Did you know that if you rub essential peppermint oil on the soft middle of the bottom of your foot that you will eventually taste that peppermint in your mouth?
This was news to me. I heard this random tidbit in yoga class, and while I haven’t tried it yet, I keep thinking about that unexpected, surprising minty sensation (and also wondered if they make chocolate peanut butter essential oils).
Surprising cereal and marshmallow coated cones at Emack & Bolio’s, New York City
2014 was a big year of change here at my house. Everything seemed to challenge my role in Life As I Knew It. My kids moved out, my mom got sick (thankfully she is better). Most of the change, like my kids moving out, I expected, even planned for, imagined. I knew there would be sadness, excitement, new freedoms and the like. But what I didn’t expect was to find myself constantly questioning my purpose the moment my kids left.
Together at 2nd Ave Deli in NYC.
For so many years, my family has been my priority. Everything else I did was “just work”.
Gerald Schoenfeld Theater, NYC
Sure that work was important, necessary, enjoyable, etc., but never assigned the significance of what I did for my family.
So this new questioning, it’s a strange taste, and it’s got me feeling pretty damn insecure.
A misty Central Park, NYC
In many ways I feel like a teenager again. New independence, lots of insecurity, and even more indecision, but then there’s also an excitement that I can fill and assign priority to these wide open spaces however I see fit.
And sometimes that unexpected result is something sweet. I had no idea that the research I would do on art and doodling for my character Grace Callahan in my young adult book, The Art of Chasing Normal, would lead to my own drawing finding a way into a really awesome art book.
North Light has tons of really fun and inspirational art books. Click the link to check it out!
With change, though, there’s a lot of heart work to do. I’m figuring it out, and I know there will be more strange and unexpected minty sensations along the way.
But for me, it helps to believe, that even when we feel vulnerable and stripped to the bone, there’s still something strong and fierce (in the best possible way) inside of us.
American Museum of Natural History, New York City
Wishing you the best for 2015!
HAPPY NEW YEAR,
It’s not officially winter yet, but it’s been cold.
So I’m offering you some merry and bright stuff.
You know, for lifting smiles and warming hearts.
cozying up to the warm oven baking.
Did you know there’s a difference between dutch process cocoa and regular baking cocoa?
I think it was Ina Garten who said, Once you go dutch, you never go back (but don’t quote me on that).
I tried dutch cocoa for the first time this week in a batch of Double Chocolate crack(le) cookies. SO much chocolate goodness. I’d show you a pic, but they’re ALL gone.
But these cookies are still hanging around. For laughs.
A native from The Island of Misfit Gingerbread People
So the autumn leaves are gone, but there’s still plenty of color to be found in Winter.
Sunset in Richmond, Virginia (but it’s not exclusive to my town)
And I’m still feeling grateful for the opportunity to help out at a local pop up street store last weekend.
Tons of gratitude.
And after that I got to sit down and read with one of my nephews.
I loved shark books as a kid too.
But wait there’s more!
I’m going to be an aunt again.
My little sister is having a baby girl soon-ish.
Merry and bright indeed.
A cornucopia of doodles
a trio of pies: aka the Pie-fecta
and some turkey humor.
With love and tons of gratitude,
On a trip to Virginia Beach last December, I got up early and watched the sun rise.
I still think about how cool it was to sit on the dark beach and watch the sun peek above the horizon.
So when the hub and I went to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach last weekend
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
I realized I had the opportunity to see the sunrise at the beach again.
So I set my alarm, but when I woke up there was no yellow streaked sky. No fiery sun.
Just a whole lot of clouds.
And I was puzzled.
Sure I’ve seen lots of overcast days, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me that there could be clouds blocking the horizon at sunrise.
I don’t know why. Maybe because it was so spectacular last December, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
But there it was, a hazy, muted sky.
It was just different. And for a moment, kind of empty without the sun all up in my face.
And as I stood there I started to identify with that bit of emptiness, that difference.
Some days it’s really strange to realize that in one year both of my kids left for school (the con of having 2 kids fifteen months apart), but then it’s not so strange, because while it’s oh so bittersweet to move on from that really great part of my life,
there’s still so much life as usual,
the work and the fun
and I’m learning a new routine, a new focus
and climbing mountains with my husband
My view from Humpback Rock in the Blue Ridge mountains
And finding my heart can be in more than one place
Fossil Beach at York River State Park
And planning visits to see our kids in NYC and Colonial Williamsburg
And getting to see things from their point of view
And tasting new and surprising things
Snow cone + soft serve = Sno To G0 (in Williamsburg, VA)
(and realizing that in some situations you can eat the yellow snow.)
But most of all, I’m seeing that a different sunrise, can still be a pretty awesome view.
A hazy, beautiful Virginia Beach morning
What view are you enjoying?
You know how some people need to sky dive or bungee jump to get their adrenaline going?
All it takes to get me running scared, is an old, abandoned motel (during daylight).
Just tires. But my mind added chainsaws.
Definitely no air conditioning (some find that scary)
It was super quiet here.
And something made me start running back to the car. Fast.
Probably just my imagination.
But I’m not opening the door to find out.
What scares you? Would you stay the night in a haunted motel?
Enjoy your stay!
I love New York.
Maybe it’s because I was born in New Jersey and lived my pre-K years with a view of the Manhattan skyline.
Or maybe it’s just because NYC is awesome.
There’s always something new to see–and taste!
For me last weekend, that was at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (East Village)
Order the Salty Pimp (don’t be shy)
Chocolate dipped soft serve injected with salted caramel (even the cone–which can be gluten free if you need!)
It’s SO good.
And zero guilt, because in NYC you can just walk it off
Which we did in Central Park!
And the High Line
And at High Rock Park, Staten Island (just a ferry ride away)
And lots of walking on the streets!
