Just Like an Interview With a Friend.

This week kicked my butt. I think I’m down three pounds from last week, but it wasn’t at all fun like it was losing weight walking through Disney. I only ever lose weight when I’m being tried a lot. When I’m trying a lot. When life is hurting a bit, but only in that stretching, growing way. It’s character building for me, I tell myself, to have difficult photo jobs and a dentist appointment all in the same week. This means arranging childcare and running back and forth. This means waking up to take Scarlet to preschool, babysit for a friend, take Des to yet another friend’s house for her to babysit, watch him cry while I leave, have a dentist appointment and I’m always nervous about those, then get Scarlet, and then get to work. Who has time to eat?

So I’m happy to end this week with something comfortable, yet exciting. Familiar, yet with so much more to learn. And that is Ask Away Friday (#AAF) with a blogger friend I’ve met in real life – Michelle of A Dish of Daily Life!

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(Please pardon the expression on Des’ face! It is NOT directed at Michelle.)

Michelle is a fellow blogger/photographer/Mother of All Meltdowns co-author, and she lives in New England too!

To see who else is participating or to learn how to join the fun, head over to visit hosts: Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline County, Amber from The Bold Fab Mom, Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter and Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings. #AskAwayFriday is their beautiful and ever-growing creation! And contact me if you want to swap some time!

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Don’t forget to read Michelle’s answers to my questions HERE. And here are my answers to her questions:

1. I know you are a super taster, which I had never heard of before you mentioned it. What else besides cilantro (which I am addicted to) can you not eat?

Well there are similarities, but no two super tasters are alike, or at least identical. Although my mom and I are close! (fraternal super tasters?) Basically, all tastes are very complex and strong for us, but we take what we will from that. Sometimes that’s a good thing! For me, I have trouble with spicy foods but I find there are two categories of spicy foods – the ones that burn my mouth and throat (not bad) and the ones that mess with my sinuses and make me cough (very bad). However that could also be a sinus/allergy issue. I can’t stand onions, which is probably just a “me” thing but the super taster aspect of it is that you can’t hide them from me! I will find even the smallest speck with my super tasting sleuth skills! Oh, and strong cheeses? Gross! I love cheese but not ones that smell and taste like..well..I won’t get into that. Lastly, I can’t really drink alcohol. It tastes like medicine to me! I can only manage wine coolers and other mild drinks, and a little goes a LOOOONG WAY. I’m buzzed (below).

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2. What is your favorite thing to make for dinner? Would you be willing to share the recipe?

I was going to cheat and ask Cassidy because he’s a much better (and more interested) cook than I am, but then I thought I should answer. Often, the four of us eat different meals at different times. I’m not proud, but it’s the way it is right now. And the one thing everyone will eat is scrambled eggs, and I take those VERY seriously. They can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. And you have to do them right. So it’s not exactly fast, but I posted a video of how I like them. “A little more sexy,” Gordon says.

3. Since you asked me about Jodi Picoult and she is one of both of our favorite authors, I’m asking you as well. Which book is your favorite and why?

Probably “The Tenth Circle” just because I read it while I was getting back together with Cassidy and sometimes when you read something during a particularly good time, it stays with you. His brother gave it to me for Christmas, actually!

4. I think this is becoming my signature question because I always ask this, but what characteristics of yours (good and bad) do you see in your kids?

I like this, because I see so much of Cassidy in them, so it’s nice to just focus on me too. After all, we built this family together!

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Scarlet.. Scarlet has big dreams, big imagination and a general excitement at life. She loves animals and she experiences frolicking joy. She really, really thinks farts are funny. She doesn’t do it very much, but she talks about it a LOT. I get that.

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Des. He is cautious and sensitive. He’s careful and gentle. He’s one and I could give him my camera and he’d hold it steadily. If I give him a bowl of food, he’ll place it on the table and eat without spilling any or throwing the bowl. He is very dreamy and gets very excited about..everything, but mostly food. He experiences frolicking joy too. Sometimes, we’re three of a kind!

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5. I love the pictures you share of your home. What is your favorite thing that you love living where you do…it could be your house or even the town that you live in.

hmm…my favorite. What an awesome question because it’s so hard to narrow it down. This is a one-of-a-kind place – Northampton, MA. It’s all parts country, city and college town. I can live in the woods, but be in the heart of downtown in four miles. If I go left out of my driveway, it’s waiting for 20 minutes to be seated at a hot brunch location. If I turn right, it’s probably not waiting but maybe waiting to be seated at an old timey sugar shack. The emphasis my town has on education, equal rights and good, local, organic REAL food – it’s unmatched. And the parades are pretty fantastic, I must say.

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6. I asked my last partner for 3 random facts about herself and the answers were fun, so I’m asking you too! Spill the beans.

Fun! Ok:

1. My favorite foods are potatoes, cheeseburgers, pickles, all of the desserts in the world, popcorn, and fresh fruit and vegetables – just picked. But not all together. Except for the first three!

2. I have a recurring dream about finding wads and wads of cash. If you ever want to make me happy or give me some sort of reward or gift, just hand me wads of cash in creative ways. I really have this dream a lot and I hate waking up from it to discover one dollar in my wallet. And that one dollar is on a good day!

3. When I was pregnant with Scarlet five years ago, I hadn’t had fast food in at least five years before that, but I wanted it a lot. Everyone talked me out of it..for the most part. One day I went to the Burger King drive-thru and ordered large fries. I felt so deliciously bad, sitting all alone in my car buying something I’d never admit to anyone. (until now) Well after one bite, I realized why I don’t eat fast food and tossed them all in the garbage. So I suppose I have mostly retained my clean record, with just a slip-up here and there. (Wendy’s french fries did happen ONCE during her pregnancy.)

