I listen to a podcast called, “Terrible, Thanks for Asking”. It’s hosted by a woman who lost her dad to cancer and her husband to brain cancer, all within a couple weeks of each other. She started the podcast to … Continue reading
I have described this year as a shrug. Not great, not terrible… just there. Will I remember 2018 when I’m old? Probably not. It’s one of those years that passed me by. It’s not to say that I expect every year to be monumental, but I usually have something that sticks out, making it memorable. 2018 was pleasant. Like day old pizza.
I take full responsibility for my beige colored year. I didn’t do much to push myself outside of any comfort zone. I channeled by inner dog and stuck to my routines. Long walks, long commutes, lots of time in the kitchen with a handful of trips thrown in the mix. I started off the year celebrating the love of a dear friend on a tiny island off the coast of Mexico. I spent my mornings watching whales from my balcony as I made a mental note to always be present and mindful. That lasted approximately 40 days before life got the better of me. But isn’t that always how it goes with new year’s resolutions? That’s not to say that 2018 was a waste. Years are never a waste.
I made lovely friends at my new job. I fell for unavailable men (shocking, I know). I splurged on plane tickets to see people I adore. I continued to question whether or not to move back to Texas. I watched my grandma finally get old and it broke my heart. I listened to my nephew string together sentences that made zero sense and it filled me with so much joy. I witnessed by littlest nephew develop a coy smile that will break hearts one day. I got two new tattoos (just recounted and realized I got three… whoops), I found out that my person is pregnant and I get to be an aunt 3x over. I celebrated babies, birthdays, anniversaries and new careers.
I went to see art and music and theater and reminded myself to always make time for those things. I learned the entire Hamilton soundtrack by heart. I subscribed to the newspaper and The New Yorker and bought too many books that are waiting to be read. I listened to more podcasts than I can count and forced my dogs to go on 4 hour walks so I could finish another true crime audiobook. I was complimented on my curiosity and I realized that all I want to do is learn as much as I can about everything. Someone told me I was a wonderful writer and I told him it was the nicest thing I had heard in a long time. A friend asked me what brought me real joy and my only answer was a tearful reply of, “I don’t know.”
I still have some work to do. And that’s ok. Because that’s life. And while I didn’t fully embody my 2018 intention of mindfulness and grace, I made progress, and that’s all you can hope for. As for 2019? My word is vulnerability. I still haven’t cracked that code. I know that once I do it’ll break open a lot of very big and important things for me. My other goal? Write more. I kept up a handful of penpals this year and there’s nothing quite like getting a letter in the mail.
And if I fall back into routine and find myself swimming along like I did in 2018, I will remind myself that life isn’t always going to be exciting. I need to remember that I’m god damn lucky to have my health, my family, my friends, my dogs and my insatiable curiosity. And that should always be enough.
Oh, and here’s my top nine photos of the year. Tattoos and good people and weekend adventures. Okay, okay… I did have some fun this year.
Potato, pear and goat cheese pizza
I haven’t updated this blog in a long time and I’m realizing that the last recipe I posted was a pizza… It’s a food I like, okay? Tacos and pizza are just great ways to combine a bunch of tasty food onto a flat, round thing and shove it into your face. The weather is super gross up in the PNW, so a warm pizza was all that I craved this evening. I had pears and potatoes from my CSA so I figured I would just slap it on some dough and call it a day. And it’s fucking delicious.
- Pizza dough — I used a pre-made dough from the grocery store because I didn’t want to make my own. But if dough is your thing, have fun!
- 3 Tbsp olive oil (2 for dough, 1 for onions)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Balsamic vinegar (to taste)
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 onions, cut into thin strips
- 4-5 red potatoes, sliced into rounds
- 2 pears, thin slices
- 2 handfuls of shredded mozzarella (definitely didn’t measure)
- Chunk of goat cheese, crumbled (I NEVER MEASURE CHEESE, LEAVE ME ALONE)
- Spinach salad on the side so you can justify eating all the carbs and cheese
Start by roasting the potatoes. I set the oven at 400 and roasted those bad boys for 30 minutes. While they were cooking I started the onions. Add 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter to a pan (cast iron forever) and let it warm. Add in your onions and then let them cook. After about 10 minutes I added in the salt and continued to stir. After 20 more minutes of them browning and turning into deliciousness, I added a dash of balsamic vinaigrette and then let them cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Keep your eye on the onions (obviously) and prep your pears and cheeses. Also figure out your dough. I got the dough from Essential Bakery and it was a good choice. That stuff is delicious AND it was easy to roll out. This is more just a kudos to Essential pizza dough than a helpful tip… Sorry.
