I hope I can fully convey to you how excited I am that Kristin Paull is joining us at the Queso…if only because for many years she has been a creative inspiration to me. Kristin is one of those people who just makes it happen and shares the love. If she wants to try more restaurants, she starts a dinner club. If she wants to do more gardening, she starts a garden program at her sons’ school. If she wants to bake things, she’s suddenly running a cookie business. All the while, she’s totally honest about the processes, the struggles and the successes as they come. And holy crap, those cookies have crack in them, I swear.
Kristin and I went to the same university but didn’t meet until we were both involved in an Austin startup, years later… which now was an unmentionable number of years ago. We were in a book club together (that she started, of course) and mostly I just remember that we didn’t ever see a book the same way (Although I think we both agreed that Love in the Time of Cholera is not a love story, but rather a creepy stalker novel) but she always opened up a new perspective and creative idea. She’s continued to do that ever since and always. I can’t wait to see what all she shares with us here.
To get us started, I asked her a few questions, and I’ll let her take to from here. Please let me introduce you with a few highlights…
Kristin and her husband Jason have been married for 19 years, which doesn’t make any sense because they look like they are 19. Were they married in utero? Possibly. When I asked her about their life together she said…”We have decided we have the wanderlust gene full-tilt. We have been so lucky to take some pretty awesome trips. Our house is unfinished 15 years later, because we keep choosing travel and memories over floors and bathrooms. Sometimes, I have to look through old photos to remind myself of these choices when I am bemoaning our jacked up floors.”
When I asked about her favorite new thing, she said…”Our newest addition. Lily is equal parts sweet and vampirish, and she was my first opportunity to name a girl. Fun fact- she sleeps on my head.”
About her hobbies…”I love to cook, and specifically I love to bake. I started decorating cookies like these when my oldest was two- they were hideous but delicious. I kept practicing! Some people paint for their zen moment…I bake, cook and decorate.”
More…”We love to travel, and made a 17-year-old dream come true this summer- we traveled abroad with our boys for 6 weeks. We love how life changes when you really unplug from it for a long period of time.”
And even more…
What are your greatest creative inspirations?
My kids bring so many opportunities to be creative through projects, parties, and celebrations. With three kids, I am always trying to make their moments special and unique to them- different personalities and interests take us different places with different groups of friends. My other great creative inspirations come through cooking. I love to try different recipes so much so that my family often complains that we never have the same thing twice. While this is certainly not true (hello, taco night, I am talking to you!), I love to have an evening without practices or games so that I can try a new recipe while having a drink and listening to music as I cook. Hello, happy place!
If you had a free hour, what would you do?
What is this “free time” of which you speak? Ha! I would love to say that I would sit down and read a book- my very favorite thing to do. But, I hate to only read for one hour, and it is often hard for me to relax until my ducks are in a row- laundry humming, dishwasher running, house tidied and beds made. I am very Type A, and I have come to accept the baggage that comes with that. I must clear the clutter in my brain so that it can dial down a notch. I am envious of others who can relax at any time. It can be work for me much of the time.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I love this question, and my answers change all the time. I think my current answer to this one (in a world that does not involve volunteer duties, school projects and soccer practices) is that I would love to be a travel writer. We love to travel and all of the challenges and adventures it brings. Learning about other cultures through their daily rituals, museums, food and drink, etc. I really love to see how people live around the world, and there are still so many places on my list. We have dreamt of traveling with our kids forever, and it is fun to finally be in a place where the kids are old enough to travel well and enjoy it all with us. But, we love going places just the two of us as well, and have been so fortunate to take some amazing trips.
From James Lipton, host of Inside the Actor’s Studio
What is your favorite word?
I love this question, and probably thought about it the most. I think I love the word “can’t.” It is the one word that inspires me to action, and makes me want to go and do! Whether it is someone else telling me that it can’t be done, or even if it is me struggling with that word rolling around in my own head, I have found that I have done so many things that CAN be done if you just keep pushing at it. I have told my kids forever (cue the eyerolls), “Be the water flowing toward your goal. If you hit a rock, roll around it in some way that keeps you moving forward to what you want.”
What is your least favorite word?
Same word- “can’t.” I think we limit ourselves and each other all the time with this word, and it absolutely gets my blood moving when I hear my kids say it. Perspective is everything, right? However, it was a very close tie with “hate.” That word is a “no go” in our house.
What is your favorite curse word?
There is really no contest for this one- “dammit.” When our oldest (now nearly 16) was about 15 months old, he dropped his cheerios on the ground. He clenched his fist, and said “dammit” with my exact expression and tone. Oops! In my defense, I had no idea he could understand what I was saying! Yeah- that was his first real word. Proud Mom moment!
