Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Interview: Suzie the Foodie

Thanksgiving is upon us as I'm sure you are well aware. (If you live in the United States, that is. For my friends around the world, keep reading anyway. This isn't just about that.)

I feel like I'm digressing already. Let's get back on track. The point is we have gratitude and food on our minds, so this interview is perfectly timed. I'm kind of excited about it. (Okay, really excited about it.)

Today's guest is Suzie Ridler, also known as Suzie the Foodie. She's kind of awesome. And there's a recipe at the end in case you're looking for a yummy dessert for tomorrow's feast. (Told you... awesome.)

Meet Suzie.

SuzieRidler4What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I have been wonderstruck by my recently weird obsession with all things foodie retro. Dishes, cookbooks, kitchen artwork complete with mushrooms and lots of orange. It shocks me because in the 70s all those things drove me crazy! Now I see the innocence and charm of the time period and it makes me feel at home. I am also obsessed with adding colour to my kitchen which used to be just glass, wood and stainless steel. I am realizing that as a foodie, individuality is important to me. Not just when it comes to the food but with the presentation. It is not quite there on my blog yet but I am getting there.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I am so grateful for the afternoon after my blogging and daily walk when I get to have fun in my kitchen. It is usually the best time for taking photographs and I never know what I am going to do. Hence lots of "kitchen adventures" (AKA realizing you do not have an ingredient halfway through the process) brew up in the afternoons but that is part of my story with food.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

When 4 pm hits, my energy absolutely crashes. I have fibromyalgia and that is when I usually hit the couch until dinner time. Lately I have been trying to avoid the couch at that time of day and make sure I am anywhere where I can not lie down and see how I feel. If I really need the rest, I will rest. But if I feel OK, maybe I can shoot a kitchen video.

What do you wish your were more conscious of?

In some ways I really wish I was more conscious of a focus when it comes to food. I honestly have no idea what I am going to do in my kitchen each day until I am in there and then I just follow the energy. As a result, my food writing and photography are completely random but sometimes I wonder if it would be smarter to target a particular foodie project. When I do though, I get hopelessly depressed. I seem to thrive on freedom so no focus yet and it has been over five years of food blogging!

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

SuzieRidler2I love learning and sharing but I think what is truly important to me is to share my story and truth. If a recipe was hard and frustrating, I tell the story. I want to entertain, inspire and include others in what is going on in my kitchen and life. It is not always positive but it is always true. There is no energy in lies and just writing a recipe bores the hell out of me.

It's me, Sherri, jumping in here. Check this out. It's our first interview that came with a recipe: White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles. You know, in case you're still working on your menu for tomorrow. (Or if you thought you were finished until you saw that.) Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

SuzieRidler1About Suzie Ridler:

Suzie Ridler is known as Suzie the Foodie and has been having foodie adventures in her kitchen for over five years. She is a writer, photographer, product reviewer and rebel.

Follow Suzie here:
YouTube: suziethefoodie
Facebook: @suziethefoodie
Twitter: @suzieridler
Pinterest: @suziethefoodie

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Post-deadline Afterglow


Hello, world. I’ve missed you. Okay, so it’s only been two weeks since my last post, but it feels a lot longer.

I had three editing projects all due within a week of each other, so as the deadlines approached I ducked further into my cave, shutting off the world, ignoring phone calls, missing friends. It was a time of buckling down and doing what needed to be done, even if it meant my three-year-old watched a lot of TV while I worked.

Yesterday was the last of the three deadlines and it was glorious. I spent the morning doing back-to-back loads of laundry, cleaning my kitchen, paying bills, completing preschool paperwork. Okay, I realize that may not sound glorious, but it was. I find that when I’ve been in my cave of work, the everyday minutiae of housework is gratifying.

Midday I settled in with a blanket on a sunny couch for a 15-minute nap. Usually that short amount of time wouldn’t be enough for me to fall asleep so it would be frustrating, but yesterday in the post-deadline afterglow I must have gone right out.

In the afternoon I soaked up the warm 70-degree weather (a welcome change from the bitter low 30s we had last week) while my son played in his sandbox.

The mail brought the new Bella Grace magazine and an artsy deck of oracle cards. I’m pretty certain the universe was trying to help me celebrate.

Last night my husband and I went grocery shopping to get our final needs for Thanksgiving (another box checked off), then we worked together on a new soup recipe (which was delicious). We cuddled on the couch and watched a few episodes of Warehouse 13 and after putting my son to bed, I took a bubble bath and read on my new Kindle.

By nighttime, the cold that has been mildly afflicting me for the last two weeks turned into a full-on sore throat and this morning, I definitely feel it coming on with a vengeance. But even that doesn’t bother me too much because at least it remained small while I had to work and gave me a day of catch-up and rest before hitting harder.

The point is this: everyday life is sweet. In the afterglow of deadlines that is extra apparent. And I’m thankful that the universe gave me just the day I needed to reconnect with the sweetness.

Today I’ll settle in with warm drinks, leftover soup, and the exhale of accomplishment.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Flecks #30


As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I'm learning and celebrating.

Things I learned this week:

  • Wordpress hates me, I think. After 20 minutes working on a post, it produced an error and lost my work. Grrrr. Lesson: Type the post elsewhere first, then paste it into Wordpress.

  • How to clean my washing machine. (I'm not sure how it gets so gross to begin with, but for now it looks almost new.)

  • The motor vehicle building is quick to get through on a rainy day.

