Saturday, June 23, 2012

the significance of this weekend

I love everything about this photo. I took this on our way to a picnic lunch, in the woods near our places in Glover Park, some random Sunday afternoon last summer. To me, it embodies the calm happy vibe that Brandt and I have when we spend time alone together. It's an effortless joy. One of the best feelings I've experienced in my life so far. I love the feeling. I love him.

This morning, I am picking up my Fiance from the airport, and for the first time since we got engaged, we will have a whole weekend.  Alone. Together. <3 

Allow me to explain the significance.

We really haven't had a weekend of "us" time since since last winter, before we started the whole move process. Before the pre-move errands, and the packing, and the holidays. Before the move to the new place, the engagement, and the subsequent perfect storm of social - obligations?

I hesitate to use the word obligation, because in reality, we have had busy social schedules out of our own desire, not because of obligation. Maybe the better descriptor is non-negotiable? Two of our very best friends were having weddings this summer.  We wouldn't miss their big days for anything.   Nor could we pass up the opportunity to see our family and friends who were in town over the last few months, and the opportunities to visit them. We've seen both sides of our families, our DC friends, our childhood friends and our college friends. Basically everyone we know or have ever known. It has been awesome. With so many friends in different cities, these opportunities are rare, and to have all of them come up at once, has been a total blessing. We wouldn't trade a single second of any of it. 


We are exhausted.  We've had early mornings, late nights, long flights, and even longer drives.  Our schedules have truly been relentless.  Neither of us has woken up any later than 6:45am in recent memory, and honestly 6:45am is a "treat" compared to the 4am wake up calls that have been plaguing us the past couple of weeks. With our busy travel schedules, we're in our offices fewer days, but we've been working longer hours when we are.  We are exhausted.  Ready to rest.  

After months of our relentless schedules, I can't actually believe its finally here. It's just a simple weekend, but it is so long overdue.  As I write this post, I am already savoring our time.  Our happy, calm, "us"time. 

Happy Weekend, Everyone. Enjoy it! We'll see you later!

The Lumineers - Ho Hey (on Spotify)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

tuesday taste - music for your mouth

So I've been going a little overboard on the domestic front lately. New place, new enagement, and (let's be honest here) a lack of a Chipotle within a 45 mile radius, have all conspired to create a perfect storm of domestic efforts. 

I tend to choose recipes in pairs, which gave me the idea to share my recipe pairings in a weekly post, which I will now call, "tuesday taste." Pretty straightforward concept here. I pair recipes that I think will go well together, and modify as needed, then share.

I've picked Tuesday, because if you are like me, nothing productive ever happens on Mondays.  I find recipes on Tuesdays.  It takes me until Wednesday after work to remember to check the fridge and pantry to see what I've got.  Shop Thursday.  Cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Weekends are more elaborate, whereas the balance of the week gets progressively more simple and "survivalist" if you will.  But enough about me! Let's get to the food!

For today's post, I am sharing a recent favorite, picured above. Scallops in Spice Oil as shared by The Bitten Word, and Griddled Polenta Cakes from Food52. The Bitten Word is a favorite blog of mine, Zach and Clay always make me laugh, and as a bonus, they are in my beloved Washington DC! They try recipes out from all the food magazines, and share their favorites. 

Their scallop recipe gets the lead role in today's feature. It was amazing! Seriously, my mouth is watering just writing about it. Trust Zach and Clay, a little bit of the spice oil goes a long way. I doubled the spice oil recipe, took one taste and realized a single portion would have been plenty! The only thing I modified was the bed of greens. (just not the cilantro type over here!) Greens or no greens, the recipe was amazing! Highly recommend!

The role of best supporting actor goes to the Griddled Polenta Cakes. The recipe is actually for Polenta Cakes with Carmelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Honey (yum!) but I just did the Polenta Cakes, as a Scallop Foundation/Spice Oil Sponge. Lacking a circular cookie cutter, I did heart cakes instead. Delicious and adorable.  

The two paired marvelously. Give them a try!

Today's Song: Fred Astaire - Cheek to Cheek (on Spotify) "Heaven, I'm in Heaven..."

Monday, June 11, 2012

commuting as an art - 10 songs to add to your commuting playlist

Precision Commuting. City dwellers, do you do it? In Washington DC, where I lived for seven years, commuting was a very orderly affair. If you've ever traveled there, you know that there is one golden rule, "walk left, stand right" on the escalators. But beyond that, bus riders line up at stops in order of arrival. Smart trip cards ready. Never hesitate. Before you pause, step aside. Never stop moving. 

It's a quiet affair, much quieter than any other city's metro that I have been on. Everyone is dressed well. Everyone is quiet. Some have headphones. Most are reading The Express. The rest are reading books. 

Eventually you pick up strategy. Walking another 5 minutes up the route to ensure a seat before a particularly busy stop. Grabbing a spot that will ensure that you will be first to get off of the bus once you arrive at the Metro. (As a Glover Park resident, I was a D2/Dupont Circle North/Red Line girl.) The skip/run down the escalator. In heels. In the rain. The continual mastery of a subtle set of commuting skills. Shaking off your umbrella halfway down the North Entrance of the Dupont Circle Metro Stop. Closing it before you get to the bottom. The pride of being able to climb the entire set of stairs up at the end of your day. No stopping. 

