I'm Be.

This is a blog about my life in Charlotte. I am a wannabe fire eater, compulsive reader, secret artist, beginner gardener, ninjalike organizer, and TERRIBLE speller.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


My favorite recipe lately is an heirloom tomato tart...perfect for all the beautiful tomatoes that are ripening in our garden. This recipe is delicious hot or cold (so feel free to steal bites out of the fridge).

Heirloom Tomato Tart

(I have no idea where I got the recipe....chances are I copied it down on the back of a receipt while sitting in the doctor's office waiting for an allergy shot)

  • Line a 9 inch tart pan with a refrigerated pie crust
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes
  • While baking crust, mix 1/2 cup light mayo with 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • Remove crust from oven and layer slices of provolone, slices of heirloom tomatoes and mayo mixture.
  • Turn oven down to 375 degrees and bake for 25 minutes
(I like to begin and end with provolone because I LOVE that crusty melty cheesy top)

Monday, June 29, 2009


I have been thinking a lot lately about fear. Why we feel it, where it comes from and how we can move past it. I was talking to my mom the other day about how some people are fear based and some aren't. I think everyone has fear...the difference is how people work with it.

Some people are immobilized by fear, it stops them in their tracks. Then there are people who ignore fear and barrel through with a laser like focus on their goal. Maybe being someplace in between those extremes is the sweet spot. Pausing to explore what you fear is important, but you have to move forward. The pause is important so you can figure out if the fear is brain based or body based. What I mean by this is that fear is the body's way of warning you of danger...and in that instance you need to listen. However, we often confuse danger fear with our brain creating the feeling of fear that is more emotionally driven.

I find that often our fear is around failing, but I wonder why that is so bad? Why do we think it isn't okay for us fall down occasionally? Why do we avoid being imperfectly human? I look back on all the times that I worried about looking stupid, or making a mistake, or not being perfect and it makes me sad. I don't expect others to be prefect, so why do I expect that of myself?

Being a parent has really helped me move into being perfectly imperfect. None of us know what we are doing as parents (that is the big secret....you aren't the only one making it up as you go). We mess up and make mistakes and our kids love us anyways.

Mistakes are okay. Take those risks. Enjoy your imperfects!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Last night after Beau got home we all went upstairs to finish up some laundry and chat before dinner. My daughter decided to play with her doctor set and starting chasing after Beau in order to "examine" him. As they were running, Nonie was screaming "TRUST ME, I'M A DOCTOR!!!!" over and over.

I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard. Especially when I turned a corner to find that Nonie had caught Beau and was taking his temperature....rectally. (Yes, it was a fake thermometer and yes she was only holding it up to his rear.)

I think the funniest thing what when she "removed" the thermometer, checked it and then said to him "Looks good".

That kid is a crack up.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I am not a fan of cats, but I have to confess I am a huge fan of LOLCats.

With captions like this, how can you not be?

Sunday, June 21, 2009


My in laws were up this weekend hunting for a house. We are so excited to have them moving closer....but had no idea that the house they would find would be within walking distance! (Yes, that is a good thing!) We spent all weekend looking at new houses, resells, spec homes, gnome homes, good homes, bad homes, what the hell were they thinking homes....and yesterday we found it.

These houses were originally built about a year ago and were priced WAY too high. Luckily they repriced them to fit the market and they now fit Beau's parents budget.
Th Stairs...

The kitchen....

More kitchen....
The house is GORGEOUS and has just about everything they want: a three car garage, a master and guest room on the main floor, and the BIGGEST SEWING ROOM YOU HAVE EVER SEEN.....


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kitchen Alchemy.

As anyone in our family will tell you, I LOVE to cook. Seriously... capital L, O, V, E. I hunt recipes like I am on safari. It is no joke when I say that I have a huge kitchen cabinet completely devoted to cookbooks and the shelves are actually bowing in the middle because of the weight. I cut recipes out of magazines, copy them from food containers, search tirelessly on the Internet. I love finding new recipes. What I have realized lately is that although I love recipes, I really wanted to start making up my own. (But, I was scared because I don't really trust that I know what I am doing without the safety of a recipe.)
Over the past few weeks I have been trying to cook more on the fly. Looking at what we have in the pantry and making things around that. So far it has been going okay. Two highlights have been the grilled chicken with homemade pesto (the basil was from our GARDEN) served with spinach ricotta ravioli and last night I made up a recipe for black raspberry tart. We have a ton of raspberries growing wild behind the house so I put them on a sugar cookie crust with a light drizzle of glaze. It was pretty good.

Now I just need to learn how to photograph food because these pictures aren't so appetizing...

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Recently I started tracing back my family on the Ancestry website. It has been fascinating. I was lucky enough to not be starting from scratch since one of the ancestors on my mom's side had completed a HUGE mapping starting in 1916. That mapping even includes our Irish side that he researched while in Ireland.
It is funny how we don't start truly appreciating our history until we are older. Recently my cousin came into town and we spoke over dinner about the stories we were lucky enough to hear growing up, but that we also recognized how many stories were lost when our grandparents passed away. It frustrates me to think back on how much more I would learned if I had just listened a little better and a little harder. But, there were bikes to ride and barbies to dress up. Listening to old people talk just didn't sound as fun.

