Friday Love 1.22.16

a little roundup of things that inspired me this week

The Bullet Journal. Dubbed “the analog system for the digital age,” it’s a customizable and forgiving organization system that can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary. Developed by designer Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal is all over Pinterest and the blogosphere. I can’t wait to give it a whirl. I particularly love this Bullet Journal spread created by blogger Boho Berry. Yay!

photo: Kara Benz, Boho Berry
photo: Kara Benz, Boho Berry


Anatomy of Gratitude–This On Being interview with 89-year-old Benedictine Monk Brother David Steindl-Rast. His quiet wisdom broadened and deepened my perspective a hundred ways. Like this commentary on the difference between gratitude, gratefulness and thanksgiving. (hint: “Thanksgiving” is when your cup of joy runs over.) And his observation that you can’t be grateful for every moment (war, disaster, pain) but you can be grateful in every moment. So much to consider. So much to love.


Corn Sticks! Thank you April Blake and The Good Life Blog for reminding me of this signature dish from the old Tapp’s Department Store and providing a link to the recipe the scaled-down recipe. (The original was for 448 corn sticks and it was made three times a day!) I own a corn stick cast iron pan (that I never use) but I shall make some this snowy* weekend. Fun!


Tapp’s Original Corn Sticks (adapted)
Makes about 72 corn sticks

2 cups plain cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening

-Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix with cornmeal and sugar.
-Combine milk, eggs and shortening and then mix into dry ingredients.
-Bake in well-greased corn stick mold at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Sending wishes for a very happy weekend filled with things you love! XXOO

*wishful thinking


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a little roundup of things that inspired me this week

1. A Love Letter to Winter: Adam Gopnik’s Ardent Case for the Cold Season’s Splendor and Significance  I love everything about this Brain Pickings’ peak into Gopnik’s winter writings, including the gorgeous Isabelle Arsenault illustration that accompanies the post.

2a. Valerie’s Home Cooking   You know Valerie Bertinelli, right? One Day At A Time? Hot in Cleveland? Eddie Van Halen??? Well now Valerie has a show on The Food Network and my DVR is set. She’s charming, funny and I love her recipes.

2b. Like this one. Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts. Easy. Healthy. Good. Yum.


image: The Food Network

image: The Food Network

3. A Life of Gladness and Responsibility   This post from favorite writer Winn Collier has made a place for itself in my heart. I so appreciate the sentiment, and the writing–well, just look at those sentences. A beautiful read for all of us, particularly those who somehow feel out of step in a world that asks so much.

4. A series of fun little Fat Winter Birds I painted for our church’s holiday Joy Market.


I had so much fun doing them I’m thinking of opening my own Etsy store this year. (In fact, it’s on my 2016 Life List.) How fun is that ?

Sending wishes for a very happy weekend filled with things you love! XXOO


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Friday Love 7.4.14

a little roundup of things that inspired me this week



1. Words and Pictures   Photos tell stories, and no one captures them more eloquently than my friend, Julie Williams Dixon. She’s a writer, filmmaker and photographer who sees the unseen then somehow manages to capture it on film. Love, love, love.

2. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jameson  You know what it’s like to see an email in your inbox from someone who always attaches something great? That’s the feeling I got when this link arrived compliments of my dear friend and fellow writer Kathryn Dave. She said: The writing in this personal essay on empathy (kind of) is so good. It’s very long, but worth finding a quiet moment this weekend. Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes. If that’s not enough to get you to click, here’s a tiny sliver:

Empathy isn’t just remembering to say That must really be hard, it’s figuring out how to bring difficulty into the light so it can be seen at all. Empathy isn’t just listening, it’s asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to. Empathy requires inquiry as much as imagination. Empathy requires knowing you know nothing. Empathy means acknowledging a horizon of context that extends perpetually beyond what you can see…

Set aside some quiet time this long, hot holiday weekend and go there. Promise me.

3. How To Make Sangria Without A Recipe from Food52  Speaking of a long, hot holiday weekend, how about a batch of Sangria? I particularly love Food 42‘s “How to make _____ without a recipe” series—no doubt because I am such a rule recipe follower. (I shall add to my Life List Riff on Something.)

4. Vacation Photos  It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite things about social media. Every time a vacation photo gets posted, I get to share in the glow of the moment with them, instantly transported to locales near and far. Here are three I’m loving right this minute.

