The return of salad season: white beans and tuna over greens.

drizzle

Hello salad season, so glad you are back with us. My garden is literally exploding with lettuce and kale at the moment, so I’m trying my best to find creative ways to incorporate more greens into every meal. I love … Continue reading

because it’s April, and springtime, and a Wednesday… and don’t we all just need a poem today?

I got a text message from a good friend yesterday asking me about my blog… Every excuse about why I’m not writing more sounds a little contrived, a bit shallow… because everyone is busy, everyone has meetings and book clubs, and piles of laundry, gardens to tend, plans to make, people to see. And the only real answer I can give is that sometimes, when you are out living life, it’s challenging to slow down enough to write about it. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it… there is pretty much a constant dialog in my head, ideas, recipes, snippets of life, anecdotes about the dog, photos from countless restaurants. This, like everything else, is a work in progress.

And because it is Poetry Month, and because it is yoga day, and just because… here is this.
~~~~~~~~

This morning as I was heading to the shower I started to think about what sort of conversation I wanted to have today in my yoga class. I like to think of my classes as conversations more than anything else… because no matter what I plan in advance, I always come in and ask my students how they are feeling, what they want to work on, and we start the conversation there, and what develops each week is a little different. As I spent the first few moments in the shower trying to wake up and embrace the day, I was thinking a lot about feeling grounded, and as I let the ideas of balance and rootedness marinate in my pre-coffee brain I couldn’t help but think about Vrksasana. (tree pose)  In that moment I started mentally reciting a few lines from a poem I wrote several years ago when I was applying to graduate school, and then re-wrote a few years later when I re-applied to graduate school… And there is was, my class, my conversation.

Of course, I was almost late to class, because when I went to find the poem I realized it was saved on my external hard drive, and as I pulled up to the studio there was a gathering of students waiting outside the door.  And these amazing students of mine, were chatting in the sunshine, waiting patiently as I frantically waved at them as I circled the block trying to find a parking spot, and as I ran up to the door I told them this was all part of my class plan, spending a little time in nature, embracing the springtime, finding our breath. They all laughed as we filed into the studio, and I made a full confession… “I’m running late because of a poem… but it’s for you, because it’s April, and springtime, and a Wednesday… and don’t we all just need a poem today?” and really, I think all of them did.

And so we settled into class, talking about being grounded, about finding balance in our lives, in our bodies. We talked of trees and how their toes dig deep into the earth, how they stay grounded through so much change, season after season. We laid on our backs and felt the support of the mat beneath our spines and we visited our first tree pose of the day. I watched as they firmly flexed their feet, pressing them into nothingness, watched as their shoulders slid into alignment, encouraged them to engage every muscle, activate their core strength, and from this very supported place, to create a muscle memory. To feel the length in the spine, the support, and to grow from there.

We moved towards standing, played with balance, played with strength… then we warmed up our feet, talked about our roots and tried it all again… this time with a little more confidence, a little more stability, feet feeling alive, bodies feeling warm… I asked them to turn to face the wall, so they could shut out distractions, and we settled back into tree. “Listen to your bodies here” I said, “remember how this felt  when we were on the mat, engage that muscle memory.”.  And then I had them turn around, because in life there are always going to be distractions dancing in your peripheral vision. Because that is how life works, and the challenge is being able to stay rooted enough through it all. And you know what? We wobbled a little bit more this way… but we were just being authentic… because even the tallest and strongest trees sway in the breeze. And what more can we ask from ourselves than to be authentic?

From here, we gathered in the center of the room, for the pose we had been building towards… standing in a circle, touching hands, relying on our neighbors for strength and for support we traveled through our final version of tree pose. Allowing our arms to reach up over head, hands pressed into our neighbors, branches growing toward the sky, our own little oak grove.  And I loved standing in that circle, watching the students laugh, watching them come out of their comfort zones, leaving behind fear, and blossoming into a cohesive group. Supporting each other, growing together… And they all got it… THIS is what our conversation is about today. This right here…

And as they settled into Savasana, as they began to embrace a different kind of groundedness, as they surrendered all of their thoughts and hang ups, as they gave themselves a few precious moments to let it all go, and to absorb all the benefits of our class, as they let our conversation resonate, I finally read for them my poem. The poem that started our conversation.
~~~~~~~~

 

I knew that I liked the earth–dark brown and rich with life–

but I didn’t know that I loved it

until I bit into a carrot, freshly harvested,

the taste of soil still lingering

This is the flavor of life.

 

I knew that I liked falling asleep next to you

feeling your chest rise and fall with the rhythm of your breath

listening to your heart as I drifted off…

But I didn’t know I loved waking up in your arms

until our first night apart… the bitter sweetness of solitude.

 

I used to be impartial to the wind,

until I heard it whispering through the aspen trees

and suddenly I was home.

 

I always knew I loved trees and their quiet strength,

but I didn’t understand it until I started practicing Vrksasana,

and the strength of the tree, the rootedness,

became my own.

 

I just remembered the rain

walking with you, hand in hand down the busy street

the darkened asphalt peaking out beneath the bright

fallen leaves. Flashes of crimson and saffron, the wildest orange

the wet slick grey… we were happiest then,

in the autumn, falling in love on our way to the grocery store.

 

I knew I loved the sun, being solstice born,

we are kindred, forever…

but I forgot I loved the moon,

I didn’t appreciate its constant pull on my heartstrings

until the first night in the new house, I saw the moon rise over the garden,

her beams reaching around my curtains

and flooding into my bedroom in translucent waves…

how can anyone not be inspired by a moonrise over the garden?

My nocturnal muse.

 

I knew I liked the color red

and then I saw the wild bergamot

reaching its crimson petaled fingers towards the blue sky

and I fell in love

with the color

and the moment…

sitting under the olive tree sucking the nectar from the flowery digits.

 

And stillness… how could I not love it?

though I never gave it much thought

the utter content in the quiet

being left alone with nothing but breath

the inhales and the exhales.

 

I knew that I loved lists

tangible or mental

a glimpse of organization

in my ever-chaotic existence.

Perhaps –if I sit here with my thoughts–

this list of loves will become the world.

 

 

 

Bergamot

An Oregon Gal’s guide to Palm Springs: AKA Snowbirding

 

photo cred: Amber Nobe

photo cred: Amber Nobe

A few weeks before Christmas I randomly texted two of my college roommates and said “Do you want to go to Palm Springs in January?”  The answer was an overwhelming yes. Though we all adore living in the Pacific Northwest (yes, we are the crazies who actually kind of like the rain) we were all ready for a little burst of sunshine and a break from reality. So we searched for some flights, booked ourselves a condo and headed south for a Vitamin D infused weekend.

