• Raspberry Macarons
    Food,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day and Neither Were Good Macarons.

    I’ve been slacking on my journey towards mastering the art of making French macarons, but I finally made my latest attempt. Raspberry seemed like the perfect flavor for summer and the color is so pretty, so I made plans to give it a go…a month ago. I’d throw my hands in the air and say that “It’s just the stress of everything having to do with the pandemic!” that caused me to put off what is supposed to be an enjoyable activity, but if I’m being completely honest with myself (and you), I felt like my last attempt, lemon, was such a failure (not really that bad though, shrug) that…

  • How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    11 Best Practices for the 2020 Election Season

    Hey. Let’s have a chat. The upcoming election in November is the most important one of our lifetime, and I want to put some information and reminders out there in hopes that we stay focused and don’t allow everything to go off the rails. This combination of the internet, the 24-hour news cycle, our current president, the deep, multi-category divisions running through the country, and the pandemic (just to name a few) is a huge dumpster fire that we need to PUT OUT rather than douse with more lighter fluid. Here are some thoughts to get us all through this without causing more damage: 1) Use extreme caution AND educate…

  • Something That Could Change Your Life

    What Will We Carry Away From Spring 2020? (Strength, For One Thing.)

    Believe it or not, summer begins this weekend. It’s a welcome change after a spring that seemed about a decade long, am I right? We’re still dealing with a lot, unfortunately, but I like to think that with a new season comes new hope. There has been so much learning going on, on so many levels. While I haven’t enjoyed Spring 2020, I’m certainly better off for it and I hope that better days are ahead (eventually, I know I know!) for all of us. Have you taken some time to think about lessons you’ve learned in the first part of 2020, what you’ll carry with you forever? Here’s my…

  • How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    A (Partial) List of Anti-Racism Resources

    Before I begin, I need to mention that the mural pictured above is in Minneapolis, Minnesota and it was painted by Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, and Greta McLain, along with help from Niko Alexander and Pablo Hernandez. Our country is figuratively and literally on fire this week, following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, by four police officers—one directly, by keeping his knee on George’s neck (impairing his ability to breathe), and three indirectly: by their lack of action. The events over the last six days are altogether horrible, tragic, unjust, and not surprising; nothing has changed for Black Americans as we’ve seen time and time…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  We Are An Awesome Couple

    Middle-Aged Dogs, New Tricks

    One of the trade-offs of having grown kids who live elsewhere (Wah! I miss them!!) is that we have a lot of spare time to do…well, whatever we want. A few months ago Jim made a couple of comments about possibly wanting to learn how to play guitar, something he did as a child but only short term. I thought about buying him a guitar for his birthday and, after debating with myself about whether he was really serious about wanting to take it on, I headed to Guitar Center. I bought him a basic acoustic guitar, figuring that if he didn’t really care to learn we could just return…

  • your vote your voice
    How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  Uncategorized

    Don’t Let the Polls or Anyone Else Dictate How You Vote This Year: Make Up Your Own Mind.

    Jim and I went out the other night and had a great discussion about the 2020 election. It wasn’t the first political discussion we’ve had, by far, but it was a really good one. First let me say that I’m very lucky we can have good political discussions, because he and I have never agreed on what the best candidate should possess, though what we want (or rather, what we don’t want) this year is closer than it has been in the past. It hasn’t always been this way, the “having good political discussions” thing, which was actually the topic of that conversation. Like now, in our younger days he…

  • Motivation,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Change It Up.

    On most Wednesdays around 5:30am when I turn into the parking lot for the strip mall where my boxing gym is located, there is a pickup truck parked diagonally near the entrance, engine running and lights on. I assume he or she is waiting for someone; perhaps it’s a carpool-to-work arrangement. Even though the truck is the only vehicle on that whole side of the parking lot I always go around it the long way instead of turning in front of it to get to my parking space five stores down. I’m not sure why, but it’s become a compulsion. Every week there’s a split second in which I think,…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  Childhood Memories,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    The Best Kind of Quilt

    Just like so many others in my family, my Aunt Nancy was an extremely creative person. She was an avid knitter and enjoyed lots of other crafty pursuits, but one in particular eventually took the lead and became her favorite: making quilts. She started quilting in the early 1980s, completing her first quilt in 1983. After that there was no turning back. For nearly four decades she pieced and sewed, gifting her creations to lucky friends and family members like me (I received a quilt for my college dorm room as well as baby quilts for my sons). For as long as I can remember, if she wasn’t holding court…

  • Truffles
    Best Thing Ever,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Here’s a Chocolate Truffles Recipe That Will Make You Super Popular.

    For the most part, I have trimmed back on my holiday baking every December by quite a bit. Back in the olden days when our boys were younger, I baked a large variety of treats. Now that it’s just Jim and me I usually pick just a couple of our favorites and keep it simple. One recipe that makes the cut every single year is the one I use to make chocolate truffles. They are easy, delicious, and keep in the refrigerator for weeks if they’re in an airtight container. I gift these truffles to friends and have been complimented like crazy on them as if they’re the greatest thing…

  • mail merge
    How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  Tradition

    A Note To Future Melisa Re: Mail Merges

    Dear Future Melisa, Mail merges, huh? They’re hard for us, for some reason. Each and every year when it’s time to get the holiday cards done and out, we pull up the handy-dandy Excel spreadsheet that has all of the addresses on it, updated throughout the year, and get ready to create labels in Word. And then, we go through an infuriating ritual. Looking it up online and then still messing up the process somehow turns what should be a joyful task (“Holiday cards to loved ones! Yay!”) into an absolute chore (“I am going to scream and possibly toss my laptop across the room if I can’t get this…