Clarity

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I woke up at 3:31 am on Wednesday to the news that Donald Trump was our next President. The emotions that came over me were ones I haven’t felt since another date etched in my memory: Tuesday, December 6th 2005, the day I discovered my then-husband was cheating on me. When I saw the results, I started to shake uncontrollably. I ran to the bathroom as the feeling of nausea set in. And I cried. For the second time in my life, it felt like the very core of my existence was being taken from me. Everything I knew to be right and true in the world no longer existed.

I studied politics at Mount Holyoke College. The oldest all-women’s college in the country. As a double major in Politics and African-American Studies, my studies focused on the vast inequalities that exist in this country. I chose this course of studies because I believed it was our responsibility as a country to take care of those less fortunate, especially our children. I spent four years sharpening my view points, attending lectures by the likes of Cornell West, Lani Guinier, Jonathan Kozol, Bernie Sanders and even Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. I thought it was important to hear all sides. It helps with critical thinking and understanding that many times the answers aren’t black and white.

The plan was to become a lawyer, after devoting two years to Teach for America. But I graduated school with over $80,000 worth of college debt in the form of private loans that wouldn’t be forgiven if I went into public service. My monthly loan payments were over $1,000 and thus I had to join corporate America after graduation and work a second job on the weekends to make ends meet. I landed my first job after college at a prestigious law firm because my then boyfriend’s father golfed with an executive at Gillette who was friends with a partner at the firm. My credentials weren’t really important; it was just one white guy trying to help another white friend out. And this, dear readers, is why I am where I am today.

The role of our government is this: to form a more perfect union; to establish justice; to insure domestic tranquility; to promote the general welfare; and to secure the blessings of liberty. I voted in the Democratic primary for Bernie Sanders because I believed he was the best candidate to ensure the role of government. I knew firsthand that not everyone has a story like me or could make the choices I have made based on where I lived and the people I knew. Many around me, including my mother, were shocked to hear I wasn’t supporting Hillary Clinton. Yes, it would be amazing to nominate the first female president, but I believed she was engrossed in the business of Washington, D.C. To be honest, the fact that she stayed with Bill after the Monica Lewinsky scandal {and others} made my heart break for her. But to think she needed to stay with a man to rise to political power questioned my ideas of feminism.

However, when Bernie lost the nomination, I knew what I had to do. Support our candidate. Because, whether we want to admit it or not, to stay home on Election Day would send a sexist, bigoted, racist, homophobic man to the presidency and that just wasn’t an option. I thought that everything Trump said and did during the campaign went against the moral compass of what this country was founded on.

How shocked I was to be proven wrong. Nearly 46% of Americans didn’t show up to the polls to vote on Tuesday. People. As citizens in this great country of ours, it is OUR DEMOCRATIC DUTY to vote. If you don’t like either candidate, I get it. I didn’t either. But I knew that if I didn’t use my voice to vote, the other side would win. And now three days into a Trump-elect reality, the hatred and bigotry has become rampant. I think about it and tears just start to flow.

Moments ago I saw a clip of a man who said he wrote in a candidate and left the poll with a clear conscious. How anyone could have a clear conscious after the hatred and bigotry that has transpired since Trump’s election is beyond me. The truly mind-blowing piece of this all is that 53% of white woman voted for Donald Trump. A man who has been married three times, has had numerous allegations of sexual harassment filed against him and who literally said “grab them by the pussy” when video cameras were around. I know Hillary is part of the establishment and has an email problem, but really? Couldn’t we have taken one for the global team here?

The most important thing to remember is that we elect a President who surrounds him or herself with a group of advisers who help shape policy change in this county. And nominates individuals to the Supreme Court. Because of inaction, everything is now on the table. Universal healthcare, gun laws, climate change, disability benefits, political asylum.

We are a divided country. People have lost their jobs. Have less than ever before. But we are part of a global community. We need to participate. We need to listen to those around us. We need to open our hearts and our eyes to what suffering is and looks like. We need to act {here is a list of organization that need our help}.

