#AskAwayFriday with Ophelia from LatinaMamaRama


#AskAwayFriday is a fun “interview” between two bloggers so they get to know each other better and their readers do, too. This is my first time participating in #AskAwayFriday so for my inaugural post I’m partnering with Ophelia from LatinaMamaRama. I got to meet Ophelia in Dallas at Bloggy Boot Camp and I’m so glad I did. She was so fun and funny and now that I’ve had a chance to stalk/check out her blog, I cannot wait to try out some of the recipes. Ophelia loves to cook and her recipes look fantastic, she’s also a sports mom so she’s no stranger to the crazy, hectic schedule so many of us have these days.



My answers to Ophelia’s questions are posted below. Once you’ve read (and commented, if you’re so inclined) please head over to LatinaMamaRama and get to know Ophelia a little better. I guarantee it will be time well spent!

Here are the questions she sent me!

I had the pleasure of meeting you at Bloggy Boot Camp in Dallas. One of the topics discussed was the “End Game.” Have you figured out your “End Game”?

I have not figured out my end game. I’m in the process. On the way to Dallas I encountered many delays getting there, at one point I considered just going home and writing off the whole trip. I had to figure out exactly why I would go through the delays and irritation and possibly missing the start of the conference. I kept wondering what was making this trip worth it? I thought about it a lot and wrote about it last week (Figuring Out My Why.) But as for where I want to end up? I’m really not sure. I’d love to…well, there‘s a lot I’d love to do so I need to get setting some goals and working towards them.

On your about me page you mentioned that you lived in New York. Do you ever go back there to visit?

I do. But when I say New York I mean I grew up in Northern New York, on the St. Lawrence River, 45 min south of Ottawa, Ontario, not NYC. I go back home twice each year, for a week/10 days in the summer with the kids and again for Christmas. My parents and my husband’s mom still live there.

I have never been to NYC and I really want to go to, tell me where I should eat, grab a drink and what is a must see spot? 

Ahhh… I’m not an expert on the city at all but I do have some opinions. Two places I’ve eaten and loved: The Green Table in the Chelsea Market – and while you’re there you have to walk all around and visit the different shops. You can even do a food tour and it’s very cool.

I also loved Spice Market which is in the Meatpacking District. The food is amazing and so is the space itself.

For a drink and a lot of fun you’d have to go to Café Wha? Their house band is crazy good and they play all the music you know all the words to, it is so much fun. My sister and I ended up there by mistake one night about 8 years ago. We were on “A Margarita Tour of NYC” (of our own design, complete w/rickshaw) and it was one of the fun-est nights of my life. We went back for her 40th birthday last year and it was exactly as fun as we remembered.

When we spoke you mentioned that you love to make cocktails, what is your favorite drink to make?

My favorite to make, that’s tough, my drinks can be a little complicated so for simplicity: Champagne flute, 1 shot Hendricks gin, ½ shot St. Germain liqueur, top with chilled prosecco, squeeze of lemon. That is one of my faves.

How do you manage your time between your kids sports schedules, work and your blog?

I’m still working that out. It used to take me hours to do a post so when I started I would post about once/month. Which is ridiculous. I just couldn’t squeeze in the time. I’ve started writing at practices and jotting down ideas so when I do sit down at the end of the day after the kids have gone to bed I can write a little and get my posts done a little faster.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?

I like just hanging out at home with them, listening to music and talking. As a family we like to ski/snowboard in the winter and go to the beach in the summer but in general my favorite part of the day is when we’re all home from work and school and getting ready for dinner and talking about our day.

I love to cook and you do too. What is one of your best dishes?

Pan seared sea bass with puttanesca. It’s fantastic. Greg cooks the sea bass but I do the sauce. We also do a spicy shrimp & peppers dish with garlic, ginger and citrus.

What has been your favorite book and why?

Until this past week, for years it’s been Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Now it’s an even split between that and Thorn Birds. I just finished that book and loved, loved, loved it. Both stories were so engrossing and felt so real, I couldn’t wait to “go back to that world” each night. I like books that are deep and gut-wrenching, I’m not into light  and fluffy books.

While you worked as a bartender did you meet anyone that was interesting or had a good story to tell?

