July 31, 2012


Above: My trusty tea kettle. A powerful word.

A little over a week ago, I changed my morning routine, and it's making a world of difference.

Previously (for about the last 6 months), I would get up at 7am. Pee, brush my teeth, rinse my face, put my make-up and clothes on, grab whatever food I had made myself for the day, kiss Micah goodbye, and walk out the door by 7:30am.

(This started because Micah wakes up at 7:30am and is usually out the door by 7:45am. I used to wake up when he left, to leave by 8am, but felt hurried. So I started waking up and getting ready before him, because I am more of a morning person.)

That puts me in my office at about 7:45am, which is about 45 minutes early. I told myself I was using this time for scheduling and organizing blog posts (I don't have an internet connection at home), or to just enjoy the silence before the tidal pull of the workday began. And yet. I would inevitably check my work email, and feel compelled to start work early. At first it was nice - being able to whip out a few small jobs before the day began, so that I could focus on larger/more interesting jobs during the day. But it became a burden over time - the extra effort going seemingly unnoticed, feeling the need to stay until the end of regular office hours even though I was basically getting there an hour early, feeling like work was just plain taking up too much of my time. Which, of course, it was, because I was letting it.

I think my vacation reset my clock. Or rather - it reset my priorities about time, and how I deserve to spend it. So. Now, I still wake up at 7am. I get ready, but stay in my pajamas. And at 7:30am, I wander into the kitchen, and prepare my tiny (12 oz.) Bodum french press (given to me while I was still single by Jeremy and Kathleen - along with a set of two demitasse cups and saucers - for the sole purpose of seducing boys that I had deemed worthy of visiting my house). Then I open the blinds in the dining nook and get cozy.

From 7:30 - 8am, I read.

Right now I'm revisiting Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn. And last week it was The Gastronomical Me, by MFK Fisher. But really, it doesn't matter what I'm reading - just that I am reading (which I love to do, and until now have had trouble working into my schedule), and that I've reclaimed that time for myself. Micah is still on his same schedule, and comes in to kiss me goodbye before he leaves. At 8am, I start to clean up after myself, and put on my (non-pajama) clothes. I'm out the door at 8:05am, and still at the office 10 minutes early. Yet it's had a powerful effect on my schedule, my productivity (I'm still getting the same amount of stuff done), and my perspective.

I also no longer drink coffee at work - just tea, and plenty of water. Every day in Michigan started with at least an hour of leisurely coffee-drinking and waking up, and this new routine is reminiscent of that. It's creating a positive connotation around coffee-drinking. It's no longer something I have to do to jumpstart my brain for the workday, it's something I get to do for myself every morning.

July 30, 2012


Top two: Saturday's breakfast. Breakfast pizza! (this was totally easy, everyone should make it next weekend) with tomato sauce, bacon, breakfast sausage, mushrooms, (an egg, of course), and basil. And a Bloody Mary. Of course.

Bottom two: Sunday's breakfast. Cheesy omelet over arugula with roasted tomatoes. Micah had a much meatier version.

This weekend I got an iPhone. !!! Yeah, my first ever. To be honest, I had been holding out for awhile. I was afraid that it might start to run me instead of the other way around, that Micah and I would become one of those silent iPhoning couples at dinner, that it would ruin quality time with friends. But I think I just need to stay conscious and considerate. Like with all things.

And on the other hand, INSTAGRAM. Truly, it was the aspect of owning an iPhone that I was most excited about. An app made for me personally, I believe. Follow me if you'd like to see even more photos of ice cream and Micah; my username is lizfabry. And please forgive the possible initial onslaught of photos; I have a lot of lost time to make up for.

July 27, 2012


From top to bottom: Riding my mom's sweet bike (bell and basket included, of course). A bay within a bay. One of the Point towers, now with nesting ospreys. Micah picking blueberries. Weird succulent beach grass.

One afternoon Micah and I biked to "The Point." It's a mini-peninsula about a mile down the beach from our cabins. I've been walking and biking there all my life, so it just made sense to show him this small but integral landmark.

I believe The Point is a sort of unmanned lighthouse, comprised two giant reflective towers about a half-mile apart. One sticks out into the bay, and the other is nestled back in the woods. When incoming freighters see the towers line up, they know to adjust their headings to continue their journeys to and from the St. Lawrence Seaway. But to me - it's just The Point. There are rocks in the water to climb on and find crawfish under. There are wild blueberry bushes to poach, and a hidden little mini-bay to pretend is only just now being discovered by you. (And plenty of trees to pee behind if you, like I have several times over the years, just. can't. wait. until you get back home.)

July 25, 2012


I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating: I love roasting tomatoes. I usually roast them when they're juuust starting to get a little old, and might no longer be optimal for use fresh. They had this intense ruby pop to omeletes, pizza, pasta, saldas, crazy cheese plates... you name it, they enhance it.

