Pretty Food

I can’t help myself. My name is Kelli and I’m a food photography addict.

{Hi, Kelli.}

A few shots from Thanksgiving break:

Flying Star

Start with some huevos rancheros

Flying Star

Add a dash of salt… and then decide what’s for dinner.

How about we fry a turkey for Thanksgiving? What sounds better? What? TWO turkeys? So be it:

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012IMG_536Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012


Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

What is that you say? You didn’t get enough carbs yesterday? Well. How about I whip up some of Juliann’s famous risotto, with some asparagus and shallots? (Originally, I’d hoped to do this with homemade turkey stock. Come to find out fried turkey bones meet their match in peanut oil and aren’t broth-worthy.)

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I may not love football, or Black Friday, or many of the other “traditions” around this holiday. But put me in a kitchen with a pantry full of food, with an apron and a glass of chardonnay, and I am my happiest.

Phew. Aren’t we glad I got that out of my system? Yeah. I thought so.


Sisters in Spirit: Thanks!

Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives.  They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation.  The topic this month is: why be thankful? 

Oh, gratitude. I’m sure everyone is so excited to read another laundry list of things I’m thankful for — less so after Thanksgiving. A twist:

To the two bullies in elementary school who are likely now employed at Guantanamo, I say thank you. You gave me fierce determination and the ability to grind my teeth when things get rough. I may still not be able to do an arial, or wear Guess jeans — but life worked out just fine. Thank you for giving me forgiveness.

New Running Shoe Day

To plantar fasciitis, which prevents me from running more than once a week, I say thanks. You make my entire right side wince after a hard outing. You remind me of my age and decreasing abilities. You push me to be creative. Find trails. Pump up the bike tires. Join a yoga studio. Take anti-inflammatories. Thank you for giving me humility.

Hope for the future

To failure, I say thank you. The Peace Corps. The nonprofit I ran into the ground. The novel that could have used a bit more love before hitting the press. The relationships of days past. Oh, how I’ve managed to make a mess of opportunity. Worse, sometimes I’ve had to make the same mistake several times. Thank you for teaching me grace.

Thank God for His patience and sense of humor in creating 7 billion of us — each flawed in our own perfect way.


I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:


Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to a toddler boy, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at 


Bianca is a newlywed Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband are expecting their first child in late summer. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on

On Writing: Glory of Gossip

For those in need of a writing prompt, or a simple kick in the pants to get back to your project — I’ll be posting brief pieces I’ve recently submitted for a Lighthouse course.

This week’s assignment: write a short narrative about hot gossip.


The Glory of Gossip


“You wouldn’t believe what I heard the other day, Mary.”

“What, darlin’?”

“Hector’s becoming a Helene.”

“You heard me. Hector. Hector Martinez – the man down the street with three kids and that fat wife? Well. Come to find out he wants to be the fat wife.”

“Uh, honey, you want to tell me how that’s going to happen? I reckon they can’t just. You know. Cut it off.”

“That’s exactly what they are fixin’ to do. Cut it off. Shirley Lewis told me he was in the Yellow Penny the other day trying on ladies’ dresses and heels. Heels, Mary! Can you imagine? I can’t even believe they make heels big enough for Hector’s feet.”

“Honey, you done lost your mind. Ain’t no way Hector is buying heels at the Yellow Penny. They don’t have my little size 7 most days.”

“I’m telling you! Shirley stands next to me in the choir. She’s been working there for five years. She’d know if Hector Martinez asked to try on dresses Mary!”

“Oh, lordy. Lordy lordy lordy. Can you just imagine? They are going to cut it off? What will his wife do?”

“Celebrate? I don’t know, darlin’. I just don’t know. Imagine his kids? The oldest boy is on the football team. Something tells me they aren’t going to be in Conville much longer.”

“I mean, heavens. Gladys, what would you do? Would you stick around to play bridge and sing the gospel with women who knew your husband shared your brassiers? I don’t guess you would.”