  • I can write more than I think I can.

Things I'm celebrating this week:

  • My husband is back safely from his business trip.

  • Starting a new online course called Write Your Freakin' Heart (+ guts) Out.

  • Writing. I've done a fair amount of it this week.

  • So much progress on an editing job.

  • Exploring a neighboring town which I drive through all the time, but never really visit. (The above photograph of chairs is from there.)

Things that are resonating with me:

AnnapurnaLivingI've spent a lot of time this week on Annapurna Living, a site launched Monday by Carrie-Ann Moss. (Remember Trinity from Matrix? Yes, that Carrie-Ann Moss.) Her goal with the site is to nourish, uplift, and inspire the fierce, feminine soul.


A bunch of amazing women are contributing, including Alisha Sommer who graced us with an interview earlier this year. Incidentally, one of my goals is to be a contributor.

The Wild Surrender of Motherhood by Carrie-Ann Moss in which she says, "As children, we do not remember so much what we had or did not have, but we will remember the spirit of our mother, we will remember the feeling of her happiness, the feeling of her ability to love us and to be joyful." This is a good reminder for me on how to live right.

The Secret Life of Vulnerability by Hillary Rain wherein she says, "To be vulnerable is to allow for the possibility of suffering. But it’s also to allow for the possibility of living. We can’t have one without the other."

Your turn:

What did you learn this week? What are you celebrating? Leave a comment and I'll share a "Woohoo!"


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Through the Eyes of a Child (more photos from Jonas)

Remember a few weeks ago when I realized how much fun it was to hand my camera to my three-year-old and see the world through his eyes? Well, I'm still doing it.

Here are some highlights from Jonas's latest photo shoots...






That's real life, folks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Interview: Stefanie Modri

Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives. Which is exactly why I love this interview series.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Stefanie Modri. Stefanie is an obstetrics nurse and founder of The American Garden Tool Co. which, as the name implies, sells all American-made garden tools.

She has taught me a lot about organic gardening and is brilliantly helping Jeff and I dream up plans for our new farm. (Incidentally, our husbands went to high school and college together, so I have them to thank for meeting this fascinating woman. Thanks, guys!)

Meet Stefanie.

StefanieModriWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I asked my husband to help me answer this and he said, "Honey, you are constantly wonderstruck!" He's right. I am. I guess I'll choose the most recent wonderstruck event--the process of moving a house down the street, around the corner, wherever, but without it all falling apart. Just the concept of up and moving a whole house has intrigued me for years. 

Recently, we were in Cape May, New Jersey. The Angel by the Sea bed and breakfast, I learned, used to be one big house further away from the beach. At one point, the home was moved to be closer to the beach. However, it was so large that it had to be cut into two halves to successfully move it. What looks like two homes joined by a walkway is actually one big home, split and settled further apart than it originally was. I am fascinated that a house doesn't shift and become an utter wreck by the time it lands in its new destination.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

Since I work night shift, I am thankful when I am able to sleep in my own bed at night. Often times, I want to tell others to be thankful for sleeping in their bed at night, every night. However, it wouldn't really mean anything to them if they never have to work at night away from their home. I am also thankful to have a husband readily available every morning to help get our children to school on time and safely.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

I think the only part that is tough is the after school homework and getting dinner ready time. I have come to deal with it better by 1) trying to have a part of the dinner prepared before they come home from school, 2) shutting off technology and not making phone calls or doing business work during the after school time, and 3) sitting next to the kids when they do their work, rather than just hovering over and visiting them while they work. The kids and I can stay on task better this way and we each have less distractions. Plus, I can watch them do their work, which helps to catch mistakes they may make and can help them to improve their learning.

What do you wish your were more conscious of?

The faces I make. I know I make faces. I don't have a poker face. I would also like to be more conscious of the odd things I say. I am just being me but I may not always realize how my words are being interpreted.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

Lists, lists and more lists. I balance being a wife, mother of two, commuting nurse, business owner, writer, community member and several other roles by making blocked lists of the different segments of my life. I take a piece of paper, fold it into eight sections and title each section. The lists of goals/what needs to get done for each section help me to stay focused and not get overwhelmed. Otherwise, the list looks like it is 50 items long! I also take long baths and naps, early and often. I don't indulge in expensive gifts for myself but I do like to vacation. Ultimately, I try to think about what I will be happy about when I die. I am happy to spend time with my whole family and I try to do things that I completely enjoy, even if I am not perfect at doing them.

StefanieModri3cropAbout Stefanie Modri:

I have been an obstetrics nurse for over 16 years, have lived in Hawaii, love to travel to Europe and enjoy running my company, The American Garden Tool Co. I have completed two sprint triathlons: the first one, I came in second to last; the second one, third to last. I had a blast doing each of them, and met my goal to just finish and have fun--even if I only started training a few weeks beforehand.

I am married and have two kids. And I knew I was going to marry him the moment I saw him 17 years ago. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Collecting Soul Samples


As you may already know from last week's post, my husband and I recently collected soil samples at our new farm.


A few times during the afternoon, I typed on my phone about it. Every time I did so, the oh-so-helpful spellcheck changed it to "soul sample."


And while having to fix it repeatedly was frustrating, I was struck by the sentiment. Because when I am at the farm, I feel my soul cup filling.


I feel connection and peace. I am truly collecting soul samples.


How lucky we are to have found this space.


How much luckier we will be to call it home.