An Icy Creamy Wrap-up

As the summer winds down, I thought it might be fun to do a little round-up of some of the recipe features, press and kind words that my book has received. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of excitement over Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet. I’m so very thankful- seriously, it is such a thrill….

press for Icy Creamy As the summer winds down, I thought it might be fun to do a little round-up of some of the recipe features, press and kind words that my book has received. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of excitement over Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet. I’m so very thankful- seriously, it is such a thrill. Let’s dive in to this deliciousness…Maple+Pecan+Crunch+Ice+Cream+-+Sprouted+Kitchen*Sara and Hugh Forte of Sprouted Kitchen made my Maple Pecan Crunch Ice Cream. I’m such a fan of their work so this really made my day. They had the genius idea to add chocolate. When in doubt, always add chocolate! Above photos by Hugh Forte.

*Design*Sponge featured my Roasted Peach Pops, one of my favorite recipes in the book. Stone fruit season is still happening so do yourself a favor and give these a whirl!

*Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant made my whole fruit pops (below, right). Just look at those chubby little fingers! 2016-08-26_0002 *Erin of Reading My Tea Leaves made my Roasted Peaches and Cream pops with cashew cream instead of yogurt and they turned out beautifully (above left)!

*Over at Eat Boutique my Frozen Yogurt Bark got packaged up for a sweet frozen gift!

*I was very honored that Sweet Paul included Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet in both his 25 Books I’m Loving Spring and Summer editions! Blueberry Ice Cream*Megan Gordon of A Sweet Spoonful went blueberry picking and made this vibrant blueberry ice cream!

*Kim Kinzi of Motif Magazine wrote the kindest review. When I came to work one day, my boss had pinned it to my bulletin board. That totally made me blush- I keep my school work self very separate from my writing work self!

*My friend Xan wrote the kindest words about both Little Bites and Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet over on her blog, The Conscious Caterpillar. I love that both of my books have earned a spot in her kitchen, and I especially love seeing them stained and ear-marked, just how a cookbook should look!

*Elizabeth interviewed me for her incredible Mornings on the Dock podcast. We talk books, babies, creativity, and what my month of July is like in Northern Michigan. If you can handle my strong Michigan accent, have a listen! And while you’re there, listen to them all…each one is fabulous and inspiring.

Icy Creamy in Self I have been so thrilled to receive some great press mentions as well, including a few of my recipes being featured in the July/ August issue of Self. As one of the first magazines I ever read, and one of the few that I continue to read on a regular basis, I can tell you that seeing my recipes in Self (and photographed by the one and only Johnny Miller) was a career highlight.  2016-07-07_0002 I also had the pleasure of shooting the COVER of The Coastal Table (above left). It is my first cover, and I am incredibly grateful to Karen, the founder and editor, for her support. The entire issue is gorgeous, and inside you’ll also find a fun ice cream story with several recipes, some from the book and a few brand new additions. I’ve been really appreciative of the Edible community for spreading the Icy, Creamy word. A big thank you to Edible Rhody, Edible Cape Cod, Edible Jersey, Edible Memphis, Edible Indy, Edible Toronto, Edible East Bay and Edible Boston for their features. 2016-07-17_0001 I’ve received other wonderful press coverage, including really nice features in The Improper Bostonian and Vegan Life, among other publications. I was also incredibly honored to win The Readable Feast’s People’s Choice Cookbook of the Year award, and a subsequent feature in The Boston Globe! Thank you so much for all of your votes! How thrilling. I also have an original recipe and thoughts on what it is like to write about food for a living in the current issue of Remedy Quarterly, issue #21.2016-07-11_0001 Finally, after waiting so long to join Instagram, I have to admit that I joined at the right time. I’ve loved seeing people enjoying my recipes! So, late to the party, but I’m fully here and loving it! Here are just a few of my favorite Insta images, above, top row (l to r): Sarah Waldo, Edible Manhattan, Jenn Elliott Blake. Bottom row (l to r) Floret, Marisa Dobson, Golubka Kitchen. Below, top row (l to r): Punkpost, With Style and Grace, The Book Larder. Bottom row (l to r): The Conscious Caterpillar, Megan Gordon, Amy Chaplin. Keep sharing your treats and make sure to tag me ch_chitnis and use #icycreamy. Thank you so much for all of your enthusiasm and support! And finally, if you missed my book tour recap be sure to check out my Seattle and San Francisco posts!2016-07-11_0002

