Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weekend Rewind: March 27th - 29th, 2015

Last weekend was great from the moment I left the office on Friday to  when I climbed into bed on Sunday night. From head to toe, top to bottom, bow to stern - it was a good weekend.
^Saturday night with the birthday girl!


On Friday evening, I left work and walked a few blocks away to my hair appointment to start off the weekend by trimming off my gross split ends & getting my dark color some much needed saturation. Immediately following that, I hopped on the trolley for home where I ate Chinese food with Jay & my visiting little brother. My brother is 6 years my junior and it's harder and harder to get him to spend actual sit down time with me so I always love when he pops over and I get to hear about his life. Once he left, Jay and I sat on the couch and had almost completely resigned ourselves to staying inside when I saw that "Wild" was playing down the street in 20 minutes. I had wanted to see that film in the theater (something I don't do too much) because of its ties to Oregon so we honestly jumped off the couch, wiped chinese food off our shirts and briskly moseyed over to the theater to enjoy the film.

I definitely loved the entire story but oh my is it ever emotional. My head hurt from crying that night and the next day. Oy. And it was amusing to see that they made Jay's hometown (Ashland) look like a 1960s Vietnam Protest & Portland's moment to shine on the big screen was quite depressing as well. Oh well, the movie was really good. And after it was over, we ran over to Clyde Common for a night cap and some conversation (aka we sat together looking at pictures of our dog because we are weirdly obsessed with him. I'm glad I had a solid friend group before I owned him because I would prob have trouble meeting new people now.).

^Saturday antics: Chilling on the porch after a visit to the gym

Saturday day ended up being one of the most productive days I've had in awhile. After weeks of nice weather and a blaring sun, I FINALLY tackled the chore I hate the most and have to do every 6 months: The Winter to Summer clothes swap out. Now that it's done I am a happy camper but in the midst of the mile-high pile of clothes on my bed and lugging boxes to storage... ugh, I wanted to stop and cry. Upon completion of that I cleaned the kitchen, the bathroom & did all the floors. It took much of the day but made for a better Sunday and a happier home

Saturday night I went out for my girlfriend's golden birthday at "Old Gold" - get it? Because she's old and it's her golden birthday? Such a clever boyfriend planner of hers. It was lovely: Good food, great service, plenty of conversation and lots of laughs. And the birthday girl is someone I've loved since the moment I met her Freshman year of college.
^We all kinda liked that sign... Can you tell which picture was taken with the iPhone?


Sunday was riddled with a long car ride with Jay and Chandler, lunch at Fire on the Mountain & the weekly food prep (this week's posted here). After which we watched the HBO Scientology documentary which was fascinating. I did all that as I edited some pics and enjoyed the warm evening cuddling with the family.

The only thing missing this weekend was my nephew who I must go see ASAP this week. I miss that little blob but he was busy with his other side of the family last weekend.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Meal Prep: Open-Faced Sandwiches w/ Vegan Coconut Bacon

A family friend of ours is Vegan. Super, duper vegan

I am not vegan. Not at all. But I love animals so much that I always feel the weight of the battle of responsible carnivorism vs. veganism. Ugh.
Anyway, a few weeks ago at a family gathering where she was present, the topic of eating animal-free came up. Someone made a comment that they understood why there are so many vegans but that they just couldn't imagine never eating bacon again.

"Well, you know there's always coconut bacon." stated the family friend vegan.

Coconut bacon? Say what? "What does that even mean?" I asked. And she then began to actually tell me what it meant. I then promised her that I would give it a whirl in the near future as I am always down to try animal-friendly alternatives in the midst of my carnivore guilt. So on my food prep today, I actually decided to give it a try.

Coconut "Bacon"
What you need:
Soy Sauce
Chili Powder
Liquid Smoke
Maple Syrup
Coconut Flakes
Salt & Pepper

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Pour 3 cups of raw coconut flakes in a bowl.

(^Not a problem for me since I buy organic, raw, shaved coconut every week from Safeway for our yogurts. So, so yum!)

(^Add 3 tbsps Soy Sauce - and admire my beautiful chipped nails)

(^3 Tbsps Liquid Smoke & 2 Tbsps Maple Syrup ... and a healthy dousing of paprika & chili powder)
(^Mix all together ensuring that every coconut flake is covered)
(^Put on baking sheet lined with parchment paper & cook in oven at 350 for 13-17 minutes. Watch carefully after about 11 minutes as they brown FAST)
(^Cool and serve over salads, sandwiches, dishes as a crunchy bacon alternative)

While I (sadly) admit that they definitely DON'T taste like bacon, they do taste like their own independent savory add-on to any meal. I really, really like them and plan to use them more in the future. Not bacon but definitely great on their own as a crunchy little treat.

