I Adore French Films

Are you familiar with the concept 'leading through disruption?' A change maker for business, it's playing havoc on our quiet existence on Pioneers Lane.  Since my last post, we have decided to move to Northern Virginia, planned and hosted a weekend bash in Minnesota, and traveled to Switzerland. (photo above: Charlie Chaplin by the lake)

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A night with Paula McLain

Hello friends,

It's no secret that I'm an avid reader and enthusiast of the industry. Sadly, I hardly take advantage of living so close to NYC and all of the social events available to me. So....

A few months ago, while watching a movie with my iPad in my lap (catching up on all things social media), I read a post from a friend mentioning that Paula McLain was coming to NYC.  She was publishing a new novel, and I had not been in the city in a few months, so I bought a ticket that night.

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Crafting a Patterned Home: a book review

Hello Friends!

Art and design are my first true loves.  I was practically raised in museums, going to art auctions, and spending hours upon hours in a local design studio that sold fine furniture.  Gabberts was my home away from home, at age ten.  Take a walk through my home and you will find an eclectic mix of high end, local, handmade, and DIY with a sprinkle of IKEA/Target accessories.

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Turkish Delight on a Moonlit Night

We traveled to Nepal via Istanbul in October, our first time back since 2013. Oh, how this place has changed.

The photo above is the location of one of our top five travel stories, which happened on Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Street). An unplanned moment that most can't believe we experienced.  

I will never forget Bill telling me that he couldn't wait for me to experience Istanbul. The contrasts of Istanbul are disruptive but strikingly intriguing. Palaces and mosques in random neighborhoods, stray cats wander the alleys of the most beautiful sights, and the voices of the morning prayers chant through empty pathways trimmed with the trash of the food merchant's shops of a busy yesterday.

Welcome to the Orient!

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And the winner is...

Crisp evenings turn to snowy days, inspiring warm, homemade meals. That's what I think of when I hear the word Chili. 

I remember the day I was introduced to Chili like it was yesterday.  I was a senior in high school - at a friends house.  The father was making a batch on the stove, filled with hamburger I had to wait another decade before trying this dish for the first time.

Much like the avocado, which I didn't try until 2006, I have been enjoying Chili on occasion ever since. 

I am a consumer of other creatives originals.  From knitting patterns to recipes.  Sometime over the last few months I stumbled on  Under a Tin Roof when they were moving from one place to another, and happened to be giving a live property tour on Instagram.  I adore everything about this mother/daughter duo.  The honesty and openness of sharing their daily life: learning new land, creating a CSA, decorating a home, crafting and creating meals from produce they grew, harvested and stored.

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Mari Partyka Comment
The perfect dessert for a winter dinner

Last fall I told our son that while old fashion, I wanted a Bundt Pan.  I had been listening to an interview about Nordicware, the company, and thought it might be a nice addition for last minute dinner parties. I'm thrilled to tell you that he gave me one for Christmas. 

Growing up in Minnesota, I'm familiar with the company but have had no need for a Bundt Pan, just one of the many products they make. What I didn't know was that the Bundt pan was invented by David Dalquist in 1950, the co-founder of Nordicware. While not important to juggling professional commitments with midweek entertaining... it's a fun fact worth sharing. 

In the baking community, Bundt's are having a moment.  It's likely a second, or third round of popularity and I'm happy to join the fun!  Over ten days in January we hosted three dinner parties, creating the perfect opportunity to try making a Bundt.  

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Home, FoodMari PartykaComment
I read SO many wonderful books in 2017

It's a snowy day here in northern New Jersey. My calendar is full of meetings, or I would be curled up on the sofa with a book, or maybe watching a movie with a roaring fire in the fireplace.  Instead I made this Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili over lunch and will take a snowy walk before the sun sets.

I am late sharing my list of favorite books read last year, a list that is too good not share with you.   I'm thrilled to have read so many wonderful books: from historical fiction to time travel, page-turning modern fiction to books set in cemeteries.

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The Hygge Life, a book review

Hello lovely friends,

My family put away our Christmas decorations yesterday, on St Knut's Day.  A day we have been celebrating for about five years.

Our tradition was to keep the tree up until the weekend after New Years Day until a Swedish runner and her family moved in next door.  She introduced me to modern Swedish traditions celebrated in her childhood home. This aspect of our friendship has shaken up the old world traditions that my family observed.  A welcome shake.

Nordic is a region but the people believe in a blend of Viking customs and Christianity. For Swede's, Lagom the daily practice. For the Dane's, Hygge.  Hygge is having its moment!  When asked to review THE HYGGE LIFE, and flipping through the pages, I knew I wanted to read it.  My lifelong passion for design and the recent discovery of cooking made this a great choice.

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Adventuring on a whim

When was the last time you did something spontaneous? 

One of my favorite travel memories began on a leap of faith. We had driven through Chaminox (France) several times over the years but had yet to plan a winter weekend there. With parasailing at the top of our list, we tend to call ahead, and the wind isn't cooperating, so we make alternative plans. 

On this three week stay, we were in the area and decided to plan a weekend getaway.  It was early December, so I started researching outdoor ideas. That's how I stumbled on a travel company specializing in outdoor adventures near Chamonix, Happy Tracks.

