Amy Artisan

Family | Travel | Craft | Life | Books

Month: September 2014


As summer transitions to autumn…the morning & evening skies have been brilliant with the hues to match the leaves that are starting to turn…days are definitely shortening…long sleeves and hand knits are being readied for the new season…iced begins to give way to steaming in some beverages…in the midst of it all, these are some of the things that filled my September days…

The view one morning that had me heading to NJ

Reading…not a whole lot of progress since I shared books earlier in the month – time to dive into “my” stack of books & get them read…before you know it, Christmas will be here & that normally means a new stack of books in our family…at lunchtime today I heard a fascinating hour with the author of a new book – it has now been ordered & I may drop all other books to read it – indeed, I am very curious about the new book Curious

Listening…no new discoveries/acquisitions this month…just enjoying assorted faves from my collection…on a particularly frustrating day at work, a silly playlist from another project provided the absurdity to power me through the rest of the day and the tasks at hand…

Watching…finished out the Honorable Woman series…wrapped up the Under the Dome season…enjoying the first episodes of a couple of new shows: Madam Secretary, Scorpions…glad for the return of favorites including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The return of a Sunday afternoon routine...knitting & football!

The return of a Sunday afternoon routine…knitting & football!

Crafting…I restarted my Brewers Crackerjack scarf during the Packers home opener – I was overthinking the pattern before…now a simple 2 knit rows for each game – this makes for easy knitting while watching football…

Browsing…Pride & Prejudice tweeted by an author in advance of his new book release…another great installment of “It’s Aaron” where Aaron Rodgers spotlights charities that make an impact – this one will get you…

App-ing…I finally installed Timehop & have enjoyed chuckles as moments from years past have come back…using the Shutterfly Photo Story app on my iPad to build some memory books of recent adventures…

Cheering on Mercer @ VMI

Cheering on Mercer @ VMI

Cheering…This past Saturday was a gorgeous day for a road trip to VMI to cheer on Mercer Football! (Since they moved to the Southern Conference this year, this was the closest they were to PA) Nonstop full & intense sun beating down for the entire game means I’m dealing with quite a bit of sunburn. But it was very fun to be there to cheer on “the team” as they achieved their first SoCon win (& on the road, no less).

A favorite simple supper

A favorite simple supper

Cooking…my Mushroom Caviar was requested as the “what can I bring?” for a friend’s Labor Day cookout…My Brussels Sprouts hash is back in my rotation of quick meals…time to bring out the crockpot & get back into the routine of some of my fall favorites (chocolate chili, pulled pork, and more)…

Sipping…pumpkin & cinnamon are flavoring my coffee…iced peppermint green tea has been a thirst quencher

Signs of the seasons changing at the farm stand

Signs of the seasons changing at the farm stand

Noshing…great seafood while in FL…introducing a work colleague to Philly cheesesteak while he was in the office for a week…local apples make a great afternoon snack…

Treating…myself to a hot stone massage after a crazy couple of weeks!

Liberty + Vans = Awesome!

Liberty + Vans = Awesome!

Wearing…fun new kicks: classic Vans in a classic Liberty of London print – a perfect combination of California roots and a favorite stop in my London travels! They make jeans & a sports team polo on Fridays even more fun.

Seeing…a bit more clearly now with new specs. It had been way too long since I got new glasses – I’m please with the new “bolder” frames. (I’m sure they’ll be popping up in posts soon)

On the roads in September

On the roads in September

Traveling…a quick surprise trip to celebrate with WI family…a couple of days in Florida for a business meeting…700+ miles round trip in 1 day for the Mercer football game – so glad that I have a comfortable & efficient ride for trips like this!

Looking Ahead…October means time to see my girlies down in TX…November includes birthday celebrations & the family celebrating Thanksgiving here…

Morning sun on the changing leaves

Morning sun on the changing leaves

Linking up with Leigh Kramer for the monthly “What I’m Into” round-up. What are you into these days?

