Happy Monday! Hope you all had a fabulous, restful weekend. (I did...and it was much-needed!)

I've been really excited to share with you all some pictures that my good friend Nate Poekert took of me last week. I am so blessed with friends, like Nate, that really believe in this project, and when he offered to take a few shots to help promote The Cookbook Diaries, I said "Absolutely!" This shoot, like the last one I did with Nate, was totally spontaneous. We texted each other that morning, and he said to come over and bring some "kitchen props." I showed up with a bag full of some clothes, a collander, a cutting board, a knife, some lemons, and a head of Romanesco (a type of spiky lime-green broccoli) that I just happened to have in my fridge.


Nate recently started working with the brand new Drift Studio, right beside the High Line in west Chelsea. The space is beyond gorgeous - all white, with tall ceilings and a wall of windows - and it has the most incredible natural light. They also have a great lounge area with a big table, a kitchen, and a very fancy espresso machine. Owner Nathan Johnson, a photographer and musician, is a total sweetheart. He opened Drift to provide a creative space for photographers and artists to rent, at prices that are dramatically less other studio spaces in the area. It's also the perfect event space - I'm already plotting and scheming about how I can host a dinner party here one day...

To be honest, I get SUPER nervous in front of a camera (and feel totally awkward) but Nate does a great job of making me laugh while having my picture taken. The whole shoot was a blast - partly because the space was so beautiful, partly because he was blaring some pretty great music, and partly because it really felt like one of those "dreams-come-true" moments. I could only laugh to myself - who am I to be in a NYC studio having my picture taken?! It all felt very surreal.


After the shoot, I didn't want to head home, so I meandered east, soaking in the late afternoon sunlight. I thought of a quote I'd read recently by painter Rebecca Rebouché, someone who's been a huge creative inspiration to me over the past few months. I first discovered this amazingly talented Louisiana artist in the pages of Anthology magazine. In an interview for their summer issue, she said something that really stuck with me: "There's no music playing when your dreams are coming true." We are so used to watching movies, where the music crescendoes when something significant happens, but in real life, there's no music playing during those moments. And, as she pointed out, dreams don't happen "in a vacuum devoid from other problems." Everything goes hand in hand, so if we're not careful we can actually miss our dreams occurring, because they might not happen in the way we pictured they would.

Her point was this: celebrate those moments. Write down your dreams, and when they happen, play your own music. Acknowledge the small victories. So as I slowly walked down Ninth Avenue, I decided to celebrate the launch of The Cookbook Diaries (and my spontaneous photo shoot) with a pumkin cupcake and a cup of coffee at Billy's Bakery. I didn't take it to go - I sat at the cute little table inside, savoring every bite and every sip. I soaked in the moment, smiling to myself. Life is good.

(Here are a few iPhone out-takes from the shoot...the picture on the left includes an amazing chalk mural that Nate created for the Drift Studio launch party!)


Tomorrow: The best roasted tomato basil soup and grilled cheese sandwiches you've ever had...promise!!

Photos by Nate Poekert.