Hello and welcome to my little silk strand of the Web! I’m glad you’re here.
I wish I could package up my life’s story for you, with a clean narrative arc, full of inspiring episodes, building to an emotionally satisfying, inevitable conclusion that you never saw coming. But my life hasn’t been that tidy, that linear, that coherent, that sensical. I suspect that yours hasn’t either. So we have that in common.
I was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and developed a fascination with history from hearing witch-trial lore and stories of my maternal forebears’ service in the Revolutionary War. A few times a year, my family travelled to my father’s Italian parents’ home in New York, where my grandmother prepared the most magnificent multi-course meals, and l learned that cooking is an art, best done by following one’s own senses, rather than someone else’s recipe. I think this applies to life as well.
I grew to like school, especially English, French, and history, and became part of a nice circle of friends during that early-adolescence time when peers become more than playmates. Then my family moved to a big Colonial house on a corner lot with its own running brook in a quiet and picturesque bedroom town closer to Boston, where the white blanket of winter snow across the grounds gave way to bright colorful spring flowers in the gardens, and the lush green of summer faded as the back woods turned into the kaleidoscope of rich reds, yellows, and oranges that bedeck New England in autumn, my favorite time of year. I hated it, hated my unfamiliar new high school, hated being wrested away from my friends. But the experiences of our early teenage years put the finishing touches on our personalities; the ways we cope carve the festoons that give us unique character. And the trauma of being yanked with a twist from my patch of ground as I teetered between child- and adulthood is the key to my boundless lifestyle; I responded like one of my beloved, old-fashioned peony plants, and never grew deep roots again. I have given normal life more than one chance, sought ersatz security in (mostly short-term) jobs and (mostly long-distance) relationships where I twisted myself into a pretzel trying to please someone else, but I’ve come to prefer the more reliable comfort of knowing that I can do what I want, on my terms and my timetable. If there’s anything that possesses me, it’s an insatiable curious wanderlust, a craving to be rapt up out of the quotidian and into a different place, into a different time, into the solace of the finer things, into the stimulation of seeing, doing, learning something new.
I’m a Bohemian preppy, a free spirit with a traditional soul, and an ordinary woman who chooses to live an extraordinary life. I believe in being curious, thoughtful, fit, frugal, well-read, and well-travelled. I love luxury, but hate to over-spend, so I’m always looking for good deals. I love food, but hate to gain weight, so I keep low-carb when I can and indulge when I can get away with it. I’m quirky. I can’t stand peanut butter, grape juice, or anything slivery—sautéed mushrooms, sliced almonds, shredded coconut. I’m sensitive to everything; I’ve gotten vertigo from a rock concert and contact dermatitis from a pen. I can’t sing a note on key. I can recite chunks of Miracle, Braveheart, and Ocean’s 11 from memory. I have two favorite places: home and away. In other words, I’m a nomadic homebody. I love to explore art museums and gardens and wineries, catch a concert or a ballgame, relax on a boat or at a spa, feel snug and safe in a fine hotel, and sit on a barstool or a waterfront porch and sample new dishes and cuisines. And then I love to come home. I love to read, to cook and bake, to garden, and to entertain.
I’ve road-tripped across America more than once, travelled to exotic places from Israel to Hawaii, discovered the unexpected in expected locales like Italy, and felt fully alive in Greece, the one place that simultaneously awakened my thoughtful side and my sensual side more than any other.
I’ve had great jobs and horrible jobs. I’ve been chief-of-staff to a legislator and speechwriter to a Cabinet secretary. I’ve written a book and lectured on college campuses, and at conferences, and on Capitol Hill. I’ve met a Russian princess, Michael Jackson’s chimp Bubbles, and Ronald Reagan, who winked at me.
I left that life behind to become a lifestyle blogger, and I’m having so much more fun now. As it happens, it was one of those horrible jobs that inspired me to start my first blog. I was bored so batty that I just had to find a creative outlet, and I found blogging. I’d draft my posts during my lunch break, and type them in on my desktop computer when I came home to my one-bedroom apartment. But perhaps the seeds of this blog were sown even earlier, before there was such a thing as blogs, when I made my first cross-country road trip, to a new job in California. Because once I discovered the intoxication of the open road, and the freedom of being “between jobs”, I could never get either out of my soul.
So what is this blog about anyway? It’s where I share with you interesting places to visit, new recipes to try, ideas and strategies to live the lifestyle you want, on your terms. I hope they’re useful for you. But what I hope even more is to share with you a sense of wonder about the world and all it has to offer. I hope we can learn together from our common past, and smile at the future, and fully enjoy the now. We each get one life, and I’m determined to suck the marrow out of mine. If you are too, I think we’ll have fun together.
Life’s funny, isn’t it? Nothing linear, nothing sensical, sometimes nothing even sensible. There’s making the same mistakes all over again, and making different mistakes. There’s leaving home, and finding your way home. There’s hope and heartache, and sometimes they turn on a dime. But there’s always adventure, always something interesting, as long as you’re interested, always something fresh and unexpected and delightful, as long as you keep your sense of wonder alive.