Friday, May 28, 2010


Hello friends and people I don't know. I'm not really sure what to write. Its just, frankly I haven't had much going on lately besides working and then working a little bit more after that. Its been rainy and cold every day making for anxious days awaiting summer and warmth on my skin. I feel like I'm trying to get my feet under me and have been since returning home from our big adventure. For some reason, I can't seem to keep up. Plus, I haven't really been running which is a bad thing because I think running does something to my psyche to create balance in my emotional state of mind.

In the last week or so, I've been alerted to the fact that my thank-goodness-this-will-save-me freelance gig is drying up due to some unfortunate business loss in the agency I'm working for - and I could be cut any day. On the flip side, I've also been out interviewing and some really amazing things could come of it. Just wait and see! Do you like how vague I'm being?

So life just feels a little in flux still. I'm not sure where I'm going to be working and I haven't even put any fun events on the calendar to look forward to for summer. This, my friends is most unlike me. I have a running list of things I'd like to DO though including camping near the North Cascades, maybe a girls' bike trip or camping trip to the coast, getting my bike geared up and ready to tackle a touring trip with Tyson and um, probably some other things too. I'll get there and surprisingly I'm pretty cool with just floating along and making the best of each day at the moment.

I wish I had more fun and interesting things to report and write about. I did however watch a recorded episode of the Bachelorette Premier last night and nearly died of laughter. That show is solid gold genius when you need something to blow your mind with stupidity and subsequently, non-stop laughter ensues. I will absolutely be tuning in every week until that final rose ceremony.

Ok. Hopefully that wasn't too painfully boring. Off to sip and relax at a friend's family cabin for the weekend. Happy Holiday. Hug.

Friday, May 21, 2010

some people are awesome.

A package arrived yesterday. Inside the box were four books, recommended and sent by someone I've never met before. When I was in New Zealand, I received an email from a gentleman containing some most complimentary words about my blog. Floored by his kindness and the fact that he'd taken time out of his day to send me a happy note of goodness, I smiled ear to ear. Turns out, he's also a St. John's alum and he owns a bookstore in St. Paul, MN. = Micawbers Book Store! Over the course of a few emails he requested that Tyson and I put together a little list of books we're interested in, and he promised to send us a package when we arrived back safely in the states. True to his word the books arrived yesterday and he even tucked in a little note for Tyson.

Some people are just awesome in general. Mr. Hans is one of those people. THANK YOU!

He also keeps a blog about books that's totally great: and his store was named City Pages Best New Book Store for 2010. Please go and support this amazing store and amazing person!

Have great weekends, everyone.
Good stuff all around.

Big Love.

With less than two weeks in Seattle under our belt, Tyson and I managed to make our way to just outside of Bozeman, MT for a wedding. The couple: My dear friend Teresa was marrying her long-time love, Aaron, after an eight year courtship. Many were the jokes involving Aaron and how long he'd made Teresa wait, but truly, their wedding and more importantly their ceremony, was anything but funny. In fact, their ceremony was the most incredible I've ever witnessed. I would bet all of the money I have that there was not one dry eye in the house. Teresa and Aaron both wrote their own vows and just over one hundred of us sat in awe of their words. Both intelligently written and full of sincerity and love, I could not stop the tears a-flowin'! Congratulations, you two.

They married just outside of Bozeman at a little resort called Chico Hot Springs. Lucky for us this meant several things, one being our rooms were a stone's throw away from the party and therefore the FREE Sierra Nevada and cosmopolitans needn't be monitored.

It was also located just outside Yellowstone National Park. Following the wedding, Tyson and I, and our car mates, Dave and Wendy, headed over to Yellowstone to play amongst the crazy cool animals that just roam everywhere around you.

We saw:
Big-horned sheep
and groundhogs

The park is truly beautiful and the meaning Big Sky comes full circle when you stand and look around you. Montana has many things, including heaps of casinos and big trucks, but its the vistas, mountains and wide-open country that make it so special.

For me, it was also really cool to see the place my adorable Grandma Peg grew up. So often I've heard stories of her time in Montana and I know its a place very close to her heart. I felt closer to her just being there!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In an effort.

Having been back only a few weeks, I'm totally in the throes of a schedule I can't keep up with and I'm working really long hours. In fact, yesterday I worked sixteen hours and the day before that I worked fifteen hours. Last night as I sat here working, there was a rage building up inside me and I was so frustrated I nearly went crazy.

So, in an effort to try and be less negative, I'm going to take a que from a good friend who enjoys posting in list form all of the things she's grateful for on a given day. Here are ten.