Additionally for lunches this week that I meal prepped ...

Greek Yogurt Cups:

Greek Yogurt, rolled oats, coconut flakes, cinnamon & kiwi.

Open Face sandwiches:

French Baguette cut/toasted & topped with garden vegetable cream cheese, cucumber, avocado, sprouts, bacon & coconut bacon (Jay made me buy some regular bacon in case the coconut one sucked- they are both good so I added them both to sandie).

Side salad:

 Field greens, cucumber, sprouts, white kidney beans, sunflower seeds & feta with olive oil balsalmic dressing.

Pretty yummy and pretty healthy. It might not taste like bacon but it's pretty dang good for whatever it is - and it makes me feel a little bit better as a human. So I'm more than down to make it again.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pine State Biscuits: Lay Off Me I'm Starving

If you follow me on here or Instagram... you have probably come under the correct conclusion that I eat quite healthy Monday-Friday (healthy eating generally only lasts until lunch on Friday). Let's be clear that I do that because I have to, not because I want to in any way, shape or form. I like to eat. The only reason that I started really focusing on what I put in my piehole is because at about age 27 my metabolism decided to be a bit of a tortoise rather than the hare I had known most of my life.
^If you're going to cheat on your diet, make sure it's with someone super hot.
Anyway, as much as I focus on weekday food, I still generally eat what I want on the weekends and I will maintain that as long as I possibly can. So if I'm going to eat like Future White Goodman on the weekend, I may as well make it worth it, right?

So when one wakes up well-rested on a Saturday and is excited for brunch with the hopes of eating as much badness in quality ingredients that one can at one meal: One heads straight over to Pine State Biscuits.
^Always ready yourself for a wait around the door at any of their locations. If looking for the restaurant and new to the PNW, here's an insider tip: Just look for the long procession of fleece jackets & tennis shoes.

^After a 20ish minute wait, we have made our way in the door. This is one of those places where I always hope to try everything but will tragically never deter from what I always get: The Reggie Deluxe (2nd from top or seen here).

^Brunch without drinks is no brunch at all. Mimosa for me & a Bloody Mary for Jay (My deep yearning to like Bloody Marys discussed here)

^'Oh look, their name is branded on the stool. That's cool.' - I said to myself as I waited faux-patiently for my food.

^Behold its splendor: The Reggie Deluxe - Fried chicken, bacon, fried egg & cheese topped with gravy.

^Jay and I split a 'side' of hashbrowns. See them back there? We only could eat a tiny bit.

^Everything is homemade, therefore, it is incredible. From the bun to the breaded chicken to the gravy- so delightfully sinful (even though I have never finished an entire one in a single sitting).

^Fatter, fuller & happier. I remember how starving I was for the twenty minutes we waited in line but after we left, I felt like I had never known what it felt like to not be stuffed full.

^Mural right outside read some poignant words: 'You are confined only by the walls you build yourself."

^Loving all that art. The east side of Portland (where this restaurant is, on the other side of the river), is a bit more artsy.

And after that, it was a much better day. Though I think I'm still full and after two brunches in a row last weekend, I can pretty much promise that I will eat like a peasant this weekend instead.

But it sure was fun while it lasted.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Let's Discuss "Teen Mom" ... any takers?

So... in the spirit of full disclosure: I am truly obsessed with "Teen Mom" - not TM2 but the current girls right now airing on "Teen Mom OG". And ever since I started watching them back whenever that show started, I have the habit of getting into psychoanalytic conversations with everyone who will listen about what I think they're doing, the reasons behind their decisions, etc. Anyway, needless to say the fact that they are on again makes me so happy. 
^Watching 'Teen Mom' and soooo excited
In summary, here's what I think about all the girls...

Maci: Love her, earnestly tries to be the best Mom she can be.

Amber: Um... wish her well (and Leah is so adorable). Not really someone I encounter much but I think she at least is a good person at heart. Hope she figures it out.

Catelynn & Tyler: There are not enough words to explain what special people I think they are. They came from SUCH a rough upbringing and they continue to amaze me with their selflessness, wisdom and general kindness. I just love them. I so want to meet them and hug them both in real life. I just... there are not enough words. What sweet souls. If they ever came to my area I would without a doubt go see them and wait in line to meet them after and be like: Hi, I'm roughly 85 years old and waited here all night in a tent crying, can I hug you?

