2015 Goals: February

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Cherry blossoms bloomin’

Downtime: I’m feeling mostly balanced but also like I’m not doing super well on this goal….? The internet is weird and I have a weird love/hate with social media. It’s mostly lovelovelove except when I feel like it takes over my life. The concept of a digital detox seems extreme but perhaps stronger boundaries would help. How do folks help protect their downtime and maximize their relaxation? My goal is to feel less like I need to have my phone glued to my hand to feel like a whole person.

Letterpress workshop, Constellation & Co, Seattle

Exercise: I’ve been hitting the pool and really digging it. Well, let’s be honest, sometimes I hate everyone in my lap lane. But the swimming part is wonderful. I put my head down, swim my laps, and find the zen. [emoji thumbs up]

Farmers’ market Valetines

Travel: I found out that Grace Jones and Future Islands are playing at the Hollywood Bowl in September so that’s happening. See you in the fall, LA!

Sunday nights with The Dip

Retirement: I need to spend some time thinking about mini-goals to break this down. The saving is going well because automated transfers are smarter than me. The most recent episode of Call Your Girlfriend has a great discussion about saving. Let’s make a to do list, folks!

Little Big Show in support of Rain City Rock Camp

Arts: I read the incredible Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie this month. When I was a senior in high school we read a bit of Alexie each Friday morning but I managed to never read this collection of short stories. Consider them highly recommended. It was a great month for concerts: saw a secret line-up at a top secret location in the Columbia Tower, The Dip covered Sharon Jones’ “Naturally” in full at the Seamonster, helped support Rain City Rock Camp with St. Paul & the Broken Bones at the Neptune, and celebrated a new album with the Tom Eddy Band at Barboza.

Friday evenings on Lake Union

This week

The internet, basically

While the internet lost all chill about a pair of llamas on the loose I’ve been glued to email all week. The first six weeks of the year are always this luxurious lull at work. President’s Day signals a long stretch of holiday weekend austerity. If one disappears does the email stop? Does the email ever stop? (Save me.)

READ

Karlie and TayTay got a best friend Vogue cover so now Sparky and I have a new goal to aspire to. If you feel like punishing yourself, may I suggest this GQ piece on the Men’s Rights “Movement”. (Keep cute animals on stand by for breaks as needed.) Becoming a more confident cook (or a more confident anything, really). A grapefruit Negroni fizz to lure spring. I was hoping not to talk about The Dress (#teamwhitegold) but obviously failed. This Wired piece was helpful even if I still can’t see the black. The passing of Leonard Nimoy. Jacobin has published the most consistent left coverage of Greece; Stathis Kouvelakis on alternatives is particularly worth your time.

But it was not enough that the Europeans should reject all the Greek demands. They had, in every way, to bind the Syriza government hand and foot in order to demonstrate in practice that whatever the electoral result and the political profile of the government that might emerge, no reversal of austerity is feasible within the existing European framework. As European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated, “there can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.” [emphasis added]

WATCH

I’ll be spending the weekend watching House of Cards and eating Girl Scout cookies. Jezebel loved her Britney but I think Christina’s Cher is the winner here. CHRVCHES covering Justin Timberlake.

LISTEN

Jamiroquai – A Funk Odyssey (I’ve been jamming out to Jamiroquai all week because apparently I miss the 90s. I care not.)

In the Kitchen: Roasted Sausage and Tomatoes with Pesto

Roasted Sausage and Tomatoes with Pesto | Liz Takes the World

I’ve been attempting to buff out my 30 minute and under dinner repertoire. It’s one of the lynch pins in my pledge to cook at home more. This dinner strategy came together while I was swimming laps. Somewhere around meter 500 I usually find a zen. This, of course, always reminds me of Goldie Hawn in The First Wives’ Club, “I have some of my best ideas while working out!” I felt such a strange affinity for that movie considering I was 10 when it was released. Diane Keaton has owned my heart from the beginning. You guys understand, right? Good. I knew you were my people.

