My new obsession….

Recently I did a post about my first 24 alcohol ink painted ceramic tiles. I love the process and results. It provides me a creative outlet that’s both therapeutic and soothing.

Last week I launched an Instagram account called laurasprettytiles if you’d like to check it out. I’ve already connected with artists across the globe. I feel a kinship with them and am inspired with the beauty they’re creating. Here are my latest tiles:

My Experience with HelloFresh

For those following this blog you know I love to cook. I have my Doctorate from the Food Network (okay I’m making that up), dozens of cookbooks, numerous Pinterest foodie boards and an overall obsession with great food. I was aware of these meal services – HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef – but felt they weren’t for me.

Until a week ago…..

Having passed the one year mark since losing Spence, I started looking at these meal services through a different lens. Cooking for one with a love of food but a small appetite, I’d been finding that food was going to waste – especially produce. Cooking for one, I rarely try new recipes and was in a bit of a rut. I checked out several sites and for me it came down to looking at the meal choices. HelloFresh had me at “Hello” (random Jerry McGuire reference).

The smallest commitment, two 2 serving meals per week (from a choice of ten) made sense for me. There’s no contract and you can skip a week(s) or quit anytime, flexible and hassle free.

Via text updates, I knew my shipment would arrive on Tuesday via UPS.  Everything was well-packaged and super fresh, a huge re-usable cold pack inside and the box was lined with a cooler-type insert.


My chosen meals were Lemony Cheese Tortelloni with Pancetta, Peas and Zucchini and Pan Seared Duck Breasts with Duck-Fried Potatoes, Asparagus and Grape Tomatoes.

I made the Tortelloni first, using half the ingredients which were more than ample for a single serving.

Easy recipe with step by step instructions, including photos and even a suggested wine pairing


I made the recipe exactly as written, making any notes on how I’d enhance the second portion later in the week. I’d add toasted pine nuts, a pinch of red pepper flakes and shave Parmigiano Reggiano over the top adding both texture and flavor.

I love duck and when I see it on a menu I order it – but I’ve never prepared it. HelloFresh gave me a fool-proof recipe and opportunity to try something I’d never done.  Count me in…


The Pan Seared Duck entrée was…..perfection!  I savored every bite and I can’t wait to make the second portion in the future. I don’t think I’d change anything!

There are lots of enticing first-time offers by these meal services that ultimately make your first order inexpensive and with no long-term committment what have you got to lose?





Gilmore Girls, the series/Gilmore Girls: a Year in the Life


Gilmore Girls, the series

When the Gilmore Girls debuted in 2000, I didn’t watch it.  Not for any reason other than it slipped under my radar.  Several years ago I caught season one in syndication and was hooked, seriously hooked.  Not only did I watch the entire seven seasons, I bought the entire DVD set and have watched it more than a few times.

Yes, I’m a total Gilmore fangirl.  And my friends – I’m not alone.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the storyline:

Set in Star’s Hollow, a fictional, picturesque New England small-town its both charming and loaded with lovable, quirky and colorful characters.

The central characters, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are a spirited young mother and daughter. Fiercely independent, Lorelai had Rory at 16 and raised her as single mom. Rory is an incredibly bright 16 year old bookworm with a life-long goal of attending an ivy-league college. They’re closer than any mother and daughter you’ll see on-screen.

Lorelai’s best friend, Sookie, played by the adorable young Melissa McCarthy, is a gifted but klutzy chef at the inn Lorelai manages and later at an inn they buy to run together.

Luke, owner of Luke’s Diner, is rugged and a bit grumpy but is the guy who repeatedly drops everything for Rory and Lorelai.  Luke and Lorelai explore other relationships over the seven seasons but are always drawn to each other…..

There’s way more to the series that this “glimpse”.  I can only say if you haven’t watched the show you can binge-watch it right now on Netflix – and I hope you will.  Right now, when our country is divided and full of turmoil, the sweetness of the characters, the town and the story provide a lovely place where you can escape and immerse yourself.


Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

For those die-hard fans of the Gilmore Girls, there has been an groundswell of enthusiasm for a reunion since it ended in 2007.  Speaking as one of those fans, every nugget that hinted that it might happen renewed my hopes.  In 2016, it was confirmed that nearly a decade after it ended, the reunion was filmed for Netflix in four 90 minute segments – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

It was released on November 25, 2016, a date marked on my calendar. I was chomping at the bit to watch it.  But there was one wrinkle…..

