Why I love to Skimm

10461998_540802879379916_8994071379676302360_nWhen I lived with my parents, my dad did a great job of keeping me informed about the world around me, and he would frequently clip articles from the local paper that he thought I would find interesting. When I moved away and my schedule became busier, I sadly let the “relevant news” ball drop. Don’t get me wrong. When it came to fashion trends, celeb gossip, health and fitness news—all things easy to understand—I continued to stay well-informed. How embarrassing that I could practically re-cap the latest episode of The Bachelorette, yet had no idea what was going on in the Gaza Strip. My “come to Jesus” moment occurred when I pronounced “Sunni” like the popular orange juice drink. I knew something had to be done. But, also knew that training myself to watch the news or read the paper during my free time rather than binge watching House of Cards on Netflix would involve serious self control. And then came theSkimm.

theSkimm is an enewsletter sent each morning before 7. It uses a sassy, conversational tone to deliver easy to digest yet relevant daily news. After a week of “Skimming,” I definitely felt more informed and globally aware. This new knowledge power inspired me to look further into issues that I had been totally oblivious to only days before. I definitely became addicted to my morning shot of information and it led me to look into the brains behind my newly formed AM routine.

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Formerly employed by NBC News, Carly Zakin and Danielle Welseberg started theSkimm as a way to reach young professional females who were facing the same dilemma I mentioned earlier: wanting to be informed, but unwilling or unable to devote the time and energy necessary to sift through and digest traditional news. theSkimm founders have admitted to always being obsessed with the news and thanks to this valuable interest they became accustomed to taking on the job of keeping their friends and family informed. In 2012, they bravely quit their jobs to take on a different approach to news delivery. Zakin has described theSkimm as “old meets new,” and I completely agree. Mixing pertinent information with snarky comments and peppering in the occasional Wedding Crashers quote, their delivery is pure genius. Reading theSkimm is like having your best friend fill you in on her life over happy hour cocktails except “her life” is breaking news and “vodka soda” is iced coffee…at least in my case.

These ladies have achieved what I would have thought was the impossible: captivating a celebrity obsessed, uber-busy and easily distracted demographic, long enough to share daily updates on finance, politics, international headlines, technology and sports news. theSkimm just celebrated its 2nd birthday and with over 500,000 subscribers, a recent appearance by the ladies on Chelsea Lately , and interviews featured in the Huffington Post, CNBC, and the Wall Street Journal,  I predict many more birthdays in the future. I can’t wait to watch these ladies take on the world and I will happily continue to Skimm each morning and spread the word!


In The Name of Shoes: My Discovery of Nisolo

Nisolo 1Recently I made a trip to Nashville alongside the Stooks Fam Elders to meet up with our favorite Marine 2nd Lieutenant and Auburn Tigette who were visiting our state’s capital for a Lumineers concert  at the Ryman (my sisters have such great taste!). A & H had checked out the Nashville Farmer’s Market   and discovered a wonderful little shoe company called Nisolo. The Nisolo mission to “redefine what success means today through the sale of handmade, quality driven products” is accomplished by the sale of high quality leather shoes made by individuals in developing countries. This struck a cord with me, personally, and when we visited their warehouse in Germantown the next day I fell in love. I was particularly smitten with these Delicias Sandals and before I even tried them on (or bothered to look at the price tag, which NEVER happens) I knew they would be coming home with me. While my sister and I discussed shoe colors (she ended up with these) our parents played a game of ping pong on an artfully crafted table set up in the showroom and a Lana Del Ray song I hadn’t even heard yet played softly in the background.  When I found out the ping pong table had ties to one of my heart’s other desires, Anthropologie, I was ecstatic.  image I love the idea that my shoe purchase helped empower a Peruvian artisan, but I couldn’t help but jokingly comment to my bestie that “usually when I shell over that kinda cash for someone I expect a thank you note.”  Well, lo-and-behold when I opened my shoe box later that day (I loved my news sandals so much I wore them out of the store) I was amazed to see an actual thank you card from Roxana who “has worked in the family business of shoemaking for decades in the El Porvenir neighborhood.”  Needless to say, I am head-over-heels for this fantastic discovery and I invite you to check out what I know will be a hugely successful company. Also, props to them for their use of Nisolo Twitter and Facebook !

