Saturday, May 31, 2014


One of the greatest things about being a parent is being able to introduce your kid to new things. Since Sloane loves fruit so much, taking her to pick apples or grapes feels equivalent to taking her to a magic kingdom where jewels and sweets grow on plants far as the eye can see. I love sharing it all with her: 'Sloane, this is our world, isn't it amazing?!' 

On our way to the farm, we could hardly contain our excitement, me for the prospect of getting lots of strawberries, but also for the joy of showing Sloane a giant field of strawberries that she could roam around in.  The fields were plentiful with ripe strawberries and we went right to work. She loved helping, and was diligent in her task of bringing back handfuls of strawberries back to our box. When we told her we had to leave, she was aghast and tearful. We assured her that a big box of strawberries was coming home with us and you better believe she kept her eye on that box next to her in the backseat the whole way home.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


This is a post that touches on dogs, but is more about really great summer salads, annoying sicknesses and mostly about getting on and off emotional roller coasters. Like I do.
I told Sloane that we were going to go over to visit our friend’s Diane and Tyler’s house and that they had not just one, but TWO dogs, and you should have seen her eyes get wide. We haven’t had Rusty around in a while because Ken has been traveling all month for work and Ken’s mom heroically offered to take him for the month so that it would be a little easier on me, God bless her soul. It’s not that Rusty is terribly difficult, but having one less thing to worry about when you have one less pair of hands around is an unexpected relief.  I think we are ready to have him back though, most especially Sloane, who has been asking about him and including him in all of our made-up songs wherein we insert family member names.  She also remembers the other dog members of our family – Monty, my sister’s dog, and Maggie, Ken’s sister’s dog – both of which are small and fluffy and older in their years.  So when Sloane met Maddie, that lovely dog pictured up there, she was all ‘hi doggie!’ with frequent waves and then eventually, ‘touch? touch?’  We’re ready to have you back, Rusty!

So at Diane and Tyler’s house, I had the most amazing salad. I mean, it was love at first bite. It was all crunchy green beans, snap peas, mozzarella balls, ripe heirloom tomatoes, olives, and thick croutons, mixed with a light vinaigrette.  Once I recreate it I’m planning to eat it all summer long. I would have eaten it all night long if it wasn’t for the grilled scallops, shrimp, kalbi and oysters that came out after that.  We were deep up to our eyeballs in good food and it didn’t hurt none that Tyler happens to be a chef.  Diane is savvy in the kitchen as well and she whipped up these paleo sweet potato chips that all of us – Ken, myself and Sloane – were big fans of. Sloane could not get enough and knowing how much good stuff was in there, I pretty much let her go to town on them.  Diane also made a paleo version of a melktert, a South African dessert, in honor of one of the dinner attendees who is originally from South Africa, and it was delicious and fun to say. Try it: melk tert.
Speaking of other countries and good food (a segway that actually makes sense!), my favorite show right now is ‘Parts Unknown’ with Anthony Bourdain. You guys.  I know it’s every other persons’ dream to be able to travel and eat and write for a living, but that doesn’t make it less mine. Anthony Bourdain has several shows but I like this one especially; he visits areas of the world that are not as well traveled and does an overview, albeit a cursory one for the sake of a 40 minute show, of the culture and the current events, meets the people and eats their food. I also went down a rabbit trail of googling 'Anthony Bourdain's wife' because I got real curious about what kind of person it was at home that would be totally okay with being married to someone who travelled so dang much, and it turns out his wife (who is his second wife) is into MMA fighting. The things you learn!

No real segway to the next bit of news I was going to share, which is simply that I have this mysterious lingering sickness that has taken all different shapes and sizes over the past week and a half. It started with a sore throat, and then extreme congestion, and then a fever which slipped right into two and a half days of diarrhea. I should have taken a couple of days off last week to let the body rest but work was busy and I didn't. I maybe should have taken Saturday morning off from doing this really intense workout, but I had been looking forward to it for weeks, so I did it and was pretty darn proud of myself for making it through. I spent most of Memorial Day in or a few feet away from a bathroom and we made the most of a day spent indoors. 
I'm on the mend. My stomach is still a little gurgly and I can't seem to get rid of this pesky dry cough that erupts once in a while, but I have hopes that I have turned the corner.  We all had such a good weekend, regardless of me flying at half mast, but maybe due to the toll of it, the weekend came to an unfortunate peak. I was in one of those moody and exasperated moods, augmented by my body feeling out of sorts and I got into the most ridiculous of arguments with Ken about something know the drill.  As soon as I deflated, I realized 1) how dumb we sounded, 2) how  especially dumb I sounded, 3) how surprisingly patient he had been and 4) how the root of it had to do with my own issues of anxiety about the future.  
Such is marriage that one person's anxiety's about the future can manifest in unfortunate ways, but such also is marriage that your partner can help carry the load and remind you to buck up. My arc so far in this marriage has been of me learning the hard but exciting lessons of who I am and I am startled and humbled to come face to face with someone who says they are with me no matter what. I'm also startled to find how much my someone is learning lessons about who he is and growing, too. The other hard lesson is that my arc isn't necessarily going to go the way I want it expect it to go. What does it matter, though, as long as I'm in good hands and in good company? 
Ken asked me the other day, "What are you looking forward to the most this summer?" I loved that he asked me this question. There is so much to look forward to this summer and this year. Weddings, summer salads, babies, friends, family, birthdays, and anniversaries. I'm in good hands, I'm in good company. 