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(Doesn’t it look like I stuffed a basketball in my dress? And I still had three weeks to go!)

7. You are the most amazing blog commenter ever. It seems like everywhere I go, you have already been there. You’re like a blog ninja. What is your secret?!

I AM a ninja. When I care. Honestly my heart is just so big for this blogging world that I can’t cut down on blogging friends! Never! I will often comment in time chunks between doing other work – my own blog, photography, kid-wrangling. I often will do it after the kids are in bed and I’ll catch up on weekends. That said, and for fear of sounding petty, I don’t do as much as it seems. If someone doesn’t ever visit me back, I’ll stop. If I’m still interested in what they have to say, I’ll read their posts but I won’t comment or share. Petty, right?! And if someone posts five times a week, I probably won’t comment five times a week. And if they’re posting something so completely out of my realm, I’ll skip that day. I read fast. I write fast. I have a lot of help with my kids. And I care. That’s it right there. NOTHING stops me when I care. I’m a force of blogging commenting nature.

8. What is your favorite quote, and why does it “speak” to you? If you’re like me (and I have a feeling you are) and have a zillion quotes that speak to you, pick one.

Well I don’t think he was talking about photography, but it fits: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” –Wayne Gretzky

9. One thing I struggle with in photography is posed pictures and I never take them, although there are times when I would like one. Can you give us a few tips on how to take a great portrait shot?

Posed portraits are a bit more difficult to me than the candid kids one I’ve grown to love and get paid for.

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I often will tell clients before a shoot that I do both. Some posed, many candid. There’s a whole mental process I go through before a shoot and during it, and I’ve learned that I am relying about 90% on instinct and feel. So listen to your heart – that’s my #1 tip. When you pose, try EVERY angle and every facial expression. Talk them through it with (gentle) authority. Don’t just take the photos when they expect you to, of course. Keep shooting in those magical in-betweens in which your subject may relax or look away or laugh. They’ll do that certain something that makes them so beautifully..them. Definitely alter your perspective. Instead of having them move, you move. Oh, and don’t “amputate” (cut out of the shot) their limbs and joints! Always focus on the eyes. Don’t center your subjects. And don’t do “up the nose” shots! Shoot from above or at least at their level.

I didn’t take this (obviously) but I learned a lot about photography from the man who did. Storytelling.

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10. If you weren’t a photographer and a blogger, what do you think you’d be doing in life?

Well I hope by now, even without photography and writing, I’d have discovered that many things don’t work for me. Most things. So I would hope to be a small to medium business owner – working to the bone, but on my terms. And trust me – I’m a pretty strict boss of myself. I’d love to own a coffeeshop on wheels. And I’d deliver fancy coffee and cookies to people’s homes.

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  1. OHMYGOSH I am the FIRST commenter!!!! SQUEEE!!! I loved this- I knew I would! Two of my faves in the same place! I will go read Michelle’s answers asap!

    I wish I could read and write as fast as you Tamara- I am a gauker… I love to read and take in the words slowly- and then ponder them for a bit, hum a little and kick out some response after a few minutes of reflection. I often go back up and re-read parts etc. I takes SO MUCH TIME!!!!

    But- I don’t know any other way. I love people like you (and so many others I know) that can take in the words and the message so fast and spit out such beautiful words right back. Just love that.

    Gosh- what to say? Eggs ROCK. Coffee shop on wheels a MUST. Your baby bump is freaking ADORABLE. I used to lose weight when I was tired and overworked…not I just gain weight. That one picture of YOU never ever gets old We eat separately almost every day too.

    1. Sometimes I really am more of the slow type. I just am usually bursting to comment right when I’m reading so I have to keep scrolling down to remember to add thoughts to the comment box and then I scroll up and keep reading! I’m a fast walker and driver too. I really have to chill. I don’t live in the tri-state area anymore!
      So honored to have you as my first commenter today!

    1. That’s another stipulation. I want my coffee vehicle to be able to turn into a very high speed jet so that I can get to you by morning!

    1. Thank you! Do I wear my blogging heart on my sleeve? I think so. Can’t speak for Michelle directly but I’m going to assume that we both love you back!

    1. Did you miss anything? I still felt your awesome presence! Hope you have a great weekend getting back to your time zone. It’s supposed to be 48 degrees here. With sun. Weird, right? I may wear a bathing suit.

  2. You are totally a ninja and so love you for it. But seriously, I am very much like you in that if someone doesn’t ever comment, I will read them, but probably not comment or share as much anymore either. Definitely not petty and let’s face it, we have a lot on our plates daily. So, I think we both don’t have time for this kind of stuff. Speaking of which, we are just about there and made it to the week, wishing you a wonderful one. Oh and we change the clocks – one step closer to spring!! 🙂

    1. We probably have very similar commenting styles! I am very loyal and I will comment five times a week for a special person, as you know.
      But yes – so much on our plates. If someone doesn’t want to reach back out, that’s ok!
      It’s funny but we have no clocks to change anymore. It’s all digital or satellite or whatever else it is that changes on its own! Oh wait – the cars! We do have to change those.

  3. Oh, Jody Picoult is one of my favorite authors as well! A few years ago she came to Cambridge and I heard her speak and got a book signed by her. And if I wasn’t so in love with Cambridge, I might have to consider Northampton.

