NC Governor’s Inaugural Ball!


For additional information, click here.

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To my daughter on her second birthday…

My dearest Fiona Bear,

It’s been exactly 730 days since I saw you come into this world. You came in quietly, unexpectedly, and without any help. You simply appeared and before you took a breath, you filled the room. Within a second, you filled my life with more love than I have ever known.

Your first year of life, I hardly slept. Every moment of every day, I wished things for you and I was convinced that by merely wishing things upon you, that they would just be. It didn’t occur to me that you would grow and become who you are meant to be, and that we were just your guides in this thing we call life.

But then this year happened and you are now an independent little person. This year you learned to walk, run, you climbed a tree, and are now starting to talk… And I have found myself realizing that more than wishing things upon you, that we should be an example for you to follow. Guides. Companions. But mostly witnesses of what you will accomplish in your life.

This year you’ve made me want to be better for you.

Just like the day you were born, you are independent, intentional in what you do, and a force of nature. Seeing life through your eyes, I’ve learned to let go of fear and find that sense of adventure I had left behind with age. You teach me everyday more than I teach you. You are fearless and determined and those are qualities that I hope you’ll keep forever.

You are also disarmingly loving. You love the world and everything in it. But you love us most of all. You love us in your joy, and also in your tantrums. You throw your arms out to hug us when your world seems overwhelming. And during those moments, when I don’t think I can love you anymore, I do.

For 730 days I have loved you. Every day I am in awe of the amazing person you are becoming. I look forward to spending the rest of my life getting to know you, knowing that just when I think I won’t be able to love you more, I will.

I didn’t think I would be able to be a mother. I am the luckiest person alive because I have the privilege of being yours.

Happy birthday baby bear.

Yours forever,


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The world we have created for our kids…

Fiona is going to be 18 months old this weekend.  In the time that she has been alive, there have been 10 mass shootings in the United States.  Almost 100 people dead.  In 2015, according to the Washington Post, there were also at least 52 toddler related shooting incidents, 13 that resulted in the death of the child and 2 in the death of other people.

Let that sink in.

This weekend 50 people were killed in Orlando in what has been described as an “act of terror” and an “act of hate”.  These people were killed by a man who despite the fact that he had been investigated in the past, was able to secure a semi-automatic weapon.

Every time something like this happens, our elected officials ask for a moment of silence and spend the days following the incident blaming it on everything and everything from mental health to religious extremism. The NRA sends its deepest regrets along with a friendly reminder that guns don’t kill people when obviously they do.

When will it end?

The second amendment to the US Constitutions says that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

I have to ask: When did the right of the people to keep and bear arms include the right to own semi-automatic weapons?  When did the right of the people to keep arms become more important than the security of the citizens of the State? Last but not least, how are we safer in a world where law enforcement can’t defend us or protect us from some of the weapons that are out there?

I am quite certain that our forefathers weren’t thinking about random people (especially not persons of interest) ordering AK-47s from the internet.

We have the right to do a lot of things in a controlled fashion.

We need our elected officials to step up and work on gun control legislation now.

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My Hopes for my Daughter on Her First Birthday


Fiona Bear:

Today is your first birthday.

I can’t believe it’s been a year since you were born.  It feels like just yesterday I saw you come into this world!  People talk about time going fast but I never thought it would be this fast, and I can only imagine this is only the beginning.

In any case, in the little free time I’ve had this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things I hope for you, and the kind of person I would like for you to be…

It’s kind of hard to have so many hopes without having any expectations as to who you should be…

Who you are will always be enough for us.  Still, I want to tell you some of the things I hope for you:

I hope Hugh and I can be good enough parents to teach you how to be a good person. Everything in life begins and ends with kindness, and if perhaps we are feisty people (and at times even assy), we also strive to be good. As should you.

I hope you will be of service and always willing to help those who need you. One who hasn’t served cannot lead, and you come from a long line of women who have excelled at both. Continue this tradition. This will help you leave the world a little better than you found it.

I hope you will know that just because you are a woman you don’t need to settle for 73% of anything. You will always have support to lean in, or even push your way if you have to, so don’t ever think you have to settle…

But work hard because success is not free.

I hope you will know that money is a measure of success but not the only measure. Ultimately it should be a mean and not the end. Be savvy but not obsessive when it comes to it, and don’t let your quest for it keep you from doing the things you really love.