I bought these assorted grape and cherry varieties from the farmer's market on a whim, even though I had a pint of normal cherry tomatoes already at home. The normals got thrown into salads, and these got the rockstar treatment, along with a few cloves of garlic.

My favorite part of the process is wiping down the pan with a hunk of bread after the tomatoes have been stored away. The oily, burnt-garlicky, salt-and-peppery sludge that's left behind is unbelievable - too potent to be eaten in any larger quantity, but too good to be thrown away.

July 24, 2012


While I was in Michigan, I became enamored with a cookbook my mom had recently bought for herself: Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, brought to life by the women who own the infamous Bi-Rite Market and Creamery in San Francisco. I would leaf through it almost daily, completely inspired by the mix of classic and inventive recipes of not only ice cream (Balsamic Strawberry, Basil, Honey Lavender?!), but sauces, cookies and cakes, even cones - everything you need to complete the Bi-Rite experience in the privacy of your own home. Because everyone knows ice cream tastes better when you're not wearing pants.

I knew all along that the first recipe I'd make was Salted Caramel ice cream. It ended up echoing my favorite flavor from The Parlour quite closely (imagine: Werthers as velvety frozen mousse), and made a tasty, thoughtful leave-behind for my family when I headed back home.

However, once I had returned home, I was still completely preoccupied with it. So I found the recipe online, and made another batch under the guise of a thank-you gift for some friends who watered our garden while we were away. I carefully set aside a pint for them (and a pint of Peanut Butter ice cream as well), and have been obsessively rationing the remainder of both ever since.

July 23, 2012


Top two: Sunday's breakfast. Egg-white omelet with pesto mushrooms and roasted tomatoes over savory baked farro. Berry salad on the side. (There was a special on egg whites after a particularly robust ice cream production session last week.)

Bottom two: Saturday's lunch. Variations on a (savory baked farro) theme. Savory farro salad with goat cheese, arugula and cherries.

Saturday morning, we hit up perennial favorite Watt's Grocery for breakfast - I had the world's biggest buttermilk pancakes with seasonal fruit and maple syrup, and Micah had some giant pile of eggs, biscuits, sausage gravy, and hash browns. Sunday morning, I took over Weekend Breakfast duties because Micah had already begun prepping to make gumbo, which takes forever and has ten thousand ingredients. The day before I had made big batches of pesto, roasted tomatoes, and savory baked farro (using this recipe), so I simply combined everything into an Egg Pile so we could inhale it and get back to articulating the exact shade of brown that denotes a finished roux (coffee-with-cream? toffee? burnt caramel? why are they all sweets?).

July 19, 2012


I made this one afternoon in Michigan - I wanted something summery, beachy - something I wouldn't put the time or effort into making for myself at home "in the real world." It ended up being one of the best drinks I've ever made myself. Very potent, refreshing, tart. And visually striking - the lemon held the blueberry juices at the most unbelievably vivid magenta color.

I muddled a small handful of wild blueberries, a few basil leaves, the juice of a half a lemon, and the smallest amount of sugar together with some crushed ice. Then I strained the mixture into my glass (which somehow reminds me of Moroccan tea glasses - so pretty), added ice, a heavy draw of vodka (there was a special on vodka that week at the cabin), and a splash of tonic.

I garnished it with all of the base ingredients because I'm an art director and couldn't help myself, then dubbed it the Blueberry Basil Bomb because alliteration (like repetition) is a cheap and easy copywriting tool and I couldn't help myself. Cheers.

July 18, 2012


From top to bottom: Creeper shot of Micah capturing another Pure Michigan sunset. The supervisor's view. The supervisor's wine. Beach grillin'.

One of the many things I love about my partner-in-crime is his insatiable need for new experiences and odd adventures. And grilling.  So I knew I couldn't deny him the opportunity to grill on the beach. On a MacGyver-ed grill. On a windy evening. Whilst maybe-slightly tipsy.

I "supervised" - to make sure we didn't burn down the bay, and just to be in awe of what he was pulling off. Found bricks held up each end of a metal grill. A small, low fire was built downwind of the grill, half smoking, half grilling a chunk of marinated pork tenderloin.

It took a bit longer than expected, and had a bit of added, er, grit to the texture. But you know what? It tasted great. Smoky, sweet, with a kick of heat. And it wasn't a bad way to spend an evening. There really isn't a bad way to spend any evening, when you've got a partner-in-crime like mine.

July 17, 2012


Above: Recent sunset on a rural Oklahoma road near Micah's dad's house.

