And here we are

It has been close to a year since I’ve last written. There is a part of me that questions why I’d even bother showing up here again, but today I had the urge to write, simple as that. So here I am. There’s also a piece of me that feels like I left you hanging…

It has been close to a year since I’ve last written. There is a part of me that questions why I’d even bother showing up here again, but today I had the urge to write, simple as that. So here I am. There’s also a piece of me that feels like I left you hanging with my last post. What became of that smiling, pregnant mom-of-two who was scared to death of adding a third? I’m happy to report- and I’m sure many of you predicted this- that my daughter, Meera Ann, has filled our lives with unimaginable joy. She is all that is good in our world. She is the happiest, easiest baby I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Waking up each morning with a big smile, she greets the day with boundless enthusiasm. She’s up for anything, and totally unaffected by the commotion of having two wild older brothers. In fact she loves it, and adores them wholeheartedly. She was early to crawl simply because she was so eager to keep up with them, and now she loves nothing more than being chased from room to room, shimmying as fast as she can as they yell, “We’re going to get you, Meera-boo!” She laughs and crawls, with surprising speed, as fast as her chunky little legs will go. We call her our “sassy lady” because she has such a big and hilarious personality, and she knows exactly what she wants.

Other parts of my life have taken a backseat, and sometimes, that can be hard, I’m not going to lie. Between mothering and being back to work nearly full-time, the days just fly by at an alarming speed. I crave creative outlet, yet there never seems to be enough hours in the day to dive into a sewing or knitting project. I squeeze in a workout once a week, but that just leaves me wanting more. I’d love to read a book or two but can’t muster up the concentration by the day’s end. Cooking has been pared down to its simplest form, basically whatever is fresh, healthy and takes 10 minutes to throw together. Tacos! Again! But I am happy. Exhausted each night, but deeply happy.

I’m reminded often of what my mom said to me when I first had kids, “You can have it all, just not at the same time.” Seasons…there is a season for everything and this is my season for mothering. Of course, you know me… I’ve got an amazing project up my sleeve and spent most of the holiday break squirreled away writing and putting the finishing touches on my manuscript, which is due this month. I’m writing a book exploring, through photographs, the colors and patterns of Rajasthan, and it will be published by Clarkson Potter in Spring 2020. I can hardly contain my excitement. I have a feeling it is going to be a game changer for me. It has been a deeply creative and energizing project, and I am so proud of how it is coming together.

In the midst of all of this, I have had this desire lately to freeze time and enjoy my children right now, at this age, in all their chaos and joy. I’ll be folding laundry and come across one of Meera’s little onesies and I’ll hold it to my chest for a moment, thinking about the fact that she’ll never be this tiny again, thinking about how fast it went with the boys, now 6 and 8, all long and lanky and bursting with newfound independence. It sorta breaks your heart, how fast time slips by. Yet when I see the boys out in the world, at school, playing with their friends, running up and down the soccer field, fearlessly taking on life, I feel a wave of pride at the people they are becoming. What an honor it is to have a front row seat to this incredible journey.

And thank you for checking in from time to time. It means the world to me.


Curveball

Life is funny, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, when things feel easy and light, BOOM…curveball. Our surprise came in the form of an unexpected pregnancy this summer, and seeing as it has been…oh, let’s say about half a year since my last blog post, that means we are…