Turn your oven up to 450 or whatever your dough requires.
I’m not a huge red sauce girl, so I just used 2 Tbsp olive oil mixed with the minced garlic and some pepper as the base for this pizza.
After the onions and potatoes are done, start layering shit on your dough. I started with the potatoes and then the onions, followed by mozzarella. Then I made a pretty pattern with the pears before topping it all off with the crumbled goat cheese.
Pop that into the oven for 10-12 minutes and then enjoy. My dogs clearly wanted a piece or two.
It has been over a year since I’ve written anything on this blog. 7ish years ago (whoa) when I started this writing project I was at a job that, while fulfilling in many ways, was oftentimes mind numbingly boring. The weekend shifts meant hours upon hours where I had to sit at a computer with nothing to do. And, because writing has always been a form of therapy, I spent my time telling the internet the ways I was getting over my broken heart and surviving my mid-20s.
In my early 30s, I’m happy to say that I’m in a place that feels right. Leaving Uber 6 months ago was a weird, hard, scary thing to do. I’ve never been good at being new at things, so leaving the comfort of a job that had become my second home was terrifying. But when a company that you’ve put on a pedestal your entire life reaches out to you with an opportunity, you’d be a fool to pass it up. I spent the last couple of months at Uber wrapping up loose ends, drinking too much alcohol, and brainstorming what my life would look like once work no longer defined me.
That’s the thing about working for a startup tech company, it becomes your identity in so many ways. Healthy? Probably not. Fun? Abso-fucking-lutely. The people I met at Uber will be lifelong friends because we went through a kind of battle together. 70 hour work weeks and wearing so many hats you’re not quite sure how to define your job isn’t for the faint of heart. But it was a job with a sense of community that I’ll most likely never find again.
Can you tell I miss them?
All of that being said, I made the right choice. When I got the call about the job at REI, I was on a beach in Hawaii. My family went to celebrate my grandpa’s life and spread his ashes in the ocean. We stayed at a little house 30 minutes outside of Honolulu, eating too much fried shrimp and shaved ice. I accepted the job while my sister and I drank pina coladas the size of our heads and bought blue friendship bracelets in the gift shop. I remember how after I said yes to the offer, I turned to give my family a thumbs up and they all let out loud “YAYS” that could be heard across the restaurant. We drank a few more pina coladas to celebrate. Because, vacation.
And now it’s been 6+ months at REI. It’s a job I knew I’d love. It’s not easy to find a company where you believe in their mission, trust their leaders, and feel valued and heard. But the first couple of months were rough. I doubted everything. Being new means: not knowing who to talk to, who to sit with, or how anyone defines success. It took me awhile, but I figured it out. I found my people. I have a group of ladies who I lunch with every day. I’m doing a good job of bringing my brain and sass to the table. Change has always been hard (shocker!), but my ambition and bullheadedness usually push me into shaking shit up. And, once I found my groove, I am loving everything about it. Most days I leave meetings reveling in the fact that my job is to create content about why being outside is the most important. Honestly… what is this life?
And while my blog game hasn’t been strong, I’ve kept up with a handful of pen pals across the world and have made my journal and banjo a constant companion. It’s been a year where I’ve kept my words (grace and mindfulness) on the tip of my tongue, picking up and keeping habits that make me a better person. Most of my free time is spent with my family, attempting to tire out my two dogs (oh yeah, I got a puppy), and binge listening to podcasts while making food. Which, if you know me, proves that no drastic changes have been made. I still find that I’m better alone, not quite knowing how to solve my deep distrust and inability to compromise. I continue to put off therapy because self care looks more like long walks and an early bedtime. I’ll get there. Eventually.
Will this post inspire me to write regularly on here? Unsure. All I know is that it’s been fun reminiscing about the big life changing things that have happened in the past year. Also, I really wanted to share the recipe for the pizza I made a couple of nights ago because it was mother fucking delicious. I had two of my best friends over. We’ve known each other since college. Since the days of hiding tequila in our dorm room hampers and dancing our faces off at Rumors every week for 80s night. While our lives have tamed a bit, we’re still each other’s people. We ate dinner and drank wine and talked about all of the things that people talk about after knowing each other for 10+ years.
I highly recommend making this pizza for people you love, eating it outside, and chatting about things that matter.