The First Wives Club

Speaking of my people, my Trader Joe’s only carried precooked sausages for years and it drove me batty. Now that they are stocking fresh ones I see it as my personal responsibility to buy them as often as possible. We all carry our crosses differently. The success of this meal requires you to maximize on the cooking times of each component of the dish. We’ll prep the sausages and tomatoes, stick them in the oven, start the rice, and then make the pesto while the rice and sausages do their separate things. You got this.

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Before…

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…and after

Roasted Sausages and Tomatoes with Pesto Serves 4-5

One package uncooked sausage (pick your favorite flavor)

12 oz cherry tomatoes

1 cup uncooked white rice (cooked to package instructions)

1/2 cup raw walnuts

Large handful basil leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat the cherry tomatoes and sausages with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until sausages are cooked and the tomatoes have burst, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the rice (or another starch of your preference) according to package instructions. When done, fluff, season with salt as needed, and set aside.

While the rice cooks, combine the walnuts and basil leaves in a blender or food processor. Begin blending on low until the nuts are in small pieces. Drizzle in olive oil while the blender is on low. The mixture will begin to come together and form a bright green sauce.

Plate the sausage and tomato mixture with the rice and top with pesto. Any leftover pesto can be refrigerated for up to five days. Cover sauce with plastic wrap to keep it from turning brown.

This week

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Daffodils in February, Seattle

I can’t hold it in anymore. I’ve tried so hard to not let it seep but I can only be strong for so long. Spring is here! Sorry East Coast, I’ll escort myself to the left because I’m a hater that’s hating all over your misery. Flowers are in bloom! I switched to a lighter coat two weeks ago! I never put flannel sheets on my bed this winter! Global warming will kill us all but for now I’m dancing in the sunshine that floods my living room on these gorgeous afternoons!

READ

“I knew how I felt, but wasn’t sure how to be.” (My feelings about so much in this life.) “I’m not sexist and this organization is not sexist.” Oliver Stone on a life exceptionally well lived. Fifty shades of socialist feminism (be still my heart).

WATCH

Tina Blecher and Sleater-Kinney break the internet.

LISTEN

Phony Ppl – Yesterday’s Tomorrow (Was introduced to them by KEXP and the whole album is EXCELLENT.)

Destiny’s Child – Survivor (Kathleen Hanna mentioned this song in an interview and it’s way more amazing at 28 than when I first heard it.)

 

This week

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Valentine twinkle toes

On Monday I puked at work. (Full disclaimer: not pregnant, just sick) Nothing will immediately remind you of your tiny and completely inconsequential place in the world as contemplating how to successfully get yourself home without endangering the mass transit riding public. Now it’s Friday and I’m gloriously stuffing my face with sea salt caramels and fancy chocolates, oblivious to any potential consequence or ramification. What it is to be young and free!

READ

Why is the measles back? Situating a dangerous outbreak in a crazy for-profit health care system. On Kanye: “If you see him simply as a crazy egomaniac, you’ve taken away his right to be a dimensional human being.” RGB took a wine nap during the SOTU (it’s ok Ruth, I feel asleep too). Are you familiar with crucial concepts? Glad I’m not the only one annoyed with [SPOILER ALERT] Mindy’s sudden pregnancy on The Mindy Project.

WATCH

We’ve started watching Empire at our house and I gotta say, I’m into it. Hot dudes reading: the latest gift from the instragram gods.

LISTEN

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (out this week and perfectly commute length)

Billboard’s Top 50 Love Songs of All Time (for all the lovers and fighters out there)

 

Valentine’s Day Three Ways

Every valentine a feminist valentine

I will fully admit to being agnostic at best about Valentine’s Day. It seems like a lot of pressure and, like, can’t we just love on each other every day? Plus, St. Valentine was martyred. Kinda gross. Buttttt you want to use the day as an arbitrary excuse to eat something great and enjoy the company of people you care about? You know I’m in. Restaurants are a madhouse on Valentine’s Day so my advice is to skip going out and cook something amazing at home.

