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Packing and swim suits

Monday, June 30, 2014

Phase one on my packing is complete! I have sorted through all of the possibilities when it comes to my clothes and the kids clothes. Phase two comes tomorrow when I weed it all down to a reasonable amount. This I have learned since becoming a traveller...we all need MUCH less than we think we do!

The first big trip I took to France I took all that was possibly allowed by the airline...packed to the gills for a trip of 12 days I think. We traveled to three locations and it was CRAZY dragging all of that luggage around. The next year we figured out how to go much lighter but I was still packing for every possible scenario and packing anything I thought I might need. That is still a little is not like we were going to places where there was no civilisation. There is always the possibility to buy things that come up as you need them on it is kind of fun! The next year we were were traveling to two climates (Switzerland and Italy) and by planning down to the very last detail we were able to fit all of our things into TWO suitcases for the 4 of us and plus a back pack each. Before leaving Switzerland we mailed our cool weather things back to Norway and lightened our load even further.

This year again, we are going with two small suitcases for all 4 of us and a carry on each. Not as much planning is needed since we only need warm weather clothes but we are restricted by Ryan Air's limits for luggage. I am kind of like a pro at this these days but we will see how it all shakes out when it comes to the final day of packing!

Now...swim suits. Not my favourite thing to do but I did it. If you know me, you have heard me complained of this gut I have. This is my problem with swim suits. We there is that thing about one of my boobs being smaller than the other one. I blame Liam. When he was a baby he had a favourite and he some how sucked the life out of it! So rude.

So anyway...I am going to just not care about it all. How about that? Last time I didn't bring bikinis but this year I am. I know that here in Norway people don't worry about such things and I have seen other women in other countries so much more comfortable with their bodies so I am just not going to worry about a gut and a double of boobs that don't match. I will not let my body define me! I have worked too long all year and gone through too much to let myself be held back on my one big splurge all year. I know I can be in better shape that is for sure but this year will all that we had going on I was never able to pull it off. What's done is need to lament it. When I get back I can revamp my exercise routine and I will.

Ok...I gotta go now and get down to doing some work before I lose the day. I hope all of you are having a sunny summer. Perhaps we can all head into this wonderful season without letting our feelings about our bodies define us. Deal?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REMEMBER2BME 7/7/2014 9:22AM

    Great job with the packing. It is a talent :)
Great attitude on the swim suit. By the way, I think we are all uneven. But who cares? I agree.

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    Deal!! Enjoy yourself!!

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PMRUNNER 7/1/2014 6:28AM


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KELPIE57 7/1/2014 4:37AM


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LADYIRISH317 6/30/2014 9:58PM

    I want to go along!

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KAYOTIC 6/30/2014 9:38PM

    Wear that bikini with pride my friend! You deserve it! emoticon

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FITMARY 6/30/2014 6:00PM

    EVERY body is beautiful! You are so right to enjoy yours!

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CHEFSOPHIE 6/30/2014 12:39PM


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LISALGB 6/30/2014 10:31AM

    I always pack much more than any of us ever need - or use!! We are going to the beach in a couple of weeks so I have to try to do better!
I wish USA would take a lesson from Europe and not be as obsessed with our looks.
I love your attitude!! I hope you all have a fabulous holiday!! Don't forget to take lots of pictures!!

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JENNIK2 6/30/2014 8:48AM

    Great attitude!

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WINE4GIRL 6/30/2014 7:50AM

    What an amazing attitude!~ You go girl! Smart move on the packing. For our trip, I hadn't packed much till hubs said "is that ALL you are taking?". Then I felt bad and added stuff I didn't end up needing! I need to read back to find out more about your trip, etc. I'm drowning in squash here....

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PICKIE98 6/30/2014 5:31AM

    Why should you care what total strangers think? You are never going to see them again, you paid for this trip and God gave you this body. HE makes no mistakes. Go for it, enjoy getting your Vitamin D!

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Whoo Hoo! Tax money!

Friday, June 27, 2014

I was on edge the past few weeks that my tax money would not come before vacation but today mine came! Patrick's came yesterday. Whoo HOO! Norway is extremely helpful to the worker when it comes to vacation. Tax money is generally earmarked for June, the month that people begin to take vacation. There is a chance it won't come until the fall but that is rare.