For all those who didn’t participate, I am not blaming this one on you. But please take the time to understand how our system works. One day I hope we will have proportional representation in our elected offices and that third-party candidates won’t take from the popular vote. Until then, please understand the rules of the game and what your inaction means. Let’s be honest. For many of us, life won’t change much. Count your blessings. But for others, everything changed Tuesday night. Let’s understand that and help them through these next four years.

*Photo Credit: image from Instagram from notes left in the New York City subway to inspire hope. 

 

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Create

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Hello, dear readers! Wow, I can’t believe it has been so long since I last posted. I know I’ve promised you again and again that I would be better at this whole blogging thing. Truth is, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. My promise to you is this… when I have something exciting to share, I will do so here. Deal?

Now onto some exciting stuff… The Atelier Workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending in NYC earlier this fall.  I first learned of it through the Instagram feed of Joann Pai of Slice of Pai. I discovered her feed while doing my research for our spring trip to Paris and instantly fell in love with her aesthetic {and her passport stamps}. After confirming I was free the first weekend of October, I signed up and counted down the minutes till the class. I was a little nervous as I’ve never taken a photography class in my life. But, my  little sis’ let me borrow her ‘fancy’ camera so I wouldn’t be the only one in the class with my trusty iPhone 6.

Although there were a few changes to our itinerary, I just had a feeling that this workshop was going to be everything. And I am pleased to say, IT WAS! The other teachers were Gabriel Cabrera, food stylist guru from Vancouver and Jodi Moreno, natural food chef and blogger at What’s Cooking Good Looking. Here they are… the best teachers ever!

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The workshop kicked off at Jodi’s apartment in the Village on Saturday morning. I, of course, was the first to arrive as I was a little nervous, but instantly felt at home when I walked through her door. Of course the breakfast spread was to-die for and her home, beautiful. There were seven additional students, who traveled much farther than Boston {San Francisco + Oklahoma} and they could not have been sweeter.

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The first day we talked quite a bit about light and composition. Two key factors to taking the perfect photo. After an amazing lunch by Jodi, we ventured to the Union Square Farmers Market, where our assignment was to pick some products that inspired us. My partner and I decided on the beautiful radishes and decided to make the traditional french bite of radishes, butter, bread and some sea salt. With a little style direction from Gabriel, I was quite pleased with the finished product.

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Our Sunday session was held at an amazing studio on the Lower West Side/Chinatown. The white walls, white brick, it was a dream. The morning focused on creating your own style. Gabriel and Joann both shared their personal styles and how they developed them over time. Their suggestion – start gathering images that you like and create your brand/vision. I’ll share my inspiration book with you shortly.

Next, it was all about styling a pie. With a few tips on using the ‘fancy’ camera, I was shocked by the difference in quality. Just take a look at the two images below. One taken with my iPhone and one with my sis’ camera.

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Clearly a new ‘fancy’ camera is on my Christmas list.

Here are a few more snaps from the workshop. I hope you like them!

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Not bad for a newbie, right? I can’t wait to see how my skills unfold and all that I’m able to create. Thanks for being part of my journey!

Places

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The dining scene in Boston just keeps getting better and better, which makes me a very happy girl. Last Friday, K and I were finally able to score a dinner reservation to Tiger Mama, Tiffani Faison’s second eatery in Boston. And let me tell you. She hit it out of the park with this one {pun intended as it is around the corner from Fenway Park}. I would describe the menu as Tiffani’s love letter to Southeast Asia, a region that she describes on the website as having “some of the most effortlessly brilliant food, the kindest people and the most beautiful sights the world has to offer.”

We started our dining experience with the red snapper crudo with puffed rice {with just the right amount of heat}, followed by the roasted beets, the crispy pork lettuce wraps and finished up with the chicken curry. Every bite was even more exciting than the last. Tiger Mama, like many these days, is adhering to the small plate trend. Our sweet server suggested 2-3 plates per person. We ordered 4 and I think it was just the right amount of food {knowing that we had SoCo ice cream in the freezer helped too}.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cocktail program, which is quite impressive and the living green wall. It’s amazing. Need a little more info to pull the trigger and make a reservation? Check out this review from the Boston Globe.