Luckily a good coffee boost is easy to find in NYC.
My latest fave is the cappuccino at 12 Corners (Lower East Side)
Coffee that shimmers!
I loved this cappuccino so much I went back for another the next morning.
(Bonus gluten free tip: Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery has the best coffee cake.)
But by far my most FAVORITE reason to visit New York now?
It’s where my daughter lives.
Where have you been hanging out lately? Any cool treats or sights to share?
No WHEE! here. Mum’s the word.
Could not believe how close this um, real live*, horse let me get. WHEE!
No need to shell out big bucks on a trip to Europe–you can find it all here. WHEE!
Twinkie + Twix + Bacon = ????? Eat at own risk: WHEE?
I’m pretty sure we used to do this in gym class.**
What’s your favorite thing at the fair? Would you try a Twinx?
Happy first day of October!
*Not real. But a model horse, for sure.
** Okay so I was thinking about Dodge Ball. Far scarier.
This is my office. The clean side.
Thank you to my friend Karen McFarland for tagging me in her post about Inspiring Spaces!
So, I write in my office. My office has books, pictures, quotes, and so many writing utensils you might believe I’m preparing for some kind of apocalypse. Well, the kind of apocalypse where one is not SO preoccupied with survival that they may like to sit and write, or doodle, for a bit. (Perhaps, a creative apocalypse?)
Oh and there’s some ladybug stuff in my office. Because ladybugs inspire me too.
But then there’s the creative inspiration outside of the office.
The stuff that makes me curious.
A tree grows in Vermont.
And maybe plants a creative seed.
Centuries old Tulip Poplar log on Saunders-Monticello Trail in Charlottesville, VA
I love the kind of curiosity that leads to the funny
That’s dear hub checking out the poop on the Sawmill Run portion of the Appalachian Trail
I told him it was poop (aka wild animal scat) but he didn’t believe me.
But I understand wanting to take a closer look at nature.
An Appalachian Trail bee
A praying mantis on my porch
Oh and I got a curious kick out of the kids at the park who were fascinated by my hub The Fisherman
They had A LOT of questions about fishing.
Oh and there was some brain sprouting at my son’s school.
It was Family Weekend and I attended a geology class and while I’m sure that the subject is fascinating I couldn’t get over how note taking has changed in twenty years.
There were more electronics than paper and pen. Trees will be happy, but how will people survive the creative apocalypse?
Family. I find a lot of inspiration with my family.
And sometimes in a little Fro Yo. Why not?
What’s inspiring your work this week?
If you’re reading this, then the Spambot war I’ve been engaged in is over.
My site was down most of last week. It popped back up for a few minutes here and there only to be swallowed again by these guys
Note: This is not an actual spambot for they don’t show there faces. They like to lurk behind Burberry ads and gibberish disguised as flattery.
They were ruthless. They got thru Askimet and dumped so many comments HostGator had to shut me down. Finally, thanks to my tech guy (aka my hub), I got my site back.
His other super power: Fish Whisperer
Yay! Because I’ve got stuff to tell you all.
I finished my big Photoshop project–the one that required me to take classes–and pull my hair out.
Here’s what I’ve been up to–the cover of my new book:
A visitor from Zac’s past shows up, sending Grace and Zac’s spring break—and their relationship—into uncharted territory.
The ebook is available now. You can check out all the details here.
The paperback is almost ready to go live. I got a bit sidetracked with choosing between matte or glossy–and again there was more learning to be done with the fancy Photoshop.
But I did it. It wasn’t easy and I still have lots to learn, but I’m pretty happy with how far I got. And that I tried. There was lots of mistakes and trying again–which fits nicely with one of the themes in this new book. So there’s that too.
Plus, the companion book, The Art of Chasing Normal, is a Kindle Unlimited book!
So what have you been up to? I’d love to hear! But first…
a teensy, tiny bit of bad news. Unfortunately commenting here now requires a little math. Sorry, I know this is a lot to ask, especially on a Monday. Hopefully I will find a better Captcha setup (I’m open to suggestions).
So because I miss your comments and hope you will tell me what’s been going on with you, I offer you some very pretty cake.
Gives new meaning to fruit cake.
Or maybe you’d like a little zen.
Me too. My new favorite thing is this class
Yoga at the botanical garden.
What’s happening in your world? I’d love to know!
HAPPY MONDAY!Read More
Last weekend was historic.
We celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary (w/ silly selfies, because that’s how we roll)…
on the very same day that we took our youngest child to college.
But seriously, we couldn’t be more proud.
He’s studying at Thomas Jefferson’s alma mater.
(Although, apparently, it’s cooler to mention alumnus, Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show)
This part wasn’t easy though.
We knew it wouldn’t be, having done the goodbye thing with our daughter only 364 days before.
This pic sums up the strange mix of emptiness and freedom
I think we all felt (not that anyone is a horse in this scenario).
But the whole leaving my youngest at college didn’t really hit me until the middle of the weekend,
at 3am to be exact,
I sat up in bed, in the middle of a the dark hotel room
startled from a dream where I was in a room with doors
running around trying to lock them.
(Before you think my dreams are visionary, let me add that there was also a gecko in an envelope in there somewhere.)
The next day, after one more round of parent orientation, we stopped at a park
and rented a jon boat.
We drifted for a couple of hours.
Wrapped up in beginnings and endings
we let our emotions untangle a bit.
And then we headed home. Just the two of us.
But home comforted
and reminded us there’s so much more ahead
(and that the bananas on the kitchen counter were going to keep on ripening no matter what)
Which was perfect for baking some banana bread for care packages.
What’s your favorite thing to put in a care package (or to receive)? Anything historic happening in your neck of the woods?