Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Giveaway~Happy Spring!

It's 50/50 Day! Equal parts light and dark.

And in honor of magical Spring,

(and my birthday!)

I've decided it's time for a book giveaway

because... because...because...

it would make me happy.

My birthday gift to you!

On April 3rd, I'll be giving away a copy of
'The Best Travel Writing 2009:
True Stories from around the World'
(2010 isn't available yet or I would have gotten it for you!)

So in honor of joy and rebirth,

giving and growth,

please join me in my first book giveaway!

To Enter:

1 Chance~ Leave a comment and tell me what you love most about Spring.
(Don't worry~ It can be one word if you are time challenged!)

3 Chances~ Become a Follower
(If you're already a follower, you will receive this automatically!)

5 Chances~ Blog about this on your site
(and send me the link).

Winner announced April 3rd!
(US & Canada entries only and family not included, sorry!)

Good Luck!

And Happy Spring!

(Top photo courtesy of:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nafplion, Greece~ Travelin' Tuesday

Welcome to Greece!

Have been yearning for a place I love...
No that's not a song
or maybe it is~It might as well be mine.

Just a little something to whet your appetites...
we'll be traveling the next few weeks
to a small, beautiful town
on the Peloponnese
south of Athens...

with views that make
body and soul

for centuries.

(Photograph copyright and property of: Kirsten Steen)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blog Awards

A very big thanks goes to Catherine at

for these blog awards.

The Sunshine Award is to be sent to several other bloggers
so here goes!

I'd like to pass these on to:

Michael at Oia Santorini
Judith at Paris Atelier

For the Sugar Doll award,
you are supposed to list
10 interesting things about yourself.

Don't know if they are interesting
but they are me:

1.) I am Norwegian, English, Irish, Scotch and Welsh.
2.) I love Gilmore Girls (but you know that from my last post!).
3.) I was a Hippie child in the 70's and once lived on a commune.
4.) Cake is my downfall (and I won't leave a wedding
without my cake and champagne!).
5.) I read in bed every morning (before I start my day).
6.) If I could start over again, I would probably be working in film.
(And a huge Congrats to Kathryn Bigelow!!)
7.) During a "2 Truths & a Lie" game at work, I told the crew I was
a writer of Erotic Fiction as my 'Lie'. I still have crew members asking me
when my erotica will be published.
8.) Oprah is my hero.
9.) San Francisco is my true 2nd home.
10.) I still want a Prius.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Colonyhouse~A Writer's Retreat

Welcome to Colonyhouse!

A log cabin (interior) writer's retreat on the Oregon Coast

just north of Rockaway Beach.

Just after returning from Paris,

I drove straight to the coast

for a work week of steady writing.

My first "REAL" writing retreat,

it was absolutely heavenly to live completely on one's own rhythm:

Get up when you want,

Work when you want,

Eat when hungry

and take breaks strolling on the beach!

No schedules, no cooking (for anyone but moi),

no cleaning (until the day of departure),

no worrying about anyone else's needs,

it was exactly what I've been telling the universe

I needed!

And here it was, dropped right in my lap,

offered as an invitation by my weekly writing partner who attends regularly,

and at a VERY reasonable steal...


A skip down the garden path

and a short jump across the street...

leads straight to the ocean.

My own private room, serving as both bedroom and writing space,

was equipped with 3 beds, 3 desks and a view

looking toward both the ocean to the right

and Lake Lytle to the left.


After spending the days writing,

evenings were enjoyed laughing and sharing

with my 2 housemates,

an old and a new writing friend,

as well as a few episodes of "Mad Men"

or my nightly candy ("Gilmore Girls")

watched curled up under the covers

with my partner for the week:

my computer.

I've booked myself another week in a few months

and look forward to many more.

Colonyhouse is a retreat for members of

the Oregon Writers Colony (OWC)

and is working toward remodeling

to include handicapped access.

For more information about Colonyhouse

or to see more photos of the cabin, click here.

To join the Oregon Writers Colony

or get more information about OWC,

or to purchase the Oregon Writers Colony 2010 calendar

( 'gasp'~naked writers), click here.

(All photos copyright and property of: Kirsten Steen)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Impasse des Carrieres~ Missing Paris Day

On a walk a few weeks ago in our neighborhood in Paris,
we came upon a small street we'd never seen before:
Impasse des Carrieres.

A small, cobblestone alleyway off Passy
with this little indoor/outdoor Brocante shop
and restaurant next door.
The restaurant was under construction
so I thought it better to get a picture of the sign
as this endearing spot must look in the summer.

I'm looking forward to coming back next time
to see how it turns out.
A walk back across our Grenelle bridge
offers views of the above-ground metro...

...and the tower from across the Seine.
In all our years, we have yet to
make it to the Musee du Vin
so close by.

But that's one thing
about Paris...
there is
to come back for!

(All photographs copyright and property of: Kirsten Steen)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Le Marais~ Missing Paris Day

Le Marais in the 4th arrondissement is
THE place to be on Sundays in Paris.

While so many stores and shops are still closed on Sunday,
the Marais, particularly Rue des Rosiers,
fills with crowds of people
looking for a place to eat.

Unfortunately these shots do not even begin
to depict the hordes of people that line the streets,
sometimes shoulder to shoulder.

Filled with Jewish deli's, bookshops, boulangeries and charcuteries,
this area is known as the Jewish Quarter, or Pletzl which means
'Little Place' in Yiddish. The Pletzl has been a Jewish community
here since the Middle Ages.

On every visit here, 'The Chef' must find the best Latke...

...or fried potato pancakes.
Then we pop into Marciano's for
a look at their sweets.

On our last visit, The Chef picked out these plain, doughnut-looking
Old-Fashioned lookalikes.
Since Old Fashioned is my favorite,
I was afraid these would pale in comparison
but let me put that little rumor
to rest!!

These are as rich
and honey-soaked as Baklava.
I wished we'd bought about a dozen!

The Goldenberg Deli, which has stood here since the 1920's,
was opened by Jo Goldenberg and his brother Albert,
both of whom lost their parents and sisters
at Auschwitz.

The famous deli, also the site of a terrorist attack in the 80's,
closed a few years ago. While it keeps the old sign,
it is, alas, now a clothing store.

Rich with history
there is so much to see and do here.
The food is only the beginning!

(Photographs copyright and property of: Kirsten Steen)