As the seasons change, are you embracing the return of pumpkin in food & drink? Do you cheer for any football teams? What TV shows (new or returning) are you enjoying?

Recently Read – September 2014

So, the library reading challenge ended weeks ago – I think I managed to log 12 (of their 25 goal) in the short, short “summer” they chose. My reading continues…and my stack of books continues to far outweigh the available reading time…

My plans for library book reading recently may have gotten ahead of myself and I’ve had to return several books without reading them…I need to figure out the right pace for requesting books & realize that 8 books out from the library at once just isn’t realistic for me these days.

As the seasons are starting to change & a whole slew of tv shows will be starting up, I’m reevaluating my approach to tv & reading…I want to be reading more & watching less…

browsing vintages kids books at the used bookstore in the Milwaukee airport

browsing vintages kids books at the used bookstore in the Milwaukee airport

From my August & September reads, a few highlights:

  • The Lincoln Myth by Steve Berry – The latest from a “new favorite” author – this installment of thriller + history + long buried secrets focuses on the legality of seceding from the US during the Civil War.
  • The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon – A book club read for the women’s growth network at work. A quick business parable read – it felt like it might have been trying too hard to have a similar feel to “Who Moved My Cheese?” – but it was a good reminder of the positive focus to have as you approach work and life.
  • Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (audio) – A quick listen – a breezy story of a washed out pro football player who is given “one last chance” with a team in Italy.
  • A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips (audio) – Captain Phillips’ memoir of his road to becoming a merchant marine & captain and then the detail of his days of capture and dramatic rescue while in command of the Maersk Alabama.
  • Bleachers by John Grisham (audio) – The story of a former high school football star who returns “home” as everyone gathers in vigil ahead of their legendary coach’s death.
  • No Easy Day by Mark Owen (audio) – A SEAL team member’s account of the Bin Laden raid. I chuckled as I heard him also talk about the rescue of Captain Phillips (see above) – a reminder of how connected things can be.
  • The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – I bought this quite a while ago for my Kindle & then it sat unread. I “picked it up” as my read for my “Meet me in Milwaukee” travel & quickly devoured it. Set in 1930s New York, the tale of young adults finding their way in life and love against the backdrop of life in the city never sleeps and in the midst of money and no money.
  •  The English Assassin by Daniel Silva – the 2nd in a series that I am working my way through…a big part of the storyline was around the art stolen from Jews in WWII – I think it’s time to read Monument Men now.
  • Black Flagged by Steven Konkoly – a free title via Book bub – first in a series – fast moving thriller that was a good travel read – a slightly different twist on the deep cover government agent & the attempt to leave that life behind.
  • Arnco by Ben Muse – another free Book Bub title – The “can I go home again” story of a best selling author experiencing a quarter-life crisis and returning to the small town in Georgia where he spent many happy moments at his Grandmother’s house while growing up and reconnecting with “the girl” of his childhood

What are you currently reading these days? As the seasons change, do you find your reading time increasing or decreasing?

Once again, linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for the Twitterature round-up. (And most likely adding to my to-be-read list as I check out other blogs…)

Beachfront Business

After my “kwik trip” to Wisconsin to celebrate Bre’s confirmation, I was home for just a few hours before heading back to the airport. As has been the case several times this year, a business trip ended up being scheduled right against a bit of fun. This time, my early Monday morning travel was to Florida – on Tuesday I was facilitating a workshop.


The hotel where our meeting was held included “beachfront” in the name and was very aptly named, the view from the balcony of my hotel truly was stunning…morning, noon and night! Needless to say, when in my room I spent a lot of time staring out the window or out on the balcony. At night, the gentle sound of the waves coming through the sliding glass door made for excellent sleep.


