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Wednesday, September 04, 2013


{35}: DC

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.”

On the RangeAugust 27 – September 2, 2013
{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we’re doing, reading, and eating. It’s a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}

My week…

  • We made our annual trek to DC to visit our friends David and Caroline and let our kids play together. I used to dream about having two generations of friends in one room, so it’s great for me to see it actually play out in real life.


  • Design Mom offered a refreshing and simple mom’s take on the Miley incident. But if you want to delve into deeper issues like feminist solidarity and minstrelsy, see this deeper reflection on Jezebel’s GroupThink
  • Historical fiction is quickly becoming my favorite genre. I just finished The Paris Wife and loved it. Before that I loved Sarah’s Key. Here’s an NPR story that recommends more historical fiction choices for the summer.
  • The Bloggess sums up the quirkiness of bloggers well.
  • Segregation is gone, but that doesn’t mean integration has happened. This map is a beautiful way to represent the demographic facts.
  • The Onion’s fake explanation is generally better stated than the real one could be, as is the case for this discussion about Miley Cyrus and the VMAs
  • I’d like to read this book, even if it means no more shopping at H&M
  • Interesting take on consumerism in children’s books. I think shelves and bins are not a bad idea, but I agree with the author that they could have covered the donation and purge of stuff too.


  • Thanks to Elle, we are pumping ourselves up to make a bunch of these freezable meals. Sweet potato shepherd’s pie or lentil curry, anyone?

at5:11 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:52 Project,Did You Read?,On the Range,Travel,What’s for Dinner?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013



huffington post
This has to be the first time I’ve used a French word on the blog title two days in a row. And I don’t even speak French!
I was browsing an article on Huff Post yesterday (click picture above for link), and this word jumped out above the others. Depaysement sums up how I feel right now living in Boston. Sure, I have buddies who share my likes and values. But there’s just something about living so far away from my roots, my family and close friends, that at times makes me feel like an outsider.
In my normal day to day life, I am mostly happy and unconcerned about this admittedly unimportant first world problem. But then something will happen, like today when we are visiting with some of our closest friends, and the inner turmoil of my heart will ache acutely. 
It’s like when you’re a kid and you hurt yourself. At first you try to be brave and hold it together; then you notice your mom saw you fall, and suddenly it’s a struggle not to cry. 
When I’m missing my home, all the news of the day is viewed through a funnel aimed directly at the gaping hole of loneliness. 
The local swimming hole closes in August? That would never happen at home.
Get pulled over by a state troopah while barely speeding? That would never happen at home.
It doesn’t matter whether the thoughts are factually accurate. Truth is in the heart of the beholder. You can’t argue with a feeling. It’s a state of mind, not a state of address. Only time will tell, but for today, I’m happy to be having some big hugs and big laughs with some of our favorite people.
at11:45 AM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Travel

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


la pharmacie

When we were in St. Martin, I made a wonderfully random decision. I decided to shop at the French pharmacies on the island (half is French, the other half Dutch) to purchase some fancy beauty products. I have no idea where the thought originated because I am truly the last person on earth to spend lots of money on myself, especially on girly stuff from a drugstore. But boy am I glad I did. So glad, in fact, that now I stare longingly at my bottles of delicious and feminine smelling French oils and sprays and wonder how I could ever do without them.

It’s not entirely accurate to say I don’t know how I got the idea because it actually came from reading two of my favorite blogs, Goop and Design Mom. Gwyneth Paltrow wrote about her favorite French products, and then Gabby purchased them and wrote about her favorites (here and here) within GP’s original picks. However, I had read both posts a year ago and never thought of them again until I saw the bright green neon sign. I guess they had made an impression on me!

I’m sharing the three products I purchased, plus one that I received as a sample and mourned the quick passing of. I’ll just share the links to where Design Mom discusses them because there’s no need to redo their work.

1. Huile Prodigieuse: It calls itself a “multi-purpose dry oil for the face, body, and hair.” My hair would look like I hadn’t bathed ever in my life if I sprayed it on, but it works wonders on Charlie’s curly and somewhat frizzy locks. I, on the other hand, spray it on my body after I take a shower and bask in the lovely aroma. It truly is dry, in that the moment I stop rubbing it in, I don’t even need to wash my hands. I mean it when I say I love this stuff so much, I almost don’t even want to tell you about it. The fact that I can get it on Amazon is LIFE CHANGING. It’s only $33, and it lasts forever. Trust me (and Nate!) when I say if you are a woman–or if you are a man who is married to a woman–you need this in your life immediately. It would make a great stocking stuffer too.

