the city by the bay


Today I'm winging my way to the West Coast to visit Aunt Bridget in San Francisco! Expect lots of pictures and stories about what I'm sure will be a fabulous trip.

Enjoy this video of my favorite San Francisco family, the Tanners (with a little luck, I will visit their "house"):

the end of mystery meat?


I've been hearing a lot lately about the fight against childhood obesity, and after watching the sneak peek of Jamie Oliver's new show, Food Revolution on ABC, I became even more interested in what is being done to combat unhealthy eating in public school cafeterias and households. Other than Oliver's show, I don't really know what spurred this new-found interest in school lunches, but the information I have come across is appalling and saddens me for the future condition of millions of school children. The food served to them in their cafeterias, and by many of their parents at home is literally killing them slowly, one pizza roll at a time.

I was blessed to grow up with a mother who cooked us healthy and nutritious meals, encouraged us to eat fruits and vegetables and did not bend to our whines for junk food or refusal to try a meal she had spent a great deal of time preparing (the Turkey Stuffing Debacle of '95 and the Cod-Spitting Fiasco of '93 come to mind...) I also attended a school that did not provide on-site lunches, with the exception of one-day-a-week pizza day, and even then we were limited to the number of slices we could order. That meant brown-bag packed lunches from home, which always included a fruit or vegetable, healthy protein such as turkey or peanut butter, and a small treat like a few Oreos or fruit snacks.

My parents were great about teaching all of us the importance of staying active and the rule of "everything in moderation," but I know that we were very much in the minority. I distinctly remember spending the night at a classmate's house in 4th grade and being completely dumbfounded at the fact that their mother let them eat Twinkies before dinner, their pantry stocked full of bins of candy (complete with metal scoops, just like the candy store) and the exorbitant amount of Sprite and Coke in their refrigerator. As a 10-year-old, of course I was a little jealous, they were practically living in their own personal Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory! Looking back now, however, I remember how sickly my classmate and all of her sisters always looked, how much school they missed due to illness, and the youngest child's entire upper row of teeth capped in silver. Throw in the three or four ferrets this family let run rampant throughout their house, and I can safely say it might have been one of the unhealthiest living environments I've come across. (Why was I allowed over there again?)

Thankfully, steps are being taken to change what goes into school lunches and public figures are putting pressure on food companies to reduce the amount of salt, sugar, and fat in their products and change the way they market to children. Hopefully, this change will strike a cord with parents and alterations in at-home meals will take place as well. (One thing I loved about Jamie Oliver's show is that he not only attempts to restructure a school's food system, but also goes into homes and teaches families how to revolutionize their eating habits. Making changes at the foundation is key to these practices becoming habits.) Michelle Obama recently submitted an article to Newsweek about her crusade against childhood obesity and was invited to speak at the Grocery Manufacturers Association- which counts Kraft Foods Inc., Coca Cola Co. and General Mills Inc.-among its members. In her speech she urged the nation's largest food companies to speed up efforts to make healthier foods and reduce marketing of unhealthy foods to children.

Hope does seem to be on the horizon, with initiatives being made to reduce the amounts of unhealthy elements in junk foods, as well as one aspect of the new Health Care Bill taking effect immediately--chain restaurants will be required to prominently display nutrition information. As opposed to the Bill that most people are, and as many things wrong with it as there may be, I think this could prove to be extremely beneficial in changing the food landscape in America. For example, most people have no idea that coffee drinks can range from 20 calories to 800 calories, and burgers can range from 250 calories to well over 1,000 calories. (Read more HERE)

As a member of the fattest country in the world, I sincerely hope that efforts such as these help Americans change their own eating habits and those of their children to ensure long, healthy, fulfilled lives.

when the evening shadows and the stars appear


With her 2009 Grammy wins for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal and her ubiquitous song "Chasing Pavements" of course I had heard of Adele. But it wasn't until today, thanks to my friend EA who posted an Adele video on her blog (click there for amazing, insightful and entertaining me, she posts the greatest photos, videos and comments on anything and everything) that I felt compelled to download Adele's debut album "19." Very rarely am I impressed with an artist's entire album. Sure, there are the hit singles that I'll typically love and the obscure tracks I'll appreciate because they're not on the radio every two seconds, but it's usually a feeling of general satisfaction, nothing overwhelmingly remarkable. Let me tell you, that with Adele's album I am completely blown away by every track. The whole record, top to bottom, start to finish, is incredible (not to mention her voice is to die for.)

