The Salty Senor and his adorable gal Kim (Salty Senorita?) had me over for dinner last night.  Really Kim did all the work. Adam and I watched with eager anticipation.

Stuffed acorn squash

Stuffed acorn squash

What was she cooking for her first real meal? Why, roast acorn squash stuffed with corn chowder, of course.

Pretty sure my first meal cooked came out of a Kraft box and involved only stirring and squeezing some magic sauce over noodles.

Stuffed acorn squash

Needless to say, she impressed us wildly. And within about two minutes, my plate magically transformed from this …


to this.

Rocking the apron

Can you tell she cheered in college? This was her automatic go to pose for a photo. GO Dinner!

Happy Halloween weekend, friends! May you be blessed with gobs of your favorite candy, friends, family and much laughter and some fantastic pumpkin dessert too.



New reads!

Like a little kid at show-and-tell in elementary school, let me be a bit brash and share a few of the thoughtful gifts I received last week. How rad is this stack of books? Oh, fantastically so! The Frida cookbook? I didn’t even know it existed until I squeeled like a fat kid in a candy shop when I dug open the paper. Amor!

The titles of all these books show you how truly thoughtful my friends are.

Oh yes I will Bake Wise

Science details behind each recipe

Amanda hunted down this cookbook for me after hearing about it on NPR. We are both cookbook junkies. I read them like magazines, marking pages, and circling things that sound interesting. This book in particular seems fascinating because of it’s emphasis on the science behind baking. I’m certain to share what I’m learning as soon as I dive into these recipes. (I need to find a new group of people to feed. Baking for one is a certain recipe for living in stretchy pants.)

Under pressure

My friend Kathryn sent a pressure cooker. Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder how people know me so well. New kitchen toys? SCORE. Thank you!

WPA framed print

My brother had this lovely WPA print framed for me. To say it is perfect isn’t quite perfect enough.


Frida pendant

And there was the Frida pendant Sue sent. Por el amor de Dios! Precioso!

There were many other handmade gorgeous things too. I am particularly looking forward to wrapping up in a new turqouise scarf Colleen sent. Safe to say I am thoroughly spoiled.

Thank you!


Tierra Firma

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I have a pot of orange marigolds sitting on my windowsill at work making my office smell like a monsoon wedding. Just their color, with the morning sun striking their blossoms (which remind me of a kid who hasn’t combed his mop before climbing on the school bus), makes me warm. At home, the basil and squash are pumping chloroform but the pumpkin vines have shriveled and soured like I forgot to take them out of the bathtub. As we approach November, it’s time to reassess the garden and plot the next move. I’m considering planting tomatoes early just to see how they’ll do. We have so few below freezing days in Phoenix, I might as well play around with this new globally warmed version of gardening in winter and see what we can harvest.

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The pumpkins? I cannot get them on board with my gardening strategy.  They loved Matt. They disdain me. This is my fourth attempt in six years of living in this home to provide friends with pumpkins for the Fall holidays. Instead, I’m buying bunches and placing them in my garden to be festive. And perhaps to show the earth and these wimpy vines their potential — like taking a tour of an Ivy League school in junior high. Shape up! Look what you too can accomplish!

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I’m thinking of adding some trellises also and trying plants that need to climb, like beans. I saw a new cookbook at Liberty Market’s shoppe this weekend that I fell in love with. I’m going to pick it up soon, or check it out of the library. I love the idea of someone cataloging heirloom beans and sharing their histories.

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Yes, trellises and heirloom beans. I know I’m an odd duck, but at least I will be a well-fed odd duck. Mmmm… duck.



Not  Mickey approved

When I took my current job more than a year ago, a magazine in Phoenix featured the top 100 women in business. I sent each of them a letter, congratulating their achievements and introducing them to my new organization. Several replied favorably and relationships that have resulted from a letter-writing campaign have been serendipitous. (Go correspondence!)

One such friendship is my mentor, E. She recently turned 50, owns her own company and is wildly successful. We bonded over our first lunch when she told me her real love was travel — specifically to Africa. For her recent birthday, she asked friends and family to give to a local organization that will build a school and latrine in a village she visited in Niger.  She told me it wasn’t enough to just build the school because in this region, girls weren’t allowed to go to school when they were on their “moons” unless there was a latrine nearby. Otherwise they were kept at home and eventually fall so far behind the boys, their educations are handicapped. So, logically, E decided a latrine was essential to the well being of the girls in this village.