Obligatory PDX Carpet shot

Obligatory PDX Carpet shot

Reading and Tomato Juice on the flight

Reading and Tomato Juice on the flight

 

Amber ready to take CA by storm

Amber ready to take CA by storm

After waiting in the worlds slowest rental car line, we were ready to take California by storm. We drove around for a few minutes getting the lay of the land ( Palm Springs is ridiculously easy to navigate, FYI) and after getting a feel for where we were staying and what was in our neighborhood we ventured out for food. My only real requirement of the weekend was that we stop at In-N-Out burger… I had never been before, and getting a “double double animal style” seemed like the perfect way to kick off a girls weekend.  There isn’t actually an In-N-Out in Palm Springs Proper, so we did have to drive about 20 minutes… (we later discovered that there is an In-N-Out right next to our destination for the next day… oh well.) It was everything I dreamed it would be.
My first ever "Double Double Animal Style"

My first ever “Double Double Animal Style”

Since we still had a few hours to kill before checking into our condo, we decided to ride the Aerial Tramway, which was awesome/ terrifying.  We stopped at the Visitors center first (because it’s a cool building, and also we wanted commemorative shot glasses) and then headed towards the Mountain (or as I referred to it all weekend “Mordor” I know I know, technically it should’ve been Mount Doom.. but it’s way more fun to say “On to Mordor!” as you thrust your fist into the air… ) At first you sort of see something that looks like power lines and you think to yourself “definitely power lines, because they go straight up the mountain” and then you realize, that no, this is in-fact, the tram and you may or may not be riding to your death. (I mean you know in the back of your mind that it is safe, BUT….) We did survive the ascent to the top of the mountain, but were very ready for cocktails upon our arrival. Thankfully there is a restaurant and full bar at the top, so we were in luck. Moscow Mules, and a little girl time at the top of the mountain were just what we needed. (FYI, the tram, well it swings… fairly aggressively… and for someone who grew up suffering from motion sickness, I had a few fleeting thoughts of  “should I have grabbed the puke bag from the seat pocket on the airplane?”) This being a warm winter getaway, we were not equipped to go hiking (and it was only 38 degrees at the top.) but there were lots of great trails we most definetly would have explored had it been warmer and earlier in the day. The views are incredible, and we had a great time bopping around the top of the mountain for an hour or so.

We arrived in Palm Springs on a Thursday, and we were delighted to discover that the Palm Springs Art Museum offers complimentary admission on Thursday nights! Yay! So after we checked into our condo and changed our clothes we ventured out into the evening for a little culture. We browsed the museum for about an hour and a half, and the i-phone photo shoot that took place was pretty epic. It was fun to see some art and be a little silly. Also there was an amazing glass exhibit happening, and though we weren’t allowed to take pictures, the work was really stunning.
At this point we decided to venture out in search of food, and though some of us were really on the hunt for a “Crisp salad” we ended up wandering into this outdoor Greek restaurant. After being seated for about 30 seconds, we discovered that the waiter was actually our kindred spirit, because he took one look at us, and suggested we order a pitcher of sangria, a platter of various dips, a tray of flaming cheese, and kebabs with lemon potatoes. ITS LIKE HE WAS INSIDE OUR HEADS! What more could we ever want in a meal? It was late, and outside, so there are sadly no real photos of this meal, but the flaming cheese will live on forever in our memories and in our hearts.
These two, being all cute

these two, being all cute

Me, Being all Awkward

me, being all awkward

Our condo was a little quirky, but overall it was pretty perfect for us. (our only real complaint was that the only mirror was in the bathroom… which is a challenge for 3 ladies who like to be fancy.) Originally we thought we would eat in a lot more, however once we arrived we decided to splurge, and our only real “cooking” involved mixing cocktails. The condo itself was in an ideal location, walking distance to all the restaurants we were interested in, had some great local shops close by, and the best part was that it was right above a coffee shop that served Stumptown! It was the perfect level of hipster, and all felt right at home having bearded tattooed men make us coffee every morning. The best part was that at 4PM the coffee shop turns into a wine/cheese/ charcuterie bar… oh yeah, and did I mention it’s also connected to a Tiki bar? Location Jackpot. It was great to wander downstairs to grab coffee before heading pool-side, and was a great place to spend happy hour in the evening.
We had a private patio, and there weren’t tons of other people staying on site, so we basically had the pool to ourselves most of the time. Overall, I would recommend staying at The Twist… though it had its own quirks and charms, it was kind of ideal for our girls getaway.
Friday morning we decided to sleep in and then head to Brunch at Cheeky’s. Everyone we had talked to/ all the blogs we had read said this was a must stop, and we figured the brunch lines would be shorter on Friday morning. We didn’t have to wait at all, and our biggest problem was trying to decide what to order! We of course shared the bacon flight (why don’t more restaurants do this?) and after much deliberation we each ended up deciding on an amazing brunch option. My only minor disappointment was that the blood orange mimosa was a bit on the small side… but lets be honest, I’m a sucker for mimosas of all varieties, and I’m also a sucker for blood oranges, and overall it was delicious.  (though those of us who ordered mimosas were jealous that the Bloody Mary’s were served in this awesome giant boot)
coco with her bloody mary boot

coco with her bloody mary boot

Bacon Flight

bacon flight

decisions decisions

decisions decisions

breakfast

breakfast

tiny mimosas giant bloody mary

tiny mimosas giant bloody mary

After brunch we meandered the streets, stopping in at a few of the vintage shops and lusting over all the Mid-century Modern inspired furniture. We each found some amazing vintage necklaces at a cool little boutique called Bon Vivant and we also admired their amazing collection of Vases and interesting MCM pieces.  The two men who owned the store were so sweet, and very helpful, and also very tolerant of us trying to decide which necklaces to get as we “ooohed” and “ahhhhhhed” and tried on countless pieces. I found this amazing brass cuff necklace that I was instantly drawn to, and upon polling my friends it was decided that “yes it was in fact SO my style!”
bon vivant

bon vivant

Next up we mosied back towards our place ( stopped back at Ernest for iced coffee) and then headed out towards Cabazon to see the Dinos. It seemed a little too weird and kitschy to pass up, plus several years ago on one of our last girls weekends we ended up taking a series of epic photo-booth photos that clearly state “We Dig Dinos”  So it seemed like a must stop. We didn’t actually go into the museum, but we did take quite a few pictures, and had a pretty awesome time.
We (ok, mostly I) wanted to stop at Hadley’s Fruit Stand to get a date milkshake, and also stock up on tourist souvenirs for my almost 3 year old niece, who just happens to be named Hadley.  I’d always heard stories about my parents stopping at Hadley’s to get date milkshakes before my brother and I were born, so it was a little nostalgia pit stop.  But it was only about a 15 minute drive, and we got to drive out past the iconic windmills.  And lets just take a moment to talk about the windmills. I know we have them in the PNW as well, but there is something so graceful about seeing all the windmills out in the dessert against the backdrop of the mountain. They really were beautiful.  (I have no photos besides a few snapped from the back seat of a moving car…)
date shakes at hadley's