And that isn't even the best I was cooking dinner I was listening to it in its entirety for the first time (keep in mind that I normally buy albums without reading all the song's not lazy, it's wanting to be surprised) and I almost burned my hand in hot oil when I heard her cover Garth Brooks's "To Make You Feel My Love" (which I know is a cover of a cover of a cover...the original was written and recorded by Bob Dylan and later sung by the likes of Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Joan Osborne, Josh Kelley, Kelly Clarkson, Kris Allen, and so on and so on...BUT the Garth version is my favorite, probably because of its appearance in "Hope Floats") Anyway, enjoy the video below of Adele singing one of my all-time favorite songs. At the rate I'm going (I've listened to it 8 times already this evening) she might just beat out Garth as the version I love the most.

here in my hood


I took advantage of the nice weather today and went for a stroll around my neighborhood with my camera. Here are a few pictures I snapped of the area I call home, the "Sliver by the River."
(Click the pictures for larger version...)

Tony Graffagnino's personal street tiles, Graffagnino's Tavern & Cascade Stables

A French lesson in the park, Cascade Stables, garden roses & a colorful cottage

Spanish moss, St. Clare's Monastery on Henry Clay & Magazine, and Dedroit Residence

Hippies Beware & Ain't no place like State Street

Saint Francis of Assisi Church

a sparkly tribute to love


Ok, so I've never been a big proponent of the whole Facebook picture over-share when it comes to engagement rings. You know what I'm talking about...the ring photographed from 27 different angles and then placed in the middle of a flower (typically a red rose) for an additional 13, each with a caption like "~*t*H*e R*o*C*k~" or "My~***~BaBy~***~DiD~***~GoOd" (don't even get me started on the squiggly lines, asterisks or alternating capitalized and lower-case letters unless you'd like a 15-minute rant on how girls must type like that for the sole reason of annoying the living daylights out of people like me. How long did your profile take to create, anyway? Just those six words alone took me about 10 minutes...)

That all being said, I did want to post just one great close-up of the ring for my friends and family who haven't seen it in person yet and have asked, repeatedly, for proof that it does in fact exist. So this is where, conveniently, my blog comes in. I can not only share a great photo of the ring I am blessed to wear on my left hand, but also the sweet story behind it without the details being super public on Facebook (like this blog is any more private, but I'm guessing only a handful of people read it anyway so...whatever, you get the point).

I love this ring not only because of what it represents, who gave it to me, and how beautiful it is, but also because of where it came from. While Corey was talking with his mom one day, the subject turned to me, and then to marriage. After telling her I was "The One" and his plans for the future, she let him in on a little secret that he never knew about until that moment: his grandmother had been saving her original engagement ring to give to him when the time was right (she now wears another ring that Mr. Christenberry designed for her later on in their marriage). Knowing how much Corey's grandparents mean to him, and how important they now are to me, made this gift infinitely more special because of the history it carries. Both of us place an incredible emphasis on how special our families are to us, so getting to wear the ring that his grandmother wore as she and Mr. Christenberry built their family and lives together brings me overwhelming joy. Engraved on the inside of the band are his grandparents initials and wedding date, and I am excited to add our own, CDM to HSC 9.10.11, alongside their legacy of love and devotion. These days, so many people say that marriage is "overrated," but it's mementos like my 55-year-old ring that remind me that it absolutely is not. Love and marriage, like this ring, can stand up to life's challenges and exist as a tribute to a life well-spent and well-built.

the city is one very long poem


I've heard a few quotes by Bob Dylan about New Orleans, but have never read what is essentially his love letter to the city in its entirety. I took some time to do so tonight, and his words filled me with pride for my now-and-forever adopted hometown. There has never been a place that immediately gave me a sense of belonging, fascinated me with its mysteries and curiosities, and welcomed me, an outsider, as one of its own. When you come to live in New Orleans, the people embrace you and immerse you in their culture, making it almost impossible to ever want to leave. This city holds a mesmerizing power over its residents. From the outside looking in, you can never really understand it, and from the inside looking out, you can never fully explain it. Like Dylan said, "New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it."

