Healthy juices & smoothies and Gypsy Cuisine– The Daily Meal recipe round-up!

In case you were wondering about juice cleanses, smoothies for energy, making healthy drinks exciting and tasty, and Romani (Gypsy) cuisine, here are The Daily Meal articles I wrote over the summer. I notice that I create a lot more (and better) and I am a whole lot happier when I’m taking good care of myself. I hope these make you feel good!

Recipes and Articles

How to Eat Like a Real ‘Gypsy’” in The Daily Meal



“10 Ways to Make Health Drinks Less Boring” in The Daily Meal

“10 Smoothies for All-Day Energy” in The Daily Meal


“10 Reasons to Try a Juice Cleanse” in The Daily Meal

“10 Ways to Do a Juice Cleanse Healthily” in The Daily Meal


If you want more, cruise The Daily Meal or check out my Pinterest board


My love letter to “Political Punch” and Gypsy poems

I don’t know if you read Juan Vidal’s NPR essay “Where Have All The Poets Gone?”— it’s a smart, well-intentioned lament of the lack of American political poetry since the Beat Poets. Many readers, myself included, respectfully and optimistically disagree. Perhaps, since all of the poets he mentioned were white men, Vidal’s scope was too small, because it seems to me that political poetry is thriving on the voices of the systemically oppressed rising-up. But I think Vidal and I both agree where it really counts– we need more political poetry in America and we need more people to read it and care.
In response to Vidal’s essay, Fox Frazier-Foley curated “Political Punch.” It’s a week-long series of diverse American political poets, featured at The The Poetry Blog in The Infoxicated Corner. The poets included thus far are CA Conrad with a poem about LGBT representation, Anne Barngrover with a poem about the rape of Daisy Buchanon, and Christopher Soto (aka Loma) with a poem about the need to revolutionize the prison system. These poets, whom I am honored to be listed among, are a reflection of the many types of poets who write their art and politics, who speak up, shake it up, and rise up. Vidal, by the way, has been very supportive of the endeavor and extremely kind.
Here’s the link to my Opre Roma-style political poems “Murder and Tradition” and “Transfiguration of the Black Madonna” “Murder and Tradition” is inspired by real events that transpired in Italy— Roma girls Violetta and Cristina really did drown, and that camp really was torched– it’s all too terrible. And I wrote “Transfiguration” at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Yoga and Writing Retreat, so all those craft talks, workshops, and inspiration exercises paid-off! It’s about the Romani Goddess/Saint Sarah (Kali Sara), and the non-Roma’s mythology of the Romani people. Click here for more about the Romani Goddess.
Picture taken by Sarah Sullivan during a Quail Bell Gypsy fashion shoot

Picture taken by Sarah Sullivan during a Quail Bell photo tale shoot for “Free Spirits”


August 20 – Bon Voyage, Mes Amis!

Cambridge Writers' Workshop

August 20 marked the very last day of the 2014 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Yoga & Writing Retreat at the Château de Verderonne.  The day started early for me at 5:30 am with me bidding adieu to our wonderful and talented intern, Meghan Tilley, as she when to catch her flight at Charles de Gaulle Airport.  By 8 am, all of our terrific writers, artists, and yoga-philes sat down at the great table in the Château de Verderonne hunting lodge to have one last breakfast together.  Our writers would be returning home to the US, the Philippines, the UK, and Germany after this all-too-short and productive retreat.  Breakfast was bittersweet as we all said our fond farewells, exchanged emails, and promised to keep in touch with our writing partners and workshop groups.  We chose November 20 as our first post-retreat rendez-vous date when all of our 2014 retreat participants would meet…

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Beat the block Southeast Review style

I like to do these little posts about beating writer’s block because writer’s block is bullshit. Right? Just write. But, it’s also a thing, and a thing I struggle with a lot, even though I supposedly love writing and have worked my ass off to do this whole writing professionally business, and it’s basically all I think about. That and puppies, and smoothies, and magic.

Here are some of my favorite ways to beat writer’s block, SER edition:

1. Visual art! The Surrealists did it, and before them the Romantics, and before them frickin’ everyone did it. Go to a museum, surf the web, make some art yourself, and check out The Southeast Review Vol 32.2 because we have two killer-great artists– Lita Cabellut and Dmitry Borshch. Both artists completely astound and inspire me. Cabellut is something of a personal hero– she’s a Romani (Gypsy) painter from Spain and her work haunts my dreams in a good way. And Borshch is one of the most striking and unusual illustrators I’ve come across in some time– his designs spring from Russian stories and some great place of blue ink creation. We’re proud to feature interviews with both artists.


