2015 Goals: January

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Wake up!

Downtime: I set an alarm on my phone to go off at 7:30pm on Sundays to remind me to unplug for the evening. It’s surprisingly hard! Maybe not so surprising, I’m aware of how tethered I am to my phone but I’m definitely embarrassed by how itchy I get when I “can’t” scroll through social media. I successfully refrained from instagramming a delightful Thursday night dinner party. Definitely still loads of room for improvement here!

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Wear your heart(s) on your sleeve

Exercise: Man alive if this isn’t my Achilles heel. I gave myself the month of January to join the gym so naturally I’m signing up on the last day of the month. Swimming continues to be awesome just need another option with more time flexibility.

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Umbrella Dance, Husky Stadium

Travel: Three of my internet girlfriends are descending on the NW in June and I can’t WAIT to show them around. We’re fine tuning our itinerary but it definitely involves a weekend in the San Juan Islands. There shall be much cheese consumed and naps taken.

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MLK Day

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University District, Seattle

Retirement: I bought the YNAB software! My buddy Alison and I made a date for dinner and user tutorial (she’s also helping me pollinate my orange tree yeahhhhh gurlllll). I suspect that I will totally geek out in assigning all my dollars jobs. These updates will be sooooo boring because this aspect of adulting isn’t sexy but I super need you guys for accountability.

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The Electric Eat, Robert Indiana

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Seven Gables Theater, Seattle

Arts: The winter seems like a good time to kick off this goal, I’m on the lookout for good reasons to stay indoors. Squeezed in Pop Departures at the Seattle Art Museum before it closed. The curation was rather underwhelming but spurred a great conversation about the representation of consumption in American art. While the Seahawks were winning the NFC Championship (go Hawks!), three of my favorite feminists and I went to a showing of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, a phenomenal documentary about the women’s rights movement in the late 60s and early 70s. Off to see my buddies Jessi and Jamie with the Seattle Ladies Choir tonight!

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Green Lake, Seattle

This week

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Fuel Coffee, Seattle

Chilled the eff out this week. It was exactly what was needed.

READ

Matter, a short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Falling in love with banya and women’s spaces. These gorgeous photos make me want to read/know more Russian fairy tales. Solidarity and the Seahawks. The internet continues to produce some of my days’ greatest joys: Saved by the bell hooks. Bourbon pairings for your Girl Scout cookies.

Please sign this petition in support of my friend and Garfield High School teacher Jesse Hagopian. The Seattle Police Dept pepper sprayed Jesse without warning while he was leaving an MLK Day march. Watch the video of the attack and sign to demand accountability from the SPD!

WATCH

Last week’s amazing panel with 1968 Olympian John Carlos on the #blacklivesmatter movement.

LISTEN

This American Life – If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS (Internet trolling, examined)

Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth (many emoji thumbs up)

In the Kitchen: Smokey Vegetable and Rice Soup

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Smokey Vegetable and Rice Soup | Liz Takes the World

Is there anything more comforting than a steaming bowl of soup? While the Northeast was buried in snow this week those of us on the Left Coast were enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures. It caused a bit of a disconnect for me. On one hand, it’s 60 degrees and sunny. But on the other, it’s still January. It gets dark by 6pm and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and binge watch The Good Wife. In this context, a vegetable forward soup makes a ton of sense. All the promise of spring grounded in the reality of winter.

This soup comes together fairly quickly. Don’t let the vegetables fool you, it’s rich in flavor and the bacon lends a smokey depth of flavor often missing. This is vegetable soup for non-vegetarians. This recipe is also an easily adaptable template. You could swap the kale for another leafy green or add mushrooms when you’re sauteing the other vegetables. Heck, you could stir in some cooked pasta instead of rice. Like so many things at LTTW, I want you to do you. Use what you have in the fridge. It is your life and your dinner.

Smokey Vegetable and Rice Soup Serves 4-6

1 cup uncooked white rice

3 slices bacon, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

5-6 ribs of celery, chopped

5-6 carrots, chopped

32 oz chicken broth

3 large handfuls of chopped kale

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan cook white rice according to package instructions. Set aside.

While rice is cooking, heat a large pot or dutch oven before adding diced bacon. When bacon bits have crisped up and rendered their fat, add the onion and garlic. Allow onion and garlic to soften for 2-3 minutes before adding celery and carrots. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender but firm. Add chicken broth and bring to a low simmer before folding in the chopped kale. Kale will wilt and grow tender. Turn the heat off and stir in the cooked rice. Season again as needed.

Serve with a nice slice of crusty bread.

