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I’m off on a little holiday with my sweetheart. I’ll be back soon but in the meantime you can always check in on my Instagram feed.
Happy Summer. Kiss!
I found a great new honey to add to our collection and this one’s really cool. The Urban Bee Co. is a Seattle-based group that cultivates healthy environments for bees and collects honey from small neighborhood apiaries, urban farms, and some backyard hives too. This guy I got is from my ‘hood, right down the way on the Alleycat Acres farm on MLK and Columbia where they have hops, chickens, harvest parties, and workshops. Each hive is free from chemicals, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup, and plastic. The honey is harvested in small batches, never heated or filtered, bottled by hand, and delivered by bike. Hyper-local!
There are also great resources available through Urban Bee Co. and their partnership with my other neighbor Stone Soup Gardens. One of the most exciting offerings is help to set up a permaculture bee garden (wish we knew about this before we did all the research on our own). Helping our bees and building community. Great stuff. Makes my heart swell with happiness.
I’ve tried to go all rainbowy, but my favorite summer color for my digits is an ultra matte white. Sleek and clean, and it goes with everything. (It pairs especially well with this lip color too.)
There are a few quirky things about matte colors and the first is that without a careful application it can look exactly like white out. I have the OPI Alpine Snow, and the texture of the paint is a bit more chalky and thick. It also dries really quickly, so all of this means that it’s easy to see streaks or have an uneven coating. I do two coats and then finish with a clear top coat which helps smooth out any streaks and helps it stay a few days longer. Without it you’ll have chips within a day.
It would probably be best to have it professionally done if you’re a perfectionist, but since I’m not much good at going to get my nails done I am plenty happy with my amateurness. In spite of the extra care it’s a fun color that will wear through the autumn and winter, but since it looks especially sleek with a nice sun-kissed tan give it a go now.
(If you’ve ever tried to take a picture of your own hand and nails you’ll understand how ridiculous you feel and how hard it is to get something decent looking. Here’s a quick pic of me and my morning tea, hoping to entice you to try it out.)
Meet our antique baby! Our favorite part of the house: (1) because it was an incredibly lucky find, (2) because it’s so very us, and (3) because it’s often the only area that’s presentable. In searching for antique brackets for a custom shelving project we stumbled across this piece and decided to scrap the shelving and go with this instead. How could we not? It just so happened to fit this little nook PERFECTLY.
She’s oooooold, but so sturdy and perfectly-imperfect with distresses and dings that give her character and charm.
And remember when I was worried Andrew’s very masculine-man house would be more dominant than my very feminine-chickness? Well, I was so wrong because shit got really girlie up in here. Poor Andrew.
Even his red and blue Catherineholm bowls have been overrun by me.
Interestingly enough though, this little window is so Andrew and it is my very favorite corner. It has me working on a new mission to neutralize this area a bit.
(Maybe a black lotus bowl would help!)
I often feel like a hack sharing pieces of the house when one could easily turn around and see a sea of vitamin bottles, phone chargers, and stacks of paper. But I appreciate these little vignettes, and in the midst the chaos of our hectic life and my inability to put things away, it makes me happy.
We are salad people. And while I’ve always craved for seasonal leafy greens I have never met anyone that can build a salad quite like Andrew. He often laughs about his time in the kitchen, preferring to work the garde manger station while others fought for the grill. The truth is that properly seasoning fresh ingredients is an art that many restaurants chefs haven’t even mastered. We all know the horrors of an over-dressed, soggy salad. (If you’re looking for a proper salad in Seattle, Matt Dillon is the master.)
Salads are compositions and are a complex form of cookery. Using what’s fresh and available, assessing how sturdy the ingredients are to inform your seasoning, and honing your sense of touch are all important elements to salad-making and are so much more rewarding than opening a bottle and pouring. If you’re bored of your salad routine and hoping to elevate your technique here are some tips to help you compose a salad like a true artist, and a recipe to help you practice.
Try a new leaf
We are all about Mizuna this season. It’s like everything you wish frisee actually was, but we all know that it just isn’t. Mizuna is a Japanese mustard green with a slight peppery taste and small, narrow serrated leaves. For as sturdy as the leaves are (they’re also great sauteed) they make for a really delicate salad.
There’s also my other fave, purslane that is also in season right now.
Soap box: Salad greens should never come from a bag or a box, especially this time of year. I’ll share my tips for washing produce very soon.
Use your sense of touch
No tablespoon measurements or emulsifying. Here we’re going to drizzle and use our hands to feel how we season. Start with a light drizzle of olive oil to coat the leaves, and use your thumb or finger to regulate how the oil is dispersed. Then move on to the acid and salt. (This bit of info was new to me. I never knew you started with the olive oil!)
* assess the greens: How sturdy are they? How much oil, salt, tossing can they take?
Toss with a delicate hand
Use just the very tips of your fingertips to toss to keep the lettuce light and airy. Collect only a few sprigs at a time…like 1/4 of a handful and let the leaves fall through your fingers. Just as the ingredients are coated use the bowl to toss once more and maintain the height of the leaves.
Make two different salads, then combine
This is key! Build flavors by making two components of the salad that are seasoned differently. Essentially all you’re doing is using two different vinegars. It’s magical and your taste buds will freak.
