photo credit: josh benoit

My name is Darraugh and I started this blog to share my health and wellness experiences - and how those have changed the way I view life. Wonderfully, it has grown to be a place where I share what inspires me and awakens my senses. I believe in honest, simple food. I love traveling  - and dreaming of new places. I'm a design enthusiast with a love for vintage treasures. I believe in sustainable living, and work to learn more and be better every day. I enjoy documenting life through photographs. And I'm forever in love with a place I once called home - New York City. I'm a professionally trained pastry chef with a MBA in International Business, and the spirit of an entrepreneur. I write from sunny Florida St. Louis with two kittens, and one handsome boyfriend...and dream of the loft on Broome.

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cookbook love
  • Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life
    Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life
    by Jamie Oliver

    Jamie is a rock star. I'm a huge fan. The colors, photos, and illustrations are lovely.

  • My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness
    My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness
    by Gwyneth Paltrow

    Gwyneth is awesome. I'm not sure why there's such a nasty fuss about her. I'm a Daddy's girl too, so this book speaks to my heart. I made Lalo's Cookies- easy and delicious.

  • Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look
    Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look
    by Sarah Magid

    I love these beautiful cakes using organic ingredients. I only wish we could make natural food dyes that are worth a toot.

  • If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons
    If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons
    by Sheryl Crow, Chuck White, Mary Goodbody

    I love this book! Great, healthy recipes that look delicious. I can't wait to try them.

  • Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
    Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
    by Heidi Swanson

    Heidi's recipes are pure, natural, and encourage you to experience ingredients and combinations that are both delicious and unique. The photographs are stunning.

great reads
  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
    The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
    by Eckhart Tolle

    This book was a huge aha moment for me. I practice every day to be an observer of my mind and to fully appreciate this very moment.

  • Me Talk Pretty One Day
    Me Talk Pretty One Day
    by David Sedaris

    If David Sedaris wrote the owner's manual to my car I would read it cover to cover. He's brilliant and makes me laugh out loud in public places.

  • The Help
    The Help
    by Kathryn Stockett

    I started this 450-page book on Friday evening and finished it Monday night. I couldn't put it down.

  • Bossypants
    by Tina Fey

    Tina Fey is a funny, fearless, female powerhouse. Did I mention, funny?

  • Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
    Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
    by Larry Levin

    I want to meet this dog, more than I want to meet certain people (except George Clooney).

  • Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You
    Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You
    by Margaret Floyd

    A wealth of amazing information in this book. I'm confident you will walk away learning new things and seeing food differently.

  • Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
    Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
    by Barry Estabrook

    We need to bring dignity back to farming; not just in quality of food, but how we treat those who feed us. This book focuses on the tomato industry and you will be astonished at what goes on in our own country. Plus, you will learn why tomatoes taste like absolutely nothing.

  • The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!
    The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!
    by Mark Hyman

    Everybody needs to read this. Everybody.

  • The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet, Second Edition: An Innovative Program that Detoxifies Your Body's Acidic Waste to Prevent Disease and Restore Overall Health
    The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet, Second Edition: An Innovative Program that Detoxifies Your Body's Acidic Waste to Prevent Disease and Restore Overall Health
    by Felicia Kliment

    This book has so many great nuggets of information. I cannot recommend this book enough!

  • 21
    by Adele

    I loved her first album, and this one might be better. Amazing voice for a 21 year old.

  • Be Ok
    Be Ok
    Cabin 24 Records

    Ingrid's music is amazing. All of her albums get heavy play in my house.

  • Easy Wonderful
    Easy Wonderful
    by Guster

    Our great friends introduced us to this group and we recently saw them live. Awesome. This is my favorite album of theirs (well, today anyway).

  • Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates
    Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates
    by Hall & Oates

    I am a child of the 80s and I love it! I also love Hall & Oates and recently bought this album. I forgot just how much I love their songs. Classic.

  • Gossip in the Grain
    Gossip in the Grain
    by Ray LaMontagne

    This man has a gorgeous soulful voice and his songs will take you back to another era.

  • Mission Bell
    Mission Bell
    by Amos Lee

    Amos Lee is burning up my iPod. This is really good music.

  • Backatown
    by Trombone Shorty

    Trombone Shorty is a twentysomething trombone player from New Orleans. Great horns with a side of funk and New Orleans Dixie.

  • The Ultimate Collection
    The Ultimate Collection
    by Sade


  • Brothers
    by The Black Keys

    I love these guys - great music. And I've got a crush on the one with glasses.

  • Radio Music Society [Deluxe Edition CD/DVD]
    Radio Music Society [Deluxe Edition CD/DVD]
    by Esperanza Spalding

    I loved her performance at the Oscars. I'm intrigued by any person who plays bass - especially a female - and with a beautiful voice.