“Honey, Frank is too lazy to wear clean underwear most days. The last thing he’s thinking about his cramming his fat bits into one of my bras, or going to the Yellow Penny for a girdle.”

“Oh, that poor Mrs. Martinez. What should we do?”

“Casserole – I’ll drop one off later. Plus, if I lurk around long enough, maybe I’ll get a glimpse!”

“Oh, Gladys – you’re the worst. Call me after?




Oh, yes.

I just spent 8 days on holiday and oh, how lucky I feel. I slept 10-plus hours most nights. I ate like I’d never seen food before. I even cheered for football.

It. Was. Fantastic.

A few photos from the road trip. (Of course, upon review, the majority of the photos taken were of food. Food prepared. Food eaten. Groceries. I’m starting to understand why my family requests I leave my camera at home when we get together for celebratory meals. A beautiful meal — as far as I’m concerned — should be recorded.)

Thanksgiving road trip

Thanksgiving road trip

Thanksgiving road trip

Thanksgiving road trip

I am really looking forward to work tomorrow, and to getting back into routine. Always a sign of a vacation well done!


(food photos to come)

Thank You


Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! I am off celebrating with new friends, a ton of food and some great views. Hopefully as you are reading this, I’m photographing some gorgeous landscape. Or putting on a pair of stretchy pants for another run at the buffet.

On to the obligatory Thanksgiving list of gratitude. I am every so thankful for:

1. Family. Friends. Faith.

2. Willie Nelson Mandela, who never lets me go a moment without feeling like I have purpose. Even if that purpose is to throw the ball. Again. Again. Again. AGAIN!

3. Democracy.

4. Clean sheets. Such a great feeling to climb into a bed with crisp sheets.

5. Cardamom. Great in stew. Great in brownies.

6. Snow shoes + podcasts. My favorite way to spend a couple hours in the snow.

7. Lighthouse. One of the best reasons to live in Denver.

8. Mattmas and Drunkmas — two of the best reasons to celebrate Christmas in Phoenix.

9. The post office. Incredible, their ability to take a piece of paper from here to there for a handful of change.

10. Travel. New friends. Old friends. Great traditions.


Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Wishing you and yours a day of rest, relaxation and love.




Christmas supplies in action

  • Christmas tags stamped
  • Christmas photo taken, cards ordered and stamps in hand. Envelopes to be addressed this week.
  • Decorations out and ready to be swapped for Fall decor
  • Shopping underway (I’m so not a Black Friday girl)
  • Christmas spreadsheet updated
  • Craft supplies purchased, patterns printed
  • Holiday theme decided: year of the monogram

I love me some Christmas!




Who needs a cute fix to get them through this painfully long short-work-week so we can all just go stuff ourselves with turkey already?

Couch hog


Wait. Did someone say turkey? WE LOVE TURKEY.



Hostess Gift

Hostess gift: embellished cloth napkins

News flash: I over-think. When I found out I’d be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in family’s home I hadn’t yet met, I got a little sweaty.

What do I wear? 

What do I bring? 

What do I do?

Wearing: jeans, boots, chunky turquoise jewelry, jackets and loud scarves. And a genuine smile.

Bringing: a hostess basket including embellished napkins.

Doing: Nothing. Knitting. Taking photos. Sleeping in. What am I thankful for this year? That I’m not responsible for anything. Not the driving. Not the planning. Not even making reservations. It is going to be a much needed break.

Back to those napkins. Being budget conscious, I wanted to make the hosts something without going too far down Regretsy Lane. As such, I bought a package of cloth napkins from my favorite French boutique, some fabric paint for a stamp, and some pretty poppy ribbon. A few hours later — voila:

Hostess gift: embellished cloth napkins

Hostess gift: embellished cloth napkins

Hostess gift: embellished cloth napkins

Monogrammed cloth napkins ready for a big meal. I think this Christmas’ theme may be “the monogram.”  Fully aware I might be a little crazy, but at least I translate that mania into thoughtful, if not always well-crafted, gifts.


