Sewing New Seeds.

Gardening projects, backyard renovation, + life thoughts.

Advertisements

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.

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.

DSC04428DSC04431DSC04434DSC04444

GOOD READS.

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.

DSC04458DSC04456

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!

DSC04449DSC04472DSC04485DSC04490DSC04493DSC04497

THE SUPPLY.

With a full crop picked, and some diversity and balance found between herbs and veggies, the lot was ready to go.

DSC04503
(From left to right by row) Carrots, Broccolini, Chives, Italian Parsley, Thyme, Celery, Sweet Basil, Cilantro, Purple Collard/Kale Hybrid, Authentic Thai Basil, Lemon Mint, Mint.

DSC04516

PLANT ME.

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.

DSC04596
Thyme
DSC04607
Cilantro + Parsley

DSC04610DSC04549DSC05331

DSC05329
Broccolini after two weeks!

DSC04598

Jack Joe Kiss Garden
Kisses from my little helper. Ryan was taking all the photos this week.

TABLE TALK.

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.

DSC05323

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.

CELEBRATION.

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!

family.jpg

Photo taken by @cru.cait

Pictured:  @sswonkohw @ryanarthurwright @sweden95 

THANKS FOR READING.

Philz good one-2

 

 

Can’t get enough of Jay in the Bay? Make sure to subscribe and follow on instagram. Feel free to share below!

Leap.

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.

  1. Zero Debt
  2. More Money Saved.
  3. Start Wedding Planning
  4. Write More
  5. Find your brand.
  6. Budget each month
  7. Best shape of my life
  8. Find a new community
  9. New Camera
  10. New job.

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? 

  • Zero Debt
  • 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 
  • New Camera 
  • New job

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!

 

 

Summer Updates

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.

IMG_1829.JPG

The US101N.

IMG_1828.JPG

Great Bloody’s + Brunch from @grandlakekitchen in Oakland, CA

IMG_1818.JPG

Follow @cru.cait and @sweden95 for the best photos you’ve ever seen 😉

IMG_1827.JPG

In the upcoming months I hope the dedicate more time to this blog, at least one post a week.

 

Some posts to watch out for:

  • Israeli Cardamom Coffee – I’ve been loving middle-eastern cuisine recently
  • More Cast-iron!
  • Hopefully a new Le Creuset + Camera (yasss)
  • Pictures of Ryan (Isn’t he so pretty…?)

And, lots more!

Also, make sure you’re following along at @jay.cal on instagram!

 

 

First. 

I’m a blogger now?

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!

Check out the insta @joeandhisfood

Adios!