I’ve definitely met some characters bartending. It’s amazing the things people will tell you and I love talking to people in that capacity. I’ve met and served famous people and made some good friends through bartending but no one in particular stands out – in fact, sitting at a bar – it’s kind of a level playing field for everyone. I do love it though, it’s one of my all-time favorite jobs.

Where is your ideal family vacation?

It’s pretty simple and we’ve done it for the past three summers: we rent a house on the beach in a quiet town in NC and just hang out for the week.  We surf, swim and really relax, there’s nothing else you can do. The only thing I’d change is to make it two weeks (or three.)

Ocean Isle Beach, NC

Ocean Isle Beach, NC


That’s it for me. If you want to check out some of the other bloggers participating (and of course Ophelia’s answers to my questions!), head over to LatinaMamaRama as she is one of the link party hosts!


Thank you for stopping by “So, I’ve Been Thinking…”



  1. Stephanie,
    First thank you so much for doing this with me! I know that you are very busy. I know what you mean about the “End Game” I’m still working on that. Oh, that drink that you mentioned I’m going to have to make it this holiday season. Your beach picture of NC looks so relaxing, I can see why you like to spend your time there. My dream is to go to NYC and just eat and drink good food. One day…
    Thanks for joining me on Ask Away Friday! XOXO

    • If you go, I would totally meet you there and take you on a margarita tour of your very own! That cocktail is perfect for the holidays, it’s very sparkly – drop cranberries, pomegranate seeds or even a raspberry in the bottom of your glass and it will be really festive!

  2. I’m so jealous you got to hang out with O at the blog conference!

  3. Stephanie, Im very proud of you for making an effort to do something you truly love to do…. share stories and dreams. Your blogging is an outlet for your creativity which really fits you. Take small steps by setting daily goals and when you least expect it your “end game” will come to you. I think part of it already has.

    Ophelia, I’m headed over to LatinaMamaRama next. I cant wait to see some of your recipes Steph has talked about. Steph does make some amazing cocktails and meals, so when you finally do make it to NYC I hope I get the chance to meet you and share in the margarita tour.

    Cheryl (Stephs “joyful” friend)

  4. I need to convince Mike to head down to the beaches down South. That picture is amazing! The beach is my favorite place to vacation ever. I sleep better, and relax more. I loved your post on figuring out your why!

    • You totally do. The beach there is that empty the whole week. It is so peaceful, I can’t wait to go back. And thank you…you were with me to witness the ugly, when I turned to you at the desk at JFK I was thinking “I’m going to cry or leave, cry or leave, what am I doing here?” Thanks for helping me keep it together!

  5. And all this time I thought it was Greg who made the puttanesca and you stepped in when he couldn’t do it…hmmmm…the gig’s up!! Ha ha…it is THE BEST! Worthy of a recipe on your blog, hint, hint…. I am now totally intrigued to go back and reread Thorn Birds after seeing it ranked as high for you as Pillars of the Earth. Thanks for that book tip!

  6. I didn’t know there was a blogging boot camp in Dallas. You will have to let me know next time there is a blogging event in Dallas. I live just west of Fort Worth, so Dallas is a doable commute for a blogging conference. 😉

    • Hi Christy, I found out about it through The SITSGirls. I love their conferences, I highly recommend you go to one if you can, if (and that’s a big if…) I go back to Dallas for one I will definitely let you know! CT to Dallas was a tough trip this time, ultimately worth it though!

  7. Wonderful to meet you! I am sure that Bloggy Boot Camp was tons of fun. I would like to go to any kind of bloggy conference someday. I would love to go to a beach and enjoy either a sunset or sunrise someday, I think it would be amazing! Bartending in the right place would definitely be a great people meeting job. Hope you have a great weekend.

  8. The Dose of Reality

    Please invite me to dinner at your house. Your best dishes sound better than what I could order at a restaurant. My best dishes have a box of something as an ingredient. Color me totally impressed!
    You know…I don’t ever think I’ve read “Pillars of the Earth”. I’m trying to think…but no, I don’t think so! I’m going to put it on my list right away! –Lisa

    • You (and Ashley, both) are welcome for dinner any time you’d like to come. We would pull out all the stops, nothing like a fresh audience to ooh and ahhh over your creations! As for the book, it’s not an easy read it is gut wrenching, some of the people are awful but it seems so realistic and is definitely the first book I finished and wanted to read again right away. I didn’t want it to end. The follow-up is almost as good (A World Without End). If you do read it let me know what you think.

