What’s On …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days.

On my playlist: I just got back from a trip to Austin, TX! On the plane I listened to Norah Jones’ new album. The whole thing is really lovely, but, this was one of my favorites:

On my nightstand: Last week I blogged about my intent to put my writing first this year; to start the day creating art. As a part of this, I’m kicking off 41secwnbauleach writing session by reading a short passage from Barbara Abercrombie’s A Year of Writing Dangerously, 365 Days of Inspiration and Encouragement. Only twelve days in, but I’m loving it so far!

On my stove: Super, super simple slow cooker pork. We had frozen half a pork shoulder last month when we over-bought for pork mole (which I like to call Roast Beast around the holidays– because Dr. Seuss). Anyway, this week seemed like a good time to thaw it out, make some pulled-pork barbecue in the slow cooker, and try to hold on to our Texas vacation feeling just a bit longer. This recipe was easy and delicious!* We served with pickle slices and roasted potato wedges. (*Full disclosure: we skipped the green peppers, because we didn’t have them, and used a more vinegar-y sauce.)

So– what’s on in your world these days?

What’s On For the Holidays …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days. (Special Holiday Edition)

On My Holiday Playlist:

I’m more grateful than I’m ever really able to articulate for years of happy childhood memories. Not the least of which are Christmas seasons filled with family and friends. The first notes of this song bring all that back. A few years ago, I found my original scratched-up-sticks-on-several-tracks-vinyl copy. It’s perfectly imperfect and the absolute best way to kick off the season. Continue reading

Books & Brews: My Beer Year / Three Notch’d Brewing Company’s Biggie S’mores

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a book I love with a pint to sip while reading it. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope your day is full of all your favorites, as well!

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I’ve mentioned before that I’m mostly a fiction reader, but that when I do pick up non-fiction it typically has close ties to food (aka, the delicious memoir)– so you can imagine my excitement when I heard about Lucy Burningham’s new book My Beer Year. Because you know if anything gets me more excited than food, it’s beer. The premise behind the book is that Burningham, a journalist who has written extensively about craft beer, decides to study to take the test to become a Certified Cicerone. If you’re familiar with the concept of a sommelier in the world of wine– someone who is able to identify styles by taste and know the history of a particular type of wine while also suggesting a food pairing– then think of a Cicerone as this to the world of beer. In My Beer Year, Burningham  shares the details of her journey to the exam, from visiting hop farms, to attending the Great American Beer Festival and traveling to Belgium to cleaning beer lines at a local brew pub.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

What’s On …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days.

On my playlist: I mentioned the Spilled Milk podcast briefly when I featured Molly Wizenburg’s book, Delancey, in Books and Brews a couple of months ago, but I’m still listening, and so I’m mentioning it again. It’s two comedians/writers (Molly & Matthew Amster-Burton) talking about food. Everything from lima beans to espresso. I’ve learned some things along the way, (like how it’s the length of time that the water spends in contact with the grounds that determines the amount of caffeine in your cup) but mostly I just love this one because it’s laugh-out-loud-while-walking-to-work funny. I think the best podcasts feel like you’re dropping in on a really great conversation between friends, and Spilled Milk hits exactly that mark. A couple of my very favorite episodes are Peanut Butter Cookies and S’mores. Continue reading

Bookends

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My October weekends have been filled with all sorts of writer-ly, bookish goodness! Two weekends ago I did a reading at the Slover Library in Norfolk, this past weekend I moderated two panels at the James River Writers Conference, and tomorrow I’m headed to Philadelphia to attend the Women’s Fiction Writers Association’s regional conference. It’s odd how things lump together like this, isn’t it? How you’ll go months without any weddings, and then have three friends getting married in the course of five weeks. Or you’ll go six months without seeing your extended family and then seem them repeatedly in the one month span between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seems like fall is the season for book events, at least in my little section of the east coast. Therefore, I’m officially renaming October weekends: “bookends.” (Get it, like books and weekends …)

Anyway, bad wordplay aside– in celebration of this bookish season, I thought I’d share img_2674some pictures and the excerpt of How to be Alive that I read at Slover, just for fun.

Setup: The scene takes place not long after the death of the main character’s fiancé. She’s trying to reach a panini press on the top shelf of a closet to make herself a grilled cheese sandwich (comfort food): Continue reading

Books & Brews: Delancey / Legend Brewery’s Oktoberfest

delancey-book

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

I’m mostly a fiction reader, as is fiercely evident in a scroll through my previous Books & Brews posts. However, if I had to pick a close second– it would be memoirs. Specifically memoirs that involve food. I loved Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Michelle Maisto’s  The Gastronomy of Marriage. I bought and cooked liver after Julie Powell made it sound so romantic in Julie & Julia. And… I can stop, clearly using “liver’ and “romantic” in the same sentence adequately demonstrates my love. Anyway, I was doing a little updating on Goodreads recently and noticed this delicious memoir* that I had added some time ago and figured I was due for a little break from the fiction. This month I read Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage by Molly Wizenberg. (*I think I’m going to officially call the sub-genre of memoir about food: “delicious memoir.”)

The book chronicles the birth of a business. It starts with the author’s husband making the proclamation that he is going to open a restaurant that serves the New York style pizza he loves, because he is unable to find an acceptable substitute in Seattle. She assumes it’s just another of his fleeting interests (like violin making or ship-building), but his interest doesn’t wane this time. Suddenly there’s a lease and a space to remodel and staff to hire and pizzas to make, and sides and desserts to plan and prep. Wizenberg’s memoir tells the story of both her whole-hearted involvement in the project and her ultimate decision to step out of the kitchen at Delancey.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Life Intended / Bell’s Oberon

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

I didn’t intentionally choose to read Kristin Harmel’s THE LIFE INTENDED during the same month I turned 39, but I did. Have you ever had that experience where the exact right thing (a story, a song, a photograph) finds you at the exact right moment and you feel just a little more understood? That’s what this was like. Here’s why I loved the book: Continue reading

What’s On …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days.

On my playlist: I’ve been listening to a Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors station on Pandora a lot lately, which is how I discovered this Ben Rector song, The Men That Drive me Places. It’s stories, and music, and gratitude all in one little four-minute package. And as someone who spends a lot of time with Uber drivers, this really, really hits home. So much truth.

Continue reading

What’s On …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days.

On my playlist: It came up in a conversation at work recently that I participated in competitive public speaking in high school (and no, I have zero memory of how we got on that subject). Anyway, immediately my colleague mentioned this podcast from Radio Lab about debate that she had listened to recently. It’s a really fascinating piece. I especially like the ending, which captures a certain truth about life and its big events and just how consequential… or not, they sometimes feel.  Continue reading

What’s On …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days.

On the last Thursday of every month I share a book I’ve read and a beer to go along with it in my Books & Brews post. This is super fun way to share two of my very favorite things with you (craft beer and books), but there are also so many great podcasts, songs, recipes and other books that I’d love to share. So I came up with an idea for this new feature– I’m calling it What’s On and it’s just a little monthly round up of all that other good stuff.

On my playlist: Every Branch Podcast– I stumbled on this podcast late last year and havecover170x170 been listening my way through the archives since then. You know how sometimes something finds you at exactly the moment you need it? Yeah, that was this. I was just starting to heal from my year of not-really-writing and tackling new directions in my career. Brooke Snow and Sarah Bray felt like old friends immediately. They’re beautifully honest in a way that makes me feel like I’m having coffee with a friend– that one who really gets me. Two of my favorite episodes are #24: Making Friends and #36 Freedom Through Forgiveness. (The most recent episode, #38, is also amazing, and explains the transition that is going on with the podcast right now.) Continue reading