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"scrooge" by ronald searle (1970)

11.29.16 Give & Take

Thanksgiving is like the proverbial line in the sand. Once we've crossed it, we're suddenly assaulted by the ferocious business that is The Holidays. If we're not donning false eyelashes, embroidered boots and a megawatt smile, we must not be in the spirit, right? Don't look at me—I'll just be over here, hunched in front of the fire, block-printing my own wrapping paper and listening to Joan Baez sing Ave Maria. Hey, to each her own. Whatever your approach, we all wrestle with the gifts. How much is too much? How little can I get away with? Never did such a lovely and selfless act become as corrupted as holiday giving. Ever dream of taking a year off? The specter of Ebenezer Scrooge instantly rises up to banish such a perverse thought. With nothing but common sense and the sobering state of the world as my guide, I've come up with a few suggestions for how to successfully run the season's gauntlet. 


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photos by gluttonforlife

3.6.15 March Hot Links

The guy who plows our driveway is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Every time it snows, he comes by and makes a huge mountain at the end of our front walk. I guess it hasn't occurred to him that we actually leave the house. At any rate, after the recent snowfall, there was a wall nearly four feet high and almost as wide. It was so wet and heavy that heaving every shovelful was a considered effort. Such a sisyphean task is what passes for a good workout here in the boondocks. And someone in my yoga class told me to spray the shovel with Pam to prevent the snow from sticking. Who am I and how did I get here?


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photos by gluttonforlife

11.14.14 November Hot Links & Thanksgiving Recipes

Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like a sheet pan full of scarlet cranberries, richly spiced and roasted to caramelized perfection. Unless perhaps it's that tidal wave of panic that starts to consume you when you realize hordes of relatives will be descending on your home with all their neuroses and dysfunctions fully primed. I'd be curious to know how many of you are cooking the feast this year and how many will be dining elsewhere. Leave a comment below and let me know, and you just may get a jar of my favorite St. John chutney in time to slather on your slice of (hideously dried-out) turkey breast. For now, I've compiled some tried-&-true recipes to get you started thinking about a menu. As I think you know, I am a steadfast advocate of planning ahead. It decreases stress exponentially and helps you budget your time and energy so you're not utterly depleted when the day is over (or just beginning).
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the living is easy

8.1.14 Leisure Time

I'll be back after Labor Day! Though I don't have the luxury of taking the month off work, August is a time when I try to live a bit easier and more carefree. This means no blogging and no Facebook, though you'll probably still find me posting pictures on Instagram (@laurasilverman). I really want to finish my book proposal, but I'll also be going on some long hikes, puttering in the garden, eating lots of corn and tomatoes, swimming across the lake and, hopefully, catching forty winks in the hammock with popsicle juice still clinging to my lips. I may take in a couple of State Fairs and I'll definitely bake at least one pie.

Before I go, I want to leave you with a bunch of links—to recipes perfect for this time of year, and to other resources and inspirations you can return to when you need a little shot of GFL. See you in September, dear friends!
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photos by gluttonforlife

6.30.14 June Hot Links & a Summer Giveaway!

Nature is orchestrating her botanical display with flawless timing, as usual. Just as the irises are fading, the peonies explode and by the time they're drooping, here come the elderflowers and milkweed blossoms! In the fields and hedgerows, wild berries are setting up and soon we will be vying for them with the birds, chipmunks and foxes. Our neighbor's enormous jasmine bushes that have (happily) grown up and over our dividing fence are in full bloom and their dazzling perfume fills every corner of our little cottage. The garden grows by leaps and bounds every night as we sleep. Carpenter ants seem to have broken ground on a demolition project inside the window frame behind our bed and their incessant gnawing is rather horrifying. (The exterminator is on his way.) It's officially summer! To celebrate, I'm sharing my latest list of obsessions and recommendations...and I've got a delicious giveaway for one lucky reader...
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photos by george billard

