February 12, 2018
by Lacy
1 Comment

4 Tools of My Essentialist Closet

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working hard to declutter and simplify my closet. I don’t have one of those amazing capsule wardrobes in which everything goes with everything else (although… it’s pretty close, actually), but I’ve been consciously keeping my clothing choices to a minimum for the most part.

(I do have more cocktail dresses than someone with my social calendar reasonably needs, but I like them.)

And while minimalism is all about reducing the things you have, essentialism — which is what I strive to practice — is the disciplined pursuit of less, but better. I interpret this to mean that it’s perfectly acceptable to add things to your life if they make the experience simpler or better somehow.

So here are a few things I have added to my closet that have improved my experience of dressing myself every day immeasurably.

Hanging Jewelry Organizer

I struggled for years to find a way to organize my jewelry in a way that would allow me to actually see and use it. I started with traditional jewelry boxes, but everything is hidden away, and if you have even a medium-sized collection of costume jewelry, it’s hard to keep it tidy in a box of a reasonable size!

Then I tried trays with little nooks. That worked OK from an organizational and display standpoint, but everything got dusty.

Then I decided I would buy a shadowbox with a hinged door, and display and store my jewelry that way. The box was pretty expensive, and then I had a hard time finding pins that were sturdy enough to hold my heavier necklaces. Once again, it also wasn’t really big enough for all my jewelry — and it’s not like I have THAT much!!

FINALLY, I stumbled across a “little black dress” jewelry organizer at TJMaxx, and all my needs were answered (similar item from Amazon pictured).

It hangs in my closet, taking up no more space than a single item of clothing. It has a zillion pockets and loops and hangers, so it can hold my entire jewelry collection. It prevents things from getting dusty. And because the pockets are clear, I can see everything at a glance, which means I wear more of it.


I also use it as a divider in my closet, keeping everyday clothes on one side, and cardigans and jackets on the other.

Multi-bin Laundry Basket

I’ve never been great at staying on top of the laundry. When I really sat down and thought about why it was hard for me to stay on top of it, I realized one of the biggest barriers was sorting the laundry.

I wanted to be able to do one load (or so) every day (or so). That required dumping out our entire hamper and sorting everything into piles on the floor in the closet or bedroom. Then I would wash one load and the other piles would either a) live on the floor or b) go back into the hamper — necessitating that I pull everything out and sort it again the next day.

Is this a silly thing to prevent one from staying current with one’s laundry? Yes indeed. But once I figured that out, I decided it wasn’t a stupid expense to buy a new hamper with multiple compartments.

This one ridiculous thing changed my laundry life! The version we bought (similar to the one pictured) has removable bins, so I can carry one bin — one, pre-sorted load! — downstairs to wash, and the others stay right where they are.

I’m certain that some people are rolling their eyes at this… But I’ve come to realize that if I can identify a stumbling block for myself and remove it, it really does make all the difference!

Sturdy Hooks

Again, this is kind of a “DUH” moment, but adding a hook like this to my side of the closet has made a world of difference in keeping our walk-in closet (and surrounding bedroom) neat and tidy.

I’m one of those people who tends to wear an item of clothing (like jeans) more than once before I wash it. But that presents a dilemma: where to put the garment between wears?

Sometimes I could manage to fold a pair of jeans and toss them on top of the pile on the shelf, but more often than not, they ended up in the chair outside the closet. Not a great solution. (And no, apparently I was not capable of putting them on a hanger and hanging them back up.)

Enter the hooks! I use them for my bathrobe, items of clothing I intend to wear again before washing, and a tote bag to keep clothes headed to the dry cleaner. (I don’t have much that gets dry cleaned, so I only end up going maybe once every few months! So I need a place to keep things between visits.)

Portable Steamer

As you may be able to tell by this point, I’m a little bit lazy when it comes to laundry and garment care!

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to look good, or that I don’t care how my clothes look; it just means I want to get the best look in the easiest possible way.

In other words: I rarely iron.

It wasn’t really an issue until recently; I work from home and don’t often wear a lot of clothes that need to be ironed. But when we bought a new washer and dryer a few months ago, the washer purported that it would get more water out in its spin cycle, necessitating less time in the dryer.

This is true.

The flip side is that it spins everything SO HARD, that clothes come out drastically more wrinkled than they did with our old washer.

My husband was diligently pulling out my shirts, most of which I let air-dry to help preserve the fabric longer. But that meant they were ending up in my closet looking like someone had balled them up and shoved them in the bottom of a duffel bag for a week.

Knowing myself (and realizing that the likelihood of me taking an hour to iron all my tops every week was about nil), I remembered that I’d bought a travel steamer last summer when I wanted to pack a linen dress for an event I was attending in San Francisco. I dug it out and set it up just outside my closet, where there is a little file cabinet (a flat spot for the steamer to sit while warming) and an outlet.