Life is funny, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, when things feel easy and light, BOOM…curveball. Our surprise came in the form of an unexpected pregnancy this summer, and seeing as it has been…oh, let’s say about half a year since my last blog post, that means we are quickly approaching the due date of our baby GIRL! In fact it could be any day now. When I found out I was pregnant I was shocked, and then when I found out it was a girl, I was doubly shocked. In all honesty, I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I’d packed up and given away all our baby items and we were officially in a different phase of parenthood, one that included full time school for both boys, Saturday soccer games, solo time as parents, regular date nights, and a fully potty trained family. I was working more hours and enjoying my job, which is at the boy’s school and allows me to be a big part of their daily school lives. I was mulling over a new book idea. When I found out in early July that I was pregnant I felt panicked. How would I possibly manage a third child on an already very full plate? Add to that the exhaustion and nausea that accompanies the first trimester, and I’ll admit to spending much of July crying on my mom’s lap. Slowly I have been working my way towards finding the joy in this surprise, but I’ve also allowed myself to feel all of my feelings around this pregnancy. I think as women we are so often told that we should feel absolute radiant joy around our pregnancy, and if that is not the case, we can be bullied into feeling like we’re somehow emotionally broken. But it is okay to admit to feeling overwhelmed. It is okay to admit that you’re scared the life and family you love is somehow going to change with another addition. And it is definitely okay to be exhausted by the amount of work each additional child brings to a mother. It is okay. I am a human being with complex emotions and this pregnancy has seen the range of those emotions on display. I was determined to find the beauty and joy in the 9 months of pregnancy, to realize some larger dreams, and mostly to spend time cherishing my boys. That didn’t leave much time for blogging, but I did manage a few pictures and I’d love to share those with you here.

Late August and September were gorgeous. I was feeling a bit better, though still quite exhausted most of the time. I spent hours in my garden, relishing my abundant harvest. The boys swam like little fish all day every day until the first day of school. They began their school year with such joy and confidence. Just look at those handsome faces. September was also busy with travel, including a fiber workshop at Saipua’s Worlds End Farm. It was a weekend filled with all of my favorite things, farms, flowers and fiber. I viewed it as a last hurrah before settling into a busy school year and pregnancy, but it turned out to be far from my last trip. I couldn’t have predicted the incredible travel opportunity that would come in the next few months! October was a gorgeous month and I carved out time to stoke my creativity with regular photo/ styling dates with my friend Linda. We’ve had so much fun pushing each other in the areas of photography, cooking and styling. Whenever we get together, magic is made. Of course, in the midst of all this, I was knitting like a mad woman, having finally fulfilled my dream of being able to knit for a baby GIRL. During my moments of feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, crafting for baby girl has brought me joy and peace. I’ll never take for granted the power of handmade, especially to soothe us when times are emotionally challenging. Once November rolled around, work became increasingly busy. When you work in admissions, the season begins in full force in November and doesn’t slow down again until March. But I still managed to fit in one more creative outing that included wreath making and homemade marshmallow decorating. Around this same time, just when I thought I’d be slowing down over Christmas break and relaxing with my family, I got an opportunity to work on a project I’ve been dreaming of for a decade now. I won’t pretend it happened out of the blue…it took months of work to lay the foundation, but when I finally got the green light, I found myself booking a trip to India while close to 7 months pregnant. My parents watched the boys over the holidays, and my husband and I took an 8-day whirlwind adventure through Jaipur and Udaipur. I simply cannot wait to tell you more about this project! I can’t share much, but here are two of my favorite pictures from the trip! Once January hit, I pretty much buried myself in work and haven’t had a chance to take a breath since. I’m actually really looking forward to my maternity leave (2 months off!) though I’m not naive to the fact that caring for an infant is exhausting. With the boys at school, I’m hoping baby girl and I will have some precious bonding time for those two months. I never quite experienced that with Vik because I was caring full-time for a toddler (Vijay) from the moment Vik was born. I remember those dreamy first weeks with Vijay though, and I look forward to carving out that time with our new addition. As always, thank you for being here and checking in. However infrequently I post these days, I still treasure this space and the conversations that have been had here. I’m not much for social media these days – real life seems to get in the way of an online presence! But you can find occasional updates over on Instagram, and I’m sure I’ll be first announcing baby girls arrival there!