How to Write a Book

Over the years I have received numerous emails asking about the process of writing a book. So many people dream of writing a book, and I was one of those people. The idea of seeing my name on the cover of a book, my words and pictures forever bound in a volume and sent out…

cfe18-img_7935 Over the years I have received numerous emails asking about the process of writing a book. So many people dream of writing a book, and I was one of those people. The idea of seeing my name on the cover of a book, my words and pictures forever bound in a volume and sent out into the world to live in kitchens/ on bookshelves…well, that was the stuff of my dreams. In fact, I obsessed about it and made it my mission to learn everything I could about the process. It worked…4 years after I began my writing career I landed my first book deal with The Little Bookroom.  I’ll never forget the feeling of opening the box that contained copies of my first book, Markets of New England. I was trembling with excitement, and upon seeing all those little books with my name on the cover, my eyes filled instantly with tears. I’ll also never forget driving to Boston to meet with my editor, Jenn, at Roost to pick up the first copy of Little Bites.  Now, in just a few short weeks, I’ll be able to hold Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet in my hands! So the question is, how do you move from idea to book? Here I’ll describe the nuts and bolts of the process. Settle in, this is going to be a lengthy post!

THE PROCESS

1. Fiction vs. Non-fiction: The process of pitching your book differs depending on if you are pitching non-fiction or fiction.  For a fiction title, you must have the complete work written before you pitch. For non-fiction work, you must have a book proposal. A book proposal is a document used to interest and ultimately sell an agent and/ or editor on a non-fiction book before the book is actually written.

A book proposal contains the following:

I. Overview

II. Author Profile

III. Comparative Titles

IV. Target Market

V. Promotion

VI. Annotated Table of Contents

VII. Sample Material  (this is where you’d showcase a handful of recipes, projects, chapter openings and pictures)

The book proposal for Little Bites was roughly 40 pages long, so this isn’t just a quick jotting of notes. Months were spent writing and tweaking that proposal.  And let me mention, I have written proposals that have not sold. At the time I was disappointed, to say the least. All that work for nothing! But what I came to realize is that I didn’t have enough to say on the subject and I wasn’t passionate about it- and that came through in the proposal. Here’s something to remember: If you write a book you need to be passionate enough about that subject to be completely wedded to it for at least 2-3 years solid. You will spend 6 months to a year writing the book (here I’m really talking about non-fiction books), and then you will spend 6 months to a year editing the book, and then you will spend 6 months to a year marketing the book, doing interviews and events, and selling it every chance you get. If you write about a subject that is just a passing interest, you will regret it deeply. For example, I live Little Bites every single day; I feed two growing boys three meals a day plus a boatload of snacks EVERY SINGLE DAY! It had been 6 months since Little Bites hit shelves and I still cook from it at least 3-5 times a week. You need that kind of passion and stick-to-itiveness.

2. Agent vs. No Agent: This is a personal choice, but I will say from experience that an agent will move the process along for you.  They have relationships with editors at all the publishing houses and this is what you get an agent for…their relationships.  They will make sure your proposal lands in the right hands.  Certain publishers don’t even accept cold pitches- for those you must use an agent.  Agent’s also protect an authors rights, and in the case of a disagreement with the publisher, the agent can play “bad-cop” so that the author can remain on good terms with their editor.  This is critical as you will work with your editor for over a year, and sometimes longer, to see a book from start to finish. This is critical to remember: you should NEVER have to pay an agent.  Anyone asking for payment is scamming you- the agent only gets paid from the publisher once they sell your book (they usually take 15%).

