30 November 2012

Love Announcements


Happy Friday, everyone!

Ahhh...the first weekend of December.  So exciting.  I can't wait to enjoy a few festivities in the city over the next few weeks.  Right now I'm most excited about doing some gift shopping at the Holiday Market at the Brooklyn Flea (I always love the chance to support Brooklyn's local artists and businesses.)  And, I'm excited about a good old fashioned cookie swap.  I've never been to one! 

And tonight?  Date night with Danny!  :) 


And...here are some things I can't help but recommend...

-Mumford & Sons.  Do you guys know this English folk rock band?  I am sure everyone knows about them by now.  We are so behind the times. :)  But we just bought two albums (Babel and Sigh No More) and we are loving them so much! 

-This first review of Les Miserables will make you so excited.  The film got a standing ovation at the first screening!

-If you go to Bryant Park for iceskating, go to Kettle Corn NYC in the Christmas Market.  I had it once last year and I'm obviously still dreaming about it. :)

-Who knew that organic chapstick could come in this many flavors?  (Love the packaging!)

-This had us laughing out loud.

-And, every woman needs to listen to this!  It will help you own your beauty!!

Thanks to all our readers.  We think of you guys all the time, in case you were wondering :)

love,
Mara
 

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29 November 2012

Lighthouse

You guys, I can't stop!  I just love these prints from Print Aid NYC so much.  I guess I just have such a fondness for good design.  Living here in Brooklyn I have been SPOILED ROTTEN, I tell you, by being surrounded by some of the most amazing designers in New York.  I'm so thankful for them.  They make this world a prettier place to look at...and in this case, they are doing it out of love for the communities of New York.  I can't say enough good about these designers.

MK

P.S.  I love this print by Alonzo Felix!  How cute would this be in a child's room?  Mmm...yes.  (I'm secretly so excited that our children will have roots in New York.  I've always thought I wouldn't  leave this place until my apartment was busting at the seams.  That's at least 2 kids.  Maybe 3.  I'm so excited to see this unfold.  And, feeling extra grateful just for the excitement alone.  It's been kicking in more and more  :)

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Love Story: A Long One, But It's So Good I Couldn't Resist. :)


The continuation of our letters...after meeting each other just one time... :)

Darling,

It's amazing how much each day is full of so many smiles and good thoughts.  I think it's making the time go quickly.

You should know that even though we are so far away, you have such a presence in my home.  You are spoken of non-stop, your flowers still remain in my kitchen, and you are so much a part of my life here.  Having you as part of my day has changed my entire existence here.  It's so recognizable!  Everything I do just feels different...and so many things remind me of you.  I feel SO honored and grateful that I get to have this privilege of having you in my life.  I look forward to creating many memories both in Boston and NY so that when I walk down the street, I can think about you and remember places we went or things we did together.  I'm so grateful to have some of those memories already. 

Do you ever think about what it would be like to live with another woman?  Isn't it kind of strange to envision living with someone else?  :)  It is very, very exciting to me.  But it just seems like a huge adventure.  Because, as you can relate, I've lived for so many years according to a certain norm or certain roles or certain patterns.  And now I've had to adjust to being alone.  Anyway, I will just LOVE to live with a spouse again.  I simply cannot wait.  But it will be an adventure living with someone, blending our lives, learning more and more about each other, etc.  It just seems so different to do all that at this age or at this point of our lives - it's not like we're starting from scratch in our 20s.  It will just be a completely new experience - unlike anything I've experienced.  And I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!  I just find it so fun being with a spouse and living with them, etc...it really is an amazing gift.  And I can't wait to experience all of it.

Oh man, I just thought about wanting to kiss you.  I really shouldn't do that.  I suddenly can't breathe.

I love you.  I miss you.  I want you.

With so much love,

Mara


(All photos by one of our favorite people & photographers, Saydi Eyre Shumway)

Mara,

Darling you are so very good to me!  I am seriously lucky to be in love with and loved by you!

Oh, and I'm glad I've got a presence in your apartment...not just to ward off potential suitors (haha), but because that's exactly what I want you to have...whether it's the physical presence of the flowers, the smell on the pillow, the book you read before you retire, the thoughts that occupy your mind, the emails you receive from me...and yes, especially the love you feel and which is written in your very countenance...I want you to have all of those things, and will do my best to make my presence tangible over these few months.

