The Debut of “Vanilla Cookies” or Things I Enjoyed Recently

Several of my favorite bloggers offer a weekly round-up of sorts…a compendium of things they came across that made them pause, or smile, or inspired them in some way.

I am joining them!

Welcome to Vanilla Cookies: a weekly round-up of quotes, podcasts, books, websites, experiences, etc. that I found enjoyable or intriguing or inspiring over the week.


In this case, since it is the inaugural edition, I will be highlighting TWO WEEKS worth of yummy goodness!

#fulldisclosure – it’s actually more like 16 days worth, where the heck has the month gone and how did we get to the last week of October already?!? #truth

Let’s get caught up! In chronological order only, because there is no way to rank-order these lovely, life-affirming experiences:

  • Connie’s Celebration of Life: And by “celebration” I mean “celebration”! Connie was my “Step-Grandmother”  – one of her daughter’s is married to my father. I wrote about her passing here.

I sometimes think about how weddings and funerals are oftentimes the only occasions that bring all of the family together. I am always filled with so much love and appreciation for my family at times like this.

I left work on a Friday and drove several hours to join the family at Connie’s house. My teenaged daughter was with me – most of the time she had her ear buds in so she didn’t have to listen to my podcasts, but there were a few instances where we both liked the same song one of us was playing or we managed to have a conversation. There was a blessing in that.

When we arrived at Connie’s my father, aunt, uncle and all my siblings were there already. We got to sit around and catch up, share stories of Connie and each other, and laugh together. It felt so good to re-connect. I needed that.

Connie’s service was more love, more connection, more reflection on what is most important in life: family, hugs, silence, free-flowing tears and laughter. Always laughter.

Connie smiling over us – my cousin and her daughter, my daughter, brother and nephew in the back row and my niece, sister, cousin, and two more brothers in the front row (L-R)

As soon as Connie’s service was over I bid my good-byes to my loved ones, with lingering, extra tight hugs, and hit the road again. Even though I wanted dearly to stay and spend more time with my family I simply had to get back for a very important engagement.

  • Elizabeth Gilbert and Big Magic. (Liz Gilbert is the author of Eat. Pray. Love. if you didn’t know. Her latest book is about creativity and is called Big Magic. If you don’t have it yet, for some unknown reason, do your creative/human self a favor and get it here. Now. #nojoke)

You see, my family understood. I come from a long line of makers and creatives. I, however, have held on to the pixie dust longer than any of them have. My father was a painter and my aunt was a weaver. But they stopped doing that kind of creating a while ago. I like to think they are happy that I continue to fight the good fight and haven’t stopped yet. [A whole lot more on family legacy and my story coming up. Make sure you subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss it!]

A bunch of my friends got tickets months ago for the event. I was super-excited to go with a girlfriend and hopefully see some of my other friends too. In fact, I needed to.  I had been feeling really lonely, needing  the type of companionship and understanding that only comes from your girlfriends.

I’m sure you get it.

Me and one of my amazing friends waiting for Liz!

We had a great view!


Liz Gilbert was wonderful! She is so authentic and funny and human. Some of the nuggets I scribbled down during her talk were:

“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”

“When [the world] sees your life aflame they will thank you and feel anything is possible.”

“[Ask yourself:] Does your creativity trust that you are absolutely dedicated to it every day?”

Here’s a shot of me with four of my most amazing, magical girlfriends!

I am sure I will be writing more about #BigMagic, but for now let’s just say it was an AWESOME night. I got to see one of my idols in person and also got to see six of my best friends that night. How was that for needed girl energy, love, and presence?

  • Next up on the Whirlwind Weekend Tour: NYC! 

Yes, it was a crazy weekend. Up to Connie’s service Friday night, long drive back Saturday, #BigMagic and much needed #Girltime Saturday night and then a frenzied day of cleaning (I am one of those weirdos who can’t leave for a trip with a messy house. Although it really doesn’t bother me the rest of the time. #gofigure) and packing before we left for #NYC Sunday night.


Flying VirginAmerica is like going to a disco!

We got to greet the skyline at dawn from the airplane. #HelloNYC


Of course we had a great time, and I will share the details with you soon!


  • After we got home late Saturday night all I wanted to do was catch up on rest and write, but I had committed to working a concert with my sister, so….that meant Monday night was spent with Madonna!  Trust me, I am really #notthatcool, but I had a blast! I hadn’t seen her since her Blonde Ambition Tour in 1990 (gasp!)  Honestly, Madonna looks great, continues to create what she loves and at 57 looks DAMN GOOD. She is inspiring!


  • The next day I had to go to work. It felt like I was starting a brand new job, I had been gone so long. But the fun continued! On a whim I had entered to win a free breakthrough session with Sherold Barr, a life and business coach I admire whose blog I have been following for a while.

Guess what? I won!

We had a half hour call scheduled and we ended up talking for nearly an hour! Sherold is warm, kind, knowledgeable and the call with her left me inspired, affirmed, and with a list of concrete steps to take to help take my blog to the next level. Look for me to be implementing her suggestions soon.

The most important takeaway I got from our call was that I have a tendency to reject myself before anyone else has a chance to. That means my fears – “Will I be accepted? Is my story worthwhile/helpful/of interest? What is my story? What do I have to offer to my readers?” – shut me down and keep me small.

I need to stop doing that. #noduh

Even worse, the time I spend thinking about and examining my fears does nothing but keep me from writing.

And writing, my friends, is why I am here.

[pause to let that sink in]

Finally, two more awesome things happened in the last 16 days (sheesh, no wonder I am exhausted, #right?)

  • My sweetie and I celebrated three years together on the 24th. We met online on match. Each of us had taken a “Sure, why not?” approach to meeting for coffee. Neither one of us was the other’s “type,” but our “types” hadn’t been working out so well for us. #beentheredonethatgotthetshirt

So we agreed to meet for coffee, which ended up being a nearly three hour non-stop gab-fest.

At the end of the date he asked me out to dinner.

Three years later and here we are, loving each other up, supporting one another and having a really fun time doing it.

It helps that he knows me so well and is thoughtful enough to know I wouldn’t splurge on a luxury item for myself, so he got one for me.

So Yummy.


I love my honey and I love my Coach nomad bag. I had been eye-balling it every time I saw it in NYC.

I wish this blog had touch-o-vision because this bag is soooo soft!

  • Last but in no way least, I love these adorbs and inspiring notebooks my dear life-long friend Sally gave to me yesterday.


I have already begun writing in one! I chose the flying piggies.

Because you know what? It’s possible.

#BeBrave #SayYES

Have a great week!

rhymes with Yes!
rhymes with Yes!

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