One of my favorite authors is Shauna Niequist, a writer who shares insight regarding relationships, community, and engaging with one another while gathered around the table, surrounded by food and drink and friendship. Niequist is a compelling storyteller who uses her own life as a platform for connecting with her readers in a genuine, intimate way.

One of her primary topics of focus is cultivating meaningful relationships and diving honestly and openly into a supportive community. She writes about this in her book Bittersweet when she expounds upon the topic of the home team:

The promises of wedding vows made with the best of intentions get tested when life — past and present — shows up. We are dynamic individuals growing and changing as we navigate life. Sometimes, a relationship cannot sustain under the pressures of change, struggle, illness, betrayal, and differing desires to make a marriage work.

Much is invested in preparation for the wedding while the statistics of divorce are a stark contrast to wedding day bliss. Many marriages do not survive today. Some statistics have that number between 40-50% for first marriages and the odds of divorce increase for second and third marriages.

When a marriage is in crisis, love is stretched. Faith is tested. Dreams feel like they become more distant.

While Los Angeles is a city known for budding actors and beach bums, it’s also a wanted destination for those looking to satisfy their epicurean desires. With little pockets of the city dedicated to various cultures and ethnicities it’s hard not to find the cuisine that you crave. But beyond the traditional restaurant experience is the unique littlemeatsLA.

This post is brought to you by Bertolli. Don’t just eat, Mangia!

The weekend is creeping to a close, and you’re already wishing Monday wasn’t a mere 24 hours away. Wouldn’t it be great if the slow steadiness of Sunday didn’t have to be eclipsed by a looming workday? If we could have something to savor on this special day, something that we could look forward to, relish in and that — beyond all — was easy to implement?

We’ve got you. Bertolli does too. We’re making a case for bringing back the “Sunday Supper,” a dedicated stretch of time where you gather ’round good food and good people and Mangia! like the Italians do. By using Bertolli’s super-simple skillet meals combined with a few finishing touches, we’re walking you through the art of curating your own Sunday supper and revealing why we think this ritual deserves a comeback, below.

I love the concept of Friendsgiving, a dinner you throw with your friends in the days leading up to Thanksgiving knowing you’ll have to spend time with your family on the actual day.

It’s more casual, less fussy, usually more wine is involved, and it’s far less political. You don’t have to worry about stepping on anyone’s toes when it comes to family tradition, and the awkward silences and stress over the seating chart seems to be greatly diminished. In all, it’s probably closer to what Thanksgiving aspires to be — a gathering with the people you love, filled with laughter and grateful hearts.

Because of it’s fluidity and inclusive attitude, Friendsgiving is also a time to get a little more playful with the menu.

A Note From The Editor: We are very aware that the words we publish in this space and in our print issues have power. Even more so, we’re in awe of how your words, our dear Darling readers, keep us encouraged and motivated in the mission to redefine what true beauty looks like — in the media and in culture — so that all women everywhere can feel known, loved, whole and worthy. We want to start sharing these words with you as well, because YOU are the real voice and agent of change.

From Darling reader Jessie McShane:

A few weeks ago my good friend Wynne, from La vie Charme Events, and I got together at a cozy pub in Minneapolis for what started as a casual happy hour to catch up. The evening was full of talk of exciting collaborations, wedding recap (Wynne had just gotten married in Canada), and business ventures. Wyn and I are both big fans of Darling Magazine so while on the topic of one of their more recent posts about Turning Your Passion into Your Profession we found ourselves talking about how we really wanted to get to know some of the local Minnesota women working towards their passions on a more personal level.

I visited my grandmother at her nursing home last week. It’s been almost three years since I saw her last, and I wasn’t prepared for how much she had deteriorated. I knew she had dementia, but as I sat by her bed holding her wrinkled hand I struggled to connect the rosy-cheeked, cheerful woman I remembered with the pale, skinny form lying next to me.

She didn’t remember who I was and I didn’t expect her to. In fact, she slept almost the entire time I was there. To help pass the time a nurse mentioned that a hymn-sing was scheduled for 2 o’clock, which pulled a bright memory to the front of my mind.

I’m sitting on a piano bench next to my grandmother in the sunlit study, fumbling through “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The chords feel too big for my hands, but she belts straight through my blunders with the determined gusto of a freight train.

Yes, let’s go to the hymn-sing.