Archives for category: Life

Kale in Saint Lunaire & Dark Rye

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Photo credit: Kevin German

Back in November, I spent four days with a production team from Austin, LA and Paris to film a mini-documentary about The Kale Project for Dark Rye Online Magazine. Dark Rye, funded by Whole Foods Market, does seasonal stories about food, health, sustainability, design and social enterprise. I was extremely honored to have The Kale Project be chosen for their spring “Revival” issue.

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Photo Credit: Kevin German

Photo credit: Kevin German

Photo credit: Kevin German

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Photo Credit: Kevin German

As a former theatre person, I’ve never been camera shy but comfort in front of the lens only goes so far when you’re asked to dance with kale in the middle of Parisian streets or take action shots with kale at Trocadero. I kept reminding myself that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and to just enjoy it. The production team was incredible and we had a blast over the four days of filming. We hit up the Marché Batignolles, The Superfoods Café to make a few recipes, the streets of Paris and met up with Bruno Verjus at his restaurant Table to talk to him more about how he cooks with chou d’aigrette (another one of the beautiful names for kale in French!)

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For me the most exciting part of the filming was our day excursion to Saint Malo to meet up with Kale Project Ambassador, Virginie and her AMAP (for readers in America, AMAP is the equivalent of Community Support Agriculture (CSA)) farmer, Anthony who farms in Saint Lunaire. Virginie first contacted me over a year ago with interest to work with Anthony to grow kale for her region. After a lot of back and forth, Anthony planted the seeds this past summer and the kale was ready just in time for the film.

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I could not have been more excited to share this story with the team because it is how I always imagined the Project working out. I wanted to work with local, French farmers and then try to do more tastings and explanation at markets or AMAPs and that’s exactly what we did in Saint Lunaire. On a side note, this was also my first trip to Saint Malo and I can’t wait to return. Even with the cold, rainy, grey weather, the views and air were fantastic.

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For those that live in the Saint Malo area and are interested in this AMAP, it was created in February 2009 and is 100% bio. Anthony is the sole farmer and provides almost 90 baskets of vegetables and fruit each week to members who come from Saint-Lunaire, Dinard, Saint-Briac and more towns in the surrounding area. Anthony’s farm, called “Saveurs des Champs”, spans about four hectares. He has one employee but also relies on help from the members of the AMAP who come pick potatoes, peas, plant zucchini or more. In fact his chou fields were behind Virginie’s house (talk about easy access to kale!) Each member of the AMAP also helps at distribution evenings, which take place under the covered market place of Saint-Lunaire across from the old 11th century church. And, in addition, Anthony has orchards and produces organic delicious apple juice. He hoped to have bees, but this has proven very difficult but he wants to keep trying.

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Anthony does not stop with fruits and vegetables. He also has two traditional Brittany farming horses (Cheval de Trait Breton) which he is training to use in the fields, as well a vanishing breed of Brittany sheep (Moutons des Landes de Bretagne) which he is helping to bring back and sells for wool and meat. He sells his sheeps’ wool to a Brittany company that uses only wool from Brittany sheep. They make the clothes by hand and sell them in markets around the area. He also has a few Brittany goats (Chèvre des Fossés) to clear the brush from his fields.

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To help with the sheep, Anthony uses a large guard dog from the Pyrenees (who lives with the sheep) and then a small sheep-herding dog also from the Pyrenees named Ilka. Ilka turned out to the star of the day, jumping around and devouring kale for the camera.

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photo (21)

Everyone at the AMAP distribution was so friendly and excited to be a part of the film. And those coming to pick up their baskets were genuinely interested in learning about the lost cabbage and most of the responses to the kale chips were very positive. Honestly, my evening with everyone was by far one of my most memorable so far in France. I am so thankful to have worked with Virginie and Anthony and hope for more kale crops in the future.

To see the video click here.

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Post image for 8 Things To Do Alone… For A ChangeThe idea of solitude has a somber ring to it; the thought of being alone can bring about memories touched with lonely sadness, while thoughts of being surrounded by others can bring memories of joy. But solitude, like all things, truly depends on the way you look at it. 

