When I was a kid I used to want to be a lot of things. But, I think at the crux of it all I wanted to have one foot in the realm of creativity. I was yearning for it, and didn’t feel like there was a way for me to achieve it. Better yet, I didn’t feel like I was creative. If you ask any of my friends that endured those adolescent years with me, they will tell you not only of my trend to be a romantic, but also about my infatuation with different mediums of creativity. I tried being a writer, had short stint of thinking I could be an actor, and so much more. I think that’s why I gravitated to food so much. It was finally a medium that I excelled in. It can transform perspective, it’s multi-faceted, and it literally takes people’s breathe away. More than that, there’s something in it for everyone. From the science of baking to the absurdity that modernism has brought to the contemporary food scene and everything in between. Food has been the be all end all for me over the last ten years or so. It’s been an amazing ride (and this isn’t my break up with food, btw if you were worried I was writing a breakup text). In turn, it’s about what food has led me to discover. Thank you, food. (I wish ‘food’ could talk to me, haha. I wonder what it’s personality would be like?)
Well, if you haven’t figured it out already, this post is not about food. This post is designated to voice excitement on a new medium. I’ve been dabbling in photography since moving to the bay (almost three years, now). However, up until about four or five months ago I wasn’t interested in the technical side of photography. I’ve grown to expand my knowledge and I can’t help but experience a similar feeling I’ve felt for cooking all of these years. Being a self-pioneer into a new creative space is so fun. It’s exhilarating.
I ventured to Manhattan last week for work, and while I was there I had some time to really flex my new skills. Not only did NYC offer me a new perspective, but a fresh landscape. In my week there I felt validation for my work, a true culmination that this newer form of creative expression was worthwhile, and that maybe I might be good at this, too!
The quality of my work has increased significantly. As I continue to learn about photography my eyes widen, my heart opens, and my love for capturing moments expands.
I thought I’d keep this post short and sweet and showcase my favorite pieces of work from my trip.
Also, on a side note, a few of these photos were taken by Ryan, but all the editing is my own. This is also the first time I’ve made an effort to capture more of an urban landscape. I usually photograph humans, so this is something pretty new. 🙂 Hope you enjoy.
I wonder how my perspective will shift in the next six to twelve months? Stay tuned.
Gardening projects, backyard renovation, + life thoughts.
This post is a bit bittersweet, as I start my new job tomorrow, which is most definitely a good thing. However, it’s also the symbolic finish line for the projects I’ve been working on over my last month off from work. During that time, I’ve planted a new garden, renovated our backyard, as well as, refurbished some furniture (pictured below). Converting a run-down backyard space into a livable garden, a venue to entertain friends, and a space for nightly talks with the boy has been absolutely amazing. Over the last three weeks or so, we’ve had so many laughs & glasses of wine in our new space (probably more glasses of wine than laughs). Moving forward it’s gratifying to know that we have a full home that feels warm and now extends outdoors, as the outdoors are such a big part of Ryan and I’s life.
I’ve always wanted to plant a garden. Growing up my father had a beautiful garden in our yard before we developed on the land. As a child, we had fresh tomatoes, basil, carrots, eggplant, and more. As a twenty-something, finding a space to garden isn’t always the easiest. Moving into our apartment about a year and a half ago, there had happened to be a raised bed; however, our neighbors were using it at the time. Since that time, the bed had become untamed without care, and I was fortunate to take over the space! Checkout the conversion below and let me know your thoughts. Also ya’ll have to come over for dinner soon. #Pizzanight with fresh veggies for everyone.
Flowerland, which is located on the border of Berkeley and Albany, CA was my first thought when it came to planting a garden. A known institution in the area, and a spot for some awesome coffee, courtesy of Highwire, this place is a must. Not only is there selection of plants and more amazing, but the place is stunning. It’s aesthetically incredible, is so authentic, and also captures the zeitgest of the moment with it’s witty signage.
Not only does Flowerland, have and incredible selection of everything for your home garden, but they also have an entire indoor store with a great selection of candles, coffee table books, notebooks, local art, and more.
FINDING THE RIGHT PLANTS.
After stopping at Flowerland and picking up a few transplants (it’s too late in the season to start plants from seeds, for most plants, Kale you’re probably safe with, as well as, most squashes) I headed over to Westbrae Nursery , and found the rest of the plants I was looking for. As an amateur, a couple of resources along the way helped to solidify the right choices to ensure a good harvest. A couple of must haves for any Bay area gardener I’ve attached in a link below!