    1. Cambridge is AWESOME!
      Did I tell you my Jodi story? She was doing a reading/signing in New Jersey when “Nineteen Minutes” came out. So I went and giggled all nervously. Then we talked about how she used Bethel, Maine in one of our books and I wanted to know why. She explained it and I said that Bethel was where I fell in love with my husband and saw my first moose. She said, “You win!”

  4. This interview made me smile BIG. You my friend are an incredible storyteller – both with words and with photos. One of the best. And nothing does stop you if you care – or maybe that applies for all of us in different ways. And you are a total blogging ninja. Big time.

    1. I think it sure does apply to us all (mostly, anyway) in different ways. Thank you so much for your words! You’re a ninja too, even if you don’t feel it or you take breaks. Whatever. Ninjas know they need to step away sometimes.

  5. Fave Gretzky quote! It was pinned on my wall by my desk in my sales office for TEN years, prior to this life..lol! You my Sweet T are a total blogging ninja, my inspiration, some days when I just don’t feel good, to log in to Bloglovin’ because, “I know Sweet T has already done it” is what I tell myself! XO! ~A~

    1. I just love that quote! It is true for so much of life, and not just sports and photography.
      Not surprised to hear you love this quote too. Thank you for your kind words – that makes me feel great.

  6. I LOVE your answers! Before I go too far, those scrambled eggs are amazing. I thought I was a decent scrambled egg maker until I saw that…now I have something new to try! I can’t wait! Ok back to your answers…your answer about where you live spoke to me, because as you know, I have that too. Not quite as woodsy as yours, but we have trails right next to our house, and I can walk to my downtown…the best of both worlds! Thank you for the great photography tips and I love that quote too…and yes, of course it fits. And I am going to try to be more of a blog commenting ninja too…you are inspiring to me!

    1. They are so good! I never really knew about doing those things – with the salt and butter and doing the whisking in the pan! So many people have different theories but I love the taste of these!
      And having only visited your town once, I do think it was GORGEOUS. I loved the winding roads and all the greenery.

  7. *gasp* no onions? ahhhh – you’re a light weight like meee but I like alcohol haha whiskeyyyyy 😀 I LOVE Chef Ramsay, have you seen that episode of South Park when Randy Marsh becomes obsessed with cooking? If not, please see this link immediately: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgHbznYKRm4 Awesome sauce, I could live off potatoes too 😀 I’ve eaten it everday this week too and I’d do it again next week ya hear’! Lol you look awesome pregnant haha Have a great one Tamara and happy Friday! -Iva

    1. Can’t stand onions! In any form! Oh wait, this is weird. I love sour cream and onion chips. And I totally eat onion dip and onion bagels. What the what? When they’re cooked, they remind me of worms. When they’re raw, they remind me of..body odor. Terrible.
      Um…that South Park video is hilarious! Fraiche!!
      And at least you love the good stuff – whiskey. My husband swears a shot of whiskey gets rid of the start of a cold. He swears by it! Hasn’t been sick this year!
      Have a great weekend, my sweet!

      1. Lol wow that’s cray, it’s amazing to cook with! LOL I think you need to associate it with something more positive and yummy than BO. 😛 Yes that South Park clip is one of my ultimate Fridays and always gets me ready for the weekend, lol. You know what I am going to try that! I am sick and finally getting over it, it’s exhausting! I always have whiskey in the house so will try that 😉 Yes the good ish!!

        1. Try it! Whiskey! Well I don’t know if it ends a cold that’s already started. Don’t I sound like an ad for Airborne?
          And I think I will never like onions. But that’s ok. I’ll eat onion dip to my heart’s content!

  8. I love this post! There is so much I want to respond to! Yes, the pregnant picture you looks like you put a basket ball in your dress, no other part of your looks pregnant! The pictures of me pregnant are almost unrecognizable! I agree with Michelle about your ninja skills, and I always appreciate your thoughtful responses to posts. I would love to visit your home town, it sounds amazing! I live in the same town as Michelle and we have a bit of that near and far situation; far from the crowds, but close to the center. That black and white picture of you is stunning! And I’m adding your book recommendation to my (growing) book list!

    1. Angela, I have been to your town (to visit Michelle) and it was so gorgeous. It was August but a mild day – not too humid at all and pretty temperate. I loved the green, winding roads. I didn’t get to see downtown, though. Anyway I have another friend out there too and it’s not that far. If I’m ever back, I’ll let you know!
      And you should definitely come here – for the parades, if nothing else! It’s technically a city, but without the feel of it. It has the small town feel where everybody knows your name.

  9. My son and I were just discussing a small food/coffee cart on wheels yesterday! Not for me, but for him – at 12 years old he has some pretty big entrepreneurial ambitions and he wants to deliver candy with the cart 🙂

    1. I think that’s only fair, don’t you? If you lived closer, I’d give him a job! And we’d all get rich off of this happiness!
      See? I’m a dreamer like my two kids.

  10. Your answers were all very interesting and awesome and all that but what I came away with most was YOU SO PRETTY

  11. Scrambled eggs is one of our go-to meals too. I love how you describe your kids, and it makes me wish I had been blogging when mine were younger. How awesome will it be to revisit these posts when Scarlet is 15, and see how she has changed or stayed the same. What a gift you are giving to them with your writing and photos, Tamara.

    When a week kicks my butt, I gain three pounds 🙁 Hope next week is kinder!

    1. Scrambled eggs! I mean, eggs are a superfood. That had a bad rep for so long but they have been proven to NOT raise bad cholesterol. So yes, eggs are it. And I like to do them well.
      I sure hope Scarlet loves my blog one day. It’s the biggest, longest and rambliest baby book ever!