Enjoy the full passage interspersed with some photos I've taken with my new camera (still learning and more to come...but this is what I've come up with in 2 days):

The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay - ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who've died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. You could be dead for a long time.

The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there's a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There's something obscenely joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can't see it, but you know it's here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is.

There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside.

Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn't move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There's only one day at a time here, then it's tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you're in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon's generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you'll get smart - to feed pigeons looking for handouts.

say as much as possible with as few elements as possible

A few drawings by Marc Johns. Witty, charming and filled with dry humor, they speak volumes and draw laughs with just a few strokes of the pen.
in a perfect world...

the inevitable

i sometimes get tired of talking so much, and love time to just sit and be quiet

a tribute to all my big-headed brothers and sisters out there

lightning wins

always remember when confronted by a zig-zag

law of the garbage truck

A great excerpt from Anne Naylor's Huffington Post article Lifting the Pressure of 'Should':

Law of the Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of the parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the Hospital!"

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck." He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that happy people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it! Have a blessed, garbage-free day!

say it on cardboard, say it out loud

Little reminders from Cardboard Love of what we should be telling our loved ones any chance we get:

I don't say these things enough. To my friends, family and fiancee...thank you for making my world such a happy place!

to infinity...


NASA Captures Gorgeous "Cosmic Rose" in Berkeley 59 Cluster

I will never pretend to even remotely understand the concept of space and the universe, but I will, however, always love looking at photos of star clusters, supernovas, comets, and other celestial bodies. There's just something about knowing that even millions (or billions?) of light years away, beauty like this still exists and is waiting to be discovered.

go green


Happy Saint Patrick's Day! I'll be celebrating my Wheeless-Mewhinney-McFadin-Trotter-Collins Irish heritage at the Parasol's block party in the Irish Channel today!

the kiwi singer

Last night a bunch of us went to see Citizen Cope play at Tipitina's, somewhere I've been dying to go ever since I moved the New Orleans (I know, such a crime it has taken me this long to actually do it!) Despite a great show by the main act, we were all pleasantly surprised and blown away by the opener, Gin Wigmore, a 23-year-old from New Zealand who can sing her butt off. Despite having a beautifully unique voice that is unlike anything I've heard, she was incredibly entertaining and funny on stage. After her set, we all had the same collective response: We must get her album NOW. Below is the video for her song "Oh My" Enjoy!

life lessons from south korea


A few weeks ago, my friend Elizabeth Ann posted this adorable planner/journal on her blog and I immediately wanted one. Aside from loving the color and the photographs inside, I thought this could finally get me on track in that ever-present struggle towards organization. Plus, I thought the front-cover slogan was very fitting and a great daily reminder to take things a day at a time. So, I ventured over to and, upon finding out the planner was inexpensive, bought it that same day. Knowing that the creator/seller was based in South Korea I knew it would be quite a while before I received my present to myself in the mail, so when it finally arrived yesterday I was so excited.

After unwrapping several layers of bubble wrap (for a book?) I flipped through the pages and admired the design, and even wrote a few appointments down in the calendar. I left it on my table and continued on with the day, returning to it later to write a few more things down and that's when, even after looking at multiple photos online, buying the planner, seeing it in person, and writing in it that it didn't, as I previously thought, remind me that "Life is a journey"...but that LIFE IS JOURNEY.