date shakes at hadley’s

When we got back to the condo we decided to host our own happy hour down by the pool. We mixed cocktails in plastic water bottles, rolled up our pants and sat with our feet in the hot tub. This was maybe the most perfect part about our vacation, 3 girlfriends sitting around chatting and laughing. I know it feels really cliche to say something like “we picked up right where we left of” or “it felt like no time had passed” but it was just so refreshing to laugh at inside jokes, to be completely unfiltered, to share stories and spastically dance around.  These are the women I shared my first apartment with, the women who bribed me to clean up my office space by buying me an R2D2 glue stick. These are the women would read Harry Potter out loud to me on Sunday mornings when we were hungover (because I hadn’t read them, which was a requirement for living in the apartment… a technicality which I avoided since I was the first one to move in.)
This is the part of the trip when we realized that we should’ve hired a photographer, or brought one of the significant others along… because its really really hard to take good group selfies, and all three of us are infamous for making “puppycat” faces… what is a puppycat face you might ask? well just look through most of our photos… We did ask a few random strangers/ waiters/ passerbyers to take out picture, however, you don’t want to be the annoying group who hands a stranger 3 cell phones and makes them take nine billion photos… So its still undetermined if we got a really good group shot… but we tried our hardest.
For Dinner on Friday night we went to Workshop: Kitchen + Bar.   we were drawn in by the industrial look and also by a cocktail called “The Palm Springer” which promised to be tangy and sweet like an ex-lover’s kiss without all the residual awkwardness.  My new life goal is officially to write awesome cocktail descriptions for cool restaurants (I know, dream big!) (also, side note… the only picture that my father liked on instagram from my entire trip, was the picture I posted of the description of this cocktail. Dad obviously gets bonus creeper points. It’s ok, because he is really awesome.) We shared these amazing vegetable filled enchiladas with green sauce and an egg on top, Duck confit pizza,  fries (cooked in duck fat, duh) , and some sort of delicious salad. I really cannot say enough good things about the enchiliadas and the pizza (for weeks now my girlfriends and I have been texting “remember that duck pizza?” YUM!) But for me, the real star of the meal was the butter. I know! I mean, I’ve always loved butter, but sort of went through this conversion to olive oil snobbery, so I didn’t use butter for a really long time, and at home almost always use olive oil even though I really do love butter, but THIS BUTTER! It was filled with toasted cumin and paprika, and all of these wonderful warm earthy spices, and I literally considered just eating the butter after all the bread was gone, but was worried my friends would yell at me (though by now, they understand that this is not atypical behavior for me, so they probably would have just rolled their eyes and started telling stories about one of my weird/ embarrassing food moments) Anyway… the duck pizza was amazing… but seriously, the butter, you want to go to there.
palm springer

palm springer

these two at dinner

these two at dinner

duck confit pizza and veggie enchiladas

duck confit pizza and veggie enchiladas

drinks

drinks

for reals, this butter

for reals, this butter

puppycat face

puppycat face

Next we walked down the street to Birba for a nightcap. At this point, I got completely distracted by this rather handsome French Bulldog who was sitting at the bar (no its not a metaphor… there really was dog at the bar) and after about 45 minutes of me making intense and very creepy eye contact with dog the owner finally brought him over and was like “oh I think Frankie wants to meet you!” In reality he was probably thinking “who is this psycho lady who is staring down my dog and kinda making buggy eyes?” My one pet hating friend was not amused by this entire experience, but I was missing #trollbaby just a little bit, and this weird little bat dog at the bar was a perfect distraction.
scoundrel... like han solo

scoundrel… like han solo

Saturday was mostly spent lounging by the pool, trying to take group selfies, and refusing to acknowledge that it was the last day of vacation. We had a late lunch at the Colony Palms, which included the best Old Fashioned I’ve ever had (it had smoked rosemary!) , an amazing shrimp cocktail, and the most perfect “Salad” that has ever existed called “Skirts on Fire” (Its a steak salad… but it comes with a quesadilla covered in bbq sauce… WHAT???? I Know. Its genius. Because its called a salad, but really its the quesadilla of your dreams with an awesome salad next to it… still kicking myself for not ordering this… I ordered the Southwestern Green salad, and it was good… but it was not the Skirts on Fire.)
We also spent about 30 seconds in the parking lot of The Ace... I mean, we hail from the land of Hipsters, BUT this was  a little too much. We snapped a quick photo and ran away pretty quickly. Hipster overload… (who knew it was even possible? It is.)
a for amber

a for amber

 IMG_0372
The evening was spent back at Ernest and Bootlegger Tiki.… Hipster music, charcuterie, sparkling wine, and tiki drinks for all!  (I would highly reccomend the Pod Thai, or of course the dangerously delicious cocktail for two that comes in a giant skull mug, and is, in fact, on fire.)
And that mostly concludes our 3 day antics in Palm Springs. Sadly we ran out of time/ motivation to see the giant Marilyn Monroe statue, and we didn’t get to see much of the famous architecture…but now that we know our way around, I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time before we all head back to sunny Palm Springs for another winter getaway.
all packed up and ready to head home

all packed up and ready to head home

last attempt at a group selfie before hitting the road

last attempt at a group selfie before hitting the road

adding essential oils to our pre-flight drinks

adding essential oils to our pre-flight drinks, you know for health and things

Where to Stay: The Twist

Themes for 2015

Happy January Y’all. Tis the season, of Inventory, resolutions, and motivation.  Last year I listed off several goals/resolutions/projects… and like most people they kinda fizzled out a few months in, though I did use my juicer SO many times, and I did succeed in taking January off from beer drinking. Alas, I still haven’t seen a nutria in real life (and I’ve been told by a few people that if this was my goal, I need to dream bigger.. but whatever… I did some pretty amazing things in 2014, I don’t think having the goal of seeing a giant gross water rodent should deter from all the awesomeness that transpired last year. And lets be honest, a Nutria is pretty much the closest thing to a Rodent Of Unusual Size I’m ever going to see, so I still maintain, it was a legitimate goal… clearly I need to get up earlier and hang out by more water… anyway I digress.)

Last year I also decided that I wanted to draw inspiration and focus on a few key words and ideas in my daily life, and for me this was a much better approach to the whole New Years thing. Because, setting an intention and seeing how that unfolds in your life is just as rewarding as setting a tangible “I’m going to do this specific thing.”  To some, I’m sure it doesn’t feel as satisfying as saying “I’m going to run a half marathon” or “Be a vegetarian” or “Floss my teeth twice a day” and typically I am a giant fan of tangible lists, but when it comes to setting goals and intentions for the year, I’m more of a right-brained individual.

This year, I have 3 major Themes that I’m trying to focus on and I’m excited to explore where they will take me.

Themes for 2015

Themes for 2015

1) Self-Care
The same people who are skeptical about Nutrias have also commented “What are you talking about, you are great at self care! You go to yoga, you eat healthy.”  And these things are true, but a few weeks before Christmas I was sitting in a restorative yoga class (literally strapped in and propped up in a supported boat pose) and I just couldn’t shake the idea that I needed to start taking better care of myself. Not just in the physical sense, but also mentally and emotionally.  Yes, I DO teach yoga and barre, and I DO try to eat healthy, and I am oh so very good at letting myself put my feet up and relaxing with a glass of wine when things get stressful, but I think there is more to it than that.  For all the aspects of self care that I’m really good at, there are others that I’m pretty terrible at. I don’t get enough sleep, I sleep with my cell phone and laptop next to me, I don’t push myself to exercise daily, I drink too much coffee… the list goes on… and overall I don’t think these things are terrible, but I know there are times when I could be making a better effort to take care of myself… I’ll probably still eat boxed mac and cheese from time to time, and let’s be honest, the coffee isn’t going anywhere, but I’m excited to explore Self-Care as an overall theme for the year. (afterall, I’m turning 30 in 2015!) And I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know exactly what this is going to look like, but I imagine it will involve drinking a lot more water, and a little less booze. Being outside more, making meaningful connections, and taking more yoga classes. Spending more time in meditation, drinking a little more green tea, and a little less coffee. Incorporating essential oils into my daily life,  reading more books, taking more introverted re-charge moments, and also pushing myself out of my comfort zone more. It’s giving myself permission to say no, and inspiring myself to say yes. It’s going to bed a little earlier, and turning off technology at 10pm (ish). Its taking  occasional Spa days, and grown up vacations.   And what I love most about this idea of Self-Care, is that I know it’s going to look different every day. It’s not an all or nothing thing that says “You have to do ABC to achieve XYZ”  It’s more about tuning in to how I’m feeling in each moment, and giving myself the support that I need physically and mentally.