There are a few ways to find an agent:

  1. Look at related books that you like and check the acknowledgements. If the author had an agent they will usually be thanked.
  2. Writer’s Market and Publisher’s Marketplace and Jeff Herman’s guide to Publishers, Editors and Agents to be useful. Writersmarket.com has a pretty good online resource guide to agents and publishers as well, but it is a paid subscription.
  3. Finally, if you know an author personally, and you have a writing background to back up your request, you might consider asking for an introduction.

3. Query letter: When approaching a publishing house, editor or agent, you need to introduce yourself with a one-page letter, known as a query letter.  There is a science to this letter, in fact I teach an entire online class through Squam about perfecting the query letter, Pitch Perfect, which we’re hoping to run again soon. So that’s all I’ll say about that (wink, wink). Seriously though- there are a ton of great books out there that dissect the query letter and offer examples of successful query letters. Don’t be afraid of your public library- it is 100% where I learned everything about pitching my writing.  That’s no joke!

4. From Agent to Publisher: Let’s assume you went with an agent, and your work was accepted.  Hooray!  Now the two of you will sign a contract, which will stipulate the percentage the agent will make (standard 15%) on your book sale.  From there, you might work together to edit and massage your proposal (non-fiction) or your manuscript (fiction, poetry, memoir).  Once you are at a place where you feel the work is ready, you will come up with a list of publishers that you want to approach, and your agent will begin the work of shopping your work around.

5. Publisher: If more than one publisher is interested, you might have a bidding war (good for you!), but if only one publisher is interested than you begin contract negotiations.  This differs greatly for every book, but it will include your advance (how much you get paid in advance of the book selling) and your due date.  It may also include the number of pictures included, international rights, and a slew of other legal items.  If you are not using an agent, I strongly suggest hiring a lawyer to explain and look over your contract with you.  You want to know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

6. Writing: Once the contract is signed, you hand over your manuscript (fiction) or you begin writing your book (non-fiction).  For example, I had six months to write Markets of New England, a year to write Little Bites, and six months to write Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet. You will begin forming a marketing plan towards the end of your writing process.

7. Editing: Now for the editing, copy-editing, layout and design- a very intensive process that will eventually render proofs (the pages of your book!) for a final read-through before the book goes to press. This can take 6 months  for a photo heavy book.

8. To Press: Off to the press it goes.  Now you turn your attention to marketing- sending out press queries, advance copies and setting up book signings so that by the time your book comes out, it is already receiving press and events are already lined up. I wish someone had told me this before I wrote my first book: you will spend equal amounts of time writing your book as you will promoting it. Marketing is a whole other ballgame and to sum up what I’ve learned over the past 6 years I’ll say this: No one, not a publicist, a book store, an event manager, or anyone else will promote your book like you will. The book is your baby and it is your job to get it out into the world.

So there you have it in a nutshell. There are some fabulous resources out there, including a recent blog post by the always inspirational Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com. She wrote about her book proposal process here. Another great post about the money side of things can be found at Dianne Jacob’s site Will Write For Food here. Finally, I though I would share three titles that I found very helpful when I was writing my very first book proposal (which never was bought, by the way!): How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larson, Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why by Jeff Herman and The Writer’s Guide to Queries, Pitches, and Proposals by Moira Anderson Allen. Lastly, I’ll add this: If/ when I teach Pitch Perfect again, I’d encourage you to check it out if you are interested in writing a book. Once you can write an outstanding query letter, you can capture the attention of editors and agents. Several of my students have their work regularly featured in magazines, and two of them have made the transition to books, having signed agents and constructed book proposals.