I laughed at myself for a solid five minutes (Even EA admitted that's what she thought it said, so at least I wasn't alone in feeling like a complete fool!), at how gaps in translation often result in hilarious takes on cliched phrases, and how funny the human mind can be (I know I learned something about the concepts of phrase completion in high school psychology...but that's buried way too far back in my brain to recall the exact term). Then I realized, that all the way from South Korea, had come a little reminder about life in the form of a very common, but in this case, mistranslated phrase: What we expect to get isn't always what ends up happening, but most of the time, those unexpected things are what make life interesting, provoke laughter and prompt us to remember to take things as they come because LIFE IS JOURNEY.

i'm just sitting on the shelf


There are so many things about this video that I L-O-V-E:

Zooey Deschanel: double, triple love...try and find a person who doesn't adore her Baby It's Cold Outside duet with Will Ferrel in "Elf"

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I mean who didn't have a middle school crush on him as Roger in "Angels in the Outfield" and then a high school crush on him as Cameron in "10 Things I Hate About You"and then again in his recent role as Tom in "500 Days of Summer". He was right up there with Devin Sawa as Junior in "Little Giants" or when he played the physical incarnation of Casper opposite Christina Ricci...SWOON.

She & Him "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here": She & Him is Zooey's band with Matt Ward. They put out simple, adorable songs that make you want to put on a sundress and go have a picnic in the park. Yes, that adorable.

And finally: Cheesy dancing between two people who genuinely look like they're having an absolute blast. Watch for yourself and you'll understand:

Also, as a little bonus, here is the official She & Him video for the song. I am infatuated with all the little cartoon details, and even though there's fake blood and vultures I think it all remains very charming, and Zooey still looks adorable even as she whacks someone's head off with an animated axe. I also love the little Pac Man-esque creatures and the singers' ghosts who seem to be up to no good but are endearingly mischievous. One last thing that's great about this video are the calavera-like nuns who are floating around and singing along. Very Dia de los Muertos which...well, don't even get me started about how much I love everything associated with that. Trust me, and enjoy!

better than punching a pillow

Real Simple Daily Thoughts are some of my favorite things. Whether insightful, witty or instructional, they're always on point. I especially loved today's:

“My recipe for dealing with anger and frustration: set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, cry, rant, and rave, and at the sound of the bell, simmer down and go about business as usual.”
― Phyllis Diller

the “not knowing” is what makes it beautiful and exciting


Ask almost anyone in their immediate post-collegiate years or mid-to-late-twenties about the dreaded "life checklist" (you know...graduate, find a job, get married, buy a house, learn to iron, understand the intricacies of what gets wine stains out of carpet, have a baby, have another baby, house-train a get the idea) and a little black cloud will surely appear above their head. This "checklist" carries with it unrealistic expectations that promote a strange breed of anxiety, particularly in women in their 20's, to hurriedly tick off so-called rites of passage on their march toward their 30's. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against getting married or having kids (I am engaged, after all) but the idea that a woman in her 20's can be wildly successful for that point in her life (i.e. graduated college, post-grad degree, stable job, etc.) but can still feel "behind" their peers because a certain checkpoint hasn't been crossed is completely beyond me.

These words of wisdom from interior and fashion stylist Erin Gates were just the reminder I needed to enjoy where I am in my life right now. Too much time worrying about "what ifs" "why nots" and "how comes" keep so many of us in our 20's from enjoying some of the best times of our lives. But, like Gates, even if I do know that the best really is yet to come, I want to continue to enjoy the excitement and the unknown of this decade, at least for a few more years.

Read Gates's ode to her years as a twentysomething here: Dear John Letter to My 20's

respect your elders

If you're a fan of The Sartorialist (a fantastic blog by photographer Scott Schuman who created it simply to share photos of people he saw on the streets of New York that he thought looked great. He now travels internationally searching for covet-worthy style. I religiously check his blog for inspiring and unique daily style that I can aspire to, and for the eye candy of great photographs and clothes)...then you will LOVE Advanced Style, Ari Seth Cohen's take on Schuman's now book-worthy blog. Cohen roams the streets looking for New York's most stylish and creative older folks. His mantra: "Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest."

