Outside the studio: Fiction, lemons and paint chip bookmarks

Lately I have been experiencing the urge to paint, read and eat lemon-flavored foods. Then the outdoors will beckon me with its bright colors and glorious warmth. My mind feels like a constant whirlwind of wanting to do so much at once. I don’t want to miss out on any one thing!

What has been consistent is finding time to wind down with a fiction book at the end of each day. Like I said in one of my prior posts, I was all about non-fiction during the winter, but sensed my tastes changing with the seasons. They certainly have. Fiction is my best friend this Spring!

My food preferences have begun to change too. I’m ready to switch over to salads and eat them like a champ. My husband and I lightened up our wintertime food for the sake of health, but we still ate a little more dairy and carbs than preferred. It’s hard to resist cheese and noodles on a bitterly cold day! For the Spring we’ve decided to make salads a few times a week and see how that works for us. We aren’t big meat/dairy eaters so our meals are naturally less heavy. We’ll see how many salads we can create each week without becoming bored.

On the days when we need a change, however, the prepared foods at Trader Joe’s are wonderful and our favorite right now is their Ricotta and Lemon Zest ravioli. I was thrilled to see it back in stock! I truly waited all winter. We boil the pasta then lightly coat it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pair it with a light salad and dinner is served!

Side note: Trader Joe’s had a Meyer Lemon bread mix that we tried a few weeks ago and loved! We added it to the grocery list to make the next week, but it had been sold out for the season. Sigh. I had to let one lemon-flavored item out of my life in order to let another in.

Another big part of my spare time has been spent outdoors. A few days ago my husband and I went on a hike with the purpose of photographing Spring in all its glory. We started early to get the best lighting and it didn’t disappoint! I’ll post about that mid-week since it would create for a very long post here. For this post, I’ve included my current/just finished books, interesting food notes and something I’m loving. Enjoy!


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel – Status: In process. I just cracked this open a few days ago and my paint chip bookmark is resting on page 13. Admittedly I’m not that far along and am already hooked. I’m counting down the hours until I can get back to this soon-to-be apocalyptic world.

Since I wanted to be surprised with plot development, I didn’t read the book’s summary beforehand. What I know is what I remember from hearing brief book discussions on a few podcasts. And I don’t remember much. Oddly enough, after hearing about the book on podcasts, it popped up on a ‘Must Read’ shelf at my library. I took it as a sign that I must read it! It also felt a little like the ads that chase you around the internet, but in real life. Cue the twilight zone music…
Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey
Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey – Status: In process. I began this book two weeks ago and am still chipping away at it. I should have picked this up during the winter. It seems my reading personality prefers period novels during snowy seasons. Go figure! It is an easy read, humorous with a bit of fun mystery.
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella – Status: Finished. This is as lighthearted a book as you’ll see me read. Sometimes I need a book that is silly, has a cheerful ending and makes me believe that the world can be sunshine and daisies. (If you’re a personality quiz person, I’m sure you can guess what number I am on the Enneagram and MBTI by this comment alone.) This book arrived when I needed it; just in time for a long weekend devoted to relaxation. It also arrived as a large print edition. I wondered why there was a wait for the other listing on the library’s website. It made for easy reading in low light – bonus!

Also, 9 and INFJ if you tried to guess my personality type.



Canneles De Bordeau from Trader Joe's
Canneles de Bordeaux at Trader Joe’s – We enjoyed these for breakfast during our long weekend and they were the perfect treat! They weren’t too sweet and had the texture of a very custardy bread pudding. My husband and I are big fans of creme brulee and bread pudding, which made these a winner in our book. They were perfect with a hot mug of fresh coffee. I believe they were between $3-4 for the four little desserts.
Lemons in a bowl by Cortney North Fine Art
Lemons – One of my favorite flavors is citrus, if you hadn’t guessed from my comments above. My favorite dessert is Key Lime Pie, but if you replaced the limes with lemons, I’d still be a happy camper. This particular batch was quite juicy and made a delicious batch of lemonade. In fact, we loved the fresh-squeezed taste so much that I picked up another bundle of lemons.

Lemons create a double reward – while you’re waiting to use them, they are a stunning home design feature.


Color Love

Color Palette Collection and bookmarks
Paint chips as bookmarks – True confession: These paint chips are one of my weaknesses. Every time I walk by the well-lighted displays I am met with temptation. I can not resist! I don’t think the Sherwin-Williams paint chip-clad ads helped my condition either. Either way, I’ve been a collector for some time. My favorite way to use these is as bookmarks. I switch up my chips depending on my mood. During winter I stick to the bright greens. During summer I tend towards the blues, teals and grays. I’m reading great books and looking at great colors; it’s a win-win!