  12. So I officially want to live where you live, Tamara. Emphasis on education … tolerance … FOOD … sounds pretty perfect to me. We live in a town that is pretty much just the opposite and it’s so not us. But our families are here, and former spouses. So here we are for now. 99% of the time I do a great job at focusing on what’s good about it. In the other 1% I rant and rave to Jim and we dream about where we’ll live when the kids are out of school 🙂

    1. Oh, family is so important! That’s why we’re here, in this pocket of awesome. To be close to family. Otherwise, I’d quite prefer the weather of northern California. So I get you.
      This place is home, in all senses.

  13. Sounds like the kind of place I would fit right in 🙂 I live in a crunchy city too but not Berkeley crunchy (where I’m still in awe of how amazing their farmers markets are).

    1. The northern California farmer’s markets BLEW my mind when I lived in SF. I can’t even compare. We have great ones, but those were something else entirely.
      And it is rather (ok, extremely) crunchy here. And I’m not extremely crunchy at all, but for some reason I still think, “Ah, these are my people!” I don’t know why. I don’t think I’m their people!

  14. i havent fully read this post yet, but just want to say that title made me think of Luna Lovegood when she says to Harry Potter, “It’s like being with a friend.” and Harry Potter says, “but I am your friend, Luna.” haha

  15. My scrambled eggs aren’t that complicated, but I do like them a certain way. I like them cooked all the way through, with no wetness too them at all. I also like them fluffy, but in one piece. Ken likes them chopped up into little pieces. We have to take turns cooking (and eating) each other’s eggs. 🙂

    1. I remember when I was a kid my parents made them drastically different. My mom made them wet and my dad’s were dry but fluffy. I liked both ways. I liked my dad’s more for dinner and my mom’s more for breakfast. Even to this day when I go home, I ask her to make me her eggs.

  16. Next time you give in to Burger King fries then give up on them … let me know. I was worried that pregnant photo was an after shot of you from the fries. And that was worrisome, because I just got an order of fries for a pre-lunch snack here at work.

    1. I didn’t want to say this..but that was the after shot of the french fries thing. And I was only 16 weeks along when I ate the Wendy’s fries. I know I look 37 weeks pregnant above, but that basketball isn’t Scarlet. It’s Wendy’s.
      So be a bit careful today, ok?

  17. It’s totally not petty to say that if somebody doesn’t visit you back that you’ll stop commenting. I think we all do that because the interactions with people who DO interact are part of what makes blogging so wonderful and amazing, so why waste time interacting with a brick wall?
    I love scrambled eggs. Also? I’m beyond impressed you only ate Wendy’s fries ONCE during pregnancy. I was obsessed with bean burritos from Taco Bell. I know, I know…sigh.

    1. Well, thank you for validating my pettiness! It helps. And yes, brick walls. Not my thing! I don’t even love photographing them although people seem to love headshots in front of them.
      I’d say bean burritos are ok. I’ve hard it’s the Taco Bell beef that you really need to stay away from..

  18. The Great One on your blog!! I’m beaming maple leaf red 🙂
    That is a great quote from Mr. Gretzky.

    With my first pregnancy, I could not get enough of hamburgers — from anywhere – fast food or home made. And green apples. Very strange combo.
    And I definitely think you should get that mobile coffee and cookie thing happening Straight Away!

    1. Wow, burgers and apples. I get that. I craved all of my favorite foods, as well as apples. I think apples are just something so neutral. Even when I’m sick to my stomach, an apple looks soothing to me.
      Apples forever!
      Thanks for liking my quote! I struggled with that question a bit.

  19. You are an amazing blogging ninja! My kids so love scrambled eggs at any time. I love potatoes…any way that you can make them! Cheeseburgers are definitely one of my families favorite meals so I make them often. Those are such cute pics of the lil ones! Hugs! Have a great weekend, lady!

  20. Lovely pics ! I can’t handle spicy food as well. Whenever I eat spicy stuff i get hiccups which are irritating and hard to stop . While growing up I was the only one in my entire family who hated spicy food so I used to keep a bowl of yogurt beside me whenever I ate my relatives house. Luckily my husband doesn’t like spicy things as well :).

    I love fries and it’s been a long time since I ate one. Aww I am going to order them now.

    1. Aw, hiccups! I can understand that.
      My friend’s mom made the best Indian food on earth but she would make it non-spicy for me and I’d get a heaping bowl of yogurt whenever I ate at their house!
      I miss her a lot. She passed away five years ago. I always use yogurt when in doubt because of her!

  21. A coffee shop on wheels sounds great. I don’t drink coffee but the treats that they sell at coffee shops are always yummy. Your town does sound ideal, emphasis on organic food and a love for diversity are great attributes.

    1. I’d also deliver tea and candy! Something for everyone. It’s really a fun town. It’s like a little haven. The surrounding towns are great too, but I have a real weakness for ours best.

  22. Tamara, oh my goodness…I could literally comment on every answer of yours here, because I’m so intrigued. However, its the weekend, so I’ll spare you my two paragraph comment! 😉 I love that Wayne Gretzky quote, so motivational! I’ve see that one a few times before and it always just clicks for me. My favorite foods are all the desserts in the world, or at least the one’s with chocolate, but with no nuts!