11.27.13 Thanks & Links

Gratitude is one of the many ways we can lift ourselves up. In my quest for greater inner peace, I have come upon this notion of giving thanks regularly and often. As the German theologian and mystic Meister Echkart says, "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." So on a daily basis I try to say thanks for all the things I might otherwise take for granted: the clean air I breathe and the lungs that make it possible; the time to write and the hands with which I do it...start anywhere, the list is endless. I used to catalogue everything I had to do in a day first thing every morning. Sometimes it led to excitement, others to panic and despair. But it never brought me the same comfort and joy as when I lie in bed for a few moments upon waking and allow my mind to roam over all the blessings in my life. In this way, every day becomes Thanksgiving, at least for a little while.
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iphone photos by gluttonforlife

9.20.13 September Hot Links

Here comes the fall equinox. It's actually slated for the 22nd this year. The harvest moon rose high in the sky last night, an enormous silver orb, the coin of the realm. (Listening to Neil Young right this very minute.) There's a snap in the air and the mornings are dark and cold. It's soooo tempting to roll over, hunker down into the luxurious warmth of the linen sheets and go back to sleep for another hour or two, isn't it? I love my cup of warm milk in the mornings now. I usually steep roasted soba tea in it, or warming chai spices. I use low-heat-pasteurized whole milk from our local dairy, but I'm thinking it may be time to pop over the border to Pennsylvania where raw milk is legal and available. 

I love this time of year. The change is so palpable. The earth seems to exhale a long sigh as it gives over to the new season, slowly relinquishing the bounty and beauty of summer, the leaves burning bright, the waning light. Take it all in. Walk outside. Feel the last of that yellow sun on your face. Make some soup. Get your boots out.
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photos by gluttonforlife

7.17.13 July Hot Links

Last year, we took some wild garlic plants from a friend's land and planted them in our garden. They emerged, thrived and grew tall this season, producing those elegant, winding scapes that are the flower stalks of hardneck garlic plants. Instead of actually producing flowers, they eventually form small bulblets that can be planted to grow more garlic—or eaten as is, or used to infuse vinegar. That's what I did today, tossing a generous handful into a jar of organic white vinegar. I'll let it cool its heels in the pantry for a few weeks, then strain out and discard the garlic and use the vinegar for salad dressing. No vampires in this house.
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photos by gluttonforlife

6.21.13 June Hot Links

Today is the summer solstice and I can almost feel the earth tilting toward the sun. It is a time to be outside, to lift our faces to the sky, to bask in the longest light of the year. And, while we're at it, to always, always wear protection—melanoma is on the rise and the FDA has recently released new guidelines for wearing sunscreen. Most important is to choose "broad spectrum" coverage that protects against both UVA and UVB rays; to apply it every day, even if you're not going outside (UVA rays penetrate glass); and to reapply it every 80 minutes. Not so poetic perhaps, but then neither is cancer.

This month has whizzed by in a blur of work, but I have a renewed focus on dedicating time to my well-being. This has meant doing more yoga, riding my bike, hiking and even playing around with my hula hoop (highly recommended). I've also spent time in the garden, where weeding and picking pests off the plants give me a strangely wonderful satisfaction. Everything has exploded because of the rain and I love all the birds that come to visit this time of year.
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2.22.13 Hot Links: February

Unless you live in a land of perpetual sunshine—or you're from down under—this time of year can get a little bleak. Every year I remind myself to schedule a vacation in February, and every year I forget. Last year we did make it to Hawaii in March and next month we're lucky enough to have another family vacation in Antigua, so there's sunlight at the end of the tunnel. It's bloody cold here and that makes it tough to get the exercise I need. I go to yoga twice a week, jump rope in the screened-in porch and get out in the woods when the snow is right for snowshoeing or it's not too icy to hike. I never thought I would say this, living in paradise as I do, but I miss the gym. After three years upstate, it's clear to me that I have to be more disciplined about my fitness. Generally, if I don't get moving first thing in the morning, it just won't happen. And that's not OK. Especially at 50, with both feet planted firmly in middle age, it's crucial to get the heart pumping and the muscles firing on a regular basis. Whatever your age, you'll actually experience fewer aches and pains, feel more energetic, sleep more soundly, have more radiant skin and look better in jeans. When life hands you lemons...
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