will the real you please stand up? {and an apple cider salad}

The other day my mom asked me if I would accompany her on a trip to the middle of nowhere north of LA (Los Angeles). I said sure.

Our mission was to deliver a beautiful custom quilt my mom spent countless hours perfecting for a new client. My mom's a quilter and has just started her own quilting business. 

Now quilting is not my world. I don’t get the joy of looking at fabrics and pairing it with stitching patterns or spending hours cutting out something only to sew it back together again, but let me tell you, it is a beautiful world and there are a lot of women in it.

Anyway, when we arrived to our destination (did you hear the waze voice just say that?) the cutest group of older ladies gathered around my mom’s work and were admiring it when one snarky lady busted her way through the middle of circle and put my mom on the spot. 

“Well I can see your work, but what’s you're background and experience? Are you an artist?” 

My mom hesitated a little and answered, “Well, I used to be a librarian.”

The lady scoffed. “Well a librarian is not an artist.” I could see my mom’s discomfort. I let her handle it even though I wanted to chime in and say, “Listen, my mom is more of an artist than ANY of you, you all suck, you hear?” but I didn’t. I bit my tongue. 

My mom gracefully teased her way out of an uncomfortable spot and by the end they were all laughing. 

On the way out my mom said, “Man! I should have said I was an artist. I should have said I’ve been sewing since I was 8 and have been operating a long arm* (*quilting term stuff) for over 10 years, but I didn’t know what to say, so I said I was a librarian, which I’m not even that anymore! - it’s just that was my last paying job - dang it, I should have said I was an artist and a quilter.” 

“Mom,” I said, “You are an artist and a quilter. Let this be a lesson learned, that now you know what you say the next time someone asks you what you are.” She nodded, “And also let this be a lesson learned that some people, are just poo-stirrers and terribly jealous of those who actually ARE artists because they’re just crappy, unartistic, confrontational people.” She laughed.

That experience got me thinking, why are we afraid to call ourselves the very thing we want to be? Or the very thing we want to be known for? 

Am I alone in this?

On this same day a guy at the Apple store asked me what it is I do or who I am. He said, "Tell me about yourself. Who are you?" Uh. Yeah. So, I told him my day job instead of the plethora of things really want to be: a writer + a photographer + teacher + blogger + chef + casually throws in: world changer.

Could you imagine had I said, "Oh yes, hi new stranger friend, my name is Robyn and I want to change the way woman treat themselves. My mission is to basically ignite an-already-there-love-affair with food, into something much bigger and better." 

But did I say any of that? Nope. I mean, it all sounds a little much right? 

Why is that? Does it sound too pretentious to say what we really want to be? And at what point do we feel we've "arrived" and can truly call ourselves what we want to be known for? 

So will the real you please stand up? (Yes, I am not so subtly referring to the Eminem song “will the real slim shady please stand up?") But seriously, what is it you want to be? What do you want to be called? 

This same day, I asked this super awesome young guy who just scooped my ice cream cone why he moved here from Florida to LA. He got a little quiet and said, “Oh, I’m here because I’m trying to be stand up comedian.” I corrected him, “You ARE a comedian, you’re just trying to get paid for it and become wildly successful and famous.” He laughed, “Yes, exactly that.”  

“What’s your name?” I asked. 

“Ryan O’Tool.” 

“Alright Ryan. I’ll keep my eyes out for you on Saturday Night Live say, ‘Hey! That guy scooped my ice cream cone. I KNOW him!! ;)’ ” 

I see no problem in knowing who you are and knowing where you want to be. So, the next question is, who my friend, are you? What do you want to be?

Think about it?

Love to you. xo 

apple cider salad

inspired by bon appétit's chicory apple salad.  

This is a salad. Yes. You guessed that already. I love salads for lunch. They're my favorite. Lately John's been hooked on them too and I love that. I've always wanted to be a salad person... does that sound weird to say out loud? By that I mean I always wanted to be someone who looked like they had their act together so much that they freaking brought a homemade salad to work. Well, I don't have to report to an office every day anymore but, my husband does. So, now he brings in homemade salads for lunch almost every day. Boom. Embrace what you want and go get it. Even if it's as simple as saying: "I want to be a salad person" and becoming it. ;) 

note: This is simple, addicting and delicious with some shredded chicken, prosciutto, or ham and would be equally delicious with a little white bean hummus or medium boiled eggs if you want to create a more substantial lunch. ;) Whatever you choose you can't go wrong because you've already got the good stuff; there is no better combo than a crisp juicy apple with some sharp cheddar cheese. 

for the salad:

2 heads of purple radicchio

2 small heads of yellow Belgian endive 

8 cups / handfuls of "spring" mixed salad mix or spinach 

¼ cup sharp white cheddar cheese (organic), shredded 

2 honey crisp / pink lady apples / granny smith (any apple that is bright, fresh with a great crunch, I used honey crisp and one granny smith) cut into little thin slivers

1 lemon 

handful of chopped walnuts (roughly ¾ cup) 


for the dressing:

⅓ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon raw honey 

2-3 teaspoons / splashes of /  apple cider (more or less to your to taste) 

salt and pepper to taste  


Slice your radicchio and endive thinly, any way you like. I made mine into little rings and just sliced down, keeping it whole and forming what looked like little thin rosettes. 

Chop the walnuts and thinly slice the apples. Squeeze some lemon juice over the apples, tossing to coat, to prevent the apples from browning. I also tossed my apples in a little apple cider - this might be overkill, I mean they're apples for pete's sake, but I felt that tiny splash of apple cider made it go from wow to oh-wow. They don't need it though if you want to skip it. 

Make the dressing by slowly whisking in the olive oil to your juice + vinegars. If you don't have apple cider, don't fret, the dressing is really good without it still, but I feel the apple cider adds a little tiny something. 

Arrange your salad any way you please, tossing the spring mix with the dressing first before plating and sprinkling the nuts, apples, and cheese on last. Crush some fresh black pepper on top to taste and top with any of the aforementioned noted proteins.