This week

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Pike Place Market, Seattle

This week has been a doozy. I received three pieces of difficult news in as many days. The Irish in me expects bad news to come in a trio so while the particulars were overwhelming, the wave wasn’t. Grief insulates and detaches me. I want to work with my door closed, commute with headphones blasting, order everything online so I never have to interact with strangers. This is a great departure from my normal operating procedure. It’s jarring and deeply draining but necessary. I’ll attend two funerals over the next three days and hopefully use the time to lighten my heavy heart. I read an excerpt of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. The internet is having a Very Joan Moment right now and I’m basking in all of the beautifully constructed prose. I’ll build a fortress of prose until I’m ready to emerge again, hopefully Monday.

READ

Misandrist lullabies. I’ll be making this boozy banana bread this weekend. Academic science has a “family problem”. Segregation now in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (incredible long form journalism from ProPublica). Six weeks paid leave opposed by people with 33 weeks of paid leave. All eyes on Greece.

WATCH

Season 2 of The Fall on Netflix. The ultimate Coach Taylor pep talk. The Dip’s Tiny Desk Concert. Can we talk about how on point Sophia Grace’s sneaker game is?

LISTEN

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – Naturally (The Dip [see “watch”] is doing an all covers show featuring this album for Valentine’s Day. Beyond pumped.)

Flight Facilities – Down to Earth

Bitch Magazine’s all “Jolene” playlist (my prayers have been answered!)

 

This week

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Green Lake Park, Seattle

READ

Living alone: the next step in the Liz Independence and Self Actualization Project. How to fall in love with anyone (a fascinating experiment I’m absolutely dying to try) in 36 questions. What to wear to meet Anna. Unmournable bodies. EAT ME, Jessica Valenti’s delightful new newsletter discussing two of my favorite things: food and feminism. The overprotected kid (signed, a well adjusted adult that walked herself to elementary school). Hermione battles The Patriarchy.

WATCH

Ukelele covers on youtube.

LISTEN

Purity Ring – begin again (New single to announce a new album [!], gets super fun and interesting at 1:25ish)

Daft Punk – Giorgio by Moroder (“Once you free your mind….of what is correct, you can do whatever you want”)

Gary Young – The Speech parts one, two, and three (Fascinating background and political context to MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam (winner of 1970 Grammy award for Best Spoken Word Recording)

Girls Weekend

 

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International District, Seattle

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Gossip Coffee & Tea, International District, Seattle

Friday afternoon I peeled out of work early to catch the bus down to Oregon and spend the weekend with Sparky. It was a pretty fantastic 48 hours of catch-up, manicured nails, wine tasting in downtown Newberg, and a boat load of quality time with one of my besties (it’s a tier not a title). Her husband invited his best friend for the weekend which at first bummed me out, I want some quality Seth time too. But by Saturday morning I realized it’s sheer brilliance. Everyone had a bffl to hang out with so everyone got to do exactly what they wanted to do. While the boys went to some car meet-up (I have no idea, I barely paid attention) Sparky and I tried on 17 million shades of lipstick and then trotted off to get our nails did. Rounded out an A++ rainy Saturday by walking between tasting rooms and ordering a cafeteria tray full of smoked meats before snuggling up on the couch and watching Carrie and the Russian.

I’ve been giving basic a bad name, folks. The shit is FUN. Thanks a million to Sparky and Seth for being the hosts with the most forever and ever.

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Woke up like dis pt 1

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Woke up like dis pt 2

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Time to play

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Test driving MAC’s Lady Danger

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Cliff Creek Tasting Room, Newberg, OR

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Purple Cow Tasting Room, Newberg, OR

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Storrs Smokehouse, Newberg, OR

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SATC Season 6 marathon

 

This week

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Joan Didion for Celine, Spring 2015

Celine announced that 80 year-old novelist and all around badass Joan Didion will be the face of their Spring 2015 campaign and I aggressively fist pumped the air at my desk. I started reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem (finally) this week and the prose is an engrossing as she is famous for. I’m headed to Oregon to visit Sparky for the weekend and hope to finish devouring it on the trip down there.

READ

Class and costuming in Selma. NYPD slowdown hits the court system. Je ne suis pas Charlie. Toward an economic plan for #blacklivesmatter. Justice for Leelah Alcorn. The myth of the 50% divorce rate: as someone fascinated by the sociology of the family the persistence of this myth drives me bonkers. Hell no to the Olympics in Boston. Nicki Minaj and the politicization of celebrity abortion.

WATCH

Filson & Co. on instagram. Fog rolling into Seattle. Meryl Streep on beauty.

LISTEN

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Tones – Little Boys with Shiny Toys (New jamz. Sharon forever.)

