Friday, Treat Day

Thyme-Lemon-Bars

I LIVE for Fridays. It’s the glorious day that tells you the weekend is finally here! You get a break from all the pressing demands of work or being a single parent during the day, you get to relax a little, read a book, take a nap, walk to the coffee shop for a leisurely cup or two, go for a hike, let your hair down, stay up a little later, eat or drink a few treats…It’s wonderful. Like I said, I LIVE for it. Of course, the staying up late part is entirely foolish for me because I have an adorable little alarm clock that wakes up at 6:30am—Saturday morning or not.

But weekends are for living in denial, I say…

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Posted in Food + Drink

Watching this Made My Stomach Drop…

A father filmed his daughter every week, from birth up until she turned 14 years old. Then he created this heartbreakingly beautiful time-lapse edit.

As a mother, it was a painful reminder that it is all going so fast. It makes me want to read a few more books to her at bedtime and hold her a little tighter and longer. But it also reminded me of what a gift it is to be able to witness a life grow and become—from her very first breaths. I get to watch that and be a part of her story in a terrifyingly significant way. It is probably the most humbling thing about being a mother for me.

Also…

That dad definitely wins father of the year.

Posted in Motherhood

The St. Monica

Ever since becoming  parents, my husband and I have become REALLY good mixologists…

Bar cart with Bullet Bourbon, Burnside Bourbon, St Germaine

Yes, I realize how bad that sounds. There’s this whole bread, sugar, and alcohol trifecta that I’ve been meaning to deal with, but let’s keep it real—that probably won’t happen until Eleanor is at least 10. And then in just a few short years after that my three amigos will be back because she’ll be a TEENAGER. I can’t even.

Anyway, I thought I would share one of the favorites we’ve come across so far if any of you are also parents and know exactly what I’m talking about.

This favorite is called the, “St. Monica Cocktail.” Chelsea McAlister, from The Secret Society, here in Portland, OR, came up with the recipe. It involves the two best kinds of alcohol there are, in my opinion: Bulleit Rye and St. Germain liqueur. It is delicious. Also, quite fittingly, it is named after the patron saint of mothers.

Take a look at the recipe below and go make yourself a treat for making it through another day!

The Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Bulleit Rye (we didn’t have Bulleit Rye on hand so we just used the regular Bulleit, which is not as perfect but, is still pretty damn tasty)
  • 1 oz Bittersweet Vermouth (we did a mix of dry and sweet vermouth, like a Perfect Manhattan)
  • 1/4 oz St. Germain liqueur (we put in a little extra because this stuff is like drops of elderflower heaven)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
Booze

Stir all the ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Serve up with an orange peel twist.

St. Monica Cocktail

xx

Posted in Food + Drink

Daydreaming of a New Kitchen…

We bought our 1924, NE Portland home a year ago this month (crazy!). I love so many things about it. The hardwood floors, all the windows, the built-ins, the molding, the living and dining rooms, the up-and-coming neighborhood it’s in. But, there are definitely things I’m not so in love with. The first one being the kitchen. When we first viewed the house and saw the kitchen we knew that that would be a project we’d want to tackle sooner than later. It’s a tiny kitchen which, to me, isn’t so much the problem as how inefficiently it’s laid out. It’s also not particularly pretty—to say the least. Since the kitchen really is the hub of our home, I’m daydreaming often of how I’d like to re-do it.

I have a pinterest board (follow along if you’d like!) dedicated to images and ideas I’ve come across that capture some of the elements I’d like in my future kitchen. Below are some of those images…

The white subway tile and open shelving in this kitchen are a MUST. I think making our kitchen lighter in color, plus doing some open shelving will really help to make the small space feel much roomier.

 

I just love the built-in benches and table in this breakfast nook. Our kitchen has a breakfast nook, which is one thing about the kitchen we really like, but it doesn’t have built-in seating. We currently have just a small table and chairs in it. Making it a more permanent, casual dining area I think is another way we could make the space feel bigger. I am also dying for a farmhouse sink like the one in this kitchen. I’d do dishes all day long, no complaints, if I had a sink like that.

These walnut countertops…I don’t know how practical they are but, yowza, are they gorgeous. And all that white! It would make such a difference in our kitchen. Everything would feel airy and roomy and wonderful.

Kitchen-Dreams

This kitchen is crazy good. I’ve only seen the hexagon tile used as flooring (something I’d love in our bathroom!).  I think it definitely makes a striking backsplash. I’ve also been swooning over that SMEG refrigerator for ages now, and it’s a huge plus that it’s on the smaller side and wouldn’t take up as much precious space as the average refrigerator.