Pick Joy Instead

September flowers

I had a conversation with a coworker the other day that left my face burning with shame. I realized, quite suddenly, how comfortable I’ve become. I was caught complaining about the mundane — tasks I didn’t like. Clients who were too difficult. Other coworkers and their duplicitous ways.

He didn’t bother stopping my rant, but also didn’t fan the flames. Instead, he told me what was on his plate. By comparison, I realized my woes were entirely unimportant. I was creating my own unhappiness.

Sometimes I do this: I manifest problems. I make relationships more difficult than they need to be. I go on a subconscious hunt for something that isn’t acceptable so I can fulfill my juvenile need for drama and conflict. I pick fights.

Don’t ask why; I just have to hope realization is the first step to change. Other than my grandparents’ health, my life has never been better. I’ve got a job I secretly love. It isn’t public health, but it is so challenging I can barely keep up.  I live in a place that takes my breath away when I arrive from the natural beauty. I’m loved by a tiny furry pooch who makes me feel like the best thing since squirrels.

Life is really good.

Today I’m thankful for those tasks, clients and coworkers. The burning embarrassment of realizing I have nothing to complain about. Knowing being comfortable means it’s time to shake things up.


November Fashionistas

My darling Kara,

Hello from the chilly, snow covered Rockies!

Okay. Fine.

Hello from the kinda cold, sprinkled with snow Foothills. Days like these, I like to imagine I’m writing you from a log cabin, wrapped in a plaid blanket by a roaring fire. Two really well behaved dogs rest at my feet. Reality looks a bit more like me wearing gloves at my desk so I can clutch a Diet Coke over my laptop. Nelson’s likely farting in his sleep at the foot of my bed.

Almost the same, right?

This month’s fashionista theme is a bit mean spirited and totally my idea. I love the Fug Girls. Their view of fashion cracks me up and the fact they made George Clooney their fake intern makes me giggle. (Javier Bardem is the intern at the casa de Heirloom Homestead.)

Sorry. Got of track there. Phew. Javier!

This month’s theme is what not to wear. Things we see in public that make us shake our heads and wonder if people are either living without mirrors or are actually blind. Oddly enough, most of my observations have to do with shoes. Really, really bad shoes.

November fashionistas

Kara, these are an actual shoe I saw for sale while traveling in California last week. And! They cost $200. To anyone interested in these shoes — let me save you $190. Go to Target. Buy a pair of fake Chucks for $8. Buy a stuffed teddy bear for $2. Hot glue.

You’re an idiot, but you’re welcome.

Now — for the shoe choices seen on feet in the wild:

November fashionistas

Denver International Airport: sweat pants tucked into boots. DO NOT.

Fashionistas November

Manhattan: Great jeans tucked into nice boots. DO.

Fashionistas November

Phoenix Sky Harbor: Lace stockings under boots with a lacy top. When it was 92 degrees outside. DO NOT.

Here is what I’m wearing this month:

November fashionistas

Lots of stripes. Skinny jeans. Boots. (I’m traveling like a maniac at the moment.)

November fashionistas

An Africa shirt I love.

November fashionistas

More stripes and boots. And that trusty jean jacket I live in this time of year.

November fashionistas

Even a silk skirt and bare ankles on occasion. Although this night I should have really worn tights. We ended up in a cab for an otherwise short walk because my teeth were chattering. You can take the girl out of Phoenix…

November fashionistas

Found the tights! And my signature red jacket, boots and wrap dresses.

November fashionistas

And a bit of new bling from H&M. Cheapy plastic baubles make me happy with they give a splash of color.

So, what do I know? Not much about fashion, or otherwise. But there is something about wearing sweat pants getting on a flight that just seems off. I like dressing up for flights, and am doing so twice a week at the moment. And wowza am I loving my skinny jeans.

What are you wearing for the holidays? I’m off to spend Thanksgiving as a guest in a secret locale, but I will need both somewhat formal and totally casual clothing (including pajamas) to wear in front of others. Terrifying — right?