Tiger Mama. A welcome addition to the Boston food scene and one I hope will continue to shine for many, many years!

Tuesday Travel

Paris

For my 37th birthday, K surprised me with a trip to Paris. Truth be told, the surprise came last November, after the horrific attacks, when K sat me down and revealed that she had booked tickets to Paris for early May. With mixed emotions and a broken heart over the events that unfolded, I remembered the words of Audrey Hepburn who said “Paris is always a good idea” and thus we decided to move forward with the trip. And how happy I am that we did!

I spent the last several months doing an extensive amount of research on the must do’s in the City of Lights. Once I had what I thought was a final itinerary, I emailed it along to my sister Michelle, who lived in Paris for three years during university. She wrote back and said “cross 2 things off your list for each day.” I guess I didn’t realize how big Paris really is. Did you know that Paris is made up of twenty arrondissements, or neighborhoods? That is quite a bit of territory to cover. To help ease planning, I tried to plan each day around visiting one or two arrondissements.

A few things to note: the Metro is super easy to navigate and I highly recommend using it to get from place to place. Uber is also available in Paris and we used this on rainy days where walking to the metro proved to be a bit of a challenge. Almost everyone we met from shops to restaurants spoke English but we always greeted each other in French. I think it’s the polite way to show you are trying. Oh and if you want to see the full collection of my photos from the trip, check out my Instagram feed and search #MayinParis.

Stay

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After contacting several Airbnb owners with little success, we decided to book a room at the chic Hotel Henriette, a design boutique hotel located on the left bank in the 13th Arr. near Les Gobelins metro stop. Everything about this spot was perfection. We stayed in Room No. 44, a deluxe double that had a delightful king bed, day bed seating area and a tub. Every detail was perfect. After a day of exploring, I would make myself right at home on this little day bed.

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Do

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There is so much to see and do in Paris but since both K and I had visited several of the main attractions in Paris before {Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Versaillies} we decided to spend more time exploring a few key neighborhood {the Marais, Montmarte}. With that, though, we did make time to visit a few mainstays, which I suggest you add to your list should you be planning a trip.

Musée de l’Orangerie – located in the 1st Arr. in the Jardin des Tuileries, this small but mighty museum is a must. The two rooms featuring the curved Monets will leave you mesmerized.

Musée Rodin – located in the 7th Arr. on the left bank, we enjoyed our first afternoon in Paris in the sculpture garden, seeing such works as “The Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell.”

Notre Dame – K and I have developed a little tradition when traveling abroad. We like to light candles for our loved ones who have passed in as many churches as we can and thus a visit to Notre Dame was a must.

Sainte-Chappelle –  Just to see the 1,113 pieces of stained glass is reason enough to visit Sainte Chappelle. You know what I fell in love with though? The floor tiles. Just look.

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Shop

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I could devote an entire blog post to the shopping in Paris! It’s incredible. A few of our favorites shop include:

Le Bon Marché – located in the 7th Arr., this department store has everything. My favorite part? This escalator.

Merci – located in the 3rd Arr., Merci is a concept store that has a carefully curated collection of goods for the house, the garden, and your closet, in addition to a wonderful cafe situated in a library. I contained myself and only purchased my fourth Paris travel guide that I justified as it isn’t available in the states.

Paper Tigre – In every city we visit there are two places I need to visit: the local cafes and the paper store. Paper Tigre, located in the 3rd Arr., is a fantastic paper shop that was the ideal place to pick up a wonderful collection of gifts for upcoming birthdays. They had a wonderful selection of candles named after each garden in Paris. The perfect keepsake to bring home!