Someday! What would your dream kitchen look like?

Posted in Home + Design

A Mantel Series / 01

Mantel Series - 01 - Dogwood

It was like the more dirt we had under our fingernails, the happier we were as humans.

I’m starting this new photo series of my fireplace mantel. It started in my instagram feed, where I would post pictures of flowers/decor that I currently had on my mantel throughout the year. Then a sweet friend suggested I start a photo series on it. So all credit really goes to that lovely lady.

I’m always so intrigued and inspired by other peoples homes. How different people arrange and style them, and the qualities that they all tend to share. One of the main elements of my home are plants and flora. I have this serious thing for them. They are always in my house, all year round. I grew up on a rural island in the Pacific Northwest, so nature, agriculture, plants, flowers etc., were a constant, inescapable part of my life. My parents also really loved gardening. I have so many memories of my mom’s flowers and of her teaching me all the names of them. And my dad also with his huge vegetable garden. He’d preserve pickles from its bounty every year. They were the best damn pickles I’d ever tasted. My parents weren’t farmers or anything, but when we were outside our existence felt simpler and better. It was like the more dirt we had under our fingernails, the happier we were as humans.

Ever since moving to a city, the importance of bringing the outside in became vital for me. Especially when I lived in apartments with no yards whatsoever. Not only does a little green go a long way aesthetically, but it keeps me connected and reminded of a world bigger than mine and always lifts my mood. That’s why I constantly have flora on my mantel and throughout my house.

Dogwood branches are gracing my mantel currently. They are a favorite of mine during the Spring season. I’m trying to figure out if there’s a spot in our teensy city yard I could plant one. Our yard is overflowing with plants as it is though (I can’t stop), so I may just have to enjoy my neighbor’s.

What are some of the main design and decor elements in your homes? I’d love to hear!

I’m looking forward to sharing this small but significant part of my home with you and excited for future series centered on home and design.

Posted in Home + Design

Witching Hour Turned Magic Hour

Mama and Baby

When Eleanor was an infant that hour before bath and bedtime was the absolute worst. Oh my goodness, was it the worst. “The witching hour,” they call it and I, unfortunately, know why.  She was so fussy and so was I. We were both just done with the day and ready for bed. I’d be lying if I said I miss even those memories of her infancy.

Now that Eleanor is 2, that god-forsaken witching hour is no longer—for the most part. There’s always the occasional day when she goes to bed a little too late the night before and has a poor nap. On those days I see glimpses of that horrible witching hour and am immediately thankful it is only a memory.

…the pure joy on her face—it’s like a drug.

Now, that hour before bath and the whole bedtime routine is pure magic. Papa’s finally home and Eleanor is in the silliest, best mood. After dinner, we turn on some of her favorite tunes, get her naked, and dance. She loves it. I’m sure every toddler does really. But man, that girl REALLY loves to dance. She can’t be stopped. All the chubby-naked-toddler-dancing and giggling melts me every. single. time. I’m so in love with her soft, chubby little body, her sweet voice as she sings along to the music playing, her little legs running around the house, her demands for us to dance with her, the pure joy on her face—it’s like a drug.

It’s one of the most beautiful things being a mama and getting to make and witness these magic memories with your child. But being a mama is also one of the most brutal things. It may sound terribly cliche but I’ve learned to pay attention to and hold closely the simple joys since becoming a mom. They really are the difference between making it through a day and not, some days. So when the brutal days come, I’m thankful for this gift that is the magic hour.

Posted in Motherhood

Salute

Amber Christopher

“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was a ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” –Cheryl Strayed

Hello there! After much too long of a hiatus, I’m back! Maybe hiatus isn’t really quite the right word, as I wasn’t sure if I would be returning again. But, here I am, back, with a solid itch in my fingers and a head full of ideas. And, hopefully, if all goes well, I’m here to stay for awhile.

I’m back for a lot of reasons. But I’m back simply and primarily because I’ve missed it here. I’ve been journaling a lot more,  and envying bloggers a lot more. I’ve found myself wishing I could just write out my thoughts, ideas, projects, and things I find pretty and inspiring like they all do and then it dawned on me: I’m an idiot. I have a blog. I could do all those things. But, pity parties are much easier and more comfortable. So, after I threw myself the biggest, most extravagant pity party, and had my fill, I came back here. I got back to work, and have sworn to myself that that would be the last of my ridiculous pity parties.

My journey needed to be exactly how it was, in the order that it was, to get me here.