The other thing Norway does is that money gets taken out of your check each month tax free and then given back to you in June for you to use on vacation. The money equals over a month of pay. So between that and your tax money (if you are getting back) you have vacation money enough for a reasonable vacation. We also set money aside each year just incase, but this past year was kind of tight. I have been saving my freelance money incase we needed it for vacation but was hoping not to have to use it and now I can keep it in savings! Yay! We even have enough to do a little clothes shopping in Malta. It is wise to shop in practically any other country in the world when you are outside of Norway since it is so expensive here.

In other news, I have been notified that I will be hired to write another article for the interior design people that I wrote that article about yellow for. Shocking really. I kind of thought I was out of my league there since they edited my article so heavily. I thought they did not like my writing. I guess I don't fully understand this whole business so I am just going to go with it and be happy about it. It was super fun to write.

I got down my box of vacation clothes today and will go through them tomorrow. Things fit. I think. Somewhere in the past few days I got a look at myself in my underwear and things are not so bad as I thought they were. I don't have a full length mirror in my house so I would have to stand on my sink to get a good look at my rump or midsection. Makes me wonder where exactly I was that I got a good look at myself in my underwear. I hope it was someplace appropriate.

Have a terrific day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    That's awesome!!! I love it when things fall into place!! You deserve it, enjoy!!!

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ARCHIMEDESII 6/29/2014 3:40PM

    WOO HOO ! for your tax money arriving on time.

Gee, can we get the Norwegian government to talk to our congress ? They need to be told that workers are MORE productive with a regular vacation.

Comment edited on: 6/29/2014 3:41:15 PM

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LADYIRISH317 6/27/2014 11:57PM

    Well, you COULD always ask Patrick..

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MRSBENNETT2 6/27/2014 9:47PM the fact you get vacation $$ taken out tax free! There really is something to the rumour that Scandanavian countries are good to their people. :)

I still do some shopping when I'm home in the States but things are beginning to catch up pricewise between here and there. Except for Levis and most shoes.

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KAYOTIC 6/27/2014 9:41PM

    Have a great vacation!

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JANISMKW 6/27/2014 8:44PM

    emoticon Congratulations Ronna of Finland (or is it Donna of Mission Viejo?) on the tax money and more work from DecorView!

I really like your writing style and you always have such interesting facts. I guess if Donna wants to put her face and bio above the article, she has to "add value" by changing it somehow.

Seriously, congrats on your enormous success! Also, Patrick's photos are gorgeous.

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CHEFSOPHIE 6/27/2014 7:02PM

    That is great news. I have always wanted to visit Malta. I enjoyed reading the yellow article. Good luck on the next one.

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TERRYT55 6/27/2014 1:53PM

    Hi Ronna, Nice to read this happy blog, Hope you have a terrific vacation.

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REMEMBER2BME 6/27/2014 1:35PM

    emoticon on the tax money. That is too cool that it came and that they take out money for vacations. emoticon on the additional work. Of course they loved your article. It is so very much easier to tweak/edit something and start from scratch. YOU ROCK.
emoticon on the vacation clothes and rockin' bod too.

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WINFIELD28 6/27/2014 11:17AM

    Don't you love it when things work out - like getting your tax money back in time for vacation.
You have a terrific day too!

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RASPBERRY56 6/27/2014 7:00AM

    Vacation - siiiiiiigh - I may NEVER see that again in my "natural lifetime".........don't ask......


(vent mode off now).......

I hope you have a wonderful time! And that's great about your writing.........I've always enjoyed writing but don't really have to nerve to make a true go of it for anything other than hobbies - I wish you the best with any future endeavors!

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GHOSTFLAMES 6/27/2014 5:28AM

    emoticon emoticon

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Yellow article and vacation plans

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I was surprised to see my yellow article published so fast...and I was surprised to see that I was a woman named Donna from Orange county. But I suppose it is better that I be that then a pastry chef from Norway giving decorating advice! In reality a woman named Donna from Orange county probably did edit up my article as it is not so much what I wrote exactly but I am still pretty happy about it. Here is a link:

I am winding down a bit on the work side of things trying not to put as much pressure on myself to get so much done in a day since the kids are on summer break. I have one more big deadline before I go and then just my normal recipe work. I am writing about dessert garnish and have to be done by Monday.

