One Week In (reflections on Whole 30 and stuff)


I don’t believe in detoxing from sugar. While I think that it’s possible to consume too much of it with deleterious effects on your body, I think that “detoxing” suggests dependency and addiction. There’s also a mystical component to it that classifies food in the same category as a toxin, and I just don’t subscribe to that line of thinking.

I also don’t believe in “cleanses.” We have livers and kidneys and small intestines for a reason. Their primary function is to cleanse our system of the things it doesn’t need. To quote my doctor, “anything that makes you poop is a cleanse.” And, again, the valence of the word “cleanse” within the context of eating suggests that if you’re not eating these things, you’re eating dirty, impure, or unpleasant things. I don’t subscribe to this school of thought, either.

I do believe in balance and mindfulness.

Eating (mostly) Whole 30 for the past week has made me more mindful of what I’m putting in my mouth. I lost about 5 pounds this week (I was up a little on Monday morning due to weekend indulgences). I ate lots of lean protein, a crapton of veggies and fruit, and more cashews than I thought would be possible. I took in very little sugar and dairy (basically enough to make my coffee palatable), swapped out diet sodas for hot tea and sparkling water, and ate wheat (a tortilla) once. As of this writing, it’s been a week since I had a Coke Zero or a Fresca (both of which I would consume once daily) and I haven’t missed them at all.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much bread I ate before adopting a Whole 30-forward diet: grazing on Goldfish, pretzels, cheez-its, ritz crackers (usually upon arriving home with the kids in the evening and shoveling something in while getting dinner ready), pasta nights with soft French bread and butter on the side. Cereal or toast for breakfast. Snack bars in the afternoons. Ice cream bars at night. My processed carbohydrate consumption was out. of. control.

Other pros of Whole 30: the leftovers get used, mostly by me. I repurposed last week’s turkey taco meat into taco salad, and made breakfast out of the chicken verde. It feels good to be wasting less food.

Cons: It’s so much meat, and it’s so much cooking. Now, I do a lot of cooking during the week, but holy cow, is this a lot of cooking and prep. How would someone with an inflexible schedule (say, an 8-5 job, kids with extracurriculars, etc.) manage this? But mostly? It’s too much meat. I know that the preferred meats in this plan are grass-fed, organic lean meats, and I reckon I could go source that at the farmers market, but the price goes up exponentially. And I can’t, in good conscience, eat (and feed my family) feedlot meat 5-6 nights a week. It’s bad for our bodies, it’s bad for the environment, and it’s cruel to the animals. (We drove past a feedlot outside El Paso back in December and OMG, not only did it go on for MILES — there were stacks on stacks of cows crammed in these pens, and the ones that were sitting were doing so in muddy sludge — it REEKED. I was gagging at the fetid ammonia smell, something I don’t want to associate with a steak or a burger.)

So, in short, I’ve decided that strict adherence to Whole30 isn’t for me (but I kinda knew that going in). But I can feel that my body likes this healthier regimen of heaps and heaps of fruit and veg, fewer processed carbs (no more than one serving per day), NO DIET SODAS (it’s been 10 DAYS!!!!), and drastically fewer sweets (one serving per week, and not a slice of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, but like, a cookie). This is a way of eating that feels right for me, from a food-consumption standpoint, a quality of life standpoint, and an ethical consumption standpoint.

So, without any further super-privileged navel-gazing about my food choices (just last night I told the BK, who was kvetching about dinner, to think about the kids at his school who wouldn’t have a yummy dinner, so it’s rather ironic that I spend so much time fussing over and analyzing what I eat), here’s our menu plan for the week.

IMG_5397

Sunday: Baked chicken with spinach and artichokes (This was not very good, I thought. The chicken, while tender and juicy, wanted more seasoning, and the three tablespoons of fat made for greasy, greasy vegetables. Not an ideal combination.)

Monday: Steak, broccoli, roasted potatoes (This didn’t happen, as the husband was sick and working late and I didn’t want the meat, so I had a salad, while the kids had mac and cheese.)

Tuesday: Arugula with roasted salmon and potatoes  Just gonna keep the salmon in the freezer and have the steak tonight instead.

Wednesday: Veggie frittata with spinach and peppers (blessed, blessed meatless dinner!)

