Sewing New Seeds.

Gardening projects, backyard renovation, + life thoughts.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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THE SUPPLY.

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

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(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.

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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.

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Thyme
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Cilantro + Parsley

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Broccolini after two weeks!

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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.

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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!

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Photo taken by @cru.cait

Pictured:  @sswonkohw @ryanarthurwright @sweden95 

THANKS FOR READING.

Philz good one-2

 

 

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Taking Back Sunday.

Reset. Recharge. Reflect. #MakeSundaysGreatAgain

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.

Reset

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.

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.

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Thanks, Jo for the beautiful figs.

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.

Recharge

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.

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Two personal cooking favorites.

Reflect

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.

#MakeSundaysGreatAgain

 

 

Half Moon Bay

We traveled to Half Moon Bay yesterday. Day-trip guide, great food suggestions, and places you must see.

The Bay Area is one of the most beautiful places to be in the world when it’s sunny outside. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge teeming as the Pacific shines on it as it reflects the sun or the scent of the faintly cedar-like air that has been released from the grips of Carl the Fog to set itself free on the people that live in this beautiful place. These are just a couple of the reasons that living in the most expensive city in the United States can be justified. Yesterday was one of those days.

Ryan and I decided to get up, grab ourselves a Phil’s Coffee (Philtered Soul with a tad of Almond Milk), and head down to Half Moon Bay. This beautiful scape of land sits about one hour south of the city, although only about 35 miles away…thank you Bay Area traffic! Half Moon Bay for those of you who are reading this from other places (thanks for reading) other than California has a couple of claims to fame. Harold and Maude, and Rumor Has It (great Rom-com) were both filmed there, and one of the most beautiful Ritz-Carlton’s sits on the magnificent bluffs. Just north of HMB sits Pacifica, CA, as well as, many state parks including McKnee Ranch State Park (you can literally hike adjacent to the Pacific Coast Highway), remarkable beaches including Moss Beach, Dunes Beach, and HMB State Beach, and too many cute roadside stores to count.

As this is a food blog, I have to say that the highlight of the day was our meal at Cafe Capistrano in the Downtown area right off of Church St. This place has been ranked on the Michelin Guide for 2017, and deserves every piece of praise it’s received. From the outside, it looks like a small, craftsman style home that’s been painted a bright yellow. As guests continue through the doors into the interior, the inside is cozy, warm, and an immediate feeling of ‘home’ is felt. This little joint is run by a Mayan family from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and truly put their love into our meal. Ryan and I both ordered the fish tacos, a crowd favorite, and boy were we happy with the results! The plate came full with guacamole, homemade picante, rice, beans, veggies, and beautiful piece of white fish (my guess was snapper). The dish comes with a side of fresh homemade tortillas and homemade hot sauce. If there is one thing that I’ll pay for any day, it’s good, authentic, Mexican food. I’ve never had any Mexican that told such a unique story, was true to itself, and created a feeling of home, quite like this place. (see photo of food below)

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Anyways…Half Moon Bay was such a treat. I’ve attached a couple of photos of other spots we hit up while we were walking downtown, as well as, suggestions for shopping in the area. Ry was able to find an awesome plant for our home and I found plenty of free cheese to sample.

Best Shopping: 

Garden Apothecary, 329 Main St.

Garden Apothecary - Half Moon Bay

Abode, 417 Main St. Half Moon Bay, CA

Abode - Half Moon Bay

Favorite Beach: 

Dunes Beach, Young Ave. Half Moon Bay, CA

Favorite Bakery & Coffee: 

Granola’s Coffee House, 116 N. Cabrillo Highway, HMB, CA

Breweries to come back to: 

Sacrilege Brewery + Kitchen , 73 Main St.  (The food here looked amazing.)

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Rd.

Eats to try next time: 

Sam’s Chowder House (Very Famous … the line was piling up down the PCH)

Flying Fish Bar & Grill (Fish sammie and tacos…also they have crab cake cheesy bread…)

Other HMB Travel Guides

Huffington Post

Sunset

Trip Advisor

Happy Monday and Happy Traveling.

Cheers,

Joe