It has been a gift to write again, and brainstorm new ideas and directions for this blog. In this space I feel inspired and grounded and lighter—things I haven’t felt in quite some time now. I’ve come to a bit of a crossroads in my life, I guess you could say, and it seems that coming back here might help me find my way. I’ve felt stuck and lost and sad for longer than I’d care to admit. In a place where all the regret, blame, fear, and insatiable want, live. I don’t entirely know the way out of this oppressive place, I just know I need to move again, and take a few risks. My husband (of course, the eternal optimist) believes I’ve been looking at this crossroads, this place I find myself in, all wrong. From his vantage point, my journey thus far has all been entirely necessary to get me to this place of discontent and restlessness, and passion, and, consequently—movement. My journey needed to be exactly how it was, in the order that it was, to get me here. I could fight it, or I could accept it, and cooperate with it, and believe that it’s the journey I need.

Things look much more lovely and hopeful from his vantage point, per usual, and it’s truly done me no good wishing and pining for the could-haves or would-haves or should-haves. Acceptance. So. Hard. So. Necessary.

So it is with this new-found hope or maybe, more accurately, hope for a hope, that I return to my tiny corner of the internet. I’m really so glad to be back.

Lastly, as you may have noticed, I’ve revamped the design and re-named the blog. It’s new design and name, I think, fit the blog it has evolved into and the blog that it is becoming a bit better. I hope you think so too and enjoy your time here. I’m excited to see what it holds for me and for those of you who would like to follow along—hopefully new and old friends alike!

 

With love.

Posted in Inspiration

Asian Noodles with Pickled Vegetables and Grilled Chicken

So a few of you commented on the instagram picture below I posted a few weeks ago, wanting the recipe. I promised you a post. So here’s me actually following through…

Ingredients:

  • Any kind of asian noodles you like. I used udon noodles. But soba noodles, wide bean thread noodles, etc. would all be just as delicious.
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 3 T. fresh lime juice (+ extra for chicken breast marinade if you want meat)
  • 2 T. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 t. finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • A few radishes (I used 4-5)
  • 1 english cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, julienned
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, divided
  • 3/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 2 chicken breasts (optional)
  • 2 T. honey
  • Extra salt and pepper to taste for chicken

Instructions:

Whisk together lime juice (I did about 3 whole limes.), honey, and salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts to marinade. Set aside and refrigerate.

Cook your noodles according to package instructions of whatever kind you use. Set aside.

Whisk garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, ginger, and pepper in a large bowl. Add radishes, cucumber, and carrots; toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes.

Grill chicken breasts while veggies pickle.

Add noodles, oil, half of cilantro, and half of peanuts to bowl; toss to combine. Top the dish with your chicken and remaining cilantro and peanuts.

Note: Vegetables can be pickled 2 days ahead. Cover and chill if you decide to do ahead.

Easiest, tastiest recipe ever. And so wonderful for summer. Enjoy!

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Posted in Food + Drink

Spriiiiiing

So there have been the most promising signs of Spring happening the past few weeks here in Portland, in case you haven’t noticed (those of you who live in Portland most definitely have)…

One sign being the loveliest—tormentingly sporadic—sunny days. We decided to take advantage of it and go for an evening stroll without our coats! It was bliss, to say the least. And while we were at it we snapped a few shots of my and Eleanor’s springy outfits since it has been eons since I’ve done an outfit post on here.

Hope you’ve been enjoying these lighter, warmer, longer days as much as we have. xo.

Mama wore: White eyelet blouse, anthropologie (last year). Mustard pilcro jeans, anthropologie (on sale! sold out in mustard, but other fabulous colors still available). Chambray blazer, thrifted. Ankle boots, hasbeens. Sling, sakurabloom.

Eleanor wore: Floral dress, baby boden (last season, sold out). Striped leggings, baby gap (sold out also, but lots of other cute ones right now!)

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Posted in Style + Beauty

A 1st Birthday Party

So I know this is really REALLY late, but I know you are the most gracious of readers and might humor me anyway.

And it was just too special of a day not to share. Last month our baby girl turned 1 and we celebrated big…with oversized, pink, fringe garlands, cupcakes, pom poms, rosemary kabobs, pictures everywhere of our first year with Eleanor, and way too many friends for our tiny apartment. It was crazy cozy and filled with so much love for our girl. We were feeling mighty blessed indeed.

The funny thing is she liked the singing more than the cupcake and a particular RYE CRACKER she wouldn’t let go of the whole time. Rye cracker over a cupcake?! She actually might not really be our child…but, we’re not complaining.

We might be just a little in love with her.

It was the loveliest celebration for the loveliest little person. We love you, Eleanor. A thousand times, we love you.

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Posted in Eleanor