We’re Toasting: Inspiration

How are you inspired? Where do you find inspiration?
As a writer, as a cook, as an artist, as a wine lover, as a wife, as a daughter, as a friend, as a mama to Yoda, as a person I am often seeking inspiration, and am at peace when I find it.

Gary and I often discuss inspiration, and where we feel the most connected, the most passionate and alive. We find this in Hawaii. But find the connection in the power of a place and the inspiration it can give to an artist, and to a person, in any capacity.

We recently spent a weekend in Taos, New Mexico, joining the SMU in Taos Cultural Institute as teachers, presenting our wine and film, perfect pairings for a group of eager SMU alums and students.

The Rio Grande Gorge in Taos

Taos has long been an inspirational community for artists embracing the Native American Indian and Mexican influence, soaking in the sheer magnificence of the mountains and plains, and the serene blue sky of the southwestern landscape.

Vineyards of Provence

In driving from Albuquerque to Taos, I recalled the landscapes of the Rhone and Provence, which I had the chance to visit a few years ago. Traveling through the countryside, I found it easy to recognize the influence of light on Cezanne and Van Gogh, who felt the artistic pull and sense of place in the region giving power and structure to their memorable works.

It also brought memories of a favorite film, Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” Almost a love letter to the city, and the influence the city of lights had on the group of struggling artists residing there in the 1920’s, and the influence they had on each other. Youth and adventure, melding with naivety and wonder. A time before the horror of WWII, yet after tragedy in WWI influenced so much of what was created by some of our most respected and celebrated artists of the time like a dashing Hemingway and Fitzgerald to moody Picasso, all looking for their voice and all hoping to achieve greatness.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with Frank the Gardener at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui a few years ago. Thoughtful, gracious and introspective, he took as much delight in the beauty of his lemonade-lemon tree and Hawaiian chile pepper plants as he did the actual fruit they created, noting that if you grow something so beautiful it should be savored by every sense, not just your taste buds.

The Big Island of Hawaii

Though I can appreciate each place and the power they bestow on their artists, I find my inspiration in Hawaii on the Big Island. From the lunar landscapes leading to white sands and blue water, the hypnotic sounds of waves crashing and palm trees swaying, Ama’ama jumping in the historic Kalahuipua’a Fishponds at Mauna Lani, and the peaceful play of swimming Honu in shallow water before us as we watch the sun set into the Pacific.

I find inspiration in the sprawling tomato vines of our friends at Kamuela Tomatoes and the orchids at the Hawaiian Vanilla Farm, and wild tropical plants with flowers growing inside of flowers. We find inspiration in the local Waimea farmer growing heads of lettuce the size of basketballs, crunchy Japanese cucumbers, and spicy radishes, beets, and fennel.
Each beautiful and perfect, yet combining to create a delicious rainbow on the plate.

I find peace with my inspiration to see Gary content, and Yoda in paradise as my little man acts like a puppy at play in the Hawaiian sunshine. As we set out for our next adventure, following our love and passion in and with each other, the anticipation is hard to reign in. All of this inspiration transcends into a lifestyle that is the happiest and healthiest either of us has experienced.

We are at a place in our lives when most would say this is the best it will be, yet we are taking a leap and looking for more. Everyone should have this feeling; everyone should be given this gift. We don’t know where our adventure will take us, but the journey is as important as what we will find.




  1. You write beautifully! Do you ever donate wine tastings/events as charity auction donations? I am looking for donations for the 9/30/17 SPCA Fur Ball at the Omni. $300 a ticket. Over 1000 attending.


    • Thanks for your note and kind words Gina, I do work with various charities, giving donations through the events we create at Dallas Uncorked. Hope your event goes great!


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