  9. I’m with Lisa – please invite all of us over for dinner!
    So awesome to see you in Ask Away Friday. I do it every other Friday because of the link party I do, so maybe we can swap soon!
    I wish I could go to Bloggy Boot Camp. I think I’m planning the Philly one.

    • We could do a little blogger weekend here and Greg would be in his glory feeding a bunch of appreciative women! I’m thinking I may try to sync up with your schedule for #AskAwayFriday because I wanted to do the LOBS link up too this week. I may still if I can crank it out today/tonight! And finally, yes, let’s keep Philly in mind!

  10. I LOVE NYC!!! So Im going to have to make sure I keep those stops on my list for whenever I get back there!!

  11. That sounds like a delish drink! May have to try it for the holidays.
    Love NC and NYC. Living in the middle, between Philly and NYC is a grew plus!
    Nice to meet you through #AAF!

    • Oh, I’ll bet. I went to a dance performance in Philly 2 years ago and wish I’d had more time to spend there – beautiful city! If you try it – I mentioned in a previous comment to throw pomegranate seeds, cranberries or a raspberry in the glass after you pour it for color, it’s pretty!

  12. My favorite part of the day is also being home with my family and just hang out and talk. This is something that we all cherish because my husband and I have crazy schedules at work so most of the time one of us is out except weekends. When we are all together in one place, that is heaven for me already.
    Nice to meet you through AAF!

    • Nice to meet you too, thank you for stopping by! It’s crazy right? I never thought I’d see the day when on Friday morning I’m thankful to just to know we’ve got nothing to do but relax and be together as a family for at least part of the weekend.

  13. That vacation spot looks so calm and relaxing! Made me want to right in that picture!!
    Great answers!!

  14. A cocktail makin’ mama after my own heart. I’ll have to peruse and get some from you! Or you can guest post one for me on my blog .. it’s in need of a new one!
    I love that you stuck with the blog boot camp even though you ran into obstacles. There is always a reason for everything isn’t there?!
    So glad to meet you.

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

    • It’s nice to meet you too! That would be fun, a guest post (swap perhaps?) I could probably fill a month with crazy cocktail posts every day but that may give the impression I was drinking them every day. Maybe I should take one for the team… 🙂

  15. So great to meet you through Ophelia’s questions! i love that you vacation in NC…it can be so peaceful and serene at times, especially the beaches.

    PS – Your description of your two books have made me add them to my ‘to read’ list…they sound amazing. 😀

  16. Pillars of the Earth is my current favorite book, so now I must read Thorn Birds!

  17. It was so nice getting to know you through this post! I so would have loved to join you ladies in Dallas. It sounds like you both received some really helpful info for your blogs. I’ve been to NYC many times since I lived in NJ all my life (we live in AZ now), but I’ve never been to those restaurants. That sounds like it would be a great experience!

  18. Bartending is awesome! You see people at their highest and lowest and hear their stories. I’ll be trying that cocktail. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Aww beaches! I’d love to go to NC. Looks amazing!! I’ve been to NYC once when I was in college, I’d love to go back again just to do more adult things, ya know?

    • Oh yes, I get it. There is so much to do and see – I try to only hit one area at a time, you can spend a lot of time traveling if you try to cover too much of the city at once. I hope you get to go back soon.

  20. I love your ideal family vacation. I would love to have something like that for my family too! There’s just something about the beach that calms my soul! Hah! The photo is lovely! Nice to meet you here, it’s also my first time to join AAF. 🙂

  21. So I was hoping you’d answer some tough questions, like, “what is the meaning of life?” or “how should we proceed with our nuclear deal with Iran?” or “is it wrong to put barbecue chicken on pizza?”

    Nah, this was a cool way to learn a little more about you. It’s about 20 degrees in Carolina right now, so that beach shot is good for a warm-up of at least 12 degrees.

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