Inspiration for a New Year

As family and friends frequently remind me, my blog has certainly seen better days.  Which is true, of course, but it's also difficult for me to hear: in my long list of priorities, Pinot and Prose is usually the first thing to get dropped.  Which is sad and frustrating for me.  Certainly in the new year, one of my goals is to make more time for things I love, blog included.  It's usually the things that we love, that fulfill us and energize us, that tend to get shunted to the side in our busy day-to-day lives.  For some reason, they start seeming frivolous and self-indulgent.  Or, in my case, it's easier to sit in front of a 30 Rock episode than to be creative and interesting and challenging.  I hope to end that in 2011.

That said, it's not like my life has become a wasteland of duty to jobs, commuting, and bills.  On the contrary, I am constantly inspired, moved, and wowed by my fellow bloggers.  My Google Reader is chock-full of people (let's face it - mostly women) who make blogging, reading, eating, and living a full life a major priority.  So as this year comes to a close, I want to say thank you to the following people (and this list is by no means exhaustive) who have kept me going in 2010.

  • Bookends: Cindy and Lynn blog at Booklist and - maybe this is one of my favorites because I know them - but I find their blog (and them as people) so fun and joyful.  And incredibly informative.  
  • Bookshelves of Doom: Leila makes me feel like I have my finger on the pulse of really random pop culture news items. And I laugh heartily reading nearly every post.
  • Coconut & Lime: Rachel's photos are gorgeous and her recipes are totally accessible.
  • Color Me Katie: Sheer joy packaged in every post.
  • A Cup of Jo: So stylish and chic. Not to mention that I credit Joanna Goddard with introducing me to Yves Saint Laurent's perfume Parisienne, for which I've received many, many compliments.
  • emilyreads: Book reviews in haiku. Hilarious and brilliant.
  • honey & jam: I just discovered Hannah's blog this year and it was love at first sight. Stunning photography - I'm repeatedly awed.
  • I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?: As far as I can tell, no one in the children's book world is doing what Lee is doing.  And certainly not as well. He's an essential voice.
  • Je ne sais quoi...: Get a true, down-and-dirty view of Parisian life here.
  • La Tartine Gourmande: Eye candy.
  • Lardon My French: After 3 years as an interior designer in the U.S., Katrina dropped it all to live in Paris as a freelancing, blogging expat.  Inspirational for me, for sure.  Her Tartine Tuesdays feature incredibly accessible recipes, especially for weeknight cooking.
  • Lucy's Kitchen Notebook: No "Favorites" list of mine would be complete without Lucy Vanel.  Think her photos are gorgeous?  Wait until you read her prose.  
  • Simmer Till Done: Marilyn has such a sense of fun in everything - her blog posts, her recipes, and her photos.  And she is hands-down one of my favorite Tweeters (@simmertilldone).
  • Unhappy Hipsters: Consistently reminds me not to take myself nor life too seriously.
  • A Year of Reading: Two teachers who definitely "get it".  Their enthusiasm for books and poetry is contagious.
It's a New Year that will see a move for me (Manhattan, here I come!) and a move for the Soul Twin, who it appears may be moving to NYC.  It'll see my daughter, known to all of you as Bug, turning 10 years old (and getting her ears pierced).  Hopefully this is the year when I finally go skydiving.  Maybe this is the year when I'll be able to achieve the cliched and elusive "work-life balance."  

Thanks to my fellow bloggers who inspire, push, and teach me and thanks to the family and friends who keep up with my blog.  

Happy New Year!


Anguilla: A Taste

I was optimistic and enthusiastic, thinking I'd be able to blog more often post-NCTE (or just plain foolish).  I forgot about those tedious things called Work...Christmas...ALA Midwinter.  I still desperately want to tell you all about Anguilla...but I just can't snatch enough time!

So...I'll tease you with this:

Local Anguillan crayfish that is so buttery it's just beyond belief, truly.  I swooned over this meal at the shack-on-a-beach place known as Palm Grove.  I'll tell you all about it but, in the meantime, check out this Washington Post article about Anguilla - it captures the flavor of the island perfectly.

Eat, drink, and get away from it all.


Celebrating Winter with Friends

I've missed being here so much and I can't tell you what a huge relief it is to come back here: it's a sign that my life is returning to some amount of normalcy.  I was drowning in all things NCTE and ALAN before Thanksgiving (check out the recaps here and here) and then I was on the loveliest trip ever to Anguilla for the holiday (photos forthcoming).  Christmas and ALA Midwinter are looming larger and larger on the horizon but, for right now, I'm here.  And I'm determined to enjoy this moment and not think about the rest.

Our first weekend back from the sunny beaches of Anguilla we were faced with 40-degree winter days and I thought that there wasn't a better way to brave the weather than to hole up with good friends - Jenn and Phil - and catch up on all our news.  On the menu: Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Creamy Parmesan Polenta, and Grilled Sausages.

Jenn and Phil are regulars at the Lutz table and we've settled into a nice routine where we cook and they bring dessert. Often, it's petits fours from this wonderful bakery near Jenn and Phil but, last night, it was Salted Maple Walnut Thumbprints, made by Miss J herself.  Fabulous.

Things are always crazy during conference time at work and the holidays compound that.  My blog dropped off...I didn't contribute to the holiday fair at Bug's school like I had intended...I haven't set my fantasy football teams for three weeks.  But there's always time to get together with friends, to catch up over food and drink, and to share laughs and smiles.

Eat, drink, and prioritize.