Use separate bowls
Each component should have its own bowl. This will help you stay organized, save time, and will also serve as a tossing implement. We love our stainless steel guys.
Mizuna salad with Summit Cherries and Blackcap Raspberries
We came up with this salad based on what we had on-hand after a farmer’s market haul last week. Don’t feel restricted by a recipe, use what you have and don’t be afraid to try different pairings. In this, the savory chives with the sweet fruit and vinegar are unexpected but so, so good.
For the Mizuna:
– Mizuna leaves, ends trimmed
– feta cheese, crumbled
– chive blossom vinegar (or other savory version)
– olive oil
Lightly drizzle the olive oil and gently toss to coat the leaves. Once the leaves are coated drizzle a small amount of chive blossom vinegar, feta, salt, and pepper. Toss gently once more with your hands and then by tossing the bowl. Set aside.
For the cherries and raspberries:
– 5-6 cherries, pitted and halved
– small handful blackcap raspberries
– 4 sprigs chives, finely minced
– sherry vinegar (or other sweet version)
– olive oil
Lightly drizzle the cherries, raspberries, and chives with olive oil. The berries are fragile, so very few and delicate touches are important. Gently sprinkle the vinegar, and salt.
Plate by gently placing the cherries and berries around the plate. They’re heavy so we want them beneath the Mizuna. No arranging! Just let things fall as they may. Then gently pile the Mizuna on top. To keep height let the greens fall through your fingers as you transfer them from the plate. Scrape out any remaining pieces of feta and oil. Drizzle with the tiniest bit olive oil before serving.
I suddenly realized I have a thing for blankets. This is in addition to my thing for pillows. Poor Andrew has to compete for bed space with a fortress of about seven pillows that I have carefully placed so that no matter which way I’m facing, there’s a pillow waiting. What can I say, I like to cocoon. When I looked around the house the other day I noticed that on the couch in the living room and in the Hobbit Hole (our name for our movie room), there is a pillow and blanket on each. It made me cozy and I started longing for the cooler fall weather so I could snuggle up. But then I noticed that if anyone were to come visit that I’d probably have to hide the blankets because they’re looking a bit dingy and worn. Ok, in all honesty there’s a white one that’s not even in the realm of grey right now.
Meanwhile, I have been feeding my fascination with the Australian design aesthetic. I love their use of color and have found that their online boutiques are filled with the greatest treasures. It’s often so different than anything we can find stateside, so it’s been a great source of inspiration. On an innocent browse from the down under boutique Fenton & Fenton I came across these handmade Indian quilts which would in no way need to be hidden. In fact, I’d probably turn one of these into my new Linus blanket and wear it around as a shawl. I don’t know why people don’t splurge on blankets, but since we don’t these would make for one killer gift.
Most nights after, mornings before, and days away from work I have a habit of turning on the TV and finding something completely mindless to watch on Instant Netflix. I don’t want to think because the way I feel I swear it would cause some sort of brain injury. I just want to melt into the couch and watch any given episode of Family Guy for the millionth time.
But, alas, one can only disconnect for so long, and I soon became aware of how empty and uninspiring that habit was making me feel. For the past few months I’ve changed up my routine and I’ve come across some really interesting documentaries that are streaming on Instant now. I’ll admit that I’m not always in the mood to watch a super-intense, angry-making, political-injustice type movie…I just take them so personally and its effects can be hard on me. But when I do find the time and the energy to watch them I always appreciate how my perspective shifts and the decisions I make are that much more informed. Here’s to not being an ostrich!
I desperately want to add bees to our little farm, and as much as I’ve tried to make it work we just don’t have the room next to the chickens. This documentary from 2011 is beautiful and insightful. (I just wish the cover wasn’t so creepy.) With our beloved honey bees at the center of the story there’s also some really great profiles on some forward-thinking (and some wonderfully eccentric) apiarists and permaculture farmers, discussions on the dangers of monocrop culture and pesticide use, and a really interesting segment on commercial bees and the breeding of Queen’s. Complex and I can’t lie, very emotional it’s the type of movie that will change the way you think of bees, swarms, and farming.
A glimpse of people and cultures around the world in an attempt to identify what makes us happy. Positive psychology is a real thing and it’s pretty cool. After I saw how a rickshaw runner lives in India, or how a once beautiful woman found happiness after a terrible accident it helped me reevaluate my knee-jerk reactions to the petty injustices of the day. I often need reminding so I have watched this a few times. The story of the people of Okinawa, the highest concentration of the oldest living people on the planet, was particularly inspiring.
I have watched this documentary several times, and it’s usually when I need that little kick in the ass to get things back on track with my health and diet. There’s suddenly been a lot of talk on the addictive nature of refined sugar and flour and this will help explain how and why it’s so hard for us to step back. There’s also a ton of great information on natural health and beauty which is one of my very favorite topics. Heal your body from the inside!
EVERYONE knows the story of the hot coffee incident from McDonald’s in the 80’s, but I guarantee that you don’t know the REAL story. It’s heartbreaking and so much more complex than any of us ever knew. This story and many more will change the way you think about “frivolous lawsuits” in our country and the effects of tort reform. It’s a very interesting look at how the hot coffee incident was exploited to ultimately protect corporations and change our justice system at the expense of the average citizen.