I’d love to open the comment section up to questions, as well as stories from your own publishing journeys. Next week I am going to share more about my writing journey, specifically the process of writing and photographing my latest book, Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet. I’d love to make posts like this one a more regular feature. There are so many aspects of writing that I could cover: where to find inspiration, the actual writing process, magazine writing, interviews with authors about how they got their start and the list goes on. Are there any subjects that are of particular interest to you? Let me know, and I’ll do my best to cover them!

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Country Living, September Issue

It’s always thrilling to see your name in print, and when it is attached to an article as lovely as this one, the thrill is over the top.  I pitched this story to Country Living well over a year ago, and through many staff changes and lapses of communication I stuck to this story like…

_MG_7627It’s always thrilling to see your name in print, and when it is attached to an article as lovely as this one, the thrill is over the top.  I pitched this story to Country Living well over a year ago, and through many staff changes and lapses of communication I stuck to this story like a dog with a bone.  It isn’t always easy being a freelancer, throwing your ideas to the wind and hoping they find a place to land.  And sometimes even when they do land, you have to fight for the right to actually write them!  I know…  But the article is gorgeous, the pictures by Stephanie Rausser are stunning and it was such a pleasure getting to know Erin of Floret Flower Farm.  All in all, a great win!  I hope you’ll grab a copy of the September issue (on stands now) and take a peek.

_MG_7631Anyway, this year there are going to be some big changes.  I am going to work part-time at the school where we will be sending the boys once they start kindergarten.  I’m excited and nervous, wondering how I am going to juggle it all.  The boys will still attend their sweet little preschool just a few mornings a week, so my husband and I are going to be switching on and off for childcare, as we’re also losing our amazing sitter this year.  I’m ready to be back in the workforce, working with a great team and being a part of something bigger than myself.  I am also thrilled with the idea of being a part of my kid’s school in such an official capacity.  It feels so right!  That being said I still have my third book launching in April, as well as talks of a fourth, but we’ll just have to see about that!  I’ll always keep writing and photography as part of my life, and I hope to keep this space lively for years to come as I so enjoy it!  But life is shifting, as it tends to do, and I couldn’t be more excited for the new direction.

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Little Bites

A few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Boston to meet with Jenn, my editor at Roost, and pick up a copy of Little Bites.  It’s hard to describe how it felt to hold the actual book in my hands after working on it tirelessly for the past few years.  It surpassed all…

littlebitesA few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Boston to meet with Jenn, my editor at Roost, and pick up a copy of Little Bites.  It’s hard to describe how it felt to hold the actual book in my hands after working on it tirelessly for the past few years.  It surpassed all of my expectations.  The paper quality is gorgeous, the pictures translate beautifully, the size is perfect, and the design is spot-on.  The team at Roost has such vision and I could not be more thrilled to be one of their authors.  I’ve been showing off the book to friends and family, and everyone that has held it and flipped through the pages has fallen in love with the recipes, the words and the pictures.  As one friend said, “This book was made with such intention.”  I love that.  That is what I aspire to both in life and work; creating with intention.

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050115_0101_uncroppedI had the idea for Little Bites when Vijay was about 18 months old.  He is now closing in on 5.  To say that this book was a labor of love would be an understatement!  What’s funny is that I need this book in my life now more than ever.  I have two hungry, active boys to feed and a large part of each day goes into preparing them nutritious and delicious food.  I’m thrilled that Little Bites now lives in my kitchen, where I can browse through it at any given moment for snack-time inspiration.  Below is a peek at what you’ll find inside…in addition to 100 recipes for healthy, kid-friendly snacks, there is a jam-packed introduction and seasonal field trip ideas scattered throughout.  The idea is to make seasonal eating fun, wholesome and accessible!  Children associate snacks with fun, tasty, easy-to-eat foods, but as parents, we know that the very best snacks are all that and more. Snacks, when done right, serve an important purpose–they give our kids a needed boost of energy. Instead of settling for processed crackers or bags of sugary treats, we used our creativity and love of food to develop wholesome snacks that are easy to pack and simple to make.  Sarah is a genius when it comes to feeding kids; her recipes are both inventive and approachable.  It was truly an honor to work alongside her for the past few years.  Without a doubt my culinary skills have improved greatly just from cooking alongside her!  I simply can’t wait for you to try these recipes in your own kitchen.  I can promise there will be much more book talk in the months to come.  Little Bites releases in July, but you can preorder your copy now!