I, for one, absolutely love being alone. Some of the best times I’ve had are ones where I’ve been in no one else’s company but my own. I always enjoy hanging out with myself at home, and I equally love going shopping alone. I find that I’m productive and relaxed… and I always make sure to remain just as silly as when I’m with others.

There are certain activities, though, that I would never dream of doing alone. Sure, some things are just more fun with others by my side, but maybe sometimes I want those people to be there partly because the idea of them not being there… scares me. I fear I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself (wherever that “there” may be). I fear I’ll have a question and I’ll be forced to ask an unfamiliar face. I fear that others will see me and think, “What’s wrong with that girl? Why is she here by herself?”

But you know what? Please pardon my language, but those fears are complete and total bullshit. Truly. I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself? I’m a pretty smart girl. I’m sure I can figure it out. I’ll have a question and I have to ask an unfamiliar face? Great! Where’s the problem there? Meeting new people is healthy thing to do. People are just people, just as you and I are. People will think there’s something wrong with me? They’ll question why I’m alone? Well, I mean, maybe one or two will wonder why I’m alone, but I have a feeling the conclusion they come to will have nothing to do with there being something wrong with me. And if it does… why should I care? I’ll never even know! Am I really worried about a thought that a person I don’t knowMIGHT have? Silliness. Pure silliness. Madness, even.

Yet I’m sure I’m not alone in these worries. If you’re with me, let’s do something about it. Together… yet separately. I challenge you to go somewhere alone. Somewhere you’ve never before dreamt of going alone. Go. Just go. Even if it’s for four and a half minutes. Do it. You might just find out you like it better that way.

Drive

Go for a drive. Grab your film camera and take yourself for a scenic drive, with no destination in sight. Roll down the windows, blast that song again and again, and truly experience the freedom you’ve been given. Stop often, or not at all. If something you see sparks your interest, pull over. Maybe it’s a retro-looking diner up ahead, or a field of flowers you spot in the distance. Go there, be there, and take it all in.

Cafe

Hang out at a cafe. You know that cafe, the one with an atmosphere so cozy you could just live in it. Go there, sans computer. Bring a book or some watercolors , bring your headphones… or not. Sip slowly, taking in not just the beautiful flavor and aroma, but also the warm, calming energy around you. Allow yourself to sink into that perfectly worn-in cushion, and stay all afternoon.

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Relax at the library. Choose the oldest looking fiction book you can find, and open it midway. Sit on the floor, crossed-legged, between two bookcases. Maybe even take your shoes off. Start reading and don’t stop. Make up the first half of the book in your mind. Pretend you’re one of the characters. Feel her emotions. Experience her experiences. Cry if you need to. Allow yourself to get lost in the world that exists on those pages before your eyes

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Wander through a museum. It could be an old favorite, or one you’ve never before experienced. In either case, go with a fresh perspective. Seek to learn something new and to be inspired to think, make, or do in a brand new way. Don’t feel the need to visit every room or stay for a certain amount of time. Go to experience it as it comes, and when you come to a point where you feel fulfilled, head on home.

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Treat yourself to a fancy meal. Get dressed up for a date with no one but yourself. Feel confident, and go. Order something you can’t pronounce. Save room for dessert. Take every bite as if it were your first. Learn your waiter’s name. When you say “thank you,” mean it. Feel gratitude for all of those who partook in making this meal possible, from the person who planted that tomato seed that became part of your salad, all the way to the one who delivered the chair on which you sit. Marvel at the incredible skills possessed by each of those people, and then marvel at all of your own.

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Go to a show. Music is a powerful thing. Choose a band that you know will make you feel something. Go alone and ready to dance. Close your eyes, let the beautiful vibrations move you, internally and externally. Make a new friend, just for the night. Leave feeling refreshed and full of positivity.

Painting, crochet

Take an art class. Be it painting, pottery, improv, or anything else, put yourself in a situation that teaches you to harness your creativity in new ways. Use your hands, your eyes, your brain, and your soul. Let creative energy flow through you, and express it in ways you never thought possible. Let it in, let it out, and never think twice about it.