Spreading their wings

My summer is coming to an end as I find myself back at work, beginning to prepare for the upcoming school year. Reflecting on this past month, I can’t help but think that this summer marked something special on my journey as a mother. It was one of those barely perceivable shifts, the kind that…

My summer is coming to an end as I find myself back at work, beginning to prepare for the upcoming school year. Reflecting on this past month, I can’t help but think that this summer marked something special on my journey as a mother. It was one of those barely perceivable shifts, the kind that can pass you right by while your busy driving the kids to soccer, making school lunches and trying to get everyone out the door in the morning. Perhaps that’s why it took a break to notice what was happening all around us. July in Northern Michigan offers that break. There is no where to be, no schedule, no busy calendar of events. The days role out with a gentle rhythm of play, whether it be board games, boat rides or backyard badminton. The shift that I noticed is one that has left me incredibly emotional, prone to pouring over family photo albums and remembering when my boys were just wee babies. This summer was the summer they spread their wings. They have a newfound independence and confidence that comes from a combination of age and an incredible year of school under their belts. I watched my son ride his two-wheel bike down the lane by himself. I said goodbye as the boys ran out of the house and over to their friend’s house. I buckled them in and waved goodbye as they drove away, off for a day’s adventure with my younger brother. I beamed with pride as they explored new hobbies with passion, Vik falling especially hard for the sport of golf and Vijay displaying bravery with his tubing skills. My boys still need me, of course. There are meals to make, and scraped knees to bandage, clothes to wash and sandy bodies to scrub clean. And luckily each night they still love nothing more than snuggling close together while we read. But things are changing, as they do every single day in this journey we call motherhood. I remember when I used to long for a moment when a little body wasn’t needing my attention, and now I find myself practically tackling them with hugs and cuddles at every turn. I also remember feeling particularly crabby when older mother’s told me wistfully how fast the time flies (this was when the days seemed to drag and the nights were sleepless and there were endless diapers to change). And yet they were right. They were so very right.  Vik turned five while we were in Michigan and we celebrated with a big party, attended by all of the friends my boys have grown up with in the summers. I am so incredibly thankful for the gift of Northern Michigan, and for our time there every summer. I find it hard to put into words how restful, restorative and magical our time at the lake is for our whole family. It is a chance for my children to grow closer to their grandparents, aunts and uncles. It is a time for us all to have a break from work, camp, school and the general busyness of our “real life.” Mostly it is a chance to be together, in a setting that is too beautiful for words. And for those of you that have followed this unfolding story I wanted to let you know that my mom is doing so well. She is back to having a sparkle in her eye and a spring in her step. She is back to gardening and drawing, hiking and biking, and generally living her life with joy. It is nothing short of a miracle, friends. This coming year promises so much more growth. There will be a busy school year with new teachers and friends. There’s always so much to learn, and such room to grow. I plan to head into this year with the intention of enjoying it all; the busy moments, and the quiet ones. I plan to hold tight to my dear, sweet boys while at the same time watching with awe as they spread their wings.

Electric Moon Peony Farm

This past weekend, on a rare day of sun, my friend Linda and I made a trip to Electric Moon Peony Farm in Little Compton. We all know that peonies are gorgeous, but the blooms at this farm surpass any peony I’ve ever seen. The real stunners are the intersectional peonies, which are a cross…

This past weekend, on a rare day of sun, my friend Linda and I made a trip to Electric Moon Peony Farm in Little Compton. We all know that peonies are gorgeous, but the blooms at this farm surpass any peony I’ve ever seen. The real stunners are the intersectional peonies, which are a cross between a tree peony and herbaceous peony. There was a dusky pink variety named Hillary that particularly blew my mind. Linda and I went a little crazy and ended up with a bouquet to end all bouquets, which of course led to a photo shoot. As you do…! I feel incredibly grateful to have met Linda this past year. We actually met at Aran’s workshop in NYC and hit it off right away. I tend to do so much of my adventuring alone. I’ll get up really early in the morning on Saturday or Sunday, and head out for a few hours to stretch my photography wings before returning home to spend the day with my family. I love these solo moments, but it has been so much fun sharing them with a friend who is just as passionate about creating gorgeous images. Of course it helps that she has a wicked sense of humor too! As I navigated my work/ life balance earlier this year, the one thing I found lacking was time spent with friends. I recently decided to rectify this and began to invite friends along for quick excursions, day trips and just hangs at home with my family. It has helped me to feel more grounded and joyful in this busy season of life. I’ll leave you with a close up of my very favorite bloom… Hillary!

