Eating Crow


I don’t know if this happens to you, but I frequently have pronounced opinions that I have to just as drastically revise when irrefutable evidence proves that my original stance was  DEAD OFF!

It happened to me big time yesterday.

I attended the extraordinary creativity and technology conference, C2-MTL, that took place in Montreal from the 21st-23rd May (a separate blog to follow on my experiences there).

Sir Richard Branson was the conference’s closing speaker. I had a coveted front row seat.

I was fully prepared to catch him out being a conceited ass masquerading as a cool, lovable, good guy. This bias was further exacerbated by the throngs of unhinged female fans that, while waiting for the talk to begin, were acting like panting Beliebers despite appearing  well past the age for that sort of  embarrassing display of adulation.

And I am here to say, having been in the man’s presence, I have unabashedly joined their ranks.

He is quite simply PERFECT.

Branson is kind, smiley, risk-taking (Virgin Galactic!!) , handsome, a little diffident in the nicest way, confident without arrogance, incredibly considerate to his besotted audience, laid-back, hugely philanthropic, wildly successful, adventuresome, patrician… and that’s just for starters!

Not an ounce of the arrogant, brash, know-it-all, showboater I expected.

Have I been schooled!

I took this shot of him at the conference from my front row seat. The shot is terrible, my hand must have been trembling:



Spring has sprung…even in Quebec City!



” And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.”   T.R. R . Tolkien

Who knew that Tolkien had some romance writer in him?

But back to Quebec in Spring: what better way to celebrate the thaw than pointing your face  into the sunshine on the terrace of Panache Mobile 2 (a restaurant that is only open seasonally), which faces the Saint-Lawrence, and eating the most decadent lobster roll on earth?


Merci Store

  1. I’m with Jemmi and her blog Sage X Clare: The Merci boutique and online store is really a gem. I dressed my daughter in head-to-toe Bonpoint clothes when she was little and they are the cutest, finest French fashions for children. When I heard that Bonpoint’s creators were starting a philanthropic enterprise through their Merci brand I was even more impressed… Definitely worth checking out.


Visit the online store here –

Or to visit the physical store: in Paris:  111 boulevard Beaumarchais.

merch from Merci

Just imagine a world where big designers like Raph Lauren might do the same thing …well, that would really be something. And further, how about if fashion fat cats stopped exploiting workers in Bangladesh? And consumers curbed their addiction to cheap disposable products made in sweatshops?

What can I say?  A girl can dream….

See? There’s hope- read below:



Some fashion trends rush out of style for good reason. One of these is overalls on women. I mean, how often are they flattering to any woman regardless of age or size?

To see how truly, laughably hideous this trend revival can be check out this article in this Sunday’s NYTimes…. These poor women are the personification of fashion victimhood. We need a 12-step program for people who will abort all good sense in order to jump on whatever nonsense style bandwagon that comes along. Take a look at the link below and make up your own mind.

From bad…Image

To worse…


I’m sorry to offend the overall lovers of the world but, unless you are working on a farm or you’re 5 years old, this look is plain ridiculous. Not to mention super hard to pull off with any sort of dignity.

Yet another example of the fashion world hood-winking women into buying clothes so hideous they will be sending them to Goodwill in about 30 seconds after purchase…

And Speaking of Apples…



There was a wonderful article recently in New York Magazine, really a conversation between Adam Platt (food critic) and Michael Pollan (author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, among other seminal books on food, ‎), in which Pollan dispensed what I think may be the easiest, Most elegant diet philosophy I have ever heard of:

“But one rule that somebody gave me is, if you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not really hungry. There’s a lot of wisdom in that. We eat, regardless of hunger. We eat just for recreation. We eat because there’s nothing else to do. We eat out of boredom. We eat out of loneliness. All these other reasons we have to eat. We eat to avoid going back to work. So if you asked yourself that question, you’ll often realize, “You know, I’m actually not hungry,” and you will not eat. Or, “Yeah, I am hungry enough to eat an apple,” in which case, you might eat an apple, which is fine. That’s what you should eat when you’re snacking.

So it’s a mind game?
It’s a mind game.”

Here’s the link to this article:


I think it’s worth trying, at least for a week, to see if you don’t notice how many times you reach for food out of boredom, or stress, or just to take a break, rather than out of outright hunger….

I know that as a person working from home I am particularly susceptible to grazing my way through the day. I bought a big bag of apples and ate one every time I had the urge for what I would normally eat: nuts, hummus, chocolate… I can tell you I ate a lot of apples that week!

This brings me to my other discovery, and I’m not the only to think this: the new one-room floorplans we are all wanting in our homes, you know those mega rooms that contain our kitchen, living and dining spaces combined, are making us FAT!.

It’s true!


The so-called Great Room is greatly increasing our likelihood of gaining a muffin top.

This is how: remember when you were young, well, when I was young at least: my parents didn’t allow us into the kitchen between meals. Unless it was a meal time the kitchen was cold, dark, and contained very little to eat. At our house there were certainly no snacks. Cocktail peanuts were kept in the bar and monitored closely by my father (because he hated when people dropped by and the jar was empty!).

Today’s kitchen is always open for business. In fact, it’s very placement, at the center of the house, makes it THE place to be. Add to this fact that our oversize pantries are packed with easy-to -reach snacks,and you have your answer about the extra pounds most of us are carrying around, usually despite dedication to exercise, and sensible mealtime eating.

So my word for the day is APPLE!



I am super excited about the upcoming launch of my contest:

 A Slice of the Good Life 

(Starts June 1, 2013).

 This is an incredible chance to visit romantic Quebec City in dazzling style.

I am offering a variety of ways to enter this contest: from following my blog to reading my book and offering a review on any e-book seller that currently lists my book (like Amazon, for example).

One of the most fun ways to enter the contest is to create and post a recipe for Curry Apple Pie. You can post either on my blog or my Facebook page (my Facebook page is called Novelkudos as well).

Here is the recipe of Curry Apple Pie that Lulu, my heroine, makes in the book.

You will need:

(Oven temp: 350 F)

1 cast iron skillet

1 package frozen puff pastry – thawed and rolled out into a circle roughly ½” bigger in circumference than the skillet you will use.

4 Granny Smith apples peeled and sliced very thin

3/4 cup brown sugar

½ stick salted butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon powdered ginger

Melt butter in cast iron skillet.

Add sugar and spices  to skillet.

Cook and stir until bubbling.

While still cooking add apple slices to pan in a nice overlapping ‘petal’ pattern until skilled and sauce are completely covered.

Place uncooked puff pastry on the top of apples.

Bake in oven for  30-45 minutes depending on when your pastry cooks (varies with thickness and oven type). Pastry should be cooked through and deep golden brown.

Place a plate that is larger than skillet over skillet and then flip both plate and skillet so that the plate is on counter and skillet is now on top. Apples and crust should loosen and fall into place.

Serve warmish with a dollop whipped cream spiced with lemon zest, vanilla, ½ teaspoon of allspice, and sweetened with splash of agave.

It should come out looking like this: