2015 Goals: March

With Siiri, Hotel Albatross, Ballard

Downtime: Kat and I have instituted a new house rule that bans us from starting new episodes after 10pm. Apparently I’m 9 years old and need rules to enforce a reasonable bedtime. I’m on the hold list for both The Happiness Project and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I hope to learn a few things from both books about bringing balance into my daily life.

Shamrock macaroons

Exercise: Oof. I struggled with body image A LOT this month. It’s happened before and will probably happen again and it mostly just effing sucks. And the part that sucks the most is that the easiest solution always seems to involve sitting on your couch eating popcorn. I’ve mostly emerged from it after a couple of sweaty work-outs and some good ol’ fashioned retail therapy. My buddy Ellie talked me into trying the 30 Day Shred so that fresh hell awaits my return from Texas. (JK. It’ll be fine and I will probably thank Ellie for forcing my to kick my own ass in April. Plus she’s got a really cute kid which makes up for a lot of sins.)

Westland Distillery, SoDo

Travel: Headed to Austin this weekend! Gonna marry off one of my besties and have the high school reunion I truly wanted!

The morning commute

Retirement: I should probably get going if I’m going to meet my birthday deadline!

Accidental roommate matching

Arts: I picked up The Russian Debutante’s Handbook by Gary Shteyngart. It took me a bit to get into but I ended up being so intrigued by the characters that I kept it a few days past the due date to finish in up. Totally worth owing Seattle Public Libraries 75 cents. March marks the beginning uptick of spring concerts. I saw Caribou at the Showbox and Kindness and Geographer (separately) at Neumo’s.

Salty’s, West Seattle

In the Kitchen: Cooking with Blue Apron

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Blue Apron Delivery | Liz Takes The World

Blue Apron has been all up in my newsfeed for a while. I first heard about it from a girlfriend months ago but poo-poo’d the expense. More and more friends tried it out with mixed feelings (many RAVES to the occasional thumbs down) that my curiosity began to take over. Blue Apron allows existing customers to extend a week’s worth of free meals to friends and family. When an offer came up, I seized it. A few clicks and a couple of days later a large cardboard box arrived on my doorstep.

Blue Apron produce packaging | Liz Takes The World

PROS

  • It’s foolproof. Setting up your account is simple. Meals are chosen for you based on basic dietary preferences or limitations. There is no guesswork at the grocery store or on-the-fly swaps when the ingredient you need isn’t stocked.
  • Easy-to-follow instructions. I was impressed by the clarity of the instructions. Blue Apron has a strong focus on mise en place which I’m sure many folks find very helpful as they set out to try a new dish. The steps are well photographed and described in plain, approachable language.
  • Freshness. The meat and produce were fresh and looked great.

Crispy Catfish & Cracked Freekah | Liz Takes The World

CONS

  • It’s pricey. Blue Apron has a few different meal options. We chose the three meals for two people plan which typically costs $60 per week. Approximately $10/person/meal is definitely not your cheapest route to dinner.
  • Packaging. Much of the produce and dry ingredients came packaged in plastic. Blue Apron provides recycling instructions but doesn’t address the environmental impact of personal size groceries. Recycling capabilities vary by city and region.
  • Environmental impact. I live in Seattle and my box was shipped two-day air from Richmond, CA.
  • Prep time. The meals average 45-60 minutes of prep and cook time.
  • Incomplete box. My box arrived with two ingredients missing: one major ingredient and one secondary ingredient. Of course the major ingredient missing was an Asian noodle that my regular grocery store doesn’t stock so I had to huff it down to the International District to shop at the Asian supermarket. Blue Apron customer service responded promptly and credited my account but for a company that selects and packs ingredients it was a major slip-up. What a headache and annoyance!

Pork Dan Dan Noodles | Liz Takes The World

Overall, I don’t believe I am Blue Apron’s ideal customer. My approach to cooking is much more rooted in reusing ingredients to stretch your dollar when possible. I chaffed against the lack of flexibility in having only specific quantities of ingredients and was annoyed that I had to go out and buy groceries in addition to what Blue Apron was delivering. A lady’s gotta eat something for breakfast and lunch! And there was a few things that just didn’t sit well with me: the focus on prepping everything beforehand rather than taking advantage of cooking time, all that dang packaging.

If you’re looking to break your take out habit, Blue Apron might be part of a step down plan but I think there are better tools out there:

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Kale and Potato Hash | Liz Takes The World

Disclaimer: These meals were provided to me at no cost through a friends and family promotion for current Blue Apron subscribers. Blue Apron has never contacted me for a review. My review is based on my experience with additional feedback from friends. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.

This week

I WILL EAT YOUR BEAUTIFUL HOUSE.