Stay-in Option 1: Make-out in the Kitchen

Recipe: Maple Braised Rabbit and Carrots via Food 52

Cocktail: Amaro Smash

You’re sassy and perhaps a bit ambitious. Tackle some slightly more complex brine work and wow your dining companion with an unusual main course. Get your mack on. (You’re welcome.)

 

Stay-in Option 2: Barely get out of bed 

Recipe: Tony’s Steak from Dinner: A Love Story

Cocktail: Classic Old Fashioned

This steak is ideal for a relaxed timeline. The marinade takes less than five minutes to prep and then it just hangs out for four hours. Use the time to make a drink, stare across the couch, snuggle up to watch a movie, or debate philosophy for hours. Once you’ve worked up an appetite the steak grills quickly and pairs perfectly with roasted carrots or asparagus.

 

Stay-in Option 3: Friends forever

Recipe: Fontina, Fennel, and Onion Pizza via Martha Stewart

Cocktail: Mid-Winter Margarita 

Care for the singletons in your life with elaborate comfort food. Make individual pies or a large one to slice and share. Creamy fontina pairs nicely with the slightly licorice flavor of roasted fennel. Wash it all down with a grapefruit-y margarita and toast to great friendships.

This week

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Aeolian Light by Squid Soup

The rain is unending. Which like, hashtag Seattle, I get it, it rains here a lot. But now it’s February and it’s been raining fairly frequently for five months straight. Looking down while waiting for the bus yesterday I realized I couldn’t recall wearing not-boots. Occasionally I stare longingly at my sandals or this tiny little summer dresses that are dutifully protected in clear plastic storage. “One day we’ll be together again,” I whisper. Or, “we’ll always have Greece.” I wish Noah’s ark magnitude precipitation felt like a warm cascade of twinkle lights.

READ

‘Feminist’ Super Bowl commercial’s unanswered questions. Neighborhoods, class and Metrocards. Vintage travel posters for newly discovered planets. Maternity leave is not a handout for whiny bitches. (And while we’re at it, my friend Lauren is an incredible writer and you should read her blog, I’m Better in Real Life, all the time.) This piece on maternity policy in the New Republic. A friendly reminder that the US is alone in the industrialized world for not providing paid parental leave. Speaking of pregnancy, when Evie knew (in her trademark gorgeous prose). Serena and Indian Wells.

WATCH

Will Ferrell lip syncing “Drunk in Love” is the most hilarious thing I watched this week (obvious bonus points for the Seahawks sweatshirt). National Geographic on instagram.

LISTEN

Leon Bridges – Coming Home (get your new wave soul fix via NPR)

Valerie June – Pushin’ Against A Stone (Spotify suggested this album to be this week and it was the perfect antidote to a Tuesday afternoon)

Out and About: New Beach at Hedreen Gallery

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New Beach, Hedreen Gallery, Seattle

February is typically a rough month in Seattle. The grey starts to get to you and its just bloody rainy all. the. time. Somewhere on the internet I found out about this mini beach art installation at SU. What genius! You reserve a 5-60 minute appointment online and the space is completely yours. The floor is heated, there are soothing beach sounds, you are totally alone with your thoughts and your time. You enter through a vestibule where you can leave as many of your earthly possessions behind as you like. I am a total ninny so it didn’t even occur to me to take anything more than my shoes off. The creators are mum about how many people have gotten naked. The “beach” is a 10 ft by 10 ft drywall box with a sky-like ceiling and a floor made of stone laid in sand-colored grout.

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New Beach, Hedreen Gallery, Seattle

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New Beach, Hedreen Gallery, Seattle

Creators Graham Downing and Max Kraushaar call it “destination mediation”. I was mostly in the mood for someplace quiet that would make me turn off my phone. (I need that kind of enforced structure.) No idea what to do or any plan for my time I just laid down on the warm floor and ended up falling asleep. It was a blissful little cat nap. No dreams just warmth and solitude. I put my shoes back on and took my book to the bar. Relaxation at it’s finest.

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Happiest beach goer

New Beach is on display at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery through February 14. Book your completely free reservation online.