It works like a champ! This model (I have the turquoise one!) heats up very fast, holds more than enough water for one shirt, and gets out the worst of the wrinkles for a “casual press” look that I can definitely live with. It now lives on the file cabinet just outside my closet at all times so that I can grab it quickly any given morning and give something a once-over.

January 21, 2018
by Lacy
1 Comment

My Bullet Journal Recommendations

Baron Fig journal with Pilot G2 pen

I’ve been Bullet Journaling for about two years now. If you’re not familiar with the practice, it’s a way of keeping a paper planner / journal that is totally customizable because you start with a blank notebook. You can watch the video from the creator of the system here to get a better feel for how it works.

Of course, once you get into Bullet Journaling, you start following a few BuJo accounts on Instagram, pinning a few beautiful examples on Pinterest… And things can generally start to spiral out of control.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried lots of different things I’ve seen on the internet and I’ve come to a few conclusions:

  • I’m a simple girl, and while I like things neat and tidy, I’m never going to be the artist type drawing gorgeous images to accompany my grocery lists.
  • I’m also not much of a sticker or washi tape girl, though I did try. It ended up making me feel like everything was too cluttered. I like a few stickers here and there.
  • Future planning in my BuJo beyond a weekly spread is a no-go for me. I rely on my Google calendar for future planning and up-to-the-minute scheduling.
  • Quality supplies are key.

If you know me at all, that last one will be of no surprise to you whatsoever. First of all stationary supplies are one of my love languages and quality is another.

But finding the right supplies has been a journey, so I thought I’d share where I’m at now and what I’m using (and loving) for all my fellow Bullet Journalists out there.

Baron Fig Confident II Journal

Baron Fig journal with Pilot G2 pen

Knowing I would need a new journal around the first of this year, I did some research to find the perfect one. I’ve used both Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917 notebooks, which tend to be the gold standard for most Bullet Journal enthusiasts, and while they’re fine, they tend to show bleed through.

Bleed through is when you can see ghosting of the text you wrote on one side of the page on the opposite side. And to my little heart that likes things neat and tidy, it’s annoying.

(This is not new, by the way; back in my school days, I only wrote on one side of my notebook paper for the same dang reason.)

I use pretty standard Pilot G2 gel pens, not fancy fountain pens or anything like that, and yet I was still seeing this ghosting. So I started Googling around for options with thicker paper in the dot grid style that I like and which is so popular with Bullet Journalers.

What I found was the Confident II journal from Baron Fig. (P.S. That link will give you a coupon code for $10 off your first order!)

It’s a hardcover notebook (necessary when you carry it around all day as I do) with really nice fine-grain, acid-free paper that is heavier than what you get with either the Moleskine or the Leuchtturm notebooks. I see pretty much ZERO ghosting, which is exactly how I wanted it.

The only downside of these notebooks is that they don’t come in as many cool colors as the other brands; the standard ones come in just two shads of gray book cloth. They do have special editions, which look lovely, but cost a lot more. And they are a non-standard size, so if I want to buy a nice leather cover, I have to buy it from the Baron Fig people — neither of these are dealbreakers for me.

Book Darts

brass page darts

I wanted a way to mark important pages in my BuJo so that I could turn to them quickly and easily. I used these for a while, which I quite liked the look of, but after 6 months to a year of use, paper tabs can end up kind of ratty.

So this year I upgraded and ordered some brass Book Darts.

They’re tiny, triangular, thin pieces of metal that you slip over the edge of a page. The point of the triangle can point to a single line, if you want to mark a particular line in a book (or your notebook) or you can just use them to mark the page from the edge.

I love how slim they are, and yet how easy it is for me to turn back to find an important page.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Set

Tombow brush pens

I had been seeing some people adding swaths of color to their writing with brush pens, and I wanted to give it a try. I happened to be browsing a Tuesday Morning store, and I found a set of dual brush pens for pretty cheap compared to the ones I was seeing online, so I bought it.

Bad move.

These markers were so heavy on the ink they bled through everything but the thickest construction and watercolor paper. (I gave them to my daughter with the rule that she must always put another piece of paper behind the one she’s coloring to prevent ink getting all over the table, floor, etc.)

So I went on the advice of artists I had Googled and ordered a set of Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers. SO MUCH NICER! These work exceptionally well and don’t bleed through my paper. I really love my greyscale ones and plan to get a colored set soon, too.

(You’ll notice in the photo that if you use them OVER the top of the gel pens, the pen ink has a tendency to smudge. The easy fix is to lay down the color first and then write over it.)

Mochi Sticky Notes

If you’ve never been to the site Mochi Things, and you love stationary and office supplies, prepare to lose an hour or so of your life. This Korean company has the absolute cutest stickies, stickers, pens, pockets and notebooks you can imagine.

I decided to try out a couple of pre-printed sticky notes to save myself from having to draw things over and over. I ended up buying the Basic Monthly Sticky and the Weekly Long Schedule Sticky Note and the list version.