 

2) Authenticity 
This year I’m going to try and focus on being the most authentic version of myself. I’m not saying that I have a tendency to be fake or in-genuine, this blog is pretty real!  but Authenticity is another word that keeps coming to mind when I think about 2015. It’s interesting, because I feel like there is so much encouragement out there to celebrate what makes you unique (and I fully agree with this!) but sometimes I think maybe We (I’m using the general WE here, and) are a little guilty of pushing our uniqueness on people. Maybe pushing isn’t the right word… Let’s say we tend to lead with what makes us different, as a way to stand out to make an impression. And overall, I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with that. I think people need to own their quirks and what makes them different and celebrate their unique view of the world, but I think sometimes in doing that it is easy to lose other parts of yourself. I know that I sometimes play to my audience, I highlight areas of my personality that I think other people will be interested in, I post photos on social media that I think other people might like etc… And its ridiculously easy when we are building our own personal brand to put a spotlight on a few key things we want people to remember, while we squirrel other things away. Again, I’m not saying that I have this secret life, and that I’ve been creating a false persona… But I am saying that in 2015 I’m not going to worry about playing to my audience or pushing things into the foreground. I’m going to focus on having authentic interactions, I’m going to own my opinions, (even if that means jumping on some bandwagons) and I’m going to let my authenticity be the thing that attracts people.

 

3) Gratitude
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Gratitude is a game changer, and this year I’m going to try to focus more on the things that I’m grateful for. Big stuff, little stuff, totally random off the wall stuff. Whenever those little nuggets of negativity start creeping in, I’m going to try to focus on the good and have a sense of gratitude.
What are some of the themes you are wanting to focus on in 2015?

How did we get from “Reflection, post-holiday let down, introverted recovery and magic” to here?

If you are anything like me, the week between Christmas and New Years is always a mixture of reflection, post-holiday let down, introverted recovery, and yes a little magic.  I know, its a lot of things to be feeling and wrapping one’s head around in a short amount of time, but I think a little dose of bi-polar emotions come with the territory.

I’ve never been in a relationship over Christmas, so I don’t really get the woe is me singleton holiday stuff…It’s the whole ignorance is bliss and I don’t know what I’m missing situation.  But I do often wonder how a significant other might fit into the rigamarole of the holidays. Since my brother spends every other Christmas with his wife’s family, I am in the business of forging my own traditions with my parents that involve fancy French dinners, Christmas morning hot tub parties with mimosas, jigsaw puzzles, classic children’s books and hot buttered rum (and sometimes tequila shots. Sometimes) And in the midst of all the eating and the drinking, and the puzzling, I sometimes start to wonder “how will another person fit into all of this?” And the answer to that rhetorical question is “flawlessly” because who wouldn’t want to partake in a Christmas morning mimosa hot tub party? (if you just answered “well, I wouldn’t” we probably aren’t soul mates… sorry.)   And then after I have this conversation with myself I start to wonder if my chronic singleness has maybe left me with an unrealistic ideal of who is actually still out there? (Per my friend’s mother, if we don’t get online immediately ALL the men are going to be gone.)  I mean, I’m not exactly a hopeless romantic… but I think sometimes people easily confuse women with high standards, who are confident and know what they are looking for in a partner, with women who are delusional and way too picky with expectations that can never be met… It’s a fine line people, and although I’m pretty sure I’m on the high standards side of things, I do have a few moments when I start to think  “well am I just being too picky?”

And then I realized that regardless of what my perfect daydream ideals are for my future partner in crime/ life/ shenanigans  in reality, it all boils down to Chemistry.  (For the record those daydream ideals involve a guy who is willing to fly across the country to spend my 30th birthday with me eating hot dogs at Fenway park, who is going to help me build a compost bin, and who is equally if not more excited by the fact that I’m planning on planting an entire raised bed of Padron peppers in the back yard. He is also the type of guy who will occasionally take a yoga class with me on Sunday mornings, and though he will not be invited to book club meetings, unless we are hosting and he is making appetizers, he will definitely appreciate the fact that sometimes I have to stop and read him a sentence I just underlined and just swoon over the language…But I digress.) I’m enough of a realist to understand that I might not find exactly all of these qualities in one human man, and its not like I’m going to throw down any ultimatums of “Its Fenway Park or its over” Because, if I’m ever that girl, well then TERROR… and I am totally open to the potential of falling head over heels for someone who doesn’t really care for baseball or gardening or making appetizers for my book club… because like I said, its all about the Chemistry. Chemistry with a capitol C. And though it might be a little unrealistic for me to be holding out for a bulldog tolerating, Red sox loving, yoga doing gardener, I’m not going to settle for anything less than fireworks.

I know… you are probably thinking, how did we get from “Reflection, post-holiday let down, introverted recovery and magic to here?”  (welcome to the inner workings of my mind… grab a map, you might need it) Well, in short, because magic. Because regardless of how many bad dates I go on, how many holidays I spend forging traditions for one, this time of year always reminds me that magic is possible. That epic love stories do exist, that the best lives belong to the quirky and interesting independent souls who are out there doing their own thing. And though I am ending 2014 just as alone as I started it, I’m still everly optimistic that there is an awkward pimento out there to be my counterpart. And in the meantime, I’ve got a bulldog little spoon, a back yard full of garden potential, some amazing friends, and a life that is going to be abundantly full of adventure (and awkwardness).

Adventures in Speed Dating

So, I went speed dating a couple of weeks ago. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have any huge expectations from it; I was going more as a social experiment. I didn’t think I was going to find “The ONE” (though the testimonials all over the website tried to tell me otherwise) I wasn’t even really going to find a date, I was going for the overall experience. I’m somewhere on the introverted spectrum, and though I jokingly like to blame it on my years of home-schooling and conservative up-bringing, the truth is that I’m just wired that way. I do ok for myself in social situations, I’ve lived through years of networking events, and I’ve been able to put on my extroverted mask and make small talk with the best of them… But I’m always looking for ways to push myself out of my social comfort zone. Speed dating seemed like a somewhat entertaining way to put myself out there.   I had a number of quirky and off the wall questions formulating in the back of my brain, and felt confident that in five minutes time I could leave a fun and authentic first impression.

The "Program"

The “Program”

Though I understand that dating is mostly a solo undertaking, I would highly recommend using the buddy system when it comes to speed dating. You need a buffer to have a drink with before everything gets started, and someone to debrief with after the night is over. You also need someone to exchange meaningful glances with across the room when things have gone terribly awry… though come to think of it, my best friend and I never made eye contact, because I’m pretty sure we would have lost it. Also, we did not coordinate our outfits, but we both wore red Pea coats, so in retrospect it was pretty hilarious us walking into speed dating together in our matching uniforms.