    Your town reminds me of the one’s I see on tv shows like The Parenthood and in movies. Seems like such a lovely place. I would move to the New England area just to live in a town like that. And boy, oh boy those eggs are something serious for sure! Creme Fresh?!? I’m fancy, but not that fancy, haha! They looked delicious though! I take mine scrambled lightly with American (or as my mother calls its “rubber”) cheese. I love the creaminess that it adds. Okay, so I guess it was still 2 paragraphs. That’s what naptime allows me to do these days! 🙂

    1. Do you watch Parenthood? I totally do! I think it takes place in Berkeley and someone else commented above about Berkeley being such a great town! We just don’t have the fantastic weather they do. Sometimes, but definitely more as an exception than a rule!
      And I admit I don’t normally use Creme Fraiche in my eggs but I do use ricotta sometimes. Or cottage cheese! I’m not so fancy either! And the rubber cheese comment cracked me up.
      I think my town is more like Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, and we have all the snow too!

      1. Yes, I love Parenthood. That reminds me, I need to catch up on it On Demand. LOL, yes I would agree with the Stars Hollow comparison. I was definitely in the mindset of one like that…I had so many shows going through my head, lol, I watch too much tv. And Creme Fraiche…not Fresh! I should have googled that before hitting submit! 🙂

        1. Well I say it like “fresh” so I had to Google it myself! It’s not like I buy it, although Trader Joe’s has it so maybe it is possible and affordable.

  23. I loved reading your answers! I really appreciate what you said about blog commenting. Blogging by nature is a give and take; if it weren’t, then it wouldn’t be any different than reading a print article. The point is to start a dialogue and form relationships, and if the other person isn’t reciprocating, then it makes sense to keep reading (if you want to) but stop commenting.

    1. Exactly! Thank you. I’m just glad it evens out and that we all get so much out of these blogging relationships. And I do admit there are some people who rarely comment back but when they do, it has a lot of meaning. And we all have busy lives so it’s understandable.
      However, sometimes..I feel petty!

  24. You and Michelle – YAY! She asked a good one regarding the commenting! I always wondered how you do it! You and The Dose Girls, but there’s 2 of them and one of you. I used to comment on everything, but recently I stopped if I just didn’t connect with the topic or if they post 5 a day. I just can’t keep up, but I do love following along when I can. Thank goodness for bloglovin. You did look like you had a basketball in your belly! I eat fast food a few times a month. It’s bad, I know…but soooo good at the same time!

    1. I know! The Dose Girls are amazing but they can split the work or pick up each other’s slack. I wish I could tell you there were two of me, or that I had a Virtual Assistant! No such luck! I just love this.
      And I don’t think eating fast food is so bad! I just never went back. I totally had it in college.

  25. No cilantro– this one would be tough.
    Your town sounds amazing, Massachusetts is on my bucket list 🙂 I’ve never been.
    I’m a burger lover too, lately I’ve been eating them gunless 🙁

    1. Well if you ever come here, come visit! I love the idea that it’s on your bucket list. Are you near Myrtle Beach? That isn’t on my bucket list because I’ve been there a lot as a kid, but taking my kids there is a bit on my bucket list.
      I read about your paleo. Can you still eat pickles?

    1. Thank you! I carried Des very differently but I was still only pregnant in my stomach. That’s the only part of it I was good at. I made it look healthy but I wasn’t a fan of being pregnant.

  26. I LOVE Seeing you an Michelle together! BTW perfect description on of NOHO! Is Pinnochio’s (sp?) still on Main (pizza place?) LOVE Herrell’s and all the people. I really miss the Taste of Northampton!. You were the CUTEST prego lady EVER! I ate so much ice cream during pregnancy (I am not kidding) I had to go to different places so I wouldn’t be recognized going more than once in a day! LOL Not kidding! Yes you are a total blog Ninja! I don’t know how in the world you do it! I need a post on tips! After reading about “super tasters” I am almost positive someday we will find out Hayden is one. That kid is beyond picky, he cannot deviate- prefers bland. Can’t even sip soda (says it’s spicy, though not a bad thing) nothing mint….ever. Toothpaste, gum or even ice cream. Really not sure if its texture or taste with him- but it is beyond the scope of picky! How did they discover you were a “super taster?”

    1. I think that pizza place is still around! I’ve never had it so now I have to. I don’t know if you saw it on Facebook yesterday but one of the Herrell’s founders/marketers wrote about me (indirectly) in Herrell’s Facebook status. It was so awesome. Then she wrote me to tell me she had so I could confirm it! My mom was all, “That’s the beauty of small towns” and I was all, “Umm..Northampton is actually a city!”
      As for the supertasting thing, my mom is one and we have a lot in common. There are tests you can do but I don’t know if he’ll like them! You can Google them or ask a doctor. One involves blue food coloring..(shudder)

      1. I won’t worry too about the super taster thing…. it just almost seems plausible! with his severe reactions to several things! And it is fascinating! I did not see that post with Herrells. I did see something on my feed that said “Tamara likes Herrell’s” a few days back…. too awesome! you NEED to be supplied a ton of Ice cream to review!!!! I bet you could get some really great photos of the shop and even Thornes as a whole! And Pinnochio’s (sp?) is good, but we mostly got village pizza in E’ton!

        Wow. I miss it all! (not like I haven’t said that before) Did you go sledding down Hospital Hill, this winter? not sure that is even allowed anymore! I have a tiny scar near the corner of my eye from that frigging hill!

        1. I love me some Herrell’s. And have you eaten Mt. Tom’s ice cream in Easthampton? I’m going there tomorrow for a kids’ birthday party and it’s make your own sundae. Woooo!
          And Village Pizza..don’t know if I’ve had it! I better catch up!

  27. Oh isn’t it the truth that losing weight while walking around Disney WOULD actually make it fun! Your town looks amazing. I have never been to New England, but it is on my list and I will come and find you and we will go out for cheeseburgers, or vegetables, but no cilantro! Love the Wayne Gretzky quote too!

