• Summer Solstice: My Favorite Day of the Year

    Tuesday, June 21, 2022 No tags Permalink

    Some of the best things about June, and summer in general:

    Midsummer’s eve, welcoming the summer solstice
    Stepping outside in the morning and the air seems fresher and crisper than it does during the day
    The feeling of a warm breeze blowing your hair against your bare shoulders
    Driving home with the car windows rolled down and the music turned up
    Lightning bugs (fireflies)
    Summer thunderstorms
    The long, lingering daylight hours
    Cold watermelon
    Napping in a hammock
    The smell of sunscreen
    Farmer’s markets at their most glorious
    Iced tea with fresh mint
    Bocce ball
    Halter top strings dangling down your back
    Outdoor movies
    Long hikes in the cool, quiet woods
    Sitting outside at night watching the stars, listening to music
    Drippy ice cream cones
    A fresh pedicure tucked into pretty sandals
    Lillet on the rocks with a slice of orange
    Tan lines
    Outdoor concerts
    Sno-cones (shave ice)
    Cold-brew coffee
    Crisp, cool cotton sheets, dresses, and shirts
    The seasonal return of Rosé wine
    Fresh basil, cilantro, and mint growing in the herb garden
    Homemade popsicles
    Sunny days
    Blowing bubbles
    Getting lost in a novel for an afternoon
    Water balloons
    Picnics under the shade of a tree
    Road trips
    Long bicycle rides
    Crickets chirping
    The sound of lawnmowers and the smell of fresh-cut grass
    Open windows
    Sand between your toes
    Sitting in the shade on a hot day
    The sound of ocean waves
    Big bowls of fresh-picked blackberries
    A cool breeze on a hot day
    Flip flops
    The smoky smell of people barbecuing in the evenings
    Spotting hot air balloons in the sky
    Skinny dipping
    Dogs with their heads out car windows, tongues wagging
    Outdoor movies
    Walking barefoot
    Eating juicy, dripping peaches while standing over the kitchen sink
    Reading poetry on the porch on sleepy afternoons
    Sleeping under just a sheet on a hot night
    Cold, buttery Chardonnay
    Pitchers of sangria

    I re-read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea every June.

    “When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom”

    ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

  • Vegetarian White Chili

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 No tags Permalink
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    • 2 15 oz Great Northern beans, drained
    • 1 7 oz can jalapeño slices
    • 1 4 oz can Hatch green chiles
    • 8 oz cream cheese (vegan cream cheese, if that’s your preference)
    • 1 tbs ancho chili powder
    • 2 Tbs Cumin
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tsp maple syrup
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 chopped red bell pepper
    • 1 medium chopped yellow onion
    • 8-10 oz frozen corn (I like fire-roasted)
    1. Heat a bit of oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Cook the garlic, onions and bell pepper until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. Next add the vegetable broth, (vegan) cream cheese, spices, chiles, and jalapeños. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Add the beans and corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
    4. Serve and enjoy!

    Feel free to adjust the spices according to your taste and desired heat level. I make my own ancho chili powder by roasting the whole dried peppers and then processing in a food processor, but you can buy it at the store as well or use any chili powder you prefer. I like ancho chili powder as it brings a nice smokiness and touch of sweetness to balance the dish.

  • Roasted Sweet Potato + Cauliflower Tacos

    Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Permalink


    An easy vegetarian tacos recipe filled with easy roasted cauliflower, roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, these roasted sweet potatoes + cauliflower tacos are totally weeknight-friendly, made in 40 minutes or less, making this the perfect vegetarian taco recipe for taco Tuesday!


    • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
    • 1 large sweet potato, diced into ½-inch cubes
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoons chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
    • lime, juiced
    • 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed

    mashed avocado:

    • 1 medium avocado
    • lime, juiced
    • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt

    for taco assembly:

    • charred corn tortillas (see Recipe Notes)
    • chopped cilantro
    • lime wedges


    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean up and set aside.
    2. Prep the veggies: Place the cauliflower florets and diced sweet potato in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over top, then season with the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, oregano and salt. Squeeze the lime juice over top. Toss to combine. Transfer the veggies to the prepared baking dish, arranging everything in a uniform layer, with lots of breathing room.
    3. Roast the veggies for 25 minutes, giving the baking sheets a good shake about halfway through. Add the black beans to the sheet pan, seasoning with another pinch of salt, then place the pan back in the oven for 5 more minutes to heat the black beans through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
    4. Prep taco assembly: Meanwhile, as the veggies roast, prep the rest of your taco fixins:
    5. Mash the avocado: Add all listed ingredients in a bowl. Use a fork to mash to your desired consistency. Set aside.
    6. Char some tortillas: We like tortillas with a little char in our house! See Recipe Notes for a run-down on how we do it.
    7. Assemble the roasted veggie tacos: Smear some mashed avocado on each tortilla. Top with a generous scoop of roasted veggies. Drizzle some chipotle lime cashew crema over top. Finish with some freshly chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

    -from playswellwithbutter.com

  • Homemade Elderberry Syrup

    Friday, December 20, 2019 No tags Permalink

    Elderberry syrup is an easy, all-natural, immunity boosting home remedy. Studies have shown elderberries can help shorten the effects of colds and the flu. I bought my elderberries at my local Fresh Thyme, but you can buy them on Amazon if you can’t find them in the store.

    2 cups elderberries
    6 cups water
    2 cinnamon sticks
    1 orange, zested and juiced
    1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
    1/2 small vanilla bean (optional)
    1-inch piece of ginger
    1/2 cup local raw honey

    1. Add elderberries, water, and other ingredients to the pressure cooker pot and stir. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. When cooking is complete, use a natural release.
    2. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the pot’s contents into the strainer. Press on the elderberries to remove all of the juice. Discard the elderberries.
    3. Allow the juice to cool completely then whisk in 1/2 cup honey. Add more honey to taste. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

    For adults, take 1-2 tablespoons each day and for children older than 1, take 1-2 teaspoons each day.

  • Emotional Bank Accounts

    Monday, July 16, 2018 No tags Permalink

    An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship.  It’s the feeling of safeness you have with another human being.

    – Stephen Covey



    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change has given me the best insight on relationships.  I never thought about it this way.  If we look at a financial bank account, we regularly make deposits into it and make withdrawals when we need to.  If we look at it from an emotional standpoint, this could be the most life-changing chapters I’ve read in any book in my entire life.

    Each person has an Emotional Bank Account; couples also have Emotional Bank Accounts. The accounts link but they are three independent accounts; you can even transfer deposits between the three, and sometimes this is necessary, but you must be careful not to deplete one to fill the other.

    In order to make a withdrawal, you must have something in your account to take out. Otherwise, you have an overdraft and applicable fees will apply. Those fees come in different forms: stress, anxiety, depression, anger, volatility, exhaustion, disorientation, loneliness, insomnia, overeating, over-drinking, over-smoking, and general feelings of dis-ease.

    When you over-draft your Couples Emotional Bank Account additional fees may apply: low libido, snarkiness, irritability, disconnection, and a general lack of luster.

    “If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust toward me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve, will compensate for it. My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get my meaning anyway. You won’t make me “an offender for a word.” When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”

    -Stephen Covey

    Both accounts (Personal and Couples) need to be monitored to be sure that you don’t go into overdraft mode. The best bet is to try to always keep both accounts at least half-full; sometimes this is not possible and in those times it’s even more important that your partner is helping by adding to your accounts.

    Both people in the relationship need to make deposits into the Couples Emotional Bank Account, and BOTH people need to make sure that they are monitoring their own Personal Bank Account.

    You all know how it feels when your emotional bank account is depleted; I don’t need to explain that feeling of being completely drained.

    Continue Reading…

  • Energy & Boundaries

    Friday, June 8, 2018 No tags Permalink

    I love it when you read exactly what you need to read, exactly when you need to read it.

    When life has to be a certain way in order to be good enough for you, you instantly close yourself off from all the real and present opportunities available – you spend all your mental energy resisting life, rather than making the best of it.

    And sadly, this is how the vast majority of the human population lives – stuck in a perpetual cycle of resistance.