Black Bean Burger with Cilantro Lime “Mayo”


If you are reading this in hopes of finding a vegetarian substitute for hamburgers, look further. These burgers are fantastic, but their comparison to beef is only in shape and color. Black beans taste about as much like cow meet as waffles taste like cereal (WHAT?? But they’re both BREAKFAST foods?!) so if you are expecting to bite into one of these bad boys and have your mouth filled with the taste of black angus, this is not the recipe for you. That being said, these burgers are utterly amazing and although they are time consuming, it is SO worth every minute. The only thing missing is a little bit of chow-chow on top, but I haven’t been able to find a recipe that doesn’t require more than one day and canning equipment.



  • 1 Tablespoon EVO
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shreddedIMG_6550
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ Vidalia onion, diced
  • Poblano chili, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup extra firm tofu drained, pureed till smooth
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ Lime, juiced1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 cups coconut oil
  • 8 hamburger rolls

Cilantro Lime Sauce:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • ½ Lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste}



1. Heat carrots, corn, red and green peppers, onion, celery and garlic over medium heat for five minutes. Set aside.

2. Combine veges with black beans, cilantro, lime juice and spices in a large bowl. Divide into 3 and pulse in a food processor a few times.rn, red and green peppers, onion, celery and garlic over medium heat for five minutes. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl mix together the black bean mixture with the tofu and crumbs and hand form 8 patties.

4. Cook the patties in the hot coconut oil for five minutes on each side. Serve in toasted buns smothered with the cilantro lime topping.


Tofu Taco Salad

IMG_6638This recipe actually comes from a bunch of different recipes I found online. I pulled what I thought were the best ingredients from each of the recipes and created this little bowl of heaven. I must say, it is one of the best vegetarian dishes I have ever tasted, much less created. I actually shoveled the lettuce into my mouth like a barbarian, possibly because it took me over an hour to make it and I was (faint) exhausted from being in the kitchen that long, but more likely because it was so D-E-LICIOUS!

Cilantro Lime Dressing:

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper, to taste

IMG_6632Taco Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Taco “Meat”:IMG_6633

  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 14 oz block extra firm tofu
  • 6 oz can tomato paste or diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (inaddition to the tablespoon used in dressing. What can I say? I love garlic)



1. Place all dressing ingredients into a sealable container (I used a mason jar) and shake to combine. You could also use a food processor if you really like doing dishes. Place container in fridge while you prepare the rest of the meal (the longer the better).

2. Drain tofu and wrap in a stack of paper towels, place in between two kitchen plates with something heavy on top (get creative here, I believe in you) for at least 20 minutes.

3. Combine taco seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Combine corn and black beans in a small pot and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove from head and set aside.


5. Heat olive oil and garlic in large skillet. Crumble dried tofu in skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the taco seasoning mixture and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

6. Chop romaine and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle bell pepper, avocado and green onions on top, spoon on black bean and corn mixture and tofu. Toss with dressing. Enjoy =)

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad



Hi sweet friends & patient followers!

It has been FAR too long since I’ve posted but you’ll be happy to know that my special blog appearance has been made in order to share something FABULOUS with  you all! I have been experimenting with the Paleo lifestyle and I have tried many wonderful recipes from some fantastic cooks. This is my first original Paleo recipe and I’m willing to bet my kitchen knives that if you make this, the non-paleo, Big Mac chomping, extra mayo lovers in your life will approve as well.

I ate this salad plain, but what you choose to do with it is no business of mine. It would go great with Triscuits, whole wheat honey oat bread,  or a pita pocket. photo

I’m not a big advocate of the “follow a recipe TO THE T” model so if you need to make your own substitutions feel free and PLEASE let me know! I’d love to add to this and make it even better! The one piece of advice I do have is to try your hardest to use the freshest ingredients possible. All veges below were grown locally and the herbs are from the garden of Mrs. Stooksbury herself.