Amazing. For some reason, she’s taken me under her wing and invites me to fancy luncheons, introduces me to her friends and sends me books I must read for “my profession.” Her mother recently passed away and although I was more than 2 hours late to the funeral (poor communication and long story later), I could tell she was touched I’d come. I introduced myself to her siblings, said hello to a few of the familiar faces I’ve met during the last year and watched as this strong woman wrangled with grief. Even in mourning, she somehow seemed entirely put together.

MM Lover

Another woman, D, also recently reached out to help me learn some much needed nonprofit skills. A revolutionary in fundraising, she has a cleverness that impresses me. She’s spent several hours with me in the last month carefully explaining charts, formulas of sorts and methods of raising more money regardless of the economy. D is a Disney nut, and I mean nut. She’s got a year-long pass and she and her husband regularly drive to Anaheim to visit their favorite rodent. She wears Disney diamond earrings, has mouse ears on her car and will talk about the Magical Kingdom whenever appropriate.

As a thank you for her recent mentorship, I sewed up a mousy pouch. I’ve yet to figure out what I can do to thank E, but I’m working on it.

Both of these relatively new friendships have reminded me of the importance of patience. These women are so very patient with me and truly want me to become stronger, smarter and better. They are willing to put in the time necessary to teach me skills that I need to be all those things. I’ve truly enjoyed the time I’ve spent with girls I’ve mentored and frankly it is so luxurious to be on the receiving end at this stage in life.

Brava to strong women who make time to help others!


Photos, Not Pictures


A couple friends asked me to take photos for them this weekend. Baby Mya was born just more a week ago. I don’t have permission to post any additional photos, but I think you can see how tiny and sweet she is from this shot.

I love taking photos for friends, but I have to be very honest. I have no idea what I’m doing. I put my camera in automatic, shoot like mad and hope for something to come out that they can work with. My friend Amanda has taken photography classes, has a small country’s economy’s worth of fancy gear, and takes photos that turn heads. We had lunch yesterday and it was quite apparent I have absolutely no business ever making this an actual business.

elaina and nick

Which was quite alright for Elaina and Nick. They are getting married next summer and wanted engagement photos. It was such fun to get them to goof around and didn’t take any work to make them look at each other lovey-dovey.

elaina and nick

Beautiful, right? I am lucky that the models are so easy to work with! (and that I have another job)


A 60th to Remember

Shan and Tom

My friend Tom turns 60 today; last night his wife Shan threw him a party at their beautiful home. She worked months to get the details just right. Such as:

These were yummy

signature drinks with bartenders who kept the evening hopping;



mini aloe vera centerpieces Shan grew and potted for guests to take home at the end of the evening;

Sweet centerpieces

Esther gets in the spirit

and even Esther got into the spirit with her camo bandana.


Working on the saguaro

The birthday cake

But definitely the most impressive aspect of the entire shindig was the green rice krispie treat saguaro cake — complete with a crown. They worked on this thing for days. When we had dinner Wednesday, they showed me the PVC pipe base for the cake. Tom is a lover of the desert and of the dessert. Safe to say, the spirit of both were captured.

(I’m not sure anyone actually ate it, but it certainly caught the attention of a ll 75 guests.)


Tell me she doesn’t look just a wee bit proud of herself?

Henry and Katie

Katie and I ham it up

We were pretty proud of her too. We were also pretty happy with a chance to sit around and chat. Good thing we did when we could because this morning my voice is shot.

NO llores!

Perhaps because I danced and sang at the top of my lungs (including my obnoxious, signature mariachi call) for hours with these new, bedazzled friends. Mariachis are my catnip. I am without a doubt my happiest when there are mariachis around and I don’t know how to explain that other than the music tells sweet, sappy stories and there are usually margaritas involved. The bravado and talent of these singers had me swooning. And swinging on the dance floor. I love me some mariachis. (I think I need a t-shirt with this new motto.)

The Brennans

Thank you to my “AZ Family,” the Brennans. A very happy birthday to Tom!





Home simplification project No. 1, complete.

I am still getting used to falling asleep reading vs. watching television, but it is a nice change and I find I’m certainly sleeping better as a result. Not surprisingly, I’m also making a dent in the stack of books at my bedside that had been collecting dust.

Next: a new couch, repurposed art and I’m considering painting a piece to hang about this small table. It feels good to keep things minimal and meaningful.