2. Bioderma Crealine H20 solution micellaire: Nothing on this bottle is written in English, but it is an eye makeup remover. I like it better than my normal stuff because it never stings, doesn’t smell, and doesn’t take as much wiping to get the makeup off. Incidentally, we also used to it to take the sting out of Nate’s hands after he chopped a bunch of spicy peppers for me to pickle. It worked like a charm.

3. Avene Eau Thermale: As far as I can tell, this is just a can of water, but it feels amazing after I’ve been in the sun all day or if I need to perk up in the morning. GP and Gabby say they use it for keeping makeup in place. I honestly have no idea what this means. Maybe it’s for people who wear foundation. You can get it on Amazon, but I would stick to buying it in the store if you’re ever in a French-speaking country.

4. Meso+ anti-aging serum by Laboratories Filorga (not pictured): This is the sample I received, and it smells almost as good as the Huile Prodigieuse and is even better on my face. It’s like rubbing your face with a rose and leaves it feeling soft and moisturized but not oily. I can’t say that I will spend what it takes to replace it, but the dream was heavenly while it lasted.

Are you still reading? Anyway, in the past I have struggled with the idea of what beauty is and what lengths I should go to in achieving it. Now I think I have struck a good balance of not becoming too obsessed with transient beauty but also spending a little money and time on myself to be more comfortable in my skin.

What do you think about beauty products? Do you have any you can’t do without? Do you feel guilty spending money on yourself?at10:45 AM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Beauty,Best of the Interwebs,France,Travel

Tuesday, July 09, 2013



{On the Range} is my weekly series (or sometimes semi-monthly series, I guess) where I discuss what we’re doing, reading, and eating. It’s a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}

On the Range{Weeks 21 – 27}May 21 – July 8, 2013 
“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013″…

May 21 – 27: Hung out with Grandpa Jim and family in Charlotte and then in N. GA Mtns.
May 28 – June 3rd: Cousins time! Spent time at Auntie M’s and then settled in at Mom’s.
June 4 – 10: The start of a truly astounding amount of rain. Not much done outside on this trip, except camp.
June 11 – 17: Vivi and I got to eat lunch together at a camp cookout. I call this one “serious face with condiments.”
June 18 – 24: Vivi playing big-ball soccer. She has a blue ribbon on her head. You can tell she had no fun at camp.
June 18 – 24 (2): This is from Carnival Day, the last day of camp. We had such a good time!
June 25 – July 1: We went to Vogel State Park for a week for an annual family reunion.
July 2 – 8: We returned home to find record hot temps in the high 90s.

at3:22 PM3 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:52 Project,Atlanta,Family,Photos,Travel

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


at my leisure

The toothless twins

We left Friday for the big trip, a salubrious vacation back home to the south. I am enjoying the usual perks of this trek, like eating and gossiping and allowing the constant whims and exigencies of my children to be attended by others. The girls are their summer selves, reckless and wild and covered in sweat and bug bites. Summer!

Follow us on Instagram to see more trip pictures. I think it makes you get an account, so I apologize in advance for that, but it is just too easy to share pictures that way. That reminds me of a Vivism that happened on the drive to Atlanta. She said to Dad, “Grandpa, driving to Atlanta isn’t too far, it’s just one far.”at2:04 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Travel

Sunday, May 05, 2013


my love affair with England

Did I mention yet that I think I’ll try writing every day this month? Next month I’ll be taking a vacation from regular life, and it will likely be from the blog as well, so I thought I’d send off with a month of daily posts. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

When we lived in England, I didn’t write nearly enough on the blog about what daily life was like. I chalk it up to typical me in my twenties. “Life will always be this interesting and therefore why bother talking about what I’m doing?” or something along those lines.

Now of course I see my lack of writing as a bunch of wasted material. From time to time, I think about sharing that journey with you, but it seems awkward to bring it up randomly. Hey guys, remember when I used to live overseas that time five years ago? Let’s talk about it!

But now I have my nose in another Jane Austen novel, at the same time as I’m reading a biography about the great William Morris and watching a Masterpiece version of Emma that I rented from the library (did I mention I’m obsessed with Victorian England?), so my travels have been rattling around in my mind. It seems like as good a time as any to bring it up with y’all.

