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.
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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.
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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

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).

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?

A little bit of vulnerable

Last week I had one of those lonely-hearted moments. You know the ones that totally sneak up on you in a kind of blind-sighting way and leave you feeling exposed and sad and a little bit ridiculous all at the same time?They don’t happen to me very often, and so when they do I tend to get a little overwhelmed… My entire adult life, I’ve been a fiercely independent, introverted soul, so when I occasionally have those vulnerable moments of lonely-heartedness it always takes me by surprise.

Let me just give you a little back-story.

I have never been one of those women whose soul mission in life is to settle down, get married and live happily ever after. The sticky sweet fairy tale ending has never really appealed to me (unless of course it’s the  Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella featuring Brandy… because that speaks to everyone.) Sure, I went through a phase somewhere in middle-teen-hood where I planned out my dream wedding (to Han Solo, duh.) But I’ve never really held onto any romantic notions of dating, marriage, relationships… Sure, I would like to be in one… I would maybe even like to be married someday, but I’ve never really understood the women who are clearly on that mission to find “the one.”   A few years ago I was taking a trip with some girlfriends, and I picked up a novel in the airport to read on the plane. One chapter in and my mind was totally blown, this book was on the best seller list, and one of the main characters was a high powered lawyer who quit her job so she could date full time. One of the other women was so terrified of being alone, that she agreed to marry a man she didn’t love and then was too chicken to cancel the wedding, so she decided they should get married in Iceland so no one she really cared about would see her marry this man she didn’t love. HOW IS THIS A REAL BOOK THAT REAL PEOPLE READ???? Ok, I did read the whole thing, because I was hoping that maybe eventually it would have some sort of ah-ha moment where the women realize that they are ridiculous, and then one of the married women sleeps with a male prostitute in South America, and I gave up all hope.  (I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about my outrage of this book before… ) But the whole book just left me feeling really dis-enchanted… And here is the truly terrifying thing… there are probably actually women out there who are like this!  Needless to say, my life is pretty much the antithesis of this. Call me crazy, but I’ve always lived with the belief that if you live your life authentically and passionately, everything else is just going to kind of fall into place. And so 99.9% of the time it doesn’t bother me that most of my college friends are married, that I am approaching 30 and chronically single… because I’m living a life that I love, and I fill it with things that I love.   When people read my tattoo that says “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” and ask “well?” I usually say things like (and almost always get blank stares or awkward laughter)  “write, have a bulldog, garden, teach yoga…thrive…”

Last week I was feeling overstimulated… I had family in town visiting, was working a few extra shifts, and was eating out a lot, trying to catch up with friends, prepping my house for a new roommate… the anxiety was building, and all I wanted all week was a night in with a home-cooked meal. I wanted to dance around my kitchen, sit on the patio and eat by candle-light, and absolutely revel in my aloneness. I didn’t want any distractions or interruptions, I didn’t want conversations or company, I just wanted my solitude…. that is until about 10 minutes into cooking dinner, and that is when it just came welling over me. And in that moment, all I wanted was for another person to be there… not just any person but THE person… I wanted us to awkwardly be in each other’s way as we made dinner… to talk about our day, I wanted to sit on the porch listening to bluegrass music and talk about what to plant in the garden next year, wanted to exchange meaningful glances while having a glass of wine as he did the dishes… I wanted countless little insignificant moments. I wanted to have someone to share my life with and build a future with.  BAM. How’s that for blind-sighted?  Introverted re-charge turned hyper-sensitive heart ache in 2.5 seconds.  And I hate it when these moments sneak up on me, and it goes back to the whole “well you have your life together, and you shouldn’t feel this way! You can have it all” mentality. I keep thinking that I shouldn’t feel this way, that I shouldn’t be lonely, that I shouldn’t be filled with longing for a person to build my life with…It seems to go against the whole “I’ve got my life together and I’m fabulous” anthem that so many powerful and confident women have… but you know what? Even though I hate having these moments of heart-ache and fear and vulnerability… I also welcome them to some extent, because it means that I’m not afraid to be open.