Thursday: TBD (it’s the night of our school spelling bee, and I’m the coordinator/emcee/pronouncer/judge)

Friday: Tacos (with shells for the family, taco salad for me)

Saturday: Historically our dining-out night. So, we’ll see!

Lunches will consist of salads topped with lean protein, mostly. I’ve got a cache of boiled eggs prepped for the week.

Breakfast will alternate between egg-centric whatevers, Rip’s Big Bowl with unsweetened almond milk, and chicken sausage with fruit on the side.

Starting With Food (On Whole 30 + meal plan)


I’ve been curious about Whole30 for a little while now; my dad adopted a modified Whole30 diet early in 2014 and by summer had lost nearly 50 pounds. I’ve been fairly successful with Weight Watchers, but I decided that I need to be a little less sloppy, more disciplined, with my food intake. My friend C did a Whole30 back in the fall and I enjoyed seeing her posts on Instagram, detailing her meals on the program. My ears perked up when, at the end of the 30 days, she’d lost something like 13 pounds.

I’m now 42 and really need to quit messing around and lose about 40 more pounds (I lost 18 in 2014). I have a family history of cancer (breast, spinal, multiple myeloma — all fatal), high blood pressure, and so on. I joke sometimes and say that I want to lose weight so that I can live forever, but the truth is that while I do want to live to watch my grandkids grow upI want to be healthy while doing it.

keep-calm-whole30-pinterest

So, starting Monday, I’m kickstarting better habits by doing my first Whole30. I’m a little nervous about the black coffee (sweet, creamy coffee is pretty much why I get out of bed in the morning), but I’m willing to sacrifice now for the greater good, so to speak. I think I can go a month without cookies and treats and the occasional glass of wine — the objective is to reboot my intake and build healthier habits from there. I do not, however, see myself going full paleo.

I’ve worked out a meal plan for the coming week and listed it below. The Whole30/paleo folks sure do like their meat, where I try to limit my intake of animal protein to no more than one meal per day. This will make breakfasts difficult, and I reckon I’ll be sick of almond butter and Larabars come Feb. 5.

I welcome any recipes, tips, and reminiscences of your own Whole30s. Let the healing begin!

goodgifhunting1

Sunday: Posole (not W30 compliant with the hominy, but I’m officially starting on Monday)

Monday: Sauteed shrimp and veggies

Tuesday: Balsamic pork roast (with compliant subs for the honey and worcestershire sauce), sauteed spinach, roasted potatoes

Wednesday: Turkey lettuce wraps

Thursday: Salsa verde chicken, roasted plantains (the rest of the family will probably have tacos or rice), salad

Friday: Thai crunch salad (will have to make a few adjustments to make this W30 compliant)

Saturday: If we stay in, we’ll have steak, potatoes, and something green. If we go out (we might go see the Hobbit), I’ll probably get salad.

Breakfasts will be some balancing act of fruits + almond butter, egg somethings, and fruit + Larabars. Lunches will be mason jar salads, most likely.

Book Notes: Delancey by Molly Wizenberg


Molly Wizenberg’s first memoir, A Homemade Life, was a revelation to me. I’d been reading Orangette for quite some time, so when the book came out, I gobbled it up like a slice of cake on cheat day. I found her depth of emotion and authenticity utterly breathtaking, and was so pleased to be able to meet her at BlogHer Food 2010, mere hours after finishing the book on the plane that got me there. She was very kind and approachable and let me pepper her with questions about food blogging and memoir writing (I was in the thick of dissertation research at the time) when she could have been socializing and enjoying cocktails with her cohort of famous food bloggers.

Delancey_cover

So, when Delancey came out earlier this year, Wizenberg’s account of opening a restaurant with her husband, I was eager to read it. I was intrigued by the language about how the process inspired “the first crisis of her young marriage.” While I was a little worried that it would be another Cleaving, I knew that the details would be far less salacious, and was confident that this would be another meaty, satisfying peek into the life of a gifted writer-turned-restaurateur.

You know how sometimes you make your coffee in the morning and even though you haven’t done anything differently — you scoop the same amount of beans in the grinder, smash ’em up, dump ’em into the coffeemaker, add the same amount of water you always do into the chamber — you somehow wind up with a thin, transparent brew that barely breaches the blood-brain barrier? You’ll choke it down but all the while you’re plotting your route to the nearest coffee shop after you drop off the kids at school? I felt that same frustration and disappointment when reading this book. It’s about 256 pages long and by page 100 I was wondering when it was going to get interesting.