Monday, May 26, 2014


A quick recap of the past couple of weeks, according to my iPhone:

I got this pie book a few months ago and I am just now really taking the time to go through it, and boy it is worth my time. I came across this Strawberry Balsamic Pie in the Spring section of the book the other week, I salivated, and I made it. It was delicious.

A few weekends ago, I was up in northern VA for a baby shower and I got to see my sister. And this puppy, who crashed our rooftop party and did not want to seem to leave. We got dangerously close to taking him home.

Beautiful fresh spring salad with strawberries, garlic roasted potatoes and oven baked fish, courtesy of my sister.

A few peeks into the baby shower, decor inspired by Oh Joy for Target and....donuts. Obviously. 

The Boka truck has been coming to our work for lunch during certain days of the week and I am a happy customer. A shrimp and grits with bacon taco and a coconut curry with shrimp taco? I'm in.

Working out in our makeshift garage gym is a thing these days. We've been having friends come over and work out with us and even Sloane wants to get in on it.

My dear friend Caroline had a few of us over to their lovely (newly green!) backyard for delicious spread.  It was relaxing to lay in the sun and catch up surrounded by babes and bubbles. 

No, but seriously, are we in the last week of May!? Holy smokes. I better keep my eyes wide open lest I blink and miss summer.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


 I am second guessing myself all the time these days. Am I taking enough time to get genuinely and gut wrenchingly inspired? And then just sitting with it to let it germinate? And then honing my vision so hard and not caring about what other people think? 

Let's think on this some more and in the meanwhile can I tell you about how my sisters and their men came down to Richmond one weekend and we all ran an obstacle race together? There was so much mud involved; also, fire, walls, slides, tunnels, barbed wires, hills, running and more mud. There was a brief moment in the beginning of 'wait..why am I doing this again?' and then I was covered in mud running up a hill and having a blast and my husband and sisters and Paul and Val were cheering each other all on and all the other runners were so into it and helpful and nice to each other.  These kinds of bonding activities, you know, the kind that involve helping each other climb over walls and giving each other high fives, really make you feel like you are achieving something together. It feels good. It also makes ice cream taste extra tasty. 

After various modes of showering, napping, and patching up cuts and bruises, we headed out to dinner at peter chang's, but before that we made a quick stop in carytown to grab a board game (bohnanza!) to play together later that night with everyone. While waiting for Ken to make the purchase, Sloane and I spotted the King of Pops stand and made a beeline for it. It's hard not be a fan of a Popsicle but a really really delicious Popsicle made with all-natural ingredients and ecologically responsibility mindset? I'm soo on board. In fact, I think one of my goals this summer will be to have as many of these as possible. Who's with me?? It was Sloane's first taste of a Popsicle and she made sure she stayed extra close to get any more bites I would be willing to share of mine. 

After a delicious dinner of bubble pancakes and spicy eggplants and such, we decided more ice cream was in order. On we marched to Gelati Celasti. I brought a plain Greek yogurt for sloane to eat while we were eating our ice creams, because hey! it looks pretty much the same! and she was really into it, but then I think there was a moment where it slowly dawned on her what was going on. She didn't complain though and worked her way through and into and all around that yogurt. The picture of her staring extra hard at my sister's mango ice cream (pictures below) might have been a moment when she was pondering about whether her yogurt was different than that orange mound.  But also, seeing my sisters walking hand in hand with my baby? The best. 

Do you like how I turned this post from a rumination about my insides to a muddy obstacle race and then to ice cream? No? Here are some more pictures to make it up to you.