    1. Yes! Come visit! In the spring or summer, it is dreeaaamy. In the summer and winter, I’m kinda dreaming more about where you live!

  28. I spent so much time reading every comment and response here that I forgot what I was going to say…. I do know that with each post I read, each picture you share, my blogging crush grows. You are the most adorable preggo lady ever! My boobs were so huge that people couldn’t tell I was with child. Do you like garlic? You are definitely a blogging/commenting ninja & I strongly agree with your philosophy. If someone doesn’t show me a little love back then I either move on or no longer comment. The interaction is the heart of it all for me.

    1. Aw, thank you on many counts for everything you’ve said! I definitely didn’t have the huge boobs thing. They were big after both kids, but only big for me. Not like…universally big. Tamara-proportionate big. I actually miss them but they hurt.
      I do like garlic but if I have it straight, sometimes it makes me feel all weird. So my parents always think I hate it and are constantly saying, “I can’t remember if you like garlic.” Well I do!

  29. I could listen to you talk about yourself for hours. You are so fun to learn about. No fastfood is pretty amazing in this day and age. My super taste bud husband also hates onions, I think that’s one of the amplified flavors that are responsible for the “picky” eating. (It’s not really picky if science is responsible, right?) You have got to be one of the most beautiful pregnant women I have seen. Why couldn’t I hold all my weight in basketball form instead of big marge at chuck-e-cheese who’s mouth is open for you to throw balls in? Do you need more of a visual, because I can google one

    1. haha! No need for a visual. I have seen Big Bertha (as they call her at the Jersey Shore) many times. And I can’t imagine for one second you even remotely resembled her!
      And your husband sounds like my sensitive palate/lack of vomiting twin. Isn’t that weird to say?

      1. Oh yeah you’re right! Her name is Bertha! How could I forget? And uhm…no, I’m not kidding. I was Bertha. 119lbs-176 in 7 months. It was bad…and it is weird to read as an outsider but I couldn’t agree more. Twinsies! Now if you lose your license, debit card, or keys on a daily basis, you two might be the same person.

        1. haha, I don’t! I’m so neurotic that I never lose things and I always get mad when my kids do. Although I lived with my in-laws briefly five years ago (NOT recommended) and they both wear glasses and my husband and I wear glasses only for TV or night driving. So at night we’d all gather together to watch LOST and at least one person would say, “Where the heck are my glasses?”
          Every night. Sometimes it was me…

  30. You are a total commenting ninja!! You are EVERYWHERE!!! It’s awesome. Your philosophy is the same as ours! Commenting is like having a relationship with someone. It can’t be one sided!!
    I am convinced that Lucy is a super taster. She can’t abide anything sweet–fruit, candy, anything like that. She the only kid that would always turn down the free lollypop at the bank. The only “sweets” she’ll eat is chocolate, which has a real savory component. She also only (and I mean ONLY) drinks water. It’s the only liquid (besides breastmilk) she’s ever had because she doesn’t like the taste of anything else. WEIRD!!
    We all eat eggs, too!! –Lisa
    PS. OH!!! Bobby wanted me to tell you (This is about last Friday’s questions!) that he likes all of the Star Wars movies, but *of course* the best are the first three. (He said this in a way like OBVIOUSLY, MOM).

    1. I cannot imagine not liking sweet foods! Are her teeth in great shape? That is pretty spectacular.
      And Bobby just gets cooler and cooler. I love that he thought it was so obvious..because IT IS!!

  31. That quote is awesome for you. I come back for these posts every Friday because it’s nice to get to know a little more about you each week. You’re like a bottomless pit of stories!

    1. Thanks! I think we all are, really! I just love the different questions each week that make me pull photos and stories from different places. I love that. It’s like a mystery.

  32. I was so excited last night when I read Michelle’s answers to your questions – love to see 2 favorite bloggers together!!
    You are so dang cute pregnant!!! And, Scarlet’s eyelashes are amazing!!!
    I think you are a phenomenal blog friend – I feel like I know you just from reading your blog and the comments you leave – one day I hope we meet. I will make a meal with no onions and make sure that I have wine coolers for you (but we will pour them into some fun martini glasses!).

    1. Well that seals the deal! We have to meet! I really want an onion-less meal and wine coolers in fancy glasses! Any chance you’ll go to any blog conferences in the next year. A few of them caught my eye.
      And I do love Scarlet’s eyelashes. And Des! It’s always funny when little boys have supermodel eyelashes.

  33. Once again another awesome AAF with Tamara. I just love reading all your answers to these amazing questions. BTW you’re not petty! I do the same thing as well. I don’t go back if that person never visits but I have to say I’m bad when it comes to replying to the ones left on my blog. I can never get the hang of doing it with me being sooo busy! I don’t know how you do it but you sure are a blog commenting ninja. Can’t wait to hear what next week will bring. Have a great weekend with your family!

    1. Yes, ninja tricks! And as you know, Des does some of them for me.
      Hope you’re feeling great! Maybe one day we can do another Ask Away Friday but it will be US, and not the kids. Then you can ask me anything you want!

  34. i agree, you are a comment ninja, you seem to be everywhere and I truly appreciate your ninja secrets as I often feel I don’t keep up well enough on my commenting and your tips will help. I too love Jodi Picoult and have not read that one, added to my list.

    1. It’s funny because I keep meeting new people through other people, so I’m probably so familiar to nearly everyone on blogging earth by now.
      As for Jodi Picoult, I can’t promise that’s her best book. I don’t think it is but I loved it because it was such a great time in life. The book itself is pretty dark!