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Dinner for one (well you know, dinner for one with some left-overs)

Sometimes I worry that I’ve spent so much time cultivating this life that I love, that I forgot to leave room for my future. Because when you are a young, single, independent woman, everyone tells you that you can do anything, that you should cherish these moments, that you are strong and beautiful, and charismatic and that the world is your oyster, and that you don’t need a man or anyone else to be complete. They tell you this over and over and over, and you being to cling to it like a mantra, like a beacon of all that is good, until one day you realize that  you were so busy thinking about what kind of independent life you wanted, how all you needed to be happy in life is a Bulldog and to write,  that somewhere along the line you forgot to think about things like “I want to be somebody’s wife someday.” And maybe it just goes without saying that this is what “normal” people think about… that there is this underlying unspoken expectation that you grow up, get educated, fall in love, and start your life with someone. Maybe at some point I just figured this was a given, and that I didn’t actually need to plan for it… and yet I am such a huge believer in Intention, it kind of baffles my mind that I haven’t spent the last several years putting this intention out into the Universe. Because realizing that you want to build a life with someone meaningful is not the same as quitting your job to date full time. Realizing what you want your future to look like is not being a ridiculous romanced crazed single…  And maybe I’m just a late bloomer (well ok, there are no maybe’s about it…) because I’ve known those people who instinctively have known their whole lives that they want to be mothers, or wives, or whatever… and that has never been me… I mean I’m not opposed to the idea of either (though I don’t think I will personally grow a human, I reserve the right to change my mind) but I haven’t spent the last 29 years knowing that that is what I was destined for. I HAVE known for that long that I wanted a bulldog named Toby, that I wanted to have a love-affair with writing, and that I wanted to get dirt under my fingernails.  And quite honestly, I am still years away from being ready to be married (at least in the conventional sense), but every now and then I have that twinge of wanting to share the everyday with someone.

And of course everyone (the proverbial everyone) says that it will happen when you least expect it, when you aren’t looking for it, and yet the “proverbial they” still think I need to try online dating… and maybe I am dead wrong, but I just don’t think I’m going to find MY person on the interwebs… There is still the tiny part of my soul that wants the meet cute scenario, and a real life story rather than “Well we were a 86% match.” Sure, I’m all about being with someone who shares my passions and interests… but I’m also holding out for that moment in a coffee shop/ famer’s market/ winebar where he sees me reading Steinbeck/ buying peppers/ being flippantly sarcastic and thinks “I’ve got to get to know her”   Because isn’t that a nice and wonderful idea?  That someone out there saw you and thought “hmmm my interest is piqued. I think she is worth the effort of getting to know”   And… really, I don’t know why I cling to this particular dream, since  literally every single guy who has piqued my personal interest in the last 15 years and who I’ve actually had enough courage and gumption to ask out has either said nothing at all (hello, this is a check yes or no situation, no response??? that is a thing? Oh it’s a thing…) , or said yes, but then canceled, or changed his mind, or never followed through… And most of the time I can cling to my self assured independent and confident self… but there are the occasional raw  moments when I’m taken aback by the loneliness and can’t help but think “but at what point  did I become un-datable?” I mean, I don’t really think that I’m un-datable… I can make pickles, and I like baseball, and I’m a yoga teacher… some guy, somewhere is going to be into that!  And I also have to quickly remind myself that  dating is actually THE worst, so there is that… but it’s a little hard to just fall into a relationship without the dating part. Which is really really unfortunate. Because I’m great at the relationship part. I love the comfortable everyday moments, the trips to the grocery store, the reminiscing, the meaningful conversations, time spend walking the dog and holding hands, and curled up next to each other reading, and staying up too late talking…the ins and outs of  living everyday life. That is what I’m good at. But what I’m not  so great at is everything preceding that. I’m absolutely terrible at the small talk and the weird obligatory getting to know you questions of first date land…  “what kind of music do you like?” and “how many siblings do you have?” and then I get awkward and nervous, and the once cool, confident and interesting person retreats behind this muttering, bumbling version of myself…
It get's awkward real fast