It’s difficult for me to articulate exactly why this book left me cold. Maybe my expectations were too high. So much of what she shared in Homemade resonated so profoundly with me — the midwestern upbringing, losing a parent to cancer, an abiding love of Paris, a deep commitment to home cooking — it was practically genetically engineered to hit all of my identification receptors. But Delancey just didn’t sing for me. Maybe it’s because I have never opened a restaurant from scratch before and so I couldn’t identify. But I also feel like Wizenberg was holding back this time around. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read the first book, but I remember it being more open and genuine. In Delancey, she seems to be somewhat disconnected from the experience, holding it at arm’s length, perhaps to protect her family from the gory details?

Here’s an example of what I mean. Late in the book, her husband finally cracks under the pressure of midwifing a new restaurant into existence.

He didn’t get the privilege of saying that he didn’t want to do it anymore. I told him this, or something like it. I screamed. I remember him asking me over and over why I couldn’t understand, why I couldn’t just comfort him. (189)

Here is a critical moment in this couple’s relationship and the way it’s portrayed here is just … meh. Beige. We are told, not shown, and it’s like this for most of the book. It’s thin coffee with too much cream. On top of that, most of the recipes at the end of each “chapter” (many of the interludes barely qualify as chapters) don’t really reflect, amplify, or comment upon what has just transpired in the narrative. They’re merely ornamental, as though Wizenberg felt some imperative to include recipes because she’s a food blogger. (And we won’t even discuss the cameos by a certain food blogger and her husband; I’ll save my feelings about that for my book group discussion.)

For me, Delancey is maybe indicative of a tipping point for blogs-to-books, in that I wonder whether the blog-as-commodity is waning. (A good thing, in my opinion.) I feel like publishers are hoping to trade on a big name (as in the case with Delicious!) and a built-in fan base (as in this case) and are sacrificing depth in the process. Along the same lines, I really enjoy Mallory Ortberg’s Dirtbag Teddy Roosevelt and Dirtbag Zeus, but I don’t see myself buying Texts from Jane Eyre. In short, I don’t think it’s necessary to monetize every blog post on the internet. I think that there is really brilliant, moving work living on the internet and I think that, in the case of Delancey, it loses some of its color and life in the movement from online to print.

I’ve got lots of books on my To Read list. I’m currently reading My Brilliant Friend; what have you read recently that we can discuss here?

Book Notes: Delicious! by Ruth Reichl


Earlier this year, I swore to read a book a week over the course of 2014, a plan that failed spectacularly because, duh, I’m a slow reader who picks impossibly long books that couldn’t be finished inside of a week absent any semblance of a life or need for sleep. That said, I have read a LOT of books over the summer, including This Is Where I Leave You (LOVE — can’t wait for the movie!), Broken Harbor (LOVE), The Leftovers (ALSO LOVE), the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (LOVE, even though the author got a little up her own you-know-what in the final book), The Carriage House (DID NOT LOVE), Vampires in the Lemon Grove (MEHHHH, I am disappoint).

delicious

 

On our recent vacation to New Mexico, I devoured (to be clear: when I say “devour” as concerns this book, think of it as the literary equivalent of hate-f**king the fraternity brother who lives in your apartment building) Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. This is not a book that had been on my radar before a food-writing friend of mine alerted me (along with some other local food-writing women) to its existence and suggested that we get together and discuss it. So, I checked it out from the library and packed it along for the long drive to Santa Fe.

Let’s start with the good. We won’t be here long. I really like the way that Reichl drew a direct line from World War 2-era subsistence agriculture and foraging to contemporary notions of homesteading. Just like in Portlandia (“the dream of the 1890s is alive in Portland“), the dream of the 1940s is alive in Ohio … and Brooklyn, and Austin, and Omaha and so on. I also really appreciated when Reichl would demonstrate her deep knowledge of food, from the difference between winter and spring parmigiano to the various histories and uses of particular foods. That’s when her writing really sang in this novel; sadly, she would drop those lovely moments like hot potatoes in service to her hot mess of a narrative.