La Tresorerie – located in the 10th Arr., La Tresorerie is stocked with a wonderful selection of items for your kitchen, living spaces and bathroom. I found the greatest colander that I was able to fit in my carry-on for the trip home. Next door to the shop is a delightful cafe named Cafe Smorgas that is a must after some shopping.

Jamini – with locations in the 9th and 10th Arr., Jamini is a beautiful shop filled with textiles made in India.

Jacques Genin Chocolate Shop – A trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to a chocolate shop. My favorite was this one, located in the 3rd Arr. Their chocolate covered orange peel… I’ve been thinking about them since our return.

Pierre Herme – My most favorite dessert in the world is a French macaroon and thus a visit to this Parisian institution is a must. We purchased a box of 16, with flavors including Mogador {my favorite – milk chocolate and passion fruit}, vanilla, chocolate, matcha, mint, and caramel. They are almost too beautiful to eat, don’t you think?

Eat

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Les Cocottes – located in the 7th Arr., I first read of this spot in the Goop city guide. We arrived early {6 pm} to avoid the crowds and I suggest you do the same. Also, order the chocolate tart. It’s incredible!

Rose Bakery – located in the 3rd Arr., we enjoyed a healthy and delicious breakfast here on our second day in Paris. They are known for their baked goods, especially their carrot cake. Try it!

L’As due Falafel – located in the 3rd Arr., this is my favorite place to eat in Paris. Get the falafel sandwich with the grilled eggplant, add the harissa sauce {you have to ask for this} and sip on a lemonade. I promise you won’t be disappointed. It will also be the cheapest meal you eat. Trust me!

Fragments Coffee Bar – located in the 3rd Arr., this charming coffee shop is a must visit while exploring the Marais. Their lemon cake is divine as well as their brews. And the facade, worth a photo or two!

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Le Mary Celeste – located in the 3rd Arr., this is the place to go for a cocktail in the Marais. Wish it were my neighborhood bar!

Claus – located in the 1st Arr., this is where I celebrate the first meal of my 37th year. Delicious eggs with roasted tomatoes and a yummy bread basket. We ordered a piece of lemon cake to go and it may have been my second most favorite thing I ate in Paris.

Honor – located in the 8th Arr., Honor is Paris’ first outdoor cafe. They also serve a selection of pastries from Broken Biscuit. A wonderful place to escape from the husle and bustle of the Champs.

Buvette – located in the 9th, this is the second location of the famed West Village french eatery. We enjoyed the coq au vin, the carrot salad and the chocolate cake. All amazing. My favorite part of the meal… the cocktail menu. It’s a work of art.

Septime – located in the 11th, Septime is a place that shouldn’t be missed. Since it is nearly impossible to obtain a dinner reservation, we opted for a lunch reservation and decided upon their 6-course tasting menu. Let’s just say, this meal was the top dining experience of my life. We had hoped to make it to their sister restaurant Clamato, a charming oyster bar, but time ran out.

Le Sirocco –  located in the 13th and across the street from our hotel, Le Sirocco was a delightful find. We had reservations to eat at Candelaria for our final night but we were both exhausted so decided to just take the walk across the street for dinner. And what a dinner we had. A traditional Moroccan meal that was an experience for the senses. Should you find yourself in the 13th, I highly recommend going.

Du Pain et des Idees – when you think about food in Paris, one thing comes to mind, right? Croissants. This bakery in the 10th Arr. is claimed to have the best in Paris. Go!

*****

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“There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.” I couldn’t agree more with this quote from Ernest Hemingway. I can’t wait to plan our next trip to Paris. There is still so much more to discover in this city!

Jubilee

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The Cherry Bombe Jubilee was certainly the bomb! A full day surrounded by incredible women in a beautiful space talking about my favorite thing{s}. A special thank you to Farm & Fable for inviting me to tag along.

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I mean, look at this place. The High Line Hotel. A former Theological Seminary, apple orchard and cathedral all located on the west side of New York City on 10th Avenue. The Gothic brick reminded me of my days at Mount Holyoke. And while we weren’t able to secure a room for the night, I certainly know where I’ll be staying on my next jaunt to NYC.