Cloudy With a Chance of Delicious (and Old)


Delicious meatballs that is. I made these for the first time this weekend and they were good! We went to some friends’ house for a potluck and I volunteered to make spaghetti.

Mama mia!

And meatballs.

Basil from the garden\

While in the garden gathering supplies, I noted a lot of holes in the basil. There are some very Italian-loving bugs in my yard. Smart suckers.

Spaghetti ready for travel

It has been a fun couple days of festivities. I’m officially 30 and after rocking out with Bono last night at an incredible U2 concert, I’m also officially pooped. No getting old jokes required. I need a nap.

I made a promise to myself 90 days ago that en sum required focusing on myself for three months to accomplish some serious goals before this milestone. Some were reached (novel 1, just waiting for cover design!, boutique idea hatched, back to running, etc) and some not so much (cookbook, 1/2 marathon in November, actual pumpkins from the garden instead of just flowers and vines).  There has been some serious internal work going on too and I’m happy to say I seem to have crawled out from underneath the cloud of depression that has been haunting me off and on for the last 1.5 years. It has been a great transition period and I’m really looking forward to rocking this decade.

Tonight I’m off to the B’s for dinner, which will undoubtedly be a great time. I am so happy Tom and I share a birthday week so I can catch up with his sweet daughter and that adorable Roscoe. They are in town for Tom’s big 6-0. Seriously, how great is this kid?

So, thank you for all of your kind wishes! I say it regularly, but it is so true — I am blessed with friends and family.

With love,


Pow Wow

I’ve been reading, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” — a short story collection by Sherman Alexie. He is one of my friend Juliann’s favorite authors. This was such a quick and shocking read. I very much enjoyed it.

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Alexie describes frankly the disparities of living on the reservation and the cliches that haunt his people.  He writes, “It is hard to be optimistic on the reservation. When a glass sits on the table here, people don’t wonder if it’s half filled or half empty. They just hope it’s good beer. Still, Indians have a way of surviving. But it’s almost like Indians can easily survive the big stuff. Mass murder, loss of language and land rights. It’s the small things that hurt the most. The white waitress who wouldn’t take an order, Tonto, the Washington Redskins.”

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In another story, when a police officer offers a Indian child a piece of candy, disease bubbles to the surface. “I’m sorry, Detective Clayton,” my father said. “But my son and I are diabetics.” “Oh, sorry,” the detective said and looked at us with sad eyes. Especially at me. Juvenile diabetes. A tough life. I learned how to use a hypodermic needle before I could ride a bike… The detective looked at us both like he didn’t believe it. All he knew was crinimals and how they worked. He must have figured diabetes worked like a criminal, breaking and entering. But he had it wrong. Diabetes is just like a lover, hurting you from the inside. I was closer to my diabetes than to any of my family or friends. Even when I was all alone, quiet, thinking, wanting no company at all, my diabetes was there. That’s the truth.”

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Good, brief read. Three out of five bananas, absoloodle. I’m now (still) reading “Blindness” and have “Anam Cara” on deck. ~K


I spent the weekend cooking, organizing and sewing like my imaginary in-laws were coming for the holidays. It was a sheer blur of activity, fueled by weeks of neglected podcasts, caffeine and the motivation of simplifying and using what I have.

This included tackling several pre-launch orders from the online boutique that will open here November 1.



Soccer Tag Blanket



Mini made a gorgeous quilt for Rebecca’s daughter, E. The quilt was backed with minky. I’d never before paid attention to this fabric, but seeing E use her quilt last weekend in Chicago, I realized how perfect the soft material is for baby projects. A quick jaunt to JoAnn’s with a coupon in hand and I had enough to make a dozen taggy blankets. Some hit the mail today for gifts, others were delivered.  The set above is for a little boy whose folks love “footie” and have knicknamed their baby Kix.

Additionally, a few will be paired with onesies for the shop. I’ve received some excellent feedback lately on my baby onesie designs, including this sweet video. How adorable is Saba?  This is my very own happy baby Africankelli Designs commercial. Love!

ROAR! packaging

I’ve been playing around with my new MOO mini cards. I had them printed as business cards for the shop and am trying new packaging. So far, this is by far my favorite for any purchase I can deliver instead of mail. My love affair with simplicity continues.

Happy Monday, friends. Let’s make this a week to remember — shall we?