I was so happy to get your email. I was stuck in traffic when I got it. At your last comment about wanting to kiss (first of all I know exactly what you mean, I almost can't even entertain the idea I want it too much) I found myself reaching over to the passenger chair as if my hand would meet yours and just brushing my hand back and forth as if to tickle your arm or caress your knee. It didn't hurt that I was already listening to a song that made me want you.  It was amazing because I could almost feel you there!  It's as if you've become so engrained in my heart and in my thoughts that I can just close my eyes, reach out my hand, and just feel you.  And when I do, this calm and peace just washes over my heart, I feel at peace and at ease, I feel happy and I feel loved, and I want to love you.  I think this has come as a natural extension of thinking about you before I go to bed as I reread one last email, or as I wake in the morning to see what treasure came in over night.  You are the first and last thing I think of each day, and pretty much everything in between.  I can feel your presence, because you are with me in a very real way.  And I LOVE that!

Mara, I love sharing with you the things I do...it feels so good to be completely open, to let you know that I long for you, and how I seek to ease that longing in picturing you with me, in listening to music that reminds me of you, in writing you and reading your oh so lovely words.  You are home to me, I feel entirely comfortable in your arms, both physical and metaphorical.

Which is why I think, in answer to your last paragraph, it's safe to say I can't wait to blend my life with the woman I love.  I know in some ways it's easy to romanticize how wonderful it will be, I mean who honestly thinks beforehand of the things that might possibly annoy them about their spouse.  But I think this is where you and I have a significant advantage...I already know I won't blow up about what are usually small and insignificant differences in the way we do our day to day routines.  I already know I won't fight about those things, I already know that I will try to do my best to adjust my habits to suit/serve my wife, and that I will be able to look with patience and a little bit of humor at the things that have the potential to "drive me crazy".  So though I know it won't ALL be this amazing combination of two lives, I'm fairly confident MOST of it will be, as long as my partner is also patient and kind and loving.  I just can't wait to enjoy that companionship, that loving support, those hugs after a long day, the healing that comes from having a good woman to climb into bed with and love.  I can't wait to do things together, be it cooking/cleaning, cuddling up to watch a movie, and maybe not watching one minute of that movie..haha.  I'm with you darling...I CANNOT WAIT either!!!

I love you.

Big long hugs...like the kind I'm going to give you when I see you next!

Danny
 
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28 November 2012

A 35-Mile Rainbow Illuminates New York!

Last night we had quite a heartfelt experience.  A dear friend of ours has stage 4 brain and lung cancer.  We picked her up from the hospital last night, moments after she was told that her cycle of chemo was unsuccessful and that the cancer had spread.  :(  Yet this news did not cause her to miss a beat.  She has all the peace in the world right now.  This dear friend is also from Jamaica...so we listened to Bob Marley all the way home and she had the biggest smile on her face.  And then!  You guys!  We kept seeing this rainbow ahead of us as we drove down Flatbush Avenue!  It kept getting more and more magnificent as we approached the Manhattan Bridge.  We had no idea why it was there, but it was just the most beautiful site and caused a lot of excitement and wonder in the car as we drove along.  We told her it had her name all over it.  She had plans to watch it from her window that evening as she would have the perfect view of it from her home.

I was so thankful for that rainbow last night.  And then today I found out what it's for and I'm even more thankful for it!!!  An amazing artist, Yvette Mattern, has dedicated this 35-mile light installation as a memorial to Sandy victims.  (Read all about it on Co.Exist or HuffPo.)  It was on display last night and will be on again the nights of Nov. 28 & 29.  It's streaming from the High Line towards the storm devastated areas in Brooklyn.  Oh, I love it.  And I love New York.  

“I hope that seeing this beacon in the night sky will provide people with a sense of peace and security in this time of crisis and that it will unify us with its presence so we remember that we are all in this together, regardless of divisions of class, race, religion, and culture.”  - Yvette Mattern
  
(Amazing photos by Drew Anthony Smith/Fast Company)

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One of the Worst Parts About Getting a Divorce: Telling Children


Telling people about the divorce was excruciating.

