Getting (and Staying) Healthy: Finding What Works for You

I know you all must be tired of this topic … and I’m probably beating a really dead horse, but I just can’t seem to help myself. The health and weight loss battle has been a practically life-long struggle for me, and I’m sure many of you too. And maybe that’s why I keep coming back to it – it’s important to me and it also seems to resonate with so many of you. 

My goal in all of this isn’t to tell you what you should do, but rather inspire you to commit to doing SOMETHING. To finding your own path and whatever works best for you.

Trying Something New in the Kitchen: Instant Pot Carrot Parsnip Soup

Everyone is talking about the Instant Pot. A pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and vegetable steamer all in one, this was evidently one of Amazon’s best selling items this holiday season … and it’s the best-selling kitchen item in the U.S. and worldwide! 

As you know, I love to cook, so after hearing all the talk, I was intrigued. I gave one to PLANK editor Mandy for Christmas, and crossed my fingers that Santa would have one for me under the tree. Thankfully, he read my list!

Skin Care Health: Don’t Stick Your Head in the Sand

Many years ago, I was waiting to get my hair cut and looking through Good Housekeeping magazine when I came across an article on skin cancer. I didn’t really think at the time it would have anything to do with me, but I had time to kill waiting for my appointment, so I read it.

I grew up on the beaches of Southern California before sun block was a given, and looking at the pictures they showed in the article, I thought “hey, I think I might have one of these pre-skin caners they’re talking about.”

So I made an appointment with a recommended dermatologist. She put a magnifying glasses on my face and marked the spots on my forehead and lip that she thought were of concern. Then, she gave me a type of Chemotheropy cream and told me to use it for a month and then switch to Aquaphor healing ointment.  Magic!

Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

Pie isn’t the only way I use apples …

There aren’t many cold days here in Southern California, but when we are lucky enough to have an appropriately cold holiday or special occasion, I love to make a warm bread pudding. And this is one of my favorite recipes. It’s long and looks harder than it is … but give it a try, it’s relatively easy and it is so amazing!

Brothers: A story of love, honesty and being true to one’s self

We are very fortunate to have a very close group of friends with whom we’ve raised our children. There are 10 adults and our collective children add up to 10 more. 

Our babies! My Katie & Matt, here with the children of our closest friends. 

When they were all very young, we would get together at our different homes for BBQ’s – us parents would all have our margaritas going and the kids would all run free, playing together. And, when it was time to say goodbye, if at least one kid was crying because they didn’t want to leave, I felt it was a huge success. 

Christmas Decorating: Simple Tips for a Beautiful Holiday Home

I love decorating for the holidays, and I love seeing what others have done. I was especially excited to see what my friend Kelly, who you all met a few blogs ago, would do to her beautiful home. And boy, she did not disappoint!!

Christmas Decorating

by Kelly Wilkniss


It started with a fateful knock on the door and a single question…”who is your designer“?

White farmhouse porch

I am the designer. Mary Beth was the knocker.

Since that day, friendships developed, tours have been taken, videos made and now, I have the honor of guest posting on PLANK!

I am Kelly ~ the knock-ee. My blog is My Soulful Home. I host Decorating Tips & Tricks ~ the podcast, my book is My Soulful Home ~ a year in flowers and I co-created the app ~ bHome.

Finding (and Maintaining) Balance

Funny things have come from writing this blog … observations. Little things here or there that spark an idea and I think “I need to tuck that away” for future topics. Obviously writing them down would be helpful and probably more productive, but nevertheless, some things keep reappearing in my conscience, and I know it’s something I should talk about. This week, that’s balance … the physical kind. 

As those of you who read PLANK know, I, probably like most of you, wave in and out of my commitment to health and fitness. But, as I get older, I see all around me how important it is. Even though I lose my way sometimes, I always manage to find my way back. Now in my 50s (best decade so far!), I find that everything goes to crap pretty fast. But, if I commit to eating right and, more importantly, EXERCISING as many days a week as I can, I can pull it back from the edge.