23 January 2019

Two thousand and seventy posts.

I can hardly believe this will be number 2,070. I've posted a lot throughout the years and yet rarely return to read them. The recipe section has been helpful, although I've succeeded at avoiding the rest. The other posts, I am happy exist, even if I don't want to see them. I hear of celebrities who don't watch the films they star in. Which seems preposterous, but I get it. It feels like a no win situation. I will likely cringe at the sight of most of these essays. Especially the ones that are dripping with self righteous advice or motherly counsel. Gotta love mothering advice from someone who has been a mom all of a year and a half. The posts that are decent, I will feel guilt I abandoned my writing practice so early on. And of course the mom guilt sets in for the fact that there are so many posts about my sweet firstborn, baby Benji and hardly any description about our other two, who are equally as sweet and adorable.

I hope to describe them accurately in future posts as I see they change so rapidly. My heart feels consumed with loving them and knowing them and observing them, the writer in me wants to describe every inch of raising them. I battle with being fully present and also taking constant notes about who they are, what they said, and how they feel so fresh from heaven. Seth, age 6, talks regularly about his Opa and will bring him up in casual conversation without any prompting. I feel like my dad is their guardian angel in a very real way. The way that Opa is in their thoughts more so than ever before makes me think their open, unjaded souls can possibly feel heaven more clearly and closely than I can. (Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.)

I remembering hearing the phrase the more you know, the more you know you do not know. I am beginning to see that within myself more clearly these past few months. Oi vey, I cringe at what I thought I knew. Ignorance really is bliss and childhood is wasted on the young and all that. Perhaps it is harder for me to write these days because of this feeling of not knowing. I feel uncertain in so many subjects and the written word feels so solid. I want to write but also want the ability to erase and make new drafts and not be so harshly judged on the words I put down. Even if it's just me playing the critic.

However I plan to keep posting as I have the past few days - it is a small new habit but I do feel lighter. I feel like this is a good direction for me to go, as I have been quite directionless lately. I have a lot of healing to do and the best way I know how to understand what I am going through is by writing it out. I can only hope and work toward making the next two thousand posts better than the last.

"Ancora Imparo" is famously attributed to Michaelangelo at 88 years of age.
I am still learning.

22 January 2019

A feeding frenzy

I am getting the hang of this posting again and (knock on wood) liking it. Even if no one bothers to come read, it's a safe landing spot which is exactly what I need. Instagram feels too showy for my quiet heart these days and is becoming less and less about connection as it is about commercialism. Sure, I love a good dose of advertising, clever wording, neat tips and favorite new finds. The commercial-filled stories and affiliated links have become overwhelming. I've taken time off and weeded out a lot of the extras and honed in on the "influencers" I actually want influencing me. It really did run away with me the past few years. I spent so much time on Instagram and have nothing to show for it.

The other night after a big family dinner at The Porcupine, Heidi and I chatted about our love / hate relationship for Instagram and how we are attempting to break our addictions to the constant checking habit by removing the app from our phones. We were laughing at the absurdity of us scrolling down the rabbit holes; hunting and searching for more and more and more - often linking from one gram to another in hurried fashion. She responded, But what is it that we are searching for? Nothing really ever quenches it. It's so true. Nothing actually fills that strange gaping sensation.

Of course I am not saying it's all bad. I love the up close peek into how others live, the similarities and differences between us, and the quick connection to other creatively minded individuals. I've found so many fantastic people to follow who inspire me by the way they live. Sean McCabe is an interesting fellow who is a low key, motivational speaker type. (The opposite of a Gary Vee type. P.S. Gary recently predicted that Instagram will become the new MySpace and will eventually go away. I was kind of happy when I heard him going off on the topic.) Sean has created a few cool writing courses. I find his IG stories and posts pretty helpful and motivating. He listed stats awhile back, noting the differences between CONSUMERS vs. CREATORS. Sean related this to not stressing about competition in your creative field since there are so many more consumers out there, waiting and ready to consume what you are creating.

This struck me. Ever since I logged onto the shiny new Instagram app, I've (sadly) become much more of a consumer than a creator. I didn't allow the connectivity to motivate me nor have I used it as a tool in my creative process or drive - of course it has done wonders for the influencers out there. There is huge potential. It is what you make of it. I thought back to the time when I was creating on the daily and how happy I felt blogging and writing every day. Even with the non-existent wage I made blogging all of those years, I still felt productive and satisfied within that sphere. I created friends that are still lifelong, ride or die friends through our blogs. The community that you can find online is pretty awesome, if you choose them well. My whiplash of realizing all the consuming I've been doing; other people's ideas, products, ideology, methods, routines, families, comparisons and more definitely made me take a step back.