While I like both in theory, in practice they are a little smaller than I would like. I wish they filled up the entire page of my notebook, because otherwise it feels like there’s a lot of dead, unused space around the sticky. I’ve been using the list version to keep my grocery list in the notebook and then take it out to go to the store, which I like a lot, and I’m sure I’ll keep playing with the others.

bullet journal with coffee cup

Like many things, using a Bullet Journal is a personal experience, but if you’re interested in it, I hope maybe you’ll find some inspiration in the tools and accessories that are working for me right now.

January 16, 2018
by Lacy
1 Comment

My Intentions for 2018

Every year for several years now, I’ve returned to Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul to identify what she calls your “core desired feelings” for the year.

Basically, the idea is that rather than starting with a goal like, “lose weight” or “save money,” instead you start with how you want to feel — and then design your goals to feel that way more often.

This year, my core desired feelings are: elegant, whole, love, and inspired.

Elegant is more about how I feel than how others see me (though the two tend to go hand in hand). For me it encompasses essentialism (not minimalism, which is a post for another day), quality, mindfulness, and pleasure.

Whole refers to the fact that I realized over the past few years I’ve poured a ton of energy into improving myself as a business owner, but much less time or energy into improving myself personally, my relationships, etc.

Love is on the list because really I crave to feel loved, but as the author points out, being loved by others is totally out of my control. What is in my control, however, is to generate feelings of love inside myself. So I’m going to try to be more intentionally loving.

And finally, I crave the jolt of energy and excitement and passion that comes from feeling inspired. It might come from creating something, but also from reading a really excellent book, seeing a live performance, watching a really great movie, etc.

The beauty of this is that one can translate those core desired feelings into decisions and actions big and small. It could be something as simple as choosing to eat my breakfast with a silver spoon or drink my coffee from a china teacup. Or it might be as big as changing careers, moving across country, traveling the world.

I don’t have any plan to do any of the latter.

But I am making some big gestures toward feeling the way I want to feel.


Two weekends ago, I wanted to take down the Christmas tree and put away all the decorations, which morphed into a (necessary) deep clean of the living room (so many pine needles!) which morphed into a moving-the-furniture-to-clean-underneath deep clean, which morphed into “what do you think about moving the table over here?” which morphed into selling our giant IKEA TV cabinet and temporarily relocating our TV to the guest room…

new sitting area

The upshot is that our downstairs living area looks and feels a lot more open and spacious. We moved our small sofa into the space where the dining table used to be, meaning that there’s now a sitting area right next to the kitchen. I had some friends over for brunch last week and they both said it felt warm and welcoming.

We want to replace the blue sofa sometime soon, and we swapped out the light fixture for a new one from IKEA (to prevent everyone over 5 feet tall from smashing their head on the old one). Still need a new lamp for the dining area to provide a bit more light at night, and we’ll probably move the art to the center wall over the table, but I’m really liking it.

new dining area


In the vein of paying more attention to my personal development (not just business development) I also joined a community chorus on a whim this week. A friend of mine posted on social media that she had joined, I commented that I wanted to join — and boom, I joined.

To be fair, there’s no audition. Joining involves sending an email. But I’ve got the sheet music and practice tracks to download, and the first rehearsal is Wednesday, so I guess I joined a chorus!

I also attended an information session on a 2-year writing program aimed at helping people complete a book-length work.  (Basically an MFA without the degree — and much less expensive!) I’m not sure it’s for me, but it was exciting to think about and a great excuse to visit the place and learn more about the people and programs.

Both of these should feed that inspiration itch I’ve been having. Singing (with a group, especially) can be a spiritual experience for me, regardless of what I’m actually singing.  And I know I do better with my writing when I have other people involved in the process, so a workshop or class is often a real driver for me.


After several years of practice, I find that starting with the end in mind — the way I want to feel as the result I want to create — is a much more wholistic way of setting goals for me. And finding ways to prioritize those good feelings is fun and rewarding.

November 21, 2017
by Lacy
1 Comment

68 Minimalist Consumable Holiday Gift Ideas

Who needs more junk? This year, we are aiming to give more “consumable” gifts — meaning, something that can be experienced or used up. We’re trying to do this for friends and family members young and old.

I’ve brainstormed 68 consumable gift ideas to get your creativity started this holiday season. We regularly make food gifts, and I have a great list of 12+ ideas to get you started, including these delicious candied orange peels that have become something of a tradition for us.