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See a movie. Get a huge bucket of popcorn (or sneak in your own). Get there early. Find the best seat. Watch every preview. Look around from time to time, at this room filled with strangers who are all sharing a similar experience at once. Feel comfort in this sense of community, as you all laugh and cry together. Realize that, while you may be by yourself, you’re certainly not alone.

What will you venture off to do on your own?

Source: Inspiration: 8 Things To Do Alone… For A Change | Free People Blog http://blog.freepeople.com/2014/02/change-2/#ixzz2uiEMACcF

From PureWow….

 

PUMP-UP GUIDE

 

30 Reasons to get excited for 2014

 

  • January
  • 1/1 | The Affordable Care Act goes into effect. Guaranteed maternity coverage for all!
  • 1/5 | Downton Abbey Season 4 premieres on PBS. Lady Edith, we really think 1922 is going to be your year.
  • 1/13 | The buzz of the 2014 North American International Auto Show will be driverless vehicles, or cars that take over steering in tricky, congested situations.

  • February
  • 2/7 | The Winter Olympics kicks off in Sochi, Russia. Did you know that a 150-pound male figure skater can land a jump with the force of a 1,000-pound baby elephant?
  • 2/14 | The return of House of Cards on Netflix. Women everywhere wonder if they can pull off the Robin Wright pixie cut.
  • Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton. Marc Jacobs is out, and the former Balenciaga designer is in. We’ve got our eye on him for Paris Fashion Week.
  • March
  • 3/2 | Ellen DeGeneres hosts the Oscars. Seth MacFarlane watches
    at home…alone.
  • The sleek, low ponytail: Your 2014
    go-to hairstyle.
  • April
  • Kate Moss’s Topshop collaboration hits stores. Fingers crossed it channels the ’90s blasé-grunge aesthetic (not the ’90s butterfly-clip aesthetic).
  • 4/22 | Neil Patrick Harris returns to Broadway to star in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. We always knew he was born to wear glitter eyeliner and a wig.
  • May
  • 5/6 | Food writer Ruth Reichl’s first novel, Delicious!, hits shelves. We’re hungry just thinking about it.
  • Four words: herb-infused ice cubes. (Think strawberry-basil and hibiscus-mint.)
  • All hail the boxy shift blouse. From Cynthia Rowley to Calvin Klein, this style was all over the spring ’14 runway. Pair with high-waisted pants to avoid showing the world your belly button.
  • June
  • 6/6 | Best-selling YA book The Fault in Our Stars gets the cinematic treatment. See it with your teenaged niece and sob the entire time.
  • 6/12 | Brazil hosts the World Cup. Americans claim to like soccer for 3.6 days.
  • July
  • The dessert of summer is the high-end ice cream sandwich. Coconut macaron with mango sorbet filling? Yes, please.
  • Our sources tell us that Adele’s new album–a.k.a. the sound track to everybody’s next breakup–is coming in July.
  • Get ready for Coin, a razor-thin, swipe-able piece of plastic that stores all of your credit cards in one place.
  • August
  • Gochujang (Korean fermented dipping sauce) is the new summer grill marinade.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training is the new CrossFit (which was the new Zumba).
  • Everyone who’s anyone will be vacationing in Macedonia.
  • SEPTEMBER
  • The USDA’s “Smart Snacks in School” law goes into effect, banning energy drinks and candy from public-school vending machines.
  • 9/25 | Girls fans line up to snag Lena Dunham’s essay collection, Not That Kind of Girl. Will it be worth the $3.7 million advance?
  • Hooray for bucket bags!

    More swingy in nature, this trendy purse is smaller than your average tote and offers the strap of a cross-body.