I began thinking and asking myself questions. Some, I have decent answers to, others I shrug my shoulders at. Why are we sharing so much on social media? What is the point? How is it helping? How is the consuming aspect of this getting me to where I want to go? What do I want in life and how am I going to get it? Is Instagram helping or hindering my efforts? Do I feel motivated or depleted after checking in? Am I building friendships? Am I feeling bitter towards others? Am I understanding my purpose more clearly? Do I waste time? Can I scroll without comparing? Can I become a better creator than a simple user? Is this the arena I willingly want to be involved in? Can I use it as a tool to better myself? I love certain aspects of it. It's a little bit like a pretty magazine which I've picked the feature articles for. Still, opening my eyes widely to why I consume more than create was the first step in getting un-addicted to Instagram. After a long break, thankfully, it no longer feeds me when I'm hungering for something.

I've been almost unknowingly shoveling in all that my Instagram feed was feeding me without feeding myself first. If Instagram were a trough, I have definitely played the pig. The shine has worn off and I am proceeding with caution.

21 January 2019

am a fan

+ I am currently revamping our living room and when seeking inspiration, I landed into Anna Spiro's gorgeous book. I love that it chock-full of decorating advice, saturated colors, mixing patterns (my fave) and celebrates collecting things you love for your home. Homebody by Joanna Gaines is also a great resource for getting started!

+ Speaking of interior design inspiration, Karin Bohn is a new find and I love her youtube channel. She seems to be an incredible boss lady - running her own company in Vancouver and also such a likable person, sharing lots of tips and tricks. I appreciated her inside look on remodeling her own townhouse.

+ I am reading the Wizard of Oz for the first time to my boys and am discovering the fun of reading a familiar classic story aloud again. We are all loving it and I am doing my best at all the voices. Their aunt is taking them to the play in a few weeks and then we are going to Wicked next month (hip, hip!), so it'll be all kinds of magic this season. I love that they're still young and love this kind of simple activity with me.

+ My friends turned me onto Madewell earrings. They're trendy, adaptable and casual without breaking the bank. They also may have turned me on to clearance velvet shoes.

+ My two year and I love these interactive recipe board books. They are darling and beautifully illustrated. Claire loves all the tabs and pulls. We have the Cookies and Pancakes books in our library.

+ Clinique cleansing balm and Belif moisturizer have been my all-stars in rotation this year and never fail. Some beauty guru got me hooked on these too.

+ A dear friend introduced me to the scent Philosykos by Diptyque. It's absolutely unique and memorable. If you like grapefruit, you'll love their Oyedo scent and Do Son is freshly delightful too.

+ This cozy classic Pendleton blanket. My obsession with blankets is not going away anytime soon. This reminds me of my dad and Dan.

+ Mercury glass lamps. I have my eye on this one.

+ This TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert got me thinking about writing and creating. It's ten years old, yet still applicable. I completely loved and could relate easily to the following passage:

I had this encounter recently where I met the extraordinary American poet Ruth Stone, who's now in her 90s, but she's been a poet her entire life and she told me that when she was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out working in the fields, and she said she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. And she said it was like a thunderous train of air. And it would come barreling down at her over the landscape. And she felt it coming, because it would shake the earth under her feet. She knew that she had only one thing to do at that point, and that was to, in her words, "run like hell." And she would run like hell to the house and she would be getting chased by this poem, and the whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper and a pencil fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. And other times she wouldn't be fast enough, so she'd be running and running, and she wouldn't get to the house and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it and she said it would continue on across the landscape, looking, as she put it "for another poet." And then there were these times -- this is the piece I never forgot -- she said that there were moments where she would almost miss it, right? So, she's running to the house and she's looking for the paper and the poem passes through her, and she grabs a pencil just as it's going through her, and then she said, it was like she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail, and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. And in these instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact but backwards, from the last word to the first.