With a full crop picked, and some diversity and balance found between herbs and veggies, the lot was ready to go.
This was the most fun part. Ryan, Jack, and I (Ryan not pictured, as he was taking most of the photos) went to work with our new garden bed. We found some great organic soil to revitalize the older soil, tilled the land, and laid the plants down. A couple of the herbs were potted on their own (as pictured below), and the rest is history. Currently we are two weeks into the process, the carrots and broccolini are grown very, very well, and the rest of the crop is moving along just fine! Not pictured below, a tomatillo plant, which I’m super excited to make salsa verde with in a few months.
So, in the process of planting a garden, I was also re-doing our entire backyard. I found this table on Facebook Marketplace for free, and it was in pretty rough shape. I took it home, purchased a can of outdoor paint, and painted it white. The white adds a nice depth and sense of ‘new’ to our backyard without feeling too rustic. (The original look of the table was similar to that of the weathered chairs.) We’ve put up string lights, laid new mulch, and have created an entire space for hosting guests, along with a fire pit.
TAKING THE TIME
Before I close out, there’s a couple of things I wanted to say. First off, taking on any project takes time (and most of the time, money too). During my few weeks off I definitely did my share of adventuring up north, finding a good book (or two) to read, and had my share of a few good times out. However, the biggest life lesson I learned from this project came from giving myself the time to fully see something through from start to finish. I see the same maturation with work projects all of the time in my profession, but taking on a side project has given me a newfound respect for nature, mental health, and the importance of defining what you want ‘Home’ to mean to you. I invested four weeks of time into little projects like this garden and the revitalization of our yard because home to me is defined as a place where love, conversation, debate, and true authentic experience should be shared. I challenge you, to define what ‘Home’ means to you, take on a project and live that truth. I’m so grateful for my time off, it was better than any vacation I could’ve taken. Sewing new seeds, and finding a place that you’re proud of to have as your own and to share is nothing short of incredible.
Lastly, to celebrate, we had our friends over for dinner + games this Labor Day weekend. Check out these smiles. Thanks for being our family. Love you all!
Over the last two and a half weeks I’ve been on vacation. Well, technically, I’ve been in between employment, as I’m getting ready to start a new position, soon. During that time, I’ve had a lot of downtime. Usually, if any of you know me well, I’m always going. Going to find a place to hike, a new ingredient to play around with, or off for a run. However, in these last fourteen days or so, I’ve been rather still. I’ve been investing time into my home, rather than abroad. I love the home that Ryan and I have built and in effect I feel as though I’ve become somewhat of a home-dweller! This week I decided to focus my post specifically on the topic of home, but more precisely Sundays + home.
As long as I’ve been an adult, Sundays have always been my favorite day of the week. A large percentage of my generation has coined the term ‘Sunday Scaries’ as it can be seen hash-tagged across the interweb; in contrast, I see Sunday in an opposing light, and hope to change your perspective on the start/end to the week (depending on which way you look at it)
Sundays to me represent a few things: 1. Resetting 2. Recharging 3. Reflecting.
Ryan and I tend to do most of our adventuring, food pioneering, and ‘Fun’ stuff on Friday nights or Saturdays. By the time Sunday morning rolls around we have a usual habit.
We love a good Sunday morning coffee + breakfast. Right down the street from our house is Acme Bread Company, one of the Bay’s biggest suppliers of all things gluten (yum). In addition to it’s kitchen, they have the cutest little storefront where locals can purchase fresh bread and other yummy treats. My favorite are the cheddar and jalapeño croissants. I’ll either grind up some coffee beans at home or make my way to Philz (most likely ground at home), and then head to the market for some fresh bread. Over the next couple of hours to the tune of Bon Iver, Aretha Franklin, jazz assortments, and maybe some Mumford and Sons, we rise with the sun as we cook. (Almost forgot to mention the Smokey the Bear Mug, it’s the only coffee mug to drink out of these days.)
A couple of our Sunday treats this week.
My friend, Mary.
Roasted Tomatoes, Dill + Pepper
We’re really lucky to live in such a fruitful place. Right now, the fig and lemon trees in Berkeley are in bloom, and one of the perks of living in a fertile valley, is that there’s always something to be harvested.