Out of all the great photographs of quirky and classic styles, creative pattern mixing, and even grannys with pink hair, I am infatuated with the post on Fleur Cowles, the creative force behind former womens magazine Flair. Sophisticated and classic with a distinctively one-of-a-kind flair, the late Ms. Cowles embodied what I hope to exemplify not just in my later years, but right now. A small tribute to Ms. Cowles who described herself so eloquently, saying, "I have an idea a minute. I'm a born idea myself." LOVE.

love notes to new orleans

Recently, some friends and I attended the "Rebirth, Rebuild @ Republic" event to benefit the 9th Ward Field of Dreams. At the event was Dear New Orleans, a fine art photography company that captures people's love of New Orleans in a unique and beautiful way. At each event, the photographer either asks each person to write their "love note" to New Orleans on their hand with a Sharpie, or poses a specific question to be answered. This particular event's question was "What is your wish?" After much debating and sipping on cocktails for inspiration, Jenn and I came up with this (because let's be honest...who doesn't wish for a handshake or conversation with Shockey and Brees?):

when you've got moxie, you need the clothes to match

I recently stumbled upon the fantastic website of proprietors of independent fashion, Moxsie. Moxsie’s mission is to help you discover and buy the best independent designer clothing, jewelry, shoes and more in the world. Plus, they donate a portion of their proceeds to the charity of your choice, selected upon checkout. Great looking clothes and a good deed rolled into one? That's something I can get behind! Check out what I've been drooling over:

craving, obsessing, dreaming


fresh flowers, especially ones that look like this, make it all better. i don't care if flowers die after a week, they are and always will be one of my favorite gifts to receive.

from an irish wedding i saw on glasses of guinness beer with floating four-leaf clovers. adorable. i am completely obsessed and kind of wish we could do an irish-themed wedding if only to have these at the reception.

j.crew always gets it right. despite my closet currently overflowing with their silk tops, i can't help but want more. especially this one. in multiple colors. these tops with jeans, flats or boots, and a blazer or cardigan have become my go-to outfit. so yes...i absolutely do need a different color for every day of the week. has some of the cutest accessories and jewelry at amazing prices, like this incredible necklace (which, coincidentally, would go perfectly with a silk j.crew top. imagine that.) they also have a selection of ridiculous items that i love browsing through, such as a handlebar mustache ring, bacon band-aids, and cupcake flavored lip balm.

coordinates perfectly with my green velvet wingback chairs. just saying. also, urban outfitters furniture...who knew they had such anthropologie-esque items?

the price tag on this rock crystal lamp from anthropologie is terrifyingly expensive, but i think if i owned this i might just sit and stare all day. so beautiful.

winnie wisdom


Continuing on the note of returning to things I was obsessed with in my younger years, I've recently discovered Winnie the Pooh quotes (don't laugh) and was surprised at how charming, and at the same time, profound, they can be. I may have to start posting them regularly, if only to convince everyone that this little fuzzy bear is full of wisdom and wit. Here is one that made me laugh and really does ring true in my life:

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?'"

fleeting nostalgia

On Wednesday night, Corey and I braved the crowds to go see John Mayer at the New Orleans Arena, finally cashing in on the tickets that my sweet fiancee gave me as a Christmas gift (I may or may not have dropped quite a few not-so-subtle hints). The thing I love most about music is that it's funny what it can dig and plow up within you, even the first few notes bringing to mind the scene in which you first heard a particular song, who you were with, and what your life was like at the time.

For his second song, John played "No Such Thing" from his first album "Room for Squares." It literally took him two strums on his guitar to transport me back to freshman year of high school, when my cousin Matt and I used to drive around in his white 4-Runner, blaring this CD. Matt was the one who first introduced me to John Mayer, and we started listening to his CD and EP before he had really caught on in the mainstream (I know...we were so cool, right?).

The funny thing about this song though, is that even when it became ubiquitous and you couldn't escape from it on the radio, I still loved it and would belt out every word like I actually knew the significance of the lyrics. Looking back now, as a 15-year-old, I really believed I understood this "real world" he was singing about, and that I would come back to my high school one day and show 'em all! However, hearing it for the first time in a long time and as a 24-year-old made me laugh at my teenage self who thought I had it all figured out, and also made me realize how relevant these lyrics are to THIS time in my life (he was about my age when he wrote this, after all).