20 January 2019

Switching gears and changing lanes

On the last day of the year in 2018, I received an incredibly helpful piece of advice at a New Year's Eve party. It came by way of chatting with a real writer, a friendly woman named Ruth, who I had met just hours earlier. She recently found out her novel is going to be published! Wow. I felt so happy for her. Truly! What a huge feat. That's the coolest. I grilled her with writer-y questions and (gasp) confided that I too like to write. (Hmmm. Inner monologue eye roll. You may as well be telling her you are a tennis player. Haven't picked up a racket nor a pen in forever. No, more like, foreeeeevvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeerrrrrrr.) In our chatting I became enthused that I could / should practice writing again. Yet another nudge for me to write stuff down. Well-meaning, dear friends have been telling me to do so for a few months now. I've brushed them off. Funny when a perfect stranger's advice can waken your senses more than your own mother's (husbands, best friends, siblings, etc). Or more like, a perfect stranger gives you advice in a similar vein to what your own mother has been saying all along, and you perk up and take it for what its worth. Humans are funny creatures. (Other lessons: Listen to your mother. Moms can never win. Also, moms never get the credit. Moms are the best. Moms always know.)

Still at this very low point of my writing career (ha. career. as if.), I still think about writing. Almost daily. More than I ever think about playing tennis. Doesn't that count for something? Like a nagging younger sibling, wearing a ball cap backwards and an unhitched strap on her overalls, my wannabe-written-words want attention. In recent years I've programmed myself to ignore the urge to write anything down. Nap. Dishes. Scroll Instagram. Bathe. Read. Podcast. Laundry. Mrs. Maisel. Seinfeld. Meghan Markle news. Bake. Organize a cupboard or two. Rearrange furniture. Of course none of these activities are as satisfying as having written. Like scanning the channels even when there is nothing good on. Its a numbing way of distraction. Distraction of actually caring to put real thought into something. I've sometimes thought, as the writers-guilt gnaws away at me - usually while I try to fall asleep - it's an odd habit to try to will away something you actually want to do. My inner monologue rolls its eyes as I have these cliche writer chit chats to myself. Writers angst; as if this were a real problem in life. I can go on and on. And I have. (Did I do too many research projects on Vincent van Gogh as a teen? Am I this narcissistic / dramatic by nature or nurture?) A brilliant sparkly essay idea comes to me in the morning and I'll have talked myself into, and finally, out of writing it by lunchtime. It's a slow kind of torture we Creatives know well. I'm using that term loosely. (At least I remember how to spell loose vs. lose. Pet peeve.)

To continue lamenting, I've now curated an automatic response of pushing ideas far far down; the corners of a duvet into their cover. Last summer I searched high and low for the best duvet and coordinating duvet cover that had strings and loops which I could then tie up those corners into their places for safekeeping. No wiggling out of place. Stay put. A sure promise that at least one thing in my life was in control. Double knotted duvet. Stay in your lane. Dan was excited to learn this phrase the other day. I smiled to myself as he mentioned it (because I relish in the times when I know things before he does - it's a rare treat) and agreed. Yes, 'stay in your lane' is an extra handy phrase to keep in one's back pocket. Whether it be an athlete tweeting a response to the current President of the United States or a harmless jab in a bit of banter, it is a clever little comeback. (Or maybe a sassy judgement call that I have no business offering.)

One, I realize, am often telling myself in one way or another. Cornering myself into my current situation with a tight knot - no hope of slipping to freedom of maybe, possibly, trying out another 'lane' in life. Staying in your lane comes with benefits, I suppose. Comfort Zones feel so good. I've molded to my lane and my lane has molded to me. Stick to what you know, what you're doing, what your habits are. Stick right here. Remain status quo. Just keep doing what you're doing. No progress, no problem. No rocking the boat. Stay in your lane. Mind your own business. Don't try to think outside the box or push yourself in any way, shape or form. Progress, evolution, improvement... it is for other people.

This has been what I've been telling myself unconsciously. To be honest, my lane isn't doing anything for me anymore. Like the worn out bra that has lost its elasticity and therefore, all its function. The bra that has faded into a useless morning ritual rather than a helpful undergarment. It's time for change. I've been feeling it in my bones and all signs have been nudging me to go ahead and get out of this lane. So when I was chatting with this warmly open Ruth, over plastic cups of rice pudding on New Year's Eve, it resonated again. Another nudge.

Write your second book first.

Wait, tell me again. I heard her the first time. I just liked every word she just said so much. She had just opened my pandora's box. The advice had been discussed during a session of her monthly Writing Club. Yes, yes, of course. Making perfect sense in my mind; the first book has all the weight and pressures to succeed. All your life's courage poured into the pages of that first book. It can't possibly measure up to what you've deemed a first book should / could be. The wish to write and fear of doing so has bullied me into a tight corner. Not writing is easier than writing. Completely frustrating for someone who needs to write - yes, but easier than switching lanes, creating new habits, being courageous, switching gears, stomping out fear, and practicing rough drafts. And getting up early to make time for the thing you want to do most. I'm tucking this rough draft into my blog and promise to wake up early and write again. And again. And again. Until I'm in a new lane I hardly recognize. 2019, I'm counting on you.