Julie Turner @ Lake Ontario
Pam Plowden Rawson @ the four corners
IMG_0290 - Version 2
Eliza Ellis @ Sintra, Portugal

Here’s hoping this holiday weekend takes you somewhere wonderful, even if it’s just your glorious back porch. Happy 4th!



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On Valentine’s Day, and Every Day


Does he make your world bigger?

It was a question she’d asked her daughter, a passing comment in the midst of a story about something else entirely. And yet it has stuck with me since, this thought, this most-perfect and profound point of view.

Does he make your world bigger? she’d asked.


I believe it to be the perfect test of love, true love, the kind of love that nurtures you both as (inevitably) a romance transitions from sparkly and new to real life and daily. I believe the greatest proof of love is expanding each other’s horizons, supporting each other’s dreams, believing in the joy that extends out there, tomorrow.

I believe it is the ideal when-you-get-right-down-to-it test, whether you are 16 years old, or 28, or 54, or 90.

Does he make your world bigger?


How thankful I am that in my life, the answer is an unequivocal



my love










Wishing you love that expands your world, on this Valentine’s Day and every day.  XXOO



Friday Love 1.31.14

a little roundup of things that inspired me this week

1. theSkimm, Superbowl edition  I thank my sister-in-law, Colette, for alerting me to this fast, fabulous daily e-news service called theSkimm. Today’s version is a quick download of all the most interesting things about Sunday’s Superbowl. Check it out. Sports fanatic or not, it’s just fun.

2. The Stitch Block Cowl, from purl bee   I covet. Would someone make this for me? Please? (The link includes the pattern.)

photo credit: the purl bee

3.  The Gap from Ira Glass      What is the difference between a hack and an artist? According to Ira Glass, it’s volume. In a talk beautifully animated by photographer and artist Daniel Sax, Glass talks about doing the work to cross the gap between recognizing (“taste”) and creating (“skills”). And that requires some serious volume. A fascinating theory on the creative process that promises there’s hope for any of us willing to put in the time.


3.  Wordless News 1.28.14     I love every illustration the fabulous Maria Fabrizio creates for her astounding project, Wordless News. And this one from January 28th? I love love love. Take a peek and see what happens when an artist (who has clearly crossed The Gap) reports a top news story using exactly NO words. And she does it five days a week. Just wow. (Note: At the bottom of each post, Maria provides links to word-filled news stories if you want more context.)

5. The Dark ‘n Stormy      It’s the national drink of Bermuda, and it’s also the cocktail that got us through Storm Leon. The link here is to the recipe from Goslings. I must confess we added a splash of simple syrup, an option we discovered during a fun dinner with friends at Cafe Caturra last weekend. (Did you know they have feathers hanging in the restaurant?) The Dark ‘n Stormy. Mmmmm.


Friday Love 10.25.13

a little roundup of things that inspired me this week

1. The Seven Gifts of the Universe Everybody Gets

I love Leigh Newman’s insights so much I’m not going to crowd this link with any other Friday Love. She writes:

All of us—even the bleakest and unluckiest of us—get seven particular moments, those brief, unexpected times when the stars do more than align; they communally redirect their light expressly to illuminate the value of our wee, earthly existence.

These moments sometimes go unnoticed and are almost always unexpected. They are not subject to the vicissitudes of your success or failure. They are not something you can blame yourself for not experiencing sooner or flog yourself into experiencing now. They are on their own time schedule. They have happened to you or will happen to you sooner or later. The key is not letting them slip by uncelebrated.

Read more:

Please, please, please give yourself the gift of this read. It is a powerhouse.


Friday Love 10.11.13

a little roundup of things that inspired me this week

1. Something wicked

The moment I saw this gigantic Halloween-inspired poster, I knew it was for me. Created by the uber-talented Melanie Burk of Fifth&Hazel, you can download your own copy for just $5.00 (that’s right, $5.00—and you get more than one design!) at Caravan Shoppe. The post gives great instructions about how to print the poster (mine cost $6.00) and then create a crafty “frame” out of painter’s canvases. Love!

via @camillestyles

2. Pumpkin X10

I had a brief moment last year in which I took a (rather private) stand against October’s trendy pumpkin obsession. My platform? I loved pumpkin when pumpkin wasn’t cool.

This year, I’ve decided jump back on the pumpkinwagon and turn it into a big ol’ no holes barred hayride. AEB this gorgeous collection of Best Pumpkin Bites by Cara Greenstein of (my lifestyle fave) I plan to make every single recipe.