There is a LOT going on in this book. We’ve got the letters from a mysterious young woman to James Beard during WW2. We’ve got the death of an iconic food magazine (*cough*) and the obvious emotional trauma Reichl is working through via her surrogate(s) at said magazine. We’ve got the Underground Railroad, xenophobia against Italian-Americans, the post-WW2 “lavender scare,” and a mysterious back story and an obligatory love plot for Billie Breslin, the heroine. Reichl has embedded her novel with so many moving parts that she ends up under developing every single one of them, relying instead on tired tropes and stereotypes, down to the ugly-duckling-gets-a-makeover scene. Some people have suggested that Delicious! reads like a YA novel, but that would be an insult to YA fiction, much of which doesn’t insult its readership by telegraphing every plot development and tying up every single crappy narrative thread with an overwrought bow. 

Where was Reichl’s editor? Who was there to say, “Have you considered narrowing your focus a bit?” Or perhaps, “Have you considered fleshing out your characters a bit?” The love interest is so underwritten that Reichl might as well have just marched a cardboard cutout of Mr. Darcy into the scene for all the charisma he has.

And I’m not even mentioning the continuity and basic copyediting errors!

When my friends and I got together to discuss the book, we wondered whether it would have been published if it hadn’t had Reichl’s name on it. I seriously doubt it. I’m shocked it was published, period.

Next up: Delancey. I loved A Homemade Life, so Molly Wizenberg better not let me down!

 

Tansy #1 is complete!


Welp, it took me WAY longer than I’d anticipated (such is the way of the world when you’re teaching yourself graphic design AND a new program), but the first issue of TANSY is complete and ready to be shared with the world!!! This issue, based loosely on the theme of strawberries, contains some cool recipes (including a medieval recipe for stewed strawberries), flash fiction by my friend Jessi Cape, and ruminations on Strawberry Shortcake. Plus purity pictures, like this one: 

 

Photo by Lauren Walz

Photo by Lauren Walz

The zine is available in PDF ($2) and hard copy ($3.50). Leave a comment here if you’d like a copy and I’ll email you privately. Yay! 

Meal plan: Week of 8/24/14 (First week of school!)


 

Chicken yakisoba

Chicken yakisoba

It’s the first week of school! The BK starts fourth grade and the LK starts kinder, so big big BIG changes are afoot! The LK has a new collection of sassy dresses with animal prints, the BK has … a bunch of new Magic the Gathering cards, so we’re ready to rock! 

These nuggets started school today.

These nuggets started school today.

I figure, new school year = new energy to blog my meal plans, especially since we’re embarking on a new extracurricular regimen (fall baseball! ukelele lessons! gymnastics! painting! etc.!). As ever, I’m looking for a good balance of nutrition (so, veggie-forward), at least one vegetarian meal a week, Weight Watchers friendly for me, and yet still appeals to the kids. As such, here we go: 

Sunday: mac + cheese + chicken nuggets + grapes for the kids (per their request), passed apps dinner at Jacoby’s for the parents (by the way, we really liked Jacoby’s and will definitely be back for dinner, if not brunch and lunch. Think Contigo with southern comfort foods like pimento cheese, coconut cake with marshmallowy 7-minute frosting, and your East Texas grandma’s hobnail glass collection)

Monday: chicken yakisoba

Tuesday: shrimp + black bean tostadas

Wednesday: baked spinach and cheese ravioli + salad

Thursday: beef + broccoli, rice

Friday: dinner at our last Express game of the season

Saturday: pizza, maybe? 

What’s on your meal plan for the week?

Byte of Texas: The Inaugural Austin Food Blogger Alliance Conference


Next month, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance will hold its first-ever conference, Byte of Texas. This is a really, really big deal for a lot of reasons. Firstly, there isn’t an organization of food bloggers anything like what we’ve got going on with AFBA. In less than five years, this group has swelled to more than 150 members, has hosted several philanthropic events (including this summer’s Big Chill, benefiting Meals on Wheels), published a community cookbook, and is a powerhouse support system for writers and photographers who are passionate about food.