12 June 2015

new designs for my paperie shop

i've been busy filling orders this month for newlyweds, new business owners and new babies too. i absolutely love creating designs and am thankful i can keep busy working at home as a freelance designer.

31 January 2015

am a fan

a few faves from 2014 

+ am a fan of the Urban Decay Naked 2 Basic palette of eyeshadows. I love this for the matte, no-shimmer, very basic neutral shadows for day to day to day wear.

+ am a fan of Honest Co. hand sanitizer spray. I love this simply for the ease I can spray it into my kiddos' hands while reaching behind me in the car without having to look. They think it's cool too.

+ am a fan of Sour Patch Kids. Of course. Best movie purse snack.

+ am a fan of this BB Cream by Bobbi Brown. It feels luxurious and creamy and applies beautifully with fingers or a synthetic brush, I like a flat head kabuki type over a classic 'foundation brush'.

+ am a fan of lush liner. This Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner is great for the winged look. Try this sucker. It's black black and is a great way to apply a thick gel liner without too much hassle (no brushes required). It stays all day and has a great formula. Yes and yes.

+ am a fan of this Chanel black waterproof long-lasting eyeliner. Awesome for rimming your waterline. Love this, it's my go-to for black liner. Really black, really stays put.

+ am a fan of the NYX Wonder Pencil. It's a cheap trick, literally. I like rimming my lower lash line with this nude color (so much better than 60s white liner) to brighten a natural makeup look. It makes you look bright eyed and bushy tailed after a late night. The wonderful thing about it, is it can also be used as concealer or reverse lip liner too. Keep this baby in your purse and you'll thank me later.

+ am a fan of L'Oreal's Telescopic Shocking Extensions waterproof mascara is one of my favorite finds of 2014. A makeup artist recommended it and I've been super happy with it.

+ am a fan of Laura Mercier's translucent powder for setting your foundation or BB cream. Also came highly recommended to me, this stuff is finely milled and really makes a beautiful matte finish.

+ am a fan of Philosophy Fresh Cream body lotion. I hate most scented lotion, sorry, just sayin'. But this one is fresh and not fruity or florally. You have to smell it to believe it. It's really yum without being overboard. Am obsessed.

+ am a fan of this L'Occitane shower oil in almond scent. Another lovely, lightly scented shower oil that moisturizes and cleans and lathers too. Such a girlie gift that every woman would love.

+ am a fan of this new perfume. ooh la la! my cute cousin Whitney discovered this Vanille perfume in Anthropologie and gave it to me for Christmas. Normally I would cringe at a warm vanilla smell, but not this one. It's so inviting and light and genuine and the notes are not too high or low, just vanilla goodness. But not the sick syrupy vanilla candle type scent you may be used to. Give this a try, I promise you may just fall for it.

+ am a fan of Bumble and bumble Pret-a-Powder. It is the real deal. I use it all the time. It even comes in a tiny travel size too. It's like the old school shake-in dry shampoo but it volumizes and gives your hair a matte beachy texture all at once. Since it is white, I love putting it in my roots before bedtime to give my maine a messy voluminous second day look perfect for messy buns, etc. This stuff is my hair heroine.

+ am a fan of this Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask for medium to thick dry hair. This jar has lasted me at least two years. It's a dreamy thick conditioner, perfect for weekly deep conditions while you soak in the tub or take a steamy shower. It softens and hydrates your hair like nothing else I've used. Your hair feels so silky and smooth and shiny and totally hair commercial material. It's a beefy price, however a little goes a long way and it lasts forever. I dye and blowdry and sometimes curl my hair (we all beat up on our hair!) so I love that this mask restores the natural moisture that processed hair can lose.

+ am a fan of this Ocean Salt face and body Scrub by LUSH. It's so great for men and women. My dear friend Miranda introduced me to Lush and I'm scrubbing my wintery scales away with this happy blue hued sea salt scrub. I ignore the matchbox cars that rim my tub imagining myself at a dreamy spa, this scrub softens and exfoliates so well!

