2014 Goal: June

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Jasmine on my walk home

Books: I read through Volume 1 of The Paris Review Interviews, digging into the authors I’ve read or what to know more, skimming past the authors I know little about. Conclusion? Dorothy Parker was a gem, Hemingway was a pompous ass, and I should really read more Vonnegut. Basically all things we already knew. But, this collection is a delight and I suspect I’ll browse through the subsequent volumes in the future. I’ve started Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch which I’m looking forward to discussing with all of you because I’m torn. Must…finish…first. Annual total thus far: 11/15

Midyear check-in: I’m extremely confident that I will meet, if not exceed, my goal. My pace of reading has gone down in the last few months but I think that’s seasonal variation more than anything else (aka it’s not cold and dark all the time now). I have decided that an electronic reader would be a good investment. Carrying large, hard bound books around all day has done a number on my elbow (and I love my purse too much to get a different one). I’ll be purchasing one shortly if anyone has one they want to rave about in the comments.

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The Paris Review Interviews Vol. 1

Exercise: The yoga studio closest to my house had a special so I finally checked it out and really like it. The instructors are great, the class times are reasonable, and it just seems like a solid studio.

Midyear check-in: I’m giving myself a B- here. We try (unevenly) and have mixed success. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take the plunge on a buy a pass at the new studio once my intro period elapses. It’s still a little steep but real talk: my cheap ass likely needs the accountability of plunking down cash.

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Kat and Brothers (with a St Pauly Girl tribute to their momma)

Shows: Success! Outdoor concert season is upon us which is the most fun concert season of all. Kicked off the month with Jungle at Neumos, the most fun show I’ve been to in a while! Seattle boys Beat Connection opened for them and I’ve had The Palace Garden in rotation ever since. I saw Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood  and Mavis Staples at Zoo Tunes (separately though I feel like that could be a really fun show). And finally, got to experience the amazing Maceo Parker at Jazz Alley. He had such great stage presence after performing for fifty years. I’m always terrified the greats are going to die on me before I have a chance to see them. Was so fun to treat my oldest friend, Lindsay, at the last minute!

And sometimes you just have to skip shows. I had tickets to both Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme (yes, the third time I would have seen them this year year) and King Khan & the Shrines and work and life and red eye flights to Chicago got in the way. Such is life.

Midyear check-in: This continues to be my most fun goal. Seeing live music regularly is such a delightful break from my everyday life. I get to hang out with buddies in a different way and just soak up every little bit of being young and single. Highly recommended.

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Hanging with Wiggities at MSMW

Travel: Spent a quick three day weekend in Chicago for the annual Socialism conference. How a break-neck trip filled to the brim with political debate, discussion, theory, and history can be so restorative continues to baffle me. After missing the conference last year it was great to be back! Let’s getting organizing! (And the magical and beautiful Gen and Mariela drove out to the Chicago suburbs to hang out and it was the bestbestbest.)

Midyear check-in: My weekend jaunts to DC, Portland, and Chicago have all been fun. Looking forward to some serious vacation time in a few weeks. Mexico or bust!

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Vermouth cocktails with Siiri at the superb new Damn the Weather

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Book Review: The Accursed

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Book/purse snuggles

The lovely Lauren is hosting a book discussion on The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates on Better in Real Life today. She has asked me, Kristin of Not Intent on Arriving, and Victoria to chime in with our thoughts. Grab a mug of tea and join us?

And if Lauren’s blog post got you here: welcome! I review books I’m reading fairly regularly but also feel free to poke around the menus up top. It’s ok to be nosy…I am too!

In the Kitchen: Barley and Corn Summer Salad

Soundtrack: Volume 1 by Star Slinger

(especially Mornin’ which samples the lovely Staples Singers)

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Digging in at Zoo Tunes

In true summertime fashion I have been spending every possible minute outdoors. Walking home from the bus. Parades. Drinking on the patio. Taking the long way to the grocery store. Sucking up that sunshine like it’s going out of style.