Eventually you figure out where to stand, so that you are at the precise center of a set of doors of the next arriving metro train. Factoring in 6 or 8 cars, and which car you'd like to be getting out of for an ideal departure at your destination stop. (Hint: look at the cars on the opposite platform. Nine times out of ten,  where their doors land will align with where your doors will land.)

*image via

And finally, it grows in to an art. Eventually I had developed a playlist ideal for my morning commute. A perfect soundtrack, if you will, for the tourist dodging, train catching, zig zagging, quick paced movement of my daily commute. I loved it, and (I never thought I would say this) I miss it. My daily city commute. 

Click Here for the entire Playlist on Spotify (except Devotchka's How It Ends, above on youtube)   

How do you commute? Train, Bus, Bike, Car, Walk? What are your favorite commuting songs?  Leave a comment and let me know <3 

PS - For a good time in Washington DC, play Lex by Ratatat and time it so you hit the Dupont Circle North escalators at minute 2:35.  There is something so gratifying about running down the escalators at that exact point in the song. Try it. Just divine.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

magical medlock ames

Is there anything more atmospheric than gold globe lights at twilight? I snapped this picture with my iPhone on the grounds of Medlock Ames Winery a few weekends ago.  Medlock Ames is one of my favorite parts about living in Healdsburg. It has become our go-to hangout for Friday Night happy hours.  In addition to a vinyard, vegetable gardens, and a bocce court, Medlock Ames also has wine country's only speakeasy bar, officially called The Alexander Valley Bar. Food and Wine Magazine described it as utopian, and I totally agree. 

Fun Fact: our very first tomato plant was adopted from Medlock Ames. On our most recent visit, we were given an extra tomato start. I am so happy that we'll have a little piece of this place growing in our backyard! 

I can't think of a more perfect song to pair this photo with than Florence + The Machine's live version of Cosmic Love as performed for Seattle's KEXP Radio on 4/16/10.  Just like the above photo, this performance is nothing but magical. I first discovered this song (and this now very popular artist!) on a randomly downloaded KEXP podcast. This performance absolutely had me floored.  I couldn't stop rewinding the podcast to the start of this song.  I am so happy I am that they uploaded this clip on to YouTube so that I can share it with you.  Enjoy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

i've got totally enormous extinct dinosaurs playing in my garden

I am officially obsessed with gardening. I am also officially obsessed with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and their song, Garden (on Spotify) . It's perfect background music for gardening and other projects around the house and office. 

The garden that I started a couple of weeks ago is starting to sprout, and I am constantly running outside to check on them. I've got my seeds in starter pallets, with seed starting soil. Simultaneously, I've been prepping the soil in our yard's sunniest spot with compost and a little bit of fertilizer.

To keep things simple, I ordered a group of heirloom vegetable seeds and salad greens from Williams Sonoma's newest division, Agrarian. (my favorite new site) They work out to be less than $2 per seed packet, which is surprisingly great bargain for seeds. I also bought a few bags of organic compost from our local hardware store, and some organic vegetable fertilizer. I'm a couple of weeks away from transplanting my seedlings to their new homes. As soon as I do, I will post more pictures of the whole garden.  We don't have a ton of yard tools and supplies yet, so we're making due with what we've got.  As illustrated that first photo, an old wine bottle makes the perfect watering can.

Side note: It just so happens that Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs have a new album coming out on Monday.  I am quickly becoming obsessed with their new song Trouble on YouTube Check out the sneak peek on facebook.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

tuesday twirl

How sweet is this photo?  My soon to be in-laws came to visit and we all headed in to town for a little after dinner gelato.  We took a walk in the town square, and soon my future niece had everyone twirling.  I couldn't resist sneaking a picture.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

la mer

It happened at Bodega Bay, just after three o'clock in the afternoon on April 29th.  It had been our very first day in our new home together, and Brandt got a call from work early that Sunday morning.  He explained that there was an emergency, and he needed to go in for a couple of hours.  Could he make it up to me by taking me out to Bodega Bay later that afternoon for lunch? 

I continued to unpack for the morning, and true to his word, he returned home a couple of hours later. We drove the hour or so out to Bodega Bay.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day out and we stopped for lunch at Spud Point Crab Company.  From there, we drove up to Bodega Rock, and went to take our usual walk.  Brandt led me in a different direction than our normal route.  He grabbed my arm, and lead me off of the path, towards the water. From rock to rock, we carefully balanced in the strong coastal winds, eventually getting to the water's edge. For a just a second, we took in the beautiful view. 

What's that? he asked me, and I turned around.  Immediately it was clear what he had spent the morning working on.

I turned around to see this scene: 

When I turned back around, Brandt was on one knee, gorgeous ring in hand, and asked, "Will you marry me?" with the biggest smile on his face.  I will never forget how happy he looked just then, and I will never forget how surprised and excited I was. I said yes, and we celebrated for just a little bit out there on our own little look-out spot.  By this point, the wind had picked up extraordinarily high, so we wrapped ourselves up in our picnic blanket, snapped a couple of pictures, and retreated back down the path towards our car. When we got back in the car, Brandt suggested that we listen to Charles Trenet.  La Mer was the perfect choice for our first song together as an engaged couple.  We made our way back to our new home, together, and ready to start a whole new chapter of our lives <3