making satsumettes

  1. Movie gift cards
  2. Amusement park tickets
  3. Water park tickets
  4. Night’s stay in a hotel or “staycation”
  5. Ski lift tickets
  6. Bath time gifts for kids (bath crayons, paints, bubble bath, etc.)
  7. Bath tie gifts for adults (bath salts, sugar scrub, bubble bath, etc.)
  8. Cosmetics (nail polish, makeup, shaving cream, cologne, etc.)
  9. Fine soaps or lotions
  10. Art supplies for kids (coloring books, glue, construction paper, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, pom poms, glitter, etc.)
  11. Craft supplies for adults (scrapbooking supplies, yarn, etc.)
  12. Stationary
  13. Fun office supplies (sticky notes, file folders, notepads, pens, etc.)
  14. Homemade play dough or “slime”
  15. Kits to make homemade play dough or slime
  16. Museum/zoo memberships
  17. iTunes gift cards
  18. Restaurant gift certificates
  19. Pet gifts (pet food, catnip, chew toys, etc.)
  20. Golf course passes
  21. Gift certificate for a hot air balloon ride
  22. Netflix gift subscription
  23. Grocery store gift cards
  24. Stationery (address labels, stamps, journals, etc.)
  25. Pizza delivery gift cards
  26. Car care supplies (car wash tokens, air freshener, car wax, oil change gift card, gas card, etc.)
  27. Lottery tickets
  28. Coupons for your services (babysitting, pet care, house-sitting, etc.)
  29. Concert tickets
  30. Sporting event tickets
  31. Summer camp for kids
  32. Gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure
  33. Food gift baskets (Italian, coffee lover’s, chocolate lovers, ice cream toppings, wine or beer, etc.)
  34. Frozen foods (make cookie dough and freeze it into balls for future use, prepare freezer meals, etc.)
  35. Food jar gifts (soup mixes, cookies, bars, canned jellies and jams, mug cakes, etc.)
  36. Baked goods or other foodie gifts
  37. Wine or liquor
  38. Infused liquors
  39. Fine coffee or tea
  40. Starbucks (or other coffee shop) gift card
  41. Specialty olive oil or vinegar
  42. CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription
  43. Fireplace accessories (fire starters, lighters, etc.)
  44. Garden gifts (tulip bulbs, seeds, bird seed, feeders, etc.)
  45. Food by mail (Hickory Farms, Omaha Steaks, etc.)
  46. Flower arrangement or potted plants
  47. Herb garden
  48. Kitchen supplies (decorative napkins and plates, dish towels, dish scrubber, etc.)
  49. Bowling alley passes and shoe rental gift card
  50. Gift certificate to a portrait studio or for custom framing
  51. Gym membership (CAREFUL with that one! LOL!)
  52. Music lessons
  53. Hobby classes (photography, cooking, etc.)
  54. Cleaning services gift cards (window washing, maid services, gutter cleaning etc.)
  55. Donations to a charity
  56. Ice skating or roller skating tickets
  57. Swimming pool membership
  58. Rock climbing gym membership
  59. Massage
  60. Spa day
  61. Digital subscription to a favorite publication
  62. Audible audiobook subscription
  63. Kindle books (if your friend has a Kindle, you can purchase a book and select “send as a gift”)
  64. Subscription boxes (like Tinker Crate and Kiwi Crate for kids)
  65. Mini golf tickets
  66. Paint-your-own pottery gift certificate
  67. Paint-and-sip gift certificate
  68. Babysitting services

May 30, 2017
by Lacy
1 Comment

This is what it means to be a woman in 2017

I had to yell at two tween boys at the park today who were using vicious, nasty, violent language about women and women’s body parts in full view and earshot of my six year old daughter. They called me a bitch. I stood my ground, but it stuck with me, made me uncomfortable and angry for hours afterward.

How is this still happening in 2017? How are these boys, whose voices have barely dropped, taught that’s what a man says, that’s what a man sounds like?

Where are their parents? Do these boys act normal at home and put on this disgusting posturing when they think they are alone? Or do their parents not care to correct them? Do their parents encourage that kind of behavior?

And why am I, as a 36-year-old woman, provoked to a visceral flight or fight adrenaline response by two kids less than half my age?

Because I read the news. Doesn’t matter that they probably weren’t more than 13. Doesn’t matter that it was a public park in broad daylight. I’m not ashamed to admit it: some visceral part of me was afraid to confront these boys, afraid of what they might do.

But I stood up for myself. I called them out, demanded that they watch their language, said they were being inappropriate. My dog growled at them when I raised my voice. It didn’t stop them; though they left us alone, they kept swearing and shouting at the top of their lungs. I gave them the stink eye. It made them uncomfortable.  And then D was done playing and we left.

And when D asked why I was so upset about it on the way home, I had to figure out how to tell her that words are just the beginning. Words lead to actions. And I have to be constantly on my guard from men and boys in particular to protect myself and her. My heart breaks, but I have to teach her that boys like that could be a threat — now and later. Always.

She told me she was glad I stood up to the “big boys” who called me a bad name.

This is what it means to be a woman in 2017.  And it is shameful.


May 28, 2017
by Lacy


My baby “graduated” from kindergarten this week.  

She “graduated” from pre-K last year, too, though there was a bit less pomp and circumstance. Is it silly? A little. Is it fun?  Sure.

Does it tug at a mama’s heart strings?  Absolutely.

It feels like we are in a season of change right now.  On Saturday we finally bought some carpet for the house. (We’ve only been talking about replacing the carpet since we moved into the house — eight years ago.)