Oh, first I want to mention the Masterpiece Emma. Have you seen it yet? I’m enjoying it so far. It has the naturally slow pace of a Masterpiece series, and it’s fun to see all the usual British suspects playing the beloved Austen characters. Who doesn’t want to see more of Johnny Lee Miller? So far, the most interesting distinction from the Gwyneth Paltrow film (an absolute favorite of mine, likely in the top 10) is the spotlight on Miss Bates. She was a bubbly caricature in the film, providing little more than comic relief–“PORK, Mother!” and such. But in this series, you get an in-depth look at how miserable her life must have been to have only her senile mother as a companion. You truly feel what Austen must have wanted us to see. A woman without fortune was certainly pitiable in that day.

In contrast, I don’t think it’s possible for an actor to improve the job Juliet Stevenson did with Mrs. Elton in the film version. I’ll share some pictures with you to honor my favorite of her lines, “People with extensive grounds are always so pleased to meet other people with extensive grounds.” Here here!

I miss living somewhere that there were other tiny towns a half kilometer away.


This one makes me tear up thinking of how perfect and calm my life was in England, nesting for my new life as a mom and taking in all the sights and smells of spring.

One part of the Masterpiece Emma I loved is seeing the fields of rapeseed again (the stuff that makes canola oil, with the worst name imaginable). They are so lovely you can’t look upon them without smiling. Add this to the list of things you want to see before your time is up.

The year we were in England, it seemed the fields burst into life the very same day as Genevieve, so I also always think of her when I see them.

Here are some from far away. Cool, huh?

What do you think, should I write more about England some time? I have many more pics I can share.at7:30 AM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Books,Movies,Photos,Travel,UK

Saturday, November 17, 2012


our Parisian selves

There’s a picture I love in the upstairs hallway. It sits on our Georgian desk (called so because it’s from the Georgian period in England, not because it’s from Georgia…am I a brat or what?), and I can see it while I walk up the stairs.

Nate has been gone for another two-week international work trip and arrives home again today. I find myself looking at the picture more when he’s away, probably because I miss him. I imagine that the people in the picture are actually another version of us, living in Paris and sitting in squares and leisurely eating bread. Somehow, when I’m in the middle of parental squalor and chaos, this vision of our Parisian selves gets me through the moment. Maybe some day we’ll make it back to Paris and meet up with our parallel universe. You think?

What are your tricks to achieve the “Ohm” state of mind?at7:30 AM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Marriage,Travel

Monday, November 12, 2012


{love the place you live}: leaf-peeping in New Hampsha

We took this trip a month ago, but I’ve been waiting for Design Mom to host another round of {love the place you live} to share the pictures. I highly recommend going leaf-peeping in New Hampshire. We rented a two-bedroom house for the weekend (the only way I will travel with my children) in Bartlett/North Conway, and it was so pleasant to hole up in a little house in the woods, making complicated meals while Nate watched football and the girls played Barbies in front of the fire. We went hiking and driving at every moment it was light outside.

We found out about the rental home on Air B&B, a fantastic resource for both letting out to vacationers and renting homes from owners. Now that we own a home I suppose we could consider renting out our house while we’re on holiday, but I am not sure how I feel about that. Would you consider renting your home to strangers? Have you already done it?

Read more »at7:30 AMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Love the Place You Live,New England,Photos,Travel

Monday, November 05, 2012


thanks Mom! {squared}

I got the best early birthday present ever when Nate offered to watch the girls for me this weekend and let me go south for some quality time with family and friends. His mom came up to help him, which involved tons of flying from the land of flamingos to the land of beans. What a gal. When I got to Georgia, my mom surprised me with a small family party, and I got to hear lots of great family stories as well as get my great grandma’s recipe scrapbook (!). It was a blast. Thanks Moms!

Read more »at10:16 AM1 comment: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Travel

Saturday, October 06, 2012


on street children and how we CAN help

God bless them for still being able to smile. I wish I could hug them now, those men
they have become, and tell them how proud I am that they made it to the other side.
I can only pray they did make it. (circa 2002)

Today I’m sharing a topic near to my heart. There are orphaned children all over the world, so you could say this post centers upon the plight of all parentless children. I’m focusing particularly on African countries and the organizations that assist their children because I feel a special connection to them. It all began when I was in my early twenties and traveled to Kenya twice; the trips changed the direction of my life and my career goals. Stick with my lengthy introduction, as I will eventually arrive at the point.

Read more »at10:31 PM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Charity,Education,Kids,Travel

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


the “miss DC” list

We ventured on a road trip to DC over the long holiday weekend to see friends in their new digs. The 8-hour journey each way in the car turned out to be completely calm and pleasant (who knew?), and we gave each other high fives for having awesome kids, both agreeing we’d do it again in a heartbeat. We had such a blast on the trip.