Caramelized onion, goat cheese and grilled peach pizza with a balsamic reduction
It’s getting to be peach season in Washington which means it’s time to spend all of my money at fruit stands. It also means incorporating fresh fruit into every meal, no matter what. This time around, it was on pizza. And it was a smashing success. Note: it’s hard for me to not love a recipe with caramelized onions on it, but I think this one is a crowd pleaser.
Not going to lie, I didn’t have time to make a homemade crust so I got a frozen GF one at the store and it did the job. Make a crust however you want to make a crust. You do you. Cookie & Kate has a super good recipe if you’re looking to make your own.
- 3 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 for the onions, 1 for the base of the pizza
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 white or yellow onions, chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1 peach, sliced
- 3 handfuls of arugula
- ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette
- 2 Tbsp honey
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and then start with the onions. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the stove over medium heat until warm. Drop in your chopped onions and let those bad boys cook. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking and turn down the heat slightly if things start to blacken. Let the onions cook down for 10-15 minutes and then add in your salt and sugar. I also added in a dash of balsamic vinaigrette to add some moisture. Cook for another 15-20 minutes after adding in the salt and sugar until all of the onions are caramelized and so delicious smelling you want to lick the pan. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Prep the base of your pizza dough by drizzling a tablespoon of olive oil and spreading out the minced garlic across the dough. Next, throw on the mozzarella. Then it’s time for the peaches. Luckily, I have a handy cast iron grill pan which means I get those beautiful grill lines without having to fire up the BBQ. If that’s not the world you live in, you can throw them on your grill or broil them a tiny bit before arranging them on your pizza. After they’re grilled/warmed/baked to the point where they aren’t totally smooshy but not completely firm (about 3 minutes each side on a medium/high grill pan), place them on top of the mozzarella. Finish off with the crumbled goat cheese and then put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes — whatever it takes to make your crust is golden brown.
While the pizza is cooking, make your balsamic reduction. All you have to do is pour the balsamic vinegar into a pot with the honey, bring to a boil and let simmer until it’s reduces to about half of the liquid that you started with. Set it aside and let it cool slightly before pouring it on your pizza.
Once the pizza is out of the oven, top it with handfuls of arugula, drizzle on the reduction, and serve. This recipe will probably become a summer staple because who doesn’t like pizza and wine on the back patio?
Recently, my sister summed up how I feel about life: “People are complicated, life is messy, and shit is hard.” It sounds like bummer town USA, but I think it’s a good reminder. There are a billion+ different layers to every story and every person, and I have to accept the fact that I’ll never be able to figure anything or anyone out. And as someone who wants to be in control of every situation, it’s been a hard life lesson to swallow.
So, instead of trying to stick to one narrative of my life and write in length about how that singular thing effects me, I’m going to sum up my first three months of being 30. I’m not quite sure what my life will shake out to look like in a year from now, but I’m trying to find some semblance of balance, and I suppose that’s all we can do.
- My body is still rebelling on me. Health is a tricky, tricky thing which appears to only get harder as we get older. I still haven’t figured out what’s going on with these silly imbalances, but I’m working on it. After a week of binge eating tacos and swimming in whiskey (thanks Texas), I’m back to clean eating and daily yoga. Check out Yoga with Adriene if yoga studios scare you but you want to get your daily dose of stretching. She’s the best.
- I recently faced some pretty important ghosts from my past. Ghosts I have been avoiding for 6+ years. This important conversation was enlightening, devastating, and it broke me in the exact way I needed to be broken. I’m now googling “best therapists in Seattle/Tacoma” on the daily. If you know a good therapist that can deal with stoic and stubborn people, send them my way.
- I am considering moving back to Texas. It could be due to the fact that Tacoma is dealing with the coldest winter since 1985 and everything I own is constantly damp, or it could be the fact that Austin makes me feel alive. Being in Texas feels right. I don’t feel anxious or lonely or uncertain. It’s mainly because being near my sister centers me, but it’s also because that place has an energy that cannot be denied. Who knows where I’ll end up, but that sweaty and flat city is always tempting me back.
- I honestly think that every stranger who walks near me, looks at me, and/or is in my general vicinity is going to murder me. I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of true crime and am listening to My Favorite Murder every chance I get. If you have yet to listen to that podcast, I highly recommend it. Just prepare yourself to panic check behind the shower curtain regularly and maybe end up falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the Great British Baking Show every night.
- I am considering pulling an Alicia Keys and stopping wearing makeup. I don’t really wear much anyway, but I have spent the last 15 years convincing myself that my face, in particular my eyes, aren’t good enough unless I dress them up. And while it might lower my self confidence a tad and potentially further my “forever alone” narrative, it would be nice to not feel dependent on anything to feel beautiful.
