Life in desolation

Pics of the Month – June


What a roller coaster June had been, some days barely reaching the 70s and other days well over 80 degrees. I guess Summer has unpacked its bag and decided to hang around a while.

Enjoy some photos from the past month.

Until the next post . . .

#Craftchallengedcathy Reform


I don’t consider myself to be “crafty,”  I’m “creative” ! !  Joining this planner “community” has reignited the creative “spark” that diminished while raising two children, working full-time and attending college part-time.”

Recently, I was introduced to Pocket Letters (check it out).

It looked simple enough, so I decided to give it a shot. This was my first Pocket Letter swapped with another member in my FB Planner/RAK Buddies Group.

Pocket Letter (front)

Pocket Letter (front)

 Pocket Letter (back)

Pocket Letter (back)

Not to shabby, huh ?  Surprisingly, this process was enjoyable and it became a great stress reliever.

Pocket Letters don’t have to be elaborate, and there’s no right or wrong way – use your creativity and the possibilities are endless.

Wait, what ?! . . A taste of the South in the Northeast?!


I was raised in the South so I know something about  “Southern” cuisine.  Living in the Northeast now, I knew that finding true Southern food was not going to be easy or even likely.

A couple of blocks away from our apartment is a restaurant we’ve been interested in checking out for a while and last Friday on a whim we passed it and took a peek at the menu posted outside. The menu made our mouths water but we cautiously considered how close to “Carolina” cuisine could it be?  We went in to inquire about reservations since it was Friday and often a busy time for restaurants, we were met by a warm, friendly hostess who made our reservation and thanked us for stopping by – that’s how “Southern folk” are.

Duke's Southern Table

Welcome to Duke’s Southern Table

We arrived for our 6pm reservation prepared but guarded. That hostess we met earlier was actually our server (Felicia). We were seated and the first item was cornbread, let’s pause for a moment. I’ve learned that not all cornbread is created equal, I grew up on “sweet” cornbread aka Jiffy Cornbread which is magical when fresh out of the pan with a little butter. So I tried it, well I sat back in my seat – I was the most moist cake-like cornbread I ever put in my mouth.

It was time for dinner and I decided the true test would be the Southern fried pork chop (yep, take it all in).

This is "homesickness" on a plate.

This is “homesickness” on a plate.

This was love on a plate. The pork loin chop was topped with sautéed red onions and beef bacon over a rice pilaf. I got collards (of course) and black-eyed peas for sides. One bite of the pork and I was immediately transported back to my Mother’s kitchen on Sundays after church. The collards were spicy but not overpowering and the peas were in a tomato sauce that added a little “tang” to them.

My husband ordered the Shrimp and Grits and I got a bite of his and I got teary eyed, that made me homesick. This is a little unassuming spot in downtown NJ but they managed to “knock it out of the park” for this Southern duo and Felicia made us feel like distant family that came over to Big Mama’s house for Sunday dinner. Don’t take my word for it, check out my husband’s post on his blog here

We’ve found our home away from home with Dukes Southern Table.

My New Planner Journey


I fell in love with planners since I received my first “agenda” in middle school and my style has  evolved a lot since then.

I’ve used a variety of planner styles:

  • ring bound
  • spiral bound
  • stitch bound
  • disc bound (Arc – most recently)

I carefully evaluated my current lifestyle and schedule, realized I no longer needed a  complex planner to maintain my personal, home and work life.  I searched for something that would provide a horizontal weekly format (this just works better with my brain) and a compact size that doesn’t weigh as much as a toddler.

I’d heard a lot about the Midori Travelers Notebook and began to investigate.  I turned to YouTube (Consumer Reports of the new millennium) and watched countless videos. I liked the idea of being able to customize this modular system with inserts that work best for me. I’m not an artist (by any stretch) but felt I could add only what I needed to maintain my lifestyle.

I joined a Facebook group where many of the women are “hard-core crafters” and I felt out-of-place since I consider myself #craft-challenged. It was there I met a young woman who had made her own version of the leather cover (a fauxdori) she wanted to sell. It was fate; I was excited because the original Midori leather covers are quite expensive and I couldn’t bring myself to pay so much for a cover plus any accessories I would need;  so we discussed a price and she sent it to me immediately.

Meet my Darridori. It is a chocolate-brown leather cover with a suede interior with a single elastic for inserts. I love the feel/smell of the leather and how light weight it is. I began my journey on June 1st and so far I’m loving its simplicity. I’ve ordered some accessories and inserts for her and will post updates of my experiences from time to time.

Meet my Darridori

                        My Darridori

I believe we’ll have many happy days together.