Of course, in order to install the carpet, they have to move furniture, and they won’t move anything with anything on it. Between that and the fact that we are switching Devyn’s room with the guest room, and it seemed like the perfect time to clean up, clean out, and then move everything around.

We spent most of the day today doing just that. B remarked at how much stuff we had packed into that guest room.  It certainly didn’t look like it was super full of stuff, but man.  It was. I wish I’d taken a before picture, but I took a few “during” that I’ll post when the project is done.

We’re nowhere near done, but we already have enough stuff in the garage to give and throw away that I can no longer park my car in my parking spot. And it seemed like every time I moved to do something, I thought of another project that needed doing. I told B it was like, before we started, everything was in stasis, and now it’s aaaaaalllll in flux.

I’ve always been a bit of a minimalist at heart, or, as I prefer now, an essentialist. Getting rid of stuff feels good to me! But it is a massive undertaking. I don’t want to move anything and put it back after we have new carpet that I don’t have to.

It’s interesting the things we have held on to simply because it’s easier than doing something with them.  For example, I had a whole shelf of a bookshelf full of books on writing — that I hadn’t looked at or used in years.  I kept a few that were special to me, but it was surprisingly easy to let go of the rest.

This Week:

We were pretty busy this week with end-of-school activities, so I there’s not as much to share.

Made these blueberry muffins from Drizzle Me Skinny. Tasty, but being low fat, they are a little chewy.

I invented these “pissaladiere” snacks with the caramelized onions and fennel from last week’s clean-out-the-fridge cooking.  You can see the recipe, such as it is, on my Instagram.

I also tried making tortilla chips in the air fryer for the first time!  They got quite brown, but that didn’t affect the taste at all — delicious!  I’ll definitely be doing that again.

And tonight, exhausted from a day of minimalism, we had a snacky dinner — in that I simply pulled a bunch of nibbles out of the fridge and let everyone build a plate. 

Devyn went with sardines on saltines and lots of mushrooms…

While I went heavy on the crudité and selfishly finished up the spinach artichoke dip.

Meal Plan

Thought I’d add a new section this week and throw in my meal plan. I tend to plan out 5–6 meals, and I don’t always assign them a day, to leave some wiggle room in my planning. This week I’m trying to use up some of what we have in the pantry and freezer:

I’m also planning to make some variation of avocado cilantro dressing because our cilantro is going bonkers in our garden.

May 21, 2017
by Lacy

Cheater’s Shrimp and Scallop Paella

This easy paella recipe is from the book, 400 Calorie Fix by Liz Vaccariello (I believe it is out of print, but you can find used copies at that link.) Since it is a diet book, it uses a small amount turkey kielbasa for flavor. If you’re not concerned about calories, you can sub regular kielbasa or sausage, or just use more of the turkey kielbasa.

The most important ingredients are the saffron, of course, and the clam juice, which is a shortcut for seafood stock. It really gives the dish a nice, authentic briney flavor.

Paella is one of those dishes that lends itself to endless variations, so feel free to switch up the meats or seafood, add different vegetables, or go full vegetarian by subbing more peppers and chickpeas for the meats (some smoked paprika would also help boost the flavor lost without the sausage).

Cheater’s Shrimp and Scallop Paella

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 41 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 2 cups

Cheater’s Shrimp and Scallop Paella

From the book, "400 Calorie Fix" by Liz Vaccariello.


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 oz turkey kielbasa or sausage, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads, lightly crushed
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 1 bottle clam juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 16 Manzanilla olives
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb sea scallops


  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and kielbasa. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saffron and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Pour in the clam juice and 1/4 cup of the water. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, olives, and remaining water. Cover and return to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes longer, or until the rice is nearly tender. Stir in the shrimp, scallops, and peas. Cover and cook 6-8 minutes longer, or until the rice is tender and the seafood is cooked through.


8 Weight Watchers Smart Points per serving


This week:

Remember when I said I had used up the “last” of the asparagus.  Haha!  Just kidding.  D and I picked more last Sunday — some nearly as tall as she is! — and I served it for lunch with some wild oyster mushrooms (courtesy Butter’s dad!) and fried eggs.  I also dusted them all in some truffle zest which was a very good idea.

Yes, some of those asparagus are nearly as tall as her!

Believe it or not, earlier this week we were toasting marshmallows in the back yard…

And then it SNOWED.  Ah, Colorado, you minx.


On Saturday, we headed to our first visit to the Boulder Farmer’s Market of the year.

After perusing, we walked to Boxcar Coffee, where we enjoyed a little breakfast and then got a “cheesemonger’s choice” plate from Cured that we brought home for lunch.

With a loaf of their incredible crown bread and some rancho gordo bean salad, we had a wonderful picnicky lunch.


After the farmer’s market, I was inspired to cook and use up some of the produce wasting away at home. I whipped up some pickled radishes from Eugenia Bone’s book, The Kitchen Ecosystem.