After a long breakfast, hopefully in the backyard, we’ll usually take the pup for a long walk around town. By mid-morning to afternoon there’s definitely a feeling of being reset. Waking up slow is a luxury in these times, and intentionally taking time to be slower is something I highly recommend.
Going back to the theme of ‘home-dwelling’ that I had mentioned earlier, Sundays have always been a day to sit around with the boy and hangout with the dog, but lately they’ve come to truly have a deeper meaning. One of the perks of our current apartment is that it has spectacular natural light. On a Sunday afternoon, spending time nestled up with a good book (just finished The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – highly recommended) on our comfy couch (ask @idontkaratall, she slept there for a week) is the absolute best. During the week we are bothered with the hustle and bustle of it all, but finding a creative outlet, reading, or even taking a nap truly refreshes me for the week to come. Not to mention, Game of Thrones on Sunday night is always a nice cherry on top. Recharging, is a true highlight of Sundays. Let that iPhone recharge, and take some time respectively for yourself.
During the regular grind of life, when I’m not staycationing, this time has become so much more than a couple of hours with family and friends. Sundays do not warrant anything from you. They do not ask for dates, prior engagements, or extracurricular activities. It is a day comprised of hours strung together that do not oppress, but rather grant freedom. Freedom in the form of time. Rather than being scared about what’s to come next, we should be using what we have to honor the work and time we’ve spent over the last seven days. The debate will rage on whether Sunday should be a day full of worries for Monday and the week ahead, but I challenge you this week to take it as it is. Social media has coined hashtags to instill depression and sadness into your week. In a world full of pessimists, ridiculous negative tweets, and a 24-hour sensationalist news-cycle, take a second. Put the time in this week, but take it back on Sunday.
2017 is flying by, what have I achieved this year? What will you achieve?
Taking a leap into something new is scary. For me, personally, new always equals “I’m not good enough yet, so I’ll just wait until I’m the best before actually trying out the new thing.” Which, quite frankly doesn’t make any sense, but for some reason it does to me. In 2017 I’ve taken a lot of leaps. Leaps into new friendships, leaps into/out of jobs, leaps into new skills, and leaps into new mediums of expression. If one thing during this post is to be the most true, leaping into anything new is not easy for me. At the beginning of the year I wrote down a list of ten things I wanted to achieve this year.
More Money Saved.
Start Wedding Planning
Find your brand.
Budget each month
Best shape of my life
Find a new community
Although we are a little more than half way through the year. Technically we are 66% through 2017, but I figured rather than writing a post about one specific trip, recipe, or experience, I’d do a little self-reflecting. Hopefully in the process, I can pass on some reflecting to all of you, as well!
So, how have I done?
More Money Saved.
Start Wedding Planning
Write More (I’d give myself a B-)
Find your brand.
Budget each month
Best shape of my life
Find a new community
Woah! Over the past eight months I have been extremely diligent in my efforts, but rather than dwelling on the fact that I’ve smashed what I’ve set out to do, mostly, I’d like to take a second to harp on ‘why’ I set these objectives, specifically. Before moving on, I’d liked to address that creating objectives for the last 33% of the year, has not been as successful, but I’ll report back when I’ve come to a more clear conclusions as to what I want it to look like.
Each one of these objectives for 2017 are not mutually exclusive, and that’s what I truly love each of them and how they’ve impacted my 2017 thus far. 2017 has been extremely challenging and I’ve had to work harder than I ever have in my life to intentionally fulfill what I wanted. I’ve always seen myself as a person with strong work ethic, but putting intention behind my drive is truly why i feel a difference this year in contrast with years’ past. Rather than setting a bunch of goals that I hoped to achieve that I’ve been dragging along for years and years, I thought about how each goal could impact one another and my well-being to carry me forward while feeling empowered and positive (side note: I’ve had moments of pure struggle where empowerment/positivity was nowhere to be found, too)
There are a few things about me that not many people know. First, and foremost, I do not like being around a group of new people. I feel extremely uncomfortable and lose my confidence. These experiences make me feel numb, out of place, and truly scared. I have a tendency to say ‘no’ to things that make me uncomfortable, as I’m sure a lot of us do, but towards the end of 2016 I was allowing this characteristic/trait to take over and make those around me feel unhappy. Moving into the new year, saying ‘Yes’ made it’s way into many of the objectives found above. Saying ‘yes’ to taking control of my finances, saying ‘yes’ to fully diving into the deep end and finding a new community/friends, and saying ‘yes’ to finding a job that better fit my professional objectives. For some, saying yes is easy, but I would challenge you. Are you saying yes because it’s shielding you from being vulnerable and taking charge, for the same reason that I was saying no?