It get’s awkward real fast

Take Today, for example. I asked a guy out for drinks a few weeks ago, with no expectations, just getting to know each other… New Friendship? More than that? Who knows! I just had this inkling of “I think you are interesting and want to explore that.” So I asked him out for drinks.   He actually said yes, and asked what my schedule was like, and I told him… and then nothing. Which was fine, because he is busy, and I am busy… So I waited a few days, and followed up, and when I bumped into him last week he apologized for not getting back to me and said he would give me a call soon. Perfect, I’m not worried about it! So flash forward to today, when I ran into him I had every opportunity to be confident, to be direct to say “hey! I know you are really busy, BUT let’s make this happen. Are you free  to grab a drink tonight?”  and I had this whole cool and casual attitude happening, and what did I do? I saw him talking with another girl, so I  barely made eye contact, and ordered the usual, and ran away as fast as humanly possible… there was no mention of our future plans, of getting together, or really even that we knew each other… my mind ran wild with the assumptions about who she was, and what it meant, and I totally choked. Insert social awkwardness and anxiety…What is wrong with me? What happened to the confidence and the “you have nothing to lose” attitude?  (oh yeah… awkwardolive… comes with the territory.)  Because Dating makes me NERVOUS, it accentuates my awkwardness in a very specific and not always endearing way (because I will forever cling to the idea that a little bit of awkwardness is somewhat charming). And then I just get mad at myself… because even in this situation, I’m making assumptions. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, Maybe he is interested and just busy… or maybe he isn’t but just want to be friends so obviously he isn’t in a hurry to call me back… maybe he isn’t actually available…Or maybe he is just weirded out because now I’m being weird. OR maybe nothing, and I’m overthinking everything.  (or maybe he will read this post and think I’m nuts… what can you do?) It’s unclear if there is any reciprocal interest other than friendship, and that could very well be OK with me, because I’m always wanting to expand my horizons, to meet new people, to make new friends.  But it seems like I am incapable of even getting to the point of figuring that out without totally tripping all over myself.

And every single person I know says “well you just need more practice.” and then I look at them somewhat blankly, and somewhat with a “really? is that what I need?” look, because here is the thing, YOU CANNOT PRACTICE DATING IF NO ONE WILL AGREE TO GO OUT WITH YOU. I’m just saying, that seems like, pretty obvious right?  This is my plight… but I’m working on it.

And in-spite of my track record, my ever awkward encounters, and my complete lack of successful dating stories… I’m still optimistic enough to think that any minute now, my “meet cute” is going to happen.  And maybe it’s naive, and I’m sure as a result I’m going to have many more moments where the loneliness sneaks up on me, where the heartache creeps in, moment’s where I’m going to long to share the everyday encounters with a non-existent partner… but I’ll also have those wildly authentic moments where I”m not worried about impressing anyone, or rejection or really anything besides living a life that I love… and hopefully one day I’ll be able to share it with someone else. In the meantime I’m going to have many more dinner’s for one and glasses of wine shared with a bulldog, and I’m going to be open.

Little nuggets of gratefulness

The past few weeks I’ve been doing a fair amount of mini “working on me” projects. I started a 21 day meditation series on Happiness, I joined the Kitchen Cure, a month long kitchen cleaning excursion, I’ve signed up for a 21 day juicing challenge, and I’m getting in my last few practice runs before tackling a half marathon next weekend! It’s a crazy busy life, but I’m loving the little daily tasks, and am feeling inspired, revitalized, and on track with my ever-present goal of living a life in forward motion. But with all the busyness, I’m finding it is even more important to take those little nuggets of stillness everyday. To actually carve out time for meditation, and to slow down and focus on the things in this life that I’m grateful for. As my dear friend Kali would say “Gratefulness is a game changer” and yesterday as I was out on my very long, and very slow run, I started to piece together a few of the everyday things in my life that I’m grateful for this week.

I’m grateful for :

The fact that even though I'm 29, I have parents who let me rummage through their refrigerator for leftovers on a regular basis. "Do you have plans for this salmon?" "Can I take some of this mac & cheese for lunch tomorrow?"

The fact that even though I’m 29, I have parents who let me rummage through their refrigerator for leftovers on a regular basis. “Do you have plans for this salmon?” “Can I take some of this mac & cheese for lunch tomorrow?”

 

My body, and that it allows me to do semi-crazy things like train for a half marathon, and take crazy fun outdoor barre classes.

My body, and that it allows me to do semi-crazy things like train for a half marathon, and take crazy fun outdoor barre classes.

