Monthly Archives: February 2015

Weekend Inspiration: Google Art Project

the-starry-night-vincent-van-gogh-close-upTake a moment, go to Google Art Project, and bookmark it. While you’re there, look up your favorite piece of art and zoom in.

(Go, right now. I’ll still be here when you get back.)

Okay. How much time has gone by? Hours? Days?

Yeah. I know.


Which paintings are your favorites? I actually found Google Art Project from a link posted on pinterest of the moon from The Starry Night (the picture above.) It is everything.

–Full disclosure, I’ve been looking at paintings for a while instead of finishing this blog post. It feels a little bit like I just had an artist date.–

By the way, while we’re talking about art, have you seen the Blue/Black White/Gold dress debate? It has completely altered my perception of reality and color and now I just don’t trust my eyes.

Book of the Week: The Glass Castle

Book of the Week for February 23 – March 1

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Glass Castle

Why it’s interesting:

Jeannette Walls grew up poor. Very, very poor. Her father’s alcoholism and her mother’s pride meant that she and her three siblings were often hungry and dirty. However, they were loved, and loved well (except for the food and shelter part.) Her parents prized creativity, knowledge, and free thinking above any material possessions. And even when her father was doing horrifically careless things, the love they felt was undeniable. She does a masterful job creating a full picture of all of her “characters”— contradictions and all.

The blurb:

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

Did you like this book? What are you reading right now?

Thursday Recipes: Resse’s Eggs

Have you found Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog yet? Because, if you haven’t, go. Now. I’ll wait.

K. Back now?Is it days later? Which ones did you make?

Last Saturday, Valentine’s Day, I made Katie’s Ultimate Brownies (in the Cookbook. Buy it. It’s happiness between two covers) and the Imitation Reese’s Eggs.

I can’t reprint the whole recipe here because I respect Katie’s copyright. However, I will tell you this:

Rather than roll and dip, I made these in a mini-muffin pan. I doubled the recipe and got 12 cups. Next time, I would double the chocolate but not the filling, and make it into 15 or 18. They were a bit thick, rich, and the calorie count was higher than I really wanted.

Total time to make these: about 10 minutes. Amazing.

Now. Go. Eat and be happy.


**Sorry I don’t have a picture. We ate them too fast.**

Book of the Week: Go the F**k to Sleep

Book of the Week for February 16 – February 22

Go the F**k to Sleep


Why it’s interesting:

Have a kid? Ever been tired? Then, yeah, this book is for you. I highly recommend downloading both the Kindle version and the Audible version. Put the screaming kid in its room. Pour yourself a big glass of wine. Put your headphones in. And enjoy.

Caveat: Eventually, the book will be over and the kid that refuses to go to sleep will probably still be screaming. But you won’t be quite so on the verge of tears yourself.

The blurb:

Go the F**k to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, it captures the familiar—and unspoken—tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. Beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny, Go the Fuck to Sleep is a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children.

If you like this, you might also like:


Austin Kleon: Jurassic Park Theory of Parenting



Glennon Melton: Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me



My Weekend Inspiration


“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

—Lucille Ball

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you follow me on Goodreads you know that I’ve had a few books on my “Currently Reading” shelf for more than a year. Two of them are The Artist’s Way Every Day and Simple Abundance I started both of these “daybooks” last year and stopped reading when life changed dramatically: Lily switched schools, I started my MFA program, and I really got serious about publishing Stealing the Ruby Slippers.   

Last year I was trying to be really strict about reading them. It was something for my To-Do list and if I missed a few days I made myself go back and get caught up, entirely defeating the purpose of short bursts of inspiration.


This year, I’m doing things differently, and I’m loving it.

I’m missing days.

I’m purposefully skipping days.

I’m stopping in the middle of reading to journal or create.


Yesterday, this Lucille Ball quote stood out to me in Simple Abundance, so I sat down and made myself a Valentine.


Lily loves Valentine’s Day (hearts, pink, it’s her thing) and it’s the anniversary of the first “real” date Chris and I went on. I have plans for special things for the kids and special things for Chris today. So, it was perfect, yesterday, to be reminded to do something special for myself too.

Selflessness has been put on a pedestal as the highest virtue, while narcissism is condemned. Often, the verse where Jesus says to “Love your neighbor as yourself” is quoted as a reminder to put other people first. Here’s the thing, though. We’re forgetting the last part of what he said. “As yourself.” Which means that it’s okay to love yourself. In fact, YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO SHOW LOVE TO YOURSELF BEFORE YOU CAN SHOW LOVE TO SOMEONE ELSE. Like the airlines say, “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you.Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. If you see someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”

Because we’ll all pass out if we’re so busy trying to put a mask on someone else we can’t breathe ourselves.

Thursday Recipe: Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono soup, also known as “That greek lemon chicken soup that I can’t pronounce the name of” is seriously one of my favorite foods of all time.

I don’t remember when I first tried it, but I now go to the really overpriced Greek restaurant in Uptown just to get a $6 cereal bowl of its goodness.

Which is silly because (with this version) it’s seriously one of the easiest recipes in the world.

The traditional recipe takes dedication. Considering I keep a stock of frozen chickens in my freezer and never, ever remember to get one out ahead of when I want to use it, the three-and-a-half hours quoted here turns into four or five. And you really have to watch it. You can’t come back two hours later and try to skim. It doesn’t work. However, there is an easier way.