+ am a fan of lips these days. I love the tiny vaseline jars, such a perfect size for a nighstand or purse or car! Another obsession is a strong statement lip. Nars Audacious Lipsticks have recently been launched and I love their new formula, they are power packed and creamy and matte. The color Grace is a must-try. I depend on Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay and MAC lipsticks for reds, corals and nudes. My recent drugstore discovery is Mabelline's Color Sensation lipgloss Elixer in Blush Essence. It's a bright razzleberry tone that's fresh, not grandmother-y. Perfect for Valentine's and spring.

+ am a fan of Josie Maran's concealer stick. So essential for a woman on the go! This is a perfect crayon to dab on and run. I love the consistency of this stuff; it's no fuss and works awesome.

+ am a fan of Coke Zero with lime at the end of a long day. yes and yes. Like a little treat to look forward to after the boys are in bed!

+ am a fan of nani hats. My friend knits hats and I was excited to give my boys warm hats for the holidays. They are so darling, so soft, such hip colors and perfect for girls and boys and she has adult hats too. Tiffany is super talented and local too. I love supporting handmade artisans!

+ am a fan of Dale Carnegie. I've been reading this book, thanks to my good friend Collette who has encouraged me in so many ways lately. A perfect self-help book that's not too daunting or draining. This book was published way back in 1937 and every point it makes is so valid and intriguing. It can definitely help you work with the people in your life; your community, your business, and your family in a whole new way. This book is one I've underlined and will be recommending for years to come.

19 September 2014

i love september

i've been busy updating the mini mart shop with all kinds of invitations, cards and these latest rounded square halloween gift tags. pop over and check it out. my christmas card designs will be on sale october first. i would love to customize your season's greetings this holiday. let me know if you're interested! thank you for supporting small businesses and my passion for paper. i love running this little online shop!

25 May 2014

kids camping party ideas & printables

purchase this camping party invitation printable here.

school's almost out and my little ones are already gearing up to camp out in the backyard!! benji is getting old enough to enjoy hiking, going on nature walks, and even loves listening to spooky stories. (scooby do is on repeat these days, whether i like it or not.) thanks to his mountain man dad, my boys are learning about explorers and the great outdoors. since benji is nearly done with kindergarten, i started imagining up some fun traditions to help swing in the season of summer! my sister has a shaving cream slip n' slide party in her backyard. another mom loves pelting the kids with water balloons at the bus stop for a sneak attack water fight! i also like the outdoor movie idea of cozying up under the stars. i'm dreaming up a special cousins camp out, a perfect way to celebrate the summer, teach my kids the joys of the outdoors and give my siblings the night off.

throwing a casual (and often, spontaneous) party that focuses on the kiddos is key; no birthday cake or presents or too much decor to worry about, just pure fun designed with kids in mind. benji loves making lists and schedules, so i usually let him help me dream up our events. anticipation is half the fun. here's to happy campers!!

our brainstorming came up with these camp out party ideas...

flashlight fun / sleeping bag sack races / s'more brownies / daytime scavenger hunt / glowstick tag / dot to dot constellation games / nature walk / pajama dance off / lantern-lit bracelet looming / make your own trail mix / camper camper bear (instead of duck duck goose), paint wooden snakes (available on amazon.com) / mix up kool-aid bug juice / rope tug o' war / eat ants on a log, oreo mud pies, cheetos (fire flames) and mini hot dogs / nerf gun bullseye target practice / battery-operated candles / spooky stories...

find this camping party printable invitation in my shop! a scavenger hunt printable is also part of your purchase. please note: if you're not keen on hosting a sleepover, there is also a blank camping invitation included for you to write in your own information; whether it be for a family reunion, a scouts meeting, a group hike, a couples shower or a late-over for friends! customize this printable to suit your needs. 

22 April 2014

burlap pennant banner & full alphabet stencil

one of my most-pinned posts, this DIY Burlap Banner Pennant tutorial, features a banner template and stencil download which is so easy to print at home. my stencil has just been updated and now contains EVERY letter in the alphabet, not only the Christmas words that it previously did. now you can truly customize every special occasion with a burlap banner. (thank you for your inquiries and suggestions on this!)

visit my shop for the full details.

16 April 2014

give a basket full of sunshine

my friends and i wanted to give something bright & cheerful to another friend of ours. after some brainstorming, we came up with this sunshine basket!! each of us had only a short time to shop, so we split up and went shopping on our own, taking iphone pictures of our loot so no one purchased repeats. i loved going grocery shopping with only a single hue in mind, sunny yellow!! finding brightly wrapped treats and gifts turned out much easier than i had imagined. it was a fun scavenger hunt of sorts to see the sunny items we had each collected. the basket came together beautifully. even though the items may seem like a random grouping, the cheerful color scheme creates a cohesive sunshine vibe, which is exactly what we were hoping for!