A sip of Texas (the Petey, my favorite cocktail at Salty Sow)

A sip of Texas (the Petey, my favorite cocktail at Salty Sow)

Thanks to the generosity of The Harvard Press and Bob’s Red Mill, the AFBA is able to offer conference scholarships for three lucky members. Here’s why I’d like to attend Byte of Texas:

  • It’s happening the weekend of my birthday, and any birthday weekend that involves thinking and talking and writing about food — not to mention eating good food — is a winning birthday weekend.
  • I’m excited to get inspiration for my blog, which tends to go fallow when I run out of ideas/time. (You may have noticed.)
  • Dinner at Salty Sow.
  • While the entire conference agenda is compelling, I’m particularly interested in the following panels:
    • conversation with Lisa Fain. I’ve long been a fan of Fain’s Homesick Texan blog, and was so happy to meet her at Foodways Texas this past spring (and to review her recent cookbook). She’s sort of become an ambassador for Texas food in the broader national conversation and for that I admire her.
    • Writing Texas Food Culture. Rachel Laudan is highly respected in these parts, and since my interests lie at the intersection of food and culture, this discussion has my name all over it.
    • Writing for Other Publications. I’m always looking for ideas and encouragement when it comes to pitching publications. We all have Achilles heels: pitching is mine.

So, there it is. Just the tip of the iceberg, really. And when you look at the agenda, you can see that there truly is something for everyone at this conference. Will I see you there?

Chef: More than just food


I was unable to attend the premiere screening of Chef at SXSW this year, much to my chagrin, so I’ve spent the ensuing two months on tenterhooks, waiting for it to open here in Austin (I was all set to see it when it opened in limited release on May 9, even going so far as to book a babysitter, but it didn’t open here until the 23rd).  So, once it opened here on the weekend, I got my butt in a seat as soon as was humanly possible. On the whole, I thought it was a very pleasant movie, if not a little formulaic. While many folks have mentioned the visceral delight of the food porn on display (which, frankly, I found a little distracting — Jon Favreau’s character makes this enormous, gorgeous meal alone in his apartment for no one, which made little sense to me. But it sure was pretty to look at!), I saw some other things going on as well, points of interest that I don’t think should be overlooked even though this film 100% capitalizes on this current food-obsessed cultural moment. _DSC9959.NEF There are very few things I find more delightful as a consumer of culture than watching Jon Favreau’s semi-autobiographical characters tear themselves down into a broken, ego-bruised mass, usually via an epic meltdown, then slowly rebuild from a place of abashed humility. The first time I saw Swingers, I couldn’t sit still while watching the answering machine scene; it made me so anxious, I was pacing back and forth in front of the TV saying, “no, no, please god no, don’t do that, just stop for the love of … he’s not going to stop, is he?” There is a similar meltdown in Chef, only his shame isn’t private — it’s viral. It’s through this mechanism that Favreau communicates his particular brand of vulnerability, one that provides a counterpoint to all the puffed-up masculinity on display in the rest of his celluloid life.

There’s no small amount of dick swinging in Chef, and the showdown between Carl Casper, whom we are to understand is a creative culinary mastermind, and Dustin Hoffman’s irascible, inflexible restaurant owner is but one particularly aggressive example. Carl’s banter with his loyal sous chef Martin (John Leguizamo) is simultaneously macho, semi-filthy, and respectful (the chemistry between the two actors is as refreshing as a watermelon paleta on a blazing summer’s day), and together they do the work of teaching Carl’s son, Percy (Emjay Anthony) the intricacies of being a man, from applying cornstarch to one’s “huevos” in humid climes to learning the hierarchy of the working world to the profound responsibility imbued in a chef’s knife. mmmmm And it’s that male-centric view that troubles this film. Typical of most Hollywood movies these days (I guess technically this is an indie? But it’s got Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson in it, so it can’t be THAT indie), there are women present, but only in relationship to the man and his needs. Por ejemplo, Johansson’s sultry sommelier serves only to warn Carl that the boss is coming, provide calm encouragement to spread his wings and fly, and moan lasciviously over a mouthful of pasta he’s prepared for her while she lounges on his bed. Inez (Sofia Vergara), Carl’s ex-wife, offers friendly support, encouragement, as well as gentle chiding when Carl lapses in his fatherly duties. As likable as Inez is, she’s something of a cypher. Why does she have that amazing house with the huge staff? Why does she have a publicist (brilliantly and skeevily played by Amy Sedaris)? We know nothing about Inez other than that she adores her son, clearly still cares deeply for Carl, and has a famous Cuban musician for a father. Put another way, the three women in the film are essentially there to reflect Carl back to himself in one way or another. (For a brilliant and devastating takedown of The Amazing Spider Man 2 along these same lines, check out Amanda Ann Klein’s “The Postfeminist Gift of Gwen Stacy [SPOILERS!!!])