I made banana walnut muffins to take advantage of some blackened bananas in the produce bowl.

And I caramelized a couple of onions with a fennel bulb that was going spare. We shall see how I put them all to use later this week.


May 14, 2017
by Lacy
1 Comment

The Myth of the Perfect Mother

Happy Mother’s Day to those who celebrate!

I say that because while I have a great mom and am blessed to be a mom, there are those who don’t have great associations with this day. I know many women whose relationship with their mothers is tenuous at best. Many women who have lost their mothers and grieve them especially on this day. And far too many women who are mothers, but whose children are gone.

Also because I agree with many that it’s one of those odd Hallmark holidays that puts a lot of pressure on us to celebrate and, in this age of Instagram and Facebook, to compare our celebrations with one another. Who can post the most moving tribute of her mom with the most adorable childhood photos? Who gets the best flowers from her partner or adorable breakfast in bed from her kids?

Kelly Diels says, “The Perfect Woman is a form of violence against women” — that we perpetrate against one another. And I think the “perfect mother” is included in that.

Because none of us is perfect. That woman you notice in the pickup line, who is always early, always put together, slim and pretty, wearing cute clothes, her hair done, her makeup on, adroitly wrangling her twin toddlers who look like they might have stepped out of a J.Crew ad while they wait for her perfectly adorable older child, as she makes polite and pleasant chit-chat with the other moms…

She is not perfect. None of us is. We see the face she is showing to the world, which is the sort of face we’ve been told to show to the world. Not the messy hair, sweaty yoga pants, kids playroom disaster area parts of our lives. But lord help you if you don’t conform to that ideal, if you don’t make an effort, if you don’t try to be more perfect…

I have had women tell me that’s how they see me, and it makes me deeply, deeply uncomfortable. Whenever someone asks me how I do what I do, how I have it all together, where I buy my clothes because I “always look so pretty and stylish,” — I don’t know if it’s my inner critics rearing their ugly heads, or simply that I’m becoming more aware of how these things play themselves out in our culture, but I get very uncomfortable and kind of want to laugh in their faces. If they only knew…

Because I don’t have it all together. I have good days and bad days like anyone else. I have made choices and prioritized things that maybe other people don’t or haven’t had the opportunity to do but that certainly doesn’t mean I’ve got it all figured out. And some days all I can see is my faults.

I even struggle with this blog sometimes, because the images I share, the stories I tell are the highlights reel. You see the days when my plates look pretty as a picture, but you don’t see the days I serve up boxed mac and cheese to my kiddo, or the nights when my husband comes home and I give him a hug and say, “YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN I’M NOT COOKING!” Those happen too; they’re just not Instagram-worthy.

But it’s a catch-22, isn’t it? Because if I didn’t have pretty pictures and tell interesting stories, who would listen? Who would watch and read? No one. (Which is OK. I write this blog for myself these days, not for anyone else.)

And I have to laugh, because if my teenage self could hear those compliments, could see me now, she would fall out of her chair in shock. I was a very late bloomer. There are girls who seem to have it all together in high school; they already embody that ideal woman status by being pretty and popular and put together and on top of it all. I was not one of them. It seems maybe it took me until my 30s to “bloom” if that’s the standard we’re going to go by.

Yet I choose to hope there is more to me than this. More to me than nice clothes and a basic understanding of how to apply makeup and do my hair. I hope that I will continue to bloom, that maybe my best is still yet to come.

In a course I’m taking, I did an exercise last week in which we were asked to listen to a guided meditation, which took us to meet our future selves, 20 years in the future.  I saw a beautiful house, surrounded by trees yet filled with light, and 50-something-me answered the door with silver hair and a smile on her face.  And the meditation asked us to ask our future selves, “What’s the one thing I need to know to get from where I am to where you are?”

Her answer, clear as day, ringing in my head was simply, “Everything changes.”

This Week

Pretty posies via Bouqs from my mom for mother’s day. I’m a real fan of their quality flowers and no-frills delivery service (who needs another ugly vase??).

D and I also participated in the Wright Cause Walk for the Wright Cause Benevolence Fund. Several years ago, two students and a teacher at D’s school were stricken with leukemia, and two lost their battles. Now, the Wright Cause Benevolence Fund (named in honor of the teacher) provides financial assistance to families, students, and staff affected by cancer at D’s school.

It was a little bit emotional for me, seeing the families who had lost loved ones and the bone marrow donor signup table, but I’m very glad we did it. Together.

And after, we had truly excellent burgers from the Pile High Burgers food truck that came to support the event — and which I completely neglected to photograph. They were that good!  The burgers were smashed and crispy perfection, with very flavorful meat on soft brioche buns with tons of fun toppings. We tried the BLTA — bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado and mayo with a burger — and the blue cheese burger with tons of blue, grilled onions, and bacon.  Great fries and onion rings, too. It’s not often you pay food truck prices and feel like it was a good value, but we did! Highly recommended.