(top three photos by my fave, Forrest!)

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Providence Design*Sponge City Guide

For years now, whenever someone emails me with questions about Providence- where to shop, eat and explore- I direct them to the guide that I wrote for Design*Sponge.  In my mind it was still current, but a few months ago I realized that it had been five years!  Needless to say, it was time for…

The Shop1For years now, whenever someone emails me with questions about Providence- where to shop, eat and explore- I direct them to the guide that I wrote for Design*Sponge.  In my mind it was still current, but a few months ago I realized that it had been five years!  Needless to say, it was time for an update.  As with any relationship, the one I have with my city is full of ups and downs.  I love the vibrant food scene, the fact that we can afford a lovely house yet are in walking distance of everything.  I love my community garden and farmer’s market, and the coffee shop where they know just how I like my iced latte.  I love our neighbors and the fact the kids run back and forth between yards to play with each other.  But the public schools are not great, we deal with high crime rates, and occasionally I yearn for more space and the beauty of nature out my back window.  I’m learning as I get older that nothing is perfect- there is no perfect place to call home.  That being said, I’m pretty darn happy with Providence (for the moment!).  I’d love for you to pop over to Design*Sponge and see the guide that I put together.  It is chock full of all my favorite spots around the city.  We’re lucky to call this vibrant, creative, design-savvy, food-obsessed city home.

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Providence, around town

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Pitch Perfect News

It has been a rather exciting week.  I received several emails from Pitch Perfect graduates sharing their successes.  One of my students landed a piece in an upcoming issue of Food and Wine.  I’m thinking he could teach me a thing or two…I mean, that’s huge!  Another student sent along her first published article, which…

2015-03-25_0001It has been a rather exciting week.  I received several emails from Pitch Perfect graduates sharing their successes.  One of my students landed a piece in an upcoming issue of Food and Wine.  I’m thinking he could teach me a thing or two…I mean, that’s huge!  Another student sent along her first published article, which appeared in the March issue of The Simple Things.  It is a beautifully written article, and I couldn’t be prouder.  Finally, I had a nice chat over the weekend with one of my students who had her book proposal accepted by a major publishing house.  She was thrilled, but had so many questions as she began to navigate the world of advances and contracts.  I felt honored to act as a sounding board.  Those are just a few of the many Pitch Perfect success stories (below are a few more of the magazines that Pitch Perfect students have written for in the past months), and I couldn’t be more excited for my students as they continue on their publishing journeys.  I’d like to think it has a bit to do with my teaching, but in all honesty, I had such a smart, driven and enthusiastic class that I’m pretty sure I could have just sat back and watched them all succeed on their own.  But of course it is always helpful to have the proper tools in your publishing tool belt.  And that is what the class is all about.  I’m gearing up to teach the online course again this May and there is still time to sign up.  There’s nothing like seeing your name in print…trust me, it is such a thrill… and if it’s something you have ever dreamed about, I do hope you’ll consider joining me.

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Pitch Perfect

I just handed in the manuscript for my THIRD book.  Now there is sentence I never dreamed I would be writing when I began my freelance career seven years ago.  It is another cookbook and this time I was responsible creating, testing and photographing all of the recipes, as well as all the writing.  Whew! …

I just handed in the manuscript for my THIRD book.  Now there is sentence I never dreamed I would be writing when I began my freelance career seven years ago.  It is another cookbook and this time I was responsible creating, testing and photographing all of the recipes, as well as all the writing.  Whew!  It is going to be a beauty, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  But first, we’ll soon be talking about Little Bites (the cover is now on the sidebar of the blog for your viewing pleasure!) which releases in July.  I feel comfortable calling myself a writer now.  Not a day goes by that I don’t write in some capacity, whether it is working on a book, article or blog post.