Wicked Tulips

It’s been a busy spring, but one thing that took priority on my calendar was a trip to Wicked Tulips. I asked my favorite fellow photographer Forrest Elliott to join me, and we headed out at around 6pm to catch sunset on the farm. I had visited earlier in the week with my boys, but…

It’s been a busy spring, but one thing that took priority on my calendar was a trip to Wicked Tulips. I asked my favorite fellow photographer Forrest Elliott to join me, and we headed out at around 6pm to catch sunset on the farm. I had visited earlier in the week with my boys, but the sun was high in the sky and it wasn’t the right time for pictures. I am SO SO glad I went back at sunset. It was a truly magical experience. If you live in New England put this on your calendar for next spring because Wicked Tulips is absolutely worth a visit (and order your tickets early; they sell out, especially on the weekends). As for the pictures where I’m in them…those are from Forrest, and I love them (and that is saying a lot because I’m super awkward in front of the camera!). I always love adventures that inspire my love of photography and leave me wanting to take a thousand photos. I hope I captured just a bit of the beauty here to share with you…

Jaipur, and a Pop-up Shop!

The drive from Jodhpur to Jaipur was 6 hours plus a stop in Pushkar, and the whole time, visions of textiles floated in front of my eyes. Jaipur is a city that is absolutely booming these days. We’ve been going for 10 years and we’ve really noticed how much busier and more touristy it has…

The drive from Jodhpur to Jaipur was 6 hours plus a stop in Pushkar, and the whole time, visions of textiles floated in front of my eyes. Jaipur is a city that is absolutely booming these days. We’ve been going for 10 years and we’ve really noticed how much busier and more touristy it has become (there were giant tour buses at every turn- ugh). But my favorite supplier of blockprinted fabric and vintage kantha quilts is in Jaipur, so I will always return. I am hopelessly devoted to this decades-old, family-owned shop, whose business is run with such integrity. I am super picky about what I purchase while in India because so much is mass produced and cheaply made. To find a place that you trust is really special. I spent about 4 hours sourcing goods for the pop-up shop, and the boys were with me the whole time. The staff was so sweet, entertaining the boys by teaching them all about blockprinting, and letting them give it a whirl. From there, we had about a day and a half left in Jaipur. We managed to fit in a few outings, although I’ll be honest, our visit to the City Palace left a bad taste in our mouths and pretty much killed any desire we had to tour other spots. It was an absolute mob scene, with large tour buses unloading hundreds of people. The tour guides had microphones and flags to lead their huge groups. And you couldn’t walk three feet without getting whacked by a selfie stick. We snapped a few pictures (had to get my Christmas card locked up!) and then ran for the hills. Perhaps my favorite places in Jaipur are those that still have a somewhat undiscovered feel. The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing had that feeling. I left the boys at the hotel so that I could geek out over the history of block printing, and when I arrived, I was the only one at the museum. They had to flip on the lights for me! On the roof of the museum, a man sits and carves blocks. He’s been doing it for over 40 years, and his tools and knowledge were passed down by his father. Watching him work left me awestruck. The blocks that he carves are true works of art. One day, when my kids have flown the coop, I’ll study blockprinting in Rajasthan for six months, I swear it. I imagine my day starting at sun up (I’ll have magically become a morning person) with a cup of milky, sweet chai, and I’ll spend the day studying the art of carving, and learning about natural dyes and hand stitching the results in kantha-style quilts. My day will end with photography walks in the golden light. Yes, I have it all planned out. But back to reality…after the Museum, I decided to seek out this cafe and bar that I had been seeing all over design magazines and blogs. Located inside the Narain Niwas Palace Hotel and designed by Dutch designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, Bar Palladio takes its inspiration from Mughal design, and it is truly breathtaking. And just down the street is Caffé Palladio Jaipur, where I ended up having a late lunch, and the best iced chai and almond cake ever! In all our time in Jaipur was lovely, though I was more than happy to move on to our next destination, Varanasi. The famous quote from Mark Twain reads, “Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” It was truly as if we arrived at the most mystical, spiritual place on earth…more on that next. In the meantime, I promised a peek at the pop-up shop goods that will be launching tomorrow morning, Friday, March 31 at 10am EST. There is only one of each item, so if something catches your eye, move quickly. There will be kantha quilts, yards of blockprinted fabric, wooden blocks, leather shoes, vintage door hangings, notebooks and more. Hope you’ll stop by tomorrow at 10am, when the link will go live! If you live internationally and are hoping to order, shoot me an email so we can figure out shipping (christine.chitnis@gmail.com). Also, orders over $100 will receive a free blockprinted zippered pouch (while supplies last!).

Bombay, Jodhpur and Pushkar

Two weeks in India, over 80 hours of travel on planes, cars, boats, and tuk tuks, 5 cities, and a few cases of Delhi belly, all with a 4 and 6 year old in tow, is an experience that can leave you at a loss for words. I had the best intentions to write down…

Two weeks in India, over 80 hours of travel on planes, cars, boats, and tuk tuks, 5 cities, and a few cases of Delhi belly, all with a 4 and 6 year old in tow, is an experience that can leave you at a loss for words. I had the best intentions to write down my thoughts as we traveled, but I found myself fully immersed in the experience instead. Now that we’re home, I’m excited to reflect back on our trip and share some of the details with you. Because we covered so much ground, I figured that I’d break it up into the first week of our trip, where we visited Bombay (and celebrated Holi!), Jodhpur and Pushkar, and the second week, Jaipur and Varanasi. Yep, all that in two weeks! Our time in Bombay was mainly spent seeing friends, celebrating Holi and recovering from jet lag. It was really tough with the kids. They would take a nap at around noon, simply because they couldn’t keep their eyes open any longer, and then sleep through until about 2am. I’ll admit to having a bit of a freak-out on the third day, wondering if we’d made a big mistake taking the kids on such a long journey across the word. Finally, on our fourth day, I had to get tough and make them stay awake the entire day. Luckily, it was the day we celebrated Holi, and they had spent the best afternoon soaking each other and everyone else with waterguns and colored powder! They were exhausted at just the right time. They went to bed at 7pm and slept through until the morning. From that morning on, we were good to go! And just in time for our second stop, Jodhpur, the blue city! When we first arrived in Jodhpur, I was confused and slightly panicked… where was all the blue? I kept asking my husband, “Ask the driver, where is the blue?” Come to find out, there is a new section of town and an old section of town. The sprawling new section contains very little blue, while the old, narrow, winding section of town is where you’ll find the famous blue. Cars can’t really maneuver in the old section, though motorcycles, tuk tuks, cows, bikes, dogs and people all share the space. To really see the blue buildings, you have to set off on foot and wander through the streets and alleys. On our first night of wandering, we happened upon RAAS Hotel, an oasis in the middle of the crowded chaos. I will never forget the crisp glass of white wine I enjoyed on their rooftop lounge, overlooking the Mehrangarh Fort with the sounds of horns and revving motorcycle engines in the distance. It was one of those perfect travel moments, and I can still taste that first chilled sip of wine. The next morning we set out to explore the Fort, as well as Jaswant Thada. Of the two, Jaswant Thada was my favorite. That might be due to the fact that my husband fell on the slippery marble floors at the fort. Why they were wet mopping the floors during peak tour hours, I have no idea (you can’t apply logic when traveling in India). His ankle swelled right up and continued to bother him for the rest of the trip. He never once complained, but I know it was really uncomfortable for him. I’ll pause for a moment here and tell you that while this all looks very dreamy, the reality was our kids were tired and they weren’t super into exploring forts and such. India is difficult with children, especially those that are used to open space and the freedom to run and play. I found myself saying no and careful every other breath because of fear of zooming cars, crowded streets and parking lots, and general chaos. We would usually take a 3-4 hour outing in the morning and spend the rest of the day at the hotel pool, where the kids could run, play and burn off energy. It looks like we covered a ton of ground, and we did, and our kids were absolute champs, but we really had to pace ourselves in order to make the experience enjoyable for them. And I think our strategy worked, because when we neared the end of our trip, my son said, “Mama, I’m not ready to leave India.” We originally planned to spend two more days in Jodhpur, but it is actually a small town that can easily be seen in a few days. So we decided to drive to Jaipur, stopping in Pushkar along the way. It was a six hour drive and the scenery was spectacular. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it!) the boys were sleeping on our laps for most of the ride, meaning I couldn’t jump out of the car and capture all the photographic moments. And there were so many. We passed dusty villages where the women were at work carrying water and crops on their heads, dressed in brightly colored saris. We passed bright yellow fields of mustard plant that stretched as far as the eye could see. One day I will make this drive at my leisure and stop a hundred times to capture these moments. We made it to Pushkar just in time to visit the Brahma Temple, the only one in India. Pushkar is a desert town that borders Pushkar Lake, a sacred Hindu site containing 52 ghats (stairways) where pilgrims bathe. After our puja (a prayer ritual) we had a vegetarian lunch – the entire town, because of its holiness, is vegetarian- and the freshly made, hot off the fire roti smothered in ghee, made for the most delicious meal. Another two hours and we arrived in Jaipur, which is where I’ll pick up later this week. I know many of you had questions about our itinerary, and how to travel India with kids. I am happy to answer any questions you have, so please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get right back to you. Also, I managed to sneak in some amazing shopping, so my pop-up shop will be launching this Friday, March 31 at 10am EST. Stay tuned for a sneak peek of some of the goods on my next post!

2016: A Year in Review

2016 was quite a year, chock full of extremes, and bringing with it intense joys and sorrows. Although it is tempting to rush into 2017 without a moment’s pause, I thought it might be cathartic to look back on the year that was. Mostly, I want to say thank you for being here this year….

2016 was quite a year, chock full of extremes, and bringing with it intense joys and sorrows. Although it is tempting to rush into 2017 without a moment’s pause, I thought it might be cathartic to look back on the year that was. Mostly, I want to say thank you for being here this year. Your comments, emails and support have meant the world to me and I greatly appreciate this community. Travel: It was a year of incredible travel, starting with a family trip to Jamaica in February. Shortly after, over Easter weekend, I took a solo trip to NYC while my family all met up elsewhere (I couldn’t get enough time off of work to join them). It was an interesting year, trying to balance a working schedule with so many travel opportunities. There were trips that I missed out on, and others that we squeezed into a long weekend. Somehow we always find a way to make it work, and with big travel plans on the horizon for 2017, that’s a trend I see continuing! In May we attending the most incredible Indian wedding in Vienna. The entire experience still feels like something out of a fairytale. I’m pretty confident that this will go down as the most extravagant wedding we will ever attend in our lifetime. The summer found me traveling the coasts for my Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet book tour, which was such an incredible experience. My favorite destinations included San Francisco and Seattle. While in Seattle, I also had a chance to visit Floret Flower Farm, which was definitely a highlight of my year. The beauty and abundance of this small farm is nearly indescribable. I returned home with just enough time to pack up and jump back on a plane to Michigan where I spent the month of July with my family at our cottage in Northern Michigan. July is always my favorite month of the year, and Torch Lake is where my heart is most at home.  In September we met up with my parents in NYC for a quick trip, where we watched the US Open and toured the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Once the school year started, our schedule kicked into high gear. But I did manage to sneak in a few more trips, one to NYC for a food photography workshopand another to the British Virgin Islands where I was shooting the first annual Caribbean Food Festival on Peter IslandIn November, we traveled to Chicago for Thanksgiving (I never even got around to posting that trip!).  And I wrapped up the year with the most relaxing and restorative girl’s weekend on Cape Cod, right before heading home to Michigan for the Christmas break.  Looking back there was so much adventure, coupled with incredible opportunities. It was a year where I felt accomplished in my professional life, releasing my third book, Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet, which received such positive feedback and press, and landing a sponsored book tour with Vitamix and HawaiianShavedIce.com. I continued to write for a wide variety of publications, and also balanced my writing career with a part-time job at my boy’s school. There was plenty of knitting and sewing to be done, although not all of it made it onto the blog.  Despite all of the joy, for our family 2016 will go down as a year of heartbreak. My beloved mother dealt with crushing depression, a side-effect of her worsening Parkinson’s Disease. We tried our best to rally around her during her darkest moments, but we all felt incredibly helpless and watching her suffer was so painful. I’ll be writing a bit more about that journey in the weeks to come. But if there is one positive (and trust me, it is a stretch to find a positive) it is that the journey through her mental illness gifted me with such clarity. It brought into focus that which is important in this life, and that which is not worthy of my time. By the end of the year, I found myself saying no to additional work and instead using every spare minute to spend time with my family. My boys are growing up so fast and they are my ultimate joy in this life. As I look ahead to 2017 I am prioritizing time spent with my family, health, and happiness. I wish you so much peace and love in the coming year. Let’s hope it is a great one!