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Happy Merry Meraki

Hello lovely friends,

Happy New Year.  It's a day that is celebrated around the globe, with cheers to new beginnings, prosperity and good health.  I hope you look back on 2017 with fondness, and are ready for a joyous 2018. 

Do you set new year resolutions, or intentions? Or maybe take inventory of your current self and focus on exploration/personal growth?  When I was fourteen I gave up chocolate for a year, except for green M&M's (I can't explain why, let's just go with it).  In July I was gifted a coffee mug full of green M&M's on my birthday... I was told it took pounds of chocolate to fill the mug. Can you believe I managed to eat only one coffee mug of green M&M's for an entire year?

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Mari Partyka Comments
2018 in one word (plus a giveaway)

Hello lovely friends,

2018 is going to be a good year... so good that I have several giveaways planned in January! 

But first, can you believe 2017 is coming to a close?

It was a memorable year. Possibly a great year.  Last January I reconnected with my childhood pen-pal.  A second or third cousin who lives in Sweden.  I had been looking for her for over decade, and we met in person last March.  In July, I stepped into a new decade, and... in October I stood on Mount Everest. 

If I described the year in one word... I might say it was a year of ABUNDANCE.

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Mari Partyka Comment
A glimpse of our experience on the trail

Hello all,

We have been home from our trip to Nepal for a month; this hardly seems possible.  Getting to Everest Base Camp was the last physical challenge/adventure on my bucket list.  Added in the late 90's, you can imagine what it feels like to cross this off my list.  The experience has exceeded all expectations.

I was in awe every minute of every day. From simply standing in the Himalaya's, to drinking in nature's beauty, the local life, and feeling the Buddhist faith.

It's surreal to think I have been to Base Camp.  A month later its still all we talk about (at home).

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The dessert everyone asks for when visiting Pioneers Lane

Hello friends,

Do you remember life before Pinterest? When you had to be invited to join? It was like entering a secret society. I was SO excited when my invitation arrived. Today it's my go-to place for recipes, design ideas, and travel inspiration.

About a year after moving to Pioneers Lane I became friends with someone who inspired me to try baking from scratch. She suggested starting with a crumble, 'they are easy enough.' It was the push I needed to leap into making vs. buying from the local baker. 

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FoodMari PartykaComment
A day I will never forget

I have so many stories to share from our time in Nepal, both on and off the mountain. Meeting Sanjay and getting to visit his home is a story I have to share with you. 

After spending a long weekend in Istanbul, we had two days to explore Kathmandu before flying to Lukla and hiking up to Base Camp.  We checked into our hotel and started walking to Thamel to find a trail map of Everest, and explore the city. 

Thamel is a tourist neighborhood in Kathmandu, with narrow streets and alleys crowded with shops and people.  Described online as a ghetto and most mountaineers first stop. In my words, it felt like I was in the movie 'Mad Max'! Not just the dust, pollution, and garbage lined streets with buildings forgotten over the years.  It's a neighborhood holding on by a thread yet thriving.  People flock to Thamel, for shopping, lodging, and food.  

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Everest Base Camp: We did it!

Hello Friends,

We crossed off one of my last BIG dream adventures last month, hiking on Everest.

I have been daydreaming of Everest for twenty years.  My friend, Eleanor, inspired me to summit Kilimanjaro a few years ago and Everest seemed like a natural next adventure.  A trek to Base Camp was the thrill of the lifetime.

Every day I found myself thinking "I can't believe I'm here."  I often stopped on the trail to take in the view, the beauty of the ecosystem, so SO thankful for the experience.  

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Finding inspiration in a digital world

I'm surprised to tell you that most of my magazine and book reading happens on my iPad or iPhone.  Long gone are the days when I was excited to find a copy of a favorite magazine in my mailbox.  I have fond memories of devouring every page of a new magazine while curled up on the sofa, or in my reading chair.

These days, I follow favorites publications on social media and receive updates in my inbox - this lets me slowly roll into the day, or taking a few minutes at the end of any day...  saving a recipe or finding myself inspired by a travel story. I'm always adding to my Pinterest board.

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18 day countdown: I'm looking for book recommendations

We leave in less than twenty days! I'm busy getting the house ready for guests, preparing food, gathering our trek gear, writing a list of last minute items we need to procure, and most importantly.. finding a few books to bring with me. 

Searching for a great book

I climbed Kilimanjaro with a copy of The Odyssey in my pack.  I didn't even open the book but... I did listen to Rob Lowe's autobiography and a few other books while spending hours on the dirt, back roads of Tanzania (reading wasn't an option). 

For this trek, I am planning to load my iPhone 7 with books, a mix of audio and written.  Have you read any great/must reads worth recommending? 

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EBC Series: Packing and the Weather

Can you believe we begin our travels to Nepal in five weeks? Thirty something days.  Soon this will be a collection of memories in which to reflect. Photos, videos clips, and stories.  

Last weekend we walked the aisles of REI, trying on hiking pants big enough for layers under while not too big that they fall off on warmer days. I have spent time researching/reading online sources to help us finalize the packing list.  

It doesn't matter if you are packing for a beach vacation or a rugged trek,weather is always a wildcard.

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