Spence enjoyed the show but had caught syndicated episodes infrequently.  I wanted to share “The Year in the Life” with him but insisted we watch the seven seasons in their entirety first.  And he agreed! That took several weeks of binging. As we finished, he was needed to help his best friend, post-surgery and has been in Florida for the last few weeks.  And with an uncertain return date, I could no longer wait.

Picking up nine years later, it feels as though we’re reuniting with old friends we’ve missed.  Written by the Gilmore Girls creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, this was like a gift. Every character from the show (major or minor) showed up in meaningful ways and the trademark, fast-paced witty dialogue was back in spades. For super fans like myself, there were many nuances that nodded to the original series and warmed my Gilmore-loving heart.

The last two episodes were my favorites. There were several stunningly beautiful scenes that I watched with tears in my eyes.  In short, this was a successful sequel and a love letter from the show’s creators to those of us who longed to know what had happened to our beloved characters.

With a surprise at the end, I’m not alone in seeing an opening to another reunion in the future…fingers crossed!

And when Spence returns from Florida, I’ll be watching it once again and likely not for the last time.

Lion, the movie I’m recommending

Recently my lifetime BFF and I did a girl’s day out including a movie that I knew little about.  I’d only caught a few minutes of the Golden Globes (including Meryl Streep’s speech – awesome) and saw Dev Patel introducing the clip of his movie “Lion” up for Best Movie.  I remember thinking how I loved him in “Slumdog Millionaire” and was intrigued by this new movie.  So when my wise BFF suggested this film, I was in.

Accidentally separated from his family as a child, Saroo Brierley returns to India 25 years later to find them. (IMDb)

The movie based on an incredible true story, is both riveting and heartbreaking, the acting superb. The audience seemed enthralled; as the credits rolled no one moved to leave. It was overwhelming in the best possible way and an unforgettable story of love, loss and family.  If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to do so.


How I’m Coping Post-Election

For my followers, I’m still here.  For nearly the entire month of January I’ve been sick with what turned out not to be a cold but the flu.  Given my history of asthma, pneumonia, upper respiratory infections and bronchitis, I’ve followed my doctor’s recommendation to get a flu shot for many years.  Somehow this year I didn’t prioritize and as a result, I was taken down for weeks.  Shame on me.

Pre-election, I made a conscious decision to not use my social media presence to make my personal political leanings known. As the election grew closer, I did occasionally “like” certain posts on Facebook that spoke to my beliefs. What I didn’t do was to seek out those Facebook “friends” whose positions were the opposite of mine and make snarky remarks. In short, I remembered what my mama taught me “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all”.  Wise woman.

As months dragged on, several Facebook “friends” took a different approach. Posting non-stop with sometime truly offensive shares in their feeds, I first used the “hide” feature making those posts in effect disappear. In several cases, I stopped following them though not un-friending or blocking them. As my yoga instructor Jules had taught me, “if it disturbs your peace, let it go” and that worked for me.

I have a number of friends whose politics are not the same as mine but I still love and admire them for all their other positive attributes. There seems to be an unspoken understanding that we simply don’t talk about politics, that our friendship in more important than our need to debate.

Post-election the divisiveness continues.  I’ve still been inspired to share a few posts that I mirrored my views.  Sadly, I’ve had a Facebook “friend” who can’t stop themselves from making sarcastic comments on those posts.  This has happened half a dozen times and while I don’t reply, it’s disturbed my peace.  Another life lesson from my mom, “don’t take the bait” has stopped me from engaging with so much as a reply.  To cope and stop this from happening in the future, I’ve blocked this individual earlier this week and immediately felt a sense of peace.

In recent weeks, I’ve adopted what my life-long BFF calls a “news fast” avoiding the  onslaught of daily news that make me sad, stressed or upset.  Again, my way of coping…

I’ve decided to get back to blogging about life, food, cats, travel and positive, humorous things which attracted me to it in the first place.  The kind, unconditional acceptance and support and the new friends of every age, gender, occupation, nationality and sexual orientation have been a constant source of happiness for me as I continue being a citizen of the blogosphere.

Thank you for being a part of my life.