Even after it was not 'new' news to me, it was still sad to tell people who were hearing it for the first time.  A year later, some people still hadn't heard the news.  Perhaps they were old friends returning to Brooklyn for a visit.  And then I'd have to tell them.  It was sad every time.

But nothing compared to telling children about the divorce.

Nothing broke my heart more throughout the entire thing.

We had some nieces and nephews.  We also had close relationships with many of the youth in Brooklyn - mainly through church.  And we knew my boss's sweet children very well, too.  I hated telling them all.

Soon after the divorce, I went to St. Barth's with my boss and his family (and several other families).  My ex-husband normally would accompany me on those annual trips and he knew all the children very well.  But this time, it was just me.  One of the little girls said to me, "Mara, I know I'm not supposed to ask you something....but is it ok if I still ask you?  Is it true that you broke up?  I heard that you broke up.  It just can't be true and I don't believe it, so I had to ask you."  She was the saddest, sweetest, most compassionate little 5-year old ever as she asked me this question. 

I told her that it was true.  But that I was doing really well and that I was still really happy and that I was going to carry on and still have a good and happy life.  I told her that my husband just wanted to live a different life now and that he would be ok, too.  I had a tear in my eye to see her so sad.   

The youth in Brooklyn that we knew were teenagers.  They looked up to us a lot - and I hated having them see a divorce so first hand when kids need as many good examples of marriage as they can get.  But I decided that I would do everything I could to still show them that marriage and living a good life were as important as ever to me.  They heard me often talking about how much I valued marriage and how important it was to be a good spouse.  And they were very much on my mind as I moved forward and decided how I was going to live my life.  I wanted to make it up to them in any way that I could. 

Have you ever had to explain a divorce to a child?  How did you do it?  Do you have any tips for others?  xo



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27 November 2012

A Rainy Day

Print Aid NYC is going strong!  They have lots of new prints from some amazing designers/artists/photographers.  Everyday it's so exciting for me to see what new prints are coming in.  (All prints are a steal for $30...they are donating 100% to Sandy relief).  I love this print by Megan Joplin.  This happens to be exactly what New York looks like today.  As I look out my windows, they have a little rain on them and the skies look just like this.

I love thinking about rain - many people say it's in the rain that we let people know what we're truly made of.  I have to agree.  It's in the littlest changes in "weather" in our lives that our true character shines through.  Recently I wasn't too happy with a dentist who made some mistakes.  In the long run, it isn't a big deal.  But in the moment, I felt some frustration.  It was a good reminder to let go...to try and handle the situation in the best way possible...to maintain the person that I wanted to be, even on that "rainy day".  I would love this print hanging on my wall as a reminder to always do that.

And for the ultimate inspiration today...may I convince you to read this article about a couple who is planning a wedding, despite a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis.  This is a lot more than a rainy day for them, but you will be blown away at these two people and the positive lives they are living right now.  It's truly one of the most beautiful stories I've heard in a long while...(thank you, Jane, for sending along.)

May you all have a beautiful day!

Lots of love from rainy Brooklyn,

Mara

Note:  The last day to order a Print Aid poster is Dec. 2!  Today is Giving Tuesday...a day dedicated to giving.  Buying a print would be the perfect way to participate in this new world-wide tradition!
Here's the view out my window.  I have been holding off on a walk, but after writing this post, I think I want to head out there anyway and just experience the rain today.  :)  xo

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Hats!

I am crazy about hats.  I haven't really indulged in nice ones.  But I'd love to.  It's a little dream of mine to have a collection of amazing hats.  (Danny is ahead of me on this one.)

These gorgeous people are my grandparents!  They were known for wearing hats - and always tilted them to the side.  I love that.  (My grandmother was a rodeo queen in Bisbee, AZ.  What I would give for her wardrobe!) 

This video about shopping for hats (by a New York shopkeeper) was fascinating.  And here are a few hat shops in New York that have my stamp of approval:

Worth & Worth (the shop from the video).  I bet one of the felt hats would be awesome.
Barbara Feinman Millinery (they make most of their hats on site)
The Hat Shop (great selection and very knowledgeable/experienced owner)
JJ Hat Center (NY's oldest chapeau shop)
Yestadt Millinery

And...some hat inspiration from around the web:



Madewell.  Also, those tights! and shoes! and everything.











