New Year, New Pace

December 29, 2011

My gift to you for 2012 is a new pace of life, one that matches the beat of your resting, not racing, heart.

Get your free eBook today, “21 Ways to Slow Down NOW!” and let this new year flow with slow!

What Kind of Techie Are You?

December 27, 2011

Do you own a cell phone? Like the 83% of  US adults that do, the world is becoming increasingly tech-driven. It’s gotten me curious. Are there tech profiles? Do people’s tech preferences say something about them?

DigitalBuzz says that of the 4+ billion cellphones in use today, over 1 billion are smartphones. I want to know who those billion are. What kind of techie are YOU?

Please take my free ten-question online survey to find out!

Today has the shortest number of daylight hours in the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the yin-yang of life, it happens to be the longest day of the year for those folks in the Southern one. So while the North is dealing with winter winds, the South is basking in the glory of the sun. The winter solstice for some is the summer solstice for others.

How’s that for perspective?

Celebrate this day wherever you are. Take a moment to realize that the only thing we’re born with is time. As we slowly enter a New Year, what will you do with yours?

Slow food is the ultimate comfort. I’m not just talking about the comfort it brings when all you want to do is pull the cover over your head and secretly eat homemade brownies, but the kind of comfort that reminds you when you first tried the flavor that you’re enjoying now.

At this time of year, I get, shall we say, cranky. I miss my US family, the days are shorter on light than Lady Gaga’s long on design ideas, and it seems I’m the one to “do Christmas” while everyone else enjoys the fruit (and cookies) of my labor.

So when my mama and I were Skyping (and laughing a lot ~we were both at work respectively, but we faked it for an hour!), she shared her famous choco-macaroon recipe that I’ve known since a child. Filled with a new sense of purpose, I put down the headphones and went straight to work.

I tried, people. Really I did. But substituting shredded coconut with coconut chips was a. bad. idea. Or using diet condensed milk instead of Carnation’s.

And let’s not even talk about the English versus the metric system or the fact that the homemade vanilla extract I made (thanks Make the Bread, Buy the Butter) won’t be ready until March 2012.

Notice the vodka bottle. I hate vodka, but the recipe for making said vanilla extract that will be ready next spring calls for it. I swear I felt like a bum buying it at the grocery store, but I smothered it with the vanilla beans at checkout and slipped it into my purse before anyone could see it.

Do you want to see what choco-macaroon cookie fail really looks like? Alright, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Sensitive viewers may need to look away while scrolling to the next picture.

Coconut carnage here…

…and here.

Look at the hope! Those neatly positioned ingredients and the patient hand (not pictured) that scraped those coconut carcasses from the parchment paper!

Alas, there will be no choco-macaroons for Christmas this year.

You think I would have known it was coming. A week prior I had attempted to make cinnamon stars that turned into stockings really quickly. My husband, who is not the demanding or quick-to-respond type, was the source of that inspiration. When asked which type of Christmas cookie he wanted, “Cinnamon stars!” shot out of his mouth like a bat out of hell. I’d never heard the man answer me so quickly! Later I found out why. His mother revealed to me that she refused to bake them.

Forty years of pent up cookie yearning. “These are great, hon,” he smiled as he chewed, then swallowed them like a wad of bubble gum.

Whoever said love goes solely through the stomach? Maybe it’s the intention that counts.

What’s your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Share it and I may just try it. Maybe I won’t fail with yours!

The Busy Monster

If you’ve ever uttered the words “I’m too busy,” what you are really saying is “X,Y,Z is more important than you at the moment.” We all set priorities, even if we deny that is what we are doing. We feel victimized by our lives, when in truth, we had a strong hand in creating that life in the first place. Work takes precedence over our social lives, family, even ourselves. We race from one thing to the next, attempting to keep it all in line.

As a result, we have become less spontaneous because there is no room for it. We creep farther and farther away from our true selves because, quite frankly, we haven’t a spare moment to even consider what that is. In our overcommitted, overscheduled lives, we have no time for each other. No time to say thank you for kind gestures because we barely even notice them. Gratitude and connection land in the pile of obligations that we will get to “someday”.

The busy monster feeds on our stress. He needs it to survive. Busy comes at the expense of relationships, not only with others, but also with ourselves.

Slow can remedy that.

In an interesting exchange with a friend who had just spent a week’s retreat in Bali getting massages and enjoying true suspension of thought, she admitted to me that she is committed to a less stressful life. But she could only come to that conclusion by slowing down and realizing how much better she felt doing so. Her new commitment might mean saying “no” more often, but less because she is too busy and more because she doesn’t want to be.

Imagine a world in which we say “no” to busy? What deeper connections could we foster with each other with that kind of commitment?

Life can be a Piece of Cake!

December 10, 2011


With Husband gone for a week to the States, I’ve had ample opportunity to occupy the kitchen in his absence. Thanks to Robert Rose, the Canadian publisher of, can we  say, Capital A-mazing recipe books, I have once again astounded myself.

I am a culinary warrior now, thanks to Camilla V. Saulsbury’s Piece of Cake!  One-Bowl, No-Fuss, From-Scratch Cakes.  But before you shriek and hug your hips, she’s got healthy recipes in there too.

I opted for the hedonist Hot Fudge Brownie Cake first. My daughter had mentioned something in her all-too-quick-adolescent-speech-cadence that she needed brownies for English class. She bat her eyes at me and said: “So. I volunteered you.”

The very same day Piece of Cake! arrived in my mailbox and I knew we were destined to become fast friends. In a jiffy, I whipped out six brownie muffin creations that would have made Jesus genuflect. I’m not trying to be blasphemous here, people. But the amazing part was it was so easy I couldn’t believe what got created with my very own hands.

My daughter promptly criticized it, challenging that she could do better.

Okay, Missy. I whipped out the recipe book again today, and she tried her hand at the Chocolate Wacky Cake. Believe it or not, it’s under “Health-Conscious”. I think it’s because it calls for non-Dutch process cocoa powder. You know, the real kind. Daughter quickly handed the scepter spatula back to me when she realized she’d actually have to follow instructions to make the thing work. We team-tagged it thereafter and I must say, hers did turn out better.

There is room at the top, indeed.

Oh how I love this recipe book! It makes me feel smart. And, unlike many recipe books that I’ve received in the past, it actually uses both the English and metric systems. For an American expat as myself, I am grateful for that small gesture. It makes baking so much easier.

Another great aspect of the book is the great background information such as why baking soda is four times stronger than baking power and how baking is really a science (that pulled Daughter in. Like Husband, she’s into it), which was why we had to make three separate holes in the dry ingredient mix when adding the vinegar, vanilla extract and oil.

As I nudged today’s cake out of its mini-pans (I still need to get the size pans that the book often calls for), I felt my self-confidence bloom to the level of  kitchen goddess.

Thanks, Camilla. I owe you one for making baking a true piece of cake!

When asked what people’s number one concern was this holiday season, more people (almost 38%) said their lack of time than anything else. Second place was shared with money and family issues (25%). Around 8% of folks had concerns about health.

Time is People's Biggest Holiday Concern Many Eyes

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