After a successful day on Tuesday, my goal for Wednesday morning was simple: be on the beach for sunrise. I am so glad that I did that! The 40 minutes I spent on the beach watching the sun, clouds & waves was so restorative – as the light started to emerge and play against the clouds and water my head was filled…with favorite verses, with lyrics to songs & hymns (morning has broken, anyone?), with reflections on the last couple of years since I made the decision to change jobs and relocate…In the midst of it all, I was thankful for the technology held in my hand that allowed me to capture pictures & even videos of the sunrise to share with dear ones far away.


Midday on Wednesday, it was time to leave the spectacular beachfront views and begin to journey home. As I drove back towards Orlando, I saw a sign for the Brevard County Stadium – a lightbulb went off that this was the home of the Brewers farm team: Brevard County Manatees. I had plenty of time before my flight so I took a 3 mile detour to the stadium. I walked around & snapped a few pictures to share with friends. Staff cars were in the parking lot so I found the main phone number & called. “Hi, I’m a Brewers fan in the area on a business trip – is it possible for me to stop in & get some Sea Cow Swag?” I was given instructions to take the elevator to their office & someone would meet me. In just a few minutes, we were in the team store (which was already torn down for the season) & I was picking up a couple of ball caps from the storage closet. All told, I maybe added 15 minutes to my time to get back to the airport – and now I have a fun new hat to add to the collection (sidenote: manatees have been a favorite animal since a 5th grade report on them – still have yet to see a live one up close…)

The workshop was a success…the beach views restorative…the baseball stop a fun serendipity! Once again, it was fun to work a bit of extra fun into a few road warrior days.

A Kwik Trip

This time last weekend, I was briefly in Wisconsin – yep, my 3rd visit to the WI family in 5 weeks. While each of the other trips was filled with planning & anticipation by all of us leading up to the weekend, this trip was a little different…only 1 person knew I was coming. Bre’s Confirmation was on Saturday afternoon and while we all wished I could join them for the weekend, with all the recent trips we assumed that wouldn’t happen…then, I found a good flight option and so a secret trip was planned.

A surprise Saturday morning journey

A surprise Saturday morning journey

I was on the 5:50 AM flight out of Philly on my way west. By 9:00 AM I was settling into my rental at the Milwaukee airport for the drive north. It was a beautiful Wisconsin Saturday for the drive that I have done so many times. Of course, a WI road trip included a stop at Kwik Trip – the new weekly Packers Player cup filled with diet Dew fueled the drive. The “never lost” GPS system from the car rental brought a chuckle – there was no need for it on a route that I know so well. Throughout the trek, I was staying in touch with my partner in crime with ETA updates & confirming if I was coming home or just showing up to the pizza party – the timing worked to come home before the lunchtime party.

Before long, I was home. I pulled into the driveway & walked into the garage & into the house just like I have done numerous times. Bre was in the doorway & the look on her face was priceless – she immediately asks her mom if the plan was that I was coming all along. Meanwhile, Vicki is around the corner & can’t yet see me. She quickly turns the corner & sees me – as her jaw drops. Surprise achieved! (Oh to have had the camera rolling) Hugs and laughter ensued as the boys came downstairs and saw I was there.

Celebrating Bre!

Celebrating Bre!

The afternoon was all about celebrating Bre! With Bre’s work schedule, the party was before the confirmation. Friends & family joined at a local restaurant for pizza and cake to celebrate. Late in the afternoon we all piled into the pews at church for her confirmation mass. After mass, a few pictures before Bre had to go to work.

After the confirmation festivities were over, we settled into our typical “time together” routine – it doesn’t take much to keep us entertained when we’re together. Saturday evening was just hanging out while watching some baseball and football and listening to a Mercer football game. Sunday was a lazy morning of deep conversation and then we headed to Green Bay for lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings before I needed to leave – since the Packers had already played, it didn’t dawn on us that it was opening Sunday of the football season and so BWW was loud & crowded. Then 20 hours & 45 minutes after I walked in the door to surprise them, we were saying goodbyes in the restaurant parking lot and it was time to drive down to Milwaukee and fly back to PA…I arrived home late Sunday night for a quick 7 hours before my next journey…

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