Author: Helen Jane Hearn

gossip tuenight hearn

How I Avoid Gossip in a Small Town

I hate to admit it, but I love gossip. It’s fun, it’s easy, and as I am a naturally nosy person, completely satisfying. But as with drive-thru French fries, some delicious habits simply are not good for you. Despite my love for it, I’ve had to reduce my indulgence. I live in a small wine country town, and, as you can imagine, we socialize at lots of wine and food events. In this kind of atmosphere, it’s a real challenge to avoid talking about each other. Wine-fueled + small-town = the perfect storm for gossip. A quick definition: Gossip is social talk that judges someone when they’re not there to defend themselves. It’s usually personal, sensational, or far too intimate. Often, gossip is mean-spirited. An easy test for me to decide whether or not something is gossip is by asking myself the question, “Is this something I want the subject to hear?” If the answer is no, well, it’s gossip. Avoiding gossip is tough because we humans are hard-wired to share information about each other …

10 Hostess Gifts They’ll Actually Want to Use

Our household throws a lot of parties. And although I’ve never expected a hostess gift for our efforts, it’s always lovely to receive something thoughtful. Host gifts are tricky gifting — you don’t want to clutter up someone’s home, but you also don’t want to be the odd guest out who arrives empty-handed. With those caveats in mind, I’ve pulled together my dream list of host gifts — all for less than $50. 1. Linen Dish Towels I love receiving gifts that are a luxurious upgrade to life’s regular, cruddy routines. These natural linen hand towels are the luxurious upgrade you didn’t know your dishes wanted. $32, Etsy.com 2. Footed Aeirum Upgrade your host’s desktop with this adorably footed container for some sweet little plants. Moss, lichens and Tillandsia will change as they grow, or you can add an air plant (starting at $14) for even more magic. $32, floragrubb.com 3. Multi-function Cake Stand Responsible for bringing a dessert? Leave behind this multipurpose cake stand, which also becomes a chip-and-dip platter, punch bowl and salad …

Virgin Cocktail Cooler: The “Fizzy Lifting Drink” (Recipe)

  Before I had children, my friends would bring their kids to my home — and I was sometimes ill-prepared. As the only non-alcoholic beverages in our home were coffee and margarita mix, I needed to think fast. Since I’m a huge Willy Wonka fan, I invented this drink to encourage everyone to stay hydrated. Thankfully, this was the most popular and refreshing drink of the day for both the grownups and the little ones.   Ingredients: 1 can lemonade concentrate 2 of the empty cans of concentrate filled with club soda 1 of the empty cans of concentrate filled with ginger ale 1 lemon’s worth of lemon slices 1/4 cup sugar 1 1-gallon Ziploc-type bag of ice that has been smashed a few times with a mallet straws   Slice the lemon into round slices. Sprinkle both sides with sugar. Gently stir the concentrate, club soda and ginger ale together in a pitcher. Add smashed ice. Add the sugared lemon slices to the glasses and pour the lemonade concentrate mixture into the glasses. Serve with …

I Know You Are But What Am I? Pee-Wee and Me

When I was five, I accidentally watched every terrifying, adult, weird moment of The Pee-wee Herman Show. PHS was a 1980 nightclub show — captured on HBO — that predated Pee-Wee’s Playhouse by five years. As my parents were busy hosting a party, no one noticed that I was absorbing some of the more adult themes. After witnessing the scene with a hypnotized woman who shed her clothes under Pee-Wee’s command, I was terrified for years that I could be hypnotized into public nudity. From the opening song to the final cut of Pee-Wee magically flying over the stage, scenes from the show have been in my subconscious ever since. There was the hypnotized lady, for sure, but also the evocative set design and costumes. The characters were slightly scary as well. Phil Hartman as a gruff Captain Carl was on the menacing side of surly, Miss Yvonne’s outfits and hair were so over the top it became near spectacle. Pee-Wee showed me an exciting, creative world I hadn’t even imagined for myself. It was …

We’re Hungry For: Deviled Eggs

You have extra hard boiled eggs right about now, I can tell. Let’s make a delicious snack. Helen Jane’s Deviled Eggs Ingredients 6 hard boiled eggs 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 slices bacon 1 tablespoon minced parsley Directions 1. Cut the 4 slices of bacon into tiny, bacon bit sized pieces and brown in a pan. When cooked through and crispy, drain on paper towels. Taste three bacon bits because you deserve it. 2. Peel hard boiled eggs and slice them the long way, narrow top to bottom. 3. Pop the yellow yolks into a medium bowl and mash firmly until the consistency of damp yellow sulphury sand. Add mayonnaise, mustard and salt and stir through. 4. Also to your bowl, add 3/4 of your bacon bits and 3/4 of your minced parsley. Stir through. 5. Put mixture into a large plastic bag and snip off a corner, piping the mixture back into the empty holes of the hard boiled egg where the yolks used to be. 6. Sprinkle …

My Mother’s “Gift of Tears”

My mom cries at everything. She called it “My Gift of Tears.” (She capitalizes it with her mouth.) She cries at commercials, displays of affection and a solid piece of music — she always has. I was profoundly embarrassed by it as a child. Naturally, I inherited it. In the past three days, my tears flowed at a wedding — the entire wedding. I wept when considering the pain my friends felt when they lost their baby. Yesterday, I cried imagining myself getting the news about my dog dying. My dog is not dying any more than any of us are. Yet, tears. The welling of feeling in my chest, the eyes filling up — it happens more frequently the older I get. I’ve learned tricks to manage it — like clearing my throat and turning my eyes skyward. They help occasionally — but in the face of a reconciliation, deep loss or commiseration, the tears still come. My six year old cried at that same wedding. I asked her if she was okay and she replied, “I’m …

Artistic Endeavors as Sung By Billy Ocean

I spoke to the fine people of the Big Traveling Potluck in April 2013 about how to invest in their creativity — with some tips from 80s pop/R&B sensation Billy Ocean. It was a long talk (near 40 minutes). I spoke before Ree Drummond. Yeah. Her. And after Matt Bites, someone I’ve obsessively followed online for at least 5 years. So, no small pressure to make the magic happen, HJ. Here’s a portion of my presentation: Get out of my dreams and into my car. And by car, I mean, into your best creative work. And here, by your best creative work, I mean, consistently creating images, moving pictures and words in combination to publish on the internet. It’s no small responsibility, to have the chance for the world to bear witness to your work. It’s no small disappointment when no one seems to take notice. It’s strange too, in all of human history; we didn’t have this kind of work. We worked in small groups satisfying our basic needs. And now we’re alone, bearing witness to our perceived …