I hope you will appreciate the sisterhood. Regardless of what happens in the world, you need to support and be supported by other women. They will give you a north and help you thrive. This year you’ve been loved and nurtured by the women in my life. I hope that circle grows exponentially as you form your own circle.

I hope you will be proud of your heritage and culture. Remember that even though you were born here and have a fancy waspy name, you are part of the discussion on immigration currently going on in our country. Don’t ever forget that.

I hope you will take advantage of every opportunity. We can provide you with the tools for a bright future, but you have to be hungry for it. Always strive to learn, if not because you like it, because you can. Not every girl in the world is afforded the right to an education.

I hope you will love yourself and your body. Our body is the only thing we will have forever so we need to take care of it. A strong, healthy body (regardless of what it looks like) is one to be proud of and by extension, one that deserves a little credit. And if your body fails you, remember that it is only a shell and not the entirety of you. Be kind to yourself when you look in the mirror.

I hope you will know that your body is yours and that you will know how/when to say no (if you have to) and that your words have weight. You must also use those words to help you in your fight for your right to make your own healthcare and reproductive choices. Don’t let ANYONE (not us, not your partner, not your government) tell you what’s best for you.

I hope you will be true to yourself and live an authentic life regardless of what that means. We will love you no matter what.

I hope you will want to see the world and enjoy the friendship of people of different skin colors, nationalities, religions, and educational level. We live in a world where divisiveness is being promoted and I hope this will give you perspective and a sense of justice. Also, while you are at it, I hope you will learn different languages. The more words you have to express yourself with, the more you can offer of yourself with those around you.

I hope you will speak your mind but that your words will be honest. And that you’ll speak when you have something to say, and not just when you are spoken to.

Last but not least, I hope that when you go out into the world and do all of these things, that you’ll want to come back home and see us. Not because you have to, but because you want to.

We have loved you for 365 days and will continue to love you for the rest of our lives…

Happy birthday baby bear!


Mom and Dad

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Throwback Thursday: The day I became a mother.

IMG_2930I would like to introduce you to our daughter, Fiona Emilia MacLeod.
Born December 18, 2014 in Miami, FL.

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Growth and change.

peta2_hug_a_vegetarianHi. I am Annush and I’m a vegetarian.  I have been a vegetarian since I was about 10 years old.  Before you even ask, it didn’t have anything to do with my parents or my puppy…I just don’t like the smell of meat.

Apparently yesterday was World Vegetarian Day but for some reason I found out today.  Now, by acknowledging it I am not trying to lecture anyone about their dietary choices but I will say that the vegetarian lifestyle is one that we should all embrace not only because it is a more humane way to live, but because in this day and age here in America, we don’t know what’s in our food. Between hormones, antibiotics, unnatural feeds, etc. our health is at risk. That should make everyone want to reconsider their diet.

MomIn other news, today is my mom’s birthday.  Not only am I happy for her because it’s her birthday, but from the looks of it, she is going to be a grandmother for the second time this week.

We celebrated a few days ago so she could go be with my brother and sister in law these last few days before the baby is born, but I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty certain that no gift I could have given her can top a baby boy…

I have a lot to be happy about and thankful for these days.  Things to look forward to and the hope that I’ll forever be appreciative of the things/people I have in my life.  It is very exciting to see our family grow and our projects bloom.

Now I am gonna go try to bake a vegan cake so I can celebrate life before I go out tonight!

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On holiday fun and being well-rounded :)

I can’t believe October is almost here and that the holidays are practically upon us.  Just yesterday I received the UrbanDaddy newsletter and nearly had an aneurism when I saw that pumpkin season has started and that the Shore Club is making a pumpkin and ginger margarita.  If that’s not a holiday drink, I don’t know what is!

I must have one.

But where was I? Oh yes! the holidays are coming up and after taking a quick look at my calendar, I just realized that I need to get started on my Holiday cards so I don’t end up like those people who cry every single year about not having time to send them.  (I really hate those people.) In any case, I’m very excited that this year we will join forces with Wynwood Letterpress to create the perfect cards for us.  I can’t wait to get started!

I love the holidays.  I get so excited!

Anyway, I feel like I’ve just skipped over a bunch of pretty cool happenings around town while obsessing over something still months away…

On Thursday October 2 at 3:30pm former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be at Books and Books- Coral Gables signing copies of her new book “Hard Choices”.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to meet  Mrs. Clinton a few times and she is someone amazing to be around.  In fact, I find her to be so amazing that I will probably be there tomorrow even though I bought the Kindle version of the book 🙂


Shortly thereafter, I will take up Blackbird Ordinary on their invitation to go sample their new cocktail menu from 7pm-10pm.  A donation of at least $20 to Philanthrofest gets you a three hour open bar.