We tried Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ at their new location in Denver. We tried them in Estes Park last fall when we spent a weekend up there at the YMCA of the Rockies, and are glad to have an outpost closer to home.  Good brisket and decent ribs. Really good fried pickles — that I totally ordered by accident. The waitress came to take our drink orders and asked if we’d like any pickles, and I assumed she meant like pickles and onions that you sometimes get at BBQ places (at least in Texas you do). Turns out I had ordered fried pickles. No one complained.

We also had some damn good queso at Torchy’s Tacos at their new-ish location in Westminster. Between this and the fact that we’re getting a  Chuy’s in Westminster, I feel like I finally have real Tex-Mex in Colorado!

We also hit Scrumptious in Arvada last night — because sometimes you need ice cream for dinner. D enjoyed the honey ice cream in a cone, while I tried chocolate pistachio and amaretto, and B had “darkness” (dark chocolate with brownies) and chocolate cookies and cream. Weird that it’s the only real ice cream joint close to us (frozen yogurt places abound) but we’re not complaining. Parking at the new RTD lot just down the hill makes visiting Old Town Arvada much more pleasant and less frustrating on a Saturday night, too, FYI.

And this Sunday morning, B made the trek out to Northglenn for these incredible cinnamon rolls from Cinna Box. First a food truck, now a physical location and coffee shop, these are some of the best dang cinnamon rolls you’ll ever have.  Use the 4.5-inch paring knife in the bottom left of the photo to understand that these are rolls the size of your HEAD.  He came home with a pecan sticky bun, cinnamon roll with Italian butter cream, salted caramel sticky roll, and cinnamon roll with Italian butter cream and cherries.  We cut them all in quarters and sampled. All delicious!


Before the big snow and hail storms, my friend Butter and I both gathered slightly obscene amounts of wild asparagus (not gonna lie: my 1 pound to her 8 was the ratio) and she gave me some of hers so that it would be eaten. To use up the last of it, I whipped up Smitten Kitchen’s spring panzanella for lunch one day using leftover hamburger buns for the croutons and it was very tasty. I reduced the olive oil to just two tablespoons for the croutons (none for the dressing) and didn’t miss it a bit. I also used frozen leeks from Trader Joe’s that I just happened to have on hand — sooooo much easier than slicing and washing a bunch of fresh leeks! Worth keeping in the freezer if you like leeks.

Also, a tip/trick: We walked to the library, and D always likes to play in their play area after we select our books, so I usually grab a couple of magazines and peruse. Keeps us both happy. But what do you do when you come across something awesome in a new magazine that you can’t check out? Rather than digging around for a quarter for the copy machine, I snap a pic with my Evernote app — it has a special setting for documents which makes them easier to read. It gets saved to the cloud and then I can read and make the recipe later from my computer or iPad. Nifty. Intrigued by these ratatouille-stuffed shells from the latest issue of Cooking Light. Maybe they’ll make an appearance on next week’s menu.

May 7, 2017
by Lacy
1 Comment

Summer White Space

I’ve been thinking a lot about clutter and white space lately (physical, mental, and time-based) and what’s really necessary in our lives.

Sometimes it feels like a fight against mainstream culture not to buy into consumerism, ultra-connectedness, keeping up with the Joneses. I remember as a teenager, working at Crate & Barrel, brides registering for their wedding would always ask me how many place settings they ought to register for, and I would try to guide them by asking thoughtful questions like, “Do you have a large family? Do you like to entertain a lot?”  But that’s not really what they wanted to hear. They wanted the Emily Post / Martha Stewart-approved answer.  Eight or twelve?

Is there a happy medium? a way to live your own way, make your own choices without rejecting the world?

I don’t really want to live off the grid, or never shop for fun, or give up TV, or delete my Facebook — but I don’t want to be ruled by those things either. I don’t want to have so much stuff that I can’t park my car in my garage, or have to buy more “storage” furniture to store stuff or have to pay to rent a storage space to keep it all. Baring unusual circumstances, I don’t think there’s really any reason for that either.

The boundary tends to be fluid for me. One week I feel like a badass minimalist, the next I feel like I’m drowning in clutter.

And maybe that’s OK.

I had a yoga teacher tell me once that in a balance pose, you can’t be still; you’re constantly moving, adjusting, falling in and out of balance. I think it’s the same thing with life. Whatever you choose to pursue, it’s rarely a thing that you achieve and then stop.

As summer approaches, I’m getting ready to embark on some serious home projects. We are switching my daughter’s room and the guest room so she has more space for a full size bed, and since we will be moving furniture anyway, we’re also going to take the opportunity to have the carpets replaced. It’s a perfect opportunity to do some serious decluttering of closets and shelves that we tend to forget about. And while I’m looking forward to it, it also feels a little overwhelming.

As all the most worthwhile projects often do, I guess.