Read more »at7:30 AMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:DC,Friends,Travel

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


at least the house is clean: {vacay recap & recovery}

We just returned from a trip to see the grandparents and Aunt Katie in sunny Florida. It was a great vacation! The upside of returning was that we went from 90’s to 70’s in just a few hours. The downside is of course leaving the fam. Vivi has been distraught ever since we left. She lives life with such an admirable energy and thrill of every moment. Here’s where she could be found 99% of the time we were there:

Read more »at11:07 AMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Joie de Vivre,Travel

Monday, August 13, 2012


on dream houses, the word of the day, and other haps

Tell me, friends, do you spend time planning your dream house? If so, do you plan what you will adorn the walls with or do you focus on building your own home some day?

I focus on the former, but truthfully it’s more like I obsess over one or two minute details, like that I will have a gallery wall or a map room some day. We are still renting a home, so those dreams have to stay just that for the time being. But whenever I am feeling blue about not being able to jazz up my current dwelling, I turn to Pinterest and pin to my heart’s desire.

Here are some of my favorites lately (and you can see the whole board here). Do tell me what your dream home will include.

Gallery wall of black and white photos. {Swoon}
                                   Source: via Lone Home Ranger on Pinterest

Read more »at12:17 PMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Aimless Digression,Design,Links,Travel

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


visiting the beach {and a muffin recipe}

Our trip to the beach was so fun! Before I show you some pics, I’ll set the scene. When you arrive at the New England shoreline, you are met with a few wonderful things and a few annoying things.

Great things: blue sky, breeze, salt air, and other archetypical beach fare.

Annoying things: biting flies (!!!), dead rays washed ashore, and townies.

Read more »at2:32 PM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Muffins,New England,Recipe,Travel

Saturday, June 30, 2012


my childhood, the redux


Does it go without saying that we had a great time visiting the fam? Because we did. There, I said it! I should probably wait until I’ve processed the trip more to talk about it here, but I can’t wait to show you some of my favorite pictures.
Read more »at10:35 PMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Cuteness Overload,Family,Photos,Summer,Travel

Monday, June 11, 2012


off to prove Thomas Wolfe wrong…or at least eat some peaches

Tomorrow begins my weeks-long R&R with the fam down in the heart of Dixie. There will be plenty of dog walking, mountain hiking, card playing, soul food eating, and clothes shopping (I am completely unable to shop for my own attire alone and thus rely on my mom’s sage clothes advice). All I know is that I plan to stick my face in a peach cobbler, and the rest of the time is up for grabs. Oh, and my little bro’ is graduating high school, y’all! Much to our delight and playfully sarcastic surprise.

While I’m gone, I will be blogging from the road but also inviting a few guests to stop by and chat with you about simple living, parenting, recipes, and their general awesomeness. If you’re interested in guest posting some time, drop me a line at lonehomeranger {at} gmail {dot} com. I may not be able to squeeze you in this round but am always looking for contributors!

Read more »at1:54 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Recipe,Travel

Monday, January 02, 2012


how’d ya like to hang a stocking on a great big coconut tree?

We had a great holiday in Florida! It was my first year to celebrate Christmas without my mom and my family, so I was a bit sad at first. However, I must admit I couldn’t have chosen a more agreeable place for my in-laws to live than Florida at this time of year. I’m sure I won’t be singing the same tune if we ever visit in the summer, when we’ll likely be fending off mosquitos the size of sparrows and collecting Nate and Vivi’s sweat in a 10-gallon bucket.

The girls had a blast from the very beginning. You could say we had them at “pool.” I have a hunch Charlotte is going to be a fish in the water as she gets older, just based on the fact that she tries to run straight into the pool any chance she gets.

Read more »at8:00 AM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Holidays,Travel

Saturday, November 19, 2011


a journey to another time

We saw Midnight in Paris a week ago. Have you seen it? I love the romantic notion of being able to travel back in time and interact with great authors and artists, especially those with great passion like Ernest Hemingway.

The film got me thinking of what period I would like to experience, if only for a few nights, and in whose company I would choose to be. I have always loved the idea of visiting the Georgian and Victorian eras; the Gothic Revival architecture, the World’s Fair, the music, the theater, the dancing. The DANCING. Oh, I would adore the dancing.