I don’t know if they’ll have pumpkin ginger drinks, but I do know that Philanthrofest is a nonprofit that’s really close to my heart so even if you can’t join in the fun, I hope you’ll make a donation and help them help others.

Oh and don’t forget that night Pubbelly goes vegan!930pm

There is a 9:30pm seating so realistically, you can get your copy of Hard Choices signed, have some drinks, support our favorite nonprofit, and have an amazing vegan meal all in one day.

On that note, I’m off to get started on my redecorating project.  Hopefully I can channel Martha Stewart as I focus my energy on making my home worthy of Architecture and Design.

In the meantime, here is a recipe I found for a Pumpkin Spice Margarita!

Until next time,

Annush 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Margarita


1 can organic pumpkin puree
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1/4 cup organic sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups of water

1 1/2 oz organic tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 organic lime

1 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
A pinch of nutmeg


  1. Make a pumpkin simple syrup by combining pumpkin puree with brown sugar, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and water in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Stir constantly for 20 to 30 minutes, until cinnamon flavor is present and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool. The Simple syrup should have the consistency of a thin smoothie.
  3. Pass the thick syrup through a fine mesh sieve (or a strainer), using the back of a spoon and discard the pumpkin pulp.
  4. Prep margarita glasses by combining sugar, allspice, and salt and pouring the mixture onto a small plate. Run a wedge of lime around the rim of each margarita glass, and then dip the glass rim into spiced sugar.
  5. For each margarita, combine the juice of half a lime, tequila, Cointreau, and 2 oz pumpkin simple syrup. Shake well and serve on the rocks.
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A woman who creates change.

I don’t often use the word “honored” but last week I had the opportunity to meet Eve Ensler during a panel she moderated at Young Arts, and that was a HUGE honor for me.  It’s not very often that one gets the opportunity to meet someone who has made such a huge difference in the world, and there she was.  In the flesh.  And she talked to ME!

We are living in a world where even in the most developed corners in the world (ie- here), every single day we hear of someone who has suffered violence because of their gender. Between football players who see their wives as punching bags, fathers who kill their daughters, and everything in between, we are living in a world where women (but not only women) are having a REALLY hard time just existing.

I keep talking about the conversation we need to have as a society about violence, and Eve Ensler has been pushing this conversation for years. I was lucky to be a part of this one, and I hope that with 1 billion rising, it is a conversation that will continue until the one billion rises.

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Happy National Coffee Day!!!


May your life not require as much caffeine as mine 🙂

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A Coke and a Smile!

I don’t know what is in a Diet Coke.  In fact, I don’t wanna know.  What I do know is that there are some days when a Diet Coke will fix just about anything and today is one of those days.

It’s still rainy out and as a result, my mood has taken a beating.  I really don’t like rain and this dampness is really getting old. Instead of feeling diligent and responsible by being at home working, I feel like I’m being held hostage. That’s no good.

But I am being productive at least and that makes me feel good.

Lately I’ve been dedicating a lot of my time to the Young Patronesses of the Opera annual gala, which is coming up.  What started as a little project to collect a few items for the silent auction, has become this community outreach operation that has led me into the exciting world of  fundraising and charitable gifts.  It’s actually pretty awesome because not only do I get to help, I also get the opportunity to learn about certain opportunities that I can then share with others.

photo838Like Give Miami Day, for example. According to The Miami Foundation, “Give Miami Day is a unique, 24 hour online giving event that allows individuals in our community an opportunity to build a greater Miami by making a charitable gift to a local nonprofit.”  This year, the deadline for non-profits to complete their application is November 3.   Do you have a Miami based nonprofit you’d like to register?  This is a great opportunity!

1472842_576630119059220_716637424_nThere is also 5k PARKfest on November 2, which is a 5k where 50% of your registration fee goes to the cause of your choice! The bigger the team, the larger the donation.  Needless to say, this is not only an amazing team-building activity, it is also a great way to raise some money for your nonprofit of choice WITHOUT HAVING TO DUMP COLD WATER ON YOUR HEAD!  Everyone wins 🙂

Added bonus: You burn some calories.

Do you know of any cool ways nonprofits can raise some money? Sharing is caring!!

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