READ

Ashley Judd takes on the trolls (Go Ashley!). It’s J. Crew’s ever increasing price point that I’m not into ($158 cotton tee shirts? $298 sweatshirt alternatives? $425 for a single earring?? Hard pass.) 29 female protagonists to buff out your library hold list. Learn your ABCs with 26 rad ladies. “In many ways, social class can be defined by the chores you don’t do.” On gentrification in Seattle: soaring economy, worsening inequality; a letter to a real estate investor; who to blame for  Tuesday’s insane pants traffic jam. Fran Lebowitz is glorious. The Lilly for Target look book is online and I’ve already started my list.

WATCH

I’m back to House of Cards and now that I’ve noticed the blue and yellow shot construction I see it evvvvvvvverywhere.

LISTEN

Women of Folk & Americana (super into this playlist from Spotify)

Washington State: Sailing to Port Madison

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Sunday morning in Port Madison

Sometimes you just have to get out of town. Saturday was beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest (sorry about that spring snow storm, Chicago…), a day that absolutely demanded you be outside. A last minute decision was made and Saturday evening I found myself loading groceries into a dock cart and motoring west out of the marina. We got to Port Madison around 10pm, dropped anchor, and woke up to a misty morning. Sunday was full of rain and sailing but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We sailed across the breadth of Puget Sound on a single tack before finishing the afternoon dinking around and getting the rust off the old sailing skills. It was totally worth cramming all my chores into Sunday evening.

Rustic cocktailing

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First Mate Sasha

Port Madison, WA

Port Madison, WA

Sasha snuggles

Shilshole Bay Marina, Seattle

This week

A thousand yellow daisies

Tis the vernal equinox. Y’all feel springy? I’ve been feeling the pressure to pack in all my TV catch up before “winter” (it never snowed here this year) is over. This morning I went back and forth on email about how to finish Empire this weekend and which show needs to be binge watched next. One of my 2015 resolutions may be reclaiming my downtime but I’m not necessarily sure I’m better for it. Cookie Lyon is an American dream, though. Highly recommended.

READ

“The great bummer of living … is the realization that there are really fucking cool things tucked away in seemingly dumb places that I will die without having seen.” Six lived experiences with the lack of maternity leave in the US. Average women photoshopped. Fug Madness returns! White people are “expats”, non-whites are “migrants” (eye roll). Google exec called out for interrupting a woman….on a panel about diversity in tech. Rare photos of Seattle’s Black community. An oral history of that “a thousand yellow daisies” reference.

WATCH

Insanely excited for the new Lip Sync Battle.

LISTEN

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (listen immediately)

This week

Cherry Blossoms, First Hill, Seattle

There is nothing more glorious than spring. Heaven is sunglasses, a light sweater, iced coffee, and falling cherry blossoms forever.

READ

Approved catcalls. Raising anti-racist children in a racist world. 2050 and feminism’s victory.

WATCH

Kat and I hit season six in our Gilmore Girls rewatch and can we all agree that season six Rory is the WORST? White Pots. The Dip: the Mimosa sessions.

LISTEN

Beat Connection – Illusion (very strong morning dance party material)

Cocktailing: The Greyhound

The Greyhound | Liz Takes the World

What up, late winter. You go on with your bad self and your delicious citrus. Let’s make you into a cocktail that we can enjoy in the SUNLIGHT now available to us after work.

Real talk: this drink happened because I sat on a bunch of grapefruit for a little too long. More like they sat on my dining room table too long. Sometimes I am a person that likes to look at pretty things rather than eat them. I’m sure you understand.

In about seven minutes you too can juice some grapefruits, strain the juice into a carafe, mix it with gin, and be on with life. Do it. Your day will be better.

The grapefruit aftermath

The Greyhound

2 oz gin

4 oz grapefruit juice

Greyhounds are traditionally made with vodka but I find the herbal-y complexity of gin much more appealing.

Combine the gin and grapefruit juice over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a wedge of lime, grapefruit, or nothing at all.

This week

Why can’t we all be this happy?

I know I’m aging because this week I went to an early show and just about died of happiness. “How wonderful,” I exclaimed to anyone that would listen, “a full set and I was at home by ten thirty.” This turn of events has sparked in me a new passion: earlier set times. I have the zeal of a convert and the talking points of a Beltway spin doctor. Concerts on Friday and Saturday can maintain the classic doors at 8/show at 9 format. But imagine moving “school night” shows up on hour so the headliner now plays from 9:15-10:45. What a world it could be! We could be at the forefront of an artistic renaissance. No longer will we be chained to our couches consuming a steady diet of Netflix under threat of an 8:30am meeting. Behold your cultural freedom. Reclaim live music! Start the show at 8!

READ

But what does the WHO say about Cube Life (TM)? Rise and fall of the hipster brand. On The Americans and critiques consumer culture. A note on call out culture. “Together we can put an end to ghosting”: a modern dating manifesto. The internet upended spelling and now it’s coming for syntax (because awesome). Women of color making pop music way more awesome.

WATCH

New Orphan Black trailer! Jezebel spends a day with Janet Mock, all around badass.

LISTEN

Two playlists for your International Women’s Day celebrations this weekend

IWD 2013 (Two years old and still awesome.)

IWD 2015 (Curated by twitter this week.)