  • OCTOBER
  • 10/3 | OMG, Gone Girl is a movie. And OMG, it stars Ben Affleck.
  • Tina Fey returns to television–well, writing for television at least–with a new comedy about a woman who escapes from a doomsday cult. We’re already working on our night cheese.
  • NOVEMBER
  • We’re betting that Apple’s mysterious iWatch will be released before the holidays. Think Google Glass meets Fitbit meets your old-school Casio.
  • 11/4 | The midterm elections are here! Is a House/Senate changeover indicative of 2016? And which Fox News anchor will have an on-camera meltdown?

  • DECEMBER
  • Fewer men will suffer from cold heads this winter. Why? The FDA’s pending approval of a new cure for baldness.

  • 12/25 | It’s a hard-knock life once again, thanks to the long-awaited Annie remake starring Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and the unpronounceably named child actress, Quvenzhané Wallis.

 

I wanted to post some pictures from my wedding over Thanksgiving.  We had it on the beach down in Bonita Springs, which is right next to Naples, Florida.  We lucked out and had beautiful weather for the sunset ceremony.  I will be blogging more about it over the holiday time, but suffice it to say that God blessed us, as the red tide came a few days later (a nasty algae bloom that kills fish and gives humans bronchial distress), as did a massive cold front. A HUGE shout-out to all of the wonderful people I had the pleasure of working with, who pulled out all the stops to make the evening a success…DJDayve, who was the best, most professional DJ I’ve ever had; Barbara at FocusFloral, who did an exquisite job, Ella at Ella’s Cakes, who blew us away with the most delicious and decadent vanilla cake with lime filling and coconut cream (I think I gained 5 pounds finishing it off that week!) and our caterer and wedding officiant Amber at Sand Dollar Weddings and Sage Catering, who not only married us, but catered the whole 5 course sit down dinner simultaneously…flawlessly!  The magical decor was orchestrated by a family friend, who went to all sorts of of trouble to make everything perfect, right down to raking the sand.  I could not have been happier with the results!ImageImageImageImage

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, or are a friend on Facebook, you know how much I love espresso.  I start every day with a couple of shots on my lovely, but quirky Italian Francis Francis machine…

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I wax poetic about the crema, the intense aroma, the gutsy flavor of each powerful sip…

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But I did not know that there is a National Espresso Day, and as luck would have it, I am getting married on that very day in a few short weeks…November 24th!  That’s my kind of day!  Thanks to Foodimentary for pointing this fact out to me!  I am forever in your debt.

After four long (summer) months of writing and revising with my professor, who, undoubtedly is an angel in disguise, I have completed my thesis proposal.  At 95 pages (including some 120 or so references), it is no small feat, especially at my half a decade plus age.  So unlike most people who apologize for not posting in a while, I make no apologies.

My next step is to ‘defend’ it on September 18th, which includes a two hour meeting whereby I present my topic to my committee of three with a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation, answer questions and hear feedback afterwards, then I leave the room and wait for them to decide if I pass or fail.  I am not nervous about that part, only about drifting off topic while I have a senior moment.  Send good vibes my way, and no doubt I’ll be back to posting fun stuff very soon!

Have a great week everyone!

P.S. I can’t divulge the exact topic, but let’s just say it has to do with sustainability and apparel manufacturing for now…

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Before I continue, just check out the serious sway around my daughters neck.  I won’t go into all the accolades she received at graduation because there are so many it would take the entire post, and that is not the point I want to make…

I could tell you that I’m sad (I am) or that I feel old (not really) or that it all went by too fast (it did) but what I really want to tell you is how incredibly GRATEFUL I feel for having been Celia’s mother these last eighteen years.  It has been the greatest joy in my life.  Nothing beats it. Nothing.

Furthermore, she taught me so many things.  I know its supposed to be the other way around, but in reality, the reverse is true if you allow it to be.

To my daughter on her 18th birthday:

What she taught me…

Care deeply

Engage in every conversation fully

Love wisely, but when you do, love with your whole heart

Invest in your future a little bit every day

A smile goes a lot farther than a frown

Value friendships

Ignore those who would pull you down

Teach others a better way of doing things

Always work hard, no matter how simple the task might be

Lose yourself in the moment

Enjoy life, and all the happiness it brings

 

Treasure every day with your children, and learn from them as they learn from you…