  • Little Voice
    Little Voice

    I'm a big fan of her music. It's simple and pure.

  • Born and Raised
    Born and Raised

    We are John Mayer fans. I don't know if I get him as a person (who he dates and all that nonsense), but his music is always so easy to like.

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favorites and finds: for the cocktail enthusiast

We've been having a bit of fun learning more about craft cocktails. We recently purchased this book, along with the sphere ice cube molds, and the king cube molds. We already own a cocktail shaker, but I posted one that's popular now - and it's made by the same fellas who wrote the book. The book has some great cocktail recipes, and the ice cube molds are super easy (and fun!) to make - and they make such a difference by not watering down your drink as fast as regular ice cubes. I definitely recommend these as a great gift ideas.




listen: hugh laurie - didn't it rain

Actor Hugh Laurie is also a talented musician; we've been enjoying his second album of blues music. For a British man who so famously played an American doctor on House, it will probably come as a shock, yet not a surprise that he's so talented musically.


on the road: nashville

Realizing at the last minute I would have a free weekend, we decided to take a roadtrip to a city no more than five hours away that we'd been wanting to visit. We chose Nashville, and had a really nice time exploring this southern gem. It's only four-and-a-half hours away and in the same time zone - which helps when you only have so much time. Our only regret is not getting to hear some live music, but now that we know more, we will plan better next time.

I'm a big fan of visiting up-and-coming neighborhoods - where there's an energy, creativity, diversity, and an undeniable entrepreneurial spirit. This came in the form of East Nashville. An area that not long ago was a place you didn't want to accidentally find yourself. But throw in some vision and determination, heart, soul, and lots of hard work - and you have an area thriving and growing each day (with some adorable Craftsman-style houses). We visited many other neighborhoods with great spots I will share, but found ourselves coming back here again and again. One of our favorite musicians, Amos Lee, recorded his latest album in an old church in East Nashville. Kismet.

We loved this place, Barista Parlor, a new coffee shop built in an old auto garage. An open, airy space where the vibe is casual and they take their coffee...and chocolate seriously. They brew some of the best coffee beans in the country, such as Intelligentsia, Stumptown, Handsome Coffee Roasters, Coava, and Sightglass - and they're doing it pour-over style. They serve a small menu of food including biscuit sandwiches, and Bob's Red Mill oatmeal. Even better, they sell some of the best artisan chocolate in the country as well, like Mast Brothers, Askinosie, Sweeteeth, and the local Olive & Sinclair. All the furnishings are made by talented artisans, and reflect a simple, clean aesthetic with a touch of kitsch and vintage charm. They use cloth napkins in the form of bandanas, and black flatware (available at West Elm) for a mod touch. Because each drink is made by hand, you are given what would normally be a number to place at your table so they can find you when it's ready, but here you're give a handsome gent-on-a-stick with a letter on his shirt. Each table was built with a hole in it for you to stand this fella up. The music was provided by their record player off to the side. And jars of freshly canned perishables were on display outside the kitchen. Such thoughtful design, and very inspiring. We visited twice and soaked it all in.

Barista Parlor
519B Gallatin Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37206

I'd been dying to visit Jeni's Ice Cream in Ohio - an artisan who makes quality ice cream from the best sources. Jeni's now has locations in a few Ohio cities, along with Atlanta, Chicago, and two Nashville locations. We stopped into the East Nashville location after we arrived in town and had dinner - upon noticing they were open til 11PM. We weren't the only ones with late-night ice cream on our minds. We joined a long line of folks and a packed house. They let you taste anything and everything you want. My first taste was the Queen City Cayenne (the first flavor Jeni ever made), but I had to choose the salty caramel ice cream with the extra bitter hot fudge. It didn't disappoint. There's something about crisp, cool weather and good ice cream. We went back again to try more flavors and that time I chose Loveless biscuits and peach jam with salty caramel topping, but not before testing the sweet corn and blackberry (which was really tasty). The interior is simply designed and charming. Jeni's is a perfect example of great marketing...and a great product. 

Jeni's Ice Cream
1892 Eastland Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37206

Our first breakfast was at another East Nashville spot called Marché Artisan Foods. A European-inspired café - it was packed on a Saturday morning. They serve local hand roasted coffee, Drew's Brews, and a deliciously fresh menu. We ordered eggs, bacon, and cheddar grits along with the recommended broccoli fritters (which I definitely recommend).

Marché Artisan Foods
1000 Main Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37206

For dinner one night we went to the sister restaurant of Marché Artisan Foods that's located around the corner called, Margot Café. An intimate space with a menu that changes daily. Chef Margot is serving Chez Panisse style food that is fresh and delicious. A lovely little spot.