    But you don’t have to continue this cycle. You can change your mind.

    When you consciously choose to let go of the way it “should” be, you free your mind to deal with life’s unexpected changes, challenges, and chaos in the most effective way possible…

    You create space for acceptance, learning, and growth.

    You learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.

    And gradually, you allow yourself to step forward with a clear and focused mind.

    Closing the door, completing the chapter, turning the page, etc. – it doesn’t matter what you title it…what matters is that you find the strength to leave in the past those parts of your life that were not meant to be, so you can better attend to the present.

    What has happened is uncontrollable; what you do now changes everything.

    Of course, knowing this and actually living a lifestyle that reinforces this truth are two very different things. Letting go is NOT easy; it’s a journey that is traveled one day at a time.

    It can be excruciatingly difficult to leave a long-term life situation (or dream) behind, even when your inner-wisdom tells you that things aren’t right and that it’s time to let go. At this point, you can choose to let go and endure the sudden pain of leaving behind the familiar to make way for a new chapter in your life, or you can stay and suffer a constant, aching pain that gradually eats away at your heart and mind like a cancer… until you wake up one day and find yourself buried so deep in the dysfunction of the situation that you barely remember who you are and what you desire.

    Things will happen that are unexpected, undesirable, and uncontrollable. But you can always choose to let go and take the next tiniest step forward.

    One of the best things we can learn to do is to set appropriate boundaries.  You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.  I often say, “I refuse to positively reinforce negative behavior.”

     I assumed that people weren’t doing their best so I judged them and constantly fought being disappointed, which was easier than setting boundaries. Boundaries are hard when you want to be liked and when you are a pleaser hellbent on being easy, fun, and flexible. Brené Brown, Rising Strong

    Brené Brown defines boundaries in Rising Strong (2015) as “simply our lists of what’s okay and what’s not okay.” More of her explanation:

    It’s so straightforward and it makes sense for all ages in all situations. When we combine the courage to make clear what works for us and what doesn’t with the compassion to assume people are doing their best, our lives change. Yes, there will be people who violate our boundaries, and this will require that we continue to hold those people accountable. But when we’re living in our integrity, we’re strengthened by the self-respect that comes from the honoring of our boundaries, rather than being flattened by disappointment and resentment.

    On the other hand, “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice” (The Gifts of Imperfection).

    Another pertinent quote from Rising Strong: “Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”

    If you’d like to know more about how to set boundaries, Brown gives three useful tips:

     Make a mantra. I need something to hold on to—literally—during those awkward moments when an ask hangs in the air. So I bought a silver ring that I spin while silently repeating, “Choose discomfort over resentment.” My mantra reminds me that I’m making a choice that’s critical for my well-being—even if it’s not easy.

    • Keep a resentment journal. Whenever I’m marching around muttering cuss words under my breath, I grab what I lovingly refer to as my Damn It! Diary and write down what’s going on. I’ve noticed that I’m most resentful when I’m tired and overwhelmed—i.e., not setting boundaries.

    • Rehearse. I’ll often say, to no one in particular, “I can’t take that on” or “My plate is full.” Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice.

    benefits of improving your boundary-setting:

    1. You’re more self-aware.
    2. You become a better friend and partner.
    3. You take better care of yourself.
    4. You’re less stressed.
    5. You’re a better communicator.
    6. You start trusting people more.
    7. You’re less angry.
    8. You learn how to say “no.”
    9. You end up doing things you actually want to do.
    10. You become a more understanding person.

  • Protected:

    Tuesday, May 29, 2018 No tags Permalink

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    Tuesday, May 29, 2018 No tags Permalink

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  • Spring

    Tuesday, April 24, 2018 No tags Permalink

    My spring of love
    In your presence, I found a garden filled with flowers,
    In your existence, the pelting rain felt like blissful showers,
    With you came the spring,
    With you, birds began to sing,
    Remnants of my heart were set into motion,
    On the possibility of a future fusion.
    Of all the seasons my love had succumbed itself to,
    Spring was the only one which could be attributed to you,
    For you blossomed like daisies,
    And smelled like soft breezes,
    Your smile was my harvest,
    The only crop that yielded most.