So, without further ado, the song that took me 9 years to really, fully understand its true meaning:

cheers to the hometown girl


If it means having to suffer through an entire season of Tyra Banks telling girls to "smile with their eyes" or talking about her be it. This season on America's Next Top Model, one of my hometown's finest, Alex Underwood is competing. Not only is Alex a funny, genuine and kindhearted girl, she is a dear friend of mine and best friends with my sister Chandler. I hope the show lets her personality shine through, because she is one of the funniest people I know. Some of my favorite memories with her were on a trip we took to Europe and laughing at her attempts to "overcome the language barrier." Even in Paris, a city inundated with supermodels and fashionistas, people would literally stop and stare at Alex when she walked by. Not only is she beautiful but she is a wonderful friend and person, so I hope everyone roots for her!

Scene: Paris flea market, Alex is wearing a shirt that says "Banana Republic"
Vendor: "Miss! Miss! Where are you from, are you from the...Banana Republic?"
Alex: (looking confused) No....
Vendor: Well whatever this Banana Republic is, I want to go there with you and live forever.

the love child of fantastic writing and great cooking

Something is happening, and I'm not exactly sure what brought it on...I bought not one, but TWO cookbooks this week and have actually been putting them to use, rather than letting them collect dust between the pasta and cans of soup. Could it be something in this strange New Orleans water, the realization of now that I am mid-twenties I should learn my way around mixing bowls and citrus zesters, or possibly that my future husband might want something beyond the realm of "I bought this and heated it up"? Whatever it is, I am welcoming it enthusiastically with the aid of my new culinary roadmaps.

I have become unequivocally obsessed with Sophie Dahl's "Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights" and, in turn a little obsessed with Miss Dahl herself. A quick rundown: former plus-sized model turned author, granddaughter of writer Roald Dahl (James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda...need I go on?), married to musician Jamie Cullum (swoon), AND she's written incredibly simple and delicious recipes that are still healthy. They are organized according to season and type of meal (breakfast, lunch, supper) which means that you're guaranteed to be using seasonal ingredients at their peak and therefore, better tasting food!

The thing I love most about this book, aside from its charming pink and blue cover and incredible photographs, is the inclusion of GREAT writing. Each season is preceded by a few pages of anecdotes from Dahl's life that undoubtedly transport you to moments of your own, whether it's the time your Granny taught you to roll cookie dough or the first time you flipped an omelet without eggs falling into the burner. When describing her favorite season, Dahl writes: "Autumn is a season I love more than any other; for its smoky sense of purpose and half-lit mornings, its bonfires, baked potatoes, nostalgia, chestnuts and Catherine wheels." If that doesn't make you want to get up on a chilly October morning and make a big stack of Indian sweet potato pancakes (actual recipe!) then I don't know what will.

I'm going to try and work my way through this book and, with a little faith and a LOT of practice, maybe I can elicit this kind of response:

P.S....I'm working on making these posts shorter. I'm just a new and very excited blogger!

"ain't it nice to know that dreams still come true..."


Well, here goes nothing. I've been playing with the idea of starting my own blog for a while now, but the glaring reality I kept coming back to was: WHAT in the world could I talk about that would merit its own little corner in the infinite sea of the internet and blogs? I worried over thoughts of whether people would actually want to take a peek at what I find beautiful, inspiring, hilarious and thought-provoking. This then led to a paranoia of the dreadful possibility that those things I find fascinating or worthy of conversation may be seen as vapid or frivolous.

The more I perused other people's forays into the blogging world, the more I realized: these blogs are reflections of their creators--what they hold dear, things that make them tick, snapshots of their lives. I knew then that my own hesitation of venturing out stemmed from the fear of exposing what makes ME tick, things that I love and want to share. This sort of technological vulnerability, however superficial or trivial it may seem, is not something I am necessarily "good at" but, in real life, I love to share with others my findings, beautiful things, lovely quotes, funny anecdotes, anything really that might brighten someone's day or offer them a reprieve from the constant grind of school or work.

So, that said, I am not setting out to create a blog that claims to be important or even serious. I want it to be a reflection of my life and everything that makes it full, happy and FUN!

I named this blog after one of my favorite Willie Nelson songs "A Moment of Forever" because I think that's what makes up life--moments that may not hold heavy significance, yet weave themselves together to create memories. The quote below the title is from Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors, and it epitomizes what I hope to capture: snippets of things I love that will (hopefully) serve to remind myself and others of all the loveliness, humor and joy that can be found in our daily lives.