 

That I have two wonderful bosses who had enough foresight to install an espresso machine in a clothing boutique. And also, that they do amazing things, like purchase almonds in bulk so we can snack on something healthy when things get a little nutty.

That I have two wonderful bosses who had enough foresight to install an espresso machine in a clothing boutique. And also, that they do amazing things, like purchase almonds in bulk so we can snack on something healthy when things get a little nutty.

 

That even though my best friend doesn't like dessert, he keeps a freezer full of Choco Tacos for when we have dinner parties.

That even though my best friend doesn’t like dessert, he keeps a freezer full of Choco Tacos for when we have dinner parties.

 

My students,Who show up to my yoga and barre classes every week with open minds, and let me teach what I'm feeling in the moment. I'm so blessed that they keep coming back week to week (and have for almost 4 years!) even when I ask them to do some semi-ridiculous things that get them out of their comfort zones.  Photo Cred: Ryan Jones.

My students, who show up to my yoga and barre classes every week with open minds, and let me teach what I’m feeling in the moment. I’m so blessed that they keep coming back week to week (and have for almost 4 years!) even when I ask them to do some semi-ridiculous things that get them out of their comfort zones.
Photo Cred: Ryan Jones.

That I've been able to cultivate relationships/friendships with local farmers who grow amazing things and who help support my pretty much constant craving for pardon peppers & fermented vegetables.

That I’ve been able to cultivate relationships/friendships with local farmers who grow amazing things and who help support my pretty much constant craving for pardon peppers & fermented vegetables.

 

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padrons and kimchee in a sparkle bag, the usual Thursday MO.

 

That I have friends who say things like "Oh you haven't showered either? Great! We'll be smelly together, lets go get drinks!"

That I have friends who say things like “Oh you haven’t showered either? Great! We’ll be smelly together, lets go get drinks!”

 

A Niece that orders bear pancakes

A Niece that orders bear pancakes

 

the cutest nephew nugget around

the cutest nephew nugget around

 

The space and the ability to grow my own food

The space and the ability to grow my own food

 

 and always Tobias Wakefield, heart of my hearts.


and always, Tobias Wakefield, heart of my hearts.

And it goes like this…

I’ve been back from vacation almost a week and finally feeling like I’m getting back into a normal routine. I went for a long run today, finally cleaned out the fridge, cooked myself a real meal… all things I’ve pretty much been avoiding all week long. Not really on purpose, but sometimes life gets in the way, and even when you tell yourself when you run out the door in the morning that you are going to skip Wine Wednesday because you have too much cleaning to do, somehow you still end up going out and all the tasks that are lingering on your to-do list go mysteriously undone. (Because really who wants to skip Wine Wednesday? Right?) And usually I’m ok living in my own clutter for a period of time. Don’t get me wrong, I vacuum and clean every week… But I’m not the type of person who cannot go to sleep if there is one dirty dish left in the kitchen sink… However, there always comes a moment in which I absolutely cannot take it anymore and feel as though if everything isn’t magically deep cleaned that very instant my head is going to explode. Naturally, this moment usually happens sometime on my “Friday” morning when I’m running a tad bit late and have approximately nine-thousand other things that actually have to get accomplished before I walk out the door. Welcome to my life.