2. Read other people’s work! One of the best ways to find out what’s new and exciting in the literary world is to read more literary journals. You can drink your fill of art for free on ezines and electronic journals, but don’t forget to show your print journals some love, too. When you subscribe or order an issue, it keeps the art and the industry alive.

3. Writing prompts! The Southeast Review does these Writing Regimen packets a few times a year, and it’s a fantastic writer’s block cure, full of prompts, craft tips, and inspirational tidbits to keep your mind spinning, inspiration flowing, and words coming. All the good gerunds. The next round starts OCTOBER 1ST! Yes!

The Southeast Review Writing Regimen is for poets, essayists, and fiction writers who want to produce a body of work by introducing structure to their writing life, and, at the same time, finding new and innovative ways to approach their craft.

Sign up for The Southeast Review Writing Regimen and you will get the following:

  • daily writing prompts, applicable for any genre, emailed directly to you for 30DAYS! Use these to write a poem a day for 30 days, to create 30 short-short stories, or to give flesh to stories, personal essays, novels, and memoirs
  • a daily reading-writing exercise, where we inspire you with a short passage from the books we’re reading and get you started writing something of your own
  • A Riff Word of the Day, a Podcast of the Day from an editor, writer, or poet, and a Quote of the Day from a famous writer on writing

  • Flashback Bonus Craft Talks, where, as a little something extra, we repeat an earlier regimen’s craft talks from more writing heavyweights

  • weekly messages from established poets and writers—including tips and warnings on both the craft and the business of writing

  • a FREE copy of a current or classic back issue of The Southeast Review, featuring interviews, poetry, nonfiction, and fiction that will knock your socks off!

  • a chance to have your work published on our site.  Read the winning entry from our most recent Writer’s Regimen contest in June, “Vaquera” by Kim Henderson

  • access to our online literary companion——for interviews with up-and-coming and established poets, fiction writers, and memoirists, podcasts of readings from the Warehouse Reading Series, including such writers as Ann Patchett, Jennifer Knox, Matthew Zapruder, Barry Hannah, . . . as well as essays on the reading life of writers, book picks, web picks, and much more . . .”

So that’s all pretty great, and all are SER inspired to celebrate the birth of Vol. 32.2. I couldn’t be more excited.

Keep writing, friends.

Posing with a book of Shelley many years ago at Hollins University, my alma mater

Posing with a book of Shelley many years ago at Hollins University, my alma mater

Gypsy in Paris: novel research and Jazz Manouche at L’atelier Charonne in Quail Bell Magazine

I’m so excited that my Paris Gypsy Jazz bar travelogue is in Quail Bell Magazine. I just came back from a fantastic work/play adventure that began in the much re-blogged Cambridge Writers’ Workshop‘s infamous Yoga and Writing Retreat at the Château de Verderonne in Picardy, France, at which I was both a participant and a visiting professor. That then transitioned beautifully into about a week of solo research in Paris. The only way I could think to express this experience was sampling my journal, gushing over the most wonderful little Gypsy Jazz bar, L’atelier Charonne, and putting in a little Paris-photo gallery for this little piece. I know I can’t do it justice, but it was nice to take a shot at it. I was also lucky to see a bunch of friends in France– Gina La Piana, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko, the CWW femme fatales Diana Norma Szokolyai, Rita Banerjee, and Elissa Joi Lewis, and my darling gorgeous college friend Tessa Chaillou, her awesome husband Arthur, and their beautiful son Christian. 

I’ll put a few more bonus photos in this post, but all the good stuff is over at Quail Bell Magazine. Hopefully the novel will be better for it. I know I am.

Feast your eyes on the staircase from the Gustave Moreau Museum, various parks, street art, the lighting section of a French department store, the liberation anniversary parade, bitchy resting face with Tessa, a pug, potato chips and champagne with Gina a la Marilyn Monroe, and a hat I liked in a couch I loved in Chantilly. 

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August 18th– watercolors and workshop at the Château de Verderonne

Cambridge Writers' Workshop

After our morning yoga, Elissa treated us to a watercolor class to teach us to paint the château, but the rain had other plans. So we worked on color blending in the blue salon, under the gaze of the plaster unicorn head mounted to the wall like a prize, until the sun peered out. We want to control the water-paint ratio! Not you, Nature!

We started indoors until the weather sorted itself out Water, water everywhere: we started indoors until the weather sorted itself out Christine has an impressive array of paints! The color wheel: Christina has an impressive array of paints! Mixing colors like pros Color theory: mixing colors like pros

Before everyone settled in though, I had this moment with a butterfly who landed on the table to die, or rest in piece.

The butterfly between states The butterfly between states

Luckily the rain stopped just in-time. The sky wasn’t perfectly clear, but the looming clouds cast a writerly mood over the grounds and our paintings– pensive, reflective, and changeable. Elissa showed…

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