Over a year…

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I posted here. I don’t even know where to begin. Everything has been such a swirl of work and travel and new adventures that I almost forgot I had this outlet for a while. Not totally forgot, but just enough to push it away for another month, or 3, then again and again.

I know this blog is really just a dumping ground of personal things for me to read at a later date. Maybe a few people that are interested in photos or adventures, and I’m sure google misleads a few of you here as well that get sucked in for god knows why, so here’s what I’ve been up to.

The most exciting is A White Plate. I finally decided to categorize all of my recipe ideas and attempts in one place, without the pressure to include a snappy post or too much personal information. Me and a few friends set out to create a site filled with food we loved that people always asked for the recipe. However, I don’t think we had any idea how much time our current jobs and commitments took, because that site too isnt receiving the love I want to give it. But I still think about it often, including a list of recipes I need to get up. Every month when the hosting bill comes in it’s an easily justified expense for something I love, which is food and sharing it. The site may transition into something a little different as I decide on its direction, but it will still be full of things I eat.

I traveled a TON in the last 16 months. Mexico again, California again, New York of course, Miami, Richmond as always, but there were some fun new adventures along the way. We did an amazing road trip from Salt Lake City, through the Grand Tetons of Yellowstone, up through the main park, through Wyoming, the Rocky Mountain National Forest in Colorado, and then around through Moab for some of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve laid eyes on. It’s too much to sum up in a paragraph, so Ill save the details and photos for a post of its own. (Next year? ha!)

When looking at my last post, I can see I was under a huge weight from the IRS. Glad to say its been remedied, and our relationship continues to work along the best it can. A great accountant really helped (and made me hate my previous accountant and the huge bill that she ended up giving me). I set up a regular company to work under and funnel any income, which allows to me to carry my own health insurance and a myriad of other wonderful things. I introduce you to Big Oak PR. Still consulting for Ilya full time, but this is now serving as my official umbrella.

Personally, things are another whirlwind, but good. My dad is selling his home w/ my ex stepmom, so he’s living with us for the last few months. It’s been nice reconnecting with him. He’s been working third shift at a factory, so we really just pass each other during the day when I’m home. With all of the traveling it’s been great having him here to show the animals some extra love.

My grandma recently moved in with my mom, which means I’ve been left with the chore of cleaning out her home. She’s a hoarder, in the worst sense of the word. She could easily best some of the people on tv. We’ve been in there 3 days now, 2 full driveways of trash, and we’re just about 1/2 way through the….kitchen. One day at a time on that one. On the up side, I found some really awesome baby photos of me I didn’t know existed.

And to end on a positive note,  WE’RE GETTING A PUPPY! As soon as we have her Ill be uploading pics here, so be sure to follow!  She’s a cream Shiba Inu and we’re bringing her home on November 15. It took me a super long time to get over Daphne, and then Cecil followed much too soon. But Ecco is lonely, and possibly starting to think he’s a cat, so it’s time to bring another hound into the house. We can’t wait to meet her!

Until next time…

Peace & Carrots,


West Coast/Best Coast?

It’s like asking who is your favorite child.

I grew up a southern girl, so as my adventures take me around the country it’s always amazing to see the landscapes – so different than the flatlands, swamps and oceans Im familiar with in north Florida.

I left Florida at 17, moving to South Carolina, then Michigan, then New York.  My first trip to the West Coast was in 2008 – Central California was a bore.  Flat, hot, brown and expensive.  Meh, I’ll pass.

Then I returned to LA for work, and was pretty sure I developed an entirely new hate for the state.  More expensive, flatter, hotter, accompanied by pavement and more wax people than a Ripleys museum.  Not impressed.  New York gives me my culture and fashion – California was just for people who couldnt handle snow and stress.  Ok, I was a little jealous of their carefree lifestyle and the stress thing.  WHY YOU SO HAPPY?

But then, California for me changed.  Visits to San Diego, a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, time in Muir Woods among the great redwoods, and I’d fallen in love with California. It remains my #2, falling  behind only to Colorado.

I ventured back to California for work this month, and was able to visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon.  A remarkable place, a story and background worth exploring.  I stayed in Ventura this time, and found the beach town a bit touristy.  Close to Santa Barbara, it did provide plenty of delicious restaurants and glorious city and state parks (very welcome since my Yosemite trip was cancelled due to the shutdown).  This is what I saw – in the amazing 69,000 square foot mansion built by a man who loved rocks and women.  In the gardens where Hollywoods elite played.  A little glimpse into a life most dream of…



Roller Coasters and Raspberries

The last week has been a roller coaster of emotions.  Dealing with the IRS and a lost wedding band stone had me pretty far in the dumps.  I did some reflecting and realized my challenges were pretty insignificant – some “extra” money being gone and a rock I could replace – and  set about Monday (forcing myself to be) in better spirits.