I spent a particularly delightful evening seeing Mavis Staples at Zoo Tunes over the weekend. She is such a treasure, all warm and funny, covering the Talking Heads and Lauryn Hill like the hip thing she is.

An outdoor concert is truly the ultimate picnic and demands something sturdy, portable, and open to eating at varied temperature. Enter: a grain salad. They are hearty enough to be filling; versatile enough to play around with all summer. The combination of corn, basil, and tomato feels super summery. There are a million variations you could try. Go Greek with dill/feta/black olives/cucumber, swing Californian with raw spinach/almonds/avocado, or even dip Moroccan with chickpeas/pistachios/apricots/cumin/coriander. Cook the barley, saute or chop your mix-ins, season to taste, and enjoy outside!

Barley and Corn Summer Salad

4 servings

8 oz uncooked barley

Small tomato, chopped

Half a large red onion, diced

16 oz can corn, drained

Handful chopped basil, minced

Boil the barley following package directions. Place chopped tomatoes in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.

While the barley is boiling, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat before adding the onions. Cook until soften then add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and cook until warmed through. Turn off the heat and stir in half the basil. Add corn mixture to bowl with chopped tomatoes.

When barley is cooking, drain and return to the now empty cooking pot. Dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir seasoned barley into bowl and fold in remaining basil. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Summer Honey-Do List

greece

Corfu, Greece | Summer 2013

Summer officially starts Saturday! After a touch of June-uary, the weather here has settled comfortably into it’s Northwest glory. While it makes Cube Life (TM) particularly painful, all that bountiful sun and sea makes Seattle the most beautiful city in the world. I spent most of last summer abroad so I can’t wait to have a classically Seattle summer.

  • Go sailing at least once a month in July, August, and September
  • Eat fro yo
  • Attend the Fremont Solstice Parade (this weekend!)
  • Perfect our house margarita recipe
  • Get out of the city and go on a hike
  • Go to an outdoor movie (or two)
  • Saturday morning outdoor yoga at the Sculpture Park
  • Take a beach day
  • Grill as much as possible
  • Have a blast in Mexico in July!
  • Tune up my bike and go for a ride
  • Attend my 10 year high school reunion (’04 sho!)
  • Watch the sunset at the beach

Who wants to come?

Out and About: The Bullitt Center

Bullitt Center sign

The Bullitt Center, Seattle. Photo by Philip Tapang.

My office had the opportunity to tour the Bullitt Center, the greenest commercial building in the world, as part of an educational experience for trainees in the program I manage. The building was incredible; such thoughtfulness went into each choice. Gentle readers may be familiar with the LEED certification for green buildings, which ranks building practices based on environmental impact, the Bullitt Center is a generation beyond LEED. Built with the Living Building Challenge in mind, the Bullitt Center seeks to integrate the building into the community around it.

Living Buildings have strong transit access and exist in dense, walkable neighborhoods. All the materials for the building had to be locally sourced and free of red list materials that are dangerous to workers and neighbors. And finally, the buildings have to be beautiful. I found the Bullitt Center’s organic modern design aesthetic to be consistent with the neighborhood and Seattle’s view of itself.

The building was designed to be a net zero energy building. The roof is covered with solar panels that fuel all the electricity in the building and even puts energy back into the public grid. The holes in the roof are designed to collect rain water that is captured and treated for use in the building. But, by far, the composting toilets created the most discussion. Similar in concept to the outhouses folks may have used in national parks, the toilets use gravity to convey waste to tanks where the it is compacted and composted. The toilet is cleaned using two tablespoons of water after each use. Compare that to the 3.5 gallons of a traditional toilet or even the 1.5 gallons of a low flush toilet and the water savings are remarkable!

I’m so proud of my city for being a leader in sustainable development. The technology clears exists for humans to reduce their impact on the environment around us, it is only the political and structural will and that prevents us.

Bullitt Center exterior

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center roof

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center living proof

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center model

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center stairs

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center office floor plan

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center composting toilets

Composting toilets. Photo by Philip Tapang.

The Bullitt Center offers one-hour public tours several times a week. $5, reservations required.