   ~~~~~~~

The alarm goes off, and you push snooze, because it’s early, and technically the weekend and while everyone else is sleeping in you are awake, because, life, and work, and you have to go let your brother’s dog out and you are really hoping that he hasn’t destroyed the house because its his first night staying home alone ever, and even though you let him out at like eleven-o-clock you are still worried that he is kind of a spaz and god only knows how many trash cans he broke into. The alarm goes off again, but you hit snooze for a second time, because you are just not quite ready. Only then you remember that your fridge is exploding with produce from the garden and things like leftover jars of maraschino cherries from your weekend of cocktail making and vacation, and if you don’t get up and try clean it out really really really bad things are going to happen in your life. Really. Bad. Things. So you get up, and try to decide if you really need to wake your dog up before going to go let out the other dog, but he is snoring pretty loudly, so you just leave him, and throw on a hoodie because your hair looks like an electrocuted rat terrier, and jump in the car and think about how its way too early to be out doing responsible things.

Your brother’s house is surprisingly intact and the dog only slightly pounces on you when you finally unlock the door… you contemplate why you haven’t purchased coffee in several weeks, and then remember, that, oh yeah, you also need to go and water your parents flowers since the whole family is on vacation together and you are at home care-taking all the things. This is fine though, because they have a fancy espresso machine, and all you can think about is the foamy latte you are going to be drinking as you water the plants in the back yard.

The latte is delicious, the plants are surprisingly not dead, and you are feeling pretty ok about your morning until you look at the clock and realize that you need to leave for work in a little over an hour… back home to the bulldog… who you can’t find right away, but you notice that your favorite sandal is lying in the middle of the living room looking slightly chewed on… you are 98% sure you didn’t leave it there, but the coffee hasn’t really kicked in yet, so everything is a little unclear. The dog comes trundling out of some unknown place and you scold him for the shoe and then he thinks it is kind of funny and just starts grumbling at you and does downward facing dog and then prances about the living room. You make him go outside and “think about what he has done” while you head for the shower. This is when it all starts to come back to you… you really need to do laundry, the bathroom counter needs a wipedown, and oh yeah, the thought of the fridge is making you a little twitchy… maybe that is just the coffee. Lathering up your hair you try to assess the wardrobe situation, do you need to shave your legs? Can you make it one more day? How much time do you have left anyway… not a ton since you are planning on walking to work… better shave the legs then. Damn it, a few more minutes gone.

You step out of the shower and decide that since you are walking to work you don’t need to dry your hair… it will magically dry in a cute effortless summer look on the way… this is of course very far from the truth, but you sometimes have to tell yourself lies to get out the door on time. Around this moment you realize that you are supposed to leave in about 15 minutes and you haven’t even packed yourself a lunch. Wait a minute, you haven’t even had breakfast. Shit. Because you are working by yourself today, and its probably going to be busy, and the only key to success here is to have lots of healthy snacks! And of course you are 100% out of almonds… shit. So you run to the kitchen and fling open the refrigerator only to realize that, oh yeah, the refrigerator… and then you sort of have this downward spiral moment and try to think if you maybe secretly have enough time to clean it, and then you remember that the trashcan is full, and oh yeah the dishwasher is broken and now you are supposed to leave in 13 minutes and you still aren’t wearing makeup. Ok, rally time. But not really because the fridge is the fridge, and so as you open it up to try and gain some sort of lunch time inspiration you get so defeated that you just shut the door and keep repeating to yourself “you are a grown up, you can do this.” So you open the fridge again, throw some salad greens into a tupperware, and then discover that the roasted beet that was going to be the rockstar of this salad is actually molding, and you can’t find the jar of capers, and in that moment it really is just TOO much, so you throw an apple and a diet coke into your bag and pray to everything that is pure an holy that you have some leftovers in the fridge at work. You then remember that you still haven’t eaten breakfast. Shit. One look towards the fridge and you reach for the secret stash of Lucky Charms, and all you can think in that moment is a sarcastic “winning.” You know within the first bite that you are going to have a sugar crash when you are approximately half of the way to work, but that still seems better than leaving the house without having anything but coffee. Breakfast. Of. Champions. You then run around like a madwoman, scrounging for foot-ware, hurriedly applying mascara.

And then in a brief moment of bliss and clarity you remember that you have all the ingredients to make an Old Fashioned tonight for your deep cleaning adventures. There is  a teeny-tiny flask with one shot of whiskey left in your suitcase from the weekend, and everything else starts coming together. Victory. Only if you make one old fashioned you surely want to have the option for making more after that, even if making more will probably not help the evening of productivity you have planned. But really, one cocktail? (because if you give a mouse a cookie, or give a moose a muffin, or give a dog a doughnut… they will all want cocktails and you can’t make them any because you are out of whiskey) But you don’t have other whiskey and you are walking to work, so by the time you would walk home in the evening there will not be enough time to make it to the liquor store before they close, because its Small Town Oregon. You could always walk directly to the liquor store, but you don’t really want to be the girl who is walking through town with a fifth of whiskey, because again small town Oregon. And then you think “well if I drive to work instead I would have about 20 extra minutes here to take out the trash and get my life organized and then I could make it to the liquor store on time!” and then you remember that you are running a half marathon in 3 weeks that you are no-where near ready for, and you can’t run after work because you have nine million things to accomplish and your head will explode if you don’t get them done, and the very least you can do is walk the .8 miles to work in a slight attempt to move your person. And also you are pretty sure that every season of The Biggest Looser starts out with someone saying “oh I could have walked to work but I drove to the liquor store instead and now I weigh 500 pounds.”

You throw an apple in your bag for good measure, scratch the dogs ears on your way by and run out the door. Naturally, you cannot stop thinking about the fridge, so you call your mom for a pep-talk about staying motivated to do all the things, because for some reason, in your mind, your mom is always good at pep talks… she doesn’t answer the phone, and then the more you think about it, the more you can hear her voice saying things like “well if you just cleaned up a little bit every day, it wouldn’t get to this point” and then it starts to stress you out, and you are maybe glad she didn’t answer the phone, and then you vow right then and there (for maybe the millionth time) that you are going to clean your kitchen until it sparkles and it is going to stay that way and how you are going to turn into one of the anal people who cannot sleep unless all the dishes are put away. Yes. Just wait, it’s going to happen. Now that that is settled you feel less distracted by the idea of cleaning the fridge and start to focus more on what the work day has in store for you… only now you are realizing that you are half way to work and wearing a skirt and your thighs are starting to chafe from the walk and you wonder how the hell you are supposed to run 13.1 miles if you can’t even walk .8 miles without your thighs rubbing together. Then you are very glad that you didn’t drive to work, because you know, getting healthy and getting fit… oh wait, you actually packed a cucumber and a diet coke for lunch, ok scratch that… getting healthy when the fridge is cleaned out and your aren’t feeling like such a hot mess. Ugh, in a perfect world you would’ve had time to make a vat of kale juice before walking out the door… damn it… why didn’t you pack pickles for lunch? The hot farmer practically fed them to you with a chopstick at the farmer’s market this week, and pickles are your favorite food, and why the hell didn’t you just leave the jar of pickles at work for emergencies? (because pickle emergencies are a REAL thing.) Oh wait… actually there might be a tub of cottage cheese in the fridge at work. Sweet Jesus, at least you will have some protein…