  • Reading and Wandering

    Saturday, April 21, 2018 No tags Permalink

    Every day we add another experience to the weave of our lives. Some are brighter hues, others are darker, but the blend is unbelievably beautiful.


    Browsing, woolgathering, meandering, wandering, drifting, that state when exploring, when looking to find what it might be possible to find rather than seeking one particular goal, is the means of locomotion. I often think that hunter-gatherers must move a lot like this, seeking game or plant foods, flexible about what might show up on any given day. I was lucky that children were weeds, not hothouse flowers, in those days, left to our own devices, and my own devices led in two directions: north to the river, or south to the library.

    There are ecological reasons to question how books are made out of trees but metaphysical reasons to rejoice in the linkage between forests and libraries, here in this public library, in the town I grew up in, with the fiber from tens of thousands of trees rolled out into paper, printed and then bound into books, stacked up in rows on the shelves that fill this place and make narrow corridors for readers to travel through, a labyrinth of words that is also an invitation to wander inside the texts. The same kind of shade and shelter that can be found in an aisle of books and an avenue of trees, and in the longevity of both, and the mere fact that both, if not butchered or burned, may outlive us.

    Continue Reading…

  • What’s What

    Thursday, April 19, 2018 No tags Permalink

    What I’m Reading: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel I always email myself quotes I like from books that I’m reading. Another good reason to love my Kindle! Here’s one from this book that made me laugh:

    “Missionary position was, as far as she could tell, like vanilla ice cream: purported to be boring and chosen only by passionless, unimaginative, exhausted people but really the best one. She liked to look at Penn’s face so close that it split into pieces like a modernist painting. She liked the length of his front pressed against the length of hers. She felt that people who needed to do it upside down and backward from behind—or who added candied bacon or smoked sea salt or pieces of raw cookies to their ice cream—were probably compensating for a product that was inferior to begin with.”

    Just for the record, I actually like vanilla ice cream.  Really good, well-made, high-quality vanilla ice cream.  I also like tasty additions to said vanilla ice cream sometimes.  Life is all about variety, you know?  😉

    What I’m Watching:  Howard’s End on Amazon streaming.I loved the book by E. M. Forster, and I loved the 1992 Merchant Ivory film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.  I’m a sucker for a well-written period piece with beautiful cinematography.

    What I’m Listening To:  I like listening to Spotify and the Instrumental Study playlist is great!

    Continue Reading…

  • Constellations {Poetry}

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018 No tags Permalink

    Let’s sleep under the sky.
    Share the same blanket of stars,
    And the ground of cold grass.

    We’ll map out constellations,
    And call them ‘ours’.
    Read each other poetry,
    The writer is our hearts.

    Under the watchful eye of the moon,
    Wrapping my arms around you,
    I’ll whisper the stories,
    That I’m scared to tell in the daylight.

    Till the morning, we’ll lay,
    Legs and bodies, intertwined.
    Seeing the world go by,
    And being infinite,
    Even if just for a night.

  • Theory of Everything

    Wednesday, March 14, 2018 No tags Permalink


    His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake.  But it’s not empty.  Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018

  • Beautifully Fragile

    Wednesday, March 7, 2018 No tags Permalink


    We are all just a car crash,
    a diagnosis,
    an unexpected phone call,
    a newfound love,
    or a broken heart away from becoming a completely different person.

    How beautifully fragile are we
    that so many things can
    take but a moment
    to alter
    who we are
    for forever?

    Remember this every day.

  • Logophile

    Monday, February 12, 2018 No tags Permalink

    Definition of logophile

    a lover of words

    I love words, and I just learned a new one. Do you ever get that shiver of pleasure that runs spontaneously down your spine?  Definitely one of the best sensations.

  • How He Touches Me {Poetry}

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017 No tags Permalink

    “He placed his hands
    on my mind
    before reaching
    for my waist
    my hips
    or my lips
    he didn’t call me
    beautiful first
    he called me

    -Rupi Kaur

  • Sky

    Sunday, October 29, 2017 No tags Permalink
    You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.
    The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros