In 2011, my first children’s book The Grand Festive Picnic was released. This was an exciting time with an exciting story…book tours, book signings and book readings were really fun! Two years later, I adapted the book to a One Act Play. Then directed twenty fifth graders to place 3rd in the One Act Play UIL Competition of HISD It was a BLAST, and one of the most rewarding times of my life. We loved every ounce of the hard work, the production and each other. My twenty peeps and I spoke about taking our act on the road, traveling the world and continuing their education through home school. Goodness… I will never forget those babes and the joy they brought to my life.
I am pleased to announce, The Grand Festive Picnic is returning to its original form, a traditional picture book. I’ve rounded up more talent with Kevin Burns and Melissa DeLucca to produce the re-release of The Grand Festive Picnic under my art direction. We are excited about this project, and its purpose…celebrating life and friendship. Please stay tuned for release updates.
My four besties, Stacey, Stacey, Cuqui and Stephanie would invite me to watch “Sex in the City” on Sunday nights with savory popcorn and Caymus Cabernet. I was either at church or in a convertible missing all the action. I would get the recap during Monday coffee talk, and couldn’t help dream of Sarah Jessica Parker in America’s largest city with her fingerless gloves wrapped around a Starbucks, pacing swiftly through the busy streets of noise and glamour. A fabulous treat of a place New York, New York. I visualized myself walking in her shoes, gazing up at a glass tower only to push through the revolving door and hit twenty-two in the decorated brass elevator. My lunch at The Lion would be divine, with a stop after at Bergdorf’s for a new lipstick shade, and then a run through Tiffany’s to see the works of Paloma Picasso. Wow, how I dreamed of New York City.
It was years later while I was transitioning from interior design to product design, that my dream became a reality. In October 2014, I scheduled my first business trip, and landed at La Guardia to meet my driver for an immediate appointment at 41 Madison known as the “Tabletop Building”. I felt like a million bucks. My briefcase was packed with my stunning, foam core dishes to emanate porcelain, along with a FAO Schwartz wind-up toy and accompaniments to set a spectacular table at Wedgewood. I checked in as a visitor, passed through security and rode to the sixteenth floor with a gut full of butterflies. It wasn’t until I saw the complete picnic spread…table, basket, bicycle, blanket and full place setting on display, front and center in the Wedgewood showroom that made me realize this was a divine appointment. My butterflies flew away, and I knew in my spirit, all was well. This miraculous sign enabled me to execute my best and score a business deal. It was an amazing day for me, I loved it. Most importantly, I was coming back to New York for more.
I write this, and feel as if this day were reoccurring. It touches me. The moral of this story… go to church, ride in convertibles, buy the shoes, eat the cake, take the trip, and dream, dream, dream. “Thank you” Stacey, Stacey, Cuqui and Stephanie.
Farm to Table reminds me of the over-sized garden we had in Colorado when I was thirteen. We moved from the big city to the country, and learning to clear land, till soil, dig rows to plant seed and install a fence was the last skill set I wanted to develop as a teenager. During the long days of manicuring the land, I couldn’t help envision my teen-beat room with a cranked up Bee Gees album once the sun set.
This process began in mid-summer. We planted for a fall harvest. The garden was made of summer squash, string beans, tomato, cucumber, carrots, onion, acorn squash and fennel. A garden without fennel would be sacrilegious to an Italian family. Fennel is a vegetable that looks like celery and taste like licorice. You either love it or you hate it. In our household it was sliced in salads, braised in olive oil or most importantly, delicately used to season my grandfather’s Italian sausage recipe.
My Italian grandparents were with us during the “hi-ho, hi-ho” of gardening. I remember Gramma Bea teaching me to get the root of the weed out of the soil, so it wouldn’t grow back. I remember Papa Albert telling me “dig a little deeper, work a little harder”, again, not what I had in mind as a teenager.
When the day came for us to harvest the fruits of our labor, it was fantastic! I couldn’t believe the amount of produce we picked from our garden…wheelbarrows full. I will never forget my grandmother’s radiant smiles as she prepared our farm vegetables for the dinner table. Those smiles were priceless. To this day, this memory abounds. For no matter what the task, it has been demonstrated in my lifetime, hard work, pays off.