An Icy Creamy Wrap-up

As the summer winds down, I thought it might be fun to do a little round-up of some of the recipe features, press and kind words that my book has received. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of excitement over Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet. I’m so very thankful- seriously, it is such a thrill….

press for Icy Creamy As the summer winds down, I thought it might be fun to do a little round-up of some of the recipe features, press and kind words that my book has received. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of excitement over Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet. I’m so very thankful- seriously, it is such a thrill. Let’s dive in to this deliciousness…Maple+Pecan+Crunch+Ice+Cream+-+Sprouted+Kitchen*Sara and Hugh Forte of Sprouted Kitchen made my Maple Pecan Crunch Ice Cream. I’m such a fan of their work so this really made my day. They had the genius idea to add chocolate. When in doubt, always add chocolate! Above photos by Hugh Forte.

*Design*Sponge featured my Roasted Peach Pops, one of my favorite recipes in the book. Stone fruit season is still happening so do yourself a favor and give these a whirl!

*Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant made my whole fruit pops (below, right). Just look at those chubby little fingers! 2016-08-26_0002 *Erin of Reading My Tea Leaves made my Roasted Peaches and Cream pops with cashew cream instead of yogurt and they turned out beautifully (above left)!

*Over at Eat Boutique my Frozen Yogurt Bark got packaged up for a sweet frozen gift!

*I was very honored that Sweet Paul included Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet in both his 25 Books I’m Loving Spring and Summer editions! Blueberry Ice Cream*Megan Gordon of A Sweet Spoonful went blueberry picking and made this vibrant blueberry ice cream!

*Kim Kinzi of Motif Magazine wrote the kindest review. When I came to work one day, my boss had pinned it to my bulletin board. That totally made me blush- I keep my school work self very separate from my writing work self!

*My friend Xan wrote the kindest words about both Little Bites and Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet over on her blog, The Conscious Caterpillar. I love that both of my books have earned a spot in her kitchen, and I especially love seeing them stained and ear-marked, just how a cookbook should look!

*Elizabeth interviewed me for her incredible Mornings on the Dock podcast. We talk books, babies, creativity, and what my month of July is like in Northern Michigan. If you can handle my strong Michigan accent, have a listen! And while you’re there, listen to them all…each one is fabulous and inspiring.

Icy Creamy in Self I have been so thrilled to receive some great press mentions as well, including a few of my recipes being featured in the July/ August issue of Self. As one of the first magazines I ever read, and one of the few that I continue to read on a regular basis, I can tell you that seeing my recipes in Self (and photographed by the one and only Johnny Miller) was a career highlight.  2016-07-07_0002 I also had the pleasure of shooting the COVER of The Coastal Table (above left). It is my first cover, and I am incredibly grateful to Karen, the founder and editor, for her support. The entire issue is gorgeous, and inside you’ll also find a fun ice cream story with several recipes, some from the book and a few brand new additions. I’ve been really appreciative of the Edible community for spreading the Icy, Creamy word. A big thank you to Edible Rhody, Edible Cape Cod, Edible Jersey, Edible Memphis, Edible Indy, Edible Toronto, Edible East Bay and Edible Boston for their features. 2016-07-17_0001 I’ve received other wonderful press coverage, including really nice features in The Improper Bostonian and Vegan Life, among other publications. I was also incredibly honored to win The Readable Feast’s People’s Choice Cookbook of the Year award, and a subsequent feature in The Boston Globe! Thank you so much for all of your votes! How thrilling. I also have an original recipe and thoughts on what it is like to write about food for a living in the current issue of Remedy Quarterly, issue #21.2016-07-11_0001 Finally, after waiting so long to join Instagram, I have to admit that I joined at the right time. I’ve loved seeing people enjoying my recipes! So, late to the party, but I’m fully here and loving it! Here are just a few of my favorite Insta images, above, top row (l to r): Sarah Waldo, Edible Manhattan, Jenn Elliott Blake. Bottom row (l to r) Floret, Marisa Dobson, Golubka Kitchen. Below, top row (l to r): Punkpost, With Style and Grace, The Book Larder. Bottom row (l to r): The Conscious Caterpillar, Megan Gordon, Amy Chaplin. Keep sharing your treats and make sure to tag me ch_chitnis and use #icycreamy. Thank you so much for all of your enthusiasm and support! And finally, if you missed my book tour recap be sure to check out my Seattle and San Francisco posts!2016-07-11_0002