From JL’s Uncle Jessie Meme
A song/band/type of music you’d risk wreck & injury to turn off when it comes on the radio?
Hands down Kesha. How did she even happen, people? Nope. I also cannot stand the voice of the lead singer of Silversun Pickup- it just irks me.
Best show on television?
Right now, my favorite show is “Blackish.” I want Rainbow to be my best friend. She is smart, funny, silly and loves her family in such a genuine way. The kids are too cute and precious, and I love Dre and how sweet he is with all of them.
I am digging into the vault on this one- “Pretty in Pink.” My best friend and I walked to the dollar cinema (anyone remember those?) practically every day one summer to watch that film. I LOVED the music, and still do. The whole thing was perfection for me. I have not watched it in ages, but I need to change that.
Our favorite restaurant right now is Qui. You might remember Paul Qui from Top Chef. It is his restaurant. The drinks are always phenomenal. The people there are so incredibly nice and talented. I love how he has really taken an artisnal approach to everything from the murals on the walls to the actual dishes on which he serves his food. He is really invested in every detail. The food is always fantastic, and I enjoy stepping outside my comfort zone in such amazing ways. They have introduced me to my forever favorite dessert- halo halo. We did the special tasting room for a celebration, and it was probably the most perfect meal we have ever had. I really believe in finding chefs that you love, and then trusting them to do what they do. I trust Paul and Jorge to make anything for us- they know what they are doing in all of the most interesting ways.
My aunt (the biggest music fan I know) and I took two of our boys and a friend to an OK GO concert in a small Austin venue downtown. I love those smaller spaces, and they killed it! The sound system wasn’t working, so they sang part of Les Miserables to entertain us while they fixed it. It was both hilarious and awesome! Every song of theirs was fantastic! Someone came to put a box right in front of us during the set, and we weren’t sure what that was about until the lead singer jumped from the stage to stand on the box for an acoustic song. It was fantastic. I am a huge fan now! I love those shows where you get to hear stories and learn their personalities. I can listen to the music online anytime, so I really appreciate it when musicians take the time to give something extra in a live show. We are lucky to live in Austin- it seems most musicians want to come through our town. Yay for us!
Favorite room in your house?
I would have to say my kitchen is my favorite room. It was a super weird space when we first bought the house. I thought forever about how I would want to change it if we were to ever redo it. We finally renovated when our youngest was about 2 years old, I think. It was a challenge to go down to the studs- we were cooking in the living room, washing dishes in the bathroom, and eating on the patio. But, it was worth it, and I can honestly say that I would not do anything different. It is a really comfortable kitchen to work in, and I can have lots of room for family to cook with me or for friends to hang out while I cook. It’s a good thing I love it as I think I spend most of my time in there when I am home.
Favorite Girl Scout cookie?
Thin mints- duh!!! Do they make other flavors?
If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be?
Ok- this is actually the tshirt my husband threatens to make for me all the time. “I could agree with you…but then we would both be wrong.” It’s hilarious, and it is totally not my idea! But, what can you say…it’s usually the truth! Ha!
I could never survive being an accountant in an office with no windows. That just sounds like my personal hell. Thanks to all of you out there who can do it. I will bring you cookies!
Many years ago we were lucky enough to take a trip to Tanzania for a safari. We absolutely loved it, and it might rank up there as one of our favorite trips. I have always dreamed of taking my kids on safari. I am not sure they would agree to it, but it has always been a dream. As for a place I have not yet been…I would love to see Australia and New Zealand…or Finland, Norway, Sweden…or Brazil and Argentina. One dream vacation?!!! That will just never be me!
The best part about being your age?
I really love my age. I think I was always an old soul, but now I feel like my soul matches my age. I love being a Mom to teenage kids- they are hilarious and maddening at the same time. I love our busy lives until I am worn out by the end of the school year. I love the late night talks my boys like to have, and I love the awesome conversations with their awesome friends. Life is so good right now, and I know enough to know that I must treasure every moment.
What’s on your nightstand?
My nightstand has a bowl of hydrangeas, an analog clock with an alarm I never need to set, my Kindle and “The Mysteries of Udolpho” by Ann Radcliffe.
From the famous “Weird Things” blogoshpere meme
Tell us 3 weird things about you:
1. I have “situs inversus”- all of my organs are reversed.
2. One leg is 2.5 inches shorter than the other leg.
3. I was an only child until the age of 8 when I became number three in a line of four sisters. So, I enjoy the complications of having all of the qualities of an only child, oldest child and middle child. It can be weird!
A six-word memoir that captures your life as an artist OR your art life.
Make good choices- try new things.
Welcome Kristin! I can’t wait for you guys to get to know her better. Read more about Kristin right here.