Heather’s work is painstakingly handcrafted. To hear her talk of her art leaves you smiling, her joy palpable and contagious. To own a piece of Type Mache is to truly have an artist’s touch in your home.

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Ozone Layer – Aluminum Free Deodorant That Works!

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Though it’s nippy out now, soon enough summer’s heat will breeze in, inducing weather amnesia in us all. We will cease our griping about winter’s chill and make way for complaining about Heat Miser’s grip on our state. The heat of summer brings all sorts of fun – beach days and poolside daze. We’ll relish popsicles and daiquiris and backyard barbecues and the like. But the smelly little secret of the savior of summer is the stink. Peeewwww.

I live in a house full of boys. There are tween boys running amok at any given time of day. The whole lot of them carries a certain scent that wafts up into your nostrils, taking hold in the most unpleasant way. The shoes, the sweat, all marks of the hormonal battle raging in their young, growing bodies. Their coming of age, while sweet in its own way, still reeks.

We discovered Ozone Layer deodorant quite serendipitously while vacationing in Kure Beach. My sons and I struck up a conversation with Reid, one of the founders. He was ebullient and so giddy that we were simply tangled in his joy upon first glance. He’s the kind of guy you immediately trust. A good aura, I suppose, is the mark of a good businessman. We talked about boys hitting their tween stride and noted the change in the air. I mentioned we had been looking for aluminum free deodorant options that were natural and effective. So far the ones we had experimented with were natural and smelled nice but stunk it their efficacy.

Ozone Layer is made in Kure Beach, NC. Todd and Reid, the founders, make up the batches themelves and served as guinea pigs in all the testing. No animals were use in their testing, but I imagine they crinkled up their noses quite a bit until they found a formula that works. Ozone Layer is made from shea butter, beeswax, and oils for scent. I’m partial to the lavender. My husband and sons like the eucalyptus and lemongrass. The scents are all quite lovely, not treacly. All the deodorant is free of sulfates, phthalates, paraben, and artificial colors. The packaging is recyclable and even refillable. You can mail back your empty container for a refill at a reduced cost. Cool, right?

The secret ingredient in Ozone Layer is oxygen. This is where I really wish I had paid more attention in chemistry class. The oxygen rich environment basically chokes out all the bacteria that makes us smell bad.

Deodorant is admittedly not very sexy, but I’d argue that stinking is even less so.

 

Dan Carmichael Fine Art & Photography Highlights the Beauty of Snow

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Photography Prints

North Carolina artist and photographer Dan Carmichael captures our state in all her moods and seasons, whether it’s the tenor of the waves or the peace of the rare snowfall. You’ll see images beyond the cliche icons of our state, yet each photo still evokes North Carolina’s personality in myriad ways. Picture North Carolina showcases his work from photos to paintings. There are scenes from around the state, some are of recognizable monuments and others of secret places awaiting the serendipitous discovery. His photographs and paintings reflect light, mood, and season with both vibrant colors and muted shades.

I’ve never met Dan but stumbled upon his work. I’m positively mesmerized by his photos. In light of the snow in our future (fingers crossed!), you might appreciate how he has captured snowfall in North Carolina. Wintry weather is a rarity so it’s lovely to see it documented in its resplendent, romantic glory.
Art Prints

The Season for Local Chocolate

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It’s so silly when advertisers and retailers claim there is a chocolate season. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter. Sure, all mark the times of year we see chocolate sales soar, but let’s be honest, chocolate is seasonless, as in, appropriate for all seasons. Any occasion can be celebrated with chocolate. Heck, you don’t even need a reason to celebrate!

Granted, with the promise of Cupid’s quiver making hearts aquiver, all eyes are on chocolate right now. I used to inhale the duty free European chocolates my parents brought back from their world travels. Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, all chocolate havens. I’d be remiss to leave out my English indulgence, the Cadbury Flake. I’m delighted to have a world class chocolatier just down the road from me in downtown Raleigh. Videri Chocolate Factory has recently won accolades at the Good Food Awards for its strawberry anise ganache. It’s too good to be sinful.

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Check out the full review on Ilina’s site when she wrote about Videri last fall.