The event itself began at 10:30 am with a kick-off by two of my favorite Brits Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley: sisters, home cooks, food lovers, health advocates and authors. Their newest cookbook Good + Simple was released in the states on Tuesday. Their fist is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it.

The sisters are full of energy and were the perfect start to the day. They shared their Top 10 list for creating a Good + Simple life:

  1. Follow your bliss.
  2. Dream and dream big.
  3. Grow slow and be ok with saying no.
  4. Get with your gut. Follow your intuition.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Detox your life.
  7. Fight for what you know is right. Love always gets you to where you want to go.
  8. Sleep more.
  9. Work with people greater than you.
  10. Make soup!

Don’t you agree this is a terrific list?!

The day continued with panel discussions on a wide range of topics, from how to be a boss, to farming, to the next wave of chefs in NYC. There were two incredible talks, one by Kat Kinsman on Feeding the Beast {a discussion on mental health issues in the restaurant industry} and one by Mimi Sheraton, the first female food critic for the New York Times discussing how it once was to be a woman in the restaurant business.

I was excited to learn of a late addition to the roster. Padma Lakshmi confirmed last week to do a reading from her new memoir, which I’m almost done with. A full Bo0k Club review will be on the site next week, I promise.

Jubilee concluded on a high note with the one and only Martha Stewart. Her greatest piece of advice “it’s hard to have it all but it’s very important to have as much of it as you can.” She talked about regrets of not having more children, her need to always drive in the front seat and her trick for the perfect scrambled eggs. And that trick will only cost you $5,000. Can you guess what it is?

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As you can imagine, one of the many highlights of the Jubilee was the food itself. Lunch bowls by Dig Inn, snacks created by some incredible female makers {including Amy Chaplin, Anita’s Yogurt, Eric McKenna, Fourt & Twenty Blackbirds, Hot Bread Kitchen, and Yossy Arefi}.

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I can’t wait for #CBJubilee 2017!

Photo credits: Photos 1, 3 and 4 (Cherry Bombe)

 

 

Today

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Happy April 1st! You remember what today marks, right?! The start of National Letter Writing Month. Taking the challenge to write a letter a day like me? If so, the above should come in handy. I came across it while scrolling my Pinterest feed and I thought it was too good not to share.

Hope you have a great weekend! We are off to the island tomorrow. Can’t believe I haven’t been home since January. I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Image Credit: Pinterest

Spring Bucket List

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The sun is setting at 7 pm tonight. That must mean spring is here!

I seem to be encouraged with the change of each season to take pause and think about what I want to take place over the next couple of months. It’s all about intention and what you put in the universe. With that, I wanted to share with you a few of the items on my Spring Bucket List:

Craft. I come from a long line of crafty ladies. I know I have the ability inside of me. I just need to tap it. So this spring, I’d like to try my hand at some needlepoint work. Maybe one day I’ll be able to create a piece that looks like these.

Sweat. This seems to make all my seaonal bucket lists but I really do need to get out there and sweat. Not only for my physical health but also my mental health. Soul Cycle has opened a studio a few blocks from my apartment. I think it is about time I get myself on a bike!

Connect. April is National Letter Writing Month. With that, I am making a commitment to write a letter a day to friends near and far.

Learn. My sister and I are signed up to attend Laura Hooper’s calligraphy class in May. Hopefully Laura will get me on the lettering kick I’ve been wanting to be on.

Grow. “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Wise words from Audrey Hepburn. With recent events, it is easy to become distraught about the state of the world. Last summer, we planted a small herb garden and watching our basil, thyme, mint, dill grow brought a sense of peace to my life. And thus, this spring I hope to expand our garden. I’m thinking to add a few different lettuces to the mix. Any suggestions?

I look to you to keep me accountable to these. I promise to share the highlights too!

Choice

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“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Words by Albert Einstein.