What makes you a writer is the act of writing.  It doesn’t matter if you never see a word published.  If you write, you are a writer.  If writing is something you must do, you are a writer.  But just in case you are a writer that does indeed want to see their work published, I have the class for you.  I’m teaching Pitch Perfect again this year.  The class was a wonderful success last year and my students have gone on to see their work published in a variety of magazines.  Two of my students landed themselves columns in regional publications.  I mean….!  Wow.

Pitch Perfect is all about learning to craft a winning query letter.  Editors, agents and publishers get thousands of emails every week from wonderful, creative people whose work does NOT get chosen.  I’d love to teach you how to make your pitch stand out from the crowd.  And this skill isn’t limited to writers seeking publication.  Knowing how to write the perfect query letter is a skill you will be grateful to have simply when trying to land a job interview.

The class runs for the month of May– four weeks jam packed with information.  There will be interviews with magazine editors, freelance writers, authors and book editors (including my editor at Roost, and Melanie Falick, who is responsible for bringing into being some of the most beloved craft books in existence!).  It’s going to be incredible, and I’d love to have you join me.

Visit Squam to register.

Week by Week we’ll be covering the following topics:

Week One: Introduction to Magazine Writing

Week Two: Diving into the Query Letter

Week Three: Editing and Refining Query Letters

Week Four: Editor Etiquette, Books, Agents and more

Finally, I’d love to share some of the feedback I received from my first class of students:

“Before the course began, I had a dream, a journal and a folder full of ideas, but no clue as to how to implement any of it. Pitch Perfect gave me the tools to turn my dream into a reality! For those contemplating being a part of spring’s Pitch Perfect, wherever your writing dreams fall, I can guarantee you will gain so much from this course.  In years to come I will look back upon my experience with Christine and my fellow classmates as being the catalyst for turning my dream into reality.” – Xan Holyoak

“With the confidence and knowledge I gained from Pitch Perfect, I pitched to Minnesota Parent Magazine, my ideas were well received and several feature articles were published. Since that additional contact I have continued to write for this publication and I recently was offered a position to write a column!” – Megan Devine 

“What a fantastic experience! I can’t believe how quickly these 4 weeks rolled by. I feel like I’ve finally taken solid steps towards a “real” writing career. Thank you Christine! You are a natural at teaching. If you offer future courses, I’m in!” – Indiana Lori

“Christine, I appreciated how well organized this workshop was. Your message and ideas were so focused, and clearly communicated. You are an encouraging teacher, and inspiring mentor.” – Anita

“The information in this class was fantastic, while the assignments forced me to do the homework of looking up submission guidelines and writing an actual query letter (which I submitted!). I feel EQUIPPED as a result of this class. Thank you, Christine! You are a brilliant teacher. I would jump at the chance to take another class with you.” – Jennifer

2014: A Look Back

Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2015 in style.  I was in bed, wearing a ratty bathrobe and sound asleep by midnight but we did enjoy a big family dinner where we all got dressed up and ate some fabulous food.  All in all, it was perfect.  I hadn’t planned on looking back at…

_MG_6077Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2015 in style.  I was in bed, wearing a ratty bathrobe and sound asleep by midnight but we did enjoy a big family dinner where we all got dressed up and ate some fabulous food.  All in all, it was perfect.  I hadn’t planned on looking back at the year that was…but I thought that such a year required a bit of reflection and as I scrolled back through my posts, month by month, it occurred to me that 2014 was quite a year.  Settle in…this is a length one!

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Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.59.02 PMJanuary: We kicked off the year by spending a month in India and Bhutan.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime and remains my most cherished memory of the year.  When I returned home, I launched my first pop-up shop, which was super fun.  That led to selling my wares at Squam and another pop-up shop later in the year.  I’d love to do more of these in 2015!

