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September 2015

Stirring the Senses ~ Creating Magical Environments and Seasonal Celebrations!

So instead of writing a new book, I've added well over 100 pages to the original "Stirring the Senses". This is the new forward that I've written but true to my nature I've kept the old one in there as well. I enjoy seeing where I've been in the process of envisioning where I'm going and if you like what you read it will be available on Amazon by the beginning of next week!


Foreword ~ 2015

“The air is different today. The Wind sings with a new tone, sighing of changes coming. The harvest gathered, a flower, a nut, some mead, and bread. A candle and a prayer returning the fruits in thanksgiving to the grove and receiving it’s blessing again.”

Rhawk ~Alban Elfad

So much has happened since I wrote the first foreword for the first edition of this book last year. I am so grateful to those who bought Stirring the Senses, read it and wrote me to let me know that they loved it. This new edition was originally going to be titled “Home for the Holidays” until I realized that so much of my writing about life’s celebrations was already in the first book.

Rather than steal it back and republish it, I decided to add it into the original Stirring the Senses. What you’ve got in your hands now is over a 1oo plus pages stronger, and it’s filled with even more tips and tricks for creating a delicious sort of life, as well some of my favorite recipes for the holidays and other times.

Life has been a whirlwind of wonderful experiences this year; a much needed winter spent in San Diego walking the beach with my husband, Alex and Angie and my sister Ellen, Mud baths in Napa, incredible talks that I’ve gotten to create and give on cooking, entertaining and herbs, television appearances and time spent caring for the beautiful herb gardens lovingly tended by the herb ladies of The Western Reserve Herb Society.

 There was some sadness as I lost my sweet Zoe girl at the ripe old cat age of 18, but such is the wheel of life and the reminder is that what we make of the simple things that happen to us is who we become. She wouldn’t want me to stay sad for very long, she’d want me to keep on making cat treats for Mooshka.

 There is so much more to life than we realize and we are much vaster beings than we understand. The process of BECOMING is the best journey ever. Trust me on this and listen to your own hearts beat.

Listen, breathe and begin to create exactly what you want. Don’t wait! Even if you believe in multiple lifetimes or a afterlife, treat this life as the only one you’ve got!

My personal mission for my life is a simple one and if I’ve helped you fall madly in love with your life whether again or for the first time then I’ve succeeded. I truly just want to make everything around me beautiful as Elsie De Wolfe said before me, or as my mother used to say, “Make Everyday a day for Candles and Wine!”

What do I know now that I didn’t really know last year? Nothing is impossible. Listen closely to your own inner quakings. Don’t ignore them. Begin to act, envision and journey towards the life that you really want. The law of attraction is real, not just some New Age yellow brick road to an imaginary Oz. It’s time to live the life that you’ve always dreamed of and all you have to do is begin dreaming it and the beauty of dreaming is that you can begin wherever you are. 

Almost 13 years ago I closed one chapter and looked around. I’d had enough.  My son was beginning to become a teenager and I’d been running a business for decades. I didn’t know him and I wanted to be there for him. So I made a wish.

Be careful what you ask for…the very next year I closed down an almost century old family business. It was time. At the point that I began to explain on an almost weekly basis what a sauce spoon was needed for, I realized that the world was changing and you know what? It was ok!

 I stayed at home and I began to write. It was a dream that I’d had since 8th grade, but had been told that I’d never been any good at it. I decided not to listen to those voices and instead I focused on cooking, raising my son, loving my husband, caring for my aging parents and WRITING! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I sat down at my enormous HP laptop, a dinosaur that weighed at least 15 pounds and taught myself to blog. 

That’s when Stirring the Senses was born.

Thirteen years can go by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been blessed and I want to inspire you to do the same. So whatever it is that you’re longing to create, choose it now. It doesn’t matter what IT is, because you don’t need anyone’s approval, only your own. It’s not a sin to not do something if your hearts not in it, even if everyone around you thinks you should. You’ll fail at it, or more to the point, you might succeed, but always below your level of true contentment and that's not what you were born for.

 Go on and do what you want to do. We weren’t born to suffer, we weren’t born to just “Make it”. It takes time, practice and more than a little bit of being your own cheerleader. You can bring whatever you want to bring into your life in the blink of an eye just by living your life as if you have already achieved it.  

Go on and begin to daydream again. Get your head back in the clouds where it was before a parent or teacher clipped your wings and told you that you needed to be "realistic". Become the artist that paints or better yet, wildly finger paints your life. Color outside of the lines and draw on the walls! 

That’s when life gets fun. Things start to appear and you realize that at one point along the way you thought about making it happen. Like getting to go to New York City to present your book at Whole Foods and on the stage of the Lincoln Center with your husband and one of your BFF's cheering you on. Like the opportunity to rewrite this book or the opportunity to have a holiday cooking segment on a popular morning TV show. Like wishing for, suddenly and truly out of the blue getting and giving loving and needed closure to an very important friendship that ended badly. Like getting to go to Montreal after wishing to go to Montreal because your husband suddenly gets invited to go for business and you’ve got nothing to do for five days but ride the metro, eat in bistros, drink great wine and visit museums and markets. Like waking up one day and finding out that one of your blog posts has been read over 5000 times in one day. 

i am nothing but grateful. 