- Lastly, and so we end this bad boy on a high note, I need to own goats in the near future. On my most recent trip to Texas we were at a friend’s ranch and got to bottle feed and snuggle with baby goats. They are stubborn, curious, and make the cutest sounds I’ve ever heard. Being out in the country and near these tiny creatures reaffirmed my life goal of owning property on one of Washington’s islands or in west Texas (maybe both? Go big or go home.) My land would be a paradise of dogs, goats, chickens, vegetables, and a tiny a-frame cabin with a sleeping loft and a large kitchen. It’s what I have my sights set on, and lord knows that when I want something I will do anything and everything in my power to get it. Baby goats, I’m coming for you.
I’m so grateful I’m entering a new decade. I feel like my haphazard foundation has crumbled in a lot of beautiful ways, and I’m excited to start building myself back up.
Here’s to being messy, vulnerable, and complicated.
Thai Inspired Abundance Bowl
As I mentioned, my health has been all over the map for the past year. It’s annoying, frustrating, and I hate not being the best version of myself. I’m working on it, and definitely believe that the place to start is diet. I have done so many damn cleanses and food challenges that I know eating a whole foods diet is what makes me feel my best. So, after 9 days in Texas eating at least 4 tacos a day and ALWAYS saying yes to dessert and whiskey, I came back 7 pounds heavier (literally) and am excited to surround myself with nothing but leafy greens. This heavenly dish fills you up, makes great leftovers, and will leave you licking the bowl because… peanut sauce.
- 1 cup sweet potato, chopped
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp red curry paste
- 2 gloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1 egg (optional)
- 1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
- Recipe for peanut sauce
Start with your sweet potato. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, and mix your chopped sweet potato with the melted coconut oil, curry powder, salt and pepper. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes. While those are cooking, head on over whip up your peanut sauce – this recipe will make extra, but I just keep it in a jar and spoon over any and all food. Because it’s fucking peanut sauce… aka: Delish on everything.
Once your peanut sauce is made, cook your quinoa. Like the peanut sauce, I always make extra because having cooked quinoa in the fridge is always handy. I use Cookie + Kate’s method and it hasn’t failed me yet. Just rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh colander and then combine with 2 parts water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a low simmer for 20 minutes or until almost all the liquid is gone. Remove from the heat and cover, letting the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. Set that puppy aside and move on to your vegetables.
I wanted to have a combo of warm and cold veggies, so I sautéed my mushrooms and broccoli in a Thai inspired dish. If you want to go raw, just chop everything up and layer with the rest of the ingredients. For the Thai-inspired sauté, warm 1 tsp of sesame oil over medium heat and once warm add in the chopped broccoli and chopped mushrooms. Sauté for 5ish minutes and then add in the minced garlic, soy sauce, and red thai chili paste. Sauté for a few more minutes before adding in the spinach. Turn the heat to low, and sauté until the spinach wilts. Remove from heat and set aside.
Lastly, shred your carrots and chop up your bell pepper.
Phew. Now you have all the components of your dish, start putting all the deliciousness together. I started with a base layer of quinoa and sweet potato, layered on the broccoli, mushroom, and spinach mixture, popped up on the raw veggies for the crunch and then threw on the peanut sauce. And, because I love to put eggs on everything, I quickly fried up an egg and threw it on top. It adds a nice little burst of protein.
This is the kind of meal that sticks to your ribs while also being super healthy. It’s a win/win. And yes, my picture’s background is the wall that I’ve dedicated to Texas. What can I say? Texas forever.
My job for the past 3 years has dominated a good part of my brain and my life, and therefore has left little room for tangential online ramblings. That being said, I’m endlessly seeking balance, and so while my resolutions … Continue reading
Practicing self care has never come easy.
Sure, I used to do yoga every day and restrict my diet to salads, but I never did it for myself. I dedicated myself to these things because I didn’t like the way my body looked in a swimsuit, or my legs didn’t have the definition I’ve always craved.
I grew up surrounded by powerful, stubborn, beautiful women. My mom and grandma have bright smiles, kind eyes, and they’ve passed down their ability to weather any storm. They also passed down their disdain for their bodies. Recently, I was at dinner with my 83-year-old grandma. We sat on her couch as she walked me through her food journal, counting calories to ensure she stays under the recommended daily allotment. She’s mainly doing it for health reasons, but she regularly refers to the time she was 120 pounds with a wistful longing in her voice.