You know that David after the Dentist video that went viral, and he is sitting in his car and the anesthesia hasn’t worn off yet and he asks “Is this real life?” That is exactly how I felt walking into the bar where speed dating was taking place. Firstly, it was at a 90’s bar… (yes, they exists) and we were handed our programs for the evening that look exactly like weekly church bulletins. We were ushered behind this ominous black curtain over to the Speed Dating section of bar, and are left to our own devices to mingle and get our bearings before the “event” started in ten minutes. Thankfully, it was happy hour, because after taking one look around the room it was pretty obvious that drinking was a necessary part of this activity.

Though I was trying to keep an open mind about what types of fella’s might be at a speed dating event for 23-37 year olds on a Saturday evening at a 90’s bar, I will say that upon surveying the men, it was EXACTLY what I expected.  I know I know, keep an open mind, don’t judge a book by its cover, don’t be a bitch… but really “IS THIS REAL LIFE?” was the thing that kept popping back into my head. It was a room full of IT types, Engineers etc. Thankfully I didn’t see any pocket protectors, but maybe I wasn’t looking close enough.  Oh well, I had my list of fun questions, I had my confidence, and I had a pretty decent $3 cocktail.

So the thing gets started and they make us do a little gather round in the corner of the bar, and our cruise director for the evening gives us some guidelines. Mostly, don’t come into these things expecting to find your soul mate, have fun, and men, don’t linger after the bell rings because you will just ruin it for everyone. Simple enough. We were each assigned a number, women stay seated at their designated spot while the men get up and rotate every 5 minutes. You have 30 seconds between each bell to jot down a few notes in your program, and circle yes or no, and you are onto the next person. Our event was FULL, but the people running the event apparently have this thing down to a science, and they realized that if we had to meet everyone our heads would literally explode or we would leave with a glazed over zombie look in our eyes, so they capped us at 18 dates. (Yeah, like our heads weren’t exploding after 18…) The bell rings, we head to our assigned seats, and the mayhem begins.

Well sort of. The mayhem begins for everyone else, and as the chit chat starts to flair up around me as everyone is delving into their awkward first encounter, I’m left at a table by myself. Um hello? I thought this event was full? Where is my person? Oh my god, my first date isn’t even going to show up… chit chat chit chat… WTF? Finally I see a guy lurking in the corner on his cell phone, and realize that my first “date” is going to spend the first 2 minutes of our 5 minute date chatting to someone else on the phone. Not that first impressions really matter when you only have 5 minutes, right? (Is this real life?) So finally he comes over, introduces himself as Zack, and gives me the weakest most flaccid handshake of all time. So now we are at minute 3 and we haven’t even said real words to each other yet, and I’m slightly annoyed and also weirded out. You can’t get off your phone and my dog gives a better hand shake than you… is this setting the tone for the rest of the evening? (keep an open mind, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, don’t be a bitch… but…) We exchanged the typical “What do you do? What did you study?” questions, we talked a little bit about traveling, but when he started to ramble on about how he just got back from Dubai, and how he pretty much hated it because when he went shopping he thought they would have some familiar chain stores, but they didn’t, and everything was pretty weird and pretty boring.

At this point in the evening, I realized that I was going to have to dig deep and try to find a semblance of a poker face, because this was only date one, I had only had half of a cocktail, and there were 17 more of these to go. Game on.

This is where things really started to get interesting, because at this point, now all the men were coming directly from table 6, (my best friend) to me, so I caught them in the awkward note taking moment. And though mostly I was scribbling my own notes like “worst handshake of all time, thinks Dubai is boring” I would occasionally get a 2 second preview of what each man thought of my friend… and while we certainly don’t really have the same taste in men I had several moments of like “well if you don’t like her, you are certainly not going to get along with me!”

Date number 2 was named Abdullah. He was 22 years old, from Saudi Arabia, was interested in banking, and thought that Portland was the greatest city ever. He also had a very weak handshake, and I quickly realized that I was going to have to start taking better notes, because “flaccid handshake” was clearly not going to be a stand out adjective for the men in this room. Le Sigh.

Next up was Sergio (the first of two Sergio’s on the program) Who came over to my table introduced himself as “Serg” and greeted me with yet another limp fish handshake. For reals, shaking hands shouldn’t be this uncomfortable… At this point I was actually starting to wonder if this was some sort of the speed dating secret hand shake and I just didn’t get the memo, but then I actually focus in on “Serg” and I realize that he is wearing a leather trench coat, has a very long pony tail. Ok… So I start to listen as he tells me that he is 23, LOVES living with his roommates, recently became a massage therapist, and enjoys making chainmaille jewelry on the side. He then asks me if I live alone or with roommates, or with my family, and I’m thinking that it is a terribly creepy question to ask at speed dating, so I casually mention my roommate “Toby” and then he starts in again about just how much he loves living with his roomates. Then, he asks me when my birthday is because he is “VERY into Astrology” In that moment all I could think was how thankful I was that I decided not to wear my Gemini necklace, and then I really had to focus on channeling that poker face… because IS THIS REAL LIFE?

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Real Life Notes: Keep in mind that I had 30 seconds to write these, and my hand writing is not normally this bad… 

The next few dates were not very memorable. All the men seemed kinda boring, pretty awkward, and no one really stood out. As the evening went on I begin to realize that these are not the type of men who are going to do well with quirky off the wall questions. I know this, because every last of the gentlemen that I met asked me some variation of the same three questions, 1) have you ever been speed dating before? 2) what do you do, 3) how long have you lived in the area…. As if any of these 3 things could tell you anything about my personality, as if any of these 3 things would leave a lasting impression. Though I’m sure some of the men probably jotted down “yoga teacher” in their notes, I was totally baffled by the fact that every guy on every date took the time to ask if I had ever been speed dating before. I mean I guess it is an icebreaker question, sort of… but honestly, you’ve got 5 minutes, and that is the one thing that you absolutely have to know about me? Clearly this was not going to be 2.5 hours of quick wit.

By this time, my drink is gone, I’ve received 8 flaccid handshakes in a row, and I amVERY ready for intermission. Date number 9 comes over, and emphatically circles NO for table #6. Well ok then, my bestie clearly left an impression… He sits down, and immediately he starts talking about how he started out as an English Professor but then he realized that he couldn’t make any money whatsoever being an English professor, so he went into the private sector to be a technical writer. Blah blah blah blah blah. He droned on and on and on about how he could never make any money teaching English and how much he hated it, and not once did he ask me what I did for a living or what I studied in school. (ahem, poetry major)  At this point, I know the poker face came off, I know my eyes glazed over, I know there was a little vein in my neck that started popping out a little bit. I’m sorry… but does anyone major in English because they are planning to graduate and make millions of dollars? Last time I checked, you majored in English because you were passionate about I, because you knew that writing was going to be a valuable skill no matter what career you ended up with, because you had an absolute love of literature. I mean sure, I guess if you went on to Law School after undergrad, or if you wrote some earth shattering book or had dreams of actually writing you might at some point think that you are going to be rich and famous… but if you are getting your PHD in English with the intent of becoming a professor, one can only hope that you aren’t doing so because you are planning on making a shit ton of money. And if you are… well… lets maybe do a reality check dude. I really wanted to smack him on the forehead, and ask why he majored in English in the first place if he was obsessed with making a quick buck,  and I considered telling him to stop being a condescending jack ass, but since we hadn’t talked about my degree in Poetry, I figured it might be a little overkill. Do not engage, its not worth it, this too shall pass. Our cruise director came around and reminded everyone that intermission was moments away, thank you Baby Jesus, because I had had more than my fill of Marshall the Technical Writer.