~~~~~~~

Tayler is a blogger, boutique manager and yoga teacher thriving on awkward situations in McMinnville, Ore.

Healthy Snacks: a quick guide to roasting almonds

 

 

oven roasted almonds

oven roasted almonds

Backstory. I’ve been on a healthy snack kick lately. Mostly because I seem to have completely blown my monthly budget on awesome things like trips to the dentist, and a sparkly bag, so I’ve been trying to be frugal (and healthy) in other areas of my life. I’m two days away from a five day vacation, so I’ve been pinching my pennies, skipping my morning lattes and being extra good about packing lunch. Almost every day my snack includes almonds… they are easy, nutritious, packed with fiber, protein, and good fats, they keep me full (especially when paired with a big old glass of water) and they are readily accessible. The ladies that I work with bring almonds quite a bit as well, and you will find us behind the counter at various points throughout the day munching on a handful of them.

A few days ago I shared some of my snacks with my boss and she turned to me and said “why do your almonds taste so much better than my almonds?!?!” the answer is all in the roast. I take an extra 15 minutes at the start of my week to toast my almonds to perfection. Its not really something I thought very much of, just something I always did. Raw almonds are fine, but roasted almonds are better, and growing up it seemed like there was always a bowl full of oven roasted almonds sitting on our kitchen counter. My boss then said “but wait! You can’t just talk about these things and then not explain how to do it!” she then went on a rant about how she didn’t know how to make mojitos, and didn’t know the proper way to roast almonds, and how I needed to start taking my basic kitchen intuition and writing it down. And at first all I could think was “ no one wants to read a blog post about how to roast almonds” and then about an hour later I got a text message from my other boss saying “ how long and what temperature do you roast your almonds? They are so delicious.” Ok, so maybe people do want to read about this.   So here I am, taking my little bit of kitchen intuition and sharing it with you… it might not be mind-blowing or life changing… but I promise you, your snacks are going to taste so much better!

