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The New Vanilla…

Vanilla Ice cream

Vanilla has often been tagged with a negative connotation. The boring one—the dull one. I have even overheard, “vanilla” being referred to as the one who is lackluster in the sack. Really?
But why should something so classic, and nuanced get this wrap?
Vanilla is like pizza. It can never really be bad. There are extraordinary versions for sure– batches peppered with specks of Madagascar vanilla, ones churned into creamy submission.  Cones filled with velvety scoops whipped from quaint country farms like Crescent Ridge, the place where my ice cream memories were made.
Cutest Dog
You can guess what this guy’s favorite flavor is?
Nonetheless, vanilla is always the reliable friend. The one who shows up for all occasions. The happy celebrations and the sad rainy moments.
For some reason, it bothers me that vanilla has this scarlet letter attached to it. It is time to give this classic some respect.
If I were to list characteristics that I would desire in someone or in this case something, it would be reliable, consistent, steadfast, honest, wholesome, and sweet. Vanilla you are all those to us.
Brooklyn Ice Cream
Next time you make a snide comment about someone being “vanilla” take a moment to think if that is the proper description. You might just be giving an undeserved compliment… 😉

Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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Saying Good-byes before the End: Piano style

Large Newfie and the elderly

I have been extremely lucky in the grandparent department. My mom’s parents are still alive at 94 and last December they celebrated their 70th anniversary. However, the last few years, health has declined and the depth of memory has fizzled. But, up until a few years ago, some of my funniest and most drunken moments have been with them by my side.

Mom mom and me and amy
My sister and I committed one Friday a month for over a decade to hop on the New Jersey transit after work and sleep over our mom-mom and pop-pop’s house. Not without an Italian dinner with over sized plates of chicken parmesan and clams with garlic sauce. In PA. many restaurants are BYOB, so sure enough my grandparents would pack some low-grade Cabernet and a craft of ready-made gin and tonics that my pop-pop would whip up for him and the owner of the restaurant.
They made their annual Cape Cod visit in July which was full of wine, laughter, talking over each other, and repeating old stories. We would venture to Martha’s Vineyard for fried clams, buttered lobster rolls, and bloody mary’s; and of course savor the sunset melting over the Nantucket sound on our way back on the island ferry.
We even egged on my mom-mom to sing her favorite song, “Loving The Man of Mine by Porgy and Bess, for a small audience around our kitchen island one summer evening, as she was a talented performer, pianist and then piano teacher for many years.
She and I had and will always have this special bond.
mom mom and me
I spent a summer’s week with them while my parents jaunted off to Italy—when I was too young to head to over night camp in Fryeburg, Maine. We cooked, went to Sesame Place, the water park located in Yardley Pa. and constructed wooden baskets decorated with sea shells. I watched the risqué Patrick Swayze movie, Road House with her when I was maybe eleven. I crafted my Bat Mitzvah speech with her, based on the Broadway show, Starlight Express, adapted from the classic story, The Little Engine That Could.
I rested my head in her boobs to make her laugh. I would comb her hair with her little plastic yellow brush. I ate her gin soaked olives while she nursed her martinis.
She was brilliant, a woman ahead of her time–progressive in outlook and intuition. She ate holistically six decades before it was trendy. She loved her husband with gumption and still does. She had impeccable taste dressing in hues of beige, burgdany and camels. She celebrated the little things and couldn’t help her rose-colored glasses mentality.
She is my favorite and I am hers.
During the holiday season, my birthday falls near Christmas, so enviably my gifts get intertwined.
In the past I have received spa packages and designer bags—custom Japanese knives and beautiful jewelry. But this year, I requested a few more simple gifts. One being piano lessons…
mom pop and T
I took lessons for several years when I was younger, like many of you, and because of petty reasons I quit. I totally regret letting such a classic skill and hobby dissipate. I decided to take it up again. Mostly, to honor this remarkable woman, who spread happiness and beauty through her talented finger tips.
Too many times, we wait to celebrate people’s lives after they are gone. I am confident that I sucked the marrow out of this relationship and forever will feel grateful that I was gifted such a stellar grandparent.
When I relearn how to read sheet music, followed by how to play the tunes of her favorite songs,  I will musically continue to rejoice her life and the life I sweetly remember.
four generations

Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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An Ode To Generation X


With all the hype focused on the millennials, I felt an obvious urge to celebrate a generation of people who have paved the way for positive global growth and awareness, who have given back on so many levels, and are still quietly kicking some real ass…

Growing up:

Skateboards were used as toboggans to zoom down neighborhood hills.