Highs and Lows of High Summer

Here we are nearing the end of August and nearly a month has past since I last wrote. It’s not for lack of wanting, but this past month has been difficult. It’s funny…I keep running into acquaintances who follow me on Instagram and they’ll say, “You’ve had the most gorgeous summer ever!” And yes, it…

cchitnissummer_9063 Here we are nearing the end of August and nearly a month has past since I last wrote. It’s not for lack of wanting, but this past month has been difficult. It’s funny…I keep running into acquaintances who follow me on Instagram and they’ll say, “You’ve had the most gorgeous summer ever!” And yes, it has been gorgeous in so many ways. But social media is terribly one-sided I’m afraid. In fact this summer, Instagram has really been an escape for me- a way to showcase the beautiful moments of each day and escape the underlying realities. cchitnissummer_9104 cchitnissummer_9074 cchitnissummer_9125 Since January, my mom’s health has been declining. The link between Parkinson’s and depression is well established given the fact that Parkinson’s affects many parts of the brain that are crucial to controlling mood. My mom has been suffering greatly for the past eight months, and without getting into the specifics, I can tell you that it has been an emotional roller coaster for the entire family. There were many points at which we thought we might lose her. For those of you that have been reading here for a while, you’ll know that I count my mom as one of my very best friends. And so not only is this entering into the very heavy territory of ‘caring for your parents as they age’ it is also veering into the ‘losing your best friend’ territory. A double whammy of emotions, if you will. cchitnissummer_9106 cchitnissummer_9045 cchitnissummer_9089 cchitnissummer_9124 So in between a book tour, a month in Northern Michigan, and an August filled with wonderful work opportunities, I’ve been back and forth to the Detroit area trying my best to be there for her. Mental illness is a bitch, to put it bluntly. There is no outward sign of disease, and yet the suffering is so real and so terrible. There are moments when I lose my patience and think, “Just pull yourself together.” More moments than I’d like to admit. I want to see her fight to reclaim her happiness, and yet I know it’s not that simple. Throughout the past year, with all of its heartache, I have realized how incredibly thankful I am for the support of my husband, who has been loving and caring for my mother as if she was his own. And then there are my boys, who love my mom with such a pure, selfless love. Their presence brings her great joy during this dark time.cchitnissummer_9008 cchitnissummer_9015 cchitnissummer_9022 cchitnissummer_8962cchitnissummer_9016 cchitnissummer_9019 cchitnissummer_8971And so here we are, all finally back in Providence, settling in for the school year ahead and hoping that we’ve made it out of the woods for now. It will be a year of great change for us. Both boys will be in school full-time this year, and I will continue working at their school part time. It is going to be busy, to say the least, but the boys are ready. It’s quite amazing to see how they’ve matured and grown this summer. They are busy these days running around with their friends, eager to spread their wings. It all reminds me of how precious time is, and how unbelievably fast it all goes by (I mean, remember when I had two little BABIES??!!).cchitnissummer_8985 *The photos here are from my quick trip to NYC- Saipua and Frances Palmer’s gorgeous home studio and gardens. So much beauty.