The bell rings, and I let out a huge sigh of relief, and start to plan my escape to the bar and to the restroom. Ten seconds go by and as I’m fishing for my wallet, Marshall rears his incredibly boring head, and says “well I guess I don’t have to leave!” and joyfully sits back down at my table. On the bright side, I must have been hiding my distain better than I thought, but on the not so bright side Marshall was back with no intention of leaving. I then quickly weighed my options, I couldn’t excused myself to the restroom, but also it was only half time, and if I was going to sit through 9 more dates, another cocktail wasn’t exactly optional. So I excused myself to the bar, but he decided to tag along… Somehow my 5 minute date with Marshall had extended into 12, and I was already emphatically circling NO in my mind, he attempted to order me a drink without even asking what I wanted, then told me there was no way I was going to get served at the bar ( “Oh trust me Marshall, I’m not leaving without a drink.”) and then he tried to slyly slip me his business card as he was fishing around for his wallet. He then blatantly asked me how old I was, and nearly spit out his drink when I told him I was 29. “Oh! That’s great, you look like you are 23!”   Ok, I imagine there will be a time in my not so distant future that I will be wishing people told me that I looked younger than am, or great for my age… But that time is not now. I don’t want to be mistaken for a 23 year old! I have nothing against 23 year olds… I used to be one… and I know some great ones… But also, 23 was a long time ago, a lifetime ago in terms of knowing what I wanted and who I am, in terms of priorities and careers… I have come a very long way since 23… and at this point in my life, I’d rather not be mistaken for a 23 year old… And the way in which he said it was not in the “oh you look great for your age” kind of way, but in the “oh you look like you just graduated from college and are really green an immature” kind of way. I mean sure, he was happy that I was older than I “looked” but the condescension in his tone… Ok Marshall, pretty sure it’s time for you to take your PHD and hop along.

Sitting back at table 7, I was a little disheartened to think that we were only half way through… and I never got to pee… and why do you want to know if I’ve been speed dating before? I don’t really remember the conversation with date #10… I do remember that he was wearing the largest, fuzziest sweater I’ve ever seen. And my only notes on him are “No. Sweater, Sweater, Sweater.”

Next up was the man from Nigeria. He had a very thick accent, and upon sitting down he repeatedly asked me how I got my “Tiths” so white. I was a little taken aback, because the first two times he said it, I could have sworn he was asking me something about my Tits, but once I figured out he was asking me about my teeth I still didn’t really know what to say. This did not seem like to moment to try to explain oil pulling, and why were we even talking about oral hygiene in the first place? He then told me that I had one and a half dimples, and then asked if I wanted to know which one was the full one and which one was the half… I don’t remember which is which.

In retrospect, maybe we were talking about something random like teeth because on his date with my friend, she tried to set him up for an informational interview with Abdullah, because apparently this gentleman was in banking, and she felt bad for Abdullah because he had no real experience and she thought the two of them should connect.   Yes, this IS real life.

Next up was a totally nice guy from Montana, and we mostly hit it off, but he tried to impress me by telling me he was a chef… and already I am skeptical… Ok, so you are a chef, and yet somehow you have time to go speed dating on a Saturday night? And granted, I might be just a little tiny bit jaded from my past experiences dating people in the culinary world, but he was very elusive about where he and though he didn’t disclose it on our date, he told my friend that he had a 4 year old. And kids don’t bother me, granted, I don’t want to birth one, but dating a guy with kids doesn’t freak me out… but I’ve already dated a chef with kids… And I’m looking for a different life experience. So, next.

There was the guy who said “Right on” after everything I said, the guy who came to speed dating all the time for “fun”, The psychologist with the dog, there was the man who was my only note was “gay?” And a man from India, who was even more overwhelmed than I was. I felt so bad for him as he came over to my table and sat down with this defeated look in his eye. He wouldn’t really make eye contact, and tried for a few minutes to form a question… but he just kept making statements about how overwhelming the whole experience was. One man made a comment that my ring looked like a shield… I was thinking “hopefully it protects me from this experience.”   Finally towards the end of the evening, I started to pull out my off the wall questions, just to change things up, just to make things interesting. And just as expected, none of them men really knew what to do with them… you wouldn’t think that “Yankees or Red Sox?” would be a panic inducing question, but you could see the fear “oh shit, she is asking me about sports… how do I answer this?” Clearly asking them what their walk-on song was, wasn’t really going to be an option, and none of them had ever even heard of Wes Anderson… One man mumbled the entire time, and I honestly have no idea what he said at all. I couldn’t tell if it was a tactic to get me to lean in, or if he was just not articulating.

I accidentally missed my last date… sort of. We were like 2.5 hours in, (and trying to do the math it shouldn’t have lasted that long! And yet, it was almost 10PM!) and I made an executive decision that going to the restroom was going to be more productive than one more five minute date. Mumbling man got up from the table, and I totally bolted. Do not look back, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to the restroom and try not to think about the last 2.5 hours.   When I came back, there was no one at my table, and I relished a moment of quiet before a man came wandering over and said “oh sorry, I decided to go use the bathroom.” Whatever, he saw that I wasn’t at my table and then made that decision. We chatted for a moment, but apparently the bell rang before both of us got back, because looking around us the staff was starting to pick up chairs and people were still sort of chatting but it was mostly breaking up. “Ok, nice to meet you!”

My friend was chatting with the woman sitting next to her at the bar, and we all looked at each other and just shook our heads.   “Well… That was a thing we just did.” IS THIS REAL LIFE?

I did end up having 1 match from the evening. And we went on one date… which is another blog post all together. My friend and I actually had the same “maybe” and we both debated for a few days if we should match him, or just cut our losses. We secretly thought it would be hilarious if we just went out on a triple date or if we had back to back dates at the same place… neither of which happened… Overall, I’m glad that I went, but I don’t think I’ll be going on any more speed dating adventures in the near future. I went I saw, I wrote… and afterwards all I could think about was this hand-written card that my grandmother sent me when I was a Freshman in college “Look out for all the jerks and weirdos out there.” Indeed, grandma. Indeed.