_MG_7396February: We renovated our cold, dark attic and turned it into a light-filled studio where I spend my working hours writing, photographing, sewing and knitting.  This place is my sanctuary.

_MG_8010March: I finished my first real sweater, Antler, with short rows and shaping and all those knitterly things that I have come to know and love through the course of this year.  This sweater remains my greatest knitting achievement and my most worn handmade piece.

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_MG_9210April: We spent the most heavenly ten days in Dominican Republic with my parents and younger brother.  It was the perfect break from the freezing spring that we were experiencing back in Rhode Island.  Luckily, we made it home in time to catch the blossoms.  The weeks where our beautiful town is in bloom are always some of my favorite of the year.

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PROMO-IMAGE-PITCH-PERFECT-THE-ART-WIDE-700-WEBMay: I made my yearly pilgrimage to Brimfield Antique Show.  I think I bought $2 worth of quilt scraps, but my favorite part is taking pictures of all the interesting things you find at the show.  It is always sensory overload, but I can’t help being pulled back year after year.  I also kept busy teaching Pitch Perfect, which was such an amazing experience.  I will be teaching the course again this year, online through Squam.  I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon!

_MG_0210June: Ahhh, June.  The weather is finally warm, and I take my yearly getaway to Squam.  I always look forward to my time here, and every year I am so grateful that I get to be a part of this amazing community of makers.

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_MG_2646July: My most favorite month of the year!  Every year we spend the entire month in Northern Michigan with my family (I even wrote a guide to the area here).  It is a true old-fashioned summer; swimming in the lake, playing on the beach, visiting the dunes, riding bikes into town for ice cream, spending time in nature, watching my boys running wild and free with the kids along our dirt lane, learning to water ski, eating our weight in cherries….the stuff of life.  Northern Michigan, specifically our family cottage on Torch Lake, is my happy place.  And how lucky is Vik that he gets to celebrate his birthday “Up North?”  It is my most favorite place in the whole world and we are so darn lucky to spend our summers there.

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_MG_3163August: It is all about the garden in August.  All the good stuff is ready to harvest, including cherry tomatoes, my favorite.  You can feel summer beginning to wane in August, and that is always bittersweet, but August holds such beauty that it is worth staying in the moment.

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_MG_5473September: What a busy month, full of new experiences.  Vijay started school, which was very tough emotionally for both of us but has turned out to be the best thing we could have ever hoped for.  I started contributing to Gardenista, which has been such a privilege and has given me the chance to explore some amazing gardens and shops.  My husband and I went on an overnight trip to Vermont, our first time as a couple ever away from the kids for a night.  And I made a quick trip to Squam, arriving just in time for the fair and a day of relaxing.  Yes, we were on the move in September! I also made reading a priority again, and you all chimed in with amazing suggestions.  I’ve been making my way through the list and have yet to be disappointed.  Expect plenty more book reviews in 2015.

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_MG_7267October: As we settled into our new school routine, which consists of preschool on Tuesday and Thursday morning, we also celebrated Vijay’s fourth birthday with all of his sweet classmates, and the local fire station.  It was a PARTY!

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_MG_8634November: What a gorgeous fall we were blessed with in Rhode Island.  It was sunny and sparkling almost every day, and the leaves were absolutely riotous.  I paid a visit to Tower Hill Botanic Garden for Gardenista and had the most amazing time wondering around their fall gardens.  I also finished my favorite sewn wardrobe addition…this quilted vest from The Purl Bee.

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_MG_0093December: Here I thought December was such a slow and peaceful month, but we traveled to Chicago for Thanksgiving (returning the 1st of December), then I took off for Martha’s Vineyard to finish up a few book details, and after decking out our own small tree, we packed up and headed to Michigan for Christmas and the New Year.