I believe in the people of this country. I believe that we want to live in a world where we accept all people. We listen to all people and we all want each other to succeed. I also believe that we need to help our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate. Together we can make a difference. Please have your voice be heard today. Believe that change can take place. And remember “the ones that are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.”

2015

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2015… you sure were good to me! A year of wonderful moments with family, friends and of course, my love. Please indulge me in a monthly look back…

January: Rang in the New Year with a 103 temperature but didn’t let that keep me from #fultonfishertietheknot in Annapolis. After a visit to the doctor and some good meds, I was on the mend and able to travel to Nashville for #allaboutal! Snow days followed…

February. Valentine’s Day travel plans postponed due to blizzard conditions. Thankfully I was able to escape the snow the last weekend of the month to be my Mom’s date at the Kelly + Michael After Oscars Show. What an experience!

March. Enjoyed an awesome weekend getaway with my girl to Providence and traveled to Atlanta to celebrate my dear friend Allison’s wedding. On our flight home, Boston was hit with yet another snow fall. We were part of Boston history as we saw 108.6 inches fall in this city of ours. Made a pact with my girl that we would escape to warmer temperatures in 2016!

April. Relaunched our Boston book club. And kicked off the start to the season on Nantucket for the annual Daffodil Day weekend. I like any excuse to picnic!

May. Naturally my birthday month was all about food and trying all the new spots: Loyal 9, Loco Taqueria, Giulia, and Centre Street Cafe. My girl also surprised me with a visit from my niece and nephews. Best gift ever!

June. There was still snow in Boston but that didn’t stop us from officially opening the deck at Melrose Place with a cocktail party. We also celebrated our 1 year anniversary in Ptown.

July. We kicked off the July 4th weekend with a hot air balloon ride and me blogging again! Attended the U2 concert at the Garden, the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Pavilion and heard Aziz Ansari do a reading at Harvard. Oh and my little niece was baptized. Awesome month and guess what, the snow finally melted!

August. We traveled almost every weekend from Nantucket to New York City to the Catskills. Best month! And the one weekend we were in Boston, we attended the #jordangetsmaced celebration and danced the night away!

September. Spent two weeks in Europe. Didn’t want to come home. Ended the month is DC with life long friends.

October. Apple picking, book signings, Red Sox games and travels south… October was surely good to us!

November. Started the month off celebrating my girl in Stowe followed by a birthday celebration at our new favorite spot in Boston… Committee. My Mom and stepdad officially moved back to Massachusetts and thus we had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration on the island with almost the whole family!

December. Started the month with a wonderful weekend in Brooklyn followed by the wedding celebration of #farmandflanagan and Christmas in Baltimore. Tomorrow we leave for Stowe to ring in the New Year with dear friends. December, you have gone by too fast!

These are just a few numbers I’ll remember 2015 by:

7,000… international miles logged
36… years celebrated
12… weekend getaways
4… weddings
3… trips planned for 2016 {so far}
2… new stamps in my passport
1… year with my love!

Thank you for letting me share my life with you. Returning to this little blog has brought much joy to my life. And I look forward to continuing to share my journey{s} with you in 2016. On a final note, I’ll leave you with a favorite quote of mine. A wish for the New Year!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes!”                               ― Neil Gaiman

 

Thoughts

Paris

Friends, I had hoped to kick off the week with my holiday gift guides but in all honesty, it just didn’t seem right with the events of Friday night in my beloved city of Paris. In the past, I have turned to writing to work out emotions I have over events I can’t quite seem to comprehend. In this instance, though, the words are hard to find. I don’t understand why we continue to hurt each other and ourselves. I don’t understand the hatred we have for those who don’t think like us. I don’t understand how one who witnessed the horrific events of Friday night moves on. I guess, though, that is all we can do. Move on. Do better. Love harder and deeper and listen more. My religion teaches me to be compassionate to those who are different. To extend a hand of friendship. To open my heart and home to those in need. I will continue to do so and I hope you will to. Hatred and violence is not the answer.

Image Credit: Pinterest