 Colenimo (Spring/Summer 13).  Loving the length of this skirt, the oxfords & the buttoned up shirt.



Tickled Pickle.  That coat. Always love the contrast of winter white with black.  And that leather bag is timeless.
Design Love Fest.  Yes, please.












Jim Marshall.  A gorgeous trio of hats (& sisters).
Naomi.  I'd take a floppy hat (& a red nose.)




Natalie.  & Huck!  Adorable.











Yestadt Millinery.  I would totally do pom poms.

 Modern Hepburn.  Please take me to the Met!

 Appleday.  And apple cheeks.


Madewell.  And two staples we all need:  a gray T-shirt & La Seine.

Do you guys like wearing hats?  Or do you have another personal trademark?  People always say my trademark is my wavy hair or my leather hand bag, which I've used for about 7 years straight now.  Maybe someday it will be hats, too.

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26 November 2012

Yellow Happiness

OK, I have LOVED seeing all the awesome yellow pics you guys have sent in.  It has been so fun to see them.  Over the next little bit, I'm going to share them on the blog.  You'll have lots of yellow for your Pinterest boards!  :)

For starters, I am dying over these yellow dining chairs from Lisa Heaton.  Oh man.  I want them.  Lisa said she's loved yellow for years and that sometimes she feels silly about all her yellow, but that it really does cheer her up and give her a shot of happy every day.  I love it.

See her yellow ginger jar lamps, above.

And here is her kids' Rody Horse (made in Italy).  I had never heard of this thing, but she said it's hilarious.  This Youtube video proves it.

Thanks, Lisa!!

_________________________________________________________________________________

P.S.  We chose (4) random winners for the yellow taffeta Apron Top!  Please contact me soon and I will have a package on it's way to you.  So excited for you guys to get a new top.  I just love wearing mine. 

1.  Jill - November 19, 2012 8:30 AM

Thanks for hosting such a lovely giveaway!  This Thanksgiving, I feel like I have more gratitude in my heart for everything in my life, in large part because of the perspective that I've gotten from this blog this past year. Thank you!

2.  Jen - November 19, 2012 11:41 AM

I love the color yellow...and your blog!

3.  Natalie - November 19, 2012 3:09 PM

Yellow is exactly what I need in the winter time!
And that top looks so, SO classy!

4.  Amee - November 20, 2012 12:54 PM

You're inspiring! Thanks for sharing your fairytale of a love story with the world.  I'll take my yellow tulips and 2 doses of your blog every day of the week!

Counting Blessings

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Danny and I had a great one.  And yes, "Steaksgiving" was everything we hoped it would be :)  We loved it.   I wondered if I might end up missing the turkey even a tiny bit, due to tradition, but I didn't.  (Btw, I never really ate steak before Danny.  But he introduced me to a perfectly cooked and seasoned filet mignon and now it's one of our favorite ways to celebrate.)

After our meal, we went around the table, with our friends & their children, and each said what we were thankful for.  :)  It really was so sweet.  It became my turn and oh no - tears!  haha.  Couldn't help it.  I guess there is just so much to be grateful for.  I'm grateful for my life, for all the experiences I've had to date.  And now...holy crap...to be able to share this life with the most loving companion I could imagine!  Well, it's a miracle to me.  And it's something I don't take lightly.  In fact, this blessing has provided so much abundance, that I just felt I had to give back somehow (yay for blogs!)

 


Also thankful for:

The privilege of trying to see life in the best way possible.  This is something I got a better grasp on at age 30.  I used to not fully do it so regularly.  But now I can see the beauty in all things...even the toughest parts of life.  There is redemption available to us all, at ALL times.
 
A huge reduction of fear.  I don't fear life anymore.  Once in a while fears come up, but I know dang well what to do with them.  I can deal with them and replace and uproot them completely by focusing on a greater pursuit. 

The knowledge that my circumstances do not have to dictate my state of being.  I've learned to not "need" things to turn out a certain way.  If things don't go the way I planned...well, it's just a new experience to have; an opportunity to practice the thing that matters most...which is letting go and cultivating love.

