Yes, I took a 30 day sabbatical. For all of my adult life, I’ve been going full-throttle. School, work, parenting, more work, side work, fun work. You name it, I want to do it (and am determined to do it perfectly). It’s a blessing to love what you do, but sometimes it can also feel like a curse. Honestly, most days it feels like a tornado that ends with a migraine. (I bet some of you can relate.)
So, when the company I have been working for for the last seven years (The Grommet) announced a new policy that would give me the chance to take a 30 day paid sabbatical, I was equally excited and nervous. I’ve taken a week vacation before (still checking in here and there) but this was an entire new level. I wondered if I could do it. (I also tried negotiating working one day a week during it so I could still get stuff done, I know…pathetic). In the end I took an entire 30 days off.
I wanted to share a few things that I took away from this experience. From the planning process, to how I spent my time, to what I learned when I took a step back and let things
go … for thirty. whole. days.
The planning dilemma I was stressing over what to do with my time off (what a first-world problem to have, I know). But you see, I want everything to be just right. When in my life will I get another chance to take 30 days off? I ran through several ideas. My first thought was to quickly plan an international trip. Over the last two years we’ve traveled a lot (my favorite was to Maine last summer) but never outside of the US. However, my husband couldn’t get that much time off, and traveling with a family of four is pricey. I ran through other ideas like volunteering my time, finally getting that passion project going I’ve been thinking about for years, creating a ton of content for this blog, deep cleaning my house (yes this crossed my mind), and more. In the end my husband asked me what I wish I could do every summer. And my answer? “Fun stuff with my daughters.” I work from a home office and summers are HARD. When the kids are out of school they are always asking to go do fun things and I am always saying “no” because I’m working. I keep business hours so hitting the beach on a Wednesday isn’t something we can just go and do. I realized that I wanted to be able to do whatever they wanted, and just have some summer fun. (more…)
I stumbled upon this word…. fernweh and it describes perfectly the feeling I have been having. It’s like I NEED to explore, to see, to go.
I’ve noticed that lately I have had this undeniable urge to just go. Travel. Get out. Don’t get me wrong, I (more than most maybe) love to be a homebody. I appreciate spending weekends with my people doing things like baking, gardening, and just being. But the past year or so, I just constantly want to GO.
Over the past six months, I’ve been collaborating with Pepperidge Farm and sharing my original recipes using Puff Pastry. Along the way, my readers were asked to submit ideas for recipes they would like to create using puff pastry and just a few weeks ago one reader (Sharon from Cupcakes and Cutlery!) got the news she would be heading with me to the Pepperidge Farms Innovation Center to compete in our own version of a Top Chef inspired cooking challenge.
We arrived with several other bloggers and guests for a day of inspiration, taste testing and recipe development! Above is Sharon and I in the Pepperidge Farm test kitchen. It was SO cool!
With aprons tied, we worked together to create two dishes that would be presented to the judges. Our mission was to create two recipes each inspired by a new food trend –Brazilian influence and using Greek yogurt in a savory dish. Above were our two dishes.
With my Summer Thyme beverage in hand, I’m daydreaming about all the upcoming summer fun there is to be had (you know, in between w-o-r-k that is). With our two girls almost out of school, a great Memorial weekend under our belt, and the sunny CA sunshine — we’re about ready to kick into that summertime gear!
First up on our agenda is a week long getaway to Palm Springs.
Is it time to go yet?
We’ll also see plenty of lazy beach days. When we have no plans on the weekend it’s pretty common that we just call decide to head to the beach (why not right?). This summer the Mr. and I are in the market for new beach cruisers so we can all go for a long Sunday beach strolls at the beach. And summer wouldn’t be complete without many casual backyard gatherings with family and friends — and of course, keeping up with our garden.
Here’s a new recipe that I’ll be serving up while we’re relaxing poolside in Palm Springs. What I love about it is that it tastes fresh and flavorful but it’s super simple to make.
Grilled Hot Dog Bites with fresh Jalapenos, Tomatoes & Avocado Dressing
Grill your Hebrew National Hot Dogs and lightly toast the buns.
Slice the hot dogs, buns, jalapenos and tomatoes. Assemble and hold in place with a toothpick.
Serve on a platter with a bowl of your favorite avocado dressing for dipping.
See? super simple!
What fun summer plans do you have?
Hebrew National tastes great because, for more than 100 years, we’ve adhered to the highest quality standards. Hebrew National Franks are made with premium cuts of 100% pure kosher beef, and contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no by-products, and no fillers. Premium taste and high quality every time, for any occasion. That’s our guarantee. Learn about even more reasons to love Hebrew National, and tell us why you love them, too! http://www.facebook.com/HebrewNational
A few weeks back I had a “first” (and a pretty exciting one I might add). I visited New York for the first time! I was invited to be a judge in the Sterling Wine Ultimate Host Challenge and was flown in (with 2 other guest judges) to New York for the finale event — which I was pretty excited about!
Here’s a quick photo recap of the highlights. I only had a day and half to explore, but thanks to a friend for a “must see” list, my feet covered a lot of ground!
The event itself was great! Here I am above (left) with judges Kristen of Dine and Dish (center) and Aryka of The Fab Femme. Kristen was a great pal to explore the city with! She led me to the best pizza in town and was a fabulous walking companion :). On the right is the main host and judge, Padma from Top Chef.
The first morning I was there, I woke up and decided to go explore in search of coffee and breakfast. I came across this Christmas tree in the middle of Madison Square Park. I sat there and just took it in.
Then I found breakfast. What? These can be breakfast in my book. I had to bring some home too, so good!
Next I discovered the best prop-shop I have ever seen; Fishs Eddys. If I lived in NYC I would be broke. This store has all of the vintage and unique kitchen finds a girl could dream about.
I was able to quickly spend a small fortune and have the goods shipped back home. I just wish I would have grabbed some of these vintage linens (ah, well next time!).
After much more exploring and a great dinner, we had to see “The Tree.” It was stunning!
The next morning I was on my own and I walked my little heart out. I headed to this young designer’s market to see if I could find any unique treasures or gifts (there was plenty of both).
Perhaps one of my favorite spots was Eataly. I only managed to grab only this one photo because I was immersed and taking it all in. I cannot wait to go back.
I couldn’t leave the city without stopping at Shake Shack. As I sat devouring enjoying my burger and shake I watched this woman filming an exercise video in the park. On a workout bike. Go figure!
On my route back to my hotel I grabbed a few souvenirs for my girls and a cupcake from this adorable sweets truck.
And then it was time to head home. After a whirlwind day and a half I looked out my car window to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty. I felt so in the moment and grateful for the experiences I had just enjoyed.
Eager to get home to my family and share my awesome trip with them, I landed on the west coast only to get life shattering news (I’m okay). The kind that grabs a hold of your gut and threatens to never let go. I almost did not share these photos as I felt the trip was “tainted.” However, I realized that would do nothing to change things. I am thankful I was able to enjoy the trip and look forward to the future when I feel that same joy and gratefulness.
I hope you enjoyed these photos and I hope to share more travel pictures soon. xoxo