  35. “I’m a force of blogging commenting nature.” That you are, in spades, Tamara! I’m at work sneaking in a response to your post, but when I get home I’ll look at the scrambled eggs video. I love scrambled eggs! I associate them with weekends when I can have a more leisurely breakfast. Hugs!

    1. That’s a ninja tactic – to sneak in a post response! So kudos to you!
      I eat scrambled eggs nearly every day. My dad said my cholesterol must be so high but it was checked and it isn’t because eggs don’t raise the bad kind – just the good! They’re a superfood!
      Enjoy the video. He doesn’t have the best camera presence in my opinion, but he knows his stuff!

  36. I want you to deliver fancy coffee to me! I can go ahead and send you my address, if you’d like. I’m with you on the fast food. I ate a couple of McDonald’s French fries once not too long ago and almost immediately threw up. I used to drink Diet Coke all the time and decided to cut it out. That make me sick now too. Amazing what our bodies tell us, isn’t it? So fun to see you and Michelle together!

    1. I would love to deliver fancy coffee to you!!
      And did you almost throw up, or did you actually throw up but not immediately? Scarlet and Des had McDonald’s fries at the airport in January and I didn’t even have one bite! I was scared!

  37. I completely agree with Michelle! You are definitely a Blog Ninja! I see your comments EVERYwhere and you can tell it is because you care because they are content filled and thoughtful comments.

    This is my first time (i think) hearing about a super taster but that sounds amazing! I mean I know it can be bad and good but I’m still just like wow…I can only handle wine coolers too but that’s just because I’m a lightweight… 🙂

    Eggs…I take my eggs VERY seriously! My Teenager once compared them to IHOP…Woot! Woot! 😀

    1. Thank you! Yes, I do really read thoroughly before I comment.
      And having a teenager compare your eggs to IHOP is serious business! Now my stomach is growling.

  38. I already knew you were a ninja! Love that shot of you pregnant – it totally looks like you shoved a basketball up your dress. You looked beautiful and hilarious in the “buzzed” shot – HA HA HA!!!

    1. I know! That was probably from one or two wine coolers too. It was Father’s Day! I remember laying on the deck and thinking about how beautiful the clouds were. Apparently I’m deep when I’m buzzed.

  39. I’m just working on being a better commentor. I read a lot, but I hate typing on my phone and it tends to be the only regular and reliable device I have. But no more excuses. I love your photos. Great #AAF!

    1. That’s tough on phones! I was on a trip and I wanted to at least somewhat stay in the loop so I tried commenting on my phone at night and it was very hard.
      Thank you for visiting!

  40. I love your answer about comments. As you have probably noticed I stopped blogging Monday – Friday. It’s too much and I do spend a lot of time catch up on the weekends with my blog friends. At first I felt bad about that but now I’ve read from others twice these past few days that they also do it.

    I couldn’t agree more about the money! 🙂

    1. I blog three times a week with weekends off and it’s fantastic! It does give me time to catch up with all of you. I blogged four times a week a few times recently and it was way too much for me.

      Wads and wads of cash for all!

  41. {Melinda} Okay, I’m all confused. I thought you were answering questions on Michelle’s blog and visa versa. I had it backwards. Sheesh. I’m slow, but I eventually catch on! 🙂 I really do love your blog and your transparency. I am always amazed at how you are able to do it all. So fun that you and Michelle have been able to get together in real life, too. Always love it when that happens! 🙂

    1. ha! The first time I tried to do #AskAwayFriday, I really did think I needed to “hand in” my answers to be published elsewhere. It took me a few weeks to get used to it.
      Thank you so much for your wonderful words!

  42. interesting about the tasting – my brother in law is the only other person I now who hates onions too. He can never have them in anything and my sister can’t cook with them at all.

  43. I love this. I feel like I was sitting watching you too have such a great discussion. So many great things in this post, like Scarlet and Des and their amazingNESS. But my favorite part of this whole post? The gordon ramsey vid. I am a SUPER FAN of scrambled eggs. I’m pretty sure if I had to have one food for the rest of my life…well…yes it would scrambled eggs. I have NEVER seen it done like that, and I have had my whole world flipped because A) I always cook it in a pan b) I always put salt c) I always whisk in the bowl and d) I need some chives in my scrambled eggs.

    I am now looking at my dinner and wondering why I don’t have scrambled eggs on the side!

    1. I love everything you took from this! And yes the scrambled eggs. Trust me, it makes a huge difference. And I’m curious to hear if you think so when you try it!
      They’re totally a great rest of life food. A superfood!

  44. Well, first off, I can’t stand onions too regardless of how they’re cooked. Would you believe I’d order Mushroom and Onion Pizza but I ask them to not bother putting onions anymore?! Haha I’m crazy like that. My family too may eat at different times because I work at night but we try to eat together when we can. I do think you’re an awesome blog ninja, I love that you said you’re a “force” because I think you really are! I had to laugh at your tip “do not amputate”.. I mean I laughed because I do that! Hahaha, it’s just when I think my photo does not look good in some angles so I “amputate.” That’s just so funny of me to do. LOL

    1. ha! I think amputation happens. Especially with photos of kids! They’re always squirming and to get all of their limbs IN the shots, with their faces in focus? Very hard.
      I am laughing about the pizza! Why not just order mushroom pizza?

  45. I love seeing you and Michelle together. You absolutely are a blogging and blog commenting ninja!! I love (and so appreciate) all that you give to this blogging community. I too love the photo of you pregnant. It IS like a basketball under there!!