You can find my stunningly gorgeous grandma on a postcard they sold in the 1940s and 50s — thick red hair and a Barbie sized waist. Because of this, beauty has always been something that we’ve valued. And, as the only child, my mom got all of the attention as she was growing up. While my grandma was a wonderful mother, her blunt and sometimes callous statements made it clear that looks were important. It’s funny what gets passed from generation to generation.
Needless to say, my sister and I berate our bodies regularly. We’ll send each other text messages about how gross we feel. About how much we hate the fact that we didn’t get our mom’s slender legs. Binging on popcorn, pizza, and beer and then regretting everything about it. We take turns telling each other that we’re beautiful and amazing and perfect. We are each other’s pep talk, each other’s reminder that out bodies are able and willing to walk us up mountains and two step in dark Texas bars. And yet we both have this deep seeded feeling that our bodies are too soft, too large, too imperfect.
All of this is to say I’m trying to be better about self care. Moving slowly through my day to be more mindful about what it is my body is asking for. I’m calling it Self Care September, as I like to organize and have goals and deadlines to answer to. This month is about being kind to myself in every way imaginable. I recently had an epiphany about the way I interact with the men in my life. I woke up one morning after a date with a handsome fella to this feeling of exhaustion.
For 4 years I have played the casual fling, side chick, and secret romance because it’s all I’ve told myself I can handle. My distrust in men continues to grow instead of shrink, and nothing they say or do surprises me anymore. My sister reminded me that I’m so much more than a convenient warm body, and that I should take a break from all things men. Instead of casting my net wide, I should reel it in and be with myself, completely.
Are you tired of my very raw and emotional rant on the internet? Cool, me too.
All of this rambling is to say that September is for me. It’s for hours spent throwing tomatoes at the wall with my nephew (babies are entertained by the most curious things) and getting lost in the woods with the hound. It’s for rediscovering my cookbooks and practicing yoga on my back patio. Hopefully, with a dedicated month of healing, it will become my routine.
Check back in on me in October. Until then, here’s to slow Sunday mornings with Sam Cooke records, fresh coffee, and a homemade breakfast.
Self Care Breakfast
There is something so perfect in waking up slow and spending time in the kitchen. During the work week, I have to get up at an ungodly hour and rush through the mornings to make the 6:20am train. When the weekends roll around, it’s my time. The hound sits at the corner of the kitchen, waiting for vegetable scraps. I always start weekend mornings with Leon Bridges and an entire Chemex to myself. It’s my idea of heaven. This morning it was a veggie scramble, banana pancakes, and a fresh nectarine.
Gluten free banana pancakes
- 2 bananas, mashed
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup GF flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
In a small box, stir together the bananas, oil, lemon juice, and honey. Beat in the eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix together until everything is thoroughly moistened. Don’t over stir or the consistency will be off. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes (this is a good time to prep the scramble veggies). After everything has settled, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat with a small amount of coconut oil. Once warm, pour ¼ cup batter onto the pan. Let the pancake cook for about 3 minutes, until bubbles form. Flip and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes, until the pancake is golden brown on each side. Then enjoy! I had extra batter, which will keep until tomorrow. Pancakes two days in a row? Don’t mind if I do. I topped my pancakes with some butter, chopped walnuts, fresh nectarines, and a little bit of maple syrup. Delicious.
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1/5 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 laciento kale leaves, chopped
- ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the coconut oil in a cast iron over medium heat. Once warm, add peppers and mushrooms to the oil + minced garlic. Saute for 5-7 minutes until the red peppers soften. Add in kale and saute for another 2-3 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, whisk 2 eggs with some salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the eggs to the vegetables. Stir until everything is mixed and eggs are cooked. Turn down to low and eat when everything is ready.
I became a homeowner this month. I signed my name approximately 35 times, and nearly burst into tears when I pulled the keys from the mailbox. My new house comes with tired oak floors, retro countertops, and a backyard where everything feels calm.
The last two weeks I have focused on finding my rhythm in this new house. I have painted and planted and cleaned and gawked at how much my dog sheds (it’s insane.) I have found joy in picking out house plants and cleaning supplies. I hem and haw over the perfect place for my throw rugs. You know, general adult-ing.
It’s also the first time that I have felt truly settled and truly alone.
I was never a girl that dreamt about weddings or white picket fences. I spent most of my time being weird with my best friends. Choreographing dance routines in our living room and playing “office” for hours. We created HPIMHC (Harry Potter is my hero club) and BAKOA (bad ass kids of America) which basically meant we thought we owned the neighborhood and only cared about hanging out with each other. And as I transitioned into teenage years, I fell hard for boys that ignored me and ran away from boys that were kind.