Happy cooking, I hope you enjoy this treat as much as I did!

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

  • 1LB Chicken breast (from the night before, marinated,  grilled, chopped)
  • 1 apple peeled, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • Handful craisins
  • Handful pecans, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 TBS EVOO
  • 1/4 cup grain mustard (I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale mustard)
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 sprig FRESH Rosemary
  • 1 sprig FRESH Thyme
  • 1 sprig FRESH Tarragon

Combine all ingredients, and enjoy 🙂

When Do YOU Watch TV?

If I had been asked this question 10 years ago, my answer would have been “Only on the weekends when my parents allow me to watch the 7th Heaven or Boy Meets World episode I have tape (yes, tape, as in VHS) recorded this week”. To be fair, my sisters and I quickly manipulated the “one TV show a week” rule and each picked a different program we all agreed on, then watched them together, but my parents were adamant that we only watch television on the weekends and due to the lack of DVR capabilities or services such as Netflix and Hulu this was an easy rule to enforce. Unknown

If I had been asked this question 5 years ago I would answer, “Late at night, when everyone has gone to bed and I can finally catch up on the Gossip Girl episodes I’ve religiously recorded each week”. The Stooksbury family quickly took to the DVR and although we were thankful for this new box that sat nicely atop the DVD player, 6 people trying to record their 5 favorite shows each week did NOT end well, especially during football season and especially before we taught Dad not to press the “Do Not Record” message every time it appeared while he was using the television.Unknown-1

If you were to ask me this question today, my answer would be “Whenever I want to”. More than likely, if I’m watching a show that is currently airing, I have previously viewed all available seasons of said show on Netflix and if I don’t catch it on live TV I check ONDEMAND, if it isn’t there my last stop is Hulu+. I am never stuck watching a show I don’t like because most often I seek out a program and sit down to watch it on my own time. And that, kids, is the story of How I Met Your Mother (just kidding..)TV LOOKOUT

The evolution of the way we watch television is almost as entertaining as the programs themselves. Advertisers, among others, have had to adapt to this change quickly because, after all, why sit through almost 20 minutes of commercials per hour long program when you could just record the show and skip the commercials altogether? This is a fascinating topic that I look forward to studying further in my future but I do feel that with the changing technologies the question asked of us will most definitely change from “When do you watch TV?” to “How do you watch TV?”

A Night On The Town..Stooksbonanza Style

It recent years crafting and DIY projects have had a huge increase in popularity and although I would NEVER look a bedazzled horse in the mouth, I will admit they have also become more visually appealing and functional (If you don’t think having 200+ handmade coasters in your home is functional then you, sir or ma’am, have not been to Stooksbonanza’s house).


I happen to have an archive of crafts that have taken place in my very home this past week, but I have to keep them under wraps until they are unveiled to all my friends and family on Christmas morning.


However, I would like to share one new trend that combines two of my favorite things, creativity and vino. Painting classes that allow you to bring your own “drink of choice” and learn step-by-step how to create a masterpiece on canvass that is unique and somehow always beautiful are popping up everywhere and I, for one, am a HUGE fan! I have taken 4 of these classes this year and have loved each one. My favorite place like this in Knoxville is Uptown Art (located off of Papermill by Five Guys and Bistro) and I was fortunate enough to be involved in a private party with my sisters and our friends recently. It was a blast and I couldn’t help but think what fun a Birthday, Christmas or Bachelorette party at Uptown Art would be. In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday we all painted a peacock (don’t judge, peacocks are MUCH better looking than turkeys) and they are now displayed in our dining room. This was also a unique experience because my whole family (Dad was left at home :/ ) was able to enjoy it and also have something to take away.


Have you ever taken a wine and painting class? Did you love it? I would love to see everyone’s pictures!