The knowledge that I am in charge of my own happiness.  Not Danny.  Not my future kids.  So glad to know that putting other people in charge of my wellness never leads to REAL and lasting happiness.  It only leads to ups and downs...an emotional roller coaster.

Self-worth / confidence.  This has been one of the most amazing gifts.  We ALL have self-worth...it's just a matter of believing it.  I finally started to believe it a few years ago.  And it has enriched my experience in this world and my marriage (and all relationships) probably more than any other thing. 

My gluten free / dairy free / daily walking lifestyle.  Yep.  I know that sounds crazy.  But I'm thankful for it.  The effects of it (for me) are just way too great.  As much as I miss good bread, yogurt, cheese, and New York pizza, I wouldn't dream of going back to it.  Physical health is COMPLETELY linked to emotional health.  It's extremely difficult to handle life & relationships in the best way when you are physically not well.  Also, I'm thankful for my walks (& runs).  If I ever struggle with something for even but a moment, guaranteed it will be a week or month when I've been glued to my computer and not getting in my walks.  But the minute I get out there, I can reverse any bit of an unfavorable mood.  It really is like magic.

New York.  It has been an honor to live here.  I came at age 22 and I feel as though I've grown up here.  It's caused my heart to beat in ways I never thought was possible.  I've seen & experienced so much beauty here - enough to last a lifetime.  Thanksgiving Day brought back SO many memories of being surrounded by some of the best people in the world, all crowded in small apartments, all making the best food, and just sharing life together here. 

This blog.  It has been a joy and an honor to have this experience.  We're deeply grateful for all the connections we've made with you.  Thank you for all your notes, comments, kindness, and support.  You inspire us more than we can ever say.

XO,
Mara

P.S.  We adore this little guy to no end.  We got to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family.  He's wearing here what he regularly calls his "Danny Shirt."  :)  :)  :)  Oh man, he pretty much makes us melt to pieces.  And...may I add that the chocolate tart he was eating was a dairy free/ gluten free masterpiece.  We couldn't believe how well it turned out.  Recipe coming!


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25 November 2012

From Sandy: Some Recommendations From the Field...

We have had the honor of doing Sandy clean-up with some amazing people each weekend.   While we're out there, we talk in between loads of debris.  And of course, we're always exchanging good ideas and new things to try.

Here are some new-to-me recommendations that I had to share with you:

WRAP-N-MATS:  While out in the field, it's essential to bring your own sack lunch.  In fact, lunch time is super fun.  We have a tail gate and so we've been "tail gating"!!  Not something we normally do around here.  It's been so fun.  Well, more than one of my cool friends pulled out these "Wrap-N-Mats" at lunchtime.  They are reusable sandwich holders AND they double as a clean place mat.  On sale now for $7.59.  So smart.  Much better than a zip lock bag.  This just might be in Danny's stocking this year.  :)

PHILLIPS WAKE-UP LIGHT:  We've had to get up earlier than normal to get out to Staten Island or Coney Island...though our commute is nothing compared to many people we were working alongside.  So many have been getting up at 3:00 am (!)  in order to drive and get to NY in time.  I'm telling you, these people we've met are the best in the world.  Anyway, one of our new good friends told us about this amazing alarm clock she uses, the Phillips Wake-Up Light.  This alarm will mimic the sun by gradually lighting up your room in the morning.  She said this thing has been money well spent in her book.  Waking up is loathsome for her and this has helped immensely.  I really, really want to get one of these!!  It even plays a cricket sound if you want it to (yes, please!)  I hope Santa is reading this.  :)

LOUNGE WEAR FROM UNIQLO:  Working out in the field all day kicks our butts completely.  We've been using muscles we didn't even know we had.  And you get very, very dirty, to say the least.  Though somehow the whole experience of piling up debris or deconstructing a house makes you feel strong and powerful.  But, at the end of the day, there is nothing better than a hot shower and some clean cozy clothes.  I've been shocked at how much I've had cozy clothes on the brain after these Sandy clean-up days.  It's like the ONLY thing you could imagine wearing after that shower.  One of our friends out there told us about the lounge wear from Uniqlo.  She later sent me the link and said these are "the BEST pants in the world.  They come in 6-10 different colors and patterns in the store; the ribbed cuff is key.  You'll find them in packaged-clothing section with socks, leggings, and misc. underpinnings."  I want to get some of these ASAP.  I love that they're so affordable ($12.90).  Did you know that Uniqlo just launched on-line shopping?  :)  New Yorkers can no longer brag about getting to shop at Uniqlo.  :)



