Skip to content

Archive for


“Forks Over Knives”

A few weeks ago, my friend, Kathy recommend a book called “Forks Over Knives” and also the movie of the same title.  Her 13-year old son had decided several years before that he wasn’t going to eat anything that had eyes and became a vegetarian. In her search for information on a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, she came across this book and movie. Read more »


The Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown

During my daughter’s primary and middle school years, history was part of her curriculum every year. She spent a year studying Spanish history and memorizing the 17 autonomous communities in Spain (and had the wisdom at age 7 to ask me “why do I have to learn these?”), another year devoted to the Middle Ages (6th grade) and a semester on Greek history which culminated in a class trip to Greece to see the sights they had been studying. At the time,we didn’t think twice about her history curriculum although my husband was on a quest to show her as many ruins as possible. Read more »


“We Need To Talk About Kevin”

We Need to Talk About Kevin” opens in movie theaters nationwide but there isn’t a movie theater within 50 miles of Hartford, Connecticut showing the film, and it’s not because the film is ‘bad.” In fact, the movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an 81% and the nearly 10,000 reviewers that have already seen it (as there was a limited release on Jan 13, 2012) gave the movie an even higher rating – 86%. So, why isn’t the movie opening up in every movie theater across America? Read more »


You Know You’re In Madrid, Spain When….

Four of the best years of my life were spent in Madrid, Spain and there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think about the capital city, especially the climate, culture, and the food. The weather is incredible: there are four sunny dry seasons which means every day is a good hair day. Writing about hair attributes can sound shallow and frivolous but a city with a “hair ease of maintenance” grade of A+ is worthy of page space. Read more »


Blueberry Buckle Streusel Cake

Up until a few years ago, blueberries were only available in late summer. To take advantage of the bountiful supply, August menus were filled with blueberry laced recipes: muffins, pancakes, cake, pie, cobbler, and buckle. No one ever got tired of blueberries but just as quickly as the blueberries arrived and just as we were able to fully appreciate how incredible these special berries taste, they would disappear and we would have to wait a year to see them again. Read more »


“In The Garden of Beasts”

Berlin has always captivated me because it was the first European city where I could see and feel the remnants from World War II and the Cold War.  The capital city isn’t known for its climate, especially in the winter when the weather can be harsh, the sky grey, and the days short but the weather is all but forgotten when walking through the streets because Berlin is really a dichotomy thanks to a series of events: World War II and the 28-year existence of the Berlin Wall which was torn down to the cheers of crowds in 1989. Read more »


Exploring Masada, Israel

On a family vacation to Israel, we decided to take a day trip from Jerusalem to Masada, an archeological ruin in the Judean Desert overlooking the southwest coast of the Dead Sea. The concierge at the hotel made arrangements with a local tour company and we were picked up very early the next morning. The driver had a large van and after picking up several other small groups of tourists at local hotels in Jerusalem, we set off for Masada – a roughly 60 mile trip southeast of Jerusalem on the southern coast of the Dead Sea. Read more »


Tomato Sauce – Homemade

Tomato sauce from scratch is intimidating – why else would there be so many ready-made jars in the grocery store?  If people knew how simple it is to make their own tomato sauce and how much better a fresh sauce tastes compared to a jarred variety, the commercial manufacturers wouldn’t be happy.  Yet, once you know how to make a basic tomato sauce, the secret is out of the bag and the store-bought brands (although a few great ones – Mama Jess or Bavaro’s – with natural wholesome ingredients are necessary and a tasty alternative) will no longer have a prominent place in your kitchen cabinet. Read more »

Remembering Marjorie Williams

Seven years ago, the world lost a great writer named Marjorie Williams who died at age 47 from liver cancer leaving behind a husband and two young children, ages 11 and 8. At the time of her death, Williams was an op-ed columnist with the Washington Post and a frequent contributor to Vanity Fair where she primarily wrote political profiles – not your typical rose smelling or hatchet job profiles but portraits that zeroed in on the character beyond what the image machine created. Somehow Williams managed to figure out what was at the core of a being – what drove him or her – and deftly tied in all the minutiae in their universe to show the reader who the person really was in an entertaining but truthful way. Read more »


You Know You’re in Switzerland When…

My great-grandmother was born in Soulalex, a village located in the French-speaking canton (similar to a US state) of Valais (section 23 in the map below) in Switzerland.  Located literally on the side of a mountain, Soulalex was a small farming village a hundred years ago when she left and immigrated to Illinois in search of a better life. She was 16 years old. Read more »