From the category archives:

Book Club

Book Club and Puppy Love

by jenn on August 29, 2010

in Book Club,Dogs

Emmett Painting by Matthew Lee

(Painting of my dog Emmett by my 12-year old nephew Matthew Lee)

This afternoon I hosted book club at my house (we’re on year eight!) and we enjoyed a lovely lunch in my backyard. I always enjoy catching up with my friends and indulging in yummy food. My pick this round was The Art of Racing in the Rain. This endearing tale is narrated by a dog named Enzo and I found the book to be surprisingly spiritual. I chose it because I couldn’t resist the cute little video of Enzo the dog on the Amazon page. I’m a total sucker for dog stories. I remember crying in my sixth grade classroom as our teacher read us Where the Red Fern Grows.

For my birthday earlier this month, my brother got me the movie Hachi. He had seen it on a plane and had a feeling I’d enjoy it as much as he did (and he’s not even really a dog person). The story is so touching that I went through a whole lotta tissue watching this one and even woke up with puffy eyes!

And the other day I watched this episode of Underdog to Wonderdog about an amazing dog named Faith. I got teary within the first few minutes of watching this heartwarming pup.

Like I said, I’m a total sucker for dog stories.

Dogs give such unconditional love and are so present. They teach us how to be better human beings (check out Eckhart Tolle’s Guardians of Being for simple, inspiring reminders from our four-legged friends).

My pup Emmett is getting on in years, which made reading Enzo’s story that much more tender for me. But of course, Emmett has no idea how old he is! In fact, he got himself into trouble tonight by breaking yet another plate that fell from the counter as he tried to lick it. Guess he wanted to enjoy some of the delicious book club leftovers, too!



On Sunday, I enjoyed book club with my dear friends.  We should probably call it food club, though, since the incredible meals tend to overshadow the book discussion.  And with delicious food like this, who could blame us?!

Our book selection this time was the Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I enjoyed the book and how it unfolded over correspondence.

Ahh, but enough talk of the book and on to the food… For appetizers, Christina made a fancy version of Scottish eggs (a quail egg rolled in chicken sausage and breadcrumbs and then fried to a yummy crisp).  They were amazing!!


Our main dish was this scrumptiously rich dover sole stuffed with crab and shrimp.


And here’s the ultra-talented chef, Christina!  Thank you, Christina for working your culinary magic.  I love getting to hang out with the book club ladies!  I’m guaranteed good laughs, great food and a grand old time.


exploding box

Today’s creation: the “exploding box.”  After seeing my Unfolding Your Life Vision collage books and my collaged dream boxes, a lady launcher made me one of these surprising structures since she knew I would appreciate it.  I love how the box is simple yet complex. And that it unfolds!

I tried to follow a pattern that I found online.  However, I don’t do so well with measurements and instructions, so I ended up just reverse engineering it from the one I already had.

exploding box

I haven’t figured out yet how I want to decorate the inside pages.  I might play with seasons, directions, elements and/or stages of my life.  I’ll save that for another AEDM post!  What fun!

Speaking of fun, I had my friends over for book club this afternoon.  We dined outside in the warm sun and chatted a bit about Jodi Picoult’s page-turner My Sister’s Keeper, but mostly we just gabbed.  I love the excuse to get together and catch up.

P.S. – Some of you have asked for instructions to make an exploding box.  I found another link that looks like it makes more sense than the one I tried to use, so check out these directions.

P.P.S – Here’s a link to my finished Year-in-Review exploding box.


Empanadas of My Soul

by jenn on September 14, 2008

in Book Club,Food,Friends

Kristen’s book club selection was Isabel Allende’s sweeping historic novel Ines of My Soul.  I was engrossed by this tale of the strong and independent Spanish conquistadora who is said to have helped build Santiago, Chile.  In the story, Ines has a talent for making empanadas.

Since we book club ladies love our themed meals it was a great excuse for Francisca’s famous empanadas (from her mom Ines’ secret recipe).  With rolling pin in hand, Francisca gave us a lesson in how to assemble these savory treats.

We learned how to fold and seal the dough to keep the spicy goodness from seeping out.  We crimped the edges with a fork and coated the pastry with a glistening egg wash.

We dined on a cheese platter and fresh tomato salad with red onions and cilantro as the emapanadas cooked to a golden brown.  I can’t tell you how utterly amazing these empanadas were.  We each took home a few and I am looking forward to eating one tomorrow!

Some of my favorite book clubs have been when we do something interactive together like practicing yoga, teaching each other how to knit or sharing our creative projects.

It’s my turn next!  What suggestions do you have for a great read?  Would love to hear.  Thanks!

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Our book club pick for this round was artist Beatrice Wood’s autobiography, “I Shock Myself.” Francisca dished up a delicious bohemian spread of lentils, quinoa, beets, salad, pita bread, hummus and all sorts of other goodies. Christina picked tangerines from the tree.

As an homage to the creative process, Francisca asked us each to bring pieces we’ve been working on. Christina, Francisca and I shared some knitting, Kristen brought photos and of course Lily brought her latest creation…


… Jacob whom we all met for the first time.


We are on our seventh year of our book club. And even though we hardly talk about the books, we know it’s more about just spending time together laughing, eating, enjoying each other’s company and…


just being silly together (Francisca and I sporting our “Blue Steel” Zoolander poses).

Ahhhh, another perfect book club afternoon!


Friday Night Knitting Club – AEDM Day 16

November 17, 2007

Just returned home from a late night at book club. Another gathering filled with fun, laughter and good food. Our book this time was The Friday Night Knitting Club so as an homage to the book, we met on Friday night, Christina cooked a meal of delicious vegetable lasagna (per a scene in the book) […]

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Eat, Pray, Love…. Repeat

July 21, 2007

Friends. Food. Fun. What could be better on a gorgeous, warm and sunny San Francisco afternoon? The book club ladies (sans Francisca) gathered at Kristen’s house in the Sunset to revel in Elizabeth Gilbert’s fantastic memoir “Eat, Pray, Love.” While discussing the author’s personal pilgrimage through Italy, India and Indonesia to find her true self, […]

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Book Club: Yoga Mamas

June 3, 2007

It’s hard to believe that my book club back from my Gap days is still going strong after nearly six years! We five friends always enjoy delicious food, side-splitting laughs (especially around dessert time) and fun conversation (we try to get some discussion about the reading, but mostly just gab)! I’ve really enjoyed watching our […]

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