Remember those chickens I keep in my freezer? I usually throw them in the crockpot in the morning and then pick the chicken off the bone in the afternoon/evening for whatever recipe I needed the meat for. I then return the chicken bones and skin to the crockpot with whatever carrot, celery and onion discards I have laying around (is there any chicken recipe that doesn’t also call for these things?) fill the crock pot up with water and let it cook on low overnight. In the morning I strain it and bottle the broth in old apple juice jars. Viola. Free chicken broth.

But you don’t have to make your own chicken broth to make this soup. It’s just fun to say you did.


  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (white works just as well, I just prefer brown all the time.)
  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (remember that one that was in the crockpot? This is like one breast from it.)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice


  • In a medium sauce pan, bring the broth to a boil.
  • Add rice and chicken. Simmer for 30 min or until rice is tender.
  • Meanwhile, whisk eggs and lemon juice together in a large mixing bowl.
  • When the rice is done, remove pan from heat.
  • Using an electric beater on medium, mix in the hot broth mix one cup at a time. (Seriously. If you add too much, the eggs will cook and curdle. It’s not dangerous and doesn’t taste too bad, but it looks awful.)
  • When it’s fully incorporated, you’ll have a cloudy-white, creamy, dreamy soup.


Book of the Week: Carry On Warrior

Book of the Week for February 9 – February 15

Carry On, Warrior


Why it’s interesting:

Oh my goodness. This book. If I could, I would buy it for EVERY WOMAN I KNOW. Especially those with small children. Especially those that are Christian, and immersed in Christian subculture. I have not struggled with the things Glennon struggled with. I don’t know what it’s like to get wasted, get arrested, or wake up and realize I’m pregnant and an addict. But here’s the thing: the way Glennon writes—I relate with almost everything she says. As a mother of small children, as a woman trying to figure out how to be a wife, as a writer trying to figure out how to get the right words on the page, as a Christian who is often straight-up angry at the church and the way *we* treat people.

I heard Glennon speak at the Storyline Conference and, honestly, didn’t relate a whole lot to what she was saying, at least not for my own life. I did immediately know I needed to send this to one of my friends, though, and I did, from the handy dandy cell phone in my hand. But then I started reading her blog and decided to use one of my audible credits to get the book for myself. I listened to it mostly while walking the dog and more than once came running in the house, straight to my computer, to see if I could find the blog post that had become the essay in the book (the book is based off her blog, but it’s not verbatim) then shouted for my husband.

I have a bunch of favorite quotes, but I’m going to hold off sharing. I want to know if you read it, or her blog, what do you think?

The blurb:

Glennon Doyle Melton’s hilarious and poignant reflections on our universal (yet often secret) experiences have inspired a social movement by reminding women that they’re not alone. In Carry On, Warrior, she shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud-funny new essays and some of the best-loved material from Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman’s trying to love herself and others, readers will find a wise and witty friend who shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.

If you like this, you might also like:



This is Glennon’s blog. And rather than try to find a comparable book, I’m just going to point you there. Your welcome.

Back in business!

Happy Monday!

One of my goals for last year was to revive my jewelry business. I really enjoy making, but I haven’t been great at the marketing (hmmm…problem in other areas of life too???) I’m afraid to put myself out there.

There is this super cute boutique down the street from my house and when we first moved here I thought it would be so cool if I could sell my jewelry there. But I was afraid to ask. But after being in there last fall, I decided to just do it. I sent a Facebook message and…was rejected.

Sort of.

The store was already stocked for the holidays, but she asked me to check back in the new year.

Rather than discourage me, it kind of re-ignited my desire and I started looking for shows. I did one (on the same day as Deer Hunting Opener, which is also known as Minnesota Craft Day…either you’re hunting or your going to/participating in craft shows the first Saturday in November in this state) and did better than my last two shows combined. Then, at the end of January, I sent a message to the store again and this time they had room.

I dropped my stuff off about a week and a half ago now.

And that really got me going. My etsy store is finally back up, as is my Jewelry page on this site, and I’ve contacted 6 other stores. I’ve heard back from one—they’ll have space in the spring. And, most exciting, I’m creating new designs again.

I have to sit down sometime this month and do some strategizing/goal setting for this side of my business in the coming year. I’m excited to dive back into it again. It’s one of those things that you don’t realize how much you missed until you actually start again.

Check out the etsy store (I’m adding listings daily right now) and let me know what you like, what you hate, and what you want to see in the comments here.

Book of the Week: An Untamed State

Book of the Week for February 3 – February 9

An Untamed State


Why it’s interesting:

Told in alternating perspectives from a woman who has been kidnapped by Haitian rebels and her father and husband working (or not) to free her, this is not a story of good triumphing over evil or a person digging deep within herself to fight the bad guys. It is raw and, often, incredibly hard to read. Which makes it impossible to put down.

The blurb:

Roxane Gay is a powerful new literary voice whose short stories and essays have already earned her an enthusiastic audience. In An Untamed State, she delivers an assured debut about a woman kidnapped for ransom, her captivity as her father refuses to pay and her husband fights for her release over thirteen days, and her struggle to come to terms with the ordeal in its aftermath.

Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents.

An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places. An Untamed State establishes Roxane Gay as a writer of prodigious, arresting talent.

If you like this, you might also like:

The Fever


A Book of the Week pick back in November, The Fever has that same “real” feeling that An Untamed State does. And, of course, incredibly writing.