Legos needed no instruction books as our imagination was our guide.


Kick the can and kick ball games could fill evening dusts.

Wrist devices weren’t needed to measure our heart rate as our heavy breath and sweaty brows were a measurable gage.

Atari, featuring, Mario Brothers, Pac Man, and Archanoid could only be starting stimulators as the outdoors was calling us to play.

We created clubs and societies, our’s being, The Falangies, where we would meet on a giant boulder in a deserted col-du-sac and pretend to be the Goonies.

We made mix tapes to express our deep crushes and affection.


And air guitar was a real activity because MTV actually featured cutting edge music videos.

1980 MTV Logo

We grew up and put in our time– as nothing trumps experience!

We realize the art of a hand written letter is a powerful gesture.

We rocked our fashion with fervor and it is constantly being reinvented.

We gapped the bridge between the baby groomers who treat technology like it has feelings and the Millennials where it is their life line.

We understand the strength of hand shakes and eye contact, as a source of trust and connection, not a burden.

We ignited momentum in gay equality, advancing transgender to become a house hold conversation.

We unconsciously spread racial diversity by sporting the original “United Colors” Benetton jersey.


Our movies were classically refreshingly and under 100 minutes.

We were shaped by an innocent era; Adapted and now thrive in a more complicated future.

We are authentically diverse, spiritually aware and forever a generation I am proud to call my own…

Generation X








Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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UPPAbaby and Away


Since I was a child, Sunday was a fun day…

We would leave in the morning and do something cultural, depending on the season; classes at the Boston Science Museum, visits to Plimouth Plantation or clamming on Nantasket beach.  Then, the day would be wrapped up with a tasty dinner.
The Bourne Explorer
Sure enough right before departure, I would stumble to the bottom of the stairs with bags filled with extra clothing, coloring books, note pads, a box of Legos, my matte (blanket), natural fruit roll ups, and occasionally my butterfly holder…
I think my parents gave up the fight and just accepted that this was me…
Flash forward to the past decade, I have become a true “bag lady” hauling an oversized satchel full of my gym clothes, my notepads and usually several bags of ingredients from various specialty food markets (I food shop like an old Italian Nonna) around the city.
Model baby
And then I had a baby and the best thing happened– I bought a stroller and it has changed my life. I can leave for hours and be totally prepared for any situation, weather condition or mood change, beaming me into a few extra hours out and about.
I can bring an extra jacket, tuck in an oversized umbrella, even have optionality starting the day off with a rimmed hat and end throwing on a beanie for warmth…I have mastered the art of packing Sunny’s diaper bag (whatever you think you need–double it).
Now my fresh flowers and groceries conveniently fit under the seat and I never have to shlep anything on my shoulders.
It is like my magic carpet for my daily adventures. The stroller allows me to create my itinerary with no restrictions. Anything is possible! I joke that I will always have a stroller with me even when I don’t have babies anymore 😉  UPPAbaby, thank you!

Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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The Constant Evolve

IMG_2265   Around the holiday season, I start to reflect upon my year. The decisions I have made, the results that evolved, the moments that butterflied into memories, and the decisions I once would refer to as mishaps or mistakes but– (I am no longer using those words)… As we roll into the dawn of 2016, it will nearly be my 5th year anniversary of the Bourne Explorer launch. It has been such a ride—so far. I have interviewed colorful characters and entrepreneurs whom I have met along my travels, developed, tested and photographed hundreds of original recipes, and shared travel journeys and tips in my own quirky prose. ingredients berlyn4 IMG_0445But, what I love most about something that doesn’t have an expiration date—Is its constant ability to evolve. I have a bundle of fresh ideas that were jotted in notebooks and are ready to come to life. When a public diary has longevity it has the capability of growth and abundance and on the contrary times of silence and reflection.   So thanks for being part of the journey thus far–because there is a lot more to come…IMG_3750
And for those who don’t know I became a mom to a beautiful baby girl this summer, Sunny Bea…

Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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