I would love to know what Jane Austen was like. Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice are three of my favorite, oft-read novels. And how about William Blake, John Keats, Lewis Carroll, and of course Mark Twain would have been there on a trip to London. How heavenly!

Have you ever noticed all the childhood nursery rhymes seem to have been created in that era? Every time I read them to the girls I am whisked away in time, and I enjoy the temporary mental travel.

The book I picked up last week at my favorite resale shop has some great old rhymes in it, and the illustrations add depth to the short tales.

After enjoying Midnight in Paris, I finally got Vicky Cristina Barcelona from the library, and I also liked it very much. I might have liked it even better because of the fabulous acting and music. I can’t say I agree with Woody Allen’s transient view of love, but I can appreciate his artistry.

What’s your take? Yea or nay on Woody Allen movies?

Meet you back here tomorrow for some more randomness.
~Jat10:35 AM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Books,Movies,Travel,UK

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


off to the hizzot in the ATL…

I’m leaving for Atlanta today to celebrate Charlotte & my mom’s birthdays and see my Dad and family over Labor Day weekend. Take a look at the weather I’ll be missing while I’m gone…

The hot bugs are still chirping, but their swan song won’t last long. Fall is getting ramped up, and I venture it’s here to stay. It’s a rare experience for me to have autumn begin on September 1st, with the brief exception of our two years in Madison, WI. Meanwhile, my home state of Georgia will still be in the 90’s all week. I can only hope Boston’s version of my favorite season lasts longer than a week (unlike the spring up here, apparently). Please don’t start the winter yet. I’m not ready. Ok, I admit to having already bought snow pants for the girls, but that’s only because last year I couldn’t find any in January and because I got a great deal at Old Navy. But I’m not ready to be cold yet! Do you hear me, weather? I’m not ready yet!!at8:00 AM3 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Atlanta,Boston,Travel,Weather,Where I Live

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Rockport and granola

Those two words sum up my weekend. On Saturday, we took the leap of faith that all parents with two kids must do to get everyone out of the house and in the car for an hour-long journey. You say to yourself, “This will be fun. This will be fun. This will be fun!” Fortunately for us, our trip to Rockport was fun!

Playing with cheetah and zebra
Boredom sets in…

It doesn’t hurt that we were able to listen to some of our favorite Saturday programming on NPR…Car Talk, This American Life, Radiolab…and stopped for burgers from Five Guys along the way. “What, no seafood?,” you might be thinking, but when you’re all starving, and you have a chance to stop and get something not too giant-chain fast-foodie, tell me what you’d do. Well, if you’re this woman, you’d pack healthy organic snacks. But we can’t all be Mom-of-the-Year, now can we? Anyhow, the gamble must have paid off because after we all stuffed our faces with greasy burgers and fries, we were a much more agreeable bunch. When we arrived to Rockport, it was off for a long stroll on the rocky coast to enjoy the ocean breeze and give our stomachs some recovery…

…before stuffing our faces again on a town favorite, ice cream.

Rockport reminds me of the classic New England coastal town I’d never visited but always held a picture of in my mind. It’s a charming mix of yuppy vacationers, townies, and lobstermen, at times joyfully jumbled together, but somehow still with that Massachusetts edge to them. I sort of think of them as relaxed Yankees. If you cut in line or bring up your opinion on sports, you might also want to consider bringing your fist with you, but otherwise, they are not so easily ruffled as New Yorkers.

On Sunday we had a pleasantly uneventful day full of cleaning the house and making granola. I love homemade granola with yogurt. For several years there wasn’t a time in our house where we didn’t have it on hand, but the addition of kids has thrown my cooking habits upside down, so I am very gradually getting back into the swing of it. I use an Ina Garten recipe, as usual. You can get it online or with my slight changes below:


4 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking/instant)
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup oil (I use 1/2 c. coconut oil and 1/4 c. sunflower oil)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
3 cups dried fruit (I use chopped apricots, cranberries, pre-made tropical mix, & raisins)

Preheat oven to 350 degF. Toss oats, nuts, and coconut in a large bowl. Whisk oil and honey in a small bowl and pour over oats mix; stir until well coated. Spread on 2 cookie sheets and put in oven. Stir every 5 minutes with spatula until golden brown, about 25-35 min.  Pour granola onto parchment paper to cool. I store mine in a plastic cereal container or in a vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer. I keep the dried fruit in separate container until serving.

at8:00 AM3 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:New England,Recipe,Travel Older PostsHomeSubscribe to:Posts (Atom)


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