I realised that I never mentioned where we are going on vacation in my last blog. We will be going to Malta! Whoo Hoo! I am pretty dang excited about it since last summer was such a dreary downer. Malta is one of the most exotic places in Europe that I can think of. English and Maltese are the languages there. Maltese is based on Arabic and I find the names of things so very interesting there. Lots of X's and Q's...and Q's don't have U following them. I have no idea how to pronounce anything! Malta combines sun, beaches, good food and history...all which I love. Malta has prehistory even, which I REALLY love. Apparently, (in the words of Kipling)"when the world was so new and all", there used to be a way to walk from Africa to Malta so (in the words of Eloise) "you can just imagine." Malta has the oldest standing structure made by man on the face of the earth. Possibly there is one in Turkey older but there is debate about that. There are "cart ruts" on Malta that lead right into the sea. I just love all of that stuff and thinking about what it all means. I think I will love to be someplace where I can stand where our ancestors stood so very long ago. Patrick got me an IPad so perhaps I can blog from there. I got an assignment to write about Maltese pastries so I will have to be doing some...ahem...research for sure!

We have had a bit of excitement around our house thinking about Malta as well as our jobs and our future which I will save for another day. Exercise...still not so much. Weight...still the same. Sleep...I am finally getting some. (Had insomnia there for over a month.) Eating right...that I am pulling off. Spending time with my little family...going very well.

Things are good. :-)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I'm so glad that things are going well for you!! Enjoy your vacation!!!

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LISALGB 6/30/2014 10:51AM

    Sigh . . . Malta . . .sigh!!! It sounds so lovely and exotic and wonderful!! I hope you have a fabulous time with your sweet family!! You deserve it!!

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ARCHIMEDESII 6/29/2014 3:46PM

    How exciting a trip to Malta !! I hear it's a wonderful vacation spot. Looking forward to reading any blogs.

And.... CONGRATULATIONS on your new career !! You'll make a wonderful food writer and commentator. Just look at what Rick Bayless did for Mexican cuisine. I love reading food blogs. So, this just seems a natural progression from one passion to another.

That's fantastic. I'm thrilled for you !! I've already read your spice article.


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REMEMBER2BME 6/27/2014 1:24PM

    Love the yellow article and love how well you are doing. Eating healthy is a HUGE win. It can be so hard to do when you are busy and lacking sleep. I often eat for energy (and not always the right stuff).
emoticon on the vacation plans. Yes, I agree, you have no choice but to do research! Take pictures.

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MRSBENNETT2 6/27/2014 4:40AM

    Your vacation sounds excellent and exciting! There are quite a few Maltese people here in our area. I don't know much about the culture but it sounds interesting!

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JANISMKW 6/26/2014 10:41PM

    Malta sounds fascinating, and nice and sunny! Please post pix.

New iPad... Sweeeet! emoticon

My DH and I went Ireland and focused a lot on all the prehistoric stuff... stone circles, hoards of gold, beehive huts, etc.

emoticon Bon voyage.

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LADYIRISH317 6/26/2014 10:04PM

    Glad to hear things are going so well for you! Malta -- better post tons of pictures.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 6/26/2014 10:59AM

    Sounds very exciting! How does your article get coopted?

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WINFIELD28 6/26/2014 10:03AM

    Enjoy your vacation to Malta!

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REXTINE1 6/26/2014 10:02AM

    Nice Blog. Hope you enjoy Malta. emoticon

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RAPUNZEL53 6/26/2014 5:34AM


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Working on balance

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hi. I've been gone awhile huh? It is true. I have been just "all up in it" for the past several months since I started my little freelance business. It is like being "new" at something all over again. I have had a really hard time balancing my tim, partly because every hour in my day equals money...if I let it.