And Farrah... I'm not sure how many people are really into "Teen Mom" AND "Game of Thrones" so I'm not sure if anyone will get this reference... but honestly, Farrah's parents interacting with her is the same as Cersei speaking with Joffrey when she's terrified of him. And as a matter of fact, she is Joffrey. It's not what she has done in terms of a lifestyle (ahem...) but it's more so the way she still dispenses rude advice to everyone and acts as if she's NOT doing all the stuff we clearly see her doing. I don't know, I could go on and on... but I'll stop. But in conclusion - Farrah = Joffrey (does Joffrey whisper cry?). Case closed.

Anyway, that's basically where my head has been at the last few days. Rapid moving text messages with a few select friends who actually give a $#!% about these uneducated analytical conversations as well. 

Do any of you watch that show? Thoughts on any of them? I weirdly would actually love to read them all...

... and with that, I bid you a wonderful Thursday.
#ThisIsTheWorstPostEver (Just know I know)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wide Open Spaces, Room to Make Your Big Mistakes

^Images for this post are from Chandler's first trip to the beach (here), June 2014. They represent the an example of when we did leave town. And I just love all the pictures of Chandler running free in the sand at Cannon Beach so I figured I'd find a way to post them at some point.

A few weeks ago as I waited to use the hot water spout to pour some tea at the office, I started making chit-chat with a coworker of mine. We started discussing our shared love of pets and how much joy they bring to our lives. Not surprisingly, this topic was a gateway drug for us to both start discussing more about our own lives.

Him: "You just got married, right?"
Me: "Yup, last September!"
Him: "And no kids yet? Or do one of you have kids?"
Me: "Nope, no kids yet. Just the puppy."
Him: "And then you live nearby the office, don't you?"
Me: "Yeah, I live downtown - I walk to work sometimes it's so close."
Him: "Man, sounds like you guys have it made. No kids yet, double incomes, live downtown- you must have the time and energy to do whatever you want, huh? Like just leave town on any given weekend? I miss having all that free time."

 ^Cracking up because if you look at the ball between Jay's legs, you can tell that it has just fallen from Chandler's mouth and he's looking down thinking "NOOOOOoooooo!"

^Orange dress information here. And the immediate photo above is from the next beautiful morning.

As he exited the kitchen, I stood there zoning out while I filled my mug with steaming hot water. As I pressed on the pour button and watched the tea leaves circle around the cup, I couldn't stop thinking about what he said. Me?! I have free time?? Ha! That's a joke.

But I get exactly why he said it [for the record: I am in no way offended by these words. I say them to others a lot! It just made me realize something deeper in this moment.]. I suppose on paper it looks like we just 'have it made' right now and can go when we want, spend when we want and make decisions on a whim. I mean, I guess I can see why he thought that. And we for sure do enjoy to venture off on a moment's notice to spend a couple nights in a hotel. Or to randomly go hiking and try a sampler of local ale after. I get that we are able to do those things at this point in my life because we have less baggage than some given our childless status.

^A day of the beach, dog running & coastal wine tasting. It doesn't get much better than this. 

 However, I just kept thinking about how wrong that guess was as well. The biggest gripe of my adult life is that I have no free time. I feel like I am constantly pulled thin and stretched to my limit. Working all day, exercising after, eating a sound dinner, doing chores, exercising the dog, etc. leaves barely anytime on the weeknights to even put my [tired] feet up. I don't get to start dinner at 3 PM like I remember my mom doing growing up. And I rarely have the chance to just 'afternoon' on a whim and go to a museum or mosey around downtown like I could in college or prior. Additionally, I always have large organizational plans for most weekends but they fall by the wayside because it's someone's birthday or the floor needs to be mopped or it's my one time in the week that I can possibly go visit my infant nephew. I spend most Sundays bummed out that I didn't cross more off my list even though I usually devote that entire day to cramming a week's worth of chores into one afternoon. Life is constantly moving and I spend so much time falling asleep feeling like I failed to do what I had hoped to when I arose that morning. And that sucks.
His comment made me realize how little we understand someone else's narrative because we see everyone's 'on paper' qualifications. Just before he went down the road of me having free time and as we were discussing dogs, I told him how lucky he was that he has a huge backyard for his puppy as well as grown kids to help take care of the dog's needs. "Do you know how much time and stress it would save me (and Chandler) to just open my back door and throw fetch with him before work? Without having to factor in the leashing, the elevator ride down, the trek to the park... etc., all at 5:30 in the morning?" To me, wow- he sure has it made!

And to him, I sure do.

The conversation just served as a reminder to me about how we perceive others. Do I have a lot of good in my life right now? You bet. Do I have shared stresses that this man does as well? Of course. Do I feel like I'm falling short at things? Yes, always. 

But I try my best. And that's all we can do. 
Let's all remember that that's what most people are just trying to do.

PS: How cute is my dog and how pretty is the Oregon Coast? Swooooon.