1. Having a job, despite the long hours, in the wake of so many who do not have income rolling in because the job market is so incredibly tough right now. This one, I need to keep repeating over and over and over again. :)

2. My darling boyfriend, Tyson, who is so sweet to me, incredibly supportive and helps me to see things in different ways. We are a team! Plus I think he's really handsome.

3. A roof over my head. Contained under said roof are many things that are cozy and cute and useful, and I need to appreciate this space instead of wondering when and if I'll ever be able to buy a house someday. Again, repeat.

4. A healthy family. In the wake of some troubling news within my extended family, I'm reminded of the day-to-day ease of which my family is allowed to live because we aren't currently struggling with an illness or financial duress. This ease can be taken for granted until such a moment arises.

5. Hearing my grandma's voice yesterday. She is a treasure.

6. 'Just Mango Slices' - a product of Trader Joe's and that I've been eating in the wee hours at the office. Its the little things.

7. My legs. Its on these pegs I can run, and running is so totally awesome.

8. My experience in New Zealand and Australia. Its so cliche but its really true that we don't appreciate things nearly as much in the present as we do looking back in reflection. And as I look back on it now, I'm so grateful for that time on the other side of the world.

9. A sunny day outside today. Seattle is truly a stunning city!

10. My bike.

Monday, May 10, 2010


The first night Tyson and I were in New Zealand, we sat down to the most delicious meal prepared by Chef Caitlin. Included in the menu: Falafel. Caitlin had a package containing a greenish, dough-like substance that we rolled into balls and cooked in some oil over a flame. I'd had falafel before and bla bla, yep thought it was yum. But, I dunno, it wasn't really in my repertoire as a go-to thought for something to make or eat for dinner. It was spectacular that evening though, and we were officially hooked. Introducing Lisa's products of New Zealand = amazing. Taken from her website: "LISA'S Hummus started selling in plain pots labeled with blue felt tipped pen on the lids and whilst today's product might look somewhat smarter, the wholesome fresh quality of the hummus and dips remains true to the original from Lisa's home kitchen." She basically makes really incredible dips, hummus, toppings and also ready-to-cook falafel from fresh, whole ingredients.

While the obsession started with Lisa's varied range of hummus creations - including pumpkin and kumara with basil and chili, and also moroccan with chili, cinnamon and chopped prunes - we were really more concerned about the withdrawal affects of no access to her incredible falafel. It might actually be possible that we ate more falafel in New Zealand than we ate meat. Maybe. And we continually sought out great falafel all over Australia - so far, the best falafel I've ever tasted was from Byron Bay's Orgasmic Food. They don't lie.

We've been home a week and Tyson has nearly perfected a recreation of Lisa's jalapeno and lime hummus dip, so need to panic there. And on Thursday night I brought home what I believed to be THE falafel recipe to cure our longing. Turns out, it is perfection. Here's the link, but I'll also paste the recipe below:

Yield: Yield: About 20 balls
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
Tahina sauce
Pita bread

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.

5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.


Paired with Caitlin's Tabouleh recipe of which I'll have to post later, OR just some fresh, thin-sliced cucumber, feta, chopped tomatoes and a slathering of hummus in a wrap, you will not be sorry. In fact, you might be just a little more happy you're alive. I am.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Ok, so for those of you who aren't in the mood for a superficial post, just move on now 'cause I'm about to start talking clothes and closets.

Having just traveled for a period of four months, the ability to transport my closet came in the form of exactly two backpacks. Therefore, I reduced the daily outfit options to about ten percent of my closet. Initially I wasn't that pumped about having to confine myself, and the labor involved in picking which items went and which items stayed wasn't easy. However, once I was away from the closet and my options were so very limited and clear, I realized that its actually more fun to mix and match among a smaller pool of candidates. I was more creative and I could actually see everything in my closet and I liked all of the items. Novel.

This less-is-more principle applies not just for the closet, but for everything! For instance, having tons of purses and accessories is irritating in that I end up trying to apply those pieces to my mood or my current style. Yes, I realize that is the point of having multiple options, but its also just a bit overwhelming. Today though, I realized I love the fact that I have a classic, neutral-colored handbag that's also giant so I can fit everything in it. And regardless of other purses I may have (a clutch per say), ninety-five percent of the time I use this same giant one. This is lucky for me because I purchased it at a high price THREE YEARS AGO. Which brings me to my next point: If I spend a little more on something it not only tends to last longer but I tend to actually care for it and like it longer. Next item. I bought expensive sunglasses this year and just like the purse, they are classic. I wear them everyday without question. I love them. I will wear them hopefully much like the purse, for the next three years or more if I can make it happen. Same with my watch. I love my watch, and its the only one I own so I don't have to think about which one to wear. See these easy principles stringing together?

