Note From the Universe

Two of the most important questions for all aspiring rock stars are:

- How big do you want to be?
- What are you now doing about it?

"Rock stars" being metaphoric for "be happier." I just didn't want to immediately flip you out.


Flank Steak & Cheese Sauce

In July, we went to St. Maarten with my dear college friend, Melissa, and her husband, Mark. We stayed on the Dutch side by Cupecoy, which is very near the French border on the opposite side of the island from the cruise ships (good choice!). On our first full day, we were headed on a drive around the 37-square-mile island when we came to Grand Case, which is supposed to have the best authentic French food on the island. It was just lunch time so we weren't scoping full meals (except James, who is, of course, always hungry) but we scored front-row beach chairs at a nice looking restaurant on the water. It was the perfect place for sun, a dip in the clear blue bay, Carib beer and flank steak.

Wait, flank steak?

Yes. As we're all munching light snacks in the 85+ heat and humidity, James ordered an all-out meal: baguettes, flank steak, noodles, cheese sauce (now that I'm thinking about it, I hope there was a vegetable in there somewhere). To this moment, James will swear it was the best thing he ever ate. He even made us go back another day, but that's another story.

The whole point of all of this is that James has developed an obsession with flank steak and cheese sauce. So one Friday after work, I was feeling adventurous and incredibly nice, so I asked James to join me at Your DeKalb Farmers Market (love!) to pick up the fixings for his favorite meal. I took some creative liberties with the help of Bon Appetit and its Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce, and we had an absolutely phenomenal meal. While it was not authentic to whatever deliciousness we had in St. Maarten, the cheese sauce was to die for. The mushrooms added a little extra flavor and the chipotles gave the tiniest hit of heat at the finish. We rounded out the meal with non-descript grilled asparagus and warm bread, but the star of the sides was a Wild Arugula Salad with Garlic Croutons, Shaved Parmesan and Lemon. Even James thought was delicious, and he normally avoids arugula like the plague. It was light & fresh, and the dressing was the perfect complement to the parmesan. We also snagged a yummy, under-$10 bottle of Mouton Cadet Bordeaux, which we will pick up again. There were even leftovers for the next day, though I will caution that the fat in the cheese sauce nicely separates from the cheese sauce upon reheating, which could be a good or a bad thing.

Overall, it was a wildly successful adventure and it's re-ignited my desire to cook. Watch for more yummy dishes coming soon!


Smelling the Proverbial Roses

Last night, Ryan, James & I were debating the attributes and design of BMWs versus Mercedes - the former being Ryan's mode of transportation and the latter mine. This conversation had followed a discussion of how unfortunate it was that Ryan's parents no longer stock their refrigerator with Dom.

What happened to me?

Once upon a time, I was a small town girl growing up in a family where money was tight. I lived in hand-me-downs, and my dad worked two jobs for most of my childhood so we'd have enough money to do fun things like play softball or take our now infamous educational vacations. We drove modest cars, shopped at discount stores and rarely went out to eat without a coupon. And I didn't have any less happy of a childhood for any of this.

Now I wouldn't buy a house without granite, hardwoods and stainless steel appliances, and I HAD to install crown molding because who the heck built a condo without it? When it came time to replace my car, I didn't look at anything other than Mercedes, and my handbags have to have a designer tag. James & I think it's acceptable to go out for dinners with price tags at which my mother and father balk.

How, and when, did I become this way?

I'm still painfully proud of where I came from -- but it wasn't a good enough place to stay. I listen to country music about simple lives in small towns, and while it touches a cord in me, it does not portray who I actually am today. After working so hard to stop being so judgmental and be a better, more genuine person, I think I've lost hold of those attributes. Instead, I feel like I've gotten caught up in the drama, the city, the competitive young professional circuit... and in the process, I'm forgetting the important things in my life.

I've regained my focus on my marriage, which had been suffering until last fall but is now stronger than it's ever been. I should take it as a lesson learned that progress can be made, but it will take time and effort. I want to focus on my friendships, exploring the history & culture of Georgia, going outdoors, reading books and reigniting the passion I used to have about so many things and people in my life. I want to rediscover the hobbies I used to have and find new ones, new interests and new people.

There is so much to love, enjoy and explore as we travel through our lives, and you don’t have to be driving a luxury car to get there.

Note From the Universe

Sure, there have been surprises. Some, not so fun. But you have to admit, with hindsight, moving forward was actually easy. Something worth remembering. And there have been surprises that suddenly changed your entire life for the better, and there will be many more.