Taking a moment to re-charge

This week thanks to the joys of social media,  I stumbled across a “Hipster Business Name Generator” Let me tell you, if you are looking for a procrastination project, it’s pretty great. I only bring this up, because there are moments, like right now, that I wish there was a random “First part of a blog post generator” that would spit out some creative and amazing start to each post that you could then effortlessly use to segway into the rest of the post.  Though I’m not always the most linear writer, and I typically don’t have a problem just letting my ideas explode into a word document before going back and piecing them together in a somewhat cohesive way, I find that the first paragraph is always the hardest thing to get down. I blame it on years of English classes telling me to form a thesis statement and go from there. Every time I try to write a first paragraph I can hear my brother’s voice in my head telling me that my thesis needs to be more clear, I need to explain what I’m going to be writing about, it has to be a complete sentence… Well, thank God I majored in poetry, which tends to have far less rules about things of that nature… and thankfully this here blog isn’t being graded as a critical essay or paper (right?) so I suppose at some point I just need to let all that English anxiety go… but all that being said, I STILL have a really rough time starting a blog post without it getting all cliche/cheeseball. (yes I know I have a degree in creative writing… )

Anyway, it’s Autumn here in the PNW, and its been a lovely autumn at that.  The last couple of days have been clear and sunny, and frigidly cold, but the colors have been beautiful, the sunshine is a nice change of pace, and the crispy cold days remind me a lot of home. Autumn has always been one of my favorite seasons. Change isn’t just an idea in the autumn, it’s a tangible thing, moment to moment. The colors, the weather, the light. You start to notice people wearing heavy socks, bulky sweaters, classes are becoming more full at the yoga studio, the air feels different, and of course the heaters are turned on. And right around the time that the season starts to noticeably shift is when I usually start to make changes in my own life. Some of them are small… bathing the dog every week, getting back into oil pulling, going to bed at 10PM. Some changes are a little bigger, like making a conscious effort to make myself more vulnerable, open myself up more. And some changes and shifts are even bigger (and more secretive, and slightly more draining) And as a person who is trying to live this year in forward motion, change is a pretty exciting thing. (more details as I have them)

But change is also kind of exhausting, and sometimes stressful, and though I haven’t necessarily felt stressed over the past few weeks, my body is starting to tell me otherwise. Eczema flair ups, dark circles, and overall lingering tiredness are all letting me know that as exciting as change is, that I also am in need of a little bit of physical and mental re-charge.

I try not to play the introvert card too often, but sometimes I do need to remind myself that “oh yeah, this is actually a real thing, this is actually how I function, and taking a night off isn’t always a cop-out” Especially when I look at my calendar and realize that this past week I went to a new book club, attended two dinner parties, went to a magazine event, attended my closest friends birthday dinner, met up with a friend to start planning a summer project, met with a potential roommate, as well as worked 40 + hours, and taught 3 full classes… I’m fully ready to play the introvert card.   Don’t get me wrong, each of these experiences were wonderful, each left me feeling invigorated and inspired, they made me feel full and part of a community, and I wouldn’t change any of them… but when I realize exactly how much I’ve been putting myself out there this past week, as well as dealing with other bigger life stuff, the dark circles and the eczema patches are no longer such a mystery (lovely visual, I know…) And I’m realizing that as much as I need to push myself to get out there, to engage, to make myself vulnerable, I also really need to respect myself enough to know when I need to take a moment to re-charge.

Especially this week… When things get stressful or uncomfortable I tend to just power through, to keep moving, to not let myself slow down… because it’s when you start to slow down that the emotions catch up with you, that your brain can really process…and up until now I haven’t really been willing to process. A college boy was murdered on Sunday evening, right across the street from where I used to live. In the convenience store where I spent countless evenings getting slushies, the place I bought my first alcohol on my 21st birthday, the place I drive by several times a week. And though I didn’t know him, this tragic event has had a huge impact on our community this week. This random act of violence has left the entire community feeling shaken, and at a loss. Did this really happen in our town? The overflow of compassion and support from the local community is exactly the reason that I chose to live in a small town, and its in moments like this that we are reminded to surround ourselves with the people that we love, and to try and live each day with a little more kindness.

Even before this death happened in our community I was started to feel a little jaded… maybe not jaded, but suddenly like I was very old, but hadn’t really experienced much of life yet. Suddenly things like divorce, adultery and now murder are popping up around me, and they aren’t just plot lines from some tv show. Even though these things aren’t happening to me directly, its been challenging to see them creeping into the lives of my friends and people that I know. I think there is still the naïve part of me that wants to cling to my rose colored glasses, to keep them on a bit longer, but it’s becoming more challenging.

So last night I decided to take a breath, give myself an introverted re-charge night, to listen to what I needed, and to take some time alone to process. I gave myself a moment to wrap my head around how I was feeling. I cooked a meal, put on some sweat pants, snuggled with the dog, watched a movie, went to bed early, and got up early to take a yoga class. Being able to take an evening to be kind to myself, to set aside all my projects, priorities, and obligations, to turn off my phone, and to just be present was exactly what I needed. And I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to focus on being kind to myself, because I know that the more kindness I cultivate internally, the more it is going to radiate externally.

And on that note, I think it is time for a cup of coffee, some meditation, and to head out into the world.

Fall Fashion: A few things I’m digging for the season.

When I left my job at RHM, and made the transition into the world of women’s fashion, quite a few of you expressed excitement over the idea of me dabbling into world of fashion blogging. An outfit tip here, a shout out to an accessory there… Well, its taken me 6 months,  but now that the rainy season has come to Oregon, my garden is taking up less of my time, and I’m feeling a bit more inspired by things like boots and scarves… Lets face it, Autumn is kind of the dreamy fashion season… at least in my opinion. I love the sunshine, but summer doesn’t really require much effort in the styling department. All you really need is a great pair of sandals, an easy to wear dress, and a little lip gloss. The end.    But fall is where things start to get a little interesting, and by the time September rolls around every year I’m always ready to bring out the layers, the boots, the scarves the sweaters!  Of course this year, Autumn just hit us LAST WEEK. It’s the end of October and today is really the first day of torrential rain. I’m not complaining, the extra sun has been great… but boy am I ready to get cozy!

Before I head into my own personal must have items for the season, I think its important to state that fashion is a SUPER individual thing.Whatever you put on should make you feel comfortable and confident. I think figuring out what your own personal style is, and the adjectives that you would use to describe it is an important first step in figuring out what you are going to be wearing this and any season.  I recently did a very thorough overhaul of my closet, and though it was a little challenging to let some things go, it was also super cathartic to get a bit of a clean slate. At the ripe old age of 29, I feel like I’m on the verge of really settling into my “personal style” ( though I’m always one for keeping my options open!)  I’ve always had a bit of an eclectic sense of style, but this year I keep finding myself drawn to more of a classic look (with a few quirky and playful elements thrown in of course!)So here it is, my list of fall fashion essentials. (also, all opinions are my own, and this post in in no way sponsored, these are just some of my favorite items of the moment. And yes, a lot of them are coming from Mes Amies)

 

1) The staple Scarf.   It is light and a little flowy, in a solid color. It goes with literally everything you own, and can add it bit of warmth or a bit of polish to an outfit, or both. Neutrals like black or navy are great, but don’t be afraid to branch out into gorgeous colors like burnt orange, chocolate brown, or even hunter green.  I’m all about color, especially fall colors, they just seem to work with my olive skin, so you will definitely see me embracing the burnt orange, the deep burgundies, and of course olive and chartreuse.
Silk & Cashmere blend scarves from Blue Pacific. Available in great fall colors at Mes Amies.

Silk & Cashmere blend scarves from Blue Pacific. Available in great fall colors at Mes Amies.

2) The Statement Scarf.  Because there are some days when your perfectly fine, but maybe slightly boring outfit needs an element of fun. There are some great patterns out there this year (when it doubt, polka dots work) and I’m totally on board with the bright floral and quirky animals. I’m particularly smitten with the antelope scarf from Printed Village. It’s neutral enough where it works with just about everything, but it definitely brings in that playful element.
Creatures! Skulls! All available at Mes Amies

Creatures! Skulls! All available at Mes Amies

3) Mid-rise jeans.  Ok I’m maybe a little late to the band-wagon on this… but in all seriousness what did I do before mid-rise jeans? I’m 29 for crying out loud, and though I consider myself to be a “fit” person, there are no amount of bicycle crunches that are going to solve the low-rise jean muffin top situation. (sorry for that visual, but sometimes its best to be frank.) Say it with me ladies, mid-rise. Game changer. (if you are one of those teeny tiny, low-rise skinny jean wearing ladies, more power to you.) But I, for one, am welcoming the mid-rise jean into my wardrobe with open arms.  My favorite is the Ariel from Citizens of Humanity.