In addition to the film’s “woman problem,” Favreau is blind to his economic privilege in telling this story. Despite the fact that Carl kvetches that he’s broke, he magically receives an apparently no-strings-attached truck from a Miami connection of Inez’s (she’s so useful like that!), then proceeds to max out his credit cards outfitting that truck to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention secure the appropriate permitting in each city they visit on their drive from Miami to LA, have startup cash to purchase ingredients (and beer and cigars). Yes, it’s a feel-good story about implementing your own creative vision in the interest of living your best life, but it was extremely difficult for me to suspend my disbelief when it came to Carl’s overnight success as a food truck operator.

But there are things that I appreciate in the film, too. People of color in the movie aren’t depicted as comic relief, they are the main characters. And I think that’s particularly interesting considering the dominant discourse of celebrity chefs, which tends to privilege white males. I like that Cuban food is the link to Carl’s identity and reignites his creative fire without any anxiety about being Other, and I also like that in each city he visits, he effortlessly crafts a hybrid sandwich reflecting that city’s culture (po’boys and beignets in New Orleans, brisket sliders in Austin). He embraces an easy fusion, a subtle argument for food as the vehicle for inclusiveness.

I also loved the role of social media in the film, particularly as it concerns Percy. It’s through his son that Carl discovers the possibility of connection — and the destructive power — of social networking. Percy, a digital native, negotiates the truck’s viral marketing and is instrumental in his father’s success. It’s also the boy’s technological savvy that helps Carl connect to his son — just as Carl teaches Percy how to be a man, Percy teaches Carl how to get out of his head and be of the world. While I am uncomfortable with the idea of my own son, who is close to Percy’s age, being so comfortable with how to talk to people on the internet (I require my son to turn off the chat function when he plays Minecraft, and he will not have an email address, Twitter account, Instagram, Facebook, etc until he’s a few years older), Chef makes the argument that parents should learn to stop worrying and love the bomb, so to speak, because on the other side of that worry is true connection.

Ultimately, Chef is an enjoyable narrative of a man’s quest to rediscover his creative voice. The theme of pursuing your own vision in service to a professional endeavor resonated with me deeply. I laughed frequently and heartily, and drooled obediently on cue at the food porn scenes. I just wish that the women had been more than just set dressing while the men were busy learning from one another.

Meal plan: Week of 5/18/14 – 5/24/14


Welp, last week’s menu was a rousing success in terms of getting back on plan, so this week I’m letting it ride. I’m so close to my 5% goal I can taste it, and it tastes a lot like Garden Vegetable Soup. It’s also going to be warm this week, so I’m working more salads into the rotation.

Mmmm...cheesesteak

Mmmm…cheesesteak

Sunday: Cheesesteaks (can’t be a monk every night!)

Monday: BBQ Chicken salad

Tuesday: Rainbow peanut noodles (I’m making brownies for book group and am going to try very hard not to eat any)

Wednesday: turkey lettuce wraps

Thursday: chickpea & sausage minestrone (this might not happen, as the BK has baseball practice — he made the All-Stars team again this year — and the LK and I will go see Michael Pollan speak)

Friday: Almond, berry & chicken spinach salad

Saturday: Memorial Day weekend begins! Dinner TBD.

 

Call for Submissions: Tansy, a foodlore zine


 

Tansy, or golden buttons.

Tansy, or golden buttons.

I’ve started a new passion project, Tansy, a foodlore zine. Please consider contributing! I’ve already gotten some great submissions (and ideas for submissions). The more voices we have, the richer the story will be!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Tansy, a new zine focused on representing people’s personal experiences with food, seeks submissions for its inaugural issue. Each quarterly issue will center on a specific food; we’re kicking things off with STRAWBERRY. Submit your memoirs, essays, fiction, poems, recipes, original line art/comics, photos (high resolution, please) to tansymag@gmail.com, along with a brief bio. Submission deadline is May 31, 2014. Please limit submissions to no more than 1500 words.

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