Cocktailing: Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

Soundtrack: Queen Bey playlist by the NYT Magazine

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Cheers!

It’s summer time in the city, kids! It’s been sunny and in the mid 70s for weeks now. The sun is setting after 9pm. It’s all bare legs and sunglasses all the time. Life is good.

The lime shortage forced Kat and I to tweak our approach to the G&T. Not being independently wealthy, stocking limes that may go half unused was not an option. We needed something that could bring depth to the drink without sharp citrus. Enter: rhubarb bitters.

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Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

This drink is simple and straightforward. You don’t even have to measure (but you can if you want, we don’t judge). This drink is ideal for low key weeknights and picnics in the park. The truly ambitious among us would make a thermos and bring it to an outdoor movie. I believe in your great choices. (Please invite me along.)

This weekend I’m torn between being outside as much as humanly possible, going to yoga, living life and watching all of the second season of Orange is the New Black. I’m not willing to place odds on what will win because I’m not ready to admit what kind of person I truly am. What big plans do you have?

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Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

3 dashes rhubarb bitters

2 oz gin

Tonic water

Place several ice cubes in a high ball glass. Combine rhubarb bitters with gin and top with tonic water. Cheers!

In the Kitchen: Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza

Soundtrack: This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza by Shutterbean

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Brussels sprouts and bacon pizza

I’ve rather made it a point to not discuss my personal life on the publicly facing internet. I date lovely men but none of them asked to be included in this space that they have no control over and it seems unfair and unkind to shove them onto the internet without their permission. And then a friend egged me into joining Tinder and let me just say it’s totes brilliant. It’s people watching at the bar but without the ring check. So simple! So easy! Or so it would seem…

Liz’s Rules for Playing Nicely in the Sandbox (and Getting a Date)

1. Don’t pose with a tiger. Seriously.

2. Please use actual words in your messages. Emoticons are not words. No one has the time or patience to decipher what the shades smiley emoticon means.

3. I’m not going to shame you for using the internet to get a booty call but you don’t get to be overly aggressive in asking me out.

4. Remember: all your messages have time stamps.

5.  Be safe. Have fun. Get tested regularly.

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Ready for oven action

This pizza would probably be a great date. Kat and I made it for dinner on a random, low-key weeknight when we both happened to be at home and then we watched Bob’s Burgers. Highly recommended. I used Tracy’s recipe as a general guide map. Tossing the sliced brussels in balsamic and olive oil before topping the pizza is inspired. I skipped the feta topping because we didn’t have any in the house and it turned out great. Pizza feels like such an indulgent weeknight meal but it totally comes together in about 15 minutes of hands on time and about 15 minutes of baking (aka sit on the couch and drink wine time aka flip through Tinder time).

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Ahhhh!!!

Other pizza ideas

Out and About: Il Corvo

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Il Corvo, Seattle

Hey, wanna go to Italy and eat lots of delicious food? Yeah, me too.  I don’t usually have dreams of pasta but when I do it’s a perfect mound of handmade noodles with a rich bolognese or a citrus-y shellfish or briny capers. Flavors that make your eyes roll back in your head and you try to figure out how fast you can walk off these carbs so you can eat more.

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Tagliarini with a toasted walnut pesto

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Corona bean salad with sage-parsley vinaigrette

Il Corvo is all of that and even better because it’s only open for lunch. You have to be part of the downtown crowd (or willing/able to take a long lunch hour) to experience the magic. And this cache allows it to maintain a certain neighborhood joint feel. There’s folks there on jury duty, city employees, law suits, and just assorted office milieu. When a perfect plate of pasta is the same price as an underwhelming sandwich, why would you go anywhere else?

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Perfect lunch date.

This is my new favorite lunch spot. It smells and tastes like Italy. I bet you’d like it too. Please though, promise me you’ll bring someone awesome? Don’t waste this lunch on some phone-it-in office lunch. Take your favorite co-worker. Woe your boss here before you ask for a promotion. Treat yourself after killing a presentation. This pasta deserves only the best vibes.

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House rules

Il Corvo is open for lunch Monday-Friday in downtown Seattle.