How lucky we are now to be able to capture so much more information to pass along to our kids!

I hope to be able to take advantage of the ancestry site's ability to compile stories, audio recordings and pictures. They even have the ability to compile it in a book! How amazing would that be to pass down. I also found this site where you can upload all the pictures and it will create a graphic of the family tree.

I am excited to be able to start preserving this for the future. So, for anyone in the family, sign up for a free account on the link below and you can see what we have traced so far.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Booze and Bowling.

Last night I went out with my BFF (Flooze) her husband (the Chad...as seen in the big wood photo on the right) and Beau. We had a great time at the Epicenter in uptown Charlotte. As per usual the festivities were kicked off with booze and food. We tried a new restaurant called BlackFin and were very happy with the "dining experience" (Nenny- insert root bear experience voice here).

We started with the booze...

Which was quickly consumed.

So, we moved on to dinner.

I had Lemon chicken with spinach and rice, Beau had prime rib with FANTASTIC garlic mashed taters. Flooze was the winner with a Jalapeno grouper over cheesy grits. The Chad had beef tips with maple glazed carrots.


After dinner we moseyed over to Strikers, the bowling alley in the Epicenter. Well, it was everything Beau had said he wanted in a bowling alley- smoke free and full of yuppies. I was the suck for both games. Flooze was the big winner...but I don't count that since she used to be in a league.

Although we all liked the bowling alley they wanted one AND ONLY ONE of your shoes in return for a pair of bowling shoes. It was amusing to watch people trying to demand they take both or neither of their street shoes.
Overall it was a very fun night which we hope to repeat soon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


One of my coworkers approached me last week about making her daughter's graduation gift.

Let me back up...

About 10 years ago when I was working at my first "grown-up" job, I was lucky enough to have a boss who recognized the potential for integrating art and business and she hired a professional graphic recorder for our visioning sessions. It was a great way for me to learn all about the field of graphic recording and facilitation. I LOVED the work and have continued to use it at all my subsequent jobs.

Here are a couple of links if anyone wants to know more about that field:




Fast forward to today...

She asked me if I would be able to do a journey map of her daughter's high school years. I said absolutely! The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I could do relationship maps for weddings, college maps, moving maps, or maps for any sort of journey that someone could have. And how cool would that be to get a custom piece of art work based on your life?!?

So, I am working on a couple of pieces to use as examples on my (future) website. There really are no start up costs to doing this on the side...which is why I am leaping.

(the only challenge is cost....what would you expect to pay for something like this? I am thinking a 2x3 size)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I recently took up quilting. I've been avoided it forever, mostly because of the precision involved. Anyone who knows me knows I am more of a... oh, how should I put this... broad brushstroke kind of person. Don't get me wrong, I can do detail; it is just that I tend to fall back on my ability to "make it work".

Oops, I splashed some paint there. Hmm, I think I will make that into a tree. Oh, I accidentally sewed the hem over on this shirt, let's just make it a pleat.

Needless to say, quilting was a bit scary because there is no "making it work". You are either exact or it is wrong.

I knew when I signed up for the hand quilting class that it would not only be a lesson in quilting, but a growth opportunity for me. I would have to be precise, I would have to fix mistakes, I would have to commit to following a pattern.


Willa, my quilting instructor, was a wonderful women who has been teaching for years (and years and years). It was amazing to watch her quilt with a rocking stitch I had never seen before and the stitches..oh my lord, the stitches...they were tiny. You almost couldn't see them! It was as if the fabric was just naturally dimpled.

I finished my first quilt about a month after starting it. (Don't be too impressed..it is only a 2'x2' wall hanging. A full blown quilt would take a LOT more than a month.) It now hangs in our family room and I am always struck when I look at it the difference between those first tentative stitches and the small even stitches I created towards the end.

I am excited about continuing to learn about quilting. It is such a lost art. Yes, it is art. The process of selecting the fabrics and deciding on the pattern is more challenging that I ever would have imagined.

I know I have a long way to go but I am excited to keep learning.


I am bursting with pride.

For the first time ever we planted a garden. Not only did we plant veggies and flowers, but Beau built me some beautiful raised garden beds. Neither of us have ever done any gardening before. Okay, last year I did plant some miniature snap dragons, but I broke my ankle about a week later and they were horribly neglected. I assumed they would die, but they came back this year for more. Sadists.

We planted 9 heirloom tomato plants, one Roma tomato plant, 3 yellow squash, 2 strawberries, oregano, dill, cilantro, basil, chives and sage. So far everything is coming in beautifully. I ate the first of the tomatoes today on a whole wheat pita with feta cheese, oregano and cracked black pepper. About 7 minutes under a broiler and it was ready.

I think I am so proud because we have been working towards living a more simple and self contained life. Reducing waste, recycling, making gift instead of buying them and being happy with what we have. We have also been trying to reach out to our family and friends to create the sort of community that we have both dreamed of being a part of.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This isn't about anything in particular. It is about family, relationships, my love of cooking AND eating (and my consequential struggle with weight). It is about knitting and quilting, painting and reading. It is about toddlers and ambition, dreams and challenges.
It is about everything in my life.