 

Easy oven roasted almonds:

(note: I keep my bulk almonds in the freezer. If your almonds are room temperature you might need to adjust the roasting time)

 

Turn oven to 350 degrees and start to pre-heat.

Remove almonds from freezer and spread out the desired amount on a small roasting pan or cookie sheet. (I usually roast about 1.5-2 cups. )

Place pan of almonds in the oven (even if it isn’t quite pre-heated) and turn on a timer for 10 minutes.

You will need to check on/ stir your almonds about twice in that 10 minutes.

After the ten minutes is up, evaluate the almonds (Use your senses, appraise the color and how they smell… you can tell when they are done, trust me.) If they are still on the lighter side leave them in for 2-3 more minutes, and then shut off the oven. I usually let the almonds sit in the cooling oven for about 5 more minutes before removing the pan and letting them cool on top of the stove. Once they have cooled completely transfer them to a bowl, or mason jar and enjoy throughout the week!

 

Voila, roasted nuts.

 

 

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Here’s to the good life!

Here is something I find to be a little irksome. The fact that I have to clean my kitchen every. single. day. How does that happen? I mean sure, I cook quite a bit, but it seems like every time I turn around there is another dirty dish in the sink, crumbs to be cleaned up or a dishwasher that needs to be emptied. You would think that I would be used to this by now… especially being single and roommateless… it’s not like there is another person going around and messing up my kitchen when I’m not looking… and yet every day I seem to think “Wait, I have to do this again? I JUST cleaned!” Le sigh… someday I will get this whole real life grown up thing figured out… in the meantime I will grumble under my breath as I unload the dishwasher.

Here’s the other thing I find a little irksome…. that my computer cannot transcribe  the first drafts of blogs that I write in my head (usually while doing something lame like Cleaning the kitchen.) I swear, I sit there being the multi-tasking queen and think of topics, anecdotes and experiences, and in my mind everything is witty and fabulous and the stories are funny, and the moments are memorable, and I think “writing this post is so effortless and fun” and then somehow  by the time I finally get to my laptop what I actually write as a first draft ends up being something like “Its Summer, and Magical and I don’t have time for this.” (which is true… but not exactly inspiring by any means.) And the writer in me really struggles with this because I want to do each moment justice and take the time and really figure out exactly what it is I want to say about each experience, and tweak it and edit it and finally then push publish and have it be this epically beautiful and perfectly crafted post.  But the thing about life is that it keeps happening around you, and then before you know it these incredibly great experiences are fading into the background and A) you haven’t been able to carve out the hours it takes to write something that does it justice, and B) you keep going out and living even more epic moments that deserve your attention, and just as much blog time, and so in the end sometimes you just put it all out there in the inevitable mess and jumble that fell out of your brain and onto the keyboard and hit publish anyway. Sometimes you just have to!

This past week has been filled with some pretty dreamy moments… beach adventures, river swims, wine tastings, seeing The Princess Bride in the movie theater… And I would love to be able to sit down and write and write and write about each little moment, how I felt, the texture of the light, the memories, the smells… but life keeps moving, and moments keep happening, and tonight I’m just going to embrace these moments in their entirety. I can’t wait to pour myself a glass of wine and get my hands in the garden soil. I’m ready to fling open the kitchen doors and make myself a lovely dinner, and grumble about having to clean the kitchen yet again….

But in the meantime, here are a few short glimpses into this past week.  This is the good life folks!

 

water dog

water dog

sandy face

sandy face

toes in the sand

toes in the sand

beach life

beach life

the happiest camper

the happiest camper

padron peppers

padron peppers

swimming in this river for hours

swimming in this river for hours

farm bouquets

farm bouquets

outdoor dinners with new friends

outdoor dinners with new friends

first tomatoes of the year

first tomatoes of the year

alfresco dinner at yamhill river farm

alfresco dinner at yamhill river farm

garlic from yamhill river farm

garlic from yamhill river farm

garden bounty

garden bounty

all in a days harvest

all in a days harvest

the start of our first staff meeting

the start of our first staff meeting

 

hanging out in wine country with these ladies

hanging out in wine country with these ladies

wildflowers at Soter

wildflowers at Soter

dreamy

dreamy

pinot noir at its finest

pinot noir at its finest