I’m also looking forward to the different, slower rhythm of summer. While it’s nice to have the structure of the school year, the mornings are early, and I long for a little more ease and flexibility.  White space. I’m definitely ready to move into this next season, and I’m deliberately planning it for white space and ease. A few camps and activities for D to attend, a few trips, but also lots of time for play, lazy afternoons, and trips to the pool and the library.

This Week:

I had the honor and privilege of being a featured caller on The Splendid Table radio show this week, telling the story of the infamous Laughing Lemon Pie!

laughing lemon pie

You can listen to the episode here. (My bit is at about 38 minutes in.)

If you’re interested in the recipe for the pie, you can find that here. If you make it, I’d love to know!


Had a great time attending the soft opening of The Chocolate Lab in Denver, a new small-batch, artisan chocolate shop and restaurant near the Tattered Cover on Colfax.

Drunken onion (yes, ONION!) truffles with Vidalia onions and goat cheese!

Pulled pork with chocolate bourbon barbecue sauce and broccoli slaw.  YUM!

Clockwise from top: warm tomato salad with champagne white chocolate foam, crispy Brussels sprouts with cocoa nibs, mixed greens with raspberry vinaigrette and chocolate covered pecans, and roasted cauliflower in a cocoa sauce.

Champagne and cool wallpaper!

Last weekend I spent the night at the Westin Westminster — and finished the first draft of my novel!  Of course, I also had to eat. 😉

Writing snacks = VERY IMPORTANT.

Room service!  All those snacks meant I wasn’t feeling a full meal, but I did order the guacamole trio and a sangria from Kachina downstairs!

Sunday morning I celebrated with bottomless mimosas at brunch at Kachina and my favorite red chile chicken enchiladas. 

Other eats this week included an improvised pasta primavera, colorful snacky lunch, takeaway from Nobel House Pho, a POUND of broccoli (with some leftover potstickers), and my favorite New York Times chocolate chip cookies for a pizza party at D’s school.

If you’d like to follow my adventures during the week, you can follow me on Instagram @laughinglemonpie.

April 23, 2017
by Lacy
1 Comment

Fairy Garden Birthday Party

My house is kind of a wreck right now.  But we had fun wrecking it.

Yesterday we hosted a fairy garden party for my daughter’s sixth birthday. She told me she wanted a fairy party, but also wanted to invite some boys — who I didn’t think would be thrilled with lots of pink and glitter. So together, we came up with the idea of planting fairy gardens as the party’s main event.

I spent plenty of time looking at Pinterest for “woodland fairy party” ideas and came up with a combination of my own.
Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.com

We had an afternoon party, between lunch and dinner, so I just provided snacky foods.  We had “twigs” (pretzel sticks) and berries, Babybel cheeses made to look like ladybugs, ants on a log, and crudité.

Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.com Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.com Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.com Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.com

Because we invited her entire class, plus some friends from outside school (never inviting that many kids again! haha!) we had a LOT of mouths to feed, so I made two kinds of cake: a buche de noel rolled cake, and a batch of vegan chocolate cupcakes from our favorite chocolate cake recipe.

I used the genoise cake recipe from Martha Stewart, but filled it with store-bought sea salt and caramel frosting, and frosted with store-bought chocolate frosting to save time.

Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.comI’m pretty pleased with the way the cake turned out! I decorated it with chocolate shavings, Chocorooms candies, edible violets, spinach leaves, and fennel fronds.

Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.com Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.comThe log cake was the centerpiece of the table, but we also had a desserts table where I displayed the cupcakes, and some fun candies.

Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.com Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.comI decorated half of the cupcakes like amanita (red and white) mushrooms by using mini white chocolate chips for the spots. The other half I iced with green and put the flower-shaped candies on top.

You can see we also found butterfly gummies (from Williams Sonoma — an Easter special) and strawberry Chocorooms.

I had so much fun decorating both tables with florists’ moss, pinecones, acorns, seashells, glass beads, crystals, etc. A lot of what we used were things my daughter already had around to play with.

I made the “terrarium” cake stand by inverting a trifle dish! I put one of my daughter’s fairy dolls and some moss and other items on a bunched up brown cloth napkin to make the little diorama, and then put the cake platter on top.

Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.comIn the other room, we set up a craft table. Each guest got to decorate a tiny birdhouse (unfinished from Michael’s) with markers. Then they went outside to plant their garden.

Fairy Garden Party LaughingLemonPie.comI found the metal containers at the dollar store (!) and we bought six-packs of plants like pansies to let each kid have two small plants.

DSC_0148 DSC_0141Back inside, the kids added tiny birds, butterflies, seashells, glass beads (all found at the dollar store), acorns, tiny mushrooms, and other inexpensive goodies I found at various craft stores.

The gardens were a big hit with the girls and boys! Other than eating cake, the gardens were our only big activity. The rest of the time, the kids had fun running off the sugar high in our back yard.

I sent everyone home with a mini Chinese takeout-style box (also found at the dollar store) filled with the various candies of their choice and their gardens.