Things have been good fortunately. Despite being new at writing for a living I am not at all new to the topic of food or writing recipes so there is some balance there. Once I figure out what a client needs from me I can generally do it but there still is a learning curve there. I have been surprised at how many people have need for a chef who can write a bit. This is good...except for awhile I was overwhelmed by how much work I was getting. This lead me to "disappear" for awhile. This caused my balance to get all out of whack. No more "me" time, no more Spark time, family was coming second and work first. I could see it happening but I need to be succeeding so I had to dig in for a few months and let other things go.

The good news is that in just a few months I have learned that I can pick and choose my jobs and that I don't need to take ones that don't feel right, partly because I have gotten a few good paying hourly jobs that keep my income going. I am going to keep on being picky now and guard my family time more closely.

I have not been exercising AT ALL. I have a new found appreciation for people who work at a desk and how hard it can be to find the time to get up and move a bit! I have been eating right though and this has helped me to maintain...not lose but to at least not gain.

We go away on vacation (happily my new income has helped make that possible) in two weeks and I had originally thought I would work while I was away but have now realised that I just want to be with my family. I have been winding up my projects and let my ongoing clients know that I will be unavailable. Except one...I was surprised to be contacted for a job writing about interior decorating of all things! I tried out this past week and if they want me to I will write some while I am away for them because it is soooo different than writing about food and I would love to keep this account. The hiring manager read some of my articles and liked my style and gave me a chance. I wrote about "yellow" of all things!

So, my goal is to Spark again and to focus on my family, myself AND my work. I intend to get myself in shape again. Working from home is not all that it is cracked up to be for me right now but I can see ...if I really focus on balance and making it more ideal for me...I think I can get there.

Here are a few links to some articles I have written:

About spices:

About desserts:

About a specialty drink menu:

I have written two articles for this magazine...this is the second and that is my drawing on the cover!

I posted this before but it is one of my recipe jobs:

When my article on "Yellow" gets posted I will give a link to that.

I know this is kind of a blah blah blah post but thanks for letting me get my thought out. I hope to catch up with my Spark friends soon!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISALGB 6/30/2014 10:44AM

    Your articles are wonderful!! I am so happy that you have found this - it suits you to a "T"
I have missed you!! Of course, I haven't been around here as much lately as I would like but I hope that will all change!!
Take care my lovely friend!!

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REMEMBER2BME 6/27/2014 1:16PM

    This is NOT at all a blah blah blah post.
emoticon YOU ARE AMAZING!! emoticon
I read some of the spice article. It is amazing. You are creative and funny and feel like a friend. You are a natural. Killer drawing on the magazine. Have I mentioned that you are amazing!

You can reach the balance. I think you did what you needed to do to get this started and ... IT WORKED! So glad you have established some great clients and have a vacation coming.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Hi Ronna! I'm so happy that your writing jobs are going well and that you are getting more work. Have a great vacation and enjoy your wonderful family!!

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KAYOTIC 6/23/2014 10:05PM

    Hey, that's great that you have found all that work, and are making it work too!

I wonder if when you go on vacation, you can set yourself some kind of limit for the work then, so you don't miss out on that family really is important, and it's so easy to get lost in work, and find hours have disappeared!

Thanks for sharing your stuff!

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NEWLEAF16 6/22/2014 11:51PM

    I can't TELL you how excited I am that your freelance writing business is doing so well!!! I am thrilled and super excited because I love your writing so much I want to read every single thing you write, not only the Spark blogs. Even though I enjoy those so much I just want to read more. Hoping you post links to your pieces when available. So happy for your successes!!!!! emoticon

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JANISMKW 6/22/2014 7:46PM

    Congratulations on all your success! Thanks for taking time to reconnect with us.

Yeah, the downside of freelancing can be that you are at the mercy of your clients and if you say "no" there is the chance they will go elsewhere and not come back. But it sounds like you have quickly ramped up and are getting a handle on choosing the "plum" assignments and letting go of some others. Enjoy your vacation and thanks for the pictures you posted too.
emoticon emoticon

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IONA72 6/22/2014 3:37PM

    Good to hear from you again. Sounds like you have found your niche, hope all goes well. I have been rather lax at posting here lately. I'm just starting another 100 Day Challenge. Summer starts here....bring it on!!! emoticon

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REXTINE1 6/22/2014 11:52AM

    I'm glad your new career is progressing so well. Congratulations, and I hope that you manage to keep everything balanced to suit yourself. Good show.

