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Gardening doesn’t have to be hard to be awesome. Case in point: these gorgeous, colorful rhododendrons in containers on the porch, creating a big impact in about half an hour.

Easy Spring Porch Update with Monrovia Colorful Plants | Umami Girl

You guys. Here’s something. I am NOT a good gardener.

And yet. I love plants. I really do. Indoor, outdoor. You name it, I love it. And often, sadly, I kill it. When I do a gardening project, it needs to be foolproof. And because I don’t have the patience or skill to do a lot of gardening, it’s best if my projects make a big impact. This week, Monrovia made that super easy, even for me. Pretty, right?

Easy Spring Porch Update with Monrovia Colorful Plants | Umami Girl

Our house has a few porches. (An embarrassment of riches, I know.) At the moment, they could all use a little updating for spring and summer. Those in the know tend to enter via the side porch. But since the front porch is the first focal point for new visitors, I thought it made sense to kick off the season by making a big, colorful splash there. (more…)

In this summery take on the classic BLT, you’ll grill just about everything before assembling it into a satisfying sandwich. The whole process takes only six ingredients and 20 minutes, so fire up the grill whenever you like.

Grilled Everything Turkey BLATs | Umami Girl

A few months back I got together with The National Turkey Federation for some epic baked turkey meatball subs. You guys really liked those. I really liked those. But hey, it’s getting to be grilling season. And that’s a very good thing.

So today we’re firing up the grill. You’d be amazed how great grilled turkey can be. From tenderloin to thighs, cutlets and beyond, there are so many ways to make flavorful, good-for-you meals that are high in lean protein and essential nutrients. (You can find tons of great recipe ideas and nutrition facts right here.) (more…)

Looking for a breakfast in bed recipe for Mother’s Day that’s elegant yet easy enough for little hands? Prosciutto, brie and apricots on toasty baguette will make Mom happy. (Psst: also makes a fabulous, crowd-pleasing appetizer.)

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Bonne Maman | Umami Girl

Big thanks to our longtime favorite preserves brand Bonne Maman for sponsoring this post. Follow them on Instagram and Pinterest.

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Bonne Maman | Umami Girl

Just gonna put it out there that I can’t believe Mother’s Day is coming up so soon. How did that happen? Rhetorical question, to be sure, but our 12-year-old daughter has a theory. As a kid I remember time dragging on endlessly. The month between putting a certain blue backpack on my Christmas list and opening it by the tree was a grueling hundred and one years long. The last two weeks of school each year bled into eternity.

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Bonne Maman | Umami Girl

I don’t know whether it’s the fast pace of technological change, the over-scheduling, or just her old soul, but the 12 year old has not had the same experience at all. She processes time like a middle-aged adult: weeks and months fly by, faster all the time. And here’s the kind of theory that a pliable, youthful, slightly contrarian brain unleashes on a middle-aged experience:

What if time actually is speeding up, but everything else — including the units we use to measure time — is speeding up proportionally, so we don’t have any formal way of measuring the acceleration? Yet we’re human, and humans (especially the musicians among us, BTW) have an innate sense of time that’s perceptive enough to raise a red flag in the distance. We know enough about time speeding up to be unsettled by it, but not enough to really call it out.  (more…)

Made in France Made with Love | Umami Girl

Lots of things about my job don’t suck. Being my own boss lady (a.k.a. boss, I know). Working from home. Rocking a flexible if sometimes demanding schedule. Getting to express myself baaaaasically however I want on a thrice-weekly basis. (Yeah, I said it: thrice.) Here’s another, more recent development that also does not suck in the least: connecting with the French Ministry of Agriculture and five beautiful French brands, and receiving a veritable cascade of wines, butter and cheese from various regions of the country. Oh, hello, yes. I’d be happy to sign for those packages.

Made in France Made with Love | Umami Girl

Here’s what arrived at my front door last week. I really encourage you to click through to learn more about this suite of deliciousness. Some of the websites are beautiful, too.

I mean, come ON, right? I also got to start my day last week with a call from country code +33, which never hurts.

Let’s talk a little bit about these gorgeous products, all of which are available in the U.S., and some of which are totally new to me. (Let’s just say Whispering Angel, Le Châtelain, Président and I have been well acquainted for quite some time.) One caveat about the photos: I got a little too focused on putting pretty colors together and didn’t really honor the pairing suggestions visually, which wasn’t very French of me. In real life we tasted and enjoyed this abundance of riches all together, and yes, the Mas de Daumas Gassac red belongs with the paté de campagne that I bought at our local French market. (Yup, we have one of those now. Just gonna roll with it.) (more…)

Seagram's Gin Extra Dry Gin and Tonics | Umami Girl

The best days of my life include: Our wedding day (100% good). The days the girls were born (100% good and 100% insane). And…of course…the day I realized we didn’t have to go out on New Year’s Eve (100% reaching middle age at the age of like 25). I feel like we’re playing that game from Sesame Street where one of these things is not like the others. But that New Years revelation kicked off a whole adulthood’s worth of great nights at home with friends, which are almost always at least as fun as nights out on the town.

Seagram's Gin Extra Dry Gin and Tonics | Umami Girl

I’m all about casual entertaining the whole year round, and especially in spring and summer. We don’t even have a formal dining room, despite the fact that a year and a half after moving into this house, we still have an empty room that begs to be one. What we do have is porches to the max. And a favorite local sushi place. And Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin, which — to borrow a phrase from myself, if I may — simply begs to be gin and tonics.

Seagram's Gin Extra Dry Gin and Tonics | Umami Girl

I like Seagram’s for its all-American, down-to-earth vibe (and, not gonna lie, also for its Prohibition-era roots). It’s the perfect gin for smooth, mellow, 90-second gin and tonics to share with your BFF on an easy-breezy evening.  (more…)


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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