Hi! I’m Diane. I started this site as a passion project. I love to cook, entertain, travel and laugh. (Who doesn’t love a good laugh?) Of course, being from New York, sarcasm rules! I’ve spent my entire adult life in corporate America, working for other people and helping them achieve their goals. I’ve been in finance, advertising and all phases of digital marketing.

About 11 years ago, I started working for myself (kind of forced on me by the economy) but it created an opportunity for great personal growth. I dove head first into the online world of advertising and digital marketing with a specialty in the hospitality industry. I figured, I loved to travel and I had the marketing and sales background, so maybe this would be a good fit. It was. I love what I do. It is creative, incredibly challenging and changing all the time. But the thing I love most is that my clients are in the travel industry – one of my passions.

So where does cooking fit in? When I was kid, my favorite “toy” was my Easy Bake Oven. My mother would give me a box of Duncan Hines cake mix and I would proceed to make 200 tiny, mini cakes (all baked over a light bulb!). Sure, it took all weekend to get those cakes done, but the joy it brought my brothers and sisters was undeniable. They’d wait hours for one of those little cakes and pay me a nickel for each one!!!! I was running a “get rich scheme” in my bedroom! My Mom wasn’t a cook but my Dad loved to experiment in the kitchen (and leave the mess for my mother). He introduced us to “exotic” things like Stuffed Cabbage, potato pancakes, halvah, Chinese Apples (I never heard the real name, Pomegranate until I was an adult.), pickled herring and more. In high school, I got my first taste of “restaurant” life and worked at Burger King. Don’t laugh. I learned some solid things about food prep, cleanliness, feeding a crowd and customer service.

Years later, there would be stints in many restaurants as a waitress, bartender and hostess. I worked in “The Hamptons” and in Manhattan at some pretty upscale restaurants. I was exposed to all kinds of high quality products that I had never tried before – pate, caviar, oysters and more. I learned about wine & cocktails and how to prepare them. That is where I learned how to set an elegant table properly, open a bottle of wine and make a great Lemon Drop Martini! All very important skills, don’t you think?

But some of the best training in the kitchen came from boyfriend’s mothers. I liked Italian men and their mothers were afraid their sons would starve to death if they dated me, LOL. What could an Irish/Lithuanian woman know about cooking??? So, into the kitchen they’d drag me (yes, there were multiple moms involved). Making “sauce” and learning how to make homemade pasta and meatballs were taught to me with loving care. I even had a landlord in New York, who taught me how to roll out homemade pasta dough and then cut and stuff Ravioli. It didn’t take long to figure out that all nationalities and all people love to eat. It doesn’t matter where I travel or what family I eat with; people really appreciate good food and the effort you put into making it. Cooking soon became one of my passions and a way for me to be creative.

I’ve always worked hard for other people on their projects, their businesses and their successes. This site and blog is all about me. It includes the things that bring me the most joy: travel, food and fun. I choose to laugh everyday and share my travels, discoveries and recipes with the hopes of inspiring you to create your own happy place. Welcome to mine!

Things you might like to know about me:

. I’m Irish and Lithuanian (yes, I’ve been to both countries).

. I’m originally from New York, lived in the Midwest for 10 years and now reside in Southern California.

. My best friends are still my childhood friends from grammar school and high school.

. My favorite people are my nieces and nephews.

. Ina Garten is living my life!

. My favorite place on earth is Montauk.

. I’m a digital marketer in the hospitality industry by day and a creator & cook by night.

. I read cookbooks like they are novels.

. I have traveled extensively in the US for business and pleasure and have been to 44 states plus Washington, DC and the territory of Puerto Rico. I’ve also loved my travel overseas including stops throughout Europe, Russia, China and Hong Kong. But, I’m not done yet. I’m always planning my next adventure. Whether it is here in the States for a quick weekend getaway or a longer adventure in an exotic far off land, I’ll be sharing my travels here.

. I’m learning to take better photos and have been taking classes on staging, lighting and the use of some great editing tools like Adobe Lightroom and iMovie. I’m hoping you will see constant improvement in my images and videos. (Coming soon)

. I work on creating balance in my life everyday. If I’m in balance, I eat well, travel often and enjoy life more. I rest and rejuvenate and I just breathe. Working hard and smart is easy for me. Relaxing and doing what I enjoy, takes work! I strive for balance but don’t always get there. Let’s just say I’m a work in process. So, stay tuned, check in often and stay in touch. This is going to be a fun ride!