    1. Thanks! I’ll have to put a photo of me pregnant with Des. I looked even more skinny everywhere else with a big ole basketball in there. He was a pound bigger than Scarlet at birth!
      Thank you for being in the community I give and take so much from!

  46. Wow I feel special. I used to post a lot and I think you didn’t miss one. You must really love my blog! I have to be honest and say alcohol is really not all that it is cracked up to be for me either! Once I stopped drinking it for a while back in high school, yes, high school, I found that I couldn’t tolerate much. One thing I don’t mind is wine but it seems I’ve been pregnant and nursing a lot in the last 2 years so I haven’t been drinking it like ever. I wonder how I’ll feel about that one when I can finally drink a glass here and there. I love the fact that your town has so much organic food. I love most of all the things you like. We’d have a good time going out to a restaurant! You definitely did look like you had a basketball in your belly with Scarlet 🙂 So beautiful!

    1. I do like your posts! You’re very informative and real. And they have changed a LOT, but I was loyal from the start. You know that. If I see a relationship forming, I like to take care with it! Although back when we “met” I still had a lot of growth to go through and I wasn’t quite a ninja yet. Loyal, yes, but no ninja.

  47. Love Jodi Piccoult! I’ve only read a few of her books, but have loved every one! She’s on my list of authors I would like to read everything from. If only i could get stranded on an island with only my Nook, loaded full of every book I want to read. Haha!
    And you would not love dinner at our house – we love onion and I put it in most meals!
    Thanks for the photography tips! I so wish I could have the kind of pictures you have of my own kiddos. Sometimes I worry I’m not going to remember how cute they were at every little moment!
    Great swap!

    1. Onions seem to be a big deal! That’s why it sucks that I don’t like them. It limits me a lot but I can’t force it. That never goes over well.
      Stranded on a island with a Nook…doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

    1. I think sharing is wonderful and I do the same. If I can’t comment for whatever reason, I will share. And vice versa.
      I think I miss that feeling too. Do you ever get phantom baby kicks? I still had those for awhile after the kids were born.

  48. Uhhmmmm we both love pickles except that I don’t eat it in a burger, but separate! I love your pictures when you were pregnant and the last photo. Thanks for the tips on photography,, I do agree that you had to feel it and follow your heart.
    p.s. Thank you so much for the birthday greetings, I appreciate it<3

    1. I love pickles next to a burger but not necessarily on them. I like them cold and crisp in contrast to a warm burger!
      Yum. I just made myself hungry.
      And happy birthday again!

  49. You did look like you had a ball under your dress in that photo! You were a beautiful pregnant woman. Ah life is not fair, when I was preggers, my nose doubled in size! LMAO
    How nice that you and Michelle got to meet each other. I’d love to meet my favorite bloggers too. Well I do see Rea once in a while because we work in the same company but since we have different schedules, all our meetings have been business related. Have a great week Tamara!

    1. Your nose grew!! I didn’t even know that happened. Ah babies, taking stuff from us.
      That’s awesome that you know Rea – she is fantastic!
      You have a great week too!

    1. That makes me so happy to hear! Our grill didn’t make it through last summer. I think I’ll have to get Cassidy one for his birthday!

  50. Are you SUUURE that’s not really a basketball? lol I love that even when I get busy and cant get over here that you STILL come to mine. That encourages me to keep posting, believe it or not. lol

    1. ha! Ok, I confess. It’s a soccer ball.
      Not really!
      That makes me so happy that I have encouraged you before! I love your blog. You’re a chocolate-loving photographer who wears cool boots. Why wouldn’t I come?

  51. It’s been a while since I’ve been over! But as always, I enjoy your photography. And I enjoy how much of your heart you pour into your responses. Your pregnancy photo with Scarlet was so pretty! And I wish I could be disciplined enough to leave french fries alone forever. My goodness, every time I pass Burger King I want some lol.

    1. Glad you’re here! Ask Away Friday is good like that to get us all to each other’s blogs.
      I love french fries so much. Just because I don’t eat them at McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s doesn’t mean I don’t eat them at other places. Yum!!

    1. And that’s ok! And I do the same for many. We’re already connected so don’t worry – I never keep score. I just enjoy what you have to say on your blog, and I enjoy when you come here.

  52. You’re definitely the comment ninja! I aspire to be as awesome as you with reading and commenting. I also agree that you seem to have a great talent with your portrait photography.

  53. You are a comment ninja. I don’t know how you do it other than you are a vampire.
    Seriously. I love reading blogs but life just gets too suffocating sometimes and I have to say screw it, I’m going to eat this cookie and let things kind of take care of themselves and then when I realize that the cookie didn’t solve anything except for making the scale go “hahah” I decide to jump back in and then I notice how much I miss it and spend an entire afternoon stalking Tamara.
    God I’m weird.
    Plus writing. And you take pictures to boot.
    You’re a rock star.

  54. Was it easy to get that basketball out from underneath your dress? ;-p I can relate a lot to #7.

    Love your advice on #9. I had a shoot this past weekend, once the kids loosened up I got the best shots. So great when that happens…

  55. Love this! I loved what you had to say about blog commenting. Very honest and not petty at all. It seems like you have a good balance with reading, writing, and commenting.

  56. tamara, i thought we were so alike. how can you not like fast food? i can eat it every day 🙂 i’m really not joking. and french fries..wow..do not get me started. i can order pomme frites for a meal and just chow down. northampton looks like an amazing town to raise your kids! the parades, the community. LOVE IT!

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