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I collect odd moments. I’ve mentioned it before. I call them “moments that stare back”. They’re the definition of forever. If I’m the universe staring back at itself, then those moments are the ad infinitum. The universe become, I regard myself and the universe (myself, ourselves, you see) looks right back, actively. The reflection of the reflection is alive. These moments are more I than I am. I could probably find a Laconian rabbit hole to fall down at this point. Which is to say I may be able to turn myself into an object to stare at, but at some point object-I starts staring back and I realize I am the reflection, not it.

My esoterica aside (forgive it), suffice to say these moments, they are wordless. They’ve involved laying naked across a bed and making prolonged eye contact with a cat; the reflection of bath water rippling on the ceiling in a hotel room while Lullaby & Doina played; and blood sauce, freshly poured, spreading on a plate of duck hearts. In those moments all that mundane consciousness assumes is inanimate reveals itself to be quite animate and the dead walls (not dead at all) bristle, and I realize I’m surrounded by being and that time doesn’t exist and that I can never leave that moment and that I was never really there and that the story is never over. The horizon never comes. We are forever becoming.

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winter citrus meringue tarts

winter citrus meringue tarts

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winter citrus meringue tarts

I went to the market in Venice yesterday, gathered winter citrus & fresh eggs—the sun, the eye, some strange warmth in the dead of winter—and walked back to my friend Skye’s family home through the narrow streets and over marbled bridges that arch canals the color of eyes that waver so undecided between green & blue. I felt light of step and grateful and safe and all manner of things one would hope to feel from time to time. I laid the citrus out when I returned, and they, the mandarins and oranges and lemons so spread upon the marble kitchen island with the spectres of branches still clinging to their stems, struck me as summer trying to communicate from the grave. Like Persephone sighing somewhere down below. Summer, I thought, haunts winter. And I felt warm.

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Fluffy, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits From Scratch

Fluffy, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits From Scratch

Fluffy, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits From Scratch

Fluffy, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits From Scratch

Fluffy, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits From Scratch

First and foremost, happy New Year! This is my favorite recipe. It’s the one I make the most, the one I could make in my sleep, if I had a predisposition toward somnambulant baking. It’s an art. A thing the body knows. But it isn’t hard. And it doesn’t take long. And with these biscuits you can break hearts and best foes and bend the fabric of space time to allow yourself to live all the parallel lives you feel you’re missing out on. I may be overstating their abilities. But I might not. You’ll probably just need to make them and mull over their potentiality with a cup of tea or coffee.

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winter worn | local milk

winter worn | local milk

winter worn | local milk

Last night I imagined myself a spirit floating through the Douglas fir trees on a darkened mountain road. Spectres can’t bleed, but I imagined the branches scratching my face. I imagined the lines such scratches would make. Thin and red, slightly raised and rough to the touch. It seemed pretty to me, that image. I imagined the trees gently, gently scraping my cheeks as I drove through them in the very dark of a narrow road, the crescent moon & my head lights the only luminescence. A deer hemmed and hawed on the embankment. I slowed. She walked past, another ghost. I was heavy, tired. Bored by the thought of absolutely everything. The thought of hearing myself talk suffocated me. The thought of listening to anyone else talk, the same. I thought about Truman Capote. Felt extraneous. Thought again about the woods. Thought about life before social media with acute pain. I missed it deeply, that time before. My mind jumped. I remembered a new years in the woods in 2003 when phones made phone calls and we still took photos with those cheap disposable cameras from the Eckerd’s .

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gingerbread sorghum cake + cream cheese mascarpone frosting

diy muslin gift wrapping

diy woven eucalyptus & grapevine wreaths

gift wrapping

diy woven eucalyptus & grapevine wreaths

christmas gathering: setting the table

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I’ve been busy this holiday season! Crafting, wrapping, gathering, and baking—I was determined to not let the epidemic of busyness keep me from having a proper holiday complete with a Christmas dinner featuring a gorgeous local leg of lamb from my butcher, Main Street Meats, here in Chattanooga. The lamb also starred in an interesting and surprisingly controversial photo shoot I did with friend & brilliant portrait photographer Chris Daniels…but that’s a story for another day! I’ve been calling it #lambgate2014. Anyhow, the truth is it would have been easy to not make the effort. Easy to shove the gifts into muslin bags (which I did with quite a few…albeit with a little sprig of cotton and a vintage photograph to act as a tag), easy to not bother with a tree, easy to buy a wreath from Whole Foods and call it a day. I’ve been working down to the wire to meet deadlines, and I even had to work today, Christmas Eve, but given my line of work that means that there’s a giant bowl of cola buttercream sitting on my counter. I am simultaneously pleased and displeased about this. I digress. I’m sure you’re all getting cozy and quiet here on Christmas Eve, so I just wanted to use this post as a virtual invitation into my home during the holidays. You can find the cake recipe as well as my wreath and wrapping tips after the jump.

 

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