 

4) Great socks:  I’m still not quite 100% to the spot where I’m ready to hide my toes away for the year (I’m a yoga teacher, my feet like to be free) but if/when I have to wear socks I’m looking for beautiful ones. Little River Sock Mill out of Alabana, B.ella. and Hansel from Basel  are three of my go-to sock companies. And can I just say, if you aren’t ready to splurge on a cashmere sweater, cashmere blend socks are a great place to start. You get a little bit of decadence without breaking the bank.
Great socks, fun colors. Once again available locally at my home away from home, Mes Amies

Great socks, fun colors. Once again available locally at my home away from home, Mes Amies

5) The Boyfriend Cardigan. It’s the perfect length, it goes with jeans, it goes with dresses, it can be totally casual, or you can add some great jewelry and look really polished (you can also wear it with jeans and your thick rimmed glasses and instantly you’ve got that whole hipster thing going for you.) I recently made the investment in the Arrow Cardigan from Pendleton, and its pretty much my favorite thing. Certain people (mostly Jay) will probably roll their eyes, but I’m 100% obsessed with this sweater.
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6) A Down Vest.  You can take me out of the jeans/tee-shirt/ clog wearing work environment, but I will cling to my classic black puffy vest until it falls apart. I’ve had it for nine years, and for the most part it becomes my Fall/Winter security blanket. Though I promise not to wear it to work, I will pretty much be wearing it at every other waking moment.
7) Short, Red, Fingernails.  I don’t paint my nails very often (though its always a goal.) and for the most part its kind of a hassle, and I can never seem to make a manicure last past a couple of days (too many hours spent in the garden, doing the dishes, herding a bulldog etc.) But, I really love the look of painted nails, and lately I’ve been really into oxblood nail polish. We’ll see if I can’t keep them painted or if its just a phase, but for now, I’m kind of loving it.
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8) This Fox Sweater. I. AM. OBSESSED. Is it a little bit ridiculous? Yes. Do I care? Not even a tiny bit. I think this sweater has so much personality, and its the perfect thing to throw on with some jeans and boots. If you are looking for a fun statement piece this season, this would be it.
Fox Sweater from All Things Fabulous

Fox Sweater from All Things Fabulous

9) An everyday shoe.  The Thomas from Cliff Dweller is my new favorite. I’ve been eying it all summer, and finally decided that it was the perfect transitional shoe for fall. Its a pretty classic shape, but I opted for the green leather just to add a pop of color and whimsey.  Its a basic everyday shoe, but it is hand-crafted and really comfortable.  Its a classic shape and silhouette, but I opted for this teal/ Forrest green color. Its basic enough for everyday, but the color makes it fun.
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And while we are on the topic of shoes…. I’m absolutely in love with this grey and orange wool shoe from Toms.
Pic from Toms.com

Pic from Toms.com

What are your wardrobe staples for the fall?

The Awkward Olive Does Lunch: Autumn coleslaw and how to make a dressing without a recipe

Last month, one of my best friends got married in Hood River. The day after the wedding a bunch of us gathered for a communal cooking/ pot-luck style dinner on the porch of one of the houses we had rented for the weekend. We chatted, the laughed, we ate, we reminisced, we ate some more.  It was amazing to be able to spend some quality time with some of my closest friends, and it was also really inspiring to see what everyone was cooking.  I know I tend to get stuck in a food rut, always going back to my go-to salads and quinoa dishes, so it was really fun to see what some of my friends had in their culinary repertoire. And the thing I took away with me was this amazing fall slaw.  It’s the perfect transitional salad for this time of year. Cabbage and apples are starting to come into their prime, cooler days (we are going to get those soon, right?) crunchy textures, bright colors… it seems to be the epitome of Autumn in a bowl. the

Feasting

Feasting

IMG_4436

The sum of our efforts

The sum of our efforts

I’m kind of a sucker for good coleslaw… that being said, I almost never ever made coleslaw because I was a little daunted by the dressing. I know, its a lame excuse, but I’m not a huge follower of recipes, I don’t really like to measure, and since I didn’t have a go-to coleslaw dressing stashed away in my culinary knowledge, making coleslaw at home just felt a little in-accessible. I’m kind of a no-muss no-fuss salad dressing type of gal… a little fresh olive oil, a splash of balsamic, a little salt, maybe some fresh herbs… on rare occasions I will actually put these things in a jar with a little bit of stone ground mustard and actually “prepare” a dressing… but for the most part, I just drizzle the ingredients directly on the salad and consume. I’ve always felt that when you use high quality ingrediants they speak for themselves, and while I love the idea of “fancy” dressings with names like green goddess and roasted corn husk vinaigrette, I typically stick with the clean and simple flavors of olive oil and vinegar.  So being faced with task of pre-making a coleslaw dressing felt somehow hard… boy was I wrong.

I did a little bit of research AKA looked on pinterest to see what other people where putting in coleslaw dressing… some of it sounded interesting, some of it sounded unnecessary, and after about five minutes, I had a new found feeling of coleslaw confidence. “Oh… I can totally make this.”  So I headed off to the kitchen.  Per my usual style, I eye-balled everything, guessed on proportions, and was pleasantly surprised by how it tasted. Dressing success! Until, of course, I remembered that its a little hard to blog a recipe that isn’t actually a recipe.  Though I’m sure some people out there appreciate the “a little of this, a little of that” method to making things in the kitchen, I know it drives other people nuts… But I’ll try to meet you somewhere in the middle.

How to make coleslaw dressing without a recipe.
  • apple cider vinegar ( about 2 TBS)
  • greek yogurt (1 heaping spoonful) 
  • poppyseeds (a sprinkling)
    olive oil (a small drizzle) 
  • honey ( best guess is 1 TBS?) 
Put in a jar, shake it all around until the honey is incorporated. Refrigerate.  Put over slaw & serve.   If you like, you can add in chia seeds instead of or along with the poppyseeds. If your dressing feels too thin, the chia seeds will help, because they become a little gelatinous as they expand… also they are super amazingly good for you, so why not add them?
Notice I didn’t give you  firm amounts for anything… because really you can make coleslaw for 1 or you can make coleslaw for the masses.  Use your best judgement.  This amount of dressing usually is enough for me to make 2 GIANT servings of coleslaw (imagine if coleslaw were a dinner salad instead of a side. )   I like to pair this dressing with a simple, 3 ingredient slaw. It’s perfect for an easy lunch, its quick, easy, and delicious.

Autumn Coleslaw

Autumn Coleslaw

Simple Autumn Slaw
Chop desired amount of cabbage, top with cut up apple & toasted almonds. Dress, and eat!

Purple Cabbage

Purple Cabbage

Honeycrisp Apples from the local Farmer's Market.

Honeycrisp Apples from the local Farmer’s Market.

oven roasted almonds

oven roasted almonds