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sewnAll in all, it was an amazing year.  In addition to all of our travels and all the excitement, it was the year that I felt my work life finally dropped into place.  I was hard at work on my second book, which is so near and dear to my heart, I contributed regularly to Edible Rhody and Gardenista, I taught Pitch Perfect, and launched a few pop-up shops.  2015 is going to be filled with even greater accomplishments…I can feel it and it makes me so very excited.  2014 was also the year of making…between sewing and knitting I pretty much have made a complete wardrobe, and with each piece I gain a better understanding of my fit and personal style.  Above are just a few of my favorite makes of 2014.

I try to keep this a place of positivity and beauty, so it is interesting to scroll through these posts and see so many of the harder emotional things missing.  But it is also a beautiful reminder of how much we have to be thankful for and how unbelievably blessed we are as a family.  If 2015 is half as gorgeous, we’re in for a great year!  And after that look back, I’m excited to move forward.

Gardenista Gig

With Vijay in school two mornings a week, I have a bit of breathing room in my schedule right now.  Of course I still have Vik home during that time, but he is a totally different kid than his brother.  He is happy to play independently in the backyard while I sit on the patio…

_MG_4965With Vijay in school two mornings a week, I have a bit of breathing room in my schedule right now.  Of course I still have Vik home during that time, but he is a totally different kid than his brother.  He is happy to play independently in the backyard while I sit on the patio with my coffee and write.  We still plan fun activities to do together, just the two of us, but there are days where I take an hour or so to work.  This has meant that I am able to take on some super fun freelance work, including contributing quite regularly to Gardenista, a gorgeous gardening/diy/ inspiration site.

_MG_4624I wanted to share with you my latest article featuring Robin Hollow Farm, a beautiful flower farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island.  While you’re there, I’d love for you to take a look at my other articles.  It has been so much fun to get out into the community of gardeners and growers here in Rhode Island, and mix it up a bit.  And if you know of any beautiful gardens in the area, please send your recommendations my way!  I’m at the point where I need a bumper sticker on my car that reads, “Will break for beautiful gardens,” as I am always on the lookout for promising stories.

*Georgia Marsh’s stunning Jamestown garden

*Cluck, a perfectly curated gardening shop in Providence

*DIY: Back-to-School Hand Sanitizer

*Eva’s Secret Garden

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Somerset Life; A Giveaway

“My blog has been a constant in my life for over five years now, and I have never appreciated it more than I do now, as a busy mother.  The boys’ baby books, which I started with the best of intentions, sit in the attic collecting dust.  Our family photo albums are woefully in need…

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 12.17.23 PMMy blog has been a constant in my life for over five years now, and I have never appreciated it more than I do now, as a busy mother.  The boys’ baby books, which I started with the best of intentions, sit in the attic collecting dust.  Our family photo albums are woefully in need of an update.  But my blog serves as a memory keeper, a journal capturing the moments of beauty that come along with all the hard work and exhaustion of mothering small children.”

Somerset Life, Winter 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 12.17.42 PMI started blogging the year I married my husband.  We’ve since bought our home, and welcomed two babies.  I’ve launched a new career, published a book and am busy working on the second.  We’ve traveled the world, made amazing friends, and fully explored our beloved city of Providence.  I’ve rediscovered my love of knitting and sewing.  I learned to grow vegetables and keep chickens.  I’ve painted and redecorated almost every square inch of our home.  Through it all, I’ve blogged.  When Somerset Life reached out to me to ask if I wanted to write about what blogging means to me, my initial response was to decline.  Our trip to India was looming, I was busy working on the book, and filming my e-course.  Yet the topic pulled me in and forced me to think.  Why do I blog?  What does it all mean to me?  I decided to take the time to put my feelings into words, and the article appears in the current issue of Somerset Life.  I’d love to give away a copy to one reader.  For a chance to enter, simply leave a comment, and make sure I have a way of getting in touch with you should you be the winner!

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