To see and be seen

As I think about the things I want Nico to know and truly understand deep inside, it is to see and be seen. I believe it encapsulates most of what everyone really wants. I have an idea for a tattoo on my wrist and I just might one day get off my ass and get it. Is it possible to do without needles? It would say: listen. It is a reminder for me to truly listen to others (undistracted) and for me to demand that others do the same for me.

I am currently reading an interesting book, called “The Art of Gathering” by Priya Parker. It has given me so much inspiration in my corporate and personal life about how we approach time together, how we respect and appreciate others’ time, and how to pull off the best of gatherings. Less Martha Stewart style that errs on the side of the perfect place setting and more pondering the lead up to the event, how do you connect with your guests before hand, and how do you truly pull off a successful time by planning an experience and not just a conference, meeting, dinner, etc.

A page I read over the weekend said:

“A good life is about seeing and being seen.” page 199

It sent my mind wandering to how many times I have felt that. How often do you go to someone’s house and feel odd because the hosts do not really find a way to weave together why they are having people over, and why they have selected those they have brought into their home? It also brings fresh memories of wonky corporate gatherings where individuals are disconnected, uncomfortable, and uninterested to mingle but required to hang together.

I have not finished the book, but am inspired to bring the ideas Parker shares to fruition in my life. To create a meeting that has purpose and desired outcome and the attendees know why they are there and leave inspired with a plan and next steps. To think about my dinner parties and how the individuals that come into our home feel the energy of what we want to share with them. I encourage you to pick up her book. There are some slow spots, but all in all I have some new ideas of how I will engage differently with others I meet with — more aware of the outcomes I want, and more focused on the individual. If we each remember that just as we want to be seen, we remember to see others.

Random Recipe: Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

We work hard and play hard at work. We also eat well, with which I have a love/hate relationship. Someone on my team is an amazing chef and she keeps us well fed. A few weeks ago, a colleague brought in a plate of what I thought were chocolate chip cookies. Until I had my first bite. They brought me back to my childhood. My mom used to make congo squares. Basically they were chocolate cookie bars, dense and sweet. I loved them. I no longer have her recipe, and have tried to recreate her recipe many times. I came back a few times that day for more and more.

Last night we made them so Chris could partake. Yum.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie  [adapted from Martha Stewart]

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (we used 1 1/2 cups)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix butter and sugars. Mix in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chips. Transfer to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; smooth top.

  2. Bake until cookie is golden brown and just set in the center, about 20 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes.

Note: Back in January I posted a recipe for a local restaurant’s version — Ned Ludd’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. This Marta Stewart adaptation is so much better.

Random recipe: Five-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

On Sunday we caught up on a long list of items to do around the house. I went for a run, then we snuggled on the couch to fast forward through the Oscars. We paused our DVR to do laundry, and while I usually am the baker in this house, Chris decided to make these easy peasy cookies I found in a Martha Stewart magazine. They only have five ingredients:

Five Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies (from MarthaStewart.com)

Active Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 25 min.
Makes: 30

1 cup almond butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, stir together almond butter, chocolate chips, sugar, eggs, and salt until a dough forms.
2. Place 1-tablespoon mounds of dough 1-inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake cookies until puffed and tops are set, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Easy peasy right? They were actually quite good. On the gooey side, but I love that they have no flour, contain almond butter, and the only thing that is really bad for you is the 1/2 cup of brown sugar. What is not to love? Plus they only make 30 (2.5 dozen) so that means you do not have to eat through a few dozen cookies.

Easy peasy.

Has Pinterest started a cultural shift?

Some of my friends have become Martha Stewart moms. On Facebook I see photos of the amazing Valentine’s Day cards they have made for their children to take to school. They are clever and creative cards. They completely blow away the cards we pulled out of a box, sorted through, selected our favorite for the friends we liked the most, signed our name, folded, and shared. With the addition of Pinterest to the social media scene, I see moms outdoing themselves from the plethora of ideas and possibilities in front of them to create fun ideas.

Blast back to the past (yes to the 80’s) when the triangle on your butt was the most important thing. Were you wearing name brand jeans? Were they Guess or a knock off brand? Many times your place at school and in a clique of friends had to do with what you wore or had. Sad, yes, but true.

my Pinterest boards...

my Pinterest boards…

Has there been a cultural shift? Is Pinterest part of that shift?

Yes. By giving moms (and no I am not leaving you out dads, I just see more of these photos from my girl-friends), easy access to ideas that they can “pin” to a bulletin board and pull out during holidays, school events, etc. With direct access to how to execute on a project, we have born an organic DIY revolution of moms to become very creative and industrious. It has brought back my youth, and it is the new thing. I can remember many times when my mom made my clothes and I was embarrassed by it (there was no brand label). Many of the gifts from my childhood were homemade, and I hated it. If only I could go back to that time and appreciate those special moments more.

So, thank you, Pinterest for the cultural shift you have brought to homes. You’ve empowered moms to be creative, try new things, and hopefully in the process they have included their kids in the make-your-own Valentine Pinterest style.