I love to entertain. But, several people close to me have made mention that I sometimes bite off more than I can chew in the preparation department. Meaning, I take on too much from scratch and turn into Chris Farley’s Gap girl screaming, “lay off me, I’m starving!” about half an hour before guests arrive.
Needless to say, it’s always a good thing when I stumble across something to help me out with the hosting duties that isn’t just step one – open the box, step two – dump the box contents into a bowl. That’s why I adore Bella Cucina products. From herb infused olive oils to pastas, sauces and even sweets, Bella Cucina Founder & CEO Alisa Barry takes easy entertaining to a whole new level. But, no fear – she doesn’t skimp on quality, taste, or the appearance of you being an amazing hostess.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Alisa. Here’s the Q & A.
Listen close (whisper) this town is filled with secrets. And stories. Bursting with writers, artists, musicians, chefs, and a culture of fusion so rich that it cannot be replicated anywhere else. Creole, Cajun, Southern, French, traditional and modern American influences are all here, along with a healthy dose of grit.
But don’t let the whisper be drowned out by feather boas, beads, boob flashing, cigarette-littered streets, and revelers reenacting college spring break behavior all most certainly chalked up to heavy handed drinking.
This city’s party was forever tarnished on August 29, 2005. The day the levees broke. The world watched in horror as the “city beneath the sea” became part of it for a time (how eerie that NOLA native Harry Connick Jr. should pen a song of the same name almost ten years earlier?).
And while you can’t mention the Big Easy any more without acknowledging the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, let’s now, just for a moment, soak up the wonderfulness of what was and is. I’m in the Crescent City, with the pop on New Orleans, just in time for Mardi Gras. Read More
Pop life. Everybody needs a thrill. Pop life. We all got a space to fill.
This is my space to fill and I can’t help but fill some of it with music. After I chose the name danapop I kept coming across songs with the word “pop” in the title or lyrics. One day while brainstorming with my graphic designer (the fabulous Kristen Alden) when the site was still in its peanut of an idea phase that morphed into the idea for a pop playlist. A few of these songs’ lyrics made it to the site’s sidebar menu, but so many others that I love didn’t survive the necessary design cut.
So now that we’re up and running, here’s the extended playlist for you to enjoy – a token of my affection and appreciation for the fabulous readers and those in my life who’ve supported every step of this crazy mess of a concept. So, pop your collar, pop the champagne, and just keep it poppin’.
We all have dreams. Some big. Some small. Some professional. Some personal. Some we share out loud. Some we clutch tightly to our chests forever, never allowing them to see the light of day.
For years, I’ve had a dream – to run a half-marathon – a somewhat abstract and impossible dream – but one that steadfastly waited for me, tucked way in the back of my mind – waiting for me to let it out of its hiding place. And I can’t say exactly when that occurred, but it did and I did…I ran 13.1 miles. Done. Check that off the life list. And maybe add another…
The one-day wander. That quick stopover, scheduled or unscheduled, en route to another destination – a small, often highly rewarding detour from the longer journey ahead. This week’s wander – Birmingham ya’ll.
I recently found myself headed to New Orleans by way of Birmingham with less than 24 hours to spend in Alabama’s largest city. Although Birmingham is only two hours (give or take) from my adopted hometown of Atlanta, it feels like a lifetime away. This is TRULY a southern town – that is, it is a study in contrast – sophisticated and modern but with a gritty past that still haunts its streets and alleyways. A town where the supper scene features boys in pastel button-down shirts worn beneath starched blazers punctuated by loafers sans socks, and girls sporting full face makeup, designer handbags and signature scents, moving about in the lurking shadow of the 1960’s Civil Rights movement pathos.
While I won’t admit to being a full-fledged product junkie, I have been known to blow a perfectly good afternoon wandering through the aisles of Sephora or Ulta.
That’s why I’m surprised that I’m likely the last person to find out about this rocking company called Bella il Fiore…the company is one part makeup, one part lingerie, one part bath and body – all parts hip and girlie. The perfect posting for any pre-Valentine’s Day gift hint lists.
Bella il Fiore founder Jennifer Maloy and I had the opportunity to chat – here’s the Q&A.
Life is immeasurably enhanced when we take close note of it – literally and figuratively.
I’m not talking CliffsNotes or e-mail here, I’m speaking of that indefinable wonderfulness when one practices the art of honest to goodness pen to paper quality writing of actual words and letters. As an obsessive (I’m the first to admit it’s a borderline neurosis) jotter and list maker, I pay close attention to all the paper in my life – from the paper I use to write those endless notes to the gift wrap, business cards and stationery I use – anything that potentially ends up in the hands of others (or just my own for that matter) is a reflection of me.
Thankfully, there’s Daisy Princess Paperie – they’ve extracted the stuffiness and formality from otherwise beautiful papers and emerged with a full line of whimsical, yet sophisticated paper goods…and had me at notepad.
Here’s the Q&A with Daisy Princess Paperie.
I relish the art of cooking and so do most of my friends and family. Maybe partly because my mother baked actual, real-live homemade bread once a week, and dished out a hot, nutritious breakfast everyday – no Pop Tarts at our house.
That said – I could do better. I get in food ruts. In the winter I subsist on a daily bowl of oats cooked in skim milk with a handful of dried cherries, apricots and walnuts – then, come summer, Greek yogurt stands in for the oats, fresh berries for the dried fruit. Wholesome and good for you? Yes. Exciting? No.
But, there are three books helping me change all that…
What these books have in common is an emphasis on moderation, balance, the notion of quality vs. quantity, the responsibility we all have in the hierarchy of the food chain and they all make a great case for NOT dieting.