Margot Café
1017 Woodland Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37206

A visit to Nashville wouldn't be complete without visiting the new Johnny Cash museum downtown. A great tribute to the Man in Black, with great photos and other unique tidbits from Johnny's life.

Johnny Cash Museum
119 Third Avenue South
Nashville, Tennessee 37201

If you're downtown, a good place to eat is The Southern, a steak and oyster bar with a lively atmosphere.

The Southern
150 Third Avenue South
Nashville, Tennessee 37201

I'm such a fan of letterpress, that I knew I would be making a stop at Hatch Show Print now located in the same building as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The entire downtown Music City Center complex is so impressive with its design and LEED-certified details. I'm bummed we didn't get to Ryman Auditorium...but, next time.

Hatch Show Print
225 Fifth Avenue South
Nashville, Tennessee 37201

A big thing in Nashville is meat-and-threes, and hot chicken restaurants. We didn't stop at a meat-and-three, but we did try two hot chicken places, mainly to see what it's all about, because it's really just fried, spicy chicken that they serve on a slice of white bread with pickles. I'm sure locals would slay me for saying that, but it's something to try "when in Rome", but I don't eat fried chicken on a normal day because it ain't that good for ya. And be prepared to wait at these places, because it's fried to order. We tried a place in East Nashville that we kept passing called Bolton's Spicy Chicken and Seafood. A hole-in-the-wall with all the comforts of home...as seen here.

We also tried another place near Music Row called Hattie B's that was packed with music engineers and the like.

Another cute neighborhood was 12South, home to the cult-fave denim boutique, Imogene + Willie - if for nothing else - stop and see the design of this space in a former service station that sells premium denim and Warby Parker glasses.

Imogene + Willie
2601 12th Avenue South
Nashville, Tennessee

There's also a coffee shop called The Frothy Monkey - which ironically brews a St. Louis-based coffee called Kaldi's. Nashville has no shortage of local coffee shops.

After two rounds of hot chicken, I was ready to give my body something good. I searched for a local juice bar and found Juice Nashville - a cold-press juicery that just opened their first retail storefront. Fresh juice and great marketing.

Juice Nashville
1106 Division Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37203

Our last night we stopped by a place I'd been reading about called The Patterson House. A pre-prohibition style speakeasy located near Music Row and next door to a nationally recognized restaurant called The Catbird Seat. Like all speakeasies, it's not easy to find. Once you're in and whisked behind a curtain, you enter what I imagine 1920s Paris to have been like. Dark and romantic with lots of character. We sat at the bar and perused the extensive menu - they take their drinks seriously here with quality spirits and housemade infusions. We chatted up our bartender and learned more about craft cocktails. I highly recommend this place.

The Patterson House
1711 Division Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37203

Our last meal in Nashville was at a place in Germantown called City House. If you didn't know where you were going, I don't know how you'd find this place. But, clearly people are. The exterior is charming and deceiving...once you get inside. It came highly recommended and even on a Sunday night - was humming. We enjoyed some great cocktails along with a popcorn appetizer and a specialty pizza from their unique Sunday menu. This is a really good place for Italian-inspired food.

City House
1222 4th Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37208

We explored lots of areas and stopped in at Grimey's  - the place for buying records. We also loved the Five Points section of East Nashville and will go back and try more places there, including I Dream of Weenie - a hot dog vendor in a tricked out VW van. And we'll also get to some good live music. Until we meet again, Nashville...



gluten-free skillet cornbread

I told you recently about my purchase of a cast iron skillet and how much we use it. Well, I love it so much. So much. I happened upon a recipe for skillet cornbread in Southern Living magazine (October 2013) and thought it sounded delicious. I bought the buttermilk and then realized I had ordered a gluten-free mix on Vitacost. I love Bob's Red Mill products and this being gluten-free was great in my opinion - as we limit the amount of gluten we consume. I decided to combine the two, and here's what I did.

I followed the directions on the Bob's Red Mill package, which called for adding eggs, milk, and melted butter or oil. I used my buttermilk for the milk and chose melted butter. I followed the skillet instructions from the magazine by heating two tablespoons of bacon drippings (which I had already saved) in the skillet in a 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. I then added the drippings to the bowl, where I had just combined the mix, eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. I stirred just until combined and quickly poured back into the hot skillet - and it sizzled, which is what you want. I baked the cornbread for about 15 minutes until golden on top and pulling away from the sides. I served it with good butter and the raw Tennessee honey we bought while in Nashville recently...Oh, and the chili I whipped up. A perfect winter meal.


spotted: leon ankle boots at anthropologie

I love the look of these ankle boots at Anthropologie. With so many cute choices out there, how does one decide?