Monday karma came to visit and she was nicer.  A tiny sum of unpredicted income, a whoops by the IRS, and a winning auction bid on a replacement stone and I’m in better spirits without so much force.  Enough that I decided I wanted a treat in the middle of the day.  Realizing I had nothing, I started picking ingredients.  Voila, my version of Raspberry Cheesecake.  Put a tablespoon of cream cheese in a ziplock and knead until soft.  Snip the corner and fill raspberries.  Roll the tops in cookie crumbs (I used oatmeal because I didn’t have graham) and youre snacking on pretty healthy treats in minutes.  A sweet at the end of a few days of sour.


Faking it.

I’ve been traveling – heading to Richmond where I ran another event for some amazing bloggers, preparing for NYC, PA, CA and Richmond again.  Saturating myself with new faces, new places and new flavors.  Challenging myself.

I’m naturally shy.  I used to avoid public situations, parties and events.  I never joined a sports team that had to play in front of a crowd or was a leader of any organization requiring public speaking. I’ve been to one school dance in my entire life where I actually went inside.  Being around people didn’t bother me, as long as no one was looking at me or I didnt have to talk.  I was often horrified to go to parties with my current beau, and would get cold sweats when they left me standing alone in the corner to chat with other friends.  The more I accepted this behavior as just being part of who I was, the more intense it became.

I finally braved up and went to college 4 years after high school.  The only way it was possible is that I’d moved across the country and decided that no one would know me and I’d never see them again.  5 years later, I had a degree, ironically in PR/Communications.  Did I cure myself in those 5 years?  Nope.  I have a knot in my stomach writing this thinking about being the girl in the corner again.  But I learned how to deal with those situations.  I learned how to fake it.

“I’m excited to be here.” I smile.

Is it true?  Yes and no.  I love events, weddings, concerts, etc.  I just get uncomfortable around people I dont know.  But I’m a nice person, I’ve got some interesting things to say, and most importantly – I’m a good listener.  And I bet there are some people in here with some awesome stories who like to talk.  I just have to give them the opportunity.  When in doubt, find the oldest person in the room and talk to them.

“I have on some BAD ASS shoes/dress/earrings.”

I find one thing I love.  I plan what I’m packing for events a week in advance to make sure every outfit has that one thing.  I often have to travel to NYC where I’m surrounded by beautiful model types that are dressed to a t. I dont have the budget, energy or care to work that look, but I do have my one thing.  No one has these earrings I got in Honduras, and the stories that go with them.  Lets talk about that.  Because really, what do you have to say about those $500 heels?  They’re black.  Cool story bro, tell it again.

“There’s someone in this room who is terrified to be here.  Who is it?  I want to talk to them and make them feel welcome.”

Someone is where I was then.  My specialty is finding them and helping them have fun.  They’re usually the most interesting person in the room, and the quietest.  (And the loudest is usually the least interesting).  Funny how that works.

By doing the above, I’ve smiled, opening myself up to conversation, given myself a boost of confidence, and given myself something to do (figuring out who hates being here or needs to be talked to.)

The other person standing in the room alone?  The two of you make a duo.  Hell, pick up a third and it’s a party.

I never lie, but I do fake it when necessary.


PR, Social Media and Friends – 8 seconds

This weekend I was able to attend a blogger conference  in Temecula, California.  I’m fortunate enough to represent a brand that sponsored the event, and went to do a raffle, mingle, and find new people to reach out to for ambassadorships.

You may be thinking – but…I’m reading this on a blog.  Therefor you blog?  No.  Not like these people.  That’s like saying because you have a hoop in your driveway you’re in the NBA.

They live and breath blogging.  It keeps them up at night.  They have a drive and passion for blogging that equals Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in technology.  It is their life, their career, and for some, possibly their sanity.

I arrived to a lobby of ecstatic, glorious women (and a couple dudes who were just as amazing.)  I had no idea what to expect, and knew I was going to have to introduce myself to many strangers over the course of two days.  Every time I do one of these events it’s like being the new kid in school again.

I went in expecting to meet some great people, make connections for my client and eat some amazing food.  I went out saturated with inspiration.

From powerful former businesswomen who left it all in search of happiness, to those seeking to be a part of a voraciously strong community, to Pioneer Woman who stumbled into her success and owns it more graciously than any “big wig” I’ve met  – because we all know, she’s the shit, and still one of the nicest people there.

I made new friends!  Who at 36 years old gets to squeal that?  I will see them again, and I will hug them.  For 8 seconds.  8 seconds – the most important thing I learned this weekend.

One of the organizers mentioned the 8 second hug – that hugging someone for that amount of time elicits some sort of chemical response.  Exchange of body temperatures, pheromones, scientific mumbo jumbo.

I smiled, things moved on.  But when I was leaving the conference and hugging an old friend, I jokingly started counting.  One, two, three (then….I liked it) two, three, two…we laughed and broke.  Another new friend got the same hug.  And that’s when I realized that 8 seconds felt like a VERY long time.  And 8 seconds hugging someone I cared about felt like a very intimiate, personal time.  That I took 8 seconds out of my life to hug them – to care. To connect with them physically, beyond a quick clutch or peck on the cheek.  I was hugging them, and I meant it.  I felt it – and I hope even through the laughter, they did too.

And from now on, I’m going to be sharing a lot more 8 second hugs.