2. The Josie Russell

Photo courtesy: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidentail Library and Museum, Boston

Do you love Hemingway the way I love Hemingway? Wouldn’t it have been something to hang out with him for a weekend?

Here’s the next best thing, via Garden and Gun magazine: a cocktail recipe handwritten in his fishing log (!) in June of 1933. According to the article, the Josie Russell pays tribute to Joe “Josie Grunts” Russell, “a close friend of Hemingway’s who ran liquor from Cuba to Florida during Prohibition and, immediately following its repeal, opened Key West mainstay Sloppy Joe’s.”

Mix up a batch, grab that well worn copy of The Old Man and the Sea, and soak.

Happy October, the very best month of the year.


This is what I think about a good bit of the time: how random are the relationships that bring substance and significance to our lives.

Forgive me for this: It was but a wild act of impulse, followed by another wild act of impulse (or two) that led to meeting, falling in love with, and marrying my husband. (To be fair, it was exactly the same for him.)

I totally agree with the person I heard on the radio today talking about this: The most important decision you make in your life—more significant than where you live, where you go to school, what you choose as a career—is whom you marry.

Yes, yes. And Good Lord it can be so random.

But I have gotten off track. This post is about my amazing friend Maria, who came into my life in a most unexpected way, but who is such a remarkable part of its baseline today. Maria brings all of this to my days: Calm. Creativity. Wisdom. Perspective. Beauty. Inspiration. Grace.

And the art for the header of thedailygrace, both that with which you are familiar and today’s gorgeous update.

And her own remarkable illustrated series, WORDLESS NEWS, which you can (and should) follow here: Studio Ria.

This is what my husband says about Maria’s daily wordless news illustration:


And I love her enough to just let that slide.

Thank you, Studio Ria. Thank you, Maria!

Editor’s Note #1: If you ever have trouble guessing at the news story an illustration represents—don’t fret. Maria graciously offers a link to it at the top of her Wordless News post each day.)

Editor’s Note #2:  This is my favorite.

Day 7: Christmas Radio Unwrapped

Cruising around Facebook the other day, I came upon this status update by my friend, Doug Williams. I knew it was a score long before I clicked because Doug is an all-around cool guy.

Christmas Radio Unwrapped, via Tunein Radio

It’s one of those rare finds that makes you think finally. Finally!

This morning’s playlist shaped up like this:
7:22   Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
7:26   Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
7:30   Louis Armstrong – The Night Before Christmas
7:36  Dwight Yoakam- Sant Claus is Back in Town
7:43   William Clarke – Please Let Me Be Your Santa Claus
7:48   Al Di Meola – First Snow
7:50   Benny Goodman – Winter Weather
7:54  Whirling Dervishes – You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch
7:56   Lester Lanin – Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
8:04   James Brown – Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto
8:07 Fitz and the Tantrums – Santa Stole My Lady
8:12 Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra – Merry Christmas Baby
8:15 Leigh Nash – Maybe This Christmas
8:18 Duke Ellington and His Orchestra – Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
8:21   Willie Nelson – Jingle Bells
8:28   Zee Avi – Frosty the Snowman
8:30   Mary Chapin Carpenter – Christmastime in the City
8:36 BB King – Christmas Celebration

It’s like each next song* is a little Christmas surprise you weren’t expecting.

Thank you, Doug. Thank you Christmas Radio Unwrapped. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

30 Days of Joy


*Mambo Santa Mambo by The Bobs
Here comes Santa with his eight reindeer
Come every time about this year
Here is something that you don’t know
Santa’s gonna do the mambo


Friday Finds 8.10.12

a little roundup of things that inspired me this week

1. The Sense of an Ending

Let me first make it clear I have a deep love of all things English, most notably English literature. So it stands to reason British author Julian Barnes is one of my favorites. I first discovered him in audiobook form with Talking It Over. Incredibly funny. Ridiculously smart. Outrageously good. I could hardly wait to crack open The Sense of an Ending, the 2011 winner of The Man Booker Prize for literature. It did not disappoint. Short in length and still weighty and complex, it is the story of youth, age, regret—a brutally honest telling of one man’s attempt to come to terms with a life that looks quite different when viewed with the distance of age. Remarkable.

from The Sense of an Ending

We live in time—it holds us and moulds us—but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing—until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.

I’m not very interested in my schooldays, and don’t feel any nostalgia for them. But school is where it all began, so I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty. If I can’t be sure of the actual events any more, I can at least be true to the impressions those facts left. That’s the best I can manage.