My mom has been talking about this freaking cake for years. See, she worked for a lovely woman named Sue, sometime around 1995, and for Christmas, Sue gave my mom a delicious, homemade cake.
Although my mom moved onto another job, she never forgot this cake. I think she was embarrassed to call Sue and ask for the recipe, especially after years had passed. Plus I feel like there’s a strange, generational Italian code that says: It’s rude to ask another cook for their secrets!
I have heard about this cake many times over the years, especially since my mom got a Cuisinart mixer and has been baking more.
“It has alcohol and nuts — and it was the best cake I’ve ever had!”
Well, this year, my mom mentioned the cake again.
“Didn’t you graduate high school with Sue’s nephew, Matt?” she asked.
I did. I don’t remember us being friends, but I remember Matt being a nice guy. So, I found his contact info — and after major pause (for being a stalker weirdo) — I messaged him, asking about the cake.
He thought it was a “fun request” and was excited to do some sleuthing. Unfortunately Sue passed away a few years ago, but after talking with his mother, and his Uncle John (Sue’s husband), Matt solved the mystery.
The most delicious cake my mom has ever had?
A 1970s-era Redbook recipe, filled with bourbon, candied cherries and pecans.
Here is Sue’s Boozy Bourbon Pecan Cake.
Me, Matt from high school, and my mom will all be baking it this year, and I thought you might want to as well.
One more thing … If there’s someone you feel weird about reaching out to this holiday season — maybe give it a shot anyway. The results could be sweeter than you think.
Here’s to candied-cherry cake and Christmassy-connections,
My husband was yelling, “Go, go!” as he grabbed the baby. The big boys flew out the door, one wearing a single slipper and the other in his Batman robe, grasping a $20.
What on earth is happening right now?
Okay. So, I know about ice cream trucks. They play music and drive around — and if you want ice cream, you can flag them down. What I didn’t know about was Mister Softee.
Normal ice cream trucks give you a pre-packaged ice cream, like a Choco Taco or Chipwich. I’m cool with that. But I had absolutely no idea — at 41 years old — that it was possible to be handed a soft serve cone with sprinkles at the edge of my driveway.
Licking my cone feverishly before it melted, in my polka-dot pajamas as the sun set, I was gleeful and it was pure magic. Like the time I smelled Drakkar in the mall, I was a kid again.
Mostly, I hope you get to eat soft serve in your driveway.
And when it comes to our businesses, here’s to delivering more moments of unexpected delight! Call me sugared-up, but I believe that words can be our ice cream trucks.
Want to delight your readers? Let’s serve them up a personality-rich word twist that’s uniquely you.
Unlike the Herman Munster shoes I adored during college (remember these?!), some things always work.
Like my friend’s beautiful 1900s farmhouse with its wide plank floors, huge windows, thick wood moldings and bucolic view.It’s comforting that in a world of fast fashion and disposable products, some things truly don’t go out of style. At least not in my book.
Even though your website is a newer-build — its copy can shine with fixtures that are timeless.
-Keeping it real
The best news? Clicking endlessly on Wayfair and Houzz is not necessary — and you won’t even have to go to Lowe’s. You’ve already got everything you need!
I can help dust-off and discover the barn full of goodies that have been hiding in plain sight the whole time.
Cannoli is not a guard dog (despite the three barks she once gave the meter reader).
Last summer, Cannoli got spooked by a contractor and fell in the pool. Then she started swimming. But I realized that until Cannoli knew where the pool steps were, she couldn’t get out. Yikes.
So of course, I made it my mission to (lovingly!) throw her into the water in different parts of the pool and guide her to the steps. Back on dry land, she would give me side eye for interrupting her sunbathing, shake joyously, and rub herself in the dirt (one of her greatest pleasures). This summer, we’ll be having more lessons on pool egress. (Get ready, Cannoli. Summer’s coming!)
If you’re writing your web copy and can’t find the stairs, swim this way.Or, if you need me to throw you in the pool (with love!), I’m pretty much an expert
P.S. Here’s Cannoli trying to look innocent after her favorite, dirty pastime.
I’d heard about this neighbor for months.
How she is the sweetest person.
But I hadn’t met her yet.
So when I saw her car go by, I had to restrain myself from running into the street and scaring the crap out of her.
To my delight, Joanie and I arrived home at the same time. And she stopped her car in the middle of the road—in front of my house—to greet me like so:
Welcome to the neighborhood! Now we can visit! I can’t wait until this is over (holding up her mask) because I’m a hugger.