Remember my ongoing house saga? It's been giving me grief since last September. I neglected it for awhile, letting my negativity about the financial burden affect my responsibility. After putting on my big-girl panties and finally dealing with it in March, I got a sudden offer, only to have it fall through right after inspection. It sucked, but gave me some much-needed perspective (and a new roof).

Well, I got another offer in late May. To avoid jinxing it, I didn't really tell anyone, or allow myself to get too excited. Then, when the closing date was set for Friday, June 29th, I totally allowed myself to get excited. Because that was the day before I left for Michigan. My last day of work and responsibility and 100º heat for two whole weeks. What a perfect send-off, right? That Wednesday, I bought myself a bottle of Jameson (and some Blenheim ginger ale - amazing combination) to celebrate and started writing a pithy post on The Universe and the wabi-sabi perfection of the timing.

And then, of course, it didn't work out that way. On Thursday, I found out the buyer's realtor didn't schedule the re-inspection in time, causing a delay of at least a week due to the upcoming weekend and Fourth of July holiday. I went home and, feeling a wee bit sorry for myself, heavily enjoyed some of my celebration Jameson.

I flew off to Michigan and temporarily forgot about the whole mess until after Ashley and Nate's wedding. The re-inspection and closing were re-scheduled for early the next week; I went out and bought myself a small bottle of Patron Silver to celebrate (notice a pattern?). The re-inspection unearthed another small repair that needed to be taken care of, and the closing was pushed back again, to the day I was flying out to Tulsa. I checked my email obsessively until five minutes before I left for the airport for word that it had finalized, but it never happened. So I spent the last five minutes before I left for the airport doing a salt/lime shot of the Patron with my dad and Micah, because I'll be damned if I was going to let that shit go untapped (again, pattern).

I decided to forget about the whole mess until after Micah's sister's wedding.

Yet, just as we were about to board our connection to Tulsa in Detroit, I halfheartedly checked my email one last time. Only to find that sale had just. then. finalized.

The house, sold. The financial burden, lifted. The uncertainty, over.

So, in an even better/more obnoxious example of wabi-sabi timing, I promptly boarded the plane to Oklahoma, where I no longer own property.

July 16, 2012


Above: Classic Vacation Breakfast. Wild rhubarb/berry pie with vanilla ice cream and a million cups of coffee. Isn't that birch plate gorgeous? It has a hit of silver highlighting some of the texture. My favorite cabin plates. (I think they were from Pottery Barn a few years back.)

Micah and I returned home last night to an overheated duplex and an empty fridge. I'm kind of still in denial about not being on vacation anymore - but there's work to be done, groceries to be bought (new issues of Cooking Light always get me pumped up about meal planning, and luckily I returned home to one), and of course, our next vacation to be planned (a mountain town in autumn, maybe?).

July 13, 2012

25,000 SUNSETS

I'm sure you've seen those Pure Michigan ads. Whenever I see the "25,000 Sunrises" one, I always replace it with "25,000 Sunsets" instead. It's impossible to not take photos of each sunset here. They all seem completely unique, equally important, magnetically photogenic - a simple yet striking visual reminder of the time we have in this place.

So here's all my sunset photos. One big, fat ode to the essence of Pure Michigan. Which is fitting, because I just took the final one last night. I'm flying to Tulsa this afternoon, to see one of Micah's sisters get married, then onto North Carolina, and back to real life.

July 12, 2012


Above: the ceremony took place about a quarter-mile down the beach from our cabin, at Ashley's grandparents' cabin. My mother made the altar/arbor with cedar and spruce trimmings from the property.

I was so honored to be a part of Ashley and Nate's wedding celebration last weekend. Every aspect of the entire weekend was carefully considered, thoroughly planned, and heart-achingly thoughtful - just like Ashley. For example, our bridesmaid gifts were two-part: an old-school innertube with our names painted on them (she hunted down the exact kind we used to float around the lake in as children), and sexy white button-down men's shirts with our initials monogrammed on the cuff (for getting our hair and make-up done the day of, as well as for countless Risky Business moments in the privacy of our own homes).

Check out their photographer's first look at the wedding day - she did an amazing job of capturing the big moments, the little details, and everything in between.

July 11, 2012


The day before the wedding, our garage was transformed into a makeshift florist shop. Pillowy hydrangeas, friendly alstroemeria, rustic Queen Anne's Lace, and four light, romantic shades of rose were all trucked in, trimmed, and arranged into vases (over forty!), bouquets, and boutonnières.

The ground was covered in stem trimmings, crushed petals, and stripped leaves. The air smelled sweet and dreamy and green - it was like being lost in a lady forest. Yet another reminder to treat myself to fresh flowers more often.

July 10, 2012


From top to bottom: Earth, water, air. Cornholing at dusk. Fireworks across the bay. Sparklers. Penis cake. Waiting for Micah at CIU. A fellow North Carolinian. Handmade Adirondack.