Not a lot has changed.
Because of that unexplainable wall around my heart, I have found myself very much alone for the past few years. And now, I bought a house all by myself. It’s a very big life decision that I’m told you’re supposed to do with another person.
A person to help you pick out paint. A person to mow the lawn while you make a picnic on the floor. A person to go to bed with, knowing you’ve created this little world together.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love that I am a bad ass babe who bought a house solo, and I love that I move through the world with “independent woman” stamped on my forehead. I am proud of what I’ve done and this place I get to call mine.
But as I fall into a new life in this beautiful place, I have had a lot of time to think. I spend hours painting, listening to my records and thinking about men that I so casually walked away from. I thought there was something else I needed to walk towards. Something brighter. These were men who cared. They fought for me. They were kind and thoughtful and took the time to get to know me.
These are the ones that terrify me. So I did what I’ve always done. I ran as far away from them as possible because my distrust in men is so deep that I can feel it tickling my feet. If you’re reading this and you’re one of those people, I am so, SO sorry for treating your heart like it was disposable. You deserve so much more than that. You are a light.
So, to solve for this dilemma of being scared of stability, I go for the fellas that are distant. Or cruel. Or disinterested. Or taken. I spread myself thin across multiple potentials, all of whom are unavailable or unkind. That way it’s much easier to prove my point that men are the worst while simultaneously protecting my heart.
Real talk, am I right? Fuck it. I’ve been all about vulnerability and embracing honesty these days. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that vulnerability (while mind numbingly terrifying) only brings about truth and greatness. Why not put all those feels on the internet? I’m sure there’s a person or two out there that can relate to this madness in my brain. So… this one’s for you.
I am not sure what the solution is for this situation I’ve found myself in. This new life makes me want to channel my inner nester and it makes me want to do all of this with someone important. My tiny home with big windows encourages me to open up my heart and maybe share myself with someone who deserves it.
Bottom line: I’m looking for men with big hearts and kind eyes.
Please and thank you.
Quinoa Sushi Rolls
From Oh My Veggies
Now that I’m done lamenting about being alone, I want to celebrate the fact that I’m a 10-minute walk from the cutest little farmers market in Tacoma. I’m excited to spend my Saturday mornings there, perusing new stalls and picking out the best produce. This weekend it was beets and carrots, which are two of my staples. I’ve noticed that having this little house gives me a reason to reset and find my way back to healthy eating. These summer “sushi” rolls fit that category swimmingly, and are best enjoyed in a backyard filled with sunshine, with a lazy hound dog sleeping at your feet.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
- 1.5 cups water
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 sheets Nori seaweed
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into slices
- 1/2 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 1 medium beet, peeled and grated grated
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
Add the quinoa and water to a medium saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer until the quinoa is mostly cooked through but still on the undercooked side, 20 minutes. While that’s cooking, set a small saucepan over medium heat and add the rice vinegar, honey and salt. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup rice vinegar and it made for a very strong flavor. I would maybe cut the amount down next time. Bring to a simmer and keep warm until the quinoa is ready. Pour the vinegar mixture into the pan with the quinoa, stir well, cover and let sit until the quinoa absorbs the liquid. Remove the quinoa from the heat and let it cool completely.
After it’s cooled, spread a spoonful of the quinoa on the Nori sheets and pack with vegetable goodness. I didn’t have the fancy bamboo mat, but I just rolled with my hands and it worked fine. I also reheat some delicious peanut sauce for the dipping, but soy sauce would be delicious too. It was filling, healthy, and delicious. What more can you ask for?
I’m attempting to be an adult. Do all those things that grownups do. Put away a percentage of my paycheck, talk about the stock market, get pre-approved for a house. You know, general adult-ing. Perhaps it’s because I’m going to be 30 at the end of the year. Perhaps it’s because my brother and sister-in-law brought a little human into the world that has become my everything. Whatever it is, there’s something in the air that’s telling me to plant roots. Instead of trying to scheme what’s next, I’m attempting to slow down and find my footing.
I have always been proud of my determination and drive. I won’t take no for an answer, and it’s something that has brought me a lot of amazing opportunities. I will continue to get loud about the things that matter. I will continue to push and create and dream big. That is just who I am, and some things never change.