SUSHI:  You know New Yorkers, we are crazy about food.  And when you're working and hungry, it's a sure thing you'll start swapping restaurant recommendations.  Well, here's a sushi place that we now are DYING to try...Hatsuhana.  It opened in 1976 and it's strictly a sushi specialty restaurant.  Some people say it's one of the best sushi restaurants in all of NYC.  Also, it's always a treat to have them prepare sushi right in front of you.  Again, dying to go there :)  (Especially after seeing the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi...one of our favorite documentaries we've seen in a long time.)

Hope you enjoyed these recommendations as much as I did.  (THANKS, MELISSA & PAWEL!)

Mara

P.S.  Have you put your name in for one of the Harvey Faircloth gifts I'm giving away? There's still time.  I'll be choosing some names tomorrow, on Monday.   So far, I have LOOOVED everyone's comments.  They have been so fun to read.

22 November 2012

In Case You're Wishing You Were In Love For the Holidays...


To anyone feeling alone or wishing their lives were different, we are thinking of you today...

It seems the holidays are a time when you just want to be in love...and be loved.  Moms and Dads and siblings are wonderful.  But as an adult, it seems nothing beats having your own loving partner to kiss in the kitchen, attend parties with, hold hands with under the table, snuggle up with on a chilly night.  And just feeling that sense of belonging, intimacy, and excitement seems like the best way to have a memorable holiday.

When my first husband left, early fall was in the air.  That meant Thanksgiving was around the corner.  My first holiday without my husband.

It was strange, I must say.  I had no one to plan a menu with; no one to call my own "family"; no holiday travel with my husband.  Being alone still felt very, very new.  Just 3 months prior we were husband and wife.  And now we wouldn't even be in the same state on Thanksgiving Day. 

But...the joy & peace that I have tried to describe to you all was vibrant and real at that time.  I had let go of that need to be with a loving partner.  Well, it was something I still hoped to have some day.  But I had surrendered to my life without it - my beautiful life - just as it was.  You see, I had a husband...and then he was gone.  And I didn't die!  haha.  I was still alive!  I was quite amazed, actually, that it really wasn't the end of the world.  It became more and more clear to me that I did not need a husband to have a wonderful Thanksgiving...or a wonderful life.  I didn't need anything, actually.  Just myself.  Just my heart.  Just my own breath.  That was enough.  With that, I could have a purpose.  I could be a good influence.  I could find joy in all the beauty of life.  And the most important part?  I could work to align myself with all the virtues - - virtues that God embodies - - in order to taste real joy, the kind that is not dependent upon our circumstances.  I previously wasn't so sure about God, you guys.  But as I started to try to align with everything he stands for and make that my compass, my life changed completely.  I truly became a different woman.  And that's how I learned that God was legit.  :)

And so, that first Thanksgiving alone was a good one.  Some former Brooklyn friends now living in Westchester invited me to join them.  And it just felt really good to be surrounded by some amazing people.  It was amazing to be there solo and to still be happy.  It was one of my most empowering moments in those early days. 

So - to any dear ones who may be feeling alone this holiday - - may you be able to feel like you are enough - just you!  Just as you are!  Everything you need is already with you now.  May you be able to hold your head high and feel like you have a purpose in this life - even if it's the most basic purpose (for me, that is to try and become a better person.)

And may you feel gratitude for every bit of love and sweetness that has ever come your way.  There is so much to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Sending you our love & best wishes for a wonderful holiday,

Mara & Danny

P.S.  My prayer for today.

P.P.S.  Remember this tart? :)  I just splurged and made it for the first time...it is perfection.  I used coconut cream in place of heavy cream.  I used gluten-free ginger snaps from Trader Joe's.  And ghee instead of butter.  Have you guys ever used ghee (it's clarified butter)?  (My doctor said this was OK for me to eat and that it wouldn't cause reactions like dairy does.  Yay for "butter"!  

(image found here.) 

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