I think I “met” the lovely ‘Cari Kamm‘ through the gorgeous Jen Tucker or was it the fabulous ladies over at Chick Lit Central? Either way, I’m pleased to have the very talented Cari visit my blog today. I asked her the question, I’ve been asking lots of guests on the blog lately – What does Cari do with her time when she’s not writing? And she came up with a very MOUTH-WATERING answer!!!
When I’m not writing . . . I’m eating. Well, I’m thinking of eating or where I want to be eating.
I’m a self-proclaimed foodie and seriously enjoy every bite. My rule is “don’t pick before pics.” I love to look at food. Take pictures of food. Dissect food. And of course eat food. A chef is an artist and unlike admiring a painting or absorbing words, you get to literally bite into their work and digest it.
Growing up in a small town, I wasn’t exposed to a wide range of delectable bites or cuisines. When I moved to New York City, in my early twenties, the foodie within me was unleashed. Honestly, I never knew it existed.
Whether it’s booking a reservation in the latest hot spot or participating in a food walking tour in an afternoon, I enjoy every part of the experience. The recipes. The architecture of the food presented on the plate. The quality of ingredients. I adore the entire process and how it transforms me in that moment.
So… when I met my boyfriend several years ago and realized he was a foodie too . . . It was magical! From our very first date, over juicy, medium-rare beef on buttery toasted buns, (minus the onions as who knew where the night would lead) gave birth to our fairy tale. The restaurant was a burger joint in New York City that had survived the Depression, Prohibition, two World Wars, and an ambush of high-rises and office buildings. Now, several years after, we often return to our designated spot at the bar and reminisce over dripping beef. Looking back, the strength of our relationship resembles the very history of the restaurant where we shared our first meal together.
Our experiences range from $ to $$$$ spots, big cities to small towns, the U.S. and beyond. Any place where we can create a new experience, try a new chef and avoid cooking at all costs. With this, we launched he8she8.com.
Fast-forward four years later and the symbolism and history of the food and restaurants we share are still writing our story.
On January 27, 2013, my boyfriend and I walked to a special area in Central Park called Literary Walk. It’s the only straight line in the park, lined with American elm trees and decorated with statues of prominent writers such as Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. I had no idea I would be a writer one day and that this landmark would mean more to me today than it did twelve years ago when I moved to NYC. There, proudly with my new novel in hand, ‘For Internal Use Only,’ and my boyfriend to take a picture with my book. I walked into the park as a proud author and walked out as his fiancé. It was a sparkling moment with all things love.
With a celebration in order, an intimate dining experience was next on the list! A restaurant called Dovetail was just steps away from the park. Dovetail is defined as, “To connect or combine precisely or harmoniously.” We did just that.
When I’m not writing, I’m a focused foodie with my partner in crime. Well, I should say my fiance.
Congrats on your upcoming nuptials Cari! We’re all about romance here, so weddings are VERY exciting.
My love for photography had led me down an unimaginable career path. Most currently, it led me to anxiously sitting on a stoop outside the New York City mid-rise building that contained my overpriced one-room apartment. I closed my eyes, allowing the morning light to calm me while I took in the delightful bird chirps and excruciating taxi beeps of the East Village, ignoring the slight smell of urine that accosted my senses.
I started my afternoon again with stalking. I eagerly awaited the mailman’s arrival between 1:06 and 1:13 p.m., while he transported paper fate, sporting his pale blue polyester trousers, tucked in long-sleeve shirt pressed, and Converse sneakers.
We lived and loved through technology, so I was frustrated that my fate was arriving via snail mail and the timing matched every part of the description. Technology was the trusted source of banking transactions, meeting your husband, ordering your groceries, making restaurant reservations and even spying on your pets through a kennel cam while sunburning on a beach. But today, this life-altering letter crawled its way to me by a government official, a man I rarely saw, and never exchanged words with. I was waiting to hear if my dream would come true, and dreading it would never be.
“Good afternoon,” I said, with a smile, merely able to stare at the navy stripe that lined his pant leg. The clock showed that it was 1:11 p.m. I made a wish.
“What a surprise,” he muttered, while he manhandled the heavy stack wrapped with a thick, green rubber band and passed by me. I studied him meticulously stocking the empty boxes, one by one, approaching my slot.
“Do you mind if I just grab the mail for three-C, please?” I interrupted.
“If that’s what it’ll take,” he moaned.
Between my J. Crew catalogue and my electric bill was a fancy rectangle of heavy stock ivory paper with gold trim. I squeezed the four-by-six response card. Contained in this saliva-sealed envelope were the words that would inevitably change my life. The weight of those words was heavy in my fingers and I was hesitant to open it. Without the answer the card contained, I still was able to hold onto hope.
My destiny was in my lap with the warmth of the sun counteracting the fresh chill October presented while I flipped from sweating to freezing like an on/off switch. I reassured myself it was only rejection. I had my health and photography. Whether it was amateur or professional, it was still my first love. Even if it was a two-letter response, I would remember my love for art, and how every time I shot I searched for the immense beauty that existed within the balance, tone, and temperature of my tiny frame. Having an image worth a thousand words was never my intention. I wanted to capture one word to describe each photograph. One word can define everything, love being a true example. There is something compelling about visualizing a picture and capturing it. There is nothing compelling about the words, We regret to inform you.
My fingers trembled and taking a couple photographs would be soothing. Photography to me was the perfect cocktail: one part heart, one part head, a dose of imagination, with a splash of patience.
The tearing of the envelope felt like scratches on my heart. I proceeded with caution, hoping this document wouldn’t be only a keepsake to remind me what if.
Inch by inch, I slid out the card to reveal the twelve-point Apple Chancery font and held it to the light, observing the maker’s name in the watermark. Rubbing my index finger over the engraved symbol, I was impressed. The brand, Smythson of Bond Street stationery, supplied paper to the British royal family. I was holding the same stationery as the Queen.
Dear Miss Kassidy,
We write to inform you of your acceptance into the exclusive Bruce Smith Gallery as part of our exhibit for emerging artists, hosted by curator Grayson Gates. You will be receiving your review and luncheon date via e-mail. Please be prepared to present your theme for the Love Through Light exhibit within the deadline. You will be required to exhibit three pieces.
Opening Night & Reception
Friday, February 7, 8:00 p.m.
Bruce Smith Gallery
504 West 22nd Street