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FITMARY 6/22/2014 10:59AM

    I think I'm telepathic. I just yesterday went on whitezebra to look at some of your recipes and make sure you were okay! Some tasty stuff there BTW! So, it's great to hear that you are doing well and getting ready for a wonderful 2-week vacation. Enjoy it thoroughly!!
All the best!

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WINE4GIRL 6/22/2014 10:20AM

    I think it's awesome! You are making money doing what you love and have realized that balance is key! Enjoy your vacation... we'll be here ready to read about your adventures when you get back. In the mean time, I'll going to check out your stuff!

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WINFIELD28 6/22/2014 10:00AM

    Sorry I posted under your previous blog. Wanted to comment on your newest one. Love the writing you are doing. Great job!!!

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WINFIELD28 6/22/2014 10:00AM

    Sorry I posted under your previous blog. Wanted to comment on your newest one. Love the writing you are doing. Great job!!!

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LADYIRISH317 6/22/2014 9:56AM

    Hey, we love your "blah blah blah!"

I have missed you so much! It's great to hear that your business is going so well, and I love your articles! Beautifully written and informative.

Please give Patrick and the kids big hugs for me, and give yourself one as well.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I have been "interviewing" via email for another recipe development job and they inquired as to whether any of my previous work has been published so they could see it. At first I was worried because as far as I knew the site I have been working on was not live yet but THEN I went to check and HEY!!!! There it was! Yippeee!

Here is the link:

The main page has our picture my recipe for "Date Truffles" and if you click under the "Food" section you will see more of my recipes. At the bottom of each is my bio. The truffle picture, the sushi smoked salmon salad pictures and the blueberry yogurt granita pictures are all done by Patrick. They have more recipes by me that they have not posted yet. I suppose they will add them slowly.

I just love the look of the site!

I gotta go shop now for fresh fruits and is "photo shoot day" at our house!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WINFIELD28 6/22/2014 9:58AM

    I read some of your articles. How wonderful! You are an excellent writer. This is a great fit for you!

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JEWELZEE- 5/14/2014 6:45AM

    Stumbled upon your blog and really enjoyed checking out your recipes on the site. You have another fan! Check out my passion when you have time:

ie Parks
Restaurant Industry Team Leader

Comment edited on: 5/14/2014 6:47:33 AM

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REXTINE1 5/8/2014 11:24AM

    Those are great pictures and great recipes. I hope they impress the potential boss.

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MRSBENNETT2 4/23/2014 2:26AM

    Looks FABULOUS!!!! Yay!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 4/18/2014 10:26AM

    Fantastic, Ronna! emoticon

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LADYIRISH317 4/17/2014 9:59PM


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CATLADY52 4/17/2014 2:31PM

    emoticon Great site!

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KAYOTIC 4/16/2014 9:57PM

    Nice site! I love date balls, but you just mush the m with your hands? I put them in the food processor (but put cocoa powder in there too, since I'm a chocolate nut!) do you have to chop up the dates to get this to work?

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JANISMKW 4/16/2014 9:54PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Great looking recipes!!! I'll have to actually cook them!
Very nice bio and photo of you.
As I was looking at it (clicked the link and visited the site before continuing reading the blog) I was wondering if you and Patrick had shot the photos... they are GORGEOUS!

Kudos and I wish you continued success! How exciting!

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REMEMBER2BME 4/16/2014 8:49PM

    emoticon you rock!

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    That's awesome! Great pictures and recipes! Wonderful bio too emoticon

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CHEFSOPHIE 4/16/2014 12:17PM

    I love the website. The pictures are great. Congrats on turning a wish into reality.

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LISALGB 4/16/2014 7:16AM

    I just saw the website - FANTASTIC!! Congratulations!! The bio is awesome and your picture is gorgeous!!
I am sending you a big, virtual hug!! You go, girlfriend!!


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WINE4GIRL 4/16/2014 6:57AM

    I love it when someone else "pays" for my food! Congrats on another gig!

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FITMARY 4/16/2014 5:35AM

    Congratulations! Can't wait to check it out!

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ARNETTELEE 4/16/2014 4:34AM

  That's great!

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