Moving on (sorry for putting on the ‘i’m a therapist now’ hat for a second) other goals such as buying a new camera, diving into new forms of fitness, and finding my brand/writing more have allowed me to find new forms of expression. We all need to express ourselves, from time to time, and some more than others. My mediums of expression come from genuine and authentic conversation in my relationship, with close friends and family, and most often through cooking. However, 2017 was a year to find new muses and new modes. Photography has been a godsend, especially in the last two or three months since we’ve acquired our new Sony camera. It has truly established a new lens (pun intended) that has granted both Ryan and I a new perspective on our own lives. Writing, always a favorite of mine, is something of a lost art with our generation, and I highly encourage handwriting, there’s something about the digestion and completion of a thought on paper that elevates the medium from any other form of writing. And, last but not least, fitness, specifically new types of fitness such as weightlifting (I’m a big cardio guy) has opened new avenues of healthy living.
If you’re still reading this (I know this is a longer post), I challenge you to find a new medium. Whether it’s for health reasons, expression, or to lean into your vulnerabilities, or any other reason, do it. We are multi-faceted incredible beings, and we should explore all sides of ourselves. You’ll be surprised what you’re capable of.
I’ll end with a quote from some earlier writing back in June. I was sitting at work, extremely frustrated about the small mindedness of a certain individual, and I channelled that frustration into some positive writing.
“Don’t become like the rest of them. You have a caring soul. Hear the world cry, see the beauty, feel the balance. It is all here and it all deserves admiration.”
What will you leap into the last 33% of the year?
What do you want me to post about? Leave your comments below. Travel? Food? Style? Advice?
Next week, I’ve got some updates on my gardening and backyard project, stay tuned!
New blog post, finally. Check out what Ry and I have been up to since our last update!
Oh hello again!
It’s been a LONG while since I’ve blogged anything. (Sorry.) I’ve decided to use this medium today as an update on our lives, a reason as to why I’ve been absent, and what’s planned for the future.
Over the past month and a half or so, we have been SO busy. We’ve travelled to Blue Ridge, GA to scope out wedding venues with some of our best friends, we’ve partied for LA Pride with some individuals we befriended in SF over the last two years, we’ve road tripped to Bend, OR over Memorial Day Weekend, driven to Joshua Tree for the Fourth of July and much much more. It seems like we are always on the move, and you know what? I kind of love it. If there is one thing I’ve learned about Ryan and I, it’s that we need, new and exciting adventures. This time of year is full of opportunities to adventure as the Pacific Northwest opens it’s beauty up to the world, LA offers it’s summer take on food and sunny activities, and the East Coast is in full bloom. There is nothing like vacation in the summertime.
With that being said, all of this travel needs to be documented! We’ve been doing a good job (I’d give it a B+) of documenting our experiences with friends and family, but it’s time to step it up!
I originally started this blog as a medium to showcase my love for food, and I will continue to do so, but in the meantime, check out some of our best travel moments from the past ninety days or so.
Well, this is the first time that I have ever blogged (with the exception of that Tumblr page in High School…if you want a good laugh you can stop reading and make your way there) and I’m really excited, but I have no idea what I am doing. Everyone keeps telling me that the key to writing a good blog is ‘authenticity’, so I will do my best to keep to that. I find it odd that one would start a blog without original/authentic content, but to each their own, I guess. However, this is my blog…so I guess I should tell all of you lovely people what to expect.
There are really only a couple of rules that I plan to live by moving forward:
1. Food-centered. I’ve been stressing over finding a way to incorporate food into my life, since about the time that I took my first breathe. Therefore, this blog will be mostly about food. If that does not interest you…find another blog to read!
2. My life. Over the past five years or so, I’ve had the pleasure of building a wonderful life with one of the greatest humans and a crazy dog. You will be sure to find them sprinkled in here from time to time.
3. Lifestyle stuff. Yep. That’s basically how I’m positioning that last 20% of this blog. Ryan and I do some really fun/cool stuff, and I want to talk about it! From time to time I may post an adventure guide, a campfire photo, or a video. I hope ya’ll enjoy.
That is about it, I guess. I’ll be attaching this page to my instagram…read if you want!