Now, anyone who knows me is probably near tears laughing inside because THEY KNOW I have more vintage dresses than I can count, and in a spectrum ranging from turquoise prom style - I have legitimately worn this dress to a wedding - to my rainbow of colors hippie dress that would make Mr. Garcia proud. I have shoes. I have pants. And jeans. Lots of jeans. I have sweaters and blazers from Banana Republic from 2001. And my style seems to vacillate daily between classic, neutral colors to makes-no-sense patterns and color. Basically I'm all over the place.

What's my point? Coming back from my simple closet in New Zealand and unpacking all of the stored closet items is giving me anxiety and identity crisis. Too many things. Too many options. And too many personalities. I feel terrible even writing this post too as there are probably so many people who are struggling at the current time and I'm blabbing on about too much stuff and what a problem it is. I just know I'm overwhelmed, and hopefully by this weekend I'll have things under control.

Also, my good friend Aylin went through a phase while I was abroad where she was fanatically gutting her house too. She passed along some helpful blogs and articles that I'm hoping to reference.
Or just the blog:

Let the weeding commence.

Friday, May 7, 2010

And finally.

I'm home now, so posting on this trip seems a little lame. But I need to wrap it up somehow and as I sit here at home in Seattle freelancing (already), it already feels so strange that I was even across the world just days ago.

After Brisbane, we boarded the third flight of the six flights we would eventually take to get home to Seattle. We landed in Sydney early around 8am and the day was our oyster. But not only was the DAY our oyster, it sort of felt like the last three days were going to be pretty uneventful in general. Ahhhh.... We'd seen a lot of Sydney the first time through and at this point we were merely looking for some days to sit, sip coffee and stroll through the various neighborhoods.

First of which, Surry Hill, proved to be designed after my own list of favorites considering one street alone housed at least ten different vintage shops, and the first coffee shop we planted ourselves served homemade oatmeal cream pies AND it was located on an adorable sunny street with fallen leaves everywhere. Yes, it was Autumn there which is weird because its Spring here now, in Seattle. The perfect lazy day just sipping and playing cribbage. I think the most stress I felt was when the game actually came down to the last display of cards - and yes, I won. Thank you very much.

No more rushing to catch a flight, or get to a rental car, or navigate a map, or make sure you saw everything everyone told you to see. We were on vacation and we were going to sit and then go and sit some more. And then relax after that. This was our goal. Relax.

I realize I'm making it seem like traveling isn't great. Of course it is. Its just not relaxing in the way that a vacation can be, and usually we were doing our best to stay up late to see things and get up really early to start seeing things and then walking all day in between seeing all of those things. So in Sydney we slept in! Glorious.

I really enjoyed Sydney too. The architecture was really unique and the neighborhoods were so cool. Of course any time you can board a ferry boat and leave a giant, international city behind and then land on a beautiful beach where everyone's in bathing suits and life is just a little slower, all is good. That was Manly Beach. Such a quaint area with surf shops and heaps of cruiser bikes. And of course, a beach! Very cool.

So here I sit. Earning a paycheck again and thinking about what I want to make for dinner. Life is back to where it was before, and yet not. It feels really good to be home and I'm thrilled to see how the next chapter will unfold.

I guess, keep you posted. Pun intended.

Um, look at this homemade oatmeal cream pie, BTW. It was definitely as good as it looks.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


After my mind was blown in Cairns, Tyson and I headed south via yet another rental car and drove 2,169 kilometers to Byron Bay - just south of Brisbane on the East Coast. Our plan was to finally set down some roots, stay more than a day in one place and finally feel our toes in some sand. For three days we literally woke up early and headed straight to the beach. It was spectacular. Like we were on crack, we played in the ocean for hours until we were exhausted. Each day the conversation went something like this: "Should we go in yet? We've been out in the sun for like, six hours." ...."Yeah we probably should. Maybe after the next giant wave. But, let's wait for a really, really good one to end on." A giant wave would come blasting through and whether we were attempting to surf, boogie boarding or just trying body surfing it was never quite the last one. Never quite giant enough. Even though secretly I think we both just kept wanting to stay in the salty drink.

Yes I wore sunscreen.