This new version is just a little more settled. A little more content with the idea of building a home in a new town surrounded by the people I love more than anything. I’ve always felt that I had to wait for everything to be perfect. I haven’t found my dream man, I don’t know if I want kids, and I am not sure if I have enough money to be considered a real adult… I’m an incomplete puzzle.
It recently dawned on me that I shouldn’t wait around for those things to fall into place. Who knows if any one man will live up to that extremely high bar I’ve set. Who knows if I’ll finally fall into the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ camp of motherhood. Who knows if my savings account will ever be considered robust.
That’s just life, I suppose.
All I know is that there’s a little house waiting for me in a sleepy city south of Seattle. A house with a big yard and sun stained floors. I told my real estate agent that I require 3 things: natural light, a big yard, and a neighborhood I love. The rest? The rest I can fix.
The house I’m working on buying is perfection. It’s a tiny home on a street that is a mile from my family and my best friend. A house that has been lovingly cared for by a man who tends to his garden daily, making friends with hummingbirds and neighborhood crows. He told me the lawn smells like honeysuckle on summer evenings. To say I’m excited to brew sun tea and smell the air this summer is an understatement.
I’m ready to make a home for myself. I’ll let the rest of my unmatched pieces do their own thing… I’ll figure it out, eventually.
One step at a time.
Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata
I did the whole30 in April, which means my life was full of vegetables, fruit, eggs, and seafood. It was delicious and wonderful, but I was ready for some chickpeas, quinoa, chocolate, and whiskey to be placed in my mouth. It’s weird what you crave when you restrict your diet. Chickpeas?! Who knew I loved those little legumes so much.
But back to eggs. God love ‘em, after 30 straight days of hard boiled eggs as your go-to, you get egg fatigue REAL fast. Enter: The frittata, a wonderfully easy meal that hits the spot. Because it’s spring in Seattle, everything delicious is showing up at the Ballard Farmers Market. This frittata was a hodge-podge of all the spring goodness, and it turned out delicious. Feel free to substitute whatever kind of vegetable your heart desires, it’s hard to mess up this dish.
- 6 eggs
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ white onion
- 2 gloves garlic
- ½ bunch asparagus
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 2 cups chopped kale
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Warm the olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Saute onion in olive oil for 3 minutes, until slightly translucent. Add in minced garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Chop off the ends of the asparagus and cut into bite size pieces. Throw in the pan with the garlic and onion. Once soft, add in the mushrooms and saute for another couple of minutes. Lastly, add in the kale and wilt slightly. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes, remove and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to eat without burning the top of your mouth (I do it every.damn.time) sprinkle with nutritional yeast and enjoy!
I used to live in a tiny house tucked behind a giant concrete wall. With slanted windows, gaps between the floor boards, and mosquito filled bamboo, everything was messy and perfect. I called it our home before he even saw it. I signed the lease knowing that if my heart said yes, so would his.
The first night we sat on the floor with our picnic of whiskey and hummus and we made plans. They were big. Full of each other and this new city we had decided to call home. He hung antique book covers from twine strung between the rafters. We drowned our doubt in cocktails we couldn’t afford and The National on repeat. We would shop for furniture at the Salvation Army because our wallets had stopped collecting money. We splurged on the mattress and built our world in that bed; the superman pillowcase always making itself known.
I spent my first weeks at the farm. Gathering dirt under my finger nails, I would sidestep fire ant hills and swat at the small grasshoppers that clung to my legs. The 106-degree weather was suffocating, like living inside a dryer that you couldn’t escape. I would come home smelling like sweat and sunscreen, donning tomato-red skin. Although unpaid, I was able to gather bags of produce and somehow that made life seem manageable. We weren’t sure how we’d pay rent, but hot damn, how those peppers sang.
On the first day of his new job he wore a tie. Still strangers to each other, I blushed at his broad shoulders and strong jawline. His shirt was powder blue. In that moment I felt like I had fallen into a grownup’s life. A life full of coffee on-the-go and quick kisses at the door before we headed to our respectable jobs. We fell into a routine, as people always do. He found himself in a job he hated, a town he wasn’t sure of, and a relationship neither of us knew how to navigate.
I fell in love with that city. With its warm nights and heavy air. All my jeans became cut offs as I navigated back streets on my bicycle. I fell in love with another boy, whose brain I couldn’t quite understand but I wanted to know. I outgrew the little house behind the wall, and selfishly forgot that there is always more than one heart involved. I grew roots and vines, entangled them in the humid air, and left behind things I should have remembered.
Tonight is for nostalgia. For putting on High Violet and remembering the meals we’d eat on the front porch, slapping at the mosquitos as they feasted on our ankles.
