Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
~ Pablo Picasso

For more inspirational photos this week, please visit Wordless WednesdayImage-in-ing, and Through my Lens.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Old North Church X 6

THE Old North Church
It is no surprise that I fell in love with Boston.

Now that I've been home for a couple of weeks, I've had a chance to process and analyze this love-affair, and I think I have determined its source. Boston perfectly embodies the convenience of a metropolitan city while maintaining small town charm. In addition, its prominent role in American history adds to the appeal.

My husband was able to join me for the last few days of the visit, and we enjoyed exploring the Harbor, the green spaces, and the North End. His bucket list items, however, were to see Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church.

I guess he was really excited to see the Old North Church because anytime we passed a historical  building (and there were many), Geoff would ask if that was the Old North Church. It became comical after a while and by the end of the trip, we counted six of them all over Boston.

I thought it might be fun to share these rare finds with you.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Totoro Family Recipes: Graddy Pralines

Dad's handwritten recipe
My dad was not a chef. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I remember him showcasing any culinary expertise: carving the Thanksgiving turkey; carving the Christmas Prime Rib; cranking homemade ice cream on the 4th of July; turning the marinated chicken quarters on the Weber Grill; and making a double batch of pecan pralines in December.

I don't know where the recipe originated or even why it was special to Dad, but about a week before Christmas he would begin his annual candy-making ritual.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Totoro Family Recipes: Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Several years ago I decided to add variety to our traditional Christmas cookie platter.

I originally found this on All-Recipes. However, I wanted to make it more festive for the holidays, so I changed a little here and there, to the point that this could almost be considered a Totoro original.

This recipe makes a LOT of cookies - between 60-65! I often make the entire recipe and freeze half  OR... I half the recipe.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Open Door

Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors
where there were only walls.
    ~Joseph Campbell

For more inspirational photos this week, please visit Wordless WednesdayImage-in-ing, and Through my Lens.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Boston and NYC: Final Week

Upper East Side brownstones
I am writing this post from my familiar spot on the couch at home.

Yes, my month-long holiday has come to an end, but what a glorious month I experienced!

My husband joined me for the final week in Boston, and then we spent three days in New York City before heading home.

I still believe vacationing for a month is the perfect way to travel. I was able to see all the sights I wanted to see while not running myself ragged. And I left still wanting to stay a bit a longer. That is far better than overstaying my welcome.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Totoro Family Recipes: M&M Cookies

If I had to choose one recipe to fully represent our family kitchen... it would be M&M cookies.

I fondly remember helping my mother decorate the tops of these colorful morsels.

I relished the opportunity to share this tradition with my eldest when she was old enough to participate (I think the first attempt was when she was about 18 months old).

And we now have three generations of Totoro women making these traditional cookies for the holidays.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Boston Sunset

Every ending is a beginning. We just don't know it at the time.
~ Mitch Albom

For more inspirational photos this week, please visit Wordless Wednesday, Image-in-ing, and Through my Lens.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Boston: Week 4

Inside Boston Atheneum - looking out
on the Granary Graveyard
I think the best part of traveling a month at a time (besides the fact that I don't have to cram each day with constant activity) is I have the opportunity to re-visit favorite places and take time to photograph the memories I wish to bring home.

I did that a lot this week. I spent an afternoon wandering the streets of the North End, significant for its role in the American Revolution as well as preserving authentic Italian pastries and pastas.

I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and walked from the top of Newberry street to the Boston Commons, enjoying the elegant neighborhoods and plentiful parks along the way.

But I also made time for a couple of new experiences, like being an extra in a movie which happened to be shot in the most exclusive library in town.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Boston: Week 3

Visited my son on set... very exciting!
Another week in Boston, and I'm still loving this city.

I've decided traveling for a solid month is a great way to see the world. One month allows plenty of time to see the sights without running myself ragged.

I maintain my regular morning routine and typically leave the apartment by 10:00am (after commuter traffic). I focus on one event per day so as not to overload my senses. And I usually return home mid-afternoon to relax while uploading and editing the daily photos. Evenings are up for grabs: either a nice dinner out, or a low-key evening on the couch.

If the weather doesn't cooperate, I don't have to brave the elements. I use those days to stay inside, catch up on laundry, and do a bit of writing. It's nice to have an occasional everyday in the midst of a travel adventure - and not worry about wasting valuable time.

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