Happy Friday, friends. It may be terribly cliché of me to say, but I’m so ready for the weekend. Last weekend was busy, and then Andy and I were both busy working this week, and I feel like I haven’t been that great at stopping to catch my breath and just be lately.
But! A possible NYC trip is on the horizon, as well as time with friends. And I can’t believe this, but my nephew Joe had his last day of high school this week! I was thirteen when he was born and it’s been so crazy watching him mature into almost an adult. (And yes, I’m aware of what an old fuddy-duddy I sound like) I’m looking forward to his graduation ceremony and party next weekend!
Let’s get down to business. This weekend I went back to a normal swap for #AskAwayFriday, which is a wonderful networking and get-to-know-you series hosted by the five bloggers listed above. I like interviewing and being interviewed, and #AAF is a great way for readers to get to know a blogger better, as well as for bloggers to find each other!
My partner today is NJ from A Cookie Before Dinner
, a fellow Northeast dweller and beach lover. NJ is married with two adorable kids who loves to write and share her stories. I love this excerpt from her About page: My goal as a mother is to raise empathetic, self-sufficient, open-minded tiny humans who love the world and their neighbors as themselves. I want my children to grow up with a wide lens of the world. We’ve celebrated solstice, Hanukkah, Passover, and marched in a gay pride parade with our friends. It’s refreshing to hear a mom say they want their kids to have an open-minded world view! (Besides the usual stuff like wanting them to be happy and feel loved, that is)
To see NJ’s answers to my questions, pop over to her blog
, and explore her site a little. I’m sure you’ll find something that you will laugh at, relate to, or be inspired by.
My #AskAwayFriday partner, NJ of A Cookie Before Dinner
1. I see you recently took a bit of a road trip through VT and Maine. What was your favorite memory from that trip?
I can’t pick just one! I loved visiting my friends and seeing their new house and one-month-old baby. I loved our B&B in Camden, Maine (oh man, I’ve been teasing that post for awhile, haven’t I?), and how much of a special gift it was to stay there for my birthday. And I wouldn’t be Christy if I didn’t mention the fabulous food
Andy snapped this of me on the morning of my birthday: in our B&B room, with the tulip our hosts picked from their garden for me!
2. We are often invited to potlucks where about half of the crowd is vegetarian and the other half isn’t. I’d love to bring something that would WOW both, what would you recommend?
Okay, so it’s certainly not easy to satisfy both carnivores and herbivores- at least in my experience. If it’s wintertime, go for a hearty, flavorful soup like potato rosemary soup
(I might add in shredded carrot and greens for more nutrition). Spicy squash salad with lentils and goat cheese
would also be fantastic, and can be adapted to include seasonal vegetables in the summer (like swapping in greens, tomatoes, etc for the squash).
3. Share a recent (but beloved) photograph you’ve taken and tell the story behind it.
This isn’t anything spectacular, but I like how the frog chose to stay where he was for a minute while I got juuuust close enough. I was baby-sitting and somehow the four-year-old was interested in this cutie! What I love is the color and texture I was able to capture:
Hello, Mr. Frog. What intriguing eyes you have!
4. Your very first post was about a cheesecake that didn’t set up the way you hoped. Have you improved your skill since then or abandoned the idea of homemade cheesecake?
Oh wow, you went all the way back to the beginning! I have not
made another cheesecake since then– bars, cookies, and muffins are more my speed. Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to make the Smitten Kitchen’s double coconut banana muffins
I like Deb’s idea of cutting up parchment paper when you’re out of muffin pan liners!
5. You’ve been blogging for just over two years, what advice would you give to a new blogger?
The best advice I can give (and I do not feel like I have all the answers!) is to be consistent in your posting, and read and comment on other blogs regularly. Like Tiffany said in her response about how she gets traffic to her blog, you have to treat other bloggers how you want to be treated! That means giving other bloggers views, comment, shares, and retweets (if you’re on Twitter).
6. What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I finally got an Instagram account (with my first smartphone!) and I’ve been into that lately. But as far as interaction and blog promotion, my favorite is probably Twitter.
7. If I came to the Hudson Valley on vacation, what are five things I absolutely couldn’t miss?
Okay let’s see- as for food, any of the farmer’s markets on Saturdays and Sundays are wonderful to visit for things like fresh produce, honey, jams, baked goods, and cheese. I’d highly recommend eating lunch or dinner at Terrapin
in Rhinebeck– they have something for everyone: meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free eaters, and they have been a favorite of ours for years.
A bellini and a bowl of Terrapin’s amazing roasted garlic soup.
It’s fun to order only from the tapas menu- I love the crispy artichokes and goat cheese wontons!
Let’s see, that’s two things so far, right? Since we’re in the Rhinebeck area, it’s worth a visit to check out Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, a few miles south of the village. This retreat center is where I worked for six years, and where Andy and I met each other. People come from all over the world to take workshops here, but day visitors are welcome to stroll the wooded campus and visit the café, bookstore, and Wellness Center.
Long Pond Lake at the Omega Institute
If you’re up for a hike, Overlook Mountain in Woodstock offers fantastic views as a reward for a somewhat-steep upward climb. At the top of the summit’s fire tower, you can see the Hudson River, the rest of the Catskills, and the nearby Ashokan Reservoir.
You must spend some time by the Hudson River, of course, whether it’s the Kingston waterfront, at a lighthouse, or at a state park. I love how much there is to do around here!
8. What is on your night stand? Bonus points for a picture!
I have a little shelf that Andy put in next to my side of the bed, since it’s against the wall. There is always some book on there, possibly two, my book lamp, my phone charger, a picture of Andy and I, and usually some hair ties. Oh, and the framed picture is some street art I found in Barcelona
9. What is your oldest post currently in draft? Why haven’t you finished it?
This is a great question! I have a whopping 31 posts in my drafts folder, and only about four of those are scheduled. Ha! The oldest one is from September of last year, during my short-lived career as a nursing student: “Empathy: A Blessing and a Curse”. That idea came about from clinicals, when I spent 4-6 hours in a nursing home/assisted living facility, with sick elderly residents.
Why haven’t I finished it? I’m not sure- most of the time I’ll just be inspired to write something and I’ll get to it; if I don’t finish it right away, I know it’s not meant to be written yet. I can certainly finish it now; I know that at the time it was too sticky/anxious of a situation for me to write about yet.
10. If you could have 24 hours with a person living or dead, who would it be and why?
Here’s the thing: I get socially anxious, so if we are spending twenty-four hours together, I want this to be someone I’m comfortable with. If we were talking dinner, then I could request any number of fascinating figures from the past. But since we’re talking about a whole day, I will say my Grandma. I wish that I could have known her longer.
My grandpa, who I never met, and grandma with my oldest sister on her lap
Thanks for the awesome questions, NJ! If any of you would like to participate in #AskAwayFriday, you can let me know, or join our Facebook group
to request a swap. I’ll see you guys back here on Sunday for a photo essay from Brooklyn!