Ending our conversation, she said, “I LOVE you.” Not the way a new fake acquaintance might say it after you realize you both like wine. She said it with all the intention and certainty in the world. The same way I would say: My name is Deidre.
My heart raced. And I said, “Oh my goodness, I love you too!”
What if we approached the world, and new people, with love instead of fear?
This neighbor expressed love confidently upon our first meeting, and meant it with her whole heart.
At first, for a split second, I was taken aback. It felt kinda scary. But receiving her genuine beam of love, my heart filled up. It felt expansive to say it back.
Hate is rarely earned. Yet it’s given freely. So what if—on the flipside—love were given freely? What if love were our default?
Joanie and I are different ages, different colors.
But this incredible woman in her mid-70s and cozy clothes had it all figured out.
Here’s to peace, love, acceptance, and yelling (nice things) out the window at neighbors,
P.S. If you need words that connect, with authenticity that can be felt, I’d love to help.
After my masked trip to the supermarket, I saw a wallet in a shopping cart—crammed in the corner of the lot near my car, but far away from everything else.
It was open, with papers and a checkbook sticking out.
With everything feeling questionable right now, I hesitated: Was this wallet safe to touch? Or was this some sort of bait for a weird scam? I thought, just disinfect your hands, get in your car, and go home.
But then I thought: What if it really is someone’s wallet? What if it were my wallet?
So I spent 10 minutes online locating this woman, Wendy, to whom the wallet belonged. Turns out she worked inside the supermarket.
She was so immensely grateful. She told me:
I was running around like crazy. I had to go home and bring my kids groceries. What’s happening in the world is making me so anxious—and then losing my wallet on top of it?! I can’t thank you enough.
I was almost someone who put on my blinders and ignored the wallet, consumed by headlines and worries and fears. But taking that action to help…it felt so good. It was the most calm and happy I felt all day. Not to mention the fact that Wendy deserved my gratitude; she’s working in the supermarket and keeping me fed!
We’re all still people who sometimes need help, COVID-19 or not. I know it’s crazy and uncertain and scary—but let’s stick together and smile from underneath our face masks.
Sending love and support,
I love how clients are so happy after working with me. I’m honored that they say these incredibly nice, huge, career-affirming things.
But truthfully, I’m not a mastermind. I think I just ask this same question, again and again, in a bunch of different ways.
What do your ideal clients really need?
Yes, I think it might actually be that simple.
There’s an intersection between what your clients really need, and what you really provide, that is kind of magical.
Yet, finding it can be tricky.
Mostly because you can’t see how awesome you actually are.
Yup. I said it. You can’t see how awesome you actually are!
That’s where I come in. Let me remove your blinders, and help you see yourself the way your clients do—at least long enough to write your web copy.
The view might surprise you,
“If you can make just one person smile today, if only by giving them one of yours, it just might change their entire week, which just might change their entire life.”
I love Notes from the Universe, but this one takes the cake.
Life-affirming conversations, new friendships, oneness, unexpected laughter, fulfilling work—so much of it starts with a smile.
And in case you haven’t had coffee yet and this uber-cheery message makes you gag and want to unsubscribe, here’s the whole truth: Sometimes I don’t feel like smiling. Sometimes I feel pissy for no apparent reason! But the act of smiling actually makes me feel like smiling.
So, when in doubt, I smile.
Does your website help you smile at people? If not, let’s talk.
The air conditioning in my car was busted. It was 97 degrees and humid. But I had somewhere to be 90 minutes away, so I got an icy drink and went for it.
Boy, was it hot.
Once my body got used to the heat, I realized a few things about driving with the windows open.
- You smell things. Food, farms, flowers, people doing laundry. Some aren’t very good smells, but some are great!
- You feel things. Wind in your hair, dust in your eyes, sweat dripping down your temple.
- You are closer to others. I said “Cute dog!” to somebody on the sidewalk. And heard the lady in front of me singing “Thunder Road” into her water bottle microphone. I also shared a camaraderie-infused thumbs-up with a fellow windows-open road warrior.
I arrived sweaty, and perhaps slightly dehydrated, but feeling very much alive. Invigorated even!
We are lucky to live during the Age of Air Conditioning. When we can cruise around in cool, serene, noise-insulated comfort.
But sometimes we should put down our windows.
And let people see us.
And stick our arms out and wave.
And be sweaty and real.
Especially when it comes to the words on our websites.
Here’s to letting people in, and waving at pup-destrians.
Oh oh, come take my hand!
P.S. Yes, I absolutely got my air conditioning fixed!