Bob Dylan – The Basement Tapes (recently remastered and I am forever my Bob Dylan-loving mother’s daughter)

Stuff Mom Never Told You – Why take Taylor Swift seriously?

In the Kitchen: Cold Weather Grab Bag

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Slow cooker cassoulet

Recipe: Smoked Sausage Cassoulet via Oxmoor House

My iPhone abruptly stopped allowing me to take photos last week. I’d reached the limits of my phone’s memory and so dutifully began deleting reaction selfies (they’re the new reaction gif), instagram screenshots and……food photos. So, so, so many food photos. Meals out, cocktails consumed at home, actions shots that were, in the moment, intended for this very blog space. I love sharing recipes but find them the hardest posts to write because they are essentially “I made a thing. It was good. I think you might also enjoy putting it in your pie hole.”

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Roasted brussels sprouts and pear

Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears and Pistachios via Food52

So here’s a round-up of three of the more delicious new things I’ve made and consumed in the past several weeks. In step with the season they all rely on some decent cooking time but are an honest attempt to warm you up from the inside. I made them and I think you might like them too.

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Beet and goat cheese tart

Recipe: Beet Tart with Wilted Beet Greens via Food52

This week

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We’re now on the second day of 2015 and so far so good. I spent multiple hours on the couch yesterday only to get off of it to transport myself to a movie theater to wave an inflatable sword at The Princess Bride. This morning I listened to “Shake It Off” twice in a row, bouncing up and down in my closet, and then chugged a cup of coffee; my exercise goals on point in the new year.

New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday. It’s a secular holiday focused on sparkles, champagne, and reflection most often celebrated with friends and without the gifting expectations of Christmas. That is a premise I can universally get behind. Tomorrow we’ll take down our Christmas decor and Monday we’ll start the hard work of being better humans in this new year. Warmest wishes for 2015.

READ

“Female troubles”. I agree completely. Jay speaks! “It’s all a big nothing” (with sparkles). Shine theory: my guiding compass for how to be surrounded by awesome.

And every word that Stacey Patton has to say about the killing of two NYPD officers:

And the pattern we see is that after each killing, authorities and talking heads twist the narrative to say that these victims were responsible for their own murders. Then the grieving families were criminalized and demonized so that the narrative became that their loved ones deserved to die.

With variations on this tragic theme taking place on a near-weekly basis across the country, the weight of collective grief and rage is destroying our faith in the justice system.

So forgive me for feeling numb about the murders of officers Ramos and Liu in the presence of this heap of black bodies, the caskets, the tears and wails of parents, widows and children, the empty seats at the holiday table, the disregard for our lives, the mockery by police, politicians and pundits, and this incessant war on our communities.

WATCH

Can we talk about The Good Wife? I know I’m literally five years late to this party BUT I just started (binge)watching it on Hulu and it’s prompted me to make some questionable bedtime choices. Oh and I also definitely now need a $25k work-wear make-over (Diane Lockhart’s jewelry collection is just beyond).

2014: Dance and rituals. tUnE-yArDs live at the 9:30 Club in DC. Lucinda Williams: Tiny Desk Concert.

LISTEN

Orgone – The Killion Floor (finally available on Spotify and still supremely excellent)

Behold! 2015!

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2014 was a year of defining and defending boundaries and then learning to give zero fucks what people think. It was a year of saying “yes!”. Yes to a trip to Mexico, yes to staying out late, yes to hard work and a promotion, and yes to friends and family that show up (and who I, in turn, show up for). If 2013 was a year of adventure then 2014 was a year of leaning into the good life and doing exactly as I pleased. In 2015 I would like to build on this work and transformation and restore some balance.

Reclaim my downtime. Balance fiction reading with political reading. Finish Capital. Practice internet-free Sunday evenings. Invite people over to dinner and refrain from instagramming it.

Exercise. Move three times a week. Join the gym. Create a travel-related reward system.

Travel domestically (at least) three times. After two years of robust international travel itineraries I’m ready to explore more of America. I’ll be in Austin in April and Chicago in July. I’d like to take a week-long trip in the late summer or fall and am currently debating between New York and New Orleans. The goal is always to use all one’s vacation days.

Plan for the future. Fully fund my Roth (I’ve been practicing for a few months and I’m ready for primetime). Build a budget with YNAB that reflects my actual spending patterns. Nail down an investment plan by my 29th birthday.

Engage with the arts. My concert goals for 2014 were overwhelmingly successful but I miss visual and other forms of art. In addition to maintaining my two shows a month regime, I want to attend at least six “other arts” events this year: museums, dance performances, film, etc. Let’s do it.

Find the center. Listen to your voice. Be present.