12 April 2014

a blank page. a new post. refresh button.

hooray for handmade print available in my shop.

i hear / feel / watch my thoughts rumbling around in my soul (tumble dry) and i know i need to write them. just write them. just get them down. it's simple. easy peasy. i'm a self-proclaimed writer, i do this. this should not be hard. hurry and write something decent; a pretty prose or something completely imperfect. just write. you know you know how. you know you've done it before. (oh how full of writer's guilt i've been.) and then another must-do pops up, or a nose needs to be wiped and dishes need to be done or beds need to be made or naps need to be taken and the rhythm of my to-do list shoves out my last thoughtful thought and therein i miss a moment to reflect, write and learn something from the process. letting things spill from my head to my fingers to the page. often, words i wish to be written down are not unlike the loner striped socks that remain loosely out of place, scattered and without a proper home. yet they are still persistent enough not to be thrown out entirely. they lurk in the laundry room and elsewhere. my loner socks and tumbling thoughts (admittedly) haven't been properly lined up, paired up or folded into neat drawers for what seems like months. i'm calling myself out on this.

not to say that i haven't been living a fulfilling, exciting, filled to the brim, joyful life these past non-blogging months. oh i have!! there's so much to tell. no way i can catch up. i've been so fulfilled and busy and happy, i wondered if i really needed blogging at all in this season of life. i've thought a lot about that. honestly however my mind gains clarity when i write things out. to me, crisp keys on a typewriter is as calming as lapping waves of the bluest water on the beach. sitting here, my cluttered brain sits still for awhile and i remember what discipline and practice and vulnerability and creativity mean again. frankly i am more frightened of writing it all out there like i used to. i'm out of practice and feeling vulnerable to opening up. so stay with me. i'll braven up as i type along, i'm sure (i hope).

ever thanks for the encouragement and amazing connections i still feel from you. (so thoughtful to receive emails from those of you who were concerned about little ol' me!!) i can't even begin to tell you all the good things that have come from blogging. here i am, to start anew.


02 April 2014

my favorite tropical dessert: mangoes with coconut rice

it's a rare sight to see; me choosing a dessert that does not involve chocolate, custard, gelato, cake, cookies, brownies, etc. however, i do have a major crush on rice pudding (when done right) along with this delicious duo: coconut rice with mangoes. this is a delectable pairing, you cannot go wrong. basically if the word coconut is on a menu, i usually order it without hesitation. i'll eat a ramekin of this for breakfast (while my family has frozen waffles) and for a moment i imagine i'm on a tropical vacation. i justify the sweet and carb combo because we're headed out to the surf soon to catch the first waves of daylight... i snap back into reality as i sign paperwork, oversee homework, and push lego guys out of the way on my kitchen table. still, the mangoes and rice are the real deal. this recipe is so simple, you might start making it on a weekly basis. that's not so much a warning as it is an invitation.

Mangoes & Coconut Rice
Thanks to my darling friend Jamie Anne for this recipe!

1 1/2 cups white uncooked rice (Basmati or Calrose short-grain work great)
Cook rice according to directions and set aside. Then transfer rice into a larger bowl.

3-4 Mangoes (ripe, deeply colorful, firm but not too firm - like an avocado) **
1 (14 oz.) can pure coconut milk (I buy the 'light' version)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt

Combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt into small saucepan and simmer over low to medium heat until sugar is dissolved. This takes about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The milk will turn from milky white to a more clear color. Remove from heat.

Pour coconut sauce over your sticky rice. Stir to combine and allow to rest. The rice will continue to soak up all that coconut sauce and the flavoring will be infused into every grain. Do this at least an hour (or longer) to absorb the coconut milk. Meanwhile, remove skins and slice mangoes into bite-sized bits and place into separate bowl. Dish it up into pretty bowls; serve at room temperature. Add a few raspberries for a kicky, bright garnish.

Serves 6, approximately.

**The great news is they now sell mangoes by the jar!! I've seen them near the packaged salad kits. They are tasty, juicy, and ripe and take ALL the work out of this dessert. Seriously worth your money if you're short on time or terribly impatient when cutting mangoes (and / or have a toddler at your feet).

Note: Ladies especially seem to love this dessert. Take it to bookclub, a buffet or girls night out. It travels well, assembles easily and is a fun change from the usual monotonous sweets scene. Enjoy!

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