Life is magic if you allow magic to live and that starts within you. If more of us begin to define, explore and create our bliss not by others expectations of us but by our own, then the world can’t help but become a more authentic, peaceful and abundant place. There is more than enough bliss to go around. You just have to choose the courage to begin.

Please start now. You're needed here.


Autumnal Equinox 2015  



Outlander Love Affair ~ Protecting the Glorious Artistic Feast that is Outlander



I realize that I'm probably about to anger a lot of people but I've got to say it. I'm completely freaked out by the fact that Terry Dresbach, creator of the beautiful costuming that we have enjoyed on Outlander has felt the need to cry  "Uncle" ,  after trying to protect the exquisite beauty of the costuming work that she does to make every episode of Outlander so very special. 

I'm talking about the repeated  exchanges that I've witnessed on her Twitter account, by fans who feel that her work somehow belongs to us  and that if someone takes a fairly unprofessional shot of of the beautiful costuming that she's creating and it gets posted on FB, that she shouldn't feel like her work isn't being seen completely as she intends? Hasn't any one else noticed that quite suddenly, Starz isn't giving us the kind of teasing gorgeous photographs that we enjoyed when Outlander Season 1 was brand new and oh so special? They know the value of their brand and they don't want it cheapened.  

Granted, I come from a family of artists. I see what Terry does as sacred, not simply commercial. When I see the shots that are not being released by Starz, but by paparazzi and even passers-by, I feel almost like I've been cheated of something. I feel as if I'm not seeing them in the way that the artist intended, because I'm not seeing them as part of the whole beauty that is Outlander.  So I don't look at them and I don't post them on my site "Outlander Love Affair" I especially don't post them if I know that the creators of the show don't want them posted. I consider it my responsibility   as the leader of a fairly large group of fans to help keep the mystery , enchantment and the excitement alive. 


What I'm uncomfortable with is the sense of entitlement that I feel from a part of the fandom that seems to want to settle for Hamburger Helper when what Terry, Ron and company want to give us is an abundant visual feast. I don't want them to feel that we have so little respect for what they are creating for us that they feel compromised in any way. I want the highest quality product for my Starz dollars that they can produce. I want that if Terry and company says, "Please don't release that yet" that we respect that request and wait patiently for the quality that they've proved that  they will be bringing us. I'm not talking about the pics of  Sam and Cait with fans. I love those and I'm quite certain that those are not a problem at all. 

Think about it. If we'd seen The Wedding Dress or Jamie's glorious green velvet and his kilt  for months on end before "The Wedding", would we have been as astonished as we were when we saw it in all of it's glory, in the luscious setting with one gorgeous Jamie Fraser , would we have been so moved? 

The answer is no. We saw some lovely photographs a month or so before, but they served to whet our appetites and unlock our imaginations. 

Outlander-wedding-picture                           These photos are the context in which I want to see the costuming.

It's all part of a gorgeous, glorious,  artistically profound whole.

Outlander is a multimedia feast. We have beautiful music, gorgeous settings, beautiful costuming and amazing acting, production and direction. Waiting for all of it to come together in one gorgeous tableau is a bit like waiting and planning for the first the first time that you make love with someone special and new. It's all in the imagination...the gray space between the ears. It's the space that brought Jamie and Claire to life for us all these many years in the descriptions in Diana's amazing books. 

Now Terry is an incredibly accomplished adult, married to an amazing guy, and she certainly doesn't need me to defend her.  Neither of them would know me if I tripped in front of them walking down the street. I bet though, that if I did, Terry would be one of the first to run over and help me up. She's caring in that way. I've been watching for months now as both she and Ron have been generous with us on their twitter feeds, interacting with us as if we mattered.

I've watched both of them be verbally attacked by fans who aren't satisfied, who feel the need to air every grievance that they have with the show, with the casting, with the time between seasons, and most recently, with whether or not Terry should be upset if her gorgeous work is seen before it's time and not in the light that she'd want it seen in. 

 She is a real person, with real feelings just like you and me. She shares a lot of her life with us, beautiful pictures of the places she goes and the people  and critters she meets. She's very tenderhearted. She adores her husband and she has to watch,  listen and defend herself and him on a very regular basis because somehow we think that we can demand that of her.  Has anyone ever stopped to wonder what that kind of life must be like?

Yes, it's glamorous, but it's without roots. She has to make a home wherever the work finds her. Her husband is often gone.  What I've noticed is that she's a nurturer, someone who likes to care for and connect. She's been very present all this time building a relationship with us, as a fandom which is more that I can say for any other TV show that I've ever fallen in love with. No one from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman ever wrote to me personally and thanked me for being a fan. 

Personally? I think that it's time to give that love and friendship back.  I'd love to see her treated with  the kindness that she's shown us by allowing us to be a part of her life. I love to see that her work, which is really art, is treated as such. I want my glorious Starz stills back. They show us the costuming as it's meant to be seen. 

It's a bit strange being a part of a fandom. I think that we forget in our lust to see the newest pictures of Sam and Cait, what is really going on. Outlander may be TV, but it's gorgeous TV. It's art, gorgeous, glorious art. It's the finest storytelling in the world come to life.


I think it's worth waiting for.  


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