One night we went into a bar where the drinks were pretentious and the ice cubes were made “in house”, as if that’s something to brag about. It was dark and crowded and we had dressed in our finest. We pretended we had money to burn. We bought each other drinks. We felt new.
- 1 sugar cube
- 3 dashes Bitters
- club soda
- 2 ounces whiskey (rye whiskey)
- old-fashioned glass
Place the sugar cube in a glass. Wet it down with 2 or 3 dashes of bitters and a short splash of water or club soda. Crush the sugar with whatever you have that’ll get the job done. Rotate the glass so that the sugar grains and bitters give it a lining. Add a large ice cube. Pour in the rye (or bourbon). Drink slowly and enjoy.
Sometimes all you need is a trip to Utah with your best friend.
I had hit my wall with writing. I would circle around a subject, draft three pages of dribble, and then quit without saving. My words fell flat and I blamed it on the redundancy of my life. I would wake up, walk Zep, work 10 hours, walk Zep again, and go to sleep. Of course this is melodramatic. My life is full of baby snuggles and trips to the top of the Empire State Building. But when I sat down to write, my brain went blank.
And then I went to the desert.
As someone who finds peace in being outside, I knew that the national parks of Utah would steal my heart. I had seen pictures and read enough Terry Tempest Williams to know that this part of the world holds an unmatched beauty. Everything around me was painted in red. The spires were as tall as skyscrapers, the canyons as deep as the ocean, and the dry air was filled with the scent of sage and sunshine.
Tracey and I did what you’re supposed to do on vacation, we meandered. When we wanted to hike, we hiked. When we wanted to drink beer, we drank beer. When the thunderstorms rolled in and the thought of setting up camp sounded awful, we got a cheap motel room and acquainted ourselves with the joys of Moab. We read books and made fires. We went to bed early, snuggling deep into our sleeping bags to fight off the bitter cold of desert nights. We chased the sunset at the grand canyon, running in flip flops to make sure we caught the moment the sun dipped low enough to paint the canyon walls a deep purple. On my favorite morning, we drove to Zion as the sun was rising and spent the morning in the Devil’s Garden. Scampering up rocks and wading through puddles turned to pools, we found ourselves on the top of the world.
And, because we’ve been best friends since birth, we ended the trip in Disneyland. While that place is hell to some people, it’s the place we have always associated with magic. Acting like kids in a candy shop, we got there before the gates opened, making a mad dash to be the first in line for Space Mountain. We made a list of all the must-do rides, eating sickly sweet churros and mapping the best route to avoid the children on the verge of breakdowns.
There is no one I would have rather done this trip with, and I came back a completely refreshed human.
There is so much perspective to be gained when you take a step out of your life and sink into a place of grandeur. The world is such an epic place and we are such tiny blips. So many of my concerns are in trivial things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. There were so many ah-ha moments on this trip, and I am back to feeling like myself. I came home with a very solid grasp of what’s important, and I am determined to move through life full of that desert joy. Who knew Utah would give me so much?
In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breathe, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy. In these redrock canyons, time creates space–an arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky. We remember why we love the desert; it is our tactile response to light, to silence, and to stillness. – Terry Tempest Williams
It’s no surprise that tacos are my favorite food. When shopping for our trip, we knew the first meal on the menu were camp tacos. They are easy, they are delicious, and they can be repurposed in the morning for breakfast tacos. This recipe is best accompanied with a campfire and a cold beer, but if those aren’t in your near future, you can enjoy them in the comfort of your home. Side note: we forgot beans so we substituted chili which was weirdly delicious.
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- ½ bunch of dino kale, chopped
- ½ can of chili or black beans
- Cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- Flour or corn tortillas
- Sour cream
I think y’all know how to make a taco. But here’s how to do it while camping. Step one, have a headlamp if, like us, you come back after dark. Forget a sharp knife? US TOO! We had a weirdly sharp butter knife, and I only nicked my finger once. Chop up the onion, bell pepper and kale while the oil is heating. Saute onion first for 3-5 minutes, add in the bell pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add in the chili or beans, as dirtying another pan would be silly when camping. Lastly, add in the kale and let wilt for another 2-3 minutes. Add in your spices and let everything simmer.
We transferred all of that to a bowl and cooked our eggs in the same pan because camp dishes aren’t fun. Warm the tortillas over the fire, and then pop your veggie/bean/chili mixture on there, and add some avocado, sour cream, and salsa.
Lastly, put an egg on it.