Are You A Good Houseguest?

Town & Country BooksA widely utilized, well-meaning phrase, “Mi casa es su casa” is a fun way to extend a welcoming greeting to a guest, friend or acquaintance as they arrive and settle into your home. Intended as it is to make people feel comfortable and relaxed in an unknown place, good house guests know that there are certain boundaries that come with the “mi casa es su casa” invitation (some people will take it literally and stay at your house unbeknownst to you while you are on vacation!)

As with most everything in life, it always takes some time and experience to learn not just the art of being a good host, but also – and more importantly – the rules and etiquette for being a good guest. In fact, it is not necessarily the experience of being a guest that teaches, but rather that of being a host that instructs one on how to be the kind of guest who is pleasant and easy to have around. Read more

Blueberries for…Cobblers, Crumbles and Crisps

Blueberry cobbler recipeIn her little book, Very Blueberry, Jennifer Trainer Thompson, a chef who has been nominatedthree times for the James Beard Award, inspires one to a daily dose of blueberries with her collection of over forty “sublime” blueberry recipes.

She reminisces about picking blueberries as a child in Maine in August and remembers reading Robert McCloskey’s, (the author of the famous children’s book Make Way for Ducklings) Blueberries for Sal all winter long. She fondly recalls canoeing out to Blueberry Island with old Folgers Coffee cans to collect wild blueberries, and talks about how beautiful the blueberry bush, cousin to the azalea and rhododendron, is with its red foliage in the fall. And she also mentions the incredible health benefits that blueberries have long been touted to have. Read more

James Harrison: Wise Words From A Man of Steel

James Harrison Participation trophiesI imagine that one of the most empowering aspects of being famous is the ability to have your voice heard: to fearlessly and boldly share your thoughts and opinions knowing that people are listening and responding on a national or international level.

While their qualifications to speak on certain topics and issues can at times be questionable, the influence public officials have is truly immeasurable, stirring a debate or movement with a simple act, speech or – in the case of James Harrison, the NLF linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers* – a post on social media.

This past Saturday, the notoriously aggressive professional football player used social media to lambast “participation trophies,” writing a paragraph-long post explaining that trophies should be awarded based solely on merit, not for simply trying. Read more

Cooking On The Coast of Maine With Chef Edward Lee

Brined Pork Chop recipeIf you’re an avid explorer, artist or writer, you can hardly find a better place to visit than the coast of Maine. With its 67 harbors – from Lubec Harbor in the northern most point to Bar Harbor, Camden, Rockland, Boothbay, Kennebunkport and York in the South – Maine offers unrivaled vistas for the painter’s eye, solitude and inspiration for contemplative writing and a treasure trove of shops, cafés, antiques, museums and gardens for the ultimate seeker of unique trinkets or treasures.

One such treasure – a pleasant place for a rest stop when traveling up the coast of Maine – is Stonewall Farms in York. Known for their specialty foods and gifts (especially their jams), they also have a café that offers deliciously prepared, fresh food sourced from local farmers and bakers – including everything from “Truffle Lobster Mac and Cheese” and “Curry Mango Chicken Wraps” to a refreshingly tasty “Summer Berry Salad.” Read more

Blasting Into A Future Realm With Elon Musk

Elon Musk Biography BookYou might know him as the face of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, but when you read Ashlee Vance’s biography on Elon Musk you soon learn there is a whole lot more to discover about the man determined to “invent a future that is as rich and far-reaching as a science fiction fantasy.”

Elon Musk: Telsa, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is, truly, a fantastic read, bringing you into the life and mind of a fascinatingly unique, intriguing and intelligent human being with a work ethic most aptly described as “intense.” He is confrontational when impatient, audacious in his relentless drive and he never, never, never gives up. Read more

The Luminous Light of August

Facts about sunflowers

“…in August…there’s a few days somewhere about the middle of the month when suddenly there’s a foretaste of fall, it’s cool, there’s a lambence, a soft, a luminous quality to the light, as though it came not from just today but from back in the old classic times. It might have fauns and satyrs and the gods and – from Greece, from Olympus in it somewhere. It lasts just for a day or two, then it’s gone…the title reminded me of that time, of a luminosity older than our Christian civilization.” –William Faulkner, Light in August

Otherwise known as Helianthus annuus, the sunflower is the perfect flower for summertime, deriving its name from helios (sun) and anthos (flower).

William Faulkner quotesA favorite flower of ours, it is believed to have originated in Mexico and Peru and is thought to be one of the first crops grown in the United States. One might be surprised to learn that, today, the countries making up the former Soviet Union are the world’s leading producers of sunflowers, followed by Argentina, France, China, Spain, and the United States.

Aside from producing a sudden feeling of gaiety and euphoria when encountered, sunflowers are known for their seeds, oil and petals that are used for dye.

Deeply rich in nutrients, dried sunflower seeds are an excellent source of potassium, thiamine, magnesium, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, phosphorus, zinc, iron, niacin and vitamin B6. For this reason, many professional athletes chew on sunflower seeds in place of chewing tobacco. Read more

Quenching Your Thirst With Watermelon Salad

Watermelon salad recipeThere is little I enjoy more during the oppressive summer heat than a refreshing watermelon salad that cools the palette and reinvigorates a hot, sluggish body.

With an infinite variety of watermelon salad recipes to choose from, however, I have found two of the most delectable to be from two different restaurants in New York City’s Upper East Side neighborhood: Peri Ela, a Turkish restaurant, and Paola’s, an Italian restaurant. Read more

The Truth Behind Einstein’s Letter on The “Universal Force” of Love

Albert Einstein famous quotesOne of the greatest things about discovering something new is the path it leads us down and doors it opens into new insights and findings that we otherwise might have never known. An article we read leads us to a new author or book. A conversation we have leaves us “googling” something or someone we’ve never heard. A segment on the radio inspires us to learn more about a business or topic being discussed.

Or, as most recently happened to me, a letter circulating via social media leads to the debunking of a myth surrounding its alleged author. Read more